Sometimes, the mail is just simply crappy! It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s Royal Mail, USPS, Canada Post or even the Argentinian mail system, it just sucks!
My family tends to think that it’s the result of government cutbacks. Whether deliberately or unintentionally, the government-run mail programs have been cut to the point that they are simply untenable. On every second Thursday I think it’s government stupidity, but aside from that I think that it’s deliberate mismanagement in order to privatize the mail system. But, I won’t get on my high horse about the government suffice it to say that I am not impressed.
In any event, Royal Mail stopped tracking my package the moment it got to Canada, and as of this morning USPS still hasn’t updated that I have received my package. Total incompetence, I tell you!
However, my package from Royal Mail contained a good supply of the Okanagan Pipe and Cigar Club Full Balkan blend made for my club by Glynn at GQ, and my package from USPS contained my antique Dunhill Bruyere Billiard. It’s time to see if an expensive pipe is worth all the hype.
Glynn has this to say about the tobacco on his website;
Erin from the Okanagan Pipe club contacted us and asked if we could make couple of “Club Blends” for them. A Balkan and an Aromatic was the brief and over several weeks we experimented with various ideas. The first blend we focused on was the Balkan (#1), the brief was reasonably simple, a Latakia heavy Balkan blend with an oaky/woody side to it, some spice and underlying sweetness.
Usually we use a single Latakia across all of our tobacco’s, it carries a wonderful chargrilled flavour to it, whereas this needed to be a little more Oaky. So after various alternative Latakias, we found a combination of the two which worked perfectly. Normally we would call the Virginia component of this style blend the base, but with over 50% Latakia it just didn’t sound right. The same delightful steamed Virginia we use in the Askwith Kake, this blended with a divine sweet and citrusy flue cured Virginia. To give this tobacco its other oriental content (ALL UK blenders class Latakia as an oriental, well it is really) a wonderful spicy and woody Izmir is added.
Getting the balance took a fair amount of tweaking and juggling to hit the nail on the head, but we got there. From the word go you are greated with a very rich and pungent smoking experience, packed full of the oaky smoky flavours you would expect from that much latakia. The virignias are not in the forfront of this blend at all, they carry the more savoury along beautifully and creates a sweet current which all the other flavours float. Thanks to the quantity of Latakia and the Izmir, the blend has a spicy nature which grows throughout the smoke, ending in a very peppery finish.
If you like your Latakias punchy and pungent then this has to be one for you, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but Glynn certainly had fun making it.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t know what this tobacco was all about, after all, I helped make it! There is a reason it is my favorite Balkan blend. I did, however, look for the right pipe with which to do this review and when my new Dunhill presented itself, I figured it was just about perfect, and immediately loaded a bowl.
The presentation of the Balkan mix is very attractive with its almost black base, peppered with lighter browns from the Virginia and the Izmir. The bag note is rich, earthy, and sour, but that is to be expected from a mix that is over 50% Latakia.
The rather large chamber of the Dunhill holds a goodly amount of the tobacco, and lights without fuss.
The taste of the tobacco is strong, pungent, sour, and rich, and while it is not for everyone, Latakia lovers are going to adore it!
The draw the Dunhill is incredibly smooth, perhaps the smoothest I’ve ever smoked, but it still does not make me certain that the pipe is worth hundreds of dollars. Also, the pipe remains cool throughout the entire smoke, and the bowl is so light that the stem actually weighs more than the bowl.
In the end, I think the pipe is worth what I paid for it, though I doubt I would buy another.
I smoke the bowl for about half an hour, finding it satisfying, though not too strong in the nicotine department, and tap out the pipe to nothing but ash, no dottle at all!
While the room note of this tobacco is not going to win friends or influence people, it is thick and smoky, just the way I like it.
As I said before, there is a reason this is my favorite Balkan, and Glynn Quelch did a bang up job of creating this blend for us.
You can get it exclusively from GQTobaccos, and I seriously suggest you try it if you’re a Balkan fan.
I am certain you won’t be disappointed, Glynn is a master!
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!