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Indonesian farmers toil in their islands' rich limestone soils to grow their flavorful tobacco leaves. After harvesting and air drying the leaves the unique aging process begins. The villagers roll the leaves into 10 foot long sticks of pure tobacco which they then bind using hand made cord to protect from the outside air. They then put these sticks inside their primitive huts and store them for 5 years as the tobacco becomes richer by the day. After aging, this tobacco is cut into three or ten inch sticks for sale as pipe tobacco, as well as being used as a component in Indonesian made cigars, such as Tambo Cigars.

BrandTambolaka Natural Tobaccos
Blend TypeBurley Based
ContentsBurley, Cigar Leaf
FlavoringNone
CutRope
Packaging100g Pouch
CountryID
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Very Strong
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Full
Room Note
Tolerable to Strong

Favorite Of 1 Users

2.9
24 reviews
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

I got this as a gift and it was already fully rubbed out and fairly moist. I'm not sure whether to be pleased at this or to feel cheated of all the prep work! :) I've had this 3 oz for close to six months and it's been fun finding its strengths.

At any rate, this stuff took some experimentation with respect to the proper moisture for smoking. I found that I preferred it less dry than I predicted. With some moisture, I got a nice soft smoke with excellent body and a huge amount of strength. This is probably the strongest tobacco I've ever smoked. Stronger yet much smoother than the various black ropes I've tried, without their massive harshness. The flavor was exceedingly deep. I found no flavors aside from good honest tobacco. Some cigar notes but it didn't really taste like any cigar I've ever had. Smoked straight, this is a bit too much of a good thing. But blended with other tobaccos, particular OTC's, this shines. Kentucky Club Mild is a nice burley but mixed 80/20 with Tambolaka, it crosses into excellence. Needs a lot of time to meld, however. I enjoyed my time with this one and may pick up some more. A pound will probably last my lifetime!

13 people found this review helpful.

Blue Bayou Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blue Bayou (60)
★★★☆
Overwhelming None Detected Extra Full Extra Strong

Industrial strength kick; probably the most potent "product" I've smoked since a Led Zeppelin concert back in '69!

This blend was crafted in the darkest dungeons of Mordor by Sauron himself. I would call it "Orc-Weed". Kind of like Parodi cigars on steroids.

Stronger than XX Black Rope--pure tobacco taste with no casing. Be seated at all times & wear a crash helmet. G-Force is about G4. An oxygen supply and heart monitor are also recommended...N kick is over the top.

Pipe Used: Torpedo Cigar Pipe

Age When Smoked: 2012

Similar Blends: Nothing..

9 people found this review helpful.

Elwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Elwin (12)
★★☆☆
Overwhelming None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Years ago, I was asked on an online forum group to give my opinion of this tobacco after a large group purchase made there. I still stand by this review today...

The following is my experience smoking Tambolaka pipe tobacco purchased in the group purchase here. I wrote this as soon as possible, so that my feelings and observations would be fresh in my mind. And before I lost my nerve. This is just my experience. Your milage may vary...

First Impressions:

Wow. This is a tobacco? At first glance what I see in this bag (yes bag - not stick) doesn't appear to be traditional tobacco at all. This looks, feels and somewhat smells like tree bark. Dark, hard and black. It has a smell that's somewhat vegetal, and just a whiff of barnyard. Very dry, even in the sealed bag. (It's my understanding that this is ready to smoke, as is.) You won't rub this out like a flake or a bar - you'll need to break and crumble it like you would small twigs.

Preparation:

I chose my smallest no-name italian briar. I don't know Dunhill sizes, but as I'm a cob man you could say that this pipe is about the size of an MM Pony. The pipe has been recently cleaned and reamed, so there should be no ghosting of even the burley blends smoked in it. It's a good little pipe: well drilled, and easy to pass a cleaner from stem to bowl bottom. It usually smokes fairly cool as long as I don't try to hurry things. A sipper rather than a puffer. And yes, I chose this pipe in expectation of Tambolaka's reputation.

The Tobacco:

I take a pinch from the bag and spread it out on my desk top (formica) to see what I've got. Again, dark, black and hard. No stems to speak of, but within those leaves are some fairly noticeable veins. I decide that if I don't break things up, there's a good chance that tobacco this dense will plug and block the airway. I break up the separated pieces into pieces about 1/4 to 3/8 inch in size. I gravity fed the tobacco to the top of the bowl and lightly press down. There's some give, but not much. I fill the bowl the rest of the way with finer pieces, and give the pipe a test draw. Seems good - not too loose, not too tight.

The Smoke:

I give it a charring light, just to warm things up. No rise in the tobacco - it just sits there and smolders. The first taste is earthy and plain. I suddenly realise that even the plainest of regular pipe tobacco shows a subtle sweetness not present with this. Second light and it catches and burns. The first mouthful feels thick and rich in the mouth. You can almost feel a weightiness to it. I snork it and the smoke is strong, but doesn't have the sting I sometimes get from virginia's and perique. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what I'm tasting. It's very hard to put into words. It's definely different than anything I've smoked before. A woody taste - not hickory. Maybe a bit of oak? Again, I'm at a loss. Now I'm starting to feel something. I'd eaten a full lunch before sitting down with this - again, that reputation. A little light headed, which is something that I don't mind. I actually enjoy a little nicotine buzz from time to time. It can be very relaxing. I set the pipe down and try to enjoy that glow.

Except it's getting stronger. I'd been retrohaling (snorking) almost every puff trying to get a good idea of the taste. That was a mistake. About 2 minutes after setting the pipe down, I notice that I'm salivating like a starving man staring through a Delicatessen window. Except, I'm not hungry. Matter of fact, the thought of food is making me a little queasy. I'm no 'virgin' to nicotine, so I know what's going on. It's just never happened this FAST before. I head for the bathroom to throw some water in my face. I look in the mirror, and while I'm not actually green, I am a 'lighter shade of pale'. No sugared drinks in the house, but do have a candy bar chillin' in the fridge, so I grab it and take a bite. It doesn't taste so great, but I know that I have to get my blood sugar up. I step out the back door to get some fresh air. Luckily it's been a nice day - cool, not cold. Still a little queasy, but better...

Conclusion:

It's been about two and a half hours now. The pipe is sitting in it's stand. I guess I must of smoked a little more than half of the bowl. I have absolutely no desire to finish it.

Did it taste bad? No. Did it taste good? I'm not sure - the jury is still out on what the flavor really was. Was it fun? Hell no. I gave up that kind of 'fun' in my early years (1960's) of wacky weed and roller coasters.

Will I keep it? Sure. But I sure as heck ain't ever gonna smoke it 'straight' again. I'll no doubt use it as a mixer for bumping up a boring bowl. But at that rate I figure a 100 gram bag ought to last me about 10 years...

8 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
★★☆☆
Strong None Detected Full Strong

I wasn't too crazy about this one. It had that industrial feel to it not unlike Brown Rope No. 4 to my taster, but a little easier to maintain the light than the former. I was given quite a bit of this as my benefactor also did not like it. I smoked about 4 bowls of this and paid it forward by sending the rest to a forum buddy who I often trade with.

It is hard to explain, but if you like BRN4 or even 1792, then you will probably like this. Those blends leave a weird taste sensation to me. I use the term Industrial, because it hangs on my pallet the way the scents of diesel and grease do. I just don't like this kind of a smoke.

Of the positives, it does have a heck of a nicotine kick, but there are several blends that I can smoke to get this kick with a more enjoyable taste. In summary, somewhat recommended for those that like the aforementioned blends. Beginners stay away.

Similar Blends: SG Brown Rope Number 4.

6 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I was surprised to see that I had never reviewed Tambolaka before. It was about 3 years ago that I last had any (is it still being made?) and while I hated the prep, I absolutely loved the flavor and was excited when they started coming out with the pouches containing the rubbed out version. Perhaps the most full flavored (and full strength, too), Burley that I have ever smoked. The touch of cigar leaf was certainly noticeable, and I think that the combination of the two is what made this one a home run for me. Mysterious in where it comes from and how it is prepared, but that made the effect even more exciting. I ran out of mine long ago and still recall that deep flavor. And yes, a time or two while smoking Tambolaka, I did get the hiccups. Didn't stop me from smoking more though.

4 people found this review helpful.

Arkie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Arkie (129)
★★☆☆
Extremely Strong None Detected Extra Full Extra Strong

This stuff is not for the faint of heart. When I first received a couple sticks of it my wife was curious and she wanted to know what is was. After I explained she looked at it like it was a loaded diaper and asked me to not steam it or smoke it in the house. During the steaming process it turned black and smelled like the forementioned loaded diaper. I wonder if the Indonesians soak it in monkey pi$$ before they wrap it with sisal. It is much stronger than anything I've ever smoked and the nic hit knocks me on my rump. I don't regret tryintg it but I definitely won't be buying any more of it.

4 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
★★☆☆
Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I was gifted a generous size sample from a friend that enjoys strong tobacco, I am not sure of the age of the sample. I smoked Tambolaka very dry. I must admit that it took me a while to dig in as it has the worst pouch scent I have ever encountered and I have smoked a ton of different blends. As an avid, twenty year cigar smoker prior to my pipe life, I don't get the cigar comparison here as I find it tastes nothing like any cigar I have ever smoked. It may be just my body chemistry, but I found the first part of the bowl to have an underlying sweetness and no bite. It is very strong as others have noted. I find it much stronger than the Gawith Hoggarth ropes that I smoke on occasion. The flavors are deep and build throughout the bowl. Tambolaka is pure tobacco, plain and simple. It's not bad, and I enjoy stronger tobaccos, but there are just so many other blends on the market that are far more interesting. If you have very limited pipe tobacco options or your main reason for enjoying a pipe is Lady N, than this tobacco will fill the bill. At best, Tambolaka would be a once in a blue moon smoke for me.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipemanuk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipemanuk (76)
★★★☆
Strong Medium Full Tolerable

Have been fascinated reading here and elsewhere about this tobacco and I now have some sticks and ready-rubbed to try. At the moment, I am finding the ready-rubbed more user friendly as cutting and breaking up a stick produced a lot of snuff like dust. I've not steamed anything yet but I will try that on the next stick I unwrap. Am a little concerned about the problem of mould, as on the stick I cut up dry I noticed some white patches deep inside...which look a lot like dried mould to me.

The stick smells to me just like a cigar....and the tobacco smokes very much like a cigar. I don't notice any other flavours, not that that is a criticism...far from it; it's a pleasant strong smoke, perfect after a good meal and with a strong coffee.

I think, and this is for the first time in nearly 50 years of pipe smoking, that a couple of good sized bowls of Tambolanka nearly put me to sleep at the PC and gave me very vivid dreams when I staggered off to bed! It's certainly up there with the Ropes when it comes to vitamin N.

2 people found this review helpful.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (90)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong

Well, after a couple of dozen bowls, in a half dozen different pipes...this one is certainly a welcome item. To me it comes off as being sweet, smokey, and with a kinda strange undertow of an 'anise-raisin-hemp' flavor/aroma. It smokes cool and very, very clean and is totally at the ideal mositure level as it came, in the pouch. Super easy to light and get going. Haven't played with the 'stick' thing as yet. The stuff looks like last year's leaf mulch that's been left in the compost pile for a year, then nicely dried, and dyed to a uniform dark reddish brown color...just taking part in the description contest here. Whatever...it's totally heaven in the bowl. Dy-No-Mite!

A few on other sites have mentioned it as a blender, though I think it stands very well on it's own. Blending might be interesting, though, as it has a distinct likeness to an Oriental already with that smokey background and the musty sweet hempish notes. But I'm not a blender and I digress. I think I'll just enjoy it as is. It's unique, quite potent and overall one of the most significant new finds I've come across in a long, long while. Like I said above...it's heaven in the bowl.

Short Story: This is an instant classic.

2 people found this review helpful.

DeathMetal.org Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeathMetal.org (121)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Strong

Summary: a strong Burley flavor with the darker tastes of Perique, almost dark-fired in its strength of taste.

In theory, this blend consists of strong Burley pressed and kept from air, which creates a slight fermentation effect. In flavor, this manifests as a rich tasting tobacco a slight spiciness, but also the dark taste of smoked tobacco without the overtones of smoke. This is rich and dark, full of flavor, which at first seems raw but then melds into caramel overtones which hover above a full and aged flavor. The presence of Nicotine is strong, but not overwhelming, about on the level of a UK rope, and as the bowl progresses, the dark edges meld into a warm and sustaining flavor which complements the easy burning and slightly spicy, full harvest taste of this tobacco. For me, this would be an all-day blend, with minimal bite and an internal density of flavor that makes every bowl a series of experiences, much like Semois and other highly refined Burleys. I hope this becomes available on a regular basis because I would smoke it all the time.

Thanks to Pipes Magazine forum member "bonehed" for this sample.

Similar Blends: Tabac Manil - Pure Semois (La Brumeuse), Cornell & Diehl - Burley Flake #1.

1 person found this review helpful.

Haebar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Haebar (52)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Full Strong

I received an ounce of Tambolaka as a gift; it was already rubbed out and ready to smoke. It was on the dry side when I smoked the first bowl. There is a gamey, vegetal aspect in addition to natural tobacco flavor that was particularly noticeable in the first few bowls. I didn't know if I would be able to get past that at first but found that I kept coming back for more. This stuff grows on you. The taste that I spoke of is not unpleasant but is unlike anything I've experienced up to now. It is a relatively strong (nicotine) tobacco compared to most available tobaccos. It burns fairly quickly and dry, but that may be because my sample is fairly dry. The flavor is very satisfying, just plain tobacco without adornment. I did not find it to be bitter.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaums, briars

Age When Smoked: unknown (a gift)

Purchased From: a gift

1 person found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I have the rubbed-out version. Didn't want to struggle with the cylindrical granitic blocks I've been reading about. Mine is quite dry, with tough little flakes that look like miniature black Corn Flakes. It packs beautifully, and because it's dry (I prefer all my tobacco on the dry-ish side) there's little worry about packing it too tightly. I crammed it in and there's still plenty of air flow.

I first smoked this fresh off the UPS truck five years ago. My memory is not that razor sharp for things like this, but I feel it's mellowed in flavor over the years. It's still strong but surprisingly smooth.

Yup, it's strong. If you like vitamin N look no further. I like to exhale through my nose when possible to get more of the flavors in a tobacco, but I don't really do that with this one - it's just a little too spicy for that, so it actually robs from the nuances in the flavor.

Speaking of flavor, it's similar in some ways to the strong ropes and twists. Some call it an "industrial" or "oily" taste, which in my opinion is a good thing. It's certainly unique, very earthy but not campfire smoky like a strong Latakia blend.

Tonight I'm enjoying it with a generous pour of Talisker 10 Year which actually stands up to the Tambo very well. This weed is a very good alternative to cigars, but be careful - one inch of this in a bowl about the same diameter as a cigar will put a noob on his or her tush faster than any six-inch stogie. And I like strong cigars!

Many talk about blending it with other tobaccos, but I am a purist and rarely do that. However, I am tempted to mix in a little pure Latakia to give it that smoky punch I love. I'll let you know how that turns out...

Pipe Used: Large(ish) Salvinelli Billiard

Age When Smoked: Fresh & 5 years

Similar Blends: Certain G&H and SG ropes and twists..

1 person found this review helpful.

iwanpc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
iwanpc (1)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

I have tried only several times. 6 bowls total. It's a pipe tobacco, yes, but not so good pipe tobacco as its told.

Never tried to mix with other pipe tobacco. Just smoke it straight several times in local pipe smokers gathering. No door- slam, dog-bites, or even smack down effect, or any other story proven. I don't know, perhaps I have to inhale to get those effects? No thanks.

I've made order directly to TNT, and got a fast reply. But I have made mistake by adding extra letter. No rejection confirmation from my bank. Until tonight I realize there was a rejection. I sent again, and I asked for apology for this misunderstanding. I attached PDF file (bank prove) and an edited pic (to hide my balance, of course). The respond from seller was very unpleasant by accusing me as an online fraudsters, photoshop freak.

For just an ordinary pipe tobacco, just average, and this kind of service, i think this pipe tobacco is not worth to buy.

don't get caught by the hype.

1 person found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (266)
★★★☆
Extremely Strong None Detected Extra Full Tolerable to Strong

This was the rubbedout variety, and came pretty crisp. I only smoked 1/3 of a bowl of a traditional clay and it wasn't too much. From now on, I'll use my tiny-bowled Elizabethan-style clay for this (I'll need to get a small-headed screw or nail to use as a tamper). Need a N hit coupled with the taste of a v good strong cigar? This is for you. This is tasty in small doses. Smoke a large bowl of this and you either have a very high N tolerance, or you should not operate any complicated machinery, like a pencil.

Since I know there are many tobaccos out there I would rate a 4, the question arises would I rebuy this particular tobacco, assuming my tastes don't change much more. In this case, the answer is not very likely. But it IS very tasty!

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipesmoking101 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipesmoking101 (62)
★★☆☆
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

Like some others here, I was gifted a generous sample of this tobacco from a friend who didn't like it. My sample arrived already roughly cut & a little on the dry side. I rehydrated it somewhat until it was no longer dusty dry, but was still light on moisture. A friend of mine who sampled this commented that it smelled 'like a wet dog', but to my nose - it seemed to have an earthy quality mixed with a back-note of something oily or meaty, suffice to say it had an odour quite unlike any hound I have encountered - wet or otherwise! Appearance was of a roughly cut brown tobacco, nothing noteworthy in this area. Easy to pack & light (as I said, this was not fresh, so may not be typical of this baccy), stays lit well with ease. Room note, fairly plain, but quite heavy. Taste, rich brown tobacco earthy, dark taste, very cigar-like, and quite consistent throughout the bowl, becoming perhaps slightly stronger towards the end of the bowl. Forthright, with little sweetness and maybe a slightly sour taste as the end approached. Retrohaling, for me produced a pleasant tingly spiciness in this baccy. Nicotine, strong, but not overpowering. All in all, a good solid, dependable tobacco. As I have said, all my comments were based on an old sample that had previously been chopped & dried out & had to be rehydrated, so the fresh experience could be very different, but I didn't dislike it. I really was intrigued to try this as I had been unable to procure any, so the gift from my friend was greatly appreciated. Given the difficulty of obtaining it in this country, however, I won't be terribly sad that when the amount I've got is gone, I probably won't get it to try it ever again. A solid 2.4 stars, rounded down to 2, as I don't think it warrants 3 stars.

Pipe Used: Blakemar Briars UKPTC Club pipe 2016

Age When Smoked: Unknown (but quite old, I think)

Purchased From: Sample from a friend

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beercritic Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beercritic (33)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Strong

This tobacco is what caused me to shift from cigars to the pipe. Pure rich tobacco with a kick that cigars never had. I got the ready rubbed but would have preferred the arduous prep work the sticks would have demaned. Not an everyday tobacco. About once a week I'll fire up a tiny bowl of this, some rope, 5 Brothers, or SG 1792 flake for an N bomb. Mostly looking for Lat bombs, but need variety in my butt-kickers. Oh, don't mix this with 5 Brothers. Strong, but nasty tasting.

Pipe Used: briar & cob

Age When Smoked: Fresh & 6 months

Purchased From: 4Noggins

Nobody has rated this review yet.