Tinvestigation #1 – Eight State Burley
By Get Piped
Welcome to the very first edition of a brand new Tobacco review series (I know… there’s a million out there… But mine is built different) called TIN-vestigation!
I have received a generous amount of requests through the World Renowned Get Piped Pipe Club on Discord as well as on my YouTube videos and Instagram account to produce some type of review-like content for tobacco blends. So, I specifically told myself I would not get into reviewing tobacco, as I felt there was already a necessary amount of experts out there who would do a much better job than I. I also concluded, like many of you, that what I might enjoy, another might despise. No two palettes are the same and therefore reviews of something so complex like tobacco are almost for naught… Almost.
I think we can all identify some of the positive aspects of reading or watching reviews. They at least give you a fundamental starting point, putting your mind in the right framework when deciding whether or not you should purchase a particular blend. There are some excellent resources out there for tobacco reviews, such as TobaccoReviews.com. I won’t break that one down past the fact that it’s a neat open forum where anyone can add their thoughts to literally any tobacco. I’m sure you’re at least familiar with it.
Just My Opinion
But with that said, my approach is to just give my own personal opinions on the blends I try. I am one to be quite honest and intend to be just that. My aim is not to sell you someone else’s tobacco nor another smoker’s opinion. I seek not to impress the community with my “exquisite taste buds.” No; instead I plan on breaking down all aspects of my smoking experiences with any blend I choose. I’ll likely stray from the top market blends for now and focus on nuanced tobaccos like the limited releases, new releases, and small artisan blenders.
The series will run in conjunction with my YouTube channel, where I’ll be posting brief 20-40 second YouTube #Shorts with some cinematic footage for each of the articles I post. The articles, published exclusively here on the Briar Report, will have more depth and context than the YouTube pieces.
Now, with all that foundation stuff said and done, let us Tinvestigate Cornell and Diehl’s 2022 “Eight State Burley”
Cornell & Diehl has seemingly found great monetary success with their “Small Batch” series, as it feels as if each month or so a new blend emerges. Eight State Burley was April’s Small Batch drop, though this blend actually came out to play for its Sophomore year. We first saw Eight State Burley in May of 2021. The blend pulls its name from the eight States from which American Burley is king: Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, and North Carolina.
The 2 ounce tin is composed not of just Burley but also of oriental, turkish, and virginia. Each component within the blend is quite complex, with the White and Dark Burleys aging from 2014, the “same grade Bright and Red Virginia’s as last year’s run of Carolina Red Flake (smokingpipes.com),” and Oriental tobaccos with 17 years of age.
Of course a pure Burley blend would be pretty unidimensional. So despite the awesome name, we find more than just Burley within the ready rubbed cut strands of tobacco.
The Tin Art
“Eight State Burley’s” art remained the same from last year. That said, I do find it quite appealing. Simple can be beautiful and C&D captures that with this basic design. The little Burley plant looks as if it was penned in blue by hand. The lettering is also quite aesthetic. The blues just pop over the blank canvas of a background. I really do appreciate this design… But… I think it could have been used for literally any different tobacco blend than this one!
When I think of Burley, I think of a strong, deep, and robust blend. This tin leans heavily on elegance rather than attributes of strength and power. A tin that evoked such qualities are what I would have preferred for a blend base that I personally attribute to boldness. I would have tried to capitalize on those features. Some tins that I think effectively capture these traits are C&D’s “Derringer,” “Barrister,” and even their “Privateer.”
But, could I do better? Probably not!
The Tin Note
Now, describing tin notes can become real “buzzwordy” real quick. I will try my very best with this first publication and each one to follow, to explicitly NOT go for the buzzwords; understanding that from time to time, tobacco just smells like raisins…
When I popped this tin, I had great expectations. I actually had a discussion about it on episode 010 of my podcast, when my co-host Nick, Get Piped’s Producer-Guy, explained how amazing it smelled. I sent him a couple tins ahead of picking any up myself, as I must struggle through WA state’s shipping restrictions (a complaint for a future article…). In short, he really hyped me up. He hadn’t smoked it at the time of recording but was able to convey the ever alluring notes from the tobacco to me. When I finally picked up a tin from my local Tinder Box, I opened it immediately and buried my nose deep.
I was disappointed… LOL.
The Smell of Tobacco
Now I love the smell of all tobaccos and this one is no exception, yet I found myself wanting more. Perhaps my dear friend just put some wild idea in my mind that the note would be reminiscent of a magical essence. Nay. It smelt like tobacco…
Of course I got the deep raisin scent, but past that I found it difficult to really grab anything else. I immediately thought of loose leaf chewing tobacco, such as America’s Best, the iconic brand formerly known as “Red Man.” And I do in fact love this smell! But it just wasn’t anything spectacular, as it is a common scent for tobacco. I was really hoping to have my mind blown.
After a deeper dive into the tobacco a few days later, I began to pull a slight honey note out with my nose. That ever so faint sweetness was followed by a tang that I couldn’t quite put my finger (or nose) on. I do overall enjoy the smell but it’s not a scent to win over a non smoker, I’d say; though the experienced smoker will pull some soft chocolates out of the tin. But I mean very very soft.
As mentioned, the cut is a Ready Rub, which is essentially flake tobacco that’s shredded but not quite to the level of a typical ribbon cut. This tobacco was closer to the ribbon side as opposed to the thicker strips of flake.
In my attempts to pack, I used several methods. First; I folded and stuffed, second; rubbed out, third; I broke apart and stuffed, and lastly; on my driest smoke attempt (more on this further down) I rubbed it out til it was crumbles of dried tobacco, almost like dead leaves in the autumn being rolled to small lifeless fragments, just to be carried off by the wind.
I found the latter attempt to serve me best in my smoking experience. But that’s all smoker’s preference.
The Room Note
Another difficult piece to cover, as the true room note is smelt and experienced by the folk around us. Never is the room note truly experienced from the man behind the pipe. — So that’s where GetWifed comes in…
My wife is by no means experienced with tobacco. So here, we’ll get the full honest opinion with zero knowledge of buzzwords to inject into this portion of the investigation.
When I lit the tobacco in her presence, she surprisingly wasn’t pushed away. She always favors the aromatics like most but this tobacco had her thinking of old, yet clean, antique stores. A rustic scent with a dash of the classic nuttiness that you would expect from burley. It added a nice camp essence to the room without being too “Smokey like a cigarette” (something we find often with Virgina).
For a woman who really only desires the aromatic smell, she found Eight State to be tolerable and almost “homey” (but definitely not a smoke for inside the home, according to GetWifed).
Alas we reach the results. The part most would have scrolled down toward, had they realized how much I ramble…
It was meh…
I smoked half a tin over the past several weeks really trying to pull as much information from the tobacco as I could. My first smoke went very negative. I found zero flavor. No nuttiness, no earthiness, no creaminess. Literally nothing. Tasted like hot smoke. And that’s the typical reaction an inexperienced smoker might have! My heart skipped a beat. I asked myself, “is my palette seriously not developed enough for this blend?”
I often smoke Burley. It’s the king of American tobacco and I find great joy in 80% of L.J. Peretti’s tobaccos (nearly all of which contain Burley as the base). But for some reason I found nothing in my inaugural smoke. I reasoned that perhaps I hadn’t hydrated enough that day, or ate something to throw my taste off (or lack thereof). Well, it wasn’t until half way through the tin that I realized that this Burley is simply not the Burley for me. Each subsequent smoke yielded little to no taste.
But I kept At It
I attempted several smokes of varying hydration levels to include right after popping the tin, semi-dried, and damn near bone dry. I found the most flavor with the driest bowl; however, it was quite subtle. I am partially convinced that my results are due in part to my novice palette development and part to the blend itself. There, I think there is some magic within this tin that I am failing to experience but I also feel like this blend might need some time to think about itself for a time.
I plan on jarring the can and putting it at the back of the shelf for some many months to allow the components to marry further. I do, however, understand that Burley is not the most flavorful blend in the world. It’s a phenomenal base component in my opinion and therefore might explain why I struggled with this particular edition to the many Burley blends out there, as it is very Burley forward. I really hope that in the coming months that I am able to unlock its full flavor.
I’ll close with this, it tastes best with a cup of hot coffee. I was able to pull some light nuttiness after a sip of coffee. I could point out some almond-like taste with whispers of vanilla. Other times I would get a spiciness and a tanginess. This blend will best serve the SLOW smoker. If you puff, puff, puff, then you’ll burn your mouth and all flavor will be hopeless.
That said, I am curious about your thoughts. I’m especially interested in the folk who have some years under their belts. Did you enjoy it? What flavors did you discover? Are you going to smoke this often? I welcome you to send me an email or to reach out directly through my socials and share your experience with “Eight State.”
For me and as mentioned, I’ll cellar it and look to revisit in the distant days to come. Instead, I’ll stick with Cornell & Diehl’s “Old Joe Krantz,” Mac Baren’s “Navy Flake,” and really any of L.J. Peretti’s Burley Tobaccos.
I don’t like numerical ratings of a “1-10” or some variation within, nor the “stars” or thumbs ups. So, I elected for something so outrageous, yet universally understood.
Of course that would be the Wong-Baker FACES® Pain Rating Scale:
Here, I will judge all blends on how they make me feel in relation to the “happiness” level of the phases. Generally speaking I will use 4 and below as a positive review and 6 and above would be negative. So based on this scale, I’d rate Cornell and Diehl’s “Eight State Burley” as a 6 – Hurts Even More. It was simply a lackluster blend to me and I struggled to find its personality.
Perhaps that will change next year! Check back here on THE Briar Report in or around 365 and I’ll let you know!
Thanks Pipe Smokers. Remember to keep puffing.