01/06/09 - This is a "blue-collar" review from a long-time pipe smoker who is neither a connoisseur nor a gourmet. I like subtleties up to a point, beyond which I cannot detect them. There are very few aromatics that I like anymore. I love orientals, latakias, and Virginias, but burley gives me some trouble. Most of the time, I like stronger blends over weaker ones and in larger pipes than smaller ones. I have exceptions to all of the above. With that said . . .
This blend comes as an untinned bulk.
Showing brown and black ribbons with some tan, this blend smells like a light Balkan in the pouch. A solid Balkan at the match, the orientals are at the fore. But don't kid youself: despite the description, without Yenidje, this is NOT close to Balkan Sobranie. However in it's own right, this is a good medium Balkan that is lighter than SG's Balkan Flake. Gets stronger toward the bottom of the bowl. A spicy full flavor, but monochromatic. It burns easily and is well behaved. This blend is for Oriental lovers, and probably not for the beginner. I will buy more of this!
Compares well with Samuel Gawith's Balkan Flake: has more orientals, not as strong.
I will keep some on hand because it's simply a good, solid, loose-cut Balkan.
Disappointed in the simplicity and lack of any complexity. Agree there's some basis for calling it Balkan, but no basis for calling it Supreme. Two stars at best. Will add some Perique and yenidje (wish I had xanthi too) and lemon Virginia to give it some modicum of flavor and personality.
Ah, the daring task of replicating the infamous Balkan Sobranie. Does this McCrannie's version compare the original? I've no idea... Is this is tasty Balkan blend? You bet! The quality Virginias come through, but the orientals are in the lead, and are definitely the stars of the show. The Latakia is always present, pleasantly noticeable in every puff. Mine was a bit dry, the first time I've felt the need to rehydrate a blend purchased at Mccranie's. But after that, it smoked quite well. Its nice to have a tobacco shop within an hours drive, and even better to have that shop be Mccranie's!
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