Trying my hand a blending an English/Oriental Blend

Blog by Steve Laug

I guess it has been a couple of weeks now, maybe more when I had a visit with Alex and he gifted me some dried, uncut Basma leaf that he had purchased. When I got home I decided to try my hand at a blend. I had a tin of McClelland’s Blending Latakia that had been here for a while and some various and sundry Red Virginia and stoved Virginia that was sitting here. Most of those were Sutliffe blends. I emptied 25 grams of the remaining Latakia I had here + 25 grams of Virginia (no toppings) + 10 grams of chopped Basma leaf into a large bowl and mixed them together. Once I had them mixed well I put them in a large bail clasp glass jar and set them in a cool place to let the flavours meld. The photos below show the uncut Basma and a top and side view of the mixture. Now the wait began. I let it meld together for three weeks and decided to load a bowl and fire it up. I wanted to see if I had succeeded or made a mess! I used a Frankenpipe that I had put together for this first bowl. I tamped it down with a Morta and Black Palm tamper that was made for me by the late Ed James when he made a Morta pipe for me. I tamped the tobacco down and fired it up with my Bic lighter. I smoked the bowl while I was working on a restoration of one of Alex’s Malaga pipes.The smell of the tobacco in the bowl was inviting and multidimensional. When I lit the tobacco with the flame the flavour of the tobacco was very good. The blend tasted really fantastic. The sweetness of the Virginias, the smokiness of the Latakia and the sourness of the Oriental Basma combined for a really good smoke. I could only see this one getting better over time. I set the pipe aside that I was working on and just enjoyed the smoke. The flavours swirled in my mouth and left Virginia sweetness on my lips and gums and the Basma’s sourness was tasteful on the sides of my tongues. The smokiness rolled around the roof of my mouth and sides. The combination was a rich, flavourful smoke. I am going to enjoy this one as long as it lasts.

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