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Made as an alternative to the original Balkan Sobranie.

BrandOwl Shop
Blended ByJoe Lentine
Blend TypeUnknown
ContentsOriental/Turkish, Virginia, Latakia
Product Image
Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note

Favorite Of 2 Users

11 reviews
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manno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
manno (37)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It's all of what the other reviewers have said. For me it's a "pilgrimage tobacco" -- 75-minute drive north to New Haven and I'm under the shadows of the old Yale buildings in a cigar bar cum jazz club cum charcuterie that happens to sell a little pipe tobacco that old Joe blends for this shop and the one in Worcester, MA. Incredibly good stuff -- tin note is VERY latakia forward but it kind of ends there. Smoke is unctuous, creamy, round, rich (not heavy) and refined. I prefer light English blends but this one, despite the tin and room notes, delivers with an acceptable amping up (for me). My favorite of the shop is St. Johns which is EMP/Chelsea Morning on steroids. VERY pricey, and no quantity discounts (7 ounce baggies for $50+), but worth a punt occasionally (I dare say the co-eds across the street get cheaper smoking products delivered in baggies to their dorm rooms). Whatever, an eclectic find and well worth a visit to the store/bar/club if you're ever in New Haven (great booze, coffee, local bread, olives, Italian cheeses and cappy and prosciutto). And it's "smoke 'em if ya got 'em".

Pipe Used: Billiards

Age When Smoked: newly purchased but they age it some

Purchased From: Owl Shop, New Haven, CT

Similar Blends: Dunhill Standard Mix/London Mix/MM 965/EMP all in one bowl.

3 people found this review helpful.

Tom Bombadill Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tom Bombadill (84)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Very nice classic English blend. Great everyday smoke.

1 person found this review helpful.

WilDavis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WilDavis (2)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Hallelujah! I've found a replacement for the Finest Tobacco on The Planet!!! Thirty years ago, when I lived in the U.K. my tobacco of choice was The Balkan Sobranie Smoking Mixture; unfortunately that is no longer available, but FEAR NOT! (...and listen up for some tidings of comfort and joy) for at The Owl Shop in Worcester, there is a tobacco which is as near to The Balkan Sobranie as "dammit" is to swearing! Unbelievable, and totally wonderful! I bought some there last Friday, and have had four pipe-fulls since, and each one has been a trip down memory lane, and a reminder of what fine tobacco is all about! Let's hear it for The Owl Shop of Worcester! Thank you Pam (blender)!!! - Wil Davis

Nobody has rated this review yet.

salopst Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
salopst (14)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I know the Owl Shop in New Haven pretty well, but this was before I started smoking a pipe. So first off, I think it is the only place in CT that one can have a drink and smoke in public, although that has led to something of a dilution of the store as a pure tobacconists. But-- Harkness Tower is a masterpiece.

It is so easy to smoke, if you like Balkans, that you can almost forget you are smoking it at times if other things take over you attention, and they invariably will when you pack this wonderful mixture into a larger bowl. Lush and creamy, mildly peppery with a great burn from start to finish.

I'm rating this above the two other Balkans I've been smoking a lot of recently. Above Gawith, Hoggarth & Co's Balkan Mixture, which is excellent, and Peter Stokkebye's Balkan Supreme.

The balance is just right for my palette on the Latika (and the Perique?), but I did find it biting a little towards the end of the bowl, when I detected a very "meaty" aroma. Not so strong on nicotine, so possibly an all-day smoker.

I'm lucky enough to still have friends in town, and also near their other store in Worcester MA... so I will be buying a boat load of this for the cellar.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fr. Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fr. Smoke (4)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I've come to love this English blend.

It is sort of like Dunhill's London Mixture, but with the Orientals standing out much less and playing in better harmony with the creamy Latakia. It is reminiscent of Peterson's Old Dublin (another favorite blend) but it is sweeter and has just that extra bit of flavor that OD lacks (and needs, imo). It smokes great, tastes great, is creamy, and is wonderfully, harmoniously blended by one of the last remaining small-time blenders.

The only drawbacks are 1) availability -- you have to live nearby and the Owl Shop's website doesn't seem to make internet transactions easy (I live nearby and buy in person) -- and 2) the cost. At $7/ounce, it is definitely pricier.

But it is worth it!

It smokes great in my dedicated Peterson De Luxe Rhodesian. It is a great English and is far better, for my current tastes, than most of the Englishes on the market... at least the ones I have tried. If you like balanced Englishes, and can get your hands on this, I suspect you will like it. It's a current favorite in my winter rotation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I recently had a fellow reviewer send me five different samples of blends he believes comes closest to matching the famous Original Balkan Sobranie. This Owl Shop copy seems to carry some of the same flavor sensations as that classic, but is way too mild to compare favorably. The original BS has strength, this one does not. Still, if you do recall the wonderful flavor of the original BS, you might find a stretch of memory lane with Harkness Tower.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PastorPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PastorPipe (17)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I am fortunate to live not too far from the Owl Shop in New Haven. I stopped in the other evening, listened to some great jazz by a local jazz combo, and bought some Harkness Tower. What a wonderful tobacco. This is the one blended by Joe Lentine, a master craftsmen who has been working there since the 60's. I have not tried the Harkness Tower sold at the Owl Shop in Worcester, but the next time I'm up there, I will definitely give it a try. I'm sure the same recipe is followed. Harkness Tower (named for Yale's tallest and most prominent academic building) is an incredibly smooth and flavorful Balkan with lots of Latakia and Orientals (Basma and perhaps some other yellow leaf Turkish varieties). It has a wonderful cedary aroma and taste along with a hint of sweetness. It burns well and smokes cool. I like Balkan Sasieni very much, but this is richer and more flavorful. I am told that it is a good alternative to the old Balkan Sobranie. I don't know as I never had the privilege of trying that much-celebrated blend. I do know that I like Harkness Tower very very much! The best way to smoke this is to go to the Owl Shop and enjoy the ambiance of that grand old tobacco shop. It's like taking a trip back in time to the early 1960's. However, if a pilgrimage to New Haven is undoable, they have a website and take mail orders.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Newbie2010 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Newbie2010 (12)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

After enjoying bowls of Bancroft Tower, and wanting more Latakia, I tried Harkness Tower, and it's terrific. I have not had the pleasure of smoking Balkan Sobranie, and most likely never will, but Harkness Tower was a wonderful introduction to Balkan blends. It is medium in strength and full on flavor with a nice lingering, tangy finish. The room note is pleasant, too.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a solid Balkan blend. I was not lucky enough to smoke Balkan Sobranie, so my review stands solely on the merits of this blend. It packs well and makes for a nice everyday English/Balkan. It should be noted though that this was actually blended, and I believe still is, by the Owl Shop in New Haven CT. There is some common history between the two shops, but blender Joe Lentine is the long time owner of New Haven's Owl Shop. I have been told that The Owl shop in Worchester has this as well as others blended by Joe. Either way, they are both fine B&M stores worth supporting.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This blend from the Owl Shop in Worcester, Ma. is a blend that I can smoke all day and everyday. Blended by George Photakis for decades, it is a tasty and smooth English blend that will take you to a realm where latakia and oriental dance the forbiden dance. Its sold on the dry side, which IMO adds to the easy pack, easy lighting of this tobacco. almost no tongue bite, even with excessive puffing. smokes steady to the bottom, where you are greeted by bone white ash, mottled with dark grey specks. Get yerself to Worcester, and seek out this local delight.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Alpedhuez55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alpedhuez55 (4)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This has become my morning smoke. Hardly a day goes by without enjoying a bowl of this. It is made as an alternative to Balkan Sobranie, though I never had that so I cannot compar it.

It is my favorite blend by George Photakis. It is medium flavored with a nutty nice sweetness to it. Like most of the Owl SHop blends, it is packaged dry. I prefer to throw a vaporette in the jar I keep it in to moisten it slightly.

Try the Delated enjoyment technique with this for treat. One morning I started a bowl but did not even make it half way through. A few hours later at Lunchtime I lit it up again and was blown away. Every flavor was just kicked up a bit.

I highly reccomend this blend!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.