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The Tobacco Files 28 - G. L. Pease Cairo & Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie

The Tobacco Files 28 - G. L. Pease Cairo & Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie

Posted by Greg Rosenberg on 4th Mar 2024

G. L. Pease Cairo & Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie

For the February Tobacco File, I decided to treat myself. As one who smokes widely—that is, I'm not so inclined to keep to a few favorites blends, and am always trying to explore something new. For that reason, one tin can stretch quite a while, but once something is gone, it may be some time before I return to it, even if I really enjoyed it.

One blend that grabbed me early in my pipe smoking was  G. L. Pease’s Cairo, from the blender's Original Mixtures. It's one I've thought to return to for some time, so this month, I figured why not indulge myself? For the second blend, I settled on a mixture (this one new to me) that also sees Virginia, Perique, and Oriental in harmony—Seattle Pipe Club's Galloping Gertie.

If you've read other Tobacco Files, you may notice a departure in format here. Instead of my usual approach of giving my impression in two or three entries per blend, I'm now consolidating my notes into one overall impression for each. However, I've adding a "From the journal" section, where I choose a few excerpts, copy-and-pasted straight from my "smoking journal" (okay, it's usually a Google Doc), that I think offer a neat and succinct sum up. 

I'm not settled on this format, but I was getting the idea the old way was clunky—if you prefer it how it was, I encourage you to reach out and let me know!

G. L. Pease Cairo

G. L. Pease Cairo pipe tobacco info

A wonderfully complex mixture of red, orange and bright Virginia tobaccos, exotic Oriental leaf, and just a whisper of perique. The flavor is naturally sweet, slightly nutty, delicately spicy and rich. Subtle citrus-like notes harmoniously support the more robust flavors of the darker Virginias. A medium bodied tobacco with a delicate aroma, Cairo will satisfy Virginia lovers and the connoisseur of Oriental mixtures alike.

It was early in my pipe smoking journey that I tried Cairo, in fact, it was the first Pease blend I had the pleasure of smoking. I remember it as one of those breakthrough moments where the fog clears and you "get" something you had been missing. In this case, it was a clearer sense of the role Oriental tobacco plays. At the time, my experience with the sun-cured leaf was limited to English blends. Latakia being a fire-cured Oriental itself, its no wonder the ingredients are intuitive companions in a mixture, but I wasn't sure what characteristics of a smoke could be attributed to the Oriental. That came after some time experiencing it in different contexts. Cairo was the first non-English containing Oriental I smoked, and I found it so delightfully different and interesting from the first bowl. I distinctly remember getting an ounce or two of Cornell & Diehl's Izmir Turkish blending tobacco while on that Cairo kick so I could try the varietal in isolation. 

All this background is just to say, it's been awhile since I've lit this one up, and I was quite green when I did. So, a bit more seasoned in my pipe smoking now, I'm eager to return.


Removing the paper insert reveals a nest of bright and red ribbons, freckled with the dark Perique, though it’s lightly present. The tin note is nutty and woody in a lightly petrichor way. There's a tinge of sweetness.

G. L. Pease Cairo pipe tobacco cut

Setting out a pinch, the ribbons seem to be ready to go. Far from friable but not moist to the touch, lively and springy. 

During that first pack, which was in my Brigham Chinook 02, I noted there was more long ribbon than I thought, seeming more coarse cut before.

Lighting up

Each smoke of Cairo starts off as hassle free as you could hope for. The first minutes usually has me noting toastiness; warm, subtle sweetness; nuttiness; and wood. There’s plenty of Virginia hay and bread in harmony with the Oriental, which is to the dry, woody side.

G. L. Pease Cairo pipe tobacco in Brigham Chinook 02 tobacco pipe

The first couple minutes are mellow, which quickly submits to a darker, earthier version of what is already there. The Oriental is forward and offers woody, stalky vegetative, and herbal notes with a spice that’s tactile on the palate.

The Perique is peppery and brings a lot of that weighty spice, though in Cairo, it doesn't have the more meaty quality that I get in heavier Perique mixtures, such as Galloping Gertie. By "heavier Perique mixtures," I mean blends with a higher Perique ratio, not necessarily stronger. Cairo actually has quite a punch. That light Perique application seems very intentional here, offering the body for the Oriental herbal and spice to pull forward.

In my notes from several smokes I mention a light vinegar accent, but it doesn’t seem I notice it consistently. My current smoke in my Larus & Bros Signature estate pipe I do not.

G. L. Pease Cairo pipe tobacco in Larus & Bros Signature estate tobacco pipe

One interesting development through this month, I’ve realized a preference for packing Cairo a bit denser than is my instinct too. I’ve gotten a lot out of it that way—richer flavor and a very steady smolder.

Smoked beautifully down to the very bottom, though gets a little acrid at the heel—just a little indicator that you’ve enjoyed a good smoke.

Strength:   ◙◙◙◙◙◙◙○○○
Taste:      ◙◙◙◙◙○○○○○

From the journal:

Feb 01, 2024 in Brigham Chinook 02 Billiard

  • Toasty bread, hay, vegetative, and herbal tea are on show from the jump. Citrus accent brings something interesting, slightly nutty

G. L. Pease Cairo pipe tobacco in Brigham Chinook 02 tobacco pipe

Feb 10, 2024 in Larus & Brothers Signature Dublin

  • Starts with that familiar vegetative and herbal flavor, but getting much more Virginia sweetness and cedar wood and hay. More body to the smoke.

Feb 22, 2024 in Bent Meerschaum Billiard

  • Like an herbal tea with just a lilt of sweetness, a nice accent to the woody, natural, rustic and slightly bitter sensation

Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie

Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie info

Seattle Pipe Club's Galloping Gertie take its name from the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge that spanned the Tacoma Narrows Straight in Puget Sound and collapsed just four months after it opened due to aeroelastic flutter caused by high-speed winds. Seattle Pipe Club's tribute to the ill-fated bridge is a crumble cake of red and black, stoved Virginias, St. James Perique, unsweetened Black Cavendish, and a touch of Turkish Orientals. It provides a somewhat complex, yet savory flavor profile and is a remarkably unique Va/Per.

Since the first featured blend was a return to an old favorite, I figured I'd choose something new for the other. I'm a big fan of Seattle Pipe Club, but haven't smoked many of the B-sides. My experience is with the flagships—Plum Pudding, Mississippi River, and some of the iterations thereof—and the more recent Signature Series—HogsheadGive Me Liberty, Virginia Jazz, and Down Yonder (I've linked those that have been featured Tobacco File blends). Galloping Gertie intrigued me as a somewhat untraditional Oriental-VaPer, so I guess that's the theme we have going for the February File.


Opening to pull-tab lid, I find several crumble cakes, sliced thin and stacked neatly. I’m immediately hit with the aroma of Sutliff’s vinegar Red Virginia. I'm suddenly curious as to how Galloping Gertie compares with Give Me Liberty, a straight Virginia from Seattle Pipe Club in the Signature Series, which similarly makes use that identifiably Sutliff casing. Of course, Galloping Gertie differs in its ingredients beyond the Virginia.

Galloping Gertie pipe tobacco cake

The tin note isn’t overbearing, but it's the sort of sharp scent that cuts, attenuating what other aromas might otherwise show through.

Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie pipe tobacco cut

Breaking down one of the slabs, it’s somewhat moist to the touch, but reasonably ready to smoke, if not ideal. 

Lighting up

That vinegar note is there from the light, as are sweet bready Virginias. With some smokes, I'm surprised by how quickly I get the Oriental attributes which are somewhat earthy and sour here, blending very nicely with the Perique which has the chewier, umami quality to it. I say I'm surprised because I notice with the more acidic vinegary casing, I often need to acclimate before I notice much beyond it. 

Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie pipe tobacco in Capri tobacco pipe

That said, some smokes I've had of Gertie don't seem to feature the Oriental side so much. The only predictor to this I've noticed seems to be how neutral I'm coming to Galloping Gertie palate-wise. If I've already smoked a somewhat bold blend recently or have eaten or drank something that really lingers on the palate, I don't get as much out of Galloping Gertie. It isn't bad in such cases, but I feel like it's that Oriental that is Gertie's differentia from similar offerings such as Sutliff's VA Perique Crumble Kake.

Perhaps highlighted in the sharpness of the topping, the bright notes of citrus and grass are very noticeable but have their place on the palate, not obscuring the darker side of the profile.

Though I find the Oriental component dims in some smokes as I approach the end of the bowl, Galloping Gertie is otherwise a very consistent blend. Just as coming to the blend having already enjoyed a bold smoke seems to lessen the Oriental presence, I imagine it is the palate fatigue of the current smoke that has a similar effect by the end of the smoke.

Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie pipe tobacco in Tsuge E-Star 66 tobacco pipe

I have developed a preference for giving this one a little dry time, 20 minutes or so, before lighting. It’s not that it's so finicky if I don’t, but I feel I get a more vivid flavor that way.

Strength:  ◙◙◙◙○○○○○○
Taste:     ◙◙◙◙◙◙○○○○

From the journal:

Feb 03, 2024 in Capri Billiard

  • Between the dark flavors and body, vinegar and sweetness, there’s a red wine character that is up my alley.

Feb 20, 2024 in Peterson Sherlock Hansom

  • The high sharp notes are never hard to find, but they’re less distracting when a little drier I feel, and in a wider bowl perhaps. Right now, at that start, I get more bready (which complements the sweet better) and wood. 

Seattle Pipe Club Galloping Gertie pipe tobacco in Peterson Sherlock Holmes Hansom Sandblast tobacco pipe

Feb 23, 2024 in Tsuge E-Star 66 bent Brandy (side-by-side with Give Me Liberty)

  • Give Me Liberty is similarly rich in flavor, but I get more depth possibly from being less sharp. This is coming from a jar that has spent almost a year sealed, which makes me curious as to how Gertie may differ from some time sealed away.

Until Next Time...

It's no surprise that similar ingredients do not mean similar blend, but my experience with our two featured blends this month really drove home that reality. The difference that grades, ratio, cut, and casing made couldn't be starker. 

As always; feedback, advice, requests, corrections, friendly hellos? Please send 'em my way—