Samuel Gawith RB Plug

A dark fired Tanzania leaf which is topped with a very floral/woody essence. An English aromatic.


Brand Samuel Gawith
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Virginia
Flavoring Other / Misc
Cut Plug
Packaging Bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.37 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 27 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 24, 2007 Medium to Strong Extra Strong Very Full Strong
RB Plug is unlike any other tobacco I've experienced in 30 years. As such, it has to stand or fall on it's own merits, as there are no other tobaccos that one could claim are just like it only better/worse.

This is as dense as any plug tobacco I've ever seen. The tobacco was pressed and steamed so much that the plug resembles s solid block. Looking closely you may find an impression of a leaf that was on the outside of the block here or there, but it looks more like a chunk of chocolate than tobacco.

Finally, the aroma. At my local B&M, a patron who smelled it for the first time gave what I consider to be the perfect description: "It smells like a Grateful Dead concert." The casing is very reminiscent of incense. I won't venture to guess what's in the casing, but suffice it to say that there is a lot of it and it is very distinctive.

I find three things invaluable when I want to smoke RB Plug. The first two are a flat-bottomed, shallow ceramic bowl and a very sharp knife. With a sufficiently sharp knife, you can cut flake-sized pieces of this tobacco off of whatever sized chunk you're working with. The bowl helps in that it will catch any bits of tobacco that work their way loose, set aside each "flake" as you create it, and cut the tobacco into whatever final shape you want for smoking. Personally I try to cut very thin flakes and then I rough them up a bit in my hands. (I say "rough them up" rather than "break them up" because the latter is beyond my abilities.) I make sure I have enough finely chopped tobacco for the top of my bowl, either through tobacco falling away as I cut or from chopping up one of the "flakes". You will probably want to wash your hands after you're done handling the tobacco. The plug is very wet and oily, and your hands will definately take on the aroma of the toppings.

The third implement that you will need is a pipe. I strongly recommend a small bowl for this tobacco. Also, whatever pipe you smoke this in is going to hold the flavor for a while, perhaps forever. Early on, I dedicated a Sasieni prince to this plug and it's been the perfect companion. The bowl is small, perhaps a Dunhill group 2, and it is wider than most bowls of that capacity.

I load the tobacco up in whatever manner suits the flakes I've created. This usually entails a combination of folding and wrapping the flakes until they fill the space inside of the bowl without being packed tightly. (Pack this stuff too tight, and you will not be able to get any air through the pipe.) I then sprinkle the small bits from the bottom of the cutting bowl on top, and tamp them lightly.

This tobacco does not light as easily as most. It's generally a 4 to 6 match affair, and it's one of the reasons that I finally broke down and bought an Old Boy lighter. Even with the lighter the tobacco will require multiple lightings. If you've packed the bowl well the tobacco will stay lit once it's started, but in general I expect a few relights throughout the bowl.

So far, I've described a tobacco that's powerfully cased, oily, difficult to prepare, hard to pack, and hard to light. Why would anyone even bother.

For me, it's worth every bit of trouble or even more. Once it's lit, the tobacco is an amazing experience. It's just the Virginias and the casing, but what a combination.

The Virginias are brightly of the sweetest things I've ever tasted...but have absolutely no "cloying" sweetness at all. The tobacco feels dry in the mouth, with the casing being the perfect counter-point for the overwhelming sweetness of the Virginias. Half of the taste is just like the smell, the "Grateful Dead" smell. The other half is the amazing sweetness of the Virginias.

On their own the Virginias would likely be too simple and too sweet. But with the casing added, there are moments when the sweetness is accopmanied by a salty flavor, sometimes a very slight bitterness, and even a bit of smokiness at times. These flavors are fleeting, always returning quickly to the sweetness of the Virginias.

It would not surprise me to find out that most people find this blend abhorent. It's definately a combination that works for me, and it works very well. The tobacco demands to be smoked as slowly as possible, and tongue bite is only moments away if you start puffing hard...but with proper technique (especially breath smoking) this plug rewards me with a wonderful taste that I can experience nowhere else. I find it to be strong and sweet, and a great before-bedtime smoke.

This could never be an all day smoke for me. It's a "special occasion" smoke, for when I have the time to contemplate a bowl and to use all of my skills to maximize the flavor without moving into tongue-bite territory.

RB Plug smokes down to a very fine white ash. If loaded well, no tobacco will remain at the end of the bowl. The pipe will now taste like RB Plug. I wouldn't hazard a guess as to how one could remove this flavor from the bowl.

If you enjoy RB Plug, then I have one further recommendation for you. Occasionally fill up your RB pipe with a straight Virginia or a milder Virginia/Perique blend. The essence of the RB in the bowl will flavor the other tobacco; it's an easy way to experience the "RB taste" without having to go through the trouble of cutting up more RB Plug.

I have three pounds of this in my cellar...certainly more than I'll ever smoke. But this is one tobacco that I simply do not want to be without no matter what happens. If you like RB then chances are you'll love it. If you dislike it, chances are you'll hate it.

I'm giving this three starts based on my assumption that most people would not enjoy this enough to be bothered. For my personal rotation, though, this is definately a four-star smoke.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2020 Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The fermented, rugged Virginias provide a lot of tangy ripe dark fruit, wood, spice and earth, some tart and tangy citrus and grass, stewed dark fruit, bread, wood, floralness, plenty of vegetation, sugar, and a slight cigar note with a mild smoky quality. The fruity floral, mildly perfumy essences (kind of reminds me of petunias) moderately sublimate the tobaccos as they help form a very consistent, deeply rich fruity sweet, spicy and floral, mild savory flavor that translates to the long lingering, pleasant after taste. The strength and nic-hit are a couple of steps past the medium mark. The taste level is in the center of medium to full. It gets a little stronger as you go along. There’s no chance of bite or harshness here. It does have a few rough notes. This plug is moist, and may need a light dry time, depending on your personal preference. Burns cool, clean and slow no matter how you prepare it. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires a fair number of relights. The room note lingers a bit, and is a tad potent. Not an all day smoke, but it is repeatable. Will ghost a briar with repeated use.

13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 12, 2019 Medium to Strong Mild Medium Tolerable
This is an exquisite tobacco!

The batch I received was subtly aromatized, nothing overwhelming - much more toned down than Kendal Cream for example. The smell of the plug is exquisite! It reminds me the aroma of the Bison Grass that is used to flavor the Polish Vodka Zubrowka. I checked on the internet and found that Bison Grass (Hierochloe Odorata which means Aromatic Holy Grass) is also known as vanilla grass and contains coumarin, as does the tonka bean which is used to flavour the 1792 flake. So I may not be completely off the mark.

The plug is dense but it's not very difficult with a sharp knife to cut out a flake and prepare it for smoking. It is moist but not very much, can be smoked as is without any drying.

The flavouring is subtle and it tastes like vanilla grass, that is it tastes of green grass with a vanilla twist. There's also a delicate florality throughout which could possibly be from the tobacco itself and not from any Lakeland essence. The underlying tobacco is of the usual high standard of the Samuel Gawith Virginias and it resembles more BBF than FVF - it's not as cooked as FVF and rubs out much more easily. (The Plug seems to consist of whole leafs pressed together which have not lost their consistency and can be peeled off)

The smoke is sweet and it gains strength as the smoke progresses with the flavouring receding a bit. It's not a strong tobacco but definitely past medium in strength and nicotine.

Smokes to a fine ash without leaving any dottle. It leaves me intoxicated! Could be an all day smoke but it's better used less often as a delicacy. As for room note I presume it's nice for smokers, though my wife complained with it...
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 06, 2013 Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Excellent tobacco.

I have always thought that when it comes to 'lakeland florals' the SG line doesn't actually have anything outstanding to offer. 1792 is good, but not really floral. Bracken Flake I don't care for. Grousemoor, though excellent, is a ribbon cut rather than a flake and lacks the nicotine punch that, for me, characterises the lakeland experience as much as the added flavours and 'soap'. So, for me GH&Co has always been the sole purveyor of archetypal lakeland baccys.

Discovering these Samuel Gawith plugs I am having to completely change my opinion! RB is an absolute powerhouse in terms of added scent. The gingerbread comparison is right on, but there is a complex blend of floral additives and 'other stuff' there too, helping to create a completely unique scented tobacco experience.

The underlying tobacco is 1st class, and apparently is the same cake that goes on to become Full Virginia Flake. Flavoursome, much better manners than I would expect having smoked FVF and with sufficient vitamin N to make it feel like a proper, stout lakeland blend, although without the dark fired or air cured that is usually found in GH&Co blends of similar strength. Again, this helps to make RB Plug stand out.

Preparation is easier than a lot of plugs (McQuaid, 3Ps) and the moisture level is just right (many complain about excess moisture in other SG blends).

I seem to give four stars to almost everything I review nowadays, but what the heck! If you are a fan of proper scented tobaccos from the north of England then you must try RB Plug!
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 14, 2015 Medium Medium Full Very Pleasant
Samuel Gawith - RB Plug.

The note from the pouch is quite spicy with a hint of fruity sweetness, I can't identify anything floral so am unsure if anything floral has been included. The plug itself is a stubborn little so and so to prepare, even if you have arms like Schwarzenegger I think you will still struggle to cut it! As expected from Sam G' it's far too moist, practically sticky so it has to be aired.

The smoke itself has quite a complex flavour, complex to the point of being too messy for some folks I would guess. There is a light floral addition but I wouldn't for one minute describe it as a floral aromatic. The most prominent flavour I get is a bready one with the zing of ginger too. I find the smoke to taste quite savoury, there is a subtle fruitiness to it but think of it in the way they use fruit as an ingredient in a savoury curry. I don't think the nicotine amount is offensive, I find it to be medium in strength at a push. The room note sits well with me, it has a spiciness to it which I find most warming. As mine was a little tricky to prepare I had left it in quite large chunks which I suspected wouldn't burn too well so I was surprised by the superb, consistent burn it delivered. The smoke remains bite free and cool for the whole duration of the bowl, a properly relaxing smoke.

I don't usually smoke plug blends and when I read the reviews on RB I wasn't at all sure what to expect but after a few bowls I can safely say I love it! Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Peterson Dracula 999
PurchasedFrom: My Smoking Shop
Age When Smoked: New
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 30, 2007 Strong Strong Full Strong
Update: I purchased another RB Plug from Habana Pipes and Cigars. The plug was much easier to work with than my first review. While it does take more work and patience than other tobac's, it did nit require the ritual as previously described. I find I enjoy an occasional bowl after dinner with a frosted schooner of beer!

I had trouble identifying the pouch aroma, but after reading other reviews, GINGERBREAD! I also detect cigar leaf.

The appearance of the plug is very dense looking somewhat like hashish for those of you who grew up in the hippy days.

This is not a tobacco for the beginner, period. Even for the experienced smoker, you will either like it or hate it. It takes a lot of time to prepare it for smoking. It can take hours to get it ready. The first chore is to cut it with a pocket knife and begin seperating the leaves (I have extremely sharp knives). After that comes breaking it up into smaller pieces and letting it air dry for about one to two hours. Next comes rubbing it out and that aint easy! Let it dry for a while longer and a little more rubbing and it's ready to go into the bowl. I suggest a large diameter bowl. I use a Savinelli with a 1" bore. Then comes the attempt to get it lit. It takes about three starter lites and gentle tamping and then about two to three actual lites and more [gentle] tamping. After it is finally burning, it will stay lit for the rest of the smoke. Sound like a heck of a lot of trouble? It is!

After the cutting, tearing, drying, rubbing, still more drying and rubbing, lighting, tamping, lighting ritual, the taste is, at least to me, somewhat pleasing. It had a fruity taste and I still taste and smell cigar binding. I do not find the room note personally too displeasing. However, I have not smoked this in front of my girlfriend. The dog does not hide in the corner and the cat does not give a darn.

Overall, I think being an Eagle Scout, working on the deck of an aircraft carrier, crawling under houses in a once time pest control business, mechanical design engineer and muzzle loading rifle builder gives me the patience to continue enjoying RB Plug.

Conclusion: I cannot give this more that a three star rating because of the difficulty of preperation and would probably give it 2-1/2 stars if it were available.

Keep your powder dry, Flintlock
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 22, 2016 Medium to Strong Strong Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I have wanted to try Gawith’s RB Plug for a very long time as it isn’t available in the US (why do manufacturers do that with certain blends in their lineup??). I wasn’t disappointed. The pouch scent has somewhat of “an old timey” smell that I remember from my father’s pipe as a young lad. There is also a "sweet "cinnamon like" smell to it. He often smoked Mixture 79 (which I hate BTW) and some call that, (I don’t) an American Lakeland so maybe that’s the reason for the comparison? Being fairly firm, it really takes some time to get this prepared for the pipe. In the end, I preferred cutting a bunch of very small pieces and rubbing a tad out rather than shaving it with the knife. This was done after considerable dry time. In the pipe, I found RB to be very, very smooth. I smoke a lot of Lakeland blends and like others, it often comes down to whether or not you like the added flavoring, regardless of the quality of the underlying tobacco. Of course, given the blender, the tobacco is of high quality, but the flavoring makes it difficult to actually taste it. I’m not going to speculate on the components of the added flavors, as there are already a lot of opinions being bandied about. I will say that it is strong and lightly sweet, kind of like a velvet hammer. The opinions on the room note of this blend appear to be really wide ranging, for me, I rather enjoyed it. I will say that if you enjoy tobaccos from the Lake District, this should be on your “must try” list. Personally, I found it to be excellent!
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2018 Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This came delivered in a very dense block of tobacco from a friend. I am not sure of age or how long it may have dried before i received it. I sliced off thin flakes from the small end of the block and rubbed them out. persistent chunks were pulled apart with my fingers. I have been smoking it in fairly small bowls.

I found this easy to keep lit. My preparation gives me effectively a short chopped narrow ribbon, and that burned at a good pace and without drama or lots of relights.

The flavor is somewhat intense. You always know you are smoking tobacco, but there is a fruit I can't identify in a fairly full-flavored topping. There is some spice which reminds me of cloves every now and then. The tobacco base is sweet with some hay and it is tart when puffed. You never lose the topping flavors, but the tobacco is always there supporting it.

This is recommended if you are comfortable with plugs and don't mind the preparation ritual. This is what I would consider a remarkably good aromatic for my palate. It has a pleasant topping, and I never forget I am smoking a high quality Virginia. It is no wimpy topped black cavendish in terms of strength either, and it is perhaps just a little more in strength compared to Full Virginia Flake.

I liked it, but I don't mind the prep.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2008 Mild to Medium Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable
A Dream ...simply a dream ... Try it after dinner, in winter, in front of the fire place !

I love it for ever
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 29, 2005 Strong Strong Extra Full Extra Strong
This uh, tobacco, was shared with my pipe club members a few years ago, and to a man, we agreed the stuff was simply awful. I cannot even begin to guess what ole Sam topped the leaf with, but it is deadly and lethal. Just whacking off a piece of the tightly compressed plug required a chain saw, and the shaving and packing was a chore, too. Worse still, all that work for a horrible smoke made me the bane of the club.

Spend your money elsewhere. This blend smoked exactly like it looked, butt ugly.

You reckon the club will ever re-admit me?
6 people found this review helpful.
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