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Charing Cross is a traditional Balkan style blend of fine Virginia leaf, richly seasoned with smoky Cyprian Latakia, and spiced with the exquisite and exotic tobaccos of the orient. This is the one for Latakia lovers. Hints of roasted cocoa beans, orange zest, green pepper and campfires. This is the big one - fuller than Blackpoint, and a little less sweet.

Notes: Charing Cross was released in March, 2003.

BrandG. L. Pease
Blended ByGregory Pease
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging2oz Tin, 8oz Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy BnB Tobacco
SmokingPipes.com
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Tolerable

Favorite Of 8 Users

3.2
76 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
35
3 star:
26
2 star:
11
1 star:
4
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Trumpetboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Trumpetboy (13)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This is one of my very favorites when I feel like something substantial after a good meal in the evening. To me, the Latakia is balanced perfectly with the very present Orientals-- this one has a certain "old world" Balkan character that brings back memories of a certain old white tin. With anything this full though, you have to pay attention, pack well and smoke well to get the maximum enjoyment out of it. Not the sort of thing you stick in your face for cleaning the garage or yardwork. I think this blend is full of nuance, but you have to sit, relax and allow it to take you on it's journey.

4 people found this review helpful.

Eric Cioe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eric Cioe (24)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I bought Charing Cross from Iwan Ries a few months back on a whim, and am just finishing the tin now (my rotation is big). It is a very good full Balkan.

I spent a while trying to find the perfect full Balkan, with a good balance between the Orientals and the Latakia. So many blends are just too Latakia heavy, which I find to be much less interesting than a good interplay between Orientals and Latakia. To my taste, this blend has enough of both to be at the same time complex and somewhat powerful.

Like most Pease blends, this one was a bit wet when I bought it, but drying out has made lighting easy enough. It smokes down to a fine grey ash, and I imagine it'd be a great tobacco to break in pipes.

This is highly recommended for anyone who wants more to their Balkan than raw power.

EDIT: I've now found that I prefer Blackpoint if I want something fuller from this collection, or Kensington if I want something a little lighter. Both are a little more complex than Charing Cross. But if you like really dry English mixtures, Charing Cross is a great option. Still very much recommended, but knocked down a star.

4 people found this review helpful.

Hottgunn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hottgunn (18)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

If a Balkan tobacco is one with dominating orientals and a little Latakia, then this is the mixture you should try. Very, very complex aroma - delicate. You never know what taste is coming next. A toasty, rich smoke. A woodsy, barnyard smell out of the tin. Ribbon cut but there are some larger flakes in the mix. More of a rough chop. Was a bit hard to get a good light going but after that it was fine. Moisture seemed right. Reminded me of a rich French desert as opposed to a heavy main course. Another excellent Pease blend. Very nice and highly recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

Claudius Stradivarius Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Claudius Stradivarius (171)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Strong

Different than Abingdon...

More Latakia, smaller cut and somehow less sweet. The tin aroma reminds me of Balkan Sasieni.

For the room note, I am not as lucky as with Abingdon.

I have to downgrade. This tobacco, like Abingdon, keeps biting, which is unusual for such a dark tobacco.

It's kind of harsh too...

2 people found this review helpful.

Mike__P Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike__P (87)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I love Pease's Balkans, and Charing Cross is another bellwether. By comparison, it's not quite as Latakia-forward as Abingdon or Caravan, and while Greg says this is "the big one," it's more complex and balanced than his professed "biggest," Odyssey. If you like this category of tobaccos, I recommend that you try several of Greg's from the Classic Collection and draw your own conclusions.

I've popped another tin of CC in March 2012, and my opinion holds, despite how my tastes have evolved. While I was at it, I sample McClelland's Legends by Fred Hanna, which pays tribute to the blends of the past in similar fashion but with a bit less intensity. I like them both equally but appreciate their different approaches.

From my perspective, Charing Cross, like Legends, isn't a Lat Bomb by any means, despite its tin language "for Latakia lovers," and you'll see that in the tin. It is somewhat monochrome in the beginning, but it builds depth and really hits the zone toward the bottom of the bowl. The Orientals and Virginias provide a nutty, earthy foundation that is dry and woody . . . not sweet, but pleasant, fairly intense and contemplative.

I highly recommend Pease's CC and Hanna's Legends. Give them both a whirl and let us know what you think.

2 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (119)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Pease Pilgrimage Reviews (a tasting journey through every GLPease blend) Tin date: 11/10/08

The word that comes to mind is toasty. I don't know if this is a different type of oriental leaf than Abingdon or Odyssey, or if it's just the way it's blended with the other leaf. It seems to have quite a lot of Oriental leaf, giving it a good Oriental zing. Normally I don't like Oriental overload, but this toasty thing is intriguing.

I'm looking forward to tasting this more later this week in a couple different pipes. Right now, I'd say that this blend holds lots of promise. It might even outrank Abingdon...

UPDATE: After exploring three of Pease's big English blends, I am coming to the conclusion that these first four are all quite similar. I have not yet reviewed Westminster, but I've smoked a tin of it last year, and I remember that it, like Charing Cross, Odyssey, and Abingdon are all quite Oriental-forward blends using quality weed. I like them all, but it seems choosing a favorite would be a finesse thing, the only real difference being the strength of the Oriental leaf on the blend. So far, if I had to choose a fave, it would be solely based on how much spice (Oriental leaf) am I in the mood for today? Looking forward to trying Charing Cross in a couple more pipes, especially a meer.

UPDATE: Just had all three - Abingdon, Odyssey and Charing Cross - back to back in a small pipe, about fifteen minutes each. That's the best way for me to remember exactly how each one compares. Same opinion as before: all three have a significant Oriental component and all three have quite a few similarities. The reason for this post is to set apart Odyssey as the richer more enjoyable blend of the three in my personal opinion.

2 people found this review helpful.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (100)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Charing Cross is yet another impressive Pease blend. Like most of his efforts, this is a tobacco of subtlety, refinement, and elegance. That's not to say this stuff doesn't have a forceful side--it does--but the tobacco's muscle and strength never stretch the seams of this beautiful blend.

The leaf is of high quality and this tin arrived with ideal moisture. The cut is broad enough that it can be a little challenging to pack into a small bowl, but it's great in bowls with squat, wide-mouthed shapes.

And the tin description? Most accurate I've yet come across.

Edit: Just a bump up on this one for the sake of honesty. I've come to respect Charing Cross' potent beauty more and more everyday. For my money (what little there is), this is the finest Balkan available today. A masterpiece.

2 people found this review helpful.

oldmanpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldmanpipe (62)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

All trades admit of many jacks, but few masters. Greg Pease is unquestionably a master of tobacco blending (AND photography) and therefore deserves of our respect and gratitude. All one need do is smoke a few of his blends (I've been smoking them since his F&P days) to know that one word can never be aplied to any of his creations: "Generic."

I do not smoke all them regularly, but I understand them. There is a theme to each and all Pease blends are marvelously crafted, visually enticing, and will make one salivate upon opening the tin--the older, the better.

As a man of integrity, Greg uses the finest tobaccos available and does not release a blend until the tuning fork of taste rings true for him. As a man of experience and confidence, he does not kid himself and think (or demand) four stars for each of his blends from all reviewers.

Charing Cross is one of the "Classic Collection" tobaccos, each created as an homage to the best of days long gone. Blackpoint and Kensington are my personal favorites in this group. Charing Cross, though displaying the same craftsmanship and quality as all Pease blends, is not.

Not that there is anything wrong with Charing Cross, it is a simple matter of individual taste. And, for reasons I shall continue to explore, Charing Cross just misses the mark for me. I bought my first can of CC concurrent with a can of Blackpoint, which for the third time in my life kindled to flame "love at first sight...or tin aroma." Charing Cross did not, and, sorry to say, it still doesn't.

Charing Cross is a fine tobacco; it is, after all, a GL Pease product and as such is first-rate and impecably constructed. It simply, for me, does not resonate with somethig in my body chemistry. As you will note from other reviews, some find Nirvana in a bowl here. And, indeed the character deveolps as one makes way down the bowl.

Make no mistake, Charing Cross is a full Balkan, though, to my taste not an outstanding one IMHO. For Balkan blends, I would recommend Odyssey or Caravan from Greg's Original Mixtures, or Kensington, from the Classic Collection. Each is smoother and more complex than Charing Cross. For a full-bore Latakia dollop, Abingdon is the best choice among the Classic Collection.

Three out of four stars.

**After further evaluation I can say that the qualities I found less-than-satisfying in Charing Cross are mitigated in part, if not in whole, by pipe selection. My initial review was based upon smoking this weed in Sasieni 4-Dot pipes (the REAL DEAL from the "family-era"). Sasieni's are funny; they augment some blends while detracting from others.

Since the earlier review, I have tried this tobacco in a 1930s-era GBD and a meerschaum. The GBD, for whatever reason, eliminated the bitternes I found objectionable in earlier smokes. Both Sasieni and GBD are undervalued specimens of British pipemaking at its best; nevertheless, they smoke quite differently. GBDs are sweeter, while Sasienis are drier. Go figure!

A meerschaum likewise removes the bitterness, but, alas, much of the good things as well. Meerschaums are funny that way. In "the good old days" (hence, the "oldmanpipe") I could enjoy Rattray's Red Raparee and Dunhill's Nightcap ONLY in a meerschaum or calabash. Greg's blends are best-appreciated in a companionable briar.

The rating does not change, as I believe GL Pease has better to offer in this genre; the appreciation of Charing Cross, however, has been enhanced by exploration.

2 people found this review helpful.

NoirPipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NoirPipes (2)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of my all time favorite blends. Always satisfying with it's rich, sharp and clear flavors, but some roundness. There is nothing thin about the flavor. It's balanced but with highs and lows. You could say it's a Lat bomb but on a different day, a different pipe you could say it's oriental forward. It seems to make a statement on all flavors; sour, bitter, savory, with pops of sweetness (a trick of Mr. Pease is the little birds eye shaped snips of Virginia flake-Union Square?) and on re-lights some hint of salt and a great oriental spiciness. I happen to like or love a lot of G.L.P. blends -Quiet Nights, Abingdon, Gas Light and Key Largo (once I figured out how to make it stop biting) in the love category and might go for a month before I get around to this blend (I like a large rotation), but every time I light up a bowl of this I wonder why I waited so long.

Pipe Used: Savinelli 620/ 320 Mark Tinsky pot

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

Aloysius McMurphy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Aloysius McMurphy (1)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Balkan style tobacco, not sweet. A medium-bodied smoke with an almost barbecue flavor, hints of citrus and pepper and frankincense. The bacon of pipe tobacco.

Pipe Used: Neerup

Purchased From: Crescent City Cigar

1 person found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (203)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

My "go to" Balkan blend. Sets the standard by which I judge all others. The Latakia in this blend hits all the right spots for me. Can't recommend this any higher.

1 person found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (69)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Another from Pease which I cannot recommend.

This one bites like a weasel, not really sure why possibly the cut and it's a tad dry. Certainly no orange zest and cocoa beans, nor green peppers (sounds like a bizarre pizza), campfire well of course Latakia which I really like and enjoy.

However, the way Pease seems to work with Latakia is not to my liking in most of his blends . . . I'll stick with Russ Ouellette I get along with his blends far better.

1 person found this review helpful.

cakeanddottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cakeanddottle (36)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

oh my. There is no tobacco like Charing Cross. This is the tobacco equivalent of overturning an old rotten log on a walk in the woods. Dark, fertile soil, rotting wood, wet leaves, squirming things and scrabbling beetles. I told my wife that and she said it sounded as bad as it smelled.

It's not. It's wonderful.

This is a Balkan with a plenty of Latakia, but the Orientals lead the way throughout. There are sour and tangy notes, but this is not a sour and tangy blend. There is that edge of bitterness that isn't really bitter, perhaps astringent is a better description. This blend is varying shades of darkness. What a great autumn mixture. This tobacco is all dying light and long shadows.

This is not a tobacco you will think is brilliant the first bowl. Your initial impressions will hold up, but your comprehension will improve. This is perhaps the most complex blend I've ever smoked. It doesn't give me that big, obvious, consistent sourness I love, but there is so much else here that that is ok. It's more than ok. Thank you Greg. If for Westminster and Charing Cross only, you have my sincere gratitude.

1 person found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (555)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

May as well get this one in now while I'm thinking about it. I've thought of little else lately!

Mr Pease apparently feels his Odyssey is his "biggest" tobacco in this series. I've never smoked that one but if it's bigger than this one, it'll be too big for me! This one is gargantuan... humongous.... gigantic... elephantine...! That's to say it is a robust, hugely flavorful and intense smoke. It's almost to the point of "flavor overload", yet it's also nuanced if the smoker can draw his attention away from the obvious. The cut of this is all over the map and the moisture content was perfect upon opening the tin. Drying out further elicted no improvements. The orientals and latakia played nicely with the virginia, but this was no democracy. The Eastern leaf ruled! And it did so with a smoky, leathery, toasty SHOVE but of the friendly variety, like one among the best of buddies. A lover of latakia will certainly find this blend compatible but the oriental fan will not mourn the absence of his favorite condiment. The various components have been blended so harmoniously and yet it was like mixing my two favorite heavy taste indulgences.... like pouring single malt scotch into my high octane chili (and yeah, I'm gonna try that!). Is there really such a phenomenon as "too much of a good thing? I find the idea dubious at best.

Burley lovers, stay away! If you like a wisp of latakia with your golden VA, forget this one. But if you want a mouth-filling ZING that comes with every puff and you love to be excited by your tobacco (and you like middle-eastern leaf in large quantities), never eat another porterhouse steak with a Guiness Stout without following it up with this fantastic tobacco. There are many tobaccos that make the smoker say "Wow, this is an excellent tobacco!". There are few that demand a screaming response like "HO-LEEEEE CRAP, this is a good smoke!". This one fell... er... no, it POUNCED into the latter camp. :)

1 person found this review helpful.

Fofo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fofo (78)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Flavor: A little sweeter than Abingdon, may be due to a lower Latakia content. Although Latakia is still the main player the orientals are in a pretty high concentration. This blend is full and for the Latakia and Oriental lover.

Complexity: A hard point to review since, in my opinion, although there is definetely complexity the main theme are the Orientals. I'd say the Orientals develop throughout the bowl and, halfway down, the Virginias fully kick in rounding up the flavor of the Oriental and adding an extra sweetness that goes very well with the Latakia.

Aroma: Naturally sweet, mostly Latakia and Orientals with some earthy undertones.

Tin Aroma: I'm sorry for repeating myself so much but, again, pungent orientals.

Room note: To me it is pleasant but I have to admit it is strong. My wife complains that it stings her nosetrills.

Burning characteristics: Easy to light, burns evenly and leaves no gunk at the bottom of the bowl. Very cool burning even when tempted. No tongue bite to speak of.

Cut/Moisture content: The cut is somewhat broad and coarse. That, combined with the relatively low moisture content makes the tobacco a little hard to pack but not so bad. All in all, the cut and moisture content are perfect and, to my taste, ensure that the blend burns at the intended rate so the intended flavors can come out.

Overall: A true Balkan, probably one of the best offerings available today. Hard to say something that hasn't been said. Highly recommended to those who can appreciate the delicate complexity of high quality blends.

1 person found this review helpful.

al1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
al1 (58)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

I really like this. Another strong but perfectly balanced balkan from the dark one. I would say this one is very close to caravan and abdingdon but in my opinion falls in between, in terms of strength and fullness. This is also true in relation to the latakia content.

One thing that I like about it is that it has that good classic balkan flavor. It is much more to my taste than blackpoint or kensington in that they are overly sweet for balkans.

Again if you like or in my case love abingdon and caravan you will no doubt enjoy this.

It has that great smoky taste but there are so many underlying hints that play in and out in a wonderful way. Some say hints of green pepper and chocolate, I don't know if thats how it tastes to me and I can't really describe it other than to say it's one of the best I've ever smoked.

I am addicted to pease balkans. If I could never smoke anything else but Caravan, Charing Cross, and Abingdon in that order of preference. I would be very satisfied. Althouh I would miss the occasional puff of mc christmas cheer.

For finally I have found tobaccos that smoke dry and cool to the final ash, taste as good, full, and biteless as possible, and leave me feeling quite a bit euphoric. What else could one ask for in a blend? It is what tobacco should and can be. Beyond highly reccomended, among what I consider a necessity to get through my days. If this became unavailable I would be VERY upset!

1 person found this review helpful.

SirLoirn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SirLoirn (126)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

Tin: Varied cut ranging from light brown to black; similar to other GLP offerings. Not moist but not dry, closer to dry. Smells smoky just like Latakia, with spicy, buttery oriental being noticed from time to time. Tin date: 02 15 07 (15FEB07).

Taste & Aroma: Really smooth, like other GLP blends. Not harsh, bitter, or sharp, having a year age. Inhaling is allowed. Mellow oriental until mid-bowl when a mild cocoa and roasted poblano chiles comes to the fore. Fairly rich and comlex. A dry, clean smoke; no gurgle or dottle.

The above was experienced indoors. Outdoors, it has quite a cigar quality.

Nicotine: Medium to strong, just enough to mellow me out, but not get that sickly buzz. The effect, though, does tend to persist for quite awhile.

Room Note: Mildly cigarish

Overall: Really smooth blend with a strong oriental character, but not as much as Robert McConnell's Oriental. For my preferences, CC is a little too strong like a cigar. 3 stars.

Other GLP Balkans blends include Abingdon, Odyssey, Kensington, Caravan, and Ashbury.

1 person found this review helpful.

BriarChef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarChef (100)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

What a treat. I get to compare Charing Cross from 2005 and from a tin packaged a mere two days ago (7-21-08).

Tin Appearance: 2005 looks shorter and narrower in the cut. The 2008 is broader cut, and I was greeted with a huge chunk of Latakia to play with. Pretty cool. The older model has darkened somewhat and the colors are blending together.

Tin Aroma: 2005 has more cohesive aromas, the new tin is disjointed. No surprise there. The older blend is beginning to throw off some deep stewed dry fruit aromas, while the youngster is more vegetal and shallow.

Pack: I prefer the older tin overall. It is easier to gravity feed the layers. The young one needs to be pinched off and "shred fed".

Light: Both came dry enough out of the package for immediate firing, and took to the match without a hitch.

Smoke/Flavor: Both are cool burning. The old man is earthier and sweeter. The lad continues to carry forward the disjointed qualities reflected in the tin aroma. He's a gangly young chap, and a wee bit uncoordinated.

Room Note: Who cares?

Overall Impression: This is going to be fun. I have about 3 medium sized bowl's worth of the senior citizen and half a pound of junior to conduct side by side tastings. The boy will grow to a fine young man given time and proper environment. He will then mature into middle and old age with grace and charm...or was that gravy and chard? Dunno. Anyway, this mixture, in both stages of maturity, displays excellent breeding, good manners, and a positive outlook. Diplomacy, given the Latakia level, is a mute point. Or is that a Moo Point? The old man, alas, is not likely to survive this experiment. May he rest in pieces. Or is that Picses? Another moot point.

Good stuff.

1 person found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable

To me, Charing Cross is the epitome of Balkan mixtures (or is it Odyssey?). Anyway, CC is another outstanding offering from what is at the present day the best pipe tobacco maker in the world: GLPease. Charing Cross is a Latakia powerhouse, with rich Virginias and Orientals providing enough sweetness and depth to keep you in heaven throughout the bowl without being overly complex or sweet.

Don't expect a nicotine kick here: CC is full flavored, but not strong at all.

I have several tins cellared and I'll be buying a lot more, considering that this is my only everyday Balkan.

1 person found this review helpful.

Ben Rich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ben Rich (34)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Very Pleasant

I had originally gone through a 2 oz. tin of Charing Cross approximately a year ago; it was a relatively new tin and I enjoyed the tobacco but it did not seem all it could be. I followed Pipestud's advise and cellared a few tins and finally opened one of those when it had one year and one month's age. What a huge difference this one year's aging made on Charing Cross. It went from an enjoyable smoke to a sublime smoking experience... I have now completed three quarters of that tin and realized I should write up a review before completely finishing the tin. (I should say as well that as soon as I opened this one-year-old tin and smelled the exquisite aroma I immediately ordered another two tins to add to my cellar.) This is a good "full" Balkan blend; it is smooth and creamy as a Balkan should be and it has, for me, a slight tendency to give me a "dry" mouth. The flavors are rich and Balkan "buttery", with definite sweet tangy fruitiness mixed within. I love to walk back into a room where I've been smoking this; I find the room note superb and my wife, bless her, does not comment on it at all, as she does when I'm smoking Penzance or Haddo's Delight (she hates Haddo's). I've smoke most of this tin in a meerschaum (mainly because I'm trying to gets some color on the meer) but have also smoked this in large size 4 and size 5 "clean" briars. In the briars Charing Cross really comes through; the seasoned briar (in which I smoke mostly English or Balkan blends) really add to this blend's character. Follow Pipestud's sage advise; if you like solid Balkan blends, buy a few tins of Charing Cross and let them cellar for at least a year. Next year, Lord willing, I will open a tin with two year's age and see what time has done.

1 person found this review helpful.

mfreeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mfreeman (4)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I am on my second tin of this now, and I must say, this is one of the greats! I have just finished smoking it in a vintage amber stemmed meerschaum which I recently broke in with, and devoted to Balkan blends. I have also smoked it in various other pipes, but this one seems to be the most gratifying for this particular tobacco. Upon the charing light I find the Orientals to be especially predominant while the Latakia is in the very distant background. At about half bowl the whole thing begins to become more balanced between the Oriental, Virginia, and Latakia. Perhaps my palate is not as sensitive as that of my fellow reviewers, but I fail to detect the Perique at any point. At the very bottom things really change and the Latakia takes over almost everything. The last few puffs are really some of the best ones, however they do run a bit strong. As far as Balkans go, this one is it! The quality of the tobacco outclasses even Dunhill in my opinion and the originality of smoking nuances is much greater than most of the other "by-the -numbers" Balkans.

Update: It has been about one year since that review, and though I still believe Charing Cross to be amongst the "greats" of recent tobacco history, I have begun an affair with another great, that is; Penzance and/or Margate, by Esoterica. I still think highly of Charing Cross, but it is just not as interesting as these two tobaccos.

Update: I grow increasingly bored with Greg's offering as they all seem to include lemon yellow bright ribbon and many of them with stoved red virginias in a loose ribbon form that seems as if it is not as pressed together or integrated with itself as other blenders offerings. This may be in order to achieve more diversity in the bowl, but I feel that a tobacco need not be like a three ring circus in the bowl in order to avoid being monochrome in it's pallet. it seems as if G.L. almost blends by the number, every blend being a variant of the previous one.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Appearance: Typical GLP cut, short ribbons of varying widths. Colors range from orange through black.

Aroma: Real Balkan aroma, mostly Latakia with Oriental support Packing: Packs easily into medium and large bowls. Probably will pack into a small bowl, but I prefer this type of blend in a larger pipe.

Lighting: Lights readily and without problem. Initial flavor: Mostly Oriental and Latakia flavor, very little (sometimes none) from the Virginias. Big, smoky, spicy and just a touch sharp.

Mid-bowl: Smooths out a bit as the Virginias step up, but they are always in the background. A bigger Balkan feeling than Caravan, but not as Latakia heavy as Odyssey or Abingdon. Nice dry smoke, cool when puffed at slow to normal rate.

Finish: Burns down to a nice clean ash, with little increase in strength

Summary: Definitely an evening smoke for me, way too full for any other time. An excellent choice for the Oriental lover.

1 person found this review helpful.

Wolfpaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wolfpaw (37)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Charing Cross is a well-blended, traditional Balkan mixture which I find to be a very satisfying smoke. The quality of the leaf is excellent, confirming the G.L. Pease reputation for being very selective about the tobaccos used in their blends. It retains an even level of moisture for a long time, just moist enough to be able to pack and light easily, yet never becoming dry and crumbly. The tin aroma is pleasant, with hints of chocolate and smoke. The flavor is well-balanced and consistent throughout the bowl, with a slight sweetness from the Virginas evident, and the Latakia always detectable but never overwhelming. It's strong enough to satisfy, but without an aggressive nicotine punch, and the room note isn't terribly aggressive either. It's supposedly reminiscent of, but not a duplicate of, the venerable Balkan Sobranie. It's been too many years since my last pipeful of Sobranie, but the description seems to fit Charing Cross-- not quite the same, but every bit as enjoyable to smoke. This is, and will likely remain, one of my favorite Balkan mixtures. Anyone who enjoys Balkans should certainly give Charing Cross a try.

1 person found this review helpful.

Collezionista Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Collezionista (59)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Charing Cross is just a superb Balkan. The balance of tobaccos in this blend is very well executed. The Virginias and Orientals provide rich undertones of chocolate and spice that would be all but hidden in a less skillful Balkan blend. Like nearly all of Mr. Pease's blends, it is smokes very well. I smoked it in a fairly new Savinelli bent dublin and didn't find nearly as much bite as I expected by some of the above reviews. Its almost as smooth as a medium English blend such Squadron Leader or London Mixture but packs quite a bit more flavor and complexity. If it were a little lighter, it could be an all day smoke, such is the enjoyable nature of this blend. Charing Cross is the most refined Balkan I've tried, an impeccable example of just how Oriental tobaccos can really add dimension to a Latakia blend. Charing Cross has become one of my favorites, earning a spot in my regular rotation.

1 person found this review helpful.

DrDNA Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDNA (58)
★★☆☆
Medium Very Mild Full Strong

Notes: Smoked in various pipes, I found this best in my old Charatan billiard.

Appearance: Rough cut short ribbon of light and brown ribbon with dark brown and black ribbons as well composing 30% of the blend.

Aroma: Sweet raisin, leather, green peppercorn, date, stewed prunes, smoke, and a hint of bergamot. The sour-sweet aroma of perique is clearly present.

Taste: As with most of Mr. Pease's blends, this one is full of flavor. The taste is dominated by the flavor of smoke and sweet stewed fruit, with charcoal and barbeque smoke -- all this imparted by the Latakia and other Oriental leaves in the mix. As far as "Balkan" blends go, this one is on the lighter side, being somewhat tempered by the Virginia leaf to teetering on the edge between heavy English and light Balkan in its complexion. The leaf used is top grade as always and the composition of the blend is rigorously calculated. I believe it will also mellow with age.

The sticking point for me continues to be (as with all GLP blends) that it is a "big" performer one can compare to a "big" California Cabernet scoring in the high 90's on some reviewer's charts, and not like a more subtle Burgundy or Brodeaux red. GLP blends are akin to a prize-winning show dog, ready to point and posture for the judges, but ultimately not a very good housepet. For my money, give me my old dog Chips sitting at my feet as I smoke my pipe any day. Sometimes you just want a plain old good smoke, and this is not it. If you want a performance in your mouth, well, have at it.

Comparisons: In the same range as Dunhill My Mixture No. 965, Dunhill Nightcap, and Peter Stokkebye's Proper English.

Bottom Line: A superb and finely crafted light Balkan blend, though heavy on the palate. If you find Penzance and other uber-Latakia blends a bit much, but don't want more complexity or subtlety, this may be a good blend for you.

1 person found this review helpful.

LoisKelly Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LoisKelly (55)
★☆☆☆
Overwhelming Extra Strong Extremely Mild (Flat) Overwhelming

I would not recommend that anyone buy this blend. It will make you impotent, and your hair will fall out. A GLP delivery van ran over my mother. Greg Pease funnels money to the Taliban, and experiments on small animals. Charing Cross is high in carbohydrates. Let this blend languish on store shelves. I will collect them and see to their proper disposal.

It's a dog eat dog world, and every bad review for CC is another tin available for me. I may just buy them all.

An absolute home run.

1 person found this review helpful.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

An earlier reviewer raised the question as to where Mr. Pease had come up with the name ?Charing Cross?. Well, he didn?t invent it out of thin air, or even Latakia-laden air for that matter. Here?s the explanation:

The name Charing Cross comes from the original hamlet of Charing, where King Edward I of England placed a memorial to his wife, Eleanor of Castile. It was one of twelve places where Eleanor's coffin rested overnight during the funeral procession from Harby, Lincolnshire to her final resting-place at Westminster Abbey in London in 1290 A.D. At each of these, Edward erected an "Eleanor cross?, of which only three now remain. The Eleanor crosses were stone monuments in the shape of a cross. The one which stands at Charing Cross, in front of the railway station, is a re-located Victorian "copy" of the original - the latter having stood where a statue of King Charles I of England is now to be found. "Charing Cross" is a corruption of "cher reine cross", that being French for "dear queen" and referring to the Eleanor Cross that was erected there.

Now, on to the tobacco.

Charing Cross is a stout Balkan blend. Very full flavor with very little in the way of sweetness. Very interesting flavor, covering the range from bittersweet to smoky. The Latakia and the Oriental are center stage, with the Virginia in a supporting role. You can catch a hint of the Virginia sweetness now and again, but the others are definitely the stars of this show.

In typical Pease fashion, this is a great smoking blend. Mr. Pease seems to follow the same school of thought as a chef. Not only does it have to taste good, it has to look good as well. Like the other Pease blends, Charing Cross is a visually appealing blend. The cut and coloring strike a balance that is just as pleasing to the eye as the smoke is to the palate. Highly recommended for the experienced smoker of English blends.

1 person found this review helpful.

final_id Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
final_id (35)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

I really liked Samarra by G.L.Pease and am looking forward to trying Renaissance. So when I saw Charing Cross, Piccadilly, and Kensington available at my local meet-and-greet cigar store (habanasmokes.com in Jackson, Miss.) I booted up their free wireless internet and checked tobaccoreviews.com for some research. I figured that among my three choices, TR.com informed me that ChC was the closest to Samarra. But I find it almost intolerably neutral in presence. It's like a "non tobacco." I thought maybe I was smoking it with overpowering foods and drinks, for example, but I've given it a few days and I still get, mostly, all the pungency of dried styrofoam. Perhaps I got a bad tin. It was at least sealed -- laugh my first tin of Samarra was so old the metal lid (underneath the plastic top) didn't connect to the can any more! -- but it hasn't really grown on me in any manner. I categorize Charing Cross as, simply, Samarra light. There's a true Balkan air to it, but it doesn't have the zing or zesty tangy almost Darjeeling flavor of true Latakia, to me. Its room-note (haha, what a euphemism! I'd call it "second hand smoke" and admit the truth!) is reminiscent of the Frog Morton series by McClelland, actually, and for that reason I smell some of what I previously identified as Perique in the Balkan. Can says no, so it's just "natural pungency," but otherwise there's no oomph there. I could smoke it all the time, if I wanted something absent but present in my mouth, I guess, except for the fact that it gives me tongue bite, which is surprising. So, for me, it's the worst of both worlds -- nearly intolerable because of its harshness, and also almost entirely flavorless. Odd ...

1 person found this review helpful.

mesacactus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mesacactus (21)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Strong

Charing Cross, what kind of name is that for a tobacco? Anyways, I am always open to try a blend with Latakia. Balkan, English, Scottish, even the occasional aromatic, spiked with Latakia. So when I found this tobacco, in a sample tin at my local smoke shop, I gave it a go. It was almost gone, when I opened the can (good sign), and it sure did smell like Latakia was in there. Well, I packed my pipe, being somwhat suspicious, of how light the blend looked. For me, the lighter the blend in color, the more Virgina was being used. Virgina tobacco in large amounts, at least for me, equals tounge bite. But, I liked the aroma, which was very promising, and continued to pack the pipe. Once that was completed, I applied fire, and began to smoke. At first I was pleased with the taste. Smokey, rich, and full, everything you could ask for in a Latakia blend. However, my original suspicions were about to come true. About one quarter down the bowl, the bite began. I liked the flavor, so I backed off a bit, but the bite just got worse. I smoked about three quarters of the bowl, and had to stop. I was bitten. I have found with most of Mr. Pease tobaccos, he is a fan of Virgina. Maybe to much. I was disapointed once again with Mr. Pease, and I just was not able to be converted. Many pipe smokers swear by the blending arts of Mr. Pease. I think I just might nail my Thesis to a tobacco shop's door, as to why one should not worship, only one blender. There just are to many other fine tobaccos out there, to limit yourself. So I'll go fourth and spread the news. Variety is King!

1 person found this review helpful.

Ken Lamb Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ken Lamb (1)
★★★☆
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I am posting this review after smoking one tin of Charing Cross. I have smoked it in most of my pipes I dedicate to Latakia mixtures. My experience with this blend is as follows. For this review I chose a Poul Ilsted Danish bulldog with a faux amber stem. This is my maiden smoke in this pipe. The tin aroma is definitely Latakia and a tangy citrus undertone that is very pleasing to the sense. Unlike Cumberland this has something extra that brings more to this tobacco in a Balkan style. I am not sure what it is maybe different VA?s or a different Oriental. The cut of this blend as with the other Classic Collection is a smaller ribbon cut which is ideal for packing. When I first opened this tin a couple of weeks ago I thought it was a little moist like most of GLP blends are for me. I always set out enough for a smoke and let it air out for about 20 minutes. The tobacco color is a very bright yellow to medium to dark browns in a pretty even ratio. Upon lighting this tobacco I would expect a heavier Latakia taste then I receive. The Virginia announces itself right away with a very semi sweet taste like a raisin not quite room temperature. You can taste it but not a full raisin taste like it has been in your pocket for a while. The Latakia smokiness is in the background at the beginning of every bowl until you get about a third of the way in. The smoky campfire smell and rich full taste is perfect in this blend not so over powering that it takes the other tobaccos out of the picture. The Orientals are well balanced and mix well with the VA?s in this blend. I would say you could smoke this all day. IMHO it needs a little age. In the cellar for about six months and this will be one of Greg?s finest. Another winner from Mr. Pease, thank you.

1 person found this review helpful.

twaksak Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
twaksak (28)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

In the tin, again rich Latakia with a hint of spiciness, orange zest. Lighting it, provides a well-balanced, smooth even creamy smoke with the same hints of orange zest and a hint of sweetness on the tongue. Halfway through the bowl, the roasted something (Pease say’s its cocoa beans) was evident.

Pipe Used: Bari Wiking

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Oldguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Oldguy (6)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this tobacco until now; maybe I was just too busy enjoying it. I love Balkan-style blends, and this is my desert island tobacco -- If I could only smoke one blend for the rest of my days, this would be it.

Tin aroma is extremely pleasing; leathery and woodsy. A note about the moisture content: it's tricky. If it seems about right then it smokes like it's a bit moist, so dry it a bit more than you think it needs. Then pack it evenly, breaking up the big chunks; if the moisture content is right it will burn all the way down on one light. Best in a larger bowl, due to the cut. The orientals constantly peek through the latakia smoke and there's just enough Virginias to lace it all together. A very well-balanced Balkan blend.

In a briar it's full enough to satisfy on a winter's night, and in a meerschaum it doesn't overwhelm on a hot, humid day outdoors. There are lighter balkan blends, and fuller ones but this strikes the best possible balance between the two extremes, and the flavor is rewarding any time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darth Vader Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth Vader (73)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is the last of GLP's regular for sale blends that i have try and review. It's been great going through his entire collection and nearly all of them range from good to great. Unfortunately this blend doesnt really work for me. I find the Latakia taste in this a little overbearing which is unusual as it's a balkan style. Could be the combination of the lat and oriental that i dont really dig. Anyway, you may love it but he has numerous better English/Balkan's as far as i'm concerned. It's been a fun ride and i'm glad i bought two tins of all his blends so i can go around a second time and see if i have changed my mind on any. Tooroo

Nobody has rated this review yet.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (65)
★★☆☆
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Tin date: 3/14/2003

After several bowls I can tell you this Charing Cross is very smoooooooth, quite strong and has no bite. Cyprian Latakia overpowers the flue cured Virginias and Orientals to the point of not being able to tell what is what. It's a flame thrower of a blend, but straightforward as far as personality, like Odyssey. Very strong. Too strong.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

I struggled through a tin of Charring Cross a couple of years ago. I put a second tin aside and now, more than two years later, I find Charring Cross to be slightly smoother, but overall the result for me was the same. It is rough around the edges. CC doesn't bite me, but I can easily see that it could if not careful. I have the same “rough” issues with Westminster as I do with Charring Cross. The flavors are full, but unlike Quiet Nights and Odyssey, both of which I find to burn cool and smooth and are full flavored, I find the effort for me with CC simply isn't worth the struggle. Charring Cross won't be making a return to my cellar as I find other Pease Latakia mixtures more to my liking.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bluedog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bluedog (19)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Charing Cross is a very nice and complex change of pace for me. It packs and burns great. I have tasted everything from mushrooms, butter and peppers to tree bark, dirt and leather. ( not that i eat weird stuff )I would compare this blend to walking through the woods on a crisp fall afternoon.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (217)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Update 4/1/13- I really can't believe the turnaround in this tobacco with about a year and a half cellar time. I still don't get all the references to citrus but I also don't get the "green Peppers" , thank God!

(Original)My tin was tried about 3 months ago , cellared away, and just retried. Again this appears to be another Balkan blend by GLP in the same style as Odyssey and Black Point. I somewhat agree with reviewer ,"Zulujerk 10/16/2010", in that this is "muted and hard to classify. For me, I find it a disappointment in comparison to the other blends, Odyssey & BP. I tried to search for the cocoa and orange but couldn't find them , I unfortunately, did find the Green Pepper. Green pepper!!! , are you kidding, it really doesn't bring anything more than if I found them in my Jello ! I also find this blend somewhat harsh and spicy , with not much sweetness and a bitter aftertaste (green pepper?). As with many GLP blends, ageing does seem to change the blend, so If things change, I will update. Right now, I won't buy again and will stick with O & BP without the Green peppers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe-arazzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-arazzo (71)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Ok, here is a "Classic Collection" tobacco I can really get behind. I think the oriental-forward character of this blend was more enjoyable to my palate than Abingdon or Blackpoint, which featured Latakia. The lat in this blend was subdued and played well with the other components. Also, I swear this had more nicotene in it than the other Classic blends. So I found it more satisfying. Strangely, this tobacco SEEMED very dry in the tin, but it smoked slightly wet. No clue why.

As a side note, this was an epiphany for me. I think it showed me how sweet orientals can be. This may explain why Embarcadero was so sweet. Anyway, I for one never knew that before. So this tobacco was an education as much as an enjoyment. And it means I disagree with the description above: I found this sweeter than Blackpoint.

Definitely shot into my top five lat blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (120)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I personally do not think this is as "full" as the tin description may suggest. A clean, cool burning Balkan, definitely in my top 5 of Balkan blends. Although I have a wife that loves the room note of Latikia, this is also a great blend of those who enjoy being outside in the fall. Perfect for upland hunting adventures, but just as well suited to sitting on the porch looking at the glorious fall color change.

Pairs well with a variety of beverages, including dark roast coffee, scotch, and port.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

kiowapipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kiowapipe (17)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I really hesitated on the recommendation with this one. I want to be fair to it. Maybe I should have given it three stars. It's obviously quality leaf, it's put together well and there's certainly nothing wrong with it, but for some reason it just didn't move me. Nothing popped or seemed too special. I think the problem may be that I smoked a young tin. I'd warrant that a couple of years of aging would do marvels for this stuff. As it was, it just seemed like a regular old Latakia mixture to me. To my buds, the Latakia is the lead actor and the orientals are supporting. Maybe after a few years the Latakia would relax into the background and the orientals would bloom. All I know is that my fresh tin elicited only a resounding 'meh' from me. If you're a balkan connoisseur then maybe this should be on your list of things to try, but give it some time to mature first. Take my review with a grain of salt as it's based on only one young tin, but my experience was that this isn't bad, just not one of the best.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wosbald Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wosbald (111)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Along with a pleasing cheesiness engendered by this particular tin's four years of age, the tin aroma of this predominately short-cut, medium ribbon leans strongly toward the acrid gaminess of turkish and the obligatory smokiness of latakia. Sweetly fermented notes, though present, are not strident.

Though titled toward the dryness of turkish leaf, the balance is admirably saved by a minimal, though effective, use of bright virginias which the four years of aging on this particular tin had mellowed. Latakia is ever present, though never so dominant as to tip the blend into murkiness. As with all the Classic Collection offerings, there seems to be no casing tricks employed, and so the tobaccos shine on their own merits.

A very deliberate blend, Charing Cross veers toward the spare and the austere yet retains just enough sweetness to liven the party and might even suffice for the constant puffer who appreciates blends of such pungent gravity. This did well in a chamber of any gauge.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Davie Jones Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Davie Jones (61)
★☆☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Strong

Small cut, almost dusty leaf.

Tongue biting, unrefined tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cochon74 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cochon74 (20)
★★★☆
Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable

Wow... this is my first Pease blend and I am impressed. I love this tobacco!

I've only smoked it once, but I had to log in and say something, because it smacked me in the head and said, "This is what you've been looking for!" Truly great - assertive, complex, punky and also dignified. A smoke for all seasons and occassions.

Right out of the tin, the smoky latakia is in your face. It's a nice cut, easy to load and light. And it smoked really evenly, if a bit fast (it seemed, but perhaps I was too eager?). The latakia is definitely present and the overall blend is pretty assertive. There's a lot going on here. Some initial impressions were the obvious campfire/woody aromas, but I was more struck by leathery notes that came to the front once I got a third into the bowl. Also I detected something I can only describe as "incense-like." But it wasn't sweet or floral. It was quite savory, but somehow still reminded me of incense. Maybe this is the "green peppercorn" they refer to. The smoke was cool and creamy, despite my eager puffing and it burned nicely in my Peterson Bulldog.

I smoke almost exclusively out-of-doors and this blend is the perfect companion to fresh air... I will definitely being trying more Pease blends in the future!

As of now, I give this a top-notch rating. If anything changes, I'll be sure to post.

Update 6.23.11 - I'm down to my last bowl of CC and a little sad. It has been a very consistent smoke and if I weren't eager to try other Pease Balkans, I'd be cracking open another tin immediately. I'm happy to say that as someone with a low tolerance for nicotine, this big, wonderful blend has, for all its flavor, never given me the slightest dizzy buzz which sometimes ruins my longer, larger smokes.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This blend is simply brilliant. This one is my favorite all-day smoke at the moment. Plenty of buttery oriental action here but not over-the-top spicy or sour or musty. The Latakia doesn't overpower the other tobaccos but makes a nice smoky presence throughout, and the Virginias are of the toasty variety rather than sweet or citrusy. Half way down the bowl the toasty, now slightly sweet Virginias make their presence known a bit more as the Latakia and orientals soften and marry a bit, and the end of the bowl is pure heaven as all of the flavors become one toasted, creamy goodness. Not all tobaccos get better as you reach the end, but that's been my experience with this one. A good smoke all day long and very, very easy on the tongue. Charing Cross is better than any current Dunhill blend to my taste buds. No aging or drying is necessary. Charing Cross is my favorite English-Balkan blend.

Update: Been smoking this one side by side with the reissued Orlik Dunhill blends (My Mixture 965, Standard Mixture, and London Mixture), and Charing Cross beats them all for flavor and overall satisfaction in my book. I had similar experiences with Chelsea Morning and Ashbury being far better than the Orlik Early Morning Pipe. Pease's blends just taste better and smell better overall.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

When I first received my tin of Charing Cross a couple weeks ago, I had just finished a tin of Odyssey. Mr. Pease comparatively puts out quite a few Balkans, and I've been interested in sampling their range, so I ordered these two, and also a tin of Abingdon.

My initial reaction was disappointment. Not nearly as sweet as Odyssey, almost a little bitter. The blend seems much less smokey, and I would say that the Oriental leaf, whatever percent in the tin, is the main player of Charing Cross. In my taste it comes out Oriental, Latakia, then Virginia, with the Latakia and Virginias competing for the background note--that's in presence, not leaf volume.

Charing Cross is at times difficult for one to appreciate if craving a hard shot of nicotine, a Latakia bomb, or English blends with a heavy base of sweet Virginias. It is none of these, but for me, a classic example of a modern Balkan. Where most seem monotonous, overdone, Latakia heavyweights, Charing Cross shifts the center of balance, demonstrating that there can be a definable standard in a notoriously murky genre.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Marshall Law Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Marshall Law (50)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This fantastic balkan has become one of my favorite Pease blends. The latakia is strong and ever-present, yet well-proportioned to the savory, assertive orientals for the first half of the bowl, along with a proper measure of virginias that are not overly sugary. This big, rich, complex smoke is one of the more harmonius heavier blends in the Pease line-up (I prefer its complexity over Westminster, Odyssey, Caravan) and I feel it may be one of his best balkans. There is nary a hint of anything even remotely bitter about this blend, and its lighting and burning characteristics are just about perfect right out of the tin. It has not the latakia hammer of Odyssey (which I find less dynamic and a bit too lat-heavy), but Charing Cross offers instead much more measured, varied, complex flavors throughout the bowl, as the orientals weave in and out of the experience brilliantly, dominating at mid-bowl. If you want the solid, smokey hit of cyprian latakia but wish it to be delicously rounded and tempered with the toasty, tangy seduction of a significant portion of high-grade, savory oriental leaf, look no further. A refined, complicated mixture I'd rather not do without. Did I say harmonious? A word of caution: Sip slowly, if you puff too fast, the significant amount of orientals can get hot and can dry the throat, especially as your open tin ages, and the leaf becomes a bit more dry.

Update: Infallible, unflappable stuff! I find myself mentally using it as a benchmark to compare other blends to, in the same category. It is more heavy, dense and harsh than McClelland's lat-heavy balkan blends, as it has somewhat more assertive, aggresive orientals that tend to dry and numb the throat a bit by mid-bowl when pushed. Regardless, still a fantastic, flavorful blend that tastes like no other. This has earned a high spot in my rotation and a good quantity has been cellared.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pip Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pip (36)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Just opened up a new tin of this and it was dry as a bone. Turned to dust between my fingers. Unsmokable. Right into the trash. Big quality control issue with this particular tin. What a waste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

rramstad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rramstad (115)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Quick observations: I smoked this today immediately after smoking a bowl of Caravan, in the same pipe. This blend is more harmonious, and even though there's more latakia than Caravan, for some reason the other elements in the blend come through fairly well and the latakia is not overpowering. Definitely lively flavors, with spice and tang, while being stout and earthy too. This has the potential for a four star upgrade once I get to know it better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Peter Zorg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peter Zorg (34)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I was a little disappointed with this one. It is really a Balkan, not an English, but still I feel I do not have really understood it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (70)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Another fine English from GL Pease. A wonderful "campfire" room note, a balance of Orientals and Virginas with some orange notes, not over-shadowed by the Latakia. A very pleasant Balkan.

My only criticism is that I find the rather broad ribbon cut to be difficult to keep lit.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fmichaelnv Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fmichaelnv (5)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I find Charing Cross to be a richer version of Kensington (see my review) and Piccadilly. It has a substantial amount of latakia without dominating the subtleties of the virginias and orientals. It is dry and smells delicious out of the tin. Even though it is a coarse cut tobacco it is easy to pack in a larger pipe. It is truly rich and complex.

When I want a rich latakia blend this is what I reach for. I've tried Abingdon, Blackpoint and Odyssey; but the latakia in these blends overpower everything else. They are good but Charing Cross surpasses them all, in my humble opinion. It is the epitome of richness and balance. When you wish to tip the scales toward richness try the blends mentioned above (especially Odyssey, if you can keep it lit or Caravan). When you desire more balance: Kensington, Piccadilly or maybe Westminster should satisfy.

I'm in the process of trying all of the Pease blends; after which I shall update this and other reviews accordingly.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

birdseye Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
birdseye (15)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

I don't have much to add to the positive reviews of Charing Cross except to say that, although Oriental different, I put it up with Penzance, and that's the greatest compliment I can pay. Greg Pease recently developed the blend Westminster (excellent!!) as a tribute to the original Dunhill's London Mixture of cherished memory. To my taste and memory, though, I think he had already achieved that more completely in Charing Cross. If I was forced to smoke only three tobacco blends for the rest of my life, one of them would certainly be Charing Cross.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Latakia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Latakia (67)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This was a great latakia powerhouse. Really liked it. A good test of mine is when I have a few tins open and I constantly go back to the same tin, it's good. The latakia is heavy but the Virginaian and Oriental make it more. Not sweet and if one wants a good latakia blend...a real Balkan blend...then this is for you. It will be a regular on my list.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

AKSmoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AKSmoke (18)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I am nearly finished two ounces of this, and I agree that this is a very nice, multidemensional, flavourful blend. Certainly a good standard for "Balkan". I find this a bit on the heavy side, so I reserve it for an evening smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xyzzy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xyzzy (3)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

Warrants a category higher than "highly recommended".

Between Charing Cross, Blackpoint and most of all Abingdon, I don't miss my old long lost favorite 759 quite so much. As for the specifics of the smoking experience, the tin description pretty much sums it up. Compliments from other reviews pretty much fill in the blanks.

Any reports of this blend as a "tongue biter" are in my opinion entirely unwarranted. Steam and tongue bite are more a result of new tin moisture and smoking technique than anything else.

1. If the tobacco is too damp, you'll have a hot smoke.

2. If you pack it too tight, the last half of the bowl will likely smoke damp, rank and hot.

3. Balkan blends should be packed _slightly_ more loosely.

4. Many GLP blends are tinned a bit on the moist side. Let the tobacco air out for a bit before smoking.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OSR Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OSR (71)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant

One word: EXCELLENT

A classic balkan. Possibly the best balkan available on the market today. What else is there to say? Highest rating.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big bad Jon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big bad Jon (232)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This is a great tobacco with a lot of flavor. The blend is not just a Latakia power house but also has some other great flavors as well. The oriental leaf comes and goes throughout and adds a decidedly spicy note. I did notice a good portion of cocoa and maybe some citrus flavors as well. Green pepper taste was absent (thankfully). The Latakia was always present, but never overpowering. The tobacco burns very cool, and smelled awful to my wife. Overall this may be a favorite with a few years of age on it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (66)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

During my college years I smoked Balkan Sobrannie in the white tin. This reminds me of that experience. This is a very nice Balkan type tobacco. The tin of Charing Cross that I have is a year old. This is not a Latakia dump but a complex interplay between Latakia and oriental leaf, with the emphasis on oriental.

Since my Balkan Sobrannie days my tastes have changed. However when I need to reconnect with that experience I will grab a tin of Charing Cross.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Thedarklord Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Thedarklord (9)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium Full Tolerable to Strong

Simply delightful. Fresh out of the tin there is true body and taste here! Acrid and smoky. Like a pinon fire on a fall New Mexico night, this blend is accentuated by a massive Oriental hit about 2/3rd through the bowl. What a paradox. G L Pease, you are a genius.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Country Gentleman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Country Gentleman (28)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I wanted to like this blend. Maybe eventually I might. Right now, however, it just isn't for me. Actually, up to this point, I haven't really enjoyed anything I've tried that is considered balkan. I think I'm more of a spicy, tangy, virginia and perique with a few orientals kind of guy.

I have no doubt this is a quality blend, but all I get out of it is a hot, faintly bitter smoke and a big dose of cotton mouth.

One thing that bugs me about these GLP blends is that almost everyone seems to agree that they have to age considerably before being able to really enjoy. If this hangs around long enough to 'get better' I'll update.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Selah Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Selah (8)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

If you were being exiled to a desert island with only one tobacco, this blend would be a wise choice. It's a medium-full Balkan with a voluptuous mouthfeel. Not overly rich, but well balanced - the key concept is restraint; not a single one of the components hijacks the smoke, but all the main players co-operate. It is a symphony, rather than a samba.

I think there is some toasted Cavendish in here. If so, it unites the Turkish and the Latakia rather than adding a third stream of flavour.

This is enjoyable all the way down. It burns evenly to a fine ash. But some rubbing of larger pieces of tobacco is advisable before loading the pipe, to prevent the top surface not lighting evenly, or slow embers from occurring at the end of the bowl.

Ceylon tea. Gin and tonic. A good solid Burgundy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

flaminbill' Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flaminbill' (57)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Ah, if only this burned a little better. I used this to break in a Sara Eltang. So, the pipe was new and the tobacco was only four months old. I may update later, but for now its three stars and no more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

michaelbevilacqua Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
michaelbevilacqua (9)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

A stronger Latikia blend reminding me of Dunhill's Nightcap only better balanced by the Orientals. This blend is full throughout the bowl. Easily smoked, does not bite and caries the flavors of the three tobaccos so very skillfully.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

caddad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
caddad (53)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

Picked up a tin of this at the shop as it had been awhile since I savoured a Pease blend. I had thoughts of Odessey streaming through my mind as I drove home with it and wonderd how rich this experiance was going to be. opeing the tin I was rewarded with a wonderful smell and texture of tobacco that only Pease and C&D seem to offer. I spent several visits just peeling the lid back and inhaling the contents. Wonderfull! Upon lighting this for the first time I was not supprised to find myself relaxing and melting into pipe smoking nirvana. This is not as heavy in latikia as Odessey or Ravens wing I don't think, however it is extreamly smooth. I think this is the smoothest Balkan I have ever smoked! Did I mention that this was smooth. Nothing to complain about here at all. It is quite an experiance and I am glad that I did not miss out on it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

dualkarnain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dualkarnain (69)
★★★★
Strong Very Mild Full Strong

This is an amazing full-punch, complex blend that accents Latakia with an Oriental onslaught. Virginias keep this outside of the bitter realm and, honestly, I can say that this is one of my favorite tobaccos on our humble planet.

It ages well and it complements a good Scandanavian Vodka.

Images evoked while smoking include a demon horde successfully conquesting a medium-sized demoncracy in the middle of the week.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (140)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Wonderful and complex, I did not know that one blend could have this much going on at once. Multiple layers of orientals and latakias. This has instantly found it's way into my rotation, when I am in the mood for bold flavor, this is what I turn to. Not a tobacco to just puff and forget, this is to be savored. I have found this especially good in a churchwarden.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OTRFF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OTRFF (44)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This one is full of flavor! It is a superb balkan mixture. It would be a great all day smoke if it was just a bit lighter but with everything going on here it is just a bit too much for all day! ( I tried!) Nonetheless, it is a fabulous blend to be enjoyed here and there. Smokes great in anything and dry pipe when you're done! Great stuff!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

For those who love Latakia in large doses. Too much for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Revised 04-14-2005

This is a traditional "Balkan" blend in every respect of the genre. Greg has done a spectacular job of paying tribute to the classics with this one. It has all the proper leaf ingredientss common to this genre and the "cocoa" notes from the orientals are sublime. I prefer to put this blend in big pipes to get the most wonderful journey I can. It is a full blend and is not sweet flavored, but not as bitter as Caravan or Oddysey. This blend does not let you smoke it if it is too dry, it will bite. But with proper moisture, is sublime. I always have a tin open of this blend and smoke at least a bowl or two a week, along with other Balkans. Lastly, it ages marvellously.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Keeper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Keeper (112)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Update 09/11/04 This is still an excellent tobacco but alas, I am a fickle partner. It has not dethroned any of my long standing favorites and in fact, I believe Odyssey still holds a level of supremacy above Charing Cross. The blend still deserves 4 stars but simply - at least for me - has become less enthralling over the months.

Could it really be that good? I've read raves about Charing Cross for well over a year now. I am a big fan of Raven's Wing, Samarra, and most recently Odyssey. Also of Margate and Nightcap when I am feeling a little more traditionally "English".

I've only smoked a few bowls of Charing Cross to date - some from an aged and very dry sample, and fresh from a tin about a year old. The dried sample was good but...

The fresher store is exquisite.

Perhaps the love affair will go sour and I shall return to more comfortable, familiar partners. But for now, I'm enamoured. Atop the musky cigar like turkish there are hints of autumn fireplaces, cocoa, and sharp spices. Warm and deep yet refreshing. This tobacco carries a level of complexity and richness I have not tasted in almost any other blend. Margate still being the sole exception. And this leaf is actually a bit earthier, sweeter and piquant than that noble old English weed. While Odyssey may be the "King" of latakia based balkans, there is a balance and complexity in Charing Cross that is incomparable. While full flavored, it has not yet tired my palate (unlike Night Cap and Odyssey, which MUST be the last things I smoke in a day). I can only compare it to Balkan Sasieni (the newest version) with some additional depth and richness.

This could become my favorite blend. It is just that good.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (296)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

A good balkan (but on the rounder side), not very far from Odyssey. It has a sec, clean taste. If Greg modelled this on Balkan Sobranie 759 or Original Mixture, he failed: it hasn't the overwhelming and at times bitter taste of OM or the rich sweetness of 759. I have been smoking a lot of 759 lately, and it's clearly different (but of course it has much aging on its shoulders). But this doesn't mean that Charing Cross is a failure of a tobacco! It simply is a great mixture by itself, no comparisons needed.

I tend to prefer it to Odyssey because of the moderate sweetness and body increase that it develops during the bowl.

Highly recommended, only a notch inferior to Blackpoint.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Esoxhunter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Esoxhunter (60)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

September 2004

This is the first Pease blend that I have not been abe to rate at four stars. I have no doubt that lovers of Oriental-heavy Balkan blends will really like this stuff, but the Latakia and Virginias were simply not pronounced enough for me. I really like the sweetness of the other Pease blends that I've tried, but when Charing Cross' sweet note finally comes through--about half-way through the bowl in my Bjarne freehands--it is not full enough to satisfy. All in all, the blend is too dry for my tastes; this may well be a function of the use of Cyprian as opposed to Syrian Latakia. I will say, though, that like other Pease blends, Charing Cross seems (to my relatively inexperienced palate) to be superbly crafted.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

preppypipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
preppypipe (57)
★★★☆
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable

This would'nt have been something I would have purchased for myself.I won a tin of it at a raffle at the Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club of which I'm a member.However I must say it was a welcome change of pace.It's lively, spicy and delicious,with just the right amount of perique.For the balkan lover I would say this is nirvana... Recommended! prep ====Update Sept. 1st "04"=== The second tin I purchased of Blackpoint was much less enjoyable than the 1st.I found that the high perique content made it smoke quite hot and it was unforgiving to my mouth and throat.I do'nt plan on purchasing more of this...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Chessnut Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Chessnut (13)
★★★☆
Strong Strong Full Strong

I tried this blend because I enjoy Raven's wing so much. This is a nice latakia blend, and if I had not tried Raven's wing I would be rating this higher. It is a quality smoke, but in my humble opinion it does not hold up in comparison. However, compared to many other blends that call themselves latakia blends, this one tops that list.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is Blackpoint with some muscle and backbone. More Balkan in taste thanks to the marvelous Oriental components, and quite heavy on the Latakia.

I should think additional aging will make this one terrific. If you have smoked Balkan Sobranie, then that should give you an idea of what Charring Cross is like. I do find the Pease blend to be more refined, less sweet, and certainly more powerful.

My advice, purchase a tin to smoke now and an additional 5 or 10 to age a few years.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pmonroeb Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pmonroeb (92)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Oh Boy! I get to be first.

Charing Cross is billed as a "Traditional Balkan Mixture" and that is certainly true. It is a much more traditional Balkan than Pease's other offerings of Caravan and Odyssey. I never warmed up to Caravan, but I do smoke Odyssey occasionally.

Like all Pease blends, Charing Cross is perfect right out of the can. No need to dry it or break it out. It comes as a rather short ribbon cut that packs easily, lights well and burns cool.

My current reference Balkan is Balkan Sasieni, but Charing Cross is likely to take that role. My initial impression is that Charing Cross is an outstanding Balkan with no real drawbacks. It does not have the initial bitterness that I sometimes get from Balkan Sasieni and does not have the mineral overtones I found objectionable in Caravan.

As I have written before, Balkan Sobranie 759 was my standard for many years. Is Charing Cross as good as 759? Maybe. It is certainly closer to 759 in taste, tin aroma and room note than anything else I have tried. The one difference I note between Charing Cross and my memories of 759 is the lack of what was often referred to as a "plum pudding" flavor in 759.

In summary, GLPease has another winner that will satisfy those searching for a traditional Balkan blend.

ADDENDUM- Having settled in a little more with Charing Cross I will update my review. Charing Cross is more overtly "Balkan" than any other blend I have tried. I am now noticing a little harshness in the smoke that makes it difficult to smoke this more than once a day. This may be because the tin was only two weeks old and that some age would take the edge off it. I have mixed up several outstanding bowls of tobacco by various ratios of Charing Cross and either VegasSmokes Babylonia or Schurch's Torina. Maybe around a 1/3 mixture of either of those smooths out Charing Cross nicely. I tried a 50/50 mixture of Charing Cross and Butera's Latakia #1 and it was unsmokeable.

Nobody has rated this review yet.