Pipe Tobacco: Back Down South by Briarworks

  • BDS~$16 for 2 oz jar
  • Purchased at Embassy Cigar (Anaheim Hills, CA)


Whenever I travel, I always keep an eye out for cigars I haven’t tried before…especially ones I would like to review. This last trip to California, I ended up finding plenty of cigars…and ran across a couple of irresistible jars of pipe tobacco, as well. I was at Embassy Cigars in Anaheim Hills when I spied tiny Mason jars of pipe tobacco, which is a method pipe aficionados use for storing and long-term aging of tobacco. These tobaccos come ready to “cellar” from the store!

Briarworks started out as a pipe brand, based in Nashville. I’ve actually communicated with one of the principals of the company about bringing their pipes into Burns, though we haven’t made that leap yet. Apparently, they licensed their name to Cornell & Diehl in South Carolina, one of the premier U.S. makers of pipe tobacco over the last 25 years or so…and voila!…Briarworks pipe tobacco.

I’m starting this short look at these tobaccos with the easier of the two that I picked up: Back Down South. The C&D website describes this as a Virginia and Perique flake “Perfect for front-porch sittin.’” They note that it has flavors of figs, dark chocolate and a slight peppery spice.

I found it amusing that I had to go all the way out to California to get “Back Down South,” but you can also find C&D products in a wide range of stores throughout the U.S.


As noted before, the packaging for the Briarworks line is small Mason jars. They are authentic to the point of being two-piece, with a disc lid and a screw-on ring that holds it in place. It creates a truly good seal, too. I had broken it open shortly after my trip and then didn’t get around to re-opening it for 3 weeks or so, by which time, the disc came off with a loud pop, just like the first time I opened it.

Sticking my nose into the jar, I got a rich and heady mixture of sweet fruit and chocolate aromas. The tobacco is flake cut into fairly narrow strips. It was moist and flexible. This was my first experience with flake so I had to ask…you take a rub it between your fingers to break it apart before loading it in a pipe.

BDS3I loaded up my churchwarden pipe that I’ve designated for aromatic tobacco use and lit up. Back Down South had a mellow sweetness that definitely had the fig note, but chocolate was a little harder to pick out. The pepper was a slight burn on the palate.

As I got into it further, I got more of the dark chocolate flavor to mix with the fruit notes while the pepper kept a steady spicy tingle. I’m not usually an aromatic pipe tobacco smoker, but this one was nice enough that I burned the entire bowl down to ash, even relighting multiple times to get it all (I’m not practicing enough with the pipe to light it once and burn it all the way).

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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