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Those were the three pipes he believed in, BBB, Petersen, Comoy, Sasieni and even Barling having already begun to slide. While he had Baby's Bottom, Three Nuns, various Dunhill blends and many others, along with a logically progressing series of tinned, Lane-blended American tobaccos exclusive to the store, the main event was a complete line of English tobaccos based on Balkan/Best. Balkan made them all, including Krumble Kake, which was Balkan pressed and sliced, considered by ? It was, at that later time, a more piquant, far more acrid blend with other orientals added. The original Balkan purportedly contained latakia (I don't know if it was Syrian, Cyprian or both), Virginia (I don't know the varieties, but none of these ingredients were toasted except, of course, the latakia), high grade English Cavendish, and Yenidje from Macedonia, as advertised on the can.I don't think it was ever labelled by Smokers' Haven. To my knowledge, the only other ingredient, that which imparted some of the creaminess and the hint of vanilla, was deer tongue, the leaf of a weed(!It's a great mouth pipe, hand pipe, and sitter. (By the way, the letters die-stamped on GBDs indicated which subcontracted carver had done the pipe after initial curing.Joe had some sort of preferred agreement with Charatan, I believe, and also sold lots of Dunhills. Joe maintained that the curing after carving was determined by grade, Virgins, and later Pedigrees and Uniques, getting, of course, the longest cure.) British pipes were it, and though Joe had other makes on hand, I don't remember any Danish or Italian goods. Better, he used to say, to let the expert blenders blend and then find what you like rather than try and have a store, or you yourself, do the mixing. Best were proportionately milder, and the only one stronger than Best was Exotique, which was merely Balkan with some prime cigar leaf added. I don't remember seeing 759 until Balkan was sold. in Slavic languages) either there or in London, their eventual home, along with their delightful, white Turkish cigarettes, and their renowned Russian Black and Gold (- tipped) cigarettes. The sad history of Balkan Sobranie after its initial sale, years later, is available in other reviews on this site. By the mid 1970's, as inventories of the real stuff had disappeared, the changes became obvious.He considered the Cognac the perfect shape, growing thicker as the smoke proceeded, keeping the pipe cool. Then it was no fills in Virgins, and then it was fills in them, too.But who could resist, especially after retrieval of an eight ounce can from a ten can rotation, grabbing an immediate smoke? The room note was pretty awful (until you were hooked), almost as gross as that of a yesterday's cigar. To this day I don't see why some blender with a microscope and a Japanese degree of patience couldn't reverse engineer a can of pre-sale Balkan strip by strip, testing the pieces against known samples and smoking from each separate pile to verify its identity as accurately as possible.
Yes, the contents were a bit moist and could do with a couple of days' drying, and were springy thanks to the ribbon cut. The ribbon cut was tricky to load, and if clumped up could cause voids. While the ash was white, the pipe's heel usually got wet, which certainly demanded a pipe's traditional day's rest for every time smoked.
This tin, my tin, had more or less 30 years, and was perfectly conserved, yesterday a smoked the last bowl...