Samuel Gawith Blends and Quality

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,876
61
Samuel Gawith seems to be one of, if not the, oldest blender of tobacco in business. I've always been reluctant about SG blends for fear of missing the mark and getting some of their soapy/floral aromatics, but I know they make a number of non-aromatics that don't pose a flavor or ghosting problem. Otherwise, I get the sense that they are a notch up from other blenders. I am not a fussy smoker and, selectively, enjoy many brands from Sutliff to Dunhills, from Peterson to Mac Barens, to Semois, Cornell & Diehl and McClellands and so on. A Forums member was so kind as to send me a tin of SG Brown Sugar Flake, which I am hankering to try. I am slow to open tins. How do you regard Samuel Gawith blends -- a step up from most in quality, a worthy blender on a level with other quality blends, or something else? Eventually in my glacially slow way, I'd might like to try SG Navy Flake and Bothy Flake, and maybe Squadron Leader.

 

dread

Preferred Member
Jun 19, 2013
1,619
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One just bought the other, and I believe they were related if you were to take the way-back-time machine. Squadron Leader is my favorite mild English and Navy Flake is really good stuff.

 

agnosticpipe

Preferred Member
Nov 3, 2013
2,586
4
I love SG tobaccos, as well as GH tobaccos. Probably 30% of what I smoke is by these blenders. I like both the Lakeland blends and the non Lakeland blends equally. As far as SG goes, there are a lot of great non Lakeland blends to choose from. I highly recommend Brown Sugar Flake, Bothy Flake as well as Squadron Leader. You might want to try Cabbies Mixture and Firedance Flake as well, although they are nothing alike. Cabbies reminds me of Strang Curley, and Firedance Flake of not much else. Kind of fruity with maybe a little touch of Lakeland in the background. Obviously these are just my opinions and others may disagree, so only you can tell if any are to your liking. Be assured though, that they all contain first rate tobaccos.

 

shutterbugg

Preferred Member
Nov 18, 2013
1,453
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All two of the SG blends I've tried (Kendal Mayor's Chocolate Flake and Firedance Flake) were very high quality in terms of the tobaccos used. The gripe I have is they come too wet to stay lit. Not soggy as a bog, more like an oily-greasy wetness. I had to leave them out on a plate to dry for 3-4 days to get them to where they'll stay lit...and they still had a moist feel to them! And once dried, their flavor profile changed significantly. Firedance's blackberry flavor was still in evidence albeit much subdued, but the chocolate in KMCF was gone, allowing the minuscule amount of Latakia to come forth. I already have Lat blends I like, it's not why I bought that one.

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
632
25
I've had some of their tobaccos that I didn't personally care for, but that was only because they weren't to my taste. Even those, though, were very obviously made with very fine tobacco. I too have not yet come to appreciation of the Lakeland essence, but even on the ones I have tried that were Lakeland scented, the underlying tobacco was of very high quality.

 

johnbarleycorn

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2015
2,083
4
FVF is my absolute favorite tobacco. To me all their tobaccos are a cut above other brands I have tried. And as someone else said squadron leader is one of my favorite mild English blends. The only SG blend I have tried that I wasn't crazy about is cabbies mixture and it may have just been the mood I was in at the time. I have never gotten a tin from them with Lakeland essence although a friend of mine had had more than one instance of opening a non Lakeland blend from them that seemed to have cross pollinated (this resulted in me getting tins from him as he is now gun-shy about them). I highly recommend them. Of course the wetness can be an issue but 10 seconds in the microwave works perfectly for me.

 

lasttango

Preferred Member
Sep 29, 2012
869
0
Wilmington, De / Ithaca, NY
Thanks. My opinion of these tobaccos is very high. I like Lakeland tobaccos a lot - I buy Rich Dark Honeydew in bulk. I love the G+H blends such as Ennerdale, BCF, Cherry. I have many SG blends also. It took me a while to find the sweet spot with Squadron Leader, but ultimately it proved to work well. I don't love it, but it's good. I like all the S+G flakes. Brown Sugar Flake is on the way from Denmark, so we'll see on that one.

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,799
1
Both brands make great tobaccos, but the underlying leaf is generally cheaper and of lower quality than what you'd get from McClelland's or GL Pease, for example. At least that's historically been the case. The Gawith brands were built around the effective use of cheaper "Empire" tobaccos (i.e., ones from Britain's overseas colonies in Africa and India, primarily). It's not that Empire tobaccos are necessarily bad, just that they're cheaper.
What makes the Gawith tobaccos great is how they're processed and blended. For instance, I love Best Brown #2 and Brown Flake U/S from Gawith Hoggarth, but the VAs in those tobaccos will never have the freshness or clarity of flavor that you'd get from Union Square or any of the Christmas Cheer vintages. That doesn't mean that one is objectively "better," but carefully selected, top-grade VAs from NC and Virginia cost more than most Virginias from Africa, say. At the same time, VAs from North America will never have the same kind of rough, earthy flavors that the African tobaccos have. And those Empire tobaccos are really important for the taste of British and Irish-style plugs and flakes like Condor and War Horse.

 

twangthang

Senior Member
Sep 15, 2012
351
1
I find that Sam Gawith tops my list of most smoked blends. I am particular to FVF, St. James Flake, Balkan Flake, Bothy Flake and Navy Flake. I can't speak of their aromatic blends. I don't really smoke aromatics. I don't find that these blends have much Lakeland essence, and the quality is always consistent and quality.

I recently ordered some Gawith Hoggarth Bosun cut plug (unscented) and Bob's chocolate flake. I almost gagged when I took a whiff of the bag of Bosun cut. The "essence" is so strong I can't small anything past it. I haven't opened the tin of Bob's, but I am hoping it will not be as over powering.

There is always a little extra work with SG, with drying. I have never had a quality issue, bulk or tin.

 

stickframer

Preferred Member
Apr 11, 2015
870
0
Skiff Mixture and Best Brown Flake are killer blends imho. They are the only SG blends I've tried (I have a few tins of FVF on the cellar.)
I do notice a difference in the Va's used by SG. They are a little bit earthier I think, and slightly stronger than American ones.
Skiff and BB don't have the tin presentation of say Dunhill, with the nicely crinkled paper and circular cardboard thingy. I get the feeling that SG focuses much on blend quality and little on presentation, and that at tinning they just mash tobacco in the tin the send it out the door. I find that somehow appeals to me.
For the record, one tin of Skiff had some mild Lakeland happening, luckily after some time in the tin, the essence faded/disappeared.

 
Mar 16, 2014
1,584
1
I've smoked a number of Samuel Gawith blends, but only FVF and St. James found their way into my cellar and regular rotation (although I do like Balkan Flake quite a bit and have stashed a few of them back as well). Their flakes are cut thick and packed wet and can be a pain to deal with, but once you get used to them... FVF and St. James are worth the trouble. They also age well and (for lack of a better way of putting it) are meatier than most blends. I always feel satisfied after I've smoked either of the aforementioned blends. Gawith & Hoggarth are more known for their Lakeland blends than Samuel Gawith. I have heard complaints that since the merger that Samuel Gawith blends have taken on some of the Lakeland essence, but I did not personally experience this. The FVF that I've smoked since the merger was business as usual.

 

mackeson

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2016
758
0
SG is top quality stuff IMHO. Weather or not it appeals to any given individual is, of course, a matter of personal taste. I have always found their quality and consistency top notch. I look forward to trying Brown Sugar Flake myself someday after reading about it, but it looks like I'll need to buy from overseas.
Let us know what you think.

 

dottiewarden

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
3,051
0
Toronto
I've always been reluctant about SG blends for fear of missing the mark and getting some of their soapy/floral aromatics, but I know they make a number of non-aromatics that don't pose a flavor or ghosting problem.
The SG Balkan Flake is for serious Lat Bombers, no soapy/floral here!
It comes sopping wet so expect some major dry time before loading the pipe, but the Latakia taste is second to none.

 

virginialover

Senior Member
Mar 29, 2016
444
0
FVF, BBF, St. James in flake or plug form, Golden Glow, Balkan Flake, Squadron Leader from Samuel Gawith and I prefer the ropes and strong flakes from GH. And yes those African and Indian Virginias are earthier and rougher around the edges than the American Virginia leaf. I like both as they each have different qualities.

 

davet

Preferred Member
May 9, 2015
3,780
0
I'd might like to try SG Navy Flake and Bothy Flake
Two of my favorites, I only occasionally smoke them but really enjoy them both :clap:

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,912
1
I classify tobacco according to cost, and thus SG and GH has always been an attractive buy at ~$60.00/500g, and C&D banner blends the same. Pease@ $70.00 are a bargain. But I hesitate with tins @$100.00, and though I would love to try some of Glynn Quelch's wares or those from Motzek or HU, I will endure smoking affordable tobacco.
For me SG quality is fine. The Lakelands among their or GH's offerings are easily enough known.

 

kiel

Member
May 27, 2016
208
0
Perzonally, SG is a go to blend. They stack, age, and smoke beautifully. The only blends that didn't fall in line, imho, was Westmoreland. I have a few of their more lesser talked about blends(perfection and grousemoor) that I'm not crazy about, but they occasionally surprise me with an interesting and enjoyable smoke. I love how they use Latakia in Chocolate Flake and Balkan Flake. These two blends have steered me back onto blends with Latakia. The other reason I SG flakes so enjoyable is that they come packaged so wet. Drying times change the flavor profile. I enjoy my SG flakes wetter vs. drier, but ultimately it just depends on what I feel like smoking. Wet, dry, they're both good in they're own ways. I haven't smoked hundreds of blends, but I am also not incredibly new to smoking pipes. SG offers wonderful variety even if you only have one of their blends.