Cornell & Diehl Billy Budd Blonde

A blend of bright Virginia flake, white burley, chopped cigar leaf, and a touch of perique, Billy Budd Blonde is a sweet sequel to the blend originally created for C&D's late friend Sailorman Jack.


Brand Cornell & Diehl
Series Melville At Sea
Blended By  
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Cigar Leaf Based
Contents Burley, Cigar Leaf, Perique, Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce tin, bulk
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.39 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 18 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 21, 2023 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
I’ve been shying away from Latakia blends lately. I’ve smoked Billy Budd back when it still had Syrian Latakia in it. I liked it but the tin note was almost overwhelming.

I can’t say that this reminds me of the original Billy Budd at all. My batch isn’t aged at all so I can’t taste much sweetness but for me that’s a good thing. Bready, grassy notes, a little spiciness from the perique and I’m guessing from the burley as well. I don’t smoke cigars so I can’t comment on the taste as I don’t know what to look for but I know it’s not a good blend to smoke when I’m around my wife as she definitely doesn’t like how I smell afterwards.

It’s tastey, smooth, smokes cool and surprisingly fast (though I tend to smoke everything fast as I’m an impatient puffer).

Despite l the name, I don’t think it really compares to the original Billy Budd.

For me, it’s a winner and something I’ll likely reorder in the future.

The Virginias flake in here remind of Dan Tabacco’s Patriot flake. But unlike Patriot Flake this has a good bit more strength and so I find it more satisfying to smoke.
Pipe Used: Savinelli 404, Hackert Billiard, Polinski Bulldog
Age When Smoked: Fresh
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2019 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd Blonde.

Often as not, a blend titled Cigar Leaf Based deters me. I love a nice cigar, but like pipe tobacco in my pipe over the day, and enjoy a cigar at night. However, I decided to give Billy Budd Blonde a go!

Because this was supplied in a bulk pouch from I can't comment on a tin's moisture, but this was perfect. In the medium brown mix, although there's as lot of ribbons, I can identify a fair few larger broken flakes. The aroma's quite coarse and rugged.

The smoke: the cigar leaf isn't running the show, this gives a touch of 'dryness' to the smoke, and cigar flavour, but in no way makes the blend reminiscent to smoking a Romeo Y Julieta through a pipe! I get a roughness from the Burley, some vibrancy from the Virginia, and a definite fruitiness from the Perique. These leaves all seem quite well-rounded with one another, and share the profile nicely. The burn from it, as I expected from the moisture, is faultless, the smoke has a medium temperature, and I get no tongue bite.

Nicotine: quite strong. Room-note: not the best.

Billy Budd Blonde? Although it wouldn't make it into my rotation I feel it's a well made blend which warrants three stars:

Pipe Used: Dagner Christmas 2015
Age When Smoked: New
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
Summary: a good strong half-n-half with fullness from cigar leaf and a bit of zing from Perique.

When I created "Massacra" a few years ago, I wanted to make a tobacco that preserved the classic American half-n-half flavor of melded Burley and Virginias but added in the high-intensity impact of Perique, while borrowing the classic English plug-style blend that used dark fired leaf, and giving it some body and glossy sweetness from cigar leaf. C&D have undertaken the same mission with "Billy Budd Blonde," which uses their "Virginia flake" -- a mixture of bright and orange Virginias that is thoroughly amazing -- as its base, along with some strong Burleys, Perique, and cigar leaf that appears to be in a lightly-pressed partially rubbed out flake just like the "Virginia flake." The Perique is a background player, adding a bit of bittersweet zing to the mix, and the cigar leaf fades into the background after the first quarter of the bowl, leaving only the half-n-half flavor, which is best expressed as being like a walnut bread or almond cake. This creates a smoke which offers sweetness with a constantly-changing depth, bringing out the best of English and American mixtures in one. Despite the heavy ingredients, it is not super heavy on the nicotine, so you could smoke this all day, and I would, too, if I'd followed my gut instinct and ordered a few pounds.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 05, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I was not a fan of the old BB, finding it too harsh and confusing. However I do (did) love Habana Daydream and still stick to Bayou Night, Tuggle Hall and Atlas Balkan.

This one tastes like sweet grass clippings. I realize it was intended to be a lighter version of a heavy tobacco, but I find the VAs to be too grassy and prominent. There is a sweetness in here that seems out of place. The Perique is fairly far in the background as is the cigar leaf and neither are likely to offend anyone. The white burley tempers the Vas but do not seem to add much taste.

Smoking qualities are excellent, very natural, utterly no bite. However, it is the lack of flavor and body, for me, which tips the scales.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 07, 2018 Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable
Another of my forays into the realm of burley-based tobacco, smoked several pipefuls and I find this an interesting blend with an array of flavor.

A much younger sister or maybe cousin to the original and latakia laced Billy Budd, I was attracted to this blend due to my fondness for cigars, in fact, I’ve smoked this several times in replacement to my usual Friday/Saturday evening cigar.

The flavors are more like ripples, they seem to come and go, not sustained…like a good cigar, alternating in an interesting and not unpleasant way. At times, you’ll get the grassiness of the virginias, the fruitiness of the perique, nuttiness of the burley, and yes, threads of cigar notes…ah yes, the reason we’re here.

More like a friendly competition in flavors working in harmony, it’s hard to say there’s anything that stands out or overwhelms in a negative sense. Really, this is like a parfait of taste, again, not at all unpleasant.

From flame to ash, there was nothing I found detracting and this was truly pleasant to the bottom. Billy Budd Blonde won’t replace my routine cigar, but it does bring a nice bit of variety, and like a good cigar, offers a welcome prism of flavor.

Smoke this if: You like cigar-leaf blends, perique, big blooms of smoke, and a headiness of flavor.
Pipe Used: Varied
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: Months.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 14, 2020 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Cigar leaf based? That’s what I thought, Billy Budd minus the Latakia; but it wasn’t until I found “the right pipe” for Billy Budd Blonde that I could certainly detect the cigar leaf. For my first several smokes BBB was a spicy VA/Per with plenty of fragrant, bitter white Burley, and I might not have thought about cigar leaf had I not been alerted to it ahead of smoking it. This review is based on smoking BBB in “the right pipe”. In case anyone cares, my preferred pipe for BBB is a very old Danish with rock hard, bone dry briar and a tall, conical bowl.

My sample is from bulk. Since I “discovered” the cigar leaf I can also smell it in the bag now, too, yielding up a lot of the spices. It melds with grassy, spicy, flue cured VA, savory, spicy Perique, and floral, sharp, wood resin-y, bitter white Burley. Short ribbons and small chunks are easy to handle, load, light and it smokes down with ease. There is plenty of smoke, with a terrific fragrance, like the world’s best smelling wood burning at a safe distance. This is a very spicy blend that many will want to keep throttled back in terms of cadence. All the varietals are spicy, and mostly from mid-band, up, with a subtle, lower “foundation” from the cigar leaf, which comes across rather like DFK, except more peppery/cigar spices. The lot is sweet, sour, bitter, very spicy, and savory. Strength is medium to strong, with the nicotine keeping pace. Tastes get toward full the way I smoke it. Room note is OK. Aftertaste is a slow trailing off of the best of the smoke, only sweeter.

It took a while, but in the end Billy Budd Blonde turned out even better than I’d hoped. I’d wound up down rating original Billy Budd because bad tasting additives to the Latakia rose up over time. Although BBB is not just the original minus the Latakia, in any case it wound up getting better instead of worse for me. IMO, this blend is best suited to veteran pipers. 4 stars.

Update, 04-29-22: Just smoked some BBB after lunch today. I noticed something I did not mention in my initial review concerning the pipe I use for BBB, and I decided to mention now that this pipe wicks heat like a nuclear cooling tower. This pipe gets hotter than Hades when I smoke BBB, and the tobacco stays cool, as I puff away. This absolutely gives me the option to pull harder for stronger tastes, and I seem to exercise that option. I actually like this blend better now than I did when I reviewed it.
Pipe Used: best was big, conical briar
Age When Smoked: from undated bag
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 30, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
There is too much going on here. This tobacco seems to evolve against two different levels or parallel lines that go hand in hand with each other. On the one hand you have the sort of mellow, creamy and nutty dimension coming from its burley side. On the other one, the sweet, spicy and citrusy profile that is added by the bright Virginia flake it contains. And the marrying of these two different fronts is seamless, that is, without fault, immaculate and flawless. The combination of flakes and rough cut means this is a very slow burning tobacco that will smoke quite cool in your bowl. I detect some sort of Oriental leaf in the tin note. The smoking experience is quite complex, evolving into different levels as you progress through every quarter of your bowl. Also, I am finding it very consistent right from the start down to the bottom. Quite remarkable. It has depth, consistency and a level of complexity. 4 Stars.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 01, 2018 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Unnoticeable
If you love VaPers and Virginia/Burley blends you'll find this to be right in your wheelhouse. The pinch of cigar leaf combines beautifully with the base ingredients to give the blend an oriental character, which I find delightful. This should appeal to fans of GLP's Temple Bar. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if GLP created this blend.

The tin description notwithstanding, says that there is black Cavendish in the mix; but I can't detect it -- either visually or in the taste (except that there is a modicum of sweetness.)

No packing, lighting, or burning issues; and it produces dense, luxurious clouds of smoke.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 29, 2022 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This one pulls off something quite interesting.. An extremely delicate smoke especially coming from C & D.. but it also does maintain something of the rustic charm or edge that the blending house is known for.. They have many tobaccos, but not all of them walk this line.. The balance between bright virginia, white burley and perique is just perfect in my opinion.. the cigar leaf just seems to add texture and subtle flavor and maybe some strength.. It's sweet and slightly dry and bitter and spicy.. I agree with the flavor assessments of the other reviewers.. If you are expecting more of a powerhouse you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you like kind of more subtle light tasting mixtures that still have a little nicotine kick, this one is a must try.. I really like it.. another great cigar blend.. that also smells quite nice during the smoke.. just maybe not to bystanders.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 05, 2018 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
Interesting...Both in the pouch aroma and while smoking it...I got this big VA/Turkish vibe. But there’s just the Burley, Cigar Leaf, Perique & Virginia. The Perique & Cigar Leaf combo must be fooling me into thinking ‘Turkish”. Shows you I would never make it as a ‘taster’. Certainly well blended though. Seemed very well mannered. Honestly, it was just what I hoped it would be. Very pleased indeed.

Interesting...about five years ago I tried some of the original Billy Budd. Gag me with a stick! I found it intense, hot, harsh and reeking of Latakia. I couldn’t finish a second a hot dancing Gypsy just wantin’ to steal yer watch. But the Blonde...take out the Latakia and sub in Perique...Bazinga! Like a quiet, tasty, eager to please girl next door. Soooo much better.
Pipe Used: Custom full bent naked acorn (group 4)
PurchasedFrom: A gift.
Age When Smoked: Pretty fresh,
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2021 Medium None Detected Full Very Pleasant
I should warn the reader that I have zero experience with cigar blends. If I wanted a cigar, I smoked a cigar. I am going into this completely inexperienced and open minded.

This blend really epitomizes a pure tobacco experience. The cigar leaf melds harmoniously into the mixture in that it nudges the other components, never speaking singularly. A chorus of tobacco and more tobacco. The lit room aroma, sidestream, and taste to some extent all share one characteristic, the distinctive smell of a tobacconist with at least several patrons or employees smoking. This takes that classic cigar store smell and puts it in a pipe. It is bitter bakers chocolate, spice, earthy dark tobacco, a vaguely smoky, leathery sense all competing for one’s attention .

Unfortunately this blend can be quite bitter, and though I personally love all things bitter, I’m not sure this works to BBB’s advantage. I found that this smoked much more evenly if rubbed out even further. Has a tendency to develop quite an ashy edge in the second half of the bowl. Not at all a bad smoke, and not one I would rule out ever smoking again. It’s good but not great.
PurchasedFrom: SP
Age When Smoked: Fresh bulk
2 people found this review helpful.
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