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Marlin Flake combines dark Virginias, black cavendish as well as a pinch of perique.

Notes: A companion to Old Gowrie. A shade darker, different aroma, but otherwise a tobacco in the same tradition.

BrandRattray
Blended ByKohlhase & Kopp
Manufactured ByKohlhase & Kopp
Blend TypeVirginia/Perique
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Perique, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
CountryDE
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy Iwan Ries
SmokingPipes.com
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant

Favorite Of 30 Users

3.5
223 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
129
3 star:
52
2 star:
32
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10
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Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable to Strong

Well, as a Latakia lover I never thought that I might like a sweet tobacco, so I tried this Virginia blend just out of sheer curiosity for how this kind of stuff would taste... Any time in the past when I decided this kind of experiments I always was sorely disappointed: any aromatic, no matter its quality, would find me bored. To me, smoke must have the taste of smoke, and I always returned to English blends. The problem was not in my dislike of sweet tobaccos, but in my choice of aromatics to find that sweetness: Marlin Flake taught me that a tobacco can be, at the same time, deliciously sweet, absolutely not cased, and completely satisfying to my taste buds. Upon opening the attractive parchment colored 100g can, I was shocked by its form: until then I had read of flake tobacco, but never seen it. The wide strips, soft to the touch and almost rubbery, give a pleasant sensation. The tin aroma is incredibly sweet: dried figs and raisins, strudel-cake. Wow! This stuff can almost be chewed (I tried!)... At my first bowl I was uncertain on how to pack this... I just shredded some bits from the flakes, and stuck them without much fuss in the largest pipe I own (a bent Savinelli, which I then found to be a brand of pipes which perfectly brings out the taste of Va Flakes). As a consequence, lighting was a bit of a hell: many bursts from the lighter, and some retamping. Ultimately, the tobacco took well to the flame: it never required relighting (following bowls required no more than one). The coarse cut of the unrubbed flakes provided me with one of the most satisfyingly slow smokes I have ever experienced. This is a tobacco that burns extremely slow and cool (it's hard to feel too much heat on the outside wall of the pipe!), but also very regularly. My first bowl was enjoyable, but not as much as later ones: I was overwhelmed by the titanic sweetness, which reminded me of Sauternes (a sweet and "sappy" French white wine) and honey! I almost got nauseated! Then I began to get used to it, and now I still rank it as a robust and very sweet Virginia, but perfectly tolerable... and immensely pleasurable. The subtle fruity (no casing here, just a wonderful natural fruitiness due to the sweetnes of Virginia) nuances are a delight, and the flavor stays consistent until the bottom of the bowl with grassy and fermented hints here and there... so much that I often find myself with ashes in my mouth without prior warning signals! Room note is sweet and grassy, but very perceivable and nasty to the nostrils of a non-smoker. Care must be taken not to smoke too fast, unless you want to completely destroy the flavour. Some significant wetness can occur during a smoke (also because a bowl of this lasts me over an hour), but a pipe cleaner inserted in the stem will bring out again its magnificent qualities. At the end of the smoke I usually find some noticeable wetness (a bit sticky and smelly) at the bottom of the bowl and in the shank. If you want it to burn a bit faster and smokier, you can unrub this tobacco fairly easy: I usually do so to smoke it in my smaller pipes. I guess I'll keep experimenting other matured Virginia flakes after this successful experience, and this one will always remain as a landmark against which I'll measure all similar products, such are its qualities. It's a tobacco that I would recommend to all aromatic fans who are willing to give it a try and pass to natural tobaccos, and to all Latakia lovers like me who want to have a pleasant surprise with something completely different! See also the almost equally good (but different) Ashton's Old London Pebble Cut for comparison.

2008 Edit: After almost seven years from this review, I am smoking a tin that I have been cellaring for 4 years, and had become puffy and swollen... Wow, this still is one of my top five Virginias! Ripe, sweet, nutty, rich, mouthwatering... With more experience on my hands, I have to say that it lights and burns perfectly (just crumble the flakes a little bit), and the moisture I had written about in my old review was just a matter of bad smoking technique and crappy pipe (yes, that Savinelli was not that great after all...). I really love this tobacco (enjoying it in a Ruby Bark Dunhill with a very open draw right now), and I just hope they haven't tampered too much with its recipe in recent years... I guess I'll have to buy a fresh tin to check it out...

43 people found this review helpful.

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

After reading so many favorable reviews regarding Marlin Flake, I had to try it for myself. I have smoked many Rattray tobaccos over the years, and I found it curious that I had never tried Marlin Flake. Well, I'm glad I finally did!

Upon opening the tin, I immediately detected that unmistakable tangy Virginia smell. But since the flakes were a bit too moist for my tastes, I quickly rubbed them out and then let the tobacco sit in the open air for about an hour. The airing out reduced the tangy odor considerably.

Because once rubbed, the strands are very short. So, I didn't need to give the tobacco a whirl in my blender (which I usually do to make packing more uniform to produce a much cooler and easier to manage smoke). I loaded up in my P&T mag Cooke POY - one of my favorite smokers - and lit up. The flavor was subdued with no bite at all, and the tobacco stayed lit extremely well. I found the flavor to be fairly one dimensional at first although the taste perked up a lot during the last half of the smoke. A pure tobacco taste with a nice kick of nicotine! I found the flavor to be similar to Dunhill's Royal Yacht without the casing. It also reminded me of a more refined version of Orlik's Golden Slices.

This is a very nice blend, and I will purchase more for smoking and cellaring. And yes, although this is a straight Virginia, it is indeed a blend. I have read some other reviews where the reviewer mistakenly indicated a blend meant different tobacco types such as the combination of Burley, Virginia and Latakia leaf. Actually, a straight Virginia can be a blend if it contains differing types of the same leaf. Marlin Flake contains several types of Virginia, and is therefore a "blend." And a darn good one!

34 people found this review helpful.

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

The solidly-made, medium-brown flakes are heaped into the delightfully old-fashioned, parchment-coloured RATTRAY tin; they give off an irresistible, mouth-watering smell that tells the whole story. I cram an unrubbed strip into a typical, military-bit, 2/4 bent Dutch billiard by Messrs Peterson, and fire away!

What joy. No dificulty in lighting up at all. Big flavour from the beginning. Delightfully heart-filling white smoke, lots of it. No excessive heat or need to nurse?I have seldom smoked a better-behaved flake.

The smooth-burning stateliness of this tobacco is stunning. I am able to develop a steady-puffing lilt that is just a balm to my cardiovascular well-being! Reading Bob Massey's entertaining book Dreadnought as the sun streams in through the living-room's windows, relaxation is total: this is what smoking is supposed to be like.

I love the flavour: big as in a matured flake but not cloying or bloated. It has something of the best kind of sweet potato pie, without that slightly dusty, salty, sandy note of some gray-flavoured flakes (Limerick); less monotonous that S. Gawith's Full, less predictable and stereotyped than Tordenskjold; comparable perhaps to Royal Vintage Dark Stoved, except that the flavour here, while just as big, is less, well, stoved: more lively, less muddy. There is a fascinating bittersweet fantasy to this tobacco that I love: ideal for Spring cogitations, as Nature renews itself, and we only hope for the same.

As well-behaved as Wessex' Brigade but considerably more interesting and distinct, I give this flake the Highest Recommendation.

33 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

The tangy, dark fruit sweet Virginia also sports a fair amount of earthiness as the main component. The stoved Virginia has a fermented ripe fruitiness.The lighter Virginia is a minor player, and provides light citrus, grass and a bit of bread. The unsweetened black cavendish gently adds a smooth brown sugar sweetness that continually underscores the experience. The perique mostly lurks in the background, offering more raisins and figs than it does spice, the latter aspect not always being noticeable. There's a slight licorice note, and perhaps a few grains of sugar added, too. The nic-hit is a little past mild. Well balanced, the flavor never weakens, and you'll notice most every nuance in every puff to one degree or another. It will require some relights, and the number will depend on how you prepare the flake. Burns cool, clean and very smooth. It won’t bite, and has no harsh moments. Leaves a minimal amount of moisture in the bowl. Has a pleasant after taste. It also improves better with age, becoming a lightly mellower and more rounded experience as the sweetness sports a little more of a fermented quality. Three and a half stars.

29 people found this review helpful.

Old Nate Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Old Nate (17)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I think this is what God smokes. This might be my number one blend! Beautiful Virginia tang and the perique settles into a nice plummy fruity spice that I can't get enough of every time I smoke this Rattray masterpiece! MF has a solid natural sweetness that delivers on every smoke, and my smoking cadence whether aggressive or slow leaves me with no bite, just the presence of quality tobacco on the tip of my taste buds. I would like to thank 'Beer' and 'DK' for pushing me over the top to go ahead and purchase this baccy, when I had just made an order only weeks prior. It was worth it, and you better bet it is going in both the cellar and the rotation. I was somewhat hesitant to go ahead with MF because of my experience with Hal O' the Wynd, which is rather dull, flat, and obtrusive on my flavor profile. MF delivers with a clean zesty flavor from first match to bottom of the bowl. It's not a very heavy smoke, I would call it medium in body, but there is some nicotine there, so I like to go slow, and enjoy every puff. As the bowl progresses I notice a little more rounded flavor and the sweet tang, while still very present, allows room for creamy puffs of a more natural Virginia base, with overtones of fig, bready, maybe even yeasty somewhat reminiscent of a bright Belgium beer that has similar nuances of flavor. All the way to the bottom of the bowl there is an interchange of sweet Virginia tang and rounded fruit notes as I mentioned above. Maybe it's not fair that I'm smoking a bowl of it as I write this review, because every time I lite up with this flake, I'm blown away!

I once read that this tobacco isn't quite complex enough, but I disagree, it just needs to be savored. And if it is too monochromatic for anyone, I would argue that this is the best there is. It's wonderful, it's sweet, it's satisfying, and the after taste is also quite lovely--slightly grassy, yet chewy sweet. I want more!!!

Update: 8-17-16 I still rate this tobacco highly, but it doesn't always deliver that pitch perfect smoke where it is all you can do to slow down and savor each sip. I may have gotten accustomed to the flavor of MF so I now only smoke it as a treat instead of using it in my regular rotation. Still very good, just a little hit or miss on great.

Pipe Used: Cob and Briar

Age When Smoked: Fresh and 2 years

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: St. James Woods but more fruity and not quite as dark..

20 people found this review helpful.

PhillyB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PhillyB (65)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of if not THE best VaPer flakes I've ever had. The tin note is a quite strong sour citrus, with a very slight savory hint to it. Very good. I like the rolled up flake that it is presented as because it gives you more control over how much you get. It comes a little more moist than I would usually care for in a flake but for this one that is not a problem. The flavors are almost exactly the same as PS Luxury Navy Flake, a sweet citrus evenly balanced with savory and slightly tangy Perique. It does have molasses taste to it as well that is not present in the PS, making it just a little more interesting. I would totally recommend this blend to any Va or VaPer lover.

Pipe Used: Peterson 308 system

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

Similar Blends: Peter Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake.

17 people found this review helpful.

Duke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Duke (41)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

For some time I smoked a great deal of Brown Clunee, another Rattray tobacco and considered it my daily blend. If any criticism could be dispensed on this blend I would mention a syrupy feel to the smoke. Needing a break of my daily tobacco I opened a tin of Hal O' The Wynd. Good luck befell me with HOTW. It had many of the components of Brown Clunee without that nagging syrupy nuance. Well, my bulk tobacco purchases changed to HOTW. In the meantime, I had opened a tin of Marlin Flake on a lark because I once found it vaguely interesting. The Cavendish in Marlin Flake reminds me of a Virginian black Cavendish akin to McClelland #2035. What I realized is that I don't care much for those very black Virginian syrupy Cavendish's. Ugh, they're such a burden to smoke and exude that syrupy note. And then I realized that is what I found boring in Brown Clunee, the amount of that Cavendish was now noticeable and annoying to me. Don't get me wrong, Marlin Flake is a fine tobacco, its construction meticulous, it's just not for me. What I'm driving at is this, if you like Marlin Flake you just might find Brown Clunee as intriguing, because it has some of the Cavendish of Marlin Flake, including other great Rattray foundation tobaccos . They are all Rattray blends. Whereas, I like Brown Clunee, but love Hal O' The Wynd, a Marlin Flake devotee may find favor in Brown Clunee.

12 people found this review helpful.

StanleyEsoterica Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StanleyEsoterica (3)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

If everyone should have a perfect blend, then this is mine. Marlin Flake is so amazing that every time I smoke it makes me feel puzzled why I stored so many other tobaccos. It's packed easily. Just need cut it properly long and fold it, the burning is also good, maybe it is a little wet, but when this stuff lighted, it burns well. It tastes like the plum candy, slightly tart and delicious. Not too full, but balance everywhere. The strength is medium at most IMO. About the smell, when I open the tin, I feel Rattray is crazy, they are not producing tobacco but food. It's too sweet that you could know that by smelling! I never chew it, but I believe this could be eaten and not bad. Maybe the room note is not as good as that, but because my wife says nothing when she is beside, it should be pleasant. In a word, I can smoke it all day. Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Corn , stanwell

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Old gowrie, Hal O'the wynd.

11 people found this review helpful.

Greekpipesmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Greekpipesmoker (152)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The discription in the 50g tin says <for gentlmen only>wich is very tempting!when you open the tin you smell dark fruits,figs and citruses.rubs very easy and it doesn't need more than a half hour of drying out.lights easy and some re lights are needed.while burning the flavours are very pleasant between dark sweet fruits citruses and spices in the backround.also a pepper note is detected.burns slow and peacefull though it bites a bit.the nicotine level is low to medium.the room note is pleasant to others.burns out perfect with some moisture at the end of the bowl.to me it is not a typical VI/PER but something very unique that any gentleman should try!

Age When Smoked: Rubed and left it dry for 1/2 hour.

9 people found this review helpful.

guitar2mw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
guitar2mw (92)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a luxurious smoke, gentlemen. I received a tin of this from a friend of mine who works for JR Cigars, and I must say that it hits the spot if you're in the mood for something sweet. The tin note smells of sweet dark fruits: prunes, raisins, dates, and figs come to mind. There is a light grassy aroma as well, which will carry through ever-so-lightly to the smoke.

This broken flake was dry enough to light upon opening a fresh tin. It took flame readily, and burned evenly throughout the bowl. I usually don't have to relight this one at all. The smoke is creamy and plentiful. As for flavor, it is absolutely delicious! The dark VA's come into play here providing sweetness and body to the smoke, while the Perique adds a darker, spicier touch. It had a moderate nicotine hit, which I was not really expecting (but enjoyed). This blend keeps my attention from the beginning of the bowl to the end, and I find myself craving the flavor, especially in the mornings. If you want a great VaPer, go for this blend. It is well worth the price.

Pipe Used: Peterson, Dr. Grabow Westbrook

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: JR Cigars, Burlington, NC

9 people found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (180)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A dark brown tobacco with prominent golden flecks. Very long flakes rolled and stuffed into the tin. Ideal for cutting just the right amount for a particular pipe. The flakes themselves are loose and stringy and quite dry. Ideal moisture level imo.

The tin note is of dried fruits and chocolate and brown sugar.

This tobacco burns a treat from the first light right down to fine white ash. Lasts an age in the bowl. It has a straight tobacco flavour and is of a neutral Virginia character. I can't pick the Perique, if it is there at all. Old fashioned no nonsense tobacco. An all day, every day smoke for me.

9 people found this review helpful.

Nicotiana_rustica Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nicotiana_rustica (23)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A member of Rattrays 'virginia trinity'. I found marlin flake to be a great smoke and a fine presentation of Rattray's. A very nice virginia with a much more noticeable perique character than i was expecting. A blend of rich quality, with a nice perique hint. Overall a nice smoke.

8 people found this review helpful.

thesmoggypipester Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thesmoggypipester (52)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Hello there guys todays offering is marlin flake.
Well i had hopes for this tobacco but for me it is ok but nothing to shout to the rooftops about.
Out of the tin is one big flake rolled up.
Its almost american aromatic style sticky but rubs out fairly simply.
Aromas from the tin a pungent yeasty sourish smell with a hint of sweetness.
Packing is easy enough but i would recommend some drying.
It is a decent tobacco but i just dont seem to get along well with it the tins aronas transfer nicely through to smoking but every now and then i get this sour taste and a tingly tongue sensation that isnt very nice which means quite a bit of resting.
I suppose this could be down to my body chemistry as the tobacco it is made from is good qaulity.
When i dont get that overly sour tingly taste and sensation there is some nice raw tobacco flavours that i could see others enjoying.
If i didnt get that taste and sensation i would really enjoy this blend its said sensation and taste that take the edge off it for me and its a shame.
I will finish the tin as i dont bin tobacco unless it is truely attrocious but once the tin is finished i wont be pining for more.
All in all an ok tobacco but me personally nothing to write home about.
But try it for yourself as your oppinion may differ.
Thank you for reading

Pipe Used: bent falcon with plymouth bowl

Age When Smoked: 9 months

Similar Blends: Orliks bullseye (composition only).

8 people found this review helpful.

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

Appearance: A mostly dark brown and red flake, each flake being over 6 inches in length and folded in a stack to fit into a cylindrical can. There is a considerable moisture content, typical of Rattray blends both new and historical.

Aroma: Oh, boy. The first impression is dark chocolate with raisins and figs (not too dry). I haven?t smelled anything like it since Sobranie Flake went off the market. I was unable to detect any difference between this and Hal O? the Wynd.

Packing: Owing to the size of the flakes, it was easier to pack into medium and larger bowls. Smaller bowls need a bit more care in rubbing out.

Lighting: Best left to dry a bit before smoking, or lighting may be difficult. Once it?s aired out, it lights and burns well.

Initial flavor: Just a rich, sweet, full Va. Flavor with many nuances. The smoke is dense, and there is a decided strength of flavor to it, although I don?t feel a high nicotine content.

Mid-bowl: There is a good range of medium and low notes to the blend, very little in the way of higher range. The blend continues to delight the palate, and remains cool to the tongue. Even a few strong puffs occasionally doesn?t result in any bite. One of the best tasting Virginias I?ve tried in years, very similar to Hal O? the Wynd.

Finish: Smokes dry, cool and gentle right to the end. If I remember to rub out the first pinch a bit, it will burn down to clean ash.

Summary: Maybe too strong for a first experience with Va, especially for a new pipe smoker. Having made that disclaimer, I will recommend to any smoker who loves Virginias, particularly the darker matured varieties.

8 people found this review helpful.

A Scot in Argentina Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A Scot in Argentina (13)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

It's been said all before by more knowledgeable people than me. So I'll just add this...if you like a full on tobacco experience then get some of this stuff.

You won't regret it....it's excellent!!

Purchased From: Tabaqueria Maris, Buenos Aires.

7 people found this review helpful.

Bruck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bruck (27)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Pleasant

This is the flake that got me hooked on flakes. Smooth, strong, just the right amount of sweetness. VA flavor is dominant, smoothed out by the Cavendish, and the Perique adds a pleasant little kick in the drawers.

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: 2 months

Purchased From: Retail

Similar Blends: Mac Baren Virginia #1.

7 people found this review helpful.

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

I usually wait to reach half of the tin or so before expressing any judgement on a tobacco, but in this case I will make an exception. I just bought a tin of this blend and I think it's quite close to perfection. Upon opening the tin, the smell is quite grassy and close to figs, like many virginias, with a vinegary tinge to it. The taste is that of a straight virginia, quite close to Hal O' the Wynd but not so edgy and less vinegary, made more gentle by the detectable aroma of Cavendish. At half of the bowl the sweetness of the VA plus the sweetness of the CA becomes stronger, and the result is that of a wonderfully rounded and pleasant virginia. It resembles a little the Black Parrot, which I love, but less nutty and less rich in depth. I think that the Black Parrott is one of the best Vas I ever smoked, but it is more "meditative" and I enjoy its taste at full only by puffing really slow and indoor, while the Marlin Flake can be enjoyed also outdoor, having a fuller body. No tongue bite at all, it smokes dry and leaves a clean palate. I must confess that I liked this bowl so much that at a certain point I was puffing too fast, but even at that point the taste was only a little bit spoiled. It is not, as I once read, one of those tobaccos that will change your view of life. It is an honest straight Virginia, still a gentle one. Very enjoyable, not so complex but not even boring, at all, and it's an all-day smoke.

Pipe Used: Brebbia chiocciola

Similar Blends: Hal O' The Wynd, Ashton Black Parrot.

7 people found this review helpful.

Rodricus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rodricus (23)
★★★★
Very Strong Mild Very Full Very Strong

This is an extaordinary virginia flake by Rattray, and probably the best of its batch. Considering several wonderful blends, this is quiet a compliment.

The tin offers a full and complex aroma. The tingy smell is quite strong, and almost rancid for the first seconds. After some air gets in the tin the stinkinness is gone. It is very close to the Erinmore Flake, but with more hard leathery notes.

This blend is called "ready rubbed" but is more a broken flake, as very bid fragments of flakes are presented. One must make a good effor to separate all the tobbaco. Of course this pieces can be fitted on the bowl in a more compact way, if one is to smoke on a windy afternoon or so.

The taste of the virginia es powerfl in this blend. It is absolutely delicious. Perique is not mentioned but might have a subtle hint. You can perceive the taste of pure tobacco with great notes of wood and a citric finish. The smoke evolves as tobacco is consumed, in a very positive way. The acid notes are replaced with more sweety and oily flavor.

This is a great blend. I´ve tried several Rattays before but even as many are very good (Accountant´s, 7 reserve, Hal O´the wynd), this is the best.

7 people found this review helpful.

oldcodger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldcodger (71)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Rattray Marlin Flake is a unique tobacco which will prove pleasing to most pipe smokers. Probably more will deem it good than those who will elevate it to the must have category.

The flakes are six inches long, very thin (16th of an inch), and can be crammed in a pipe with no difficulty. Those who may have found other flakes difficult to deal with will be pleasantly surprised with this one. Just stuff it in; it works without trying to figure if you should rub it out. The flakes are medium brown with a few lighter streaks. The tin smell is citrus Virginia, the rancid note of perique being just apparent. A little cavendish joins the bright and stoved Virginias in the blend.

As with many tinned tobaccos, this one is a bit too moist upon first opening. Break the seal and wait for three days before smoking. Do this and you will find the mixture lights easily and stays lit without difficulty. The taste has the slightly sweet citrus note of Virginia, a bit of peppery tang, and a hint of brown sugar. Although this is not a burley blend, I detect a hint of the chocolate note which is more usual for the air cured varieties. There seems to be just a whiff of alcohol casing or top note (rum? whiskey?) which subtly influences the taste without calling attention to itself.

The room note is a pleasant, natural tobacco smell which does not have the sweetness which causes others to praise the aroma, nor does it have the dark overtones which often elicit complaint. Both the taste and room note of Marlin Flake register as medium. The flakes burn slowly (a big bowl can easily render an hour smoke) to a dry ash of an unusual tan hue.

For my own smoking satisfaction, Marlin Flake earns four stars. I have given it only the three star rating, however, as I think a number of smoker categories will find it an OK plus smoke, but not a really outstanding one. The medium but not vivid smoking flavor may prove too subtle for neophyte pipe smokers. Those who dote of latakia will find this a bit insipid. Those who prefer Virginia/perique blends may deem the perique in this offering as a bit meager, Those who prefer aromatics will miss the sweetness in taste and aroma that those tobaccos offer. I suspect that very, very few will find Marlin Flake an unpleasant experience, but those who (like me) find it wonderful stuff may well constitute a minority. On my last can, I had just bought a cheap no name rusticated billiard basket pipe ($32, name buffed off, some defects apparent where stem hit bottom of bowl). I had puffed several bowls of Carter Hall for break-in and then used this pipe exclusively for the whole can. It worked wonderfully! I'll use it for my next can of Marlin Flake, and in the meantime reserve this good smoking cheapie for Va/pers.

6 people found this review helpful.

pecheur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pecheur (19)
★★★★
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My 50g tin consisted of just two large flakes folded and squashed together. The tin note had just the faintest hint of pepper and smokeness hiding behind a dominant raisin smell, lovely. For me it needs some dry time or it turns into a damp sticky mess in the bowl.

When dried it lights easily after a charring light and burns slowly. Whilst it doesn't bite it needs sipping to get the most of the flavour, alot of which can be found on the snork. The tin note comes through into the smoking perfectly, it has a deep stewed fruit / plummy / raisinish sweet taste.

Pipe Used: Stanwell Billiard

Age When Smoked: Couple of months

6 people found this review helpful.

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

Didn't care for the Cavendish. Gave it an odd flavor I couldn't get past.

6 people found this review helpful.

Perique Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perique (150)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

For me, this blend was love at first smoke. From presentation to tin note to flavor to room note, this is a fantastic tobacco.

Presentation is one, long, loosely pressed flake rolled up in the classic Rattray cylindrical tin. Tin notes of stewed fruit, raw sugar, fresh-baled green hay. A good 45-60 minute dry time serves this blend well, after which it takes a light and burns clean and dry.

That stewed fruit, deep, rich sweetness translates directly through to the flavor. Don't let black Cavendish in the description scare you away: The interplay of the constituent tobaccos here is superb. This flake smokes sweet without ever being cloying, with a delicious harmony of subtle sugar and deeper stewed-fruity, plummy, peppery, Perique goodness. And the Virginias here are superb.

An extraordinary blend. Highly recommended.

6 people found this review helpful.

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

I've been holding off on buying a Rattray blend, hoping that JR's would get a couple of the more popular incarnations within a reasonable timeframe. Good luck!

So I broke down and bought Marlin Flake at the local B&M, with the understanding that it would be of "darker" and "greater strength" than the typical Virginia. Yes, I know that is supposed to represent a comparison to Old Gowrie..well, now I do.

Opening this thing out of the tin affords a wonderful aroma, with a single dark reddish flake, beautifully folded into one gorgeous block. Not since Escudo's have I experienced a more attractive presentation just out of the tin.

Like many have stated, this is a moderate strength blend, with a sugary taste. The ripened flavor comes without throwing blatant signs regarding the addition of an articial sweetening agent. Some have suggested such, and I will gladly state my ignorance on the matter. However Rattray's manages to create Marlin Flake, it works exceptionally well--with an almost molasses undertone.

Upon smoking, I barely rubbed out the flake, with a medium-level packing. This thing smoked straight to the bottom without even the need for a single tampering, an incidence that I rarely come across. Because of the high degree of sugar, I'd suggest a more prudent means of puffing. If you get anxious on this smoke, you'll probably burn a tongue in short time. I didn't get that, however, and I do tend to run though a bowl much faster than others.

In my opinion, this Virginia offering comes second only to McClelland's 2010, which I find slightly less sweet, with a modestly greater jump in nicotine..and a more economical pricetag.

6 people found this review helpful.

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

A wonderful flake which I find very close in taste and quality to Dunhill?s Light Flake. Spicy and tangy, it allows for a long lasting, medium strength and rich smoke. Presentation in the 100 g. tin is very peculiar: beautiful hues of reddish and dark brown tobacco, coiled inside in long strands. The aroma is fresh and zesty, perhaps not as unambiguous as Dunhill?s LF, but quite along those lines.

When packed, after careful rubbing out, one has to be wary of not clogging the bowl. If done properly, it is easy to light. Upon lightening, the naturally sweet scent of Virginia tobacco engulfs not only the palate, but the senses as a whole. A delicate spicy interplay ensues, creating a number of layers in which the basic Virginia flavour spreads out in different phases. It is not a cool burning tobacco, and if carried away by the desirer to quickly explore its different notes, tongue bite will happen next. If smoked slowly, it is absolute pleasure.

Sit down, relax, and open Dickens? Pickwick Papers.

6 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (102)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

These days, Marlin Flake is four long, moist, rough flakes rolled up, not close to filling the tall, 100g tin. Initial tin note is sweet black bread, with very faint, dark chocolate and molasses. I prefer MF dried in the sun for a few minutes, and I pack it loose. It lights and burns down OK like this, with the biggest advantage of drying it being it can be smoked very slowly and gently without it going out. Right away there are clouds of fragrant smoke that both smell and taste of toasted, sweet brown bread, and the tin notes come through, as well. MF is dark and rich, with the varietals well melded, brown sugar sweet and tasting like fruit leather. I suppose the VAs are mostly selected, fermented, air cured browns, and there might also be some lightly stoved red. The Cavendish is dark and deep, and it’s very sweet. At 1/4 or so the Perique comes up, mostly sweet plums and prunes, but also some zesty, exotic, bakery spices, including coriander and a little white pepper, riding just “above” the main notes on the flavor spectrum. The tastes include iron from the molasses. Strength is more mild than medium. Tastes are medium. Room note is pleasant. Aftertaste is best-of-the-smoke.

All in all, Marlin Flake manages to be good and satisfying with little effort on my part, and that’s fine with me. Compared to its stable mates, Old Gowrie and Hal o’ the Wynd, MF is the smoothest, deepest, darkest and sweetest of the lot, and it lacks their KY altogether. All are top quality, 4 star blends, IMO.

Pipe Used: #4 briar cutty preferred

Age When Smoked: fresh and jar aged

Purchased From: 4noggins

5 people found this review helpful.

wildschuetz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wildschuetz (1)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

I wonder how this tobacco is considered to be without added flavours by so many people. It clearly has a strong casing and added flavours. It's by no means a bad or low quality blend, but obviously should not be called a straight Virginia/Perique.

1000 mg of Marlin Flake contain (amongst others):

Casing: Sugar (inverted) - 120,92 mg

Casing: Sugar cane brown - 14,57 mg

Casing: Sugar cane yellow - 9,71 mg

Casing: Licorice Comet Blok - 6 mg

Flavouring: Undefined - 28,44 mg

Source: German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture https://service.bmel.de/tabakerzeugnisse/index2.php?detail_id=104656

5 people found this review helpful.

J. Ward Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J. Ward (37)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tangy plum sweetness is brought about by the interplay of the red virginias and perique. One can also detect a bit of earth and bread as mentioned in Jim's expert review. The telltale brown sugar sweetness of the cavendish smooths out this extraordinary blend. This flake comes quite moist, so a little drying time will be necessary. Won't bite and burns clean all the way down to a fine speckled gray ash with no relights. This is the embodiment of a fine pipe tobacco. You'll definitely want to cellar this one, gents.

Pipe Used: Old England Virgin Briar

Age When Smoked: Less than a year

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

balkan_boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
balkan_boy (49)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is a classic example how VA/Per shouldn't taste like. Peter Stokebye Bulls Eye Flake is another one, but unlike this, Bulls Eye is bearable. Black Cavendish just ruins everything good in a Virginia/Perique blend. Ok, this is if we review it in VA/Per context, and all the bad things that can be said, are true. Now, let's look at it not in the VA/Per context. Actually it's pretty enjoyable. If we compare it to other Rattray blends, it's in the solid top 3. Good quality smoke, especially for the summer. I've been smoking only this for about a month and I almost got used to it. I have another 100 grams of this Marlin crap, and I'll give it a go until it disappears completely. Maybe when I'm done with it I'll get to like it. I don't know for sure, but I'm half way there. In the beginning, I expected more and it disappointed me badly. I decided to give it a chance and stick with it until I get to like it. There was improvement after all, and now I almost enjoy it.

Pipe Used: wide variety

Age When Smoked: 4 years

Purchased From: gift from a friend

Similar Blends: Peter Stokebye Bullseye Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

DEN-C1956 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DEN-C1956 (32)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

i just bought a 50g tin of this pipe tobacco..and its quite nice..im not a flake person..but i thought go for it!..i rubbed it out and im very pleased with it..smokes nice....nice and easy..no bite and thats a good thing.its just a pleasent aroma and easy to relax with..and that for me is what pipe smoking is all about..enjoy!

5 people found this review helpful.

Bonneville Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bonneville (49)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Damn this stuff is delicious. It's pricey but worth every penny. It's a full and delicious Virginia flake that I only smoke when I can sit and savor it with absolutely no distractions. Like all Virginias it has a delicious tangy/grassy sweetness. But unlike some whose sweetness is that of honey or crisp fruit, this one is a rich dark molasses sweetness. Absolutely mouth watering if you ask me.

It is for the Virginia lover who knows how to treat the tobacco properly. Don't try and smoke it too quickly or it will slap you back for trying to move in on her too fast. Take your time and you will be richly rewarded.

It's easily in my top 5 and I smoke it almost every day.

Pipe Used: Rattray's Craggy Root

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Beehive Cigars, Salt Lake City, UT

5 people found this review helpful.

Wilhelm Joharsányi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wilhelm Joharsányi (33)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I highly enjoyed Old Gowrie and decided to give Marlin Flake a chance; just exchange the Kentucky for Cavendish and you’ll get another wonderful blend? Perhaps? Let’s find out.

Upon opening the tin, the first thing I noticed was a distinct honey and molasses aroma, mixed with fresh hay and tangy citrus overtones. Nice smell, nothing remarkable compared to other VaPers.

There is some moisture, had to rub it and let it dry out for 20-30 minutes. Marlin Flake is a very sweet VaPer, almost like smoking an aromatic. The first thing I noticed was the taste of darkened sweet- bread, mixed with raisins and a slight citrus aftertaste. The Virginia and Cavendish are the most evident, with a slight Perique spice. However, the brown sugar taste of the Black Cavendish makes this blend a bit too sweet for me and it makes me want to brush my teeth after. Boy, this one is going to stain my teeth even worse now!

A high quality, premium smoke no doubt. However, in a world of so many great VaPer’s (Old Gowrie included), I don’t see myself buying another tin and adding it to my rotation. Still a great blend though, just that I like other VaPer blends a lot better. Could be a nice after dinner smoke, especially if you want something very sweet and skip dessert.

Similar Blends: Dunhill - Royal Yacht.

4 people found this review helpful.

Cold Comfort Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cold Comfort (8)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

As one of Rattray's 'Big 3' Marlin Flake is a fine tobacco blend. The tin note is earthy and rich, with just a hint of tangy perigue hiding in the background, almost daring you to light a bowl.

The flakes are very well presented, soft and easy to rub out, or folded and stuffed. I find it behaves rather nicely rubbed out and let dry for about 20-30 minutes.

The virginias are rich and creamy, yummy bready notes with grassy highlights sneaking in. The perique shows up mid-bowl, and really brings it all together with some excellent spicey goodness. The cavendish provides a nice cushy bed for everything else to roll around on.

This blend clearly has a casing, I get brown sugar/licorice undertones, but this never gets in the way.

Highly recommended!

Pipe Used: Peterson, Vauen, Stanwell

Age When Smoked: 1yr

4 people found this review helpful.

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

I love this tobacco. Its my favorite of Rattray's blends, with Old Gowrie tied with Hal o the Wynd for 2nd place. OG might have a tiny edge. Im partial to the unsweetened (see update below) cavendish taste (and in a sense this is not unlike McClellands Navy Cavendish)...except this has Perique. Not a huge amount of perique, but enough. Its a more earthy perique, a bit like gawith uses in st james flake. Its a subtle taste and its best to smoke it slow. Comes in long ribbons of flake (a bit like Reiners long golden flake). But in the reiner (and dan tobaccos Tordenskjold Virginia Slices) the perique is brighter and a bit spicy. This is earthier and a bit more pungent. But this is predominated by cavendish taste.....making it different from a lot of Vapers. I love that taste so I give it 4 stars. Some prefer a pure vaper with just virginia....straight up. I like that, too. But my personal taste runs to this. The nic hit here is between mild and medium. Closer to medium. Not quite as strong as hal of the wynd. It smokes very slow....good to rub it out a bit. Consistently cool. Rattray is still a fine maker of pipe tobacco.

update: reading a lot of reviews here that suggest this is heavily cased or that the cavendish is sweetened etc. Im pretty sure there is a mild casing...much like there is for Solani silver flake or astley's 144....or a few others (most all of K&K have some casing). But its a comparatively light casing. Gawith tobaccos....sam's flake for instance....has a tonquin casing. Its mild, but it is present. And this leads to a big debate worth having I think. How many totally uncased tobacco blends are there? Precious few. Honestly, very very very few. So the question is, should things like Gawith Hoggarth's Cut Bosun Plug for example be considered an aromatic? Technically yes. But then youd have to be clear that such aromatics bear no resemblance to Capt Black or Amphora or other drug store blends. Now i admit that the flavoring in St Brunos flake ...as another example, is too much for me. Its not too much in Marlin Flake. In fact its barely noticable to me. But i know its there. Reinders Long Golden Flake has an orange flavoring. It does bother me a bit after a while. It that an aromatic? Few people would say it is. So i dont know. I do know and admit that rattray's old Perth blends were different and as far as I can remember not cased at all. So K&K have altered the recipe a bit. It remains however, for me anyway, a very fine tasting tobacco blend and one in which the pure tobacco taste predominates.

Purchased From: 4noggins

4 people found this review helpful.

simenonfan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
simenonfan (2)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Six months ago I added pipe smoking to my daily habit of smoking one small sized Cuban cigar. I still consider myself a beginner. This is my second review. After reading lots of reviews, viewing lots of Youtube instructions and a lot of trial and error, I now deal with this tobacco without worrying too much about the sophistications of the fine pipe smoking culture. It comes as a sort of flat wet bobbin of long filaments. Having it opened one or two months ago, maybe the bobbin has dried out a little on the outside. Well, I pick up some of the outer filaments, rub them a bit, break the long fibers in smaller pieces and pack them tightly in the tiny bowl of a light 20-cm-no-filter-briar-pipe. Maybe lighting takes me more time than a connaisseur would need. Maybe I’ve to relight or tamp it several times. Maybe I puff it too fast; when the bowl gets too hot, I grab the pipe by the stem. However, it doesn’t punish me for the untender treatment. It’s 15 - 20 minutes of splendid tobacco taste and smell (obviously pure tobacco).

Pipe Used: 20 cm tiny bowl no name briar pipe

Purchased From: local tobacconist

4 people found this review helpful.

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

This dark brown flake, mottled with Black Cavendish, comes in extra long slices that can be on the moist side in a fresh tin. It smells deliciously of brown bread with an underlying sweetness. In spite of the mild flavoring, this tobacco might still be enjoyed by fans of English blends.

I usually tear off a strip of tobacco about twice as long as the the chamber of the bowl is deep and use the fold and stuff method for filling my pipe. Alternatively, you might rub it out. It can be a little difficult to put the charring light evenly to the tobacco. Afterwards I level out the ashes before the true light.

Upon lighting there's a sublime peppery tangyness with a slight fruity acididy from the Perique which is mellowed by a distinct sweetness. There are notes of raisins or dried figs as well as slightly nutty flavors, whereas you can only adumbrate the whisky and port wine topping and some grassy notes from the Virginias. It burns down evenly and slowly leaving some coarse, dry, grey ash, all this time being mild on your tongue.

The room note is spicy with hints of sweetness.

Pipe Used: Rattray's 110th Anniversary

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Peter Heinrichs

Similar Blends: Rattray's Old Gowrie.

4 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I feel like I am writing the same review for every Rattray product as I have not come across one I don't like. I never realized this contained Perique or cavendish for that fact until I read these reviews. The description on the bottom of the tin merely points to a all Va blend. So for some time that is what I thought I was smoking.

To start, the tin presentation is beautiful. When you open the tin, large flakes are folded over each other like a hay bale or something to that effect. The smell off the tin was like a great VA. The taste is smooth and sweet (not like an aromatic, but more like a sweet VA). The nicotine is pretty strong for this genre. I think if I only smoked Rattray products I would be a happy piper as I have yet to find one I dislike. This one is right near the top, but different enough from the others I enjoy to pick a favorite.

8/1/13 I recently finished a second tin of this and it was much more fresh than the other I smoked. I am not sure how old the other one was, but guessing where I got it from I would say 5 to 6 years. I think the age made the virginias much sweeter as my second tin was not as great as that first one. I also purchased a tin of HOW and a large bulk order of OG and I find MF to be a little inferior to those. So while I still recommend it, my enthusiasm has been curbed a little.

4 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

In the family of MF, Hal O The Wynd, Old Gowrie and Brown Clunee, I found the taste of this to be much like Brown Clunee and hardly at all like HOTW and OG. In both this and BC, I got a mild soapy flavor that stayed with me for the first 2/3 of the bowl. It wasn't as objectionable in this as it was in BC, but it was enough to let me know that I would not be buying this again. But is it ever a beautiful looking tobacco with its rolling swirls of dark flake!

Interestingly, smoking from a 16 year old tin of Marlin Flake accentuated the soapy flavor rather than subduing it. I found that exceedingly odd. This is one tobacco that does not mellow with age, or at least it did not in my case.

Hal O' The Wynd is in my steady rotation and I smoke a bit of Old Gowrie from time to time. Marlin Flake and Brown Clunee are cut from a different cloth, to my taste, and I found the dryer sheet taste offputting enough that I'll pass on further exploration of those two. YMMV.

4 people found this review helpful.

toddsmith7378 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
toddsmith7378 (32)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

With McClelland gone, I was a little neurotic to find other Virginia's I'd be able to smoke so as to keep my 40th anniversary and red cake stashes around a bit longer.

Boy, am I glad I found Rattray's Marlin Flake. I didn't think I'd ever find something better than McClelland, but this one really does it for me. It's spicy full Virginia dark flake that is a little more smoothed out and consistent than even my favorite 40th Anniversary. It has a subtle sweet nuance to it probably from whatever minimal Cavendish is applied. Neither the perique nor the cavendish do anything but completely enhance a very Virginia forward taste in the vein of 40th though. It's deep and something I quickly stashed up on. Now, I can just smoke my 40th anniversary on special occasions and I really won't miss it too much when its gone, knowing I have plenty of this in my cellar and still available for purchase from Rattray!

3 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1643)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Rattray - Marlin Flake.

Note: I first smoked this years ago, reviewed it, and decided to re-write it as I didn't think much to the review.

A tin contains neat looking, wide, quite dark, nicely hydrated flakes. The aroma from the unlit blend is slightly sharp, and a little musty. I never had to dry this blend any to smoke it.

Lighting Marlin is as easy a task as I'd want, and it gives a medium temperature smoke. The flavour's a game of two halves: on one side you have the Virginia/Perique. These two work well together: grassy, and very fruity. And then we have the black Cavendish: this smooth's the smoke and stops any sharpness from becoming too much. I get a splendid burn, and no tongue bite.

The room-note's pleasant, and the nicotine's medium.

A good smoke.

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New for this

Purchased From: My Smoking Shop

3 people found this review helpful.

gahdzila Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gahdzila (60)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Marlin Flake gave me quite a surprise when I first popped the 3.5 ounce tin. I expected a similar ready rubbed ribbony broken flake as Hal o the Wynd and Old Gowrie...instead, in that big ole soda can sized tin were exactly four long and wide intact flakes, neatly folded over each other. I get a pleasant somewhat fruity tin note. My kids usually like to give me their impressions of tin note when I open a new one, but they weren't being very cooperative tonight - my son said, "I dunno, it just smells like all your other pipe stuff." LOL.

Tonight, I arbitrarily chose the Lorenzo churchwarden for the review. I rubbed the flake out until it was about the consistency of HotW and OG, and gave it 20 minutes on the paper plate to dry a bit.

Initial flavors are mild Virginia. Perique comes into play soon after. Supposedly, there's some black cavendish in here, but I don't really get it. The Virginia is pleasant enough. The perique seems disproportionate. I like perique, and I don't mind a hefty dose of it.....but I prefer a blend to have something else to carry it, some structure and backbone. To me, too much perique in a blend that is too light and fluffy is like dousing marshmallows with habañero sauce. My tongue and mouth are slightly uncomfortable smoking this blend....I've experienced this before with one or two other blends, so I'm sure this is just me, and not the fault of the baccy itself.

It took several matches to get it started, but once lit, it burned great straight to the bottom of the bowl.

Not my cup of tea. This is only my third bowl, so I may give it a couple more tries, but I'm thinking I won't be able to finish the tin.

UPDATE: I'm revisiting MF approximately one year later. And I'm wondering now if I was somehow brain damaged the last time I smoked it LOL. I really don't think my perceptions of the flavors would change this much in this period of time, but something is different. Maybe my pipe was heavily ghosted with perique (I kinda doubt this - I don't recall precisely, but I ordinarily give a blend a few chances in a few different pipes before typing up a review). Maybe a year of age has improved it (I doubt this too, as the change is so drastic). I think the most likely scenario is that there was some additive, flavoring, or humectant that didn't agree with me...something that has evaporated off after a year in a mason jar. Something that caused that spicy/peppery sensation that I thought was heavy perique. MF seems to me to now to be mostly a straight Virginia flake containing only the barest whisper of perique. I still don't notice cavendish per se. Still not my cup of tea....but only because of my preferences, not through any fault of the tobacco on its own. I still think there's better stuff out there in this genre, but MF isn't so bad after all.

3 people found this review helpful.

L'Italiano Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
L'Italiano (170)
★☆☆☆
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

First of all in my opinion there is no perique in this mixture and even if there is a hint it is uninfluential. The taste is of Virginia and above all Black Cavendish. If we want to classify in a correct way this blend we have to admit that this is an aromatic mixture. But it is not a natural aromatic mixture: it is without any doubt a flavored blend. There is casing and there is top dressing and you can continuously perceive the flavoring on your tongue and nose. I don’t know if it is a natural flavoring or a chemical (artificial) flavoring. Anyway the result is awful and in my opinion this mixture is unsmokable. If you are looking for something natural this is not for you. In my personal system rating (from 1 to 10) my score is 1 and only a star.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Very Pleasant

A word of explanation- This was my first foray into straight virginias! Although I have tried several since, MF is certainly in a category of its own. This tobacco is so rich! Never have I experienced a better tin aroma than this. The smell was reminiscent of everything comforting in the world- fresh bread, figs, and old hay to name a few. The taste was fairly one dimensional until the last part of the bowl when it got some spice to it. This is not a bad thing! Since I normally smoke english blends, It was a refreshing change to be able to concentrate on the simple, rich taste of tobacco. The only downfall to this smoke was my own lack of experience with VA tobaccos, i.e. the unbelievable tongue burn I experienced when I quit concentrating on my puffing technique and went straight after that great flavor! I have learned much since then but still prefer my beloved english blends. Regardless I would recommend to any VA lover.

##UPDATE## I am updating this review approxiametly 4 months after opening my first tin. It has since become one of my favorite tobaccos, enough that it has led me to try other straight virginia flakes. I simply had to take some time to learn how to smoke it. I think it helps that I let the tin dry out a bit as well. I give it 2 thumbs up!!!!!

3 people found this review helpful.

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

Liquorice sweetness combined with molasses scent, hard to differentiate these two from each other. Smoked too fast, then the taste is sharp, grassy and lively. Pace yourself, you'll start noticing fermented fruits. In fact imagine all kinds of dried fruits (raisins, figs, prunes, apricots, mulberries) thrown into that liquorice molasses mixture mentioned above to be pressed into these sweet & sour fruit paste sheets called Marlin Flake. And probably its distinctive scent/flavor profile leeds majority of smokers here to describe it as sheets of natural fruit candy rather than pipe tobacco. However, it is pipe tobacco and one of those best!

2 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (129)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

There is nothing special about the tin note; it just smells like vinegar. This is coil tobacco, which is a nice feature that pleases me. The flakes seem to be easy to crumble and pack in your pipe. The moist content is ridiculously high, so be advised. I cannot detect any toppings, and the cavendish tobacco content, which seems to be steamed pressed but not cased, adds character and body to this mixture. As for the perique content, it seems to be more and more apparent the more you progress with your bowl. I guess the sweetness of the cavendish is more or less subdued by this. The virginia's mostly in the background adding a base for this tug of war in between the perique and the cavendish to happen. I am not overtly impressed by this tobacco, but I don't see any faults in it either. This is all based on my first impressions though, so my opinion might change in the near future as most pipe tobacco tends to get better and better after you open the tin and time passes by.

Edit1: After going through most of my 100 grams tin, I'd say this is quite a remarkable tobacco. The balance in between the cavendish and virginia tobaccos has been achieved quite well, whereas the kentucky leaf adds a little bit of a punch to it. The problem with this tobacco is you need to air the amount you want to smoke the night before + it demands to be smoked at a very low pace. I am changing this to 4 stars now.

2 people found this review helpful.

RyinMD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RyinMD (25)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

As Frances was preparing to retire and close The Smoke Shop in Annapolis, I asked him to give me a referral for one of the Rattray's blends. Marlin Flake is what he suggested, so I bought a tin and put it aside. When I finally opened it, I got the whiff of distinct Virginia Perique flake. The tobacco was dark and in a long ribbon wrapped around itself in the tin.

I always pack looser at the bottom of the bowl and tighter at the top for a good smoke. With flakes, I leave the bottom part not as rubbed out too. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, but the more I smoked it the more I liked it. Marlin Flake isn't as strong as I would have thought given its tin aroma. It smoked nicely with sweetness and spice all the way down. No bite. This blend is going into my rotation, and it will bring fond memories every time I light a bowl.

Pipe Used: Comoy

Age When Smoked: One month after purchase

Purchased From: The Smoke Shop in Annapolis, MD

2 people found this review helpful.

3000DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
3000DK (5)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I have smoked Rattray's Tobaccos for quite a number of years now. My favourite being Old Gowrie, but occasionally also adding a tin of Marlin Flake to the rotation. So far, I have regarded Marlin Flake to be a very nice alternative to Old Gowrie - to my tastebuds they seemed similar, but of course MF had the addition of the Cavendish, it is somewhat fuller in taste and room note. Always pleasant. BUT, I recently bought a tin of MF from Germany, which I have done so many times before. What a disappointment !!!! What went wrong here? Did I get a bad tin? Marlin Flake in that tin seems to be heavily flavoured with some sort of alcohol (whiskey, cognac??) The flakes are significantly darker than usual. And overall, I find it quite unsmokable - not the delicious Marlin Flake I've grown used to. They even changed the label. Although the label now seems more informative with regards to contents, strenght etc., I really liked the old label better. It even says: 'For Gentlemen Only' - I will not bother with that, and will buy it regardless. But, if this tin is an indication of what Marlin Flake will be in the future, I will certainly look at alternatives. Thus Marlin Flake will join the army of many tobaccos, that have changed for the worse.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New - max. 3 months

Purchased From: pipe-shop.net (Germany)

2 people found this review helpful.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (72)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

After completing the, so called, 'virginia trinity' i found marlin flake to be the most difficult to rate.. It is a great smoke and a fine presentation and Rattray's has yet to dissapoint me. A very fine virginia with a much more noticeable perique character than i was expecting. this would indeed be one of my favorite va/pers were it not for the cavendish which, at the risk of sounding nit-picky, actually brings this one down a notch.. having said that, i see what this blend is going for.. it is going for a smooth rich quality, and it indeed succeeds in this.. but while the cavendish does tone down and smooth out the smoke, it also detracts a little from the complexity of the virginia. the perique is a nice addition and it saves the day for me.. but in my opinion what could have been a great va/per, turns out to be simply a good one.

Update April 2018.. Not surprisingly this really improves with age.. everything melds together. Worth cellaring for 5+ years

2 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I just tried Old Gowrie next to Marlin Flake and I like MF better. MF is what I would call a true VaPer , very much in the style of McC's "St James Woods". It has that little spice. MF can be a little bitey if it is not dried and sipped. MF has more flavor and strength than Old Gowrie which I find the Perique component is almost none existent. In addition, I find MF more complex and develops a greater flavor & is creamy as you smoke it. Old Gowrie is closer to a Straight Virginia in the Danish style. I think if I had my choice I would smoke St James Woods over MF as I think it is smoother, but both are very good tobaccos.

Updated 10/8/11 I've found that drying has really made this a real nice tobacco. Burns well, taste develops thur the whole bowl and it just has that spice tingle that makes it interesting. I've smoked two bowls doing mindless yard work and the tobacco has been perfect, no bite stays lit and has great flavor. Light in "N" and smokes great from a cob. 3 1/2 stars

Pipe Used: cob

2 people found this review helpful.

Susanna Hoffs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Susanna Hoffs (74)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Gorgeous....absolutely gorgeous!

Tin aroma reminds me of a dark rich Christmas pudding with a very faint hint of liquorice. Some of this translates into the smoke as well. Lovely crumbly dark brown leathery flakes ooze quality.

Smokes very well, though needs drying time as it's quite moist from the tin. Very flavourful blend that is now possibly vying for most favourite VA of mine alongside FVF..

Only HOTW has disappointed me out of the 'Cream Tin Three' (HOTW,OG,MF)..

That said I do like HOTW, just not as much as MF and OG..

Wonderful stuff...

2 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (264)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

While I do love the taste of Latakia, I currently seem to be unable to savour it, and have since moved to VA/Per country. Having gone through a few pure VAs, some other VA/Per blends and a whole bunch of VA/BC and VA/Burley blends, this is only my second Rattray's-branded tobacco.

Opening the tin, I was delighted by both the presentation and the aroma: this is a flake that shows the true size of the plug it is cut from; the slices are quite long and wide. The scent is of dark bread, figs, good vinegar and sugary hay; I keep finding myself with my nose stuck in the tin just to get more of that peculiar but delicious mix.

While pretty moist at first, flake connoisseurs will be able to light this blend fresh from the tin without drying; just take about a pipeful of leaf off the end of a slice, fold it and sink it in your bowl, rub out a dub of the tobacco to top off, and off you go.

The smoke starts out sweet, bready (aged stoved VA...) and with some freshness; when not rubbed out, the smoker gets a slow, cool and smooth burn rewarding the smoker with a full, fruity, natural taste, a good amount of strength, very little condensation if any, and a yearning for more.

The Marlin Flake has been compared to several other blends, which I do not know, and Rattray's Hal O'The Wynd, wich I do, and it has been said that this were basically the same. I don't agree with that; the MF shows a number of differences from HOTW. I do agree, however, that these two blends can be compared; they do have some similarities. Of the two, I would say I prefer the MF at this time, for its somewhat more complex taste.

As with seemingly all Rattray's blends, I think I can understand those who have experienced the old times when the original manufacturer contributed more than just the name. Since I have never had the chance to experience those originals (the Rattray's blends first became available in my home country only after Kohlhase&Kopp took over production), my review is based on the state of things as it is now. So, no points retracted for nostalgic reasons. This is one great flake IMHO.

-- update 09-09-09: One last niggle. For the shape of the tobacco (looooooooong slices), the packaging format is about the worst choice imaginable for this blend. Being a flake of a format that connot be folded&stuffed by the slice, it needs to be either cut or rubbed out; that would be facilitated by a wide, shallow tin. Unfortunately, the packaging chosen is a very narrow tall tin; I have large, narrow hands with the according fingers and I can hardly reach the bottom of the tins. How'm'I s'posed to rub out and stuff this flake from the tin, then? Just a minor niggle, nothing to change my verdict overall.

2 people found this review helpful.

mo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mo (79)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have decided to re-write my reviews.

Marlin Flake is underrated and its a shame. I do not know why because like Old Gowrie and my beloved HOTW this is right up there and i ALWAYS have a tin open.

Like all Rattray blends, this comes with lots of moisture in the tin. It needs to be aired out to get the best of this delicious blend. Drying it out will also eliminate the tongue bite.

A few months ago, i ordered around half a kilo of bulk HOTW and they sent me the wrong blend. Instead i got that amount of Marlin Flake, i did not complain because this stuff is just as good.

This has a particular musty taste that HOTW and Old Gowire does not and that sets it apart from the other two. Some reviewers compare it to Sweet Potatoe Pie and i can see what they mean. What ever it is, this blend is delicious and it has the same VitN content as HOTW does.

Like HOTW and Old Gowrie, once dried out, you get that mouth filling Virginia sweetness and great aftertaste that is just plain fantastic.

Mo, South Africa

2 people found this review helpful.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (78)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

Rattray has never let me down, at least not their original offerings. Just as Black Mallory is the pinnacle of their English/Scottish line, Marlin flake is the Everest of their Virginia line. I opened and finished my first tin of this last weekend on a trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway, and wished I had brought more by the end of the trip. It is a full, rich, and grand tobacco. The flavor is wonderfull and unique to Rattray. McClelland (though I love them) taste like a Heinz product, and those insipid Gawith offerings taste like watery floral soaps. These are fresh, vibrant flavors. Fresh hay, honeysuckle, chestnut and toffee come through on my palate. It is a full tobacco as Virginias go, but not so full you couldnt enjoy a couple of bowls in a row. To me the flavor and style of the Rattray Virginia line has a cranky Victorian elegance to it, and is not found in other save maybe in Astley's or Fribourg & Treyer. Huzzah!

2 people found this review helpful.

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

From the old-fashioned tin label, to the professionally prepared flakes thru the last puff, a fantastic smoke and example of why great tobaccos endure. The medium to darker brown flakes are ~ 1/16" thick but so long that they are folded over and inserted into the tin. The moisture content is high and typical of Rattray, but does not result in a wet smoke. This blend also seems to maintain its moisture after the tin is opened better than many other ~ VA flakes. I don't rub out the flakes but they are pliable and pack easily. Since the room aroma is OK'd by my family, this blend gives me true enjoyment indoors in a smooth, rich VA flake with a great taste and aftertaste. Burns evenly, coolly, without any bite and is one of my top choices for a long, relaxing smoke after dinner. A must try for any straight VA flake lover.

2 people found this review helpful.

Johnny M Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Johnny M (6)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

A little wet if you open the tin. The tin note is grassy and earthy. Packs easily in the pipe. Tastes very citrusy. Very good and easy smoke. Not too complex at all. I like it

Pipe Used: Briar

Age When Smoked: fresh from the tin

Purchased From: local tobacco supplier

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Rattray's VA blends are quickly becoming some of my favorites. The three I've had the pleasure to smoke, HoTW, OG, and now this MF are smooth as a baby's butt. They are all similar but different enough to keep it interesting.

Upon opening the tin I'm greeted with a familiar scent of figs, raisins, some slight fruitiness mixed with hay, grass, and some earth. Delightful. I love the flakes sliced up with dark brown, black, light brown, and a bit of yellow ribbons all pressed together. Easy to rub out or just stuff in your pipe. I prefer to have this one rubbed out and allow for just a bit of dry time (30m-1h). Lights easy and will take a few relights to keep it going with some light tamping.

The smoke is soft and flavorful. To me is is somewhere between HoTW (my favorite VA tobacco of all time) and OG. There aren't as many bread, toast and tangy flavors as HoTW, but those flavors are present with the dark fruit sweetness. It's not as spicey and strong as OG, in my opinion, but there is some spice with hints of grass and earth. It's an enjoyable smoke that is better sipped than puffed on hard. It can get some acrid flavors is pushed too hard, but I didn't notice any biting. An enjoyable flavorful journey. I do enjoy it more than OG and just a notch below HoTW. Great stuff!!

Pipe Used: Cob, Briar Billard

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Rattray - Hal O' the Wynd (British Collection), Rattray - Old Gowrie (British Collection).

1 person found this review helpful.

tschenyinkoh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tschenyinkoh (51)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Well, the taste is very like replacing Virginia in the Dunhill Luxury Navy roll or Escudo with deeply fermented dark Virginia and replace their lots of spicy Perique with just a touch of Perique. Surprisingly, I actually don't taste the Black Cavendish. Rattray always know how to use the Black Cavendish properly。

For me, I prefer the Virginia side VaPer like Marlin Flake or Beacon rather than strong Perique side VaPer like Escudo.

One of the best VaPer in the world.

The only complaint is the flake is so long nearly six inches maybe a little hard to dismember.

Pipe Used: churchwarden

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: 100g tins from smokingpipes

1 person found this review helpful.

Gaius Baltar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gaius Baltar (25)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Umm, the truth is that I am not able to detect as many things as the experts do. With the can open I notice a deep herbaceous aroma along with a hint of vinegary. The flakes are very beautiful, medium brown and the humidity is fine. I rub it and direct it to the bowl. It lights well and burns regularly ending with a gray ash, requires some re-ignition at the end. The commented sweetness, umm, is not so much. The cavendish is noted, but the perique is very intense, omnipresent, virginia is always in the background harmonizing the mixture and the sweetness of the cavendish comes and goes, bringing something bitter and dark at the end. He smokes dry and fresh, he has not bit my tongue and has allowed me to smoke faster than other flakes. Okay, it's good but I have not been able to appreciate the excellence that the experts say.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: Fresh, new tin.

Purchased From: Duaso tobacco shop from Barcelona

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Excellent. An old favourite. A beautiful tin aroma that makes your mouth water. A very smooth smoking experience, on the sweet side and with a background of Perique pepper. The Cavendish is apparent both visually and on the palate, but there's no bite from it if you take your time. I rip, fold and stuff, which gives me a cool, slow-burning, hour-long smoke in a medium-sized bowl. Less tangy than Hal of the Wynd and quite a bit more flavourful and full-bodied than Old Gowrie.

1 person found this review helpful.

mar1895 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mar1895 (5)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

"Look", he says, "lifes greatest joy - must be contentness to a man." This, in free translation, thinks County School Teacher Lämpel leaning back in his easy chair, taking a puff from his churchwarden in Wilhelm Buschs "Max & Moritz" (1865) forth play. Max and Moritz have substituted Teacher Lämpels favorite tobacco - which I am convinced was a Va/Pe Flake much like Marlin Flake - for gun powder, yielding desastrous results.

The story can be found here - in german, but with lovely pictures.

http://germanstories.vcu.edu/mm/mm4.html

But on to the tobacco:

Just opening a fresh can of Marlin Flake to me is one of lifes simple pleasures. The tin note of figs, vinegar and tobacco is nothing short of invigorating. The coils I cut into length of about 2,5 inches and store in a seperate tin (round 50 g) lined with baking paper for smoking. This I refill from the main tin as needed. The practice takes full care of any excessive moistness and obliviates a need for nuke-dryinging this treasure.

The tobacco flakes stored in this fashion rub out nicely and fill the pipe with ease. A tall standup poker can give me up to 2 hours smoking pleasure with out any buzz and fuss.

Reccommended. Much to be prefered to Gunpowder, says Teacher Lämpel.

Pipe Used: Many

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: cigarworld.de

Similar Blends: None. It stands alone..

1 person found this review helpful.

Corvus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Corvus (36)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild Tolerable

When I ordered this I was expecting a VaPer, and an old and established one at that from Scotland. I have learned considerably since then. So then, where is the Perique? It's completely absent in my tin. The other 1 and 2 star reviews often cite this lack, while some say it is incredibly overpowering. Taste ratings are similarly variable; some suggest it is rich, full, deep, others lacking and thin. Looking at scoring is instructive for this tobacco. While it continues to rate high the frequency of poor reviews increases year by year. In the early 2000s it was consistently 4 star rated, almost for years at a stretch with a rare contrarian deigning to give it a mere 3. Those days are over.

A VaPer with no discernible Perique is a poor tobacco in my opinion, and at best misleading. More accurately this is a black Cavendish and Virginia blend. Admittedly, I don't really understand such a mix. A hallmark of the quality Virginia experience is the development of sweetness. Why then would one mask this with a heavily cased cavendish? When I first opened the tin I thought I had gotten an aromatic and it wasn't far from it. Sickly syrupy sweetness and wet. I've since let it mellow and dry a little and while the most shocking tendencies are gone I wouldn't call it good. I find it fairly weak, rather bland, and the straight Virginias are nearly hidden. Burnt sugars are the main note, but a little taste of bread dough was present near the bottom of the bowl. I rated flavoring as medium; l don't know if it is topped but the cavendish is certainly cased and that dominates the smoke. It also smokes quite steamy.

I sometimes wonder about QC concerns when my experience is different than the majority. I don't think that is the case with this- I think it is what it is and that is a product of evolution or rather devolution to something that no longer matches company descriptions, mixture notes, or older pipers' fond memories. The physical quality of the base tobacco seems pretty good but the blend as a whole, considering things like marriage of flavors and smoking satisfaction is poor. My 1 star review is based purely on the criteria in the pop up box next to the drop down field: would you recommend it? The answer, sadly, is no, not at all. I don't find it offensive per se or unfit for consumption, but there is simply nothing to recommend, especially at its price point and reputation.

1 person found this review helpful.

ATW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ATW (45)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

After the not so great experience I had with Red Rapparee, this completely made up for it. I was honestly expecting the normal Va flake experience but I was blown away. I cracked the tin open in the car after buying it and couldn't believe the aroma. It smelled almost exactly like Backwoods Sweet & Aromatic cigars and baked cookies. Loaded a bowl and got this great coffee aroma and taste with a bit of brown sugar and baked cookies. This flake awed my wife more than it did me. She loved the aroma. It smoked down all the way with that same great taste along with a slight sweet Virginia taste. No tongue bite and burned cool. Definitely worth looking into. Only drawback was no nicotine to it that I could tell.

As for the coffee flavor. Dont think fresh brewed coffee. Think Monster Java Kona Blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

Nathaniel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nathaniel (10)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Tin note on a moderately-aged sample is mild grapes and dry grass. Not very strong. Taste off the charring light is similarly weak- motor oil, and a slight oakiness. She settles down quite nicely to a flavor of toasting wood, some spice, and very faint cereals. Flavor through the nose is all spicy cedar. A little more time and I'm getting more cereal, a little burnt grain. Pleasant. The wood doesn't go away, it harmonizes nicely with the grain. The perique doesn't really make itself obvious to me, which I like. It's there on the snork- a hot sensation in the nose and head, but if I don't retrohale, it's not there. Fine by me. In the mouth, it's a steady stream of sweet cereal-- reminiscent of wet cardboard. You know that smell- it tastes like that. It doesn't sound good but it is.

This smoke, I should add, is from the tail end of a year or so-old tin. The fresh leaf, if I recall, was far sweeter. Almost a champagne sweetness. I think I prefer the younger stuff. Far more distinctive. Not terribly complex, but quite unique. The light aging on this stuff was not fortuitous. Just dull.

I like this stuff fresh. Aged, it's not that big a deal.

Pipe Used: James Davis bent brandy, Neerup pot

Age When Smoked: 1-2 years

1 person found this review helpful.

Coosa Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coosa (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

My first tobacco with Perique and also my first flake. The taste is a little bit sour like the dark bread which surprised me for the first time. Then I gave it second try and now, when expected, the flavor totally got me.

Age When Smoked: 9 months

1 person found this review helpful.

Sybariten Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sybariten (60)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

There is a highly present note of a sweet caramel, and some of hay and roasted nuts. The smoke is rich and creamy, smooth and flavourful.

This is an easy smoke rich in taste, low on bite and an absolute joy to smoke. The taste takes me back to childhood memories of playing in the summer, and that is never a bad thing in my book.

1 person found this review helpful.

TEO Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TEO (31)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Another tobacco that leaves me a little unsatisfied thinking of what Ive heard about it. That's the only reason why I give only 2 stars; I mean, this tobacco is wonderful in flavour out of the tin, wonderfully packed and preserved after 5 years in my glass tin but: it is similar to Fvf, but way too acid, a little harsh in the first half: similar to capstan blue, but less fruity and thinner in body. It is, i have to say, almost perfect in its steady burning and quite long-burning. I dont know if I'd buy it again, considering the alternatives.

Age When Smoked: 5

Similar Blends: Old gowrie, capstan blue.

1 person found this review helpful.

Bluesmoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluesmoke (75)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant

This blend comes in a nice tin adorned with an antique looking yellow label. Upon opening the pop top I was greeted with a sweet, slightly sour smelling, long folded flake, smelled wonderful. Moisture content was a little damp, but this actually worked quite well and I needed no drying time. Now I will say getting this lit took quite a few false lights, but once the chamber was glowing and slightly ashy things went very well. I have had dryer flakes take just as long or longer so no big deal; its the nature of this tobacco and not the moisture content IMO. The flavor was divine and the aroma was superb. I tracked notes of brown sugar, hay, toasted nuts, sweet sourdough and a nice natural smokiness. The perique added a slight strength, but not in heat, this burned very cooly after getting it going. The Black Cav, mellowed this out nicely and made the traditional hay taste/aroma more subdued and pleasant. The BC also added some body which was very appealing. This has been a regular of mine for quite some time and will continue to be so. HOTW and OG are quite good as well but for me OG is too mild, while HOTW is a little too strong in a somewhat harsh manner and can be monogustative; the Marlin does strengthen and change as the bowl proceeds downward. 4 Stars. GBWY

Pipe Used: Sav. 1/4 Bent Rusticated Pot

Age When Smoked: 44

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Hal O' the Wynd, Old Gowrie.

1 person found this review helpful.

Peppino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peppino (74)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is beautiful out of the tin, a big roll of flake. It has a hay type fragrance in the tin. It lights like most flakes, needing a bit of patient helps, Once going you get a nice Virginia flavor but it burns a bit hot four the 1at quarter to half of the bowl. ..........then hits a groove to the end. It purrs like a kitten and the flavors open and the heat id I smoked it in a 4k Bulldag Castello, next time I will smoke in a Ascorti Billiard and see if there is any change in the smoke. If there is anything different I will let you know! Happy Puffing! PS: Marlin Flake would be a great outdoor smoke...IMO

Update: Right off the bat the tobacco took the match quicker. I may have rubbed it out more but it didn't look like it, as someone else mentioned I get a kind of a twinge of Perique as well it's not heavy it's very light. Anyway I thought it might be of interest, in this pipe the Flake burns mush easier and with less work. The tobacco seem cooler from the start so I would say smoke it in a Billiard 1st. As some of the negatives in the 1st smoke don't exist on this go around. The tobacco all around has improved, you can puff harder with no heat stating. But sipping brings out all the flavor of this wonderful tobacco, I have changed my rating from 3 to 4 as the flavor continues to develop like a fine wine, you don't want it to end. I'm at that magical place where your in the sweet spot of the bowl this is great. I waited 35+ yrs to try it and that's not going to happen again! My cellar is going to start to shrink, as of today! Happy Puffing!

1 person found this review helpful.

scottyspipesebay Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
scottyspipesebay (25)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Marlin Flake. The raw note is chocolate, maple, raisin and even Honduras mahogany. (I used to work in a wood-shop, gents). Such good sweet tobacco. What a revelation. Upon opening the can, I get big Virgina, and a lot of the same raw note of Perique as in Escudo. Second light was even similar to Escudo. It has a fairly quick drying time: about 20 mins. It stuffs well; burns slowly and evenly, and the palate and nose are Virgina and the Perique is nice and light without being over done. It seems just right. The strength is nice with a fare nic kick, but not overly strong. I didn't pick up the black cav., and I used to be a big smoker of Dunhill's B C. This would no doubt be great with your morning coffee. I tend to smoke more toward the evening, but good tobacco also goes well with good ICED coffee, too.

I like it, so far. However, some blends take me awhile to become accustomed to. One author said that Dunhill Royal Yacht can be an acquired taste. This may be the case, here.

Update: The more I smoke this, the more I am beginning to understand it. That probably sounds like I'm trying too hard. But, if I didn't think it was worth it, I would not bother. It is enticing, somehow. It keeps me coming back. This an allusive lady beckoning exploration.

Well, it's been a week short of a year now. I cellared a big tin of it and am smoking a bowl. My opinion hasn't changed. A little aging helped bring out some sweetness. So, I'd recommend this good old style: especially if you're a fan of say, Escudo, or Perique.

Lastly, I also blended in 1/3 of Lane 1Q. After cellaring for half a year, I opened it and rubber them out together, then cellared for another half year, which turned out wonderfully so I'll do it again, but cellar it much longer.

Pipe Used: Small bowl Stanwell Canadian

Age When Smoked: One year cellared

Purchased From: JRC

1 person found this review helpful.

William H. Hardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
William H. Hardy (76)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

When I first tried Marlin Flake, I was a little disappointed. I had bought it, on a whim, mainly because I thought that the tin presentation was so cool. At that time, I had been smoking a lot of Dunhill Standard Mixture, Presbyterian Mixture, and Balkan Sasieni; Light, Medium, and full Englishes. After I had tried MF a few times, I put it up and finished the aforementioned tins of tobacco. After those were finished, I went back to the MF and was determined to finish the MF tin before opening another. That's been one of my problems. I always open more tins than I should at one time. Maybe I like variety. Maybe I'm impatient. Most likely, it's the latter. Anyway, I was smoking virtually nothing but MF for about three days and something happened. I started loving it! I had finally "got it," I suppose. I began noticing some of the flavors that others mentioned and I scornfully laughed at before. This stuff is great, but it takes patience and repetition. Like the first time you taste a thick, dark beer. Your first impression is that it's overly bitter. If you drink it slowly and thoughtfully, it becomes much more than that. If you love VAs or VaPers, I would be surprised if you didn't love Marlin Flake, too. Just don't smoke it immediately following strong English tobaccos and expect an epiphany.

UPDATE 5/9/2016 - I just haven't re-ordered this stuff in a while. I think that my tastes are leaning towards things that are a bit more heavy. Still a great blend, but I think that I may take it down a notch.

1 person found this review helpful.

elelion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
elelion (25)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This review is based on the first bowl of a newly-opened tin, assuming not aged.

Some may say it is a little over moitured of this blend, but for me it is just fine. I fold it into my freehand bent with 19-mm inner diameter bowl, and it lights quite easily. It required no relight throughout the bowl. That is the part I like for flakes if you fold it while packing.

The very first sip upon the first light reminded me of SG full virginia flake, but the hint passed away just 2 seconds after. Marlin Flake is less sweet in taste than Ashton Black Parrot (that I rate 4 star), but is much thicker (more densely) than the latter. The bowl temperature also seemed a little higher.

I tried to find some complexity in this blend but the texture did not change so much throughout the bowl. For that reason I rate this blend a 3-star.

---Updated on 13th Dec. 2011---

Today I tried Marlin Flake in a larger bowl: cavicchi canadian with which I usually smoke Orlik Golden Sliced, and this blend turned out to be exactly what I dream of: some hint of light barbecue. I must say this is a magic performed by the blend and the pipe on my pallete. It's like enjoying a well roasted beaf with just enough butter. Upgrading to 4-star.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

The presentation just knocks me out! In the round 50g shoe polish tin the cover paper has brown stains which I have never seen in any tobacco before. when I peel it off I notice that the can is not filled but instead in the middle lies a looong stripe of the greatest tobacco I have seen in ages. I get confused when i lift it up to try and find the end because it starts to crumble in the folds. Not wanting to rub it out beforehand I slip the band of tobacco back into the can and get a pair of scissors instead. I cut of an inch and a half and when i see the nice cut surface I decide to cube-cut the strip. I move the scissors fractions of an inch for each cut to get the tiny cubes, and then I start the pipe stuffing with some of the longer strands that peeled of in the foldings. Upon lighting the pipe I understand what the buzz is about. The pure Virginia taste is wonderfully complex and sweet and in a sudden rush of understanding I reach clarity as to what that wonderful taste that I loved so much in Red Rapparee really is! It's THIS wonderful Virginia! Highly, highly recommended to any pipe smoker as an education in what Va flakes should be about!

Had to make an update. I still enjoy this tobacco more than any other VA flake, but I got scolded by the missus yesterday due to the room note. So much I nearly lost my indoor smoking permit. Now, I don't really know if there were some other underlying issues here, but still, the "wife factor" went down a few notches...

1 person found this review helpful.

mainspring Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mainspring (27)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

What a great tobacco this is! It has everything that a "classic" should have. Most important, at least for me, it's a "fun" smoke. A beautiful flake tobacco, one can smoke as is or rub it out to his or her individual desires. I prefer to rub it out. I am one of those oddballs that likes the ritual of pipe smoking (more involvement with preparation than many people like) such as rubbing out a flake tobacco. This adds to my enjoyment of pipe smoking. The flavor is wonderful but not what I would call complex. At times I find myself wanting a bit more flavor. That's why we have different pipes for different blends though. I have 4 briars dedicated to this tobak. In my opinion - one of the great classic tobaccos of all time! Very Highly Recommended!

1 person found this review helpful.

Charmander Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Charmander (6)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Very Pleasant

I've just finished about 6 months of smoking Marlin Flake almost exclusively. I'm listening to the Faure Requiem (Cambridge Singers/ John Rutter Conducting) right now and I'm wondering if GOD Himself might smoke Marlin Flake on occasion. This is so absouletly fine. It is beyond words for me. Enjoy! Thank you Kohlhase & Kopp & Co. You are so right - This is pipe smoking!! May GOD richly bless you this Christmas!!

Ahhh!!!!

1 person found this review helpful.

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

What the HAY? Yes folks, the tin aroma upon opening smelled like the fortified hay I used to feed the cows in ol'granpa's farm in Mexico. I was a little cautious but at least the flakes were beautifully folded in the tin and the moisture was perfect. I tried three different ways of packing (stuffing the flakes, stuffing with top third rubbed out, and completely rubbed-out). I preferred the flavor nuances in the stuffed procedure best(p.s.this blend is not sensitive to pipe size). Lighting was 2-3 lights (normal). Initial flavor it delicious Virginia with just a light tang. Mid-bowl: Flavor mellows with a hint of oatishness and subtle sweetness. Bottom third: Mellow, sweet, and rich Virginia. This is what all Virginia blends should aspire to.I have to say that this is the best VA blend I have ever smoked. Tongue-bite can be provoked, but you don't need to draw hard to get flavor. Strength is not too strong and I find some days I can smoke 3-4 bowls with nary a bite. I don't know what else to add but to say: "go get some tins now!" The only draw backs to this blend are that I can't enjoy my other VA blends anymore, they just leave me wanting what MF has to offer and this blend is a little pricey. Rating: 5 out of 5 points

1 person found this review helpful.

Gae Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gae (46)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

16th-Sep-2003. Everything about Marlin Flake,I love so I won't go on forever.Easy to light and stay's lit with ease. Offers a very nice flavour and doesn't bite the tongue. Stayed dry to the last puff offering a very nice flavour without being boring. I agree with the positives in the previous reviews. Most enjoyable and earned 4 Stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

An enjoyable smoke, it has a mild sweet spicy flavor. It needs some drying when freshly opened. I liked it best when it was corsley rubbed.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Sunday Evening Pipe Smoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Sunday Evening Pipe Smoker (41)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is one of those tobaccos that I had expected great things from, but its turned out to be a big disappointment for me.

I've tried it fresh out of the tin and also letting it age, but I'm finding the same result.

The room note is the first pipe tobacco I've had where it reminds me of cigarettes -- immediate turn off for me.

Flavour wise there is some Virginia sweetness, but there is too much perique for my liking and it gives me a "bitey" sensation on the tongue that I am not fond of (one reviewer here also called it a "tingly" sensation); whatever you want to call that sensation, it's not good. That mixed with grassy Virginias just doesn't seem to be something I respond to terribly positiviely.

The best thing about this blend for me is the tin note, which is has a nice malty-sweetness to it. However, this doesn't translate over into the flavour.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

In AD 3978, when Charlton Heston discovers the remains of the Statue of Liberty on the Planet of the Apes, he'll also find my tin of Marlin Flake kept at optimal smoking moisture by enough humectant to render it nearly fireproof.

It's good tobacco underneath all that propylene glycol, and in the rare moments that it's burning right Marlin Flake is an excellent step up in flavor from Old Gowrie. But I have had this 100gm tin open for 6 months and it still burns like garbage through all the goop. Not in a jar, mind you ... it's just hanging out in the Rattray tin as spongy and pliable as your B&M's favorite PG-slick cherry aro after 6 months in a leaky ziplock.

At least Hal and Old Gowrie are still smokeable, I'll leave the Marlin Flake for after the apocalypse.

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wawalsh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wawalsh (8)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Wow, this is great tobacco! I have been on a Vaper kick this summer and I love this tobacco. I vacuum sealed some from a pound I purchased and it melted together causing a brick to form. Great stuff, I just ordered another pound of this tobacco.

Pipe Used: Every pipe I own.

Age When Smoked: 3 years

Purchased From: Smoking pipe.com

Similar Blends: I don't know..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bence Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bence (34)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Very full and complex taste based on the sweet side of the virginias. Always a pleasure to smoke this one. My actual vaper favorite. Highly recommended!

Pipe Used: Falcon, Jeppesen, Peterson, MMCorncob

Age When Smoked: new

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kunsan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kunsan (76)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Strong Full Tolerable to Strong

I'm a relatively new pipe smoker, so please bear that in mind. When I smoke my pipe I'm looking for a period of relaxation and contentment - a enjoyable experience. This pipe tobacco doesn't give me that. For newer smokers not aware of different pipe tobaccos, please be warned that this Marlin Flake contains a lot of Perique tobacco which has a peppery, spicy flavor. Smoking Marlin Flake is rather like trying to smoke a pepper pot - lots of hot, spicy, fiery and peppery smoke. I don't like it at all - to me, it's like going through a slow drawn out torture - so much spice that my tongue becomes hot (not tongue bite - spice bite) and there's an astringency that can be felt in inner cheeks.

I feel the name of this tobacco is misleading. It should be called Rattray's Hot Spicy Peppery Tobacco - Marlin's Flake doesn't describe it and nowhere on the tin is there any warning of its peppery flavor.

Admittedly underneath the peppery top note there's some deep good virginia flavor and sweetness, and obviously some high quality stuff has gone into this blend. The problem (for me) is that the peppery stuff overpowers the good stuff. By the end of a bowl my mouth is feeling hot, spicey and toasted, and that's not what I want from my smoking experience.

I'm aware that there are many pipe smokers who love this peppery Perique tobacco, and for them this might be a 'go to' smoke. It's certainly very high quality. But for me there's too much spice.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

p120d16y Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
p120d16y (19)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild Mild Very Mild Pleasant

I've just received approximately a half ounce sample from a member on PSF from 2003. I've given it a run in three different sized briar pipes, and here is my verdict.

This is a well aged sample, that being said it doesn't seem like an aged Virginia blend. I like the flavor I'm getting from the second half of the bowl down to the heel, but at charring light and the first 10 minutes in, not too much flavor. It feels as if the blend doesn't have too much backbone to it. I'm primarily a VaPer smoker, but this tastes like an extremely mellow tangy Virginia. To me, it isn't a bad blend of tobaccos at all, it's just not standing out or anything yelling at me to keep in the cellar. I'd say worth a try, but it probably won't end up being something you can smoke daily, or might not even want to smoke it regularly.

Pipe Used: small,medium, large billiards

Age When Smoked: 2003

Purchased From: Sample from someone

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philosopher Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philosopher (27)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild Tolerable

The best thing about this tobacco is the amazing fruit aroma that you get on opening the tin. The smoke itself didn't live up to the promise of the aroma, though it was still pretty decent. It had a tendency to get a little hot, though that may be down to me. A respectable tobacco, but not one that I'd rave about.

Age When Smoked: new

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joeray Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joeray (61)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an awesome blend. The tin note is very good, i can smell a mature virginia on it. Easy rub and easy to pack into the bowl and the taste is very great. Is more better from other Virginia - Perique blend that i ussually smokes. The perique taste is good, little bit spicy on nassal exhile but is perfect, with a little bit fruity or somekind of citrus aroma. The sweetness from the virginia is very pleasant, if i smoke it slowly with a cup coffee the smoke is pleasant and mellow. The relight taste is still good, i dont loose any joy when i relight it. There is no bad taste, still sweet with a tin fruity/citrus like taste. And sure will this blend will be my favorite blend.

Similar Blends: McClelland Bulk No. 2015.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

For me, trying to decide which of the “Big Three” Virginia blends from Rattray, Marlin Flake, Hal O' the Wind and Old Gowrie is a bit like trying to say which one of your children you love the most. After smoking each for about five years and yet I am still struggling to determine my favorite of the bunch. I enjoy all of them. Marlin Flake seems to have the least amount of spice of the three and maybe it is just in my mind, but when very slowly sipped I do get a hint of the Black Cavendish. In my book, MF is the gentle one of the bunch, exhibiting a wonderful profile when very slowly sipped. Puff MF a little too hard and the subtle flavors are quickly lost. MF is sweet, a bit complex and a worthy Virginia forward blend. I tend to find it a little less sweet (when aged) than Old Gowrie and I tend to reach for the “big brother” of the bunch, Hal O' the Wind, the most often because of the bolder flavors and rougher edges that HOTW possesses. I prefer all of them aged as opposed to new. That is about the best I can do. I have not smoked anything other than the K&K versions, but after messing around with these three for the past several years, I guess it is safe to say that MF, while good, is my least favorite of the three. However, I will always have a few tins of MF on hand. Clear as mud??

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sirchud68 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sirchud68 (58)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Wow, good stuff. As soon as I opened the tin I got this stewed fruit, cane syrup, apricot with touch of chocolate aroma that really knocked me out. I was in such a rush to try that I didn't let it dry enough and blundered my first bowl. Patience, I tell myself, this flake isn't going anywhere. Did I mention how cool the flakes come? Two long strips roll together. Presentation is a big part of my smoking hobby and I love the way this blend is offered to us. The only other blend I've tried that reminds me of Marlin Flake is Mac Barens HH Matured Virginia. Although I really seem to like younger, brighter virginias(a la' Mac Barens Virginia no. 1, Golden Slice, Luxury Navy Flake) Marlin Flake is a very good smoke that I would recommend to anyone.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TW (34)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

This is a very well balanced, high quality tobacco. There's just enough Perique to make things interesting (more than OG or HOTW), with enough Cavendish "de-bite" the Virginia without swamping it with steamy sweetness and generally smooth out the blend.

It starts very mild, almost tasteless (especially if too wet), but gradually builds through the pipe, gathering strength and depth as it goes - OG and HOTW tend to be quite monochrome, but not Marlin Flake. The smoke is smooth, and it burns slowly and steadily, with little tendency to bite or need constant relights.

At no point could you call this a "full" tasting tobacco, but I find that as a gentle, easy to smoke and enjoy first pipe of the day in particular it excels. Out of the three Rattray VAs I'm inclined to regard this as my favourite. What it lacks in strength against the others, it makes up for in complexity and subtlety.

Highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

J.G. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.G. (7)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This tobacco is a sweet Virginia, with a blossoming of flavors, and light to medium intensity.

From what I can tell, Rattrays Marlin Flake is a straight Virginia tobacco. Hence, it is sweet. If you don't like sweet tobaccos, you may not like this. If you do enjoy sweet tobaccos, you will probably like this. And if you are smoking aromatics, this can convert you to smoking pure, natural tobacco.

It is pressed into long flakes (that look like strips of beef jerky). It is easy to break off a piece and rub it out before placing in the pipe. There is a some moisture. When I smoked it straight from the tin, there was sometimes a little “gurgling” in the pipe, and I sometimes needed to relight it. It smokes evenly, with no tongue bite (unless it is rushed), leaving a fine white ash.

The flavor experience is blossoming. With the charring light, the smoke starts with an array of bright, sweet tobacco flavors. Midway down the bowl, the tobacco becomes seasoned by the smoke, and the flavor becomes more moderate. By the bottom of the bowl (especially in a bigger bowl), the smoke is still sweet but it has a darker and more robust flavor. The experience is comparable to tasting bright pale honey, then medium yellow honey, then a richer amber honey. In a bigger bowl, the flavor can mature into something comparable to a buckwheat honey.

It is reasonably priced. In September 2011, I bought a tin of 100 grams (about 4 ounces) from marscigars (online) for $18 plus postage.

This was an engrossing and enjoyable smoke: both for the sweetness, and for the experience of tasting the tobacco as the smoke continuously seasoned it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This is once again, a jar I have had cellared since 8/02.

This is my first blend from Rattray's. Comprised of a great mix of dark and bright leaf, it has a sweet but sour fermented aroma that I thoroughly enjoy. This packs and lights fairly well. It can bite if puffed too hard. I give this a solid 3 stars, and look forward to venturing into more Rattray's blend. Good morning smoke.

Just like Laurel flake, this also paired well with a Grand Marnier.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

meerkat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
meerkat (64)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I recently tried three of the Virginia blends (Marlin Flake, Hal O' The Wynd and Old Gowrie) from Rattray as they tend to get lumped together and I wanted to know what seperated them.

I would say MF is the least strong of the three. Although I'd still say it was at the medium end of mild to medium, just a step behind OG and a couple behind Hal.

Taste wise, it's a Virginia/Cavendish led blend with slight hints of perique. Slightly toasty, slightly tangy, slightly sweet. Steamier in mouthfeel (the Cavendish) and less pronounced but tangier in taste than the other two.

Can bite a bit too readily for my liking but nothing very serious.

Good, but not bold enough to bring me back very often.

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 Virginia is sweet and strong when you pop the top. Bran muffins, prunes, fruitcake, cured hay, oatmeal, molasses, a background note of tart, freshly cut rye. I've tried but can't smell anything but perfectly blended, pressed and aged Virginia. There may be some difference between the tin photo and description at the top of these pages and what is being sold now. The tin I have says it‘s “Made in Germany“. Not Denmark as the description here says. Also my tin doesn‘t mention Perique or Cavendish, the description simply says, “Full Dark Virginia Flake“. If these other tobaccos are in there, then the blenders have wisely kept the ratio way down. The German version smells delicious, even caught whiffs of chocolate. I love aged Virginia, and Rattray hasn't disappointed me yet.

I like the long flakes, just reach in and pinch off perfect pack-able pieces, I don't need to pull out a whole flake - stop playing with it and shove it in.

Lighting up brings warm cookies, pancakes, sweet grains, delicious chewy Virginia. Like Hal O' The Wynd this one is complex, but the flavors are more married, quieter, more subtle. The tobacco blend is older here and the Virginia is oilier and juicier. More nicotine, a little more tartness, cool comparatively - but it will still bite if hurried.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

maigret fan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
maigret fan (74)
★★★☆
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

I got the 50g tin. The tobacco is dark and the aroma already satisfactory, with something which smells like caramel but not in the way of some aromatic tobaccos. I have smoked the Martin's flake for some years - one or two tins a year - among other flakes. This one is never disappointing, the aroma developping well during the smoke. I did not noticed the bites on the tongue mentioned in other reviews. One of the good among the very interesting Ratray line!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (108)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This is a good stout VA tobacco. I've only had a few samples here and there so my thoughts and impressions may be limited on this one. I do know that I've enjoyed it every time. A good sipping blend will for sure bite if you aren't watching your smoking pace. I really like this one, it reminds me of some of the G&H VA blends, dunno if it's topped or not, but a very decent VA smoke. I really want to compare it to Hal O' The Wynd with a decent amount of both at some point. Hope to have a bit more to say about this one when I get around to trying it again, but even without that, I would still recommend it as a great blend, it's also a favorite of a good friend of mine, so we have his word to go on as well and not just mine!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

As tobaccos go, the flakes of Marlin Flake are beautiful. The packing is a bit hard to handle, but once removed and you begin to rub the flakes out, you are treated to a wonderful appearance and aroma. In color, the tobacco is fairly uniform, with flecks of black and spots of gold in a predominantly golden-brown. The aroma is really Virginia, sweet with a slightly acrid undertone. Marlin Flake ships wet, though. My advice would be to dry the flake a bit before rubbing out. I allowed it to dry fairly well, yet even in my Ashton Quaint, a dry smoker, I noticed a bit of gurgle. Once rubbed out (and I like to rub my flakes pretty fine), this tobacco packs quite easily. On the charring light I knew I was in for a Virginia treat. The initial taste is mild to medium, fairly one-dimensional, and nicely sweet. Further into the bowl the tobacco develops a nice, sort of acrid undertone typical of Rattray's Virginias, and which I find to be quite pleasant. I was also quite pleased with the aroma I detected while smoking. Each time I smoked the blend, I was a bit disappointed by the very end of the bowl. Though the flavor was still there, it became a bit more acrid and slightly bitter. That said, however, the aftertaste of the blend is wonderful. Some tobaccos make me want to run to the Biotene but Marlin Flake leaves a taste in the mouth that is worth savoring for a while. I'm becoming a fan of Rattray's Virginia blends. This tobacco and Brown Clunee are two examples of why.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Marlin Flake developed into a great flavor with enough Vitamin N to satisfy. Great stuff & I bought some extra for cellaring. Tin aroma was out of this world with a slight chocolaty, cherry aroma mixed with hay. MF is not an aromatic blend but sort of smells like it. The flakes are a combination of dark & light brown tobacco. A thoroughly enjoyable smoke if you prefer this type of blend. Marlin Flake is one of my favorites, ranking in the top five & I will always have an open tin at the ready. One of the best blends of this genre, IMO!

MF is one of the first pipe tobaccos I tried & it left me well satisfied... incorporating a sweet Virginia flavor with a medium strength. My review was based on a 50g tin with the light brown label rather than the newer yellow labels. I edited this review because I noticed that the contents of the newer, square tins seem to have a sweeter topping added as it left a slight, sticky residue on my fingers after rubbing it out. I didn't notice this so much six years ago.

Initially MF presented a slight bite, which is typical of a primarily Virginia blend but will subside completely after a little burns off. It is best served up in a deeper bowl to obtain the maximum flavor but is scrumptious in any size pipe. MF has a good burn rate and tastes delicious to me. FWIW, I prefer Virginia blends over Burley. It burns down to a light gray & white ash. I see no need to pursue other similar blends & wouldn't spend more $$ trying to find anything better. A great offering from Rattray. Four stars without reservation.

Pipe Used: Peterson Deluxe Size Three

Age When Smoked: Fresh Tin

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (227)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

I haven't smoked a Rattray's blend since my experience with Rattray's Black Virginia many years ago. That one never seemed to dry out sufficiently for smoking and was quite a tasteless experience for me. Not so with Marlin Flake. My sample was from a 50gm tin. Upon opening the tin, it was packed as a folded belt of Virginia Flake tobacco. Its appearance and tin aroma was identical to Wessex Campaign Dark Flake. I detected a molasses-like presence. If it wasn't for the tin lid under each tin, I couldn't tell them apart from one another by appearance and aroma alone. Its moisture content was just right for smoking. A piece broken off and stuffed in my pipe took to the match with ease and required one re-light after the initial two. It smoked superbly - never hot, without bite and moisture. It tasted just like CDF as well with the addition of the Perique adding its distintive - yet not over the top - presence to the mix. As I found Reiner's LGF a spicier version of Orlik's Golden Slice, I find Marlin Flake a spicier version of Wessex CDF. This theme and variation adds to the variety of fine flakes that are available for smoking. Just for the record, I prefer Marlin Flake over Long Golden Flake as the Perique is not quite as forward and there is a bit more natural (not cased like Reiner's) sweetness with MF. Aging this one brings out the nice Virginia sweetness. As I am not a huge fan of Perique in most blends, with MF, it was just right for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

donmartinthree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
donmartinthree (22)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I went to my tobacconist to see what Va/Per I wanted to try after having had dunhill's navy rolls and this was recommended to me.

for some reason I wish I'd just gotten germain's brown or something instead of insisting on a Va/Per, because I'm somewhat disappointed.

it smells great from the tin, it looks great and it feels great in my hands and so I was expecting it to smoke accordingly. it's REALLY moist, so my first mistake was to smoke it out of the tin. the next time I air-dried it for about an hour. it still doesn't really give me what I expected. I guess I should've taken hal o the wynd instead. I was expecting deep, rich, somewhat spicy virginia, not candy-sweet-like. it's still not a bad tobacco, it's just not what I wanted to spend 18 euros on. I'm also missing that perique tang and spice.

I'd probably not buy this again, I'd get one of the other 'holy trinity' tobaccos or another tin of the delicious navy rolls. or maybe st. james flake. whatever.

I'll still smoke this tin, and I also have some of it in mason jars, so maybe it'll be better in a year or two.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (129)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Marlin Flake is a first-rate tobacco: it even looks like what a tobacco should look like! If there's a casing, I don't know what it is: I certainly can't detect any. This seems to be to be a pure natural tobacco with a wonderfully clean yet complex Va/Per flavour.

MF is a tobacco to be smoked at leisure; you won't enjoy it if you rush it or if you're too distracted to concentrate on the nuances of flavour. It has a deep, distinctive taste with lots of shades and subtleties that play in and out as your bowlful progresses. Dry it a bit (it comes a little moist in the tin), fold and stuff, and take it slowly: it will reward you with a cool and satisfying smoke that retains its quality all the way down. In nicotine terms it's strongish, but not unbearably strong. SWMBO and the others don't mind the room note, either – and that's a big plus point. I find that smoking it in a big billiard bowl allows the tobacco time to settle down and give of its best.

I think I prefer Old Gowrie to MF. There isn't all that much difference, as far as I can tell; but OG has just that little extra touch of Perique. MF is a quite outstanding flake tobacco, however, if you like your tobacco uncased and as nature intended. The only negative is that it's relatively expensive. Worth it, though: highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Rich and medium-bodied, this is a loooong Virginia flake that is certainly worth keeping in the regular line-up. (The contents of my tin were so different from what Serad described in "Trial by Fire" that I can only guess the blend has changed dramatically in the last few years.) Although it doesn't deliver quite the same level of sweetness that Hal o' the Wynd does, it also doesn't require the measured, careful smoking that HotW does.

NOTE: If perique is actually present in this flake, it is in such microscopic amounts that it's virtually undetectable; I'm extremely sensitive to perique (and not in a good way), but I couldn't determine whether it was here or not. Also, any cavendish present in the flake was handled with a very light hand. I'm not saying that perique and cavendish aren't here; I'm just saying that they are used (if at all) in such small quantities that they manage to enrich the Virginias without ever calling attention to themselves.

This is a truly rewarding smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (110)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I thought I'd reviewed this about a year ago when I first tried it, never mind, I was impressed when I first tried Marlin Flake, I'm still impressed now as I sit here with a pipe gently smoldering, you know I can't for the life of me think why I haven't been smoking this to death for the last twelve months or so, but I haven't, for some reason or another it fell out of rotation and the tin I thought I had stashed away turned out to be Old Gowrie. A telephone call and 48 hours later, I'm ready.

A dark folded ribbon of flake is extracted from the tin, partialy rubbed out, this is left to dry on newspaper for 24 hours, the aroma of the tobacco is rich and complex, I would have said an aged Virginia and been hoplessly wrong. It is it seems, a Cavendish, Perique, Virginia Flake, and beautifully done.

Loads and lights easily with a single match and already, the tobacco warns me not to puff to hard as a bite will be the reward, the taste is rich and sweet, without being too sweet and cloying, red wine and raisins come to mind. It has been noted that this is similar to Dunhill Flake, I cannot resist, and light a pipe Of Dunhill Flake for a side by side comparisson. I agree entirely. However, I always remember DF having a Buttered Bread like flavour, am i getting gentle hints from both ? Is DF immitating Marlin Flake ? or is Marlin Flake immitating DF ? Either way, both are superb, an excellent all day smoke.

I have one tin open and two in reserve, time to buy some more. I'm not going without this one again. Four well earned stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

orka Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
orka (64)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

As I am always on the look-out for good flakes, the turn eventually came to Marlin Flake. The first bowlfuls puzzled me somewhat, because I did experience the flatness other reviews mentions, so I had to experiment with different pipes in order to get a feel for it. Rattray's seem to be terribly picky with the pipe you use, how you pack it, dry it and smoke it. When conditions are met, however, this is a good and tasty tobacco. It is rich and nuanced (though not quite as satisfying as HotW) bitter-sweet and a little nutty. Red wine/port has been mentioned in describing the taste, and I suppose that's pretty accurate.

It has a decent nicotine hit, which for me makes it a good companion to the morning coffee. When smoked outdoors it seems to open up a little also, all for the better, which makes this a likely candidate for further outdoor activities.

All in all this is a nice tobacco. Good, but not outstanding.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

eamonclever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
eamonclever (45)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

This is one of my favourite tobaccos, which I used to smoke on a daily basis. This means one large pipe or two smaller pipes a day. I have to say I love all the VA mixtures quite a lot but I make weekly changes with some hard stuff like english mixtures (Squadron Leader)on occasion. When it comes to ripe sweetness of leaf, overall high quality tobacco,pleasure and excitement - MF is one out of my top ten. I smoke it in bowls of every variety, MF is easy to smoke in every bowl, I don´t rub it i fold and stuff it anbd sometimes I give it a rest in the bowl, within the smoking experience. Just 30 minutes and relight. This is a good way to detect the quality of the virginia leaf and MF passes every time. The rumor following the change of the blender is just a story of economy not of taste and quality. I therefore can´t detect any tongue bite or ingredients of bad quality considered here as an example for bad blending. This has nothing to do with taste, this points out a lack of smoking technique. Flake tobacco needs a good amount of experience and feeling. So this tobacco is definitely no weed for the beginner.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tavancleave Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tavancleave (8)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Marlin Flake has become my go to smoke over the past year or so. The flavor is sweet, but still maintains the smokey quality that I prefer. Also the room-note seems to agree with my girlfriend--she finds it tolerable and does not complain!! I find that it works best for me in the late evening because it is a very relaxing blend. This high quality leaf burns slowly and does not bite the tongue. When smoked slowly Marlin Flake is memorable and rewarding in many ways.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ian0077 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ian0077 (7)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a wonderful tobacco Marlin Flake. Just straight out of the tin very nice indeed.

For a change this tobacco lends itself to a little perique. If you have no perique try this. Sprinkle just a little freshly milled black pepper during filling your pipe and hey presto, what a beatiful smoke.

This is a top rate tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (47)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Marlin flakes doesn?t really need another rave review, but I?m not about to give it a bad one. I was on the Pulversbriars website looking to buy a pipe and Marty?s description of one pipe, I think it was Castello of some sort, was that his complaints about the pipe were like defining Marilyn Monroe by her mole. With that in mind my critique of Marlins flake, an easy four star rating for me to give, is that it?s very similar to three or four other rattray blends, all of which I gave four stars or intended too and haven?t reviewed. I think in a blind taste test I?d have a hard time telling you which was Hal Of The Wynd, Old Gowrie, Marlin Flake or that other one that slips my mind. If I guessed right I?d pound my chest and declare I be made king, but it?d be a lucky guess. Given my druthers they?d be four different exceptional blends, distinct and appetizing, instead of the one basic incredible blend with marginal and subtle differences. Rattrays just has a way with Virginian tobaccos. I think the difference with each one in any of their categories is the cut. Marlin flake is shaggy (I was expecting a flake) partially rubbed out mahogany/honey colored weed, it works well for me either rubbed all the way out or balled like a rolled flake and lovingly shoved in. It does come a bit moist both in bulk and the 100 gm tin (I haven?t had the fifty gram tin, I?m going to assume it?s moist) so it needs some drying first, but I can?t imagine anyone who likes a Virginian tobacco not falling in love with this. I?d compare it to something else, but it has no peers except for it?s almost identical twins, HOTW and Old Gowrie and that other one I can?t remember. For that matter It?s the same base flavor as Highland Targe.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is sweet Virginia Flake with sweet Cavendish, good quality tobacco with imbalanced sweetness, next to Old Gowrie but much sweeter and not as good as Hal O' the Wynd

If I have to buy 3 tins of Virginia from Rattray, I would choose 3 tins of Hal O' the Wynd

Marline Flake and Old Gowrie I really don?t care about.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sylvian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sylvian (28)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Dark Virginia, Black Cavendish and a pinch of Perique - that's what the manufacturer says about the ingredients, and the result is very impressive. The tin aroma was really one of a kind, and like mentioned by some reviewers, Marlin Flake smells almost edible.

Without any significant difference in nicotine content from Old Gowrie or Hal O'The Wynd, this delicious flake is richer and fuller in taste that OG. The added Cavendish gives it the heady note reminiscent of rich and sweet red wine.

Four stars for the top quality, but one star away for too little tobacco in the tin. Doctor, is that the yellow color of the tin that makes me so greedy?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I like the presentation in the tin, one giant flake, I love it's spiciness, needs some drying, it tastes as if there is some perique in the blend, but I don't think so. Dark, sweet, figs, rich, musty, spicey...with a nice gentle sourness there too...a great VA.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Little I can add to praise this blend. Like others have said, this is better off left out to dry for a while before consuming. If you do this, it's hard to find a more pleasant experience. MF delights me from the first to the last puff with an increasing strength that keeps my palate awake. To me, this is the main difference compared to Old Gowrie, which stays pretty much the same from top to bottom.

Most people find HoTW stronger than Marlin Flake, but I only find it sharper. To me, the strength rank is: 1) MF; 2) HoTW; 3) OG.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (74)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I've been smoking pipes for over twenty years but alas never tasted the famed Rattrays when they were made in Perth. So my experience has only been in the post-Perth age. Marlin Flake was a fairly regular go to tobacco for me in the 1990's. I always enjoyed it in my rotation. Around 2000 I moved away from it, no particular reason, I just did. Last year I decided to revisit it and picked up a 50gr. tin. The first bowl left me feeling well it's ok but...

By the second and third bowl I began to rediscover an old friend. Has it changed ever so slightly over the years, probably. But I'm now three tins later and happy with my renewed relationship.

This blend has been heavily reviewed and some seem irritated that it has received so many accolades. Perhaps it gets high marks for some very simple reasons. It's a tasty virginia with no bite, easy to pack and always reliable. New and old pipe smokers alike can enjoy it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (187)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

MF got so many reviews, I will cut it the shortest possible. This can I'm going to finish is marked "blended by", but sure it's of the K&K production. MF is a medium flake in all senses. The kind of tobacco I usually bring with me in the working hours. It comes very wet, and just after the three or more months I got it opened it's not still dry enough. It's a pity that I realize just now when only a few bowlful do remain in the can, that MF gives the best when dried. I do agree with the guy who says that there may be a touch o Perique. I'm not very convinced of it's renowned qualities, so only two stars for the moment. But I want like this tobacco, so I'm going to buy another 100grms can which I'll let sleep unsealed for six months at least.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This tin has been in my tobacco storage unit (closet) for a year and a half. It was first opened about 4 months ago and was a bit damp to be a good smoker. At this time I would rate M.F. a solid three and one-half stars. Still a bit sharp on the tongue and palate to rate a full four stars. Excellent flavor though I still prefer Old Gowrie (Rattray's) for a smoother smoking experience.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SopwithCamel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SopwithCamel (255)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When I first tried this, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps the anticipation was just too much.

I let it sit sealed in the tin to dry for about a week. POW! What a difference! It was just too moist. I loaded a clay cutty and marveled. It indeed has something of a sweet potato flavor, and hints of port. The caramelized sugar in the blend as it burns is scrumptious, and occasionally a nice toasty flavor comes through.

Really delicious with a mild, black coffee, or a full bodied tea.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Moe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Moe (46)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I wanted to like this blend, I mean I really wanted to. Many a piper both online and off have sang the praises of this tobacco to me, so I had the right attitude when I was packin that first bowl. But alas I will be the one to say it..... The King has no pants! This tobacco can blister your tongue.

UPDATED

Im upgrading Marlins status, because I have found that with 6 months age, It really gets much smoother.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tcphll Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tcphll (1)
★★★★
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

I'm somewhat new to virginias, being more used to English blends. I am very pleased with this tobacco. Very smooth and somewhat sweet without being cloying. Definetely recomended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (180)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Simply a wonderful stoved Virginia flake. You should try this at least once, just to see how good pipe smoking can really be. This is the reason for the existence of briar!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bugenhagen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bugenhagen (9)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Back in the 80s I went through a Rattray obsession. At any given time I had tins of every mixture they made and loved most of them. But none of the tobacconists I lived near ever carried Marlin Flake, so I never heard of it until relatively recently.

One of my favorite mixtures is Old Gowrie, and so when I read that Marlin Flake was a related mixture, I thought I'd give it a try.

The first thing I was surprised about was the length of the flakes - about a foot long, rolled up in the tin. I took them out and cut them into about 3 inch lengths, which is just enough to fill the pipe I use to smoke it

I rub my flakes out well before loading my pipe, and I must say that MF rubs out very nicely. The tin aroma is delightful; dark and sweet. This carries well into the actual smoking.

After rubbing it out, I usually let it sit for 5 minutes or so to dry out a bit. This helps in lighting and keeping it lit throughout the smoke.

At first light, there is a barely perceptible hint of flavoring. Maybe it's just the sweetness of the mixture, but I think there is a slight topping. This fades once the pipe is well lit.

Dark sweetness and clean mildness are the characteristics of the smoke throughout. MF is strong, but subtly so. I find that I can smoke this throughout the day with great satisfaction, and not get overwhelmed or bored by it.

Since I've been smoking it I have largely eschewed the other blends that I usually smoke, and do not miss them. There is no harshness or acridity here, just deep, mellow enjoyment.

This may turn out to be my all time favorite.

Bugenhagen

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

When the mist is rolling down the hills ones thoughts turn to cooked virginias like Stonehaven, Marlin Flake and Full Virginia Flake. Though, to be entirely honest, it is not only the mist that provokes such thoughts.

More than a decade and a half ago the assistant at the Davidoff shop in Geneva - where I had gone to pick up some Old Gowrie - recommended Marlin Flake to me. I have reason to be grateful to him as it has become a regular companion. If FVF is the double bass struggling to sing against its own weight, and Stonehaven the viola singing with effortless warmth, Marlin Flake is the 'cello in between - expressive, deep and contemplative.

On the whole I would rate Stonehaven the highest in the genre, but Marlin Flake is a close second. Wonderful stuff, worth every penny.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

stoic066 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
stoic066 (7)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

This is my first review. This bland has been reviewed extensivelly but I will try to add some of my observations. I purchased can of MF about two years ago on one of my trips to Tennesee ( cannot remember which store). Upon openning the smell was of Virginia, with plum, good red wine maybe Pinot Noir. This is one of the tobaccos that you want to taste by chewing. My 100 gm. can contained roll of dark brown tobacco with lighter brown and reddish strands. It was almost one and a half foot long. It was slightly moist so I let it air for about 45 min. It rubbed out easily. Packing was not a problem but it took me several trials to light it up ( always the case with my flakes ), but once it stayed lit I did not have to relight it until about 3/4 into the bowl. It is one of the easiest flake one the tongue that I have smoked. The taste is very even until the end and it burns fairly cool. The ash was briliant white ( I was told that white ash color is due to high content of calcium in the soil tobacco plant grows on ). My previous favorite flake was Astley's Royal Tudor but this one is better. It will become my every day flake of choice. Highly recommended!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

My first review. Might as well start with one of the best. One of my favorite Virginias. Aroma, texture and taste that takes a whipping from no other tobacco. Packs and lights well; equally good relaxing indoors with an ale or outdoors after a long hike by a fire. This is the leaf I return to after sampling other Virginias while searching for the same elusive taste and experience as Marlin Flake. A naturally tasty, chewy, rewarding smoke. Ahhh... "Another ale barkeep," as I pack another bowl.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Some people had the fortune of finding this early. It took me 31 years. This will be my last virginia and may it forever be made.

The poetic extolling and high hailing in the above reviews may seem excessive, but only to those who haven't tried it. I'm at at odd loss for words, and I can't type my joy at having found this wonderful stuff.

Update 1/11 I must have been having a good day that day. I still love it, yet cycle among latakia-, oriental-, burley- rich blends with VA and return to this as my home base. How some smoke the same thing 365 days a year is a mystery.

Mostly, I want to complain about the lack of accuracy of the component listings at the top. They need to be accurate for this site to be useful. They used to be accurate. What happened? My tin states "Full Dark Virginia Flake". It is. No perique, no cavendish. And yes, it is wonderful.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

All of the above praises are well deserved for this high quality product. My "I smoke this on occasion" rating is due to the fact that I regard this as a "contemplative" smoke. I enjoy this most late at night, when the family has gone to bed, when there's nothing on television, when I don't feel like reading and all that are left are my thoughts, my pipe and Marlin Flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Marlin Flake beats them all! This is the best VA flake i've ever tried.

It's pure VA, no topping added, but nonetheless Rattray's hit the jackpot in some mysterious way. The above reviewers said it all.

If I was stuck alone on a desert island, this one would be the tobacco I could smoke for the rest of my life and never get tired of.

Yes, I admit that MF gives you a quite monochromatic smoke, but it is so good that you wouldn't want it to change through the entire bowl.

I was lucky once, to get hold of a 5 year old tin. The experience here, was twice as good as with a fresh one. Buy 20-30 tins and hide them in your cellar for future holy experiences.

Jakob Kiilerich, Denmark

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I do not have the time to describe the attributes of this tobacco in detail as others do. However, as I do wish to contribute some feedback, I will simply rate this tobacco on a scale of 1 ?10, including tenths.

I rate this tobacco 9.9 out of 10. I am a fan of the Rattray baccys.

Nobody has rated this review yet.