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Iwan Ries


They call it their replacement for Balkan Sobranie, and they hit it pretty close.

BrandIwan Ries
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsBurley, Kentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish
Packaging50g Pouch
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy Iwan Ries
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10 reviews
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piedpiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
piedpiper (26)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Tried this offering from IRC a couple of times. The first experience was as advertised-a substitute for Balkan Sobranie. The second batch wasn't as good. Would give this 2 stars as a rather pedestrian English at a reasonable price.

1 person found this review helpful.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (72)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

I don't know about Balkan Supreme being a replacement for Balkan Sobranie but it's a good blend at an excellent price from Iwan Ries. It has a particularly nice room note, burns extremely well-down to a white ash. In the flavor department, again, it is good but not excellent, not being particularly complex but enjoyable.

1 person found this review helpful.

RoundTwo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RoundTwo (38)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

Smoky, sweet and sour, really good blend, one of the first favorites I found, over time the flavor profile will develop into a Balkan rich in flavor. I have read reviews on here saying that this is very similar to Stokkebye's Balkan Supreme, however, I have not tried them against one another. Iwan Ries does not list burley as an ingredient and I have seen it listed for the Stokkebye's Balkan Supreme before. This tobacco is under-rated on this site as I feel it is somewhere between 2.8-3.1. It is worth a try for you to be the judge.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Iwan Ries

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I really wanted to love this blend and find it to be a nice replacement for the late, lamented Balkan Sobranie. Nope, it didn't do it for me. However, I did appreciate the overall presentation by judging this Balkan blend on its own merits. The leaf was an easy burner, had a little spice and the Virginia component was noticeable but not a true bell ringer with me. I've had far worse Balkan blends and the price for Balkan Supreme can't be beat. It this were a pipe I'd call it an upper end machine made.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

If you are in a pinch and need an English blend this could do it. It is better than most Bulk English . It is Stokebeye's aBalkan Sobranie. I have had better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (102)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I'm one of those deprived souls who never tried the original Balkan Sobranie that stained so many underpants and yellowed so many beards. And yet I feel pretty comfortable saying that this ain't a substitute for that Hall of Famer.

But this is still pretty tasty stuff and I'm glad I discovered it in a forgotten bin full of IRC pouches. If I lived in Chicago...even if I lived on the outskirts of Chicagoland--Napierville, Batavia--I might smoke this Latakia-heavy, faux-Balkan with some regularity. But I don't, and I won't. Still, if you're looking for a fullish English with an easy-to-like style, good smoking characteristics and a modest price, I think that you might enjoy this.

Trouble is, there are waaaaay too many similar but more characterful tobaccos on the market.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

herfinmickey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
herfinmickey (5)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I made my pilgrimage to Iwan Ries. The helpful and friendly clerk recommended their Balkan blend to me along with a few other blends. Unfortunately I simply did not enjoy this blend very much. It has lots of Latakia but seemingly not much else to offer or perhaps the heavy handed Latakia obscures anything else. It came out a bit arid from the "Perma-Moist tobacco pouch". This dryness may have led to its fast burning characteristic. There are perceivable differences in Latakias. It could be that the one chosen for this blend does not meet my preferences. The flavor of IRC Balkan Supreme is of a kind of strong but bland,dull smokiness with very little sweetness, spiciness or other flavors. I would not say this is an awful tobacco, it would be OK if there was nothing else to smoke but there are so many other tastier options out there. However I will give it another go in the near future.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LostInDaJungle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LostInDaJungle (13)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

Pretty run of the mill Balkan. Sweeter than what I usually prefer my Balkans to be at first light, but it settles down mid bowl and does the trick. I generally prefer my Balkan blends to have just a bit of the earthy/dirt flavor to them which this lacked. Looks gorgeous in the bag, well cut, right moisture. Broke in a new Nordling with this and it smoked well.

I wouldn't turn down a bowl of this, but I wouldn't special order it either. For my tastes, the Gawith Balkan hits the notes I prefer, and is also cheap as sin. If you're looking for a slightly smoother sweeter Balkan, this might be right up your alley.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wolfpaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wolfpaw (37)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I'm a Balkan fan, and the very reasonable price of Iwan Ries Balkan Supreme made it irresistable to try some out. Like so many veteran pipe-smokers, I used to enjoy the original Balkan Sobranie back in the "old days," so the comparison to that venerable old blend was added incentive to order some of this from Iwan Ries. I wasn't disappointed; though it isn't exactly how I remember Sobranie, it is still a very pleasing Balkan blend. A comparison to the contemporary Balkan Saseini is apt; they are indeed very similar-- though I wouldn't go so far as to say they're one and the same, I couldn't state positively that they're not. Latakia is at the fore here, giving Balkan Supreme a rich, semi-sweet smokiness. The Oriental leaf adds a second level of spicy, smoky flavor. I don't particularly notice the Burley or Kentucky in Balkan Supreme; they remain well in the background. Pouch aroma is enticingly smoky, with hints of leather and autumn leaves-- typical of most Balkans. Room note is typically Balkan too; I like it, but it won't earn any points from non-smokers. The silver pouch does a great job of keeping the tobacco at a near-perfect moisture level. The tobacco is good quality, packs and lights well, but occasional relights are usually called for. For the Balkan fancier, Iwan Ries is offering a genuine bargain here. If you've always wanted to try a Balkan mixture, this is a good chance to do so without having to invest a lot of money. Definitely one I'll keep in my rotation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Eric Cioe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eric Cioe (37)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I'm a Balkan lover. I went into Iwan Ries one day and saw this, and figured for the price, I may as well pick it up.

I wasn't disappointed, but not surprised either. To me, this tastes quite similar to Balkan Saseini, which I don't think is particularly good either. The price is right, but the ratio of orientals (not enough) to latakia (too much) is not quite right.

That said, if I had a few bucks to spend on a Balkan, and IR was out of all of the Pease blends, I wouldn't complain too much about this. It isn't bad, but just not really a standout. Somewhat recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.