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Regular red Virginias have a flavor that can best be described as toasty sweet. Processing and maturing red Virginia can bring some surprising results. People used to buy McClelland 5100 Red Cake by the pound because of its zesty flavor. For those who miss that terrific flavor, you should try Sutliff Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1. This isn't an exact match for 5100, but it has a depth of flavor and a tang that you wouldn't normally find in a regular red Virginia, and it's priced very nice.

BrandSutliff Tobacco Company
Blended ByCarl McAllister
Manufactured BySutliff Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Mild to Medium
Room Note

Favorite Of 1 Users

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2270)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The fairly tangy, earthy, woody, ripe dark fruity red Virginia also sports a very light tart sour note with a bare hint of the floral and bread. The strength is a step past the center of mild to medium, while the taste is close to medium. The nic-hit is tad less potent than the strength level. Won’t bite or get harsh. It may need a very light dry time. Burns cool and clean at a slightly slow pace if the tobacco is moist. Has a very consistent sweet flavor with a touch of savoriness from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasant, lightly lingering after taste and room note. An all day smoke that also makes a excellent mixer. It’s not quite McClelland 5100 - much less vinegar, and it's tangier, but just a little less sweeter - but it is the closest you will get to it. Should age well, though it’s ready to go as it is.


16 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1775)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Sutliff Tobacco Co. - Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1.

A blend inspired by Red Cake? Tough act to follow. McClelland were the kings of tangy Virginias; to me, at least. So, how does it compare?

On a very minor negative it arrives a touch moist, but nothing a short airing doesn't solve. The nose from the pouch is McClelland through and through: ketchup!

I love the smoke, it's just like a McC' Virginia. The flavour's inordinately ripe, rich, and mature. It isn't just a Va of hay and citrus sharpness, it's deep, tangy and sweet. The burn's medium in speed, exceptionally cool, giving a smoke without a bite in it. This is a blend where a long review isn't required, it's just a great smoke!

Nicotine: quite mild. Room-note: nice.

515-RC? The description may say it's not an 'exact match', but it's damn close! Highly recommended:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Rattray's Celtic

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From:

16 people found this review helpful.

thebriarbear Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thebriarbear (10)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I walked into my tobacconist and asked him for something reminiscent of the dearly beloved and mourned McClelland 5100 Red Cake. He plopped two jars down on the table and happily obliged to let me have a half a bowl or so of each right there. So, I chose the first jar, which happened to be Sutliff Red Virginia Ribbon, a fine choice, I thought. I lit my pipe and settled in, and what I found was a slightly young, tangy red Virginia with no reminiscent McC "smell", and only did I get pockets, or perhaps, subtle, faint hints of the old 5100 we know all know of. Happy, but not what I was looking for, I opened the next jar, and had my fill. This one brought me back to the same mental state that my brain associates with 5100 almost immediately. I found, though it wasn't quite the same, the hint of the McC Virgnia smell and hurriedly in excitement lit my pipe. Much better. Much more tangy in the same way 5100 was, and that deep red Viginia sweetness was present. I let my pipe go out, bought a healthy sized bag, and relit my pipe for the drive home. Hands down, folks, this is the closest you will get to 5100 this side of the moon. Granted, it comes a bit moist, and isn't exactly Red Cake, it's pretty damn close. I do get the sense that there is a hint of sweet topping that at times gets a little "sugary" for me, which is a difference between it and Red Cake, but hey, let's all appreciate that this tobacco exists, and be satisfied with this cheap, Red Cake-esque tobacco that will scratch your McC red Virginia itch. A final caveat - Let it age. It does seem a bit young to me, and will age beautifully, just as all Virginias do. I feel that with some age on it, it will perhaps be as close to Red Cake as anyone will get.

11 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (860)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

A Tale of Two Red Virginias, Part II. Golden ribbons with a bag note of hay. I get none of the McClellands-style sileage aroma from this, which was expected since it's not a McClellands blend. Came very moist and the proper moisture content was hard to dial in but it required some drying to get the PG to evaporate but not so much as to make the tobacco too dry. I left this one with a bit of moisture - not crispy. Review based on one ounce.

My first few bowls were what I would expect from a Sutliff match blend of #5100 Red Cake... very little depth, a definite subduing of the Red Cake tang and sweetness, and a fake "sweet-ish" taste from the PG (the flavoring I listed). I understand this is a bulk blend and requires some form of preservative, but I wish Sutliff could find something else, as the PG definitely contributes negatively to the taste and moves this further from a "match" blend (it isn't so named but Sutliff states that it's a substitute). But the good news is that there is almost no Sutliff signature chemical taste, once the blend dries out a bit. At any rate, as this blend dried on its own, it began to smoke more like a typical Red. Still nowhere near the depth of 5100, but at least moving in that direction. And once again, a single ounce of tobacco usually does not tell the entire story, even in a blend as simple as this one. I think this has potential - probably not to classic status like the McClellands but I would never expect that from a Sutliff blend, anyway. As a substitute for Red Cake, this one has a lot to aspire to, but again, I think it has the potential that, with some age on it, it might approach a fresh batch of Red Cake (which we will sadly no longer find). I'm going to pick up a half-pound and give it another spin in a year or so. 2 stars for my personal taste, 3 stars for its potential.

6 people found this review helpful.

ATW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ATW (73)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Since I found out McClelland called it quits, it got me into a Virginia kick. I was trying to find something to fill the void since to loss of 5100. While almost every blend was good in its own rite, it just isn't 5100. 5100 is what got me started in appreciating natural tobacco due to its pure, zesty, creamy, semi sweet, unadulterated nature. Just light it up, puff away and don't think about it type of blend.

That all being said, I think Sutliff knocked this one out of the park. I can only find 3 difference so far. The bag aroma if more of a straight vinegar then a ketchup smell, and the tang is more pronounced and the zest is a little lower. But that's all fine by me. To me, this is similar to a well aged 5100. No matter what, nothing will ever be like for like. But I'm pretty sure this will be very much appreciated by most. And I'm damn sure my sample is not going to last long.

Update 9-30-2018. A difference that I am finding between 5100 and 515 is I've noticed 5100 actually starts to lose its flavor in the last 3rd but 515 keeps gaining in flavor. The sweetness starts to turn into a very nice creamy caramel/mocha flavor. Almost like McClleland Virginia #27 and in some ways it reminds me of Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake. Very very interesting. I am enjoying this more and more. A pound of this will be ordered very shortly. Excellent Virginia right here!

5 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (148)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have never tried McClelland's 5100 Red Cake, so I can only judge this tobacco by its own merits. The tobacco leaf they use seems to be of good quality, but I do not see the point in smoking red virginia when you are after the tang and zesty notes only brighter virginias will produce. Also, the casing seems to be so much in your face for my liking. The room note is very similar to the one those cheap Danish aromatics will leave behind. After it wanes, more or less as you go past your first half and into the third quarter of your bowl, the tobacco flavour comes more upfront with slight bread and hay like undertones. Without the added flavour this tobacco would rate 4 stars, but in its current state I can only award it with 2.

4 people found this review helpful.

cajomu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cajomu (76)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Sutliff Matured Red Virginia is a truly excellent tobacco. It has lots of flavor, a very pleasant room note and absolutely no bite. The tobacco is a uniform medium ribbon, mostly brownish red in color with a few lighter colored strands. The aroma of the unlit tobacco is slightly sweet and fruity. As delivered, it's a little on the moist side, so it needs a bit of drying out before smoking. As one would expect, since it is a Virginia, the nicotine hit is on the light side (although, if you smoke a large bowl, you will feel it).

Upon lighting up, the first thing that strikes one is how sweet it is -- it's one of the sweetest tobaccos I've ever smoked -- and the sweetness continues to the end of the smoke, becoming a little less pronounced around the half-way point. In fairly short order, one begins to detect a sourness that offsets the sweetness nicely and that is quite enjoyable. I reminds me of dried sour cherries, although the flavor is less of cherries and more of raisins. As the smoke progress, one begins to detect some darker flavors like molasses and burnt sugar. Towards the end of the smoke, I get a little bit of hay and grass, as the other flavors taper off. At the very end of the smoke, I detect a little bitterness, which is the only defect I can find.

Others have compared it to the much missed McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake, one of my favorite pipe tobaccos. I get that. However, SMRV is sweeter than Red Cake, doesn't smell of ketchup and is not quite as complex (yet interesting enough to be an all day smoke). I see that one reviewer detected some flavoring. I don't, but I think that is understandable, considering how fruity it is and how pleasant is its room note.

While good enough to smoke on its own, I think that SMRV would really shine as a blender. I can't wait to try it with Perique, with Latakia and with dark-fired burley.

I can't say enough good things about this tobacco. If you liked Red Cake or if you like your tobacco sweet and flavorful, SMRV won't disappoint. Buy a pound of it. It should age nicely and, considering how inexpensive it is, it's a great value.

Pipe Used: Various briars, clay

Age When Smoked: Recently purchased

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipe&leaf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe&leaf (3)
Mild Mild Medium Unnoticeable

I put it straight from the bag into the pipe. No drying time. It lit quite easily.

For the first third of the bowl, the tobacco tasted how it smelled out of the ziplock bag. I thought that was great because it's something you rarely get with pipe tobaccos. It's very savoury, but also sweet and zesty.

That zest disappeared for the last two thirds of the bowl leaving me with a flavour that's more tamed as though the pipe and the leaf decided to settle on an agreement of the sorts for the remainder of the smoke.

I'm looking forward to aging this stuff and see how it evolves.

Is it like 5100 red cake? I smoked the famous Mcclelland blend last spring, 9 months ago and I can see why people compare it. But the 5100 was way more mellow and understood itself for what it was. The sutliff seems like it's still becoming into its own if that makes any sense. Again, I think time will really see that this blend shines.

Happy smokes everyone. Hope this helps.

Pipe Used: Brigham three dot 624 bent billiard

Purchased From: Smoking pipes

2 people found this review helpful.

nkulk8r Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nkulk8r (56)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Sutliff Tobacco Co. - Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1.

I took up the pipe in 2013, and it took me some time to learn how to appreciate Virginias. I snapped up quite a bit of the McClelland Anniversary 1977 - 2017 Virginias (both the ribbon and the flake). Somehow I missed the 5100 Red Cake -- the stuff everyone compares this tobacco to -- so, I can't compare the 515 RC-1 to something I have never smoked -- but, with that being said, I simply love this tobacco.

Sutliff Matured Red Virginia is everything a matured red Virginia should be: tangy, sweet, sour, citrusy -- with that signature McClelland vinegar and ketchup smell we all know and love (and miss) so well -- this stuff is just really good. Tin note is very much like the Sutliff Red Virginia Crumble Kake (though the vinegar is more redolent in the RC-1, while the crumble has more of a sweet/fruity bouquet).

Buying two pounds of this was an easy no-brainer. As others have noted, it does arrive a bit moist, and will need some dry time.

2 people found this review helpful.

Big Blue Jazzman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Blue Jazzman (48)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Purchased this as a blending tobacco. Combined it with an equal amount of yellow virginia and a modest amount of latakia. Wow, jackpot! Then smoked a bowl of just the Red 515. Slow burning, tangy and double delicious! Bet if this was aged for 10 years it would be a smoke of religious experience. You also cannot beat the price. Fantastic job Sutliff!

Pipe Used: Ascorti New Dear

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smoking pipes

1 person found this review helpful.