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An English aromatic you won't believe. An extremely smooth mixture of Orientals blended with an aged, mellow Latakia cube. Trent blended this for a good friend in the Big Sky country in Montana and now it is a favorite of many.

Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish
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Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild
Mild to Medium, Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
14 reviews
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Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Just remembered that I have never reviewed this one. I have not had it for a year and a half, but remember it well. If I am in Charlotte again, I will go to McCranie's and buy some more. I do not like enough McCranie's blends to order online and pay that shipping, but it is not inconceivable that I might order a half pound of this from them sometime. I remember this one so well because it was the first Balkan I really loved. I loved it too dearly one memorable night, I can tell you! I had an Ebay estate pipe that was an unusual piece made in Israel. Made by Anderson, though I have never been able to find any information on it. It is not a fine pipe, but has a quasi-rusticated bowl and seems to be made of very light briar. On its last night on earth as a smokeable pipe, I was in my car (parked in my driveway but with the radio on drinking beer, smoking Hell's Gate, and listening to classical music), and I had my nice new Israeli pipe stuffed full of Hell's Gate. The pipe had a really big bowl, so I was smoking happily, easily for an hour, and really going at it. And it was good, I can tell you. Not hellish at all, but rather one of those blends that manage to be full and complex yet mild and forgiving at the same time. As I neared the end of a sublime and nearly orgasmic smoke, one of the best I have ever had, I noticed a campfiery aroma that was not coming from the Latakia. It was the bowl of the pipe about to burn through. Perhaps the pipe is badly made; it could still be smoked carefully, but if I ever put Hell's Gate in it again, it will be the last time. Such is the nature of this wonderful blend: you will want to puff away like there is no tomorrow, but use a stout briar! It's probably good at any smoking rate, but it made me want to huff and puff like the big bad wolf. Despite that, the big bad wolf didn't once bite me in the mouth, just nearly chewed through my pipe. Highly, highly recommended!

Just ordered some more after all this time to see how it would strike me. Seems different; I think I notice the aromatic qualities more, and I don't like it quite as much. I don't know for sure whether it is the blend or just my tastes that have changed, so I will stick with my original recommendation.

BTW that pipe is still smokeable, if I am careful.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tobold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tobold (7)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

01/15/09 - This is a "blue-collar" review from a long-time pipe smoker who is neither a connoisseur nor a gourmet. I like subtleties up to a point, beyond which I cannot detect them. There are very few aromatics that I like anymore. I love orientals, latakias, and Virginias, but burley gives me some trouble. Most of the time, I like stronger blends over weaker ones and in larger pipes than smaller ones. I have exceptions to all of the above. With that said . . .

The tobacco reviewed here is from a fresh untinned bulk sample.

Brown and black ribbons with a faintly spicy pouch smell greet you. Light on taste at the match but with a nice light room note. At mid-bowl, this is a moderately complex English where no one component dominates. The latakia is muted and there is no heavy pungency of a Balkan blend. It becomes heavier toward the bottom of the bowl. While this won't leave you sated, it will leave you wanting another bowl. Interesting without being demanding. I will buy more. Recommended.

Holds its own against Samuel Gawith's Squadron Leader and Perfection.

I'll keep this on hand because it's light and slightly spicy, complex with no dominating component. Mild.

I'll give this seven out of nine leaves.

1 person found this review helpful.

LifeOfRiley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LifeOfRiley (11)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

Spicy, full, and smooth as velvet. You'll want to find some time to enjoy this one without distraction. I'm dedicating one of my best pipes to this blend exclusively. Simply one of the most enjoyable tobaccos I've ever smoked.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ENThomsen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ENThomsen (5)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

"English Aromatic"? I am still not quite certain what makes this blend aromatic. Like "CaptnDan", there is something in this blend that I am not able to detect. But, it works. Luckily, I did not realize that it is considered aromatic before I bought it: that is usually a deal-breaker for me.

In any case, this is a wonderful tobacco. For my taste, it could have more latakia, but it is well balanced. It has been a great "all day smoke": no bite, not hot, and easy to light and keep lit.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

EAL Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
EAL (36)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Nothing hellish about this blend. Smooth, tastey, easy to light, easy to smoke, no goop, no bite. Unique flavor. Try this one now.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.1512 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.1512 (196)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Hell?s Gate is solid black tobacco thatt lights easy and affords a smooth, sweet smoke in flavor and aroma without any bite. This blend is very tasty with thick, billowing smokey sweetness with excellent burn qualities. A real treat!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Hell?s Gate is coal black in appearance with a rich, sweet, smoky and pungent pouch aroma. Delightful! It lights easily and delivers a sweet, smooth smoke with nary a bite, no matter how fast you puff. And that?s a caution. This blend is so flavorful with its smoky sweetness, you will be tempted to puff fast and overheat your pipe (but not your tongue). Restrain yourself and enjoy the delicious flavor this blend offers. HG is short on nicotine if that?s a concern but like many, if not most English blends, it has excellent burning qualities. I find this blend similar to but a notch or so below Frog Morton on the Town, a blend that I and many others also classify as an English Aromatic. Another notch on the gun for McCrainies!

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

I rate this tobacco 8.9 out of 10.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I may have received the wrong tobacco in this order, but I was underwhelmed by this blend. Usually I agree with Pipestud on most tobaccos but this one does not taste like an English to me. Old Master has much more flavor and punch than Hell's Gate. I have sampled this on two occasions without much enjoyment. I will give it one more try a little later and try to ensure the pipe is very clean.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Blackie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackie (16)
Mild Medium Medium Pleasant

This arrived double wrapped in plastic and I could smell it ten feet away. The pouch aroma is decidedly clove-like, and gives the impression that it will give you a whollop of licorice/clove upon lighting, but do not fear- the gates of Hell are more mild than I was expecting. It would seem, in fact, that satan himself prefers the scent of baked ham. All of this notwithstanding, the blend is, without a doubt the finest English aromatic that I have tasted. It is delicious, cool and leaves you wanting just one more bowl.

Once lighted, the clove aroma ratchets down into a perfect compliment to Latakia. I can't quite describe it, but the "mothballs and cedar" quality of English tobacco seem to be bolstered and sweetened by the topping in the perfect manner. In just the way that cream cheese frosting takes carrot cake into the stratosphere, the casing on Hell's Gate grabs Latakia by the hand and ushers it to a higher level. Perfect for warm days by the lake, and dessert around friends.

Now, if you have been chain smoking Cuban cigars and eat Oriental tobacco in a cereal dish with milk for breakfast, maybe this is not going to be your thing. For all the rest of us, I can't think of a more interesting sojourn for the English lover.

I first tried a pipeful of this stuff from a stash that a friend had been keeping for some time. I admit that his older vintage had less of a pungent pouch aroma, and was a little more smooth. With that, rest assured that I will be ordering a few 14oz. bags and vacuum sealing 2oz. at a time for storage.

I have run out of accolades for this tobacco, so I will simply end by relating my highest endorsement.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Trent McCranie "done good" with this recipe. I recently received a sample of many of the McCranie Pipe Shop's house blends and saved this one for last. Guess the name scared me.

This is a light and airy Englimatic (or, should I call it an Aromish?) Whatever, it's a light and airy English blend with sweetner added. If there is such a thing as a clove/chocolate topping, then I'll take that as my guess.

Not heavy enough in the nicotine department to satisfy me, but I did enjoy the flavor and the easy way this blend loaded and stayed lit.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Keeper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Keeper (112)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The name sold me. Along with the reviews of course. Where Moor's Gate suffers from the aromatic component, I think this element in Hell's Gate truly shines.

I enjoy the stronger English and Latakia mixtures, and have so far had very sketchy luck with aromatic tobaccos. Even the famed McClelland and C+D blends have always managed to drop from my rotation sooner rather than later. However when I imagined myself puffing away on a sweet yet savory pipe - this is the taste I imagined.

I believe this would be the perfect tobacco for someone looking to try something a bit more interesting than Frog Morton when the desire for latakia and added flavoring conspire. A huge step up from CVS and Lane brands.

VERY smooth, no bite or goop or gurle. I may not smoke it all the time, but will likely keep some on hand for when the mood strikes.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarLaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarLaw (85)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

This was my first tobacco from McCranie's and I am happy I tried it. Hell's Gate is delicious, particularly if you are fond of Latakia but also like a bit of sweetness in your smoke.

The tobacco is a large ribbon cut of what must be Orientals and Cavendish with a healthy dose of cubed Latakia. The pouch aroma is good enough to eat. Sweet, a bit fermented, and smokey.

The flavor is even better. This tobacco is a perfect mix of Latakia smokiness and sugary-molasses sweetness. Sort of like a sweet yet spicy BBQ sauce. Yum! I have tasted English aromatics in the past and have not liked the sweet/smokey interplay. Not here! It is done so very well in Hell's Gate.

Mild in nicotine but full in flavor. This tastes good all the way down.

A must try in my opinion.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

Hellsgate is a must-try in my opinion, if you're a fan of Latakia. Well balanced, subtle nuances that I just can't identify. Someone more experienced may be able to name everything in this blend, but not me.

If you're used to light aromatics, you might want to work up to this one. They call it an English aromatic, but aromatic means something very different here.

This is a great cake builder too.

I didn't rate room note, because I haven't smoked it around anyone but my wife. And her rating of anything with latakia is not complimentary.

I must confess, the reason I bought it was the name. It was intriguing. Hinting at something evil, forbidden. I bought the small bag, and after trying a few bowls, I ordered a big bag right away. I didn't want to run out!

The name Hellsgate conjures images quite opposite from the experience of smoking it. Fire and brimstone? No way - smooth and cool. Loaded with flavor. In my opinion it is on a par with Dunhill's 965 - But don't tell the folks at McCranie's that, they might increase the price!

You owe it to yourself to try this one!

UPDATE: I have dedicated a pipe to this blend exclusively and as I smoke more of it I am finding a subtle taste that reminds me of cloves. It appears to have more complexity than I originally thought!

Also, my wife said that of all the latakia blends I have smoked around her, this was the best smelling. She said she smelled something like chocolate (?)

Based upon this, I have updated my rating on room note and flavoring - though the flavoring may be entirely natural.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

HOBBIT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

Hellsgate is one of my "regulars". It consists of equal amounts of dark brown, and black tobaccos that appear to be broken flake & heavy ribbon cut orientals,and course crumbled latakia. The package aroma is tangy sweet, pungent, and leathery. It comes feeling fairly moist, for a bulk blend, but sprinkles nicely into the bowl, and holds a loose pack very nicely. The pre-light taste is just like it smells. Enough already.......get me a match!!

Hellsgate chars easily, despite it's moistness, and holds the second light very well. AHHH, this is a cool, rich, and full bodied smoke, right from the first puff. Smoky latakia, tangy orientals, and an overriding sweetness combine to form one of those "stick to the mustache" flavors that remains consistent and complex throughout the bowl, but gains some potentcy in the last third.

As for room note, I've gotten several favorable comments, even from non-smokers, and feel that this is a good "party smoke".

As if you couldn't tell, I really love this tobacco. If you're looking for that more acceptable, smoke in the house, english blend, give this one a try. 4 stars+++

Nobody has rated this review yet.