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 11 - 20 of 157 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 19, 2008 Overwhelming Extra Strong Overwhelming Strong
This is for those experienced pipers who like strong cigar like tobacco. Just cut some and let it dry a bit, this has many flavor and nuances, to be enjoyed any time when you fell the need for nicotine and dark deep flavor.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 17, 2017 Overwhelming None Detected Full Strong
This is no joke. I repeat, this tobacco is no joke.

We all know how it looks in the tin. But beyond that, it smells of earth, leather, and just a deep, musky aroma. Very nice indeed.

Preparing it is a pain. Cut, cut more, cut even more. Takes a good 10 minutes to get it to a suitable rub. After that, it's easy to pack and light, no real problems.

The problem for me was the nicotine. Holy crap. I mean I'm a big guy, I can take my nicotine. I can take my liquor. But after a few minutes with this I was feeling light headed. I had to put the pipe down. I actually got the cold sweats and had to lie down for a bit. Jesus, this does not mess around.

A friend of mine wanted to try it, and we would always trade tobaccos as well, so I gave him this, and he gave me another Gawith blend. Ironically, I have not heard from him since that. I guess the nicotine was too much for him, too.

I will not knock it because it is a high quality leaf, as are all Gawith blends. But the nicotine is just too over the top for me. If you wrestle bears on a daily basis and eat the kidneys of your enemies, give it a shot, you'll probably love it.
Pipe Used: Various
PurchasedFrom: Local tobacconist
Age When Smoked: New
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 08, 2016 Extremely Strong None Detected Extra Full Very Strong
Holy smokes! I have been so curious to try this blend and finally after several weeks of checking, my tobacconist had some. So I ordered 5oz and after what felt like years (it was actually six days) my order arrived. I was expecting much worse based on the reviews. What others say look like a "dried up imperfect quality defect from the cigar manufacturer", or "a dog turd" actually looked wonderful to me. It was of dense, moist sponginess, and it smelled like a hardwood bonfire, no scent other than that. The 5oz rope looks incredible coiled in the ball jar I decided to keep it in. It truly is the darkest, most oily, strongest scented tobacco I've ever seen but it's incredible looking. Now to the real test...

Before I go any further I need to explain a little bit what kind of guy I am. I'm pretty simple; I'm not one to stare at art waiting for it to speak to me. I don't care too much for the abstract. I know whether I like something or not immediately, no need to wait to see how something speaks to me or how I superimpose my inner child over something. My favorite author is Hemingway because there is no underlying tone or metaphoric reflection on society from his writings. He's a storyteller. What you read is exactly how you should interpret his story. I am also more addicted to nicotine than anyone I know. From about five minutes after I wake up until I go to bed I have (at least) two nicotine lozenges in my mouth, four mg each.

For those reasons exactly, I love this tobacco. Like Hemingway and unlike art, there aren't any layers that are left for the user to sail into his own majestic place with. There's nothing here messing with my inner child. This stuff is raw, packed full of nicotine and there's one beautiful flavor: premium grade chocolaty tobacco that has been either cured or fermented, then rung out like the oil soaked rag that it is, and jarred. Every ugly, nasty, raw, beautiful stereotype that is given to tobacco can be found in this rope. I have gone through two bowls back to back, and if I wasn't so buzzed from the nicotine I'd have thrown my pipe in the bushes over an hour ago due to the frustration of having to relight my second bowl because I wasn't patient enough to let it dry, I wanted more. But I am buzzed and so I don't care that I keep having to relight it; it's my own fault that I don't want to wait, I just want to smoke. Tomorrow I'll do as I did the first bowl: I'll dry it for a half hour, except I'll cut off a bigger dollop so I can go through the night with it.

I just finished smoking and there is no bite. Zero, nada, none. My tongue is fresh and clean as a whistle, my head is spinning, and my brain is going faster than I can type this. Did I mention I love this tobacco? My only advice to you is buy some before I buy it all.
Pipe Used: A skanky old briar, deep/wide bowl
PurchasedFrom: Internet
Age When Smoked: Fresh
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 20, 2014 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Another one of a kind offering from Gawith… I have not reviewed anything in a while since I have been on a cigar break but I still enjoy my pipe and this one is worthy of a few notes. Black XX is truly an unusual tobacco that has many nuances for the “seasoned” pipe smoker. I have always been a fan of Lakeland blends and had yet to try this one until recently. The presentation is amazing. I bought a bulk box from Mars and it was about a 15 inch long rope curled up in a bag inside a box with the Aston Villa colors on it. The smell to me was sweet and earthy. Others have mentioned machine oil and all the rest but I did not detect anything other than pure tobacco with a mild smoky scent to it.

To prepare I sliced off a 4 inch piece and then began to cut thin slices off the rope and rubbed it out to dry. While it was drying I prepared the rest of it (and the 500mg of Dark Flake scented I purchased with it) for aging. Mine came with only a moderate amount of moisture so once it felt like it was about to get crunchy I figured I would give it a go. The rubbed out slices produced a fine shag so I loaded it lightly into a Stanwell that I have had for years that always gives me a good indication of how a tobacco will behave. It was the perfect choice.

Upon light there was an unpleasant taste and aroma to be honest. I am very familiar with Lakeland offerings and expected that. They always seem to hit you off guard at first but after two more relights I was on my way. Black XX has a very distinct taste and aroma that I have not tasted with any other tobacco. Cigar like, yes I can see that. The taste is similar to a maduro at times but what I noticed more was the faint sweetness of dark VA with a clean burley like undertone. There is no “Lakeland essence” here just a dark sweet clean tobacco taste that stands alone and is very tasty.

As the bowl progresses the strength increases as does the sweetness of the VA. It is a musty sweetness that is mellow, subdued and somewhat masculine. I like to place the tip of my pipe up to my nose and slowly breathe in, not drawing smoke but catching the aroma from the stem. If you are familiar with good Virginias you will know what I mean and this one is dark, full and very pleasant. The room note (or garage note in my case) is a musty earthy scent with a slight floral top note which I did not taste during the smoke.

Is it strong? Yes, I would say so. It’s the kind of smoke that takes the edge off. No hiccups or anything like that, not quite sure what those guys were doing. It just mellows you out. I enjoy strong smokes such as 1792 so I sat back and sipped this one and it put me in the zone fairly quick. There is definitely strong nicotine in the taste and on the palate but its manageable with slow smoking. This is one that you should take your time with both in prep and smoke time. It has to be dry and you have to smoke it slowly. A cool dry strong sweet smoke will be the result, a true pleasure.

Bottom line, this is a unique smoke that is strong, creamy and full bodied with a sweet mustiness that is downright delicious. If you are a true pipe smoker you should try this one. Match it with a good beverage and enjoy it for what it is. Patience and prep time are essential but you will be rewarded for your efforts.
Pipe Used: Stanwell
PurchasedFrom: Marscigars
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 08, 2018 Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong
Don't give up on this one, for there are secrets within to unlock. My first bowl, I got exactly what many here are talking about - burning plastic, burnt something somewhat unidentifiable, burnt meat, oil. Yummy. Lol. With the proper cut, moisture, pack, and cadence, all of that nastiness disappears to be replaced by a wonderful dark, tangy fruit enveloped in a creamy, sugary floral bouquet with a hint of spice. It is delightful and wonderfully unique.

If you bought a tin, smoked a bowl, and are wondering, "Why the hell do I want to smoke something that tastes like this?" well, don't give up on it. Look for the sweet spot in it, for it is there, and it is nothing like what I, and many others, have gotten out of our first bowl. I'm not interested in burning plastic, flesh of dead animals, oil, etc., for a flavor profile. Fortunately, with focus, you can make all of that unpleasantness go away and replace it with deliciousness.

And if you haven't picked up a tin of this to try yet, well, why the hell not? I think every pipe smoker is doing himself a disservice if he does not allow himself to grab at least a couple tins a year of something he may throw away after one bowl, for the rewards associated with that risk, finding a new tobacco he really enjoys, will be worth it. This may not be one you like when it is all said and done, but this is definitely one you should try at some point. And don't give up after the first bowl. Look for other flavors, and then learn to bring them out.

What I do with every plug/rope tobacco you have to cut up is cut up about 4-5 bowls worth at a time. Being cut up in the tin will dry it just a tad, enough to keep the relights down, while retaining enough moisture and flavor, at least for me and how I pack and my cadence.

A truly interesting smoke.

Oh yea. It packs a good nicotine wallop, as others have mentioned, so if you are not used to such, well, have fun, lol ...
Pipe Used: Nuttin' but Cobs for me ...
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 18, 2016 Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong
I have been enjoying myself preparing, unfolding and slicing this tobacco. The jet black colour would indicate it has been steamed press, and this in turn reduces nicotine levels, but it seems to be fairly strong never the less. I have tried a few ropes and twists so far, and my experience tells me that brown ropes tend to be stronger than the black ones. There is nothing special about the tin note apart from this sort of woodsy aroma, but I really cannot detect any casings or added flavours. As a matter of fact, the only added flavour I detect is that of cooked tobacco itself. The taste is difficult to describe, but it has this musky or sweet undertone that keeps demanding your attention. It is somewhat reminiscent of Cabbies Mixture, but it is missing the floral undertone of the Brown Irish Rope or Irish pigtail twist tobaccos. As this only comprises unadulterated Virginia leaf, some pipe smokers might as well find it bland, but in my personal opinion the smoking experience is quite flavoursome and rich. Also, I like how it develops as you progress with your smoke. It never gets to a point where it is that strong it makes you want put it out for good and I cannot detect any tongue bite at all. It just gains in character and strength, but not in a negative way. Something worth mentioning is that the moist content seems to be rather low, but despite this fact I found myself relighting more often than not. A rough cut has done the trick for me, but this rope will smoke perfectly fine as well in a shag or riff cut fashion. The room note is somewhat sickly for none smokers, so be advised as your wife might not like it after all. As for the leaf itself, it looks simply gorgeous as you unfold and prepare it. It has a silky and spongy appearance moist content permitting. The ash it produces is coarser than in other ropes, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. And to top it off, you can chew it. I found no faults or loose ends in this tobacco, so it is going to get 4 solid stars.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 02, 2018 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Strong
I got a tin of this years ago. I'm running low on my favorite England produced flakes so I finally got up the nerve to try it. Based on all of the advice and misadventures I've read in previous reviews, I was determined to approach this conservatively.

I started with a small pot briar to limit the amount. My twist was shaped like the donut. I opened it up and took a serrated cheese knife, which turned out to be the perfect implement, and sliced off three narrow slices then seperate them out into strands.

I have to say the twist is very dense yet pliable, a real crafted product.

I've read that drying is recomnended, and I concur. Nevertheless I was anxious to try it and have a butane lighter, so I proceeded as is. After lightly packing the bowl, it took a few lights to get it going. I produced thick clouds of pungent yet uniquely earthy aroma. I think meaty and musky best describes it.

By the way, I believe few other than us brothers of the briar would have a favorable opinion of its fragrance, FWIW.

I didn't try to smoke the entire bowl continuously so I put it down for a few minutes to gauge the effect. That turned out to be a wise decision.

The other important thing to remember is to be mindful, puff slowly. Even when doing so I could feel the creeping fingers of the N factor starting to come on stream. By then I had finished the bowl with with only ash.

The perfect amount smoked at the perfect speed. This is cool smoking so you can get ahead of yourself. Again, be mindful.

Lastly avoid this before having a full meal.

I'm hooked and will include this in my rotation as an occasional pleasure.
Pipe Used: Small briar pot
Age When Smoked: 5
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2016 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong
Black XX Rope is a very special tobacco. It has a very strong, but also very smooth and velvety smoke. I usually like to smoke it after the Sunday dinner. It needs a good preparation and drying time. And it's hard to keep lit. But once lit, it rewards you with a very sophisticated and mellow smoke.
Pipe Used: Peterson Dracula 03, Peterson Dalkey 03
PurchasedFrom:, Local Pipe Shop
Age When Smoked: 1-2 year aged
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2009 Strong None Detected Full Strong
Black is not Brown.

Which is counterintuitive, and hence a source of some confusion here. We think of white as pure and light, and anything labeled Black XX surely must be at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. Except when it isn't.

Black Rope XX is milder than Brown Rope No. 4. According to SG, Black XX begins as Brown No. 4 but then "undergoes an additional cooking process which removes some of the stronger tar and nicotine elements, turning the rope black, and providing a milder smoke than Brown." It results in a denser, mustier, richer, but more accessible smoke.

I like this stuff. Neither Black nor Brown has a lot of flavor in the typical sense. What they do have is strength, which is not to be belittled. Black has less of it, but it's heaviness, or richness, compensates quite adequately.

Think of it like this: You cook (or order) a fabulous Indian curry for yourself and your wife. Her's is mild, yours is hot. Technically, they both taste the same, but yet there is a world of difference between the two. It's not the flavor, but the heat making the difference, but in the end, it's all part of the "flavor" experience.

Brown adds heat when you want it, Black not quite as much heat, but depth. I have other tobaccos that can give me what Black does, but there is nothing out there like Brown. Black is a fine tobacco if rich and hearty is your thing, and I recommended it.

But, Black is not Brown.

Brown exists in it's own galaxy.

P.S. If you become addicted to these ropes (as I have) but the novelty of all the cutting and rubbing begins to wear off, you can purchase both in a "sliced" version from Gawith Hoggarth.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 14, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I tried a little experiment before smoking this stuff - I shaved off all of my chest hair. Sure enough, after one bowl it all grew back!

Seriously, Black XX is not for the newbie or faint of heart. I like to slice off a coin or two when I feel like a good kick in the pants. Flavor is strong, not at all sweet, rich, leathery, and nutty. I don't get that feeling of having my mouth coated with plastic that I get from other ropes.

Others have noted the rather off-putting appearance, so I won't dwell on that. My only issue with it is the difficulty of keeping a good burn going.

This stuff makes pretty good chaw, FWIW.
PurchasedFrom: some guy at my mom's house
Age When Smoked: A couple months
6 people found this review helpful.
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