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Classically processed Latakia flake with Orientals and Virginia.

Notes: This bold latakia blend comes in coarse flakes made from top quality air and fire cured dark tobaccos. Germain's Special Latakia Flake is a delicious choice for a change of pace.

BrandJ. F. Germain & Son
Blended ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
Iwan Ries
Product Image
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Shell Briar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Shell Briar (2)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The scarcity of Penzance and Krumble Kake have elevated this dense plug-flake to almost mythical status, but from what I have tasted of Penzance, this is quite a different tobacco.

A classic three part mixture of virginia, latakia and orientals present themselves here. The latakia shows itself on the char, but from then on, the virginia and orientals share the stage, with the latakia very much playing the supporting role. The virginia is very light, and not overly sweet. About half way through the bowl the deliciously specific aroma of JF Germain begins to come through. It can’t really be described, but anyone who is familiar with JF Germain tobaccos will know what I mean; it must be the type of oriental they use (I remember Glynn Quelch mentioning on one of his YouTube videos that JF Germain’s use a specific type of Basma, and they wouldn’t let him have any for his own blends!!). Aromatic, savoury, dusky, and almost like hazelnuts. Alongside this sits a very pure, unstoved virginia, much like the smell of a fresh golden virginia straight out of the tin. Once it gets going, the flavour remains very consistent right through to the end of the bowl.

Simply put, this tobacco is exquisite. It is not a powerhouse. It is a delicate, perfectly balanced mixture, focusing on light virginias and the delicate, unique orientals. Latakia firmly in the supporting role. I adore tobaccos such as Skiff mixture and Red Rapparee, and this fits right into this selection of tobaccos. For me the truly sublime tobaccos are the most delicate. I do like a full blow of latakia and not infrequently, but these subtle tobaccos are where the true magic lie.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: GQ Tobaccos

Similar Blends: Nothing really, but those who like 1820, Skiff or Red Rapparee should enjoy this..

16 people found this review helpful.

Wibblefishofdoom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wibblefishofdoom (139)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Top notch stuff from Germain's here. That Latakia flavour just really punches good and early to set the stage for those mellower flavours afterwards. Easy packing too for a flake. Definitely four stars here.

Update 23/03/2013

I've decided to update my review as I finally took the plunge and bought a tin having reviewed a five gram sample above. I've been rather reticent about finally taking the plunge as I keep strange habits of smoking Latakia in the morning and flakes last thing at night so, somehow, the two didn't quite go together for me. However, I'm glad I finally decided to give it a go.

The small tin reminds me a little of HD's Royal Navy Flake even if it is a little bigger and a little more worn-looking. I was a little suprised to open up to find what appeared to be a formerly soggy now dried out mass of flake welded together inside a gloop of greaseproof paper, as if it had been rescued from some flood in Tewkesbury Cathedral.

My initial attempts to liberate said flake for democracy and my pipe proved fairly fruitless until I got stuck in with my reamer, it then came away pretty easily, if you scrape away at the edges and then the surface you should get an almost ribbon like mass forming - good stuff, worked for me, makes packing very easy. Lighting's not too shabby either. The Latakia isn't too strong in this one, even at the start but there is a bonus to this. The Virginia comes through very nicely with really nice hints of lemon and toffee, with the Latakia providing enough "pepper", if that's the right word, to keep it interesting. The room note too, is pretty good, following much the same line as the smoke.

On the whole then, an absolutely fantastic smoke with a really interesting and slightly complex flavour. It's not too strong on the Latakia, maybe why some people have thought it's not in there, but that is to it's credit. This is probably a good starter for both flakes and Latakias. And if you're a wierdo like me who likes to keep Latakias for the morning and flakes for the evening, well, this will do in place of both.

16 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

The Virginias have a light grass and citrus along with some dark fruit and earth. The Cyprian latakia is smokey, woody sweet, while the Orientals are woody, fairly spicy, mildly sweet with a light sour note. The nic-hit is mild to medium. Won't bite even if you're bad to it. The flakes are easily broken apart for convenient packing. Well blended to the point that you'll notice every nuance in every puff, even though the Orientals and latakia tend to dominate a little. Smokes cool, clean, and smooth with a minor creaminess and very consistent taste that has no dull or harsh moments. Burns at a slow to moderate pace, and requires some relights, but not as many as some flakes do. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl. Has a very pleasant, spicy sweet after taste that lingers. The camp fire room note won't be for everyone, but they'll leave you in peace to enjoy your smoke. It may not be an all day experience, but bears repeating more than once if this fits your flavor profile.

13 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable


This stuff has been sitting in the cellar for a couple years, and for some reason I kept fondling the tin but never opened it. So glad I waited! The paper was stained a beautiful golden brown, with some sugar starting to precipitate. It's a crumble cake, and rubs out very easily. In fact, you just can't keep a flake intact.

This stuff really is fantastic. I think I like it better than Penzance. It's smoother, more refined, richer, a bit sweeter. The smokiness is a rich warm smokiness, not the oily kind common to some European Latakia blends. It is absolutely delicious all the way to the bottom of the bowl, burned beautifully and I burned through the tin very quickly.

Very highly recommended if you can find it!

9 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Medium None Detected Medium Strong

2 year old tin. The paper appeared to have soaked up most of the extraneous moisture but this was not too dry. I actually dried it out a bit further. The tin nose was overwhelmingly of latakia and the color was bizarre... striped flakes? A single flake contained many top-to-bottom black strips and a few blonde colored ones as well, along with some darker brown. Truly unusual appearance.

Odd in the pipe as well. I could not fold-n-stuff this in flake form as the flakes stuck together like glue. However, it was very easy to simply peel off sections for loading as a fully rubbed out mixture. I got the most success when I made sure to use a full flake or two, depending on pipe size, rather than take a chunk off one flake and a chunk off another. As mentioned, it's like they laid a strip of latakia next to a strip of virginia next to a strip of oriental rather than blending the three together and pressing. To get the flavor the blender was likely going for required some care in loading.

At its best it was a salty, smoky and barely sweet blend with a fair amount of depth. At its worst it was a bitter conglomeration with no "vision". The trouble was that I never knew which I was getting until I lit up. One tin just wasn't enough to figure this one out. The latakia was never overpowering and I couldn't get this blend to bite no matter how I intentionally provoked it. The orientals and virginia did a little bob and weave routine and were often MIA. But sometimes this mix just turned on me. Reminded me of GLP's Cumberland in that respect, another blend I have yet to figure out. This is for the most part a worthy blend, although nothing special as its name would indicate. I find this one good but ordinary - nothing to see here.

8 people found this review helpful.

Cherry picker 1779 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cherry picker 1779 (18)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

With the name of special Latakia flake I was expecting some serious latakia. I love the stuff but that's Not the case here , however it's a fine tobacco that I really, really, enjoy. Tin aroma is earthy and has a strong fig and raisin scent. I really like the tin presentation of the tobacco. Peeling off fantastic long strands from this flake of black and brown and gold and red makes a fun pack. It is on the wetter end of the river but smokes cool and tastes great straight out of the tin, just needs some relights on the way down early on. Smoke starts out light and mellow, nutty, creamy , smooth and sweet but gains strength and character as you progress. I want more strength and flavor when first lit, but it definateley gets there at about the 1/3 mark. Very smoky. Very pleasant. It's odd to me that coffee doesn't work with this blend so well as it drowns out the natural flavors of the tobacco and makes you want more strength and flavor, but on its own it's just perfect. I will definateley want to keep this fine nice lady around. I enjoy penzance at times and I enjoy special Latakia flake at times. They both have that smooth creamy characteristic but I wonder why this one doesn't also carry the hype? It's just as good, dare I say it..... better?!?! If your dissapointed because the name is a little misleading I can understand, but if your like me you are ever so glad you bought the tin anyway because it is one of the best blends out there. I was starting to think I tried it all until I got into some Germains. I'm not very sure if there can be any better blends out there than this. I've said that before but now im pretty sure that this takes the flake! I have smoked, all the frogs, presby mix, squady leads, nightcap, sobranie, empire English, ten to midnight, dark star, Irish oak, penzance, artisans blend, carter hall, captain black, empire English, trout stream, three nuns, and several house English blends but I gotta say this is better quality and smoother tobacco blend than all the others. There's just something about it that seperates it from all the others. Not too heavy in the nic dept but French inhaling every here or there will get you a very nice nic fix by the end of your bowl. Consider yourself a winner if you got some of this stuff in your pipes ! Update 12 /11/17 The recent snowfall here in Buffalo has me looking for a change up in flavor from my regulars ( presby mix, , squadron leader, sobranie , and nightcap for the most part) but lately I've been dipping into penzance, margate , and King Charles smoking mix the last week or so. Tonight I packed my largest bowl with SLF. I'm definateley getting the most cigarette like flavor I've ever had from a pipe tobacco. To the likes of petersons Irish oak. Or at least what I remember of that blend a few years ago. I do smoke cigs and I find this to satisfy the nicotine fix as a French inhale / retrohale most pipe tobacco to get a good nic hit out of it. Room note is cigs too. It's Very strange as I had sworn I got more chocolate and rounded flavor tones in the past with this. it's the same tin as my original review and it has been sealed in a jar since. I actually like this cigarette flavor but I can't see most people liking the cig flavors. It's Turkish all the way if I'm not mistaken. Comparing it to margate and King Charles mix it is severely lacking sweetness and Latakia. And yes I do find this most similar to penzance, sometimes it's even better. This time around its monotone , bland, like a really good camel cigarette of Turkish tobacco. Maybe it's just me. Not bad to me, but there are much better offers readily availible if you ask me. Downgrading to two stars for now....update 12/16/17 must have had a bad bowl last update, be sure to mix in the flakes containing all the players. Definateley back to 4 stars. This is indeed a great tobacco

Similar Blends: Penzance.

6 people found this review helpful.

shakenbake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
shakenbake (7)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Wow. All I can say is, Wow. This flake hit the spot taste- and aroma-wise. It brings me back to the days of those venerable Latakia laden blends originally from the UK, and particularly for the Gentlemen (and Ladies) of St. James. Although it is a difficult flake to separate out of the tin, most of the flakes being in a semi-rubbed out state, it burns well and packs easily enough.

The pipe starts out a bit spicy and later into the smoke, the Virginia sweetness comes through. Although it might seem to be a bit wet out of the tin, it smokes dry and clean. Well done Germain and Son!

6 people found this review helpful.

DenizBeck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DenizBeck (265)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Truly a special Latakia blend! The flakes are almost all broken in my tin and given all the comments on the inconsitency of the tobacco-ratios in the tins, I feel I'm lucky my tin has about 70% bright leafs (Virginias+Orient) and 30% pich black parts (Latakia).

I find this to be more an Oriental-forward blend, rather than a "Latakia-Bomb". Quite moist this needs some drying for my gusto, but then burns perfectly and cool.

The aroma is salty, hearty, smoky, ethereal and slightly sweet. The Orientals are everpresent, give a nice exotic, ethereal aroma, with spice and the "sharp edge" (in a positive sense) of Orientals. The Latakia sports some smokiness, salty, creamy aroma. I perceive the blend as being really salty, reminding me of sea-water, like you could really taste the shore where the tobaccos have been fire-cured. Slightly sweet undertone, but rather hearty and full-bodied. Not too complex, just honest, hearty tobacco-goodness.

Be aware, that it'll ghost your pipe more than the average english... at least this is my experience with it! Whenever I had 2 bowls of Special Latakia FLake, the follow-up bowl will have the same saltiness that overtones the nuances of a more complex smoke. Dedicating a pipe to this blend wouldn't do harm, if you smoke this blend frequently.

I like this blend quite a lot and it deserves being an old classic, I'll get a few more tins by times for sure! Recommendable to the English lover, as well as to fans of Oriental Leaf imo.

Pipe Used: Clays, Cobs, Briars

5 people found this review helpful.

Stefanos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stefanos (150)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Despite the name the stars of Special Latakia flake are the Virginias and the Orientals. Moreover although Latakia is present, to me SLF tastes more like an enhanced Virginia flake than an English mixture. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the most popular English mixtures come in ribbon cuts. But it’s not that only, it has to do with taste and to me it does not taste like an English.

Virginias are dark, succulent, leathery and yeasty in the same vein as FVF (…only better in my opinion in both mechanics and flavor), seasoned with drier, sour, creamy, earthy, loamy, even dusty Orientals with a hint of tangy butter and a Latakia which gives me the impression it is ancient, like it is almost exhausted but still there, which adds a smoky sweetness but only as a condiment.

Now as for the Latakia, care must be taken when rubbing or folding the flakes (very easy) because it is not evenly distributed among them and unless you consciously take care to include some in your bowl you might end up wondering where the Latakia is…

Flavours evolve throughout the bowl as the taste becomes deeper, almost chocolaty. At times I find it has the sweet spice of freshly baked pastries. At other times I get notes of white pepper and then again of black - always supported by the depth of the Virginia sweetness. For this reason I like to smoke SLF in larger bowls and while until the first two thirds of the bowl there is a restrain to the pace it burns, towards the end the tobacco at the base of the bowl seemingly dried by the burn above it, smokes drier with greater volume of smoke and a little faster. What a nice change!

Strength is only medium but flavors are complex and pronounced. A deeply satisfying smoke I can only use as a treat and not for all-day. For me this tobacco is the apotheosis of both Virginia and Turkish. A true Virginian/Turkish delight! Room note is very Turkish. I like it, most do not.

5 people found this review helpful.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (129)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

The people at J.F Germain's tell me that this is "more or less the same" as Penzance, which is not available in the UK. My palate isn't sensitive or accurate enough to tell whether this is so or not; but I can tell you that this Latakia flake is a mighty fine smoke in its own right when you're in the mood for Latakia. An English mixture in (more or less) flake form, it's a tasty, woodsy, cool smoke that behaves itself all the way to the bottom of the bowl, and each bowl gives you a good long smoke. It smokes dry and it won't bite. What more could you want? It beats Samuel Gawith's Latakia Flake hollow, IMO. If you don't like Latakia, you won't like this. If you do, you will. I can't find anything wrong with it, apart from the room note, which non-Latakia lovers will find distressing - though the same is true of all Latakia blends. I still don't understand why Germain's won't market Penzance in the UK; but they obviously have no intention of doing so. This may not be exactly the same, but it's a fair approximation.

5 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

This blend seems to have drawn a variety of opinions. Mine is from a tin smoked a year or so ago by myself and some of my fellow pipe club members. It was very moist coming out of the tin, but dried quickly once exposed to open air.

Two things are immediately evident, the Latakia in this one is strong, smoky and leathery. I can see where Lat addicts will swarm all over this one as the processing was superb and the leaf is obviously top shelf. While one of the stronger (and really smoky!) Latakia blends that I've ever smoked, it was smooth from start to finish.

5 people found this review helpful.

kumo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kumo (4)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I am mostly a latakia smoker. Or I should say, I have mostly been a latakia smoker until I discovered the subtleties of straight VA flakes. Still, I love latakia. And I love good VA. And Germain Special Latakia Flake is the pinacle of both worlds.

It's a flake in the Germain tradition, meaning that it's most definitely a broken flake, tightly packed in a small tin.

It's also definitely VA-forward. Lovely, plump, juicy, fruity VA's like only Germain can deliver. It's so VA-forward that the smokers of stout english blends may find it a bit light for their taste.

It's followed by savoury orientals to spice up the mix. Now, I am not an oriental tobaccos specialist. I never tried my hand at sampling every one of the oriental blends offered by the likes of McClelland. All I can say is that I tend to prefer balkan to english blends for the palette of flavours oriental tobaccos deliver. The orientals here are typically Germain as well, and you'll be in known territory if you smoke Exotique Mixture or Penzance.

What's the difference with those two, then? The difference, Sir, is that in Special Latakia Flake, latakia comes third. Kind of weird for a tobacco called "Special Latakia", but that's the very reason why I favour that one over Exotique or Penzance. It's no lat-bomb for sure. It's a latakia-flavoured VA flake.

Now, I have smoked many pressed latakia tobaccos. Some very fine ones like Krumble Kake, Penzance and Lancer's Slices. Some likeable ones like Old Ironsides and Holly's Discovery. Some so-so ones from Gawith (Balkan, Navy, Bothy) and some truly crappy ones like Giubileo d'Oro and HH Latakia Flake. In my humble opinion, no one is as lovely as Special Latakia Flake. The reason is that no one takes as much care to use such excellent VA's and to boldly put them forward.

A last word on the room note, even if it's mostly pointless to care about room note when you smoke latakia. However, when it comes to any of the Germain latakia blends, I find the room note enticing. If, like me, you enjoy the incense-laden atmosphere of old religious buildings, the evocation of Silk-road caravans and maybe even the Oriental aisle of dusty museums of ethnography, you'll love the room note.

Pipe Used: various briars

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: HU-tobacco, Smokingpipes

4 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1644)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

J. F. Germain & Son - Special Latakia Flake.

Unlike the description of flake mine arrived semi-broken. The colour's half and half jet black to brown. There are a few full flake pieces but the majority's broken.

Although the Latakia's been added with a heavy hand the Orientals prevent it from monopolizing the smoke. There's a buttery note from these which makes the smoke smoother. The Virginia, in comparison to these two, is responsible for very little flavour. Because of the large amount of Lat' it burns cool. Also, it gives me no bite.

Nicotine: above medium. Room-note: quite heavy.

A great smoke. Four stars:

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Peterson Dracula #03

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

4 people found this review helpful.

the_dalai_lama_himself Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_dalai_lama_himself (43)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Maybe 25% latakia, Stellar blend. Spicy and sweet with a savoryness that works the salivary glands into overdrive. Buttery and creamy spicy Turkish, The woodsy earthy bassnotes of the Latakia which kind of coats the tongue, the fruit and slight citrus of the Virginia peeks its way in now and again especially in the back of the palate.. the finish is very long if not a bit overly sweet at times and succulent..clean and warm through the retrohale slight fruit and cocoa/coffee/earth. I'd call this in between medium full & full flavored as the depth is seemingly endless but mild to medium in strength.

Age When Smoked: 2 years

3 people found this review helpful.

Lazarus77 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lazarus77 (87)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

A nice mixture from Germains. Easy to lit, smoke, few relights needed. As it is " Special Latakia flake" I want more Latakia in it. In my tin 70 % of bright and only 30% of dark flakes, and I'm missing smokiness that I'm getting from Balkan blends. Overall is good tobacco. Recommend.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: 6 moths

Purchased From:

3 people found this review helpful.

LondonCalling Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LondonCalling (12)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Let's for a moment forget the name of this mixture, and treat this review as some sort of blind tasting. I'll explain why shortly.

This is a pleasant, refined tobacco. On opening the tin I see a block of rather loose flake wrapped - rather unusually - in grease-proof paper. The tobacco feels sticky, though not overly-moist. I can see plenty of bright strands, presumably virginias, a few darker patches - presumably latakia - and as other reviewers have noted, the constituent tobaccos seem strangely unblended, though this is not a problem as it simply means you have to rub them together. It takes a light easily, smokes politely without significant bite or relights, maintains a surprising sweetness down to the bottom of the bowl, and probably constitutes a decent all-day smoke.


.....quite why Germain chose to call it "Latakia Flake" is beyond me. Certainly there's some latakia in this blend. But it's hardly enough to confer the title, and certainly anyone buying this mixture expecting a healthy dose of latakia is, like me, likely to be a little disappointed. That said, it's a quality tobacco providing a pleasant smoke. Just ignore the name.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: From date of purchase

Purchased From: GQ Tobaccos

3 people found this review helpful.

Gestalt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gestalt (20)
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable

My tin contained Virginias and some Orientals, with no Latakia present at all. Tin note was an overwhelming sickly sweet stench of stewed figs and nothing else. There was also something very unpleasant about the smoke... Maybe it's the taste of disappointment?

Very disappointing experience, especially as I hear this can be a very good tobacco indeed.

It feels a bit unfair to give this a poor review after having a bad tin, but I feel that a tin of Latakia flake should have Latakia in it. I get the impression from other reviewers that variable quality is a feature of this blend. I may try again one day and will update this review then, but I doubt it.

I sent the tobacco back to Germains with a letter but received no response. The chances of me trying this blend again are even slimmer now.

3 people found this review helpful.

Capt. Peng Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt. Peng (2)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

-=The Lord of The Smoke-Rings - The Fellowship of the Special Latakia Flake=-

A short-story

My precious....the infamous Special Latakia Flake by Germain's....a beast like no other... if I only had known that before seeing it laying on the shelf of a local magical-herbs vendor.

It scoffingly smiled at me whispering "Come and set me free! Smoke me like you stole me..." My eyes stopped wandering the endless-seeming shelf full of tobacco blends of which approximately 50% are soul- and characterless smokes that are easily replaceable with any other tobacco... Special Latakia would be none of those, of that I was sure when lurking at its simple, yet classy label on the front of the tin.

Some anarchistic vanadal had maltreated all of the tins by spraying "Smoking kills" on it.. definetly must've been one of those anti-sensualists that are lacking any sense for pleasure and the good things in life who did this, so I grabbed that poor thing held it in my hands and tried to relive it from its contamination using my most powerful chant (saliva and trying to rub the ink off), but it was too late.. the ink had burned its way too deep into its surface. Pitfully I took it to the counter and gave this poor soul a shelter in my house. The vendor had warned me about this harmless looking tin of tobacco, telling me to be careful and think twice if I wanted to buy it, but I didn't trust his words, thinking he would want to keep this gem for himself.

Once home I did finally let it breathe some fresh air by cracking the tin. "FINALLY...wuahahahaha" it squalled shortly after I removed the lid and thousands of musty, smoky and salty smelling ghosts left their cage where they had been held captive for too long. "NOW YOU'RE MINE! I'LL HAUNT YOU TILL YOU'RE PUSHING UP THE DAISIES!!!" it yelled at me in a taunting way. My skin was covered with goosebumps and I shrinked back, almost falling off my chair. What had I done? What kind of beast did I unleash? I should've burried that taseful mostrosity tthere and then so it wouldn't do any harm to anyone, but I was too far in...I had to smoke it and see what the fuzz was all about!

"SMOKE ME...COWARD" it yelled on as a scent of ethereal-smokiness, delicate sweetness and refreshingly grassy filled the room, grabbing all of my attention. I plucked up courage and grabbed a clay pipe laying on the top of my desk whilst shouting "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!" towards the tin of tobacco, holding this piece of clay like a magic wand... bravely I ripped open the cover-sheet and grabbed a pinch of the already broken flake slices that had a tiger-like look to them and courageously stuffed it into the white-gray clay bowl that already had tamed quite a few beasts in the past.

"YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE!!" I yelled at the tin, whilst my wife was preparing to call the men with the white coats and to explain to the kids how Daddy lost his mind to a tin of pipe tobacco....

"BURN Motherf.... BURN!!!!" I obsessively yelled on as I set the flame of my lighter to maximum, ignited it and with crazy eyes held it threateningly towards the packed bowl of tobacco and the first layer of tobacco caught fire to begin smolding evenly.

"I'LL SUCK THE SOUL OUT OF YO....OH" for a seconds I remaied silent as I realized what I just wanted to shout out loud, and I realized how that may have sounded to my surroundings and decided to keep my mouth shut, as my wife had just put the phone away, after I assured her I'm in the wokest state of mind I had ever been in... I didn't want to wake any sleeping dogs...or kids, ye know.... and provoke a white-coat covering my white clay...

As I took the first puffs with twisted eyes I knew what I was up to... this was a beast like no other! Its salty, smoky mustiness tickled my tounge and taste buds and bravely I took a few more puffs before a ethereal and flowery aroma also started trying to enchant me and making me a slave of this beast. The bold spice and smokiness got countered by some sweetness was... This beast had some most powerful spells...

I didn't had a snowball's chance in hell... I was doomed, being a slave for eternity of this mystical, magical beast....I'd never be able to take my eyes off of its blinding beauty... I'd be admiring its possessive charme for ever, adoring it, begging for mercy on my knees....

My precious.... my pre....cious....

Pipe Used: A magic wand of white clay

2 people found this review helpful.

pinko Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pinko (52)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Any doubts that this is handmade tobacco will disappear as soon as you open the tin - the flake is all jammed in there, and there are veins of Latakia in it. Big, dry, black veins running throughout the Virginias. You could pinch out a pure Lat string and pack a bowl of it.

Grab a few pinches, making sure to get all the different colors, and let it dry some. The load it and fire it. It is gently smoky with a bright Virginia flavor, not a lot of red VA taste, and some very well integrated Turkish leaf. It tastes rich and creamy, but not overly sweet, and everything works very well together.

I pick up a couple tins every time I see it at my tobacconist. Lord help you if you’re trying to order it online. But it’s worth smoking, if it was more available I’d probably have it in the regular rotation instead of off to the side as an occasional treat. It’s nice to buy Special Latakia Flake a couple tins at a time over years anyway, because each batch seems to be a little different. Like I said, this is handmade tobacco, no machined consistency here. That’s part of its charm.

Age When Smoked: 3 month

2 people found this review helpful.

Beardywul Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beardywul (5)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

A-mazing! After 2 tins the latakia content and ingredient proportions weren't all that different. Slightly so. The first one, with more latakia, leading me to pick up my second but both of them were beautiful. I have yet to see the enormous inconsistencies a few people have reported and I WILL keep occasionally buying this.

I think it is one for rubbing out completely due to the visible gold and black layers; the 'seperateness' of the components, despite the pressing they have had. Not one for stuffing. I'm not a stuffer anyway but it's not much of a 'melded', processed beastie, so I don't think it would pay you to stuff it either.

Drying out flat for at least 20 minutes is probably advisable too. Then I just pack it loosely in another tin for portability but this also helps with another little issue as well.

The latakia will break into grainy little crumbs while the rest will rub out to a long stranded ribbon 'shag'. Picking up from the flat drying position will separate out the components as the lat crumbs are so, well, 'crumby' that they will remain on the tissue or tray. Use a credit card for lifting those and then just shake your tin or jar all randomly but not violently, like you are mixing a cocktail or something (you kind of 'are', anyway) and this will distribute them nice and evenly throughout your woolly 'shag'. I find that the crumbiness of the crumbs, far from being some drawback, is actually a nice advantage because you get that 'increased surface area' effect; the one that lets fine powders dissolve quicker in solutions and makes flour more flammable as an air-bourne dust, etc. In other words: it burns very efficiently, thoroughly and tastily. Permeating and remarrying with the Turkish and Va and tempering the slightly sharp, bitter-sweet characteristics those leaves can sometimes have (in this case only very, very slight; see Squadron Leader for some outright 'yanging' sourness) and combining to a sublime, creamy, well-balanced, 'light-smokiness' that I keep wanting again and again.

Even my occasional Golden Sliced intake has suffered and my tin of it is drying out.

Cool burning and I have yet to be bitten.

Others can describe the flavours better than me but do yourself a favour and don't wait too long before trying it yourself. It is grand stuff!

Pipe Used: Various standard size, balsa filtered briars

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Edinburgh Pipe Shop

2 people found this review helpful.

Henry Mars Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Henry Mars (21)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is one of those blends that I shy away from. Why? Because... I love the stuff and find it very hard to come by. This isn't anything like Penzance IMO. It remids me just a little of Squadron Leader with more Latikia. I am partial to flakes so it fills a need in my rotation. It is by no means a Latikia bomb. One other note, it must be dried out a lot before smoking so that it burns properly .... it can bite if too moist.

It is a well blended and typical English blend. The quality and blending skill is unquestionable. You can taste the Virginia and the Latikia is a bit forward but not overpowering ... the orientals provide just enough spice to keep it interesting but not particularly complex. A very nice tasting smoke that your really don't have to think about. When properly dried and properly packed it will burn cool right to the bottom of the pipe with only and occasional relight. Your pipe will be dry with only a bit of gray ash remaining. Thjis is an outstanding blend ... now if I could only get my hands on some more....

2 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (264)
Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This tobacco defies categorisation. I had ordered a 50g tin last time around, which I have by now about half finished.

As with Germain's Brown Flake, the 'baccy comes in a very small tin into which a wad of flakes has been crammed. The tin aroma is pretty much unique, as is the presentation: a layered cake of some of the brightest leaf I have ever seen, an irregular, thin stripe of black Latakia, and another generous layer of bright leaf. My imagination ran wild when I saw this; I could vividly imagine the tobacco master at J.F. Germain's standing in front of the press, carelessly throwing in a few handfulls of VA leaves, scattering a little Latakia on top, scratching his head trying to think of what he had left out, then turning and emptying a sack of Orient into the press. The tin note is rather dry, little sweetness, Latakia almost unnoticeable, but a good amount of spice from the orientals fighting for first place over the VA grassiness.

The flakes can't be separated properly; I find myself scratching off the uppermost layer piece by piece until I have enough for stuffing a pipe. Lighting up is easy -- the leaf needs no drying at all -- and apart from the occasional tamp-down, there is no maintenance necessary. The burn is remarkably cool even under adverse conditions, with no condensation.

The taste has little sweetness, but is spicy with a touch of bitterness. The room note is minimal and non-intrusive; just a hint of Latakia in there, with the Orientals and VA running the show.

Beautiful stuff, which I accompany with a good ale or dry white wine. I'll have to order more.

Addition, 2012-01-15: After several more tins, I find that the proportions of the tobaccos in the blend are highly variable from tin to tin; I have had tins with practically no Latakia in them, and one that was almost 100 %. This certainly makes for a lot of interesting smokes, but I would prefer to get this sort of variation from different blends, and not on a by-chance basis. All of the tins were very high quality tobacco, but I expect much more consistency from a four- star blend. Hence, downgrading to two stars; the high variability in the blend makes it too inconstant for a regular smoke. For me, anyway.

2 people found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (111)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am a big fan of Latakia infused slices, which I prefer to fold and twist or in a tall bowl a twist will do. The pressing enhances flavours and the burn. Even though it does take longer - a few more matches or a third of a tank of butane to light.

Upon opening the tin I did not find the tobacco overly moist. There is a fair bit of Virginia in this tobacco and the Orientals present a most pleasant aroma. Overall it is very well balanced and half way down the bowl it did change for the better with more of the Orientals coming through.

This tobacco is not a Latakia blast; however, the Latakia is blended very nicely, combusting in symphony with all of the other tobaccos. It is somewhat similar to Esotericas Penzance; however, not quite as full and rich. Certainly not a demanding smoke as Penzance sometimes is. I found it reminded me more of G.L. Pease Odyssey than Penzance.

To summarise, Special Latakia Flake is a wonderful blend to read a good novel by.

2 people found this review helpful.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Very good flake. Although very moist in the tin, it dries quickly and rubs easily. The initial smell is somewhat unpleasant, but the smoke is a different story: rich, tasty, complex although latakia dominated, especially towards the end of the bowl. If you, like me, are not a fan of overmoist flakes which take forever to dry to a smokable level, try this out: it will be a nice surprise!

2 people found this review helpful.

Jaime102 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaime102 (2)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am a faithful man. I like to try different options in life, but when I find something I love, I stick to that. However, today I came back home from the Motzek tobacco store with my beloved Solani English mixture and a tin of Germain's SLF. I never tried Germain's tobaccos before, so, after reading the components of this tobacco, I opened the tin. The Flakes where loosely compacted and mildly wet, like grass at 10 AM, so I left the tin open while I was brewing some green tea without honey. Virginia tobaccos are often sweet, and I am already sweet enough.

I loosely packed the tobacco in my Peterson Christmas 2017 XL11 because the Latakias in it, and then I lighted my pipe.... What a pleasure. Smooth, delicate Latakia flavors arose since the beginning, without overwhelming my palate, and the sweetness of Virginias developed nicely along the smoking experience. Orientals where seasoning the mixture, giving it an exotic character ...Damn, I'm in love.

I'm lighting my second bowl. My wife is right, I'm smoking too much.

Pipe Used: Peterson Christmas 2017 XL11

Purchased From: Motzek

1 person found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (129)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I am rather surprised by the amount of gold leaf these flakes contain, which is tangy and sweet. The addition of Latakia is rather minimal, but they seem to contain a fair amount of Oriental leaf as well. The woodsy and spicy notes of the Latakia are somewhat missing, but they retain some creamy properties that seem to develop against a sour/acrid background. Despite the moist content they don't clog in you pipe and you can get them going with just a few relights. One con is you might need to cellar them for some time to bring up all their full potential. Also, their intrinsic complexity might put some people off or miss the point.

Similar Blends: This is with due caution, but similar to McClelland's 2020 Matured Cake Mixture..

1 person found this review helpful.

Jallen49 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jallen49 (24)
Medium None Detected Medium Strong

I guess it's my own fault for expecting a blend similar to Penzance... it's hard not to enter into this tobacco without that expectation. I should say Penzance is my absolute favorite blend, for many reasons, but as we all know, it's hard to obtain.

This was a good blend for what it is, which is a latakia based blend. Orientals and latakia dominate, and it's pleasant for the most part. One think I did not like is that I found this blend bitter at times, and not in a good way. It could have been the pipe I used, but I kept find this blend bitter. It wasn't so bitter to overpower the other smoky/earthy notes, but it was present much of the time. If there were a 2.5 star option, I would give it that, but I'll give the benefit rating it as recommended. Certainly give it a shot if you come across it, but I don't think I'll be buying again (not to say I wouldn't smoke it again). To my taste, there are just too many other great english blends to spend more time on this.

1 person found this review helpful.

Bonneville Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bonneville (49)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Though not a fanboy of Latakia blends in general, this tobacco has absolutely garnered my adoration. The flakes are bright golden yellow with beautiful thick black streaks of Latakia. The flakes are stuck together so I had a hard time separating them. I gently rubbed a flake out and after a little drying time I packed it in my Peterson dublin.

The aged bright Virginias take the drivers seat and add a rich creamy profile with a delicious sweetness. The Latakia is very well balanced and provides an extra dimension of flavor that compliments the Virginias perfectly. Though there is said to be Orientals in this mixture, I cannot detect them in any obvious way. But they may add a dimension of flavor that I have not yet identified.

All in all, this may be my favorite Latakia blend ever. It is far superior to Germain's most sought after Latakia blend, Esoterica's Penzance. I highly recommend this blend to those pipe smokers who prefer Virginia dominance in a blend, as I do.

Pipe Used: Peterson Dublin

Age When Smoked: unknown

Purchased From: Beehive Cigars, Salt Lake City, UT

1 person found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

When I opened the tin I was a bit bewildered at what I saw. A mass of flake and broken flake all mushed together and very wet. I dumped the entire mass in a bowl and rubbed it all out very thoroughly, let it dry a bit and jarred it.

Smoking this is a pure pleasure. The components are well married giving flavors of smoke and wood with wonderful sweet and sour notes. The smoke is very smooth, almost mellow, making it very easy on a retro-haler like myself. All three components provide near equal amounts of flavor. Nicely balanced. If this were more readily available I would add it to my favorites list.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Burns perfectly. A truly fine English.

Pipe Used: MM General, Country Gentleman, Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

NobbyR Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NobbyR (79)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

The thin, fragile slices of this mottled flake tobacco are stacked and pressed rather disorderly into the rectangular tin and effuse a rich, earthy, peaty scent with salty notes of seaweed and tar, reminding me of a walk on the waterfront, and hints of apricot jelly. There might be some precipitate of sugar crystals, which must not be confused with mold.

In a fresh tin the sticky flakes are rather moist, which is why I usually leave it open overnight to let the tobacco dry. After that you can carefully take a flake from the stack, maybe with the aid of a sharp knife (the one I use for cutting plugs), and fill your bowl with the fold and stuff method. It's important to pack your pipe neither too tightly nor too loosely. To facilitate lighting I like to put some broken bits and pieces on top, which will always be at hand. A thorough charring light is required, before leveling out the ashes and putting an equally thorough true light to the tobacco. After that it usually burns down evenly from top to bottom.

The cool smoke is not extremely dense, but has a rather full bodied, savory, ballanced taste which mixes hints of incense, leather and spicy peat fire from the Latakia and Orientals with a tangy sweetness from the Virginias and an aftertaste of rye bread. There's no danger of tongue bite, even if you draw more eagerly on your pipe or enjoy it outdoors in a windy environment. It leaves some dry, almost white ash with some dark spots.

The room note is dominated by the smokiness from the Latakia.

Pipe Used: Stanwell Royal Guard Nr. 95

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Esterval's Pipe House

Similar Blends: Esoterica Penzance.

1 person found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (326)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am smoking through a generous sample of this sent me by a friend. I have been rubbing it out and smoking it in a Savinelli bent pot.

At the risk of disagreeing with other reviewers, I think I pick up more orientals than they do. There is a sweet foundation that is more than just the Virginia. The orientals are part of this sweet as well and provide a spicy nose tickle. The latakia is a little more than a condiment and it is not the primary flavor in the profile for me. The latrakia contributes to a creamy, thick smoke, and it provides some bass notes.

This is very good but does not rise to a "must try" 4 star tobacco in my book. If you like Virginias and orientals, and you don't need a latakia powerhouse to be satisfied, you will like this flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

Bigdadz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bigdadz (35)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A fellow pipe smoker kindly gave me a tin of this lovely mixture. This tobacco in my view is a fine representation of Latakia used skillfully. Just enough to provide that smokiness without being overpowering. This is a woodsy medium bodied blend that comes in a nice flake that allows the smoker to better control its burning characteristics. Unlike penzance, which simply crumbles too fine in my view, I like to roll this flake into a ball and plug it into the upper half of my bowl. Highly recommended and underrated! I wish it was easier to find.

1 person found this review helpful.

hiplainsdrifter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hiplainsdrifter (9)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Latakia Bomb. That pretty much sums it up. Perhaps a little one dimensional, but superb latakia taste laid on a basic virginia core. Smoky, hearty. Good stinky delicious tobacco.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mesh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mesh (50)
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

Salty, and not in a good way. Like a packet of salted peanuts with extra salt sprinkled in. Or like a smoke from a bowl after an alcohol-salt treatment gone wrong. I have never had a tobacco in any way similar. Maybe some sort of brine solution was overused in preserving the tobacco for this tin, i don't know, but after one bowl my mouth felt like i'd been bingeing at McDonald's since morning. Another bowl the next day confirmed my initial impressions. And the ghost of salt stayed in the pipes used for at least another pipeful of some other (normal) English blend. Bizarre. I won't be smoking the rest of this tin. It's possible that I bought a bad tin, but I won't be risking buying another. Germain and Sons should stop selling us second-rate tobacco and find a way to bring their best blends (Penzance, Margate, Stonehaven) on to the British market.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Terribly moist, dense and sticky flake, with a sickly smell just after opening. It's a medium english tobacco, and the flavor when smoking is not heavy at all, and it burns quite well, too! It's a sort of King Charles but richer and slightly sweeter. Not memorable anyway.

2008 Update: I have opened another tin, cellared for 4 years. Opinion remains unchanged: very smooth and creamy, but also weak in taste, watery and slightly cardboardy. Not as nutty, fragrant, spicy or complex as it would be fair to expect from such a product. OK, but very unexciting.

1 person found this review helpful.

smoking-rob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smoking-rob (76)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have not much to add to most of the glowing reviews here under, except that in this flake, the Latakia is more or less all in a lump somewhere in that flake, so not evenly distributed. This would be no real problem except that the slices themselves are almost impossible to seperate! But don't let this deter you in smoking this high-quality English style tobacco, real creamy and with a real Latakia flavour that is not overwhelming.

1 person found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

What a solid Enlish mixture! First, I love the small tin. I wish all tinned baccys would come like this one so I could carry around a lot more through the day. Inside, a nice looking flake covered with crystalized sugar and a perfect moist level. I feel really confortable with Germain's "shaggy flake", so loading the bowl is a breeze. After that, it's all pleasure from top to bottom. It's a symphony: you can focus on latakia, virginias, or orientals, or you can let them come together. That is up to your mind: the great music is there for you to enjoy. It burns so well that it hardly needs tamping, so there's no distractions either.

This baccy has entered my Top 5 list of six tobaccos (I know, I either need to rule one out or make it a Top 6 list).

1 person found this review helpful.

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

While I risk being villified, this tobacco reminded me of burning railroad ties. I found it hard to find the flavor of the Latakia or Virginia. The bowl size did not seem to change this awefull smell or flavor. At this point, I can't recommend it... Update 4-13-04: I am revising my review due to the insistence of fellow pipesters. I am convinced that the tin I previously reviewed was moldy. With that stated, on to the revision. The new tin I opened looked remarkably different inside. More Light leaf with plenty of stripes of latakia clearly discerned. It was not as moist as my previous review tin either. The aroma was pleasant with sweetness and smokiness nicely balanced. Packing was fairly easy for a flake, with this blend working better for me if rubbed out completely. Lighting was a three vesta affair.

Initial Flavor: A little bright with the latakia way in the background. The VA is still dominant in this blend.

Mid-Bowl: A nice, mellow, round smokiness develops. Yes, you can taste the latakia, and it is good.

Bottom of Bowl: A nice intensity of flavor develops with the smoky latakia dominating now, but the VA still adds a delicious sweetness to balance it out.

Ash: Light grey, dry, nice dusting on the bowl walls.

Overall: Well, what can I say? It is a very good blend, just shy of excellent. I'll definitely keep this around when in the mood for something different.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Points Enjoy!

1 person found this review helpful.

Legionnaire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Legionnaire (26)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The name would imply that the blend has a significant Latakia presence. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, if there is any Latakia in this blend it’s doing a damn fine job of hiding. To me, it’s just a mediocre Virginia flake and nothing more. Latakia lovers best look elsewhere.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: Unknown

Purchased From: Individual

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (112)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This one is an enigma to me. After reading the reviews and hunting high an low for a tin. I finally got some. J.F. Germain & Son are truly master blenders that have a unique processing and blending art that is truly unparalleled. After 5 bowls I am ready to review and also commit this to the cellar, half a tin and an unopened tin. First off, almost nothing in my review will reflect others on this page, from presentation to tin note I get nothing other reviewers have seen, well some of the tastes are there but that is about it. Let me get this out of the way, this is good are hard 180 from what I expected but it is good. The tin note seems more like a virgina cavendish blend than a Latakia flake. It is sweet and subtle with some of the woodiness you would expect from orientals. If you relabeled it as a VA blend I would believe it. This came as one large cake, at first I thought it was flakes pressed tightly together but it looks like a crumble cake that doesn't really crumble. Very beautiful with light and dark ribbons pressed together that cut off and rubbed into nice ribbons. As with all Germain tobacco's it was wet. I rubbed it out and let it partially dry for 20 minutes but also tried cutting a slice and leaving it for an hour then rubbing out, rubbing out for and leaving for an hour and a few other variations in that range. The flavor is mellow, burns cool and requires few relights if dried properly. The Orientals and Virginias are what are the stars in this blend, odd for a blend called Latakia Flake (maybe that is where the special comes in). I get a sweet, nutty, creamy and woody forward taste. Spicy tingle when exhaled through the nose indicative of the orientals. The Latakia comes in and out in the sweetness and an occasional smoked meat like flavor. Very nice blend. This would get 3 or more stars from me if it was what I expected, now that I know what it is I will smoke it when I am in an oriental kinda mood. I am also curious to see what age does to this. All the other reviews are too consistent to be wrong, maybe with age I will get something similar.

Pipe Used: Briar's

Age When Smoked: less than 1 year

Purchased From: Iwan Reiss (BM)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Briar Baron Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briar Baron (8)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Well this is a very interesting tobacco indeed! After many good reviews I decided to give it a go. Upon opening I was surprised to find the top flake was of purely a very light coloured tobacco layered over a flake that appeared to be fully consisting of Latakia and further down again a different coloured flake. As others have mentioned the variations between tins seems to be significant and in this case if the first flake had been used the "blend" would have shown only the profile to the first tobacco.

Faced with this dilemma, I realised I would need to pull the contents apart and blend it again to get the mix closer to what was obviously intended. As I dug down in the tin a bit I did find that the mix inside the flake was a bit more consistent and it pulled apart easily so that helped a great deal when compared to the trouble others had getting it apart.

This is a bit like being given a Lego set with all the pieces but having to build it yourself! I actually enjoyed this "challenge" because the result was a wonderful smoke that others have described better than I could.

Highly recommend you get a tin for now and maybe a few to cellar since this tobacco will only get better with age.

Pipe Used: Ardor

Age When Smoked: New

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Scamp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Scamp (20)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I tried this blend after trying and very much liking Dunhill Nightcap. It seemed to be the next logical choice for a Latakia blend. Upon opening the tin, I got a very similar aroma to Nightcap, I figured this must be the the distinctive smell of Latakia.(?) Upon lighting, I liked it immediately, it has quite a smokiness to it, which I enjoyed. I also noted some of the virginia flavours which seemed to go well with the Latakia. It burns beautifully with little or no re-lights to a thin grey ash, and has a consistent flavour all the way down the bowl. But as other reviewers have stated, it does need some drying out time before packing in your pipe! I enjoyed this very much, but so far I think Nightcap has the edge, with this coming very close second. Still, an excellent smoke, four stars! I think I'm slowly falling in love with latakia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

Good Tobacco. Starts with Latikia out front with Orientals in close support. Packs and burns nice ,and ample "N". Not as creamy as some others (Lancers Slices). Has a slight bitter rather than sweet aftertaste. A solid blend, I found this a little hot or steamy.Unfortunately it is stuck as a middle of the road blend, with neither enough Latikia or not enough Oriental. When I grab for a tobacco, I want either a Latikia or an Oriental not halfway of both. This could benifit from some ageing and some drying could cure the steamy problem. I think there are other tobaccos that would be more to my liking. Note , has a great little tin that is easy to carry and seals pretty well.

Updated 11/3/11- This has had a few more months to age and breath and much of the steam is gone. I'm a little disapointed with the amount of Latakia, as you hit mid bowl all you get is Oriental and Va. the last 1/3 is all Va. You also notice some bitterness in the aftertaste.

As far as the cut and blending, I have to agree with reviewer, "The German" above. As you load and pick out the flakes, scraps and pieces from the tin I almost think you could change the taste of this blend with each pipe. I would actually classify this more as a Virginia/Oriental with some hints of Latakia . Probably won't buy again, not that it's bad, it just is not interesting nor smooth enough for me.

Updated 12/13/12-I opened another tin, why ,I have no idea, same "Blah" results. It needs drying , no Latakia flavor, no sweetness, no Oriental. It doesn't bite!


Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipesterJim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipesterJim (47)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

The tin I am smoking has been in my cellar for a year and a half, and I have a feeling it probably gathered dust on the tobacconist's shelves for quite a while before I picked it up.

Upon opening I discovered a dense brick of tobacco, tightly wrapped in heavily stained wax paper. The aroma was quite divine. Closer examination revealed that although the brick had been sliced into flakes there was no way I was going to be able to peel one off intact. In fact, I suspect that this is rather what a ‘crumble cake' tobacco is like, as I ended up breaking the block into chunks of various sizes, then slamming these into a mason jar for storage.

Having selected a likely looking lump I rubbed it out thoroughly and put the strands on one side to dry. As would be expected given how the flakes had congealed together, this was very moist in the tin. I figured an hour of drying time would do the trick, but in actual fact the weed was obviously even wetter than I had initially suspected and I ended up with a steamy smoke that scorched the insides of the lips. Nasty.

Take two, and this time I rubbed out enough for a bowl and put it under a hot desk lamp for about forty minutes. I have never had to subject tobacco to this much ‘lamp time' and I always feel it is preferable to let it dry naturally where possible. Some folks suggest that you can give your baccy a quick blast in the microwave to dry it out, but I have found that this results in a harsh and less flavoursome smoke.

Anyway, the desk lamp did the trick. The result was a delightfully smooth, balanced and refined latakia blend with a room note that should please any pipester. It's a perfect smoke for those dark winter evenings when you want to curl up in a comfortable armchair and listen to the wind howling outside. A roaring log fire, oak panelling and glass of fine scotch would complete the picture. That is the kind of pipe dream that Special Latakia Flake evokes!

Some reviewers say that Esoterica's Penzance, another latakia flake from the same blending house, is fuller flavoured and easier to prepare for the pipe. Well, despite the fact that it is manufactured in the UK it isn't for sale here, but I can't say that I feel too hard done by. Once Special Latakia Flake has been allowed the considerable amount of drying it requires it is truly a top smoke, and I shall definitely be getting a few more tins in next time I am placing an order at my online tobacconist. Highly recommended!

Edit: I am knocking a star off as I am becoming increasingly convinced that the reason this blend clings onto its moisture is because it is treated with humectants, much more so than other blends I usually smoke. I am finding that unless I get it completely dry (and a lamp is necessary for this: 24 hours air time seemed to have no effect) I suffer mouth discomfort to some degree. A shame, as I still think the basic flavours it offers are top notch!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

donmartinthree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
donmartinthree (22)
Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable

I bought this initially looking for a very latakia-heavy tobacco and I like flakes, just hadn't tried too many at the time.

so i bought this, because my local tobacconist (and they're a good tobacconist...) recommended it to me after I said what i wanted.

the first smoke I had was right out of the shop, since I just couldn't wait. unfortunately, it's way too moist in the tin and, adding to that, it was a hot hot summer day, so...

I was sort of disappointed at first. the tin aroma was great, though not very latakia heavy, and I was really looking forward to my first puff, depsite all that. however, it was just kind of weirdly sweet and did not taste anything like what I'd expected, latakia-wise. so I thought I'd just spent 10 euros on a tin of crap.

but you've always got to try more than once, right? so I let it dry out (rubbed out) for an hour the day after buying it and smoked it then and what do you know?! it's subtly sweet, smoky, a little metallic (in a good way... probably the VAs) and just delicious. a great smoke when you're needing something a little lighter/milder. probably good in summer. maybe I was just unlucky. I'm starting to think most tobaccos I smoke taste better in cold damp fall weather though. :)

my tin's almost gone and I'll probably buy a new one, once I'm not broke anymore.

recommended, granted you want to work a little for a good smoke.

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final_id Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
final_id (35)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I'd like to give this 3 out of 5 stars, or 2.5 out of 4, but, since I could only pick either 2 or 3 of 4, I went ahead and gave it the higher option, just to be nice. It's not UNpleasant, it just doesn't have anything going for it. Really, I want the Esoterica Penzance, or one of the G. L. Pease line of orientals, and this is only a weak approximation. There's a LOT of tongue-bite for me in smoking this Special Flake by Germain's, but it's nothing I can't handle. I think I was maybe puffing too hot?

Anyway, it lights and burns well, it mellows in the pot well, it ashes in a very pretty way. It is a good thick (but dry) crumble-cake or pressed-ribbon type of packaging that I really enjoy fiddling with. So, overall, not too negative. Not really stellar-A+-kind-of-stuff, but they didn't really do anything totally wrong, either.

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Mac Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mac (19)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Gods gift to those who love the taste of Latakia .

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Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (191)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The smell in the tin is of fermented figs. Fine strands of dark, brown and golden tobacco covered with sugar crystals that barely hold together. The Latakia is expertly used as a condiment. The Virginias and Orientals are the main players in this Crumble/Flake to which the Latakia imparts a light smoky characteristic. I get a tangy, sweet and sour flavor for the most part. It's a delicate smoke that will yield better results with sipping instead of puffing. Burns well, no bite. A real pleasure to smoke, and an even bigger pleasure to have as the supply in North America is quite low.

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RMBittner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RMBittner (66)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My review is based on a 2008 tin, opened in 8/2009.

Like nearly every other Germain (and "Esoterica by Germain") blend I've tried -- except for Penzance -- this really needs some serious drying time straight out of the tin. (For me, that meant several hours. You might prefer your tobacco drier or more moist.)

This flake offers velvety-smooth flavors/aromas that seamlessly blend the Virginias, orientals, and latakia. There is also just the slightest hint of sweetness, which I attribute to the orientals used (which my palate suggests might include Smyrna). No one ingredient ever really dominates here, and the blend remains consistent from top to bottom. It truly is seamless, and quite enjoyable.

I've read reviews that described this as quite similar to Penzance, but I did not find that to be the case. For me, the orientals in Penzance are uniquely spiced; there's no oriental spice here, just a nice underlying richness that brings the blend to life.

For me, this is 4 out of 5 stars.

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jankoez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jankoez (67)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is superb Latakia! Rich, rounded, creamy... The true pleasure for pipe-lover. However, it is interesting, this blend is very picky so you will have to choose your pipe carefully.

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puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (74)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

This is a medium colored tobacco with a light pleasant tin aroma. It's a cake that pulls apart stringy but is fairly easy to work with. Nothing overwhelming or particularly special here. Just a good straight forward mild smoke. A very good choice for someone who wants to experiment with latakia but not take a big plunge!

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haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (47)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

My tobacconist, who is likely damned for all time by on a wholly unrelated matter, suggested this as they didn?t have the Penzance in stock. Now I?ve never tired the Penzance but most every review I?ve read was gushing and on an aesthetic level I liked the idea of a flake with latakia mix as heretofore I?ve only had VA, VAPERS and VABurley flakes. The tobacconist, surely a damned soul but in a completely different way, talked Germains up going so far as to suggest, albeit in hushed tones, that he preferred it over PenZance and Old Ironsides. The Guy speaks with a Brogue and has Mickey Dolenz Sideburns; saying no to him would be like asking Bobby Burns to knock it off with that Bonnie Brae stuff.

Penzance must be made out of Gold; we?re talking 24 ct not the black hills stuff, for it to be better and richer than this stuff.

First off the aesthetic of the tin presentation was all I had hoped, looking a bit like a torte with hazelnut on the outside and a rich black chocolate in the middle. The smell was like a campfire in autumn.

Now I?m not a huge Latakia fan, I like the stuff, but I like it like I like A1 sauce, if it?s a cheap cut of meat I put more on, if it?s an aged filet mignon get that stuff off my table. The Virginians and Orientals in this blend are excellent but the Latakia blends in so well I may have to start adding a bit of A1 to my filets.

Overall very tasty from char to the last sad sip.

Downside? My Tobacconist, that rat bastard on a completely related level, recommends based on price tag I?m thinking. The price per gram on this stuff is closer to the wacky tobaccy range of Green Bud prices than the mortal range of a legal weed.

The only reason I'm giving it three stars instead of four is in attempts to instill a facade of credulity, everything I like that I review here I give four stars.

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Satc001 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Satc001 (66)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is a solid Latakia flake from Germain. Upon opening the tin I found a well aged tobacco littered with crystallized sugar from the aging process. This is not a tobacco loaded with nuances but is instead a solid high quality Latakia blend. I was very pleased with the smoothness of the smoke and a nice smokey and slighty sweet flavor. Over all this is a nice tobacco, but it is rather mild and not what I am looking for in a Latakia Flake.

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Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (102)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

I like latakia. I like virginias, orientals, and turkish leaves as well. But here, all I taste is latakia. It is good latakia but rather one-dimensional as far as smoking is concerned. When I opened a tin, the flakes smelled great but were far too wet for immediate consumption. After a thorough drying period, I gave it a go, several in fact. I then cellared it for 6 months and returned to retaste. Better, smoother but still just Latakia. I now use this for blending and find it works rather well for sorting out my various mystery blends. Great tin aroma, but flaccid when smoked alone.

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