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A Plug which starts as the Best Brown, blended and pressed Virginias and nothing else. Medium strength. Firm favourite for the pipe smoker looking for a medium strength, gentle and slow burning tobacco. Manufactured using hand-stripped flue cured Virginias with no flavours added, Kendal Plug will reward with a cool, sweet smoke with a delectable aroma and good sidestream.

BrandSamuel Gawith
Blended BySamuel Gawith
Manufactured BySamuel Gawith
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
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None Detected
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Favorite Of 4 Users

49 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Like Best Brown, this is mildly tangy, creamy mellow straight Virginia flake with a fair amount of citrus, hints of bread, and dried fruit. Unlike Best Brown, the sweetness has a fermented taste that comes from being pressed in plug form, which I find slightly tangier than BB. There are mild hay, grass notes, with a little earth here and there. Also has a light floral vegetative hit. I get a hint of sour that I never noticed in BB. Not much complexity or nicotine which makes it a no-nonsense all day smoke, though maybe a touch more complex than BB. Needs a little dry time, but it’s easy to break apart and burns slow, cool and clean, and dry with no bite or harshness. The flavor never weakens and is fairly smooth with a slight edge. Has a slightly lingering after taste. Three and a half stars.

15 people found this review helpful.

TLW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TLW (1)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Kendal plug is Gawith's Best Brown Flake only not yet sliced into flakes. This means you have to slice it up for yourself. In exchange for this slight inconvenience you get a tobacco that is more consistent than BBF. It's also denser-pressed than BBF and supplied much less moist.

Personally I slice it, rub it out and let it dry a bit, which is the traditional English way to smoke plugs (or flakes - roll and stuff or cubing are new-fangled concepts, plugs were invented so you could store/carry a lot of tobacco in a small space and it would keep well).

Kendal Plug, like BBF is completely unflavoured apart from a slight sugar/water casing like almost every tobacco on the market. People complaining of toppings and perfumes need to speak to their tobacconist because they were either supplied the wrong thing, it was stored next to something strongly flavoured or in a ghosted jar.

Flavour and strength is medium for Commonwealth (African) Virginias, this being possibly the classic example of the genre. If you like unscented Virginias with a bit of depth to them but also with the higher notes missing from the longer-stoved tobaccos such as FVF you really should try this. With aging it just gets better and better. Personally I rate it higher than FVF or Orlik.

Overall an excellent all-day tobacco.

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake..

12 people found this review helpful.

SteveH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteveH (35)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I love Best Brown Flake, so I expected to like this, and wasn't disappointed. Like all plugs, it takes a fair bit of preparation, slicing and then rubbing, and it needs to be fully rubbed out to give a satisfactory smoke. The trick is to slice it as thinly as possible. It comes as a mid-brown, rectangular bar, which smells of leather. The taste is BBF, but a bit more so: all BBF's characteristics, but slightly intensified. It has BBF's slight earthiness, and is medium-bodied and slightly spicy, with a hint of treacle (although it isn't particularly sweet). Very good indeed.

Pipe Used: Northern Briars Lovat, Blakemar Rhodesian.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: S.G. stall at meeting of Pipe Club of London

Similar Blends: Best Brown Flake.

10 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It doesn't get too cold here in Louisiana, but last night was close to freezing. This morning the air was cool and crisp, and I was able to enjoy a morning smoke on the back porch, a rare event with my insane schedule. Accompanying my pipe was a mug of Indonesian bean from Stumptown coffee roasters from Portland, Oregon (highly recommended).

The Kendal Plug I recently received from Byron Oost's store had already been transformed into a cube cut the night before so I was ready. I filled my favorite little Virginia pipe, compressed it a bit, and gave it three or four char lights to get an ember glowing. I was surprised by how mild this blend is. Maybe that's why BBF (Kendal Plug after getting sliced into flakes) was never in my top rotation. I never smoked it in the morning!

This tobacco seems to do best with a clean morning palate (not an evening mouth that has been corrupted by garlic or pork roast) and time to contemplate. Sweet, mild, slightly toasty at times, consistent all the way to the bottom, a totally pleasing, wonderful experience. Can't believe it took me this long to try Kendal Plug! By all means, grab some if you can.

10 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Description says that it starts as BBF - I wonder if that means it's supposed to be the same thing, but in plug form? As BBF is a firm favorite, I found this one less so. Lighter colored plug with a nice bag aroma of virginia. Smoked from a new one ounce sample.

I cut this into cubes for smoking, as it didn't seem to work well for me any other way. I found it mildly tangy with a complex sweetness, but not the equal of BBF. Curious. It seemed to have the same depth, but something was missing. Naturally, I'm out of BBF so I couldn't do a comparison, and memory becomes habitually faulty over time. But this seemed more grassy as opposed to the lightly sweet oatmeal of BBF. But for all I know this is the same stuff and I'm imagining things! This is a very worthy blend that possesses a light natural sweetness, good complexity and an easy burn when cubed. Definitely deserving of a try.

6 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1645)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Sam Gawith - Kendal Plug.

Like all plug tobaccos, if you don't like to spend time on preparation then this won't be for you! But if you are not fussed about dedicating a little while to the prep' then this will be a satisfying choice. The actual plug of tobacco is mainly a medium brown with a few lighter/yellow layers as well. The aroma is a straight forward Virginia one, a touch grassy/hay like. To be fair, it is just a smidgen on the damper side, it won't need lots of airing, just a couple of hours or so. As I mentioned earlier, plugs require some pertinacious prep', this is no different but the prep' is no where near as difficult as some plugs can be. The plug is extremely non-demanding at first, it is very easy to peel the Tobacco off in thin sheets and then it just takes a little time to cut/rip them into smokeable pieces.

Providing that it has been prepared to a good consistency it is relatively easy to ignite, I always use my jet lighter for plugs and this one isn't to bad. O.K, it needs a few good blasts to begin but once it is burning it is quite consistent once it has been tamped correctly. The flavour really is a remuneration for the hard prep' time, I get no underlying tastes, what I get is 100% Virginia. The smoke temperature is pretty much as medium as I have had but sadly if I draw a little too hard I get a small bite from it, not massive but more of a nip as if to keep my attention! Vitamin N? Absolutely great: not strong, not weak but just enough to satiate. The room-note is (again) a standard Virginia one but what I find a plus is this, yes it is a very full Virginia one but the consistency isn't overly thick.

I am not a huge fan of plug tobaccos, I admit that I am too lazy but the flavour of Kendal Plug more than justifies the hard work, it's just a shame it doesn't prepare itself!

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: G.Q Tobaccos

5 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am a big fan of Best Brown Flake so this was a natural transition. I was a bit surprised when I received my order that the tobacco leafs were larger than expected, although not an issue for me. At first light, each bowl was pure tobacco bliss. It burns clean and was fairly monochromatic. Things get interesting about mid bowl with some tang and a little spice. For whatever reason, it seems to burn with more spice when pushed verses the flake. It could be just me. I don’t detect any added flavoring, but as each bowl progressed, there is that slight flavor that I associate with Lake District tobaccos. I have never found Best Brown to be high in nicotine, nor do I find this one either, but I do notice it more for some reason in plug form. I usually prefer the plug version of blends over the flake version, but in this case, I prefer the flake. KP will satisfy those seeking pure tobacco flavor made from high quality leaf.

4 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Pleasant

I find that DrDNA's tobacco preferences are similar to my own. I wish now that I had read his review before sampling this very difficult to smoke tobacco.

It started out being difficult to slice, dice, lock and load. It then was difficult to keep lit. It was then difficult to get past the initial wave of "Lakeland perfume," and it was difficult to to finish the entire bowl.

I will say this, I have friends who have palates that crave the Lakeland flavorings. I think this one will put them high in the clouds with joy.

And if I may offer just a bit of friendly advice, it helps to have a Ginsu knife handy to prepare this stuff. Or, a small buzz saw.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Talk about a blast from the past. I imagine that if I traveled back through time and had a pipe with a fellow in the 1700's this might be the same brick that he pulls out. The guy who I bought this from at the tobaccanist had such a hard time cutting up the bricks that he just gave me about 5 ounces for the price of one. Let me tell you- this led to a few doubts on my part. I got home and pulled out a scroll saw and set to work. After some rehydration I tried it out and found it to be very pleasant in a peasant (as in a medieval village) sort of way. The other reviewers are right. This doesn't have half the complexity or developed flavors of some other Virginias out there, but then that is most of its charm. It is simple and good, sort of like homemade bread. Beware however- The charm does wear off, and you are left with a somewhat monochromatic smoke.

3 people found this review helpful.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (129)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Delicious: pure old fashioned Virginia taste with no detectable additions or gimmicks -tobacco as it should be. This is a cool, slow burning, tasty smoke, fairly easy (as plugs go) to prepare, and consistent, fragrant and full flavoured when lit. It won't ghost your pipe unacceptably or leave behind any unpleasant goo. Assuming you don't mind all the fuss and foreplay of preparing plug tobacco I can't think of anything negative to say about it; apart, perhaps, from the fact that, like SG tobaccos generally, it comes from the shop very moist. Let it have ample drying time before you try to smoke it or you won't get the best of the flavours and you'll be constantly re-lighting it. In all important respects, however, an absolutely first rate tobacco.

Pipe Used: Dr Plumb bulldog; Peterson billiard

Purchased From: My Smoking Shop UK

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith's Best Brown Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (191)
Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable

The same review as Best Brown Flake but with better blended flavors due to the plug tobacco. Dried fig sweetness, earthy, slightly tangy and more malt/molasses characterize this Samuel Gawith offering. A cool, mellow and slow burning Virginia, a desert island tobacco.

Honestly, plug tobacco represents the purest form in which to enjoy your pipe smoking, the preparation allows you to control all the stages of your puffing. A method that I find works best with tobacco on the moist side, is to leave it in my pipe for the night and then smoke it during the day. Also, the more I smoke rope/plugs, the more I realize that the flavors meld much better in those cuts.

2 people found this review helpful.

Effluvinator Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Effluvinator (51)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I have been working on a chunk of this for quite a few years. I slice off a few little bits and am always surprised by the yield after I rub it out. It is such a dense plug that it seems to last almost forever. I usually smoke darks so this gets a lot of rest but it is an excellent lighter VA when I am in the mood. I like it best in a small bowl, just sipping and enjoying the round flavor.

Pipe Used: Clay, Kaywoodie oval.

Age When Smoked: Fresh to aged

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (106)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I tried this after reading so many glowing reviews and was not nearly so impressed as others seem to be. The plug has an old-fashioned, rustic appearance, resembling weather-rotted particle board more so than a dense block of indiscernibly layered leaf. Positive points for this ugly, true-to-form appearance. However, this is perhaps the single most finicky tobacco I've smoked to date. Preparation style, pipe choice, moisture content, and even relative humidity all seem to drastically affect the outcome. Smoke too wet, cannot keep lit for more than a puff or two and gurgles like my bathtub drain. Smoke too dry, suffer through tastelessness and tongue bite like licking a lava pool. Cut too thickly, all of the above. Wind blowing from the west? Forget about it. I feel like the stars and planets must align just to attain a rewarding smoke.

However, when you do discover, after weeks of trial and error, your magic combination that works, this is a uniquely mild, subtly sweet treat. For me, it involves slicing out in 1/8 inch slices, cutting the slices down to about 1/2 inch squares, dry for 20-30 minutes, rub out completely, then dry again as needed(make sure to err on the side of wetter, since most the flavor is gone by the time crispiness suddenly appears). Works best in a large bore cob...for me, but your results will likely vary. It's basic, true VA flavor that speaks of yesteryear. As a heavy McClelland smoker, I had little experience with Kendal style VA, but I am digging the homemade yeast bread flavor with floral-like top notes and very subtle sweet finish.

Final verdict - it's not a game changer for me, but it is a good, solid and consistent pure VA with character. I would lean towards 2.5 star rating, but I'm granting 3 since I had to fight to get this one to like me. And I do thoroughly enjoy old-timey, unadulterated tobacco and the preparation required of a plug.

UPDATE: I've come to enjoy this baccy more and more over time. Yes, it takes much more work for preparation, but the results are fantastic when the stars align. I've discovered it behaves better in a cob than briar. Its also more flavorful and cooler smoking in cooler, drier weather. In the summer when the temp hits 100 and humidity hovers at 95%, you can forget it. Scorched earth. I slice it in 2mm slices, cut the slices into about 1cm segments, let it dry, rub it out entirely, and air dry for however long it takes to go from soggy to springy. Also, I never smoke it immediately but instead pack a bowl or two and let it sit overnight. Advanced preparation is key, you see. A year ago I struggled not to rate this one under 3 stars. But it's a solid 3.5 in my opinion. If it continues to age as well as I've seen, it may well be a 4 star blend for me. I would like to restock my supply, but unfortunately this has become scarce to non-existent in the U.S. currently.

Pipe Used: MM Mark Twain, MM General, MM Wizard cobbit

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

incognitopoet Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
incognitopoet (36)
Extremely Mild None Detected Full Pleasant

This is the same tobacco as my beloved Best Brown Flake, but the smoking experience is a little different. I don't reach for this plug if I am in a hurry.

As with all SG tobaccos this plug required quite a bit of drying. Once dry, I kind of pick it apart until I have a little pile of 1 cm squares that are between 1 and maybe 5 leaves thick.

The leaves pack into the bowl easily, and a couple of lights later the bowl is ready to smoulder lazily for a long time without much tending.

To me, the smoke is a lot sweeter than Best Brown Flake, and it burns quite a bit cooler.

Outstanding tobacco, delicious, and reliable. It is just a really good clean honest smoke.

2 people found this review helpful.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Well, this is a nice little Virginia plug. I bought it along with Cannon plug, which is a different animal entirely-see my review and others. This is not at all like some of Gawith's stronger offerings, as it is mild and mellow to smoke and forgives heavy puffing. I can kick this dog as hard as I like and still it will not bite me. No subtle overtones of flavor here, just pure natural Virginia with its fermented hints of dried fruit, but these hints are subdued with this plug. This is a real quality plug for a great price, about 10-11 dollars for 4 oz, and the retailer gave me extra! I'm thanking my lucky Mars (I mean stars). I don't have preparation of this plug down to a science yet, even though I have some experience with plugs. You really have to slice it thin and dry it or rub it out or burning it will be really hard! 1-11-10 Well, no harder to prepare than any other plug. Damn, this stuff is good! The tastes at the bottom of the bowl are indescribable. I will probably make this my next pound.

2 people found this review helpful.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

This tobacco may scare at first sight: dark, compact, moist and musty. Actually, smoking it can reveal many surprises. It isn't "dark" in taste, quite the opposite: it's fresh, fruity, delicate and can be an all-day smoke. At a glance it can be seen as the Cob plug twin, but as brutal the Cob, as harmonic the Kendal. A real marvel.

2 people found this review helpful.

tschenyinkoh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tschenyinkoh (51)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Samuel Gawith Kendal plug is the uncut version of the ever-popular Best Brown Flake and is also known as Best Brown Plug. Many class this as the mellower and sweeter cousin of Full Virginia Flake/Plug (FVF/FVP) and it's easy to see why. The tobacco is made using high-quality Virginias and even has the same, slight herby/vegetal aroma found in FVF/FVP. This mellower version is made without the use of any toppings and is one of the cleanest Virginias produced in the UK.

Best smoked by cutting the plug into thin-medium flakes and breaking down. Once lit you are greeted with divine sweetness and a gentle herby and nutty flavours. Depending on how you cut this plug a bowl can last for hours and burns cleanly to the bottom of the pipe, leaving fine ash.

The plug version is deeper than Best Brown Flake but needs more breathing time.

The Summary:

Contents - Virginia

Flavouring - None

Cut - Plug

Origin - Kendal, England

Tasting Notes:

Strength - Medium

Flavouring - None Detected

Taste - Medium

Room Note - Pleasant

Purchased From:; gqtobaccos

1 person found this review helpful.

Little Steven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Little Steven (66)
Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Unnoticeable

I have a solid Japanese veggie chopper which I keep for slicing plugs. I've had it for ages and it really does the job. It's sharp and weighty so I can control the slivers. This gives me an advantage over SG flakes and their varying thicknesses. I don't have to rely on them rough Northerners and their blunt blades.

Oh yes, Kendal Plug. It's exactly what it says on the tin. Good Northern straight forward honesty.

Top quality, straight virginia.

I gave mine away as I easily succumb to Virgins Bite.

Pipe Used: Stanwell billard.

Age When Smoked: Fresh from the shop.

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop (nice chaps).

Similar Blends: Pretty much anything calling itself brown or mild..

1 person found this review helpful.

tomspeed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tomspeed (23)
Medium Extremely Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant

Another Lovely Pure 5 Star Tobacco from great company. I love all Samuel Gawith Tobaccos slow burning tasty plug. Highly Recommended

1 person found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Marlin Flake's duller, hotter, country cousin. Who needs it?

1 person found this review helpful.

doktorstamp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doktorstamp (11)
Mild None Detected Mild Unnoticeable

The reviews are, by and large, well biased towards the positive. This borne in mind I obtained 25g. Smell/odour/fragrance, absolutely nothing could be discerned, why you may well ask, well the plug came as rock-hard broken pieces, possibly around a 9 on the hardness scale. So it has been placed in a dampish Kilner Jar, with a mascotte stone to rehydrate. I was looking forward to trying this when it arrived, but find that I will have to curb my desire, not to mention my impatience while it re-hydrates to something that may be more readily rubbed out for the pipe. At present I guess it would take some P4/C4 or old-fashioned TNT to assist in preparation. I can only assume the tobacconist who supplied my sample had a kango or the aforementioned to hand. I shall update this review in, the hopefully, not-to-distant-future. UPDATE Upon re-hydration it became somewhat more amenable to being prepared for packing into a pipe. However I can say, "I've tried it". Notwithstanding I shall never purchase it again. The flavour teases, but never comes to the fore, leaving one feeling considerably unsatisfied. Still the quest for Nirvana will continue, no doubt there will be some more dead ends into which I shall be lured.

Age When Smoked: Dessicated/petrified. Fresh? Moot point

Similar Blends: Sun-baked peat..

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