Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Dark Bird's Eye

(3.30)
Manufactured from dark tobacco 'whole leaf' rather than strips, the mid-rib (or stem) gives the 'birds eye' effect when cut. A strong smoke which was particularly favored by the fishermen as the finer cut meant the tobacco was easier to light and to keep-in on board ship when the weather was bad.
Notes: This is a combination of dark-fired whole leaf Virginias and mid-rib fine cut Kentucky leaf rolled and sliced to make 'bird's eyes'. This fine shag cut was preferred by fisherman and sailors because it was very easy to pack and light.

Details

Brand Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blended By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Manufactured By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Kentucky, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Shag
Packaging Bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Strong
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Full
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.30 / 4
68

60

16

4

Reviews

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Displaying 21 - 30 of 147 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
TW
Sep 08, 2013 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong
Once a true shag cut now more of a narrow ribbon thanks to the European 1.5mm cut rule for pipe tobacco.

Like most G&H tobaccos it's old-fashioned, pretty unique and has a hint of unrefined brutality about it. Dark fired leaf with surprisingly little of the birdseye that gives it's name. As supplied it's a little damp but immediately smokable, as it dries the colour lightens a little with some strands becoming a more mid-brown in colour similar to the air-dried Indian leaf in the dark range. I find this is most flavourful smoked on the damp side, and despite it's name nothing like the dark shag/flake/plug range.

Cool and virtually bite-free unless allowed to dry too much, it produces lots of smoke and burns cleanly and with little if any dottle. The flavour is smoky, pungent, very full and unchanging throughout the bowl. I recommend small, narrow bowls - I'm quite used to strong tobaccos, but the combination of high nocotine and loads of smoke give this one a real punch. Not quite a brown rope, but pretty powerful and stout. My 80 year-old father-in-law has smoked nothing but G&H black ropes for all his life, but Dark Birdseye even made him stagger a bit. It's supposed to be unscented by the way - no Lakeland florals or anything else, "Kendal/Lakeland" is a place, not a description of a particular flavour of tobacco.

My wife reckons the room note is fine when smoked in small quantities, but it counts as an acrid chemical weapon requiring immediate evacuation of the vicinity if fired up in a larger bowl.

The cut means it burns quickly, but it also burns quite cooly. I find a Peterson Belgique or similar "clay pipe" sized small bowl is great for a 20ish minute smoke when out and about. It also keeps it's flavour outdoors, which is useful.

Finally, it doesn't ghost at all and builds cake very quickly - it excels as as a tobacco for breaking in a new briar.

Recommended for those who like strong, stout old-fashioned tobaccos with plenty of unique flavour.

ps - I defy anyone to inhale this without exploding 🙂
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2011 Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
Straight forward, strong tobacco with a slight sweetness and just enough Lakeland flavors that you know it's a Lakeland style tobacco, but, its 99.9% pure tobacco taste. There is no complexity to this blend, it burns cleanly and doesn't bite. I like strong tobaccos, and I am a big fan of GH blends, but this is a miss for me as I simply don't like the taste and it would be useful only as a quick nic hit. However, fans of dark rope tobacco will find a happy home here. Somewhat Recommended
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 22, 2022 Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable
Dark Bird's Eye is a strong, flavorful tobacco. Mostly Kentucky- spicy, earthy, wood and smokiness, with a rough edge. The nicotine packs quite a punch and a smaller bowl, perhaps a small cob, is what I'd recommend. I cannot stress how much I dislike this tobacco. Even when sipped you have to be careful because the nic kick will sneak up on you out of nowhere, and the rough edge is off-putting. I give it two stars instead of one because it's a quality product from a historic brand, and it's certainly a favorite of many.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 29, 2021 Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong
Has a nice little sweet and bitter thing going on, caramel, ketchup, pepper, sourdough, chocolate and some floral notes. A tiny hint of the Lakeland essence (which I think all G&H products have) but nothing that will stick around for long. Pretty one note, and nice and strong, but that's not a big deal because the burn time is fairly short, even when packed tight. Medium to full body and won't bite, even if you try.

If you like Irish flake or ODF chances are you'll like this, it isn't quite as complex as the aforementioned but it is easy to pack and light and packs one hell of a punch. I routinely smoke this stuff to the bottom without relights. Great for a quick little pick-me-up, or a morning bowl on the way to work, or any other time when you need a short, stout, full bodied smoke.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 21, 2021 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
IMO shag tobacco was for pipe men back when a man carried a pipe in his jacket pocket and smoked it over and over through the day. Shag tobacco is conducive to 15 minute smokes instead of 60-90 minute smokes, and that would be just the thing for the man who smoked a pipe primarily as a means of nicotine delivery.

I find all shag tobacco tastes a little ashy halfway into the bowl.

Of all the shags, I like this best. It starts with a little sweetness, coupled with the smoky backbone of the dark fired. It's good, and it's perfect when you want a smoke but don't have the luxury of time.

I'd take Dark Flake over these shags 9 times out of 10, but they are useful to keep on hand for short smokes now and then. This is the best of the lot.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 18, 2021 Strong Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Update 19 July, 2021 Now that I have a little more experience in the world of pipe tobacco, I’m revisiting this review to give it a more appropriate rating: two and 3/4 stars.

Original review: 18 February, 2021 While I enjoy reading the reviews I’ve read so far — of every tobacco, not just this one — I’ve found I especially enjoy reading (and rereading) the reviews for Dark Birds Eye WHILE I’m smoking it.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a result of global pandemic isolation. This is the closest I can get right now to talking tobacco with other smokers.

I’m not going to spend a great deal of time discussing Dark Birds Eye. Lots of people have done this already.

But I must say I find the richness... the nuttiness... the exquisite boldness of this fine Gawith Hoggarth offering quite pleasurable.

As I’m just returning to my pipes (I’m a little over a month back in) after an extended absence, I’ve been hustling to build up a decent stash, while also trying to obtain enough to age a nice variety of quality tobaccos.

And so far, I have more Dark Birds Eye and its sister blend Kendal Dark than anything else thus far. I’ve got a pound each in jars. Ideally, some of it will survive untouched long enough to get some years under its belt.

So to speak.

I’ve mentioned in one of my other reviews (I don’t have many so far) that I prefer the sweetness of straight Virginias at this point, but look to bolder, more savory options to keep things interesting.

I’ve tried other savory options. Not a lot. But enough to recognize that these two GH blends (along with Five Brothers) are keepers.

And, frankly, all I really need in the savory department.

My next step will be figuring out which of these two GH blends I prefer. As of right now, I consider the other (Kendal Dark) my favorite of the two. But I’m working on a bowl of Birds Eye as I type this and, man, it’s really doggone good.

I’ve got my work cut out for me.

In the meantime, stay tuned. I plan on updating this review things develop.
Pipe Used: Various sizes of briar pipes
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New bulk stock
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 21, 2021 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
This one has been reviewed quite a bit, so not much to add other than more adoration. This one is absolutely a 4 star blend. Other than the somewhat similar Kendal Dark, this one is in it’s own lane, and what a world class lane it is. Much smoother and refined than some reviews would have you believe. It’s strong and flavorful, but it’s not acrid or a knuckleduster to the palette. It’s earthy, a little sweet, and quite floral due to what I assume are the African varietals. Not a cheerful flavor profile, but rather somber. It pairs well with a foggy morning on the water. The light smokiness in the tin note doesn’t translate to the flavor. There is more than a hint of clove essence throughout, but it doesn’t ever approach that old spice cabinet aroma/flavor. It’s rustic but not harsh or overbearing in any way. I find blends like haunted bookshop or OJK to be vastly more rugged, harsh, acrid, etc. A really beautiful, simple, easy to smoke shag cut blend. Don’t be scared by it’s reputation as a heavyweight puncher, load it in a small bowl , pack it tight, and pace yourself. It tastes best that way anyhow.

*If you don’t have a small shag pipe ( plenty of estate bruyere garantie to be found for cheap) , consider adding one to the collection. It’s hard to overdo the nicotine with such a small bowl, and if packed tight and sipped, the smoke will last you longer than you’d imagine. It’s a working man’s pipe for a working mans tobacco and it just feels right.
Pipe Used: Various small shag pipes
Age When Smoked: Fresh - bulk
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2019 Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This was a good blend. It was heavy so I would recommend smoking it with a full stomach. It was nice and nutty. It also paired well with an Irish breakfast tea.
Pipe Used: Briar Churchwarden
PurchasedFrom: Twins Smoke Shop (Londonderry, NH)
Age When Smoked: New
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 20, 2018 Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant
The taste of this blend reminds me of the smell of the smoke from an oak log fire. It brings me back to my younger days of visiting my mountain kinfolk who burned oak in their potbellied stoves during the winter.

Some have compared this blend to Five Brothers, but they are analogous only in strength and texture. Dark Bird's Eye has much more flavor, to the point that the only blends I can mix this in with is weak latakia mixtures. Otherwise the dark-fired tobaccos in this blend overwhelms other blends. With latakia, the blends seems to complement each other.

By itself, Dark Bird's Eye has a semi-sweet, woody, and (on some occasions) a slight floral taste bolstered by a nice hit of nicotine. The smoke has a bold texture, almost that of smoked meat. I find the room note pleasant, but I'm sure that no nonsmoker would find it even tolerable. That's their loss.

As a stand-alone smoke, Dark Bird's Eye is by far superior to Five Brothers (and that is reflected in the price), but it isn't nearly as valuable as a mixer. I can't imagine this as an all-day tobacco, and for most it is not even a once a day smoke, but it is packed with flavor and nicotine. Dark Bird's Eye is a pleasant, memorable diversion.

Recommended.
Pipe Used: various
Age When Smoked: from bulk
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 22, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong
I purchased this with Kendal Kentucky and while I absolutely love the KK, I’m not so keen on this. Like others, I notice quite a strong rubber/cigar taste that I find really displeasing. I get no fruit, no sweetness, a hint of smokiness and a ton of rubbery cigar. In saying that, I’ve enjoyed trying a tobacco that is very different to many others I’ve tried and I think I could grow to like it more as my taste matures. It’s worth a try.

Update: Having smoked this more, I feel the need to increase the rating I gave, as I am enjoying it more each time. The last third of the bowl becomes a little unpleasant for me so I recommend a small bowl. It compliments a strong coffee superbly.
Pipe Used: Stanwell
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: New
3 people found this review helpful.
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