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This traditional mixture of rich Virginia, latakia and rare yenidje tobaccos is Sobranie's oldest blend and offers a mild yet rich taste. A cool and long-lasting smoke.

Notes: Produced by Gallaher until 2005.

BrandSobranie of London
Manufactured ByGallaher
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging50g Pouch, 100g Tin, 200g Tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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None Detected
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Favorite Of 1 Users

26 reviews
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beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (102)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

I never smoked this tobacco in the 70s, because I was a child. I also didn't smoke it in the 80s because back then I smoked cigarettes and the occasional cigar. By the time I arrived at the pipe in the mid 90s, 759 was already the stuff of memory. But a few months back, I was lucky enough to smoke a couple bowls of this fine mixture at the local pipe club—a 70s era tin, freshly opened—and to receive a couple more bowls for the road. I'm smoking the last of the batch now.

A handful of bowls isn't much to go on, but I suppose my experience is at least uncolored by memory or memory's evil angel, nostalgia. It's also based on a single iteration of a blend that I gather expressed itself in several different ways across the decades. The maturity of this tin also makes the tobacco dance away from its original flavors. Awww, heck. I suppose this is a review of nothing more than the bowl I'm currently smoking and which inspired this little missive.

This is a lovely blend, full of subtle flavors of forest fire after the rain, autumn leaves, gingerbread, and the accumulated dust of an old attic filled with clothes. It's mostly a dark mixture, cut in a fine ribbon. And it smokes sweetly and evenly, largely the result of the mature Virginias that provide an exceptional base. The Latakia sits a little behind the sweetness as though a reminder that the future of all things is in a cleansing fire.

I feel for those faithful smokers who lost this fine-haired brunette and even today feel bereft. But I'll also admit that I think there are several tobaccos out there today that are at least as enjoyable as this, and some even moreso. McClelland's Wilderness comes to mind as a family member that exceeds the 759-experience as I had it.

Lovely stuff, though.

8 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A 1970s tin of this age old classic was passed around recently at my local pipe club's monthly meeting. I never wanted to part with the coin it would take to win a tin on ebay, so a couple of bowls is all I took before sending it on to a fellow reviewer here who has gifted me lots of goodies over the past year.

Great taste; one of the strongest (in nicotine content) Latakia laced blends I've ever smoked. The Syrian Latakia came through with a rich sweetness that was superb. Yenidje added spice and the Virginia was mellow. It was at a perfect moisture level and packed and burned easily.

Why was this stuff discontinued? (Sigh)

5 people found this review helpful.

Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

To say that this was the greatest tobacco ever made would imply that one had tasted all the tobaccos ever made. In forty years plus of pipe smoking I must have tried close to two hundred different tobaccos, and of those Balkan Sobranie 759 was undoubtedly the greatest. My last tin is gone, and I am down to the last pouch dating from 1993. When that too has gone up in smoke I suppose I would have entered the post-modern era.

Postscript, March 2012. I have gone through about half of my last pouch, bought in Switzerland, carrying the address Old Bond Street.Slight rehydration was needed, which was easily accompalished by leaving a barely moist napkin over the jar overnight. The aroma from the jar was intoxicating - Syrian Latakia and Yenidje. The aroma clung to the fingers as I packed a pipe - the self-same pipe which had been devoted to 759 when the mixture was plentifully available. The first light brought a rush of winey latakia flavour, of the sort that none of the currently easily available blends has. The orientals added a mild acidity to the taste and an incense like note to the smoke. The virginias provided the under-lying sweetness and held the mixture together.

If 759 were to become freely available would I smoke any other blend? Even when it was freely available it was not the only blend that I smoked. But yes, there is nothing on the market quite like 759 - perhaps the ingredients are not available any more. And yes, if it was available it would be the benchmark against which all others of its ilk would be judged.

It is not all hyperbole. 759 was sui generis, unique. And wonderful were the times when it was a regular pleasure.

5 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2575)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The Syrian latakia was smoky and dry woody with virtually no sweetness. The Virginias were grassy sweet with a touch of citrus and earth. The Oriental/Turkish were smoky, woodsy, slightly sweet and sour with a touch of spice, and an unflavored "soda" note coming from the yenidje. In a wide bowl, it shined more as the complexity of flavors were more noticeable. It was just barely over the line of being an all day smoke, though a few bowls a day were not unheard of for aficionados of this mixture, and often desired as well. The nic-hit was mild, and it didn't bite or get harsh even when pushed. Burned at a moderate pace, clean and cool with few relights, no weak spots, and left little moisture in the bowl. The deep, rich flavor was very consistent from start to finish. Had a pleasant after taste and stronger room note.


4 people found this review helpful.

Briar Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briar Piper (89)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

The best way to describe this blend is what would happen, if you replaced Dunhill's London blend with syrian latakia, in place of the Cyprian. However I prefer London Mixture, but would not hesitate to buy balkan sobraine if it ever hit the market again. A lot of mixtures seeking to recapture it have hit the market, some containing so many different tobacco types, that is a miracle it still resembles the blend it is trying to emulate. So far only Robert Lewis Tree Mixture has succeed, even surpassed this blend for an oriental forward english with plenty of woody notes, with only a hint of sweetness.

I have only 3 tins left, and don't dare open them!

I believe the latakia used was the same oriental tobacco which was also smoked. Which gave this blend so much of an oriental smoke. At the time it is said, it was the most expensive type of tobacco. The long fermentation, at least in old tins, gave it a bit of an earthy taste which a lot of other oriental forward english blends lack. While it is a rock solid 4 star tobacco, I think some blends are still yet better in the English category for a flavor bomb.

Pipe Used: My best briars.

Age When Smoked: older than I am

Purchased From: inherited

Similar Blends: Robert Lewis tree mixture, dunhill london mixture, black house, sillem's london blend.

3 people found this review helpful.

Swiss-smoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Swiss-smoker (80)
Strong None Detected Overwhelming Pleasant

This spectacular and legendary blend stands on top of the rostrum of the Hall of Fame. Still nowadays it is THE benchmark for all Oriental Mixtures. Countless proficient blenders have tried hard to copy it. Only a few got somewhat near to it. The unequalled art of original 759 is the most perfect ever marriage of the very best Latakia with the very best Orientals in a bed of robust Virginia, delivering an overwhelming palette of aromas.

In the late 70s and 80s I took this mixture for granted and smoked a lot of it and I highly appreciated it – until it suddenly disappeared. Thousands of pipe smokers have been lamenting since. But let us be honest: the incredible variety of mixtures available today – and there are a lot of excellent ones – offer several perfectly acceptable and enjoyable alternatives for EVERY pipe smoker.

I am grateful for having had the opportunity to smoke plenty of original 759 for many years. I also liked other mixtures of “Sobranie of London”, like the rare Birdseye Cut, for example. But IT’S GONE NOW, like many others, by the way. C’est la vie! I have found many delicious blends that perfectly match my needs, and I enjoy smoking them as much as I did 759. And I am always happy to try and evaluate new mixtures. Take care of and estimate your favourites, they may disappear as suddenly as 759 did.

3 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (906)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I lucked into about 1.25 oz of this. Actually, I schmoozed and begged for it. The gifter decided that since he couldn't ever afford anymore, he may as well share, and hence get over the loss faster. :) As a longterm smoker of this blend, he told me that this is 1990 vintage and had aged very nicely.

Mostly dark with a bit of chestnut brown, this smells like a fairly typical latakia/oriental blend. In the pipe, this is a moderately sweet tasting blend, with the latakia gently nudging the virginias. It has the traditional smoky flavor just a frog hair beneath the natural sweetness. This doesn't taste like GLP Picadilly but it has the same essence of smoke lying in a bed of sweet & smooth. Rather compelling. It didn't, however develop much down the bowl. Pease has a way of building latakia blends in layers, something this one lacked. This one leaned toward the monodimensional, which is a fine thing when the blend tastes this good. One thing I noticed, though, is that this willfully and harshly smote any attempt at DGT.

I didn't smoke a lot of this "back in the day" and I think I recall why. Where the white label blend had this razor sharp burst of flavor from the first puff throughout the bowl, this one remained smooth. And I guess I've always preferred the more robust tobaccos. This may be a classic tobacco but I've found many current blends that I prefer. However, if one can afford a tin of this, it's definitely a good smoke. Whether it's worth the high cost of today is for each individual to gauge. For me, absolutely not.

3 people found this review helpful.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (220)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

759 is the most fragrant tobacco I’ve ever smoked and it’s hard to add more to what has already been written here. You taste peaty smoke, rich leather, and a great variety of fragrant orientals. H&H Black House comes closest to the flavor of 759, but it is only an imitation, Black House doesn’t capture the perfumed effervescence of 759 and I don’t think the tobaccos are still available to do so. I believe it’s the Yenidje leaf that gave 759 this uniqueness that no other blend can match faithfully. Even if this were still readily available, I couldn’t smoke this all day, it is just too rich, but I would very likely have ended every evening with a large bowl of this ambrosia.

Pipe Used: Nate King bent apple

Age When Smoked: Late 70’s vintage

2 people found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (76)
Extremely Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

Somehow through luck, circumstance and knowing a lot of old pipe guys, I got a couple of bowls with this in an exchange.

From a tin from the 1980's, perfect moisture level, immense aroma. It had been in a mason jar which was opened occasionally.

I have wanted to try some of this for years and could never bring myself to purchase one of the $450+ tins on ebay, so glad I got some without the cost.

Here goes.

Packed easy. Looked like a lot of other blends and smelled similar but very woody and musky too.

Light was easy, immediate whack of strong Lat from the off; big bluish plume of it up in the air. Smelled not dissimilar to other lat blends in this regard, but very sturdy stuff.

Immediate impressions indifferent, it has to be said. The lat was the big component, and the other flavours were in the background but not doing much. Just tasted like a normal lat at this point but the big difference was the thickness and density of the smoke. Every slight puff was producing the thickest cloud of blue smoke I have ever seen, and it was very strong.

This continued for a while, and then it started to happen. Not earth shattering, but the other ingredients came in. The orientals are big and heavy, and unlike anything else I have sampled. I cannot describe them other than they are just different. kinda like incense, but also woody, and even a hint of an old dusty basement came through.

The middle of the bowl was the most enjoyable. The lat calmed down and the orientals and VA came in strong, and it was really good then. It was still powerhouse, but the sheer size of it all was unlike anything else I have tried, 4 solid flavour profiles making their presence known.

Towards the end, my tolerance for Nic started to give way, and this stuff really kicked up into high gear. The smoke was almost intoxicating in its strength, and the flavours were all do deep and earthy that it was a real pounding of overload. The last 3rd packed huge flavours and each of the components turned into a mass of depth that I havent experienced before. It wasn't all that enjoyable at this point to my pallet. There was a richness but also something quite sour and even like a soda element to it. It came on stronger and stronger and the smoke was so deep, but it was really a lot to take on and I was getting overwhelmed with a cold sweat coming on.

I know I am using a lot of superlative words that lack description, but to break it down imagine a standard English blends, and just imagine now that every flavour in the blend is amplified x3 with some extra stuff you've never tasted before. That is what its like.

Overall, I am glad I did it, but once was enough. I imagine anything aged this long will pack a similar wallop, and for me it was an experience but not something I would seek out again. It is certainly not worth the incredible sums of money it would usually take to get some.

To my tastes, there are several which are currently available which give you a very similar taste profile and won't overload. Samovar, British Woods, Black House are 3.

Pipe Used: XXL Custom Poker

Age When Smoked: 30 years-ish

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have been saving two tins of 759 for some time. This is based on a seven ounce tin that I believe to be from the 1970’s. Surprisingly, the Latakia has maintained a lot of flavor and to the nose, it smells very smoky like burned wood and a little bit of leather. I find it much fuller than a recent tin of old Balkan Sobranie from a similar era. What really separates this blend for me is the Yenidje Oriental component. The Virginias, much to my surprise after all of these years of aging, doesn’t offer a lot of sweetness. They may have offered more flavor when this was originally produced, but are fairly crowded out at this point. There is a unique taste to this blend in that the Latakia has an incense quality to it that I have to assume is Syrian. 759 is a great tobacco and you can debate whether or not it’s worth the obscene price for an eBay tin. I enjoy this blend a lot; however given the choice I would prefer Balkan Sobranie to 759. I know it puts me in the minority, but it’s just a shade under four stars for me. It will be interesting to see how my 1980’s tin compares. Now, having spent some time with 759, I do find Russ Ouellette’s Black House to be a remarkable tribute to this blend for those that want to spend “a little” less.

Age When Smoked: 35+ years

1 person found this review helpful.

cajun Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cajun (11)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Overwhelming

What a shame that the old staples of the 70s are no longer available. I suppose that pipe smoking was on the wane even by that time, and I remember being stared at as a young UK pipe smoker in my 20s in those days as being something of an oddity. Compared to the white tin standard Balkan Sobranie Smoking Mixture, this was a degree closer to appreciating Latakia at the expense of some Virginia (I think) in the blend. If my memory serves me correctly then the blurb on the little cardboard label inside the tin indicated that Latakia was added in extra measure. I always found it a bit too smoky in flavour with a propensity for the tobacco to dry out in the tin once opened. I well remember friends and family pleading with me to smoke out of the room when smoking any of the Balkan Sobranie tobaccos, and this blend was the worst culprit for attracting their disapproval.

Pipe Used: various turkish meerschaum

Age When Smoked: straight from tin

Purchased From: various sources

Similar Blends: McConnells Oriental mixture.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

A long gone classic. I have had 759 from 4 different tins three were over the hill and one that was so ridiculously good i couldnt believe it. so many many little variances in taste. the latakia was so good it made my mouth water, and i dont usually smoke latakia blends.The Sobranie house did things with tobacco i have yet to see replicated. to mee it had an initial taste of a slightly charred cheeseburger but with some almost black cavendish sweetness and this description still doesnt come close. I have tried dozens of " balkans" some of which i liked, most i didnt. but this 759 was of greatness. What did they do to their tobacco to get these kind of tastes?

1 person found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (310)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

This is a review more form memory than from recently tasting one of the many by gone classics. I was fortunate enough to sample both, the tin version and the plastic pouch one, with a couple of years difference (late eighties, early nineties). I don't know if both versions were produced by the same blender, or if the plastic pouch one was a rendering from a different house. In any case my palate back then was not so fully developed as to detect specific differences.

My first venture into the Sobranie realm had been through its Original Balkan smoking mixture, so I was expecting something of at least the same quality. 759 was that and much more. In a way it made the Original Balkan taste a bit mundane. 759 was, in my view, a nobler, more aristocratic smoke. It was more refined, more tamed, and more elegant. It also displayed a greater variety of subtle flavors and hidden notes, all within the English-Balkan universe of taste reference, buy in a very exclusive vein.

I'm sure it contained both Syrian and Cyprian latakia, plus an exquisite Virginia--almost fruity (Maryland?)--and what I now know to be a peculiar Oriental leaf: Yenidje.

Whereas the Original Balkan was more of an every-other-day smoke, 759 was, at least for me, a Sunday afternoon experience. After lunch, leaving the kid and the wife taking a nap, I would venture out the footpath from Newnham to Grantchester, and walk peacefully through the meadows (of Pink Floyd fame), thoroughly enjoying a Charatan loaded with 759. Pure bliss.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (314)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

Why isn't there a "One of my favorites, I won't be trying it again" rating? That's right: this could be easily classified among my 5 favorite tobaccos, but after this tin is gone I won't pay the absurd amounts of money that rare aged tins are being auctioned for (yes, this tobacco is out of production since some years ago). The tin I am smoking is between 15 and 20 years old, and in a perfect condition: no rust, perfect humidity, no mold. More recent production ('90s) was in pouches, so if you now can find some, it will probably too dry for consumption, and will have lost its flavor: if you have to try it once in your life, make sure it's the tin. Upon opening and sniffing the deep, rich, smoky and leathery smell of Latakia I knew I was in for a treat. I frequently smoke Balkan Sobranie Original Mixture in the white pouch (which is still available in Italy), and it is a rich and full Balkan (although some say that it used to be much better), but 759 shreds it into pieces and wins the comparison blindfolded (Ok, maybe this is also due to the benefits of aging). After a few seconds of lighting, tamping and relighting, taste is immediately stunning, just like the smell suggested: no other tobacco with Latakia has such a deep taste. Original Mixture comes close to it, Old Ironsides is strong and Odyssey is excellent and subtle but has much less impact: anyway none of them is 759. Such a sensory experience can almost be OVERWHELMING at times, making this blend a poor candidate for all-day smoking (unless red peppers are your usual meal): not only it would be too much to take, but if smoked for too many days consecutevely it would make every other Latakia blend you would try after it seem weak and dull in comparison! The funny ting is that it isn't just a Latakia-feast: the sweetness from the red Virginias is clear and very very pleasant. The taste of this blend stays pure and strong until the end: you realise it's over only when you find yourself sucking ashes, as it burns regularly and steady. I don't know why such a blend isn't made anymore: production costs reasons? No blending tobaccos of the same quality available? Well, 759, you will be sorely missed... PS: Another more recent tin of American distribution (the first came from UK) was much less tasty and wonderful than the one reviewed: it was one of the last tins made, and I suspect quality had already started to go downhill...

1 person found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Medium None Detected Full Very Pleasant

Very much like the Original, with a smidgeon of extra red Virginia sweetness. The benchmark of oriental mixtures, now regretfully unobtainable anywhere.

1 person found this review helpful.

Peppino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peppino (74)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I miss this tobacco, took it for granted in the 70's like alot of other tobaccos. But 759 was special with the mountain blue latakia stated on the tin,to the aroma when popping open a fresh tin. I'm still searching for that magical blend but have yet to find it. There are some very good tobaccos out their but none like 759!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

I just wanted to hang my memorial wreath here,for this long gone old friend. It was so mellow and mouth watering, just a perfect blend. So long old friend. C'est Le've

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Strong Mild Full Strong

I found this mix a month ago among other oldies, kept aside in a cigar store (aren't they all cigar stores nowadays?), with extra price and in an extra mummified condition. It was dry and aglutinated as a clay wasp nest... well, had to hydrate and put away for two days. And then folks, I DID FEAST upon it. I guess it did not taste as it originally had to, but then again, I would never know. I used to smoke "Original" regularly about 25 years ago and never met this 759 those days, not to mention that a "pouch" presentation was unthinkable for such a blend. I found no resemblance between both, except that both are from the balkan club. This one was absolutely delicious, say like a strong, almost chewable Earl Grey tea, sweeter that the "Original" and and with a light citrus topping the "Original" never had. Heavy Latakia, Virginias and more than one Oriental of gentle taste are easy to trace. If it was a recipe invented nowadays, I would say it contains black cavendish instead of orientals, sorry for that, but please remember I smoked from a revived pouch. Smoke is thick, very much so, and cool and extremely tasty and lovely stinky. And I would go on adjetivating this marvel to no good, because it is no more. Let's join and hate cigarette smokers, right?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

October-2003 It was thirty two year's ago when I first tried Balkan Sobranie 759.I loved it then as I do now. Genuine classic that truely deserves all the positive accolades that are bestowed upon it. Balkan Sobranie 759 is like a perfectly tuned orchestra. Delicious,unique,positive in everyway. My highest recommendation.The perfect Balkan! 10 out of 10.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Well, how does one try to describe a blend that is no longer available and yet due to the generosity of a fellow B.O.B. was given access to this sublime blend? Here goes:The tin was 15 years old. Appearance was of a typical ribbon-cut with a good mix of dark, brown, and golden leaf. Tin aroma is musty, spicy, rich, a sign of good things to come. Packing was easy but the blend needed many re-lights, maybe due to the age? Initial flavor is what all balkans aspire to, rich, pungent, sweet, with a wonderfully rich room note. Mid-bowl was the best for me with all the leaves playing a symphony of flavor that you hope will not end. Last third of the bowl builds a little more strength and before you know it, you are finished. It is too bad that this blend is no longer available. Simply put, it is the best balkan/english I have ever tasted. Unfortunately, tins of this are going for $125.00 and up these days and way out of my price range. One can only hope and pray that either they will put it back into production or license the recipe to a reputable blending house and bless our community. Overall rating 5 out of 5 points. A true TULIP blend....sublime....

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

In my opinion....this was by far and away the finest tobacco blend that money could buy. Even though I continue to search.....I have yet to experience a better smoke. If it was available to me today....I'd smoke it exclusively.

In this blend....the latakia plays a supporting role to the orientals and does not dominate the taste like I've experienced in other English / Balkan blends. The aroma and taste of this tobacco is simply to die for.....smooth and creamy with no hint of a bite. It lights well and burns superbly...leaving a well formed white ash that almost falls out of the pipe in one piece.....much like a cigar. This mixture was always consistent....bowl after bowl....can after can.

This exquisite smoke had a loyal following at one time. The reason quite simply...... there's no finer pipe tobacco to be had.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This is the greatest tasting pipe tobacco ever created as far as I am concerned. I tried the Schurch brand, so I'm hoping it's the same stuff, but it is absolutely marvelous. A deep, smokey taste with a rich, robust nuttiness accented by the slightest taste of clove. This is without a doubt one of the greatest tobaccos I have ever had in my entire 29 years of life. Whomever created this blend... My hat goes off to you. It's spectacular.

It's a crying shame it's not available in this great country.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

This blend is becoming a rare, dwindling vintage so buy a couple a pouches where you find them. In the pouch it smells smokey, rich & prime. replete with a large dose of latakia, this is a Full flavoured blend, yet smooth & cool. It tends to maintain a sort of smokey, spicy fullness throughout the bowl- a very solid, earthy taste it is. The tobacco in the pouch I bought would not have wanted to be any drier though- the last 1/4 of the pouch was crumbling so I reckon you outta keep the pouch in one of them hermetically-sealing fliptop jars. A classic outdoor smoke - or indoors if you want to drive your wife out of the house!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Pouch Aroma: This stuff smells rich with Latakia and the dusty, spicy aroma of Turkish tobaccos. I'm not a huge fan of Latakia blends, but I smoke ?em the most in fall and this is making my mouth water.

Appearance: A short, fine ribbon cut tobacco that's probably 80% deep brown to black with the remaining 20% a smattering of hues from golden to medium brown and a few flashes of greenish.

Packing and Lighting: For this tobacco I've selected my best Latakia pipe - a ½ bent Don Carlos partially rusticated bulldog/volcano wannabe sort of thing. The bowl is large and deep and the draft hole is wide open. The pipe packs easily enough though many fragments come flying up through the huge draft hole - but I'm used to that with this pipe. The pre-light puff of air tastes smoky, slightly bitter and faintly like the breezes that blew over the golden hayfields of my childhood.

The first match lights the surface evenly with only shallow puffs, as this tobacco was of my preferred moisture level - just moist enough not to crumble. The first few puffs have a gorgeous silky feel on the tongue with a light, spicy tingle being all there is of an aftertaste. All I can sense here is Latakia in the foreground, treading firmly on the dusty, dry ground of the Mediterranean provided by some of the most incredible Turkish flavor I've ever known.

Exposition: This is a VERY smooth smoke at the start which leaves a room aroma that Latakia lovers might die for - the orientals providing a sweetness that perfectly balances the smoky tang and what I sense as being a very light sprinkling of Virginias providing some high-end to the flavor and smell.

Relighting after five minutes or so to be sure I have an even burn causes the Latakia to fade for a moment, bringing a bright spiciness out that matches most amazingly with my morning beverage: Taylor's of Harrowgate "Yorkshire Gold" tea brewed in the Irish tradition, i.e. strong enough for a mouse to run across the surface and barely wet his wee toes.

The nose, or smoke rising from the bowl when I puff out lightly, smells strongly of roasting nuts - a mix of cashews, almonds and chestnuts. Smoking this in a straight pipe would almost be a waste of time as this part is as enjoyable as the actual puffing and french-inhaling.

The Story: Although Latakia has a tendency to dry my mouth a bit I'm really enjoying this smoke - it seems to be complementing the smell of rain and damp leaves riding the breeze through my window. The flavor hasn't changed much really. Some of the sharpness has toned down and there's an underlying bitterness creeping in, but these are subtle. Mostly I'm still getting a nice rich Latakia smoke laden heavily with aromatic Orientals and a tangy, spicy bite. Not tongue bite, but a light spicy tingle that wakes up the tongue and tickles my sinuses when I exhale.

Denouement: As I ease toward the final 1/3 bowl, I love the fact that any changes in flavor have been VERY subtle and pleasant. I'm not getting any great sense of strength here, but the flavor is full, rich and not very sweet at all - a nice change from the Virginias I've been smoking of late. The spiciness is getting more intense and the nose is sharpening up quite a bit, but overall the flavor is just ?more of the same'. This is a GREAT autumn smoke, and would go well with strong tea, single malt scotch, porter or any other heavy beverage. It also seems to have an appetite stimulating effect - I don't normally eat breakfast, but right now a full eggs, toast and bacon meal would go down easily. Weird.

The only depressing part of this smoke was the fact that, before I was ready for it to end, there was nothing left by dry salt-and-pepper ash. I wasted a match finding this out as there was no flavor change to indicate that I was at the bottom. Just poof and it was done!

Pros: Full, rich flavor, excellent room aroma (if you like Latakia, that is) and perfect burning qualities. This is an amazing tobacco for those times when you want to be mentally elsewhere, or for a walk outdoors.

Cons: I honestly can't think of any unless you just hate latakia or crave at least /some/ sweetness to your smoke. "

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Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

Oh man. How do you review a classic? In a way reviewing this tobacco is like going out and reviewing an old shelby GT500. It's a legend for starters. Wrapped in a mystique as only the out of production can. Familiar to many. Could the reality of the product possibly live up to the fond memories? How many "land mines" could you potentially wind up stepping on if you pointed out that some things are best left in our memories, and not necessarily on a grueling test track?

Even stranger, perhaps, if the legend lived up to it's reputation and more, given that no one besides the reviewer has immediate access to the product, would anyone not familiar with it even believe you?

This used to be my "serious" tobacco, the one that I would smoke around other seasoned pipe smokers, to show that I "knew tobacco". I always found it very heavy in Latakia, my wife called it my "sausage tobacco" because of it's unmitigated "campfire" smell. I wound up smoking it pretty much outside, on my fall walks, where the fall breeze would dissipate the smoke adequately. It was, in the 1980's my favorite English tobacco, though to be fair, I was still smoking a fair amount of aromatics at the time, so saying "favorite English" was like saying favorite green veggie, something that was "ok" and you knew you should rotate in to your diet, but didn't exactly sit at your desk praying that 5:00 would come around so you could partake....As usual, I digress.

Things have changed for me. As assuredly as one usually appreciates "Bird" more as an older adult than one might have as an adolescent, my preferences have shifted from aromatics to predominantly Latakia Blends and some Va/ Perique mixes I opened the package and was greeted by a slightly different smell than I was used to. A little softer, rounder. This shouldn't be surprising, due to it's age, as was the fact that the formerly fairly stark contrast of Virginias and Marylands against Latakia had mellowed to become almost monochromatic. The tobacco packed very well with a slightly "wiry" feel to it.

Test Drive: Flame released quite a shock. Because of memory reinforcement, I was prepared for a strong hit of latakia, supported by the Va/ Maryland vocal backup. Singing together but playing out of "different speakers". The latakia had mellowed considerably and was almost (I said, Almost) supplanted by the presence of the Turkish elements. The taste was unbelievably smooth, with harmonies being supplanted by one beautiful note. What was lost in sheer boldness, was now being represented by a clean concision. This was one of the most interesting transformations that I have experienced in a tobacco. It burned beautifully down to the dottle and I was shocked to find out that I had smoked it down to the briar, the taste being so uniform throughout the smoke that I had no real hint that I was "bottoming out".

If I have one criticism, it is a small one, the tobacco didn't display the multilayered finesse of my "grail", Renaissance. It was ever so slightly monochromatic in it's taste (But what a taste!)

Burning qualities: 10 Strength: surprisingly mellow 6 Taste: 8 Room note:8 Overall score: 9 out of 10 Bear Claws


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Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Another gift from a grand fellow, this gave me a little trepidation when I sniffed the contents, since it smelled sweeter than I'm prone to like. In smoking, though, it proved to be a nice tobacco. The mix is too heavy of Virginias for my tastes, and it gives me that tongue-snipping bite on occasion, but overall it's a pleasant experience. I haven't really been bowled over by the flavor, though. I find it generic to the point of pointlessness - sort of the Ford Taurus of tobaccos. Yes, it's competent, and tons of people seem to like it, but it's not something I want to immerse myself in every day. I'll enjoy it while it lasts, but it's not going to send me out on horseback with sword and lance questing for more, unlike its cousin 759.

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