Best "Bulk" Navy Flake/Straight VA Flake

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PipeIT

Lifer
Nov 14, 2020
4,376
26,145
Hawaii
🤷‍♂️ my limited experience anyway had been…..16oz sealed box were flakes, and partial orders were broken up. How they got broken up, I don’t know nor do I care.

If I had to take a guess, when you really think about it, with several brands out there advertised as a flake, like C&D Carolina Red Flake, and many other brands coming in this manner of broken up flakes, I’m sure we have these types of smokers that aren’t concerned.

But, when you really consider the process/making of flakes, their history and so called smoking differences, then to the Flake Aficionado, I know these smokers want a flake, not broken.

I too, when looking at so called Flake brands, that I believe are flakes, I want them that way.

Here are some brands I know for a fact, since I’ve smoked them, are 100% flakes, and would anyone really want to smoke them, if later, they started coming all broken up?

I can’t image these coming now all crumbled up. :(

Solani Aged Burley Flake
St. James Flake
S.G. FVF
Sir John’s Flake
1792
Sam’s Flake
hamborger Veermaster
 
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PipeIT

Lifer
Nov 14, 2020
4,376
26,145
Hawaii
Yup if you want perfectly presented flakes you need to get the box. If not it's hit or miss you might get perfect flakes or you might get shake or a bit of both. The only way to guarantee perfect flakes is by the box

I get how as a Bulk, it can have handling issues causing this, but then, the so called Bulk System should change. There’s nothing complicated about placing flakes in a box and shipping them, and then taking them and storing when ready for sale.

Think about it, the year 2023, and companies can’t figure out how to cost effectively safely package and ship, and then later companies storing and selling.

Don’t take me the wrong way, I’m not on a anyone’s side, and I truly appreciate all the companies in this business out there, I just don’t believe in excuses, I always believe there’s a way to improve and make better, and for now, this just comes across haphazard and lazy IMHO.
 
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Puffaluffaguss

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 30, 2021
626
2,084
32
The City Different
I get how as a Bulk, it can have handling issues causing this, but then, the so called Bulk System should change. There’s nothing complicated about placing flakes in a box and shipping them, and then taking them and storing when ready for sale.

Think about it, the year 2023, and companies can’t figure out how to cost effectively safely package and ship, and then later companies storing and selling.

Don’t take me the wrong way, I’m not on a anyone’s side, and I truly appreciate all the companies in this business out there, I just don’t believe in excuses, I always believe there’s a way to improve and make better, and for now, this just comes across haphazard and lazy IMHO.
Lazy yes but in the business sense of things the have to sell everything they buy or they lose money. I've bought pounds of flake tobacco, put it in jars and just from handling it, it would separate and what not. Then by the time I get near the end of said jar all that remains is shake and some smaller flake pieces. I just assume when I buy anything that is also sold as bulk like G&H bobs chocolate flake that the best flakes are used for the 16oz box and whatever is left gets tinned. Because the las tin of Bob chocolate I opened there were alot of broken flakes so sense it was a tin and not bulk they must use the last of the batch for tins just like retailers sell the shaky stuff last for no other reason then profits.
 

PipeIT

Lifer
Nov 14, 2020
4,376
26,145
Hawaii
@seanv What’s the laugh emoji for on both of my replies, what’s the humor you see here?
🤔

I’m just trying to figure out a way, if possible to improve this for everyone.

Actually I find this situation quite bothersome, like, just because we buy in bulk, means we are a bunch of cheap asses, so throw them the scrapes out of the bottom of the barrel, I believe is wrong.

Bulk, or tin, there’s no excuses accepting here for this. Regardless of how we purchase, the quality should be the same, and as pipe smokers we should demand it of companies.
 
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orvet

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 1, 2023
237
723
Willamette Valley of Oregon
Just getting back into pipe smoking after a 20-year hiatus, many of these bulk Blends are new to me but the best one I have smoked so far has been PS Bullseye flake. It smokes very clean and dry. Great flavor and I love the perique.
 

Perimeter_Road

Might Stick Around
Oct 27, 2021
62
697
Berkeley, California
Hmm interesting, I’ve not smoked this, but have always read and been told the honey and rum are quite light. 🤔
The sauce has a strong smell when fresh, almost like a cologne type of smell, but is more subdued once lit and doesn’t come through in the taste as much. I think a little age probably helps.

It’s possible the batch I got was just a bit heavy handed on the topping.

I liked the tin I bought enough to buy a box to put away for the future.
 

rmbittner

Lifer
Dec 12, 2012
2,759
1,994
I get how as a Bulk, it can have handling issues causing this, but then, the so called Bulk System should change. There’s nothing complicated about placing flakes in a box and shipping them, and then taking them and storing when ready for sale.

Think about it, the year 2023, and companies can’t figure out how to cost effectively safely package and ship, and then later companies storing and selling.

Don’t take me the wrong way, I’m not on a anyone’s side, and I truly appreciate all the companies in this business out there, I just don’t believe in excuses, I always believe there’s a way to improve and make better, and for now, this just comes across haphazard and lazy IMHO.
But the fact is you’re paying less for bulk, in part, because it doesn’t have extra packaging and more pampered handling. From my long-ago pipe shop experience, we got bulks in either 5- or 10-pound bags, which were stored under controlled temperature/humidification and from which we filled orders. After getting jostled around week after week, dropped on the floor, etc., there’s little chance a solid flake will remain solid.

If the bulk system were to change, so would the price. And if you’re willing to pay a higher price, buy the packaged flake.
 

SBC

Lifer
Oct 6, 2021
1,511
7,218
NE Wisconsin
I didn't realize that people cared so much whether a flake was broken up.
My fold-and-stuff still breaks up a flake pretty well anyway. I roll it around and separate the strands while stuffing, so I don't really care if it comes all broken up. I just create a stack of parallel strands and put it in my pipe.
Sure, there is something visually satisfying about a perfect stack of flakes that look like bacon or jerky or fruit leather ... but I'm not paying for that.
 
Jul 26, 2021
2,126
8,803
Metro-Detroit
I didn't realize that people cared so much whether a flake was broken up.
My fold-and-stuff still breaks up a flake pretty well anyway. I roll it around and separate the strands while stuffing, so I don't really care if it comes all broken up. I just create a stack of parallel strands and put it in my pipe.
Sure, there is something visually satisfying about a perfect stack of flakes that look like bacon or jerky or fruit leather ... but I'm not paying for that.
To that effect, I've been pulling my flakes apart like string cheese before stuffing them. I also really enjoy Amphora's Virginia blend, which is advertised as a broken flake.

While it would be nice to receive perfect flakes in bulk format, it doesn't seem practical when just cellophane bag protects it in transit and the vendor is using a tub to place multiple bulk orders. Maybe I would have different thoughts if the flake came as crumbs instead of just being broken.
 

Zeno Marx

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 10, 2022
233
1,251
From my long-ago pipe shop experience, we got bulks in either 5- or 10-pound bags, which were stored under controlled temperature/humidification and from which we filled orders. After getting jostled around week after week, dropped on the floor, etc., there’s little chance a solid flake will remain solid.
This. At shops, they were dealing with 5 and 10LB giant bags in a box. They were potentially handled a hundred times before the bag was finished. At these big online shops, they're dealing in either barrels or giant boxes that dwarf 10LBers. Again, potentially handled hundreds of times before getting to the bottom. There's simply no way around it. Digging into the giant box or barrel for a pound, ending up with 17 or 18oz in the ziplock, pulling bits at a time out to get to 16oz. Then people ordering 1oz and 2oz samples, pulling bits out to get down to the ordered weight. And they don't have the luxury of dealing with a customer at a counter, casually talking and casually weighing up an order. They're on a time crunch, filling as many orders as possible. Basically mindless factory work, really. Throwing boxes around. Throwing the finished ziplocks around for an order. Speed and relative efficiency.

I understand what PipeIT is saying though. My last order of Stokkebye 41 Cube Cut had no cubes in it at all. 1LB of tiny squares of leaf rather than 3-dimensional cubes. It was a bummer. And it does smoke differently than in nice cubes. I was disappointed. What to do?
 

PipeIT

Lifer
Nov 14, 2020
4,376
26,145
Hawaii
I certainly understand how the packaging sent from the companies, could be an issue, and then the difficulties trying to deal with the packaging on the receiving end.

But, hopefully in time, something can be improved.

I did receive a reply, they said they should be doing their best to make sure that the Flakes and Bullseyes are as intact as possible.

They’re sending me replacements of Newminster 400 Superior Navy Flake, and Stokkebye PS 400 Luxury Navy Flake.

To be honest, I’m not the always to die for flake smoker, even when I first tried C&D CRF, I was fine with it being broken, and many other blends also as broken flake.

I’ve always assumed, the reason we want flakes, is for their pressed process, that yields a supposedly richer smoke. So I want to experience these flakes as they are meant to be.
 
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