Capstan - Flake Yellow 1.75oz
Looks after you
This is a very respectful flake: respectful to the smoker. It's cut beautifully, and one flake fits perfectly into a standard bowl. Rubbed out seems to offer the most flavour. High, grassy bouquet; cool, mellow smoke. I liked it quite a bit; however I found it a bit "one note". I think my preference for a Virginia flake will stay with MacBaren's Virginia Flake; even though it has a tendency to bite, it resonates with me a lot more. That's just personal preference though, and Capstan Yellow is a fantastic piece of work.
Vauen - Auenland The Shire 50g
Outstanding and refreshing
I don't smoke aromatics. I can count on one hand the blends I've tried that are aromatics, and even less the ones I liked. But this one, just wow. Sweet, peachy, cool; grassy notes from the virginias. Aromatics, to me, tend to bite and offer not a lot of flavour; this defies both those traits. Will be ordering again.
Cornell & Diehl - Manhattan Afternoon 2oz
An easy evening sipper
Gentle notes of honey and walnut, with a looming yet light Virginia fruitiness, this flake is best dried for a few hours and rubbed out. It's tendency to bite was remedied by smoking it in a long Savinelli churchwarden. Really great in the springtime evening.
Borkum Riff - Cherry Cavendish 1.5oz
When I was new to the hobby, and left with a choice between this blend and its bourbon varietal, I took a pouch of this, for about 9 times (not an exaggeration) the price here down under. I loved it a lot. As I grew more informed I moved away from aromatics, and were I to smoke this again I would likely not be overly enthused. However, its really very nice, considering its price point and low strength.
McClelland - Personal Reserve: Blackwoods Flake 50g
Pungent from the tin, lovely room note. Easy to smoke and doesn't bite. Ketchup-y smell weirds me out a bit though, but it isn't anything I can't get past. Definitely a blend that grows on you the more you give it a chance. Will keep it on hand where possible. Easy Virginia and cut for novices, too.
McClelland - Craftsbury: Frog Morton 50g
Just one of the best.
I could have this and nothing else and be happy. Even in the warmer months. And for an English blend, that's impressive.
Mac Baren - Modern Virginia Loose Cut 100g
...but, damn, it can bite! Take it slowly and you'll get a perfectly pleasant virginia flavour, though nothing complex or special. A notable casing can be tasted, but it doesn't get in the way. Really though, this blend can bite like heck if you don't watch it closely, and that takes away the experience of a contemplative, natural, smoking time.
McClelland - Premium: Tastemaster 50g
Pleases the non-aro smoker
IF I buy an aromatic, I buy this.
Samuel Gawith - Bothy Flake 50g
Really is a rainy day tobacco. Nice and smooth, creamy. But when it dries, it dries and it dries FAST. I try to keep all my tobacco sealed and ageing but this one was relentless. Dunno if I can keep it in a regular rotation considering I don't smoke all that often.
Peterson - Old Dublin 50g
Cosy yet complex
For the rainy nights when the Pirate Kake seems a bit much, this is my thing. It burns so well, the cut is amazing, and the flavours exceptional. Not a huge kick, which I like, but it still delivers. I always have some jarred up.
Savinelli - Brunello Flake 100g
I love this blend. Cool, uncompromising, and straightforward. It really brings out the best springtime, fresh, blooming flavours that bright Virginias tend to have, and the spice from the Orientals are a lovely condiment. I think I will need to top this blend up regularly. I also really appreciate the neatness and charm of the cut, and it can be smoked folded or rubbed just fine.
Cornell & Diehl - Bayou Morning 2oz
Didn't get the complexity that many have talked about in their reviews. Perique was too far in the back, and the smoke was quite harsh, leaving an unpleasant mouthfeel that didn't really draw me in for another round. I'm sure it can be appreciated the way it should, but I'm not the guy for that. There are other great Va/Pers out there that I will continue to enjoy.
Orlik - Golden Sliced 100g
Refreshing, summertime, hay-like smoke. Love it.
Mac Baren - Virginia Flake 1.75oz
Tendency to bite if you smoke it fast, but...wow. That flavour.
McClelland - Craftsbury: Frog Morton's Cellar 50g
Lovely but suppressed
I definitely prefer the original Frog to this one - though don't get me wrong, it isn't bad. I just felt like the whiskey was way too prominent the whole way through the bowl that it took over the other components, when they really could've shone. I would certainly smoke this again, although I would buy the original Frog first.
Cornell & Diehl - Sam's Blend 2oz
Great, easy to enjoy, easy to keep lit tobacco to go with those dreary, overcast days. Really liked it. "Easy" is perhaps the best word to describe it; it's not complex or nuanced by any stretch of the imagination, but what you see is what you get, and that's just fine by me.
Sutliff - Molto Dolce 1.5oz
My all-time favourite, go to tobacco is Lord of the Manor by Sutliff - knowing they've cut much of their previous line makes me worry it will go with time, though I hope it certainly doesn't. How much I love that particular product, combined with the hype that comes with knowing and reading about Molto Dolce, convinced me to try this out. It's a Sutliff, I thought, and it's successful. But here's the catch: it tastes like...wait for it...nothing. Nothing at all. Admittedly, I'm not one for aromatics, necessarily, although I like the Tastemaster by McClelland. But no matter how I smoked this, I couldn't taste anything. There was a lovely tin note, and a lovely room note, but the smoking experience was terrible. The most I could gather from the tobacco was a play-doh sort of taste, which was not impressive, but bland, flat, and artificial. I won't be ordering this again, but I'm sure some people who are particularly interested in aromatics might get something out of this that I did not.
Cornell & Diehl - Sunday Picnic 2oz
Lights and burns well. Rich in flavour and can give you a bit of a kick too, without being overbearing. Solid flake, will definitely buy again.
McClelland - Special: Anniversary 100g
Perfect balance between components
This tobacco, as I have experienced it over the last month, has won me over. A simply yet endearing blend which hits the mark as the interplay between latakia and virginias is well-balanced and yet remarkable individually defined.
Cornell & Diehl - Golden Days of Yore 2oz
Captures the spirit!
This stuff is amazing. I smoked it all through the Christmas period, and even shared it with a friend. It's so light and cut so well that you can smoke it all day. It's rummy, smooth, and unpretentious. I wish it would be up for sale all year round and will definitely pick up some more before it leaves us for good.
Peter Stokkebye - PS402 Luxury Twist Flake
There is nothing bad about this blend - no bite, all natural flavour, sweet, and not overly strong. A daily smoke and well worth aging for a few months at least, it really matures.
Dunhill - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
A standard to judge all va/pers by, Elizabethan is fantastic as it is rich and flowing out of the tin, and alight it is full bodied; the raisin-y sweetness, savoury nuttiness and spice of the perique are so well integrated that it leaves you wanting more. Don't sip too hard without some drying time though - pretty moist out of the tin. Absolutely STUNNING with a glass of fine port in the evening.
Sutliff - Lord of the Manor 1.5oz
One of the best English blends
I love the complexity of flavour in this smoke - sitting with friends and sharing this tin, we all enjoyed the spiciness of the subtle perique notes in the background, the lovely warmth of the latakia and the cool breeze of the burleys and virginias. An all round winner, great in winter by the fire.
McClelland - Balkan Blue 50g
The more complex Frog
Balkan Blue is like a more complex, more rich Frog Morton original, although the orientals cut through the Latakia a lot more. I love it! Moisture out of the tin was brilliant too!
Cornell & Diehl - Pirate Kake 2oz
The quintessential Latakia blend
Pirate kake is by far the smokiest, most contemplative Latakia blend out there - it tastes great and is perfect for sitting in the cool night air and taking time off from the world. I always have some with me.