English Blends

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by nesta, Jul 21, 2011.

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  1. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    You know, I'm finding myself a little more drawn to two kinds of tobaccos I used to think were okay, but maybe just not for me. Aromatics and English blends. I'm finding a lot lately that I really like.

    With the English blends specifically, I like a Lat bomb here or there, and then there are some "English Blends" that use the condimental tobaccos very sparingly....as condiments....to the point that many people wouldn't even call them "English" anymore. I love those, and I'd smoke them any day. Like Davidoff's English Mixture. Wonderful blend, but not too typically "English" as you would be hard pressed to find much latakia presence in it. But only occasionally do I really desire a full force in-your-face latakia blend, so with as few pipes as I have I really kind of just ignored most English blends.

    Most latakia blends I had smoked were pretty full on the latakia, so I figured with a few exceptions they more or less all tasted alike. What a maroon! I had been exposed almost exclusively to the two opposite ends of the English spectrum, ignorant of all the degrees in between, and the complexities and differences you can find in these blends. No wonder there are so many out there - they're all pretty different.

    I've yet to find my "all time favorite" or go-to, but I've found a lot lately that show great promise. I just lit up my first bowl of PS Proper English. In the bag it smelled worse than almost any English I've had. Musty and dusty. Only a little latakia aroma.

    Turns out to be a somewhat VA-sweet medium bodied blend with a noticible but not at all overwhelming latakia presence in the smoke. Wonderful stuff so far.

    Idk, I guess I'm rambling. I just thought I'd share my dumb thoughts on the matter while I enjoy this bowl :puffy:
     
  2. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Lat Bombs and prefer that Latkia to be used as a condiment to support the Virginias and Burleys. I like my English blends to be more Oriental dominated, and Gawith's Squadron Leader and Stokkebye English Oriental Supreme are really good in this respect. Peterson's Old Dublin is another good English blend with a manly Oriental presence, but also with a good dose of latakia in it as well. Then, of course, there is always Middleton's Walnut - a good middle of the road Enlish blend (an Americanized English OTC) that has a goodly dose of Burley in it
     
  3. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    I'm glad you raised this point. English comes in a lot of different configurations. The general consensus seems to be that a true English tobacco (an arbitrary term, BTW, as I've heard many an Englishman here chuckle at the notion) consists only of Virginia, Orientals, and Latakia. Of course there's no consensus on what the ratios of these tobaccos should be (nor which varieties of Orientals or Virginia, for that matter), which gives us a lot of choice in flavors. Following a similar model to that set forth by Dunhill (on the old Standard Mixtures) and Rattray (7 Reserve, 3 Noggins, Accountant's Mixture, and Professional Mixture), I tend to think of them ranging from Mild (small amounts of condimental leaf supporting the Virginia, very little Latakia, maybe sweeter Orientals) to Medium (some Latakia but more Orientals, including some of the more pungent varieties) or Full (more Latakia, fewer Orientals). Based on some comments from Greg Pease concerning Balkan Sobranie (as I've never smoked it), I might reserve the term "Balkan" for those tobaccos with no Oriental component (Gawith's Balkan Flake and Commonwealth would fit nicely into this category, for instance). Beyond those lie the Lat bombs, which really push the limit of what I would call English. That's my personal taxonomy of English-style blends, for what it's worth. It doesn't mean that a Mild English would necessarily be less flavorful than a Full (though perhaps more subtle), nor does it mean you're not a manly-man if you don't like Full English tobaccos, as I believe that it's all about your personal taste and the balance and complexity of flavors. I prefer Medium blends on this scale.

    Of course there's no law against adding other things, like Burley, Perique, or Cavendish, and there are some outstanding examples of what Beaupipe once dubbed "English curve balls" or Americanized English blends, as RTO calls Walnut.
     
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  4. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    I typically don't care for lat bombs, either. Latakia, like mustard, is a condiment. Too much of either usually spoils the main course.

    Interesting that you like the Davidoff. Expensive mother! But they do a good job with their lineup. I think the only problem with that blend is the name. Doesn't really describe it. It's quite unique and I pick up a tin every now and then.
     
  5. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    I love Davidoff, even though it's slightly pricey and the tin description is lousy. Medium aromatic blend? The hell it is! Just a natural tobacco with the slightest dashes of latakia and perique as far as I can tell.

    And really, if you get it at most of the more discounted etailers it's in the area of 10 bucks or so, not much more expensive than most good tins. 9.72 at sp.

    I oughta get some of that soon, it's been a while...
     
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