The Doctor Is In
It's a nice medium-bodied smoke that doesn't tire out the smoker with too much latakia or too liberal a hand with the orientals. It's extremely well balanced and very complex. After my first tin, I knew that this one was going into my regular rotation. One of the nice things about this is that it's a good starter English for an aromatic smoker moving into Latakia Land, and it's also a great smoke for the seasoned pipester. It's an unassuming tobacco that, in not trying to do too much, ends up in doing everything right.
SG should be proud of this one. The smoky, woody Cyprian latakia hit is modest, as are the light, light, light spice and moderate level dry wood notes from the Turkish.
I find this to be more Virginia forward than English blends tend to be. The Virginia is grassy with some citrus. Has a mild nic-hit and no harsh spots. Burns at a fair pace, cool and clean with a fairly smooth, consistent flavor. Requires few relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. Has a pleasant, short lived after taste. This is more of a mild to medium entry level introduction to English blends. Squadron Leader has been my mainstay, medium English mixture for 15 years running. It is the hub of my English mixture tasting wheel, my measure of a medium English mixture and all variance is indexed to it.
Do you have a benchmark tobacco in certain genres or categories? It would be interesting if you shared that in your reviews.
Bright, medium long ribbons and dark Virginia broken flake make up the base, with a compliment of lively, nutty Turkish and woodsy Latakia. This does not appear to be cased, topped or scented. Perfection, also by Samuel Gawith, would be example of a topped mixture. I do not taste American-style Cavendish. The flue-cured leaf really provides a naturally sweet, chewy and a nearly caramelized presence at times, while giving the blend its overall structure.
The Virginias set SL apart from other, beloved medium English offerings. Next in flavor contribution comes the Turkish leaf as a noticeable, pleasant condiment. Then there is latakia. It has just the right amount of Latakia for a medium English mixture. It could have a bit more, but not much more without bleeding into some other style. If you do not like Turkish tobaccos or you define an English mixture as heavy with Latakia with minimal Virginias and Turkish, then SL might not be for you.
SL burns to a white ash with no dottle. Even with the Virginias requiring slow, steady puffing, the smoker is rewarded with copious clouds of cool smoke. The flavors from the constituent leaf migrate in and out, deepening as the ash moves from the rim to bowl bottom. Delicious barely describes this blend. This works best in for me with group 4 or larger chambered pipes in my experience. Compare straight sided to tapered smoking chambers with SL, and note the differences in finish.
The drier and cleaner the pipe, the more subtle flavors come through. SL really shines if the packaging moisture content is reduced so that the blend is still pliable without feeling moist.
SL is blending perfection for those who appreciate medium English mixtures in a classic presentation and form. The first tobacco that I took to immediately. I didn't know that non-aromatics could taste like this! In the beginning I smoked the aromatics that came with the starter kit my wife gave me for Christmas After a month or so of smoking these -- intensely flavored, high nicotine -- tobaccos, I found myself no longer enjoying pipe smoking; and for a month or so I left off with it.
Then I tried the aromatics again mainly 1-Q and found that they had enough nicotine to subtly soothe me after a day's work. But I wanted more -- and not just nicotine. I wanted a pipe smoking experience that was of a piece with the men from pre-industrial times. I enjoy the historical aspect of pipe smoking. For me, it's a romantic connection with the past -- with simpler times. And, in my imagination at least, men of yore smoked "real" tobacco -- not "aromatic" tobacco sprayed with food-grade flavoring.
Also, I wanted more nicotine! I went to the local tobacco shop and asked for something between aromatics and the high-nicotine ropes I had tried.
The guy behind the counter had no clue. Cigars seem to dominate there. On a whim, I asked for Squadron Leader recalling a singular reference to its substantial nicotine content. The guy helping me asked the boss if they still had "that bag of Squadron Leader in the back", leaving me with the impression that it had been consigned to an out-of-the-way place and forgotten.
Disappearing to the back of the store, he returned several minutes later with a giant sack of Squadron Leader. I procured two ounces, drove straight home, fired up a bowl, and immediately fell in love.
My only experience with latakia thus far was Ten Russians -- a tobacco firmly situated in the unofficial category of "lat bomb". I didn't like it; but in the proportion found in Squadron Leader, the latakia gave the tobacco a new dimension that I had not previously experienced in non-aromatics.
It is difficult to describe due to my unformed palate, but it seems to lend a subtle earthy, if not slightly exotic flavor. Yet, credit must not be withheld from the Virgina and Turkish tobaccos for their role in the ensemble. Something Turkish or Virginia, I don't know is playing a nice sweet note. The whole thing together is a symphony of taste that is quite magical to me. After learning that Squadron Leader is considered a somewhat quintessential English blend, I have procured several English blends, all of which are quite good, if not excellent; but I think Squadron Leader is just exceptional.
My only beef with Squadron Leader is that it tends to smoke hot. I thought I was just being a noob, but after going through a fresh tin, trying various packing and smoking variations, I think it's the tobacco. Yet, when packed just right and sipped slowly it smokes just fine.
Oh, and the nicotine level is quite nice -- probably around a six on a scale of ten. The much hyped, talked about, 'legend', Squadron Leader. Does it warrant such acclaim, or does it deserve pillorying?
After many years of smoking here's my view:. The blend's on the coarser side of ribbon, and without astonishment every tin arrives with damp contents.
It gives an aroma of a very mild English. Squadron' ignites easily, providing it's not been loaded fresh. The smoke from it's synonymous to the likes of D' Hill Early Morning': The Lat' provides a smokiness, but is of an equal weight to the Turkish, which gives a woody, slightly floral, spiciness.
The Virginia lends a sweetness but is easily outweighed by the LaTur side. There isn't any trace of added flavouring, it's a good old fashioned natural smoke. The burn couldn't be any better: So, does it do justice to the hype? I don't think it's any better than a plethora of English's. That doesn't mean I won't highly recommend it, I will, the smoke's very good, but I don't think it warrants as much hype.
The smell immediately after opening the tin is of very very sweet Virginias and very fine smoked Latakia and Orientals. A mix of Pot Pourri and smoked charcuterie I would dare say. The wetness of the SG flakes is infamous. However, their ribbon cut tobaccos are of ideal moist and can be smoked directly from the tin. The smoke is very very balanced, between the Va, Or, and Latakia. I can distinctly taste the high quality sweetness of the Virginias with the spiciness of the Orientals and Latakia.
This blend is ideal for the people who want to introduce themselves to English blends, and they will surely know whether they will like English type blends or not. However, I am thinking for the people who like Latakia a lot, they should go for another blend having a higher proportion of it, as Squadron Leader has just the right amount of it.
Anyway, I am sure this blend needs no further evaluations, as it is a quintessential English blend widely available worldwide. Room note wise, the roomie was not very impressed with the smell, but I love it and seriously could not care less. Davidoff - Royalty , William P. Solomon - Presbyterian Mixture. Squadron Leader is a mild, medium body english smoke. This blend has the three flavors I love in tobaccos. Sweetness, Spiciness and Earthiness. This ones a grand slam blend for me. I've learned rather quickly that Samuel Gawith makes some of the boldest, strongest dark virginias out there.
They add such a beautiful level of depth and flavor to this blend. Samuel Gawith is a legendary blender for a reason. Quality old fashioned blends for pipe smokers with a taste for tradition and class. The first half of the bowl was quite nice. The Orientals took the lead and provided a sour, spicy flavor that I find desirable. The Virginias provided a proper amount of sweetness. The Latakia was a bit lacking for my taste, but I was enjoying this blend regardless. Then I hit the second half of the bowl and something went horribly wrong.
The smoke became a bit acrid and the spice pretty much disappeared. It began leaving a musty, stale aftertaste in my mouth. It got so bad I had to dump the bowl. I waited a full day and tried again. I don't know, but at the price they charge for this I expect better.
I'll stick with Engine 99 at half the price. Very frar from the favorites I finally popped a well aged tin 4 years old of Squadron Leader to satisfy my once in a great while Latakia craving. Well, not much Latakia to crave here. It is a very light Latakia blend with little nicotine a recreational drug I enjoy in large daily doses!
The tin art also looks great! Squadron Leader is a creamy, smooth, light English with excellent flavor. The Latakia is in perfect measure and does not overpower the gently sweet Virginia, and the light Orientals.
This tobacco is easily an all-day smoke in any size pipe. As mentioned earlier, this tobacco is one of the "smoothest" English Blends I have ever enjoyed. Perfect from start to finish; never boring. A very pleasant and light English blend. Upon opening the tin you will get a good grassy earth aroma with floral notes and just a hint of the smokey Latakia smell and excellent ribbons of tobacco. It is light on Latakia, and certainly does not have a great deal of oriental in it as there is no punch to it, but rather than being Virginia heavy in taste it does well to be a balanced blend in which you can taste all that is in it.
It has a smooth retrohale which I find kind of sweet, normal with some English and in this case complimented well by the very small hint of "Lakeland essence" it contains. I think I need to preface all my reviews with "I have no idea what I'm talking about -- I just know what I like. But recently I thought that maybe I should gently wade back into English blends that are just a bit more challenging than what I've been smoking, but none that are too strong or have too much latakia in them.
Well, if that describes you at all, I think you should try this. I feel like I've hit paydirt with this one! The smell when you open the tin is just heavenly. Someone in some other review here said there's no tin note to speak of. I shove my nose in the tin each time I open it and just inhale for a couple of minutes before packing my pipe. Sometimes I open the tin and sniff away even when I'm not going to smoke a bowl!
And the flavour, once you do smoke it, is subtle, though Flavours come and go as you progress through the bowl.
It's like a chorus after the single note of Virginias. I don't really have the vocabulary yet to describe those flavours but suffice it to say that there's nothing here which is overly challenging though it's certainly a lot This one is going to be a new regular smoke for me.
And the name and retro tin design don't hurt either. How can you go wrong with a pipe tobacco called "Squadron Leader"?! I bought my first tin of this back in Was watching this like a hawk till it was restocked probably for the th time.
I was still fairly new to pipe smoking, so i truely didnt know what i had till today!!! I think i had bowls of this at absolute most when it first came in. It really didnt do anything for me. I remeber cracking the tin, and seeing light and dark golden colors with some black strings in there. Is that what an "english" tobacco looked like? It should be dark, dark, dark and smell terrible!!! This smoke didnt wow me. I almost didnt recognize this tobacco.
The leafhas completely changed color!! Its now a rich, chocolate brown, with even deeper blacks in the mix. Luckly it was labeled. Opening that jar was amazing. The aroma is the most wonderful, tangy, zesty spice i have ever smelt.
But its so smooth it doesnt burn your nose. It has almost a creamy texture to it. Lighting this was great. The aroma that came off the smoke was perfect. Just how i like it! It resembles , but less spicy, and a little less body. Dont take that the wrong way. This stuff is great. But the characterists mock now in just the slightest suggestion.
SL stays true the entire bowl. No added strength if pushed. No crazy head spins. Just pure soft spicy with added sweetness. I think its time to snag some more tins and let them rest for 3 years. Squadron Leader is not a name of deception. SL is truly a leader. The imagery of the tin is really great symbolism of this smoke as well. Like a squadron ace, this blend is full of zip and punch from the tin aroma to the last puff. Not lacking in nicotine, SL is a type-A viator smoke that is worth the ride.
It is, surprisingly, a smooth smoke with zingy, latakia and oriental updrafts now and then. This was one of the first English blends I tried. I had great expectations based on the reviews and stars awarded, and the tin art is just super. The expectation mounted as the tin was opened and the tin aroma was that typical and very earthy "english" smell that I was just beginning to recognize and like.
SQL lit well and the smoke started off ok for the first puff or two but what happened next was not expected - it turned out that I thought I had ordered the Biryani but got the Vindaloo instead. The peppery spice kicked in really heavily around puff no. I didn't like the experience but got on line, found out that it was a feature of SQL and one that peole liked.
I tried a few more times and gradually started to get used to it a bit. But still didn't like it that much. However, The tobacco dried rapidly and within a few months the quality of the smoke had really deteriorated, become very hot and steamy to the mouth, and so I gave up without ever fully becoming acquainted with this standard bearer for the "English" style.
I will try again but will have a corn cob at the ready when i do because it really ghosted my pipe. I don't quite get all the fuss about this traditional english blend.
I ordered 50g bulk, and I was rather unimpressed: In comparison to other blends of this kind, the strong Latakia smell one should expect is almost absent: It burns great, maybe a bit wet, but very even, leaving very little dottle in the light grey ash.
However, the main disappointment comes from the rather bland taste: It shows some nice variations at each different puff, and actually gets tastier after the middle of the bowl.
As expected, the Latakia presence is always very subtle. I found some similarities between this and Crown Achievement. Ultimately pleasant, but there are several better blends out there that I find more satisfying. Can't beat the convenience of buying this in bulk, though! I tried the tin version of this tobacco, too. Well, it costs more, but the extra cost is certainly worth paying for. In the tin, Squadron Leader is a good medium EM, not as tasty as some of my favorites, but a very nice all-day smoke.
It has some similarities to Dunhill's EMP, probably a little tastier, especially if smoked slowly. Very gentle on the tongue, too. Buy the tinned one if you like English tobaccos! I keep returning to this tobacco once in a while, and it's always a solid choice!
Recently I have fallen in love with Skiff Mixture by Samuel Gawith, and I can say that while both are very traditional medium English mixtures, the character is subtly different. Skiff is sweeter, while Squadron Leader tends to be spicier and drier both in taste and moisture content.
Squadron Leader seems to have a different kind of Latakia, and at times it almost seems of the Syrian variety while Skiff is declaredly Cyprian. And it seems slightly stronger in nicotine than Skiff. I tend to prefer Skiff a little bit because of its rich creamy complexity, but I think that all lovers of English blends should seriously try both.
SL has so many great qualities that make it one of the premier English tobacco blends on the market today. I would recommend you buy this in the g packs when available. The latakia in SL as it slowly burns in your pipe smells absolutely wonderful. Just that smell alone makes me love this blend so much. The components are well balanced. The one gripe is that it comes wet and needs some drying time.
But that's to be experienced with any Sam Gawith tobacco. This was my first mixture with Latakia. As it often happens with tobaccos, the packaging was a key factor in choosing it.
The image is very nice, the story behind this tobacco is fascinating, and the reviews were very positive. A mixture with Latakia, not heavy on the Nicotine compartment. My first smoke was a bit difficult, yes, SG tobaccos are very moist with many relights. The following smokes were better, and I started to enjoy a completely different world, compared to the Aromatics one.
It's been a while since I last smoked Squadron Leader, now I'am an Aperitif-addicted, but I plan to have another bowl soon. There isn't much that I can say about this tobacco that hasn't already been said in previous reviews. It is one of the most perfectly balanced English blends that are out there today, and all of the hype is most definitely warranted. I am not one to jump on a bandwagon, but when it's good, it's good. No tongue bite whatsoever, even if you get a bit too crazy with the puffing.
The latakia is present but definitely not overwhelming. The other tobaccos have plenty of room to make their presence known. It is a wonderful candidate for an all-day smoke. If you like English blends at all, you want this in your pipe. Buy more than one tin, because a single tin just isn't enough.
My only regret with SL is that I didn't try it before, as my taste buds took a real pounding from all the heavy Latakia mixtures. The best way, for me, to try Latakia light English tobacco is to stop smoking for a few days, a reset of sorts and then smoke slowly. The tin artwork is great, the smell in the tin is of subdued Latakia some sweetness and an exotic bouquet.
It lights easy and burns to a white ash. The mixture reminds me a bit of Presbyterian Mixture but with more Latakia and stronger Virginias and Turkish. I'm a "long time listener, first time caller" to English blends. After much research, I thought I would start with SL as it has so many, and overwhelmingly positive, reviews.
And I admit I'm a sucker for the biplane on the tin. I was a bit put off by the smell from the tin. It wasn't really bad, just unexpected. Added to the woody smell is a bit of a funk.
It burned very well, maybe because of the uniformity of the ribbon cut. So I was surprised when I found something that I can only describe as a twig. Not a problem, Just wondering how it got through the system. This definitely has the woodsmoke flavor English's are known for. Easy smoking, no bite, lots of smoke, and stays lit.
I'm not sure if I will become an English smoker, but there's nothing wrong with this tobacco. And I now know what an English tastes like.
Based on other's reviews, it probably doesn't get much better than this, so I will return someday or maybe try Frog Morton Cellar for a twist on an English.
A medium-strength Latakia mixture, also containing perique. The smell is fruity and floral. The taste is unique - dry and dark, with a hint of fruit and spice, no doubt from the perique. It is well balanced, and medium-bodied. This is in my regular tobacco rotation. Beautiful Tin Art-I understand that back in the gap it would have been embossed bet that looked sweet. The tin note is scrumptious, and I sense a faint cocoa-like scent.
I know that makes little sense, but I got it day one nonetheless. Upon opening the tin, I reminisce over Willie finding that Gold Ticket, as the pricey gold foil peels back to reveal a compressed block of high quality ribbon.
Its densely packed, professionally cut and appearing heavier than 50 gms normally feels to me. I have burned this without drying-due to great moisture- just springy and slightly tacky upon compression. I find for me this burn well when stuffed, it doesn't burn hot, requires few if any relights.
It becomes slightly sweet than slightly sour, moderately high Vitamin N, but solid and good all day long. I especially like the retrohale. Good quality dependable smoke-which is understandable with its loyal following. This was a very pleasant smoke. It is Virginia-forward with grassy and slightly sweet notes. There is enough latakia to taste without overpowering the other flavors. You can distinguish the orientals and that solid Virginia foundation is always there.
I'm somewhat of new pipe smoker transitioning away from aromatics and all-Virginia tobacco to English blends. So here's my thoughts, as I opened the tin, I noticed that the tobacco was a bit moist, not "wet" as some users described to be.
Upon light, I immediately noticed the virginias with a bit of the Latakia as an undertone like a seasoning. My description was a nice sweet, tangy, hay or glass-like flavor which was quite tasty actually with a bit of spiciness, pepper, and saltiness from the Latakia.
Everything complimented each other like any other good tobacco. As I started moving to the mid-bottom of the bowl, the Latakia definitely became more pronounced, the tobacco started giving me stronger flavors of oak, leather, pepper, with a subtle sweetness to it. The vitamin N definitely started hitting me at the near bottom of the bowl. The tobacco smoked all the way through, leaving me with all white ash although I had to relight a few times. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience, a great introduction to English blend tobacco.
If you're curious about trying English blends, I would definitely start with this one. It's very gentle smoke with lots of flavor. She is a bit hard to keep lit at least for me , so maybe a little drying might work for this one. I experienced absolutely no bite, it was very cool smoke. I can definitely vouch for all the great reviews of this tobacco and keep this one as one of my "favorites".
Every time I see people praise SL I can't help but laugh. This tobacco is exact replica of cheap communist-era Eastern European cigarettes. Very cheap Orientals and Lat, but only people who had the "opportunity" to smoke Eastern European cigarettes would know it.
Giving credit where credit is due - it's the only one of the SG tobaccos that is non-aro and therefore could be smoked right out of the tin. This is my first review out here and I want to start by saying thank you to you all.
This site along with your reviews have really made this pipe smoking adventure so much more enjoyable. Discovering all these tobaccos has been a revelation. Samuel Gawith - Squadron Leader has become a staple in my rotation.
I tend to like a little bit of everything, including this wonderful medium strength English blend. I started with and worked my way through two tins of this with great pleasure. Following the tins, I also have my first bulk order in hand and have a few ounces of that pound in ash.
I found that there WAS a difference in the two versions. The tined versions were more mellow and nearly perfect moisture wise. Compared to the bulk version, I found it to be overly moist and a little rougher around the edges. Just a couple months in a Mason jars big one it has mellowed out. Overall, I find a very interesting duality in this tobacco.
On one hand it leans toward the peppery side for an English. It also has a real creamy character that is amazing. After a two or three bowls my palate is a bit overloaded and it needs a rest from the pepper bite. That said, a bowl of Squadron Leader is a daily given at this point. Even with the pepper aspect this is a smooth enjoyable smoke.
I DID have problems with bite but it was with bulk that was overly moist and I was not practicing patience and self-restraint. Given proper drying time I have zero bite issues. That said, having an Ashton Artesian, Mac Baren Vintage Syrian along with this wonderful Squadron Leader blend is making for a very enthusiastic and quite content pipe smoker.
This is my go to when I need a little zing in the bowl. Given the spice, I have to give this a 3. While I love it, I can over do the spice factor.
I highly recommend it and not only is it a daily ritual, it is one of the few tobaccos that I buy in bulk and intend to always have in stock. The tobacco is cut into thin ribbons that range from dishwater blonde to medium brown, to black. Stuffed loosely, SL lights with ease and burns down at a fair clip.
As for the smoke, itself, I find SL to be easy and quite relaxing, with well-met, perfectly balanced varietals that are harmonious rather than amalgamated. There are grassy, straw-like, golden VAs that add a little sweetness, and fragrant, exotic, savory Orientals that sour as one smokes SL down. There are aromatic, woody resins but there is little pepper.
Tastes are toward medium from mild. Aftertaste is a fairly brief, slightly metallic, slightly ashy trailing off of the smoke; nothing to write home about. This was supposed to be the quintessential English blend. It wasn't, for me.
It's a great tobacco, but my personal archetype of the genre is something different. I bought the gram pack, so I can't speak to the moisture or quality of the tins, and it's possible I don't know what I'm missing in the tins.
What I got, though, was perfectly smokable with a little drying time. I should note that pretty soon after I got this tobacco, I transferred it to a canister with an ingenious lid that, pushed down in the manner of a French press, removes much of the air inside. It's not a vacuum seal, but it's fairly effective. Again, I have no basis to compare this storage method to others, but I've noticed that the tobacco is staying fairly close to its original moisture.
Which, again, is a little too moist for smoking. I find it dries out fairly quickly once I remove it from the canister, so no matter. Canister note is a little more subdued than it was in the original package. I get three distinct aromas from the three constituent tobaccos: It's not an aroma that smacks you in the face; I had to really shove my face in there and sniff hard. It's a really good smell, though. The pine and smoke scents strongly evoke camping memories for me, and this tobacco would unquestionably be my choice for that kind of trip.
Squadron Leader comes as a very fine ribbon cut, with a few twiggy bits and some long stringy bits. The twigs aren't enough to be a hassle removing, but they're there.
It's all kind of a mossy consistency. With the fineness of the cut, I like packing this with the palm-roll method, with a good firm tamp prior to the first light to settle the tobacco in the bowl. Here's why I don't count this as my standard English: It's a steady crescendo of piney, incense-y spiciness. I wouldn't call it an oriental blend, but my archetypal "English" blend is far more balanced by latakia and Virginias.
Not that both of those components are undetectable or even unpleasant in this blend; to the contrary, they are delicious. Sweet caramel and cafe au lait tones from the Virginia, smoke and incense from the latakia; but, to my palate, they play second fiddle to the sharp piney, briny orientals. I went through a phase where I chased orientals in my blends: I've yet to smoke a full-on oriental blend, but I'd concentrate on the oriental component in the various Englishes I've tried.
A less oriental-heavy blend makes this a very rewarding experience- Nightcap, Frog Morton Across the Pond, even Balkan Sasieni weird that in a balkan blend, I get less orientals than in this English.
Nightcap's cedar notes, FMATP's musty hardwood, Sasieni's fragrant cumin— all are interwoven with the other tobaccos in their respective blends so that there's a structure, a narrative to the smoke; flavors progress and change and meld and vary intensities. Squadron Leader's orientals are a little too loud for me. They build and build to a sharp astringency that seems overbearing to me. I wish there was more Virginia sweetening out that piney tang. I do like the flavor of oriental, and it's been an interesting change of pace not to have to chase it like I do with other blends.
But here's the thing: I enjoy that chase. It keeps the smoke from being more than a background activity, an event in itself. Squadron Leader is very predictable to me: By the time the bowl's done, I'm a bit tired of smoking it. I don't know if I've been smoking long enough now to have moved out of the category of "nicotine lightweight", but I got nothing in that way out of this blend.
Sometimes I want a little buzz. Not going to get it here. I tried this in 2 different pipes: I prefer it in the billiard, as the stubbiness of the devil anse made it smoke a little hot. This isn't a hot blend though. The orientals were also a very little more subdued in the billiard, which means that's the pipe I'll be smoking the rest of this stuff in. That old Capitol seems to dampen, in the best way, the oriental tang of any English I've smoked in it mostly Nightcap up till now and bring out the dark, smokey, wet-leaves-and-campfires flavor of latakia.
That, personally, is how I like my Englishes: I don't regret buying this at all, even in the large quantity that I did. I will smoke the rest of it, and I won't regret it. But, it will take me some time. I just don't care for the overall flavor enough to smoke it as often as all that. I haven't tried my hand at blending, but I might get some straight Virginia to try and sweeten this up.
On its own, it's a perfectly decent English. Not my definitive English, not my favorite English, but a good one nonetheless. One of the finest blends of Samuel Gawith that is around all the time. It is easy and satisfying, somewhat pleases the latakia lover. Lots of moisture in the tin, needs a bit of air at first. But towards to the end, it is perfect. I would like to have this one in my stock for all times.
I like the tin label, since I am a pilot myself. Too moist out of tin, even for me. Had to let it dry considerably. Smoking conditions are unsatisfying. SQL is a light, faint English Mixture. Disagree with majority of reviewers. The body of Virginias is obvious. A little scrumptious Latakia is there, but it is under-represented. The Turkish leaf adds some spiciness, which turns quite peppery, cigaretty and acrid in the second half of the bowl.
This blend is really weak. No depth, no richness, no bouquet. At this point it is a big disappointment for me. I was expecting at least a little power and personality; I thought the name implies this. SQL might not even be an advisable entry to approach English blends. In my opinion this mixture is highly overrated and the occasional fuss about it is not justified.
Credit, where credit is due. According to the producer it is the same mixture like the regular SQL, with an addition of Perique. I have made the experiment myself, adding different amounts of pure Perique into the regular SQL. The best result is an upgraded SQL to 2 stars. The flavor is a delicate balance of sweet, musty, spicy and smoky. The Latakia adds a subtle influence but it's purely a condiment in the mix. I have found that a pot shaped pipe or a wide bowl Prince of Wales works wonders for rendering its many flavors, often times increasing the number of its tasteful complexities.
In a wider bowl the Turkish speaks louder with a spiciness that's almost at perique volume. Squadron Leader is just plain good. It takes to flame perfectly and stays lit quite well. It's an easy repeat smoke, one that you can smoke many bowls of in a day with little to no fatigue. It's a solid anytime mixture. The end smoke flavors are superb and I have always felt that that's the sign of a good English.. Most things said about this mixture is true. It well deserves four of anyone's stars.
It is complex and satisfying. The blend itself is pure genius, but,alas, I get the dreaded bite. Am I doing something wrong.. I let it dry out just a tad. I tried different pipes. I want to like it,but how do you like a dog that nips you on the ankles.
Well, I have a fair stash off it and will plod on. Maybe needs more ageing. I am smoking this now, after dinner and that severe bite seems to have been somewhat tamed.
I think it's all down to palate chemistry. Boy, is this good! Less bite, just a smooth, complex smoke. Judge not that he be judged! Thinking of going to 3 stars I just know this is a great baccy, it just has to prove itself Bite is the only issue.
Squdron leader is a great name for a tobacco. Well,you must watch the movie,reach for the skies,about Douglas Bader and his great heroism as a pilot in WW2.
At that time ,they all smoked a pipe. It was the pinnacle of pipe appreciation ,alas,lost,in the present day.
Whilst blowing up Nazi targets,they would still have a pipe in their gobs. You had wing commanders ,air chief marshals, squadron leaders. What great fun to suck on a pipe whilst exterminating the evil Nazi regime. Somehow it's a moot point writing yet another review to this classic blend, but here it goes. I can smell leather already through the yet unopened iconic tin but funnily when i open the tin i hardly can smell anything at all. To this day i cannot figure out why.
The smell comes once the tin is open for a day or so, then it smells just nice but still very discreet. Packing the bowl is easy as can be but lighting the bowl always takes me ages and shedloads of matches. Another thing with this blend that i cannot figure out for the life of me. But once lit its pure joy. It has a very nice balanced and mild taste to it with a gentle sweetness underlined by some light smokiness of the latakia.
The latakia is not in the foreground and even tho a classic english blend i wouldn't label it as a latakia blend. It is very, very mild for an english blend. This is true for the taste but especially for the strength of it.
In that regard it is a perfect morning pipe and a hard to beat every day smoke. It also makes it very suitable for the beginner. But it is far from being bland or boring, even for a balkan lover it offers perfect balance and a really nice taste and smell experience.
But its unique selling point is the sheer smoothness, and silkiness of the smoke itself. It is so incredibly creamy i started to use it to cure tongue bite other blends might have given me. The tobacco itself is wet, wet, wet. Which is my only beef with this blend really. Here is something depressing to do: That is how you spell "rip off"!
But, aside from that, this is a must-try blend for anyone and a true example of how to blend an english blend. I truely and with a clear conscience can recommend this blend. Squadron Leader leads with light, grassy sweet virginias, supported by woody and slightly buttery orientals, and there's just a whisper of latakia that makes this an elegant morning or all day English blend. This blend is just so very well balanced with quality leaf, and, I emphasize, elegant.
Squadron Leader is a permanent staple of my regular rotation, and I can find no fault with it. Dunhill - Early Morning Pipe.
First I should point out I am new to a pipe some views should be considered naive that is to say I am unable to talk abou they types of tobacco tasted. First being a fan of WW1 if I can say that without glorifying war.
The initial light is easy and smooth took a single false light then a proper light. The taste reminds me still of talisker , large earthy notes with a pleasant aroma. A friend gave me this tin to my place over Christmas and I was delighted to be gifted this tobacco which is reputed to be a classic, textbook English blend. Before smoking it I had heard that its strength lay in its balance and this is true. Nothing really jumps out. Its sweet, its smoky, there are orientals, but all in perfect harmony.
It is also strikingly consistent to smoke throughout although I find it does start to get rather acrid towards the end of the bowl. This is not uncommon though and is certainly not something to be held against the blend. Potentially an all day English smoke. Upon opening the tin I was very surprised to see a mixture of very bright appearance.
I had the impression that this was a darker, more Latakia-laden than its brethren blend Skiff Mixture. Yet compared with the dark brown complexion of Skiff, Squadron Leader consists of almost equal parts of blonde, red and light brown ribbons embellished with just a few black fire cured ones Latakia.
This is what I had got out of reading the reviews for both and the impression was enhanced by the connotation of a skiff with open air and of Squadron Leader's tin art of a WWI biplane with smoky engine fumes. But it actually is not so. Skiff is much smokier than Squadron Leader whose tin note is predominantly woody with only a slight smokiness and a hint of fruitiness citrus but also some red fruit which seems to be from the tobacco itself and not a casing.
As for moisture, it came smokable right out of the tin but could use a few minutes of drying time. It is coarse ribbon cut, coarser and with longer ribbons than Skiff and needs a little unfurling before loading to avoid clogging the draw.
It smokes cool and dry to the end with no bite and with need of only a few relights. As expected by the cut and the mostly air cured? Now to the smoking experience itself, though I am not a devoted Latakia aficionado, I initially found Squadron Leader much blander than the smokier Skiff Mixture not that Skiff is in any way bland! I thought it lacked the ethereal smokiness of its brethren but also lacks its pronounced Oriental tang and its saliva inducing salinity. I actually, to my surprise, given its fame and esteem, found it quite bland and innocuous.
What I could taste were mostly bright hay-lie Virginias with a faint touch of Orientals enhanced by a very light smokiness. It did give me though that sense of old school, aged tobacco which is not found in most English blends. So, overall I was not enthralled by my first experience with Squadron Leader.
On the other hand my slight disappointment might have been due to failed expectations, and so I thought I should try to appreciate Squadron Leader on its own merits and not as a fuller, darker version of Skiff mixture as I mistakenly had supposed it to be, when actually it is just the other way around. Taken by itself however, Squadron Leader is a smooth, mild, nuanced -though not overtly complex- mixture where bright hay-like Virginias are condimented lightly by Orientals and a little Latakia.
The tobaccos are of excellent quality and I find, as with its brethren, that it is a uniquely tasting English mixture. To conclude I believe it is a mixture every piper should try for at least once. For this and the above reasons I am going to go with the flow and give it four stars.
Do I prefer Squadron Leader to Skiff? I find Skiff more tasteful, but while Squadron Leader could become potentially an all-day smoke for me, I doubt the same about Skiff Mixture. I know I'm carrying owls to Athens but it took me some time to realise. It's an amazingly flavourful English and unique among too many similar-tasting blends. Actually it has become one of my favourite first smokes of the day.
Another classic must try blend if you are into the English blends. Another of my daily smokes and a top 5 selection for me.
While attempts to replicate this blend have been made it stands alone on its own merit. Another blend which I have a well stocked supply of and don't plan to run short of. If you don't give this a try you are missing out on a truly exceptional smoke.
Gawith tobaccos are among my favorites. Hard to beat tradition! Received this as gift and it is dated nearly 3 years of age. Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
Tales of the Shining Mountains. The Stry-Ker Family Saga. About the Book Canada's soul sweeps lakes, vast spaces, forests, fields, rivers and sounds in the loon's yodel. Its people are a microcosm of the world. A group -of multinational origins- mingles in Hamilton's west end.
She listens to the loon's cry at Lake Huron and takes black-and-white photographs to snap a glimpse of the soul of her country. Their lives are the world's antipodes. Their son and daughter are world travellers. The couple gets entangled in exhilarating extra-marial affairs, and adopts a son of questionable parentage In Quebec, the savour French culture; in Restigouche Reserve, the Mi'Kmaq way. They summer in Kincardine; they visit Egypt.