Thursday, April 11, 2013

Learning Dunhill London Mixture Pt. II


I recently finished my initial tin of Dunhill London Mixture. I certainly enjoyed this smokey blend but I have found it to be a "hit-and-miss" tobacco. While it is truly a sophisticated English blend, London Mixture is lighter than its siblings Nightcap, My Mixture 965, Early Morning Pipe and the Standard Mixture. Very little sweetness in this one as the orientals take the front stage.

Like many great blends, this one is attuned to the particular pipe it is being smoked in at the time. When smoked in an old Castello, I use for Latakia-based blends, I get a dry (non-sweet) smoke with a rather unpleasant finish on the palate. In a meerschaum the sweetness appears, the smoke is cooler and the burn is slower. In several other Latakia-based briars, London Mixture performs well with a basic "English Blend" flavor.

I did not find anything particularly interesting or outstanding with London Mixture. Being an ancient blend in a current climate of continually evolving tobaccos, London Mixture is no longer the proverbial Leader of the Pack. There are far more interesting English blends out there today with similar price point and better availability. I doubt I will be purchasing another tin of London Mixture but I would recommend it for someone starting on English blends or for a mild all-day "no-brainer" smoke.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Learning Dunhill London Mixture

So after 32 years of smoking a pipe I finally purchased my first tin of Dunhill's famous "London Mixture".

Described as "Medium cut, matured Virginian and Oriental Tobaccos. Soft and mellow flavor". The blend smokes relatively cool and burns down to a fine ash with no dottle.  The pipe is left clean with no sticky wet residue

So far I am ten bowls into the tin and I have been enjoying each one more and more.  This is a blend that definitely requires a steeper learning curve than many other blends.  The complexity of the orientals playing off the virginias against the background of latakia provides a smoking experience that takes many bowls to discover all of the various nuances of flavor it can provide.  This is not a beginners blend by any means, but the seasoned pipe smoker will find many delightful adventures in this classic mixture.

I will post a follow-up article once I have completed the tin.  Happy Puffing!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tobacco Advice for the Beginner

My advice may seem a bit unorthodox but please indulge me for a moment. It is often said that to properly enjoy a Porsche, one must drive a Volkswagen first. That being said, I would suggest that you start out with a light Burley-based blend that is easy to smoke, kind to the palette, pleasant to the senses and light on the wallet.

Those first few months of pipe smoking is usually spent learning to actually smoke the pipe, fill the pipe, clean the pipe, etc. Once you are comfortable with the pipe you will begin to start noticing the true flavors of tobacco. The subtle nuances of each type of leaf will reveal themselves over time, gradually maturing the palette to a much higher level of sophistication. As you learn to smoke proper, you will learn to taste tobacco proper.

As you become more seasoned, your desire to explore more flavors will take you on an adventure where there are thousands of quality blends available. If you have started out with a subtle gentle blend you will be rewarded with the ability to appreciate and understand what a fine premium quality blend can be. I started out with Captain Black Gold for my first year then moved on to various "drug store" blends. My first real high quality blend was McClelland Virginia No. 25. I continued on to other high end tobaccos and have never looked back. I would never had appreciated the "good" blends had I not experienced the lower-end lines first.

I would recommend these blends as great starters: J.M. Boswell's "Premium Burley", "Magnum Blend" and "Northwoods". Mac Baren's "Burley London Blend", "Golden Extra" and "Original Choice". Even good old "Prince Albert" is a good inexpensive blend.

So cut your teeth on the basics and save your money then enjoy the luxuries with your new tobacco-tasting abilities!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Dunhill Deluxe Navy Rolls Review

Very similar to the other spun-cut tobacco "coins", DNR coins are cut a bit thicker than Escudo and are a bit drier in the tin.  The coins are pliable and not sticky at all.  Being that there is less perique than Escudo, DNR has less of the fruity wine scent.  The tactile feel of DNR is very much like Stokkebye's Bullseye Flake.


DNR has a great natural sweetness without the harsh spice from an overload of perique.  It rarely bites and takes little effort to keep lit.  My personal packing preference is to roll two coins into a pipe and light up.  DNR leaves your pipe clean with no dottle.


Of the "Big Three" (Escudo, DNR and Stokkebye Bullseye Flake) the Dunhill blend is the winner for the cool sweet dry-burning pleasure.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Restoring Moisture To Dry Tobacco

One of my favorite pipe tobacco experts, Per Georg Jensen of Mac Baren (my favorite tobacco brand!) has posted a wonderful tutorial on how to restore dried-out tobacco to it's proper moisture level. To view this article, please check out this link .  Many thanks to Mr. Jensen and Mac Baren!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

McClelland VA No. 22 at Nine Years

I recently returned to pipes, after a hiatus, with a nine year-old tin of McClelland Virginia No.22. At the pop of the tin there was a puff of nose-tingling fruity wine-like scent. The tobacco was the smoothest I had ever enjoyed. The natural sweetness was similar to a fine rose' wine. I will enjoy smoking this tin of McClelland's finest matured Virginia.
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Anniversary Kake

Could Anniversary Kake be the perfect VA/per? The only thing I like more than AK is MORE AK!
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy International Pipe Smoking Day!


Today is International Pipe Smoking Day and I want to wish all my fellow pipe smokers out there a good one!  For more about IPSD, check out the official brochure!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tobacco Review: "Plum Pudding"

I recently purchased a tin of Seattle Pipe Club's top-selling blend "Plum Pudding" which is a Balkan-style crumble cake made up of Latakia, Orientals, Virginias, Perique and a "secret ingredient". The initial tin aroma is smokey Latakia and a heavy musty scent. The black cakes are tightly pressed and do not break apart as easily as Penzance (which can crumble into a fine powder with the slightest touch). The slices rub out well to long strands of leaf that pack well into the pipe. Because of the heaviness of this blend I prefer a smaller bowl.

Lighting is easy and one is welcomed with a slightly sweet and spicy smoke. The Latakia does not overwhelm the other components and the Orientals keep a steady beat of spice going throughout the bowl. The flavors trade off from the sweetness of the Virginias to the smokiness of the Latakia. This is very well-balanced. There is a hint of a topping but I am unsure if this is simply my own impression.

The tobacco smokes hot even when smoking at a very slow relaxed pace. It does not bite but the taste is almost steam-like at times. After speaking with several other smokers who smoke this blend it appears to be a common characteristic. This may or may not be a problem depending on the individual smoker. For some it is an easy trade-off for a good blend and for others it is a dealbreaker.

The ash left behind is dry and grey. I have noticed that there is usually some moist dottle at the end of each bowl and the smell from inside the pipe is quite unpleasant. One needs to do a lot of cleaning with pipe cleaners after a bowl of this blend.

I like this blend and would recommend this as an alternative to Penzance. It is not nearly as complex as the old Dunhill classics or the GLP English blends but it is a good change of pace on the lighter side. I do feel that for the money there are much better blends in this genre.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Return from Hiatus

Hello all! It's been a few months that life has been so busy that I have had to put all of my blogs on the backburner. It is my hope that I can get back to regular posting now.

Since my last post I have only purchased two new pipes, both are Mario Grandis, and can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmuraco/3945044137/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmuraco/3945820458/

I have tried a couple of new tobaccos that I will review on here in the near future. During most of the Summer months I was smoking cigars so I spent a lot of time away from pipes. Since returning to the pipe I have noticed that I no longer seem to enjoy them as much as I had before. Perhaps this is just part of the transition process and my old enthusiasm with return.

I hope you have all been well and enjoying some fine smokes!