Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening. The pipe tobacco that smells like pancakes. The pipe tobacco that won’t leave you harassed and harangued by passing pedestrians. The pipe tobacco you can smoke inside without spousal reproach (your mileage may vary). The pipe tobacco that attracts bears and other medium-to-large mammals.
I’m not certain that last statement is 100% true. It might attract human beings, maybe. But bears, I suppose I’d rather not find out.
In any case, Autumn Evening has a bit of a reputation for being an extremely flavorful blend, as well as C&D’s best selling aromatic. For a company that sells more tobacco blends than you can shake a stick at, it’s hard to say whether that distinction puts it far ahead of other blenders’ offerings, or if Autumn Evening is simply the least-bad blend in a muddled pond of overly-eclectic aromatics.
To find out, I’ve got this tin of Autumn Evening right here. Which is good, because we can smoke it together, inside, and we might not be scolded later.
Autumn Evening is a Virginia blend that includes a cased rendition of Cornell & Diehl’s proprietary Red Cavendish. The blender describes:
“The smoker will appreciate the taste of fine Virginias while those around will flock to the warm, inviting fragrance.”
No mention of whether “those” includes large carnivorous animals, however perhaps it is safest to always be prepared for such happenings.
I bought this two ounce tin of Autumn Evening from SmokingPipes.com for $9.78. It is widely available at other retailers, in tins or in bulk.
Crack the tin and immediately one is transported to a bakery during peak pastry production. The dense aroma is buttery and sugary and very sweet, with a light bready-yeast character. There’s also maple syrup and whisky, indicating perhaps Autumn Evening has taken me out for one of those trendy alcoholic-drink breakfasts I keep hearing about. Sugary vanilla rum and a very low hanging citrus tang attend the deepest inhales.
This is really quite sweet smelling. Perhaps even overbearing and cloy, for some. That said, my favorite breakfast food is a hot ham and cheese on powdered French toast sandwich dipped in maple syrup, so it goes without saying that I’m enjoying the tin note immensely here. Unbelievably deep sweetness, but mouthwatering nonetheless.
The coarse cut Virginia and Red Cavendish blend is perfectly dry out of the tin, which according to the date stamp was packaged on March 17th 2017, a mere two and half months ago. I’m wondering how such a heavily incensed blend is not sticky or moist. One might even call this particular batch ‘crispy’.
The cut is dark and loose and drama-free. It packs very easily.
Right from the first light there is big maple flavor that is very sweet and very dark. The room note moves powerfully and immediately fills the walls with a heavy pastry aroma. That yeasty, fresh-baked character of the Red Cavendish provides much in creating the french toast/pancake effect on display here.
Very cozy and compelling and I’m already thinking about having breakfast for dinner.
Butter and burnt toast are available to the senses, but the sweets remain the strongest components here. A very faint grassy Virginia citrus comes out near quarter-bowl and it’s light and airy.
Owing to its well-dried tin manners, Autumn Evening burns mild and cool for the most part. One gets the message that heavy puffing will result in bite, but the quick, even burn of the coarse-cut blend allows great control over cadence. From a wide mouthed bowl like the above-pictured Compari, and especially out of a sweet cob like a Missouri Meerschaum Legend, this blend sings. Burning sweetly and with just the right amount of airflow to keep things cool but full of flavor.
The second half presents a mild sourness and a light, but warm mouthfeel. A noticeable nicotine rush enters my brain, even after desensitizing its receptors with a few bowls earlier today. Very pleasurable, and very comfortable. Things have remained mighty sweet though, even for an avowed sweet-tooth, perhaps proving true that old admonition, too much of a good thing. Still, the Red Virginia Cavendish shines a bit here with its sour yeast beginning to cut through the cloy.
I’m remembering all those times my mother told me not to eat too many sweets, and the stomach aches brought on by my disobedience.
Autumn Evening certainly lives up to its reputation as a heavily flavored aromatic. And yes, the smell is probably irresistible to others, even if they don’t smoke. Comments will be made, regardless of who’s doing the smelling.
As for comparisons, I’ve never encountered a tobacco flavored this sweetly, or with this much maple-breakfast character. I suppose one might compare it to Gawith & Hoggarth American Delight, or Mac Baren Original Choice, or perhaps even Captain Black Royal. But none of those are nearly as decadent as what C&D have created here. And they’ve managed such decadence without the goop, without the bite. Instead, there’s an alluring and inviting character that seduces and surrounds the smoker.
You might just catch a new friend with this one.
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