The flue cured Virginia is a little grassy and citrusy. The smokey, woody sweet Cyprian latakia is a secondary player that often competes with the Virginia. The nutty sweet burley is always noticeable in an important back ground role. The black cavendish has a little vanilla to smooth out the blend as a minor player. I’m sure there a very mild topping, perhaps sugar? The nic-hit is mild. No 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. Tastes so much like Finck’s Istanbul that I think they are the same thing.
I guess I should review what has been my "go-to" everyday blend for several years now. I prefer to call this Finck offering an English-style blend as it does not come through as exactly "English" to me as the old Dunhill blends of twenty years ago- the Latakia is a bit too subtle for that definition. Still, I carry a pouch of this regularly and find it enjoyable, and affordable, at any time of day. As far as Room Note goes, I am forced to rely only on my wife's input for that and she has deemed it "OK".
Update: It is with profound regret that I alter my review of a blend that has been my go-to, everyday smoke for 6 or 7 years. I just opened a new 1# bag of this "Finck's English" and am absolutely positive that Finck has switched supplier and/or blend. While the pouch aroma was enticing, in the bowl it is now bland, astringent, thin, flat, and throughly unrewarding. I've learned that Finck is marketing this blend as their "Istanbul" as well - same stuff. This is dismal news to me as that was my second favorite blend. Gentlemen, I am miserable. Guess it's McClelland's offerings for me until BATCO gets some distribution of Dunhill's (any version, Murrays or Orliks)over here. Also, this new version has enough of a nicotine punch to put a bull elephant on its back. Coming from a cigarette smoker, that's saying something, I think.
a quality "everyday" english--medium to mild, easily packed and lit--stays lit with no or minimal re-light--for what palate i may possess, the taste was quite good--i really don't try to analyze 'em; i just smoke 'em--
burned right to the bottom, with only a few pieces of unburned tobacco evident--a dry smoke, no gurgle at all--
if you're interested in a good solid english blend, give this one a try--
Fink compares this to Balkan Soberaine which I don't get. I remember trying a pouch of BS years ago and found it foul. This blend is a English with no bite. The cavnedish adds smoothness to this blend. I find that this is very close to Squaderon Leader but at a much cheaper price. And as good as SL but, little smoother. AS for english blends this is mild. Packs well a hard to keep lit as all finks blends are better when it drys out some. The Room Note is Tolerable for an English blend. Try it!
I tried this tobacco about a year ago. I couldn't resist the offer of an inexpensive sample of a Balkan blend. Was it everything as promised? Yes and no. Sure it's an English blend with the light taste of Latakia, but oh was the sample dry like straw. I had to re-hydrate it with a spritz of distilled H2O. Yeah, the price was right, but there are so many other tobaccos out there which deserve to be smoked first. In a pinch, this will do.
I never had the pleasure to smoke Balkan Sobranie so I can?t tell if Finck?s version is indeed a replication of the Balkan Sobranie formula or not. What I do know is that this is a nice mild English blend. I think the Latakia content is a little too mild, it is there and you can definitely smell and taste it, but I prefer a little more Latakia than is found in this blend. The blend does have a sweetness to it due to the Cavendish but as omegapd states, it is certainly no aromatic. I also agree that the Virginias should stand out a little more. This would be a good introduction to English blends for smokers that might otherwise be intimidated by them. It would also work well for a mild, all-day English smoke.
This was marketed years ago as Finck's Generic Balkan Sobranie. While it was nothing like Sobranie or Sasieni, it is a halfways decent Balkan, or something along that line. I just popped a jar of this dated Oct. 98 and it's a pretty good blend. Either the age has mellowed out the blend, or I've found a blend by Stokkebyes that doesn't have the typical tongue bite. It's a very dark blend in appearance consisting of quite a bit of latakia and black cavendish. It's fairly sweet, but the latakia is in abundance, so it doesn't taste like a crossover aromatic. The Virginias are hard to taste though- I think all the sweetness comes from the cavendish. Overall, a fine example of a light Balkan or a sweet English. Recommended, especially with age.
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