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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
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging40gm. and 3½oz. tins, 14oz. pouch
CountryUS
ProductionNo longer in production
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Strength
Extremely Mild, Mild
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Mild, Mild to Medium
Room Note
Very Pleasant, Pleasant
3.5
2 reviews
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Yellowfan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Yellowfan (3)
★★★★
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 (108)
★★★☆
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.