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October 2012

The Balkan Sobranie – 2012 Edition by Charles Hill

I will not trouble you with the background story of how the fabled “Balkan Sobranie” has returned after such a long absence. In any event, I opened a tin of it with much anticipation, as “The Sobranie” I first encountered in the 1970s is still fondly remembered.

After trying the 2012 version in half a dozen pipes, my conclusion is I can’t make it smoke right! My experience ranges from downright ‘bland’ to ‘half decent,’ to ‘interesting,’ to ‘transcendental.’ In other words, as inconsistent as can be. Mind you, I’m blaming myself for this; I must be doing something wrong. The one outstanding go I had at this “Balkan Sobranie” was in my Castello. In this fine pipe, the blend seemed transformed; natural sweetness, intriguing oriental spice, Latakia character complementing but not dominating the whole ensemble, a blend almost unique in character. If Germain’s could just fiddle with this mixture and reproduce that truly enjoyable smoking experience on a consistent basis, I would be a regular customer.

Stay tuned for further adventures in, “Balkan Sobranie Returns.”