Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian 3.5oz
I ordered this at the suggestion of my brother, when he tired of my lamentations about FM Across the Pond being discontinued. It is NOT Across the Pond. It IS very, very good. The almost-half Latakia is not reflected in the taste. It is mellow but full-bodied, delightfully balanced and subtly nuanced with a variety of delicious and harmonious flavors. A definite coup for Mac Baren.
G. L. Pease - Cairo 2oz
Sweet and spicy with plenty of body. Almost delicate. Rich and flavorful without being overbearing. My new morning favorite, replacing Dunhill London in the rotation.
Seattle Pipe Club - Mississippi River 2oz
I really tried to like this one, There are hints of delicious dark chocolate, but I expected more. I also found the crumble cake difficult to rub out to a smokable consistency without ending up with flaky dust. Not bad tasting at all, but not worth the hassle.
Mac Baren - Mixture: Scottish Blend 9oz
Compared to CPC Scottish Blend, this one isn't. It isn't bad, but it is a mildly aromatic mixture and not a true Scottish at all.
Peter Stokkebye - PS52 Proper English
This blend delivers what its name promises. Rich flavor, but perfectly balanced. No bite, and something unique and subtle that can't be explained. English done splendidly.
Cornell & Diehl - Pegasus 2oz
Mild and silky smooth, walnuts with just a hint of bitter, nicely balanced by he sweetness of the Virginias. I am a Balkan and VaPer guy, but this is a very nice alternative.
Seattle Pipe Club - Mississippi River 2oz
Very nice, rich English blend with excellent balance. Full-bodied, with plenty of Latakia. There are figs in the tin nose which transform into dark chocolate on the palate. Not for the faint of heart, this is a robust blend which should satisfy even the most jaded of English fans. The crumble cake rubs easily into fine chunks which pack and light easily. A bit lighter in character than Plum Pudding, but not to detriment.
Dunhill - London Mixture 50g
This is invariably in my first bowl of the morning. It is light on Latakia, and The Turkish adds just enough spice to make it interesting and flavorful. Delightfully mild yet full-bodied and satisfying. Nothing is overdone here - very skillfully balanced.
A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
A very well-balanced, mild VaPer. The Perique is there, but not hot-peppery, complementing rather than overpowering the Virginias. The coins crumble easily into thick ribbons which load and burn well. A very pleasant break from my usual spicy Balkans. Made my rotation after one bowl.
McClelland - Collector: Tudor Castle 50g
Off-putting ketchup odor from the tin. Flakes crumble nicely without becoming powdery. Packs and lights well. Pleasant flavor, but I was expecting something distinctive, and did not find it here.
G. L. Pease - Blackpoint 2oz
Virginia sweetness, Oriental spice, Perique pepper and Latakia smokiness - nothing hidden, nothing overbearing - hints of all four throughout the bowl. My compliments to Mr. Pease for an outstanding blending accomplishment. Very flavorful without being harsh. No bite at all. This one made my rotation straightaway.
McClelland - Oriental Mixture: No.6 50g
Excellent Lat Break
Occasionally, I get an aftertaste of Latakia stuck in my craw from my favorite Balkans. This blend is a welcome and refreshing change. Sweet Virginias with Oriental spice to the fore.
McClelland - CPCC: Scottish Woods 50g
Well balanced, light on Latakia, Oriental spice forward, but not overbearing at all. Full flavored without being heavy. A welcome alternative to my regular favorites - 965 and Black House; slightly lighter and a touch spicier. Ribbon cut is a bit coarser than others. Just a bit on the dry side out of the tin, but doesn't affect the burn. Easy to pack and light. Added to my favorites list.
Hearth & Home - Blackhouse 1.75oz
Rich Latakia with Oriental spice, smooth but full-flavored. Slightly brighter than 965, slightly richer than London mixture. The best Balkan I have ever tasted.
McClelland - 5110 - Dark English Full
I tried this as an alternative to 965. It isn't. It is indeed as labeled: Dark, English and Full. Latakia is forward, but not much else. Rather monochromatic, it lacks the spicy notes which would make it more interesting (to me).
Cornell & Diehl - London Squire
...balanced and delicious. Latakia is there, but not overpowering.