Puff Cigar Discussion Forums

Puff Cigar Discussion Forums (https://www.puff.com/forums/vb/)
-   General Pipe Forum (https://www.puff.com/forums/vb/general-pipe-forum/)
-   -   Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture? (https://www.puff.com/forums/vb/general-pipe-forum/55091-homemade-balkan-sorbanie-original-mixture.html)

American Psycho-Analyst 10-07-2007 07:42 PM

Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I've decided that, purely out curiosity, I would try to take several readily available blending tobaccos and see as to whether or not I could myself concoct a reasonable replacement for the sorely missed Balkan Sobranie Original Mixture. There is a recipe someone gave on TobaccoReviews.com for a homemade Sobranie mixture which consists of the following components:

Wellauer's Syrian Latakia
McCrannie's Red Ribbon
Sam Gawith Full Virginia Flake
McClelland Oriental Blending Tobacco
Bulk Yenidje
Unflavored bulk black cavendish.

According to the recipe, Yenidje, Virginias and orientals were blended in equal proportions with a smidgit of the unflavored black cavendish added last. Syrian latakia was sprinkled in to taste.

Now, because Wellauer's Syrian Latakia is not a tobacco I now how to get, I'm thinking about simply using McClelland's blending (Cyprian) latakia. Here arises my first question: will using a Cyrprian latakia in lieu of a Syrian latakia severely depress the taste of the overall blend?

Second, I don't see the point in getting two different Virginia flakes. Additionally, Red Ribbon is not widely available. Do you guys think that Gawith's Full Virginia Flake is thus the best place to go to secure the Virginia base for this homemade Sobranie?

Concerning Yenidje, I have a feeling that, when this recipe was created, the Grand Oriental's line from McClelland was not yet created. Consequently, I plan on using McClelland Yenidje Supreme as the Yenidje component for this blend. Comments?

Concerning the cavendish, did original Sobranie have cavendish???

Does anyone here have any recipe recommendations for blending a homemade Sobranie? Who knows, we must just get lucky here blending a 'CS Balkan'.

mr.c 10-07-2007 07:53 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
lots of companies that tin tobacco have tried this. balkan saseni , c&d engine 99 might want to grab a tin and add to it ?

JohnnyFlake 10-07-2007 08:30 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I would not use Cyprian Latakia, the taste is completely different than Syrian Latakia. McClelland's, Rose of Latakia, is readily available and it is straight, pure Syrian Latakia.

I have also heard of a mixture that is said to be close to Balkan Sobranie, in taste. I have never tried it, so I cannot comment about it. It's a very simple mixture, using one pouch of Balkan Sasieni (50g), adding 10g of Yenidje and 10g of Syrian Latakia. Mix thoroughly, and then let rest for a week or two. I've been told by several people that the results is very similar to the Original Balkan Sobranie.

If anyone tries this, I'd be very interested in hearing what you think of the results! I do not have all the needed tobaccos, and I do not plan on buying any more tobacco, for a good long time. If I did have them, I would have tried it right away.

Johnny

American Psycho-Analyst 10-07-2007 08:34 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnnyFlake (Post 1208970)
I would not use Cyprian Latakia, the taste is completely different than Syrian Latakia. McClelland's, Rose of Latakia, is readily available and it is straight, pure Syrian Latakia.

I have also heard of a mixture that is said to be close to Balkan Sobranie, in taste. I have never tried it, so I cannot comment about it. It's a very simple mixture, using one pouch of Balkan Sasieni (50g), adding 10g of Yenidje and 10g of Syrian Latakia. Mix thoroughly, and then let rest for a week or two. I've been told by several people that the results is very similar to the Original Balkan Sobranie.

If anyone tries this, I'd be very interested in hearing what you think of the results! I do not have all the needed tobaccos, and I do not plan on buying any more tobacco, for a good long time. If I did have them, I would have tried it right away.
Johnny

I'll do this tomorrow. After letting it rest in a baggie for a week or so, I'll compare it head-to-head with the Sobranie that I have available. I'm also wondering what Nightcap might taste like with a Yenidje infusion?

sounds7 03-24-2009 11:21 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I came across your website and noticed someone is trying the recipe I put up on tobaccoreviews.com for the homemade Sobrane.

I ordered my 5 100gr Tins of the syrian latakia from a tobacconist in Switzerland. If you google the tobacco he should come up. It is very good quality. As for trying to alter the recipe, if you alter it in any way it may very well yield different and less desirable results than the recipe I discovered. If you know your tobaccos though you may discover something that works even better in which case i ask that you share the results with me at [email protected]

Thanks to all and happy smoking

Mad Hatter 03-24-2009 11:46 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sounds7 (Post 2597571)
I came across your website and noticed someone is trying the recipe I put up on tobaccoreviews.com for the homemade Sobrane.

I ordered my 5 100gr Tins of the syrian latakia from a tobacconist in Switzerland. If you google the tobacco he should come up. It is very good quality. As for trying to alter the recipe, if you alter it in any way it may very well yield different and less desirable results than the recipe I discovered. If you know your tobaccos though you may discover something that works even better in which case i ask that you share the results with me at [email protected]

Thanks to all and happy smoking

That's exactly what I thought when this thread first went around. To anyone who takes the time to read the thread McClelland Rose of Latakia isn't straight Syrian, its a VA/syrian blend. If you want straight syrian McConnells Pure Latakia is the only one I know of. Would the McConnells be compatible in your recipe Sounds? Also I read that C&D Odessa was a BS clone. Do you have an opinion on that? Thanks

sounds7 03-25-2009 12:44 AM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mad Hatter (Post 2597578)
That's exactly what I thought when this thread first went around. To anyone who takes the time to read the thread McClelland Rose of Latakia isn't straight Syrian, its a VA/syrian blend. If you want straight syrian McConnells Pure Latakia is the only one I know of. Would the McConnells be compatible in your recipe Sounds? Also I read that C&D Odessa was a BS clone. Do you have an opinion on that? Thanks


To be quite honest this recipe came about two years ago before there were other Syrian Latakia products like the McConells available. I purchased a rather large quantity of the Syrian from Switzerland and havent really needed to explore the recent additions like the McConnells. So I must first try it before I can give an honest comparison.

One rule I made when formulating this recipe is that I would use the finest tobaccos available as this is exactly what made the Balkan Sobrane so great. Spare no expense if you want a fine smoke.

For now please describe as best you can the McConnells pure Latakia, how is the aroma when you first open the can? Describe the taste if you smoke it pure. Thanks

PS I have C&D Odessa and its not even close. In fact I stopped trying these blends that boasted their similarities because they don't have one bit of Syrian leaf in it.

Mad Hatter 03-25-2009 01:00 AM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I figured the Odessa was probably a long shot from the mark. I was thinking it has perique in it too although I won't swear to it. I haven't smoked any of the McConnells but if you'd like a sample I can send it your way. I can't even remember if the tin was opened or not and to be honest about it, I have so little experience with syrian I wouldn't be able to tell good from bad.

sounds7 03-25-2009 01:12 AM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mad Hatter (Post 2597615)
I figured the Odessa was probably a long shot from the mark. I was thinking it has perique in it too although I won't swear to it. I haven't smoked any of the McConnells but if you'd like a sample I can send it your way. I can't even remember if the tin was opened or not and to be honest about it, I have so little experience with syrian I wouldn't be able to tell good from bad.

Thats O.K. I just ordered a Tin from "cup o Joes". If its close it is certainly more attainable than the swiss brand I purchased.

marcovgv 03-25-2009 12:42 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
rose of latakia is not pure syrian latakia. I have some and its not even cloe to pure latakia

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnnyFlake (Post 1208970)
I would not use Cyprian Latakia, the taste is completely different than Syrian Latakia. McClelland's, Rose of Latakia, is readily available and it is straight, pure Syrian Latakia.

I have also heard of a mixture that is said to be close to Balkan Sobranie, in taste. I have never tried it, so I cannot comment about it. It's a very simple mixture, using one pouch of Balkan Sasieni (50g), adding 10g of Yenidje and 10g of Syrian Latakia. Mix thoroughly, and then let rest for a week or two. I've been told by several people that the results is very similar to the Original Balkan Sobranie.

If anyone tries this, I'd be very interested in hearing what you think of the results! I do not have all the needed tobaccos, and I do not plan on buying any more tobacco, for a good long time. If I did have them, I would have tried it right away.

Johnny


marcovgv 03-25-2009 01:21 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Well I am going to try this recipe out. I already have tins of the Full Virgina flake, Oriental and Red Ribbon. I just ordered the Mcconnel Syrian, Pipeworks Black Cavendish and Yenidje. I am going to be mixing up quite a bit as I do not smoke the red ribbon or FVF that much anymore. Let me know if you guys want a sample of the stuff i blend up.

I am going to experiment with some of the mixture and press it in to a cake.. see what it dose for it under preasure and time.

Did the bs original mixture contain deer tungue? i read that somewhere I think....

sounds7 03-25-2009 06:33 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcovgv (Post 2597795)
Well I am going to try this recipe out. I already have tins of the Full Virgina flake, Oriental and Red Ribbon. I just ordered the Mcconnel Syrian, Pipeworks Black Cavendish and Yenidje. I am going to be mixing up quite a bit as I do not smoke the red ribbon or FVF that much anymore. Let me know if you guys want a sample of the stuff i blend up.

I am going to experiment with some of the mixture and press it in to a cake.. see what it dose for it under preasure and time.

Did the bs original mixture contain deer tungue? i read that somewhere I think....

I have not read anywhere that it used deer tongue but that does not mean it didn't. if you use it though use it in moderation as Deer Tongue gives it a slightly tart taste You dont want it to overpower the mixture.
By the way I enjoy this blend the most in my Dunhill shell straight billiard that has been dedicated strickly to Sobranie and like Balkans. I really do think the pipe makes a difference just like sipping fine wine from a certain glass gives the flavor more character.

By the way put me down for a pressed sample of yours when your done

Mad Hatter 03-25-2009 07:16 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I might be down for a sample trade on that too Marco

plexiprs 03-25-2009 10:02 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I love it when everyone gets out their Mad Scientist tobacco blending kit and starts up. I hope this thread stays up to date! I'm ordering some blending stock even as I type this reply!

morefifemusicanyone 03-25-2009 10:24 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I totally want to try too! Is the only place to order Red Ribbon from McCrannie's? I would like to order all my baccy in one place.

At any rate, I would be down for trading for a sample when its done. :D

-Tyler

marcovgv 03-25-2009 10:46 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
yeah mccranies is the only place I know of.

its great stuff even by itself.

sounds7 03-28-2009 08:28 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Just to update I got in the McConnells Pure Latakia from Cupojoes.com and it is suitable for this recipe. Very little difference between the MCConnells and the Wellauer's Syrian Latakia. You may safely substitute it in the recipe but I would not substitute the Mccranies Red ribbon. That is the best red virginia I have tasted and it works so well in this recipe!

marcovgv 03-29-2009 01:01 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I am still waiting for the latakia tin to arrive

marcovgv 03-30-2009 01:58 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
anybody have a measurement as to the amount of latakia to add. I dont have a reference to go off of.

sounds7 04-01-2009 07:07 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcovgv (Post 2600198)
anybody have a measurement as to the amount of latakia to add. I dont have a reference to go off of.

I filled it in by taste actually. I didn't get an actual measurement of how much I used. I concentrated on flavor and compared it to the flavor Balkan Sobrane I had on hand. The key is to find the right interplay between the Virginias and the Latakia. Beware though if you like the Syrian Latakia as much as I do you might use too much and that would make it more of an English than a Balkan. Not that an English with these ingredients would taste bad.:hat:

Here is my original post at tobaccoreviews.com
Quote:

Balkan Sobranie is an all time favorite that, once it had departed,set me off on a frantic quest to find a replacement. Sasieni, Macedonia Mixture, Odesa, and on and on. I tried the over priced ebay offerings of Vintage Sobranie mixtures and was delighted but it was aged so much that it dried out (So it wasnt as good as my first experiences with this great tobbaco mixture.
Here is what my journey eventually brought me to. I bended my own Balkan Sobrane Original Mixture with these 6 top of the line tobaccos:

Wellauers- Latakia .Which is true Syrian Latakia (The real thing)I had five tins sent from Tabac Rhein in Switzerland. Costly but nothing like buying Tins of Sobranie off ebay.

McCranies Red Ribbon (Red Virginia)

Samuel Gawith full Virginia Flake (Rubbed out well)

McCleland Oriental blending tobacco

Yenidge bulk- Purchased from Carole at Pipeworks and Wilke. She doesnt always have it in stock though.

Unflavored black Cavendish also bulk from "PW&W"

I haven't gotten the percentages down to a science but I started with equal portions of the virginia's, Orientals, and Yenidge. I added only a small portion of the cavendish (about 1/3 of what the other tobaccos were. I then flavored it in with the Syrian Latakia until it reached the smokiness I desired (I had some Sobranie on hand for comparison purposes). Note: It is easy to go overboard with the Syrian (The stuff is so delicious!)which would make this more of an english blend than a Balkan. It was very simalar to the Original Mixture only much fresher and fuller in taste than those acient Tins you will find on ebay. Aging will do wonders to this I'm sure.

I would be interested in hearing others reaction to this mixture.
Notice I said very similar and not exact. Infact more similar than any blender who has touted his tobacco as being like Sobranie, However I want to fine tune this recipe and I am hoping you experienced Sobranie smokers can help me do just that. No one is trying to make money off this, At least I am not. I just want my favorite smoke back as close as possible. The Deer Tongue idea has me curious.

But to give you a general idea how I blended in the Latakia I would say start with the same amount of Latakia as you use virginias and then if it is too week amp it up until it seems right in flavor. If anyone gets the exact measurement down please send it to me.

Also I would like Dear Tongue but it doesnt grow in the swampy soil I have here. Is it possible to trade for some? Let me know.

Mister Moo 04-01-2009 07:40 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Watching...

sounds7 04-01-2009 08:28 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Also to add to my last post. I do believe the final Latakia content that I came up with was somewhere around 40% of the mixture.
Approximately : 1.5 part of Yenidje, 1.5 part of Oriental, 1.5 part of red ribbon, 1.5 part of Full virginia, just a very small amount of Black unflavored Cavendish,and between 3 and 4 parts Syrian Latakia. You may like less Latakia though so I would start on the short end and adjust up. Please keep in touch with me over your results. thanks

plexiprs 04-03-2009 07:30 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Well, my trusty blend calculator makes that 35% Latakia, 15% Ribbon, FVF, Yenidje, Orientals, and 5% Black Cav. For my 2 ounce experimental batch that was .7, .3, .3, .3, .3, and .1 ounces, same order.

It is in the jar and will give it a full 30 days.

sounds7 04-04-2009 02:58 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
One thing I am planning to do on my next batch after I smoke through what I've already made is to alter the proportions of the Virginias. Not that there will be less or more Virginia in the mix as a whole but more red Ribbon and less FVF. The reason being that although I prefered the equal amounts of the virginias when smoking it fresh made , after trying the tobacco from the jar I cellared for two years I have found the mixture to be a bit stronger virginia wise than with Balkan Sobranie. I did adjust it to get it back where I wanted it though. Red Ribbon is a bit more subtle over time than FVF. How much to vary this I do not know but with time maybe I will learn it.

sounds7 04-05-2009 11:06 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Just FYI

I have read another smoker's opinion on the internet about the Syrian Latakia and the comparisons of Mcconnels Latakia and Wellaurs Syrian Latakia. This smoker has smoked both and claims the Wellaurs Syrian Latakia is a superior smoke to the McConnells. You will find mention of both in this thread which is a thread on the departed Syrian G.L. Pease blends:
pipes.org discussions: Equivalents--GL Pease Mephisto & Bohemian Scandal

The person named Hubert Cumberdale stated the following in one of his posts: "...i have not come across of a commercially available blend containing Syrian latakia sold today(of the dozen or so i've tried) that has the blatant Syrian qualities of the two blends you mention. One of my last remaining tobaccos is wellauer's Syrian latakia, which you could try to use to create your own blend with. McConnell's Syrian latakia is Syrian, although it's very, very far from -good- Syrian. Post disclaimer: Take all of this with a grain of salt, to each his own, smoke what you like, like what you smoke, yadda yadda. "

I personally have not smoked the Mcconnells I purchased but have looked over the tobacco and smelled it and compared it to Wellaurs in every other sense (other than taste). To me it doesnt seem very different from the Wellaurs. However I came accross the "Pease Syrian thread" this evening so I wanted to add it to our discussion. Because the opinion may have merit and is something to think about.

I purchased Wellaurs Syrian Latakia from !cigar store geneva - maison du cigare - cohiba cigar ...
They are excellent folks to deal with. The Dollar isnt all that great against the Euro at the moment so there have been better times to buy and you will pay overseas shipping. Even so if you decide to go for the Wellaurs order a few tins to make it more worth your while. Just my opinion.

sounds7 04-06-2009 07:24 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I am following up on the Syrian Latakia I felt compelled to taste it as I had made an earlier statement about the tobacco without actually having tasted the Mcconells Pure Latakia. I stand by that earlier statement now that I have tasted. Are there differences between the two Syrian Latakias in Question? Yes the Wellaurs is superior in cut and is more intense in flavor and aroma however the margin is not so great that you could not compensate by adding more Latakia to the Sobranie mixture. You could also try to improve the cut if that is important to you but to me it will not change the flavor or make this Mixture more like Sobranie.

sounds7 04-09-2009 12:41 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcovgv (Post 2597795)
Well I am going to try this recipe out. I already have tins of the Full Virgina flake, Oriental and Red Ribbon. I just ordered the Mcconnel Syrian, Pipeworks Black Cavendish and Yenidje. I am going to be mixing up quite a bit as I do not smoke the red ribbon or FVF that much anymore. Let me know if you guys want a sample of the stuff i blend up.

I am going to experiment with some of the mixture and press it in to a cake.. see what it dose for it under preasure and time.

Did the bs original mixture contain deer tungue? i read that somewhere I think....

Marcovgv what manner/ instruments do you use when pressing tobacco in to a cake? This part of you statement interests me as much as the deer tongue.
Thanks in advance for you assistance.

marcovgv 04-09-2009 01:17 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
i made a square 5 sided box out of wood small like 4x4. I left one side open. and made another pieve of wood that is about 3.75x3.75 .. so it fits into the box. I then put it in a large C Clamp and crank it down for 7 days. I place the c clamp and box in a large ziplock so the moisture loss is minimal and thats it.

Make sure you use a good wood like spanish cedar. I had some left over from a humidor I built and it works perfect. I guess plywood might work but they use glues to keep it toghethere so some of that might affect the taste.

sounds7 04-09-2009 06:49 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcovgv (Post 2605195)
i made a square 5 sided box out of wood small like 4x4. I left one side open. and made another pieve of wood that is about 3.75x3.75 .. so it fits into the box. I then put it in a large C Clamp and crank it down for 7 days. I place the c clamp and box in a large ziplock so the moisture loss is minimal and thats it.

Make sure you use a good wood like spanish cedar. I had some left over from a humidor I built and it works perfect. I guess plywood might work but they use glues to keep it toghethere so some of that might affect the taste.

Wow! I think thats a great way to do it. I would love to see pictures of that press.

sounds7 04-10-2009 12:58 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
I have tried pressing tobacco before but my method is somewhat crude. I wrap the tobacco in wax paper and clamp it with a c_clamp between two boards. The only thing keeping the flavor from escaping is the wax paper. In your method you contain your process in an air tight seal thus preserving flavor. Now if I were only talented enough with wood to make one of these devices.

uvacom 04-12-2009 01:38 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Yikes! I just checked the price for that wellaurs and the tin price isn't terrible (about $11 usd) but the shipping could be cost prohibitive (1 unit was said to be something close to $80, but surely there is a cheaper way?). Maybe we should organize a group buy? I personally would have a blast mixing up and cellaring something like this, even if I have no idea what the original balkan sobranie was like.

morefifemusicanyone 04-12-2009 01:41 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uvacom (Post 2606367)
Yikes! I just checked the price for that wellaurs and the tin price isn't terrible (about $11 usd) but the shipping could be cost prohibitive (1 unit was said to be something close to $80, but surely there is a cheaper way?). Maybe we should organize a group buy? I personally would have a blast mixing up and cellaring something like this, even if I have no idea what the original balkan sobranie was like.


See the post from Sounds:

Quote:

Originally Posted by sounds7 (Post 2599476)
Just to update I got in the McConnells Pure Latakia from Cupojoes.com and it is suitable for this recipe. Very little difference between the MCConnells and the Wellauer's Syrian Latakia. You may safely substitute it in the recipe but I would not substitute the Mccranies Red ribbon. That is the best red virginia I have tasted and it works so well in this recipe!


No need to buy the Wellauer's, just get a tin of Robert McConnells Pure Latakia. :)

uvacom 04-12-2009 02:05 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Well, sounds7 likes it, the other guy doesn't. sounds7 even concedes that the other one is better. There's not one right answer but to my way of thinking, to go to the trouble of mixing up something like this, if it were a large batch I'd want to use the best stuff I could get (within reason). For a small batch the mcconnells probably makes a lot more sense.

Actually I'm not opposed to the thought of coordinating a big group buy and mixing it up myself, but I'd have to do it after the end of the semester. My only other reservation is whether or not people would be interested in it considering I'm still sort of a tobak neophite (albeit one who can follow exact directions). :)

sounds7 04-12-2009 04:18 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uvacom (Post 2606367)
Yikes! I just checked the price for that wellaurs and the tin price isn't terrible (about $11 usd) but the shipping could be cost prohibitive (1 unit was said to be something close to $80, but surely there is a cheaper way?). Maybe we should organize a group buy? I personally would have a blast mixing up and cellaring something like this, even if I have no idea what the original balkan sobranie was like.

80 dollars? Are you serious? thats insane. The most I have heard for shipping from europe is the upper $30's for a tin of tobacco. If this is the case forget the Wellaurs and go with what you can afford. Thats ridiculous!

My wife is flying to Paris this week. I told her to be on the lookout for that as well as the usual suspects. If you have a trip planed to Europe I think you can only bring so much back with you but still, 80 dollars? I still cant believe it. Amazing.

sounds7 04-13-2009 12:37 AM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Just read a second reference to Deer Tongue over on tobaccoreviews.com

Quote:

Leiconnsel 01/04/2009 Medium to Strong None detected Medium to Full Strong
The original Balkan Sobranie is the holy grail of pipe tobacco, and when even its subsequent, inferior versions garner four stars from virtually every reviewer in these pages, it deserves more than a few words from an old codger who's never found an acceptable substitute. Between 1965 and 1970 I smoked pound after pound of the real Balkan Sobranie Smoking Mixture. I say “real” because that was the last of it. From the company's (the name and the recipe's) sale and in sale after sale after that the blend has been cheapened and diminished, with production moving to Jamaica (“Made in the U.K.”) and elsewhere. By the mid 1970's, as inventories of the real stuff had disappeared, the changes became obvious.
First, a bit of history learned from Joe Zieve, the founder of Smokers' Haven in Columbus, Ohio, where I went to Ohio State and, with a friend from Kent State, studied more with Joe than at school. Balkan Sobranie literally was Our Best Blend at that time. During the Second World War Joe was stationed in England, where he visited Balkan Sobranie and made a deal with them to sell Balkan canned by them in London and labelled as Best, exclusively. This was an open secret at the store by the '60s, and many's the two, four or eight ounce can of Our Best Blend we opened and found inside the Balkan Sobranie rice paper or card stock insert. Joe made a similar agreement with GBD, and became the largest distributor of that pipe in the world. I don't know if he wholesaled GBD to other dealers in the U.S., but certainly he bought his stock directly, and at all times had just about every grade of every shape they made on hand and available in the periodic brochures he sent to those on his huge mailing list. Joe worked closely with GBD on developing new shapes, e.g., #263 extra long Canadian, the “glass-blasted” Militaire, and his masterpiece, the original, Collector-sized Cognac (#9621), made exclusively of Greek briar (as were Charatans). He considered the Cognac the perfect shape, growing thicker as the smoke proceeded, keeping the pipe cool. It's a great mouth pipe, hand pipe, and sitter. Joe had some sort of preferred agreement with Charatan, I believe, and also sold lots of Dunhills. Those were the three pipes he believed in, BBB, Petersen, Comoy, Sasieni and even Barling having already begun to slide. At that time one never saw a fill in a GBD. . . until their sale in the '70s. Then it was no fills in Virgins, and then it was fills in them, too. (By the way, the letters die-stamped on GBDs indicated which subcontracted carver had done the pipe after initial curing. Joe maintained that the curing after carving was determined by grade, Virgins, and later Pedigrees and Uniques, getting, of course, the longest cure.)

British pipes were it, and though Joe had other makes on hand, I don't remember any Danish or Italian goods. British tobacco was it, too. Better, he used to say, to let the expert blenders blend and then find what you like rather than try and have a store, or you yourself, do the mixing. While he had Baby's Bottom, Three Nuns, various Dunhill blends and many others, along with a logically progressing series of tinned, Lane-blended American tobaccos exclusive to the store, the main event was a complete line of English tobaccos based on Balkan/Best. Ones “below” Best were proportionately milder, and the only one stronger than Best was Exotique, which was merely Balkan with some prime cigar leaf added. Balkan made them all, including Krumble Kake, which was Balkan pressed and sliced, considered by “flake” smokers to be superior. I don't remember seeing 759 until Balkan was sold. It was, at that later time, a more piquant, far more acrid blend with other orientals added. I don't think it was ever labelled by Smokers' Haven.

Before the (retroactive) taste test, here's some more history. The Redstones were a Jewish family who left (fled?) Russia and settled for some time in the Balkans. They perfected Sobranie (which simply means “parliament” in Slavic languages) either there or in London, their eventual home, along with their delightful, white Turkish cigarettes, and their renowned Russian Black and Gold (- tipped) cigarettes. They, too, were masterpieces. The sad history of Balkan Sobranie after its initial sale, years later, is available in other reviews on this site.

The original Balkan purportedly contained latakia (I don't know if it was Syrian, Cyprian or both), Virginia (I don't know the varieties, but none of these ingredients were toasted except, of course, the latakia), high grade English Cavendish, and Yenidje from Macedonia, as advertised on the can. To my knowledge, the only other ingredient, that which imparted some of the creaminess and the hint of vanilla, was deer tongue, the leaf of a weed(!) apparently admissible under the non- adulteration laws at the time, which prohibited all topping but did permit Cavendish. I've tried dried deer tongue leaf broken or crumbled in blends and gotten nothing out of it. Perhaps, despite the common wisdom, Balkan used it fresh. I've heard that its inclusion is why Balkan was labelled a “smoking mixture” rather than “tobacco.” I don't know any of the ingredient ratios, but I was told that the ratios changed every year to compensate for seasonal changes in the individual ingredients' strength and taste.

I've tried Balkan Sasieni, the current Balkan Sobranie, the current Best Blend from the current Smokers' Haven, and Balkan Sobranie throughout the '70s, '80s, 90's and '00s, as well as Margate (probably the currrent Best, as Germain now blends for Smokers' Haven, I've heard), Caravan, Penzance, McClelland's Yenidje Highlander and Yenidje Supreme (which lacks latakia), and countless other English/Balkan/Oriental blends from the late-lamented Dunhills to those corner tobacconist bulk-bought or hand blended attempts to clone Balkan. None have answered, though many are excellent. Yenidje Highlander, though rather light and not very sweet or creamy, at least gives one a real taste of the Yenidje-latakia interplay.

The high quality of the tobacco in Balkan might have been just as important as the types of tobacco in it. Samuel Gawaith's Balkan Flake, supposedly 30% latakia and 70% Virginia (despite the Balkan name) is a good, honest, high quality tobacco to which one could maybe add high quality Cavendish, Yenidje and deer tongue and get somewhere close to Balkan (despite Balkan Flake's caked form). Most related blends already contain Virginia and latakia, so the ratios are problematical. Gawaith's Commonwealth is supposed to be 50%-50% Virginia-latakia and is not caked. Who knows? I've had no luck trying to blend existing blends to emulate the original Balkan.

When taking the little built-in triangular “knife” in the lid of the old Balkan Sobranie, retracting it from the lip and reclosing the can, thus piercing the inner tin lid, the escaping hiss was divine. As one spun the lid, cutting out the inner lid, one caught the full old-leather, old-whisky, old-wood aroma that promised the same consistent taste as always. Yes, the contents were a bit moist and could do with a couple of days' drying, and were springy thanks to the ribbon cut. But who could resist, especially after retrieval of an eight ounce can from a ten can rotation, grabbing an immediate smoke?

As the tobacco rose on the initial light and one tamped it with the index finger and relit, all the wonderful, contradictory adjectives began to pertain. The smoke was so creamy and rich, yet light and subtle, so sweet yet so interesting, it was magical. We used words like “ephemeral” and “protean” to try and capture it, but one couldn't. The smoke, always changing yet always characteristic and steady, could never be ignored, no matter what you were doing: each draw was a conscious pleasure, the whole, like true art, more than the sum of its parts.

Now, it wasn't perfect. Balkan could smoke wet if you didn't dry it out just right, and hot and bitey if too dry. The ribbon cut was tricky to load, and if clumped up could cause voids. There was lots of relighting. While the ash was white, the pipe's heel usually got wet, which certainly demanded a pipe's traditional day's rest for every time smoked. The room note was pretty awful (until you were hooked), almost as gross as that of a yesterday's cigar. Balkan was definitely true to the old bromide that the worse the room smelled, the better the tobacco (don't the girls just love the smell of Cherry Blend).

But such pleasure, such balance, such lack of bite, such a variety of delicious flavors melded into a rich, creamy whole that was somehow also light and fleeting. . . . To this day I don't see why some blender with a microscope and a Japanese degree of patience couldn't reverse engineer a can of pre-sale Balkan strip by strip, testing the pieces against known samples and smoking from each separate pile to verify its identity as accurately as possible. Sure, a truly faithful representation would cost a lot, but what a ready market in the curious, and in anyone else who wanted to smoke heaven to the extent his budget permitted. Anybody out there game?

I welcome other reminiscences, additions, corrections; but, N.B.: the above description is not an unattainable, sentimental concoction born of distorted, rosy memory: it is as accurate as I could make it. Balkan's near universal appeal in those days to lovers of English/Balkan/Oriental blends as a steady or special smoke attests to that fact.
I ordered Deer Tongue and will experiment sparingly

my source for Deer Tongue FYI is
https://herbsofmexico.com/store/inde...oducts_id=1360
this weed imparts a vanilla like quality which would be very much in the back ground in the mixture. If it improves it towards the "Sobranie" taste. i will let you know.
Marcovgv is doing the same I suspect. One concern though, Is that it was banned as a food additive some time ago but tobacco used it in spite of this. What are the real risks in smoking Deer Tongue?
http://www.jstor.org/pss/4253308
Coumarin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As far as this recipe adventure goes i am alarmed by the old fellows remarks in this review that the Sobranie was always changing. I too have experienced differences between several tins and pouches that I have tried which I attributed to aging and other factors. however if it is true the formula was always in a state of flux then I am trying to hit a moving target and can only hope to get in the range. If thats the case I am already there.

sounds7 04-27-2009 10:34 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
marcovgv

I put deer tongue in but how long does it need to be in before it mellows into the mixture? At the moment if I smoke it it is very noticeable when I hit the Deer tongue. Somewhat bitter. Does it soften up and lose the bitter taste?

marcovgv 04-27-2009 11:42 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
How much of each ingredient did you add, and how much deer tounge did you add?

I personally have added a very light amount waited a week and adjusted if necessary. the deer tongue is a natural vanilla additive that I have used lightly to to give the slightest note of vanilla in tobacco blends. I have had the best results by rubbing or grinding it out a bit finer than purchased and tossed in so it spreads evenly and lightly with the other tobaccos. The finer you "grind/rub it out" the smaller the ammount you will burn or encounter throughout the smoke. This causes you to run into the deer tounge in a more even well displaced fashion as opposed to hitting a large piece and getting an overwhelming ammount in a puff. thats my 2 cents

sounds7 04-28-2009 12:56 AM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcovgv (Post 2615048)
How much of each ingredient did you add, and how much deer tounge did you add?

I personally have added a very light amount waited a week and adjusted if necessary. the deer tongue is a natural vanilla additive that I have used lightly to to give the slightest note of vanilla in tobacco blends. I have had the best results by rubbing or grinding it out a bit finer than purchased and tossed in so it spreads evenly and lightly with the other tobaccos. The finer you "grind/rub it out" the smaller the ammount you will burn or encounter throughout the smoke. This causes you to run into the deer tounge in a more even well displaced fashion as opposed to hitting a large piece and getting an overwhelming ammount in a puff. thats my 2 cents

Probably added about a teaspoon per 6oz of Mixture is that too much? I will extract the flakes and break them up more and see if that helps.

sounds7 04-28-2009 02:00 AM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
update: I was able to get most of the flakes out

Do you crumble the dry DT up or do you hydrate it?
I Hydrated and cut into flakes that are small but you can still spot them against the dark flakes of tobacco. Let me know because I really don't have experience with Deer Tongue.

sounds7 04-30-2009 10:42 PM

Re: Homemade Balkan Sorbanie Original Mixture?
 
Since there is still a bit of smaller flakes of deer tongue within I am considering a stoving process to marry the blend a bit. 200 degrees in the oven for a half an hour or so. Any suggestions before I try this?


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:00 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome