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Samuel Gawith Balkan Flake

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Deckard, Jul 26, 2010.

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  1. Deckard

    Deckard Active Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    I was getting ready to write off this blend as a solid, but boring smoke. Just this afternoon I was saying how it was ok, but didn't "wow" me. That was until tonight's bowl which just clicked. First off I discovered I hadn't been drying it enough. This one takes more drying out than any Gawith blend I've smoked to date; I had left a couple flakes on the window sill in front of the fan and forgot about them for over two hours. I crumpled them up, formed a cannon ball, then plugged it into my favorite Peterson. It really benefited from slow smoking as I lounged about on my tailgate in the back yard and sipped on it for a couple hours. I've long since figured out that although I like Latakia, I like it in moderation. Heavy blends and Lat bombs just come off as one dimensional to me and even though Balkan Flake is only 30% Latakia is was giving me the same experience. Smoking it dry and glacially slow though transformed it, not into anything complex or dazzling mind you, but from a somewhat boring one dimensional affair into a very pleasurable two dimensional experience. At first it was all cool and leathery Latakia, but as it burned and the bottom layer stoved the Lat took a back seat to the tangy Virginias. It still may not be a must have in my book, but it turned out to be an immensely satisfying smoke and a lesson that even after years at the game a blend can still surprise you. Don't judge a book by its cover and don't condemn a blend until you finish the tin.
  2. CBR

    CBR Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    Nicely put, Deckard. I've got a tin of this blend aging nicely in the cellar. I picked it up on the coast of Malta from a tiny little stand on the roadside, seemed like it had already been aging for quite some time as the tin had a bit of wear but the seal was still perfectly intact. I'm going to give it another few months and see where it stands.
  3. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hi All,

    Dechard's got it spot on - it's never a good idea to make up your mind too quickly; I started off by positively loathing ST James Flake but by the time I'd got through a pound and worked out how you could get the stuff to smoke, I found myself quite enjoying it.

    Very much agree that too much latakia makes for a one dimensional smoke, and would add despite its big camp fire aroma on its own I think it can smoke thin and a pinch in a blend goes a long way!...But that's just me.

    Thanks for an excellent thread/post,

    Best to all

  4. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Sage words spoken Deckard! Sometimes if not most of the time, the right approach means so much. I've come to learn that each different toby is, well, different. The prep is nearly as important as the smoking of it. I smoked a few bowls of SG Balkan Flake and thought "how boring, and for the same price, I can get some of their others I like even more". As you did, you gave it another "go" and found it redeemed itself nicely. I've had the same experiences with quite a few tobaccos. Don't write any tobacco just on the initial bowl impression. Persistence pays off. Congratz D!

    Ed Puff!
    cogito ergo puff
  5. hagbard

    hagbard Member

    May 23, 2010
    Travesty of all travesties, I have yet to try this one. Can anyone recommend a comparable G&H blend? I know they have some listed as having latakia. And thanks Deckard for keep it in mind that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. With all of the new tobaccos I've been trying recently I'm sure I've been doing some of that.
  6. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

    Jan 7, 2010
    Perhaps G&H Balkan Mixture? It's not flake though, it's ribbon cut. I've tried it and it's quite good!
  7. jpberg

    jpberg Moderator Moderator

    Feb 9, 2010
    I don't think you will find a G&H blend that is comparable. Fairmorn Lancer Slices are close. This is a wierd little style that not too many outfits venture into. It's hard to get it right, and even when it's right it's a very plain and not too interesting flavor. I think quite a bit of this stuff, but it's never going to be everyone's cup of tea.
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