Hap's Initial Impressions: GL Pease Samarra

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haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,339
1,221
Lexington, KY
I should state up front that GL Pease Westminster is my base of reference for an English blend. Every time I evaluate a blend containing Latakia, it’s in relation to Westminster.


Samarra’s tin note is classic English. The aroma could be a reference point to what a well-crafted Latakia blend smells like. Cut is very familiar if you’ve smoked any other GL Pease ribbons (including the twiggy pieces of Latakia). If I was guessing just based on the color of the tobacco in the tin, I’d say it’s in the neighborhood of 35-40% Latakia. However, I have no idea of standard proportions, so that’s not based on how prominent the Lat is in the taste, it’s just a visual guess.
any expertise, just a visual guess.

Moisture from the tin is perfectly smokable. I would typically dry it out for a few minutes prior to smoking, but I wanted to smoke my first bowl straight from the tin. Those who like their tobacco shy of crispy will be just fine with the tinned moisture.


Samarra takes the match well, smokes cool with very little tendency to harshness. I get a really nice “sum of the parts” flavor from this blend, but I can pick out Virginia sweetness, smoky Latakia, and tangy Orientals. The Perique was not particularly detectable to me, but I suspect I would notice its absence more than I recognized its presence. Less than average relights for me.


Overall, Samarra strikes me as a little brother to Westminster, but it’s no little weakling. It’s a little less full, a little less buttery, and it definitely has less Latakia. Much more likely to suffice as an all-day smoke for you than Westminster.


On balance, I’m not sure if my first bowl makes me want to stock up on Samarra, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the tin. I’m glad it’s out there in the wild, I’m glad it was released well before the deeming date, and I think it’s the perfect mixture for someone who finds Presbyterian too thin and Nightcap too heavy.
 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,151
7,600
Chicago, IL
Good review. It's particularly astute to recognize Perique's role in moderating the blend while staying in the background.
 

logs

Preferred Member
Apr 28, 2019
1,360
3,358
Good review. I recently tried Samarra for the first time. I acquired a 12 year old tin and have smoked about two thirds of it. I think your assessment that Samarra is like a brother to Westminster is somewhat true, but it's far less spicy and has an occasional wine-like note that reminds me of Syrian leaf, although less pronounced. I found myself hoping for a more robust flavor than I was getting, but given the age of my tin, I'm not sure if the Latikia was as flavorful as it ought to be. Samarra is interesting because it's one of Pease's earliest blends and represents what he seems to consider his first notable success. Although I'm happy to have tried it, I'm not sure I'd reach for it again. I much prefer his BlackPoint.
 
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