Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader Special Edition

The original Squadron Leader blend was brought back for the 2008 Chicago Pipe show in a limited release of 500 tins then later offered in 2015 as an exclusive 2000 tin limited edition here at SPC, this is the classic English blend you know and love, with the addition of the truffle of condiment tobaccos: perique.
Notes: Re-released in 2017, limited to 3000 tins. Re-released in 2019, limited to 4500 tins.


Brand Samuel Gawith
Series 2015 SPC Exclusive
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Mixture
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United Kingdom
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.33 / 4





Please login to post a review.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 18 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 15, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The grassy, moderately tart citrusy, lightly tangy dark fruity and earthy, woody Virginias are the base that the other components play off as a secondary star. The smoky, woody, earthy, musty, sweet Cyprian Latakia is the lead component, though it doesn’t dominate. The Turkish provides light spice, wood, earth, herbal vegetation, some floralness, dry sourness, and a light buttery sweetness as a supporting player. The spicy, raisiny, plum, figgy perique plays on a little higher level than the Virginias. The nic-hit is two steps shy of the medium mark. The strength and taste levels sit squarely on medium. No chance of bite or harshness, but has a few small rough edges. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with a deep, mildly sweet, spicy and rather savory consistent campfire flavor from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a very pleasant sweet and spicy after taste that lingers a little. The room note is tad stronger. Can be an all day smoke. Obviously, this is Squadron Leader with perique, and is a more complex, richer, mildly fuller version. Three and a half stars.

16 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I was eager to try this one and am glad that I did. I have always enjoyed the easy, subtle pleasures of this long time classic. The Oriental and Latakia components bring out the best in the quality and special Gawith processing of the Virginia leaf. The added pinch of pure 100% Louisiana Perique puts a little more strength in the blend without changing the overall presentation much. Absolutely an enhancement well worth putting in your pipe.
13 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 14, 2015 Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This review is essentially the same one I posted in the tobacco review forum at, written 5/13/2015.

I'm currently smoking a bowl of SLAP (Squadron Leader And Perique - acronym coined somewhat ironically by buroak). I ordered 15 tins, partially because I thought they would be good barter chips. Also, I like SL very much and the blend recipe sounded appetizing. I also got caught up in the piranha feeding frenzy. Also, I'm impulsive and OCD.

I smoked a bowl of Squadron Leader standard, e.g. SL sans Perique, before trying the new blend. Squadron Leader was lighter than I remembered but probably just relative to the heaver balkan and Latakia blends I've been smoking of recent. But still it was a very fine smoke.

After the bowl of Squadron Leader, I ate some Ledo's pizza with sausage and jalapeno wheels washed down with a Coke, to refresh my palate. So much for my healthy diet aspirations. After giving my palate a rest, I loaded a bowl of SLAP into the same Savinelli 316 LS Porto Cervo pot I had used for the Squadron Leader.

Holy Smoke! My hopes were more than met. If I had smoked them blind, I wouldn't have known the two blends were related The perique balances out the Latakia. I would go so far to say that the Lat recedes to a background bass note. It is a sweet, silky smooth, thick smoke that tickles the nostrils pleasantly. the blend burns well but could possibly benefit from a little drying. There was zero tongue bite and to my nose, it left a neutral if not nice room note.

Before smoking SLAP, I had offered to trade tins of it for Balkan Sobranie. I now think I was impetuous and regret the solicitation. I may have to give up two tins as a matter of courtesy to those who responded but will not give up any more. I can only imagine how fabulous these will be after aging for a few years. I wouldn't trade my SLAP for equal weight in Penzance and would hesitate before trading for Stonehaven.

I'm cellaring these with my other special tobaccos and will dip into the stash solely for special occasions. If I can discipline myself, I'll crack maybe a tin a year, perhaps around Christmas.

Just one note. If you like bold, in your face blends, this is not for you. It is mild bodied and flavorful but not powerful.

I do hope that our friends at SmokingPipes will consider re-issuing this blend so that others may experience this sublime tobacco. Perhaps if we tender this request POLITELY and persistently, they will honor our wishes. And it is OK if they want to make a buck. They aren't a charity organization. Besides, I want my friends to prosper. If they do release more, they can mark me down for another 15 tins. But they did publicly state it was limited edition, so I understand perfectly if they decide they have to wait a year or more before make a similar offer.

I have many favorite blends. I like none better than SLAP. I have finally found a pipe blend equal to the finest Dominican cigars. If SLAP becomes commonly available, it would be in my weekly rotation.

I'll post another note after I finish the tin.
Pipe Used: Savinelli 316 KS Punto Cervo
Age When Smoked: Fresh
13 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 11, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Nice big fat ribbons of mostly tan with flecks of black thrown in. The perique was quite noticeable in the tin aroma, as were the other components. This is tin #368/2000. Not sure that's at all meaningful but as I also collect limited edition music software, the number is always listed. Don't know if it means much there, either!

Smoking a few bowls of this made me run back to not only my stash of aged SL, but also to pick up a few tins of fresh SL. I enjoyed this blend, but I do not recognize it as SL with the addition of perique. This shows me that simply adding a condimental tobacco to an already established mixture can yield unpredictable results. In this version, the latakia was more subdued, the Virginias a hair more prominent and sweeter and the orientals almost MIA, at least from a "hey there's the oriental" perspective - they didn't call any attention to themselves. The perique provided some pepper and spice and the whole concoction had an excellent nutty flavor underneath. This seemed both a hair sweeter and quite a bit spicier but also a different blend altogether. I found that interesting. They both were Gawithian, if you will, but seemed like different blends altogether. SL alone is no longer in contention for my rotation but I enjoy its pure English nature (heavier latakia and Virginia, very mild oriental) on occasion. This one should be very similar plus perique but the perique apparently changed the face of the original. This isn't worse - it's just different. I'm not sure if that was intentional but I'm guessing it wasn't. Try this if you want to try a "new" SG English blend containing perique. I liked it very much!
7 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 27, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Samuel Gawith - Squadron Leader Special Edition (2019 run).

Tin number 3244 of 4500.

Although the standard Squadron Leader's a good smoke, I always think of it as being a touch overhyped. This, however, with the addition of Perique, deserves as much hype as possible!

My tin had great hydration (weird, being as it's from Sam G'!) , and the nose has a definite inclusion of Perique. It doesn't smell 'loaded', but the Perique can be identified, easily. Fairly coarse ribbons, free from twigs.

Like I said, the touch of Perique makes a massive difference. It gives the smoke a rich, fruity quality, but no vinegar-sharpness, or caustic pepper. To my palate the Perique isn't too lightly added. The rest of the tobaccos are the same as the standard edition: smoky Lat', camphoraceous, fragrant Orientals, and sweet, grassy Virginia accounting for the 'platform'. Every bowl I've had has burnt decently, giving a cool smoke.

Nicotine: seems a bit higher than Squadron Leader standard. Room-note: a little pungent.

Squadron Leader Special'? If they made this regularly it would be in my rotation. Love it. Four stars:

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Neerup
Age When Smoked: 2 weeks.
5 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong
I got a tin of this when Smoking Pipes brought the blend back for a limited run of 2000 tins in May 2015. To me, the taste is something between original Squadron Leader and Dunhill Nightcap, probably due to the presence of Perique. Some of the mild floral note that I have detected in SL previously is present, but it is very mild and the taste is largely that of a good English with a Latakia flavor that is very balanced and a Perique flavor to finish that is pleasant and multi-dimensional. Very moist out of the tin. I'll be curious to see how it smokes once it has dried out a bit. Very good, especially if you like a more Lat-balanced English. The only thing that keeps it from being a 4-star smoke for me is the light-ish nicotine content compared to something like Nightcap.
Pipe Used: Fikri Baki gourd Calabash
5 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 10, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
Well apparently this sold out everywhere in a day. 4500 tins. I was able to sample one bowl out of the 121/4500 tin. It was a smooth English and about 1/3 of the way in it seemed to lose a little of its sweetness and I guess the Perique was kicking in. Hard to say. This is not a ‘review’ but a place holder until I can try some more if I am lucky. Obviously, this is the 2019 release. Maybe better luck next year if they release it again.
Pipe Used: Peterson Dublin Edition Unfinished Poker
Age When Smoked: New
4 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 21, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
SL is my favourite Latakia/Oriental base tobacco there is in the market now as we speak. As I have already reviewed it, I am not going to describe the tin note, flavouring, etc., but just to mention what I find different. Some reviewers seem to be saying the perique is not quite apparent, and even though I might agree with it, it does flare up every now and again adding both depth and a citrusy/zesty dimension to it. For a change of pace it is certainly interesting, but I'd leave SL as it is. Would I recommend it? Yes of course, but I think you will only be able to tell the difference if you are already familiar with SL original.
3 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
Still nutty like the original SL, but the Perique drives it up a notch in body. Occasionally peppery, but not enough to undermine the purity of this English Oriental. Seems aged and well behaved now and no need to cellar but extra time still may improve it some.

recommend for English Oriental smokers. Wish I knew the % of perique and I could blend & age this up myself.
Pipe Used: Old Dunhill 120, old Arlington
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes
Age When Smoked: new tin
3 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 09, 2018 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
This review is for the 2018 release. A fellow pipesmoker gave me a couple bowls' worth of this limited edition tobacco to sample. So, it came ready-dried and probably about a month after the tin was initially opened. He did an excellent job with the drying, especially considering that it was very wet (according to his description).

He said he wasn't overly impressed by it, but I myself consider it quite superior. A wonderful sweetness, with the Latakia contribution a bit more muted than what's found in Super Balkan (which is its closest comparison to what I've smoked): maybe this is because the Virginia and Orientals really shine in this blend. I imagine that this is what a more classic English would taste like.

Of course, there is the Perique element, but it is so well balanced that in the smoke you can mostly just taste the depth and richness (with just the right amount of spice). However, it is VERY evident post-smoke, with that rich, mouth-filling plumminess, plus a wonderful leathery quality hovering about my clothing.

I'm guessing the Lakeland essence is present as well, but this is first Samuel Gawith I've tried (and one that is more complex and heavy). So, no way to compare.

The overall experience is at once highly approachable and smokeable (probably even all day, if you have the constitution), but quite full. And the nic definitely takes a hit after only half a bowl. But to me, this is what a Full English ought to be.

I have just purchased the original Squadron Leader, after finding it available at Will give a careful comparison when it arrives and gets duly smoked. Looking forward to it!

Highly recommended ... if you can find it somewhere.
Pipe Used: Amadeus Bent Billiard
Age When Smoked: 1 month old
2 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.