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Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

This is a discussion on Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews within the Pipe Related Reviews forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; I was asked by the good folks at Sutliff to review their Private Stock Series. I get six tins a ...

  
  1. #1

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader JimInks's Avatar


     

    Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    I was asked by the good folks at Sutliff to review their Private Stock Series. I get six tins a month and there are 36 tins in the series. I'll add the others when I get them.

    Metropolitain:
    This has an alcohol casing that's pleasant, almost like a medium-sweet wine. The Golden Virginia adds a honey taste that reminds me a little of Blue Danube. The burley isn't all that noticeable, but I get a slight sweetness from it, and none of the nutty characteristics I usually expect from burley. The black cavendish has the familiar vanilla and light licorice/anise traits, though I also get some tasty plum flavor, and light date notes. I find it a little milder and slightly smoother than Sutliff's Great Outdoors blend with more emphasis on the black cavendish. It's a very comfortable smoke that gets three stars from me because I can't give it two and half, and it deserves more than two stars. I prefer the Great Outdoors blend because it's a little stronger and a little more complex smoke. This blend is almost like what would happen if you mixed Blue Danube with Great Outdoors without being stronger than BD is. It's an easy going, medium sweet mixture with a great room note that makes a nice dessert smoke. Recommended for the smoker who wants a mild, sweet smoke.

    Great Outdoors:
    I never smoked Field and Stream, so I can't compare the two. What I can say is that this is a very good aro with mild nuttiness, vanilla, light licorice, and plum and honey flavors. It smells great out of the tin and the room note is extremely pleasant. It's sweet but not powerfully so. Burns well with consistent flavor to the end, and the burley is nutty and mildly sweet, and adds a mild nic hit. I smoked this tin faster than any other Sutliff blend I tried recently. I'll need more for the cellar.

    Blend #5 :
    I think it's slightly stronger than Dunhill 965, and doesn't taste like it at all. The latakia is strong without being a lat-bomb or overwhelming your senses. It's the main player, taste-wise, but the light, nutty and earthy burley and the Virginia rounds out the flavor quite well. It burns well, clean, and even with no bite, no dottle, and no bitterness. It's great in briar and even better in a meer. The room note is not overly strong either. Well worth buying!

    Fieldmaster:
    A mild to medium English blend with high quality Virginia that is very slightly sweet. The latakia gives the proper bass notes and does not overwhelm, and the Turkish is very mild. I enjoy the flavor of the burley, which adds an earthy, mildly sweet, nutty taste, and at times, is more obvious than the Virginia. It's the kind of English that you can smoke more than once a day, and feel satisfied. Some mild English blends leave a smoker with an empty feeling, but this one doesn't partly due to how the burley enhances the experience. Burns smooth and evenly with no bite, and often leaves you wanting to smoke another bowl right away.

    Blue Danube:
    A terrific aro. Smells and tastes a little like sweet honey bread to the smoker, and those around him/her. M'lady wants me to smoke it all the time. Burns very evenly and well. I get a hint of molasses and brown sugar at times, and a hint of vanilla with a very light nut taste. It's sweet, but not cloyingly so, which means you can smoke it all day without getting tongue bite or diabetes. The Virginia component is not that prominent, but has a natural sweetness that adds extra flavor and evenness to how it burns when you smoke it. A delightful smoke for any time of day or night.

    Molto Dulce:
    A black cavendish smoker's delight. It's crackles as it burns if you don't dry it first, and can leave some goop, too. I prefer to dry it out first. There's a pleasant vanilla, carmel, slightly buttery, molasses, honey taste that is consistent throughout the smoke. The vanilla flavor is the main player here, as is usually the case in this kind of blend, and I detect a light licorice note or two. It's a little sweeter than I prefer, but if you are a BC smoker, you'll become addicted to this and forget most of the other BC blends. As for the room note, well, if you're single, you may not be for long if women smell the wonderful aroma this mixture produces.

    Spinnaker:
    Spinnaker is an interesting blend. The reviewer who said it smelled like Ludens Cough Drops is dead right, and it's very intense if you try to smoke it wet. You'll also be faced with goop at the bottom. However, if you dry it out, the cherry taste is still present, but in a lesser form, and you'll have no goop, too. You'll also notice a few burley notes and some fruit taste I can't identify, and when dry, those flavors become more obvious as you smoke it. Wet or dry, it won't bite your tongue, though it may burn hot if you smoke it wet. If you like cherry blends, and are looking for a step up from lighter ones, you'll like this as long as you follow my advice.

    Golden Age:
    This doesn't taste much like Elizabethan to me. As someone else noted, it's like Royal Yacht-light. It also reminds me of Germain's Royal Jersey with perique, though that blend is lighter on the perique than this one is. But the sweet Virginia taste is almost the same. This is lightly sweeter than RJ/wP because the light addition of unsweetened black cavendish. It burns well and even with no goop, no dottle. The perique is slightly plum and peppery, but it's a team player and not necessarily the star component. If you're looking for an all day smoke with a little sweetness and just enough spice to tickle your tongue, this is blend will give you what you need.

    Maple Street:
    While it does taste a bit like pancakes due to the maple flavor, there are other blends that have a more intense flapjack taste. I prefer this to them. The tin note is rum and maple, and I taste a little rum while smoking it, but maple is definitely the predominant flavor. I get a slight pistachio note or two from the white burley, too. Burns darn near perfectly all the way to the bottom.

    The room note is great and everybody around me who has smelled it notices the maple and not the rum. The more intense blends I mentioned earlier are too sweet for my personal tastes, but this is medium sweet and doesn't overwhelm, unless you are not used to aromatics. This is more of a three and half star blend for me, but I feel three stars short-changes it, so it gets a four star rating for blends in this genre.

    Country Estate:
    A smooth smoking mixture with a plum, fruit, and vanilla taste. I also sense a slight date note. The Virginia is downplayed by the other flavors, adding a very light hay note, and a slight natural sweetness, but I think it helps smooth out the black cavendish. A mild to medium blend that burns well, and is fairly sweet. It tastes just like it smells, and fills the room with a pleasant aroma. One of the smoother black cavendish blends on the market. It gets three stars because of that.

    Barbados Plantation:
    The rum and vanilla flavors are the predominate tastes of this blend. The Virginia is there to tame potential harshness, because you really can't taste it. The rum is very pleasant, and if I had my choice, I'd decrease the vanilla flavor and let the rum shine through more. However, it's very flavorful, though it does require a little drying fresh out of the tin to avoid goop and make it easier to keep lit. Don't dry it out completely though or you'll risk losing some flavor. I'd give it three and half stars if I was able, but I give it four because I like it too much to give it three.


    Black Swan:
    A very pleasant no frills mild black cavendish blend, though it may need a little drying time. It doesn't have a wide variance of flavors, but it does have an honest vanilla flavor supported by a very light fruit prune note, and the sense of eating sweet baked goods. The room note is so pleasing, your friends might start looking for where you hid the cake. If you want more subtlety of flavors, try Molto Dulce. But if you're looking for a working man's black cavendish blend with a consistent taste that doesn't have the chemical taste of the routine drug store BC's, this is worth trying.

    Tabac Noir:
    Another black cavendish blend that has a toned down mellow vanilla taste, though I get a light honey note, too. This is one of the mildest bc blends I've ever smoked in terms of flavors and sweetness. It's also drier than your usual bc blend, so you need to take your time smoking it or it may burn hot. It get sweeter as you smoke it down, and near the end, I get a light fruit note. For people looking to smoke a less intense black cavendish.

    BRG Mixture:
    Having recently smoked Briggs, I can say they have quite a bit in common, but I prefer this blend because the burley is just slightly more earthier. The Virginias are naturally sweet with no cased flavors, and creates a solid base for the burleys to play off of. I do taste a bare hay note, too. The vanilla note is mild with a slight plum note. It's an all day cool smoking mild to medium blend that burns well with a consistent taste. I can see adding this to my smoking rotation.

    A Taste of Summer:
    I was initially hesitant to smoke this because I'm not usually a fan of fruit flavored tobaccos, although I love peaches. The smell of peaches was very strong when I first opened the tin. However, the peach taste is not as strong as I expected, which is a plus for me. It burns well with no goop or dottle and I found the taste to be consistent, though hardly complex. Of course, this is not meant to be a complex smoke, and the only reason to smoke it is for that flavor. Some prefer a stronger peach taste in their aros, but I do not. This hits the right spot for me because the peach flavoring is light. Any stronger, and I would not like it. You mileage may vary if you're looking for a peach-bomb, otherwise, you'll find this a comfortable all day smoke.

    Berkshire:
    A very pleasant no frills tasting mild to medium English blend. There is a light smokiness from the latakia and a natural Virginia creamy sweetness. The orientals and perique are light players in the game and add a spice note that keeps this from being boring. It's hard to pick out a dominant taste in this well balanced, all day smoking mixture. Burns well, even and consistent with no dottle and very few relights. This is more of a starter English blend. If you don't like this you probably won't like stronger English blends. And for those looking to venture into the world of latakia blends, this is a good place to begin.

    Sunrise Smoke:
    A richly flavorful all day smoke. The latakia is present, but not strong and its smokiness is complemented very nicely by the sweetness of Virginias, especially the lemon Va. The Turkish is light, but adds a necessary "oomph" to the mixture. I get a hint of burley in this, too. There is a topping of some kind that mellows the blend. I give it four stars for mild English blends. Like Berkshire, it's a good starting place to beginners to latakia. If you need something stronger, this probably won't work for you, unless you want a change of pace from tobaccos like Blend #5 , which is a tasty, stronger Balkan. But if you're looking for a easy to smoke English with a variety of flavors, you'll enjoy this as much as I do.

    Bosphorus Cruise:
    A well balanced mild to medium smooth English with every ingredient tastefully present. The Virginia is naturally sweet and the Orientals add nice spicy notes to your palate. The latakia is smokey as you would expect, but it doesn't overpower the other elements. Sutliff knows their English blends and make a number of them with different strength levels. How much you like them depends upon your proclivity for latakia. This is for those who want a decent latakia hit without being bowled over by its presence.

  2. #2

    Disinterested


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Dang, Jim. Excellent work here. Thanks for the effort! RG to you, good sir!

  3. #3

    No longer a community member.


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Bosphorus Cruise, Maple Street, Molto Dulce, and Kentucky Planter are some of my favorites from these guys. Great thread!

  4. #4

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader JimInks's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Here's six more reviews. This completes what I have been sent. I should get another round of six blends next month, and will post reviews when I have time to judge them.

    CD Blend:
    The latakia and perique are mere condiments here, but they add a nice bass note. Burley is the main star, with the Virginia playing back up. There are little fig and prune notes with a light sweet topping I cannot identify, but it has an alcohol base (sweet rum?). At times, I get a slightly sour tangy taste mixing in with the sweet, and there's a nice earthy Burley taste that gives this some complexity. Because it's a rough coarse cut mixture, I recommend a round bowl rather than a pipe with a narrow chamber so it will burn to the last bit. It burns evenly and cooly, and holds up its flavor to the very end. A very good regular smoke.

    Man's Best Friend:
    This is more or less a replacement for Barking Dog, which I never smoked. It's designed to be an English blend made the "American" way, which I take to mean it's not a Balkan blend where latakia dominates the flavor. The latakia is there to add a smoky base note to the main star, which is the earthy, nutty white burley. The burley is quality choice as is the lemon Virginia that adds an enjoyable tangy sweetness. The mild rum topping is assisted by a complimentary raisin/stewed fruit note or two as well. A colorful blend that's pretty to look at, burns perfectly to the very end, and is complex with a multiplicity of flavors that don't crowd each other out. Smoking it in a pipe with a wide bowl will enhance the experience, but any pipe will work for this mixture.

    Charlemagne:
    A mild, friendly aromatic burley based blend with Virginia and black cavendish, and a mild fruit/rum-like topping. The Virginia has a light hay taste and is a condimental addition. I didn't get much nuttiness from the burley, which is more sweet than earthy. The black cavendish almost crowds it out, though the vanilla taste is mild, as are the plum notes. The topping is mild, but it tones down the natural taste of the burley. This is the kind of smooth smoking aromatic that's made for relaxation and book reading.

    Top Shelf:
    The bourbon is the main star here, and the smell when you open the tin is amazing. This has the most intense bourbon taste of any tobacco I've ever smoked. When dried, it's less intense, and a few burley and Virginia notes are present then. It burns well whether it's moist or dry and leaves no goop in the bottom of your bowl. Either way you decide to smoke it. you're buying this only because you want a bourbon flavored blend. And if that's what you want, you've certainly come to the right mixture.

    Balkan Luxury Blend 957:
    A medium blend English with a smokey latakia taste that is nicely contrasted by the sweet, light vanilla flavor of the black cavendish. The Orientals and perique are complimentary ingredients in a mild way. The sweet and smokey taste translates well in regard to the room note, making this an English blend that your friends won't object to. Full tasting enough to get your English fix, it can almost be an all day smoke, too. A welcome change from dry smoking, latakia heavy Balkan blends.

    Academy:
    A mild aromatic. The black cavendish has a mild vanilla flavor, and the latakia gives a lightly smokey hit that rises this mixture above regular cavendish/burley blends. It's a small, but important addition. The topping is sweet, and I get a slight plum note. The burley flavor is crowded out a little, but without it being a supporting player, this blend just wouldn't work. The burley is a little more noticeable if you give it a little drying time. Cool smoking, burns well, extremely pleasant taste that smells good, too.

  5. #5

    Puffer Fish with many spikes JKlavins's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    This is awesome! These are the most accessible non drug store tobaccos where I live. It is way better to read a review than guess or go by the product descriptions, I'll definitely be picking some more up!!

  6. #6

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader JimInks's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Here are my latest Private Stock reviews:

    Bacchanalia: The medium brown, lightly sweet Virginia acts mainly as a base for the mild earthy, nutty burley. The red wine topping is medium strength. Though it doesn't crowd out the other flavors, the wine taste is the high quality major player with some sweetness and some tangy tartness. Relaxing and smooth, burns well and cooly with no goop. This is a very comforting smoke that goes well with hot tea or coffee, but that's hardly a requirement for enjoyment. An all day smoke that leaves a very pleasant after taste, and keeps you interested in smoking it.

    Navigator Blend: Being a black cavendish blend, it should come as no surprise that vanilla is the star flavor here, albeit a mild one. Burns very smooth and cool with few, if any relights, with mellow consistency. There is a little blackened Virginia and aged maduro in the mix with a light alcohol topping, and some chocolate notes. It was designed to be a match for the old Argosy Black blend, and comparisons may vary as to how close it is to AB, which I've never smoked. Either way, this is a solid entry into the black cavendish genre.

    Old Vienna: A rich aromatic with a smooth vanilla and cognac tang. The burley undertones are just noticeable, but become a little more obvious when the tobacco has dried. They add slight earthy notes. The tobacco was a little moist when I opened the tin, but it did not hamper the burn rate or leave any goop at the bottom of the bowl. It's not a very complex blend, but it has a pleasingly sweet and consistent flavor that's between mild and medium in strength, and medium in taste. Smells as good as it tastes.

    R-Blend: This is meant to be Sutliff's version of Revelation before House of Windsor got their hands on it. The HoW version left me with a bad impression all the way around. This is a vast improvement. The medium brown Virginia has a mildly natural sweetness. The burley sports some earthy points, plus a light tangy nuttiness from the burley. The perique is very lightly added for a hint of spice. The latakia brings very mild smokey, woody bass notes to give this mixture a slight flavor push. This is a well rounded, medium tasting blend for the all day smoker who wants a decent nic hit with a lot going for it.

    South Seas: The mango topping tends to dominate the other flavors a little. As with some of the other Private Stock aromatics, the Virginia is the core component that keeps this a cool smoking blend. The burley is lightly sweet with a very slight nutty note, and is mostly responsible for what "oomph" is present here. South Seas is mild with a medium strength taste, and works well as a dessert smoke, or a pleasant day smoke as you go about your business.

    St. George's Blend: A mild black cherry blend, milder than I expected after smelling a freshly opened tin, which, if you are a black cherry fan, will prove pleasing to your senses. Even though it's mildly moist fresh out of the tin, it burns very well, smoothly, and not hot. The Virginia mostly acts as a cooling base for the black cavendish, the latter adding a little vanilla and slight fruity plum taste of its own. The use of the back cherry favor gives this mixture a deeper flavor push than your average cherry blend.

  7. #7

    Young Puffer Fish Whisky01's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    You Sir, have a new reader of your reviews.

  8. #8

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader JimInks's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Here's the last of the Sutliff Private Stock blends I was asked to review.

    Alexander Bridge:
    A mild and tasty mix of red and gold Virginias with some burley. The burley adds a very slight nutty note, and the gold Virginia chips in with a very light lemon hit with a touch of cavendish. There's a lightly added topping that reminds me of red wine, along with a light apricot and honey essence that hints of sweet bread flavor. The flavors expertly meld to create a well balanced semi-sweet all day smoke with no bite, no goop, and an even burn rate.

    French Quarter:
    A mild to medium slow burning coarse cut plug mixture that may require a little rubbing out. The sweet liquor casing along with vanilla notes from the black cavendish are the star flavors, though there are some earthy toasted burley spots in the mix. There's also a fresh bread flavor that I've noticed in a few other Private Stock blends, too, that adds to a light hint of fruit. A pleasant smoke that may need a little drying time, or the tobacco at the bottom of the bowl can get a little hard, especially if you are a wet smoker. I consider it to be more of a sipping blend.


    Kentucky Planter:
    A mild light and dark Kentucky burley blend with a very light cocoa note, a hint of vanilla, abetted by some earthy, nutty flavors. There's a sprinkle of a topping that adds a very tame sweet essence that mostly disappears when you light up. A very small amount of Virginia acts as cooling base. There's not that much complexity here because it's designed to be an all day semi-sweet companion that burns well with no chemical taste to disrupt the experience. I do get more nuance of flavor when I use a wide bowl to smoke it in. Recommended for the OTC smoker who wants a break from drug store blends, and for those want to enjoy a good burley mixture with no bite or goop. If you like Kentucky burley, you'll enjoy this mixture.

    Roma Vita:
    A mild aromatic with a pleasant amaretto topping and light vanilla subtext provided by the black cavendish. The Virginia is underplayed, adding a light grass note or two. The burley chips in with a little nutty flavor. Thinly cut so it burns well, but don't puff it like a freight train. It leaves a very nice aftertaste, and while it is designed to be an after dinner smoke, it's also good as your all day companion while you go about your business.


    Westminster:
    The gold Virginia is lightly sweet with a hint of grass coming from the dark Virginia. The Turkish component is rather sparse while the latakia adds the smokey, woodsy flavor one would expect from that ingredient. Experienced English smokers may find the low nicotine level, and overall flavor profile a little too light for their personal taste. It's a mild English blend with no harshness that burns easily, and is nearly an all day smoke that gives a pleasant English flavor for those who want a dose of latakia without being overwhelmed by it.

  9. #9

    Young Puffer Fish ravkesef's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Jim,
    Your reviews of the Sutliffe Private Stock tobaccos are nothing short of stunning. They are incisive, and from my own experience with some of these tobaccos, right on target, and I must assume the same with those tobaccos I have not yet sampled. I was intrigued with your review of Great Outdoors, and the fact that you went through it so quickly. I am a light English smoker who smokes one bowl of Great Outdoors every day. I wonder if there's something in that, and what correlations might be drawn between those who smoke certain tobaccos, but who look to others as palate cleansers. Overall I am impressed with the Sutliffe line, and intend to at least sample most if not all of them. Based on your review, I purchased a tin of Molto Dolce, a tobacco I would not be inclined to taste at all. Your review was so intriguing and tickled me in just the right spot that I'm willing to try at least one bowl in a Missouri Meerschaum to see what happens.
    Thanks again for the superlative quality of your reviews.

  10. #10

    Full grown Puffer Fish


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    I would like to add that as someone new to pipes your reviews are a great resource.

  11. #11

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader JimInks's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by ravkesef View Post
    Jim,
    Your reviews of the Sutliffe Private Stock tobaccos are nothing short of stunning. They are incisive, and from my own experience with some of these tobaccos, right on target, and I must assume the same with those tobaccos I have not yet sampled. I was intrigued with your review of Great Outdoors, and the fact that you went through it so quickly. I am a light English smoker who smokes one bowl of Great Outdoors every day. I wonder if there's something in that, and what correlations might be drawn between those who smoke certain tobaccos, but who look to others as palate cleansers. Overall I am impressed with the Sutliffe line, and intend to at least sample most if not all of them. Based on your review, I purchased a tin of Molto Dolce, a tobacco I would not be inclined to taste at all. Your review was so intriguing and tickled me in just the right spot that I'm willing to try at least one bowl in a Missouri Meerschaum to see what happens.
    Thanks again for the superlative quality of your reviews.
    I thank you and Hardheaded for the kind words about my reviews. To answer your question, GO has a mix of flavors I really enjoyed. I smoked BRG almost as fast, and liked CD Blend. While my preference is for VaPers and straight Virginias, all this taste testing has enhanced my taste for burley, which is in the aforementioned blends. I've expanded my list to include burleys and VaBurs. I like latakia a lot, but smoke less of it these days. I'm not really into lat-bombs so much now, but I have a tin of Penzance calling my name lately! Have to finish up the open baggies of English first, though.

    Because I work at home and smoke constantly, I need palate cleansing blends from time to time. That keeps my interest going, and I imagine it does the same for others, as you indicated. That may be another reason I've become drawn to burleys lately. I think it important to switch around or you become so familiar with the constant taste of one blend, that it may lose some of the novelty of flavor that caused you to smoke it in the first place. In other words, you can get too used to some blends, and reduce the pleasure it gives. But there are quite a number of smokers who would disagree with me, so mileage varies on this thought.

  12. #12

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader JimInks's Avatar


     

    Re: Jim's Sutliff Private Stock Reviews

    Cabaret Rouge:
    Molto Dulce's cousin. Sweet citrus, cherry, fig and date notes with a molasses flavor. The black cavendish adds a very mild hint of vanilla while the Virginia acts as a cooling base for the cavendish. Needs some drying time, but leave some moisture or you'll lose some of the taste. Burns a little slow and is best sipped for full enjoyment. A pleasant dessert smoke with a pleasing room note, it's also a good outdoor work smoke.


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