Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader

Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader pipe tobacco epitomises the traditional English tobacco. Blended dark and bright Virginias, together with Latakia and Turkish leaf results in a perfect, medium bodied product which gives a rich and slow burning smoke.


Brand Samuel Gawith
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.38 / 4





Please login to post a review.
Displaying 11 - 20 of 543 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 11, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Squadron Leader is a mild, medium body english smoke. Similar to Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe but with Gawith's strong, bold, earthy virginias. This blend has the three flavors I love in tobaccos. Sweetness, Spiciness and Earthiness. This ones a grand slam blend for me. I've learned rather quickly that Samuel Gawith makes some of the boldest, strongest dark virginias out there. They add such a beautiful level of depth and flavor to this blend. Samuel Gawith is a legendary blender for a reason. Quality old fashioned blends for pipe smokers with a taste for tradition and class.
18 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Samuel Gawith- Squadron Leader:

Squadron Leader is a creamy, smooth, light English with excellent flavor. The Latakia is in perfect measure and does not overpower the gently sweet Virginia, and the light Orientals. This tobacco is easily an all-day smoke in any size pipe. As mentioned earlier, this tobacco is one of the "smoothest" English Blends I have ever enjoyed. Perfect from start to finish; never boring.
Pipe Used: Boswell freehand
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes
Age When Smoked: New tin
14 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 16, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Full Strong
The smell immediately after opening the tin is of very very sweet Virginias and very fine smoked Latakia and Orientals. A mix of Pot Pourri and smoked charcuterie I would dare say.

The wetness of the SG flakes is infamous. However, their ribbon cut tobaccos are of ideal moist and can be smoked directly from the tin.

The smoke is very very balanced, between the Va, Or, and Latakia. I can distinctly taste the high quality sweetness of the Virginias with the spiciness of the Orientals and Latakia. This blend is ideal for the people who want to introduce themselves to English blends, and they will surely know whether they will like English type blends or not. However, I am thinking for the people who like Latakia a lot, they should go for another blend having a higher proportion of it, as Squadron Leader has just the right amount of it. Anyway, I am sure this blend needs no further evaluations, as it is a quintessential English blend widely available worldwide.

Room note wise, the roomie was not very impressed with the smell, but I love it and seriously could not care less.
Pipe Used: Darwin Deluxe
PurchasedFrom: Le Maryland Shop, Lyon, France
Age When Smoked: A few months old
13 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 15, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This was a very pleasant smoke. It is Virginia-forward with grassy and slightly sweet notes. There is enough latakia to taste without overpowering the other flavors. You can distinguish the orientals and that solid Virginia foundation is always there. if you are curious about English blends and don't want anything too extreme, this is a good one to try.

This tobacco was a gift from a friend, and so I am uncertain about age, bulk-vs-tin, etc.
Pipe Used: various briars
13 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 21, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I think I need to preface all my reviews with "I have no idea what I'm talking about -- I just know what I like." I started smoking a pipe about a year ago and have been concentrating mostly on Virginias and mostly Virginia flakes. Early on I tried a tin of Three Nuns and Dunhill Nightcap and didn't find them to my liking. But recently I thought that maybe I should gently wade back into English blends that are just a bit more challenging than what I've been smoking, but none that are too strong or have too much latakia in them. Well, if that describes you at all, I think you should try this. I feel like I've hit paydirt with this one!

The smell when you open the tin is just heavenly. Someone in some other review here said there's no tin note to speak of. Whaaaaat? I shove my nose in the tin each time I open it and just inhale for a couple of minutes before packing my pipe. Sometimes I open the tin and sniff away even when I'm not going to smoke a bowl! And the flavour, once you do smoke it, is subtle, though ... I think anyway ... fairly complex. Flavours come and go as you progress through the bowl. It's like a chorus after the single note of Virginias. I don't really have the vocabulary yet to describe those flavours but suffice it to say that there's nothing here which is overly challenging though it's certainly a lot ... earthier? ... than my main go to tobaccos like Dunhill Flake. This one is going to be a new regular smoke for me. And the name and retro tin design don't hurt either. How can you go wrong with a pipe tobacco called "Squadron Leader"?!
Pipe Used: a variety of straight billiards
Age When Smoked: fresh
12 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 08, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
The first half of the bowl was quite nice. The Orientals took the lead and provided a sour, spicy flavor that I find desirable. The Virginias provided a proper amount of sweetness. The Latakia was a bit lacking for my taste, but I was enjoying this blend regardless. Then I hit the second half of the bowl and something went horribly wrong. The smoke became a bit acrid and the spice pretty much disappeared. It began leaving a musty, stale aftertaste in my mouth. It got so bad I had to dump the bowl. I waited a full day and tried again. Same results. Bad tin? I don't know, but at the price they charge for this I expect better. I'll stick with Engine 99 at half the price.
Pipe Used: MM General
Age When Smoked: Fresh???
12 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 30, 2004 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
I don't quite get all the fuss about this traditional english blend. I ordered 50g bulk, and I was rather unimpressed: the aroma of the unburnt tobacco is, as someone else said, rather soft. In comparison to other blends of this kind, the strong Latakia smell one should expect is almost absent: and indeed the long ribbons that make up the blend contain a fairly small amount of dark leaf. It burns great, maybe a bit wet, but very even, leaving very little dottle in the light grey ash. However, the main disappointment comes from the rather bland taste: it is a medium english mixture, sweet and licoricey, but without the punch and fullness that I prefer. It shows some nice variations at each different puff, and actually gets tastier after the middle of the bowl. As expected, the Latakia presence is always very subtle. I found some similarities between this and Crown Achievement. Ultimately pleasant, but there are several better blends out there that I find more satisfying. Can't beat the convenience of buying this in bulk, though!

UPDATE: I tried the tin version of this tobacco, too. Well, it costs more, but the extra cost is certainly worth paying for. In the tin, Squadron Leader is a good medium EM, not as tasty as some of my favorites, but a very nice all-day smoke. The Latakia/Turkish taste is much more evident, and the sweet Virginia base has a nice flavor which is different from that of the Dunhill tobaccos: a well balanced blend. It has some similarities to Dunhill's EMP, probably a little tastier, especially if smoked slowly. Very gentle on the tongue, too. Buy the tinned one if you like English tobaccos!

2012 UPDATE: I keep returning to this tobacco once in a while, and it's always a solid choice! Recently I have fallen in love with Skiff Mixture by Samuel Gawith, and I can say that while both are very traditional medium English mixtures, the character is subtly different. Skiff is sweeter, while Squadron Leader tends to be spicier and drier (both in taste and moisture content). Squadron Leader seems to have a different kind of Latakia, and at times it almost seems of the Syrian variety (while Skiff is declaredly Cyprian). And it seems slightly stronger in nicotine than Skiff. I tend to prefer Skiff a little bit because of its rich creamy complexity, but I think that all lovers of English blends should seriously try both.

2020 UPDATE: This time, after many years, from a 250g bulk bag. Still a love-hate relationship with this tobacco. It definitely has to be dried out a bit, and it still is a bit too light in Latakia for me. The Virginias are great (a bit bitey, though, as many bright VAs are), the Orientals are fine, but overall this a bit too on the mild side for me. I like it, it has quality, but it always fail to WOW me. Especially in the bulk version. After many years, I can definitely say that I like Skiff much better: spicier, more Orientals, more fragrance, richer flavour, more complexity. Squadron Leader tends to be a mostly Virginia-centered affair.

Final considerations after MANY years: when you get a good tin, age it a bit and dry it out, it's a 3 stars blend. When you get a weak tin, or the bulk version, or you smoke it too wet, it's only 2 stars. It's a good blend, but Skiff is much more consistent in its behaviour/batch variation, and much gentler on my palate while equally flavorful.
12 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 06, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Squadron Leader leads with light, grassy sweet virginias, supported by woody (and slightly buttery) orientals, and there's just a whisper of latakia that makes this an elegant morning or all day English blend. This blend is just so very well balanced with quality leaf, and, I emphasize, elegant. Squadron Leader is a permanent staple of my regular rotation, and I can find no fault with it. 4 stars.
Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman
Age When Smoked: 6 months
10 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 05, 2017 Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
A very pleasant and light English blend. Upon opening the tin you will get a good grassy earth aroma with floral notes and just a hint of the smokey Latakia smell and excellent ribbons of tobacco. It is light on Latakia, and certainly does not have a great deal of oriental in it as there is no punch to it, but rather than being Virginia heavy in taste it does well to be a balanced blend in which you can taste all that is in it. It has a smooth retrohale which I find kind of sweet, normal with some English and in this case complimented well by the very small hint of "Lakeland essence" it contains.

To summarise its a very unoffensive blend that offers everything an English should.
Pipe Used: Peterson Kapet, Chacom Little, homemade pipes
Age When Smoked: New
10 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 11, 2016 Medium to Strong Medium Medium Tolerable
I bought my first tin of this back in 2013. Was watching this like a hawk till it was restocked probably for the 100th time. I was still fairly new to pipe smoking, so i truely didnt know what i had till today!!!

I think i had 2-3 bowls of this at absolute most when it first came in. It really didnt do anything for me. It wasn't horrible. Just......didnt care to smoke it.

I remeber cracking the tin, and seeing light and dark golden colors with some black strings in there. Well. Is that what an "english" tobacco looked like? NO WAY!!! It should be dark, dark, dark and smell terrible!!! Right?!?! Any way. This smoke didnt wow me.

Jump forward to today.

This tobacco has been on my mind for months now. And yet i still over look it.

I almost didnt recognize this tobacco. The leafhas completely changed color!! Its now a rich, chocolate brown, with even deeper blacks in the mix. Luckly it was labeled.

Opening that jar was amazing. The aroma is the most wonderful, tangy, zesty spice i have ever smelt. But its so smooth it doesnt burn your nose. It has almost a creamy texture to it. Lighting this was great. The aroma that came off the smoke was perfect. Smooth and spicy. Just how i like it!

Did i accidently grab some Dunhill 965?!?!?!?! Nope. Its Squadon Leader!!!

The profile has changed so incredibly much in 3 years, im shocked!!!!

It resembles 965, but less spicy, and a little less body. NOT IN A BAD WAY AT ALL!!! Dont take that the wrong way. This stuff is great. Period. But the characterists mock 965 now in just the slightest suggestion. Think.........mellow.

SL stays true the entire bowl. No added strength if pushed. No crazy head spins. Just pure soft spicy with added sweetness. Man. am i glad i still have some of this. I think its time to snag some more tins and let them rest for 3 years.

I can only imagine how more age will improve this blend.
Pipe Used: OMS Billiard
PurchasedFrom: P&C
Age When Smoked: 3yrs
10 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.