Sobranie of London The Balkan Sobranie 759

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.


Brand Sobranie of London
Blended By  
Manufactured By Gallaher
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50g Pouch, 100g Tin, 200g Tin
Country United Kingdom
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.63 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 27 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 14, 2011 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.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2015 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.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 07, 2006 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.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 24, 2012 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.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2007 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 08, 2016 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.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 05, 2018 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
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 21, 2018 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.
PurchasedFrom: inherited
Age When Smoked: older than I am
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 07, 2016 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
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 16, 2008 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.
2 people found this review helpful.
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