Top 13 Best-Selling Flake Tobaccos

Updated for 2023, this list incorporates current data and is edited to reflect product availability.

Top 13 Best-Selling Flake Pipe Tobaccos

Like spun-cut or coin-cut tobaccos, flake tobacco began its popularity at sea as a means of preserving a blend's moisture content. Pressed tobacco dries less quickly because less surface area is exposed to air, ensuring that sailors could enjoy smoking their pipes over the course of long voyages. Furthermore, with storage limited and efficiency paramount, such blends required less space than ribbon-cut tobaccos, making pressed mixtures ideal aboard a ship. Chuck Stanion delves deeper into the history of flake tobaccos in a previous article: "Tobacco companies began pressing blocks of tobacco.... Men at sea now had tobacco that maintained smokability over time. It wasn't pre-sliced at first, though. Sailors would carefully slice flakes from the tobacco block for smoking."

Today, few need worry about pipe-tobacco preservation while sea-faring, yet flake tobaccos remain an ever-popular cut. Unlike ribbon-cut blends, which most often combine the flavor profiles of several varietals, the process of pressing tobaccos alters the flavor slightly, evolving the mixture beyond the sum of its parts. Consider the difference between a fruit salad and a chocolate cake: While both are delicious, the salad incorporates its elements separately, though a single bite might include the flavors of multiple components. A chocolate cake, however, combines for something unique unto itself; instead of tasting the individual elements of flour, eggs, chocolate, and sugar, one enjoys the results of those elements married by heat. Similarly, flake tobacco combines with pressure (and sometimes steam-heat as well) to create a flavor profile that's distinct when compared to ribbon-cut blends — even those enploying the same tobacco components.

Flake tobaccos are known to improve more with age, the maturing process deepening more so than ribbon-cut blends but also taking longer considering their reduced surface area. With a history of over 300 years, flakes are still counted among the most beloved tobacco styles by pipe smokers around the globe, and the cut is available across most tobacco families, from English to Virginia to Burley. Below, we've compiled a list of our best-selling flake tobacco blends for your consideration, hopefully introducing you to some future favorites:

13. Mac Baren: HH Old Dark Fired

Mac Baren: HH Old Dark Fired

Mac Baren describes HH Old Dark Fired as an English-style blend, referring not to the presence of Latakia but to the traditional processes employed to produce this old-school flake tobacco. Select grades of Virginia leaf are blended with a significant percentage of Dark-Fired Kentucky, cased only slightly to enhance the sweetness and balance the pH before being hot-pressed. The heat and pressure from steaming expedite the marrying process and gives the blend an aged, matured quality right out of the tin. HH Old Dark Fired offers a bold, hearty flavor profile full of earthy notes and spice, but balanced by a touch of molasses-like sweetness.

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
  • Family: Burley
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12. Mac Baren: HH Pure Virginia

Mac Baren: HH Pure Virginia

As the name denotes, Mac Baren's HH Pure Virginia is a hot-pressed flake composed entirely of Virginia tobaccos, namely those from select growing regions in North America and Africa. Its profile is deep and bready, with bright highlights and a distinctive hay-like grassiness. Compared to Mac Baren's other Virginias, such as Virginia Flake, HH Pure Virginia is slightly less sweet and citrusy, more redolent of freshly baked goods with a little spice and a deeper, more molasses-like sweetness. In other words, it's more similar to something like Samuel Gawith's Full Virginia Flake than to a blend like Orlik Golden Sliced.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz

I have smoked pipes for 20+ years and I honestly feel this is the best Virginia without any Perique I have ever smoked. A good nice medium full flavor with a nice medium nicotine level. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting the pure Virginia experience. I will be purchasing as much of this as possible to cellar for future enjoyment. -Al W, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
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11. Gawith Hoggarth & Co.: Bob's Chocolate Flake

Gawith Hoggarth & Co.: Bob's Chocolate Flake

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. are a historic English tobacco manufacturer that have been producing celebrated blends since 1887, all the while using techniques that date back to 1792. The brand is dedicated to upholding strict standards for blending and tobacco purity which were originally enforced by the UK in the 19th and 20th centuries, dictating the amount and type of flavorings permitted in smoking mixtures, ensuring the flavor of the tobacco isn't muted. Bob's Chocolate flake is a favorite Aromatic blend from the English marque which benefits from these stringent guidelines, comprising Virginias from Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, along with Malawi Burley and a dose of Latakia — all flavored with a rich cocoa and vanilla aroma and pressed for nearly a month before being sliced into flakes.

Available in: 50g | Bulk

Very pleasant smoke. This is the kind of "Aromatic" I was searching for. Smooth, flavorful, satisfying, and very good aroma all together. I won't say anything about the flavors except that they're complex and full. Although not an all day smoke for me, it's a treat once in a while; a change-of-pace kind of smoke. -B.A., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia, Latakia, Burley
  • Family: Aromatic
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10. Gawith Hoggarth & Co.: Ennerdale Flake

Gawith Hoggarth & Co.: Ennerdale Flake

Ennerdale Flake is Gawith Hoggarth & Co.'s best-selling flake and is a standout example of the English brand's unique Lakeland style, which incorporates floral essences into the tobaccos. This particular mixture pairs Virginia leaf from Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Malawi with sun-cured Malawi leaf and Malawi Burley, all of which is topped with rum, citrus, and vanilla alongside the aforementioned floral aromas. Pressed for nearly a month before being sliced into flakes, Ennerdale has become a favorite among enthusiasts of both Gawith's mixtures and high-quality Aromatic tobacco blends.

Available in: 50g | Bulk | Broken Flake: Bulk

I have been curious about Lakeland blends for some time, but I was always a bit intimidated by the infamous "Lakeland essence." I fired up some Ennerdale for the first time this morning, and I have to say that it is a new favorite. It tastes fresh, clean, and ethereal. It's poetry in flake form. It couldn't be better behaved. It rubs out perfectly, packs perfectly, lights easily, and burns slowly down to pure ash. Don't let the detractors scare you away from giving it a try. I didn't detect any soap, perfume, or urinal cake flavors (as some describe the Lakeland essence), but if those things taste like this, I might need to start smoking them. -Caleb E., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia, Burley
  • Family: Aromatic
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9. Peter Stokkebye: PS402 Luxury Twist Flake

Peter Stokkebye: PS402 Luxury Twist Flake

Peter Stokkebye's PS402 Luxury Twist Flake is a slightly different flake compared to others in this list process-wise. Before being pressed and sliced, the tobaccos are first hand-rolled, much like a spun-cut or coin-cut blend, giving Luxury Twist its unique, spiral texture. It rubs out as easily as any other flake, though, and is composed entirely of Virginia tobaccos from the eastern United States and the finest growing regions of Zimbabwe. A timeless classic, Luxury Twist Flake is an ideal mixture for lovers of pure Virginia blends, topped with an ever-so-subtle caramel component that makes for a delightful room note.

Available in: Bulk

Very elegant Virginia flake suitable for any moment of the day. If you concentrate while smoking it, you'll get several nuances of the quality of this tobacco. If you like straight Virginias and have not tried it yet, it is about time you do it! -Miguel Z., 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia
  • Family: Virginia
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8. G. L. Pease: Quiet Nights

G. L. Pease: Quiet Nights

A mixture that also placed among our list of best-selling English blends, G.L. Pease's Quiet Nights is an intoxicating combination of Red Virginias, Orientals, Cyprian Latakia, and a pinch of Acadian Perique — all pressed and matured in cakes before being sliced into delicate flakes. It's a part of Pease's Old London series and is lauded for being one of the most complex and captivating Latakia mixtures. Though you could smoke it any time of day, it's not what one would describe as an all-day smoke. It's a blend meant for quiet contemplation, for slowing down and appreciating every note that plays across your palate. If you're in the mood to sit, think, and reflect, smoke Quiet Nights. There's something new to discover in every bowl.

Available in: 2oz | 8oz

This is a magnum opus of English blends. Not for the faint of heart, but for those discerning lovers of fine English Blends, Quiet Nights will become a dear friend. I enjoy this with some Islay Scotch; the peaty flavors work with this blend well, preferably with a book in hand and an hour or two to spare. -YoungTraditionalist, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Latakia, Orientals, Virginia, Perique
  • Family: English
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7. Samuel Gawith: St. James Flake

Samuel Gawith: St. James Flake

With roots stretching back to 1792, Samuel Gawith is one of England's most historic tobacco manufacturers, and its establishment led to the later founding of Gawith Hoggarth & Co. just under 100 years later. Utilizing equipment that dates back to its founding and before, Gawith produces high-quality blends in the English tradition, with St. James flake presenting a classic combination of namesake St. James Parish Perique and Bright Virginia. A classic VA/Per blend, St. James Flake has become a favorite of many smokers and even comes in a plug for those who wish to cut their own portions.

Available in: 50g | 8oz | Plug: 8oz

I knew I had Something special when I took the first whiff of the tin. Dates, fig, pepper, and wet hay ... awesome tin aroma that was unlike any Va/Per I have smelled. The smoke is almost perfect, though I did let it dry a bit before lighting. The same tin aroma is in the entire smoke, from top to bottom. Absolutely beautiful. Very high-quality tobacco. I'm going to buy a ton and age it; I can only imagine what this will bloom into in a year or more. -nychef77, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia, Perique
  • Family: Virginia
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6. Samuel Gawith: Full Virginia Flake

Samuel Gawith: Full Virginia Flake

Full Virginia Flake is one of several pure Virginia blends that Samuel Gawith offers, here comprising a hot-pressed mixture that's been sliced into dark-brown flakes. One of the English marque's most iconic blends, Full Virginia Flake boasts a distinctive color and a large following, both among Gawith's enthusiasts and lovers of pure Virginia blends. A medium-bodied mixture, Full Virginia Flake is an accessible and complex tobacco that's been well-established in cellars for many decades given its superior potential for aging.

Available in: 50g | 8oz | Plug: 8oz

I have tried a great many very fine tobaccos over 20+ years. This is easily my absolute favorite smoke, quite often. Further, this is an exceptionally rich, full-flavored Virginia tobacco, expertly and very consistently crafted. It's also VERY satisfying, with a welcome nicotine kick and no bite, ever. Frankly, I used to be a very full-flavored maduro cigar freak; not anymore. Also, it's well worth noting that this Virginia tobacco ages extremely well and is available to buy (when in stock) in bulk. --Enjoy. -Michael H., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
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5. Sutliff: 507C Virginia Slices

Sutliff: 507C Virginia Slices

Sutliff Tobacco Company dates to 1849 when H.W. Sutliff opened his first tobacco shop in San Francisco. Among the oldest continuously operating blending houses in the United States, the manufacturer has long furnished retailers with high-quality blending components and premixed pipe tobaccos — in fact, many of the house blends offered by tobacconists around the country are made by Sutliff. 507C Virginia Slices is among the most popular Sutliff blends, period, and it ranks there as a top-five best-selling flake pipe tobacco. It's a pure, Bright Virginia mixture of A-1 grade, flue-cured tobaccos, lightly topped with sweetness to elevate the natural grassy and tangy notes that make Virginia tobacco such a beloved varietal, and cut into long strips of flake that break up consistently for easy packing.

Available in: Bulk

For the price, 507c offers an amazing value for money for those looking for a more mature Virginia. Malty, earthy, and sweet, this is my go-to, no-fuss choice for any occasion. Oh, and after about a year in the cellar, the flavor is significantly fuller, and I'd give it a full 5 stars then. -Merv H, 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
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  • Taste:

4. Newminster: No.400 Superior Navy Flake

Newminster: No.400 Superior Navy Flake

Newminster is the bulk-tobacco branch of Villiger, backed by the manufacturing prowess of Mac Baren, and while No.400 Superior Navy Flake may seem like a fairly standard straight Virginia blend at first, it's not your average mixture. These flakes combine the finest Virginias from three different continents — North America, South America, and Africa — offering a deliciously nuanced flavor profile of tart and tangy citrus notes alongside honey sweetness and woodsy depth. No.400 Superior Navy Flake is an immensely popular blend, consistently ranking among our top 10 best-selling bulk tobaccos.

Available in: Bulk

On this sunny afternoon, I filled up my favorite Castello pipe with some one-year aged #400 Superior Navy Flake. First few puffs and I was amazed as to how wonderful this tobacco benefited from aging. The full taste and great flavors of quality Virginias tickled my taste buds. A truly 5-star tobacco after aging. -Kam D., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
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3. Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation: Evening Flake

Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation: Evening Flake

The Stokkebye tobacco tradition dates to 1855 when Erik Peter founded the family business in Denmark. Today, Erik Peter's great-grandson Erik Stokkebye continues the brand's four-generation legacy, offering pipes and pipe tobaccos for discerning smokers. One of only a few bulk offerings from Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation, Evening Flake is a traditional Virginia/Perique mixture that's hot-pressed for a week before being sliced into flakes.

Available in: Bulk

Finally got some of this blend, and I am glad i did! This will become a rotation maker. As much as I have loved Peter Stokkebye Bullseye Flake, this will replace it in my rotation. Just a perfect Va/Per IMHO! -SomeDude83, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia, Perique
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
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2. Orlik: Golden Sliced

Orlik: Golden Sliced

A favorite blend for many pipe smokers, including artisan carvers such as Tom Eltang, Orlik Golden Sliced is a mixture of golden, mature Virginia tobaccos with a very small pinch of Perique, offering a naturally sweet flavor and room note reminiscent of bergamot. It's considered by many to be the quintessential Virginia flake due to its approachability and enjoyable flavor, and is immensely popular in both the United States and Denmark, easily recognized by its bright red tin and shrewd, pipe-smoking judge logo.

Available in: 50g | 100g

Orlik has everything that you buy a light Virginia for: sweet hay/grass flavor with just a little Perique tang. I've tried a lot of them and this is the one I came back to. Consistent and burns well no matter how you prep it. I rub it out just a little and it never lets me down. -Joel G., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia, Perique
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
  • Room Note:
  • Taste:

1. Peter Stokkebye: PS400 Luxury Navy Flake

Peter Stokkebye: PS400 Luxury Navy Flake

Peter Stokkebye's Luxury Navy Flake is a pressed and sliced blend of matured, "Old Belt" Virginias comprising Virginia tobaccos from North Carolina's oldest growing regions, lightly accented with a whisper of Louisiana Perique. Incredibly popular and maintaining the number one spot on our list, this bulk offering from Peter Stokkebye has been a celebrated favorite of countless pipe smokers old and young, expert and novitiate alike, thanks to its approachable flavor, thin cut, quality components, and attractive price.

Available in: Bulk

About the best Va/Per you're going to find at any price. Slightly spicier than Orlik Golden Sliced, but in the same family. Ages well whilst outstanding when young. My favorite! Nothing's perfect, but almost for this one. -Michael H., 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes.com

  • Components: Virginia, Perique
  • Family: Virginia
  • Strength:
  • Room Note:
  • Taste:

So there you have it: our top 13 best-selling flake 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 (2023):
  • Mac Baren: HH Old Dark Fired moved from #10 to #13
  • Mac Baren: HH Old Virginia moved from #9 to #12
  • Peter Stokkebye: PS 402 Luxury Twist Flake moved from #6 to #9
  • GL Pease: Quiet Nights moved from #4 to #8
  • Newminster: No.400 Superior Navy Flake moved from #3 to #4
  • Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation: Evening Flake moved from #7 to #3
  • Sutliff: 507C Virginia Slices stayed at #5
  • Orlik: Golden Sliced stayed at #2
  • Peter Stokkebye: PS400 Luxury Navy Flake stayed at #1
  • Gawith Hoggarth & Co.: Bob's Chocolate Flake entered at #11
  • Gawith Hoggarth & Co.: Ennerdale Flake entered at #10
  • Samuel Gawith: Full Virginia Flake entered at #7
  • Samuel Gawith: St. James Flake entered at #6

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

    • Gary Yovan on March 21, 2021
    • Light bulb moment as I read this blog today. Please consider a monthly update on the likely availability of out of stock tobaccos--estimates not exact dates. I have missed Lancer's Slices and Old Ironsides for some time and am sure others would like to know when their favorites may be available. A simple list would be helpful.

    • Orhan Bukey on March 21, 2021
    • Why einmore flakenot included in the above list

    • Orhan Bukey on March 21, 2021
    • erinmore flake.?ΓΌ

    • Truett on March 21, 2021
    • @Gary Yovan, we do offer something similar to that! For out-of-stock blends, you can sign up for email alerts (button is located on the product page where "add to cart" would normally be), and we'll send you an email as soon as we get more of that specific blend in stock. Hope that helps!

    • Truett on March 21, 2021
    • @Orhan Bukey, I wondered the same thing. Sales for Erinmore just weren't quite enough to get it in the top 13. Maybe next time!

    • Linwood Hines on March 21, 2021
    • Y'all know I've avoided buying much Virginia flake tobacco blends since THAT company shut down. OK, an old fav - Capstan for social settings, a trial new blend or two of others. So, now, thank you, I have a list to try! Great idea! I AM familiar with the Sutliff 507C and must tell all that it smokes and ages wonderfully! PS Luxury - an occasional since meeting Peter in the late '70's! Right after that, I discovered the OTHER COMPANY's 2010, 2015, etc. so it somewhat took me out of the market for much else.

    • Glenn H on March 21, 2021
    • I'm very surprised not to see Escudo on this list, and perhaps Astley's 109!

    • Truett on March 22, 2021
    • @Glen H, Astley's 109 is fantastic, definitely underrated. As for Escudo, even though it is a pressed tobacco like the others on the list, it's cut into coins instead of flakes, so we *technically* couldn't include it on this list haha. It definitely would be, though, were it to meet the criteria!

    • Keith Bowers on April 12, 2021
    • Nice list. This got me thinking...I'd love to see a "special edition" of Quiet Nights in full (unbroken) flake form. You guys know Mr. Pease, put in a good word!

    • Mark Goodson on February 22, 2022
    • I find it hard to understand why there aren't any Samuel Gawith or Gawith Hoggarth flakes on the list. For example SG Full Virginia Flake, or GW Ennerdale Flake.

    • Gene Bowker on March 6, 2022
    • 2022 list.. so which ones dropped off?

    • Bill Wright on March 6, 2022
    • Good list and appreciated. I note that you clearly state this is a bakers' dozen list of TOP SELLING FLAKE tobaccos. Gives me some ideas for tobacco choices next time I need to purchase.And I do need to note this point--these are NOT THE best in someone's perception, not best because a cracker-barrel committee so ordained Jon's Rocky Bottom Burboun-barrel aged Burley grown under old bedsheets in Brown County, Ohio to be the best. BEST SELLING AT your great shop.Or so it says in the article lead--rather plainly...Bill in District X enjoying a bowl of FOLKLORE!

    • Greg Taylor on March 13, 2022
    • Looking for suggestions. I have been smoking MacBaren's Virginia Flake No.1 for over 20 years. Looking for something similar with more flavor. The Virginia Flake No.1 has lost its appeal. I will be trying the flakes mentioned in the "Top 13 Best-Selling Flake Pipe Tobaccos".

    • Blake on June 18, 2023
    • The HH Pure Virgina and Orlick age nicely, and the jar empties quickly around my ranch. The other picks are good ones too. Enjoy yourselves.

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