Robert McConnell Original Oriental

The Oriental Mixture has been part of Robert McConnell's range since the beginning of the 19th century, making it one of the company's oldest products. It consists mostly of Cypriot, Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean bright tobaccos, which are blended together with bright leaf from Carolina and Red Old Belt from Virginia over a whole week. Carolina Black Cavendish is then added, resulting in a balanced, medium strength blend that will delight friends of expressive pipe tobacco in particular.


Brand Robert McConnell
Blended By Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Oriental
Contents Black Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.30 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 109 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 02, 2010 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
This blend is a relaxing blend that does not require the smoker to contemplate its minutiae. The main reason for this is that the blend is exactly what it seems to be.

I tend to enjoy this blend around a campfire.

I'm still not done with my first tin, so maybe I will discover that this blend has more to it than I am detecting, but right now it seems like a good example of your standard English mixture.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 11, 2012 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
It is clearly not "cool" in the pipe smoking community to enjoy a blend that gets fairly consistent low ratings on this site. While I find that kind of blind faith alternately bemusing and disconcerting, I have the cure for at least one blend. If you find it uncool to like Rattrays Highland Targe because of its low ratings, try this one instead. Same flavor profile, although this one is a hair more robust. Or I should say, the flavor comes to me a bit quicker. I have to commend the blender on his use of the latakia condiment, which this blend does indeed contain... the apparent debate has been settled, at least to my satisfaction :). This is primarily an oriental blend with virginia in the sidecar and latakia balancing carefully to the rear. Therefore, latakia hounds should be warned that their favorite condiment is indeed just a condiment here.

The tin nose is dark and musty but the flavor is clear and clean. All the tobaccos play well together but the oriental is clearly in the lead, hence the name of this one is well-conceived. The flavors are a bit more assertive than in the Rattrays but other than that, the two taste and smoke very much alike. HT may be somewhat more complex, but this is no one-trick pony. The variations are just a bit more subtle while the overall flavor is just a hair more bold. I find this to be an excellent example of an oriental-forward tobacco and I'm surprised that I never smoked this one in the "good old days". I plan to correct that immediately, as more tins are headed to my cellar. Highly recommended to those who enjoy blends that unlock their secrets gently and on their own timetable.
55 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Virginia/Oriental blends are among my favorite, and Oriental may be the best of the lot. Upon opening the tin, a musty, sweet spicy smell hits you, like the smell of fresh dirt and hay and a very good way. The Virginias are figgy sweet, and dark. The Orientals (I'll guess) are Macedonian, as they have the milder musty, sweet, nutty aroma and are less sharp than Smyrna/Izmir type so prevalent. The Latakia is very soft and in very limited quantity, only serving to augment the other tobaccos, not even acting as a third player. The taste is sweet, nutty, bright and warm, I'm always reminded of chestnuts when I smoke this. This and Presbyterian represent the softer side of Oriental blends, as opposed to the sharper, drier profiles of Red Rapparee, Sobranie white, Durbar, Rajah's Court, etc. It is an amazing leaf, Oriental, that can be so many different things
Pipe Used: Colossal Lovat, Rinaldo bulldog
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
34 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 08, 2007 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This McConnell offering smokes pretty much like an Oriental dominated blend; but unlike others, heavy on the flavor with a palate washing of delight like no other blend of this genre that I have ever tasted. The flavor does vary as the bowl is consumed (pleasantly so), and did smoke dry (caveat: I did smoke it in a Ruthenberg rusticated pipe that won't gurgle even if smoked underwater).

I do think this is similar to Dunhill's Aperitif although not quite as heavy. Smashing stuff and lived up to its billing as one of the world's finest ever Oriental blends.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2012 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I've smoked two bowls of this good tobacco, the quantity supplied to me of our forum meeting (Hellenic Pipe Smokers Forum) in October 2012.

My view is that this is a very good and valuable tobacco. Oriental tobaccos have the dominant role with flavors between sweet and spicy, it has creamy texture and I taste nice taste of raisins, a taste of "earth", slightly spicy spices and a nostalgic scent of old wood shop.

Virginia simply serves as a basis in which Orientals are "dancing" their own delicately scented complex dance. The Black Cavendish looks like the link that connects the base (Virginia) to the top (Oriental) giving a very nice and interesting final smoking result. A successful mixture that is not an one-dimensional one.

As smoking goes to the middle of the bowl, the sensation of pungent spices becomes stronger without monopolizing the taste palette. I had the subtle taste of Japanese green tea "Ocha", something that up to now I have only tasted in the legendary Balkan Sobranie.

And of course there is the smoked taste of Latakia tobacco which enriches it. If there is no Latakia in this blend as some pipe smokers ar mentioning, then it is a highly successful smoked Oriental tobacco in the mixture that gives a sense of tasty Latakia.

The tobacco reminds me the great English blends of Dunhill. It has the European "feel" of the Balkan / English blends. But it is also somewhat less "aggressive" in both the "intensity" and the final aftertaste compared to those of Dunhill's .

A smooth smoking with moderate strength of nicotine it can be smoked pleasant all day. It lights easily and burns slowly and well and without a lot of extra lighting. No tongue biting if smoking it in a calm way, not leaving any liquid in the bowl and the filter comes very clean after smoking. The room note is rather pleasant to tolerable and can be well accepted even by people who do not like the smell of the "Latakia".

An old, historic blend has its roots close in the beginning of the 19th century!

A great pipe tobacco with a very nice, soft and rich flavor. I was very pleased to "meet" this tobacco, but now that I smoked all the quantity I had, I will miss it very much ...
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 07, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Visually, The Original Oriental is similar to McConnell's Scottish Cake, if a bit darker in complexion. And like Scottish Cake, Original Oriental arrives sticky, but not damp. This is a natural tobacco stickiness I find common to all of McConnell's offerings. Once exposed to air for a few moments, the tobacco is ready to smoke. 

The tin note is delicious: sweet feed, molasses, raisin, hay all presented so naturally that one would think this tobacco was pulled out of the barn yesterday. This tin note is among my favorites of any blend. 

While the tin note hints at world-class Virginia, the Orientals are clearly the star of the smoking show. Earthy, nutty, somewhat musty with a hint of a subdued floral note, this blend establishes itself as superior from the first true light. Silky smooth and cool burning, Original Oriental is superb. There is an extremely subtle undercurrent of unflavored Cavendish here that adds a distant note of sweetness without impacting the extremely dry smoking experience of this spectacular Oriental blend.  As with any Oriental, the smoke is dry, smooth, and absolutely without bite. The Latakia here is condimental, and adds a slight bit of leather and mustiness. It's perfectly interwoven with the Cavendish to produce a noteworthy balance of background flavors to showcase the Orientals. Definitely not a smokey blend, nor can it be characterized as sweet. Original Oriental is balanced, subdued, and smooth. There is a dank, mushroomy, earthiness towards the end of the bowl when the Latakia finally asserts itself, but it is short-lived and by no means unpleasant. Toning down the cadence brings the Cavendish back and balances the smoke out right to the last sip.

Though I may appear to gush over this blend, I must say, gentlemen, this one is sublime: a seldom mentioned sleeper of an Oriental, quite possibly the equal of Wilke No.10, and one I am destined to cellar.  Original Oriental is to Oriental blends what Scottish Cake is to VaPers: unique, distinct, smooth, and not nearly as acclaimed as it deserves to be. 

Update 2020: just put a dozen of these tins in the cabinet to lay down for a few years. I’ll never again be caught out like I was with Wilke No.10 or the McCelland Orientals. Our world is contracting, gentlemen. Invest accordingly.
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 03, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Quite simply this is outstanding stuff, you don’t need a tome the size of war and peace describing every component, aroma, and taste in minute detail down to the color of the socks the reviewer was wearing. Buy some and smoke it, if you’re a fan of Balkan/English type mixtures. Sublime
Pipe Used: Stanwell zebrano and Sav Tevere
Age When Smoked: 3 months
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 12, 2018 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong
Few words to clarify the difference between a Balkan blend and an Oriental blend. According to a strictly geographical logic, a Balkan mixture shouldn’t have Latakia, because neither Syria nor Cyprus belong to the geographical area of the Balkans. A Balkan blend should have only Oriental leaves. On the contrary, an Oriental mixture can have Latakia, because Syria and Cyprus are in the oriental area.

Actually, almost the opposite happens. A Balkan blend stands out for the considerable amount of Syrian Latakia while an Oriental blend is characterized by the considerable presence of Oriental leaves. Again a Balkan mixture always contains Latakia, while an Oriental mixture can be with or without Latakia. Last but not least a Balkan mixture can, paradoxically, not have Oriental leaves (for example Samuel Gawith Balkan Flake). This in real terms.

Now the review. In my opinion this blend is a classic English mixture, a Latakia mixture well-balanced. Oriental, Balkan, Scottish, it doesn’t matter. I mean that Original Oriental is composed of Virginia, Latakia and Oriental leaves, with some Black Cavendish and a touch of Perique (who knows…). Really I don’t detect any Perique. And even the Black Cavendish is not so evident, at least it is not in a leading role. Anyway this mixture is rich in nuances and palatable. Tasty and not too complex. A good English blend for Latakia lovers’. In my personal rating system (from 1 to 10) my score is 8 and three stars.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 08, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Tin note is dominated by a smoky Latakia scent which is not very pungent and is complimented by a sweeter spice, presumably from the orientals.

Comes in finely cut ribbons of different colours bright, red and black. I cannot tell apart the Latakia and Black Cavendish though… It packs and lights easily.

This is a harmonious and quite smooth and creamy English mixture of mild to medium strength and yet full in flavor. By English, I mean a Latakia mixture. So if you are looking for an Oriental blend where Latakia is just a trace, this is not it.

Latakia is present and noticeable. It’s in no way overwhelming but still it makes its presence felt. It leaves space for the Orientals to show as a sweet fragrant spiciness, especially when smoked gently. There is also a faint sweetness counterbalancing the smokiness which I guess comes from the Virginias. Generally it smokes dry and to the bottom, but the last third of the bowl gets a little harsh and slightly bitter.

I’m not a great aficionado of the dark leaf but not allergic to it either, for me it has it’s moments although I do not like smoking it all day. Yet, I find McConnell’s Oriental a very versatile blend because although full in flavor, it’s not overwhelming. I can even smoke it in the morning if I am in the mood, but it can also be also smoked after dinner.

It is highly recommended to those who know what they’re looking for: a medium strength, full flavor, mild and balanced Latakia blend where one can also taste the Orientals. I rather favour oriental blends without any latakia at all or just minimal, but that’s just my personal preference. This blend is very well made.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 16, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a quality light Balkan. The Orientals are rich and the Virginias are nice and sweet. The Latakia is not too light and not too heavy. It's just right. I've been unable to detect the Black Cav. This is my second McConnell blend and both have been impressive. Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. 3+
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: fresh
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2016 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant
If your want to explore oriental tobaccos without being overwhelmed by stronger Latakia blends, The Original Oriental might be a good place to start. The acrid or sour tin note that it is so characteristic in other tobaccos in this range (say for example Squadron Leader) gives away its internal composition of Oriental/Turkish leaf. The combination of spicy and tangy undertones with the earthiness of the virginias is well achieved, but I am not all too sure about the Cavendish tobacco it contains. My only criticism here is that it is quite apparent whereas something more subtle and inconspicuous would've done the trick. Having said that, I am finding this to be a very pleasant smoke (it really ticks so many boxes), but I am not overtly impressed, so I am going to give it a rating of 3 stars.

Edit (19 July 2016): I have been smoking this stuff regularly over the past few months and it has become one of my favourite Balkan mixtures in my rotation. In my previous review I only gave it 3 stars despite its quality, but I am upgrading this to 4 stars now.
7 people found this review helpful.
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