Getting Consistently Good Experiences With FVF

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karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
1,047
3,994
Athens, Greece
I think the fact that its such a pain in the ass is the reason its so popular. If it was a nice easy smoke nobody would ever talk about it or make posts trying to figure out the best way to smoke it.
Like the saying goes, any press is good press.
Maybe it's because it's those of us who CAN'T get consistent results from FVF and StJF, but want to keep trying to reach the lofty heights of the members who can. I'm not being sarcastic at all, there's a real fear of missing out I fall into sometimes, and suspect I'm not alone in that. You know, the bugging feeling of "I'm sure I can have what he's having too from this XYZ".

Some months ago I posted a thread with my frustration with StJF, called it a "pain in the ass flake" in the end: Samuel Gawith St James Flake - An Exercise in Frustration :: Pipe Tobacco Reviews - https://pipesmagazine.com/forums/threads/samuel-gawith-st-james-flake-an-exercise-in-frustration.78688/

Re-reading my thread, how can me and other smokers with less years under our belt not want to crack these tobaccos when we read for several members "best Virginia flake on the planet", "best VaPer there is" etc?
 

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Jaylotw

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2020
615
2,644
NE Ohio
Man...the longest I’ve ever dried FVF is overnight, and it was too dry for me. I just deal with re-lights and occasional gurgles, because to me the flavor is better when it still has a good bit of moisture. Not as much as in the tin, but still real...moist.

Getting a good initial light is really important as it keeps the ember alive longer, which is why I take the time to get some really finely rubbed stuff on top. It dries crispier and takes the flame easily, makes a nice bed of embers. Try that @vink
 

pantsBoots

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2020
1,168
3,593
Ain't no place I'd rather be
Title says it all. I read many threads on the subject without any good answer. FvF is sometimes wonderful but many times awful. I’ve been cube cutting it, let it dry for 24-30 hours and sometimes it’s good sometimes it does not stay lit. and taste like crap. Any tips on how to get it to behave? Read that some microwave it but not sure about that.
I have good luck with all of the Sam Gawith blends. In drying it, what are your ambient conditions? If you're setting this tobacco out in a Yucatec jungle, it will not dry. If you set this out in the high desert outside Los Angeles, it should dry very quickly.

I advise fully rubbing out, as well, but I'm not a fold and stuff guy with any blend. Finally, this blend absolutely responds well to age - I like the 3 year old tins I have way better than the new stuff. The 10 year old tins I've been running through are the best of the bunch.

FVF is my favorite Virginia tobacco, bar none. Best Brown Flake is another good one, but seems to require age even more than FVF before it begins to shine.

Best of luck!
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
24,522
24,149
Helena, Alabama
@peckinpahhombre posted a thread about how he preps it many moons ago, which I found works best for me. Cube cut the whole thing. Let it dry for 24 hours or so. Then put it in a jar. The areas inside the cubes will equalize in moisture with the dry outer area. Leave it for maybe a week, then open the jar and enjoy. Gravity fill and light. You get the slow smoke of a flake without the fiddling that goes along with having to tamp the sides down while smoking. Win win
 

maduromadness

Member
Jan 3, 2014
257
1,577
Man...the longest I’ve ever dried FVF is overnight, and it was too dry for me. I just deal with re-lights and occasional gurgles, because to me the flavor is better when it still has a good bit of moisture. Not as much as in the tin, but still real...moist.

Getting a good initial light is really important as it keeps the ember alive longer, which is why I take the time to get some really finely rubbed stuff on top. It dries crispier and takes the flame easily, makes a nice bed of embers. Try that @vink

That's been part of the frustration for me. I prefer moisture in my tobaccos for the flavors I get. I hate drying tobacco when I could grab any number of equal or better tobaccos and shove them straight in my bowl. Don't get me wrong I've had good smokes with FVF but it's a damn science. I should revisit it because it's been over a year since I've smoked any.
 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
17,236
31,242
63
Sarasota Florida
There is no doubt FVF is one of the most finicky flake in my cellar. In the beginning I would cube cut it and let it dry a good long time around 3-4 hours. I got some good smokes but I wanted to be able to fold and stuff this like the rest of my flakes. I put some flakes out and let them dry a good 7 hours or so and then I would rub some out for kindling and it worked. I now fold and stuff it and I am getting some great smokes from some 2004 tins and some 2012 bulks. I will admit this stuff can be a bitch, but when you get it right it is worth the effort.

I recently opened a tin of Butera Royal Vintage: Dark Stoved. It was a 2017 and I knew it was going to be a bitch to smoke. I was right as this stuff is fireproof. I will try again in another 5 plus years as I don't think anything less will make this blend smokeable. I do however think it will be worth the wait. I got some great flavors at times but it was a major pain in the ass.
 

musicman

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2019
1,013
5,423
Tucson, AZ
Had a similar experience with St James Flake, now I got a sample of FVF on order to see what it's like. Didn't buy more of St James Flake though because the effort to result ration is not in its favour. There are many many more VaPers I have at hand, or on order which work consistently better.
I have never had a bad smoke with SJF, but that's also because I figured out the best way to prepare FVF before I even had a chance to try SJF. I think good preparation of either results in one of the best smokes in their respective genres, and is well worth the effort. I have plenty of VaPers and Straight Vas that don't require as much effort, but I have never been disappointed by SJF or FVF as long as I took the time to prepare them (and I've had pretty darn good results with the microwave as well).
 

garageboy

New member
Jul 15, 2019
39
38
I found a "tobacco shop" that had 5-6 year old tins of fvf. Smoked it fine and was so good.

Bought a box and used up a lot trying to get it to burn... How fine do you have to rub it out? I feel like it's chunky and doesn't compress together well leaving me with air pockets that don't stay lit
 

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