Squadron Leader...What's The Big Deal?

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branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
I'm not sure Samuel Gawith has anything in their line exactly like what you might be wanting
Well I love FVF. It is super tasty and delicious!
And thank you for the English recommendations! I will have to surely check them out.

 

anglesey

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2014
383
1
I think this benefits from a thorough drying before even looking at. I thnik if you smoke it too wet, i.e, right out the tin, then a lot of the flavour's simply lost in the moisture.

 

broth

Member
Mar 6, 2013
220
0
Sure it is really smooth and has a good tobacco flavor and burns well, but other than that I just found it very bland and the latakia super lacking. When it came to overall flavor, it was super mild to me. And the strength on the light side. It did have somewhat of a redeeming factor towards the end of the halfway point when some good tasting spices broke through though. But still...
So...you pretty much listed exactly why many people like it. There are a lot of people who don't really like a ton of latakia. There are a lot of people like me who LOVE latakia but don't always want to smoke lat bombs. You aren't missing anything. The "big deal" is exactly what you posted about it. It's easy to smoke and it tastes good. And to me SL isn't uninteresting either. It really wakes up in the right pipe or if you retro-hale/snork. It's got a really nice leathery note I haven't tasted on many other tobaccos.

 

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teufelhund

Preferred Member
Mar 5, 2013
1,499
0
St. Louis, MO
I'm not a big fan of this tobacco; there are other medium english blends that I prefer for a better price. It does however have very cool artwork. I still have the one and only tin that I bought.

 

rmbittner

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2012
2,098
3
"Well I love FVF. It is super tasty and delicious!"
Sorry, I didn't mean to give the impression that SG doesn't do other great tobacco! :) But from your OP, I thought you were specifically looking for a full-bodied, latakia-forward English, which is why the Squadron Leader was a disappointment.
BTW, an earlier poster to this thread mentioned the subtleties of Squadron Leader, which you won't get if you approach it thinking, "Well, it's just another mild English. Something to smoke while I'm doing something else." I like to go into any new blend assuming that it has layers of mystery waiting to be discovered. I think it helps to keep asking questions for those first half-dozen bowls: Does it change down the bowl? What flavors am I picking up? How is it balanced among the various tobaccos? Is there any sweetness, bitterness? Does it remind me of any other flavors, any other blends? That kind of thing. Of course, there are lots of blends that only answer back with the equivalent of a dumb stare. They don't know what I'm talking about, and they're confused why I'd even ask. But then you find those blends that do have answers, and they're great answers, and your time and attentive smoking ends up being very well rewarded. I think that's how I feel about Squadron Leader; it's not my favorite blend by a long shot, but it does reward mindful smoking and I'm glad I've a dozen or so tins in the cellar.
Bob

 

7ach

Senior Member
Sep 10, 2013
450
6
I didnt like it at first but it has grown on me. It's light enough to smoke any time of day and goes well with a morning cup of coffee.

 

hakchuma

Preferred Member
Jan 13, 2014
780
34
I have to agree with Squadron Leader being a little over hyped. I almost think the popularity of Squadron Leader has something to do with the actual name more than the blend itself :)

 

salewis

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2011
413
0
Squadron Leader is not for everyone, especially if want a strong, high latakia blend which this blend is not. However, if you want a very tasty, easy to lite tobacco that has very tasty Virginia and great oriental tobacco and light on latakia then Squadron Leader is not the tobacco for you. I usually smoke Virginias but when I want a low vitamin N English Squadron Leader is my choice.

 

rcstan

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2012
1,467
1
Sunset Beach NC
SL is an occasional blend for me. I prefer it fairly dry. Like the others said, very similar to 965 and EMP.

Seconds on Balkan Flake ( incense-like Latakia , 15% ) and Commonwealth ( Latakia "bomb" , 50% of the smokey stuff ), although if you seek complexity there, you might be disappointed.

If you want something with the same profile as SL but with more oomph, try Gawith Hoggarth Balkan Mixture. For a slightly sweeter, and not as Turkish ( read "bitterness" ) as SL, give Balkan Sasieni a shot.

 

trucha

Member
Jan 26, 2013
106
0
I love EMP and I thought that I would naturally love SL too. However I just can't wrap my palate around this one. I can't put my finger on it but there is something just lacking in this one. I've tried giving it a year and I had the same thoughts. Interestingly enough I've heard several people say the opposite IE they can't stand EMP but love SL. It is funny how such similar blends can elicit such differing opinions.

 

sallow

Preferred Member
Jun 30, 2013
1,259
993
The name and the tin art do it for me. It was my first latakia blend I smoked so I always think of it fondly. These days however I prefer Quiet Nights or Key Largo.

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
I will give all who mentioned the artwork a huge amount of props :lol:
One of the things that drew me to this blend (other than the reviews) was the amazing artwork and the name.
I am hoping that the drying and aging will bring out some new flavors in it. Until then I have my Frog Morton blends, my Virginia's, and my B&M blends to tide me over haha.

 

tuold

Preferred Member
Oct 15, 2013
2,125
81
Beaverton,Oregon
As a long time pipe smoker who limited himself to Tinder Box's Crown Royale for so many years, my first taste of Squadron Leader was a taste revelation I still enjoy. In fact I just now spent an hour and a half with bowlful in one of my jumbo Wellingtons. It was (as usual) smooth, tasty and burned all the way down without a relight.It was just a great,spicey relaxing smoking experience and I can always count on it being that.
Eventually I'll move on to something else. I've got 4 ounces of Frog Morton's On the Bayou in my shopping cart at Pipes in Cigars. Many of the aficionados here seem to recommend that and I'm eager to give it a try.

 

doctoronln9

New member
Oct 23, 2013
23
0
I love Squadron Leader, myself. It was the first tin tobacco I ever tried and it was bought solely on the name and tin artwork. It was my first non-aro blend and I just love it. It's mild enough that I'm never not in the mood for it. Since I bought it, I've tried Balkan Sasieni, Orlik, Capstan, Three Nuns, a few Dunhill mixtures, etc. With the exception of Orlik, I keep thinking, 'This is good stuff, but I think I like Squadron Leader more.' Can't explain why, but I'm sure first impressions are the major reason.
Orlik, on the other hand, is something I think I'll be puffing away on for years to come..

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Eventually I'll move on to something else. I've got 4 ounces of Frog Morton's On the Bayou in my shopping cart at Pipes in Cigars. Many of the aficionados here seem to recommend that and I'm eager to give it a try
That's a decision you won't regret sir! On the Bayou is probably my favorite blend thus far. Great spice and just enough latakia to make it interesting. I constantly have a supply of Bayou and Cellar on hand because they bounce back and forth as my go to blends.
I had another bowl of SL last night and I may have one with my coffee in a moment here. I found that when drinking some fine bourbon (4 roses single batch last night) it did bring out a little more flavor than it had previously. :lol:

 

broth

Member
Mar 6, 2013
220
0
I agree about the name and tin art. I'm sure those have sold an incredible amount of tins because they are both fantastic. There have been times I've smoked SL and thought it was a little bland, especially when I first started smoking it. But to me finding the right pipe and retro-haling it have made me a huge fan. I have a Peterson System Standard 303 that loves Squadron Leader (actually that pipe loves just about anything).

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Just a quick update...
Had some SL with some strong french roast coffee and smoked it in a more "open" pipe. I really got it burning hot and it seemed to open up the latakia a bit more. So maybe this is just one of those situations where I needed to smoke it a little hotter and have a strong drink to clear my palette between puffs.
It's still not what I wanted it to be, but at least I am enjoying smoking it now :lol:

 

mikenac

New member
Jan 19, 2014
18
0
I felt the same way about EMP at first, but then I ordered some Pirate Kake. Smoking that tin made me want to rotate in something a with a little more mild latakia.

 

aristokles

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2011
402
0
I think this benefits from a thorough drying before even looking at. I thnik if you smoke it too wet, i.e, right out the tin, then a lot of the flavour's simply lost in the moisture.
anglesey has nailed it in my opinion. I know it does not SEEM right, but in my experience with SL adequate drying was rewarded with a far better smoke.

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
anglesey has nailed it in my opinion. I know it does not SEEM right, but in my experience with SL adequate drying was rewarded with a far better smoke.
It does seem odd since it comes out of the tin in what I would consider the perfect humidity. I will leave some out in a tin and see what it does after a day or so. Maybe a lot of the other subtle notes people talk about will come out once it has some moisture out of it.

 
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