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Iwan Ries

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Rare Syrian Latakia, with its renowned mellow smokiness, is balanced with naturally sweet Orientals and aged Virginia leaf to create a satisfying blend reminiscent of classic Syrian Latakia blends of old. Formulated by Tad Gage to reflect the character of original Three Oaks Pipe Tobacco, it tantalizes with intriguing differences.

Notes: Introduced in 2009.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByTad Gage
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging50g tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy 4noggins.com
Iwan Ries
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Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 28 Users

3.6
68 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
45
3 star:
17
2 star:
6
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Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (35)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

If you're looking for a heavy nic kick or something that pounds you in the taste buds, this is not your blend. But if you're a fan of high-quality English blends, it's a must try.

Very soft, mellow smokiness. Subtly complex. This is one of the few blends (two?) that has a hefty helping of actual Syrian Latakia in it, which might be why it's so unique (in my experience anyways): http://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/syrian-latakia/

If you're intimidated by Lat bombs, start with this one. To paraphrase another reviewer, it's like having your head gently stroked. But be warned, all the others might disappoint you. I've tried quite a few, and none of them have come close to knocking this one out of the rotation. Will be trying Mac Baren's Vintage Syrian soon, which Arno of Dutch Pipe Smoker fame favors: http://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/hh-vintage-syrian-vs-3-oaks-syrian/

Like many McClelland blends, it helps to give it a healthy amount of drying time.

As an aside, I can't understand why good Lat blends seem to get the thumbs down on room note so often, given how similar they are to incense, as well as all the other incredible smells and flavors they produce. But the overwhelming judgment of non-smoking roomates and spouses seems to be thumbs down.

2014.05.15 Update: I've had the pleasure of trying many more English blends since reviewing 3OS. I still give it four stars but like Samovar, Legends, and FMOTT slightly better (all tastier and more complex).

2014.07.26 Tweaking the rating down to a very solid three stars, as this doesn't compare to some of the Latakia blends I've tried since (e.g., White Knight, Samovar, Legends). But it's still among the best and gentlest intros to the genre, imo.

7 people found this review helpful.

balkan_boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
balkan_boy (31)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This is very good Balkan blend. The tin note is slightly different than the standard smell of McKetchup. Very pleasant, has some reddish colour, the first thought you get when you open it is to smoke it right away, immediately. And you do, moisture is ok from the tin, and it burns to the white ash smoothly. Syrian Latakia is mellow, everything is mellow, faint, pale, but still there is enough body to be decent smoke, let's say for the mornings or everyday smoke. Syrian Latakia usually has noble aroma that doesn't kick you but just stays there reminding you of it's beautiful presence. There are orientals also, not as aggressive as in other blends, all in all, it's a good smoke, nice, noble, mellow, .... I liked it a lot. Not my go to blend, but I will order some of it in the future. I've smoked other Syrian blends, this one is the mellowest. Highly Recommended.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (574)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

If you are looking for a one dimensional Latakia bomb, look elsewhere. If you are seeking a sophisticated complex tobacco, this one is for you. This blend isn't about strength; it's the Pinot Noir of tobacco.

The tin aroma has a little bit more of a musty character than your typical English. The ribbon cut is a little wider than most brands ( similar to Peretti English blends). Upon lighting, the palette is caressed by a symphony of flavors. The Syrian Latakia let's its presence be known but never overpowers the delicate oriental and Virginia tobaccos. There is a unique bready type flavor that makes my mouth water. The strength increases very slightly from beginning to end. The flavors change with each bowl and never leave me bored.

This is hands down my favorite tobacco so far. A must try.

5 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

This one can fool you. Some bowls make you think you're smoking an Oriental blend with a background dose of Latakia. At other times you'll think you're smoking a Latakia blend with a background dose of sweet Oriental leaf. Either way, it's a bell ringer for me.

I really like the smoothness of the rich and smokey Latakia and the sweetness of the Orientals. It wa a killer combination and one I thoroughly enjoyed while consuming the tin in a matter of days.

It was just a wee bit too moist for me right out of the tin but dried quickly when left in the open air for a few hours. I'm gonna get me more of this!

4 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (149)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

From my first bowl of this, I boldly declared it my favorite Balkan blend. A steep claim as I have had the luxury of tasting the new Balkan Sobranie, Penzance, Smoker's Haven Krumble Kake, HU Fayyum Kake and Blue Mountain amongst many others.

It is a very creamy smoke that burns cool with a fantastic fragrance that seeps through the side stream. I was beginning to think that I preferred the Cypriot variety of the Latakia Leaf as other blends using Syrian had yet to ring my bells. This one has me reevaluating that thought.

I nearly finished the tin, but gave the rest to a friend that was enjoying it yesterday as I plan to buy several more. I also look forward to testing this against the Cyprian Three Oaks to get a better idea of my Latakia preference.

But for now, Four stars to my favorite Balkan.

Pipe Used: Basil Meadows Zulu

Age When Smoked: One Year

Purchased From: B & B tobacconists

3 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have been in the minority when it comes to my thoughts about Three Oaks Syrian in that I have not been in the “wowed crowd.” I opened a tin (my second tin after struggling a bit through the first) about a year ago and put it aside. To my amazement, even after a year in an opened tin with the plastic lid on it, the tobacco was still too wet to smoke. I don't understand why the folks at McClelland feel the need to saturate their blends in humectants far beyond what is needed. As others pointed out, the time aside seemed to help even things out in the blend. The smoke is buttery, a little sweet and very smooth. I don't know if the percentage if Syrian is high, but it is a supporting player in the flavor department. I do think it is important to point out that Syrian will have different notes than Cyprian and that could cause some to think that blend is lacking in the Latakia department. I think the component tobaccos are perfectly balanced and the Orientals are very good. Those that really like English blends made by McClelland will find this to be among their best and likely a four star blend. To me, while very good, it tastes like many of the other McClelland English blends. If not for the Syrian, I wouldn't be able to tell it apart from some of the others.

3 people found this review helpful.

pipelovingcalvinist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipelovingcalvinist (68)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Upon opening my tin and having my first bowl, I was immediately disappointed."This tobacco is mild and flavorless",I thought to myself. Over the next couple of days I smoked a few bowls with the same results. Having tired of this bland blend, I shelved it for about a month. When I tried this blend again I was blown away. This was not the tobacco I had smoked before. This tobacco was rich, smokey, leathery, with hints of chocolate it was exquisite. I smoked the rest of the tin over the next few weeks and was pleased with every bowl. This has now become one of my favorite tobaccos and I plan to always have a few tins of this around.

Soli Deo gloria!

3 people found this review helpful.

Sinister Topiary Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sinister Topiary (74)
★★★★
Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Very Strong

Perhaps this is another instance of having very different tastebuds than every other piper because my experience of this blend differs quite strongly from the previous reviewers. Indeed it almost seems to me like we're reviewing different blends.

For me this blend is very full and very smoky, with the Syrian Latakia coming front and center for a bravura performance. The orientals and virginias are in the shadows, ever present only if you pay attention to them, occassionally joining the star for a brief appearance, providing some distinctive harmony, then receding back to the shadows. And I don't taste anything sweet, in the usual sense (is ouzo sweet?), except for a single little nuance lurking way back there you have to look for.

I would also say this blend is deliberately not balanced in the usual sense, because it's not intended to be: the proportions serve to highlight the star rather than share the stage with her, thus it is balanced just as it ought to be: you don't upstage the coloratura during her big number. It seems to me the blenders found the very line where any more Syrian Latakia and the flavor would have hurtled over the cliff into a single-note sharp, tarry murkiness, any less and it would have dissipated into its surroundings. Given the degree to which the semi-transparent ouzo-lemony-creosote-laden smoky flavor dominates it's quite remarkable how complex and nuanced the blend remains.

If it's valid to compare tobacco with wine or scotch as a nuanced art for the tastebuds -- and I believe it is, since they all are concerned with the artful and subtle combinations of unique flavors arising from vegetative matter infused with the essence of their origins -- then this blend is exemplary of tobacco as a "single malt". Each single-malt scotch has a unique signature, and I can't think of any tobacco blend this analogy applies to better than this one. Instead of peat or iodine as the bed of nuance, we have here a silky smooth creosotic plane of flavor rippling with nuance. I don't know anything else that comes close to the flavor of this one.

I must confess I do not understand the comparison of this with Artisan's Blend at all -- Artisan's Blend is not anywhere near as smoky or creosotic, and the orientals are much more prominent there, as is the presence of the perique. It's surprising to me that a previous reviewer considers this an oriental forward blend for oriental lovers; the only tangy-spiciness of oriental I discern is some background colour through the semi-transparent waves of latakia. (And I'm an oriental lover. Oriental Mixture No. 14 -- now there's an oriental forward blend!)

Otherwise, the moisture out of the tin is perfect. Another reviewer suggested packing it tighter than usual and I agree. It's a very cool, dry, remarkably smooth smoke with a unique cotton mouthfeel you can sink your teeth into. It's not an all-day smoke, much like Cragganmore or Laphraoig would not be all-day drinks. This is a special, delectable smoke to be savored.

About the only thing I agree with the previous reviewers on is that this is one of McClelland's finest offerings -- and that's saying a lot! I am very impressed by this blend. Very impressed. It's perhaps the best "single-malt" tobacco blend I've yet tried.

No, no "perhaps" about it. It is the best "single-malt" tobacco I've smoked.

Highest recommendation.

3 people found this review helpful.

Phonomet Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phonomet (41)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

It took the better part of a tin for me to get this blend. I had just been smoking a full flavored balkan for a few months (Peretti's Royal Blend) and this one just seemed so mild that I had to search for the flavor. Around the half bowl mark the flavor kicks in and it's a lovely semi-sweet smoke. There is a hint of spice. The latakia is tame but present. Overall an enjoyable blend but I usually want more forward flavors. I recommend letting it dry for a considerable time before loading a bowl.

Age When Smoked: 4 years

Purchased From: B&B tobacconists Asheville, NC

2 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (203)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a well done Light English. I find the Latakia and Orientals to be well balanced. The Virginias have an adequate, but not strong, presence. The Syrian Lat is smooth and smoky. I find this to be a solid example of an English blend, but I don't find anything special here. Tastes vary though so give it a try. It may be just what you're looking for.

Pipe Used: MM General

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (578)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

A thick ribbon cut blend of mottled milk- and dark-chocolate color. Loads and lights easily and settles in nicely at the initial match. Not quite enough of the usual McClelland fermented virginia aroma (what some call ketchup or vinegar) in the tin, but that's the norm for McC latakia blends.

As I stated, this blend takes to the match well and is off to the races with nary a backward glance. The flavor is the light sweet smokiness as mentioned below, along with an odd but nice combo of creaminess and an almost peatiness. This seems like the Lowland single malt of pipe tobaccos... very mild and easy to work with. However, each puff had a bit of dryness to the finish that I find different. I found this blend tasty but very mild. Someone looking to get into syrian latakia blends would do well to start here.

My only complaint, and what keeps it from that 4th star, is the flavor I experienced upon relights. With each one, the flavor turned very sour for about the first 4-5 puffs, which was quite a turn-off. I experienced this same flavor in Frog ATP as well, but it was prevalent in that blend, not just at relights. DGT suffered greatly with 3OS. I don't see anyone else having this problem, so it must be more me than the blend. I'm going to stick my other 2 tins in the cellar for a couple of years, as the tin I smoked was only a few months old. Couldn't wait to try it to see what the fuss was all about! This is what I get for my impatience.

2 people found this review helpful.

strongirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strongirish (234)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

What a great smoke! Wow! This is an English latakia blend at it's best! I was really surprised as my first experience with this blend came in a baggie in a trade and in the baggie, it was mostly light in color, a ribbon cut, with a few dark bits of leaf mingled in. I was expecting to be honest it to be a VaPer and thus loaded it into a Pete Bulldog and proceeded to light up. The pouch aroma did not have the traditional English aroma but more of a sweet peaty aroma. But upon first light up, my mouth was filled with the most fragrant, sweet, and smokey flavor of latakia that was surrounded by a great sweet VA and the exotic flavor of orientals! I liked it first off and by the time I finished the bowl, I loved it! I smoked the rest of the small baggie and proceeded to order a tin of this blend. I am going through it like crazy, it is wonderful to smoke with coffee in the morning or with a good wine or bourbon on the rocks before bed. It does take a few relights during the process of smoking the bowl, but some of that is my just slowly sipping the wonderful smoke and relaxing with it. It burns down to a medium grey ash with no dottle left in the pipe and leaves one with a fine aftertaste in the mouth. I never did get the scent of ketchup or vinegar common with McClelland blends. I highly recommend this blend to all pipers as it really is an experience more than just a smoke.

2 people found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Absolutely lovely English mixture, wonderfuly balanced with a slight lean on Latakia. If this is really Syrian Latakia, it's certainly not the one I've tried long ago, and not the same that can be found in Ashton Artisan's Blend or Brebbia Balkan. I don't know, and I don't care. Syrian Latakia or not, this English mixture is definitely one of the bests I've every smoked.

2 people found this review helpful.

Mike Castello Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Castello (49)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin aroma is smoky, moisture level is almost dry and just how I like it, so all is well right off. The packing is easy and the tobacco lights right up. The first taste is nice but reserved. There is the latakia flavor with a smoky (that word again)quality that I often miss with many latakia blends. This quality is surely the Syrian at work. As the pipe is smoked down to mid bowl the flavor is building to a medium strength. Right down to the bottom it is smooth and never harsh. There is no burnt tongue or smoking fatigue . Once the bowl is finished it could easily be followed by another. This is one of the finest English blends around and I highly recommend it.

2 people found this review helpful.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

To my mind, there are only two genuinely great Syrian latakia blends on the market today, both from McClellands. One is Wilderness, a delightful oriental-forward blend. The second is this one, Three Oaks Syrian, a mixture that really showcases the subtle incense-like notes of the latakia. Although it's stronger than most of McClelland's offerings, it is mild enough to use as an all-day smoke (although I only smoke it on special occasions). Personally, I prefer Cyprian latakia to Syrian, but I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to experience the few remaining crumbs of this tobacco varietal.

P.S. -- There is no such thing as McClelland's "ketchup casing," as some other reviewers have alleged. This is clearly an unflavored blend. The "ketchup casing" alluded to at length by some smokers is merely the aroma/taste of fermenting virginias. It's not an added flavor, it's not a humectant, it's not an aromatic casing. McClelland sources and process its own leaf from American growers, which leads to a far different product than is sold by other houses. I have personally aged unflavored red virginias from C&D and H&H and ended up with "ketchupy" leaf, especially when aging red vas.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: 3 months to 3 years

Purchased From: Several vendors

Similar Blends: Wilderness, Renaissance.

1 person found this review helpful.

crackonosh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
crackonosh (7)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Full Strong

Very fine, smooth blend, based on virginias and containing huge amount of high quality syrian latakia. McClelland’s ketchup casing is still detectable, but its level is surprisingly low. Very mild at the beginning, getting darker tones at the half of the bowl, sometimes harsh at the end. Another pleasant american tobacco, suitable for everyday smoke.

1 person found this review helpful.

Hooter007 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hooter007 (2)
★★★★
Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This is quite delicious. The local tobacconist was out of Old Gowrie, so I asked for his recommendation on something that had Latakia in it. I am not dissapointed and will now make this part of my rotation. Upon opening the tin, there is a real almost BBQ smoke smell coming from the leaf. It doesn't smell at all like it tastes. It is a sweet...sweet smoke from start to finish.

I am a younger pipe smoker (33) and used to smoke cigars. This was smoked in a root briar Dunhill and burns consistently and tasty to the end.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Briar

Age When Smoked: under 1 year since packaged

Purchased From: Good Karma Tobacco - Lubbock, TX

Similar Blends: Rattrays Old Gowrie.

1 person found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (59)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Well I have to say that my take is different from most reviews here. Taste is subjective so I guess it will happen from time to time. It is very smooth and rich with smokey Latakia that seems like it was indeed smoked wit oak rather then pine and the bitter slightly floral sweetness of the Orientals. The VA's also add to the sweetness and since the tin has been in my cellar for over 3 yrs it must be a little sweeter then when it was young. There also seems to be a very very small amount of bright leaf that gives only the faintest hint of spice. However, this is really where the high notes end. The tobacco is saturated with PG solution or some other humectant that keeps it way too moist. I can let it sit out for hours and still have several relights. There is to me a topping added too. I do get a faint taste of anise on the retrohale at about the end of the first 1/3 of the bowl and it never goes away from that point on. Finally, it does bite a little even with the age on it. Now, I do have to say that some of McCllland's blends do this to me so I came into it knowing it was a possiblity so if you seem to have this problem with them too be aware that despite the mild smoke it may bite. I would still somewhat recommend this blend espeically if someone was looking to try Syrian Lat. for the first time it is a good representive of what Syrian is compared to its Cyprus counter part. For me There is no need to revist this blend as it does taste similar to many McClelland Lat. blends with the change of lat being taken into consideration but I think there are much better Syrian blends out there.

Age When Smoked: 40 months

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

Joeray Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joeray (61)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is how I describe about this blend ; awesome, remarkable, great, and satisfying. I smoke this blend almost at all my pipe, from straight pipe to a full bent pipe and the results are same, satisfy. Honestly, in my personal opinion, this is one of the best English blend that I ever had smoke. I very enjoy my smoking time with this blend.

I don't found any strong kick during I smoke this. It is quite mellow, sweet, smokey, and very-very little bit spiciness but almost not detectable. Just a slow and smooth pleasure but the taste is not make me get bored or flat. The smoke is really great if you pack it correctly and there is almost not juicy at all, just a right moisture that made this blend burnt right, not wet nor hot.

My wife always complains me if I smoke this stuff, not because it's bad aroma, flavor, or the room notes, but because it's great smokes. The room notes is quite tolerable, if I said pleasant my wife sure will not complain about it but also not bad at all. She just hate me because it seems I burn the living room while I smoke with this stuff. Yeah I highly recommend this blend to others who want try a nice and great english blend, lot of my friend (fellow pipesmokers) also love this stuff.

1 person found this review helpful.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (110)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Well-blended combination of very good tobaccos. Can pick pick out the different elements, which complement each other well, without any one overwhelming. Lights easily, burns clean. 4*.

Pipe Used: Alpha Executive 35+ years old

Age When Smoked: Tin stamp 2013

Purchased From: P&C

1 person found this review helpful.

Passion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Passion (28)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

The little sister to Samovar in my opinion. Syrian latakia is superb, especially McClelland's stock!

The orientals give this an added depth that makes each bowl complex. Each puff has you guessing which flavor will be at the forefront. An absolute palate pleasing and fun smoke!

1 person found this review helpful.

harp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
harp (1)
★★★☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of my first tins of tobacco I've purchased; I'm a novice, so my opinion as one of little experience. The smell in the tin is very pleasing and really smells like latakia. That's what sold me on the blend, the sample was being used at my local shop as an example of the tin smell of latakia.

The smoke is pleasing and smooth, nothing harsh or chemical tasting. There is no nicotine kick in this tobacco, I never felt the nicotine buzz throughout the bowl of this tobacco despite not being a regular smoker.

My only complaint is that it was difficult to keep lit. It wasn't damp, but burned like it was. I even left some out to air it a little and it still had trouble burning. It requires several relights during the bowl.

Despite the difficulty in burning, I'd still recommend this tobacco to others.

1 person found this review helpful.

mark121863 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mark121863 (5)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Could people please add a line describing the tobacco they usually smoke? It would be nice to know the pallet of the reviewers. Also, please tell us if you work in tobacco industry or sell tobacco.

Reading the reviews on this one would confuse Albert Einstein. Opinions of Three Oaks are off the chart in every direction. Is someone working sabotage or is someone selling? Only thing to do is try this tobacco. I guess that is the idea.

Three Oaks is a light duty English blend well worth a good try. It's a good introduction English. I did not get my Vitamin N fix from this blend. But, a dash of cut BLACK XX ROPE added to top of pipe filled that need. Also, a pinch of Deer Tongue erased all ash taste and gave it a totally new personality.

Mix and stir this tobacco for consistency. I think shipping separates the content. My tin got better tasting as it dried out.

Usually, I smoke full and strong English blends, Virginia, Turkish, Latakia. I don't like Perique. I don't sell tobacco. I love to play around with blending to my taste.

1 person found this review helpful.

samcoffeeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
samcoffeeman (29)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Fresh off my second bowl of this. The first one I remember was unremarkable. I gave it a pretty tight pack and it burnt ok. A few relights. It doesn't seem overly moist as some people have said, but maybe just my tin. The smoke starts pretty solid and simple, smooth and smoky latakia up front. That seems to fade away and in the middle of the bowl, when i am wanting a body and character to build it seems lacking. I find myself tasting ashiness with a musty background, like an old basement. Especially on the relights, it reminded me of re-lighting a cigarette that had been sitting. Towards the end there was a small reward of flavor, when I distinctly tasted black licorice and some deep red wine. The flavors were too subtle for me, and I found myself pulling hard to extract them, which led to not quite tongue bite but a dryness, which along with the ashiness left my mouth feeling like an ashtray. Rating: less enjoyable. Worth another shot, has some promise, maybe in a different pipe.

1 person found this review helpful.

Wellpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wellpipe (48)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Easy to pack, satisfying solid and rich flavor from start to finish. Top Shelf.

Update 2/2014: This blend has become my benchmark for Balkan style blends. I reach for it when I want a rich, full spectrum of flavor. It is like a full-blown symphony, replete with hypnotizing oboe solos (orientals), thunderous and driving tympani drums (latakia), the clear call of trumpets (VAs), and a few crashing cymbals and bass drums (magic?), all beautifully and harmoniously executed.

Pipe Used: Wellington (XL)

1 person found this review helpful.

alpyesilay Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
alpyesilay (9)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Good blend, but sweet oriantals are dominant and cant get the real Latakia pleasure. Hard to light even I opened the tin to decrease the humidiy level of tobacco. Often deflates. Not for me.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (225)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

I don't get this? The initial light has an unpleasant side-stream. No big Latakia hit (That Syrian must be so Rare they forgot to put it in), not what I was expecting (not like Pirate Kake), no sweetness and the Orientals don't "sing". Kind of hot and steamy, . Smoked in diffrent size bowls and it's all bad, I will not buy again, very surprised at the good reviews.

Have to agree with reviewer "GSTQ" below

updated 6/29/12 after about 6 months of cellaring and drying this has improved. Orientals play with the Latakia smoky background . moved to 3 stars, I find this similar to GLP's "Quiet Nights", although QN is BIG.

Updated 6/27/ 2014- After two years, I purchased more of this blend, opened the tin and started to smoke some bowls over the past month..... I'm kind of back to my "original review", hot and steamy with a little harshness !!! The flavor is nice but I can't get over the beating my tongue takes. It's almost the same reaction I get with Burley blends. Maybe in a years time this will again mellow out ?

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: new tin

1 person found this review helpful.

Davie Jones Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Davie Jones (61)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is the best La/VA/Or I have smoked in 24 years. I had steered clear from English mixtures for a couple years now because I was always ending up disappointed. A friend of mine sent me a tin recently despite knowing my apprehension. I said "As he sent it, I will try it". Boy, he knew what he was doing. This is a grand tobacco, my friends. You must try it if you enjoy English blends. 4 stars

1 person found this review helpful.

Peppino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peppino (74)
★★★★
Very Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

When reading reviews you get a sense of what to expect. With this blend I was surprised how light it was. The latakia is in the background for sure, I taste the orientals, they take front and center. That's not a bad thing it's just I prefer a heavier smoke. I do like 3O but for a change of pace more than a regular go to blend. It does leave a great gray ash and was easily smoked to the bottom of the bowl.

UPDATE:9/23/11 As someone already said each bowl is different! So much so that I emptied the tin and mixed it up again to try and get a better consistency to the blend. It seems to have worked! The first smoke was in a Castello, the next two bowls in a Radice and Caminetto and I'm got a lot more latakia in those bowls. Not overpowering but much more flavor than the first bowl. Very nice:) Changed my rating to a 4 star based on the interesting flavor you get from this blend. It still burns to a perfect ash, I guess I need to wait on my ratings until I go through 3-4 bowls........I must be patient!

1 person found this review helpful.

Trippwire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Trippwire (58)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

First impressions were that this was far too mild for my tastes, but the more I smoke it the more I like it....

This one tastes 'soft'. It is very smooth and I am enjoying it on cold nights. It is a bit on the weak side nicotine wise, but still very nice. The flavour progresses nicely down the bowl, to an almost buttery / nutty flavour at the bottom. I like it, a lot..

1 person found this review helpful.

Tom Servo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tom Servo (58)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The scent coming out of the newly opened tin is soft and sublime. Latakia is subdued but delicious. Orientals lay heavy on the warm, sweet Virginia aroma. Complex and immensely enjoyable. Scents of creosote, sharp, tangy, sea salt, okra, raw sweet peppers, and aged hard cheeses. All imbedded in a the tasty aroma of a top-notch Oriental blend.

Coarse ribbons pack well. Lights and burns nicely.

In the mouth the smoke is soft but flavorful, creamy and smooth. Sweet Virginia sweetness and subdued smokiness and oily, leathery notes from the tasty Latakia. But the Orientals dominate here - they really shine, fresh and peppery sweet. On the mild side, but delivers an amazing smoke. If this blend had a little more OOMPH to it, it would be perfect. Still, this stuff is subtle, warm, and delicious. Goes in the favorites list.

4 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

cakeanddottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cakeanddottle (36)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is the second Latakia blend I ever smoked, and I took to it immediately. I then spent six months building a modest frame of reference by smoking every Lat blend I could get my hands on, and 3 Oaks still holds up.

This is a delicious, balanced tobacco. The quality of this McClelland vintage Syrian Latakia is amazing and so different from what you're used to from your Latakia. The components of 3 Oaks Syrian are so perfectly married that it is rare to have any one of them rise above the others during a bowl. There is the wonderful Latakia, an obvious creamy tang from the Orientals, and the whole works is bound in superlative McClelland Virginia tobacco.

On the downside, this tobacco isn't terribly full, in strength or flavor. That aside, it's damn near perfect.

I am surprised this isn't gone already. It's that good. Let's keep this our little secret, ok? I am still trying to put enough of this away that I won't miss it too bad when it's finally gone for good.

1 person found this review helpful.

GSTQ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GSTQ (31)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Appearance is a dark brown broken flake or very rough large ribbon. Tin smells of dried fruits and dusty room. Tastes very lightly sweet, ashy, not very smoky for a latakia blend.

I do not see this as an English nor a Balkan. Smells a bit like dried fruit; in fact, it smells like American chewing tobacco. I haven't any idea how to categorise this, but to say it feels waxy and tastes ashy. There's no strength here either. How does this rate a high recommendation? Drying this well improves flavour and reduces bite, but there are certainly better mixtures on the market.

1 person found this review helpful.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (70)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Three Oaks Syrian is a wonderful offering of Syrian Latakia, generally unavailable in American-blended tobaccos. To my taste, the Latakia dominates with it's smokey richness; it's a little smoother, more plum-like and less spicy than its Cyprian counterpart. 3OS comes a bit wet from the tin, and as I experienced with other McClelland English/Balkan blends, takes some patience in drying out to a proper smoking moisture.

I've always appreciated Tad Gage's astute tobacco reviews in P&T and he has created an interesting, tasty offering.

1 person found this review helpful.

tmoney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tmoney (24)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This tobccos has great smell and taste. Let it sit for a while after you open it though, gets better after about 1 month.

1 person found this review helpful.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (108)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Full Tolerable

Every piper sooner or later meets a blend that despite promising ingredients just never finds a suitable pipe or technique. I hope, for blending purposes, the problem lies with the ingredient ratios, my chief complaint with Abingdon. Two tins had the same result: yuck. I just didn't like the taste.

I still recommend trying it, just don't lay in several tins until you do.

Age When Smoked: 1 year in tin, 0-2 years open

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Drumdude06 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Drumdude06 (4)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is a very nice mixture with the Orientals in the forefront. If you love Orientals and Syrian Latakia, this is the blend for you. This a true masterpiece.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sandman5709 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sandman5709 (3)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

Been viewing this site for years now and ejoy reading the posts by fellow pipers. Have found most of my tobacco rotation on this wonderful data base. Three Oaks will be part of that rotation. Not a latakia bomb, but it rests in the backround popping in and out which I find satisfying. The virginia and oriental dominate and are top shelve tobacco providing a wonderful senstion on the palate. Smoked in differant size bowls and it's all good. Four stars. Enjoy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Saint Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Saint (6)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Strong

A great tobacco for the rookie or veteran pipe smoker. Smooth with no bite but satisfying.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

roscoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
roscoe (11)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A wonderful and fragrant in the can latakia blend. The Syrian has a decidely hickory-smoke taste for lovers of same, far superior to the Cyprian latakias I've had in other blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Katharsis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Katharsis (39)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Review pending when I've sampled more tobaccos...

...but I can say very tasty, smoky, creamy, though something feels like it's missing. Not a show-stopper, though, and still 4/4.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Haven't posted in a while, but this blend has become one of my new favorites.

Upon opening the tin, you do get that wonderful aroma of that Syrian blend that has become one of my favorites. Moisture seems perfect, the complex aroma of the tobacco definitely is a foretast of what is to come.

Packing: easy, the tobacco is cut perfectly for pipes of any size.

Lighting: After 2 or 3 re-lights, this will smoke down to ash.

First third: Aaaahhh, delicious, complex, not too full.

Middle: Very rich, I like the room note, but most non-smokers won't...LOL!

Bottom third: Builds strength, but never overpowering.

Conclusion: This is a new classic IMO. Heartily recommended!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cochon74 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cochon74 (21)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have to say... this is my first McC blend AND my first taste of Syrian latakia. My first smoke was pretty disappointing. However, this was in the wake of several months spent smoking the likes of the huge GLP Charing Cross, Gawith's Skiff Mixture and my miraculous find of 4 tins of Penzance at my local shop.

It's a handsome blend, proper moisture and presented no problems packing and lighting... it was just, well, so mild. I knew there must be more to it than that, so I stuck with it, even devoting a new pipe to it, so as not to let the Cyprian latakia blends I was used to ghost my experience. I was intrigued by the vinegar-y smell which I'd expected based on other reviews of McC blends... and I must say, I tasted much less of it in the bowl than I smelled it in the tin.

I think I've finally come to terms with TO Syrian and I must say, it's not bad at all. The first half of the bowl is dominated by the Syrian latakia, which is a much tamer, more eloquent beast than its Cypriot cousin. I've read the term "leathery" to describe it. It seems fairly accurate. Salty, leathery, smoky and aromatic. Not at all the punchy, sharp latakia I was used to. It's only well into the second half of the bowl that the Syrian leaf is tempered (not masked) or harmonized by the Orientals and the Virginian. Along with other reviewers, I've experienced a certain dryness at the end of the puff too. It's not unpleasant... it almost has a cleansing affect to me.

Overall, I believe Three Oaks has a place in the lat-lover's collection. For those less intense sessions, and perhaps as the warmer weather approaches, it will prove a very comforting English blend that doesn't bowl you over.

A solid three stars.

Update 6/2/11 I've been smoking this pretty regularly for over a month. It is such a pleasant smoke! It has been consistent in flavor, lighting/smoking characteristics, everything! The flavors are superb. I didn't think it would become a "regular" for me, but I'm about 75% through my tin and I will DEFINITELY be getting more. Upgrade to four stars, no question.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

conicallybored Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
conicallybored (13)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

McClelland Three Oaks Syrian smells bad in the tin. This was confirmed by my friend Alexis, 8 years old, who has impeccable taste (she prefers filet mignon to McDonald's hamburgers, for example). The tobacco is very pretty but needed some drying out to light correctly. The wider ribbon cut leaves a lot of air in my pipe using my usual loading method, so after the false light I was left with half a bowl tamped down. The flavor was fine, not my ideal, but a high quality leaf and unique (to my limited experience). The taste changed about halfway through, maybe due to heat, maybe due to tamping and aerating and getting the correct draw? In any case the taste got even better and smoother halfway through. The tobacco imparts a dry bitter coating on the tongue, similar to the pucker effect of a persimmon. I've had a similar experience with only one other tobacco, Prince Albert. I'm rating this 3 stars for now.

Update: Three Oaks Syrian has a strong vinegar sourness on relights or heavy draws. This taste tainted my pipes for the next bowls of other tobaccos. For that reason, I am downgrading this tobacco to 2 of 4 stars.

Update 2: After a month's break, during which I mostly smoked Squadron Leader, Grousemoor and Golden Sliced, I looked through my 20 open tins and decided to try 3 Oaks Syrian again. No bad smell in the tin, delicious cool dry smoke all the way, no sourness. I think the humidity (I smoke outside) has an effect, as well as mouth ph level, what was eaten on a particular day, which pipe is used, the way the tobacco is packed--so many variables. Changing rating to 3 stars.

Update 3: Of the many tins I have open, Three Oaks Syrian is my favorite now. In the last several days I chose it every time over Squadron Leader, Penzance, Golden Flake, Solani Silver Flake, Early Morning Pipe, etc., etc. I smoked it in a bigger bowl than previously. Each smoke was perfect, and now my tin is empty. I guess it just needed time to lose the vinegar. Upgrading from 3 to 4 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

risle-lariviere Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
risle-lariviere (33)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Nothing much to say , for English/Balkan lover's it's paradise.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (89)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I found this to be an excellent blend, one of my favorite English blends to date. I opened this tin last summer and ended up taking it with me to Spain in September. I finished it relatively quickly and enjoyed every bowl. For me this is one of those big bowl English blends that just shines! The character of the Syrian Latakia is wonderful in this blend although I would really like to test out it's Cyprian counterpart. It is an exquisite blend leaning much more on the Latakia side as opposed to blends like Chelsea Morning or Piccadilly where you can taste more of the VA's that are present. This one reminds me of a fuller version of Frog Morton and to me it nearly surpasses it's distant cousin. A great blend with a sweet leathery taste and hints of Christmas spices, goes well with a cup of coffee in the evening or late at night with a dark spiced rum! An instant classic!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Quaffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Quaffer (18)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable to Strong

Not a bad blend, definitely one of if not the best McClelland blends in my opinion. However that doesn't say too much since I'm not the biggest fan of McClelland's blends. This has some good taste to it and smokes smooth, however the McClelland casing carries over and takes away from the authentic English taste. Still recommend trying it, it is not bad at all. There are many better English blends to choose from however.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Rodrigo de Xerez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rodrigo de Xerez (16)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Well, this is right now my favourite American Mixture.

Rich, smoky, tangy, complex, sophisticated and satisfying. An absolute delight.

Like it better than 3 Oaks Original. And perhaps it is because of the wise use of nice Syrian Latakia leaf (I use it in my own mixed Balkan)

Depending on the pipe, sometimes it is more Latakia oriented and sometimes more Oriental.

Only draw back is that it loses a little bit of taste and strength after some weeks opened. I am against the drying tendency cause dry tobaccos tend to smoke hotter, harsher and quicker. So I'll put in jar next time.

Highly recommended.

Rdx score: 90.3 (10 pipes smoked)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr_Houston Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr_Houston (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Simply stated, I love this blend. When I moved from cigars to pipes in 2001, my first enjoyable english blend was Ashton Celebrated Sovereign - and it had Syrian latakia. Upon further research , my holy grail tobacco became Pease Rennaisance, which was already becoming hard to find. I cellared as much as I could reasonably afford.

I've been on a Syrian latakia quest ever since. Many of the blends have been good, but the McClelland's offerings have had so little of the Syrian, that I've been dissapointed. Until I got to try 3 Oaks Syrian.

The best thing about this balanced blend was that is had enough of the fabled Syrian that I could really enjoy it. Since its release by McClelland, I've stocked up sufficiently.

This is a very well-balanced blend. It is classic English, with the use of great quality Syrian. When first smoked it, I realized that is was the very same Syrian used in Pease's Rennaissance. It was obvious. The orientals and virginias are classic English quantities. Just wonderful.

I will say that the blend has a slight harsh quality to it upon first light that mellows thoughout the bowl. I believe that is will subside with age. I've cellared enough to see if I am right.

That said, I get bored smoking the same blend all the time. I need a change of pace now and again. Upon the recent release of several new Syrian blends by McClellands, I sought that occassional compliment to 3OS. The test blends were Samovar, Ringlow Syrian Reserve, Celebrated Sovereign, and Wilderness. I liked them all, but have determined that my change-of-pace blend will be Samavor. I took them all to my pipe club meeting, and the majority preferred Wilderness.

Now I am comfortable that I can smoke the rest of my Rennaissance, while my 3OS ages. Then, I will still be content with great quality Syrian latakia blends, as I age as well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I'm smoking the last bowl from my first tin of Three Oaks Syrian. A few observations--this is a mild mix, similar to McClelland's Frog Morton series. The Syrian element is subdued and far less potent than something like Mac Baren's Vintage Syrian. There is a noticeable sweetness to the blend that is lacking in some of the other English blends out there, particularly Mac Baren's Syrian offering, which is rather dry (in taste, not in moisture). In another half hour I will be saddened by its absence.

I like Three Oaks Syrian very much, but would I buy more? Probably not. I say that because I find the blend a little too light in body and even though it's certainly tasty, that doesn't exceed my desire for more strength. Three Oaks Syrian is the best McClelland English I have tried, and I look forward to trying more.

Four of Five.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Billy777 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Billy777 (14)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

After you buy this tobacco, open the tin and don't smoke it for about a month - it needs about this amount of time for the air to get to it and develop. I tried it straight after opening the tin and found it to be flat and tasteless.

However a month later I tried it again and it's sublime better than a Montecristo. It burns very slowly too.

Four stars but I want to give it five.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Miyanovich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Miyanovich (12)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Very, very nice blend.

I can't say anything that hasn't been said.

Very even and tasty. Oh smokey Latakia, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

I am trying out too many Latakia based blends right now to get into subtlety. I will leave that to the others.

It was a cool Summer's night, right after a job well done. The train was rattling as it galloped out of town. I stood outside, and smoked a hearty bowl full of Three Oaks Syrian. I was a man who was satisfied.

3.5 out of four stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

farmgent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
farmgent (4)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Fantastic smoke. Rich creamy smokiness with a background of light sweetness that immediately led to me lean back, close my eyes and savour the moment. It is a rare moment that my type A personality can be convinced to kick back and relax. Each bowl of the first tin of this blend did just that. With each bowl for an hour I was removed from the stress and quit thinking about how to solve my next problem. Instead I relaxed and enjoyed the moment. I have already cellared several tins. If you like Latakia, then you need to try this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

stonedlion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
stonedlion (6)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

If you are a Latakia fan, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

I recently finished my first tin of Three Oaks. My regular smoke of choice is Frog Morton On The Bayou and Three Oaks was a real treat.

I agree with Mr. Fallon's assessment, it's a "bell ringer" and has earned a permanent place in rotation next to FMOTB.

The question now, is how much can I cellar without raising the ire of the Mrs?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (30)
★★★★
Mild Very Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

I am still somewhat of young, partially seasoned pipe smoker, but it is now officially a passion of mine, especially after smoking this amazing treat! Now, I am a fan of both Cyprian and Syrian latakia(Three Oaks Original is also excellent.) But the Syrian latakia is what makes this blend special. A nice creamy sweet smoke that never burns hot. I think this blend will age very well, I have five tins to cellar and 1 to smoke...It's gonna take some self control but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait. I have tried several other blends that use Syrian latakia and honestly none of them compare to this golden blend. Essential.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Marshall Law Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Marshall Law (50)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

A fantastic blend. An incredibly high standard of quality tobacco that is not bitter, biting, harsh, or anything but flavorful and smooth, with tons of rich, mellow, dense smoke. Lights and burns easily, especially with a little drying time in advance. If you like Syrian Latakia, the dominant but not overwhelming star here, then this is a delicious blend artfully punctuated with the stuff, and a fine treat for you. Tasty, refined, satisfying, and enjoyable all-around. A perfect balance of Syrian lat, sugary virginias, and spicy orientals, all of which are constantly present. If you don't know if you will like a medium latakia blend, give this blend a whirl. Unlike the numerous harsh, bitter, biting, overpowering and not-well-blended mixes I've smoked extensively and now ended my troubled relationships with, this one won't bludgeon and blunt your taste buds or leave you regretting the encounter, Latakia lover or not. Well done! Three and a half stars.

Update: I'm bumping my rating of this tobacco to four stars. I've recently run the gamut of English and Balkan blends from mild to medium to strong...more Pease, Mac Baren, McClelland's and other tobacco brands and blends in these categories than I have the inclination, time, or opportunity to write a coherent review for, but suffice it to say that this blend stands out for me as an excellent light-to-medium English that has worked its way solidly into my rotation despite some pretty stiff competition. The Syrian latakia couples harmoniously with McClelland's trademark tangy-sweet virginias like peanut butter takes to chocolate, and the perfect compliment of fragrant orientals raises the bar yet higher. The Syrian latakia in this mixture, while only modestly present in the blend by ratio, is nonetheless remarkably and blatantly bright, pronounced, clean, smooth, and tasty in almost every hit...more refined than its Cyprian counterpart which can lend almost too much of a two-dimensional, excessive damp-burning mossy-campfire-log quality to some blends. Perhaps because it is not a lat-bomb, but the Syrian latakia is so tasty here, I sometimes find myself deliberately, selfishly banging away repetitively and too aggressively at Three Oaks Syrian in the bowl like a runaway coal steamer, yet it never gets harsh or ugly in any respect. A lobotomized chimpanzee couldn't raise a bad smoke out of this outstanding, flavorful mild-to-medium lat/virginia/oriental mixture. Best smoked slowly and savored for its noteworthy balance. Now do as I say, not as I do! Highest recommendation, just try to compose yourself whilst lit.

A word of caution to Syrian latakia fans who also enjoy orientals and are not hindered by a dearth of common sense...go get yourself some of this or you won't have any of it...

Update 3/17/2012 - Nearly three full years later, 3 Oaks Syrian remains high and strong in my rotation as a favorite. Medium-mild, sweet, rich and even fragrant. One of the few blends I stockpile, as I intend to have this available to me for a long time to come...

Update 4/4/2013 - If you love the Syrian lat in this fantastic blend, do yourself a favor and also try Samovar and Wilderness. These are all excellent medium-weight desert island blends for the Syrian lat lover, and they've all found a sizeable nook in my cellar.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Chatsworth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Chatsworth (52)
★★★★
Mild Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

I had a 2009 tin that was opened for a month. I dried some out on a napkin for 3 hours. Still seemed a bit moist. Took 4 matches and still left some unburned tobacco at the bottom. Also noticed a bit of goo when cleaning the bowl afterward. Is this cased ? Was some PG used ?

Apart from that, this is the best of the latakia blends I've tried. You can actually taste the virginia's. The latakia is not as forceful as cyprian. Nicely balanced. The room note won't scare away the dog either.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pip Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pip (36)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After reading all the positive reviews about 3 Oaks Syrian I had to give it a try. I enjoy latakia blends very much and this is my first experience with Syrian Latakia. Upon opening the tin the note was not as smoky as I expected. It had more of an oriental aroma to it. It was also not as moist as I expected, but none the less I packed the pipe and lit her up! Nice stuff!!! The latakia is smooth and really develops and complements the Orientals quite nicely while the Virginians keep a nice steady tangy sweetness throughout the bowl. I experienced not bite at all and it smoked down to a nice white ash. Toward the end I had to relight a few times, but the flavor was very consistent from beginning to end. I Highly recommend this tobacco. In my opinion, Cyprian latakia is a bit less refined and rough around the edges that its Syrian counterpart. But, I enjoy them both!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

stephenspring Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
stephenspring (13)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

SWEET SYRIAN LATAKIA! UMM, UMM GOOD!!! I've been dying to try some Syrian latakia and I'm glad I did. I've smoked it with Savinelli, Dunhill, Peterson, meerschaum, outside, inside, you name it: the one outstanding characteristic I really love is having that sweet taste of that Syrian Latakia bursting on my tongue and lips. This is WONDERFUL. Great taste from start to finish with super mild quality. I was really surprised at the subtle interplay of the latakia and I loved it retained its mild quality from start to finish. All I can say is I'm glad I bought two, but it's not enough. Hat's off to McClelland on this one. All I can say, is "WOW!"

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mike__P Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike__P (87)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Three Oaks Syrian is one of the best Medium Balkans I've smoked. Unlike other reviewers who consider it a special occasion, single-malt-Scotch type of blend, I think it's fairly well-balanced and approachable for everyday smoking, with the Latakia at the fore but not overpowering the Oriental and Virginia tobaccos. I typically prefer the Cyprian variety, but the Syrian really shines. It's a most G.L. Pease-like blend, although it does lack sweetness.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

don1688 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
don1688 (27)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have to agree with pipestud (mostly because I first tried Royal Yacht because of his review) and others that this is a great blend that seems to change characters.

It does have Latakia present more than a "touch" but, for the most part I find it a tasty oriental blend with Latakia acting as a true condiment supporting the orientals leading role.

I am a VA lover first but do enjoy an English/Balkan sometimes, but have smoked this every night since opening the tin.

I plan to always have it on-hand and since I am enjoying it so much will probably judge other similar blends agains 3 Oaks Syrian.

Thanks again Pipestud for the Royal Yacht review- that's tasty stuff!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Briar Mike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briar Mike (17)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I had to work at this one a bit to really appreciate it, but I am glad that I did so. My first impression after smoking this blend was that it was light on taste, in fact, my first smoke was almost like puffing cool air. Only the sight of the smoke leaving my mouth would have told me my pipe was lit. But dauntless I tried some different packing variations and pipe combos. Now I get it, its there now. Its smooth and silky and smokes very well. It is truly a fine offering. It is like a well aged and mellowed single malt. I would say that if you were buying this as a single malt, this would be a bottle that would cost you $80 or so to get such refinement. I am a big fan of this one, if you start a day with some Pease Chelsea Morning, you would do well to close it out at night with Three Oaks Syrian, that sums my thoughts up well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kleophrades Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kleophrades (39)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Absolutely delicious and very well blended.

In my experience, a Syrian Latakia is generally lighter and sweeter than a Cypriot one, so it is unsurprising that this blend is on the milder side of the English spectrum. Never before, however, have I encountered a Syrian that lived up to the hype. I've tried Rose of Latakia, Syrian Super Balkan, and so on; cursed my luck that I took up pipes after the demise of Raven's Wing and Bohemian Scandal; and generally felt that I was missing out. No longer.

Three Oaks Syrian is a pitch-perfect combination of McClelland's big, heavy British Woods (English) with its light, succulent Bombay Court (Oriental). But even that characterization doesn't do it justice. The Syrian--and maybe a bit of casing-- gives it a sweet, slightly musty smokiness that other reviewers have tried to describe. I have encountered this flavor previously in British Woods and in Pease's Maltese Falcon; in this case, however, it is less forceful yet, if anything, more enjoyable. While the Latakia is dominant from the top of the bowl to the bottom, there is just enough, but not too much, Oriental swirling around in the background and producing big, soft clouds to make for a perfectly balanced smoke. Not a symphony but a concerto, let's say.

Easily the best light English I have ever tasted. I can only imagine what it will be like in a few years.

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Former1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Former1 (1)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Sinister Topiary's previous review perfectly describes this blend. I am a Latakia blend smoker and the Syrian in this blend is comparable with Pease Bohemian Scandal, this is a real find. Highly recommended!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sniper3 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sniper3 (26)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

Three Oaks Syrian is well worth a try if you like lighter blends. My experence is that it burns a lot better with a little less moisture than straight from the tin. I dry it until when pinched together hard it doesn't want to stick together (and good luck with that). That all said, I do not feel it is near as strong in the Lat. taste dept. as Artisans Blend. It is a good, smooth smoke, but the Lat. is not really up front. There is a smokeyness there for sure, just not leaping out, think light and mild. Flavor did increase as the bowl approached the 3/4 done mark, but not a lot. I did find that I enjoyed it more in a larger gauge bowl. Leaf quality is good, no harshness as associated with some of the "younger" blends. I've not tried the "original" blend as yet - but will soon. I have high hopes for it. How it ages - have to ask the Nobel folks - ha. If you want a Lat. blast look else where. For me, I need a little more flavor. I enjoy Syrian but there needs to be enough of it to count.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (119)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I've now tried several bowls of this and the Three Oaks Original, in different pipes, including a simultaneous "parallel tasting." This blend is for Oriental lovers for sure. The Latakia takes last place, consistently overpowered by the Orientals, so if you're looking for a big, smoky, campfire-like LAT blast, this will disappoint.

If, on the other hand, you prefer an Oriental-forward, spicy, mellow blend with mild Latakia lurking in the background providing some warmth and very mild smokiness, then you'll really like it. The Orientals stay very noticeable throughout the smoke, the overall flavor stays relatively consistent, and the aftertaste, like a good wine, provides for a long spicy finish on the tongue that lasts for quite some time.

The moisture from the tin is perfect. After a couple false lights it stayed lit with no maintenance. I found that I had to pack this a bit tighter than many blends in order to keep it burning and to keep the flavor concentrated enough to enjoy. Orientals tend to really "spice up" my sinuses and the back of my throat, similar to the feeling I get from Perique, and this effect is more pronounced in the Syrian than in the Original. This blend burns cool and never even gets close to heating the briar to an uncomfortable level.

Because I am a fan of big, smoky LAT blends, I prefer Three Oaks Original to the Syrian version, but both are excellent. This earns three stars for me only because it seems less well-balanced right now than the Original. I am fairly confident that with age it will mellow out and earn its fourth star, but only time will tell. I'm going to jar it for a few months, hoping that the Orientals will settle down a bit and the Syrian Latakia will become more noticeable.

If you are a fan of oriental-forward blends you must try Three Oaks Syrian.

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smokinitnatural Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokinitnatural (7)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I just finished my first tin and I was blown away by this blend. Its just about as perfect a latakia blend as I have ever smoked. If you like Artisans Blend you will fall in love with this stuff. Its not quite as smokey and harsh as artisans blend but the taste and complexity are all there. I will be ordering much more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

parker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
parker (12)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Very nice, i love syrian latakia but not cyprian so much,so this along with Artisans blend i find to be great.Sweet and very tasty without latakia overload,highly recommended.Matt

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