G. L. Pease Key Largo

Deep, earthy and creamy. A distinguished broken flake of red Virginia tobaccos, small leaf Orientals, and a measure of Cyprus latakia, spiced with velvety cigar wrapper leaf. Key Largo develops throughout the bowl, offering a satisfying and sturdy smoking experience, with beautifully balanced, richly textured layers of cocoa, dark roasted coffee, leather, and a lively, lingering finish.
Notes: Key Largo was introduced in July, 2008.


Brand G. L. Pease
Series Heirloom Collection
Blended By Gregory Pease
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Cigar Leaf Based
Contents Cigar Leaf, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 2 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

3.39 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 105 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 14, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
I don't know how many of you have had the pleasure of trying the old Balkan Sobranie Virginian number 10 from the 1970's but Key Largo is about as close to that old beauty as I have come across. The old Havana leaf in the Balkan Sobranie seemed to be fuller and deeper and the Latakia not as pronounced but that may be the result of faulty memory on my part or simply because the old Havana was pretty special stuff. Anyway if you want to gain a whiff and taste of the golden age of English mixtures with a bit of cigar leaf from the 1970's this is pretty close. It is also excellent in its own right.
Pipe Used: Northern Briar bent bulldog
PurchasedFrom: cargo hold
Age When Smoked: 6 months
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 24, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
The tin description of this product is very accurate. It has an obvious cigar taste without it being a cigar, and yet, it doesn't overpower the other tobaccos. The Oriental is earthy, smoky, woody, floral, dry, herbal, vegetative, lightly spicy and sour as a second lead. The cigar leaf has abundant cocoa and coffee notes. It is also earthy, woody, smoky, mildly floral, very rich and creamy with a little vegetation as the lead component. The red Virginia is rather subdued here, but it does add a slight tangy dark fruitiness, earth and wood. The Cyprian Latakia provides a smoky, woodsy, earthy, sweet and cool amplification to the other ingredients in the background. The strength is in the center of medium to strong, while the taste level is a step or two past that center. Has a medium nic-hit. Won't bite or get harsh, though I do recommend a slow puffing cadence due to a few rough edges. Burns cool and clean at a relatively slow pace with a rather rich, consistent taste, and leaves virtually no moisture at the bottom of the bowl. Requires a few relights. Has a lingering after taste, and strong room note. I suggest smoking it in a wide bowl to experience the full range of its complexity. It's not an all day smoke.

57 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 24, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
I keep waiting for Greg Pease to release a dud... It has not happened and sure didn't with Key Largo. What a delightful variety of taste sensations!

Pease is, as most pipe hobbyists know, a master blender who takes pride and care in his work. Key Largo is a shining example; creamy, a bit on the dark side, an easy burner and cool on the tongue and palate.

If a heavy cigar taste is what you are searching for then you better keep searching. You detect it, but only faintly in the background from time to time.

I may have had better tobacco... I just can't remember when.
48 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 01, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
With food, there are different kinds of Good. A chef can probably please the greatest number of people with pizza, cheeseburgers and fried chicken. The further out on limbs he starts to go with recepies, the more people he's likely to start losing.

It's the same if he's a blender with the chops to do it and do it well. Putting out creations that expand people's horizons is fraught with a degree of risk. It isn't even so much that many pipe folk wouldn't like them if they suspended their expectations and gave them enough time and attention to "get" them as that, since they don't key a familiar "Good" response, they tend to get written off from initial disappointment.

As it comes across on this end, Key Largo is even more full of subleties than its predecessor, Embarcadero. It takes longer to adjust to and zero in on, it's more sensitive to the pipe it's smoked in (and how rapidly), and it has an even wider range of flavors within its basic taste profile. It just doesn't whomp you upside the head with something familiar and obvious like "cheeseburger."

Key Largo is pleasently dry, the way Embarcadero is. It has a similar thread of sweetness running through it that smoking it too rapidly can (similarly) obscure. Above all, it has a dark quality to its taste that can be a really refreshing change of pace.

Just made, it reminded me of forest loam after a rain. As weeks went by and it found the pipes it likes, it started showing flashes of its constituents. It surprised me at first that I couldn't find the cigar wrapper element in it, nor could four other people I compared notes on it with (all of whom have much more refined palattes than mine). It's only been with the mellowing effect that several months in an occasionally opened jar seems to have on a tinned blend and repeated, careful attention that the cigar wrapper element has shown itself as a discernable element in it along with the sweetness of the Virginia and the Latakia spicing the outermost edges of it.

Smoked so slowly and gently that it's on the verge of going out, Key Largo has as subtle an interplay of flavors as anything the Dark Lord's put out.

Only six months into the journey with it, there's probably a lot left in Key Largo I haven't managed to get to come into focus yet. But there's more than enough even so to keep me coming back to it.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 04, 2014 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Key Largo is not at all gimmicky but it is subtle, elegant and satisfying, albeit it is also "tobacco forward", like most GLP blends. The "cigar" thing is so well done that it transcends my original "concerns", earning a spot in my rotation, and plenty of cellar space, too.

The tin I am just finishing is 3 years old, and the VAs smelled aged and fermented when the tin was popped. Persistent sniffing turned up rather loamy Orientals, and these, along with "enough" of the right Latakia, seem to meld with the cigar leaf to present the "cigar notes", such as they are, in the tin, and scent-wise and taste-wise when KL is smoked. It lights OK right out of the tin, but it wants some attention if it's to stay lit, whether it's smoked tin moist or bone dry. I prefer it dried some, but not dried out. FYI, if the "ribbons" are rubbed out too much, the air hole can get clogged. Generally, KL wants - and deserves, and rewards - one's attention. Like Greg says, it "develops throughout the bowl", and I have noted that it becomes smoother and richer in ways that are unique in my experience while also staying very well balanced as it is smoked down. Though KL smokes rather dry, yet it is rich and full enough to make for an exceptional, "creamy" mouth feel, especially down the bowl. IMO, this special mouth feel greatly enhances the rich, earthy tastes and scents the blend pours forth. The spices are, in fact, reminiscent of a good cigar. Another reviewer basically recommended smoking KL in a narrow stack, and I concur; get it focused, and "on top of itself". I aim to finally get a small stack (or 2), just for Key Largo. It's hard to describe KL's transformation from medium to full tastes, but it remains so smooth that this may go unnoticed - until one lights up a bowl something else. Strength is stronger than medium, but not really strong. I love the room note; but it does contain Turkish and cigar leaf... KL should certainly be smoked in still air, indoors, if possible. One debit: it ghosts my pipes. In fact, I like to rest a pipe used for KL for at least 2 days before using it for KL again. However, DGT works fine with KL; go figure... Aftertaste is a delicious, lingering "best-of", only sweeter.

The way GLP blends and develops the tobaccos in KL into a proprietary cigar is genius, also one-of-a-kind. Old Dark Fired is vaguely similar; but this takes nothing away from Key Largo. I find it interesting, delicious and satisfying. But it is "different", all right, and I am not sure who else would like it as well as I do. I suspect that few will hate it, and more will find it OK while missing the best of it. No matter your first impressions, however, I recommend that you persist. Give it some time; age it; let it rest and breathe; and be sure to smoke a few bowls very slowly and attentively, in still air. Four stars from me, FWIW.

Update: Just got into a jar I meant to save, smoked down a group 4-5 bowl in 15 minutes. My! Another one for my favorites list. I like it fine fresh from the tin, but just a few months of "rest" and some slow drying makes it softer and even creamer, not to mention blissfully delicious. Now it is reminiscent of the best of the old, mild "Tampa" cigars of my youth, and it compares favorably to HH Old Dark Fired at its best.

Update, 07-23-15: Didn't notice I'd blown through my "using" supply until it was gone, just got into a stashed tin dated 01-08-09. Oh, my! This is as good as anything I have smoked (in almost 50 years). Definitely jump on this if you get the chance, or age some yourself (if you can...).

Update, 12-07-18: Oh, well, plus ca change... A tin of recent manufacture is fairly insipid, with dominant (though still soft) "Latakia" that is more sprayed-on Liquid Smoke and "incense" than tobacco, with less from the Orientals and hardly anything from the cigar leaf. Not bad, really, just disappointing compared to the tins I've blown through up to now. If there is a lesson here I'm sure it's the same old "lesson" that I should hoard good tobacco when I find it, which pretty much goes against my general philosophy of life! Feh! Here's hoping rest will transform this batch, and may C&D restore Key Largo soon!
Pipe Used: various briars; taller, narrow bowls preferred
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: 3 yrs to 6 1/2 yrs +; older = better
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2010 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
August 18, 2016 Update: smoking five year old Key Largo tonight and absolutely loving it! Wished I would have bought a dozen tins. I'm down to 2 now...

Tin Aroma: Very interesting and unique. It's got that sourish note of a freshly opened tin of Squadron Leader, along with an earthy, musty note that must come from the cigar leaf.

Appearance: A broken flake, still very much in flake form. Rubs out easily, and has perfect moisture out of the tin. Primarily medium-dark with flecks of brighter leaf here and there.

Flavor: This is an Academy Award nominee.

I am really enjoying this stuff! From the opening credits, there is a richness that hints of the best cigars I've tasted. To me, a great cigar is not just cigarish, it's also toasty, rich, complex and strong. Key Largo is like a rich, creamy cigar dressed with all the characteristics of your favorite pipe tobacco. Or is it a great pipe tobacco wrapped in the garb of a rich, creamy cigar? I'll have to talk to the wardrobe department about this…

As the actors take the stage, I notice the Oriental leaf first and foremost, astringent and sassy, but it's very smooth and not as tangy in my nose as those in the first four “full English” blends we've tasted. It certainly knows its place and does not hog the camera.

Next comes the Latakia, smoky and rich, adding that campfire character that will make this an incredible camping/fishing/outdoor smoke – next time I light the burn pile this will be my leaf of choice while tending the fire.

The Virginias balance the blend with a sweet richness that is foundational. The tin notes state that this blend uses Red Virginias. I'm not good at distinguishing the various types of Virginia leaf from one another in a blend, but I think the Reds add a little spice of their own, at least as compared to a rich, dark stoved Virginia.

The cigar leaf lurks to one side of the stage, never very strong, certainly never in the lead role, but also never fading into the background. It's always noticeable and is actually the star of the show. The cigar leaf gets the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I would really like to try this blend with just a bit more cigar leaf, just to get a better handle on the specific cigar flavors.

“Spicy” and “rich” are good descriptors. There is the Oriental spice in my nose and my soft palate, and there is the cigar leaf that is not so much spicy as – well, earthy, just like in Pease's description. But this blend is also smooooooth. In my experience, smooth and spicy are often mutually exclusive, but Greg pulled it off here. The various types of tobacco play very well together, and although I listed them above in the order of appearance to my palate, yet it's sometimes difficult to distinguish where one leaf ends and another begins.

During the last third, the Oriental spice fades (but does not disappear), and the cigar leaf and Virginias vie for the lead role. To me, the mark of a great cigar is that it smokes flavorfully to the very last – in other words, a knuckle burner. Not many cigars do this for me, as I favor the richness and toastiness typical in the first half of a cigar. Key Largo is a knuckle burner.

My only regret is that I first tried this in one of my favorite English pipes and I'm now concerned about ghosting the pipe. I will be dedicating a pipe or two to Key Largo and Robusto. Obviously this blend is a great crossover for cigar smokers looking to get into pipes.

Like a movie that just flows beautifully, blurring the passage of time, this blend will help you while away your time with ease and panache. I have no idea what to expect from this stuff as it ages, but I'm confident enough in brilliant results to stash a stack of tins. One thing I know for certain – I'll be buying more!
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 21, 2008 Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong
Ooops, he did it again!

If there's one thing I can't smoke, it's cigars. Ok, I tolerate the occasional aged Toscano, but I really can't stand Cuban or Dominican ones. I truly don't care for that chocolatey, earthy, dull taste: I find it monodimensional and boring, not to mention heavy. Besides, most cigars are too strong in nicotine for me. I am famous for having stopped smoking a Partagas once after 5 minutes, because I truly disliked the flavour.

The same applies to cigar leaf pipe blends. So, I guess it's just my personal taste if I find Robusto exactly not my cup of tea, if I have never raved about Balkan Sobranie Virginian N. 10 (even 20 years old tins tasted boring to me!), and if the only one that I thought was actually OK is Banker's Mixture thanks to the low cigar content, the high Latakia and the good Virginia sweetness.

And yet, after a few disappointing and boring bowls with Key Largo (while I kept telling myself "told you so"), something changed and now I really like this new GLPease blend, which is starting to really grow on me.

Two big recommendations:

1) Smoke it slowly, as slowly as you can 2) Don't smoke it outdoors, as it's a subtle blend. No, it's not wimpy, but its main qualities lie in its subtleties

The cut in the tin is a VERY irregular broken flake, with pieces of very varied dimensions: from small, to impressively huge. It feels not moist, but very pliable, almost velvety at the touch. The tin aroma is moderately sweet with a touch of smokiness, and a great milk/coffee/cocoa powder creaminess.

And creamy is the right word to define the smoke, too. Never overwhelming, never harsh or with the bitter aftertaste that you can sometimes find in cigars. It's earthy, with damp autumnal leaves, but never too much. The sweetness is there, but very subdued and never dominant. Same for the Latakia smokiness and the Orientals grassiness. And the cigar leaf... well, it's at the same time tasty, juicy and never dominant. What makes this blend so special is how greatly balanced it is, how intricate the interplay between the various kinds of leaf goes on. And, most of all, the creaminess. Creamy, not thick. Smooth like velvet, again on unsugared milk and coffee with a sprinkle of cocoa on top. Tasty (IF YOU SMOKE SLOWLY!!!!!!!! Otherwise it tastes like hot air!) and yet delicate. It already feels very mature and well integrated even from a fresh tin, and I suspect it will become even better and creamier in time.

And the nicotine? Stronger than your average English Mixture, but still highly tolerable even for me in a group-4 sized bowl. By the way, I find Key Largo smokes better in a smallish pipes, and especialy in those which have a bowl bigger in depth than width (such as a lovat, or a classic billiard... and NOT a pot).

My congratulations, Greg: making me appreciate a cigar leaf blend is truly an achievement. It's IMHO much better than Robusto, with more finesse and much more balance. And I suspect the broken flake cut is much more suitable than a ribbon cut mixture for such a blend. Of course it won't become a regular in my rotation, but I'll gladly savour a bowl once in a while from now on.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 28, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Nice blend. Came in 2nd place on my list of blends with cigar leaf. Habana Daydream was 1st. This is a good smoke. Recommend trying it.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 25, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Strong
If you like Billy Budd, this isn't it. This is a softer and creamier blend. The tin note is strong, but the body I would call a medium. The flavors of all the tobaccos really meld like a nice flake should. My flakes were broken and easy to break up and pack. The latakia is soft and pleasant and the cigar leaf and Virginia make for a very creamy smoke. Mild/med in the nicotine department. Very nice. One of my favorites. Improves with age also.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 29, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
G. L. Pease - Key Largo.

The tobacco looks about the same build as Cornell & Diehl's Burley Flake No.1: strips as opposed to chunks of broken flake. Although the blend's the same size/cut, it's a fair bit darker to look at. Moisture quantity's good, so I can smoke it directly from the fresh tin.

I don't usually enjoy cigar leaf blends, they normally taste too ashy to me, but Key Largo has a deeper flavour than most. The cigar leaf seems the heaviest flavour, but it's not the only taste: the Latakia fills the flavour out, it gives woodiness, and a slight smokiness. I find the Oriental a little lighter than the Latakia, it's not quite as abrasive. The Virginia contributes a fair bit of volume, but seeing as the flavour of this leaf is a lot mellower it doesn't give too much character to the blend. The burn from Key Largo couldn't be better: easily lit, burns splendid, doesn't require lots of re-lights, and leaves a perfect cigar-type ash.

The nicotine's above medium, it's not 'strong' but it's more than medium, and the room-note's good: although it creates a good aroma it only makes a small amount of smoke in the room.

This is about the best cigar blend I've had: full marks.

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Peterson Jekyll & Hyde #05
PurchasedFrom: Gauntleys Nottingham
Age When Smoked: 7 months
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 06, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
Takes a charring light very easily, producing a pronounced Latakia flavour, a sweet and tangy coolness, slightly suggestive of menthol, but not at all artificial or saccharin.

On lighting Latakia presents but soon integrates with rich and sweet rum and raisin notes.

A steady slow burn which facilitates easy sipping.

It develops into a rich velvety full smoke which remains sweet. Brings to mind a good quality hot chocolate that hasn't needed more than a pinch of dark unrefined sugar.

The flavours don't suddenly move back and forth as you smoke. Whilst you don't forget that there is Latakia in here, the flavours are never competing for centre stage. A true ensemble piece.

The cigar leaf brings to mind those rare discoveries of a coffee bean of medium body, with subtle cocoa nuttiness, a soft maple or honey sweet supporting it

At no point does the blend become bitter, tart or sharp. I don't find any citrus fruit notes in here.

When I opened this tin I already had 3 other very good tobaccos open. I expected it to be an interesting change; a curiosity. Far from it! This was one of the rare finds that I instantly fell and remain in love with. Usually when I get to the end of a tin I am happy to try yet another new experience, and if I have enjoyed what I have finished I will look forward to re-visiting it. Key Largo is one of those tobaccos where I just want more. I can't imagine boring of this stuff. And since I opened the tin I have smoked it almost exclusively – first pipe of the day, walking the dog, sat quietly meditating as I finish the day.

Bottom line – rich, perfectly balanced, not a challenging smoke but engagingly sensory. This doesn't come with the drama of the bright Virginia blend.

I am not a cigar smoker, and wasn't really looking for a Cigar in a Bowl. This is not such a thing, fortunately, it is simply amazing and uite unique.
Pipe Used: Dunhill group 4 Prince, several others
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins.com
Age When Smoked: 3 months
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