THE PROFESSOR'S PIPE TOBACCO REVIEWS

Dunhill Tobaccos


In addition to the tinned Dunhill tobaccos that are relatively easy to obtain, they also sell a number of blends that are only available from their store in London, England. A list of these is on-line.

Early Morning Pipe
This is a medium-cut latakia-oriental blend consisting of roughly 60% medium-brown and 40% darker, blackish tobaccos. Despite its name and the description on the label ("a mild delicately flavoured smoking mixture"), this is not a really light blend, but rather a medium, almost full-bodied blend of light-to-medium strength. It is quite mild and smooth on the palate and doesn't have much "kick" to it. The quantity of latakia used provides richness and depth to the flavour, but since it's not enough to overwhelm, it would be an appropriate all-day smoke for many. Where this mixture really succeeds is in bringing the richness and fullness of many heavier English blends to a lighter taste. The variety of orientals create a somewhat complex flavour, but tinning and aging seems to dull the contrasts between the various ingredients. This is definitely a blend for those who enjoy the dry flavours of latakia and orientals, since the Virginias here don't provide any sweetness at all. The flavour is nut-like and rather dark with a slightly bitter, but pleasant, aftertaste. The room aroma, although *I* like it, is a natural, full tobacco scent that might not be appreciated by some bystanders. Like its flavour, the aroma bears no sweetness. As with a number of English blends, there's nothing immediately outstanding about this, but its appeal grows over time. It should prove to be a good, solid and pleasant smoke for those who enjoy latakia-spiked mixtures. '94

Elizabethan Mixture
Here's a medium-to-light brown tobacco with a yellowish look, punctuated by darker flecks of perique. It seems essential to smoke this blend in a pipe that does not have a strong flavour from previously smoked tobaccos. I tried smoking this several times, in different briars, and could barely taste anything. To get around this, I smoked it in a new meerschaum, which allowed me to taste it quite well. Having said this, it's almost redundant to state that its flavour is mild, at least at first. It's a Virginia-perique blend that begins with an understated sweet and musty taste that is very unified and vaguely pleasant. Although it is probably this subtleness that constitutes its appeal for many smokers, I needed to practice smoking this mixture in order to locate its taste. I can imagine many people have been totally "underwhelmed" by their first bowl of this, as I was. Furthermore, smoking this quickly would totally destroy its good qualities. It's quite smooth-smoking and has a rich, creamy, medium-bodied character that makes it very satisfying. The balance of ingredients in this recipe—the way it melds the flavours of mild Virginia with more potent perique—is definitely its main point of interest for me. It's refreshing to smoke a blend that offers some of the fullness of perique without the bite that many Virginia-perique blends are (in)famous for. It doesn't appear to have much punch at first, in fact it comes off as blatantly bland, especially if you haven't been able to focus on the sweetness of the light Virginias in the blend. However, further down in the bowl, a spicier, slightly sour aspect joins the original subtly sweet taste, and the strength of the perique begins to kick in, almost as a surprise. The perique's flavour and strength become increasingly noticeable during the rest of the smoke, (you may wish to remain seated if you're smoking a big bowl of this... it is very relaxing) and, although it does become rather peppery, it still doesn't become overtly harsh, except perhaps at the very bottom of the pipe. Despite its strength, it remains a smooth and pleasant smoke to blow out the nose. Depending on your tastes, you may find this superimposition of a heavier taste on a lighter flavour to be either brutal or exciting. This is another blend that I don't think a new pipe smoker would take to right away, partly because of its rather high nicotine content and partly because of its unusual combination of strong and subtle flavours. I'm still not sure what I personally think of this. I'm immensely enjoying the pipe I'm smoking right now, but at other times, I have found this to be rather dull. I guess it depends on my mood or perhaps on what I've eaten or smoked during the day. I like its room aroma, which is mild and somewhat musty-smelling. After smoking, a rather darkish-grey ash, with some white ash underneath, remains. Thanks to Spiffyng and Yvon for samples of this interesting tobacco. '96

Nightcap
A mottled blackish-brown base with medium and light brown specks and threads throughout. For those who like the dark and strong stuff, this is great. There is *lots* of latakia (I think I read 50% somewhere) for a strong, smooth, smoky taste that gets peppery toward the bottom of the bowl thanks to the addition of perique. The flavour is relatively straightforward, not sweet and a tad bitter, tempered by very subtle Oriental perfumes (as in Sobranie's 759), which I find are just barely detectable at the beginning of the smoke. I like the way that its flavour develops strength and fullness while smoking. A medium cut blend that smokes dry to a fine light grey ash; slow burning. '94

October 89
This is an aromatic mixture that is only sold in bulk at the Dunhill store in London as far as I know. It is a dryish aromatic with the scent of added essences, but without the syrupy aroma that one might associate with the most common American aromatic blends. To my nose, the pouch aroma is a combination of apricot and coconut, with coconut dominating. The blend description mentions that it contains apricot essence, honey, an [unidentified] fruit essence, as well as a bit of Royal Yacht. These scents can be smelled a bit while one smokes, but they are just barely tasted, which is surprising given the fairly strong pouch aroma. It comes in a medium cut with a contrasty appearance that looks a little like Early Morning Pipe; that is, there is a mix of light, medium-brown and dark tobaccos, although the dark tobaccos predominate. It does contain some Oriental tobaccos as well as a touch of latakia, which accounts for the tobacco's nice body (for an aromatic mixture). Natural, slightly nutty, tobacco flavour is what one tastes for the most part while smoking, but it is not really a strong, full taste. In this way, it reminds me of a good-quality light burley blend. It's quite mild on the tongue, but is medium in strength and a stimulating smoke. It burns dry to a fine, grey ash. Thanks Joe for going to London to get this for me. '97

Royal Yacht
This one is full of surprises. This chocolate-coloured mixture smells literally like chocolate upon opening the tin. Upon further sniffing, one detects a fruity note underneath. However, I find the flavour to be substantially different. There is indeed a fruity and bittersweet aspect to this tobacco, but its overall flavour is dark, almost like a heavy, smooth, English blend containing latakia. Although this doesn't bite the tongue, I notice that it tickles the throat a bit instead. The label says it is "exceedingly mild with a grand rich flavour," which, although true, doesn't say that this is essentially a pretty potent tobacco. Some might prefer to smoke this in a small bowl so as not to be overwhelmed; in fact, it tastes great in a corncob. '95

Standard Mixture Medium
A fairly dark looking English blend, about 60% dark tobacco is mixed with lighter dull-beige leaves. Cut on the fine side of medium, this mixture burns very easily. It contains a good amount of latakia and orientals, but the Virginias in it don't add much sweetness. What is delivered is a dark, uniform flavour that is pleasantly unspectacular. The different ingredients in the blend are so well-balanced and in such good proportions that nothing really stands out. The flavour and body of the smoke are quite smooth and full, somewhat rich tasting, though perhaps not quite as much as one might expect, probably due to the lack of a full, sweet Virginia in the recipe. Its taste might be described as slightly ashy with earthy undertones, but without the intense smokiness that characterizes blends such as Bengal Slices, S&H's Old English or Balkan Sobranie 759. When one considers the range of flavours and aromas in the various English blends, this one has a kind of middle-of-the-roadness to it, although it definitely leans toward the fuller sort. It's surprisingly strong and satisfying without being harsh, but I'm not sure that new or aromatic pipe smokers would take to it right away due to its lack of sweetness. Although I can't find anything in this that is especially appealing on its own, the total experience of smoking a pipe full of this is very nice. It's easy on the tongue and burns fairly cool, unless you tend to smoke a little fast, in which case the relatively small cut of this blend may cause it to heat up rapidly. At the very bottom of the pipe, it does become a bit sharper and harsher, which takes something away from its flavour. And although it doesn't bite the tongue, I find it to be another of those blends that tickles the throat a bit. Each time I smoke it, I find I enjoy it more. It burns to a fine grey ash and the room aroma is decidedly pleasant: natural, slightly sweet, perhaps even a little spicy. Thanks Spiffyng and Mark for the samples! '95