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The same as Odessa with Red Virginia substituted for the cavendish cut burley.

BrandCornell & Diehl
Blended ByCraig Tarler
Manufactured ByCornell & Diehl
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
PackagingBulk
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Tolerable

Favorite Of 3 Users

3.3
12 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
4
3 star:
7
2 star:
1
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (580)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Excellent take on the classic "balkan" style of tobaccos... er... with the addition of perique. I seem to be finding more and more latakia blends with perique these days. In this one, the perique seems to be more for smoothing out the burn rate than for flavoring. This one tasted mostly of latakia and orientals to me, which was fine because that's what I was after when I bought it! The tin is about a year old.

A reasonably harmonious blend, this reminds me of a somewhat calmer version of Pease's masterful Charing Cross. The flavors are similar, but more relaxed here. Interestingly, I thought I was after that very thing when I first smoked CC, but I prefer CC to this. This is very good but less forceful. The latakia speaks loudly and clearly and meshes well with the oriental piquancy and sour-sweetness. The VA is robust but does tend to leave the arena at intermission, after which the Turkish strains are left alone to mingle. Nice wide-cut ribbon, easy to load.

And now for the downside. I could not keep this stuff lit! It was unimaginably reticent to hold a flame and the extra lights caused it to heat up to unacceptable levels. There is no reason I can see for this but it was consistent despite varying the moisture content. I like my balkans a bit on the moist side and it was here that it tasted its best, but dry is when it stayed lit. Odd. Still, this is a good one to try if you're a balkan fan. Hopefully, you'll be able to keep it burning.

4 people found this review helpful.

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

C&D English/Balkan blends are very hit or miss for me. I either find them smooth, balanced and tasty or they tend to be rough around the edges, and lacking in refinement. Red Odessa is a winner in my book. RO is a very creamy, slightly sweet, slightly tangy smoke with the Turkish leading the charge. The red Virginias complement the Turkish very well. As others have pointed out there is a little sweet and sour here, but in a good way. There is more than a little bit of Latakia in RO, but by no means does it take the lead. The Perique is there, but only really shows itself around mid-bowl. After smoking a little more than an ounce of RO, I am not quite sure it’s a four star blend, but it is darn close. I think that a couple of years in the cellar will make this go from a very good blend to an outstanding one.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

3 people found this review helpful.

balkan_boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
balkan_boy (32)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is an excellent tobacco. It has some "raw" aroma that is so appealing, there's something wild and unrefined in this blend. I like it a lot. I've purchased 8 oz of this bulk masterpiece, and I plan to order more of it, and have it regularly in my rotation. I'm not sure what kind of oriental leaf they've put in it, but the choice is excellent. Latakia is not dominating, even in the first part of the bowl. Orientals are the main part from the beginning until the end. Virginias are here, but not distinctive, and the taste is full and satisfying. The secret here is not in the choice of the orientals, but rather in the choice of Virginias. Red and full bodied VA's, covered completely with nice orientals. Many Balkan blends tend to be blunt and somewhat "empty" despite of the nice oriental aroma, but this one (maybe because of the just right amount of Perique) is strong and full, but rounded. Doesn't pinch and bite at all, no sharpness but a lot of body. It's a winter blend, rural and wild. Perfect for the autumn-winter outdoor relaxing. I loved it from the first puff, all I can say is "Pure awesomness" When I want refined and distinguished luxury, I probably won't go for this balkan, but when I want' warm, cosy, cheerful, yet full and satisfying thing, this is it. Perfect everyday winter smoke. Highly recommended for Balkan style lovers.

Pipe Used: Briars and meers

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

Rotwild Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rotwild (1)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

The tobacco used for this review was from a 2oz sample that I ordered from C&D. The age of this sample is unknown but I began smoking it within two days of arrival and finished it over a two month period. All pipes smoked are devoted to Latakia blends.

The pouch aroma had the familiar smoky camp fire essence that is similar with many Latakia blends (richer than most) but this one had a little something else: A sub layer smell that follows the first. Not necessarily richer or deeper but with a more distinctive smoky-sweet quality. This, I believe, is the result of the Virginia taking on its own aroma after rubbing elbows with its Latakia and Turkish buddies because I did not detect this in 968: Odessa which has the same proportions of Lat and Turk.

The moisture content was ideal. I grabbed a portion, squeezed it together, and felt the cool leaves press together to the point I felt they would stick in one lump. However, when I let go, they all fell apart before rejoining the group. Perfect.

Red Odessa loaded with no fuss but with a little less springiness than I’m used to. I don’t care too much about how tobaccos taste on an unlit draw but do notice it from time to time when checking the draw after packing. The taste of Red Odessa varied from pipe to pipe on the unlit draw. The ghosted remains of whatever was smoked previously in said pipe may have been responsible for these subtle differences. The starting light was not difficult but not as quick as some other blends in different genres that smoke better when drier. I’ve not tried this blend completely dried out but I’m not sure I want to either. After the initial draw, I find most blends rarely taste like the remainder of the bowl. Red Odessa was no exception but only at the earliest stage of burning. This is when the Turkish was most noticeable, during the first few puffs, but then fell quickly back into the shadows. However, I did find the Turkish could be forced to step out at any time during the smoke by taking very small puffs and doing what I’ve heard call “chewing the smoke” while letting it exit through my nose slowly. But if I did this for too long, the bowl would go out. Very early in the smoke the Virginia and Latakia make a distinctive impression and stay throughout. They are the main attraction in this blend. The Latakia deserves a nomination for best actor but an Oscar would go to the red Virginia for best supporting actor. This is a paring that created a superb experience and without one another would lose their chemistry. I had no issues with this blend turning hot as long as my sweet tooth for the Virginia didn’t get away with me.

The Perique is subtle and the use of this unique fermented weed improves the blend without getting in the way. Perique is not a star in this show but instead is the director of lighting: Creating an atmosphere and mood within the framework of its main subjects.

Since I’ll never compete in a slow smoking contest and don’t put much focus on the nuances of ember management, several relights were required throughout the smoke. The intense heat created by flame and heavy draw resulted in the Latakia and Virginia being the only tobaccos I tasted when this had to be done. I wondered why the Turkish did not come through on the relights as it did on the initial light. My guess is because the bowl was already warm and toasty with the Lat and Va.

I never experienced tongue bite or any harsh flavors with this blend and it burns through till the end.

The room note was not as strong as other Latakia blends but it ain’t going be a crowd pleaser for non-pipe smokers either.

I can’t compare Red Odessa to anything else I’ve smoked and my best attempt at classifying this blend would be a new classification: American Latabalkan. But this is unnecessary because it could be either an American English or American Balkan. It is smoky-sweet with a tangy touch. It has medium to full bodied flavor and I would rate the nic content about medium, give or take a notch or two depending on your constitution.

This is a wonderful blend on its own but goes well with a strong black coffee

Pipe Used: Custom-bilts, Petersons, and Neerups.

Age When Smoked: Unknown

Purchased From: Cornell & Diehl

2 people found this review helpful.

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

I tested this at the same time I got my Orient Express and Odessa first purchases as figured while I was waiting for my favorite Engine 99 to come back into stock at sp.com I could see how close this would be to the Engine, and the difference between it and Odessa. It hard keeping all these impressions apart to make these reviews, similar blends but each distinctly its own. Take the Burley out of Odessa, replace it with Red Virgina. Sounds simple. The effect is dramatic however. Had I not known of the sibling relationship I never would have guessed related pedigrees between these two. The Latakia is in condiment quantity unlike Pirate Kake or Star of the East. Very pleasant

On top of that, while I can readily taste this in Engine 99, it grows within that hybrid into a better smoke for me. This is sweet with a characteristic Red Virginia tang (but no bite) augmented by the sweetish Izmir. Strangely, given that it is a component of my favorite blend I rate it just shy of my opinion of Odessa, but still three stars. A desert island finalist. Not an all day blend, yet, but it could grow on me.

Pipe Used: Large billard briars

Age When Smoked: New stock

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (203)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I had a bit of trouble discerning the Oriental and Perique components in this blend, but I found the flavor profile very appealing. Creamy Latakia with a touch of Virginia sweetness. It reminded me, somewhat, of Low Country's Black, one of my favorites. If Black is ever discontinued this will serve as a more than adequate replacement on my favorites list. I can't imagine any Latakia lover not enjoying this blend.

Pipe Used: Brog churchwarden, MM General

Age When Smoked: fresh bulk

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Somewhat similar to Low Country's Black.

1 person found this review helpful.

tleek Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tleek (51)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Yet another cornell and diehl bulk english. I have smoked more of these than I have reviewed, and many are similar. Not in the sense that many taste similar ( although many do since they are spinoffs of each other) but because they all give a similar feel when smoking them. For some reason when I smoke Cornell and Diehl blends I feel like I am smoking an old timey American tobacco (okay maybe its just the names and the artwork). The tobacco is dry, sometimes bone dry, sometimes just dry enough. It is not nuanced like many tinned blends. They are, at least in my opinion, simple, high quality, good tasting tobacco blends.

Anyway,Red Odessa is definitely a worthy tobacco. I have smoked a little over half of a two ounce sample over the course of 6 months to a year. When I first smoked it, it was fairly sweet. Not a cased type sweetness, but a red va type sweetness. However, it was also fairly "rough". Like Many C and D blends it is not very refined. It is a "manly" smoke. However, I am nearing the end of a large bowl and the several months of aging have tamed it a bit. It lost much of its sweetness and developed a more woodsy flavor. Still relatively sweet compared to other Cornell and Diehl english blends, but it has changed quite a bit.

Overall a pretty good smoke worth trying.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Very sweet Virginia combined with nice amount of Latakia. Turkish makes this blend more tasty, and Perique gives a spicy touch to strain the taste. I'm not good at English, so I say just one word. Yummy.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (226)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I purchased this because the burley in "Orient Express" was replaced with Virginia , expecting a sweeter smoke, it's really not. The latakia is way in the background, the Virginia tastes like Burley. This reminds me of a smoother OJK, better, but not by much.Real old school. This isn't real interesting ,kind of blah and nothing like Orient Express!

1 person found this review helpful.

cakeanddottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cakeanddottle (36)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

My initial impressions of this one have held up over many bowls. This is great tobacco. This is NOT an English or Balkan, not in the strictest, traditional sense. Rather, this is a great blend that just happens to contain Latakia as a major component. It's more like an American blend than an English, except there is no Burley and it doesn't taste like an American blend. That make sense?

This is Red Va, Turkish, Perique and Latakia. Sounds familiar, right? It's not. This is a genre busting tobacco. Not like any of its contemporaries. Do you like blends like OJK and Three Friars? If you like Latakia as well you will love Red Odessa. I know I keep calling this one Three Friars with Latakia. It's the best I can do to describe a tobacco that is like nothing else. It's sweet, it's smoky, it's got a fruity tang from the Perique. I bought two pounds already. This won't be for everyone, but everyone should order at least an ounce for the experience. I love Lat blends. This is not like other Lat blends. I don't care, I still love it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Exedwardsguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Exedwardsguy (11)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

968R or Red Odessa is a lovely tobacco in appearance. C&D gives us a ribbon cut mix of medium browns with a stray black strand of long cut perique and a very rare dot of greenish Turkish. The latakia is used very sparingly here it seems. No great wads of blue-black leaf are present in the tin. The aroma on opening the tin is soundly ?Balkan?. I would guess that a good portion of the brown leaf is not red Virginia, but a Turkish variety.

The cut packs quite easily and the light is just as simple. Instant gratification.

On first light I notice the Orientals with a slight undertone of sweet from the red Virginia, kind of like Fox Campanile if you?ve tried that, but sweeter. Then the latakia walks in quietly. There is no harshness or heat. This is a cool exotic smoke.

As the bowl progresses the perique begins to add spice, but the Orientals and Virginia keep the foundation solidly consistent. By mid bowl the perique is pushing too hard for me, tingling the tongue and soft palate. Honestly it is detracting from the early promising lushness of the Virginia and Turkish.

By end of bowl the perique has pretty much taken charge. The Virginia has given up and gone home and the Turkish is trying to give all it has left with its usual ending sour mustiness. So I feel what is left is stinging spice, a hint of latakia, and the not-best-part of the Turkish.

I would never presume to claim the experience and knowledge of C&D?s truly paragon blenders, though having done a bit of blending in days gone by, I think I follow the logic: Perique slows the combustion and makes a great moderator for the otherwise hot Virginia and Turkish. Same with latakia, but I think C&D (admirably) didn?t want to lay it on with too heavy a hand ? so used more perique. Unfortunately, the thermal solution may have undone the intention of the taste.

If perique disagrees with you, or you expect a sweet red Virginia experience, you?ll probably be digging this out of the pipe around mid bowl. HOWEVER, overall, this is a very elegant blend. Not big on nicotine, this is about flavor. Quite pleasant and cool smoking with a complex interplay of flavors tending toward the namesake oriental.

1 person found this review helpful.

strongirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strongirish (234)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is truly an unusual blend. I find the flavor of the Turkish tobaccos dominate this blend and the perique adds a nice spice to it. The Latakia is way in the background, more a spice than a dominent player. The Va adds it's sweetness to the blend, but is also a background player in the blend. My first taste upon lighting up was the sweetand sour flavor of the Turkish tobaccos, it is full bodied without being harsh and it has little bite to it. Moist it is hard to keep lit and is a bit overwhelming but when allowed to dry out, it becomes a sweet and creamy blend that rolls off the tongue and leaves a great flavor in the mouth. TRhe room note is a little atrong and spicey but otherwise it is not going to make enemies as the Latakia is not dominating and lends little to the aroma. In the pouch the tobacco is a rough ribbon cut in various shades of brown with the occational dark leaf and here and there a greeen color. it is strong and sweet sour smelling in the pouch and dry it loads and lights well so I have to say one must let it dry to get the most out of this blend. It smokes clean down to a grey ash rimmed by a dark grey to black. It leaves very little dottle in the bottom of the pipe. Towards the bottom of the bowl, it loses some of the Turkish flavor and the VA and Perique comes to the top. All in all this is a pleasant smoke and I recommend trying it.

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