Dan Pipe Tobaccos

Dan Pipe (of Germany) has an excellent catalogue of pipes and tobacco that every pipe smoker must have. Visit their web site and order one.

Blue Note
Body: 3/10
Nicotine Strength: 3/10
Flavour Depth: 6/10
Flavour—sweetness: 8/10
Flavour—fruitiness: 8/10
Flavour—floweriness: 5/10
Flavour—smokiness: 0/10
Flavour—mustiness: 0/10
Flavour—nuttiness: 2/10
Bite: 3/10
Room Aroma: Sweet, fruity
If you don't like a heavily aromatic blend— the kind that makes everyone say "My, that smells great"—stay far away. It smells like an oversized strawberry sundae to me, in the tin. The tobacco is a dry and unusual mix of several cuts, which makes it look rather random and a bit like potpourri. You'll see some ribbon-cut, some broken flake, a few long dark strands and a little larger-cut light leaf all tossed together. There's some serious blending going on here. When I light up, I am awash in that coconut-vanilla flavour that predominates in Sweet Vanilla Honeydew. The fruit scent (strawberry-apricot) comes through strongly as well, enough that I find I'm always smelling it while smoking, at least during the first half of the bowl. Though this isn't the kind of tobacco I smoke often, I sometimes find it refreshing in hot weather when I am less drawn to some blends that I usually enjoy. It smokes like a Danish black cavendish, dry, slow-burning and mild, and just a little zesty. It does have a pleasant, medium body that is a degree or two fuller than its actual strength. As a rule, it doesn't bite, but hurried puffing can push it to do so. It's not strong in nicotine, but it tastes so intense that it's a satisfying smoke on that level. The casing does melt down somewhat toward the bottom of the pipe, leaving a darker, more tobacco-like taste that lingers on the palate for some time. It burns to a whitish ash with a few black flecks in it. '01

Hamborger Veermaster
Body: 7/10
Nicotine Strength: 5/10
Flavour Depth: 5/10
Flavour—sweetness: 4/10
Flavour—fruitiness: 4/10
Flavour—floweriness: 2/10
Flavour—smokiness: 1/10
Flavour—mustiness: 2/10
Flavour—nuttiness: 2/10
Bite: 2/10
Room Aroma: Musty-sweet
This flake tobacco smells a little sweet and a little sour. Medium-to-darkish brown, it smells rich and chewy—sweeter than its big brother, Patriot Flake. The flakes are soft and moist and they crumble up easily. I don't rub it out completely, but it still lights easily and burns really well. It's thoroughly natural in character, but it seems to contain a light fruit essence that I taste only when I smoke it in certain pipes. When I do notice it, it subsides after a 1/4 bowl or so and I feel like I'm smoking a pure, rich and fruity Virginia. To my palate, this is extraordinarily smooth and creamy, and the sidestream smoke offers a nice spiciness to the nostrils. It smokes cool like a big, strong, old-style British flake, but it isn't as potent as most tobaccos of that genre. I'd strongly recommend this to someone who enjoys Virginia flavour, but who is sensitive to Virginia tongue-bite. Its fresh and plain tobacco taste runs along the lines of Orlik Golden Sliced, but it carries less potential sharpness. A redeeming feature for many smokers is that this is quite forgiving if you happen to mindlessly puff it a little quickly now and then. This tobacco is more about body than flavour. It tastes pretty much the same from start to finish, with just a minor increase in richness toward the bottom. I find this tasty and satisfying at any time of the day and it never bites. It burns dry to a medium-grey ash and leaves behind a simple, unoffensive aroma. '01

Patriot Flake
Body: 8/10
Nicotine Strength: 7/10
Flavour Depth: 8/10
Flavour—sweetness: 2/10
Flavour—fruitiness: 1/10
Flavour—floweriness: 0/10
Flavour—smokiness: 5/10
Flavour—mustiness: 9/10
Flavour—nuttiness: 7/10
Bite: 3/10
Room Aroma: Musty
Thin layers of dark and golden leaf are punctuated by birdseye to accomplish an attractive marbled look in these Virginia flakes. The scent in the tin is fermented and a little bit sweet, reminding me at times of raisins or dried apricots, of chocolate at other times. Though there may be a light topping added, mostly it smells like tobacco. The style is natural, along the lines of classic British Virginias like Gawith's. Once crumbled and lit, a thick and smooth smoke is born. A mildly sweet, grassy and peppery Virginia flavor develops while smoking, but it's surprisingly subtle and non-specific. Indeed, a friend who tried this for the first time told me that he found it somewhat bland. I do understand because I didn't say "wow" either after my first bowl. However, I obviously enjoyed it; my full tin didn't last long and it ended up becoming my favourite tobacco for a few months. Part of what I find so satisfying about it is the play between the gentle flavour and the dense, creamy texture. I also enjoy the piquant sidestream smoke that suggests a sharper, perique-laden tobacco as it drifts up the nose. There are no major flavour changes to report while smoking. It simply gets better, quietly becoming spicier, richer and fuller. It's a very relaxing, medium-full strength smoke that leaves a pronounced, musty and slightly sweet aroma. '00

Sweet Vanilla Honeydew
Body: 4/10
Nicotine Strength: 5/10
Flavour Depth: 4/10
Flavour—sweetness: 6/10
Flavour—fruitiness: 2/10
Flavour—floweriness: 3/10
Flavour—smokiness: 1/10
Flavour—mustiness: 3/10
Flavour—nuttiness: 7/10
Bite: 7/10
Room Aroma: Sweet
Most of us have been "there," wondering if some pipe tobacco, somewhere, truly tastes like its pouch aroma. This one comes about as close as I can imagine. I had conjured up images of something resembling a broken Virginia flake, moist and dense, perhaps à la Patriot Flake... Instead, when I opened the tin, I thought immediately of Amphora Red. This is mostly medium reddish-brown, pretty much devoid of black cavendish, and well-shredded, with the occasional residual piece of broken flake. It has a lightweight feel to the touch and a delicious aroma that makes me want to eat it. At first, I didn't think of it as a vanilla mixture at all. I found the dominant flavour to be coconut-macaroon, perhaps with a touch of anise thrown in. However, a couple of months after breaking the seal on my 100g tin, I opened it one day and, for the first time, thought it smelled like vanilla. Though highly aromatic and not strong in natural tobacco character, I like how the leaf's nutty, toasted notes combine silently with the casing to create a flavour reminiscent of freshly baked cookies. It's a very uniform smoke from start to finish, aside from a slight spiciness that develops in the second half of the bowl. "Dry," "clean-smoking" and "not syrupy" also describe this blend. It ranks on the light side of medium in terms of strength and body. I don't find that this bites per se, but it burns very well and I have a tendency to smoke it a little hot. A fine, light grey ash remains at the bottom of the pipe. The room aroma is sweet, fresh and very aromatic, but not cloying at all. Maybe someone will ask you to smoke this in their house for them. One cold, December day in British Columbia, I was walking along a pebbly beach smoking a bowl of this... a woman passed by and made a point of commenting on "how beautiful" my pipe smelled: "It isn't like those cigarettes." My cigarette-smoking parents glanced at me quizzically and said nothing. '01

Tordenskjold Virginia Slices
Body: 3/10
Nicotine Strength: 4/10
Flavour Depth: 5/10
Flavour—sweetness: 5/10
Flavour—fruitiness: 3/10
Flavour—floweriness: 3/10
Flavour—smokiness: 2/10
Flavour—mustiness: 2/10
Flavour—nuttiness: 3/10
Bite: 7/10
Room Aroma: Plain-musty
In many respects, this flake tobacco strikes me as a variation on Hamborger Veermaster's recipe—a little lighter, a little sweeter, and the subtle flavourings are just a little more obvious. Some might even find that this comes off as a "light" version of Three Nuns, though this didn't occur to me the first few times I smoked it. The impression from the open tin reminds me of Veermaster: medium-dark brown slices with a familiar wine-like, fermented Virginia tobacco scent. A light topping of flavours like chocolate, vanilla and probably some fruit essence make the tobacco smell sweet, but there's not enough of it that one comes away thinking that this is a flavoured tobacco. From the moment the pipe is lit, these flakes have a plain and fresh, tangy flavour and—some will say—a little bite. (Indeed, those who consider themselves extra-sensitive to tongue bite might want to be careful with these flakes.) In keeping with the aroma in the tin, the added flavours seem to work more as a flavour-enhancer than as recognizable flavouring agents in the pipe smoke. While smoking, the tobacco does gain some strength and spiciness in typical Virginia fashion, but the subtlety of the blend and the spice from its perique can get lost if it is smoked in a pipe that has been used for tobaccos with a strong character. I've often smoked this and found it a little bland, not because it's an inherently dull tobacco, but simply because it has a little less body than the Virginias that I most prefer. However, right now, I'm at the bottom of the bowl, which is the most flavourful part, and I'm finding it far more relaxing and enjoyable than I remember it being last time. A little sweetness remains in the moustache after smoking and the room aroma is quite simple and inoffensive. '02