So, I have had this a few times now and figured it is time for a review. G&H ropes have a reputation for a strong nic hit (one I can attest to after loading a decent sized bowl of Brown Bogie/Happy Bogie once), so I have only smoked this out of smaller pipe bowls (mostly my MM Pony cob).
First the presentation. The presentation of all the ropes is just kind of cool IMO. This is a nice extremely dark brown to black, very dense, rope. It has a bit more thickness to it than the Brown/Happy Bogie (about 0.5 or .75" by 1"). The smell in the bag is pretty nice: a little sweet, a little spicy, lots of straight tobacco aroma- it smells a lot like a cigar shop. Definitely a big, thick, oily chunk of tobacco.
To load it into my pipe I have cut it into coins and folded/stuffed them into my pipe, I've cut it into coins and broken them up/partially rubbed them, and I've cut them into coins and then fully rubbed them out. I've lit it right after prepping and packing, and I've let it sit for a while before lighting. It doesn't seem to matter, this is a hard tobacco to smoke. If I don't keep puffing it goes out. Even stopping long enough to pick up a drink and take a sip had it going out (even during last nights smoke, and I've stored this for a month or two in just a plastic bag). This is definitely a wet/oily tobacco. Next time I prepare a bowl I may have to let it sit out in the open air for several hours, or even overnight, before packing and lighting to see if that helps.
So, how's it taste and smell? I actually postponed my review as long as I have due to the issues keeping it lit because I'm not really sure how well I can review the flavor. Because I'm constantly relighting it, the tobacco doesn't really have a chance for the flavors to develop. However, because that has been such a consistent issue for me with this tobacco I suppose the flavor I'm getting is all the flavor I'm going to get. Many of the reviews I've read compare the smell and flavor to meat, but I didn't get that (maybe because I never was able to keep it going and let the flavors fully develop). To me, I just got a straight ahead, but strong, tobacco smell and flavor. Nothing particularly impressive, but nothing offensive either.
I hope to let it dry long enough to get a full smoking experience out of this tobacco eventually. I finally decided it was time to review it anyway, since that inability to keep it lit is in itself "review-worthy" (I've been smoking pipes for 20 years now, so I am not an amateur). I suspect this stuff probably needs at least overnight drying, and I'd also say it is not really a beginners tobacco (high nic hit by rep, though I didn't experience it, hard to prepare, strong smell and flavor). Because I very much liked Brown/Happy Bogie, but would love something a little more mild for when I don't need a nic hit to knock me over, I really wanted to like this stuff. As of now, it is too hard to keep lit so I really don't know that I'd order more. The last sentence of my previous paragraph says it best: nothing particularly impressive overall, but nothing offensive either. I just wish it would stay lit so I could get a bit more out of it.