First Impression: Cornell & Diehl's Haunted Bookshop

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jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
4,169
149
Some names seem to pop up over and over, making it onto the mental "some day" list. Haunted Bookshop was one of those names for me.

Over the weekend, I dropped into one of my B&M shops to cool off and enjoy a pipe. Not wanting to be a freeloader but too cheap to spring for a tin, I snagged an ounce of bulk Haunted Bookshop.

Don't be hatin' on my local tobacconist for calling it "bookstore" 😎
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A blend from the revered Bob Runowski containing burley, perique and Virginia, it is a ribbon-ish course cut of medium brown and reddish-brown pieces. Camera lighting makes this pic more brown than in real life. The darker bits have a slightly reddish hue off camera, to me.

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Mine came at the most perfect moisture level. Cramming the schnozz into the stylish poly bag, I get some perique sharpness and some earthy burley smells, with maybe a bit of the VA sweetness in the aroma. Not bad for a guy who usually can't smell anything. Although the burley is represented as the headliner, it is the perique that stands out to me in the tin note.

Today's guest briar is one of my two committed VaPer pipes, a Stanwell 185. It's a nice size and hangs deceptively well, good for review typing while smoking.

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After the third tamp and spark, it came to life for pretty much the duration. Treated with respect, it's a smooth, easy burn that allows you to focus on the flavors and not the furnace.

The perique is there constantly, both "raisiny" and spicy, but not overly so. A little buzz on the retrohale reminds you that you are in Cajun country and it, too, stays throughout the bowl.

I get burley nuttiness easily when smoking the "burley flakes". In ribbon blends, singling out that flavor has usually presented me with more of a challenge.

Today, I feel I am getting a good representation of the burley and Virginia, both as supporting actors. In contrast to many other reviews, to me it's the perique that headlines this show.

The Virginia contribution seems like a darker sort than I've come to expect from C&D, almost no citrus or hay. Again, how much of this is obscured by the pleasantly dominating hand of the perique?

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I've been lost in typing and puffing, so I haven't noted start time. Suffice to say it doesn't seem to be an unusually long or short smoke. What you'd expect from a minimally cased ribbon/course cut.

About half way in, the tingle drops back and a bit more VA dark cherry teams up with the raisin of the perique to heighten the sweetness. Beneath this, I dare say, I DO get the nuttiness, providing a platform for the VaPer waltz above. Increasing the puff rate seems to reinvigorate the spice a bit, if that is your desire.

Moisture has been a non-issue at 2/3 through. Same with heat. If the shop IS haunted, it's by a very friendly ghost! An entrenched sweetness seems to coat the mouth by this point. Not overpowering, less than half the strength of the effect after sucking on a red Jolly Rancher. Definitely more natural feeling than the candy version, though.

The 7th Inning Stretch calls for a minor poke, dump and tamp to set things up for the finish. One quick pass of the flame brings the willing dottles back out of the dugout and happily billowing. A slight creaminess slips in the back door. Slight. Don't get too excited.

Nicotine is a solid medium by this point. I'm more tolerant than many, but that one small muscle on my left temple is twitching again, a telltale sign that Lady N is in da house. The billows pick up more moisture and body as the final, remaining soggy bits incinerate. They bring a slowly increasing intensity in all the good ways. No sour funk to speak of.

The briar warms a bit more as the finish line comes into distant view, As with most blends with burley, at this point one COULD evoke the burley bitters if you let the cadence get out of hand, but it's easy enough to exercise restraint and fend it off. The nuttiness now presents more fully, rising through the sweetness. Raisin nut bread? Not quite. The remaining spice keeps that profile from really establishing. But it's interesting. It's tasty. It's.....haunting?

Verdict: GET SOME!


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d4k23

Member
Mar 6, 2018
299
0
Haven’t smoked this, but what a great review! Thanks Jay!

Makes me think of when I smoke GLP Cairo, and the different layers where I get the Orientals early, spiced perique poking throughout, and if smoked too fast the char like flavor of tobacco. Smoke it slow though and it’s beauty the whole time.

Not a big burley fan, but If I become one this will be on the list! Thanks for the read!
 

Dtom447

New member
Sep 15, 2019
4
0
Great review! This is one of my favorite blends and the one I smoke pretty much every day. I get the best flavors smoking it out of author shaped pipes, especially the Savinelli 302. If you want to try two other burley blends Pegasus and Three Friars are also wonderful and some of my other favorites.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,899
76
I really enjoyed my tin of Riverboat Gambler, another fine burley blend from C&D, and I always wondered how it never got discussed much on Forums. I posted it often on "What Are You Smoking," but no one mentioned trying it otherwise.
 

crawdad

Member
Jul 19, 2019
113
32
I wish I could share your assessment, but despite how bad I wanted to like HB it fell far short of my expectatations. I found it bland. I got nothing out of it. I tried a bowl here and there over time and it did not grow on me. Maybe it was a bad batch yet I won’t be buying it again.

I think it goes to show that sometimes with a particular blend, it’s always birds of a feather that flock together.

Edit: Oops, forgot to mention this was a nicely written review despite my irrelevant opinion.
 
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Reactions: Dtom447

Dtom447

New member
Sep 15, 2019
4
0
I wish I could share your assessment, but despite how bad I wanted to like HB it fell far short of my expectatations. I found it bland. I got nothing out of it. I tried a bowl here and there over time and it did not grow on me. Maybe it was a bad batch yet I won’t be buying it again.

I think it goes to show that sometimes with a particular blend, it’s always birds of a feather that flock together.
I thought the same thing when I first had it. I tried it in different pipes and when I found the right pipe I could actually taste the tobacco and then it became my favorite
 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
3,224
12
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
Maybe I'm a bit too conservative here but somehow Burley Perique blends never got me too excited ,though my experience with these is limited ,last time it was HU tobacco nashville county Burley where perique is minor player,I may have liked it more if they'd dropped the perique off the blend althogheter,so I think I better stick with traditional Virginia perique mixtures since often it is that regular 'non sauced'brown &dark varieties of Burleys are quite robust tasting tobaccies except for white'burleys of course,