G. L. Pease Kensington

Kensington is a Balkan style blend with restraint. Bright and red Virginias are combined with richly flavoured leaf from the Orient and Cyprian Latakia in perfect measure for a wonderfully balanced smoke. Slightly sweeter than Charing Cross, and not quite as full due to a more delicate hand with the Latakia. Spicy, with an occasional suggestion of orange blossom. Complex, but never ponderous. A slightly lighter variant of the classic style.
Notes: Kensington was released in March, 2003.


Brand G. L. Pease
Series Classic Collection
Blended By Gregory Pease
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce tin
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.18 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 57 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 17, 2012 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Update 4/9/14 - My enthusiasm for this blend has not wavered in the last year and a half. In fact, it's deepened. I've smoked a lot of Balkan blends but this one is my absolute favorite. I see no need to chase the long out of production old classics when this one is around. Excellent fresh out of a new tin and gets better as it ages (my oldest tin is 4 years old). Simply a masterwork of Balkan tobacco blending. This Pease fella deserves all the kudos he gets!

Original review

The first thing I noticed was the odd cut of the tobacco. Wide ribbons have never looked so wide, or so...uh... ribbony! But not matter, some slight rubbing out did the trick. Tin nose was of orientals with latakia in the background.

There has been discussions of whether or not the "balkan" designation is actually meaningful. I've engaged in those debates myself. But calling this a "latakia blend" doesn't really describe it well. Balkan is the only term that fits. This is a very spicy concoction, as the orientals are way out front. But there's no shortage of latakia here - for my tastes, anyway. This is indeed a balkan with restraint. I love the taste of Charing Cross but I find it too overwhelming at times. This one fits at any time, and every time. The flavor is spicy with just a hint of sweetness, and some nice latakia smokiness. The nature of this one is balance but it is so different from Meridian, another GLP that sings the balance tune. What I love about this one is what I also love about Picadilly - the two blends make their statement but don't overstay their welcome. They have a sharp attack (the initial flavor burst) and a quick and pleasant decay (the 'finish'). The flavor did show some youthful zeal rather than a mature focus, but that was part of its charm.

If it seems like I'm passe about this one, let me be clear. This is probably the finest balkan blend I've ever smoked, bar none. Greg has captured the essence of old Sobranie without mimicry. He has absolutely nailed the balkan genre, if that name means anything to you. Not too much, not too little, but just spot on. I smoked from 2 tins that were about 3 months old. This stuff improves? I find that intriguing but I can certainly wait, as this blend is perfect as it is. It took me quite awhile to figure this out, but Greg Pease deserves all the hype he has accumulated. This guy is an absolute blending genius.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 08, 2013 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
GLP Kensington is my idea of a true Balkan, meaning ample Latakia that is balanced and somewhat shaded by Turkish/Orientals, with stout Virginias sounding the chorus, and plenty of smoke. Kensington strikes this balance from soon after the tin is popped, through smoking it, and it includes some GLP "tricks" that I've learned to appreciate.

A young, popped tin smells Lat forward, like most Balkans. After a few minutes a peat-y smell and the Oriental spices come up, along with what smells to me like some partly fermented VAs. The ribbons are rough and it doesn't hurt to rub them out and dry them. This is how I started with this blend, and it results in a nice, "medium" Balkan, with ample spice, plenty of smoke and a smooth, lingering aftertaste. I've also tried drying the ribbons without rubbing them but simply loading them loosely into the pipe vertically. This results in a stronger, "sharper" and more complex smoke that remains in a Balkan profile. Prepared either way the Latakia (or the topping...) is of the "incense" variety, and this incense lingers through the smoke. A somehow-smooth bitter/sour note contrasts very nicely with the developing VA sweetness. Those sensitive to "Turkish spice" are advised to take it easy to avoid getting too much of it. Likewise, based on feedback over the years, I try to protect others from the secondhand Turkish smoke, even though it smells great to me.

Kensington is for me very close to my favorite (full) Balkan, Compton's of Galashiels (Balkan). The latter is deeper and more "integrated". The former strikes a somewhat "higher" note and - especially dried but un-rubbed - it features GLP's signature interplay and counterpoint amongst the constituent tobaccos. Both are 4 stars IMO.
Pipe Used: various
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: pretty young
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2004 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Appearance: A ribbon cut consisting of about 50% lighter leaf, and the remainder medium and dark.

Aroma: A nice aroma of lighter Orientals predominates, with a decent , but not excessive quatity of Latakia. The Virginia component seems to stay in the background.

Packing: Packs easily into a wide range of pipe sizes.

Lighting: Lights easily, just a charring light, tamp and relight.

Initial flavor: Much like the aroma, there is a spicy tang, with some sweet smokey overlay. Definitely Cyprian Latakia. The Virginias seem to be the tangy lemon variety, rather than the darker reds that I usually enjoy.

Mid-bowl: A nice complex rray of flavors, with nuances and layers. Never seems to achieve the level of taste I like, but nevertheless quite pleasing. Burns easily, maybe too easily, as it can get hot if you don?t exercise patience in your puffing.

Finish: Stays dry right to the end,

Summary: This is a ?Balkan with restraint?, in that the Orientals are the dominant players, but it is not at all a heavy blend. In fact, it is for me a Mild/Medium blend, almost a Breakfast Blend. All the flavors I expect are there, but in a lighter, more toned down version. Perhaps this is Charing Cross lite.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 30, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
The Virginias are citrus sweet with some earth and grass, and minor tangy, dark fruit notes. They provide a base for the other components. The Cyprian latakia is smoky, woody, earthy, and sweet, and mostly plays second fiddle to the Orientals, which are smoky, woody, earthy, dry with a fair amount of spice, and a bit of floralness. The strength is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium. The taste is medium. Has a mild nic-hit. Burns cool and clean at a moderate rate with a consistent flavor, and no issues besides needing a few relights, and a couple of dull spots near the finish. Leaves just a little moisture in the bowl. Won't bite, but has a few rough edges. Has a decent after taste. Not quite an all day smoke. Two and a half stars.

10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 06, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable
Gosh I hate to say it, but I was quite disappointed in this blend. The first thing that struck me when I opened the tin was the near total lack of pungency and earthy smell of high quality pipe tobacco. That is to say, the smokey latakia that most of us are familar with was very feint and almost non-existent. In fact, this blend is by far the least pungent of any pipe tobacco I have ever tried. Remember, smell has everything to do with perceived taste.

The cut of this blend was very rough and - almost chunky like. Many very lightly colored Virginias with a small quantity of darker leaves. There are so many light tobacco leaves in this blend that it would make you believe that you are about to smoke something like a drug store variety. In fact, it even looks that way to me. It was very difficult to keep lit for some reason, even though I air dried it appropriately.

The latakia tastes very good, but at the same time you get this cigarette flavor along with it - reminiscent of licking the ashes out of an ashtray ( no , I haven't actually licked an ashtray mind you, but I think this is what it would most likely taste like ).

As noted by a previous reviewer, there is a tingly zesty sensation on the palate that isn't quite tongue bite - but it is definately not a wanted attribute.

Perhaps the Virginas are young. But I am unable to date the free sample that I got from C&D ( which is much appreciated ), as it came in a small zip-lock type bag.

In conclusion, I have tried my best to be impartial and without prejudice. Mr. Pease cannot be perfect all the time, and unfortunately, I feel this is one of his least desirable blends. I give this blend 2 stars only because the latakia is of good quality.

Mr. Pease, you can please some of the people some of the time. But you cannot please all the people all of the time. I hope that you are not personally offended.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I enjoy the complexity of this blend. Well balanced and flavorful. Like the label says- not ponderous. The flavors are easily recognizeable and work together very well. One of those blends where everything complements the other components nicely.

The taste is very much a light balkan after you get it going. The smoke is heavy and thick like a balkan should be however.

I don't really notice the latakia's smokiness a lot until at least half bowl- It is there in a supporting role mostly. The flavor develops nicely and finishes good as well.

This is good for the times abdingdon and caravan are just too much. So I consider this a good daytime smoke or when you want something just a little different.

The presentation and moisture are great also. Almost dry. I have found that it goes well in a savinelli 104 for me. Some of you think thats a small pipe fot this I'm sure. It does run all the bases for me.

I reccomend this to a balkan fan wanting something to get them through the day or for when something that is not overpowering is desired.

Really it is good anytime for me. Definitley will be ordeing more in bigger tins.

Be warned however this tobacco is highly addictive(I mean that in a nice way as I love the devil leaf) and withdrawl can be unpleasent. Seriously, not having this leads to irritability, frustration, longing for more, and finally a call to c&d to get more.

Update: Still 4 stars but I now prefer Charing Cross over this. Kensington has a bit more sweetness than I would prefer but it is a very well done blend.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 07, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant
I tend to be very biased to GL Pease tobaccos - everyone I had since, were enjoyable. Indeed, some more than others.

On the nose: When opening the tin, you are greeted with a wonderful array of tobacco colours - light brown, creamy to brown to dark chocolatty black. Rough cut. Moist. A clear earthy smell with a bitterness (or lemony maybe) strikingly evident. At first not very pleasant. Further nosing, the spicynes (cloves?) become evident.

On the palate: The earthy tones are evident again with the spicy tones coming through. Unfortunately, the bitter / sour note is also noticeable. If you're looking for a sweet note - I couldn't find any.

Overall, not my favorite - indeed a balkan blend with restraint. But that is a personal taste - as you know by now, I'm a bold Latakia / Oriental lover. So although Mr Pease does create great blends, this one to my taste spectrum is just a bit insipid. Pleasant room note though.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Sigla
PurchasedFrom: 4Noggins
Age When Smoked: Young
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 04, 2012 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Definitely a Balkan (sweet orientals dominate). Kind of like a lat heavy EMP or chelsea morning. Good for any time and i enjoy this after dinner on my walk. As always with GLP, premium tobacco beautifully presented. It took a little while to fully understand this blend but towards the end of the tin i have decided to order a couple of big tins as this is really good stuff.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2011 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I'm a big fan of medium English blends. A few puffs after the charing light, Kensington brings the Orientals and the blend quickly develops into a nice medium blend. I have two issues with the blend. The first being that it can be a bit sharp. Too many of GL Pease blends simply seem to young for my taste. The second issue is the cut. I find that it isn't the easiest cut to work with and needs to be rubbed out. I was able to get my hands on a four year old tin and it was simply terrific. Kensington maintained its spicyness while bringing a sweet, smooth, more full tasting blend to the palate. Fans of Pease English tobacco's should give this one a try. Personally, I'm seeking some aged tins. Two and a half stars.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 26, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
While I mourned the demise of Dunhill pipe tobacco, I decided to look at the bright side: the excitement of exploring other tobaccos. I was quite loyal to this brand and rarely ventured into new tobaccos. My basic rotation consisted of Dunhill's EMP, Standard Mixture (med.), #965 and occasionally Nightcap. I also would frequent some nice oriental and virginia blends from McClelland... and still do.

After some disappointing experiences with some of Rattray's blends and other English/Balkan brands, a dear friend recommended G.L. Pease tobaccos. I purchased Piccadilly, Kensington and Charing Cross: in a word, "Wow!" These tobaccos are absolutely fabulous! They have completely replaced my love of Dunhill tobaccos; and are now ensconced in my rotation.

Kensington has taken the place of EMP and Standard Mixture. It can be smoked at any time of the day. With my morning coffee or Earl Grey tea, I often reach for Kensington or Piccadilly. The orientals and virginias are in the foreground and the latakia is subtly in the background. This blend can be smoked in any size pipe with equal satisfaction. The first half of the bowl is tantalizingly good and sets the stage for a fantastic finish. The second half of the bowl is pure wonder! Each time I finish I always look forward to my next pipeful.

This blend has become my pipe tobacco anchor. When I desire the pepperiness of perique I turn to Piccadilly; and when the time calls for more latakia, I reach for Charing Cross. Currently, these three blends meet about 85% of my tobacco needs. The other 15% I'm pleased to say I'm still exploring to fill.
7 people found this review helpful.
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