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Virginia Flake recommendation

(41 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by atskywalker
  • Latest reply from atskywalker
  1. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    I'm having a bowl of my 2013 Christmas Cheer and its blowing me away! Deep earthy sweetness almost caramel in taste with a heaviness and a luxuriousness that I haven't tasted before (I'm relatively new to pipe smoking). I love Virginia tobaccos but this is something else all together. For example, I love Union Square, it has an exuberance and youthfulness to it that is wonderful and is very tasty but also very different sweetness (I would say its the vibrant citrus notes) than what I experience with Xmas Cheer now.

    Is there a flake out there that is as deep as this taste of Xmas cheer with age when young :-)? I know age does wonders but I'm sure something out there must have a hint of this depth and musky sweetness of dark Virginias . Any suggestions?

    Cigarettes are the Chicken McNuggets of tobacco!
    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    McClellend Dark Star
    Rattray Marlin Flake
    Wessex Brigade Campain Dark Flake
    Solani Silver Flake
    Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake
    Mac Baren Old Dark Fired
    Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky
    Perterson University flake( this has a nice plum topping)

    These should keep you busy for a while.

    Harris
    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. agnosticpipe

    Orley

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    Orlik Golden Sliced - there's some debate whether it has Perique in it. IMO it doesn't.

    McClelland No. 2025 - called an English Cavendish, but is really a very different tasting Virginia, has a little Xanthi tobacco leaf in it. Just remember, Cavendish refers to a tobacco process, not a tobacco variety. The English use it to bring out the natural sugars in the tobacco, while others use the process to add other flavors.

    Have fun!

    The pipe smoker formerly know as agnostic pipe
    "Fried food, hard liquor, and tobacco, that's the holy trinity!"- Stacy Keach
    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. delkhouri

    delkhouri

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    McClellend Dark Star
    Rattray Marlin Flake
    Wessex Brigade Campain Dark Flake
    Solani Silver Flake
    Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake
    Mac Baren Old Dark Fired
    Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky
    Perterson University flake( this has a nice plum topping)

    These should keep you busy for a while.

    +1
    Listen to Harris.

    "I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand"
    ~ C.S. Lewis
    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. hiplainsdrifter

    hiplainsdrifter

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    It is amazing how much the genre of 'Virginia flakes' ranges in flavor. I tend to like the bright citrus notes a lot, and I think F&T Cut VA Plug is one of the best for that. I haven't had the 2013 Christmas Cheer, but I understand that it is straight orange Virginias? As far as earthy VAs, I am currently really digging Astley's #44, it has a lot more character then I expected.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. blueeyedogre

    blueeyedogre

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    Capstan Blue. You'd be missing out if you didn't add this to your Virginia flake search. I've tried Dunhill flakes, Orlik golden slices, SG Virginia flake, PS Luxury flake, Peterson university and Irish flake and none has surpass Capstan for me.

    "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." - Corinthians 16:13
    "Let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians." – Sir John A MacDonald
    "The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine." - Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. andrew

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    I really like McClellend's Old World Cake, it's bulk only and it states there's a topping on it but I never can really pick it up, it really flies under the radar for McC va's

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    nachman

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    McClelland Black Parrot is a Vaper, but the Virginias are quite sweet. I also would recommend Rattrays Old Gowrie and Rattray's 'Hal O The Wynd. I also would second cigrmaster's list with the exceptions of Old Dark Fired and Dark Strong Kentucky. When you add that much dark fired Kentucky it makes it a different animal altogether.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. mikestanley

    mikestanley

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    Rotary Navy Flake has (IMHO) nice depth when young, citrus notes kind of notes. It's worth a try.

    Mike S.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. escioe

    escioe

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    If you enjoy the red and orange Virginia flavors, you can't do much better than McCranie's Red Flake.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. rigmedic1

    rigmedic1

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    As much as I love Christmas Cheer, I think it a more bread like sort of taste. Peter Stokebyye Luxury Twist Flake is my go-to for a sweet, tasty smoke, but I like to add a couple shreds of Perique to bring out the Virginia. Capstan Blue and Orlick Red are my other go-to flakes for Virginia, and GL Pease Sixpence is a perfect red- Virginia with just a touch of Perique and Yellow Virginia to accent the Reds.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. smoketime

    smoketime

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    McClelland's Boston 1776 is a good one, too. To me very rich and deep. It seems to fly under the radar, so when I order it the tins are already aged. The last batch I got a few months ago came dated from 2010!

    "A very special Virginia Flake, created to celebrate the exceptional tobaccos of the United States of America. Red, Lemon and Orange Virginias, aged through summer sweats for over five years, then hard-pressed in cakes to age again, to mellow and marry and form this rich, bold tobacco long sought after by devoted flake smokers."

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. andrew

    Andy

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    G&H bright CR flake is another extremely good one that doesn't get talked about much. Probably my favorite.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    Thank you all so much. I'll make a list of upcoming purchases based on your suggestions and attend to my TAD

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. judcole

    Jud

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    I'll add the thumbs up for Marlin Flake - a recent discovery, but very good.

    You might enjoy Benjamin Hartwell Signature - another red flake.
    On a lighter note (tastewise) I am quite fond of SG Best Brown Flake and Dunhill Flake. (Light Flake in older incarnations.)

    Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
    Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close
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    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. tarak

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    So a lot of good flakes thrown out - but some that I don't think are comparable to what you are looking for. For example, flakes like Orlik Golden Sliced are good in their own right- but I don't think it will scratch your itch.

    I find McClellands have kind of their own profile - which I love. Now just know, Christmas Cheer is special for a reason- you simply won't find the same thing. However, some things which I think you will like:

    McClelland Blackwoods Flake - this has a sweet and tangy thing going on even when young - its definitely worth a try. If you like Christmas Cheer I really think you should give this a whirl to see if you like it right out of the tin.

    McClelland Dark Star- full confession - I haven't had it yet- I have some aging. But how I hear it spoken of...I think you'll like it. I heard it can be a bear to prep.

    Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake- flavors of brown sugar, caramel, etc. right out of the tin.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. cobguy

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    So a lot of good flakes thrown out - but some that I don't think are comparable to what you are looking for. For example, flakes like Orlik Golden Sliced are good in their own right- but I don't think it will scratch your itch.

    I find McClellands have kind of their own profile - which I love. Now just know, Christmas Cheer is special for a reason- you simply won't find the same thing. However, some things which I think you will like:

    McClelland Blackwoods Flake - this has a sweet and tangy thing going on even when young - its definitely worth a try. If you like Christmas Cheer I really think you should give this a whirl to see if you like it right out of the tin.

    Exactly what I was thinking ... Stick with McClelland and McCranie's for that signature taste.

    While all the McC's mentioned are worth trying, I have to 2nd the Blackwoods Flake to try next.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    After smoking a few more bowls of 1.5 years old Cheer 2013 I'm starting to notice that its quite similar to a new tin of Six Pence! Not sure if anyone here can relate to this connection.
    Interestingly Six Pence is a VaPer + Kentucky + a touch of some liquor!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    @blueeyedogre I found a tin of Capstan Blue at my local store from 2013. I'll pop that open when I finish my 1/2 tin of Cheer.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. troutface

    troutface

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    And sticking with McClelland I would also add Brindle Flake, which flys a bit under the radar and Butera Mature Ribbon, which is actually a broken Flake, also made by McClelland.

    "Each of you be a light unto yourself; betake yourself to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone beside yourself." -The Buddha
    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. menuhin

    menuhin

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    +1 on tarak & cobguy

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    @blueeyedogre, I just popped a tin of Capstan Blue (dated 2013). I can say that its very close to Christmas Cheer! Thanks :-). Only problem is that it has a bit of a bite to it. I'll dry it out a bit and try another bowl and see if the bite subsides. But YES... This is fantastic so far and I hope I can overcome the bite.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    atskywalker, Capstan Blue Flake comes at the perfect humidity, no need of drying. If it is biting you then it could be your technique( smoking too fast). It could also be you are packing too loosely, try a firmer pack so it feels like sipping a milkshake through a straw. I have smoked 4 tins of the Blue Flake so far and no bite at all. Also how are you preparing it? I do a cube cut with large cubes or fold and stuff, rubbing it out will produce a hotter smoke.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    Some choices that are frequently overlooked:

      Brigham Klondike Gold
      Dan Hamborger Veermaster, Tordenskjold Virginia Slices, Limerick
      Former's, both Cross Grain Flake & Straight Grain Flake
      Fribourg & Treyer Special Brown Flake

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

    hiplainsdrifter

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    I just popped a tin of Capstan Blue (dated 2013). I can say that its very close to Christmas Cheer!

    Weird. I think those two are completely different. Although I think both are very good.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. seacaptain

    seacaptain

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    I've only tried a few but this one stands out as the best so far - Wessex Brigade Campain Dark Flake

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. beefeater33

    beefeater33

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    Weird. I think those two are completely different. Although I think both are very good.
    I agree- to me they are very different. I get that rich dark sweetness from CC, and a less sweet, almost grain-like notes from the Capstan.....I love them both, but for different reasons.......

    "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream..."
    Willy Wonka
    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    All good choices. Capstan will bite if not smoked VERY slowly. I recently had the opportunity to try some Capstan Blue from 1938 and the bite was still there.

    Another thoroughly delicious smoke is McCranie's Red Flake and also Red Ribbon. These are single crop Virginias made from Red Virginia tobacco. While not complex, they are extraordinarily flavorful.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. mranglophile

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    Capstan will bite if not smoked VERY slowly.

    +1
    Also how are you preparing it? I do a cube cut with large cubes or fold and stuff, rubbing it out will produce a hotter smoke.

    +1

    And though very rare (for me at least) no matter how slow I smoke some things still bite. You will hear the "smoke slow" as the oft quoted cure all for good reason, but sometimes a tobacco just doesnt react with your bodies PH correctly.

    Do you rub the flake out?? If yes just get some McClelland #5100 in Bulk...not quite x-mas cheer and it's a ribbon vs a flake, but as I understand its not a single crop but very good none the less.

    Michael - Poulsb, WA

    Pipes are not like cars. A Chevy cannot drive like a Mercedes, but the lowly Stanwell can smoke like the lofty Chonowitsch, even though the latter far exceeds the Stanwell in beauty, grain, and craftsmanship. It is the briar and not the brand. There is no place for elitism among pipe smokers. - Fred Hanna
    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. User has not uploaded an avatar

    bigpond

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    Flavor depth is an odd, elusive thingy when it comes to Virginia. It doesn't take much effort to miss it, particularly with paler leaves. That said, I really like Butera Golden Cake and have recommended it several times here. It has all the citrus character, orange, lemon, citron, you want from lighter va, but it has a solid, funky, earthy, backbone that is very often lacking in a McClelland's sourced Virginia.

    Really, a top notch smoke (imho) and one that flies well under the radar.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  31. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    Although Capstan and CC are different, I thought Capstan is closer/more similar to CC than say Union Square. The only way I can express it that makes sense to me is that US has this youthful exuberance while CC & Capstan seemed older/darker to my palate. Hence the perception of similarity I guess.

    On another note, I started cubing flakes (in this case its Irish flake) and I'm getting intrigued regarding the potential. I can taste the difference and I like the burning characteristics but too early to say I've made up my mind. Thanks Harris!

    Also, the bite on Capstan subsided when I dried it. I'm starting to notice that I burn my tongue more often the wetter the tobacco. Wouldn't the level of moisture be a subjective thing? I remember also reading Greg Pease somewhere saying that the optimal level of moister is around 2.5%. My capstan tin was certainly above 2.5% :-).

    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. drezz01

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    This has been a great thread! I'm a big fan of Capstan Original Navy Cut for its dark, malty profile in comparison to many VA's bright, citrusy notes. I haven't found Capstan to be tooooo bitey but I go slow to the point of having to relight it often. If I do need to relight I typically take a bit of a break so that I'm not introducing flame to an already hot bowl.

    cigrmaster, tarak and seacaptain's praise of Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake sparked my interest. Pipestud's affirmation and the overall good reviews on tobaccoreviews were enough to push me over the edge. I ordered a couple of tins (one to smoke and one to cellar; a practice I am trying to get in to the habit of maintaining) as well as some Dunhill Flake and Solani 656: Aged Burley Flake which I have been meaning to try.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  33. drezz01

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    double post - apologies

    Posted 4 years ago #
  34. blueeyedogre

    blueeyedogre

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    I get where you're coming from, I tend to like my Virginia flake to be on the bold side. If you find the Blue a bit bold then maybe give the Yellow a shot. I find it to be a bit milder or try smoking it with a glass of soda (I prefer Dr. Pepper) as I find the acid in the soda help neutralize the sharpness of the Virginia. I'm also a big fan of the Christmas Cheer as well as McClelland's Vapers such as Beacon Extra and Dark Navy Broken Flake. That rich ketchup smell just gets my mouth watering.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  35. hiplainsdrifter

    hiplainsdrifter

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    Another thoroughly delicious smoke is McCranie's Red Flake and also Red Ribbon

    This is the closest thing that I can think of to the OP's original request- a recommendation that is similar to Christmas Cheer. Red Ribbon is spectacular and not to be missed by any Virginia lover. Wessex BCDF is another whole different critter in my book. Not like Capstan, not like CC, but very good. If you like BCDF, you should try Astley's 44- I think I prefer it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  36. User has not uploaded an avatar

    bigpond

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    f&t Blackjack

    Posted 4 years ago #
  37. drezz01

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    Another thoroughly delicious smoke is McCranie's Red Flake and also Red Ribbon

    This is the closest thing that I can think of to the OP's original request- a recommendation that is similar to Christmas Cheer. Red Ribbon is spectacular and not to be missed by any Virginia lover. Wessex BCDF is another whole different critter in my book. Not like Capstan, not like CC, but very good. If you like BCDF, you should try Astley's 44- I think I prefer it.

    I'm making my way through the first of two tins of red ribbon (2008) my SO muled across the border for me and quite enjoying it! I had a little bit of a hard time at first getting over the ketchup smell -- kind of like when you're expecting one flavour and hit with another -- it was just kind of discombobulating. But now that I've had some time with it and know what's coming I anticipate and enjoy smoking it!

    Capstan Original is still my go to, though I'm excited for the Dunhill Flake and Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake that are in the mail. I used Capstan to break in a new pipe as it was the only straight VA I had. I was paying extra attention to not smoking too hot yet not having to relight for the sake of the pipe but ended up having a superb smoke because of it. So far I've been enjoying VA's the most when I have 100% of my attention dedicated to them and can take a careful, measured approach to pulling out all that they have to give.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  38. 4nogginsmike

    4nogginsmike

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    I have about 20 lbs of straight VA from 2013, but some, Pease Laurel Heights (2007), Heinrich Curly (2003), Escudo (I know, a VA/Perique, 2003) have some age. In general aged tobacco has knocked back my socks; and in general I age for a minimum of 5 years.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  39. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    4 months later I'm smoking a bowl of Black Woods Flake and it seems to me to be very similar to my original request. I will certainly keep coming back here to to try mode of the recommendations.

    Can it seem to find McCranie's Red Flake and also Red Ribbon anywhere online. Pointers?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  40. dulgunz

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  41. atskywalker

    atskywalker

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    From their shipping policy page:

    At this time, we cannot ship out of the USA. Contact us for other shipping methods, rates, or questions.

    I'm in the North :-). Thank you though. I'll make sure I order next time I'm going south.

    Posted 3 years ago #

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