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Latakia based English inspired by a Dunhill blend.

Notes: The good father, an Irish priest, and my father Allen Kramer (who came to American as a child from Russia), may have seemed like an odd duo, but they became fast friends. When Father Dempsey was assigned to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, right behind our shop, he would always come in for a visit. The Father was used to buying his tobacco at Dunhill, but told my father he'd rather buy from his shop, if he could create a comparable blend. They spread out his blend on the tobacco bar and my father studied it. He was able to identify the different tobaccos, but not the proportions. So they kept trying different formulas until finally Father Dempsey said, "Stop right there! This is better than my old blend ever was." And soon so many of the Father's friends and parishioners were coming in asking for "Father Dempsey's tobacco" that it came to be called just that. My father would say it has the aroma of a campfire burning--a smooth and full-bodied Latakia based blend.

Among those in our rolodex who chose Father Dempsey's blend were Cecil B. DeMille, Henry Wilcoxon, Samuel Goldwyn, Gene Barry, John Conte, Ricardo Cortez, Howard Duff, Herb Edelman, Mel Frank, Mike Kaplan, Jesse Lasky, Sr., Fred MacMurray, Robert Sherman, and Mel Tolkin. Father Dempsey is gone now, but when he passed away he left his statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus and the medal he carried through the battle of Dunkirk to my father--and of course, the legacy of what is Kramers most popular house blend.

BrandKramer's Pipe and Tobacco Shop
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note

Favorite Of 4 Users

10 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (1386)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

The Virginias are mildly sweet and tangy with some earth and grass notes. The Oriental/Turkish is understated, but adds a meaningful flavor well complemented by the smokey and woodsy latakia. Though it's medium in strength and a little fuller in taste, it's well balanced enough to smoke several times a day without tiring out your taste buds, and interesting enough that you'll want to do so. I barely detect the slightest note of a sweetness to the topping. Burns well, cool, smooth, and even with no dottle. It also has a pleasant room note not always true with mixtures in this genre. While there are a few English blends I like more than this one -which I'd rate at three and a half stars - this is so well crafted that it deserves four stars.

4 people found this review helpful.

Vrikkian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Vrikkian (8)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is the king of English blends for me. The best way to describe Father Dempsey's is "clean". It's a wonderful blend that calls out "My Mixture 965" from Dunhill - But the GOOD 965, and not the stuff that they make now (which isn't terrible, but compared against the original it's a shadow).

I'm not a huge English fan (they sometimes can be too mild for me), but if I am ever in the mood for a pipe tobacco that calms me down and isn't sweet then Father Dempsey is it. They really know what they are doing.

Strength is medium, no flavoring/casing I can detect, and the room note is pleasant (no sweetness - it just smells like pipe smoke). I haven't had this aged, but that's mainly because I can't keep it in my house long enough to find out if it matures with time.

Pipe Used: Flame-grain Stanwell

Age When Smoked: 2

Purchased From: Kramer's Pipe Shop (online)

Similar Blends: Dunhill My Mixture 965..

2 people found this review helpful.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

Another "Old Timey" blend from the folks at Kramers. This one is a very full and very well balanced English blend. Great for after dinner or a chilly night. I keep reiterating how this stuff reminds me of Perretti, Wilke, and Barclay-Rex. Latakia forward with the orientals bringing up the rear. This is for the experienced smoker and the very understanding and tolerant wife. Think of Wilke's #400 or Peretti's Taskent. A very full 3 stars!

1 person found this review helpful.

Jackgowild Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jackgowild (5)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium Pleasant

this is a really nice blend and you can get the story of how this came about from there website. I was first introduced to it at a LA pipe show several years ago. It is a really nice blend that has the "965" type pedigree. should try it out by all means if you are in the so cal area. Great old shop in a great neighborhood. Marsha is always ready to whip up a batch of this blend. give it a try . I just recently found my 7 year old bag of this and will give it a try .

1 person found this review helpful.

SmokeKing David Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeKing David (123)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

This is a really enjoyable blend. Full, but not overwhelming. Great burning characteristics, too. I don't know that it is a replacement for Dunhill blends, but it is fine in its own right.

Govern Yourself Accordingly.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

boxertwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
boxertwin (10)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

I love this blend. It is full of flavor. My taste buds are not very 'developed' so a lot of English and lighter aeromatics don't really taste like anything to me. Many pipe tobaccos are very subtle. Father Dempsey however has a great, full taste. It has a wonderful natural sweetness to it. It burns well in the pipe and doesn't give much bite even when over smoked, which is something I do. This is probably my favorite blend around. It does pack a bit of a nicotein punch in my opinion. A bit more than I like bt it is a minor thing that is totally offset by the flavor.

I don't get over the hill to Beverly Hills often but this worth the drive to get.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (653)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Fr. Dempsey doesn't remind me of my beloved Dunhill's but it doesn't need to as it stands well on its own. A latakia heavy mixture that manages to be just restrained enough to allow the other tobacco's to make their presence known. Fr. Dempsey should be a fan of any full English smoker. It's a 3 1/2 star blend in my book and will find a place in my cellar.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sea Green Sky Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sea Green Sky (9)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a great one that has withstood the test of time. The Latakia is somewhat dominant but it's very well balanced, none of the top quality components overpower and the room note, taste, and moisture level are just perfect. My cupboard is pretty well stocked but it's Father Dempsey I usually reach for after a long day.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tommyboy1749 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tommyboy1749 (16)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Kramers Pipe and Tobacco Shop's Father Dempsey Blend was originally created (according to their website) in an attempt to “create a comparable blend” to the Father's favored Dunhill mixture. Allen Kramer was able to figure out the basic components of the blend, and then he began to tinker with the proportions, “until finally Father Dempsey said: ‘Stop right there! This is better than my old blend ever was.'” What the good Father said still goes. Father Dempsey Blend hearkens back to the Dunhill mixtures from the early 1980s (the earliest vintage with which I am familiar) and the exclusive blends produced at Dunhill's London store before 1999. It is clearly superior to either the Orlik production or the over-rated late Murrays production. While it is ostensibly a bulk blend, Father Dempsey is a cut above any tinned blend currently available. Anyone looking for a replacement for the seemingly-forever-departed Dunhill line need search no further.

I suspect the blend Allen Kramer was initially trying to duplicate was My MIxture 965. The pouch aroma is intoxicating as only a top-quality English mixture can be, and it is the only mixture that I have come across that could be said to have a distinct “bowl aroma.” When a packed pipe is sitting ready and waiting on my desk, I can actually smell the tobacco in the bowl. All the mixture's elements are in perfect balance, with the tanginess and sweetness of the Virginias, the piquant dryness of the Turkish, and the smokiness of the Latakia contributing to a unified whole, while at the same time remaining distinct and identifiable elements in the overall taste. Father Dempsey Blend has a wonderful, full mouth-feel and leaves the air redolent with the smoky and spicy aroma of an aristocratic English blend.

Kramers' prices are more than reasonable, especially for such impeccably high quality, and their service is exemplary and friendly. Check out their website for ordering information and descriptions of other blends at

Finally, since Kramers is located in Beverly Hills, a number of people associated with the movies were regular customers (their website has some interesting anecdotes), many of whom smoked Father Dempsey Blend – including Fred MacMurray, Howard Duff, Ricardo Cortez, Cecil B. DeMille, and Samuel Goldwyn. As an old movie buff myself, and being susceptible to the influence of nostalgia (as no doubt many pipe smokers are), I think this extra historical dimension imparts an additional pleasure.

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Nobody has rated this review yet.

Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smoke (7)
Strong None Detected Full Very Pleasant

This English blend is very smooth and very full and has a more creamy but sweet taste, it can be smoked any time of the day. not sure of the wife test yet but while smoking it , I pick up a fresh maple smell and marshmallows over a campfire .

Nobody has rated this review yet.