Robert McConnell Boutique Blend

Oriental tobaccos mixed with light and red Virginia tobaccos, lightly pressed and then roasted. A classic English mixture, with some latakia refined, medium cut.
Notes: Dunhill Early Morning Pipe clone, and was originally called Early Bird.


Brand Robert McConnell
Series Heritage
Blended By  
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.30 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 07, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The smoky, woody, earthy, musty sweet Cyprian latakia is the lead component. The dry, lightly floral, sour, woody, earthy Orientals take second place in this blend. The mildly tangy, dark dark fruity, earthy red Virginia is a supporting player, and is more noticeable than the citrusy, grassy bright Virginia, which is more of a condiment. This compares favorably with Dunhill’s version, though the latakia and Orientals are a tad stronger here, and the Virginias are a hair less so than what I experienced in Early Morning Pipe. The strength is just past the center of mild to medium, while the taste level is medium. Won’t bite or get harsh, and has a couple rough edges in spots, unlike EMP. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with very consistent, mildly sweet and savory flavor to the finish. Leaves little dampness in the bowl and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasant, short lived after taste and room note. An all day smoke that is slightly fuller than EMP. I gave two and a half stars to EMP. This gets three.

13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I have smoked exactly one tin of Early Morning Pipe, and I have smoked at least 4 oz of Hearth and Home Daybreak. For a reason I can't explain, I never reviewed them. I am reviewing this on its own and not comparing it to anything else. My memory is a little fuzzy. The sample was sent by a friend in Germany. It came as a medium ribbon - roughly equal amounts of light tan, darker tan and black tobacco. Moisture level was good for me. The pouch note was smokey and slightly agricultural.

Smoked, this was pleasant. There is the smoky latakia and a slightly sweet with the Virginia. The orientals give it a sour note or two. I enjoyed this and found it a nice medium-mild smoke. It stayed lit well and did not leave a damp heel.

I enjoyed the sample and recommend it.
PurchasedFrom: Gift from a friend
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 19, 2023 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
Oriental overwhelm aroma of fresh tobacco. There is pepper and smokiness in there. Smoke is creamy, sweet with gentle touch of full bodied milk. Moisture is accurate, burn till the end without dottle. Need fair amount of relights. Good oriental forwarded blend for all parts of day and all seasons.
Pipe Used: MM diplomat; Savinelli 802; BPK (Stanislaw)
Age When Smoked: 2 years
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 13, 2021 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
My initial thought was that this is a bolder version of EMP with the emphasis on Latakia instead of the Virginias and Orientals. (So, if you long for a bit more Latakia from EMP, here you go.) Side-by-side in their respective jars they certainly resemble one another. Aftertaste is Latakia light with some nice sweetness.

6 months later, like EMP, I'm finding that it's a lovely English blend sitting right between mild and medium. Seems like a less sweet, more balanced blend now with the VA slightly dominate over the Oriental and Latakia. Not much nicotine. Gives the impression that you could smoke this all the time and not get tired of it. Definitely has more Latakia and more character than EMP.

Comparing this to Oriental Square... Boutique Mixture has less Orientals, more Virginias and more Latakia accounting for the slight sweetness. Boutique is perhaps a smidgen stronger than Oriental Square due to the larger VA content. Nevertheless, it's a great smoke. So, Boutique at its core is VA forward while Oriental Square is Oriental (blue cheese!) forward. Both definitely have fairly low Latakia content. Both are mild and with low nicotine. Both can be slightly sharp on the mouth but neither bites.

Another Heritage series winner from McConnell.
Age When Smoked: 6 Months from Fresh Tin
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2021 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Let me start by saying that while Early Morning was my first tobacco when I started smoking a pipe, I have never been a huge fan of it: I soon moved either to heavier Latakia mixtures, or to Virginia flakes, and I have never found a regular place in my rotation for EMP quite simply because it didn't fit a precise spot. That said, I have smoked it several times in the last 20 years.

This "clone", while still standing in that "no man's land" (not enough Latakia and taste for me), is a very good blend though. Yes, it might be unexciting, but there is finesse, balance, and it's a blend that could actually appeal to an experienced and jaded smoker.

The tin aroma is fantastic, very rich, ripe, sweet and smoky. I seem to remember that the original EMP from decades ago was even more intoxicating, deeper and richer, but I am not complaining. The smoking experience is actually quite close to that of EMP from the Murray era: maybe a tad lighter, smoother (in spite of being touted as a light blend, the original EMP had a certain richness/dirty character and rough edges), which is not bad if you consider what it tries to achieve (a blend for a morning smoke). Taste is not dominated by Latakia, it's actually quite subtle. Not wimpy, not flat, simply not a taste explosion: rather, a fine integration of rich ripe Virginias, fragrant orientals and a touch of Latakia smokiness. I am finding this definitely better and more satisfactory than Oxford Street (another light EM) in the same line of blends: it has more richness, more complexity, and lightness does not come at the expense of flavour evolution or sheer "presence".

For me, even if it won't join my regular rotation, it's a very well made blend: a bit lighter and easier than the Murray made Dunhill original, and certainly richer, more complex and obviously more satisfying than the flattish recent STG Dunhill/Peterson incarnations.

2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 25, 2019 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Another rebuild of one of the I think most sold tobaccos in the world. EMP. Like any of those clones I try to review it as a standalone.

Look in tin is nice. Ribbon cut with also flake shares from golden brown to black. I'd say it's 2/3 of golden and red VA and 1/3 of Latakia and Orients. Cold smell is warm fruity like orange jam with smoky notes on top. Very pleasant but dripping wet so that I dried out overnight. Packs well and takes flames easily as you would expect from an English.

Decent earthy and spicy Orients mixed with sweet citric Virginia build the base and a nice smoky lata taste stays on top especially when exhaled nasal. Tastes do not have ups and downs but stay there through the whole smoke. Kind of an all day English. Smokes cool and steady without much condensate. No relights needed when dried properly.

Pleasant and well blended leafs of good quality. Great for Latakia beginners. Disadvantages are also there sadly. Pricing is high and there's a mentionable amount of water you pay for. For me there could be a little more Latakia punch in the morning.
Pipe Used: Various briars
PurchasedFrom: Local shop
Age When Smoked: Dried out over night
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 01, 2023 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I went to my favorite pipe shop to pick up a tin of Peterson's Early Morning Pipe, and I was persuaded by my tobacconist to pick this one up instead, on the grounds that the flavor is nearly identical, and richer, while simultaneously being less inclined to bite since the McConnell's take on this classic staple didn't use as much Bright Virginia as the Peterson version. I had initially been interested in Early Morning Pipe because it was purportedly milder than the classic My Mix 965, and I wanted something in my rotation that was a bit tamer than some of the headier smoking stuff that I'd been exploring. Don't get me wrong, 965 is a classic staple, and is delicious in its own right, but as with all things, there's a proper time and a place, and sometimes 965 just seems a bit much to start the day with. At a glance, Boutique Blend's appearance is a uniform reddish-brown ribbon, and smells quite nice in the tin-Classic Turkish/Virginia smell akin to a fresh pack of Camel cigarettes but less plasticky. Slightly sweet and figgy notes play nicely alongside a subtle, earthy cocoa undertone, I'm guessing from Burley? I can't say proportionally how much Burley it contains...I definitely feel like it's there though. This is complimented by equally gentle smoky, floral notes from the Latakia. Quite nice and inviting, not overpowering by any means. It's a tad moist right out of the tin but if you let it sit a half hour or so before lighting up it'll take the flame well without being harsh or bitey. The taste is exactly as I was told to expect-965 with a bit less Latakia and punch to the nerves. It's warm, sweet and mellow, without being completely bereft of flavor or heft. Fruitier and more caramelly than 965 for sure...with a toasted marshmallow quality, which, to me, is what indicates that the Burley quotient is a touch higher, and in Boutique/Early Bird, what lends it its signature mildness. In fact, comparing it to Early Morning Pipe, the smell and taste (hell even the color and cut) are nearly indistinguishable, but Early Morning seems to provide just a bit more pepper to the tongue. Quite nice and relaxing to smoke in any bowl, all day if you're so inclined. If you like aromatics but are looking to take a step towards more a traditional smoke and dial back the sugar, this one would be a good jumping-off point for you. I'd even go so far as recommending this for someone who's never smoked a pipe in the first place but was curious to try. It smokes cool and dry, without too much tending that could serve to frustrate a new smoker. To that end, if I personally had cut my teeth on this, I probably would've saved myself a lot of tedium fiddling with keeping overly saturated aromatics lit without scorching my mouth. I rather enjoy the consistent 'Early morning' theme, both of the iconic Dunhill original and its clones. It's appropos. This is a superb mix to light up after breakfast with your second cup of coffee or tea. Start the day with a bowlful of Boutique and browse the paper or channel-surf a bit, and you'll be starting it off right. However, with that being said, This stuff is enjoyable all day for sure, and if you're the kind of smoker that isn't inclined to too much variety, this one goes with anything provided it's relaxing. Whether you're lounging in the recliner, tinkering around in the garage, fishing, building a model plane, or hanging out at a barbecue waiting for the goodies on the grill, or even just enjoying the sunset, Boutique is sure to please any time of day.
Pipe Used: Various Briar
PurchasedFrom: Jon's Pipe Shop (Champaign, IL)
Age When Smoked: New
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 30, 2022 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
A nice English blend, lighter than Nothing Hill. A balanced mix where the Latakia, although it predominates, lets the oriental tobaccos and Virginias shine. To smoke at any time of the day.
Pipe Used: Dunhill and Castello
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 03, 2021 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant
According to "tradition," Kohlhase & Kopp does not put the production date, so we have to refer to the excise stamp. In my case, the year 2019 was listed. Opened the can gave a quiet, but very complex aroma, consisting of the bread smell of quality Virginia with a very light citrus hint, sweet smoky tar latakia, light milky acidity, as well as musk and spice of Turkish orientals. The smell of tobacco is absolutely natural and very pleasant.

The tobacco is cut in even ribbons, well-mixed, but the different varieties are easy to guess, with colors ranging from yellowish brown to almost black. Judging by the bag, Virginia is about two-thirds and the rest is orientals and latakia, although the percentage composition is of course a trade secret of the manufacturer. The tobacco has a normal moisture content, puffs easily, and lights up instantly.

The smoked blend has a luxurious flavor of fresh bread with a sweet flavor, white pepper, turmeric, loose black tea, and a slight flavor of dark raisins. Latakia blends very harmoniously into the overall bouquet - the blend is highly recommended to those who want to try British blends, but are wary of "latakia bombs". The strength of tobacco is below average, it does not change when smoked. The tobacco smokes very cool and smooth, does not go out, however, contains quite a lot of moisture. Despite this, there are almost no ashes.

The smoke from the tobacco has a slight smoky note, generally repeating the smell of tobacco. It does not hang in a carpet, but quickly disperses.

Bottom line: I was very pleased with my experience with this tobacco. The only thing that is a little frustrating is its price, which is a little higher than regular blends. But the tobacco itself is clearly in the premium segment, so there's nothing to complain about. I will definitely get it for my collection on occasion, though I still have a couple of cans left to open. This blend is quite capable of becoming an everyday blend (if, of course, you have enough money to buy it). Considering the Oriental Square review I wrote earlier, you have to admit that the idea of recreating Dunhill formulas was a success.
Pipe Used: Peterson 05, 999
PurchasedFrom: Online
Age When Smoked: 2019
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2023 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The blend unfolds with the prominence of Cyprian Latakia, exuding a smoky, earthy, and modest sweetness that sets the stage. Complementing this lead, the Virginia introduces a subtle tanginess intertwined with dark fruit sweetness, offering a touch of earthiness. Virginia contributes a delicate tartness and hints of citrus and grass, playing supporting roles.
Enter the dry, faintly sour, and buttery sweet Turkish/Orientals, showcasing an earthy, lightly floral, vegetative character with a hint of spice and woody undertones. These tobacco elements engage in a gentle competition with the Virginias for attention. Strength-wise, it confidently resides a step below the midpoint between mild and medium, while the flavor boldly leans a couple of notches past the center. As for the nicotine content, it registers a couple of rungs above mild.

This blend maintains a cool and clean burn at a moderate pace, offering a consistently mild yet captivating interplay of sweetness and savoriness from start to finish. It requires an average number of relights, leaving minimal dampness in the bowl, and proves itself bite-free and non-harsh throughout the experience. The aftertaste is classic English but short-lived, as is the room note. By design, it\'s tailored as an all-day companion.

I must preface this review with my bias: when a blend includes Latakia, it should either feature enough Latakia to define the blend or boast flavorful supporting tobaccos to compensate. Otherwise, it runs the risk of being uninteresting and uninspiring. In this case, I find that coild be a little bit more of it and would be perfection.

This blend leans slightly towards its Oriental components, with the typical woody, sour, and subtly sweet notes that characterize Orientals.

As you progress through the bowl, the Orientals may become more pronounced, potentially leading to a touch of harshness depending on your cadence and smoking technique.

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