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The Tobacco Files - Sutliff Pipe Force Episode II

The Tobacco Files - Sutliff Pipe Force Episode II

Posted by Greg Rosenberg on 19th Jun 2024

We’ve made it to the penultimate blend in the Pipe Force series—the second collaborative effort between Per Jensen and the Sutliff Tobacco Company—Pipe Force Episode II - Sergeant Kimble. 

Sutliff - Pipe Force Episode II - Sergeant Kimble

Sutliff Signature Series Pipe Force Sergeant Kimble Episode II Pipe Tobacco

A mellow, sweet mixture of Bright, Red, and Stoved Virginia offers the exceptional base for smokey Latakia, floral Kentucky, spice of Stoved Katerini and the ambrosial berry and spice of Katerini Perique. The result is a harmony of flavor in perfect balance.

Pipe Force has been defined by the introduction of Stoved Rustica and Stoved Katerini, each blend using at least one if not both of these varietals developed specially for this series.

In the case of Episode II, we have Stoved Katerini, but we also see the return of the novelty that was the impetus to the Birds of a Feather series— Katerini Perique. Of the six mixtures in that preceding line, only two—Uno and Anomalous—featured the Oriental that was barreled and pressure fermented a la the infamous Louisiana spice, Perique. Episode II will be the third application of Katerini Perique, and I imagine the last.


Opening the tin, I’m greeted with a single, sizable piece of cake; mostly dark with light mottling.

Sutliff Signature Series Pipe Force Sergeant Kimble Episode II cut

The aroma from the tin is an earthy smokiness, a dark petrichor aroma. A light vinegar acidity peeks through as I sit with the tin note.

The “grain” of the pressed leaf goes longways, making it easy to pull a strip from the side of the cake to break up.

Sutliff Signature Series Pipe Force Sergeant Kimble Episode II cut

The moisture is pretty near where I like it. The cake has a glimmer that made me expect something more moist than this—probably just a glossiness the abundance of dark, stoved leaf gives off. It also breaks up into a more broad, coarse ribbon, which I think aligns with Sutliff’s "plug" style crumble cake. 

As is tradition with this series, my first smoke is in my Georg Jensen De Luxe estate pipe.

Lighting up

Given the various components in Episode II, it should come as no surprise that there is plenty going on in this flavor profile. My experience with this blend has been difficult to pin down, offering something different each smoke, whether it's noticing something new or finding a feature to be more or less pronounced. That said, I think I've located a familiarity for what I might expect when lighting up this complex mixture. 

Pipe Force Episode II in Georg Jensen De Luxe S779
Pipe Force Episode II in Georg Jensen De Luxe S779

Pipe Force Episode II certainly has a smoky forward character and Oriental flavor that places it within the  English genre. Oddly, I don't think I had that impression so much when I sampled the Pipe Force blends over a year ago when they were developed. Those English attributes were there, but I found it more wild-card, eschewing any particular category, broad as they may be. I still think it stands out as a unique mixture, but English at heart. 

The smokiness is the first thing I notice, but it seems the Latakia and Kentucky are in a harmonious duet. They bring a dry earthiness, woody, with a floral spice, not so much to the meaty side. 

The body often brings stewed and dark fruit, berry skins. Weaving about the other players, zesty herbal spice finds those gaps that may otherwise have the reaches of the profile in contest with one another. In my experience with Pipe Force Episode II, larger bowls bring this balance out.

I often find when the flavors settle a bit, the woodiness and spice of the Oriental component and the caramelizing of the Stoved Virginia and Katerini develops into something I can best describe as a sweet birch-y resonance—almost root beer. 

Pipe Force Episode II in Molina Barasso 107
Pipe Force Episode II in  Molina Barasso 107

Maybe it's a mind trick since they are both "kitchen sink" mixtures with Katerini Perique, but I feel Pipe Force Episode II is a more English-style take on  Uno—the blend that introduced Birds of a Feather. 

As for smoking properties, some smokes took a bit of coaxing to get a consistent smolder, asking for a few char lights. Considering the components—a good amount of fire-cured and stoved varietals—this isn't all too surprising. With a little patience, Pipe Force Episode II offered a nice burn. Still, some drying time became a preference, offering a little more ease.

It's complex and flavorful each smoke, but how those flavors interact varies to my taste. But it is all carried on a decent body, not quite full, but assertive, especially in its darker, earthy character. 

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

Until next time...

The final blend in the Pipe Force saga invades October 22, 2024—Pipe Force III - Lieutenant General Marshall. This will close the series with a final blend using both of the unprecedented components developed for the series, Stoved Katerini and Stoved Rustica, which are joined by Kentucky and Virginia.

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