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This hardy blend celebrates the oldest battleship in the U.S. Navy, the U.S.S. Constitution. This blend is a Latakia lovers dream. A high percentage of Cyprian Latakia is complimented by Kentucky, Oriental, and Virginia tobaccos. Cake aged for twelve weeks, this flake cut blend is full and cool smoking.

BrandDan Tobacco
Blended ByDan Tobacco
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsKentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging50g Tin
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Medium to Strong
None Detected
Room Note

Favorite Of 6 Users

51 reviews
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TEO Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TEO (32)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Wow, this is tobacco time machine! A sort of "dual" blend, It starts as English and evolves in a spicy balkan, a full flavour flake.

Old Ironsides is the only tobacco I fell in love with after the very first bowl. Strong, with a full, nutty, crispy and smoky taste that just push you dreaming of a london night, back into a dark and smokey tavern on the river Thames, in the mid of the 18th century! I packed an entire flake down my small Peterson and had some little trouble keeping it lit, as it was just out of the tin, but after all, what a great flake!

The generous amount of latakia it contains comes from great leaves along with the base. It doesn't stun, obviously it doesn't bite and smokes veeery quiet and slow. As you proceed down the bowl, a certain deeper spicyness, that makes me think of perique or matured red virginias, shows up and stays there, enriching the taste with some more complexity.

5 people found this review helpful.

natibo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
natibo (128)
Medium None Detected Very Full Strong

Tobacco was a little drier than I prefer. It has lot's of Latakia. However, it has none of the sweetness that a blend like Odyssey has. I just found nothing special about this blend.

2 people found this review helpful.

Sasquatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sasquatch (74)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Beautiful presentation in the form of roughly broken flake. This stuff is smooth smooth smooth. Hardly any sweetness compared to a lot of other "lighter" English tobaccos (like, say, Squadron Leader or Frog Mo). More like a cup of coffee with no sugar. Can be smoked all day with no fear of bite.

Room note: Old coffee and maybe maybe a touch of spilled beer.

I like this stuff better than Penzance in taste and in leaf style. Not a clone, but in that ballpark. If you expect to require your sense of taste for about 6 hours after, don't smoke this stuff. I can just see a wine-tasting now: Lovely ruby colour, bouquet... Latakia. Taste... Latakia. Finish... mm hmm, more latakia.

2 people found this review helpful.

Professor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Professor (67)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

The U.S.S. Constitution (aka Old Ironsides) is the 'oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world'. The battleship has been celebrated with honours, including being the namesake of Dan Tobacco's blending inspiration (perhaps the ship's greatest achievement besides its age). Blended for C.A.O., Old Ironsides is a Latakia flake-based weed that I rather like. I have been critical of tobacco in the past for being uniform in taste. In this case, oddly, I like the fact that the flavour is basically unchanging from the beginning of the bowl to the bottom. There is a charm about its unvarying flavour. I am not a fan of flake form, but Old Ironsides would lose some of that charm if it were not a flake cut. The fact is that I noticeably like packing this flake in my larger pipes. The raw peat-like smell of the weed is welcoming but second only to the taste. In this case, it is a full and smoky experience without an abundance of nicotine. The latter, however, is just about right--enough for a kick but not too much to cause a headache. This stuff produces bellows of grey smoke and burns to a nice similarly-coloured ash. And I enjoy greatly the lingering aftertaste. What prevents Old Ironsides from getting another star (besides the War of 1812 against Great Britain--even if that was the ship and not the tobacco) is the fact that its flavour can become slightly harsh, but that harshness can be avoided. Significantly, it must be smoked gently and that is difficult to do due to the desire to enjoy abundantly and puff profusely (or at least faster than usual). That aside--and in mind--this is a satisfactory solid smoke that occasionally reminds me of a fine cigar (although I no longer smoke them). Latakia is my favourite component in tobacco, but if it is not yours than admittedly you will not like Old Ironsides. If Latakia is a requirement for your smoking pleasure, find your way to the Navy yard and cruise aboard the U.S.S. Constitution with this dreamy delight--you will certainly not be disappointed.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1454)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Old Ironsides will ram you, boys! Even lovers of most Latakia infested blends will surely cry "uncle" with this one. Whew! I needed to brush my teeth for a week after smoking Old Ironsides before my wife let me back in bed. Seriously, this is quite strong as well as full of flavor. The Virginia element was a little overwhelmed by the Lat bomb within, but I think I did taste it some. The Orientals never had a chance.

I gotta get more of this stuff!

2 people found this review helpful.

Kleophrades Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kleophrades (39)
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

Old Ironsides is just what the package says: a Latakia lover?s dream. It is all Latakia, all the time, with no messing around. Oh, I suppose they blend it with something or other just to keep it interesting. And sometimes, late at night, in a big bowl, this is just what you need. But it lacks the complexity to hold interest over the long haul. There?s a useful contrast with Penzance: the latter sacrifices just a bit of firepower in the interest of greater diversity of flavor, but the result is that Penzance is a great tobacco while Old Ironsides is simply very good. The cut is nice: like a flake that's been pre-rubbed -- very convenient! If you like Latakia, I?d recommend keeping some on hand for a broadside every now and then. Luckily, it ages particularly well.

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (143)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

The tobacconist sold this as a Penzance clone with a stronger kick. Since I've never tried Penzance, I can't compare the two, but to me, it's a one dimensional latakia smoke, which isn't to knock it down--I just prefer a blend that is a bit more varied, like Dunhill 965.

As far as knocking me on the floor with its punch, I was somewhat disappointed. I found this to be a cool..and, yes, creamy smoke, but not overwhelming in strength--though it is full. I didn't have a problem packing this like some suggested. It rubbed out very nicely and lit with ease despite its flake form, burning consistently throughout.

Honestly, I need something more in this, so I've been blending in a little perique to diversify the taste, with nice results. I will say that I was a chump to buy this for $13, as I have seen it advertised online for less than $9..and I would buy it again, at the latter price.


I'm upping this from three to four stars. I've got around ten blends on hand and I keep turning back to the point that I don't bother adding anymore blending Perique but instead throw some of this into my Elizabethan Mixture. It's nice and rich, so it makes its presence known right away. Good stuff. Still wouldn't pay $13 though.

1 person found this review helpful.

Old German puffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Old German puffer (105)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

With a 4am wake up and coffee in hand I pulled a tin of this out for my wakeup smoke. I love a strong blend and this delivers. Packs in a bowl very well. Lit with one match. Tamp and smoked for an hour plus. Very earthy and nutty taste from start to finish. Heavy smoke as well. Goes in and out of my rotation.

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: Tin - 1 year old

Purchased From: JR'S Cigar Outlet

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JackSparrow Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JackSparrow (14)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This is a unique EM...nothing similar (yet). When i opened the tin first time i was amazed by its flavour, toasted, smoky, creamy. Moisture is almost perfect when the stuff comes out of the tin, but i preferer letting it dry out for half an hour, after rubbing the flake. Latakia is the main actor but after a few puffs you can taste the sinfony of VAs and orientals, perfectly blended with latakia and a with touch of kentuky, which brings a nice N surprise to the mixture. The more you go through the bowl the more you can taste creamy and toasty notes, always in a cool and dry smoke. My afternoon and after dinner EM (for the morning i use 50% Commolwealth Mixture + 50% Squadron Leader). Highly reccomended!


For a full fantastic after dinner smoke try this:

50% CAO Old Ironsides 50% SG Brown Rope N. 4.

Simply amazing! Full round smoke, with a good N load. If you like strong stuff this is a must try. Absolutely legendary: you'll crave for it more and more....

Nobody has rated this review yet.

rising2angel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rising2angel (3)
Medium to Strong Strong Full Tolerable

I love this tobacco. It burns very well in my best pipes.

Opening the tin is a real surprise of aromas and tastes, and when you light it, the taste sounds extremely better.

It is a strong tobacco, not for frist-times-smokers, it requires a bit of experience in tobacco tasting.

The room note is tolerable (personally I love it but not alla the people might like it), so that when I smoke it I feel very well, and the smell that pervades the room gently wrap me in an overwhelming sensation.

I love the taste that Old Ironsides leaves in my mouth after smoking, even if, I repeat, it is not an "easy" tobacco to smoke: it requires you'va quite experience with the oriental tastes.

One of the best tobaccos I've ever smoked, and always present in my whishlist!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ELF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ELF (40)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

....10/10....Your significant other Wld-probably"Divorce You"if you smoked this mix Indoors(Good Hunting Shack-Smoke)...BUT I LOVE THIS MIX !!! :+))

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Country Gentleman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Country Gentleman (28)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This is why I keep trying the heavy Latakia blends. When I come across one I like it makes me very pleased. The aged flake/cake in my tin is in perfect condition for easy pack and ready smoke.

Ironsides provides the nice leathery smokiness that I expect from a blend like this, but without the flat or bitter taste that I have experienced in other English/Latakias. Smokes very cool.

If it was still readily available, I would add it to my rotation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wylie Coyote Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wylie Coyote (7)
Strong None Detected Full Strong

We were in Las Vegas and I found a tobacco store on the strip. The only non aromatic they had was a tin of this. Fool I was to open the tin and smoke the whole thing only to find out I cannot get it anymore. The Latakia was excellent.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Schwetty Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Schwetty (15)
Mild Medium to Strong Very Full Tolerable

This may sound strange coming from a cross over blend lover, but this stuff is great! I am sorry that I discoved it too late, in that it is no longer available. I am buying up tins that I can find, and storing them for later enjoyment.

I tried it on a lark, and fell in love with its rich and creamy taste. Low nicotine content also appeals to me since I am not a cigarette smoker. It takes some work to get it lit, but after the initial lighting process it's smooth sailing. Very cool burn, with not bite what so ever. The flavor is sweet with a hint of mint as an aftertaste. The smoke is abundant and heavy which tends to linger. It can leave a residual taste in your pipe, but I dont mind it.

If you can find it, buy it. Hopefully there is some other tobacco company that will pick up this blend for future sale.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Doc Jake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Doc Jake (23)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

Over the past few years I have been dabbling in English blends with increasing amounts of Latakia in them until I found this blend. I am wowed by this blend with its mildly soapy earthiness, which turns to a deep cool woody taste mid bowl. This tobacco has moderate complexity with straightforward tastes. It is extremely consistent, and an excellent complement China Clipper tea. The room note is strong, yet pleasurable if you love smokey tobacco aroma. I have found no tongue bite even to the bottom of the bowl, and have found larger pipes a better coice for smoking this blend. A light rub of the tobacco will help with packing I have found. If you are new to English blends, and want to try Latakia I suggest this. It is full in flavor, but not the "velvet hammer", or complexity of Dunhill Nightcap. ENJOY.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

If you like Latakia in big doses, but want something beyond straight Latakia, try this. OI is Latakia with a little complexity to keep things somewhat interesting. I also like the broken flake presentation. OI burns nicely, cool and clean. A great, occasional, cold weather companion.

One more thing: popping the four year old tin reminded me of breaking the seal on one of Dunhill's Latakia laden blends from the distant past. That musty, rich sod smell was so powerful and inviting.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

benkoplin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
benkoplin (5)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Here's the only problem with this blend: it calls itself a "Latakia lover's dream." It should say: "if you taste Latakia in this blend, you must be DREAMING!" This blend packs reasonably well, burns to a clean white ash and stays lit, but it really doesn't taste like much at all. In fact, it tastes like the neighbor's barbecuing with a mesquite BBQ sauce next door, and the smell's drifting over to your yard. Not unpleasant, but not knock-your-socks off.

I will say that my buddy was smoking something that smelled like Swiss Miss, and that made me happy that I had the Old Ironsides, but it wasn't happy enough to buy it again. (By the way, I lived in Boston for 10 years, and CAO's "Old Ironsides" really DOES smell like the U.S.S. Constitution. Take it for what it's worth.)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

loosewatches Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
loosewatches (108)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

This would have been a good time to find out what all this talk about the 'soapy' taste of Lakelands is all about, since I've never smoked soap. I did, however, forget about and leave a tin of this in my pants pocket when I washed them! Oh, well, the first half of the tin was quite good.

That all said, this is a Latakia blend. It is very stout tasting, if not too strong in the nicotine department. This is a little bit like Pirate Kake, as far as latakia content is concerned, but it's better balanced. Guess I'll have to order the 8 oz. bag. That won't fit in my ass pocket! Yes, I said ass pocket. (that of my pants, of course).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big bad Jon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big bad Jon (232)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

This is one of the coolest tobaccos I have ever smoked, it comes out of the pipe like ice water. I love the heavy latakia taste that I get when smoking it, my wife hates it (who the hell cares). It is very easy to pack and burns nice and slow Old Iron Side will be in my rotation for a long time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

elias Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
elias (9)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Whenever you feel that you need Latakia, you know where to find it.

Black semi-rubbed flakes. Can be smoked either fully rubbed or in flake form. I prefer a combination: Create a plug a little smaller in diameter and a little higher than the bowl, tamp it in and then fill the rest of the bowl with the rubbed tobacco.

Burns really dry and cool. The rich and creamy smoke will not let you overdo it with puffing. It is very nicely accompanied by a cup of strong black coffee.

I do not think, though, that more than two bowls per day can be pleasant. This is the exact reason for which I withhold the fourth star. You need some other tobacco for the rest of the day.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

constantsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
constantsmoker (65)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Fantastic! Perfect blend of VA/Oriental/Latakia. And the Latakia sings!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LatakiaLover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LatakiaLover (5)
Medium to Strong None Detected Extra Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Since the TR text editor doesn't handle cut-and-paste very well, I'll just link to a full review I wrote elsewhere in the on-line tobacco world:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pkloop Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pkloop (50)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

"A Latakia lover's dream." "Full and cool."

Fwiw I agree with the tin description. Upon opening the tin you will discover beautiful dark flakes with a few lighter strands contained within the flakes. The tin aroma, naturally, smells strongly of Latakia. Moisture content seems slightly high, as I prefer it that way its perfect for me.

Packing: I like to use the flake folding method with Old Ironsides and the tobacco complies well with this. A little sprinkle of fully rubbed out OI on the top helps with lighting.

Smoking: An easy charing light followed by a quick tamp/relight and I'm on my way. This one does, imo, seem 1 dimensional. Its Latakia followed by more Latakia. Mid-Bowl I taste more Latakia..and the finish is a nice smoky Latakia taste. :) Burns to a fine grey ash with no wet goop. It does indeed smoke full & cool and doesn't bite at all. Quite nice overall.

Room note: I would think it unlikely that anyone other then our pipe smoking brethren would enjoy/tolerate it..don't expect the wife to be jumping with joy when you break this one out. Outside only for this pipester.

I do like this smoke when in the mood for a nice, heavier evening smoke after a hearty meal. Or pair this one up with some Jack Daniels on the rocks..

And yeah..if your not a fan of the dark leaf..skip this 3 of 4

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

01/14/2005: Even though I don't smoke these big-flavored blends all that often I rated it at the top anyway. The Latakia is not acrid or harsh like many tobaccos of this type. It is rich and tasty. It is too full flavored for an every day smoke. Best to save this for the last pipe of the day. If you smoke it first you won't taste anything else for a good long while!

11/27/2006 Update: Latakia overload.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

VAman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
VAman (26)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

this is a good and reliable flake, it is and outdoor after BBQ smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipeNeophyte Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipeNeophyte (10)
Strong Mild Full Extra Strong

I've had a lot of ups and downs with this blend. It was the first non-aromatic blend I'd ever tried. I hated it. Several months later I decided to dig it out of my tobacco drawer and give it another go and somehow fell in love with it. I really loved the smokey taste of the latakia and this was my absolute favorite blend for about a year. When I ran out I put off buying another tin in favor of trying other blends and didn't go back to it until last week, when I renewed my supply.

I have to say, this new tin is not nearly as impressive as what I remember. I don't know if they changed the formula or if this tin is just a lemon, but I was mighty disappointed. There's still a smokey undertone of latakia but it's cased with some heavy, caustic flavor that produces an surprising amount of tongue-bite for a non-aromatic. I really hope this was just a bad tin, but I'm afraid to lay down another eleven bucks only to be supremely disappointed. For now I'm knocking my review down to 2 stars. It's not terrible, and I'll probably finish the tin off sooner or later, but it's just not as brilliant as I remember it.

I'll keep my old reviews below for posterity.


This came very highly recommended to me as a fine Latakia. To me it looked, tasted and felt exactly like beef jerky. It was just -too- smokey tasting to me, like a wrack of ribs or something. I enjoy a sweet tobacco so it just wasn't my thing. It burned well and had a nice thick richness to it but I couldn't get over the mesquite barbecue seasoning.


I guess it happens to all of us, eventually... It happened for me tonight. After reading some Sherlock Holmes and getting into the mood I decided that I would learn to appreciate non-aromatics whether I liked it or not... So I bought a cheap corn cob, dug out my tin of Old Iron Sides, sat down, and smoked a couple bowls of this stuff.

Now I'm beginning to understand what all the fuss is about. After an initial (extreme) distaste, I began to get comfortable, and now I must say that - though completely different than aromatic - this stuff is quite a wonderful experience.

Everything I hate about aromatics (tongue bite, thin smoke, hot smoke, lack of complexity) is wonderfully inversed in this stuff. Thick, cool, complex, curling smoke. Delicious but in a very serious way.

I don't think I'll be retiring my aromatic pipes any time soon, they shall still be my full-time staples, but now I know that I can comfortably sit down and begin to explore the wonders of non-aromatics.

We got off to a rocky start, Latakia, but now I'm ready to yield to your temptations whole-heartedly!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jackhackett Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackhackett (76)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

After trying many of its analogs, I?ve finally arrived at Old Ironsides, a fistful of Cyprian love sprinkled with VA, OR, and KY for balance.

Tin note is a subdued, slightly sweet leather-and-charcoal complex of scents. Initial moisture level in the tin was not unusually high, and an opened tin will likely balance to perfection after a few days.

The cut is more a flake that crumbles, rather than a true crumble cake or flake that 'rubs out,' and this construction is perfect for no-nonsense loading of the bowl, making it easy to reach the texture and consistency desired.

Though mostly unchanging from start to finish, O.I. has a singular complexity and wood-smokiness that would be complemented well by a peaty Islay malt scotch like Laphroaig, etc.

Yes, O.I. is another full-on latakia rock festival. No, you cannot discern the individual components and savor each flavor, nor I think are you supposed to be able to do this. What you get here is another praise-worthy, latakia-focused, but balanced blend. Penzance and Pirate Kake fans will likely enjoy this very much.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Not a Penzance clone. Excellent burn qualities, as it smokes cool and dry with a brilliant white ash. My reason for withholding the fourth star is the quality of the non-oriental component. I am not able to say whether it is the virginia or the kentucky that gives Old Ironsides a sharpish edge which diminishes the overall experience. Nonetheless, a very pleasant smoke.

The best Balkan flake in my experience has been Abu Riha, a flake made in England for G de Graaff and Sons of the Hague. In the mid-nineties I was able to obtain a couple of dozen tins but subsequent efforts to locate some have not been successful.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

workingstiff Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
workingstiff (39)
Strong None Detected Full Strong

I really like this tobacco it leaves a rich full flavor in the mouth. It has such a powerful Laktiva room note and there is no mistaking it for anything but good pipe tobacco. This stuff is a nice evening smoke. Now I like Midnight Ride better from CAO since it is a little more demensional. This is not as complex of a smoke. I find that this stuff burns very well once lit but the odd bark like cut takes some crumbling and relights to get going. It is a very cool smoke since it burns slow.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Extremely Mild None Detected Full Strong

As a Latakia Lover, I just had to smoke this one, and smoke it I did. Upon opening I was pleased by the look of the dark flakes and by the big, leathery smell. Packing and lighting aren't a simple task, and neither leave the flakes on the air nor rub them out won't make that much easier. When you'll have finally managed to light your pipe, Old Ironsides becomes an easy-going tobacco, it burns extremely cool and stays lit without the least problem, making it a perfect outdoor tobacco. It can be smoked with great satisfaction especially during summer for its almost incredible refreshing qualities, leaving your mouth with a slight peppermint aftertaste. A must-have for all latakia heads. The only complaint is that it's really too light in body.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Commons Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Commons (18)
Mild None Detected Extra Full Overwhelming

This was my first experience with an English Latakia blend. All things considered, it was pretty brave of me as my first choice since it is almost entirely Latakia. When I opened the tin I was greeted with a whiff that instantly reminded me of the dark brown cork tiles I had in my bedroom when I was young. (I hoped it wouldn't taste like cork.)

This is a flake tobacco?in long, thick strips (like beef jerky), so it needed to be rubbed between my fingers until I had enough to fill my pipe. It has a very heavy consistency, so I didn't pack it very tight. I then retired to my upstairs balcony where I lit it up. Before long the little enclosure was filled with its aroma. The flavour tasted of a cross between unsweetened chocolate and dry-roasted coffee (latté, anyone?) or a very stout brew. (In fact, I imagine sipping a Murphy's Stout or Scotch with it would be very nice indeed). I had only filled my bowl half-way, and it burned very, very slowly and stayed cool the entire time, despite my rather quick smoking pace.

The smoke and taste is so rich and heavy that after a while of smoking I felt like I could scrape dark brown powder from my tongue. This tobacco was quite a change of pace from my lighter varieties, and I enjoyed the fullness of it. Better yet, I felt no ill-effects from its low nicotine content. The room amoma is, of course, rather heavy, and I'm not sure I would inflict it upon a roomful of people.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

emmbee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
emmbee (174)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

The appearance and taste bring one thing to mind: a latakia cupcake. Ironsides is death by latakia. It is to pipe tobacco as flourless chocolate cake is to dessert and kobe steak is to beef. They are rich, overwhelming, almost over the top, but ohhhhhhhh, how sweet it is! This is the kind of blend you reach for when nothing else will do. An excellent scotch accompaniment, but probably more fitting for after dinner, as the flavor will make your tastebuds go on furlough for awhile. I first compared this one to Penzance turned up several notches, with favor on the side of Penzance. I now find that both of them have their own magnificence, and they both deserve a place in any discriminating smoker's latakia repertory. It's an expensive luxury, and the flakes are packed in huge circular chunks, which means you'll go through this stuff pretty quickly. Ironsides, Penzance and Sasieni form a mighty triumverate of the very best latakia & spicy oriental blends out there that leave the smoker yearning for more.

Four and a half of five stars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joe Patterson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joe Patterson (48)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Strong

This is an unusual blend for me and one I only want occasionally. Frankly, I may only finish the tine I have and never get it again. It's nice, it's full, and if you love a little tobacco with your latakia, this is for you. Latakia overload is the perfect thing once in a while. That it comes in flake form is what attracted me to this blend. I can barely sense the Kentucky -- the latakia overwhelms all!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

WOW!!!!! A Latakia flake! This is on par with the wonderful Penzance.It actually burns a little cooler and milder.The flake needs to be rubbed out and takes about 3 lights to get going,but when it does, this is latakia heaven!It lacks the complexity of Penzance but is truly a close second.The flavor is rich and creamy.The burn is cool and leaves no residue,and no gurgle.This is for the Latakia purist.3.9 of 4 stars (only Penzance gets 4!)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

smokey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokey (120)
Strong None Detected Full Strong

one word of caution here; if you do not like strong latakia blends, don't even consider this one! a notch below pirate kake, this tobacco still hits you right between the eyes, from the time you touch a match to it. personally, i like latakias, so i get along very well with it. it seems to be a little harder to keep lit than it's milder cousin, patriot flake. this is not the one to bring in the house if your spouse has an aversion to the smell of non-aromatic tobaccos or good cigars. the flavor stays consistent from lighting to the bottom of the bowl. i think this is a tobacco that would be good for a cigar conniseur who has decided to try out the delights of bowl and pouch, who would also not be too put off by the premium price. this is not an everyday smoke for me, but i did enjoy it. 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.1512 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.1512 (196)
Strong Strong Extra Full Very Strong

The tin says it correctly, "A Latakia Lovers Dream". Old Ironsides is a crumble cake similar to Esoterica's Penzance in form and taste, but stronger in the latakia department and produces very thick smoke and lot's of it. I like great billows of smoke and this blend affords that with out any tounge bite. Burns very slow, cool and crumbles out nicely, packs well and burns evenly. The flavor stays consistent from lighting to the bottom of the bowl. This is truly a Latakia lovers dream and definately not for the timid smoker or aromatic fancier.

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Hauser Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hauser (16)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I?ve been opening up some aged tins for the first time and trying them whereas I am used to smoking only newly opened tins. At only 4 years, aging has served this blend very well.

Tin Opening-Musty, Leathery. English ? Latakia definitely present but not as overwhelming as with a new tin.

Packing-I needed to cut it up to pack it well.

Lighting-Required two primer lights and a final light.

First Impression-I remembered when I first tried Old Ironsides; it was like a Latakia punch in the face but this is more subdued and mellowed. The Latakia is present but the aging has merged the other tobaccos bringing them more to the front.

Mid Bowl-By mid bowl, this has settle into a wonderful full smoke that is smooth without being heavy. The Latakia is dancing in the background but Virginias and Orientals make themselves more known. It's more complex than I remember but still smokes with the same coolness and without a hint of tongue bite or wetness.

Finish-Stronger, richer and even more flavorful at the finish, this is a delightful smoke.

Over all-I was surprised at how much time as changed this blend. It has certainly mellowed over time and the tobaccos have married well into a more refined version of the newly tinned version.

Recommendation Buy it and stash it!

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bigjonburley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigjonburley (64)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Strong

I love this blend, although I must admit that there are alot of other latakia blends that I prefer to smoke over this beauty. Fortunately, when I got into pipe smoking, I was exposed first to Dunhill's 965 and shortly there after became a huge fan of latakia. Old Ironsides will quench the latakia craving in any smokers heart who has an appreciation for the greatest "black" commodity to come from the middle east since oil. At the opening of the tin you'll get a blast of deep, rich, earthiness that will give you visions of smoked beef and fertile soil. The cake is sliced and is easily rubbed out into a fine composition that appears to be annointed with dark cocoa powder. Don't let this description be misunderstood though, there's nothing sweet and chocolatey about this blend. Old Ironsides burns really clean and cool. I like to puff aggressively, and I haven't been bitten yet. As others have stated, this blend is best appreciated outdoors or in the company of other pipe smoking bretheren. All said, if you love latakia Old Ironsides will sail you away on the seas of extacy.

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Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (302)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

As a Latakia lover, I wanted to try some blend with the emphasis on this dark and fascinating tobacco, something different from my usual Dunhill London Mixture and Balkan Sobranie Original Mixture. Well, I went for advice to Mr. Bollito (a tobacconist in Turin, one of the best in Italy) and he suggested this. Well, his experience couldn't have been more valuable. Upon opening the small tin, I was rather shocked by the huge and thick black broken flakes: being used to the small cut of my other favorite latakia tobaccos, this was a surprise. The smell was very strong, very smoky and dark: like Balkan Sobranie, but stronger and deeper. I was uncertain on how to pack this stuff, but I decided to stuff the flakes in my Savinelli without crumbling them into little pieces. I just broke the hugest ones, pressed with my finger and then lit. Lighting proved itself a challenging task: this stuff doesn't want to get on fire! Not because of wetness, just because of the size of the flakes! This made me fear for the worst about relightings, but I was wrong. This tobacco is hard to light, but then if you puff regularly it never extinguishes. The large cut of the flakes is very helpful indeed in keeping the smoke very slow and cool: the pipe gets noticeably less hot than with Dunhills or Balkan Sobranie, and this is great. The smoke comes out at the perfect temperature, allowing you to taste the aroma without scorching your tongue or overwhelming you with excessively intense clouds. But what about the taste? In my opinion, it is very good. A bit monochromatic, perhaps, in comparison to the aforementioned Latakia monsters: straight, sincere, but enormously satisfying. The intense smokiness of Latakia is the dominant taste, for an in-your-face dark experience, with all the usual nuances one has to expect. Hints of licorice, of burning wood, of salt... Mmmmm, this tobacco makes my mouth water!!! It can get too salty at the bottom of the bowl, but never harsh. If only it were a bit fuller in body (maybe adding some orientals and red virginia... but then again it would be easier to smoke another blend!)... In spite of this rich taste, this tobacco doesn't seem too strong: the nicotine content is just right for me, and the overall strenght is OK, definitely lighter than London Mixture or Balkan Sobranie. For me it is a great choice when I want something less complex than my usual favorite Latakia blends, but be warned because I found that it can be very nasty and unplesant to non-smokers who should happen in your presence: they often complain that its pungent smell reminds them of burnt horse dung!!!!!! But so they say about Balkan Sobranie, which could be interpreted as a huge compliment to Old Ironsides...

2011 Update (after 6-7 years): Well, I hadn't tried this tobacco since a long time ago, so I got a new tin. Bad surprise... it has changed considerably, even from the looks of it. Much softer and larger flakes, not as dark and leathery as they used to be. And the taste disappoints too: no longer the strong Latakia blast of old, no longer as stout and licoricey. Should have stocked up the old version...

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Chessnut Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Chessnut (13)
Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I love latakia blends, but for some reason I don't rate this blend as highly as many other folks do. It has a wonderful tin aroma, everything a latakia should be but when I try smoking it, I like it but don't love it as much as some other latakia mixtures. It definitely is a quality tobacco, and I will finish the tin I have, but I won't be reaching for it as much as others and don't think I'll be buying this anythime soon,

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DeltaSnake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeltaSnake (31)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

I got this blend one evening at a rare tobacco store that stays open until 10pm, so I could swing by and get on while coming home from my second job. I had run out of latakia tobacco and only had the lighter stuff at home, and for my last smokes of the day, I want it strong. So, I got this, and sure enough, it is a latakia lovers dream. What surprised me was how full and smooth it tasted also, as blends with this much latakia seem heavy in aroma and taste, but often taste a bit thin. Another surprise was seeing it in slice form, which I normally don't like, to me it can make a smoke bite (for me anyway), but it smokes very cool and dry. It's a smoke for one kind of smoker, but if you are that type, this is perfect. It's replaced Dunhill Nitecap as my favorite late night and after dinner smoke, and my only objection is it's higher price. I only smoke it as a late night treat to end the day, so a can goes further than if it was smoked more often. This is one blend I buy on sight.

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Briarabbit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briarabbit (116)
Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant

I'm mainly these days a Burley fancier. But I still enjoy the smokey Latakia from time to time, and this my friend is LATAKIA!!! The tobacco is pressed in to cakes and cut into flakes,and looks like Tar Baby.(anyone remeber that?) It breakes up easy, but takes a few lights to get it going. Once lit you get some very delightful creamy smokey lucious tastes. My wife says "it smells better than a lot of those camel poop tobaccos you smoke".It does taste good,and is very relaxing. It's definetly not for land lubbers, and those who haven't been with a pipe long. Smokey and salty, like a good Islay Scotch.

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phroney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
phroney (5)
Strong None Detected Extra Full Very Strong

The tin says it correctly, "A Latakia Lovers Dream". And that it is! I love Latakia and have yet to find a blend that has to much. If you love Latakia this is a blend for you. I am a hard puffer. I like great billows of smoke and this blend allows me to puff until I am blue in the face with out any tounge bite. My bowl only got slightly warm no matter how hard and how often I puffed. I will be smoking this on a regular basis.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Butch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Butch (7)
Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Strong

If you love latakia, as I do, this should ever be on your list. I smoke it straight in a small bowl, but will also add it in to other blends from time to time if I want to "kick it up a notch". Although the smell is strong, the smoke is surprisingly mild.

As with hot pepper sauces, proper manners when offering Old Ironsides to a novice would be to give full disclosure, but offer it nevertheless. If he loves it, you know he has the heart and soul of an Englishman. If he hates it, then there is nothing to do but hope for his eventual conversion.

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RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Strong None Detected Full Strong

I love latakia, but not just any latakia. This blend has done a superb job in blending this to a rich, smooth, and sweet smoke. The flakes rub out easy (yes, latakia in flake form), the moisture was perfect on my tin dated from 2002. It smokes very cool with no tongue bite whatsoever. The smoke is very thick, you can almost chew it . It will scare away your significant ones though with its room note, unless they love latakia. The flavor is consistent all the way down the bowl with just a slight increase of richness toward the end and leaves a medium grey ash with no dottle. The only draw back to this blend is that it is so rich, that you will need to rest your tastebuds for a few hours before your next smoke. The tin looks small for the price, but it smoked so slowly that half a bowl in my ashton xxx sovereign billiard lasted an hour. Regardless of the cost , this tobacco is an excellent example of masterfull blending. Highly recommended!!! Update: 9-25-03 I just opened a fresh tin and realized that the previous tins in my possesion were well aged. This fresh tin was definitely a little "raw" and smoked a little harsh. I definitely recommend that you age this blend as it is tastes much better when aged. Rating 5 out of 5 points (when aged) By the way, did I mention that you should age it? Enjoy...

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WxGuy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WxGuy (95)
Mild to Medium None Detected Extra Full Very Strong

Old Ironsides- love it or hate it, it is undisputably one of the heavy hitters in the Latakia world. I love it. As my teenage daughter would say, "its the BOMB!" (Actually she hates the room note, even when the room is outside.) This is NOT going to win friends, aroma-wise, but that is not why we smoke anyway, right? OI is to tobacco what Laphroig and Ardbeg are to single malt scotches: In-your-face smoky, skanky hardcore stuff with a sharp attack, huge body, and lingering aftertaste that really only appeals to those with an acquired taste for such things. That is me, I guess, but I can see how you could really hate this product...

OI officially comes in flake form, but my tins thus far have contained broken flake at best, really more like shredded flake. No problem though, I just stuff them in the pipe w/o further rubbing, except for a little finer consistency for the top light.

This stuff looks and feels like leather. It even smells like leather- like one might expect a smoke-tanned Indian tipi to smell. Its the real thing. Being that it is somewhat moist (and pliable) it is even harder than many latakia-heavy blends to light. In fact, I sometimes sprinkle a little Commonwealth Mixture on top to facilitate ignition. It will also go out if neglected, but it is such a cool, satisfying smoke that it encourages steady puffing.

Some have commented here that OI is rather one-dimensional, and that is a fair evaluation of this weed that I notice each time I smoke it. Though the constituents listed include Kentuky, Virginia and oriental, they are overshadowed by the looming latakia. The thing is, I LOVE this particular dimension! It is among my all-time favorite tobaccos, though I could not smoke it every day. It would lose its specialness.

The downside of this tobacco is the price. Even at Internet prices, it is pricey, and not available in bulk (that I know of). I also seem to burn through 50 g faster than I do with almost any other tobacco. This is contrary to my experience with other flake tobaccos; my half-tin of Marlin Flake seems to have lasted for ever. Maybe it is because the experience is so enjoyable that I puff harder and the bowl is finished sooner. At any rate, compared to wine, scotch, cognac, and various illegal substances, even expensive pipe tobaccos remain one of life's most cost-effective pleasures. Thats why I always try to have several tins cellared. Who knows when natural disaster may strike?

I would HIGHLY recommend this tobacco to anyone who considers him or herself a latakia fan.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mesacactus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mesacactus (21)
Extremely Strong None Detected Very Full Extra Strong

Ok, I admit, I love Latakia, I mean I realy like the stuff. Lets face it, most pipe smokers either love it, or hate it. I am reviewing based upon my love for the stuff. I have smoked many latakia blends. For a while I was searching for the perfect English. It must be cool, rich, easy to light, and flavorful. I found many that had the flavor, but burned hot. Had rich tobacco overtones, but where was the Latakia? Found some to be cool, but again, no taste of the smokey stuff, or very little. I was begining to think no one could blend the perfect English. I was wrong. Old Ironsides was found! It is cool, rich, and has flavor. I mentioned staying lit, well three out of four isn't bad. This is a hard tobacco to keep lit. Nevertheless, It is my all-time favorite tobacco. Leave it to the Germans, to blend an English, using tobacco from all over the world, with Cyprian Latakia at 70% and naming it after an American ship, of the Revolutionary War. Go Free Trade!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mailman 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mailman 5000 (60)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

One of the monster Latakia blends. This is one of the best , seemingly having a touch more virginia than Penzance making for a slightly different experience, but overall latakia rules O.K. which is fine with me. I would guess latakia is getting on for 66% or more. I like to smoke these blends in a big pipe, weekend size. Not an all day smoke but great when the mood dictates. The only rub is its only available in tins which makes regular consumtion questionable as Penzance is virtually the same, but half the price in bulk form.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Oliphaunt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Oliphaunt (3)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Strong

This is an outstanding blend and only gets better the more you smoke it.

Upon opening the tin one encounters a pleasently musty aroma with a unique note I can only describe as meaty. In fact, the smell reminds me somewhat of my late grandfather's very smoky deer jerky, and I am occasionally possessed by an irrational desire to forego the elaborate ritual of packing and smoking a pipe to simply eat the stuff instead. ( I have not actually done this... yet)

The tobacco comes in an odd (for latakia mixtures) thin flake cut. I have settled on the strategy of folding the flakes over on themselves several times and packing the whole bloody mess into the bowl. As the flakes are thin and fragile, they crumble into small chunks when subjected to this treatment. Lighting can somewhat of an ordeal, as with most heavy latakia blends, but given three heavy lightings, it tends to hold flame fairly well.

Obviously, latakia flavors predominate throughout, but this is not to say that the blend lacks complexity. There is an intriguing rich nutty flavor just below the surface, which is exposed by faster puffing. You may puff this blend as quickly as you want, by the way, as the smoke is cool and creamy. One could probably smoke this out of a crackpipe using a welding torch without experiencing any adverse oral effects. The latakia starts out smoky-musty, becoming more musty-smoky towards the end of the bowl. Note that when I say "musty" I mean something good, more like chanterelle mushrooms and less like your basement. Smokes especially well in a meerschaum.

This blend has two potential drawbacks: price and room aroma. If you have a wife, and your wife has some olfactory capability, you should definitely smoke this either outside or in the comfort of your local tavern or tobacconist. Its priciness may put a hole in your pocketbook but only a small one, as tobacco remains the undisputed bargain among life's luxuries. If a penurious peasant like myself can afford this stuff, then you certainly can.

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pmonroeb Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pmonroeb (92)
Very Strong None Detected Full Strong

Like the other reviewers I found Old Ironsides to be a rather strong Latakia crumble cake. It is similar to Penzance or C&D's Black Frigate in form and taste, but somewhat stronger in the latakia department. Of the three, Old Ironsides also has the smokiest latakia. I personally love all three of them. Old Ironsides crumbles out nicely, packs well and burns very evenly. While it is certainly dominated by the latakia, I found that the bottom third of the bowl definitely yielded some change of flavor into other ranges.

One problem with Old Ironsides is that the aroma really tends to linger in the room, developing a musty, sour smell the next morning. Not a tobacco to please the wife.

Overall I found this to be a great blend. If you want something similar, but with less strength of latakia, try Penzance.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pokrsmokr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pokrsmokr (32)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Camel Dung anyone?

This is one of the most latakia-laden blends I have ever seen. Latakia is NOT a condiment tobacco in this blend, it's the actual meat and potatoes. What first caught my attention with this blend was that it came in flake form, a beautiful flake which (though there are Virginias and orientals present) was , you guessed it, largely dominated by the black gold. The dark flake gave off a wonderful smokey aroma when the tin was opened- though not as overbearing as I would have thought. But I must warn (if you haven't figured it out already)... don't go near this unless you can appreciate latakia.

Upon lighting, a thick whitish cloud whisped from my bowl and I knew I was in for business -thank God I am single. However, despite the strength of the aroma, the tobacco itself is rather mild. It is a very cool, easy burning tobacco which (though not as complex as say a full english blend) is rather enjoyable. For me, the VA and orientals are definitely dominated by the latakia, perhaps if I had a more refined palate I could better describe the nuances of their interplay, but alas when i try I seem to get stuck on the latakia. I mean it is clear when one smokes this that there is something happening, it's not merely smoking straight latakia, but it's clear this is no balkan. One would think the massive amount of latakia would be too harsh but it's actually quite mellow. thee is no btie whatsoever, as the latakia ensures a cool smooth burn. It is an enjoyable smoke, though I can't see myself smoking this everyday. If you like latakia, this is a must try....but if you don't, it's a must avoid.

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