Mac Baren - Navy Flake 3.5oz
I love this tobacco. The topping is not at all cloying, but serves to enhance the natural flavors already present in the tobacco. Honey, apricot, rum, brown sugar, molasses, nuts, citrus, and pastry are some of the sensations gleaned from these sailor slices. The sweet high notes of the Virginia are balanced so well with the nutty bass notes of the burley that it’s impossible to tell what variety is present in the greater proportion. Speaking of tobacco varietals, MacBaren claims to use leaf from 42 different crops for this blend. I can only imagine the arduous development process for such a complex flake. I for one sure am grateful for their dedication. As an aside, notable American pipe makers Mark Tinsky and Rad Davis have both expressed a fondness for Mac Baren Navy Flake.
CAO - Cherrybomb 50g
Artificially flavored steam
No real tobacco flavor. Nor really even smoke flavor. Really not a cherry flavor per se either. Just an overly sweet hot chemical tart steam. I should have expected as much. I really just bought this on a whim. I realized I had never tried a cherry blend up to then. The idea of fruity cherry tobacco just didn’t appeal to me. But, I thought, “I should probably try it at least once before judging it”. Well, now I have tried it, and so I can fairly judge it as harshly as I want to. It still won’t be as harsh as the chemical burn this blend gave my taste buds.
Cornell & Diehl - Bow-Legged Bear 2oz
Some of the best Latakia blends ever made have been ones pressed into a crumple cake. However, this is not one of those. “Harsh” is the word that keeps coming to mind when contemplating Bow-legged Bear. Even among C&D there are much better English crumble cakes. I’d suggest Sunset Harbor flake of Star of the East flake over this. Peace’s Quiet nights is another.
Newminster - No.400 Superior Navy Flake
Chris S.’s review is spot on and I agree wholeheartedly (especially the Golden Graham comparison, I knew I recognized that tin note from somewhere). I really love this bulk flake. It’s a straight Virginia with a light honey topping. Done in the Danish way. I believe Eric Stokkebye came up with the Newminster line when Villager/Stokkebye lost distribution of the Peter Stokkebye blends. STG had bought Lane, so it made sense for them to keep the distribution in house (they already owned the Peter Stokkebye brand). It worked out well for fans of economically priced quality flake tobacco. Anyway, I find this sort of inside baseball industry history fascinating for some reason. I think MacBaren is producing this stuff in Svendborg, currently.
Reiner - Blend No. 71 100g
Thank you, Rudiger Will
This is desert island blend (at least until I discover my next favorite). The sweet bright Virginias are focus with the light honey and orange flavoring there to bring out the natural sweet characteristics of said Virginias. The Perique is not too noticeable as far as spice. It’s much more of a condiment adding a little dark fruit tartness (it will also help kickstart the aging process). The small amount of burley in this flake is an important balancing bass note, adding a savory nuttiness as well as body and strength. Absolutely an all day, anytime smoke for me. Definitely going to keep the cellar well stocked with little gold paint cans!
Presbyterian - Presbyterian 50g
Not compatible I guess
Seems like this one just isn’t the right ph for my internal chemistry. I really wanted to make it work, but it always bit me. I love the tin art and the name and history of the blend. I even tried a few filter and system pipes, still bit. Tried various moisture levels, no luck. I find it odd that I can smoke straight bright Virginia blends and not get tongue bite, but not this. Maybe it’s the particular oriental varietal. Anyway it’s a very peaty oriental and Virginia forward blend with very little Latakia. I still have a sealed tin left. One day I’ll try again.
Stands & Pouches - Tobacco Pouch Humidifier
Works very well
Soak them in distilled water and throw one in a tin or pint jar of bone dry tobacco. In about a day it’ll be back to a typical factory sealed moisture level.
Comoy's - Cask No.4
Comoy’s Cask No.4 is my go to tobacco. I consider it to be the best bulk blend available. It’s much more flavorful and rich than Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake. In fact, I’d go so far to say it’s closer to Escudo. If you enjoy flake or coin Virginia Perique (especially those made by STG Assens), give this a try. Personally, I buy a kilogram or two at a time for jarring and cellaring, I love it than much!
Sutliff - Match 20
Sutliff’s Match 20 is a high quality cover of a legendary English classic. Creamy and rich, it’s a fine balance between sweet and savory. I’m more of a Virginia flake smoker these days. However, I enjoy having at least one pipeful of a Latakia blend each day. Match 20 is one of a handful of blends that always seems to satisfy my craving for the English.
Balkan Sasieni - Balkan Sasieni 50g
Extremely cool smoke
The best Balkan blend I’ve tried so far. Heavy Latakia blends should always burn cool, but this is exceptional cool burning. If you like Izmir and Cyprian Latakia forward blends, try this, there’s none better and it’s readily available.