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English Recommendations


ThinkinPipe
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I started out smoking mostly aromatics and eventually moved more into Virginias and found a love for Burley. Anyway, early on I got myself Plum Pudding, having absolutely no real idea what I was in for, and was overwhelmed by Latakia. I have not touched an English scene. 

I've since decided that I want to dip my toes back into the English pond, but I don't know if I like Latakia enough. Any recommendations for an English blend that isn't overwhelmingly Latakia?

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Ted
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 Ted
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Mac Baren Solent Mixture is a light Latakia, aromatic English mixture. It’s great stuff and might be a path to checking out Latakia in a low impact way. 

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nach0
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i´d say that Samuel Gawith - Perfection and Davidoff - Royalty could be a good start.

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Ithian
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Peterson Early Morning Pipe - a beloved classic with low Latakia presence. This would be a great entry into Latakia blends, especially if you're wary and have been "burned" by it before.

Sutliff Eastfarthing - just another English aromatic recommendation. It's fantastic. The Latakia is noticeable but it's one component of many.

Country Squire Pilgrim's Muse (formerly Bag End) - a personal favorite Scottish. Latakia is there but takes a supporting backseat in a delightful interplay between Virginias, Orientals and Burley. 

Personally, I'm not a friend of blends that are too heavy on the Latakia either, because Latakia can easily become overwhelming and drown out everything else. So I think we're similar in that regard.

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ThinkinPipe
Joined: 4 months ago

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I am always gonna lean into anything that is a Tolkien reference. 

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ThinkinPipe
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I think I must get the Fantasy South Sampler from Country Squire. They all sound pretty good.

 

I think I have a problem...is there such a thing as too much tobacco?

 

 

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Ted
 Ted
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The only situation where I can wrap my head around having “too much tobacco” is if I had say, a ton of it and it was on top of me. Otherwise, no. 

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ThinkinPipe
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Pilgrim's Muse is very enjoyable

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ThinkinPipe
Posts: 69
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I guess I need to get myself a new cob for English blends

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Ithian
Joined: 2 years ago

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A can recommend a bent Country Gentleman or Mark Twain. Both have decently sized bowls.

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Juan José Pascual Lobo
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If Nach0 and Ithian excellent recommendations work well for you and you want to go a steep forward with latakia, next steep would be SG Squadron Leader, SG Skiff or McBaren HH Balkan Blend. But I´m sure there can be a lot more medium latakia blends from US blenders that I don´t know.

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Have a look at Wilke Tobacco Co.  Email John there for his recommendations.  Good stuff - their blends.  Obviously quality tobaccos and blends for every palate.

Also, GL Pease has several superb English blends.  

Finally, look at Kramer's Father Dempsey - one of my favorites. 

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Ted
 Ted
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Wilke is a good idea too. Their English Chocolate would be a great lighter Latakia blend with a nice chocolate flair. 

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Joseph
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@ThinkinPipe I'm maybe just a few steps further down the road in my tobacco palate development. So, these suggestions are based on my own experience learning to appreciate English/Scottish/Balkan blends more. Your mileage may vary.

Spoiler
Tip #1: No Unicorns
Latakia is going to leave an afer-taste - that's just a fact. So, don't expect to find the unicorn blend where it doesn't. That's it. That's the main tip. Having said that, imo, "Bag End", now renamed "Pilgrim's Muse" from Country Squire, (already recommended above), is the closest thing to that unicorn that I've found (that's fresh and readily available). Another that's good fresh, if you like campfire/bbq smoky, is Boswell's "North Woods". Both of these are relatively inexpensive bulk blends that are great mild/medium examples of their genre while still being unique and interesting. They're meant to be enjoyed young, can be daily smokers.

Spoiler
Tip #2: Timing, Dosing, Pairing and Sharing
If your current palate gives you a two-day soapy-incense after-taste smoking any English/Scottish/Balkan blend, it helps to have a smaller amount after your last meal of a day when you know you're not likely to eat something that clashes the next day. Pair it with a glass of water, or at the very least, DON'T pair it or follow it with tastes that clash. And, don't pair it with alcohol (at this stage, imo). My adult son and I did this together every Saturday evening when we were in this stage together. It made it more fun, even when we hit a new blend we both took a hard "PASS" on. We learned what we did and didn't prefer, and to borrow an analogy from "The Princess Bride", we were "developing resistance to iocane powder", so to speak.

Spoiler
Tip #3: Go for COMPLEX, not LIGHT
This might seem only tangentially related, but, aged, integrated, complex blends frame the Latakia flavor to it's best advantage, and even transform the after-taste to be more pleasant. This can make it seem like there is "less" or "milder" Latakia the longer you let such blends age unopened.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about one-dimensional Lat bombs, or unsophisticated "salad" blends thrown together without any integration or aging where one of the leaves happens to be Latakia. But there is a top shelf category of English blends where the end result is truly more than the sum of it's parts, improving over time.

To use a wine analogy, you don't develop a taste for fine red wine by drinking sangria because it has no tannins. Nothing against Sangria, but you develop a taste for fine wine by drinking fine wines, properly aged, their tannins mellowed, delightfully complex. Such wines can be laid down for years to continue improving. Same idea with complex pipe tobacco blends.

I'm going to cut to the chase and name my favorite blender: G. L. Pease is probably the most commonly agreed upon MASTER of complex, yet nuanced, blends that integrate Latakia to best advantage and AGE AMAZINGLY WELL.

Spoiler
Tip #4: Unobtanium is actually obtainable - My Example

The bad news is you probably can't get your hands on some well-aged, mythical "unobtanium" like McClelland "Frog Morton's Cellar". But, the good news is, you don't have to. There are more integrated, complex blends being produced today than at any time in history. It might not be the golden age of which magical leaf is available. But, it IS DEFINITELY the golden age of what talented blenders are doing with the leaf that is available. Tomorrow's "unobtainium" is what you cellar today.

Here's how it works: Settle on a few blends to start with, and cellar them deep, not wide.

For aging, you want blends that are blended for aging. Get the smaller, dated, crimp-sealed pop-top tins (not vacuum-sealed, and never open-air bulk) - so aerobic fermentation can continue, and secondary anaerobic fermentation is possible. Knowing how many grams per week you plan to consume makes it possible to know how many tins are a ten year supply. Buy that much right up front. Replace each tin as you consume it and rotate stock - first in, first out. In this way, every tin you open is of increasing age until, after 10 years you're set for life with 10-year aged Unobtanium!

For example, these are my current Unobtanium smokes: Samarra, Quiet Nights, The Merry Monk, and King's Fool.

I am already smoking 10-year aged Samarra, 2-year aged Quiet Nights, and am just getting started with the other two.

These are treats, not daily smokers. I plan to enjoy one 2.5 - 3 gram bowl per week of each of these for the rest of my life.[/spoiler]

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Zigmeister67
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I'll throw in my 2¢. I've been delving pretty deep in English blends lately.

Peter Stokkebye Oriental Supreme

This is a great Balkan type blend. I love the Oriental tobacco spice in it. Available in bulk. Could just try an 1oz.

G. L. Pease Quiet Nights

I've gone through a lot of this in the past month. Could be my favorite tobacco yet. Love it.

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Joseph
Joined: 5 months ago

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Oh, and in editing that post down from a scattered brain dump into something merely too long and veering off-topic, I removed an important recommendation I still want to make:

If the blender took the trouble to put their English/Scottish/Balkan blend in an all metal tin with foodsafe interior lining (and/or humidity-balancing paper pucks and sleeve) - at atmospheric pressure (NOT vacuum) - with a crimp- sealed pull-tab pop-top…

…and there’s a tinning date on the bottom

DON’T OPEN IT WITHIN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS FROM TINNING DATE!!! …it’s not done yet!

As a rule of thumb, these complex blends go through “integration phases” doubling in length - 6mo, 1yr, 2yrs, 4yrs, 8yrs.

Openning one of these blends before completion of the first integration phase is like doing a “barrel tasting” of a Cabernet Sauvignon that’s going to be released next year. It’s too young to taste like it’s supposed to.

Don’t judge whether you like it by popping it too soon. If you did, don’t store it by simply putting the plastic lid on it, sticking it in a box with the others you X-ed off your list, and calling it a mistake - it will start going stale, or going “off”. Yes, it costs more money to buy mason jars, but you’re not throwing good money after bad; you’re doing what SHOULD BE DONE ANYWAY for all tobacco you aren’t going to finish within a month of opening.

If your routine has been - (buy it; smoke it all from the package it came in; if I like it, buy another) - you need a second routine to properly appreciate this category of smoke. You pop-n-pour sangria. You lay down Cab-Sav in a cellar. Same idea here.

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ThinkinPipe
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So man blends to choice from!!

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ThinkinPipe
Posts: 69
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So many options and I gotta wait til pay day!

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smokethefox
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I would suggest the CH flake from Samuel Gawith, or the Gawith Hoggarth version: Bobs CH flake. Just a hint of Lat, but very flavorful.

Another suggestion would be from DTM. Fred the frog. Also just a hint of Lat. Sweet english with liquorice flavor. Yummi 🙂

Also, its an oriental blend, rather than an English, but there is just enough Latakia to geting you started: Robert McConell original oriental

Cheers

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Juan José Pascual Lobo
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Joseph is absolutely right. A lot of things happen inside a tobacco tin the first six months after it is packaged, and continue happening for years, but at a lesser speed. But the first six months are the time in which major changes happen and it´s an essential part of the process of making a tobacco.

Fortunately most of the tobaccos arriving to Spain are at least 4-5 months old. McBaren made ones even more, and my last purchase of Rattray´s (Red Rappary and Black Mallory) were 1 year and 2 months old!.

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