Is it Possible to Have an Allergy to Latakia?

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

18 Fresh Mastro Geppetto Pipes
48 Fresh Neerup Pipes
24 Fresh Brigham Pipes
24 Fresh Barling Pipes
12 Fresh Johs Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Drucquers Banner

Skippy B. Coyote

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 19, 2023
280
3,224
St. Paul, MN
Hello there everyone! I just joined the forum today, and signed up because I've been having a rather troubling problem I could use some advice on.

I've been smoking pipes just about daily for the better part of a year now, since last October, and up until this past month I've always smoked aromatics and the occasional Virginia/Burley blend. I recently started branching out into English blends though, picking up tins of Presbyterian Mixture and Kramer's Father Dempsey, and while I've enjoyed the flavor of them very much my body has been having an odd reaction to them.

Every time I've smoked a bowl either of these English blends I'll get a really sore throat and the lymph nodes under my jaw on both sides will swell up noticably and become painful for about 2 to 3 days afterwards. My nose gets all stuffy and runny and it makes my eyes a little watery and itchy for a day or so afterwards as well.

I'm not inhaling the smoke into my lungs or down my throat, just using the breath method to let it flow into my mouth with the occasional light puff and retrohale, but they seem to be really wreaking havoc on my throat and the lymph node swelling makes me wonder if it's some kind of allergy. When I go back to smoking my usual aromatics for 2 or 3 days the sore throat, lymph node swelling, and all that other business goes away and I'm all back to normal; but as soon as I smoke an English blend again they come right back.

I've never had a reaction like this from aromatic tobaccos or the Virginia/Burley pipe blends I've smoked, and I've been a cigarette smoker for 25 years and smoked plenty of Camels and rolled my own cigarettes with Turkish tobacco with no ill effects, so I'm guessing it's probably not the Orientals in these English mixes my body is taking issue with either. That pretty much just leaves the Latakia as a potential culprit, so I'm wondering, has anyone ever heard of someone having an allergy to Latakia before?

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
 
Last edited:

pipingfool

Can't Leave
Sep 29, 2016
369
1,476
Seattle, WA
It sounds like an allergic reaction to me. You could be allergic to one of the many different trees or shrubs that they use to smoke-cure the leaf.

And Presbyterian Mixture is not a "Lat Bomb", so I would be hesitant to smoke any other blends that are Latakia heavy.

Have you had any Dark Fired Kentucky? If so, has it bothered you? I know we're talking about two different animals here, but if you've had DFK and it hasn't bothered you, then you can rule out the smoke-cured process itself.

If all things are equal (food/drink consumed, air quality/pollen, etc.) then it seems like you might have to forego the Dark Leaf.

That would suck, but there are literally hundreds to thousands of different blends on the market that do not contain Latakia that you would never find yourself without variety.
 

Kobold

Lifer
Feb 2, 2022
1,253
3,936
Maryland
I’ve heard of people having reactions to virginias, particularly red Virginias but I haven’t heard of anyone reacting to Latakia. I would think it’s possible to be allergic to Latakia. Best to avoid to moving forward.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JOHN72

timt

Lifer
Jul 19, 2018
2,844
22,730
First of all, welcome to the forum. Interesting first post. As far as an allergy to latakia, I suppose anything is possible. I have a bit of a weird reaction to heavier lat blends too. They tend to make my lips prune, which I think is kind of odd.
 

elvishrunes

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 19, 2017
275
497
Interesting, I get that reaction (a sore throat not swelling) on any blend when I smoke too much, which just means slowdown. I did get pretty sick twice next day after smoking a Kentucky Dark Fired based blend I make myself, that does have Lat too, I figured it was nic poisoning from DFK, who knows because other DFK doesn’t do that... Maybe there’s a bad batch of Lat out there, pesticides or something.

Try another Lat blend, I recommend NightCap, lovin that stuff right now…
 
Last edited:

Skippy B. Coyote

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 19, 2023
280
3,224
St. Paul, MN
It sounds like an allergic reaction to me. You could be allergic to one of the many different trees or shrubs that they use to smoke-cure the leaf.

And Presbyterian Mixture is not a "Lat Bomb", so I would be hesitant to smoke any other blends that are Latakia heavy.

Have you had any Dark Fired Kentucky? If so, has it bothered you? I know we're talking about two different animals here, but if you've had DFK and it hasn't bothered you, then you can rule out the smoke-cured process itself.

If all things are equal (food/drink consumed, air quality/pollen, etc.) then it seems like you might have to forego the Dark Leaf.

That would suck, but there are literally hundreds to thousands of different blends on the market that do not contain Latakia that you would never find yourself without variety.


It sure seems like an allergic reaction of some kind to me too, though I've yet to nail down exactly what common denominator between Presbyterian Mixture and Father Dempsey is causing it; but the Latakia is my best suspect.

I've yet to try Dark Fired Kentucky in a pipe, though for the past couple years I have been rolling my own cigarettes with two parts Daughters & Ryan Three Sails (a pure Virginia mix) and one part Daughters & Ryan Ryback, which is a mix of Dark Fired Kentucky, Virginia, and Burley. I've smoked a fair bit of Ryback straight as well, and while it was a little abrasive on the lungs it never gave me any allergy symptoms. So I've never had any trouble with Dark Fired Kentucky when used as a part of my cigarettes, but I've got a tin of Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired arriving with a tobacco order on Thursday so I can try a proper DFK pipe blend.
 
Last edited:

tobakenist

Lifer
Jun 16, 2011
1,516
1,372
68
Middle England
It could be that your over puffing, Latakia burns slow and you might think it's going out, try just relaxing, this is what pipe smoking is about, if your pipe is getting to hot so you can hardly hold it, you may be doing it wrong, some tobaccos burn quicker than others and you have to adjust to it, pipe smoking is a art and it takes a while to get it right, a mix of puffing and tamping, sipping is where it's ticking over and where you get the best flavour, you have only been smoking a pipe for a year, me, over 50 years and I still get it wrong sometimes. puffy
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,788
29,615
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
first fact you can be allergic to almost anything. There is such a thing an allergy to water (really rare but it does exist). So the answers always going to be yeah it's possible to be allergic to something.
Latakia doesn't do anything like that to me but I get a weird numb tingle from it. Nothing major and it doesn't last long.
No matter what you probably are having some reaction to something in those blends and it might or might not be the latakia but it would make a lot of sense.
If you're psychotic in the same way I am. Smoking one of the ones that bothers you and then take an allergy pill. See if it is an allergy.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,788
29,615
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I would talk to a doctor and not worry about what people on the internet say.
Except they'll probably say similar things to what we said and charge for it and also charge for telling them smoking is stupid.
It's like that joke doctor when I move my arm like this it hurts, what should I do?
The doctor says "then don't move it like that".
 
Jun 23, 2019
1,848
12,768
It sure seems like an allergic reaction of some kind to me too, though I've yet to nail down exactly what common denominator between Presbyterian Mixture and Father Dempsey is causing it; but the Latakia is my best suspect.

I've yet to try Dark Fired Kentucky in a pipe, though for the past couple years I have been rolling my own cigarettes with two parts Daughters & Ryan Three Sails (a pure Virginia mix) and one part Daughters & Ryan Ryback, which is a mix of Dark Fired Kentucky, Virginia, and Burley. I've smoked a fair bit of Ryback straight as well, and while it was a little abrasive on the lungs it never gave me any allergy symptoms. So I've never had any trouble with Dark Fired Kentucky when used as a part of my cigarettes, but I've got a tin of Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired arriving with a tobacco order on Thursday so I can try a proper DFK pipe blend.

How are you preparing and smoking your pipes? Is it right to assume you're fairly new to the hobby?
 

Skippy B. Coyote

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 19, 2023
280
3,224
St. Paul, MN
How are you preparing and smoking your pipes? Is it right to assume you're fairly new to the hobby?

I've been smoking pipes for about a year now, so I'm still pretty new, but I think I've done my homework fairly well and have a decent handle on the mechanics of the hobby. I've got 7 pipes at this point (2 Savinellis, 2 Petersons, 2 Missouri Meerschaum cobs, and an AKB meerschaum) and use the standard "three pinch" method for loading my pipes with coarse or ribbon cut tobacco. Basically I fill the pipe with loose tobacco, press it down very gently until the bowl is filled to about the halfway point, fill the bowl the rest of the way up with loose tobacco again and press it down to the 2/3 full point using a little more pressure, then finally add one last pinch and press it down until the amount of force required to draw air through the pipe is about the same as sucking soda through a straw.

From there I do my charring light with either two matches or a Zippo with a pipe insert, allowing the flame to burn for a few seconds to burn off any taste from the matches' sulfur or the Zippo's fluid before holding the flame about an inch above the tobacco and drawing though the pipe to pull the flame down to the tobacco. After the charring light I tamp the tobacco down with a Czech tool, using just the weight of the tamper itself to do the job, then give the tobacco the true light with either a single match or my Zippo depending on the weather conditions.

For smoking my pipe I use the breath method. I just seal my lips around the stem of the pipe and slowly breathe in and out through my nose, letting the natural suction created by breathing in and out through my nose draw the smoke into my mouth. Every 3 or 4 breaths I blow the smoke out, or gently massage the smoke back through the pipe and out the bowl with a very soft mouthwash swishing sort of action. I've found this helps keep my smoking cadence slow so I rarely ever get tongue bite and the pipe's bowl stays just a little warm in my hand and never gets too hot to hold (except for my Peterson 124 Dracula, which seems to overheat if you even so much as look at it funny lol).

I'll also retrohale a bit here and there to get a better feel for the flavor of the tobacco, and gently tamp the bowl using just the weight of the tamper every 10 minutes or so. Once or twice during a smoke I'll usually get a gurgle in the pipe, and when that happens I just stop and run a pipe cleaner down the stem all the way into the bowl, leave it there for a few seconds to soak up the moisture, then pull the pipe cleaner out, turn it around, and run the other end through the stem to clean up any stray dottle since I definitely don't want any of that stuff getting in my mouth. After smoking my pipes the I always run a few pipe cleaners through them to make sure the stems are clean before they go back on the rack, and the cobs and meerschaum get the inside of their bowls wiped down with a paper towel after smoking to prevent cake build up. I let my briars build cake as normal.

All in all I know there's always room for improvement in my smoking technique, but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the basic mechanics of pipe smoking and how to keep both the tobacco and my pipes smoking cool and dry. :)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CoffeeAndBourbon

cersono

Starting to Get Obsessed
Feb 11, 2016
178
258
Vallis Lacrimarum
I have a similar thing to Orientals. So I avoid Oriental-rich blends. Can't say I feel myself much deprived because of that.

I don't think the minute dose of Latakia in Presbyterian might cause such severe symptoms as you're having (and the lymphadenopathy is a symptom serious enough to put those blends aside for good). I'd rather suspect those signature German casings which Planta apply to their blends. Can't say anything regarding Kramer's, never tried it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lukasstrifeson
Jun 23, 2019
1,848
12,768
I've been smoking pipes for about a year now, so I'm still pretty new, but I think I've done my homework fairly well and have a decent handle on the mechanics of the hobby. I've got 7 pipes at this point (2 Savinellis, 2 Petersons, 2 Missouri Meerschaum cobs, and an AKB meerschaum) and use the standard "three pinch" method for loading my pipes with coarse or ribbon cut tobacco. Basically I fill the pipe with loose tobacco, press it down very gently until the bowl is filled to about the halfway point, fill the bowl the rest of the way up with loose tobacco again and press it down to the 2/3 full point using a little more pressure, then finally add one last pinch and press it down until the amount of force required to draw air through the pipe is about the same as sucking soda through a straw.

From there I do my charring light with either two matches or a Zippo with a pipe insert, allowing the flame to burn for a few seconds to burn off any taste from the matches' sulfur or the Zippo's fluid before holding the flame about an inch above the tobacco and drawing though the pipe to pull the flame down to the tobacco. After the charring light I tamp the tobacco down with a Czech tool, using just the weight of the tamper itself to do the job, then give the tobacco the true light with either a single match or my Zippo depending on the weather conditions.

For smoking my pipe I use the breath method. I just seal my lips around the stem of the pipe and slowly breathe in and out through my nose, letting the natural suction created by breathing in and out through my nose draw the smoke into my mouth. Every 3 or 4 breaths I blow the smoke out, or gently massage the smoke back through the pipe and out the bowl with a very soft mouthwash swishing sort of action. I've found this helps keep my smoking cadence slow so I rarely ever get tongue bite and the pipe's bowl stays just a little warm in my hand and never gets too hot to hold (except for my Peterson 124 Dracula, which seems to overheat if you even so much as look at it funny lol).

I'll also retrohale a bit here and there to get a better feel for the flavor of the tobacco, and gently tamp the bowl using just the weight of the tamper every 10 minutes or so. Once or twice during a smoke I'll usually get a gurgle in the pipe, and when that happens I just stop and run a pipe cleaner down the stem all the way into the bowl, leave it there for a few seconds to soak up the moisture, then pull the pipe cleaner out, turn it around, and run the other end through the stem to clean up any stray dottle since I definitely don't want any of that stuff getting in my mouth. After smoking my pipes the I always run a few pipe cleaners through them to make sure the stems are clean before they go back on the rack, and the cobs and meerschaum get the inside of their bowls wiped down with a paper towel after smoking to prevent cake build up. I let my briars build cake as normal.

All in all I know there's always room for improvement in my smoking technique, but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the basic mechanics of pipe smoking and how to keep both the tobacco and my pipes smoking cool and dry. :)

Do you dry your blends? Any chance you're doing something different with latakia blends?

While it's very possible you are allergic to one of the ingredients used to make Latakia, it's equally, if not more, likely an allergic agent was accidentally introduced to the blends somewhere along the way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CoffeeAndBourbon
Jun 18, 2020
3,848
13,660
Wilmington, NC
Do you dry your blends? Any chance you're doing something different with latakia blends?

While it's very possible you are allergic to one of the ingredients used to make Latakia, it's equally, if not more, likely an allergic agent was accidentally introduced to the blends somewhere along the way.
Easy to test this one. Order a 1 oz sample of an a light English blend from Smoking Pipes. See if that causes any reaction.
 

proteus

Lifer
May 20, 2023
1,160
1,937
53
Connecticut (shade leaf tobacco country)
Not being an allergist but having spoken to mine, there is a difference to "sensitivity" vs "allergy" in a medical sense. Either way discomfort is discomfort and that kills the pipe experience. If you want to solve the issue, if it were me, I would experiment. Is it the latakia? Or something else? Perhaps an additive in the tobacco, the fermentation process producing a by-product, the pipe itself, perhaps a cleaner being used? Try to eliminate variables and isolate to determine. Maybe try a Lat/Aro blend like from Sutliff Aro English or Bear Blend from Boswell. I would not want you to avoid an entire genre of tobacco and miss out on that experience or worse have some other issue not caused by Latakia.
 

Skippy B. Coyote

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 19, 2023
280
3,224
St. Paul, MN
Thanks for all the replies and helpful insights everyone! I had a talk with my GP and after pondering the situation I think I'm going to play it safe and just not smoke any blends with Latakia in them anymore. The doctor's thought was that the most common wood allergy is cedar, and if Latakia is cured with cedar smoke then that would certainly explain why I'm having a reaction to it and not Dark Fired Kentucky; since DFK is generally cured with hickory wood instead.

I had considered the possibility of the allergy being to a casing on the Presbyterian Mixture, but if that was the case then it seems relatively unlikely that I'd be getting the same reaction from Kramer's Father Dempsey since they're manufactured by completely different companies half a world apart.

In any case, I really don't like having my lymph nodes swell up and hurt and my GP said that was a pretty alarmingly severe allergic reaction so no more Latakia for me. I'd still like to try more non-aromatic blends though and I've pretty well determined that I don't much care for the flavor of plain Burley (I had a couple ounces of Haunted Bookshop and Old Joe Krantz that I ended up throwing out because they both smelled and tasted like a barnyard to me), so I've got some Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired and a handful of VaPers on the way from SmokingPipes to try out. I picked up tins of Escudo Navy De Luxe, Elizabethan Mixture, and Orlik Golden Sliced as well some bulk Peter Stokkebye Luxary Navy Flake. I also snagged a tin of GH Ennerdale, since I've never had a Lakeland blend before and I was feeling brave lol
 
Last edited: