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Flue curing captures the natural sweetness of fine Virginia tobaccos. Partially rubbed out Flake that is delicate in aroma.

Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
CutReady Rubbed
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Favorite Of 1 Users

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AL Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AL (24)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is overall a medium to dark chestnut colored Virginia flake. Most of the tins that I have had came with some sugar crystals. I have found the moisture content about right for me when opening the tin. I smoke this tobacco in larger bowled pipes, usually Peterson systems that are seasoned by Virginia tobaccos. Normally I'll jam in some flakes and then top the bowl off with some finely rubbed out Brindle. Once lit, this tobacco can give you a sharp sting on the tongue, it takes a determined slow draw to avoid bite at the beginning of the smoke. I have found that if I can keep this barely lit the taste is most rewarding. I will also let Brindle go completly cold just to enjoy the wood aroma of the charred tobacco. After the first third of the smoke, I find that this Virginia settles down and behaves, meaning the sharp bite is no longer a factor and the flavors come alive. For me this tobacco is quite complex with notes of citrus, wood, and an infrequent buttery flavor. Brindle becomes excellent at the end of the smoke. If you look hard enough you can still find some of this tobacco around.

2 people found this review helpful.

Inquisitor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Inquisitor (155)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

If you like McClelland Virginias, you shouldn't pass this stuff by. Pipe-legend Paul Szabady identified Brindle Flake as the most full-flavored of the McC #2010 - McC #22 - Brindle Flake spectrum. Less lemony than its two siblings, it has a beautifully balanced zest note of apricot/peach in the top spectrum. A wonderful sweet and natural element passes without transition from the high range to the mid-range. The mid-range sweetness is butterscotchy, with toasted marshmallow flavors, again from the natural Virginias. The upper-bass zone carries a light-brown sugar tone, and a light-but-rich creaminess which perfectly balances the apricot zest.

Like most good Virginias, Brindle Flake gets better and better until the end of the bowl sneaks up on you. Smoked best at just above a smoulder, this can bite you if rapidly puffed due to the high natural sugar content of the leaf. Hot smoking also obscures the wonderful nuances of this blend, which continue to evolve throughout the bowl.

This is easily one of my favorite tobaccos. I'm always willing to take this stuff in trade, and I keep plenty of tins on hand due to its proven knack for getting even better with aging. BRAVO!

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Got a ten-year old can of this on Ebay, and it is one of the best natural Virginia flakes I have had the privilage of trying. I savored that can, smoking small bowls slowly, until I had only enough for two more pipefuls, one of which I shared with my brother. I missed winning at the last moment another tin on Ebay (hope the winner likes it and posts a great review) and will watch out for more. I think this flake would continue to improve for ten more years. I would give possibly $30 for another can, though I usually don't believe in shelling out that much. It's quality all the way, and I wish it were still made.

5-23-10 I have acquired another sealed tin, which I will save for a special occasion. Really curious as to how the new reissue of this measures up. Buy some, and let's review, guys and gals!

7-13-10 Opened the (original issue) tin. Hope it blows me away like it did before. Will update!

At the beginning of the bowl, this is not much different than the McClelland Christmas Cheer 2002 I smoked earlier. Opening up a little now: perhaps the reason it was so good the first time I tried it was that I had had only a couple McClellands then, but I'll wait to form a final judgment until I have had a couple more bowls. Certainly not a disappointment, but then McClelland seldom is. It's just less unique now, since I have had more McClellands! It is a bit richer than CC '02. The last half of the bowl will tell more surely. No, wait, I can see how it's different: CC '02 is very pure and mild, and you can not get it to bite. This Brindle Flake is a sipper-it can bite a little if you overpuff, though to do so is tempting. Ah yes, now I'm starting to remember. Lovely smoke!

1 person found this review helpful.

A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (96)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I don't know who McClelland's thinks they are fooling. Between their catfood-like tins and the aroma of tomato paste that whafts out when they are opened, no matter the tobacco therein contained, I could identify one of their blends if it was in a tin with a white label that said 'tobacco' on it in large block lettering.


I liked this flake moreso than nearly all others I have had from their line, which would be about all of them. With so many of their other flakes, I have noted that there is a basic McClelland's taste, just as there is a basic McClelland's smell, which asserts itself with different levels of intensity from one offering to another. In Brindle Flake we are given something more: it has that well known combination of tang and smokey musk that McClelland's does so well and seems that they will never give up, but with varying notes of fruit(peach, blackberry, whathaveyou), along with an occasional buttery, caramel--butterscotch--that's what I'm looking for--type of note.

All of these elements fail to present themselves in any great force above the basic tobacco undertone, and the experience is rendered just a tad boring as a result. Steve Books of Rich's Cigar Store, Portland, OR had a limited supply of a hand cut, deep red Virginia Flake which he called Stonehaven, I believe. This was, far and above, the finest flake I have ever had. It served to further fix my notion that Mr. Books is the best we have in, quite possibly, the world today. Some of the everpresent but everchanging elements of taste that I picked up on in that Flake of Flakes I noticed in Brindle, once again, though, there is not enough of the expected complexity therein for me to get all too excited about it.


A. Morley Jaques

1 person found this review helpful.

Ian Weeks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ian Weeks (36)
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Okay, okay, okay- everybody knows that McClelland?s blends smell of catsup? Like some sort of VA salad dressing that none of us pipers can identify in anything but fragrance. But this one isn?t quite as strong, it has something much sweeter lurking in the tin. I can almost swear that when I put fire to this weed a heavenly cord rang out from above, and a light shone down illuminating me- I felt transfixed, at peace, one with the cosmos? Oops, sorry. That?s what happens every time I light a pipe.

McClelland did a fantastic job with Brindle Flake, the tin is filled with beautiful golden broken strips of flaked VA, I grab the larger strips, fold and stuff them and then crumble the rubbed out bits on top to get things fired up properly.

As for taste- it?s my opinion that this is a premium blend that doesn?t disappoint in the flavor department, there lay hidden in each bowl an unbridled powerhouse sweetness that develops the stoved rich body and roundness as the bowl progresses.

I have read that some experienced tongue bite with Brindle Flake; I humbly beg their pardon but disagree. I have smoked this blend in every size and shape that I can and have had no problems with tongue bite. I found this blend to be tame, or perhaps it?s just me.

A delightful Flake, highly recommended to the new or veteran VA smoker.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

My tin of Brindle Flake was from 1995 and what a pleasant experience. Quality leaf all the way and put together with expert care, I can see why this one was a favorite in the original Ashton lineup. It is pure and simple, a broken mottled Virginia Flake that ages well. My leaf was loaded to the gills with sugar crystals and the smell in the tin was heaven in a can. Burns cool and dry with a Virginia flavor depth that was scintillating. If bold, rich Virginia flavor is something you crave, find an old tin of this one!

1 person found this review helpful.

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

If the vinegar/ ketchup tirade bothers you, look elsewhere. Otherwise this is a very nice Virginia. One of my pipe pals gave me a few bowls of this and I thought it was an excellent smoke. A bit nippy like all pure Virginias, it seems to do best if lightly rubbed out, coarser tobac in the middle of the bowl and once well lit, smoke slowly and savor the taste. I think the key is the moisture level. The rubbed out flake needs to air dry for a bit but not to the crispy or brittle stage. If you live in a low humidity area, this can be accomplished by filling the pipe and waiting a half-hour to overnight before firing it up. You want the tobacco to have a little spring to it when pressed down lightly with the thumb. I don't know how to manage the drying process if you live in an area like the South or some of the Eastern United States. Maybe a wooden box with a small light bulb inside would do the trick.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Based on the vinegar aroma in the tin, I would have suspected this as a McClelland blend in a blind test. The flakes in my tin were partially broken up and not so neatly packaged as other VA flakes but certainly not heavily rubbed out. An ideal moisture content permitted easy packing and lighting without further rubout. It smoked cool and without relights in various bowl sizes and required little attention. The taste is rather common to the McClelland 2000 & some of their Personal Reserve Series + some of the Butera's that are also McClelland products: slightly sweet and zesty. Overall this is a rather unremarkable but still enjoyable tobacco. I'd choose either the McClelland bulk blends due to price/# or Butera's Blended Flake that I find more interesting due to the added Perique and Orientals.

1 person found this review helpful.

Jakob Kiilerich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jakob Kiilerich (120)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

First of all: I am from Denmark. The total sum of tobacco available in my country is either Danish manufactured or "colonial tobacco" - if such a substantive even exists anymore.. American-made "Heinz-tobaccos" (pardon my french) is totally unknown to most Danes. I had some experiences with this certain type of leaf before I tried Brindle Flake, and I was shocked and appalled.

However: Brindle Flake made me convert.

Next: Never mind the weird smell in the tin. Once lit, this tobacco opens up worlds of nuances in the taste department. The leaf is of extremely high quality; golden brown pure unspoiled VA, with a tang and sweetness that exceeds almost everything I've ever put in my pipe. My tins were three to four years old, and that is probably a good thing - read Pipestuds reviews and learn about the attributes of stoved VAs. (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt) I could imagine a fresh tin would burn any palate to cinders. I have dedicated two pipes for Brindle Flake, because I want it unpolluted. Said pipes will soon be used for other blends, since this one has been discontinued and I have only seven tins left. I hope the taste will linger for aeons.... (pun intended with the New-Age lingo)

Jakob Kiilerich, Denmark

Nobody has rated this review yet.

raadman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raadman (31)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

Just like Orlik's Long Golden Sliced Flake except for the online retailer has it on sale for five bucks a can. Don't worry, the tin aroma (burning tires, cat puke) will go away with all the extra moisture... The elegant, re-cycled plastic lid is a nice touch by Ashton...

a really old sasieni

Nobody has rated this review yet.

KingWilliam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KingWilliam (1)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

To all the peasants that would past judgement on a fine leaf such as the Brindle Flake I say to you all - OFF with your Heads!Better yet- you're out of your heads!The richness that is obtained thru the aroma of drawing on my Reo Ferndown is unparallel to any can i've opened in the past 6 months.I must say the 5-97 mfg. date probably added a great deal to the sugar flakes that I so much savored . Then again, only the FINEST Virginia's are fit for a King!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

A typical middle of the road McClelland-made Virginia, a bit drier than usual but with the usual great fruity/sour smell in the tin. It burns well, doesn't bite the tongue and has a nice delicate taste. Not as spectacularly tasty as some other Virginias by the same brand, but pleasant and OK for all-day use.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (1281)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Brindle Flake is a very fine virginia that needed just a bit more rubbing out to suit my tastes. It is not overwhelmingly sweet, indicating no casing. It will provide a very pleasant smoke for virginia fanciers. A bit darker in flaver that an unstoved virginia, don't expect this to be an all-day smoke.

It lit very well, was easy to keep lit, and provided the usual ample, yet airy smoke of a virginia blend. It was not at all vinagery in taste or smell. Just a delightful smoke.

By the way, I smoked this blend in my XXX Ashton Pebble Shell...and I'm sure that made the blend smoke even better! Blimey, what pleasure!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

How about some ketchup with that there pipe?!! J/K, couldn't help myself. McClelland should just stamp there name on any product that comes out of their factory, 'cause they'll never fool anyone. That being said, this VA is one of their better. It is a very rich smoke. Unfortunately, as Eulenberg put it best- there are lots better out there! It just isn't worth the tongue bite either. If you really, really, just had to have this particular flavor of smoke, you had better watch your smoking technique or else!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

While I generally am not a virginia smoker, to those who are, I commend this blend to you. Upon opening the tin, you are greeted by partially rubbed out flakes, and a tangy odor common to this type of tobaccy. It rubbed out and packed easily and lit easily as well. The tanginess that you smell in the tin does not come out in the smoke. Rather, you get a dark ,woodsy ,medium flavor that reminded me of my boyscout days. It developed a nuttiness toward the end of the bowl and smoked to a fine grey ash with no dottle typical of this blend. One warning though, you must smoke this sloooowwww, otherwise you will toast your tongue.To end, this is a good medium strength virginia blend,nothing special, but good, good, good. Recommended....

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

Slightly peppery, with a semi-sweet chocolatish undertone (not a casing, just a feeling) this is a pretty good light flake. The catsup in-the-tin redolence I didn't care for AT ALL.

There must be forty Virginia flakes out there better than this. But this is not bad.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

howie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
howie (46)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

The following review was the result of a blind taste test:

Sample A arrived dry and required additional moisture in order to adequately rub out or pack. The tobacco was partially broken upon arrival. The component tobaccos range from blond streaks through medium and on to dark brown. This tobacco smells like a McClelland to me, with the characteristic vinegar nose.

My first bowl of this was in a medium sized Castello billiard, where I found it to be much too hot and caustic to enjoy or even really pick up any of the flavor other than thin heat. Within a few days, I came down with a cold, and it is possible that the lack of flavor could be attributed to that. I generally find that I have tongue bite problems with McClelland VA products and this was no exception.

My second bowl was smoked in an older Lane Era Charatan poker that I have used only for VA and VA/Perique blends. This developed a good burning character once it got started, although it is still a bit hot on the tongue. The flavor is well developed, particularly in comparison to the thin flavor that was shown in the first bowl.

Early bowl flavor character is bright with a citrus sourness. It is accompanied by a slightly metallic flavor and moderate body. While there is some sweetness, this is not a really sugary virginia.

Mid bowl flavor has intensified and has sweetened considerably. There is a tendency to burn hot. At times, very hot. The tongue bite reduced considerably midbowl despite all of this.

The third and final bowl of this was smoked in a gourd calabash and it really shined here. Early tongue bite was still present, but the richness of flavor was exceptional and the smoke temperature was acceptable. This was DGT?d overnight for the bottom third or so, and suffered no bitterness as a result. The flavor was muted, however, although smoking characteristics were good.

The moderator asked that this be tried in flake and rubbed out form, with which I was unable to comply. I am rarely able to smoke flakes without rubbing them out, and given the difficulties that I experienced with the first bowl, I was unwilling to try and feel like I was going to be able to review.

Given that I tend to stay away from McClelland products, this was a nice change of pace and o decent experience. I think that I may try additional flakes in the gourd, where the cool characteristics may do the job for me.

I generally smoke about 15-20% VA or VA/P flakes, and tend to go in streaks of smoking and not smoking this type of tobacco. This was richer tasting than most that I have experienced for the type. Overall, I would rate this 80/100 for flavor, 50/100 for burning characteristics, and 60/100 overall, with deductions for the heavy tongue bite.

February 2003

Nobody has rated this review yet.

flint Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flint (30)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Absolutely delicious is this weed. It also reminds me of Benjamin Hartwells Signature Blend. Although this seems fuller and not overly sweet. It has wonderful low and high notes. A really good virginia flake. Brindle flake rubs out, packs, lights and burns great right down to a white ash a real clean tobacco. This flake has a wonderful smokiness to it not as citrusy as BJ's signature blend. This is a definate keeper I will be buying more of this to cellar. Highly recommended to virginia fanciers and flake fans. Happy New Year!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (302)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A good Va flake,easy to smoke, with a slight vinegar aroma (as common in McClelland blends, as the soapy taste in many English tobaccos). It reminded me very much of Ben Hartwell's Private Reserve/Signature Blend (which is also blended by McClelland).

Nothing to get excited about, but a good, honest Va smoke. It burns very well, it has the right degree of moisture and it's easy to pack.

Nobody has rated this review yet.