As I’ve worked my way through a dozen or so new pipe tobacco blends, I’ve developed a real affection for Balkans. The English tobaccos I’ve tried – Consummate Gentleman and Early Morning Pipe – are fine, and I do enjoy a bit of Latakia in the blend. That said, mixing in some Oriental just adds a little kick that I really enjoy.
I think the first one I tried was Sutliff’s Balkan Sobranie Original Mix Match. That was an eye opener! It had that smoky English note to it, which I like. Along with it, though, is a very noticeable undertone of something wonderful. It almost reminds me of Sen-Sen, though just a little hint. Somewhere between anise and an aromatic resin, like frankincense. It sounds horrible, but it’s actually quite nice. I’m assuming that’s the Oriental coming through.
Since then I’ve tried White Knight and Arango Balkan Supreme, and I’m ordering a tin of Black House to try out. They’re all similar to some degree, but so far the Sutliff has been my favorite. It and White Night are almost identical, which is no surprise considering I think they’re the same thing in tinned and bulk form.
It’s possible I may tire of the taste, so I’m not loading up with pounds of this stuff, but so far I’m loving it. I’m still keeping the English and 1-Q and the rest in my rotation, but it’s a rare day that I don’t smoke at least one pipe of a Balkan mixture.