Review by rothnh
Sutliff Private Stock: Man's Best Friend
Last week, as someone posted here about doing it, I Emailed Altadis to let them know I'd made two requests, 4-6 months apart, yet I'd never received a free promotion "non-aromatic" tin of Sutliff pipe tobacco. I received a reply the very next day, saying Altadis had had problems with the Pipe Auction promotions and they were going to do them on their own Sutliff website from now on. With an apology, I was also informed I would receive "complimentary samples" via UPS in a few days.
My box from Altadis arrived yesterday -- four 1.5 oz. tins of assorted non-aro Sutliff blends. Of course, I had to open one! I am a Sutliff virgin LOL. I chose the Man's Best Friend (MBF).
MBF is supposed to be Altadis' match for Barking Dog, a House of Windsor blend, which, like HoW itself, is long gone -- so long gone, in fact, that I really don't remember Barking Dog much at all, thus I can't compare the two.
Popping the tin of MBF, there's a potpourri of colors -- black, yellow, a few shades of brown -- and a potpourri of scents as well -- latakia, burley, rum, spices. The tin note is so pungent, I first thought this MBF was actually an aromatic, and while quite pretty in appearance, this MBF was mistakenly included in the non-aromatic samples I had specifically requested.
The MBF blend is course cut and this tin is just slightly moist, so I let a bowlful dry about 10-15 minutes. It packed easily in my Group 4 Pipa Croci dublin using my preferred drop-feed method, and the charring light/true light was non-problematic.
The rum is there, upfront in the first few puffs, but it mellows out, though never totally disappears, as the latakia's smokiness comes in play. This is an "American English" blend, similar to Walnut, but with more complexity. While certainly a mild blend, MBF delivers a very tasty smoking experience. The nuttiness of the white burely is there, and also helps cool the smoke. The bright virginias -- definitely playing a condiment role here -- adding some lemony goodness.
With all the stuff going on here, MBF, IMO, verges on being a crossover blend, but I say that because of the rum, which, as noted, is prevalent in this blend. Otherwise, it's a mild English. It smokes cool, stays lit with few if any relights, smooth, zero bite, and the very pleasant flavors hang in there throughout the smoke, burning completely to a light gray ash with no dottle.
I like this MBF a lot. I'm on my third bowl of this stuff since I popped this tin yesterday afternoon. I'm thinking this would be a very good choice for someone looking to expand their horizons from aromatic blends who wants to try a mild, flavorful American English. An added plus is price: The 1.5 ounce tins cost just over $6 and the 8 ounce cans of MBF are about $16 on line.