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Please Recommend Some *Sweet* (Less Hay-Like, Non-Aro) Virginias.

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  1. futureman

    futureman

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    I'm developing quite a sweet tooth when it comes to tobacco. And it's the sweetness of non-aros that I really enjoy. Based on various reviews and recommendations, it looks like both Marlin Flake and Capstan Blue are well worth a try. I've had McC's 5100, HOTW, Old Gowrie, Dunhill Flake, FVF, and a couple of others. But it was Old Gowrie that left me wanting more sugary, less tart Virginias.

    What do you recommend?

    Edit: Corrected capitalization in title per Rule #9. L.
    Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine

    A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, "You are mad; you are not like us."

    -St. Anthony the Great
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    McClelland's Blackwoods Flake has a natural sweetness, a favorite, and a good place to start for the sweetness you seek. Another well loved blend here (and a favorite of mine as well) is Hearth & Home Anniversary Kake -- notes of plum, not spice, provide the sweetness and IMO, the AK is one of, if not the, best blend from Master Blender Russ Ouelette.

    A few flakes I enjoy and cellar are sweet: Peterson University Flake (nuanced and subtle fruit sweetness) and the Erinmore Flake, not the Erinmore Mixture, is quite sweet and fruity; the latter is almost verging on an aromatic, but I like it. You may also enjoy Cornell & Diehl After Hours Flake or the Fribourg & Treyer Special Brown Flake, both have a nice rum note and are delicious.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. futureman

    futureman

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    Thanks Rothnh. I may avoid the AK for now, if only because I'm sensitive to perique when it's used more than a light condiment. Blackwoods Flake is certainly on the list, however.

    And the name "Fribourg & Treyer Special Brown Flake" alone is enough to compel a purchase.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. tarak

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    Dang, I thought I could beat Roth to the punch!

    I'll second Blackwoods Flake. It's been mouth watering sweet with just a hint of tanginess for me.

    Full Virginia Flake wasn't super sweet, but I don't find it "grasslike".

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. flyguy

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    Roth is right again! I third Blackwoods Flake.

    “Apples for walking, and a pipe for sitting.”
    ― Samwise Gamgee
    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. futureman

    futureman

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    That's a wicked lookin' axe ya got there, tarak. And thanks for the recommendation, too!

    EDIT: thanks to you as well, flyguy.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. northernneil

    northernneil

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    I find the majority of McClelland Virginia flakes offer a good sweetness (classic VA 2010, FM2000, Christmas Cheer, Blackwoods,etc). Dunhill Flake also offers a nice subtle sweetness wen sipped.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. jah76

    jah76

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    While the Marlin Flake has perique in it, I dont find it over the top. I'm very partial to the stuff and smoke it often. I'd also toss McCelland's Tudor Castle and Beacon into the ring. I know Tudor Castle has orientals in it, but it is a rich sweet smoke. I'm really enjoying my first tin.

    Beacon to me is savory like the juices from a brisket. There's a slight orange zest thing going on at times but I don't find it to be an everyday smoke.

    EDIT: Shoot forgot one of my favorites. 4Noggins Prairie Wind.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. futureman

    futureman

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    OK. Just ordered some Capstan Blue and Blackwoods Flake. Look forward to trying them both.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I may avoid the AK for now, if only because I'm sensitive to perique when it's used more than a light condiment.

    I like my Perique as a condiment as well -- like black pepper on a fried egg.

    The Perique in Anni Kake is processed in a rather unique way, so the sweet plumb comes out really well, while the spice is more like baking spices, not at all peppery. Russ Ouelette did a great job with this one. AK is my favorite Hearth & Home blend.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I'm a wee bit confused by the thread title, because you say Virginias there, but then go on to mention a number of mixed blends.

    A straight Va will almost always have a hint of a grassy/hay quality to a greater or lesser extent, it is in the nature of the leaf. If you are talking mixtures though, then the possibilities are almost endless, there are few blends which do not contain some Va.

    If I have totally misunderstood, then feel free to correct/ignore me as you see fit!

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Peter, you're correct, of course, but some of us often (rather incorrectly) "lump" virginias to include not just pure virginias per se, but virginia forward blends such as Va/Pers, Va/Burs and the like.

    It's also important to note that many "virginia" blends, purported to be all virginia leaves, in fact do contain a bit of good burley to "round them out," but may not indicate burley as an ingredient in the blend. Dunhill Virginia Flake is one example of this.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Cheers Roth. Is Dunhill Virginia Flake what we call Dunhill Flake over here? If so, I certainly didn't know that about it.

    Returning to suggestions for those looking for something a little softer and sweeter in the Va department I always think of Mac Baren Virginia Flake, as you may have noticed before!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. brdavidson

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    Mac Baren Virginia #1 is one of my favourites, there is some "hay like" taste to it, but I mostly get a caramel, brown sugar taste from that. I absolutely love the stuff

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Every time I mention Mac Baren Virginia Flake it seems to get confused with the Virginia #1, do you not have the former in the States?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. futureman

    futureman

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    Good catch, Peter. I suppose I should have said "Virginia forward blends."

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. brdavidson

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    Peter, I was simply stating my preference for Virginia #1 as a blend, my post had nothing to do with your post, there was no confusion.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. cigrmaster

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    future, here are a some of my favorite sweet Virginia's.

    Capstan Blue Flake
    Dunhill Flake
    Fribourg & Treyer Cut Virginia Plug, Vintage and Special Brown
    Rotary Navy Cut... topped with rum and nice and sweet.
    Astleys 44 and 109
    Wessex Brown Virginia, Gold Virginia, Campaign Brigade, Gold Brick
    Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake
    Hamborger Veermaster.... this latest batch needs some age to get it where it used to be.
    Peterson University Flake

    Harris
    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. tamer291

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    Futureman you really should try AK. As Rothnh mentioned, the perique is very mild which is why I enjoy it. I have a tried other Va/Per and have found nothing compares to AK.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Cheers Roth. Is Dunhill Virginia Flake what we call Dunhill Flake over here? If so, I certainly didn't know that about it.

    I think so, yes. Well, in the States we just have what is labeled as Dunhill Flake nowadays. I've always thought the DF did contain a bit of burley and read confirmation of this. Of course, I don't know for sure, but it wouldn't be surprising, since blends do not always list all the types of tobacco, especially when used as a condiment.

    Every time I mention Mac Baren Virginia Flake it seems to get confused with the Virginia #1, do you not have the former in the States?

    Yes, both of these are available here in the USA. I've never smoked the former though; the latter is ribbon cut bright virginia.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Peter, I was simply stating my preference for Virginia #1 as a blend, my post had nothing to do with your post, there was no confusion.
    Cool, the confusion was clearly all mine courtesy of posts past!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. salewis

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    I would suggest:

    Hamborger Veermaster (flake) by Dan Tobacco
    Dunhill Flake
    McClelland St. James Woods
    Rattray Old Gowrie

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. blendtobac

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    Any blend with stoved (black) Virginia will have a more intense sweetness. I use it in our Virginia Night, which I turn to frequently when the Virginia bug stikes me.

    Russ

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. dochudson

    dochudson

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    Gawith, Hoggarth & Co's.. Bosun Cut Plug

    I Enjoy Aromatics
    I Enjoy Peterson Pipes
    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. undecagon

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    Harris, I'm suprised Navigator didn't make your list.

    I'd also toss in Cairo for a suggestion. It's probably been 3 or 4 years since I've had it (gosh...more maybe?) but from what I remember, I think you'd like it.

    "I said NO camels, that's FIVE camels...can't you count?!"
    AJHvibes.com
    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. cigrmaster

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    undecagon, the OP was looking for Va's, I did not mention any vaburs that I like which of course includes Navigator.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. gwtwdbss

    Chris

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    Great list Harris, those are all deliciously sweet VA's. Yum!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. cigrmaster

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    undecagon, I just realized that I listed University Flake which does have some burley in it.

    Chris, thanks, I have a sweet tooth for my blends and all of those hit the spot for me.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. fishingandpipes

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    Fribourg and Treyer Cut Blended Plug is super sweet to me.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  30. cigrmaster

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    fishingandpipes, I wish I could smoke Cut Blended Plug because it is sweet and delicious, unfortunately the reds in it bite me bad and I cannot tolerate it. It is a fine blend from a great house.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  31. futureman

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    Harris, I purchased a tin of Capstan Blue after reading your review of it. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Indeed, it would be superb with some age on it. Thanks for taking the time to discuss it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  32. cigrmaster

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    future, glad to hear you are enjoying the Capstan, I agree it will be even better with age, but I sure enjoy it fresh as well. I think in ten years this blend could be one of the finest flakes on the market.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  33. taerin

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    I'm really surprised no one mentioned Peter Stokkebye's Luxury Bullseye Flake. It is naturally sweet due to the black cavendish in the center of every flake. It is very unique, flavorful, and cheap in bulk. I am trying his Luxury Twist Flake as well to see if that is a little less tonguebitey and its very cheap, since my tongue is super sensitive, you probably will never feel it like I do. It would be nice to find something inexpensive that I could cellar and that would save my tongue from agony. Right now that is Orlik Golden Sliced which bites less hard, but still bites too hard to smoke every day.

    "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
    Mark Twain
    Posted 5 years ago #
  34. peckinpahhombre

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    I recommend Brigham's Klondike Gold (now one of my favourite blends) or Stonehaven

    Posted 5 years ago #
  35. cigrmaster

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    eric, I cannot smoke the Stokkebye flakes because of the reds in them, they bite me too bad. For my tastes the best bulks for no bite and great flavor is SG Best Brown, St James and FVF. Also Mac Baren ODF is a very good value and I get no bite from that either.

    peck, I agree, the Klondike Gold is a very sweet great tasting flake. I am on my second tin and have been enjoying it as much as almost any flake in my rotation. It reminds me of John Aylesbury Luxury Flake which is impossible to get.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  36. taerin

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    Thanks for the suggestions Harris! I had asked you about them in my pm, but it seems that you answered me early! I second the FVF as having no bite (when it is dried correctly). I can't wait to try the BBF I have, I'm very excited as you have reviewed it so highly for so long. I was thinking it was the perique that bit me in the Bullseye Flakes and ordered the Twist Flake to test that theory out. The bullseye doesn't bite me that much, just enough to annoy me, so I still smoke it as the flavor is amazing. At some point I really need to get something in a pound in bulk so I can age it, in that quantity it would take me 5-10 years at to smoke it all. I have quite a bit of Orlik Golden Sliced due to its low cost and how much aging improves it. I can smoke OGS maybe 3 days back to back before I have to quit from bite, so it is almost there.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    @Eric - I am troubled by your comments about bite, a tobacco is certainly less of a pleasure if you have to give it up after 3 days. Are you happy with your technique when smoking Va or mixtures thereof? Because a lot of these are seriously meant for sipping, anything more aggressive can punish you.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  38. taerin

    Eric

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    @Peter I'm quite happy about my technique, it takes me much longer than most to smoke a pipe, I'm very slow at it. A medium sized pipe takes me 1.5 hours to smoke (I usually quit early due to nic issues), takes my friends and father 40 minutes. Conversely, they suffer no bite but I do. I would like to think my sensitivity comes with positives, I seem to get a lot more flavor and nuances from "mild" blends than most do. Another good reference point is a "legend" by MM is a 1-1.25 hour smoke for me with a flake last time I timed it. I find fold and stuff method with VA's gives the longest smoking time, since you can't really light all of it on the first go really well, but it eventually lights up semi-evenly with lots of tamping.

    I also have many blends that I enjoy which have zero bite including FVF which is a straight Virginia, Moontrance (aromatic), the Middle Earth Series, and the Frog Morton series. I could smoke those 3 times a day, every day if I wanted to. I'm starting to wonder if I am sensitive to red Virginias like Harris is.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Cool, thank you for not treating my remarks as impertinent! It may just be that the mystery of "body chemistry" or some such is affecting you in some way. I like the way you make a positive out of it though, by savouring nuances, great attitude right there.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  40. taerin

    Eric

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    I'm a very positive person with very thick skin, the only way anyone can get to me is by direct blatant disrespect. It has never happened here in over the year I have been here. I could understand why you made the comments you did, I have voiced the same exact concern at people who have claimed bite on blends that do not bite me the same way. I think in the end a lot of it is chemistry and in skill. I have had 3 years to get my skill down pact, I have a lot to learn and blends do bite me less each year as my skill improves, I just don't see how I will improve enough for certain blends to stop biting entirely at this point. I'm hoping OGS will stop entirely because it is so close to the verge where I feel nothing at all. Bullseye Flake is far from that point however, it's a dammed shame because I love the flavor so much!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  41. User has not uploaded an avatar

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    It's really impossible to determine just what one's body chemistry will cause an issue.

    It is what it is.

    The good news is, what causes you problems is likely something another piper loves, so it's easy to trade

    Posted 5 years ago #
  42. taerin

    Eric

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    And that's why I love our trading section so much, a thousand cheers to Kevin for being understanding and making it an option!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  43. cortezattic

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    There have been lots of good suggestions made so far. Something Eric mentioned earlier that is worth emphasizing is
    Stokkebye Luxury Twist Flake. All Va and to me, very sweet and milky.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 5 years ago #

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