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An exquisite combination of premium Balkan Oriental and Balkan Virginia sun-cured tobaccos, exceptional Yenice (Yenidje) and Basma tobaccos, and the finest Virginia flue-cured tobaccos. A smooth tasting pipe blend with a flavorful and characteristic oriental finish. Enjoy a perfect balance of exotic and familiar smoking sensations. Exceptional Quality, Out of the Ordinary Tobaccos.

Notes: Mark Ryan reports that this blend is now discontinued, but will soon be reintroduced in a slightly different form.

BrandD & R Tobacco
Blended ByMark Ryan
Blend TypeOriental
ContentsOriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging40gm. and 3½oz. tins, 14oz. pouch
ProductionNo longer in production
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Extremely Mild, Very Mild, Mild, Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
8 reviews
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TurkishLover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TurkishLover (2)
Very Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

After my initial disappointment with Ramback Regular being unable to stay lit no matter how dry I got it, I decided to give D&R another chance. Got this blend in a 2oz bulk sampler bag from Pipes and Cigars. First thing I noticed was it was bone dry. I put a water pillow in the bag with it so that it will rehydrate the blend to a proper humidity. I loaded this into a paper pipe (lol) straight up, mixed with no other blends. The Oriental Virginia's are the most upfront in both the bag smell as well as the initial taste of the blend. They are bright and lemony but not strong at all. There are a wonderful amalgam of flavors when retrohaling / exhaling from the nose. The lemony brightness fades to the background but is still apparent and the exotic spice flavors of all the different Orientals come into play. I can for certain pick out both Izmir and Basma varieties of leaf as well as the Balkan region Virginia. The smoke that it produces gives almost no lung hit should you wish to inhale, it is the lightest of the light. The room note is very pleasant to my nose. It is a very nice and mellow smell with an exotic spice that even my anti tobacco friends say is pleasant and noticeably different. Overall I enjoy Ramback Balkan immensely but it needs to be blended with something stronger for maximum smoking enjoyment.

Pipe Used: Vera Cruz Elegante Paper Pipe

Age When Smoked: 25

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

Similar Blends: D & R Tobacco - Ramback Gold (Ramback), D & R Tobacco - Ramback Regular (Ramback), Cornell & Diehl - Izmir Turkish, Peter Stokkebye - Turkish Export (No.84), Robert McConnell - Turkish Izmir.

1 person found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (688)
Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild Tolerable

4th and final gifted sample of about an ounce. Light brown in color and I suppose I'd call it a ribbon cut but with all the stems and weird shaped chunks in there, it was hard to tell. I'd call it a cut so ugly, it makes C&D look good. Came dry as a bone, but no problem there! Nice, rich oriental bag aroma.

Musky incense flavor that was very light but very noticeable. I did not catch any actual Virginia sweetness or tang in the flavor - this seemed all oriental to me. That was not an issue except this showed me that an all-oriental blend is not really my thing. The flavor was wispy and nicotine addicts should definitely look elsewhere. It struck me as a condimental blend being asked to do too much on its own. No complexity whatsoever. I did some small experiments with blending but didn't have enough of this on hand to really do much. But this strikes me as something I might like to play with further - just wish it didn't have all those stems and odd chunks. Worth a shot to get a good feel for what orientals taste like and what they bring to a blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (424)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I never knew that tobacco could get this dry. This is just downright funky. Tastes pretty good though. Some really nice Oriental flavors with a bit of sweetness. Not much else. This may have been a solid 3 star blend at one time, but not in the condition it's in. Maybe that's why it's offered to us dirt cheap.

Mild to medium in body and flavor. Burns cooler than I would have thought.

Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, MM Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: fresh??? bulk

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Yellowfan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Yellowfan (5)
Extremely Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Oriental tobaccos are a weird breed of blends. Usually they are introduced into a blend to add complexity and balance out various blend components. Ramback Balkan is a blend where almost the entire blend is orientals from the Balkan region.

I highly recommend this blend for 3 reasons:

1. If you are learning about how various oriental tobaccos taste, this blend is fantastic. All the orientals are present and discernible, so the Yenice, Basma, and Balkan Virginias are great.

2. The flavor is very light, in fact so light you might miss it. You need a pipe designated to orientals. Spend some time with this blend. Particularly notice how the flavor and the smell interact beautifully. The "room note" is bright and citrusy, almost crispy with a note of damp woods. The flavor changes as you smoke it but it's complex flavor is best described as what the woods smell like early in the morning, in the fall, after a light dew or rain.

3. Because this blend comes more dry than most tobaccos, I've found that if you moisten it before smoking it you will enjoy the extra moisture. I've actually discovered that the extra moisture brings out more of the flavor and leaves behind less of the bite.

If you can still find this I tobacco, please buy some and try it out!

Pipe Used: Sasieni Mayfair Bulldog

Age When Smoked: 32

Purchased From: Indian River Tobacco Traders

1 person found this review helpful.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Hmmm... a synonym for pipe is “tube”. Tubes made of thin paper could be considered pipes, I suppose. OK then, this is pipe tobacco, likely to be sold near bags of other pipe tobacco, on racks above boxes of empty paper pipes. That style of pipe frequently is scented with menthol and is intended for one use only. As long as they are referred to as pipes when filled with pipe tobacco such as this, with special pipe filling machines, the foaming-mouth regulations and taxes for c**ettes don't apply, at least until politicians get fed up with this silly name game and do away with exemptions intended (fairly or unfairly) for bowl pipe tobacco once and for all. Then it's cellar time.

Yes, Ramback is a roll your own (actually stuff your own if a pipe filling machine is used) product. In all fairness, D&R refers to it as “dual purpose” tobacco, and I believe they are being honest in doing so. One can and should try this in a pipe.

Appearance: as far as I can tell, the only readily discernible difference between this and conventional bowl tobacco is the cut. It is wider and shorter than shag, what some call bugler cut, likely named after another dual purpose tobacco of considerable history. In the standard cello rack-hung bag, it is bunny soft, moderately moist (potting soil), raisin scented (no, not bunny raisins) and fun to bury your fingers in. It is an unremarkable mix of light to medium browns. Many people believe Balkan tobacco should contain latakia (I'll refer the gentle reader to other sources for that tempest-in-a-bowl), but there is none in this mixture. Some think turkish tobacco smells, well, farm-like. This doesn't. It smells like products sold in paper pipes that shall not be named. I like it.

Taste: my first impression was paper pipes. Specifically Ramses brand, possibly Camel. Once 25% in, it becomes more briar pipe-like. Unfortunately, it tends to be monochromatic and never quite achieves notability. There is little to no sweetness, nor any ashy taste. I had hoped for fragrant, cedary, aromatic notes, but the few that are there don't provide what I sought. I am a fan of McClelland Blending Oriental, q.v., but this isn't it. If you're looking for a cheap version of what most of us call a balkan blend, this isn't it either. At mid-bowl to the bottom, it is at its (limited) best, and most enjoyed inhaled through the nose when it leaves the mouth. Room note is at its best at this point. I mention this because this blend seems unique in that room note improves as the bowl progresses.

Pros: it remains mild and bite free. Unlike many finely cut tobaccos, it is forgiving of loading density and does not burn hot. I've smoked it in large and tiny bowls with similar results. There are no humectants, no flavorings, just simple tobacco taste. It is economical in 14 oz. bags.

Cons: too simple. Many would consider its low nicotine a con.

For a RYO bulk, it's probably far better than most, though admittedly, I've not tried many others. It deserves to be called a dual purpose product. I recommend this as a blender. I like it mixed with Mac Baren Virginia No. 1 and with Skandanavik Regular.

Update: I'm adding a star. This improves in a deep bowl and is becoming my go to summer smoke. Really nice mild blend.

Pipe Used: clay, small and large bowl briar, cob

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (78)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

What can I say? I wanted to like this tobacco blend. Wanted it to show case the orientals but alas, it fails on all levels. I cannot recommend it. It should be marketed as an oriental not a Balkan, although there is no law that states a Balkan must have lat. I think lat. would help this one here but it is not in this blend. So for what it is worth. As an oriental it also falls well short. I can pick out the Basam and Samsun? I did not find the Yenidge in it at all. I also doubt that unless one had experience with these varieties that they could be found. If one were looking for a showcase blend I would point you to McClelland's orientals. Nothing here is worth returning for a second sample. One review below noted that it would be a good RYO, and I would agree with that but I have not traveled that road in more than 2 decades now and have no desire to return to it.

Age When Smoked: 2 months

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (85)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

What was noticeable about this blend, especially in contrast to regular Ramback is how well balanced this blend is. I have to credit it to the addition of those balkan virginias that round out the turkish/oriental tobaccos. I also found there is somewhat of an appreciable nicotine level beyond but closer to mild than medium so, there is some satisfaction in that department which straight turkish usually lacks. The flavor and aroma is mild with a woody-sweet character punctuated by stronger turkish character from time to time. It doesn't quite bite but there can be a little warmth to the smoke aside from the basic blend components may be do to it's total lack of moisture/casing. Very pleased with this and probably will buy it in larger quantities. Connoisseurs of turkish leaf sans latakia need to try this excellent straight blend.

Pipe Used: Corncob

Age When Smoked: New

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bassrep Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bassrep (25)
Extremely Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

"Exquisite"? I don't think so. I'm not even gonna fill a pipe with this. It was "crunchy" right out of bag in the newly delivered box from P&C. I mean crunchy like Wheaties crunchy. Hardly any tin note at all. I'm going to see if I can return it. Maybe it's RYO Cigarette tobacco? Pay no attention to my other comments, I just filled in the blanks with anything just to complete the review.

Pipe Used: None

Age When Smoked: New in bag

Purchased From: P&C

Similar Blends: Ramback Gold.

Nobody has rated this review yet.