Top 10 Best-Selling Virginia Blends

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 10 Best-Selling Virginia Pipe Tobacco Blends

Celebrated for their natural, tangy sweetness and exceptional aging potential, Virginia tobaccos are among the most ubiquitous of all components; few blends would exist without Virginias. They combine wonderfully with other varietals, from Burley and Perique to Latakia and Orientals, and can stand easily on their own in pure Virginia pipe mixtures. They're also quite ancient, originating in the early 17th century; however, Virginias' characteristics have changed dramatically over the centuries.

Virginia leaf originated in the North American colonies in the 1600s when John Rolfe experimented with a Caribbean tobacco Nicotiana Tobacum, a sister plant to North America's Nicotiana Rustica varietal, bringing seeds of N. Tobacum from Trinidad and growing them in Virginian soil. At that time, Europeans had developed a taste for the sweetness of N. Tobacum, preferring it over the earthy, comparably more bitter flavor of N. Rustica, and Rolfe sought to capitalize on this preference to see if N. Tobacum could thrive not only in the Caribbean but in Virginia as well. And thrive it did, catalyzing further tobacco cultivation in the colonies to meet increasing demand from English pipe smokers. However, the Virginias of that day were still closer to what many today would consider light, slightly sweeter Burley. It wasn't until the early 19th century that innovations in curing would result in the leaf we identify as Virginias.

As desire for sweeter tobacco increased, farmers began experimenting with flue curing. Unlike the longer standing, air-curing process, which involves drying tobacco leaves in open air (and is still administered for Burley), flue curing uses indirect heat inside closed barns to dry the leaves. Such a process dries the tobacco at a quicker rate, thereby preserving much of the leaves' natural sugars and resulting in a more naturally sweet tobacco. Today's Virginias maintain this flue-curing technique, and the leaves can vary in shade and sugar content depending on how long they're left on the stalk and how quickly they're cured, creating numerous shades from Bright and Golden to Red, Orange, and Mahogany. Because Virginias are primarily defined by their curing process, they can be sourced from numerous regions beyond their historical origins, including Canada, Zimbabwe, and Brazil, as well as other areas of the United States, like North Carolina, but the name will always commemorate those first seeds planted by Rolfe in Virginian soil.

With such widespread use, the Virginia family of pipe tobacco is vast and endlessly explorable. To help with such exploration and future favorite discoveries, we've compiled a list of Smokingpipes' top 10 best-selling Virginia blends — those that primarily or entirely comprise Virginias and showcase the varietal's distinctive flavor profile.

    Top 10 Best-Selling Virginia Pipe Tobaccos:
  1. 10. Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation: Evening Flake
  2. 9. Cornell & Diehl: Briar Fox
  3. 8. Peter Stokkebye: PS402 Luxury Twist Flake
  4. 7. Cornell & Diehl: Bayou Morning
  5. 6. A & C Petersen: Escudo Navy Deluxe
  6. 5. Sutliff: 507C Virginia Slices
  7. 4. Newminster: No.400 Superior Navy Flake
  8. 3. Orlik: Golden Sliced
  9. 2. Peter Stokkebye: PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake
  10. 1 Peter Stokkebye: PS400 Luxury Navy Flake

10. 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

This is an amazing flake tobacco. Perfectly balanced. Not too sweet not too spicy. Just right. The flavors are perfect with a hint of caramel at the end. Recommend it. Bought 2 lbs. already. - Jason R., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Virginia, Perique
    Cut: Flake
  • Strength:
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9. Cornell & Diehl: Briar Fox

Briar Fox is a storied, staple C&D blend and was the personal favorite pipe tobacco of late Danish artisan pipe maker Peter Heeschen. Comprising smooth Virginias with a generous helping of Burley, Briar Fox presents an easy-to-rub-out crumble cake, offering greater control of its consistency before packing, and the flavor profile is marked by a natural tobacco character that deepens in complexity and ends with a spicy finish.

Available in: 2oz | 8oz | 16oz

This tobacco is simply amazing. It was love from first puff. - Joshua L., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Burley, Virginia
    Cut: Cake
  • Strength:
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8. Peter Stokkebye: PS402 Luxury Twist Flake

Peter Stokkebye's PS402 Luxury Twist Flake is a slightly different flake compared to others process-wise. Before being pressed and sliced, the tobaccos are first hand-rolled, much like a coin-cut blend, giving Luxury Twist its unique, spiral texture. It rubs out as easily as any other flake 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 note that makes for a delightful room note.

Available in: Bulk

This is one of my favorite straight (with some topping) Virginias. It does have a caramel topping but I find it mixes very well with the bready hay notes of the tobacco. Out of the three Luxury PS Flakes this is my favorite. - John H., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Virginia
    Cut: Flake
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7. Cornell & Diehl: Bayou Morning

A blend created for Perique lovers, Bayou Morning combines Red and Bright Virginias with 25% Perique for a bold flavor profile characterized by earthy, woodsy notes and a tangy sweetness with noticeable pepper. Free of topping, Bayou Morning highlights the natural flavors of the Virginias and showcases Perique in a tasteful mixture that's not for the faint of heart but is perfect for those seeking a Perique-forward pipe tobacco. Plus, the blend is available in a flake cut, and its sister mixture, Bayou Night, introduces Latakia, Burley, and Orientals to the mélange.

Available in: 2oz | 8oz | Bulk

A mellow and rich Va/Per that is a great morning smoke that invigorates the palate and perks up the mind. A great blend all around. - Logan C., 4.5-star review at Smokingpipes
    Components: Virginia, Perique
    Cut: Ribbon
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6. A & C Petersen: Escudo Navy Deluxe

A storied blend originating in the early 1900s, Escudo Navy Deluxe has delighted pipe smokers for over a century, and though its manufacture has changed hands, the original recipe of this iconic, staple mixture has earned it a spot in countless rotations and sixth on our list of best-selling Virginia blends. Pressed, spun, then cut into coins, Escudo Navy Deluxe features Virginia tobaccos from North Carolina and Perique from Louisiana, and the mixture is allowed to mature between being pressed and spun, deepening the flavors for a profile that balances notes of grass and sweetness with tangy spice. Perfect right out of the tin as well as with years of age, there's a reason Escudo is widely considered the King of Va/Pers.

Available in: 50g

God (whichever you choose) trimmed his beard, and STG gathered the trimmings and then spun, pressed, aged, and sliced them into what is simply the finest Va/Per for my money, anywhere, anytime. If you like Va/Pers, this is probably the pinnacle. The balance, IMO, is perfect, just a hint of pepper, and a very very slight sweetness. It's a keeper. - Jason B., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Virginia, Perique
    Cut: Coin
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5. 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 our most popular Sutliff blends, period, and it ranks here as a top-five best-selling Virginia pipe tobacco — also ranking fifth on our list of best-selling flake tobaccos. 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

I have smoked this VA flake for years and find it first-rate. It is my regular, daily tobacco. I also find that it cellars well. Recently I opened a 5 lb. box from 2011 and it was superb. If a smoker wants a flake similar to Orlik's Golden Sliced (without the Perique) or Peter Stokkebye's Luxury Twist Flake (without the aromatic top-note) — and in bulk to boot — this will be an ideal tobacco for you! - Dan L., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Virginia
    Cut: Flake
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4. 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, ranking third in our list of best-selling flake tobaccos and as number four in this list of best-selling flakes.

Available in: Bulk

On this sunny afternoon, I filled up my favorite Castello pipe with some 1-year aged #400 Superior Navy Flakes. 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
    Cut: Flake
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3. Orlik: Golden Sliced

A favorite blend for many pipe smokers, including a number of notable artisan pipe makers, Orlik Golden Sliced is a mixture of mature Golden 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 good 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
    Cut: Flake
  • Strength:
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2. Peter Stokkebye: PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake

Second on our best-selling list, Peter Stokkebye's PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake earns its name by wrapping Virginias and Louisiana Perique around a center of Black Cavendish in a coin-cut mixture. It was originally titled Luxury Curly Cut before changing in 2006 and is one of Peter Stokkebye's most popular blends. The Virginias offer natural sweetness alongside the fermented tang and spice of Perique, all balanced by the mellow aroma of the Black Cavendish.

Available in: Bulk

A platter that matters. These coins go down like water. Fresh mown hay virginia + stewed fruit Perique + sugary Cavendish. More grainy sweet than spicy. It's easy to see why this one makes the top 10 consistently. - Sparky, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Virginia, Perique, Black Cavendish
    Cut: Coin
  • Strength:
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  • Taste:

1. Peter Stokkebye: PS400 Luxury Navy Flake

Peter Stokkebye's Luxury Navy Flake is a pressed and sliced blend of matured, "Old Belt" Virginias — the term denoting 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 in 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 unbelievably attractive price.

Available in: Bulk

This is by far my go to tobacco. I never have to second guess a bowl of this, easy to fold and stuff and smokes great. - savinelliman320, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
    Components: Virginia, Perique
    Cut: Flake
  • Strength:
  • Room Note:
  • Taste:

So there you have it: our top 10 best-selling Virginia blends 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 on a future list!

Latest Updates (2022):

  • Peter Stokkebye PS400 Luxury Navy Flake stayed at #1
  • Peter Stokkebye PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake stayed at #2
  • Orlik Golden Sliced stayed at #3
  • A & C Peterson Escudo Navy Deluxe moved from #4 to #6
  • Peter Stokkebye PS402 Luxury Twist Flake moved from #5 to #8
  • Cornell & Diehl Bayou Morning stayed at #7
  • Cornell & Diehl Briar Fox moved from #8 to #9
  • Sutliff 507C Virginia Slices moved from #9 to #5
  • Newminster No.400 Superior Navy Flake entered at #4
  • Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation Evening Flake entered at #10

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

    • John H. on June 13, 2019
    • Does anyone know when Orlik Golden Sliced was first introduced?

    • Matthew M. on June 15, 2019
    • Scrumptious list of Virginia-dominant tobacco mixtures, but I think you forgot about Bayou Morning!

    • Paul N on June 15, 2019
    • IRC (Iwan Ries) Virginia Flake is by far my favorite

    • Puff The Magic on June 15, 2019
    • Reiner Long Golden Flake

      Solani Silver Flake

      Wessex Campaign

      Astleys #44

    • Jerry on June 16, 2019
    • Mac Baren Virginia #1 is an excellent Virginia with a mild, but noticeable taste.
      Peter Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake is an extremely mild Virginia. A beginning pipe smoker would enjoy this tobacco

    • juancarlos casella on June 16, 2019
    • MUY BUENAS NOTAS

    • Nick on June 17, 2019
    • *Cries in McClelland*

    • Stan Ruszkowski on June 18, 2019
    • For a Balkan smoker this is a very informative piece.

    • Dan H. on June 18, 2019
    • It's really amazing how excellent the Stokkebye LNF is, considering the price and easy availability. Same with Orlik. Maybe I'm a luddite, but I find these tobaccos compare well with just about any VA flake. Still need to try the Solani, and the Yorktown sure sounds interesting as well.

      Yes, this list must be mourning the loss of McClelland :-(

    • John H. on June 26, 2019
    • For what it’s worth, just read a review from 2010 on tobaccoreviews.com that Orlik Golden Sliced was introduced in 1958 when Orlik started blending tobacco in Denmark.

      Great article, BTW.

    • john moore on June 30, 2019
    • How do Sam Gawith and G. Hoggarth & Co. make the list when they have not been in stock for...months?

    • Michael L Roberts on June 30, 2019
    • Capstan Flake Blue is absolutely spectacular, but the PS Luxury Navy Flake is also wonderful and fairly inexpensive in bulk. Great stuff...thanks Kaz.

    • Cassie D on July 2, 2019
    • @John Moore Good question! The list was based off of sales from the past 5 years. If you're looking to get some of the Samuel Gawith or Gawith Hoggarth, I recommend signing up for the email alerts. We did receive two Samuel Gawith shipments in June and will hopefully have more Gawith Hoggarth soon as well!

    • Steven Emas on August 18, 2019
    • The top 4 are my favorites. I would definitely add HH Pure Virginia and PS Bullseye and not to forget Sutliff ‘s crumble kake Virginia. Really enjoyed the story and comments.

    • Jeff on August 18, 2019
    • Does this take into account availability?

    • Cassie D on August 19, 2019
    • @Jeff The list was compiled based on sales over the past five years, so it did take into account availability during that time period. All but the Full Virginia Flake and Bright CR Flake are usually readily available!

    • B.L.Stringer on October 9, 2019
    • Orlick is always in my pipe when fly fishing.No constant tending to.Grand aroma and smooth smoke.A anytime blend.Wether at 90 degrees or -20 below. As for Bright CR to me mind you.Is unsurpassable.Smooth smoke,the baccy transforms into soft paynes grey ash.Its fragrance is of its own.Its frustrating to some pipers who are used to mass produced American and Tutonic baccy. Gawith & Hoggarths way of production is a art,a grand tradition with ancient machinery.These components are what separates there blends from everyone.Which makes them more special and unique.It is obtainable.Just remember all those pipers who don't have McClelland so the nearest thing is S&G.Thats a lot of people.Much like fly fishing.Its just in the manner of where you cast and not fishing the same hole. As for mourning the loss of McClelland.You might have learned from always thinking a baccy will always be around.After years of talking with English tobacconist. You may be mourning Gawith&Hoggarth some day.Seven blends have been dropped this year .Dont hord,just enjoy and share.Smoked a pipe since the age of 12 now 43.Well I'm a southerner,it's in the blood.I have seen many blends come and go.Eventually you find a replacement.For instance no Penzance so now Star of the east flake.Stop whining.Its so mamby-pamby.S&P does have e-mail alert.Along with great service. It works.You just might not be setting your fly fast enuff.

    • CV on December 19, 2019
    • There is absolutely no way that any C&D product is in the top 10.

    • Cassie D on December 19, 2019
    • @CV This list was generated based on sales over the past five years. Of course, everyone has a different favorite, but this list just compiles the top ten Virginia's purchased over that five year time period.

    • columbialion on January 26, 2020
    • I would submit that Peterson's University Flake would be a great addition here as well.

    • Willie Jr Laney on October 20, 2020
    • I would like to see my favorite pipe tobacco added to the fine group of pipe tobaccos, Sutliff Molto Dolce.

    • 5m0k3y1 on January 24, 2021
    • For me its 4th gen 1855. Love it!

    • Michael Cannizzaro MD on April 11, 2021
    • Relieved to see that Solani 633 did not make your top 10 in popularity, as I need a reason to continue pipe smoking!

    • Confused on April 13, 2021
    • I don't have a clue as to why C&D's Pirate Kake or Burley Flake # 1 or #4 didn't make this list, just clueless....

    • Coniferous Confucius on April 15, 2021
    • @Confused: It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. -Mark Twain. I have only tried 3 outta 10 on this list, but I shall endeavor to try the others. Thank you for the updated list.

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