G. L. Pease Abingdon

Abingdon is the fullest Balkan style blend in the range. It is rich and robust, powerful and forthright, yet still possessing subtlety and finesse. Dark flavors of wood and leather mingle with delicate undercurrents of sweetness, and deep earthy notes, while the Oriental tobaccos provide hints of their verdant, sometimes herbaceous character. A big Balkan blend, reminding us once more of what these blends used to be. Because of the high percentage of dark and oriental tobaccos, it's recommended to pack Abingdon a little less firmly than you might a lighter blend.
Notes: Abingdon was released in July, 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

3.40 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 80 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2013 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
FINALLY I've found the right Pease blend for me, in Abingdon. Abingdon is a dark, sultry, rich, smooth, full balkan that does everything right and nothing wrong. It has most of the upsides and flavors of the excellent Charing Cross and of the very big, rich Odyssey, without any of their downsides. Abingdon is never harsh, bitter, excessively heavy, biting, or too moist. It is a perfect cut, and smokes great right out of the tin, in a most trouble-free and surprising manner.

Abingdon, for such a full-flavored, deep, dense, smokey balkan, has a fantastic, masterful balance between the plentiful cyprian latakia, assertive tangy orientals and slightly sweet virginias, which is quite unlike my experiences with most other Pease blends. The latakia firmly but gently controls the entire smoke from top to bottom of the bowl, being properly complimented in the right proportion by the other tobaccos, but never ducking out, and never being overpowered by any other leaf. Due to this better and more harmonious balance, Abingdon's flavor, room note and aftertaste are superior to Odyssey, without Odyssey's cloying, bludgeoning, occasionally oppressive excess of latakia.

Abingdon also lights, and stays lit, far easier than Odyssey. I can easily smoke Abingdon in a fine old Nording Giant or Ser Jacopo Maxima for over an hour without need for relights, so long as I am generally attentive, don't pack too tightly, and tamp occasionally, very lightly.

The orientals in Abingdon also never become acrid, biting, harsh, drying in the throat, or overly assertive, as they can be in Charing Cross if that blend is pushed, which is the Achilles heel of Charing Cross. In fact, I find Abingdon to taste quite similar to the excellent flavors in Charing Cross, although perhaps a bit less intense/earthy, and certainly less controlled by the orientals, which can occasionally be too dominant and assertive in Charing Cross at the mid-bowl.

In all, Abingdon gives me the full, dark, rich, savory flavor I crave from Pease's heavier balkan blends, but does so in a refined, balanced, easily managed, low-maintenance manner that makes it a true pleasure. A top-notch, four-star smoke. Abingdon has become my favorite Pease blend, and is possibly the best heavy full balkan on the market.
61 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 14, 2008 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
Warrants a category higher than "highly recommended". Perhaps "enthusiastically" or "fanitically".

As the latakia content in this blend is quite high, I pack this blend gravity/soft/medium instead of a typical soft/medium/hard packing.

-- The following is a simple cut+paste from my Charing Cross review (and IMHO applies equally well here) --

Between Charing Cross, Blackpoint and most of all Abingdon, I don't miss my old long lost favorite 759 quite so much. As for the specifics of the smoking experience, the tin description pretty much sums it up. Compliments from other reviews pretty much fill in the blanks.

Any reports of this blend as a "tongue biter" are in my opinion entirely unwarranted. Steam and tongue bite are more a result of new tin moisture and smoking technique than anything else.

1. If the tobacco is too damp, you'll have a hot smoke.

2. If you pack it too tight, the last half of the bowl will likely smoke damp, rank and hot.

3. Balkan blends should be packed _slightly_ more loosely.

4. Many GLP blends are tinned a bit on the moist side. Let the tobacco air out for a bit before smoking.
40 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 17, 2013 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a fine Balkan. I have some cellared and can't wait till it's properly aged. The Latakia is rich very much present from beginning to end. The Turkish and Orientals are spicy and delicious. The Virginias in just the right proportion. A very nicely balanced Balkan blend.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 09, 2014 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
G.L. Pease's Abingdon from the Classic Connection is an outstanding Balkan mixture. Well, at any rate it is outstanding. There is some dispute concerning what constitutes a Balkan mixture.

The term apparently goes back to the original Balkan Sobranie, which was a Virginia, latakia, and oriental blend. The latakia component was strong. So was the oriental, which was the legendary Yenidje.

Over the years, Balkan Sobranie mutated. The latakia kept dwindling, and the oriental became generic. The current reincarnation, produced by J. F. Germaine, is supposedly a clone of the original. I have not smoked this recent effort.

To be a Balkan, does the oriental need to come from the Balkan geographic region, roughly the Macedonian region of Greece? Mary McNeil of McClelland is on record averring this to be the case.

What if other tobaccos than those used in Balkan Sobranie are part of the recipe? For example, Dan's Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend has Kentucky (smoked burley) and perique in the recipe.

I am using the term Balkan to refer to a Virginia, latakia, and oriental (wherever it may be grown) blend, with the latakia and oriental being medium or medium to strong in the composition. By that measure, Abingdon in a Balkan, and a very fine one it is, in a genre which features a number of outstanding pipe mixtures.

The cut is small, almost a shag, and Abingdon lights easily and stays lit. It smokes dry. There is a respectable nicotine hit, but not one that is overwhelming.

For whatever reason, Abingdon does not have as heavy a creosote odor in the room note as most mixtures heavy in latakia.

Abingdon has considerable complexity. By that I mean that it does not remain the same puff by puff, top of bowl to bottom of bowl. Instead the constituent tobaccos interact in a varied manner during the smoke.

Aside from the sub group of pipesters who do not like latakia at all, I give Abingdon an unqualified recommendation.
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 11, 2009 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
I've never known a blend it's taken me so long to make up my mind about: I practically had to reach the bottom of my 2oz tin (13% more than the standard 50g tin!) before I could reach a conclusion.

My initial experiences of it out of the tin were not very pleasant. Indeed my first bowl was so off-putting I had to wait a month or two to try it again, though I knew I would get around to it someday because there was something special there, and I give every blend several smokes so that I get to know it on its own terms. So when I finally got around to it again I came to understand it more. I couldn't say I enjoyed it's complex, full flavor on the surface of it -- the whole in some ways seemed to exceed its parts, and not necessarily in a good way. But there was something in it I found irresistible, so even though I didn't necessarily enjoy it I kept going back to it. It was somehow simultaneously overpowering yet subtle.

There's no doubt it was a quality blend, even from the first. I mean, it was certainly very smooth and creamy and biteless, and yet somehow raw and strong. I just couldn't wrap my tastebuds around it. I figured each bowl was going to be my last since I was slightly repelled by it, and yet I looked forward to my next bowl.

It's flavor was uniquely alluring, and it cast a spell on me: strong, very full, with an oddly musty flavor. UncleGar used the word "creosotic", and [no name] used the word "corky", and they're both on to something. I would add that I taste something piquant, even bitter with hints of sweetness around it, like Angostura bitters. Indeed there's something elemental about this blend, something of the earth and dirt (and creosote and cork), salty, leathery, musty -- strong, raw, subtle, creamy and smooth all at once. I'm reminded of the way Lagavulin has that incredible essence of iodine to it. Abingdon's flavor is so unique that I found myself craving it even when I wasn't sure I liked it much.

I've finally decided that this blend is a masterpiece -- it just took me a long time to appreciate it for what it was on its own terms, much like Schoenberg's music for the classical music lover wading into the twelve tone waters for the first time. I suspect that with more aging this blend will be otherworldly.

Pretty women who aren't beautiful are fairly common. But beautiful women who aren't pretty are something special, each one uniquely mysterious. This is a beautiful, even exceptional blend -- it's just not a very pretty one.
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 31, 2004 Medium None Detected Full Strong
A stunning tobacco. While the smell in the tin seems quite subdued (in comparison to the pleasant Latakia stench of other brands), this packs a real wallop. I smoked my first tin after finishing some 20 year old Balkan Sobranie Original Mixture, and I can say that Abingdon doesn't disappoint in comparison even if it's not aged yet! There's less emphasis on the orientals than in BS, but this is an almost definitive balkan nonetheless. I can't really decide whether I prefer this or Odyssey, as they are both great. This one is a powerhouse of taste and richness: not as complex as the 759-like Blackpoint, but very very good. Big flavour from the beginning, which intensifies and gains some sweetness during the bowl: echoes of licorice, maybe even of Gorgonzola cheese in the second half, and a great spicy smokiness. Not a tobacco for those who can't stand Latakia, of course, but they don't know what they are missing. A note about the cut: in comparison to the first 4 Classic Collection blends released by Greg, this one has a much better cut. Longish strings, and almost no tobacco dust: much better for packing, and it doesn't clog the airhole.

2009 Update: I am smoking a 2006 tin of Abingdon right now... I have smoked many so far, and they were all excellent. This one is a bit disappointing: slightly flatter, and with a hint of bite. Weird, it's the first time that Abingdon delivers less than a stellar smoke for me... Probably just a batch which came out "bad" (well, actually it's not exactly bad!).
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 29, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Pease Pilgrimage Reviews (a tasting journey through every GLPease blend) Tin date: 03/26/09

Aroma: Smoky, but a bit more austere than Odyssey – not as rich and campfire- smoky. It just seems a bit more reluctant to release its odors, but this could be because it's a drier tin than the Odyssey I tried recently. Odyssey is a much blacker blend, which to me would mean more Latakia, but Pease's description of Odyssey tells us that Odyssey is “A huge Latakia blend, second only to Abingdon in forcefulness.” Not sure if that means it is second to Abingdon in its quantity of Latakia. Seems to me that Abingdon has less.

Appearance: The cut is quite coarse, with some large chunks of Latakia that really needed a little additional rubbing-out. For small chamber pipes, this coarse blend might be a little challenging. I think it works better in a large chamber pipe. The photo clearly shows that this blend does not have a lot of Latakia (I'm assuming the Latakia is the black bits). The tin description lists “Latakia,” “red and lemon yellow Virginias,” and “rich oriental leaf.” I believe all four are clearly visible in the mix. It looks like it could have been mixed up a bit better, as there were little pockets or gobs of one type of leaf here and there. It's visually quite beautiful!

Pipe 1: Stanwell Vario Billiard Pipe 2: Savinelli 320KS Author Pipe 3: Dane Craft S Freehand

Flavor: The last time I tasted Abingdon is when I reviewed it on TR in May 2009, and in all three pipes it's much more oriental-forward than I remembered. I think the balance is impeccable. I consider the definition of English vs. Balkan as a continuum, one blending into the other on a linear scale, which is consistent with Pease's comments about some blends blurring the lines between the two. Abingdon seems to emphasize the orientals while maintaining a very significant Latakia presence.

I puffed as hard as I pleased and it didn't bite, but of course that causes the flavors to become too burnt. As with every tobacco, this one should be respected, nurtured and contemplated, and Abingdon, due to its rich complexity and changing character, is a very special and delicious treat when smoked carefully. I think some of the change in flavors I experienced throughout a given bowl is due to the not-so-even mixture of the components themselves, along with the quite large chunks of a given tobacco. When one of those big pieces catches fire, it seems to emphasize that particular leaf during that part of the smoke. To me, this makes it interesting. But there is also a gradual change during the smoke toward a more smoky, richer flavor that just gets better and better right to the bottom.

The aftertaste lasts for a long time, a quarter to a half-hour or longer if you don't eat or drink, and it emphasizes the orientals. This blend reminds me of the McClelland Three Oaks series. I would love to try this with Syrian Latakia just to explore the difference, but I understand Greg lost his stash of Syrian in a fire. Bummer!

It burned well with no problems. Pease suggest a lighter than normal pack, but while loading my pipes I had to pack it in with greater than average force because my tin was quite dry upon opening and the leaves were stiff. A typical gentle pack did not provide nearly enough density to get a good burn. This was not true with the Odyssey I opened last week (next week's review). It was moister with a much finer cut.

Overall, this is an easy four star blend for me. I love the flavors and I love the complexity. The coarse cut, while it may alter your normal packing methods (or not, if your tin is moist), provides a visually interesting experience and allows you to clearly see exactly what you're smoking. An excellent blend with which to start our pilgrimage! Please let us know your opinions!
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 26, 2008 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Update 07/26/2008

I had moved on to other tobaccos for quite some time, but recently got out a Mason jar of this that had aged for at least 2 years. That extra aging really smooths out this tobacco. So if you found the orientals to be a little too overwhelming, try aging it and go for it again.

Original Review:

Well I'm still in a quandary about which is the best Balkan out there. Greg's two latest offerings in the Balkan field of Charing Cross and Abingdon are both outstanding, though Balkan Sasieni and VegasSmokes' Babylonia are also near the top. Charing Cross and Abingdon are spicier in the Oriental elements than Balkan Sasieni, much in the same way that Lane's old Crown Achievement was (NOT the new bulk version of CA).

Charing Cross is probably the most overtly Balkan of the group, sometimes tasting a little too spicy. Abingdon seems to me to be a little more refined. Like all of Greg's blends they are perfectly cut and packed, have few hard pieces or stems and is at just the right moisture level right out of the can.

Of my four favorite Balkans Charing Cross and Abingdon are less laden with latakia. Balkan Sasieni is less spicy and has stronger latakia and leaves a musty room odor. Babylonia is less overtly Balkan and has a hint of some naturally sweet Virginias.

I have had very good success mixing all of these in varying proportions as a change of pace and have found that the two Pease's complement Sasieni and Babylonia nicely in almost any proportions I have tried.

Greg- I hate your narrow cans!
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 25, 2009 Very Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Let me try to divide my review in a few different categories in the hopes that I can be more objective, which is devilishly hard to do when it comes to pipe tobacco.

Flavor: The flavor is full but not at all harsh. Like a good Balkan Latakia is the main player, closely followed by the Oriental and with the Virginias very present but still in the background. I'd say the amount of Latakia is perfect for a blend with a healthy portion of it since it makes it "kick" but does not overpower the other delicate flavors.

Complexity: Very complex blend, the flavors change as you smoke it and yeet it remains very consistent. At first light all you get is Latakia and a hint of the Oriental, but as you progress through the bowl the Orientals start building up and stand up to the Latakia beautifully.

Aroma: Very full and leathery, with the Orientals and Virginia giving a somewhat strong (or at least very noticeable) natural sweetness.

Tin aroma: Latakia with the sweet/spicy pungent Orientals being clearly present.

Room note: What you'd expect from a Balkan. I like the roomnote but my wife says it stings her nosetrills. It is a somewhat heavier note than other Balkan blends. Probably not something you'd want to smoke in teh company of non-smokers.

Burning characteristics: Burns very cool and dry to the bottom, there is absolutely no gunk at the bottom of the bowl. I have sometimes tempted it and puffed too fast and my pipe was still cool. Absolutely no tongue bite to speak of. It lights easlily depending on how you prepare it. If you layer it it lights up easily, if you use the air pocket method if will take some effort to light. I think the air pocket method makes blends taste a little fuller and while I favor it for some blends I prefer to layer this blend.

Cut/looks/moisture content: The cut is somewhat coarse and broad, which I find it to compliment the blend since it makes it burn at the perfect pace. Moisture content is perfect too, not to wet or sticky and actually somewhat on the dry side. I have to confess I was a little concerned about how dry it was but after a couple of bowls my concerns were gone.

Overall: One of my favorite blends, much closer to my tastes than any of the Dunhills. I actually think this stuff is of much better quality and, after smoking it, I don't think I'd want to go back to Dunhill blends. A little more expensive than most offerings out there but I don't think there's a better Balkan available today. Worth every penny.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 24, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I don't think that there's much of a point to review all of Gregory Pease's blends, if you like one of them, you'll love them all. At least that's valid in my case. So far, if I give any of his blends less than four stars, it would be a blasphemy.

So, about the Abingdon. That's one hell of a good blend. Loaded with Latakia and orientals, and yet full and heavy on the "body" side, as if most of it is stoved fermented Virginia. It's strong as pure VA, and smoky and full of fresh oriental aroma as if it's Balkan Sasieni or Skiff Mixture by Sam Gawith. Both of those are aromatic and tasty as heaven, but lack complexity, depth and body. Well, Abingdon is just how the ideal Balkan is supposed to be like. Like Skiff mixture, only stronger, deeper, and round and balanced. I have no Idea how Gregory managed to achieve that, but it's a fact. We have one of the best Balkan blends out there. As awesome as it gets. And the room note doesn't do perpetual damage to the female part of the house too. Almost no complaints, unlike Odissey or Skiff that provoke mass hysteria and spontaneous anti Latakia waves from the "significant other". It goes almost undetected. She even enters the man cave while I'm at the middle of the bowl, still nothing. That's somehow amazing.

It's complex smoke, and the pattern goes somewhat like this: Immediately after you give it a fire, you get greeted by nice incense like Latakia, followed by superb orientals. Light, floral ones with a hint of spiciness. All that creamy and satisfying. As it advances down the bowl, somewhere in the middle, it gets heavier, stronger, darker, but not harsh. Still smooth, you start to feel the VA's mighty presence, accompanied by spicy wonderful orientals. As it gets down, it gets spicier and heavier, somewhat darker but still mellow and smooth. Upon every French inhale, you get smashed by that awesome oriental-latakia goodness that never goes sour (unlike other Balkan blends loaded with oriental) I don't think that there' much orientals in this one, probably the right choice of them. At the bottom, it gets a little sour, but Latakia comes upfront again, leaving the superb aftertaste. It stays present in your mustaches for about an hour of two, reminding you of the great smoke you just had. To sum things up: Abingdon is rounded, strong, balanced and satisfying smoke. A textbook example of the ideal Balkan blend.
Pipe Used: various
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: 2 years
7 people found this review helpful.
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