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A Balkan blend is often comprised of Virginia, Orientals and latakia, with the Oriental being the main component in the flavour profile. Our Izmir Classic is just that, a complex and honest Balkan blend using Turkish Izmir tobacco. The tobacco’s origin began with our Breakfast Blend by means of the addition of a few differing Virginias and of course, latakia. This tobacco was first blended in 2010 after a request from a member of the Nottingham Pipe Club and it now has a few “to die for” fans. The addition of sweet, grassy, lemony Virginias from the New World gives a light and refreshing edge to the blend. Fire cured Virginias and burley (Kentucky), even in the amounts used on this blend keep the smoke leathery and earthy. While the combination of latakia and Izmir adds a wonderful creamy smoky core that runs all the way through the tobacco.

Even with this wide selection of tobaccos, we have carefully blended them to create a symphony of flavours that will appeal to most Oriental smokers. The relatively light body (compared to our other latakia blends) makes this a great introduction to Oriental blends with latakia.

BrandGQ Tobaccos
Blended ByGlynn Quelch
Manufactured ByGlynn Quelch
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsKentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
ProductionNo longer in production
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None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note

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brian stephen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
brian stephen (8)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I was fortunate enough to try this remarkable blend thanks to a friend who lives in Scotland, which I can't thank enough. This is a true Balkan, not the typical Latakia laden English mixtures that abound today. The colour is mostly golden brown due to the high amount of Turkish Izmir, speckled with thin ribbons of dark leaf. A beautiful mixture, in the pouch as well as the pipe. I'm in total agreement with Coltrain's remarks. Leathery, smoky, and smooth as glass, one would expect a mixture with this much Oriental leaf to burn hot in the bowl and on the palate. Not so with this wonderful blend. With a small bit of drying, Classic Balkan smokes easily down to the bottom of the bowl leaving a salt and pepper ash and the pipe walls clean. Glynn Quelch's blends are the genuine article. British blending at its finest, and I can give it nothing less than the highest recommendation.

6 people found this review helpful.

Coltrain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coltrain (8)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

The man responsible for this blend is Glynn Quelch, for those who are familiar with Gauntley's of Nottingham this is the same man but he has now set up his own mail order pipes & tobacco website.

Now, onto the tobacco itself. This blend is truly outstanding and is everything I have ever wanted from a tobacco. The latakia giving it such a creamy core but the variety of tobaccos blended with it give it such a complex flavor profile. This tobacco is smokey, leathery and earthy but still manages to keep a refreshing edge. Wonderful and a must smoke if you are into Balkan blends.

This man is one to watch and I will be trying all his blends in time.

Purchased From:

6 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2080)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

GQ Tobaccos - Classic Balkan.

What a refreshing blend. Refreshing because unlike most other Balkans that are a whack in the face of smoky Latakia the Latakia doesn't hog the stage with this! All the individual flavours are equal to one another in weight. I get a delicate smokiness that's at a perfect quantity to allow the scintillating freshness of the Virginia to shine through. I also get an amazing nutty flavour from the Kentucky which is complimented by a dry, almost saltiness in the back. Whether I suck or sip this it gives me no bite and despite the generous quantity of Virginia the temperature remains quite cool. It burns evenly all the way along, I only need my tamper to maintain it unless it's left to sit on its own too long. I find the nicotine to be the perfect amount for me. It doesn't blow my socks off nor does it leave me yearning for more. I find the room note a pleasant one as it isn't too heavy or smog like yet the tobaccos can still be appreciated.

A few bowls of this only serve to agree with my initial thought about this.... four stars!

Pipe Used: Peterson Dracula 03

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: G.Q Tobaccos

3 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Classic Balkan with Izmir is true to its namesake as the Izmir plays a well-received component of the flavor. The pouch offer a similar, herbal scent that compares to the one I smelled in the Breakfast Blend. But there isn’t any detectable topping. The magic of this blend for me is the proportions of each tobacco that Glynn Quelch manages in the blending process. As Balkans go, this is light and allows each of the component tobaccos to play a noticeable role. I find it one of the easier tobaccos to spot each component making for an interesting interplay that I find delicious. As with Breakfast Blend, the Virginia tobacco offers very little if any sweetness, and the Latakia is used in a condimental fashion. It is very balanced and I am finding, like blender Steven Books that Mr. Quelch has almost his own paradigm as he seems to not have a comparable style to other blenders that I have tried. This is a clean burning, somewhat crisp, bite free Balkan that is excellent to say the least!

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30167)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

A nice classic balkan.Turkish Izmir is at the front of this blend,which suits me perfectly.While not as Lat heavy as Glynn's full Balkan mixture,this is a nicely blended mixture. Smoke,wood,and spice,with a little more sweetness than the full blend,a lighter option,but not a lightweight.As good as anything I have tried up to now.

Pipe Used: Stanwell Calabash

Purchased From: GQ Tobaccos

2 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3046)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

The Turkish Izmir is the star flavor with a woodsy, smokey tangy sour quality, but the other components still have their say in the proceedings. The Virginias are citrusy, grassy, and the clean burning lemon Va. in particular is easy to spot. The fired-cured Virginias and Kentucky offer a little spicy, earthy, woody depth. The Cyprian latakia is a moderate ingredient, adding its own smokey, woody, lightly sweet flavor push. The minor players work well to create some complexity with full flavor and strength, getting stronger during the last third of the smoke. Has a decent sized nic-hit. No chance of bite or harshness. Burns clean and cool at a moderate pace with a consistent rich taste, and few relights, and only a slight bit of moisture at the very bottom. Has a pleasant after taste and stronger room note. Recommended to those who like a strong, filling mixture as this is not an all day experience.


2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30167)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Mostly tan but with a smattering of black, the 25 gram baggie is light on aroma but otherwise typical of Balkans. Sort of a Balkan Light, which I found interesting. If "Balkan" was a guitar amplifier, this one was set on about '3'... not enough to rattle your teeth but enough to mellow you out.

On the tastebuds, this was also light. The Izmir shined brightly with its herbaceous sour tang. When I think of Balkan, I think of latakia being a more vocal player but it was clearly in the background here. The Virginia lent a nice savory sweetness (light, however) and the Kentucky was nice and gritty, but it also made this less of a "classic" Balkan. Then again, how many more "classic" Balkans do we really need? This seemed to make more of a statement of Glynn Quelch, the artist. This struck me as masterfully blended as each component was in just the right amount as to play its part in concert with the whole. Nicotine seemed about midrange and I didn't catch much of any complexity. Good but not a rotation maker. Try it for GQ's take on the Balkan... quite different indeed.

1 person found this review helpful.

Dai Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dai (4)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Being new to pipe smoking (about 3 months) I'm still experimenting with different tobaccos. I have found that I like a good english/oriental type baccy. Thought I'd give Mr Quelch'es Classic Balkan a whirl and WOW, has he done a great job of creating this baccy, it holds it's own with any of the well known names like Presbyterian or Squadron Leader, it gives both of those a good run for there money. Goto say I really enjoyed the Classic Balkan I shall be ordering some more of it. If you are looking to try or an alternative balkan then give this one a go it's not a strong baccy but it is tasty.

Pipe Used: Country Gentleman, Diplomat, Legend

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Squadron Leader, Presbyterian.

1 person found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (209)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

Visually an interesting mix of short ribbon of varying size cut. Overall quite a bright mix. The tin, well bag, note is sweet and smoky.

Once lit the predominant aroma is of burning pine needles and cedar. This wanes over the course of the bowl and the last half sweet and sour, somewhat cigar like, aromas emerge.

This tobacco burns a little on the hot and fast side and produced a fair amount of moisture in the shank and stem. I don't know what the Kentucky adds here except to ramp up the strength of the smoke. I didn't find this blend to be creamy at all, but rather on the harsh side.

I can't help but think there is a loss of subtlety and complexity in this blend despite its various individual components.

1 person found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Got this from StevieB in a trade. Many thanks, Steve.

This can get a little hot causing some harshness on the retrohale. Having said that, I find that sipping rewards me with a cool and great tasting smoke. The key flavor feature, for me, is the combination of the Turkish with the Lemon Virginias. Wonderfully sour straw and wood. Love that part. There's just enough Lat to give a smoky background. Can't say that I can pick up the Kentucky. There's very little sweetness and a mild spice. It's a very nice smoke.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in taste. No added flavoring. Burns just a little too well and quick.

Pipe Used: MM Marcus, Country Gentleman, Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: Almost a year.

Purchased From: acquired in trade with StevieB

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jasongvl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jasongvl (3)
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Very nice blend. Creaminess with a white pepper characteristic. Not overwhelming. Smoky but not a lat bomb. Would recommend if someone is getting into Latakia-based blends, especially if you are a cigar smoker. Edit: Towards the end of the bowl spice gradually ramps up quite significantly and is a very different tobacco towards the end. A bit on an experience to smoke it :)

Pipe Used: Dunhill 9mm filter 2016

Age When Smoked: 1 year after purchase

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: ?.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ScannerDarkly7 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ScannerDarkly7 (10)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

A blend that when first smouldering, comes across as quite pleasant, with some creamy type flavours coming from the Izmir leaf. After less than 5 minutes, the quality of the tobaccos and blending charge forth in a wave of sheer mediocrity, reinforced by legions of acrid, bitter, and sour unpleasantries.

Perhaps a brave attempt to create a latakia-light, or Izmir/oriental blend, but one that quickly falls flat to any innocent palette. Like many of these GQ blends, the ingredient list has too much in it, perhaps showing a lack of faith in the quality of leaf acquired.

Burn rate is not an ally for the duration of this smoke, so the onslaught is over fairly quickly. Look after your tongue: this is a very fine, bright cut, and Izmir is notorious for punishing the unexpected. Not recommended, there are plenty of other oriental and latakia-light type blends out there, and they don't hurt you wallet anymore than this failed attempt.

EDIT: I have since smoked the 'Breakfast Blend', which is a slightly lighter version of this, and it suffers just the same, if not worse with burn rate and the aforementioned problems with this concoction.

Pipe Used: Blakemar briars, Big Ben, corn cob, meerschaum

Age When Smoked: Fresh, but comes across as raw

Nobody has rated this review yet.

THROATHIT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

An effortless tobacco, this takes little to no effort to enjoy just stuff and go. The burn is instant and constant and the enjoyment of the full flavour and wide spectrum of tastes is never distracted from by the need to attend the pipe. I write this review after smoking all my sample in bliss. Every bowl has been the same.

Sure It has not given me any pointers of how to smoke a pipe better but who cares. The odd re tap with the tamper and all is well. The brightness of the lemon straight away giving a good clean taste with the oriental izmar right behind it. Two high power tobacco flavours giving you both barrels. Kentucky and latakia in this blend provide rounding and great ballast but never run away with the show. I love this tobacco it is bold but smooth and has vitamin n that just excites me. An upfront exotic for any true tobacco lover.

Pipe Used: stefano exclusive briar

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: g q

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tcvarlh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tcvarlh (17)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

three words : Yes. yes. yes. A wonderful real Balkan, I tried it with Retsina and oh wow. A glass of Yeni Raki went along later just to complete the most tasty evening. Again and again yes!!!!

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: GQT

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteveH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteveH (37)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

What Coltrain and Brian said. A mixture of browns and black, medium cut. Strong, dark and rich, with spiciness from the Izmir, this is indeed a classic Balkan.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: GQ's website

Nobody has rated this review yet.