Cornell & Diehl Da Vinci

Named for the famed Renaissance man of letters, arts, and science, this blend evokes the Near Eastern influence that trade brought to the docks of Renaissance ports. The base of light Virginias and burley is overwhelmed by the smoky pungent aroma of Cyprian latakia. This is the perfect blend for the true lover of latakia, but be forewarned, this blend is not for everyone. Additionally, because of the high latakia content (Boasting no less than 75% latakia) and slow-burning nature of Da Vinci, it would be a very good blend to break a pipe in with.
Notes: Mid 90's tin from the garage operation in Morganton NC sates: "A blend of specially selected and aged Latakia, rough cut Burley and bright Virginia flake. Heavy in Latakia."


Brand Cornell & Diehl
Blended By Craig Tarler
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type English
Contents Burley, Latakia, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2oz and 8oz tins
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.07 / 4





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Displaying 41 - 50 of 60 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 05, 2005 Mild Extremely Mild Full Pleasant
I've found this one a wonderful tobacco, although too dry in the tin, as many C&D come. The latakia clearly dominates, but not so much as you could think while reading the ingredients: the burley interacts in a great way, creating a nutty and sweet background. To me it is great to combine those two tobaccos, they do a great job together. It just lacks a little deepness due to the very low percentage of Virginia and the lack of oriental leaf, but it remains a great smoke for the latakia lover as I am. I have noticed a very very light alcoholic note while opening the tin, maybe rhum, but I have been the only one I know to smell it, so I may be wrong.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 04, 2004 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
This is what I would call a Great American/English Blend. My original smoking roots lay in burley blends, then I went onto the English/Oriental styles. While I am not partial to blends with this high a Syrian Latakia content, I find that the use of Cyprian allows this smoke to be a blissful experience. Is this due to the mellower type being employed? I think it is.

While the latakia plays the predominant role, one can enjoy the virginia and burley weaving in and out down the length of the bowl. The traces of nuttiness and airy subtle sweetness dance in and around the smokiness of the fine Cyprian.

Overall, I really enjoy this blend and always have several tins cellered.

It burns to a nice grey ash and a dry dottle.

A Really Nice Smoke.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 20, 2023 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
A fairly good example of a “Dirty English” blend, that is, Latakia with Burley more prominent than Virginia. In fact, with tin time and jar time now totaling five years, the earthy Burleys actually dominant the flavor profile, while the massive dose of Latakia has already gone into senescence, now leaving just a muted charcoal taste (those in Europe will know the flavor from the charcoal pills you get for upset stomach at the apothecary). As for the bright Virginias, I spread out a bowl’s worth on a plate and found only three tiny specs of the yellow leaf, not even enough to cover the fingernail of my pinkie. So yeah, this is all about the Burley and Latakia.

C&D has crafted a distinctive blend here, perhaps not something for everybody’s taste, but I enjoy it every now and then. By visual inspection I’d say my tin had about 65% Latakia, 30% rough cut Burley, and 5% of bright lemon and medium gold Virginia, and evidently there seems to be some slight variation between tinning batches. The Latakia is said to be aged, which is why it has mellowed enough to not overpower everything else. There is also a slightly creamy sweetness derived from subtle manipulation of the pH tempering sauce. The Burleys provide the real depth here (a C&D specialty): some earthiness (but relatively clean, not musty), a hint of anisette, and some nice toasted nutty undertones (pistachio). The nutty tones can also become a negative and turn acrid if puffed to vigorously, imparting a bitterness like burnt walnut shell. If you do get a bowl with more of the brights I notice a slight tingle on the tongue like I get from ginger (which could have been part of their separate processing).

Good stuff, but I think I enjoyed it more when it was fresh, possibly closer to four stars.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2022 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Tin note of sweet smoke, earth, and soda. Tobacco is mostly rough cut, mostly black with a little Bown and tan. Tobacco is dry but soft, no prep needed. Burns normal with few relights. The strength is medium to strong and nic is mild. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium to full and consistent, with notes of smoky, dry wood, earth, spicy incense, musty hay, toast, mild sweet grass, tart lemon, nutty, mildly salty sweet background note, and a peppery retro. Latakia is leading with little support from the Virginias. Burley steps up a little when Virginias are lacking. Room note is tolerable to strong, and aftertaste is great.
Pipe Used: 2013 J.M. Boswell Poker
Age When Smoked: 20+ years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 12, 2022 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
There are two blends with this name on the market. But the aromatic produced by Dan Tobacco has never interested me. A different thing is Da Vinci by Cornell & Diehl, which is one of those blends, which had his own hand from the founding father of Cornell & Diehl, Craig Tarler. I don't know unfortunately which latakia he had in mind, and whether or not the recipe was changed at the moment when Syrian latakia became unavailable on the market (hopefully not forever). I walked around this blend for a very long time, never deciding to buy a big tin that had been aged for over five years. But I had the opportunity to do a review, trading something for a two ounce tin that had a production date of "April 3, 2019." Fairly reasoning that a blend with that amount of latakia makes absolutely no sense to keep on the shelf, I waited for the first fall freeze and opened the tin.

Despite the claimed 75% latakia, the tobacco is not the same color, being a mixture of ribbons of different brown hues, with a predominance of dark chocolate. Nevertheless, there are plenty of lighter tones as well. It feels like different latakia picks were taken for blending. The slicing is somewhat sloppy, being closer to a coarse cut than a ribbon. Occasionally there are single flakes. The humidity is ideal.

Flavor: Certainly, tar, tanned leather with a slight sour taste of vinegar, smoke, grilled steak are dominant. A slight tannic, woody aroma of cedar and walnut is also present. Virginia's own notes are reliably hidden under this cover, created by the "black queen" with the support of the burley. But a slight herbaceous note I could still catch. The overall bouquet can't be called harsh or heavy. In fact, I expected a more vivid impression, remembering my acquaintance with Samuel Gawith's Balkan Flake.

Taste: initially unimpressive as a "latakia bomb." Yes, a good dose of smoky-meat flavor in a creamy wrapper is certainly present. But it doesn't seem like something very powerful - although the other tobaccos don't get in the way, they don't shade it or accent it. Burley and Virginia play their own parties of nutty and slightly sweet bread notes in some dissonance with the main player. In addition, at the beginning, the blend is a little rough on the palate and demanding in terms of smoking temperature. As you smoke, the Virginia completely disappears from the flavor, sunflower notes come in, and the blend itself becomes monotonous, calm, and even boring. The bentas still have a hint of burley, while the straight pipes have no other notes except latakia. This is when you realize what 75% of the latakia is. A little later, you realize why the burley was needed here - the blend is a little stronger than average, and in very large pipes you may get a nicotine hit. The blend does not go out, smokes dry, slow and even, turning into a gray ash with a subtle brownish hue and leaving almost no moisture in the pipe. The aftertaste is woody and astringent, quite persistent.

The smoke is extremely dense. Woody and piney, with a good portion of tar.

Bottom line? Unusual, but that's all. At any rate, even Hearth Of Galway with its 50% looks much more advantageous in terms of latakia impression, and Abingdon is clearly superior to the hero of the review. Both blends, however, retain the overall bouquet, which consists not only of latakia, but also the accompanying components that make it richer. This blend is initially perceived as if the latakia in it is less than stated, and the birley and Virginia are independent players in it, not creating an overall harmonious bouquet of flavors. However, as you smoke it, you get the feeling that you are smoking pure latakia, and the Virginia and birch were introduced to make the overall taste of Cypriot latakia similar to its lost Syrian sister. Did the author of the blend succeed? That's for you to decide. I'm much more interested in the answer to the question - why the hell it was called by the name of Leonardo?
Pipe Used: Peterson 69, B42, POTY 2007, 2017
PurchasedFrom: Traded for goods
Age When Smoked: 2019
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 05, 2021 Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

I’m not gonna lie, I was hesitant to try this tobacco based on some of the polarizing views here on the site. But this tobacco just proves the intensity of my continued love affair with Latakia.

I tried another C&D produced “Lat-bomb” recently: Captain Earls Stimulus Package. And I loved it. This is essentially that but instead of oriental tang/sourness/creaminess there’s an underlying nutty/warm/cocoa burley note.

Da Vinci is not sweet in any traditional sense, but to me there’s a hidden layer of sweetness to this blend that’s similar to grape flavor to me.

It’s not as piney, or woody, or pencil shaving-esque as Latakia heavy blends I’ve tried in the past and I suspect that’s because there’s not oriental/Latakia interplay happening. But I like that change of pace and there’s really not enough burley punch (until the end) that you would notice. I am not a fan of burley. But I am a fan of this.

I would recommend this to someone whose enjoyed Balkan blends for their rich smokiness and want a more Latakia focused Balkan taste. I can’t say Da Vinci is well balanced like Plum Pudding or something like that with equal parts sweet, smoky, spicy. But there is a certain simplicity and intensity to this blend that I enjoy.
Pipe Used: Chacom Oom Paul
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 25, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
Surprisingly, about half of the tobacco in this thin comes in a Shag cut and the other half is a very fine Ribbon cut. I generally prefer a much coarser cut for any pipe tobacco. However, it loads and burns well.

It truly is a mixture for aficionados of Latakia. The 25% of Burleys and Virginias are here to sustain the 75% of Latakia and they do a good job. Honestly, I cannot pick up individual aromas of neither Burley nor Virginia. It’s just a great combination to create a perfect bed for the all-dominating Latakia. What else can I say? This mixture is made to savour and enjoy Latakia. Therefore you may call it one-dimensional. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste.

Let me compare “Da Vinci” with Cornell & Diehl’s “Pirate Kake”:

“Da Vinci” is 75% Latakia, and 25% Burley and Virginia, that’s about it. “Pirate Kake” is also 75% Latakia, but the other 25% is Burley and Oriental (Turkish), instead of Burley and Virginia. (Check my respective review of “Pirate Kake”.) Therefore the main difference in taste between these two blends is Oriental/Turkish.

Conclusion: If you like Orientals, definitely go for “Pirate Kake”. If you are not keen on Orientals and prefer Latakia as a standalone (or dominant) aroma, go for “Da Vinci”. For myself I prefer “Pirate Kake” because I love Orientals. This explains, why I give “Pirate Kake” 4 stars, and “Da Vinci” 3 stars.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 26, 2020 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Now this is an interesting blend! Bought both as a lover of Latakia and of the famed renaissance man, this blend proved worthy of bearing the da Vinci-name.

The tin aroma is primarily of Latakia - dry wood and some mustiness. Boasting a three-quarters Latakia, I expected the palate to be no different. But was I ever so wrong!

The tobacco blends harmoniously, creating a sweet and savoury smoke. The common Latakia woodiness is rather exchanged for some deliciously tender barbecued and caramelised meat, but no so much it will make you full. Rather, the common sweetness from all its components shines through in this masterfully blended tobacco.

On the tongue lingers, however, the Latakia, with my fiancé noting the heavy smoke of this Latakia-rich blend. Although, she does not seem to mind.
Pipe Used: GL Lillehammer 7
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2017 Mild Mild Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
As per usual C&D misses the mark once again. I have tried many C&D blends over the years. They always leave me wanting each and every time. Both aromatics and English blends just fall short of the mark for me. Don't get me wrong they are fine blenders but just seem to not go quite far enough in the flavor and taste catagory. I love Syrian Latakia but this blend is very chincy with it. Yes it is there but not at the level I wanted. To me this is one notch below Frog Morton and two notches below Northwoods and way below Railroad Station. Great tin note where you get that wonderful sweet wood smoke and barbecue aroma. That is where it ends. Smoke is mild at best and Latakia is always in the background. I should have expected this from C&D as they have fallen short for me many many times. Now don't get me wrong this is a fresh tin so it may get better as it sits but going from these reviews I was hoping for much more than I got. For Syrian Latakia lovers like will be disappointed! If your not a big Latakia fan, which judging by these reviews many are you may really like this blend. What is weak to me maybe strong to some as I notice from some of these reviews.
Pipe Used: Nording
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2016 Very Strong Very Strong Extra Full Very Strong
This is a very strong blend with a lot of latakia. This blend is a delight to smoke. It is a rather typical English blend.I still have some in my cellar.
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