Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Black Irish X Unsliced

All Gawith & Hoggarth twist tobacco varieties are manufactured by the same spinning process using dark fired wrapper leaves. The filler for Black Irish X is predominantly dark fired leaf with the addition of a small percentage of dark air cured Indian leaf. They are therefore strong tobaccos. Black Twist, because the cooking process removes some of the stronger tar and nicotine elements, provides a mellower smoke than the brown twist.


Brand Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blended By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Manufactured By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Burley, Virginia
Flavoring Maple, Sweet / Sugar
Cut Rope
Packaging Bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.80 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 95 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2013 Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
Meat. While multiple reviewers have commented on a charred beef-type flavor for this, I think that interpretation is too literal. I suspect that the impression is of the fundamental flavor element "umami." While many tobaccos (notably Virginias and various cased varieties) are known for their sweetness and others (any good burley, e.g.) tickle the bitter part of the flavor palate, few stimulate umami as effectively as this one. The flavor is strong and thoroughly delightful.

I prefer to buy this stuff pre-sliced, although the preparation of the unsliced rope has a certain charm and the rope is easy to carry around. The disks that result from slicing (whether one does it oneself or has it done by the vendor) look like dabs of tar. They are rubbery, an impression that is enhanced by a clear phenolic whiff that they give off that is delightful. If you are a drinker of Islay scotch, that smell alone will set your mouth watering! Packing is easy--just stuff the disks into the pipe, perhaps with a bit of a crunch-and-rub. A bit of drying helps, as is usually the case. Frankly, I've never had the guts to try this in anything but a small-bowled pipe (preferably a churchwarden), but I am still comfortable saying that this is what it is best in. Don't pack too tightly or you're in for impossible relights! It takes the match well and burns slowly and evenly, producing copious smoke.

The flavor is rich, rugged, and pure. And, yes, there's plenty of nicotine, but only a small amount of self-discipline is needed to ensure that this doesn't become overwhelming. I've never gotten even a slight bite from this stuff. While there is a small amount of background sweetness, it is very slight (frankly, I'd like just a wee bit more--I've got a couple of pounds aging and hope that a few years in the jar will augment the sweetness).

This is a regular go-to for me. As an accompaniment to a strong single malt it cannot be beat. Solid, strong, and deeply satisfying, this is what pipe smoking is all about.
31 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 09, 2004 Overwhelming None Detected Extra Full Overwhelming
I know that we are not supposed to comment on the reviews of others, so I hope no one takes offense at what I'm about to say. I had to scour the data base to come up with the most ghastly comments ascribed to any tobacco on this site, for certainly this blend deserves no less a description.

The esteemed Mr. Eulenberg, whose educated palate and prose make him one of the wonders of this site, described Dunhill's Royal Yacht as possessing "all the flavourful charm and sweet redolence of slightly gangrenous horse meat". I would suggest that he sample this abomination. By comparison, Royal Yacht would make a worthy wedding gift to a dear friend.

It's a big world, and there is room for all manner of styles and tastes, yet I cannot for a moment imagine anyone enjoying this. It is downright brutal in its assault on the senses, and brings shame to our gentle art.

I'll describe it nonetheless. An oily, pitch black rope, only slightly foul smelling, it brings nothing but nicotine to the table. The world of wine has Thunderbird, and, well, we have this. Shredding the tough leaves into a manageable form is a chore unrewarded with anything closely resembling smoking pleasure. It looks like used cigar butts, and probably tastes about the same.

The anti-smoking zealots should use this as exhibit A.

Surely there must be uses for such a product. Perhaps the Brits used it to force the evacuation of landing crafts at Normandy. I know I'd rather face enemy fire than this. It may also make a good noose.

I have to go and salt my pipe now, as well as every other pipe in my house, and possibly the tri-state area. Someone should salt the earth where they grow this stuff, as well.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 28, 2012 Strong Mild Very Full Pleasant

I was on the look-out for a strong yet good-mannered tobacco with a lot of nicotine. Thought I'd give this one a whirl after reading the reviews here (I'm a noob smoker).

Upon my first few puffs, I said to myself "This just isn't going to be strong enough for me". By the time I had smoked about 2/3's of the bowl, I was zipping along very nicely on one of the best nic rides I've ever had; and yet, it is not a "kick you in the face and make you hiccup" nic punch. What I mean is: In your mouth, you really never taste any harsh nicotine, as you do with some strong tobaccies; and the nic effects don't jump out at you right away. It seems very subtle- but yet the effects of the nic become very apparent, gradually. In my opinion, this is exactly the way a quality tobacco should be- and indeed is, with Black Irish X.

The smoke stayed cool (You just can't heat this one up- and I'm a fast smoker) and no hint of tongue bite. It produces a thick, rich creamy smoke all the way through the bowl.

I usually don't taste what other reviewers taste, but in this case, as others have stated, it truly does have the flavor of a beef-jerky beefsteak- yet not overpoweringly so. That taste is rather subtle. You taste it readily upon lighting...and then just get teased with occassional little treats of that taste every now and then as you work your way through the bowl [Personally, I wish that that flavor was more in evidence in every puff]

This has replaced both Peterson's Irish Flake and SG's 1792 as my favorite smoke. It's about the highest quality tobacco I've encountered. It looks like a turd; feels like a hunk of Slim-Jim brand Beefsteak beef jerky; is fast and easy to prepare, and is just the ultimate pleasure to smoke. Can't wait till all my other tobaccos are gone, as I'll be buying a big quantity of this and it will be my main smoke. After smoking this, it is going to be nigh impossible to find something else that I can use as a #2 to switch off to.

This tobacco HAS IT ALL!

PS: An interesting thing about this baccie: Even though it's a rather strong and earthy tobaccy, amazingly, it leaves your mouth feeling clean and refreshed! Not minty or anything....just nice and clean and fresh. Amazing! Must be the fact that this is a good ol' old-world tobacco. Give me a bowl or two of this while I'm watching Columbo, and I am in heaven!
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 15, 2018 Strong Very Mild Very Full Tolerable
Have you ever wondered, why Gawith & Hoggarth mark their black rope with just one "X" while Samuel Gawith gives a very similar product a double "XX" marking?

It's been said enough here on Tobaccoreviews about the similarity between both blends, their equal strength and weirdly delicious smoky-meaty-sweetness, so I won't repeat same notions. I better concentrate on their slight differences.

Gawith & Hoggarth's X seems to be a nobler and more refined iteration of the black cooked rope concept than the Samuel Gawith's XX. The rope is spun neater, the signature BBQ flavour is not as prominent as in the SG version and the flavour is a bit sweeter. There's definitely more subtle nuances behind the leading BBQ note. Also, you may smoke X in your favourite pipe with no risk of ruining it: although a slight ghosting does occur, it never lingers for long.

Samuel Gawith's XX is bolder and wilder, its BBQ note is way more pronounced. It demands a dedicated pipe as its oily ghost will settle in your briar for good. Almost in every regard except sweetness (which is less) and strength (which is equal) SG earns to get two points where its G&H counterpart gets one.

So, XX vs X. Which one wins? Tie, I think.

Being really similar to XX but somewhat less extreme, X feels to be more appropriate for an indoor smoke. Its roomnote is far from heavenly incenses but is not offensive either. And it's especially good after a good fatty meal.

In its turn, XX better suits an outdoor environment where you're immersed in strong ambient odours: campfire smoke, petroleum, distant hog farm, pine resin in the forest, apples rotting on the garden floor, carpet of seaweed on the shore, you name it. It doesn't combine well with meals, it pretends to be a grand meal of its own, accompanied by a pint or two of a hearty Porter or Stout.

So, in my opinion each serves its own purpose. That's why I love them both and buy them both by pounds.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 22, 2019 Very Strong Medium Full Tolerable
There are some pipe tobaccos out there that will test the mettle of a piper. Now, I’m no stranger to strong pipe tobacco. Old Joe Krantz and Haunted Bookshop are both daily smokes for me, and I love Kajun Kake and War Horse Green. Yet with all my experience with vitamin N, I’ve never had the courage to order Gawith & Hoggarth’s Black Irish X. I had heard of this blend’s ability to knock a man down to size, so I stayed away, giving the blend a wide berth.

Recently during a pipe trade with an online friend, he offered to send me a sample of Black Irish X. So for a laugh, I decided I’d throw caution to the wind and give the blend a try. After all, what’s the worst it could do?

After sitting on my sample for a week or two, today I gathered my courage and pulled the sample out. Black Irish X comes in a rope, so you need to slice it with a knife to smoke it. In a way, it’s fitting that you have to use a knife with this tobacco, as you’ll need all the protection you can get with this sucker. I cut a few coins off the rope, rubbed the coins into ribbons, and loaded it into a Canadian pipe that has a smaller bowl. If this is your first time with the blend, then a small pipe is a must, or you’ll be at the blend’s mercy.

Upon the first light, I noticed a unique smell that I’ve never encountered before with a pipe tobacco—BBQ. This has a good, smoky BBQ flavor, much like a dry rub. In fact, I’d compare smoking this blend to sitting down with a huge steak dinner right off the grill. And this isn’t a fancy steak dinner prepared with some newfangled culinary techniques. This is a huge chunk of meat, and you’re going to have to finish the whole thing like John Candy in The Great Outdoors.

So I sat in my chair and puffed away, not letting anything else distract me from my pipe. You’ll want a drink with this tobacco, too. I had coffee, but I’d imagine this would pair well with a good scotch.

The first half went by without any issues, but the further down I smoked, the more I could feel the effects of the tobacco seeping in. The BBQ steak flavor never left, but I never found it to be dull or boring.

By the time I reached the end of the bowl, I felt the threads of reality beginning to split. Somewhere in the smoky haze, I could see a realm in the distance, some far off tavern with wizards, knights, rangers, and clerics. They sat around long tables, singing songs of pipe tobaccos gone by as they drank from their tankards and puffed their pipes. I could see them motioning for me to join them, to leave this world behind and disappear forever. Had I smoked Black Irish X in a larger pipe, I don’t think I would’ve been able to resist the call.

Overall, I have to say that I have a healthy respect for this tobacco. It’s rich and flavorful, and unlike any other blend I’ve tried. Should this blend come back in stock, I’d gladly order a tin or two for my cellar. I would then lock said tins inside an old chest with heavy chains around it, and nail a sign that said “Beware.”

Take caution, dear piper, for this blend will sneak up on you like a bandit if you let it. Even if you smoke this in a smaller pipe, it will punch you in the head until you’re silly. Despite the risks, I’d say everyone should give this blend a try.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I realized I typed this all out using my toes. I think I better head to bed before something worse happens.
Pipe Used: A Small hand carved Canadian
Age When Smoked: Unknown
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 30, 2005 Extremely Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong
If there is any doubt that a person's personal chemical makeup plays a large role in one's flavor impressions of a certain pipe tobacco, then read all of the reviews of Black Irish Twist. Some esteemed members here say it is an all-time favorite while other esteemed members say it is an all-time worst.

Strong and oily with an all tobacco taste, pure and simple. With G&H Black Irish Twist in your pipe, the cares of the world will quickly fade from your immediate thoughts. All of your attention will be focused on trying to get through your bowlful of the stuff . Of secondary concern (well, for me anyway,) was what to do with the rest of the tin? I finally decided to bury it in my neighbor's back yard. Please don't tell.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 07, 2008 Very Strong Very Strong Very Full Very Strong
(I swear to God) Last Update: after journeying twenty miles to my nearest serious tobacconist in Newcastle-Under-Lyme I was chatting with the owner about his stock. Black Irish Twist, he told me, is his biggest seller by far - all the local farmers smoke it. I said I was amazed at this and he said, 'Well, once you've smoked this stuff for a while, nothing else comes anywhere near in terms of strength: there's no going back from this stuff'. A cautionary tale, then.

FURTHER Update: I have become a hopeless Peterson's Irish Flake junkie since writing the reviews below. However, my local 'bacconist has a bad memory and 'forgot' my recent order of Peterson's finest! Alas! So, twitching and gibbering on a Sunday morning with nothing stronger than St.Bruno Flake to hand I turned again - with considerable reluctance - to this stuff. Now, it's dried out a fair bit & it still tastes pretty damn bad BUT, it DOES give you a satisfactory fix of that evil vitamin N. So, thank you Black Irish Twist, for that. A little like drinking a bottle of Listerine to keep from the DT's when the champagne has run out (actually, Listerine might be a good idea after this stuff..).

Update: I think I was, originally, too taken with the sheer, bizarre, novelty value of a tobacco that tastes exactly like a greasy carbonised steak. Beyond this admitted novelty, and the sheer nicotine punch, I really can't see any reason why I'd ever want to smoke this again - since this same punch can be easily found with many, many tobaccos that are pleasing to smoke.

Original Review: If you were to put a steak under a high grill - after basting it with some kind of dark, Tabasco-laden barbecue sauce - and then, distracted, leave the kitchen only to remember a half-hour later and run back - you would find the atmospheric conditions there to be very similar to those produced by this remarkable tobacco. It's slow to burn, very moist and slightly fiddly to prepare. The smoke achieved however is rich, dense and surprisingly cool; a good deal less intimidating on the tongue than its smell might lead you to expect: a bold and spicy leather, really. It packs a fair nicotine wallop, yes, but not an overwhelming one: it produces more a thoughtful reverie than a head-spinning rugby-tackle of a punch. A good one to keep you mollified if you have to catch brief outdoor smokes between a series of long train journeys!
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2002 Overwhelming None Detected Extra Full Very Strong
This looks positively evil, and looks are not deceiving in this case. The color is absolutely black, and it has the appearance of something your least favorite cat left for a present. The smell is quite strong, fermented way beyond St. Bruno or Bulwark. After slices, dicing, rubbing and airing, the taste was overwhelming. So was the nicotine content. It was difficult to stay concious long enough to finish a small bowl. For those who enjoy this twist, I will not compete for the limited supply. A man should know his limitations, this exceeds mine.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 22, 2019 Very Strong Very Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This stuff just looks evil. The, ziplock baggie note is sweet VA tobacco. (Edit: I neglected to mention that a tangy bbq-like aroma that's also present.) The ropes slice easily, and it's a little damp so it takes a more effort to light it than usual and it needs a few relights. Drying it out would help.

The taste is full-flavored, dark-fired tobacco with some nice sweetness to balance it out. The smoke is thick and creamy. I don't get the charred meat or burning rubber flavors, but once in a while I notice a savory, meat-like flavor. It reminds me of the funky, horse-y flavor of some beers that use brettanomyces during fermentation. Too much of that would be a problem, since I can only enjoy that flavor in small amounts.

It smokes very cool and is completely bite-free, even when pushed.

This is definitely a strong blend, but it didn't deliver the ass-kicking that I expected. I recommend keeping a beverage handy while smoking it.

Now, here's the kicker: My gf was nearby when I smoked this for the first time. I asked her how it smelled, and she said, "Not that bad." (!) I did not expect that response. She's usually OK with whatever I smoke in the house unless it's a lat-heavy blend like Pirate Kake, which caused her to leave the room. She never tells me to go outside though, so I consider myself lucky.

The appearance and reviews for Black Irish X can be a little intimidating, but it's more approachable than I expected. Loads of character here, and worth a try if you enjoy dark-fired Kentucky blends but are looking for something a little out-of-the-ordinary.

ADDENDUM, 5/30/2019: I put this one aside for a while, and the extra 3 months of aging has smoothed it out quite a bit. There's still a savory flavor in there, but not the horsey/gamey thing from before. It seems more complex and easier to smoke. Combine that with its creamy, full-bodied, bite-free smoke and sneaky strength and you have a blend that is probably best smoked in a med-small bowl. It also lights and stays lit easier than before. I'm bumping up the room note score, and changing the rating from 3 to 4.

ADDENDUM: 11/26/2019: I haven't smoked this in a few months, and it has continued to improve with age. The reason for the addendum is that this is one of the few tobaccos I've tried that, in my opinion, can stand up to a strong beer. In this case, I happened to be drinking a Lagunitas Brown Shugga, (beer snobs reading this will know what I'm talking about), and I like the combo.

ADDENDUM, 11/21/2020: I haven't smoked this one very often, since it's not that easy to come by and I wanted to see how well it ages. I'm just now finishing off my small supply of it, and it's more enjoyable than ever. I don't want Black Irish X every day. but when I do it has very satisfying qualities that no other tobacco has.
Pipe Used: MM Legend, Pete Rocky 01
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 01, 2019 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Strong
I love this stuff! Others before me have waxed eloquent about the strength, taste, and room aroma. I yield to their discerning palate. I wanted to weigh in on the social aspects of this powerhouse product.

My wife of many years tolerates my pipe smoking. She doesn’t like being around any tobacco smoke so, to keep the peace, I limit smoking to my man cave, i.e., my home office. I have a variety of blends making up my rotation, from the mild Orlik Golden Slices up the strength ladder to, now, Black X. (By the way, strong doesn't do this justice. It should be measured in half lives.) She’s somewhat acclimated to being assaulted when coming into my office. I always ask her, what she thinks of the blend I’m smoking that day. “It stinks,” is her succinct reply.

I just got Black X from the online site. I prepped it and started enjoying this hearty and heady product. Five minutes into it, across the house, she yells, “There’s something burning. Are you burning something in your office?” She was maybe 40 feet away! Now that’s a testament to the strength of Black X. It never occurred to her that I was smoking pipe tobacco. A minute later she came in and said, “OMG, that’s hideous, it smells like a tire fire.”

I’ve been smoking a pipe for fifty years. It’s taken about that long to work up to Black X. I smoke a few puffs, put it down, do some work, pick it up again for a few puffs….rinse and repeat. A little bit of this goes a long way to satisfying. It’s still very buzz worthy.

PS – I’m glad she didn’t ask me, “What kind of tobacco is it?” If I told her it was a rope, she’d probably tell me to buy more so I can hang myself with it. 8^)
Pipe Used: Duncan Hill Aerosphere
Age When Smoked: Just purchased
7 people found this review helpful.
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