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Balkan taste??

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Davey

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I tried my first Balkan blend today....and almost gagged. Was gifted to me and not sure of the make. I have some English Stout I enjoy and I love Penzance. Is Balkan much more pronounced, it was just too much something...?


Any of this making sense???
 

Justpipes

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Davey":80ufl640 said:
I tried my first Balkan blend today....and almost gagged. Was gifted to me and not sure of the make. I have some English Stout I enjoy and I love Penzance. Is Balkan much more pronounced, it was just too much something...?


Any of this making sense???
Dave,

I used to smoke a lot of Balkan Saseini and really liked it. Some Balkans have a huge amount of Cyprian Latakia in them that can be over powering. Penzance has a lot of Latikia in it but it is also very well balanced with orientals and VA's. That might be the problem with the blend you tried. It might not be very well balanced with the other blending tobaccos in it.

I am not really all that fond of heavy Latikia blends anymore. They tend to stay with me way to long after I have finished smoking. One of the things that I like about Walnut is that with the very small amount of Latakia it is just enough to give it interest and Walnut leaves you with a very clean natural tobacco flavor but doesn't linger long after the smoke.
 

Davey

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Alright, that makes sense. now all I have to figure out is what component is it that I do not care for!

Thanks for the input, and you have me drooling for this Walnut stuff...despite the heckles from the audience :lol:
 

Carlos

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Davey":00pwbqjh said:
Alright, that makes sense. now all I have to figure out is what component is it that I do not care for!

Thanks for the input, and you have me drooling for this Walnut stuff...despite the heckles from the audience :lol:
Not all Balkans are created equally. :)

Bohemian Scandal and Renaissance are among my favorites. (Yes, I know. Renaissance is described as a Medium English. Well, it's loaded with orientals and to me, that's a Balkan.) They are both hard to get. Fairmorn's Sterling Balkan 759 is tasty, as is Nightcap, and Ashbury. Oh, many Balkans are just wonderful.

But then there are a few. That even for me I rarely smoke or do not cellar. The most well known of this group is C&D's SOTE (Star of the East). Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend is another and finally C&D Baalbeck. I can smoke the Baalbeck, but it's not as enjoyable as it could be.

What happens for me with these few well known blends is, (Well, maybe the Baalbeck isn't so well known as it cannot be made anymore.) I get a medicine like taste on my tongue that almost numbs it. Drinking coffee, tea or water does not prevent the effect. I had to bag up several ounces of Baalbeck yesterday for a Balkan boxpass and loaded a bowl in a John Crosby. I paid close attention to what happens. For me, I get a tingle, very light, on the front edge of my tongue. Not the tip. Like the front corners. About half-way though the bowl, the whole front of my tongue is almost numbed, not in feeling, but in ability to taste. If that makes any sense. Was a pretty good tasting bowl till it faded away.

I have no clue what particular combination, or variety of spicy tobacco does this to me, but the effect is pronounced in SOTE and BBBB. Less in Baalbeck. I have only noticed it with these three blends.

Perhaps, the Balkan you tried had something you didn't like in it. But don't stop smoking all Balkans. Others may be delicious for you.
 

Mikem

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Very interesting observation Carlos. I get the same feeling with SOTE. Another blend that the same thing happens to me is Bufflehead's Snow Goose (another blend not available). Yet I don't get the same reaction to London Blend 1000 or Old Ironsides.
 

Carlos

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mdmiller5":0e012fmy said:
Very interesting observation Carlos. I get the same feeling with SOTE. Another blend that the same thing happens to me is Bufflehead's Snow Goose (another blend not available). Yet I don't get the same reaction to London Blend 1000 or Old Ironsides.
Snow Goose had not done that for me. Unless. Well it has occurred to me that maybe my tongue got overwhelmed so quickly in Snow Goose, that I always thought the blend was a mild blend. Just smoky as all get out. I have had that same impression with both Westminster and Odyssey. Supposed full flavored blends that for me are mild. More study and tests are warranted.
 

puros_bran

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The only blend to overwhelm my tongue is Piratecake. It starts out great but after the first third of the bowl I cant taste anything for days and I cant stand Latweed for the better part of a month.

Latakia isnt what makes a blend a Balken, its the heavy oriental component that puts a blend into that catagory, IMO anyway.
 

Davey

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Ok really good to know. I love Nightcap, so there goesmy theory. I didn't know that was considered Balkan.

maybe this stuff is just crap...I will have to open up the tin of Maclelland Yenjde Highlander I just got and see what happens.

.
 

puros_bran

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Nightcap to me is an English blend. The problem with the whole catagory thing is that theres no clear 'line in the sand' for a blend to cross from one catagory to the next. theres tons of tweeners.
 

Justpipes

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puros_bran":x3wkcf1w said:
The only blend to overwhelm my tongue is Piratecake. It starts out great but after the first third of the bowl I cant taste anything for days and I cant stand Latweed for the better part of a month.

Latakia isnt what makes a blend a Balken, its the heavy oriental component that puts a blend into that catagory, IMO anyway.
That Piratecake is some mean stuff! It is at least 50% Latakia.
 

Carlos

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Davey":xpq00ord said:
:scratch:

You are not alone. It's an eternal question. At what point does the addition of orientals to an English blend, make it a Balkan? AS PB said, "no clear line in the sand".
 

smokey422

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Justpipes":c0w5oul6 said:
puros_bran":c0w5oul6 said:
The only blend to overwhelm my tongue is Piratecake. It starts out great but after the first third of the bowl I cant taste anything for days and I cant stand Latweed for the better part of a month.

Latakia isnt what makes a blend a Balken, its the heavy oriental component that puts a blend into that catagory, IMO anyway.
That Piratecake is some mean stuff! It is at least 50% Latakia.
Actually, I believe it's 70% Latakia. C&D has one other blend with even more (75%). It's a tinned blend called DaVinci.

Smokey
 

pencils

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Have to say that Pirate Kake may well be my all time favourite :D

Perhaps that is because I haven't yet tried the da Vinci ;)
 

Bob Oakley

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It sounds as if I am in the minority here. I really enjoy C&D Star of the East and celler it. I buy in bulk and get some age on it. Then I load up a fat billiard or a nice briar calabash and light it up. Maybe my tongue is calloused. :lol!:
 

Tony Ferrill

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Minority maybe,Bob-but certainly not all alone in liking SotE;I too cellar,at present around 10 pounds in 8 oz cans.SotE is my "Go To" blend,and I enjoy it in large bowled pipes.
I favor Balkans in the wintertime,Odyssey,Charing Cross,Abingdon,and I like English blends also.I have Pirate Cake,but am not too fond of it anymore,will probably trade it off soon.
One of the beautiful things about this is the ability to enjoy tobacco in so many different tastes and textures.As I said,I prefer Balkans,but I also cellar what I consider to be large amounts of Va/Per blends(PSLNF,Elizabethan Mixture,2015,and 6 oz of Pebblecut that I am going to smoke in 10 years....)and I have several styles of Virginia Blends....
If you decide you don't like Balkans,so be it,Davey.Maybe try a different blend,or wait a few years and try again,or best of all-smoke that which you enjoy!
Someday I may try a Burley blend again.... ;)
Tony
 

puros_bran

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SOTE is a fine tobacco, ranks number two in my 'best of C&D' list. Pirate Cake is the only blend that whacks me like that. Its crazy I can smoke Old Ironsides and Penzance as allday smokes but PirateCake destroys my Palete
 

bronxbill

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Puros,
I'm with you on the Pirate Kake, after a half bowl, I can't taste anything
 

Tom Clemons

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Greetings Davey,

Please allow me to muddy the waters.

Carlos said it best, I think, that there is no "clear line" as to what is an English or a Balkan ... and I'll add, even an "Oriental." (You may wish to stop reading here, and I wouldn't blame you).

I used to think and say, well, I know Balkan when I smoke it. But then, own understanding of Balkan.

It seems that over the past 8-10 years that I've been reading, studying and learning about tobacco, Balkan has seemed to imply a significant contribution of oriental leaf, along with virginia and latakia. This contrasted with "English" which seems to me to mean a latakia blend which may have some orientals as a spice, or not, but the orientals don't share center stage with latakia nor does it dominate a blend.

A brief aside - I recall some debate once about "English" not necessarily meaning a latakia blend, which I think is not the current commonly used meaning of the term "English" blend.

I've muddied the waters in the past by discussing "Balkan Light" blends by which I meant oriental dominated blends with only light to medium contributions of latakia. And I've probably made it worse by including oriental blends with no latakia in my "Balkan Light" category. And to make matters more difficult, there are debates about some blends as to if they contain any latakia or not (this is documented for a number of blends on tobaccoreviews.com and other online pipe forums).

I would now, I think, classify Campanile an "oriental" not a Balkan "light" (does it have latakia? I am not certain, but I think not). Although it tastes very similar to Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe (which I think has latakia in it, although there are a few who have said it doesn't).

So, what? ... well I think many do use "Balkan" to mean an english blend with latakia where orientals are rather noticeable. So we could probably agree with some decent inter-rater reliability as to how to classify some blends as being Balkan. I mean, Nightcap would be an English, right? Oh, wait, maybe not according to two different opinions just in this thread.

So, maybe we should just go with what the blender calls a blend. Like Balkan Sobranie. Balkan Sasieni and SG's Balkan Flake, right? Hmmmm, well, that can't be right, can it? Balkan Flake is a Balkan??? I'm so confused.

Well, Greg Pease makes the best - what I would call - Balkan blends. My favorites are Abington and Ashbury. Hmmm, certainly there are similarities but some distinct differences. OK, maybe Abington is a "full" Balkan and Ashbury is a "Balkan Light" but based on what? Again, I would mean the amount of latakia in the blend.

Now, another aside - what is Lombard (other than an excellent blend), and English? A balkan (certainly I wouldn't think this). OK, what about Laurel Heights (apologies to Mr. Pease if you are reading this, don't mean to bring up an old subject which may have some negative valence for you)? Is LH an English?? OK, I've hijacked my own thread for the second time. Let's cut to the chase, finally, right?

OK, I've spent time reviewing this topic over the past few days and I'll defer to master blender, especially of Balkan blends, Mr. Greg Pease ... Greg??


The following is from this link - http://www.glpease.com/FAQ.html - which I have copied from his site here for your convenience.


"There's been some discussion of late about what a “Balkan Blend” is, and after some poking about in old ephemera - tobacconists' catalogues, old magazines and so on - I'm beginning to believe that the term is meaningless. Generally, people seem to apply it to an English mixture with a greater presence of oriental tobaccos, but this isn't really a fair cop. I suspect the term was probably originally used to describe a blend that is similar to the now venerated Balkan Sobranie. What's interesting is that this particular blend was dominated by virginias and Latakia, with only delicate sprinklings of oriental leaf, which is quite at odds with the current colloquial usage.

Probably better just to think of the two terms as being interchangeable, if we use them at all, since any definitions we create will be similarly aribtrary."



OK, so if the master says the term may be meaningless or arbitrary, I guess I may be arbitrary, too. So, I'll stick with my understanding of Balkan, I guess.

As for Balkan blends I would recommend these

GLPease Ashbury and Abington.
Dunhill's Durbar and EMP (at least the Murray's version, I've not had the Orlick yet).



Sorry, Davey. Hopefully you will find some "Balkan" or oriental blends that you like.

Oh, as far as oriental blends go, this is a great time for pipe smoking, with recent blends from McClellands (the Grand oriental series) and some of their older blends - No. 14 and No. 24. Also, try GLPease's Embarcadero. I'll throw in Samuel Gawith's Sam's Flake also. And I strongly recommend Fox's Campanile.

And, if you can get them, Ferndown's Red and Orange, and perhaps their Black and Tan as well.

good luck, if you have persevered through this rambling post.

TC
 
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