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A lavishly flavorful Balkan blend using the finest dark
frangrant, cool-smoking Syrian Latakia, and seasoned with top-grade Louisiana
Perique. Rich and mellow.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeVirginia/Latakia
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging50g Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Mild to Medium, Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Tolerable, Tolerable to Strong

Favorite Of 2 Users

2.4
26 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
4
3 star:
7
2 star:
11
1 star:
4
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fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (158)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was gifted some 8 yo Syrian Super Balkan, and I have never smoked it fresh. I have to say, this is a very pleasant smoke. The turkish and perique are the dominant tastes for me. The latakia has a slight herbal note. The Virginias are a great mix of bright and a slightly heavier sweet. It is a tasty combo.

If you are looking for a Balkan sledge hammer, this will disappoint. It is subtle and complex. Puffing brings out the perique. Sipping gives a dominant turkish/latakia note. The Virginias are always there. This is a nicely crafted smoke.

I am thinking I will have to buy a fresh tin now to see how it compares.

3 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (589)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The last and supposedly strongest of the McClellands Syrian latakia series, this is a mostly black ribbon with a rich tin aroma of the lat on top, a side of perique and Turkish and an underlying lightly sweet Virginia aroma. The latakia is the first scent to hit the nose but quickly subsides into a musty olfactory sensation that is quite exhilarating.

Fr Tom really nailed this one, although it appears I enjoyed it more overall. Testing different puffing cadences, a malty-like perique surfaced more when this blend was puffed more quickly, while the sweeter, lighter orientals took the main stage when sipped. The latakia melded perfectly in either case and the Virginias were always on top and lent their usual tanginess. The entire blend was creamy, with a smoky undertone. This is an excellent blend - different from the Syrian Full - just as good, but more complex while at the same time being more homogenous, more harmonious. Both will have a lofty spot in my cellar. McClellands is unequaled in its stash of Virginias but I'm beginning to think they are also the masters of Syrian latakia as well. Highly recommended!

Pipe Used: meerschaum and morta

Age When Smoked: 8 years

1 person found this review helpful.

bteddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bteddy (20)
★★☆☆
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

The one thing that sets this apart from other Balkans is the Syrian Latakia, while not overly done, I think it could be better. Syrian lat provided a different flavor and anyone who hasen't tried it should give it a go. This is not a strong Balkan that I would normally prefer, but that doesn't distract from a mild flavorful smoke. I was hoping for a more heavy hand with the Lat, and for that reason I cannot give it an outstanding rating. Worth a try if your new to Balkans.

1 person found this review helpful.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (126)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

Flavors in this one are bit muddled/muted compared to the similar components in Syrian Full Balkan (which does not have the perique). Very similar smoking characteristics between these two, but the flavor distinctions and enjoyment are lacking in the Syrian Super, which also required some re-lights, when compared. 2*.

Pipe Used: Karl Erik

Age When Smoked: Tin stamped 170306

Purchased From: Tinder Box, Mishawaka, IN

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tpatriarche Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tpatriarche (23)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

This blend was a disappointment. I was looking for a strong Balkan blend with a Yenidje topnote, and unfortunately confused "McClelland" with "MacBaren" (who do have a fine blend, HH Syrian).

Despite the glowing description on the label, both my friend & I thought this was a overly light blend with little or no character. The best I can say for it is that the smell in the tin is pleasant, lightly fruity with the Latakia odour present but not strong. The room note is plain, with none of the exotic aromas of middle eastern species tobaccos. Easy on the tongue for the first half of the pipe, with a slight bite towards the end. Mild enough for a beginner with a taste for Latakia, but disappointing for a "Turkish" afficionado.

Frankly, I think I'm going to use this for blending.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Peppino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peppino (74)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I was expecting something heavier like Epicurean from the old Tinder Box days. This was not as I thought, however it's a nice smoke with some good flavor with a sweet undertone.The aroma reminds me of the good old days at the pipe shop on a winters day. It fit's the middle of the road to me but I enjoyed it. Will update after a a few more bowls!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kyrob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kyrob (32)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I happened across this six year old tin at a local B&M a few weeks ago and thought I would give it a try. The tin contained loose ribbons in various shades of chocolate brown with a little black mixed in. The tin aroma was one of the often mentioned McClelland ketchup, but the few times I have experienced this smell personally have never bothered me. This tobacco was a little on the dry side, which suited me fine. An unlit sip tasted of the sweet Virginias in the blend.

On the charring light and the first few draws I mostly tasted the sweetness, and it remained dominate throughout the bowl. As the bowl progressed I also detected both fruity and peppery tones, and every so often a hint of chocolate. After smoking a few bowls of this in a row I could really feel the Perique at the back of my throat, and other than that this blend was very mild. It was not bad in briars and meers, but I preferred it best in a cob where the flavors just seemed bolder. The room note was tolerable; it reminded me of saddle leather that had just come off of a horse's back, that pungent animal sweat and leather smell.

Overall I really liked Syrian Super Balkan. I liked how every puff seemed to contain a little surprise, and how subtle the blend was. I like more aggressive blends typically, but this is a good change in the rotation in the form of a mild English and I will definitely be buying more. I would recommend this blend to anyone looking for a mild or first time English smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipemakingfool Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipemakingfool (2)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium Full Tolerable to Strong

This has become one of my favorite blends and one that seems to work well as a "good morning" smoke for me. There tend to be some very bright notes in this blend, which are countered nicely-though not evenly- by other flavors.Each bowl starts out with those bright notes and mellows out a bit by the middle of the bowl. The one downside seems to be the room note which my wife (a cigarette smoker) finds strong and the smoke itself "thick".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

piedpiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
piedpiper (26)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

Picked this blend as a possibility in my quest for a full-bodied Balkan/English mixture. As other reviewers have indicated, rather weak in the flavor dept. Very mild blend-just not what I personally am looking for in the way of a richer mixture, although I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to an aromatic smoker who might be experimenting in this direction. As I have indicated in reviews of other McCs' offerings, what they seem to consider a full-bodied blend is to me quite mild. Awarded a solid 2 stars only.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mrmcmc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mrmcmc (15)
★☆☆☆
Extremely Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Greetings fellow pipe smokers!

I bring forth news today that bodes ill for this particular blend. This is difficult for me as I have been a loyal purveyor of McClelland Blends for many a year.

Shortly over six years ago, I purchased six tins of this baccy, to put away and age, for a future time. This time is now.

Upon opening the tin, one is carried away by a generous hint of smoky Latakia, joined by the sweet earthiness of the Virginias present. In the hand, it is a beautiful, quality tobacco, to see and to feel. Alas, upon lighting, this is not to be the case.

I have smoked this in many a bowl, small, medium, and large, English, Italian, German, and American, all to no avail.

This blend simply lacks flavor, balance, and structure. If you smoke it in a small bowl, and very slowly, you can pull out a hint of nuttiness, a hint of Virginia sweetness, and I mean a hint. Unfortunately, this is laid to waste by the utter astringent bitterness of the Latakia. In a larger bowl, forget it, there are simply no redeeming qualities. I can not in good conscience recommend this blend, not even a little bit.

Believe me, this is not an easy review to submit, particularly concerning the great house of McClelland. I feel let down by this blend, something I would never have imagined happening. It is not too often I regret a tobacco purchase. This time I do!!

Regretfully Yours,

mrmcmc

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Demetri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Demetri (100)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Rather than repost the observations of many here before which seem dead on correct for the most part, let me say that this is a different blend entirely from its seeming sibling, Syrian Full Balkan. While SFB struck me as somewhat monotonic in taste, Syrian Super Balkan seems well-named. If one enjoys the McClelland Grand Orientals just imagine the addition of Syrian Latakia and Perique to some of those and you have Syrian Full Balkan. This presented to me a symphony of flavors with each major component having a distinct movement as the burn progressed down the bowl. I might not want this as steady smoke fare, but the occasional bowl is pleasant enough. There is some nicotine kick here as I am very satisfied in that area for several hours after a bowl, well sated in fact.

Rating: a hair over three stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jazzyguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jazzyguy (15)
★★★★
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

I found this blend to be excellent. It smoked well in a Chonowitsch which was having a bit of trouble as it started to taste somewhat bitter. The taste is full and the tobacco stays lit all the way down to the end. As far as the smell on opening the tin I feel that you don't eat tobacco you smoke it! There must be some vinegar as a preservative that is added to preserve this tobacco and the others in this manufacturer's line and this smell goes away after the tin is opened. I enjoyed this tobacco so much that I ordered another 5 Tins. I am principally a Nightcap smoker and love English blends but this blend really is something special. It enhanced the Chonowitsch and restored it to where it was when I got it! A strong yet piquant taste prevails in this wonderful tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe-billed Grebe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-billed Grebe (18)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

As my first foray into the wide wild world of tinned tabac, SSB holds a fond place in my memory.

I found it to be different depending on the vessel in which it was smoked - an unremarkable phenomenon, but one which seemed more pronounced with SSB than with similar blends. It was perfect in my Tsuge bulldog, and helped imbue that pipe with the delicious phantom of latakia that happily haunts it to this day. If you will pardon a bit of synaesthesia, it tasted of deep purple (Smoke on the Water pun not initially intended). In that pipe all the components of the blend were present with none overbearing. Faint and pleasant cigarish undertones were present as well. My friend's fiance remarked favorably on the aroma, but she has a more enlightened and pipe-friendly nose than your average non-smoking lady. I certainly think it smells good. (Burning Latakia is like liturgical incense to me.)

In a meerschaum-bowled calabash, the sweetness of the VAs and the Latakia were predictably accentuated (and here I could really taste the difference between Syrian and Cyprian varieties), with the inherent smokiness of the Lat and peppery figginess of the Perique diminishing substantially. In a Peterson bent brandy, the Perique was more pronounced. In some other pipe, I can't remember what, the taste was flat and kind of ashy, but I can't hold that too much against SSB since it was so good in the other three pipes.

Having tried a few other Balkans since then, I might concur that SSB is not really much of a Balkan, per se. The Orientals play more of a supporting role than a starring one. It is a very good blend nonetheless, like the likewise misnomered Sam'l Gawith Balkan Flake, if one can clear that semantic hurdle.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wosbald Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wosbald (111)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Very Full Strong

The tin aroma of this medium-cut, medium ribbon is spicy, pungent, and fruity. The perique element is immediately apparent.

The flavor is dominated by a large dose of subtle and mild orientals and large measures of syrian backed up by a vocal dose of perique. The perique and the syrian dialogue nicely. The matured VAs, red and black stoved, add richness.

A flavorful blend, Syrian Super Balkan is full and complex, though perhaps a bit lacking in punch for some balkan expectations. This went well in a chamber of any gauge.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I think a little age on this blend's Virginia component will improve my review. The flavor of the Syrian was nice, but the Virginia leaf was a little harsh. I'm not sure how much Oriental is in the blend, but it was interwoven with care. The Perique is lightly detectable. Perhaps it will be a more mellow smoke once the Virginia leaf settles down and gets a little longer in the tooth.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I smoked this a few years ago and loved it. It was extremely cool burning with a nice amount of sweetness, spice, and a unique metalic tang or worcestershire sauce flavor. I was all geared up and ready to defend this blend against all detractors when I popped open a three-year-old tin two weeks ago. Sure, it's not a balkan, but judging it by what it actually is, I thought, would be favorable.

Alas, after smoking it about 16 times, I cannot defend it. Sure, sometimes it tastes like a really nice Va/Per blend with just enough latakia and orientals to round out the flavors. When you get a good bowl, it is really good. I noted fruity flavors, figs and plums, brown sugar, caramel, and chocolate, all without being too sweet. Also, I thought I might have detected some fenugreek spice, though that might be a stretch. If it was always or almost always like that, I would definitely give it four stars. And interestingly, it had changed quite a lot from the newly packed tin I had before, with almost none of the worcestershire sauce flavor. It still burned very cool.

But too often, for whatever reason, all of this goodness was overshadowed by a very unpleasant, dirty, brackish flavor. Someone told me that was the Syrian latakia, but that is doubtful in my mind because I've had over eight tins of Syrian blends, four of them from McClelland, the most recent being Frog Morton Across the Pond, and had NEVER tasted this dirty flavor before. But in 1/3 to 1/2 of the bowls of this tin, and of another one I bought to see if mine was just contaminated somehow, it was either present or overbearing. That's just too often and negates the times it was good. Strangely, that is a problem not noted by other reviewers here, so it may be a problem of my own tastes, but since I only have my own tastes I can't ignore it for reviewing purposes.

I, too, seem to have developed a perique allergy, but I won't judge this blend by that idiosyncracy. But it will definitely help to keep me away from this in the future.

If McClelland could blend something that was consistently like this was when it was good, and renamed it to indicate it was not a balkan, they would certainly have something for those who love perique but don't hate latakia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wolfpaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wolfpaw (37)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

While visiting some out-of-town friends, I stumbled onto to the local tobacconist's shop and dropped in to look for something different I could try. After inquiring about what I usually like to smoke, the proprietor grabbed a tin of Syrian Super Balkan off the shelf. He explained that, while he likes to sample all the different tobaccos he sells, this is the only mixture he smokes purely for his own enjoyment. He told me it was fuller-flavored and more satisfying than either Nightcap or British Woods, two of my own favorites. With that recommendation, I bought the tin, suspecting all the while that SSB wouldn't live up to its billing-- and it didn't. It's neither as full or as rich-- or as strong-- as either of the two mixtures I mentioned above, but is rather "middle-of- the-road" in all the important criteria. The flavor lacks the complexity that I look for in a good Balkan; the Latakia is less assertive than I like, and the Oriental tobaccos are barely heard from. The perique is a nice touch, but stays well in the background. The flavor remains fairly consistent from beginning to end of a bowlful of SSB with no surprises, pleasant or unpleasant. Some drying is recommended as a fresh tin is a bit moist. SSB packs and lights well when dried a little, and shows no tendency to bite. The high quality tobacco and familiar vinegary tin aroma identify it as a McClelland mixture, beyond question; room note is that of a fairly strong English mixture-- no aromatic this. Syrian Super Balkan isn't bad, but there are other Balkans I much prefer to it-- Pease Odyssey or Charing Cross, Balkan Saseini, and even the bargain-priced Iwan Ries Balkan Supreme all have more of the Balkan character I look for.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

geocritter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
geocritter (20)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Syrian Super Balkan is a nice blend; I'm really beginning to like latakias, and as such, after smoking this blend, I find that I still prefer Frog Morton for a latakia fix. However, this one is rather different to me, and the comparison is like apples to oranges. I found that it lit easily, produced quite a bit of smoke, and lasted FOREVER. The perique was a nice touch. It would get hot and bite a little easier than I would have expected, but once it cooled down, it was quite nice.

I guess my feeling is, that if you are wanting a nice, rich latakia fix, this one's not it. If you want a Balkan, this might or might not be, as I have no experience with Balkans. But on it's own merit, this one is a medium-latakia bold perique/oriental blend which I find smokes well. I wouldn't mind it as a nice changeup every once in a while.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OPCguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OPCguy (46)
★★☆☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Syrian Super Balkan - Wow theres the expected Ketchup smell...how is that and why? Is McClelland casing their blends in Heinz? Anyway onto Super Balkan. Reviewer Pipeline summed this blend up best in their update.

This is hard for me, as well, to identify as a good Balkan blend little alone a Balkan blend...shoot what does this taste like? I am dissapointed...I was expecting the Balkan to end all Balkans hence Super Balkan...uh...not this time. =( On to the next. Try Frog Morton On The Bayou or On The Town instead.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Update January 2006: Neither intersting as an English blend or Balkan. It does not seem to be really either. It smells good burning, though. Yawn.

______________________________________________ This is more closely akin to McClelland's Syrian Full Balkan than Rose of Latakia from the same folks. All three were released at the same time. All three are top quality.

Each of the three has the same cut and burning qualities, so I will not duplicate here what I have said about the other two already. Though, Super did burn a bit more moist than either RL or SFB. Even with the Perique, SSB seems to have less black in the tin than SFB. RL has the least of the three.

The components of Syrian Full Balkan play better together than they do here in Super Balkan. There seems more competition than cooperation. Perhaps time will bring Super Balkan into greater harmony (Ypdate: Time just flattened the components out).

That being said, while I cellar more for aging (Update: not anymore), I will keep opening tins and enjoying this fine Balkan in the meantime (Update: not really). Full Balkan will get the most of my attention of the three.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.1512 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.1512 (196)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

A decent smoke. The Latakia is subdued and the orientals dominate but the perique adds some depth which saves this blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (300)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Very similar to Syrian Full Balkan in cut and appearance, but I like it a bit better.

The Perique, in very small doses (I usually don't tolerate it, but here it's OK), helps creating a fruity sweet/sourness.

Overall, not a Balkan again, but a decent tobacco.

As with Full Balkan, the best thing of it is the subtle and everchanging Syrian Latakia.

But I still slightly prefer Rose of Latakia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

Not as good as the Rose of Latakia, the addition of Perique does make it a better blend than the Full Balkan. But only barely.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DeltaSnake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeltaSnake (31)
★★★★
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Strong

This is a blend I tried when the supply of Mississippi Mud and Frog Morton On The Bayou ran out at my local store (they've since taken steps to ensure that never happens again). I normally don't like to tell smokers that a tobacco tastes "like another, but...." the comparison is too striking to ignore. I found this to be essentially a stronger Frog Morton On The Bayou, with an even more pronounced perique flavor. In fact, the perique is so strong that this blend is mainly for those who like that tobacco type, as it's so obvious and upfront in the mix.

That said, I liked it very much, as Morton sometimes gets too mild tasting for my everyday smoking, and this blend adds the same type of pleasure but with more kick. A nice blend for latakia/perique lovers, and it's a bit cheaper than Morton also, at least in this part of town.

It smokes strong right out, and the flavor gets stronger as you progress down the bowl. It has good burning qualities, though, and is easy to pack, and smokes well even if a bit moist. I found that it dries out pretty quickly, though that isn't something that ruins a perique blend anyway.

I smoke it about once a month, and would probably smoke it more if my local shop didn't carry bulk Black Mallory. A nice divergence from my usual diet of Mississippi Mud and Morton, and worth a try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Disclaimer: I am allergic to Perique, so some blends just do not agree with me and I am afraid that this was another one.

Appearance and Aroma: Beautiful ribbon cut, blacks, browns, and a few yellows. Smells wonderfully musty and smoky in the tin. A touch of the figgy Perique odor is noticable.

Packing and Lighting: Easy packing, lighting can be a chore, drying out in the tin is a good idea.

Initial Flavor: Where's the beef! This is a mellow Balkan, not a "Super" Balkan IMO.

Mid-Bowl: Nice round mellow flavor, but the Perique starts to toot its horn and my allergies begin to kick in, argh!!!

Bottom of Bowl: Too peppery for me, a chore to finish, my tongue is swelling due to my allergy. No dottle and ash is soft and grey, though.

Overall: I hate to say this, but MC just has missed the boat on this one. Too much perique, not enough turkish, and not enough Syrian! Sorry folks, but this just is not a Balkan IMO.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5 points

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

A disappointment to me. This one comes drier than most McClellands and is of ribbon cut. Not really what I would describe as a Balkan, but rather an English blend with sweet rather than smokey latakia. None of the spiciness associated with a good Balkan and certainly not even close to the usual reference Balkans from Sasieni or Pease.

All of the new McClellands made with the Syrian latakia seem to have a floral scent to them, not unlike cloves. Unfortunately, this scent and flavor seems to linger in a pipe. I only tried this three times, but each time I had real problems with overheating.

Nobody has rated this review yet.