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Though originally blended to match Father Dempsey's own preferred smoke, this full-bodied English mixture is now Kramer's most popular house blend and has been enjoyed by the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, Henry Wilcoxon, Samuel Goldwyn, Gene Barry, Mike Kaplan, Mel Tolkin, Fred McMurray, and many others.

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
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging2 ounce tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 7 Users

3.2
29 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
15
3 star:
9
2 star:
4
1 star:
1
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
★★★★
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 dry, woody, lightly sweet and sourness that is well complemented by the smokey and woodsy sweet Cyprian 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. Has a slightly more than mild-nic-hit. Burns at a reasonable pace, cool, clean, smooth, and even with a very consistent flavor. It also has a pleasant room note not always true with mixtures in this genre. The after taste is pleasant.

25 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..

10 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
★★★★
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.

9 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

I was given a good sample of this about four years ago from a forum friend. I was still a relatively new piper at the time and was just spreading my wings into latakia blends. I recall loving this blend a lot back then. In the flood of buying frenzy and sample trading that followed this one got buried.

I unearthed the jar a few months ago and finished it off. Time and exposure to several other blends have not helped in rating this blend. At the time I first tried it, this blend would have been a 4 star blend, but it has dropped to less than 3 stars as my tastebuds and cadence have evolved.

I found this blend to be fuller to my tastes than I remember and I felt the oriental component and the latakia kind of dominate the blend making it a little heavy on the smoke and sour component to my tastes at this point in time. To me this blend needs more sweetness or, in the alternative, something to smooth it out some. It is just a little too sharp and edgy. This is something I don't mind when a blend is giving me different taste profiles through the bowl, but this one is a little monochromatic in flavor, IMO.

Don't get me wrong as the blend is definitely smokable. To me it drops somewhere between 2 and 3 stars and I am going to round it up to 3 for my earlier impressions, but there are many Balkan blends I would reach for before this one.

5 people found this review helpful.

toddsmith7378 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
toddsmith7378 (32)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Early on in my pipe smoking I bought a bunch of Sutliff's match 965 because it looked like it was comparable to the real thing that was high up on a lot of people's list as one of the great's. I figured I'd be smart and just smoke the match that was 1/2 the price.

Eventually, I made my way to other blends and even the current 965. After smoking the legitimate 965 for a while I could really tell the similarities and the differences between the two. I definitely prefer the dunhill, but can taste a lot of similarity. The real dunhill is just made from a cleaner, seemingly higher grade leaf than the match. I found this to be the case with other sutliff blends that are said to match a dunhill counterpart. Elizabethan same thing. Like smoking the same mixture out of lower end tobacco.

It could be just the processing technique of the tobacco from Sutliff not being to my preference. Anyway, how does that relate to this Father Dempsey? Well, with the rumors of Dunhill's departure I ordered several blends that were supposed to be similar to 965 and Father Dempsey was on that list.

Well, when I first smoked it, I felt like I was tasting Sutliff tobacco. It just had that same overall sense of taste about it. Then, I compared the two tobacco's since I still had plenty of that match leftover in a mason jar. I can't guarantee, but I think someone is repackaging the Sutliff match maybe as Father Dempsey. The look of the tobacco, cut, taste, and all bears an almost exact similarity on close inspection. Other's who have both in their cellar, I'd like to hear there opinions on why or why not this might be the case.

4 people found this review helpful.

ThePeterPiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ThePeterPiper (2)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I never had the chance to smoke this blend as mixed at Kramer’s brick-and-mortar store; however, smokingpipes.com was given the opportunity to save this storied blend from extinction—they say they are sourcing the same tobacco—so I decided to order a few tins for the pleasure of saying I smoked it.

I began by picking through the tin to see what was going on. It is a relatively coarse cut ribbon that packs easily in medium to large bowls. There are essentially three different colored tobaccos: almost black Latakia, a reddish-brown Virginia, and some lemony specks that I assume are orientals. I did find a piece of chewed up plastic, which in my experience is not totally uncommon. Over the years, I’ve found feathers, pieces of rubber bands, and other remnants in some expensive cigars.

The blend lights and burns easily. The moisture out of the tin is to my liking. If you prefer your tobacco dryer, 10 minutes out of the tin is perfect. There is a little bite. No one component outshines the other, just a well-rounded English. To my palate, this blend is solidly middle-of-the-road and could easily be smoked all day. I’ll cellar a few tins, but I doubt age will add anything of note other than what time normally adds to tobacco.

The are many more interesting blends out there, but for the price and storied past, it’s worth having around. I intend on smoking this when I’m working and don’t have time to ponder nuance.

Pipe Used: Peterson Standard 307

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

The Sunday Evening Pipe Smoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Sunday Evening Pipe Smoker (41)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

So let's get the myth and the reality set apart.

The myth: "This blend is superior to Dunhill Aperitif / My Mixture 965."

The reality: This blend is as good as Dunhill Aperitif / My Mixture 965.

A blend that is squarely in the Scottish tradition, combining those incense-like, slightly sour notes along with the smoky notes of the latakia. Father Dempsey -may- have a touch more latakia than the two Dunhill Blends, though hard to tell without a side by side comparison. From the first puff my impression is that they are all very similar, and that impression was confirmed down to the last puff.

When those two Dunhill blends finally go the way of the dodo, or if you're trying to stretch out your cellar from using up those blends, Father Dempsey would be a perfect substitute.

Tin note is typical latakia, campfire smoky goodness.

Similar Blends: Dunhill Aperitif, Dunhill My Mixture 965.

3 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
★★☆☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I don't get the Latakia blast that many of the reviewers get and actually seems light compared to other brands. More Balkan than English. This doesn't do much for me ,bland and mild, I lose interest- 2 star

PS.- I bought my sample as Bulk, I wonder if there is a large difference from the tin? I'm much more in agreement with reviewers "Gentlemen Zombie and TallPuffO'Burley ". Seems that there were more consistent higher Stars 4-5 years ago ???

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: new bulk

3 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Gotta go against the grain here. I don't like this. The Lat dominates and I find it's flavor a bit offensive. Mildly smoky and woody. The main note I get from it is dusty/dirty and very bland. The Orientals add just a very mild woody note. The Virginias add a hint of hay and sweetness. Overall...bland.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in blandness. No added flavoring. Burns well.

Pipe Used: MM Marcus, Country Gentleman, Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

Epicur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Epicur (18)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is for me a rounder version of the STG Dunhill 965. More sweet than the 965, but due to the roundness less complex which I really miss but which also makes it an "all day smoke". Nice and easy to pack, light and to smoke. If it dries down it likes to burn hot quite easily. It has similarities to the Kramer's Engish with much more body.

Pipe Used: different briars, Falcon

Age When Smoked: some weeks old maybe

Purchased From: smokingpipes (bulk)

Similar Blends: Dunhill 965.

2 people found this review helpful.

airparkpiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
airparkpiper (7)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I don't love it, I don't hate it. The taste is medium, I don't find it as full as others commented. Mild nic hit. The aftertaste is pleasant. I wish I could call out every leaf in the blend as others have, but I'm not that sophisticated yet :) A good smoking blend though, no moisture, no bite. A bit hard to keep lit though, but that could've been my narrow chamber. Pick up an ounce and see what you think.

Pipe Used: Rad Davis Cutty

Age When Smoked: Fresh bulk

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (326)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The tobacco appears to be roughly equal amounts of black, tan and brown tobacco. It is mostly a chopped medium ribbon with a few "fish flakes." The tin note is campfire and a slightly grassy, sweet.

Smoked, this is quite good. Moisture level was fine for me, and I just codger scooped from the tin. In terms of the latakia, it is a mild-medium, and so not a bomb. There are sweet Virginia notes, and the Orientals provide a slightly sour spice. There is a lot of flavor here, but nothing really overpowers. It is a nicely balanced for my tastebuds and it is easy to follow one bowl with another. There is a light, somewhat delicate quality to the smoke, and it does not seem to produce palate fatigue as some latakia blends do for me.

Key to liking this is probably not having an aversion to latakia or a discernible Oriental note. It is easy to recommend.

2 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1646)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Kramer's Pipe and Tobacco - Father Dempsey.

Note: supplied in bulk.

I can't fault the moisture, but as this was loosely pouched that opinion's superfluous should you buy a tin. The blend's quite coarse, and a mixture of black, brown, and yellow. It sadly contains a fair amount of twigs.

The Latakia dominates the smoke, but I wouldn't call it a bomb. The Orientals sit just behind, with a fragrant, slightly floral, character, and prevent the Lat' monopolizing the smoke. I get very little alacrity from the Virginia, it isn't anywhere near as flavoursome as the other two. The burn from F.D. could be cooler, and it bites me a touch.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: pleasant.

Father Dempsey isn't the worst, but I don't enjoy it enough for anymore than two stars:

Somewhat recommended.

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: One month

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Bowler Hat Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bowler Hat Piper (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am new to pipe smoking, but I find that I am drawn to full bodied English/Balkan blends. After trying quite a few Latakia blends, Father Dempsey is a strong contender for my go-to every-day smoke. Described as 'Full Bodied', but I don't find this blend overpowering. it is a flavourful blend that smokes smooth and cool. All flavours blend together well and occasionally you get a pleasant blast of Latakia. Being new to the hobby I have never tried the original Dunhill My Mixture 965, but this is apparently a close facsimile of that blend.

Pipe Used: Parker Knight 395 Parker Jockey-Club 140

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Original Dunhill MM965 (Apparently)..

2 people found this review helpful.

Skibbereen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skibbereen (19)
★★★★
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

This is a well done blend. I really like what they have done with it. The components of this blend are all blended perfectly. The Virginias stay in the background. Just enough to let you know they are there, but not overpowering. The Orientals/Turkish are just right. You Know they are there...but they but they do not overpower. And the Latakia is just right. All in all it just makes for a perfect blend. I can see why Father Dempsey loved it so much. My hats off to the blenders of this fine tobacco. It's a pleasure to smoke.

Pipe Used: Peterson No. 3

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Can't think of anything this is close to...it is so unique..

2 people found this review helpful.

wmf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wmf (14)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I am about 30 minutes away from my 3rd bowl in the last 2 hours. It's that good. Super light (for my taste) but flavorful and easily an all day everyday 24/7 God Bless Father Dempsey kind of smoke. I. Love. This. Stuff. Campfire in the tin opens into a somehow light but flavorful gorgeous first few puffs. Flavor rolls along from there with the light and up front latakia and orientals swirling around with the va laying down a solid but perfectly dispersed foundation. Great all the way to the bottom of the bowl. I needed to dry this just a bit (30mins lol) before smoking. Could maybe dry longer but I don't wanna wait. Oh my....would you look at the time? Better go check on the good Father and ready another bowl.

Pipe Used: Various billiards, dublins

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Better than MM965.

2 people 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.

2 people found this review helpful.

tommyboy1749 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tommyboy1749 (26)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Father Dempsey Blend hearkens back to the Dunhill mixtures of old--or at least to the early 1980s (the earliest vintage with which I am familiar) and the exclusive blends produced at Dunhill's London store before 1999.

I suspect the blend Allen Kramer was initially trying to duplicate for Father Dempsey was My Mixture 965. The blend's components are in perfect balance, with the tanginess and sweetness of the Cavendished Virginias, the smoky spice of the Latakia, and the dry, slightly sour and floral Turkish, all contributing to a unified whole, while each continues to retain its distinct identity. Father Dempsey Blend has a full mouth-feel and really leaves the air redolent with "the aroma of a campfire burning."

Finally, since Kramer's is located in Beverly Hills, a number of people associated with the movies were regular customers--check their website has some interesting anecdotes. As an old movie buff, and being susceptible to the influence of nostalgia (as no doubt many pipe smokers are), I think this added historical dimension is pretty cool.

Note: This review is for the Marsha Kramer blended version. I haven't tried the new, mass-produced tin version.

Purchased From: http://www.kramerstobaccoshop.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smoke (13)
★★★★
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 .

2 people found this review helpful.

HeavyMetalPiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HeavyMetalPiper (25)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend was similar in flavor to MM 965, but milder. The latakia is a bit more understated in this blend allowing the Virginia and (particularly) the Orientals to come through more.

This is nice to smoke while focusing on it, but if smoking while doing something else it won't take your attention away from what you're doing, but it is interesting enough that you won't forget about it.

You can view my video review of this blend here:

YouTube Video

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Bent Diplomat Apple

Age When Smoked: 7 Weeks

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Dunhill - My Mixture 965.

1 person found this review helpful.

Old Codger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Old Codger (8)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Latakia, Turkish and Orientals makes this a flavorful smoke. Not quite English but I think it's very close to a English blend. Burns a bit hot like most Kramer's. Medium nicotine. Not a all day smoke. Enjoy!

Pipe Used: Lorenzo

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

1 person found this review helpful.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (180)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Decent, middle of the road English, not bad at all but not especially interesting either. The sample I had was some of the recent tinned production, not the bulk from the now closed shop, so the original may have been a little different, nevertheless this is what we can get now. With so many English blends on the market, this one didn’t impress me enough to try again.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (93)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Man, I am really starting to love this blend! There is a sweetness to it that makes me think that there is some kind of topping in there but it's so well blended and natural tasting that I can't be sure if it's due to the play between the mixture of the varietals or if it's an actual topping... whatever it is, it's delicious. It almost has a roasted quality to it as well, something I've not really experienced in other English mixtures. This is certainly one of a kind and stands out in the over saturated market of English/Balkan Mixtures. It's up there with my two all time favorites, SG Skiff Mix and SH Exotique and the price is just great to boot! Full bodied, medium nicotine and a nice sweetness makes for a good all day smoke any time of the year. Usually I don't much appreciate the smoky qualities of this genre in the hotter months but I actually really like to smoke this one on warmer days as well, although that could be due to the fact that I've been smoking indoors a lot more these days. I'm going to go ahead and call this one an essential buy and it's hands down the best American/English I've ever had the pleasure of smoking.

Essential.

1 person found this review helpful.

Rufus T. Firefly Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rufus T. Firefly (9)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Excellent bulk blend it's as good as, if not better than Nightcap. I smoked it as soon as it arrived and it's great, no bite and very tasty. As a added bonus it's 20 bucks cheaper per pound.

Pipe Used: Ser Jacopo Granato, Dunhill Root

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Nightcap.

1 person found this review helpful.

natibo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
natibo (166)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Very Full Strong

Really really good traditional English blend. Not enough orientals for my taste. it has a medium nicotine hit which can be just perfect for the drive home after work. The taste is nice and full but not overbearing. Solid three stars.

1 person found this review helpful.