Took this one out for a puff the other night at the club. I wasn’t in the mood for anything heavy or savory, i.e., an English blend but I wanted to smoke a pipe. As I have mentioned before, I am what you would call a seasonal smoker, meaning that I only smoke in the cooler/colder months of the year, generally October through April. But, every so often I get a “hankerin’” to puff a small bowl of something throughout the other months and so it was a few nights ago, my first bowl since April.
I have been wanting to try this blend for a while now but have never pulled the trigger for some reason. In short, I should have pulled the trigger long ago on this one but before I go on to the review, allow me to give a bit of background on the Dunhill name or brand if you will.
The name Dunhill is synonymous with the ‘finer’ things in life. It is a name that carries with it a prestige if you will among the cigar and pipe world as well as other offerings such as men’s clothing, leather goods, pens and well, all accessories for men in general. Alfred Dunhill took over his father’s saddlery business in 1897 and quickly started making changes. Most of it which centered around making accessories for the new invention of the time, the automobile. In fact the slogan for the company was “Everything But The Motor” which included all manner of leather goods like overcoats, goggles, gloves as well as horns, lamps and even picnic baskets and obviously, my favorite, the pipe! Needless to say, from the beginning Dunhill has always equaled luxury.
To narrow this blog down and get it pointed in the direction of pipe tobacco. In 1904 he created the “Windshield Pipe” which made it easier to smoke a pipe when in the automobile or when cycling. Also in 1904, he opened his first pipe, pipe tobacco and cigar shop on Duke Street in London but it wasn’t until 1910 that he decided to make pipes in a shop down the street. The retail store on Duke Street catered to the customer and allowed the customer to come in and write down in the “My Mixture” ledger the tobacco blend they liked and wanted. The shop would then make these custom blends for their customers to purchase and enjoy. Although Dunhill no longer produces pipe tobacco, the line of tobacco has been bought and sold to various tobacco companies to which the latest to produce the line is the Orlik Tobacco Company which is owned by the Scandinavian Tobacco Company, based out of Denmark but is still sold under the Dunhill name. To this day, the Dunhill tobacco has a line of “My Mixture”: (name/number of tobacco) that is still available albeit, not as many offerings as in the past. What I mean by this is that they took the customers blends and over the years have found some to be quite favorable amongst the pipe smoking public and have mass produced it. As best as I could research, there was at one time upwards of 24 “My Mixture” blends available but a quick look on the interwebs tells me that there are only a handful of different My Mixture blends available with My Mixture: 965 being the most popular. Also, as far as I can tell, this particular blend I am writing about, Early Morning Pipe, has been around since 1912 and I don’t think it started out as a My Mixture but as with anything that’s been around for over 100 years, there’s bound to be a reason for it and the reason is that it is fantastic!
One cannot sensationalize this tobacco. Meaning, if you are looking for some deep, meaningful, ponderingly moment of zen while puffing this blend, well, you’re gonna be disappointed. Although there are times when that is what you want, you will not get it with this blend. Does that mean it’s a bad blend? Not is the slightest! I enjoyed every puff of this blend and enjoyed it in my French made no-name pipe I got in Jackson-Hole, Wyoming.
This blend is a pressed, slightly stoved mixture of Bright and Red Virginias along with some rather sweet Orientals. It is by no means a full on aromatic which is to say that to me, it rather ‘felt’ like it had a wee-bit of latakia in it. Possibly….maybe …. I think so but don’t know for sure. There is nothing out there that says what exactly is in it. It very well could be a ‘ghost’ in my own pipe but I doubt that since I am rather studious about cleaning my pipes. Either way, if you are not a fan of the latakia, don’t worry, you should be able to handle this with ease.
The name of this blend is perfect as it would be (and is) a great start to your pipe smoking day. But don’t let that lull you into thinking it’s ’only’ for the morning. The cut is what you would expect from Dunhill, perfect ribbons! The aroma from the tin is not, by any stretch of the imagination, overwhelming. Pleasant but not in your face. Packing and lighting was perfect as well. Not too moist or dry from the tin. It burns very nicely and all the way down into a fine white ash, probably due to the fine, consistent cut of the leaf. The flavour is very mild and satisfying, slightly nutty maybe? It is a fine puff for any time of the the day. This is a good blend to thoughtlessly go about your day while puffing. Again, not a standout puff but a very well thought out blend. You will not be hintering around for the nuances of flavours with this tobacco nor will your palette be inundated with a cosmic expanse of flavours either. It’s not a complex blend my friend.
It has a slight ‘creamy’ texture to it and once lit, copious amounts of white smoke is produced. I will say this about the blend though, if you are weak in the head when it comes to nicotine, you might want to take it easy with this one as it seems to be just all fine and dandy for the top 2/3 of the bowl but then it hits you and you should be seated when it does. Of course, this is probably my fault more-so than the tobacco as I was not really taking my time with it and rushing through. I had Jimmy Johns delivering a sandwich soon and wanted to be done before it got there. My bad.
I know it doesn’t sound like I like the blend but I really do. I liked it so much in fact that I had a second bowl about 20 minutes after eating only this time at a much slower pace…and it was again, perfect and better than the first, probably due to me having a full stomach. Something to consider I guess. It would go great with a cup of coffee or hot tea. A strong adult beverage would be nice as well. Not sure about the lighter side of beverages but a really good zin would work great, like Ed Meades or any other ‘old vine’ wine.
The room-note was hardly there at all. Some said it smelled ‘nutty’ others said it smelled more like a cigarette but very, very light smell. I know this may be weird but one of the things I do is smell my shirt the day after puffing a new tobacco. I did this with Early Morning Pipe (or EMP as it is known by as well) and it did not smell like a cigarette. It hardly had any tobacco smell on it at all. Which is nice because I HATE the smell of cigarettes, as does my wife so this little ‘test’ I do does have a bearing on whether I will buy a certain tobacco or not. Luckily, it passed!
I will probably pick up another tin or four of this but I don’t think it will be my ‘go to’ blend as that has distinction belongs to Blue Mountain! To be reviewed soon.