THE PROFESSOR'S PIPE TOBACCO REVIEWS

Gallaher Tobaccos


This is the British tobacco company that has been most unkind to us North Americans by withdrawing their unique Condor blend from the market here. There is no North American counterpart that can easily take its place.

Condor Original
It's not for nothing that the pouch says
"Break seal gently... ...for that Condor moment."
This stuff is strong, relaxing, rich, cool-burning, fruity, smooth and creamy, but not for the weak of heart. Although the pouch aroma has a citrus note like many matured Virginias, this one seems to have more non-citrus aroma to round it out than many similar tobaccos. It's definitely a compelling aroma to those who like it. Its flavour reflects this as well. You taste some of the pleasant fruitiness that you might associate with Erinmore Flake, but in a smoother, much fuller smoke, surpassing the strength and richness of Saint Bruno as well. Something about this one's flavour always reminds me of the tartness and juiciness of fresh cherries. Indeed, there is a slight acidity that develops during the last third of the bowl, but maintaining a slow smoking speed keeps this from becoming unpleasant. I find its fruity flavour very nice when accompanied by a fruity herbal tea. It does not bite the tongue. Of course, these moist, darkish brown flakes give off more of their aroma while you crumble them up. The room aroma is rich, heavy and somewhat sweet, and many non-smokers enjoy it a lot. This tobacco is no longer exported from the UK to North America, so the easiest way to obtain it now seems to be though mail order. Let fellow pipe smoker Chet Gottfried tell you more about this and about Condor on his web page. '95

Condor Ready Rubbed
A very dark red, fine cut, but not cut long or thin enough to be a shag tobacco. This is, as you might expect, pretty similar to Condor Original, which comes in flake form. One thing that can be said about Condor is that it is consistent: its pouch aroma, flavour while being smoked, and room aroma are all in keeping with each other—slightly sweet, heavy, and alluring. Although this quality might sound dull or too predictable, it isn't! The intensity and richness of the flavours definitely speak for themselves. As much as I enjoy breaking up the flakes of Condor Original and their more intense flavour, the slightly smoother, easier smoke (I don't crumble my flakes too finely) of this ready-rubbed mixture is somehow a bit more pleasant to me. With this, I don't experience the slight bitterness as I approach the bottom of the bowl that I sometimes do when smoking the more concentrated version. What amazes me about this blend is how strong it is without at all being harsh. It's such a smooth smoke, and subtly sweet, like a cavendish blend, except that here the flavour is not just on the surface and the smoke is much thicker, fuller, and creamier tasting. In fact, I personally find it to be smoother overall than most any cavendish I've ever tried, barring a few black-cavendish based blends. This is a no-bite tobacco—sometimes I think I could smoke this exclusively, but I know my latakia cravings would eventually get to me. 'Tis a pity this isn't sold in North America any more! '96

Connemara
This tobacco hasn't been manufactured for years to my knowledge, but there might still be a bit of it around somewhere. It's a dark brown, matured Virginia blend of a somewhat fine medium cut. It's very much along the lines of Condor in its aromatic taste and aroma, but its aromatic aspect is not quite as intense as Condor. It's even a shade lighter in colour. In terms of strength, it's a strong medium, close to Condor. It has a smooth, and creamy character to its smoke, but is a bit lighter in body than Condor and burns a bit hotter. It's always a pleasure and a priviledge to try blends that are no longer in existence, but this one comes close enough to Condor that the difference to me is minimal, and I ultimately prefer Condor for its extra fullness and slightly smoother smoking qualities. Still, I can see why some might prefer the slightly less sweet and aromatic aspect of this blend over Condor. It reduces to a dry, white, powdery ash. Thanks to Blatter & Blatter for the sample of this blend. '95