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Royal Challenge is a blend of red and golden Virginias with smooth black cavendish with a delightful rum flavor that's enhanced by sweet spices. An all day type of mixture. Royal Challenge is an especially good partner with an early morning cup of coffee.

Notes: Introduced by K. Hansotia & Co. (which makes Gurkha cigars) in 2015.

BrandEast India Trading Co.
Blended ByRuss Ouellette
Manufactured ByK. Hansotia & Co.
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Virginia
FlavoringRum, Spices
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
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Medium, Medium to Strong
Room Note
Very Pleasant
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King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (228)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

This aromatic blend is very similar to it's sister blend, Officer's Club, but without the citrusy overtones. Unlike OC, RC did not lose it's spice aroma on airing out and it was the least moist of the three East India blends that I smoked. In fact, my tin aired out in one evening to produce a nice smokeable product; something neither of the other two blends in the series could accomplish. I enjoyed smoking this blend and that is saying something as I don't do many aromatics. As I smoked it I kept thinking that it was like smoking an aromatic Scottish blend - strange but enjoyable. It works fairly well in micro blending but does not equal it's star sibling Celler Reserve - three stars.

Pipe Used: Charatan Selected 44

Age When Smoked: 4 months old

Purchased From: pipes and cigars

Similar Blends: other than it's stablemate Officer's Club, I don't know.

9 people found this review helpful.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (117)
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

An attempt at a more premium rum flavored tobacco but, as anybody who has tried to flavor tobacco with rum or any other liquor knows, it doesn't really work. Just adding rum to tobacco doesn't give it a wonderful sweet character. If anything, it's very subtle and usually dulls the tobacco. The base tobacco does have a somewhat muted, light sweet character as if it is cased with rum with no alcohol notes but this blend gets that extra dimension from added dark-fired vanilla black cavendish that is akin to what would be found in typical moist aromatic cavendish from companies like Sutliff. Despite the description and the so called prestigious and historical name of East India Trading Company, this is just not something natural and/or authentic. It's a very modern blend with modern manufactured aromatic qualities albeit less intense. Aside from all this critique, it's a good rum aromatic with more body, flavor, less top flavor(aroma casing) and less moisture than it's cheeper cousins. The added spices in the description gives it an almost coconut note which is among the qualities I didn't care for. I think it would be better if a more natural tasting virginia based black cavendish was used instead. Some may really like this as a large step beyond the super moist humectant laden tobacco that still possesses very attractive aromatic qualities. The crowd will like this one.

6 people found this review helpful.

Bishop’s Pipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bishop’s Pipes (15)
Very Mild Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Bananas. All I tasted is bananas. This is awful. I can’t even finish the bowl and this tin will be given away or thrown in the trash. Negative 5000 rating for me.

3 people found this review helpful.

Novaki Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Novaki (41)
Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant

Remembered this blend being more enjoyable when it was fresh. Does not age very well. I let a small sample sit for about a year. The flavor became more earthy and lost most of it’s sweetness, which certainly has its appeal. The rum note was still present but not so enjoyable. Still burned rather hot as to be expected from a rum soaked cavendish. Still possessed a dusty cellar / nutmeg flavor that I found rather unique and interesting. Maybe not a “must try” but definitely interesting enough to give a slight recommendation to the curious. If you like rum cav, you’ll most likely enjoy this. Not really my cup of tea, though I can understand the appeal. I just wish it were easier to get them to smoke cooler.

Pipe Used: Cobs

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: P&C

Similar Blends: I might suggest [#2390] Lane Limited - Captain Black Royal for that dusty cellar flavor that I assume is aged Virginia. But I think CB still uses humectant, but in lesser quantities as of 2019.

2 people found this review helpful.

canvas Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
canvas (337)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Medium Very Pleasant

[edit: The second tin was also wet from topping making it a pain to smoke, and the flavor wasn't as exciting as before - demoting a star.]

I had my first taste of Royal Challenge after a night of drinking Dark Rum and Coke, and truth be told, it was a smooth transition with almost identical flavor points. The tin is filled with wet spongy ribbons dripping with topping. In fact the whole paper insert was stained through. That topping however, is spot on spiced rum.

This stuff packs light and must be made of a highly flammable casing, since you hit the bottom in record time. There is an artificial feel to the taste that reminded me of several chocolate aromatics (like Lane's BCA), though of course the chocolate has been replaced with a different dark sugar rum sweetness. The nicotine is quite light and you could smoke it all day, but like too much candy it will get sickening after several bowls.

While I can't help but wonder how many carcinogens went into flavoring this aromatic, it sure is a tasty treat. In fact it smelled so nice, the lady of the house smelled it down the block from our house!

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

TXBulldog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TXBulldog (74)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This has a great flavor throughout the smoke without that over the top casing effect that some others possess. Great smell right out of the tin and it transcribes likewise into the smoke experience. This is a nicely done tobacco with great nuances throughout the entire smoke that keeps it interesting and truly enjoyable. The rum provides a soft and consistent presence and a sweet underlying tone remains through the smoke. The virginias play nicely and keep the smoke interesting. If you are looking for a good aromatic, I think you would enjoy giving this one a shot.

Pipe Used: la strada bulldog

Age When Smoked: New Tin

Purchased From: P&C

2 people found this review helpful.

Bbrown626 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bbrown626 (150)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

I didn't care much for this when I first received it, so I put it on a shelf for a year. I just picked it up again. It burns consistently with few relites. But when I measure it with other rum blends it just doesn't measure up. The casing is uninspired and it starts to get bitter in the last 1/3 of the smoke.

Pipe Used: Grawbow rRiyal Duke

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

Der Pfeifenraucher Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Der Pfeifenraucher (71)
Mild Strong Medium Very Pleasant

This is your typical middle of the road aromatic. A little bit moist in the tin but still burns OK. The tin and room note on this one are phenomenal. You get smacked with the rum every time you pop the top on this guy. Not just rum but some spice and maybe vanilla/caramel. Its really yummy. But, as with most Cavendish blends the experience leaves you wanting more chemistry. I have a hard time giving aromatics a 4 star lately.

Pipe Used: Grobows

Age When Smoked: New to 4 months

Purchased From: P and C

1 person found this review helpful.

HobgoblinTA96 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HobgoblinTA96 (60)
Very Mild Medium to Strong Very Mild Very Pleasant

This Nancy is very similar to Officers Club. Upon opening the tin, there is a very pronounced scent of berries. This did not transfer to the smoke however. The vanilla coke theme is prevalent throughout without much spice. Note, this well ghost a pipe as well. The berry flavoring used in the top dressing of this blend well remain in the pipe. I found this rather strange, as said before, the berries do not come through in the smoke. Perhaps they are covered up by the strong vanilla casing. Still, a descent baccy and an excellent American Style Aromatic. Cheers.

Pipe Used: Various Billiards in different sizes

Age When Smoked: One Year

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: American Style Burley Aromatic.

1 person found this review helpful.

Stinkypipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stinkypipe (155)
Extremely Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable

Nope....just not there for me. Very little flavor to me throughout the smoke. Not anywhere close to the flavor of Officers Club. To's a loser.

Pipe Used: Peterson P-lip

Age When Smoked: Fresh out of tin

1 person found this review helpful.

michaelc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
michaelc (40)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This blend is very tasty. Spiced rum comes to mind when opening the tin. It is less moist than either Officer's Club or Cellar Reserve. I smoke this mornings and it goes well with my coffee. At times it is an after dinner smoke as well. All of East India's blends are very good, this being my second favorite of the three. It lights easily and burns evenly to a nice ash. The taste of rum and spice is present throughout. It has a very pleasant room note. It is a cool smoke if sipped, but like many aromatics it can bite when smoked quickly. I recommend this for those who like a great flavored aromatic.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: New from the tin

Purchased From: P&C

Similar Blends: Decatur Dark Sweet Rum.

1 person found this review helpful.

Bassrep Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bassrep (25)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant

I REALLY like this tobacco. I am an aro kinda guy. I am also a Mild-Medium kinda guy with Medium about as strong as I like. I like rum, chocolate, vanilla, and cherry, not necessarily all mixed together. I'll agree with another reviewer and say that I pickup some creme brûlée. The rum isn't fake-ish rum "flavoring" but tastes like dark rum was added at some point and the alcohol gassed off until it was JUST RIGHT! Packs nice, after the charring light it stay lit even freshly opened.

Pipe Used: Briar

Age When Smoked: Freshly opened

Purchased From: P&C

1 person found this review helpful.

ricogonzo23 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ricogonzo23 (1)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Having an itch for rum pipe tobacco, I recently ordered the Rum Punch sampler from I have to say that this has been an evenly balanced and mellow smoke from light to finish. Upon opening, my girlfriend detected scents of apple, cherry, and vanilla. To me, it has a creme brulee aroma. I should mention that it arrived rather moist and that I had to let it dry for about 15-30 minutes. Cavendish is present throughout. When the gold and red Virginias do come through, they provide a nice balance. Will update in the next couple of weeks for further remarks.

Pipe Used: Design Berlin Sandblasted Pipe

Age When Smoked: New, fresh out of tin, no aging

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Brunello Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brunello (166)
Mild Medium Medium Pleasant

When fresh I enjoyed this and Officer’s Club about equally, but this one has definitely aged better. When I first popped the tin the aroma was like Irish coffee (coffee, Bailey’s Cream, and a shot of rum for good measure). Flavors followed the aroma – coffee, cream, dark rum - with maybe a touch of caramel. I never really noticed any cinnamon or nutmeg, but there’s already enough going on. I found it a bit rich to actually enjoy with my morning coffee, but had no problem with it as an after lunch treat. Moisture content was high, but not ridiculous like Officer’s Club, which was one of the wettest I’ve ever had. Both are obviously loaded with PG, but other than create a little more effort to get the burn rate going, I can’t taste any negative chemical flavors. After that initial flush of discovery, I set the jar aside and explored other blends. At one time I had 504 mason jars of tobacco in my cabinets!

Fast forward to just this week, four year later. In that time Officer’s Club completely fell apart, stewing in its own unctuous flavorings and PG juices. But for some reason Royal Challenge survived, and to my taste, may be slightly better now! Some of the really over-the-top richness has now been moderated. I can now enjoy with morning coffee, since in cold months I tend to add a little creamer anyway. Flavorwise this falls into the same family as my favorite 4-star Rivendell (from Country Squire) but without any natural tobacco coming through. This is a full-blown aromatic, stays quite moist, but tastes ‘clean’ at least, and I’m fairly critical of chemical tastes.

This is a fine effort in this genre by Russ Oullette, and it reminds me a little of another of his that I like: “Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans.”

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