Exceptional! Similar to the famous Sullivan Powell Gentleman's Mixture but with the Latakia presence ramped up a bit. I am also reminded of Balkan Sobranie 759, but Special Mixture is a little heavier on the Orientals and lighter on the Latakia. Simply fantastic!
Pipe Used: Ruthenberg, Weaver, Rad Davis, J.T. Cooke
Age When Smoked: 30 year old tin
Similar Blends: Sullivan Powell Gentleman's Mixture, Balkan Sobranie 759.
The mildly sour and buttery sweet, very spicy, floral, woody, earthy, dry, campfire-like, tangy, Orientals (Smyrna being one of them) are the star components. The smoky, woody, earthy wine-like Syrian latakia plays an important support role. The Virginias provide earth, grass, wood and some tangy dark fruit and tart citrus, and tend to stay in the background. The strength and nicotine are a couple of steps past the mild mark, while the taste level just passes the medium level. Won’t bite, but does have a rough edge here and there. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a very well balanced, harmonious, mildly complex, sweet and savory, consistent, deep flavor from top to bottom. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste, and slightly stronger room note. An all day smoke with enough body to continually hold your interest.
A dear friend recently estate-acquired two tins from a deceased relative, both in excellent condition. It's been decades since I last enjoyed it. We opened and smoked three bowls together consecutively . . . simply divine. Reminiscent of 759 from what I can recall; pipe nirvana every puff.
I shall petition the CPCC to showcase this blend for one of their throw-downs, simply for my own personal desires and I'm sure many others would enjoy it as an hommage blend if achievable.
I picked this up at an estate sale for a very low price due to all the rust on the bottom of the tin. I took a small chance and it turned out very well, as this blend still had some moisture to it and no mold. The blend itself was very dark, possibly from age, although I've never seen or smoked it fresh. This is a 1980's-era tin. Excellent but typical latakia blend aroma in the tin, with some choice orientals close behind.
In the bowl, I was surprised at the strength of the latakia. My experience has been that latakia dwindles in potency over time, but it was very apparent throughout the bowl. The orientals were as well, and they melded wonderfully with the latakia's smoke and spice, giving off a heavy mouthfeel and a kind of buttered nut sweetness. Not sure who puts butter on nuts, but it was there anyway! The Virginias could have been sweeter but their role seemed to be to provide backbone and a base for the star middle-eastern leaf to dance upon. The interesting thing about this blend was that it was rich tasting but mild. I always appreciate blends that can accomplish both. This blend might be what something like GLP's Odyssey will taste like with 10 years of age, and since I have several tins of that getting close to that age, I'm pumped! No need to try and find a high priced tin of this - and I admit this was the only one I've ever seen at any price - if it can be recreated by aging a more readily available blend. As I still have a small amount of Sobranie 759 on hand and since the other two reviewers said this reminded them of that, I fired up a small bowl. Can't say I see much in the way of similarity of taste, but perhaps that's just me. Top marks for this one.
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