Gawith & Hoggarth American Delight. Some people claim this is an English rendition of the classic, ultra-mild, American aromatic style of tobaccos. Some say it’s a less goopy rip-off of Lane 1Q, an ubiquitous “drugstore” vanilla aromatic sold under numerous monikers and brand names. Some contend it’s an English-made example of what 1Q should have been.
Folks even argue it is more like Captain Black Royal (which, itself, is an alleged 1Q imitation). And still others hold that American Delight is an American style aromatic that stands on its own, while their detractors claim it was never an attempt at American style aromatic at all!
Convoluted stuff, to be sure. The most superficial research into the three oft-compared blends uncovers several interesting facts:
- All three blends use a different combination of tobaccos, though all use Cavendish.
- The only blend using straight Burley is American Delight, while only Captain Black excludes straight Virginia.
- All three blends are flavored with different combinations of aromas.
- The only advertised flavor they all have in common is “vanilla”.
Full disclosure here, I’ve never tried Lane 1Q. That said, I have smoked the Captain, as well as a few other examples of the “drugstore” style, so perhaps we can learn something from smoking American Delight today. And if we end up not learning anything, well, at least we smoked something labeled “Gawith.”
Which is usually a good thing.
American Delight is a Burley, Cavendish, and Virginia blend containing:
“A top note of vanilla, caramel and fresh fruits.”
A simple, if not a tad bare tin description. Coupled with Gawith & Hoggarth’s trademark plain green-and-white packaging, it would be easy to gloss right over this blend, either browsing in-store or scrolling online.
In any case, I purchased this 50g tin from SmokingPipes.com for $8.39, where it is currently in stock. Bulk orders are also currently listed, but out of stock at this time. American Delight is, as far as I can determine, still being produced.
After a few weeks jarred, American Delight offers light caramel up front and lakeland floral notes on the back end. We’re not at Ennerdale levels of floral, but the flowers are here, as expected. Somewhere between the over and undertones we find the vanilla. As for the alleged fruit, it’s there, but leans towards some young, unripened variety. There’s a very sweet, but also earthy aroma coming from the tobacco components, and everything is mild and clean and very well balanced. Faint hints of alcohol attend the deepest of inhales, though these are more liqueur than moonshine, and the Burley stands out as dry and slightly musty.
Compared side-by-side to a similarly jarred and stored Captain Black Royal, there’s much more “natural” sweetness and a focused caramel to be found in the Gawith. The Gawith’s aroma is stronger too. That said, I’m remembering both tobaccos were very pungent when first opened. Captain Black is more of a powdered candy sort of smell, and it displays nuances of molasses, with a more-ripe but very subtle fruit aroma that you don’t get with the Gawith. Both tobaccos are mellow and delicious smelling.
American Delight looks a bit like Captain black, too, both blends being cut to easy-burning, wiry strips. The English tobacco is the darker of the two, offering a velvety, moist-but-not-sticky texture that contrasts with with the Captain’s thick and assertive balm.
Focusing back on American Delight, the aromas here are very enticing, almost mouth-watering in their delivery of candied treasures. After a solid 20 minute dry time, it’s ready for the bowl and I’m ready for a smoke.
Sweet vanilla and candied flowers come out almost instantly from first the light. There’s a noticeable and tasty caramel flavor, too, and it’s joined by a mild Virginia tobacco. Retrohales are sweet and creamy and the cut burns evenly and cleanly.
I’m realizing early that this is somewhat less complex than other Gawith & Hoggarth entries, but it is remarkably mild and agreeable to smoke. Simple. Delicious. It’s soft and round and, so far, even easier to get along with than Mac Baren Original Choice, the gold standard for new pipe-smokers everywhere. Tongue bite? Not in your wildest dreams.
Near mid-bowl one finds the light Lakeland essence, staying very low-key but nevertheless giving away morsels of its floral indulgence. The vanilla and caramel from the jar note are well blended and creamy, not unlike a Werther’s Original candy. I’m remembering overstuffed chairs and cozy blankets in the perfumed, wall-papered confines of my long-departed grandmother’s home.
The second half is more toasted, with some darker maple and brown sugar sweetness emerging. One might even call it pancake flavored, assuming you like yours well-done. The Burley nuttiness develops and slightly warms things up. Still, no burn in sight. Also no hint of citrus or sharpness, no tang or mineral copper, no sourness or tartness at all. No bitter ash or soot, just smooth and creamy and dry.
As mentioned above, there are perhaps more complex experiences to be had from Gawith & Hoggarth, among other manufacturers. But to compare American Delight to over-the-counter blends such as Captain Black Royal (or even something like Velvet) is not exactly an apples-to-apples discussion. There’s a deeper, more layered, and certainly drier profile in the English brand than one often finds behind the cash register, regardless of whether Gawith is actually attempting a certain “style” here. The Captain never quite achieves American Delight’s depth of flavor, nor its fullness of body. Velvet definitely doesn’t. Further, while all the above are exceptionally mellow and easy to smoke, you might find the Captain is stickier and more liable to bite than the others if you get careless. The second half of brands like Captain Black or Velvet, or even Borkum Riff Original, are also more airy and dull than you’ll get with the Gawith, though the Velvet is least interesting at that portion of the bowl.
At the end of the day, however, American Delight is another unpretentious, easy-smoking, morning-noon-and-night aromatic pipe tobacco. Though it not without its own identity and unique character, it is — first and foremost — mellow and docile.
Perhaps to a fault, in some smoker’s eyes.
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