Cornell & Diehl – Old Grove

003-016-0211“Though often overlooked for the festive French Quarter, another of New Orleans’ gems lies between City Park Avenue and Bayou Metairie. It’s the Old Grove, home to ancient moss-covered oaks and many more of the city’s oldest trees. Inspired by those monolithic, steadfast landmarks, Old Grove is a unique mixture of bright and red Virginias mixed with dark Burley, Katerini Turkish, black Cavendish, and granulated Perique, cased with a light pomegranate flavor for added sweetness — making for a blend that will age as gracefully as the Old Grove itself. Estimated peak: 10-15 years.”Cornell & Diehl

Old Grove is one of the newest high quality tobacco blends currently on the market.  Having been released in early 2015 (my tin is dated 4-7-2015) this is a brand new revolutionary blend that is going to quickly become a classic.  This blend was created as a part of the Cellar Series, a tobacco line that was blended and designed to smoke better in a decade than it smokes now.

As with the rest of the Cellar Series, Old Grove was inspired by a historic and beloved district of New Orleans Louisiana.  Old Grove is one of the hidden treasures on NOLA that is every bit as unique and decadent as the tobacco.  Not only is this “borough” in NOLA an incredible optical display of historic establishments, but the tobacco blend is covered in a fantastic new artwork that features the Fleur-de-lis and colors pertinent to the area.  No matter if you choose to smoke it now, or stick it in the cellar for a few years, this is sure to be a new favorite of many smokers.

First Impression

By reading the label, you will notice that this blend has been enhanced with a light pomegranate casing.  Well either I have a different definition of light than C&D or pomegranate is way more aromatic than I realized because there is an incredibly strong aroma of tart pomegranate immediately upon popping this tin.  So typically, I would not label a blend that has only a small amount of Back Cavendish an aromatic, but Old Grove seems that it can only be an aromatic.

Old Grove is composed of Bright and Red Virginias, Dark Burley, Katerini Turkish, Black Cavendish, and granulated Perique.  This tobacco, unlike the rest of the Cellar Series which is packed in a crumble cake, is a loose cut blend.  I suspect it had to be loose cut because of the strong casing put on.

This blend is a little moist.  I suggest letting it dry out for 15-30 minutes on the table upon opening.  This should prohibit too much moisture in the bowl.

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 11.26.21 PMSmoke

I feel as though I should warn you that this tobacco expands very aggressively.  I lost quite a bit of tobacco from the bowl and happened to get a burn mark on on of my favorite pairs of shorts!  This wasn’t C&D’s fault though, it was mine.  Pack your bowl about 1/4″ below the top to prevent this.

The flavor of this blend for me was very straightforward, especially considering that there were six different tobaccos in the blend.  I just got a strong tart taste that must have come from the pomegranate casing.  I could feel the effects of the Perique and the Turkish in my mouth more than I could taste it, if that makes sense.  They definitely deepened the flavor profile, which was nice, but they didn’t stand out.  I can’t tell if I liked it or not.  I was very torn.

This smoke really seemed to give me incredibly large plumes of smoke, which just makes it more fun to smoke.

I will say that without letting it dry out, it smokes hot and moist.  I had to run a cleaner through my pipe twice during each bowl, just to keep the moisture under control.

Room Note

There is absolutely nothing bad to say about the smell of this tobacco!

The taste and tin note directly carry over to the room.  The strong sense of pomegranate is actually more subtle in the room than in the tin, which is probably a good thing, for it was very overpowering there.

In some aspects, I feel as though the aroma is the main draw for this blend, not the taste; as if it was blended for the connoisseur who wanted their family to enjoy their hardy tobacco.

Pairing

The place I smoked this blend was at a good friends house, on a beautiful summer evening.  I enjoyed pairing this blend with 2 things:

1) A good blonde summer ale.

2) Some good friends who will be able to enjoy the finer things in life, like beer and relaxation, with you.

CellarSeries2Strength

As I do with every review, I like to do a little research.  I always try to hunt down other reviews to see what others thought of this blend and I like to read the descriptions from online stores so I can see if my experience was as advertised.

In this case, SmokingPipes.com has given Old Grove a medium/full strength rating.  I must disagree.

I think Old Grove is a mild/medium strength tobacco.

For whatever reason, it was just not very potent to me.  Perhaps it will become a stronger blend after it has aged a decade.

Overall Score

You know, I still don’t really know what I think about this tobacco.

I don’t know what else to say about it.  It had a straightforward smell, it smoked clearly (but plainly), it had a great room note, but it also had an inconsistent strength.  BUT…even after all this, I would smoke it again.

There is something about it that caused me to have a connection to it.  And what the hobby of pipe smoking comes down to is what each pipe and each tobacco means to each smoker.  So I like this blend.

I give Old Grove a 5 out of 10.

I don’t think I can overlook the weirdness of this blend, even though I happened to like that weirdness.  I don’t believe five is a bad score.  I just think that I am leaving a ton of room for it to improve over the next few years.


Pictures provided by Cornell & Diehl and SmokingPipes.com.

 

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