McClelland Rose of Latakia

Only the most precious, most flavorful Syrian leaves are called Rose of Latakia. This fine blend is complex, fragrant, incredible.
Notes: Rose of Latakia refers to the leaves harvested higher on the plant which are then fire cured. If you're looking for a blend in which Syrian latakia is in the forefront, this isn't for you, but if you want to see what the Syrian leaf can do as a condiment, Rose of Latakia is terrific. If you approach it the way you might if you're smoking a Virginia blend, you'll get the best results. There's sweetness from the Virginias, a mellow spice from the Orientals, and the delicate, winey, smoky flavor supporting the rest of the blend.

Where to Buy


Brand McClelland
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

2.67 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 39 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 26, 2014 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Mostly deep mahogany brown but with some black mottling and a few specks of blonde. This ribbon takes the signature McClellands tin aroma to a new level, with a highly pungent and rich sweet/sour bouquet. This subsides to a very large degree after drying the blend for smoking and even while the tin remains open as you smoke through it.

This blend reminds me of their Grand Oriental series, but using Syrian latakia as the "focus" instead of one particular oriental. This blend has orientals in it which are easily smelled but the Virginia is the headliner, which is also the case with the GO series. The Virginia is fairly typical McClellands fare, which is a huge positive. The Syrian latakia is barely noticeable much of the time but pops up here and there with its typical smoky campfire essence. The orientals provide the sweet/sour flavor and some exotic body but are very much to the rear. Again, the Virginia provides 90% of the flavor, to my taste.

A blend named Rose of Latakia that contains as little of that condiment as this one does... well, it's no wonder that it gets reviewed very often for what it is not rather than what it is. That's a trap I've fallen into myself. In this case, I find the name dubious at best. If you're looking for a nice batch of smoky Syrian, look elsewhere - in fact, go straight to Syrian Full Balkan. If you want a heavily Virginia-forward blend with just a whisper of this latakia, give this a try. It's a very good tasting blend; it just has a non-descriptive name.
Pipe Used: Meerschaum and morta
Age When Smoked: Two years
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 24, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The Latakia comes through loud and clear for me. It's equal in flavor to the Virginias with the Orientals in the background. The Lat is smoky, sweet, spicy, and less woody than most. The Virginias are tart and sweet. The Orientals provide a mild note of sour butter. This is delicious. A pure pleasure.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Burns nicely, but needs a relight a couple of times per bowl. My tin was 2 years old when received.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: 2 years
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2015 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
The Virginias dominate the mixture and have the tangy, tart sweetness one would expect from McClelland. That includes a brief appearance of the “ketchup” in its mildest form, though it quickly vanishes. They are also lightly grassy with some earth, citrus, and a hint of stewed dark fruit. In a supporting role, the Orientals are sweet and sour with slight floral, smoky, woody notes. Though [Syrian] latakia is in the name of the product, it actually plays a constant back up to the Virginias; smoky, woody, and dry, wine-like. A little moist out of the tin, it burns at a near moderate pace, requiring a few relights. The flavors are consistent to the finish with no bite, and is low on nicotine. Leaves moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. A decent all day smoke, the taste is just past mild, and not quite half way between mild to medium. I rate it at two stars because, while it has some nuance, it’s a little lacking in depth and body when compared to other blends in this genre.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 13, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Rose of Latakia, is my favorite of the McC Syrian Treo,( Rose, Full, Super). That's not to say that the other two are not very good also, but Rose is the most Syrian forward of these. This is a smooth, yet a "dry" blend. I wouldn't call this boring, just not complex, and the Syrian does add some interest, it's kind of a "one trick pony". For me, this is more tasty from a briar than a cob, as the Syrian smokes more woodsy or even a little fruity. Unlike its other Syrian siblings, it seems to maintain its interest and flavor throughout the full bowl without getting ashy and is also good on cold relights.

McClelland just doesn't make "LAT Bombs" and although you can really taste the Syrian, the Virginias add some sweetness and soften the Latakia. A very nice blend that is just "different" than other Syrian blends and brands I've tried, thus, I do rate this higher than many of my other respected reviewers. I will buy more.
Pipe Used: cob & briar
Age When Smoked: 1 month open
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 20, 2004 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
I am currently on my third or fourth bowl of McClelland's Rose of Latakia. It is pretty darn good. Spicy and sweet with a "laid back" Latakia flavor. I think the stuff has enough Virginia leaf in it to be a great cellar tobacco, too. It also has a nice nicotine kick.

Upon opening the tin, I was a bit surprised as the name of the blend and the mostly mottled brown color of the coarse ribbon cut tobacco didn't match up. The bouquet had the typical McClelland odor although much more subdued than normal. The moisture content was perfect. It stays lit without protest and produces a fair amount of light blue smoke.

I think those who enjoy milder Oriental/Latakia leaf will belly up to Rose of Latakia with pleasure.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This tin did not last long between myself and a few of my pipe smoking buddies. The virginias were sweet, but the main flavor from this tobacco was from the Syrian latakia...which had a distinctive floral with citrus note, along with the typical smokiness. However, this smokiness was so smooth and almost like incense. It was a great smoke and I'll have to get another tin to be more descriptive in my 'updated' review. I would recommend this tobacco for sure.
Pipe Used: Bent Billard, Dublin, Egg, Acorn
Age When Smoked: New from store - 1-3 months
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Being more of a VA-PER/VA-BUR smoker I generally shy away from "English" blends. I occasionally like a little Latakia in the mix but I never like it when it is the main player. All of that said, I was curious about a blend touted for it's Syrian Latakia. Knowing about all of the civil conflict going on in Syria at this time I was a little concerned that tobacco sales out of that country might not be forthcoming for some years to come so I bought a couple tins of this tobacco thinking to immerse myself in the best of the best. I have a small Turkish Sultan-head Meer that I bought in Turkey in the early seventies. I break this pipe out whenever I want to try a special new blend. I opened the tin, put the bulk of the tobacco in a jar for cellaring, and loaded the pipe. The blend was comprised of black, brown and reddish-orange pieces, some crimped pieces and other long strands. The aroma was sweet with what I thought to be a hint of cloves. I lit the charring light and the burn ended abruptly. I lit again and settled in to what I would describe as a sweet, slightly spiced, leathery smooth smoke. I never experienced a strong Latakia presence but I was biased enough from the name to "imagine" it was there.

All in all this was a very good smoke but I have many other blends just as good or better for far less cost. If you have some in your cellar or rotation, enjoy it, but I would not recommend anyone buy "Rose of Latakia" simply by its name. You can't judge a book by its cover.

Pipe Used: small Turkish Sultanhead Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fresh tin
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2011 Mild None Detected Mild Unnoticeable
I managed to get my hands on a 7 year old tin of this, so this review may not apply to a younger sample. The tobacco inside was a fairly consistent mix of blacks, browns, and burnt orange colors in loose ribbons that were dry to the touch. The campfire smell of the Latakia was present as was a slight sweet undertone that I attributed to the Virginias in the blend. An unlit sip gave me a taste of that sweetness, which was very enjoyable.

This was not a heavy Latakia blend to me, with the sweetness dominating throughout the bowl. Every so often some of the smokiness of the Latakia would come through giving me a pleasant surprise. These flavors held true down to the gray ash at the bottom of the bowl. The finish was short, but sweet and the room note was really too faint for me to detect.

After a week smoking this, I still thoroughly enjoy this blend. I am definitely planning on buying more to cellar, and I want to try it while it is still freshly tinned. If you like a Virginia based blend with just a hint of smoky Latakia goodness, then I highly recommend Rose of Latakia.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 19, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I found this a mild and well-balenced latakia blend. This is a nice morning smoke for someone who wants that latakia taste but not the full monty. I ordered the tin and thought it would be a full on latakia smoke. I found something totally different than I expected but a pleasant surprise. It's much more subtle than I had expected but so well balenced between the orientals, the virginian and the latakia. I want to make a more thorough assessment after I try a few more bowls. Began the breaking in of a beautiful Dunhill One Dot #3 Billard...a real beauty and a new edition to my collection and when the pipe is finally broken in, the perfect size for this delicate blend. It is amazing how every McClelland has that characteristic catsup aroma in the can...this is no exception. As I am beginning to enjoy McClelland more and more, this initial reservation I had has turned into the aroma of quality and satisfaction.

After a few more bowls, really like this blend for a change of pace. Beuatiful ash and the room note is very pleasant. I see the blend as very complex and delicateand especially suited for a smaller bowl to get at the subtle nuances in taste. Can be a regular in my rotation.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 31, 2006 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
The Name of this Blend can be very misleading. This is by NO means a Latakia dump. This is a soft medium and mysteriously complex blend of VA?s, and incredibly rich and smooth Orientals which includes a delicate and incense-like nice helping of Syrian Latakia.

While I do love a rich bowl full of smoky creamy Latakia ? this is not what I reach for when that itch needs attention. Instead, this is one of those contemplative smokes. I am forever sniffing the side-stream in order to enjoy the many facets of its complexity. It is NOT a powerhouse but it is rich and rewarding.

It smokes cool and completely to a mottled gray ash. The tobaccos are well aged even in a new tin and require no special drying or handling as many other McClelland blends require. I?ve smoked it in small, medium and large bowls. It has never been anything but spectacular. Now I have either been very lucky with consistent supply, or this is everything I think it is. But after a few tins of this, with different degrees of age, I feel somewhat confident that this is a very consistent blend.

One thing though, I wouldn?t recommend this to those that are looking for the big bitey blend or a mouthful of creamy latakia - it is not here. Rather it?s soft and sophisticated with a refined strength. Load this when you can sit and enjoy ? even reading is a distraction to me. It is so subtle yet so complex, one would miss it all if you were looking for something else and got impatient. I really wish they had named it something else and sub-titled it ?with Rose of Latakia.?

It is among my top favorite tobacco blends, and in my opinion one of the greatest blends on the planet. 4 Rock Solid Stars.

Cheers, VC
4 people found this review helpful.
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