Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2018

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2018

Top 5 2018 Pic #1

Now that 2018 has officially come to an end, it’s time to reflect, remember, and revel the pipe tobaccos I enjoyed most during the year.  If you follow other pipe smokers through online social media (i.e., Instagram, YouTube, Twitter) you will note several of our pipe smoking friends are sharing their favorite blends from 2018.  I always enjoy seeing and reading these lists as they prompt my own inquire to explore tobaccos others find enjoyable.

On a more negative note, pipe smokers, and the hobby in general, experienced several hardships over 2018.  From the closing of the McClelland Tobacco Company, to the halt of production on Dunhill tobacco, and the addition of ridiculous warning labels to our favorite tins, pipe enthusiast continue to remain optimistic and support the hobby to its fullest.  If anything can be gleaned from these trials, it’s that we need to remain vigilant at all times and never take the market for granted.  If you find a specific tobacco blend or tobacco you like, stock up.  It goes without saying that things can change (and did) in the blink of an eye.  Don’t get caught off guard.  If you like it, buy it.

Now that we’ve covered the negative, let’s examine a more positive topic.  Below I have detailed my five favorite pipe tobaccos from this past year along with my biggest disappointment.  Please note that with any review, or end-of-year list, all information presented reflects an individual opinion.  If you don’t agree, that’s fine.  Every individual’s personal background is subject to their own experiences. Thus, sharing those individual opinions is part of what I find enjoyable with this hobby.  Without further ado, I present my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2018. I hope you enjoy this list and please feel free to leave comments and thoughts regarding your own experience with these blends below.

Tobacco #5 for 2018

Boswell’s Titus

Boswell's Titus.png

Info & Overview

Brand: Boswell’s Pipe & Tobacco

Category: American English

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Burley; Latakia; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: Bulk

Price: $5.10 USD per ounce

Tasting Notes: Named after the family dog that frequented the Boswell shop, the Titus blend is described as a “gentle giant” in remembrance of the family pup.  Although classified by Boswell’s as a light English blend, I’m not sure I would catalog this tobacco as an English at all, rather, an Aromatic with a spritz of Latakia.  With that being said, I must admit, I agree with the gentle giant description as the blend is certainly mild.  Further, tobaccoreviews.comdoes not list any flavorings for this blend, however, the aroma from the tin, or bag in this case, has a heavy vanilla scent with light campfire undertone in its profile.  When smoked, this tobacco showed tasting notes of nuts, oaky wood, vanilla, cream, and sweet ripe fruits.  Further, although Titus is a gentle giant, when puffed too hard or too fast, this blend tends to leave the smoker with a slight remanence of tongue bite. I found myself enjoying it most in a cob throughout the year and would certainly recommend this blend to any aromatic smoker looking for options to transition into English tobaccos.


Tobacco #4 for 2018

G.L. Pease Westminster

G.L. Pease Westminster

Info & Overview

Brand: G. L. Pease

Category: Balkan

Blend Components: Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2 oz tin, 8 oz tin, or 16 oz tin

Price: $10.63 USD (2 oz tin); $35.70 (8 oz tin); $61.63 (16 oz tin)

Tasting Notes:  This tobacco was a pleasant surprise to me during 2018. Being old hat to seasoned pipe and tobacco enthusiast, I first tried this blend on a ‘Pop the Top’ segment for my YouTube channel in March of 2018.  Since that day, I have never looked back.  Westminster is a rich, smooth, medium to full bodied Balkan blend that is enhanced by its sweet red Virginias.  What I find unique about this tobacco is its ability to offer such a diverse smoking experience based upon the pipe I select to enjoy it with. That’s right, depending on the briar, cob, or meerschaum I choose to use, this tobacco offers extraordinary differences in its smoking profile, all of which are very much enjoyable.  This diversity, along with a tasting profile that is woody, campfire smoky, smooth, and toasty are precisely why Westminster has earned the #4 spot on my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2018 list.


Tobacco #3 for 2018

Dunhill Flake

Dunhill Flake Picture

Info & Overview

Brand: Dunhill

Category: Virginia

Blend Components: Straight Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 50 g tin

Price: No longer in production

Tasting Notes:  As I discussed in the opening of this post, production on Dunhill tobacco blends was halted earlier this year.  Anticipating the market would quickly sell out of specific Dunhill pipe tobaccos, I managed to pick up a few tins of Dunhill Flake before its disappearance in late summer.  Being a gorgeous, thinly sliced, medium brown flake, this tobacco is absolutely top-notch offering the smoker notes of lemon zest, fresh hay/grass (yes, William Serad of Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine, we all know you hate this description…get over it), yeasty bread, and sweet tea.  Dunhill Flake will be greatly missed by many pipe smokers as it was a true quality pure Virginia tobacco.  If you are able to find this blend for a reasonable price (let me reiterate reasonable) be sure to pick some up and enjoy a tobacco that is soon to be, up in smoke.


Tobacco #2 for 2018

Cornell & Diehl Star of the East Flake

C&D Star of the East Flake

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 2 oz or 8 oz tin

Price: $9.78 USD (2 oz); $29.33 (8 oz)

Tasting Notes:  If you are a frequent follower of The Pipe Professor webpage, it will come as no shock that Cornell & Diehl’s Star of the East Flake is my #2 tobacco of 2018.  This tobacco is said to be a replacement for the highly sought-after Esoterica Penzance, however, in my opinion, Star of the East Flake not only outperforms Penzance, it is an all-around better smoke (and readily available).  Offering a bold, latakia forward experience, Star of the East Flake provides the smoker with a thick, creamy, rustic smoking experience. Tastes of dark fruits, fig, and earth accompany a cool, dry smoke allowing you to be transferred to a state of euphoria.  You can read my full, in-depth review of this blend here.  If you are a lover of latakia and have not tried this blend, I highly recommend you do so. This is one you don’t want to miss out on.


Tobacco #1 for 2018

Cornell & Diehl Professor

C&D Professor Picture

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2 oz tin

Price: $9.78 USD

Tasting Notes:  Before progressing any further into this review, I want to note that this selection has nothing to do with the fact that my website is known as The Pipe Professor. In fact, it was through unintentional means that I found this beautiful blend.  Let me explain.  Like many of you, I shop at online tobacconist who offer free shipping on orders of $95 or more.  It never seems to fail that I will have selected an online cart full of glorious tobaccos that totals $88 and well, it just seems silly to pay $8.99 in shipping when you can just throw in one more $10 tin of tobacco to reach the free shipping offer…. right?  That was precisely the case for me with Cornell & Diehl Professor.  I added this tobacco to an online purchase in order to qualify for free shipping in April of this past year.  Low and behold, it is an absolute diamond in the rough. Providing tasting notes of sweet and sour Orientals, woody earth, dried grass, spicy fruits, and a lingering musty room note that is remanence of an old library or book store, Cornell & Diehl’s Professor has earned my #1 spot for 2018.  Although it started the year as a free shipping add on, Professor has now become the crux of my online ordering.


Top Tobacco Disappointment of 2018

Cornell & Diehl Mad Fiddler Flake

C&D Mad Fiddler Flake

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: Virginia

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Cigar Leaf; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 2 oz tin

Price: $9.78 USD

Tasting Notes: I find it somewhat funny that my top two tobacco of the year are produced by the same company that makes what I found to be the worst tobacco I smoked in 2018 (in fact, it may be the worst tobacco I’ve ever smoked).  I’ve always enjoyed a creepy H. P. Lovecraft story and find his writing to reflect a genre currently overrun with zombies and zombie apocalypses.  Being a part of the ‘Great Old One’ series, which is a direct link to Lovecraft’s fictional work, I figured I would pick a tin of this blend up and give it a go.  After all, the ratings and reviews I had read online all suggested Mad Fiddler Flake to be something special.  As it turns out, this tobacco and me, don’t pair well.  Point blank, I find this blend to be absolutely disgusting. Straight out of the tin I endured an aroma similar to that of dried dog food.  Yes, dried dog food…weird.  Granted, the flakes all look wonderful, however, upon smoking the tobacco not only performed and tasted horrific (maybe that’s why it’s part of the Lovecraft line…. horror), it leaves a lasting, penny-like metallic taste in my mouth. No offense, I have never enjoyed eating basic coinage.  Yes, I understand that many people find this blend to be enjoyable, but not this guy. Those of you who like this one have nothing to fear (no pun intended), I won’t be attempting to cellar any of it in the future.

Thank you for visiting The Pipe Professor website.  I hope you have enjoyed my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2018 and please stay tuned for more reviews and exciting content in the upcoming year.  As always, I hope each of you have a blessed 2019 and until next time, cheers!

* All tobacco tin pictures and blend information (excluding tasting notes) were taken from and  The writer of this post is not the owner of the above photos/blend information related to each tobacco and does not take credit for their creation. 

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Tomes and Tobacco – Book Review

The Outsider

by: Stephen King

The Outsider Book Review PicReading has not always been a passion of mine.  In fact, I used to pride myself on the circumstance that I went my entire high school career and didn’t check a single book out from the school library.  Now that I reflect on that ‘accomplishment,’ I’m not sure if it is a negative on me as a learner or the school as the educational provider?  Either way, I understand and accept that I missed out on a wonderful hobby during my teenage years and am thankful that during my undergraduate studies in college, I found my love for enjoying great literature.     

With that being said, several of you will question if Stephen King is an authentic author of great literature, and rightly so.  No matter your opinion, it is difficult to argue that King has not had a resounding influence on the fiction horror genre of writing.  In fact, King is probably one of, if not the, best known author in the category.

So, what prompted me to pick up this novel?  In all honesty, the cover caught my eye while schmoozing my local Half Price Books retail store.  I have read several King novels throughout my reading profession with the outcome being hit and miss.  Some of his work is amazingly written and has left a lasting effect on me as a person, others, not so much.  After, reading the leaf on the inside of the cover, I was completely hooked as to what the story was claiming to offer.  Further, being on sale (and having a coupon) prompted me to go ahead and purchase the book at well below retail.

Here are the specific details on the novel:

Info & Overview

Title:  The Outsider

Author:  Stephen King

Publisher:  Scribner

Publication Year:  2018

Genre:  Fiction/Horror

Number of Pages:  560

Price:  $30.00 USD (retail)


On to the review…


In the beginning of the story we are introduced to a character by the name of Terry Maitland.  Terry is a home grown, Middle America, all loving family man and upstanding citizen.  Being the loving husband and father of two girls, a local high school English teacher, and outstanding little league baseball coach, Terry is easily a likeable character from the start.  In fact, King does a very nice job setting the stage for you to quickly relate and sympathize with this character.  However, in the snap of a finger, you are thrown into an emotional roller coaster as Terry is arrested by his long-standing friend Detective Ralph Anderson for the rape and murder of a local boy who was a former baseball player on Terry’s little league team.

As the story develops we learn that several witnesses can verify Terry’s presence to be at the scene of the crime on the day and time of the murder, thus, making him the #1 suspect, and for Detective Anderson, an easy open-close case.  The only problem is, Terry was also attending an out of town professional learning conference on behalf of his school at the exact same time and date the murder was said to have occurred.  With his work colleagues being able to also verify his attendance at the conference, along with a video recording showing Terry asking a question to a session presenter, readers are emotionally forced into a very difficult position.  On the one hand, the witnesses and evidence (including finger prints and semen samples) verify Terry’s participation in the murder.  On the other hand, there is live footage of him attending the work conference in another city.  A city that is much too far away for him to have committed the murder and commuted back to the conference.  How can someone be in two places at once?  Essentially, this is the driving question that fuels the reminder of the novel.

In true King fashion, the novel, at times, is extremely graphic.  Specifically, when detailing the rape and murders that occur (yes there is more than one), King does not hold back.  I will humbly admit that while reading the book, there were several nights I had more trouble falling asleep than normal.  Yes, this is a story that will easily creep into the depths of your mind and linger until you find yourself alone and vulnerable.  In this regard, the book gets an A+ from me.  One of the characteristics I feel great books entail, is the ability to create a lasting impression on the reader long after the book has been put away.  The Outsider will certainly stay with you well beyond the last page.

With that being said, there were also some disappointments that the book presented.  If you are an avid reader of Stephen King, you will be familiar with the Finders Keepers trilogy that details the unique cases of private detective Bill Hodges and his assistant Holly Gibney.  Not to spoil too much, however, The Outsider takes place after Bill’s death, when Holly has taken on another partner in the Finders Keepers firm.  Yes, Holly Gibney is introduced as a main character about a third into this story. Although I enjoy the character Holly Gibney, I feel King has begun to turn her into somewhat of a ‘superhero’ in his portfolio of fictional characters.  Having been exposed to Holly in other books/stories, her character is always one step ahead, knows or obtains information from extremely awkward resources, and always seems to escape immediate danger.  As the audience, this character, and her ability to be successful under any and all circumstances, has become predictable, overused, and honestly, boring.

Further, I was also disappointed in the ‘good character’ deaths and the timing of those deaths.  Warning! Possible insight/spoiler: it seems as though King was getting to the end of the main story and realized he hadn’t killed off enough character’s with good moral compass/intentions.  All of a sudden, near the close of the book, we lose two secondary good guy characters in a scenario where the ‘main’ characters all survive a sniper rifle attack. For King to have the audacity to be as graphic as he is with the rape and murder scenes, I wish he would have a bigger pair when it came to cutting ties with some of the story’s forefront cast. Especially with George R.R. Martin setting a more current unexpected death tone in his Game of Thrones book series that easily removes reader’s favorite characters on a whim, I feel King lost his cojones in this one when it came time to shorten the ‘A’ list of characters. End spoiler alert.

Lastly, I felt the backstory the surviving characters had to develop at the finale of the story was extremely thin.  With today’s technology in the crime investigation world, there is no way the fabrication created to cover the remaining group would have stood.  In fact, when reflecting back to the cover story the survivors create, it’s almost goofy.  Maybe it was deadlines, maybe it was writer’s block, either way, more thought should have been given to the resolve of the story.

All in all, the book is an easy read and for the most part creepily enjoyable (in true King fashion). By no means is this his best work, however, it can certainly stand on its own.  I’m not sure I would spend the dough to purchase a new copy but would certainly encourage anyone interested in reading the story to wait and find it second hand or pick it up at your local library once available.


Overall book rating:

3 Book Rating

3 out of 5 books


Now to the small part most of the folks reading this are waiting for.  While reading this book, I dedicated one pipe and one tobacco to the entire story (as I do with most books).  I find that the tobacco remanence and smoking characteristics help insert me in a place that is dedicated to the target story I am reading.  My mind becomes familiar with the room note and tobacco taste, thus, reinserting me into the story’s context once I pick the book back up and begin reading.  For Stephen King’s The Outsider, I chose my 1970s GBD Prodigy Sandflame Ring Blast Freehand paired with MacBaren HH Vintage Syrian.  The smoky, sweet, rustic characteristics of the tobacco, paired with the easiest of draws and large bowl on the vintage GBD, made for the utmost enjoyment.  Yes, some of you may be classifying me to be just as crazy as King himself, however, every time I smoke this combination of pipe and tobacco, I am transported back to the story of Terry Maitland and the mysterious ‘thing’ that seems to be haunting mid-west America.  Don’t believe that it works?  Give it a try yourself.  I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

Until next time, thanks for reading.  Cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

A Few of My Favorite Things – 2018 Edition  

Favorite Things opening picture 2018 

The older I grow; the faster time goes.  It seems that each year starts and in the blink of an eye is gone.  Sure, there are days that seem longer than others, but in the end time flies.  Reflecting on this understanding, I find it crucial to remanence on those things that brought me happiness and joy during the small, quick amount of time known as 2018. Understandably, my family and health are among the top of the list, however, I do not feel either of those things need to be listed as they are considered a given.

Similar to last year’s post, there is no structure or method to this list, rather, just other hobbies I enjoy and things I find special.  I hope you enjoy this list and if given the opportunity, take advantage of some of my favorite things (including pipe smoking) that have shown me joy throughout 2018.


Favorite Beer of 2018

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat

Blue Moon Pumpkin Harvest Wheat Beer pic

Some of you very well may be disappointed by my choice, but this seasonal selection really hit the spot for me this year.  Undoubtedly, fall is my favorite season for beer selections.  There is something special about the pumpkin, wheat, cinnamon, spice, and molasses beer crafters manipulate in order to create these wonderful brews.  For me, Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat was the perfect balance for my fall beer palate. Offering tastes of pumpkin, clove, malt, and nutmeg, this medium bodied amber ale will warm your insides while satisfying your autumnal palate’s cravings.  If continued in 2019, be sure to pick some up for yourself and enjoy as you watch the leaves turn and temperature change.


Favorite Spirit of 2018

Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey

Crown Royal pic

Maybe it’s a blast from the past, maybe it’s the comfort and familiarity I have with this spirit.  Either way, Crown Royal has drawn my interest more so than any other whiskey or bourbon this past year.  I recall drinking more than my fair share of this liquor during my undergraduate college days and coming back to it this past year was like visiting with a long-lost friend.  For me, this Canadian Whiskey is best enjoyed with a sweet ginger ale.  In fact, I like to call the mix a Canadian Ginger.  For those who may be interested, the recipe goes something like this:

  • Fill your favorite whiskey glass to the rim with large cubed ice
  • Pour 2 oz of Crown Royal slowly over the ice
  • Add 1 ½ oz of Ginger Ale to bring the mix to the rim of the glass
  • Stir lightly
  • Select your favorite cigar or pipe and tobacco
  • Put on a great jazz album
  • Sip, smoke, soak up the sounds, and enjoy

As long as you follow this recipe to the ‘t’, the outcome will yield positive results.  I promise!


Favorite Wine of 2018

Castillo de Monseran Garnacha

Castillo de Monseran wine pic

Originating in Cariñena, Aragon Spain this bold, full-bodied Garnacha satisfied time and time again over 2018.  Even during the warmer summer evenings, Castillo de Monseran proved to be both balanced and fulfilling.  The bouquet/nose from the glass is richly accented with garden fresh rose, vanilla, burnt woods, and spice.  Tasting notes evidenced sweet and sour berries, licorice, and dark chocolate flavors. Easily paired with a spaghetti/meat sauce dish, or favorite pizza, Castillo de Monseran Garnacha is an excellent wine at a very affordable price ($9.99 a bottle).


Favorite Board Game of 2018

This War of Mine

This War of Mine Board Game Pic

Originally released as a video game for all the major entertainment systems, This War of Mine has been adapted as a multi-player cooperative board game (everyone plays together against the game’s design).  Essentially, the city you live in has come under attack from an outside militia group causing a war to break out trapping several civilians in the city with no way of escape.  Your role is to survive in the city until the war ends with limited housing and basic resources.  The game design is so thorough, randomized, and detailed you could literally play the game 500 times and never have the same outcomes/scenarios.  In fact, I have played this game at least 40 times over the past year and never managed to beat it (survive until the end).  I have come very close on multiple occasions, however, due to the randomization of events, and shear bad luck, I have never beat the game. Believe it or not, I find this quality to be very appealing as the game is not a ‘shoe-in’ to beat it after only a couple of plays.  When purchasing and playing a board game, I want to be challenged.  Forcing myself to critically think and be more strategic is a quality I enjoy in gaming, which is exactly why This War of Mine is hands down my favorite board game of 2018.


Favorite Book of 2018

Twenty-Six Days: A Mystery of Victorian England by: Regis McCafferty

Twenty Six Days Book Cover Pic

Similar to many of you reading this, I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and the Victorian England mystery novel genre in general.  Twenty-Six Days, written by a still living pipe smoker, Regis McCafferty (who’s also a NASPC member), follows the final case of McCafferty’s English pipe smoking detective Joshua Pitt.  Easily finished over the course of one day, Twenty-Six Days offers adequate suspense and intrigue coupled with plenty of pipe and tobacco related material (and a little love affair on the side).  In fact, I enjoy the novel more for the pipe and tobacco related content than the actual mystery trying to be solved.  If you are a fan of pipe smoking literature and mystery in an era long gone, you will enjoy Twenty-Six Days.  If nothing else, give it a read and support a fellow brother of the briar.


Favorite Music Album of 2018

Streamin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet (1989 Remaster)

Steamin with the Miles Davis Quintet Album cover pic

Not that I needed another hobby or interest, however, 2018 opened my eyes and ears to the world of vinyl. I recall my parents, during my childhood years, listening to records on our massive (at least at that time) stereo system, with full dual tape deck, AM/FM radio, and vinyl options.  Now, 30 years later, I find the oh so familiar sounds of vinyl a friendly welcome to my ears.

Being nowhere near the size of my tobacco cellar, I have now started my vinyl record collection which mainly consists of jazz, swing standards, and orchestral selections.  One such album that really caught my attention was Steamin’ with the Mile Davis Quintet.  I find the album to have the perfect balance of upbeat improvisation and dramatic late-night classic swing.  From start to finish, this album takes me back to an era when swing was king and talent superseded fame and fortune.


Favorite Cigar of 2018

Cohiba Behike 54 (MES JUL 11)

Cohiba Behike 54

For those who actually read My Favorite Things 2017 list, you will note the final category in 2017 was Favorite TV Show.  Believe it or not, I have virtually cut television out of my life over the past year.  No, I had no intent or goal of making such a change in my life, however, having four children, full time job, and other interests, there really is no time for television in my schedule.  What have I learned?  I don’t miss it.  In fact, I’m not sure why people revolve their schedules around certain TV shows??? If you are one of those people that’s fine, I’ve just found more joy in other things this year.  Therefore, I wanted to share something I have enjoyed during 2018 and have for several years, cigars.

I do manage to smoke a fair number of cigars during the year and have an extensive collection aging for future enjoyment.  Similar to my pipes and tobaccos, cigars have their own place in my heart and can offer pure moments of relaxation and bliss to the seasoned aficionado.  This year, my favorite cigar was unquestionably the Cohiba Behike 54.  I know, those of you who are knowledgeable about cigars are complaining that this cigar is not a mass market/readily available smoke. Even in countries that legally sell Cuban cigars, the Cohiba Behike line is a difficult and expensive find.  I managed to pick a box of these glory sticks up (they come in boxes of 10) in 2010 before the mass market hiatus began.  Delivering a sweet, creamy, smooth smoke with tastes of light grass/hay, nougat, vanilla, and fresh coffee this cigar is a true masterpiece.  I understand why they cannot be found in stock and when they are, the price tag is extraordinary.  If you are ever afforded the opportunity to smoke a Cohiba Behike do not pass it up. These cigars truly are special.

Father Time Picture

Thanks again for taking the time to stop by The Pipe Professor webpage.  Stay tuned for my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2018 in the coming weeks along with the mystery tobacco review for December 2018.  As always, cheers to a happy and successful 2019!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

Recap of My First Pipe Show

In August of this year, I wrote about preparing for my first pipe show and explained both my excitement and worry regarding what to expect.  Although two months have passed since my trip, I would still like to take a moment to recap and share my experience with each of you.

Show Recap #1

The North American Society of Pipe Collectors (NASPC) hosts their annual Pipe and Tobacco trade show exposition each year in Dublin, Ohio.  Although I have been a member of the NASPC for several years, my schedule has never allowed me to attend one of their trade shows until this year.  I have read and viewed many other fellow pipe smoker’s pipe show experiences, however, wanted to see what all the excitement was about for myself.  In fact, I would like to revisit the original four questions/concerns I posed in my last post and also address some other things I learned during my excursion.

Show Recap #2

I can now state that one of the many joys of a pipe show is the viewing, selling, and trading of pipes, tobaccos, and pipe smoking related materials.  As I had only minor intentions of selling any pipes from my own collection, and figured I would more than likely purchase at least one pipe at the show, I was unsure as to how many pipes I should take with me to the expo. In fact, the question I posed in my original post was “How many pipes should I take with me?”  I ended up taking eight pipes to the show and believe it or not, did not purchase any pipes while at the show.  No doubt, there were several that called my name.  However, at the end of the day, I was more interested in the aged and rare tobaccos I was finding.  Understanding that I only participated in the show on Saturday (I showed up too late on Friday night and had hotel room issues-this is an entirely different story), eight pipes proved to be too many for my show smoking experience.  In fact, I probably could have done with just four pipes for the one day.

Show Recap #7

I will do a separate post in the future, here at, to discuss what I use to travel with my pipes, along with my everyday pipe and tobacco carry.

My next question had to do with tobacco.  Obviously, I knew there would be tobacco for sale at the show, but was unsure as to “How much tobacco should I bring with me?” What truly prompted this question is my uncertainty as to how much time I would be viewing vendors and items vs how much time I would be smoking and conversing with other pipe enthusiast.  I ended up packing 12 different tobaccos to smoke and share, one of which being a tin of Butera’s Dark Stoved from 1998. At this time, let me go on record by saying this was too many tobaccos for a single day.  Admittingly, I smoked more of the tobacco I purchased at the show than those I brought with me.  There is certainly a greater excitement of opening an aged, rare tin of tobacco purchased at the show than smoking tobacco I have access to at my home.

Show Recap #5

One of the rare, aged tins I am referring to is McClelland’s Anniversary from September 2001. I was able to acquire two 100g tins of this blend for $35 a piece.  Even better than the steal of a price on this aged and out of production brand was the opportunity to share the tobacco with a long time YouTube/innerweb friend, Mr. Brian Doran.  In case you are unaware, Brian Doran is an outstanding pipe maker from West Virginia who is well known in the You Tube Pipe Community (YTPC) for his tobacco and bourbon reviews (his YouTube handle is Beans316).  I have passed messages with Brian for several years and was finally able to meet up with him at this year’s show.  It goes without saying that Brian is truly a stand-up individual and I am happy to call him a friend.  Together, we cracked open the 17-year-old McClelland blend and enjoyed it with another new-found friend, Jim (you can find out more about Jim by watching Brian’s YouTube video here.)  Jim is another outstanding pipe smoker and I’m glad I was able to meet him.

Show Recap #4

Again, I did have a few pipes I was looking to part ways with but did not solely go to the pipe show with the intent of selling these pipes.  In fact, the third question I asked in my previous post was “If I have pipes I want to sell or trade can I do so?” Without a doubt the answer to this question is yes.  Although I could have spent part of my day haggling with pipe retailers at various tables, I much preferred to browse and socialize with others pipe enthusiast than make a few bucks.  In fact, if you intend to sell some pipes at a show I would advise you to either a.) purchase a vendor table and sell outright to the attendees, or b.) line up a buyer or interested party before the event who you could sell to in person while attending the show.

My final question was one that I was the most uncertain of as I prepared for the trip “How do you determine a budget for the show?”  Somewhere along the line someone shared the valuable knowledge with me to only taking the exact amount of cash (my budget) with me to the show.  Well, this is the precise advice I followed and the exact advice I pass on to anyone preparing to attend a pipe show.  Knowing from personal experience the real and true struggles of Pipe Acquisition Disorder (PAD) and Tobacco Acquisition Disorder (TAD), setting a budget through the use of a predetermined amount of cash is a very helpful PAD and TAD defense mechanism.  If fact, as I stated earlier, I ended up not purchasing a pipe at the show due to my indecisive nature and exploratory thinking of “what if I spend all my cash and find something else I really love?”  This mantra helped to keep my impulse buying under control, thus, allowing for my focus to remain of rare tobaccos and interesting pipe smoking paraphernalia.  The picture below shows my entire haul from the show.

Show Recap #6

Keen observers will note the almost exclusive lot of McClelland tobacco as their product lines are no longer in production and finding the blends at reasonable prices is becoming more and more difficult.  I also picked up a tin of the NASPC 2018 Dragon Weed.  Each year the NASPC creates an exclusive yearly blend with a theme that spotlights the famous Lord of the Rings stories.  This year’s blend was created and produced by G.L. Pease and according to the tin description has a ‘mysterious make-up’.  We will have to wait a few years to find out if this was a good purchase or not as I do not plan to open and sample the tobacco immediately.

I also made it a point to search out and find a copy of the late Bill Unger’s Individual as a Trumbprint: The Custom-Bilt Pipe Story which is an in-depth overview detailing the history of the Custom-Bilt pipe brand. I have been in search of this book for some time and was able to easily locate it at this year’s show for only $20.  Lastly, the Scandinavian Tobacco Group was handing out free metal pipe stands and Czech tools.  I found this to be very kind and was able to pick up a couple of each.

Show Recap #3

There you have it.  My first pipe show summed up in less than 1500 words.  All in all, I had an excellent time and will certainly be making this show a yearly event. In fact, I am already beginning to weigh the options of traveling to a few more shows within driving range in the upcoming year.  The people, pipes, tobacco, and camaraderie are well worth it and for those who have never attended a show I highly recommend you give it a shot.  If you have been to a show in recent years, or have experiences similar (or different) to mine, feel free to leave a comment below.  Your opinions and insights are always valued and welcomed here at

Until next time, cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature


A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

Preparing for My First Pipe Show

One week from today I will be doing something I have never done before as a pipe smoking enthusiast.  If you guessed attend a pipe show, you would be correct.  I will be attending the North American Society of Pipe Collectors (NASPC) annual pipe show in Dublin, Ohio next weekend, and yes, it will indeed be my first pipe show experience (que audience gasps).


I have been a member of the NASPC for over 5 years now and enjoy reading and contributing to their bi-monthly newsletter entitled The Pipe Collector.  In fact, in my humble opinion, it is the closest current publication to the long-lost Pipe Smoker’s Ephemeris.  This timeless publication, produced by the late Tom Dunn, was a quarterly print that allowed members of the world-wide snail mail pipe club to contribute pipe and tobacco related material for publication in a newsletter.  Several of these quarterly newsletters were hundreds of pages long and can still be found for sale on eBay and other collector websites.  As stated early, much of the content in the Pipe Smoker’s Ephemeris newsletters was valuable information and stories regarding pipe smoking from a generation of individuals who lived the true pipe smoking lifestyle. Nevertheless, if you have not heard of, or are not a member of, the NASPC you are certainly missing out.  And with membership dues being only $10 per year (this gives you electronic access to The Pipe Collector newsletter) you can’t beat the value this offer holds.  For more information on the NASPC and membership options visit their webpage at:

Over the years, I’ve read and followed several other pipe smokers and their attendance to the various pipe and tobacciana shows around the world.  Each story of these tobacco and pipe related excursions has done nothing but peak my interest and innermost desire for adventure to what I can only imagine as a Heaven on Earth encounter.  However, I must admit that my mind is running ramped with questions and concerns in preparation for my first every pipe show trip.  Therefore, I feel the best way to focus my thoughts and concerns is through sharing them with you.  Any insight and/or advice from those of you who have participated in a pipe show is very much welcomed and appreciated.  The following are some of my concerns for the upcoming weekend.

Q:  How many pipes should I take with me?

Pipe Collection Pic

For some people this may seem like a simple problem with a simple solution.  However, my mind continues to over analyze and question itself. To narrow the question even further, how many pipes should I carry on my persons during/at the show?  As far as I know, smoking is indeed allowed at the show and I guarantee I will want to partake with other brothers of the briar. So, how many pipes should I take and how many should I carry while at the actual show?

Q:  How much tobacco should I bring with me?

Pipe Tobacco Collection Pic

Again, for some of the more veteran show goers, this may seem to be a simple question, but remember, I’m a newbie at this.  I have several pipe pouches I intended to fill with my favorite blends, but should I also dig into the depths of my cellar to bring some unopened aged tobaccos? Is it weird to carry around a bag with unopened tins of rare tobaccos to share with others?  I’m assuming there will be tobacco vendors on-site selling a wide variety of hand crafted blends, but should I still bring my own and if so, how much?

Q:  If I have pipes I want to sell or trade can I do so?

Pipe Show Picture

There are indeed a few pipes I am looking to part ways with.  Although I typically put pipes I am ready to relinquish on eBay for auction, would it be frowned upon if I took them to sell or trade?  Further, how do I go about doing so?  Are vendors open to trade or are they only looking to sell the pipes they have for cash?  How do you know if they are open to buying or trading?

Q:  How do you determine a budget for the show?

Money Pic

Yes, I have already found quite a bit of advice related to pipe show budgeting such as only using cash (this will help you stay within your budget range and once you’re out of money you can’t buy anything else).  However, what should this amount really be?  I reflect on my current collection and think “do I reallyneed another pipe?” and the answer is no. But this is my first pipe show and I would really like to get at least one pipe to mark the occasion.  Also, can I expect to get a better deal on pipes for sale at the show or is it the same deals I find online, I just get to look and feel the pipe before purchasing?

Please know these four questions are only a fraction of the conversation in my mind but I want to ensure this is a memorable experience and that I don’t look/act like a complete moron at the show. No matter what, I will be surrounded by other people who enjoy the hobby of pipes and tobaccos just as much as myself and that has to count for something.

If you plan on attending the upcoming NASPC show send me a message through this webpage or via email and maybe we could meet up to share a bowl.  I will certainly report back with pictures and stories in the upcoming weeks and look forward to sharing my first pipe show experience with all of you.  Until then, be well.


Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

Pipes and Paintings

I’ve always had a very keen interest in art, especially paintings.  With my personal artistic background focusing more on the music discipline rather than a visual art specialty, I have always envied those that have the natural ability to paint, draw, and sculpt.  No secret here, I can’t draw or paint…  However, this does not negatively influence my love and appreciation for great art, more specifically, historical works from centuries past.  And for me, there is no better way to take the time for analysis and appreciate of a historical masterpiece than with a great pipe and tobacco.  I love intentionally planning moments to examine fine masterpieces of the past and do so by letting my imagination drift in tandem to the artist’s brush strokes, all the while, accompanying my imaginative playground with the wonderfully aromatic clouds of smoke as they drift into the heavens above.  Essentially, that is what this segment, Pipes and Paintings, will focus on.  My annotations, stories, questions, and thoughts related to paintings and artworks of days gone by.  I hope you enjoy, as I share a small part of my imagination and love, for both pipes and paintings, with those of you willing to adventure into the vast mind of a fellow pipe smoker.

Smokers in a Turkish Coffee House

Painting by: Joseph Nash (1809 – 1878)

Smokers in a Turkish Coffee House Open

I always love people in paintings.  When done well, each carries their own unique personality and identity that either helps or hinders the story being communicated. Smokers in a Turkish Coffee Houseis a prime example of how an artist can utilize facial expressions and focus to communicate a story.  Before we go any further into facial communications of the artwork I must point out the monkey in the room.  What am I referring to you may ask?  Obviously, it’s the oversized churchwarden pipe held by the gentleman wearing the dark clothing in the front right portion of the painting.

Smokers in a Turkish Coffee House Pic 1

I mean, my lord! There are several questions as to the actual functionality of that smoking implement.  First, how the hell does one light a pipe that large (assholes are saying, “with a match”)?  I understand that practice used to be one of the owners/proprietors of the establishment typically would keep a customer’s pipe lit throughout their visit.  But what if this individual was busy and your pipe continued to go out?  Or, what if this extraordinarily long tavern churchwarden pipe belongs to the gentleman in the dark clothing…. how would he light it at home?  Further, what type of draw do you think the pipe has?  Cigar aficionado’s love to boast about the tight draws that most Cuban cigars have.  Well, let me chime in a moment, Havana lovers.  You haven’t experienced a tight draw until you have smoked the above pictured behemoth of a pipe.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the story being communicated by the characters in the painting.

Several expressions indicate that whatever the gentleman (red circle) is saying, or has said, is not liked by the ‘regulars’ (blue circles).

Smokers in a Turkish Coffee House Pic 2

I use the adjective ‘regulars’ as both the grouping of individuals in the full-scale work, and the use of a hookah, indicates to me these people are friends or acquaintances. Further, the positioning and lighter colors/shades of the messenger (man with a red circle) indirectly confirm his status to be an outsider.  Quite possibly, the men are discussing politics?  Maybe the guest gentleman (red circle) has come in and made comments about an ugly female tavern winch he encountered earlier in the day.  It just so happens, the winch in which he is detailing is the wife of the white turban hookah smoker in the front.  I image the conversation to be as follows:

Red Circle Man: “Wow gentlemen!  Have I had a most unusual experience with the most absolutely horrifying woman I’ve ever encountered.  I mean, seriously fellas, telling this lady she was ugly would be a compliment.”

The gentleman’s comments draw some chuckles from individuals around the room.  Some of the patrons continue minding their own business and conversations while a few have now turned their attention to the newcomer. 

Long Churchwarden fellow: “I beg, who is this you speak of and where did you meet her?  I can assure you, not one of us wishes to fall ill to this terrifying woman you describe.”

Turning his body to address not only the individual who asked the question, but the entire room, the foreigner continues his tale through the wafting clouds of aromatic smoke filling the room.  Now with several individuals paying attention the man speaks in a louder and fuller voice.

Red Circle Man: “Ah, yes!  I will gladly disclose my encounter to you as I would not wish this beast of a creature on the worst of my enemies.”

He takes a long draw from his tavern churchwarden before continuing.

Red Circle Man: “You see friend, I am currently lodging at the Iron Rose Inn, however, found myself at the Pewter Pot Tavern last evening for a drink and possible a turn at the dice tables.  Aside from a good pipe and tobacco, I’ve always found pleasure from a hearty ale and a small amount of gambling.  But woe to me, as upon calling to the bar maid I was greeted by a swine of a human being.”

Blue Circle Man Wearing a Black Turban: “Tell us, was it a bear of a man?  Grizzly and unkept in nature?  That is Pots, the owner of the establishment.”

Red Circle Man: “To my regret no.  Although I do recall seeing the gentleman you are describing, the individual I am speaking of was a woman and would have benefited from such a description as the one you have giving.”

As more heads have now turned to listen to the visitor’s story, the tavern foreigner gains an air of confidence in himself and his tale, being the focus of attention to most patrons. 

Red Circle Man: “My friend, what I tell you next is but a nightmare to say the least.  The woman turned and asked what I’d be having, and I surely shrieked aloud in her face. The sight of such a ghastly individual I’ve yet to encounter in all my journeys.  Her eyes were but remanences of a dark endless well.  Her nose and mouth looked as if to had been flattened by a forty-ton ship. And her hair!  My, my, that unkept, greasy heap of string would have made even Medusa look as though she were but a spring of beauty to be had.”   

Blue Circle White Turban Man Holding the Hookah Handle: “Pray, do tell me, what did you say the color of her hair was?”

Red Circle Man: “Ah yes!  I do understand that you too want to make sure you never have to see such a hideous sight as I.  Why, it was red. As the fires of the devil himself.”

There is a slight pause as the visitor laughs aloud not sensing the awkward silence that has befell the room, accompanied by stares of shock and concern. 

Blue Circle White Turban Man Holding the Hookah Handle: “I beg your pardon ‘friend’ but that would be my wife you are describing.”

This is where the painting displayed above picks up the story.  The stranger is now turning to address the angry gentleman and his friends, while onlookers wait to see how the situation resolves.  You may be wondering how I came to know the story from a single capture of time in ink?  Well, there are several other facial expressions and clues that confirm the truth behind my prediction.  Let me explain.  There are two other expressions that can be disseminated from the painting that help provide evidence to the accusation that the visitor has insulted the hookah smoking gentleman. These expressions are symbolized through worry (yellow) and joy (green).

Smokers in a Turkish Coffee House Pic 3

As we see in the snapshot above, the gentleman identified by the yellow circle is likely the proprietor of the coffee house.  Although he has been tending to guest and working hard to meet their demands, he has also monitored the conversation taking place (eavesdropping).  As soon as the gentleman in the white turban, who is smoking the hookah, announces to the visitor (man with the red circle) that he is aggressively insulting his wife, the owner turns his attention to the gentleman displaying a look of panic and concern.  What possibly could the proprietor be thinking?  Maybe, “Oh no, please don’t fight”or “I hope this resolves better than last time”or “Ouch, Gustav will not be easy to calm after those comments.”  No matter the circumstance, his job from this point on will be to keep the shop calm, ensuring a scuffle does not occur disrupting the relaxing smoking pleasure of other guests.

Smokers in a Turkish Coffee House Pic 4

Now, there is not all doom and gloom to come from the story.  Last, and certainly not least, we see the green circle individuals, most of whom are young children/youth.  Keen observers will note their expressions to be happy and almost playful in a manner. Why, we may ask?  When reflecting back to my own childhood and youth, if I were to be a spectator of such a scene, through my immaturity and youthfulness, I too most certainly would have found the scenario to be funny.  In all honesty, the male child standing next to the visitor is probably an employee of the smoke/coffee shop who is looked down upon and mistreated on a regular basis from the clientele.  For him to experience such a scene would certainly make his day better.

Further, I assume the two young girls in the lower right corner of the painting are the daughters of one or two of the patrons.  As they mindlessly wait in boredom for their father(s) to enjoy smoke and small talk with other men in the shop, they become very amused with the insults being disclosed by the visitor.  For them, this is drama at its best.

In reality, I have no on earthly idea what the artist, Joseph Nash, was attempting to display in this work.  Although this is one of the stories my mind likes to tell, it may be nowhere near the original intention of the artist.  This is one of the beauties of art, especially historic paintings with people in them.  We get to create a story, therefore, allowing our mind to become a piece of the art. And there is no better way to do so than while smoking a treasured pipe with an exceptional tobacco.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

Happy Father’s Day

What does it mean to be a father?  Depending on which era or generation this question is posed, we would certainly find significant variations of responses.  I have always loved the image of a middle-aged male coming home from work, dressed in suit and tie, welcomed by a well-groomed house wife (typically adoring an apron of sorts), happy child, and obedient family pet.  All excited that the ‘man of the house’ has returned from a hard day’s work.

oldpipe Father's Day

As this story plays out in my mind, the husband is greeted at the door by his loving wife, who takes his gloves, hat, and overcoat, while handing him the afternoon paper for his reading prior to dinner being served.  The gracious husband and father returns his wife’s greeting with a quick smooch and confidently retreats to his most comfortable chair to enjoy an early afternoon pre-dinner pipe while reading today’s local newspaper.  After picking up his favorite, well-loved Dr. Grabow pipe, and loading a bowl of his favorite OTC blend (Granger or Sir Walter Raleigh) the father sits as his son approaches stating, “Here dad, let me light that for you.”  The father graciously allows his son to provide the first match charring light while inquiring as to what he learned in school that day.

Knowingly or not, this is one of the many crucial lessons the father is unintentionally teaching his son in the scenario above.  No, it’s not that smoking is bad and anyone who does it is a terrible and dirty individual who is sure to be damned to hell.  Actually, it is very much the opposite, in that conversation, reading, and relaxation are all good practices and very much necessary in order to live a successful, fulfilling life.

Pipe Smoking Dad

Home Sweet Home, by J.C. Leyendecker. Detail from The American Weekly – June 15, 1947 (retrieved from Eric Boehm’s Facebook account).

Obviously, the picture and scenario above represent a time from previous generations.  However, the conversation, bond, love, and respect for dad was evident with the outcome being a family that worked together and depended on one another in order to live a happy, successful life.

It could easily be argued that this interaction and loyalty have been overshadowed, and for the most part lost, due to our current fast paced, greedy, self-fulfilling society.  The now obstructed and overemphasized view of equality, rights, and free-speech have given way to the ‘new family’ where most of the values learned in the scenario above, have evaporated like ice in the dessert, or are no longer considered priorities at all due to political correctness (whatever the hell that is…).

For me, I am both blessed and grateful to have a loving family where we still value each other through conversation, relaxation, reading, and the enjoyment of various hobbies (such as board games).  It is well known by my amazing wife and kids how much I enjoy smoking a pipe and reading a multitude of literary genres.  Therefore, I must admit I was completely shocked when I was gifted a new pipe for Father’s Day this year.  Because of our interaction and frequent conversations with one another, my wife was very ‘in tune’ to a specific pipe brand/model I had been stalking lately.  To my surprise, and delight, my kiddos gifted me (at my wife’s discretion) a brand-new Stanwell Hans Christian Andersen pipe today.

Stanwell 1

Stanwell 2

I mean, wow, what an amazing gift!  This only confirms that I am blessed and appreciated by those around me who I value above anything else.  Further, this pipe now holds a special place in my collection and heart.  Even if it proves to be a terrible smoker, which I am betting it’s not, there is no way I would ever sell or trade this beautiful trinket.  In fact, I hope that one day after I’m long gone, one of my own sons will look back at the pipe and remember the joy and happiness it brought me on this Father’s Day. Although it’s not one of my own children lighting a match to provide my first charring light (as seen above), I hope my kids have been able to witness, both today and in the future, the many joys this pipe and others in my collection have brought me.  Further, the most valuable lesson to be had is that of making time for relaxation, conversation, and family.  By far, these are the keys to being successful in this overopinionated, fast-paced world.

To all the father’s reading this, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Father’s Day.  May your day be filled with pipe smoke, food, family, and libations to celebrate your amazing role as dad.


Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

Presbyterian Mixture

Presbyterian Mixture Picture

Recently, a batch of Presbyterian Mixture hit the online markets after a long-standing drought.  Similar to other hard-to-find tobaccos, within a matter of days, the availability of this tobacco was no more.  We are once again forced to stare at the dreaded Out of Stockmessage that fills our spirts with hope that one day, we may again have the opportunity to aggressively purchase more tins of this ‘rare’ tobacco than we will ever need or consume.

In all honesty, I feel I had ample time to purchase more tins of Presbyterian Mixture, however, wanted to make sure I enjoyed it enough before doing so (I know…logic actually prevailed, shocking isn’t it).  Thus, a deep dive into the farthest corners of my tobacco cellar rewarded my daring excursion with a tin of Presbyterian Mixture from 2016.  With a few years of age, my interests were even further piqued and now it was time to see what all the hustle was about.

Info & Overview

Brand: Planta

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon/Course

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $10.00 USD


On to the review…


From the Tin: Initial nose on the tin proved the blend to contain Latakia.  Smokey campfire accompanied by natural dark fruit and woodsy walnut notes dominated the smell from the tin.  The tobacco was almost spot on in the moisture department only requiring 10 minutes of air time to dry.  Overall, the tobacco mixture is medium dark with light Virginia flakes interspersed throughout.

Tasting Notes: Unless you are a pipe and tobacco enthusiast that’s been living under some rock the past 10 years, you will note the great debate of whether or not the blend actually contains any Perique, even though it is not listed in the blend components.  After smoking several bowls of Presbyterian Mixture, I would have a hard time defending the argument that it doesn’t contain Perique.  In fact, I would almost certainly bet there is a reasonable amount of Perique in this blend.  Throughout each smoking experience I was greeted by a hefty dose of spice and pepper.  Certainly, a characteristic of Perique.  In most cases when the spicy pepper appeared it was not balanced well with the other components/tastes which was somewhat shocking to me as the tin had already accumulated 2 years of age.  I noted tastes of burnt toast, nutmeg, and dry wood while smoking and the room note was remanence of an antique sweet perfumed fragrance.  The tobacco burned well and was medium bodied throughout.  Strength of the tobacco was also a straight forward medium proving to not be overpowering in the nicotine department.  The tobacco burned down to a nice white ash each time leaving little to no dottle remaining in the bowl.

Overall Impression: It may be hard to believe based upon the tasting notes above, however, Presbyterian Mixture was just ‘ok’ in my opinion.  I experienced nothing that would cause me to speak negatively of this tobacco, but on the flip side, the ‘wow’ factor was also far from present.  I am sure there are lots of pipe smokers who enjoy this medium English blend, but for me, it’s nothing to jump up and down about. In fact, based upon my smoking experience with this cellared tin, I chose not to purchase any additional tins while still available.  If you enjoy an exclusive, medium Latakia forward smoke, pick a few tins up next time it becomes available.  For me, I think I will pass on the Presbyterian.

Tobacco Score:

3 Pipes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Cigar Review

H. Upmann Sir Winston

HUpmann Sir Winston Header

I’m not going to lie.  It was only after delving into this month’s issue of cigar aficionado, which features the iconic Sir Winston Churchill, that I even considered revisiting a box of H. Upmann Sir Winston’s that had been peacefully aging away in one of my humidors.  Although not the actual cigar Sir Winston himself smoked, (that is said to be Romeo e Julieta Churchills) Habanos SA crafted the Sir Winston in the H.Upmann marque to celebrate and commemorate Britain’s cigar smoking iron giant.

The box I currently own displays the box code TLR SEP 08, which means the cigars were rolled in September of 2008, roughly 10 years ago.  Let me go on record ending the debate of whether aged cigars are truly better than freshly rolled sticks…the answer is a resounding YES!  If you have the time, patience, and money to store away some great cigars, specifically Cuban cigars, you will not be disappointed by your investment.  Let’s see how these 10-year-old Sir Winston’s are progressing.


On to the review….


H. Upmann Sir Winston Attributes

Size: Churchill

Length: 7

Ring Gauge: 47

Wrapper: Cuba

Binder: Cuba

Filler: Cuba

Country: Cuba

Price: $31.00 USD ea.

HUpmann Sir Winston #8

Pre-light Inspection: The smooth medium brown wrapper on this cigar had an almost redish Rosado hue. The triple seam cap was semi-sloppy and the pre-light smell showed characteristics of a rich velvety chocolate and raspberry.  No soft spots were detected and the cold draw was extremely tight showing notes of straw/hay with a creamy finish.

Tasting Notes and Performance:  Hands down, the H.Upmann Sir Winston performed like an all-star.  Although the draw was a bit firmer than I typically prefer, the cigar burned and smoked very well.  Cigar was mild in strength and medium in body throughout most of the smoking experience.  Cigar tastes included a salty soft caramel start that transitioned to cinnamon, brown sugar, buttery characteristics, and ended with creamy, bready, cedar notes. The room note reminded me of a freshly rising yeasty bread with the cigar producing a lot of thin white smoke. Very much an interesting and rewarding smoking experience.

Overall Impressions: The wait has definitely yielded reward with the H. Upmann Sir Winston.  With a little over half a box remaining, I am certainly looking forward to smoking my remaining stock in the very near future.  Although I am a firm believer that cigars do improve with age, similar to wine, there is a window where cigars peak, and if not smoked, begin to lose flavor.  The current 2008 stock are performing unbelievably amazing at the moment, offering any cigar smoker the pleasure and enjoyment we search for each smoking experience.  In my opinion, if you’ve got ‘em, smoke ‘em.

Cigar score:

5 Cigar Boxes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

Dunhill Nightcap

Dunhill Nightcap Pic

In February of this year, I reviewed Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture and discussed the unfortunate circumstance of Dunhill pipe tobacco coming to an end.  Currently, Dunhill blends are available at several online and B&M retailers, however, nobody truly knows how long the current stock will last.  I have heard opposing rumors from both ends of the spectrum regarding Dunhill pipe tobaccos.  *WARNING RUMOR ALERT*  Rumor #1, once the online and local B&M retailers run out of stock, it will not be replaced.  Rumor #2, there are warehouses full of Dunhill tobaccos that will last for at least another year, if not more.

No matter what the case may be, I think we all learned our lesson with McClelland.  If you like it, stock up!  I hope to smoke and review my way through most of the Dunhill portfolio before the end of the year, thus, giving you, the reader, a full analysis of the various blends before you decide to buy and/or stock-up for your own enjoyment.

Info & Overview

Brand: Dunhill

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $12.45 USD

Tin Date: October 2017

On to the review…

From the Tin: The tobacco is beautifully packed and is comprised of a mix between dark latakia tobacco, dark chestnut Orientals, and medium brown Virginias.  Tin smell is an overwhelming campfire smokiness with minor hints of a dark fruit sweetness.  Moister level is almost perfect straight out of the tin, requiring minimal, if any, drying time.

Tasting Notes: Dunhill nightcap is a completely full-body, full-flavor smoking experience…period. The tobacco burns great and provides a thick white smoke whose aromatic characteristic would be classified by most non-smokers as offensive.  Tastes included essences of damp forest floor, smoked meats, burnt/charred wood, and rich black coffee.  The vitamin N was certainly noticeable which required me to slow my smoking cadence and enjoy the bold profile this tobacco possessed.  Even when I did test the waters by smoking the blend hot and fast, it never gave me tongue bite or dried my palate.

Overall Impression: First and foremost, I would not recommend this tobacco to a novice pipe smoker, even if they are transitioning from other tobacco usage methods.  Further, I would recommend smoking Dunhill Nightcap on a full stomach, as the nicotine level is most evident.  This tobacco is certainly something special and should be treated accordingly. I very much enjoyed smoking through several bowls of this blend and highly recommend it to pipe smokers who love a full-bodied English blend.  Although Latakia is said to mellow from aging, I am certain this blend will only get better with time.  You can bet I will be stocking my cellar with Dunhill Nightcap for enjoyment in the very near future.

Tobacco Score:

5 Pipes

My parting thoughts on this blend are nothing but positive.  Without a doubt, Dunhill pipe tobaccos are something special (at least to me) and Dunhill Nightcap upholds my expectations for providing a most enjoyable smoking experience.  If you are a lover of latakia or strong, full-bodied tobaccos, this blend is a must try. Further, if you are one of the many tobacco coinsurers that are transitioning from cigars to pipe tobacco, this blend may be for you.  Pick a tin or two up and enjoy the gifts we have been given before it is gone.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature