Samuel Gawith Brown No. 4

Brown No.4 is a full flavoured full strength tobacco made by Samuel Gawith in Kendal. It is spun from Dark Fired Virginia's and is a slow burning tobacco. Despite popular belief, the brown twist is a stronger strength and flavour than the black twist. This tobacco is definitely not for those new to pipe smoking! As per Gawith&Hoggarth the only components in this rope are dark fired and dark air cured leaf. There is no cigar leaf, that taste comes from the dark air cured tobacco used. The outer wrapper leaf is a dark fired variety.


Brand Samuel Gawith
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type Virginia Based
Contents Virginia
Cut Rope
Packaging 25 grams pouch, 50 grams tin, bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.17 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 35 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 09, 2014 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong
A full strength rope of rich Virginias with bold earthiness, wood, a few floral notes, a little spice, some fermented tart and tangy citrus and tangy dark fruit, and slight breadiness. They are the lead components. The herbal, floral, woody, earthy, mildly creamy sweet, vegetative, slightly spicy, smoky, coffee-like cigar leaf is a secondary player. There’s a little woody, earthy, slightly nutty Kentucky burley in play as well. Has a lot of strength and a very full taste. The nic-hit is potent, so a small to medium size bowl is recommended. Puff slowly, and don't smoke it dry or you'll may experience some bitterness in the latter quarter of the bowl. Will have a rough edge even when not dried out, but it won't bite. Burns cool, clean, and slow with a very consistent, deeply rich, mildly sweet and rugged savory flavor from top to bottom. Requires a fair amount of relights, and leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste and strong room note. Unless you're from the planet Krypton, you'd better eat a full meal first.

46 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 13, 2013 Strong None Detected Full Strong
First off, let me say that I have been wanting to sample this offering from Samuel Gawith for quite some time. When my two tins arrived in the post, I was beyond excited to say the least. Upon opening one of the tins (I plan on cellaring the other tin for years), I observed what appeared to be reasonable facsimiles of two dog droppings deposited in my tin. Knowing these weren't actual canine feces, I put my nose over the tin and wafted the aroma toward my nose. Never having tried this twist tobacco, the aroma was quite alarming. It was more of a fine cigar than any pipe tobacco I have sampled. It was not offensive, just not what I had expected.

I took my favorite German Wusthof kitchen knife (sharp beyond the bounds of reason) and cut off a 1/4 inch thick coin of this dark tobacco by just pushing downward upon it. It was then that I noticed how beautiful this dog turd looking twist of tobacco I was holding in my hand truly was. As I examined it, I realized it was completely whole tobacco leaf in it's purest form. It was not cut, mutilated, chopped, diced or otherwise molested in any manner. It was a whole tobacco leaf twisted into a rope. I put the twist back into the tin, and attempted to take the coin I had cut and rub it out between my palms. Initially, it appeared to rub out just fine, and expanded nicely into a medium sized bowl's worth of tobacco. When I squeezed it between my fingers, it felt a bit moist, and upon further examination did not rub out all that well at all. I began pulling apart the pieces, and they stretched out into almost 2 inch long quarter inch wide ribbon cut looking leaves. Duh... This is whole tobacco leaf! It was beautiful! I then took the ribbons and broke them into smaller pieces reminiscent of a cross cut tobacco. Now, it looked like it would actually take light.

I packed a large bowl 601 Savinelli Church Warden because I was expecting a rather hot smoke. It packed nicely, and took off burning like champ after two charring lights and occasional tamping. Counterintuitive, it burned very cool. Although I had been expecting a huge wallop of nicotine from the reviews here, I found the N content no more menacing than Royal Yacht, Irish Flake, or 1792. It was definitely making itself present, but not at all overpowering and did not catch me unawares. It merely settled me into my leather recliner to contemplate it further. A very full flavored but almost single dimensional smoke ensued. Very cigar like on the palate with a room note to match. My beautiful wife (who is amazingly tolerant and even loving of latakia, virginia and burley room notes) politely informed me of the following: "that pipe smells a bit ripe honey." Taking the hint, I retired onto the patio to ruminate over the remainder of the smoke.

A very good, quality tobacco no doubt! A bit harsh at the beginning of the bowl if exhaled through the nose, then settles down a bit toward the end becoming quite enjoyable and even slightly sweet. I must retract my "one dimensional" statement at this point due to this sweetness at the end. It now seems two dimensional. The nicotine does increase at the end of the bowl, and this is no tobacco for hippies, metrosexuals, or the casual and occasional piper. This is a man's tobacco, and presents itself as such with no pretentiousness in it's appearance and tin aroma. I really like it as an occasional after dinner, having eaten too much, paired with a quality Kentucky Bourbon type of smoke. I view it as an occasional treat.

I forgot to add that pipe smoking has taught me to be deliberate and have patience. My "I want it now" mentality has gone out the window due to several bad experiences with not allowing pipe tobacco to dry out, age, cellar, etc... before smoking. This is a wonderful tobacco to prepare and get excited about. The ritual involved in smoking it is akin to a hot towel on the face, pre-shave oil, single blade safety razor wet shave with a fine badger hair brush all lathered up, followed by Pinaud Clubman aftershave lotion. A ritual truly worthy of it's end result. Complete relaxation and satisfaction!
30 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 27, 2011 Strong None Detected Full Strong
Tin appearance:like a badly formed cigar(well it is a rope of course),dryish to the touch and looser than the "black xx" variant..

Tin aroma:mild and innofensive(surprising ;because of its legend i was expecting something pungent),cigarish or brown tobacco smell,,almost no odour really..

Preparation:I take a chunk offcut that was already loose and rub it out(well i actually used a bud grinder)and it was easier to process than the rubbery "black xx" variant.

I load into my 6" georgian clay (my favourite standard pipe BTW, and not because i am smoking this).

Lighting:It burns strait away which gives it an advantage over "black xx" which needs to be completely dried out,,,;this seems more geared for smoking than chewing(i don't actually chew though)

Flavour:a mild cigar(pff!,,:i won't say i was dissapointed because to be honest;after smoking the "black xx"variant which i found bloody strong,this was actually a pleasant surprise!)..

Oppinion:Well? - this is supposed to be the stronger nicoteen and tar version of "black xx"?,,;who did the testing to find that out,a labratory?,,;put it this way;it couldn't of been anybody human who has actually smoked them back to back!,,:I am actually writing this review while still making my mind up what to do with the two tins i bought of the 50g "black xx" which i am currently drying out 25g's worth shredded up,waiting for it to dry out as much as i can before i get a final and fair oppinion of it as a smoke..

More:This is basically nice to smoke but it will make you cough if you take it back,also it has none of that paracetamol and vodka spirit aftertaste/nicoteen flavour that "black xx" has,,nor does it have any diesal sump oil flavour factor either.. I dont even feel spun out and i have had two bowls in a row(admittedly only clay pipe sized,but i did give it a good thermodynamic punishment like i do in all tobacco trials to see what its made of, and what the maximum flavour is that i can coax out of it ,which would burn out a briar bowl)..

More:(admittedly on trying out the "black xx" i had already been caning about 4 flakes worth of "irish flake" before hand,so i may of reached my nicoteen powerband and was already over reving) I am sniffing the tin of "brown #4"again and it reminds me of uncooked pork sausages slightly,,,;like the smell when you just pull them out of the cling film on that polystyrene tray,,;simular actually to when smoking "irish flake" which has a pork and apple taste;this rope has a slightly porky flavour(but not bacon)..(I did use a different pipe so its definately not a ghost)..

AND:The mildness of this and the raw strength of the "black xx" makes me think i will later try blending the two if i can't happily smoke the "black xx on its own(i got to get rid of it somehow),,but for now i will give them both more time separately before reaching a final judgement..I'm gona have another bowl of "brown #4" now and will give my final judgement when finishing this tin off lest i have judged it too prematurely..

FINAL OPPINION :¬):Like "black xx",preshredding and letting it dry out improves the smoke(not that it was wet to begin with),,,some of its mild rubber aftertaste is softened considerably and the dry cigarish factor is toned down as well.

This is quite a pleasant full bodied smoke as long as you remember not to inhale or let the smoke blow in your eyes;its flavour is quite mild and dry actually and tastes quitew like a mildly smoked frankfurter hotdog sausage(if you sip and pack the bowl right or have a drink or biscuit on hand you won't get aftertaste spoiling your session)

I still maintain that i think the "black xx" is is stronger though,,;this may be down to the fact that"black xx" is denser and so i am possibly getting more mass of baccy per bowl volume than "brown #4" in the same bowl,even if "brown #4"is theoretically the stronger smoke..

I will likely purchase the "brown #4" rope in future over the "black xx" by choice because as a stand alone it is quite unique and i favour "gawith and hoggarths dark large xx plug" more than "SG's black xx";there is no point in smoking one thing wishing it was something else esp when the tastes are within a nats cock of each other;"dark xx plug"has a beef factor which i miss in "black xx".

"Brown #4" also burns faster than "black xx" and is quite a fast burner for a cool smoke..I think i prefer "brown #4" to "petersons irish flake" as well because it is not cased(plus i think "university flake is preferable to "irish flake" because it tases more unique compared to my choice of archetypal smokes within a genre) The only drawback that "brown #4" has compared to "irish flake is that "irish flake" burns really slowly and lasts double time what most other baccys do,whereas "brown #4"is quite quickly over.

I can't say much about "brown #4's" room note because i smoked it outside other than it is like a very mild cigar. Its a good breaktime blaster before another smokeless work session..

I just want to add because i feel that it is important that;blending a 50/50 mix of "brown #4" and "black xx" produces a combineed smoke that is better than either of them separately,,;they cancel out each others bad spots to produce a more rounded and fuller tasting blend which is how i think i will continue to consumme "black xx",,,(brown #4 is ok on its own but tastes a bit empty when compared to this mixture)..

The flavour of 50/50 "brown#4"/"blackxx" tastes like a barbequed sausage(banger) and has a moreish factor that is greater than the separate components.And the more ready to burn nature of "brown#4" helps to burn the "blackxx" better...

Glad i tried these ropes!

Update 21/05/11:I have been smoking this for a couple of months and really enjoy it;a paradigm change has happened in my tastes,and i have aclimatised to strong ropes and plugs nicely.

Having been out of the tin a couple of month and jarred,i can say that its strength has got milder and it has become a more approachable and easy smoke(the same goes for the black XX rope as well) When strait out of the tin i can honestly say this is the strongest nicoteen tobacco i have tasted but,after 2 months this has become milder where as Irish Flake which i purchased at the same time has actually got stronger with age and drying out of the tin.So i am now thinking that Irish Flake is the strongest pipe tobacco i know of. Anyway i thoroughly enjoy a pipe of brown#4 whether new or jarred,it is still a very strong tobacco in either case and gives a satisfying strong smoke.

I will definately repurchase some more.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 31, 2014 Extremely Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
I find this very high quality tobacco too strong to smoke on its own, but I'm currently going through a jar containing this and Davidoff Scottish Mixture, which is too mild and boring to smoke alone (apologies to any fans). The result is a strong, easy burning, flavourful blend perfect for the evening.

The moral of the story: if you can't stomach the strength or taste of Brown Rope, try mixing it with a tin of mediocrity which you wish you hadn't bought!
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 01, 2019 Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
I opened the tin, to find a turd looking lot of tobacco. Unlike the stuff that my dog lets out, this one smelled encouraging. It kind of smelled like Dunhill Royal Yacht - a blend I absolutely love, so I was excited. I got home, and cut the rope to size, rubbed it a tad and put it straight into my pipe, left no time for drying. Fellows ... let me tell you I had to hold my breeches because I was in for a heck of a ride. First off, it is very strong - nic hit so big that I got hick ups 1/4 through the bowl. The strength was like a smack over my head. The pipe I used was a Czech church warden, no filter, just a short stinger. Flavor otherwise, overwhelming. A tad sweet, a bit of reminder of fired Kentucky, but mostly sweet and some sort of fruit bouquet that I cannot put my finger on. Above all VERY rich flavor, I mean just a small sip and I felt like I had a mouth full of something very tasty. For my second smoke, I switched to filter, and a smaller sized bowl. The same impression, the filter hardly alters the taste (I have used the plain carbon Peterson filters), the only difference being that my stomach wasn't as upset (for some reason some virginias and most perique heavy blends do not sit well with my IBS and my sensitive stomach). Yes, this ones eats up matches - which is not necessarily a bad thing. I have realized I cannot smoke a bowl of this from start to finish, the fact that it goes out every so often is actually a welcome break. I read some reviews that if it dries out too much it can have a bitter taste throughout the second half of the bowl. I did not find this to be true.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2018 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Well. How to start? I have a really hard time trying to rate and describe this tobacco! The best way to go - regardless of whether it may be wine, whisky, tobacco or anything else for that matter - would be to state whether or not I like the taste. And the answer to that question is: Sometimes! For me, this is a tobacco which tends to hit the spot in those cases, when any other tobacco just wont do it. And I don't mean strength-wise. This consideration relates solely to the taste. The tobacco I smoked was quite a few years old and no matter the method of packing or the speed of smoking it, there just wasn't any sweetness in it. If you are looking for a strong, dark, fruity taste, this isn't the one. I would describe it as sitting in front of a bonfire and popping in two portions of Siberia snus while sucking on a couple of leaves of Lapsang Souchong. You might have noticed that I find it quite hard to describe the experience in conventional terms... It's cigarlike, it's very herbal and I guess it's very strong as well. I can't quite say how strong it really is, since I am somewhat used to high levels of nicotine. But to be fair, it is one of a handful of tobaccos in which I do notice the nicotine content. No doubt the tobacco used is of impeccable quality and if your mother was not in the business of having unprotected intercourse with industrial vacuum cleaners, I do not see you getting any amount of tongue-bite while smoking Brown No.4. If enjoyed at the right moment - and probaly in the later hours of the the day - this tobacco can be a wonderful experience. I found it to be most delicious if not cut too thinly and smoked in a larger pipe.
Age When Smoked: 10 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 17, 2015 Overwhelming None Detected Full Very Strong
Oh my God, this is a bomb! Better a time bomb. I think the strongest tobacco you can find in the market. Of course a good tobacco with a good quality, but it is quite impossible to smoke it all alone. This rope (twist) is fantastic to blend or mix with light and bland tobaccos but my advice is only a little bit and no more. Above all: don’t smoke it straight! It’s too, too strong. Components: in my opinion Samuel Gawith was joking or perhaps testing something new. In fact this tobacco is composed by Dark Virginia fire-cured, Kentucky fire-cured and hear ye, hear ye Nicotiana Rustica. Not sure but probably. In my personal system rating (from 1 to 10) my score is 8 and three stars.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 29, 2019 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
This is not for everyone. I arrived to dark fired Kentucky after a long and curvy road: aromatics, then virginias, then va/pers, then va/burs, finally burleys and kentucky (the latter in Toscano cigar). I slowly learned to enjoy the strength and the nuances of burleys, and this tobacco is a sort of test-bench for all the roads departing from here. It’s hard (but lovely) to prepare, it needs time, patience and a little knife. Since the outer leaf is different from the filling, I suggest rubbing and mixing it very good before loading. Smoke is difficult for a newbie, gotta be gentle and used to kentucky punch. After a tin, I would definitely slice a good Toscano in my pipe, rather than wasting time with the twist, but that (little) Virginia support is quite crucial when you light it up.. Very good but better after a good meal.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 08, 2009 Very Strong None Detected Full Strong
I was reluctant to try this tobacco at first. I had originally purchased a large amount of it for my dad since he has been smoking a pipe longer than I have been alive. I figured it was a unique gift for him since I've never seen him buy rope pipe tobacco but he's a history buff as well. I can certainly see soldiers during the War of 1812 and the Civil War removing this from their possibles bag and cutting off slices to share after an intense battle.

In any case I snipped off a little bit of the rope to try, cut it into coins with a cigar cutter and left it in my "cellar." At first I mixed it 50/50 with Prince Albert just to try and gauge how strong the tobacco truly was. The PA seemed to burn away first and give way to a wonderful, nose tingling smoke. It was hearty in the way beef stew is hearty and filling on a cold winters day. So I figured I might as well try it full bore without any additions. I rubbed out 3 or 4 coins, let it dry for a bit and loaded up my pipe. I was greeted with nothing but tobacco heaven. A full strength smoke that was intensely satisfying but certainly not complex. The closer the bowl got to going out the more the sweetness came to the front. If I puffed a little harder I got the "baking bread" scent and taste that other reviewer have mentioned.

I find this to be a wonderful tobacco. I wouldn't smoke it every day but I certainly find myself wanting to load up a pipe with it a few times a week. My caution is to make sure the kids, dogs, cats and especially the wife are far away. This will curl their hair and they may try to have you tried for cruel and unusual punishment. If your goal is to escape them then this is certainly a deterrent. I also find this the most versatile tobacco in the world. Smoke it in a pipe, chew it or grind it into snuff. If you're into survival and have a "bug out bag" in case of a disaster be sure to have a large supply of this ready to go. It will get you through those tough times ahead. My next quest... to see how well it ages!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 12, 2020 Very Strong Very Mild Full Strong
I haven't had this alongside G&H's Happy Bogie and it's been awhile since I had the pleasure of that tobacco. I'd assumed it would be a similar smoke, but neither my memory nor my review of Happy Bogie supports this.

For a start, Happy Bogie burns pretty well. This by contrast is one of the most difficult baccys I've ever smoked. Nor can it be rubbed out properly. Slice and dice is as good as you'll get for preparation.

Normally I'm of the school that prefers to smoke a tobacco as is. With Brown No. 4 I have to make an exception, both to my own rule of thumb and to the advice of esteemed previous reviewers. It needs to be remembered that this particular tobacco is sold as chewing tobacco. So it has a moisture content and consistency fit for that purpose. Unless you really get a kick from relighting, best to give this twist some air time. I might also add that it didn't do well in briar at all. Regardless of my affection or affectation for matching this quintessentially British tobacco with the equally iconic British Falcon pipe, this is the combination that worked best for me. Firstly, the small Falcon bowl delivers about the right duration of smoke, which is also important because this is a stout tobacco. Just as importantly it keeps the tobacco above the considerable condensation that will settle in the bottom of the bowl.

As for taste and aroma, it's what you would expect from fired leaf with the addition of some of what is probably African and/or Indian Va, with some cigar leaf of unknown provenance another player again. The profile is deep, smokey, earthy, musty. The aroma is strong enough that it might cause offence for those nearby.

I enjoyed this baccy. It pairs well with coffee, which I have with milk and sugar when smoking this, not just because the flavours are complimentary, but because it is prudent to have some buffer in your stomach as Brown No.4 will deliver a hard nicotine hit.

Edit. After a week or so of smoking this exclusively, and some experimentation, I believe the best way to smoke this is to cut off a decent amount, completely unroll it (it is more or less uncut leaf) and allow it to dry fairly completely. I am convinced that this is how the miners et al who smoked and chewed this in the old days would have approached it. They probably put it on the mantlepiece near the fireplace, just like Sherlock Holmes did. I went pretty dry with this approach and I can report that the smoke isn't harmed at all, in fact it is improved. It does not become harsh, regardless of what other reviewers might suggest, nor does it lose flavour or burn fast. It is perfectly acceptable and becomes a very easy to manage tobacco indeed. With appropriate drying it will smoke well in any bowl you choose. Unfurling the tobacco also revealed that it does have an appreciable sweetener added, possibly some kind of sugar or molasses mixture. Barely noticeable when smoked however.
Pipe Used: Falcons preferably
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