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A century-old recipe for natural flake with true tobacco taste. Navy Cut.

BrandWessex
Blended ByWessex
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50g Tin
CountryDE
ProductionUnknown
Product Image
Strength
Mild to Medium, Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant

Favorite Of 1 Users

3.5
10 reviews
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6
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3
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doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (183)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

I was anxious to try this blend and loaded a pipeful right after it arrived via UPS. What I like about Wessex Brown Virginia Flake is the absence of the typical grassy Virginia note. The flakes are packed in 4 rows across the tin's width and stacked. By no means dry, the flakes are difficult to take out intact as they tend to split up lengthwise - similar to my most recent experience with Mac Barens Navy Flake; quite crumbly actually. I don't think there is any glue used to keep these flakes from breaking apart. This is good for those who prefer a broken flake style packing, making it quite easy to load your pipe. They are of a medium brown color with lighter flecks throughout. The tin aroma had a naturally sweet character to it, reminding me of Mac Baren's Virgina No. 1 but not as heavy. I can not tell if BVF is cased from the tin aroma alone; only with deep inhalation of the tinned tobacco do I get a faint whiff of citrus/raisin. A beautiful room note to boot. My daughter says it is sweet and comforting. DGT also is spot on.

Considering the freshness of the flakes, it lit very easily and remained lit throughout the entire smoke. No re-lights required. It produced a good amount of smoke and did not start off harsh as many Virginias do. There was never any Virginia tang with this one, either. Its character remained pretty much the same throughout the smoke. No bitterness evident at all. In some ways similar to Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake in the flavor department - perhaps not as strong.

UPDATE 8-24-10: I've been smoking this from a tin that after opening the vacuum seal, I let sit for nearly 8 months. It has darkened beautifully and the added fermentation has added a tremendous depth of flavor - not really citrus, but more raisin/fig/prune-like. By the way, newer tins now have the flakes cut as 2 rows of double-width flakes (similar to Orlik Golden Slice 50gm) across the tin's long side.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (531)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Very thin flakes of a chestnut brown color. Hard to load as a flake due to the flakes falling apart so I rubbed it out. It took to the match quite well and didn't suffer too many relights.

The only way I have to measure a blends nicotine strength is if it gives me either the shakes and dizziness or makes me hiccup. Some heavy burley blends do one or the other or both but this was the first straight VA that made me hiccup. So I have to assume this one is heavy in vitamin N.

Taste-wise, this was good but not great. Not a reference virginia like Blackwoods Flake, FVF, Opening Night and several others. But worthy enough. The taste was on the light side but it had good body and strength. Very much a bread-like quality, as it went beyond hay. A slight spice and an even slighter sweetness. This is about as "straight" a straight virginia as I've ever smoked - no frills of any kind. I preferred this one to the Wessex Red, which surprised me. This didn't have half the tang of Red and didn't make up for it with the usual VA sweetness. I guess you could say I found this one tilted toward the boring side. Nothing special, but worth a try. I'd give this a 2.5 rating if I could but it's good enough to round up to 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

My tin of Brown Flake was relatively old, sitting undisturbed on a store shelf for multiple years now. I bought it from a cigarette and bong shop that had a few pipe smokers long ago, in another life. The pipe tobacco was left over from the previous owners, who had made a decent effort at attracting us pipe smokers. Apparently, I'm the only semi regular that still frequents the joint on a not so frequent basis, which is sad, because we had quite a few fellows who would show up to sample the tobaccos, and their variety at one point wasn't bad. I presently use the place to pick up those now aged tobaccos, but the selection is wearing thin, and I realize that only a few trips remain.

There were two Wessex blends still sitting on the shelf, Brown Flake and Red Flake. I've had my share of Red Virginias over the years so I thought Brown Flake might extend the breadth of my experience. I was eyed suspiciously, and asked repeatedly if I wished to purchase an item, as if my plans for theft were well established and expertly devised. After a good ten minute search for my selection, I browsed the crummy supply of overpriced cigars for five minutes and finally gave up, delivering my single tin to the register.

I generally have sympathy for tobacco shops, but this place induces rage. I suppose it's not fair to criticize a purported smoke shop for selling bongs to make ends meet, and I guess one can't fault people for buying marijuana pipes disguised as briar. I know as well that lottery tickets will supplement such meager revenue, I just rather it be pipes and tobacco.

Upon opening the small, squarish tin, I could see firsthand the state of the container itself. It was entirely corroded away, the rim of the tin caked, black and sticky with a combination of oxidization and rust. The wax paper protecting the tobacco was absolutely covered in dark brown juice, always a good sign. At home I promptly removed the tobacco and transferred it into a discarded 2 ounce tin, to find that the inside surface of the old Wessex container showed similar signs of disarray, so much that I was forced to abandon the layers of tobacco that had come in contact with the tin itself, which had acquired a nasty metallic scent. I was worried there for a bit, but when I transferred the tobacco I felt reasonably sure the contents were fit for smoking.

The tobacco itself smelled powerful, deeply fermented and fruity, despite the lack of an obvious casing. Over the years, the individual flakes had fused together, turning the tobacco into a solid sparkling dark red brick. It was impossible to separate the flakes at this point, so I picked away at the surface, pulling pieces apart and shoving them into my pipe. For my first trial I loaded the tobacco into a small Parker Billiard and gave her a quick light. The grassy notes were entirely absent, replaced with a deep, molasses-like undertone that coated the mouth with a sugary film. On first smoke, Brown Virginia bit fiercely, and I had to adjust my rapid puffing cadence with tiny sips until everything settled down. About half way into the smoke, the blend began to further develop a dark sugary flavor, caramelizing into a sublime, sweet smoke with some decent body (this blend alone is probably more robust than the entire catalog of McClelland Virginias, for comparison, much on par with something like Full Virginia Flake, or G&Hs Brown Flake).

I recently made a hefty Virginia order comprising many different manufacturers and their various offerings. It was my attempt to find a reasonable substitute for FVF, having come up short consistently now for several months of directed searching. My effort to scope out Virginias such as this Wessex variety was really a gambit to find that Virginia with a dark press similar to Samuel Gawith's product, that molasses note a target of my affection. But I suppose I'll have to wait for more opportunities when my much anticipated order arrives. Why don't more manufacturers employ this technique?

Brown Virginia Flake was really an impulse buy to get me through that waiting period, as I have grown tired of the many VaPers in my smoking cabinet, Perique having a unique attribute of components to wear me down after extended exposure. As it stands, Brown Flake is a decent, pure blend, maybe somewhat dull but perfectly smokable, and I'm puzzled as to why it hasn't received much attention from reviewers. I know, the black tin art is a little bland and definitely minimalist, but the tobacco is very nice, if lacking in flair.

A bit of advice to those seeking a replacement for FVF--I would say branch out in every direction. Don't be afraid to select something you're unfamiliar with. Virginias age wonderfully, and given a few years you really can't go wrong, even if you pull a few stinkers in all the madness. That might not rest well with those that want immediate gratification, and I understand, shopping for replacements can often leave one wanting.

That said, having killed half a tin of BVF, I'd be happy with another five sitting in my smoking cabinet.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Past Master Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Past Master (17)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I bought this several years ago, opened it and smoked maybe one bowl from the tin. I've kept it in a zip-lock bag with a couple of other similar blends in tins, but recently found it completely dried out and hard. I sprayed some distilled water on it, put it back in the plastic and set it aside for a couple of weeks. Tonight, I opened it and smoked a bowl from the now revived and moistened contents, and found it to be a mild to medium, and very enjoyable smoke.

I will definitely replace this tin in the near future and make it one of my favorites.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cactus John Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cactus John (34)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is one of my top 5 favorite tobaccos. I like this better than the Red flake but just by a little bit, it was a hard call they are so similar. This one to me is just a bit sweeter and just a tad richer. Very high quality tobacco. I think this is the best straight Virginia flake tobacco I know of.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ajaj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ajaj (69)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

Somewhat similar to Red Virginia and Golden Virginia, but not quite as pleasant. It is rather bland compared to the other two and the flavor is somewhat "monotone". DGT does not suit it very well. I'm looking for a virgina with a little more grassy citrus flavor. The three (Red, Gold, Brown) are somewhat similar, but not as similar as the F&T line.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Briarabbit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briarabbit (116)
★★★☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

High quality tobacco at a premium price. The tobacco delivers a round sweet tangy Virginia mellowness that I do savour. It is sweet, and needs a night to dry out. My favourite is the red virginia flake by Wessex,but this is a second choice. Good tobacco if you like the Brown Virginia variety.Sure to please.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (125)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This flake comes in a 50g tin. The flakes are cut endwise into narrow strips. This tin is a bit on the damp side, and the tobacco smoked a bit moist. It required a pipe cleaner and two relights, but other than that it burned very well to the bottom of the bowl. This is a beautiful smoke for the lover of brown Va. flake. A very light neutral sweetner has been added to enhance the flavor. The smoke delivers a consistent toasty, brown Va. taste. It also provides that marvelous tingle in the nose that you get from a fine cigar - not the cigar flavor, but the tingle. This has the deeper brown Va. flavor as opposed to the tang of the red Va. or the mildness of the gold. For the lover of brown Va., this would be an ideal all day smoke, but you would need to love the straightforward, consistent flavor from start to finish. Its only drawback is that it is quite expensive, and probably too expensive to be an all day smoke. I recommend this most highly to Virginia lovers as a special treat and to every pipe smoker as a must try tobacco. Paddy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (259)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a nicely prepared blend of medium to dark brown VAs with an ideal moisture content. The natural oils and sugars actually bled into the waxed paper tin liner although I don't know how long my tin had been aged. The layers are very pliable which permits packing without any breakup or rubout and results in an cool, even burning smoke. Relights are easy and do not bring even a hint of bitterness. Just as advertised, this one is a high quality tobacco with a true, natural but generally sweet taste. This taste is consistent within the bowl and from bowl to bowl. Some may view this as boring, but to me, this is an ideal smoke. I'm glad the recipe survived for a century to permit my enjoyment. If you like straight VA flakes, give this one a chance.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Dr Pipeflake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr Pipeflake (8)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

I smoke this every night in a Don Carlos Smooth billiard. Perfect nightcap.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.