Samuel Gawith Black XX Twist (Rope)

For over 200 years, Samuel Gawith & Co. have been producing fine pipe tobaccos that have been enjoyed by all walks of life the world over. In the mountainous Lake District of Cumbria, the generations of Gawiths have been hand cutting, stripping and blending their tobaccos. For over two centuries, the blenders and spinners of Samuel Gawith, Kendal, have been producing the famous Kendal Twists. Coal miners, both underground and on the ground, have been chewing our Pigtails, whilst pipe smokers have savoured the rich flavours and slow burning characteristics of the thick Brown No.4 and Black XX. All of our twist tobaccos can be smoked either flavoured or un-flavoured. Some of our popular flavours are black cherry, rum, whiskey and apple. All twists are available pre-packed or on the roll. Because the process is almost entirely by hand, quality control ensures consistency of excellence.
Notes: Categories refer to the thickness and colour of the twist. The Brown No.4 does not undergo any heat treatment and has full tar and nicotine content of the tobacco. The Brown No.4 is a thick twist. The Black XX is an extra thick twist. The Black XX under goes heat treatment that creates the black colour and less tar and nicotine than the Brown No. 4. All Samuel Gawith Twists are unsliced.


Brand Samuel Gawith
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Rope
Packaging 50 grams tin, bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


Very Strong
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

2.95 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 157 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 14, 2005 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant
I opened my tin and thought a dog had pooped in it. That's about the best way I can describe the visual presentation of the black twisted rope tobacco inside. I used a small knife to slice off a swack and then it took a while to whittle it down to shavings small enough to fit into my pipe. Once I got a decent burn going and actually began smoking Black XX, I realized that preparing the leaf for smoking was the easy part. The first time I blew smoke from my nose, I singed every hair in my nostrils - this stuff is spicy! I am all for nicotine and thought I could handle that drug in any measure. Boy, was I wrong. I started to hiccupp after about the 10th puff. I was swoonin' and droolin' by the 20th puff. Don't ask me what happened after that because I I fell off my horse.
69 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 07, 2012 Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong
The tin was fairly easy to open, but bends easily.

The tobacco laid there, looking at me with a cantankerous grin. Like a pretentious turd. (Sorry, everyone is right, this looks like poop.)

The tin note was strong, oily and heavenly.

Man, this stuff is thick! I sliced off a couple of coins, and proceeded to disassemble them completely. This left me with a lot of nice thick ribbons, maybe too thick because they wouldn't stay lit, even after a night of drying. The tobacco had a wonderful silky texture to it, and packed effortlessly.

I got some good smoke out of this bowl though, much better than the first. I just don't think I grasp the preparation yet. I mean, at least it smokes, but practice makes perfect.

The first few puffs upon lighting reminded me of a strong cigarette. Not entirely offensive, seeing as this is a no holds barred, straight up tobacco. As the bowl progressed, and tamping ensued, I was beginning to finally find the charred meat flavor. This stuff is definitely not for wimps. Thank god I have brass balls. Nicotine and I are the best of friends as it is, so that cantankerous grin faded to brilliant white ash. Just beautiful. I smoked this on an empty belly, which I filled with coffee as I smoked. Not that scary. I even inhaled a little bit and it wasn't too bad. I try that with everything I smoke. If I can't stand it after that, it's bad, but this is glorious.

The flavor doesn't waver too much in this, but my god, I haven't been in such a blissful state since my first CC which was a Cuaba soloman. I could smoke this before bed and sleep for a day, why do I have to go work?!

The overplayed reviews of being similar to motor oil, burnt meat and other lack luster phrases have been swept away. I even found some raw sweetness here, it was wonderful. I think this is a creeper.

I can certainly see how many puffers would not smoke this every day. However, I am not one of them. This is going to become a staple I think, if I can ever get the prep thing down pat.

If you have a problem going #2, this will help. It's strange how tobacco does that. EDIT:

Oh sweet Jesus! Just finished the most perfect bowl of this stuff! I used a thinner cut on the coins this time and didn't rub them like I did last time, I actually "rubbed" them instead unfurling them, and let them dry for a couple of hours in the open.

Once again, because I fear nothing, this was on an empty stomach with strong coffee!

I feel simply euphoric. I definitely cannot smoke this if I have to work on the same day. Too much euphoria and a heavy desire to slumber.

I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but there is absolutely NO lakeland essence in this either.
46 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 23, 2014 Extremely Strong None Detected Extra Full Extra Strong
This takes a little effort to prepare and can be a pain to smoke if you leave too much moisture in it. On the other hand, you'll lose too much flavor if you dry it to the bone. That dry, it is a little harsh and cigar/cigarette-like if smoked fast, especially after the half way point. Leaving a little moisture in the tobacco is recommended, even though you'll have to relight a fair number of times. You get the taste of a boldly strong, earthy, woody, fairly floral Virginia that also offers some dried and fermented dark fruit, a bit of spice, and a touch of cigar. It will likely still give a cigarette/cigar note if you puff fast, and as strong as this is, you really need to sip this slowly in a small bowl. Eat well first. If you don't, the extra full taste and strong nic-hit will make you wish you had. Won't bite, but has some roughness. Burns slow, cool and clean with a very consistent flavor. Will leave a little moisture in the bowl, and requires some relights. Has a strong, lingering after taste and room note. Certainly not an all day smoke.

40 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 07, 2005 Overwhelming None Detected Very Full Very Strong
I guess strength and flavor are matters of personal opinion after all. Whether you will find this as potent as I did remains for you to decide.

All I know is that I loaded a group three sized bowl fully dressed and in my right mind. At the end of my smoke, I found myself clothed in nothing but my BVD's and hiding behind an avocado tree in my backyard warding off fruit rats with a pen knife.

29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 23, 2015 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
I love rope tobaccos, plain and simple.

A lot has been said on how it’s difficult to get the pipe going while smoking them, slicing them, preparing them etc. etc., I’ll just say it’s the same for me. But, isn’t this a sign of complexity and high quality due to the bi-centenarian, made by hand process and the leaves involved?

For example, take a high quality, expensive and renown single malt and try drinking it as if it was a common, medium quality, cheap whiskey : are you able to get all of what it has to offer (i.e. colour, consistency, taste, aftertaste, smell…)? It will force you to slow down, relax, concentrate and pay a lot more attention to it in order to understand it. Further, you are not going to drink it on a daily basis : it’s a product you best appreciate in special occasions, or from time to time.

I believe this example could nicely fit on this tobacco’s category.

By sniffing it I mainly got spicy and oily smell, alongside with an omnipresent beef steak note; secondly , I can detect some raisins and dry fig hints on a briny background.

In the bowl : the beef steak note is the King’s champion here, and the other flavours die honourably after a brave fight against him. I’ve never smelled, neither tasted, such a spiciness : it’s very strong, and it’s best savoured and pronounced at the half of the bowl. Pungent, yet intriguing, when you exhale slowly through the nose.

I believe the rope has been left under pressure macerating in its own juice after steaming and, maybe due to this process, it has a less nicotinic and slightly sweeter taste than Brown No.4. From draw to draw I get some feeble hints of dried fruits (raisins and figs), licorice root and Stout beer.

I was about to forget : overall, it tastes like strong and pure tobacco, but with something more interesting to offer.

It leaves behind the most white, soft and homogeneous ashes I’ve ever seen in a bowl. Some say it’s an indication of excellent quality of the product.

I confess, I’d like to visit SG factory in Kendal and have the chance to assist to the whole tobacco blend creation, from the leaf to the rope. I mean… look at these pictures that shows XVIIIth century’s machinery :

Cheers Everyone, Brandr ODS
Age When Smoked: Fresh and 4yo
26 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 15, 2010 Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant
Sometimes I think people allow appearances to cloud their judgement. I've been smoking SG's Black XX for about four years now, not very often (daily) but regularly (two to three bowls per fortnight). In my experience, Black XX is consistently very flavorful; I get hints of burnt caramel, sweet toasted oatmeal, toasted whole wheat bread and always a very very pleasant spicy overtone that reminds me of cinnamon. I have never found it to be harsh or overbearing in any way nor have I found it to be too strong in nicotine (however, I have a strong tolerance for nicotine and blends that give some people the sweats will not even register with me). I used to cut the "rope" into coins and then cut that into quarters; I learned through time that the easiest manner for me was to simply cut the rope into chunks measuring about half an inch and then pull that chunk apart and further shred it with my fingers to the point where I can stuff it into a pipe. A chunk about a half inch will perfectly fill a large group five bowl and and a leisurely smoke in a bowl this size will last about two and a half hours. Again, appearances can be deceiving; the room note from Black XX is (at least to my nostrils) slightly floral and very light. My wife vastly prefers the aroma of burning Black XX to the aroma of a Balkan (or English) blend; she has even commented on how pleasant the aroma is compared to those blends. While my favorite blends are the Balkan/English mixtures, I could be content with just Black XX. It always provides for a good full flavorful smoke with no bite and no hassles.
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2015 Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong
Black XX is one of a kind! There are other ropes around but none of them can match this bad ass!

Straight virginia turns into black by heat process. It's oily and wet, covered with sugar crystals. Amazing smell upon tin opening. It keeps the original condition very long time even after opening the tin. I know it sounds like an adult movie screenplay, creepy too in second thought.

I have tried many different methods for preparation. I've cut pieces and rubbed them, cut sticks like flakes, unrolled the leaves carefully and cut them loose; I've even chewed a piece for a while and dried the chewed. But the best way to get the most out of it is cutting coin like pieces using a sharp, 20-22mm cigar cutter and using a relatively smaller pipe; as many people recommends.

There's no need for dry time according to my experience, for the taste. However a little drying helps tobacco to catch fire and to keep lit.

It has the taste of a fat, smoked stake. Don't be alarmed, it's heavenly! Best consumed after a big meal. It goes perfect with single malt Scotch.

After trying a tin with my wife, we've ordered the rest of tins that my tobacco guy had in stock; unfortunately only 9 tins he had. And we've smoked it all in a couple of months.

Black XX rope is one of the best tobacco product you can get. Would you like to smoke it now? Please be my guest. Or maybe you'd like to cellar it, sure! No problem at all!
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 16, 2013 Very Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I would first recommend dry it good so its not hard to keep lit. Maybe an hour, you dont want to over puff this. Once going I really thought it had a sweeter taste than the smell , I would say molasses, dried friuts , dates, figs as well . I enjoyed it much and think of it like a good Scotch you sip. The nicotine in this is what can get you and it will creep, also had I dried it more I wouldn't of over puffed and forgot the high nicotine centent .
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2009 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Strong
As did the last poster, I found this stuff problematic to keep lit. It was much better after it dried, of course, although I did try it fresh out of the tin just because my normal routine is to try all tobaccos completely fresh, with some drying period, and then with a more extensive drying period. No matter how long I allowed the cut coins to dry, they never wanted to hold a light for very long... that is, until I waited so long that the tobacco became tinder. No problems holding a light then. The problem then became how to keep my nose hairs from catching fire!

The taste of this was strong to the point where it seemed somewhat character-less. It made me think of drinking a dark roast black coffee. If you like that taste, this might be your 'baccy. But if you prefer something less overpowering with a few delicate notes amidst the darkness, look elsewhere. This is like smoking a double maduro Honduran cigar as opposed to, say, a full flavored but fairly mild colorado Dominican. Very full taste, and the fullness of it is wearing. The taste buds are so busy dealing with the forest that they can't study the leaves. This is not to say it's a bad smoke but I had better success with it in a small-bowled pipe rather than the oversized ones I favor. As a 20-30 minute smoke, it was very nice. I just prefer a little more "color" if you will. But if you love virginia tobacco, I highly recommend that you at least try this. Email me - I can send you a sample. Please! 🙂
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 25, 2013 Extremely Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
This is my first review, and I'm a newbie smoker as well. This is the first twist I have tried. I like the idea that it was made the same as a couple hundred years ago. I imagine this is the type of tobacco that mountain men here in Montana/Montana Territory/ and before carried with them, very robust and easy to keep fresh. It could be used as chew, or in a pipe. This does look like fresh bear or wolf scat, very dark and oily. It has a tin note of a slightly sweet open fire cooked meat, with a bit of wet pine sharpness to it. Those of you who have tried to use damp pine for wilderness direct fire cooking will know what I mean. Don't let this dissuade you from trying it. My brother and I sat down for smoke while out camping. I cut a few thin coins from the tobacco rope with my pocket knife and rubbed them out, stuffed the pipes, an average sized Comoy's Canadian for me and an average size Savinelli Church Warden for my bro. I loaded mine with less than half a bowl (again I'm a lightweight). It took some doing to light and when the heat hit it, it swelled up and made a tight draw. I did not dry the tobacco at all before loading the pipe. I loosened the pack a bit, tamped lightly and lit it again, success. The smoke was a slightly sweet smoky meat, beefy, bacon and dark fruit. I had to re-light several times, but it was worth it. This is one of my favorite tobaccos so far, I have tried the gamut of pipe tobacco types, about thirty different tobaccos. This is however, the strongest nicotine hit, second so far to Petersons' Irish Oak.. I got a bit dizzy, but was cautious as I figured this for a strong tobacco and avoided any unfortunate spewing. My brother tried this with a full bowl in the Church Warden pipe, he smokes strong cigars, and a lot more than myself. He liked this better than most pipe tobacco, as he thinks pipe tobaccos taste more like cigarettes. He is a Marine and much more determined than I, he finished his pipe and the end of my own. It hit him like a bear swat with it's nicotine as well. With our pipes in hand and a Bourbon for myself and a Scotch for my brother we really enjoyed this tobacco and I would highly recommend it, albeit in small doses, except for the hardcore smokers who like a bit-O'-vita N.

2015-01-18 (Yes, it took me this long to get back to it) I tried this again in a very small pipe. I can't even get my pinky in to the bottom of the bowl and have to use an old horseshoe nail for a tamper. I smoked this and enjoyed it fully for about 3/4 of the bowl...then the nicotine spectre jumped out of the smoke and cracked me on the head and stirred my insides with his scythe. Holy shit this stuff is strong. I dumped the bottom dottle before any purging of the devil from my stomach. Again I fully recommend this tobacco, great, unique flavor for as long as you can take the nic hit. I can't imagine what the S.G. Brown rope has for nicotine...I think it scares me, no...I know it scares me. Of course that does not mean I won't buy some and try it.

2019-04-07 I have tried many different kinds of tobacco in the past 5 years or so, and have come to the conclusion that I was definitely a newb when I smoked the Peterson’s “Irish Oak” before the first Black XX review I did. “Black XX” is much, much stronger in Vitamin-N than “Irish Oak”. It is still a wonderful tobacco. My last “Black XX” smoke was a “full” bowl in a very, very small WDC Baby was the perfect size for the amount of Vitamin-N I can take...even now. That bowl may hold a pinky fingernail sized amount of tobacco...maybe, and it’s plenty for me. I recently smoked a big bowl C.DiFranco freehand with some C&D “Milk & Honey”...for 2 1/2 hours. The Vitamin-N was just starting to sneak up on me for that one. If that gives any indication of the difference in nic strength for you. As a side note, I have not tried the SG Brown yet.
Pipe Used: Vintage Comoy's Canadian 2991/various
Age When Smoked: New
11 people found this review helpful.
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