Hearth & Home WhiteKnight

(3.44)
WhiteKnight is a medium bodied, very complex and well balanced Balkan style blend created to evoke memories of one of the most iconic pipe tobaccos ever made.
Notes: When we won the 2011 Balkan Sobranie 759 Throwdown at the Chicagoland Pipe and Tobacciana Show, with our entry, BlackHouse, it caused quite a stir, and the blend has become one of our best sellers. We followed that up with Fusilier's Ration, which was modeled after Bengal Slices, and it too has become incredibly popular. There was one other blend that I loved, that I thought about making a tribute to, because I enjoyed it so much. But I resisted, due to the iconic stature of the tobacco. After a couple of years of work, though, I finally put together a blend that I feel so confident in, that we're ready to bring you BlackHouse's cousin - WhiteKnight. Balkan Sobranie Original Smoking Mixture is legendary among those of us who were privileged enough to have smoked it. It had gone through some changes, but my memories are from the blend as it was in the late seventies. Using Cyprian Latakia, remarkable yellow Virginias, and amazing Macedonian Orientals, including the Queen of Tobaccos - Yenidje, WhiteKnight has received rave reviews from people who sampled it prior to release. If you love smooth, fragrant Latakia blends with a bright, sparkly character, I think that WhiteKnight will find its way into your regular rotation.

Details

Brand Hearth & Home
Series Marquee Series
Blended By Russ Ouellette
Manufactured By Scandanavian Tobacco Company
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Coarse Cut
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United States
Production Currently available

Profile

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

Average Rating

3.44 / 4
57

21

9

4

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 91 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 09, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I started smoking Balkan Sobranie in 1982, so I missed the 1970s version on which this is based, and was slightly different than what I was used to. However, a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to have sampled the 1960s BS, and this is fairly similar to it. The main differences are the Orientals are a little spicier, there's a little less Cyprian Latakia, and a little more sweetness here than the 1960s version, which used Syrian Latakia until the 1980s. The mild soda note from the woody, earthy, herbal, floral, slightly spicy, dry Yenidje is milder here than in the Sobranie I regularly smoked. The earthy, woody, floral, herbal, vegetative, sweet, slightly spicy Macedonia plays the same background notes. The yellow Virginia is lightly grassy and citrusy in both while the red Virginia is lightly tangy, dark fruity, woody and earthy. The red Va. lacks the punch of earlier Sobranies. The lead component is the Cyprian Latakia, which has the usual smokey, earthy, sweet, woodsy flavor, and is balanced nicely by the other components. The Orientals are supporting players. The Virginias form a base for the other varietals, but you always notice them.

I found it a tamer with less depth and body than all the pre-2014 Balkan Sobranie versions. This is a little dry out of the tin (dryer than any Sobranie I ever smoked), and I find it a little more flavorful with a slight bit of moisture. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is in the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh, but it does have a few rough edges as did the Sobranies. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable rate with a very consistent, mildly creamy sweet and savory flavor that translates to the short lived, pleasant after taste and room note. Leaves virtually no moisture in the bowl and requires few relights. An all day smoke that's about as close a copy as you will find.

Edit: 8-17-2016 Having smoked 1960 Balkan Sobranie on this day, I notice it's still fresh and moist out of an newly opened tin, and tastes very much like WhiteKnight. The older version has a slight less sweetness - and a little more dryness - and does sport that "unflavored soda" note from the yenidje more than WK does. This leads me to suspect that the strain of yenidje may have changed in recent times. The other difference is between the prior use of Syrian Latakia (smoke, wood, earth, wine essence and some fragrant dryness) versus the current Cyprian (smoke, wood, earth, and some sweetness), but Russ has done a good job of compensating for that difference.

-JimInks
94 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 03, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I have a pipe in my mouth most of the day and as a result, I tend to switch off from blend to blend. But when I received Russ Ouellette’s newest incarnation, I have gone through almost the entire tin in three days! Does it taste like the 70’s version of Balkan Sobranie? No, but the intent was to pay tribute to this iconic blend and I think Russ has done that here. Personally, I find this to be more complex although not quite as smooth as Balkan Sobranie, but that could easily be due to the lack of age. I would not take that as a criticism, it isn’t. This blend comes ready to smoke out of the tin as it is fairly dry (not too dry). The mixture of ribbons and rough cut leaf smells a little bit sour, a bit leathery and smoky in the tin. I find the smell of the Orientals to dominate. In the pipe it smokes slightly sweet and creamy with a wide range of flavor. WK is one of those blends that a new nuance can be found with each new bowl. It’s a little tamer than Black House and the combination of Macedonian leaf is sublime. WK is billed as medium in body and I find that to be pretty much the case, although the flavor is medium to full. I have smoked this in a half dozen different pipes, but I have had the best results in a reverse Calabash. The only question that I have about this blend, and it is a minor one, surrounds how much benefit it will WK receive from long term aging. I only question this because it is on the dry side and I have had better results aging blends with a tad more moisture. But I intend to add enough tins to the cellar to find out. All in all, this is one outstanding tobacco and may even be Russ’ best effort to date! Highly recommended!
Pipe Used: Eltang Tubos and others
Age When Smoked: one month
67 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 04, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Yes, this one did ring a bell while smoking. If you enjoyed the Oriental presence of the original Balkan Sobranie, then you will certainly like WhiteKnight. The Latakia could not be duplicated, but due to the fact it is much fresher than what I remember of the old BS White, it is more pronounced here. A very nice compilation!

Pipestud
31 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
A very nice tasting Balkan mix. Very smooth and creamy. The Orientals dominate the Latakia by a small margin. The Virginias add their usual sweetness. The second half of the bowl is where it really shines though. The Lat and Orientals mellow and marry and a very nice spiciness comes to the fore. So creamy and spicey, it makes me drool thinking about it. If I didn't know better I'd think there was a pinch of Perique in it. I have one complaint and this prevents me from giving this four stars. It has some burn issues as one other reviewer noted. Just doesn't seem to want to burn readily. Even when bone dry. Otherwise, a great smoke. 3+
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
Age When Smoked: fresh
31 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Looooong ribbons of blonde-to-black, it certainly looks like the old Sobranie. Tin nose of succulent orientals with latakia - no surprise there. The blend greeted me as fairly dry, dryer than I'm used to seeing. I'm not sure that was intentional, as Sobranie was one I usually had to dry out before smoking.

Russ strikes me as always getting to the essence of his "clone" blends, or "memory evoking" blends or whatever one cares to call them. I thought BlackHouse and Fusiliers portrayed their influences very well. This one is no exception, although it doesn't have that burst of flavor that Sobranie had. Jiminks calls it a "soda note" and after quizzing him on that, we agreed that it was what we were both experiencing... he just found a better way to describe it than I did. He absolutely nailed it. Anyway, not much of that "soda note" here, at least not like the original had. On the other hand, this strikes me as closer to the Sobranie I'm familiar with than the new Sobranie blend does. Now I haven't smoked a lot of the '70's Sobranie and one of the batches I smoked didn't fare so well 40 years later. Further, I can't really remember the ins and outs of the good batch but it was sublime. WhiteKnight doesn't ascend to that height. But it's still an excellent tobacco and evokes memories of old Sobranie for me. Russ seems to be able to do that very often. While I may not smoke this blend a lot, the talent required in creating it is obvious. Put simply, if you liked the old Balkan Sobranie, pick up a tin of this, and I'll bet you can put more of your sadness about the old stuff going away than you might think!
30 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 09, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
One of the best ways to judge a pipe tobacco is the disappointment one feels when reaching the end of the bowl. This tobacco leaves me wanting another pipefull every time. Another way I judge a tobacco is to leave the room and clear the nostrils and then return... a heavenly experience with White Knight! This is MUCH smoother and more courteous to the tongue than Black House, with an occasional taunting, tantalizing, pure-tobacco floral note which I simply adore, and find myself waiting for with great expectation. To me at least, this is what is missing in most Sobranie wanna-be's. Having smoked many a tin of both Sobranies in the 70's, this blend exceeds my memories. This is a sipping tobacco to be sure as it will not yield her tasty complexity if not handled gently. But given a slow meditative draw, the slipstream will surprise and reward. Here is a mild tobacco that doesn't sacrifice body, aroma or complexity; nor will it fry the tongue; a rare fourfold feat. Russ is always raising the bar, and The White Knight is his Lancelot! Seven stars out of five for perfection! Bravo Russ!!! I Thank you!
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 13, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
Hearth & Home - WhiteKnight (Marquee Series).

I wouldn't call it coarse cut, the tobacco looks like a standard ribbon. The moisture's just right and the tin-note's a strong balkan one.

For the first quarter the Latakia gives the strongest flavour: slightly peppery, sharp, and woody: Cyprian. After a quarter's burned the Orientals become equal in weight: buttery, fragrant, and outright delicious. It doesn't take long for the smoke to achieve four stars! The Virginia acts more like a platform for the others: a touch of sweetness, a little hay, but no real piquancy. I can't identify much of a sharp grass/citrus taste, it's quite a mellow variety. The burn's even and consistent, but can be a little fast if it's not taken easily. I get no tongue bite whatsoever.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: I quite like it.

WhiteKnight? One of the easiest ratings I've ever given. Four stars:

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Altinok Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: Six months
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 16, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I never smoked the blend that inspired this, but White Knight is an excellent English. Beautiful complexity from the Orientals, Latakia and Virginias; they play well together through the entire smoke. I dry it before packing and have not had a problem keeping it lit. If I had to choose a single blend, this one would be a front runner.

P.S. Jim and DK's "lighter than Black House" characterization is spot on.

1/15/2015 Was a front runner for "desert island" tobacco until I met Russ's Magnum Opus. Still, a wonderful smoke.

1/25/2015 This will need less (if any) drying time as it ages in the tin, as are no humectants in the Marquee blends. I'm finding that I'm not a huge fan of Yenidje (in this and Tudor Castle). It adds an interesting element but is sometimes a bit too sharp/spicy. It seems to play a lesser role in Magnum Opus, which I prefer to WK. But this is still a great smoke, and if you are a fan of Yenidje, something you should try.
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 02, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I smoked many of the white cans and black cans in the late 60's and 70's. The white can BS had "it" and was an all-day tobacco; the black can (759) was for late nights or before a duel. When the formula changed, I stopped, and was content with varieties of Dunhill, Rattrays, etc. But the old "it" of the original white can tobacco was not to be found. Until White Knight. The blender has nailed "it." In this regard, I trust my memory more than comparisons made with tins 40 years old. Tobacco is an organic product that varies with seasons, years, and time spent in a can. To repeat, the blender has found "it" and nailed it.
PurchasedFrom: pipes and cigars.com
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 27, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This is my favorite new tobacco. Russ is the Heavyweight Champ with this one. From the first light to the bottom of the bowl, the Orientals dominate the flavor, sour and spicy, very dry, with floral, curry and citrus notes. The latakia is warm and earthy, sweet and leathery, but are a definite distant 2nd, with the Virginias giving a sweet base, lemony and haylike.

White Knight not only replicates the original Balkan Sobranie, but surpasses it. This is just a little fuller, a little brighter, the Orientals more Orientally. Between this and Peretti Royal, we are in Oriental mixture heaven.
Pipe Used: Dunhill Dublin
PurchasedFrom: P&C
11 people found this review helpful.
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