I wasn’t into the online pipe tobacco community for very long before I began hearing rumblings and whispers of a pipe tobacco that would, should you dare smoke it, “ghost” your pipe with its strong flowery essence, forever imbuing whatever subsequent blends you sent through the pipe with a sticky, soapy taint. Ah yes, Ennerdale from Gawith Hoggarth & Co. Ltd. is certainly considered a well-perfumed blend of tobacco, for better or worse, but will it really stain your favorite pipe for the rest of its natural life (or yours)?
I had to find out.
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. describe Ennerdale as:
Our best selling flake by a wide margin. Predominately Virginia leaf from Brazil, Zimbabwe and Malawi (86%) but with the addition of sun cured Malawi (10%) to add sweetness, strength and to cool the smoke and Malawi burley (4%) to “carry the flavour” in addition to its cooling and strength qualities. 
TobaccoReviews.com lists it as a Burley/Virginia blend flavored with “Almond, Floral Essences, Fruit / Citrus, Rum, Vanilla”. An interesting bouquet of aromas and flavors going on there, though, admittedly, “Floral Essences” is not the most descriptive item in the list.
Ennderdale is blended and packaged in the UK in the “Lakeland” region, known for its high quality, European-style aromatic tobaccos. I purchased a 50g tin from smokingpipes.com for (at the time of writing) $8.39 USD. It’s also available in bulk.
I was apprehensive upon first opening the tin, having heard so much negative and positive chatter about this legendary blend from various online pipe tobacco enthusiasts. My fears were allayed once the sweet aroma of Ennerdale reached my (not quite quivering) nostrils.
The scent is…well it’s like…kind of…hmmm.
It’s certainly a bit surreal to be unable to accurately vocalize what you’re currently smelling. There is a definite “floral” scent to it. Not “soapy” (at least not to my senses), as many have described it. I could certainly imagine a soap that was scented with a flowery, Ennderdale-esque aroma, but Ennerdale does not itself smell like soap.
If that makes any sense.
Yes, definite soft flower and sharp citrus notes coming from this flake tobacco.
But “floral” and “citrus” don’t hardly say it. At least not completely. There is something else there, some aroma I know I’ve smelled before. Maybe a long time ago; it now escapes me…
In any case, Ennerdale Flake looks like a wonderful sort of old hardwood board (the picture above does it little justice!). There are flecks of white running through the “grain” of the flake and it feels quite dense. This gives the tobacco a “high quality” look and feel. Very fine looking stuff. I broke the flake up gently and left it to dry for 15 minutes before packing it up.
I decided to use my first, and most favorite, pipe for this experience. Partly because I’m impulsive and irrational, and partly because it had developed a very off-putting, quite “plastic” flavor no matter what I smoked through it.
Behold. My first ever pipe, a pre-1980 GBD New Era 867 (bent billiard), made in London, England. I picked this up as an estate pipe (it is older than I am, so I was sadly unable to purchase it when it was new) for around $80 online. I’ll devote a separate blog post to this pipe, but for now it suffices to say:
- I love this pipe
- I was very sad when it started tasting like plastic
- Ennerdale, with its reputation for heavy ghosting, was my plan to exorcise the plastic ghost
Moving on, I think Ennerdale tastes sublime. Definite flower and citrus notes in the retrohale, as in the tin. There is also a certain “oily” mouthfeel to the smoke, as if the smoke is quite dense and apt to coat whatever it touches. This combines with the citrus notes and provides a sort of ‘citronella’ aspect to the smoke, in a very delicious way.
Even with some larger “strips” of flake in the bowl (a testament to my novice pipe smoker status), it burned wonderfully. Right in the sweet spot between too fast and too slow. Hardly touched my lighter.
That smell though, what does it remind me of? The flavor and the room note give me some kind of vague nostalgia about a sweet aroma I must have smelled long ago, but can no longer remember. Maybe it is citronella candles, and the many hot-humid sticky evenings I spent as an adolescent on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Whatever it is, it leads to good feelings and a comfy experience on the porch.
Very relaxing smoke that paired very well with an Einstök pale ale and (later) black tea. I won’t soon forget that first smoke. Wonderful.
I’m still somewhat new to pipe smoking, so at this point I’m curious for new experiences and I never smoke the same thing twice in a row. However, that first night I smoked 3 bowls of Ennerdale back-to-back-to-back.
Oh, and as for my little GBD, after 1/2 a bowl of the Ennerdale, there isn’t a trace of that awful flavor any more. The plastic ghost has been completely exorcised, and I couldn’t be happier to have my first and favorite pipe back in the rotation.
But did I just trade one ghost (plastic) for another (Ennerdale)?
I don’t think the Ennerdale ghost is permanent, however. It seemed to get less and less prominent the more I smoked other blends through this pipe, and the farther I got away from that first, incredible smoke. I’d imagine that after some time, the flavor will extinguish naturally and permanently.
That is, if I could just stop smoking Ennerdale (I won’t).
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