G. L. Pease Laurel Heights

Rich, ripe, red leaf forms the base of this wonderful Virginia blend. The flavors are deep and round, with a smooth, natural sweetness, and subtle notes of orange peel, roasted oats, leather and peat. The smoke develops richness as it progresses, delivering a long, clean finish, that is never cloying or syrupy, with hints of malt and grapefruit. For lovers of darker, natural, unstoved Virginias.
Notes: The Gregory Pease website mentions just a trace of latakia - Laurel Heights was released in March, 2006.


Brand G. L. Pease
Series Fog City Selection
Blended By Gregory Pease
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Virginia/Latakia
Contents Latakia, 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
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.21 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 75 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 24, 2010 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Pease Pilgrimage Reviews (a tasting journey through every GLPease blend) Tin date: 01/19/10 – opened and jarred 03-07-10

Aroma: The tin aroma is nice and mild, with a typical Virginia grassiness accompanied by a light sweetness that makes it very pleasant. I have read that there is a hint of Latakia in this blend, and I do notice what looks like a very few dark flakes in there, but I can't detect it in the aroma.

Appearance: Many of Pease's blends have this pseudo-ribbon-flat cut that is somewhat unique. The tobacco is a beautiful golden brown-orange, with the extremely occasional darker fleck of something…maybe the Latakia if it's really in there? It's somewhat dry in the tin which I very much appreciate, and which I am finding is quite typical for Pease blends.

Pipe 1: Meer Bent Billiard Pipe 2: Stanwell Billiard Pipe 3: Chubby Savinelli Author Pipe 4: Small no-name bent Dublin, a good Virginia flake pipe

Flavor: This one certainly has some potential. I'm beginning to believe that most of Pease's primarily VA blends need some aging, and this one is no exception, but like barrel tasting an ancient vines Zin that won't be released for two more years, I can tell Laurel Heights is a winner.

The primary characteristic is earth. This is back to nature tobacco with lots of – you guessed it – tobacco flavor. I can taste the dry grass on a south-facing November hillside, a very mild sweetness inherent in a good VA leaf, and the very earth which nourished the tobacco plants. It seems very temperature dependent, changing its flavors and characteristics with slight changes in puffing cadence. The flavors vary from earthy and musty to toasty and warm. There is a slightly unpleasant harshness in my nose and throat no matter which pipe I'm using, but that's one of those things that will disappear with some age. The bottom 20% offers some very toasty flavors which I have experienced in the Meer and the Author.

If I were to compare this to Union Square, I would call Laurel Heights more austere and less forgiving (technique is crucial and it tends to heat up the briar a bit), but still slightly complex and at least as interesting. The website description states that it delivers a “long, clean finish” with which I concur. There is no particular residue or cloying, lingering aftertaste. But it also states that this is for lovers of “darker, unstoved Virginias.” Perhaps it is darker than some others, but this is not a “dark” tobacco by a long shot.

It's got a good nicotine punch, and I almost never feel vitamin N. Other than a couple relights primarily due to my negligence, the light and burn are flawless, and it reduces to a pure ash. A very nicely done Virginia, and one I will buy more of for aging just to see if my premonitions are correct. Three stars, and the most enjoyable blend so far in this “Virginia – VaPer” chapter of the Pilgrimage. I'm hoping and waiting for Mr. P to come out with a dark, stoved, rich competitor to FVF or Wessex Brigade Campaign.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 26, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I must start off by saying I am a sucker for Mr. Pease's Tobaccos. The quality of the tobacco is always top notch, and the tobacco always seems to arrive in perfect smoking moisture. With that being said, Laurel Heights is a top notch VA smoke. The tin says there is Latakia in this blend, but it's it the distant background. You get small hints of it when one takes a big whiff of the tin aroma. I find that it gives the Red Virginia's just a little bit of a smoky edge. This works well with the Red Virginia's. After a charring light this tobacco burned cleaned all the way to the bottom of the bowl. It's flavor packed, but not a powerhouse. Unlike most Virginia's it doesn't smoke hot and does not produce a ton of moisture, which I find most do for me. Laurel Heights is one of my go-to VA blends due to these reasons.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2006 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
It is a rare occasion that I review a blend after only a few weeks, or even a few months of smoking it. Notice my past reviews and you will find that it is my habit to smoke a blend for on average six months to a year, or even more before having anything to put to letters about it.

Laurel Heights was an easy exception.

Red VA?s are my favorite among the spectrum, and so LH was very easy for me to enjoy. The leaf quality is as usual for a GLP blend ?bar none.? The ribbon cut is none too dry or too moist direct from a freshly opened tin. The aroma is a combination of fresh VA, and I would be remiss if I did not add that I detect something different. My olfactory senses do not place it as being Cyprian Latakia, and though that is exactly what it is I do believe that the marriage of the tiny amount of Cyprian Latakia has had the affect of the VA?s lovingly imparting their own fine influence upon the fragrant bouquet of the Latakia, not unlike how Latakia- when applied with a heavy hand can influence other components in a blend.

How does the bowl develop one might ask? From first light to tamp and relight it is quite clear that this is a quality blend, there is no hot acrid flavor that I get from some blends during the char light- a testament to the quality leaf.

Once things get going there is of course the sweetness of the VA?s releasing their sugars into the vapor trail and through my nostrils, but by far the most fascinating aspect to me of LH is that the unusual and wonderful aroma (barely detectable as Latakia, indeed I wouldn?t have known were I not told) has transformed by combustion into something else. Like a fleet of French Horns in the distance drawing nearer- louder. The VA?s have not only blossomed, they shout forth ?I am here! I am sweet!?

Remarkably, the character of this blend has done what no other blend that I have sampled has ever done. It has made VA?s taste better. I find this to be a feat of extraordinary skill and talent delivered to us by Mr. Gregory Pease, a blend worthy of the gods, made by a man, to be enjoyed by all.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 06, 2006 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
[Stan once again, lost to us for a while, after bouts with a genie chasing him for one of Pease's Fog City blends, an afterlift experience with another of the Fog City's, and, of course, Katrina (hopefully not a name ever for a blend)]:

Stan: Ahhhh. I'm on my second tin. This new Fog City is pure delight. Mostly red ribbon virginia, with a little brown and bright, and a schrapnel of latakia for background. It rivals the best of the reds. Red Ribbon, red cake, Scottish Ribbon, Wingfield, Scottish Cake, etc., and will probably soon out distance them. It has enough of the natural tartness of a true red ribbon without being real sweet, robustness near Owner's Choice (precursor of red Ribbon), and coolness of Royal Yacht. Best yet is is a very good packer and burner. Dry as the day is long.

Oh, what's that sound? It looks like an orb or saucer. Oh my God!

Klato: Descending from the disc a little green creature emerges. Earthling, "Take me to your...." Hmmmm (antenna twiching). What's that aroma my scensors detect?

Stan: Laurel Heights, Master Pease's newest incantation of pipe weed. Sweet. Cool. Shy of stout but plenty of body. Mesmerizing in delights of scent, taste, and texture!

Klato: "Take me to your blender!"

Stan: Never. Give me Laurel Heights or give me death. (Puffing at the visitors delicate antenna.)

Klato: You earthlings are too aggressive. I will return to my planet. This Laurel heights weapon is too advanced for us. My antenna are twisted. It makes you too strong. One day we must discover its secret.

Stan: Wow! Earth is saved thanks to Laurel Heights. Go get some before the Martians return to steal it all.

Greg and Craig, watch the skies. Watch the skies. Next time it won't be a warehouse fire. It'll be a ray gun from Mars.

Obviously, highly recommended to all virginia lovers but not to aliens. A little aging will bring out the reds more -- our little secret from the Martians.

Printed with blessings from Wells.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 04, 2022 Very Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Virginia/latakia combos aren’t usually my go-to choice. I generally find latakia to be too assertive and Virginias to be too subtle to give me what I’m looking for in a blend. Latakia, to my palate at least, usually shoves its way to the fore when it doesn’t have the complementary, tempering influence of orientals to even it out. I know I’m cutting myself off from a whole new aspect of pipe smoking by foregoing a whole genre, and I pride myself a little on being able to at least appreciate every well-established genre of tobacco. Besides, I don’t have any straight Virginia in the cellar right now (really must remedy that soon) and tonight, a muggy summer night, simply calls for Virginia.

So, crack this tin, dated 5/18/21. Very faint tin note. The tobacco is a little dry too. I smell a little fig, a little brine. Both scents are very muted, and I worry the leaf may have passed its prime. Loading is easy, in an estate Ferndown lovat (marked by Les Wood and a prized possession), unsmoked by me and quite clean— no ghosting here.

Takes a match quite easily, with an aggressive crown. A firm tamp settles it down and the smoke begins. Beautiful Virginia action right away: fig jam sprinkled with brown sugar. Not as complex as some Virginias, but sweet and toothsome. A little breadiness— pastry— but that too is marked by a sweetness, almost dough-like.

And the latakia? Oh, it’s there. Adding a moderate complexity and a briny counterpoint, olives in brine. I’m not getting too much of the campfire and creosote aspects of latakia— this is a tobacco that reminds you that latakia is a kind of oriental tobacco. I don’t think additional oriental tobaccos, Basma or Samsun, would do anything for this blend. The latakia is enough, given free rein to showcase its own unique character. There is also plenty of the drying, almost thirsty, effect of the oriental leaf, almost like orange zest, which for me, sits just this side of unpleasant. It makes the wheat beer I’m drinking just that much more quaffable and welcome. Very nice.

That’s pretty much it for the flavors. The nicotine hit for me is mild; even on an empty stomach, I could smoke two bowls back to back.

The simplicity of the blend translates to a kind of familiarity and comfort. I feel as if I’ve smoked this one for a long time. I certainly will continue to smoke it, and I’ll keep this one in the rotation. I like it very much.
Pipe Used: Ferndown bark lovat by Les Wood
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2022 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The 8 ounce tin I opened had a release date of January 15, 2016.

Appearance: the base of the blend is red aged Virginia, and over six years of " aging" in the tin, the blend has become almost monochromatic, reddish-brown in color, with very occasional flecks of dark brown latakia. I hasten to reassure those who do not like the "black queen" - neither in smell nor taste you are likely to find the typical tar and smokiness. The tobacco is sliced with quite a typical ribbon, and the time spent in the tin had no effect on the moisture and flavor.

Flavor: The main note is a lovely multi-grass hay, fueled by the sweetness of dried fruit (raisins and dates) and a slight addition of caramel. Initially there was a slight, slightly sour note of yeast dough in the smell, but after transferring some of the tobacco to another jar for sampling, the acid disappeared almost immediately, which gives me reason to believe it was introduced by some kind of preservative (most likely a regular wine vinegar). The bread note, on the other hand, remained, but was relegated to the background. As I mentioned earlier, I could not detect any trace of latakia scent, although I tried sincerely.

Taste of tobacco: not too pronounced, but palpable note of herbs framed by moderately sweet fruit and a drop of orange juice, a little dusty flavor on the tongue and a crumb of wheat bread. As with any Virginia, to taste the blend you need to smoke very slowly and lightly - otherwise the tobacco quickly warms the pipe and starts to be quite harshly bitter. By the second third, a slight woody note appeared in the flavor, replacing the motley grass. The sweetness became less noticeable, although the taste of fruit slightly intensified. The overall bouquet became somewhat richer. By the end of the tube, the sweetness has almost disappeared, the bread and woody notes intensified, there was a hint of malt and a slight bitterness, probably the grapefruit. To repeat, almost to the very end of the pipe I had the feeling that I was smoking a blend consisting of only a few varieties of Virginia, with no trace of latakia. If you smoke this blend correctly, the tobacco smokes very dry and cool, slowly burning into a dark gray ash with small light gray flecks and leaving a small amount of moisture in the mouthpiece. The tobacco strength is below average, the nicotine hit with slow smoking is almost impossible. The aftertaste is a little sweet, not persistent.

The smoke has a hay and woody note and is surprisingly distinctive in the room, however, not causing you discomfort and dispersing quickly enough.

What's the bottom line? This is the first Pease's blend I've tried, consisting of practically only virginia. It probably lacks the brightness and density of similar blends from Cornell & Diehl or Sutliff - not to mention about established leaders in the field like Samuel Gawith and Fribourg & Treyer. But I can't say I didn't like it. I can definitely say that it is not made for beginners, it is a real teacher of patience if you want to try it, the 3 grams in my Peterson 106 smoked for almost 80 minutes without needing to use a lighter once. This blend is made for very leisurely smoking when you have absolutely nowhere to hurry. In that case, you will definitely enjoy the taste.
Pipe Used: Peterson 69, Peterson 106, Peterson B42
PurchasedFrom: Online
Age When Smoked: 2016
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 10, 2022 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Smoking from a 2007 tin. Was moist and had just one or two ribbons with mould but no other adverse effects noted. Dried for a few minutes before smoking. Good full tobacco flavour, no casing or topping detected . Basically a typical good Virginia blend with negligible influence of other components. Has the usual flavour characteristics of ripe virginia leaf, but not much sweetness. Full bodied smoke, easy to keep lit with the thicker ribbon cut and generally quite satisfying. Has a zesty flavour, nice nose burn, steady through the first 2/3. Last 1/3 needs a gentler draw to keep the flavour nuances from becoming ashy. The small amount of Latakia is well married and doesn’t stand out in any way but does make the smoke a little deeper in flavour
Pipe Used: Trypis and Brigham briars
Age When Smoked: 15 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 27, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The tin note reveals a nice smelling tobacco. My tine had perfect moisture. The light was smooth and even. The initial lighted flavor is a mild Virginia in nature. Visually, the blend looks like a Red Virginia blend with a Bright Virginia and Cavendish mildly mixed in. My nose did not detect any Latakia. Mid bowl, the flavor seemed to be more sonorous, deeper and broader in flavor. There does ssem to be some mild topping of grapefruit on some other citrus flavor as the bowl progresses. The slight lemon tangy notes are a wonderful surprise later on.The flavors get delightfully and more boldly complex as the bowl burns further. An even heated bowl seems to be essential to get the most flavor out of the bowl. While I would not rate this as a "beginner " pipe tobacco as I feel that much of the complexity would be missed by an inexperienced palate, a seasoned pipe smoker will covet and relish the delightful complexity of flavor for such a visually simple looking tobacco. I recommend this highly for those who are looking for a more sophisticated and nuanced smoke that is enveloped in a unique cornucopia of flavors . Do be aware that the nicotine hit is stronger than on might suspect, so be sure to take with a beverage ofrsome food.
Pipe Used: RobE Custom Algerian briar Rhodesian
PurchasedFrom: Indian River Tobacco Traders Gr MI
Age When Smoked: Less than 1 year
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 22, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
This is the best red Virginian smoke I have ever had. It is a straight tobacco with nice toasted flavorsand some wonderful nuttiness i just can't get enough of. Out of the can smells just like a good straight tobacco, feels a bit dry but thats very decieving its actually quite moist. I've been looking for a great red virginian for a lot of years so glade i found this one.

Side note: for me this is the ultimate hunting smoke. Al i can think of when smoking this is fall, leaves, cool mountain air, venison backstraps on the camp fire, and the joy of the coming winter with its wood smoke and spooning.
Pipe Used: nording handmade
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: 2 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 24, 2013 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Though I like newly minted Laurel Heights just fine, the lot I am smoking now has 5 years on it, and age certainly helps it. Young or old, LH lights and burns well right from the tin, but it works better for me if I first rub it out, to take some of the spring out of it, and to avoid the effects of expansion as it lights. The VAs used for LH are mostly full and include some fairly piquant leaf, as VA goes. Perhaps it's because of this, but I prefer LH from a small-ish, narrow pipe, and - above all - take it S-L-O-W. By starting slowly and "adapting to taste", one has a fair chance of enjoying a personalized version of the myriad tastes and scents that Pease describes (above). Otherwise, you're on your own, and it may get hot and/or harsh. It took me a while, but I've come to love this stuff. Still, know that LH is decidedly "tobacco forward", and it's not a candy-ass VA. As for the smattering of Latakia, either it does not factor or it helps. In any case, I have no problems with LH that I could ascribe to Latakia. Regarding the "strength" of LH, the nicotine here is of the stealth variety. You might not notice it until you're done; but by then it's well above "medium". Likewise, the aroma is richer than "medium", but not at all strong and, if you smoke it right, the rich and interesting tastes also build to more than "medium".

Summing, I'm glad I stuck with Laurel Heights long enough to enjoy much of what Pease goes on about, along with my own variations. It was somewhat of a challenge early on; but now it is on my favorites list, thus worthy of 4 stars from me.

Update: A year in a jar has further transformed LH, yet for the better. No longer a challenge, but easy-breezy to smoke, with delicate, floral notes and a "spectrum" of scents and tastes that runs from "high" to "low", and everywhere in between. Long drying has reduced the nic effect for me, too; now it's mild to medium. Today this is my favorite VA.

Update, 11-16-2015: From a tin dated 02-2015: LH was/is very dry, with the color and consistency of ground up particle board. Smokes and tastes fine, but - as ever - "it's "not the same" as earlier production. Sigh...
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