British blends

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Feb 26, 2021, 5:31:07 AMFeb 26
Shortly after starting the enjoyment of pipe smoking, I discovered
British blends. Over time, i discovered that the common thread among
these blends is the existence of latakia in all of them.

I bought a few ounces of latakia on its own and it really wasn't for
me. I prefer it in a blend.

What say you all? Or do most people prefer aromatics?

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Bob Ramstad

Feb 26, 2021, 7:38:46 PMFeb 26
English blends all have latakia.

British blends frequently do not, like the excellent Sam Gawith Full Virginia Flake.

There are British aromatics, and some of them are pretty funky, like the Lakeland blends (named for a region). These can really ghost a pipe, consider yourself forewarned.

Latakia by itself is really not smokable in my opinion.

I think you'll find that so called serious pipe smokers smoke whatever they like... definitely there are those who prefer virginias, virginias with perique, blends with latakia, burley blends, or aromatics.

Statistics indicate that most weight sold is of the aromatic variety, but it's possible that this doesn't represent a lot of smokers i.e. I get the sense that many aromatic smokers smoke a lot of tobacco, while product that has higher nicotine and more flavor is not smoked as frequently or as long... so it's hard to draw a conclusion, but you are probably right, most pipe smokers prefer aromatics, and if you are buying tobacco in a typical drugstore, it's unusual to find anything that isn't aromatic.

Al Lanman

Feb 26, 2021, 8:34:32 PMFeb 26
Only in America (at least until recently) have Latakia based blends been called English blends. As Bob notes British blends pretty much the range of tobaccos, with the exception that they have always been less for aromatics (modern definition) with flavourings. Reason for this was quite simple through the first half of the 20th century the British had a law that only allowed for a few flavourings to be used in tobacco. That law was ended when the UK entered the European Common Market.
So Aromatics under the pure tobacco laws in the UK were the notorious "Lakeland blends", those involving involving the tonquin bean, those with perique, AND Those with LATAKIA (!). [Tonquin beans are now very much regulated in theory and unlikely to be found in tobacco blends currently, but are black marketed into a lot of high end restuarant floods, as it is romoured to be the spice of the gods. LOL]
The Danes and the Americans were the big flavoured tobacco blenders, and remain so today. Some would say that flavoured aromatics are big sellers because they have always had a price advantage AND because they have a wife pleasing factor in the smell. The price advantage comes because you can in fact cover a lot of short comings of the tobacco with the flavourings, and use cheaper grades of tobacco in making the blends.

For the condiment tobaccos, which includes Latakia AND the other orientals, and Perique, they are like spices added to food. Some people can add an awful lot of pepper, salt , or garlic, to the point that you cannot taste the actual food portion, and that can be good I suppose, depending upon what you are eating, but most of us don't go to that extreme. I am a bit of a Latakia hound and even I won't smoke 100 Latakia, although I enjoy Pirate Kake which is 75% Latakia. On the other hand my tolerance for Perique is rather low. There a blends I enjoy which contain it, but if the level gets to the point that I am 'aware' of its presence then I am not enjoying it. One of my good buddies who also smokes a pipe, can't tolerate Latakia when it reaches that noticable level, and loves Virginia Perique blends. ;-)

If you want a few good Latakia blends to try I might suggest:
C&D Pirate Kake, a surprising cool and smoky blend, although I would never choose it as an all day smoke.
Kramer's Father Dempsey
H&H- Black House (a clone of the fabled original Balkan Sobranie mixture)
Arango's- Balkan Supreme
C&D Odessa
C&D Epiphany (a clone of the old Revelation blend, which was a favorite with Einstein)
All of which have a different taste, and all but Pirate Kake and Blackhouse are available in bulk if you prefer. English blends do benefit froom aging I find, if you can keep them around long enough.
Unfortunately because of various problems in Syria, some of which predate the endless civil war going on there, we do not have Syrian Latakia except in older expensive aged blends, and have only ones being made by the different, but good Cyprian leaf. [Sigh]. At one time C&D's catalogue listed nearly 90 Latakia blends, but many of those cannot be duplicated with Cyprian leaf.

We will go into the rabbit hole of what makes a Balkan mixture next semester.


Jim Beard

Feb 27, 2021, 10:54:49 AMFeb 27
> semester. -- Al

Excellent, Al!

There are a few point perhaps worth adding.

On the British side, the restrictions on additives were to a list of
about 70 designated by name, either two or 3 percent by weight,
no residue from the carrier (i.e. alcohol).

On the American side, the carrier for flavorings has been
virtually always polypropylene glycol, after polyetheylene
glycol was discontinued due to its reputation for health damage
and death to little furry things that lapped it up when those
replacing the antifreeze in their car spilled it on the ground.
Yes, PEG was used as antifreeze, among other things, and currently
it is suspected as a cause of nasty allergic reactions that may
result from the Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer.

I and others have a low-grade allergy to polypropylene glycol,
and hence abhor American-style "aromatics," as well as
tobaccos that use it as a humectant to keep the tobacco from
drying out. Oddly, I smoked non-filter Camels for 30 years,
and cannot believe it was ppg-free, but somehow I could tolerate
that. In distinction, I cannot use eyedrops containing ppg as
a preservative, as that will cause inflamation of my eyes to
increase rather than help diminish it. Amgen profits greatly
in consequence...

My preferred tobaccos consequently are Lakeland traditional
British flakes, twists (especially sliced twists -- slicing
them is a pain without proper expensive equipment I have
never purchases), and cut plugs. Fire-cured tobaccos and those
containing large amounts of Perique are particulary favored.
Add to that pipe tobaccos by G.L. Pease and Cornell & Diehl
that are free from ppg, and a few pipe tobaccos of fame I have
tried and found acceptable (e.g. Nightcap, Escudo, Three Nuns)
and you have a good idea of what I smoke.


jim b.

UNIX is not user-unfriendly, it merely expects users to be computer-

Bill Blevins

Mar 18, 2021, 11:47:03 AMMar 18
People like what they like.


May 6, 2021, 2:07:40 PMMay 6
Wow, what an informative post. Thanks for that. Sorry for the delay. I
had computer issues and it took a good while to get all my software up
to standards. Got tons of other demands on my time and newsgroup posting
wasn't one of them.

I will re-read your post a few times to fully grasp the content. Thanks

Eric Kristian

May 21, 2021, 4:36:37 PMMay 21
Good afternoon everyone.....I enjoyed reading through this thread. I found the following article from GL Pease to be of interest on this subject, and I am including the link here for your convenience.

Light up a pipe and have a read.
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