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This tin, my tin, had more or less 30 years, and was perfectly conserved, yesterday a smoked the last bowl...
during all the time I used a Savinelli King Cross, This is a small pipe, burns a 20 minutes, but a did a 40 minutes... Many people say of the Balkan Sasieni, Mc Clelland's Blue Montain are examples of tentatives from your blenders to get close of the Balkan Sobranie.
Most related blends already contain Virginia and latakia, so the ratios are problematical. in the lid of the old Balkan Sobranie, retracting it from the lip and reclosing the can, thus piercing the inner tin lid, the escaping hiss was divine.Gawaith's Commonwealth is supposed to be 50%-50% Virginia-latakia and is not caked. I've had no luck trying to blend existing blends to emulate the original Balkan. As one spun the lid, cutting out the inner lid, one caught the full old-leather, old-whisky, old-wood aroma that promised the same consistent taste as always. The smoke, always changing yet always characteristic and steady, could never be ignored, no matter what you were doing: each draw was a conscious pleasure, the whole, like true art, more than the sum of its parts. Balkan could smoke wet if you didn't dry it out just right, and hot and bitey if too dry.Yes, the contents were a bit moist and could do with a couple of days' drying, and were springy thanks to the ribbon cut. The ribbon cut was tricky to load, and if clumped up could cause voids. While the ash was white, the pipe's heel usually got wet, which certainly demanded a pipe's traditional day's rest for every time smoked.But who could resist, especially after retrieval of an eight ounce can from a ten can rotation, grabbing an immediate smoke? The room note was pretty awful (until you were hooked), almost as gross as that of a yesterday's cigar. To this day I don't see why some blender with a microscope and a Japanese degree of patience couldn't reverse engineer a can of pre-sale Balkan strip by strip, testing the pieces against known samples and smoking from each separate pile to verify its identity as accurately as possible.As the tobacco rose on the initial light and one tamped it with the index finger and relit, all the wonderful, contradictory adjectives began to pertain. Balkan was definitely true to the old bromide that the worse the room smelled, the better the tobacco (don't the girls just love the smell of Cherry Blend). Sure, a truly faithful representation would cost a lot, but what a ready market in the curious, and in anyone else who wanted to smoke heaven to the extent his budget permitted. I welcome other reminiscences, additions, corrections; but, N.