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Kensington is a Balkan style blend with restraint. Bright and red Virginias are combined with richly flavoured leaf from the orient and Cyprian Latakia in perfect measure for a wonderfully balanced smoke. Slightly sweeter than Charing Cross, and not quite as full due to a more delicate hand with the Latakia. Spicy, with an occasional suggestion of orange blossom. Complex, but never ponderous. A slightly lighter variant of the classic style.

Notes: Kensington was released in March, 2003.

BrandG. L. Pease
Blended ByGregory Pease
Manufactured ByCornell & Diehl
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging2oz Tin, 8oz Tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy BnB Tobacco
Product Image
Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 2 Users

48 reviews
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (833)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Update 4/9/14 - My enthusiasm for this blend has not wavered in the last year and a half. In fact, it's deepened. I've smoked a lot of Balkan blends but this one is my absolute favorite. I see no need to chase the long out of production old classics when this one is around. Excellent fresh out of a new tin and gets better as it ages (my oldest tin is 4 years old). Simply a masterwork of Balkan tobacco blending. This Pease fella deserves all the kudos he gets!

Original review

The first thing I noticed was the odd cut of the tobacco. Wide ribbons have never looked so wide, or so...uh... ribbony! But not matter, some slight rubbing out did the trick. Tin nose was of orientals with latakia in the background.

There has been discussions of whether or not the "balkan" designation is actually meaningful. I've engaged in those debates myself. But calling this a "latakia blend" doesn't really describe it well. Balkan is the only term that fits. This is a very spicy concoction, as the orientals are way out front. But there's no shortage of latakia here - for my tastes, anyway. This is indeed a balkan with restraint. I love the taste of Charing Cross but I find it too overwhelming at times. This one fits at any time, and every time. The flavor is spicy with just a hint of sweetness, and some nice latakia smokiness. The nature of this one is balance but it is so different from Meridian, another GLP that sings the balance tune. What I love about this one is what I also love about Picadilly - the two blends make their statement but don't overstay their welcome. They have a sharp attack (the initial flavor burst) and a quick and pleasant decay (the 'finish'). The flavor did show some youthful zeal rather than a mature focus, but that was part of its charm.

If it seems like I'm passe about this one, let me be clear. This is probably the finest balkan blend I've ever smoked, bar none. Greg has captured the essence of old Sobranie without mimicry. He has absolutely nailed the balkan genre, if that name means anything to you. Not too much, not too little, but just spot on. I smoked from 2 tins that were about 3 months old. This stuff improves? I find that intriguing but I can certainly wait, as this blend is perfect as it is. It took me quite awhile to figure this out, but Greg Pease deserves all the hype he has accumulated. This guy is an absolute blending genius.

13 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (102)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

GLP Kensington is my idea of a true Balkan, meaning ample Latakia that is balanced and somewhat shaded by Turkish/Orientals, with stout Virginias sounding the chorus, and plenty of smoke. Kensington strikes this balance from soon after the tin is popped, through smoking it, and it includes some GLP "tricks" that I've learned to appreciate.

A young, popped tin smells Lat forward, like most Balkans. After a few minutes a peat-y smell and the Oriental spices come up, along with what smells to me like some partly fermented VAs. The ribbons are rough and it doesn't hurt to rub them out and dry them. This is how I started with this blend, and it results in a nice, "medium" Balkan, with ample spice, plenty of smoke and a smooth, lingering aftertaste. I've also tried drying the ribbons without rubbing them but simply loading them loosely into the pipe vertically. This results in a stronger, "sharper" and more complex smoke that remains in a Balkan profile. Prepared either way the Latakia (or the topping...) is of the "incense" variety, and this incense lingers through the smoke. A somehow-smooth bitter/sour note contrasts very nicely with the developing VA sweetness. Those sensitive to "Turkish spice" are advised to take it easy to avoid getting too much of it. Likewise, based on feedback over the years, I try to protect others from the secondhand Turkish smoke, even though it smells great to me.

Kensington is for me very close to my favorite (full) Balkan, Compton's of Galashiels (Balkan). The latter is deeper and more "integrated". The former strikes a somewhat "higher" note and - especially dried but un-rubbed - it features GLP's signature interplay and counterpoint amongst the constituent tobaccos. Both are 4 stars IMO.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: pretty young

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: Contrast/companion to Compton's of Galashiels Balkan.

8 people found this review helpful.

Noorrmm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noorrmm (193)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Appearance: A ribbon cut consisting of about 50% lighter leaf, and the remainder medium and dark.

Aroma: A nice aroma of lighter Orientals predominates, with a decent , but not excessive quatity of Latakia. The Virginia component seems to stay in the background.

Packing: Packs easily into a wide range of pipe sizes.

Lighting: Lights easily, just a charring light, tamp and relight.

Initial flavor: Much like the aroma, there is a spicy tang, with some sweet smokey overlay. Definitely Cyprian Latakia. The Virginias seem to be the tangy lemon variety, rather than the darker reds that I usually enjoy.

Mid-bowl: A nice complex rray of flavors, with nuances and layers. Never seems to achieve the level of taste I like, but nevertheless quite pleasing. Burns easily, maybe too easily, as it can get hot if you don?t exercise patience in your puffing.

Finish: Stays dry right to the end,

Summary: This is a ?Balkan with restraint?, in that the Orientals are the dominant players, but it is not at all a heavy blend. In fact, it is for me a Mild/Medium blend, almost a Breakfast Blend. All the flavors I expect are there, but in a lighter, more toned down version. Perhaps this is Charing Cross lite.

7 people found this review helpful.

Gun Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gun Smoke (15)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Gosh I hate to say it, but I was quite disappointed in this blend. The first thing that struck me when I opened the tin was the near total lack of pungency and earthy smell of high quality pipe tobacco. That is to say, the smokey latakia that most of us are familar with was very feint and almost non-existent. In fact, this blend is by far the least pungent of any pipe tobacco I have ever tried. Remember, smell has everything to do with perceived taste.

The cut of this blend was very rough and - almost chunky like. Many very lightly colored Virginias with a small quantity of darker leaves. There are so many light tobacco leaves in this blend that it would make you believe that you are about to smoke something like a drug store variety. In fact, it even looks that way to me. It was very difficult to keep lit for some reason, even though I air dried it appropriately.

The latakia tastes very good, but at the same time you get this cigarette flavor along with it - reminiscent of licking the ashes out of an ashtray ( no , I haven't actually licked an ashtray mind you, but I think this is what it would most likely taste like ).

As noted by a previous reviewer, there is a tingly zesty sensation on the palate that isn't quite tongue bite - but it is definately not a wanted attribute.

Perhaps the Virginas are young. But I am unable to date the free sample that I got from C&D ( which is much appreciated ), as it came in a small zip-lock type bag.

In conclusion, I have tried my best to be impartial and without prejudice. Mr. Pease cannot be perfect all the time, and unfortunately, I feel this is one of his least desirable blends. I give this blend 2 stars only because the latakia is of good quality.

Mr. Pease, you can please some of the people some of the time. But you cannot please all the people all of the time. I hope that you are not personally offended.

5 people found this review helpful.

al1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
al1 (58)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I enjoy the complexity of this blend. Well balanced and flavorful. Like the label says- not ponderous. The flavors are easily recognizeable and work together very well. One of those blends where everything complements the other components nicely.

The taste is very much a light balkan after you get it going. The smoke is heavy and thick like a balkan should be however.

I don't really notice the latakia's smokiness a lot until at least half bowl- It is there in a supporting role mostly. The flavor develops nicely and finishes good as well.

This is good for the times abdingdon and caravan are just too much. So I consider this a good daytime smoke or when you want something just a little different.

The presentation and moisture are great also. Almost dry. I have found that it goes well in a savinelli 104 for me. Some of you think thats a small pipe fot this I'm sure. It does run all the bases for me.

I reccomend this to a balkan fan wanting something to get them through the day or for when something that is not overpowering is desired.

Really it is good anytime for me. Definitley will be ordeing more in bigger tins.

Be warned however this tobacco is highly addictive(I mean that in a nice way as I love the devil leaf) and withdrawl can be unpleasent. Seriously, not having this leads to irritability, frustration, longing for more, and finally a call to c&d to get more.

Update: Still 4 stars but I now prefer Charing Cross over this. Kensington has a bit more sweetness than I would prefer but it is a very well done blend.

5 people found this review helpful.

Eric Cioe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eric Cioe (37)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Short story - Kensington has become one of my favorite blends. It's a good blend that becomes great with age and one that could be smoked all day long. Four of four.

Longer story - My first tin of this is from the middle of 2003, so it's nearly five years old. That's the basis of this review.

Kensington's label is pretty much accurate - a Balkan blend with restraint. For me, latakia blends tend to fall on a spectrum of sweet to smoky, with something like Maltese Falcon or Odyssey on the sweet end and something like Abingdon or Charing Cross on the smokier end. This tends towards smoky, but not so much as Charing Cross. I kind of view Kensington as Charing Cross Light - good flavor but not quite as big, and maybe a bit more complex.

Anyway, I found a few of the old tall tins of this stuff at Iwan Ries a while ago and bought two of them though I had never smoked it before. I cracked the first one and am just now finishing it. This is an all day sort of Balkan-light blend, comparable to Ashbury but a bit bigger. You could say that this is the result of Ashbury and Charing Cross being mixed together. Shoot, between those three blends, my latakia needs would be mostly covered. Kensington occupies the middle ground without being boring, has enough flavor to matter but not enough to overpower like Charing Cross can, burns well, and has those beautiful small-cut leaves that burn so well.

I've had a few bowls of fresher Kensington, too, and it's quite good. But with a bit of age, it starts to meld together really well. I've been buying old tins of this when I find them and this is one blend that I plan to have a built-up stock of old tins, because it is that good.

If you're looking for a milder Balkan, look no further than Kensington. This is about as good as it gets. Highly, highly recommended.

5 people found this review helpful.

twaksak Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
twaksak (54)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant

I tend to be very biased to GL Pease tobaccos - everyone I had since, were enjoyable. Indeed, some more than others.

On the nose: When opening the tin, you are greeted with a wonderful array of tobacco colours - light brown, creamy to brown to dark chocolatty black. Rough cut. Moist. A clear earthy smell with a bitterness (or lemony maybe) strikingly evident. At first not very pleasant. Further nosing, the spicynes (cloves?) become evident.

On the palate: The earthy tones are evident again with the spicy tones coming through. Unfortunately, the bitter / sour note is also noticeable. If you're looking for a sweet note - I couldn't find any.

Overall, not my favorite - indeed a balkan blend with restraint. But that is a personal taste - as you know by now, I'm a bold Latakia / Oriental lover. So although Mr Pease does create great blends, this one to my taste spectrum is just a bit insipid. Pleasant room note though.

YouTube Video

Pipe Used: Savinelli Sigla

Age When Smoked: Young

Purchased From: 4Noggins

4 people found this review helpful.

Darth Vader Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth Vader (110)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Definitely a Balkan (sweet orientals dominate). Kind of like a lat heavy EMP or chelsea morning. Good for any time and i enjoy this after dinner on my walk. As always with GLP, premium tobacco beautifully presented. It took a little while to fully understand this blend but towards the end of the tin i have decided to order a couple of big tins as this is really good stuff.

4 people found this review helpful.

fmichaelnv Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fmichaelnv (5)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

While I mourned the demise of Dunhill pipe tobacco, I decided to look at the bright side: the excitement of exploring other tobaccos. I was quite loyal to this brand and rarely ventured into new tobaccos. My basic rotation consisted of Dunhill's EMP, Standard Mixture (med.), #965 and occasionally Nightcap. I also would frequent some nice oriental and virginia blends from McClelland... and still do.

After some disappointing experiences with some of Rattray's blends and other English/Balkan brands, a dear friend recommended G.L. Pease tobaccos. I purchased Piccadilly, Kensington and Charing Cross: in a word, "Wow!" These tobaccos are absolutely fabulous! They have completely replaced my love of Dunhill tobaccos; and are now ensconced in my rotation.

Kensington has taken the place of EMP and Standard Mixture. It can be smoked at any time of the day. With my morning coffee or Earl Grey tea, I often reach for Kensington or Piccadilly. The orientals and virginias are in the foreground and the latakia is subtly in the background. This blend can be smoked in any size pipe with equal satisfaction. The first half of the bowl is tantalizingly good and sets the stage for a fantastic finish. The second half of the bowl is pure wonder! Each time I finish I always look forward to my next pipeful.

This blend has become my pipe tobacco anchor. When I desire the pepperiness of perique I turn to Piccadilly; and when the time calls for more latakia, I reach for Charing Cross. Currently, these three blends meet about 85% of my tobacco needs. The other 15% I'm pleased to say I'm still exploring to fill.

4 people found this review helpful.

O'Confrère Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
O'Confrère (40)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Dried to about 13-14%: All of the surprisingly large cast of characters in this play work together well, there is no leading rôle and all of the players are on stage for the duration. It is not who they are, but what they are doing that holds our attention, the play of light and shadow is captivating as one scene modulates steadily to the next and we find ourselves asking again and again, "What are they doing now?" and shake our heads yet again, "Wow... no kidding..."

It is about mid-bowl that the wonderful floral citrus elements appear. Have they been there all along? Or are we just noticing them now? The smoke becomes softer than at the offset and offers even more as aspect after aspect unfolds. This is more than just plain good. This play is music, articulated softly and released slowly in its own good time, by fire. Don't pump the bellows. The rattle and wheeze will obscure some of the voices. Just listen quietly and let it sing. Like twilight in northerly latitudes on the summer solstice, the glow persists. Long. And then, ever so slowly, unnoticably, extinguishes. Eventually we realize: it is dark. There is no curtain call. Only applause.

And though it didn't have a single tune that you could whistle afterward, or a plot you could retell, you will never forget the show.

'Kensington' by G.L. Pease. Tickets on sale now at a tobacconist near you.

Highly recommended.

For a better description, check out G.L. Pease's in his Briar and Leaf Chronicles:

Pipe Used: Several, reserved for Latakia/Orientals/Va blends

Age When Smoked: 6 years old, tinned 2008

3 people found this review helpful.

Nonpareil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nonpareil (16)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have tried a number of Greg Pease's blends and while I have great respect for the quality and complexity of flavor he is able to achieve, I did not find any that I really cared for until now. This blend features more contribution from the Orientals than any of the others I have had from Mr. Pease and lately, I have been enjoying orientals more. The balance of strength and complex flavors make this a blend I feel I must pay attention to as there is so much going on.

The tin I have is 18 months old and in perfect condition, with just the right moisture level.

The blend has excellent burning characteristics and provides an ever changing panoply of flavors keeping the smoker's attention constantly throughout the bowl.

I believe this blend is destined to become legendary.

3 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm a big fan of medium English blends. A few puffs after the charing light, Kensington brings the Orientals and the blend quickly develops into a nice medium blend. I have two issues with the blend. The first being that it can be a bit sharp. Too many of GL Pease blends simply seem to young for my taste. The second issue is the cut. I find that it isn't the easiest cut to work with and needs to be rubbed out. I was able to get my hands on a four year old tin and it was simply terrific. Kensington maintained its spicyness while bringing a sweet, smooth, more full tasting blend to the palate. Fans of Pease English tobacco's should give this one a try. Personally, I'm seeking some aged tins. Two and a half stars.

3 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Pease Pilgrimage Reviews (a tasting journey through every GLPease blend) Tin date: March 2006

Appearance: Kensington, Caravan and Picadilly are very similar in appearance, darkish with a similar assortment of olive-colored, golden and black leaf.

Aroma: My sample is somewhat dryer than normal, being a gifted tin that had been opened then stuck in a mason jar. It's prefectly smokable, but the dryness robs some of the aroma. It's a typical Balkan nose, with not much Latakia, a little sweetness and some musty dryness.

Pipe 1: Peterson dublin Pipe 2: Nording Signature freehand Pipe 3: Meer bent billiard

Flavor: This is a really good Balkan blend, but not my favorite. Some swear by it, and if you're a lover of spicy orientals this is a four star blend for you. I do like this better than EMP. It has more flavor, more spiciness, more character.

A bit monodimensional, Kensington is less complex than the last two entries (Caravan and Blackpoint), on purpose probably, as Greg's goal is a “Balkan with restraint.” That it is, and if you like mild-to-medium Balkans with a big emphasis on the Oriental leaf and not much Latakia, you'll love this one.

The bowl progresses very consistently, as it starts off spicy and ends spicy. It is also quite consistent in different pipes. From meer to freehand, it was a consistent, spicy, slightly toasty smoke with a nice room note. But it's just not spectacular. Easily and all-day smoke for those who like this style, but I favor more richness and more complexity.

Although construction and blending are impeccable, I give it three stars because it did not raise my eyebrows.

3 people found this review helpful.

Marshall Law Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Marshall Law (50)
Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable

I did not find this to be a well-balanced blend. Good flavor, good burning qualities, but the various elements of the smoke experience come too strongly to the forefront on occasion, to the extent it is distraction. Samarra takes it over this blend all day long. Kensington also lacks smoothness and has a tendency to occasionally spike up and bite. This will not work its way into my rotation.

3 people found this review helpful.

SirLoirn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SirLoirn (126)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin: Looks like Piccadilly, also of the Classic Collection, having a familiar, overall light mahogany hue. While Piccadilly was dry, Kensington is at least so. Medium, somewhat irregular ribbon cut. Kensington displays a balance between smoky Latakia and spicy, perfumy orientals, presenting a mild, mellow smoky oriental scent.

Packing & Lighting: Seemed easy to overpack. Being dry, it lit readily.

Taste & Aroma: Nice, soft and smooth, to start off, but included a slightly annoying tangy zest on the tongue. After this, it continues a nice presentation, a soft interplay between smoky oriental perfume and VA oats, a well-arranged bouquet of orientals and VA's. This seemed to be elicited more favorably in a large meerschaum. Being mild, Kensington keeps me busy concentrating on trying to elicit more of this aroma.

Nicotine: Mild to medium.

Room Note: Medium. A pleasant VA afterthought until multiple bowls are smoked back-to-back leaving a cigarette odor.

Overall: Kensington has a signature taste and aroma akin to other GLP offerings. 3.8 stars.

Based simply on types of tobacco, this Classic Collection tobacco should be compared to Ashbury of the Fog City Selection, Ashbury having a more light oriental quality.

Other GL Pease offerings in this genre are Charing Cross and Caravan, out of the Classic Collection and Original Mixtures, respectively.

3 people found this review helpful.

Talonr1701 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Talonr1701 (119)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

If your a Latakia Drip Lover- Read no further..... This is for you smokers out there who, Like me, like a balanced tasteful, easy on the latakia mix. I went out for my Birthday to Bruce's Pipe shop in Ashville (which by the way is a wonderful place) and found a tin of Kensington from early 04. That in itself should have been enough to inspire me, but I had recently been pointed toward this blend by the Dark One, who knows of my sensitivity toward heavy englishes- as a possible smoke of interest. On popping the tin I immediatly got the smell of fermenting virginias- Like canned fruit....Glorious...I packed a bowl in a KW Shell Poker and away I went. The Charlight was an immediate taste of sweetness....spiced figs sitting around a Cedar fire at night.....The burn quality was perfect right out of the tin....Tamp and more sweetness....This is what its about.....This just hit my rotation like Muhamad Ali in his prime on RedBull.....This is like sipping a fine port....Sweet and rich....To the bottom of the bowl its magnificent. It never got bitter or dirty toward the bottom, and just ash and a dry bowl were the remnants. Just prior to this- I cleaned Smoking pipes out of their 2 oz tins. I can't recommend this enough. The word restraint in the description I think was a poor choice. The only restraint I see is a light hand at the smokey stuff- And thats not a bad thing for some of us.

3 people found this review helpful.

Meerschaum Man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meerschaum Man (85)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

As yet another balkan variant, this thoughtful blending of leaves burns easily, leaving a fragrant signature that hints of both the balance and complexity revealed by the rituals of the smoke. No heavy presence here but instead, a wonderfully light essence that does not portend to be some rigid attempt at perfection, but demonstrates a more lively spirit. A slow approach is recommended as this proper presentation of earthly delight is not to be rushed. In the symphony of balkan blends, this is the flute - always light and airy while displaying full range of discourse. I've no problem in recommendation without reservation to anyone wishing to enjoy more of the balkan dynamic experience.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a Fischer Meerschaum

3 people found this review helpful.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Kensington promises to be a Balkan blend with rstraint ? and it certainly delivers.

The blend is a pleasure to look at, and the tin aroma is as one would expect ? mostly Oriental with an underlying Va sweetness and Latakia undertones. A variety of color from ivory to near-black is pleasing to the eye. Moisture content is perfect.

From the first light, the classic Balkan taste range is apparent. The Oriental asserts itself in a well-rounded spicy manner right from the charring light with full rich Va providing support while the Cyprian Latakia adds a smoky fullness. The Va doesn?t assert itself to the point of making this a sweet blend. There is always that hint of an ?edge? that, to me, defines a Balkan.

As the bowl progresses, the Va seems to gain power slowly, but never seriously challenging the Oriental. The Latakia stays muted and supportive. Some interplay of flavors is evident throughout, but more pronounced the farther down the bowl.

Kensington burns exceptionally well. Nothing but gray powder left in the bowl at the end with minimum re-lights. The bottom of the bowl was so dry that it looked as if the pipe hadn?t been smoked in weeks. Actually, due to the humid environment I am in, the bowl looked drier afterwards than it did before I smoked it ? and this pipe really hadn?t been smoked in several weeks!

While Kensington does perform quite well in any size bowl that I tried, from big freehands to a narrow Stanwell, I found that I enjoyed it most in the larger bowls. For reference : My favorite bowls of Kensington were smoked in a Peterson XL-90.

I have to agree with Noorrmm ? this is Charing Cross Lite ? and that?s a good thing!

3 people found this review helpful.

Rob73 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rob73 (77)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

G. L. Pease produces some of the most complex and difficult blends I've ever tried. It requires many tins to have an idea of what we smoked. Kensington makes no exception: it is a wonderful blend, rich in everything (Latakia, Orientals and Virginias) with a hint of apricot which I appreciate very much. But it lacks of something I can't identify. 4,0/5 in my personal rating system.

2 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2144)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The Virginias are citrus sweet with some earth and grass, and minor tangy, dark fruit. They provide a base for the other components. The Cyprian latakia is smoky, woody, and sweet, and mostly plays second fiddle to the Orientals, which are smoky, woody, dry with a bit of spice, and a few floral notes. Has a mild nic-hit. Burns cool and clean at a moderate rate with a consistent flavor, and no issues besides a few relights, and a couple of dull spots near the finish. Leaves just a little moisture in the bowl. Won't bite. Has a decent after taste. Not quite an all day smoke. Two and a half stars.

2 people found this review helpful.

cwallace134 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cwallace134 (2)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I loved the smooth interplay of orientals and virginias, with a smooth, gentle spiciness holding it all together. To my way of thinking, a perfect medium Balkan. The smoke reminds me of something that would normally issue from a well behaved thurible. It's an Eastern Orthodox monastery in your pipe. Although she prefers aromatics, my wife had nothing disagreeable to say about the room note. This tobacco is the standard I judge all other medium Balkans against - and so far, they've all fallen short. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (70)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin date 4/14/2003

I recently finished off a tin of Kensington that was about a year old. It was good for a mild blend, but didn't leave a huge impression on me. Sort of recommended. Maybe it was that I smoked it in the evening or after a bowl of stronger leaf. Low and behold, I found a ten year old tin on the beloved Pipestud website. Of course I had to pick it up just to see what it aged like. The answer is beautifully, tremendously improved. It's smooth, still soft and has plenty of tasty Balkan flavor. For me, it's best on a fresh palate, not after a day of pipe smoking. It's just too light to appreciate in the evening. This one is way better with time under its belt. How does he do it? If you run across a stray can of the older stuff, do yourself a favor and grab it.

1 person found this review helpful.

CLRV Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CLRV (14)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

I'm really digging this blend. I like pretty much everything I have tried from the Dark Lord, but have been reaching for this, Chelsea Morning, and Meridian the most.

Buy it, try it, love it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Dr. Hall Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Hall (15)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I agree with Marshall Law's review below. This one seemed a bit harsh to me, especially in comparison with other Pease blends such as Chelsea Morning or Charing Cross that offer a creamy sort of smoke. I do like the spicy orientals in this blend, but there's something less than smooth about them. Similar, I thought, to Pease's Ashbury, but not as citrusy, smooth, or balanced overall.

1 person found this review helpful.

Denevei Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Denevei (58)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I really want to find a Pease blend I don't like. At this point it's almost like a mission to me. NOBODY can always can a winner, can they? I mean, it's just not natural, is it? Well, I'm beginning to think that neither is the esteemed Mr. Pease. Kensington is another offering in the Classic line of tobaccos, and is a Balkan. It is lighter in flavor than Abingdon, omitting the sometimes heavy flavors of Turkish tobacco, with lighter use of latakia, and sweeter in flavor than Charing Cross. In appearance, though, it is similar to Charing Cross, with a nice mix of golds, browns, and a little black. The tin aroma is, to my nose slightly less pleasant than Charing Cross, which I think has a wonderful aroma, yet not nearly so overwhelming as that of Abingdon. In other words, the aroma is that of a medium strength yet full-bodied Balkan. The blend's moisture level is, to my way of smoking, just right. From the initial light, the blend seemed to me to lean almost more to the English side than the Balkan. The presence of latakia in the blend is apparent throughout the smoke, more balancing the Orientals than either overpowering them or submitting to them. This balance, though, is a fine one, and a welcome one. The Virginia used in the blend brings a nice undertone of sweetness, and almost a fresh straw flavor, to the blend which mixes extremely well with the other components. This sweetness isn't that of, say, a straight Virginia, so don't look for that here. Rather, the Virginia is a third player; a welcome party to a triple play. The blend lights easily, and is almost difficult to not keep lit. Load it with a slightly gentle hand and it will treat you right! Though the room aroma is possibly less than perfect, we're not talking about an aromatic here – this is a blend for the smoker, not the others in the room with the smoker. And there is a wonderful taste left in the mouth by the blend. I'm not overly fond of a strong presence of latakia in a blend, but the taste left by it always leaves me wanting to smoke more, and that is the case with Kensington. I would recommend this blend, as I have all other Pease blends. But, as with some of the others, this is not a tobacco for everyone. Rather, I think it is a sort of middle-of-the-road Balkan, for those who find that a strong taste such as that of Abingdon is too much, but that the taste of, say, Cairo (a personal favorite) needs something more. In Kensington, Mr. Pease has come up with a fine balancing act for the three tobacco types used, and done so with his usual, expected flare.

1 person found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

A rich, sweet and solid Balkan. Almost an English, with dominance of Virginias and a perfect balance between Orientals and Latakia. I'd say Kensington is midway between Samarra and Charring Cross, being those three my current Latakia favorites.

1 person found this review helpful.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (72)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Kensington comes in a rather rough ribbon cut which indicates a large bowl for best burning quality and to open up the flavor. I tend to smoke it in one of two GBD Calabashs I have and it does best in that large bowl format.

Because of the thickness of the ribbon it can need a more frequent than normal re-light but burns down to a light gray dry ash. It is a cool smoke, though.

The tin description is accurate--a Balkan with restraint. In other words, a light Balkan that brings out the blend of flavors of the bright and red Virginias with the Orientals. The Latakia is not pronounced.

In all, a fine Pease effort, well balanced and flavorful. A good tobacco for someone wanting a Balkan that is not overly complex yet satisfying. Three stars.

My tasting was a tin from 10/27/05. Some aging benefits this tobacco.

1 person found this review helpful.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (78)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Very good tobacco, as are all of the Pease offerings.. IT does not puppoet to be, nor is it, a classic Balkan. I find it somewhere between over the top English and true Balkan. Maybe an all day English blend for one of us strapping Scots. It lacks some of the sour taste I expect from a Balkan, and is not so spicy. The latakia seems to be of good quality, and the blend is well behaved and tasty throughout the bowl. Don't complain that it is too weak, the tin tells you that. A good blend for when you want Balkan taste, but you have already blasted yourself into shellshock with one of the the GLP or Comptons Super Balkans.

1 person found this review helpful.

bigdummy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigdummy (6)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have to admit that this one had to grow on me. I initially popped the lid on this tin last spring (early spring, when Balkans are still tasty) and the tin has an October '06 date on it (I think - me eyes aren't what they used to be). I was completely underwhelmed at the time - Restrained?, uhhh... no. Absent was more like it. Tasted green, hot and well... kinda just smoke-less - nope, save it for later. Well... 6 months goes by with the lid on but tucked safely away in my desk drawer-ador. Last weekend we had a little weather here in SoCal (such as it ever is) and it got chilly enough that thoughts of Balkans and lucious, smokey Latakia came bursting into my VaPer-ized summer thoughts. I happened across the tin of Kensington slumbering in my collection and decided to give it another go. What a complete revelation! I packed my trusty old Castello 33 with a goodly pinch and fired 'er up. I finally got it... this IS a Balkan with restraint - dunno what I was tasting the first time, but I have since gone through half my original tin and I'm gonna bust down Sykes' door this Friday with an order for a few more tins. It's smokey, yeah, but not Pirate Kake by any means - and the orange blossom thing is right on the money. Sweet, smokey and Virginney and... OMG!... gotta go - I have a big Croci just waiting it's turn... I'm givin' this 3 stars because I had to wait 6 months for it to turn into something - but WOW! What a something!

1 person found this review helpful.

Brutos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brutos (11)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I got this tobacco by mistake from an order I placed. At first I was unimpressed, partly because it wasn't what I ordered and partly from a rather pungent aroma on first light; rather musty like damp, cut grass in a compost pile. After a few bowls I found I liked the brightness of the orientals present and the refreshing quality of a clean, medium weight Balkan with a nice aroma, like a complex blend of exotic spices. My usuals are Odyssey, Charing Cross, Abingdon, Penzance and Squadron Leader. Kensington creates an enticing aroma with a moderate Latakia balance. Clean burning, spicy, refreshing and never overpowering. I alternate this along with Wellauer's English Blend when I want Balkan flavor and complexity in an all day smoke. As with most Pease blends, it comes a little dry in the tin and really improves within a few weeks after opening. This blend really stimulates and wakes up the senses and burns well all the way down to a fine, gray ash.

1 person found this review helpful.

tonyg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tonyg (103)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was reluctant to try Kensington for a number of reasons:

None of the reviews thus far gave it a 4 star rating which is surprising for a Pease tobacco.

I was taken aback by the two star reviews.

I already have 4 of Greg?s blends in my regular rotation, more than any other blender.

I generally do not care for Balkan Blends.

Throwing caution to the wind, I purchased a tin.

This is one of the finest tobaccos I have had the pleasure of smoking. Everything works perfectly. Unlike other reviewers, I found not even a hint of tongue bite, nor any of the other (few) negative comments expressed in these reviews.

I suspect that the reason for the lack of more favorable reviews has to do with othrt reviewer?s preferences for heavier blends.

If you enjoy Virginias, English or Balkan blends, do yourself a favor and try this one.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (303)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

At the beginning of my first tin I thought "Sorry Greg, but this one is a bit of a misfire to me". There are some GLPease blends that I don't care for, but it's just a matter of taste as I don't like certain families of tobaccos. This one, on the other hand, seemed a bit questionable as concept and execution. Balkan style with restraint? I thought that Caravan already filled that place, but Greg created this other entry in his Classic Collection: well, I was appalled to discover too little of that typical Balkan oriental spiciness which should be a MUST in this kind of tobaccos. For me, Kensington is just a medium-light EM, very heavy on bright Virginias (not as sweet as the ones in Blackpoint or rich as the ones in Charing Cross) and with just some orientals and Latakia: sort of a stronger, fuller, variation on Piccadilly (which is not exactly my cup of tea). It burns great, and has a very dry taste (with an interesting almost-citrusy note): after a few bowls I can't say I fell in love with it (I usually reach for fuller stuff), but each time I pick it, it gives me a satisfying, smooth and clean smoke. And actually it isn't bland in taste at all, it simply hasn't the huge and heavy mouthfeel one would expect from a Balkan. It burns the tongue a little if you overpuff due to the high Virginia, but much less than other similar blends. If you like a medium English mixture, then this might do for you.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

I was recently sent a free tin of this latest GL Pease addition by fellow reviewer lustra by way of Sykes Wilford. Thanks to both gentlemen for allowing me the pleasure of sampling this marvelous concoction.

Kensington is one very cool, dry and sweet smoke. A true Balkan style with just a wafting of the heavier Latakia leaf.

A comparison would be a toned down Balkan Sasieni with a bit more sweetness and certainly less bite. Back to back bowls are easy with this brew. The flavor, in fact, is too subtle for me to enjoy on a regular basis. But, on occasion, it will find itself in my tobacco rotation.

Many tobaccos taste good, but for some reason, those that are sampled without having to pay for the pleasure seem to taste even better!

1 person found this review helpful.

SiChange Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SiChange (39)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Bright, spicy, resinous orientals lead in a traditional Balkan blend. Fine quality Cyprian Latakia rounds out the body. The Latakia has some oomph. Virginias add some zest and bready sweetness. In this genre, I usually prefer a ribbon cut to the thicker cut leaf here, but I was very happy with the long cool smoke this blend provides. To pick a nit, C&D does not marry the leaf to the extent it could. The “fresh” comment of some reviews captures that. But allowing the blend to put on some age helps a lot. Three and a half stars, rounded up.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

KrzysD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KrzysD (19)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I've been enjoying this blend for the last year or so. It's a good midday blend when I'm looking for that smokey,spicey flavor ,but it's to early for any of the stouter balkins in my rotation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

amnation Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
amnation (3)
Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My first blend from G L Pease's repertoire and, going from the tin note, I was sure I'd hate it. Smells a little like some barbecue sauce was used as a casing. The ribbons are huge and somewhat variable in girth but smokes well enough.

A few relights aside, it smokes clean and cool with a sweetish, smoky draw. For a mix of Virginia, Latakia and orientals, I'd take Frog Morton On The Town over this but I'd certainly not be averse to having the rest of the 2ozs I ordered or trying others in his stable.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I find this a hard blend to describe. I can't say any real negative things, and there really is a lot to like, but it seems to be so dependent on the pipe and time of the day smoked. For me, this just doesn't bring anything memorable to the "party' . I'll smoke this and the next day I'll be asking " what was that Like". I don't want to say this is boring, as there are many points of interest, I just can't remember them !!!! I won't buy again , and won't remember why !

I didn't get the "suggestion of orange blossom", whatever smoking an Orange Blossom is like ?!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

MDP Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MDP (39)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Kensington smells wonderful in the tin and burns like a premium tobacco should, but we find ourselves incompatible. It bites me from the first to last puff, regardless of careful counter measures. It is also more bitter than I prefer.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jankoez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jankoez (67)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is very dry tobacco... And to mild with Oriental/Balkan tobacco. I expected more of this blend - it is not even close to quality of Westminster.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wosbald Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wosbald (111)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a review of a 3 year old tin.

The tin aroma of this predominately long-cut, wide ribbon is dominated by the orientals, supplemented by moderate portions of latakia. There are goodly amounts of virginia here also.

The flavors follow the tin description. A surprisingly sweet balkan with good oriental character and a dusting of latakia.

A well-orchestrated composition, this is a fine blend made with quality ingredients and thoughtful blending. Aging is recommended. This did well in a chamber of any gauge.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RMBittner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RMBittner (66)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Kensington is billed as a "restrained Balkan." For my palate, it's actually too restrained in the orientals and latakia -- and those are the two ingredients that are essential for a good Balkan, to my mind. I've also found that, regardless of the pipe, it tends toward heat in the bowl (though, I must say, never on the tongue). (My tin was dated 2003; it was opened and smoked in 2007.)

As a result, Kensington never reaches the level of oriental/latakia creaminess that I've come to associate with other Pease Balkans. For a Balkan, I'd like the orientals and latakia to shine more; for a medium-strength English, I'd like it to burn cooler in the bowl and highlight the latakia more. In the end, it just didn't end up hitting the right notes for me. If I want a lighter-weight Balkan from GLP (and I tend to love GLP blends), I'll still reach for Charing Cross, where the orientals are more forward, more acrid. If I want a lighter-weight English. . . well, I have a feeling that I actually like my Englishes to veer more toward the other end of the scale in terms of both strength and complexity.

Of course, that's just my take. Although I wouldn't point anyone to Kensington as representative of a Balkan, it might just work as a lighter English for those enjoy lighter English blends. . . and who either don't mind the hot pipe or can figure out a way to avoid it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

dualkarnain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dualkarnain (75)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Charing Cross is one of the few blends I've 4-starred on this site; Kensington is a great morning/day trip to the himalayas of pipe happiness prior to the nighttime sojourn to the raucous scorched-tongue.

The sweetness and accessibility of this blend is great. No complaints. Recommended.

Evoked images include an undead army drumming and marching through lush tropical jungles.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jason S. Rundle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jason S. Rundle (6)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

After a few bowls I must admin I didn't change my rotation, but each time I smoke it, it gives me a satisfying, smooth pleasant smoke, and actually it isn't bland at all, which is what I initially expected. It simply hasn't the over whelming, heavy taste one would expect from a Balkan. It burns the tongue a little if you puff too aggressivly, which I attribute to the Virginias, but much less than other blends of similiar nature.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

David Cimino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
David Cimino (18)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Although I smoke full-bodied traditional English blends regularly, for some reason I have never gotten around to smoking any Balkans. It seems natural that a smoker of one would be a smoker of the other. When I want something smooth and failry light, without giving up any flavor or body, I find this blend to be a good choice. I have been smoking it as a morning or all day blend. I don't want to mislead and characterize it as mild. It is not what most people would consider a mild smoke. However, if you regularly smoke fuller English blends and Balkans, this is a nice break to a lighter smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

gee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gee (7)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

I have been smoking this continuously for the past two days, trying to get the taste and hang of it. I have a great fondness for milder Balkans so this should be my cuppa tea, but for some reason I can't quite get it right. I have tried smoking it in a number of different pipes, tried packing it tight and packing it loose, but while the flavour upon lighting is filled with promise, a mildly sweet and subdued Balkan, a perfect all day smoke, I find -- in distinction from all other Pease blends I have tried, and I have almost tried them all -- that this does not burn evenly. Over heating and tongue bite all seem just around the corner. Moreover it can be quite harsh on my throat. Thus while I love the promise of sweetness that this tobacco offers, I much prefer Picadilly and Samarra for a lighter English blend, though with experimentation there are wonderful things lurking about in here.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JClark Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JClark (26)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I must say that I am completely shocked that anyone would only rate this blend with two stars. I personally would have rated it with three. However, I feel that for what this blend is, it probably deserves four. It is meant to be a restrained balkan blend, and thats exactly what it is, and I personally don't think it could have been done any better than Mr. Pease has done it with Kensington.

Upon opening the tin you see the typical amazing presentation that all the Pease blends are known for. The tobacco is visually beautiful and of course the perfect moisture level right from the opening.

This tobacco smokes like absolute silk. No harsh notes at all not even at the end. The flavor is what you would expect slightly full, and fairly rich, but very refined. For me this would be a perfect morning to mid-afternoon smoke. Complimented by a strong cup of coffee this blend sings. Though it doesn't pack enough punch for my regular consumption, I don't look at this as a fault. When I want something more stout, then I just reach for something else, no big deal, when I want something a little lighter, smoother, and more refined, then I reach for Kensington.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarLaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarLaw (85)
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Another high quality blend from Mr. Pease. Nice ribbon-style cut, containing predominantly lighter colored tobaccos. Packs and burns nicely to a clean white ash.

This might be a great introduction to Latakia blends as it is very, very subtle. Alternatively, it might be a good "all-day" smoke for those of you who are trying to keep the smell of Latakia under the radar screen so-to-speak, but still want to smoke an English style blend.

To sum it up, this is a very, very mild English blend. It is so mild, it will probably not stay in my rotation, but it is a high-quality tobacco and fills a niche.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

While I prefer this to Caravan hands-down, I miss the flavor that "Charing Cross" has. Don't get me wrong, this blend is very tasty and some of my friends swear by it, but it is not "enough". This blend shows Greg's continued finesse and smokes as well as most of his other blends. If "Oddessey" or "Charing Cross" are too much for you, then this is the blend for you.

Nobody has rated this review yet.