Cornell & Diehl St. Nick Tabac | Pope Smoke Holiday Edition

Tobacco maestros Cornell & Diehl has released their Holiday Offering for 2018, Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Does it hit the spot or does it end up in the “one step above hipster trash” Aromatic pile?

 Warrior poets and warrior scholars are often original pipehitters.

I’ll be honest here, I’m not generally a big fan of aromatic tobacco blends. For those not in the know, an aromatic blend, or “aro”, is a blend of tobacco that has been “topped” with a flavoring agent, usually a food grade mixture. The problem with these blends is that they’re like that really plain chick with mad makeup skills. Once you get past the cosmetics, it’s meh

Not horrible, just not what you were hoping for.

It’s the same thing with most aros. Once you get past the great smell of the tobacco and light it up, it’s just plain and boring, with a flavor profile not even close to the enticing smell, or “tin-note” of the tobacco. The only aro that’s in my regular rotation is another Cornell and Diehl creation, the maple infused Autumn Evening blend.

C&D is never afraid to dig deep into the hyperbole for their tin descriptions, and this one is no different. The beautiful holiday label features a deep blue background with gently falling snow on a fire lit cabin with holly and a toy Santa up front. It’s Christmas marketing 101 and it’s effective. I immediately wanted to put some Dean Martin on, pour a nice measure of good bourbon, and fill my pipe.

Cornell & Diehl holiday blend 1

The tin description is vintage C&D, reading:

A largesse of St. Nick’s personal smoking mixture, this blend features golden Virginias, black Cavendish, and a hint of Perique, imbued with a generous touch of orange liqueur and hints of ginger, hearkening back to an old legend of Kris Kringle secretly gifting gold to a family in need.

Opening the tin, I was greeted with a wonderful smell, the most intense one was definitely the Orange Liqueur, with a sweet, citrus scent. The ginger was definitely in the background along with the sweet scent of the Virginia leaf. My nose couldn’t pick up the perique, but looking at the blend, which is a nicely done ribbon cut, I could definitely pick out the dark perique alongside the Cavendish and the Virginias.

Even though it’s technically violating my “no Christmas before Thanksgiving rule”, I packed a bowl in my Charles Towne Cobbler Corn Cob pipe and got to work. The tobacco was slightly moist, but very smokeable right out of the tin and packed easily. It took the first light right away and was very well behaved. I’m very happy to report that unlike most aro’s, Jolly Old St. Nick is a balanced, flavorful smoke. The Orange Liqueur is very detectable and combined with the Virginias, it’s very sweet. Not a chemical sweetness, but a creamy, organic sweetness. While I wasn’t able to pick up much of the ginger during the smoke, it peeked its head up from time to time in the retrohale, and combined with the Perique, it gave a little spiciness to balance out the sweetness. The smoke itself was copious, which I like, and the room note was very pleasant to everyone else in the backyard, with the orange again taking center stage. Like all Virginia blends, this one tended to burn hot if I chugged on it like a Choo Choo train, and the quality of the smoke definitely benefitted from a slow sip.

While most people wouldn’t make the connection between oranges and Christmas, I remember my Grandmother telling me stories about getting an orange in her stocking when she was a little girl in Massachusetts in the 1920s, so it made sense to me and also made me think of my grandmother, which is always a good thing.

All in all, I’m very pleased with Jolly Old St. Nicholas, and if you’re a pipe smoker, I think you will be too. Get online or scoot over to your local Tobacconist and give it a try!

There are few things better than a pipe and good bourbon combo.

 

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Jeremy Stafford

Jeremy Stafford is a truculent old school LEO and a combat veteran of the Marine Corps. He has just one beady eye (the right), a single shriveled testicle (the left) and is rumored to be the adopted son of Burt and Heather Gummer. Probably only part of that's true, but really, does it matter? Jeremy has been serving with the Los Angeles Police Department for nearly 20 years, both on the road, in specialty assignments, and occasionally to the sound of the T.J. Hooker soundtrack. He recently left a position as a senior instructor at the LAPD Firearms and Tactics Division to a different assignment that is more hunting than fishing. He's a Krav Maga instructor, a court recognized firearm and use of force SME, and is likely the guy responsible for those few times you see some Hollywood type actually handling a gun correctly. Jeremy has written for a number of publications (like SureFire's Combat Tactics Magazine) and is one of the main reasons we started reading Guns & Ammo again. The other is Mudge. Stafford teaches for the SureFire Institute, mentors local youth (including kids doing the Spartan Race) and he runs many courses himself - think marathons, Tough Mudders and assorted other needless exercises in self-flagellation. Connect with him on Instagram if you're up for it (and don't require trigger warnings): @jestafford.


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