Kramer's Pipe and Tobacco Shop Father Dempsey

(3.47)
Though originally blended to match Father Dempsey's own preferred smoke, this full-bodied English mixture is now Kramer's most popular house blend and has been enjoyed by the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, Henry Wilcoxon, Samuel Goldwyn, Gene Barry, Mike Kaplan, Mel Tolkin, Fred McMurray, and many others.
Notes: The good father, an Irish priest, and my father Allen Kramer (who came to American as a child from Russia), may have seemed like an odd duo, but they became fast friends. When Father Dempsey was assigned to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, right behind our shop, he would always come in for a visit. The Father was used to buying his tobacco at Dunhill, but told my father he'd rather buy from his shop, if he could create a comparable blend. They spread out his blend on the tobacco bar and my father studied it. He was able to identify the different tobaccos, but not the proportions. So they kept trying different formulas until finally Father Dempsey said, "Stop right there! This is better than my old blend ever was." And soon so many of the Father's friends and parishioners were coming in asking for "Father Dempsey's tobacco" that it came to be called just that. My father would say it has the aroma of a campfire burning--a smooth and full-bodied Latakia based blend. Among those in our rolodex who chose Father Dempsey's blend were Cecil B. DeMille, Henry Wilcoxon, Samuel Goldwyn, Gene Barry, John Conte, Ricardo Cortez, Howard Duff, Herb Edelman, Mel Frank, Mike Kaplan, Jesse Lasky, Sr., Fred MacMurray, Robert Sherman, and Mel Tolkin. Father Dempsey is gone now, but when he passed away he left his statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus and the medal he carried through the battle of Dunkirk to my father--and of course, the legacy of what is Kramers most popular house blend.

Details

Brand Kramer's Pipe and Tobacco Shop
Blended By Allen Kramer
Manufactured By Sutliff Tobacco Company
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2 ounce tin, bulk.
Country United States
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium to Full
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.47 / 4
41

16

8

1

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 16 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 21, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
I was given a good sample of this about four years ago from a forum friend. I was still a relatively new piper at the time and was just spreading my wings into latakia blends. I recall loving this blend a lot back then. In the flood of buying frenzy and sample trading that followed this one got buried.

I unearthed the jar a few months ago and finished it off. Time and exposure to several other blends have not helped in rating this blend. At the time I first tried it, this blend would have been a 4 star blend, but it has dropped to less than 3 stars as my tastebuds and cadence have evolved.

I found this blend to be fuller to my tastes than I remember and I felt the oriental component and the latakia kind of dominate the blend making it a little heavy on the smoke and sour component to my tastes at this point in time. To me this blend needs more sweetness or, in the alternative, something to smooth it out some. It is just a little too sharp and edgy. This is something I don't mind when a blend is giving me different taste profiles through the bowl, but this one is a little monochromatic in flavor, IMO.

Don't get me wrong as the blend is definitely smokable. To me it drops somewhere between 2 and 3 stars and I am going to round it up to 3 for my earlier impressions, but there are many Balkan blends I would reach for before this one.

16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 25, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The tobacco appears to be roughly equal amounts of black, tan and brown tobacco. It is mostly a chopped medium ribbon with a few "fish flakes." The tin note is campfire and a slightly grassy, sweet.

Smoked, this is quite good. Moisture level was fine for me, and I just codger scooped from the tin. In terms of the latakia, it is a mild-medium, and so not a bomb. There are sweet Virginia notes, and the Orientals provide a slightly sour spice. There is a lot of flavor here, but nothing really overpowers. It is a nicely balanced for my tastebuds and it is easy to follow one bowl with another. There is a light, somewhat delicate quality to the smoke, and it does not seem to produce palate fatigue as some latakia blends do for me.

Key to liking this is probably not having an aversion to latakia or a discernible Oriental note. It is easy to recommend.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 26, 2011 Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong
Another "Old Timey" blend from the folks at Kramers. This one is a very full and very well balanced English blend. Great for after dinner or a chilly night. I keep reiterating how this stuff reminds me of Perretti, Wilke, and Barclay-Rex. Latakia forward with the orientals bringing up the rear. This is for the experienced smoker and the very understanding and tolerant wife. Think of Wilke's #400 or Peretti's Taskent. A very full 3 stars!
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 03, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I never had the chance to smoke this blend as mixed at Kramer’s brick-and-mortar store; however, smokingpipes.com was given the opportunity to save this storied blend from extinction—they say they are sourcing the same tobacco—so I decided to order a few tins for the pleasure of saying I smoked it.

I began by picking through the tin to see what was going on. It is a relatively coarse cut ribbon that packs easily in medium to large bowls. There are essentially three different colored tobaccos: almost black Latakia, a reddish-brown Virginia, and some lemony specks that I assume are orientals. I did find a piece of chewed up plastic, which in my experience is not totally uncommon. Over the years, I’ve found feathers, pieces of rubber bands, and other remnants in some expensive cigars.

The blend lights and burns easily. The moisture out of the tin is to my liking. If you prefer your tobacco dryer, 10 minutes out of the tin is perfect. There is a little bite. No one component outshines the other, just a well-rounded English. To my palate, this blend is solidly middle-of-the-road and could easily be smoked all day. I’ll cellar a few tins, but I doubt age will add anything of note other than what time normally adds to tobacco.

The are many more interesting blends out there, but for the price and storied past, it’s worth having around. I intend on smoking this when I’m working and don’t have time to ponder nuance.
Pipe Used: Peterson Standard 307
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 04, 2017 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
So let's get the myth and the reality set apart.

The myth: "This blend is superior to Dunhill Aperitif / My Mixture 965."

The reality: This blend is as good as Dunhill Aperitif / My Mixture 965.

A blend that is squarely in the Scottish tradition, combining those incense-like, slightly sour notes along with the smoky notes of the latakia. Father Dempsey -may- have a touch more latakia than the two Dunhill Blends, though hard to tell without a side by side comparison. From the first puff my impression is that they are all very similar, and that impression was confirmed down to the last puff.

When those two Dunhill blends finally go the way of the dodo, or if you're trying to stretch out your cellar from using up those blends, Father Dempsey would be a perfect substitute.

Tin note is typical latakia, campfire smoky goodness.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 26, 2020 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Kind of a lat bomb but still mild to medium bodied. I could smoke this all afternoon but not all day. The Virginias have notes of tangy lemon and citrus, grass, and hay. The Orientals are in third place with a floral and sour, nutty, earthy, pepper note. Ver well balanced. Not a standout smoke for me personally. I have many English blends I prefer over this, but the price in bulk offers a reall value. I'm going to spend more time with it. Pretty cool and smooth smoke. Nic hit is medium.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2018 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is for me a rounder version of the STG Dunhill 965. More sweet than the 965, but due to the roundness less complex which I really miss but which also makes it an "all day smoke". Nice and easy to pack, light and to smoke. If it dries down it likes to burn hot quite easily. It has similarities to the Kramer's Engish with much more body.
Pipe Used: different briars, Falcon
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes (bulk)
Age When Smoked: some weeks old maybe
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 02, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Since it's starting to become a little colder where I live, it means that English season is starting for me. I thought that since I'll be smoking HH Latakia Flake in prep for Wednesdays review I would also smoke some Englishes to cleanse my palate and Father Dempsey came to mind. I bought about 2 oz to try a few months ago and it's been stored away in jars until I felt I was in the mood again.

This is a simple Medium English that you can buy in the 2oz tin like I did, or it's also available in bulk. When you open the tin you smell a wonderful English campfire smell. I can smell some citrus from the Virginias, and some tangyness from the Orientals, and of course some woodsy, earthy and smoky Latakia. Since this is a course cut it is relatively easy to pack, and easy to light. I find an average amount of relights will suffice with this one.

Once lit, the Latakia takes the lead adding smooth creaminess. There is some Virginia citrus and sweetness in the background of this blend. The Orientals are slightly flowery, tangy, and incense like and they meld perfectly with the creaminess of the Latakia. The nice thing about this blend is that I really can taste everything. The taste I'd give a medium-full it isn't as full bodies as a heavy English, but it really does fill your mouth. The strength I'd give this a Medium its nit a cakewalk but it also doesn't force you back in your chair.

This is similar to MM965 and gives a great smoke. It does benefit from aging. It's hard to get this one to burn hot, and it smokes down really well.
Pipe Used: Kaywoodie Birkshire Large Panel
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
ATW
Nov 20, 2018 Very Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I can definitely see how this can be compared to My Mixture 965, but at the same time it is different. Never in my life time will I get the chance to try the old 965 so I can't make direct comparisons to it; but it does remind me of my first tin of 965 which was the orlik version. From start to finish it is sweet. The Latakia is more leathery than smoky. It's prominent in the bag aroma and the first half of the bowl. 3/4 of the way down the Turkish starts coming out more and adds some body to the flavor. The last quarter reminded me of sweet tea. It was the same experience as my first tin of 965 but the sweet tea lasted the whole bowl with 965. It burned cool and clean all the way down. No dull spots or harsh spots. Very smooth. I do detect that there is something added to it due to its extra sweetness. Almost like sugar water.

Honestly if this reminds me of any kind of blend it is McClellands 925 which was blended to honor 965. Quite frankly, I enjoyed 925 more than 965 but sadly it is gone. Father Dempsey definitely something I will be keeping on hand.

Update 5-28-19. I recommend smoking this fresh. This blend seems to lose a lot of its complexity as it ages. I find myself chasing the flavors and risking tongue bite to find them. I'm dropping it to 3 stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 28, 2016 Medium Extremely Mild Very Full Strong
Really really good traditional English blend. Not enough orientals for my taste. it has a medium nicotine hit which can be just perfect for the drive home after work. The taste is nice and full but not overbearing. Solid three stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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