Hearth & Home WhiteKnight

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.


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


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

Average Rating

3.46 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 21 Reviews
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
Jun 02, 2016 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was given a sample of this at this year's Chicago show and I must say, as samples go, the guys at P&C do not skimp. I probably got about 12 bowls out of this sample. So much that a friend of mine sent me a tin of this as he apparently thought I liked it.

I did not really care for this blend, but do give it credit for the education it gave me. It turns out I am not too much a fan of Yenidge. I think distinguishing amongst Oriental grades to be a complicated endeavor. every so often I would taste a Balkan type blend that had sort of a caramel taste/root beer taste to it. This blend had that taste heavy and since Yenidge is so heavily used in this blend, I have come to the conclusion that that is what is giving me that flavor.

Now I do like this flavor when its use is restrained such is the case in the 1776 Tavern blend. In that one it is subtle and offers a nice sweetness, but in this one, it really overtakes the other elements to my tastes and does not work for my palate. Even the latakia is in the background. Now it is not a bad blend by any means. I was able to smoke with no grimacing facial expressions, but objectively I have to rate this one a two star blend. There is a nice creaminess to the smoke and it is bite free. The cut makes packing and smoking easy and a bite free experience.

I think this would easily come into four stars for those who are crazy about yenidge and I have every confidence in Russ' ability to accomplish what he sets out to do, but I would rather smoke the Black House or Larry's Blend than this one.

UPDATE 7/18/2019

Times change and so do tastes and experience. Since my last review I was gifted another tin of this from my nephew, who also thought I liked it. So I finally decided to pop one of these two gifted tins to see if my mind had changed after some favorable experiences with some other Yenidge rich blends.

I am not so sure my mind has changed as much with the taste, but I think the difference between this time and the last time had more to do with the frequency of which I smoked it. When I get samples I tend to smoke through them fast as they are typically in a plastic bag and deteriorating quickly. Smoking through a tin did not present the same type of urgency, particularly the screw on type tins in which whiteknight is presented.

When smoked once in a while, whiteknight is a real treat. My aforementioned recent favorable experiences with Yenidge has taught me one thing for certain. Yenidge offers one of the finest sidestream aromas that you can get from tobacco, and since whiteknight has so much in it, often times sniffing the bowl end can be every bit as pleasurable, if not more so, as puffing on the stem end.

I will maintain though, from my earlier review, that if you do succeeding bowls, your palate will tire and become overwhelmed. At least mine did. So there is no way this could ever be an all day type blend for me. But for the occasional treat, it will indeed be a treat. I am adding a star.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 13, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
This seems the be a more focused, refined version of black house to me. More of a “pure” Balkan, without the noise that BH can have.

This isn’t as well rounded as BH, not as smooth or, for lack of a better word, balanced. You can tell that the components are high quality, but they are more jagged, in your face than BH, without the other components to round out the flavor and mouth feel.

Honestly, I think I prefer this over BH, just because it isn’t quite as complicated. Yet another home run from Russ.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 09, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
This is my first experience with a Russ Ouellette blend, after almost 20 years of pipe smoking. Yes, I have often smoked Balkan Sobranie Original Mixture (the "white" one): in round tins, and in pouches. So I think I can make a fair comparison...

The cut of White Knight is much coarser than that of BS: thick, large strands of tobacco, while BS was much finer and stringier (especially the pouch version). BS was also slightly darker on average (especially the pouch version, again). BS Original in the pouch sure was more stingy and darker in flavour than this, too: so I can say that flavour wise, this is probably a better approximation of '80s tinned BS Original.

Apart from these difference, and in general for a slightly inferior intensity and complexity (BS Original could be a tad overwhelming, while this - as intense as it is - is slightly more polire), this is a WONDERFUL homage. That such a tobacco can be made nowadays with different growing techniques and crop quality/variety, is a miracle.

I still prefer some of GLPease's offerings by a margin, but apart from this the only reason that I judge this blend with less than four stars is that in large bowls it starts to fall apart a bit from midway onwards: some relights, a loss of fullness and balance. Other than this, a great achievement.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 31, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Edit 5/13/17- As I initially stated , I had to smoke this slow and was running into relight issues. When tried in a larger bowl all those problems went away, try it.

Original review: A nice Balkan, and similar to Sobraine in taste on the initial light. I seem to remember the original Balkan Sobraine as having a finer ribbon cut ( more Dunhill like) and this is wider ( am I wrong, I really can't remember?). Now how that effects the flavor, I don't know, but White Night just doesn't jump forward with a burst of flavor, kind of "Ho Hum". Kind of like eating a steak at Outback as compared to Ruth Chris, both good, but one is better.

I think this would benefit from some aging to smooth this out. It's little harsh on the initial light, but on the relight, it actually smoothes right out. I find I have to really slow down my smoking cadence to get the most out of this blend. When I do this , it delivers wonderful Oriental flavor and a scent that is totally intriguing as it drifts up the nose. If I don't, it seems harsh, however, as I slow this down I run into a relight issue.

I agree with bits and pieces from each of the reviews prior to mine, each has some good points:

Steel Cowboy-"although not quite as smooth as Balkan Sobranie, but that could easily be due to the lack of age.

" [email protected] & Gentleman Zombie (203)-"My only complaint is the burning characteristics, it doesn't like to hold an ember for me. It could be technique", "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

Pipe Used: cob
Age When Smoked: 1 month
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 31, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
WhiteKnight: Showcasing Yenidje.

As a whole, I would consider this a medium English/Balkan. The Virginias are sweet and grassy with a little Latakia. However, it is the Oriental leaf that makes this blend special and is the main flavor component. The Yenidje is unlike any Turkish/Eastern European leaf that I have ever tried. It is hard to describe. It adds a distinctive dry characteristic to the smoke, but it is mild and less floral or sour than Izmir. It is its own thing.

WhiteKnight is a good blend, but I prefer my English/Balkans to be a bit more dynamic. So while I enjoy this blend, it is not quite perfection.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 06, 2015 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
I started smoking Balkan Sobranie around the same time Jim Inks did. So, I too missed the earlier versions of this blend. Obviously, WhiteKnight is not the blend I remember, but there are definitely elements, especially in regards to overall taste and scent that the eighties blend provided.

The main difference, for me, is the eighties version didn't have such a "high pepper count." WhiteKnight, I swear, has a goodly amount of perique added (or, at the very least something that mimics perique). I enjoyed this blend, but the pepper put me off a bit. Perhaps someone else can expound on this "pepper effect"; what is it in WhiteKnight that's providing this?

The current Balkan Sobranie blend, of which I've recently secured another tin (which wasn't easy) is definitely smoother and lacks the pepper. I prefer it over WhiteKnight, but considering the absolute pain in trying to purchase the most recent Balkan Sobranie, WhiteKnight is a good substitute (the recent Balkan Sobranie is not without its issues, either. Please read my update on Balkan Sobranie).

A solid 3 stars for me.

Keep on Pipin'!
Pipe Used: Molina Big Bowl
PurchasedFrom: Pipes&Cigars
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 28, 2022 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
I smoked one pouch of the old Balkan Sobranie smoking mixture in the early 1990s while I was in college and didn't know what I was doing when it came to pipe smoking (or much else, for that matter lol). That is far too long ago, and too brief an acquaintance, for me to be able to compare White Knight to the Sobranie. On its own merits, White Knight is very tasty balkan mixture. I found it dry, both in terms of taste and moisture. Very oriental-forward, with the Latakia and Virginia in second and third place, respectively. Quite spicy at times, which I very much enjoyed, with notes of leather and that yenidje spice note that is distinctive--I have seen it described as "unflavored soda" in reviews below, and I can see that, but I also got a little burst of sweetness too. A very tasty blend, but I found it very difficult to keep lit, despite having tried it in a variety of shapes and sizes of pipes. It worked best for me in a smallish Peterson bulldog.
Pipe Used: Various Petersons and a Castello
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: new
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 18, 2021 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
My perception of this blend underwent a radical change. After my first two smokes, I considered WhiteKnight not just a poor oriental-forward English -- but unsmokable. The orientals were too perfumed. The yenidje leaf imparted the cloying taste of unflavored soda water. How could reviews for this blend be anything but negative? I chalked it up to a peculiarity of my palate.

But as a new pipe smoker, one lesson I've learned from veterans is to hold on to jars of all blends -- even those I dislike. And so this is what I did.

Three months later, for lack of a morning English, I decided to revisit WhiteKnight. I expected to dislike it as much as I did during the first two smokes. But in the intervening period, something miraculous happened. The perfume and soda water taste abated. They drew back from the front. Now they only existed as something of a seasoning -- allowing the latakia a more central, grounding role.

That made all the difference. Now each smoke is a pleasure.

As I write this, I'm currently in the process of smoking down my stock of WhiteKnight. I use it as my morning blend. Will I buy it again soon? Likely not. Again, as a new pipe smoker, there are other English blends I'm eager to try. But WhiteKnight reinforced an invaluable lesson: never judge a blend on how it smokes directly out of the tin.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2019 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
This review is based on a tin I purchased back in 2016 with a couple of bowls missing from it now. I contend that the cut should have been finer which, I think would have provided a better burn rate. Myself as others have mentioned are having trouble with the burn on this one. Although it has garnished rave reviews from most TRs, I guess I'm one of a few dissenters who just didn't like it well enough to dig any deeper. I still have what's left & might sample it again in the near future. Besides the burning characteristic, I'm unable to explain why I didn't choose to finish it off but more understanding of this dilemma might be better understood in the next paragraph.

I'll confess to being a rather novice piper when it comes to English/Balkan blends but I loved the BSOM sampled from a fresh pouch from almost 20 years ago. I also loved Murray's MM 965, Aperitif & even finished off a tin of Nightcap which I liked OK & thought it was aptly named because it is a good beddy-bye blend. Of course, most of you "old timers" seem to like these Latakia blends quite well & I can get that because I have smoked the best of them. Problem is, most of the truly great Latakia blends are "gone with the wind." I've also sampled some Old Dublin & loved its unique flavor which seemed more like a Balkan blend than an English. I thought Robert Lewis's Tree Mixture was pretty good as well & even craved Mississippi Mud. D&S Levant & Crystal Palace are my favorite Balkan Blends & Arango BS is another top contender.

So, what was it with the White Knight... could it have been "too English" & not "Balkanish?" I'm not real crazy about English blends anyway as they are usually Lat bombs. Maybe I simply couldn't discern the difference. I don't know but will edit this when I sample another bowl & use a better "cob."

If it were left up to me, I'd simply refer to English/Balkans as Latakia blends & annotate the amount used on the tin label. However, I do feel confident in Russ Oullette's blending ability and glad to see that most of the pipers appreciated his blend. I appreciate all you reviewers for your experience & guidance. It's helped me to pick up on some of the finer points of the better blends & led me to some great smoking experiences. One last note... Isn't it wonderful that we're not all the same & are good Christians who can love one another despite our differences? Wouldn't the world be a better place if that were the case!
Pipe Used: Medico Filter, MM
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fresh Tin
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