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Heavy Latakia, Virginia, Balkan Orientals, and a touch of Madness.

Notes: This is a replacement for West’s Best Mountains of Madness. The previous version disappeared under mysterious and unsettling circumstances. This Balkanized version has assumed the life of the former blend which used Turkish varietals.

BrandKen Byron Ventures
Blended ByKen Byron
Manufactured ByKen Byron Ventures
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
PackagingBulk
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
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Strength
Medium to Strong
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Full, Very Full
Room Note
Strong
3.8
4 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
3
3 star:
1
2 star:
0
1 star:
0
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2919)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

The smoky, woody, earthy, musty, leathery, floral, sweet Cyprian Latakia is the main component, comprising sixty percent of the blend. The mildly buttery sweet, very sour, dry, woody, earthy, herbal, floral, smoky, spicy, vegetative, incense-like, tangy basma and yenidje play a strong supporting role. The yenidje sports a noticeable “unflavored soda note” that I always associate with that particular Oriental. The stoved Virginia provides a lot of tangy stewed dark fruit, earth, wood, bread, sugar, and a touch of spice. It runs in third place here. The fermented tangy ripe dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready, lightly tart citrusy matured red Virginia also sports a touch of vinegar. It is a condiment. The sweetness from the Virginias are a little muted by the potency of the Latakia and Orientals, though it tones down some of the rough edges that a strong English mixture typically possesses. Won’t bite or get harsh. The strength and nic-hit are strong. The taste level is full. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable rate with a full bodied, deeply rich, hearty, moderately sweet and very savory, spicy, campfire flavor from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. The long lingering after taste will be pleasant to those who like this genre. The room note is rather strong. Not an all day smoke. Four stars.

-JimInks

10 people found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (385)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Unnoticeable

As stated in other reviews a friend of mine from the pipe club is a really big fan of KBV and if it was not for him, I would probably not be able to try any as I am a recovering (trying) tobacco hoarder. Yes sir, it is tough, but my war chest if bursting at the seams. This was dated 12/13/20 and man what a blend. A deep smoky, dense tasting smoke that upon first puff I fell in love. This would be one I would buy if not going through my recovery process. It produced a lot of nice smoke and if I could sit outdoors around a camp fire with coffee this would be perfect. While smoking this I just wanted to sink my teeth into it like it was a big juicy steak. You can read JimInks if you what a more detailed critique.

8 people found this review helpful.

Driftedshank Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Driftedshank (5)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Strong

Jiminks has described this blend quite well. Not much I can add to it. This is supposed to be a replacement for Mountains of Madness which can no longer be made due to the unavailability of an important component. This will happen occasionally when dealing with a boutique blender. While Plateau is somewhat different from Mountains of Madness it is very much in that style and utterly delicious. It brings me back to the days when I smoked a lot of Sobranie 759, the Sullivan Powell blends, State Express and other full rich English/Balkan blends. Very impressive tobacco. Don't miss it.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: Ken Byron Ventures

Similar Blends: Mountains of Madness.

4 people found this review helpful.

Barbaq Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Barbaq (2)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

Ribbon cut out of a mylar bag. Mostly black and dark brown tobaccos with 15-20% light ribbons. A tad moist, but didn't need time to dry. The note out of the bag is classic Balkan; smokey pines, vinegar, and earth. The first quarter of the bowl is owned by the latakia. It's smokey and tangy. It has enough oriental to cut back the brute smoke and add some vinegar, and sour to make it a pleasant experience. Halfway through the latakia cools off and you get less pine smoke and more earthy, herbal, and spice notes. Eventually the Virginia appeared for me, and provided some dark fruit and bread notes. The highlight is the tangy sour smokey start. Not all Balkans can get it right, but this does a good job of it. Required a few relights.

Pipe Used: Moretti Morta Rhodesian

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Ken Byron Ventures

Similar Blends: G. L. Pease - Spark Plug, J. F. Germain & Son - Balkan Sobranie.

2 people found this review helpful.