This is a diamond in the rough. A little more polishing and this would really shine. The Orientals are excellent. Nuances of spicy incense and butter. The Virginias provide a sweet base and there is a mild topping of berry that provides a nice touch to every retrohale of the first half of the bowl. It fades a bit after that. My only complaint is that even though the Latakia is "present" it needs just a little more presence. Just a touch weak for my taste. I may try adding just a little blending Lat to the mix to suit my preferences. I give this 3 7/8 stars. Just can't quite give it 4, but it's very close. By all means, give it a try. It may be 4 stars for you.
This blend is right up my alley. I like a lat/VA blend with a little bit of oriental and this one doesn't disappoint. It definitely satifies my Lat needs as the Latakia is definitely present. The VA provides a nice base and adds just the slightest touch of sweetness. I don't particularly notice the orientals in the draw, but it does give the nose from the bowl the oriental tang, which I really enjoy. Great balance imho.
Comes fairly dry in the pouch, so it was smokable for me right away. Appeared to be somewhere in between a ribbon cut and a broken flake. Need to break it up slightly to get a nice pack, but once settled, it burned nicely. Smokes fairly dry, as well...minimal dottle.
Does seem, to me at least, to have a TINY fruity note in the pouch...perhaps a light topping, but undetectable when smoked.
Since my shop stocks this in bulk at a great price, I'll be adding it to my rotation and stocking up.
In the pouch, Sterling Balkan is an appetizing looking blend. The tobacco is made up of thick, meaty looking ribbons of lights and darks. There are a few pieces of light tan flakes intermingled with the ribbons. I have had the best results with the ounce that I purchased buy stuffing it all into the pipe without rubbing any out. I use my own method of packing English/Balkan blends which somewhat resembles the “air pocket” method. The tobacco is dry enough to smoke right away and to my nose I don’t pick up any topping. But in the smoke, there is a topping in the background along with the Balkan flavor. To my taste it is a very light berry topping. I would agree with Gentleman Zombie that the Latakia is more in a supporting role compared to other Balkans that I have smoked; however it isn’t a “no show.” I do get a whiff of the berry throughout the entire smoke although there isn’t a lot of sweetness that goes along with it. I was a bit surprised by the nic hit that came along with this blend. I would call it mainly medium, but any increase in cadence and it will move the meter to the stronger end of the spectrum by the bottom third of the bowl. Overall, I find this to be a pleasant smoke and worthy of a try for those that want a Balkan style blend with a bit of a twist.
Perhaps I got a bad batch of this stuff because all I can say is that it tasted flat. The topping could be nice at times but other times it tasted to chemical/metallic like. Not a terrible tobacco but just too bland to my taste.
This is a relatively inoffensive Balkan with a fairly distinct berry note much like Peterson University Flake. I don't find it particularly strong, or overly flavorful, but it does have good strength and flavor. The latakia isn't overpowering either. Given the price it's a great value.
Brightly colored with Virginias with an ample portion of Orientals and Latakia. I guess they are trying to get the Balkan Sobranie crowd with the 759 name. Not really all that similar to BS 759. The tobacco is of high quality and packs well without breaking it down. I find if I smoke this more than once in a day or smoke it in a really large pipe that it tends to kind of sour out my mouth. Best in a small pipe.
An excellent tobacco that I will keep around, but not an everyday kind of thing.
My current choice for a Balkan is still Smokers Haven Exotique.
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