Sunday, March 02, 2014


Balkan Sobranie Original Mixture was composed of fifty percent Latakia, around 22 percent Turkish from various sources, and the remainder a base of flue-cured tobaccos. That said, recreating it would require both the specific Orientals and Virginias, in addition to a knowledge of the blending protocol employed first by Redstone (Sobranie House), later by Gallaghers.

Given that several of the varietal tobaccos once available are also no longer around, you can well imagine the scope of the problem. But as numerous companies produce mixtures that are comfortably in the same ballpark, there is little point in even trying.


I've probably gibbered as much about that legendary tobacco mixture as anybody else; all my Sobranie-related wafflegab can be found by clicking this link: BALKAN DREAMS. Some of this is only tangentially relevant.
You might instead want to go directly to the big mack daddy of all the Sobranie posts: BALKAN POSTSCRIPT.
In that second essay meanings of the name are given, semi-educated guesswork concerning the product is speculated, and the pleasing experience is recalled.
It's extensive. Perhaps more than you wanted to know.

The Oriental? Click here: YENIDJE.

I miss that tobacco, but not too much; I have a half year supply from the early nineteen eighties stashed away, and I intend to smoke it.


Other tobaccos I also sincerely miss, perhaps more than Balkan Sobranie: Dobie's Foursquare Blue (two ancient tins left), John Cotton's No. 1 and 2 Medium (one tin left), and John Cotton's Smyrna (four tins left).
Over a hundred tins of Durbar -- But I restrain myself.
State Express mixture (two tins), Dunhill My Mixture 73 and Dunhill Mr. Alfred's Own (one 100 gramme tin each), and Balmoral Mixture.
That last one is a stumper. I have no tins. Nor do I know who made it.
It was probably the first product containing Latakia that I ever smoked, and rather likely something continental instead of British.
It was a very long time ago.

Back in that distant childhood (14 years old) I also remember horrendous tongue burn from Capstan (both the blue and the yellow), but I sincerely wish now I that had stocked up just in case my love affair with Latakia slackened. As, indeed, it has. Same goes for Three Nuns, and several other British products now made by better Danes than the English ever were.

Times have changed. Tobacco no longer comes in enamel-top tins, pressed as a disc into a neatly crimped paper lining. The effect of being perennially broke was much alleviated by the luxury, once a week, of opening up a new container and viewing the funky bonbon within, that greeted the nose with a beguiling whiff of maturity, all plum-like and fruity. The Balkan Sobranie itself presented a lovely speckled brindle to the eyes, bright ribbons contrastingly interwoven with shiny tar-hued black.
And a most appealing sooty aroma.

For the deprived, Greg Pease's oeuvre is ALWAYS an intelligent option. Maybe the only one. Many of his English and Balkan blends are extraordinarily intelligent, and age exceptionally well.
For the mad Latakia bomber: Odyssey.
For the Londonian: Westminster.
For the rake: Kensington.
And plenty more.


Slight sideways speculation: one of the regulars at Telfords in Marin is a young lady of a winsome mien who smokes Padrons and Julius Caesars, among other fine cigars. Precisely that, but in the form of a pipesmoker, would be someone well-worth knowing. Oh my heavens yes.
I've always found the darker fragrances enchanting.
Cartier, Aoud, Safari, et mult altres.
Slightly wicked perfumes.
These allure.

For a dalliance with the sensuous side, see this post: leafy mistress.
It's about an experimental blend that I never quite finished developing. Slightly depraved, very old-fashioned. At some point I should dig up my blending notes and finalize it.


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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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