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An excellent all day smoke for the Virginia lover. Mild and mellow mixture.

Notes: Originally blended in England.

BrandAstley's
Manufactured ByKohlhase & Kopp
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50g Tin
CountryDE
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
4noggins.com
Product Image
Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 4 Users

3.2
55 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
24
3 star:
21
2 star:
8
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moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (37)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

"There are certain delicious sensations that are no less intense for being vague." - Charles Baudelaire

I suspect that Astley's 109/Virginia Flake - like the proverbial prostitute with a heart of gold - suffers long at the hands of its habitués, not to mention being "ghosted" by myriad other tobaccos that are used in the same pipe. So, my recommendation comes with a stipulation, that the smoker takes the time and makes a best effort to discover what is special here.

This tobacco is fresh and enticing right from the tin, falling to short, chunky "ribbons" as the flakes are handled. It packs and lights OK and, once it is lit, I find it takes but little attention to keep it lit. It makes enough smoke, and it is "strong enough", within the context of its profile. IMO, it is best smoked in still air, to the point of smoking it indoors, if you can. Anyway, I do NOT recommend doing chores with a pipe full hanging from your jaw. I will even go out on a limb and say it might be best in a narrow "sipping" stack that is dedicated to it.

What is really good here may be ephemeral, but it is also exceptional, if not unique, mild, rather nutty Virginia tobacco with a delicate topping that need not offend even the most sensitive and inquisitive palate. This same VA does "muscle up" some over the course of a bowl, but in decidedly relative terms, and many probably never even notice this effect. Smoked down, the "smoky" part of its Va flavor concentrates, to the point where one might well miss the rancid fruit and an increasingly "acrid" quality that is - somehow - not only not offensive - at all - but it is part of what makes this blend special, IMO. And, oddly, the delicious, enduring aftertaste gradually works its way back to Va sweet.

All in all, despite my prolix intonements, I am pretty much at a loss for words here, like trying to describe dejas vu (or type it without proper script options...). Just, if you're willing to make the effort, this can delight, reward and even satisfy in a way that is not only different but better than other "light" tobaccos.

7 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (557)
★★★☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

I don't recall the other Astley blends being this way, but this was what I call a "wraparound" flake, in that it wasn't cut in bars or flakes. It was a huge rectangular chunk of tobacco that was folded over several times before tinning. As I broke off flakes, I would flip this chunk over and start on the other side to keep the chunk in one piece. Kind of cool, but then I'm easily amused.

Very well-behaved tobacco. Smoked great either folded and stuffed or rubbed out. The lemon citrus flavor of bright virginia was noticeable but not overwhelming. There were definite bass notes in this one and it was exquisitely balanced. Neither too mild nor too heavy, not too light or too flavorful. Not terribly complex but not a one trick pony. This is "just right". Consequently, there's not much to say about it. You'll either like it or you'll love it but I can't imagine any virginia smoker disliking it. I prefer Astleys #44 but that's just me. This is something every VA smoker should try, particularly if they like to smoke while doing other tasks. This one won't demand your attention. Good stuff!

3 people found this review helpful.

Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (118)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The description on the tin is spot on with this broken flake. Sweet, mature Virginias are there from the get go. This tobacco is sensitive to how and when you smoke it. Use the same pipe and make it your first smoke of the day. This way you make the most of it.

I like the honey sweet and raisin taste, mellow and yet interesting. It's a shame that there is the typical European topping of aniseed and licorice applied to this otherwise perfect flake. This topping is sometimes strong enough to distract you from a good and honest smoke and then disappears to come back when you have settled once again. For me that is the only minus.

1 person found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (563)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I had to learn to puff it a little slower than I normally do, and I'm not a fast puffer, because I got the danger sign of tongue bite. If you sip it, that won't happen. There's a light topping of some kind that added a light fruit/sugar note, but it tended to fade as I smoked. The raisin hit I sensed when I opened the tin also seemed to fairly much vanish. I did get a light lemon, citrus flavor that complimented the hay and grassy notes. Not very complex, but it isn't meant to be that way, and for a good, all day smoke, it fits the bill.

1 person found this review helpful.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (120)
★★★★
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Having a very Va sensitive tongue, Astley's 109 is probably the most mild mannered Va out there. Definitely one of my favorite tinned Va flakes to date. I purchased this tin in 2003 and didn't open it until 2006. I smoked a few bowls, and left it at that. This was before I "understood" Va flakes.

Well, 2011 rolls around and this guy gets on a HUGE Va flake kick, unlike any kick I have ever been on before. Spending hundreds of dollars trying to sample as many Va's as I can. While stocking the cellar with my newly acquired blends I find this tin of 109 deep in the back of the shelves. I take it out and open it, finding the moisture content still perfect, even though it had been opened for 5 years.

Everything clicked and finally made sense. This was one fine smoke. Sweet, complex for a Va, and just plain enjoying. Lit, packed and stayed lit without troubles. Great room note, and just enough nicotine to know you your pipe is lit. I highly recommend this blend, escpecially those with sensitive tongues.

1 person found this review helpful.

Rodricus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rodricus (22)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Strong

For the virginia lovers, this is the tobacco to smoke. It is a superb flake by Astley´s as well as their best blend, in my opinion.

In the tin the tobacco is tangy and a little sour: nicontina is here at her best. If you let the flakes dry a little they might turn a little white. The flake is somehow sharp, so rubbing turns out to be an important decision: to brake or not to brake?

This delicious blend is also strog for me, so I just smoke it on the evenings or after an abundant meal. And also only when I want to remember that life has a lot of good things to deliver.

1 person found this review helpful.

samhain5150 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
samhain5150 (5)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is it! This is my all day smoke mild enough to smoke all day but tasty enough that you know you are smoking quality tobacco. This never bites even when pulling extra hard it can burn a little hot if not rubbed out a little. Rich silky white smoke. I also do detect something of a very very light taste in the backround but what is even more noticeable is a slight peppery tingle reminiscent of Virginia/Pa blends Strange as it says it is all Virginia. This is certainly worth the bucks you have to shell out for it (smoking pipes.com has the cheapest prices on tins that I have found) So anyone who loves a mild Va this one is for you.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

A Mild & Mellow Flake. Just like the tin description and most definitely an all day smoke.

In the early Fall I find myself moving from Virginias toward the Latakia laced Balkans and English mixtures, but #109 is an exception. It provides year round appeal with its rich dark brown-sugar tin aroma, with hints of honey and toasted nuts. Pecans, not mine, thank you Rev. Jackson. Arrives in the tin almost at perfect moisture, but some drying does help. I prefer it shagged out over the fold and stuff method. I wouldn't mind a good shagging out myself. Fill your bowl lightly with this one or you will soon regret not doing so. It can be tough to keep lit otherwise. It's a sipper, so take it easy.

Reveals a rainbow of flavors as it meanders down the bowl, with the molasses-brown sugar elements staying in the foreground. There's hints of dark cocoa, licorice, cookies and freshly baked bread. Aged a few years in the tin, it starts to develop little nooks and crannies of flavors difficult to describe other than damn tasty.

If you're looking for a Vitamin N delivery system that will knock your undies off, this ain't no panty dropper. Mild in all the good ways, but packed with flavor.

1 person found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Yes, indeed. A delicious, smokey-sweet Virginia beauty, similar to, but heftier than, Hamborger Veermeister. It looks as dark and luscious, heaped in the tin, as RATTRAY's Marlin Flake, which it resembles closely, although this is less peaty (by which I mean those bittersweet edges found in whiskey that has been filtered in charcoal) smoother.

I tried 109 in a picture-perfect, silver-mounted Peterson bent, a medium-sized Don Carlos oom-paul and a brand-new Radice squatty bull-dog: it proved a steady, smooth smoker on all wood, slightly edgy at the very beginning, wonderfully rich and savoury through the main part of the session, fading only ever-so-slightly towards the end.

This is more expensive than Marlin, but that is just about the only thing I can say against it: a major find. It left a marvelous taste in my mouth for a long time after I had finished puffing it.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Astley?s 109 is the third blend from this house I have enjoyed over this Christmas period. The three of them seem to me excellent tobaccos!All are beautifully made, top quality and very palatable. 109 belongs, IMO, with N° 55 and N°44 in terms of being a straight forward Virginia, spicy, either in flake or broken flake form. If you plan an entire day of smoking straight Vas., you could easily start with 109 in the morning,have a bowl of N°55 for mid day and finish the day off with N°44.

N°109 is a type of Va. that provides a rich, tangy, almost beefy taste (a certain Lea & Perkins sauced undertone, similar to some of the McClelland?s I have tried, but in a more moderate and tastier vein). Never the less it is a smooth tobacco, of a rich brown colour, quite simple to pack and light. Of the three Astley?s I?ve mentioned, 109 is by far the tastier one, providing an almost joyful smoke, and I don?t find any correlation with Rattray?s blends (as I do regarding N°?s 55 and 44). The taste is so rich and spicy that I wouldn?t dub this tobacco as a contemplative smoke. It has many layers and it burns wonderfully.

I?ve enjoyed it both indoors, and especially outdoors, when walking Glinka (my enthusiastic Airedale Terrier) in a nearby wooded area. Again, highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

I am a big fan of well-aged Virginia's and VaPers. I wasn't bowled over with excitement by my first experience with #109. Having stowed away the second of two tins for several years, I decided to revisit it since it has garnered a lot of positive reviews. The aged, darkened flakes smelled of the usual raison, fig and hay scent that comes from an aged Virginia blend. #109 offed some sweetness, but not as much as I expected. Astley's #109 smoked with a nice balanced flavor, but it bit me. I seldom get tongue bite and so I soldered on with different pipes, different cadence and packing methods, but I just couldn't get past the bite. I guess it is just a body chemistry thing, but it is what keeps me from rating it higher. It is worth a try for Virginia lovers, but not one I will personally be buying again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (135)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I am on my second bowl of this in a Peterson African meer - a dublin with the p-lip. The tobacco is described on the tin as "matured, naturally sweet, broken Virginia flake - medium strength." I open the can and find long wide flake similar in appearance to Orlik Golden Sliced in the 100g tin. The flakes are dark and smell sweet with no identifiable honey or flavor of sweetener. The tin had just a hint of raisins perhaps. A piece was torn off and rubbed out. Moisture seemed about right to me, and I did not dry it or let it air.

The smoking experience is mild and mellow. There is a slightly sweet virginia flavor and no other tastes to me. Some people taste perique in this, but I do not. The tobacco flavor grows in strength as the bowl progresses, but it is still what I would call mellow and slightly sweet. I get just a hint of citrus every now and then.

This has been a very pleasant smoke. It is not a flavor bomb or have complex flavors. I would recommend this to someone wanting to try a good Virginia. It smoked cool for me, and I did not have problems keeping it lit or with tongue bite. It was easy to sip and had enough flavor that I was not puffing away trying to get more out. The cost per oz in the 50 g tin is a little high for me, and I am not likely to be smoking this on a regular basis once the tin is empty. For my smoking $, there are things that I like just as much (or more) that are cheaper. It is a good smoke though, and I recommend it. If you are weary of complexity and complicated flavor descriptions, this might be a great one to try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

rogermugs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rogermugs (14)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

No Bite, complex flavors despite the mildness, and the real kicker, no other tobacco has the same effect after the smoke. Something about 109 makes me want to rub my tongue over my teeth all day long, enjoying the deliciousness again and again.

I like 44 alright, but this takes the cake handedly.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Alguhan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alguhan (140)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

As most of the reviewers said here the tin description explains well the tobacco. It is a mild and mellow mixture. It suits perfectly when you wish to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in hot summer mornings. The tin content is considerably moisty, so try to air your portion of tobacco for a while. I personally let the tin open for more then a day and rubbed my portions before packing.

I noticed nice sweet flavors of uncased Virginias in this mixture . It has a mild nutty chocolate taste and sometimes fruity flavors. It is not a satisfactory blend for my nicotine and more tobacco taste searching palate, but as I said it fits well for early morning tobacco enjoys.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

I was looking at Hagen's review, and he said something about K&K having added caramel and vanilla when they did the blend. My tin is from 2005. Somehow, I think this is that blend. There does seem to be a caramelly topping that is not quite my cup of tea (or pipe of tobacco), but I don't think it ruins it. However, the tobacco might be better without it. I like it alright, just prefer more natural tobacco usually. I can't speak to what the tobacco was like when blended in England, or at the present time, since my tin is 2005. I will smoke it; indeed, I am getting to the bottom of it, and have a sealed tin in reserve, which I will cellar a while. The Virginias are of good quality. This goes well with the apple cider I am drinking right now. I have gotten the best results from thoroughly drying, and from small to medium bowled pipes. Actually, smoking the present bowl in a larger bowled Brebbia (but not huge) and not completely dried out. Still, it opened up midbowl, and I am getting some nice flavors. They are not pure tobacco flavors, but that's ok.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Crigs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Crigs (13)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This classic VA flake is tasty indded! Wonderful tin aroma, sort of a fruity, sweet smell in a straight VA manner. No topping detected. Easy to rub out and pack. Let this one set a few minutes - a freash can will be a tad on the wet side. Burns well after a good rubbing abd setting. Nice, fresh VA flavor; no harsh overtones. This is a great smoke for those wanting to try VA's or like the milder, less acidic tasing VA's.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Archangel506 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Archangel506 (5)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

I stumbled on to this blend at my local B&M. I requested a straight Virginia that was somewhat mild. I was given a 50gm tin. Upon opening the tin I was greeted with a pleasant aroma of quality Virginia tobacco. I detected a light casing but not so much as to overshadow the pure tobacco aroma. I found the moisture content to be minimal. The broken flake packed and lit easily. At first I detected an ever so slightly sweet taste,however it quickly subsided and the true Virginia tobacco taste arose to the forefront. I find this to be an extremely mild and pleasant tasting blend. A wonderful way to start the morning with a fresh cup of coffee or tea.There was no apparent bite. This could easily become an all day smoke. I would highly recommend this to aromatic smokers who wish to evolve and expand their taste selections. The only negative aspect of this blend is that it does not come in a larger quanity than 50 gms. I am compelled to give this blend four stars only because there aren't five stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Coffeecup Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coffeecup (13)
★★★★
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This is my favorite Virginia, because it's mild, and being a broken flake, it's easy to work with. It's always a bit sweet, without overdoing it. Light enough I don't get burned out on it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (196)
★★★☆
Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

This is a delicious mild Virginia Flake with somewhat the same taste and flavor as Peter Stokkebye Luxury Twist Flake and with a permanent earthy-hay/creamy bass note, very mild and tasty, great for morning smoke.

Overall, a good quality mild Virginia for an everyday smoke, unfortunately it is not available in bulk to add it to my standard all day Va rotation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hagen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hagen (91)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

update: going through my reviews here, i find that i'll have to downgrade a good deal of the praise i've given so many blends. 4 stars should, i feel, be reserved for the blends i find truly exceptional. so, this is downgraded a bit. end update.

now this was a pleasant surprise. i used to smoke it a lot when it was made by, i think, macconnell (or perhaps astley's themselves?). it came as small golden flakes, and it was sharp and a bit winey. then the production was transferred to k&k, and that was a catastrophe. they added vanilla and caramel, completely destroying my beloved #109.

today, 15 years later, i grabbed a tin at the fine tobacconist at ströget in copenhagen, thinking that the reviews here on t.r. pointed to another change in this blend. and yes, it is now once again a fine tobacco, though nowhere near the ancient #109: dark brown with discreet sweetness, in a style reminding me somewhat of "bright cr flake" (but without the hint of flavouring, or perhaps a different one). a quite pure virginia, and a very pleasant clean smoke. nothing sensational, just the deep, slightly fruity/spicy notes i love so much in a well aged va.. infinitely much better than, say, orlik's "golden sliced".

delightful when new, but may become absolutely wonderful if stored for 5 years.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Max1a Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Max1a (29)
★★☆☆
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is a fine Va, Flake. You can tell quality leaf is used. Nice flakes, soft and fine in texture compared to some. Topping is present and quite noticeable. Less so if it is allowed to air out some. Recent tins do not display the same quality and flavor as the past. Still a good tobacco, just not an "Oh, boy!" or a "Wow".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (96)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A superb early morning smoke in the hotter weather, I originally bought three tins while the weather was still warm, for some time now, the cold has made it's presence felt, still, I have two more tins for the summer.

A light and easy tobacco to pack and smoke usual superb astley quality, no bite just pure virginia, an excellent smoke if you want to be aroused very slowly but soon to be discarded for more stronger tobacco's thereafter. Certainly not (IMHO) for the English winter nights or morns (where we are currently experiencing -7c) such as they are, at present I am looking more for a SG Skiff, at least or SG Squadron Leader to start the day.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Packer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Packer (56)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

While on my recent stop travelling down the Virginia hiway at the village of Astleys, my second visit was at No.109 Jerimy St. London. Great place to visit....I may want to stay awhile. Much has been written on this blend ,so I'll keep it short. Unlike No.2, No. 109 has absolutly no vinigar aroma....only mild, sweet tobacco. This blend has no bitterness. If smoked slowly you will be rewarded with a mildly sweet, flavorfull, no bite smoke. This could become one of my "all day" smokes. That says a lot, considering all of the great blends avaiable. Rate

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jaybee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaybee (76)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of my all-time favorites. It starts a little mild but really builds character by the middle of the bowl. It has very little bite and lights easily in either flake form or rubbed out. For a Virginian it requires little attention and unfolds with a variety of flavors throughout the bowl. If you want a powerhouse, this isn't it. If, however, you want a sweet, natural Va. that can be smoked all day.....look no further.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TerryJ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TerryJ (7)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A very nice Virginia. I really like the looks of this in the tin. Rather large flake which does take a bit of effort to rub out. Seemed to work best for me if a rubbed out a bowls worth and let it sit for an hour.

It did take a light or three to get it going, this is not a one light tobacco ( after charring of course ). I found it rather strong, I got a definite nicotine "whirl" from this which rarely happens with other Virginia's. I did not detect any flavoring beyond the normal Virginia sweetness I'd expect. As stated, it does burn down to a nice clean ash. This tobacco is part of my Virginia rotation, and is quite enjoyable.

I can't give it 4 stars because then there'd be no room for Old Gowrie and Hal O' The Wind at the top of the Virginia heap. A very nice Virginia however.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Insocal97 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Insocal97 (3)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I found this to be a very nice pure Virginia. It does have a tanginess or, as some have put it well, a citrusy flavor to it. I found I got a pretty good nicotine kick from this stuff, thus found it stronger than others have noted. All in all, a nice, smooth, good and pure tobacco.

If you rub it out it does dry up quite a bit. I found it had better flavor when moister, so consider rubbing out only that portion you intend to put in your pipe and let the rest be until next time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

I finally got to this one, so here goes:

Appearance and Tin Aroma: This smells like a Va that has had a delicate touch of some sort of Chocolate essence. The flakes are neatly folded and appear to be stoved as well.

Packing and Lighting: Just rub out slightly and pack. 2-3 lights max.

Initial Flavor: Smooth, mellow VA, the casing is sweet, but not cloying.

Mid-Bowl: This blend gets into the zone easily, the room note is pleasing to non-smokers. No tongue-bite.

Bottom of Bowl: Not much increase of strength, ash is grey and dry. This could be an all day blend.

Overall: This is a high quality blend that is a perfect intro to Va Blends. It is only slightly cased and it never gets bitter. It burns cooly and does not "gunkify" your pipe. It is not something that I will smoke regularly, but will always have on hand. I preferred it in group 3-4 sized pipes. Give it a go! Pip! Pip!, Cheerio!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jackhackett Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackhackett (76)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Astley's 109 is a well-behaved little number that I believe has more complexity than other reviewers here seem to have found; its construction is odd (though this may be inherent to all Astley blends---this is the first blend in their line I have tried) but really does work very well in terms of being manageable and keeping lit easily. There is more sweetness than savoriness here; the VA note is strong and clear though certainly not overwhelming by any means. It is, after all, supposed to be "mild and mellow" and that is a fair and decent description.

Overall, 109 is an enjoyable blend with good manners that could easily be an all-day smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tiepolo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tiepolo (40)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Well this is not my after dinner smoke but let's do it some justice. It is extremely tasty with absolutely no bite. A tobacco that every virginia lover ought to try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Devonshire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Devonshire (47)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This is certainly a mild and mellow Virginia blend... in fact, a little too mild for my taste. That's really my only complaint with this well rounded mixture. I'll be sticking to Hal O' the Wynd as I like a little more fullness with my tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (71)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

This is my 2nd favorite tobacco from Astley's. It is not the strongest or sweetest Virginia on the block. However for an all day Virginia or to give your senses a breather, this is a fine blend. Just remember, it is mild, don't try to puff more flavor out than it has, or you will get bit.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

A long dark ribbon flake that comes rolled in the tin like Orlicks Golden. Darker than I anticipated with light streaks. A very pleasant medium Virginia. I give three and three quarter stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ian Weeks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ian Weeks (36)
★★☆☆
Mild Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After much reflection on this blend and a full 50 g. tin I just don't get this blend. I don not dislike it, and I certainly love VA's, and am partial to them in fact. It reminded me of Marlin Flake in appearance, but the smoke that it renders doesn't please me as much. I did not find any bite in the smoke despite, I might mention, that it was VERY moist in the tin. And come to think of it the tin note is delicious. I would like to come across a tin of this that has aged for 5 or 10 years, I imagine that would be a real treat, but as for this weed as sold and in all it's splendor I will not keep in my rotation, and haven't the patience to cellar on my own. I cannot say that this is not a great weed, for it has recieved much acclaim by many a respected reviewer, but it is not for me. Update, Astleys No. 109 Well I have stumbled across another tin of this weed. As chance would have it I took this as an opportunity to uncover secrets that I had not previously found. I failed. I wonder if this blend is if the sorts that will open up and smooth out with age. Perhaps what I look for in a Virginia blend is different than other connoisseurs, but I feel that with such splendors as Marlin Flake, Full Virginia Flake, and Light Flake that this weed does not sound a resonance that holds its own.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LoisKelly Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LoisKelly (55)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I find this tobacco to have a singular ability to evolve in the pipe. The first ten minutes or so are totally underwhelming, leaving one to consider if it was worth purchasing. Ho hum. After puffing away for a time, it begins to grow in both body and flavor until I find myself completely immersed in the experience. By bowl's end, I'm pining for more. Lush without flamboyance, round without bloat, No. 109 has a long, lingering finish worthy of a Pauillac. I place it at the very top of a short list of the finest Va flakes available.

I would never consider it for a quick, short smoke, but whenever I have the time to give it its due, it's mighty hard to beat. This blend is to Virgina flake what GLP is to English mixtures.

=====Addendum, 10/04- A man once paid a visit to the famed gourmet Brillat-Savarin, and was advised by servants that he was busy enjoying his dinner. The man waited patiently, noting that it was 7:00PM. He found this odd, as it was common knowledge that the great epicure would dine religiously at 4:00. When finally greeted by his host, he could not help but make mention of this, whereupon Brillat-Savarin responded that he had, indeed, eaten at 4:00, but, as correctly pointed out by his staff, was "enjoying" his meal.

As I write, I am enjoying a bowl of 109, consumed approximately three hours ago.

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Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

So what?s wrong with a tobacco that?s ?mild and mellow? and advertises itself as such? Absolutely nothing. This is a delightful, exceedingly good Virginia blend and a nice change of pace from heavier, full-bodied blends. This is a great morning smoke or even an all day smoke for some. It may be one-dimensional but it doesn?t bite. I like it much better than Astley?s #44.

I rate this tobacco 9.8 out of 10.

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Esoxhunter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Esoxhunter (60)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

September 2004

No. 109 is a very mild Virginia blend, and I did like the touch of sweetness that I haven't seen in a lot of other Virginias. However, it simply did not pack enough punch for me. Give me some Perique with my Virginia flake, please! The "Mild and Mellow" descriptor on the tin is definitely accurate. I did like the sweet and sour tin aroma, and the flake cut was beautiful.

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BostonPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BostonPipe (83)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Well, another "Winner" from Astley's. With so many descriptions of the tobacco, I'll keep my remarks to the actual experience.

The taste runs consistent the length of the bowl. I find this Virginian to be a great Summer smoke. The subtle natural sweetness combined with the citrus note is just a delight on a hot day in particular.

It burns down to a grey/white ash with very little dottle. I find with tamping the run of the bowl, I do not need a single relight.

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Exedwardsguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Exedwardsguy (11)
★★★☆
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Astley?s 109? where to begin with this enfant terrible of the Virginia flake circuit? The word paradox only begins to describe this gorgeously made flake. The standard Astley?s tin is presented this time in tan with jolly nice red print. The flakes are thinly sliced, but longish and folded over in multiples. The tobacco is a visually attractive mix of younger yellows and slightly more mature browns. The tin aroma is, to my sense, simply one of brown sugar.

The flake rubs out well and packs nicely, though a bit moist. The charring light takes some patience due to the moisture - 2 Vestas for sure. Once things get under way, though, the aromas and flavors are unimpeachable. One tastes the brown sugar among the usual but slightly rounded grassy Virginia flavor. At this point, a fine light version of the extremely venerable No 44.

Then something very bad happens. Slightly before mid-bowl, heat builds up and a fetid pong emerges ? I know, some blandly refer to this as ?Lea and Perrins? flavor ? I can imagine the ingenuous smile as they describe it as such, but in my personal hell, it brings to mind freshly opened tins of Vienna sausage, just popped jars of strained peas, and potted meats from days of yore when Kraft Macaroni Dinner and Jello brand gelatin molds epitomized la nouvelle cuisine. I cast about desperately for the delightful flavors that began this adventure.

Miracle of miracles, they re-emerge, slightly darker and even more rounded in the final third of the bowl. The L&P flavor is but an early morning nightmare, fleeting and washed away by the dawn. The semi-sweetness of tawny port develops toward the end, subtly endowing the mild Virginia flavors with a delicious darkness? utterly unexpected and utterly exquisite. The whole thing winds up in a fine dry ash.

If you are one who doesn?t mind the flavor described as ?meaty?, or ?Lea & Perrins? I can see how this would become one of your favorites, as it is sublime for me as well (excepting the brief funk), and I debate each time whether or not to endure the slightly queasy interval I know is inevitable, for the sake of the delights that embrace it. Usually I go for it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JClark Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JClark (26)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

For the most part, I agree with all the positive comments already posted about this flake. I find this smokes best thoroughly rubbed, and dried out. The taste is mild, slightly sweet, and at the same time sort of deep and earthy. At times these flakes are so mild that they are almost tasteless and are a bit like smoking hot air. However, at other times they are very flavorfull in a mildly subtle way. All and all a very good mild virginia flake that I keep on hand for occasions that I'm in the mood for something a bit lighter, milder.

I would like to add one gripe about this tobacco. I don't doubt that the contents of the tin would actually register 50 grams on a scale, however, the tobacco comes so moist that once it is thoroughly dried, the smokeable tobacco you are left with is far less than 50 grams. Once dry the 50 grams is probably more like 25 - 30 grams which makes this a fairly expensive tobacco for regular consumption.

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Nojoqui Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nojoqui (28)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I love the smell of Number 109 on opening a fresh tin. Although Dark Star is my favorite Virginia flake, this one smell a hundred times better. It looks a heck of a lot better to boot! The top note and half way through the bowl aren't what I'd call outstanding, but it does get a grip on you after working your way down the bowl. The taste improves significantly in the second half. It's never over sweet, just a pleasant relaxing smoke. I find this tobacco easy to use, especially compared to some other Virginia flakes. If you crumble a load and let it dry out for a day or two, there is no trouble getting the charring light or any wetness. This is one Virginia where little or no pipe cleaner use is necessary. Although I prefer a little Perique mixed in with my Virginias, for a straight air cured version this can't be beat. I'm finding myself smoking this blend more and more as a day's starter, and think it might be a great Summer smoke to relax outside with. Astley's Number 109 wouldn't work in the evening for me because I'm a constant wanderer through a fog of English/Balkans when the sun sets. I like smaller Canadians for this one because I want to get to that second half where the flavor jumps out. Still there is no hurry to finish this great tobacco, and a second bowl is always welcome! Great stuff from K&K, as usual!

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flint Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flint (30)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I purchased this based upon the reviews and it's not bad but I had a hard time keeping it lit. It also stayed moist for the longest time without any help. The tin aroma has almost a fermented grape like essence and the flavor does have a Lea and Perrins note. Another thing you'll notice when smoking 109 is a beefy/meaty taste really nice.

I finally got it to work one time and it was great but these moments are far and few. Maybe my tin was too young, I have another one aging and will update this review when I pop that one open.

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

Another good broken Virginia flake, ruined by too much casing. Opening the tin the tobacco looks like Marlin Flake,but smells like a candy factory. The tobacco isn't bad by no means,it's actually good,but not what I expected it to be. The casing I expect to be Licorice,and something else,not sure. My taste buds didn't like this one.I'll give it another chance and report back down the road.

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Daniel Morlan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Daniel Morlan (50)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Given that this is such a popular tobacco, I spent my own dime to try it. I was hoping for something other than what I got, I'm afraid. We all have our tastes, and I couldn't taste this one at all until I neared the middle of the bowl. Its sweetness isn't apparent until the latter half. It's a very wet smoke, and while I enjoyed the flavor towards the end, it didn't strike me as a "come and get me" tobacco. I'm sure it's a fine tobacco, but regrettably, it's not my "thing."

I'm sorry to bring the average score down, but alas... My tastes differ. My favorite full-bodied blend is McClelland's Dominican Glory with maduro. You may or may not like it, and can qualify my opinion based on that.

It was smooth, and elegant tasting to be sure, but it's just not my sunrise.

This piper gives this a 3 out of 5.

Pleasant winds to ye all.

====UPDATE!====

Had some of this stuff aged, and thought it was superb. Nice tang, subtle sweetness... Didn't burn my tongue to a crisp this time. A very pleasant smoke!

DJM

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Albion1956 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Albion1956 (41)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

I ran out of my other Virginia flake, so I bought a tin of this, and I'm glad I did. Tobacco comes moist, as most do from K&K, and the flakes are folded into 5" slices, no problem, I pulled one off and let it air out out. The tobacco has that nice natural smell, and packing was like most rubbed out flakes. Charring light took two matches probably still a tad moist, and we went along, a tasty Virginia with no bite, unless you smoke like a freight train. This stuff is great, I haven't been this exicted about a Va flake since I tried FVF. I wanted another bowl after I finished my first, which is what I did. Good Stuff.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm not sure if I got a bad tin or what, but I had problems with tongue bite. I let the tin dry out thoroughly before smoking it, and still it had some nip. I had to really watch my smoking technique to enjoy this, and I smoke VA flakes all the time! That said, this is a pleasant flake with some complexity to it. It did remind me of Marlin Flake in a muted sort of way. Personally I like a little more taste in my Virginia. Oh well, to each his own. For the price I doubt I'll buy another tin, although I just might if the "bad batch" theory seems to carry any merit. In the meantime I will stick with Marlin, or No. 27.

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Skilling Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skilling (80)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Forgive me if I steal from the above reviewers.

"Upon opening the tin, I found a rich, dark Virginia flake in folded strips. There was also the tangy smell of uncased Virginia leaf, but only distantly, and the tang never showed itself at the match."

(It looks similar) ..."to RATTRAY's Marlin Flake, which it resembles closely, although this is less peaty (by which I mean those bittersweet edges found in whiskey that has been filtered in charcoal) smoother."

Similar= texture and folded strips. The 109 that I have been smoking is darker (brindel brown) where as, Marlin is a olive-copper hue.

109 is richer and smokier in taste then Marlin but still smooth. I've been smoking it quite regular lately and it could become a favorite. As Marlin already is.

A very good Virginia!

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NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (260)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Although my tin was marked as made in Germany, there was no indication that Kohlhacs & Kopp was the blender as with other of the Astleys tobaccos that I've enjoyed. I thought that A&C Petersen,indicated above, was in Denmark. Whoever the blender, they did a great job and I was not disappointed. My dark brown flakes were almost 6" long and folded into the round tin. Packing, lighting and the lack of relights were excellent even thought the tin moisture content was higher than expected. A rich, but smooth, naturally sweet, cool smoke, this blend didn't even hint of bite from start to finish. It is just as advertised but a bit mild for my normal tastes as an all day event. However, in hot weather or as my first smoke of the day, it's a pleasure. Although I personally prefer the added strength of their #44, I still had to give this the highest available rating for a good high quality VA flake. Try some.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (135)
★☆☆☆
Overwhelming Medium Extra Full Tolerable

Well, after all the good reviews and being a lover of virginia flakes, I grabbed a couple of tins from my tobacconist, and started puffing in a small Dunhill Root #3. Not bad at first I thought. Then in a larger Dunhill Root # 4. A bit strong? Then in a larger yet Ardor Om Paul. Overpowered with the dark virginia in my opinion.

I normally don't review a blend I don't care for, but it did smoke somewhat better in a small pipe but nowhere near as good as I was promised it would. And it was aweful in a larger pipe, which size I prefer. Not terribly hot while smoking but just plain explosive with flavor at times.

It is like Marlin Flake a bit in strength, but sweeter and maybe fuller. If you like really strong tobacco and you are in to mixtures with darker flakes maybe the sweetness in this will grab you. But, after smoking one tin, I returned the other for Paul Olsen 111 flake (also on the strong side but no match for #109). Sorry.

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BrittPark Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BrittPark (41)
★☆☆☆
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

In the tin: Pretty, dark brown flakes. Pleasant slightly acrid smell of fermented Virginias.

Packing and Lighting: I rubbed mine out to a fairly coarse texture and it packed, lit, and stayed lit just fine.

The Taste: Yuck. Strong tobacco taste admittedly. but harsh and lacking in the sweetness I would expect from a Virginia blend. Towards the end of the bowl, intrepid explorer that I was, the "taste" just became stronger and more noxious.

I can't recommend this to anyone. Maybe it's the flake form. I've never met a flake that I liked. I'm very much in the minority here and haven't been pipe-smoking that long. Perhaps I don't know how to rub out a flake satisfactorily yet.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This is more like it. After smoking Astleys No.2, I was not expecting much. But this is a good smoke. It comes in thin, long, dark brown flakes, folded over in the tin. It has a vegetal barn smell of good quality Virginia similar to sweet clover. It rubs out and packs easily. It lights easily with no harshness in the initial smoke. A light neutral sweetner has been added, but does not interfere with the Virginia flavor on the tongue nor in the aftertaste. This could be an all day tobacco, but may not have a heavy enough tobacco flavor to go the distance over several successive pipes. This would be a very good Virginia for the novice smoker. Absolutely no bite nor hint of a bite from start to finish which is unusal for a Virginia. I will keep this on hand, and smoke it occasionally. Highly recommended. Paddy.

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Mike Castello Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Castello (49)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an excellent flake tobacco. It is sweet, but not overly so. The tin aroma is very inviting. The first tastes are enjoyable and of wanting more. As it is smoked it brings on increased flavor, a bit of a nutty taste, it is crisp and very smooth all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. There is no bite and for a flake it is very easy on the stomach. This is a tobacco that can be smoked as often as you want without ever feeling overpowered. Highly recommended and worthy of its highly esteemed reputation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★☆☆
Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

I agree with Willy that the tin description is right on regarding this tobacco. The tin says A mild & mellow flake. Indeed it is. It is just too mild for my enjoyment though.

Upon opening the tin, I found a rich, dark Virginia flake in folded strips. There was also the tangy smell of uncased Virginia leaf, but only distantly, and the tang never showed itself at the match.

The tobacco arrived so moist, I had to fully rub it out and let it sit in an open bowl for 24 hours before getting the leaf into smokable condition. Once properly dried, it lit easily.

This is, perhaps, a good morning smoke for some, but had little kick. The flavor was wonderful, and I even detected a hint of chocolate, I think.

If you enjoy a straight Virginia with punch, you may want to look elsewhere. I did order a tin of Astley's #44, which claims to be a full & dark straight Virginia. I think I'll try that one right now!

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

I sometimes hesitate spending hard-earned cash to try a new tobak but I'm glad I took a chance w/this one. Astleys #109 is an excellent VA that is true to the "mild and mellow" tin description. As stated by others, this is a mostly dark brown to black flake w/smidgeons of lighter colors threaded in. It appears that it's one long flake that is folded over a few times and placed in the tin. Rubs out very easily to packing consistency and lights equally well. I was surprised when I noticed I almost didn't need to use a second match. I charred, tamped lightly, and read another paragraph or so before relighting. When I put the pipe back in my mouth I habitually drew on it before I even lit the 2nd match and lo and behold.....smoke! Once burning good, the natural, hard-to-beat, good VA flavor comes forth w/slight sweetness and faint citrusy notes. The typical VA tang is present but very subdued. Virtually NO bite here, folks! I notice a woodsy note that reminds me of the mild fermented aroma when I opened the tin, sorta like a forest after a Spring rain. The smoke is cool and creamy, mostly mid and high notes but there is some bottom to it especially farther down the bowl where a richer and more smokey flavor surfaces. This is a very tasty and flavorful VA, perhaps one of the best. Though it was somewhat moist in the tin (the tin seems to have a good seal to it too), moisture while smoking was pretty much non-existant; I used a pipe cleaner about 1/2way just for the heck-of-it. Some drying time wouldn't hurt. I used a GG size Castello "Old Antiquari" panelled Lovat that has a fairly deep bowl, but IMO this tobak would smoke good in most any size bowl. Burns to a fluffy ash and leaves the pipe clean and dry. IMHO, this would be a good tobak for smokers new to the world of VA's as well as seasoned pipers. My only complaint would be that I wish there was more tobacco in the tin, but it's a good tobacco for the price. My "smoke this on occasion" rating is because I'm going to make this tin last as long as I reasonably can, (gonna hafta use some restraint) and will definitely have a couple more in the cellar for the near future. This would be a good all day/all the time smoke but that could get a little pricey. As a now and then/frequent smoke this is a very good choice. I'll always have some of this around. Hey, works for me! ==Update== This is just a brief update after having smoked more of this VA. tobak side-by-side w/#55. Since I gave #55 Elizabethan the highest overall recommendation, I felt it was necessary to also give the same rec to #109, simply because they are both, IMHO, excellent smokes. I still think I prefer #55 as I stated in my review, but #109 has a bit more body and burns a bit slower depending on how you rub it out, so spending your day w/Astley's VAs. would be very pleasurable, to say the least. I certainly wouldn't refuse either one, anytime.

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Bear Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bear (24)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The latest issue from Astleys, a blending house that, IMNSHO, is only matched by the "House of Pease" in consistency throughout it's entire line. #109 is named after the company's address on Jeremy Street in London. Tin appearance: 50g tina a la dunhill or mac baren.

Tobacco appearance and tin note: Extremely dark colored, well aged, broken flake with just an occasional bit of lighter weed peeking out. Moisture: Higher than I like, the entire contents have melded together (pluck at one flake, the entire contents lift out). Tin fragrance, glorious, light, sweet Va, with no (zero, zip, nada) hints of catsup, vinegar, acetic acid, or anything that isn't glorious tobacco. Flake breaks up well, but I highly recommend letting it dry on a paper for a few minutes before packing. . We're packed. Opening "Blood Rave" Theme from the Blade Soundtrack on the faithful Nakamichi, assisted by a pair of old Advent Heritages.... let's rock! Flame hits weed releasing.... wow.... mmm..... wow! One of the softest, lightly fragrant smokes that I have ever encountered. It has sufficient body that the delicate citrus and cashew notes have support, but just enough. Smooth? Less friction on the palate than liquid teflon on black ice. If you are in to such things, this is unquestionably the most inhale able tobacco that I have ever run across. The fragrance and room note carries all the delightful elements of a carolina curing barn sans the grassiness. Mid bowl: the fruit mutes a tad, making ways for more of the cashew butter aspects, the bowl develops more complexity, and it was no slouch in that department to start with. Very slow burning, you can't hurry this one (nor would you want to) not because it would slap your tongue, but because when ya hurry you'd miss al the nuance in this one's conversation. End bowl. Unbelievable. A Va that has nary a nip or bite even down in "no man's land" at the heel. Now rich and buttery. Summary: This is it! The Finest Va flake that I have found. Deliciously light, smooth and fragrant. If you shy away from Va's, because of bite, burn, or the dreaded "Heinz" factor, get this one. Trust me. You will become a fan. 10 out of 10 Bearclaws. -- Bear Graves

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Sykes Wilford Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sykes Wilford (35)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This is doubtlessly the best pressed Virginia blend that I have ever tried. I'm honestly not sure why it doesn't get the kind of recognition that other Va. Flakes do. Regardless of its level of critical acclaim, I have yet to find a superior straight Virginia flake for both its remarkable flavor and round, but never overwhelming, body.

It is unquestionably a rather sweet blend. The natural sweetness of the Virginias manage to surface without the slight bitterness that, for example, is associated with some of McClelland's flakes. Similarly, the sheer weight of the smoke (or the body) doesn't seem to interrupt the flavors to the same degree as any of Gawith's Virginia Flakes.

I find it is a far better smoke when given as much attention as possible. Along with a couple of Greg Pease's blends, this is one of the few tobaccos that I really feel like I have to sit down and smoke carefully and thoughtfully. All of the nuance is lost (and the beauty of this blend is most certainly in its nuanced complexity), when the blend is not the primary focus of the smoker. (By the way, Astley's #2 is an excellent all day smoke that doesn't require much attention to be appreciated. I smoke Astley's #2 as one of my primary all day smokes, but I long ago gave up trying to appreciate #109 without giving it its due attention.)

Certainly the most predominant sub-flavor is fruity. At the beginning of the bowl, I seem to get more citrusy notes as a result of the acids in the tobacco (I presume). The blend seems to mellow as progresses and loses some of the tartness. By the end of the bowl, soft fruitiness (like very ripe plums or grapes) seems to be the predominant flavor.

This is one of only three or four blends that I would "highly recommend".

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