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Syrian Latakia

(33 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by kane
  • Latest reply from balkisobrains
  1. kane

    kane

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    Hi Folks,
    I am curious about Syrian Latakia. Is this the name of a Latakia variety that may be grown in, and available from, different places in the world, or does it refer to a Latakia that is only grown in Syria? If the latter is the case, considering the state of that poor country, is Syrian Latakia an endangered tobacco? If that is the case, how long will this stuff be available, such as MacBarren's HH Vintage Syrian, and if it has not been exported from Syria for a while, approximately how much age is on the Syrian Latakia that is being sold now?

    Thank you

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Syrian Latakia is quickly going the way of the dodo bird, because yes, it comes from Syria. I understand it hasn't been produced for quite a few years already, so when it's gone, it's gone for good.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. cobguy

    Darin

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    is Syrian Latakia an endangered tobacco?

    It hasn't been produced in decades and McClelland most likely has the largest supply left in the US.

    This has been a concern for quite awhile and I've stocked up pretty heavily on the HH Vintage Syrian.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. pipesmokingtom

    pipesmokingtom

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    This has been a concern for quite awhile and I've stocked up pretty heavily on the HH Vintage Syrian.

    As have I.

    The most recent estimate I've heard is ~2 years and it's gone.

    "We have an unspoken, mutual understanding to ignore the things we hate about each other so we can continue to enjoy the things we love about each other."
    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. mikestanley

    mikestanley

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    Syrian is produced by curing a particular variety of Ofiental leaf with smoke from trees native to Syria. The last shipment of it to U.S blenders was 2003 or 2004. Most who seem to be in the tobacco businesses say we've seen the last Syrian Latakia.
    Mike S.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. clickklick

    clickklick

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    Although don't be fooled, there are some blenders using a form of flavored Burley that they are labeling as Syrian.

    It is my understanding that currently, McClelland and MacBaren are using genuine Syrian from days of yore.

    Solani . . . not so much.

    Hobbyist Pipemaker - Carmette Pipes
    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. mso489

    mso489

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    I surmise that some sweet day, maybe a decade or more in the future, when what is now Syria has settled into some degree of stability, the tobacco growing areas of what is now Syria, whatever they are called by then, will again produce this cash crop. The tobacco states in the U.S. have certainly retrenched on the tobacco crop, and the tobacco auction of old has all but disappeared, but the crop has hung on and is still a revenue stream for many, though not the economic engine it was even thirty years ago. Likewise with Syria, once the wave of combat and general random murder has diminished, people will look around for salvageable economic sources and their longtime tobacco crop will be one of them. Talk about an unlucky place of birth. Many killed just for being born.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. prairiedruid

    prairiedruid

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    Raising the tobacco isn't the issue; it's the special wood used to cure the leaves after harvest that has been decimated. Trees/shrubs take much longer to grow back and the Syrian government has outlawed the production of this type of tobacco.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. stvalentine

    stvalentine

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    It is the mastic tree in particular which is neede for the unique flavour of Latakia.

    "Ride it like you stole it!"

    The Old Swede
    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Raising the tobacco isn't the issue; it's the special wood used to cure the leaves after harvest that has been decimated. Trees/shrubs take much longer to grow back and the Syrian government has outlawed the production of this type of tobacco.
    You can bet someone, somewhere, has some hidden, waiting for the day he can get back into business.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. stvalentine

    stvalentine

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    ...he better start selling now. The shelf life of Latakia is not particular long.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    Listen to Mike McNiels PipesMagazine radio interview, he talks about Syrian & Cyprian Latakias a little bit. Sorry I can't remember which half it is on, I want to say the second half. Sounded like some of the stuff coming out of Syria at some point was based on Sokhoum leaf and it sounded like they were using what was available to smoke it. How that affected what you can buy now, I don't know exactly.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. tuold

    tuold

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    I was curious about trying Syrian latakia as well, so I ordered some Planta Full English. Unfortunately the cigar leaf in it completely overwhelms the latakia. Looks like my chances of tasting the real thing are fading fast.

    The pipe is an instrument of civilization.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    ...he better start selling now. The shelf life of Latakia is not particular long.
    I'm talking about the wood needed in the curing process.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. josephcross

    josephcross

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    I like the Mac Baren Vintage Syrian, i find it is smooth and has lots of flavor. I can pick up all the components in that blend. I have not cracked into my tin of 3Oaks yet. I should just so I know
    If I like it enough to stock up on.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. dino

    dino

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    ^ Tuold, my favorite tobacco is McClelland's Samovar, a Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club blend.
    Of all the tobaccos that contain Syrian Latakia, I've found this to be the finest.

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    rodbuster3

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    I have a tin of 3oaks from 2011 maybe i should keep it and sell it for a couple hundred buck 10 years from now

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. ophiuchus

    ophiuchus

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    Syrian Latakia, the genuine article as we know it, has been out of production for over a decade. Recently produced Syrian blends, at least to my time-damaged palate, just don't pack the same flavor intensity that they had years ago (which is not to say it's not good, just less "smokey"). Even if production resumes in the future, the seasoning will change due to availability differentials of traditionally used wood/shrubbery in the fire-curing process. Kinda like Cuban cigars after the hurricanes washed the copper out of their growing soil; the product just isn't, and won't be, the same.

    I think most of us here have gotten used to flavors coming and going ... not just tobacco, either. (Hell, Jack Daniels just hasn't been the same since they dialed themselves down to wussy 80 proof.)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. wyfbane

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    ^Well said.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. arno665

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  21. mikestanley

    mikestanley

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    Speaking of the Mike McNeil interviews, he fears for the end of Cyprian Latakia as well.

    Mike S.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. clickklick

    clickklick

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    tuold, Samovar and 3 oaks syrian by mcclelland are the finest syrian blends available. With MacB HH Vintage Syrian lagging a bit behind.

    Best Syrian blend I have ever tasted was the PCCA JBM from the early 90s. I still have 2 tins left and loathe the day I finish them.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. mso489

    mso489

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    I do not mean this in a sour grapes way since I thoroughly enjoy more than several Latakia blends, but I think the blending of tobacco has gone beyond the basics of always throwing some Lat and Per on top of almost everything and calling it a blend. The creative use of burley, Orientals, Turkish, cigar leaf, dark fired and other leaf as flavoring and balance has given rise to a wide range of blends beyond the standard Lat and Per renditions, love them though I do. So the loss of the Syrian Lat doesn't have quite the same impact it had when it first mostly disappeared from the market.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. tuold

    tuold

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    @dino,

    ...my favorite tobacco is McClelland's Samovar, a Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club blend.
    Of all the tobaccos that contain Syrian Latakia, I've found this to be the finest.

    Looks tasty. Got a tin in the basket now.

    mike

    Posted 2 years ago #
  25. averagegent

    averagegent

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    Ashton's Artisan Blend states that it uses Syrian Latakia on the tin... Is this true??? It was mentioned earlier that only McClelland and MacBaren do...

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    lestrout

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    Yo av

    Quite a few of those Euro Balkans and Englishes DID contain Syrian, but the supply has run way down and my taste buds tell me the % of Syrian has been dropping.

    hp
    les

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. jacks6

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    Darn, funny enough I've not yet had Syrian Latakia. It's firmly on my list though.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. dino

    dino

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    ^ tuold
    Mike, I think you're gonna love it!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. mso489

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    Cavendish -- a process not a specific tobacco variety -- in its many forms is also a creative force in blends, since it can come light and dark and be made from a variety of tobaccos. Not saying these alternatives are a substitute for Syrian Latakia, but observing that they certainly expand the pallet.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    Try some McClelland's GKCPC Syrian Star too, it's really good and a little more dimensional than 3OS. It has some Cyprian in it, which seems to compliment the Syrian. No idea what the ratios are, but you can easily identify the Cyprian and Syrian flavors and it seems like there is a lot of Latakia in there. It has some Basma so it seems a little smoother than 3OS. 3 Oaks Syrian is probably the best way out of the McClelland blends to focus on the Syrian taste, but more of a bi-dimensional smoke and can be a little sharp in flavor sometimes. Samovar you can tell is a good blend, but to me the Syrian flavor gets a little lost and it feels like a smoke with some unflavored black cavendish in it, which personally is not for me. So out of the McClelland offerings, I would say try the 3OS for big Syrian flavor, and then the Syrian Star for big Cyp/Syr flavor that is a little smoother and maybe a better smoke in general. Only problem is that the Syrian Star can be tough to find sometimes.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. kane

    kane

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    Excellent information, gentlemen. I didn't realize there are this many blends with Syrian Latakia in them. I've only had the MacBarren's HH blend, which I like a lot. Much more to try!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. thomasw

    thomasw

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    Samovar and 3 oaks syrian by mcclelland....

    yes they are wonderfully subtle and complex; the 3 oaks syrian has that smooth, rich and woodsy mcclelland taste. i think i'll have a bowl now ...

    After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.

    The Hobbit
    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    My new cans of Syrian Star are dated 2016, which means now I have to compare it to the older stuff that's already opened. =) Hopefully it is the same/just as good!

    Posted 2 years ago #

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