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The finest Virginia tobaccos expertly blended with latakia to give the smoker a unique taste and aroma

Notes: From the G&H Catalogue: An extremely popular blend of Virginia and latakia. A unique taste and aroma.

BrandGawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blended ByGawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Manufactured ByGawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
CutReady Rubbed
Packaging50 grams tin, bulk
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
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None Detected
Medium, Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 10 Users

90 reviews
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beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (102)
Medium None Detected Medium Strong

I read somewhere that this blend was commissioned by Weller's Tobacconist in Surrey to fill the gap in the market caused by the disappearance of Balkan Sobranie's Original Mixture. I don't know how many recreations we now have of that tobacco, but I hope people continue to experiment. I seem to enjoy most of them, perhaps because I don't care whether or not they're faithful to the original.

G&H Balkan Mixture is a very enjoyable tobacco. I find it somewhat reminiscent of Esoterica's Margate. It's medium-full, with plenty of Virginia sweetness in the background supporting a moderate amount of smoky Latakia and creamy Orientals. The Latakia is mouth-coating and somewhat blunt, but the other tobaccos are elegant enough to maintain balance. In the tin, it's a thin ribbon cut, a roughly equal mix of light and dark brown with lesser quantities of black and golden leaf. Tin aroma is dominated by the Latakia—a sweet, musty, smoky quality. The fine cut makes this easy to pack, light, and burn.

I've always been mostly a foul-weather Latakia smoker. I love the heck out of mixtures when it's cold or wet outside, but rarely smoke them when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I've enjoyed this mixture for a few years. But I fell head over heels in love with it last winter. I spent a month living in a hotel room (a 4th floor walk-up with one of the only western-style toilets in town) in a cold, wet, farming village in south-western China. The whole place smelled of creosote and charcoal. I was there over the New Year celebration (endless fireworks) and most of the places I visited were unheated, so people sat around little charcoal fires inside their drafty, cement block homes. My smoking companions were a half pound of BM and a few Falcons. I've traveled a lot, but I don't think I'll ever find a better combination of pipe-tobacco-weather-community-mood, etc. It was utterly sublime.

25 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2133)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This has a bare whiff of Lakeland that I noticed only because I was looking for it. The Cyprian latakia is smokey sweet and a bit woodsy with a mild back up from the dry, woody, slightly sour Orientals. The Virginias are citrusy and grassy, and form the base of this blend. I suspect a very mild sweet topping is here because I don't think it's all coming from the components. This is not a very complex English, and though its latakia-forward, does not reach the level of a lat-bomb. Deserves two and a half stars, but not quite three because there's just too many English mixtures that are similar to this.It sort of reminds me of a sweeter, less grassy Dunhill London Mixture. Burns at a moderate pace, cool and clean with a consistent flavor. Won't bite or get harsh. Relights are few, and leaves just a little moisture in the bowl.

15 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

I love this blend. It has a unique flavor among the Balkans I have smoked. I may be way off, but it seems as though the Latakia used here was smoked with some kind of evergreen (pine?, fir?, spruce?, cedar?), just a wild a$$ guess. I love the mild soapiness and the hint of mint. Every once and a while I can feel that minty touch cooling my tongue. The Orientals are fairly well balanced with the Latakia and both ride on the sweetness of the Virginias. It has medium body and full competing flavors. It does leave a coating in your mouth, but it's well worth it. That's why God invented mouthwash.

Pipe Used: MM General

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Nothing I've yet smoked..

15 people found this review helpful.

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

I never have been able to figure out what constitutes a true "Balkan" mixture. Just when I think I have it figured out, there's another "expert" changing the recipe just a bit and calling it a "true Balkan" mixture.

Having said the above; I will agree that this G&H high voltage stuff is a Balkan mixture in the most general of terms. It sure has a heavier dose of Latakia than any Balkan mixture I remember ever smoking. It was powerful, smoky and heavenly! I need to buy more tins of this weed.

12 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (833)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Based on a one-ounce bulk sample. Varying shades of dark brown shag with a heady bag aroma of latakia and orientals. After learning to load a shag by way of G&H Kendal Kentucky, I had no trouble with this one. Burns easily and quickly, so controlled puffing is critical.

At first blush, this appeared to be a typical balkan-style latakia blend, with nothing standing out from the ordinary. However, this one had its moments of sweetness that I don't associate with latakia or the base virginia tobaccos. At times, it seemed like there was a touch of Lakeland flavoring here. It was sort of the vermouth in a martini where they simply wave the vermouth bottle over the gin and olive. It's so subdued that it might be just that they allowed my batch to get to close to the Ennerdale or something. And I can't be sure it wasn't my imagination, but this does seem to have a very delicate wisp of Lakeland essence.

This is also a fairly nicotine-potent latakia blend. I did try some faster puffing, as is my custom with new tobaccos, and it never bit but it did get bitter and it did give me a pretty good case of niccups. Smoked at normal cadence, this was a perfectly fine blend with a typical balkan-type flavor, just nothing to write home about. I wouldn't turn down a free bowl but this one is not destined for my rotation. But it should be tried by anyone that enjoys both latakia and nicotine, as this might be just the ticket.

11 people found this review helpful.

PipesterJim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipesterJim (47)
Medium to Strong Mild Full Strong

Maybe it is because Balkan Mixture is one of only a couple of blends that GH&Co choose to offer to the UK market in a plastic pouch, which gives it a slightly 'drugstore' presentation, but for some reason I expected this one to be inferior to their usual fare in terms of overall quality. How wrong can you be?

This stuff is, quite frankly, the shiznit.

I'm not going to go into great detail describing the flavours of this blend as other reviewers have done this better than I ever could. The point I want to emphasise is just how well the different tobaccos work together. It is very characterful and although I agree that it doesn't develop much down the bowl, who cares when there is so much going on right from the word go? I find that it smokes best when it is a bit dryer than I think it ought to be, if you follow my meaning. The VA is bright and gives the blend a solid backbone. The Lat is resinous and unctuous and I guess it must be the VA and oriental working in combination that adds the touch of spice. Vitamin N is just right to be consistently satisfying with no risk of inducing the niccups from loading one bowl too many. Is it soapy? Well, I smoke enough Lakelands that I probably wouldn't notice, but I suspect that to an unconditioned palate it might be, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Four stars is a walk over for this one. It definitely has a place in my top tier of Latakia smokes.

In the update to his review (over the page) Dr Dyson suggests that GH&Co might be discontinuing this blend! I sincerely hope that proves to be no more than an ill-founded rumour. About 6 months ago a tobacconist told me that Revor Plug was destined for the chop, but that one still seems to be available, thank God!

Gentlemen of GH&Co, if you are reading this then for the sake of all that's Holy please don't stop manufacturing this ambrosial weed! By all means can some cherry flavoured cavendish blends if you have to, but don't deprive us of your delicious Balkan Mixture.

8 people found this review helpful.

Bluenoser Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluenoser (34)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Balkan Mixture is an absolute amazing tobacco. Opening the tin reveals an almost all black dark brown shaggy ribbon cut mix with a very 19th century foul, pungent, oily coal-like fume wafting straight up at you, all-the-while encouraging and inviting you to pack your pipe and light her up right away. As others have so rightly advised though, you need to let this air for at least 30 minutes before jumping in. It really makes a whole world of a difference by refraining from smoking BM until lots of air has its chance to mingle with the leaves and dry out some of the moisture. I have never smoked Balkan Sobranie Original but I have smoked Sobranie's Reserve blend which was of truly outstanding quality and unforgetable taste. I mention this because BM fits into that category of quality. The Virginia is sweet, powerful and supports this blend so very well. The Virginia component alone is magnificent and provides the smoker with loads of nicotine(comparable to say St. Bruno's power) which places BM definitely in the medium to strong strength arena. First light, Latakia right away. Oily, intoxicating, bitter and explosive. Less then a minute later, orientals take over. Buttery, rich, smooth, rewarding, deep, creamy and very satisfying. A few puffs later the Virginia come out of the background and at this point all components are working well, very very well together. Folks this in one very fine smoke. Mid way in and you are somewhere else now, perhaps on the damp and foggy winter streets of London in an earlier period of time, perhaps standing on a cobblestone street watching the shadows of Holmes and Watson as they engage in a heated debate in their 221b Baker Street flat. Yes indeed, Balkan Mixture is rich, complex,powerful, inviting and addictive stuff and as reviewed under the great Sobranie original BM has one of the best, I mean absolute best finishes I have ever experienced, flavor filled with an unusual misty spray of relentless complexity. I really look forward in trying Germain's BS but I cannot even imagine how it could be better then this Balkan. Very highly Recommended........I will be purchasing tonnes of this absolutely amazing tobacco!!

6 people found this review helpful.

marosi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
marosi (67)
Mild to Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable

This is one of the best Balkan's available. It is strong and spicy and robust and about as manly a tobacco as you will ever find. I think my wife would make me leave the county if I fired this up inside the house with her around. Smoked in a fine old english briar the experience is near perfect.

All the goodies are there in fair proportions, and it smells deeply of leather and earth in the tin. It is a fine ribbon cut, but in mine there were also large pieces of rolled leaf that had not been caught in the cutting process. The quality of the leaf is without peer. My portion was somewhat moist and required a fair bit of drying to reach the proper smoking humidity. This is important because when smoked with a higher moisture level it becomes somewhat harsh and spicy to an excessive degree. When drier it is cool and rich and more rewarding.

As you would except this has exceptional burn characteristics. It lights easily and burns consistently when tended to a reasonable degree. Smoke it slow and let the waves of rich flavor come one after the other. Every element is present and can be searched for and found - sweet VA, smoky latakia, the spice of the orientals, all present and accounted for. This may sound like a non-statement and a mere recitation of the tin description, but the reality is that many blends that purport to have such qualities lose one or more elements and come out a bit thin. Not so here, and with gentle puffing great heaps of flavor and depth abound.

This is not a subtle mixture and lacks the smooth creamy refinement of something like Exotique. It is a sledgehammer of an offering, but is masterfully blended so that it does not become overwhelming if smoked with regard. If puffed rapidly, or with a high moisture content, the spice builds and the sharp edges arise. With respect to nicotine it is not a strong blend per se, and can be enjoyed in larger portions without being agitating or overwhelming in that regard.

Even among the English blenders this is a rarity of strength and quality, and it is a bargain as well when purchased in bulk. There is no compromise here and it is a tour de force of its type. Superb.

*I wanted to add a note to speak to the lakeland essence which many people have commented on noticing in this smoke. I frankly did not notice it in my batch (this was the first time I have purchased this particular blend) so I went back to see if I was missing something. When I was looking for it I found the faintest wisp of a lakeland something in the background. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the low end of the scale I would say it was not more than a .5, barely noticeable in the very slightest. I say this not to dispute what other people have experienced but to add my own experience from this recent order.

One reviewer speculated that perhaps it is the machinery that they use which is in fact imparting this, and I think that person might be on to something. I do not think it is an intentionally added casing - in my batch it is so extremely light that I missed it altogether the first time. They use equipment that has been in use for more than a hundred years, and my guess is that it is not cleaned to any measurable degree between batches, but really who knows. The other possibility is that one out of many of the tobaccos that make up this mixture has some small amount of the lakeland essence. For comparison the Bob's Chocolate flake has to me a very noticeable lakeland effect going on, and I would call that a 4 to 6.

So this is a long winded way of saying that I think this is perhaps an unintended or uninvited guest in this mixture, and at least in what I have so faint as to not be an issue at all. After the first quarter of the bowl even that tiny amount was gone. My batch was bulk from Smoking Pipes in the US, so if anyone wants to chime in who has purchased bulk from them recently that would be welcomed. If it is truly a ghosting coming from the equipment this would explain why some people do not mention or experience it at all, and others seem to have received this mixture with a very noticeable lakeland effect going on. For me this adds to the fun, and I would rather roll the dice from this blender, one of the oldest still operating in the world, than have something which is more clearly a factory product. In my estimation this is a fantastic smoke. I have a Balkan Sobranie and Exotique, and this holds it own with both, although each is unique.

Pipe Used: GBD Virgin Billiard

Age When Smoked: fresh

4 people found this review helpful.

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

I'm a new pipe smoker and I had to try different tobacco to find what was best suited for me.
It's a very good GH.
I can smoke it daily. Medium on nicotine, I use to mix it with Kendak Kentucky for a little more hit nic.
Even if you puff hard, it don't bite. The taste is full with a good smoky note. Very creamy and sweet and salty. It don't have Lakeland taste (little bit in a pouch I bought, but not in bulk).
It's my number 1 in my cellar.

Pipe Used: Charatan

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

4 people found this review helpful.

funkychorlton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
funkychorlton (5)
Medium Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

Light on Latakia but heavy on Lavender or whatever the heck it is that Gawith and Hoggarth like to lace their tobaccos with - I guess the quantity of this topping must be inconsistent between batches because this was very noticeable, indeed dominant, in the pouch I have.

This is an okay English blend but for me not in the same league, for example as the Dunhill Early Morning or Standard and couldn't seriously be mentioned in the same breath as Balkan Sobranie, tasting quite different and lacking its weight, complexity and gravitas. A little too sweet and cloying for my taste, the flavour never really changes or develops down the bowl. Sweet Virginias predominate, a bit or richness from the Lat and then that soapy Lakeland taste just sits on top from the first puff to the last. I can't recommend it and will have difficulty finishing this pouch - and the topping means I wouldn't try to blend with it either.

4 people found this review helpful.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Now this is a fine Balkan blend, and maybe even a spectacular one -- depending on what you're looking for, of course.

This stuff comes in a shag cut, reminiscent of Kendal Kentucky or even Drum RYO tobacco. It's a little moist, so a few minute's worth of drying time doesn't hurt. It's composed primarily of dark brown and black strands, with some lighter bits mixed in. It lights and burns like a dream, which is more than I can say for many blends in this genre. It also has no bite, which is another trait I value highly.

The flavor is very reminiscent of Odyssey, but it also reminds me strongly of the Balkan Sobranie I smoked in the early 1990s. In fact, despite dozens of attempts to replicate that mixture, this is the only one that actually comes close, IMO (it's far nearer to that ideal than, say, Blue Mountain, Black House or Balkan Sasieni). I actually like this stuff far better than the BS I occasionally bought 20 years ago -- it's a bit sweeter, a bit more complex and the latakia has a distinctive smokiness that is, oddly enough, missing in many other Balkans. The orientals used are very similar to what I find in GLP's Odyssey, and the more I smoke it the more I'm reminded of that classic mixture ....

I find absolutly no hint of "Lakeland essence" here, which is to say no flowers, aftershave, or even tonquin. Zero. Which, to tell the truth, was a little disappointing as I'd bought this with the hope of finding a Lakeland spin on Balkan mixtures. That disappointment didn't last, however, as this stuff stands well on its own.

Is this is the absolutely best of its kind? I don't know -- again, it depends on what you're looking for. If you want complexity, both Magnum Opus and Wilderness are better choices. If you are looking for a huge dose of latakia and orientals, then Odyssey is the better blend. But there is a pleasant simplicty and ease of smoking found here that those other blends lack, as well as a shot of nicotine that was as welcome as it was surprising. I could easily see myself smoking this all day long, and I normally think of Balkans as once-a-day smokes at best.

No matter how I slice it, though, this gets an easy four stars.

4 people found this review helpful.

Stacey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stacey (40)
Medium None Detected Very Full Very Pleasant

Updated 6/12/2008

It never ceases to amaze me how some tobacco can change after sitting on the shelf for just a short while. I loaded up a bowl of this in a bent Comoy and it was easily one of the best smokes I've ever had, period. I've got Balkan Sasieni and Yenidje Highlander sitting right next to it and this one blows those two away. It was so good, in fact, that if every bowl is like that, I would have to say this is better than Balkan Sobranie. Do yourself a favor and get some, just let it sit in the jar for a while until it has a chance to dry a bit. The flavor is a scintillatingly strong, spicy, intoxicating smoke in the Balkan tradition. Utterly sublime and 5 Stars!

Original Review from 5/29/2008 follows

A very solid Balkan with lots of taste and a very nice aroma. I really find myself sniffing this stuff while smoking. It has a healthy dose of incense-like smell to it that I adore and so I'm guessing there is some Yenidje in here. In fact I'd swear there was more than in Yenidje Highlander, that I also have on the shelf right now. A great smoke and I will definitely sample some more of this company's blends!

4 people found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (162)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Though it has been over a decade since I smoked this last, my impression is still that it is a closer resemblance to the original BS than most other recent clones. Of course, no Syrian anymore, and the oriental varietals (e.g., Yenidje) are sparse here.

But Latakia fans rejoice. Not a bomb, but rich, rich, rich. Almost too much for me, but good for lonely moments.

If you crave a full smoke and have that Latakia bug, this will satisfy. Leather, woody, charcoal, intense, etc. Spice but no sugar.

Praise the Latakia lords.

Pipe Used: Barling Fossil

Age When Smoked: new tin

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

Similar Blends: Balkan Sobranie, Balkan Sasieni, etc..

3 people found this review helpful.

CarlosGardel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CarlosGardel (15)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I used to smoke Balkan Sobranie around 1980. This blend reminds me of BS but, frankly, I don’t care much. I think I like BM more than I remember ever liking BS. Let me state openly I love Gawith Hoggarth: I do.

Unlike GH’s Mixture no. 12 I think this is a classic Balkan blend. The latakia is very strong here, with the same incense perfume I love so much in no.12. I bought this tobacco loose. My sample came rather moist, it definitely needs to try a little before packing. Heavenly.

Pipe Used: Ser Jacopo, Volpe, Radice

Purchased From: Two Lions, Lugano, CH

3 people found this review helpful.

Alguhan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alguhan (140)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I had the opportunity to buy this blend from a nearby tobacco shop at 25g pouches.

I think this blend is much more a Latakia blend than a Balkan Mixture. On the pouch under the Balkan Mixture line it writes also "Latakia Blend". The Latakia proportion is too much for me here. I get bored, fortunately the pouches are only 25 g.

I had the sense that the latakia has a greasy, resinous taste. This may be interesting or pleasant for some of the pipe smokers. On the other hand this taste may be soapy for others. Maybe just because of this it leaves a strong taste on the palate which was OK for me.

I think it worths trying. Not a bad blend, neither a perfect one.

3 people found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (1280)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I received a tin of this by mistake. I had ordered Samuel Gawith Balkan Flake and was surprised to find a tin of this instead. A simple mix-up that the vendor quickly resolved by sending me the Balkan Flake and allowing me, quite generously, to keep the Balkan Mixture.

If you like traditional blends, this is the place to start your Balkan adventure. It's a very, very approachable mixture for newcomers and sturdy enough for experienced smokers to enjoy. Each variety of leaf is represented nicely and balanced quite well. Balkan Mixture delivers a broad spectrum of flavors on top of a mouthfeel that is more delicate, for lack of a better term, than some of the powerhouse Balkans or Balkan-style English blends, such as Abingdon or Odyssey from G.L. Pease or Margate from Esoterica.


This is not a tobacco in my regular stable of Balkans, as I require more body and mouthfeel; however, Balkan Mixture is a great change of pace for me. Its quality makes it an extremely worthy choice, and its superb execution makes it a fine point of entry for those who are looking for their first Balkan blend.

3 people found this review helpful.

Thatcher Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Thatcher (58)
Medium Mild Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

If you want to experience the ?soapy? (or, less pejoratively, ?floral?) taste commonly attributed to Lake District blends, look no further than G&H Balkan. Though I like Balkan blends, I found the soapyness here too overwhelming and could not finish the two ounces of this that I bought.

3 people found this review helpful.

thesmoggypipester Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thesmoggypipester (50)
Medium None Detected Very Full Strong

An old favourite of mine that I haven't had in over 3 years, and as the saying goes, revisiting the past is normally a crushing disappointment, does the same go for this? In a loud and resounding voice, NO!. now available in tins, big plus point there as it makes aging a lot easier.

Opening the tin, it is almost like a genie, that tarry, ashy, charred woods aroma bursts into your nostrils, most brown and black tobaccos with flecks of gold, this is a fluffy ribbon cut, and considering its from gawith hoggarth, moisture is actually spot on.

Loading into the pipe, with it being a ribbon, is remarkably easy, as is lighting and it just settles itself immediately, never getting hot, and produces plumes upon plumes of thick creamy smoke. Taste wise, this is not a latakia bomb, it is more than noticeable and never overwhelming, it tastes as it smells, burnt, ashy, charred woods with a slight saltiness. Virginia pops up from time to time with a nice sweetness, albeit very faint and the orientals add a nice sharp tone to the mixture. Although the taste is very strong, the strength is never overpowering, I'd say a shade past medium. A beautiful smoke which takes care of itself and allows you to appreciate the acquired taste that is latakia.

Which is exactly what this tobacco is, an acquired taste, it's not something that everyone will pick up and enjoy, I know a good few smokers who after a single puff are repulsed by latakia and then there are those who adore it. But one thing that all non smokers will probably agree on is that the room note can be overwhelming, my other half's reply the last time I smoked this, is she thought the house was on fire, on the plus point though it can clear a room in a double quick time.....perfect for unwanted visitors.

It is deffinitely one to try at least once and one I shall not be letting slip by the way again.

4 stars earned in absolute ease.

Pipe Used: Falcon....of course.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Supposedly this gawith hoggarth version of balkan sobranie, so those of you that liked it before its discontinuation here may find this relieves your mourning for a long lost classic..

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Yet another tobacco upon which a goodly number have passed judgement. At the time of writing 37 have graded it four stars, and 22 awarded three, out of 83. Of those granting only one star two have presumably reviewed the wrong tobacco (lakeland??, lavender??). Perhaps they need to see a vet.

This is another tobacco upon which I took a chance, however I have had good experiences of tobaccos with Balkan in their name in general, and this has proved to be no exception.

25g duly arrived, and was eagerly unpacked and smelt. Just a good earthy nose of tobacco arose from the pack, with hints of leather kept in a tack room. Moisture content is bang on; a Kilner (Mason) jar should ensure it remains so.

The flakes, dark speckled brown in colour rubbed out easily and the first was packed and lit. Bliss. It takes a light readily, but if not steadily and gently puffed will go out, however, a touch of the flame and it's off producing lots, and lots of creamy, delightfully tasting smoke.

A tobacco which all should try, unless of course you are of the Latakia loathing ilk, in which case, run along, pass it by, the loss is truly yours.

So, yes, one to recommend.

Pipe Used: Peterson #68 Aran

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smoke King

2 people found this review helpful.

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

The unique, typical Kendal soapiness (the same, I think, used in the Gawith Hoggarth & Co. Coniston) in an English Mixture! Latakia is present but not overbearing. The soapy note gives a cool, fresh smoke, and it slows a little bit after the first third of the bowl, leaving the features of a great quality EM. Quite memorable. The greatest EM, IMO. 5/5 in my personal rating system.

Purchased From: Dubini, Chiasso (Switzerland)

Similar Blends: Gawith Hoggarth & Co. Mixture n.12.

2 people found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (266)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Although the Latakia is the main note, the VA and Orientals provide enough harmony to keep this from being a Lat-bomb (to me, that means a blend that just tastes like strong Latakia, with nothing else). For me, a solid, interesting, medium-strength (in terms of both N and Latakia) mixture. A lovely cold-weather smoke.

Is it a Lakeland? Well, not this tin; not a hint of floral, if that's what makes a Lakeland a Lakeland. However, I have noticed that most of GH's 'non-Lakelands' do have something underlying them, call it mint or pine or (to me) menthol) or what you will. This tin had just a touch of it.

Pipe Used: briar, meerschaum, cob

Age When Smoked: purchased 19 months before opening

Purchased From: pipes & cigars

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

This is an ok blend, not really fantastic, not really outstanding but it?s just "ok", but... again this soapy taste come into my mouth, seriously... I don?t see why should I smoke soap? How one can enjoy soap in his pipe?

Try Davidoff Royalty as for English/oriental tobacco without soap.

My rating:

Bad blend Good blend = Excellent blend * Exceptional blend

2 people found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is another fine product by Gawith & Co., but the labeling IMO is not accurate. It has the aroma of a fine, smooth Balkan, rich in the pungent turkish and latakia (smells and looks like peat moss). The cut is a fine ribbon (packing was not too difficult), almost a shag. Moisture seemed high, but upon lighting, I didn't encounter any problems (three lights max). Flavor upon lighting: different, very smooth, but a floral aroma and flavor comes through. I am convinced that their "lakeland" style virginia is what is used in this blend. This blend does not taste at all like a typical "Balkan". I find it hard to catagorize it. It has the floral, perfume taste similar to "Bob's Chocolate flake (without the chocolate), but with a nice background of latakia and turkish leaf. It is very smooth with tongue-bite almost non-existent. It gathers strength slowly down the bowl, but not much overall. I smoked this all day for about three days in a row without any tiring due to fullness (my 2oz. went quick!). Leaves a fine dry ash when all is done with no dottle and a fine dusting in the bowl. This blend is not one I will buy again, but would not turn it down if offered to me. It is definitely worth trying for a change of pace.One note of warning, dedicate a pipe to this as it does leave that floral aroma in the pipe and the after taste in your mouth may not mix well with other blends. Overall I rate it 3.5 out of 5 points.

2 people found this review helpful.

CarolinaEsquire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CarolinaEsquire (13)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I find Balkan blends to be my favorite. I like many other styles, but these tend to be my favorite. That, of course, leads me to try many different Balkans to find that Holy Grail. I know I'll never find it, but I'll enjoy the journey smoking many blends along the way. Balkan Mixture was one...and it's wonderful.

I purchased a pound of this in bulk and when it arrived and tried it, I ordered another two. Great stuff.

Like many Balkans, the Orientals take center stage and add that certain spice, sourness that I've come to like. This one also has a solid backbone to accompany it and the smoke is creamy and full in flavor. But that's also where it gets interesting. Like many other blends from the region, this has that lakeland essence to it. I like it. Many don't, but like one person said, it can remind him of his grandmother....I wish I never heard that comment because it sometimes resonates in my head when I now enjoy some of these blends. But in this one, I tell you that the lakeland essence here accentuates the incense like qualities of the Orientals in this Balkan blend. They play off each other so well, you sometimes have remember that you're really enjoying the lakeland essence.

This is a great blend that not only feels full when you smoke, but has pleasing taste and room note. There is also an appreciable nicotine hit to finish off the bowl and leave a nice, mellow experience.

If you like Balkans, or if you haven't tried one yet, this one is definitely a keeper.


Pipe Used: Savinelli

Age When Smoked: New from bulk to 6 months

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Calamiti Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Calamiti (54)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Quite a nice Balkan Mixture: good Latakia and decent non-bity Orientals. Thin, almost shag-like cut makes it a good choice for a quick smoke.

The only drawback was a light but lingering scent of Lavender in this allegedly non-scented blend. I like Lakeland heavy aromatics, but scented Latakia is something I prefer to avoid.

GH Balkan Mixture is not a bad tobacco but with such a huge competition of true non-scented Balkans I see no reasons to buy this again.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (105)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Balkan blend with lakeland essence added. The tin note is all Latakia and lakeland essence. The topping is very mild but ever present. The flavor profile is as unique as they come. If I could give a half star this would be 2.5. The latakia is the star of this show and is present from the char. The Turkish/Orientals provide a woody/sour note to the sweet smokey Latakia and the Virgina's provide additional sweetness and some grassy notes. The lakeland taste is there throughout the smoke but not like in other blends. I do not get the soapy flavor I get in other blends, a very subtle floral flavor that is hard to pin down. I think that the woods used with the Latakia change the flavor profile of the topping and make it rather pleasant, if not distracting as I constantly try to identify the flavor and how it compliments the an itch you can't scratch but you miss when it is gone. More vitamin N than I was prepared for on the first smoke, lit up at lunch after no breakfast and prior to eating and it got may attention pretty quick. On a full stomach it is very manageable. Nice blend for an occasional smoke.

Pipe Used: briars and cobs

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Iwan Riess

1 person found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1604)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Balkan Mixture.

Another of my first reviews I'm redoing.

I often feel for this company, I think the bulk packaging often sets the precedent of 'budget' in a few folks minds. Budget, this? Far from it.

A dark brown, coarse, ribbon, which arrives with good hydration. Easily lit.

There's no equivocation regarding which is the strongest leaf. The Latakia. But it's not a stereotypical Lat' flavour: alongside the woody, smokiness, there's a sweet note. Almost 'sticky'. This isn't the Virginia sweetness, the Va dark fruitiness joins in after a third. Up to here the supporting flavour's a slightly fragrant one, from the Orientals, but after a third this flavour's equalled by the Va. At this point it hits four stars. Unlike a few esteemed reviewers I detect no Lakeland. The burn can't be complained about, it's smooth and steady to a pure white ash. I don't get a spot of tongue bite from it.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: I like.

Gawith, Hoggarth Balkan Mix? Brilliant:

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Altinok Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: G.Q. Tobaccos

1 person found this review helpful.

cajun Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cajun (11)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Very Strong

Those of us old enough to remember the Sobranies of the 70s should give this one a try. Mine came in a 50g pouch, and the first thing I noticed on opening was that the aroma was nearer to the old black tin 759 with greater latakia content than the white smoking mixture. The aroma from the white tin was unique, probably on account of the Yenidje leaf, which is absent from this offering. In appearance it was somewhere between the two, and the moisture content was more akin to 759. It filled the same as Sobranie, although it seems to be a more refined mixture, lacking those occasional little stems of unsmokable "driftwood" that I remember from the Sobranie tins. I'm now led to believe the driftwood was an additive of some plant substance or other that Sobranie actually intended to be there. It lit fairly readily and after a few puffs the latakia just about swamped the virginia content. I see some reviewers have made reference to "orientals" in this mixture, but I couldn't discern any such extras. Most UK tobacconists describe this mixture as virginia and latakia with no other tobaccos, and I would tend to go along with that. A feature of the white tin Sobranie was that the flavour often changed slightly as the bowl was smoked down, and I did experience that with this mixture. It certainly reminds me of the old "Balkan" Sobranies, but it definitely is not a facsimile. This mixture is different enough to stand alone, and it is a pleasant smoking experience. However, it isn't Sobranie, and perhaps should not be compared with any of their old mixtures. I have family who live in Crete, and sadly it is almost impossible to find any "local" pipe tobacco there.The Greeks complain that the excellent tobacco they grow there is not appreciated, and pipe smokers have to be content with the usual North European "Eurotrash" offerings of Scandinavian manufacture. The Turks will tell you that tobacco is not a native plant to their country, and the various sorts cultivated there tend to be smaller leafed and milder tasting than the tobacco grown in less arid areas. Incidentally, not many Turks smoke the meerschaum pipes that seem to suit latakia mixtures so well. The fact is that this "Balkan" mixture does not contain any tobacco from the Balkan region at all. It is a straighforward blend of virginia(s) from an unknown source or sources mixed with latakia, probably cultivated in Cyprus. However, given that the tobacco we smoke all had its origins in North America, the geographic location of the ingredients of this mixture is perhaps not really all that important. All in all, this is a well balanced mix. The latakia content was a bit more than I was expecting, a la 759. That aside, it brought back pleasant memories of the 70s. Unless you have a tobacco tolerant family, you might have to smoke this one outside, as the smoke generated has that typical latakia tendency to be a bit acrid.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: straight from 2015 produced pouch

Purchased From: mysmoking shop, preston, UK

Similar Blends: The old Balkan Sobranie smoking mixture and 759 mixture..

1 person found this review helpful.

L'Italiano Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
L'Italiano (165)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Strong

Speaking about Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. bulks (because I don’t know if the same thing happens with the tins), you can note the presence of a specific and very particular flavoring, a sort of hallmark, to distinguish Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.’ products from all the others tobaccos. I don’t know if this specific taste is “floral essences”, but the flavoring you can perceive in “Best Brown # 2” is exactly the same you can perceive at the beginning in Balkan Mixture and in Westmorland Slices, even if a lot lighter. This flavoring is quite a “trademark”, I mean an earmark on the taste side. I don’t agree with this specific flavoring note always present. This “seasoning” is enjoyable, pleasing, but for example, in Balkan Mixture, it is out of place and improper. For this reason in my opinion this mixture can’t have more than two stars and the score (from 1 to 10) is only 5.

1 person found this review helpful.

point9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
point9 (114)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I totally agree with Gentleman Zombie that there is some kind of minty, pine-wood like scent in Balkan Mixture, and this is unique and refreshing. Smooth, woody and even herbal orientals are mixed with just enough Latakia, while bright virginia flows underneath, this is by my definition of classic Balkan.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beardywul Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beardywul (5)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Hmmm.. It's a 2 from me, I'm afraid, so there's probably not much point in waffling about it for long. I will though.

I got a 25g pouch from a nice high street store in Glasgow. It was quite dry, although it's burn characteristics were great. Quite on the high, fast side of burn rate. Being dry and a thin, almost shag-like, fairly long ribbon cut, it packed easy, lit brilliantly, burnt consistently and continually and perhaps a little surprisingly, all of the above considered, it never bit my fragile, delicate little tongue once. So if you can handle the taste then, at this price, it is great and you are on to a real winner.

I smoked a couple of bowls within about 5 hours on Thursday thinking 'Ew, this is different' (from the Latakia-bearing 'Balkans' and 'Englishes' like Vintage Syrian, Squaddy, Germain's Special, etc. that I've tried). Accompanied by a few glasses of cider in the evening, I wasn't really feeling too fussy. Plus I had only just bought the stuff and it is, without doubt, a fairly smokable and serviceable blend.

But on Saturday, with less cloudy, more critical, judgement and not long after some Orlik Golden Sliced ('Smoked by all shrewd judges' apparently, so sayeth the lid of the tin) I just tipped out half of the bowl. I don't think I like the mild scent of eau de cologne, lavender, lilacs, or whatever, flittering around the flanges of my odeur de Virginias and Lat. This is the Lakeland thing that people talk about, isn't it?

It isn't too overt, actually. You could say that it brings some new dimension or a little variety and complexity to the party (a 'Balkan' seemingly being a more complex or 'busy' flavoured Latakia/ Oriental type blend than perhaps a simpler tasting, Latakia-orientated, 'English' anyway; if I understand people's definitions roughly or correctly) and Balkan Mixture could be a very enjoyable blend to a great many people. Or, if you wanted to be cruel and unkind, you could call it a little bit flowery and say that it would be great for stuffing in one of those mad £200 Vauen Auenland 'Hugg' pipes while dressed up playing role-playing games with your friends as the faerie folk of the fay, should you be so inclined, because if they really existed this is what they would probably smoke. A hobbit would probably love it as well. I would never be so derogatory and sarcastic as to say those things though.

In conclusion, I have a lovely tin of Vintage Syrian already opened, a sealed one of London Mixture is calling my name as I write and Balkan Mixture will be taking up indefinite residence at the back of my kitchen cupboard, forthwith.

Pipe Used: Corrieu Cogolin Vielle Bruyere, Gulden Danske 4130

Purchased From: Robert Graham & Co.

1 person found this review helpful.

boc777 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
boc777 (18)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

It looks like the reviews on this are split just about 50/50. Unfortunately, I fall into the thumbs down camp on this blend. Just too soapy. I love strong blends, love latakia, love lots of vitamin N, but I can also appreciate something more subtle and complex. This is just too soapy for me to enjoy. If that's your thing, then this blend is for you. Otherwise, move along to something else in the GH line. This is not their best offering, and they have many.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Wasn't it Albert Einstein who said," Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result" ? Well, I'm insane, I keep buying G&H tobaccos and expect it to be totally free of the Lakeland Floral taste. Oh, I'm going to get arguments, saying there is none ,but it's there, lurking, hiding in the weeds, just waiting for a sap like me to buy this. Oh , they don't put it in this blend on purpose, but their processing equipment is dripping with LF soap juice. Hey, if you don't mind a very minor touch of LF , then this is a nice blend, but it's not for me

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: new bulk

Similar Blends: All of G&H Blends !!!!.

1 person found this review helpful.

cakeanddottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cakeanddottle (68)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

doctorthoss sent me a sample of this, and before it was gone I had ordered my first kilo of it.

I normally don't care for flavorings or scentings in my tobacco. This is an exception. What we have here is a scented Lat blend. Balkan? Not in my book.

This tobacco has dark, chocolate-y notes that make my mind go straight to Kendal twists and Stonehaven. It's a very interesting and unique element in a Lat blend. Must be the Va's. Delicious, and gives the impression of backbone, although I've never gotten nic overload from this one. I do take a lot of snuff though, so my tolerance is high.

The Latakia is not present as the focus of this blend, but adds depth and smoke.

The scenting wafts in and out. I don't smoke Lakeland flakes, so I am probably detecting something that a palate contaminated by those could miss altogether. The scenting is as obvious as the nose on my face. It's nice though, a little floral perfume to mix with the other elements. I normally hate anything that seems wrong or out of place in a tobacco, much less a Lat blend, but I love this tobacco.

This is an unfortunately named, unique tobacco mixture that deserves the attention of every Lat blend lover. Probably a love it/hate it tobacco, I love it. I do have a pipe dedicated to this one, because you will taste this in the pipes you use with it.

update 21March2016: just wanted to add after smoking this for a few more years, I don't think Balkan misses the mark after all. The Orientals in this one are less tangy than what I was looking for when I originally reviewed this, but they're there in spades after all. Oily, mushroom-y, earthy, dark, they create a a flavor profile here that is wide and deep. I think those sourdough notes I associated with Oriental back then are more from the Latakia. So yes, absolutely Balkan, and the best in production. This would be as scarce as Penzance if people knew, so keep this between you and me.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Upon opening the tin, I found Balkan Mixture to have a very smokey, leathery, musty smell that reminded me of sitting by a winter fire with one of the old classics. With that said, I thought it would be not as rounded as I prefer in an English blend. I was wrong, This is a classic English, cut in such a thin ribbon it could almost be considered a shag cut. It is also too moist and needs a little drying time. Balkan Mixture has, to my surprise a nice underlying sweetness letting me know that the Virginia's are there to be heard. I find Balkan Mixture to be on the strong side in the same fashion as the Murray's version of 965 and that's a good thing as there are a plethora of English blends on the market that lack the strength that I am looking for in an English. BM is not a Latakia bomb, but well rounded and behaves in the pipe, however due to the cut, it can burn hot if smoked quickly if you are a puffer. I don't find any of floral/soapy taste in this blend that is found in many GH blends. Balkan Mixture has been added to a growing group of Gawith Hoggarth blends that I have fallen in love with. Highly Recommended!

1 person found this review helpful.

jimmyblues Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jimmyblues (3)
Strong Strong Full Tolerable

A beautiful, rich, spicy smoke. Full of flavour, and lights well, stays lit down to the bottom, burns to fine white ash. Full bodied, leathery, and tangy. Like licking a horse's saddle. Probably. I haven't tried that. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

Iron Pipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Iron Pipe (6)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I find the taste and strength to my liking, but I have variable attitudes to latakia. In this mixture I found it burned well but 'the nose' was a little pungent for me.

I found the taste much more delicate and there is no bite whatsoever to be found.

1 person found this review helpful.

paulwfromtheden Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
paulwfromtheden (14)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Having just taken up my pipe again after 25 years absence, it was astonishing to smoke this tobacco. I used to buy the white tinned Balkan Sobranie and as soon as I got hold of Balkan Mixture (thanks to the positive recommendation on this site) and opened the tin, the aroma took me back 25 years. Astonishing how a smell can take you back to times and places I had completely forgotten about. The tobacco is superb and fully justifies four stars. This is one tobacco that really needs to be smoked with care, smoked too fast it gets hot and looses it's flavour and becomes harsh and bitter. I made a pipeful last a whole hour of the recent Arsenal/Tottenham game (including half time), and was well rewarded. It has something of a toung-bite that may serve to discourage newer smokers, but persevere, it is well worth it!

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Lakeland Tour Stop 10

As I reach double-digits in my Lakeland Tour, I've finally found a real uncontestable winner in the latakia mixture category. This is the first of the lakeland latakia mixes that I think can hang with the best of Pease and Germain. In fact, it has jumped to the top of my favorites overall in english/balkan baccy's.

This is rich stuff. I notice hints of brown sugar, liquid smoke, and worchestershire sauce. The perfect combination of sweet and salty, the way I like it. Also very toasty with plenty of oriental character (i.e., an earthy, sour flavor--not a bright sour or tangy note but darker--and just a bit of the characteristic "perfumey" or incense note).

As a side note, I experienced with this a very similar phenomenon to what I experienced with Odyssey. When I first opened the tin, before the tobacco had aired and dried out sufficiently, this was very salty, one might say "alkeline", with a very fluffy mouthfeel. As with Odyssey, I didn't like it then. But a bit of drying and airing, and sitting in the tin for a week or so, caused this to dissipate and allow all the qualities I did like to come forth. Unlike some reviewers, and like others, I noted absolutely no lakeland "soapiness," (i.e., florals). But it just might be that the fluffy alkeline flavor of the mix when first opened might lead some to conclude otherwise. I think if you like Odyssey, or if like some your only problem with Odyssey is that you had trouble keeping it lit (not a problem I had), this will probably appeal to you.

1 person found this review helpful.

jackflash Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackflash (4)
Medium Extremely Mild Very Full Pleasant

I usually like a heavy Latakia blend and little or no Virginia tobacco, but this blend is the exception. The thing I notice when I light up a bowl of this a sweet or wonderful incense like flavor and I never smoke any blends with flavorings like apple,vanilla,chocolate,chicken pot pie or what have you. When I smoke I want tobacco flavor and not something that makes a great room deodorizer. I'm not sure if this initial flavor is added or if this is just the sweetest blend I've ever smoked. Don't get me wrong, I love it. This flavor lasts for only the first quarter of the bowl before it settles into an extremely smooth and flavorful Balkan experience. The taste becomes richer and smokier as it smokes down to the bottom.There is no bite and I have tried briar and meerschaum pipes of different sizes to see if I could provoke it into biting.This blend seems to be a great smoke no matter what pipe I use and I don't think I can say that about any other blends that I've ever smoked. On different days a blend will taste different or better or not as good as on a previous day but this blend is constantly mouthwateringly (if that's a word) good. This is a desert island blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

pencils Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pencils (43)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Hats off to Messrs Gawith and Hoggarth!

This loose blend is spicy on the nose, cool in the pipe and tasty on the tongue. Latakia and orientals here come through with finesse and sufficient subtlety to give a really pleasant smoke. I am making my way through my 50g (2oz or so) with a real anticipation of how it will bring particular pleasure as Autumn (Fall) descends upon us.

I can almost feel the nip in the air, the fog on the ground and the leaves underfoot :)

Burns cool but seems to take more relights to get to the bottom of the bowl than my staple tobacco intake. No arguments, however, as I am a big fan.

1 person found this review helpful.

kilted1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kilted1 (43)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have smoked a variety of Gawith, Hoggarth & Co offerings, and completely enjoy their fine Virginia Flakes. As a fancier of all things English and Balkan I expected to enjoy Balkan Mixture as well. I find that it lacks enough interest for me to smoke when compared with others that I regularly smoke.

Appearance: Upon very close inspection I can detect at least 4 different hues of leaf in this mixture Virginias are in abundance, darker browns of Oriental with nearly jet black Latakia. The cut is a somewhat varied rough ribbon cut.

Tin aroma: This smells like a moderately complex mixture with a nice soft smokiness. The Virginias are evident, with rich earthy tones and under-currents of fig/raisin and cocoa. The smoky Cyprian Latakia makes the main statement, plenty of smokiness with underlying astringent tones of bergamot and sandalwood. Just under the surface I detect the Orientals giving the mixture?dryness? and lending depth to the mélange of flavors. A slightly damp and musty oder is evident as this product arrives fairly moist.

This tobacco is excessively moist requiring at least ½ hour's drying time to smoke well at all. I employed the ?once like a baby, once like a lady, finally like a gentleman? method of layered packing. The pipe I've chosen for this review is a Cassano rusticated Canadian well seasoned with English/Balkan mixtures. I have pre-smoked it with several bowls of this mixture to remove other mixture prejudices.

Lighting usually is a single match affair, and with a friendly ?lighting tamp? I was well on my way. As expected, the initial flavor is very smoky with an astringent (very gently so) quality I?ve come to expect from Orientals. Latakia and Orientals tend to live ?nasally? for me, so I often employ the ?French curve? method of inhaling the slipstream smoke. The Virginias set a firm background and foundation on which the Latakia and Orientals play with my senses. This blend slowly builds in flavors and complexity with each puff.

Mid Bowl: Approaching mid-bowl, the fullness tends to build and the flavors gaining intensity in unison. Unfortunately, the humidity I tried to avoid by drying this before smoking it has come back into play. This has happened with every sampling in every pipe I've smoked it in. The initial strength of the Latakia is slowly giving way to other components, the Orientals slowly numbing (not at all in a bad way) my soft pallet and nasal regions. The Virginia comes through a bit more assertively from time to time with rich fruity and sweet tones. While the quality of leaf in this blend is very high, none of the desired complexity and flavors develop enough to really captivate me. This is what I call an ?autopilot blend? not requiring concentration. That is not a bad thing in itself, just that there are other blends that I appreciate more in this category for far less money.

Home Stretch: As end of the bowl approaches, moisture has become a defining issue for me. Try as I might I can't find a satisfactory way around this, and the result is a steamy though quite flavorful smoke that I just don't enjoy enough to include Balkan Mixture in my rotation. Overall it is fine tobacco, with a nice round soft flavor, too bad the moisture level is too much for this seasoned smoker to tame.

A nice ?autopilot? Balkan blend from a fine Lakeland tobacco blender.

Supplemental Notes: Rating for those interested in numbers **

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Notes: Many blenders have tried to come up with substitute for the now defunct Balkan Sobranie original (white) mixture. This is Gawith and Hoggarth's offering. G&H are excellent blenders, and this comes remarkably close in many respects, though not all. I have smoked several ounces of this in several pipes. I always seem to enjoy it in a smaller pipe, such as an Ashton X (Dunhill Group 2-3).

Appearance: A brown to black thin to medium cut ribbon, fully rubbed out.

Aroma: Sweet, round aroma. Red claret wine, dried cherries, plum pudding, incense stick, walnuts.

Taste: Mellow, smooth, sweet complex. Subdued flavor, reminiscent of the Sobranie mixture. Bing cherries, plum-cake, German lemon-butter pancakes, walnuts. Rich and creamy, almost voluptuous, on the palate, with winey flavors and frankincense.

Comparisons: Amongst the so-called Balkan blends, this is one of the most under-rated. It is the essence of the Balkan Sobranie, only with the volume turned down. It lacks the potency and vibrancy of other blends, such as GL Pease's Bohemian Scandal, but it has the balance of flavors down quite well.

Bottom Line: Smokers who loved the Balkan Sobranie, but are prepared to accept a gentler, quieter version will be well-pleased. Those who demand a potent latakia-heavy blend will be disappointed.

1 person found this review helpful.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

A fine tobacco, made with fine quality leaves, but not one of my favourites. The smell of the tin reminds me of my mom's make-up powder, a fragrance that you can find, though damped, during the smoke. It's a smooth, mellow tobacco, maybe too much; I usually look for rough edges in Balkan mixtures, this is too "soft" for my taste. Wonderful tobacco, but definitely not my cup of tea.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (303)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

When Balkan Sobranie died in the UK, G&H came up with their substitute... but it certainly isn't such a thing! It's a good lightweight Balkan, with some of the typical tastes and aromas of the recent incarnations of Sobranie (particularly the dry, spicy taste, the slight woody bitterness of the orientals and latakia) but which isn't a substitute by a long shot. The cut is very stringy, with thin and long ribbons, and the humidity in the tin is ridiculously high: you feel like you could squeeze the tobacco and juice would come out of it! Some drying to the open air is recommended, otherwise you will find it difficult to keep lit, soggy, and absolutely bland. If this precaution is taken, you will be rewarded by a nice very English smoke: while it's not a very full Balkan (let's say it's slightly fuller than GLPease Kensington), the right flavors are there. A pleasant tobacco, with a great nutty spiciness if exhaled through the nose and some rich nuances that speak a lot about the quality. I prefer GLPease balkans, but this one is a little more "English". But, please, don't compare it with Sobranie...

2012 Update: Since then, I have experienced several times the version in a pouch (sold in the UK as "Kendal tobacco - Balkan Mixture Latakia Blend", although inside the name Gawith & Hoggarth is clearly stated). No more to add to what I had previously said, as it is very consistent in quality. Moisture in the pouch is lower, at a perfect level for smoking. What I still complain about after many many bowls, is the overall lack of subtlety, the slight roughness of taste and the relative lack of backing creamy sweetness from the Virginias. While this one is good in "modern" terms, it sure is no Balkan Sobranie. With some effort, it might be compared to the last Balkan Sobranie pouches sold in the early '80s... certainly not to the older ones.

1 person found this review helpful.

GuyDebord Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GuyDebord (1)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Extra Strong

I wonder if the other reviewers actually smoked the same Balkan Mixture I did, this stuff is fantastic. If you are a GLP fan think Abingdon with distinct and direct atmospheric notes, sometimes the afore mentioned blend is to open for me. By distinct I should rather say that the mixture sits on a solid ground of VA's but the Orientals and Latakia dance like a playful summer breeze. This mixture if far superior to the modern Balakan Sasieni or Sobraine and I would even go so far to say the Greg Pease would be lucky to blend something as fine as this, its that good!

1 person found this review helpful.

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

In my quest to replace Sobranie 759 I am a sucker for anything labeled "Balkan". Under truth in advertising laws, G&H may have a problem here. Without the "Balkan" label, I would not even have thought Balkan with this one. The spicy elements apparent in my reference Balkans like Odyssey, Charing Cross and Balkan Sasieni are just not present. The G&H version is moderately strong in latakia, but is not particularly smooth and there is just not the multiple flavors present in a good Balkan.

This blend was received from in very moist condition and the blend has a lot of long ribbons that I prefer to break down. It is very dark, there is almost no lighter ribbons or flakes. The latakia is not particularly smoky or sweet and, frankly, is a little too pungent for me. The smoke has a little harshness to it that makes it a difficult smoke.

This is my first try at a G&H. The tobacco is of high quality, but is a disappointment to me. I have now smoked just three bowls. I think my pipe club will get the rest.

1 person found this review helpful.

oldermanpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldermanpipe (11)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

After reading the diverse reviews of Balkan Mixture, I had to try it. It is an experience not to be missed.

What it is NOT: It is not like Balkan Sobranie, neither White nor Black. I began smoking both of them in 1972. The White can was the "Nectar of the Gods" to me; the Black (759)...mehhhh....okay. If either had been like this back then, I'd have stuck with Sir Walter Raleigh. But they weren't.

Neither is Balkan Mixture a "Lakeland Tobacco" in the sense of Condor or Ennerdale or even some of the mildly-scented flakes. My shipment of Balkan Mixture arrived with several of those, and there was no cross-pollenation whatsoever. The pouch scent was pure Latakia. Likewise, no perfume is detected in the smoke.

So...what IS Balkan Mixture? The damndest smoke I've ever had! As a former colleague of mine used to say about certain strains of another smokeable vegetable, "It'll knock your dick in the dirt." indeed, it will. It won't bite, won't get hot, and it IS delicious. But don't plan on driving for a while.

I'll smoke the rest of the order, but that's IT!

Pipe Used: GBD Apple

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smoking

Similar Blends: Akron on a bad day.

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Swiss-smoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Swiss-smoker (62)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant

Delicious tin nose. Comes in a rather fine Ribbon Cut. Moisture in tin is too high, I had to let it dry over night before smoking. BALKAN MIXTURE is a light, mellow, fluffy, one-dimensional, flavoured English mixture. The name is misleading. A real Balkan would be an obvious, Oriental forward English mixture, which is not the case here. It is a balanced mixture without a leader. This blend is not digging deep. All three tobaccos are too weak to deploy a full aroma. Ample sweetness, either from Latakia and Oriental (not from Virginia), or from some sweet toppings. Strange enough: like other reviewers, I constantly perceive an obtrusive Lakeland essence, no matter which pipe I use. This is a confirmation that there are artificial flavourings or toppings in this mixture. Not my pair of shoes. On top of this, this mixture is far too faint for me. I prefer heavier and more complex blends without flavouring.

Age When Smoked: 8 months

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fraghead Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fraghead (1)
Medium Strong Overwhelming Tolerable to Strong

First of all, I would like to say, that after having really great experience with Skiff Mixture and realizing that smokiness of latakia is extremely awesone to me, I decided to move on to something else, with higher content of latakia or more nuanced.

Moisture level, in the tin was nice to take this tobacco and smoke, but drying at around one hour time might reduce the number of relights to one/none.

Tobacco burns really cool with strong flavoured and fragrant smoke. In reviews below I have seen some lads trlling about the soapy or lavender smell of this blend. When I was letting the smoke through my nostrils out, I could even feel this flowery nauseating scent cloying me. That was the reason, I could not finish my first bowl of it. My next attempts were better, but I still could get this strong flowery scent. By accident, the same day after the shower I had used some old style chypre cologne. And it smelled exactly like the smoke. I bet, this tobacco has a smell of lavender, rose, maybe a hint of patchouli. This kind of smells are called barbershop, because it smells like high end shaving soap or chypre cologne. It is OK, but with this blend it is too overwhelming. Maybe, that is what they call Lakeland Essence. The nic hit is somewhat noticeable.

Not my cup of tea, but lovers of highly fragrant latakia blends will like it for sure.

Pipe Used: Clay, cob

Age When Smoked: Straight outta tin

Purchased From: Gdanski Salon Fajki

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Lazarus77 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lazarus77 (86)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Nice Balkan Blend, packs easy,cool dry smoke till the end, no relights needed. Reduce Latakia by 10 % ,and its will be best Balkan mixture. Anyway still worth to try.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smoke King

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pinko Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pinko (52)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I'm not even going to touch a comparison of this blend to Balkan Sobranie - the Germain reissue is perfectly adequate and you can't smoke memories. Let G&H Balkan Mixture be what it is instead of trying to make it something else.

There's a good portion of Latakia and G&H's deft use of Orientals gets straight to the characteristic Balkan flavor. The flavors are more mild and integrated than Plum Pudding. It starts out Lat-forward, later the Lat trades places with the sun cured. The Orientals are always pleasant, never sour. The strength of both condiments never fails. It's got an easy two stars for the skillful blending of them alone.

I give it a third star because of what they've done with G&H's characteristic African flue cured leaf. By mid-bowl, the flavor of the Virginias really comes out. While many Balkan blends are happy to leave the VA in the background, here it is a major component of the flavor. It holds its own against the condiments in a way that few blenders can match.

Balkan Mixture doesn't rise to the level of Arango Balkan Supreme, Compton's Macedonian, or Smoker's Haven's Our Best Blend. It's firmly 3 stars, but it's a very tasty 3 stars.

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: local tobacconist

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Otis56 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Otis56 (31)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Wow what a lovely mixture. I am amazed at the taste and smell of this mixture, pine, cedar, a wonderful Lakeland floral smell. Just enough Latakia to keep things interesting. Very easy to pack right from tin. Holds a lite perfect. With 2 lights. I had also smelled Earl Grey Tea while smoking this blend. Smooth and medium bodied. Just a wonderful smoke in my book. A must try. Peace.

Pipe Used: Bringham bent bulldog

Age When Smoked: ?

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: I am at a loss for a similar blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Smokedinacob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smokedinacob (8)
Medium Mild Full Tolerable

Edited to knock off a star. The more of this I smoke, the less I like it. It seems to get duller and muddier with every bowl. I'm still a huge G&H fan, but this blend has fallen off my radar. Original review below:

This review refers to the bulk version of Balkan Mixture. I've not yet tried the tinned version.

I am a big G&H fan, and a lover of English mixtures, so this one was an obvious choice. Aside from the sauce, which I will discuss later, G&H's Balkan Mixture has a very similar flavor profile to many English mixtures that have the word "Balkan" associated with them. If I were to posit that English mixtures contain four basic flavor elements present in some particular character, strength, and proportion to one another (coffee stout, campfire, cinnamon/spice, and incense), AND that Dunhill's London Mixture has these four in precisely equal proportion, then I would also say that Balkan Mixture is balanced heavily to the coffee stout and campfire points of the compass in comparison. It is rich and sweet, with chocolate, coffee, and woodsmoke flavors dominating. The incense is present here, but in a small amount compared to my go-to London Mixture. Keep in mind that this "incense" flavor I am referring to is from the tobacco only (the Orientals, I think?) and I should have probably used the term "incense-like." I would also describe this flavor as nutty, tart, creamy, etc.

The sauce. Yes, I am pretty sure that, like Dark Birdseye (which is awesome), this blend is very lightly touched by some non-tabacco flavorants, and they are good. Just like in DBE, I detect a musky, funky, incense (real incense this time) aroma (cologne?). It is awesome in DBE, and good here, but makes this blend come across very different than any other "English mixture" I've ever had, even though the tobacco flavor profile is more-or-less the same. It tastes old and musty, but in a good way. It can come across a little muddy because there is so much going on, but I like the change of pace.

Highly recommended for any English blend smoker in a rut.

The cut is a medium ribbon. I prefer finer, but at least it is uniform.

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smoking pipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Reggietom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Reggietom (7)
Very Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

I bought some of this remembering that my father used to smoke Sobraine Balkan when I was a boy. I hate it and no longer wonder why my dad stopped smoking a pipe.

7 May 2014. Just tried this again having let it dry a bit, it's better than I thought at first. I will finish what's left but probably won't buy any more.

Pipe Used: Peterson 317

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: The Tobacco Bar Plymouth UK

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (1280)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Tolerable

High quality tobacco, very earthy... However, the tobacco smokes a tad bit on the hot side, and the taste is too brutish, too one dimensional for me. Presbyterian mixture and condor (the only two other Balkan/English mixtures I have tried so far), are soooo much better!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

scoho7 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
scoho7 (6)
Strong Mild Very Full Tolerable to Strong

This was my first Balkan blend I tried, and it actually turned me off Balkans and other orientals due to the more unpleasant after taste, hot burning, and less than pleasant aroma. Of course I just may not like Balkan blends, but have since tried other oriental blends that I prefer more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

camillako Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
camillako (9)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Purchased in bulk, at JJ Fox in London.

I think this tobacco has it all.

I admit it was my first non aromatic but i've since tried several other EB and I still haven't found another one I like as much.

It's complex, it has a challenging and ever changing aroma, burns nicely.

this is one for a nice, meditating session.

very relaxing experience, wish i bought more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wibblefishofdoom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wibblefishofdoom (139)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I bought this one as it had popped it's head up a few times on here and seems to be well regarded, I'm also going through a bit of a GH phase at the moment so it seemed worthy of a go.

The aroma from the packet wasn't particularly noticeable, barely managed to pick up a little latakia but that was about it. Packing and lighting were easy, then again this is quite a thin ribbon so no surprise. The smoke flavour gives a good hit of latakia with little hints of the oriental and the virginia later on, but doesn't really give any of the variety of Squadron Leader. Also, I found the smokes getting a bit rough towards the end of the packet, but didn't affect the quality of the smoke that much.

On the whole then, quite a good solid smoke with only one or two drawbacks. Not wholly interesting with odd hints of roughness later in the game. Not something I would want to smoke all the time but happy to get myself a packet every once in a while.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Edsen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Edsen (5)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Realy like this one one of my favorates so far smoked in my Pete Killarney D1 enjoyed cool flavoured smoke spicey smokey with a hint of sweetness. The scent and roomnote was pleasent and enough of a Nic hit for Sobranie and now mega curious on trying and comparing more sweet peppery smokey Latakia brands. Will be buying more of this for an everyday smoke and pleasure and about to compare against the PS Balkan once itt arrives .

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kleidophoros Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kleidophoros (12)
Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

I bought this bulk about 6 months ago. Smoked 2 bowls, didn't care for it, tossed it in a jar. I tried it again today.

Ribbon/shag cut, black, oily, wet. A bit difficult to load. Lights easy, stays lit. Leaves a fine gray ash. Taste is funny though; I do get the latakia, virginia but the lakeland essence is on top of everything ruining the smoke. Others have said they don't get the lakeland, well then it must indeed be inconsistent because I don't think it's possible not to detect this flavouring.

All in all, not my cup of tea.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TW (34)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Little to add to previous reviews really. As supplied in the UK market sealed 50g pouch it's very moist when opened, and in need of considerable drying and airing.

As with the much lamented Balkan Sobranie, the cut is varied - mostly a ribbon cut, but with the Latakia in bits and pieces of various size, and the orientals sometimes in large clumps. A few small bits of stalk at times as well.

Once dried out (to drier than I'd expected it would need) it's a reasonable take on a Balkan. There's no trace of the Lakeland scents in the 4 packs I've had. In taste terms it's pretty mild -in the same area as Dunhill Early Morning, Erinmore Balkan and maybe Squadron Leader, and like them is a good all-day kind of tobacco.

Not much like the Balkan Sobranie as I remember it (Peter Stokkebye Balkan is pretty close according to my memory) but a perfectly good Balkan blend in its own right.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

AlexL Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AlexL (26)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

The content of the tin is wet and should be aired. It contains Latakia, but Orientals rule here. When rushed, it bytes the tongue.

In the end, it's nice Oriental, but for me this place is already occupied by Presbyterian Mixture. Balkan is cheaper - for reason.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

machinebcon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
machinebcon (50)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Phew! This is how I imagined a old-fashioned Balkan to be. Burned rubber, old motor oil, extinguished campfire at its best! It is waaaay to moist in the tin, so give it a few hours. There is something added to it which rounds off the taste, though I can't put a finger on it. BM is a good one, medium-high Nic level, full taste (very similar to Commonwealth Mixture) but not 'strong' as in Irish flake or Nightcap. Can't really imagine to smoke it all day, but every day, yes :) 4 of 5.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

salopst Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
salopst (15)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

A moist shag cut that nonetheless burned perfectly with no relights for me. I don't have a lot of latakia experience so I will have to pass judgement on its comparative merits, but as a standalone review I'd put this firmly in the "I like" camp. Nicely peppery... a no fuss burner that I could dangle from my mouth aimlessly. Went very well with a good cup of you-can-stand-your-spoon-in it Yorkshire tea this morning.

Out of the pouch it smelled a little like Dunhill's Nightcap to me. I've just ordered a few grammes of Peter Stokkebye Balkan Mixture for comparison, so we'll see how that goes.

Purchased from:

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tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (111)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This one was ordered bulk and the moisture was just right, great nose too. I really wanted to like this, but it's not very inspiring at least to me.

It's somewhat bland and monochromatic. It combusted great even and cool, leaving a nice powdery ash. Thinking something was awry I tried it in various clean pipes of different shapes and the outcome was pretty much the same.

I certainly prefer Peter Stokkebye's Balkan Supreme.

This is not very close to the lauded Balkan Sobranie according to my palate. I still have a few precious pouches and tins carefully hoarded away, to be smoked on the utmost of special occasions.

Perhaps the tinned version is better. I'm not going to find out since there are so many other fish to fry. This one will be passed along to someone who'll appreciate it more than I; not my cup of tea.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

elelion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
elelion (25)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Very Full Tolerable

This blend first found its way to my doorstep as a gift sampler when I purchased a pipe. When I opened the plastic bag, the flavor was something I never encountered before, maybe the effect of the combination of Turkish and Oriental. I tried this with my brand new meerschaum, and it was exotically wonderful. As soon as I finished the first bowl (The sampler could allow me with 3 bowls), I ordered three 50-gram tin.

I somehow do not like the rectangular tin, because once opened, it is difficult to make it air-tight again. Same problem with Erinmore flake and Penzance. But this shortcome will be soon forgot with the good ribbon inside.

During the smoke, this blend seems to produce too much oil, and this feature makes it only a 3-star tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Azazelo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Azazelo (4)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

When I tried this blend some time ago, I was really, really astonished. And equally pleased. It may sound quite odd, but to me it resembles the old Balkan Sobranie a lot. I remember BS very well, because it was the tobacco I "grew upon". And since its perishing I have been trying to find something matching its magnificence - of course apart from discovering many other blends. Again, I may seem trivial, but its true. And then I came upon this quite inconspicuous packet and I was nearly stupefied. I won't describe its rich aspects because you should definitely try and discover all of them yourself. At least if you have heard any tale of Balkan Sobranie...

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meerkat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
meerkat (64)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is good blend of high quality tobaccos and, Like DrDyson, I can't find much to critiscise here. I didn't feel it was too heavy on the Latakia or remotely soapy. It didn't burn hot for me or bite. It didn't get bitter or tarry. It didn't feel weak, nor too strong.

In fact it was a bit boring.

It did have lots of levels to the flavour profile but none of them were particularly extraordinary. The trouble is that there are lots of Latakia mixtures which distinguish themselves, in my estimation, in various ways and this one just didn't. It's just too middle of the road for me. I suppose that some may think of this quality as a virtue but I don't.

However, it's top quality leaf and pretty smooth. So it may be a good starting point and benchmark for those wanting to experiment with Balkans.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kashmir Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kashmir (20)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant

I found Balkan Mixture (bulk) by Gawith Hoggarth & Co. to be a good balkan blend, with a strong Oriental and Turkish component, less so on the Latakia and Virginias. Hence, indeed it is aptly named as a Balkan, rather than English or Latakia-heavy blend.

The cut is fine curly cut ribbons on smaller width, dark brown to blackish in color. It packs readily, lights easily and maintains the cherry well all the way to the bottom, whereupon after an hour smoke a fine grey to white fluffy ash is produced. Leaves pipe bowl rather clean with little residual oils detected in the chamber. I am guessing this is due to the lower content of Latakia and Virginias, the former especially, which if in high concentration, tend to the oily.

I enjoyed the smoke, now on my 6th bowl over the past week or so, but can not say that I prefer this blend over Star of the East by Cornell & Diehl or Dark English Full by McClelland or Balkan Sasieni. I am a Latakia hound and to be honest I find Balkan Mixture here under review to be somewhat weak on the Latakia and Virginias, accentuating the Orientals and Turkish. I prefer also a more heavy hand with the Virginias to balance the blend, which I find somewhat lacking in this one.

In someways I would classify this blend as close to Margate by Esoterica (which totally lacks sweet Virginia base). In other words, for me, a Balkan blend is to have a heavy dose of Orientals and Turkish leaf, as to be expected, however, I prefer a stronger addition of Virginias to balance the blend. Something I find lacking here. So, in summary, I would rate this 2.8 to 3 out of 4 stars. Not a bad Blakan blend, but not spectacular in any way, and nowhere near Balkan Sasieni in my opinion.

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

This blend seems rather light compared to other "Balkans" that I have tried. By that I mean it does not overpower with a blast of Latakia. It is a smooth and fairly rich smoke with excellent burning characteristics. I rarely have needed a charring light and very few relights were required. The flavor is quite dry, where I normally would prefer some extra sweetness, but it is a very relaxing and satisfying smoke.

Despite being cellared for only a few months, I did find the blend took several days to "breathe" after being opened to reach it's potential.

I will be getting more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I really like this balkan blend. G&H and SG both seem to have access to a particular Latakia that is rich, earthy, strong and oily, and this blend makes good use of that weed. Or perhaps that is the flavor that comes with the territory when we're talking about Lakeland balkan and english blends. Whatever the case, this blend is richly flavored, and one of my go-to blends when I'm looking for something that is rich tasting and Latakia-forward.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fife&Drum Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fife&Drum (31)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Ribbon cut, on the finer side, but not too thin. A little moist in the tin but not terrible. This could stand to be dried a bit before packing and lighting, but is not crucial. This blend as with all G & H blends has the requisite "baby powder" (as I call it) casing. A lot of folks call this soapy and find it distasteful. I rather like it. Especially when I smoke G & H blends outdoors. I expect this flavoring when I buy G & H blends so it never bothers me. It is especially nice in the Bob's Chocolate mixture which is my favorite G & H blend. Latakia with Virginias is what I taste. Not heavy on the Latakia so this blend can be an all day smoke for me. The "baby powder" flavoring doesn't affect the room note in an adverse way at all. Although not on my regular rotation of Balkan/English blends this is a nice change of pace. If not dried a bit this can bite or burn after a few bowls, so I highly recommend drying. A good average Balkan blend with a slight flavor enhancer. Enjoy!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tcvarlh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tcvarlh (15)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Tolerable

Ok it's not 'The Balkan' but then what will ever replace perfection? A fine smoke however I find it can bite just a wee bit. It doesn't seem to enjoy a strong wind either, which is a minor issue for me. I don't need to appear like a steam train. That is my problem though. Lights well but does truly need a little airing, I find it best to load the bowl and go off for while, around 30 minutes. Fires up wonderfully after that. An enjoyable smoke and well worth the pence paid. I shall continue in my search but keep this in my store.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

7formy1911 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
7formy1911 (37)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a very thin ribbon cut or shag cut if you prefer that term. Mostly brown and black tobaccos with some light blond smattered in there for a little bit of color it almost seems. A deep whiff of the tin reveals... hints of smokiness and an ever so slight twist of Virginias with a floral note. To be honest I was expecting far more smokiness from the latakia but I think the Orientals seem to mute the smokiness with their spicy and floral note.

I've been breaking in a Peterson Army mount (102) billiard and to be honest the first few bowls are to be discounted due to the fact that new pipes don't really give you a feel for a blend. I've made that mistake in the past and refrain from reviewing ANY blend in a new pipe until it's properly broken in. Once I got to the point where I was comfortable the pipe was past the tannin notes of sourness and beginning to sweeten up nicely I realized I was smoking quite a good blend.

At first match I thought I was going to be smoking a latakia powerhouse. It was a full on rush of latakia both in taste and room note. I enjoy latakia immensely and was slightly disappointed when it faded far into the background. The Virginias took over along with the spice from the Orientals and a very faint floral note. My disappointment was quickly replaced with elation at the fact that this blend is so well integrated. Sure, it doesn't change much throughout the bowl but I'm not always looking for a blend like that. This blend smokes quite smoothly and even does well in a smaller bowled pipe if you are short on time.

A few words of caution. Don't smoke this blend when it's right out of the tin. Give it a little bit of time to air out. It's moist and you'll feel cheated if you smoke it while it's still moist. You'll get nothing but steam, no flavor and a hint of floral topping. Packing this can be a little bit of a challenge at first. Pack it too loose and it burns hot and fast. Pack it too tight and it takes a large number of re-lights. I've found that drying it for about 15 minutes followed by rolling it into a "log" of sorts that will fit in your pipe works best.

I highly recommend this blend either from bulk or in the tin. I haven't noticed any difference between the two. If you're looking for an all day blend in the English spectrum then this may fit exactly what you're looking for. Some may pass over it due to being too "light" and that would be a mistake. I enjoy very full bodied blends but still find myself quite attracted to this blend due to it's interesting taste integration and smoothness. My hat is off to Gawith & Hoggarth on this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Juna Gu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Juna Gu (31)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I'd been trying to discern whether my local tobacconist had any latakia blends (my local tobacconists never seem to know what I'm talking about when I ask for things like - "Do you have any plug tobacco?" I just get blank stares. Ho hum.) and after doing a bit or research this seems to be the only one. Given the reviews here so far that seemed quite a fortunate thing. I've only once before tried a Latakia blend, Punchbowle, and quite a few years ago that was. As soon as I opened this it hit me right away - that smell! Oh, I looooove Latakia. I seem to remember Punchbowle being pretty heavily laden with the stuff and it having a really sort of medicinal quality about it. This is of the same sort of mix I think. Lovely smell.

The smoke starts with the L right up front and it takes a few minutes for everything to round out, with quite an acidic or zesty start, I find, that sometimes seems almost bitey but I think it's just strong natural flavours flaring up. Once they merge and all the various tobaccos are in action it has a wonderful taste; complex, sweet yet dry. As for "soap" - wha'?? Though sometimes the full potential of this mix only appears fleetingly it is satisfying pretty much all the way through. It's easy to smoke, burns well and rarely needs a relight.

I don't find it very strong however, and have tended to smoke this as my first pipe of the day and then can smoke it regularly and it keeps on calling me back for more. I love the taste and have dedicated a pipe and a tin to this, bought a second pack (my tobacconist stocks this in pouch form with a different design to the tin above - the one they show on the GH website) as soon as I was running low of my first and regularly have a sniff of this. Until I can get hold of other VOL tobaccos this is going to stay a regular for me. If there's one quibble it is that the orientals could come in a bit more, but I'm still getting my palatte adjusted to the VOL mix so I may not be sure what I'm tasting.

Good stuff. I like I like.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (64)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong

god i love the way the english do latakia! this comes close to approaching some of my favorite english (not really sure if this is a balkan in the traditional sense) blends. This is a blend which engages the taste buds.. not as subtle and spicy as some but rather well rounded and more 'floral' than others.. It is, indeed, something that you should smoke when you are alone because it has a lot of earthy and swampy aroma - but latakia will often cause this.. this is very easy to smoke - it has that lakeland flavor that others have noted- but what pleases me is how well everything hangs together.. nothing stands out as obnoxious the ingredients all seem to be 'on the same page'.. but this is something I find with most imports from england.. surprisingly smooth smoke.. yet earthy at and rough at the same time.. I would say this is worth trying!

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

I'd give this 2.5 stars if I could.

The shag cut is a bit difficult to work with. There are many other Balkans that are less expensive and easier to purchase. This tobacco can taste a bit medicinal.

That said, this is a very pleasant medium Latakia blend with a hint of the unique GH flavor profile.

If you like shag cuts, or like GH products, and want to try something with a reasonable amount of Latakia that isn't a lat bomb, this is worth trying.

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MadMarv Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MadMarv (15)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I ordered a tin of this several months ago. On opening, the solid, tightly packed mass of dark brown and black ribbons, contained in an inner plastic envelope, seemed a little moist for me. I took a couple of smokes, then set the tin aside to concentrate on some bulk blends. On going back to it after about six weeks, the moisture level had reached perfection, just slightly moist to the touch.

This is a good medium Balkan/full English style of tobacco, with a largely Latakia/Va profile. There is just a ghost of Lakeland essence, if you go hunting for it, but it is not at all off-putting. Then again, I like Lakelands.

There are very good orientals present, but they don't come to the front of this blend at any point of the smoke. The flavor has a good richness, a dry semi-sweetness with a solid Latakia bottom. Very smooth, no sharp edges. Burns beautifully for a Balkan. Last night's smoke, in a Peterson 80s Shannon, was an hour of pure enjoyment.

This is absolutely recommended. I am ordering more to cellar, and may update this review once I have some with some age on it.

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DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (127)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is a very worthwhile tobacco, full of body and flavour. I would call it an English Mixture, though; people looking for a Balkan Sobranie sub won't quite find it here.

A small drawback is that Balkan Mixture tends to be too moist when you buy it pre-packed. The smoking experience is much enhanced by drying (this doesn't seem to apply when you buy it loose, though). It isn't, perhaps, for the newcomer to pipesmoking, because Latakia is very much an acquired taste. Also, the room note has the usual tarry/acrid fragrance of Latakia: if you like this fragrance, you like it, but I know a lot of people don't, so potentially there's an IB [= innocent bystanders] problem.

These are quibbles, though. BM is in all important respects a first rate smoke: cool, tasty and uniform all the way down the bowl, and there's absolutely no bite. If you like Latakia mixtures this is a very fine one indeed. A lot of people make the point about a 'soapy' Lakeland flavour. I must admit that I don't see this. Oddly enough - because contrary to what some reviewers are saying - I do think that BM would be improved by a little more Latakia; but I really don't find much to criticise here. Very good stuff. BM smokes a little quickly, I find, and leaves you wanting more; but the experience is well worth it while it lasts - and you can, I suppose, always fill up and start again. I'm not always in a Latakia mood, but this and Samuel Gawith's Commonwealth Mixture are my go-to tobaccos when I am.

Update, 6th November 2009: on an impulse, I bought 75 gm of BM and 25 gm of Cyprian Latakia and mixed 'em. The resultant smoke is, to me, superb: not to everybody's liking, I imagine, but not a Lat bomb - just much more body and richness than the untampered-with BM has. Give it a try: cuss me if you hate it, but give it a go. I feel (perhaps this is wishful thinking) that I've stumbled serendipitously upon something very like the old Craven Mixture. Alleluia! When the Latakia mood strikes me in future, this is what I'll go for.

Update, 16th May, 2012: Having not had any Balkan Mixture for a while, I just got a couple of ounces. I have to say that it's better than I remember it, either because GH&Co have improved it or because I've found new nuances and dimensions to it. I would still call it an English rather than a Balkan mixture, though. I'm inclined to promote it from my original three-star rating to four stars. This really is first-rate stuff. I hope the rumour that they're going to discontinue it is not true.

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loosewatches Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
loosewatches (108)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Being, as I am, an expert on everything, I tell you this is no Balkan. Or maybe it is.

I was looking to get a (20) sack of Margate, but alas, none was to be found. (Not, at least, at my proprietor of choice.) In my long standing feifdom, I have amassed an as yet to be disclosed amount of opinionated verbiage from whence I thunk it once:

Man, I do like Balkan Mix. I picked well. As a substitute for Margate, this is both splendid and bitchen. The latakia content is, for me, about right. It is a bittle more than most folks think of as balkan, probably, but hey, what's in a name?

Balkan mix has a smoothness that I enjoy while working in the shop, and it don't get me too loaded, neither.

As an aside, my poor dog has been of late, stricken. Limp ears he has, due to embolisms, and far from his champion show throne he feels; he has seemingly fallen. In fact, he was saddened, as was I, when he fell head first into his bowl of morning edibles on account of being all dopey from medication.

I, knowing what was right, plucked him from his momentary linoleum looney bin and spilled him unto the sofa. We both agree that a bowl of Balkan mix made me feel better.

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forestfires123 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
forestfires123 (4)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

This blend is outstanding. Slightly less oriental/turkish leaf outside of latakia and virginia strongholds. Dry this shag cut out for a few hours (I packed it then let it sit for a few hours... while smoking other pipes, of course). It burns without bite and tastes fantastic. What can I say? it is a true balkan with more virginia character that oriental/turkish and the virginia used tastes a bit like kendal kentucky (which I think might actually be a burley). Sooo very good.

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p4p4 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
p4p4 (59)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Smoke it is a perfect alla-day tobacco. Smoke it is a refined, complex,meditative tobacco. Surely a VERY balkan blend. The flavor is perfect, first 3 puffs are wath every pipe-smoker have to try in the life. P.S= it burns very well, easy to smoke, but dry it a little for a perfect flovor.

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ChappistMonk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ChappistMonk (7)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

A fine blend. I'm too new to pipe smoking to be able to get into the "does it taste like Balkan Sobranie?" argument but either way this is a good smoke. Creamy mouthfeel, gloriously incensey room note and a good balance of Latakia and Orientals boosted with some choice Virginia. Strong enough for contemplative moments but mild enough to smoke several pipefuls a day. I would have liked a dash more Latakia in the blend but many will disagree and this is a personal observation not a criticism.

I'm keen to try some of the more exotic Balkan blends such as those made by GL Pease, but this is likely to be my "general purpose" blend for the foreseeable future.

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Irishlefty Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Irishlefty (19)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

When I first received my order of Balkan Mix I wasn't impressed. After a month to 6 weeks, I tried it again and this time found it more then acceptable. A bit lighter then some of the English/Balkans that I am used to but.....the slight aging/drying out seems to have brought out a nice flavor and I can smoke 3 bowls in a row without ever the slightest hint of a bite.

Enough nicotine to satisfy without being as strong as Dark Flake and enough flavor to want more when the bowl is finished.

A keeper for me.

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hagen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hagen (91)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

pouch note: mmmm. latakia, turkish. plus something i can't quite identify, but it may be the virginia... all in all, a sort of neutral tobacco smell, with no flavouring. a rather fine cut.

easy to load and light. and the taste: fragrant, spicy, slightly sweet, absolutely beautiful! and there sure is virginia in it, i suspect it's the bright cr flake finely rubbed out... or at least i seem to find, somewhere in this haze of taste and smell, that there's a whiff of the "nina ricci" i mentioned in my review of bcrf.

it burns absolutely impeccably in my old small wide-chambered w.ö. larsen sandblasted lovat. how this can be only virginia and divers orientals is hard to understand. at times there are incense-like flavours, at other times i could almost swear i taste perique.

truly delicious in a very discreet, elegant and civilized way. the tobacco equivalent of a fine persian carpet!

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El Brento Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
El Brento (2)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

Please note that my review is based on a tin purchased in 2004. I guess this is what's meant by "shag cut" as I've never seen such fine, stringy tobacco. I take a pinch out of the tin and cut it up to make the strings shorter. I have found it best to pack very lightly as it easily packs down into an unpleasant plug. After I discovered how to pack this well I was rewarded with a lovely rich and smooth smoke. It does have a very slight Lakeland flavour, but I'm not sure it's scented (maybe that's just their Va's?) As per most other Lakelands I've tried the flavour isn't complex but over the course of the smoke it seems to deepen, maybe become more rich. It makes me want to relax in a oak-paneled den, sitting in a leather wing-back chair. Alas, the sofa in my basement will have to do.

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latakiahaze Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
latakiahaze (11)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

I had been expecting a bit of a neutral experience with this one, but upon lighting my first pipe of Balkan Mixture I was enveloped in a rush of joy only hitherto experienced with my first encounter with Dunhill's Night Cap.

This is a superb pipe tobacco; upon lighting the smoker is greeted with plumes of petrol-blue smoke, the tongue immediately satiated with a rich, leathery salty tang of fine latakia.

The mixture burns cool all the way through the bowl, there is no tongue-bite and the tobacco never becomes harsh or sour. Since discovering Balkan Mixture this has become the closest to a "desert island" blend that I have ever tried, and now replaces both Dunhill 965 and Squadron Leader as my preferred daily smoke.

I love a smoke that is both forgiving and adapts to my mood, and I find Balkan Mixture does all of this and more. This is one of those rare blends that can be smoked at any time of the day or night and would be just as relevant on a hot summer's afternoon as it would be huddled round the hearth on a cold winters day.

I have yet to discover any flowery note to this blend, for my money it is the copious quantity of latakia that does it for me, and I fail to see how any latakia enthusiast could feel let down by this one.

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kbosi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kbosi (15)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Nice mild smokey flavor. I forgot I had a pound of this celled and ordered a tin last week. Well I have smoked it every day since. I never grew tried of it and find my reaching for it time and time again. It's not B.S. but it is a nice replacement for it.

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Wonwon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wonwon (5)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is my second 50g pouch. I wanted something to replace the Balkan Sobrane, which I miss. This Kendal mix is just not the same. It is a bit too wet, cut in a shag style, it is ok to pack and light. It is, however a little harsh, and it burns too hot for me. It doesnt bite, but it not that tasty. It is ok, but I dont think I will buy it many more times. I much prefer the sheveringtons balkan mix which is much more similar to the sobranie Try the John Aylesbury Latakia Blend, which is not too bad. Shervingtons (337 High Holborn, WC1. Tel: 020 7405 2929) have their very nice balkan mix

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