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Looking for a Good Basic Virginia Flake

(47 posts)
  • Started 8 months ago by lawdawg
  • Latest reply from woodsroad
  1. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    I've recently dug some Virginia flake from my cellar, which I bought several years ago when I first got deeper into pipe smoking. I tried a bunch of blends at that time, and found myself drawn mostly to English blends, which is most of what I smoke now (if I'm not smoking Carter Hall in a cob, that is). Anyhow, now that my technique has improved, I am finding that I am greatly enjoying a good Virginia flake. The tastes are seeming even more nuanced than those in a good English. The flakes I'm smoking right now are McClelland's Christmas Cheer and Dunhill Flake. McC's is now out of business as everyone knows, and Dunhill Flake is nowhere to be found.

    I'm looking for a good representative example of the Virginia Flake style. The notes I am appreciating most are the grassy, fresh-cut hay notes and the light "earthy" notes. I also like the fruity plum-like notes in the Christmas Cheer. Basically, I am liking everything about the flakes in my cellar. I look forward to hearing some recommendations from Virginia lovers.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  2. workman

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    I haven't tried that many straight virginia flakes yet, but the best two by far have been SG Full Virginia Flake and Capstan Blue Flake. FVF is more complex, darker, more difficult to master, but fits your description perfectly. It might also be difficult to find over there. Capstan is simpler, sweeter and one of the easiest flakes to handle. And It should be readily available, even in the U.S.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  3. cortezattic

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    Harris (cigrmaster) has posted an excellent list of Va flakes -- though red Va isn't represented.

    For a decent economy bulk, Sutliff 507c is a sleeper.

    Lately, I've taken to Dunhill Dark Flake (contains Perique).

    Mac Baren's Va flakes are always a safe bet. HH Pure Virginia gets good reviews, but I haven't tried it yet.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 8 months ago #
  4. sittingbear

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    Workman mentioned FVF... I actually prefer SG Best Brown Flake over FVF. I, too, love a good viriginia flake, and I've never been able to "get" FVF. Another good one is Sutliff 507C Viriginia Slices, which is very affordable and comes in bulk. Another good one is Mac Baren Harold Hallberg Mature Virginia. There are a lot of great VAs out there! Happy exploring!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  5. mikethompson

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    Would Petersons Irish Flake be considered a Virginia flake? I had some the other night and found it very rich, but a tad heavy on the nic hit.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  6. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

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    The first two I would recommend anyone to try are Orlik Golden Sliced and Capstan Blue, both currently very available.

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  7. mso489

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    I second the motion on OGS.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  8. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    I think the bright leaf Virginia flakes would be best to start. Orlik Golden Sliced, Astleys 109, Wessex Gold Slice and Mac Baren Pure Virginia to name a few good ones. I love SG Virginia flakes but I don't recommend them to start. I'd recommend you dry the flakes as much as you think is enough and then dry them more, at least to start. Smoke slow, Virginia Flakes are less forgiving than English blends IMHO. The Harris list of Virginia flakes is a very good one.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  9. dmcmtk

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  10. brooklynpiper

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    I prefer GH&Co’s Bright CR Flake over Gawith Full Virginia or Medium Virginia flakes.
    Any of the brown flakes are nice too.
    Haven’t had MacBaren’s HH Virginia Flake or Sutliff 507.
    Maybe Solani VA flake is worth a try for what you’re looking for.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  11. drbenway

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    I give another vote to capstan blue. I just started smoking it about 5 months ago as I too have just gotten to the point of being able to appreciate VA flake tobacco. It has become a regualar smoke for me. Easy to smoke and decent nic.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  12. wolflarsen

    wolflarsen

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    Opening Night from C&D. Try a tin. I doubt you'll be sorry that you did.
    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/2854/cornell-diehl-opening-night

    Posted 8 months ago #
  13. tfdickson

    tfdickson

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    I love McCelland VA’s and the most heavily stocked blends in my cellar are 40th Aniversary and the Christmas Cheer I have stocked up on every year going back to 2002. I spent January through July trying every available non McC VA that I could get my hands on. For me it wasn’t even close- MacB HH Pure VA is my favorite VA flake on the market today. It neither bright nor dark, right down the middle. It’s also nice that all of the tins I’ve bought up through about a month ago have all been inner in 2015, giving a 3 year jump on the aging. It’s now my #3 most heavily stocked in the cellar.

    Ted

    Posted 8 months ago #
  14. sasquatch

    sasquatch

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    There's a few good straight-between-the-eyes Virginias left out there (obtainable). The Capstans are both lightly topped and fairly "bright" smoking compared to British style (Brown Flake) offerings.

    Union Square from GL Pease and the aforementioned Opening Night from C/D are available - no nonsense middle of the road stuff.

    Erik Stokkebye 1855 is uncased, a little sweeter and brighter than Union for sure.. more like the old Mellow Mallard from Dan.

    But pickings are thin right now - the euro stuff gets bought up fast. Fribourg, Rattrays etc.

    Oh the little yellow tin from Mac Baren, the "virginia flake" that stuff is real good too.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    pilotage16

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    My all time favorite it Capstan Yellow, as long as you don’t mind a slight topping taste. A refreshing smoke, especially in the summer.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  16. pianopuffer

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    +1 on the Newminster.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  17. seacaptain

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    Dunhill flake if you can still find it. Also, Wessex Gold, again if you can find it. GLP Union Square is also a good basic VA flake.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  18. cortezattic

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    @mikethompson, Peterson Irish Flake is Burley based, with Kentucky and Virginia.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    artvandelay007

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    If you’re looking for value you might try Sutliff Virginia slices. Otherwise I’d go with Samuel Gawith FVF or BBF.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  20. timt

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    Another vote here for OGS. Nice and bright and its easy to find and relatively cheap. Also, it's already tinned up and ready to cellar.

    Dunhill dark flake for a plummy, slightly spicy choice but it may not be around much longer.

    Tim
    Posted 8 months ago #
  21. cortezattic

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  22. witchofthehollow

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    Aged Sam gawith fvf...

    Posted 8 months ago #
  23. josephcross

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    I’d recommend Solani 633. There is perique in it, but it will hit the notes you are looking for. It’s got a hay like/fig thing going on that is very pleasing.
    Also FVF aged or new.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    ukbob

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    Can't go wrong with OGS.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  25. eggrollpiper

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    So many recommendations and it looks like nobody's suggested Peter Stokebyes Luxury Navy Flake. I suspect because everyone wants it in stock when they need more? This is the straight Virginia flake to judge all others by. Imho. It's great right out of the bag. The newminster version is vial to me and must be aged at least a year to to tolerate.
    And as others have mentioned Sam Gawith full Virginia flake is supreme as well. Really a treat. Macbarons Va. Flake also not too shabby. And that's about it for me unless your looking to add some perique to the mix...
    As for Dunhill I think it's all a hoax. I'd put money on the full product line being available a year from now.. until then their dead to me.. l o l

    Posted 8 months ago #
  26. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    Thank you all so much for your recommendations. I've added some to the P&C cart for my next TAD order (whenever that might be, since I've already made two large orders in the last two weeks 8O). I'm really looking forward to trying these, especially Gawith FVF whenever it might come back in stock, though I understand it's a bit of a temperamental smoke which might take some effort and experimentation.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  27. seldom

    seldom

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    Dan Tobacco Hamburger Veermaster is one I like. It is a straight Virginia flake that is on the mild/mellow side of the spectrum, but I find it tasty and nice. I think this is a good flake to understand what a Virginia flake tastes like. It is not one to hit you over the head with complex flavor and nicotine.

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 8 months ago #
  28. ashdigger

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    Great recommendations all. OGS is the king of easy Virginia's. Easy to pack, stuff or whatever and very forgiving when smoked.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 8 months ago #
  29. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    In my P&C cart for next order I've got:

    - Mac Baren's Capstan Blue (I think it's labeled "original navy flake")

    - C&D Opening Night

    - Orlick Golden Sliced

    - Sutliff's Virginia Slices (I like to round out my cellar with decent bulks for those nights when I've already had several pipes - and several drinks - and I just want something decent to fill my pipe since the nuances of the finer blends are basically lost on my at that point)

    On the list to try another time:

    - SG Full Virginia Flake (of course, it seems to be the most loved VA flake from what I'm reading)

    - GLP Union Square

    - Mac Baren HH Pure Virginia

    After I eventually place my next order and have some time to sample the blends a few times each, I'll post back here with my thoughts. Thank you all for your recommendations. It's nice to know that I can come here any time and get some good guidance when I'm looking to branch out and try new styles, or just new blends.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  30. paulie66scandinavian

    Paul

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    LawDawg,You have picked some good choices there,,

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 8 months ago #
  31. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    LawDawg,You have picked some good choices there,,

    Thanks to the helpful members of this forum, and the reviewers at tobaccoreviews.com

    Gotta love the internet

    Posted 8 months ago #
  32. npod

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    Good choices.

    When I started, I was told as below. I can now confer it's solid advise. You did good and got two of the classic or prototype Virginia tobaccos.

    Pure viriginia tobacco, and especially flakes, are a spectrum from bright (grassy/hay) --- middle (plum/fruit) --- earthy (rich, earth, bread/yeast).

    1. Orlick = Golden Sliced (bright, grassy/hay)
    2. Middle = Capstan Blue (Fruit, some yeast, rich)
    3. Earthy = SG Full Virginia Flake (Earthy, bready/yeasty)

    Caveat: The European "Brown Virginia" flakes are kinda in the Middle, but also in a category of their own. These flakes are kinda hard to get in the U.S. due to supply. But unique and worth grabbing when available.

    Neal
    Posted 8 months ago #
  33. mso489

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    Did anyone mention PS Luxury Navy Flake? I've always enjoyed it.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  34. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    Smokingpipes has Gawith FVF in stock, so I placed an order:

    - Orlick Golden Slice
    - Mac Baren Capstan Blue
    - SG Full Virginia Flake

    Looking forward to trying the full Virginia spectrum, as npod advised. I'll start with the bright Orlick.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  35. npod

    npod

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    ^^^Great Start^^^
    Perfect. Those 3 alone will give you a perfect foundation for virginia flakes. I cellar all three very deeply. If my house was one fire, those 3 alone would be first out the door (well, a few others too, but you get the point).

    Posted 8 months ago #
  36. woodsroad

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    I’m smoking Stokkebye Luxury Twist Flake right now. Always an enjoyable smoke. 507c is also an excellent STG product, and I’ve put away more of that than I’ll smoke in my lifetime.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  37. unkleyoda

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    I'm late to the party, and a bit of an echo too.

    Orlik Golden Sliced
    Capstan Blue
    GLP Union Square
    PS Luxury Navy Flake (although it does have perique)


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  38. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    I just wanted to report back on my Virginia flake progress. Thank you all again for your recommendations and steering me in the right direction.

    I've been smoking Orlik Golden Sliced on and off since last week. I've had about five bowls so far. I am really enjoying it, though it does not have a great deal of depth or complexity. It's pretty much all straight-forward hay and sunshine When I smoke it reeeeaaal sloooow and just about let it go out, I get a hint of raisins. If those dark fruity notes are more prominent in Capstan Blue, and even more so in Gawith Full Virginia Flake, then I expect I'm going to like the even better than OGS.

    That being said, I expect there will be times when I'd seek out the straight forward hay / grass flavor of OGS. It reminds me of walking through a freshly cut hay field still covered in morning dew. And you guys weren't kidding about how easy OGS is to smoke! It's less fussy than any of the English blends in my rotation.

    I've dedicated two pipes with tall slim bowls as "flake pipes." One is a newer Savinelli 707, the other is an old Comoy's seconds "Sunrise" Canadian. Both are serving their roles well, and I am looking forward to smoking through my tins of Capstan Blue and FVF next. I've got a tin of Opening Night waiting in the wings as well.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  39. workman

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    Good for you. I am not a fan of OGS. It is just too light and lemony. Like a glass of thin lemonade. It is an occasional smoke, though. I prefer it in a small pipe, as I get bored with it if it lasts too long. The other two are firm favourites. And Capstan is as easy to handle as OGS. FVF is not, but it's worth it.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  40. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    Good for you. I am not a fan of OGS. It is just too light and lemony. Like a glass of thin lemonade. It is an occasional smoke, though. I prefer it in a small pipe, as I get bored with it if it lasts too long. The other two are firm favourites. And Capstan is as easy to handle as OGS. FVF is not, but it's worth it.

    I also thought it was too light during my first bowl, but have been enjoying it more after that. I'm definitely getting a lot of citrus as well, which I neglected to mention.

    I'm glad to hear that about Capstan. I'm really looking forward to it, knowing that it was a favorite of J.R.R. Tolkein. At the same time, I think it's silly to concern myself about who smoked it in the past, but being a life-long Tolkein fan (thanks Dad ) I am a bit biased and can't help it.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  41. workman

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    The Tolkien reference is a fun fact. If Capstan Blue was a bad blend, it would not make it any better. It just happens to be a great blend. I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was about 12 and was totally consumed by it. I liked the movies as well. Not The Hobbit, though. That was rape.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  42. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    The Tolkien reference is a fun fact. If Capstan Blue was a bad blend, it would not make it any better. It just happens to be a great blend. I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was about 12 and was totally consumed by it. I liked the movies as well. Not The Hobbit, though. That was rape.

    @ your Hobbit analysis... I agree completely on each of those issues

    Posted 8 months ago #
  43. sparroa

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    Just about every VA under the sun has been mentioned but most of them are excellent choices so I doubt you will be led too far astray.

    Full Virginia Flake is one of my favourites - when it smokes well, there is almost nothing better. I find the aroma especially enjoyable for a straight Virginia; there's just something about those Samuel Gawith Virginias that I can't get enough of. The tin I'm smoking now has about five years on it and that certainly doesn't hurt but it is good stuff at any age.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  44. mechanic

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    How does 507c compare to ogs?

    "I'm a kind person, I'm kind to everyone, but if you are unkind to me, then kindness is not what you will remember me for." - Al Capone
    Posted 3 months ago #
  45. ashdigger

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    How does 507c compare to ogs?

    It's less citrusy, but it is well worth it and its a great value.

    I just pulled the trigger on 5 more pounds ...after tasting some with a 1 1/2 years on it.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  46. mechanic

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    Nice i thank il pick up some. Im enjoying ogs fresh got some to age. So think il get some 507c before its all cellared.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  47. woodsroad

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    Here's a thread on 507c

    Posted 3 months ago #

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