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Brown Flake is a molasses colored Virginia leaf. pressed into broad flakes that are resinous and delectable. The naturally bright lemon Virginia is first air cured to draw out the simpler, nuttier flavor, then pressed to ferment in its own vital juices.

BrandJ. F. Germain & Son
Blended ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured ByPlanta
Blend TypeVirginia Based
ContentsKentucky, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50g Tin
CountryUnknown
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable, Tolerable

Favorite Of 4 Users

3.2
53 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
22
3 star:
21
2 star:
8
1 star:
2
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cakeanddottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cakeanddottle (36)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is just a brilliant tobacco. The more FVF and BBF I smoke, the less tolerant of the other Va flakes I am. There are a small handful of exceptions, and Brown Flake is one of the best. Unfortunately it's harder to get than just about anything, or else I'd load up.

This tobacco is a lovely, natural Va flake with some Semois (euro version of Kentucky) added. The result is a savory flake that has a mild sweetness throughout, and doesn't taste anything like the Gawith or German flakes. It's unique, it's tasty, and it deserves a lot more lip service than it receives. One of my five favorite tobaccos, easily.

Update 7Oct2013

I've had an email conversation with someone from Germain, and they swear up and down this is a straight Va fermented in its own juices. They're in a better position than I am to know, so forget all the talk of semois in this. I think it's just as lovely a tobacco as I did when I wrote the above, a solid top ten tobacco for me.

4 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (555)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Very small rectangular tin with a heavily pressed flake inside. The flakes were very difficult for me to separate cleanly so I simply peeled off finger-fulls of strands and loaded in 3 steps as I do with a ribbon cut. This is one I preferred slightly on the moist side.

Very lightly sweet with a heavy peat-like aroma, this virginia flake shows us more of the dark side of straight VA's. More spice than sugar, which is more to my taste. This could hardly be called a complex tobacco, as it didn't seem to change much as the bowl progressed. The light sweetness did much to counterbalance the dark notes and added just the right touch to keep this one from being all bass - nice slight additional treble to the ensemble. I would use the word "balance" for this one but I get the feeling those who prefer sweeter VA's would strongly disagree. However, this one was right up my alley, and if you enjoy blends like McClellands Navy Cavendish or C&D's Briar Fox (as well as Opening Night), this is a good one to try. I'll definitely get more of this - JF Germain has blended a winner!

2 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (553)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A little moist out of the tin, but it doesn't bother me any. The flakes break apart very easily, and you can always dry it some if that's your preference. It does have a little in common with Stonehaven, but this is sweeter and there's less toastiness from the burley. The Virginias are light and dark, and work their respective traits of hay, peat, grass, earth, and deep fruit as you would expect them to do with smoothness and a bare hint of spice. There's also a light cigar note. I find it makes a wonderful flavor contrast to FVF. It's good fresh out of the tin, and ages very well.

1 person found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (187)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I was surprised to see this listed as "In Stock" on one of my favorite on-line vendor's site; the only place I have seen this in stock as of recent. I ordered two tins to be on the safe side and after my order went through, it was immediately listed as "Unavailable" on that site, so I consider myself having been "at the right place at the right time!"

Upon opening the 50g tin I was greeted with what others have described - a brick of flake tobacco, very tightly pressed and dryish. This was a real bargain then! There was virtually no tin note whatsoever. I had to do some deep sniffing to tell it was even tobacco. No typical Virginia scents here at all. It is of medium to dark brown in color and cut very thin for a flake. It is like Mac Baren's Navy Flake in this regard, but due to the compression of the tobacco, it was impossible for me to pull out an intact flake. That doesn't bother me much, so I peeled out a bunch of long and slender pieces and loaded up in a no-name Oom-Paul that I reserve for Burleys. Loading and lighting were relatively easy with this tobacco and it took to the flame readily. I rated the taste as medium to full due to its mouth feel. It certainly had a "full feeling" going on, but very, very little flavor and no sweetness whatsoever for me. What little flavor I picked up was the slightest hint of what I would say is fennel/licorice (but not like the licorice in Heinrich's Dark Strong Flake) and predominantly cigar-like in taste (no sweetness and dry). It also reminded me of burnt toast. For me it was Kentucky forward as I couldn't really discern the Virginia. I like Kentucky Burley leaf so this was a good thing.

I put this one up there with Irish Flake in terms of strength and nicotine presence as fast puffing will give you a lump in the back of your throat. This is offset with slower puffing, but never eliminated; it only takes longer to happen. No sweetness whatsoever came through even with slow puffing, so if that's what you are after this would serve your needs. IrishFlake is one of my top two favorites, the other being Solani's Aged Burley Flake, and Brown Flake is in a similar class in my opinion. However, it is most similar in taste (or lack thereof) to GL Pease's Jack Knife Plug, but not as harsh as the Pease incarnation.

Brown Flake is passable, but due to the lack of flavor, I can't see this being high on my list to smoke, unless I am looking for the overall effect of a cigar. If it ramped up what I perceived as fennel/licorice it would have been more enjoyable, but that is not the case here. Only if you like stouter tobacco, or if you want that cigar-thingy going on, try it if you can find it. But...if I want a cigar, I'll smoke a cigar. 2 stars for me.

UPDATE 1-1-14: Happy New Year to all! After reading a recent review I decided to try it again. Well, after having it sit in its tin for the last 12 weeks or so, there was an improvement in that this time there was a slightly sweet note to it, subtle, but very nice. Still cigar-like overall, still better than Peases's Jack Knife Plug, and now "pipey" in its character. My personal rating of 2 stars now joins my initial overall rating of 3 stars...glad I purchased two tins when I did.

Pipe Used: Peterson 2012 St Patrick's Day 221

Age When Smoked: Fresh and 12 weeks

Purchased From: 4 Noggins

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (296)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

As a lover of medium strength red-brown Virginia flakes, I absolutely had to try this one!

It's quite typical of this Jersey brand: subdued, slightly unctuous, with a unique consistency. Seems very pressed and compact in the tin, but then it rubs out wonderfully (unlike some "leathery" Samuel Gawith flakes) and it is quite easy to light and maintain even if simply folded in the bowl.

But it's also a slightly unimpressive tobacco. Ok, it has all the typical Virginia flavours, but the (delicate) addition of Kentucky is probably responsible for an underlying musty and "dirty" taste that prevents it from being completely sweet, appetizing and juicy as I like my Virginia flakes to be.

Anyway, it's unoffensive, at times pleasant, and with a perfect body, heaviness and aggressiveness: very medium in all departments. The slight flavoring (cocoa?) does not translate into the smoking experience.

It's an OK flake, but it doesn't excite me. It must be said that I have never been a fan of Germain's style, though...

1 person found this review helpful.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (100)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Brown Flake is one of my favorite tobaccos, one of the few that I consider unique enough to fear its disappearance from the market. Over the past year or so, Brown Flake has suffered the fate of several Germain-manufactured tobaccos: it's gotten tough to find. That makes it worth purchasing in quantity to squirrel away for future smoking.

This excellent stuff arrives as a moist and mottled mid-brown flake with some golden yellow splotches, some of which are bits of attractive birdseye. Brown Flake folds and stuffs easily, though I tend to rub out most flakes. What is most appealing about this flake, however, is its superb smoking qualities and flavor. Brown Flake is all about clean, robust tobacco flavor. The Burley in the mix softens considerably the sweetness of the Virginia and the result is a delicious flavor of lightly honeyed, strong, black tea. I often think of this as Stonehaven-esque as far as the way it smokes, but far more enjoyable for me because of the absence of that cloyingly sweet treacle topping. A few have even commented on a certain cigar-like quality to this tobacco, and I think that is apt, particularly toward the end of the bowl. Like a good cigar, Brown Flake gives the sensation of diminishing sweetness and growing depth of tobacco flavor as the bowl progresses. Some may find the flavors late in the bowl to be a little guttural and swampy, but I like them very much.

Those fond of tobaccos that are drier tasting than things like Stonehaven or FVF may well find something to like in Brown Flake. It also holds well with mid-term cellaring, though I can't say I've noticed any substantial change in the flavor profile in Brown Flake with a couple of years maturity. Then again, this smokes like a mature flake right out of a fresh tin. If the tobacco world has its equivalent of Gran Reserva Rioja, it's right here.

A great, old-fashioned flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (48)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

very oddly pleasing!! it is malty and sweet.. but there is also a strange hint of sea salt/brine.. almost like an islay scotch but subtley so.. i like it very satisfying

1 person found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (149)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My first reaction to this was "Yeah, it's nice, but I don't see what's so special about it, other than it's hard to find in the US." A little hint of dark fruit, pleasant dark tobaccos, and the flakes really peel off in tin-length strands making it an easy-to-pack smoke. It burns on the slow side.

Over the time I've been smoking it, however (several months), either the flavors have deepened even more, with more complexities creeping in, or I've learned to enjoy this more. I still find nothing that makes me go 'wow' or 'this is a great example of whatever.' This is a dark, satisfying, moderately complex mixture as it matures. If is ever again available, I will certainly cellar it for a while to hope the beginning of that tin is as satisfying as the end of this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pootz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pootz (4)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

In nose lets you know you have some quality natural tobaccos here - licorice and burnt treacle, dark dried fruits and other savory tones. Runs out into an almost shag cut and moisture is just about perfect right from the tin. Lights easily and stays lit with moderate draw. Flavour is fairly complex for such a straight forward cut plug - sweetly herbal, burnt maple syrup, cocoa, and a penetrating natural leafy sweetness that is never cloying. Flavours intensify as the bowl is finished. Room note is sweet and pleasant, almost aromatic. Fine plug, my favorite in my corn pipes.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

22yrsonthepipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
22yrsonthepipe (21)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

From the moment the tin was popped and the stained wax paper peeled back, I knew I was dealing with quality baccy. A light liqourice scent. Amazing sugar crystals sparkle in the light.

The first half of the bowl is naturally sweet and the second half is musty and earthy i.e. just like a top shelf cigar - the kind that is well aged and has 'bloom' on it.

To get SG best brown flake half as good as this, it would have to be cellar-ed for something like 50 years.

Does ghost a little due to the thick cake produced by each pipeful (this stuff would be great for breaking in a pipe). But not such a bad thing as it adds depth to any wishy-washy tobacco that follows it. Doesn't ghost the briar wood tho, a quick scrape out will get rid of it.

4 and a half stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Elvish Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Elvish Piper (2)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I purchased a 50g tin of this Flake at a tobacco-store in ratisbona. I smoked like 4 pipes with this Flake until now, and i came to the conclusion, that this is an wonderful Blend.

The flake looks dark-brown with sprinkles of yellow to light- brown Virginia. The smell out of the tin is pleasant, you just want to take one of the flakes and bite it. Somehow i was able to restrain myself and put it in the pipe. I used the Folding-method and it just packed perfectly.

The taste is awesome, you can taste the high quality Virginias and Kentuckys, it's just great. It is a rather strong blend, with a rather nutty and earthy taste, not a flake i would smoke at 8 am.

On the other Hand, i only give 3 out of 4 stars, because the Nicotine in this flake really knocked me out. I'm used to strong tobacco, but this one gave me a block in my throat. I had to stop smoking after 30 minutes, when i first smoked this baccy.

Other than that, it's a really great tobacco, and will be a welcome guest in my tobacco bar.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

donmartinthree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
donmartinthree (18)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Tin note is fruity and also dark and heavy, matching the way the flake looks in my opinion. It's a dark brown with very few light streaks and some birdseye and it looks as savory as it smells.

As for moisture, it's a little moist, but not too bad. If you lay a flake or two out for about half an hour before smoking, it's all good.

Fold and Stuff is perfect for this, as the flake (at least in my tin...) is pretty thin and easy to take apart from ther others in the tin.

Lighting is easy. Light, tamp, light again, tamp and puff away...

Then what you taste is peat, peat, a little hint of sweetness and then more smoke and peat.

Personally, I think if you like flavors that are deep and rich, earthy and musty, it's perfect for you. It also gets a little salty and seaweed-like at times, which I enjoy. It reminds me of the ocean. I love this in winter or fall.

Goes great with Guinness or strong black coffee and I imagine it would go well with Laphroig or any other Islay Malt.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipesterJim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipesterJim (44)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Stonehaven light? Could well be. Being in the UK I have never smoked Stonehaven but I have smoked Germain's Rich Dark Flake, which I believe is almost a dead ringer.

Well, RDF didn't do it for me. Although I can see it is a good blend there was just too much Burley for my tastes. However, this Brown Flake is much more like it, in fact it is probably what I was hoping Rich Dark Flake would be.

Presentation is what I am coming to think of as typical Germain flake, i.e. stained brown wax paper and flakes so moist and compressed that peeling one off intact is impossible - it is kinda fun to try though, and then just crumble off any extra that you need. A bit of drying time is required, but not as much as with some flakes, e.g. the SG offerings.

In the pipe it is a hay-like VA with some subdued sweetness and a dirty, smokey bottom provided by the Kentucky. It ain't complex, but it is distinctive and tasty. It is more gentle on the palatte than a straight up VA flake and nicotine is ample.

Germain's Brown Flake has every aspect of a properly old school tobacco, and of high quality. It isn't mind blowing, but smoked slowly it is flavoursome and satisfying. I particularly enjoy it with a nice cup of tea on the side, and can see it being a sturdy companion when outdoors on an autumn evening.

I shall certainly cellar away another tin or two and would recommend this for everyone to try at least once. Whilst it is more VA forward, I think it would particularly appeal to those who are keen on traditional British Va/Kentucky flakes like Highland Sliced.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fermer435 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fermer435 (1)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Between the virginia flakes I have been trying, this one steps forward with its unique taste. It gives you the feeling of an old quality wine. Once I opended the tin I got that strong smell of "good old times" and mold. I took all the contents out and aired it for like an half an hour then I tucked everything in. The mold smell had gone away leaving the stage for "good old times"

The next day I took a pipe full and rested it for couple of minutes before I filled up my pipe.

When I lighted it .... That was the moment I fell in love with this baccy. Very unique, tasty, satisfying easy to smoke. My favourite of all times.

Highly recommended for experienced smokers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bearsy87 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bearsy87 (10)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I am a big fan of flakes and this is one does not disappoint. I love the flakes and how they rub easily. I am genarally more partial to S.G. flakes but Germain's will soon become a staple in my smoke routine. Highly recommended!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipelovingcalvinist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipelovingcalvinist (68)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a great flake. My favorite Virginia flake in this category is Samuel Gawith's Best Brown Flake, however, being difficult to find, Germain's is a suitable replacement. (Unfortunately Germain's Brown Flake is difficult to find as well.) Not as moist as Sam Gawith's flakes, GBF burns quite nicely with just a little dry time. Sweet, spicy, with some cigarish qualities, this is a delicious tobacco to go with my evening coffee.

Soli Deo gloria.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (202)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

The tin, when I got it by mail order, was of a shape and dimension that I normally associate with the more extremely pressed blends, like Peterson's Irish Flake or Solani's Burley.

Opening the tin, I found that inside actually was a wad of more loosely-pressed, fold-and-twist style slices crammed into the tiny tin with obviously brute force, resulting in a bunch of slices that cannot be seperated from one another. Amusingly, once the wad has been taken out of the tin, it is almost impossible to re-insert it.

The tin aroma is nice -- fruity with some spice and a good amount of sweetness. Mostly matured VA, I'd say. Some KY in there, too. The leaf is medium to dark brown in hue, and the slices disintegrate at even the slightest of excuses. So, have to smoke this one rubbed out; it rubs itself out anyway.

Trying Brown Flake in briars was already nice enough -- this is not a full-tilt VA like SG FVF and its likes -- and the taste is nice, spicy and sweet after a bit. When I tested this flake in a corn cob, though, it was very sweet and toasty from the very beginning. The room note remains the same either way; fragrant VA smoke with a note of caramel.

In the long run, the taste gains some good toastiness and sweetness; maintenance is pretty much standard (a little condensation to take care of, though), and overall, Brown Flake reminds me more than a little of Mac Baren's Stockton, minus some of the leather notes. Makes for a favourable comparison; I happen to love Stockton. Three and a half solid stars from me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

arclight Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
arclight (4)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an excellent unobtrusive tobacco. It comes in a small tin that is perfect to fit in your pocket. This is an unflavored tobacco that smokes well. I did not have to dry it out at all. I rubbed out 2 flakes out and filled my pipe. It burned dry and and cool. I did not need to relight my pipe. It burned very well. There was a mile malt/salty flavour. It leaves a very light grey ash. This is a good uncomplicated smoke. I highly recommend it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (217)
★★☆☆
Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Don't look for sweet toppings, flowers or fruits with this baccy. This is all good "Mans" smoke. The Burley is out front , strong and satisfying. I found it very similar to GL Pease's "JackKnife Plug", but it's a broken flake and it burns better than JKP. Sip this slow and you get a nice sweet high note of "bread flavor" with a strong base. I found you have to let it rest for a few months and PUT A BOWLS WORTH IN THE MICROWAVE FOR ABOUT 6 SECONDS TO DRY IT BEFORE LOADING THE PIPE. I'll keep this in stock. Oh, and in comes in a nice little pocket tin.

Updated 1/30/12 I found one problem with this blend,it has a strong ammonia scent wafting off the bowl as you smoke. I have noticed this with a number of tobaccos but most to a lesser degree.This is quite strong, it doesn't transfer to the taste but you don't want the wind to pass this to your nose , it's like getting hit with smelling salts! downgraded one star.

Updated 6/19/12- I sealed and cellared this tin for about 6 months and just unsealed it. All traces of ammonia scent are gone ? I believe this was a mold problem. This tobacco burns on the hot side due too the fine cut and gets "ashy", I have other choices in "Brown flakes that I would rather buy. This has a slight hint of snuff tobacco in it, makes it high in "N" but slightly harsh.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

oregonpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oregonpipe (13)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This has to be the strangest tobacco I've yet to encounter. It was recommended as a good flake and very "popular" by a tobacconist. It was also my first Virginia flake. More about that later.

The tin descriptions below are right on, just as I found it. Smoking it was another matter. I rubbed out and dried a bowl and loaded it into my favorite Canadian. Touched it off, puffed and waited...and waited. Waited somemore. Basically what I got was the flavor of a nice Canadian cigarette and I was rather disappointed. I smoked about 1/2 the bowl and calculated that I could pickup a pack of rolling papers, roll some really expensive cigarettes and cut my loss. Then something began to happen. I got this incredible sweet/slightly salty sensation at the back of my palate that just made my mouth water and the straight tobacco taste intensified somewhat. Now that sweet sensation was something new to me. By the time the bowl was done I wanted to do it again. And I did. Struggled through the first half of the second bowl and there it was again. So I figured there was something to this VA, VA/Per, VA/Bur madness I was reading about, and so began my Virginia odyssey. And I've never looked back.

I finished that tin of BF and have since bought another, mainly just for old times sake. I have also found many more VAs that give me as much, if not more, flavor for an ENTIRE bowl. I still fire up a bowl of BF every now and then, still checking to see if there is something I missed. Nope. Still that "half-bowl wonder". And I did roll up a bit once in a cig paper. Pretty heady smoke.

6-27-11..OK, after reading Mr. Big's review above I do have to admit that you can teach a old dog new tricks. I tried nuking the BF and I have to admit it worked. Tho I never figured I would ever put tobacco in a microwave (back when I first started smoking pipes there were no microwaves)I gave it a shot. Whole different world! (My wife thought I was crazy. Not the first time). The stronger component kicked in right off (believe it's burley) and took over nicely. Nice nutty, woodsy feel, with the VAs in the background doing their sweet/salty/citrusy thing. Actually, a VERY nice smoke all the way to the bottom. This is a little stouter than your everyday VA flake but it is a nice change-up. Hmmmm... makes me wonder how others would react to microwaves. Anyway, I'm adding another star cuz this stuff is a lot better than I originally thought or experienced.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Commoner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Commoner (30)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

DK nailed it below when saying:

"The light sweetness did much to counterbalance the dark notes and added just the right touch to keep this one from being all bass - nice slight additional treble to the ensemble"

Someone called this "Stonehaven Light". I can get behind that. Very similar experience for me. The same "feel" as Stonehaven. A creaminess. Same ballpark in terms of flavor. But lighter. Not lighter in strength but lighter as in brighter in taste. The flue cured gives it that brighter high note DK pointed out.

I have been smoking this now for several months and it has become a centerpiece in my rotation of 5-6 blends and frequent wild cards.

If you like Stonehaven, some of the Dark and Brown flakes from the Gawiths or even something like good old Prince Albert, I'd highly recommend you give this one a shot. A premium flake that is readily available at a reasonable cost.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SMOKETSES Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SMOKETSES (208)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I read about this tobacco at pipeclub.gr (from “kodikos” and “yannis_k”), but I had never tried it. One more tin I bought at that “miracle” shop in Latvia, and I say “miracle” cause eventually it seems all the tobaccos were aged. A very delicious mixture, which has nothing to do with withered hay that most Virginia mixtures remind of. These days I slash the flakes into big cubes and I enjoy it even more. Once I open the tin, a pleasant scent of chocolate and maybe dry fruits appears. It is absolutely certain that the message sent to my brain is: “hurry, make yourself a Greek coffee, black and enjoy me”. It lights very easily and swiftly, probably because the tin I opened is aged. It has a full and strong taste that does not last until the end, but the various flavors interchange with each other pleasingly. At the end of the bowl only clear white ashes remain, a bit strange for a Virginia tobacco. Reading reviews at tobaccoreviews, I was impressed by the fact that the first evaluations, from years 2005-2006, were not good, while after 2008 they develop into praises. Do you think its synthesis was improved?? Who knows!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

strongirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strongirish (231)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have been trying some of the more obscure blends of late and this one is a very unusual Virgina offering by Germain. It is a Virginia blend but this blend has more body and much headier than most VA blends. It comes in a little rectangular tin and upon opening one is greeted with a sweet and very peaty aroma, like hay that has gotton wet. It is a dark brown flake with a little light leaf here and there and comes very moist. The flakes if dried break apart very easily and if left moist, are hard to get out of the tin without breaking them. They are composed of a very fine ribbon cut, about the thickness of cigarette tobacco. Because of this, it packs very easy in the pipe and is quick to light and keep lit. It also gives it more heat if puffed too fast and can bite you if not careful. If smoked slow, it is a very tasty blend, very much the cured hay like flavor of other good VA blends but it has a darker side to it. The peatiness comes out and offers more than just the sweetness, it also gives a creamyness that one usually gets with a burley. It is a very stout tobacco, not subtle at all. It burns down very nice without a lot of relights and burns to the bottom to a dry grey powder ash. It really is a satisfying smoke, plenty of "N" and lots of flavor and a full mouth feel to the smoke. The room note is typical of a VA, nice but won't draw admirers. I like this blend when I am wanting a VA blend but want substance to the smoke as well. I do recommend it, it is unlike most any other VA Flake I have ever smoked.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

kevmo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kevmo (4)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I received this as a gift and was a little apprehensive about smoking a flake. I had switched from cigars to pipes about a year ago, and have been smoking mostly house blends from Peretti and more recently 4noggins. After smoking this now three or four times in a churchwarden, I find it to be one of my treat smokes, usually when I want to relax and read a bit. It seems to have a nice, natural flavor that burns easily without bite or harshness and requires few re-lights. Compared to the burleys and english blends I have smoked, this feels like a more natural way to enjoy smoking.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (118)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Good Virginia/Burley flake. Smokes well no relights. The taste buds are satisfied with the malty, slightly sweet, taste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (155)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Well, at least the image sticked in the back of this small rectangular tin is not as scary as the ones I found on other English products. Just a couple of hands showing their aged skin.

Let's start with first impressions upon opening: 1) wax paper 2) the blind smell talks of unscented virginia, not sweet 3) beautiful contrasted large flakes, very supple. Encouraging announcements !

One whole flake, if you are able to get it straight from the tin since it easily fall apart, is enough to fill a group 4 bowl, a BBB canadian.

BF lights easily and smokes cool and steadily. The first combination coming to my mind is Virginia/Kentucky, the cigarish note is quite evident. Dry/earthy/woody/musty/salty are my words, with just a wee-bit of sweetness in the far background. Of the good British companions being my December pipe-meal, the only possible comparison I can offer is with Walnut Flake. But WF is way much smoother, and again - as I happened in the past - I do agree with Hagen that BF is a bit hard on the throat, and is not something to leave and relight, it turns bitter.

My stomach says that BF is just better to smoke as an after dinner. As a matter of fact we are well above the medium side.

I don't see any reason to believe there is any artificial casing, to me BF is something in the pure-tobacco territory, perfectly burning and leaving extra-dry-light-gray ashes.

A very nice product, indeed. It deserves some cellaring.

* UPDATE 2010/03/23 Well some half tin of this was left aging into a small sealed glass jar. I did hope that some more Dark Flake coming from UK, but still waiting… Oh My ! Time has improved this flake by large. What at the first time was the roughness of a dark Virginia seasoned by some dark fired leaf, has become a soft, winey, and again: cigarish smoke. A delicious smoke, seems to me it's bit milder, burns like heaven till the very bottom. I would like the bowl never ending. I frankly hope to put my hands on a good number of tins, before it's too late. It goes straight to my heart, four full stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

eamonclever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
eamonclever (45)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is a good everyday smoke if you like to smoke virginia flake tobaccos at first. It makes you an artist in fingertipping because it takes time to get a good amount of tobacco out of the tin to fill a good bowl. The strips fall apart once you try to get them out. I dislike to rub flakes out so I try to be patient ;-) Once lit properly there is no great effort to keep it going. I don´t use small or xlarge bowls for this tobacco. To me this tobacco is excellent in the middlesized pipes because it changes from a pleasant smoke into a heavy bouncer within the second half of the bowl. I think it is a good tobacco to start smoking flake tobaccos because Germain offers a tobacco of excellent quality of leaf and BF is pure va tobacco as well. I rate it one step below Full Virginia Flake and the Rattray line tobaccos. There is more body and taste in my benchmark tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

strawalker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strawalker (14)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin aroma: Sweet aromatic Flue Cured Virginia and nothing else. Color: Chocolate brown with flecks of gold and a few sugar crystals.

Wet, well-packed flakes separate easily and rub out instantly. After a twenty minute dry, packing a pipe loosely is best. A couple of charring lights to build a good head of ash and then settle in for a long, cool, bight free, and flavorful smoke of the highest quality possible. J. F. Germain and Son?s Brown Flake, is another wonderful blend by this exceptional house. Buy some.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sylvian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sylvian (28)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Update 06/11/2009

A year in the cellar did (predictable) wonders for this weed. It became much mellower, the taste intensified at the same time, and the beast is now but a humble pet. Currently the only tobacco I can (and do) smoke on a regular basis. It's indeed an outstanding offering, and a real keeper.

Original review 05/06/2008: When I opened the tin and inhaled the smell coming from it, I thought about Perfection. About the tin artwork of Samuel Gawith's Perfection, to be precise. Because the dog actually belongs here, on the beautiful small tin of Germain's Brown Flake which when opened smells of nothing less than an old Sammy, Maxie, or Chelsie shaking water off the back. Or Lassie saving a drowning child, if you'd prefer a more sentimental version. But it happened so that I bought this weed with serious intentions to smoke it and not just to stick my nose into the tin. So I took one flake off the bunch (this is only possible with a freshly open tin as mentioned by other reviewers, later on you'll have to make efforts to separate the flakes as they magically turn into a brick), rubbed it out and carefully loaded my 40 year old Comoy Guildhall. When the flame hit the weed, all doubts were gone. A strong, full tobacco taste was what was hiding beneath that smell, cigar-like sometimes, yes, reminded me of cheap El Guajiro Trompetas Natural I smoked in Spain - rough, musty, leathery, but with clearly pronounced woodsy undertones. A raw and honest tobacco. 'Sophisticated' comes from a language Brown Flake does not speak. It's an animal, and does not pretend to be anything else.

Brown Flake does not evolve much as the bowl progresses, it's as rough at the heel as it was on the charring light, but it incorporates such a powerful and peculiar taste that it's never a boring smoke. Not an everyday choice, but a delight from time to time is what I see Brown Flake can guarantee. A dedicated pipe would be appreciated by this beast. It's a domestic one, by the way, so not really inclined to bite.

Four stars, and five more tins ordered. Bow-wow!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hagen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hagen (91)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

UPDATE: it seems from discussions on smokersforums.com, that the "air cured" tobacco could be the belgian "semois" variant. END UPDATE

really, this is no ordinary virginia blend. the tin aroma is rather musty, with almost cigarish notes along with the more typical sweet, stoved virginias. the blend is described as " air and flue cured". wonder if the "air cured" is really cigar?

it is darkish brown. the flakes tend to fall apart, but still reasonably easy to load. two matches, and i'm off.

cigar indeed. or if not cigar, then perhaps over-cured or over-ripe virginia? air cured virginia? burley? anyway, it's a very dry taste, slightly bitter, and almost no sweetness. it is rather hard on the throat (even though i don't inhale), and medium to medium-strong. dgt'ing is not reccommended, as it becomes quite harsh.

this is not the first germain's i've experienced having this strange and very uncommon taste. it's in their royal jersey perique, too. i find this taste rather mystifying - but as long as one doesn't dgt, it's got a lot of fine cigarish nuances. no bad tobacco, this. still, it's not one i'll be getting more of anytime soon.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe-arazzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-arazzo (71)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I smoked this as an addendum to a Lakeland tour I'm currently on. Since on this tour I'm smoking Best Brown and Best Brown #2 (by Sam Gawith and Gawith and Hoggarth, respectively), I thought I'd try this to compare them.

I have to give this a mixed review. First, as to packing, lighting, and burning qualities, it's first rate. The flakes are very thin and stuck together. It is more like a brittle plug than a regular flake. I found it impossible to pull one flake off the stack without pulling it apart. This will be an annoyance to those who prefer the fold and stuff method for flakes. For me, however, this packed and smoked with ease when rubbed out into very fine, horsehair-like strands. So for "mechanics," I'd give it four stars for sure.

Especially when I had just popped the tin, the smoke aroma had a kind of molasses (sp?), brown sugar note with perhaps a touch of vanilla. This tended to fade as the tin had been opened longer, giving way to a kind of grassy smell with the sweet smell only coming through occasionally. Aroma gets three stars.

But unfortunately, I never tasted anything in the smoke except a grassy, peaty, bitter cigar or black coffee flavor. None of the sweetness smelled in the tin or the smoke came through in the flavor at all. Some people, I know, like grassy virginias more than I do (for instance, Orlik Golden Slices). But this really needed something, like a bit of sweetness, in the flavor to balance that. So the flavor gets 2 stars for being monotone and only slightly pleasant.

Therefore, overall it deserves 3 stars.

One more note which does not affect the rating is the nicotene content. I found it quite strong. Perhaps it will not compare to ropes or other famous Lakeland heavy-hitters like 1792, though that will remain to be seen for me. I am a 1 or 2 pipe a day guy and something this strong really hits me hard, at least until I got more used to it. But that is a matter of personal preference.

I would recommend this to seasoned smokers who like grassy virginias and don't mind lots of nicotene and some bitterness in their smoke. Otherwise, there are tons of better choices. For me, this mostly has whetted my appetite for Germain's Latakia Flake, which I will be reviewing later in the year.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tobacco Saves Lives Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tobacco Saves Lives (31)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

This is a fine choice. I found it by accident in a basket of unsold tobacco at a ridiculously low price at my pipe shop I frequent. I was suprised by a very sweet, musty- but not really cigar like (as others say) I find it much smoother and pleasant than any cigar I have had. I think people unfamiliar with cigars are mislead by the musty nature. Earthy, sweetness, very natural, I am not sure if there is any casing at all.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Guyrox Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Guyrox (131)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

A beautiful, rather dark flake, wrapped by a piece of wax paper; very classic, traditional.

Aroma is rather weird, a bit on the sour side, combined with more natural tobacco aroma. Hard to define...

Lighting is not too bad, smokes rather well, but I was not appealed by the bakkie which couldn't manage to retain my attention for too long.

I retried it in different sized pipes, but the conclusion was the same.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PeterD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PeterD (77)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

As a Matured Virginia Plug smoker for 45 + years this flake intrigues me a great deal. I've read all the reviews and perhaps it is a cigar-type smoke but I don't taste that from this tobacco.

What I'm having a tough time with is the mild yet very present flavor that comes and goes as the bowl is smoked. I've smoked two tins of this over the past 3 weeks and I have wrestled with what/where the taste and aroma comes from. Actually, sometimes it taste like a very mild cheviot type flavoring which I abhor, yet not the way this tobacco presents itself.

Smoking this in group 5 straight billiard.

I will continue this review later...

...a pipe is to be savored.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

A high quality Virginia. No tongue bite if smoked properly, it provides a cool and steady smoke. The tins I've tried came with the perfect moist level, unlike most flakes that are better off left to dry for a while.

The smell right from the tin showed me that this was not your average Virginia, but one probably "over-cured" into a more cigar-like leaf. I'm almost certain that there is also a small dose of burley, but I might be wrong.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ego Archive Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ego Archive (14)
★★★☆
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

I opened this tin up to find a very rich and somewhat musty, dark Virginia Flake occupying it. I packed this tobacco up in a nice wide pot in preparation for a several hour road trip, and found that about half way through the bowl, the cigar taste was just getting too much for me. It is milder and sweeter then most cigars I have tried, but as I don't like cigars much at all this was still a bit too robust. After letting the bowl sit for awhile I came back to it, and found that the sweet, almost grassy taste had sprung up a bit. Unfortunately I still received a fair note of cigar leaf with it as well.

After reading through another review of this I decided to try it again, in an environment where I could pay a little more attention to it, and smoke it slightly slower. The second time through I let this dry for a while before packing it into a billiard. This tobacco is definitely much better with a slower, more even cadence to the smoke. The cigar note sits in the background lending a slight kick to the almost mocha Virginia sweetness. Again I set this pipe down for a little while, and when I came back to it I found the sweet tangy taste had crept back in, something that really serves this blend well. Additionally this tobacco has quite a nicotine kick; a bit more then I usually care for.

This is a good blend, but just not something I could smoke on a regular basis.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wordmerchant Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wordmerchant (16)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Simply put, I find that Germain?s Brown Flake is the finest tobacco I?ve ever smoked. And coming from a Burley fanatic, to make such a comment on a VA Flake is an extraordinary statement.

You see, my pipe background is steeped in Burley tobacco. Historically, VA?s have clashed with my personal chemistry and my mouth suffered. I typically have found VA?s nasty, ashy and brutal. Add to this that I have a sense of smell that would make a bloodhound blush and a very precise palate and it creates a very finicky pipe smoker.

My first real adventure in Lakeland tobaccos came last Spring (06) from Grouse-moor. Much to my surprise, here was a VA tobac that I could smoke with out the French-kiss-volcano-lick. Doing my research, I discovered that Grouse-moor is made with steamed/stoved/flue cured tobacco. Umm?so I searched about tobbacoreview.com and came across Brown Flake. Thank God for sort options!

I usually can tell after the char light if I?ve got something interesting in the pipe. I?m certain my eyes grew and my eyebrows shot up when I took my first puff of Germain?s Brown Flake. I?m quite certain I let out an ?Oh my!?

Two days and seven pipes later, I ordered five tins?.

On with the review:

For me, it?s all about taste. Brown Flake offers the most sublime, magic carpet ride to ever pass through any of my briar. This is far from a monochromatic smoke; I?ve experienced flavours ranging from soft ginger wood and cigar to chocolate and caramel; from musty books to spring flowers, from cardamon and cinnamon to vanilla and pine and from Good N? Plenty to leather. To me, there?s something in Brown Flake that dips into the pleasure zone and triggers off all kinds of food memories. It?s akin to eating all the comfort foods in your personal library and wrapping yourself in flavour. But rather than ending up with chop-suey, a singular flavour comes up with every sip?they simply don?t fight for control. Instead, there?s a surprise with every draw. Letting the smoke trickle from my lips and I?m surrounded in a smokersborg of bliss. I simply control these flavours by puffing cadence and the quality of the draw (go slow) and the size of the bowl (I?ll use everything from a large Charatan to a little ?coffee-break? Masta with great success. Medium sized pipes bring out the flavour spectrum). Brown Flake offers a wonderfully nuanced experience. In fact, Brown Flake will take you out of absentminded puffs and garner your full attention with the quality of this smoke.

The tobacco burns nice and slow. A size three pipe can go on for well over ninety minutes. The tobacco DGT?s wonderfully?it becomes another tobacco all together, unleashing more flavours and even greater softness.

Later, when you hit mid bowl, there?s another flavour evolution. What a surprise! It?s a whole new pipe.

I?m far beyond enthralled with Germain?s Brown Flake. I?d marry this tobacco if my wife would let me. But since she won?t, I?ll have to settle on buying a few tins every month to add to the cellar.

I give Germain?s Brown Flake the highest endorsement of any tobacco I have reviewed. And good news?I wrote the folks at Germain and was assured the tobacco isn?t going anywhere ala Dunhill. Thank-you Germain!

O.k. dear readers, you point me to that desert island now?.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Maimonides Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Maimonides (70)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

SWEET,MUSTY,CIGAR

This truely taste like a nice mild cigar. Upon intense investigation- you can detect -earthy brown sugar, sweet potatoe like, but the mild cigar like quality definately predominates in every way and is fairly unilateral.

IF YOU LOVE A NICE CIGAR- This is so much like that how could you not like it? A little sweeter than most cigars, less caustic, SMOOTH and milder- is the only difference.

I bought an ancient unopened tin stored in a humidor at a pipe shop that discontinued it. It was 30 % off as it had some rust. I cannot age it, But there was no tax stamp if that tells you something.

Therefore- Mine may have been milder and smoother than some. And man- was it mild and smooth.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

If you like cigars this is a 4 stars flake. If you don't...well..it may not. Really the cigar flavour is that strong, dark and heavy, almost no room for something else. I like cigars, so it wasn't that bad for me, every once in a while: being a very particular beast, this blend isn't suitable for everyday smoke. The strong flavour keeps consistent throughout the bowl but doesn't develop into anything new. A very good point was scored by the cut, easy to crumble and easy to pack in a traditional manner, making the lighting easy and the burning remarkably cool, dry and even. Maybe there was some topping, but really hardly noticeable; when puffed slightly faster the blend can develop a lightly sour taste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (73)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Tolerable to Strong

This flake is bound to occupy a place in my heart, given that it was the first tobacco smoked in my first ever Dunhill. Be that as it may, I don't like cigars and that is exactly what this tobacco tastes like, a cigar. It is rather strong stuff as well, which was gratifying, though not strong in the full Virginia sense, but, once again, strong like a dark Mexican cigar. Sadly there was none of the metamorphoses and variation of a really good Virginia, starting out grassy and then becoming sweet or floral as the bowl progresses, just cigar all the way down.

I did like the way in which the leaf had been cut before being pressed. It would rub out into the finest hair-like filaments. This is not often found with flakes. Even this, though was not all for the good as those strands would knit together as the pipe was tamped, making for a near solid mass at the heal of the bowl that I had a devil of a time smoking all the way. Not a good thing with a new pipe.

Regards, A. Morley Jaques

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (87)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Strong Full Strong

Perhaps the best succinct description of this tobacco would be "medium body cigar in a tin". Musty has been used to describe this blend and musty it is, but not in a latakia sense, more with regard to various orientals which show their heads in this mostly dark virginia concoction. I detect little or no additives and moisture content is fine. This is a flake which is strong in flavor, full and earthy, much like a cigar. It will burn very hot if you tempt it and can also turn alarmingly bitter in a moments notice(again, cigar-like). I am rather enjoying it as a change of pace, however, the room note is stale and lingering, be forewarned. I did not find the nicotine content to be high, but nicely present throughout smoking. Fans of crossover blends would do well to have a go with Brown Flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fourshephards Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fourshephards (51)
★★☆☆
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I tried this as the result of some folks over at Holt's in Philadelphia. This is what I told them.

Germain Brown comes in well prepared slices - they seem neither too thick nor too thin. The flakes are a medium brown. The "sugar crystals" did not appear to me to be the kind naturally found in some VA flakes but actually appears to me to be similar to table (cane) sugar. Is it possible that cane sugar was applied to the tobacco?

I found that this tobacco works best in medium to large bowled pipes. It burns fairly well and leaves nothing on the walls of the tobacco chamber of your pipe. The remaining ash is a sandy white/grey with black specks. For me, Germain's burned rather hot and I found it tough to truly enjoy. The flavor is a typical grassy citrusy kind of sweetness that was not unappealing and some body did develope toward the end of the bowl.

However, this flake just doesn't do it for me when compared to so many other tobaccos in this genre. If Germain is going to try to make it in the VA flake market, they will need to come up with something that will make a better impression so as to carve its our "niche." This doesn't do it. It is just so-so.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I love Germain tobaccos,but I am not really a flake fan.That being said,this stuff is pretty good.It has that Germain casing and burns and packs relatively well.This is a much less stoved version of Stonehaven.My major reservation was this burns a little hot and never really takes off in the flavor dept.If you really want a treat get Stonehaven.There is a tobacconist in California who sells a lot of Germain by the ounce (bulk),The name is Briarpatch and their address is Briarpatch.biz.All in all a pleasant smoke but I would not go out of my way to get it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ajaj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ajaj (69)
★★★★
Strong Medium Full Strong

An interesting flavor to this Virgina brown flake. Has a nice musty aspect to the smoke with a hint of something I can't quite describe. It's not soap or perfume but an unusual by-product of processing. I like the flavor but it, unfortunately dissapears after about 1/4 bowl. The rest of the smoke is rather plain but pleasant. A good no-nonsense smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I was not looking for what this blend offers, but I like it and have for a decade now. I have not found another flake like it. Reading elsewhere, some knowledgeable pipe smokers contend BF tastes like it contains Semois tobaccos grown in a region of Belgium in the Semois River Valley.

Semois is said to be an air-cured leaf, perhaps burley or Virginia, with cigar-like flavor, dry and cool on the tongue. That fits the way BF tastes when I smoke it. BF is cool and burns well, it also mixes nicely with a little Perique, Latakia and stoved Virginias. I suspect there is some other Virginia leaf in BF to round BF out yet in no way making this a sweet flake like one would find Full Virginia Flake or Germain's own Kingsbridge (Esoterica).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

02-11-2005 Stonehaven Light anyone?

Appearance and Tin aroma: Smells like a matured, stoved VA. The flakes are stacked neatly in the small rectangular tin. The moisture seemed perfect in my aged tin(2 years).

Packing and Lighting: I preferred to rub this out due to it being oily. After rubbing out 2-3 lights was all that was needed.

Initial Flavor: Stoved VA, not sure how else to describe it. There were some cigar type notes that wafted in the side stream smoke.

Mid-Bowl:Delicious round flavor, not quite as dark and "winey" as stonehaven. Cigar notes are still present, this blend will scare away non-smokers.

Bottom of Bowl: There is a slight build up, not too much nicotine to bowl you over. ash is mottled grey, but left much moisture in the shank.

Overall: The problem I had with this blend is that there are two other blends that I prefer over this one, namely Stonehaven and Tilbury, which are also made by Germain. Other than that, this is a fine, light, stoved VA blend that can be smoked all day. it may be your cup o' tea. try it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 points.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SFC/E7 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SFC/E7 (93)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

After I opened the lid, IMO, the aroma was very light, although I detected a little bit of a nutty aroma. The tobacco was moist but rubbed out easily. Packing my White Tail Deer by Nording was easy and seemed to pack quite well.

I used one match to light the packed bowl and detected a hint of a nutty aroma with a full rich taste. To thoroughly enjoy this Brown Flake one needs to take their time while smoking the tobacco.

I did enjoy the tobacco as it was not harsh, with no tongue bite as it burned evenly with very little use of a tamper. As the tobacco burned it?s way to the half way point of the bowl I tasted a little sweetness, I could not tell if it was from the Virginia or the Sugar Crystals.

Smoke it Slow, Enjoy it Longer

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (125)
★★★☆
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

This 50g tin of Germain's Brown Flake was exceptionally moist with very little tin aroma. The flakes are nut brown in color, very thin and did not separate easily, but rather came apart in strands with gentle prodding. The tobacco rubs out easily, packs well, and although very damp, lights quickly and burns all the way to the bottom of the bowl. The flavor of this smoke would be unique if I had not experienced it with a French tobacco called, not surprisingly, Saint Claude. And I believe the flavor is also present as the low note in Germain's Plum Cake. It may be a special tobacco, as Germain suggests, or it may be the addition of a special herb which gives this tobacco a distinctively nutty flavor. As an experiment, I fired up a bowl of Saint Claude, and sure enough the flavor was almost identical except that in the French tobacco it is a bit stronger and the cut is a shag. From the first to the last puff, the taste of GBF is redolent with this distinctive nuttiness. I do not get much, if any, Virginia. However, this is a good smoke and there is plenty of it with a substantial boost of nicotine. It is mild to the tongue with no bite, but then you do not need to take deep draughts in order to get plenty of nutty tobacco flavor. This is the type of tobacco with a uniqueness which could make it a favorite for many in much the same way that St. Bruno or Condor Original could, although it is completely different from English scented flakes. I recommend this tobacco as one to try. I enjoy it. Paddy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★☆☆☆
Extremely Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

This is another tobacco I recently sampled from a tobacco box pass generated by a member of my private pipe board.

It smells light, it burns light, too. Not much flavor at all. Just a very light, nondescript smoke. Because it is a flake, I was thinking there would be some muscle in here. Instead of Schwartenegger, I got Woody Allen.

The taste, when you can find it, is sweet rather than sour or hay like. So, I suspect a very, very light topping is involved here.

An all day and night smoke for sure. Will bite with agressive puffing.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (263)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Germain?s Brown Flake started as a nice surprise, but by mid bowl it became a big disappointment and it ended the same way. When I opened the tin I noticed a nice flake, tightly pressed but rather moist, of a rich brown colour, very appetising. Tin aroma was inviting: spicy, beefy, with a faint resemblance to Astley?s 109, and to a lesser extent to some McClelland Vas. Rubbing out the flakes was quite simple and there was no problem packing them in. However, due to the high moisture content, I found the tobacco difficult to light and keep lit.

The first few puffs were excellent. I was greeted by a mellow but substantial flavour, very refined and tasty. It is that type of Va. processed in such a way it faintly (the stress is on faintly) evokes a Lea & Perrin?s sauce or Bovril undertone. When well done, such as in Astley?s 109 or Gallaher?s Rich Dark Honeydew, the tobacco?s overall structure and flavour are mouth watering and scrumptious. A rich, hearty smoke, enticing and uplifting. IMO, and unlike my esteemed fellow reviewers, I don't feel this is the case.

As I said, first few puffs were very good and tasty. Hmmm, I thought this could be a very good morning to mid day smoke! But as I progressed slowly down the bowl, the flavour gradually seemed to fade away, until it virtually dissipated into?hot air! I let the pipe cool down, waited for some time, allowing for some DGT, but to no avail. Some of the original flavour did reappear towards the end of the bowl, but the whole experience, IMO, was frustrating enough not to give it another try. Maybe if someone out there is just picking up a pipe, this tobacco may serve as a nice introduction to straight, non sweetened Vas. In my case, I am afraid it just didn?t work.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (135)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Another great flake by Germain. This one is a bit difficult to strip whole flakes out, but it doesn't matter much. The shaggy flakes still burn cool. I didn't detect bite. But it is always best to smoke these slowly.

Heavier than the traditional flakes, like F&T cut viginia cut plug or Old Gowie, and plenty of tobacco is stuffed in the 2 oz. tin. I got 21 full smokes in a medium large Savinelli auto., whereas F&T only gave me 13 or so in a medium Vesz pipe. I have another tin of it just waiting in the cellar. The first tin was good without any more aging.

This is virginia all right, as the slight tangy sweetness is present, but there is something else that makes it tastier, richer, cooler and heavier. I don't think it is turkish note, but it is likely a combination of added burley and maybe some air cured or cigar leaf. It definitly has a nutty taste. My spouse said it doesn't smell like pipe tobacco. Strange comment, as it is not the least bit aromatic to me.

This is not quite as full as some other brown flakes, like G&H, but it is full and satisfying enough to me. Dry smoking and steady burning; a no nonsense real tobacco taste.

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smokestack Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokestack (6)
★★★☆
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

Brown Flake comes in a very convenientectangular tin that will fit just about any pocket. The flake is dry and leathery but somewhat fragile when separated from the block. It rubs out very easily, leaving no residue on my hand. To a smoker of aromatics I should think the tin aroma would be unremarkable but to a Virginia fan like me it carries reminders of a slightly musty hay mow. I would say the early harvest which is now fermenting.

This is not my favourite Virginia but it is interesting enough to keep in the rotation. The manufacturer only claims Viginia in this flake but I fancy I can taste Turkish and/or oriental leaf here too. Be that as it may, the flavour is very dark and enigmatic right from the beginning of the bowl. Both the flavour and the strength tend to increase as the bowl burns down. It is strong enough that one bowl is about all I want in day.

I have smoked Brown Flake in a medium sized meerschaum Dublin and a Danish free hand briar. Naturally the dynamic flavour range of the briar is greater but so is the amplitude. I prefer the meerschaum.

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TDE Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TDE (10)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Germain?s Brown Flake This Virginia blend comes packed in 50g, rectangular, gold tobacco tins and is manufactured by a small but long established pipe tobacco company based in Jersey, Channel Islands, UK.

Sight, Touch & Aroma: Upon opening the tin the aroma that rose to greet me was slightly sweet, very mild and nondescript ? almost like dried honey. A medium brown-coloured flake tobacco, it comes packed in cake form, is leathery and dry to the touch but not brittle.

Preparation & Smoking: Very easy to palm-rub into a nice medium coarse shag, Brown Flake packs well into the bowl in two lifts. A little stubborn to light, 2 or 3 matches are required to achieve a durable burn; but once the flame takes hold, this flake smokes easily and mildly. However it always seems to require a few tamps before bowl?s end.

Flavours: A very pleasant tobacco whose mild flavour run the gamut from slightly sweet to nutty to slightly sour. Brown Flake tends to desiccate ones mouth if smoked too quickly but a cool, non-biting smoke can be achieved with some understanding of it?s properties. I find it has a much better flavour when smoked out of doors in moist or cool weather.

Room Note: The underlying note is woody and moderately heavy with earthy undertones that smack of natural tobacco. Although I enjoyed its room note and found it quite benign with a hint of Grandpa-esque fragrance, Brown Flake did not meet with approval from my wife or other tolerant non-smokers.

Economics: This blend is priced at around $15 CDN, but because it smokes slowly and easily once properly packed and paced, I rate this as a moderately economic smoke.

Last Word: When ones taste buds are a little frazzled from Perique or Latakia binges, I find this quite unspectacular blend to be just the ticket for comforting a palate. It also may appeal as an all-day smoke for those who appreciate the natural tobacco taste of matured Virginia leaf. Once my first tin was empty, I purchased a second tin

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