My simplified plan for Voodoo Review

Howdy Y’all.

I’m going to make a change to the program. I have run into a bunch of products that I cannot in good faith review. It might be something as simple as the price is set to high for the products in my opinion, or the product was not something that I would purchase again due to my personal taste preference. I’m also going to scrap the Binary. As you should know by now, If I really like it, It will get a full review.

To make things simple I am transitioning to a simple system. A picture or 2 and a few words about what I really like about the product.

Also, I have been working on something new, that has been taking almost all my free time. Briar Pipe Carving. In the weeks ahead, you can expect to see at least 2 pipes I took from Block (Pre Drilled at this point) to pipe.

The intention is to slowly go from Novice to a respected pipe maker. As pipes become less about learning the craft, I will be making them available here at a reasonable price according to the experts. Prices will reflect me trying to make enough money to get the proper tools and still be able to acquire more materials for making the next pipe. (Hobby blocks are fun, I don’t want to charge outrageous prices for them. Look at the prices of the tools needed to make a pipe from scratch and it will make more sense.)

No, I will not just quit doing reviews, but try Carving a pipe and you will see that it’s not something you can just do in a few minutes. Making something that you might be proud to have in your collection is very time consuming.

As always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes


And NO, this is not for sale.

Escudo Navy de Luxe

Who loves VaPer? Thats Virginia and Perique blends for thoes un aware of the short name. I, for one have always loved Perique. The Plum scent, the Pepper feel, and the raw Nicotine power. It is in almost everything that I smoke on a regular basis. One of my Canadian friends, Mike, though a lot of us call him Briar Blues, tends to only smoke VaPer and specifically Escudo.

Escudo is produced in The Kingdom of Denmark. Perique is only produced in Louisiana, Virginia is just a strain of a Tobacco plant and is grown in many places, notably NOT Denmark. So this blend, has to travel the world before you can purchase it, and it’s only available for sale in The USA. All that travel comes with a bit of a price increase, but I must say, well worth it.

Navy de Luxe is a coin cut, that should really delight the senses. Slightly sweet, a touch of pepper, and enough strength that 2 coins will satisfy your needs for a decent amount of time.

Briar should be your first taste or your last depending upon how you do it. Since Briar tends to bring out the natural pepper notes, I, like Mike, have found that it pairs better with Briar than the other options. Cobs are my next preference down. This blend is slightly sweet and a cob will make it almost sugary. It’s not bad, but the extra sweetness is just not necessary. Last or first, if you want to try worst first, is Meerschaum and Clay. Not that I didn’t trust Mike’s opinion about his favorite blend, but I had to find out for myself. Meerschaum and Clay produced a slightly earthy note that reminded me of a west Texas dust storm. Smokeing it was fine, but the lingering dirt flavor was not anywhere near as good as a Briar.

If you are into a really Peet forward Scotch, Meerschaum and Clay might be the way to go, but Bourbon and Briar was my preference. A good dry red wine works well with a Briar or Cob. Coffee, Tea, and Water I also found the Briar superior for the flavor.

Should you be in the market for a new Briar, I will suggest looking into Mike’s website He ships world wide and his site moto is “Where Service is not a Luxury.” You can Tweet, Email, and even converse live via his YouTube Live feed every Thursday night at about 7:30 Eastern. I highly recommend you check out his channel as his knowledge of pipes greatly exceeds mine. Just be careful on his website or you might come down with a case of Pipe Acquisition Disorder. PAD for short.

On to the Binary, 1, as if you didn’t see that coming. Slight reservation, due to the extreme lack of overseas availability, purchase enough for smoking and gift, it is a bit pricey but as indicated, Well worth it.

If you are wondering why I like Mike so much, look back at the Sutliff Rum and Maple post, and scroll down to the “Ugly Pipe” Mike helped me greatly, and that’s the kind of friends that you need in your life.

As always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes


Sutliff Rum and Maple and an Ugly Pipe.

To start, I’ll have to apologize for not being more productive on this blog. I’m working on a new project that is so much fun, I can’t wait for the next step.

Ok, On to the Review.

Sutliff Rum and Maple, while I am not a fan of most Aromatics, I still smoke them in the hopes to find a great one. Flavor, Strength, Price, and an All Day Smoke. Sounds like a fairly good fiction except for the fact that I stumbled upon this blend.

If, (big if) you have been following this blog for years, you might remember the first “MAPLE” offering I tried, [Name Withheld], and how I liked it, but found the experience too much of a good thing. It was very hard to get through a large bowl or even smoke 4 bowls in 1 day. Rum and Maple however is still Maple, but with a hint of Rum and falls short of sensory overload.

Surprised by the Flavor, I was equally impressed by the Strength. Most Aeros I find to be to light in nicotine and that leaves me wanting a second or third bowl every time. Not this time. Rum and Maple has a good amount of Burley to provide the power you crave, and enough Virginia to keep it well rounded. I didn’t find myself repacking a still warm bowl, what would normally take me a month to smoke, took 6½ weeks. (Not because I didn’t like it.)

Price? Well, it is Sutliff, and I did purchase a pound of it, so let’s just gloss over that by placing a HUGE check mark in the affordable price box.

As for All day smoke, the only thing that held me back was weather, and Sleep. And as a side note, even the non smokers would stop and tell me how good it smells as they walked buy.

Binary is definitely a 1, surprisingly no reservations are needed. Just a fantastic smoke all around.

BUT Voodoo, what about an Ugly Pipe?

We might have a different opinion about this,

This pipe, went from a decent $40 pipe to bubbled up and ugly on the first smoke. I made a few mistakes in the process of getting it to this point, but compared to where it started, It is Beautiful. Thus explaining the new project and why I am looking forward to sharing my experience with you. I also worked on the “Original Voodoo Review Ugly Pipe”

As always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes



Let me apologize for not getting this done sooner, life happens and will happen again.

I had a hard time getting the right words to explain this blend. For me it is a Balkan, with a touch of vanilla and honey, and Almonds. The website says walnut, I could also make a case for Brazil Nuts or cashews. I think it is the Balkanish base that has thrown me for a loop.

Let’s just keep it simple then.

Aromatic, with a pleasant room note, a nice easy to enjoy flavor, and a burn time that is excellent if you like long smokes. Even my 30 minute clay took 50 minutes.

A Slow cool smoke. Surprisingly excellent burn control and constant relights or tamping was not needed.

A little bit more tongue bite than expected but nothing that can’t be fixed by drying the blend about 15 minutes more than normal.

The hardest thing for me is, This blend does not pair well with water. Coffee? Tea? Bourbon? Soda? Juice? Anything other than water and it is amazing. But my rule is to only review with water.

I would call this a Breakfast and Dessert blend. Not really an All Day smoke. Yes, I prefer All Day blends, but, early morning with a book and a cup of coffee while the world is still and relaxing and quiet. That is when this blend really shines. And because of that, I believe it is named perfectly. You might need to be a fan of Tolkien to really understand what I’m saying.

On to the Binary,

I give it a 1 with 2 minor reservations. (1) Try this blend first of the Middle Earth blends from The Country Squire. Good, yes, but just not as good as the previous 4. (2) Do not use large bowl pipes unless you have nothing to do and no place to be. My Savinelli Trevi KS 320 took 2.5 hours and I’m generally not a slow smoker.

Overall it was very enjoyable.

As Always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes


Green Dragon

If, you have been following this blog for a while, by now you know who The Country Squire is. Just in case this link will get you to their 50th anniversary blend. Still some BRTV SAMPLER available online. IF you want Green Dragon, you are going to have to work for it. I was 3 puffs in when I decided that.

This Review might be a little strange compared to my normal work, it’s just because I really want to keep it in stock.

We all know about Unicorn blends, those hard to near impossible to find blends you considered selling a kidney for. Get ready to meet your new favorite blend.

Green Dragon is an all Virginia non aromatic blend. Ok, does not sound to exciting, but break down all the little flavor nuances in 4 different pipes and you will be stunned. I went Savinelli Trevi KS 320, Washington bent Cob from Missouri Meerschaum, Hyperbole Falcon, and my tiny clay.

Briar: A black pepper primarily but noted a sweet that lingers especially on the Retrohale. Almost like what I consider a perfect pastrami.

Cob: Sweet brought to the front, pepper toned down, think pastrami on Pumpernickel

Meerschaum lined Falcon: Citrus notes? Maybe a touch of apple wood smoke. Pastrami and Pumpernickel notes are still present.

Clay: good, but I want a bigger bowl, a much bigger bowl.

I also think I want a Rubin on Pumpernickel with Apple wood Bacon.

Yes, I did spend all day, Yesterday, trying to get the flavors on paper. Normally, Virginia blends are not this complicated and complex.

The smoke is blue and gray edged to white. A touch on the thin side for the amount of flavor. Caution: Smoking hot does nothing, just relax and sip. Perfect for clench smoking.

Room note is light and tolerable by all but the most rabid anti-smokers. (Mother-in-law tested)

Easy to pack, ready right out of the bag, highly suggested for a beginner that is still learning how to pack a pipe. Also, it is good there, because it is not likely to kill a new smoker with Nicotine strength. Almost makes me forget that I am smoking a Non-Aromatic blend. Does not require several relights.

On to the dreaded Binary, (1) with a tiny reservation. I, personally, would like it to be stronger. Maybe a little perique or burley. And, you better make sure you order large amounts as it is an all day smoke that will have you puffing happily on several bowls a day.

When I get more, it might just become my first of the day dedicated blend.

Pairs well with Bourbon, Coffee, and Lunting.

As always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes


PS, join the #YTPC and me Live on Thursday at 6:30 PM EST and again on Friday at 4PM EST. And then the shows that I open for directly afterwards. We would love to see you there.

6 Rounds with Rocky

Before you jump ship, this is a cigar review. A Rocky Patel Number 6. Hopefully you’re curious enough to hang in and read this review to the bottom.

I know what you are thinking, I thought the same exact thing. Blind tasting of a bandless cigar is how I came across this hidden gem. A place I frequent was having difficulty selling it. So they removed the bands of one box, set a different price, and offered them up to anyone willing to give an honest opinion.

The leaf is a darkened Caramel color. No 3 wraps on the cap, so I knew it wasn’t Cuban.

However, I also noticed the weight, slightly heavy for a toro as listed. The wrapper, no thick veins, and a beautiful look to it. And the cold draw, perfect. Just the right amount of resistance. And a slightly nutty and almost molasses note.

Lighting up was easy but first draw was just a touch harsh. The second draw, was so different, I almost bought the whole box. Having had a Partagas series D from Cuba a few times in the past, (my 3rd favorite cuban) I knew the flavor was very close. Not an exact match, but close enough that unless you are a trained professional you might not even detect the difference.

So there I sat, happily puffing away and scribbling on the review I would leave. I finished the cigar, handed in the review, and asked confidentially what it was. When told, Rocky, I told him he was lying. So he sold me one at full price, and I have never been happier to be wrong and have to apologize.

I would like to encourage you to try the 3 blends Rocky put out last year. Aged-Limited-Rare #2, LB1, and, my pick, Number 6.

This is not the typical review, because this is not the typical Rocky.

It burns well and even, the flavors are consistent throughout. It doesn’t get spongey or soft. And for about $10 US pre tax it will fool you into believing that you are smoking one of Cubas finest cigars.

On to the Binary. Absolutely a 1 no reservations. Just make sure you purchase more than 1 if it’s your first time with the Number 6, you can thank me later. And no, I am not normally a Rocky fan unless we are talking Sylvester Stallone.

As Always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes


Second Breakfast

What goes better with coffee than breakfast? Second Breakfast. This is part 3 of a 6 part sampler for BRTV from The Country Squire. just incase you want to smoke along.

I, personally, have been very impressed with the quality and flavor of the first 2 offerings. One an Aromatic and the other was not. If you need a reference or refresh on those reviews, or please click the links provided and see also what others have to say about it. If you do that, and you are smoking along, please fill out the blend survey at the bottom of the linked pages. As pipe smokers, we are members of a very small community and every little bit helps us out.

On to the Review.

First, I can’t open the bag without my mouth watering. It smells wonderful, like walking into that one place that sold tobacco to your Grandfather or maybe Dad. And the scent just lingers needless to say my sample won’t last through the day.

And the look of it is beautiful. I’m looking at it, and Cavendish, Virginia’s and Burley is what it looks like, but it’s listed as a Vanilla Maple.

Packing the pipe, it is no where near as sticky and moist as Old Toby infact, its really ready to pack right out of the bag.

First puff, Second Breakfast is quiet nice, not trying to bludgeon you with sweetness, just a smooth Vanilla front and a soft maple finish. And the retrohale confirms my suspicion about Burley with a nice nutty note.

Most Aromatics, I would characterize as Medium in strength at the most, but I’m getting a surprising amount of a tingle on my tongue. Having a Leather and Iron tongue prevents tongue bite, but I still notice a nicotine tingle. It’s similar to a Double Ligero cigar in feel and medium to full in strength.

Quick pipe comparison, I prefer this blend in a Briar. The pepper notes (mild black pepper) come out about halfway through the bowl. Then Meerschaum and Clay. Finally Cob. You won’t need the additional sweetness from a cob and a note of interest, grab a big bowled pipe. My Clay is very small, and it was just not enough.

Second Breakfast can easily be an all day smoke. Pair it with just about any coffee, or Breakfast type juice. Bourbon is highly recommended.

On to the dreaded Binary. 1, with a slight reservation. This blend by itself is excellent. However, I find that Old Toby and Bag End had more flavor. The subtle nature of this blend is a definite plus. As for Second Breakfast, I will definitely be getting thirds.

As always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes.


BAG END by The Country Squire.

About a month ago the Middle Earth blends from The Country Squire (Scroll down to the BRTV SAMPLER) started being “tasted” and as a fan of everything J.R.R. Tolkien I had to get in on this. As you can see in the next link, alot has gone into the “Club” them a few days and this review will likely be there also).

Bag End, named after the mos famous of Hobbit Holes, is a Scottish mixture. Slightly sweet, a touch of smoke, and a nice black pepper Sting. A blend of Burley, Latakia, Turkish/Orientals, and some flue cured Virginia. The closest thing I can compare to it in food is Almond Brittle with a touch of Jalapeño cooked on a wood burning stove. Absolutely delicious, hard to define.

Strength, the Burley can Sneak up on you like Golem in a cave. This is better savored slow and steady. The Smoke is thick, white to gray, and holds well, Perfect for Smoke Rings with any passing Wizard.

I prefer it in a Cob, it brings out the natural sweetness. Briar tends to make the pepper “Sting” just a little more pronounced. The Clay and Meerschaum didn’t hurt, but, didn’t really do much for the blend either.

It pairs well with coffee on a lazy morning or a good stiff drink at the end of the day. I find it enjoyable all day, but cautiously if you have much more to do than watching paint dry. Just not the right blend for a vigorous day of action, one bowl and you will see why.

On to the dreaded Binary. ONE, who didn’t see that coming? Let’s just say that when I reach the end of the bag of Bag End, it will not be the end of Bag End. I’m already planning on getting more.

As Always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes.


OLD TOBY a blend By The Country Squire.

Do you like samples? Would you enjoy a sample tasting club? Are you ok with tasty Aromatic and just as tasty straight blends? Maybe you should consider the BRTV and explore the lore of Middle Earth. if you don’t need the video to trust me, then go here.

Today, July 18, the first bag has been opened and the sample tasting has begun. We are attempting to do one sample a month starting with Old Toby and working right through to Kingsfoil in December. If you are just hearing about this now, I must apologize as I inform you that you are late.

More on the club to follow in further editions of this blog, on to the Review.

OLD TOBY. Named after Tobin Hornblower, who if legend has it correct is the Hobbit responsible for bringing Pipe Weed (Now called Tobacco) to The Shire. If you are completely confused by the reference, you haven’t read anything by J.R.R. Tolkien or watched a movie in Years.

What it is: An Aromatic blend of Virginia, Burley, and a touch of Perique with a Sugar casing. It comes out of the bag almost soggy and will need a considerable amount of drying time if you want to keep it lit. Mine has just a touch of vanilla but that might be from one of the other samples. It reminds me of Christmas baking in my Grandmother’s kitchen. In my opinion she was the best cook that ever lived so lets just say that it smells like Heaven.

The Smoke is wonderful, and even though it comes WET, there is no tongue bite. Having smoked it all day, and I’m still not tired of it, I’m already planning to get more. The Burley is just right and the Virginia smooths out the strength to just a touch past medium in strength. The Perique is very faint and adds to the sweetness in a Cob and the pepper in a Briar. I find Meerschaum is better for the flavor than a clay, but not by much.

It burns well, once you can get it lit and forms a nice powdery ash when it is done. It also takes its own sweet time though I don’t imagine that will bother you.

It pairs well with everything you might want to drink, and you can just as easily smoke a whole bowl without needing a drink.

For the Binary I give it a 1 (and another 1 for the nostalgia of being named for the Tolkien reference)

Sorry no pictures but if you need to see what comes in the sampler, here is my YABO from earlier in the day.

As always,

Long Lives, Big Bowls, and Long Ashes

Get a sampler and follow along if you can.

By the way, it is a major Birthday for The Country Squire so let them know.