Ken Byron Ventures King's Ransom: Rich Dark English

A medium-full amount of Latakia (40%) smoothed out by a generous portion of unflavored stoved Virginia with matured red Virginia, Orientals, and a dash of perique.


Brand Ken Byron Ventures
Blended By Ken Byron
Manufactured By Ken Byron Ventures
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging Bulk
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.57 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 11, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
KBV- King’s Ransom

As I’m reading the book The Atlantic, I would like to imagine myself in a time passed that after a long trek at sea, I find myself in a bar and after smoking regular blends, I sit myself at a bar in a foreign port and would light this in my pipe and enjoy the full smoke, flavorful and exotic.

After finding this boutique blender online and after much contemplation, I decided to purchase two ounces of this blend, which arrived in beautiful Mylar bags, and a mason jar lid label.

The smokiness was apparent upon breaking the seal on this blend, the blend was dried well and would no doubt smoke well upon initial opening, but with following in habit I let it dry out for another 20 minutes prior to lighting.

Upon first light I got a smokiness due to the 40% Latakia, but it was equally met with tangy tart sweet VA’s that perfect mix of brisket with just enough bbq sauce to not overpower the smokiness and allow the sweetness to mix well.

The orientals round out and bring some sour flavors to add a nice contrast and allow the VA’s to showcase, almost like orange juice, the orientals appear about mid bowl, the Perique is there but never full pepper, and likely add to the sweetness of the VA’s.

The nicotine content is medium, lights easily and flavor is medium, a blend to smoke if you want to learn to pick out components of blends.

Overall not an everyday smoke, but a fantastic blend, truly something to be savored if your inclined to a late night smoke.

Pipe Used: Bones Dublin, Rossi author
Age When Smoked: Fresh
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
I'll make this simple, as I firmly believe "one's palate is one's palate", and you like what you like, and with almost 43 years of enjoying pipes and pipe tobacco, this a fine blend and I like it. No lengthy descriptions, or "reminds me of...", nope, just a damn good smoke in every aspect imho.
Pipe Used: MM Cob, Peterson and Neerup briars.
PurchasedFrom: Ken Byron Ventures
Age When Smoked: Fresh (just received it)
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 04, 2019 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The smoky, woody, earthy, musty sweet Cyprian Latakia is the lead component, comprising forty percent of the blend. The stoved Virginia provides a lot of sugary tangy stewed fruit, wood, earth, bread, and some tangy dark fruit as an important supporting player. By effect and not percentage, the mildly buttery sweet, fairly sour, dry, woody, earthy, herbal, floral, smoky, very spicy Orientals almost equals the stoved Virginia, and occasionally surpasses it by a razor’s edge. The tangy, dark fruity, earthy, woody, lightly sugary and spicy, bready, slightly vinegary red Virginia helps the stoved Virginia in taming some of roughness of the Latakia and Orientals as well as adding some complexity. The raisiny, plummy, figgy, earthy, woody perique has a stewed fruit quality to it. The spice from the perique gets a little crowded out by the Orientals. Overall, the perique minutely underscores the experience. The strength is a step past the medium mark, while the taste level is a rung beyond that. The nic-hit almost reaches the medium threshold. Won’t bite or get harsh. Barely has any rough edges. Well balanced and complex, it burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with a deeply rich, mostly consistent sweet, spicy and savory flavor that translates to the moderately lingering after taste. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. The room note has a little pungency. Not quite an all day smoke, but it is repeatable. Three and a half stars.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 18, 2020 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant
This is an outstanding smoke. Opening the bag you would think it would be overwhelming with Latakia, with it’s very smoky aroma! So I thought! It’s perfectly balanced with Latakia, Virginia and Orientals, but it is pleasantly slightly sweet and well balanced with the Latakia and orientals, mild on a nicotine hit and I tried to freight train it to get some bite as a test, but not happening! Its a very mellow smoke that can be had anytime and the room note is definitely pleasant! Great job KB!!
Pipe Used: Eldritch Slenderman
PurchasedFrom: Ken Byron Ventures
Age When Smoked: New
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 22, 2020 Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
First things first Did Mike and Mary McNeil let Ken in on a few house secrets??? Because if you're planning on finding a McClelland substitute, this is probably the closest thing out at the moment. How did he doooooo it?????

Pouch aroma is a sweet smoky aroma, with that awesome sour tang. ships on the moist side, but have no fear, not many relights here!

Initial lighting is easy; light tamp light. Oh my is this heavenly!! First half offers up deep, rich flavors of leather and woodsy smoke, sweet bread notes, and a very minor touch of sour. Touch and go bursts of sweetness that I enjoy immensely. The Orientals are very fragrant in here, and meld well into the other components. Second half the latakia, along with the Perique really come forward. The blend isn't held up by a lot of backbone, but the complexity and perfect balance does it for me. Bravo Ken! Bravo!
Pipe Used: several
Age When Smoked: Fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 24, 2022 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable
Ken Byron Ventures - King’s Ransom - This blend reminds me of the way McClelland did their English blends . 40- 50 Pct.seems to be about the right amount of Latakia for an English or Balkan blends for my tastes at least . The Latakia of course leads and the stoved Virginias with the matured Virginia and Perique give it that vinegary BBQ hit . Personally i would prefer more Oriental spice and sour savoriness but that is not what I think this blend was after . It is very well done though and if you miss McClelland then this may work well for you . I like the sweet dark fruit that you get plenty of here . Medium strength and low nicotine. 3 1/2
Age When Smoked: Fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 17, 2023 Mild None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
This is a rich and full smoke. If you like a good thick English blend, with a great deal of heavy dark and incensey goodness , youll love this. I would have to say it is very similar to fusilier's ration, which I consider to be one of the very best English blends ever created. It may be 40% latakia, but it certainly is not a lat bomb. This is a big soft and comforting English. May even be a good blend to transition into English blends with. It is mellow, but massively flavorful. All of the components are very easy to identify and prominent. This reminds me of 965, but mellower. It reminds me of nightcap, but less mysterious. Tiny sips produce nice puffs of smoke. This tobacco is easy. Is it an all day smoke? Absolutely, if you're the type of guy who likes to smoke English all day. I think KBV has a real gift for producing perfectly proportioned and nicely streamlined blends. This is no exception. All of the components come together in such perfect harmony that it seems like nothing short of magic. Char it, retamp lightly, light it again.. and you are set. This stuff reaches its peak rather quickly, and holds it throughout almost the entire bowl. As usual, sipping will pay big rewards. But not required. Like I said this stuff is very easy to have a good smoke with. To the proper English smoker, this stuff seems like an indulgence. Almost playful, and something you're not allowed to have all the time. Comparing this to Goblin city (also produced by KBV) is almost hilarious. Because these two blends are so far apart on the spectrum, yet they are both varieties of proper English. Yet both are absolutely exceptional blends. Someone mentioned that this blend reminds them of an old sailor. I couldn't agree more. This blend seems like something Herman Melville would have written about.
Pipe Used: Cobs
PurchasedFrom: KBV
Age When Smoked: New
0 people found this review helpful.
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