English “problems”

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OverMountain

Part of the Furniture Now
Dec 5, 2021
602
1,822
Western Caccalack Hinterlands
My problem is simple. I like them all.

HOWEVER, with the exception of Bengal Slices, they all taste the same!

I couldn’t tell the difference between Northwoods, Countryside, or Squadron Leader, or any other English blend for that matter. They all taste good, but they all taste the same!

Is this normal or just a lack of nuance on my part?
 
Jan 30, 2020
1,258
4,299
New Jersey
Northwoods and Squadron Leader are definitely very different. Northwoods has a light topping and no oriental while squadron leader has no topping and orientals. There should be a noticeable difference between the two (I have jars of each from 2019 I occasionally pick out).

My guess is you are having a hard time getting through the latakia to taste anything else.
 
Jan 30, 2020
1,258
4,299
New Jersey
I'm not a big latakia smoker but for me it just took a little bit of time to work it out when it's more prominent in a blend. I maybe smoke 2 bowls of each in a year but it did take a while to mentally isolate latakia in general to then be able to taste anything else. That was my experience anyway.
 

irishearl

Lifer
Aug 2, 2016
1,850
2,782
Kansas
I only easily discern differences when latakia blends utilize different supporting components. For example C&D Odessa uses burley & perique, BS 759 match uses dark fired, while a blend like C&D Stratfordshire uses cavendish but not dark fired or perique. Can readily discern differences among them.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
38,523
85,311
I only easily discern differences when latakia blends utilize different supporting components. For example C&D Odessa uses burley & perique, BS 759 match uses dark fired, while a blend like C&D Stratfordshire uses cavendish but not dark fired or perique. Can readily discern differences among them.
For me, the problem with each of those is the latakia overpowers the other components. Each of those tastes exactly the same to me.
 

vosBghos

Part of the Furniture Now
May 7, 2022
737
1,583
Idaho
I'd try rolling back the Latakia , and changing the base components , most english/balkan blends are Virginia, Oriental, Latakia, in different amounts with leaf varieties and sources from all over. Then you have casings and toppings especially in those "crossover" blends but, a lot of Latakia can kill all that nuance especially to the uninitiated. If you smoke a very Oriental forward blend with the Latakia in the back of the bus like Presbyterian you will taste them sour musty Orientals and feel the nip of the Virginia.If you smoke say C&D Bayou Night (though technically a Scottish) again the Latakia is not driving the buss you will taste Burley and Perique cooled down with sour Turkish...Enjoy the ride
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,426
52,201
When I was about eight years old, the very best tasting meal in the world was a hamburger with fries and a milkshake at a local restaurant called Robin Hood's Barn. It featured a neon sign that showed Robin Hood shooting an arrow that went in an arch over several neon arrows that lit up consecutively. Anyway, that was the best imaginable meal to me, though my grandma was an actual marvelous cook.

So I think it is a matter of experience and focus. Some people love one blend for life. My dad smoked Granger from age of about 15 to 65 when he quit smoking to take a job at a non-smoking campus.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
13,016
24,406
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I find that super untrue, well for myself. Though I find that it takes a while of dedicated smoking to really get to know one. For me smoking a tin straight through goes like this ..... oh yeah that is generically English and then around Wednesday the nuances start to pop. Kind of like hanging out with a famous model, they all seem the same at first but once you get them to open up you realize you'd rather be smoking a straight VA anyways (mixing my metaphors for my own edification). Seriously though the little difference don't jump out straight away but if you get familiar with them, it becomes easy to imagine someone with a better palate being able to take three puffs and guess which English blend they're smoking.
 

chopper

Lifer
Aug 24, 2019
1,480
3,274
I'm not a fan of blends where Latakia dominates.
Two Latakia blends I'd recommend;

Jesses Own. A mild yet very tasty blend where I'm able to taste the Perique, the Turkish/Orientals and the Latakia adds a touch of campfire.

Balkan Sobranie 759 Match is one that I only tried recently. Now I get what others mean by a 'floral' note that comes from the Turkish/Orientals [Not at all what I was expecting]
It's a rather nice change of pace.

If you like aromatics with a touch of Latakia; Count Pulaski is definitely worth trying.
 

sokrates

Lurker
Mar 28, 2018
37
40
I love Latakia and am generally in the camp of you the more latakia the better. That being said they are all variations on a the same theme and can taste very similar. I've found that I enjoy stronger body latakia blends that have more of a mouthfeel like Billy Budd that has cigar leaf and Tuggle Hall that has a good dose of Burley. Both of these blends can also be found in bulk.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,426
52,201
I think the English genre covers a wide ground and many variations. If they taste alike, it is because Latakia and Perique are used as default condiments and over used in too many English blends, but they are still used differently, in different proportions and from different sources. When you get into C&D Billy Budd, with cigar leaf, it really is a different taste. Likewise with C&D Tuggle Hall, Bayou Night, Mountain Camp, and Stratfordshire, with burley.

I'm not sure you can "try" to taste things. Maybe just relax. The differences may occur to you over time and with a sufficient variety of blends.