Help! Good substitutes for two beloved (and discontinuted) VA flakes

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ryeguy

Member
Oct 4, 2017
146
1
Two of my absolute favorite Virginia flakes are no longer available, and I didn't get a chance to cellar nearly enough of either.
Can anyone recommend a good substitute for either of them?
They are:
Dunhill (Light) Flake--I don't think this one needs a description.
McClelland 2010 (Classic Virginia Flake)--a solid dark VA flake with the distinctive McClelland catsup/vinegar note.
I've read that LJ Peretti Oxford Flake is really close to 2010, but it's not available either.
Also, just to head it off, I don't consider PS LNF or OGS a substitute for either. Both are fine tobaccos, but neither hits the same spot.
Many thanks!

 

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ryeguy

Member
Oct 4, 2017
146
1
Capstan yellow is pretty close, but I could definitely tell them apart in a blind test (CY has the distinctive capstan flavor, which is really quite good in is own right, but also distinct). It may be as good as I can get for a substitute.
Another close match I can think of is SG Best Brown Flake. Again, it's in the same general area (To my taste at least) but not a spot on drop-in replacement--in this case, there is a distinctive flavor missing.

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
1,123
1,153
G.L. Pease Union Square might be good in place of Dunhill. Regarding McClelland, I’ve been on the same hunt for a while now and I finally admitted to myself that there will not be anything that fills that gap well enough for me. I’ll tune in here to see what others say!

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,218
4,266
Instead of trying to find the nearest substitute, I'd recommend you try various Va Flakes to see what you like the best. I'd recommend Union Square as perhaps the closest thing to the 2010 you'll find and very, very good period. I suspect the reason Peretti's Oxford Flake is gone is that it was either 2010 relabelled or based upon McClelland tobaccos. Also try C&D Opening Night, an overlooked, under rated Va Flake.
There are numerous other Va Flakes that are excellent, most are somewhat difficult to acquire.

 

ryeguy

Member
Oct 4, 2017
146
1
lightmybriar:
I'll have to try Union Square, I have some on my shelf, so I may go light it up now.
I'm really sorry to hear that you have given up on finding a replacement for 2010. It is just too good to die. Someone needs to imitate it. (If there are any blenders out there that want to give it a go, I can send some to sample against.)

 

ryeguy

Member
Oct 4, 2017
146
1
Instead of trying to find the nearest substitute, I'd recommend you try various Va Flakes to see what you like the best.
I don't want to be an ass, but that's exactly what I did. And these were the two tobaccos that I liked best.
I'll plan to give Opening Night a try. Thanks for the recommendation.
I'm smoking Union Square at the moment (on lightmybriar's suggestion). It is really good. I can see why the two of you recommended it as a possible substitute for Dunhill Flake. That said, and I'm being picky, it seems to lack some of the brightness ("citrus"?) of Dunhill Flake, and it tends more to the nutty and earthy side of VA--or rather I should say, the "brightness" is more subdued and only comes out occasionally (seems to be when I push it and get it rather hot) whereas it was very forward and consistent with DF. Nonetheless, I think this is the closest I've found to a true substitute so far.
Thanks for the good recommendations.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,218
4,266
I didn't say they were exact. I don't think you'll find that. Have you tried Aylesbury Classic Flake? I find it reasonably similar to Dunhill Flake. Wessex Gold Slice might give you that bright flavor you're looking for. If you can get in on the C&D Carolina Red Flake Small Batch this year, you might find it a bit similar to the 2010. Orlik Golden Sliced is another with brighter Virginias but I don't think it has the depth and body of Dunhill Flake. Have you tried Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake as a Dunhill Flake alternative? If you love the red virginia flavor of 2010, try F&T Blackjack. It's a rough ribbon cut but the flavors are similar. If you can find it, you might also enjoy F&T Cut Virginia Plug.
I don't think you'll find Opening Night that similar to Dunhill Flake. I recommended it because I find it to be a very good Va Flake with a unique flavor and it is readily available at a very reasonable price.

 

ryeguy

Member
Oct 4, 2017
146
1
Have you tried Aylesbury Classic Flake? I find it reasonably similar to Dunhill Flake.
No, but I'll put it on my list.
Wessex Gold Slice might give you that bright flavor you're looking for.
I'll have to try this too.
If you can get in on the C&D Carolina Red Flake Small Batch this year, you might find it a bit similar to the 2010.
Sounds promising. Does it have any of that vinegar-with-sweet combination that you get in 2010 (people call it "catsup")? That's really integral to what made 2010 what it was for me, and my fear is that McClelland was the only blender who could produce it.
Orlik Golden Sliced is another with brighter Virginias but I don't think it has the depth and body of Dunhill Flake.
That's exactly how I feel. I like OGS quite a bit. It shines in the the high/bright end, but lacks the depth that DF had.
Have you tried Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake as a Dunhill Flake alternative?
I have (actually mentioned it up-thread as being in the ball-park). It's close (and good in its own right). But not quite there.
If you love the red virginia flavor of 2010, try F&T Blackjack. It's a rough ribbon cut but the flavors are similar. If you can find it, you might also enjoy F&T Cut Virginia Plug.
I have the same question here as above: does it have that tang of 2010? I enjoy red VAs just fine, but what I'm really trying to find is something that has that hint of catsup.
Thanks for the recommendations. I have a few new tobaccos to try!

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
1,123
1,153
Opening Night is my favorite Virginia Flake from C&D. I’d say that Union Square is Opening Night in a tuxedo. Good companion blends.
I know what you’re saying about Union Square being close but not quite there. I love Capstan Blue, and I always thought Dunhill Flake had all the greatness of Capstan, but with a touch of extra strength underneath.
I like Small Batch Red Flake, but C&D Reds always have a gritty or dirty taste lurking around, to my palate. Perhaps I ought to try a bit of Union Square mixed with Red Flake and see if that might “clean up” the flavor for me a bit. I’m enjoying this thread!

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
1,123
1,153
There’s only one tobacco I’ve tried that had a noticeable (albeit nowhere near as prevalent!) tang to it, but I’m afraid to mention it as I’m afraid more people might search it out and make it hard to get haha! It is much closer to Dark Star than 2010, though, so I’m not sure if it would even be what you’re looking for.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,218
4,266
C&D Carolina Red Flake has a little bit of the smell and the flavor is similar to 2010. If you open it and let it sit for a few weeks, better than 2010. 2010 was a McClelland Bulk Flake. I like it but it isn't all that. I wouldn't trade my tins of Carolina Red Flake for 2010 1 to 1. But taste is in the tongue of the smoker.
I personally find well aged (5 years or more) SG BBF is better than Dunhill Flake. But again, subjective. F&T Blackjack has the flavor and I believe what you are calling "tang", at least similar, but not the aroma. It's $11 a tin, pick some up and try it.

 

tabakpfeife

New member
Jan 18, 2019
46
20
Oxford Flake was my "go to" VA for years. I understood that it was repackaged McClelland 2010. I think Union Square is reasonably close. I like Opening Night too. I really like. so far, Sutliff's Crumble Kake, even though it's nothing like Oxford Flake.

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
36,715
44,073
Hoosierpipeguy is giving very good advice. Peretti's Oxford Flake was made with McClelland tobaccos. And I second Sutliff's Krumble Cake Red Virginia. I always thought of Capstan Gold being more like Dunhill Flake than Capstan Blue. I also think Capstan Gold is affected by age more than the Blue is, and I prefer it aged.
MacBaren Virginia Flake and Virginia No. 1 are good when they have a few years of age on them. They become less acidic with time, and maintain their sweetness. For a budget tobacco, Sutliff 507-C Slices are worth trying, especially when aged.

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
1,123
1,153
I gotta say, with all due respect to the master palate of Mr. Jim, that I was incredibly underwhelmed by Sutliff Crumble Kake. I was very excited, but no matter how many times I smoke it, all I taste is buttery cat pee. I also tried Viprati based on Jim’s review, and I’m wondering if that is made by Sutliff, because it has the same effect. Just goes to show how different all our preferences can be, which is great because that’s why we have the thousands of options available to us.

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jeff540

Senior Member
Jan 25, 2016
409
438
Southwest Virginia
I don't believe there will ever be a substitute for McClelland virginia flakes. Just when I think I found one that comes close I pull out some of my old McClelland stock (ever dwindling) and am disappointed by the comparison. Not only are the master minds and patience of Mike and Mary out of the picture, but you have their supply side (farms) gone or changed (major catalyst for them closing).
That said, the best advice given is to move one and find something you enjoy as well. I found that with several of the less popular Esoterica blends and picked up about 10lbs during the last two drops (Brighton and Cardiff mostly). They don't have that full mouthfeel and sourness, but they do have the same ample sweet and smoothness that I find lacking in many of the other virginia blends.
Also, buy enough PS LNF that you can let it sit a couple years. It's good in the way of an easy going mid-strength virginia flake.

 

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