When I first smoked a pipe, I started out with aromatic blends. Yet, like many pipe smokers out there, I gradually moved onto English blends, then VaPers, Burley, and so on. Over time, my aromatic blends collected dust in my cellar, and I soon gifted my unused aromatics to newer pipe smokers who would appreciate the blends more than I did. I certainly don’t sneer my nose up at aromatics like some out there, but my tastes naturally changed to more complex blends.
Still, I have a fondness for a good aromatic. After all, most of us probably gained an interest in pipe smoking from smelling a codger blend, so I’m always on the lookout for a pleasing aromatic that I can still enjoy. In my opinion, the best pipe tobacco blends on the market combine a pleasing aroma without sacrificing a good tobacco flavor.
I recently picked up a tin of Sutliff’s Eastfarthing, after hearing some of my online pipe buddies rave about the blend. I decided to give the blend a try, though I didn’t pay much attention to what kind of blend it was until it arrived. I wanted to go into Eastfarthing blind and make up my mind on my own. If I had known it was considered an aromatic, I might not have picked it up.
After Eastfarthing arrived, I read the description printed on the label, which read, “Mature red Virginias, stoved burley & aged Latakia with a hint of sweetness.” Red Virginias? Good. Stoved burley? Excellent, I love burley. Aged Latakia? So it’s an English blend. I’m game. A hint of sweetness? Well, I do have a sweet tooth; so don’t mind if I do.
I popped the tin and went ahead and gave the tobacco a sniff. I could smell the wondrous aroma of vanilla, my favorite kind of aromatic. I knew at least the room note of Eastfarthing would be a winner, if nothing else. However, the tobacco in the tin was quite damp, so I put some out to dry overnight to smoke the next day. If you end up trying Eastfarthing for yourself, I highly recommend letting it dry, or you’re going to have a rough time getting the tobacco lit.
The next day, I loaded up my large Peterson XL14 with the dried Eastfarthing and headed out to my garage to smoke. The tobacco still had a tiny bit of moisture to it, even after being out for 24 hours, but leaving it out made it suitable for smoking. Your drying time my vary depending on your preferred method.
The tobacco lit easily in my pipe, and I sat back and puffed away, paying close attention to how the blend smoked. It didn’t take long for Eastfarthing to convert me into a fan. I could taste the aged Latakia in the smoke, solidifying it as an English blend to my palate. Yet like the description says, there was also a definite sweetness in the mix, making it more of a dessert English blend.
Now, as most pipe smokers quickly learn as they take up the pipe, usually the smoker is immune to the room note of the pipe as they puff. However, as I smoked Eastfarthing, my nostrils detected a distinctive change in the air. I removed my pipe from my mouth and took a long sniff to smell what it was.
Ah, there it is, I thought to myself with a smile as I resumed puffing away. There’s that classic pipe smell I’ve missed.
Folks, Eastfarthing smells exactly as a pipe tobacco should—rich, deep, and earthy. It reminded me of all the times I walked by a pipe smoker in the past before I took up the pipe. As soon as I’d smell that warm aroma, I’d stop in my tracks and look for the source. Sure enough, I’d find a pipe smoker, puffing away without a care in the world. Despite having Latakia in the blend, it doesn’t have that campfire smell that some find off-putting, but you will taste it.
The name Eastfarthing comes from a location in the Lord of the Rings books, and I think it’s an appropriate title. This is the type of tobacco I can see hobbits, dwarves, elves, and men all keeping in their pouches as they travel Middle Earth. I know some pipe smokers say Eastfarthing reminds them of Frog Morton Cellar. I never had the chance to try Cellar, but it reminds me of another LOTR style blend that’s sadly disappeared—Just for Him’s Shortcut to Mushrooms. As much as I liked STM, I’d wager to say I actually like Eastfarthing a bit more. For me, it’s a bit of a richer smoke than what I remember of STM.
Eastfarthing is a complex blend, and Sutliff should be commended for their work. This is a pipe tobacco for absolutely everyone— both the smoker and those around them. The flavor is full of sweet English goodness while still retaining that classic pipe smell that reminds non-smokers of favorite pipe smoking relatives.
So if you’re in the market for a blend that manages to combine the best of an English blend and an aromatic, I highly recommend you take a long holiday to Eastfarthing.
My rating for this blend: 4 out of 4 stars.