Cornell & Diehl - Virginia Flake
Hope it comes back soon
An excellent Virginia Flake. It's almost none dry when you receive it but the steam towel trick rehydrates it perfectly. No review description needed as the flavor profiles are perfectly described in the blend description. The only down fall is I haven't been able to buy this in bulk from Smokingpipes.com since June or July of 2020. Really hope it comes back soon because I'm completely out.
Cornell & Diehl - Red Virginia Ribbon
Red Virginia heaven
Yeah I know, it's not Mcclelland 5100, but it's a damn fine smoke. I have a little over 2 lbs of this stuff. Mostly for blending experiments, I pressed 1 lbs, jarred 1 lbs and added my own casing to a small sample. But it's just really good by itself. Its nutty, sweet, creamy, spicy and unlike alot of Va's, its bold. Sure, it can have a few rough edges but nothing a little added moisture and some age cant take care of. I've been reaching for it over and over. And ya'll can shoot me, but I like it more then Carolina Red Flake. Just get you some and give it a try. At 28 a lb. It's well worth it.
Fribourg & Treyer - BlackJack 50g
A hidden gem
This is a finely broken flake. The tin note is similar to burnt sugar so I'm almost pretty sure it is stoved at some point during production. The flavor is sweet, zesty, and slightly creamy. Just your typical Virginia flavor profile but it does seem to have an extra added flavor. It's almost similar to a cinnamon type of spice. Everyone talks about Sutliffs 515 as a Mcclelland 5100 replacement but I find Blackjack much closer. The only down side is it's on the mild side of the spectrum. Very nice blend.
Cornell & Diehl - Sansepolcro 2oz
My favorite of the entire C&D camp. Its tangy, sweet, creamy, with a mid tone smoky herb and spice thing going on. Higher end of medium for body. No negative effects at all. The only unfortunate part is the yearly availability. One of my favorites.
Peterson - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
One of my favorites
For years I hunted through virginias for that special one. While i do enjoy lots of different choices out there, Elizabethan Mixture really hits the spot. Its sweet, bready, earthy, spicy, dark, and has a nice dose of nicotine to keep me happy. It never gets dull, it never bites, it never turns harsh. It's just satisfying overall. It also has very good potential for aging. When I cant decide what I want in my rotation for the time, or just burned out for wanting anything else, or just want to smoke away and not have to think about it, I chose Elizabethan. Let's face it, a lot of Virginias other there arent very user friendly. But you cant go wrong with this one for sure.
Samuel Gawith - Best Brown Flake 50g
Not what it use to be
This use to be a full length flake with a deep semi sweet, nutty characteristic in taste and a nice nicotine punch. Now it's a broken flake with and sour sharpness that bites me. I think the samuel gawith / gawith hoggarth merger has ruined this blend. It was one of my favorites but now has been replaced as one of my top picks. I'm sadly disappointed.
McConnell - Shakespeare 50g
Nothing to write home about
I've never had Dunhill Ye Ole Signe, the blend that this is suppose to mimic, but I highly doubt this is anything close to it. It has a stewed fruit tin note but I can tell it's an obvious topping like plum. It starts of okay with a mild virginia sweetness but quickly fades out into nothing but air. You can't hot box it or it will bite you. The moisture is pretty wet. Even with drying time it's pretty flavorless. K and K generally produce good blends but honestly this one doesnt show their best capabilities
Cornell & Diehl - Dark Burley
Great for cigar smokers
This is the first straight burley I've had. It compares well with a good quality cigar. Dark burley is cured and fermented like cigar leaf. It's earthy, slightly sweet and creamy, nutty, spicy like black pepper, dark and very bold. I enjoy it straight. The nicotine is there. But to experience it with all its glory, it needs to be smoked slowly or it will turn harsh. A little hydration would help. Being a pipe and cigar guy, this definitely fits the bill.