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This is one of my personal favorites, one of my first five mixtures that I created at age 11 years of age-and during my first 10 year apprenticeship. Virginias, Turkish, and burleys make up this well balanced mixture. I added the 45 year old burley and 47 year old Turkish, that because of the aging, gave it a character that lent itself to being my primary ‘First Smoke of the Day’ for nearly 50 years. Maybe you will find yourself wanting to start the same tradition for yourself?

BrandHouse of Calabash
Blended BySteven Books
Manufactured ByHouse of Calabash
Blend TypeAmerican
ContentsBurley, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
7 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2500)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The earthy nuttiness from the burley really adds to this mixture, and mostly leads the Turkish. As it is aged, the light cocoa and molasses sweetness seems to have a slight savoriness. The woody, buttery sweet, slightly dry Turkish is very noticeable in every puff. The Virginias are in the background, offering a little citrus and dark fruit, and touch of grass and earth. The nic-hit is mild. There's no chance of bite or harshness even if pushed. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a rather smooth, consistent flavor. Leaves very little dampness in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a pleasant after taste, and can be an all day smoke.


4 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (894)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I received a very generous sample of this from a pipe forum friend. He's quite a friend, considering there was about 2 oz of this and considering its cost! I'm very grateful. This turned out to be rather unique. Came somewhat overmoist in the bag but as it turned out, it really didn't need any further drying. It loaded and burned easily. Bag aroma was of nuts and toffee.

The burley and turkish seemed to play the lead role, with the VA in the background. There was that touch of virginia sweetness but this seemed mostly earthy and nutty to me. I got some nice light cigar notes as well, particularly in the sidestream aroma, but not so much in the flavor. Snorking really set this one apart from other blends and really made the Turkish sing! Funny thing, though - the burley and turkish get all the kudos but this would be a less realized blend without the virginia. Like David Crosby's voice in CSN, it's not that noticeable but you get the impression that it's the glue that holds the whole thing together.

I liked this one at any time of day. If this is any indication of Mr. Books blending skill, I may need to open my wallet wider and help support him. This one is a winner!

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28797)
Mild to Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable

Indeed, this is a pleasant smoke to start the day off with. The colors of aged tobaccos and the soft pouch note of sublime understatement serve notice for the abundant flavors this blend presents during the smoke. It was only after a few bowls that I started to get a feeling for this blend, as it seemed somewhat elusive..., until I found the right Pipe to smoke it in. This old Koncak Silver Spigot Meerschaum performs best with Virginias and it really brought the taste out in this blend, as Virginias are really what this blend is about, at least to me. Aged Burley and Turkish varietals serve to lend a rich tapestry of sweet notes of morning's notice for the start of another day in flavors that continue to build during the course of the smoke. Light hearted in character, the earthy aura of morning mist gives me pause to linger in the moment with a cup of coffee as a chaser. Fair winds and smooth sailing are the promise from sunshine captured by this leaf, as I find something sublimely elegant in this simple pleasure. In the orchestra of tobacco blends, this is the oboe, haunting and familiar, in that opening of the Sun's offerings to another fine day. I begin to understand Steve's affection for this blend. My only regret is in it's ending. Meerschaum Man smoking a Koncak Silver Spigot Meerschaum

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28797)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

As someone who usually enjoys full bold flavors and Lat bombs, this tobacco is a definite change of pace for me. In the pouch this tobacco smells wonderful, and as others have noted with Steven's aged tobacco, it smells almost edible. Upon smoking, this tobacco gives way to an almost magical balance of flavors. Between Steven's aged tobaccos and how he blends them, makes this a tobacco unlike I have ever smoked. I would however, like to try this blend with a little, (or a lot), of latakia mixed in...but I would probably just ruin the fantastic balance of flavors.

Soli Deo gloria!

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Smooth, smooth, smooth! Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe is one of my all time favorites so when I saw this blend listed on Mr. Books' site, I just had to try some and boy I am glad I did. It tastes nothing like my beloved EMP but as with the other Books blends I have tasted, it is so balanced and well blended that I find myself craving it more and more. Each tobacco in the blend just shines and the flavors are full with no need of Latakia. The tobacco is made up of mostly light ribbons with a few darker tanned ribbons. The pouch scent is that of tobaccos that have some age on them. I do not believe there are any huminicants other than a mist of water on the tobacco as it dries very quickly. I have smoked my two ounces with different degrees of humidity and in various pipes. I enjoy it best very well dried and in a wide bowl. While not strong, this tobacco is not a wimp in the strength department either. I also get a very slight sweetness to the blend as well. This may be my favorite Books blend. I think I will have to smoke a lot more to be sure! Highly Recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

brian stephen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
brian stephen (8)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was gifted a healthy sample of this sublime blend by another pipe smoker, and what a treat this is. I will not go into a lengthy description of the taste, as others here have done a fine job of relaying the flavours and nuances. Recently found while rummaging through my cellar, I had to give it another try after several years. Smooth, full and very satisfying, First Smoke Of The Day is what EMP wants to be. There's just nothing like this, nor do I believe there ever will be. Maybe it's the very old Turkish and Burley, I know not. What I do know is if you ever have a chance to try this, go for it. You won't be sorry. No less than four stars IMHO.

Pipe Used: Dunhill 659 Shell

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28797)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Steven sent some samples up to the Seattle Pipe Club -- a very nice gesture -- and I'm happy to add to the reviews here.

I smoked three bowls, in different pipes, all pipes that to some extent or another have had latakia blends smoked in them.

I found this blend very well behaved -- dry smoking, easy to get and stay lit, and easy to dry, though it came at a very very good moisture level.

The flavors were not overwhelming. There was a nice butterscotch or toffee type of flavor that I associate with quality burley.

It is entirely possible that with more smoking -- or the right pipe -- I might easily give this four stars. That said, primarily given the limited sample size, and because it didn't make a lasting first impression, I'll give it three. (I try to reserve four stars for blends that I can absolutely 100% vouch for as being consistently excellent for me.)

Nobody has rated this review yet.