It’s not a secret around here that I’m a big fan of latakia leaf, especially during this time of year. I simply love English and Balkan blend tobaccos. Now, I understand that there are a lot of pipe smokers out there that hate the stuff; the claim is that it smells terrible (I’ve heard it described as burning rubber) and tastes awful. Piffle, I say! It smells wonderful (like campfires from childhood vacations) and tastes deliciously sweet, salty, spicy and smoky. As with almost any kind of pipe tobacco, there’s an enormous variety of English recipes that keep enthusiasts entangled in an ever-continuing world of exploration and discovery.
For the last few weeks I’ve been investigating three blends from ‘Captain Earl’s’ line of tobacco: ‘Ten Russians’, ‘Private Stock’, and ‘Stimulus Package’. Originally formulated by Hermit Tobacco, these blends are now packaged and sold by Cornell & Diehl. They are fantastic. All three are pressed into an old-fashion crumble cake, which is one of my favorite packing styles. All three blends are jam packed with tons of latakia. Although I’m thoroughly enjoying them all, so far I’m really preferring the ‘Ten Russians’ which is richly flavored and complex, staking a nice balance between the sweet, bright, Virginias and the dark, creamy latakia.
If you’re a fan of latakia or are looking to try something different, these blends get a high nod from yours truly.