Cornell & Diehl Briar Fox

An exceptionally smooth crumble cake of Virginias and burleys.
Notes: The personal blend of well-known Danish pipe maker, the late Peter Heeschen. One of C&D's most popular tobaccos, Briar Fox is pressed into an old fashioned crumble cake. According to Cornell & Diehl head blender Chris Tarler, there was a little Burley in it.


Brand Cornell & Diehl
Blended By Peter Heeschen
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Virginia Based
Contents Burley, Virginia
Cut Krumble Kake
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce tin
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.01 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 180 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 26, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Another home run by C&D! This is an exceedingly smooth blend, the very definition of an all-day smoke.

Crumble cakes are my favorite cut, so easy to work with and infinitely customizable. This comes in an attractive block that is predominantly a press of medium brown ribbon, but includes lemon Virginias and some blackened pieces, presumably uncased cavendish. The tin note is mild straight tobacco. Great tin art too with a 70s exploitation cartoon fox with a floppy hat, turtleneck, and wide lapel jacket- think Shaft.

It takes the match well and burns cool and dry. The smoothness jumps out, and the smoke is soft and velvety like rain water. There is a wonderful aroma that is mossy with some boozy undertones. The impression is one of utter freshness, but no hint of being green, unseasoned, or harshness as in a young tobacco. A latent sweetness persists throughout the bowl. As the bowl progresses you are greeted by some woody and toasted notes. Cobs accentuate the dark notes while briars contribute to sweetness.

I've plowed through this tin quicker than anything I've yet tried. It hits all the right notes in all the right ways. A unique VaBur that is like nothing else I have yet tried. Fantastic.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 31, 2003 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable
Upon opening the tin, the slightly sweet & sour smell of quality aged Virginia leaf hit my nostrils. I took out a chunk of the crumble cake that others here have described so well, and rubbed it out with no trouble. Although on the dry side, this one did not remind me of the Mojave as other C&D blends have. I found the humidity level in Briar Fox to be just right.

I really could not detect any topping or casing as I smoked; rather, a tobacco taste that for some reason reminded me of cigarettes - although more elegant in flavor.

This blend seemed to pick up flavor and strength the more I smoked it. I do like my nicotine and Briar Fox delivered nicely in that category as well.

In summation, this one starts out slow, picks up steam at mid-bowl and finishes with a strong and spicy kick. I think Briar Fox will age well, too. So, I have ordered more tins for my proverbial "cellar."

***And, since this review comes your way on 12/31/03 I'd sure like to wish all of my fellow reviewers a happy and prosperous New Year. Those of you who post reviews here have certainly been a wealth of information for me. For that, I thank you all for helping to make my pipe smoking hobby even more enjoyable.
59 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 06, 2010 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Krumble Kakes are fun! This one was easy to work with - I simply pinched the cake between thumb and forefinger and a pinch of tobacco came off easily. I loaded as I would load a ribbon cut tobacco.

It's interesting how different smokers tastebuds are different. Unlike some smokers, I found nary a trace of sweetness in this blend. It was a rich, robust red VA flavor but it seemed tempered with burley, as it was more earthy. Not sure how they accomplished that with just VA's. This is the cigarette/cigar of pipe tobaccos, not because it tastes like one but because it had a similar mouth feel. It would be a high quality cigarette like the old Sobranies (without the condiment tobaccos, of course) or a mild, thin-guaged cigar, such as a panatela. As the bowl progressed, the flavor became richer and more cigar-like. This was like no other virginia blend I've ever smoked, and at the right times, it was fantastic. I don't see this in my regular rotation but it would make a nice occasional companion. This would smoke great outside in the fall, as the richness of the flavor would be subtly subdued. Interesting, unique blend. Try it if you think you know virginia. It may surprise you as it did me!
56 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 23, 2013 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This blend finds itself, to my tastes anyway, somewhere between a straight Va ala Union Square or Dunhill Flake and an aromatic VA such as Davidoff's Danish Mixture. The problem for me is that I would rather reach for any of the aforementioned blends before I reach for this one.

It is something about the flavoring used in this blend that I do not find to my particular tastes. That said the flavoring is light and gets lighter with some age. My tin dated from 12/12/12 and I opened it within a month of that date. My first impressions were much less favorable than the later ones.

The tin presentation is fantastic. The Kake was almost a perfect cube. Although I didn't do a thorough inspection, I don't believe there was any little pieces separated from the cube. My first thoughts were it would be hard to crumble, but was I wrong. A simple pinch into the kake made a beautiful crumble of tobacco that needed very little rubbing to make it smokable.

Like nearly all C & D blends that I have tried, the moisture level was perfect from the get go. As I said earlier the initial smoking impression was not impressive. I found the topping to overtake the underlying Va's which would be fine if I enjoyed that particular topping; otherwise, the smoking characteristics and nicotine were perfect.

As time wore (It lasted me until last night so a little over 7 months)on and my block got smaller this got better. The topping seemed to dissipate with a little air time and the vas came more to the front and what I tasted was a great Va. Even the DGT got better with time, as my earlier notes stated that the DGT was no unlike a burley blend, but later I had some sublime results with a dgt.

Overall, I think this blend has the potential to be fantastic with some age and I will likely repurchase for that purpose alone.

7/29/13 Update I thought it important to share some information that developed after I copied this review to PSF. It started a conversation about how this was treated which manifested itself in an email to C & D. Chris Tarler responded back that there was no topping on this blend, but that there was a little Burley in it. Apparently it is the pressing of this blend with the burleys that gives it its unique flavor. FWIW, I thought I would share.
45 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 08, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
The toasty burleys offer a lot of earth, wood, nuts, some roughness, light sharp, spice, sour and cocoa notes, and very little sweetness as a lead component, though the Virginias occasionally rise above them. The red Virginia provides moderate tangy dark fruit, slightly tart citrus, some earth, wood, bread, a couple grains of sugar, and a pinch of spice. A tad less noticeable is the brighter Virginia whose aspects are a lot of grass and hay, some tart and tangy citrus, and is fairly floral. The burley has a mildly sharp cigar/cigarette quality whether you puff fast or not. Doesn't bite, but may get a little harsh if pushed. The strength is a step past the medium mark, while the taste levels is medium. The nic-hit is almost medium. The krumble kake is easy to break apart, and burns slow, and a little warm. The flavor is savory as defined by the lack of sweetness and rugged roughness, sour characteristics and light bitterness toward the finish. It also has some inconsistency in the flavor as the burleys and Virginias compete for attention. Doesn't leave much dampness left in the bottom of the bowl. Requires some relights. Has a rough, unattractive, lingering after taste, and strong room note. Not an all day smoke. I had originally given this one star, but as I have taken a fresh look with a fresher sample, I now give it two stars due to the inconsistent taste, cigarette hit and bitterness.

42 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Before the rains come this warm summer day, I relaxed under the back yard pin oak - with my Sunday pipe (a Butz-Choquin Cocarde bulldog) and a bowl of C&D Briar Fox. I received several half ounce samples with a few orders from my preferred enabler. My first smoke of this tobacco several weeks back wasn't very pleasant. Of course, it does help if you crumble against the grain (lesson learned). Today's smoke was far more enjoyable.

For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of a smoke with this tobacco, I'll give you my newbie impressions.

Have you seen those YouTube videos where someone is discussing his new pipe or new tobacco in a veritable haze of smoke? Do you enjoy getting lost in the over-abundant fog of smoke spilling over itself? If so, this tobacco probably isn't for you. In my opinion, this Virginia is meant to be sipped, not gulped. And a deep, serious tobacco it is. If it were food, it would be a chocolate cake - made of the darkest chocolate from a planet not yet discovered.

The first half bowl was a bit like my first experience - somewhat monochrome. But halfway through the bowl Tinkerbell must have arrived with her pixie dust, as the tobacco took on a whole new range. Each slow puff took the flavor and aroma deeper and deeper. By the time I'd made it down to ash, it occurred to me that this is one tobacco I will never smoke indoors or around non-smokers: the sale of the tin should come with a secret handshake.

It is a wonderful smoke for a Sunday afternoon when all you really want to do is read a few pages of a good book or even better just gaze at the branches above your head. I wouldn't want to try driving either during or immediately following, as it has some serious nicotine. If you are like me and you enjoy fruit with your smoke, cherries are a wonderful complement to the deep chocolate of the tobacco.

I'm thinking of purchasing a few tins with the next order from my enabler - to cellar for a year. Perhaps a bit of age might bring out even more flavors than Tinkerbell's pixie dust.
27 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2003 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
As it usually happens to me with many Cornell & Diehl?s blends, it takes sometime before I actually realize the excellence and the quality of these tobaccos. Always on the dry side?the tobaccos seem to be processed in such a way that the essential oils and the natural juices are all dried up?the first impression is of a rather raw, almost stale taste. But as you keep on puffing, the different layers of flavor slowly reveal themselves to reach a point where you become completely enraptured in the smoking experience. Briar Fox is a case in point.

This comes in crumble cake. On opening the small round tin you actually get the impres-sion of tightly compressed slices of meat loaf. It is very easy, well, to crumble, pack and light. A blend of straight Va?s., tin aroma is a bit pungent, but completely natural and unlike any other Virginia I have sampled (it is not at all sweet, winy or with a note of dried raisins, not even soapy, but sharp, earthy and straw-like).

The first few puffs yield a rather bawdy, rough tang. But this impression wears off almost immediately to produce a naturally tasty smoke, composed of different but harmonious layers. The dryness of the tobaccos allow for a wonderful burning rate and lingers on throughout the smoke. The apparent simplicity of the mixture tends to build up as you smoke it, evolving into a very agreeable, austere and natural taste. You kind of get carried away by the subtle interplay between grassy notes, a certain bitterness and a faint sour-sweetness that barley insinuates in the background. Great stuff!

This is a tobacco that can be smoked indoors (although those around you won?t be particularly enthusiastic), but I prefer to smoke it outdoors, either relaxing in a garden chair or when walking in open coun-try. Recommended as one of the most natural Virginia experiences you?ll encounter.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 11, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
Lies! Lies I tell you! This is no straight virginia. There is plenty of burley here. Granted it is good burley that C&D is known for, but the virginia flavor is well surpassed by the burleys here. Definite nuttiness and cocoa predominate the flavor profile. This is probably great for burley lovers, which I am not one. I just checked the C&D website which confirms my burley suspicions. Updating the description as of today on this site to reflect true contents.
Pipe Used: Stanwell 63
PurchasedFrom: sp
Age When Smoked: fresh
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 24, 2017 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I don't know why it took me so long to review the wonderful tobacco. Briar Fox is the blend I use to break in all of my pipes, be they new or just new to me. The reason I use Briar Fox to break in my pipes is that it smokes the same for me in any size pipe, regardless of bowl diameter or depth, I know what I should expect from every bowl. I enjoy the sweet Red Virginia tang and the slight heft that the Burley adds to the mix. I also smoke Briar Fox, when I just need a tobacco that I don't have to think about, that's not a bad thing here, as sometimes you just want to puff away and sort of zone out! This subtlety of flavor will also quickly reveal any ghosts the pipe may have. Many smokers keep Carter Hall or Prince Albert around for those times when only a simple, uncomplicated smoke will satisfy, Briar Fox does this for me.
Pipe Used: All, at one time or another
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 05, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Sweet, nutty, lightly earthy Burley with a background of sweet hay Virginias. That's what I get in a cob. Taste so good that I won't smoke it in anything else. This is a lovely smoke. The only drawback is that it can burn a little hot. I'm a puffer though and you may not have that problem. 4 stars for the flavor, minus one for the heat.

Medium in body and taste. No added flavorings detected. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
Age When Smoked: fresh
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 07, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Man this blend is as old as the hills (well not really) but it has been around for more than a decade and i just finally got around to trying it. I just finished a tin that was fairly young so i assume that it can only get better with age as C&D does not age their tins to the extent that McClelland does. Another delicous smelling tobacco Brownie ala C&D that makes me want to take a bite.. Browns and Blonde square Brownie staring up at me just begging to be pinched into a bowl sized nugget. IMHO C&D, Uhles and Peretti have access to the best Burley grown today and the varietal used in BF is mild and nutty, not the kick you in the teeth strain used in OJK and Haunted Bookshop which lets the blonde Virginia do it's thing. A medium blend all around, not weak in the nicotine and has a very nice flavor that works well in a Dublin to amplify the taste as the bowl narrows at the end. Some Perique blends do not work well for me in these pipes as they can amplify the spicyness to a level that's off putting. A great summertime mowing the lawn / fishing , putzing around the house blend that does not bite and has a wonderful nutty old timey pipe aroma that the family did not object to. Thinking about buying the pound that comes in a Fox Ears shape to put away for future summers. It's too bad i did not try BF earlier but hey that's half the fun of piping, trying new blends every month or so which makes finding a new friend that much more special.
9 people found this review helpful.
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