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For the Love of Dark Flakes

(29 posts)
  1. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    I bought a tin of HH Old Dark Fired about 4 months ago, smoked a bowl, but I didn’t think much of it. I left it jarred on the shelf, and today I finally decided to give it another go. WOW! It’s so rich and spicy and has a natural beef jerky kind of sweetness to it. It reminds me of Peterson’s Irish Flake but with a bit more flair in the flavor department. I’m sitting out on my porch in the pouring rain, using only small matches to light with and I’m having the most enjoyable bowl I’ve experienced in a while. Any other recommendations for dark, rich, and nicotine heavy flakes that you just can’t get enough of?

    “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. beezer

    beezer

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    I was in the same boat as you. The first tin I smoked through a few years ago was just okay to me and I let the others sit and pretty much forgot about them. Last month I decided to pull out a tin after a six year rest and I really enjoyed it. I attribute it more to my tastes changing than I do the age of the tin, but regardless it has found itself in my starting lineup right now. I think I'll head out to my porch and fire up a bowl myself!

    I don't have any recommendations of a similar profile, but I'm looking forward to what others suggest!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. cossackjack

    cossackjack

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    HH Bold Kentucky (I like this better than ODF & Irish Flake, though I smoke all 3)
    G&H Dark Flake (I prefer the Unscented)
    G&H Dark Plug
    SG 1792 Flake (an acquired taste & better when aged)
    SG Lakeland Dark (a broken flake, & contrary to its name is not Lakeland scented)
    SG and G&H ropes (all of them)

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
    Specialization is for insects!" - Robert Heinlein
    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. didimauw

    didimauw

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    I've been seriously enjoying some old dark fired flake lately. I'll be buying much more of it soon. I had the wife smell my pipe in the car today, and she said it smelled nasty. I just shrugged and continued on. It's delicious.

    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. trouttimes

    trouttimes

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    I go through phases where I love Dark Flkae and then not so much. Don't you love the crazy trip of pipe smoking?

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    I go through phases where I love Dark Flkae and then not so much

    I go through this with almost my entire cellar. It is definitely crazy

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    My experience was like mtwaller's, when I first tried ODF I didn't care for it. I put it away for around 6 months and tried it again. I couldn't believe it was the same blend. I loved it and then went to cellar it deep. Within a few weeks I had 65 100 gram tins and it was all 2012 vintage. It has aged beautifully and is among my favorite blends.
    As far as similar blends there are really not any. Other vaburs I have in my cellar are not that similar to ODF(except my 2007 Stonehaven). I like the ones in my cellar for what they are. Here is my list of vaburs I stock.

    Solani Silver Flake
    Peterson Perfect Plug
    GL Pease Navigator
    Petersons Irish Flake
    Peterson University Flake
    Esoterica Stonehaven
    Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired
    Wallace Flake
    Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky
    Mac Baren Old Dark Fired

    Harris
    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    It’s definitely a fun journey to find your way through the hedge maze of blends available. It’s interesting how your tastes can change over long periods of time, or just day to day. When I first started smoking pipes I smoked almost a whole tin of nothing but Bayou Morning Flake. Haven’t had the urge to smoke it in months. Sometimes it just depends on the pipe, or the weather, or who knows...

    I put all things Gawith on the back burner because I can never find them, but those all sound like they’d fit the bill. I’ll have to start searching for those. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    mt, I used to love Latakia blends but lost my taste for them over a decade ago. I never new that was even possible with tastes changing that drastically. I am grateful that my tastes for va's,vaper and vaburs has held firm all these years.

    Definitely don't waste time on things you might not even like(SG), go for the readily available blends.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    I’ll be honest I don’t mind some Latakia, but I definitely don’t love it either. I cannot get behind Gaslight, which on paper looks outstanding. All I get is flat stale rubber tire and nothing else. To each their own! I have a plug jarred, I pull it out every few months to see if I get some magic, but so far not so much. I guess that’s a good point not to waste time searching for sparse blends that may or may not suit me. I’d nearly forgotten about HH Bold Kentucky, maybe I’ll try that soon.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    mt, Give the Solani 660 a shot sooner than later, you might really enjoy it as it does get very good reviews and deservedly so.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    Thanks for the tip, I’ve not had any Solani and I’ve heard they’re quite good across the board.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. hawky454

    hawky454

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    GH&Co Westmorland Slices - more of a Broken Flake. Other than that a great deal of the ones I came to mention have already been mentioned. I’ll add;

    Erinmore Flake (although sometimes I’ll open a tin and the flakes will be a golden color but the majority of them come real dark, especially with some age on them. Same thing goes with St. Bruno, it’s the same ‘baccy’s’ used in ODF but a different ratio with a lovely floral/cider vinegar topping added.
    Condor Plug/Long Cut

    Oh and thow shall not forget Revor Plug, McConnell’s Latakia Flake (can barely taste the lat) and Sillem’s Commodore Flake. These three all taste very similar to me. Delicious and dark as the night!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. railman

    railman

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    I am a big fan of Solani Silver Flake though the dark fired is a mere condiment, not nearly as prominent as in ODF, but adds the right amount of spice. The Virginia they use in this blend is spectacular, dare I say almost as good as you’d find in a McClelland Virginia? The upside is Silver Flake is one of the few Solani blends that’s actually easy to get ahold of.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    mt, their 633 blend is a Virginia/Perique blend and it is also excellent. I have both of those Solani blends deep in my cellar. I have not tasted any of their other blends.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    660 and 633 are the two I’ve been eyeing the most, I’m going to try both of them! I hope 660 is good since it only comes in 100g tins, but I’m not too worried about it. Also I forgot about St Bruno, I’ve been wanting to try that as well. Looks like I have some good ones to try! Solani and St Bruno are a bit pricey but if they’re as good as everyone says, probably well worth the coin to cellar a handful of each.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. alexnc

    alexnc

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    Solani is good stuff. The 633 to me, is somewhat similar to Escudo - love it. The 660 is quite good too, an excellent VA base with a nice touch of DF, maybe a mild sweet edge. Have to open that jar and revisit. If you get accustomed to HH ODF and want to amp it up powerwise you might try HH Bold Kentucky. Though not similar, St Bruno is def worth a try.

    Goo Goo g’joob
    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. workman

    workman

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    All the ones I like have already been mentioned: ODF, Irish Flake, 1792 Flake, Lakeland Dark.
    Bold Kentucky was too much burley for me, and I don't consider St Bruno a dark flake at all. It's more of a faux va/per and a good one at that.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. hawky454

    hawky454

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    If St. Bruno Flake is too pricey, I recommend St. Bruno RR. It is literally St. Bruno Flake thrown in a tumbler, put in a pouch and they charge ya $4 less for it. That’s the one I cellar most of and if you’re lucky they may still have some 2016 pouches on hand. I have 150 pouches of RR and 50 tins of the Flake. It’s one of the best baccy’s on the face of the earth just 2nd to Condor Plug and it ages extremely well.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. hawky454

    hawky454

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    I don't consider St Bruno a dark flake at all. It's more of a faux va/per and a good one at that.

    Get some age on them and they turn very dark and have quite a nice warm glow of lady nicotine living inside. But like I mentioned with Erinmore Flake there is a bit of inconsistencies that I’ve found, sometimes the Flakes are very dark sometimes they are more of a light golden color. I think it depends on who’s running the steam press at the time, the longer left in the press the darker they come out. I prefer both EF & St. Bruno to be on the dark side.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. hawky454

    hawky454

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    Another fun thing to do is to bake your tins. Baking Erinmore Flake in the oven at 190° F for 6 hours yields jet black flakes. You can toy around with all different kinds of blends and cuts, just make sure you do it while the tin is still sealed. You can also do this in a jar. A friend of mine only smokes Dunhill Ye Olde Signe this way. A lot of people like to do this with Escudo too. I’m going to try it with Dunhill Flake, it might come out similar to Dunhill Dark Flake minus the Perique. It’s a lot of fun to play around with, almost as fun as pressing your own tobacco with the Noodle Press. It’s funny, someone said that on Amazon if you look at Father the Flame DVD and scroll down to, “customers also bought...” the noodle press is listed there. That cracks me up!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. workman

    workman

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    I wasn't only referring to the color, also the genre. Dunhill Dark Flake f.ex. is dark, but it's not related to Bold Kentucky or Irish Flake in the least. It's a sweet va/per with a medium nic hit.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. hawky454

    hawky454

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    Yeah, I disagree with ya then. I consider it to be on the dark end of the spectrum with the smoky Dark Fired Kentucky and the deep, dark and matured VA’s. I get more base notes than high notes but hey, you taste what you taste and I taste what I taste but it certainly doesn’t taste like a “faux” VaPer to me. I also consider Dunhill Dark Flake to be a in the dark flake category. I don’t think “dark flakes” all have to fall under the extremely stout, heavy nic genre like GH Dark Flake or Peterson Irish Flake and the like.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. workman

    workman

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    Regarding St Bruno, "faux" was not meant derogatory. I love it. I have no intention of defining "Dark Flake" one way or the other. I was only trying to go along with the OP in his description of "Dark Flakes" as a certain genre that he likes.
    I don't consider anything a genre from color only

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. trubka2

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    I hope 660 is good since it only comes in 100g tins

    I had the same concern, but it was totally worth the gamble. After eyeing it for months, I finally got some not long ago, and it blew me away. It's got some Kentucky spice and wood (not at all vinegary like the MacB flakes, which I also love), along with some uber-tasty VA and a nice nic dose. A daily smoke for me since I got it. 633 is amazing too. They say it gets more peppery with age - sounds good to me. I'm going to put up a lot of these two.

    Another fun thing to do is to bake your tins.

    I read about this a while ago but haven't gotten up the nerve to try. I hadn't seen it brought up here before. Now I'm gonna go for it. I was thinking Orlik Golden Slices. I ordered 2 tins, but don't like it fresh at all, so tin #2 is getting cooked this week.

    Hawky - How do you smoke the Bruno flake (which pipe, prep, pack)? I'm a few flakes into my first tin and feel like I still haven't figured it out yet. I haven't tried it out in a wider bowl yet, maybe that's the ticket.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    Thanks for all the input, I’m most excited to try some of these blends now. I’ve got plenty of blends to keep me busy for a while, between these and some straight VA’s I want to try out. Also I didn’t know you could bake tins! Does this significantly change the flavor profile?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    mt, If you do get some Solani 660 make sure to jar it upon arrival. They do not come vacuum sealed.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. hawky454

    hawky454

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    I read about this a while ago but haven't gotten up the nerve to try. I hadn't seen it brought up here before. Now I'm gonna go for it. I was thinking Orlik Golden Slices. I ordered 2 tins, but don't like it fresh at all, so tin #2 is getting cooked this week.

    Hawky - How do you smoke the Bruno flake (which pipe, prep, pack)? I'm a few flakes into my first tin and feel like I still haven't figured it out yet. I haven't tried it out in a wider bowl yet, maybe that's the ticket


    Let us know how that goes with OGS. I may give it a try too, I bet it will be excellent!

    As far as St. Bruno Flake, I absolutely enjoy it most in a tall and narrow bowl like a stacked billiard. I can’t really recommend fold n stuff over just rubbing it out because I never really tasted much of a difference regarding how I prepare my flakes. St. Bruno is probably the only blend I actually prefer as a Ready Rubbed. I’ve seen a few new converts that thought St. Bruno Flake was bland and lacking flavor be floored by how much they liked the RR over the Flake. Certainly give the RR a try if the Flake just isn’t doing it for you but yeah, the RR goes best in a tall and narrow chamber as well in my opinion with no dry time for maximum flavor.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. trubka2

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    Let us know how that goes with OGS.

    10-4, will do.

    And thanks for the heads-up on the Bruno RR, I'll for sure give that a try. And I'll try the flake in a stack. I wouldn't say I've found it bland or anything, just maybe not quite what I was expecting in the bang-for-bucks department.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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