It isn’t always easy to find someplace in Canada to purchase pipe tobacco, let alone any of quality. I would not call most of these places a tobacconist. Someone new to pipe smoking will likely wander into a corner store, gas station or cigar shop, where the clerk has no clue on what to recommend. This is a real shame, and was my initiation into pipe tobacco. At most of these shops you are likely to encounter one or more of these three brands; David’s Blend, Mr. B’s or Borkum Riff. I remember my first three purchases were David’s Blend – Black Cavandish, Borkum Riff – Bourbon Whiskey, then later Mr. B’s – Muskoka Mixture (best of the three brands). They seemed like great choices at the time, but I doubt I would have stuck with pipe smoking if that had been my only introduction.
My initial experience with the David’s Blend – Black Cavandish was unimpressive, but after gaining some experience, I figured I would give David’s another try. The clerk at the Havana Room, said that David’s Gourmet Blend was one of his most popular sellers, so I went with his recommendation and hoped for the best.
The propaganda on the package describes “a blend of toasted Cavendish tobaccos with a mixture of Golden Virginia and Burly tobaccos.” The pouch note was sweet and sticky smelling, typical Cavandish. The best description I can give of the cut would be “chopped” which to me suggests lazy and cheap manufacturing. I found the tobacco quite wet and left out a portion to dry for about 30 minutes. I loaded my Rattray morta bent billiard, and found the chopped leaf to pack decently. The tobacco was probably still too wet as I needed a good char before the bowl would light evenly. Once lit it produced lots of nice thick smoke. Puffing away I found that no distinct flavours emerged. There was little distinction between the Cavandish, Virginia and Burley flavour profiles. Everything merged together into a hodgepodge that was bland, boring and flaccid. There was no nicotine to speak of and the most interesting thing about this blend was the surprising tongue bite. It’s apparent Cavandish makes up the bulk of the mix. By the time I got to the end of the bowl I had a large amount of dottle, that was a wet and gurgling mess.
There is very little info on the David’s Blend brand that I could find online. From what I found it is exported from the US and sold exclusively in Canada. It probably didn’t sell in the States. As Canadians we need to demand better. If we are going to be paying thirty dollars or more for pipe tobacco, it should at least be premium. Not worth it in my opinion at all. I am through with the brand, and won’t waste my money on it in the future. It is disappointing to me that many new pipe smokers are mostly likely missing out on a quality smoke during their introduction, and that this is what is being recommended as a top seller to those that don’t know better. I think I will make some suggestions for what our local shops should bring in instead. Whether you are new to pipe smoking or a veteran, avoid David’s Blend. No matter what your taste or preference, there are so many better options, especially for the money.
“The value of tobacco is best understood when it is the last you possess and there is no chance of getting more.” -Bismarck.
By: Tad Seymour
Tad has been smoking cigars as a hobby for the past 15 years and took up pipe smoking a little over a year ago, though you would never know it by his large pipe and tobacco collection. His hobbies include golf, soccer, camping, reading, mead making and brewing, a glass of good scotch, and sharing a love of quality tobaccos with his friends