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In the first year of the War Between the States, Gen. Turner Ashby's famed Laurel Brigade of Va. Cavalry ruled the Shenandoah Valley. When the Louisiana Tigers came to the Valley in 1862, they brought with them a wonderful spice tobacco that mixed perfectly with the sweet Virginia leaf. In the years after the war, the old comrades would often gather at their favorite tavern for drink, stories and a bowlful of their favorite VA/Perique flake. A wonderful medium strength Virginia/Perique flake hand blended for Tavern Tobacco by Samuel Gawith.

BrandTavern Tobacco Co.
Blended BySamuel Gawith
Blend TypeVirginia/Perique
ContentsPerique, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Mild to Medium, Medium
Room Note
18 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm certain this is SG Saint James Flake. The Virginias are dark fruit sweet, slightly grassy, a little earthy. The perique has some mild raisin, date and plum notes with some pepper in a support role. There’s a hint of chocolate if you are looking for it, though I don’t know what causes that. And there is a very mild sweet topping, though I'm not certain what it is. It does need some drying time, but if you dry it completely, you lose a little of the flavor. Has a mild nic-hit, and won't bite or get harsh. Require some relights, burns cool, clean, slow, and depending on how you dry it, it may leave some or little moisture in your bowl. Needs some relights. Has a very pleasant after taste. Can be an all day smoke for many smokers.

3 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I recently had my one and only tin of Laurel Flake, made for the Tavern Tobacco Company by Sam Gawith. My tin was from 2005 and I don't believe it is available anymore under that name, however, it still is available under the name St. James Flake by Sam Gawith! Yup, it is the same tobacco! Tavern had a tad bit more moisture added during process, but otherwise it is the exact same blend as St. James. This is not my opinion, but comes directly from the fine folks at SG. Now aged, is a sweet VaPer, LF's “leathery” appearing flakes have more of an “earthy” sweetness and it is enjoyably smooooth! If you don't mind paying the eBay price to get a unique tin, it is definitely worth the added cost.

Age When Smoked: 9 years

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

miss Tavern Tobacco (by Knox Cigar). Every once in awhile they would come up with a blend or some blends that I found to be really good. Laurel Flake was one of their tinned blends from Gawith and was a Virginia/Perique that was middle of the road in both strength and flavor. Presented with the Gawith special processing that allowed the Perique to come through but in a laid back way. I only managed to get a few tins and smoked my last one a couple of years ago. Sigh.

1 person found this review helpful.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (171)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have about 5oz left from 8/02. Sweet and tangy, with a slight vegetal note in the jar. Almost has that McClelland "tang".

Packing can be a bit difficult, but maybe it's just me. It needs constant relights while smoking, but because it does, that means I am smoking this right. This is one of my favorite flakes, great VA flavor, and the Perique is done perfect. I don't have much else to add, but if you know anyone who has some of this cellared, steal it. lol.

Paired well with a Grand Marnier, 2 ice cubes.

1 person found this review helpful.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (76)
Mild Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant

I stopped into the Knoxville Cigar Company last week (in town on business) and the tobacconist gave me a sample of this flake. I smoked a bowl and am grateful for the gift. This is a wonderful tobacco. It is similar to Best Brown by SG, but more complex. There are deeper notes of plum from the Perique which help balance the higher notes of the Virginia. It is sweeter than Best Brown, but as mild and easy on tongue and palate. It never heated up and was quite tame. This flake is a great all day smoke. I will be ordering more.

1 person found this review helpful.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is apparently a very popular VA/PER, but after smoking two ounces of this in bulk I just can't find much to recommend it. It's a fairly straightforward, no-nonsense blend that reminds me of many other tobaccos in its genre. The leaf seems to be of a high quality and the presentation is nice, but with so many other blends like this on the market I just can't bring myself to buy anymore.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Laurel Flake (LF) is mellow and tasty, medium-bodied, with a subtle sweetness. A sumptuous blend of mature Virginias give it an austere monochromatic quality as compared to the wider array of tastes in Christmas Cheer ?03. Such austerity also connotes a flavor that is restrained, not aiming for several stellar flavors, content to state its case with simplicity. For me it is the top-drawer Virginias incorporated in this blend that make it excellent, which goes without saying for any Virginia/Perique, given that the Perique is at the right level. For those whose tolerance for Perique is low, this proportion will probably be too high. I would estimate that LF contains 5% Perique.

Again, LF?s Virginias lack complexity. Now there is some controversy about whether a Virginia can be considered complex, which term is usually reserved for a blend in which the constituent tobaccos come to the fore and then recede, another tobacco coming to the fore and then fading away as well, only to return to the first tobacco or yet to a third. My first experiences with complexity were with Pease?s Renaissance and Balkan Sasieni. Yet I feel the term can be applied to Virginias, albeit differently. Some Virginias, like Wessex Classic Virginia and LF have little complexity, sounding a single flavor note and remaining there throughout the course of the smoke. Others such as Christmas Cheer ?03 deliver various notes and thus possess a more complex flavor profile, and it is to this profile that I refer when I describe a Virginia as complex.

This is a blend that can be smoked everyday: it is that good, one of the best I?ve ever smoked. As it was released some 18 months ago, it took me a long time to order. All I can say is that I hadn?t read kudos sufficient to pique my interest; hopefully this review will persuade other such reluctant pipers to order. It comes in both bulk and tin; all I?ve smoked is the bulk as the pricing structure, when you order in quantity, is about 2:1, bulk and tin, respectively.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ranger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ranger (64)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

As this leaf is blended by Samuel Gawith, there's little wonder it is so outstanding. I would compare this to FVF, but Laurel Flake is slightly darker with a sweeter flavor in the tobacco. The flakes are perfectly cut, nice and thick and rub out for packing in a good sized bowl. I found no difference between the tinned version and the bulk shipment I received. The only drawbacks from making my top Five Virginia list are: 1) Moisture level is too high, and 2) The cost prohibits me from buying as much as I would like.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
Mild None Detected Very Mild Tolerable

This review perhaps will seem "out of place" among the praises sung by others... but read more to understand. First of all let me say that I like the guys at Knoxcigar for their great service and for their excellent house tobaccos: definitely quality stuff! This Laurel Flake is, like the other offerings, a SUPERB product, made with quality and care. After only a year of aging, the flakes in the tin were luxuriously dark, leathery, moist, juicy and covered with crystals: with such dark flakes and knowing that this tobacco is made by Samuel Gawith, I expected a strong tobacco. Wrong! This is as delicate a Virginia flake as you can get! Extremely smooth, no bite and no nicotine buzz! The perique is very sparingly applied and perfectly tolerable, at times even not noticeable. After a difficult light (the flakes are dense and moist), it burns great: cool, even, and with no gurgle (which is incredible considering how moist the flakes seem). A small bowl of this can last you very long! The taste is, again, very delicate: smooth caramelized notes, a faint sweetness. Very stable throughout the bowl, too. Think of Dark Star but much more delicate and without any tonguebite. So, this is a great tobacco if you like this genre... My problem is not with the quality of the product (which is TOPS), but with my taste which is more oriented towards tastier stuff. So, this is a "Might try again" for ME, but I can say that you should try it at least once because it might just hit the spot for YOU.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (286)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I purchased this blend via the internet in bulk from Knox Cigar in TN in 4/04. Many of the other blends in their Tavern Tobacco line were out of stock and if this one represents what Samuel Gawith, the blender, has created for Knox, I can see why. The tobaccos, that vary from golden to almost black, were pressed and cut into very moist and pliable flakes ~ 1"x6"x1/16" and almost all arrived unspoiled which is sometimes unusual for a bulk blend. I obtained improved lighting and packing with some drying of the tobacco but I generally don't rub out my flakes at all. This had no noticeable impact on the taste that I found very enjoyable and consistent within the bowl and from bowl to bowl. Overall, the smokes were effortless from start to finish and very cool. The Perique was just barely evident and none of the Lakeland soaplike flavor was sensed. Just quality tobacco was in the tin aroma and the room aroma was accepted much better by my family than some other VA/Perique blends. If you're looking for a rich, strong smoke, this blend may not fit the bill but I found it enjoyable and a great candidate for a milder, all day smoke. If you enjoy VA flakes, give it a try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JB (43)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant


When you first get the tobacco, it is very wet in the tin...too damp to smoke in my opinion. After struggling through one bowl of the freshly opened Laurel Blend, I took some out to dry out and breathe. My patience was richly rewarded in my second and subsequent bowls. This is a very good VA/Perique blend and fans of Lake District tobaccos won't be disappointed either. I think this will age very nicely, but it's tough not to dig right in when the box arrives.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I bought two tins of this from Knox Cigar a couple of months back because it was made by Samuel Gawith. Ater a few bowls, I immediately stocked up the cellar with it, and will continue to add more. This is made with the extraordinarly good Virginia of Medium Flake, Best Brown and Full Virginia Flake, but it is even darker than FVF. The tobacco is almost black and comes in narrow, moist strips. Before they dry, I roll them out to a broken ribbon and allow them to dry a bit. The Virginia flavor of this tobacco is one step deeper than FVF, and the smoke delivers this rich tanginess consistently. The perique is barely noticeable to me, adding just bit of spice but functioning more as a complement to the Virginia. I think the perique has been completely submerged into the Virginia through the process of pressing the tobaccos into flake form. This is a mild, mild smoke with pronounced Virginia flavor and no hint of bite. I look for the day when this can be bought in bulk. Most highly recommended for the Virginia lover. Paddy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.