The Huge Pipe Review – Part II

by Jose Ruiz

Read The Huge Pipe Review – Part I here…

Now we will jump right into another review with a tobacco followed by a pipe review on a new pipe to me so I will review the pipe as well.

MacBaren Solent Mixture pipe tobacco

The tobacco smoked is from MAC BAREN “The Solent Mixture”

Pipe used: Nordig Eriksen Egg # 2 Keystone pipe
Tobacco: Burley, Cavendish, Latakia, Virginia
Flavoring: Cocoa, Chocolate, Rum, Vanilla
Cut: Ribbon
Pack method: Franks method
Tin note: Sweet notes of vanilla, rum, fruit, grass.
Room note: Cocoa, nuts, light smokiness, some sweetness.
Strength: Medium
Taste: No vanilla tasted, slight wood smoke, nuts, some sweet notes.

Notes: Out of the tin the aroma is unusual. It reminds me somewhat of the famed Esoterica blends in its slight licorice notes. You don’t normally find the licorice used in most English blends as a part of the fermentation process. Perhaps its inclusion is because this isn’t a true English blend but more of an aromatic/English blend. Solent Mixture is ready to pack straight out of the tin and after the first 1/3 of the bowl it has a nice peppery note like you would get from a Perique but its a gentle spicy note. I personally don’t get any vanilla taste, but I noticed some rum flavor and the natural sweetness from the Virginia, as well as nuttiness from the Burley, finished by some light wood smoke from the Latakia. The most unique taste I get is a slightly sour note but it is in a pleasant way, refreshing like citrus fruit not sour like bad milk. During the last 1/3 of the bowl it remains a well-balanced smoke and the consistency in its blending helps maintain taste, strength, coolness, with no bitterness or tongue bite. So after all this what in a nutshell do I think of this blend?? Hmmm? For sure its a unique blend with pleasing aromas and flavors, nicely done blend for a aromatic/English blend, it’s worth a try if you never had it before and like something different to try. If you’re a purist of English or Balkan blends it may not be for you, or maybe it is, if your adventurous and willing to try something a little out of your purist English/Balkan box. The Solent Mixture is a nice blend either way you choose in my opinion.

Rate: 3.5 out of 5

Last, but by no means last of this review, is the pipe review I used for this tobacco review. I’ll get right down to the nitty-gritty of it.

The pipe I used is a NORDING ERIKSEN EGG #2 KEYSTONE PIPE

“ Eriksen pipes are the newest innovation from the brilliant mind of Erik Nording and feature a removable bowl that allows you to add Keystones into the base. The Keystones will absorb excess moisture for a cool, dry smoke. Each pipe is lightweight with a nice capacity bowl. Try one and you will automatically see the difference.”

Ok that is being said on a sellers website, so lets see how it really smokes. A canned product review from a marketing standpoint is nice but does it give an accurate portrayal of the product?  I’ll abuse it to see if it really does smoke well and cool. I normally don’t puff like a freight train but since it’s a test and review it needs to be done. It did get slightly warm but never hot where you can’t hold the pipe. The draw was great. Then I smoked it normally and yes it stayed cool and gurgle free as it trapped the moisture. So in a nutshell, yes their claims are true. I can see this being a great pipe, especially for aromatic lovers as most of the aromatics are moist to begin with. It will also be great for those that like to puff aggressively. I also noticed this pipe is also very lightweight and that can be a welcomed pipe for those that smoke as they work and love to clench there pipes no jaw fatigue noticed. The bowl can be removed very easily when you need to replace the keystones but yet is firmly in place. At no point does the bowl wiggle or feel loose. The aesthetics of the pipe look is classy yet functional. My only real draw back of the Nording Eriksen Egg #2, and it is a more personal preference is the straight stem. I hope they will also make them in a bent stem soon as I prefer a bent stem to a straight one. They do have different style bowls to choose from all in briar, which does allow for customization of the pipe. Maybe they can expand to also make the bowls in Meerschaum and different bowl materials in time. It’s a great pipe to have no matter what your doing and easy to care for as the bit comes off nicely to clean it as well as the shank. So maintenance shouldn’t be an issue. The only non-personal preference draw back I noticed was at the tip of the bit. They need to make sure to smooth it a bit more from the molding at the very tip, you can feel it and it is a little rough on the tongue.

Rate: 3 out of 5

Read The Huge Pipe Review – Part I here…

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The Huge Pipe Review – Part I

by Jose Ruiz

Well I hope every one had a great and safe 4th of July.  I looked forward to a few days of relaxing and having fun, of which I did both. Today’s review will be a bit longer than normal, as I’ll be having several items in one big review. We are including some product reviews also in the mix; as well as two tobacco reviews and a new pipe in the line-up.

OK first will be on the product reviews as I got a really badly ghosted pipe from friend of mine and he couldn’t get rid of the ghost in the pipe. I’m sure your wondering what the hell is a ghosted pipe? Do I need to get an exorcist or what!!!!!! For those who aren’t aware, the meaning of a ghosted pipe is that whatever was smoked in it leaves an offensive smell and taste when you smoke it again. Some tobaccos can do this from time to time, especially some aromatics. It gets quite upsetting when you paid a respectable amount of cash for a quality pipe and all of a sudden can’t get the flavor and odor of a smoke out of it. My friend had tried to clean it as best as he could and still this pipe ghosted and so he gave it to me. I figured I have nothing to lose but time in trying to fix it.

The products I used on the ghosted pipe is DENI CLEAN, DECATOR HAZE-AWAY (stem oxidation remover), DECATOR SHINE-BRITE (stem polishing compound) both of which I picked up at Smokes on Main in West Bend, WI.

What I did first was ream out the bowl to as much bare briar as I can get without damaging the bowl with my reaming tool. Then I used bristle pipe cleaners to ream the shank with Deni Clean also, swapped it out with regular clean pipe cleaner soaked in Deni Clean and stuffed the bowl with cotton balls to just below the rim; soaked with enough Deni Clean to get it wet (if any gets on the outer part of the bowl wipe right away to prevent accidental removal of the stain or finish on the outside of the bowl). Let it all soak for a few hours, or better yet over night. Then remove the used cotton ball and you will see the gunk that came off with it. Wipe the inside of the bowl with a rag or paper towel till clean and as dry as possible. Now is also the time to remove the soaked pipe cleaner from the shank and pass a clean pipe cleaner through it till dry also. Let the pipe air dry over a day or two before smoking it. This way you know the pipe is all dry and free of chemical; did this for the stem also.

After all that I used the DECATUR HAZE-AWAY first then I used DECATUR SHINE-BRITE on the stem to rid of any oxidation, and shine the stem. For both products you just rub it on the stem and let it dry before using a rag to buff it out, like waxing your car back in the day. You will love the results visually on the stem and it leaves no bad after taste on the stem at all. Both products are very easy to use.

Drew Estate Meat Pie pipe tobacco

Now for the tobacco review, and I did use the pre-ghosted pipe for test purposes to see how the end results of these products work. The first tobacco I’ll be reviewing is from DREW ESTATE – MEAT PIE.

Pipe: Oom Paul full bent rusticated
Tobacco: Latakia, Oriental, Turkish, Virginia
Cut: Ribbon
Pack method: Pour and tap
Tin note: Nice campfire smokiness, natural sweetness, citrus, grassy notes.
Room note: Somewhat pungent from the Latakia with sweet grassy notes and nuances of fruitiness.
Strength: Medium- medium strong
Taste: Balanced blend that is also smooth and no bitterness, complex and rich.

Notes: I looked so forward to trying this blend as I have heard great things about it. The tin art is appealing and out of the tin it is ready to pack. The tin aroma is of a rich, complex, balanced blend as I can infer from all the different tobaccos that are in the tin; from the wonderful smokiness from the Latakia, the citrus notes of the Turkish/Orientals, the sweet grassy notes of the Virginias. I just can’t wait to light it up and taste them all. After the initial char light in my Oom Paul pipe I was amazed how good the taste is. It just pops on your tongue with all of the fantastic flavors from the blend and nothing overwhelms each other. So after the first 1/3 of the bowl the taste/flavor/strength remain constant and pleasant and balanced. There is absolutely no bitterness and it smokes cool, with no tongue bite. I’m enjoying it with a hot cup of coffee with cream and sugar; it pairs well and is blissful. Now for the last 1/3 of the bowl, guess what? It’s still a fantastic smoke through the whole bowl!!!! SOOOOOOOOOO all in all Meat Pie by DREW ESTATE makes me hungry for more and more!! I highly recommend this for all English lovers and lovers of Latakia and possibly even for new smokers who want to try English/Latakia blends. You won’t be disappointed!!!

Rated: 4 out of 5

Read The Huge Pipe Review – Part II here….

Pipe Tobacco Review – Frog Morton by McClelland

Hope every one had a great weekend! The weather was sunny and pleasant here. Main Street Pipers-pipe club had their first club meeting at SmokesOnMain in West Bend, WI. It was a great time for everyone and I can’t wait till the next meeting.

Marty from SmokesOnMain asked me to review one of the new blends at the shop and of course I said yes!!! So for tonight’s review and for your enjoyment will be McClelland’s Frog Morton.

Pipe: Eric Berks freehand briar

Tobacco: Latakia, Virginia

Cut: Ribbon, rough cut

Tin aroma: Frog Morton had the aroma of a nice earthy fireplace with a hint of Virginia natural sweetness. Overall, it was rich with slight citrus notes in the background. It also had leather notes.

Pack method: 3 tier method

Taste: The flavor was smooth and rich with slightly sweet citrus notes. The smoke itself had a hard wood smoke aroma, that builds in strength more you smoke, with less sweetness and more body and richness thereby losing its citrus nuances.

Strength: Medium to medium full

Room notes: It has a nicely rich earthiness with hard wood smoke that lends in the beginning a sweetness of the Virginia. Over time, that builds to a fuller strength of wood smoke.

Notes: The tin art looks whimsical; funny, yet nicely done. I found the tin notes of the Latakia are forward with the natural sweetness in the background. It packs well right out of the tin. The first half of my bowl I noticed a medium taste of the natural sweetness with citrus nuances in the background. On the last half of the bowl I noticed the sweetness/citrus notes fading more as the Latakia is building more of its smokiness and strength to medium full. Through out the smoke had no gurgling or tongue bite. Frog Morton is a smooth, cool smoke as long as you smoke it slow. I guess Frog Mortons original in it series is a very good blend to compare with the others in its series. For that reason, I can’t wait to try the other Frog Mortons. I recommend this English blend for its flavor, med/medium full, and ease to smoke. If you never had Frog Morton original I recommend it for sure!!!!!!

Rate: 3.5 out of 5

Keep on puffin!!!
The Piper

The Good Wife’s Review:

Well kids, my husband has smoked this twice today. The first time I was really nicely surprised. But before I even get that far, let me tell you the tin note and room aroma are both quite strong. I wouldn’t suggest smoking this blend inside unless you are right next to an open door, and even then, smoke a short bowl please. Frog Morton has a very strong mesquite barbeque aroma for me. Which, once again, outside is fabulous but inside it can overpower quickly and destroy the ability to sit comfortably in an enclosed space. It also reminds me, oddly enough; of the first time you open a package of beef jerky. It has that rich, smoky, beefy scent. Lastly, during the first run with this tobacco I detected a rich buttery note, which I found very pleasing. It reminded me of butter melted over corn on the cob but without the added corn sweetness. Now, for the second take. Once again, it was strong and barbeque laden with hints of meat and butter so that didn’t change one bit. However, for whatever reason I found it overwhelming this time. My lungs didn’t like it nearly as well. In fairness hubby had tried another blend in between the two bowls of Frog and it had been a good five hours between them so maybe I was just smoked out for the day. Because of this second experience I would state, Frog Morton is a nice blend of outdoorsy smells that should work well at a picnic or out on the patio. I would not recommend it inside in the dead of winter, unless you like sitting inside the smoker at a barbeque restaurant.

P.S. I will further state that my cat, who was sleeping near him, agrees as by the end of my husbands bowl the poor cat had a sneezing fit the likes of which I have never seen before.

Pipe Tobacco Blind Review – Montego Bay @SmokesOnMain

This is the second of three initial pipe tobacco reviews written by our pipe smoking friend and founder of the Main Street Pipers Pipe Group, Jose Ruiz.

We gave Jose three unmarked bags of our SmokesOnMain premium pipe tobaccos to sample without a bit of info on the blends. This blend, #1 to Jose, is our Montego Bay pipe blend manufactured by Altadis, USA.

And now, a look into the mind of Jose……

Ok, weather is getting better as the week goes by, so I’m here for your viewing enjoyment. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink. Tonight’s blind review from SmokesOnMain is on Bag # 1

Pipe: Torino Apple briar

Pack method: Plug

Tobacco: Yellow/gold Virginia, light Burley, topped with what I believe to be rum, or bourbon /whiskey

Bag Aroma: Nice sweetness for an aromatic from the Virginia and burley with nuances of a buttered rum /light nutty coconut aroma.

Taste: Not cloyingly sweet, has body, richness, and complexity. Noticed a brown butter taste in the background. The rum/bourbon is not very strong but has some hints of it.

Strength: Medium

Room Aroma: Pleasant with warm buttery rum . In the background I noticed a delightful nutty caramel coconut aroma.

Notes: The tobacco aroma not overly sweet but is pleasing to your senses. Ready to pack, stayed lit with a cool complex rich smoke. Towards the last 3rd of the bowl it started to produce some tongue bite, so make sure you smoke it slow to reduce it. Room aroma is pleasant with a buttery rum coconut hints. I recommend this for a good aromatic with some nice body and richness that also produces a pleasant aroma.

Rate: 4out of 5

Keep on puffin !!!!
The Piper

The Wife’s Review:

My husband and his friend lit this tobacco a minute ago. Sitting here I got a whiff of a rich caramel sweet crème brulee. It wasn’t a sickeningly sweet smell. Rather it was rich and unctuous with vanilla notes that surprised the senses. I bet it would be fun to sit here on a summer day with an icy glass of homemade lemonade and some simple butter shortbread cookies and chat the afternoon away. I would rate this blend as “summer smoking”. I will definitely enjoy this on a lazy August afternoon, chilling with good friends, avoiding the heat with a cold drink. Or better yet, on a blanket, with a picnic basket overflowing with goodies, lounging out by the lake, under a tree. I guess I’ll have to hide the rest of this bag in the picnic basket without telling the husband, that way we can enjoy it on a hot, lazy August afternoon.

Pipe Tobacco Blind Review – English Luxury @SmokesOnMain

This is the third of the three pipe tobacco reviews we asked our pipe smoking friend and founder of the Main Street Pipers Pipe Group, Jose Ruiz to write.

We gave Jose three unmarked bags of our SmokesOnMain premium pipe tobaccos to sample without a bit of info on the blends. This blend, #2 to Jose, is our English Luxury blend manufactured by Peter Stokkebye.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Jose……

Well it’s a cool gloomy day this Sunday evening, but it’s a great time to do another blind review for everyone. Hope your Sunday was a good one. This evening’s review is Bag # 2 from SmokesOnMain located in West Bend, WI.

Pipe: MM Country Gentleman corncob

Tobacco/ Aroma: Nice medium English aroma with Smokey Latakia, Sweet Virginia, Nutty Burley, Roasted Black Cavendish

Cut: loose ribbon cut with some smaller pieces.

Pack Method: Twist method

Taste: Natural sweet Virginia, smokiness from the Latakia, mellowness from the Black Cavendish. Good complexity and depth.

Strength: Medium-medium mild.

Room Aroma: Has some natural sweetness from the Virginia, not overly pungent/Smokey from the Latakia. Pleasant brown butter nuances from the Burley.

Notes: First thought was the bag aroma of a nice aged rum/caramel. With pleasing woody notes I’m sure are from the Latakia, which I enjoy a lot. Packs well, lit nicely which produced volumes of billowing white clouds of goodness. Smoke is cool, no tongue bite. Flavor is complex and rich. Great as an all day smoke or new to English blends. I recommend this one for all to try.

Rate: 3.75 out of 5

Keep on puffin!!!
The Piper

The Wife’s Review:

At a first “whiff” I got nervous about this tobacco. It initially hit my sinuses and gave me that itchy, sneezey feeling some tobaccos can present. I could almost instantly feel a headache beginning so I was fully prepared to hate it. Thankfully, it mellowed quickly. This blend did however have a tavern smoky odor unfortunately. Since I am a smoker, I didn’t mind that smell though. That stated, I refuse to smoke in my house because I don’t generally like that stale smoke smell that lingers in an enclosed place for long periods of time. So if this tobacco has to evoke a memory for me, pour me a good standard American, Budweiser or Miller Genuine Draft and transport me to the bar of my 20’s late on a Saturday night. Just please don’t give me the hangover in the morning.

Pipe Tobacco Blind Review – El Dorado @SmokesOnMain

This is the first pipe tobacco review written by our pipe smoking friend and founder of the Main Street Pipers Pipe Group, Jose Ruiz.

We gave Jose three unmarked bags of our SmokesOnMain premium pipe tobaccos to sample without a bit of info on the blends. This blend, #3 to Jose, is our El Dorado pipe blend – also known as Lane Limited BCA.

Let’s see what Jose thought……

Hello everyone, hope all is well today.

SmokesOnMain asked me to do a blind tasting review for you all on one of the pipe tobaccos’ they have to offer.

I’m up for the challenge.

Todays review is the bag marked #3 that I received from SmokesOnMain’s owners Ron Jung and Pete West. The blend was selected by their tobacconist, Martin Klausmeier.

Pipe used: Dr. Grabow Omega rusticated bent briar

Bag size: 1 ounce zip-lock

Tin Note: Raisin, black cherry, date/fig notes.  Sweet notes definitely an aromatic in a good natural way, not chemical smell.

Blend: Dark-fired Cavendish

Type: Loose cut with some bigger cut ribbons

Strength: Mild

Taste: Nicely done sweetness of a black cherry, fig/date like nature. Not many good aromatic tin notes actually match the taste, this is one of the few to me that do. I would have liked a bit more richness and complexity, but it still makes you like it for being a mild taste. I’m liking this one so far.

Aroma: Very nicely done as far as the aroma is concerned. Everyone in the room just loved the smell and said you can smoke that one anytime you want to. Very much the black cherry/fig/date notes but not in a way that is fake or chemically. The aroma, even indoors is great, doesn’t irritate at all. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

Thoughts: A very nice black fired Cavendish tobacco with a smell that is amazing. Can be a bit moist and needed some dry time before you pack your pipe, as most aromatics do. I used the 3-tier method, but a little looser then normal. It lit very well after the true light was done. Needed a few relights from being a little moist. Had a constant sweetness of the black cherry/fig/date taste. It stayed cool, mild flavor thru out the smoke. Didn’t notice any tongue bite or harshness at all. Best if you smoke it slow. Room note was very pleasing to everyone. Over all a very nice all day smoke which wont burn you tongue, while everyone around you will like what your smoking. I recommend it for a good all day smoke.

Rated: 3 out of 5

The Wife’s Review:

We have no idea what this blend is but I rather like it. It is rich and deep with hints of chocolate, fig and other food type smells intertwined with the natural smoke. I think my inner chef dances with this tobacco. It’s not silly like the Swedish Chef of Muppets fame, nor is it Emeril Lagasse “bam!” but rather respectable and sophisticated like Rick Bayless of PBS’s Mexico: One Plate at a time or more accurately, if the chef of PBS’s Primal grill smoked a pipe, I could see him (Steven Raichlen) kicking back with this one after a meal he had cooked on his grill. When in the room with this pipe the words that come to mind is, “Bon Appetite!”

To find out more about this premium pipe tobacco blend and the others available from SmokesOnMain visit SmokesOnMain.com here…