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 59 Reviews
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
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
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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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
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
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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