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The characteristic, natural sweetness of mellow, red Virginias mingles inextricably with the richness and inherently spicy aroma of black stoved Virginias in this doubly aged red and black all-Virginia cake mixture. An artistic achievement in tobaccos for the pipe, this beautiful mottled flake is incomparable in smoothness, balance and refinement.

Notes: From McClelland: Occasionally we meet someone whose familiarity with a variety of tobaccos, sensitive palate, and desire for "that special tobacco" provide an inspiration for us. In seeking to satisfy a taste other than our own, we pleasantly surprise ourselves with beautiful results. This is what the Personal Reserve Series is all about. We developed this concept early on as a way to enhance our creative spirit. We are proud to offer these fine pipe tobacco blends, and hope you will enjoy them.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
CountryUS
ProductionNo longer in production
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
PipesAndCigars.com
Iwan Ries
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 33 Users

3.5
226 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
150
3 star:
47
2 star:
18
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Peter Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peter Piper (41)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I have managed to get my hands on another blend which is taken for granted in North America, but the rest of us treat as exotica. So please understand any over-enthusiasm I bring to this bit of verbiage!

First impressions: we just don't get packaging like this over here. Ring-pull cans, whatever will they think of next??!!

Second impressions: tear open the can and there it is in all its glory, the "ketchup" smell of which we read so much. What IS that all about? I passed the tin to the missus for sniffing purposes, interestingly her first reaction was "cinnamon," so there you go.

Third impressions: is this what you colonialists call a "flake?" Jeez guys, come on! Seriously, it comes as a shock to those of us used to seeing perfectly formed and uniform rectangles of beautifully pressed tobacco to be confronted with what looks like bits of bark stripped by a naughty schoolboy from a tree.

But for all that it does look straight away like quality leaf, predominantly mid-brown with the occasional fleck of bright and then the even sparser smattering of the dark, stoved pieces. Very attractive.

And very moist too. Which despite rubbing out and resting defeated me with the first bowlful. No problems with lighting, just a somewhat disappointing sensation of warm air and not much else.

So let it rest a good while longer. And try again. Now we're getting there. A lovely fruity tang gives way to the classic undercurrent of grassy hay and this is subtly joined by just a touch of cream, the stoved element I guess? Easy smoking, pleasant on the snork and a decent kick of the old nic along the way.

This is one that definitely needs time opened and then individual doses aired and dried to bring out its best. I was impatient at the outset, if you don't fall into the same trap you will find yourself rewarded with a top class smoking experience.

Highly recommended.

33 people found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (203)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Blackwoods Flake is hands down one of the warmest red Virginia based flakes that I have ever smoked. The flavor is soft, spicy & sweet, yet at the same time it somehow manages to satisfy my desire for something more compelling. Most Virginias are shy introverts. They beg pipers to contemplate their nuances and to discover their depth. Blackwoods is one of the rare extroverts of the phylum. This flake wants to take you on a journey, and it will.

I find that this blend is amazingly versatile and it’s one of the very few that I enjoy smoking all year round. The flavors are substantial enough to make it a perfect companion on the coldest winter night, & they are sweet and subtle enough to enjoy in the spring or even the dead heat of the summer as a morning smoke. Frankly enough has been said here and one more rave review hardly matters. However there are good reasons as to why it is so highly regarded. Anytime, anywhere it smokes fantastic. In my book, Blackwoods Flake is a classic and a true stroke of blending genius.

Pipe Used: Various Briars, cobs

Age When Smoked: 7

28 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

One of the best straight virginia blends I've smoked and ranks up there with Gawith's Full Virginia Flake in that regard, even though they don't taste alike. Both have the wonderful burst of flavor upon initial lighting that settles down into an extremely complex and nuanced journey through that incredible tobacco known as Virginia. But I find this a bit more subdued than FVF, a little more demanding of contemplation. I think this is aged longer than FVF before its tinned (speculation on my part) and the blend seems more mature, giving up some of FVF's youthful vigor for a more relaxed presentation.

This is a "must try" for any fan of virginias and virginia blends. McClellands is highly skilled in making such blends come to life. And for those of you into cellaring, this blend ages incredibly well. My review is from a tin dated 2007 but I compared it head to head with a tin from 1992 and the additional years definitely furthered its maturation and complexity, not to mention its smoothness. Go for it!

26 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The red and stoved Virginias are expertly melded to bring out most of the best qualities one looks for in a straight Virginia blend. Smooth, lightly spicy, tangy dried dark fruit sweet with a couple sour notes, and a touch of citrus along with some sugar and stewed fruit, it does have a little of the company "vinegary" smell that mostly dissipates while you smoke it. There's a woodsy, earthy feel that bolsters the strength with no rough edges, adding a slight complexity. It needs a little dry time and some relights, but it lasts a long time on your bowl with a mostly consistent flavor. Burns cool and clean. Leaves some moisture in the bowl. Has a mild to medium nic-hit. Won't bite or get harsh. Has a pleasant after taste. Not quite an all day smoke, but it is repeatable.

20 people found this review helpful.

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

I don't normally head in this direction when choosing a blend, but a friend recently sent me about 25 grams of this and it was from a 1998 tin. The age may have something to do with the fact that I kind of liked this stuff... Okay, I loved it!

It was not difficult to load and stayed lit well. My sample was quite dry and burned that way. And wow, the smattering of about ten different flavor sensations all at once was delightful. Smooth, refined, spicy, tangy, sweet, sour, mellow and strong rather than weak pretty much sums up the way Blackwoods Flake presented itself to me.

19 people found this review helpful.

Pipemanuk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipemanuk (76)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I know I've gone on before about my ancient age and the number of years I've been a pipe smoker (42) and I'd like to stress that that doesn't mean I'm claiming some kind of spurious wisdom or anything! I've smoked, for the great majority of my time, the English blends...or the Irish ones. I wish now that I had hoarded some tins of the greats, but like most of us, I always assumed they'd be available for ever. Anyway the point of this rambling narrative is that it's only recently that I discovered this wonderful website and had my eyes opened to the great American tobaccos. McClelland is one of the greatest of these. You are so lucky in the USA to have tobacco companies that still care and put so much effort into producing quality product. In some ways your micro tobacco blenders match our micro beer producers. I just wish I could buy McClellands in the UK. I know we have still some fine producers...Sam Gawith for example...but they are few and far between and the vast majority of tobacco sold in our main outlets is poisonous crap (though B & H Mellow Virginia ain't too bad). Anyway....back to the point of this review...Blackwoods Flake. Can looks great. Marvellous artwork...classic, restrained, sophisticated. Popping the lid and mmmmmmm...I love the HP sauce smell by the way. Not sure whether it would be better as whole flakes rather than broken up..but who am I to quibble. It's superb. Bitey if you don't treat it with respect. Lasts forever if you treat it gently. Wonderful aroma. I can see this getting better and better with keeping. I smoke this in a Group 4 Dunhill shell and a bowlful lasts a couple of hours with care. Flavours deepen as you travel through the bowl and are never bitter even on relights. This is a tobacco I will never allow myself to run short of..indeed one I am already putting into store. And in front of me is the incredible list of other varieties to meet for the first time! God bless Tobaccoreviews.com:-)

9 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Distinguishing between the many McClelland Virginias can be quite difficult as they are all so similar; however, I find that this one distinguishes itself as one of McClellands finer offerings and worthy of four star rating just the same. It is a very smooth and full Virginia that has Va sweetness in barrels.

I really enjoyed this one and am thankful to fellow reviewer and friend, Captain, for giving me 100g of this two years aged. I made the tin last for around a year and a half. As I am sure I have stated in other reviews, McClelland tins rock, The moisture level stayed fantastic the whole time and there was never a need to jar this one.

I highly recommend this one even over Christmas cheer which was what I had considered the top of the McClelland Vas. And of course if the smell of McClelland vas bother you, take a pass on this one.

Age When Smoked: 2 years

7 people found this review helpful.

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

I normally don't care much for straight VA tobaccos. While some smokers get a lot of flavor and complexity, I find that very few VAs blends have enough taste to justify the kind of preparation and luck it takes to "unlock them." I love VAs as part of a mixture, and I've developed a deep appreciation for the much-maligned "Lakeland" species, but overall my experiences with sraight VAs have been disappointing (and that includes SG's Full Virginia Flake). Blackwoods Flake is the exception to the rule, and what a dramatic exception it is!

Although I veered away from this company for a long time because of the vinegar/ketchup flavor that seems to haunt all its Virginias, I think I've finally "got it" thanks to this blend. While I must disagree with those who say the vinegar-like essence can't be tasted in the smoke, I've come to appreciate it on its own terms. Some suspects it's a casing of some sort, while others maintain it's an all-natural aspect of either the leaf or the processing. I've come to believe the latter theory, as I've detected the same smell in some batches of GL Pease and C&D tobaccos. Whatever the case, Blackwoods Flake is absolutely dripping with this odd aroma/flavor. It also burns well, it goes through a kaleidoscope of warm, sweet, smoky flavors as the bowl progresses, and it rarely bites.

On the negative end of things, this is like all VA flakes in one way -- it can be a fussy tobacco, albeit far more user-friendly than many others. In order to get consistently good smokes, I suggest cracking open the tin and then sticking it in the back of a cabinet for a month or two with the lid on. Then, make sure you dry each bowl of tobacco before loading it or, alternatively, pack a bowl and let it sit overnight. Even then it might take a few lights to get it going. The good news is that, once you've established combustion, it burns like a dream.

When it comes to strength, this is a hard one to measure. Like almost all McClellands products, the nicotine level is on the mild side. But Blackwoods has a very full flavor, in its own unique way. I can actually suck on an unlit bowl and taste the tobacco, and very few VAs have that strong a flavor. I've taken to sometimes just keeping an unlit pipe clenched between my teeth, drawing on the unlit tobacco until my desire for nicotine or a more intense taste finally overcomes me.

I feel this is without a doubt the best of the McClellands Virginias, which guarantees a "highly recommended" rating. For the record, it's also the only straight, unflavored VA I smoke regularly (preferring instead strong burly, perique or latakia blends). It's a bloody shame this hasn't retained its four-star rating while FVF seems to have won the popularity contest as Queen of the Virginias.

6 people found this review helpful.

Noorrmm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noorrmm (193)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

When I opened the can, I did not detect the usual degree of "vinegar" expected from McC. Instead, I was greeted by the rich and robust aroma of well stoved Virginia. I nearly spent the evening sniffing the can, it was that delicious. The flakes are slightly thick, (typical McC cut), mottled red and black. It looked and smelled like a flake version of their Virg. #25. A partial rubout led to a fairly easy lighting process, and a good steady burn. The initial flavor is absolutely delightful, a refined but substantial medley of flavors. It seemed to hit all the high and low notes, and everything in between. Smoking slowly, but without needing many relights, the blend continues to deliver flavor and smoothness all the way to the bottom of the bowl without getting significantly harsher. The end arrived too soon, leaving a fluffy white ash, and a desire for another hit in about half an hour. I find this best in a medium bowl, quite good in a large bowl (but not a stack), and less successful in a small pipe (unless it has a fairly wide bowl). Defintely a favorite of mine, I would recommend it to the veteran Va. flake smoker, and even to a newbie as their first experience with va. flakes.

6 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Outstanding flake. Very good Virginias in this one. Really enjoyed it.

5 people found this review helpful.

guitar2mw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
guitar2mw (92)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is one of the finest red/dark VA blends that I have ever smoked! When you pop the tin on this one, you'll be in for a bit of a shock though: the signature red VA "ketchup" aroma is different. It has a sweet and almost spicy note to it reminiscent of brown sugar. It is a partially rubbed flake that is almost to the point of being too moist, but it took a light well right out of the can with little to no drying time. The vinegar aroma dissipates as the tobacco flavor blooms into a full flavored smoke. The dark Va's really change the profile and add a great fruity flavor. You'll also taste wood smoke and a grassy sweetness that showcases the wonderful leaf used in this blend. I would gladly smoke this any time of year. Nic hit is decent for a VA blend. I will be keeping some of this in the cellar to see how it is whenever it ages a bit more (the cans I have are about 2 years old at the moment). This is great for a change of pace for the regular VA smoker and a great way to get started in red/dark Va's.

Pipe Used: Meers, Peterson System

Age When Smoked: 2+ years

Purchased From: Bought from a fellow smoker

4 people found this review helpful.

DCD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DCD (8)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Being a Carolina BBQ, salt-and-vinegar-potato-chips kind of guy, I like the typical McClelland tin note of sweet and salty vinegar. It literally makes my mouth water. But those who might be put off by it needn't worry: The taste and aroma of the tobacco as it's smoked are far rounder, and the sweetness of the matured leaf balances the acidic tang perfectly. The flakes are broken, so I rub them out. This produces an even-burning, cool smoke requiring few if any relights. It's more complex and simply more interesting than Samuel Gawith's more straightforward (but also very fine) Full Virginia Flake or Best Brown Flake, with none of the cigarette-like punch at the back of the throat you might typically encounter with those or other straight Virginias. This tobacco manages to combine smoothness with a complex character that keeps evolving down the bowl, yielding subtle aromas of roasted fruits (apricot, figs) integrated into an overall creaminess. Despite all the fine matured Virginas available today, this is one I find myself coming back to again and again for its interest, complexity, and low-maintenance smoking qualities.

Pipe Used: Small-bowled Stanwells

Age When Smoked: New in tin

Purchased From: W. Curtis Draper, DC

4 people found this review helpful.

Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (69)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

Can't keep my nose out of this. Smells like sweet cinnamon raisin bread and black cherry preserves.

Performs best with a little bit of drying time but not mandatory.

Smoke tells you you are squarely in all-VA land. But it's not even close to one dimensional. Moderately complex and incredibly tasty, great room note.

Anything with McClelland's red virginias is likely to blow your socks off. This one is right up there. Glad I finally picked some up and can't say enough good things about it.

Age When Smoked: very young

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

4 people found this review helpful.

steppx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
steppx (152)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is perhaps the essence of what McClelland does best. Virginia flakes. Dark and pungent, but very smooth to smoke. Its heavily stoved and hence full of earthy notes. It is among the very best pure virginia flakes out there. And it has a huge following. Its one of my go-to tobaccos. The taste is relatively complex for a straight Va. And smokes cool, and being a flake its a long cool smoke. its best if rubbed out a bit, and a half hour dry time is best in my opinion. But it is really the rolls royces of Va flakes.It is also rather a sweet smoke, for a Va flake. I have nothing bad to say about it really.

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: Gawiths FVF, and Butera's dark stoved..

4 people found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (106)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Another masterpiece from the king of all that is Virginia. I do love some McClelland. In my tobacco journey, I've run the gamut of various blends, and having moved on from favoring straight VAs some time ago, I've since discovered a few straight VAs that have brought me around yet again. This is one of them.

My experience with stoved VA is quite limited, and honestly, I don't know enough about the production methods involved to amount to a hill of beans. I've never had anything against straight VA, but given the option I'm always more inclined to pick up something with perique or DFK for that extra complexity. Sometimes straight Virginia seems dull or monochromatic, and of course, there's always the fight against tongue bite. But Blackwoods stands above on all accounts. The flavors are rich, darkly sweet, and broadly changing throughout the smoke. It burns incredibly well, and never bites. This is a darn good smoke! One that leaves nothing to be desired, Blackwoods is of excellent quality -- not an all day VA, more of a special occasion, after dinner or nightcap kind of smoke for me.

Thanks be to McClelland and for this and many other phenomenal blends keeping my interest in VAs alive. It's funny...that McKetchup aroma everyone talks about. I was turned off by that on my first stint at McClelland tobaccos. Now I find it delightful, even craving it quite frequently! It's become synonymous with quality, mouth-wateringly good smoke.

Age When Smoked: 6 months

4 people found this review helpful.

dokuhebi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dokuhebi (4)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

My brother recommended that I pick up a can of this in my next tobacco order, and I'm grateful that he did. It's a perfect example of a straight Virginia blend, and the flake cut makes for a different experience than you're typical tobacco.

I'm currently enjoying a bowl before bed, and rubbed out the flake into an even, light texture. While we're currently on the brink of spring, the flavor reminds me of a backyard campfire, with hints of roasted marshmallow sweetness. There is not much complexity to the flavor, but does give a pleasurable experience that I'll be looking to enjoy a lot in the future.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Duca Carlo Billiard

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars.com

4 people found this review helpful.

Nick M. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nick M. (2)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Had great expectations for this tobacco, received from fiance (thank you) at the same time as McClelland Matured Va no. 27. Smoked 27 first and was blown away, really good stuff.

I may have made a mistake in handling this tobacco - I spread the whole tin out on a paper plate and let it dry for about 8 hours, considering that it was quite most when I opened the tin. I came back and checked on it, and the stuff was pretty dry. Not crispy, but certainly drier than I had anticipated, possibly because of a fan that was running.

Anything in this review should be taken with consideration of the moisture content of my smoke.

Tin Aroma - A bit more hearty and savory compared to #27. Less ketchuppy, more like a tomato tobacco chili, with some tang. Powerful to say the least.

Smoking Qualities - I packed using the air pocket method, screwed in a plug about 5/8 of a bowl deep. Despite the dryness, (and possibly because if the dryness) it took me four matches to REALLY get this going. However, once it was going, the smoke was superb, the best I've ever had. NO bite, even when freight training (just to see what would happen). Very cool and medium slow burning.

Flavor - For the first eighth of the bowl, the flavor was undetectable, nothing but a creamy air kind of thing. Then the next 5/8 if the bowl (I know, fractions) was a very mild sweet Va flavor, with hints of spice throughout. The last quarter of the bowl was supreme. A great dark and fruity flavor arose, along with the spice that had been meandering, but focused here. No bright notes really, kind of a dark forest mystical thing going on. I don't want to say musty, but it had a fermented flavor that was reminiscent of the smell of moist undergrowth in the woods in the morning. Very tasty and complex. This one needs to be cherished and given focus. If you don't pay attention, you will miss it completely.

Finish - I don't know how to describe this besides "toasty fruit". Take that his you will. Very pleasant though.

All in all, a great smoke. Definitely less obtrusive as some blends. Very nuanced and rich. Will report on bowls two and three.

Pipe Used: Peterson Aran Straight Billiard

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

4 people found this review helpful.

SmokeDawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeDawg (82)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is a winner from McClelland. You can expect a refined cool, sweet, smoke that is both well balanced and warm, and that needed little to no drying time. One thing that sticks out to me is it's actually a beautiful looking blend. This is a great blend that will only get better with age. You can't go wrong with this one. Well refined and pleasant smoke. Sit back and enjoy this easy going high quality blend.

Pipe Used: luciano

Age When Smoked: 11-2013

4 people found this review helpful.

Sailorjack Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sailorjack (57)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I smoked several bowls of this flake after opening the tin and I enjoyed it but didn't see what all the hype was about. Well I just happened to stoke up a bowl this evening and I don't know what magic occurred but OH MY GOD THIS IS DELICIOUS! Must of needed some drying out or something but what a change.It just goes to show that one shouldn't be too hasty in judging a blend until you have spent some time with it and give it a chance to shine and shine it does. This is now the best straight Virginia that I have had!! Goes right to the head of the class!!Well gotta go order some more!!

4 people found this review helpful.

SunriseBoy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SunriseBoy (16)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

Great smoke. Smooth. Medium bodied. Burns well. I took Jiminks lead. When I read that it was a bit too moist, I didn't get that. So on closer inspection I realized it was a very compressed tobacco. So I thought of Jim. He puts some of his tobacco through a food processor. I used one that is a type of coffee grinder/blender...whatever! Did it for about 5 -7 seconds at a time until it was about cube cut. Brilliant. When I put it in the pipe the first time I sort of tamped it down a bit, and it didn't burn well at all. So this time, using the three step German method, I just fed it in, and banged the bottom of the pipe on my knuckle a few times, bit more, tap, tap, tap, tap. All done. Burned brilliantly. I don't get taste. I've lost nearly all smell, so taste is something foreign to me now, alas.

Thanks Jim for the blender thing and great reviews! And thanks to Smoke-Rings also. I really like his reviews.

And by the way, guys, I often see comments about the "high" cost of (especially tinned) tobacco. Spare a thought for us here in Oz "down under". Two ounces of tobacco retails at $65. And every year the tariff on it goes up 12.5%!

So when guys say that 11 to 15 dollars for a two ounce tin, is getting "up there", just think of what we are enduring here.

Be grateful you get it so blasted cheap!!!

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: A few months out of the tin

Purchased From: COJ's

3 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1644)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

McClelland - Blackwoods Flake.

You don't get better straight Virginia's than this!

The blend's a broken flake, not a whole one. It's dark brown, mottled with blacks and yellows. The tin has the expected ketchup note to it, which I like. Moisture's PERFECT.

The smoke: one of the best Virginia's I've had. A definite addition to my top five Va's. Mechanically it's without fault: lighting easily, then going slow, cool, and independently, without a bite. The flavour from it's exceedingly refined: rich, fruity, sweet, and ripe, with some doughy notes developing toward the end. There's not much more to say!

Nicotine: mild to medium. Room-note: I like.

It probably won't come as much of a surprise that I want to highly recommend Blackwoods Flake:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: Five months

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

LannarkGent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LannarkGent (111)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Who doesn't love a robust red virginia? This haunting blend can easily take care of one's Virginia craving. One of my favorites tobaccos that I always enjoy.

3 people found this review helpful.

noquarter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
noquarter (23)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

A 10 at its best and a 7 at its worst. A very savory tobacco that I find very sweet at the beginning that develops into a nice wood/earth/grass/dark fruit finish. Highly recommended for smokers who appreciates nuances without the distraction from other condimental tobaccos. I prefer this rubbed out with a little airing time smoked in a medium sized bowl.

3 people found this review helpful.

TattooGuy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TattooGuy (9)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

McClelland's offerings seem almost all the same to me. With few variations. Always the ketchup, vinegar and barbecue sauce overwhelming tobacco taste. I taste something peppery in that one too. Not for me. 1.5 star.

3 people found this review helpful.

Uban Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Uban (53)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This high quality leaf is my everyday Va when I'm not looking for an extraordinary experience (DS). It rubs out & lights very easily, after airing, and develops from a light sweetness to a full bodied, woody, incense-like aroma later. No bite at all (at least for me) and does not require a Zen-like concentration (plagiarized phrase) to be enjoyed. Always ends too soon, leaving a clean pipe & refreshed palate.

Pipe Used: big old meer, cob, clay, briar, ANYTHING

Age When Smoked: 4 years

Purchased From: J&R

Similar Blends: Capstan, also great stuff.

3 people found this review helpful.

panduji68 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
panduji68 (28)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

How can a tobacco that smells so awful in the tin taste so good? When I ordered this tobacco, I purchased it mainly because I love Virginias (Gawith Full Virginia Flake being one of my favorites), and it had so many good reviews. I read that it smells like ketchup, but figured that to be a slight exaggeration. Well it's no exaggeration people... It does smell exactly like ketchup and vinegar. Putrid!

After rubbing it out, I let it dry a bit and took another whiff... It was glorious, with no more ketchup aroma. Just a really sweet straight forward quality tobacco aroma. None of the ketchup or vinegar translated into the smoke either thank goodness!

Very mellow smoke, pretty straightforward with not too much going on in the way of multiple flavors. I'm not getting all of those different flavors some reviewers have mentioned, but that's not a bad thing for me. The flavor it does have is absolutely spectacular sweet Virginia tobacco. It seems to burn fairly cool, no tongue bite, with moderate nicotine. It pairs up perfectly with a cup of Earl Grey, and is quite the relaxing smoke to be sure. I can definitely see this pairing up nicely with a sweeter, not so peaty single malt scotch such as a Speyside. I believe I shall try that this evening!

It's a really solid example of a high quality blended Virginia that could easily be an all day smoke for yours truly... I think I'll alternate between Blackwoods and Full Virginia Flake in my rotation when I get the hankering for a nice Virginia.

UPDATE: I let this one sit in the tin for a couple of weeks, it dried out nicely, and most of that ketchup smell is gone. The smoke itself has become glorious. I arrived home from work, poured a small glass of Highland Single Malt Scotch (I ran out of any Speysides) and sipped both the pipe and the scotch sparingly. What a truly fantastic, sweet, pure Virginia, smooooooth smoke. I seem to be feeling a bit of a nicotine kick, but not in a bad way at all, and it could be my imbibing increasing the feel of it. I also am smoking it in a small bowl Bjarne Neilsen mini churchwarden which has thus far lasted over 45 minutes in a single bowl. If it isn't heating up this pipe, I can't imagine it heating up any other unless you attach it to a vacuum cleaner. I believe this is on par, if not better than my favorite Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake...Sorry for getting long winded, but this is just a magical truly impressive smoke to me. If you like Viriginias, I have no doubt you will be truly impressed with this offering!

3 people found this review helpful.

Denevei Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Denevei (58)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Blackwoods Flake is a mix of red Virginia with what McClelland calls stoved black Virginia, which is then pressed into a cake and aged. The flakes sliced from the cake are heavy, with a nice Virginia aroma but a somewhat high moisture content typical of McClelland blends. With a bit of drying they rub out fairly easily. To me, the blend is similar to a mixture of 2035 and 5100. The charring light brings the rich flavor of the constituent Virginias out. Once lit, that taste is quite smooth and easy. There are no real highs or lows to the blend's taste, it is a fairly straightforward blend. The taste remains consistently sweet, with the red Virginia's sweetness dominating while the stoved Virginia contributes a nice, darker tone to the overall taste. There isn't a lot of variability through the bowl, but the taste never sours or gets ashy, even at the very end of the smoke. Blackwoods Flake is, in my opinion, a Virginia to enjoy. I think that smokers can get the same results, however, from creating their own mixture of either Dark Star or 2035 with 5100, and in doing so will get the results at a much lower price point.

3 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one I'm going to stock up on. One of my favorite Virginias right out of the tin. I rub it out well, pack it very lightly, and sip to my heart's content. Rich and flavorful, it must be the stoved leaf and the extra aging that puts this one over the edge. Excellent stuff! In a league of its own IMHO.

3 people found this review helpful.

Dietl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dietl (8)
★★★★
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is my first post. I know there have been a lot of reviews of this product, but I'm impressed with it enough to add my two cents. I tried Blackwoods Flake largely because of the reviews here.

The first thing I noticed was the smell in the tin. I'd read about the "ketchup" smell, but could not imagine what that was like. I found out. The smell of this tobacco was so bad to me at first that it actually nauseated me. "Ketchup" is right. However, now that I've smoked it for a few weeks, I've noticed that the tin aroma is less offending. Maybe it's because the open can has toned down a bit, but it is also partly because I've enjoyed the quality of the smoke. Perhaps I'm just getting used to it.

This is one wonderful tobacco in my opinion. For the first few bowls, I had to avoid smelling the tobacco in the tin. Just load the bowl and smoke. And what an enjoyable smoke.

To me, the first few draws when lighting are nothing spectacular. Unlike my Latakia blends, it takes a minute for the tastes to mature. However, once the bowl begins to burn into the core of the bowl, it becomes a heavenly mixture of tastes and aromas. It has a sweet, tangy taste to me that lasts about 3/4 of the way through the bowl, then becomes a bit spicy to boot.

I've been a big fan of Latakia mixtures to date, but find myself increasingly drawn to this tobacco when I get home from work to relax. It produces a beautiful mixture of tastes and has enough nicotine kick to settle my nerves after a hard day at work. I'll be ordering a few tins of this stuff to put back and savor.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Smoking Blackwoods Flake is a bit like smoking 1792 Flake: one has to get past the smell first. Those like me who have little problem with tonka should have no problem with vinegar, but while tonka merges with the basic taste of 1792, vinegar competes with and distracts from the splendid taste of Blackwoods.

3 people found this review helpful.

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

12-15-2004 McClellands Best IMO!!!

Appearance and Tin Aroma: Beatiful broken flakes (my aged tin was bounced around a lot!). Aroma was of delicious red VA, yumm!

Packing and Lighting: This blend worked well either fully rubbed out or folded and stuffed. Lit after 3-4 lights.

Initial Flavor: Delicious bright red VA, but smooth right off the bat.

Mid-Bowl: This blend is heaven at this point. It is sweet and lightly spicy. It has a good mid-range flavor underneath the bright red, that carries it beautifully.

Bottom of Bowl: It develops into a rich sweet finish, with a slight increase in strength. Before you know it, you are finished and you are immediately thinking of reloading with this sublime blend.

Overall: I can't decide between Ratray's Marlin Flake and this as to which is more tasty, so I won't. I'll enjoy both in my top 5 rotation of VA blends. This is MC'c best blend IMO and is a crowning achievement in the vast world of VA blends. It differs from MF in this manner: It is sweeter and has more of the high end flavors, but is just as rich and complex for a VA. Because of the richness, you don't have to puff too hard to get flavor and can keep the tongue bite demons away.

Rating: 5 out of 5 points. Go buy some now!

3 people found this review helpful.

ulysses4 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ulysses4 (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Been on this site for about 6 months now and figured I’d chime in. Nice broken flakes out of the can, popped it open and put them into a mason jar about a month ago. No drying time needed, just broke up the flakes a bit more to get an even fill, seems the best way I’ve tried it. The first 15 min is a bit thin on smoke output, and not too much flavor, but after that it settles in nicely and gives a great creamy smoke, and a bit of spiciness in the nose. Delicious burnt cookie room note.

Although I’ve smoked off and on for about 15 years, only about a year ago did I really get back into it so I can’t give too many descriptions of taste. But all in all it’s a great tobacco and I wish I had more than half a can left.

Pipe Used: Savinelli 320 Hercules

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Typical McC Tin note: Ketchup and BBQ. this does NOT translate to flavor. The flavor is big and nuanced for a VA flake! The flavors range from spicy and toasty to that flamed hard carmelization on the top of creme brule. There is a creaminess that hits you mid bowl and fades in and out. McClelland is truly the world heavy weight champion of VA tobacco blenders. For anyone lucky enough to have some cellared it is a gift to be rationed. I do not see anyone reproducing quality VA's like this ever again. For those that have trouble with McC VA's I would suggest hours of dry time and a meerschaum pipe. This opens up all of the flavors and they are too good to miss. I found this one to be a bit heavier in nic than most of their blends, not a KO but it lets its presence be known.

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

Age When Smoked: 2+ years

Purchased From: B&M

2 people found this review helpful.

Connoisseur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Connoisseur (44)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I cannot believe I left it so long to try this delicious tobacco from McClellands. As for a description: what more can be added, the countless positive reviews say it all. Given the terrible news that McClellands is closing up store, I at least managed to squirrel away a few of their fine tobaccos while I could.

Similar Blends: McClellands Red & Black.

2 people found this review helpful.

1979 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
1979 (62)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

McClelland's - Blackwoods Flake.

Personally, I found that this one was bitey, vinegary, and did not want to dry out. The flakes kind of reminded me of cut rubber strips. I dont find the famous McClelland tin note off putting as some do, but here it carried over noticeably into the smoke, which was a little off putting. Probably the spiciest virginia flake I've ever smoked. Aside from the malt vinegar the tobacco itself was tasty and a quality product, but there's so many other virginia flakes out there that I dont have these issues with...

2 people found this review helpful.

JuanOrez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JuanOrez (17)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

There have been a lot of people that have highly regarded this tobacco. I want to echo that praise with a loudspeaker. This has become my go to smoke. This is tobacco perfection and I love it. I seriously don't think you will find a higher quality blend and certainly not one as tasty as this. I prefer this even over my old standby from Samuel Gawith: Full Virginia Flake.

If you can tolerate virginia tobaccos at all, you owe it to yourself to try this. If you don't see the magic right away, jar it and let it age 3-5 years.

Pipe Used: Cob Jake Hackert pot Savinelli Autograph freehand

Age When Smoked: 5 years

2 people found this review helpful.

LightMyBriar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LightMyBriar (13)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Very glad I bought this tobacco. It tastes like coffee with a touch of cream, and transitions into a chocolate and fig flavor. A little drying time helps to keep it lit, but it isn't absolutely necessary. I've prepared it cube-cut and fully rubbed out, and much prefer cube-cut. There is no grassiness to it like you'd expect from a Virginia, just a dark and full richness. It never becomes harsh or hot, its enjoyable the whole way down. I will always keep some of this on hand. Fantastic tobacco.

Pipe Used: Briar, meerschaum

Age When Smoked: One year when I opened it

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Christmas Cheer 2015, but richer and darker.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipesmoking101 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipesmoking101 (62)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was lucky enough to receive a sample of this from a friend, and I really liked it. Unfortunately, as others here have stated, it's not really available outside of North America, so it will probably be the only time I get to try it.

It's called flake, but straight away, the appearance is surprising. Instead of neat rows of flake, this is a collection of small pieces, it is a broken flake. The colours range from fairly dark brown to just short of black.

The tin note (I got my sample in a pouch), does have that ketchup aroma, mixed in with an earthy leatherness, and I find it pleasant.

In order to smoke this, I rubbed out some of the tobacco, and used a mixture of this & pieces of whole broken flake.

The lighting was not too difficult, but I found that regular relights were in order towards the end of the bowl.

The taste is rich & satisfying, hints of leather with a pleasant background sweetness evening out the earthy tones at the front end. Towards the last half of the bowl, the sweetness became more dominant, with hints of coffee & very dark chocolate.

The room note is fairly pleasant, this is no aromatic, but it doesn't to pretend to be, and it will put off less people than e.g. a typical English blend will.

The nicotine strength is a solid medium. If it was available in the UK, I would keep some around for sure, but as it isn't, I am unable to.

Three stars instead of four due to the relight issue towards the end of the bowl, but overall, a very good smoke. Moisture was not an issue in the sample I received.

Pipe Used: Barling Londoner

Age When Smoked: Unsure (but fairly new, I think)

Purchased From: Sample from a friend

2 people found this review helpful.

StanleyEsoterica Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StanleyEsoterica (3)
★☆☆☆
Medium Mild Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

For this McClelland tobacco, I really want to like it. But unfortunately I am on the opposite position. I really can not understand why there are so many 4 stars reviews. Maybe my taste bud is not as same as normal people. OK ,it tastes very very mild, actually that's flat. I can only find it like tomato sauce or ketchup and vinegar, NO SWEET at all.

Sorry, it is not for me. 1 star.

Pipe Used: Tsuge Corn Cob

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: SP.com

2 people found this review helpful.

O'Confrère Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
O'Confrère (40)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable

This 100g tin is from 2005, purchased in 2006, and finally opened in July of 2013. As a longtime fan of Virginias the large number of four star reviews here really got this smoker excited about trying this one. And tried I have, in a variety of pipes, at different moisture levels, partially and fully rubbed out or as it arrived in the tin, packed with varying techniques in greater and lesser densities, lying down, standing up, sitting, with and without beverages, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, while fasting... In short, convinced I was going to love Blackwoods Flake, I have never applied so much effort to exploring a tobacco, in trying to eke out whatever qualities it might have to offer. It has been six months now. The remainder of the tin is fully rubbed out and had a moisture of about 13-14% as I loaded the last pipe, a level I have found to be optimal for so many Va's, including many that I enjoy from McClelland, and, still, I'm stumped. Eight years of age on a highly touted Virginia! How promising! And yet I could not get this one to yield its secrets. It is hard to believe that this is the same tobacco that everyone has been talking about. If there were not so many positive reviews from so many esteemed reviewers I would be tempted to come to the conclusion that there are no extracts to be extracted, but as it stands I will open a tin of more recent production soon to give it another go.

Is it to be recommended? Sure. With so many enjoying BF so much, maybe this is the one for you. Hope so! Perhaps this was just a poor batch. Will update/upgrade if I have better luck next time.

Pipe Used: Several. All reserved for Virginias w/out topping.

Age When Smoked: 8 years

2 people found this review helpful.

mnadz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mnadz (66)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I think this is a case of no one wanting to go against all the positive reviews. Maybe McClelland employees filled out a number of reviews. I smoked the entire tin before I decided to review this. This is an extremely mild smoke that kept me wondering when the flavor was coming. It never came. Maybe I like much more robust tobaccos - Nightcap comes to mind and a full flavor tobacco - not this. I recommend this for those moving from aromatics to english blends. It smokes well when dried a bit. No tongue bite (and I am a strong puffer). My wife enjoyed the room note. Good quality tobacco. For those reading these other reviews, thinking your going to get an explosion of flavor in your mouth, you will be disappointed.

2 people found this review helpful.

Dr. Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Scott (82)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Ketchup is the dominant scent in the tin. But not as strong as in St. James Woods. But it is the best ketchup you've ever smelled. Moisture content can vary a bit from tin to tin.

Rub out or fold and pack, it is a cool and slow-burning tobacco.

Nicotine content is moderate.

Strong, unchanging, somewhat monotonous Virginia flavors. I don't think it is cased with ketchup, but the ketchup taste is evident in every puff to the bottom of the bowl.

A month or more after opening, and 10-12 hours with the lid off to dry, and the flavor is more of a pure and sweet Virginia. Stronger, more full, than Full Virginia Flake. The spicy aroma described on the tin is similar to Perique. Not for the mild or aromatic lovers.

For McClelland, it's pretty good stuff, and very sweet. I think it is better than Full Virginia Flake (itself an overrated weed).

Update, 7 July 2010: I have received compliments from the ladies on how great this stuff smells: very pleasant if a little strong, and my wife has declared it a favorite for the room note. So I guess I will be buying more... Three stars mostly for the pleasant room note and appreciative comments from the ladies. Otherwise, it might not be in my rotation.

2 people found this review helpful.

Dubinthedam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dubinthedam (133)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A nice blend, still a little too much vinegar for me, but way better than Dark Star, and way more user friendly too.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (110)
★★☆☆
Very Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I was looking forward to a strong robust red virginia, instead I get an insipid mouthfull of warm air with only a hint of tobacco.

Having now stored the contents of the tin for just over a year of aging, all I find is that some things never change.

If you are looking for a mild inoffensive smoke with a hint of sweetnes, this coul be it.

Perhaps I was spoiled by the comparative powerhouse of 5100 Red Cake.

2 people found this review helpful.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

There is nothing like the range of unique and overlapping yet completely natural flavors one finds in a good McClelland (or other good) blend of different aged Virginias. Went through this rather fast, after a rare occurance of receiving a spoiled and mildewed can which I had to get a refund on. Didn't send the tobacco back-the guy just took my word for it and I dumped it out next to a rose bush. It's never bloomed since. It might again if I had given it some of the new can I bought subsequently, because I just had to try this one after reading the reviews, but I wanted it all for myself after the first pipeful, and smoked the can in no time at all. Only my desire to try all the new tobaccos I can has prevented me from buying it again, but I'm sure I will eventually. I would like to try an aged can, without the mildew. Actually, it must have mildewed and then dried out years ago, because the old spores or dust flew out in my face when I opened it. I'm glad I recognized this as an unusual spoilage of a sealed can and got a new one. Blackwoods Flake manages to achieve a perfect balance of mellowness and full flavor, or full flavor that does not overwhelm and remains mellow...something like that, I'm not good at describing flavors. I recognize good flavors, especially in this kind of Virginia. Aged or stoved Virginas are like good aged Cabernets, you can taste all kinds of things even though they are just rotten grape juice! I guess I agree with the reviewers who describe the taste as fig-like. Or dates perhaps...

2 people found this review helpful.

Stacey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stacey (40)
★★★☆
Mild Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I opened this tin a couple of weeks ago and first impressions were that the ketchup/vinegar smell was there but not nearly as strong as the 2015 I've been smoking of late. I also thought I could detect another scent so this may have some other casing too. It's moderately easy to light and keep lit, needing only a couple of re-lights to finish. This one has taste and is smoother than 2015, probably due to the "double aging" on the tin. I find the taste to be pretty consistent as I only occasionally find myself unable to taste it, still I find myself wishing the taste was a little stronger. Something about this smoke conjures up images of old codgers lighting up in the 50's, to my mind. Bottom line is that this is a very nice smoke, I'm just not sure I prefer it so much to 2015 that I'd go out of my way to buy it.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Let me say this is an excellent straight Virginia. Personally, I like the smell of this tobacco. The cut is a rough, dark flake and there was no need for drying because the moisture level was right on. The smoke is thick and rich, the taste slightly sweet and almost full bodied, and the burn was perfect down to the ash. As Virginias go, this is one of the tops. Add to that a price that can't be beat, and you have one of my favorites next to Marlin Flake. (After smoking Tawny Flake previous to this tin, I wonder why anyone would want to settle for the more expensive, lesser of the two tobaccos.)

2 people found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Ok, go read my review for Virginia 27 by the same brand, and then think of something similar but with an even sweeter, fruitier and more intense taste! In comparison to 27, it is more complex (take a look at those flakes and see the color nuances, showing the different kinds of leaf!), more enjoyable, cooler... MORE OF EVERYTHING! Smoke slowly, and you will be rewarded by a magnificent tobacco...

2014 Update: Actually, it seems to me after many tins that Blackwoods is spicier than #27 (which on the other hand is more fruity and "easy"). Anyway, still a fantastic flake. I prefer it rubbed out rather than whole.

2 people found this review helpful.

3pipeproblem Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
3pipeproblem (13)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

With this review I'll add my voice to those mourning the passing of the McClelland era. I've not had the chance to try very many of their blends, and now they belong to the ages.

Having said that, Blackwoods didn't exceptionally impress me, probably because my palate is weak and uneducated. I enjoyed it and it was obviously high quality leaf. Wish I had some to age. Solid 3 stars.

Pipe Used: Various briars.

Age When Smoked: 1-2 yrs

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

Ocelot79 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ocelot79 (13)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

My 'other' great VA. I smoke more Astley's 109 (cellared 2 or 3 yrs) as my every day VA, but this one has a little more in the way of dry and spicy overtones to it, doubtless from the black stoved VA. That's good when you feel like it, but it does make the tobacco a little more sensitive to 'correct' smoking, IME, so I tend not to use it so much outdoors, whereas the 109 can cope with anything, any time. I prefer to use this one at home, when I can tend it properly, and where I can more easily pick up its subtleties. Well made from high-quality ingredients, and recommended heartily.

Pipe Used: Varies oil-cured English makes.

Age When Smoked: 2 yrs

Purchased From: Ries, Chicago

1 person found this review helpful.

Oldbelt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Oldbelt (8)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Just opened a 5 year old tin. Wow. Reminded me why I like Virginia so much. Beautiful dark flake. Rich and mellow. This stuff ages so well. Still had a good deal of moisture. Needed some drying time. Long burn. Pure Virginia bliss.

Pipe Used: RandyWiley galleon

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: McCrannies

1 person found this review helpful.

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

I have only been smoking a year, but this is probably the best blend I've tried so far. It's delicious and complex. It has a sweet, spicy swamp smell. Well-balanced, mellow, yet tangy. Burns nice and slow with few relights. Smooth mouth coating. Orange blossom, mint. Like discovering a sunny little patch of flowers walking in a deep dark forest. I can tell I'll be spending a lot of time coming back to this one again and again. Inspiring.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Capri Root Briar 111

1 person found this review helpful.

KrzysD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KrzysD (19)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This was spicer then I expected (black pepper) it was good when you are looking for that flavor it had some sweetness to it but I got a lot of spice

1 person found this review helpful.

initials SG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
initials SG (29)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant

Lots of moisture in the tin and difficult to light when freshly opened, even more so than Sam Gawith flakes. Definitely needs drying time, as many have noted.

I really wanted to love this one. I definitely like it but have mixed feeling about it. The tin note before it drys - some say ketchup, but to me it seems more briny like pickles or something. I didn't have the patience to wait a couple weeks to let it dry and air out. Luckily I live in an extremely dry, desert climate, so I didn't have to wait long for it to dry and settle down.

Boy, was it ever briny before it dried, especially the first half of the smoke. If that is to your tastes, run, don't walk to the nearest shop and get some! If you like say, HH Mature Virginia but want something much more pure and much, much better (not to mention available) then this could be it for you. As for me, I can enjoy that style every once in a while but tire of it if I smoke it regularly.

I really enjoyed the sweetness that came out later in the smoke, but it didn't jive so well with the aforementioned tastes, so I looked forward to when it would finally dry out and possibly go away. Unfortunately the decline of the brine was not as dramatic as I had hoped, although it was nowhere near as strong as when I first popped the tin.

Great Virginia tastes otherwise. Great range of flavor, but mellow and muted. Better in a briar than in a cob for me, it tasted fuller and had more spice to it. Great breakfast or all-day smoke. Not a lot of vitamin N, for better or worse.

Similar to some of their other blends that contain red and mature virginias, for me I think maybe I would rather have a variation with perique or cigar leaf in it for a little more zazz. But it is still great. I guess I am more of a fan of McClelland's brights than their reds, so this tin of Blackwoods has gotten me pretty exited to dry Dark Star.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: Two years

1 person found this review helpful.

gladi8tor96 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gladi8tor96 (133)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This tobacco has made it to my favorites list. It's hard to find how to describe the experience of smoking this wonderful blend. Others that have reviewed before me have done a better job than I. However, I will attempt to give my notes.

Opening the tin, one gets the typical smell of McClelland VA's right away, however this blend seems to be richer and deeper. It smells tangy but with less of an edge than let's say the M. Christmas Cheer. Notes of hay, leather, and some fruit abound as well. The flake, more of a broken flake, is beautiful to behold. It is very dark broken flake with specs of red and bright yellows mixed in.

The flake is easy to load into a bowl or rub out before loading. Either way it seems to behave quite well. Lighting takes a bit, but not as difficult as some other flakes. Once you get it rolling only very light tamping is necessary to keep the smoke coming.

The smoke is very creamy and soft on the palate. The smoke is incredibly smooth and soft, but at the same time very full of flavor. The flavors include toast, bread, hints of tang at times, hints of spice at others, and sometimes even a bit of smokiness. This is a sweet and bready VA, but not too sweet. Just the right amount. It is an enjoyable and compelling smoke that I do not tire of, even though it is not extremely complex either. The smoke is savory and seems to, as another review has said, 'gives one the experience of all the possible flavors that a VA can provide'. It's quite amazing! The N kick is not strong, but not light either....just right. I will be ordering more of this tobacco and cellaring it.

Pipe Used: Morta Poker

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

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: McClelland - Christmas Cheer 2011.

1 person found this review helpful.

Quaffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Quaffer (18)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

My tin was from 2010 (aged three years), and upon opening I was greeted with none other than the McClelland ketchup aroma. I don't mind it to be honest, but thought I should put it out there. The tobacco was waaaaaaaaaay too moist out of the tin, and even with a few days leaving it open to dry it was still very moist, so the best course of action is to rub some out and let each bowl dry individually. Blackwoods is by far the mildest blend I have tried (surprising right?). It smokes cool though its hard to keep lit, didn't bite even if I tried. Seriously, this was the smoothest smoke I've had (still mild however...). Unfortunately the flavor never came. If I was blind I wouldn't have even known the pipe was lit. Every so often there would be a nice sweetness, and once in a while that ketchup aroma would manifest into the flavor (sounds worse than it really is}. If you're looking for simplicity then you've found McClelland's magnus opus. If you're looking for dynamic and layered, then keep walking.

Age When Smoked: 3 years

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild Tolerable

I suppose there's little original insight to add at this point. McClelland has a wealth of VA choices, this is one of the better ones. I just finished a 7 year old tin and I'm not sure it was worth the wait, though. I used to prefer mild, now I prefer a bit more intensity. It's also a fine single note wanting to be a chord.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pip Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pip (55)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Perfect. Sweet and tangy. Smooth and rich. No bite at all. Best Virginian I've ever had. Got 3 tins cellaring. Yummy!!!!

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Although I have smoked a pipe intermittently over the years, I am certainly no expert in describing tobacco blends...so here goes. Overall, I found this to be a very satisfying smoke. A subtle experience of unadulterated tobacco at its best. I found this to be a very cool smoke as well with virtually no bite...always a plus in my book. I had a few more relights than usual...but otherwise a great smoke!

1 person found this review helpful.

chgo.piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chgo.piper (37)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

nicely stoved virginia. semi-sweet and tangy. the more age the better... Well done McClelland.

1 person found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Excellent, like most McClelland Virginias. This one has the richness of the Christmas Cheer line, with the added depth provided by the stoved Virginias. Also, the famous ketchup smell/taste is a bit less strong than in similar offering from the company, and it doesn't bother me at all.

Thumbs up.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

I tried this in interest of my exploration of virginia tobaccos and the high recommendations. All in all I have to say I was disappointed. While I'm familiar with the "ketchup smell", and while many of my other colleagues have been entriced by the BBQ aroma, I, as a few others have mentioned, was not. The tobacco itself was good and solid, but the aroma was, for me, offputting. Each time I opened the tin (and I did let it dry out some which helped) I was struck by the overwhelming smell of being at a BBQ at the lake -- fine if you enjoy that, but not what I ordinarily associate with a good smoke.

good tobacco, mild va taste, but not for me. great for those who enojoy it.

1 person found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (286)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I normally don't rub out these the large flakes of predominantly red and dark stoved VAs which results in a long, enjoyable smoke with a steady burn. Tin moisture content is perfect and the aroma is rather strong but sweet. True, rich, sweet VA flavors that remain consistent thoughout the smoke and from tin to tin. I like it since it doesn't become strong or bitter and retains it's great flavor even when my smoking is interrupted several times and relights are required. I especially enjoy this one outside in the colder weather since the aroma is quite strong. If you like flakes, give this one a try.

1 person found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (137)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The red VA's lead the way for me with that tangy dark fruit sweetness and with just a touch of sweet spice. Then the black stoved VA follows. I will be honest I have not smoked a lot of VA's that have been stoved to the point of being black but I have smoked a few. It may be that I have not smoked enough of them to fully develop an understanding but I get a darker dried fruit note (or fruit juice note) from them. So think prunes instead of plumbs, cherry juice instead of cherries, etc. However, it is just that simple darker fruit note that I pick up kind of like drinking a mixed fruit juice of prune/cherry, etc. but not being able to pick out all the components without looking at the label for lack of a better way to describe what I taste. Then I get some grass and citrus that comes and goes in the background. Late in the retro-hale I get a woodsy note that also brings a slight earthy undertone to the smoke. The finish is fairly short and returns to the sweet tang of the red VA's. It is a very round and smooth smoke and smoked properly will not bite. Push this and you will pay the price and get nothing added to the flavors for your trouble. It never gets harsh or cigarette like and the nic is just at the mild to medium level. The smoke has a light creamy mouth feel placing it in the mild to medium level as well. It is not a complex smoke and the overall flavor profiles do not really develop or change throughout the bowl all that much. It is still a very well done blend and I could see picking up a match blend if one becomes available to try.

Age When Smoked: 15 months

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pecci Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pecci (9)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild Pleasant

The vinegar is clearly noticed from the tin sniff. For me part of the pre-chooch ritual is to enjoy this part. I didn't!

The baccy was moist so allowed it to dry for about 15 min. It stayed lit well, with only a few lights. Lots of smoke and a fine room-note.

I found the flavor a bit lacking. Not that it was unpleasant, but because it ''lacked'' flavor. The 2nd half of the bowl was a bit more flavorful, though. I do not get the other numerous reviews that described the taste as "Medium." Perhaps I'm coming down with something. A small amount of dark fruit was tasted and was sweet, but weak, as well. As the bowl progressed, I realized that "Blackwoods Flake" is a definite "retro-hale" blend.

In summary, I would recommend this as a mild, pleasant & sweetish (not Swedish) smoke. No bite-less & cool.

I did enjoy it, however it was a slight let-down.

Pipe Used: Mr. Brog "Kentucky" (#43)

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

Similar Blends: Rattray's Dark Fragrant.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

renwardhoop Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
renwardhoop (106)
★☆☆☆
Medium None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

Ok before damming this to hell, I'd better quantify my review on what basis I've delivered that verdict.

A 10g scrap of this rather rubbery flake was given to me by my wonderful son (who keeps his poor ol' father in pipe tobacco all year round) who does excellent video reviews btw. It's been jarred at the back of the little cupboard that does as my 'cellar'. Actually as this is a British review it's more of a 'cellarette'....

I've had it ages and it certainly keeps in the moisture, so it's a bugger to keep alight. It tastes of absolutely nothing. It smells of absolutely nothing. No room note.

What a pointless tobacco. Might be better if it was chewed. Actually. no it wouldn't, ever tried chewing tobacco ?

I'm going to New York later this year, and if I get half a chance to go to one of the brilliant tobacco shops there, I won't be buying this.

Pipe Used: Hans Christian Anderson (short stem)

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Nobody has rated this review yet.

point9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
point9 (114)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Typical vinegar casing right out of the tin, but don't let it fool you. It is a wonderful straight virginia all over. My tin is 14 months old and opened 6 months ago. Now the taste is really mellow, although spicy, sweet and the vinegar becomes fruity. It will get hot if push but never bite. Normally Va is not in my regular rotation, but if it is, then this would be it. Age will help a lot. update 2015-11-15 Now I am revisiting my opened tin of blackwood flake with 2 year of aging. The vinegar smell remains in the tin, but becomes fruity and mellow totally in the smoke. I guess this is the best straight virginia I have tasted so far. Upgrade to 4 stars for sure!

Pipe Used: James Upshall bent Dublin

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WillBrown Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillBrown (108)
★★☆☆
Strong Mild Full Strong

And, finally, my last review of the year. I saved this particular tobacco for the fall season, it seemed appropriate—the name and all. First the good news. I really enjoyed the taste of this tobacco. I found the taste rich and on the sharper side, as Virginia's often are. The side stream was excellent, and I really like that, it's a feature in smoking a bowl of tobacco I always look for and enjoy. Blackwoods Flake passes the grade on that account with flying colors but, and isn't there always a but? This tobacco was way too strong in the nicotine department for me, and played havoc with my throat—this was not a smooth smoke, rather harsh, in fact. Really, it reminded me a lot of what Mac Baren's Virginia No. 1 does to my throat. I marginally prefer what Mac Baren's V1 gives me in taste over this one, so I'll have to give Blackwoods a strong two stars (like a 2.75). I'll revisit this again next year to see if I've changed my mind.

Pipe Used: Nording Freehand

Age When Smoked: ?

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BigCasino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BigCasino (27)
★★★☆
Mild Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have been smoking this blend for a couple of weeks now , I have tried rubbing it out, rough and stuff, and cubing it up, so far the most flavor comes from the rubbing it out, very nice sweet hay like and cirtusy flavors, try it different ways to find which way is good for you

Pipe Used: Butz-Choiquin D'accord apple, Piersels Rhodesion

Age When Smoked: unknown

Purchased From: Alegheny Smoke Works

Nobody has rated this review yet.

musicman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
musicman (88)
★★☆☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I don't think this review is going to make me very many friends. This tobacco seems to be one of the highest rated blends on TR. I just don't get it. Is it a quality product? For sure, but it is not in any way exciting for me. I am a huge Virgina fan and there are many blends I would reach for before I reach for this one.

This tobacco comes in a chunky broken flake type of configuration. It is really wet from the tin, and even dried out gives me troubles. The smell in the tin is definitely McC ketchup.

This is a dark tobacco but just doesn't do it for me. If I am looking for a dark tobacco you can all keep your Blackwoods flake, just leave me to my wessex Brigade campaign.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kerpap Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kerpap (14)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I have become a big fan of Latakia/English blends. I have tried a few full Virginia flakes and I have to say so far this is the best. Great break from the everyday English. perfect sweet and tangy taste all the way to the end of the bowel.

I bought a Peterson Bulldog just for this blend.

happy puffing

Nobody has rated this review yet.

William H. Hardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
William H. Hardy (76)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

When I first tried this, I was not impressed. But, like with many Virginias I have tried, after smoking it for a long while, I really began to enjoy it. Yep, vinegar smell, but that doesn't bother me and actually quite like it. It beats the socks off of FVF and many others in this genre. I've found, as I have smoked blends, the ones that "knock my socks off" at first light are usually not ones that I like to keep around. The simpler the better. Not to say this isn't complex, but it isn't muddled tasting like many others. Just a good clean smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jgwaltney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jgwaltney (4)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Tin: At first whiff, there's as vinegar smell that is off- putting. Please don't be discouraged by this, because in a couple of weeks (yes, I do suggest shelfing it for about a week or two to let it settle down), the smell becomes more and more handsome. A tangy, spicy sweetness is the result.

I also recommend only barely rubbing out the flakes, and packing the pipe as such. Trust me on this one, the flavor is much more pronounced.

Charring light: There's a citrus-y taste that is sort of invasive, but it goes away in the re-light. I typically have to light this tobacco a few times at the start of the bowl in order to get a good even burn.

1st Half: Huge. The tobacco is mellow, but extraordinarily charismatic. The flavor changes periodically, introducing new nuances each time I smoke it. It is never the same smoke twice, in all honesty. There's a consistent tang that is very enjoyable, but it plays only in the background. There's a play-off between a creamy rich sweetness, subtle woodsy smokiness, and piercing spiciness. The star of the show shifts almost instantly between these three.

2nd Half: More mellow, in most cases. It's a mesh of sweetness with very little tang. The smokiness here is deep and rich, and the spiciness settles down. It's subtler than the first half. The dying breath of the tobacco is one last burst of intense sweet smokiness.

Overall: My favorite blend. Reserved, personally, (no pun intended) for when I wanna take a trip through pipe heaven. Another great one from the guys at McClelland.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I really enjoy this tobacco. It has a wonderful smoky ketchup aroma in the tin. The flavours that develop during the smoking are very complex and they really travel all around your mouth. You will savour the taste a long time after you put your pipe aside. The only slight problem is that for some reason, it doesn't seem to burn as easily as other blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

samcoffeeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
samcoffeeman (33)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Tin: McLelland is known for a vinegary/ketchup aroma to some of their tobaccos, and this is one of those. I don't find it particularly pleasant or unpleasant. It appears as a broken flake.

Smoking experience:

This is one of the first pipe tobaccos I tried, now being 4 months a pipe smoker. I initially tried this in my Dr Grabow Omega, my first pipe. I wasn't sure what to do with the flake pieces. I packed my pipe to the best of my (at the time) limited ability. I could not keep it lit. Overall it was a bad experience, but I knew that was more me than the tobacco. I then studied about flakes and decided on the rubbing method.

For my second attempt, I rubbed out a bowl's worth and packed my Peterson Killarney 306 after letting it dry out ten minutes. Slightly better experience this time. Still had some trouble with relights. I felt I needed to draw on it harder to keep it lit, and one thing about some McLelland tobaccos like this one, when you pull hard, they bite hard. The Peterson also is a P-lip which is a small draw. My second experience was consumed by tongue bite and thus not very good.

At this point I decided to rub the whole tin out(advice from a review on TR), and I let it settle for a week in the tin. I tried it in the Peterson again. Better. I avoided the tongue bite. It stayed lit almost to the bottom. It was still markedly lower on the totem pole compared to FVF. I felt some spice, but still lacking in character.

I just came back to it again(one month later) and packed it(with better backing ability now) in my 50yr old Larsen Copenhagen, which is a large pipe, the bowl has to be at least 2" deep and it has a large draw. I call this my magic pipe, because it brings out the best in everything I smoke in it. I was not disappointed. I hit it with 4 charring lights to get a good ember going around 5:20. I didn't touch it again with the lighter until 6:45. This was everything a Va flake should be. Smooth, sweet, mellow. I was left in a state of pure satisfaction, dumb grin on my face and all. I guess the old adage is true about tobacco also, if at first you don;t succeed, try try again. Or put it in your best pipe and smoke it.

My recommendation: Rub the whole tin out and give it some air time. Pack it in a pipe with a big draw as this helps ward off tongue bite. And with all tobaccos, take time to light it right, char it 3-4 times before giving it the final light. This one takes some work and time to enjoy, but well worth it if you don't mind the effort. 3 stars overall, but when you get it right, it is a 4 star smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mo (79)
★★☆☆
Very Mild Mild Mild Tolerable

I have posted my review under the other listing for the same blend

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mo (79)
★★☆☆
Very Mild Mild Mild Tolerable

A great friend and fellow Pipesmoker recently sent me a tin as a gift and i am very greatfull to his generosity.

The tin was popped and the smell was typical McC Virginia, Tomato Sauce, Vinegar with some Cloves and maybe All Spice. While not the biggest fan of the Vinegar/Tomato sauce aroma, this did have promise and i was really looking forward to smoking it.

I have dried it for about a week to the moisture level that i prefer by leaving the tin open to air out. I do this successfully with all Virginia blends to get the results i seek.

I loaded up a bowl a few moments ago and lit up. It took pretty well and i started puffing away to get the taste experience. All i got was tongue bite, lots of it and decided to dump the tobacoo.

I know it may seem too soon to review but i have smoked many blends and this is a sign of things to come.

I understand that this blend is very popular and my experience is based on my personal body chemistry, YMMV.

Mo, South Africa

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This tobacco reminds me of Gawiths FVF with a topping of Mc Vinegar. I've said this before, I love the sweet and sour taste of Mc Vinegar. Very flavorful , no bite, interesting and tangy. The tin gets better with some drying and breathing. I also find this similar to Dark Star but unlike most of the reviewers , I like DS better, as it is more complex, even if it is harder to rubout and ready for smoking.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mesh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mesh (50)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This VA is sweet, rich in taste and has a disctinct creamy texture in the smoke, somewhat reminiscent of a tobacco blended with black cavendish. My main gripe is that it's all a bit overdone. I'm not a fan of aromatic tobaccos, and I find that too many of their characteristics are present in Blackwoods Flake. I love the rich taste of Samuel Gawith's FVF (in which the sweetness is kept in check by the brighter notes), but I find this one to be a bit on the overwhelming and unbalanced side in terms of the flavour characteristics I mentioned above. It also has a tendency to burn too hot too easily, and so needs to be sipped a little too gently for my liking.

For objectivity's sake, I will not give this blend less than three stars: it will work extremely well for those who like this sort of thing, as evidenced, indeed, by the plethora of rave reviews here and elsewhere. And there is no denying that the base tobaccos used here are of a high quality. If I were asked for a VA recommendation by an avid aromatic smoker, this might well be the first blend to spring to mind as a gateway to that great tobacco genre.

Final note: I know this has been covered to death, but the tin aroma of this tobacco is, in my opinion, truly awful. It's like ketchup gone rancid - it neither smells of tobacco nor anything I'd happily pour over any food. Fortunately the smell in the tin doesn't translate to the flavour of the smoke itself, but that stench is still a detracting factor as far as my overall impressions of this tobacco go.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

KahveDelisi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KahveDelisi (52)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

gifted to me by Berhan (thankyouthankyouthankyou!) He was complaining blackwoods give him headaches.. That's unfortunate for him.. that being said, absolutely YAY for me! Yes I'm one of those cruel friends :P

Kokinhenik had mentioned about blackwoods smelling like sweet pickles. Right. But for me it also tastes like pickles. If you ever tried Russian or Bulgarian sweet pickles (cabbage, red pepper etc. with coriander seeds) then you'll know what I'm talking about, cos this is very similar.

Sweet, Sour, Toasty, Sweet, Sour, Toasty, Sweet, Sour, Toasty, Yummy!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ehrling Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ehrling (108)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This was a "TRIED AND TRUE" blend that had developed a HUGE following! Blackwoods established a "STANDARD"!! McClelland is now gone and Blackwoods will be sorely missed by many!!

Always 3+

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Blue Bayou Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blue Bayou (60)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Pleasant woodsy notes of charred pine & smouldering nutshells. Hearty like a bowl of steel cut Scottish oatmeal. Very nice for sitting around a campfire on a cool evening or working in your woodlot.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kokinhenik Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kokinhenik (47)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin, smells just like sweet pickles...hope that doesn't come through in the smoke. Smoke, BAM..this is the toastiest Virginia I've tried..very nice! Just a hint of muskiness. Almost taste like a Burley at times. Very pleasant aroma. To date, my favorite Virginia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wellpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wellpipe (59)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Typical McClelland aroma of vinegar / ketchup in the tin, but don't let that put you off. Let the broken flakes dry out a bit, rub them out, and you will be rewarded with beautiful Virginia sweetness and delightful but not overpowering complexity. I set aside a few of the bigger chunks to place in the bottom of the bowl over the draft hole before gravity feeding the rest into a big Wellington. A wonderful blend, and to my taste a slightly broader range of flavors than FVF.

UPDATE January 2013: Rubbed out and inverted pack with an airgap also gives great pleasure from this excellent blend. Long lasting enjoyment in a large bowl.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Opened a tin dated 01/10. Going on the name and tin description alone, I figured this would be a dark flake. Upon opening, it is mostly a light to medium brown, with a bit of the black Va showing up. I rubbed out and dried a few pipefuls for about an hour.

Initial light took about 4 matches, this flake was still a bit wet. Once lit, it produced a great, easy going smoking experience that did not even hint at biting. Notes of tangy Va with some sort of flavor I have never experienced in a McClelland flake, sorta a black pepper type flavor.

McClelland develops some great flakes, and this is no exception. If you have problems with tongue bite like I do, try this one.

Can burn a bit wet if not dried properly. Leaves a very clean taste on the palate that will last for a few hours.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Katharsis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Katharsis (39)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Full review pending when I've sampled more tobaccos, but I can say this is my current favorite Virginia. And I've found myself picky with Virginias, so that's saying something.

This stuff rivals FVF in my opinion. I had this first, then FVF, and I love them both.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

HokieGeek Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HokieGeek (23)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Well, this was a really difficult tobacco to light. I let it dry for 30 mins but apparently that wasn't enough. As a consequence, it smoked really hot the entire time. Probably the hottest smoke I've had. It tasted well enough, but I reckon this will taste a lot better with some more time and with longer drying. It smelled quite good in the tin, if a bit like ketchup. It certainly had its moments and promised a lot. As my skills increase, I think I will get a lot out of this tobacco.

Edit: This morning (7/20/2012) I smoked this again. This time I let it breathe for a little over an hour and packed it carefully. A much more interesting and satisfying smoke. I really enjoyed it and didn't want it to end!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tom Servo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tom Servo (58)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin aroma of this Virginia flake is interesting. The red and black Virginias together give out a sort of melded aroma of the expected vinegar/ketchup McClelland VA scent and a sweet, Fig Newton, oatmeal with raisins scent like a Rattray VA. Sounds odd but they go together well. Once Virginia gets some age on it, it can smell quite different from maker to maker, but it always seems to smell edible - It always make me hungry.

All well matured Virginia's are also complex, if only subtly so. But this one is amazing. As I lit the bowl, I caught cool vegetal flavors, green hay, uncut grain, even a note like melon or cucumber. Charred, tamped, relit. Raw, green grains warm up into cocoa, malt flour, and dusty cellar aromas. Further in I get warm cookies, fresh bread, hot egg rolls, dried hay, feed oats, cake batter. In the second half add into the mix, dried flowers, lingering (almost faded) perfume and polished leather.

This is an freakin' amazing flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LV9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LV9 (76)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is probably one of the most underrated virginias out there this easy to pack it just take a little bit of rubbing out stuffed in a pipe light it and the magic happens the flavor is prettu sweet with a hint of spiciness for some reason the sweetness of this blends reminds me of dulce de leche dessert. The only times I've gotten tongue bite out of this blend is when I Have not rubbed it out, the nicotine level is in the low range for my taste but the flavor makes up for it. I've only wish that this was available in bulk. 3 out of 4 stars because of the lack of nicotine in this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (59)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This review is based on a two year old 50g tin that was opened & sampled a year ago. The tin & contents were then placed into a freezer bag & sealed until today. It is still plenty moist & fresh and required some drying time. I noticed a tart, fermented vinegar-like aroma upon reopening. Not so much the ketchup smell that some have noted.

This stuff doesn't taste anything like it smells. This is an excellent Virginia blend that produces the sweet VA goodness many of us enjoy. I love a blend that has a natural, sweet flavor...& this one does. It is a bit sharp & tangy initially but when 1/3 of it burns off, a burst of mild, sweet flavor surfaces. It doesn't bite like some VA blends might. Very tasty & thoroughly satisfying in nicotine content as well.

Double aged red VA with a black, stoved VA process facilitate plenty of sweet tobacco flavor. A good combination of quality leaf infused in this mixture. Also leaves a pleasant, sweet, tingly taste on the palate. I'll be "e pluribus unum" on this one and concur with all who gave this blend its well deserved, highest rating. Sampled in a Dunhill, 2S Shell Briar.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TK Pipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TK Pipe (101)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

MC Blackwoods Flake... Simply the best all Va. Blend I have ever had the pleasure of smoking. These people really know what they are doing.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Merven the Great Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Merven the Great (18)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

I can see how people like this blend, but it wasn't for me. Too saucy/sweet and can get quite bitter if not your not concentrating and lace the pipe for future tastes. I am still a fan of McClelland just not this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thefoolish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thefoolish (9)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A beauty. Masterful blending with a fantastic appreciation of the simple perfection of natural tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BigSwede Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BigSwede (80)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I've had this tin sitting in the drawer for months. When it first came in I tried it right away, smoked it a little on the moist side and thought it was "OK". Not bad but just "OK".I should know better! Now after resurrecting the tin and setting some flake out to dry for several hours I am finding this to be wonderful.

Once dried the so called "ketchup" smell, while still present in the tin does not seem to pass through to the smoke. It takes a flame nicely and burns evenly. The flavor is that of a sweet/tart top drawer pure VA and I can't find any real "topping". I agree with the reviewer who said this rivals the FVF. I am not one for nuance but I can make out, if you will, several VA tastes, some sweet some more tart and the mixture is superb. Flavor holds all the way down and if anything gets fuller. Now I know what the VA smokers have been raving about. When aged a bit and properly prepared for smoking this stuff is excellent. WOW!

My SO got a whiff of this stuff and offered a unsolicited, "that smells pretty good", something, alas, I don't always hear about my other smokes. If you like VA you have to try this one. Just remember to dry it well and smoke it slow. Definitely 4 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I bought a tin of Blackwoods Flake along with Tudor Castle in a Virginia heavy order a few weeks ago. I found both similar, and would even say that Tudor Castle is just Blackwoods Flake with a little extra, not in truth but in semblance. They are both super sweet Virginia smokes that I had no trouble finishing and will certainly reorder.

After experiencing the richness of Tudor Castle, I found myself applying Perique to Blackwoods at about twenty to thirty percent, both because I love a good VAPER and enjoy the added strength, always to delicious consequences. Sometimes I mixed it with equal portions of Latakia and Perique when I happened to be running short on English blends, in one instance swearing that the mighty concoction was the greatest smoke I ever had. Of course, I make that announcement quite often.

I guess you can see where this is going--Blackwoods Flake is simply great, and I can only give it my highest recommendation, along with its cousin Tudor Castle. An entirely different animal than Full Virginia Flake and one that I will certainly enjoy with greater frequency in FVF's absence.

Five of Five.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sir Walter Smiley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sir Walter Smiley (24)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Some great virginia are hard to master. Not so with this baby. It is the best and unlike most blend descriptions, the tin description is spot on; no exaggerations. It comes as a broken flake on the moist side. I rub it out and dry for only 15 min., perfection.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

MaSuAnime Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MaSuAnime (3)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Now I may have just started smoking pipe, but there is one thing I know, this is a very high quality smoke. Its like a good stiff double of scotch for your lungs. Its spicy, and quite heady, but man is it enjoyable. This one gets a 8 out of 10 in my books.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wandererfromtx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wandererfromtx (2)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is my first review on tobaccoreviews.com and I just stared smoking a pipe about a one year ago.

I tried Blackwoods Flake after perusing though the 4 star tobaccos. I really enjoy Blackwoods Flake, It smells excellent when burning both full and flavorful. I haven't found the ketchup / BBQ smell, but again I just started with the pipe, It just smell a grassy sweetness.

I would recommend Blackwoods Flake to anyone just starting with pipe smoking.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Virginia lover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Virginia lover (191)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Ketchup smell is pungent for this one. Nevertheless, quality flake, very pleasant to smoke. Gets better with time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

camachoman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
camachoman (6)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I really enjoy the richness of stoved tobaccos and this one is no exception. There is a spicy tang to Blackwwoods Flake that is wonderful! Mixed with the rich stoved tobacco, this blend is terrific!

Sure, straight from the tin it's a bit wet, therefore can be difficult to keep lit, but nothing that rubbing out and some drying time before loading won't fix.

Plenty of Blackwoods Flake in my cellar, a definate staple in my rotation!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Smokey45 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smokey45 (16)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

After trying a few bowls of this, and having some mixed feelings about it at first, I have come to like it. It definitey smokes better if the initial pinch or two are packed loosely, and then the following couple pinches packed tightly. I have also experimented with rubbing it out a bit first before loading, but my expereince has been more positve in just loading it as is. This tended to offer a greater variety of flavors, which were a combination of citrus, ripe plum, and just a bit of sweet smokyness.

The scent right out of the tin is a cross between ketchup and beef jerky. This is a wonderful after dinner tobacco!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

juanocp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
juanocp (11)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Opened the tin 4 months ago and that McClelland smell is almost gone, i can put mi nose inside the jar and have a deep breath from the stuff it's just amazing, the ambient humidity ranges from 65 to 75 were i live. I rubbed it out when the tin was opened so that it would lose most of the moisture that it comes with which is a lot, i can tell you it's just right on the money at the moment. When loading mi pipe which is a Savinelli Hercules (BIG) that i have reserved ONLY for virginias i tend to load lose and adjust on the fly, but most of the time there's no tampering required. The taste, only on a pipe* one could find these gammas of flavors, sweet, coffee notes, some chocolate at times, i have to sit back, relax and start to analyze how the tobacco develops on mi pipe. I still have like 4-5 bowls left on mi jar and next i'll open another highly rated tobacco Dark Star. Blackwoods Flake is a must have for all pipe smokers out there.

*I'm a cigar smoker also, I've smoked Cubans, Honduras and Nicaraguan cigars. It's a totally different world but i can only get a pleasure like these with Cubans (aged and not all brands) but and it's a BIG "but" those things are expensive. On a Hoyo de monterrey Epicure No. 1 has similar flavors but only after 7 years in the humidor.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Henry Mars Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Henry Mars (21)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I gotta confess a weakness for this concoction. If you are into stoved Virginia this is close to heaven. I wish this was offered as a slice instead of a broken flake. At any rate this tobacco must be packed carefully not too firm. It also benefits greatly by the DGT. It starts out a little spicy with just a hint of sweetness. After a good char I set it down over night ... pour a large cup of black coffee than relight in the morning ... the spiciness receeds to the background a bit and a dark sweet flavor develops. It seems to me that there is no flavoring added but it does remind me a little of anise. The flavor intensifies as the 'baccy burns down to a gray ash leaving the pipe dry ... no goop or other garbage remains.

I keep several tins of this stuff around because it gets better with age. I am not a virginia junkie but I love this stuff. This is not my go to blend, but one that I enjoy a great deal when I am in the mood for this kind of smoke.

5 stars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Very Full Tolerable

This Virginia is a Masterpiece, the finest and the most incredible Virginia of McClelland and certainly one of the best Virginia Flake out there, deep, dark, tasty, full, complex and mysterious, powerful and elegant.

Absolutely wonderful stuff! I have many tins of this in the cellar and keep buying more and more, also this age very well.

Bad blend Good blend = Excellent blend * Exceptional blend

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fly ticky Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fly ticky (26)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Full Tolerable to Strong

Well gentelmen this is my first review. Upon recieving my tin of BWF I opened it to check the flavor. I was not suprised by the ketchup smell after reading many other reviews and was looking for it. There it was just as I thought it would be.I rubbed some out and let it dry for about one hr.or so. What a great smoke.Truely a great smoke.Smooth and mellow with a great flavor.It does have a slight bite but not much.It may need alitle more dry time.I give it seven out of ten.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bent-1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bent-1 (36)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Rubbing out this blend yields a creamy, sweet, oats flavor with a warm citrus note. Burns clean down to the bowls bottom. Like a Rattray's VA, open the tin & let it sit for a week (plastic lid in place), this lessen's the vinegar waft. A favorite blend, always reveals a new side while delivering a satisfying smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

flyrod6057 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flyrod6057 (18)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

What a great tobacco! I put this through a Nording freehand out of a freshly opened tin and...wow! Great smoke.

I opened the tin and was greeted with a sweet aroma, not too far off from 2015 (which I love.) Yes, there's the ketchupy smell, but that really doesn't come across during the smoking. The cut is a loose chunky flake, not too thick; not too thin. I packed the bowl initially with a couple flakes using the "fold and stuff" method, the topped of with a bit that I fully rubbed out. It lit easily and burned steadily.

The flavor is sweet and all tobacco. The initial third of the bowl was pleasantly spicy, and settled down into a smooth, flavorful smoke-not overpowering; not too mild. It burned slowly, finishing with a nice white ash and little/no dottle. Nice. Very nice. The nicotine content was fairly mild, certainly not overpowering.

As I said, a great blend. I'm very impressed with the flavor and room note. A great tobacco all around I'll keep this one around for a long time.

-F

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Buster Bluth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Buster Bluth (56)
★★★☆
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

So many folks opine about the trademark McClelland 'kethup' aroma. Those that do their homework will realize that our beloved Va's are in a state of fermentation due to their high sugar content. Biology aside, McClelland provides a myriad of Va's, a vault-like tin, and a date-stamp. On your own, you'll find the right age and moisture to get yourself in the 'zone'.

IMHO, Blackwoods flake is the perfect instant gratification shortcut to the Va universe. Flavor, aroma, and room note are good 'as-is'. I frequently ask, was 'Dark Star' necessary? Certainly not in my rotation!!!

Brebbia 624 Bulldog or Falcon. Like to air a little and break up a little. Sunday mornings... after 2nd cup of coffee...Whose on 'Face the Nation' tobacco. Why get dressed and rake leaves???

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Good Virginia tobacco.I will update after I finish this tin. So much tobacco, so little time! I need to quit my job and become a full-time pipe smoker!10/04/2004

Update: 12/08/2005 I just smoked some last night and have upgraded my rating to four stars. Really it is about three and one-half stars compared to many other Virginia flakes I enjoy including some by McClelland.

Update: 6/01/2006 Very nice Virginia Flake. Ages very well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Nothing bad to say about this tobacco, but I'm getting tired of that ketchup smell; I know traditions are out there to be respected, but doing something different at times could be good. Said that, this is a great Virginia, very complex and suitable for an all-day smoke if you like the kind.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lbarraa Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lbarraa (29)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

This is a great blend, the virginias creates a sweet and nice smoke. Blackwoods is very balanced, easy burning, not tonge bites and the rigth portion of nicotine. Sometimes heats the pipe, you may take care of this, like you will probably do with any flake. I don`t care about the vinegar or "Heinz" aroma. Any way this is tobacco, not a "eau de perfum".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I will agree with those that say Blackwoods Flake is similar to Dark Star. It could be Dark Star?s little brother or at the least, its first cousin. I find the flavors more muted than Dark Star so I call it ?Dark Star Lite.? It is sweet and subtlety tangy. But unlike DS, Blackwoods Flake has much better burning qualities. However, if you try to smoke it in flake form, you may not find this is not true. I would, therefore, suggest it be rubbed out and let air dry for an hour or so. I experienced no bite. Perhaps a bit of aging helps to mitigate the nip.

I rate this tobacco 8.9 out of 10

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jaybee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaybee (77)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a nice offering from which seems to incorporate the typical McClelland red and stoved virginia tastes. To me, the flavor is a bit more muted than say, Dark Star or 2015 but still an enjoyable smoke of predictable quality.

Nobody has rated this review yet.