We are testing the Butera Latakia No. 1 of the Royal Vintage series of tobaccos.
Butera Tobaccos are a result of a collaboration between pipe maker Mike Butera and the McClelland Tobacco Co. There are quite a few blends in the Royal Vintage line. The one under review today is the Butera Latakia No. 1. This blend incorporates Cyprian Latakia, Turkish Basma, North Carolina Bright and Red Virginia. This is an Oriental blend in the English tradition. This is hardly a new tobacco, but it is one we have not reviewed in the past.
The pipe we chose is an Old German Clay #29. We chose the clay for its clean smoking qualities. Although we used a fresh pipe, we will be able to use the same clay to test other tobaccos and we expect to experience the true taste of each blend. In our experience, the ghosting of flavors is not an issue with the clay pipe. The #29 was chosen for its long straight stem and medium size bowl making this an ideal testing pipe for testing. It provides room for an ample quantity of tobacco. The long stem keeps the smoke relatively cool.
In order to obtain a sense of the room note, the pipe aroma that fills the room, we set our testing up in a small paneled study with the door closed. After giving the pipe a good smoke for several minutes, our chief tobacco taster, Ken, left the room. He wandered around aimlessly to clear his sinuses so that upon reentering the study he would be able to discern the unique aromas associated with the tobacco.
Upon opening a new tin of Butera Latakia No. 1 the Latakia and Orientals offer a distinctive hint of dark chocolate, nothing overpowering, but notes of Latakia are definitely present.
Upon lighting the pipe our first impression reveals a balanced flavor that smokes cool. The Orientals and Latakia are available but counter-balanced by the Bright and Red Virginia so that the body of the smoke is fairly full-flavored yet does not lean heavily toward the Latakia. This is a moderate to strong English style tobacco with good balance. Our room note test did not result in as strong an influence of the Latakia as we would have expected, instead the aroma was pleasant but not powerful. Others may disagree. Such truths reside in the nose of the beholder.
This is a solid medium English blend with just enough Latakia and Orientals to give it a good flavor the Red Virginia North Carolina Bright keeps the blend in balance. A good afternoon or evening smoke. For those who like their tobaccos natural and enjoy English blends, the Royal Vintage Latakia No. 1 should included as part of your tobacco cellar.
Sadly, you cannot find this tobacco on sale at Pipeshoppe.com as New York, as far as we know, as not lifted it restrictions on online retailers thereby keeping us out of the tobacco business. You will however, be able to find this blend at many fine tobacco shop as well as on our competitors websites.