A Study in OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouches 

The Introduction & Pouch #1: Sir Walter Raleigh Original

A few weeks ago, I came across a sale on the Pipes & Cigars website for pouch tobaccos.  As I looked through the prices on the pouch tobaccos, I began to wonder why I had never actually tried any of the staple Over the Counter (OTC) pipe tobacco pouch blends during my pipe smoking tenure.  After lighting a bowl of something not OTC, I reminisced on the fact that I started pipe smoking with my local tobacconist blends (Schwab’s Pipes N Stuff Ideal and Big Blue Blend) and immediately moved into Cornell & Diehl blends, Dunhill EMP, McClelland Frog Morton Series, and at the time Tewksbury’s Hobbits Weed (Rest in Peace).  

I concluded that my pipe smoking journey had completely by-passed where a lot of pipe smokers start the hobby.My thinking further reasoned that many of these blends are highly revered and have stood the test of time, some for a century or more.  If folks have been enjoying these blends for that long, maybe I really am missing out on something spectacular.  I knew I couldn’t just let the opportunity pass without at least trying some of the blends, so, after moving through another bowl or two, I decided to place a large order with P&C and catch up on the pouches I have missed out on during my pipe smoking journey. 

 

So, where to begin?  In all fairness, I decided to put all the pouches (plus some others I already had in my cellar, unopened) in a large bag and do a random pull to begin smoking my way through each to see what these infamous OTC blends all are about.  I detailed the process for this little experiment on my YouTube channel with a video called Introduction to A Study in OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouches.  You can view the video here or I will quickly review the process and guidelines below.

Guidelines to the Study

  1. Pouches will be reviewed in a random order, one per week, until all pouches have been sampled.
  2. Each tobacco will be smoked a minimum of four times; once in an unfiltered Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman Corn Cob pipe, once in a Missouri Meerschaum Pride filtered Corn Cob pipe, once in an unfiltered Huck Finn Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob pipe, and once in a Ropp Superior paneled briar pipe.
  3. I will capture my initial impressions for each tobacco in video format on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel and provide my final assessment here on The Pipe Professor webpage after smoking the blend a minimum of four times throughout the week in the various pipes.  
  4. As I smoke through each blend, I will place them in rank order, updated with each review here on the webpage.  Blends will move up and down the list until I have smoked through all the OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch blends.  
  5. Similar to other pipe tobacco reviews, I will rate each blend using the Five Pipes scoring rubric.  

Without further ado, let’s jump in to our first OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch, Sir Walter Raleigh Original.

Sir Walter Raleigh Original

Let’s be honest, if you are a pipe smoker or have ever smoked a pipe, you have more than likely heard of Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco.  I was excited that this pouch was the first random draw to come out of my bag.  Supposedly having been around since 1927, this name and tobacco blend is easily a staple in our timeless hobby.  With a blend that has survived almost a full century, I was eager to experience the successes that have carried this blend forward for 91 years.  Similar to other pipe tobacco enthusiast, I headed to the Tobacco Reviews webpage to read the description and find out more about the tobacco.  From the Tobacco Reviews website:

“An aromatic burley blend with hints of cocoa and Oriental spice, the Sir Walter Raleigh regular mixture has been a popular favorite of countless smokers for generations. A traditional blend of burley tobaccos made in Kentucky.

This description sounds wonderful and lovely making me want to jump right into smoking.  Before doing so, let’s take a look at the blend breakdown.

Info & Overview

Brand/Manufacturer: Sir Walter Raleigh/Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) 

Category: Aromatic Burley

Blend Components: Burley

Flavorings: Anisette and Sweet Sugar

Cut Type: Course Cut

Available Packaging: 1.5 oz pouch/7 oz can/14 oz can

Price: $4.62 USD per pouch/$20.04 per 7oz can/$38.18 per 14 oz can

On to the review…

(Sir Walter Raleigh Pipe Tobacco First Impressions YouTube video can be found here)

From the Pouch: Upon opening the seal I am met with a very rich, pleasant tobacco smell, similar to Red Man or Levi Garret chewing tobacco with prominent notes of chocolate.  The tobacco color consists of dark browns and the cut was more shag than course in my opinion.  Moisture content out of the pouch was perfect, however, I did find a few stems that needed to be removed before packing and smoking.      

Smoking Notes: The tobacco was easy to pack and light.  In fact, the burn and performance of the tobacco was not bad at all.  I had no problem keeping each bowl lit and the tobacco burned at a nice pace.  The strength of the tobacco was mild and the body was an overall mild + (almost medium bodied).  The major problem with this tobacco is the taste and aroma.  They are both non-existent.  I ended up smoking a total of six bowls of Sir Walter Raleigh Original (four in the cobs and two in the briar).  Not one single smoking experience provided me with any flavor.  Truly, not once did I get any tastes good or bad from this smoke.  It was just….there.  The room note at times did hint toward a chocolate essence, however, I’m honestly not sure if that was real or my mind hoping for it.  Granted, it is important for a tobacco to perform well in the bowl, however, I smoke to enjoy great tastes and smells in from my pipes and tobaccos.  I got neither from this blend.  

Overall Impression: 91 years of blandness.  Maybe I missed something, but I never got anything from this blend….nothing!  Flavor was non-existent, at times the room note hinted at a coco chocolate but rarely developed, and the strength of the tobacco was very mild.  The tobacco did burn well and stayed lit easily, so that is one positive.  If I am going to spend money on tobacco and put forth the time and effort of enjoying a pipe, it will not be on Sir Walter Raleigh Original pipe tobacco.  This will easily be my first and only pouch of this tobacco.  91 years this blend has survived!  Wow, my mind is blown on why and how.        

Tobacco Score: (2 out of 5 pipes)

Stay tuned as we study a different OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch next week. Until then don’t forget to slow down, simplify, and sip on a pipe. Cheers!

Current Order of OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch Enjoyment 

  1. Sir Walter Raleigh (it’s the only one I’ve smoked thus far and won’t be here long, guaranteed!)

Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro

Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro   

Happy 2021!  I am excited that the first cigar I am blessed to smoke and review this year is the Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro No.50.  I purchased a 10-count box of these cigars back in 2015 and yes, am just now opening them for enjoyment.  Before getting to the review, lets discuss a little about this cigar and its significance in the Padron portfolio.  

In celebration of their 50th year in the cigar production business, the Padron family chose to celebrate the milestone with the creation of a regular production cigar line, Family Reserve.  Finding their beginnings in 1964 by patriarch Jose O. Padron, immigrant to the United States from Cuba, the Padron cigar company is currently based in Miami, Florida with crop growth and production occurring in Estelí, Nicaragua.  It goes without saying that Padron cigars started as a family endeavor and continuous as such to this day.  Although 2018 saw the passing of founder Jose O. Padron, the company continues its forward motion and success under Jorge Padron, son of the late Jose O. Padron.  The following are the six lines in the Padron portfolio, all of which encompass various shapes, sizes, and wrapper leaves (natural or maduro).  

  • Padron Series
  • Padron Damaso
  • Padron 1964 Anniversary
  • Padron 1926 Serie
  • Padron Family Reserve
  • Padron 50th Anniversary

For more information of the Padron family story visit their website at: https://padron.com        

On to the review….

Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro Attributes

Size: Robusto

Length: 5  

Ring Gauge: 54

Wrapper: Nicaragua 

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Country: Nicaragua

Price: $25.00 USD ea.; $250 USD 10ct. Box

Pre-light Inspection: The Padron Family Reserve 50-year sports a gorgeous box press, similar to most cigars in the Padron line.  The deep, dark, smooth wrapper leaf has minimal veins and provides an unlit aroma of sweet cocoa and rich earth.  The bands are extravagant and easily accent the specialness of the cigar.  The upper, main band is a deep wine red embossed with gold lettering depicting the Padron name and Family Reserve label.  Underneath the main band we are presented with a number ID band typically of Padron’s 1964 and 1926 lines.  These secondary ID bands help prevent counterfeiting of the cigars and personalize the smoker’s experience with the stick.  The second band is cream colored with gold lettering displaying 50 years.  The cap of the cigar is smooth, round, and well-applied.  The solid roll showed a jam-packed foot with no soft spots detected on the pinch throughout the cigar’s body.  Upon cold, pre-light draw I was presented with an effortless resistance, typical of most Padron cigars.  Cold tastes showed hopeful notes of earth and leather (similar to a new leather belt). 

Tasting Notes and Performance:  Throughout the smoking experience the cigar never required a touch up and the burn was suburb and straight the entire time.  The cigar produced a medium gray ash that showed beautifully stacked, wavy layers.  The tastes I noted throughout were earthy barnyard, dark cocoa powder, black coffee, and a mild pepperiness, all wrapped in a thick, creamy, white smoke.  The cigar was very well balanced in its tasting profile, however, very typical of a Nicaraguan maduro (certainly a Padron cigar).  The cigar provided a full-bodied experience and was medium-full in strength.  It’s easy to understand this is a cigar to be savored, not smoked like a steam engine.  The room aroma was a mix of sweet tobacco and soft yeasty bread.  Total smoking time was 74 minutes.             

Overall Impressions:  I have high expectations cigars that costs $25.00 a piece, and the Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro delivered on this expectation.  With that being said, at this price point, this cigar is certainly not an everyday smoke.  I am pleased with the balance and eloquence the cigar shows and look forward to dipping into the box on special occasions or with friends over dinner and drinks; however, if given the option of spending $250 on another box or putting that cash toward a 25-count box of Cubans, I will stick with the latter.  The only negative point against this cigar is the price.  However, luxury experiences call for a luxury price tags and if you have some extra dough laying around, I can assure you that investing it on a Pardon Family Reserve 50 years will pay you back with an extraordinary smoking experience.  If you have the opportunity to pick one up, do so.  It will be worth your time and money.   

Cigar score: 4 out of 5 boxes

Until next time, stay blessed. Cheers!

Pipe Tobacco Review

Cornell & Diehl Good Morning

In response to the famous Dunhill (now Peterson) Early Morning Pipe, Cornell & Diehl released their own version of EMP at the Chicagoland Pipe Show “several years back” (Tobacco Reviews, 2020).  Blended by Craig Tarler and Bill Runowski, the Good Morning blend is said to be a spot-on match to EMP.  Some of you may have seen my ‘Pop-the-Top’ review of this blend on The Pipe Professor YouTube Channel a few weeks back.  If not, feel free to watch the first impressions review of C&D Good Morning here.  After smoking through ¾ of the tin, I feel I now have enough experience with the blend to give it a fair and just assessment.  So, let’s go ahead and jump right in.      

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl 

Category: English

Blend Components: Virginia, Latakia, Orientals

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $10.41 USD

Tin Date: 05/2020

On to the review…  

From the Tin: Keen observers will note from my original impressions video review, that I had difficulty pinpointing specific descriptive attributes from the tobacco straight out of the tin.  My hope was that as the tobacco had time to air out in the tin, something more would develop; and to my surprise, it did.  After revisiting the blend over the course of a week, the tin note showed characteristics of heavy oak, burnt/charred wood, walnut, and dry hay.  The tobacco is said to be ribbon cut; however, I was able to find chucks of flake tobacco throughout the ribbons.  From the visual perspective, I would argue the blend is heavy on the Virginias when compared to its Latakia and Oriental counterparts.   

Tasting Notes: Being hopeful that the tasting department for the tobacco would experience a similar positive uptick that the tin note did, I smoked C&D Good Morning in four different briar pipes and one cob.  Unfortunately, the taste of the tobacco was overall dry and flat.  As I stated in my YouTube review, the blend is nothing like Dunhill’s EMP.  C&D Good Morning is very much a Virginia forward blend.  In fact, there were several times I questioned if Latakia or Orientals were even present in the blend at all.  The tobacco did show tasting notes of dry grasses, herbs, and smokey/burnt leaves with the overall strength of the blend being mild to medium.  The room note was just “so so” and similar to the taste, reminded me of cigarette smoke, which I’m not a huge fan of.  The tobacco did perform well, burning down to a nice grey/white ash.  Overall, I enjoyed the blend the most in my Missouri Meerschaum Mark Twain as the corncob pipe added a nice supporting sweetness to the tobacco’s tasting profile.   

Overall Impression: You may have guessed it, but this blend is not for me.  When honestly reflecting on everything, I did have preconceived high hopes for the blend as it was supposed to be a Dunhill EMP match. Seeing as EMP is one of my all-time favorite tobacco blends (and I have smoked a lot of it), I can confidently say the current run/production of C&D’s Good Morning, is not even close to an EMP match.  I’m not sure if something has changed with the blend over the years, but I will for sure not be purchasing any more in the future.   

Tobacco Score:

Rating Chart Score Breakdowns can be found here.