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A cool full bodied mixture, with added Latakia and a fine bouquet. For the experienced smoker.

BrandMurray Sons & Co, Ltd
Manufactured ByScandinavian Tobacco Group
Blend TypeOther
ContentsLatakia, Virginia
Packaging50g Tin
ProductionCurrently available
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Medium, Medium to Strong
None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
28 reviews
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Monopod Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Monopod (24)
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Overwhelming

I must be missing something here, when others have rated this 4stars. The smell when the tin was opened reminded me of days spent in England working like slaves in the hayfields. It has, for me, nothing to commend it. No nuances of taste, and if this should contain latakia my tin had obviously dodged the gnome that should have put some in. The aftertaste was as though I had chain-smoked 100 capstan full-strength cigarettes, including the bottom of a parrots cage. As a more senior person, I am not made of money, and having bought this phoney I feel compelled to suffer it to the bottom of the tin.

I have yet to try a Scandinavian tobacco that I enjoy. The more I try, the less likely that will be.

With cigars, the cigar connoisseurs talk about " ..a fag smokers cigar." This is the pipe smokers' equivalent.

I have been reduced to having to buy St.Bruno to mix this with to make it the slightest bit smokeable. Yeuch !!

Add to "room note" this smell made my wife retch and head for the door.

Pipe Used: BB , Peterson;

Age When Smoked: Out of tin.

Purchased From: Blameless.

Similar Blends: Hopefully, NONE.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I think those who enjoy Latakia/Virginia in full measure will appreciate Punchbowle. It is sweeter than sour and does carry a heavy load of taste. The leaf, typical of Murray's, was well aged and smooth. Rich, creamy and smooth, Punchebowle is a crowd pleaser.

I can see where this was a classic.

2 people found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (302)
Strong None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Very Strong

Personally I find this blend rather bloated, in the rough sense of the term. It is not so much that it is a strong tobacco (Nightcap, Balkan Sobranie or Commonwealth Mixture are also full bodied mixtures, yet they are smooth, rich and diverse in flavor!), but that it lacks depth and, if I may say so, tobacco ?eloquence?.

I am afraid this is a common trait I find in Murray Sons' other two renderings within this range (Parson's Pleasure and Barney's Ideal). I don't know if it has to do with the quality of the leaf, their blending process or the targeted market for these blends---the three are rather cheap---, but in my opinion they all seem to be a bit on the raw side, with rather poor components, and unfortunately monochromatic and dull.

Punchbowl is, in fact, slightly similar to Gawith's Commonwealth Mixture (KBE Mixture across the Atlantic). They are both a full-bodied blend of Latakia with Virginias. I don't believe Punchbowl has any Turkish or other Orientals in the mix (Commonwealth has none), but if it does, as one reviewer has put it, they are difficult to pick up. The result is, from my point of view, a very heavy tasting tobacco, with a harsh undertone, lacking in diversity and richness of flavor.

PS: I have chosen the Extremely Mild (flat) option in the Taste section, because although Punchbowl is very strong, the monochromatic flavor renders it a flat and dull concoction, at least for my palate.

2 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1646)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Murray & Sons - Punchbowl.

Lots of Latakia and just a splash of Virginia. The Orientals sit in the middle, outshined by the Lat'. The burn from it's good, but it has to be aired prior to smoking to reduce the moisture. The burn from it's fairly cool, only creeping toward medium if pressured.

Nicotine: medium to strong. Room-note: quite full.

Punchbowl: highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Commoys

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: MySmokingShop

1 person found this review helpful.

Peter Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peter Piper (41)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I see that this venerable old English blend hasn't been reviewed on here for quite a while, so I thought I would remedy that!

Much about this tobacco is old-fashioned, from the tin through the classic Virginia and Latakia blend and on to the fine shag cut. Credit must go to Scandinavian Tobacco, the current makers, for respecting these traditions.

The presentation makes packing and burning easy, something else that the more edgy modern styles could learn from.

And oh, what a pleasure to smoke. A perfect marriage between the separate elements, ostensibly simple ingredients brought so skilfully together. It works its charm consistently throughout the bowl, with a wondrous exchange whereby both the Va and Lat seem to take turns in popping up to say "hello," never in competition, but always in co-operation.

Smooth and relaxing, totally delightful, transporting me to a calmer place. Honestly, it's that good.

Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

SteveH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteveH (35)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This was one of my favourite tobaccos during my first incarnation as a piper, back in the 70s and 80s. Trying it again on my return to the pipe this year, I found it as I remembered. This is what I wrote about it in my notebook: "Latakia mixture. Dry, smoky, slightly salty, reminiscent of Islay single malt whisky. Excellent." (Actually, to be strictly truthful, that's what I wrote about Peterson's 'Old Dublin'. What I wrote about 'Punchbowle' was "Pretty much identical to Old Dublin". There you are - two reviews for the price of one!)

I've just up-graded it from "Recommended" to "Highly recommended". I'm smoking it as I type, and it really is a wonderful tobacco. It doesn't taste salty any more, and neither did the earlier tinful after the first two or three smokes, but it is well-rounded, dry, dark, and with liquorice and dried-fruit hints. A wonderful tobacco - my firm favourite in the 80s, and again now, though it isn't made by Murrays any more, having moved to Denmark. I've just read some of the other reviews, and note that other reviewers have also compared it to 'Old Dublin'. Thanks to DK for reminding me what the middle member of the trilogy was. I'd been racking my brains - I knew there was another one, in between PP and Pb!

Age When Smoked: New

Similar Blends: Peterson's Old Dublin.

1 person found this review helpful.

TonyC Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TonyC (13)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Picked this up in Coventry (UK) while on vacation. I was intrigued, as I had not run across this blend stateside.

Upon opening the tin, you can smell the telltale campfire aroma of the Latakia, with a slight sweetness on the nose, as well. It has the look and feel of higher-quality tobacco. My tin had a nice moisture level and smoked well from the first bowl.

It's a nice English mixture, with a fair amount of Latakia flavor, and a higher than average vitamin N level without a packing too big of a punch (no pun intended). Probably not going to win raves as "the best English ever", but a nice blend with good character and very little downside.


Note: All due respect to odinbaal, as I hadn't read his review prior to writing mine. Kudos, my friend, I couldn't have said it better myself (though apparently I tried anyway!).

1 person found this review helpful.

who broke my clay pipe? Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
who broke my clay pipe? (61)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

From old notes i wrote down a few years ago after smoking this.

"Upon opening the tin one is greeted by the familiar odour of latakia etc with a slightly fermenting mango fruit odour - uh oh!,,,;dont worry though as this overipe fruit smell goes within about half an hour of opening the tin & isn't a sign of things to come and doesn't return in anyform or flavour..

Full flavour(well nice without blowing its strength out of proportion,,its a medium english par),,,creamy salted butter(virginia's)licked from a slightly burnt and well seasoned old wooden cooking spoon(latakia).

More buttery than smokey(i could use other adjectives of simularity but they divert from what is the true flavour of this,,;so i could say soap and leatherish,but not really),,a true easy melt in the mouth classic IMHO.

Superb english(is it english?)not as complicated as "965 my mixture" or "old dublin",but no worse off for it - less is more sometimes and this holds its own in a way that makes others seem cluttered ,,nice baccy i thought;same strength as 965 i thought and it tasted like salted butter on slightly burn't on one side slice of toast (thick white sliced bread) which was toasted over a fire,,,;what it didn't have in it (oriental and cavendish)amplified the rest that was(virginia and latakia).

My tin was blended by "Murrays" BTW ;definately a buy again brand and its quality is on par with "peterson" or "dunhill" quality.

No casing whatsoever! - definately a plus! (when will blenders realise that casings are so unnecessary on english tobacco's?)

Don't let the name "punchbowle" put you off - this is an all day smoke easy,,and not as strong as you might imagine;this doesn't really have a punch - its just quality bowl.

The two components in this blend can be tasted separately like two instruments working in harmony to produce a combined single song."

^^Sadly while smoking this i must of dropped the clay pipe i was enjoying this stuff in ,because the rest of my notes are cursing the fact that i cannot get such a good flavour from my other pipes,,;quote;-"every other briar makes this taste like an old soapy sweaty paraboot"

Uncomplicated and no mystery topping as far as i can remember, to me it was like 965 without the condiments(absent orientals).. Honest strait forward and basic medium but quality english. (I have recently ordered some more tins of this.)

I shall leave it there and say that in my best clay(which i have since bought multiple spares of)this baccy tasted excellent and the absence of my best pipe taught me about how some baccy's require a golden ratio of bowl shape,capacity,material,and air flow to get the best tuning for my taste and cadence of puffing.

1 person found this review helpful.

odinbaal Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
odinbaal (6)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable

I was in Exeter, UK, in 2010 on vacation and visited "McGahey The Tobacconist" in search of a replacement for Dunhill My Mixture 965 (wasn't back on the market at that time). Martin McGahey was kind enough to advise me to try Peterson's Old Dublin and Punchbowle. Punchbowle (as well as Old Dublin) was great. Dark, heavy Latakia with a touch of fruitiness, the perfect (to me) mixture between smoky and sweet (more on the smoky side, though). Highly recommended, especially when smoked outside.

1 person found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

After finishing my tin, I guess I can see why no blender has picked this up after Murray & Sons went out of business. It exhibits no major flaws but it doesn't do much to recommend it, either. It's probably the best of the "trilogy" of Parson's Pleasure, Barneys and Punchbowle, but that's not saying a whole lot.

Heavy on the latakia and orientals with a less-than-top drawer batch of virginias, this one smokes fine top to bottom, although it gets a bit harsh during the last 1/3 bowl. This one just sort of "is" - nothing to get excited about and nothing to be missed. If you're into latakia, there are a bevy of blends out there more satisfying than this one.

1 person found this review helpful.

Contemplative Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Contemplative (22)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Came across an interesting and amusing anecdote/review concerning this mixture (the Barney's version) in a 1949 copy of the New Statesman and Nation (a leading periodical in the U.K.) acquired by me for £1 ($2) at a stall in a Kent(U.K.) steam fair this August. It would be a shame for the anecdote to be lost to posterity.

The anecdote features in an ad, which firstly consists of a photo of the Punchbowle tin (lettering looks identical to that available from my online stockist, James Barber, except the bottom half is of course now covered by an obligatory alarmist nanny-state warning about smoking).

Underneath the photo is the headline: 'PACKING IN PERFECT CONDITION, ONE YEAR AFTER SHIPWRECK - an echo from Tobruk.'

Then this letter, received by the manufacturers in March 1949:

'I was very much interested in reading your advertisement in Geographical Magazine.

In early 1943, when I was in Tobruk with 8th Army, a N.A.A.F.I. boat was wrecked on the rocks on the South side of the harbour. My Regt. had a S/L site close by and they soon helped themselves to what was to be found. Amongst the booty were some tins of Barney's Punchbowle which had been under water for some days. I had the pleasure of smoking it for nearly a year afterwards. It was in perfect condition, showing that the packing was faultless.

Some days ago I met an old 8th Army friend who also had some, and in fact finished the last in N.Italy in March 1945.

Yours faithfully,

......... Late Capt. (27 S/L Regt R.A.)'

Note: N.A.A.F.I stands for Navy Army and Air Force Institutes, suppliers for the British armed forces.


Update 12th March 2008: Finally got round to ordering a tin of Punchbowle some days ago. Have been very pleasantly surprised by the smoking experience.

I expected something indifferent or even unpleasant, but this has not proved to be the case. This is a fine-cut, rich mixture, with what seems a very even blend - not too much of either the latakia, virginia or brown cavendish. There is a slightly tarry but not unpleasant sweet top note to the rich, nutty smell when you open the tin.

That tarry edge, possibly molasses-like, is evident when you smoke the mixture. You get a pretty even, slow smoke. There is absolutely no bite from smoking this stuff, no rasping of your throat, either, even after repeated pipefuls. It is a very pleasant smoke, and you do notice the flavour, but it is not as strong as, for example, Dunhill's My Mixture, which has a similar mix and flavour (I think!!) and which I had been smoking just before. Unfortunately, My Mixture seems to have a coarse after-effect on my throat and chest, which Punchbowle doesn't have at all.

I can thoroughly recommend Punchbowle as a throughly decent mix which you will undoubtedly enjoy. You might, however, hanker after something with more pronounced flavour - though this flavour is very good - but I hope that the stronger stuff doesn't affect your throat as it often does mine.

Note: my tin has an 'SP' emblem above the word Punchbowle, and I see that this stands for John Sinclair, as there is the wording 'made in the United Kingdom for John Sinclair Limited' underneath 'Punchbowle.' However, on the underside of the tin I read 'made in Denmark by Orlik tobacco company A/S'! So which is it? The latter, I suspect.

1 person found this review helpful.

Noorrmm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noorrmm (193)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

One of a trio, the heaviest of the group. The others are Parson's Pleasure and Barney's. This is mostly dark ribbon, with the aroma of Latakia. There is a good Va base, and some Turkish spice in the nose. Flavor is just what you would expect from the aroma, full, smokey, slightly sweet and spicy. Good complexity, cool, dry and easy on the palate. A real classic.

1 person found this review helpful.

shrimpy jim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
shrimpy jim (5)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

My reason for commenting on Punchbowle is that the lady in my local tobacconist in Liverpool told me that this blend is about to cease production very soon if it already has not.

Pipe Used: Petersons,falcons,bewlays and more.

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: many places over the years

Similar Blends: None that I can think of..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

garydobbs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
garydobbs (20)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

Reminded me a lot of those classic English blends that have long since vanished and that's a good thing....that's a very good thing indeed. There'sa heavy nicotine content to this tobacco and if smoked too quickly it the big N makes itself known with a head rusd, but when savoured there are some pretty intense flavours within this tobacco. It smokes easily and leaves a wipsy ash in the bottom of the bowl - I detected hints of caramel and oatmeal and am immediately going to have another pipe full of this beauty.

Pipe Used: Falcon International

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Black Swan shoppe,

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Anglesey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Anglesey (4)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

One of my favourite blends. Stronger than presbyterian mixture, more interesting than Nightcap, lat heavy that drives the blend and stays with it from beginning to end. Easy to smoke, with the classic latakia smell and taste that affirms it's presence. Couldn't taste the virginia terribly strongly, but it's certainly there.

Low maintenance, easy to smoke and keep lit. As others have commented, this is not a delicate or refined blend in the slightest, but in my opinion, this only works to it's betterment. Living by the sea, the salt rich air is a perfect companion. I'd like to store this, but I just go through it so fast...

Pipe Used: Briar, clay

Age When Smoked: always fairly fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Presbyterian, Nightcap..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mesh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mesh (50)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Rough, unrefined, indelicate, perhaps, but also satisfying, low-maintenance and spot-hittingly stout. Not a blend I would return to often, and by no means my favourite English, but I can see how it can be a favourite for many.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

grinny Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
grinny (2)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium Tolerable to Strong

Vapid. Banal. Uninspired. Like enduring an endless stream of cliches.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DEN-C1956 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DEN-C1956 (32)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

well i have took the plunge and my first tin of punchbowle has been opened.after a few pipes of this blend its not bad...easy to light..draws well and for me no tounge bite,its just the job for sitting outside in the garden or in the living room..relaxing,nice aroma..and when opened the smell of the tobacco is quite nice,i found myself having a few bowels of this within the hour..and each one was as enjoyable as the one it gets a thumbs up from me..i will be buying more of this for sure..nice.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I have recently shifted house from an inland, very dry climate with extemes of cold and heat to a coastal, humid and warm climate. From smoking with air-conditioning or a fire ablaze I now smoke with windows open, the air heavy with moisture. Concerns have shifted from preventing tobacco from drying out too much too fast to prevent it from getting too moist. Enjoyment of various blends has also changed somewhat. Balkan Flake and Odyssey taste better, Bohemian Scandal a shade worse than it used to.

The turmoil of shifting house brought up some forgotten tobaccos. A pouch of Ridgeback, an African tobacco, dried and crumbled into unsmokeable dust; a half tin of Balkan Sobranie`s Virginia No 10, also alas unsmokeable; a flattened cylinder of a tin called Hamborger Veermaster by Planta ... and among others, a battered and dented, but otherwise intact tin of Punchbowle.

Visually, the tobacco is an attractive melange of light brown, dark brown and black leaf. The tin aroma is somewhat reminiscent of Durbar and Royalty, in a muted way. In the pipe the mixture burns well, and there is definitely an oriental presence, apart from the virginia and latakia. Burns down to a fine gray ash, with no wet dottle. It is almost four star stuff, but there is a distinct rough edge at the beginning - as in many highly regarded Balkans - but the rough edge never goes away, and the permanent twang is distracting. But good stuff nevertheless.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A good English Mixture, balanced towards the Virginia leaf. I would have liked a little more latakia into that, to make it a little smoother. It's in the line of Dunhill mixtures, very classic.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Steerpike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Steerpike (60)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I have a few tins of this almost as old as the tins of Barney's which I enjoyed so much, and hoped that they would be the same, but with more of the divine Latakia. Unfortunately, these tins are blended by Murrays, according to the card insert, and the batch number shows them to be rather more recent than I thought.

The virginia content is not the same nutty, earthy stuff that I enjoyed so much in the Barney's, it is brighter and sweeter, much more like the bland bright leaf found in new tins of Parson's Pleasure. However, this tobacco does have a goodly dose of latakia, and abundant smokey, musty, woodsy smells pour out of the freshly opened tin. The age has allowed the components to integrate, and meld into one another to quite an extent (newer tins smell sharper, the smells of the tobaccos standing out sharply as individuals).

It lights with ease, but needs relights as it is quite moist. The flavour is rich and full, with a background sweetness that balances it quite pleasantly. The aroma is rich and delicious, as an english mixture should be. All in all, a very enjoyable tobacco, but not so outstanding as the Barney's. Two friends of mine who recently took up pipesmoking tried it, liked it, and now rarely smoke anything else, so I can reccomend it as a good tobacco for those new to the pipe- better than tormenting them with sticky, tasteless cherry vanilla type blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I think Noorrmm's review describes this very well. This is a very tasty English blend. However, I do not pick up any Turkish. This is an easy blend to smoke, a suitable amount of latakia for an overall smokiness combined with a very nice Virginia component with a naturally sweet undertone and top shelf quality tobaccos. Well recommended to the English blend smoker. Paddy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.