Cornell & Diehl Sun Bear

A blend of the finest red and bright Virginias balanced by Basma leaf from 2014 and Izmir Orientals from 2013, Sun Bear showcases select varietals by highlighting their inherent characters with a range of unique and nuanced casings. South Carolina garden-grown honey — harvested from the personal beehives of C&D's head blender, Jeremy Reeves — combines with a whisper of silver tequila and elderflower to augment the fruity and floral notes of the choice Orientals and Virginias.
Notes: 2019 - 4,500 tins produced. 2020 - 8,000 tins produced.


Brand Cornell & Diehl
Series Small Batch
Blended By Jeremy Reeves
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Flavoring Alcohol / Liquor, Honey
Cut Flake
Packaging 2 ounce tin weight
Country United States
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.40 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 25 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 18, 2020 Very Mild Medium Mild Very Pleasant
Finally a limited edition tobacco that champions sustainable apiculture. Tobacco has come a long way from the factories at Bristol and Liverpool.

The Oriental grounds the Virginia, which might otherwise have the trademark unpleasant treble notes. This is a very harmonious mixture. It's unassuming but charming and complex. Never overbearing. There is real body here, a real heft that never weighs on the senses. There is no sharpness, no acridity. The smoke is voluptuous and sensuous. There is a vibrance and floral joyfulness in the nose. Sweet, but demure.

Like a furtive summer romance, I'm not sure I care to know the particulars about what makes this tobacco what it is. Aromatic or not, it just works and wasn't meant to be overthought.

Pipe Used: meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: Cup-O-Joes
Age When Smoked: fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 09, 2019 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The tangy dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready, lightly floral, slightly spicy, slightly citrusy red Virginia takes a tiny lead over the other components at times. Strongly vying for attention for the first slot and often getting it are the dry, sour, lightly tangy sweet, woody, earthy, floral, spicy, smoky Basma and Izmir. The bright Virginia provides some tart citrus, grass, a floral and spice note in an important support role, and ranks a slot below the Orientals and the red Va. The smooth, sweet honey is the most obvious topping, while the lightly fruity, earthy tequila rises a little above the “whisper” mentioned in the blend description. Its effect tends to vary a tad, though it seems just a little more potent half way through the experience. The tart, grape and berry-like, acidic, floral, herbal, sweet elderflower is always in the background. The toppings sublimate the tobaccos to a moderate degree. The strength and taste levels barely reach the medium threshold. The nic-hit is just past the center of mild to medium. No chance of bite, and while it’s not exactly smooth, there’s very few rough edges, and has potential for a hint of harshness that chiefly comes from the Izmir. The flakes easily break apart to suit your packing preference. They are lightly moist, but needs no dry time. Burns cool, clean, and a little slow with a modestly sweet, minimally sour and savory, mildly inconsistent, complex and nuanced flavor. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires some relights. Has a pleasant, short lived after taste. The room note is a rung stronger than the after taste. Can be an all day smoke.

32 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 08, 2019 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
2021-06-18 Some reflections with some age.

As summer reaches Georgia, I pulled out my jar of 2019 Sun Bear to enjoy. The jar note is still sweet. The tobacco has aged quite well and I feel that the flavorings now compliment instead of overwhelm the tobacco. The taste is much more melded and I can still get hints of the tequila and honey but also enjoy the tobaccos underneath. Look forward to smoking this one through the summer.

****First Impressions 8/8/19****

I received my tin today dated 080119 so this first review is some pretty "Fresh" mixture. This is tin 312/4500 (I'm interested if there are differences within the batch)

Popping the tin, I could smell alcohol which I'm taking to be the Tequila mentioned on the label. There was also a sweetness which I guess is the honey.

Large broken flakes a la Sunset Harbor Flake. Pretty moist but easy to pack into a bent billiard bones. Char lighted it. Let it set 5 minutes and was able to get it to take well on the relight.

I don't really taste the alcohol topping too much in the first part of the bowl, nice sweetness from the honey topping on the bright virginias. Picked up a little tanginess through the bowl which I'm guessing are the oriental specs which are quite noticeable in the flakes.

One relight about midway through the bowl after swabbing a little bit of moisture out of the pipe. Second half of the bowl had a little bit more of the tequila topping and fruitiness. Didn't much in the way of deep notes. No tongue bite and medium Nicotine to my taste.

Had to look it up:

"What is the taste of elderflower? It's closer to lychee in flavor, and it has a crisp, palate-cleansing finish. If you think about how blueberries add a sweet-tart flavor to a lemon muffin or scone, that's exactly what elderflower's doing in the royal couple's cake. Only it adds a delicate floral flavor"

This is really a good combination for summer. Would be a great with a margarita I'm sure. Maybe sitting on the beach or the front porch. Looking forward to seeing how it cellars and also how this tin does with some more time to marry together.
Pipe Used: Bent Billiard Morgan Bones
Age When Smoked: about a week right now...
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 29, 2020 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
The elderflower and silver tequila topping give it a unique flavor and aren't heavy handed, just enough. You notice it at first, and then the Virginias, Basma leaf and Izmir Oriental flake take the driver's seat. The Honey adds a small bit of sweetness to the flake, but not too much, just enough to compliment the Virginias. The flake is not too moist out of the tin. All in all I really enjoy this tobacco.

So, what is Elderflower?

Elderflowers are creamy white blooms from elder trees. Elderflowers are edible, and so are the elderberries that grow on the shrubs later in the summer. Elderflower tastes have been described as: "light and floral" "floral and fragrant" "subtle yet heady" "distinctly musky and sweet.". Elderflowers are used to make, St. Germain liqueur and have been made popular by its use in Prince Harry's and Meghan Markle's wedding cake.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 17, 2019 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Cornell & Diehl - Sun Bear (Small Batch).

Tin number 3209 of 4500.

Hmmmm, nice, but not 'spectacular'. A bit disappointing!

Anyhoo, the tin contains flakes which are beginning to break apart. So, just stuffing them into the pipe is enough to reduce them to a smokable consistency. I get more of a sweet aroma in the tin-note than I do alcohol/tequila. The moistness of Sun Bear can't be faulted.

The tobaccos taste nice, together. I get more rich Virginia than I do Orientals; so the leading natural flavour's rather fruity. The Orientals aren't miles behind, a little way back, but not lots; there's a titillating nuance from them which, without question, works well. Regarding the added flavours, like in the unlit aroma, I note more honey than tequila. As is usual, the honey gives a fragrant sweetness, but the tequila lets it down; although not a headstrong flavour, it brings enough bitter, sour, alcohol to lessen the rating. I find the burn a little warm, with the smoke bringing a bit of bite.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: acceptable.

Sun Bear? If it weren't for the tequila I'd rate it well. Alas, the tequila reduces it to two stars:

Somewhat recommended.
Pipe Used: Cob, Meerschaum, Briar
Age When Smoked: New
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2019 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
The tin aroma is very pleasant, like fresh raisin bread. The moisture level is low and no drying time is necessary. The flakes rub out very easily, they also fold and stiff nicely. It burns cool and will not bite unless you pull smoke like a factory chimney. The standard flavors Virginia of grass and hay shine though. However, there's a very light floral note and a hint of tequila (very subtle). On the retro hale there's a very slight peppery spicy note. This is by no means an aromatic. The nicotine level seems to be mild to medium. I was nervous bc thought I over bought, but after a few bowls I am looking to forward to cellaring this to let it age.
Pipe Used: MM Gentlemen
Age When Smoked: New
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2020 Mild Mild Medium Unnoticeable
A bizarre blend that works magically well. I strongly disagree that this boils down to standard "C and D floor blended Virginias" as another reviewer put it. The base tobaccos are *perfectly* complimented by an extremely unusual set of light toppings. This falls squarely in the grey zone between topped VaOr and aromatic to me. Hard to tell which it is, but I'm leaning towards topped flake rather than straight up aromatic.

Bright VA with good spicy Orientals make up the base notes. The honey, tequila, and elderflower are all present, but not obtrusive. They compliment the base tobaccos insanely well. Floral, spice, sweet... it's just a wonderful and unique blend.

As another reviewer mentioned, and many on forums love to spout, the "Small Batch" releases may be a marketing tactic, yes. But I don't really care because C&D is backing up the tactic with blends that push the envelope of what is expected on the US market. Come on now, tequila and elderflower? You think the average fellow with a pipe collection could have thought that up and executed it? Let's give credit where it's due folks. You don't have to love the result, but man at least it's something different than 90% of the VA based blends out there with their rote repetition of hay and citrus with a bit of caramel or bready earth and mild sweet you have to hunt for.

I hope they do another run of this and I'll be first in line. Same goes for pretty much any other Small Batch blend that attempts to push pipe tobacco into new realms.

Strongly Recommended.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 18, 2021 Mild Mild Mild Tolerable
Summary: an expensive way to receive your bulk bright Virginia

The tin notes tell us all about the expensive Basma and Ismir Oriental leaf, luxury silver liquor, and organically- and ethically-sourced local free trade honey, but almost nothing about the "blend of fine red and bright Virginias." Like the G.L. Pease blends, this one re-sells a cheap bulk product -- Virginia ribbon -- by cresting it with a 5% expensive product (tequila, honey, Orientals) and then selling it at the same price as if the whole thing were expensive ingredients. I like bright Virginias, I like C&D bright Virginias, and I like Jeremy Reeves, but this blend is a ripoff. You're getting their $2/ounce bright, red, and some brown Virginias for $6/ounce because they added fifty cents of diluted topping and a pinch of some Orientals they found in some old Tupperware. The bright Virginias are cheaper because of lower processing time therefore lower labor costs. If you have bought this abortion of a blend, definitely let it age, because the C&D "Virginia Flake" shines at two years and "Sun Bear" will probably be very similar. First light brings out a sugary mess of flavors from the toppings, then comes the malty nougat of the Virginia mix, and finally just a little sour and cardamom-like lift from the Orientals. After that, things go downhill. The Virginias burn like blazes, but caramelize by the second half of the bowl, at which point you start to see why people usually mix them with Burleys, namely the thin body and flavor of the smoke. This one reminds me of the faux mayonnaise they sell in the big stores which is basically a little flavoring on clotted soybean oil. The tobacco industry likes it because influencers will shill it, and "hobbyists" will buy it at three times its fair price so they can use as it as form of experience tourism and talk about the rare silver tequila honey nuances on Instagram.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 21, 2019 Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
This one has a tin note you would expect of the component tobaccos and toppings, dominated by the honey and brights. The flavor is very consistent and mechanics are perfect. The moisture content was just right. Nic hit is on the lower side of medium for me. The orientals are farther in the background than i was expecting, but still noticeable. I wish i bought more than one tin.
Pipe Used: Radice and Tekin
Age When Smoked: Fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 18, 2021 Mild to Medium Medium Medium Tolerable
Good tobaccos subjected to toppings that significantly diminish the smoking experience for me. When compared to C&D's Bijou, another Virginia/Orientals blend also topped with honey, it is quite different. I find the honey in Bijou to be delicatly infused to the blend in a way that compliments it very well. I don't know if the honey is different in type or proportion; or if the inclusion of tequila in Sun Bear that makes it disappointing for me. I think the foundation blend to be good, but the toppings give the taste a semi-sour, unpleasant influence. I have had a number of bowls, but don't plan on finishing the tin. Not my cup of tea....
Pipe Used: various
Age When Smoked: 1.5 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2020 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Sun Bear surprised me. I have no special like or curiosity for Virginia/Turkish blends. However, this flake is so tasty and the tin note is scrumptious.

The bright Virginias shine in this flake. They are grassy with some crisp edges. The reds add some earthiness. The Turkish leaf adds complexity with a little sourness—especially in the last third of the bowl. The honey casing melds well with the sweetness of the Virginia leaf. There is a pleasant fruity undertone to the flake.

*This review is based on a small sample and limited life experience.
3 people found this review helpful.
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