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A medium brown Virginia flake with a top note of Navy rum.

BrandFribourg & Treyer
Blended ByPlanta
Blend TypeVirginia Based
Packaging50g Tin
Where to Buy
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None Detected, Extremely Mild
Room Note
19 reviews
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SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (521)
Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

F&T’s Special Brown Flake looks great in the tin. The flakes are neatly organized and while too moist for my pipe right away, it wasn’t overly wet compared to some other flakes on the market. It is no secret that makers of F&T use high quality tobacco and SBT is no exception. The rum flavor is barely detectible compared to other blends with added spirits. I chose to lightly rub out the flakes and settle in for a long slow smoke and on that note, SBT delivers. Is it my favorite flake? No, not even close because it isn’t all that complex. But with that said, I tend to judge VA flakes based on how well they age and I find that this flake ages quite well. I compared this tin to a tin that was six years old and the difference is delightful. The topping is more evident and the usual raisons, figs scent much more pronounced. It could be just the aging process, but in this case I don’t think so as there seems to be an additional topping that comes through with age. It doesn’t bite and while not my favorite, I enjoy it and will buy and age a few more tins for aging. Lovers of flakes that produce more bass notes can’t go wrong here.

Age When Smoked: New and 6 years old

4 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (622)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Thin flakes of mottled light and dark brown, with a strong tin note of topping. It smelled a lot too close to some of the Mac Barens sugary fruitier stuff, which didn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The flakes were a bit too moist but dried out quickly. The drier the better with this one, but crispy was too dry. Drying it out subdued the flavoring to the point where it was enjoyable. Smoking in a morta helped as well, so if you really love the casing, smoke this one on the moist side. I lightly rubbed out the flakes for the best performance.

The flavoring didn't strike me as rum - more of a honey and sugar casing. It was a bit too prominent out of the tin for my liking but as the tobacco dried, it melded better with the Virginia. Almost no complexity here but a nice tobacco in the lower midrange level with dips into the upper bass. The tobacco tasted sweet but as the casing was always evident, I'd guess red Virginia to be the varietal. I did not taste anything resembling perique. The rum topping did provide the burnt sugary flavor I associate with that drink but again, it tasted more of honey than of rum to me. As rum-topped tobaccos go, and as F&T Virginia flakes go, this one is not so great, but not bad at all. Different from their other VA-based flakes, and worthy of a trial.

Pipe Used: meerschaum and morta

Age When Smoked: 2 years

2 people found this review helpful.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (100)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

F&T is responsible for commissioning some fine Virginias and Virginia-based blends. If Special Brown Flake claimed to be nothing more than a mid-weight Brown Virginia, it would be a decent, if dull, example of the genre. It claims, however, to be a rummified Virginia and sadly takes the title as the least rummy rum-infused tobacco I've ever had. I've tried it in briar and cob, tried it rubbed, tried it folded...heck, I even did an origami butterfly out of a couple of the flakes, and the stuff is consistently boring.

The tin aromas suggest the classic burnt sugar notes of dark or Navy rum, but in the pipe, it proves to be nothing more than a tease, a rigid D-cup bra holding a pair of A-bumps. The burn is fine, I suppose and the flake quality is good, but it's simply not as advertised.

Disappointing in almost every respect.

2 people found this review helpful.

dedalto Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dedalto (19)
Medium Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant

F&T'Special Brown Flake is exactly what it says it is,'a medium brown Virgina flake with a rum top note. The rum seems to fades as the smoke reaches mid bowl. It is an inoffense brand which over buns well and delivers exactly what it promises. It is though somewhat a neither nor. The virginas are not quite top shelf nor is the rum flavoring worth remembering. I would think that you would better suited with something Wilke's Rumcake if you looking for that sort of experience. Over all 2 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

CoolPilot Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CoolPilot (67)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I agree with the previous review entirely. I too smoke Cornell and Dhiel Afterhours and the GH rum flake. The difference here is that it is less intense, better balanced, in the right quantity (the rum) and the smoke is perfect. One of the best Rum flakes, if not the best available. This is my second tin. Update: after the thrid tin, even more convinced this is a top quality, exceptionally good stuff.

1 person found this review helpful.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (125)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I tried some F&T flakes or cut plugs at the Chicago Pipe Show which led me to buy four of them. Special Brown Flake appears to be a thinly sliced plug, medium brown throughout with a light sweetener. The aroma in the tin is a faint peach or apricot and Virginia tobacco. No fruitiness comes through in the smoke. It appears to be well aged because the flakes come apart quite easily, almost like a Krumble Kake, although this may be the result of the F&T process. The tobacco packs, lights and burns easily to a white/grey ash all the way to the bottom of the bowl. The smoke is a very mild, slightly sweetened Virginia flavor. This tobacco reminds me of Dunhill Light Flake but with less nicotine. I fill the pipe by making a dottle and then folding the flakes and inserting them endwise. This is extraordinarily good tobacco with a great, lightly sweetened Virginia flavor. I will be keeping the F&T cut plugs on hand as part of my regular rotation. Highly recommended. Paddy.

1 person found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

I can't taste the rum, (I can smell it slightly on opening the tin) nor can I taste any substantive difference with Cut Blended Plug.

Fribourg & Treyer reminds me of Antonio Vivaldi who, according to Igor Stravinsky, managed to write the same concerto 400 times...

1 person found this review helpful.

Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (138)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

The top note is more present in the tin than when smoked. It's a sweet, slightly toasted flavor with some burnt sugar taste from the rum topping. A very smoker friendly flake that is easy to pack and smoke from the tin. The flakes pack better with the ball method since they are thin and almost broken. It's a quality product but I prefer other brown flakes with a more full bodied flavor.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

nitekrawlr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nitekrawlr (26)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

A great flake offering from F&T. A medium strength, tasty, high quality tobacco. Pressed and sliced into very thin flakes, which makes it great for folding or rubbing out. Will be buying more of this......very tasty.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pauliepipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pauliepipes (3)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant

I am a rum flavor fan. I have tried Cornell & Diehl's After Hours, Garwith Hoggart's Rum Flake, and now (drum roll please) Fribourg & Treyer's Special Brown Flake. I like them all; however, F & T stands out on top in my opinion. There is a good rum flavor, slight sweetness on the tip of the tong, and a smooth all the way through smoking experience.

In comparison to the others, I would say there is a slight tong bite with each of the others that occurs during the smoke. It reminds you to slow down a little. They both have nice rum aroma but F & T has the most rum taste.

If there is any downside the F & T's Special Brown Flake is that it is a little fast burning and it won't be around much longer. I wish it came in bulk. I would buy it by the pound! If you like rum, this is a must try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SMOKETSES Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Generally, I have a very good opinion about the Fribourg & Treyer mixtures. This blend confirms my opinion once more. Honest mixtures. Not 100% this time though, as in the description a rum flavor is mentioned, which I wasn't able to find at all. It has perfect moisture once you open the tin and it fills the pipe easily. It either has an undefined, bit spicy, chocolate flavor ??? or just a very intense and distinct flavor from the Virginia, I don't really get it. As almost all mixtures of this company, it is smoked up until the end of the bowl. Medium to strong regarding its nicotine level. I had it for at least 2 years in my cellar before I smoked it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (66)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

I purchased a tin of SBF at Iwan Ries in November 2008. At that time it did little for me, so I cellered it and have not smoked another bowl until now. Well, what a difference a year and a half of aging has made. Smoked in several different pots - a Barling and a Benchmade - only lightly rubbed out,this tobacco "rings my bell". The flake has a top note of rum, combined with the traditional fruity aromas of Virginia leaf. It is not unpleasant. I cannot taste the rum top note while smoking SBF, just pleasant Virginia tobacco, mild with a very subtle sweetness. It does not bite or burn hot. I cannot detect any Perique in this flake. According to the label on the back of my tin, Germany is listed as the country of origin. A nice flake in a nice presentation. If you are looking for a mild Virginia flake, this is worth trying and cellering.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

orka Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
orka (57)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

The tin aroma is definately rum, with hints of chocolate/cocoa and raisin. It comes in a square 50g tin, with the only downside that it doesn't hold the moisture very well if left as it is after opening.

Packing this tobacco isn't any harder than any other flake, although they have a tendency to stick together and can be a bit of a nuisance to separate. But you get used to it. In my experience it is best smoked by folding and twisting rather than rubbing. When newly opened the moisture content is perfect, almost a little on the dry side.

The first puffs after the false light can be somewhat harsh. But it quickly settles into a very much well behaved and delightfully sweet experience. The aftertaste at this point reminds me alittle of liqueur, somewhere along the lines of licorice.

As the smoke progresses it takes on a slightly bitter cocoa taste, which starts to intermingle with sweet and dark stoved figgy notes. The mouthfeel is really quite velvety and a good body to the smoke develops making this an excellent smoking experience.

Burning characteristics are very good and there are no problems keeping it lit. Despite its tendency of being stout and heavy, I've never had any bite problems with this blend, even when tempting fate - but of course, keeping the puffing rate slow and steady keeps the flavour consistent and enjoyable.

It burns down to a white and dark grey ash, it sometimes leave a little oily goo by the airhole, but nothing a pipe cleaner won't handle.

The room note is pleasant and leaves a small tingle in the nose for a while, nothing out of the ordinary besides that that I can sense.

Final verdict? This is an exquisite and deeply satisfying virginia flake. Not one I smoke on a daily basis, but rather when the mood strikes. I seem to find it especially satisfying on cold autumn or winter evenings. When the conditions are right, I find it pretty much flawless.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OleFattGuy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OleFattGuy (27)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

I bought this one hoping I was in for a treat. Somehow it never answered up to my expectations of a dark chocolaty experience which reviews elsewhere had led me to believe. It is a really nice Virginia flake but it can't stand up to Marlin Flake which to me is the epiphany of VA Flakes. Like other reviewers I can't find the rum in this one? I have put the tin away in a tupperware box hoping that it will age with grace but it's only been two months yet. Might have to try this one agin and come back with an update...

Update: It's been another four months and I sat down with this giving it time, and suddenly it released all of its flavour when I came into "the zone" with it. Marvellously sweet and interesting, lots of chocolate and an tinge of vinegar, really nice have to give it one more star! It did improve with age, and drying out. Also giving it enough time and smoke really slow enhanced the experience a lot!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1134)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This one rang my chimes and even caught me by surprise as I swear there is Perique in Special Brown Flake. The tin descriptive didn't mention anything other than a Rum topping, which I never detected at all. So, what's up with that?

F&T's Special Brown Flake arrived at just the right moisture content, rubbed out easily, packed well and burned to a nice, dry ash with no trouble.

The flavor was spicy Virginia (it gets more spicy as the bottom third of the bowl is consumed,) and overall, presented itself as a fresh tasting, clean, cool and a tad sweet smoke. The nicotine content was middle of the road.

I like these kinds of surprises.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NapaWineLover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NapaWineLover (66)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is a very straightforward dependable smoke to me. The tobacco seemed toward the dry side when I opened the tin and the aroma was sweet moderately matured VA and not any strong casing. I was prepared to be underwelmed, although right from the match it was very pleasant. It smoked cool, and while not complex, it was sweet and nutty down to a gray ash.

I like it as a morning smoke. It will handle numerous relights (due to distraction) without penalty or back talk from the faint rum casing. I also think there are a number of VA's in this slot that may fit its role in my rotation with more presence, but all in all ... it's not a bad smoke.

Cheers, VC

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Taste Buds Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Taste Buds (143)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a tobacco I have smoked on and off for a couple of years. The first tin I ordered must have been aged at least a year because the tobacco was dark and the taste was delicious. Since then I've had a love hate relationship with this blend. Now I store the tins for at least six months before smoking and find that the flavor is greatly improved. Never as good as that first tin, but still excellent. I rub out the flakes to a shag cut which seems to release the flavor of this tobacco. The rum is not readily apparent in the taste but it definitely adds to the mellowness. I've tried all of the F&T flakes and this is my personal favorite. It burns cool, with a slight sweetness,right to the bottom of the bowl. This is a 3 star blend for me. Those with the patience to put a few tins away for a year or more will be greatly rewarded, as this blend ages beautifully.

Update: October 21/05 I'm downgrading my rating for this blend to 2 stars from 3. Subsequent tins have never matched the fabulous taste of the first.

Update: August 23/10 Pipestuds review made me look at this blend in a different light. His assertion that this mixture contains perique has changed my perspective and my mind. I'm raising my rating to 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

accunlmtd Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
accunlmtd (3)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This tin was picked up at the TinderBox in Santa Monica, while I was on a trip. I am always looking to try different Virginia Flakes.

Nice looking tin, but I noticed that just one afternoon of "dashboard stoving" had popped the seal. So a bit of warning to others on this...don't trust this tin to remain sealed in heat.

The flakes are 3/4 in x 2 3/4 in. with great coloring, nearly black streaks mixt with light browns and specks of bright virginia.

The tin aroma suggested a light topping, but not overwhelming.

The flakes rub out easily if needed, or will fold up for stuffing if one prefers.

I always do an initial surface char with a fine pointed Torch lighter, a couple quick one second blasts. Then let it go out. I follow that with a proper lighting via Old Boy or match. I sat waiting for the topping sweetnes to hit but it never arrived, only the subtle smoothness of very mature virginias. Noting in your face. just hints of different tastes as the bowl progressed. One puff would yield some hints of sweet, the next may waft a bit of Lakeland-like floral.. This is NOT a tobacoo to load up and smoke while doing something else, way to soft for that. This smoke needs your concentration. It demands that you relax on a calm, cool moonlit evening. It forces you to study every draw, taste and smell. This is a tobacco that will bring back many memories of various other events. The entire bowl was this way, top, middle and bottom. Complex isn't the right description, I like to try and use visuals, and this reminds me of an old library full of classic literature. You can walk thru it and quickly look at the contents. But to get the full measure of what it has to offer, one has to sit and become part of the experience.

I have tried this in several sized bowls, bothe rubbing it out and using the "Frank" method, with no real difference.

Epiloge...If you want lots of in your face flavors...this is not the tobacco for you. But if want to take the time, and study what it has to offer, you will be well rewarded. I give it 4 smoke rings out of 5. Al in Colorado

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SFC/E7 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SFC/E7 (93)
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant

I was given a tin of this to try, upon openning the tin I thought there may some kind of aroma but could only detect the aroma of the Virginia. Looked like a chocolate candy bar when I first unwrapped the white paper, the tobacco itself was not dry and not real wet, but it did have that freshness that I enjoy in a tobacco.

I began to rub enough out to fill my Larsen Port, I did notice it did not fall apart as you rubbed the tobacco, but came off in a size like a tooth pick only shorter. I only rubbed a very little as not to make the the tobbaco too fine, but just enough to fit into the bowl without strands of tobacco hanging out over the bowl. As I lit the tobacco I could sense this was a Virginia, but smoked as if it were a straight Burley as it burned quite cool. I really never did detect a Rum Flavoring in the aroma or the taste.

This is is one of those tobaccos you want to set down but cannot as it is a tantalizingly tobacco that one wants to continue smoking, sort like going back to the cookie jar one more time.

To me the tobacco was mild, with no tongue bite, but cannot determine if I would recommend it to a beginner or not. I figure it will be one more to add to my collections of tobaccos to smoke on occasion.

Nobody has rated this review yet.