G. L. Pease Samarra

(3.39)
Samarra is a rich and complex mixture, without being heavy. Matured red Virginia provides the basic structure and a delicate sweetness. A generous portion of Cyprian Latakia is added for its smoky richness, and exotic, fragrant Oriental leaf provides fullness to the flavor. Finally, just a hint of lemon Virginia adds bit of brightness to the smoke, and a touch of perique adds its own unique piquancy.
Notes: From GL Pease: Samarra, along with Cairo, Mephisto and Renaissance, was one of the first blends to be offered under the G. L. Pease brand. In a sense, it is a refinement of Sublime Porte, a blend I produced years ago for Drucquer & Sons while working there, so it reflects a much longer history than the other blends in the line. Despite a significant percentage of Cyprus Latakia, Samarra is not a Latakia powerhouse. It is rich and complex, relying as much upon the delicate sweetness and structure of matured red Virginias, and the exotic, fragrant nature of fine Oriental leaf as it does on the smoky opulence of the Cyprian “King of Flavor.” The blend is finished with a hint of zesty lemon Virginia, adding a hint of brightness to the smoke, and a touch of perique, providing its own unique spice. Samarra was introduced March, 2000

Details

Brand G. L. Pease
Series Original Mixtures
Blended By Gregory Pease
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce 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

3.39 / 4
56

23

13

3

Reviews

Please login to post a review.
Displaying 41 - 50 of 95 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 30, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a well-crafted, nicely balanced blend that highlights the Latakia rather than beating you over the head with it. The smoke experience is full, mellow, flavorful, and highly enjoyable, with the sweet, nutty orientals coming into their own mid-bowl. Unlike some McClelland blends, there is no overabundance of sweet virginias, which in this case decidedly take a back seat and more minor supporting role in this mixture. Lights and burns easily. Also, unlike many other Pease blends, Samarra is not hot, or biting. Similar in some ways to McClelland's excellent Three Oaks blends, although I do prefer the Syrian latakia found in Three Oaks Syrian. This is good stuff for the lover of delicately balanced, lightly blended Latakia mixtures, and is a nice medium balkan. The small amount of detectable perique and lemon adds real interest. A fine result! Three stars.

Update 8-3-2010: This is becoming one of my go-to blends when I am in the mood for cyprian latakia, although, to be honest, I find myself cheating, undermining the intents and designs of the blender, by deliberately picking through the tin and enhancing the portion of latakia that finds its way into each bowl...and then I must add some straight latakia back into the tin by the bottom 1/4 of it...Still, in all, a very good blend and very high quality tobacco throughout. Just a caution: Don't push on the cadence or the typical Pease orientals can be a bit harsh on the throat.

(field note 9-27-2010): I opened a nicely aged tin of Samarra today, and as if the tobacco gods had observed my update above, I was greeted by an unexpected prize while sifting around in the contents..two big, dense stow-away chunks of latakia, about 1/8" by 1/4" by 2". Of course, I promptly shredded them and mixed them in. Upon lighting the bastardized result, I was rewarded with a super-samarra, a veritable cyprian lat-bomb of epic proportions! This stuff makes Caravan seem like Frog Morton. After a small feat of engineering to get it burning really well, I railed away at this cyprian sledgehammer for nearly two hours in a large Ser Jacopo. The cowardly virginias and other orientals didn't even peek out from their hiding place until the last 1/4 of the bowl. My imprudence, excessive cadence, and disregard for the intended balance of the original mixture, was also answered with an astonishing, dizzying buzz-bomb from Uncle Nic. This super-samarra is a potent piledriver. It eventually fried down impeccably to a fine white dust. I'm putting this frisky vixen away for special occasions when I want to pummel myself into a sublime stupor of Peasean bliss. A five-star accident of random chance.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 25, 2010 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
As with some of my other reviews recently, I do not feel comfortable giving four stars on limited experience, but this is a very enjoyable blend. In some ways, it reminds me of Squadron Leader, one of my favorites, but with a bit more flavor and more going on. Really lovely. I find the orientals are definitely center stage, but the perique and latakia combine together to give a nice bit of spice without the overwhelming "blast" of a latakia heavy blend... which would eradicate the oriental flavors, too. Masterfully blended.

UPDATE Smoking this in close proximity to Ashbury, it's notable that the addition of perique brings a richness and a more complex spice to Samarra.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 19, 2010 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I have been smoking Samarra on and off for several years and recently have been solely on a Virginia kick over the last couple of years so I haven't gone to this blend for quite some time. I recently decided to fill a bowlful and put a match to it. Oh the complexity of this fine leaf is amazing! What have I been missing? I cannot imagine a finer blend anywhere! Sure it's not the heaviest of the English venue however this is as good as it gets for me. I absolutely love this tobacco! 4 stars for sure
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 09, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
One of the finest English style mixtures available. This mixture is savory and robust, with a gentle sweet backdrop, and is not likely to offend any novice smokers.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This stuff is unstoppable! A couple years ago, I bought two five year old tins off of ebay, and I've never smoked anything as good. I've been stockpiling it ever since. A bit of cellaring mellows it quite nicely.

I generally prefer a Latakia laden blend, and I tend to shy away from a Perique-heavy mix (I can't even get through a bowl of Haddo's, let alone enjoy it). Samarra has a smokey, creamy, rich taste, and it has a velvet like texture. There is definitely a lot of complexity here, but the creamy, butteriness is what gets me. I certainly wouldn't object to more Latakia, but the thing I really like is the hint of Perique which I think adds some noticeable depth to the flavor. There's a very interesting intersection of flavors that I generally don't notice in other Perique & Latakia mixtures (Epiphany for example). Perhaps it's the Orientals or VA's?

If you like english (or at least light english) blends, I would suggest you give this one a try - cellared if at all possible.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2009 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
It's difficult to add meaningfully to the many reviews below, but the more I smoke Samarra, the more I like it.

It is lighter on the Latakia than most of the English and Balkan fare I prefer, but thoroughly satisfying. It shines as a masterful blend, rather than as a showpiece for any single of its constituent tobaccos. At the risk of appearing deliberately alliterative, the adjectives that come to mind while pondering its allure are complex, clean, and creamy. There is nothing harsh about this blend, yet it has an uncanny depth that rewards patience and attention. If I were to attempt a byline for Samarra, it would be: "Sophisticated incense for the contemplative smoker."

As my affinity for this blend grows, so does my concern that I don't have more of it in my cellar...
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 18, 2009 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
A mild tobacco with many layers of different tastes. This tobacco is a prove of real mastership blending.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 14, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I am new to Perique blends and although the taste intrigues me, most of the stuff I have tried was too strong and I had to blend down. This one delivers an amount that I feel can be handled by someone who has some taste buds left. Still, quite spicy though. It contains tobaccos of obvious quality: the flakes are beautiful and the aroma subtle and natural.

Update Mar/10: I tried this 1 year later, still find it too spicy to smoke by itself, but it's quite good to add spice to other tobaccos.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 31, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Samarra is the most complex of all GLPease English/Balkans, and the only one where Virginias are in the frontline most of the time. Excellent combination of Orientals and Latakia make this masterpiece the perfect choice for those who want a little more Latakia in their English mixtures but feel overwhelmed by heavy Balkans.

Should I had to choose only one GLPease tobacco, this would probably be the one. Luckily, that's not the case, so I have plenty of Charing Cross, Odyssey, Haddo's, Abingdon and many others.
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2009 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
I have been smoking from a 2002 batch of Samarra I tracked down, and I must say the difference that 7 years of aging brings is profound.

The latakia is even more subdued now, with the orientals coming to the forefront. The incense note I detected in the first tin has been amplified tenfold, and the sweetness of the VAs has also increased. I am pleased to note the impact of the perique is also more noticeable, as there is a distinct tendency to bite in fresh tins if the tobacco isn't allowed to go out every few minutes (in all fairness, this might be more a matter of my body's chemisty than a property of the tobacco).

As others have pointed out, this stuff is almost the definition of complexity. I like the aged product more than the fresh, but I still wish it had more of a kick. This is a very mild tobacco, but even at its most flavorful it seems like a Balkan light. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, and even I (someone who craves powerful blends) can appreciate this on occasion. This is a four-star blend for those who like delicate Oriental-based blends; I cautiously recommend it for those who, like me, prefer flavor bombs. If you do buy this, let some age for a few years (at least five). It's worth it.

ORIGINAL REVIEW from 2007: Samarra is intriguing -at times the latakia is dominant, but the orientals and VAs take their turns at the forefront as the bowl progresses. Also, as other folks have pointed out, there is at times a flavor/aroma that's reminiscent of incense. My one complaint with this blend is that the flavor is simply too mild -- it tastes great, but the smoke simply doesn't have enough body to satisfy. In any case, I've got a couple of tins aging right now, as I think some age would do wonders for this mixture (the tin I smoked was only about 3 months old).
1 person found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.

target="_blank"