McConnell - Latakia Flake 50g
Top of the Line Flake
Reminds me of campfire s'mores. Latakia gives the wood smoke. Dark Fired Kentucky adds the toastiness, and the Black Cavendish adds the Chocolate richness. Solid blend. Love it.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Flake Unscented
Bold and Brash
Sometimes I like a bowl so strong it feels like a punch in the face. This is that punch. Fussy on the light but once lit it burns evenly. This is not for the mellow smoker.
Sillem's - Commodore Flake 50g
It's rich, earthy and has a tinge of an sweet aromatic quality. It has a very pleasant uniform flavor throughout the bowl. Top of the line. Will be buying again
Partagas - 1845 Extra Fuerte Churchill
Great taste. Terrible draw.
I wanted to like this cigar. The taste is good. But you'll make yourself dizzy trying to get a decent pull off of it. The draw with a regular cut is terrible. Maybe it's better with a bullet punch.
My Father - Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed
Definitely a jewel
I love torpedo and pyramid cigars more than any other. They really concentrate the flavor. I also love deep dark Oscuro wrappers. My favorite was La Gloria Cubana's Serie N. They didn't offer it in a Torpedo and now its discontinued. My go to sticks now are Serino Expats, Punch Diablos, and Rocky Patel The Edge maduro Torpedo. And if you were to blend all of those into one cigar it would be this one. Rich, earthy, slightly spicy, smooth. And it gains intensity and complexity the further down it burns. It concentrates into a crescendo of deep flavor. Top of the line cigar. Definitely my new special occasion smoke.
Serino - The Expat Corona Gorda
A suitable replacement
Ever since La Gloria Cubana discontinued the Serie N line I've searched for a suitable replacement. This is by far the closest I've ever found. Its dark and rich, earthy, spicy, but also smooth. I love these cigars.
G. L. Pease - Odyssey 2oz
More like a Fantastic Voyage
Easily in my top 5 Balkan blends. It's a carousel of flavors; at once Latakia forward, then next Oriental. The Virginias add sweetness to the richness and savory smokiness of Latakia and Orientals. Top notch Pease blend for sure
Cornell & Diehl - Atlas Balkan
Balkan blend on an Even Keel
Not what I'd consider a overly Latakia-centered blend compared to several other Balkans. C+D's Super Balkan is my go-to Balkan. This blend is the mature, well-mannered father of the brawny ne'er-do-well son that is Super Balkan. I'd call Atlas Balkan a decent medium Balkan.
Rocky Patel - Vintage 1990 Toro
Consistent and Flavorful
I had my first one of these sticks about a decade ago. It was good. Rich but not too rich. Medium strength. Decent twist and even burn. I just bought one today after only having them here and there over the last 10 years. It was just as good. Same quality, same consistent burn and flavor. Definitely a good line.
Drew Estate - Deadwood Sweet Jane Tin of 10
Not my preference
I prefer dark Nicaraguan cigars. And these are dark Nicaraguans. But, like the name implies, the are sweet. In my opinion too sweet. They taste like they have the same topping they put on Swisher Sweets. It robs the Nicaraguan leaf of its natural earthy richness. My other complaint is that they are entirely too loosely twisted. They squish almost immediately.
Punch - Diablo Diabolitos
Rich Little Beauties
My favorite cigars for a decade were La Gloria Cubana Serie N. Beautiful rich Nicaraguan Oscuros. I loved them and La Gloria Cubana took them from me. The Punch Diablos come close in flavor. My new main cigar of choice. Bravo, Punch!
Cornell & Diehl - Odessa 2oz
Decent medium body English
Odessa is decently balanced in blend. Cool smoke, no bite, medium bodied. What I do notice is that similar cigar characteristic of it growing steadily more intense as it burns down. It concentrates to a dizzying apex of rich flavor at the bottom of the bowl. Lovely English altogether.
G. L. Pease - Spark Plug 2oz
Gaslight is my favorite plug hands down. But this is a close 2nd. Gaslight make me reminisce about dark winter nights reading by the fireplace. Spark Plug makes me reminisce about summer mornings in my uncle's garage: Coffee with a dash of Cream, Oil, and Smoke. It is a milder plug than Gaslight but not so much as to lose the richness of flavor that only a plug can supply. I like slicing it thin enough to make shag. Dries relatively quickly and burns down to a fine white ash.
Mac Baren - Plumcake 3.5oz
Best of both Worlds
In my opinion this is one of the best English Aromatics to be found. As English, Balkan, and Scottish blends are my preference I was immediately satisfied by the blend beneath the topping; All three are represented brilliantly and smoothly meld together into a wonderful blend. As for the topping, it is just enough for the rum spice and fruity sweetness to come through without leaving goop all over your briar. I love this blend and can't recommend it enough.
Drucquer & Sons - Loch Ness 100g
Brilliant Layers of Flavor
This blend is mellow, but complex. Every component is in synchronicity with the others. I find myself hit by an endless parade of beautifully concerted flavors. At one moment slightly fruity, the next nutty, then smoky, spicy then sweet. A Carousel of Taste. Truly Brilliant. Immaculately Conceived! Truly far superior than 5 stars can convey.
Cornell & Diehl - Pirate Kake 2oz
This is the Latakia M.O.A.B.
If you are completely enamored with Latakia, you cannot go wrong with Pirate Kake. You get a decent cross section of the blend in the first third of the bowl after lighting up. But as you go deeper the Latakia conquers the palate bringing with it an intensely rich, savory and smoky flavor. Pairs up well with Islay scotches.
Hearth & Home - WhiteKnight 1.75oz
Not Bad but a bit fussy.
Not a bad flavor. We'll begin there. Very mild Balkan flavor profile. My only complaint is the burn quality. I find that when I smoke this blend, I do so with the matchbox perpetually in one hand and the Czech tool perpetually in the other. It burns fussily
Drucquer & Sons - Levant Mixture 100g
Medium Body Tongue Tickler
In my opinion it's not as strong as other Balkans. It comes across to me as a medium strength. The tin I received was relatively moist upon opening. The more it dries, the more the Orientals come through with some tongue tickling spiciness. Altogether pleasant.
McConnell - Latakia Mixture 1848 50g
Brilliantly Simple Blend
I love Balkan Blends and Latakia Bombs. This is a Latakia lover's dream. Smoky, savory, rich and sweet. Beautifully uncomplicated and masterfully executed.
Balkan Sasieni - Balkan Sasieni 50g
Top of the Line Balkan
People tend to put Balkan Sobranie on an unassailable perch. But I find Sasieni just as, if not more satisfying. I love Balkan-style blends. This is easily in my top 3.
Peterson - De Luxe Navy Rolls 50g
A very friendly tobacco. Mellow, but not too mellow. And the coins are easy to use and burn easily with minimal tending.
Capstan - Flake Blue 1.75oz
Average Virginia Flake
What can I say, its a legendary label with many famous adherents. But, at the end of the day, it is a straight unadulterated Virginia flake. If you love Virginia, you'll love Capstan. If you expect more, keep looking.
Cornell & Diehl - Super Balkan 2oz
Balkan Lover's delight
One of my favorite blends is C+D Byzantium. So when I opened this and lit up the first bowl my immediate impression was that this is Byzantium's muscular older brother. I like to start my day with a strong blend and end my day on a mellower blend. Byzantium has been my mellow end of shift go-to for a minute now. I think Super Balkan will be a go-to for my morning bowl.
G. L. Pease - Gaslight 2oz
Exquisite from the first light.
Truly immaculate. Similar, in my opinion, to C+D Mississippi Mud. But more complex and mature. The plug process gives it a very layered and rich flavor.
Cornell & Diehl - Mississippi Mud 2oz
It's not bad. When I smoke it, I prefer to blend it with a touch of C+D Bright Virginia to make it really pop. The name is no joke. Its definitely muddy and earthy on the palate.
Cornell & Diehl - Irish Blessing 2oz
One of my favorite aromatics.
When first opening the tin it's relatively damp. But if you set it out to breathe a half an hour or more before smoking it, it lights up well and with the proper cadence you can avoid tongue bite. In my humble opinion it has the subtle tastes and aromas of chocolate, vanilla, and whiskey. As a lover of Black Cavendish this is one of my favorite aromatic blends.
Cornell & Diehl - Byzantium 2oz
This is easily one of my favorite English blends. The absence of Virginia allows the Latakia to take center stage and the Orientals are the perfect support. The Perique is flawlessly blended for the perfect amount of spice. I love it!