Dry Smoking Tobacco-Forward Aromatics?

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Feb 12, 2022
North Georgia mountains.
I really enjoy the Country Squire "aromatics". I put that in quotes because many are marketed as non-aro, but have an obvious topping. Not enough to make it goopy or mask any tobacco flavors, but enough for to add flavor. Similar to a light Lakeland or other topped VA flakes.
Merriweather, Green Dragon, Cowboy Coffee, Kingsfoil, etc...
The Squire also offers a large line of aromatic blends. I've tried a few and actually enjoy them for what they are - flavored tobacco. JD and his team do a great job. In the same breath, I'd say Watch City does a great job as well with their "aros". Glass Slipper, Old Black Magic and other blends with a topping. I find I prefer the B&M aros/flavored blends over the tinned American manufactured products. I say American because I do enjoy the European VA flakes, many of which are topped. HU, Dan, G&H, etc...
Some would argue none of these are aro, and to an extent they have a point. Any noticeable topping is aromatic in my opinion, even if only slightly. YMMV


Might Stick Around
Jul 26, 2022
There really is a lot of truth to that. A blend being generally well liked is usually a good indicator of whether or not it might be worth trying, but ultimately everyone's taste buds are different and what one person gets out of a blend may be completely different from what you or I get out of it.

A good example for me is Orlik Golden Sliced. It's probably one of the most widely beloved VaPers of all time and tons of people crow about the myriad of complex and nuanced flavors they get out of it, but everytime I've smoked it all I get is... dandelions. Just dandelions. I can't taste anything other than dandelions when I smoke Orlik Golden Sliced, and if I wasn't so heavily reassured that it was in fact tobacco I would be very suspicious that it might indeed be dandelions that were dried and pressed into a flake.

My taste buds can be a little odd at times though, since I also think Escudo tastes exactly the grape juice my grandmother used to serve alongside pancakes for breakfast. 😅

Out of curiosity, do either of you notice any difference between the loose cut, flake, or roll cake versions of Mac Baren Vanilla? I seem to recall reading an official statement from Mac Baren awhile back that they were all the same in terms of casing and toppings used, but I'd be surprised if the preparation method didn't make some difference in the final flavor. I was thinking of going with the flake version to try, since I'm rather partial to flake cut tobacco, but I'd certainly be open to trying the roll cake if people think it's tastier or less bitey!

Thanks for the recommendations, I'll have to check them out! I do give my tobaccos some dry time if they need it and I don't mind doing that, I'm just trying to avoid the really wet and goopy aromatics that leave your fingers all sticky after handling them and could probably be left out for weeks and never dry. I'm looking at you, Sutliff! 👀

I think a lot of what does or doesn't cause tongue bite really comes down to individual mouth chemistry. I've met plenty of folks who simply can't smoke the vast majority of aromatics without getting tongue bite, and the same goes for English blends containing Latakia. Personally I can't smoke bright Virginias or VaPers without getting bit unless I smoke at an absolute snails pace keeping the ember very small and burning at a low temperature, and even then my tongue is still usually a little sore feeling afterwards.

Everyone's a little different and what works for one may not work for all, but I'm glad you've found at least some aromatics you can enjoy! I really like G&H Ennerdale flake too, though I have to be careful smoking it since the nicotine wallop it packs is quite fierce to me and it has put me to bed before! 😆

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Lastly, today I got a tin of Cornell & Diehl's Corn Cob Pipe (and a Button Nose) in the mail and my first impressions of it based on the bowl I've been puffing on for the past 45 minutes is that it would be a very good recommendation for anyone else who shares my taste in aromatics! It was the perfect moisture level right out of the tin and quite dry, with no casing residue or goopiness anywhere to be found, and the tin note yields a really enticing aroma of hot cocoa and toasty marshmallows.

When smoked the cocoa and marshmallow flavors do come through a little, but only as a background supporting note. The main flavor I get from it is an exceptionally smooth and softly nutty Burley flavor with no bitterness to be found anywhere, and an equally soft and smooth red Virginia flavor backing it up. The cocoa and marshmallow flavors just linger subtly behind the tobacco without imparting any more than the smallest hint of sweetness, and while I wouldn't mind if the toppings were a little stronger it's still a lovely mix that feels and tastes surprisingly delicate for Cornell & Diehl; since their usual blending style is more rustic and bold. Even the retrohale is smooth and gentle on the sinuses, and it leaves a pleasant room note very similar to hot cocoa!

I like it, and if you're typically a non-aromatic smoker with a taste for Burley/Virginia blends who's looking for something a little different to mix things up but don't want a whole lot of topping muddling up the flavors of the tobacco you enjoy then I think you'll like it too. Folks who usually smoke aromatics should be aware that Corn Cob Pipe does pack a pretty good punch in the nicotine department though, as is the case with most Burley forward blends. If you can handle Haunted Bookshop you should be able to handle Corn Cob Pipe, but if you ask me this one is a heck of a lot tastier! puffy
Being the relatively beginner that I am (started last year), I have been trying most kinds of blends - and enjoying them all, from VaPers to English/Balkans, to Orientals, and of course, aromatics. I also enjoy a good aromatic, and even though some (most?) of their aromatics do contain some cavendish, I really like Boswell´s Piper´s pleasure, Cupcake, No Bite Delite (that´s one with a promise on its own name) and last but not least, Military Force (which is technically an English blend, but it’s got to have some topping as it is deliciously sweet).


Your Mom's Favorite Pipe Smoker
Aug 27, 2016
The finest fully topped pipe tobacco blends ive encountered come from HU.
I haven't tried them all, but I've sampled perhaps a half dozen and they all share the common characteristics of - being tobacco forward despite the obvious flavorings - the topping serves to accentuate the tobacco flavors, not mask them.
They smoke essentially the same as unflavored counterparts - no extra moisture that can lead to gurgles.
Finally, the flavors themselves aren't the same old tired palette found in traditional aros. You'll find some flavors you may have never considered to be worthwhile additions to tobacco, but are most pleasantly surprising.



Sep 6, 2019
Southwestern PA
Autumn Evening recently kinda turned my world upside down a little bit...when I was a newer smoker I didn't know how to approach it and resigned it to the shelf for years. On a whim, I opened up a years old jar and had one of the most amazing smokes...I've been smoking it almost daily since. It REALLY has that perfect balance of a great aromatic component and that sweet Red Va Cav.

Two blends come to mind for immediate suggestion: Peter Stokkebye Cube Cut (PS-41) and C&D John Marr - I don't think PS-41 is classified as an aromatic, but, for me, it has a real sweet side and a very natural virginia component that do a wonderful dance.


Skippy B. Coyote

Can't Leave
Jun 19, 2023
St. Paul, MN
Being the relatively beginner that I am (started last year), I have been trying most kinds of blends - and enjoying them all, from VaPers to English/Balkans, to Orientals, and of course, aromatics. I also enjoy a good aromatic, and even though some (most?) of their aromatics do contain some cavendish, I really like Boswell´s Piper´s pleasure, Cupcake, No Bite Delite (that´s one with a promise on its own name) and last but not least, Military Force (which is technically an English blend, but it’s got to have some topping as it is deliciously sweet).

I'm in much the same boat as you in terms of experience level. I had occasionally dabbled in pipe smoking with OTC blends and a Dr Grabow since I was a teenager some 20 odd years ago, but it wasn't until October of last year that I started seriously giving it a go with more premium tobaccos and pipes. I started off with just a tin of Cult Blood Red Moon and a Missouri Meerschaum Cobbit Shire, and now a year later I've got 5 Savinellis, 2 Petersons, 2 Missouri Meerschaum cobs, an AKB Meerschaum and a cellar of 30'ish Ball canning jars of different blends. The PAD/TAD is real! 😅

I've tried a bit of everything too, from well regarded VaPers to VaBurs, English blends, Lakelands, and a wide variety of aromatics from different manufacturers. What I've learned in that time is that while I like the taste of aromatics and found that they almost never bite me, I like a smoke with a bit more body to it and a little dose of Vitamin N. Coming from a background of cigarette smoking it's hard to not reach for a cigarette after finishing a bowl of Sutliff or Lane tobaccos and the like. I've also learned that pure Virginias and VaPers tend to bite me like the devil unless I smoke extremely slowly and cautiously, and even then they usually bite me anyway.

At this point my favorite blends are Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening and Cult Blood Red Moon (I don't care if it's wet and goopy or lacking in Vitamin N, I still love it) for aromatics, Peterson Elizabethan Mixture and Escudo Navy DeLux for VaPers, Cornell & Diehl Briar Fox for an all day smoke VaBur, and Kramer's Father Dempsey as my English blend of choice. I still have a real soft spot for aromatics though, and many people in this thread have recommended Boswell blends so I think I'll have to check them out!

For now though, I think my PAD/TAD budget is spent for the next couple weeks after today's order 😋



Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 2, 2023
Vancouver BC
Looks like you got a pretty good start there with that order!

I too have a soft spot for aro's and prefer them lightly aromatic, although I do smoke plenty of full on aromatics as well.

You could consider trying Davidoff pipe tobacco line. I've found them to be quite good, a bit under rated. Their aro line Red/Blue/Green tend to be more tobacco forward than your average American style Aro. They also have good quality base tobaccos, and they are quite reasonably priced for tinned pipe tobacco. I think they are still under $10/50gr without a sale.

I also really like their Royalty for a mild English in the EMP family.

Skippy B. Coyote

Can't Leave
Jun 19, 2023
St. Paul, MN
My latest tobacco order arrived a few days ago and now that I've had a chance to check out the various blends I received I have a few thoughts to share!

I haven't had a chance to smoke the Low Country Santee by Cornell & Diehl yet but I can already tell just from the tin note and feel of the tobacco that I'm probably going to really enjoy it! The tobacco is nicely dry and not the least bit sticky, and has a wonderful aroma of apples. A little tart and a little sweet, like a good Honeycrisp apple, mingling with equally pleasant Virginia and Burley notes. This seems like just my kinda thing!

In contrast, I'm really not looking forward to putting Gawith Hoggarth & Co's Kendal Black Cherry in any of my pipes and may have to pick up a cheap Missouri Meerschaum cob just to sample this one. Taking a whiff from the tin makes me wrinkle my nose in all sorts of unpleasant ways, and further supports my growing suspicion that Gawith Hoggarth's master blender may in fact just be some demented vagrant who travels from truck stop bathroom to truck stop bathroom looking for various soaps and toiletries to adorn his blends with. Where he gets tobacco as high quality as he does I have no idea, but I am starting to get a pretty good idea of where his casings and toppings come from. 🧼👀

What I have had the chance to smoke several times already though are the two Mac Baren blends I picked up, so I think it's time for a couple little first impressions mini reviews!


Mac Baren 7 Seas Red Blend

I can only think that when Middleton decided to stop producing their Cherry pipe tobacco they must have sold the recipe to Mac Baren, because this tastes exactly like I remember Middleton Cherry tasting; just with much higher quality tobacco and no tongue bite! In spite of Mac Baren's reputation for making rather bitey blends, this one absolutely refuses to bite even when puffed quite vigorously, though I'd still suggest smoking it slow and easy to get the most enjoyment out of the flavor of the blend.

As far as the flavor goes, I'm so nostalgic for Middleton Cherry (on account of it being the first pipe tobacco I ever smoked) that I probably can't be objective here, but I'd describe it as a fairly equal mix of well aged Virginia and earthy Burley tobacco flavors with just a little hint of a very natural and realistic cherry flavor in the background without the sweetness. This is not your typical wet and goopy aromatic smothered in toppings, the tobacco is nicely dry right out of the tin and it's so lightly topped that I'd consider it more of a Virgina/Burley blend with just a dash of extra flavor than a traditional aromatic. The cherry flavor that has been added is much like that of a real cherry straight off the tree in your grandmother's backyard, except it isn't sweet and is only ever so slightly tart, and compliments the excellent quality tobacco perfectly I think.

Much like the cherry topping, the Vitamin N in this blend is noticable but in no way overwhelming. It's got more than most aromatics but isn't going to knock your socks off so I'd say it's a medium. All in all I couldn't recommend a finer blend for anyone looking for a Middleton Cherry replacement, because Mac Baren 7 Seas Red tastes just like it (albeit with much better quality tobacco and no bite) and I think those who typically smoke non-aromatics will find a lot to like here as well. No goopy pipes or sticky fingers, just a really good Virginia/Burley blend with a touch of unsweetened cherry flavor. It's a winner in my book and I think my search for the right cherry blend for me is over! 👍🍒

Mac Baren Vanilla Flake

Do you enjoy Orlik Golden Sliced or Peter Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake but wish it had just a ever so slight hint of vanilla and maybe coconut as a background note? Well then here you go, because that's exactly what Mac Baren Vanilla Flake tastes like! I would have never known there was any Cavendish in this at all had I not been told there was, it just strikes my palate like a really nice bright and summery VaPer with a very daintily applied hint of natural vanilla and possibly coconut flavoring lingering in the background.

This is not your typical wet and goopy aromatic either, it comes packed and appears just like any other high quality Virginia flake, and smokes just as well. Slow burning, smooth on the retrohale, and surprisingly bite-free. Virginias have always had a tendency to nip me a little but this one has been kind and gentle on the tongue. The nicotine hit is fairly mild as well, though it is noticeable and stronger than most aromatics. I'd say it's comparable to Orlik Golden Sliced or any other VaPer that goes light on the Perique.

The only complaint I could really make about Mac Baren Vanilla Flake is that about halfway through the bowl the vanilla background note diminishes to the point of being barely perceivable and what you're left with is just a really nice quality Virginia flake, but maybe that's not such a bad thing depending on your taste preferences. I won't mind smoking the rest of the tin but I don't think I'll be buying this one again, since I'm just not much of a VaPer or pure Virginia guy and would like a little Burley in the mix, but for those Virginia and VaPer fans looking for something different and lightly aromatic then I can definitely see Mac Baren Vanilla Flake being just the thing.

I'll give Mac Baren's Vanilla Roll Cake a try for my next vanilla aromatic, since it replaces the Cavendish with Burley for a little extra body and oomph and uses a different vanilla flavor formulation that'll hopefully stick around a bit longer through the smoke. puffy
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Skippy B. Coyote

Can't Leave
Jun 19, 2023
St. Paul, MN
It's funny how tastes change as you gain more experience with different blends and refine your smoking techniques. I remembered thinking that Sutliff Vanilla Custard was absolutely amazing when I first started my pipe smoking journey, so tonight I decided to go back and revisit the little jar of it in my cellar for the first time in a year or so. I've been smoking a lot of Mac Baren Vanilla Flake lately so I thought it would make for an interesting comparison.

What I quickly learned from Sutliff Vanilla Custard is that what I thought was a wonderful vanilla flavor when I first started pipe smoking was... well, very different to my palate today. There was vanilla there, but it was an obviously artificial vanilla extract kind of flavor accompanied by an acrid nuttiness that I could only describe as "cheap Burley". It left a sour taste in the back of my throat that persisted through the whole smoke, and the utterly absurd amount of propylene glycol the tobacco was coated in left an unpleasantly waxy texture on my lips even after giving the tobacco an hour of dry time before smoking (which admittedly did very little to dry it out).

I only made it halfway through the bowl before dumping the rest out, at which time I discovered that it had turned the bottom half of my pipe's bowl into a swimming pool soaked in liquid. At that point I thoroughly dabbed the bowl dry with a couple paper towels, gave the stem a thorough pipe cleaner'ing, and put the pipe back on the rack before loading up a different pipe with Mac Baren Vanilla Flake.

To probably no one's surprise, the Mac Baren Vanilla Flake was a vastly more enjoyable smoke! Real proper vanilla bean flavor accentuating a high quality mellow Virgina flake, with all those nice grassy, hay, and tea notes that younger and less experienced me would have never noticed nor appreciated. The flavor can be a little fiddly about the heat and turn ashy quickly if you puff it too fast, but keeping the heat low and sipping it slow yields a wondrously flavorful and well balanced smoke.

So, do I think Sutliff Vanilla Custard is a terrible blend that no one should ever buy? No, not really. When you're a beginning pipe smoker just starting out you don't know what Virginias or Burleys taste like and all you really want is a tobacco you can get flavor from that won't give you tongue bite, which Sutliff Vanilla Custard certainly did for me when I was just starting out. However, if you're at the point in your pipe smoking journey where you know and appreciate what good quality Virginias and Burleys taste like and can keep your smoking cadence slow and easy then I think Mac Baren Vanilla Flake is definitely the way to go.

...Unless of course you prefer Sutliff Vanilla Custard, in which case that's what you should smoke! I'm not the pipe police and ultimately the most important thing is that you enjoy the blend you're smoking, so smoke what you like regardless of what anyone else thinks of it. For my tastes though, in the trash bin the remainder of my jar of Sutliff Vanilla Custard goes and into my pipe another bowl of Mac Baren Vanilla Flake goes!puffy
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Sep 12, 2020
Spain - Europe
I am familiar with Irish Flake but who makes Sansepolcro?
Hi, friend Valliantpiper.





Here at C&D we set the standard for boutique, hand-blended pipe tobacco by adhering to a simple idea: quality trumps quantity. Every time.



Merging the Old World with the New, Sansepolero isa very special entry into the Small Batch project - carefully blended from unique, Italian dark-fired leaf and some ofthe finest red Virginias from North Carolina. Aromatically spicy with earthy, clove-like undertones, the singular dark-fired leaf is grown and double-fermented in the Sansepolcro region of Italy, which boasts a history and tradition of tobacco cultivation dating to the 17th century. Combined with mellow citrus and bread-like notes of the reds, i makes for a wonderful melange of flavors and aromas - at once both familiar and exotic.

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