I used to be an avid smoker of "Amsterdamer", which despite the name is a French caporal type, and the second best selling pipe tobacco in France, after the Caporal Gris. As I live in the UK it is not available here, and I have seen this blend before and wondered what it was like. I just had to try it so I ordered a pouch. I believe it is unique to "The Pipe Shop", a well known tobacconist in Leith Walk, Edinburgh, which I remember well from the days when I lived and worked in Edinburgh. I must stress that Leith is a separate town from Edinburgh, and the locals will constantly remind you of that fact.
I opened the pouch, and noticed that the seal bore the name "Kendal Tobacco". I was therefore a bit sceptical about what I had bought, especially when I noticed that the tobacco was quite moist, instead of that bone dry offering typical of the Scaferlatis.
However, I was immediately captivated by that aroma, typical of French pipe tobaccos. I was a bit too eager and rammed the briar a bit too tight. I had to resort to my old trick of making an air channel through the densely packed tobacco with a pipe tool, and lit up.
I couldn't believe the result. The flavour, taste, and strength of Scaferlati Superieur has been replicated to perfection, and if this is somebody's interpretation of a standard French pipe tobacco then they have got it spot on.
A lot of UK smokers will not give Scaferlati house room, and treat it like an "inferieur" rather than "superieur" mixture. Everybody to their own taste, and this tobacco deserves to be better known, and smoked.
I had to force myself to put the pipe down after about 10 minutes, as the strength of the nicotine hit began to take effect, and yes it kept burning in the pipe, as Amsterdamer will.
Overall, this is as good as any of the big name tobaccos available in France, and I don't think it will be the last pouch I buy.
I do tend to prefer the Irish type flakes and plugs, but this makes a welcome change from the slicing and rubbing out that those involve.
Pipe Used: Stanwell briar
Purchased From: The Pipe Shop, Edinburgh, online
Similar Blends: Scaferlati Superieur, Amsterdamer.
The blend is presented as a fine ribbon, it's a dark shade of brown and perfectly moist. The aroma from the unlit blend is a good hint of what's on its way: a strong, no-frills, smoke.
It lights up easily, and then gives a powerful experience. With the flavour, I don't get any of the gentle Virginia nuances, it's not got any delicate citrus twangs, instead I get a 'Powerhouse' of a taste. There's a touch of the expected dark fruit, but not much. The main characteristic that emanates is the sort I'd associate with Kentucky: there's quite a fired note to the smoke. This taste is alright for the initial part of the bowl but after five minutes I feel queasy and by ten minutes I'm practically gagging. The next part that sits uneasy with me is the nicotine: it's just too strong for me, way too strong. On the positive side, it doesn't bite!
Some folks will adore this, but I'm not one of them. Even though it's well made, I don't like it at all.
I didnt get mine from the pipe shop but from a newsagent down south in 2013. The packaging is the same in everyway, a kind of understated generic goldleaf paper in a plastic folded polythene sleeve which suggests a brand name of wessex crown on the white sticky label that is attached to the packet. Yes its a kendall tobacco and is I recon pure sliced and rubbed into ribbons brown virginia rope tobacco.. It is very earthy cigarish and citrusy in a very potent lemon sherbert sour sweets assertiveness. All natural tobacco with nothing added. This might be the virginia equivalent to 5 brothers burley.. I use an early 50s USA made falcon pipe and big apple bowl which has a narrow bit draught slot which really amplifies the taste. Its closer to gawith & hoggarth brown rope than samual gawith brown #4.. I like both and this caporal is of the same nature. Being a ribbon cut it takes light quite well and stays lit easier than cut coins from a rope. It has a natural pseudo perfumeyness which isnt really a perfume, its like the leaf has its own kind of piquant pheremone factor, a subtle woody/leafy incense factor of itself that does teh same to my nostrils as the geranium essence does in say SG grasmere flake. The nicotine is high in this, it is a definate hitter. Not as high as SG brown #4 rope though. Mine has a bit of age on it and i sense it has softened and rounded out, it ages well like all brown ropes do. Defo a 4 star baccy with me ,up there with the brown ropes, black ropes, dark plugs & irish flakes. No frills pure strong and naturally tasty full strength tobacco which has a kind of earthy malty strong ale way about it. Its tobaccomatic in aroma. Burns to a clean dry fluffy ash, requires relight sometimes because this is a sippers and not a puffers smoke (you will be glad it goes out sometimes) -absolutey no bite and burns cool. Tastes better dried out before smoking. 4 stars**.
Pipe Used: Early 50's USA falcon pipe with narrow slot bit
Age When Smoked: 7 years.
Purchased From: Independant newsagent down south
Similar Blends: SG Brown #4, G&H Brown rope. Cuban Cigar.
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