Would Latakia Heavy Blends Be Worth Stockpiling Now?

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carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
After reading through all of the blends Sablebrush52 has painstakingly put together and presented to us in another thread (Post- 2007 Tobacco List) I'm curious as to whether or not my favorite go to blends would keep that well for a long period of time, as I did see a few I would really hate to not have available to smoke in the future. I love, love, love, my latakia blends, but I have also read that over time and through the aging process, the latakia falls off. This is really not something I want to happen, as I love the latakia intensity from a fresh tin.
So, my big question is, should I invest in stockpiling the latakia heavy blends for the future, or would I just be sad that I didn't just buy more blends that age better? If so, then I reckon I better start looking for some good Virginias to hoard long term instead of my latakia heavy tobaccos.

 

prairiedruid

Preferred Member
Jun 30, 2015
1,694
28
If you plan to smoke it in the next 10-15 years I wouldn't worry about it. Latakia tends to soften a bit and sometimes makes a blend better. If you are cellaring for 20 plus years then maybe focus on blends other than heavy latakia ones.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,444
1,087
I for one have never detected a loss of latakia-ness in aged blends. However, I have read on this forum that theoretically it loses flavors, and some have supported this theory with their own reports. But, some seem to taste a loss of smokiness, and some don't.

All in all, do you really think that what you buy now will last you longer than twenty years? ...which is where I have read that this loss of flavor comes from.
I won't argue with someone's taste buds. If someone says that they taste a loss of latakia, I have to take their word for it. But, I also have my own taste buds from tasting very old latakia blends that my pipe club has purchased for sampling, and I get the latakia smoikiness, with more of a chewiness to the flavors; I taste more of what I love about latakia. So, I can only deduce that we all don't taste things the same way. And, not all latakia blends will age the same way.
You may hate what age does to these blends, or you may love it. But, keep in mind that it was the discovery of aged Balkan blends that set off the search for these ancient Balkan Sobranie and other Balkan blends.
And, if you buy, say, fifty pounds of a blend, and you smoke it occasionally over the next twenty years, then by the time it reaches the +20 year mark, you will either have grown with the changes of flavors, or you will be sick and tired of smoking that blend, ha ha.
But, if you are talking about a measly two to five pounds, then pfffft. I wouldn't expect that to last me twenty years at all.
Do you love these blends, or are you just buying them because they are going away. I have little respect for people who hoard things just because they are going away, to the detriment of making the blends harder to get for the people who love them. The McClelland hoarding by people who claim that it smells like vinegar, screw them. Fairweather fans. McClelland announces that they are closing, and people who have bashed them for years suddenly become their biggest fans... I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.
But, if you love these blends, and they are leaving... yes, buy them, and let your won taste buds be the judge.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
16,770
2,257
After many years of smoking them, a lot of smokers develop an aversion to lat heavy blends. That being said, Latakia can remain potent for five to ten years and start to mellow heavily after that. I would say stock a few pounds of your favorite lat blends and focus more on others. If you still favor heavy English style blends after two or three years, add to your stash accordingly.

 

bluegrassbrian

Preferred Member
Aug 27, 2016
2,117
919
36
Louisville
Well you know what they say.. this stuff will never be cheaper than it is now.
You never know when that vile Latakia stuff will fall off either. In 5 years it could be extinct..

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
Do you love these blends, or are you just buying them because they are going away. I have little respect for people who hoard things just because they are going away, to the detriment of making the blends harder to get for the people who love them. The McClelland hoarding by people who claim that it smells like vinegar, screw them. Fairweather fans. McClelland announces that they are closing, and people who have bashed them for years suddenly become their biggest fans... I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.
I am in agreement with you, but I would have to say yes, I do love these blends. These are not things I want to buy just because they're going to be worth more somewhere down the road and I really can't stand the poaching that keeps me from being able to try some blends because some dude sees money in it and is not buying it for himself. I want these blends for me! I love the smokiness and delicious taste of the latakia. I just got my very first tin of Gaslight last week, and it's halfway gone. I can't help but smoke it. I just wondered if I bought up enough of it to last me a good long while, would I still be able to enjoy that strong latakia flavor and aroma if I didn't pop it for 10-15 years. Maybe I can't smoke it every week, but just to stretch it out over time as a means of satisfying that craving for it.
You're also right, tastes do change, but right now, a good, strong English with a latakia backbone from hell is what tickles my fancy and if they'll last me a good long while, then maybe I could stockpile up on the ones I know and try the ones I want to see if I want more for the future. It's not all I want to stockpile, but just the one type of blend I seem to crave and enjoy the most now. That's all I have to go on, so I'll just go with that. That being said, I need some 8 ounce tins of Maltese Falcon to hit the market and soon.
After many years of smoking them, a lot of smokers develop an aversion to lat heavy blends. That being said, Latakia can remain potent for five to ten years and start to mellow heavily after that. I would say stock a few pounds of your favorite lat blends and focus more on others. If you still favor heavy English style blends after two or three years, add to your stash accordingly.
Good to know. I'll just plan to stock up a few pounds worth for now of the English blends I love for now and add to it later. Just don't want to wait to long and get into unobtanium or a super inflated market territory.
You never know when that vile Latakia stuff will fall off either. In 5 years it could be extinct..
The very reason I wondered how long the latakia could still be potent for. I want to get ahead of the gold rush and acquire my stash now.

 

brooklynpiper

Senior Member
May 8, 2018
303
79
@ carolinachurchwarden - This is a good thread - a good thing to start thinking about. I'd guess oriental-forward Englishes would be good choices since Orientals age well. Not only the oriental aging potential, but also because I've always had the thought--ehh hunch--that the flavor of aged virginias was doing more to also 'soften' the latakia, so I think it's helpful to have another spicy condimental present to do some heavy lifting and perk up the blend

I'll be looking forward to seeing what everybody says though.

 

erhardt85

Member
Apr 14, 2017
194
0
In my experience heavy lat blends will still be plenty smoky after several years. I haven't had any with 20 years on it but I like my Latakia fresh. If I didn't have a choice I would still stockpile my favorite English blends for the longhaul

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,391
2,050
Monterey Peninsula
After many years of smoking them, a lot of smokers develop an aversion to lat heavy blends
A lot!?? You've made it abundantly clear your disdain for a type of blend you feel you have "graduated" from, and two other folks have made the same decision, though without repeating it every week or so.
Where do you get "a lot of" from?

 

3rdguy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2017
1,607
338
Midwest
I am with pipestud thst lat blends are fantastic down the road. The other components in the blends get to spread their wings as the lat may subside a bit, can make for some delicious surprises.

Personally I have a nice stock of ten russians. A lot of my tins now have some nice bulging and are just a joy to smoke.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,680
1,058
I'm a burley, not a Lat, junkie, but I do like a good English blend with Lat. I had a tin of GLP Westminster that I let age for a few years, and when I opened it, it was terrific, but the Lat didn't last, only a month or two. After that, I had to mix in other condiments to keep the blend interesting. The softening, in this case, was more like a disappearance. But my experience with Lat is average, not deep, so I'll leave that in the anecdote category.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,843
417
This is a hot button issue for me, so I will leave the soap box aside. There is (SO) much disinformation about tobacco aging and it gets repeated with such ease on the internet. There is a difference between aging and cellaring. The prior is done with a goal of developing the tobacco over time with an end goal in mind. The later is just what it sounds like, cellaring, storing, hoarding, saving for tobaccopolypse, Armageddon, or just to cost average and buy now to save later.
ALL tobacco cellars/stores well. Period. Full stop. However, some are better at aging (Virginias), but they all do well overtime. And yes (blasphemy that is) Burley does age well. Pitch forks out. Man I wasted precious time over the years worrying about what others were saying until I realized most of the information is from guys who have been in the hobby less than a couple of years.
I smoke lots of vintage tobacco. I buy vintage, seek out vintage, pay the premium up-charge for vintage. Because of that, I now have a better appreciation of what age does to a blend in general and specific terms. Latakia does cellar well (To the OP, Carolina, question), but it doesn't "age" as well as virginia. But latakia blends taste great even at 20 and 30 years. I have many pounds of latakia blends in the cellar, even though my palate prefers VaPer blends now. So, buy and cellar any all blends you can't live without. Do it now. Thank yourself later. Don't worry about how they might change, they will, it's great, it's magical, it's a mystery.
Here is an example of a 47 year old extinct latakia blend I am smoking now. Cracked it open last week for the fall. It is amazing!



 

erhardt85

Member
Apr 14, 2017
194
0
Well said nPod. Case closed, beers open! I have about a half pound of many lat blends I enjoy. The ones I really love I have a pound or two. I figured I'll strike gold with some and the rest will at least be smokable. GH flakes are high on my list. Glad pease old London series I'm definitely cellaring deep as soon as possible. .5-1 pound each. That's deep.for me haha. I like variety and the novelty of new experiences.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,899
897
My experience with vintage tobaccos is that they're very much a crapshoot. I've had some terrific ancient tobacco and some real zombie slobber.
If you want to buy up a bunch of Latakia blends for an indefinite future go ahead. They should be good for at least 20 years, and then gradually become more hit and miss thereafter, with the misses beginning to outnumber the hits as the years go by. Of course, this will depend on how the tins are stored as well as how they were made. Square and rectangular tins are not 100% sealed, ever.
The blends will change as the years go by. One of the very best smokes I've ever had was from a 45 year old tin of State Express London Mixture. But it wasn't because of the Latakia. That had softened up quite a bit. It was because of the outstanding maturation of the Orientals.
I suppose you could seal the blends in an inert gas to retard that change, but am unaware of any information about the effectiveness of that.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,843
417
My experience with vintage tobaccos is that they're very much a crapshoot.
Great quote, Jesse. Yeah, "vintage" was a term I used above, but only to clarify that "old" latakia can taste great. Vintage as a genre is indeed a crapshoot, win some, lose some.
For the OP, we are probably considering cellaring for purpose of reserving inventory to actively smoke down the road. Virginia and VaPer lovers have it easy, they are generally assured that their blends will do well over time. But latakia lovers have a bit more anxiety because of the nature of the tobacco. And it is also worth mentioning that latakia blends do mellow some with age. I love that, but others hate it and want punch and strength. That zip fades over time, but it shouldn't deter one from cellaring latakia blends, IMHO.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,234
665
Here's another consideration. The way things are going with tobacco, it seems reasonable to believe you won't be able to even purchase tobacco in 20 years or it will be so expensive, few will be able to afford it. Would you rather have some tobacco to smoke in 20 years that lost a little ooomph or none at all? That's assuming it does in fact lose something which there seems to be differing opinions on.
If either of the scenarios I brought up occur, that gives you the other benefit of being able to sell it yourself at a huge profit compared to what you buy it for now.
So there's an almost negligible downside to building up a cellar now and significant upsides. I wish all the longer term decisions were that easy.

 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
834
358
I fell in love with Nightcap last year when I bought myself a tin for Christmas. Learning of the impending withdrawal of Dunhill from the market, I bought five pounds of bulk Nightcap which is now in my cellar in mason jars, plus a few tins because I'm a sucker for the good tin art :puffy:
With Nightcap now going, going, and soon-to-be gone, I have been reading about other good and comparable latakia blends. One I've come across a lot is Father Dempsey by Kramer's. I believe it is available in bulk from SP. I'll be ordering some in the near future.
Another blend I very strongly recommend is Balkan Supreme. It's blended by Peter Stokkebye for Arango, and it's readily available in bulk very cheap. If I recall, it's around $35 or less per pound. It has become my go-to latakia blend not because it's cheap, but because it's just that good. It's not very complex, but is smooth, and has the round creamy taste of the orientals that separates Balkans from Englishes. It's always a good smoke, and never finnicky like some of the other lat blends I like. I have tried quite a few popular English / Balkan blends, including those from some highly-regarded blenders, and I like Balkan Supreme better than the vast majority of them. If I could only have one latakia blend to smoke forever, regardless of price, it would be Balkan Supreme. I will certainly be buying a lot more for the cellar.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
16,770
2,257
Where do you get "a lot of" from?
Me, Jesse, Harris, and Jay to name a few. A local B&M I haunt gave up selling English blends for lack of demand. You yourself claim to have taken a very long hiatus from pipe smoking before recently returning. Your decision to strictly smoke English type blends seems to be a rarity. And you push water cleaning far more than I express dislike for English blends. "Squeamish" I believe was the term? I simply suggested cellaring the known well aging type blends over blends that can lose something with long term aging in the case that a change of palate occurs. You may now unknot the panties.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
Fantastic information Neal. I'm a little more comfortable with a decision to move forward and buy what I want, latakia wise. Like Hoosierpipeguy states:
Would you rather have some tobacco to smoke in 20 years that lost a little ooomph or none at all?
That's a pretty good reason to buy what I want and based on several more of your comments, I could potentially have some fantastic stuff, or duds, but hey, even the duds would still be tobacco.
I am by no means going to stockpile latakia heavy only blends, but they're just the ones that are doing it for me right now. I'll probably also grab some ODF and throw it in there as well, just because I like it and it ages well. Yes, I'm not as much concerned with aging the tobacco on purpose as much as I am wanting tobacco I have purchased to hopefully still taste as good as what I know it does fresh. If it only improves with age, even if the latakia falls behind, then the other tobaccos will help make it something else than it was when fresh yet surprise me and be a great smoke.
@lawdawg I'm certainly going to try some of that Balkan Supreme, now that you've brought it up. Buying tins is good, but I might want to buy something I can get in bulk that suits my tastes. I do love a good Balkan as well, so it might hit me just right. I do really love orientals as well. In the end, it would be a slightly cheaper option as well to be able to enjoy something I really like, several years down the road. Nightcap was good, I still have some jarred up in my pipe rack that I have been enjoying sporadically. Just didn't buy a whole lot of it before it went away due to so many other things I wanted to try.
Hell, if nothing else, if my tastes change or I want something else down the road, I could always trade it for something else I may want to smoke.

 
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