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A true Balkan with the main note being Oriental, a large amount of latakia with Turkish on a base of red, bright and flake Virginias. A classic Balkan. Rich in Oriental and latakia with red ribbon and flake Virginias. Full but not overpowering.

BrandCompton's of Galashiels
Blended ByMaxim Engel
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging100 grams pouch
ProductionNo longer in production
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Medium to Strong
None Detected
Room Note

Favorite Of 3 Users

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3019)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

In some ways, it reminds me of Balkan Sobranie 759, but this is smoother. I didn't think the buttery sweet, lightly sour Orientals are as prominent as the description says it is, but they are noticeable, and ably assists the woody, lightly smokey, dry Turkish for complexity. There is a rich dark fruit and citrus sweetness from the various Virginias, which also sport some earth and almost no grass. The deep woodsy, smokey sweet Cyprian latakia does not overpower the other ingredients as it is a team player. The nic-hit is mild to medium. No chance of bite, and has no harsh or dull moments. Burns at a reasonable pace, cool and clean with a smooth, very consistent taste. Needs few relights, and leaves only a touch of dampness in the bowl. A well balanced, fulsome flavor that gives the Balkan connoisseur everything expected without bombing your senses. Not an all day smoke, but one you'll consider more than once a day.


12 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (217)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Though GOG Balkan's plastic pouch and overall presentation are minimalist, the quality of the leaf and the painstaking care the blender took are immediately obvious. This blend smells so rich it is almost intoxicating, and it is so well melded that it takes a moment to unwind the incense, spices and grasses from the soft-but-deep Latakia. The tobacco handles, packs, lights and burns very well, and pouch moisture (water...) is perfect or close to it. I like to stuff it into my largest pipes for total immersion. For all the Latakia, this blend remains well balanced and accessible through the smoke, which I suppose hangs on the strength, smoothness and overall quality of the Turkish leaf working as a "buffer" as well as the lead tobacco, while the stout VAs make a very critical (and tasty) contribution without ever stealing the show. Aroma parallels the taste, an incredible mix of smoke, incense and spice, sweet, sour, and bitter, grassy and nutty, but all of it so well knit. COGB also generates plenty of smoke, which I enjoy, and the whole experience seems "full" indeed, yet enveloping rather than overwhelming. It has the rare quality of being well balanced without being boring or one-note, and it is interesting without being too clever. Aftertaste is the best of the smoke, and it lingers for some time, much to my delight. As far as room note, I smoke outdoors, but never underestimate the effects of Turkish tobacco. As far as nicotine, I rate it medium, though the nic effect does last longer than some other "medium" smokes. Taken as a whole, I always find myself quite satisfied with a bowl of Compton's of Galashiels' Balkan.

If you think you might like a big, classic Balkan, but only if it was perfect, give this a shot. It's my favorite Balkan, for whatever that's worth. As for the price, you get what you pay for.

Update, 03-16-14: Yesterday I got into a jar of this that I have stored for over 1 year without opening it (!). I gravity loaded my big Savinelli G d'O and was soon swept away. Time has opened up and softened the VAs and enriched the Turkish leaf, and even the spectacular, soft yet strong Latakia benefits in this case. It makes me think of well-aged DRC. Hard to imagine a more "refined" smoke of any genre, let alone a Balkan; it's even "more perfect" with age. Don't miss this.

Pipe Used: various briars; big ones preferred

Age When Smoked: fresh to 1 year

Purchased From: pipes2smoke

Similar Blends: Compares/contrasts nicely to GLP Kensington.

8 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is another bell ringer in the Compton's line. Lots of Latakia, Orientals and fully matured Virginia leaf to present a full taste sensation but not really that high on the strength meter. Where York Mixture delivers a right cross, this one pops you with a jab. Perfect for all day smoking for those who like a fuller taste without the big nicotine hit.


7 people found this review helpful.

Uban Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Uban (60)
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

I have smoked this outrageously good blend for maybe five years off & on - while just sitting & smoking, reading Tobacco Reviews, working in the shed, driving, walking in the park. It's just so full and satisfying that I think it goes anywhere with anything from a good coffee to whatever... Starts with a huge Lat punch, but the Vs & Orientals kick in & out in varying degrees all through the bowl. A wonderful mix of great full flavor, smooth & cool in the old meer, brighter & more exciting in a good group 5 briar.

Pipe Used: Old meers, Pete, Danes

Age When Smoked: 3 yrs

Purchased From: Maxim

Similar Blends: Nothing at all comes close..

6 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

My bias up front - I'm not the consummate balkan/latakia smoker, as I prefer virginias, vapers, and burleys. I tend to smoke more latakia mixtures in the fall and winter and I enjoy them but I'm certainly not the last word in balkan reviewers.

That said, this is a very satisfying mixture. The expense aside, this is a full-bodied blend but the latakia does not overpower the orientals, or even the virginias, although the latakia and orientals tend to run the show. This does remind me of Sobranie 759 but I admit my memory of that stuff is a little hazy. Alternately nutty, sweet and smoky, this is a great contemplative blend. I cannot concentrate on anything but the smoking experience - which is a good thing! Of the three Compton's blends I recently ordered, I had the lowest hopes for this one, and it turned out I got more than what I expected.

If you yearn for those great balkan blends of the past, pick up some of this. You might just yearn no more! As a balkan, this earns 4 stars. For my personal taste, 3 stars.

5 people found this review helpful.

A.E. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A.E. (22)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Comptons Balkan Mixture is strong, smooth, and full bodied. For me, smoking it is like drinking a cup of high quality black coffee - heavier, smokier and darker in flavor-not for every occasion, but at times only it will do. Thoughtful sipping, keeping the bowl temperature and smoke on the cool side brings out the flavors. The flavors/aromas are of aged wood, black licorice, and coffee. The smoke is thick and velvety soft. Unlike other Balkan mixtures I've tried, there is no suggestion of harshness or burn, or that your head has been assaulted by a cloud of campfire smoke. In my opinion, it's ideal for a late winter evening or a walk with my dogs. Aging it will make it legendary, I think. For my taste, I haven't found anything better all around than Compton's of Galashiels blends. Balkan Mixture is high quality, and excellent in its way.

Pipe Used: Luigi Viprati full bent briar

Age When Smoked: Freshly blended

Purchased From:

3 people found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

According to the description, the main note of this mixture is Oriental, but I don't agree at all. The Orientals are there, along with some sweet Virginias (mainly red and quite mature), but the frontman here is Latakia all the way down the bowl. To me, it sometimes gets a bit overwhelming, but it's an outstanding Balkan that deserves to be tried.

If it wasn't for the price, I'd give it four stars without a second thought. If you like Odyssey, give this one a try.

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a very full Balkan mixture, but with not a hint of harshness or of bite. Someone compared this to Balkan Sobranie 759. I would agree that this tobacco is right up there on a level with 759, but it is definitely not an exact match for it. I am not a great reviewer, and the nearest thing I can come to regarding 759 is that it has a sharpness to it that is there from the first puff. Compton's Balkan does not have that. I will say that when my stash of 759 is gone, I will not be crying, I will be relaxing smoking a bowl of COG Balkan. If you like a good Balkan, you will love this!

2 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

[edited 2/5/09 - last paragraph]


I was tempted to leave it at Wow!, but I can't help but give more glorious detail about what I'm experiencing right now with my favorite Dane Craft freehand. I like Compton's Macedonian mixture a lot, so I've been saving this gorgeous little black pouch of Balkan for the past four months for aging - shooting for a year, but I just couldn't leave it lying there any longer. (I'm a Myers Briggs Perceiver...couldn't just leave it alone for a whole year!).

Perfect humidity out of the pouch (a bit dryer than from most suppliers, which I like), smells amazing, packs nicely, it's a rough cut that's fun to play with.

Yes the Latakia is in your face but it feels oh so good! Rich from the very start with copious smoke, it has been consistently delicious from the first puff. Lots of flavor, and the Virginia is still noticeable and tasty, especially if you nurse it. But don't. Get some big storm clouds brewing around your head because that's when the true flavor comes thundering through (and with zero tongue bite).

Stokkebye's Balkan Supreme may have just been derailed as my premier smoke...Compton's price may be the only thing that keeps it in second place. Don't get me wrong, compared to cigars this is a steal...50g cost me $13.75, and I can only buy one or two good stogies for that. Still, it's on the high end of pipe tobacco. But it's absolutely well worth every penny.

= insert contemplative pipe smoking pause here =

Just ordered three bags, but Stokkebye is still up there. Did a parallel tasting, and it turns out Stokkebye is my go-to for richer, warmer flavors, and Compton's will be my heavier stronger smoke for those days when I'm looking for cigar-level strength. It's a tie for first place...

2 people found this review helpful.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (78)
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

This is my latest foray into the new world of Compton's and this has not let me down. This is a Balkan to judge all other's by, a mastepiece, the benchmark. This reminds me greatly of the Sobranie 759, although to tell the truth, and possibly risk being burned at the stake with my Castello shoved into my heart, I think I prefer this. As has been mentioned, the main note in this blend is the Latakia, not the orinetals, and it is a very high quality latakia at that. That is not to say this is not a complex blend where the other component tobaccos don't get to play, like so many of the other "balkans" where the only discernable note is latakia. This is s symphony, not a solo. I was begining to think that Pease was the only person who could create a true Balkan Mixture, but he does indeed have company to the north. This comes in perfect smoking condition, and lights easily, not usually needing a relight. The smoke is creamy and substantial. The taste is nutty, semi-sweet, with the typical balkan citric/hop astringincy, along with a sunstantial, opulent oooompf. Far all this, I have not been bitten, and while it is a full strength , full flavor tobacco, I never really get exhausted with it. If you are a Balkan fan you MUST try this, and soon. What Max Engels has done with Compton's is truely a miracle. For years we have continually bemoaned the loss of Sobranie, Cotton, "blended by" Rattrays, Cope's, Craven and all the other well loved friends who are never coming back. With Compton's we have been given blends that are substantially alike in taste, character and individuality to those departed blends. It is as if time has been reversed. 10 stars out of 4!

1 person found this review helpful.

Battling Maxo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Battling Maxo (8)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

Balkan fans, this is a must-try. I agree with thedstnguishdgntlmn, Balkan Mixture is nutty, rich, and absolutely sumptuous. I especially like the burst of rich Balkan sweetness at initial lightup; I never experienced that in another tobacco.

Compton's Macedonian Mixture and Balkan Mixture are my favorite two Balkans, of course after Balkan Sobranie. B.Sasieni bites too much, Pease is too wet for my taste, and the rest meet me with various degrees of satisfaction.

3.5 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

Absolutely the finest Balkan I have have ever smoked! Nutty, rich, and absolutely sumptuous! If you love Balkans as much as I do try this one. 5 of 4 stars!

1 person found this review helpful.

ChollyWheels Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ChollyWheels (12)
Very Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable

Pipe smokers -- me included -- are suckers for a good fantasy -- puffling while imagining oneself a dreadlocked Mayan in the shadow of the Chichen Itza pyramid, or jodhpur booted Spitfire pilot (Squadron Leader!) puffing while defending England. I am old enough to recall the cutter white can of Balkan sobranie of London -- the exoticness of the tin note, and mouth scorch after smoking, and the rural Bakan scene cartooned in paint on the can. Cue the sound track of "From Russia With Love" filmed in Turkey.

And antiquity is often part of the fantasy -- one of the highest compliments of any blend is the claim it was made on ancient machinery, using ancient methods, using the last leaf of the remotest hills.

All of which is (he says, casually relighting) ridiculous.

The Compton's of Galashiels fantasy is among the most ridiculous. An ancient blend book obtained from remote descendants, then years of experiments to overcome ingredients and methods being long gone. And presto! A recreation of blends not seen since 1929, that no one now living (or the blenders!) ever tasted.

Here's the unkind part: Compton's of Galashiels Balkan Mixture is the best tobacco I ever smoked. Unkind because it appears to be unavailable even on the vintage tin market.

The leaves of are equally brown and black. They are finely cut, and short -- tho' that may reflect that most of what I have left are crumbs. The tin note (well, the note of the mylar bag dated 2015) is strong and smokey -- plus something exotic -- an oriental leaf I imagine. It packs easily, and can be compressed easily with a finger without reducing the draw. I can't rave about the "complexity." To me, the strength of this blend is its consistency -- very pleasantly oriental forward, more floral (in an oriental leaf sense) than sour. It is at least as smooth as (say) McClelland's Balkan Beauty, but better tasting. Nicotine-wise a medium hit. Clouds of quickly dispersing smoke.

My previous favorite was McClelland 3 Oaks (Cyprian).

Max... if you can't bring this blend back, can you license it to someone that can?

Smell being the sense most tied to memory, and when I tobacco blend disappears it takes history -- personal history -- with it.

Pipe Used: Savinelli grezza (small bowl)

Age When Smoked: 5 years old

Similar Blends: McClelland's Balkan Beauty.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (112)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Yet another excellent blend from Compton's cool, very rich, no harshness at all even if you puff like a Shay Locomotive.

You can tell these folks are not simply following a recipe and put a lot of attention and care into their blends, using base tobaccos of the highest quality. Indeed, a tad expensive compared to others but well worth it. The quenching level is very high, often one bowl or two bowls is sufficient; one is not left wanting. And the nice part is you'll be looking forward to the next one. One could say a somewhat seductive blend.

An evening with such a fine blend is quite the pleasure, Balkan and English enthusiasts ought to do so.

It's surprisingly difficult to compare with Compton's Macedonian since both are superb. I cannot say I prefer one over the other, why not enjoy them both, an open relationship.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This comes in an 100gr vacuum packed foil pouch. The delightful pouch aroma is mostly Oriental with fragrant Latakia. The cut is a rather coarse Ribbon of mostly dark leaf. The flavor is wonderful, dark and mostly Oriental and Latakia, the VAs are there too but not as sweet as Macedonian Mixture. 9 out of 10 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lbarraa Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lbarraa (29)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

Sorry but I must to write my history with this tobacco: My first experience with this tobacco was 6 years a go (2002), when I was a novice pipesmoker. I order a Maxim Engel a Pipe and in the box was included a unique gifth... a pouch Comptom´s Of Galashiel´s (COG) Balkan was my first non aromatic tobacco... and I must say It was a revelation!

After tried different english or Balkan tobaccos, including the extint Balkan Sobraine, GL Pease´s Odisey-Renaissance-B.Scandal-Westminster and Mephisto, the Dunhill´s series and the Presbiterian Mixture, but the memory of the COG´s Balkan still in my mind.

This year (2008) I order a new pipes to Maxim Engel, and a new pouch of this wonderfull tobacco was inside the box... that was a great reunion... me and COG´s Balkan.

If you love the english-balkan blends this tobacco is the one for you. Has a nice strong virginia foundation, with red an flake virginias, a very good proportion of oriental and latakia... the smoke is creamy and nutty, very pleasent with no bite. Easy ligth or religth. Smoke this tobacco is a real pleasure.

The problem is a litle expensive, but worth every cent that you pay.

In addition Maxim Engel improves the pouches of the tobacco, keeping the tobacco fresh for weeks.

Somehing more? Yes, dont hesisate... try this tobacco. Bests.

Luis Barra Ahumada

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

a full-steam-ahead balkan, with loads of latakia and orientals. a very satisfying smoke for late in the day. it may not be as elegant or refined as other compton's blends - first of all because i feel that the orientals have less character than in, say, their macedonian - but it's rich and fullfilling. medium strength nicotine, full strength flavour. smokes dry and fine if you don't puff like a locomotive.

Nobody has rated this review yet.