Archetypal English

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RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
686
2,375
Maryland, United States
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
That makes sense. There's not really a standard. I'll point him towards a decent medium English and he can adjust from there.
 
That makes sense. There's not really a standard. I'll point him towards a decent medium English and he can adjust from there.
Balkans are a wonderful subset of the English. You might point him towards these. Most of those in that list of the TOP 11 Blends that Al posted are in the Balkan category. But, you can't rely 100% on labels, because the marketing copy they put on most labels just don't always follow this historical catagory of what we know as Balkans. Balkan Flake for example is not a Balkan because it doesn't have the other orientals. I know... confusing.
 

RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
686
2,375
Maryland, United States
Balkans are a wonderful subset of the English. You might point him towards these. Most of those in that list of the TOP 11 Blends that Al posted are in the Balkan category. But, you can't rely 100% on labels, because the marketing copy they put on most labels just don't always follow this historical catagory of what we know as Balkans. Balkan Flake for example is not a Balkan because it doesn't have the other orientals. I know... confusing.
I already gave him a good bit of Skiff Mixture. That should give him a good start into balkan blends I think.
 

jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
558
2,053
South Carolina
I may be late to the game here but I have a slightly different thought. Usually when exploring a genre I prefer to begin with simple but user-friendly blends. I've had fantastic luck this year in introducing my friends to historic blends handled by Kohlhase & Kopp. I can't even put my finger on why, but their dressings just seem to be on point. In this case, I'd start the person off with Boutique by McConnell. One can't leap straight to Tree Mixture and thank God for that... There's hardly enough Tree on the market as-is.

 
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RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
686
2,375
Maryland, United States
I may be late to the game here but I have a slightly different thought. Usually when exploring a genre I prefer to begin with simple but user-friendly blends. I've had fantastic luck this year in introducing my friends to historic blends handled by Kohlhase & Kopp. I can't even put my finger on why, but their dressings just seem to be on point. In this case, I'd start the person off with Boutique by McConnell. One can't leap straight to Tree Mixture and thank God for that... There's hardly enough Tree on the market as-is.

Hmm. McConnell you say? That's very good to know. Thank you. I have a couple McConnell tins in my cellar waiting patiently for a chance to move up to the rotation shelf, but I haven't tried anything from them yet, so I was hesitant to recommend.
 
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jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
558
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South Carolina
Hmm. McConnell you say? That's very good to know. Thank you. I have a couple McConnell tins in my cellar waiting patiently for a chance to move up to the rotation shelf, but I haven't tried anything from them yet, so I was hesitant to recommend.
For sure! Don't get me wrong, it isn't the best English out there. But it serves as a great taste foundation. When somebody's excited to try something, it's easy to try to point them towards a favorite blend, but a new smoker may not yet be able to deduce the complexity of an all-new taste profile, so it can risk creating a kind of murky nostalgia on a great blend. They'll think back and remember being disappointed at not having liked it. Starting out with something well made but not especially complex, I find, is the easiest way to help someone form the ground floor of their taste profile.

There's a beer out there, Terrapin's Hopsecutioner. It's not the greatest IPA in the world, but it was my first defining-line ipa. If you made something better than the Hopsecutioner, it was a damn fine IPA and one I would certainly revisit. If it could not beat the Hopsecutioner, then I might as well by the Hopsecutioner instead so I'm probably never going to drink it again. The McConnell recommendation is intended to form that kind of line. An easy revisit, but not a favorite.
 
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RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
686
2,375
Maryland, United States
For sure! Don't get me wrong, it isn't the best English out there. But it serves as a great taste foundation. When somebody's excited to try something, it's easy to try to point them towards a favorite blend, but a new smoker may not yet be able to deduce the complexity of an all-new taste profile, so it can risk creating a kind of murkin nostalgia on a great blend. They'll think back and remember being disappointed at not having liked it. Starting out with something well made but not especially complex, I find, is the easiest way to help someone form the ground floor of their taste profile.

There's a beer out there, Terrapin's Hopsecutioner. It's not the greatest IPA in the world, but it was my first defining-line ipa. If you made something better than the Hopsecutioner, it was a damn fine IPA and one I would certainly revisit. If it could not beat the Hopsecutioner, then I might as well by the Hopsecutioner instead so I'm probably never going to drink it again. The McConnell recommendation is intended to form that kind of line. An easy revisit, but not a favorite.
Thank you! That is EXACTLY what I was looking for.
 
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mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,530
English blends are all over the place, and that's what is archetypal about them. C&D Tuggle Hall is burlily based and an English blend. Give him that list of the best selling English blends and tell him to throw a dart at it. I think he has the idea, he just missed the point.
 

sardonicus87

Lifer
Jun 28, 2022
1,214
13,072
37
Lower Alabama
How about trying a range of English/Balkan blends? Have a head to head of say, Arango Balkan Supreme and Sutliff Match BS 759 and see which one they like better. Then have a head to head with something like GLP Quiet Nights vs Peterson EMP. Ask what they do and don't like about each. Just pick stuff that is sort of opposing in the spectrum first.

Some will have more prominence in a taste of leather, or smoke, or sweet, or incense, etc. Some will be lighter, some heavier, some smoother, some more savory, more spicy, etc. But it can help you narrow down the kind of English they're likely to enjoy by looking for key words in reviews, as well as ingredients.

You can also basically skip any review that says "poor man's Penzance" to help narrow down better reviews of English blends, since every single English, no matter how it tastes, is going to have at least 2 people that says it's a "poor man's Penzance"—it's almost like it's a requirement for something to be an English blend.

That's really the only way, there's no archetype or standard for English. What defines a VA blend is the VA taste; what defines an English blend is the mix of Lat and VA and Oriental tastes. That's part of why there's no archetype—because the pinpoint isn't a particular tobacco being prominent, but the mix itself of different tobaccos. For example, here's some ingredients of different English blends showing variance...

• SPC Plum Pudding Special Reserve:
Black Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia.
• Sutliff Crumble Kake English #1:
Burley, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia.
• Sutliff Match BS 759:
Kentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia.
• Peterson EMP:
Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia.

Also note, oriental alone is a broad category so several different leaves with various flavors (Macedonian/Katerini doesn't taste like Izmir or Samsun for example), which they choose can have different effects.
 
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