I woke up this morning with a craving for a bit of that Syrian leaf. As far as blends that are currently produced, there aren’t many who still have Syrian Latakia in them. The vanishing crop has caused the numbers to dwindle to a trickle, unfortunately.
Luckily Brebbia still has some in the warehouse, and I happily snagged some tins of their Brebbia Latakia Flake no 9.
BLF9 is a pleasing mixture of Virginia and Syrian Latakia that is blended with an expert hand to favor the delicate nuances of Syrian Latakia. I pulled it out of the cellar and popped it open.
To my surprise, the tobacco was quite dry, but not brittle and still relatively pliable. I’m impatient and get annoyed when I have to let something sit in the tobacco tray, so this was perfect for me. I leaned in to try the nose of the mix. The tin note was flowery, woodsy, sweet honey, mottled hay, and sour lemon tickle my olfactory senses.
I rubbed out a flake and a half and loaded up my Savinelli Piazza di Spagna 645. The dry (but still pliable) flake crumbled perfectly and loaded quickly into the pipe.
It took the false light easily since it was so nicely bereft of moisture. Upon true light, there was no denying that this blend had aged well, even though it had only been in the cellar for a year. I smoked it slowly, sipping it and allowing it to change and mix in the bowl and in my mouth
With more age, this blend could quickly become a masterpiece of smoke to chew on. Since there is Latakia in the mixture, there will be a sweet spot where the Virginia has aged to perfection, but the Latakia hasn’t yet begun to deteriorate. I’d suggest buying several tins to age at once, opening one per year and testing them. I have no way of knowing when the sweet spot is, but I’m guessing it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-5 years, just from past experience. Experiment and enjoy!
So how did it smoke? Pure joy. The burning oak of the Latakia was delicate, flowery, but still savory. It offered spicy, exotic notes that reminded me of the oriental leaf. I know it says there is only Latakia and Virginia in the mix, but I would swear there was a touch of Oriental in the blend spicing things up. Although this could be a byproduct of the more exciting aspects of the Syrian Latakia.
Leather, earth, and also came from the smokey Syrian leaf, with a bit of raisin in there as well.
The Virginia stands toe to toe with the Latakia, offering honey sweet smoke blowing through an open barn door with sun-drenched hay and fresh oranges and cherries on the dirt floor. What a delight! This is one you will have to fight to keep a good pace because the mouth-watering goodness makes one eager and drag-happy.
I did have to relight a few times, but it was not a problem for me. The blend burned to the bottom into whitish gray ash with no dottle. If you haven’t tried it yet, I can’t recommend this blend enough! Get it before the Syrian Latakia runs out! Buy some to smoke fresh and also some to age!
Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag as far as how great this blend is and the fact that supply is limited. I would suggest getting on a notification list at your favorite brick and mortar or online tobacconist so you can grab some before it is too late.
Smoke and enjoy my friends! Have a wonderful day!