J. F. Germain & Son Germain's Special Latakia Flake

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


Brand J. F. Germain & Son
Blended By J.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.40 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 97 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 11, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The Virginias have a light grass and tart citrus along with some tangy ripe dark fruit, wood and earth. they form the base of the blend as secondary stars. The Cyprian Latakia is smokey, woody, earthy, musty, leathery sweet as a team player with the woody, earthy, fairly spicy, herbal, floral, vegetative, sweet and lightly sour Orientals taking a little of the lead. The strength and nic-hit are medium, and while the taste is a couple of steps past that mark. Won't bite or get harsh even if you're bad to it. it does have some rough edges. The flakes are easily broken apart for convenient packing. Well blended to the point that you'll notice every nuance in every puff, even though the Orientals and Latakia tend to dominate a little. Smokes cool, clean, and smooth with a minor creaminess and very consistent, mildly sweet and more savory, spicy campfire taste that translates t the pleasantly lingering after taste. Burns at a slow to moderate pace, and requires some relights, but not as many as some flakes do. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl. The camp fire room note won't be for everyone, but they'll leave you in peace to enjoy your smoke. It may not be an all day experience, but bears repeating more than once if this fits your flavor profile.

29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 08, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Top notch stuff from Germain's here. That Latakia flavour just really punches good and early to set the stage for those mellower flavours afterwards. Easy packing too for a flake. Definitely four stars here.

Update 23/03/2013

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

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

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

On the whole then, an absolutely fantastic smoke with a really interesting and slightly complex flavour. It's not too strong on the Latakia, maybe why some people have thought it's not in there, but that is to it's credit. This is probably a good starter for both flakes and Latakias. And if you're a wierdo like me who likes to keep Latakias for the morning and flakes for the evening, well, this will do in place of both.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
The scarcity of Penzance and Krumble Kake have elevated this dense plug-flake to almost mythical status, but from what I have tasted of Penzance, this is quite a different tobacco.

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

Simply put, this tobacco is exquisite. It is not a powerhouse. It is a delicate, perfectly balanced mixture, focusing on light virginias and the delicate, unique orientals. Latakia firmly in the supporting role. I adore tobaccos such as Skiff mixture and Red Rapparee, and this fits right into this selection of tobaccos. For me the truly sublime tobaccos are the most delicate. I do like a full blow of latakia and not infrequently, but these subtle tobaccos are where the true magic lie.
PurchasedFrom: GQ Tobaccos
Age When Smoked: Fresh
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 20, 2011 Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

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

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

Very highly recommended if you can find it!
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 04, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium Strong
2 year old tin. The paper appeared to have soaked up most of the extraneous moisture but this was not too dry. I actually dried it out a bit further. The tin nose was overwhelmingly of latakia and the color was bizarre... striped flakes? A single flake contained many top-to-bottom black strips and a few blonde colored ones as well, along with some darker brown. Truly unusual appearance.

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

At its best it was a salty, smoky and barely sweet blend with a fair amount of depth. At its worst it was a bitter conglomeration with no "vision". The trouble was that I never knew which I was getting until I lit up. One tin just wasn't enough to figure this one out. The latakia was never overpowering and I couldn't get this blend to bite no matter how I intentionally provoked it. The orientals and virginia did a little bob and weave routine and were often MIA. But sometimes this mix just turned on me. Reminded me of GLP's Cumberland in that respect, another blend I have yet to figure out. This is for the most part a worthy blend, although nothing special as its name would indicate. I find this one good but ordinary - nothing to see here.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 02, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
J. F. Germain & Son - Special Latakia Flake.

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

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

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

A great smoke. Four stars:

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Peterson Dracula #03
PurchasedFrom: Smoke King
Age When Smoked: New
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2012 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
This gorgeous VA and Latakia blend is not so much of a flake, as described, but a hybrid between flake, plug and shag, Thus, no-matter what consistency you desire, or what bowl size or type of pipe you select for it, it will always have a perfect burn, (unlike McConnell's Latakia flake) and maintains its flavour without becoming overly ashy on the tongue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The only downside is that because it is primarily around a 70/30 mixture of VA and Latakia, you may find it lacking dimension. This is where the tin aging helps dramatically, but that, of course, requires patience.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 20, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
With the name of special Latakia flake I was expecting some serious latakia. I love the stuff but that's Not the case here , however it's a fine tobacco that I really, really, enjoy. Tin aroma is earthy and has a strong fig and raisin scent. I really like the tin presentation of the tobacco. Peeling off fantastic long strands from this flake of black and brown and gold and red makes a fun pack. It is on the wetter end of the river but smokes cool and tastes great straight out of the tin, just needs some relights on the way down early on. Smoke starts out light and mellow, nutty, creamy , smooth and sweet but gains strength and character as you progress. I want more strength and flavor when first lit, but it definateley gets there at about the 1/3 mark. Very smoky. Very pleasant. It's odd to me that coffee doesn't work with this blend so well as it drowns out the natural flavors of the tobacco and makes you want more strength and flavor, but on its own it's just perfect. I will definateley want to keep this fine nice lady around. I enjoy penzance at times and I enjoy special Latakia flake at times. They both have that smooth creamy characteristic but I wonder why this one doesn't also carry the hype? It's just as good, dare I say it..... better?!?! If your dissapointed because the name is a little misleading I can understand, but if your like me you are ever so glad you bought the tin anyway because it is one of the best blends out there. I was starting to think I tried it all until I got into some Germains. I'm not very sure if there can be any better blends out there than this. I've said that before but now im pretty sure that this takes the flake! I have smoked, all the frogs, presby mix, squady leads, nightcap, sobranie, empire English, ten to midnight, dark star, Irish oak, penzance, artisans blend, carter hall, captain black, empire English, trout stream, three nuns, and several house English blends but I gotta say this is better quality and smoother tobacco blend than all the others. There's just something about it that seperates it from all the others. Not too heavy in the nic dept but French inhaling every here or there will get you a very nice nic fix by the end of your bowl. Consider yourself a winner if you got some of this stuff in your pipes ! Update 12 /11/17 The recent snowfall here in Buffalo has me looking for a change up in flavor from my regulars ( presby mix, , squadron leader, sobranie , and nightcap for the most part) but lately I've been dipping into penzance, margate , and King Charles smoking mix the last week or so. Tonight I packed my largest bowl with SLF. I'm definateley getting the most cigarette like flavor I've ever had from a pipe tobacco. To the likes of petersons Irish oak. Or at least what I remember of that blend a few years ago. I do smoke cigs and I find this to satisfy the nicotine fix as a French inhale / retrohale most pipe tobacco to get a good nic hit out of it. Room note is cigs too. It's Very strange as I had sworn I got more chocolate and rounded flavor tones in the past with this. it's the same tin as my original review and it has been sealed in a jar since. I actually like this cigarette flavor but I can't see most people liking the cig flavors. It's Turkish all the way if I'm not mistaken. Comparing it to margate and King Charles mix it is severely lacking sweetness and Latakia. And yes I do find this most similar to penzance, sometimes it's even better. This time around its monotone , bland, like a really good camel cigarette of Turkish tobacco. Maybe it's just me. Not bad to me, but there are much better offers readily availible if you ask me. Downgrading to two stars for now....update 12/16/17 must have had a bad bowl last update, be sure to mix in the flakes containing all the players. Definateley back to 4 stars. This is indeed a great tobacco
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 27, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Despite the name the stars of Special Latakia flake are the Virginias and the Orientals. Moreover although Latakia is present, to me SLF tastes more like an enhanced Virginia flake than an English mixture. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the most popular English mixtures come in ribbon cuts. But it’s not that only, it has to do with taste and to me it does not taste like an English.

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

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

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

Strength is only medium but flavors are complex and pronounced. A deeply satisfying smoke I can only use as a treat and not for all-day. For me this tobacco is the apotheosis of both Virginia and Turkish. A true Virginian/Turkish delight! Room note is very Turkish. I like it, most do not.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 04, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Wow. All I can say is, Wow. This flake hit the spot taste- and aroma-wise. It brings me back to the days of those venerable Latakia laden blends originally from the UK, and particularly for the Gentlemen (and Ladies) of St. James. Although it is a difficult flake to separate out of the tin, most of the flakes being in a semi-rubbed out state, it burns well and packs easily enough.

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