Pipes Magazine » Pipe Tobacco Discussion

Search Forums  
   
Tags:   

Scottish Blends -- What the Hell are They?

(35 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by sinistertopiary
  • Latest reply from Jud
  1. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Over here mate asked 'What make a Balkan a Balkan, how is it different from other English Blends', to which python answered 'a Balkan has more Oriental with a little bit of Latakia and an English has more Latakia with a little bit, if any, Oriental', an answer to which I concur.

    My question is, What's a Scottish blend?

    I had thought I once came across a definition that said it was primarily an oriental/virginia blend, but I've been looking around for other definitions.

    The answers I've seen are wildly variable, from GL Pease's claim that 'A Scottish blend is similar to an English, with less Latakia, a more dominant Virginia character and, perhaps, little or no oriental leaf' to answers at http://forum.pipes.org like 'I understand that a "Scottish blend" is similar to an "English blend"...but with the addition of a high percentage of cavendish tobacco' and 'Typically, at least for as long as I have been working in this industry, we have classified Scottish blends as English blends containing enough Cavendish to qualify it as a light aromatic', to 'Dark with Latakia and Black Virginias, deeply seasoned with Orientals, this is the classic full Scottish smoke.'

    This last one is the tin description of McClelland's Oriental No. 14, which has lately become one of my favorite go-to blends. If McClelland's definition is correct then I'm definitely a fan of Scottish blends.

    But is McClelland's definition correct? Certainly they think so.

    Given all these divergent definitions I can't help but think it's one of those rorschach words where it can mean whatever the blender wishes it to mean.

    The reason I ask is because if McClelland's Oriental No. 14 is an example of a Scottish Blend -- which to me tastes like a Balkan where the oriental is pushed even more to the front and center, sweetened with Virginia, the latakia playing a minor role as a condiment giving it just enough body and creaminess -- I want to find more like it.

    There's nothing quite like tobacco: it's the passion of decent folk, and whoever lives without tobacco doesn't deserve to live.
    -Moliere
    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. python

    Bob

    Would Smoke Rabbits if He Could Keep them Lit
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2,258

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I wish that I had an exact answer for your question, but the fact is, I don't.

    That is why in the thread that you pointed out from Mate about what makes a Balkan a Balkan, I had said that I don't worry about the classifications of tobacco blends. As you said, it seems that these "classifications" can mean whatever the blender wants them to mean.

    The waters seem to get really muddy when trying to decipher the difference between English, Balkan, and Scottish blends. It seems that every one has a different opinion on what makes up what style of blend and there is no clear cut rule saying exactly what makes a type of blend that type.

    That is why, for my own purposes and for myself, I classify pipe tobacco blends into 4 categories. Here is how I classify them for myself:

    1) Aromatics - Any blend that has a dominate added flavor.

    2) Virginias - Any blend where the predominate tobacco is Virginia, but it can not contain any Latakia. Sometimes I will classify a VA/PER as a Virginia if the level of Perique is very small and almost unnoticeable.

    3) Virginia/Perique (VA/PER) - Any Virginia blend that contains a large amount of Perique. What I mean by a large amount is, a very noticeable amount to where even the most casual smoker can tell it is in there.

    4) English - Any blend that contains a decent amount of Latakia. The reason that I say a decent amount is, because I have had some blends that contain such a small amount of Latakia that it is virtually undetectable in the blend.

    I know this post didn't really answer your question, but I just wanted to let you know why I don't put too much faith in manufacturers tobacco classifications and how I personally classify them for my own smoking pleasure and to decide what I want to smoke at any given time.

    Basically, I will smoke any blend no matter what manufacturer classification is on it and if I like it, I will continue to smoke it. If I don't I won't.

    "When the Government Fears the People, There is Liberty;
    When the People Fear the Government, There is Tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson
    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Thank you, python, for your sensible response. I figured my question was more rhetorical than anything else.

    However, having the neural network I do, I can't help but try to create my own taxonomy. If English is a family of blends wherein latakia is the defining characteristic I'll take the naive step of creating my own genuses, since most pipers seem to at least differentiate between English & Balkan (as you yourself did). I see it as a question of proportions, so for my own peace of mind I'll create my own (completely arbitrary) definitions:

    • English: latakia dominant, virginia & oriental supporting
    • Balkan: oriental dominant, latakia secondary (or equal), virginia supporting
    • Scottish: oriental dominant, virginia secondary (or equal), latakia supporting

    There, I feel better. But now I can't help but wonder what a blend would be called that has virginia dominant, with oriental & latakia supporting. Confederate?

    I would also add another family of blends,

    1. 5) Cajun Black

    McClelland's superb new leaf.

    Basically, I will smoke any blend no matter what manufacturer classification is on it and if I like it, I will continue to smoke it. If I don't I won't.

    But of course. It'd just be nice if we all spoke the same language.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. python

    Bob

    Would Smoke Rabbits if He Could Keep them Lit
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2,258

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Your classifications of what makes up English, Balkan, and Scottish blends sound good to me, and are very close to what I try to classify them as. Although I have never thought about Scottish blends, your descriptions of English and Balkan are pretty much what I would describe as the difference between the two.

    I agree that it would be nice, and a lot simpler as well, if we did all speak the same language when it comes to what makes a type of blend that type.

    I was just thinking; since we are discussing what makes a type of blend that type, how would you classify an Oriental blend?

    Since you have Scottish style as:

    Scottish: oriental dominant, virginia secondary (or equal), latakia supporting

    Which has Oriental as the dominant but it does contain some Latakia.
    So I would say that an Oriental blend would be:
    Oriental: Oriental dominant, Virginia secondary (or equal)

    Would you agree? Disagree? I can't wait to hear your thoughts and opinions.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. python

    Bob

    Would Smoke Rabbits if He Could Keep them Lit
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2,258

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Also, I just wanted to respond to this part of your post.

    Sinistertopiary Said: ...since most pipers seem to at least differentiate between English & Balkan (as you yourself did).

    It is true that I used to try to differentiate between the two, but I no longer do that in my personal decision making. I do however still read and try to learn about as much stuff pipe and tobacco related as I can, because even though I might not follow it personally, others will have questions about those things as Mate did.

    I see it as my responsibility as a Moderator and Contributing Editor of PipesMagazine.com to at least attempt to be able to answer all questions that our members and readers may have. I may not have the knowledge and/or time to do so all of the time, but IMO, I owe it to all of you members to at least try to do so.

    This is a very interesting and enjoyable conversation that we are having. I hope others will join in with their opinions and thoughts.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I was just thinking; since we are discussing what makes a type of blend that type, how would you classify an Oriental blend?

    The first thing I think of when a blend is called oriental is that the blend serves as a stage to make the oriental a star, with the others ingredients its supporting cast. I'm thinking especially of McClelland's green label tins which exemplify this opinion.

    With such a definition Balkans & Scottish blends would both be classified as Orientals. Indeed that's exactly what McClelland does with Oriental No 14, which they call a "classic full Scottish".

    I suppose ultimately it's a question of balance, since I would not characterize most Balkans as orientals, probably because the orientals are not the star but part of the admixture that gives Balkans their wonderful complexity.

    I wonder how an oriental/virginia blend would be without Latakia. On the surface it seems to me it would be unbalanced. Indeed there was a controversy about Presbyterian Mixture where it was thought it didn't contain any latakia, that it was a straight oriental/virginia blend until it was definitively settled by the maker's catalogue that it does indeed contain latakia. (Very nice blend too, by the way.) This didn't surprise me, since even though the latakia is subsidiary it subtly ties the flavors together by rounding them out in an unobtrusive, creamy base.

    But this is all fun semantics. And yet the human mind can't help but categorize, which is fine so long as the categories don't harden into dogmatic stereotypes.

    This is a very interesting and enjoyable conversation that we are having. I hope others will join in with their opinions and thoughts.

    Agreed.

    [PS: I can't seem to put a line break after the quotes...]

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. admin

    Kevin

    Smoking a Pipe Right Now
    Joined: Nov 2008
    Posts: 6,829

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    [PS: I can't seem to put a line break after the quotes...]

    Yes, I know. It's some silly bug in the code and I'm all out of bug spray.

    I'll make a note to look into it.

    Check Out Our - Pipes Podcast
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. dunendain

    dunendain

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 904

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    My fav Scottish blend is Rattrays Accountants Mixture. I love that stuff but my B&M wants 21 dollars per can. Outrage!!!!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. dunendain

    dunendain

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 904

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I really enjoy this forum. I do not want to name names, but other pipe forums seem to be very stiff. For little reason. PipesMagazine.com rocks.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Mighty Stiff.

    That's why I wandered around until I settled here. Didn't want to have to wear my sunday best just to go out for a drink.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    My fav Scottish blend is Rattrays Accountants Mixture.

    So what makes this a scottish blend?

    ...21 dollars per can. Outrage!!!!

    Here in Canada $21 for a can of some top-notch blend would be a bargain!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. dunendain

    dunendain

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 904

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Wow. I stopped smoking cigars when I moved to California. Honestly I could not afford them. I found out from a friend that I could smoked world class tobacco at a much better price. As well as learning the art of pipe smoking. Also meeting some fine people along the way. My pipe, helped me through a very tough 2008 when in the spring I found I had a very nasty case of colon cancer. Sorry. Did not intend to bum anyone out. I loved the link to the wiki series of Mr. Pease explaining what Scottish, English, and Balkan tobaccos are. Now, can someone tell me what Irish tobacco is. There is an interesting blend by Perretti called Prince of Wales. With Latakia, black cav., and something called Irish tobacco.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. python

    Bob

    Would Smoke Rabbits if He Could Keep them Lit
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2,258

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Dunendain Said: I really enjoy this forum. I do not want to name names, but other pipe forums seem to be very stiff. For little reason. PipesMagazine.com rocks.

    Sinistertopiary Said: Mighty Stiff.
    That's why I wandered around until I settled here. Didn't want to have to wear my sunday best just to go out for a drink.

    Thanks Guys! We try to have a non stuffy atmosphere here and let people speak their minds (within reason). We are all adults and let our members speak (type) and act like adults.

    As far as what makes a type of tobacco Irish tobacco, I have no idea. Maybe a higher nicotine content?
    Maybe ST knows.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. admin

    Kevin

    Smoking a Pipe Right Now
    Joined: Nov 2008
    Posts: 6,829

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Dunendain Said: I really enjoy this forum. I do not want to name names, but other pipe forums seem to be very stiff. For little reason. PipesMagazine.com rocks.

    Sinistertopiary Said: Mighty Stiff.
    That's why I wandered around until I settled here. Didn't want to have to wear my sunday best just to go out for a drink.

    Sorry for the late reply. I had to leave town unexpectedly on some emergency family business.

    Thanks for the compliments guys. It's greatly appreciated and makes me feel good about the effort we put in around here.

    Tobacco Snobs (and Pipe Snobs) are certainly welcome here just as long as they don't act snobbish.

    A fun, friendly, mellow atmosphere is what we are all about. We will save "Mighty Stiff" for the women in our lives and leave it out of the forums and rest of the website.

    Carry on then. Let's smoke.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. dunendain

    dunendain

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 904

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    "Mighty stiff for the women" Right own brother.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Some catching up...

    a very nasty case of colon cancer

    I hope you're ok now.

    As far as what makes a type of tobacco Irish tobacco, I have no idea. Maybe a higher nicotine content?
    Maybe ST knows.

    Me? Why would I know? I thought I was the guy asking the questions...

    However, I did a tiny bit of research, and found essentially two definitions, neither of which is all that helpful:

      Any blend made in Ireland

      Any aromatic blend made in Ireland

    I'd like to know if there's a better definition. I suppose we'd need to go to the blenders and ask them what they mean by it.

    We will save "Mighty Stiff" for the women in our lives and leave it out of the forums and rest of the website.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. python

    Bob

    Would Smoke Rabbits if He Could Keep them Lit
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2,258

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    ST Said: Me? Why would I know? I thought I was the guy asking the questions...

    Since I didn't know, I thought I would just hand the ball off to someone else, lol.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. dunendain

    dunendain

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 904

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Thanks guys. I am cancer free. Thank God and City of Hope cancer hospital in LA. They used robotic surgery that saved my life when I had been written off.
    I really wanted to order a Latakia, black Cavendish blend and Prince of Wales sounded good. It was just the Irish tobacco I was unsure of. I e-mailed Peretti and got no response. It was a good price as well. So, hells bells.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. sinistertopiary

    sinistertopiary

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 143

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I am cancer free. Thank God and City of Hope cancer hospital in LA. They used robotic surgery that saved my life when I had been written off.

    That's great to hear! Congratulations!

    Robotic surgery... wow. Sounds like there's a story there...

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. python

    Bob

    Would Smoke Rabbits if He Could Keep them Lit
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2,258

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I am cancer free. Thank God and City of Hope cancer hospital in LA. They used robotic surgery that saved my life when I had been written off.

    Sinistertopiary Said: That's great to hear! Congratulations!

    Robotic surgery... wow. Sounds like there's a story there...

    +1 Great news!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. dunendain

    dunendain

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 904

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Thank you guys. I feel good. Walk 4 miles most days. Second chance. Everything is sweeter.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. rlunderhill

    rlunderhill

    Senior Member
    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 432

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Second chances are sweet, aren't they?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. nsfisher

    nsfisher

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 3,677

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    My fav. Scottish Blend is MacBarren's Mixture(Scottish Blend) I never looked it up in the reviews so don't know what all is in it, but it's smooth and doesn't bite.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. bubblehead33

    bubblehead33

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Mar 2012
    Posts: 647

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    +1 on the the MB's ns. Got a tin here that's nearly empty, definitely gonna throw another in my next order.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. protestantpiper

    protestantpiper

    Member
    Joined: Jun 2013
    Posts: 205

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    English: latakia dominant, virginia & oriental supporting
    Balkan: oriental dominant, latakia secondary (or equal), virginia supporting
    Scottish: oriental dominant, virginia secondary (or equal), latakia supporting

    This makes the most sense I think of anything I've read on the topic. The real differentiation is that Scottish blends are always superior, as are all things of the Scots i.e. Whiskey, Religion, you name it...

    "Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times."

    Mark Twain
    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. User has not uploaded an avatar

    Anonymous

    Unregistered

    Posts: 15,063

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I also agree on those descriptions.

    Now as to all things of the Scots being superior? Not so much. Ever have Haggis? Now that's some nasty stuff

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. judcole

    Jud

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 3,742

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    The Irish drink whiskey. Scots drink whisky.

    As for actually being on topic,I once raised this question on Yahoo Pipesmokers 2. Joe Harb, who reviews tobacco for Pipes & Tobacco Magazine, and blended at Jack's Tobacco in Milwaukee, told of taking a trip to Scotland, going into pipe shops, and asking to buy an ounce of what the owner considered a Scottish blend. More often then not, what he got was closer to MacBaren Mixture than anything else.

    Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
    Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close
    Rudyard Kipling
    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. daytonsean

    Sean

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2012
    Posts: 655

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    MacBaren Mixture doesn't have any Oriental leaf though, right?

    “We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves.”
    ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. protestantpiper

    protestantpiper

    Member
    Joined: Jun 2013
    Posts: 205

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    The MacBaren Mixture Scottish Blend I have says ready rubbed Virginia, golden brown Burley, to which Cavendish and loose matured Virginia have been added...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. lordnoble

    lordnoble

    Mod
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 2,651

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    But MacBaren MUST be Scottish, right? I mean, look at that Scottish name: MAC Baren... LOL!

    -Jason

    The preceding statement is not to be construed as fact, but merely conjecture.

    Proud member of the BlackBlood Society
    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. brdavidson

    brdavidson

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2012
    Posts: 2,004

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    If it's nay Scottish its Craaaaap!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. locopony

    locopony

    BANNED
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 731

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    First off congrats on being cancer free.

    Now on to less important things.
    I have an H&H Scott blend . It seems a light english with some faint aromatic quality maybe cavindish but not much.
    I also have an Irish blend dont seem to have any lat at all but it may have some and then some whiskey topping.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. estumpf

    estumpf

    Member
    Joined: Jan 2013
    Posts: 180

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I appreciated Protestantpiper definitions of English, Balkan, and Scottish. But where does Perique come in?

    "Properly speaking, a pipe on the dealer's shelf is no pipe at all. It is a piece of carved burl of the white heath. But it is only potentially a pipe. It is only when I behold this piece of potentiality, detect its possibilities for greatness, and by the fiat of the checkbook call it forth from nonbeing [sic], that it becomes a pipe. I place it in my collection. I pronounce it Good." Arthur D. Yunker, "Toward a Theology of Pipesmoking," p. 14.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. homeatsea

    homeatsea

    Senior Member
    Joined: Mar 2013
    Posts: 457

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    MacBaren Scottish is one of my top 3 favorite blends. But aside from that I have no knowledge of Scottish blends or what constitutes one to contribute to this conversation.

    -Home At Sea
    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. judcole

    Jud

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 3,742

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I appreciated Protestantpiper definitions of English, Balkan, and Scottish. But where does Perique come in?

    Not that high a proportion of lat blends have perique.

    Posted 1 year ago #

Reply

You must log in to post.

 

 

    Back To Top  | Back to Forum Home Page

   Members Online Now
   apiperisdown, rsuninv, misterlowercase, darwin, crimsonrat, peckinpahhombre, jmill208, jon11, salmonfisher, philobeddoe, smokeybear, johnnyreb, elpfeife, 4noggins, daimyo, conlejm, cobguy, huntertrw, 7ach, yaddy306, reichenbach, anthonyrosenthal74, clarkj734, ruger414