Top 11 Best-Selling Burley Tobaccos

Updated for 2022. This article was originally published February 20, 2015. It has been updated to incorporate current data and edited to reflect product availability.


Top 11 Burley Pipe Tobaccos at Smokingpipes.com

Burley is, by definition, an air-cured varietal of tobacco. Unlike flue-cured leaf, Burley is more alkaline on the pH spectrum (rather than acidic), has practically zero sugar, and is naturally high in nicotine. In addition to its two most common grades, white and dark, Burley can also be smoked over smoldering hardwoods to create Dark-Fired Kentucky, or steamed and fermented into a Cavendish. While often described as nutty, earthy, or chocolatey on its own, Burley's flavor profile is quite unobtrusive, allowing it to accept top dressings quite well, and it pairs appealingly with other tobaccos like Virginias, Perique, and Latakia. It can be used as a base to create a bold foundation for other components, peppered into a blend to bolster body and strength, folded into a mixture to promote a slower burn, or smoked on its own by the not faint of heart.

Such characteristics and broad range of use make Burley one of the most versatile tobacco varietals in cultivation, and as a tobacco family, Burley refers to any blend that uses the air-cured (or dark-fired) leaf as a primary component. It's a large and popular grouping, with hundreds of different options available from myriad manufacturers — so many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming to choose one or two to try, especially for those just entering the pipe-smoking hobby. To help, we've compiled a list of our best-selling Burley blends for your consideration, narrowing the most popular options for those considering a new Burley blend.

    Top 11 Best-Selling Burley Pipe Tobaccos:
  1. 11. Mac Baren: HH Burley Flake
  2. 10. Peter Stokkebye: PS41 Cube Cut
  3. 9. Cornell & Diehl: Pegasus
  4. 8. Mac Baren: HH Bold Kentucky
  5. 7. Mac Baren: Golden Extra
  6. 6. Mac Baren: Navy Flake
  7. 5. Prince Albert
  8. 4. Cornell & Diehl: Old Joe Krantz
  9. 3. Sir Walter Raleigh: Regular
  10. 2. Mac Baren: HH Old Dark Fired
  11. 1. Cornell & Diehl: Haunted Bookshop

11. Mac Baren: HH Burley Flake

The brainchild of Mac Baren's product specialist, master blender, and tobacco ambassador, Per Jensen, the HH line is a series of pipe tobaccos devoted entirely to showcasing the natural characteristics of various components — blended with only minimum casings and no toppings whatsoever. Since its inception in 2006, it's quickly become among Mac Baren's best-selling and most sought after series, and HH Burley Flake specifically highlights its namesake, air-cured tobacco. Dominated by Burley from three continents, HH Burley Flake is supported by complementary additions of Virginais and a touch of Dark-Fired Kentucky for a rich flake that delights with Burley's nuanced boldness.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz

This is one of the best Burley flakes I have tried. It is earthy, has an underlying natural hint of spice and smokes smooth. There isn't really much dark fired taste in this one. Very true to the natural Burley experience but refined at the same time. This has more of the darker flavors of the Burley spectrum and it's great. I really enjoy this and will certainly be ordering more. It's a different Burley flavor that feels right at home.
-Al W., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia
  • Cut: Cube
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10. Peter Stokkebye: PS41 Cube Cut

Cube-cut Burley is exactly what it sounds like: air-cured leaf that's been pressed into cakes and cross-cut into tiny cubes. In blending, it's mostly used to slow the burn rate of a mixture, but it can certainly be smoked straight. In fact, many have found Peter Stokkebye's PS41 Cube Cut to perform excellently on its own. Containing a modest amount of aged Red Virginias and a very minimal casing, Stokkebye's Cube Cut offers a nuanced Burley experience that showcases the subtlety and character of air-cured leaf — something that's often overlooked in more complex mixtures. The cut's a lot of fun, too, once you're comfortable with how best to pack it in your individual pipes.

Available in: Bulk

This was one of my first Burley blends. I was quite pleased with how easy it was to pack a bowl with these tiny little cubes. Once I fired up, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor of dark fruits and dark spices. This burned great with just a few relights. In addition, I added some of this tobacco with some PS Luxury Navy Flake and it was fantastic. Will definitely be adding this to my rotation.
-John H, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia
  • Cut: Cube
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9. Cornell & Diehl: Pegasus

Several Cornell & Diehl Burley blends earned spots on this list, and all were developed by the late Bob Runowski, an icon in the hobby known for his mastery of American Burley tobaccos who often collaborated with C&D. Pegasus comprises three Burley varietals — cube-cut, light, and dark — two Virginias, and a touch of unsweetened Black Cavendish to add body and depth to the smoke. This is a blend that hearkens back to old-school American Burley mixtures, approachable for both novice and veteran smokers alike, and Bob himself recommended that it's best smoked in pipes with large, broad chambers, ensuring the perfect melding of Pegasus' distinct components.

Available in: 2oz | Bulk

Great nutty/woody Burley flavor backed by Virginia sweetness and a smattering of plain Black Cavendish to smooth it over. A marvelous all-natural blend with some power.
-Sparky, 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia, Black Cavendish
  • Cut: Ribbon
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8. Mac Baren: HH Bold Kentucky

Aside from the limited-edition HH Rustica, HH Bold Kentucky is the strongest pipe tobacco in Mac Baren's portfolio. It contains a significant percentage of Dark-Fired Kentucky from the USA and Africa — the tobacco varietal containing the highest levels of nicotine. While it does pack a punch, it's remarkably balanced overall, the Dark-Fired slightly softened by Bright Virginias and mellowed through hot-pressing.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz

Over 40 years with a pipe in my mouth, and this is the first Kentucky blend that really turned my head. Nice and flavorful with no bite. Wow!
-mikeklumpp, 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Dark-Fired Kentucky, Virginia
  • Cut: Flake
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7. Mac Baren: Golden Extra

While most people tend to associate Burley-based tobaccos with American blending houses, the Danes have their own way of preparing the air-cured leaf as well, typically yielding milder mixtures, often with light casings of cocoa and anise. Mac Baren's Golden Extra is a delicious example of a traditional Danish Burley blend, easy to smoke and easy to enjoy. While the Burleys take center stage, their inherent nuttiness is complemented and accentuated by the cocoa and anise casing, while a good portion of Virginias balances the mixture with a touch of sweetness. Golden Extra has been one of Mac Baren's best-selling blends for years, and if you haven't tried it yet, you may appreciate how approachable and easy-smoking it is.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

I'm a Burley-holic: I like full-on Burley blends and OTC Burley blends... all of it. This is my go-to smoke because it's got a toasty Burley flavor at the light and finishes a bit fuller but not heavy or bitter. It's medium all the way. It has a super light sweetness (not Aromatic) to it that just sings. It's an all day smoke if ever there was. The room note screams... Pipe!
-Ruffinogold, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia
  • Cut: Broken Flake
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6. Mac Baren: Navy Flake

Another delightful example of a Danish Burley blend, Mac Baren's Navy Flake is downright delicious. Much like Golden Extra, it's not an Aromatic but does feature a light casing — specifically, rum and honey. The casing isn't prevalent on the top note, but it adds some welcomed sweetness and complements the Burley's natural tobacco flavor with a distinct brown-sugar finish. Navy Flake does contain a larger proportion of Virginias than many other mixtures on this list, putting it on the fence between traditional Burley and Virginia families, but the air-cured leaf still remains the primary component and is integral to the blend's unique flavor. Plus, it makes for an ideal crossover option for those who often smoke Virginia blends.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz

This is a delicious flake! Smokes cool, tastes sweet with flavors of rum, honey, and brown sugar in a tobacco base. This is an awesome blend and with age it's even better.
-Thomas S., 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia, Black Cavendish
  • Cut: Flake
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5. Prince Albert

Among pipe smoking's most iconic and enduring blends, Prince Albert was first introduced by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1907, though it's presently manufactured by John Middleton Co., whose roots date to a small Philadelphia tobacco shop in 1856. The blend was named after Prince Albert Edward VII — Great Britain's king from 1901 until his death in 1910 and the son of Queen Victoria — and features his portrait across its various tins and pouches. It's a beloved over-the-counter (OTC) blend and is a staple pipe tobacco that transcends generations. A quintessential, old-school Burley mixture, Prince Albert comprises Burley and Black Cavendish with subtle toppings of cocoa and molasses for a room note that inspires nostalgia, reminiscent of pipe-smoking grandparents and days when pipes and tobacco were societal norms.

Available in: 1.5oz | 14oz

Here's a tobacco that has weathered the test of time. It's still around because it's that good. Pure Burley tobacco with just a smidgen of seasoning. You will not find a bite at all in this tobacco as it burns cool. Has a pleasant, chocolate flavor that Burley tobacco is known for. Soft, and comfortable, just like grandma's quilt.
-March Hare, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Black Cavendish
  • Cut: Ribbon
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4. Cornell & Diehl: Old Joe Krantz

Old Joe Krantz is one of the blends that first put Cornell & Diehl on the map, and it's largely responsible for the blending house's reputation for producing bold, powerhouse Burley mixtures. Created by Bob Runowski and named after his grandfather, Old Joe Krantz uses dark and cube-cut Burley as its base, adding Red Virginias for sweetness and a good bit of Perique for extra spice. OJK packs a punch and maintains a strong following to this day, and if you're already a fan of the original, be sure to check out its additional versions: Blue, Red, and White, each augmenting the best-selling blend in its own unique way.

Available in: 2oz | 8oz | Bulk

I have finally found my desert island tobacco. It might not be for everyone, but it is my perfect tobacco. Thank you Bob and thank your grandfather. You can't take anything with you when you leave this world, and that makes the things you enjoy while you're here really important. Again a true heartfelt thanks for this blend. This is the only blend I smoke and never think, "Oh I wish it had more of this and less of that." A really great Burley blend.
-Guy H., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia, Perique
  • Cut: Ribbon
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3. Sir Walter Raleigh: Regular

Aptly named for the statesman who helped popularize smoking in England and featuring his clay pipe-smoking portrait across the packaging, Sir Walter Raleigh has remained a staple pipe tobacco since its inception in 1927. As a blend, SWR is a straight-Burley mixture in a cross cut for an easy-to-pack consistency that's somewhere between a cube-cut and a ribbon. Like many iconic American Burley blends, SWR features a slight topping of anise and molasses for a delightful room not redolent of pipe-smoking from decades past, while still remaining Burley-forward. It's also available in an Aromatic version, adding Virginias and French and Dutch liqueurs to the blend.

Available in: 1.5oz | 7oz

Sir Walter Raleigh has been a staple smoke of pipers in my family for 3 generations, including myself. What higher endorsement can I give it? If you're after a classic American Burley blend, this is a fantastic choice.
-John H., 4-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley
  • Cut: Ribbon
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2. Mac Baren: HH Old Dark Fired

While Mac Baren's traditional Danish-style blends are excellent and suit any rotation, the HH series is the line I return to time and time again, with its prioritization of natural tobaccos. It combines what many love about American blends with fine Danish cuts and preparation, and few mixtures demonstrate that elegant fusion quite like HH Old Dark Fired. Much like HH Bold Kentucky (which placed 9th on this list), HH Old Dark Fired is a blend of dark-fired Burleys and flue-cured Virginias that have been hot pressed — meaning that during the pressing, heat is added by steam to the tobaccos, which intensifies the marrying process. Though quite similar in strength and components, Old Dark Fired focuses a little less on the mesquite flavor than Bold Kentucky, with a more rounded finish that offers plenty of earthy spice alongside a deep, rich sweetness redolent of molasses.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

It's what I've been looking for in a pipe tobacco for 30 years. It's like smelling a pig in a smoker with great tobacco added to the smell. It's my go-to from now on. Add a couple of fingers of your favorite Scotch and enjoy life; it's too damn short to go without this tobacco any longer.
-Charles Z, 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Dark-Fired Kentucky, Virginia
  • Cut: Flake
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1. Cornell & Diehl: Haunted Bookshop

Haunted Bookshop draws inspiration from Christopher Morley's novel of the same name, offering a deep, contemplative smoke that's best paired with a good book on a dark and stormy night. Though comprising the same basic components as Old Joe Krantz, Haunted Bookshop alters the proportions to put even more emphasis on the signature character of air-cured leaf — in this case, a mix of white, dark, and cube-cut grades. A pinch of Red Virginias and a touch of Perique again add to the sweetness and spice, but play a more supportive role than you might expect.

Available in: 2oz | 8oz | Bulk

Delicious nutty, woody Burley flavor on a bed of subtle and peppery Perique, rounded off with a slightly sweet Virginia. Fantastic. Goes straight into the rotation when it's Burley time. If you're a Burley fan, you can't go wrong with Haunted Bookshop. Kept in my cellar in pounds.
-Cob Burleymon, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Latakia, Orientals, Burley
  • Cut: Cake
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So there you have it: our top 11 best-selling Burley tobaccos here at Smokingpipes. Keep in mind, these blends were ranked based on popularity, not by our own tastes or judgements. If you don't see your favorite on the list, leave us a comment and share your thoughts — perhaps it will make it in a future list!

Latest Updates (2022):

  • Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop stayed at #1
  • Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired stayed at #2
  • Mac Baren Navy Flake moved from #3 to #6
  • Cornell & Diehl Old Joe Krantz stayed at #4
  • Mac Baren Golden Extra moved from #5 to #7
  • Peter Stokkebye PS41 Cube Cut moved from #6 to #10
  • Mac Baren Bold Kentucky stayed at #8
  • Cornell & Diehl Pegasus stayed at #9
  • Sir Walter Raleigh Regular entered at #3
  • Prince Albert entered at #5
  • Mac Baren HH Burley Flake entered at #11

A note on the tobacco information.

Strength: a measure of the tobacco's body and nicotine. One is the lowest. Five s is the highest.

Room Note: a measure of the pleasantness or intensity of the smoke's odor to everyone else in the room. One is the least intense room note, while five s would be the most noticeable to others.

Taste: A measure of the the power and fullness of the smoke's flavor, with one being the most mellow and five s being the fullest.


Comments

    • Rob C on May 25, 2015
    • Hard to name a "favorite", but if pressed I guess I'd have to say Skiff Mix. Love those orientals! At the other end of the spectrum though, recently tried C&D's Da Vinci and really enjoyed it!

    • Ben E on May 25, 2015
    • Old Joe Krantz is a favorite of mine and is quite good. You certainly have to like perique though since it makes up 25% of the blend. The red Virginia also adds a subtle sweetness to the cube and dark burley which makes this a masterful blend. Bob Runowski did good on this one, may he rest in peace.

    • Fred L on February 13, 2016
    • I've never smoked it on its own, but I like to crumble up some Wessex Burley Slice into my Dark Birds Eye. I do the same with Solani Aged Burley Flake. As far as I can tell, the Solani and the Wessex are SO much alike that I expect they're the same tobacco.

    • Adam O'Neill on February 15, 2016
    • @Fred L Oooh, that sounds good!

    • ole time smoker on July 11, 2016
    • 2 simple and straight forward burley tobaccos, Carter Hall and Prince Albert very satisfying and economically priced. You don't have to break open your piggy bank to enjoy a good burley tobacco.

    • Philip Damon on July 8, 2019
    • Big N' Burley is my go to smoke. I love the stuff. It's extremely satisfying, has a huge vitamin N kick, and tastes wonderful. Room note is not very good and my wife has banished me outside to smoke this! :)

    • Smokey on November 10, 2019
    • As a diehard Burley smoker, I felt compelled to comment about a recent discovery. Barking Road was recently offered and after reading the accompanying commentary I decided to buy a tin and try it out. Before I could order more it was sold out. I was abandoned by my own conservative frugality. Turns out, the stuff is excellent with just the right combination of Burley and other components presented as a medium ribbon cut. I’m currently waiting for a new shipment, fully intending to stock up so I won’t run out in the immediate future. It’s the first McConnell blend I’ve smoked and I’m very impressed. Thus far, for me, it has no negative aspects. Looks good, smells good, tastes good, burns well, etc. it has good strength and a reasonable room note. I’m sorry that it wasn’t included in today’s list...maybe none of the contributors has tried it. For Burley smokers, it’s a must in my opinion. There are only two reviews at this time, one by a fellow Burley lover that summed it up well and another by me in agreement. I’ll bet there’ll be more good reviews.

    • Ian Dares on November 10, 2019
    • Granger is a beautifully simple, old-fashioned tobacco that highlights the best qualities of a good Burley. I get that it isn't as nuanced as any of these mentioned above, but it is a solid, all-day smoke.

    • wiredforsound on November 10, 2019
    • Being a Burly & Virginia lover I've recently been on a Burley kick the last few months only smoking Burley forward blends.With Haunted Bookshop as my first love among Burley blends I recently got introduced to my now favorite Burly blend, Shandygaff, a Burley/Turkish/ Perique blend of C&D's after watching a review of under appreciated C&D bulk blends. It has all the bold raw Burley flavor of Haunted Bookshop with less of an edge (ie, harshness). (https://www.smokingpipes.com/smokingpipesblog/single.cfm/post/cornell-diehl-underrated-bulk-blends)

      You also can't go wrong when in the mood for Dark Fired burley forward blends with MacBaren Old Dark Fired & Bold Kentucky. The tin note of these two MacBaren HH blends is worth the price of admission.

    • Steve Riddle on November 10, 2019
    • I tried the C&D Burley Flake series when it first came out and settled on No. 2, with No. 1 a close second. I've smoked many of the others mentioned in the article, like OJK, ABF, all the Mac Barens, etc. Those are good but not as good as BF2. I sure hope the Burley Flake Series doesn't disappear.

    • Jeff R on November 11, 2019
    • Don't neglect Daughters and Ryan Two Timer! Very good and economical, too.

    • James Arrington on November 13, 2019
    • Great list with many of my favorites - I'm a Burley guy for sure. Let's not forget Lane Ready-Rubbed as well. Great classic blend, the resurrection of Edgeworth.

    • Ron Holman on January 31, 2020
    • Great site!

    • Bob Wallace on April 29, 2020
    • Just signing up

    • thomas j foley on August 30, 2020
    • Old dark fired my favorite burley Kentucky and haunted bookshop my favorite burley . These two are legendary blends for me .

    • Patricia D on May 22, 2021
    • Solani aged burley flake is the best burley hands down but it nor the best selling because it's never on stock.

    • Pirulin de la Habana on May 23, 2021
    • ...where can a person purchase that cool pipe ashtray in the photo?

    • Jef on August 11, 2021
    • Why is 1792 in the picture? Afaik it is made of dark fired Virginia leaf from Africa, not burley. The English say dark fired to mean dark fired Virginia, and say Kentucky when they mean dark fired burley.

    • Phil on April 24, 2022
    • You should add C&D's Big N' Burley. I've been smoking that as my main since 2010. I love it. It really is big burley that you can purchase tinned or bulk. I get it bulk and is my every day smoke. I love this stuff! I'll try the others listed here, but most of them get ruined by too much Virginia which always bites me. I've never gotten bit by Big N' Burley.

    • Blake R on April 24, 2022
    • Been on the Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired. Loving the ODF, Dark Twist and Royal Twist.Sometimes I mix it 50/50 with Edisto, Jubilaeums, or Capstan. Experiments with different combinations make it fun and exciting. Right now, I am enjoying a 50/50 ODF Capstan. Deeelicious.

    • Blake R on April 24, 2022
    • One of my pipester pals gave me a tin of the Mac Baren Rustica, Ltd edition. Holy Smoke is that a great one! It really distinguishes itself right away. I beg Mac Baren to make that available again!

    • Chicu on April 24, 2022
    • I would argue that ODF and HH Bold KY don't belong on this list. They're Burley in the same way that Latakia is Oriental. Totally different thing.

    • Bill in District X on April 24, 2022
    • Sorta surprised that C&D Crooner isn't on the list. As a very dedicated Latikia-forward English blend lover, I take a break every so often with this cube-cut Burley with just a smidgeon of Deers' Tongue. It's the ONLY Burley I smoke and I have no idea why I like it. Go figure...

    • Steve on April 24, 2022
    • The Solani Aged Burley Flake is a tobacco formulated by Ruediger L. Will and even though this flake and Wessex Burley Flake are both tinned by Kohlhase & Kopp, they are definitely not the same. Solani ABF is in a league of its own. The demand has caused serious out-of-stock conditions. Ruediger took 2 years to develop this incredible tobacco.

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