Borkum Riff Mixture with Bourbon Whiskey (Bronze)

Selected quality, bright aromatic Virginia and rich, cool smoking burley tobaccos are blended to give an exquisite taste and aroma, enhanced by the finest Kentucky bourbon whiskey traditionally matured for over eight years to develop its full complex flavour. Serious yet dynamic, Borkum Riff Bourbon Whiskey has a unique, captivating taste and aroma. Infused with eight year old Kentucky Bourbon, it combines the natural flavour of the tobacco with a distinctive aroma that is both traditional and discreetly masculine.
Notes: Used to be Virginia and burley. Now is Virginia and black cavendish. The new pouch description relates: The Bourbon Whiskey recipe consists of 35% black cavendish from Africa, Europe and the Philippines mixed with 65% Virginia from Brazil and Africa. And as a final treat genuine Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is added. Due to EU regulations this is now known as "Bronze".


Brand Borkum Riff
Blended By Scandinavian Tobacco Group
Manufactured By Lane Limited
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Black Cavendish, Virginia
Flavoring Bourbon
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 42.5 grams (US) 50 g (Canada) pouch, 250 grams tin
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

1.65 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 67 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 01, 2010 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable
Ahh, Borkum Riff.

I'm old enough to actually remember when this tobacco was introduced to the US market and, oh boy, was it the whip! It quickly developed a very loyal following and I know men who have been smoking this tobcco since 1968 and will not budge from it.

It won't kill you to smoke this blend and it does have a very distinctive room note (you can immediately tell if a pipe smoker is puffing Borkum Riff) which is not unpleasant. There is absolutely no flavour of eight year-old Kentucky Bourbon whiskey at all; you're going to have to crack open a bottle of Wild Turkey to get that. This tobacco simply has no discernable taste. As other reviewers have also cautioned, you need to smoke this blend slowly to avoid t/b. Don't smoke this blend in your best pipes either.

Over the years, as tobacco blenders became more skillful and varied, more sophisticated blends began to proliferate in the marketplace. This reduced Borkum Riff to a common "drugstore" status in the pipe tobacco world but, as we all know, smokers of drugstore blends can be militantly loyal.

"Borkum Riff"? I don't know how that translates in English, if at all. "Bore'em Stiff" maybe? Smoke half a pouch and you'll probably throw the rest away.
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2013 Mild to Medium Medium Mild Pleasant
In the 1970s version, the bourbon whiskey had a decent flavor (with a small chemical essence), and you could taste some of the tobaccos, particularly the grassy Virginia. The nutty, earthy, woody burley was a minor component. The black cavendish offered a slight sugar note. The strength was a step past the mild mark. The taste was mild. Hardly had any nicotine. The problem was that it burned fast, hot, and would bite even when puffed slowly. Left some moisture in the bowl and required an average number of relights. Was an all day smoke.

UPDATE: Oct. 2013. It seems the new manufacturer has improved this tobacco quite a bit. I experienced no tongue bite, and a little more bourbon whiskey flavor than I did when I used to smoke it. I did notice a light chemical taste at times, but not always. The grassy, citrusy Virginia and sugary, unsweetned black cavendish are lightly obvious. No burley in this version. Burns a tad slower than the older version did, and is much less harsh, and unless you puff it like a cigarette, you won't get tongue bite. The flavor is very consistent to the finish. The strength is a step past the mild mark. The taste is mild. Hardly has any nicotine. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires few relights. An all day smoke. Two stars for the new version. One star for the older one.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 23, 2014 Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant
Every few years I go out and purchase a pouch of Borkum and every few years its the same result. Disappointment. I'm not at all prejudiced to the OTC's. I'll take a cruise with the Captain every once in a while when I feel like smoking dessert, and Prince Albert is my regular daytime fact, I just picked up 2 tubs of it today. That said, for the following reasons I just cannot get along with this brand.

Appearance in the pouch is a mix of various colored ribbons and to my sniffer smells quite good. I smell more vanilla then whiskey, but good none the less. Moisture content is just right. Not bone dry nor soaking wet. OK..this looks promising.

Packing goes well using a simple 3 step and I put flame to leaf..and here's where it all falls apart.

This is VERY bitey and bland. None of the promised whiskey flavor appears nor can I detect the vanilla the pouch smelled of. I stick with it and get no improvement. Extreme bite and bland all the way to perhaps a slightly ashy, but otherwise dry finish, lacking the usual soggy clump of dottle such as the one the Captain leaves behind. No appreciable vitamin N to me and the room note seemed ok.

I tried this in numerous pipes and even a few cobs. I put a medico filter in the cob to attempt to tone down that bite to no avail. I just cant seem to make this taste any good..UNLESS..

You MUST and I mean MUST smoke this blend very slowly, as in so slow the pipe barely stays lit. Slow shallow draws can manage to coax some of that promised flavor out and produce a passable at best smoke. If you do not, the hellfire that will reign down on your tongue will make you rue the day you decided to pick up a pipe. This stiff will broil every last tastebud off that everlovin tongue of yours.. For me this blend takes way too much work for the paltry reward given. There are so many better tobaccos out there its just not worth the time/effort.

So I reluctantly give it 2 stars. Why 2? Well, a few reasons. This is probably one of the finest practice tobaccos you could load your pipe with. It will teach you proper packing, puffing cadence and tamping technique. It requires flawless technique. If you fail at any of the above this tobacco will punish your missteps swift and hard..a lesson you wont soon forget..

Good luck..
Pipe Used: Too many..various briars and cobs
PurchasedFrom: Local B&M
Age When Smoked: Fresh pouch
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 14, 2002 Mild Extra Strong Medium to Full Very Pleasant
As for the above reviews, all I can say is, "now fellers, be nice." So what if this stuff is sweet to the hilt. Beloved by some folks because it's a brisk seller at the supermarkets. I smoked Borkum Whiskey some 30 years ago when I first took up the pipe. I'm still a pipe smoker, so, I couldn't have been a terrible experience.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 25, 2014 Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Ah the blend I bought with my first pipe, a Grabow Savoy as I recall. I really didn't enjoy this blend as a newbie I remember it burning my tongue and BRW tasting hot and sour. If I knew then what I know now. Hindsight is always 20/20 now isn't it? I recently bought two pouches of this from my local CVS for cheap when they dropped tobacco products from their inventory.

BRW is blended from less expensive foreign grown tobacco but does not hinder the redeeming qualities of this tobacco. It packs great and lights reasonably well. You have to smoke this one low and slow to enjoy the subtleties of this tobacco. I can taste the Virginia's and the Whiskey gives this blend a nice overtone of sweetness with a leathery back note. This tobacco will burn completely leaving a fine gray ash. If you smoke this one fast it is certain to set you tongue ablaze. If you sip it you can reap a decent reward from a drugstore blend staple that still sells for a reasonable price even at full retail.

This blend does not rate high enough to make my rotation, but certainly can't be dismissed as an unsmokeable offering.
Pipe Used: Briars, meerschaums or cobs for aro's
PurchasedFrom: CVS Drugstores
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Borkum Riff - Bourbon Whiskey.

The ribbons are uniform in size and of a decent hydration. The aroma's weird, it smells much stronger than it smokes.

The smoke's flavour isn't offensive, but it just bores me. The whiskey isn't as strong as I expected it to be, and the tobaccos give a flavour I can only really describe as flat. The burn's ok, it only seems warm when stressed, and I have to really 'provoke' it to get a bite!

Nicotine: mild to medium. Room-note: quite innocuous.

Not good, not bad, just a little mundane.

Somewhat recommended.
Pipe Used: Peterson Sandblast Sherlock Homes Baskerville
PurchasedFrom: Smoke King
Age When Smoked: New
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 23, 2015 Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
My nephew gave me a sample of this after I told him I had never tried it. It is something I did not want to spend money on as I feared I would not like it. I am a huge whiskey fan as it is always my preferred alcoholic beverage when given a choice, but I have yet to really find a whiskey flavored tobacco that I really like despite trying several. My favorite so far is Peterson's Irish whiskey; and I think that is more out of the base component tobaccos than it is about the topping(s).

I have often seen BR's bourbon whiskey referred to as "bitey" and I often chalk this up to inexperience of the smoker as it tends to be a pervasive over the counter blend that a new comer to the hobby would see in a lot of tobacco shops. Now that I have actually smoked this blend, I can see where it would be seen as "bitey" as it did get pretty hot on the tongue when my concentration slipped.

As to the whiskey flavor, I found it light and inoffensive, but it was nothing like a nice glass of Woodford Reserve on the rocks. As to the underlying leaf, there was nothing to write home about here. No deep earthiness like the aforementioned Peterson blend.

To its credit, I did not find this blend to be goopy like a captain black blend or something such as that. This is likely due to the fact that this is a European aromatic and also, the reason I tend to prefer European aros over our American version of the same.

To this end, I did not really like this blend, but did not really dislike it either. I am leaving it a 2 stars as it did not repulse me enough to throw it out.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 12, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
I have always preferred the aroma of someone else smoking this tobacco to the experience of smoking it myself. Although there are dissenters, most find the room note of Borkum Riff Bourbon Whiskey pleasant. As of the date of this review it is listed on this board both as "whiskey" and "bourbon whiskey" with about the same number of reviewers under each rubric. Since its introduction in the mid 1960's (if memory serves me correctly it was not until 1968 that it was imported to the US) this has been a good selling and widely available blend. Nevertheless, reviewers on this board have been largely negative, with more "not recommended" ratings than any other.

The current pouch identifies the contents as 35% black cavendish (burley?) and 65% Virginia. Smoked carelessly, it will bite like a constipated badger. Smoked carefully, it is still bite prone for smokers with sensitive tongues. Personally, with a relaxed puffing cadence, and remembering to hold the pipe in my hand and not clench it in my teeth, I can smoke it without biting.

The pouch aroma is somewhat mild for an aromatic. So too is the taste, a taste which I find pleasant, although not something to write home about. I doubt seriously that I could identify the taste as bourbon in a blind test.

I normally have about five tins or pouches open at one time. On the fairly infrequent times that I have Borkum Riff Bourbon Whiskey as one of these, I smoke it as often as the other blends open. When I do not like a tobacco, I cut it with something else. I have yet to find one that I cannot finish even if my cutting may create something far different from the original. (In over five decades, I have smoked well over 500 different tobaccos.) But I have never been tempted to cut Borkum Riff Bourbon Whiskey.

Bottom line: for me, this is a two star, "somewhat recommended" blend, but a two star rating given with a caveat for pipe smokers easily susceptible to tongue bite.

3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 15, 2020 Medium None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
I can't remember if it was Bourbon or just Whiskey when I tried this in the mid 80s. It's the sole reason, I started smoking cigarettes instead of a pipe. I remember a couple old geezers I worked with when I was 16, smoked pipes. They had to be in their 60s. I asked what I should smoke, and I was told Capt.Black, or SWR. I went straight to the dime store, and bought Broken Raft. I thought I was being naughty with the whole whiskey thing. I went straight out to my car, packed my Medico, and began puffing like a puffed cheek cartoon cloud in a Disney storm sequence. Of course I filleted my tongue with a flaming demon scythe. I felt like I had just French kissed a gaboon viper. How the heck do these old farts smoke pipes?! I do recall they both rolled their eyes, because I was a fool. This is just a memory review at the moment. I HAVE to get more of this....just to see, and bring back some memories, however bad.

EDIT: I bought another pouch at my grocery store. A little over $7 out the door. I just had to know. For the same price, I could've bought about 3000 matches, and used each one to burn my tongue like this stuff, and they'd probably taste better. This has a sharp twang that is NOT any bourbon I've ever had. Tasted like sucking on a soured cork, that was on fire. Gross like I remembered. Smelled like a chewing tobacco I've had when I chewed oddly enough, actually not bad odor in the pouch. Made me kinda want a chaw. Pouch split down the side when I opened the seal also. It was dry, I will keep the stars at 2 because some moisture MAY help it. I'll rehydrate and try again in 2087 if I'm alive.
Pipe Used: Then new dime store Medico
PurchasedFrom: Mom and pop drugstore long gone
Age When Smoked: new
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2019 Very Mild Medium Medium Pleasant
Smokes easy, smokes cool (at least in my cob). Straight out of a new package, this is absolutely horrible. It smokes like a wet dog, and tastes no better..but give it time to air, let it breathe, then the smooth, sweet whiskey will come out, along with what seems like sweet hints of virginia. I can only give it 2 stars due to the horrible flavor and smell when its fresh. This was, however, my first tobacco, and has a place in my heart.
Pipe Used: different cobs, briars and rosewood.
Age When Smoked: new
2 people found this review helpful.
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