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A light traditional mixture. Straight, well aged Virginia tobaccos with a touch of the finest Latakia and Turkish.

BrandTinder Box
Blended ByLane Limited
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutReady Rubbed
PackagingBulk
CountryUS
ProductionUnknown
Product Image
Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 2 Users

3.3
17 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
8
3 star:
7
2 star:
1
1 star:
1
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Smokering Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smokering (7)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

Ed Kolpin invented Special over 50 years ago. It is blended at the Santa Monica store in an old cement mixer they have in the back. Most of the older blends are still hand blended at the Santa Monica store. The other Tinder Boxes carry completely different mixtures which do a disservice to these legendary American Mixtures. Special has slightly changed throughout the years. In the 90's it had some chunk cut burley in it and they had to change the mixture and a different burley is used. i have noticed there is some cube cut burley in there. It is virginia based and has a light amount of latakia and a pinch of deer tongue. It is a classic American mixture which should only be purchased at the original Tinder-Box if you want to smoke the real deal. As the story goes James Whitmore was at a film shoot in Tucson, Arizona when filming ran over. He went to a local TB and purchased 2 lbs of Special. After he struck a match to it he immediately tossed it in the trash and called the Santa Monica store to order the original Special. James Whitmore smoked Special for 50 years...nuff said.

2 people found this review helpful.

oldmanpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldmanpipe (62)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

As one who remembers well the "Special" of three decades ago, I simply have to ask, "Why?" "Why mess with a classic?

When I fisrt discovered Tinder Box tobaccos in 1976, I was drawn by personal preference to three of their bleneds....Philosopher, Conniseuer, and Special. But I was young then, and those blends were what they were intended to be. My favorite was Conniseur...because it combined my two favorite tobaccos, Latakia and Burley. but Special had the added attraction of Deertongue. A friend of mine bought Special and added a bit of Latakia. 'Twas very heaven!

Anyone who is condemned to judge Deertongue by C&D's "Crooner" is to be pittied. Judicially applied, that rare herb is magnificient; added carelessly, it will burn your mouth out!

I do not know if any old "Special"exists...but if not...it was magnificent. As for the current iteration...it is torerable.

1 person found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (604)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It's not a lat-bomb, but it does have a nice latakia presence. The burley is light and sweet. The Virginia is slightly sweet with some grass notes, and a hint of earthiness. The topping is minimal enough that the blend doesn't venture into aro/English territory, but maybe it's enough to keep it more on the mild to medium side. Not bad for beginners or those who don't want to be hit between the eyes with the latakia, but it's not as special as the name implies. More a two and a half star mixture, but it deserves more than two stars, hence the three star rating.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (140)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This should be something I like more than I do. I bought 8 oz of it two years ago, and it is almost gone. It had to be the dampest tobacco I have ever bought, and it was also the slowest drying.

To my palate this was a latakia forward nondescript blend with a Virginia base and some burley to give it some body. I am a fan of orientals and did not find them in the flavor profile.

It is OK, and I can smoke it. I think there are many better choices that come at a better price point and don't have you paying for quite so much water.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

morphijuana Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
morphijuana (17)
★★★★
Mild Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Great all day smoke. Mild and tasty. A blend I will buy again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sorringowl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sorringowl (8)
★☆☆☆
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I went to the original Tinder Box on Wilshire, as it had been recommended over the Tinder Box chain's Special blend and boy, what a disappointment this was (along with my experience there). I walked in to what resembles a very quaint pipe museum of sorts (and if for nothing else, you should go to check it out for the history), where I was "greeted" (in the form of silence--I was the only one in the store) by a "Mr. B." (getting his name even was like pulling teeth) who acted as if my presence there was a complete nuisance. After politely asking for a few blends (all with little or no response from him) and having to endure condescending answers and snide remarks, "Mr B." made his "recommendations:" Margate (which tastes like the bottom of an ashtray), Tinderbox's Virginia (which tasted like the cardboard box an ashtray comes in) and this dried out weed which tastes like flat air that has been boiled and thrown in a dryer. It's a shame this guy even works there as the place itself is pretty neat and it's a shame their blends are just...bland. Really wanted to like this place and their tobacco but I just can't bring myself to go back as I wouldn't recommend either.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I found Special to be similar to a couple of HOW blends such as Barking Dog and Country Doctor. Latakia flavor but very light in presentation along with a very discreet sweetner. Since Lane takes care of the Tinderbox house blends I am wondering if this blend is sold at other shops around the country with a different name?

Burns easily and never bites. A sweet English (just barely), that can be enjoyed without caution.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BradS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BradS (22)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I've smoked cigars for a long time, but the wife didn't care for the way the smelled. She bought me a pipe for Christmas a year ago and I've really taken to it. I know have 6 pipes and have my eye on several others...

Trying to learn what I like and don't, I've found that there are aromatics, non-aromatics, and English blends I like and don't like. I found this site a few weeks ago and have spent quite a bit of time reading reviews.

I was traveling in McAllen, Texas this week and saw there was a review for a couple of Tinder Box blends. "Special Blend" had lots of good reviews and the local TB not only had some, but also had a nice comfy place to have a beer and try it out.

I have a Neerup for travel for it's smallish size. I noticed the tobacco had a great aroma in the bag, and was a bit moist. I packed a bowl and let it air out for 10 minutes while I sipped on a Warsteiner Dunkel beer.

After lighting the top, I repacked w/my tamper and then went for the light. Even after the reviews I've read, I was surprised at the fullness of flavor, but no bite, and an awesome taste. I really like it and it was good to the bottom. A co-worker sat next to me, smoking an H Upman and said it smelled wonderful to him. I'd purchased 3 oz, and went ahead and bought 3 more to take home. Very nice smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

meanmrmustard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
meanmrmustard (34)
★★★★
Medium Medium to Strong Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

There seems to be some confusion about this tobacco and I can see why. The brand I smoke comes from Ed's Original Tinderbox, on Whilshire in Santa Monica. This brand is excellent, it is a high bred American English, and it does contain deer tongue, I asked the boys there. It's a smooth, creamy, delightful smoke, 4 stars and one of my favorites. The Tinderbox Special sold at the Tinderbox chain stores, which Ed Klopin started, is a different animal. The guys at the Whilshire Tinderbox told a story about James Whitmore, who used to get his Special from there, when he was on location for a film in Arizona. He went to an Arizona Tinderbox, bought a can of Special, smoked one bowl and threw it away. He was on the phone to the Whilshire store and ordered a pound can of the "Real" Special and was a happy camper. Bing Crosby also smoked the real stuff.

I tried an ounce of the chain Tinderbox Special, and it is really nothing special. Can't say it's bad either. It is simply a very mild English mix and that might be your "cup of tea". To me, it just lacks the unique flavor and fullness of what I call "the real" Special. What is missing the slight vanilla flavor, nutty after taste and room note the deer tongue adds to the mix. It just has a totally different flavor. It's like ordering a Coca Cola, and getting a generic grocery store brand instead or better yet, since the real Special has a buttery taste, getting margarine instead of butter.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

After reviewing Tinderbox's Philosopher and Sherlock's Choice with some rather tepid remarks, I must state Special is a different animal to me. This really does seem an American "English". In fact, shortly after lighting this up I was struck with how similar this is to my former favorite everyday blend from another source -a private label for them as well, until they changed blenders. At this point, after replacing this 'everyday' blend with a couple McClelland's (notably Bombay Extra and Frogmorton) and especially with Cornell & Diehl's blends Engine 99, Byzantium, and Yale Mixture, I can't see this becoming my super favorite again. However, I did enjoy it at one time. The Latakia, though understated, is present. I've moved on, but this gets 3 Stars for old time's sake and I would probably buy more if ever again in that Tinderbox's neighborhood.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I took a trip out to the Tinderbox in Rockford ,Illinois and was greeted by the knowledgeable Tim. We discussed my preferences in pipe tobacco and settled on Special. The best way to describe this is the following: Very similar to Nat Sherman's #536 just not quite as heavy.I taste a Burley/Turkish combo with a proportional amount of Latakia added.The result is a truly unique achievement amongst English blends.It has a bready/nutty quality to it. It is a satisfying and comforting blend in which the Latakia is a spice and not the main course. It might also remind you of Lane's HGL without the addition of the sweetened cavendish. A very restrained yet satisfying tobacco. Well worth a try fot the English smoker and perhaps a good vehicle for entry into the Non Aromatic world for the rest. A very solid 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Meisterlowin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meisterlowin (16)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I found this to be a very pleasant tobacco. Having read the previous reviews, I went to our local Tinderbox and purchased a couploe of ounces. I wasn't disappointed and I could see this being a regular.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cecilianinnc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cecilianinnc (9)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I bought a 2 ounce sample of this when I got my Sherlock's. This blend was exactly what I was looking for. It had a mysteriously nutty flavor with an aftertaste that was like licorice, no unpleasantries whatsoever. At just over $2/ounce, its rather well priced too. I will definitely be getting more of this in the future.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big Blue Jazzman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Blue Jazzman (32)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

This blend is in my rotation and always will be. I have researched this tobacco. It was one of the original blends developed by the founder of Tinderbox. Ed was quoted as saying that he had smoked this blend everyday for over 50 years. When asked what was in it, he replied Virginia, Latakia, Turkish, and a bit of White Burley. It has a woodsy aroma, burns well,and definately has a complex taste to it as you work your way through the bowl.The tobaccos work very well together. This is the best bulk offering that Tinderbox has to offer. I've been smoking it myself for 33 years.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I stopped by the Santa Monica Tinderbox to pick up a few blending components in the hopes of evening out some of my less favorite on hand blends. When requesting a couple ounces of cube cut Burley, the shop attendant and myself began discussing C&D's Crooner, the infamous Bing Crosby Burley and Deer Tongue mixture.

The attendant informed me that this particular Tinderbox (aka Ed's Pipe Shop) served as Bing's home store, and had blended this "Special" mixture especially for him, promptly pointing to a very large, framed photograph of Bing holding an eight ounce can of tobacco emblazoned with the Ed's Pipe Shop logo. He went on to claim that the blend consists of a tiny addition of Deer Tongue, far more reserved than Crooner, and then he provided a two ounce sample.

Now, I haven't noticed any Deer Tongue, and I would even doubt that this contains any of the stuff--it's exceptionally apparent with a very distinct taste-- but regardless, this is a fantastic blend. And I must also say that I wouldn't be surprised if the shop attendant had confused this with some other house blend.

But what a ride. Such a diverse flavor that I would go so far as to say transcends any typical classification. Original, and indeed, special. In my book, anyway. It flies in the face of what I've come to expect of the Tinderbox.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr.Vince Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr.Vince (11)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Years ago this was my regular smoke. I stopped smoking pipes for a while, in order to get cigaretts out of my life.I recently started smoking pipes again,picked up a few samples of some aromatic blends,remembered why I don't like aromatics, and bought some special blend. it has a nice, medium richness to it.A natuarl sweetness to it,not sugary,more like the sweetness of unsalted butter. the pouch aroma defines "woodsy" to me. an easy smoke,when dry enough.I buy tins of high-end tobacco to try out from time to time, but I always end up back with my Special Blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (108)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Any bulk tobacco sold by Tinderbox that isn't flavored is indeed special, ergo the name? I accepted a couple ounces of this a year ago when I bought a pipe. Into a jar it went and packed away. This review is based on aged stuff.

I've never purchased Lane A100, so I can't say for sure, but this may be it or a variant of it.

It's predominantly a medium brown flake with a sprinkling of light and dark. The cut is mixed, not what I'd call ready rubbed. It is moist with $25/lb water, so drying may be advised. It smells wonderful: like Octobers of my youth, like leaves burning a block or two away, damp leaves at the curb, brown sugar on oatmeal, all in one.

At the match, turkish tobacco predominates and I swear I taste Syrian latakia. If it is Cyprian, it is mild indeed. C&Ds Santa's Mistake has that same latakian flavor. Sweetness is muted by peppery spiciness (oriental, not perique) until 1/3 bowl. Then the VAs come out to play and hang back again. It is one of those tobaccos that change characters throughout the bowl and burning rate; it makes for difficult characterization. The last third tends to strengthen in pepperiness.

Comparisons: if you liked Dunhill's EMP years ago, you'd like this. Others: Squadron Leader, Campanile, London Mixture.

Certainly a surprise from Tinder Box/Lane. I admit to an unfair negative bias, but this really is a nice medium English tobacco and find nothing to advise against it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.