Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader

(3.37)
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.

Details

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

Profile

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

Average Rating

3.37 / 4
290

176

65

11

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 65 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2013 Medium None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
this is famous, is a Legendary blend, but for me,in it, neither is cleary distinguished:

Latakia, Orientals, Virginia? Complex? Not Complex, exactly, but... Tasteless.

is clearly below, inferior, to many other English Mixtures an Balkans, less good that 965, Standard Medium, Balkan Supreme, Britts's Balkan, Chipman Hill, Merde de Cheval etc... etc... Very frar from the favorites...
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 22, 2016 Extremely Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This was supposed to be the quintessential English blend. It wasn't, for me. It's a great tobacco, but my personal archetype of the genre is something different.

I bought the 250-gram pack, so I can't speak to the moisture or quality of the tins, and it's possible I don't know what I'm missing in the tins. What I got, though, was perfectly smokable with a little drying time. I should note that pretty soon after I got this tobacco, I transferred it to a canister with an ingenious lid that, pushed down in the manner of a French press, removes much of the air inside. It's not a vacuum seal, but it's fairly effective. Again, I have no basis to compare this storage method to others, but I've noticed that the tobacco is staying fairly close to its original moisture. Which, again, is a little too moist for smoking. I find it dries out fairly quickly once I remove it from the canister, so no matter. Canister note is a little more subdued than it was in the original package. I get three distinct aromas from the three constituent tobaccos: smoky latakia, sweet coffee with milk from the Virginias, and pine resin from the orientals. It's not an aroma that smacks you in the face; I had to really shove my face in there and sniff hard. It's a really good smell, though. The pine and smoke scents strongly evoke camping memories for me, and this tobacco would unquestionably be my choice for that kind of trip.

Squadron Leader comes as a very fine ribbon cut, with a few twiggy bits and some long stringy bits. The twigs aren't enough to be a hassle removing, but they're there. It's all kind of a mossy consistency. With the fineness of the cut, I like packing this with the palm-roll method, with a good firm tamp prior to the first light to settle the tobacco in the bowl.

Here's why I don't count this as my standard English: the orientals are too strong. It's a steady crescendo of piney, incense-y spiciness. I wouldn't call it an oriental blend, but my archetypal "English" blend is far more balanced by latakia and Virginias. Not that both of those components are undetectable or even unpleasant in this blend; to the contrary, they are delicious. Sweet caramel and cafe au lait tones from the Virginia, smoke and incense from the latakia; but, to my palate, they play second fiddle to the sharp piney, briny orientals. I went through a phase where I chased orientals in my blends: I've yet to smoke a full-on oriental blend, but I'd concentrate on the oriental component in the various Englishes I've tried. A less oriental-heavy blend makes this a very rewarding experience- Nightcap, Frog Morton Across the Pond, even Balkan Sasieni (weird that in a balkan blend, I get less orientals than in this English). Nightcap's cedar notes, FMATP's musty hardwood, Sasieni's fragrant cumin— all are interwoven with the other tobaccos in their respective blends so that there's a structure, a narrative to the smoke; flavors progress and change and meld and vary intensities. Squadron Leader's orientals are a little too loud for me. They build and build to a sharp astringency that seems overbearing to me. I wish there was more Virginia sweetening out that piney tang. I do like the flavor of oriental, and it's been an interesting change of pace not to have to chase it like I do with other blends. But here's the thing: I enjoy that chase. It keeps the smoke from being more than a background activity, an event in itself. Squadron Leader is very predictable to me: those orientals are going to intensify and intensify. By the time the bowl's done, I'm a bit tired of smoking it. It's too one-note.

I don't know if I've been smoking long enough now to have moved out of the category of "nicotine lightweight", but I got nothing in that way out of this blend. Sometimes I want a little buzz. Not going to get it here.

I tried this in 2 different pipes: an old Capitol bruyere billiard and a custom-made Joe Case devil anse. I prefer it in the billiard, as the stubbiness of the devil anse made it smoke a little hot. This isn't a hot blend though. The orientals were also a very little more subdued in the billiard, which means that's the pipe I'll be smoking the rest of this stuff in. That old Capitol seems to dampen, in the best way, the oriental tang of any English I've smoked in it (mostly Nightcap up till now) and bring out the dark, smokey, wet-leaves-and-campfires flavor of latakia. That, personally, is how I like my Englishes: the orientals playing a secondary or even tertiary role to Virginias and latakia.

I don't regret buying this at all, even in the large quantity that I did. I will smoke the rest of it, and I won't regret it. But, it will take me some time. I just don't care for the overall flavor enough to smoke it as often as all that. I haven't tried my hand at blending, but I might get some straight Virginia to try and sweeten this up. On its own, it's a perfectly decent English. Not my definitive English, not my favorite English, but a good one nonetheless.
Pipe Used: Capitol billiard, Joe Case custom devil anse
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 26, 2014 Medium to Strong Very Mild Very Full Tolerable
This was one of the first English blends I tried. I had great expectations based on the reviews and stars awarded, and the tin art is just super. The expectation mounted as the tin was opened and the tin aroma was that typical and very earthy "english" smell that I was just beginning to recognize and like. I was getting used to Early Morning Pipe and Frog Morton Cellar and was expecting more of the same. SQL lit well and the smoke started off ok for the first puff or two but what happened next was not expected - it turned out that I thought I had ordered the Biryani but got the Vindaloo instead. The peppery spice kicked in really heavily around puff no. 3 and was such a definite sensation and so unexpected that I really thought my daughter (who was 3 at the time) had got hold of the pepper shaker and emptied it in my pipe. I didn't like the experience but got on line, found out that it was a feature of SQL and one that peole liked. I tried a few more times and gradually started to get used to it a bit. But still didn't like it that much. However, The tobacco dried rapidly and within a few months the quality of the smoke had really deteriorated, become very hot and steamy to the mouth, and so I gave up without ever fully becoming acquainted with this standard bearer for the "English" style. I will try again but will have a corn cob at the ready when i do because it really ghosted my pipe.
Pipe Used: Barber B Line B3
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New to 3 months
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 31, 2020 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Yep, it's a middle english. But that's playing in a crowded field, so I'm looking for SOMETHING to distinguish this smoke from the myriad other middle english mixtures. And I can't find it. No notable virginia sweetness, no unique oriental note, latakia right up the middle (which isn't a criticism, but not notable). The tobacco appears to be of high quality and smokes well enough, and the balance isn't bad.

But there are infinitely more interesting options that are cheaper and more readily available. There's nothing WRONG with this smoke, but there's nothing hugely RIGHT either. If it was cheap and easy to get, I'd go three stars. Since it's not either, I'll go two.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 22, 2015 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Most things said about this mixture is true.It well deserves four of anyone's stars.It is complex and satisfying. The blend itself is pure genius, but,alas, I get the dreaded bite.Am I doing something wrong..I let it dry out just a tad.I tried different pipes.I want to like it,but how do you like a dog that nips you on the ankles. Well, I have a fair stash off it and will plod on. Maybe needs more ageing. I am smoking this now, after dinner and that severe bite seems to have been somewhat tamed.I think it's all down to palate chemistry. Boy, is this good ! Less bite, just a smooth, complex smoke. Judge not that he be judged ! Thinking of going to 3 stars
will try tomorrow.I just know this is a great baccy, it just has to prove itself..... Bite is the only issue.Squdron leader is a great name for a tobacco.Why? Well,you must watch the movie,reach for the skies,about Douglas Bader and his great heroism as a pilot in WW2. At that time ,they all smoked a pipe.It was the pinnacle of pipe appreciation ,alas,lost,in the present day. Whilst blowing up Nazi targets,they would still have a pipe in their gobs. You had wing commanders ,air chief marshals, squadron leaders.What great fun to suck on a pipe whilst exterminating the evil Nazi regime
Pipe Used: Dunhill
PurchasedFrom: Gq
Age When Smoked: New
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 23, 2020 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Sam Gawiths contribution to the light English style, the charmingly named Squadron Leader is pleasant but not exciting.

The mixture of black through to to tan leaf is uneven and varied in its cut, and somewhat moist in the tin. As noted below, the tin aroma is very mild even when breaking the seal, and soon gone. This is a shame as I enjoy the smokey incense aroma of a good English Mixture as part of the pipe "foreplay".

It is easy to light and smokes cool, with gentle smokiness and just a hint of spice from the Turkish. The flavour is more full than Dunhill Early Morning Pipe, mostly from the excellent Virginia leaf: the Latakia and Turkish seem thinly applied to a thick slice of nice granary toast. It's got adequate nicotine, doesn't bite and doesn't leave much dottle.

Personally I prefer more spice and punch in my Mixtures, not necessarily Latakia but I do expect a bit more from the Turkish. This is more reminiscent of Dunhills Baby's Bottom: Virginia with a hint of the exotic, although this is just a bit less vanishingly mild.
Pipe Used: Northern Briars Bulldog, various Meers
Age When Smoked: 1 year
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 23, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This is really as essential English as you can get. All the flavors are well balanced with maybe an ever so slight nod to the latakia in the mixture. It is incredibly wet straight from the tin, so its best to let it air out a bit before lighting. Even then I have a bit of trouble keeping it lit. For me it demands a bit more attention than I would like to give a middle of the road English blend. Good flavor, but a bit moody for me.

I like the blend but it is so difficult to find in any great quantity that I have all but given up keeping this stuff around. With so many great English blends out there, it shouldn't be too big of a loss. I would say that everyone should at least give this iconic blend a go, but it might not "wow" like some other English Blends on the market.
Pipe Used: Cob and Handmade Billiard
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: 1 year
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
What is the fascination with this blend?...At best, a rather mundane English blend...There are others out there which are better, more complex, and certainly less expensive...Don't get me wrong...It's not a bad little blend...Just not worth all the hoopla that's made of it...Pleasant enough to serve as an all day smoke but, nothing to write home about
Pipe Used: various for testing
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Newly bought
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 20, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
I am a smoker of English/Scottish/Balkan mixtures. Aromatics don't float my boat at all and neither do Virginia predominant blends. Coming back to pipe smoking after a long hiatus, I'm looking for two or three tobaccos that can be my entire cellar on their own and do not suffer from availability problems. I realise that I make myself a hostage to fortune by typing that. I have used these review pages as a very helpful guide and have so far trialled EMP, MM965, Old Dublin, GH Balkan Mixture, Black Mallory and now Squadron Leader. I have some Tree Mixture on order. At the moment Old Dublin is the clear leader. There is nothing wrong with Squadron Leader, properly aired it smokes well and consistently, but it lacks the stand out character that enables one to identify MM965 and Old Dublin in a crowd. I'm afraid Squadron Leader just fades in to the background by comparison as one of a number of so so English blends. I was hoping that one of the SG or GH products would make it, for patriotic and environmental reasons as I live in England but it looks like it is not to be.
Pipe Used: Adsorba Italian briar with 9mm filter
PurchasedFrom: Barbers of Harrogate
Age When Smoked: New but aired
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 02, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Strong
Talking about Squadron Leader through the appreciation to the classics is understandable. It’s not that chummy kind of tobacco, rather reminds of an embittered oldie, like a dull priest wandering in a small 19th century village.

The taste only in beginning is somehow fresh and flowery but just after minute its going down to be strawy and dry. Latakia is significant but obvious. Because of the dryness it seems quite strong and probably good to smoke from time to time at the autumn stroll, but to me just boring, exhausting experience
Pipe Used: stanwell 83 rustic
3 people found this review helpful.
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