Cornell & Diehl Star of the East

One half Latakia with a generous portion of Turkish and sweetened with stoved red Virginia.
Notes: Starting with a base of 50% Latakia, with a generous portion of Turkish leaf, then sweetened with stoved red Virginia, Star of the East is a full-bodied blend, as well as a long time favorite of Cornell & Diehl customers.


Brand Cornell & Diehl
Blended By Cornell & Diehl
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce tin, bulk
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

3.16 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 108 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 07, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The blender lies a blatant lie with this one. The tin claims a half Latakia blend, which is for any Latakia fan like me is a dream. And sadly it isn't, so if that's your buying point, then stay away from this. However, this is not bad tobacco at all. On the contrary, I found it pleasurable from start to finish. When you first open the tin, you're welcomed by a lovely smell of Latakia and orientals. As if you walked into a place that sells incense. The cut is a thick ribbon and at the perfect moisture, at least in my case. It is quite easy to light and keep lit. I rarely had to relight this. It smokes consistently, dryly and burns down till the bottom. With your first few buffs you may find that it is not at all a heavy Latakia blend despite what C&D says. It has rich, dark virginia, complemented with spicy and woodsy orientals with an okay precense of Latakia. Definitely a complementary condiment rather than the star of the show as they claim. Nevertheless it's a pleasant blend that is enjoyable for any English lover. I found it to pair well with black coffee as well, and as for me its nicotine is mild to medium, but again this last part is subjective. I presume the flake will be better than this, and hopefully closer to their Latakia claim

Note: I received the following message from the blender, and thought it is only fair to share it Hi Ahmad, I saw your review of our Star of the East blend and I wanted to thank you for your thoughts on it. However your review starts by making the claim that we have "Lied a blatant lie" about Star of the East being half Latakia. I realize the subjectivity of taste, but Star of the East does in fact contain 50% Latakia and over 30% Orientals. Our claim about the blend being half Latakia is based on the actual recipe that we use to make this blend and we have not lied in any way. The same proportions are used in the flake form as well, but pressing does tend to deepen the overall flavor of a blend, so perhaps Star of the East Flake would be a better fit for you. As chasingembers mentioned, Pirate Kake is much heavier in Latakia, a full 75%. Da Vinci is also comprised of 75% Latakia. Kind Regards, Jeremy Reeves Head Blender Cornell & Diehl
Pipe Used: Peterson system ebony
Age When Smoked: Fresh tin
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 25, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The Cyprian Latakia is smokey, woody, earthy, musty, and not very sweet in a starring role, though I disagree with the description that it’s half the blend. It doesn’t taste like that nor do I see that quantity when I look at the tobacco itself. The impact of the Latakia does vary at times, but even at its least obvious, it’s still the dominant component. The lightly sugary stoved red Virginia is tangy dark fruit sweet with some earth, bread and wood in a support role. The Turkish is woody, herbal, vegetative, earthy, lightly buttery sweet and mildly sour with a minor floral spice note as it continually underscores the taste. The nic-hit is just past the center of mild to medium. The strength of the blend falls just short of the medium threshold. The taste level is a step past the center of medium to full. Won't bite. Burns at a moderate rate with a cool, clean, relatively smooth (for blends in this genre) mildly sweet and sour, savory flavor. Has no dull or harsh spots, though it does have a rough edge. Easily burns to ash with few relights, and makes lots of smoke. Leaves no moisture in the bowl. Has a strong, lingering after taste and a camp fire room note. Not a complex mixture by any means, but it has enough going for it to satisfy the craving for Latakia without it being a total lat-bomb.

52 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 02, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant
Wow! This is a really excellent English blend of Latakia, Turkish and Virginia. The label states "One half Latakia with a generous portion of Turkish and sweetened with stoved red Virginia".

In many respects I find Cornell & Diehls' STAR OF THE EAST (SOTE) as the perfect replacement for Balkan Sasieni (BS) and at less than half the cost ($28/lb for SOTE versus $7/50g tin for BS, which works out to approx. $63/ lb).

I find in both blends a dense campfire smokiness provided by the high Latakia content, although its much higher with SOTE (50%) than with BS (I'd estimate at approx. 30%). But the effect of the Stoved Virginia base and the sparkling spice provided by the Orientals is very similar in both to my palate.

The blend comes as a rough cut ribbon, rather on the fat side. The color is a dark brown with a 50% of pure black leaf, the latter presumably representing the Latakia. By the way, off topic, is it la-ta-KIA or la-TA-kia? I have heard both in common parlance. Anyways, the thick ribbons pack well via gravitation feed, with a stout thumb press to finalize the pack. After a preliminary charring, the top ash takes readily and offers a one- match smoke. The water content is ideal out of the sack, and keeps well in sealed glass bell jars.

As an aside, I have tried to find a replacement for BS for quite some time now. Cup O Joes offers a bulk version of Balkan Sasieni for only $40/lb. However, this is not exactly the same as the 50g tinned version. I presume that this is a house blend that approximates the original.

As the first post mentioned, this blend was created in June 1998 by "FredSmoke" (aka Fred Langer) and blended by Craig Tarler of Cornell & Diehls. Hats off to these fine gentlemen. What really impresses me with this blend is the cost of $28/lb! I don't think a better deal exists for the lover of English / Balkan blends who by necessity operate on a shoestring budget. I for one will be feeding my cellar with this fine blend to the tune of several pounds. I expect the Stoved Red Virginias, that neutralize the 50% Latakia and serve as a base of fine sweetness, to age well.

I would HIGHLY recommend this blend to any lover of English Latakia heavy blends. I give it 4 out of 4 stars. Happy smoking to all.
44 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 29, 2010 Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
I suspect this could be packaged in a GL Pease tin, introduced as his newest "genius' blend, and many of us would gladly pay the premium cost to rave about the "depth and subtle complexity of this intoxicating weed"... or otherwise engage in some other manner of hyperbole.

This is in no way a knock on GLP. I dig his stuff. Which is why I use it here as sort of the gold standard. The point is I personally think SOTE is damned good pipe tobacco. As good as there is out there.

Throw in that it costs less than 30 bucks a pound and it to me is a clear , no-brainer, stock builder.

If you like English/Balkan blends just try this. Could be a mainstay for you..
29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
A great blend with lots of flavor. Not quite as stout as most of the English/Balkan blends I smoke, but just as flavorful. I'll keep some of this around for the times when I want something a little lighter. This is a very good, solid, quality smoke.
26 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 03, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
This tobacco is excellent. I couldn't find any flaw yet, and although intuitively, it seems somewhat mediocre, I tried to analyse what exactly is missing here, and I couldn't find anything. It has everything in just the right amount. I was smoking Red Odessa a lot lately, then I got sick, which changed my receptors as usual, and during the recovery, I switched to this one. First bowl of it, was in a meerschaum pipe, near New Year's eve on the city dock in Thessaloniki, a warm sea weather, ideal for winter latakia smoke. And I find it disgusting, there's something special in Cornell and Diehl blends that distinguishes them from all other out there, and the first bowl all I could smell was that undefined Cornell and Diehl taste. Second bowl however, was much better, and was getting better and better, and the last one I had 15 minutes ago, and I liked it immensely. It is truly a wonderful blend that lacks nothing. Latakia is overpowering, not as in Odissey, but close, and orientals are present, you can feel them periodically, although they don't play the main role. VA can also be spotted after the first half, all in all, decent quality smoke. It leaves that awesome latakia aftertaste that lasts for a long time. I'm beginning to like this more and more. I purchased 8 oz bulk, and probably going to order some more. Not a nicotine kick, more like everyday english. Not too mild like Balkan Sasieni either. Highly Recommended.
Pipe Used: Briars and meers
Age When Smoked: 2 months
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 28, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
This is and has been one of C&D's top sellers for a long time and I can see why. It is loaded to the gills with very rich and smoky Latakia combined with a lot of Oriental leaf for spice and rich Virginia for backbone. I've smoked a lot of Latakia blends over the years but seriously, this one is about as smoky as it gets. I smoke it outside to keep the fire alarm from going off.
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 21, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
First of all, if you love the taste of latakia to the exclusion of all else in a blend, add at least one star to my recommendation.

The previous reviewer nailed my feelings on this tobacco. It's a fine, high quality blend that misses the mark for someone who prefers a complex smoke with some side flavors. I just taste latakia that ebbs and flows in intensity. This was smoked fresh out of the tin and I noticed that some reviewers find that it improves drastically with some age. I may try that experiment.

As is, it's a very flat, monodimensional smoke. That doesn't make it bad, though - and if that's what you desire, this is one to try, especially if you've ever mainlined latakia. 🙂
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 12, 2005 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
WOW. This blend is smooth, rich and full. While the Latakia is the heavy hitter in SOTE, the red VA pokes its head through around mid bowl enhancing the semi sweetness of the turkish that compliments the Latakia very well. Burns clean and even, building up to a very complex and tasty finish that makes you want to immediately smoke another bowl.

While SOTE is not as profoundly smooth and creamy as Penzance, it has replaced Penzance as my favorite Latakia blend. Something no other Latakia blend has been able to do for the past five years. A winner and a solid 4 stars!
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 31, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The venerable, almost legendary C&D Star of the East. I wondered when I would finally get some to try and finally did include a small 2 oz. tin of this bulk blend on my last order. The reviews here and elsewhere piqued my interest especially with the comparisons to Penzance which seems to have gone AWOL again over here.

Described as a broken flake I wonder what difference there is between this and C&D's SOTE Flake? I guess I must buy that as well. However, upon lighting this up I was immediately pummeled by a fine Latakia with the sweet Virginias quickly coming to the surface. Sweet smokiness without the tannic pasting with which other heavy Latakia blends have left me (Three Oaks Original, for one). Unsure if I like this right off I immediately repacked my pipe and had another go. Yes, I liked it and can see how others have likened it to Penzance- it seems to be Penzance on steroids - the Latakia more to the fore, the Va's sweeter. The "finish" of this, to borrow a cigar tasting term, is short and does not linger for hours in one's mouth.

I very much like Penzance and could smoke it all day. I'm not sure if I can handle this all day, however; it is more powerful in nicotine (not that that is a bad thing). I do wonder why no comparison has been made (unless I missed it) to other heavy Latakia blends such as FrogMorton or Benjamin Hartwell Chesdin Mixture. Those blends seem more in the genre of SOTE, IMO. I prefer Star of the East to both of those and it has over the last two weeks replaced the Frog for me. I may not smoke it all day, but I do smoke it at least once per day as the drive-to-work blend where it satisfies my tobacco yen until lunch twelve hours later. 4 Stars - no equivocation.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2008 Medium None Detected Full Strong
What a wonderful mixture. All that I have purchased has been in bulk and while it smokes wonderfully from the get go it gets even better after sitting in a Ball jar for as little as 3 to 6 months. It is a Balkan for sure and just slightly sweet from the Red Virginia and maybe the Orientals as well. Sweeter and less soapy (in the Latakia sense not Lakeland) than Pease's Odyssey, I like this much better. The Orientals are not nearly as acrid as in Abingdon, which I also enjoy and it may be a bit sweeter to my palate.

As many reviews have mentioned this blend contains 50% Latakia but it is not overwhelming, then again I cannot smoke bowl after bowl of this either because it does tend to max out my taste buds for a time. This blend can be smoked anytime of day though I prefer it after breakfast or as my last pipe of the day, after dinner. It is wonderful with a coffee, sausage and eggs in the morning and unlike a mild English or Balkan it can stand up to a flavorful or spicy dinner as maybe your last pipe of the day. The aftertaste is definite Latakia and it stays in my beard and nostrils for quite a while keeping the Mrs. at bay so be forewarned. Though it doesn't develop substantially down the bowl it also does not get overly bitter as some Balkans do and finishes quite nicely.

The cut is on the coarse side and packs well using many different methods. The slightly coarse cut make is a good candidate for outdoors but I do tend to pack it a bit tighter for those times if windy. Bowl size makes little difference though I do tend to prefer it in medium to large bowls. Smokes fairly cool though with effort can get a bit hot, so as always smoke slowly. Do not be put off or have and attitude about buying as a bulk (it can also be purchased in tins) because I would rank this with some of the favorite heavy Latakia blends out there such as Margate, Odyssey, Abingdon or Penzance and highly recommend it to lovers of such blends.

UPDATE-12/28/08 Though I hate to do so I am down grading this one star as I feel it tends to burn a bit on the hot side which is a problem I also get with Margate. After spending some time with Pease's Westminster, Maltese Falcon and Abingdon all which burn quite a bit cooler I feel it is only fair. Still a wonderful tobacco that I will be stocking up on again in the future.
13 people found this review helpful.
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