An extreme mixture for the smoker who has a fondness for cool, rich Latakia. This blend is half Latakia and will satisfy the most ardent desire. Three types of Virginia are used as a base, with a sprinkle of Burley.
The Cyprian latakia is smoky and woody sweet, and is the main star of the blend. It's well complimented by the earthy, nutty, dry white burley. The burley is quality choice as is the lemon Virginia that adds an enjoyable tangy citrus and a light grassiness. The mild rum topping is assisted by a complimentary raisin/stewed fruit note or two as well. The nic-hit is just above mild. Won't bite or get harsh. Burns at a moderate pace, cool, clean and smooth with a consistent flavor and pleasant after taste. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and needs an average number of relights.Reminds me very much of a slightly toned down Sutliff Barking Dog Match, which I suspect this is.
I'm smoking my fourth bowl of this fine blend as I write this.
I smoke English/Balkan blends almost exclusively, and straight Virginia once-in-awhile and tried some of this out of the sample jar at the local Edwards franchise the other day. Bought 4 oz. on my way out.
The Virginia and Latakia play quite nicely together for a cool smoke with the sweetness from the Virginia coming in-and-out. The Burley gives plenty of toasty, nutty flavor all the way down the bowl, and the Oriental gives a slight bit of spice.
The tobacco packs nicely, isn't too moist at all and burns evenly with few or no re-lights down the bowl. Burns down to fine gray ash with no dottle.
Finished the bowl whilst writing this, so I think I'll re-load and have another!
This is my first review,I have tried a bunch of Latakia blends over the years and come back to this one once in a while.This is just good, well made tobacco and I will keep it in the cellar from now on.It has been consistent over the years
the aroma of this blend in the bag is full of spicy latakia, it smells wonderful. from the first light there is the sweet taste of the virginias intermingled with the latakia balanced by the nutty burly,the flavor remains fairly consistent throughout the entire bowl with only subtle changes as you progress. one of the biggest surprises was down toward the bottom of the bowl where there was a final delightful flavor rush that you don't often find. the initial light is easy but several relights were required. i have only smoked two bowls of this so far, so my opinions may change, but as for now i would rate this as one that is very suited to my regular daily smoking.
I'm not a big fan of latakia but this was very smooth and pleasant. I found this blend to be well balanced; the virginias are not drowned out by the latakia and the latakia, while soapy at first, seemed to take it's place among the va's once things got going. I thought I could detect a hint of perique although it's not listed in the description.
I lit this up for about one minute before my wife came out on the porch and it is the first time she said anything positive about the smell of anything I ever smoked. She definitely loved the aroma! This tobacco is full and satisfying with a smell all it's own. There aren't many shops that carry anything beyond vile flavored Lane crap around here and it was really refreshing to find an old shop that had something else plus their own blends. It is definitely loaded with Latakia but there is something else in there too that sets it apart from say a Balkan Sobranie or a Balkan Sasieni. I could swear there was some Cavendish in it but it just might be the type of Latakia. I really like it and will definitely smoke it on occasion! I'm giving this an extra star just for the wife's reaction.
I have had this pouch for quite sometime. I enjoy a tasty English or Balkan blend on occasion. This was an unexceptional experience. An O.K. Balkan-type. Maybe a starter for someone who wants a mild introduction to the Oriental flavors. Not in my rotation at this time.
The look of the tobacco in the pouch reminds me of mulch. Not in that bad dirty way but in a "lets get down to business and make something" type of way.
The initial light up is very easy and pleasant. It is a steady burner whose "main" flavor is constant througout the bowl but as it progesses I could taste it getting sweeter at time combined with a strong smokey taste...yet not overpowering.
Towards the end of the bowl the aroma hinted of what I would like to say chocolate but I cannot put my finger on it. It was a pleasant smell for a latakia smoker however my roommate disagrees with it. Oh well..he'll live.
This is the type of smoke I would recommend for reading or writing while either sitting on your deck or closed up in a study. Very constant and predictable yet lovely, much like the perfect wife.
The only real downside I found was that upon relights there is a strong ashy taste which goes away quickly but leaves an after taste for about 4 puffs. I was also unable to avoid slight tongue bite on relights..but thats probably my fault.
All in all another great blend from Edwards. A must for latakia lovers.
This is one of the finest Balkans I have smoked in a long time. I would say this is as good as Compton's of the Galashiels BALKAN mixture. A very strong oriental component which I love,is present throughout the smoke. This is rich, buttery, and powerful. An excellent after dinner smoke. It is outstanding! a solid 4 stars.
Update 10/05/06: Downgrade score, still a good blend and a standout in my rotation but I didn't want to inflate my ratings and this was not as good as Black Sea (see my rating) My third blend in search of the perfect English blend from Edwards. It had been 30 years or so since I had smoked Special Balkan, so when I arrived home with my medium bag I just couldn't wait to crack open the bag and see an old friend. It was even better than I remembered. While not nearly as complex as Masterpiece (see my review) Special Balkan is much fuller and very satisfying in flavor, body and smokability. Almost mysteriously though, despite its body and strength and nicotine punch, it is amazingly smokable and smooth. After a bowl of this stuff you feel like you just pushed away from Thanksgiving dinner, full, satisfied and very relaxed. It neatly burned all the way to the bottom of the bowl and flavors varied along the way (as other reviewers have pointed out.) Generally though it was very earthy, and shared a room note you would expect for a strong end, english blend or balkan. If you don't care for Latakia, stay away and if you want to smell like a room freshner you should probably look elsewhere but overall, I thought this blend was great and a pleasure to smoke
I am a fan of balkan style blends and this is a pretty good one. I won't say excellant because I would say a blend such as GL Pease's Oddysey would fit into that category. That being said I think this is a good Balkan blend, On the balkan blend side of things this tends to be more on the earthy stout side of things vs. some that are a little bit sweeter. The range of flavors on this one is pretty good in that it ranges from earthy to smokey in varying levels and flavors through out the bowl. The earthy flavors realy caught my attention on this one because of the range and variety of flavors and tones. This is a good Balkan at a good price. Highly recomended for bargain smokers who want to try a good Balkan style of blend or for those who generaly enjoy this genre of blends.
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