As most (read all) of my pipe smoking experience has been with aromatics (either Cavendish or a Cavendish that has had toppings added) I have very little experience with anything else. The other day I was at the pipe store and was looking at their bulk and tin selection.

My question is, why do many of the "English" blends or types smell like an old leather bound book? They have a VERY distinctive aroma pre-smoked compared to the Aromatics that I have used.

Do they smell the same way (room note) when they are smoked? It isn't that it is an off-putting aroma just very very different to what I have smoked.

I ask as when I was stationed in Spain years ago, they had these cigarettes they smoked (Not sure of the brand) that smelled like burning cow hair. Those reminded me of growing up on the ranch and working cattle. The smell was almost like the smell from branding cattle.

I would like to try some of the English blends, but don't want to just jump in and not really know what I am smoking. I'd hate to, through beginner's luck, pick the strongest blend and then be put off of trying others.

Any recommendations of a mild English blend to try?

Thanks all for any help.