Compton's of Galashiels Balkan

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.


Brand Compton's of Galashiels
Blended By Maxim Engel
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams pouch
Country Canada
Production No longer in production


Medium to Strong
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.88 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 17 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 18, 2013 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 08, 2013 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
PurchasedFrom: pipes2smoke
Age When Smoked: fresh to 1 year
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: Maxim
Age When Smoked: 3 yrs
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 27, 2009 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 26, 2013 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
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 03, 2007 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 25, 2011 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2009 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 19, 2008 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.
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