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Iwan Ries

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Balanced taste, smooth and mild. Purportedly, the most popular private label tobacco in the country. Enjoyed equally by the pipe gourmet and those around. The unique character and taste of this world famous blend has made it our all-time favorite!

Notes: Smooth, Sweet, Nutty, Fruity

BrandIwan Ries
Manufactured BySutliff Tobacco Company
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBurley, Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
FlavoringAlcohol / Liquor, Anisette, Other / Misc
CutRibbon
PackagingBulk, 50 g pouch, 7 oz. bag
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy Iwan Ries
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Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
Medium
Taste
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant
1.9
80 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
4
3 star:
19
2 star:
25
1 star:
32
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Piper@TheGatesOfDawn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Piper@TheGatesOfDawn (9)
★★★☆
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I received a complimentary pouch of this with an order I recently placed with Iwan Ries, which seems to be the predominant means of procurement. Does anyone actually buy this blend on purpose? I certainly intend to. Opinions regarding Three Star Blue are all over the board. Many of the reviews here seem to describe something quite different from what I'm smoking: a VERY mildly aromatic, rough cut blend. The burleys are at the forefront, with the latakias and periques adding just the right amount of character. The cavendish provides a subtle sweetness to round things out. My tastes tend towards strongly flavored tobaccos and I will smoke anything form Lakeland blends to the goopiest aromatics; however I tend to enjoy this when I need a break from all the flavoring. This blend is best smoked in a small bowl and SLOWLY. Although it has yet to bite me, all tobacco has that potential. Three Star Blue goes well with coffee in the morning or bourbon in the afternoon or with some smooth jazz and good French brandy in the evening.

1 person found this review helpful.

Redirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Redirish (4)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild Medium Mild Very Pleasant

Got a sample of this with a Savinelli I ordered. Very dry, lots of stems and chunks. Smoked very slowly it is tolerable. 'Nuff said.

1 person found this review helpful.

boogieman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
boogieman (7)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I have only smoked pipes for a couple years, and only smoke around once a week, so I am by no means an expert. I found this tobacco very enjoyable. I didn't notice the tongue bite others have reported, but I think I smoke slowly anyway. It's a mild aeromatic, and has a great flavor. To me it seems like a more natural flavor than some of the chemically tasting ones that are so common locally.

One thing to mention with this, I hate the aftertaste on most tobaccos, but this has a very pleasant aftertaste. It leaves a very light, sweet taste. Quite good!

1 person found this review helpful.

tmoney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tmoney (24)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Tolerable

This tobacco was free with a purchase I made recently. It wasn't good at all. I tried it and it smelled like Medicine. Had tongue bite early on tasted like cough syrup mixed with sugar and didn't smell very nice either. I would not recommend, but there will be someone out there that likes this... there always is.

1 person found this review helpful.

appy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
appy (7)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium Mild Pleasant

Greetings ladies and gents, yet here is more of my babbling. Three Star Blue is a debated subject. And in fact i must agree that this a very tempramental blend. However I have enjoyed it for many years. Its aroma a p*y magnent and worth the heat! Nice blend of burly, virginia, and I do detect oriantials. Now to the facts....hot as hell. As I have posted earlier, I bore out pipes.....every one of them. After the advice of Laars Iverson, I have tamed the wildest of tobaccos. Being a machinist, with extensive flow training has taught me a great deal in pipe smoking. People, all pipes have tiny draft holes for purposes of strenght. The taste, burn qualitys, ash formation is caused by this draft. The smoke we enjoy is made available by its clinging to water dropletes. NO turbalance can be involved, nor small draft holes. A pipe is a chimmney and needs to breath. TSB has become now one of my all time favorites. Cool smoking, Superb flavor and has all the desired qualitys we search for. Yes it ghosts a pipe....all tobacco does in fact!!!! Most recent is a Canadian bored to 7/32". An absolutly marvolus smoke, as compaired to years gone by with stock bores. Lets take a second and examine our equipment, even the dunhill guys, before we pass judgement on an old and trusted blend from our great friends at Iwan Ries. Thanks Pipestud for your postings and renouned experiance.. (PS the vintage meer smokes like a dream!!!) Best regards to all............

1 person found this review helpful.

smokey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokey (120)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Like Briarlaw, I am completely re-writing my review on this tobacco, due to a couple of things that have happened in the interim. The first was that Iwan Ries had a sale on their Peterson Emerald series pipes and I ordered a medium billiard. The other was that they sent a pouch of their Three Star Blue tobacco with it. My first inclination was to put it in an unused corner of my tobacco cabinet, but for some reason I decided to give it a second chance. The first bowl brought forth a lovely flavor of apples and burley that had me craving another one. Bear in mind this was in a brand new unsmoked, unbroken in pipe. Subsequent bowls only reinforced this first experience and the new Pete stayed dedicated to Three Star Blue. One of this tobacco's most endearing attributes is its' lighting and burn qualities. It is almost unheard of for an aromatic to be this easy to smoke. It is an easy tobacco to smoke slowly, which makes any blend more flavorful and cooler burning. My pouch of Three Star is nearly gone, so there was only one thing to do. Last night I went to the Iwan Ries site and ordered another new Peterson straight apple and a larger bag of one of my new staples.

1 person found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (700)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The Virginia is grassy, and acts as a base for the nutty sweet burleys. The perique adds a little plum, and bare hint of spice. The Oriental/Turkish is hardly noticeable, but it, like the very small amount of latakia, adds a little smokey wood quality. The cavendish is honey-like. The toppings give it a sweet, fruity, licorice flavor with light perfume and slight soap, reminding me of Field and Stream's top note to a lesser degree. Burns clean, well and dry with no moisture, but needs to be sipped a little. Deserves two and half stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

I was gifted a package of Three Star Blue by a friend recently. When I first opened the pouch, it smelled very similar to tobaccos that my father smoked back in the 1960’s. It also smells very similar to a tobacco that I used to chew 30 years ago. So based on those two things the scent conjures up fond memories for me. But in truth, based on some of the reviews I was expecting the worst. But that wasn’t the case. I found this to be a decent old time aromatic when smoked slowly. There is a casing that I am sure will bite if pushed, but taking my time there was no bite. I have to take issue with those that list the “flavoring” i.e. casing, to be strong, it isn’t, certainty compared to other aromatics. The only way to come to that conclusion is to have never smoked many aromatics or because they have confused the “flavoring” field with the “taste” field. The Burley flavor does come easily through the smoke. The downside with Three Star Blue is that we are currently living in an era where there are a huge number of well-crafted aromatic blends available to suit every taste at very reasonable prices. For me, this causes Three Star Blue to fall pretty far down on my list of choices. On the upside, compared to some of the OTC blends out there, this is a better choice than many of them.

Age When Smoked: New

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ruffinogold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ruffinogold (89)
★★☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

This blend has a little more taste and flavor than the red . The roomnote is excellent . The flavor is .. I'm not sure what it is and the blend burns a bit warm , though it burn perfectly well . I'm a big IRC fan and this is their biggest seller , they say . It's probably my least favorite of their offerings . This is not a black Cavendish styles blend . If I liked the flavor I'd have better things to say about it . As I said ... the roomnote is fantastic and the flavor is just ok . try the Three Star Bronze ... it's killer .. and the Old Colonial , with it's mild topnote , is like CH but better

Nobody has rated this review yet.

atomicbuster Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
atomicbuster (29)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

As many others have stated, this was a gift with a purchase order from Iwan Ries. Thanks IW, but no thanks. This smells OK out of the box. To me it smelled like orange cream soda. Smoking it was the same way. It was almost like smoking Sunkist or Fanta Orange. Unfortunately, this does bite. Yes, I could puff slower, but I'd have to puff much slower than I prefer. It's a bright tobacco rough cut. It does produce some moisture in the bowl. I usually solve this by letting the tobacco dry out for a few days. It mostly worked. The first 4-5 bowls were nice, aside from the bite. Then it lost most of the already mild flavor as soon as it became too dry. I think it might be just OK if you knew at what point to let it stop drying and if you train yourself to puff this slowly. I'm not interested in either endeavor. I can't wholeheartedly recommend it, but I can't say it was totally unpleasant for those 4-5 bowls.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Taste Buds Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Taste Buds (138)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Many years ago this was an everyday favorite of mine. It was a blend that I could smoke almost anywhere without complaint. Although I found the casing to be over the top, by adding 1/3rd Kentucky Club Regular, the problem was solved. Kentucky Club also prevents Blue from burning hot. You might want to experiment to find the right proportion to suit your taste, but these two blends work well together and compliment each other.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PuffedRomanian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PuffedRomanian (4)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Very Mild Very Pleasant

The first Peterson I ordered came with it, I absolutely love it, smells great, tates sweet, definetly will be ordering some more.:)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fazby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fazby (37)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

One of the few aromatics I like. A nice spiciness. Yes, it can get hot. Yes, you need to slow down and learn to smoke this.

My Savinelli, with a balsa filter, helped tame this through my learning period.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

smokincoyote Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokincoyote (19)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild Very Mild Pleasant

Got this crap as a sample from IRC... They got my order wrong too.. Bad first impressions from this company. The tobacco was bone dry and gave off an aroma like wet wood, or that smell in your humid shed in the backyard. Bleh. It didn't smoke too well and there was no pleasant flavor to be had at all. The tobac looked like a collection of pressed stems and tree bark.

The good: It was free and the room note was nice.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zacchaeus11 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zacchaeus11 (3)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

This literally was the worst thing I have ever had. It was just..well...lets just say down right nasty as butt. The packaging it came in gave off the vibe like "this will be ok." but no. The cut wasn't even ribbon. It was the most dried out crappiest stuff I have ever seen. I reccomend this tobacco to go die.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Dr. Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Scott (82)
★☆☆☆
Mild Medium to Strong Mild Strong

How disappointing. Proof that aromatics are the spawn of Satan.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

azguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
azguy (18)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable

This was a blend I smoked for a short time in the late 60s. At the time, I rather enjoyed it. My son recently gave me a pack that he had received, unsolicited, in the mail. I smoked some several times in a variety of pipes. The smell out of the pack is rather sweet. The taste is burley all the way. Old tastes(and memories) tend to change over the years. I can only recommend this blend to new smokers, however they should smoke it very slowly as it can burn the tongue.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Arkie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Arkie (107)
★☆☆☆
Mild Medium Medium Tolerable

This tastes like the other 3 star blends. All of them are similar to Mixture #79. Aromatics are ok if the casing doesn't overpower the taste of the tobacco. This stuff is like smoking a bar of soap. Not recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ravkesef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ravkesef (11)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

De gustibus non est disputandum, and that's certainly true when it comes to tobaccos. In the old days I smoked English blends, especially the late lamented Balkan Sobranie, but recently this type of tobacco stopped working for me, and I understand that some people have or develop an intolerance for Latakia, and that turned out to be the case for me. I dug into my pouch of TSB and thought I had a rattlesnake in my bowl––it bit, and bit again, harder each time. At the same time I found that I did enjoy the taste, and family comments ranged from "extremely pleasant“to “delicious.“ Well, being an old, experienced pipe smoker I asked myself the rhetorical question “what does one do when the tobacco burns too hot?” And the answer is simple: “smoke it slower.” That turned out to be very good advice in this case, because smoked slowly, TSB turns out to be a most pleasant experience. it's not too strong at all, and when the tobacco is savored, turns out to be exactly what one wishes for in a tobacco. It now burns cool and dry to the bottom of the bowl leaving a small quantity of powdery ash. My advice to others who have found this too hot burning as I initially did: give this one a chance, smoke slowly, and you'll be rewarded with a very satisfying smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Peppino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peppino (74)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

A classic that like the Dutch smokes best in a meershaum, more flavor and cooler on the palate vs a briar. One tobacco everyone should try at least once. Brings back some great memories for me, taking a trip to Osco drugs to buy some 3 star blends! Going to the Tinder Box and smoking my 1st Castello. Ahh for one more time in the 70's....:)!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jdr2008 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jdr2008 (4)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

I received this tobacco when I purchased a pipe which was a nice gesture and that much is appreciated, But this particular blend was not very appealing to me, To me, this blend tastes like it smells, and it smells like a 100 year old house that has been vacant for thirty or more years (some of you know what Im talking about) that being said, It packed and lit well and as far as smoking, it smoked well, It is very sweet along with the musty old house taste and to me the only time it actually tasted good was at the very bottom of the bowl and that didnt last long. That being said, If all I had to smoke was 3star and dried out manure then I would smoke the 3star. Sorry guys, This stuff doesn't taste good to me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Capt. Cavendish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt. Cavendish (21)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

When I smoked my very first pipe, I had never heard of tongue bite. Three Star Blue sure made me a quick learner. It was recommended to me by my brother who--like me--has since bailed on this blend and never looked back. I guess good judgment runs in the family. Sometimes I'm surprised I stuck with pipes after smoking this one; the tobacco was extremely dry and burned terribly hot. It was so dry I could have kindled a fire in the fireplace with it. Actually I probably should have, at least that way it would have found some use other than taking up space in the landfill. Room note you ask? Let's just say it left a lot to be desired. I have smoked and enjoyed other Three Star blends, but Blue is surely not one of them.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hedgehorn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hedgehorn (2)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I got a pouch of this free with the purchase of a pipe, I smoked two bowls and threw the rest away.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bergxu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bergxu (3)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm gonna keep this one short as it's late in the evening and this tabac didn't do much for me. Like many here, I received a freebee sample with a pipe I ordered from Iwan Ries and decided to give it a whirl. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. I did enjoy what seemed to be a combination of aromatics and Oriental leaf, which I found interesting, but the perfume taste is way overpowering and I am betting it comes from casing oriental leaf with a flavoring. Without question, this stuff could definitely ghost a pipe, which is why I tried it in an old Hardcastle which isn't one of my favorites anyways. Sorry, but I'll take my 1Q any day over this stuff.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Coskun Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coskun (23)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

Actualy i dont like aromatic tobacco...My sample send by Ron from Iwan Ries...

Its 1,5oz box and its good design for tobacco...Tobacco moist for my taste...Its very difrent taste...Fresh and sweet...If you like aromatic tobacco give a chance for this blend...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LtMac Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LtMac (21)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I have purchased several pipes from Iwan Ries. The very first time I ordered from them a small boxed pouch of Three Star Blue was sent with the order as a promotional gift. I smoked the pouch of tobacco because of my thriftiness I just can't bring myself to throw tobaccco away and I didn't know anyone who wanted the pouch.

Three Star Blue had a perfume-like aroma and flavor to my senses. I don't know if it leaves that impression with other pipe smokers. It arrived dry and did not need further drying prior to lighting. It lit well and burned well. It burned my tounge as well no matter how lightly I puffed and sipped at the pipe. I didn't like the flavor; it was too perfume-like for my tastes. I cannot recommend Three Star Blue and give it a rating of one star.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (589)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is an easy one to review. It came dry enough in the pouch that I could smoke it without further fuss. One bowl was enough.

The good news is that this has a decent room aroma. The bad news is that it has no discernible tobacco flavor. Reminded me of Mac Baren roll cakes in that regard and also in its tendency to produce tongue-maligning steam. I found absolutely nothing to recommend this atrocity. Was this stuff this bad in the old days? Thankfully, I missed out on it. Probably in my bottom 10 of all pipe tobaccos. If this were all that was available, I'd grow my own because even I couldn't screw something up this badly.

Ok, I KNOW you're going to try it! Everyone does. There are plenty of in depth reviews here so don't say you weren't warned!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bob Smith Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bob Smith (8)
★★☆☆
Mild Strong Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

Three Star Blue is a good tobacco, but not for smoking. It makes wonderful potpourri.

People always seem surprised that aromatics smell better than they taste, but that's why they're called aromatics. If they tasted good, they'd be called flavorfuls.

When experienced pipe smokers tell beginners to start with aromatics, it's hazing. They figure if they had to go through it, why shouldn't the newbies? It's just cruel.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DeadMensPipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeadMensPipes (38)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Before I was old enough to legally drive a car, a buddy and I would take a train to the city from the suburbs to hike around the Loop in downtown Chicago, where we discovered a marvelous wonder of the world at the time, the Iwan Ries store. Just walking into the hushed atmosphere was awe inspiring - a veritable world class museum of every sort of pipe imaginable, including a huge collection of exotically carved antique meerschaums. But the most wonderful memory is the smell of miriads of tobacco blends wafting through the atmosphere. It was there that I discovered Three-Star Blue and fell in love.

Well, years have passed and I have lived far from the windy city. One day, I waxed nostalgic and via the miracle of the internet, I wanted to see if it was still possible to acquire some of my old favorite. Sadly, I must say no. Even though the packaging says Three-Star Blue, and the aroma of a freshly-opened pouch is the same wonderful smell I remember - smoking the mixture is only enjoyable for those fortunate enough to catch a passing whiff of second-hand smoke.

It does not matter how you try to smoke the stuff to minimize "bite" - it bites. Big time. And, it frequently goes out, requiring constant re-lighting. It fouled my brand-new meerschaum with a very unpleasant after-odor. Definitely not recommended. It should be called "Zero-Star Blend."

Initially expecting the mixture to be the old Three-Star I came to love in my younger days, when I ordered my batch of Three-Star Blue, I bought a couple of extra boxes to give to friends as gifts. I gave one to a friend who was just taking up pipe-smoking, and he tried the Three-Star Blue. I have not seen him smoke a pipe since.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

peacepipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
peacepipe (16)
★★★☆
Mild Medium Mild Very Pleasant

My second time visiting Chicago, I once again made my way immediately over to the great old tobacconist (and pipe smoker's fantasy land) Iwan Ries. I found the fellows over there to be knowledgable, helpful and friendly. I did made two moves in one morning that I nearly never make: 1. I purchased a filter pipe (Brigham, enjoying it) and 2. purchased an aromatic type tobacco.

Upon asking the guy at the counter to steer me toward and aromatic that smokes reasonably dry and won't taint my briars forever (though seemingly many reviewers here thing this blend does just that), he steered me directly to Three Star Blue.

I needed a people-friendly yet enjoyable smoke and found one in 3 Star Blue. After tasting it in several pipes (including the new Brigham, very smooth in that one) I found a perfect match in a Davidoff bent. If you know how to smoke a pipe, you can make this one work: i.e., if you don't puff relentlessly hard and keep your pipe smoking experience at a moderate cruise without continuously 'steaming' the pipe by out-puffing too much, you may find this a smooth, pleasant blend that you can also enjoy without concern among most nonsmokers. I plan to stock up on this regularly.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fofo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fofo (81)
★★★☆
Very Mild Medium Very Mild Very Pleasant

This tobacco isn't bad or anything it just isn't for me. The leaf used isn't exactly top notch but it's pretty good considering the price. The blend is heavily cased but not overwheelming. Flavorwise I have to say it is very flat, I couldn't really taste anything. The smell of the smoke as I was exhaling and the room note were very pleasant.

Altadis isn't a company that I hold in high regard, their stuff is usually "blah"... I would recommend this to someone who is really into captain black white as it is along the same lines but much better crafted.

I wouldn't really buy this but I might not refuse a bowl if offered.

Altadis blows anyway, why would you want to have them mix your own blends when others can do a much better job?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tudval Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tudval (18)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

Pros: nice room note. Cons: I would rather let somebody else do the chore of smoking it. Tongue bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Captain bob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Captain bob (38)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant

I first smoked Three Star back in the 60's and have pretty much kept some on hand ever since. It's a good first-morning smoke. Smoke it very slowly or it will get hot and bite your tonque! I personally have learned about "saucing" from one of the greats, Craig Tarler at Cornel & Diehl. I also do a lot of my own saucing. If you can't nail down the exact aromatic of a blend, that is a good thing because most sauces are complicated and mixed to achieve an overall taste and aroma that may be non-specific in an identifiable single ingredient. In the case of Three Star Blue, I think it is a Tahitian Vanilla, that by itself, has rootbeer overtones! In addition, a combination of citrus (fruit flavors) is probably the added top note to bring about an aromatic character all its own. It's not likely to ever be duplicated. However, if saucing is your hobby as it is with me, try blueberry and vanilla on a quality unsauced burley and containing only a slight bit of latakia and deer-tongue. It will remind you somewhat of Three Star Blue... one of my favorites.

EDIT 07/24/2009 I have become increasingly discouraged with 3SB since my initial review. I, too, believe it has changed from the old days. They no longer blend it in the shop wash tub. It is done for them by Altadis USA. It no longer has the charm in taste or aroma it once had for me. I shall miss it! But, give it a try. You may enjoy it. Especially, if you are not comparing it to the original blend of many years ago.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DBCooper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DBCooper (9)
★☆☆☆
Medium Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

I returned to the pipe upon retiring a couple years ago. My last go round with the pipe was in the 60?s. For those who weren?t around, those were the days, and the wonderful aroma of Ries tobaccos wafted all over many Midwestern colleges. Professors actually smoked their pipes in class and their offices often smelled like 135 So. Wabash. Blue was the flagship of the fleet and my favorite, when I had the money. Naturally, when I returned to the fold, my first choice was Three Star Blue. Wow, either Blue, or I, have changed a lot. My guess is the tobacco. ( With pipe smoking way down and Chicago?s obscene sin tax, now at 25%, they?ve got to be concerned with lowering costs). Sentimentality and hope, however, prompted me to go down this road 3 times. 7 oz. and 1.5 oz. twice. Disappointment would be an understatement. The tobacco was bone dry, flavorless and burned like well dried tinder. Blue always required care when smoking, but now it bites like a bulldog! Ries still knows how to blend great blends? IRC Flake, the misnamed Cavendish Slices (a Vaper) and Gourmet English are among my favorites, but something has gone badly wrong with Three Star Blue. Look elsewhere.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarBurner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarBurner (29)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild Pleasant

As a boy in Chicago in the 50's some of my fondest memories are of visiting IRC with my father and grandfather. It was a wondrous place of wood paneling,leaded glass cases of briar and men in hats puffing out billowing clouds of blue smoke. This was a haven for men of all stripes to come together to relax, talk tobacco, pipes,and any and everything under the sun. The comeraderie was as thick as those clouds of blue smoke.

At sixteen I was given my 1st pipe and a pouch of 3 star blue.It was a mild-medium sweet aromatic with hints of vanilla and berries easy to pack and it burned just great. Care has to be taken when smoking this blend or it will burn the buds right off your tongue.I was taught to puff Slow, Gentle & Steady to avoid the bite and to allow the blend to achieve its full potential.

Fourty-Five years later I smoke english and virginia blends and occasionally a bowl of 3 star. But I do not enjoy it like I used to because the blend has changed and so have my taste buds. Now I smoke it for the memories.

IRC is still one of the premier tobacconists in the USA. I love their Gourmet English and order it online, but to support my local tobacconist I trade mostly locally so they don't have to close the doors to me and my pals.The men,commeraderie, and clouds of blue smoke are still present. See you there!!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarChef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarChef (100)
★☆☆☆
Extremely Mild Medium to Strong Mild Overwhelming

This, uh, "tobacco",is my penance for stealing Father Ryan's My Mixture 965 in my youth. Bless me Father, for I have sinned...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

AFEOD Guy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AFEOD Guy (4)
★★☆☆
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

I, as many others, recieved a package of this blend free with a pipe I purchased from IWC. As a new smoker(less than 2 years) I'm still cutting my teeth on aromatics and milder tobaccos, and haven't yet fully graduated to the English blends and Virginias all the "old timers" rave about. So by reading the description on the package I thought I'd love this blend. It said things like "light aromatic" and "smooth and mild". Then I tried it. If any blend can be called "the menthol cigarette of pipe tobaccos" I think this is it. Minty but too sharp, mild but not sweet enough, its almost as if they tried to cram too much flavor into Three Star Blue. It does have a pleasant room note, but that's one of the few positives I found. After my first bowl I was not tempted to try it again. I'll set it aside for awhile and -who knows- perhaps my tastes will evolve over time and I'll end up loving it. Some day. But not today.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SmokeKing David Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeKing David (115)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Medium Pleasant

I tried this tobacco about 25 years ago, when I first started to smoke a pipe. At that time I smoked only heavily-cased aromatics. I found Three Star Blue to bite, so I did not finish the pouch.

After reading the reviews of this blend, particularly that of the learned A.Morley (whose reviews are not only enlightening but entertaining as well), I decided to revisit this classic.

My opinion has changed somewhat. Its taste reminds me of cream soda as it does other reviewers. The slow approach to puffing which I learned through A.M and others on this website has reduced the bite.

I also agree with A. that this classic can be a little fickle. And the casing seems too much for me; when I reach for an aromatic, I prefer blends that are not so heavily cased.

Nevertheless, aromatic smokers should consider this interesting blend. It is unique and worth a try.

As an overly-aggressive lawyer once wrote in a vapid send-off to me (and which I found so loopy that I now incorporate it into this and future reviews), "Govern yourself accordingly!" SmokeKing David.

ps. I know that I am receiving a couple other Iwan Ries tobaccos this Christmas. I look forward to lighting them up and submitting reviews in the near future! Happy Holidays!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WillardFan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillardFan (68)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

I'm still trying to make up my mind about this Iwan Ries tobacco. This stuff burns fast, and if you're not carefull, it will get pretty hot. It has a tangy sour taste, which I think is due to the Burley. The box says, World famous taste and aroma. No fillers and no preservatives. The taste is so mild that it's really rather bland. I know I wouldn't buy this stuff, when there are so many better offerings...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big Blue Jazzman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Blue Jazzman (32)
★☆☆☆
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Tolerable

If you smoke this blend I hope you like it because it will stay in your pipe big time. Also, have never yet found an aromatic that gets better by aging.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarFire~ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarFire~ (24)
★☆☆☆
Extremely Mild Extra Strong Overwhelming Unnoticeable

Take some very low quality dried out tobacco "shake" or better yet sawdust, add as much deodorant soap shavings to it as you can,then splash some of Grandmas perfume over it,youll be right in the ballpark of 3 star blue.If you think you know tongue burn,you know nothing(unless you've smoked this)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Nick O'Teen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nick O'Teen (90)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Strong Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I'm very much into tradition. I enjoy playing and listening to traditional music and also like the traditional aspects of pipesmoking.

One of those traditions is receiving a free sample of tobacco when purchasing a pipe from a tobacconist. This is how I came to try Three Star Blue from Iwan Ries.

I very much like dealing with the good folks at Iwan Ries and feel bad dumping on their free sample.

Three Star Blue is a hodgepodge of flavorings that reminds me of Field & Stream. Two flavorings I seem to detect are rum and licorice but there seem to be many more involved in this complex blend.

Unfortunately, the flavorings gag me. They also will leave a ghost in your pipe, so if you try this, be forewarned.

If this is their flagship blend, I don't think I'll be trying any more of their house blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (73)
★★★☆
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Things would have been better in the world if all Aromatics were still blended in the spirit of Three Star Blue. Its base is of high-quality, light-colored Burley and a good amount of bright Virginia. The cut is one of tiny, uniform squares with a scattering of hair-thin corkscrews. It is the farthest thing from sticky. It smells like old fashioned confectionary and baking spices. I have no idea why the Captain Black School was allowed to take over.

I am a sucker for classic American blends, and it is hard to find a more prominent classic than Three Star Blue?well, there is Prince Albert, but I think that I have talked enough about him already. The cut of this blend makes it very easy to pack and even easier to light. The flavor reminds me of cream soda and maybe even baby powder. This would be vapid or undesirable if it were not for the underlying Burley which is warming and flavorful while being generally unobtrusive.

I cannot, however, give Three Star Blue the highest marks because it can be temperamental. Simply let the pipe hang, taking a puff only on occasion and the flavor is missed; puff too hard and often and the stuff becomes bitter and raspy. I understand that Iwan Ries makes heavier aromatics in their Three Star line, perhaps this inconsistency of taste is thus compensated for. Overall, I give it three stars (Ha!).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ben Rich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ben Rich (34)
★★☆☆
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Ahh... Three Star Blue. I started smoking this way back in 1978 when I was in the USAF in Germany and Iwan Ries sent orders postage free to APO's (I also ordered quite a few cheaper pipes from them). Odd, because I had started smoking pipes (when I was still in the U.S.) with tobaccos purchased from B&M's - I went through the old Three Nuns, Dunhill blends, etc. Nevertheless, on my return to the U.S. I continued to smoke almost nothing but Three Star Blue and I continued to do so up until about ten years ago. After going back to English and straight Virginias, I recently ordered an 8 oz. pack of Three Star Blue and tried it again. I don't believe this tobacco ages well as it probably contains burley; the flavoring doesn't become better as it ages, either, but simply enhances the bitterness of the burleys. So, I would say this tobacco should be smoked relatively fresh and it must be smoked very slowly. It packs beautifully and generally smokes dry but will bite the foo out of you if you puff too quickly. It has a nice fruity flavor starting out, but generally by mid-bowl the burleys announce their presence and, if you puff too quickly, it will become bitter, but not in a nice way, like beer hops bitter. My wife and (now grown) daughters have always loved the aroma of burning Three Star Blue and I often was questioned/complimented on the wonderful aroma by strangers or nodding acquaintances. It is also a "mindless" smoke, you can light it and forget it, as long as you mindlessly puff very slowly. I haven't finished the 8 ounces yet... maybe I'll give it to my son-in-law since his wife (my daughter) is not wild about the room note of his GL Pease blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hemlock Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hemlock (57)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant

As some others have, I received a sample pack with purchase of a pipe from Iwan Ries, and have since purchased another half pound. This is an execellent tobacco blend very well suited for social occasions. I enjoy both mild aromatics and non-aromatics. The blend has a heady aroma upon opening the pouch. It smokes cool with lovely sweetness, and brings various notes through the bowl with its virginia and cavendish components. I still find it satisfying though it is aromatic-- the flavouring is reserved and balanced. This is an all day blend for me as it burns very dry and leaves no moist dottle or gurgle to the pipe. Because of its lovely room aroma, it incites nothing but praise and intrigue for the pipe from bystanders. Yet, I still feel that I am smoking tobacco and not a bowl of fruit loops.

I also love the texture which I would best decribe as bits and flakes of bright and dark leaf. Easy to gravity fill a bowl.

I highly recommend this to those without prejudice against mild aromatics.

----- update 01-18-07

I resampled a jar of this stuff that had aged for nearly a year. It had become full of bite and the flavour was flat, synthetic and bad enough to pitch the smoke and dump nearly 6 oz into the fireplace. I suspect that the flavouring agent is degrading with time and this is somehow linked to all the bite folks are complaining about. The leaf seams to be of reasonable quality. I wonder if Iwan Ries realizes that they have a quality problem with their current version of the flagship offering.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tennessee texan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tennessee texan (21)
★☆☆☆
Very Mild Medium Very Mild Strong

This well known tobacco was dry in the pouch, so I thought I might like it. Wrong. The taste was foul and it also bit my tongue. May be a good smoke for others, but certainly not for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (140)
★★☆☆
Very Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

It has taken me quite some time to get around to this well known classic, so I was eager to pack a bowl. It tasted very much like Kentucky Club Continental Blend to me. It smelled a bit like Captain Black White when lit, but that smell faded soon. I also got the odd perfume flavor others have mentioned.

I cannot say that this is bad, but I will not be buying it again anytime soon.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SopwithCamel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SopwithCamel (255)
★★☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Three Star Blue is a classic American style blend. It comes in an attractive foil pouch. Visually, it is one of the prettiest blends I've seen. Very light tan, brown,rough cut, with a few black flakes. I believe the black flakes are stoved Virginia. This is an aromatic, but it is not in the wet, heavily cased black Cavendish style which dominates today. The pouch aroma is fruity and cool. It takes a bit to get this going, but then it is easy to maintain. Go slow with this, or you will hurt yourself! I wouldn't smoke this one mindlessly, I have to have some time on my hands to be able to appreciate this. The bite and heat are definitely the flaws of this blend. The flavor is fruity, a little sweet, a little sour, with a toasty tobacco undertone. I would recommend smoking this in a long stemmed billiard, or Canadian, to help cool things down.

If you like mildly fruity aromatics, and are patient enough to master the technique required for this blend, It could make a good smoke. It finishes clean and dry, and although it will leave a ghost, it's nothing compared to some of the goopier aromatics out there. If you love these old-fashioned blends, its well worth a try. I've never had anything else like it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

farmer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
farmer (5)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When I was in college, a taste for Three Star was a mark of sophistication. I can't say I particularly care for it, but I don't dislike it either. I have to restrain myself to keep Three Star cool enough not to bite. I am not opposed to aromatics, but the Three Star casing does not appeal to me. The tobacco flavor is fairly bland-- I think mostly burley, some Virginia. I will never say that an IRC blend is not good, I have too much respect for the establishment, but Three Star has never held up to its reputation for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

k9zm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
k9zm (7)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

This is a wonderful, old-time tobacco, that seems to bring back lots of fond memories for all who encounter the scent. A nice mixture of color, with some coarse chunks that I like in my tobacco. Odd scent in the pouch. Everyone has a differing opinion about that it seems. Something flora. Some minty notes. I think I smell a cherry like flavor.

Gravity feed the bowl and tap with my fingers to settle. Then the last pinch is gently pushed in a bit to firm it slightly. Nice moisture. Fairly dry. It burns well and tastes much like it smells. Nice sweetness and much is from the Virginia's. Some burley in the blend which adds a nice nutty flavor.

Be forewarned, this is a blend for the pipe smoker with a fair technique. Puffed up, this blend will bite you like a rabid cat. But smoked slowly, this is pretty good stuff. Nice medium nicotine hit. Satisfying. Which for me is very important. I smoke this in my Jobert pipes, and need to keep the ash dumped. The bowls are mostly deep, and too much ash tends to put the coal out.

Being in Illinois, it's pretty expensive for me to obtain more. But I would keep it around for when I have to smoke in a crowd or to please the wife.

Enjoy, Carlos

Nobody has rated this review yet.

headsouth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
headsouth (5)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I didn't find this tobacco very pleasant. It smells okay in the pouch, sort of berry-like. It fried my tongue. You have to take this stuff pretty slow.

It comes pretty dry. Not quite C&D dry, but dry nonetheless.

This stuff's okay as a last resort.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hephaestus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hephaestus (3)
★☆☆☆
Mild Very Strong Mild to Medium Pleasant

I bought 7 oz. pouch of this blend back in ' 90 as part of my first mail order with I.R.C. and based on a brief mention by Richard Hacker in his book. My hopes were of finding a flavorful smoke for me with a more pleasing aroma for coworkers and my girlfriend than my usual Dunhill 'Early Morning' which shooed folks away in droves.

Opening the pouch, it slapped me in the face with licorice, and undertones of banana of all things! Juicy Fruit? Okay C.P., I'll go along with that description; the smell was just as obnoxious and left an impression which makes me shudder to this day.

Still, I had to go for it as it's been my experience that tobac often tastes quite different puffing from the stem than it smells from the jar. Woah! I'm so glad I used a cob instead of a plateau briar, as burning off the residuals left by this stink weed would have been a labor of years if ever. As it was, the cob found its way into a drum reserved for spent welding rods and grinding disks along with the remainder of the 7 oz pouch of this lamentable mixture.

Be advised, this IS NOT a cross-over and it's even questionable as a 'mild' aromatic, unless you consider incense to be mildly aromatic.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ChicagoPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ChicagoPipe (45)
★☆☆☆
Mild Strong Mild Pleasant

I started smoking Three Star 40 years ago and loved it then and smoked it for many years. I used to go down to the original Iwan Ries street level store twice a month. What a great tobacco shop! Nothing but pipes and tobacco. The place was alway packed, sometimes shoulder to shoulder.

Reading the reviews on Three Star, I was wondering why most of the reviews were describing the pouch aroma smelling like Juciy Fruit gum and tasting soapy. I figured they were not use to the unique flavor of Three Start. A couple of weeks ago my friend gave me a pouch of Three Star that he got as a sample from Altadis. I opend the pouch and my first thougt was "What the heck is this?" It didn't look anything like the old Three Star tobacco. The tobacco was cut in big uneven chuncks! The old Three Star was cut in uniform small flakes. And yes, it did smell like Juicy Fruit gum, nothing like the original aroma.

Well, I loaded my pipe and gave it a try. Boy, did they screw up this once great aromatic! It taste nothing like the old blend and bit like crazy. I guess this is another case of a company (Altadis) taking over a blend, cheaping up the tobacco and flavoring, and selling it on its laurals. I guess some of the reviewers like this blend, but beleive me, if you somked the old blend, you would be wirting this review.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tonyg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tonyg (103)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Reading previous reviews of Three Star Blue, one gets the impression of a love/hate reaction.

I enjoy aromatics from time to time and feel confident to recommend this quality blend. No PG, no goop, but loaded with real tobacco flavor. It's just a bit too moist out of the pouch, but nothing like most other aromatics. Let it dry out a bit if you are so inclined. Burns remarkably well for a tobacco in this class.

Add a star arormatics are at the top of your list.

If you like Three Star Blue, I think you'll really be impressed with Orlick's Dark Strong Kentucky, (a blend that isn't really all that strong), but well worth the higher price.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zionhead1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zionhead1 (26)
★★☆☆
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

well, that burley taste is there that is for sure. This is Carter Hall with Erinmore topping. If this were a vehicle this would be a '56 light blue Ford pick up.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ToboldHornblower Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ToboldHornblower (15)
★☆☆☆
Mild Medium to Strong Mild Overwhelming

Received as free sample. Smells like perfume and leaves an aftertaste like soap. I gave it an overwhelming on room note not because it is strong but because I find the smell so disagreeable I simply cannot bear to smoke this blend. On a positive note, no bite and not goopy. Perhaps this is one of those "love it" or "hate it" blends. I am in the latter but evidently lots of folks enjoy it, more power to them; it is just not for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipeman (14)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

after trying mixture 79 i wasn't sure what to expect from this. this was much better,i didn't find this to be as aromatic as i thought it would be,but it did leave a nice aroma for quite some time.it had a more pure tobcco taste to it for a aromatic.it started out mild but got stronger the rest of the way,it stayed cool for the most part.i would say this is another good aromatic for beginners.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

aadelma Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
aadelma (55)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant

This blend starts out very promising. There is a light top note which reminds me of juicy fruit gum that is very similar to that used in the House of Windsor blends. It isn't sticky at all, so I was hoping for sort of a Country Doctor without the latakia. Indeed, the first half of the bowl is mild and pleasant, tasting mainly like tobacco. During the second half, the low quality of the tobacco shines through and it gets acrid and bites. It is worth what I paid for it - nothing.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jackhackett Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackhackett (76)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

This really is a decent blend, and it does have a very nice complex of 'old-fashioned' flavors when smoked.

My problem with this blend is that, in the pouch, the casing used makes the blend smell like what can only be described as 'captain black plied with cheap grape soda-pop,' and I have a very hard time loading anything with that scent into a pipe that I have any feelings for whatsoever.

All in all though, Three Star Blue smokes reasonably well, isn't too much of a biter if respected, and leaves a mystifyingly enjoyable but distinctly mayberryesque coffee cake, creme, and pine-sol flavor on the tongue and in the briar----making it perfect for outings to funeral homes, dirt malls (flea markets), bowling alleys, your in-laws' homes, and anywhere portraits of Mussolini, Stalin, or Bob Barker are still proudly displayed.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Three Star Blue is a mildly flavored, light aromatic, one in which the tobacco hasn't been drowned out by casing. Its got a wonderful smell right out of the pouch, and with a crumbled kind of cut that I wouldn't describe as anything resembling a "broken flake", as indicated by the above blend notes.

It comes nice and moist, dry even, with a large variety of golden tobaccos. The taste isn't overbearing, though in the few times I smoked Three Star Blue, it's bit intensely. I understand this is a favored aromatic blend of many, and for what it is, it's great. As for the bite, it keeps me from wanting seconds...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Zone Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Zone Smoke (199)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Mild Very Pleasant

First of all, understand that this tobacco is definitely aromatic. Another one of many blends designed solely to appease those around the pipe smoker rather than provide the pipe smoker with anything enjoyable to smoke. While other aromatics may smell nice and provide smoking enjoyment, this is clearly not one of them. Reminiscent of Mixture 79, this stuff is pretty vile tasting weed.

The tobacco packs well and ends to stay lit, but will bite without provocation. It reaks strongly of perfume.

There's just nothing to keep me from throwing this tobacco in the trash.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is one of the blends that I regularly smoked way back when. I have recently tried it again and I was not disappointed. This blend has not changed in my opinion. It still remains a favorite of mine, if not in my pipe regularly, in my heart always. I have no favorite type of blend. There are aromatics, non-aromatics, English, Scottish, Virginias and Americanized English blends that I like and don?t like. Recently, however, I have been smoking more aromatics than in the past. To wit, variety is the spice of life.

Three Star Blue is a classic American, mild to medium aromatic that is smooth, mellow, well-balanced, cool smoking and with a different but pleasant taste that I cannot compare to other blends. Some say it is fruity, other say it has a birch/wintergreen/mint taste or even has a perfume / soapy essence. The taste will be what YOU perceive. Regardless, the refreshing taste is subdued and will underlie but not overwhelm its more honest tobacco flavor.

The pouch aroma is unique. I could do a blind sniff test on 1000 pouches of different tobaccos and pick out the distinctive, pleasant aroma of Three Star Blue. This 100% natural tobacco tends to be on the dry side as it contains no humectants or preservatives. This, no doubt, is why it has superb burning qualities as well. This is also one of the few aromatics that does not get goopy or leave a wet heel. This is a rare plus for an aromatic. I experienced no bite perhaps because I tend to sip and savor rather than ?puff and chuff.? You may be indifferent to Blue the first few times you smoke it. If this is the case, lay it aside for 2-3 months and come back to it. I think your opinion may change favorably.

If you live in Illinois, the only thing negative about buying tobacco products from Iwan Ries is the Chicago sin tax. It now registers 13% on the Richter Scale. This is in addition to the 9% sales tax, one of the highest in the country for a major city. I think the folks at Iwan Ries should say goodbye to tradition (in Chicago since 1857) and move to the suburbs.

A cigarette is to be smoked. A cigar is to be enjoyed. A pipe is to be savored.

I rate this tobacco 9.6 out of 10.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Strong Mild Very Pleasant

This is a great representation of a an era gone by.This tobacco represents grandpa,egg creams,and fadoras!It is actually a fine aromatic that simply has lost its place in today's world.If you want to know the burning qualities and flavor think Royal Scott by Wilke.It is like Barking Dog with a Sundae topping. Not an everyday smoke ,but it has its place. Try some and be transported back to a better time for pipe smokers and generally the rest of us. 3 of 4 aromatic stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

akaiser77 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
akaiser77 (52)
★★★☆
Mild Mild Mild Very Pleasant

As has been noted, Three Star Blue is the biggest selling private-label mixture in the world. The reason for this is clear: it's a superb pipe tobacco.

A blend of burley, Virginia, and a tiny amount of what I take to be Oriental leaf, this has a singular and powerful pouch aroma. It's a mixture of mint, fruit essence, and perfume. A pungent and alluring foretaste of what's to come. The cut is mostly in small flakes, with color ranging from light blond to black.

The writing on the pouch claims that this is 100% natural tobacco. When lit, much of the aroma from the pouch disappears, leaving one with a mildly sweet, refreshing, unique smoke, with a room note that is appealing and unmistakable. The fruity/perfumey essence stays there, but it's much more in the background than one might expect before lighting. There is a slight bite, but a modicum of attention paid to one's smoking technique alleviates this.

Three Star Blue is famous for a reason; chances are you'll either love it or hate it. I lean towards the former and highly recommend this fine blend.

(On a side note, let me compliment the customer service at Iwan Ries, who kindly sent me free samples of both Three Star Blue and China Black Vanilla Burley. They have earned their reputation as a truly great tobacco company in more ways than one.)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ducksbreath Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ducksbreath (81)
★☆☆☆
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I don't have any fond memories of this, which came free as a sample with another order. I found out about Iwan Ries through this database and otherwise would probably never have placed an order with that venerable company.

To me it tastes something like a cheaper approximation to Mac Barens Mixture, which I also avoid. I did find a fairly nice mid bowl sweetness present in * blue, but it wasn't worth the pain to get there. I realize I posted a semi positive review of Mixture 79 and my credibility is not very high as a result, but these are my recollections of my first exposure to blue, a couple of years ago, and I have no desire to try it again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bobbior5907 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bobbior5907 (24)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Years ago this was my favorite tobacco but then I then I read Richard Carleton Hacker's books, subscribed to Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine, and,of course, read Tobaccoreviews.Com and moved on to flakes, exotic and high grade blends from around the world. Mr. Serad's recent review of Three Star Blue induced me to try my old favorite again and I can stll recommend it. It is an old traditional American-style blend similar to the recent nostalgic releases from House of Windsor. It consists of small granules of varied color, but generally dark with some bright flashes. It smells good in the pouch, lights and burns well, and has an intriguingly rich aroma. It tastes good with a spicy semi-sweet undertaste. It is not one of those unidimensional overly moist black cavendish blends, but actually smacks of complexity and is considered by some to be an English/aromatic crossover. It is dry and packs easily, but can be pushed to bite if one puffs vigorously. Like many of the old-time blends, Three Star Blue seems well suited to the old-time Kaywoodies since their metal filters restrict draw. I theorize that one contributed to the success of the other in a kind of symbiotic relationship. Anyway, I give Three Star Blue a grade of "B-".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarLaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarLaw (85)
★★★☆
Medium Medium Mild Pleasant

I am completely re-writing this review v. updating it because I was far to tough on this tobacco the first time around.

For many years I was a diehard Latakia fan who smoked nothing but the traditional English blends. I tried this and hated it. I thought it was like smoking Juicy Fruit gum. But my tastes have mellowed and I am less rigid in what I appreciate.

I have smoked Three Star Blue several times since my initial review and am changing my opinion. I should have been more complimentary.

This tobacco is an old fashioned aromatic. Slightly sweet, good tobacco flavor, nice aroma, dry. Moderate nicotine. It is not goopy. I do notice the Orientals when I smoke it slowly (which is the only way to enjoy this as fast puffing brings out the heat).

So try this if you like the older-style aromatics that are not PG coated or slathered with sweet goop. But remember . . . . this is an aromatic with basic underlying tobacco taste. Nothing too complex and definately not for the diehard English fan. But a nice change of pace and certainly something to smoke when around others who have not yet learned to appreciate pipes.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipper (11)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild Very Pleasant

This blend is comprised of toasted burley, sweet Virginia, and fire cured cavendish. This was the very first tobacco I smoked decades ago, and brings back fond memories. Anywhere I went in public (fashionable in those days), strangers (both men and women) would stop me and ask what I was smoking, as it had such a wonderful aroma. It was mild enough to smoke all day, and never produced a wet heel. There is a trick to smoking this aromatic in that this tobacco should be smoked slowly, perhaps 2-3 puffs per minute to fully enjoy the flavor, yet keeping the smoke cool. As I matured, so did my tobacco tastes, and I lost track of this staple aromatic. My daily rotation now includes more complex non-aromatic blends from Pipeworks & Wilke, Pease, and Dunhill, yet I still find myself drawn occasionally to a bowl full of Blue. It is, and always has been a very unique aromatic.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Nojoqui Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nojoqui (28)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorable notes were written about this blend by Richard Carleton Hacker in "Pipesmoking A 21st Century Guide", and most recently William Serad in the Spring 2004 issue of "Pipes in Tobaccos". I was given a sample of this on a past order from Iwan Ries. It sat around unopened for some time. Then I had an urge to smoke an aromatic. Mind you, the only "aromatic" I could come close to is "Barbary Coast" by Greg Pease. Well, I was out of that. So, I said "Oh, well...there's that "Three Star Blue" hanging around...". I've been trying it out in six pipes I reserved for "Barbary Coast" (hope it didn't hurt 'em!). It's actually a bit refreshing, believe it or not, from one who limits himself mostly to English blends, straight Virginias, and Virginia/Perique blends. The interesting thing I find here is that there is little variation from top to bottom of bowl. Maybe a bit toward the bottom, but not much. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. I tend to savor the tobaccos I like. Well, I didn't even think about that with this stuff! I could read, do yard work, or whatever without thinking about what I was smoking. I tried at first to look for highlights down the bowl, but I couldn't find them. Is this the true "working man's tobacco"? Anyway, here we have a blend that my family members don't mind, and I can ignore it. I wonder if it has something in it to keep it lit, too. You can almost ignore it from top to bottom. Maybe a last match...just to see if it's still there. There must be some kind of mint like topping applied I guess. I get that "sort of" taste as I smoke it. What ever it is, it seems to stick around for some time after, too. The main thing is that there's nothing outstanding to report here other than it's a great blend for concentrating on other things. It doesn't make me think, "What is this stuff"??!! Guess I'll continue to smoke it when I don't want to love what I'm smoking and concentrate on other tasks. Read Mr. Serad's comments, and continue from there...

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provguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
provguy (52)
★★★☆
Mild Medium Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

I am in the midst of a foray into the world of aromatic blends. Having noted this blend to be one of the more popular ones in the country I decided to try this one and Three Star Ebony which I have not tried as yet. Three Star Blue is coming through quite nicely. Having read the previous crits on this blend there is not much being said in favor of this blend. Well I have to say that it is not bad at all. It is very easy to smoke all day and is definitely a blend that one does not need to sit back and savour, however, that being said it is very pleasant. It did get a bit harsh at the end. I will smoke this from time to time as a nice change of pace. Three Stars for Three Star.

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Superhula Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Superhula (6)
★☆☆☆
Mild Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

When I used to live in Chicago, in the early 1990's, I went to Iwan Reis every week to buy cigars, pipes, and tobacco. As a complete novice back then I pretty much learned how to smoke from these people. I have a lot of fond memories of the place. It's a great store and worth visiting if you're ever in the Loop. Nevertheless, I never thought much of their three star tobaccos. I remember buying one of their sampler packs which had six or so different three star tobaccos and they all smelled and tasted the identical, with just some variation in strength. This is not the worst crime in the world--a lot of tobacco makers follow this pattern. There are three or four Dunhill blends that like stronger or weaker counterparts of one another. Still, it was a bit disappointing to find out everything tastes the same. And what is that taste? It's the smell actually--as others have noted, three star blue has a pretty distinctive smell. It's been ten years since I smoked this stuff and I can STILL remember that smell. It certainly doesn't smell like anything else I've encountered since then. Intensely sweet, pungent, and fruity is what I recall. It was like a potpourri your grandma might have in her bathroom. I suppose somebody out there might really dig this smell, but I didn't find it particularly palatable. The other annoying trait of the three star tobaccos was how finely cut they are. Somebody called it "cubed." Whatever the proper term, it's like filling your bowl with confetti and smoking it. Granted, some people don't want to muck around with rubbing their tobacco because it's a hassle. Even so, a standard ribbon cut would be sufficient to avoid that problem. Probably the sole advantage to cutting the tobacco this small is that you can just plunge your pipe right into the bag and fill it with index finger (if you consider that an advantage).

I have to confess I don't remember anything else about this tobacco, not how it burned, not what it tasted like. All I remember is that "essence of air freshener" smell it had. I also remember disliking all of their brands tobaccos, with the exception of China Black--which was a fire-cured Cavendish that was completely different from the other Iwan Ries stuff.

Anyway, the next time I went in the manager got mad at me because I told him I preferred Captain Black Gold over his three star tobaccos. I didn't mean to insult the guy, but what can I say--I thought the stuff sucked. That's not to say somebody else might not really enjoy it. I suppose it's like the debate over Erinmore, either you like that smell or you hate it. I don't know that I'd recommend mail ordering a pouch just to find out if you like it. However, if you ever go to Chicago, it?s certainly worth visiting the store and sticking your nose into bag and sniffing it, or smoking a bowl there in the store from the samples they have available. I'll promise you it will certainly be something different.

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chaplikc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chaplikc (135)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This just did not do it for me. It smells wonderful in the pouch and while burning. ( if you like aromatics- I usualy do not ) Once when I was a young boy I think my brother sprayed perfume in my mouth when I was not expecting it. This is what the taste kind of reminds me of . While I do not rate this as bad as erinmore mixture, i do not like it.

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RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild Overwhelming

I am afraid that all I can say about this blend is that some people have much different tastes than me. This blend made me ill just smelling it in the bag, and even more so after a few puffs. Alas, I let it go out and dumped the rest in the "T" file. For aromatics, there are many that I prefer (Sunday's Fantasy, Evening Stroll, Captain Black Gold,,etc...) this one is just not my cup of tea....Cannot recomend. Rating: 0 out of 5 Points. Sorry.

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Art_A Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Art_A (5)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable

I cannot see hou this can possibly be the best selling private blend in the country, I tried this years ago and was just given some lately. The only thing I can say good about this is it pcks good and burns well. I get a hot burn and bite. I will not smoke this again even as a gift.

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omegapd Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
omegapd (81)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

The other reviews say it all. To be nice, I like the aroma in the room and in the pouch. The heat and bite are what killed me. I've been sampling the same small pouch since 2000. 'Nuff said.

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mesacactus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mesacactus (21)
★☆☆☆
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

Chicago, Chicago, its a hell of a town, or so the song gos. Three Star Blue is a legend in that burg by the river. It also has a rep, throughout the country, and maybe the world. Why? I don't know. I mean, this tobacco, is weird. I mean it is realy strange. I almost used the word unique, but that descriptor does not do the blend justice. When I first tried this tobacco, my first impression after sampling the aroma from the pack, was soapy. Not just any soap, but Dial soap. It wasn't unpleasent, but soap? I filled my pipe, with the cube cut blend and began to smoke. So this is what soap tasts like? The flavor from this mostly Burley blend was very strong. To say aromatic, would be an understatement. Everyone in the room, building, and surrounding area will know that you are smoking. But honostly, they might not even know what it was. Some may even think they were near a gym, where the smell of soap would be coming from the showers. At least you should not run the risk of offending many people. Most like the smell of Dial. The tobacco burned a bit hot, and could cause bite, so I took it slow, and prolonged the experience. About halfway through, something happened. The casing seemed to have burned off, and I began to get a tobacco taste, but not a good one. It was sour, and bitter. I have ran into this problem before with a dry, cube cut burly aromatic, and it was the same here. I had to stop, dump the pipe, and hope that I would not be experiencing Dial overtones from my pipe when I smoked it again. I usually try to find at least something good to say about any tobacco I smoke. I can't with this one. I did not like it, and being that Chicago is a "hell of a town", I almost thought I had entered hell after smoking this. Enticed with a promiss of pleasure, but fooled into a flavor hell, which made me Blue :(

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Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

Iwan Ries says this is the most popular private label brand in the country and is their store's most popular tobacco. Well, I demand an audit!

I first tried Blue as a teenager in the early 70's. I have given the stuff a whirl a half dozen times since then and get the same results. This stuff burns like the dickens, tastes terrible, and smells weird. If you don't mind spending a few weeks with your tongue in a sling, then go ahead a light up with this stuff, otherwise, avoid at all costs!

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pokrsmokr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pokrsmokr (32)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I was given a small bag of Three Star Blue this evening at an informal gathering of pipesmokers at a local shop by a pleasant gentleman who's smoked it for years. In return I gave him comparable amount of Full Virginia Flake. The aroma of this tobacco in the bag is rather odd, somewhere between earthy and fruity. It was rather dry (or his stash was at least) and packed very easily. Upon first light a fruity flowery taste filled my mouth and I thoguht I was in for trouble. Though this is definitely an aromatic, though not a goopy one, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought after the first light. It started out mild, of course, but soon gained in strength. I have no idea what is in this tobacco but I would bet a good portion of burley with some virginia. The flavor is hard to pinpoint, it's slightly flowery and soapy but also fruity. I began to feel some bite after only a dozen or so puffs and I was careful to smoke slowly (and it was well packed). The caution light was blinking, I'm heading for trouble. Rather than put the pipe down I continued at a snails pace. It seemd fairly one dimensional until about half way throught he bowl where the flavoring seemed to take a back seat to a nuttiness which was slightly bitter. The burley has awoken it seems, and it never goes back to sleep. The last half of this bowl was a burley lovers dream. Unfortunatley, I am not normally a huge fan of burley. I made it through the bowl with only slight discomfort on my tongue and all that was left was a nice clean ash in my pipe. It did get a little harsh towards the very end though. Despite my consciously slower than normal puffing, this seemed to burn very fast. I can't say I loved this tobacco, but it wasn't horrible either. It's aroma is certainly it's best feature and I can imagine this would be a big crowd pleaser in public. It reminds me of what I thought a pipe smelled likeas I was growing up, perhaps more than any other tobacco I've smoked. Would I recommend this? Certainly to those who like aromatics, but for those who don't I'd recommend you pass. Will I smoke it again? Yes. Will I put any away in my tobacco cellar? No.

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CJ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CJ (45)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Strong

I have mixed feelings on the Three Star Blends. It is with fond memories and great appreciation that I recall the days in the 1960's when the staff at Iwan Ries introduced and educated me on the finer points of pipes and tobaccos. Back then, the only three Star Blend was "Blue". It was offered as a straight, non-aromatic blend. Shortly thereafter, they announced that it was, in fact, an aromatic and relabeled many of their other blends as part of the Three Star line. This is the first time in about 25 years that I have tasted these blends. During this time, I have migrated to non-aromatic, latakia type mixtures. I cannot make out the component tobaccos in Three Star. There is no hint from Iwan Ries on their makeup. They refer to their blends as "full", "balanced", "light", "rich", etc. without any mention of a single tobacco component. I do remember that, way back in the 60's, they told me that it contained Deer Tongue. The number one feature of this line is the aroma. They are crowd pleasers. They have the aroma that makes one think of taking up the pipe. Both smokers and non-smokers seem to enjoy the whiffs in the air. It is as if they first created the aroma, and then blended some tobaccos to fit it. The cut is composed of very small pieces of dark and light ribbons and flakes that always seem to have the perfect moisture content. Unlike other aromatics, they are not goopy. They burn dry and clean to a fine ash. However, they tend to bite a bit. The pouch aroma is a bit musty with an aromatic that I cannot define. It is unique being neither like vanilla nor rum cased blends. I can neither taste the tobacco, nor the aromatic as they seem to blend into an indefinable flavor (Spearmint or Juicy Fruit Gum is close). There is a twang in each puff that may be due to the Deer Tongue if it is still used. However, the aroma controls the smoking experience. I only smoke these in my "anything goes pipes", as both the flavor will linger in the briar, and the aroma will definitely linger in the room. Some of the Three Star blends are identical with the only difference being the strength of the aromatic addition. Three of the blends that I have tried are almost identical with Three Star Red being mild on the aromatic, Blue-medium, and Gold-heavy. I would no longer consider any of the Iwan Ries tobaccos as a regular smoke, but I often turn to them when I want something really different that just smells great. Since aroma is a major component of taste, that might just be the secret to these blends. I would recommend Three Star to those that do not mind aromatics, and to those that just really want something different with a great aroma. They are my love-hate blends.

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Bear Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bear (24)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Under my Grandmother's maxim of "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything" I usually avoid reviewing aromatics. I'll have to change that I suppose, can't stay a dinosaur forever, curmudgeon, maybe. I decided to dabble my feet in the "aromatic" world with a so-called crossover. A tobacco that has both aromatic and non aromatic properties. I've been promised "English for you, aromatic for them". Three Star Blue is the top seller by a long shot out of the Iwan Ries lineup. The packaging that I have is a "perma-moist resealable package" containing 7 oz of the stuff. Appearance: No excess moisture, predominantly blond & medium brown burley tobacco, with a little black, which at first, assumed to be a BCA essentially. But I tweezed and lit, and seems (I repeat seems) to be a very dark Virginia, based on burning odor. The package aroma is unusual to say the least. Aromatic, unquestionably, with hints of plum and small amounts of vanilla. Not overwhelming Pack: I an very impressed with the pack, the package moisture is just right for a "trickle" load Test Drive: Fire hits weed. Lit well releasing a muted vanilla/ juicy fruit taste, not as heavy as most aromatics that I have been around. My LSW likes the smell saying that it's the 'most pleasant smelling tobacco that I've smoked in a while". It smokes very dry and burned well all the way down with nary a gurgle. I found the smoke to be a tad "bitey", with many similarities to Edgeworth ready-rubbed, sans Anise Conclusion: If you are a fan of Burley based aromatics and would like something a little more muted than say, a Lane 1Q, give it a try. It burns well and is very reasonably priced. It just isn't my cup of tea, however, and I wouldn't recommend it to my nonromantic pals Room Note: 7 Pack, light and burn:9 Taste:4 Overall: 5

Bear

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