Jim's GQ Blend Reviews

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jiminks

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Aug 31, 2012
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A friend in Scotland graciously sent me seven samples of Glynn Quelch's GQ tobaccos, which I was very happy to try. According to the website, the blends are not sold in the United States nor are they shipped here, but I have heard that they do. If you have a chance to try them, you will find them to be high quality products. For more information, you can check out Quelch’s site: http://www.gqtobaccos.com/
Askwith Kake: The flue cured Virginias are grassy without being dull as some lesser grades are known to be. They also possess a mild natural sweetness with a few citrus and honey notes. The steamed Virginias are sweet with a light fruitiness. A minor herbal hit shows up here and there. With a 20 percent perique content, one might think it’d knock you off your feet, but that doesn’t happen with this blend, though a small to medium bowl is recommended. The perique is plumy, raisiny, spicy and smooth with a nice nic-hit. Many blends with this much perique would have a little harshness, but not this one. In fact, I found this kake to have a little creaminess. It’s easy to break apart and load, and burns well with a consistent flavor, no dottle, and a pleasant after taste.
Balkan Full: It’s called Balkan Full, but that seems to be more of an indicator of flavor than strength, as it’s more of a medium to full smoke for my personal taste. The smokey, woodsy latakias also have a little sweetness I associate with the Cyprian variety. The Virginias are grassy and citrus, very slightly fruity, the latter probably caused by the steaming process. The Turkish Izmir is spicy and woodsy. While smoking it, you’d never guess that this blend is half latakia because it’s not a lat-bomb, nor does it have any sharpness. Has a nice nic-hit. Smooth and very creamy with a consistent flavor, no harsh or dull spots, and barely any moisture at the finish, you could smoke this more than once a day even if it isn’t an all day smoke.
Breakfast Blend: The Turkish Izmir is a prominent component with its smokey, woodsy, tangy sweet and sour notes, but is less so than the Classic Balkan Izmir blend. The Kentucky and dark fired Virginias are sweet and spicy, with a few citrus and honey hits, a little grass and a touch of earth. Well balanced, you get every flavor nuance in every puff all the way to finish. Strong enough to deserve your complete attention without overwhelming your senses. Richly flavorful and creamy smooth. Burns slow, though it is a little moist. It doesn’t bite even if you puff like a locomotive, but I recommend a slow cadence because it just deserves the extra attention. It’s not quite an all day smoke, but it is worth repeating during your smoking day.
BurPer: One of the easiest Kakes to break apart on the market, which seems to be a trait of GQ kakes. It was almost like tearing off small pieces of bread. The perique is over twenty-five percent of the Kake, and is almost as plumy and raisiny as it is spicy. The burley is fairly bold and nutty with natural sweetness. The gold and mahogany Virginias are bready, lightly grassy and earthy sweet with a touch of tangy citrus and vinegar. The maple topping is light applied, does not interfere with the inherent properties of the tobaccos, and doesn’t give a pancake taste either. Not sure what causes the woody notes, but they are there. This has a strong nic-hit along with a full burst of flavor, burns cool, dry with no dottle, and no tobacco left to burn. It has a near perfect burn rate and provides a lot of smoke, with virtually every flavor note in every puff present. Not for the unexperienced smoker, and I recommend a small to medium size bowl to smoke it in.
Classic Balkan (Izmir): The Turkish Izmir is the star flavor with a woodsy, smokey tangy sour quality, but the other components still have their say in the proceedings. The Virginias are citrusy, grassy, and the clean burning lemon Va. in particular is easy to spot. The fired-cured Virginias and Kentucky offer a little spicy, earthy depth. The latakia is a moderate ingredient, adding its own smokey, woody, lightly sweet flavor push. The minor players work well to create some complexity with full flavor and strength, getting stronger during the last third of the smoke. Burns perfectly cool with a consistent taste, and few relights, though there’s a slight bit of moisture at the very bottom. Recommended to those who like a strong mixture.
Classic English: The smokey, woodsy, slightly sweet latakia is almost the predominant flavor, but it allows the other components to have their say. The cigar leaf is woody, earthy, mildly spicy, and a little more obvious at the front end than the finish, though you’ll always taste it. The brown cavendish offers a few slight honey and creamy notes. The Kentucky is a minor addition, but you’ll notice it from time to time. The flue-cured, stoved Virginias act mainly as a base for the other ingredients, but are a little grassy and naturally sweet. Full of flavor and strength with a little sharpness and complexity, it does not overwhelm the smoker as some lat-bombs will, and this isn’t a lat-bomb anyway. Burns perfectly with lots of billowing smoke, very little moisture and few relights. Recommended for experienced smokers, I also suggest using a pipe with a wide bowl for this mixture. It has the highest smokey, camp fire quality of the GQ blends I have tried.
Nottingham Lace: Noir: The Virginia is grassy and a little citrusy, acting mainly as a base for the other components to shine. The black cavendish is sweet without a trace of vanilla or bite. The Turkish Izmir is a team player, providing an obvious smokey, woodsy slightly sour flavor. The perique is raisiny, plum and peppery, more of the latter than the former. There are dried fruit notes that seem to come from the way the tobaccos are processed as well as from the perique. Some ingredients are more noticeable than others at different times, creating a nice complexity. Rich in flavor with a fair amount of strength, it’s creamy and smooth and burns well, cool and even with no dottle or harsh spots, and few relights.

 

darwin

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Apr 9, 2014
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I've only had the Askwith Kake but it's seriously tasty stuff. Glynn is a real up and comer. And by the way he is now shipping to the U.S. It's how I got mine.

 

jiminks

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Aug 31, 2012
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Darwin: glad to hear it, although his website says he doesn't ship to the US.

 

andystewart

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Jan 21, 2014
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Thanks Jim - I've been waiting for these reviews and you don't disappoint. Glyn has a great name in the UK and it sounds like his blends live up to expectations. The Askwith Kake, Full Balkan and Breakfast Blend are on my hit list, so I look forward to giving them a workout.
Andy

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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He has posted several times on Facebook that he does ship to the US. It is rather pricey, which is what prevents me from ordering.

 

darwin

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Apr 9, 2014
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Jim I did see that on the site but my order went through fine. Possibly he's trying to fly under the radar in which case I might be sorry I opened my big yap. It could be that he's willing to deal with a tall stack of paperwork that might be required to ship here when other sellers are not.

 

jiminks

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Aug 31, 2012
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Darwin: I'm glad you did say something. I amended my original post to reflect your comments. Thank you for letting me know. I really want to be accurate.

 

lincolnsbark

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Apr 11, 2013
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Great post. Two of my favorite pipe enthusiasts cross paths here; both the reviewer and blender are top notch.

 

werebear

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May 13, 2014
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@dryseason91, just recently found his youtube channel and I enjoy his reviews, btw I pmed you. And that BurPer kake sounds amazing.

 

jiminks

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Aug 31, 2012
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GQ Cypriot Sunset:

The red Virginia is richly tangy, earthy fruity sweet. The other Virginias are earthy without a hint of grass or hay, and a mild dry fruit sweetness. The Oriental/Turkish is a woody, moderately tangy spicy ingredient that you’ll notice in every puff which gathers more strength after the half way point. The perique is plum and slightly peppery, and is lightly applied for added complexity. The Cyprian latakia is a team player with sweet, smokey, and woodsy notes. The alcohol topping seems to be whisky, but it’s lightly present and doesn’t detract from the tobaccos.The judicious blending of the various components create a medium to full strength, full in flavor sweet and savory Oriental. It’s a smooth cool burning ribbon cut that’s a little creamy with no dull spots or dottle. It also has a nic-hit that will satisfy the craving without bowling you over.
GQ Nottingham Noir Rouge:

The red Virginia is tangy, fruity sweet with some earth. The perique is as peppery as it is plumy, comprising 16% of the mixture. The Kentucky offers strength and a smokey quality with light spice and a hint of nut at times. I don’t know what the alcohol topping is, but it’s lightly applied, and doesn’t distract from the tobacco. Not a very complex blend, but it’s rich in taste and full of flavor with a moderate nic-hit. It’s not quite an all day smoke, but is a repeatable blend during your smoking day. Ribbon cut, it burns slow and even with a clean consistent flavor and no dottle.

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
32,929
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At the Richmond Pipe Show this past weekend, I told Brian Levine about Glynn Quelch and his great tobaccos, because I though he should interview him. Glynn just told me that Brian is going to do that for his weekly Pipes Magazine show. I don't when it will air, but we'll find out soon enough.

 

andystewart

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Jan 21, 2014
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Thanks again for the reviews, Jim. Much appreciated. I have an order in for some of these. I love the dark fruits you describe, but I've never had so much Perique in a blend; I'm intrigued to find out how that much Perique tastes!
Andy

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
32,929
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Andy, Glynn uses perique that has robust flavor, but these are not perique bombs, at least in my opinion. He never seems to cross the line, though he goes to the border on a couple. They are smooth plum and pepper, and I have yet to find a harsh note in any of his blends. The BurPer seemed to be the strongest perique blend he has made and I do recommend eating first, but it won't knock you to your knees like some super strength ropes will. The Classic Balkan (Izmir) got stronger and stronger as I smoked it, and if you don't like a lot of Izmir, it'll be tough to handle after the half way point. But, it sure is tasty!

 

doctorthoss

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2011
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I would love to try his stuff some day t I am on the wrong side of the Atlantic. He is one of the few guys on YouTube who are worth watching, IMO, and I would love to taste what he has come up with!

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
32,929
577
Mustanggt: Glynn does ship to the USA, but he can not accept credit cards. Contact him for details.

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
32,929
577
Here are my latest GQ reviews:
Chocolate & Vanilla:

The very smoky, woody sweet Cyprian latakia is a team player serving as the main tobacco base for the deeply rich, creamy smooth chocolate and vanilla toppings. I notice the chocolate just a little more than the vanilla. The black cavendish is also sweetly smooth in a minor role with a vanilla hit, while the citrusy, grassy, lightly earthy Virginias well support the other components. The strength is mild to medium while the taste is medium, though its inherent richness may make you think it’s stronger than it is. Burns at a moderate pace with few relights, and a consistent flavor that never weakens. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl, which is rare for aromatics. No bite. The nic-hit is fairly mild. The after taste pleasantly lingers without cloying, and the room note will make a few friends for you if you’re out and about. A superior experience that won’t wear thin no matter how many times you smoke it during the day.
Christmas Blend 2015:

You don’t experience that much tobacco taste, though you will have just a little grass and citrus from the Virginia, and a slight nuttiness from the burley. What you do get is a complex multiplicity of flavors from the toppings and casings, some more obvious than others. The spices are always in fair force: cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, and especially the fragrant, spicy clove that plays with your taste buds from beginning to end without overwhelming the other ingredients. The sweet rum is ever-present in a supporting role. The anise is very mild. The apple is mild, but more noticeable than the hint of orange, which doesn’t always stand up for attention. I also get the feeling there’s another fruit-like topping present, but it’s hard to tell. The sweet creamy vanilla black cavendish is sublimated. Picking out what and when you are tasting the toppings adds a little fun to the experience. Doesn’t have much nicotine to speak of, and there’s no chance of bite. Burns at a moderate rate with no weakening of the spicy smooth flavors. It may require a few relights, but not that many. Leaves just a little moisture in the bottom of the bowl, but can be burned to ash without much trouble. The strength is mild to medium while the taste level is just past medium. Leaves a pleasantly lingering after taste and an attractive holiday room note.
Latakia Layer Kake:

Made like a sandwich, the middle layer is smoky, woody sweet Cyprian latakia, which comprises 40% of the easy to break apart springy cake, so it dominates the taste of the product. The “bread” sides of the cake is dark and bright, citrus and fruit sweet, rather floral Virginias, and very woody sweet and spicy Turkish varietals. The Virginias are really more the supporting players than the Turkish, but provide an important function in the balance of the blend. The latakia doesn’t totally overwhelm the other components, unless you design it that way when you rub out the tobacco. In that case, you may have bowls where the Virginias and Turkish will take the lead, unless you add latakia on your own or mix it all up when you fully rub it out, though that would take away a little of the fun of smoking a cake. I suggest cutting the cake vertically as you would a sandwich and packing the bowl in layers because I prefer the proportions as conceived by blender Glynn Quelch. Burns at a moderate rate with few relights. It has a smooth, rich and mildly creamy flavor with no topping. Has no weak or harsh spots, and leaves no moisture in the bowl. The nic-hit is mild to medium. No bite. The blend strength is medium while the taste level is just shy of being full. Has a nice after taste.
No. 2 Dutch Halfzware:

The Virginias have some citrus, a bit of hay and a little grass along with some floral earth. While evident in every puff, they also act as a base for the lightly nutty Kentucky (a minor player), and the more noticeable woody, creamy earthy sweet Turkish. The Turkish has a very light sour hit here and there, and a mild boldness more in taste than strength, but it has some of that as well. The nic-hit is a little past medium as it builds a little during the experience. Not quite an all day smoke though it was designed to be a lighter smoke compared to some of Glynn Quelch’s other products. I rate the strength and taste at medium, though the taste is just past that. There is a certain delicateness to the experience which I attribute to the kind of Turkish employed in the mixture, which makes for repeat performance during your smoking day. I detect no topping. Burns as a moderate, easy pace with few relights, a very consistent flavor, no bite, and no dull or harsh spots. Leaves no moisture in the bowl. The after taste is pleasant as is the room note.
GQ Rum & Honey:

The rum soaked G&H Brown Twist is the major tobacco component, and is earthy, dark fruit sweet, slightly grassy, and rather floral. The floralness mostly comes from the tobacco and perhaps it absorbed a touch of Lakeland while sitting in the factory, but I doubt it. The earthy, nutty burley is a minor component. In supporting roles are sweet gold and black cavendish, both of which help smooth out the blend with a bit of creaminess and a touch of vanilla from the latter tobacco. More sweet rum is added to the mix while the honey playfully joins in as the lesser of the two toppings. I detect a little spice, including cinnamon, and nutmeg, and there’s a little fruitiness that may come from another topping as well as from the rum. Well blended, you will notice most every flavor nuance from first puff to last without any weakening of strength and taste, the former being medium while the latter is just above being medium. It’s fairly close to being an all day smoke, depending on your desire for aromatics with a little strength. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl, though it may need a slight dry time, though I found it works well as it is. The nic-hit is mild to medium. No bite. The after taste and room note are pleasant.
GQ Soft Scotch:

The very smoky, woody sweet Cyprian latakia is the star tobacco component, though it, like the other varietals, is sublimated by the toppings. The Virginia is citrus sweet with a hint of grass and earth in a minor role. The black cavendish has a creamy smooth vanilla taste that helps round out the blend. The vanilla topping is also creamy smooth, and well compliments the more noticeably applied deeply rich quality whisky. Well blended, you’ll notice most of the ingredients in virtually every puff, though the Virginia is the least obvious player. The nicotine level is a shade more than mild, and seems to gain a little strength after the half way point, but it’s not enough to sit you down in your chair. The strength is just past being mild while the taste barely touches the medium level. It may need a slight dry time, but I found it works best as it is. Leaves just a little moisture in the bowl, but the product can be burned to ash without much effort. The flavor remains consistent from start to finish without any weakening, dull or harsh spots. Won’t bite even when pushed, which is not always true of aromatics. The after taste lingers a bit, and the room note is fairly pleasant. As this is a fairly filling blend for your taste buds, it’s not quite an all day smoke, but it’s mild enough to bear repeats.