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Deep flavored, heat cured, naturally fermented and matured black cavendish.

Notes: Originally blended in England.

Manufactured ByKohlhase & Kopp
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBlack Cavendish
FlavoringOther / Misc
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
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None Detected
Mild, Mild to Medium
Room Note
17 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2370)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

A dark stoved Virginia in the cavendish style that needs to smoked slowly as fast puffing can provide you with a tongue tingle. It does have a nice sugar, slightly fermented dark fruit sweetness with some hay/grass, and a light earthiness. There's not much of a nic-hit. Burns a little fast with a mostly consistent flavor, though it lacks some depth. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a decent after taste. Can be an all day smoke.


5 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is a really nice smoke. Sweet and tangy dark fruit with a nice spice hit. True, there isn't a lot of evolution here, but the flavor compensates for that. I don't find it boring at all. It's quite enjoyable. I think it has great potential for blending as well. Pretty good stuff.

Mild to medium in body and taste. No added flavorings. Burn is fairly good, does need a relight or two.

Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Mars cigars and pipes

3 people found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (310)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It is inevitable to compare some of Astley's blends with Rattray?s. Both are high quality tobaccos, prepared with absolute care for detail and flavour, and both are now blended by the same German house (Cohlhacs & Kopp, that also blends Robert McConnell's).

Astley?s 88 is a very similar tobacco, in aroma and appearance, to Rattray?s Black Virginia and, to a lesser extent, to Dark Fragrant. Astely's is suppler in texture, smoother in flavour, and IMO, easier to smoke than its close relatives. It is a dark brown, almost black tobacco, short crimp cut. Though it is easy to pack it takes some time before it lights properly. It smokes very smoothly and cool.

I find this is not as tangy as Black Virginia, nor as sweet as Dark Fragrant. Rather it is somewhere in the middle. It is very savoury and palatable, and an excellent choice to sit by and read a book or listen to music. The quality is superb and the smoking experience is amiable and very pleasant. If you like dark stoved Virginias, with a hint of tangy sweetness, try this one.

3 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1848)
Very Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Astley's No.88 Matured Dark Virginia.

This is the quintessential beginners/Cavendish lovers blend.

The contents of the tin are exceedingly dark, almost black. The majority of the blend is made up of medium sized ribbons, but there are quite a few rather chunky ones in the mix too. The moisture amount from a freshly opened tin's great, so lets talk about the smoking of it:

Lighting? As easy as a blend can be. And then it gives a very cool smoke and a consistent burn. The actual smoke has a nice quality to it: velvety, thick, and soft. There's one question that comes to mind regarding the nicotine: where is it? It's very mild, this would make it more than apt for a beginner. It says on this site that the flavouring's are 'other/misc', but to be fair, to me, it tastes like most standard Black Cavendish's; the only difference is it isn't as sweet as some BC blends; there's a bit more of the virginia's grass, and a less vanilla sweetness. For my palate, the only low point comes in the form of tongue-bite; it can nip a touch if it's puffed hard.

Other than the bite it's a good blend though: recommended.

Three stars.

Pipe Used: Levent Meerschaum Claw

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Dark, mellow Virginia with a smidgen of some kind of exotic, unobtrusive topping describes #88. The stoving keeps the burn cool even with the added flavoring.

Oh, and the spousal unit, without prodding, said she enjoyed the room note.

Finally, to sum up #88, I think it is an awesome blend that probably will not offend you or those around you. It'll hit you in the strength department with a velveteen hammer.

1 person found this review helpful.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Tolerable

This tobacco is a chunky black cavendish with occasional bits of very dark brown. It smells faintly of the Astley sweetener used in several of their tobaccos. The flavor is matured, dark Virginia, but very much on the light side. There is absolutely nothing remarkable about this tobacco; it is extraordinarily bland. Its most significant deficiency is that it is extremely difficult to keep lit. The constant fiddling required to keep it going plus a complete lack of uniqueness convinces me it is not worth the trouble. It does not even have enough nicotine to recommend it. Ersatz tobacco. Paddy.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28790)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Very similar to other blends of its ilk, especially Robert McConnell's Rich Dark Virginia. Given that they come from the same factory in Germany now, it is not particularly surprising that such similarly intended blends ended up, well, so similar. If anything, this may smoke slightly cooler than McConnell's Rich Dark Virginia.

Comprising of exclusively of very dark stoved and aged Virginias, the color of the blend (if it indeed can be called that) is decidedly uniform.

The tin aroma is superb-- gently sweet and rich in the way only dark cured Virginias can be. It could use a little drying right out of the tin, but its not incredibly wet-- certainly smokable.

The smoke is good, but unexceptional. Some of the sweetness from the tin aroma shines through, but it's more bland than I would have expected given the delightful tin nose. This would probably make for a decent morning smoke for me and might be very much enjoyed by the lover of dark Virginia blends, but it definitely isn't exciting enough to become one of my favorites. I'll probably finish this tin, but I doubt I'll purchase another.

1 person found this review helpful.

Anthony S Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Anthony S (4)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This is a difficult tobacco to review in a way. I have been smoking pipes for about three years now, and I have not smoked anything else quite like it. I have to admit, the first time I smoked this tobacco I thought I had wasted my time and money. This is not what I would call a "well behaved" tobacco. In fact, it's almost as if you have to "learn" how to smoke this particular tobacco. The first two times I smoked this I did not care for it at all. It was difficult to keep lit and quickly caused gurgle in each pipe I smoked it in. A couple of days later I wanted to smoke a pipe but did not want to dig through my cellar to pick something out. So, I packed a bowl of this out of convenience. But, this time I packed it somewhat loosely in a huge briar bowl. I sat out on my deck and took my time with it while watching my dogs play around in the backyard. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some very unique notes came through. I cannot really describe the flavors except for abstract descriptions such as "peaty" or "coffee-like". This tobacco is spicy, similar to perique. It also vaguely reminds me of Kentucky fire-cured tobacco. In summary, if you are willing to work with this tobacco (and in my opinion it does require work) then you will have an enjoyable and unique experience with it. I would not describe this blend as "complex", but I would describe this blend as "sophisticated" due to its unique, interesting, and pleasing notes.

Pipe Used: John's Pipe Shop Estate, Tavern-Style Clay

Age When Smoked: Freshly Opened Tin

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28790)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

i'm smoking a 17 years opened tin which has been humified several times. it still tastes just about the same as i remember back then, but of course there's a lot less tin aroma.

it is, as others have noticed, rather bland in an aromatic way, but not sweet in the typical german/danish sense. it's a classical old fashioned english cavendish (can't say, of course if it still is, but judging from the other reviews i'd say it is).

as such, it is not that interesting to smoke on its own (and it isn't, really, supposed to), but try mixing it with a light virginia like fribourg & treyers golden mixture - it's quite surprising what it does to a blend.

astley's #44 isn't available in denmark anymore, but in the old days it contained a bit of the same sort of cavendish as #88. don't know if it still does.

(edited to correct the number of years i've had this tin: not 10 - 17!)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BostonPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BostonPipe (83)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

It has been quite awhile since I have delved into black canendish blends...and it appears that it will be quite awhile before I do so again. The appearance in the tin is dark brown/black and the smell is appealing. However the taste is, well, ordinary. This is the kind of blend that I would mindlessly fill a pipe with to putter around the house or rake leaves with. It does smoke cool and dry but it is not one of those blends that I would "Sit-Back" to experience. Overall, it is a nice smoke, it lacks the character and depth that I normally look for in a good blend. Monochrome, consistent taste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Horse Bodotes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Horse Bodotes (19)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Astley's No. 88 is a good example of a matured Virginia tobacco that proves to be maybe a little too much of a good thing.

Contrary to other reviewers, I found my sample tin to be much dryer than I was expecting. The tin aroma is a pleasant smell of raisins that is common to fermented Virginia tobaccos. The ribbons are a bit on the long side, and might benefit from a bit of breaking up for a smaller bowl.

Upon lighting, the sweet taste and smooth aroma that is unique to mature Virginias is evident. That is both the good and the bad: the taste was sweet and smooth and creamy, but there was virtually no change as one smokes down the bowl. By the end of the pipe, I find that the entire experience is a bit boring and monotonous. I am going to try adding a pinch of Perique to my next bowl of No. 88 and see if that spices things up a bit.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Very Mild Very Mild Very Mild Unnoticeable

English-style Cavendish-processed leaf, just like RATTRAY's Dark Fragrant. Very good quality, highly recommended to cavendish lovers. Too light for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28790)
Very Mild Medium Mild Pleasant

I have steadily been making my way through the entire line of Astley's tobaccos and have found several winners such as #109. But, this is not one of them.

This is a good, dark, tobacco, but one that is lacking in depth and character. It's taste runs to a tangy flavor, which can be tasted a day later.

As some of the other reviewers mentioned, this is one difficult tobacco to keep lit. Even with drying prior to smoking, it was still a chore to keep lit. Perhaps it is the fire retardant in the flavoring.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JB (44)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant

Astley's 88 is certainly a light, harmless tobacco blend. There is nothing wrong with it and indeed, it would be a great starter tobacco for a new pipe smoker if it stayed lit a bit better.

The only problem with 88 from a mature smoker's viewpoint is that it is monochromatic and approaching bland.

I like my matured virginia blends to have some tang and some sparkle to them. If you do too, then 88 isn't for you.

I will probably use the balance of the tin to blend in with some of my other tobaccos

I tried this blend in the first place because it has gotten so much positive mention on ASP. Well, lesson learned...!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28790)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Unnoticeable

Another tobacco for worm meal. After opening the tin the tobacco the color was a dark brown to black, it was very dry and there was no aroma.

I shoulld have stopped right there but proceeded on in attempt to pack a Larsen the size of a #4 Dunhill. I was really expecting the tobacco to go up in smoke, but it was just the opposite, I could not keep the tobacco lit I finally just gave up.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (289)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

I normally wouldn't even try black cavendish but have had good prior success with the German blender K&K under other of the Astleys' labels. Although I have much more experience with Va flakes, this is one of the better cavendish blends that I've recently smoked. I would not classify it as a ribbon cut as indicated above but rather a ready rubbed flake comprised of mostly deep brown to black stoved VAs. The tin aroma had only a hint of sweetness in contrast to many of the heavily cased cavendish blends. Once I improved my packing technique, although the initial lights were difficult, relights were not needed. Overall a cool, smooth smoke for a cavendish that I may select in the hot weather. However, it lacks the strength and flavor to become one of my steadies.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28790)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

If you like dark matured virginias, and I admit they are an acquired taste, then you can do no wrong with this fine smoking blend. The weed is dark as night and smells like a loaf of black Russian rye bread. Beautiful! To me, the flavour was very well-balanced, with no one feature that hits you over the head--just smooth, mildly sweet, with a touch of mulled spice. This would be a perfect introduction to matured Vas, as it smoked clean and cool in several shapes/sizes of pipe.

UPDATE: seeing Paddy's review reminded me of what I forgot to mention when I reviewed this blend halfway through my tin--it was bloody hard to keep lit. This was a pain in the butt, despite the flavour being good.

Nobody has rated this review yet.