Sutliff Private Stock: Navigator Blend

Thanks to our new Sponsor, The Tinder Box, Tacoma – I’m going to have a lot more opportunities to try and review some great new tobaccos. This all thanks to Tinder Box owner, Jeff Packer.
In my last meeting with Jeff, we came to a pretty good understanding of how our partnership in media is going to work, and one of the first things I wanted to do was get some reviews out there on some good quality blends that I can recommend. Without hesitation, Jess grabbed two Sutliff Private Stock 1.5 oz. cans and set them on the counter.
“You know Sutliff, right? They are now owned by Altadis.” I definitely knew the name and had seen some of these can pictured in magazines, but has never tried them. Right away I was excited to try them, and to learn more about the company as well. After a little digging, I found what I was looking for. 
“The Altadis legacy of producing an affordable quality pipe tobacco has roots going as far back as the California Gold Rush. It was in 1849 when Henry Sutcliff (sic) opened the first of his shops at 832 Kearny Street in San Francisco. Sutcliff’s (sic) shop initially boasted nineteen blends as well as prized Meerschaums and fine briar pipes. In 1950, a decision was made to move the thriving business eastward to be closer to the tobacco markets and in 1953 the current manufacturing plant was opened in Richmond, Virginia.In the true tradition of providing the market the best tobaccos available for over 160 years, several traditional old-style blends have been brought back to life by Altadis under the brand name of Sutliff Private Stock.”
That was the information I was looking for, and found it on the Altadis web site.  there it shows 20 different blends in two series of blends ranging from 1.5  oz. cans to 8 oz. cans in limited availability. I’ll let you go to their web site to check them out, I’ll focus on the one I have been smoking these last two days. 
Looking for a nice relaxing evening to my Father’s Day this past weekend, I decided to open the Navigator blend. The tobacco is dark, black vanilla blend said to closely mimic the old school Argossy Black blend. As stated, it is a mild smoke, and while the flavoring of the vanilla can be easily detected, it is not overpowering like some cordial aromatics can be. The blend smelled like tobacco, as it should, and I was quite pleased with the smoke.
The blend is moist, and while I did allow it to air a bit, I did not allow for a full bloom, and after a quick three-layered pack in the bowl of my Kurt Huhn Brandy, light her up – once. One thing I will say about this Navigator blend is that I never had to relight the bowl. It gave me a good, slow, clean smoke that was not overpowering, and even after the burn gave off the vanilla tinge.  I ended that bowl about 20 minutes later, with just a whisper of moisture in the bowl. 
The combination was fantastic. But I needed to know – is it the blend or the pipe? So, at lunch today I tried the same Sutliff Navigator in my Hilson Canadian. Same result. One light, bowl stayed lit, with the same clean, bright smoke and gentle aroma. 
The price on the can from the Tinder Box Tacoma was $18.95 for the 1.5 oz can of this Sutliff Reserve. Certainly more spendy than a few ounces of a house blend delivered in a zip-lock baggie, but less than a great many other choices in the store as well. If there is one thing I learned as a pipe smoker about deciding whether or not you like that blend or not is this: When you were done with the bowl, were you sad, wishing that you still had some left, or were you thinking, “man, I’m glad that’s over!” Well, this passed the test. I was sad that bowl was over and waited impatiently for today’s lunch break to pack another pipe full. 
The smoke was great, the price is right where it out to be (maybe even a little low if anything), and it makes me want to explore the other Sutliff Private Stock blends. Good Call Jeff Packer, you nailed this one.

Brought to you by The Tinder Box Tacoma, WA

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