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A long time favorite of Finck Cigar Company smokers, Istanbul is our own unique blend of traditional English tobaccos, carefully blended to achieve a medium strength, wonderfully enjoyable blend.

BrandFinck's Cigar Company
Blended ByMac Baren (formerly P.Stokkebye)
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium, Medium
None Detected
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3005)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The light Virginia is a bit grassy with some citrus. The dark Virginia has a light earthiness and a little dark fruit. They form the base of the blend. The nutty, molasses sweet burleys play a secondary position. In a minor role, the vanilla sweet black cavendish smooths out potential roughness. The smoky, woody sweet Cyprian latakia is another support player that you’ll always notice. I think the extremely mild topping is sugar. Has a mild nic-hit and won’t bite. Burns well, cool and clean with a consistent flavor, and requires few relights. Leaves just a little dampness in the bowl. Has a pleasant after taste. An all day sweet American English that serves as an entry level foray into the genre, or a break for the experienced smoker from heavier, drier English blends.


4 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

The baggie I received about a year ago was sure "English." Elcid must have gotten a mis-labeled packet. While sweeter than most traditional English blends, Istanbul had plenty of Turkish leaf. It did arrive wet and smoked like a pouch blend will - a bit rough and hot -- but, for the price, it wasn't a bad smoke.

I do believe there was some added topping, but it was discreet, and certainly nothing I could put my finger on.

2 people found this review helpful.

Nick Blackwell Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nick Blackwell (2)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is much sweeter than I thought. The batch I got had Latakia in the background. It's definitely there but not as strong as I thought. The natural sweetness of the Virginias are enhanced greatly by the inclusion of Oriental leaves. This is probably my favorite blend from Finck's.

Pipe Used: Cob, Basket Bulldog

Purchased From: Finck's Cigar

1 person found this review helpful.

Art_A Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Art_A (10)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Just tried the first bowl of Istanbul found it to be a good English altho a bit sweeter than most leaves a good aftertaste when finished. I believe this is mixed by Stokkebyes for Fincks. Way too moist at the opening and will need to be aired out first. for someone wanting to get an intro into Latakia it is a good choice. It like all Stokkebyes will smoke hot if pushed but a cool smoke and good ash if smoked slow and easy. On a five star rating I would give this baccy a 3.5. I will complete my five bowl test of this and probably keep this one around in the celler..All in all an easy one on the wallet and a pretty fair smoke. Dec 19, 2003 Ok finished 5th bowl of this Istanbul and found that if you dry it a good bit the Turkish leaf came a bit to the front. I believe this will age very well and have sealed it and put it away for a while. The Virginias and Black Cavendish just adds to the sweetness of this baccy. I would still rate this 3.5 out of 5 stars. All in all a good into into the english blends..

1 person found this review helpful.

Demetri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Demetri (113)
Very Strong None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

This was my alternative to my everyday Finck's English. While I fell out of smoking this blend due to having ample Finck's English on hand for the last couple of years, I still had an unopened bag laid up for emergencies. I ran out of my favorite a couple of days ago and broke into my stash of Istanbul last night as I await delivery from Finck. Apparently from a different blender of Finck's own labels, this is close enough in taste to "English" that last night I wondered why I did not smoke this one more often. I just now had a "bowl for breakfast" and feel the same. There is a slight edge of more Latakia here than in Finck's English but not to any overpowering level. I have come to realize that my preference may well be for Cypriot Latakia as in both of these blends as opposed to Syrian. While I still give Finck's English a slight edge I give this 3 stars (assuming my 3 stars for English to be really 3.5).

Update: I just received a resupply from Finck and gave them a phone call asking if this blend had changed (before I opened new bag). While I got no definitive answer to my question, my 'little birdie' at Finck confirmed this to be Stokkebye's English Luxury blend, private labeled. The reviews here of that blend seem consistent with my impressions.

Update to update: See my review of Finck's English for reasons I've downgraded this so.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

UPDATE: 09/16/2010 - Stepped away from my pipes for a year or so until recently. Oh, maybe a bowl every few months or more, but mostly away. Recently got back to them again and started revisiting some tobaccos and starting to try/cellar a few new ones. Especially since some favorites like Early Morning Pipe and 965 disappeared while I was away and Ashton Artisan seems to be out of stock at my usual online supplier. I picked up another 1.5 oz of Istanbul to see if I still liked it as much as before. A few bowls said I did indeed. I also happened to find a mostly full pouch that had dried out over the last year or so. It was dry, the new pouch was a little damp, so I mixed them together and added a humidifier wafer to the jar for a day or two. This resulted in just the right humidity and no real loss of flavor, though there might be a slight loss of sweetness with the Latakia being a tiny bit more pronounced, but only slightly.

It seems these last few days I've developed a routine. Escudo Navy (and I'm not really a VA man at all) on the way to work and Istanbul on the way back home. While some may hold it against Istanbul for not being a deeply complex smoke, I personally find that I really appreciate the consistency of this blend. I like how it tastes and it is classy without being temperamental. I can count on it. Frog Morton seems very pipe dependent as to what it will taste like for me. Great in one pipe, bland or just bleh in another. Istanbul seems to taste pretty much the same in different pipes with maybe slight variance in sweet undertones. I like how it tastes, how it smokes, and that I can count on that taste bowl to bowl and pipe to pipe. No hide and seek. Not bad for a "discount" tobacco. ==================== End of Update.

I popped into the Finck's Outlet store in San Antonio today while out with my wife. On a whim I picked up a small bag (1.5 oz) of this and Finck's English. Just for the heck of it I also picked up one of the small meerschaums they had there. I'm trying to find a small pipe I can smoke a few times in the day at work.

Tonight I finally got a chance to try out the Istanbul in, appropriately enough, the tiny meerschaum.

After letting some tobacco dry for a little bit, I stuffed the little bowl and gave it a try. While one bowl does not make a full review, it did make an impression. Started out nicely with a tasty, English flavor. Smokey and a wee hint of resin, the Orientals and the Latakia work well together for a smooth taste with just a bit of spice. Even in the small bowel, the later half gives over to a light sweetness with a kiss of smokiness while still giving a full, creamy smoke. Someone else mentioned that it just got smoother as it burnt down. It does indeed. At the same time a mellow feeling eases in. Not a hard kick, but There is just enough nicotine kick to provide a gentle sense of pleasantness. Both the sensation and the flavor left me looking forward to the next bowl.

As others mentioned, there is a nice after taste. All in all, a very nice smoke. I was surprised at the complexity I did get out of such a tiny bowl. It will be interesting when I try this in a larger briar. At this point I would agree with others in that I can see this being an all day smoke. Tasty and enjoyable without being overbearing. I think I'll have to go for the big bag and cellar some in jars just to see what happens.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend can smoke very hot, so I use a small bowled ,thick walled pipe. Smoked slowly (in such a pipe) It is not bad. Also a long stem helps to cool it. This blend is not for beginners.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a quality balkan style blend - with an heavy accent on smoky latakia. It lacks in oriental "tang" spice but has quite a bit of depth and musky, nutty cigar like notes. The topping is fairly unintrusive - but the chemical by product is apparent in the almost constant wetness of the smoke. It reminds me quite a bit of GL Pease Carvan, and is of similar quality and substance.

After a bit of drying within the pipe, the smoke was cooler, dryer and more even.

All around a quality tobacco worth a shot, but not something I'll grab for on a regular basis.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I had a slightly different experience with Istanbul than some have reported, but mine was very well dried before I tried it.

I found this to be a medium strength blend that was heavily weighted toward the Oriental end of the spectrum. The Latakia was present in a very subtle way, at times not even noticeable.

As the bowl begins, the Oriental dominated, and had a slight harshness to it. Soon though, the flavor smoothed out and became a full round flavor. The flavor didn?t really change, but it kept getting smoother as I went. The last little bit, say maybe the last 1/4th of the bowl did tend to get a bit of an ashy taste, but not enough to make me put it down.

Istanbul packed, lit, and burned like a dream. The heel of the bowl was bone-dry and my tongue made no protest whatsoever.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

A very good and economical all-day English blend. I assumed that this was a relabeled Peter Stokkebye bulk blend, like many other Finck english blends are, but I read on ASP that it was actually a recipe that Finck?s bought from the old Wally Frank stores of a blend they once carried called Yenidje Delight.

Whatever the origins, it is a very nice blend. It could easily become my go-to economical all-day blend. The flavor is light and it makes a good summertime English mixture with almost no potential for tongue bite. I find myself smoking it frequently during the day when I am working and don?t want anything fancy, just a nice, smooth English blend with some good latakia flavor.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It seems the above reviewer might have gotten the wrong blend by mistake from Fincks. I've smoked the stuff off and on for about 5 years now and here's the description from an older catalog:

Istanbul's luxurious spicy flavor, so loved by the English pipe smoker, is the result of a special blending of the finest Smyrna Kavalla, Basma, Dubek, Basha-Bagli, Persian, Shiraz and Latakia. Aged and cured to smoke extra mild.

This is another blend made by Stokkebyes for Fincks. It is very complex and probably the best of the Fincks English line. It does come way too wet (PG), so drying out is needed, but it's a very flavorful and spicy smoke and any English fan that wants to try some different Turkish tobaccos should give it a shot. I hadn't ordered this in awhile, so hopefully the blend didn't change into the Aromatic the above reviewer stated.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30126)
Mild Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Istanbul is described as being Finck's "own unique blend of traditional English tobaccos". So, I expected a traditional English mixture (like Finck's Vintage English, which I enjoy regularly). However, Istanbul is an aromatic, make no mistake.

Appearance is about an equal mix of yellow, medium-brown and black. The pouch aroma is a riotous mix, with scents of caramel, port wine and, hmm, coconut maybe. Just a tinge of PG kept my nose from staying in the bag longer. Packing was no problem, with just a little rubbing out.

The initial fire-up produced clouds of caramel-tasting smoke, with a great room note. Very fast puffers may suffer some tongue bite, but Istanbul generally smokes cool. However folks, the flavor is just not me. Where are those traditional English tobaccos? There's not a hint of orientals or Latakia. Reminds me of an "old timers" cavendish blend, maybe a little more refined. Aromatic lovers may want to try it as a change of pace.

Nobody has rated this review yet.