On top of the fact that I love the cob, I also love McClelland tobaccos. Frog Morton being previously reviewed and much loved, this is another Latakia blend by MacClelland. Note: I got the yellow one (syrian latakia) not the white one. Tin description:
Rare Syrian Latakia, with its renowned mellow smokiness, is balanced with naturally sweet Orientals and aged Virginia leaf to create a satisfying blend reminiscent of classic Syrian Latakia blends of old. Formulated by Tad Gage to reflect the character of original Three Oaks Pipe Tobacco, it tantalizes with intriguing differences.
So, you can pick up that this is a "copy blend". It seems like there is some satisfaction in saying things like "I hate copy blends" or "I normally don't like copy blends." However, none of those things would be true. I have never tried the blends they are trying to copy, so I have no gauge for that. Furthermore, I think it is funny that people have a problem with blends that seek to replicate a previous blend. Musical concerts are filled with pieces that have been done well before and we seek to do them well again. I don't mind in the slightest when a brewery attempt to recreate a recipe that they have loved. It seems quite natural to attempt to attain something similar to a great blend of days past. In fact it seems to me to be a rather noble goal. Just like making seeking to make a new blend is a noble goal.
That aside, this tobacco is a great smoke. Delicious. It is my impression that McClelland has a distinct edge when it comes to Virginia tobaccos and virginia blends. I still have never been bothered by the "ketchup" smell, but it does have that nice "McClelland Aroma." In comparing it to Frog Morton it has all of the same advantages of the great virginia tobaccos, and more latakia taste. Where I would give Frog Morton to a first time tobacco smoker and recommend it to anyone who was interested in testing out some English blends, Three Oaks seems a bit more specialized, less accessible. It is nice and full, sweet and spicy. Not too strong, and worth smoking. I don't know if I will buy more when it's gone, but I haven't regretted it for a shadow of a moment.