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 11 - 20 of 57 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 18, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Short story - Kensington has become one of my favorite blends. It's a good blend that becomes great with age and one that could be smoked all day long. Four of four.

Longer story - My first tin of this is from the middle of 2003, so it's nearly five years old. That's the basis of this review.

Kensington's label is pretty much accurate - a Balkan blend with restraint. For me, latakia blends tend to fall on a spectrum of sweet to smoky, with something like Maltese Falcon or Odyssey on the sweet end and something like Abingdon or Charing Cross on the smokier end. This tends towards smoky, but not so much as Charing Cross. I kind of view Kensington as Charing Cross Light - good flavor but not quite as big, and maybe a bit more complex.

Anyway, I found a few of the old tall tins of this stuff at Iwan Ries a while ago and bought two of them though I had never smoked it before. I cracked the first one and am just now finishing it. This is an all day sort of Balkan-light blend, comparable to Ashbury but a bit bigger. You could say that this is the result of Ashbury and Charing Cross being mixed together. Shoot, between those three blends, my latakia needs would be mostly covered. Kensington occupies the middle ground without being boring, has enough flavor to matter but not enough to overpower like Charing Cross can, burns well, and has those beautiful small-cut leaves that burn so well.

I've had a few bowls of fresher Kensington, too, and it's quite good. But with a bit of age, it starts to meld together really well. I've been buying old tins of this when I find them and this is one blend that I plan to have a built-up stock of old tins, because it is that good.

If you're looking for a milder Balkan, look no further than Kensington. This is about as good as it gets. Highly, highly recommended.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 20, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I have tried a number of Greg Pease's blends and while I have great respect for the quality and complexity of flavor he is able to achieve, I did not find any that I really cared for until now. This blend features more contribution from the Orientals than any of the others I have had from Mr. Pease and lately, I have been enjoying orientals more. The balance of strength and complex flavors make this a blend I feel I must pay attention to as there is so much going on.

The tin I have is 18 months old and in perfect condition, with just the right moisture level.

The blend has excellent burning characteristics and provides an ever changing panoply of flavors keeping the smoker's attention constantly throughout the bowl.

I believe this blend is destined to become legendary.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 30, 2010 Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable
I did not find this to be a well-balanced blend. Good flavor, good burning qualities, but the various elements of the smoke experience come too strongly to the forefront on occasion, to the extent it is distraction. Samarra takes it over this blend all day long. Kensington also lacks smoothness and has a tendency to occasionally spike up and bite. This will not work its way into my rotation.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 27, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
If your a Latakia Drip Lover- Read no further..... This is for you smokers out there who, Like me, like a balanced tasteful, easy on the latakia mix. I went out for my Birthday to Bruce's Pipe shop in Ashville (which by the way is a wonderful place) and found a tin of Kensington from early 04. That in itself should have been enough to inspire me, but I had recently been pointed toward this blend by the Dark One, who knows of my sensitivity toward heavy englishes- as a possible smoke of interest. On popping the tin I immediatly got the smell of fermenting virginias- Like canned fruit....Glorious...I packed a bowl in a KW Shell Poker and away I went. The Charlight was an immediate taste of sweetness....spiced figs sitting around a Cedar fire at night.....The burn quality was perfect right out of the tin....Tamp and more sweetness....This is what its about.....This just hit my rotation like Muhamad Ali in his prime on RedBull.....This is like sipping a fine port....Sweet and rich....To the bottom of the bowl its magnificent. It never got bitter or dirty toward the bottom, and just ash and a dry bowl were the remnants. Just prior to this- I cleaned Smoking pipes out of their 2 oz tins. I can't recommend this enough. The word restraint in the description I think was a poor choice. The only restraint I see is a light hand at the smokey stuff- And thats not a bad thing for some of us.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 22, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Will this be my holy grail? Will it stop all the fun searching for the perfect tobacco? Right strength, sweet to the right point, latakia as it used to be ,read Balkan Sobranie, beautiful at the opening, burns well and so on and so forth. The strength missing in Piccadilly, the sweetness I wished in abingdon ... Definitely a real 4 stars. Peace of mind?

Update 2021 some years later. I slowly abandoning GLP as have discovered the beauty of traditional English mixtures and flakes. Still must admit that GLP tobaccos are close but not the real McCoy. Switched without regrets to Squadron Leader and Skiff .
Pipe Used: Dunhill 1 and 2
PurchasedFrom: CH
Age When Smoked: 2019
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 07, 2019 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
I'm not a GL Pease fan, really, I seldom smoke a Pease blend and think "Wow, this is art."

This is art.

In a world where a) "Balkan Blend" has no real clear meaning, and b) there are a hundred dozen utterly mediocre, nondescript, "English Light" blends, this is one of a very few that offer something stunning. Now I like me some orientals, and again, there are only a handful of blends that really stand out in this genre - Durbar, Presbyterian, King Charles Mixture. And they stand out by a country mile by being balanced, delicious, never tiring, ... exhilarating if you will.

Kensington joins these in my books, and that's saying something. In a world where flake is king, this is ribbons. In a world of Dunhill clones, this out-Dunhills Dunhill (without being a copy of anything in particular). Forget the usual Haiku-ish nonsense of the tin description - for once it does not go nearly far enough, does not do justice to the sly spice, the perfect sweet counterpoint of the virginias, and the "just barely there" latakia. This is not a heavy-handed blend, there is no attempt here to be the biggest, strongest, filthiest, spiciest. Instead, this is perfectly harmonized sweetness, smoke, and spice. Just delicious.

This is what pipe smoking can be, my friends. This is the pinnacle, where you are lost in a cloud of pure delight. Four stars, and tins ordered. If there is "serious" tobacco, this is of that ilk.
Age When Smoked: fresh
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 01, 2014 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Dried to about 13-14%: All of the surprisingly large cast of characters in this play work together well, there is no leading rôle and all of the players are on stage for the duration. It is not who they are, but what they are doing that holds our attention, the play of light and shadow is captivating as one scene modulates steadily to the next and we find ourselves asking again and again, "What are they doing now?" and shake our heads yet again, "Wow... no kidding..."

It is about mid-bowl that the wonderful floral citrus elements appear. Have they been there all along? Or are we just noticing them now? The smoke becomes softer than at the offset and offers even more as aspect after aspect unfolds. This is more than just plain good. This play is music, articulated softly and released slowly in its own good time, by fire. Don't pump the bellows. The rattle and wheeze will obscure some of the voices. Just listen quietly and let it sing. Like twilight in northerly latitudes on the summer solstice, the glow persists. Long. And then, ever so slowly, unnoticably, extinguishes. Eventually we realize: it is dark. There is no curtain call. Only applause.

And though it didn't have a single tune that you could whistle afterward, or a plot you could retell, you will never forget the show.

'Kensington' by G.L. Pease. Tickets on sale now at a tobacconist near you.

Highly recommended.

For a better description, check out G.L. Pease's in his Briar and Leaf Chronicles: http://glpease.com/BriarAndLeaf/?p=35
Pipe Used: Several, reserved for Latakia/Orientals/Va blends
Age When Smoked: 6 years old, tinned 2008
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 13, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
I agree with Marshall Law's review below. This one seemed a bit harsh to me, especially in comparison with other Pease blends such as Chelsea Morning or Charing Cross that offer a creamy sort of smoke. I do like the spicy orientals in this blend, but there's something less than smooth about them. Similar, I thought, to Pease's Ashbury, but not as citrusy, smooth, or balanced overall.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 24, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Pease Pilgrimage Reviews (a tasting journey through every GLPease blend) Tin date: March 2006

Appearance: Kensington, Caravan and Picadilly are very similar in appearance, darkish with a similar assortment of olive-colored, golden and black leaf.

Aroma: My sample is somewhat dryer than normal, being a gifted tin that had been opened then stuck in a mason jar. It's prefectly smokable, but the dryness robs some of the aroma. It's a typical Balkan nose, with not much Latakia, a little sweetness and some musty dryness.

Pipe 1: Peterson dublin Pipe 2: Nording Signature freehand Pipe 3: Meer bent billiard

Flavor: This is a really good Balkan blend, but not my favorite. Some swear by it, and if you're a lover of spicy orientals this is a four star blend for you. I do like this better than EMP. It has more flavor, more spiciness, more character.

A bit monodimensional, Kensington is less complex than the last two entries (Caravan and Blackpoint), on purpose probably, as Greg's goal is a “Balkan with restraint.” That it is, and if you like mild-to-medium Balkans with a big emphasis on the Oriental leaf and not much Latakia, you'll love this one.

The bowl progresses very consistently, as it starts off spicy and ends spicy. It is also quite consistent in different pipes. From meer to freehand, it was a consistent, spicy, slightly toasty smoke with a nice room note. But it's just not spectacular. Easily and all-day smoke for those who like this style, but I favor more richness and more complexity.

Although construction and blending are impeccable, I give it three stars because it did not raise my eyebrows.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 24, 2005 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
As yet another balkan variant, this thoughtful blending of leaves burns easily, leaving a fragrant signature that hints of both the balance and complexity revealed by the rituals of the smoke. No heavy presence here but instead, a wonderfully light essence that does not portend to be some rigid attempt at perfection, but demonstrates a more lively spirit. A slow approach is recommended as this proper presentation of earthly delight is not to be rushed. In the symphony of balkan blends, this is the flute - always light and airy while displaying full range of discourse. I've no problem in recommendation without reservation to anyone wishing to enjoy more of the balkan dynamic experience.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a Fischer Meerschaum
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