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.


Brand McClelland
Series Syrian Latakia
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 17 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
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
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
Jan 20, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I rescued a 2003 tin that was gathering dust on a local B&M’s shelves and have enjoyed this very distinctive blend. The tin note was powerful: the McClelland vinegary note of deeply aged red Virginias with some mild incense from the Latakia. A very large bowl suited this tobacco best. The flavor profile is mildly sweet matured red Virginia with smoky and sour notes from the orientals; it gains depth as the bowl is smoked down - not a complex smoke, however. Not just one more English blend but hard to capture exactly its distinctiveness. As I think the header note implies, despite the name this is not a Latakia forward smoke, nor is it really one that will familiarize the piper with the original taste of the Syrian leaf, which is very old, no longer resinous, and here only in moderate proportion. But if this were in production I would keep it as an interesting English change of pace.
Age When Smoked: 15 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 17, 2004 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Go figure... I always complain about the McClelland Latakia blends as being too flat and lacking in taste, not being as full as, for example, the GLPease offerings. I always disagree with those who rave about British Woods, Bombay Court and the like saying that they are full blends, because I find them very mild. Now McC comes out with this new blend which many say is a bit too weak, too delicate, too little spiced with Latakia... and I disagree once more because I find it quite tasty! Probably my tastebuds are wired in the wrong way... Anyway, I do agree that this blend has a light Latakia content, and that the Syrian leaf is used just like a seasoning for the Virginia/Oriental base: what makes this differ from the other bland McClelland latakia blends, is that the Syrian makes its presence felt much more than the Cyprian cousin even at small percentages. Not to mention that this Syrian Latakia is absolutely delicious: I suspect it comes from the same HUGE shipment that Greg Pease had to share with other blenders, as it tastes VERY similar to the leaf in Bohemian Scandal. While Bohemian Scandal is a masterpiece, tasty, complex, spicy and extremely rich, this Rose of Latakia threads a more conservative and less "artistic" path. It's a good old light-medium EM, with no surprises but a taste which is at the same time quite delicate and yet satisfying. In a big bowl, you have a very nice relaxing and balanced taste: a bit tart and spicy, but stimulating. Not a great complexity, and the flavor stays consistent from beginning to end with no variations or hidden nuances, but hey, it's good! Not knock-your-socks-off good, and certainly not the full punch of Bohemian Scandal, but some of the same qualities are here. Personally I like the presence of Syrian in both: Bohemian when I want a stouter, richer tobacco, and Rose when I want some of the same taste but in a much more subdued way. For a McClelland product, it comes quite dry in the tin and absolutely free of their usual ketchup smell (which I usually like, anyway). It burns quite well, and only minimally bites the tongue due to the high Virginia content. Certainly tastier and superior to the previous McClelland made Ashton Celebrated Sovereign, in which the Syrian presence was actually too little for my taste. Good effort, McClelland!
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 04, 2010 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
This is my first review and I should say up-front that it will be more impressionistic that analytical. I know my Turkish from my Virginia and my Perique from my Latakia - but that's a bit like a wine drinker saying they can recognise Chardonnay!

However, I am as picky as the next pipe-smoker and, since the demise of Dunhills, have been eagerly searching for blends that take me to that indefinable place we all know about. All I can do is use the ones that have and the ones that haven't done so as comparisons and yardsticks.

So, Rose of Latakia. My first impressions were not overwhelming, but as the tin I have has aged a bit I am falling more and more in love with it.

This is a "string quartet" of a blend rather than a full "symphony orchestra", but I find it exquisite as a morning smoke. It's quite hard to place, for me, as it is unlike any other blend I have tried in the last 35 years. However I find it sophisticated and deeply engaging.

It delivers a delicate interplay of oriental fragrances and flavours underpinned by the presence (in no way overwhelming) of the latakia and balanced by a subtle sweetness from the Virginia. It does not have the harshness I sometimes find in oriental blends (especially Orcilla or Punchbowle). It has a natural taste - not what I would describe as "perfumey" in any way. It has a degree of body such as I always used to find lacking in a blend like White Balkan Sobranie.

It repays careful smoking (but what good tobacco does NOT?) and burns slowly and evenly. I have never managed to reduce it to a 100% powdery ash but what is left in the bowl is a fairly fine, dry, grey-white.

My only reservation - hence three rather than four stars - is the beastly "ketchup" smell which so spoils the (for me hugely important) tin aroma and which it is hard to believe does not adversely affect the smoke.

I understand that this is common to all of the McLelland blends and that it derives from the preservative they use. I may be being naive but it was news to me that tobacco required preservatives. No other blenders I know of produce tobaccos with a trademark smell. Are they using preservatives which are in some way inferior? If so, in what way are they inferior?

Given how often this "ketchup" smell is cited as a minus for McLelland blends I wonder why they do not do themselves AND US a favour and stop applying whatever this foul guck might be. It seems to me to be an affront to the quality leaf they are clearly using.

Do you suppose if enough of us emailed them...?
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 31, 2010 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
True Syrian Latakia delicately woven with mild orientals. Sweet and spicy, but not overpowering. Interesting enough so you don't get bored, but mild enough to smoke all day long.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 23, 2007 Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable
Before I tell you whether I like this tobacco or not it might be noteworthy to bring up the topic of fillet mignon. Some people think that cut of steak is bland and boring while others call it complex and subtle. This tobacco is this exactly, you might call it bland or subtle that is up to you. I will say that the subtleties come out better in a larger pipe. The tobacco burns wonderfully it requires absolutely no attention (kinda like a fillet only requires a fork to cut). The tobacco does not need dried like some McClelland blends do, and also does not exhibit the vinegar smell that some of their blends have. The tin note is rather a nice mixture of sweet Virginias and fragrant Latakia. I purchased the tin in hopes that it would be a Latakia powerhouse like Pirate Kake, what I got instead was a subtle and complex blend that is best enjoyed in the morning. If you like Dunill's Early Morning Pipe, than this blend is a MUST TRY, if you need something more in the lines of Night Cap, be warned this blend will not satisfy your desires for a powerful smoke. The only area that reminds me of a more stout Latakia blend is the room note. If you want the wife to leave you alone in the mornings light this up as soon as you wake up, she will hate it. The Latakia is not as strong as I would have liked to see, but the end result is a fine blend that is of all things the first real competition to Early Morning Pipe I have tried. Give this delicate rose a try, you will be sure to enjoy it.
1 person found this review helpful.
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