Rich Macedonian Orientals and pungent Latakia are blended with a base of golden and red Virginias to produce what has become one of the most popular premium pipe tobaccos in the world. The history of Balkan Sasieni Smoking Mixtures begins almost a hundred years ago and this fine tobacco draws its roots directly from that family of tobaccos.
I'm new to the world of premium pipe tobacco. I smoked one as a young man (mid 80s) before there was easy access to both products and information, so ended up buying the drug store offerings. My attention quickly waned and the old Doc Grabow was lost... Read More in the streams of time. I was fortunate, then, to wander into a pipe shop in Clayton, Mo. They fixed me up with a Comoy second and a tin of Dan Devil's Holiday and I was off and running. Thanks to this site I have now sampled some of the best tobacco I had ever tasted. I stayed with Dan for a while (it was what the shop carried) and discovered Gordon Pym and Bailey's Balkan. After that first taste of latakia the appeal of cased tobaccos diminished markedly. I have since sampled SG FVF and would much rather have the natural sweetness of the Virginia that the heavy flavorings. All that being said, I have been looking for a blend that maintained a strong lat presence throughout the smoke. In Balkan Sasieni I have found that. Cool burning with few relights needed, it satisfies without overwhelming. My only criticism, and it may be due to my underdeveloped palate, is it's one dimensional quality. Although the character of the smoke changes some as you work through the bowl, the change does not compare with the complexity of some other blends I've tried. I also find that I like the surging sweetness of the Virginia late in the bowl that I find in Bailey's Balkan that doesn't present here. That aside, this is definitely part of my rotation, but not an everyday smoke. I highly recommend this to anyone who craves a sustained Lat fix. Read Less
While Balkan Sasieni is in my regular rotation, I find that the decision to smoke it has a lot to do with my mood. Long a staple in the rotation of many pipers, the current iteration of Balkan Sasieni differs from the older pre-Scandanavian Tobacco G... Read Moreroup (STG) blend. The major player here is the Cyprian Latakia. Smokey, woody, earthy, with hints of sweetness, this tobacco can be a bit harsh with a faster pace of puff. It also changes significantly for me throughout the bowl, as the Cyprian Latakia overtones become less consistent even with a slow and gentle rate, moving from an awareness of the complexity of the leaf to a more general roughness in taste towards the bottom of the bowl. Although it burns consistently to the bottom of the bowl, leaving a fine gray ash and no dottle, I end up drinking more water towards the end to remove the ashiness of the tobacco. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy this blend, but I have to devote time to the blend and little else when I decide to smoke it. I have also found that the tin version differs in subtle but important ways from the bulk version that can be had from some vendors. After several years of smoking, I do find that the tin version maintains the flavor and consistently longer. I am still not sure if it is my bias at this point or if in fact there is a significant difference in the blending/packaging/quality control, etc. I do recommend this blend,but I do recommend a puffing comparison. Load up 3 to 4 pipes, one with Balkan Sasieni, and the others with comparable blends (not necessarily matches for this, but blends that are similar in their components). While other blends maintain consistency through the burn, Balkan Sasieni does change significantly. For those just getting into Orientals, I do not recommend this blend, as it may steer you away from the wonderfully nuanced complexity of an Oriental Latakia and Virginia blend. Read Less
Opening the tin of this tobacco is akin to smelling the new leather interior of a new car, only add a little smokiness. The tin aroma on this one is one of the best produced.
Easy to load ribbon much that is like Dunhill London blend.
In the pipe an... Read Mored burning the blend gives off incredible rewards of mouth watering smokies, leather, sweet Virginia, all wrapped up in a harmonious love affair. Read Less
Exellent pipe bacy way better than balkan sobrani this tobbacco has nice taste a little tangy just the right amount though the tins I got from this store nice and fresh the tine. I got @my local store all dried up and nasty this my all day smoke will... Read More always get more from smokingpipes try it you will like it I guarantee it Read Less
No surprises here, just an excellent Balkan mixture. perfectly balanced. I think it’s a bit underrated because it’s always available and at a nice price too. We tend to take these kinds of blends for granted. Essential
(I report here the review I contributed to Tobaccoreviews.com in 2010)
So many times I had tried to give up the vile cigarettes for the more noble pipe. I always failed, leaving behind a well balanced and poorly smoked collection of beautiful pipes ... Read Moreand hundreds of wasted tins of the widest assortment of tobaccos.
A month ago, however, I picked up a tin of Balkan Sasieni and since can no longer inflict myself the injury of the tasteless cigarettes smoke. I am in love with this blend.
It is perfect, creamy and fragrant, leaving as captivating an aftertaste as it is intriguing throughout each bowl which I smoke down to a thin powder of whitish ash.
This tobacco is easy to appreciate and to smoke, which I can recommend for the novice, as I am. It burns well and smokes consistently, its delicate taste and scent remaining nearly unaltered until the end. Read Less
After 40 years of pipe smoking, and 30 years of "English" type blends, Balkan Sasieni is just perfect for me. I smoked Balkan Sobranie for some 25 years (on and off always as a treat) and this blend is just as fabulous. I was tobacco blende... Read Morer and retail manager to the famous WILKE PIPE SHOP from 1979-93. I have tasted and blended a world of tobacco. I settled on Sobranie and now......Sasieni. For me it is wonderful and most satisfying. Read Less
I first tried this not long after I bought my first pipe. I had given up on cigarettes which never tasted good to me. I remember walking around the local mall and passing a tobacco shop displaying pipes. I went in and the owner politely asked if he c... Read Moreould help me find what I was looking for. We chatted it up a while and he eventually sold me a pouch of Sasieni. I used to think he sold it to me as a joke probably hoping to put me off pipe smoking at such a young age (I was in college at the time). If he had, boy did that backfire. The man had given me a new pastime! I didn't know what Latakia was or who or what Balkan meant, but I fell in love with smokey, earthy, creamy tobaccos thanks to him. It wasn't long before I was back in the shop asking for more like that Ball-Can Sassy Knee. I learned of and tried many great English and Balkans blends after that. I'm pretty sure now, that guy wasn't joking around, he sized me up, and like a good tobacconist, he knew exactly what I would like. Sadly, the shop changed hands and I never knew what happened to the guy. Then 25 years later, in a small town out in the country, I walked into an old town square (literally a Brick & Mortar) tobacco shop and chatted it up with the owner. Eventually we both realized who we were...I had cut off my long hair and put on the pounds and he had grown bald and now sported a long white beard, but instantly we felt that recognition. That's why I love this hobby. To this day I still think of him while smoking and love to tell the story that started...with Balkan Sasieni. Read Less
Many will compare this blend to the 'Original' Balkan Sobranie, and many will smoke this blend in an attempt to replicate the 'Sobranie Experience'. To be fair to these smokers, Sasieni doesn't help differentiate themselves by describing this as the ... Read More"'original formula Balkan smoking mixture ... created in London at the beginning of the century" on the back of the tin; it's as if they want the comparison, and why not? If it's driving sales, I guess #capitalismFTW
Despite all this, my personal opinion is these comparisons are folly and detract from Balkan Sasieni's many merits on its own as a flavorful yet smooth Balkan blend. I write this review as it has been many years since I smoked the Sobranie, and thus I expect my palette & review to be untainted by reminiscence of this other, uniquely different Balkan blend. I aim to focus more on Sasieni as its own, unique Balkan mixture.
Now, onto the subject of 'Balkan' blends. It's widely agreed they all include Latakia + Oriental varietals (most notably Turkish, or Macedonia in the case of Sasieni). The argument comes to proportions as some will pose a blend is only truly Balkan if the Oriental varietals outweigh the Latakia - otherwise it's just an English with some Oriental in it. It's a just distinction, even if a bit specific for me, but one can clearly smell & taste the difference between a blend made predominately of Latakia compared to one with more balanced flavors; for me, that's where the true distinction lies - in tastes & smells; in flavor. Balkan Sasieni falls neatly into the second category of balanced flavors, and is therefore a prime example of a Balkan blend in my opinion. I question whether the Oriental/Macedonia leaves are truly the majority of the blend, but likely the plurality & possibly 1:1 with the Latakia. In any case, the end results are quite remarkable in smoking cool & tasting phenomenal; a fantastic specimen of Balkan blends.
More specifically on quality & taste, let me start with the tin note - so flavorful! Rich, spicy & spiced notes + citrusy & light dry Syrah aromas common in Oriental varietals hit first, and then the oak/pine woody notes of the Latakia paint the nose with a wonderful bouquet. I find the cut in the middle of ribbon and shag, maybe a thinner ribbon than most. Packs easy, stays packed well, and can often be smoked from the first/false light - a rare characteristic indeed. The smoke is immensely cool, and the flavors are almost powdery and dry on the palette, much like a French Brut or Extra Dry Riesling like those commonly found from Northern Michigan (Traverse Peninsula) vineyards. The ash is craggy white and tamps down smooth.
The citrusy and slightly carbonated notes give way at times to light undertones of wood & earth. Some rich soda ash & peat moss flavors linger, with light honey-wheat notes on the finish left on my palette. An alluring flavor, there are many fleeting tertiary notes difficult to catch with one smoke, leaving me coming back to smoke bow after bowl of this mixture in all honesty. I've tasted specific fruits like grapefruit & pluot or plum + hints of chocolate at times, many Middle Eastern or Oriental spices like Anise/Nutmeg/Allspice, and various types of lighter, drier and/or bubbly wine grape varietals. Aging helps bring some of these specific flavors out further, if you can get your hands on more than a few tins of course.
I'd use Sasieni to break-in new pipes if it were less expensive/easier to find in larger tin quantities, and this highlights just how smooth and flavorful the smoke is - an easy, all-day blend satisfying as the first bowl (or two) of the day and equally satiating into the mid-afternoon & early evening or even as a calming late night smoke to wind-down with. Immense flavor, with almost medium body - a big bowl will definitely get you going if that's what you're looking for. A great Balkan for lovers of Latakia & Orientals as well as those trying Balkans for the first time. Read Less
While I love a good Latakia, the tin I tried of this was one of the worst I have ever bought. The outrageously fiery, peppery taste on the tongue seeped into the pipes too, and they required a deep salt cleaning to get rid of the foul taste and make... Read More them smokable again. My review is at variance with many others here, but I am not inclined to go through that again with another test. Looking at the variance between love and hate in the reviews, I'm just wondering if quality control may be the issue? Read Less
I received my first tin of Balkan Sasieni a few days ago. Naturally I was eager to give it a try, so I popped the lid to see and smell the contents. I must admit there was nothing much in the smell to make this one stand apart from anything. Not to b... Read Moree deterred, I loaded up my pipe and had my first smoke. The tobacco loaded and lit easily and almost immediately started to produce quite nice volumes of smoke. It was an okay smoke, but I couldn't detect anything that makes this one stand out from any other Balkan style blend. Now, after a few days and a few more smokes I still can't identify anything special or unusual about this tobacco. Yes, it smokes quite well, and I don't have a problem with it. I'll easily smoke my way through this tin. However I'm finding the Sasieni experience just a bit plain ordinary, nothing much else to write about. As others have said, this reminds me of smoking something by Stokkebye and I think it's just a Stokkebye mix put in a tin with a special name. I won't rush to buy it again. Although this all sounds a bit negative, it's really a rather 'neutral' review - it doesn't float my boat, but on the other hand it's an okay decent smoke at a good price and in a nice tin. Read Less
When you open the tin, the first aroma that hits is the latakia, rich and some vinegar, a mixture that tightens the nose without being nasty, but quite the opposite, this tobacco invites burn instantly.
It turns pretty well and feel of smoke is plea... Read Moresant in the mouth as the Virginias damped with its sweetness. It is a great English mix, but does not disappoint and that's important ... Ideal for a big pipe and enjoy it for long minutes ... Read Less
I've tried many English blends with the intention of putting one of them into my evening rotation. It took a while but here it is! The strength is right in the middle and the flavor is what makes it great. It can be an all day smoke, but I reserve th... Read Moreat for the VaPers. Until I find a better English blend I'm sticking with this one. Read Less
I will not buy another tin of this tobacco. I enjoyed it. It is of high quality. It smells nice. It burns well. But it does not have enough flavor for me. I would rather smoke Westminster. This is of course coming from someone who smokes one bowl a d... Read Moreay. That one bowl therefore has to be very flavorful. This blend is more of an all day smoke. If that is more your style you may like this blend. Read Less
I thought this would be a somewhat mediocre blend, I thought this because of how its almost half as much money as other certain brands, but in all honesty, this blend is phenomenal. To the degree that I went out and bought myself several tins.
Highl... Read Morey recommend for any Latakia blend lovers. Read Less
I finally opened my tin of this blend yesterday after receiving it 3 weeks ago and was really looking forward to trying it. This is an okay blend but I'm hoping that it improves with age. Maybe it's my "smoking technique", but it had some t... Read Moreongue bite to it. Maybe this bite will disappear after aging and improving technique but only time will tell. Read Less
This was a very easy to like tobacco. Burned extremely well with almost nothing wasted in the bottom of the bowl. Flavors were varied and hard to pin down, I noticed a floral or fruit note that reminded me of roasted pears. Also has that English b... Read Morelend latakia taste that I enjoy. Definitely one I will enjoy more in the future. Read Less
I normally prefer Virginias, VaPers, light English and Oriental blends. I found this to be very bland, lacking substance or body. The room note was unpleasant. The mixture seems to rely heavily on casing.
Just got my first tin and what I found is a wonderful smell, when I cracked it open. Then, a taste that is very similar to my favourite latakia English blends, just lighter, more perfumed and relaxing. Absolutely loved it.
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