Robert Lewis Orcilla Mixture

A classic, fine ribbon Oriental blend. Robert Lewis' Orcilla Mixture is made from the finest Virginia tobaccos available with a whisper of perique. This has been a favorite of discerning smokers for over a century.
Notes: A classic Oriental blend built on a mature Virginia base with some wonderful Oriental flavors. Starts off with a smooth sweetness from the Virginias, once the pipe is going the unmistakeable Turkish flavor come through to create a unique smoke. Ages stunningly and gets a little more spicy with age. The mixture isn't strong or overpowering, making it an ideal "Breakfast Blend". Once blended in the Robert Lewis (now JJ Fox) shop and now produced by Kohlhase & Kopp in Germany.


Brand Robert Lewis
Blended By Kohlhase & Kopp
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Oriental
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.23 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 31 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2017 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Incendio sent me a couple of bowlsful to sample, which I did in a small egg and in an Oom Paul. Orcilla ranks among the SMOOTHEST blends I have tried; not a hint of harshness. Wonderfully aged Virginias and a hint of Latakia. Sweet and slightly grassy. Smoked easily to the bottom of both bowls. Not one puff was distasteful. I'm going out and buying some as soon as I finish this review.

The reviews and the header description suggest there is some confusion about the component tobaccos used in this mixture.
Pipe Used: Rolando egg, Connoisseur Oom Paul
PurchasedFrom: sample from a friend
Age When Smoked: a few months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 11, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
The star component is the woody, smoky, spicy, dry, and slightly buttery sweet Orientals, but they don't overwhelm the senses. The grass and hay-like Virginias also sport a very mild tart and tangy citrus, earth and wood in a support role. A whisper of spicy, raisiny plumy perique is just detectable, as is pinch or two of smoky, woody, earthy, leathery Cyprian Latakia. I also observe a slight dark/black cavendish sweetness. The strength is just past mild, and the taste falls a little short of the center of mild to medium. The nic-hit is just past the mild level. Burns clean, but rather fast, and doesn't scorch your tongue, though you'll get better results by sipping the smoke because it tends to get just a little harsh near the bottom of the bowl. The flavor is consistent all the way. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a weak, but pleasant after taste and stronger room note. Though I give it a three star rating, it just barely reaches that level. Can be an all day smoke.

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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 04, 2013 Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant
Initial rush of tin nose upon opening made me think this might be a dead ringer for G. Smith and Sons Old London Mixture that I've been unsuccessful in finding more of. Very rich, deep aroma. Mostly tan in the tin and a fine ribbon cut. It smoked very quickly due to the cut and, as with most blends, slow sipping helps.

Taste-wise, this was nowhere near OLM. It was very subtle and wispy, but with good flavor and a fair slice of complexity. This is purported to be just oriental but there is naturally a base of virginia and with a bit of latakia as well. I've found that if you think there's latakia in a blend, there probably is, Fox' Provost Mixture being a notable exception. Some smokers find perique in here as well, but I did not. There may be some dark cavendish, however, as there is a bit of sweetness that I don't associate with straight virginia.

While I was disappointed that this didn't live up to my original hope, this is a very nice blend with a mildly spicy Turkish overtone. It won't bite if overpuffed but it will become a touch harsh. Unfortunately, it's light flavor will cause some to overpuff, so just keep in mind that patience is required to bring out the flavors. This is a little lighter than I prefer and I probably won't buy this again, but it was worth the time I spent with it.
Pipe Used: Meerschaum
Age When Smoked: Less than 1 year
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 21, 2013 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
For those who like Oriental tobacco, Orcilla is a rare bird, an Old School blend that offers just what it says it offers, full, rich Turkish tobacco that scratches that particular itch and satisfies well on that particular level. The tin note has some cocoa over the tobacco, but I don't get this in the smoke. Otherwise, the fragrant Orientals are forward, Latakia is faint, and the VAs nearly AWOL. As for the Cav, I wouldn't have known had I not read the K&K blurb, but now I think I smell it and taste it, too, just a little... Preparation is simply loading the shag rather loosely in the pipe. I suggest a big bowl and very careful - or no - tamping. Better, only judicious poking. Loosely loaded, it lights fairly easily and burns fast. The initial tobacco aromas and flavors start out mild, rich and fragrant rather than strong and peppery, in a distinctive way, sort of loam-y, with all the best, most exotic Turkish spices. Low key, but subtly complex. Flavors tighten up and concentrate some as the tobacco is smoked down, becoming more focused and sour. There is just a little sharpness and sweetness offsetting the sour taste, and now that I know there are VAs and Cavendish in the mix, I suppose that explains it. Some anise and cardamom appear down the bowl, in the taste and in the wonderful blue-purple smoke, and it's over too soon for the aficionado. The aftertaste is - once again - a good representation of the genre, smoky, loam-y, spicy/sour tobacco that is probably "an acquired taste". To my taste, Orcilla is anything but "dry" or "dusty" at any point. YMMV, likely based on your love or hate of the Turkish leaf or the shag cut. As for room note, my first though is always to spare others from Turkish tobacco, although I love the smell. I have been surprised by how well Orcilla ages, becoming even softer and still more fragrant.

3.4 stars all day, based on its being consummately - itself.
Pipe Used: various briars
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: young to 2 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 22, 2009 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
One of the very last classic English orientals (i.e. orientals excluding Latakia) in existance. This is my favourite light oriental/virginia mixtures and it has been around since 1904 or thereabouts.

Robert Lewis (Est. 1787) was one of the oldest UK blenders and was incorporated by James J. Fox in 1992. The four remaining Robert Lewis blends are the only tobaccos now handled by James J. Fox that have not been handed over to Kohlhase & Kopt blending - as yet.

Shag cut and predominently virginia with only a very light oriental background, it provides a easy fill, easy light (usually only one) and burns to a fine light ash. Its medium sweet and drives you to draw on it with intensity - avoid this as it has its own burn rate. Moisture content is ALWAYS perfect straight from the tin and I smoke this from morning to night with complete satisfaction.

You must give this tobacco time to grow on you, and when it does, it just gets better and better; if however, you're looking for a positive nicotine kick - its probably not the one for you.

The day I can no longer get this tobacco from JJ Fox in St James's Street, will probably be the day I stop smoking because there is nothing comparable left in the UK Market. The only tobacco to come close, but not surpass was Fox's 'Campinile', which since taken into Kohlhase, Kopt has substantially lost its way.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 17, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Robert Lewis - Orcilla Mixture.

Note: a blend I first reviewed years back but thought it read a bit inanely so deleted to re-post.

The blend itself is mostly medium and light brown ribbons but there are a few black spots. It smells wonderful, slightly toasty.

The smoke: ahhhh, delicious. This is a Turkish-forward smoke but it doesn't taste like usual Turkish/Orientals: it has a wonderful spiciness up-front, followed by a woody, floral flavour, and a touch of butter. The Virginia adds a lesser flavour in comparison: it's more of a mild/calm hay note rather than dark, or citrusy, fruit. The Perique gives an exorbitantly light flavour, it needs a search party to find it! Orcilla burns well but performs better under a gentle technique: not due to bite, but it can go quite fast when smoked hard.

Nicotine: mild to medium. Room-note: pleasant.

Orcilla? Great. Highly recommended:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Various
PurchasedFrom: Various
Age When Smoked: Various
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 26, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
C’est un tabac que je classerais dans la catégorie des anglais, puisque d’une part il n’est pas aromatisé, et parce que l’Oriental est une composante principale de ce type de mélange même si l’Orcilla ne contient pas de Latakia.

A l’ouverture le la boite la couleur des brins coupés fins est d’une couleur beige homogène. Cela sent le tabac oriental (ce qui est plutôt normal vous me direz) avec une petite note épicée qui lui est caractéristique. C’est un tabac qui, avec son odeur et sa couleur, respire le soleil d’où il provient, de même que sont taux d’humidité plutôt restreint qu’il le rend propre à être fumé dès l'ouverture, vous rappelant au passage les contrées arides et pierreuses de la Turquie. Le bourrage est aisé d’autant plus que la coupe est fine et le tabac peu humide, il s’en suivra donc un allumage facile ainsi qu’une combustion des plus homogènes, offrant une cendre relativement compacte.

En cours de fumage le tabac se corse volontiers à mesure que l’on tend vers la fin du bol. La fumée est riche en saveurs épicées, quelque peu sèche, où l’Oriental développe tout son arôme. J’ai eu l’occasion de percevoir des notes de figues et de raisins secs très légères, venant çà et là tempérer et adoucir ce tabac. Semblant relativement fort de prime abord, il mérite cependant, au cours de fumages successifs, d’être apprivoisé pour en apprécier pleinement les saveurs et la finesse, surtout pour un débutant dans cette catégorie de tabac. Il faut néanmoins, à mon sens, être un amateur éclairé d’Oriental et/ou d’anglais, pour apprécier l’Orcilla à sa juste mesure, amateur dont, je vous l’avoue, je ne fais pas parti.

En ce qui me concerne ce fut une bonne expérience ; simplement parce que je me suis aperçu que ce qui m’écœurait dans un mélange anglais, n’était pas le Latakia mais bien l’Oriental. Cela m’a permis donc de revenir sur un préjugé a propos des anglais d’une part, ainsi de savoir que l’Oriental n’est pas fait pour moi d’autre part car j’ai été le plus souvent écœuré en le fumant. Il est clair que je ne rachèterai pas ce tabac, parce qu’après avoir été persévérant, je n’y trouve au final aucune satisfaction. Il raviva sans doute d’autres fumeurs que moi, et je vous invite d’ailleurs à partager cette expérience, soit pour être fumé tel quel soit pour dans l’optique de la mélanger à un autre tabac.

Et pour conclure, l’image que je perçois de ce tabac aurait pu me la Turquie, cependant ce sont plutôt ces maisons blanchies à la chaux et aux toits en dômes de l’archipel des iles Grecques, bâties sur les contreforts rocailleux et se détachant sur l’azur de la mer Egée, qui me viennent à l’esprit, peut être est-ce du à ces odeurs de figues et de raisins secs …
Pipe Used: Butz Choquin 1286
PurchasedFrom: France
Age When Smoked: 1 year
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 12, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable
I was pleasantly surprised to see this stuff at my local B&M as a previous inquiry with the proprietor revealed that Robert Lewis's offerings were far from his biggest sellers, giving me the impression that, at the time, he was unlikely to stock any more after the few tins of the bland Wingfield Mixture he had in had sold. I have been humming and harring for a while as to whether I should take the plunge on this one as the idea of a Turkish blend interested me but my experiences of RL's other offerings have left me with mixed feelings. Their Tree Mixture is an absolutely superb smoke while the Wingfield left me feeling a little underwhelmed. But actually seeing a tin of this stuff on the shelf made my mind up for me.

The smell upon opening the tin gave me both sweet and slightly sharp hints of lemon, giving faint reminiscences of the one time I've smoked pure Turkish. The cut of the stuff is a little fine so does require a little separating and fluffing out, a fond reminder of some of Germain's tobaccos such as Plum Cake or Perique Mixture, though this isn't as fine as either of those. The packing is easy enough once that's done. The smoke itself is a peculiar one, the taste of medicated lemon is strong, as one mind find in a sore throat lozenge or cough syrup, that is occasionally interrupted by a mild dose of toffee, that could possibly be the virginia in there. The two also combine from time to time to provide a strange kind of medicated, lemony marzipan flavour, though that may be a sign I've eaten too much christmas cake. There's no sign of Latakia or any form of Cavendish that others have picked up that I can tell. That might just be me but I'm usually pretty good at picking up these things.

On the whole then, quite a queer flavour to this one but not an unpleasant one. This is certainly worth smoking and no doubt worth another tin from time to time. Three stars is probably about right as it doesn't thrill or set itself apart from other smokes. The only real downside to it, as some others have noted, is that it does smoke a little too quickly, though that's probably down to the fine cut.
Pipe Used: Peterson Killarney 65
PurchasedFrom: The Cuban Cigar Club
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2007 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Side by Side Comparison of Orcilla Mixture, Campanile and Original Oriental mixtures

I usually do not open multiple tins of tobacco at the same time of the exact same genre. But with the advent of Embarcadero, Yenidje Supreme and HH Vintage Virginia, all containing Virginia and Oriental leaf without latakia, I wanted to see how three ?classic? blends compared. Each has at least five years aging in the tin unopened. I do not have a tin of aged Cairo, or I would add it to the present review.

I laid out three mounds of leaf from each tin, equivalent to what would fill a very large pipe bowl and then some. As always for me, this is a test for the eyes, the nose, the fingers, the ears and mouth.

Orcilla Mixture: Color-wise, Orcilla is the overall lightest of the three. Mostly light browns and tans, with a few suspicious specks of dark leaf. Moisture content is just right, but there were more stems here than in the two others. There is a fermented nose in the tin and something very faintly smoky when I cup my hands around the tin and inhale through my nose very deeply. I am suspicious of Latakia, but am not confident.

Campanile: Darkest of the three and the reverse of Orcilla. The specks are the lighter leaf, while the remaining are medium browns to black. There are a few stems. There is something definitely smoky in the tin aroma, as with Original Oriental. This was noticeably moister of the three.

Original Oriental: Bright, black and brown in near equal proportions. The most visually interesting of three, but it is also the hardest to anticipate what it will be like smoking. Only a tiny stem. Moisture content is fine, but I smell something smoky, just like in Campanile. These are not supposed to have latakia, hmmm.

Cut: All three are a medium long ribbon cut, with Orcilla being much finer, followed by Campanile and then Original Oriental. All three are nice blends to handle, but will require care when loading due to the long leaf.

I decided on three of my best Virginia pipes for the test run, then one more whiff of Campanile and Original Oriental made me think better of it. I think they have latakia. I will not put noticeable latakia or aromatized leaf in a pipe reserved for Virginia blends. I switched out two pipes for pipes used with very light English blends that had very little noticeable residual smell in the bowl. Orcilla loaded with ease, followed by Campanile. Original Oriental took more care. I used the Frank Method with each blend.

My notes on each blend as follows:


First Bowl Impressions: Not a light-weight by any means, and deep, earthy, spicy flavors betray the lighter appearance of the unburned leaf. I do detect brighter leaf at times. There?s a definite tingle in mouth and nose, but no Latakia, which is a good thing in this case. The burn is exceptionally even, white and rapid. My experience says, ?Respect this or your tongue will get slapped.? That said, it was easy keeping this cool. There is flavor aplenty. ?Sipping? this carefully avoids the need for aggressive puffing. Since this develops somewhat down the bowl, I?ll give my impressions on the middle and last third of the bowl.

The second third of the bowl is when the flavor intensifies. It does not vary from one flavor to the other, except when a little ?something? arrives. This ?something? might be Perique. If you do not generally like blends with Orientals or Turkish leaf because they are harsh, sour or oppressively acrid, Orcilla will change your mind. The Turkish in Orcilla are as good as any I have smoked in any blend and better than most others.

Last half is about the same as the middle third, but a bit more intense. I also sense more Perique. Overall, a solid blend with no arias, but Orcilla is surprisingly fuller than I anticipated without being overwhelming in flavor or strength.

Ongoing Impressions with Orcilla: I keep reaching for this of the three being reviewed here. It gets better each time I smoke it. The balance is perfect, highlighting the Virginias by off-setting them with the mild Turkish. The blender has a palate for subtle, rich flavors that anyone could enjoy who likes flue-cured leaf or Oriental leaf. This is World-class blending indeed.

Campanile: First Bowl Impressions: Subtle, but definite Latakia at the match and throughout, with a surprise taste of non-descript topping. Campanile is a nice, refined mild-medium English, but not an Oriental blend or a ?spiced? Virginia. It really does not develop much down the bowl, but does burn beautifully, cleanly, coolly, and to a dry, slightly mottled white ash. If J.J. Fox were a tobacconist in my neighborhood, I would feel quite blessed with access to such quality (and to think of the blending houses the residents of Edinburgh, Dublin and London had access to, without forgetting Kendal or Jersey, is to sigh that a great era has passed). With the price per tin and solid competition readily available, I am not likely to purchase more. I can still recommend it because it is well crafted, just not a niche that needed filling in my rotation.

Ongoing Impressions: Truly a clean pipe, clean palate blend. The Virginia leaf is top-notch and just gets creamier the more I smoked it in the same pipe on repeated occasions. This is far more refined than my staple lighter English, EMP. If I could get this more reasonably priced, I would enjoy a tin now and then.

Original Oriental:

Initial Impressions: This is more in the genre of Orcilla, but darker still, with that acrid taste for which Turkish leaf is renowned. Thankfully, it is not sour, bitter or bitey. Compared to Orcilla, this starts off strong, like an amusement park ride launched by catapult. Orcilla starts more like the walk before the jog before the run. Despite the instant ?pow,? Original Oriental is smooth enough. The thought occurs to me that Original Oriental borders balkanic. There might be a smidge of Latakia here, but much in the way it appears ghostly in Pease?s Fillmore. If there is perique, it is quite enigmatic. I think Original Oriental is more like McClelland?s Yenidje Supreme, just fuller-flavored, but not as refined.

Ongoing Impressions: This has merit by itself, and I really do enjoy its complexity and richness. If I smoke it back to back with Orcilla and Campanile, it is ?odd man out.? I think that this is because Original Oriental demands my attention, and I do not always want to think too much about the ?act of smoking.?
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 20, 2005 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Orcilla? it sounds like an obese prissy female from a Dickens novel. I purchased this because I am particularly fond of oriental tobaccos. While this tobacco certainly contains them, I am put off by a more than subtle perique mouth-feel and taste, though it is not listed as a component. I cannot smoke blends with more than a percent or so of perique. Many would welcome it, however, particularly with the light Virginias this blend has. I suppose Orcilla could be compared with GLP?s Cairo, though the latter has more depth and lacks the sharpness of this.

The tobacco?s shag cut is easily packed. One must use a light finger to avoid overpacking, especially with its very soft and moist texture. I suggest drying to decrease the steam, though it stays lit admirably.

Bottom line: a little too lightly monotone and spicy for me. It lacks at least one variety of oriental leaf I crave but cannot name (there are many). The balance of my tin will likely be used for blending: it needs more of some things (dark virginias and syrian latakia come to mind) and less of others. Not for me, but if perique is your thing, give it a try.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 14, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
A ribbon cut, much lighter in appearance than it's sister Tree Mixture. The tin note is pleasant to those who love oriental tobaccos. Moisture level was about right straight from the tin, it lights well and smokes coolly and steadily right to the end. This is an oriental forward blend, on a virginia base. There is little perique in there, and even less latakia. It is mild/mellow without ever being bland, yet I noticed more of a nic hit than I did with Tree Mixture. It is an above average blend, sufficiently different to stand out from the crowd, and one that aromatic and virginia smokers might find ideal for that first journey to the Balkans and the Levant. I recommend it to pipers who don't like latakia and perique used as blunt instruments, but it won't find it's way onto my rotation from where Old Dublin and Tree Mixture are currently repelling all boarders.
Pipe Used: medium bowl, bent briar with 9mm filter
PurchasedFrom: Blakemar Briars, Northampton, UK
Age When Smoked: straight from tin
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