Archetypal English

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RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
620
1,867
Maryland, United States
So a good friend from work a few months ago decided to take up pipe smoking. He's coming from almost 20 years smoking cigars and got it in his head pipe smoking might be cheaper (we'll leave that alone a few minutes) as well as smelling better to Mrs. Rookie's Buddy and thus she might have less of a problem with him smoking inside.

Being that he's a good friend and it might lead me to someone to smoke a pipe with, I gave him about a dozen samples with representatives of each genre. Just like a half ounce of a bunch of different things, the same thing any of us would do for a new smoke we know.

As we're comparing notes he brought up that he's having trouble pinning down English blends. For him, that was the style of blend that was just all over the place. Between what I gave him and what he got on his own he said he's sampled around 15 different blends that are classified as English blends according to SP.

The problem he said was that they are all over the place. Some he likes, some he doesn't. But he's having a hard time in that rabbit hole. He asked me for the one blend that is the archetype of English. What is the blend that pops up when you look at the dictionary under English blends. And that stumped me.

I'm not really sure what to suggest as the benchmark. So I put it to you fine gentlemen. What would you hold up as the standard stereotypical English?
 

Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
3,035
14,781
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
I have only had three of those on the list and actually two of them were the bulk match to those listed and within that three they were vastly different from each other. Doesn't Balkan Supreme have Latakia in it ? and Nightcap has orientals ?? I like Match Sunrise (Peterson Early Morning Pipe?) as a mild basic English blend but then I am no expert.
 
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Jul 17, 2017
1,723
6,375
NV
pencilandpipe.home.blog
So a good friend from work a few months ago decided to take up pipe smoking. He's coming from almost 20 years smoking cigars and got it in his head pipe smoking might be cheaper (we'll leave that alone a few minutes) as well as smelling better to Mrs. Rookie's Buddy and thus she might have less of a problem with him smoking inside.

Being that he's a good friend and it might lead me to someone to smoke a pipe with, I gave him about a dozen samples with representatives of each genre. Just like a half ounce of a bunch of different things, the same thing any of us would do for a new smoke we know.

As we're comparing notes he brought up that he's having trouble pinning down English blends. For him, that was the style of blend that was just all over the place. Between what I gave him and what he got on his own he said he's sampled around 15 different blends that are classified as English blends according to SP.

The problem he said was that they are all over the place. Some he likes, some he doesn't. But he's having a hard time in that rabbit hole. He asked me for the one blend that is the archetype of English. What is the blend that pops up when you look at the dictionary under English blends. And that stumped me.

I'm not really sure what to suggest as the benchmark. So I put it to you fine gentlemen. What would you hold up as the standard stereotypical English?
I think we're asking the wrong question. Rather than looking for the archetypal English blend as a benchmark, find out which English blends he did like, and see if they all have something in common. Heavy Lat, oriental forward, with or without perique, any burley, what type of Va as the base, etc.
 

RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
620
1,867
Maryland, United States
I figured this was a question with no definite answer. I know over the course of time and evolving tastes what an English blend is had changed as well. And no the end of the day, we all view it the same. If we like it, it goes in a pipe. If we don't, it goes in a jar until we forget we don't like it and try it again.
 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
18,683
12,016
Maryland
postimg.cc
I met forum member, Les Young around 2011 or so, at a meet-up at Boswells. I had just discovered pipe smoke the year previous and had not yet found "my blend". Les made it a mission, to introduce me to the blend I was seeking, in the English category (we narrowed that style pretty quickly). At multiple meet-ups, Les would always have five or six blends for me to try. More than that was over-whelming. It took the better part of a year before I found and immediately knew it was My Mixture 965. I hope you help your friend find "his blend"!
 

pinem

Might Stick Around
Aug 16, 2015
69
107
Nebraska
I’d say that the legacy Dunhill blends like 965, Standard Mixture, London Mixture, and Nightcap are the “stereotypical” English blends. Even if the current productions aren’t everyone’s favorite, they are the reference points.
I fully concur with this, and would add in Early Morning Pipe to the list. Theses blends are easy for a new pipe smoker to smoke and enjoy too. Depending on which ones he likes would then open up a whole world of derivatives to try out.

For example, of the above, London Mixture is my favorite, which has then turned me on to Westminster, Presbyterian Mixture, Squadron Leader, Red Rapparee, JC Symrna, Bengal Slices, etc., which are all favorites as well. I believe all of these would generally fit into the "Oriental" branch of English blends.

I also found out I'm partial to oriental Virginia blends as well, which unfortunately were something only McCelland excelled at in the recent past, IMHO, but I digress.
 

litup

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 16, 2015
736
2,259
Sacramento, CA
I think we're asking the wrong question. Rather than looking for the archetypal English blend as a benchmark, find out which English blends he did like, and see if they all have something in common. Heavy Lat, oriental forward, with or without perique, any burley, what type of Va as the base, etc.
Well said. I don't see how anyone could help him figure out which English blend this other guy likes without exploring this first.
 

woodsroad

Lifer
Oct 10, 2013
12,024
17,249
SE PA USA
I met forum member, Les Young around 2011 or so, at a meet-up at Boswells. I had just discovered pipe smoke the year previous and had not yet found "my blend". Les made it a mission, to introduce me to the blend I was seeking, in the English category (we narrowed that style pretty quickly). At multiple meet-ups, Les would always have five or six blends for me to try. More than that was over-whelming. It took the better part of a year before I found and immediately knew it was My Mixture 965. I hope you help your friend find "his blend"!
Les has been a defining influence on my pipe journey. Besides being an exceptionally enjoyable person to spend time with, I know of no other pipe smoker who has pondered the flavor complexities of tobacco blends as he has. When Les talks tobacco (or pipes), he doesn’t state opinions, he speaks experience. Big difference there.
 
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ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
18,683
12,016
Maryland
postimg.cc
Les has been a defining influence on my pipe journey. Besides being an exceptionally enjoyable person to spend time with, I know of no other pipe smoker who has pondered the flavor complexities of tobacco blends as he has. When Les talks tobacco (or pipes), he doesn’t state opinions, he speaks experience. Big difference there.
I always say "blessed to know Les". We're pretty fortunate to have a friend like him.
 
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bullet08

Lifer
Nov 26, 2018
9,129
38,401
RTP, NC. USA
So you will need to explain to him what an English blend is and why some calls everything with Latakia, Latakia blend. An English blend has Latakia, Oriental, Virginia and possibly some other. But Latakia usually is the main component where the focus is. Balkan on the hand is where Oriental get the main attraction. Then there's Scottish and others. And depends on the blender, those definition might get cross over and one will be call something else. So, it's easier to call them all Latakia blend and just pick the one he likes.
 
So a good friend from work a few months ago decided to take up pipe smoking. He's coming from almost 20 years smoking cigars and got it in his head pipe smoking might be cheaper (we'll leave that alone a few minutes) as well as smelling better to Mrs. Rookie's Buddy and thus she might have less of a problem with him smoking inside.

Being that he's a good friend and it might lead me to someone to smoke a pipe with, I gave him about a dozen samples with representatives of each genre. Just like a half ounce of a bunch of different things, the same thing any of us would do for a new smoke we know.

As we're comparing notes he brought up that he's having trouble pinning down English blends. For him, that was the style of blend that was just all over the place. Between what I gave him and what he got on his own he said he's sampled around 15 different blends that are classified as English blends according to SP.

The problem he said was that they are all over the place. Some he likes, some he doesn't. But he's having a hard time in that rabbit hole. He asked me for the one blend that is the archetype of English. What is the blend that pops up when you look at the dictionary under English blends. And that stumped me.

I'm not really sure what to suggest as the benchmark. So I put it to you fine gentlemen. What would you hold up as the standard stereotypical English?
90% of the cigars in a cigar shop are trying to mimic the proto Cuban cigar flavors. And, many cigar guys will bawk when a cigar gets too far away from these cigar flavors. Pipe tobacco isn't exactly like this.

We call just about any pipe tobacco with latakia an "English," right or wrong. Latakia doesn't even come from England, ha ha. Excluding Balkans which were blends trying to emulate the original Balkan Sobranie orientals.

So, there is no archetypical (in the definition of the word) English, per se. There are Balkan blends that many think of as English, but no one "English blend," with latakia.

What we do have is variety. A variety of blends creatively using latakia as it's main flavor element. And, thankfully so.

Maybe have him explore Balkans, if he is looking for archetypical tobaccos?

Many recent blends have become