Name your Balkan Blends

I am sad to admit that after 42 years of pipe smoking, I am just now discovering the joy of smoking Balkan Blends.
I am also sad that the 1st Balkan Blend I tried was a year old tin of SPC Pike Place that I opened about a week ago only to find out it can no longer be produced and sold. The 2nd Balkan I have tried is Crown Achievement but it's not the same. It's a Balkan but from a different family.

So. Here's my question: "What is/are the best Balkan Blends that are available?"


  • hloakeshloakes Newcomer
    I have recently discovered Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader. It is not listed as a Balkan on, but the ingredients seem to fit the category. I like it but it can be difficult to find.
  • Balkan Sobranie, Balkan Sasieni, Sutliff Balkan Luxury, Samuel Gawith Balkan Flake, White Knight, Sutliff Balkan I and Balkan II.
  • McClelland Balkan Blue, which was formerly called Blue Mountain. A fantastic effort by the folks at McClelland.
  • White Knight and Balkan Sasieni,as close to the old Balkan Sobranie Original,which defined the genre. I would class Squadron Leader as an English blend,not a Balkan. Balkan Blue is also excellent; heavier on the lat than White Knight or Sasieni.
  • Does Caravan from GL Pease count? That one's delicious.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    I'm with @woodsman -- Balkan Sobranie. Too bad I can't get it anymore. It used to be my favorate Balkan blend back in the day.
  • If you find: Balkan Sobranie and Peterson Wild Atlantic. Easy to find: Ten Russians by Captain Earle's; Prebysterian; G.L. Pease Maltese Falcon; Suttliffs Lord Nelson; C&D Super Balkan (very strong but delicious).
  • Forgot to mention: Balkan Sasieni.
  • mfresamfresa Master
    Brebbia Balkan is excellent!!
  • DarmonDarmon Connoisseur
    White Knight, Maltese Falcon, Lord Nelson
  • Ya know - this thread shows that there is no definition of "Balkan".  The term was first used as a marketing thing to try to spin off Balkan Sobranie Original Smoking Mixture, back in the day. I smoked that lovely stuff, long ago. There was a lot of latakia, but there was also a generous helping of Oriental leaf. I see blends being called Balkan that have just a smidgen of lat, and a lot of Orientals. (Presbyterian). SG calls it "Balkan Flake", but it has no other Orientals. Ten Russians is a lat bomb - I don't recall much Oriental leaf in that one,  either.
    From my vantage point, if the latakia is driving, and the Orientals are in the back seat, then it's an English blend.
    If the Orientals are driving, with the lat in the back seat, it's an Oriental.
    For a true Balkan, they have to be more balanced. BSOSM from the early 1970s is my measuring stick. White Knight is still closest, with Balkan Sasieni being worthy in its own right. I did a little discussion on this, once upon a time:

  • @PappyJoe ;  I smoke a lot of balkan blends, at least one bowl a day.
    Pulled this list from my tobacco data base, this is not all, but I didn't have the time to do a complete list; i might add that I don't like all of them.

    H&H Blackhouse

    C&D Super Balkan

    Balkan Sasieni

    G. L. Pease Abingdon

    Arrango Balkan Sobranie

    Sutliff Balkan II

    Gawith Hoggarth Balkan Mixture

    G. L. Pease Kensington

    Mac Baren HH Balkan Blend

    C&D Atlas Balkan

    McClellands Yenidje Highlander (have two ounces left)

    Arrango Balkan Supreme

    Brebbia Balkan

    G. L. Pease Charing Cross

    H&H Fusilier's Ration

    Captain Earl's Stimulus Package

    H&H White Knight

    Peterson Balkan Delight

    G. L. Pease Ashbury

    SPC Rainier Levant

    H&H Magnum Opus

    Comoy's Cask 11

    Drucquer & Sons: Levant Mixture

    G. L. Pease Caravan

    C&D Sunset Harbor Flake

  • PappyJoePappyJoe Master
    edited April 12
    Sutliff sent the New Orleans Pipe Club some of the HH  Balkan Blend to review. I liked it better than Crown Achievement but it still doesn't quite hit the Balkan spot for me.
  • mapletopmapletop Master
    edited April 14
    @PappyJoe ;  I the last year or so I have taken up blending some of my own from scratch as well as mixing some commercial blends.
    I had some success with both.
    A suggestion for you, I never like Balkan Sasieni very much and I thought the Arrango version of Balkan Sobranie was decent but not quite there.
    If you have a mind, try a 50/50 mixture of both those blends, it's quite excellent in my opinion.

  • RebelheathenRebelheathen Apprentice
    I picked up a 2oz clear bag labeled “Balkan” on it at my local cigar shop. So I did some research. This is what I found. 
  • motie2motie2 Master

    English- The older use of the term “English blend” just meant that the tobacco used was unflavored, since, under old laws, processors in the UK were not allowed to add much of anything to their tobaccos. Today, the description is a bit more specific. For my purposes, an English blend is a tobacco which has a dominant note of Latakia, and the secondary flavor comes from Virginia(s). 

    Balkan- Similar to an English, but after the Latakia, the most prominent flavor will come from Turkish or Oriental tobaccos. The name, of course, comes from the superb original Balkan Sobranie (a blend which used some of the most outstanding Orientals ever). 

  • RebelheathenRebelheathen Apprentice
    As I said earlier. I bought a 2oz bag  of “Balkan” from my local b&m. They had it in a 1 gal bag with Balkan written on. Being new to this and a little excited I didn’t think to ask much about it. Now that I’ve smoked a couple bowls. Ive got a few questions. This stuff is dry. Not crumbling but it’s it’s dry. It burns fast. It smells like vinegar. Bitter like feet haha. I enjoy the smoke. There is quite a bit of bite. Not enough to turn me away but enough that I can only smoke 3/4 of a bowl. There is also some pepper to it maybe. Are these normal characteristics?
  • motie2motie2 Master
    EA Carey having a sale on their Balkan Sobranie match.

  • @Rebelheathen ~ I really enjoy Balkan blends. That said, much like aros, VaPers, etc. there is a wide range of taste differences and experiences with Balkan blends. A lot depends on the quality of the leaf and the percentages of the component leaf in the blend. I usually like latakia forward blends, but one of my favorite Balkans is Balkan Sasieni, which is more Oriental forward. Your purchase may have been the B&M house blend or a bulk that they sell simply as "Balkan". I do think Balkans tend to be on the drier side. Much more so than aros for sure. I'd recommend trying several different Balkan blends to see what a big difference there is. Here is an interesting article that shows how even the most prominent tobacco blenders have varying thoughts on what makes a Balkan blend.
  • @Rebelheathen It shouldn't be that dry and the dryer it is the faster it burns. As for the bite, you may be burning your tongue because the tobacco is burning so fast. 
Sign In or Register to comment.