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Iwan Ries

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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
Packaging50g Tin, 100g Tin
CountryDE
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy Iwan Ries
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Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 29 Users

3.4
184 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
105
3 star:
47
2 star:
25
1 star:
7
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Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (298)
★★★★
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...

12 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.

10 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★★☆
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 dimentional although the taste perked up a bit 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!

7 people found this review helpful.

Montague Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Montague (32)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Rattray?s Marlin Flake is a semi-stoved Virginia flake that is blended by Kohlhase, Kopp and Co. of Hamburg, Germany.

The tin aroma of Marlin Flake is wonderfully pleasing. This aroma is full and smells of sweet ripened figs with chocolate/molasses undertones. Marlin Flake is composed of Virginias of varying grades. The flakes are primarily dark in color but are completely striated throughout with red/brown and golden/orange shades.

The cut of Marlin Flake is a very long (sometimes as long as 8 inches!) flake with a medium width and thickness. The long handsome flakes are coiled neatly around one another inside the 50 gram tin. This Virginia flake tobacco is velvety soft and rubs out easily without any tearing. Marlin Flake can be rubbed out to a ribbon consistency if desired. Marlin Flake is a more dense tobacco and this facet of the flake should be taken into consideration upon packing. The initial moisture content is quite high but curiously enough does not tend to affect the burning or bite characteristics of this blend in any negative manner.

Marlin Flake lights easily enough for a Virginia flake and it possesses an even, medium-slow burn. Marlin Flake does not leave any moisture in the bottom of the bowl. The room note is quite light and is not unlike other flue-cured Virginias.

The taste of Marlin Flake is sweet and uniform throughout without much complexity and lacks any hints of dark spiciness that are present in blends such as Butera?s Royal Vintage Dark Stoved flake. Even though Marlin Flake is quite sweet and rich, it is in no way overbearing or boring. Remarkably, Marlin Flake has very little if any bite even as the burn nears the bottom of the bowl. This is a true accomplishment for a Virginia flake blend, since these blends are notorious for their hot smoke. Marlin Flake is perhaps the coolest smoking Virginia flake on the market. No real drying is needed since Marlin Flake smokes reasonably cool from the start. The smoke produced is medium-thin.

Marlin Flake, although not as complex as some premium Virginia flakes, possesses a wonderful taste, burn, and tin aroma. These characteristics make Marlin Flake one of the premier Virginia flakes on the market today.

5 people found this review helpful.

Old Nate Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Old Nate (11)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant

I'm stealing this line from someone either on here or one of the forums, but I think this is what God smokes. This is review number one for me, but in my limited pipe experience, it's also 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!!! First review, hope I did well.

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: St. James Woods but more fruity. Best brown flake but more complex. Excellent!.

4 people found this review helpful.

PhillyB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PhillyB (40)
★★★★
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.

3 people found this review helpful.

thesmoggypipester Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thesmoggypipester (30)
★★☆☆
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).

3 people found this review helpful.

Kapnismologist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kapnismologist (30)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

A rolled belt of long dark brown flake streaked, veined, and flecked with brown and tan. Exceedingly moist in the tin, this sliced belt offers a rich, sweet bouquet of brown sugar, wood, and fresh earth with a slightly piquant top note reminiscent of stewed figs.

Pressed and stoved, according to its present manufacturer, Kohlhase & Kopp, Marlin flake is a ?dark flake comprised of dark Virginia, jet black Cavendish, and a whisper of Perique? (= dunkle Flake setzt sich zusammen aus Dark Virginia, tiefschwarzem Cavendish und einem Hauch Perique). In terms of presentation, the overall effect is that of a somewhat oily, dark stoved and pressed Virginia flake cut into a supple belt which requires both careful preparation and substantial drying time. In this, Marlin Flake stands out only as a typical representative of the genre.

Properly prepared, Marlin Flake packs and burns well, offering a range of sweet and earthly flavors and appears to possess enough complexity to maintain ones attention as the bowl progresses. While quite subdued, the Perique is noticeable now and again as is the slightly creamy body lent to the smoke by the Cavendish. As to be expected, however, it is the sugar-sauced and stoved Virginias which take center stage. Medium to heavy bodied with a sweet, rich, and occasionally bright finish, this is a flake which takes itself seriously. Quick to reward gentle puffing, it can bite if abused.

Despite the obviously heavy hand with the humectants and, unconfirmed but likely use of the preservative cocktails typical among the big European blending houses (e.g., potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, etc.), it should age well.

Overall, like many Kohlhase & Kopp offerings Marlin Flake is what it is. While devotees of the genre might find it worthy of some attention, to this reviewer ? who prefers his VAPERS, flake or otherwise, and their ilk unstoved and less processed ? the whole effect is rather uninspiring. On top of this, given the size of the tin, in this case a 100g. tumbler, the presentation is bit disconcerting ? why waste all that space just for the sake of uniform packaging in the line to which this particular preparation belongs? 100 grams of such a densely pressed flake does not take up much space at all. I suspect the 50g. tin presents a similar conundrum, although like the rest of K&K?s Rattray?s ?British Line? Marlin Flake is, however, readily available in bulk. I for one, however, will not be cellaring quantities anytime soon.

3 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.

2 people found this review helpful.

Rodricus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rodricus (22)
★★★★
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.

2 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.

2 people found this review helpful.

mrmcmc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mrmcmc (15)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Something in this blend has changed, and for the worse. I have smoked several 100 gram tins of this over the past few years. I have been smoking a tin now that has aged well over a year in the unopened tin. Each successive tin of this tobacco has been less and less exciting. This tobacco was delicious in its own dark way when Rattray's was producing this, but the new German concoction leaves much to be desired. I have smoked this fresh out of the tin, and after drying it out a bit, and I am not sure which is worse. This baccy is lacking in flavor and depth, and becomes astringent as you work your way down the bowl. I have smoked this in a Ser Jacopo, a Ferndown, a Caminetto, a Larsen, a Design Berlin, all to no avail. My present tin has just found its way into the backyard recycling bin! This tobacco has lost its way, its recipe has strayed far from the original, and I do not recommend this. There are many far better flakes available today, the majority of which are more reasonably priced than this one. Experiment elsewhere, and you will be more greatly rewarded.

2 people found this review helpful.

loosewatches Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
loosewatches (108)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Full Very Pleasant

Yet another update, my last, I promise. I'm not one to change my mind often. Wait a minute, maybe I am. Anyway, I don't like too many updates but, K&K just updated their website, and for what it's worth, I quote....

RATTRAY?S - BRITISH LINE MARLIN FLAKE Dieser dunkle Flake setzt sich zusammen aus Dark Virginia, tiefschwarzem Cavendish und einem Hauch Perique.

The words in question need no translation but here's one anyway:

This dark flake is made up of Dark Virginia, deep black Cavendish and a breath of Perique.

I have a tin of Marlin Flake on order, just because I really don't remember tasting any Perique in there, and I know I never tasted vanilla. We'll see. I hope I don't come off snooty by posting this, as I have never once, in all my life, actually snooted. By the way, I enjoy Mo's reviews quite a bit, and in no way intend to offend. Anyone. Unless they want to be. (Offended, that is). Happy smoke. p.s. Don't even ask about Hal O' the Wynd. (Kentucky and perique, too. Actually, almost all the Rattray pure Virginias aren't).

Another update,- regarding blend content. I did some research at one of my favorite German language tobacco sites, daft.de .There's a wealth of information on all things tobacco there. One thing you won't find there, I don't think, is this importer's descriptive. http://www.daft.de/downloads/oesterreichischer_tabak.pdf I add this only to try to be informative, I'm not endorsing anyone here... But there's that ingredient list again..VA/CAV/PER. aye aye aye.

--Update-- I'm removing a star, because the cans I've bought recently were sharp (the tobacco inside, not the cans themselves) and bitey. It seems the K and K has indeed filled some of the old 'blended in Perth' cans with their concoction, and it just isn't the same. As for the stickers on the can stating the blend includes things unvirginia, go figure. . . Still leaving it 3 stars for what it was, and may someday again be.(insert weepy violin music) ----------------------------------- Earlier. . . . .

I live in Austria, where this is both hard to find, and not the biggest seller. So, I've had both the 'blended for' and the 'blended by Charles Rattray at Perth' versions. I like them both equally and actually have found more variation from can to can as apposed to blender and country.

That said, I have to say my tongue and nose have always been a little supicious about the ingredients of this blend. 'Straight virginia'? they ask. hmmm maybe some dark stoved to boot. Well, the last 100 gram can I bought had a little surprise on the bottom. A sticker, in German.. It listed this as Marlin Flake, a Virginia with both, get this-- Black Cav. and Perique. I laughed. Then I went back and bought another tin and there was the same sticker on the bottom, go figure.

Anyway, I think this is best when mixed 50-50 with Black Mallory. Mix it one bowl at a time. I tried premixing about 50 grams and it turned into a bitter mess.

2 people found this review helpful.

Todd Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Todd (9)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

12/20/04 - Marlin Flake (new tin)

Tin: Marlin Flake arrives in the tin as a bundle of impressive 6" long flakes of mottled reddish-brown and black strands. A whiff reveals dark fruit notes over a core of good, strong natural tobacco. The moisture level in my tin was high, even for a Rattray's blend. Give this one some airing time.

Pack: I rub out all my flakes when I smoke indoors, and this one does so easily, breaking down into short strands that make loading easy. The strands are dense, so I find myself tending towards a looser pack.

Lighting/Burning: For such a dense flake, the tobacco lights relatively easily. An extra pass with the lighter at the outset is helpful just to make sure, but there isn't any need for extraordinary effort, which is nice. MF burns evenly down the bowl, but is an easy one to smoke hot. This is a flake that absolutely requires good technique.

Flavor: From a freshly-opened tin, MF is dominated by the sweetness of the red VA's, so much so that it's distracting. I believe that this is the source of the occasional comments that that MF is "syrupy". Fortunately, this sweetness dissipates after the tin has been opened for just a few days, making the core flavors of this flake - big, rich, slightly spicy low Virginia notes - that much more apparent. The flavor is fairly consistent across the bowl, gaining just a bit of strength at the bottom, but there's a lot to appreciate in MF's basic flavors. Tongue bite is definitely a possibility, though. I feel like I'm always just on the edge of smoking too fast with this flake.

Pipe/Technique: This is one of the rare flakes that I find really likes a slightly larger bowl, probably because of the benefit that the extra air provides to slow combustion. I've settled into Group 4 sized bowls as my favorite for this, sometimes breaking into Group 5 territory - though MF burns well and tastes good in even bigger pipes, I find the flavor to be strong enough as is. Regardless of the pipe, good smoking technique is essential here - this is the only blend I smoke where breath-smoking or some other kind of forced slow-smoking routine is absolutely necessary to avoid bite. And, as mentioned above, open the tin a few days early and let the flakes dry before rubbing-out.

Overall: In the arena of strong, straight VA's, this is a top contender. The core flavors of Marlin Flake are simply fantastic - rich, strong, natural VA at its best. It reminds me of Hal `O The Wynd, which I used to smoke almost exclusively but have not returned to for a couple of years. I look forward to opening a tin of Hal for comparison to MF sometime soon. My only reservation about Marlin Flake is the propensity to bite - I prefer blends that are a bit less precarious to smoke, and MF definitely requires my full attention. For that reason, I'm going to stop short of giving this a "favorite" rating just yet, but I look forward to seeing if the tins in my cellar mellow any with age. 3/4

Update 4/23/05 - It hasn't been long enough to break another tin of MF out of the cellar, but I did get a chance to smoke a tin of (unaged) HOTW recently. While there is a certain similarity in flavor between these tobaccos, I very much disagree with people that consider them "nearly identical". The sweetness in HOTW is much more subdued than in MF. Perhaps for that same reason, I find HOTW much easier to smoke. Maybe with more aging, the two will become more similar. Only time will tell... But for the moment, I find Hal to be much more to my liking.

2 people found this review helpful.

cruelraoul Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cruelraoul (24)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Sight: The typical Rattray round tin reveals dark, rich tobacco. Great aroma from the tin.

Touch: Still a little moist for direct smoking. This tobacco is best when thoroughly rubbed out.

Taste: Yet another great VA from Rattray. How it attains such a sweetness without compromising/interfering with its natural origins is unknown to me. Personally, this tobacco might easily be a tad "too sweet" for my every day smoke. I think that this tobacco could provide the allure to VAs for individuals who like flavored tobacco. But, as with other VAs, this should be initially approached somewhat delicately.

Smell: The wife didn't actually give me a review of this tobacco. I find it comparable to other Rattray VAs, but perhaps slightly more pungent.

Conclusions: MF is a great tobacco blend. It only fails to be "one of my favorites" simply because I find it falling in between two of my definitive favorites from Rattray (OG and HTW). My olfactory ruminations usually lead me towards one of my two "poles" (not the right word, but I think readers understand) in the VAs from Rattray, rather than selecting the one that is more centered.

2 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!!!!!

2 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.

2 people found this review helpful.

pecheur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pecheur (3)
★★★☆
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

1 person found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (67)
★★★★
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

DEN-C1956 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DEN-C1956 (28)
★★★☆
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!

1 person found this review helpful.

tobaccolover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tobaccolover (1)
★★★★
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

Perique Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perique (84)
★★★★
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (657)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

A great blend with hints of dried fruit. The black cavendish gently adds a nice, gentle sweetness that contrasts well with the perique and Virginia. The chocolate note is very slight and I'd just about swear there's a hint of Kentucky. The natural Virginia sweetness is not strong; just enough to enjoy, with some earthiness. The red Virginia is tangy sweet. The perique is not strong; just enough to add a light spice note, though it's not always noticeable. There aren't many mixtures where the components work as well together as this one does. Cool and slow burning, it never bites, and leaves a pleasant after taste. And it gets even better with age.

1 person found this review helpful.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (48)
★★★☆
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (224)
★★★☆
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, I'm reluctant to use that term, "SPICE", since I've heard it used when the tobacco is bitey or steamy, MF can be a little bitey if it is not 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 ( MacB's #1, only milder and not complex). 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 just has that spice tingle that makes it interesting. I've just 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

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★★
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

prison chaplain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
prison chaplain (38)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

ALERT!: FELLOW TOBACCO REVIEW MEMBERS!

THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. TONIGHT I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM AN EMAIL ADDRESS CLAIMING TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH TOBACCO REVIEWS. THE EMAIL CONTAINED THE NETSKY VIRUS. MY VIRUS SCAN CAUGHT IT IN TIME AND A SCAN OF MY ENTIRE HARDDRIVE IS ALMOST COMPLETE.

BUT BEWARE OF ANY EMAILS WITH ATTACHMENTS CLAIMING TO BE FROM ANY TOBACCO CLUB/WEBSITE/DISCUSSION GROUP ETC.

PRISON CHAPLAIN

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.

DUPE.629 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.629 (133)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Marlin Flake. April 2004. I received a sample from a friend,so I've had the pleasure of smoking five bowls.Two were in a small canadian & three in a large bent pipe. I cant wait to get my hands on more LOTS MORE!! This has to be one of the tastiest near perfect naturally sweet virginias I have ever had the pleasure of smoking. I rubbed the flakes out well in two trials with great results.Then,I just twisted or folded the flakes in the next two pipefuls. Any method resulted in easy lighing and a superb sweet smoke. No bitterness or sour notes here and burns to a very nice clean grey white ash. If you love or like virginias then you owe it to yourself to try this.'Pure Bliss' 10 out of 10.

1 person found this review helpful.

Charmander Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Charmander (5)
★★★★
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.

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,& stay's lit with ease.Great flavour,& doesn't bite the tongue.Stay's nice & dry to the last puff! Plus,a really nice flavour without being boring. All the positive's,in the former review's-I totally go along with! 10 out of 10.

1 person found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (260)
★★★★
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

I could smoke Marlin Flake all day but would worry about having enough for tomorrow. A fanastic Virginia. It's one of my top 5. Everything is right with this blend. Stands bold and full but is consistantly smooth in flavor. It seems more tangy then sweet to me with a spicey tone to it. The flavor or flavors stays stationary 95% thru the smoke but at the same time seems to want to breakout into different tributaries. One gets hints of different stages but it never leaves it's original introduction. Marlin Flake teases you all the way down and then upon completion, one reloads to savour it all over again.

The tin aroma starts pretty much the same way. Tangy at first but after several weeks I can smell a straight tobacco (old tobacco barn in the fall). A wonderful pure and true tobacco smell. One inwhich draws and seduces that tobacco lover in me. ................................................A Real Winner.

1 person found this review helpful.

Colonel Panic Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Colonel Panic (42)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a beautiful tobacco that comes in long flakes that are folded and inserted into the can. It rubs out fairly easily though it's quite dense, and the flavor is pure heaven with notes of honey and spice. Underneath that is a dark bass note of burnt oak and caramel - this tobacco goes equally well with bourbon whiskey, Cabernet Sauvignon, Earl Grey and Classic Coke, standing up well to their full flavors.

It burns cooly and well, and has an interesting characteristic: the ash has an odd yellow-gold color that never stops fascinating me. I've been told by Steve Books that this could be from a certain variety of Carolina tobacco which contains an oil that leaves a golden residue.

A great smoke in the dark matured Virginia vein!

1 person found this review helpful.

Nicotiana_rustica Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nicotiana_rustica (18)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bonneville Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bonneville (21)
★★★★
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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bluesmoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluesmoke (1)
★★★★
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 too strong in a harsh manner and is 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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (228)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Very Full Very Pleasant

Wow ! Very pleasing !First lets begin opening it ... one is greeted by the most auspicious sweet fruity aroma which is so enticing ! The flakes are lovely with a great moisture level making for perfection in rubbing and filling . It takes to lighting easily and does not require many re lights at all . Room note is as you would expect from the tobaccos used but pleasurable none the less . The taste is beautifully sweet and the smoke is of a lovely thickness too .. a great tobacco !

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

Nobody has rated this review yet.

p120d16y Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
p120d16y (4)
★★☆☆
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.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (203)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★★☆
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.

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!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

430pat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
430pat (39)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Yes sir, real great flake enjoy it very much will be buying more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Phantom55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phantom55 (29)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have been smoking the Rattray blends since the early seventies. They have for sure changed, but this is still a very nice smoke. I dry it about 45 min. and have no trouble lighting it or keeping it lit. I consider it medium in body and strength. Almost borders on being too sweet to me. It has an added flavored sweetener that tastes like caramel to me, but others think it is something else. The other two of the "big three" are less sweet, and I prefer them, but this one isn't bad either.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RonPiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RonPiper (5)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one fine tobacco that I have consistently smoked and enjoyed over the past years. I enjoy prepping this blend using my "sweetleaf" tobacco grinder. The flakes are just as described by previous reviewers. Dark, rich, molasses and figs. A little thicker than most flakes I tried it rubs out well using my grinder. I feel I'm getting the most out of this tobacco using this method. I'll grind out a nice little bit for future bowls and keep it in a little sealed container to have on hand ready to go. My pipe of choice for Marlin Flake is my Preben Holm Deluxe. Upon lighting you get a subtle sweetness with the strength of a Virginia. The perique hides in the background barely noticeable. This is a good thing if your new to vaper's. It will introduce you to perique without overwhelming you. Nothing else to say but a very nice flavorful smoke with a good nic content. This is number one in my rotation. I do find this blend increasingly hard to find. I can find Old Gowrie and Hal O' The Wynd all day but had trouble finding Marlin Flake. Found some on jrcigars.com and bought a few tins to keep in my cellar. Four stars all day.

Makin' my wife rich one bowl at a time...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

macpuffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
macpuffer (17)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

No need to discuss this blend in any detail.....it has all been said before. I love the taste...elusive sweetness that comes and goes as the smoke progresses...wonderful tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sirchud68 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sirchud68 (43)
★★★☆
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.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (149)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TW (25)
★★★★
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.

scottyspipesebay Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
scottyspipesebay (25)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild 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. I really like it now, but I'm going to leave it alone...for now.

Update: Ooooooh baby. Yes, very good with black iced coffee. Give it a shot, folks. Great combo!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (574)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Extremely similar to old gowrie. Both are very sweet and dried fruit-y. This one has a noticeable black cavendish flavor.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

William H. Hardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
William H. Hardy (31)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full 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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JasonDicker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JasonDicker (22)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Not much more can be said about this blend. Classic. Old world style tobacco. Genuine.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ErichPryde Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ErichPryde (9)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Marlin Flake was the second "Va" tobacco I tried when expanding away from only aros several years ago. Now that I'm a bit more of an experienced smoker, it still manages to hold a soft spot in my heart.

I love the presentation in the 100g tin- Long, lovely flakes that you can do what you will with- rub out, stuff, whatever you like. Some dry time from a fresh tin is an absolute must- This can bite when not dried properly. Normally that would lose this tobacco some points but once tried it behaves beautifully, smokes wonderfully, tastes amazing, and smells pleasant.

2 years ago I may not have detected the black cavendish. I do now, and I appreciate what it adds to this blend.

The perique adds just the right amount of pepper and spice.

And the virginias... spectacularly done!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

?pe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
?pe (41)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A sweet and subtle blend with a hint of bready sourness. Similar in taste (although not presentation) to Orlik's Bull's eye.

For this style of tobacco I can't fault it.

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 (120)
★★★☆
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.

ASKJDOG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ASKJDOG (5)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

A great smoke.. My current favorite, but maybe thats because I can't seem to get hold of Peterson's University Flake at my local store these days. As a novice smoker I didn't care much for Virginias, but now I like them, as long as they are not too sweet. This is a full flavorful smoke, has a really nice tin note, and I love the large folded flake I discovered in the 50g tin.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hennessy3336 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hennessy3336 (1)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

GOOD STUFF HINT OF DARKFIRED GRAPE FLAVOUR 3mm LITTLE BITE 9mm MILD

Nobody has rated this review yet.

N7COF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
N7COF (56)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Finally got around to trying a Rattray's blend & went through a 100 gram tin in less that ten days. Great Stuff, I reserve 4 stars for legendary blends so this is a strong 3 stars!

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.

TheSmokinDragon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheSmokinDragon (56)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

MF...WOW A wonderful smoke. The flake out of a 100g tin was glorious, long folded flake. I just cut off enough for a fold/bend (after about an hour or so of air-time) and stuffed into an Ardor Fantasy Bent Dublin, a relight here or there, but once going MF delivered GREAT flavors/slow sip'in style...pushed up a little on her and she warned me to back-off, but if you listen to her she gives you back great fruit-like flavors with some spice through the nose...this one I will keep in the rotation with a few 100g tins for the cellar...should get even better with some age....

Update 7/2011: key to this flake is "dry-time" almost as much as other MC blends, at least 2-12hrs and this stuff ROCKS everytime...just have to find the Sweet spot on dry time...others like Dunhill flake and Peterson UF only need 15-30minutes (much longer and try go dull) others like MF, MC blends, etc need at least 2hrs (I just take of enough for day or two and it is golden sweet dreams of flavor and no bite.....slow down and enjoy flavors...no bacci esp. straight Virginians or Vapers will take to intense puff'in but will rather return a Crack'in bite u won't forget :-) it is all about the sugars and overhea'in them) but get them to correct temp and it is pure heaven....takes time and experience but after awhile you will get it...took me 6-months to learn it...plan on spending the rest of my days daydream'in while sip'in sweet Vs

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe Gent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe Gent (8)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The first flake tobacco I tried, and moreover, the first virginia that I tried. After a year, it is about time I wrote a brief review: The flakes are large, aesthetically pleasing, and smell delicious in the tin. This makes trying a variety of flake packing methods an ease and joy as it is easy to work with the large "sheets" of tobacco. Great straight virginia taste from the top to bottom of the bowl, however my only criticism is that it is a bit too sweet for my tastes. The juicy sweetness is very natural and not synthetic in the least, and honestly very enjoyable for me from time to time when I am in a "sweet" tobacco mood. I finished 100 grams of this fine virginia and went on to try a variety of flakes thanks to its introduction. However, it is after I tried these other flakes that I realized I enjoy the full, robust flakes a little more, hence why Marlin Flake was a one night stand. This is not to discredit this tobacco, and I am sure in time I will come back to embrace and appreciate it in all its unique, sentimental glory--I will add that in merely writing this review, I almost want to rekindle the fleeting passion once again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

maigret fan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
maigret fan (57)
★★★☆
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 (89)
★★★☆
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.

Darwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darwin (101)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Marlin Flake is a challenge for me to review. It's a blend that under the correct situation can be a transcending experience, revealing all types of terrific flavors that are hard to find anywhere else. It can also frustrate the smoker with tongue bite and lack of flavor if everything is not just right. Having smoked Marlin Flake on and off (mostly off) for over 12 years I've learned what it takes to get the best from it, at least for me.

First, it needs some age. The 100g tin I'm smoking from now is over 10 years old. Marlin Flake doesn't need a full 10 years, but 2 or 3 years seem to be a minimum in my experience. Next, the beautiful long rolls of flake need to dry without losing the top-note that is added (anise or licorice perhaps). I do that by leaving it in the open 100g tin with the plastic top on for months. In this case about 4 months. Don't let it get too dry (i.e. crunchy). Once you've done this everything seems to fall into place pretty well.

It can be rubbed out or just stuffed in the pipe as is. Of course like any Virginia it still needs to be smoked slowly. Once you have a really great experience with Marlin Flake, you'll want to experience it again. That's just when you can get into trouble trying to rush one of the 2 steps listed above. If you're the patient type (many pipe smokers are), I highly recommend Marlin Flake for its moderate sweetness, dark fruit flavors and a touch of licorice. Marlin Flake can hit "the zone" almost immediately after lighting and stay there for the duration of the bowl. All of a sudden you'll realize that the bowl is finished with no ashy taste near the end and no dottle whatsoever.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (53)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

One of the first pipe tobaccos I tried which left me well satisfied...sampled from a 50g tin which I deemed better than the 100g can...might be that it already had a bit of age on it with the light brown wrapper, whereas the tin was the newer, yellow layout. Started off a little bitey which subsided after a couple of relights.

Eventually, this developed into a great flavor with enough Vitamin N to satisfy. Great stuff & I bought plenty for cellaring. Tin aroma was pretty much a tobacco aroma with a slight hay-like scent coming through. Thouroughly enjoyable smoke if you prefer this type of blend. I will revisit Marlin Flake on a regular basis. It made my top twenty. One of the best of this genre, IMO!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (194)
★★★☆
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.

JasonNYC Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JasonNYC (7)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Wow, I thought this stuff was good. As others have noted, it comes in long, moist flakes that I found I had to both snip and dry just a bit before smoking. After several lights to finish the drying process the tobacco smoked right to a small furry puff at the bottom of the bowl. Flavor started off mild then built with a depth of flavor featuring figs (as others have commented) and hints of Pedro Ximenez sherry. I smoked along with a cup of black coffee which was an excellent match. I'd recommend this highly with the suggestion of a little drying time before smoking. A really great blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

donmartinthree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
donmartinthree (18)
★★☆☆
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.

SirLoirn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SirLoirn (126)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

Tin: Mixture of fruity,sweet bread dough and toast. Black, brown, and tan striated strip, folded into the tin.

Packing & Burning: The strip was difficult to unfold, so pieces were pulled off and stuffed into the pipe without much rubbing out. Though the tobacco was moist, no drying time was used. A pipefull lasts a long time.

Taste & Aroma: Starting off, sweet, bready and mellow, with a fruity note. Towards the bottom, I can understand the fresh-cut hay and chocolate qualities that others have noted.

Nicotine: Medium

Room Note: Pleasant. About the best it gets.

Overall: More mellow and pleasant than HOTW, but the tastes and aromas of MF are more pronounced. The sweetness levels off, after the tin has been unsealed for a few days. The fact that it was still moist after unsealing the tin for three weeks speaks on the use of humectants, which is a big negative and keeps MF out of the 4 star range.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (113)
★★★★
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.

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

Nice presentation, one big wad of flake, just like Orlik Golden Sliced. Smells like OGS in the tin, but once you light it is is quite different. Slight sense of vanilla, little bit of liquorice which I guess is the perique (I've never had perique before), overall sweet with a slight tang. Moist in the tin, but nothing to cry about. My guest (mother dearest) liked the room note, and said it was figgy (or perhaps she said plummy).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Claudius Stradivarius Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Claudius Stradivarius (171)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

An original flake which is one single, folded flake rolled up and put into the tin.

The tin aroma is similar to port. I enjoyed this tin very much and will rebuy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TheBriarSire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheBriarSire (11)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My first Virginia and flake experience: Very "apricot-like" notes in the tin, or of raisins or ripe figs (as is the common comparison). Honestly smells similar to a box of Camel cigarettes, but much more pronounced, and of course less artificial.

The flake was a joy to break up, and I reveled in the smell of the stuff on my fingers and getting my hands "dirty" with the 'baccy.

Upon light up, I was skeptical with the first bowl as I am used to english blends and was afraid this would be like smoking pure oxygen over taste. The first puffs fortified this fear, however, soon it was erased. What I ended up getting was a very natural sweet taste with a well-rounded creamy body that was a sheer delight. I've read this is the sweetest of the trinity (Hal and Old Gowrie being the other two in the "Holy Three"), but time will tell. I had difficulty discerning any peppery perique notes, but there was some saltiness, which could have been a dab of the stuff. . .

I have not put this stuff down and crave it over most my other tobaccos, which is a very good sign. Whether it earns another star will take trying a few more top-quality VA's. My guess is, if you love VA's with a little perique, pick this up.

UPDATE:

After trying several VA blends, this one remains a favorite. I now highly recommend it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mr.335 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mr.335 (20)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

hands down the best virginia flake I have ever smoked.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ynrozturk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ynrozturk (40)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I'd been waiting to get my hands on some of this for a while now, and today a friend of mine gave me some and the long wait was over.

I'm a Virginia lover, what can I say. The Perique gives it a nice spice and the Cavendish makes it nice and smooth.

It was easy to pack and held a flame well. No tongue bite whatsoever. The tastes progresses pretty drastically mid bowl and it becomes even more enjoyable.

The only gripe I had with it is that it's a bit wet, but that's alright. The flavor more than makes up for it.

Awesome smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Requiem Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Requiem (36)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My favorite virginia. Deep toasty taste yet changing flavours as it burns down to fine ash. Absolutely satisfying. I'm very sensitive to perique (it tingles my nose) and detect none in this blend, so if it is there it's really just the smallest pinch, in my opinion.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bryantm3 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bryantm3 (29)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

After reading several reviews, I think I may have gotten a strange batch, so I may try this again, but my batch appeared and tasted different than many others are posting. The appearance of the the tobacco in the 100g tin was strange; there were only about 5 flakes, but they were each about a foot long and folded up to fit in the tin. The flakes could not be taken out of the tin without falling apart, so the fold method was out of the question. The flakes appeared a reddish color, and had a typical vinegary smell associated with red virginias. Upon lighting, the first taste noticed was, of course, the spicy red virginia taste, but in the background, there was a level of dullness, or bitterness, somewhat like the taste of an orange is tempered by the peel when it is left on. The smoke was unusually mild and quite boring all the way down; although my batch had plenty of red virginia, it lacked the sweetness that most red virginia has and replaced it with nothing. Since other reviewers compare this to stronger, brown Virginia flakes, I may try this again in a year or two, but the batch I got was extremely mediocre compared to some of the stunning reviews I have heard about this tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CaptainEnormous Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptainEnormous (17)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Wonderful stuff. Arrives in several long strips about 2" wide. This tobacco can be burned as-is, straight tou of the can. But a considerable drying time only adds to the experience.

This is a VA flake that's been treated/stoved to bring out more robust flavors. The end product is delicious and complex. It's flavor is sweet but never in a cloying way. It has no casing or flavorants, yet one can gets mild fruit and cocao from the smoke. As well (of course) as a delicious aged tobacco aroma.

All in all, one of my very favorites.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

dogwood Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dogwood (17)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

This is great tobacco but I don't like the vanilla, toffee aroma. I prefer Old Gowrie, which to me is Rattray's flagship blend. Marlin Flake is very good it just doesn't suit my taste.

Not really sure how to rate it so I'll give it 3 stars. For those smokers who like the aroma I'm sure Marlin Flake will be an excellent smoke. It's definately worth a try. People go crazy for this stuff. Now if I can get this vanilla syrup out of my pipe!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (578)
★★☆☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mike Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Toney (44)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

I read some good reviews on Marlin Flake from Rattray, And gave it a try one warm autumn day. It posessed that typical, musty, vinegary aroma, Dark flake strips clumped thereover, Waiting patiently to serve an accomodating smoker. Like wee bacon slices packed within, That precious and desirous, little round tin, Anxious to be transformed into dissapearing, Ghostly clouds of the hereafter, let us begin.

I dried a few grams over my computer vent, Before stoking ol' Pete, consigned to VA blends. After a relight I exhaled some, Of that Virginia smoke so sweet. Initially, a wee bite on me tongue, But a bit later made its retreat, And mellowed out to render elation, A milder, subdued, nirvanic sensation. A change in character as it morphed suddenly, Facilitating contentment and tranquility. Obviously, quality leaf to some, Another bowl full, you can't have just one.

It had a satisfactory Vitamin N content, And offered up a suprisingly, pleasant scent. Willfully submitting to this revelation, It becomes a mainstay in my regular rotation, Greedily garnishing the remnants of, That lovely, little round tin, Tucked away therein my modest, Cardboard box, cellar bin. Sadly, there is a small congregation, Who woefully submit their resounding condemnation. Although rating one star seems totally unfair, And seems in extreme of critical observation, For this fine leaf almost beyond compare.

Overall, I'm very pleased with Marlin Flake, And Old Gowrie and his pal, Hal, cellared for future intake. For a straight Virginia blend, it's really good stuff, That will take the edge off Billy Goat's gruff. I've coughed up two cents for this ongoing debate, To impart my thoughts on this very fine flake. I might downgrade to three stars at a later date, But for now, a solid four stars, I deem it should rate!

Note: My rating was based on a 50 gram tin that probably had at least a year of shelf time. It was much sweeter and a more pleasureable smoke than the 100 gram tin I am smoking from now. I would only rate the 100 gram tin of Marlin Flake three *s. I hope more aging will transform this VA blend into something more akin to my first sampling and justify my purchase of the 4, 100 gram tins that I've recently cellared. This blend smokes better in a tall, narrow bowl.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (205)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Morgoth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Morgoth (22)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Mild Tolerable

Another excellent VaPer preparation from Rattrays. Mild to medium sweet...accentuated by keeping it in flake form when smoked. Full flavor and somewhat malty. The perique is far less noticeable than in Old Gowrie.

Highly recommended.

A companion infusion: a myriad of libations...ranging from hot chocolate to your favorite single malt...just enjoy.

UPDATE 06/03/2010: After enjoying many other VA, VaPer and VaBurley-American blends lately, I now find my cellared Marlin Flake tins to be a little flat in taste...I'm finding that I'm not a fan of added Black Cavendish in blends...it's boring. Lowering my rating accordingly.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Alguhan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alguhan (140)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

If I would write these notes a couple of years ago, I would give the 4 stars without hesitating. After almost 2 years, I bought a tin of 100 gr, remembering those nice moments of smoking this blend. I am sorry to say that this latest experience was totally different in a bad way. My preferences had been changed? Or the blend? I tried with several pipes, different grades of airing the tobacco.. Not even the lovely presence of perique could't help me with the situation. Nothing have satisfied me like those good days. I remember this blend with a very tasty virginia, perique's richness and cool, long lasting smoke. This time a sour and highly sweetened blend tired and bored me. I think it also received some flavoring. Is it possible that the blend have received somehow a different kind or quantity of cavendish? Or it is just me? I have no idea.

I'll give it a try some more years later again. Maybe then I will edit this review. For now, just 2 stars with a dissapointment.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (96)
★★★★
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.

Tyro Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tyro (10)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

Outstanding VaPer... MUCH better taste than the highly acclaimed HOTW and the more I smoke it the more I like it. Marlin Flake is well balanced and tongue gentle. It has a smooth enticing flavor that surprisingly does not fade or change as one makes their way down the bowl. Marlin Flake seems to have a wide temperature "sweet spot" and easily tolerates a fair amount of inattention... perfect for puffing while coding!

This one will most likely claim a spot in my top 10.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

orka Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
orka (52)
★★★☆
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. In fact, I am tempted to give it two stars. But somehow, that seems to be too little, so three it is.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Saluki Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Saluki (11)
★★★★
Mild Very Mild Medium Tolerable

Although Hal O' the Wynd is excellent, I prefer the taste of Marlin Flake. Certainly, both are top quality tobaccos.

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.

BEG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BEG (1)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Unnoticeable

I'd like to know how you folks who are giving this a good review are getting past the bite? I really like the sweet wine flavor of Marlin but it kills my tongue every time. I've experimented with different pipes and different levels of moisture/dryness etc.

Sadly, I can't recommend this. I wish I could smoke it. I really like the flavor. How do you do it?

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.

Korndog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Korndog (16)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

I found a tin of this in my office from I guess about a year ago. I was planning to give Virginia a good effort since I have always smoked Balkan Sobrani and similar blends. I must say that this tobacco has me hooked! The sweetness is perfectly balanced in my opinion and gives a very pleasant room note to boot. I load this as tinned and get a pretty good smoke throughout, with gentle coaxing. I am ready to buy another tin and hope that it smokes well without aging, but I have a feeling the year "cellaring" had something to do with this lovely experience.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (46)
★★★★
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.

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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (198)
★★★☆
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.

BriarChef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarChef (100)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This review is based on the tinned version from 2000, and the bulk from 2004. It does benefit from aging, thorough air time and full rub out.

Gold Standard Virginia Flake. For some reason the word "crusty" comes to mind...as in San Francisco sourdough bread with some unsalted butter and a drizzle of honey.

As they say in wine circles: "Right Bodacious".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tonyg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tonyg (103)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

What was at one time, I believe, a straight Virginia blend, now contains perique and cavendish. What was once a great tobacco is now just an ordinary good blend with too much competition in its class.

Readers should take note that the ratings for this blend have gone down over the past several years.

If you're looking for a great straight Virginia, try Full Virginia Flake. If you want a basic Vaper, try Luxury Bullseye Flake.

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.

Quoll Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Quoll (17)
★☆☆☆
Very Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

I had high hopes of this. I have smoked Old Gowrie and enjoyed it, if finding it a little too mild for me. I was disappointed, to say the least.

The tin presentation is very promising. Lovely rough flakes with that earthy hay/grass/peat note that Rattray's are so good at. A bit too moist, but a rough rub produces a good pack. Lighting was a little tricky but it burns well once it's going.

But the smoking experience for me was completely lacking. Hot and sharp, no discernible flavour - certainly none of that mature Virginia I was expecting. Also low nicotine, though I understand this is supposed to be a bit stronger than OG. Not horrible, but lacking, bland and tasteless. The absence of taste, body and strength also had me tugging at it to get something out of it, leading to too much heat and bite.

Not one I shall be buying again. One star.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe-arazzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-arazzo (71)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

I smoked this years ago and remember really liking it, hence I bought another tin and put it away. I don't know exactly how old it was, since they don't date-stamp the tins. At least 2 1/2 years.

I smoked a 100g tin of this over three and a half months, and got roughly 30 smokes out of it. Not a very good value money-wise but not horrible.

At first, it was harsh. Too wet for sure and if I dried it out it seemed to lose all its flavor. So I "mellowed" it for a couple of months. It improved, but the dominant flavor was the vanilla cavendish. It burned and packed easily. Not enough perique to make much of a presence, nor to irritate my allergies very much.

Good but not great.

Mo--check out "loosewatches" review below, among others. I definitely tasted vanilla flavoring.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Marlin Flake is definitively naval! It is rolled up like the lines on the weather deck of a sailboat!

Tacking stations, mates!

The visual presentation is rather impressive: long slices of flakes about a foot long each, 3 inches wide, mainly medium brown and streaked with black, stoved virginia.

Tin aroma: semi-sweet raisins with a spicy layer which I cannot precisely put a name on, almost nutmeg, but very faint to the nose.

Very delightful to the palate, lightly sweet and spicy in accordance with the tin aroma,it requires a minimal attention to be fully enjoyed at Stand Easy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TeeBee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TeeBee (19)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

When first opening the tin I felt an urge to chew this stuff; sweet raisins. Very nice. Rather strong with a subtle sweetness

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

My tin is the tall soup can format, and dates to the late 80's or early 90's, I can't really remember now. I've been saving this last tin for years, and finally opened it in 2007 because the tin was beginning to bulge precariously and I didn't want it to risk losing the tobacco. Needless to say this is pretty well-aged stuff, with no bite whatsoever.

Upon opening, the tobacco was at a perfect moisture level with no need to dry it out as some other reviewers have mentioned. The tobacco was almost completely black, with a light speckling of brownish bits hither and yon. The flavor is deep and rich, heavy with notes of chocolate, plum jam and molasses, with lighter notes of caramel and honey and a hint of gingery sourness (perique I suspect). I smoke this in a meerschaum which I find tends to lighten the flavor, and I suspect that if it's this dark and moody in a meer it's probably too much for a briar. I may snag another tin and only age it for a decade, and see how it turns out. It's great stuff, and easily my favorite virginia, and yes that includes my early 90's christmas cheers which have aged well but still can't compare to this marvel.

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.

Semois Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Semois (18)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Tolerable

The tobacco is far too moist packed. You have to let it dry out before having it burn well. But if you do so, some of the aroma disappears and I am disappointed of what is left. When you try to smoke it before it has dried out, a rather "filthy" taste remains in mouth and nose. I thougt Marlin Flake would have been a tobacco a bit similar to Golden Sliced (Orlik) - a tobacco that remains a standard to me - since it's based on pure Virginia. But it lacks completely this purity. So.... not recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hagen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hagen (91)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

06.13.2007. having now become better acquainted with the wonderful virginia tobaccos from sam gawith, these german/danish tobaccos pale in comparison. they almost appear like goopy aromatics. downgraded one star.

05.14.2007. not a bad dark semi-stoved virginia, just not that interesting. somewhat sweet in the german-danish sense. very malty. may work well as a beginners virginia.

none of the rattray's virginia tobaccos have remained unchanged during the kohlhase & kopp period, it seems. and actually, for the most part they're made by orlik. the one that has changed the least must be hotw.

roasting old gowrie saved that tobacco. i may try the same cure for marlin flake. at present, i find it rather sad to smoke, remembering the glory it was.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Flyboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Flyboy (39)
★★☆☆
Very Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Tolerable

A good quality tobak for what it is...straight VA`s. Seems I have to puff too hard to get any satisfaction and it can tend to bite when pushing the envelope. This tin is 2 yrs old....the remaining 2 should last for the next 10 yrs.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (73)
★★★★
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.

maynard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
maynard (18)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

I like it, seems to smoke and taste better in a Meer, clean burning, Ill buy it agan.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

lisztman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
lisztman (15)
★★★☆
Very Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I purchased trial tins of Old Gowrie and Marlin Flake at the same time. Couldn't wait to sample the famed OG -- and was notably disappointed when I did so. So I approached the MF with some trepidation.

It's not my favorite. But for starters, the unrubbed flake is much easier to pack and light than the fully rubbed-out OG. The smoke is very light in flavor and density, almost too so, but it has a pleasant flavor that I'd found lacking in OG.

A bit too mild for my taste (having decided only recently to do my garage a favor and move toward some lighter tobaccos) -- but I won't hold that against it. No discernible bite, clean-burning to the end. So though it's not on my "regulars" list, I'll give it three-stars for those who appreciate a pleasant very light smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (155)
★★☆☆
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.

Zone Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Zone Smoke (199)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Not a great tobacco but a very good one for flake lovers. It's tasty, burns ok and with a bit of age (as little as a few months) it has no bite to it. It is obviously made with some quality leaf. Although not something one would want to smoked all of the time, it is a nice occasional smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Puff Daddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Puff Daddy (43)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This was one time when I thought I'd see what other reviewers had to say about it, to see if I was out of the norm. I guess not. This is quality VA, obviously flue cured, and of great quality. But, fresh, it'll bite some. The older this gets, the better it will be. I still like Best Brown better, and Brier Fox from C&D. But, when a real mild blend is the ticket, this will do just fine. If you buy it, I believe that a couple of years will do wonders to Marlin Flake. The sugars are very present, and delicious. If you do want to use a new jar, open it up, air it out for a few hours, close it up, and then come back in a couple of weeks. Pretty good stuff, destined to be better. I also find that it works best unrubbed, just gently stuffed in. The air circulates better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ghosthunter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ghosthunter (8)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I opened the last can and let it sit, with the lid on, for another six months...it was blended "by" Rattray. I stuffed my Peterson tight and toasted the top and let it sit for a few minutes while I poured a cup of Community with chickory coffee...one of my favorite smokes. Sip it slow like hot coffee.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Tobacco Man from Outer Mongolia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Tobacco Man from Outer Mongolia (6)
★☆☆☆
Very Mild Mild to Medium Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

This is beyond all doubt the most insipid tobacco I have ever smoked in a pipe. On first lit I thought I had gotten my tongue caught in a bear trap.

If you like bitey tongue scorching tobacco that smokes like stale tea leaves....you've go it here!

Another one for the nico-wimps!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ben Rich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ben Rich (34)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable

There is no doubt this is a good tobacco and it improves with age. The tin I'm currently working on had nine months on it before I finally opened it; I don't know how long it had sat in the store before I purchased it. I'm afraid that my mistake was smoking this too soon after finishing a tin of Samuel Gawith's Best Brown Flake; compared with BBF Marlin Flake is just a good tobacco. Marlin Flake is sweet with a very pleasant tobacco taste; I get occasional hints of spice. I smoke this tobacco by leaving the flakes unrubbed and, properly dried, it takes few relights to smoke it all the way to a dry ash end. I will finish my current tin and will allow my second tin (a can, really) to age an indefinite period, perhaps several years. This tobacco definitely improves with age. While it is aging, I think I will continue to smoke BBF when I have a craving for Virginia leaf.

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 (45)
★★★☆
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.

SparkleMotion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SparkleMotion (9)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I wish this website was a 1-100 rating system, in order to distinguish the truly perfect tobaccos. My guess is that Marlin Flake would be the number one rated tobacco. And with good reason. Even my antisocial cat always comes to sit on my lap when i'm smoking this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Maimonides Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Maimonides (70)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

One of Rattrays best. I still prefer Brown Clunee... But this is a good pick. A little sweet, smoky, doesnt readily bite, Develops in the bowl to a richer flavor. creamy feeling smoke.

BETTER PICK: MCCLELLAND CHRISTMAS CHEER 05' OR 06

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Guyrox Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Guyrox (131)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Full Very Pleasant

Ah....Marlin Flake, a joy to the eye, the nose, the hand and the palate!!! The flakes are incredibly cool, they're about a foot long each and two and a half to three inches wide, rolled inside the tin. Contrary to Old Gowrie, this is a " Full Dark Virginia Flake" loaded with dark brown leaf, a decent amount of black leaf - dark stoved? and some shades of gold. The aroma is a strong mixture of figs married with the trustworthy smell of well matured Virginias, not the rather grassy smell of less matured Virginias. I had my nose stuck in the tin for a long, long time, just freakin out on that smell!

I smoke this blend with my freehand from Blatter& Blatter and a Meerschaum, both medium sized. When smoked, it has a just right tiny sweet taste combined with the well balanced taste of matured Virginias. None overules the other, they remain hand in hand all along. If broken properly, the blend smokes extremely well, doesn't need special attention to keep it going. This baby smokes dry all the way down, becomes pleasantly stronger as you go, but not too much. Just right in my own taste. But Marlin Flake smokes way better once it dried out for a couple weeks.

This tobacco is not only great to smoke,it's an absolute pleasure to the eye! I had so much fun admiring the long flakes, playing with them before I decided to start breaking them down. While I was sipping a single malt, gentlemen. My god, Paradise of the pipe smoker!!! This is heaven on earth...

This is an incredible tobacco, in looks and taste, and a nice change from the Virginia/Périque blends that I usually smoke. I can't say it resembles Old Gowrie, which I found too mild and grassy in aroma and taste. This one is a couple steps above. All I can say is try it out, you cannot be disapointed! I very highly recommend it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (71)
★★★★
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!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Prospero Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Prospero (3)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Toffee, cereal, cookie notes. Hints of spices, dried fruits, nuts and earth/peat. Try this with Talisker 10.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Brutos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brutos (11)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am a smoker of Latakia blends most of the year, swithing to VAs in the warm months. My staple is SG Full Virginia Flake but recently ordered a tin each of Old Gowrie, Marlin and Hal o the Wynd to try. After one month of comparison and letting the tobaccos dry a little, Old Gowrie has my #1 vote, then a tie between Marlin and HOTW. There are strong similarities (dried figs, raisins, oatmeal, brown sugar), and all are very good, and all benefit from time in an opened tin. Marlin tends gets stronger and slightly bitter toward the end, HOTW gets sharper on the tongue, while OG remains very constant right to the end leaving a nice dry ash. It has the oatsy aroma and VA sweetness from start to finish. All three come rubbed out/ broken to varying degrees and I would prefer if these came as solid flakes so I could adjust the burn rates and smoking qualities to suit outside wind, temperature etc. I give all these three very high marks.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fatherDougal Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fatherDougal (28)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I can't believe this is just straight Virginy. It seems more complex. It does need a bit of a drying out, but does stay lit. It comes across as a basic English at first, but never becomes bitter or chalky. This is also my first taste of sliced flake. It must have a high Nic. content, as my "system" pipe got a bit brown and soupy, but only within the stem, not in the bowl.

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.

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...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OPCElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OPCElder (24)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

After drying this stuff out for about 20 minutes this weed is sure pleasure. It took me a few tries to figure out how to rub this stuff out but when I did I couldn't have been more pleased. Another excellent Virginia from Rattray.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I hate to rain on this four star parade but I found the stuff in this tin harsh, bitter with not much flavor and a little bite. Probably will improve with age but I'm sticking with Old Gowrie for now...maybe just too strong for me

dunhill grp 3

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (140)
★★★★
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 (6)
★★★★
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.

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

I'm afraid I have to join the limited list of detractors regarding this tobacco. While I can appreciate the delicate high notes and the other characteristics purported to be of this blend, I fail to enjoy it. My experience is that it is harsh, bitey and singular in nature to the point of why bother.

If there weren't other VA's out there that ring my bell, I wouldn't bother sounding off, but since tastes are very subjective, I have found great blends that suit my tastes because of less favorable reviews here; and the fact that I just reviewed another VA that has complexity and depth IMO and gave that a high recommendation.

Cheers, VC

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.

Meerschaum Man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meerschaum Man (85)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Again, something was lost when there was no more 'blended by' to be had, but do not let that discourage you from burning this to the bottom of the bowl. The fragrance from the tin makes promises of pleasure that are kept indeed for this is fine example of long burning, sweet Virginia tobacs that will keep you returning for more. I've found that it's best not to rush matters, so that the soft notes are not undetected. This is a wonderful treatment of tobaccos - worth the coin and consideration.

Meerschaum Man Smoking an Altinok Canadian Smooth

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Collezionista Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Collezionista (59)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Having tried a fair share of Virgina blends, the esteem in which I hold Rattray's blends is unwavering. In my opinion, it is simply the best line of Virginas on the market. Some people complain that the current incarnations pale in comparison to the originals. This makes me wonder just HOW good they were in days of yore, as today's versions are quite excellent in my opinion. Old Gowrie, Brown Clunee, Hal O' The Wynd, Black VA and what many consider to be their masterpiece, Marlin Flake. This tobacco is indeed a masterpiece, from the swirling sweet-potato pie tin aroma to the fine ash left at the completion of a bowl. Along with its squire, Old Gowrie, Marlin Flake is my staple tobacco. I keep Old Gowrie with me in my pouch throughout the day and after dinner the first thing I reach for is my Becker chimney and Marlin Flake, the apex of a day's smoking enjoyment. Bold yet elegant, this dark Virgina flake is what tobacco is supposed to be.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Aris Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Aris (8)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

I am disapointed...Tin aroma is nice,the tobacco is to moist,it bites and you must try very hard to burn it!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DrDNA Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDNA (58)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Notes: Having smoked quite a bit of this now in several pipes, I thought I ought to write a review. I enjoyed this most in a tall, thin billiard Ashton I have. It can nip the tongue a bit, especially when fresh.

Appearance: Dark brown with light brown streaks, comes as a foot-long loosely pressed flake folded in the can.

Aroma: Red wine vinegar, cognac, prunes, sharp but sweet, fresh Mission figs, soy sauce, baked bread, a pungent note of sweet chocolate, rather pronounced but I don't think this is a topping.

Taste: Quite nice, mellow strength. Smooth, sweet, figs, and fresh-cut hay, spicy fresh Virginia tobacco flavor. Full and naturally sweet.

Comparisons: Not as nutty as Samuel Gawith's Full Virginia Flake or Best Brown Flake, but it has a full sweetness that the others lack. On the spectrum of nutty-sweet, Marlin Flake is on the sweet end, a few steps past Hal O' the Wynd.

Bottom Line: For natural Virginia flake devotees who are seeking a sweet rather than a nutty Virginia flavor, especially those who are planning to set their tins aside for a year or more, this may be a blend for you.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

lustra Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
lustra (170)
★☆☆☆
Medium Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

I can't improve on aj and pipeline's reviews. Great name, great legacy, average tobacco...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

raz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raz (16)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

[301103] My first foray into the world of the straight Va just finished. This one's great in the tin, aroma's strong, baked bread, raisins. Flake has a nice composition, didn't seem to need much rubbing out. Loaded my thick-walled Lorenzo Elba bull moose and lit away...

Initial light fine, had some trouble getting (and keeping) the thing going.

Tasty, yes. Not overwhelming in any way, just stronger than most mixtures I smoke, had a feeling or a flashback to that robusto I smoked the night before last at xmas party.

Balanced, somehow quite a pure taste. The same way I guess, that a single malt is pure compared to a blended scotch. That raisiny smell did come through at times, a nice surprise. Otherwise alternatingly mellow and spicy, quite cool (though definitely gets hot if puffing too quick).

All in all, a great, strong tobacco. Will keep this in rotation and lets see how my taste develops ;-) (updates a'coming)

UPDATE: After half a year on&off with Marlin Flake, it's a keeper. (Upgraded rating to "favorite".) Excellent, truly excellent choice after dinner, with a glass or two of whiskey or just by itself, watching the Summer sunset. This is truly very, very good. I could heartily recommend this to any pipesmoker.

[190705] I can't get enough of this. It seems to suit any mood, any place and any time of day. After more experience with this baccy is cooler, there is more variance in the smoke as you progress through the bowl and the lovely "stoved but fresh" taste is something to truly hunger for. It does benefit from a cooler weather, but I'd never spit on it indoors or on a summer's day, either.

If I were to vote for the best Va. Marlin Flake would get my vote.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ajaj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ajaj (69)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

Update: The more I smoke quality virginias, he less I like Marlin Flake. There are far too many additives which, in my opinion, make this an aromatic tobacco. MF is not even in the same class as Briar Fox, Best Brown Flake, or other quality virginias.

Don't get me wrong by the "Might try it again..." rating; Marlin Flake is a quality tobacco. I enjoy virginias but MF is just too heavily cased for me to enjoy. The flavor is anemic but the room note is a sure crowd pleaser. I want more body and substance when I smoke, i.e. Best Brown Flake. MF is just too weak and artificially sweet for me to enjoy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tiepolo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tiepolo (40)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is definitely a tobacco that has justly won its 4 stars in this forum after more than 50 reviews and absolutely deserves it's place in the pantheon of All Star Classics. I wouldn't call it a companion to Old Gowrie because for me this is the classic and Old Gowrie is a companion to it. Smells so good in the tin, it could be served on a plate with a fork and a knife. I have smoked it on Viprati, Savinelli and Dunhill pipes and it always delivers this thick bittersweet contemplating smoke with numerous nuances. Much more pleasingly consistent than Old Gowrie in my palate and absolute no bite or overheating. For those who smoke 3 to 5 bowls a day and like a tad over medium strength, could easily make an all day smoke. Has to be aired for a while before loading as it comes rather moist in the tin. I brake the flakes before packing in variable size chunks. Regarding the comments about the difficulty with the technique of smoking it, I have to say that I don't understand where is the difficulty at all, but on the other hand, 90% of the tobacco i smoke is flake tobacco. Pack the pipe lightly, this is quite a dense flake. Read also the excellent review of Noorrmm near the bottom of this page. Very heartily recommended to all fellow pipe smokers

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

When I think of Marlins, I think of the powerful billfish of sportmens' dreams and lore. Marlin Flake is a like this to me.

I dreamed that it would be magnificently flavorful. It is. I anticipated strength and was not disappointed. I hoped it would be manageable with the right skill. Here it let me down, as it smokes hot and requires a blow torch to keep lit.

The heat and difficulty lighting MF are likely related. Folded or rubbed; small or large pipes, MF speared my tongue.

Yet, in me the hook is set. I will let my stash dry out a bit and reasses my rating. My initial impressions are that the effort and patience will be rewarded. My den will have yet another trophy for display and enjoyment.

P.S. This bears little resemblance to Hal O' the Wynd to me, nor is it much like Old Gowrie.

UPDATE 12/2004: Something must have happened to my tin, because I believe it contained the skin, guts and bones of the great fish. Successfully smoking other flakes that smoke hot by reputation, I can find no combination of aging, pipe, form of leaf or method that makes the pain produced by this blend worth the flavor. It is called Marlin Flake as it is wild, untame and buffeting. Masochists and ascetics apply here.

4/25/2005: After 18 months, this is finally tame enough for me to smoke a small bowl with minimal discomfort. Very flavorful, and I detect a fair amount of tonquin. It is not as much as 1792 flake, but more than Stonehaven (?). It does leave the pipe smelling a bit funky. It remains a chore to light and keep smoldering, but it gains a second star.

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.

FiveRings Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
FiveRings (21)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

One can add few things to what already has been said about Marlin Flake. Magnificent and yet easy to approach, smooth, sweet, with tremendous depth it carries smoking to an almost transcendental level.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Professor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Professor (67)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

Rattray's Marlin Flake is a wonderful looking "Full Dark Virginia Flake" (as the can states). Pulling it out of the can and rubbing it was a joy (as similar experiences usually are). The unlit aroma of this weed is reminiscent of the figs of Italy. In the early days of immigration by Italians to New York, it was a common sight to see fig trees trying to grow in the tiny patch of land outside of industrialised homes. There is something charming in the unlit aroma that also has a hint of chocolate. I thought that I would really like this, but it fell short. Once lit, it became flat and lost any nuance that I imagined it would have had from its raw form. Such a shame--although, admittedly, I am more of a Latakia smoker and never have tried a straight Virginia (Amsterdam aside, but that has nothing to do with tobacco). I am so disappointed in this offering, but there may come a time when I will give it another go (if only for the joy of rubbing).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ranger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ranger (58)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

My first review. Might as well start with one of the best. One of my top five 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.

Puffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Puffer (9)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I've not much to add to what has already been said about this quintessential straight Virginia flake. It looks great in the tin, the aroma is intoxicating, the burn is slow and cool, and the taste is rich, varied, and deep. Every smoker has his or her own ritual preparation of flake tobacco, but the old Marlin just needs to be broken up or crumbled into chunks - no excessive rubbing required. After the day's work is done, a bowl of Marlin is pure pleasure and relaxation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (108)
★★★★
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.

Ian Weeks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ian Weeks (36)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The missing chapter of the bible written by an old sage states that on the 7th day God created Marlin Flake, the holiest of blends made for the priests of David and to be smoked into the ages by the very wisest of men. I once read that Sidartha found enlightenment as he was smoking Marlin Flake. And I can't leave out that this was the choice tobacco of the entire Senate of Rome under the rule of Marcus Aurelius who passed a law stating that a boy was not a man until he had served in the military and smoked Marlin Flake. Need I say more. Stop looking, there is none better, smoke the other VA weeds to break up the monotony, or when you run out, but for the stapel. The real nuts and bolts of what a perfectly weighed and measured blend should taste like and burn, this is it. Of course that is only my opinion. Cheers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Anthony Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Anthony (2)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

Its Spring and one of the first days when the sun hs real warmth, so off into the garden filled with daffodils...A favourite Vauen pipe and a new tin of Marlin helped along with a cup of brown Java..This is surely one of the finest "straight" tobaccos available..I can find no fault with it in any respect..it burns nicely without a hint of tongue burn, and although not a blend there is enough variety of flavour as one smokes through the bowl. Like others i break it gently and fill the bowl thus ensuring a slow long smoke. It proves the point that there is no need to dose tobaccos with obnoxious chemical "flavourings" as a good tobacco has everything.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

In sport fishing, going for Marlin is the ?Big Time?. Marlin Flake is aptly named.

From the beginning to the end, this Virginia blend delivers a deep, rich, full and natural Virginia flavor.

In a word, Outstanding. I may be ruined.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jaybee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaybee (76)
★★★☆
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.

S32S A1P4A Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
S32S A1P4A (3)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is an attractive tobacco in several respects. The loosely packed strands have a deep mixed coloring comprised the respective colors of Bass Ale and Guiness Stout. The tin aroma is sweet, reminiscent of dried fruit. When minimally rubbed and somewhat dry, the burn is steady and cool. The flavor is very subtly complex. While it is unmistakably Virginian, the brightness is complemented by darker undertones and a delicate spiciness. The smoke has a wonderful body and an soft vanilla-like aroma. I find it to be an invigorating blend that is best suited for the daylight hours.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jakob Kiilerich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jakob Kiilerich (118)
★★★★
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.

calavera Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
calavera (26)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This was a first for me on a couple of counts. It was my first all Virginia blend and my first flake.

I like to rub it out only slightly. This makes it a challenge to pack and light, but it is worth it.

I have a extra large billiard bowl for my Kirsten that is dedicated exclusively to this blend.

The smoke is very full bodied and you can get plenty of it without the pipe getting too hot or too much bite.

Very complex flavor with a certain sweetness that I really enjoy. I usually smoke latakia blends, but I really like this one.

June 2004

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.

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

Not much more to be said regarding this quintessential flake. The accolades here are all well written and quite deserved. Much of the MF on the market is getting bought up since the mysterious demise of JB Russell...rumor has it a distributor out of Georgia has picked up the Rattray line. I'm patiently crossing my fingers that this matured VA doesn't go the way of classics like St. Bruno Flake and 3 Nuns... So smoke it if ya got it and if you don't--find some!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sonny Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sonny (5)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I absolutely love this tobacco, even though it is a little tricky getting used to packing. still can't seem to pack it the same way twice :(. other than that I don't have any complaints. Very pleasant aroma would highly recommend it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pmonroeb Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pmonroeb (92)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Of my recent endeavors into dark, stoved virginias, Marlin Flake is one of the best, but falls behind Dark Star and Stonehaven because it seems to burn hot for me. The flavor is very good and I certainly like it, but it just seems to overheat. I commonly have this problem with various virginias because I typically smoke English blends that smoke somewhat cooler.

If you smoke more slowly than I do, Marlin Flake is a very good choice amongst dark, stoved virginias.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WxGuy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WxGuy (95)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Marlin Flake is my go-to flake for virginias. I ordered it a year or so ago, and did not seem to hit it off with this product at the time. A few months ago I gave it another whirl and was taken by its gentle and sweet fruitiness. Maybe it was the aging, but probably more that I was in a mood more receptive MF's subtle nuances. It does not seem to have the citrusy-tartness of several other virginias which is OK by me.

My tin of Marlin Flake, mail-ordered from JR, came as 100 g "soup can", rather than the 50 g shoe-polish tin shown in the picture.Some of the flakes were doubled over twice to fit the can, making them at least 9" long. Pretty cool, but also ungainly to work with. I have tried several rubbing out strategies. Now, I rip off a chunk, wad it up, stuff it, and smoke it. Once successfully lit it seems to burn at a smolder for ever. I have had medium-sized bowls last a good 90 min. IMHO, this tobacco must be smoked gently and coolly in order to appreciate the huge range of flavors available.

Lately, during the "dog days" of summer (which in coastal Alaska are VERY long but not too doggy) I have taken to a late evening smoke consisting of a half-bowl of MF topped with a well-rubbed out curl of Escudo. The perique tanginess of the Escudo slowly morphs into the fruitiness of MF. Kind of the virginia equivalent of a Bach prelude and fugue, so to speak. Interrelated, but still distinct.

Anyone who is a fan of the subtleties of virginias owes it to themself to give Marlin Flake a serious consideration.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

If one knew nothing of the heirarchy of tobacco brands other than the prices commanded by older tins, one could justifiably conclude that Rattray is a hallowed name in this field. In terms of collectability, Rattray's is right at the head of the pack, for good reason, and Marlin Flake may well be the best blend in their portfolio.

I have little to add to the comprehensive opinions already presented here, other than to say that MF inevitably draws more comparisons than any other flake. And why not? It seemingly incorporates the best features of a dozen of the very best flakes. It's well behaved, bite free, gorgeous to look at, and lush. As rich and satisfying as Stonehaven or FVF without the bloat, as easy as Hamborger Veermaster or Astleys, as complex and nuanced as any, it has long been my go-to flake.

As for the relative merits of the different iterations of Rattray itself- blended by Charles Rattray, blended for Charles Rattray, blended in Charles Rattray- I'll leave that for another day, as comparing different eras in any field is a dicey proposition, at best.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarNorth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarNorth (49)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A must-try for anyone who hasn't, and likely a staple in the rotation for any Va lover, yes? Well it is for me. Along with Old Gowrie and HOTW, I pretty much always have Marlin Flake open or in the cellar. These are three of my favourite Va's, all variations on a theme. That theme is? Beautiful, elegant, non-biting natural Virginia that is smooth and graceful to the last ash. I find Marlin develops more than the other two Rattray's mentioned here, but I truly admire them more for their steadfastness and poise than for their fireworks. Marlin Flake is fresh, full-bodied without being too strong or powerful, handsomely cut, very easy to smoke...the superlatives seem endless, need I say more? On the desert island list for sure...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Rattray's series of VA flakes (broken or whole) all strike me as variations on a theme, from Old Gowrie at the mild end of the spectrum to Hal O' the Wynd at the strong end. I find Old Gowrie and Brown Clunee pleasant, but so mild as to be unsatisfying, while Hal O' the Wynd is undeniably robust, but so strong it actually stings my mouth. Marlin combines the best qualities of all these smokes and exceeds them all -- it has OG's smoothness, BC's warmth, and Hal's rich flavor. Like the Momma Bear's porridge, it's just right.

Marlin Flake has an almost legendary reputation among pipesters, and it's easy to see why. Robust yet refined, loaded with flavor yet never overwhelming, this is simply one of the great Virginia Flakes, a classic that can hold its own (and in the opinion of many, surpass) such standard-bearers as McClelland Blackwoods, Gawith Full Virginia, and Dunhill Light VA.

Marlin in bulk has a somewhat different form than the canned variety. In the can Marlin is composed of longish 6-inch flakes, but the bulk bags contain folded-over stacked flakes measuring over 20 (!) inches, requiring some serious chopping, unless you like rubbed-out ribbons nearly two feet long! Tastes the same as the canned stuff, though.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

raynine Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raynine (6)
★★★☆
Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This was my first try at the Rattray range and I was pleasantly surprised. This was not the case though when I received the can and read that it was made in Germany! My idea of Germany is that all tobacco goes through a lolly shop, and chemical store before being sold to the public. I was pleasantly surprised though when I opened the tin and found a fold of thin, squashed tobacco. It was dark and alluring. I was stunned by two things firstly the lack of that vinegary smell like the dark star- which I don't mind but this is better. Anyway the other thing that is great is that there was NO tongue bite. I packed my large, sandblast peterson without doing anything to the leaf. then right near the top I added some finely crushed grains for a good char light. The bowl lasted me 1 and a half hours with a couple of relights. I am not really a straight Virginia fan- prefering English and sometimes fuller Balkans like the PCCA full balkan reserve syrian! BUT this is going to be a fairly regular alternative for me. I think I might even crush a bit into some english blends for interest. I sat out on my deck and as the sun set on the best part of the planet- Tasmania Australia- I listened to the possums screeching to one another and felt the gentle breeze of night falling, creeping up on me. The smoke rose gently, soothingly and I thought, what a way to relax.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Henry B Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Henry B (11)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

One of the friendliest Virginia flakes, I have encountered. The tin aroma reminds me of dark chocolate with a slightly sour note. It's very tasty and smooth, but also very mild, which is a potential 'danger' for smokers like me, who tend to smoke rather hot. I force myself not too puff too fast or hard, and it works out well. The taste is a little darker and maybe sweeter than that of Hal O'The Wynd, which it shares its basic taste with. And the room aroma is not as agressive. When I first tried it, I couldn't really say, if I liked it or not, but after smoking this exclusively in one pipe for a few months, I started to appreciate all its nuances. And I do believe, it should only be smoked in pipes devoted to Virginia tobaccos with a matching taste (Hal O'The Wynd, Best Brown Flake, ...). I usually smoke it in a medium-sized pipe and do not rub it out, but either fold it a couple of times or roll it into a cylinder. However, this is only recommended, if the tobacco had a little time to lose some its moisture. If you are a VA lover (like me), you already know this tobacco, if you aren't, I highly recommend it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SlowDraw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SlowDraw (23)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

THis is a refined flake, very pleasant & relaxing to smoke on account of it's trouble-free nature. In the tin It smells (to me) like some dark honey with woodsy undertones - very nice, I find thats also how it tastes. An outstanding VA right up there with usual Mcclelland circulation.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JoeBriar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JoeBriar (10)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

What a well-behaved tasty tobacco. Light/medium but never boring. Lots of complex flavours and one of the most pleasing aromas in the mouth of any tobacco I have smoked. Tasty, fruity, nutty. Did I mention it was tasty? An extremely pleasant room note as well. Even my cat seems to like it!! Buy some & discover a real treat. A+

Nobody has rated this review yet.

provguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
provguy (52)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Strong and spicy. Just a wonderful Virginia blend. This is one of my favorites. Comes in a semi flake form and packs easily enough. Lights and burns well and the flavor and smoke is heavenly. 4-4.5 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (263)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mailman 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mailman 5000 (60)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

One of the richest flakes around, deep dark and with a wonderful texture. A real pleasure to load and smoke. But can be a bit syrupy tasting , being virginia based I found it lacking in some way , perhaps some of the other colours in tobaccos rainbow are whats needed. None the less a fine flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pokrsmokr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pokrsmokr (32)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Marlin Flake was the first virginia flake I ever tried -which is analagous to haveing a Partagas Lusitania as a first cigar. It was enjoyable but I had no frame of reference to really grasp how special and unique this tobacco is. It comes in a beautiful dark stringy flake form and rubs out very easily, though I prefer to smoke it unrubbed or very loosely rubbed. The tin aroma is as unique and distinguished as it's taste and it's room aroma. All around this is one interesting tobacco. It's not exactly complex, though there are many nuances to be enjoyed including an almost fermented taste which seems to counteract the natural sweetness of the virginia. It starts off mild enough, but quickly gains some strength. There is a distinct bottom to this tobacco, and it continues throughout the bowl leaving a wonderful aftertaste. This is not a boring tobacco. It is very distinct and stands out amongst a sea of virgninias. This is a wonderful virginia flake. I highly recommend it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.