Latakia is from Syria/Cyprus (smoked Oriental tobacco). It was accidentally "discovered" after a bumper crop in the 1880's. The surplus tobacco was stored in the rafters of Arab farmhouses. Arab peasant farmers, "fellahin" used wood and when short of wood camel dung for cooking and heating in the winter. The smoke cured tobacco imparted a unique flavoring and taste that was discovered when it was smoked.

Cyprian latakia is smoked over a banked fire of mountain shrubs, pins trees myrtle and other native woods in sheds.

Syrian latakia is smoked over different woods and herbs. The main one is Syrian oak. Syrian latakia is normally lighter in color and smokier to taste than Cyprian.

Drama - Macedonia - Greece - is a strong condiment tobacco. It is used very sparingly in blends.

One of the characteristics of Latakia and other Oriental tobaccos is that they are grown in nitrogen poor soils. This means a low sugar and nicotine content but makes the tobaccos naturally spicy.

Latakia is an Oriental tobacco, and it comes originally from Syria. The leaves grow close the ground, and when they are ripe, they are harvested individually, hung on rods and dried by the sun-curing method. Afterwards, Latakia is treated differently than fx Virginia types: it is also fire-cured (dried over an open fire). The leaves are exposed to smoke from the fire and thus absorb aromatics from the smoke.

This is the quality that makes Latakia special. Latakia tobacco's taste can vary depending on the type of wood used to make the fire. Latakia is also a tobacco we use only as seasoning, because it is strong in taste, spicy and unpleasant to smoke in a pure form.

Today Latakia is produced in Syria and Cyprus, and there is a difference in taste in the tobaccos from the two regions. The Latakia comming from Syria is considered to be more mild and smooth in taste than the Latakia comming from Cyprus.

The above information has been gathered from a variety of sources including but not limited to the following:

Mac Baren Tobacco
Articles by William Serad
e-articles by G.L.Pease
Craig Tarler, William Ashton Taylor, Charlie Price
and assorted other arcane sources