These four classical shapes are very similar and often confused. They all have straight long shank, short stem and billiard bowl. The differences are in the shapes of shank and stem.
My Favorite Pipe Tobaccos
This is my own rating of pipe tobacco without claiming to be true-to-life. I have ordinary tastes and unpretentious. I prefer pure moderate Virginia, sometimes with peach flavor.
- Cornell&Diehl Briar Fox is incredibly tasty Virginia. I wish I smoked only that tobacco brand, but severe Russian prices don’t allow doing that. American tobacco is a very rare guest in Russia that is why it is charged to the maximum. Although Cornell&Diehl tobacco id not cheap in America, when crossing Russian border the price is boosted unacceptably. Moreover, Cornell&Diehl is always in the red in our country. So when it appears somewhere in a tobacco shop Briar Fox goes like hot cakes. From time to time I allow myself a small tin of the Fox, but usually I smoke something cheaper.
- Peterson University Flake is my favorite among the tobaccos available in Russia. It’s strong enough, sweet and spicy. You can buy it in every other tobacco shop. I buy it quite often. However it is still expensive a bit.
- Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Plug. According to the manufacturer’s description, this brand and Full Virginia Flake are pretty much the same. But Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Plug goes as a plug which is a briquette of tobacco leaves pressed together without being sliced into flakes. Perhaps tobacco brand is the same, bit it smokes differently, much tastier, as for me. There is a possibility that I slice the briquette more carefully than the manufacturer:) Anyway, Samuel Gawith flakes are traditionally sliced catch-as-catch-can. Pipe lovers often say that Gawith decided to produce the tobacco as a plug when the knives collapsed for good. The distinction between flavors might be caused by the difference in the processes of plug and sliced flake aging. While a plug brick is being stored on the shelves of shops and warehouses, the processes occurring within it differ from those taking place inside a sliced flake. Anyway, I prefer plugs. As any other Samuel Gawith tobaccos this one is considerably cheap, especially in 250gr pack. By the way, this package looks very massive like a brick.
- Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake is wonderful pure strong Virginia without Gawith’s beloved Kendal botanical sauces.
- Samuel Gawith Louisiana Flake. When I feel like smoking something spicy. This is Virginia and thick peach flavor blend. It is a rare deficient tobacco from Louisiana with a spicy hot taste. The tobacco is very strong and delicious. But coming nearer to the end of a 250gr pack peach flavor becomes boring. Bit in two-month time I can’t do without peach flavor again. All in all, although I don’t have this blend for every day smoking, it is regularly bought and smoked.
- Peterson Irish Oak is lighter and not so pure Virginia. The tobacco is kept in oak barrels from Irish whisky. It has a pleasant astringent oak and whisky flavor. It is definitely not an aromatic. But it can’t be called a pure Virginia either. I buy it when there is nothing from the above listed in the tobacco shop. It is positively interesting blend of high quality. I indulge myself with it, but don’t buy a lot. When the 50gr tin comes to the end it gets cheesy. As for me, its flavor is too light and flat a bit.
- Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake is pure, but not very strong Virginia. It’s stronger than Irish Oak, but lighter than Full Virginia Flake. I buy it occasionally for a change. However it is not among my favourite.
- Dunhill Royal Yacht is pure medium Virginia. The blend is tasty and fine, but overrated, as for me. I think it can be compared with Peterson University Flake except for the price which differs significantly. That is the reason why I rarely buy it without regard to my love. It is placed somewhat lower in my tobacco rating.
- Samuel Gawith Medium Virginia Flake and Golden Glow are two pure mild Virginias. They are distinct in cuts only: Golden Glow is fluff MVF. Their flavors are identical (still and all, I smoke fluff flakes). Tobaccos are undoubtedly fine, but too light for me. Aroma is pleasant for those around you. Even after a dew hours after smoking the room smells like cookies. That is one of the reasons why I buy it. I like the smell of cookies in my car. My wife is fine with it, as well:)
- WO Larsen Old Belt. You can find it in any tobacco shop. The price is relatively low (100gr tin). It’s just good quality tobacco claim free. As mild as Irish Oak. You hardly call it a pure Virginia, for sauce is noticeable because of its sweetness while being smoked and pleasant aroma while being smelled. The latter, by the way, makes WO Larsen Old Belt the best choice for smoking in company. The fact that the blend got in my rating doesn’t mean that I recommend the manufacturer with all his production. I’d say that Old belt is the only success of WO Larsen. The rest doesn’t worth trying. The producer makes a specialty of cheap aromatics.
- MacBaren Virginia Flake is not bad, but not the best Virginia available almost everywhere at an easy rate. The tin is comfortable and pint-size. Tobacco is sliced evenly and keenly in contrast with Gawith’s flakes. Similar to the Old Belt, this is the only appropriate tobacco from the manufacturer. The rest MacBaren tobaccos are disgusting in my judgment.
- Samuel Gawith Black XX Twist and Brown №4 are two fiercely strong tobaccos that I adore, even if I am not able to smoke them on a regular basis. The strength is beyond my capacity. But sometimes I need those particular blends. Especially after weekends when two days are spent without a pipe, because I don’t smoke in my children’s presence. Then I feel a strong need for something really strong. The second pipe makes me hiccup, frankly speaking. The tobaccos look like “sausages” or ropes made from convolute leaves. They should ne sliced to “coins” and fluffed before smoking. I slice them as thin as possible with a sharp slicer. The “ropes” are equally strong, but their flavors differ. The brown one tastes relatively flat when the black one is very spicy as if you have black pepper in your pipe. I prefer to use small pipes when smoke Samuel Gawith Black XX Twist or Brown №4 or fill a big bowl halfway. Closer to the bottom the strength gets out-of-limit, therefore an 18х30 chamber is more than enough. Black XX is good as an addition to the other blends like a pinch of spices.
- Peterson Perfect Plug (3P) has the same properties as Samuel Gawith Black XX Twist. It is extremely strong, spicy and tasty. But it’s too tough to smoke it every day. One tin holds several months. I don’t smoke it often. However I am upset when it goes away. If take into consideration the tobacco quality alone I’d place it closer to the top of the rating next to Gawith’s twists. I drop it down because of the extreme strength that doesn’t allow me to smoke it daily.
Cornell&Diehl Briar Fox
Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Plug
Samuel Gawith Brown №4
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The article about what the perfect pipe is, what flaws use to be in pipes, and how they spoil the smoking.