Pipe Tobacco Review- Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. – Ennerdale Flake

This is an old review I wrote of Ennerdale Flake for tobaccoreviews.com, back from July of 2015. Since I never posted it to the blog, I decided to bring it over here and keep all my reviews in one convenient spot.

Ennerdale Flake holds a special place in my heart. Before Ennerdale, I never had the desire to write a review for pipe tobacco. However, after smoking one bowl of Ennerdale Flake, I enjoyed the blend so much that I had to tell others about the wonders of Lakeland tobacco.

Even four years later, I still feel just as firm in my opinion on Ennerdale as when I wrote this review. In fact, if I could choose one tobacco to never run out of, I’d choose Ennerdale in a heartbeat, and it’s not because it’s so difficult to find in stock. The floral aroma and sweet flavor of this flake continues to satisfy me with every smoke, and I pack my pipe with it every time I want to treat myself.

Image from Pipesandcigars.com

Having been a fan of PipesandCigar’s Lakeland Brickle, I decided to pick up a new blend that had a healthy dose of Lakeland topping. I have a limited supply of Lakeland Brickle, and so far, I don’t see it being reproduced, so a replacement is needed. Hearing positive recommendations about Ennerdale, I decided to purchase a few ounces of it on a whim on IPSD 2015.

Since Lakeland blends have a notorious reputation on ghosting a pipe, I picked out a cob, rubbed the flake out, and wandered out to my writing hole to try out the blend while working on my novel. The blend itself was quite easy to light and get going, so it didn’t require much drying time at all. I was able to pack my pipe and take it out right away for a test run.

Upon lighting up, I could clearly taste the Lakeland topping. If you don’t like the perfume taste and scent of Lakeland blends, then you probably won’t like this at all. Me though, I quite enjoyed it. I settled into a steady rhythm of contently puffing away on my cob while enjoying the blend. The flavor remained strong through the entire bowl until the tobacco burned to a fine white ash. I was sad when the bowl ended, which is always a sign of a quality blend in my book.

Leaving my writing hole to go in the house for a few minutes, I returned back outside and took in a whiff of the evening air. Even from my stairs I could distinctly smell the room note of Ennerdale from a considerable distance from my writing hole. It reminded me of those perfumes in cartoons that would turn into a wispy hand and lead a character back to the source by the nose. Likewise, Ennerdale had me under its spell, and off to Ebay I marched to purchase a pipe I could singularly devote to it, as well as a few more ounces on my next online order from PipesandCigars.com.

So now I know the wondrous flake that is Ennerdale, and its become an entrenched blend in my weekly rotation. While I will continue seeking out similar Lakeland blends, Ennerdale undoubtedly will be a hard act to follow.

Pipe Used: Corn Cob/Jobey Billiard

Age When Smoked: A few months

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

Similar Blends: G&H Glengarry Flake; Kendal Plug.

My Verdict: four out of four stars

Have you tried a Lakeland blend? I know they tend to be divisive blends. For me, I can’t get enough of them! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them.

Until next time friends, happy puffing!

-TheBadgerPiper

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Tobacco Review: Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. – Black Irish X Unsliced

My apologies dear readers, as I had to put off my “Art in the Artisan Part 2” article for next month. I’ve been focused on making headway in my novel, but I didn’t want to let June pass by without an update. Instead, I’m cheating a bit and reposting my most recent tobacco review on tobaccoreviews.com.

I’ll be the first to admit tobacco reviewing isn’t my specialty. Yet I felt the same way about poetry, but that changed after spending some time on it. I tend to only review blends that leave a distinct impression on me, and boy did this blend do that and more.

I’m sure you already know this, but if you haven’t visited tobaccoreviews.com, you’re missing out on one of the most valuable website for pipe smokers, only second to The Briar Report of course. You’ll find reviews for every blend under the sun there, and I’ll often read it when I’m bored or researching for my next tobacco purchase.

There are two methods to writing a useful review. On one hand, a review should strive to be factual and descriptive, giving the reader all the information they need to make a well informed opinion for themselves whether the blend is something they would enjoy. The other method is to entertain the reader with humor or include anecdotal stories about their experience with the blend. The following review is more of the latter, but there should be enough information there for you to decide if this blend is for you. Now then, let’s take a trip to a place where pipe smoking angels fear to tread.

Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. – Black Irish X Unsliced

There are some pipe tobaccos out there that will test the mettle of a piper. Now, I’m no stranger to strong pipe tobacco. Old Joe Krantz and Haunted Bookshop are both daily smokes for me, and I love Kajun Kake and War Horse Green. Yet with all my experience with vitamin N, I’ve never had the courage to order Gawith & Hoggarth’s Black Irish X. I had heard of this blend’s ability to knock a man down to size, so I stayed away, giving the blend a wide berth.

Recently during a pipe trade with an online friend, he offered to send me a sample of Black Irish X. So for a laugh, I decided I’d throw caution to the wind and give the blend a try. After all, what’s the worst it could do?

After sitting on my sample for a week or two, today I gathered my courage and pulled the sample out. Black Irish X comes in a rope, so you need to slice it with a knife to smoke it. In a way, it’s fitting that you have to use a knife with this tobacco, as you’ll need all the protection you can get with this sucker. I cut a few coins off the rope, rubbed the coins into ribbons, and loaded it into a Canadian pipe that has a smaller bowl. If this is your first time with the blend, then a small pipe is a must, or you’ll be at the blend’s mercy.

Upon the first light, I noticed a unique smell that I’ve never encountered before with a pipe tobacco—BBQ. This has a good, smoky BBQ flavor, much like a dry rub. In fact, I’d compare smoking this blend to sitting down with a huge steak dinner right off the grill. And this isn’t a fancy steak dinner prepared with some newfangled culinary techniques. This is a huge chunk of meat, and you’re going to have to finish the whole thing like John Candy in The Great Outdoors.

So I sat in my chair and puffed away, not letting anything else distract me from my pipe. You’ll want a drink with this tobacco, too. I had coffee, but I’d imagine this would pair well with a good scotch.

The first half went by without any issues, but the further down I smoked, the more I could feel the effects of the tobacco seeping in. The BBQ steak flavor never left, but I never found it to be dull or boring.

By the time I reached the end of the bowl, I felt the threads of reality beginning to split. Somewhere in the smoky haze, I could see a realm in the distance, some far off tavern with wizards, knights, rangers, and clerics. They sat around long tables, singing songs of pipe tobaccos gone by as they drank from their tankards and puffed their pipes. I could see them motioning for me to join them, to leave this world behind and disappear forever. Had I smoked Black Irish X in a larger pipe, I don’t think I would’ve been able to resist the call.

Overall, I have to say that I have a healthy respect for this tobacco. It’s rich and flavorful, and unlike any other blend I’ve tried. Should this blend come back in stock, I’d gladly order a tin or two for my cellar. I would then lock said tins inside an old chest with heavy chains around it, and nail a sign that said “Beware.”

Take caution, dear piper, for this blend will sneak up on you like a bandit if you let it. Even if you smoke this in a smaller pipe, it will punch you in the head until you’re silly. Despite the risks, I’d say everyone should give this blend a try.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I realized I typed this all out using my toes. I think I better head to bed before something worse happens.

Pipe Used: A Small hand carved Canadian

TobAge When Smoked: Unknown

Until next time, happy puffing!

-TheBadgerPiper

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Pipe Tobacco Review: McClelland Honeydew (22b series)

Image from pipesandcigars.com

I sat in my office chair, scratching my chin at the mystery presented to me. My newly acquired Ben Wade rusticated Canadian had just finished its breaking in period, and it sat in front of me in great distress. There was a piece of paper wrapped around the stem of the pipe, and opening it revealed a most troubling letter, with words spelled out with newspaper and magazine clippings.

“fiNd THe rIGhT PiPe tOBacCO 2 pAiR wiTH tHiS pIpE, OR IT’ll B SLEepInG on tHe PIpe raCK. PerMANeNTly!”

I adjusted my deerstalker cap and placed my chin on my hands. No time for playing my violin tonight. If I wanted to save this pipe from a terrible fate, I had to act quickly. Thankfully, I had just the pipe tobacco to try, McClelland’s Honeydew, from their 221B Series. If all went to plan, this would end up as a one pipe problem.

I ordered the tin at the same time as the pipe. I had read that one of my favorite authors, M.R. James if you must know, used to smoke Honeydew pipe tobacco when he worked, so I thought I’d find a similar blend to try. Typing Honeydew in the search engine for pipesandcigars.com on my Victorian computer brought this blend up, and I ordered it post haste.

With the clock ticking, I popped the tin open and gave Honeydew a whiff. The tin note had that famous McClelland ketchup aroma to it. It didn’t exactly bring Honeydew to my mind, but given McClelland’s previous track record, I had confidence it would save this pipe’s life.

The tobacco itself was in flake form, but chunky, so the fold and stuff method wouldn’t be the way to go. I rubbed the flake out, the tobacco having some moisture, but not enough to require drying out. As I did so, I noticed the shadow of a figure moving closer towards me, the author of the note, no doubt. Once my endangered pipe had been filled, I dove through the glass window of my office and escaped into the night.

The streets of Victorian Chicago were foggy that evening as I ducked through alleys and back streets until reaching the train station. I boarded the train headed towards Victorian Peoria, found a private cabin in the smoking car, and closed the blinds. Out of danger for the moment, I pulled out my matches from my coat pocket, struck one, and lit my pipe as the train left the station.

At once, I tasted a sweetness in the smoke that betrayed the ketchup aroma from the tin. The flavor had a fruity quality to it, not overpowering the taste of the Virginia leaf, but complimenting it. There was the Honeydew, no doubt about it. I nodded my head in contentment; this was quality leaf, not the dreaded goopyness so commonly associated with aromatic blends. There was balance between the flavoring with the Virginia, making it the perfect kind of aromatic for the seasoned pipe smoker. The nicotine levels were mild and pleasant, no head spinning to be found.

As I puffed away, a shadow appeared in front of the door to my cabin. At first, I assumed it was the ticket collector entering to punch my ticket, but the door slid open and I was confronted with my mortal enemy, Professor WeaselPiper.

Professor WeaselPiper tipped his top hat and brushed his cape out of the way as he sat across from me, flashing his cane with sword hidden inside. He sneered at me as I tamped the tobacco down in the generous chamber of my Canadian.

“It’s over, Detective BadgerPiper,” he said triumphantly. “Hand over the Canadian and I might let you live.”

“You’re too late Professor,” I said, pointing my pipe at him. “I’ve found the tobacco destined to pair with this pipe. The game is over.”

The Professor glared at me through his monocle with ill intent. “Impossible, it takes sampling countless blends to find the right— .” Professor WeaselPiper paused and sniffed the air. “Say, what is that wonderful aroma coming from that pipe? You must tell me!”

“Honeydew by McClelland,” I replied as I ran a pipe cleaner through the stem. The blend made my pipe gurgle a bit, which was the only minor fault I could find with it. The Professor stared at my pipe jealously, before sheepishly pulling out a pipe of his own.

“Would you mind sparing some for me to sample?” The weasel asked with a twinge of embarrassment.

“I’d rather not,” I replied with a sniff. “Besides, where you’re going you’ll be lucky to find even the most chemically laden cherry aromatic.”

The door to my cabin slammed open as five police officers led by Inspector OtterPiper rushed and overwhelmed my constant antagonist.

 

“You haven’t heard the last of me!” shouted Professor WeaselPiper, shaking his paw in defiance as the officers led him into their police wagon in Victorian Peoria. “I’ll be out of prison in a matter of days! No Victorian jail can hold me!”

“How’d you know Honeydew would do the trick?” asked Inspector OtterPiper as he filled his pipe with my tin of Honeydew.

“Elementary, dear OtterPiper,” I replied as I puffed my pipe in the train station. “The narrow bowl shape of this Canadian is perfect for flake tobacco. I deduced that a McClelland flake aromatic would save this pipe’s life.”

It’s been months since this case has been closed, and every bowl of McClelland’s Honeydew has been as good as the first. I heartily recommend it.

-TheBadgerPiper