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Old 09-30-2011, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

On sale at smokingpipes.com and pipesandcigars.com for about $10 a tin. blended by JF Germain who could do it right if anyone could.

I got a tin and will report back after a while.



Wouldn't it be nice?
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

without resorting to my google-fu, tell me what I am missing here?
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

JF Germain just released their version of original Balkan Sobranie Mixture made, they say, according to the original recipe. Not sure how/when they got the Balkan Sobranie trademark but they got it.

BS Original and 759 are the holy-of-holies, long out of production, often faked and many pay dearly for sealed tins (not pouches) from pre-1990 approx. Much buzz among the faithful. Sealed tins routinely sell for $200 and up per 2-ounces.

I suspect the key tobacco agent, yenidje, is not what it was after decades of political turmoil in the growing region, but... we can hope it it back and sweeter than ever.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

Let us know how is it Dan, i'm curious myself.
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

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Let us know how is it Dan, i'm curious myself.
Yeah, what Joe said. I havn't picked up my pipe in quite a while but I am very interested in your thoughts.
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

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...I am very interested in your thoughts.
I think....

...if it tastes anything close to Compton's Macedonian Mixture it'll save me a fortune.

I will report back ASAP.
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

D'oh! The stuff is a kissing cousin to another JF Germain blend once sold by Smoker's Haven in Columbus. Sadly, it has been off their shelves for about two years. 20th Anniversary Import is what Sobranie-2011 reminds me of. It's a fine cut long shag that packs/smokes beautifully and burns to ash (almost!) even when it's kinda damp.

I smoked it right out the tin in a big oriental-dedicated meer. It never actually gurgled but the tobacco was on the moist side and probably held back some flavor. It doesn't run as sweet as the few good examples of Balkan Sobranie I remember but it does have that special thing going in the last half of the smoke. When I smoke some that's been dried out a bit, tomorrow maybe, it oughta show better.

Sweeter than Squadron Leader without the lakeland thing but similar cut.
A couple of levels above McClelland Blue Mountain (which I think is pretty darn good).
A bit below Compton's Macedonian Mixture from Canada's finest blender and worst shipper, Max Engel.

I haven't mentioned 20th Anni since 2009 due to lack of availability but here was my last reference: http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showpo...4&postcount=12

Smoker's Haven 20th Anni Import has always been underdiscussed, probably because the name is too long to type. With the awful yellow label this JFG blend was about $35 x eight-ounces a few years ago or $4.35-ounce. Today, at $5-ounce, it is highly discussed with its shorter name (Balkan Sobranie) and nice white label.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

I found it to be bitey and one dimensional. The different elements fighting to be noticed instead of a marriage of complementary flavors. I won't buy any more, but I will share it at pipe club. For the money, PS Balkan Supreme is a better blend.
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

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I found it to be bitey and one dimensional...
I found it to be anything but.

If I may ask, did you smoke it right out of the tin or give it plenty of dry time?
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

Oh, I dried it for sure. That was the first thing I noticed was that it was excessively moist. As it is, I find it rough. However, I have a lot of respect for Germain's blends in general and I feel that with a few years of age this could be a satisfying smoke. I am also conscious of that fact that my diluted memories of smoking BS twenty years ago could be clouding my judgement. But I am confident that my palate has not failed me. I also think that (and with no disrespect intended) that because it is BALKAN SOBRAINE, that alot of people will say how great it is because of hype.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:58 AM   #11
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

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Oh, I dried it for sure...

...because it is BALKAN SOBRAINE, that alot of people will say how great it is because of hype.
Thanks. The jury is out.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

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Originally Posted by fid View Post
...I have a lot of respect for Germain's blends in general and I feel that with a few years of age this could be a satisfying smoke. I am also conscious of that fact that my diluted memories of smoking BS twenty years ago could be clouding my judgement...
I remember my best experiences with BS as rich but not overly heavy (something like Red Rapparee in that respect) and showing through with a sweetness which barely appears around the edges of current english blends. Compton's Macedonian Mixture shows this sweet thing better than anything I can think of and, after that, a couple of Germains blends.

Which Germain english blends do you favor, if not the Sobranie remake, fid?

Also, if you bothered with this Germain intro, did you also follow through with the McC Blue Mountain and Russ Ouelette's Blackhouse?

http://www.apassionforpipes.com/neil...mcneil-wi.html
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

As a matter of fact, I have a tin of Blue Mountain that I intend to open very soon. I'm aware of, but have not tried the Black House. I wish I had the funds to try every new blend that came out, but I have to be selective. I've got an older tin of Pelican that I am smoking through right now, Germain production, and it is very good. Not too much latakia, flavorful orientals, sweet virginia. A real winner.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

I 'spect it's worth a try either way. Thanks for the feedback fellas!
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:13 AM   #15
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

Down the road almost three weeks; what's left of the tin is keeping me very interested. A little breathing and drying time hasn't hurt but it hasn't turned the tin into a whole 'nuther animal, either; starts a shade heavier than medium and finishes with increasing sweetness and floral aspects. More finesse than the heavier McClelland numbers and sweeter/punchier than the Frogs. The flavors come clear - not muddled.

Not-so-bold prediction: If Germain keeps shipping it, US smokers will keep buying it.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:52 AM   #16
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

It can always be the case that one person likes something and someone else doesn't (e.g., GLP Union Square seems to excite thousands but, after three tins and various pipes, still leaves me cold). Without being critical, nonetheless, I found fid's review above to be very far distant from my experience.

I have been smoking Germain's Balkan Sobranie in a large meerschaum dublin that gets first shake on almost any new english blend I try. In fact, it it smoked four oir five bowls of JFG BS Friday-Sunday and it tastes very good to me. This morning I changed over to a Kurt Huhn briar that also sees onlyenglish tobacco. The difference in taste was considerable. It was rather dull, not at all sweet and essentially one-dimensional. I have had the same experience with Red Rapparree in the past - dull in one pipe and quite sweet in another. shrug. I dunno. Oriental tobaccos do that to me quite often. I never know for sure if it's that pipe, any pipe or my senses.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

Nice review Dan. I do believe that your pipes bowl depth and bowl diameter effects the flavor of the pipe tobacco. A tobacco may smoke out of this world in one pipe, and when smoked in another, you wonder what was going through your mind when you made the purchase of the tobacco.

Its the same thing when you smoke a cigar. You can take a 5x50 vs a 5x43 and they're gonna taste different.

Just my own take though...

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Old 10-20-2011, 05:22 AM   #18
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Default Re: Semi-Fake Original Mixture Balkan Sobranie

It's a mystery to me. Back to the big, conical dublin meer on Wednesday; back to flavor. Smoked well in the rain in Louisville (IBEX 2011).

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