G. L. Pease Charing Cross

Charing Cross is a traditional Balkan style blend of fine Virginia leaf, richly seasoned with smoky Cyprian latakia, and spiced with the exquisite and exotic tobaccos of the Orient. This is the one for latakia lovers. Hints of roasted cocoa beans, orange zest, green pepper and campfires. This is the big one - fuller than Blackpoint, and a little less sweet.
Notes: Charing Cross 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


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

Average Rating

3.29 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 111 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 28, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The Oriental/Turkish are very earthy, herbal, vegetative, woody, with some spice, and a hint of sourness. They often takes the lead. The Cyprian Latakia is smokey, earthy, musty and woodsy as a supporting player that adds depth and complexity to the blend. The Virginias are moderate, but important players. The bright Virginia offers light tart and tangy citrus with a touch of grass, floralness, sugar and earth. The woody, bready, earthy, tangy, sugary dark fruitiness from the stoved red Virginia plays well with the dry notes from the Orientals/Turkish, helping to create a sweet and savory mixture. I notice the Orientals and Turkish more after the half way point. The strength is medium, while the taste is a couple of steps past that mark. The nic-hit is a couple of slots past the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh, but it does sport a few small rough edges. Burns cool and clean at a moderate rate with a fairly consistent sweet, mildly spicy and savory flavor from start to finish. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste. The room note is a tad stronger. It's almost an all day smoke for the experienced smoker. Some liken it to the older Balkan Sobranie, but as a thirty year veteran Sobranie smoker, I do not share that opinion. On its own merits, it's a very tasty Balkan blend with a lot going for it. Deserves three and a half stars.

47 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 07, 2010 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
May as well get this one in now while I'm thinking about it. I've thought of little else lately!

Mr Pease apparently feels his Odyssey is his "biggest" tobacco in this series. I've never smoked that one but if it's bigger than this one, it'll be too big for me! This one is gargantuan... humongous.... gigantic... elephantine...! That's to say it is a robust, hugely flavorful and intense smoke. It's almost to the point of "flavor overload", yet it's also nuanced if the smoker can draw his attention away from the obvious. The cut of this is all over the map and the moisture content was perfect upon opening the tin. Drying out further elicted no improvements. The orientals and latakia played nicely with the virginia, but this was no democracy. The Eastern leaf ruled! And it did so with a smoky, leathery, toasty SHOVE but of the friendly variety, like one among the best of buddies. A lover of latakia will certainly find this blend compatible but the oriental fan will not mourn the absence of his favorite condiment. The various components have been blended so harmoniously and yet it was like mixing my two favorite heavy taste indulgences.... like pouring single malt scotch into my high octane chili (and yeah, I'm gonna try that!). Is there really such a phenomenon as "too much of a good thing? I find the idea dubious at best.

Burley lovers, stay away! If you like a wisp of latakia with your golden VA, forget this one. But if you want a mouth-filling ZING that comes with every puff and you love to be excited by your tobacco (and you like middle-eastern leaf in large quantities), never eat another porterhouse steak with a Guiness Stout without following it up with this fantastic tobacco. There are many tobaccos that make the smoker say "Wow, this is an excellent tobacco!". There are few that demand a screaming response like "HO-LEEEEE CRAP, this is a good smoke!". This one fell... er... no, it POUNCED into the latter camp. 🙂
31 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 19, 2013 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
My "go to" Balkan blend. Sets the standard by which I judge all others. The Latakia in this blend hits all the right spots for me. Can't recommend this any higher.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 28, 2013 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
This is one of my very favorites when I feel like something substantial after a good meal in the evening. To me, the Latakia is balanced perfectly with the very present Orientals-- this one has a certain "old world" Balkan character that brings back memories of a certain old white tin. With anything this full though, you have to pay attention, pack well and smoke well to get the maximum enjoyment out of it. Not the sort of thing you stick in your face for cleaning the garage or yardwork. I think this blend is full of nuance, but you have to sit, relax and allow it to take you on it's journey.
20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 10, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Strong
To my mind, you can basically split English/Balkan blends into two camps: sweet or savory. Sweet blends include Maltese Falcon, Odyssey, Larry's Blend, Plum Pudding, and quite a few others. The savory ones include things like Westminster, Nightcap, Quiet Nights, Squadron Leader….and Charing Cross.

When I light up a bowl of this I think of olives, charcoal, eggplant, red wine, and any number of earthy flavors and aromas. Although latakia is one of the primary flavors, it never really dominates the smoke and the virginias barely even whisper. Instead, the focus seems to be on the orientals. This provides a tremendous amount of complexity, enough in fact to make it one of the most complex blends I've ever sampled. So complex, even, that it tastes somewhat off-balance to me, although I'm sure it turned out exactly as Pease wanted it. This is a very nice blend, but it's not my cup of tea -- I prefer my latakia mixtures to have a lot more sweetness.

Also, for what it's worth, Charing Cross is probably the closest thing on the market today to the original Balkan Sobranie White.

A couple of years ago, an acquaintance of mine on one of the many pipe-related internet sites sent out generous samples of Balkan Sobranie from the early 1970s. In return for this generous gift, he wanted us to also sample Charing Cross and then compare the two. He had concluded, after many years and many experiments, that CC was the closest thing to the original BS available. Although we recognized there would be difficulties making comparisons to a blend that had aged for nearly two generations, we all pretty much agreed that CC was almost eerily similar to the venerable BS. So, if you are wanting to get a sense of what that legendary product was like, then have a go at Charing Cross.

So, in light of that revelation, why don't I award this one four stars? As I said, it might well be a dead ringer for the old BS but that observation only serves to reinforce my belief that BS wasn't really all it's cracked up to be. I suppose that if I had been smoking in 1971 and BS was the only mixture of its type on the market, then I might well have considered it to be some kind of earthly nirvana. As it stands today, however, I greatly prefer Odyssey, Maltese Falcon, Magnum Opus, and several other mixtures to both Charing Cross and Balkan Sobranie (for the record, I've tried several other more recent vintages and have been even less impressed).

So, for me at least, this is a three star blend. The quality of the leaf and the skill that went into it probably warrant four stars if you are fond of this type of latakia blend, but it's not one I plan on ever buying again.

YMMV, of course!
Pipe Used: Meer
PurchasedFrom: Does anyone really care?
Age When Smoked: 1 year
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 03, 2019 Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Strong
Simply put: this has to be one of the best English/Balkan blends out there. It truly is outstanding. Richer and stronger than Westminster, not as complex but fuller than Maltese Falcon, it just stops short from reaching the sturdy headiness of Gaslight (and in my view, more enjoyable). Though present and solid, the Virginias tend to remain in the background, while the Latkia takes on the Orientals in an epic interplay of flavors. A true Game of Thrones which the Latakia most definitely wins.

For my palate this is an evening smoke, for that time when all business is over and one is peacefully left alone with a single malt and Vaughn William's The Lark Ascending. Chapeau indeed.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Chestnut
PurchasedFrom: Joshua Ward
Age When Smoked: N/A
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2010 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Pease Pilgrimage Reviews (a tasting journey through every GLPease blend) Tin date: 11/10/08

The word that comes to mind is toasty. I don't know if this is a different type of oriental leaf than Abingdon or Odyssey, or if it's just the way it's blended with the other leaf. It seems to have quite a lot of Oriental leaf, giving it a good Oriental zing. Normally I don't like Oriental overload, but this toasty thing is intriguing.

I'm looking forward to tasting this more later this week in a couple different pipes. Right now, I'd say that this blend holds lots of promise. It might even outrank Abingdon...

UPDATE: After exploring three of Pease's big English blends, I am coming to the conclusion that these first four are all quite similar. I have not yet reviewed Westminster, but I've smoked a tin of it last year, and I remember that it, like Charing Cross, Odyssey, and Abingdon are all quite Oriental-forward blends using quality weed. I like them all, but it seems choosing a favorite would be a finesse thing, the only real difference being the strength of the Oriental leaf on the blend. So far, if I had to choose a fave, it would be solely based on how much spice (Oriental leaf) am I in the mood for today? Looking forward to trying Charing Cross in a couple more pipes, especially a meer.

UPDATE: Just had all three - Abingdon, Odyssey and Charing Cross - back to back in a small pipe, about fifteen minutes each. That's the best way for me to remember exactly how each one compares. Same opinion as before: all three have a significant Oriental component and all three have quite a few similarities. The reason for this post is to set apart Odyssey as the richer more enjoyable blend of the three in my personal opinion.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 25, 2003 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is Blackpoint with some muscle and backbone. More Balkan in taste thanks to the marvelous Oriental components, and quite heavy on the Latakia.

I should think additional aging will make this one terrific. If you have smoked Balkan Sobranie, then that should give you an idea of what Charring Cross is like. I do find the Pease blend to be more refined, less sweet, and certainly more powerful.

My advice, purchase a tin to smoke now and an additional 5 or 10 to age a few years.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 18, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
G. L. Pease - Charing Cross.

It contains many different colours of ribbon, yellow, black, brown; the brown ones account for the majority of it. The unlit note suggests a blend that's potent with Latakia and Orientals. The moisture scores 10/10.

The Latakia and Orientals work wonderfully which one another, smoky, woody, hearty, and very flavoursome. The Virginia gives lesser flavour than these, but the smoke gets a poke of freshness from it. Charing Cross makes clouds of cool smoke, without a bite to be had. It burns well, requiring only the occasional tamp, and rarely a relight.

Nicotine: above medium. Room-note: I quite like it.

Charing Cross? Not a blend for the beginner, but a fairly heady one making it more suited to the seasoned smoker. Four stars:

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Ramazan Lee Van Cleef Rep'
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: 12/13/17
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 29, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
UPDATE: 11/20. This tobacco may be the best Balkan there is. Now I need to clarify this statement. I am not sure where a Balkan begins and an English ends. With that said, this is the best in some genre. I am smoking a 2016 tin and flavors just get better and better. Orientals age well, so do top shelf VA's. Latakia is supposed to dull, and maybe it does, but it is sure here in spades. The creamy sweetness is still here but the woody and spicy orientals on a bed of sweet, earthy Virginia's . I will say my updated review has an added note on the finish. The leathery, buttery qualities linger on the palate, making this a favorite after a great meal. This is a gold medal tobacco. Buy and cellar as much as you can. You will miss this if it disappears. This has one of the best tin notes in the Balkan world! Every time I reach for this tobacco I can hardly wait to stick my nose into the tin/jar. Latakia did you say? Upon opening you get hit with creosote, campfire, pine tar and some woody/sour notes. It is unrivaled. The smoke itself is a Balkan delight. I love the malty flavor of Balkan blends and this one is a Latakia powerhouse but that is not all it has to offer. The Orientals are first rate. When you start this smoke you are greeted with smokey and sweet Cyprian Latakia, This to me is a great way to start!. As you get to the 1/4 mark you get the Orientals, woody and spicy. The maltiness that I love starts around this point. This is where the Virginia's and Orientals tame the Latakia and provide the wonderful malted milk ball like flavor I love. This blend provides that but it is darker and richer than most other Balkan blends. The orientals also have a nice spicy flavor to them and the woodiness is really brought out on the retrohale. This is one of the best Balkan's I have smoked, definitely top 5.
Pipe Used: Briar's and cobs
PurchasedFrom: B&M
Age When Smoked: 2 years +
9 people found this review helpful.
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