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Red Virginia from a special allotment of a 1983-crop North Carolina leaf. Packaged with a light vacuum seal, it will continue to mellow with age.

BrandMcCranie's
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50g Tin
CountryUS
ProductionUnknown
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant
3.6
25 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
17
3 star:
6
2 star:
1
1 star:
1
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Denevei Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Denevei (58)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

There are two versions of McCranie's 1996 Virginia available, a flake and a ribbon. The tobaconists at McCranie's tell me that the flake is a better melding of the flavors. I buy the flake, though, because I enjoy rubbing out my tobacco, and I think it stays fresh longer in an opened tin. The story I've been told about Red Flake/Ribbon is that there was a really good crop of red Virginias in 1983, and the McCranies essentially bought it all up. They then took it to the McClelland company for processing. The 1983 crop finally was exhausted about some years ago, and at that time McCranie's had already been hard at work finding a replacement. The 2000 crop which is now used seems excellent.

The tobacco is slightly moist and requires a short drying period before smoking. The tobacco rubs out nicely. The flakes are relatively thick but they break down easily. Once rubbed out, the tobacco packs extremely easily into any bowl. I personally like to fully rub out a flake, but the blend smokes quite well as a broken flake, too.

This is a soft, smooth smoke from the very first light. The initial flavor is slightly bland, but by about an eighth of the way into the bowl the complexities really begin to develop. The tobacco takes on a nice, almost creamy and vanilla-like flavor, and that's what I look for in a light or red Virginia. The smoke is relatively cool and dry, though like any Virginia it's not going to tolerate aggression on the part of the smoker – it'll bite back. I think that Red Flake bites less than a lot of Virginias on the market, though.

This is an excellent smoke. If you are a Virginia lover, you'll appreciate this fine tobacco.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

Well, I finally won a tin of this on Ebay-pretty cheap, considering; and I must conclude that it is all that it is made out to be. I got the 1983 version, tinned in 1999 with the McClelland code on the bottom of the tin. I would not go spending exorbitant amounts of money on it, since there are other good tobaccos out there. The tobacco has held up well, still a bit moist and needing to be dried out. It is mellow and amazingly complex. It gets better toward the end, like any decent Virginia, and what else can I say? It's just great natural Virginia tobacco. I will try to make my little tin last. Update 3-31-10: Still have a lot left of the tin, since I only allow myself to smoke a small bowl of it once in a while. It's late, I'm bored, and I'm having a little bowl in my trusty Jobey author (Stromboli 200) which, ironically, I bought at McCranies. This is a tobacco which requires one's full attention. A single malt among Virginias (but there are other McClellands which fit this description). Get some if you can, I can definitely say it is worth the $30 I paid, or more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Peppino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peppino (74)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The tin is dated 10899 just opened it last night and rubbed it out. My initial impression is a good flavor with nice burning qualities. It left a great ash and clean bowl in the Savinelli. It has sweetness right from the start and burns evenly, it does dry my mouth a bit but no tongue bite. The flavor gets deeper with coffee undertones that add's to the smoke. The aroma is good and it's not real smokey when lit. A very nice virginia that took way to long to get to in my stash. Like I have said I had dropped my pleasure of the pipe for quite awhile but I'm happy to be back I never realized how much I missed them.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

vaperfavour Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
vaperfavour (30)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

God, i love this stuff! Sweet, zesty, tangy and yet with a bottom depth. I originally had 40 tins of this, i am now down to my last. i just cant stop smoking this. one of the best.by far the best vintage McCranies put out, far better than the 2000 crop which is sprayed and sauced. this is natural and delicious.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Well, I finally won a tin of this on Ebay-pretty cheap, considering; and I must conclude that it is all that it is made out to be. I got the 1983 version, tinned in 1999 with the McClelland code on the bottom of the tin. I would not go spending exorbitant amounts of money on it, since there are other good tobaccos out there. The tobacco has held up well, still a bit moist and needing to be dried out. It is mellow and amazingly complex. It gets better toward the end, like any decent Virginia, and what else can I say? It's just great natural Virginia tobacco. I will try to make my little tin last.

Update 3-31-10: Still have a lot left of the tin, since I only allow myself to smoke a small bowl of it once in a while. It's late, I'm bored, and I'm having a little bowl in my trusty Jobey author (Stromboli 200) which, ironically, I bought at McCranies. This is a tobacco which requires one's full attention. A single malt among Virginias (but there are other McClellands which fit this description). Get some if you can, I can definitely say it is worth the $30 I paid, or more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big bad Jon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big bad Jon (232)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is another amped up version of McClelland 5100, but by far the best! It has all the makings of an excellent VA with subtleties that are brought more in the forefront by pressing the tobaccos into a flake. This is my new absolutely favorite VA blend. I cant say enough about how much better having this in a flake makes this blend. This is a must try!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarChef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarChef (100)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

1996 Crop, tinned 1-2006. 5100 on Performance Enhancers.

Sweet, great depth and develops nicely down the bowl. Rich.

Ron Carter/Piccolo Bass. Perfect blending of highs, lows and mid-range.

If this bites you, you must deserve it. A brief drying, fully rubbed with a few chunks left intact. Tsuge half bent billiard.

Two-three more years of age and it will probably be four stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Red Virginias don't get redder than this. And it's a complex, sweet, mellow, lacking tongue bite... sublime Virginia. This blend hits the zone for me 90% of the times. I smoke others Virginias just because I love variety and in sake of perspective.

If you love HOtW, you've really got to try this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

prison chaplain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
prison chaplain (38)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

10/31/07

A blessed All Hallows Eve to you all.

Red Flake was a disappointment. For $12+ for a tin, I was underwhelmed. My tin was stamped 12/06 and I purchased if from their Charlotte, NC store while my wife and I visited our youngest son. He has fallen in love with N.C. while attending college. I purchased it in May, '07, so it only had perhaps 6 months on it. I am almost finished with the tin; haven't exactly been running home to fill my pipe with it, as you can see.

All the same, for the price, I found it rather rough and lacking in flavor. There are better tobaccos out there. While a totally different tobacco, McCranies' Old Master has been a much more pleasant smoke. And I typically prefer VA and VA/Perique blends.

The pleasure to price ratio just does not cut it for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Taste Buds Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Taste Buds (127)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This review is based on the '96 crop. I much prefer the Ribbon to the Flake, as it is smoother, milder and less tangy. But the Ribbon is a little on the mild side for me and it lacks the depth of flavor of the Flake. This prompted me to rub out the Flake and add it to the Ribbon. The ratio is 80-20. I find this combination provides an excellent taste. The Flake adds what the Ribbon is missing. This has become my favorite blend.

October 16,2007: I can't tolerate the sharpness of this flake. Four years of aging have done nothing to tame this beast.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wosbald Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wosbald (111)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin aroma of this broken flake is McClelland's typical funky ferment.

The flavor is of deep red virginias, some of the richest and sweetest on the market, with typically complex nuance.

One of the best VA flakes, this is simply great tobacco. It goes best in a narrow gauge chamber.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Red Virginias don't get redder than this. And it's a complex, sweet, mellow, lacking tongue bite... sublime Virginia. This blend hits the zone for me 90% of the times. I smoke others Virginias just because I love variety and in sake of perspective.

If you love HOtW, you've really got to try this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

imago Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
imago (63)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Words simply can not do justice to this marvellous tobacco!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Meerschaum Man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meerschaum Man (85)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I am surprised that more pipesters have not reviewed this excellent blend... Rich and sweet, it brings an earthy quality to the smoking experience lacking in other Red Virginia's. Complex and full, it develops in a rare event of point and counter point for the Virginia leaf pipester. This blend is also good to introduce to others, as they will tell you how much they like it. Do not miss this one.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a Fez by Yanik

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ARJIM Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ARJIM (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I reieved a sample of this tobacco in a box pass. I will have to say I am on the hunt for more. This is very well balanced smoke to me. It has the natural sweetness I tend to look for, plus the true taste of tobacco. My sample was a little dry, but it smoked well with no bite. I would have to say in my mind it is definatly 4 stars. Good full flavour.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hoo-boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hoo-boy (17)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

Ah, a good Virginia blend , it smokes consistant, with few lights. packs easily for a flake even if not rubbed out. its a very cool smoke (you would have to try hard to get tongue bite with this blend) So pick up a coupl'a tins One to smoke now , one to cellar I don't believe you will be disapointed, 3 stars hoo-boy

Nobody has rated this review yet.

csimser Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
csimser (7)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

A pure Virginia flake of the highest quality. I was given a few bowlfuls by a friend that "wowed" me ... I immediately called McCranie's and purchased 10 tins, with the regret that sometimes accompanies such a purchase. Other readers will know what I mean ... you really enjoy a blend, jump in and buy several tins, they arrive, and you ask yourself "What was I thinking??" Such was not my experience here.

I have smoked 5 of my 10 tins ... and I suspect this may be the best tobacco I have ever had. I enjoy it even more than Red Ribbon, another excellent blend. To anyone who enjoys Virginia blends and has not tried this jewel of a tobacco ... I whole heartedly recommend it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is the flake version of the Red Ribbon, which is outstanding. The main difference, other than the obvious, is that the flake is a little more flavorful and complex than the ribbon.

The Red Flake I have is from the 1996 crop, same as my Red Ribbon.

I suggest letting the tin air out for a bit, or at least air out the portion you are planning to smoke, as it is a bit moist in the tin for my taste.

Like Red Ribbon with the flavor wheel turned up a bit, Red Flake posseses a bit more complexity than its brother. A tad bit fuller in flavor too. As a flake, if you don't rub it out vigorously, it will last a lot longer in the bowl. That's a good thing... I never wanted it to end.

A full, rich, and satisfying Virginia experience. Get some while you can. It will only get better with time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

alfredo_buscatti Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
alfredo_buscatti (9)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This review will discuss McClelland's Christmas Cheer 2003, McCranie's Red Flake and Wessex Classic Virginia.

Christmas Cheer 2003 (CC) is a red Virginia made from a 1998 Old Belt crop while McCranie?s Red Flake (RF) was made from a 1996 North Carolina crop. CC and RF are both medium-to-full-bodied.

CC fails to deliver the consistently deeper red Virginia flavor that RF offers. While CC has bursts of RF?s consistently dusky red Virginia flavor-a flavor that in comparison is both darker and deeper than a signature brown Virginia, Rattrays Brown Clunee-such bursts are more atypical than constant. This is not to say that CC is not an enjoyable tobacco but simply that in the realm of red Virginia, RF is the winner.

RF?s tin notes state that softness is this tobacco?s chief characteristic. While I don?t disagree with this statement, I would add that RF?s deeper, richer flavor outdoes the competition. One wonders how the considerable tobacco wisdom of McClelland, whose most notable entry in the Virginia arena, its Christmas Cheer series, allowed itself to be content with anything less than a product just shy of perfection. Yet perhaps this has something to due with the time constraints of finding fine leaf in time to process it and still meet Christmas Cheer?s traditional release at the RTDA show.

We then come to Wessex Classic Virginia (CV), medium-to-full bodied, blended by Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. It has more in common with RF than CC and is comprised solely of mature Red Virginia. It has less flavor than RF but I tend to believe this a choice of the blender, not a flaw. It throbs with the rich, basal note of a curing process designed to produce a no-nonsense, straightforward, aged tobacco. Little complexity in comparison to CC, the most complex of these three tobaccos-if any Virginia can be called complex-just a delicious, singular, deep, red Virginia flavor. In comparison to CC, it has little of that tobacco?s grassy, reedy flavor components.

Ranking, in descending order: RF, CV, CC.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Keeper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Keeper (112)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

It is true, folks - this stuff is fantastic. I have some of the 96 crop here and so far it is one of the nicest straight VA tobaccos I have tried. Sweet, tangy, smooth and just a tiny bit bitey so go slow. Just as wonderful as, and not quite as processed tasting as the better aged McClelland blends I've tried. While VA flakes are a summer blend for most people - I like pipes like this on cold winter days. And the snow cover out there certainly qualifies. Fruity and warm like mulled cider.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Young Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Young Piper (64)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Sweet, leathery, chock full of flavor flakes. I got the 1996 crop and the date on the tin is 12/20/03. A year and a half of aging and this is ready to go right from the time the ups guys arrives. Now i like my King Eider and 2015 which have just the right amount of perique but this is a wonderful smoke for the summer months when i dont want any tabasco in my pipe and its 95* here in good old New Jersey.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1004)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Sad news, folks...McCranie's Red Flake from that famous 1983 crop is no more. Yep, they finally ran out and the original Red Ribbon is gone too.

If you do manage to scarf a tin of the original 1983 crop of Red Flake from eBay or elsewhere, you will be rewarded with a rich and creamy taste that just cannot be duplicated.

There is now a new version available (made from an exceptional 1996 crop, I believe.) It is somewhat moist in the tin, rubs out easily, and will offer a wide range of wonderful flavors as you work your way down the bowl -- but take heed, smoke slowly or suffer a bitten tongue because Red Flake will bite if puffed with too much enthusiasm.

This Red Virginia reminded me greatly of the late, lamented Original McCranie's Red Flake. More "tang" though, and down a peg on the flavor meter than the original version. Still, your palate will be satisfied and it does leave your pipe smelling tartly sweet. Because I find so much potential in this one, I have ordered a few more tins for the "cellar," and will revisit this new found friend a few years down the road. A little more age and I suspect it'll truly be yummy

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Willy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Willy (75)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

When it comes to Red VA's, this one can stand right in there with the best of them. When I gave it the highest recommendation, it means a smoke that has what I look for and not just that I smoke it all the time. Too many good blends out there to settle on one just now, but I consider this to be a good utility smoke and worthy of a spot in the rotation, although mostly I smoke what I feel like smoking when I want to smoke it. I enjoy the fermented aroma when opening the tin, and the flakes are visually appealing. The tin I have from 1994 is somewhat deeper and more earthy in taste as well as darker in color. Other tins I have are dated 1998 but have that rich Red VA. flavor that matures w/age. The flakes rub out nicely, but I gave some a quick whiz in the food processor, just a little, not too fine. Packs well, lights easily enough, bit of a tingle at first then mellowing too a smooth, cool and slightly sweet smoke. Too me, it's also a wee bit tangy now and then as VA's. tend to be but in a pleasant way. Burns well, had to use a cleaner near mid-bowl because of a little gurgle but altogether a very enjoyable smoke. Burns down to grey ash and leaves the pipe clean. As I've stated before, I mostly smoke bent pipes, and I enjoy the aroma coming up from the tobacco as I'm smoking while doing other things. Sometimes it's nice to hold the warm pipe under your nose as well and sniff the aromas. The flavor of good Va. tobacco is tough to beat, IMO, and this flake provides a taste treat that should hold most any VA. smokers attention. Smoked in an unhurried fashion you will be rewarded w/an insight into the realm of VA. tobacco enjoyment. Could get a bit hot if smoked TOO fast, but this is a somewhat forgiving tobacco. A very refreshing smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Noorrmm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noorrmm (193)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A nice red Va cake, with the usual McClelland ketchup aroma when you open the can. Rubs out easily to any desired degree, packs and lights well. Flavor is typical red Va., full and sweet wih wide range of high and middle notes. Easy to keep it cool, once he excess moisture has been aired out. Not significantly better than McC bulk #5100 (although that's not a flake).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

acoronado Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
acoronado (2)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

They describe the tobacco as being "soft" which is a pretty good adjective for this flake. It's not harsh or bitter, although it starts out as being slightly astringent like all pressed virginia's. Out of the tin the flakes are nearly whole, with a melange of yellow, orange and red tones. There is that "catsup" like smell that hints at McClelland, but this is only a guess.

Sweet Sweet Sweet is the best way I can describe the first bowl in a Stanwell cutty. I did not rub out the flakes save for the top 1/8th of the bowl for a good charring light. This pipe has a narrow bowl that would show any stinging qualities of this tobacco, but there are none. This tobacco has no tongue bite but delivers loads of flavor. I can't quite taste all the nuances there, but that is mainly due to the horkin' cup of coffee that I'm drinking at the same time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.