Silicon Valley may be famed for its garage-to-riches success stories, but tech isn’t the only place where a modest household beginning signals great heights. The tobacco community has our own narrative to crow about—Cornell & Diehl, a source of exceptionally fine tobacco since 1992. That’s the year when Craig and Patty Tarler picked up the remains and miscellaneous recipes of a previous blending operation and set up shop in their garage in Pennsylvania. As the innovation and exceptional branding that marks the company took hold, Cornell & Diehl outgrew their production spaces multiple times, settling recently into a South Carolina warehouse that has allowed them to double their production capacity. Lucky us. Overseen by the deft hand and gifted palette of blender, Jeremy Reeves, Cornell & Diehl boasts a terrifically wide roster of fantastic tobaccos from bold and flavorful Englishes to gentle and pleasing Aromatics. With such a wide array of tantalizing options, we’ve narrowed down a tour of eleven essential Cornell & Diehl favorites among rookies and pipe stalwarts alike for you to try. Read on, stock up, start sampling. Whether you’re new to C&D or their blends are already a staple, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.
Front porch paradise is a balmy autumn evening, a classic novel, and a good stiff drink. The perfect complement for that wind down time? Cornell & Diehl’s Autumn Evening pipe tobacco. Autumn Evening is the company’s bestselling Aromatic. Course cut Cavendish and Virginia tobaccos are flavored with fragrant vanilla and nostalgic maple along with hints of citrus and rum. The result is a medium strength room pleaser available in 2oz and 8oz tins and 16oz bags. If you enjoy your Aromatics and your wind down time, this is a sure bet.
Pipes and books go hand-in-hand. Cornell & Diehl makes the wordsmith and the bibliophile feel right at home with Haunted Bookshop, a tobacco for the literary piper. Containing a blend of burley with a smidge of Perique and red Virginia, you’re in a for a medium strength blend that burns cool and slow. Best of all, the perfect flavor punch of Perique keeps the blend tense and engaging, just like a well-paced novel. Grab a 2oz or 8oz tin or go straight for a real tobacco tome with a 16oz bag.
Blended for the committed Latakia lover, Cornell & Diehl’s Pirate Kake is a medium strength pressed blend with a seriously smooth taste. Burley and Oriental Krumble Kake tobaccos bring harmony and roundness to the Latakia, resulting in a bite-free tobacco with no shortage of flavor and depth. Don’t miss the boat on this one in a 2oz or 8oz tin or a 16oz bag.
Bijou means “jewel” in French, and Cornell & Diehl nailed the name with their Bijou pipe tobacco. An installment in their Cellar series, the base is composed of sweet red Virginia from eastern North Carolina along with an appreciable inclusion of Katerini Turkish to assist in keeping the smoke cool and flavorful. This mild, easy tobacco is flavored with honey and ideal for elevating those muggy southern nights. Grab a 2oz tin to try, but like the Cellar series title indicates, this tobacco is ideal for aging. The smart money will pick up a couple and see how the jewel appreciates over the years.
Keeping the book trend going (there must be some serious readers over at C&D), we’ve got Cornell & Diehl’s Billy Budd pipe tobacco. Part of the Melville at Sea series, this coarse cut tobacco is as hardy as any of Melville’s famed sailors. The tobacco carries a strong room note, and with a good bit of spice, this Latakia, Burley, Cigar Leaf, and Virginia blend is best for the sophisticated palette. While we’re recommending the tobacco, Billy Budd is also one of Melville’s best; a short novel perfectly suited to the pipe.
Look to the stars for guidance. Or at least to Cornell & Diehl’s Star of the East Flake pipe tobacco. This English blend for the experienced piper is composed from Cyprian Latakia and Izmir along with stoved red Virginia. A fantastic flake cut facilitates this cool-burning, medium taste smoke. Ideal for those that want a punchy Latakia blend, try it out in a 2oz tin or plunge for an 8oz for a longer ride.
Just because it’s July doesn’t mean you can’t settle in for some Christmas cheer. From C&D’s Christmas Seriescomes Cornell & Diehl’s Golden Days of Yore pipe tobacco. A ribbon cut Aromatic that’s mild and accessible, this blend affords a robust tobacco range of Black Cavendish, Dark Fired Kentucky, Orientals, and Virginias. Keeping it in the spirit of the season, the full flavor range of holiday cheer is here too: ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and chocolate. Delicious sweet tones make the tin and room note the perfect scented complement on Christmas day, or anytime you want something mild, delicious, and nostalgic.
Another popular Aromatic from C&D, Cornell & Diehl’s Apricots & Cream pipe tobacco has the very essence of dessert blended into it. Containing Black Cavendish and burley tobaccos with apricot brandy, then flavored with cream and citrus, this coarse cut medium taste tobacco has a room note reminiscent of berry cobbler. You’ll love it in the morning with a strong cup of black coffee or as a spritely dessert after a full meal. Available in 2oz and 8oz tins or a 16oz bag.
Cornell & Diehl’s blends always steal the show, and we’re here for their Opening Night pipe tobacco. A member of the Simply Elegant Series, bright and red Virginias are made into a perfectly pressed cake that flakes apart with ease. With a medium earthy taste cut by tasty pings of citrus and a tolerable room note, this is a reliable tobacco sure to go over well with newbies and pipe veterans alike. Opt for a 2oz or an 8oz tin.
In his novel, Redburn, Melville calls tobacco “a solace and a stimulus,” and we couldn’t agree more. Another inclusion from the Melville at Sea series, Cornell & Diehl’s Redburn pipe tobacco is the full-bodied Burley cake cut blend that sees you through life’s long voyage. Blended from burley, Dark Fired Kentucky, and Virginia tobaccos, this is a classic and creamy blend you can slowly puff on all day long. Start with a 2oz tin but don’t be surprised if you’re soon buying the 16oz bag.
The final inclusion on our list is Cornell & Diehl’s Bayou Morning Flake pipe tobacco. A robust and delicious smoke, deep and powerful with strong Virginias and Perique, the experienced piper will appreciate the soft flaking of the cut as well as the deep and present taste of fruits like fig and plum. As the title suggests, this blend is an ideal candidate for a wake-up smoke as one prepares to take on the day. And pipers, take it slow; a heavy nic hit awaits the aggressive piper.
Cornell & Diehl embodies two elements every piper loves: reliability and creativity. Calling on quality tobaccos, expert blending and attention to the little things, along with the company’s disposition toward curiosity and exploration, the result is a broad stable of consistently solid and delicious offerings. We’ve hit a few of the major stops, but there is a much longer way to go beyond these 11 attractions on Highway Cornell & Diehl. Pick out a few of the tried and true blends above to get started, and we’re certain that C&D’s excellence will keep you touring through the rest of their roster