Pipes Magazine » General Pipe Smoking Discussion

Search Forums  
   
Tags:  No tags yet. 

Help! Good substitutes for two beloved (and discontinuted) VA flakes

(39 posts)
  1. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Two of my absolute favorite Virginia flakes are no longer available, and I didn't get a chance to cellar nearly enough of either.

    Can anyone recommend a good substitute for either of them?

    They are:

    Dunhill (Light) Flake--I don't think this one needs a description.

    McClelland 2010 (Classic Virginia Flake)--a solid dark VA flake with the distinctive McClelland catsup/vinegar note.

    I've read that LJ Peretti Oxford Flake is really close to 2010, but it's not available either.

    Also, just to head it off, I don't consider PS LNF or OGS a substitute for either. Both are fine tobaccos, but neither hits the same spot.

    Many thanks!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 13,438

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I would replace Dunhill Flake with Casptan Blue Flake. It is also readily available.

    Harris
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. mityahicks

    mityahicks

    Member
    Joined: Nov 2018
    Posts: 159

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I've heard Capstan Yellow is also a good substitute for Dunhill Flake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Capstan yellow is pretty close, but I could definitely tell them apart in a blind test (CY has the distinctive capstan flavor, which is really quite good in is own right, but also distinct). It may be as good as I can get for a substitute.

    Another close match I can think of is SG Best Brown Flake. Again, it's in the same general area (To my taste at least) but not a spot on drop-in replacement--in this case, there is a distinctive flavor missing.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. lightmybriar

    lightmybriar

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 559

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    G.L. Pease Union Square might be good in place of Dunhill. Regarding McClelland, I’ve been on the same hunt for a while now and I finally admitted to myself that there will not be anything that fills that gap well enough for me. I’ll tune in here to see what others say!

    On a pipe adventure
    Steve
    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jan 2018
    Posts: 1,765

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Instead of trying to find the nearest substitute, I'd recommend you try various Va Flakes to see what you like the best. I'd recommend Union Square as perhaps the closest thing to the 2010 you'll find and very, very good period. I suspect the reason Peretti's Oxford Flake is gone is that it was either 2010 relabelled or based upon McClelland tobaccos. Also try C&D Opening Night, an overlooked, under rated Va Flake.

    There are numerous other Va Flakes that are excellent, most are somewhat difficult to acquire.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    lightmybriar:

    I'll have to try Union Square, I have some on my shelf, so I may go light it up now.

    I'm really sorry to hear that you have given up on finding a replacement for 2010. It is just too good to die. Someone needs to imitate it. (If there are any blenders out there that want to give it a go, I can send some to sample against.)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Instead of trying to find the nearest substitute, I'd recommend you try various Va Flakes to see what you like the best.

    I don't want to be an ass, but that's exactly what I did. And these were the two tobaccos that I liked best.

    I'll plan to give Opening Night a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I'm smoking Union Square at the moment (on lightmybriar's suggestion). It is really good. I can see why the two of you recommended it as a possible substitute for Dunhill Flake. That said, and I'm being picky, it seems to lack some of the brightness ("citrus"?) of Dunhill Flake, and it tends more to the nutty and earthy side of VA--or rather I should say, the "brightness" is more subdued and only comes out occasionally (seems to be when I push it and get it rather hot) whereas it was very forward and consistent with DF. Nonetheless, I think this is the closest I've found to a true substitute so far.

    Thanks for the good recommendations.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. mityahicks

    mityahicks

    Member
    Joined: Nov 2018
    Posts: 159

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I'm going to try these as well.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jan 2018
    Posts: 1,765

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I didn't say they were exact. I don't think you'll find that. Have you tried Aylesbury Classic Flake? I find it reasonably similar to Dunhill Flake. Wessex Gold Slice might give you that bright flavor you're looking for. If you can get in on the C&D Carolina Red Flake Small Batch this year, you might find it a bit similar to the 2010. Orlik Golden Sliced is another with brighter Virginias but I don't think it has the depth and body of Dunhill Flake. Have you tried Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake as a Dunhill Flake alternative? If you love the red virginia flavor of 2010, try F&T Blackjack. It's a rough ribbon cut but the flavors are similar. If you can find it, you might also enjoy F&T Cut Virginia Plug.

    I don't think you'll find Opening Night that similar to Dunhill Flake. I recommended it because I find it to be a very good Va Flake with a unique flavor and it is readily available at a very reasonable price.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Have you tried Aylesbury Classic Flake? I find it reasonably similar to Dunhill Flake.

    No, but I'll put it on my list.

    Wessex Gold Slice might give you that bright flavor you're looking for.

    I'll have to try this too.

    If you can get in on the C&D Carolina Red Flake Small Batch this year, you might find it a bit similar to the 2010.

    Sounds promising. Does it have any of that vinegar-with-sweet combination that you get in 2010 (people call it "catsup")? That's really integral to what made 2010 what it was for me, and my fear is that McClelland was the only blender who could produce it.

    Orlik Golden Sliced is another with brighter Virginias but I don't think it has the depth and body of Dunhill Flake.

    That's exactly how I feel. I like OGS quite a bit. It shines in the the high/bright end, but lacks the depth that DF had.

    Have you tried Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake as a Dunhill Flake alternative?

    I have (actually mentioned it up-thread as being in the ball-park). It's close (and good in its own right). But not quite there.

    If you love the red virginia flavor of 2010, try F&T Blackjack. It's a rough ribbon cut but the flavors are similar. If you can find it, you might also enjoy F&T Cut Virginia Plug.

    I have the same question here as above: does it have that tang of 2010? I enjoy red VAs just fine, but what I'm really trying to find is something that has that hint of catsup.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I have a few new tobaccos to try!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. lightmybriar

    lightmybriar

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 559

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Opening Night is my favorite Virginia Flake from C&D. I’d say that Union Square is Opening Night in a tuxedo. Good companion blends.

    I know what you’re saying about Union Square being close but not quite there. I love Capstan Blue, and I always thought Dunhill Flake had all the greatness of Capstan, but with a touch of extra strength underneath.

    I like Small Batch Red Flake, but C&D Reds always have a gritty or dirty taste lurking around, to my palate. Perhaps I ought to try a bit of Union Square mixed with Red Flake and see if that might “clean up” the flavor for me a bit. I’m enjoying this thread!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. lightmybriar

    lightmybriar

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 559

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    There’s only one tobacco I’ve tried that had a noticeable (albeit nowhere near as prevalent!) tang to it, but I’m afraid to mention it as I’m afraid more people might search it out and make it hard to get haha! It is much closer to Dark Star than 2010, though, so I’m not sure if it would even be what you’re looking for.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jan 2018
    Posts: 1,765

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    C&D Carolina Red Flake has a little bit of the smell and the flavor is similar to 2010. If you open it and let it sit for a few weeks, better than 2010. 2010 was a McClelland Bulk Flake. I like it but it isn't all that. I wouldn't trade my tins of Carolina Red Flake for 2010 1 to 1. But taste is in the tongue of the smoker.

    I personally find well aged (5 years or more) SG BBF is better than Dunhill Flake. But again, subjective. F&T Blackjack has the flavor and I believe what you are calling "tang", at least similar, but not the aroma. It's $11 a tin, pick some up and try it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. tabakpfeife

    tabakpfeife

    New Member
    Joined: Jan 2019
    Posts: 18

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Oxford Flake was my "go to" VA for years. I understood that it was repackaged McClelland 2010. I think Union Square is reasonably close. I like Opening Night too. I really like. so far, Sutliff's Crumble Kake, even though it's nothing like Oxford Flake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. jiminks

    JimInks

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2012
    Posts: 31,566

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Hoosierpipeguy is giving very good advice. Peretti's Oxford Flake was made with McClelland tobaccos. And I second Sutliff's Krumble Cake Red Virginia. I always thought of Capstan Gold being more like Dunhill Flake than Capstan Blue. I also think Capstan Gold is affected by age more than the Blue is, and I prefer it aged.

    MacBaren Virginia Flake and Virginia No. 1 are good when they have a few years of age on them. They become less acidic with time, and maintain their sweetness. For a budget tobacco, Sutliff 507-C Slices are worth trying, especially when aged.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. lightmybriar

    lightmybriar

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 559

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I gotta say, with all due respect to the master palate of Mr. Jim, that I was incredibly underwhelmed by Sutliff Crumble Kake. I was very excited, but no matter how many times I smoke it, all I taste is buttery cat pee. I also tried Viprati based on Jim’s review, and I’m wondering if that is made by Sutliff, because it has the same effect. Just goes to show how different all our preferences can be, which is great because that’s why we have the thousands of options available to us.
    /

    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. tabakpfeife

    tabakpfeife

    New Member
    Joined: Jan 2019
    Posts: 18

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Buttery cat pee?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. woodsroad

    woodsroad

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2013
    Posts: 8,465

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I've tried Buttery Cat Pee, and it's nothing like Sutliff Crumble Kake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. User has not uploaded an avatar

    jeff540

    Member
    Joined: Jan 2016
    Posts: 189

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I don't believe there will ever be a substitute for McClelland virginia flakes. Just when I think I found one that comes close I pull out some of my old McClelland stock (ever dwindling) and am disappointed by the comparison. Not only are the master minds and patience of Mike and Mary out of the picture, but you have their supply side (farms) gone or changed (major catalyst for them closing).

    That said, the best advice given is to move one and find something you enjoy as well. I found that with several of the less popular Esoterica blends and picked up about 10lbs during the last two drops (Brighton and Cardiff mostly). They don't have that full mouthfeel and sourness, but they do have the same ample sweet and smoothness that I find lacking in many of the other virginia blends.

    Also, buy enough PS LNF that you can let it sit a couple years. It's good in the way of an easy going mid-strength virginia flake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I must just be missing something, but the new Sutliff vinegar aromatics have absolutely nothing in common to McClellands to me; not even close. My only guess is that it is like that carrot tasting gene. Some people taste sweetness in carrots and some only taste a bitterness. Or, some people taste something good in cilantro, and normal people taste putrid soap.

    I cannot deny someone else's taste buds, but I am left just looking perplexedly at the tins of this stuff and wondering why I don't taste something beside catbox.

    Michael
    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. woodsroad

    woodsroad

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2013
    Posts: 8,465

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    It was the "buttery" part that I was referring to, Michael.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Ha, I wasn't directly addressing you, (or anyone specifically) ha ha, but buttery piss would have me clambering for the urologist... vegetarian... I mean veterinarian. Even if I had just eaten asparagus.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. woodsroad

    woodsroad

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2013
    Posts: 8,465

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Buttery asparagus....yum.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. hawky454

    hawky454

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Feb 2016
    Posts: 2,842

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Hahaha!!! Buttery cat pee... sounds disgusting. Is it old lady stale, buttery cat pee or fresh buttery cat pee?

    I wouldn’t compare these to the two mentioned but Mac Baren’s Pure VA Flake and Amphora VA are some damn good VA’s and are readily available. I also think Rattray’s Dark Fragrant has similarities to the darker VA’s that came from McClelland.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I was just thinking about the discomfort of passing something similar to popcorn butter.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. cortezattic

    Cortez

    A part of the problem since he ...
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 14,384

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Re. Dunhill Flake

    Sam Gawith Golden Glow (aka Medium Virginia Flake) deserves your consideration. It's currently hard to find, but it's not un-obtainium.

    You can also try a tin of Solani 633 as it might scratch the same itch.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Wow, lot's of great comments and recommendatiosn. Thanks all.

    Last time I tried it, I really disliked 507-c. That said, it wasn't aged at all. So maybe if I come back to it in another four years I'll like it.

    And Union Square is definitely growing on me. I think it might just hit the carving that Dunhill Flake had previous. I do think it is more subtle than Dunhill Flake, but I'm not confident I could distinguish them in a blind test.

    And I agree with JimInks--I think Capstan Gold is closer to Dunhill Flake than Capstan Blue is.

    I'm gonna try to work my way through all these suggestions (it may take a while). I've got Opening Night on order, and I'm eager to try to get some C&D Carolina Red Flake.

    One thing that has struck me while reading tobacco reviews (and comparing them to my own experiences), is how different our palettes are. I don't just mean that we have different preferences (we do of course), or that some of us can taste more accurately (also obviously true), but that we actually taste the same thing differently--like Cosmic suggests with cilantro. Something that one person says is dominant I can can't detect at all, and something that totally overwhelms me and kicks me in the face, other reviewers either can't find or note as only being a "hint."

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I have always eaten my carrots, but no matter how they are cooked, they taste bitter to me. Not exactly bitter, but like something that isn't ripe yet, green, back of the throat kinda sour-ish, but not really sour. And, since I was a kid, I have heard people talk about orangeish tasting carrots, sweet carrots, and savory...

    Recently, at dinner with friends,. I started asking them about their carrots... and it turns out there is a gene for some folks that makes it so that carrots taste different.

    I've never minded cilantro. Unless someone uses too much of it. Up until a few years ago, I had never even heard of cilantro.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. jiminks

    JimInks

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2012
    Posts: 31,566

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I don't think Sutliff's red Va.s match McClelland's either. Nothing does. But I do like them for their own merits.

    Ryeguy: I found with a few years of age, the 507-C gets pretty good. I'm not crazy about it when it's fresh; too acidic and grassy. Those attributes calm down after a bit of time. Union Square is good right off the bat, but I like that one with some age as well.

    Mac Baren Pure Virginia is a very good straight Va.

    The bottom line is that nothing will replace McClelland blends. The only thing you can do is to find something else you like to smoke.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  31. mso489

    mso489

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Feb 2013
    Posts: 25,552

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    After I change the cat boxes, I wash my hands and settle down with a nice blend, for something entirely different. Amen on not trying to match McClellands. They did their magic, and now they don't.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. hiplainsdrifter

    hiplainsdrifter

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 1,026

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I think that F&T Cut VA Plug and Aylesbury Lux Flake are both closer matches for Dunhill Flake than Gawith BBF. I like all three better than Dunhill Flake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. maxx

    maxx

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Apr 2015
    Posts: 718

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Buttery cat pee. Wasn’t that the secret ingredient in Royal Yacht?

    "Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect."
    ~ Samuel Johnson ~
    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. virginialover

    virginialover

    Senior Member
    Joined: Mar 2016
    Posts: 451

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Capstan: FLAKE GOLD and Fribourg & Treyer: VINTAGE are decent replacements for Dunhill: FLAKE.
    For 2010, Fribourg & Treyer: BLACKJACK could work.

    Now two of my favorites are Fribourg & Treyer: CUT VIRGINIA PLUG and Dan Tobacco: SKIPPER'S FLAKE that really capture the spirit of a quality Virginia flake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  35. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I'm here to report back on finding a replacement for Dunhill Flake:

    First, I've changed my mind on Union Square. I can definitely distinguish it from DF blind. US is a different beast from DF, and while it's okay, I'm not, as it turns out, all that fond of it in its own right. (I was really into it for about a week, and then it just stopped seeming so great)

    Second, C&D Opening night is fantastic. Certainly not the same flavor as DF, but a really excellent smoke and one I can (and do) keep going back to, bowl after bowl, day after day.

    Third, OGS has grown on me a lot (I quit cigarettes about a month ago, and I think my taste is changing some--tobaccos that didn't used to do anything for me are now quite nice). Again, not a substitute, but like Opening Night, a great smoke that rarely disappoints. I am reaching for this one quite often.

    Fourth, I just tried MacBaren H&H Pure Virginia. This one has a lot of promise as a replacement. Not spot on, but I think it is hitting many of the same notes. I'm still on my first bowl (and today is humid as hell, so not ideal for testing new tobaccos); once I've smoked a couple of ounces my opinion may change. But for now, this is the top contender for a substitute. (Maybe this will end up being another Union Square.)

    I have tried a bunch of others, and there are some recommendations I haven't been able to get my hands on (anything by Fribourg & Treyer for example).

    Posted 5 days ago #
  36. User has not uploaded an avatar

    jeff540

    Member
    Joined: Jan 2016
    Posts: 189

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I found a very close approximation to the McClelland tang recently in the form of Robert McConnell's Red Virginia. I don't mind sharing my observation since this blend is also nearly impossible to get now

    Posted 5 days ago #
  37. ryeguy

    ryeguy

    Member
    Joined: Oct 2017
    Posts: 144

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Good to know, in case I ever see it in stock.

    Posted 5 days ago #
  38. hawky454

    hawky454

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Feb 2016
    Posts: 2,842

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    MB Pure VA Flake is an excellent flake. I think if anything it will just keep growing on you. It has a bit of a deeper VA taste as compared to Dunhill Flake but I could see how it would be a good substitute. I also love OGS this time of year, just smokes great in the hot weather. Have you tried Erinmore Flake? Not that it’s anything like what you are trying to replace it’s another great summer smoke in my opinion.

    Posted 5 days ago #
  39. User has not uploaded an avatar

    oldtoby

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2011
    Posts: 610

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    C&D Opening Night is indeed good stuff.

    I've been pulling from a jar that has almost ten years on it and it just keeps getting better.

    Posted 3 days ago #

Reply

You must log in to post.

 

 

    Back To Top  | Back to Forum Home Page

   Members Online Now
   tulsagentleman, mumbles, draco, tnfan, skeeter456, georged, alaskanpiper, weezell, ebnash, papipeguy, sholto, ajohnb, workman