Smokers' Haven Our Best Blend

The pipe smokers' "Nectar of the Gods." An excellent blending of the finest quality string cut Virginia with prime leaves of Syrian latakia and mild full flavored Turkish tobacco. The mixture of these bland tobaccos in Our Best Blend gives the pipe smoker a delightfully cool and tasteful smoke which burns down to a completely dry ash. For the working hours or those relaxing moments at home, you will like Our Best Blend by Smokers' Haven.


Brand Smokers' Haven
Blended By J. F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
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
Pleasant to Tolerable
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Medium to Full
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.87 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 23 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 21, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
The mildly fragrant Syrian Latakia is very smoky, earthy and woody, along with a sweet wine-like tone, some leather, and a touch of salt. It is the lead component. The Virginias are mildly grassy with some tart and tangy citrus, bread, a light tangy dark fruit, and slight floral and spice notes. They are supporting players. The Orientals and Turkish are smoky, woody, earthy, vegetative, floral, herbal, and spicy, with some buttery, creamy sweetness and a hint of sour. They sit squarely in the third position. Very well balanced and complex, you’ll detect every nuance in virtually every puff. The Latakia does take a little of the lead, but the Virginia and Orientals/Turkish are right at its heels in the flavor department. The spice note seems to mildly elevate here and there, but never interferes with the overall balance of the blend when that happens. I am wondering if there’s a little Cyprian Latakia present, because I get a little sweetness that I generally identify with that varietal. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps behind it. There's no chance of bite or harshness. Being a shag cut, it burns cool and clean at a moderate pace, though it is a little moist out of the tin. I saw no reason to dry it. Has no dull or harsh spots no matter how fast you puff, and never loses that creamy smooth sweetness, which is not always the case for this type of Balkan. The deeply rich flavor is consistent from top to bottom. Doesn’t require many relights, and hardly leaves any dampness in the bowl. Has a nice, mildly sweet spicy, camp fire after taste, and stronger room note. Not quite an all day smoke, but one that is easily repeatable. Four stars out of four.

Update: 10-17-2020: This blend has been changed. The Syrian Latakia has been replaced Cyprian, which changes the flavor profile a little. It’s also become a shag cut, which means a faster burn rate, and affects the taste a mite. It was previously ribbon cut. I also find it a notch more sour, and I suspect a different source of Orientals may be the cause. This aspect makes it a competing lead with the Cyprian Latakia, which doesn’t quite seem to have depth that I find in other blends with the Cyprian varietal. While I still rate the taste level as medium, it’s just barely there because this production isn’t quite as deep in flavor as the other. Most of the other aspects in my original review still stand, but the differences require that I deduct a star for the current version.

25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
My 25 year old tin of Our Best Blend was recently cracked open and for the life of me, I don't know what took so long. I've smoked this one a lot fresher, but the depth of the straight forward English/Balkan leaf is choppy, flake form, was as good as it gets. Not at all sweet though, and made for those who truly enjoy the old time Balkan blends that catered to men who were not afraid to taste leather and salt. Delicious!
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 01, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Based on a 1 oz sample, this narrow ribbon (almost a shag) cut blend has a rich "tin" aroma of latakia and orientals, the latakia being Syrian which is a less potent but not less enticing aroma than its Cyprian cousin. It came to me fairly dry but I was told it's much more moist when fresh, assuming anyone can find it in that state these days.

Smooth, balanced and complex describe this for me. It's flavor was rich but mellow and not heavy. The latakia was in the lead but didn't rule with an iron fist. The Virginias and orientals were nearly its equals, and the balance was exquisite. I was told that this is the ribbon version of Krumble Kake but I didn't get the bitterness from this that I did from KK towards the bottom of the bowl. This was as smooth and creamy as could be, top to bottom. And perhaps I'm wrong, but I recall KK as having Cyprian latakia... guess I'm wrong about that. There was almost a buttery quality here. The latakia's briny spiciness worked with the buttery sweet orientals and Virginia is an almost perfect interplay of balance. If I found any faults, it was that I prefer a stronger oriental presence in my lat blends. For that reason, I still award SH's Exotique as their "best" blend. But this one was excellent as well and highly recommended. Makes me want to crack my tin of Margate to see if they are as close as I hear. If you can find some of this and it doesn't break the bank, give it a try.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 12, 2016 Very Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable
I'm about to ruin the 4-star rating here, but not maliciously.

I picked up a number of tins of OBB after chatting with Premal at the most recent Chicago pipe show. I only got 'round to popping a tin about a week ago. The stringy, ribbon cut is pure Germains, and the orientals hit the nose first: metallic, tangy, and sour. The latakia is there, but seems soft, and subdued. OBB smells damn good in the tin.

Lightup is oriental-forward, and slightly perfumey, with the latakia lurking deep in the background. It's easy to overcook OBB, and it will turn bitey and bitter quickly. The delicate taste doesn't change much as a bowl progresses. Nicotine is absent. Burns nice and dry, and what flavour there is can best be coaxed into appearing through gentle sipping.

Unfortunately, I'm left wanting more. After a bowl of OBB, I tend to follow up with something like London Mix or Durbar, and then think 'Why didn't I just have this, instead?' OBB does nothing wrong, but is too timid for my tastes. I can't envision it as an all-day affair, as I'd quickly tire of it. For me, it is best as a once-in-a-while thing, early in the day. A shame, as it behaves well and smells great. Could be suitable for those new(er) to English/Balkan blends, but availibility has been variable.
PurchasedFrom: Smoker's Haven
Age When Smoked: Newish
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 10, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
I really hesitate to submit a recommendation on this tobacco for fear of having the same scarcity develop that Smokers Haven has with Exotique. It is always difficult for me to capture an English/Balkan blend without drifting into the usual use of smokey, woodsy, etc. I would describe this tobacco as similar in style to Margate, another of my favorites, which is not surprising since it is manufactured by Germain and Sons. In fact, it is very similar to Margate in all respects. But I like it better. I like my English/Balkan tobaccos to be smooth and spicy. OBB is exceptionally smooth, buttery smooth and, yet, spicy. The latakia is there to taste, but it does not overwhelm the other tobacco flavors. If you smoke OBB after smoking a heavy latakia blend, you will not pick up the oriental nuances in the blend. I would not smoke a bowl of Exotique and then a bowl of OBB. I would do it the other way around. This is heavier than Campanile, but the orientals shine through, and as I have said, it is smooth. I will not give up Margate or a few other English/Balkans I enjoy, but I will keep OBB handy at all times in the future. Most highly recommended. Paddy.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I'm not sure if the newer version of this blend has Syrian Latakia cause it really tastes like Cyprian to me but I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and take their word for it. This one is yet another amazing English blend in the Smokers Haven line up and is only second to my personal favorite of their line; Exotique. There are a lot of similarities between the two and I would say the biggest differences are the Orientals. In this blend they are much more subdued and intertwine very nicely with the beautiful, smoky Latakia. This blend is indeed very similar to Margate but I have not smoked them back to back as of yet so I don't want to say they are identical but they do remind me of one another. I open the two ounce tin and dump out the contents on to a paper plate, spread the the tobacco thin and let it air out for 2 hours and then it is good to go. One light should get ya through all the way to the bottom of the bowl.

Pipe Used: Neerup, St. Regis, Savinelli
Age When Smoked: 1 year
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 07, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I somehow missed reviewing this blend as I have been fortunate to have a fair amount remaining in my cellar. Is it Smoker's Haven best blend? It is a tough call with Exotique in the lineup but it still is an excellent blend just the same. The long strands should be packed with care in order to be treated with the excellent smoke OBB delivers. It offers the usual smokey, leathery notes found in many English/Balkan blends, but it is a cut above some many others as it is very (for lack of a better adjective) “rich”. One reviewer called it “buttery” and I think that is the word along with creamy. The richness lasts throughout the bowl as the flavors continue to build. There are no rough edges with this one. I think I may be in the minority in that I enjoy this more than the pressed version of it, Krumble Kake. With the return of some of the Smoker's Haven Blends it appears that OBB and Krumble Kake will not likely be among them anytime soon so finding a stray ebay may be the only option. Highly Recommended!
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 03, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
First, a disclaimer: as a long-time Smoker's Haven customer, I am extremely loyal to all of their Germain-blended tobaccos, and Best Blend is my all-time favorite. I've been smoking it off and on since the 1970s. The current version (reinroduced in 2003) is essentially the same as the 1970s version (once Germain took over the blending from Sobranie).

Best Blend leans in the direction of an Oriental as the Syrian Latakia does not dominate. It is well-balanced, and smokes cool in a thin ribbon cut. I can smoke it all day and do.

The only drawback is in the marketing as, currently, only 8 ounce tins are available. That's no problem for me but I imagine some are dissuaded from committing to 8 ounces in order to try it. I understand that 2 ounce tins will happen in 2009.

In all, a rich, balanced English with a good room note. Highly recommended.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 27, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I need to say up front that I love 2 types of tobacco...Virgina's (straight and VAPer) and Balkan Blends...operative word love. This is a first class Balkan. The tin note is Latakia forward and is sweet, smoky and a bit woody. Before I get into the review proper, I have an observation to make. I have found that Germain English/Balkan blends all seem very similar. I am hard pressed to be able to tell Balkan Sobranie from Margate from Our Best Blend, Exotique and even Special Latakia Flake if I were in a blind taste test. In some cases I wonder if the same blend isn't sold under a different name in the US market than in the EU, but at the end of the day I suppose it doesn't really matter. They are all unbelievably good in my opinion. Now I will say that not all of the above listed taste the same per se, but they are all very closely related, in 1 or 2 cases I do think it is the same blend under a different name...but once again, who cares? This blend starts out with the Latakia slightly in the lead, this pretty much persists throughout the bowl, but I would say that at about the 1/4 mark there is such harmony in this blend that it is hard to call out any one leaf, it really is just one rich flavor. The smokey quality of the Latakia ( I am pretty certain this is Cyprian) leads you to a sweet malty experience with hints of wood and nuts from the Orientals. There is also a nougat like flavor that is constantly present. The Virginia's provide a base of sweetness and maybe a hint of earth and even some citrus. As the bowl progresses the flavor seems to deepen as opposed to change, which I like very much. I found that in a meerschaum the flavor remained more consistent but this was just a slight variation from cobs and briar's. I really enjoyed this blend and recommend it to anyone who likes English and Balkan blends.
Pipe Used: Briar's, meerschaum and cobs
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I was excited to try this blend and happy that a friend sent me a sample of the same. I have been trying to buy this blend every since I began smoking, but to no avail. Two years ago, I stopped opening new containers to motivate me to finish all my old containers. That is exactly when the floodgates opened.

I scored an 8 oz. can from 2005 for a not too obscene amount of money, and then SH ended up obtaining more, so I added a few more tins. I had thought of opening one of these, but steadfastly adhered to my self directed edict. Fortunately, a buddy took sympathy on me and sent about a two to three bowl sample.

To start with, I have been curious whether the older stuff and the newer released stuff is the same. It is something I should be able to answer one day as both are in the cellar. It is just whenever you see the term Syrian, you have to wonder if it really is as it used to be. The world's supply appears to be dwindling and I have heard that much of it has been mixed to stretch that supply. I am not casting stones, but wonder if there is a difference between the older and the newer.

On to the tobacco itself. It is a well balanced and easy smoking blend. I enjoyed it, but wasn't doing backflips over it. It is pretty creamy, but won't overwhelm you with smokiness. The orientals don't necessarily lead and I really can't say that any particular leaf in it leads.

I was able to enjoy a tin of Krumble Kake from many years back and I preferred KK to this sample of OBB that I tried. This is one of the reasons for my earlier pondering. As I understand it, KK is just OBB in a krumble Kake form. Of course, age can also do much to change blends and the Lat in the KK was more subdued, but I found it to be a deeper, fuller and creamier blend than the OBB I just sampled.

In any case, I did enjoy this blend and it deserves the three stars I am putting on it and may deserve four, but I will wait until I have had a chance to finish a full container before making that call.
1 person found this review helpful.
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