Home Tobacco Talk

Let's Talk OTC Tobaccos/Best Of

I love the high end tobaccos as much as the next guy, but lets talk about the OTC stuff, the tobacco your father could run down to any store in town and grab. The pouch/tin your granddad always had in his shirt pocket ready for a pipe. Personally, I'm a codger burley man, and I would put Sir Walter just ahead of Carter Hall on the top of my OTC list. What's on top of your OTC list?


  • mhajecmhajec Enthusiast
    I haven't smoked much of the OTC to be honest. I did start out smoking Prince Albert though. I have tried Carter Hall, Sir Walter and Captain Black Gold, can't really say which I liked over the next. Seems as if I'm going to have to go pick some up and put them on trial.
  • My OTC would be, as I mentioned in my discussion, Carter Hall, but I didn't smoke it on a regular basis. Captain Black Gold was my blend for a long time when I started in the hobby.
  • To this day I still like a bowl of Sir Walter. Keep a pouch of it in my desk at work. Carter Hall is alright, have not tried to much Captin Black or Prince Albert may have to pick some up and give them a try.
  • I used to like Kentucky Club the best. It's now gone, so I would put up Lane Ready Rubbed, which, in the old days, was available in drugstores.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh regular is always in my tobacco rotation. It was my father's favorite and probably my first smoke. l sometimes mix it with others. Right now I have some SRW with a little Latakia that I'm enjoying. I recently used a coupon to try Half and Half but it has a cherry taste that I dislike so I'm going to mix it with SRW. I like all the Captain Blacks I've tried except cherry.
  • IMHO you can't beat Prince Albert. Better then Carter Hall. Captain Black original is my go to. Gold and Dark are also good. Haven't try Sir Walter yet.
  • I started out in the early 70s smoking Borkum Riff. My grandfather smoked George Washington until he couldn't get it anymore and then Prince Albert and Carter Hall. Personally, I tried but didn't like Captain Black for some reason. 

    Have about a half pouch of Half & Half sitting in my truck with a cob. The pouch has been in there since the middle of July and it still hasn't gotten crispy.
  • If you have a half pouch of Half & Half, the half you have has to be the second half, having already smoked the first half. Unless, of course, when you opened the pouch you inadvertently smoked the second half first.
  • Prince Albert is alright if that's what's available, but if Carter Hall is next to in on the shelf I reach for the CH every time.
  • I haven't had any OTC honestly BUT most consistently I hear Carter Hall praised. 
  • I haven't had a whole lot of different OTC but Price Albert was what I started smoking with my first pipe so it will always have a special place in my heart.
  • RedhorseRedhorse Newcomer
    edited September 2016
    My grandfather smoked Velvet and SWR. My great grandfather was a Prince Albert man. I have tried all the above but have to admit Borkum Riff, Mixture With Black Cavendish is probably my favorite OTC blend.
  • I wanted to try some of the old OTC's so I just ordered some Prince Albert and some Sir Walter Raleigh so i'll update after I've tried them.  My next order will include Carter Hall and Velvet.

  • @Darmon I look forward to your thoughts on those! Still haven't tried Velvet yet myself
  • Way back when, I bought a pouch of H&H and Borkum Riff for a camping trip. Both were deal killers for me.
    Since then, I picked up some Captain Black, SWR and SWR Aromatics - Captain Black was the winner.
  • Another codger burley still around is Granger. Not easy to find, however.
  • Back then, Edgeworth Ready Rubbed, I have 1 ounce left., I think I'll smoke it if I make it to New years. Today, Carter Hall.
  • Have you tried Lane Ready Rubbed, @woodsman? Lane was making ETT when it was discontinued; according to them,it's the same blend.
  • I like Half and Half , as well as Velvet . PA is so so.
  • @ Country Squireradio, I'd love a OTC episode
  • Jud: No, I haven't, is it worth looking into? I always have a tub of CH open, I don't even let them age. I'd really like to extend my OTC choices.  
  • Just my opinion, just because a tobacco is or was at one time available at drugstores, convenience stores or gas stations doesn't mean it is low grade or inferior to tobacco you buy in a tobacco shop or on-line. What it does mean is that you are buying a tobacco that has been around for a long time because pipe smokers in the past liked it. Look at some of the brands like Prince Albert, Carter Hall, Sir Walter Raleigh. All three of those are OTCs that are still making a lot of money for the manufacturer. If they weren't, they wouldn't still be making and selling them.

    On another forum someone mentioned that he believed OTCs were the lowest quality tobacco the companies got and was combined with the cuttings and floor sweepings. Nothing anyone posted could alter his belief. He is an idiot. The main difference is that the OTCs are all burley based pipe tobaccos blended using recipes that were created 100 years ago. 

    In my opinion the stigma about a pipe tobacco being lower quality if it's an OTC is the fabrication of  those who blend and sell "higher quality" pipe tobacco. This is much the same way as jewelry stores telling young men you have to spend the equivalent of 2 months salary on a diamond ring or your fiancee will know you don't love her or that a Pontiac was a worst car than a Chevy even though there were made at the same factory.
  • I enjoy Carter Hall and Prince Albert. There is nothing at all wrong with an old-fashioned OTC.

    Where OTC blends turn me off is in the toppings/casings. A lot (not all) of them have a lingering, chemical flavor that I find very offensive. It reminds me of those hand grenade "juices" or cheap icee pops I had as a kid. They tasted like chemicals. That same chemical flavor is present in some of the OTC, while in some others it is overwhelming.

    I'm always willing to try an OTC, and I agree with @pappyjoe that only an idiot won't give something a try that has been enjoyed for so long by so many people. If I try it and it has that chemical taste, which says nothing about the tobacco base and everything about cheap, terrible topping/casing options, I will throw it away and never look back.
  • Always Borkum Riff. My Dad had good taste!

  • @tomatobodhi - That's just it. There were some OTCs that were heavily cased and not only left a chemical taste behind but the feeling that you had been sucking on a bar of floral soap. Most of those are either not in production or not readily available now.

    I'm just frustrated by the snobbiness of some pipe smokers...
  • @pappyjoe - Yeah. I feel the same way about beers, too. Beer snobs will turn up their nose at something because it isn't 'small batch' or 'artisanal' or some such, ignoring the fact that mainline beers became so ubiquitous precisely because they provide a consistent, quality product for the price.
  • Back to the OPs question... Granger is a good OTC, too. In fact, the vets in our pipe club were chatting about this very topic the other day and 'the pointer' was mentioned by several as a go-to blend.
  • I love OTC blends.

    I'm a big fan of Prince Albert and Captain Black Original. Have some Half and Half I've been meaning to try as well. Been searching for anyone that has any of the HoW Country Doctor, Field and Stream, and Sugar Barrel squirreled away to no avail. I want to try Granger but I can't commit to a full tub and finding someone willing to part with a few ounces has been difficult. I've heard nothing but good things about LRR so I might have to pick some of that up soon.
  • I've enjoyed Edgeworth Ready Rubbed for a long time, I've seen the good comments about LRR as well and I'm waiting for someone to do a review on it.

  • I recently bought a pouch of Carter Hall for the first time in 35 years of pipe smoking.  It's the best OTC i have smoked
Sign In or Register to comment.