There’s a pure and simplistic allure to a straight Virginia tobacco blend. When made with quality ingredients, we experience the centuries of development that has gone into cultivating and processing fine leaf, getting the most out of the natural characteristics. To highlight some of the great mixtures embodying the excellence of Virginia tobacco, we’ve assembled a list of the 9 highest rated straight Virginias.
A note on how this list was assembled:
Making a list of top-rated blends may seem straightforward—just pick one through nine, right?
Maybe, but then again, is the blend with a perfect four-star rating from a few reviews really rated higher than the blend with a three+ star rating and hundreds of reviews? If we're being pedantic, but we’re taking a more substantive approach.
So, this list was compiled by taking the straight Virginias with an average rating of 3.4 and higher, filtering for only those currently in production, and choosing the nine with the most reviews.
Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake
Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake is for lovers of pure pressed Virginias. Created in the heart of Lakeland, the hot-pressed blended Virginias take on a delicious and distinctive dark colour that creates a pipe smoker's dream, a feeling of calm, serenity and anticipation of the next pipeful. A "must have" for all Virginia lovers. Medium strength.
Samuel Gawith is one of the most celebrated manufacturers of fine pipe tobacco and, for many smokers, Full Virginia Flake is the archetypal Virginia flake. The venerable blending house has its origins in Kendal, England, where Thomas Harrison and Thomas Brocklebank opened a tobacco and snuff business in 1792. Samuel Gawith is appreciated for their commitment to the old methods, even operating some of the same machines that have processed their fine tobacco for more than a century.
Samuel Gawith - Best Brown Flake
A firm favourite for the pipe smoker looking for a medium strength, gentle and slow burning tobacco. Manufactured using hand-stripped flue cured Virginias with no flavours added, Best Brown will reward with a cool, sweet smoke with a delectable aroma and good sidestream. Mild to medium.
The very fact that Samuel Gawith occupies first and second place for our list of top-rated straight Virginia blends tells you all you need to know about their contribution to the genre. Best Brown Flake offers another delightful flake with a milder nature than Full Virginia, and many find it to have a more pronounced brightness and sweetness.
Dunhill Flake was released in the late 1950’s. For some time it was called Light Flake in distinguishing it from Dark Flake—a stouter version produced in the 1970’s. Dunhill Flake was one of the blends that, to the delight of many, was maintained in STG’s acquisition of the trademark, rebranded under the Peterson name. But these blends taken into the Peterson lineup were not changed from the latest Dunhill production, as STG had the manufacturing contract prior to owning the trademarks.
Simply, Peterson Flake is one of the quintessential Virginia flakes, exemplifying the simple delight of quality, pressed Virginia tobacco.
Mac Baren - Capstan Original Navy Cut
This blend is a composition of select, ripe Virginia tobaccos whose citrus and grassy notes go brilliantly with the natural sweetness. A must try for everyone who appreciates a good, straightforward Virginia blend.
One of the oldest produced tobaccos still on the market, Capstan has come a long way from W.D. and H.O. Wills to Mac Baren. Capstan was one of several brands bought by Mac Baren in Imperial Tobacco’s withdrawal from the pipe tobacco business. With this brand, they introduced a ready-rubbed version and a lighter version (Gold) also offered in the two styles. All maintain great popularity, but the Original Navy Cut has a timeless appeal.
G. L. Pease - Union Square
A blended, sliced cake of high grade flue cured leaf, from beautiful, sweet brights to deep, earthy reds, without the added sugars and flavorings common to many Virginia flakes. It's rich on the palate, evolving in layers with the clean, natural sweetness of pure tobaccos. It offers a pleasant room note, and a delightful finish. For those seeking the pure Virginia experience, try Union Square.
Union Square was the final addition to Pease’s Fog City Selection, a series characterized by high-quality Virginia bases flavored with fine spice tobaccos such as Perique or Kentucky. Union Square, however, is the exception—closing the series with the sole straight Virginia. With sweet Brights, rich Reds, and absence of topping or significant casing common to straight Virginias, Union Square is all about the flue-cured smoking experience at its most pure.
Cornell & Diehl - Opening Night
Cornell & Diehl makes the list with another wonderful straight Virginia flake from the expert blending of Craig Tarler. Matured, tangy Reds and citrusy Brights make for a consistent, flavorful smoke. The sweet Virginia flake offers just a hint of spice, making it a humble complex mixture, aptly included in the brand’s Simply Elegant series.
Mac Baren - HH Pure Virginia
A blend composed of both air dried and flue cured Virginia tobaccos. HH Pure Virginia is 100% Virginia tobaccos from North America and Africa. Both continents have a high reputation for growing the finest Virginia tobaccos in the world. Like all tobaccos in the HH family this blend has no top flavour and only the absolute necessary casing in order to emphasize the natural tobacco taste. You will experience the natural sweetness and “grassy” taste from the Virginia tobacco.
Mac Baren’s HH series was created by blender Per Jensen to highlight the inherent delightfulness of the tobacco. Each in the series is crafted with no top flavoring and minimal casing, relying solely on the quality of the leaf. Mac Baren is known for their commitment to sourcing quality tobacco, and it shows in this beloved straight Virginia.
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Bright CR Flake
100% pure virginia leaf with no additional flavours made from a blend of Brazilian, Zimbabwe and Malawi bright Virginia leaf. The pressed tobacco as with all flakes, is left to mature before cutting into flakes, to allow for the best combination of flavours.
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. also have their roots in the same Kendal, England tobacco and snuff business as Samuel Gawith—it’s no wonder the two have produced some of the most sought after straight Virginias out there. A sweet, earthy delight, Bright CR Flake is a complex blend with a unique flavor that’s often compared to the floral essence of Lakeland mixtures, but far more subtle than the potent flavoring of such blends.
Fribourg & Treyer - Cut Virginia Plug
Fribourg & Treyer are another brand with a long history in tobacco stretching back to early 18th century London. The brick-and-mortar shop closed in the 1980s, but some favorite mixtures continue to be produced by German blending house Kohlhase & Kopp. Among them is Cut Virginia Plug, a highly regarded flake of golden brown flue-cured leaf with a light, congenial casing.
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