McClelland Latakia Flake

A distinctive full English mixture in the grand tradition, rich with smoky Cyprian latakia, fragrant with exotic Xanthi Yaka. Toasted for smoothness, then pressed in cakes to age and marry the flavors. Result: Exceptionally smooth, cool-smoking, full flavored little Levantine flakes ready to rub out--the best Oriental mixture.
Notes: McClelland introduced their Blakeney's Best line at the 21st CORPS (Conclave of Richmond Pipe Smokers) Pipe Show in Richmond, Virginia. The 50g tin was released to the public in late 2005.


Brand McClelland
Series Blakeney's Best
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Flake
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

2.80 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 25 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 14, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
A Latakia blend with some kick and no bite - I love it!

I like to fully rub out the leaf before loading and smoking. I consider this an evening smoke as its not sweet enough to flavor up my palate early in the day. The smokey Latakia taste comes through in droves, but I get none of the harshness I do associate with some heavier Latakia offerings. It burns dry and somewhat fast.

A palate pleaser with punch!
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 07, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
UPDATE 3/7/09

I'm upgrading this from 2 to 3 stars. I'm usually not a fan of almost tinder dry tobacco, especially in latakia blends. But the flakes in this blend work much better when dried to an almost crunchy consistency. Rubbed out and dry, this blend smokes very well. It's still not going to make my steady rotation but it might make yours. If you like good tasting latakia blends that aren't "in your face" with latakia, give this one a run up the flagpole.


My quest for the definitive McClelland latakia blend continues! Because this ain't it.

The good news is that this is an incredibly "clean" smoke. That's the best word I can think of, and it reminds me of McClellands #8 Oriental in that regard. It's kind of a palate-cleansing flavor, as though it were meant as a segue from one more flavorful blend to another over a days time. A very friendly, non-cantankerous blend that is easy on the taste buds.

Unfortunately, it also reminds of me #8 in the sense that there's nothing much going on here. It's a decent smoke, but there are other english-style blends around that trump it in my humble opinion. Even blends that are noticeably lighter in taste tend to have more depth and "color" such as McClellands Frogmorton On The Town (my fave McC latakia so far). But as the reviewer below mentioned, some people prefer a less showy blend. Sometimes I do as well but this won't be what I reach for at those times.

I've said before that I find McClellands virginia tobaccos to be the finest of their type in the world. No one can touch this company for virginias, in my opinion. I just wish that I could say the same for their english style blends. The quest continues!
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 01, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I really loved the Blakeney's Bayou Slice so I thought I'd give the Latakia Flake a try too. Kudos to McClelland for thinking outside the box with BBLF, but it wasn't what I had hoped for from this blend. My tin was dated a few years ago and the Virginias benefited from the age. It is easily packed after a quick rub out and unlike many of the McClelland English blends, once rubbed out it needed very little dry time. After the charring light, I was greeted with a pleasant flavor. But as each bowl I smoked progressed, there wasn't much else to speak of. There are a lot of complex English blends on the market right now and unfortunately this isn't one of them. Before finishing the tin, I found myself bored with BBLF. The tobacco is of high quality so it is worth a try, but given the fact that my tin had plenty of time to “marry” it isn't one to cellar for me. I do wonder if a new tin can be found (I haven't seen one), where the Latakia hasn't been softened, if I might have enjoyed it more?
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 13, 2017 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong
I found a tin of this from 2005 a few years back and opened it pretty quickly after bringing it home. I was underwhelmed by it on the earlier tastings. The main problem was the Latakia came off as very flat. I believe this is due to the age of the tin. In terms of aging, it is said that this can happen with Latakia and I believe that this is to blame for what I was tasting.

It still was not bad, but I don't think I got to experience it as it was intended to be experienced. One irritation that is also likely present when it is fresh is that it is a bugger to get lit. Once that is accomplished, it smokes pretty well. The vacancy that was left by what was once, likely, a robust Latakia profile left little else to really stand out. There was some Virginia sweetness, but not enough. The Xanthi, may have been detectable, but its presence was light.

Overall, I will leave this at 2 stars for now in hopes that I may try a fresher tin later to see if my mind changes, but I can't recommend the blend on the 10 year old tin I tried. It just wasn't memorable. I would rather be pulling on some fresh three oaks (original or Syrian) or Balkan Blue than this one.
Age When Smoked: 10 years
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 13, 2017 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
McClelland - Latakia Flake (Blakeney's Best).

Me smoking this was a result of my mistaking Tobacco Galleria Night Cap for a Dunhill Nightcap clone. After being knocked for six with false flavours I needed what I originally wanted first thing this morning: a Lat' fix. So, B.B. Latakia Flake? Whoa, a Lat-addicts dream!

The tin holds flakes which are approx. half the length of the usual. Think of the flakes in Mac Baren Vanilla Cream Flake and half them. About 20% of the blend could be considered a broken flake. The only thing the tins aroma suggests is lots of Lat', which is exactly what it delivers.

I'll point out the burn and temperature first: a slow, consistent burn, which produces a cool smoke. The flavour? If the tobaccos were like sportsmen in a race the Latakia would be Usain Bolt and the Virginia/Orientals would be Sumo wrestlers: it's a race that's won before it's even started! But, although the flavour from the Lat' is immense, lots of smoke and cedar, the Virginia gives a sweet, fruity touch with the Orientals lending a delicate floral note; these two form a very tasty setting for the Latakia. The cool smoke hasn't got a bite in it.

Nicotine: medium to strong. Room-note: not bad but too full for company.

McClelland Latakia Flake? Love it! Highly recommended:

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Peterson Clontarf XL11
PurchasedFrom: Cup O' Joes
Age When Smoked: Three weeks
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 22, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I love the toasty nature of this blend, but at the same time I wonder if toasting it hasn't eliminated some of the finer nuances of flavor. It has the basic flavor of a good English, but is lacking in those nuances I enjoy so much; the sweetness and fruity notes of the Virginia, the sour, woody and sometimes incense-like notes of the Oriental. I miss those things, yet I find that this blend grows on me. I like it in spite of it's faults. Go figure. It's an enjoyable smoke.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Needs to be dry for a good burn. The drier the better. On a side note, my tin was 2 years old when it arrived from smokingpipes.

EDIT: I made it sound like there's no trace of Virginias or Orientals in this. I didn't mean it like that. I mean to say that the finer nuances of what I listed are missing. For example, the finer nuances of the Virginia's fruitiness.

Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: 2 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 20, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
I have to admit that I am a McClelland fanboy. I am astonished by the quality they offer(ed) in their products and consider some of their blends among my all time favorites.

That being said, Latakia Flake, while being a good tobacco for sure, misses the mark of greatness for me. The main reason for that is that amongst McC's remarkable offerings it does not really stand out. If this had been produced by any other blender, I might have been tempted to award this with four stars. For me it lacks that extra magical quality that I find in some other McClelland pipe tobaccos. It's hard to put into words but what I mean is that you understand the blend "passively" - that you can never pinpoint exactly how the true greatness came about because the tastes of the different tobacco varieties blend into each other so perfectly and just transport you to another space. With this tobacco, I CAN pinpoint how the blend comes about exactly, which leaves me with a somewhat more rational kind of enjoyment (idealist though I am) and this consequently takes away some of the magic and diminishes my enjoyment.

Still, this is a good tobacco I quite enjoy. 2 out of 4 stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 13, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I don't think I have ever tried an English/Balkan and said right away that "I love this". This one never seemed to "fit" with me.

This tin is dated "05" so at the time of opening, 2010, has at least 4 years of age. Opening reveald dark brown and black broken flakes with a small amount of light brown in-between. Sugar crystals were all over the Va portions of the flakes, always nice.

The flavor is Va and Latakia for the most part with some spicyness present throughout the smoke, mostly first 2/3rds of bowl.

I would recommend for a try, but I am not going to cellar this. My first try of this is with a good amount of aging and the Va's definately benefitted.

By the way, I'm not sure what the toasting has done to the flavor.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 09, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
I think that this tobacco is better than it has been made out to be based on the extant reviews. There is a certain virtue in reliability, modesty, a lack of Dolly Parton-ish showiness. This ain't no Vegas stripper who leaves you breathless after the first experience and broken after the last. This is your wife in sweats.

I lucked into a 2+ year old tin of this a couple of weeks back and I find myself reaching for it more and more. I keep a little tobacco harem on hand--8 to 10 open tins at any given time--and for whatever reason, I find myself bypassing higher rated, more aggressive tobaccos in favor of BB Latakia. I've never been able to settle on an All-Day-Smoke and, frankly, I've always considered such a thing to be a myth perpetrated by the lazy and unadventurous. (Haha). But BB Latakia Flake has me pondering getting down on one knee and popping the question.

The tin notes are authentic McLelland and the flakes are small chunks of black and deep golden tobacco. What impresses me most about this, however, is the elegance with which it carries itself in the pipe. It's easy to find such an attitude boring, or to mistake it for indifference to your palate, especially if you smoke it distractedly. Concentrate a little and you might just find that this smokey Latakia blend has the kind of beauty you want on hand on a regular basis.

I'm slowly falling in love with the girl next door.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 25, 2008 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Tin: Smokey fruit ketchup aroma, faintly moist. Dark brown squares striated with blonde, 1x1/2x1/8.

Date code on bottom of tin: 740205. This tin was consumed in early 2007, making it 1+ years old. For interesting info. on dating tinned tobacco, link to: the Forums box--Topics--Tobacco Questions--scroll down , to bottom of page, to Archives Oct. 09, 2005, Oct. 18, 2005, and July 26, 2006.

Packing & Lighting: The flake is easily rubbed out and made ready for packing. This needs to be finely rubbed out, leaving no small chunks, to achieve good taste and aroma. Difficult to get lit. Had to relight occasionally. There is no moisture build-up. The pipe is moisture-free, contrasting with BBAR.

Aroma: Xanthi Yaka seems a fitting name for this mellow, incense-like oriental. This is the same oriental varietal used in McClelland's Grand Oriental Yenidje blend.

Taste: Similar to aroma, with a hint of sweetness, refreshing and smooth. The toasted tobacco is rather evident in taste and aroma, with a hint of fruit; a week later, the fragrant fruit accent is more pronounced. Later bowls did provide for a distinguishing Latakia taste and aroma.

Smoked smooth, not much bite. Laid down a tar in the pipe.

Room Note: Mostly toasted VA, nice though lingering and heavy, somewhat sweet and fragrant.

Overall: Call it a Balkan, where the orientals dominate the Latakia and VA, in the smoke(compare In a meerschaum, rubbed to a fine consistency, providing a lighter room note, this could become a standard, if there wasn't that perplexing tin aroma.
2 people found this review helpful.
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