Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Dark Bird's Eye

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.


Brand Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blended By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Manufactured By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 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

3.30 / 4





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Displaying 31 - 40 of 147 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 12, 2018 Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
Based on the other reviews of GH&C Dark Bird's Eye, I thought I would really enjoy this tobacco. Alas, I didn't.

DBE is a dark shag with practically no aroma. I took Jiminks advice and packed it in a small pipe. I'm glad I did because it is a very strong tobacco. Nothing wrong with that, but it does require that you smoke it slowly.

Upon lighting it up, I was surprised by how spicy it was. Frankly, at the start, that's all it was -- unpleasantly spicy. After a while, the spiciness settled down a bit and was replaced by a sensation that I can only describe as something akin to menthol. As I puffed slowly away, I kept waiting for the full flavor that others found to kick in, but it never showed up. What I did get was a dark, almost burnt flavor that was devoid of any sweetness or other redeeming qualities. I tried retrohaling it in the hope that it would be more flavorful but all I got was was more unpleasant spiciness and more of the burnt toast flavor.

Based on my initial experience with DBE, I can't recommend it. Maybe I chose the wrong pipe or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for something like DBE. I'll smoke it again in some other pipes and, if I find something I missed, I'll update my review.
Pipe Used: Small Tanganyika African meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: Recently purchased.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2017 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
G,H&Co Dark Birdseye is an unabashed, throwback tobacco, plain, simple, and proud of it. It comes in bulk, shag cut, ready to stuff and puff. Forget about ripe fruit. It smells like a mild, earthy cigar, and it pretty much tastes like that, too, and it lights and burns down like a champ. If it’s packed firmly it lasts longer than many other shags, long enough to get a buzz. Strength is strong. Tastes are full. Room note is disgusting. Aftertaste is cigar-ish, along with some VA sweetness. There is the vaguest hint of Lakeland essence.

Simple tabac like this demands a short review, so I’ll close by saying there’s “more” to house mate Brown Irish X, or Tabac Manil's Le Petit Robin, but neither hits the spot quite like Dark Birdseye, especially on a short break. 3 stars; not quite 4. Don’t like it? Smoke something else!
Pipe Used: Works great in a beat-up old Cutty
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: Old enough to know better
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 16, 2016 Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong
Very fine shag cut tobacco that comes rather moist. I like to lay it all out on a flat surface and let it dry for at least an hour and then jar it up. This is an absolutely stellar, hassle free smoke. Those acclimated to large doses of nicotine will surely find this blend essential to their rotation. This blend has character, and depth, it's truly complex. I detect some natural floral notes (not to be confused with Lakeland essence) in the top and a heavy, bold VA flavor which almost tastes "roasted" in the base. This was made with an experienced pipe smoker in mind and has become an everyday smoke for me. I can't recommend this one enough. Absolutely essential!
Pipe Used: Savinelli Nonpareil, Neerup Classic
Age When Smoked: Fresh
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 16, 2013 Very Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Deep brown, almost black, shag. Very moist when I pulled it out of the bag, so I let it dry for 15 minutes. Like others (JimInks, chaplikc, Camerade, and Hemlock) I noticed a strong burley presence. I usually don't respond well to burley, which always bites and gives me a strong impression of a burning grocery sack. This was much smoother and my hostile reaction to burley was only growling and not straining the leash. Still, my overall experience was that this is a harsh tobacco. That shouldn't be the case with everyone (or even most people), but the burley (if it's there) really sandpapered my tongue.

Leaving that aside, the other strong impression I had was that this HG blend is SG's 1792 Flake without the tonkin essence. It's almost as strong as 1792, and has a lot of the flavor of that blend, but it lacks the *je ne sais quoi* of tonkin. Tastes are overwhelmingly savory, especially in the last half. Woodsmoke, mushrooms, butter, hints of Worcestershire and anchovy sauce. Lakeland scent peeps out at you every once in a while and then disappears before reappearing again at random intervals. Thick white-grey smoke, too, if you like that sort of thing.

On the whole, I didn't enjoy this. But I really appreciate its quality, and if you like very strong tobacco, or tried 1792 and hated the tonkin, then be sure to give this one a go.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 07, 2009 Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
I purchased eight ounces of this from Mars Cigars in hopes that this would be my Sherlockian Shag; it very well may be, perhaps I am not the man he was and cannot tolerate a tobacco this strong, at least before breakfast. On researching this legendary tobacco I read that some thought that this resembled Drum rolling tobacco. The product I received is certainly not Drum: it is a broader shag and not the same long, stringy cut as the aforementioned cigarette tobacco. The scent of the unburnt tobacco is earthy, brown. As a Virginia smoker I find it possible that there is some burley in here, perhaps as Kentucky. Don't quote me. I really am not a master. Loads very easily, as you'd expect from the cut. Upon lighting you are made blatantly aware that this is no-nonsense tobacco. I smoke a fair amount of strong tobacco: Peterson Irish Flake, SG Bracken Flake, GH Sweet Rum Twist, etc. but this one hits me the hardest. The smoke is voluminous and creamy, with some woody notes. It tended to dry my mouth out a little and I was grateful for my tea pot sitting by. It burns well, leaving little moisture and minimal dottle. However, I am slightly afraid of this stuff. It's cool-burning and full-tasting and reliable, but I think I found my superior in strength. I used to think I was capable of smoking the most mighty of offerings. Perhaps I am not Holmesian enough to fully "get" this. It is obviously of amazing quality--don't mistake me--but I may not be entirely up to the challenge. Those fishermen were surely men that lived a harder life than mine! If you are curious about trying this, by all means do so. It is unique in the field of pipe tobacco. It is also slightly ancient in its preparation, which allows a certain reference to our modern times. This isn't a PG-soaked wad of near-tobacco. This is pretty much the real thing. One really should try this once, and, if you're a better man than I, enjoy this in quantity. I, for one, would be impressed.

BTW: If you were looking for real Edwardian pipe shag and bought McClelland's Black Shag and were wondering, "Really?", then this very well might guide you into the dingy rooms of 221B a bit better than McClelland's.

UPDATE 09/26/2009: A few months of aging in a Mason jar does wonders to this tobacco! Being timid of Dark Bird's Eye, I canned my supply for 4 months in two separate jars. Growing curious about DBE again I opened one jar and discovered a sweet Virginia scent in the jar I never noticed in the original bulk plastic bag...and the sweetness was noticeable also in the tobacco itself- very balanced and easy-smoking, more fragrant and easy to smoke. I now more fully understand the miracle of aging Virginia tobaccos. So, to sum up: if you found this a touch rough and unpleasant, seal it in glass for a few months and viola! great tobacco.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 24, 2003 Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Let me start with the opinion that this is the type of tobacco Shelock Holmes was supposed to keep in his slipper in the fictional accounts. G&H only say that this is a dark tobacco. They do not provide the origins, unlike many others of their blends. To my taste, this is mostly, or entirely dark fired BURLEY, with little or no Virginia leaf. There seems to be no topping added, just a slightly pungent aroma from the leaf. In fact, there is very little about the aroma that hints at the smoking experience. I won't belabor the fine cut, except to note that it reminds me of Schippers (sp?), which I tried many years ago. As expected, it lights very easily, sometimes with a single Vesta. You immediateley taste the dark, smokey leaf in a burst of flavor. The taste reminds me of a decent Dutch/Danish dry cigar, more refined than a Tuscany style (DiNobili for example). There is little or no complexity to the smoke, no matter how slowly it is smoked, but there is a lot of satisfaction, owing to the fullness of the flavor (and the nicotine level). It also has a tendency to dry out my mouth, another trait of Burley. The leaf does not burn hot unless puffed too agressively, and can be smoked outdoors in moderate breezes. (I don't smoke in stiff winds). I find it works best in smaller pipes, mostly because it becomes too dry in larger bowls. An excellent choice in a cob, in which you can reload almost immediately, as it burns dry and clean. The ash is always dry, but a dark gray color, never white. To me, this is another Burley indicator.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 01, 2023 Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable
This blend lies comfortably in my top 5 of all time. Before I tried this, I smoked English and Balkan blends almost exclusively. At the time, I found vapers and vaburs bland.
Dark Birds Eye changed all that.
Floral, smoky and strong with nary a whisper of the Lakeland scent that I love but can be problematic for other smokers. I\'ve never had a trace of tongue bite from this even when smoking fast.
Heavy on the vitamin N, but not overwhelming. This is one that can be enjoyed whilst busy or sitting and reflecting on the smoke.
While I fancy a good shag from time to time, I have found that I prefer the newer vintage cut. The thicker cut brings the strength down a touch and allows more of that delightful GH&C flavor to shine through.
Moustache note: 9.5/10
Pipe Used: All sorts. Cobs preferred for this blend.
PurchasedFrom: SP
Age When Smoked: Fresh to 2+ years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 10, 2023 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I have recently reviewed Gawith & Hoggarth's Rum Flake, which I thought heavily influenced G.L. Pease's Sixpence. Well, I also believe that their Dark Bird's Eye heavily influenced Pease's Penny Farthing. Despite some differences in ingredients and process and despite the fact that I have not smoked them side by side, my memory tells me that beyond their shared cut - they are extremely similar.

Tin Note of smoke perfume, leather, musty, floral.

The smoke carries on those notes, alongside soap, earth, and a bit of citrus sweetness. Others detected a Lakeland essence, which might be in there in small portions, but I also believe that the Lakeland flavor, in this case, comes primarily from the soapiness and perfume of the Dark Fired Kentucky. The description suggests that the Virginia has been Dark-Fired as well, making it black and smokey.

The flavor transforms throughout the smokes from the sweet-perfume into a smokey wood. The strength also picks up (more on that later) as you go down the bowl.

This blend smoked perfectly with a bit of drying time. It doesn't arrive overly moist, but I like my tobacco fairly dry, especially in this case. Once it arrived at the perfect dryness, it smokes very easy and delivers more clear flavors. It smokes fast and a bit hot if you're not careful, but does not give tongue bite. The shag cut makes it very easy to just fill up your pipe and go, with minimal relights, if any at all.

I did not get anywhere near the strength that others did, unfortunately. For me this has been consistently medium in both strength and body. Smoked well in all pipe sizes and shapes, but smoking it in a small bowl brought out a bit more of the strength. If it's not too strong for you either, this is an excellent all-day blend for Dark Fired Kentucky lovers. In fact, I've smoked it exclusively for a few days to help me avoid cigarettes and alongside a stronger blend, this was of huge help. It also pairs very well both with coffee and a good spirit.

Couple of other reviews got an awful menthol vibe towards the bottom of the bowl which had a bit of a numbing effect on the tongue. That happened to me when I smoked it just a bit too fast. So my advice is to take it easy on the puffing.

I gave G.L. Pease's Penny Farthing three stars, but Dark Bird's Eye gets four from me. Maybe I'll return to Penny Farthing and see that my taste has changed. But meanwhile, Dark Bird's Eye has been a lot of fun. Get some, let it dry for a bit, put it in your pipe and enjoy the smoke. No fussing, no playing around. Straightforward joy.
Age When Smoked: 1.5 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 10, 2021 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Recently purchased 4 ounces of this in bulk from a popular online pipe store.

The gawith blends seem quite difficult to get and I figured why not.

This is a shag cut, the smell reminds me of the tobacco I used to put in my grandfathers tubes and press when I was a kid. 50 cigarettes got you 1 German Mark. Id usually do about 200 cigarettes.

It was a good time to be a kid, as it usually followed with a trip to the local candy store.

This blend smells earthy and full, just as the taste is. This blend while not the nicotine king as some people like to mention however is strong and has a slight cigar taste at times.

The Virginia tobacco is toasty but not sweet or bready, and the kentucky brings a little spice but more earthiness. This blend can smoke a bit hot if pushed and will burn relatively quickly.

This is what KBV mycroft should have been.
Pipe Used: rossi 320, bones hanging brandy
Age When Smoked: 04/2021
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 22, 2020 Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
Just checking to see I’ve got the right packet....Yep, it’s Dark Birds Eye all right. Moving on from Bothy flake....most enjoyable to this Gawith Hoggarth offering, I feel like I’m in Lakeland country. No, I’ve not just swallowed a bunch of geraniums, nor have I imbibed a bottle of Fairy liquid, but I’m getting Lakeland, Lakeland, when there oughtn’t to be any. My pipe isn’t ghosting, so it’s just me, I guess . Boy, is this tobacco strong. I smoke Cuban Bolivars and this holds up in punch any day of the week. Yes, I get that sweet Virginia flavour with masses of complex spice. I can see how this would be a connoisseur smoke. If you’re a beginner please do not try this, not even after or during a large alcoholic imbibation. The nicotine level is so off the scale that any recommendation from me would put you in for a session of Chemotherapy. All said and done, this tobacco would amply suit an experienced piper, but only after a hearty meal and definitely no inhaling, so four stars to those who have the stomach. One star, if that, for me, alas.
Pipe Used: New Falcon unghosted
PurchasedFrom: Gq
Age When Smoked: New
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