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Iwan Ries

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Classically processed Latakia flake with Orientals and Virginia.

BrandJ. F. Germain & Son
Blended ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50g Tin
CountryUK
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy Iwan Ries
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Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Tolerable

Favorite Of 8 Users

3.2
65 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
31
3 star:
22
2 star:
9
1 star:
3
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Wibblefishofdoom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wibblefishofdoom (113)
★★★★
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.

6 people found this review helpful.

Xious Sonenberg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xious Sonenberg (9)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This gorgeous VA and Latakia blend is not so much of a flake, as described, but a hybrid between flake, plug and shag, Thus, no-matter what consistency you desire, or what bowl size or type of pipe you select for it, it will always have a perfect burn, (unlike McConnell's Latakia flake) and maintains its flavour without becoming overly ashy on the tongue.

Like my tin of Medium Flake, I found several of these in my cellar with between five and ten year on them. I had opened one of these to find spectacular plume (sugar crystals) developing across the veins of Latakia! Normally, one sees this on the VAs, but to see silvery lines of it on the charcoal-black Latakia strands told me I was in for a rare delight.

Even a green tin is a delight. The appearance is of golden and jet marble, with long veins of shredded leaf, packed into a plug-like brick, which is aesthetically perfect, as as with my review of Medium Flake, it smokes lovely in small-bowled briars and clays. I have found that this one prefers smaller to medium bowls, as this keeps it consistent, and that in my ODB, it became a bit bland toward the bottom.

Although some seem to claim it is a true English, I classify it to be a VA/Lat mixture with very little Oriental at all, at all. The Lakeland scent in this is extremely muted, but still there, and I happen to find that delightful, but others my not.There is also a higher percentage of bronze, and possibly some red leaf in this, as compared to Medium Flake; this lends toward more Nicotine, however, the Latakia is timid in this regard, which leads to an overall balance of about the same kick as medium Flake, but nowhere near Brown Flake.

Unlike Medium Flake, which I have daily, and then-some, I do not keep this in my regular rotation. That isn't to day that it isn't a treat, but I try to keep it as such, as I feel that Special Latakia Flake doesn't hold up well for more than one bowl a day. I also prefer to have at least a year on my tin of it, if not more, and it is hard to keep something in daily rotation that you need to age.

Although, as I stated, it is a good smoke when green, it is fabulous when it ha some time on it, and I would rather wait with a dozen in the cellar, and two green tins that I can sip while the others mature.

Special Latakis is smokey, slightly sweet and soft, with a woodsy background. It is especially good during the winter, or on rainy days, and if you have a small-bowled briar or a clay in which to set fire to it, so much the better.

I also find that toasting SLF, unlike medium Flake, does not improve it: It is best as-is, and should not be allowed to dry.

The only downside is that because it is primarily around a 70/30 mixture of VA and Latakia, you may find it lacking dimension. This is where the tin aging helps dramatically, but that, of course, requires patience.

3 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (595)
★★★☆
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.

3 people found this review helpful.

shakenbake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
shakenbake (5)
★★★★
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!

3 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (119)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

WOW!

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!

3 people found this review helpful.

Henry Mars Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Henry Mars (20)
★★★★
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.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (113)
★★★★
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.

2 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (165)
★★★☆
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.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (282)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an adorable flake ! Firstly the rubbing out is easy and the bowl packs nicely with it too . The aroma from the tobacco prior to light is also pleasant . The smoke is not too thick and very satisfying . It has a very full latakia taste to it . The burn is even all the way through the bowl and it does not burn too hot . Very pleasing !!

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

1 person found this review helpful.

Gestalt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gestalt (7)
★☆☆☆
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 paying for a tin of Latakia flake and finding no Latakia is not really acceptable, and it sounds as though variable quality is a feature of this blend. I may try again one day and will update this review then, but I doubt it. If I open a tin of Balkan Flake, at least I know it's going to have Latakia in it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Bigdadz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bigdadz (33)
★★★★
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.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (718)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

It's not quite as complex as Penzance, but I find it a nice, lighter change from it. It's got some spicy notes that seems to appear and disappear as I smoke it down. It has a woodsy flavor that compliments the smokey latakia taste. I don't like it enough to smoke it regularly, but when I do smoke it, I enjoy it very much. Someone else said it wasn't a Balkan English and I agree. If you like latakia, you'll like this. The only reason I don't give it 4 stars is because I like Penzance better. But this blend delivers what you want and is certainly worth your money.

1 person found this review helpful.

hiplainsdrifter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hiplainsdrifter (8)
★★★★
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.

twothumbedfist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
twothumbedfist (3)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

As mentioned in previous reviews, the presentation of this flake is peculiar; the different tobaccos are visible as stripes through the flake. Because of this, in order to make a fair review I spent a couple of days smoking this by cutting across the width of the flakes into thirds and loading them into my pipe to get a good representation of the taste of the entire blend.

Straight out of the tin this tobacco is slightly too moist to smoke immediately, but it doesn't require a lot of drying time and I find filling a bowl before dinner and smoking it afterwards to be sufficient.

The latakia gives this tobacco a full bodied, savoury taste, but at no point did I find it overpowering. If prepared in the way I did, the virginia sweetness is present all the way down the bowl and makes this good for a slow, contemplative smoke. The orientals are noticeable but not enough for me to consider them a defining point of the blend.

If you hold back and wait a few minutes or so for a relight the sweet aspect really shines through, but sipped in a slow rhythm I get a balanced taste of coffee cake with meatiness in the background. It's fairly well behaved and can withstand some absent minded heavy puffing for some time without giving tongue bit, but obviously you'll get the best out of it when you take it slow.

Overall, SLF isn't a mind blowing tobacco but I can't fault it either, three stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

well tampered clavier Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
well tampered clavier (9)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

from the name you'd expect this to be a balkan but out of the tin the orientals & turk tell you it's an english. the Latakia just sits along side offering a constant cool flavour. this is a very cool smoke but more to the point creamy, i hear this word used regarding the aesthetics of a smoke but this one is an english milkshake to saver. contemplative and very tasty. I suggested folding length-ways then fold in half, a few twists to screw it into a neat ball and gently ease it in your bowl, a perfect air-pocket method smoke. Slightly off topic this is a good tobacco to cycle with.

1 person found this review helpful.

SMOKETSES Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SMOKETSES (208)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Yet after another great mixture, my opinion about Germain has improved even more. For a long time I was trying to find this beautiful tin, with the very good content, and I was finally justified. It has the same flake form as Medium and Brown Flake. I was under the impression that I would get a tin filled with flakes that would contain more than 85% Latakia, allowing me to create nice mixtures by adding few Germain flakes. Some flakes are “golden”, brown and some others jet-black. It is as if Virginia, Oriental and Latakia were separately placed in the tin. The moisture is very good once you open the tin. It reserves its outstanding taste up until the end of the bowl and it leaves almost no dampness at the bottom of the pipe. It doesn't cause any tongue bite no matter how nervously you smoke it. A really wonderful mixture. Ooooo and something else: when you ask for this blend, don't let any German seller mislead you by telling you it is similar to McConnell's Latakia Flake (as was my friend “Litsa”). They have nothing in common what so ever

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mesh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mesh (21)
★☆☆☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

nitekrawlr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nitekrawlr (26)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

YEOWZA.....I have only one word for Germain's Special Latakia Flake........Delicious......absolutely the best smoke I've ever had. Predominately high quality Virginia, with the perfect marriage of Latakia. I could smoke this flake....exclusively. Heady, tasty, no bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

goldfinger63 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
goldfinger63 (13)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

years of pipe smoking experience. i smoked two tins of this and found it bland and blunt.i could never taste the latakia.the penzance beats this and is a far better smoke and the best.also samuel gawith balkan flake beats this.i would not waste my money this again.i think this is a poor blend by jf germain.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (206)
★★☆☆
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.

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 (230)
★★☆☆
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!

Updated 12/17/12 OK, THE NAME OF THIS TOBACCO, "LATAKIA FLAKE", THREW ME OFF, AS LONG AS YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE NAME SHOULD BE "MILD VIRGINIA FLAKE WITH A HINT OF LATAKIA", I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M TRYING TO SMOKE .

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipesterJim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipesterJim (44)
★★★☆
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.

GoldenLeaf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GoldenLeaf (1)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I wanted to try a Latakia blend for the first time and did not know which to try, so I asked my local tobacconist (very reputable place) and the gentleman recommended this to me and said it was his most popular latakia blend. I cracked open the tin and loved the smokiness, a great tin aroma. I found it to be a little moist when I rubbed some out for my bowl but it smoked fairly well had a few relights though. The flavour was very nice, not overwhelming, which I was worried about since I was told latakia blends could be quite potent. At this point I would have given it a three out of four. However I decided to rub the rest out and let it dry a little. It was like magic, each bowl I had after the first got progressively better and better. A cool smoke, burns nice all the way to the bottom of the bowl, no tongue bite whatsoever, one of the best tobaccos I have ever had. I am interested in trying some other latakias, but I think I will be coming back to this one on a regular basis.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

donmartinthree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
donmartinthree (19)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

japanpipeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
japanpipeman (8)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

The latakia in Special Latakia Flake is not actually all that strong, so it might not be what you're looking for if you're a latakia junkie. It is great tobacco, though. It just needs a bit of drying out (an hour in humid Japan) and it will smoke fairly dry and full of good flavors. If you like latakia but don't always want a big shot of it, this very well could be an every day smoke for you. Personally I want the shot every day, and this is my every once in a while break.

Edit: After over two weeks sitting in the unsealed tin, this tobacco has transformed! Before, it was good tobacco. Now, it is extraordinary tobacco. It is still extremely wet, but after drying it is a serene smoke. This is definitely in my all time favorites now.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Poppy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Poppy (23)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Pleasant

The saler told me it's a STRONG tobacco. It's not completly false, but it wasn't bit your tongue, it's a spicy tobacco very different from the other latakia blend, so if your are tired by your english mixture with latakia, you have to try this blend in flake !

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Baggins Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Baggins (7)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Well, what can I say, I'd rather have Penzance. Upon opening the tin I found that the flakes were quite moist. So much so that they were all stuck together like a plug of tobacco. At first I tried loading it like a regular flake, which was hard to keep lit. However, on the second smoke I decided to rub it out almost completely. This yielded a better smoke...

Tin aroma reminds me of extremely ripe raisins; again, not as pleasing as Penzance. This latakia flake is better before the half way point of the smoke. I love the intriguing flavors and spice before the nicotine becomes more pronounced. I've had no tongue bite with this weed, but it becomes stronger towards the middle of the bowl; turns into a pretty damn strong tobacco where the flavor falls to pure nicotine.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Gods gift to those who love the taste of Latakia .

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (132)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Interesting Flake. Plenty of flavors. I finished the tin quite fast. Burns well, no bite. The Latakia is very interesting, a solid Balkan style mixture.A real pleasure to smoke, an even bigger pleasure to have some as the supply in North America is quite low.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Captain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Captain (4)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Special Latakia Flake is a rough cut flake and is alternately sweet and soft with a pressed mix of Virginias, Latakia and Orientals that soon become the essence of mellow pleasure. Aging helps it even more but that isn't necessary for full enjoyment. To my taste, this is pure tobacco with no additives or preservatives.

Germain's Special Latakia Flake is worth the effort it takes to prepare prior to smoking. Be warned: upon opening the tin, this tobacco presents itself as a wet lumpy mass wrapped in wax paper. That's where your experience and pipe craft comes in. Separate as much tobacco as you need, spread it out and allow it to dry out for at least an hour. (Your results may vary since I live in sunny but humid Florida). If you smoke it wet then you will get what you deserve.

This tobacco is one of the best of its type and is one of my Golden Circle. Obviously, if you don't care for Latakia, stay away. If you really enjoy pressed, full tasting (but essentially soft) English/Oriental Flakes...enjoy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sounds7 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sounds7 (16)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This stuff ages very well! It was a bit moist when I first opened it two years ago so I stuck it in a mason jar and boy I am glad I did! Man what a difference. This may very well be better than any other Latakia flake in the aging department. So refined and smooth with the presence of smoky latakia but the Virginias and oriental are lush and harmonious like "Miles Davis Birth of the cool" Just cant get enough of this. It just climbed my opinion chart considerably!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Treebrand Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Treebrand (1)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Germain's Special Latakia flake. This is a typical full balkan style blend. It lacks some of the more spiciness i have grown accustom to. The latakia, orientals, and turkish are very prevalent;however I am having trouble finding the virginias. It is rather ho-hum in my opinion but as I said before it does lack some of the spiciness that im am used to. the tin was vacumed seal with a strong smell of latakia and very moist. letting dry a bit will definatley improve its smoking quality as well its ablilty to stay lit. At first lite it is very smokey and rich and tends dull down mid-bowl. I picked this blend up from a local store that didn't have my regular blend, so I tried it out on a recomendation. It will do until I can find my regular blends which are Bill Baileys Balken Blend and Frog Morton on the bayou which both have the addition of perique. I will finish this tin but I probably wont try it again. if you are wanting to try some balkan blends this a good one to start with as it is fairly tame.I give 2 out of 4 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

strawalker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strawalker (14)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

J. F. Germain and Son's Special Latakia Flake is smoky heaven, this is worth every penny, and here in Canada I gotta pay $25 clams for a 50g tin. The tin aroma is slightly off-putting at first but after a few lovely bowls of this wonderful flake you will inhale it deeply and smile in anticipation. The tobacco is dark brown with flakes of tan and a few sugar crystals here and there. Very wet when fresh requiring at least twenty minutes dry time but better after fourty, it rubs out easily and leaves a smoky smell on the fingers. After the false light and a gentle tamping the first quarter bowl is mild Latakia and slightly sweet Virginia, tightening up with Turkish/Oriental by mid bowl with the Latakia, which is always present throughout the bowl, taking a gentle bow at the finish. The flavour gets more and more complex as you wind your way through the blend, take it slow (it can bite) and take it in a big pipe. I have a beautiful Wombaroo free hand which I reserve for Latakia blends I call her Old Smoky and when I got my paw on her and she's loaded with Germain's Special Latakia Flake, all is right with the world.

Update August 2011: sadly I lost my glorious Wombaroo pipe but happily this wonderful tobacco has comforted me over the years. I prefer Frog Morton but it's hella pricey here in Toronto and, while cheaper, Germain's is of exceptional quality and I find it's often less monotonous than F.M. Also after two years of smoking this blend fairly regular I've come to find the tin aroma is really wonderful. Always in my rotation as it should be in yours.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zierro Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zierro (11)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Special Latakia is truly well named. This blend is all about a delightfully well cured Latakia Leaf that delivers a smooth smoky flavor without a bit of harshness.

Tin pops to a highly fermented aroma that might make one wonder if prunes had gone bad. A bit moist, yet straight out of the tin it crumbles nicely and packed lightly smokes like a dream.

The Turkish/Orientals lie quietly in the background yet add an essence that I have only encountered in a Turkish Kabob Restaurant. While the aged Virgina's add a bit of nicotine and sugar without jumping to the forefront. The roomnote is perhaps among the most acceptable of any Lat blend I have smoked.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarBurner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarBurner (29)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

What a wonderful blend. I was turned onto this by a friend at my tobacconist who knew I liked Penzance and suggested I give this a try.

The tin & pressed flake is a nice presentation.I like tobac that needs rubbing out as this one does. You don't have to be careful rubbing this out like you do with penzance (which will turn to powder if you overdo it). I found it necessary to air-dry mine for a couple hours.To make things easier I cut up the whole tin in half before putting up in a mason jar.

Filled my briar,lit up,and was greeted with a creamy full rich taste. It was blended with the latakia, virginias and Oriental perfectly blended so one does not overwhelm. Half way through the latakia shows some dominance but not such as to dull the hint of sweetness or smoothness thats ever present in this blend.Burns with a nice white ash with ample clouds of blue smoke.What a pleasure.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hagen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hagen (91)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

like all the other germain's blends i've tried, this is first class tobacco.

there's plenty of sweet virginias here, a nice dose of latakia which seems to me to be very smoky, and a little orientals. this is an uncomplicated smoke, with sweetnes and a slightly ash-like flavour (in a pleasant way, though) that i ascribe to the very smoky latakia. perhaps it's a bit monocromatic due to the low content of orientals. apart from the fact that it's very difficult to loosen a whole flake - you seem to end up with a broken flake, or even a loose cut bowlfull - i can reccommend it heartily, even though there are a few other englishes i prefer over this one. it's certainly got a character of its own.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe-arazzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-arazzo (71)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I had a lot of trouble with this one because it took a LOT of drying out. I don't think it was because it was so wet, per se, but it seemed to have some humectant. It did no good to pop the tin and leave it; you had to expose it to open air. Before it was dried out enough, this was not a very pleasant smoke at all. Bitter, hot, and just plain nasty. That's the bad news.

But the good news is, when this is dried out well, it delivers a unique and mouth-watering smoke. The best results came from taking a hefty portion out of the tin (say, 1/3 of the whole), rubbing it completely out, letting it dry...and dry some more...and dry some more. Then the smoke was unbelievable. It started like a good standard English tobacco: lots of smoky latakia and sweet virginias (brown-sugar tasting), with a subdued oriental component. But the exra, fire-cured component (Kentucky?) was the centerpiece. Often this component was very much in the background at the beginning of the smoke and built and built until it was quite powerful at the end. It was spicy and strong with the kind of piquant mouth-feel I've come to expect from perique (though, of course, there is no actual perique). Really exquisite.

This is one of the tobacco world's best kept secrets. For my money, Penzance (by the same blender) is not as interesting or tasty. But if you disagree, that's fine. Leaves more of this for me!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (301)
★★☆☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (70)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I purchased this tin on a whim in my perfect latakia hunt. The tin aroma is a deep leathery musk, with almost a prune like overtone. The tobacco is very moist, and packs great with just a rub between two fingers. It takes a little while to get lit, but once it is going it's great. Large plumes of almost sweet smoke, and the latakia sings harmoniously with the little amount of orientals in the background. The room note is not opressive, and has almost a molasses quality to it. Truly a womderful smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

smoking-rob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smoking-rob (70)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jackflash Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackflash (4)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Unnoticeable

A rich tasting Latakia blend and I would guess that if there is Syrian in this blend it's pretty much in the background.It comes in a cool little tin and the cut is a rougher or more rustic flake that I've seen.A flake cut is my favorite by far, but the smoker has to rub or adjust it to their liking.After opening the tin it gave off a delicious leather like aroma that I love. The tobacco was very moist,actually too moist to smoke without lighting multiple times to get it going and thusly giving a harsh and incomplete smoke. This blend should be rubbed and left to dry on your tray for 30 minutes to an hour. Drying changes this blend from mediocre at best into a smooth, creamy, sweet, non-biting, drool down your chin Latakia experience that is unrivaled. A medium sized meerschaum or large briar bowl enhances the cool sweetness even more. This blend goes to the head of the line over Penzance, Old Ironsides,Odyssey and any other Cyprian Latakia based blends except possibly Kendal's Balkan Mixture by Gawith Hoggarth. It took me a month to learn to get the most out of this blend and that was time well spent.I know that I'm starting to rave so I won't write anymore lest the wrong people read this and make it illegal. This gets my top four star rating.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (73)
★★★☆
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!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (46)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Satc001 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Satc001 (64)
★★☆☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Northraven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Northraven (2)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Just wanted to put in my two cents on J.F. Germain & Sons Special Latakia Flake.

Appearance: Opening the tin reveals a stack of moist, slightly-broken flakes. Dark leaf predominates with lighter strands of chocolate coloured leaf wending their way through the flakes. In many tins bloom and crystalized sugar will be apparent, proving that Germain ages this tobacco well.

Tin Aroma: In a word, pungent. The smell which wafts from the tin is unlikely to win over many casual observers. Lovers of English style flakes will apreciate the bouquet of wet grass and saucy-sweet Latakia which this blend exudes.

Packing and Lighting: The flakes rub out easily, which is good as those who like to make plugs out of flake tobaccos will find this blend almost impossible to keep lit if packed in such a fashion. Also, allowing the leaf to dry for a while outside of the tin is a must as this tobacco is one of the most fire-retardant substances I have ever seen. All in all, this blend requires special attention when packing and preparing lest the smoker never derive satisfaction from it.

Smoking Characteristics: Assuming the instructions above are followed, this blend smokes cool and dry with a good volume of rich smoke. The room note is strong and likely to be objectionable to non-smokers. The start of a bowl always yields a heady dose of Latakia flavour. About a quarter of the way down the Latakia backs off and is joined by a smooth smokiness and just the slightest wisp of Virginia sweetness. As the bowl burns down from the halfway point the smoke becomes harsher and a little hotter, now the Virginia sweetness comes into it's own, complemented by wooden and bitter undertones. At this point the Latakia is just a faint ghost of it's original presence. Smokes down to a fine gray ash with just a little black char present.

Perhaps not suitable for the novice smoker due to the preparation required to make this tobacco smoke well, this blend is nonetheless a fine offering for the smoker who loves Latakia. The mixture of tobaccos used and the flake preparation make this blend an interesting mixture of Latakia flavor and Virgina flake sweetness.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This crumbly latakia flake is middle-ground in nicotine content, high on flavor, and yet very easy on the tongue. Germain's SLF is an exceptional and well-married blend with a very full flavor that should satisfy both those who desire a stronger latakia element and those who enjoy the balancing nature of orientals.

The premium price on this blend is well justified; the quality of the leaf and the skill of preparation are evident throughout every bowl.

I believe SLF completes the triumvirate of latakia flakes along with Penzance and Old Ironsides.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Professor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Professor (67)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

Germain's Special Latakia Flake arrived remarkably with bloom. It is rare indeed to find bloom on pipe tobacco--a well-aged cigar, yes, but on pipe tobacco, no. I found this understandably curious (reason mostly for two stars rather than one) and thought that I was about to enjoy quite an extraordinary treat. Special Latakia Flake demanded to be dried and rubbed (against my desires). In smoking this weed, I encountered nothing unusual yet alone extraordinary. It is a rather dull offering and, apart from the bloom, without any distinguishing characteristics beyond its dose of nicotine. As I noted with Blakeney's Best Latakia Flake, if you are looking for Latakia in flake form, stick with C.A.O.'s Old Ironsides. In comparison with the latter, this stuff is less a battleship and more a dinghy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Full Overwhelming

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 struck me about this tobacco. It was extremely foul smelling in the tin and at the match. And, it finished totally different than it began. After rubbing out, loading and lighting, I was greeted with a pleasant enough Latakia taste that mingled nicely with the other components. By mid-bowl though, the Latakia rallied furiously and left me overwhelmed.

I will say it burned easily and slowly and produced no bite whatsoever. Just too much Latakia at the apex of the smoke for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipe dreams Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipe dreams (15)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I've smoked many latakia's, this blend uses the latakia better than them all. A superb taste, with huge volumes of smoke. Never does the oriental, the virginia or the latakia dominate here, but together, create the epitome of latakia blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Scottish Soldier Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Scottish Soldier (6)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

Those of you who have reviewed my other tobbacco comments will see that my preference is for Latakia blends. When one opens a tin of Germain's Special Latakia Flake for the first time, one is immediately introduced to the curing process of Latakia. It is pungent and yet sweet. This baccy comes in a flake, so the flakes must be rubbed out. With gentle rubbing, one is left with a very fine cut of tobacco - very European, in my view. I gravity loaded one of my prized Stanwell bents with what I had rubbed out and proceeded to light my pipe. After several attempts at getting a good ember burning, I was finally successful. The tobacco, straight from the tin, is just a little too moist to maintain a lighted pipe. Once the baccy has be relit a few times, it dries out and one may enjoy a very pleasurable smoke. The flavoring, for me, is pretty constant throughout the entire bowl. The baccy burns to a nice clean whitish-grey ash. The only drawback to the Latakia flake is the fact that it is a little too moist right out of the package. To avoid frustration in lighting one's pipe, I would suggest allowing this mixture to "air out" a few hours before dipping into the tin for the first time. Otherwise, this tobacco is a pleasant smoke and it is one that is part of my regular rotation of baccys.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This one is a treat! Do not expect a lighter version of Penzance for it is not!This is a wonderful amped up version of Germain's King Charles.The backbone of the blend is Virginia ,with orientals for sweetness, and a very mild dose of Latakia that remains in the background.It produces a very mild and natural nutty flavor.The Latakia is subdued and provides just the right amt of depth for this blend.It has the signature Germain casing and burns very cool.Those around you will not even notice you are smoking at all,the room note is very subdued.This comes in the same form as Penzance and needs to be rubbed out.It lights well and does not bite.If you have tried 1820 or King Charles,this is a heavier version of those. 3 of 4 stars fo a great light English!

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pipco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipco (5)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Let me preface this by stating that I do not prefer my latakia dosed from a front-end loader. I prefer it as a condiment the same way I prefer my perique. That said...this blend is right up my alley. Lighter on the latakia with orientals and virginias aplenty. The combination here creates a reasonably complex blend. While lightly pressed , I do dig the flake presentation as Va. and va./p flakes are my mainstay. It smokes smooth and cool when partially rubbed out. It will not satisfy those who like their latakia shot from a cannon but should satisfy those looking for a milder english blend. A pleasant surprise.

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DeltaSnake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeltaSnake (31)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

I got this one evening when the tobacconist was fresh out of my favorite latakia slice, Old Ironsides. I found it somewhat similar, although not as smokey or full, but with a good solid body and taste. It's really all about the latakia taste, which dominates, which makes it a good choice if you like that dimension of blend. Given a choice, I would get Old Ironsides, but if you can't, this will do, and do more than well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Latakia, Latakia, Latakia! The name says it all. This tobacco, is one of the finest Engilsh/Latakia blends around. It has all a Latakia lover could ask for. Flavor, coolness, flake cut, and of course Latakia! I must admit, I like Old Ironsides just a bit more, but not by much. Should the supply of Old Ironsides dry up, I would be very content with Germain's Special Latakia Flake. One word of note, this is a very moist Flake cut, and is very hard to keep lit. If you take the amount of tobacco your pipe will hold, and allow it to dry out just a bit, you'll have far less problems keeping lit, and you still won't run into tounge bite. Don't let it dry out to much though, or the bite will get you. Try this tobacco, for a "Special" Treat.

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Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (87)
★★★☆
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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smokestack Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokestack (6)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Let's get it out in the open right away. I like this tobacco A LOT! Easy to rub out, this tobacco lights and burns well. While the latakia is there, it is not dominant. The orientals play a significant role too. They fold in seamlessly with the latakia, to the benefit of both. The smoke is dry and cool. This one won't bite. There is no deterioration of flavour as the end draws near. The flavour is never as big or strident as a full Balkan blend; it is more contemplative than that.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mailman 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mailman 5000 (60)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I was half expecting this one to be a rebranded Penzance. Wrong out of the tin this was something very different a long stringy flake that was wet. Way to moist was my intial impression oh no not another Latakia lightweight. But I left the tin coming back everyy now and again. Towards the middle of the tin and things drying out a touch this one really started to grow on me. Been working on the virginia technique lately i.e. dead slow. This really paid of . Deep and rich and offering much complexity. Well worth a try.

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