New Pipe Tobacco Range: Chacom!

I have a rare but very welcome experience this week in Chester; a whole new range of pipe tobacco has just arrived. New individual pipe tobacco blends aren’t that common, so it’s especially exciting when we get a whole new range (and not just because It means I get the arduous task of taste testing it…)

This time our new arrival is from brand with whom you might already be familiar: Chacom. However, those who already know of Chacom will most likely associate them with their pipes, rather than pipe tobacco. Chacom (a portmanteau of “Chapuis-Comoy&Cie”) are a French pipe-maker from St. Claude with a well-earned reputation for making extremely high-quality pipes. They are a small, family-run company, with their current MD being the sixth generation to head the small team of 20 dedicated employees. After a storied history of pipe-making they have decided to throw their hat into the ring of tobacco blending, by launching an interesting and varied range of four tobacco blends. Naturally, that means it’s time for me to roll up my sleeves, fire up my pipe and get to taste testing!

While the range is small – featuring just four blends – Chacom have done a very good job of giving a wide range of blends a fair representation, with two natural/non-aromatic blends and two with casings, as well as a combination of three shags/ready rubbed mixtures and one flake.

Chacom No.1

Chacom are starting off their range with a traditional English mixture that confidently and competently hits all the right notes. It utilises broken Virginia and Black Cavendish for a comforting, naturally sweet base, with the broken flake style of Virginia allowing for a cool and slow burning smoke. Naturally, this wouldn’t be a true English Mixture without a little bit of added spice: this comes in the form of the classic combo of Oriental tobacco and Cypriot Latakia. As is often the case, this stands at the forefront of the blend’s flavour, giving it a rich, smoky taste with a slight hint of perfumey spiciness. However, they manage to nail the essential task of not letting these elements completely overshadow the other tobacco, but simply allowing each to enhance the character of the other. It is fairly strong, but not flooringly so, all in all a very well-balanced blend.

Chacom No.2

While it would’ve made sense for me to work through these blends in numeric/name order, I’ll be honest and say I couldn’t resist trying this one first after reading the description. This aromatic blend uses a base of “Various Virginia and broken Virginia” as well as Burley and Black Cavendish. All of these have been chosen for their natural sweetness, so as someone with a massive sweet tooth, it would have already really appealed to me. However, that’s not the thing that hooked me. That would be the casing: a “Delicious but subtle flavour of fruity yellow plum and sweet vanilla.” Right?! As someone who loves it when blends use slightly more “Out there” flavours that stray off the beaten path, I couldn’t resist a plum-based flavour. Man, I can tell you it does not disappoint. The tobacco itself is sweet, but subtle enough that the fruity flavour can shine and it does so beautifully. The taste and aroma with its sweet fruitiness and vanilla reminds me of a delicious comforting pudding, like fruit sponge (or maybe crumble?) with custard. Super warming and comforting but without being overwhelming or sickly. Definitely a potential all-day smoke and I can’t recommend it enough.

Chacom No.3

Chacom’s third blend is another sweetly cased aromatic. This time, they have gone for a mixture of double fermented Black Cavendish, golden and red Virginias and a small portion of Burley. This is topped with a “Bourbon Vanilla” flavour. The Black Cavendish makes up a large proportion of the blend which gives it an extremely smooth, creamy and slightly sweet flavour and the casing really amps up that sweetness, while still remaining pleasantly light. Personally, the aroma and flavour of the casing reminds me of honeycomb, with a satisfying crisp edge to the sweetness. It is definitely the sweeter of the two aromatic blends, but it manages this without being sickly. The room note is super enticing too; my colleague, Joss walked by while I was testing this one and he immediately asked for a bowl so he could also “Help me test it.” Always a promising sign…!

Chacom No.4

The final blend in the range, Chacom No.4 is a flake cut, Virginia and Perique combo. “VaPers” – as they are often referred to – are very popular among pipe aficionados, yet they are surprisingly uncommon (pure Virginia/Perique blends, that is, without other tobaccos mixed in too.) For some reason, Chacom have decided not to actually state that this is a flake cut tobacco on the tin, so it might come as a surprise to some people. I can’t see it being a huge issue though, as this is a masterfully made flake; fine and precisely cut, mid-brown in colour with some golden highlights and some smaller, dark patches. It rubs down very easily and is packaged at a perfect level of moisture content, so it is ready to be rubbed, loaded and lit straight out of the tin, with no need for drying. This makes it an ideal “First flake” for a curious new pipe smoker. For a Perique-driven blend, the flavour and aroma are surprisingly subtle, as the four-week cold-pressing process really gives the tobaccos time to marry and merge flavours. The Virginias have that classic sweet tang that develops a great toasty character as the bowl progresses, while the Perique adds an ever so subtle layer of fruit and spice to elevate it from a straight Virginia blend. As I’ve already said, this would make a great introduction to flake tobacco. However, now I’ve tested a few bowls, I can also say it would make a great introduction to Virginia/Perique blends (or just Perique-centred blends) in general.

So that’s the full range of Chacom’s new pipe tobacco blends. Overall, I’m impressed; In a small range they have managed to give even representation to a number of different types of blends and styles of presentation, while also offering something a little different from the standard varieties. Not only that, but they have done so with impressive competence for a completely new range. I’d strongly recommend trying them. If you can’t make up your mind on which to try first (and frankly, I wouldn’t blame you; even now, I’d struggle to pick a favourite) we offer all four in a sampler, so you can do your own taste test.

Amazingly, Chacom isn’t the only new range of pipe tobacco to launch recently, we have another brand new range to test, which I’ll be covering in my next blog. You’ll have to wait till then to see what it is though. Hope to see you there.


-Store Manager @ Turmeaus & LCDH Chester

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