Syrian Latakia Is Gone ... Forever

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jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
According to dutchpipesmoker, Syrian Latakia is gone forever:
After a discussion with one of the great names in the pipe smoking world I have decided to remove MacBaren HH Vintage Syrian from the tobacco list. There were rumours before that MacBaren was mixing amounts of Cyprian latakia with the Syrian dark leaf. I already had suspicions some time ago but choose to believe the MacBaren folks and ignore my taste buds. The “great name” with much better taste buds confirmed my old suspicions. There is a difference in taste between the old tins I have and new ones. Further I have deleted all tobaccos claiming to have Syrian latakia from my list. McClelland had the last real Syrian dark leaf and they have run out of it recently. All other companies who say they still have some stock are lying in my opinion or they have some left-over shreds that they put in the blends to stay within the boundaries of laws. Taste-wise you are not going to notice it. Blends simply sell better with the Syrian latakia label on them. So in short, the Syrian dark leaf is totally gone now. Don’t let anyone or anything fool you and oh, tobacco companies, be honest to your customers.
Article

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
Full edits:
EDIT 07-04-2013: I heard from a very reliable source that German tobacco producers Kohlhase & Kopp and DTM (both also producers of HU Tobacco) sadly no longer have Syrian latakia. Because of this I have removed all HU tobacco and Kohlhase & Kopp (Ashton and Solani) blends from the list.
EDIT 04-11-2014: On the 2014 Inter Tabac fair I spoke with Mr. Per Jensen of MacBaren. I was wondering how long the Syrian latakia stock of MacBaren would last that they use for their excellent HH Vintage Syrian. Mr. Jensen very honestly answered that he guessed that in about 7 or 8 years they would run out of the Syrian dark leaf.
EDIT 07-11-2014: I just heard from Paul that on the Inter Tabac Fair he had spoken to one of the two export managers of Planta with whom he has a good connection. He asked him if Planta’s Syrian latakia really contained Syrian latakia. The export manager answered that they still had Syrian stock but that they were not able to buy any more in the last years. How long their supply will last? No idea…
EDIT 08-08-2015: I just read at the Pipes Magazine forum that someone spoke with Per Jensen of MacBaren at the IPCPR and there he said their Syrian stock would last for about 4 years..
EDIT 22-09-2015: Apparently sales of MacBaren’s HH Vintage Syrian are going well. I spoke with Brian Levine on the Inter Tabac some days ago and according to him they will run out of Syrian leaf in about 2 or 3 years. After that the blend will be discontinued. I also dared to ask him if small amounts of Cyprian latakia are mixed with the Syrian dark leaf (there were some rumours..). A resolute “no” followed. Only the size of the tins had changed (from 100 gr. to 50 gr.), nothing else.
EDIT 30-01-2017: From the Facebookpage of Ted Gage: “Syrian tobacco is gone. Used up, done, and gone forever. There will be no McClelland Syrian Three Oaks, or other blends using the supply of McClelland Syrian. Bummer, but we knew it was coming eventually.” In a short while I will remove their blends of the list. For now: stock up folks!
EDIT 12-03-2017: After a discussion with one of the great names in the pipe smoking world I have decided to remove MacBaren HH Vintage Syrian from the tobacco list. There were rumours before that MacBaren was mixing amounts of Cyprian latakia with the Syrian dark leaf. I already had suspicions some time ago but choose to believe the MacBaren folks and ignore my taste buds. The “great name” with much better taste buds confirmed my old suspicions. There is a difference in taste between the old tins I have and new ones. Further I have deleted all tobaccos claiming to have Syrian latakia from my list. McClelland had the last real Syrian dark leaf and they have run out of it recently. All other companies who say they still have some stock are lying in my opinion or they have some left-over shreds that they put in the blends to stay within the boundaries of laws. Taste-wise you are not going to notice it. Blends simply sell better with the Syrian latakia label on them. So in short, the Syrian dark leaf is totally gone now. Don’t let anyone or anything fool you and oh, tobacco companies, be honest to your customers.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,990
1,189
We knew this was going to happen. I've got enough for my purposes, both HH Vintage Syrian and pure Syrian blending tobaccos. From a practical standpoint, I'm not sure how much this really matters as a great many popular English and Balkan blends use Cyprian Latakia.

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
We knew this was going to happen. I've got enough for my purposes, both HH Vintage Syrian and pure Syrian blending tobaccos. From a practical standpoint, I'm not sure how much this really matters as a great many popular English and Balkan blends use Cyprian Latakia.
Sure, we knew, but we were not expecting this to happen that fast. Although I couldn't afford to cellar, I am glad that I had a chance to try some Syrian Latakia.
We have been told that the companies which had Syrian will run out of it in (approximately) 2020. It is 2017 and nothing left. I think it is also good news which means sales have increased during the recent years.

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
So I should start putting my HH Syrian on ebay for $600.00 a tin???????
But on a more serious note: Any conjecture when MacBaren started to dilute their Syrian with Cyprian (if they did indeed do that) ?

 

rhoadsie

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2013
406
0
I think it is also good news which means sales have increased during the recent years.
I like the silver lining you put on this and a correct one at that. According to the recent article by Fred Brown...
from January 2016 to December 2016, the sale in pounds of tobacco rose more than 1,000 percent, increasing tsunami-like from 2.8 million pounds to 36.8 million pounds.
 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
But on a more serious note: Any conjecture when MacBaren started to dilute their Syrian with Cyprian (if they did indeed do that) ?
There is a Turkish anecdote, I will try my best to interpret it.
Once upon a time there was a guy in Istanbul who rode people in his boat to earn money. There was a legend that any lady that took his boat slept with him. One day a decent lady says that she will take the boat but won't sleep with him. So she gets on board and the guy starts paddling. While paddling the guy starts saying "they will say, they will say ..." After 10 minutes lady can't take it anymore and asks "What will they say?", the guy responds "Even if you don't sleep with me, they will say you did". Just because he had this reputation.
The thing is even if an X company hadn't mixed Syrian with Cyprian, people would say that they have. I guess nobody will have an exact answer except few from the company.
This rumour might also be a result of a snowball effect. Once my brother went to Georgia (country) with his friends. Georgia is known to have really good wines. They all sat together and started to drink wine in a restaurant. After ordering the 5th pitcher, my brother (who knows nothing about wine tasting) claimed that the last one was a different wine. After his comment every single guy said the same thing and complained about it to the place owner. After a long discussion place owner took them all to their wine cellar and showed that they only had one type of wine in every barrel.

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
I like the silver lining you put on this and a correct one at that. According to the recent article by Fred Brown...
Thanks for the info R. There are many smokers who cellar for sure, however there are lots of fresh blood joining to the club every day as well.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,659
1,584
Love those two stories, jvnshr. I actually collect stories like those. Oh, and great work on the Syrian. Luckily for me, my palate prefers the Cyprian, if it can tolerate any latakia at all. But... I might be easily swayed if someone wanted to send me samples to "persuade me," Ha ha.

 

judcole

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2011
4,720
114
Detroit
We all knew it was gonna happen. I will cherish what I have, and enjoy the Cyprian lat blends as well.

 

toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
0
Doom and gloom guys. I bet once that war is over in Syria, they start making it again at some point. Meantime, I'm pretty sure I have some stashed.

 

arno665

Senior Member
Apr 3, 2013
350
10
But on a more serious note: Any conjecture when MacBaren started to dilute their Syrian with Cyprian (if they did indeed do that) ?
No idea when exactly. I already had some suspicions a couple of years ago, but of the course the folks at MacBaren denied it. Who am I supposed to believe? I don't trust my own taste-buds too much when it comes to Syrian latakia. Luckily one of the great names of the pipe smoking world with a reputation for honesty fully confirmed my doubts.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,990
1,189
Luckily one of the great names of the pipe smoking world with a reputation for honesty fully confirmed my doubts.
With all this anonymity, there is no substance to the claim. It's not a particularly new claim, I'd been hearing rumors for the past several years that Syrian content was being diluted. But they're all rumors, so essentially not facts and not real. When this "great name" comes forward with hard evidence there will something real.
This is akin to the wine story that jvnshr related earlier in this thread.

 

hiplainsdrifter

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2012
983
5
Agreed. It is all hearsay to me. Seems like even if it were being 'diluted' with Cyprian, HH Vintage probably still has more Syrian in it than any other available blend. I do think both Cyprian and Syrian are good, but I will miss the unique character of the Syrian when it is truly gone. I think Bohemian Scandal is the best Balkan blend I have ever tried. I would definitely trade some Penzance for some to cellar if it hadn't peaked long ago.

 

andrew

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2013
2,883
3
Doom and gloom guys. I bet once that war is over in Syria, they start making it again at some point. Meantime, I'm pretty sure I have some stashed.
Has nothing to do with the war, it comes down to the wood used isn't available, plus now the new generation of tobacco makers don't know the proper technique, so it's basically a lost art.