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Tambolaka Natural Tobacco - by Charles Hill

Here’s a tobacco from Indonesia; an oddity for all of you jaded Virginia flake smokers out there. Described on the label as, “Dried five years Village-aged Tobacco,” it’s a coarse cut, dark mahogany to black coloured leaf grown in southern Indonesia. According to the blurb on the back of the package, “Tambolaka is grown by warriors who still wear swords every day who live in towering bamboo huts.” Apparently, after harvesting their crop, the warrior-cum-tobacconists age the leaves for five years in their huts. I’ll leave it to your imagination to picture just what aromatic flavouring agents might put in an appearance in a warrior’s bamboo hut in southern Indonesia. As southern Indonesia is a vast area, about the size of France (slightly larger than Alberta), who knows exactly what region it is from?

What the brave warriors have produced is, again according to the label, “one of the world’s strongest tobaccos.” Clearly, Indonesian warriors/tobacconists believe in truth in their advertising.

Just how strong is this strongest of tobaccos, I wondered? As I cautiously filled my pipe only half full, and struck a match, Tambolaka produced an odd woody smoke, redolent of whatever aromas linger for up to five