Trying Out Gawith Blends and Sharing My Impressions

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BenMN

Lifer
Jun 21, 2023
1,207
22,488
St. Paul, MN
I was just thinking I might order a G&H blend I have not tried yet.

In looking at Smokingpipes.com selection, I couldn't help but notice this review for Brown Flake Unscented:

"Taking the tobacco like licking prostitute's neck, but very stimulating."

This is the #1 review that apparently 14 people found helpful. I have to think maybe something has been lost in translation... but maybe not. I might order some. Stimulating, after all
 

karam

Lifer
Feb 2, 2019
2,428
9,235
Basel, Switzerland
If you generally liked Brown Bogie but thought it was a little much, it might be worth trying Dark Birdseye at some point. I know it's supposed to be the same tobacco,
That's interesting! It's always been tricky with some of the old school GH products. I haven't had Brown Bogie but I have quite a bit of Dark Birdseye and like it.
I am not super fond of the Virginia Wrapper of the Gawith twists, going as far as to remove and bin it from time to time. It has an oily taste which doesn't agree with me.
but I find DBE to be a little milder and less cigar-ish. Not that I have anything against heavy, cigar-ish blends. I totally dig Brown Bogie, 1792, and Dark Flake. It's just that most of the time I find them a little too heavy so I don't smoke them often. DBE to me is a perfect mid-point between Dark Flake and HH Old Dark Fired.
I couldn't put these in the same bucket. I've had all of the above bar the Bogie and would sort of rate them in terms of strength like this:
  1. Bonus, not mentioned and changed, I think: SG Brown No.4 - think this is the strongest of the lot (for my taste)
    1. I said changed because tobaccoreviews says it does not contain cigar leaf. When I first bought it, the tin said it did, and so does JimInks's review from 2014
  2. SG 1792: other ballpark, heavily flavoured, very strong (I am biased, this blend is in my top 5)
  3. GH DBE: nice, steady, strong but not too strong, bit monotone
  4. SG Lakeland Dark: the refined cousin of the above
  5. GH Dark Flake: find it milder than its name would suggest, LOVE the scented version
  6. MacBaren HH ODF: very nice but very mild and sweet compared with the rest
 

WerewolfOfLondon

Can't Leave
Jun 8, 2023
479
1,606
London
Hats off to you guys who can smoke 1792. I have a pretty high tolerance for nic, but that stuff knocks my socks off. Irish Flake, Revor Plug, Coniston Cut Plug, I can smoke all pretty easily. But put 1792 in a pipe, and after a few puffs, my face is turning away from the pipe involuntarily. A real power house that one.
 
Aug 11, 2022
2,382
18,787
Cedar Rapids, IA
That's interesting! It's always been tricky with some of the old school GH products. I haven't had Brown Bogie but I have quite a bit of Dark Birdseye and like it.
I am not super fond of the Virginia Wrapper of the Gawith twists, going as far as to remove and bin it from time to time. It has an oily taste which doesn't agree with me.

I couldn't put these in the same bucket. I've had all of the above bar the Bogie and would sort of rate them in terms of strength like this:
  1. Bonus, not mentioned and changed, I think: SG Brown No.4 - think this is the strongest of the lot (for my taste)
    1. I said changed because tobaccoreviews says it does not contain cigar leaf. When I first bought it, the tin said it did, and so does JimInks's review from 2014
  2. SG 1792: other ballpark, heavily flavoured, very strong (I am biased, this blend is in my top 5)
  3. GH DBE: nice, steady, strong but not too strong, bit monotone
  4. SG Lakeland Dark: the refined cousin of the above
  5. GH Dark Flake: find it milder than its name would suggest, LOVE the scented version
  6. MacBaren HH ODF: very nice but very mild and sweet compared with the rest
That brings up something that has fascinated me about Gawith blends. It seems like some of their leaf defies categorization, at least the way we usually think about it. What is a "Dark-Fired Virginia", anyway? Most of the time we use "Virginia" and "flue-cured" interchangeably, but I don't think you would fire-cure something that had already been flue-cured. My understanding is that it's a seed variety that originally came from Virginia, but is now fire-cured instead of flue-cured. Alright, cool. Their "Indian dark air-cured" is a little vague, but is said to be cigar-like, and I wonder if that's what is sometimes called "cigar leaf" in Brown No 4. (Perhaps H. H. Munro's "a little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation" applies here?)

I wouldn't think either variety would have much in the way of natural sugars, so that leaves me to wonder why Dark Plug and the various ropes sometimes have a sweet taste...
 
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Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
2,574
32,095
Casa Grande, AZ
Rum flake is super, hopefully you got a sample of that.
I just had a bowl in my Royal Danish 924M.
I’ve had a few now, and each time I’m left a little “let down”. The tobaccos seem rather monotone, and the casing/topping/whatever is rather “meh” and dry to my palate.
Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion, ie-my mind is expecting different of GH&Co blends so it’s anticlimactic.
When I started smoking a short while back, I “thought” rum would be awesome, yet many I’ve tried have had this effect, or either too “rummy”.
For the same kind of varietals with rum, I’ve found I prefer GLP Navigator.
Again, it could all be just me, there’s still an ounce and a half hanging out in a jar I’ll revisit from time to time.
 
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karam

Lifer
Feb 2, 2019
2,428
9,235
Basel, Switzerland
That brings up something that has fascinated me about Gawith blends. It seems like some of their leaf defies categorization, at least the way we usually think about it. What is a "Dark-Fired Virginia", anyway? Most of the time we use "Virginia" and "flue-cured" interchangeably, but I don't think you would fire-cure something that had already been flue-cured. My understanding is that it's a seed variety that originally came from Virginia, but is now fire-cured instead of flue-cured. Alright, cool. Their "Indian dark air-cured" is a little vague, but is said to be cigar-like, and I wonder if that's what is sometimes called "cigar leaf" in Brown No 4. (Perhaps H. H. Munro's "a little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation" applies here?)

I wouldn't think either variety would have much in the way of natural sugars, so that leaves me to wonder why Dark Plug and the various ropes sometimes have a sweet taste...
I'd ping @cosmicfolklore @Ahi Ka to weigh in. Gawith use what's sometimes called "imperial tobaccos", which aren't necessarily aligned with the typical US characterisation/expectation of varieties and curing methods.

Indian dark air-cured could be just that, tobacco grown in India and air cured, turning dark :) I don't know, just speculating. They (Gawith) have a tradition of using specific varieties which may not be used by US blenders or MacBaren. A "Virginia" doesn't need to be grown/processed in Virginia, US :)
 
but I don't think you would fire-cure something that had already been flue-cured.
These are a small variety of Dark Virginias, cultivated along the equator (but can be grown anywhere). They are best cured with fire, similar to the way Latakia is processed, with smoke. They are not re-cured- flue cure. There were (maybe still are) more varieties of fire-cured tobaccos in the US besides just the Kentucky Fire cured that we are all familiar with. I've grown an African Dark Virginia, when I first started growing tobacco, and it really needs the fire cure to balance the taste in these, IMO.
A few different cigarette and chewing tobaccos used to rely on a variety of fire cured tobaccos more than they do now. They never were a huge cultivated crop (that I know of) but they have even less of a demand in US products today.
 

BorealPiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 9, 2021
107
1,901
It’s on my list! Been wavering on “vintage” vs the regular cut, and I think I’m leaning towards the regular shag.
Go with the shag. GH's vintage cut is a thin ribbon, more like a thick cut shag IMO. I tried the Kendal Dark vintage cut a few months ago, and thought i preferred it to the shag at first, but I think that was its novelty. The flavor and burn of the GH shag tobaccos is hard to beat.
 

Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
2,574
32,095
Casa Grande, AZ
Go with the shag. GH's vintage cut is a thin ribbon, more like a thick cut shag IMO. I tried the Kendal Dark vintage cut a few months ago, and thought i preferred it to the shag at first, but I think that was its novelty. The flavor and burn of the GH shag tobaccos is hard to beat.
Thanks, that’s what I did-quarter pound will be waiting for me when I get home today😉
 

Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
2,574
32,095
Casa Grande, AZ
GH&Co Dark Birdseye:
I received my 4oz of the shag cut Jan 23 and have been smoking it daily.
The shag cut is new to me, and I think I’m in love. Packs easily and is very forgiving. The bulk from SPcom needs no drying time, but I prefer a to let it air out a bit. I’ve taken to putting approx 15-20gr into a tight but not sealed tin, and loading a smaller pipe from that, replenishing as needed maintains a moisture equivalent to about 30 min dry time.
The flavors of the mature Virginia and dark Kentucky leaf provide a wonderful sweet/sour, savory/fermenty slightly spicy yet vaguely floral flavor profile that checks all the boxes for me.
I love the strength of the flavor and the nicotine, especially since I don’t sit in an easy chair and smoke for a long period. Rather I usually smoke for about 30min, often while working which fits this blend’s profile perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful slowly dipped in a medium sized pipe relaxing on the patio, but many of the blends I like can do that.
This blend fills the bill of a consistently flavorful and sastisfying smoke when you really want to know you’ve had a smoke.
As close to a perfect blend for me as I’ve yet found.
Of course, YMMV!

3.90 out of 4 (I’ll commit to a solid 4 if I still feel the same after longer time has passed)

Perfect in this little 18gr Kaywoodie Campus:
1AE4CCCA-C515-40C3-8391-B5A96CD81A93.jpeg
 
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rsshreck32

Lifer
Aug 1, 2023
1,148
18,352
Western PA
GH&Co Dark Birdseye:
I received my 4oz of the shag cut Jan 23 and have been smoking it daily.
The shag cut is new to me, and I think I’m in love. Packs easily and is very forgiving. The bulk from SPcom needs no drying time, but I prefer a to let it air out a bit. I’ve taken to putting approx 15-20gr into a tight but not sealed tin, and loading a smaller pipe from that, replenishing as needed maintains a moisture equivalent to about 30 min dry time.
The flavors of the mature Virginia and dark Kentucky leaf provide a wonderful sweet/sour, savory/fermenty slightly spicy yet vaguely floral flavor profile that checks all the boxes for me.
I love the strength of the flavor and the nicotine, especially since I don’t sit in an easy chair and smoke for a long period. Rather I usually smoke for about 30min, often while working which fits this blend’s profile perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful slowly dipped in a medium sized pipe relaxing on the patio, but many of the blends I like can do that.
This blend fills the bill of a consistently flavorful and sastisfying smoke when you really want to know you’ve had a smoke.
As close to a perfect blend for me as I’ve yet found.
Of course, YMMV!

3.90 out of 4 (I’ll commit to a solid 4 if I still feel the same after longer time has passed)

Perfect in this little 18gr Kaywoodie Campus:
View attachment 283502
Excellent review! Dark Bird's Eye is one of my favorites as well. One of these days I'm going to get a couple ounces of Kendal Kentucky to try. I'm thinking that would be a good one!
 
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