SWISS-SMOKER
About Me:
I have been smoking pipes and cigars for over 30 years. I am a member of a local pipe smoker's club and member of the Pipe Club of Switzerland. I like to participate in local and national pipe smoking competitions.

Cornell & Diehl - Kajun Kake 2oz
Strong and very tasty top-shelf Va/Per.
This mixture in tin is offered in a dark brown Crumble Cake Cut with a nice smell, easy to shatter and stuff, providing a good, steady burn. All three ingredients, Red Virginia, Black Cavendish and Perique, marry up very well, forming a powerful, harmonious blend. Virginia is the backbone and the healthy dose of Perique is fruity, spicy and a little peppery. The Black Cavendish mellows this salubrious blend and donates softness and sweetness. Nicotine is at a high level. Lingering aftertaste. Succinct, a flavourful, characterful, enjoyable high-end Va/Per mixture.

Samuel Gawith - Sam's Flake 50g
Virginias, Orientals and tonka bean flavour.
On opening the tin, an intense scent of hay and grass from Virginia greets you. Absolutely no whiff of Orientals, nor of any flavouring. Neatly arranged flake straps of yellow and brown colour, with very few black sparkles. Moisture in tin is unexpectedly low for a Samuel Gawith. This brand normally stands for soaking wet tobaccos. Still, it needs a little drying time before stuffing. According to the producer this mixture consists of Virginias and Orientals only, with an additional flavouring of tonka bean. The main players of this mixture are the Virginias with flavours of hay, grass, earth and a hint of citrus. The Orientals are in a far background. They are here to donate some body, wood and a little spice to the blend, not to show up. They marry up well with the Virginias. IMO the tonka bean flavouring is unnecessary, but it has been done carefully. I care more about the traces of a floral note that I don’t like. Given the place of production (Kendal, Lakeland) it could be possible, that a cloud of dreadful “Lakeland essence” touched this blend unintentionally. These two alien flavours set back the natural tobacco aromas considerably. The nicotine level is low. This mixture is far from being characterful or deep digging. It does not stand out in any way. I shall not come back to it.

Dunhill - Standard Mixture 50g
A simplistic English Blend.
An extremely short and fine Ribbon Cut, much more a Shag Cut. Too fine for a pipe tobacco, anyway. Moisture in tin is rather high, which is unusual for a Dunhill. Stuffing and smoking mechanics are not ideal. It is a mellow, tasty, harmonious mixture, but somewhat one-dimensional. Nothing particular that would call for your attention. The nicotine level is about medium. I should call this a typical, classical, balanced English Mixture. It is a satisfying all-day smoke.

Cornell & Diehl - First Responders 2oz
Overly cased, covers up lots of natural aromas.
According to the producer this is a re-release of the former “Tribute” under the new name of “First Responders”. Reviewers in several blogs report about differences, though. Since I have never smoked “Tribute”, I cannot compare. FIRST RESPONDERS is supposed to be a Va/Per with toasted Black Cavendish and no added flavouring or casing. In my over 30 years of pipe smoking I have come across of literally all sorts of Cavendish, Black Cavendish being the most prominent, but I cannot remember having smoked “toasted” Cavendish. Just to make it clear: Cavendish is NOT a species of the tobacco plant, it is a PROCESS of tobacco treatment. BLACK Cavendish is sauced, cased, steamed, pressed BURLEY, in difference to other kinds of Cavendish. Now, let’s light up this blend and see what happens. Very good smoking mechanics. Virginia seems to be the backbone of this mixture, donating hay, grass, earth, some tanginess and sweetness. Although this obtrusive, astringent tanginess may come from that toasted Cavendish. To me, smoking this blend is like smoking an AROMATIC Mixture. It is not what one expects from a Va/Per. Before toasting this Black Cavendish it must have been heavily sauced or cased. It is definitely too much for me, as it covers up too many natural aromas. Even the Perique drowns. This mixture is not for me. I would only recommend this blend to Aromatic or Danish smokers.

Samuel Gawith - Golden Glow 50g
Sweet, straight Virginia.
Nose in tin is ample bread, yeast, sweetness and a hint of gingerbread. As always with Samuel Gawith, the tobacco in tin is soaking wet and needs a considerable drying time. The cut is a loose, fluffy Broken Flake, not necessary to rub out. GOLDEN GLOW is a straight Virginia, a blend of medium-bright brown (golden?) Virginias. After lighting this tobacco it seems light, mellow, soft and creamy. The further you smoke, the stronger this blend becomes and a spicy flavour shows up, never causing a Virginia-bite, though. I can pick up aromas of straw, hay, earth, some traces of honey and toffee. No complexity. And there is some (unnecessary) casing that I cannot specify; might be something fruity among others. There is also a generous sweetness around. I guess it’s not only natural Virginia sweetness, there is some artificial sweet topping. Nicotine level is medium.

Samuel Gawith - St. James Flake 50g
Tasty and strong top-level Va/Per.
Delicious tin nose of fermented Virginia and fruity Perique. As always with Samuel Gawith, the tobacco in tin is soaking wet. A nuisance! First of all I take theses dark brown and thick flake straps, rub them out roughly, spread it on a plate and let it air for several hours or even overnight. Don’t overdo it with drying, the blend will lose a lot of flavours, not strength, even if you re-moister it. There is only Virginia and Perique in this mixture and I cannot detect any added flavouring, casing or topping. It’s all top quality tobacco. The robust Virginias donate aromas of bread, yeast, fermented grass, earth, natural tobacco and sweetness, all in different grades and shades as you go on. The Perique is both, pleasantly fruity (plum/raisin) and peppery. ST. JAMES FLAKE is rather a strong mixture, due to the robust selection of Virginias on the one hand, and the peppery part of Perique on the other hand. Perique is the leader in this blend most of the time. Nic-hit is medium to strong. It’s a characterful Va/Per, but not an all day smoke.

Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 50g
Too strong for me, and strage casing.
The tin nose is an intriguing, deep, natural, tobacco flavour. This blend is dark brown Virginias with some sparkles of yellow Virginias. The flake straps are quite thick and stiff, not made to cram in your pipe directly, they need to be rubbed out to a Ready Rubbed at least. Since most tobaccos of Samuel Gawith are soaking wet, first I spread out the rubbed tobacco on a dish to let it dry overnight. Out of theses Virginias I detect aromas of hay, yeast, citrus, spice, wood, ample earth and pepper. Therefore it’s not one-dimensional, but it’s not a complex, deep digging mixture either. I would not call it harmonious, as there are “edges” and occasional harshness with palate-burn. Bloody high nic-hit! Without hesitation I categorize it “very strong”. If you draw softly and at a slow pace it mellows, though. Unfortunately I perceive an indefinable artificial casing, almost reminding me of a kind of dreadful Lakeland essence. Why not leaving these Virginias natural? There is ample sweetness around, but still ok. Virginia always donates natural sweetness, although, I think there is some sweet topping. Burns cool, evenly and quite slow, with one or two relights only. I tried to deliver a fair review, but frankly, I cannot cope with this mixture.

Samuel Gawith - 1792 Flake 50g
Virginia with tonka bean flavour.
It says *flake”, but these almost black flakes are so loose, velvety and fluffy that it is much more a Broken Flake Cut, very easy to rub out. On opening a new tin, first you get a slap on the face by a strong flavour of tonka bean. Since Samuel Gawith tobaccos are usually soaking wet, I rub it out to a Ribbon Cut and spread it out for drying overnight. This will also help to tame the strong smell of the added flavouring. This mixture consists of Virginia and Kentucky only. Here “Kentucky” being dark-fired Burley from Tanzania. According to the producer this mixture has been flavoured with tonka bean, and sometimes other sources mention Whisky flavour, too. This mixture is strong, but not overly. No beak-pecking sharpness or tongue-burns. High nic-hit. Excellent smoking mechanics in any respect. Smoking this mixture is a totally different story, than smelling this stuff! Virginia is the backbone of this blend. They are robust with aromas mainly of yeast, bread, grass and hay. The Kentucky is more difficult to isolate. It’s welcome because it donates power, spice and some nutty, earthy notes to the blend. The tonka bean flavouring is far away from being as obvious as in tin. It’s actually mellow and pleasant, not obtrusive at all, especially after the blend has been aired considerably. And I am normally scared away by Aromatics, dreadful Lakeland essences, flavourings and toppings. May be this mixture is the exception to the rule. I cannot find a single trace of Whisky flavour, if there is any at all. There is ample sweetness around, either from the Virginias, from the tonquin flavouring or from a sweet topping. It has not been overdone, though. It’s a robust, tasteful mixture, leading into depth to a certain extend. The aromas are not intriguing in the first half of the bowl, but they enhance pleasantly in the second half of the bowl. I get the impression of smoking two very different blends. Delicious room note. Interesting experience. However, this mixture is not really my pair of shoes.

Mac Baren - Golden Extra 100g
Simplistic, mellow Aromatic mixture.
In my country it is one of these cheap, drugstore and fuel station pipe tobaccos, which does not imply that it is bad. After all GOLDEN BLEND is on the market since 1952. I categorize this as a Danish Mixture, not as an Aromatic. Artificial flavouring is very obvious. It does not produce a specific obtrusive flavour, it’s just too much in total for my palate. I am generally scared away by (obvious) artificial flavourings and can always identify these chemicals immediately. On top of this, I find it often difficult to identify their intended aromas. Here it might be some citrus or fruit, and occasionally I think I get some sparkles of honey or tonka bean, among several other flavours that I am not able to name. Besides the mentioned flavouring, Burley is the leading tobacco in this mixture, donating a pleasant tobacco flavour. I guess Virginia plays a technical role only. It might help to cool down and tame the Burley, but the typical aromas of Virginia just don’t make their way through. GOLDEN BLEND comes as a Ready Rubbed in acceptable moisture, burns well and provokes no tongue-burns. Over all it is a simplistic, mellow, everyday/anytime mixture that may please a lot of smokers, especially beginners. Not me, though. I prefer more natural tobaccos with less or no flavourings and toppings. Unfortunately this mixture did ghost my pipes used.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Balkan Mixture 50g
Light, faint English blend with Lakeland essence.
Delicious tin nose. Comes in a rather fine Ribbon Cut. Moisture in tin is too high, I had to let it dry over night before smoking. BALKAN MIXTURE is a light, mellow, fluffy, one-dimensional, flavoured English mixture. The name is misleading. A real Balkan would be an obvious, Oriental forward English mixture, which is not the case here. It is a balanced mixture without a leader. This blend is not digging deep. All three tobaccos are too weak to deploy a full aroma. Ample sweetness, either from Latakia and Oriental (not from Virginia), or from some sweet toppings. Strange enough: like other reviewers, I constantly perceive an obtrusive Lakeland essence, no matter which pipe I use. This is a confirmation that there are artificial flavourings or toppings in this mixture. Not my pair of shoes. On top of this, this mixture is far too faint for me. I prefer heavier and more complex blends without flavouring.

Rattray's - Red Rapparee 50g
Mellow English Blend.
On my latest Pipe Club meeting a fellow-member offered us one of his treasures: a RED RAPPAREE of 1974. He carefully kept the tin sealed and cellared for 42 years! Of course, this old-timer is appreciably different from a new one. Pleasant tin note and perfect moisture. RR is a mild English Mixture. Ageing obviously mellowed the blend. No peaks, no rough edges, just like a soft pillow. Well balanced, not digging deep though, but still offering a complex aroma palette. Each tobacco can easily be identified. Latakia plays a reserved role, accompanying the mild-spicy, rounded-off Orientals. All outstandingly harmonious. The natural tobacco-sweetness has become really delicious through ageing. And there is also this quaint, hidden, kind of soury, outmoded taste, so typical to real vintage blends. What a wonderful experience!

Peterson - 3 P's - Peterson's Perfect Plug 50g
A strong and sweet Aromatic.
A very dark brown, almost black, cube-shaped plug, sealed in cellophane and vacuum packed in a common round tobacco tin. Like all plugs, it’s a chore to get it ready for smoking. I have achieved best results when slicing medium thick flakes and then rubbed into a rough Ready Rubbed. After preparing, I let it air spread out for about two hours. Lighting is quite difficult, but once properly lit you are rewarded with a nice, cool, steady and very slow burn, terminating into dry white ash, and never leading to any kind of tongue bite. In my perception this mixture lies somewhere in between an Aromatic and a strong Danish Mixture. It’s a deep digging, powerful mixture with a natural Virginia and Burley tobacco taste in its base. There is a fruity casing, though. I can detect citrus fruit, plum or raisin, and some indefinable flavours. A layer of sweet topping accompanies you throughout the bowl. It is about the highest acceptable level for me, in both aspects, fruit casing and sweet topping. “3P’s”, as it’s called in short form, or “Peterson’s Perfect Plug” in its long form, is a recommendable, heavy, tasty mixture, no doubt, there is just too much unmerited fuss about it. However, I gather it would be even better without casing and topping. It was an interesting try, but I will not buy it again.

Three Nuns - Three Nuns 1.75oz
A real vintage blend. Characterful.
This is definitely a vintage blend, one of the Hall of Fame of pipe tobaccos. Origin: 19th century, J & F Bell, Glasgow, Scotland, which later founded the famous “Imperial Tobacco Group” together with six other tobacco companies in 1901 (now “Imperial Brands PLC”, Bristol, UK). TREE NUNS was produced until 1980 and was available until the late 80s. THREE NUNS is now blended and manufactured by MacBaren, and still sold under the old, original brand of BELL’S. I am sure there is a story or an explanation behind the weird name of this blend, since nuns do not normally smoke pipe-tobacco. Loose spun curly cut discs in the size of small coins. Surprisingly, the moisture in tin is quite low and the tobacco therefore rather dry, but still ok to smoke right out of the tin to start with. Later you may keep it under a little moisture. Nice for a change, since pipe smokers nowadays usually struggle with too high moisture in tin and wet tobacco. Stuffing and lighting is easy. Occasionally hot but steady burning. Very skilfully selected Virginias; most is dark and robust. They release aromas of bread, yeast and a scrumptious natural tobacco flavour. The Dark Fired Kentucky donates tasteful spice, wood and earth flavours to the blend, no camp-fire smokiness, though. In earlier times, I guess before 1980, THREE NUNS always contained Perique. What a nuisance that Perique has been taken out now! I am sure a touch of Perique would fit in perfectly. I may try to add some myself one day. Nevertheless, even without Perique, THREE NUNS is a fantastic and tasteful mixture, even if it must be fairly different from the original. The sweetness is on my limit. Slightly less would make it more vintage like. And there is this pleasant, hidden, kind of outmoded, dark, soury touch, typical to so many real vintage blends. I love this. Over all THREE NUNS is an outstanding blend with great character and taste that I highly recommend to all Virginia, Va/Per, Va/Ky and Va/Bur smokers.

A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
A top shelf Va/Per.
I have not smoked ESCUDO NAVY DE LUXE for many years. The only fact I remember, is that Escudo changed producer several times in the past, and that the taste of this mixture changed considerably each time. I shall not go into this, though. My review is based on the presently available edition. Neatly arranged Curly Cut discs and flavourful smell of Virginia-hay and fruity Perique out of the tin. Moisture is on the damp side, some may want to give it a short drying time. For me it’s ok to smoke straight out of the tin. I do not rub it out, I break and stuff the coins into my pipe for best results. Cool and excellent burning conditions. First class selection of robust Virginias, without being too strong. Typical Virginia flavours with a distinct note of earth. I miss a fuller development of the Virginia flavours though. In the second half of the bowl the Perique becomes more obviously present, eventually taking the lead towards the end. ESCUDO NAVY DE LUXE is obviously a sibling of DE LUXE NAVY ROLLS. Both are manufactured by STG Scandinavian Tobacco Group, by the way. It is very interesting to compare these two! You will find many subtle differences. But I am not going into this here. No doubt, ESCUDO NAVY DE LUXE is a high end Va/Per generally deserving 4 stars. I personally prefer mixtures with a fuller aroma from the Virginias and I’d also prefer to have the aromas of Perique released more regularly from the beginning on.

Dunhill - Navy Rolls 50g
One of my favourites.
Neatly arranged, large Curly Cut discs in tin. Moisture is ok, as always with Dunhill. I do not rub it out, I just stuff the coins into my pipe for best results. Cool and excellent burning conditions. First class selection of Virginias. Virginia is dominant throughout the bowl, mainly providing bread notes and little hay and very little earth notes. Perique is always there, on a rather small scale. It donates flavours of damson and dried fruit, no pepper. I gather, more Perique would easily overpower the tasty Virginias. The sweetness is just right for me, I would dislike more. ESCUDO NAVY DE LUXE is obviously a sibling of DE LUXE NAVY ROLLS. Both are manufactured by STG Scandinavian Tobacco Group, by the way. It is very interesting to compare these two! You will find many subtle differences. But I am not going into this here. DE LUXE NAVY ROLLS is a delicious Va/Per with benchmark qualities. Lots of pipe smokers refer to this mixture when describing or comparing high end Va/Pers. If you are a great Perique lover, you may pick a mixture with more Perique. If you favour a top Virginia in the lead, always accompanied by some Perique, go for it. I shall definitely keep on with this mixture.

Samuel Gawith - Best Brown Flake 50g
Very mild and rather disappointing.
This was the tobacco to smoke at the EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP in October 2016 in Slowakia. As always with Samuel Gawith, it’s not moist, it’s wet, and therefore needs considerable drying time. In large bowls I fold the flakes and cram it in my pipe. In smaller bowls I prefer to rub it a little. Both ways lead to a good, slow, steady and cool burnig. For those used to smoking flakes it’s (mechanically) a pleasure to smoke. BEST BROWN FLAKE is a pure Virginia. Regarding the taste of this mixture, well, it’s not my pair of shoes. I was expecting a broad fan of all kinds of Virginia flavours. I thought I was smoking a soft, light Aromatic. I could not find all these pleasurable flavours, typically attributed to Virginias. It is smokable, sure, but I am disappointed.

Orlik - Golden Sliced 100g
A fresh, crispy summer smoke.
I am reviewing the 100 gram round tin, not the square tin with flakes. Very interesting and peculiar cut with rarity value. It is basically a Flake Cut that has been sliced into very long, narrow ribbons, which sets it between a Broken Flake, and a Ready Rubbed Cut. I like this cut. I do not rub it out, I cram it into my pipe straight out of the tin for best results. There is this never ending controversy whether or not this mixture contains Perique. My tin description, which is rather long compared to others, does not mention Perique. Since original Saint-James-Parish-Perique is a quite expensive and exclusive tobacco, I think the producer would be delighted to mention it on the tin description, if there was any. The other side of the story is, on the internet homepage of (former Lane Ltd., now STG) Scandinavian Tobacco Group of USA www.stglanepipe.com they mention, that there is “a touch of Perique” in this blend. GOLDEN SLICED is what I call a typical Danish Mixture, which by definition is mellow, pure natural tobacco with a gentle, subtle fruit (or liquor) casing. This mixture develops a remarkable fan of delicate aromas, mainly those known of Virginia, citrus fruits and some hidden fruit-flavours commonly attributed to Perique. I’d say this blend is young, bright, fresh, crisp; an ideal hot weather smoke. There is a reserved hint of sweetness in this blend. I am not a Danish, even less an Aromatic smoker, but I somewhat like GOLDEN SLICED, because all casing has been done unobtrusively, with great prudence and skill.

Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian 3.5oz
Good, but too faint.
The name of this blend suggests that I may expect a heavy, old style English blend with a high dose of lush Syrian Latakia in the lead. Unfortunately it does not meet my expectations. It does not get near a traditional, old style English blend. Maybe the word “vintage” rather refers to the type of Latakia (old style Syrian Latakia), not to the mixture as such. Anyway. Moisture in tin is perfect. Tin nose is promising. Stuffing and lighting is easy. It burns hot. Leaves back an almost white ash. No aftertaste. The tasty Orientals donate some body, but it does not dig deep at all. This blend is too mild in taste. Although all ingredient tobaccos can be singled out, the lack of power does not leave enough for all flavours to develop entirely. Sweetness is about ok, I would not like more. A soft carpet of scrumptious Latakia and scrumptious Kentucky provides a decent woody smokiness and accompanies you throughout the bowl. Kentucky is more prominent than Latakia. For my personal satisfaction I would appreciate to have all Kentucky replaced by additional Syrian Latakia. Never mind, regarding many laudatory reviews it remains a light English-style mixture with its own merits. I am disappointed, mainly because it’s too faint, not because I don’t like the taste of it.

Esoterica - Margate 2oz
A fantastic vintage like English.
A fantastic, traditional, old style English blend, indeed. Evokes good old memories. Very balanced and skilfully selected Orientals, kind of warm, creamy, full body aroma, no beak pecking spiciness. Scrumptious Latakia. Rich palette of flavours. Natural tobacco sweetness accompanies you throughout the smoke. A gorgeous blend for all lovers of the old style English mixtures that have gradually disappeared from the market. Thanks to Esoterica, MARGATE fills the gap. It’s on my favourites list now.

G. L. Pease - Charing Cross 2oz
Weak and faint Latakia Blend.
A typical English mixture. Basically a successful Latakia-forward blending. Sadly, far too faint. After lighting the pipe, all tobaccos in this blend start to deploy. Unfortunately they stop half way, making a good mixture weak and faint.

Davidoff - English Mixture 50g
Lacks in harmony and determination.
Moisture in tin is perfect. Very good smoking conditions. Basically it is a light, but not a traditional, classical English blend. In this sense the name of this blend is misleading. It’s more a kind of “Va/Bur/Per”. It can be a little harsh on the tongue if you draw too eagerly. Perique donates an obvious pepper aroma and very little fruit flavours. Bread and yeast notes from Virginia and nutty notes from Burley sparkle up occasionally. Latakia is extremely faint. Orientals, a must in a real English blend, are totally missing. Don’t look for complex tastes and deep flavours. Even though I can single out each of the tobaccos, I find the blend lacks in harmony and determination. Unfortunately there is abundant artificial sweetness and other casing leaving some bitter traces. If Davidoff at all, I shall stick to their best, which is the Va/Per “Flake Medallions”; the only blend of the whole offer of this brand that I really like.

Mac Baren - Dark Twist 100g
Rather strong and quite complex.
This mixture is usually categorized as an Aromatic and I am generally scared away by any artificial flavouring and sweetening. After carefully reading the description of this mixture on Mac Baren’s homepage (www.mac-baren.com) I concluded that this is NOT an Aromatic. The ONLY substance added on to 100 % natural tobacco is maple syrup. Not any (other) artificial flavouring what so ever! That’s why I decided to try a pouch. I am glad I did. It is a neat Curly Cut, produced in a laborious, interesting manner. I suggest you read the description on the above mentioned homepage of Mac Baren. I don’t rub it out, I just break and loosen the coins a little, which leads to an excellent stuffing, burning and smoking condition. The flavours deploy rather inconsistently, because it depends very much on how you stuff your pipe, and on the size of the pipe, since all the coins are not identical, as explained on the manufacturer’s homepage. Makes it interesting to explore. This mixture is rather strong for a Mac Baren and quite complex in flavour, even though it is composed of Virginia and Kentucky exclusively. There is NO Black Cavendish as some reviewers wrote. The black eye in some coins is Dark Fired Kentucky. There is no prominent aroma peak, but there are plenty of discreet hidden flavours coming out of this Virginia. With just the right amount of Kentucky, the aroma palette is accompanied by a smoky taste. In fact it’s all about natural tobacco aromas. The added maple sugar is very reserved and not easily detectable or distinguishable from the natural tobacco-sweetness. All in all it is a tasty, recommendable, everyday/anytime Virginia/Kentucky mixture, without adding it to my rotation or favourites.

Hearth & Home - Blackhouse 1.75oz
One of my favourites.
Big surprise on opening the tin: The first deep breath instantly beamed me back into my smoking memories of the good old “Sobranie 759”. Oh boy, I was not prepared for this. I never had this sensation with any other mixture. Now, this raises my expectations. In fact I was just looking for a full and heavy, Latakia forward English Blend, not specifically for a copy of Sobranie’s. Although the “Balkan Sobranie” and its sibling “Sobranie 759” were my top favourites at the time, I never lost my time searching for copies. I am very happy with the vast choice of excellent mixtures on the market. Moisture in tin is perfect. Mixed, mainly medium-broad Ribbon Cut. Pleasant colour variety of tobaccos. Excellent stuffing, lighting and smoking conditions. Burns fast. I do call BLACK HOUSE an English Mixture, although I now, in a strict interpretation this is wrong. A traditional English Blend does not comprise Burley (here Kentucky), nor Black Cavendish. First observation: BLACK HOUSE is milder than the tin note suggests. It is not an overwhelming, deep, heavy, killing mixture, nor a Lat-bomb at all. But, no doubt, it is a very tasty, delicious blend with ample Latakia and Kentucky that are more smoky and far less leather and “horse-stable” like, as I normally prefer. A pleasant, subtle touch of sweetness from Black Cavendish accompanies the smoke. Although it’s Latakia/Kentucky forward, it does not suffocate the robust Virginias. The spicy Orientals (here Turkish) work and support more from the back seat. BLACK HOUSE is a spectacular blend and a “must try” for all English/Latakia aficionados. As I read in descriptions of BLACK HOUSE, the goal was, to produce an imitation of the good old Sobranie’s. The Chicago Pipe Show in 2011 judged BLACK HOUSE to be the closest overall. Well, in my opinion and my memories of the Original, it does not get that close to it – and I don’t mind. I take BLACK HOUSE for an independent blend and don’t take it for a copy of Sobranie’s (as the tin nose-note may have suggested). I am now adding this mixture to my favourites.

Cornell & Diehl - Bayou Morning 2oz
Top shelf, tasty Va/Per.
Delicious, abundant fruity Perique flavour on opening the tin. Beautiful red and bright Virginias in a medium Ribbon Cut. The tin label states: 25 % of Perique. “A whole lot”, is my first thought. Actually, it is far away from being a Perique bomb! Excellent smoking conditions. I had never ever guessed that there is as much as 25 % of Perique in this mixture. The Perique is always there, fruity and peppery, often taking the lead, but never covers up the Virginias. I can detect bread notes, very little hay and no grass notes. The flavour range of this mixture is limited, but eventually leads to a well balanced, tasteful Va/Per mixture with quite some backbone. Normally I prefer aged, matured, dark Virginias. Nevertheless, these red and bright Virginias are well selected, very tasteful and donate a welcome, light, natural sweetness. No tongue-burns. Soft, pleasant nose-tingle on retro-hale. Nice mouth-feel and aftertaste. I do not recommend DGT (Delayed Gratification Technique) with this mixture, although it is generally recommendable with Virginias. Here it leads to an unpleasant, acrid taste. Once lit, finish your bowl. Over all a harmonious, tasteful, top level Va/Per mixture. One of the best Perique forward Va/Pers on the market. It’s among my favourites now.

Dunhill - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
A fresh summer smoke.
I have not been smoking ELZABETHAN for almost 10 years. It has never been a favourite of mine. Now that is has been relaunched by the STG, I decided to give it a try again. Perfect, neat Ribbon Cut, beautiful colour of mainly bright Virginias. First class tobacco and perfect moisture to be smoked straight out of the tin, as always with Dunhill mixtures. As it is a rather fine Ribbon Cut, it has a tendency to overheat. Otherwise good packing and burning conditions. The mixture tastes young, fresh, crispy, slightly unripe and over all light, I should say. Anyhow, this mixture has a rather low aroma profile. It lacks in depth, but may be this is intended. The bright and medium-bright Virginias play the main role. This unusual selection of bright Virginias in combination with Perique make this mixture somehow unique. Generally I prefer dark and matured Virginias with a fuller and wider aroma palette. There is a subtle sweetness that can originate from both, Virginias and/or Perique. Perique is always there, in just about the right amount. More Perique would certainly suffocate the light Virginias. There is still enough of Perique to produce a tingle on my tongue and in my nose when retro-haling. This is the reason why I rate this mixture medium to strong. Without Perique I would rate the Virginias mild. No doubt, it is a quality mixture that stands out (positively or negatively, that’s up to you to decide) of most other Va/pers with its special character. This makes it interesting. But, it is still not my mixture, it does not fit into my profile.

McClelland - Personal Reserve: St. James Woods 100g
Mild and harmonious.
Perfect moisture. I do not rub it out, I stuff the broken flakes straight out of the tin into my pipe for best results. It lights up easily, giving a good, steady and cool burn. Expert workmanship in this best balanced composition of Red and Black Virginias and Perique, not any takes the lead. Both deploy their well known aromas very harmoniously. This blend is rather mild and I would not mind, if it were more rigorous in strength and flavour. Nevertheless, in my opinion it’s certainly one among the best mild Va/Per blends on the market.

G. L. Pease - Fillmore 2oz
Va/Per with peppery Perique.
Neatly arranged broken flakes that look like little sticks (or thick toothpicks). Perfect moisture. I do not rub it out, I directly stuff these flake sticks into the pipe for best results. Excellent smoking conditions. Pleasurable slow and cool burning. Even if you draw at a higher pace, you never get tongue-bites, it only raises the temperature slightly, never up to a problem. The blend is composed of Virginia and Perique exclusively; no casing, no flavouring. The Perique is much more peppery than fruity, and this pepper often dominates the smoke. The Virginia mainly releases bread notes and almost no sweetness. It irritates me that every bowl is quite different. Some may find this interesting. Personally I would prefer considerably less pepper out of the Perique here, and a wider palette of Virginia flavours.

Davidoff - Scottish Mixture 50g
A mellow all-day smoke.
Medium-mild in strength and very tongue-friendly. Rather complex in taste. The most obvious being Burley, Kentucky (which is fire cured Burley) and Virginia. In each draught another one takes the lead. Some Oriental leaf is there, very much in the background, just enough to donate a little spice to the blend. A delicate floral note can be picked-up now and then, which can originate from natural tobacco or topping. I am normally scared off by artificial flavourings. Here I find it unobtrusive. According to the producer, this blend has been cased with Scotch Whisky. But – I cannot find a single trace of it. It is a Medium (or medium-fine) Ribbon Cut. Anyway, it is a smooth, tasty and mellow all-day smoke, not leading into depth.

Samuel Gawith - Balkan Flake 50g
Excellent VA/Lat English Blend.
Scrumptious scent of Latakia and natural tobacco-sweetness on opening the tin. Dark brown, almost black, quite thick flakes. It is a chore to fully rub out and it needs a whole lot of drying time. The reward is an outstanding, delicious (English-)Latakia smoke. It is difficult to pack and light. Once properly packed and lit, you get a slow, steady, and very cool burn. However, a few relights might be necessary sometimes. The “secret” of getting the perfect burn is finding the ideal point of moisture. Too dry does not necessarily lead to a better burn. The flavourful, more campfire-smoky than leathery Latakia is obviously dominant throughout the bowl. In spite of this, the Virginia flavours of bread and yeast sparkle up constantly. It is not one-dimensional at all. The more bowls you smoke, the more subtle tastes you will find. Such as spice, cream, wood, hay, sweetness, richness, deepness, and more. It’s a master blend. A generous, though never overpowering, natural tobacco-sweetness is always there. I appreciate this. No casing or flavouring. The fly in the ointment is its name. There is no Balkan/Oriental tobacco in this mixture (except Latakia)! It’s all about Virginia and Latakia exclusively. It should rather be called “Latakia Flake”. It’s controversial whether to call this an English Mixture or not, since there is no Oriental in it. Nevertheless, I highly recommend these flakes to all Latakia aficionados. It has been one of my top five favourites for years.

Mac Baren - HH Acadian Perique 3.5oz
Strong Va/Per with generic Perique.
A tasteful and a quite strong mixture for a Mac Baren. If you are looking for a deep blend with very complex tastes, there it is. It is not an easy mixture. The balanced mix of all added tobaccos causes a different experience in each draught. Each type of tobacco shows up and faints away every once in a while, making it a really interesting smoke throughout the bowl. And each bowl is somehow a new adventure. It is all about natural tobacco aromas. There is no detectable sweetness in this blend, neither from Virginia and Burley, nor from Cavendish or Perique. And I am glad there is no artificial sweetening and flavouring. All these points make this blend unique and therefore highly recommendable to explore. Give it a try. I am glad I did, although it has not become a favourite of mine. I dare to say that in my taste and opinion the Perique in this mixture is not original St-James-Parish/Louisiana Perique. I think it is a GENERIC Perique. Unfortunately it is a taboo, but everybody knows, that more Perique is used in the tobacco industry than produced in St-James-Parish. Furthermore, Mac Baren carefully mentions nowhere, that there is genuine Louisiana Perique in this mixture. If there was, they would most certainly mention it explicitly. As long as I am not misled, I don’t mind. Personally I am not fond of the combination of Perique with Kentucky and Orientals. I prefer Perique in combination with Virginia exclusively.

Dunhill - My Mixture BB1938 50g
Very light English Blend.
In my opinion the tin label is blunt and uninspired; the name is ridiculous and does not match with a pipe tobacco in any way. But, as we know, never judge a book by its cover. By the way – the name of this blend is different in Europe, where it’s sold under the name of “MY MIXTURE BB1938”. I wonder why. I never knew the old version, I am reviewing the new release of 2015. It’s a light English Mixture, outstandingly smooth and mellow. Perfect moisture, excellent smoking conditions. Good quality tobacco, thin ribbon cut. The star throughout the show is this Virginia mix, which unfolds a fan of the well known Virginia flavours. Latakia is noticeable on a small scale only. There is some additional, artificial sweetness in this blend, but I can somewhat cope with it. In my opinion, adding English Cavendish instead, would have been a better choice. But then it had eventually turned from an English to a Scottish Mixture, may be too close to MM 965. Recommendable as a light, tasty, easy-going all day smoke. Nothing for your pleasurable after-dinner pipe, though. Not really recommendable for the hard-core English/Latakia/Oriental smoker. For my personal needs this mixture lacks depth, is too weak and slightly too sweet. Just about ok for a quick smoke in-between.

Dunhill - Ready Rubbed 50g
Gently flavoured Virginia.
Classic-elegant tin label. Tin nose is mainly bread and yeast. I cannot smell any Oriental. Neatly and evenly presented Ready Rubbed tobacco, almost like a medium-fine Ribbon Cut. Gorgeous golden colour. A feast for your eyes. All high Dunhill standard. The moisture out of the tin is ok for me. Since our American pipe friends usually prefer drier tobacco than Europeans, you may allow a short drying time. Excellent smoking conditions. But mind you: neither draw to eagerly, nor smoke too hot, or the moment of revenge has come, in the form of harsh-acrid tastes and the well-known Virginia bite. Otherwise it is a mild, rather pleasurable and tasty smoke. To me this new release of DUNHILL READY RUBBED is a straight Virginia Blend, not an Aromatic like the original one definitely was. Although I cannot single-out the Orientals, they may certainly be there and provide some hidden spice and enhance the mixture’s taste. As far as I am concerned it’s all about Virginias and some topping. The added flavours are gentle and marry up really well with the Virginias. It’s a kind of fruity casing, which I am not able to specify. They did a good job on this, because I am normally scared off by artificial flavourings. I have never been a fan of straight Virginia blends, even less, when flavoured. I prefer heavy English, Balkan and Perique mixtures. But, DRR is somewhat recommendable as a light all-day smoke.

Dunhill - Three Year Matured 50g
Strange Aromatic
It is supposed to be a Virginia Mixture with Oriental, “lightly flavoured with a mixed fruit essence”, as the official description states. Regarding flavouring, the reviews range from 1 to 10, that is from “none detected” to “extra strong”. Nearly the same spread regarding “strength” and “taste”. This inconsistency highly irritates me. On opening the tin I smell bread/yeast from the Red Virginia and some vinegary sourness from fermentation of the matured Virginia, that’s all, neither Orientals nor artificial flavours. Let’s see, which aromas will appear upon smoking: Good burning conditions. There is not much taste, it’s faint. The most obvious being that of matured or stoved Virginia, a bread/yeast note that is, hiding away the hay/grass notes. The small amount of Oriental leaf is noticeable and welcome. All aromas (good and bad) are quite irregular while smoking through the bowl. Some might find this interesting. I am not able to describe and specify the added flavouring. The tragedy is, that this artificial flavouring hinders most of the natural tobacco aromas to unfold, and the subtle ones are totally suffocated. Like many other artificial flavours do, it releases bitter tastes. At the end of the bowl I don’t know what I have been smoking and I am left behind with an unpleasant, weary after-taste. It is misleading to call this mixture TREE YEAR MATURED VIRGINIA! It does not taste like an honest Virginia Blend. It is an indefinable, obvious Aromatic. It lacks in body, depth, character and taste. A disappointment. I can’t recommend it.

McClelland - Balkan Blue 50g
Too mild in strength and taste.
Dark, medium ribbon cut. Moisture out of tin is ok, rather on the dry side. Smoking conditions are unsatisfying. Unusual choice of Orientals, which occasionally release acrid tastes. Scrumptious smoky/leathery Latakia, and rather faint Virginia supporting the mixture. Each of these three plays its intended role, not any dominates. All more or less harmonious, forming a low strength English Mixture. On the other hand it’s a kind of monochromatic, don’t look for complexity. I would enjoy having it considerably heavier, deeper, ampler, creamier, richer, fuller. The producer says, it was an attempt to create a copy of the famous “Sobranie 759”. Back in time I smoked a lot of “759” and “Balkan Sobranie” and I don’t think they got close at all. Anyway, BALKAN BLUE remains a somewhat recommendable smoke, not among my favourites, though. I shall not buy any more. But - since it is really mild, you could use it as an all-purpose, all-day pipe filler with tolerable “exhausts”.

Dunhill - Aperitif 50g
Neither fish nor fowl.
I particularly like the picture on the tin label. Open the tin and you find the most perfectly cut and presented tobacco; a feast for your eyes. Perfect moisture, too. All typical Dunhill. A strong Scottish Mixture, that’s what I would call THE APÉRITIF. Excellent smoking conditions. No tongue-bites. The body of this blend is brown and bright Virginias, donating a few sparkles of grass and hay notes now and then. The amount of Oriental is highly over-pronounced for a Scottish Mixture. On the other hand, Latakia is under-represented. The description mentions “Cavendish”. Yes indeed, but it is English Cavendish (uncased steamed, pressed, dark flue cured Virginia), NOT American/Dutch/Danish Cavendish (sauced, flavoured, steamed, pressed Burley) as my American pipe friends may assume. English Cavendish is always pleasant to have; it rounds up the blend, adds a discreet layer of natural tobacco-sweetness and mellows the blend. Unfortunately, in THE APÉRITIF is some unnecessary, additional, artificial sweetness as a topping, which I am sensitive for and don’t’ like. Over all I find it a rather heterogeneous mixture. All added tobaccos can easily be identified, but it lacks harmony. For my satisfaction I prefer blends with a more definite, distinct character, on either side. In my view THE APÉRITIF is neither fish nor fowl. If you like pronounced Oriental flavours in a (sweet) Scottish based mixture, then go for it. If you generally love Orientals, Dunhill DURBAR (balanced Orientals) or Dunhill LONDON MIXTURE (spicier Orientals) would be a better choice. If you prefer more Latakia, less Oriental and similar sweetness, Dunhill MY MIXTURE 965 is your blend. You have the choice.

Dunhill - My Mixture BB1938 50g
Smooth and mellow average.
In my opinion the tin label is blunt and uninspired; the name is ridiculous and does not match with a pipe tobacco in any way. But, as we know, never judge a book by its cover. By the way – the name of this blend is different in Europe, where it’s sold under the name of “MY MIXTURE BB1938”. I wonder why. I never knew the old version, I am reviewing the new release of 2015. It’s a light English Mixture, outstandingly smooth and mellow. Perfect moisture, excellent smoking conditions. Good quality tobacco, thin ribbon cut. The star throughout the show is this Virginia mix, which unfolds a fan of the well known Virginia flavours. Latakia is noticeable on a small scale only. There is some additional, artificial sweetness in this blend, but I can somewhat cope with it. In my opinion, adding English Cavendish instead, would have been a better choice. But then it had eventually turned from an English to a Scottish Mixture, may be too close to MM 965. Recommendable as a light, tasty, easy-going all day smoke. Nothing for your pleasurable after-dinner pipe, though. Not really recommendable for the hard-core English/Latakia/Oriental smoker. For my personal needs this mixture lacks depth, is too weak and slightly too sweet. Just about ok for a quick smoke in-between.

Samuel Gawith - Squadron Leader 50g
The let-down squadron.
I like the tin label, since I am a pilot myself. Too moist out of tin, even for me. Had to let it dry considerably. Smoking conditions are unsatisfying. SQL is a light, faint English Mixture. The body of Virginias is obvious. A little scrumptious Latakia is there, but it is under-represented. The Turkish leaf adds some spiciness, which turns quite peppery, cigaretty and acrid in the second half of the bowl. Some guarded topping there, even if they claim there isn’t. This blend is really weak. No depth, no richness, no bouquet. At this point it is a big disappointment for me. I was expecting at least a little power and personality; I thought the name implies this. SQL might not even be an advisable entry to approach English blends. In my opinion this mixture is highly overrated and the occasional fuss about it is not justified. Credit, where credit is due. Not here, I’m afraid. By the way: You may have heard that there also exists a green labelled Squadron Leader SPECIAL EDITION of 2000 tins only. According to the producer it is the same mixture like the regular SQL, with an addition of Perique. I have made the experiment myself, adding different amounts of pure Perique into the regular SQL. The best result is an upgraded SQL to 2 stars.

McClelland - Craftsbury: Frog Morton's Cellar 50g
Flavoured English Mixture. Overrated!
For my personal satisfaction, I miss depth and a determined character in this mixture. Disappointing after-taste. I also miss the aromas of campfire, peat and leather in the added Latakia. FMC might be an occasional light smoke for in-between, mainly to satisfy visitors, as this blend is pleasantly fragrant. A very dark roasted, unsweetened coffee is a matching company. A recommendable trial mixture for Aromatic, Danish, Scottish and soft English smokers. Not recommended for hard-core English and English-Oriental smokers (too little Latakia, no peat, no Oriental, no spice).

Davidoff - Flake Medallions 50g
Delicious Virgina-Perique blend.
Beautifully looking, tidily arranged, large Curly Cut coins in the tin. The black centre of each coin is Black Cavendish. Surrounding the black eye we find bright Virginia and darker Perique. Delicious tin nose, being that well known of Virginia and Perique. Fantastic blend, impeccable tobacco. Perfect moisture. I fold the medallions and stuff them in my pipe, without braking or rubbing. Superb balance of Virginia and Perique. The Black Cavendish rounds up the blend, adds softness, and some sweetness to the natural sweetness of the Perique and Virginia. The body of this mixture is tangy Virginia, which never covers up the delightful Perique. In the first half of the bowl the Perique shows more its fruity aromas and only a little pepper. In the second half of the bowl it’s the opposite. Pleasant after-taste. A Rolls-Royce mixture on the sweeter side for all Va/Per aficionados.

McClelland - GKCPC: Beacon Extra 50g
For Perique enthusiasts.
This outstanding tobacco comes as a coarsely broken flake, looks a bit messy. The tin nose is wonderful. Vinegary sourness from successful fermentation and the most delicious Perique aroma of fig, plum and fruit. To be honest, there is a hidden tomato-ketchup flavour I can pick-up, which some reviewers write about. But it’s only in the tin, not when smoking. It needs some preparation effort, breaking or/and rubbing. No drying necessary. Good smoking conditions. It’s a fantastic mixture, strong, deep, heavy, made for Perique aficionados. It’s not a smoke for in between. Do sit in a comfortable armchair and take your time, may be observing a harsh winter day through the window. Smoke it patiently, at the rate of a beacon perhaps, and give it about a quarter of the bowl for all flavours to deploy. I suggest to smoke BEACON EXTRA in a churchwarden or any mid-size bowl. The Perique is dominant and shows off with its famous and distinctive aroma palette, the most obvious being white pepper. The body of this blend is a robust Virginia. Although the typical Virginia flavours (hay, wood, bread, earth) are there, they are pushed back to some extent by the dominance of the Perique. The welcome low-grade sweetness originates from both, Perique and Virginia, I believe. No doubt, it is a top rank full Perique/Virginia mixture, which I shall enjoy occasionally, without adding it to my rotation.

Peterson - Irish Oak 50g
Dominance of Perique and oak.
The tin nose is a delicious plum and fig aroma from Perique, a splash of sweetness, followed by a pleasant hay and bread aroma from the Virginias. Beautiful bright tobacco, quite evenly cut, with some darker ribbons of English Cavendish. The Perique is always present, much more fruity (plum/fig) than peppery. After a while an obvious oak note gradually makes its way into the foreground, due to maturing in sherry barrels. The Virginias from Brazil and Africa with their typical flavours are the backbone of this blend, but are pushed back by the Perique and the oak note. One might either like or dislike this fact. I happen to enjoy it. English Cavendish is always nice to have, it adds some body to the mixture and donates a discreet layer of sweetness. I cannot pick up any Burley, I am afraid. In short: mellow smoking, tongue-friendly, mild to medium in strength but very full in taste. I highly appreciate this blend and will add it to my rotation.

Dunhill - London Mixture 50g
Great English-Oriental Mixture!
A great English-Oriental blend, with emphasis on spicy Orientals, which play a major role in this mixture. The varieties of Orientals unfold a fan of interesting spices and flavours you will appreciate even more after a few bowls. No bites and peaks, though. The generously added Virginia contributes tastes of a little hay, ample wood notes and a discreet layer of sweetness. Latakia is always present, accompanying the smoke, never dominant, delivering some leathery smokiness. As a whole it remains a moderate but still very tasteful, appreciative mixture. It has been among my favourites for decades. As far as I remember, it was stronger and smokier (more Latakia) in the 80s, when it was blended by Murray, what made the blend more English than Oriental. Both ways delicious and perfect for my needs. You will most certainly enjoy this mixture, if you are an Oriental enthusiast. If you prefer more balanced than spicy varieties of Orientals, go for its sibling, the Dunhill DURBAR mixture.

Mac Baren - HH Latakia Flake 3.5oz
Very sweet, mellow Latakia blend.
The soft carpet of natural sweetness of Latakia and Virginia, as well as their natural aroma, together with tangy Orientals that give character, is what I like in this blend. What I dislike is this kind of obvious artificial sweetness that has been overlaid with casing. It sticks unpleasantly on my lips. There is no need for an added artificial sweetness in this mixture! The natural sweetness of the tobacco does the job. If there was to add sweetness at all, natural Macedonia Bright (a sweet Oriental) would have been a much better choice. For my needs this blend is too sweet and lacks complexity. And I miss the peaty “horse-stable ambiance” in this Latakia. It will not be part of my rotation. Having said that, the HH Latakia Blend remains a recommendable smoke only for all those looking for a well fermented, mellower, lighter and sweeter Lat/Vir with no peaks and tongue bites.

Dunhill - My Mixture 965 50g
Tipical Scottish Mixture
Open the tin, and 3 dominant scents welcome you: sweetness, smokiness and a vinegary sourness (from successful fermentation). Nice and rather powerful scent, but not one to instantly fall in love with. As always, scent and smoking are different animals. A typical Scottish Mixture, indeed, and a Hall of Fame mixture, too. For many pipe lovers it might be the best Scottish Mixture ever. I remember 965 quite differently in several aspects when I smoked it in the early 80’s. But I don’t want to get into this. The Virginias and the English Cavendish, as a courting coupe, form the body of this mixture. The bright and obvious sweetness lies unequivocally in the Macedonia Bright (a sweet Oriental). The darker, more settled sweetness, as well as the discreet nutty, creamy taste, originate from English Cavendish, not from Burley, as it normally does. To my knowledge there is no Burley at all in this mixture. The Orientals (other than Macedonia Bright) provide and enhance the natural tobacco aromas and add some spice to this blend. Latakia is there, as in all Scottish Mixtures, on a small scale though, just to provide a decent woody, leathery smokiness. Over all, an excellent all-day mixture, although it might be too dominant on the diverse sweetness for the dedicated English, Balkan and Latakia smoker. Last but not least, this mixture has the quality of a “transition mixture” for Danish smokers who want to become English smokers. Try it.

Dunhill - Early Morning Pipe 50g
Simple English Mixture
A lot has been written about it. In the 80s and 90s it was part of my rotation and I have not smoked it since. Recently I bought a tin to go for it once again, just for a change and revive memories. It’s a straight forward English mixture, very simplistic though. No complexity of aromas. Nevertheless, nice Virginias and nice Orientals. I cannot make out any Latakia. But there could be a little fire cured Orientals that deliver this hidden smokiness. What I particularly like, is that touch of sourness, that you first smell when opening the tin and accompanies the taste when you smoke it. It may originate from a different fermentation of some Virginias. There is some sweetness, too, but quite discreet. The sharpness rather comes from the Orientals. EMP is a good smoke for in between. Not for those special, relaxing, delightful moments. EMP has been on the market for one hundred years, it definitely has its place among the classical.

Dunhill - Nightcap 50g
Hall of Fame mixture
So much has been written about it. It is definitely a mixture for the Hall of Fame. It’s an overwhelming English mixture with an enormously complex, rich taste and a joyful bouquet. A powerful Rolls-Royce blend for the experienced English smoker. It has been among my favourites for decades. My family loves the room note.

Dunhill - Durbar 50g
Best balanced English-Oriental
Overwhelmingly well balanced, honest English-Oriental mixture! A very pleasant buttery sweetness from the Virginias underlines the incredibly well chosen Orientals. After the first third of the bowl a nice oak note comes along. The added Latakia does not cover up this blend at all. No flavour peaks, just marvellously balanced. DURBAR’S sibling, the LONDON MIXTURE, emphasises on spicy Orientals. Since I bought this tin a fortnight ago, it must be the new release of Dunhill by the Scandinavian Tobacco Group. I am not familiar with the former one by Murray.

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