|This is a superb premium blend, a masterpiece. But not for everyone.
In the bag (bulk only) it is a lovely colorful mix of light brown, yellow and some dark red turkish shreds, black latakia and some medium brown virginia. The texture of the turkish is thin, supple and elastic. It feels almost alive in your hands, like velvet when touched. The moisture content is perfect and the mix does not stick to your hands.
The aroma is sweet and spicy oriental with a hint ( NOT a high percentage) of smoky latakia. The turkish are front and center, I would guess some mild sweet Basma, strong sweet Ismar and spicy Samsun, the other I cannot identify. The latakia has a subtle mild smoky aroma, not strong (think Commonwealth) and blends perfectly with the turkish. The virgina is part of the set, not an actor and adds little fragrance to the mix. This is the sweet spicy mouthwatering aroma of top grade turkish, an aroma that cannot be created artificially. It is blends of this character that make pipe smoking a party of the senses.
Balkan I packs easily, it is springy and supple, lights and burns with few relights. It it of mild flavor. But what an astounding range of flavors. The virginia is smooth as silk, liquid in subtle flavor, restrained and mild. The latakia adds a refreshing hint of subtle smokeiness. But the taste is about the turkish, the shreds are big enough to burn one at a time with waves of flavor washing over your palate. The overall taste is smooth, no rough edges, no one flavor dominating but the turkish flavors changing and mixing as the different shreds burn. Exotic and elusive, like a lover you once chased but never caught.
This is a blend to savor, to set aside a special time to enjoy. If you are in a rush it will slow you down, if doing something else it will arrest your attention. If you are angry it will make you smile. If you are happy you will want to share it with the world. The blend is fanciful, a beautiful memory of all the best times.
The side stream is one you will chase around the room. It may be dangerous to ex cigarette smokers, they may want to inhale it. A lovely medium body bite free treat. Aftertaste is slight tobacco bitterness, easy on the tongue with no bite. Tasty.
Since this is only the second review, some comparisons are in order: Balkan I -
Makes Frog Morton on the Town seem harsh bitter strong and crude.
Is similar to Skiff in smooth suppleness with a perfect blending of premium virginia, with a bit less strength of N and flavor.
If you enjoy Count Pulaski you will find this familar but lighter.
Is not sharp like a bulk Stokkeby blend and does not bite.
Tastes better than any artificially flavored aromatic.
Is not a McClelland virginia showpiece like Anniversary
Is not a Nic powerhouse, but is satisfying.
Is milder in flavor and strength than Balkan Sasieni.