Latakia is an Oriental tobacco which is sun-cured in the normal way and then fire-cured. Small fires are created in an enclosed space with aromatic woods and fragrant herbs used as the fuel. The smoke produced by these fires coats the tobacco and infuses its own flavor. Latakia has a naturally “smokey” quality yet will vary in flavor+aroma depending on where it is from, (Syria, Cyprus, & Greece), and what wood and herbs were used to fuel the smoke. The length of curing will influence the flavor+aroma strength of the tobacco, but the nicotine and sugar levels will remain relatively low.
Like so many other tobacco discoveries, Latakia was unintentionally discovered. During the 1800s in Syria, a bumper crop of tobacco was left in the rafters of a house for many months and exposed to household fires and smoke. The result of this accident was revolutionary in that it gave birth to a new category of pipe tobaccos and flavor+aroma possibilities. Today, Latakia is the key ingredient in English/Balkan blends and prized the world over for its uniqueness and character.
Latakia is the quintessential condiment or “spice” tobacco: too strong and spicy to be smoked alone, but a unique enhancement which will fortify and distinguish a blend.