Part 1: The Aromatics

Ok, I know I’ve been on the A’s for ages now, but we just have one more brand to look at before I can finally move on to the rest of the alphabet. I’m finishing off with the Ashton’s range, which is sizeable, nicely varied and features one of my favourite aromatic blends ever! As has been the case with a few other brands I’ve written about in this blog of late, Ashtons started out as a pipe maker in 1983, before their success in that craft allowed them to also lend their name to a range of excellent cigars the following year. Once they had showed their ability in those fields, they finally branched out into producing pipe tobacco itself.

Gold Rush

I’m starting simple with this one, as it is an absolute exemplar of the concept of KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) being an effective rule to live by.  It’s also a rare case of a tobacco really doing what it says on the tin: It is a pure Virginia blend with a beautiful golden hue and a very subtle honey and lemon topping. Considering that lemon and honey are both quite powerful flavours in their own rights, they have done an astonishing job keeping them in line with the strength of the tobacco, which is pleasantly mellow and sweet. The subtle honey taste helps accentuate this flavour, while the lemon allows for an occasional dash of gentle citrus tanginess, to balance out the sweetness. All these elements are just pronounced enough to be noticed but subtle enough to make it a versatile smoke that most palates can enjoy at any times of day.

Smooth Sailing

After starting with an ever so slightly aromatic blend, I’m staying in the same area but turning the dial up significantly with Smooth Sailing. It is a Virginia, Burley and Cavendish blend, topped with a flavour of nuts, cocoa and maple. This is the blend I referred to in the intro as one of my favourite aromatics ever. The reason I like it so much is that it’s a really nice change from the more common fruity aromatics on the market. It has much more of a pudding-y or cakelike taste. The fact I use the word “Taste” there is relevant too; many blends sneakily call themselves “Aromatic” rather than “Flavoured” to protect themselves in the event of people saying they don’t think the taste is as good as the aroma. Well, Smooth Sailing can confidently call itself a Flavoured tobacco, as it tastes just as good as it smells… and that taste is divine.

Guilty Pleasure

Guilty Pleasure maintains the level of flavouring of the previous entry, but goes back to the tried and tested fruit-based formula. However, it manages to retain a unique character by taking the road less travelled and using a mango and citrus casing. This is added to a mild blend of Virginia, Cavendish and Carolina Burley, along with a hint of vanilla. This creates a blend that sits back and lets the fruit do the talking with a big and powerful taste, while its refreshing, tropical nature allows it to be tangy and lively rather than sickly and heavy.

Rainy Day

We’re turning the intensity dial back down for the last fully aromatic blend in this range (you’ll see what I mean in the next one…) with Rainy day, which once again goes for a slightly more

unusual take on the style. The base tobacco is described as a “savoury” blend of Virginia, Burley and Black Cavendish, which is aged in ex-whisky barrels to enhance its flavour. Pipe tobacco is very rarely flavoured in this manner,  so – along with the savoury style of the blend – it makes for a very different character, with understated fruit and nut flavours.

It’s at this point I realise there are more blends in this range compared to the others that I’ve covered in this A-Z so far. So in the interest of keeping this blog brief and digestible, I’m going to split Ashton into two parts: Aromatic and Traditional. So next week I’ll be looking at the more traditional side of this range. Then I PROMISE we’ll go onto the B’s.

Hope to see you then!


Store Manager @ Turmeaus & LCDH Chester

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