Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Balkan Mixture

(3.17)
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. takes the finest Virginia tobacco and dark fire-cured tobacco from India and expertly blends them with Latakia to give the smoker a unique taste and aroma for this Balkan Mixture.

Details

Brand Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blended By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Manufactured By Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Mixture
Packaging 50 grams tin, bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available

Profile

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

Average Rating

3.17 / 4
57

33

25

6

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 121 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 11, 2023 Medium None Detected Full Strong
Smell: Distinctive good smell of mixtures with a good portion of Latakia. Not overwhelming, but definitely rich, complex and tempting.

Taste: Latakia-oriented. Latakia is well mixed with the other components, resulting in a delicious blend. Very flavorful and satisfying indeed. I do not detect any particular spiciness from the orientals (maybe to be expected for a balkan blend?), but the spectrum of flavors is far from boring.

Ratio Smell/Taste: The smell from the tin reflects very well in the smoke. Maybe the taste gives a little more sweetness than you might expect from the smell. It may be subjective though.

Moisture: Almost ready to be smoked. Maybe a few minutes for drying is not bad.

Filter: Without.

Ghosting: Mild.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 24, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Strong
I read somewhere that this blend was commissioned by Weller's Tobacconist in Surrey to fill the gap in the market caused by the disappearance of Balkan Sobranie's Original Mixture. I don't know how many recreations we now have of that tobacco, but I hope people continue to experiment. I seem to enjoy most of them, perhaps because I don't care whether or not they're faithful to the original.

G&H Balkan Mixture is a very enjoyable tobacco. I find it somewhat reminiscent of Esoterica's Margate. It's medium-full, with plenty of Virginia sweetness in the background supporting a moderate amount of smoky Latakia and creamy Orientals. The Latakia is mouth-coating and somewhat blunt, but the other tobaccos are elegant enough to maintain balance. In the tin, it's a thin ribbon cut, a roughly equal mix of light and dark brown with lesser quantities of black and golden leaf. Tin aroma is dominated by the Latakia—a sweet, musty, smoky quality. The fine cut makes this easy to pack, light, and burn.

I've always been mostly a foul-weather Latakia smoker. I love the heck out of mixtures when it's cold or wet outside, but rarely smoke them when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I've enjoyed this mixture for a few years. But I fell head over heels in love with it last winter. I spent a month living in a hotel room (a 4th floor walk-up with one of the only western-style toilets in town) in a cold, wet, farming village in south-western China. The whole place smelled of creosote and charcoal. I was there over the New Year celebration (endless fireworks) and most of the places I visited were unheated, so people sat around little charcoal fires inside their drafty, cement block homes. My smoking companions were a half pound of BM and a few Falcons. I've traveled a lot, but I don't think I'll ever find a better combination of pipe-tobacco-weather-community-mood, etc. It was utterly sublime.
53 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 13, 2014 Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This has a bare whiff of Lakeland that I noticed only because I was looking for it. The leathery, floral, Cyprian Latakia is smoky, earthy, musty sweet and a bit woodsy as the lead component. The Indian cured leaf is earthy, woody, floral and spicy. It’s just above being a condiment.The Virginias are tart and tangy citrusy, bready, and grassy, and form the base of this blend. I suspect a very mild sweet topping is here because I don't think it's all coming from the components. This is not a very complex English, and though its Latakia-forward, does not reach the level of a lat-bomb. Deserves two and a half stars, but not quite three because there's just too many English mixtures that are similar to this.It sort of reminds me of a sweeter, less grassy Dunhill London Mixture. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh, but does have a few rough edges. Burns at a moderate pace, cool and clean with a mostly consistent, mildly sweet and more savory, floral, spicy flavor that translates the lightly lingering after taste and stronger room note. Relights are few, and leaves just a little moisture in the bowl. Not quite an all day smoke.

-JimInks
28 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 06, 2013 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
I love this blend. It has a unique flavor among the Balkans I have smoked. I may be way off, but it seems as though the Latakia used here was smoked with some kind of evergreen (pine?, fir?, spruce?, cedar?), just a wild a$$ guess. I love the mild soapiness and the hint of mint. Every once and a while I can feel that minty touch cooling my tongue. The Orientals are fairly well balanced with the Latakia and both ride on the sweetness of the Virginias. It has medium body and full competing flavors. It does leave a coating in your mouth, but it's well worth it. That's why God invented mouthwash.
Pipe Used: MM General
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2008 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant
I never have been able to figure out what constitutes a true "Balkan" mixture. Just when I think I have it figured out, there's another "expert" changing the recipe just a bit and calling it a "true Balkan" mixture.

Having said the above; I will agree that this G&H high voltage stuff is a Balkan mixture in the most general of terms. It sure has a heavier dose of Latakia than any Balkan mixture I remember ever smoking. It was powerful, smoky and heavenly! I need to buy more tins of this weed.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 04, 2012 Medium to Strong Mild Full Strong
Maybe it is because Balkan Mixture is one of only a couple of blends that GH&Co choose to offer to the UK market in a plastic pouch, which gives it a slightly 'drugstore' presentation, but for some reason I expected this one to be inferior to their usual fare in terms of overall quality. How wrong can you be?

This stuff is, quite frankly, the shiznit.

I'm not going to go into great detail describing the flavours of this blend as other reviewers have done this better than I ever could. The point I want to emphasise is just how well the different tobaccos work together. It is very characterful and although I agree that it doesn't develop much down the bowl, who cares when there is so much going on right from the word go? I find that it smokes best when it is a bit dryer than I think it ought to be, if you follow my meaning. The VA is bright and gives the blend a solid backbone. The Lat is resinous and unctuous and I guess it must be the VA and oriental working in combination that adds the touch of spice. Vitamin N is just right to be consistently satisfying with no risk of inducing the niccups from loading one bowl too many. Is it soapy? Well, I smoke enough Lakelands that I probably wouldn't notice, but I suspect that to an unconditioned palate it might be, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Four stars is a walk over for this one. It definitely has a place in my top tier of Latakia smokes.

In the update to his review (over the page) Dr Dyson suggests that GH&Co might be discontinuing this blend! I sincerely hope that proves to be no more than an ill-founded rumour. About 6 months ago a tobacconist told me that Revor Plug was destined for the chop, but that one still seems to be available, thank God!

Gentlemen of GH&Co, if you are reading this then for the sake of all that's Holy please don't stop manufacturing this ambrosial weed! By all means can some cherry flavoured cavendish blends if you have to, but don't deprive us of your delicious Balkan Mixture.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 15, 2012 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Based on a one-ounce bulk sample. Varying shades of dark brown shag with a heady bag aroma of latakia and orientals. After learning to load a shag by way of G&H Kendal Kentucky, I had no trouble with this one. Burns easily and quickly, so controlled puffing is critical.

At first blush, this appeared to be a typical balkan-style latakia blend, with nothing standing out from the ordinary. However, this one had its moments of sweetness that I don't associate with latakia or the base virginia tobaccos. At times, it seemed like there was a touch of Lakeland flavoring here. It was sort of the vermouth in a martini where they simply wave the vermouth bottle over the gin and olive. It's so subdued that it might be just that they allowed my batch to get to close to the Ennerdale or something. And I can't be sure it wasn't my imagination, but this does seem to have a very delicate wisp of Lakeland essence.

This is also a fairly nicotine-potent latakia blend. I did try some faster puffing, as is my custom with new tobaccos, and it never bit but it did get bitter and it did give me a pretty good case of niccups. Smoked at normal cadence, this was a perfectly fine blend with a typical balkan-type flavor, just nothing to write home about. I wouldn't turn down a free bowl but this one is not destined for my rotation. But it should be tried by anyone that enjoys both latakia and nicotine, as this might be just the ticket.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 11, 2017 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Balkan Mixture.

Another of my first reviews I'm redoing.

I often feel for this company, I think the bulk packaging often sets the precedent of 'budget' in a few folks minds. Budget, this? Far from it.

A dark brown, coarse, ribbon, which arrives with good hydration. Easily lit.

There's no equivocation regarding which is the strongest leaf. The Latakia. But it's not a stereotypical Lat' flavour: alongside the woody, smokiness, there's a sweet note. Almost 'sticky'. This isn't the Virginia sweetness, the Va dark fruitiness joins in after a third. Up to here the supporting flavour's a slightly fragrant one, from the Orientals, but after a third this flavour's equalled by the Va. At this point it hits four stars. Unlike a few esteemed reviewers I detect no Lakeland. The burn can't be complained about, it's smooth and steady to a pure white ash. I don't get a spot of tongue bite from it.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: I like.

Gawith, Hoggarth Balkan Mix? Brilliant:

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Altinok Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: G.Q. Tobaccos
Age When Smoked: New
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 17, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable
This is one of the best Balkan's available. It is strong and spicy and robust and about as manly a tobacco as you will ever find. I think my wife would make me leave the county if I fired this up inside the house with her around. Smoked in a fine old english briar the experience is near perfect.

All the goodies are there in fair proportions, and it smells deeply of leather and earth in the tin. It is a fine ribbon cut, but in mine there were also large pieces of rolled leaf that had not been caught in the cutting process. The quality of the leaf is without peer. My portion was somewhat moist and required a fair bit of drying to reach the proper smoking humidity. This is important because when smoked with a higher moisture level it becomes somewhat harsh and spicy to an excessive degree. When drier it is cool and rich and more rewarding.

As you would except this has exceptional burn characteristics. It lights easily and burns consistently when tended to a reasonable degree. Smoke it slow and let the waves of rich flavor come one after the other. Every element is present and can be searched for and found - sweet VA, smoky latakia, the spice of the orientals, all present and accounted for. This may sound like a non-statement and a mere recitation of the tin description, but the reality is that many blends that purport to have such qualities lose one or more elements and come out a bit thin. Not so here, and with gentle puffing great heaps of flavor and depth abound.

This is not a subtle mixture and lacks the smooth creamy refinement of something like Exotique. It is a sledgehammer of an offering, but is masterfully blended so that it does not become overwhelming if smoked with regard. If puffed rapidly, or with a high moisture content, the spice builds and the sharp edges arise. With respect to nicotine it is not a strong blend per se, and can be enjoyed in larger portions without being agitating or overwhelming in that regard.

Even among the English blenders this is a rarity of strength and quality, and it is a bargain as well when purchased in bulk. There is no compromise here and it is a tour de force of its type. Superb.

*I wanted to add a note to speak to the lakeland essence which many people have commented on noticing in this smoke. I frankly did not notice it in my batch (this was the first time I have purchased this particular blend) so I went back to see if I was missing something. When I was looking for it I found the faintest wisp of a lakeland something in the background. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the low end of the scale I would say it was not more than a .5, barely noticeable in the very slightest. I say this not to dispute what other people have experienced but to add my own experience from this recent order.

One reviewer speculated that perhaps it is the machinery that they use which is in fact imparting this, and I think that person might be on to something. I do not think it is an intentionally added casing - in my batch it is so extremely light that I missed it altogether the first time. They use equipment that has been in use for more than a hundred years, and my guess is that it is not cleaned to any measurable degree between batches, but really who knows. The other possibility is that one out of many of the tobaccos that make up this mixture has some small amount of the lakeland essence. For comparison the Bob's Chocolate flake has to me a very noticeable lakeland effect going on, and I would call that a 4 to 6.

So this is a long winded way of saying that I think this is perhaps an unintended or uninvited guest in this mixture, and at least in what I have so faint as to not be an issue at all. After the first quarter of the bowl even that tiny amount was gone. My batch was bulk from Smoking Pipes in the US, so if anyone wants to chime in who has purchased bulk from them recently that would be welcomed. If it is truly a ghosting coming from the equipment this would explain why some people do not mention or experience it at all, and others seem to have received this mixture with a very noticeable lakeland effect going on. For me this adds to the fun, and I would rather roll the dice from this blender, one of the oldest still operating in the world, than have something which is more clearly a factory product. In my estimation this is a fantastic smoke. I have a Balkan Sobranie and Exotique, and this holds it own with both, although each is unique.
Pipe Used: GBD Virgin Billiard
Age When Smoked: fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 08, 2011 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Balkan Mixture is an absolute amazing tobacco. Opening the tin reveals an almost all black dark brown shaggy ribbon cut mix with a very 19th century foul, pungent, oily coal-like fume wafting straight up at you, all-the-while encouraging and inviting you to pack your pipe and light her up right away. As others have so rightly advised though, you need to let this air for at least 30 minutes before jumping in. It really makes a whole world of a difference by refraining from smoking BM until lots of air has its chance to mingle with the leaves and dry out some of the moisture. I have never smoked Balkan Sobranie Original but I have smoked Sobranie's Reserve blend which was of truly outstanding quality and unforgetable taste. I mention this because BM fits into that category of quality. The Virginia is sweet, powerful and supports this blend so very well. The Virginia component alone is magnificent and provides the smoker with loads of nicotine(comparable to say St. Bruno's power) which places BM definitely in the medium to strong strength arena. First light, Latakia right away. Oily, intoxicating, bitter and explosive. Less then a minute later, orientals take over. Buttery, rich, smooth, rewarding, deep, creamy and very satisfying. A few puffs later the Virginia come out of the background and at this point all components are working well, very very well together. Folks this in one very fine smoke. Mid way in and you are somewhere else now, perhaps on the damp and foggy winter streets of London in an earlier period of time, perhaps standing on a cobblestone street watching the shadows of Holmes and Watson as they engage in a heated debate in their 221b Baker Street flat. Yes indeed, Balkan Mixture is rich, complex,powerful, inviting and addictive stuff and as reviewed under the great Sobranie original BM has one of the best, I mean absolute best finishes I have ever experienced, flavor filled with an unusual misty spray of relentless complexity. I really look forward in trying Germain's BS but I cannot even imagine how it could be better then this Balkan. Very highly Recommended........I will be purchasing tonnes of this absolutely amazing tobacco!!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 15, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Now this is a fine Balkan blend, and maybe even a spectacular one -- depending on what you're looking for, of course.

This stuff comes in a shag cut, reminiscent of Kendal Kentucky or even Drum RYO tobacco. It's a little moist, so a few minute's worth of drying time doesn't hurt. It's composed primarily of dark brown and black strands, with some lighter bits mixed in. It lights and burns like a dream, which is more than I can say for many blends in this genre. It also has no bite, which is another trait I value highly.

The flavor is very reminiscent of Odyssey, but it also reminds me strongly of the Balkan Sobranie I smoked in the early 1990s. In fact, despite dozens of attempts to replicate that mixture, this is the only one that actually comes close, IMO (it's far nearer to that ideal than, say, Blue Mountain, Black House or Balkan Sasieni). I actually like this stuff far better than the BS I occasionally bought 20 years ago -- it's a bit sweeter, a bit more complex and the latakia has a distinctive smokiness that is, oddly enough, missing in many other Balkans. The orientals used are very similar to what I find in GLP's Odyssey, and the more I smoke it the more I'm reminded of that classic mixture ....

I find absolutly no hint of "Lakeland essence" here, which is to say no flowers, aftershave, or even tonquin. Zero. Which, to tell the truth, was a little disappointing as I'd bought this with the hope of finding a Lakeland spin on Balkan mixtures. That disappointment didn't last, however, as this stuff stands well on its own.

Is this is the absolutely best of its kind? I don't know -- again, it depends on what you're looking for. If you want complexity, both Magnum Opus and Wilderness are better choices. If you are looking for a huge dose of latakia and orientals, then Odyssey is the better blend. But there is a pleasant simplicty and ease of smoking found here that those other blends lack, as well as a shot of nicotine that was as welcome as it was surprising. I could easily see myself smoking this all day long, and I normally think of Balkans as once-a-day smokes at best.

No matter how I slice it, though, this gets an easy four stars.
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