I originally posted this in the CE forum in a thread about the situation in Syria, but, obviously, it belongs here:
Originally Posted by dopey
An important fact:
Latakia is the name of a city in Syria. It is also the name of a variety of tobacco, made in Latakia, that is a key ingredient in pipe tobacco mixtures - specifically the kinds called English and Balkan blends. The tobacco itself is not necessarily grown in Latakia (I don't think it is), but is processed there by curing over smoke from a characteristic blend of woods and plants. Real Syrian Latakia has been out of production before the recent crisis, reportedly because of deforestation of the woods used for the curing, and is now almost certain not to return. One of the major tobacco blenders, in Germany, has just announced that it has depleted its stocks, which leaves only one major blender in the U.S. and one in Denmark with any left (as far as I know). Some smaller blenders might still have a little left (tragically, there was a warehouse fire that destroyed the stock of another U.S. blender about five years ago). The tobacco wholesalers who supply the blenders have themselves long been out of stock. There is also Cyprian Latakia (which makes no sense if you recall that Latakia is the name of a place, really, not a tobacco), which is made in a similar way but from a different tobacco and tastes similar to but also noticeably different from the Syrian kind. Cyprian Latakia is not really inferior to the Syrian, but it is not a replacement as it tastes different and is used differently in blending.
Now you know
Since posting it, I did a little mini stock-up on Three Oaks Syrian, Wilderness and HH Syrian Reserve. The first two I know and like. The latter was just an experiment.