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 33 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
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
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
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
May 19, 2014 Overwhelming None Detected Overwhelming Overwhelming
EDIT: I had put this under Brown Rope by accident. No wonder - it made me me so goofy every time I smoked it that I got lost.

I have great respect for Gawith as a result of Skiff, SL, Best Brn, FVa Flake, etc. I do not appreciate tonquin, howerver. I generally love a good Va, but this? It really does smell just like an empty BBQ heating up. It indeed does taste meaty. If I want to taste meat, I will eat rather than smoke a pipe! Smoked straight, I would rate it minus four stars. I found it awful. I mixed it with some PA, as suggested below, & it ruined the PA. It remained harsh even mixed with straight McC Oriental.

HOWEVER: I am no blender, but on about the sixth try, I came up with Solani 633, McC Oriental, & BR #4 in equal proportions. To my surprise, It made a REALLY good smoke - a solid 3 star performer. I will finish the tin that way and will not buy more, as I have a tin of the Black to wade through. Next surprise: it was pretty good mixed 1/3 in Sail regular. I may do more of this & report back. RIR

UPDATE 8/16/15: Not one to give up, I just cut a 5/8" slice off this after a year & a quarter in the humidor. It broke down pretty easily into sheets of twisted leaf that I mixed with 1/3 volume of P&C's blending perique. Put into an old large-bowled Pioneer Calabash and that seems to have found it a home. Very spicy, no bite and a pretty decent albeit VERY strong VaPer flavor. Tames down soon to a full Va flavor with just a nice hint of the Perique staying around the edges. Upgrade to 2 stars on that basis.
Pipe Used: meer, cob, briar, clay, CALABASH
PurchasedFrom: Gift
Age When Smoked: 1 year & 2 1/4 yrs
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 15, 2009 Strong Strong Full Very Strong
1 star because it's SG, 1 star because it's strong. That's it. I love 1792 and Brown No.4...but this one goes too way out there for me. I get burnt Peking duck, burnt pop-corn, burnt toffee, soya sauce with a hint of mint....and yep, it tastes rough...You just have to try this once, just to know that 1792 is an easy blend to smoke.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 12, 2020 Medium to Strong Strong Full Strong
There's not a lot of difference between any of the SG and GH black ropes and twists. Different degrees of heat treatment, different thickness, slightly different methods of assembly. The end result is pretty much the same. I suspect any variation in the burn-ability of each type of rope depends more on how long it was in the supply chain before it finally ended up in the bowl than any other factor.

They all have the same coal tar or diesel oil aroma that overpowers just about any other tobacco aroma that might be there, unless you are some kind of super smeller. (There are 142 reviews of the baccy at the time of writing, and a word search shows 80 references to oil. And most of them reference motor oil or similar.)

They are all on the potent side nicotine wise.

Honestly, I'm not a fan. So why have I bought so many black ropes you might ask. Because chewing tobacco is on the small list of tobacco types that there is no impediment to me importing into Australia under the new ridiculous laws. I'm hoping eventually to find something I can live with. But it won't be this. Or any of the other black ropes.

(I have marked flavouring as 'strong' even tho I don't know whether it is a result of additives or just a peculiarity of the manufacturing process.)
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 21, 2020 Overwhelming None Detected Extra Full Extra Strong
I was given this to try as a gift from a fellow pipe club member. If your going to try this, make sure you have some time and are sitting down and have ate something recently. This is English history your about to smoke, and you will not soon forget your lesson. If your a big Nicotine fan, love the most (and I mean MOST) strongest tobacco I myself have ever encountered, this is it folks. (I’m 60 and not a newbie) Note: This sites reviews in regards to this blend are the best ANYWHERE and should all be read before proceeding. Also.... this is a rope which you have to cut very thin and rub out for a smoke. If you smoke this around your wife, I hope you have divorce insurance.
Pipe Used: Newly purchased clay
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the internet.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 13, 2014 Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable
Black XX tastes like BBQ'd bits of fatty beef, basted with black treacle. As far a strength goes, this is definitely a power-house. However, I do enjoy smoking it from time to time. The flavor is deep, rich and spicy but at a slower pace it can also be surprisingly mellow and even slightly nuanced. I notice a very subtle Lakeland scent in the side stream, as well as an earthy cigar like note to go with what I can only describe as a very dark stoved, sweet Virginia flavor.

Black XX is loaded with nicotine but I don't find it to be as strong as Brown No. 4. If I over do it, the nicotine seems to have immense staying power and usually puts me in a state of malaise. I am always amazed to read that some folks smoke this regularly as I can only partake after a good meal, sometimes being careful to pair it with some sugar. A rich Imperial Stout works nicely.

I believe that either you have the constitution for a tobacco like this, or you don't. I can smoke blends like 1792 Flake, Revor Plug, Dark Birdseye and Coniston Cut Plug without issue. However, Black XX is a stronger than any of these.

If you haven't smoked this yet and you feel compelled to do so, eat a good meal before hand and bring a small pipe to the party.
3 people found this review helpful.
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