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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 ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsKentucky, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin, 50 grams pouch
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
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None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable, Tolerable

Favorite Of 11 Users

76 reviews
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cakeanddottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cakeanddottle (68)
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.

22 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A little moist out of the tin, so it may need a little dry time. The flakes break apart very easily, and are pliable enough to prepare to your preference. The Virginias are light and dark, and work their respective traits of hay, peat, mild grass, mild earth, and deep dark fruit and some citrus with smoothness and a bare hint of spice. They say there is no topping, but I believe a sweet one has been added. You may experience a light cigar note if you puff fast after the half way point. The nic-hit is in the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh. Burns clean and cool and a little slow with a consistent flavor from top to bottom. leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle, and does require some relights. Has a pleasing after taste. Can be an all day smoke.

17 people found this review helpful.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (102)
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.

14 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
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!

11 people found this review helpful.

weePipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
weePipe (5)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Others lack in complexity what this flake pulls off in its simplicity. This wonderfully fermented Virginia flake is definitely dirty and peaty with a deep fruit note that I really like along with a light cigar note that can turn grassy to deep hay flavors. It's similar to nothing I've had so far and what I especially like about it is the nicotine buzz - it's just so darn relaxing - JFG brown flake puts me to sleep but GH keeps me awake. Heck if I know why

8 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I would agree with the many reviewers who have stated that this is similar to Stonehaven, but not as similar as Rich Dark Flake. It has the same taste of which I always assumed a topping, but perhaps it is just the taste of the Germain Virginias as I get a similar taste from Peacehaven, a blend I have recently just tried.

I think this is the key differentiator between these blends GBF is more Virginia forward and the Kentucky is used with more restraint versus SH or RDF, where the Kentucky and the toppings are more the star. I would say in terms of comparison with more popular blends, I would think of this as University flake to Irish flake. I prefer Irish Flake, but still enjoy University Flake.

Unfortunately, GBF or the other blends with which I am comparing are not as easily obtained as are IF and UF. In fact, I have been trying hard to find this blend and had to reach out to a friend in Germany to get me one tin that happened to be at his local B&M in Hamburg.

As a Virginia forward flake, GBF has plenty of character in its own right. And, this presumably is the foremost reason it is so hard to find. The other reason being it is made by Germain. With a name like Brown flake, one may expect a taste like that of SG and GH blends of the same name. It really tastes nothing like either of those blenders' brown flake offerings. I really enjoy SG BBF, but I would say that if was given the choice between SG BBF or this flake, I would opt for this one as it adds a bit of body and earthiness from the burley; whereas the other is restricted to a more full and hay sweet Virginia flavor.

Four stars without a doubt.

It is different and it is well done. It also helps that it is made by arguably the best blending house in pipe tobacco. I recommend it for the Virginia lover to have as a change of pace.

6 people found this review helpful.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
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.

6 people found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (227)
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

5 people found this review helpful.

Telling it how it is. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Telling it how it is. (73)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

When i opened the tin i found a soaking wet, saturated wax paper and a stack of far from dry tobacco coated with gorgeous sugar crystals. And i cannot smell alot really but once i can i always can clearly make out some smell of foam of green tea. Its a very satisfying and musky smell. The flakes are really wet and not flakes at all. In fact you'll be smoking coarse shag sized tobacco with this offering. Not that you dont get flakes cramed into the tin to begin with but you will not be able to get single flake slices out of the tin. The second you just breath on them they crumble down to shag like strands. Which is what you will be smoking with this offering.

And smoke you will.

Even right out of the tin, wet and all, it only takes one match to light up and then it just keeps on staying lit forever. Even if you lay the pipe away for a moment or two. Burning properties overall are perfect. That perfect that this leads us to the only beef i have with this blend: its ashes. Its that kind of ash where you cannot possibly move the pipe in any way or direction without spilling out ashes everywhere. The ashes realy, realy annoy me. Despite the perfect burn properties i almost never make it through an entire bowl. There always is a considerable ammount of dottle left, yet bone dry and not bad smelling.

But this is one of the most honest, true to the core tobaccos around. All it is and tries to be is plain and simple tobacco. And as user weePipe said "Others lack in complexity what this flake pulls off in its simplicity". We are so proud over our taste in all natural english or VA blends with their refined and exotic taste experiences but if we want to know how tobacco does taste we have to taste this flake. I even outright refuse to describe this flake's aroma with anything else but the single word "tobacco".

And it masters this task in a most delicate manner too and extends it to the entire experience. From the almost gone tin size to the classic label, the saturated wax papers flair and the lusciously old timey clump of tobacco offered. Throw in a clay pipe and off you go, exploring time travel.

Room note is the smell of, you guessd it: tobacco. So it clearly is very pleasent ;o)

Aftertaste is the taste of tobacco plus some very tasty sweetness. Overall this blend is also best described with "satisfying" if i had to use another single word description. The nicotine level is high enough for being content quiet some while. Tongue bit will not occur.

So do i recommend this blend? Hell, why wouldn't i? I do recommend this blend to anyone except the total beginner. To him it is too hard to pack, too heavy in strength, too little in taste and too exhausting to sit through an entire bowl. But once you have at least some experince in smoking and taste and packing has become easy to you then go for it! No seriously, you will not get a better reference for what just good ol' tobacco is.

Pipe Used: It went trough rotation.

Age When Smoked: They don't print production dates on it.

4 people found this review helpful.

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

J.F. Germain - Germain's Brown Flake.

This is a beautiful blend! It's also as simple as it's beautiful! After a few bowls of this the only real issue I can find is the moistness out of the tin, it's quite moist so it's obligatory to allow it some time out in the open. The aroma from the flakes is a pure Virginia one, there isn't really much to say on the matter actually!

Once rubbed and filled it takes to the flame with the up-most ease and imminently gives me great pleasure! Again, as I found at the start, the taste is simple. I could sit for hours and hours desperately trying to fabricate some kind of false description to impress people with but the same word that jumped out at the opening is the most expedient one to use... simple! The flavour is mostly Virginia with a slight semblance of Kentucky taste in there. The smoke can become a touch too warm if strained, not 'hot' but just a little warm so I like to use more of a sipping technique. The nicotine is a healthy amount, not strong but it does the job of quelling my wants for N well!

I find Brown Flake superb, highly recommended:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Dagner Poker

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: G.Q Tobaccos

4 people found this review helpful.

Bonneville Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bonneville (49)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

This was a tough review to make. I mean, I love Germain tobaccos. And this offering is good, but it's never wowed me. There are some great grassy Virginia flavors here. But I think what makes it 3 stars rather than 4, is that I find it has a metallic-y finish that prevents me from feeling satisfied. It does funny things to my tongue. Perhaps this is a Ph difference compared to other tobaccos and I just need to give my mouth time to acclimate. I have a whole tin of it to find out!

Pipe Used: Peterson Meerschaum

4 people found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (266)
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 it 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.

4 people found this review helpful.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (72)
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

4 people found this review helpful.

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

A superlative Virginia flake. The taste buds are satisfied with the malty, slightly sweet taste. It has a cigarlike, rounded quality when smoked. Well done J. F. Germain& Son.

4 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (102)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Germain’s Brown Flake is a “sleeper” that (apparently) has none the less been discovered, and the price for a tin of has gone out of bounds, IMO. Price aside, this is as natural a VA flake as I know of, muted and still deep in the tin, and rich and deep when smoked, likely owing to the smidgen of first quality KY, which also adds some "fat" and a little buttery tannin, along with a very slight "smoky" quality. Back to the prominent VAs, they seem to be mostly (top quality) brown and orange VA with various cures, and the lot is pressed and well-fermented before it’s sliced. The flakes are thin and supple, easy to fold, spindle and stuff, and it lights and burns well. There is “enough” smoke, and the aroma is very nice, indeed, for the VA lover who likes it "rich". This might be the only tobacco I have reviewed here upon which I have detected no casing or topping; not that it doesn’t have it, rather I just can’t smell or taste it. Strength is close to medium. Taste is closer to full. Room note is pleasant. Aftertaste is all 1st Class VA, exceptional and long lasting.

Back to the price, this is the only thing keeping GBF out of my rotation. Though it is among the finest VA flakes/VA/Burs available, and I enjoyed my most recent tin immensely, I’m OK with Fribourg and Treyer’s Vintage as a substitute. I hasten to add, smoking F&TV back to back with GBF puts the former in its place. Both are worthy, but there IS a reason why GBF is hard to find, IF you can get hold of it.

Pipe Used: dedicated briars

Age When Smoked: to 18 mos.

Similar Blends: Compare to Fribourg and Treyer's Vintage.

3 people found this review helpful.

James80 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
James80 (2)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I purchased Brown Flake having enjoyed the other JFG offerings of Rich Dark Flake, Plumcake Mixture and Royal Jersey Perique. Brown Flake can be difficult to find in the UK so having acquired a tin I was looking forward to trying it.

Some say this is the brother of RDF, I can confirm there are very little similarities. The tin note upon opening is of oats and enjoyable. However, to describe this as Flake tobacco is somewhat loose. The tobacco comes in a block with few discernible flakes. That’s not to say it is a plug as it can be taken apart with your fingers. It also lacks the cognac/brandy overtones of RDF.

Overall I was disappointed with the smoke. It was bland, 1 Dimensional and acrid. Only occasionally did the oaty tin note come through. To qualify, I tried this blend in all manner of pipes, varying in size with various packing techniques. It gets a little more desirable with a few weeks drying time under its belt, but not enough that it would be a regular in my rotation. May buy again out of curiosity in a few years, but won’t be yearning for it if I don’t.

3 people found this review helpful.

PipesterJim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipesterJim (47)
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.

3 people found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
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...

3 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (112)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Germain has a process that is unparalleled in the tobacco blending world. They seem to have a time machine that puts age on all of their blends. They somehow use production methods and casings that make the finished product taste and look as if it has several years on it right out of the tin, Brown Flake is no exception. The tin note has something in it in addition to the VA's and Burley's, I think it is whiskey, but cannot be sure. It is sweet and has a vanilla like aroma to boost the sweet and grassy VA's and toasty and slightly sour Burley. The VA/Bur flavor is among the best their is. I have never had Stonehaven but I am told they are very similar. This blend is very wet out of the tin and needs some significant dry time. I find it best in a meer but is fantastic in any pipe. The Burley is toasty and nutty and is a strong second to the miriad of Virginia's in this blend. It is sweet but not too sweet, the VA's are grassy and have a hint of citrus to them in (grapefruit and tangerine come to mind). There is also a rotting hay quality (and that is meant to be a GOOD thing). I also get toasted rye bread in the flavors. This may be from the blending of the Burley which is nutty (hazlenuts and Brazil nuts). I also detect a woody flavor similar to that of Orientals but that is not on the list of leaves provided by Germain. This is a cool slow burning smoke, and I would have bet that this one would bite...but it did not and I pushed this blend a few times trying to get as much out of it as I could. I kept wanting more of the straight forward flavors and had to force myself to slow down each and every bowl. I do not know how Germain does it but they have a way of making biteless tobacco blends, even when moist. Germain's Brown Flake ( and Bridge) blends are first class tobacco's that make you feel like you are smoking in the high era of pipe smoking and blending. Bridge is a different blend (will review later) but it is so close I have a hard time telling them apart. They are both world class. If you are a VA/Bur lover I would try and pick these up.

Pipe Used: briar's, cob's and meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 1 YEAR

2 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (129)
Medium Very Mild Medium Very Pleasant

Thin cut slices that don't need airing time despite their moist content, which is rather high. They come in irregular sizes and lengths and can be folded up and packed in your pipe without any rubbing. Sweet and dark in character because of the virginia and burley/kentucky leaf it contains. I can detect a slight topping, but this is not bothering me. The zesty, earthy, hay like, etc., profile from the virginia leaf is missing because of the marrying process, speaking of which I find near perfect. Instead of this, you are greeted with a rich and flavoursome tobacco that is imbued with molasses and roasted nuts. Sadly enough, it would appear this tobacco is only handcrafted for friends and family, for it is in very short supply, so it can never get a rating of 4 stars despite its top notch quality.

2 people found this review helpful.

SamH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SamH (31)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

If you like brown pipe tobaccos, this may well be a nice surprise. Personally as a cigar smoker as well I would pick a strong virginia for a pipe and a mild Cuban cigar for this type of smoke. That said this is a very good example of a brown flake and comes in a nice old fashioned 'small' oblong tin (Like Erinmore Flake's tin). Very nice brown tobacco for your pipe.

Pipe Used: Various straight billiards.

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin, then over about 2 months.

Purchased From: MySmokingShop.

Similar Blends: Brown Tobacco flakes. (Sorry, that was useless)..

2 people found this review helpful.

22yrsonthepipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
22yrsonthepipe (22)
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!

2 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (264)
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.

2 people found this review helpful.

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.

2 people found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (302)
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.

2 people found this review helpful.

DenizBeck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DenizBeck (265)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A truly magical smoke this is... I took me a year for finally finding a shop that had it in stock here in germany. I instantly stocked up a few tins, as I got ahold of a 50g tin with 8-10years of age to it in forehand. I'll split this in "new" and "aged".

New/Fresh: A wonderful tin note awaits you in the tin. Very reminiscent of a horse-stable with rich cigar-ish and earth notes, and a hint of floweriness. Bright-, dark- and red-brown in colors this is an intriguing looking flake and albeit being a bit mist out of the tin you can smoke it right away. Yet I recommend drying it out to be "crisp" as it's more spicy then. In the pipe it spoils you with rich earthiness and hay, very reminiscent of a horse-stable. Decent cigar-ish notes are everpresent and accompanied by a slight floweriness. There's only a very mild sweetness, this is a hearty smoke! It's like being on a farm! Horse-stable aroma, well dried hay and a farmer puffing some fine farmers tobacco in his pipe - this blend packs it all into a flake slice and makes you dream of long lost days.

Aged (8-10years):: The tobaccos age exceptionally well! The flakes are sticking to eachother and have fermented a lot. The flakes are now quite dark, with a significant amount of pitch-black leaf. The juices of the tobaccos have come out and are coating not only the cover sheet - which now is dark brown instead of white - but also quite a few of the flakes. The tin note is rich. Cigar-ish, horse-stable, earth and hay. Most pleasant tin note I got to sniff and I'd rate it as my favorite tin note. Still a bit moist, I prefer drying it out for at least 30mins up to a few hours. In the pipe the "horse-stable" aroma is also present, which I find very, very pleasant. Rich earthiness, decent cigar-ish notes, with a flowery touch to it and a decent amount of hay. Again: The taste-profile is a lot like being at a farm. Horse stable, hay, cigar-notes from the farmer puffing some neat Kentucky leaf. Perfection in a word!

Verdict: Aged of frehs...this is my most favorite Burley/Kentucky blend ever! The aged version was heavenly, with its deep fermented qualities and the tobacco juices sticking all over the flakes. Yet a fresh tin is just as enjoyable and has the very same taste-characteristics, expect for the rich fermented character the aged one has. I'm stocking this up for ever day smoke and a few tins for aging! My Go-To-Blend when I want some sweet Burley goodness. Some shops describe this as a Virginia blend, yet I contradict... to me the Kentucky dominates with its intense characteristics and is accompanied by the richly earthy an hay-ish Virginias, which only hold a little of the stereotypical "citrus", but are rather hearty and spicy.

4-stars and All-Time-Favorite! Germain's make some of the finest blends out there... so natural tasting, so well crafted...again: Perfection in a word!

Pipe Used: Clays, Cobs, Briars, Morta

Age When Smoked: fresh & 8-10 years aged

Similar Blends: Unique through and through if you ask me....

1 person found this review helpful.

gladi8tor96 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gladi8tor96 (133)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Upon opening the tin one can smell fermentation. It reminded me of the smell of a walk in humidor. Great smell and wonderful presentation. The paper surrounding the dark brown was all stained for aging and fermentation. These flakes look like and are as easy to work with as the Medium Flake. Probably the softest and easiest flake to rub out.

Loads easy into the bowl and lights well enough. The moisture content for me was perfect, but there are many who may want to have some dry time prior to loading the bowl. Lights easy with the two match style and stays light with attentive, but light tamping.

This is a great tobacco. Lots of flavors that are similar to the Medium flake but I find this flake to be bolder, deeper, and richer than it's brother. Less citrus, though hints of it come through. There is some molasses flavors and sweet VA mixed in with earth and hay. It does remind me of a cigar here and there, but not completely, the smoke is more gentle than that. I noted hints of a spice, not pepper, but more like cumin, but that doesn't completely describe it. Another reviewer mentioned may be somewhere between those two flavors. That may sound a like a detractor to some, but it's quite pleasant and tasty. Very enjoyable flavor that is bold but not overpowering and soft at the same time. Difficult to describe. The nic is just at the right level I would say, medium. Glad I was able to sample this and I have another tin aging in my cellar.

Pipe Used: Briar Billard, Briar Bones, Cob

Age When Smoked: New from store - 1-3 months

Purchased From: Morgan Hill Cigar and Wine

Similar Blends: J. F. Germain & Son - Germain's Medium Flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (326)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I received an ounce of this from a friend. It had been rubbed out and jarred since 2015. Hydration was very good for smoking - maybe on the slightly dry side of things.

This has been a delightful smoke. The first try was in a Grabow Belvedere pot, and that was so good I checked availability. It seems to be chronically out of stock, which is a pity. I could see this being wildly popular if it could be found.

The taste was slightly sweet with a persistent nuttiness and spice from the Kentucky. I know it is not supposed to be topped, but the quality of the sweet is a little more than I would expect from the Virginia. Flavor was consistent, although it always seemed a little more full in the last half of the bowl with a hint of a tart and bitter edge. I found myself "playing" with this edge in my cadence.

Try this if you can find it.

Age When Smoked: two years jarred after being rubbed out

1 person found this review helpful.

Warwick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Warwick (37)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When I originally smoked this blend it seemed like it might have promise with age, so I stashed away several tins. Nine years later I am revisiting the Germain Brown Flake that has been tightly sealed in a mason jar all that time.

The tin aroma is plum and red wine vinegar; the flakes are dark and still moist. In the pipe, however, this is underwhelming. The flavor is earthy, a smidge sour and ever so occasionally cigar-like. There are no bright notes and whatever grassiness it might have once had is now gone. The cadence of flavor is somewhat akin to SG Lakeland Dark: dark, brooding and monochrome; but for me Brown Flake's flavor is muted in volume - it never quite has an intensity of flavor to offset its monochromicity and thus is ultimately underwhelming.

On the plus side, DGT improves it's cigar notes and nuttiness slightly. Also, I am sensitive to tongue bite and this never even hinted at biting.

Pipe Used: Trypis billiard

Age When Smoked: 9 yrs

1 person found this review helpful.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (70)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

To be fair, this is probably a good flake for many people. It's presentation is great, with a easy to peel apart flakes, in a nice small tin. But that taste, though. Brown Flake has its own thing going on. It tastes like a big flake has been store in grandmas shoes in an attic for a few decades. Its almost moldy, with notes of dirt earth and the tang of Worsestershire that FVF is similar to. Maybe it's the burley mixed in that just doesn't do it for me.

I got swept up in the "must have" of its recent popularity and have gone through a couple tins now. Honestly, the second tin I didn't finish. It's taste is suitable, if you want something different (like Haddo's different with new components) but for me, it's not very appealing to smoke grandmas shoes. Germain has a Special Latakia Flake that is head and shoulders better in all regards, in my humble opinion. I don't think anyone should bend over backwards finish locating this blend. Actually, I have a tin I'd love to trade for a FVF tin.

Pipe Used: Becker bent Bulldog, Caminetto Business Billard

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

Similar Blends: Similar to FVF with Worcestershire note but without the sweetness.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipeologist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeologist (22)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Smoked this consecutively in the same pipe with rich dark flake from the same maker.No contest! For me the brown flake,although packing and lighting well,has too much of that astringent lemony grassiness that my tongue detests.It burns slowly,but way too hot.Maybe it's down to chemistry. Can't really understand the rave reviews The tin,however,is a nice pocket sized affair,allowing me to upgrade to two stars. A day later in another pipe; pleasant enough to start,showing the qualities expressed by other reviewers,however last half of the bowl became clawing ,hot and acrid despite very modest puffing. My rating stands

Pipe Used: Jepperson and Dunhill

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Gq

1 person found this review helpful.

Autumn joy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Autumn joy (48)
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Have not done a review in a while, but opened a tin of this I had on the shelf for a few months now. Well here we are. Germain's Brown Flake is a highly rated full Virginia flake and it is so because well it should be. The tin note has a very earthy like smell with a hint of molasses. Now the tobacco is a bit moist out of the tin so naturally I jarred this after some air time. This is listed as a flake but honestly it is a very broken flake and really ends up being like a shag/ribbon cut just from transferring the tobacco from the tin to a jar. So with that being said probably a go to flake because it is easy to break up as opposed to other flakes that require (the fun prep time). Anyways these were the tin and tobacco impressions. The smoke is a very flavorful full Virginia Kentucky's are named within the database but I don't notice them that much. This is a very sweet and pleasant VA very mild and just a blend one can smoke all day, and will not bite. I opened this recently and have been smoking it once a week sometimes more. Germain did a very nice job on this blend really keeps an enjoyable smoke all the way to the bottom of the bowl. I have smoked this in Rhodesians, Pokers and Cobs and it always is just a very good quality smoke. I would really recommend this one to beginners who are just getting in to VAs and really any pipe smoker out there because this is a prime example of a VA done right. I know I have been smoking this in the winter but with warmer temps and the fall I can see myself smoking more of this in the future. So overall another very well done blend and it is something that will have you coming back for more.

Pipe Used: Rhodesian, Poker, Cob

Age When Smoked: 6 months age.

Purchased From: HU Tobacco

1 person found this review helpful.

bigterr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigterr (21)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I bought this at a tobacco shop in Hamilton Ontario Canada in 2010. As is to be expected in Canada it was a frightingly expensive $22.00 cdn (before 13% sales tax)for a 50 gram tin. I had been told it was close to St. Bruno flake but even better. It was indeed close and yet better. Packaged in a tin instead of a foil sealed plastic tray in a plastic pouch like St. Bruno it cellared well without loss of flavour or drying out. This was the greatest fault with this blend, even after four years in the cellar it was wet to the point that even the waxy paper wrapping was still damp to the touch. So I decided to leave the tin open over night. Actually I had to leave this for three days before it was dry enough that it could be smoked. The fact that it did dry convinced me that it was not wet from some form of humicant. However, since it took so long to dry up I decided to weigh it before I sampled a bowl. It was sold as 50 grams for $22.00 cdn(making it $0.44/gm) but after three days air time it was still moist but now weighed in at only 43 grams (raising the price to $0.51/gm). For those of you who measure in ounces this takes it from $12.50 cdn per ounce to $14.28 cdn per ounce. That means I paid $3.13 for 7 grams of water. So despite the fact it tasted better than St. Bruno I'm not prepared to pay for that much water. If you don't care then by all means it is a fine tasting smoke and go ahead and get some. If, however, you prefer to pay for something you can smoke then this was packaged deceptively as the stated weight of the tin I purchased consisted of 14% water. I cannot recommend it for this reason.

Pipe Used: joebycdnbilliard castellobilliardcdn comoyprince

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: Shop has closed

Similar Blends: St. Bruno flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

donmartinthree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
donmartinthree (22)
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.


I finished half of the tin that I reviewed here and the other half was left in the tin and forgotten. Last week, I found it in a drawer and it was VERY dry, but still intact flakes. I used some distilled water and a clean paper towel and wrapped the flakes up in this and shoved it into a mason jar for 2 days. Then I let it dry to perfect smoking moisture and must say that this has changed quite a bit, or my tastes have.

It has a molasses or dark chocolate quality on smelling it - deep, fruity, dark, musty and sweet. The flavor is just that, as well. The peat is in the background and the main flavors are unsweetened chocoalte, earth, brown sugar, dried figs or prunes even. The smoke is insanely rich and mouth-filling and it burns slow and cool.

I love this and will be getting a tin or two more. Luckily, it's easy to come by here. Awesome.

1 person found this review helpful.

strongirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strongirish (249)
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (187)
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!

1 person found this review helpful.

A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (97)
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

1 person found this review helpful.

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

This is another tobacco I recently sampled from a tobacco box pass generated by a member of my private pipe board. One of the great ones, IMO, with a wonderful depth of flavor to the flakes that have been specially prepared in that incomparable Germain way.

The taste 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 not bite even with aggressive puffing.

1 person found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (165)
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

renwardhoop Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
renwardhoop (106)
Very Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

Nice, yet very ordinary flake from Germain's.

The little brother of Rich Dark Flake, without the dark and without the rich. There isn't much left after you take these away.

You end up with a very generic looking flake which has virtually no smell, no taste and even less character. With so many virginia flakes on the market, including the plethora of German blends this doesn't stand out.

Admittedly I had a 20g semi-sample from the tobacconist not the tin, but this could have been any of a dozen of flakes I could name.

It's not a bad flake by any means, just average. Very disappointing.

Pipe Used: All of them (briars)

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Loose sample from

Similar Blends: SG FVF, Brown flake, Dan Pipe's virginia flakes..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Legionnaire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Legionnaire (26)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This blend tastes a great deal like Gawith Best Brown Flake, so if you like it you’ll enjoy this. It’s a bit smoother and has a slightly less grassy note to it. It doesn’t have a great deal of flavor, but I suspect it’s not supposed to. It’s just a decent, enjoyable smoke and that’s about the extent of it.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: Unknown

Purchased From: Personal trade

Similar Blends: Gawith Best Brown Flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lazarus77 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lazarus77 (87)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is good tobacco, but I will not miss, and will not buy again. Germains made legendary rich dark flake and rest of blends it's just good... IMO. Brown flakes smokes dry,cool,no tongue bite,nice depth of flavor, but ordinary. Worth to try it and go to search for other blends.

Pipe Used: Goldpoint

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mawnan Smiff Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mawnan Smiff (28)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Upon opening the rather small (50g) oblong tin I was presented with two rows of neatly stacked narrow flakes of a dark mahogany brown. Tin note was a rather vague affair with perhaps a little leather and old 'mustiness', nothing really sprung out at me.

Tipped out onto a tray those skinny flakes rubbed out very well indeed, not quite your Dunhill ribbon cut but not far off. Sam Gawith, please take note! Moisture content was a tad more than I like so the obligatory couple of hours drying time was allowed afore re-tinning in a larger tin (no way would the rubbed out flakes fit in the original tin). Of course a bowl was packed first.

The tobacco took to the flame rather well after the initial char light & tamp. I was immediately struck by the mildness of the smoke, by all accounts on Tobaccoreviews this was supposed to be a medium/strong affair. The flavours seemed to me to be very subdued, rather like the tin note. I got a little molasses occasionally and a mildly sweet taste of something akin to burnt biscuit. No tongue bite but if tugged hard it did tend to burn rather hot. A fair clump of soggy dottle remained at the end of the smoke.

In summary this was a rather pleasant smoke despite not having too much flavour, one perhaps for a quiet evening in. Would I revisit this blend? Quite possibly, but I think I might leave it a while afore I do.

Pipe Used: Bernina bent billiard.

Age When Smoked: Fresh.

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

THROATHIT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Simple things please simple minds. Well this tobacco pleased me and it is simple. Its a great little package to carry around as the tin is pocket sized. You have the functional wax tin liner and easy to use thin cut tobacco that burns straight from the off. The moisture content is such that it will remain to preserve the tobacco till the last smokes. So as a product it works and easily.

The taste is also simple and hits the spot from the off, once lit it stays lit and the nic hit is fair as well. A simple brown vg with dirty bass from the Kentucky. I would guess it has a single light natural topping of some kind but that's my guess not knowledge, It seems to have a special note that follows from start to end of smoking.

This is not an every day smoke for me but one to have around for when I fancy it and that day will come around every week or so I'm sure.

Pipe Used: poul winslow 9 mm filter

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: g q

Similar Blends: none.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

arclight Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
arclight (5)
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 mild malt/salty flavour. It leaves a very light grey ash. This is a good uncomplicated smoke. I highly recommend it.

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Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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PeterD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PeterD (91)
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.

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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.

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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' 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.

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Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (102)
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.

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