Recently we did a review/trade thread on this series on the pipe side of things. Seven of the eight blends in this series were traded around. I decided to write one review for the whole series rather than individual reviews for each blend since they are all very similar.

The seven blends are Classic Samsun, Smyrna #1, Katerini Classic, Yenidje Supreme, Black Sea Sokhoum, Drama Reserve and Yenice Agonya. The other blend in the series, Yenidje Highlander, I've smoked before and it turns out that it is just Yenidje Supreme with some Latakia added.

All of the blends except Yenidje Highlander would be classified as Va/Or. There is no Latakia in them. There is a variety of mature Virginias with some dark, stoved Virginia adding a little sweetness. This Virginia base seems to be the same from blend to blend so the only real difference between them is the Oriental variety. I have to say for the most part, the Virginia base doesn't mask the Oriental flavor and is generally a nice compliment to it. On to the individual blends:

Yenice Agonya - this was my favorite of the series. It is a variety of Yenidje, supposedly very close to the original Xanthe strain. It has a flavor that I characterize as a cross between the nutty flavor I generally associate with Yenidje and the olive flavor of Samsun.

Black Sea Sokhoum - probably my second favorite. A variety of Samsun, it has the olive flavor with a bit of cigar leaf overtones.

Smyrna #1 - either my second or third favorite. Smyrna is commonly called Izmir. The flavor had a hint of sharp cheddar to it.

Drama Reserve - this and Katerini would be my next favorites. The Drama flavor is similar to the olive flavor of Samsun, but much smokier.

Katerini Classic - A Samsun variety, this flavor was not as strong as the other Samsuns, but had a sharper taste.

Classic Samsun - I had smoked a whole tin of this right before we did this review. While it was good, I wouldn't bother getting another tin. Pretty much the standard, olive like flavor.

Yenidje Supreme - the most disappointing blend of the lot. I really never got much, if any, Yenidje flavor from this one. Yenidje has always been one of my favorites and Tudor Castle packs a lot it. I've smoked Yenidje Highlander before, and adding Latakia doesn't help this any. I remember thinking "there's Yenidje in this?" back when I smoked it a couple of years ago.

All in all, these blends aren't spectacular by any means. Smoking samples of each was great fun though. I really liked getting to compare the flavors of the different Orientals. A couple of the blends are good enough that I'll likely pick up a tin or two to have a nice Va/Or for the rotation in summer, but I won't be ordering the whole set again by any means.
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Thanks for being the driver on this one. Pretty much in line with your preferences - Drama Reserve is good stuff. Yenice Agonya has a delicate note that just teases, then flits away. Good stuff.
  • April 25, 2015
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