Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake

(3.39)
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.

Details

Brand Samuel Gawith
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.39 / 4
157

98

29

7

Reviews

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Displaying 21 - 40 of 291 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 06, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
A very pleasant all natural smoke, which goes to show what can be accomplished by the fine fellows of Kendal using nothing but Virginia leaf and a hundred or so year old steam press... I bought some of this to break in a new Northern Briars pipe, and it's doing the job admirably. I've also had a couple of bowls in a Virginia dedicated Canadian, and suspect this is a tobacco I'll be buying quite a bit more of.

The principle aroma that leapt out of the new tin was ketchup! Sweet, malty aromas of horse food and hay accompanied this, and I was transported back to my childhood, helping in the stable.

The flakes in this tin (Sam Gawiths flakes can be very variable) are pretty thick brown belts of tobacco, somewhat ragged as usual, rather too long for the tin, so folded into it. For all their untidy presentation they look appetising!

I rubbed it well for the new pipe, and with some crumbs on top for kindling, lighting can be a one match affair. It has a moderate natural sweetness at the tip of the tongue, flavours of malt loaf, toasted wholemeal bread and butter to start with give way to a black tea astringency as the bowl progresses: Turkish Ceylon tea with sugar to be precise. The flavour is at the same time mild and satisfying, and reveals its subtleties when smoked slowly. The sidestream smoke smells like hay and toast.

It smokes very long and slow even when well rubbed, and a few relights are needed to burn the last of it, which retains its pleasant flavour. The marginally increased need for matches could well be down to the lack of cake in the new pipe, but this is developing nicely after most of a tin of Best Brown Flake. It burns cool and does not seem to be capable of bite. The dose of nicotine is satisfactory, but this isn't a powerful tobacco - ideal for long slow smokes.

Overall, a fine tobacco. It has subtleties but isn't overly complex, so to me it's ideal for studying, it can keep me happy for a couple of hours while I'm working without demanding too much attention or input. Highly recommended to students and Virginia lovers alike.
Pipe Used: Northern Briars Rox cut Liverpool
PurchasedFrom: Turmeus, Liverpool
Age When Smoked: New
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
For my palate this is the best straight Virginia available. Best Brown Flake is a rich, straightforward, mild-medium strength Virginia. It has a good amount of sweetness with honey and citrus flavors. Throughout the bowl it becomes grassy and earthy with some occasional spice mostly through the nose. I never noticed a topping as much as maybe a mild citrus or honey casing. Highly recommended.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2015 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
Best Brown is a very high quality Virginia that is beautifully presented . It is a full flavor tobacco reaching the high notes of the Virginia experience . I left a jar of this tobacco in a remote place for three years and when I discovered it again it was full of bloom . Well aged this takes on Olympian qualities . With the sugars forward this is sublime . The problem with all Samuel Gawith blends is the extreme moisture present upon opening . After trying various methods over the years , none of which worked well , I have settled on a better strategy . I select a very mild Virginia flake with almost no topping , maybe Newminster flake . I mix it itno the Gawith using about 25% of the Newminster . This provides enough kindling to properly light and enjoy the tobacco . Leaving the Gawith out over night on wax paper simply did not work It became too dry and lost it's flavor . Leaving it in the can for a month just didn't reduce the moisture that much . The mild flake mix seems like the best idea .
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 12, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Update September 12th 2008 :- I have just changed the setting on flavouring to read "Non detected" as I have been very reliably informed that "THERE IS NO FLAVOURING IN BEST BROWN FLAKE" that little gem of information came from Samuel Gawith's themselves, I stand corrected.



Updated 14 July 2008:- I mentioned I didn't like the way this was packed in the tin, also, I noticed several others have complained of Sam Gawiths thickness of flakes, since my first review I have been reliably informed(by one who has seen all)that Sam Gawith flakes are actually hand cut, some lucky fellow gets to stand in front of a whizzing blade that will happily slice through just about anything presented to it, armed only with a stick, and nerves of steel, our intrepid hero pushes the cake through the blade, so if perchance we get varying thickness of flake, this is due to the fact that he is getting near to the end of the cake. If however, on the other hand, we get bits of stick, I am told he would like them back, as his fingers are getting that bit closer.

First Reviewed 15th May 2008:- Tried this and loved it straight away, a good all day smoke, not overpowering, flavour not as full as G&H best brown flake No2, but a nice easy going smoke, I keep several tins of Sam Gawith's flakes on hand, and this is one of them. On the down side, I'm not overly impressed by the cut, call me old fashioned, I like my flake cut into neat slices, so I can take a measured amount from the tin, this looks as though it's been thrown in from fifty yards, no points for presentation, but lets face it, I didn't buy the stuff to look at and admire. Burns well, good moisture content, smokes beautifully and tastes good, I would be happy to recommend this to novice and vetran alike.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 13, 2017 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
There’s no other tobacco I’ve smoked that has taken me so long to review (except Full Virginia Flake) and still I do not feel confident about my assessment. With most tobaccos I smoke half of the tin or a third and even less and I feel confident at writing a review. On the other hand Best Brown Flake baffles me. I have tasted BBF tobacco from both tin and 250g box and while it was essentially the same tobacco there still were significant differences. First in color, box was much brighter (considerably lighter in color than FVF, almost as bright as Golden Glow), then the smell from bulk was pure grassy, green tea-like, while from tin it was obviously topped lightly, with tonquin I guess.

Otherwise tobaccos were similar, although I think the bulk version broken flakes were more pliable, easier to rub out and also smoked better, but this probably has to do with moisture.

My bafflement is not confined to batch variation – as I said the tobacco in different batches, despite the differences is essentially the same. The problem is that this tobacco, although at a lesser degree than FVF, is very susceptible to treatment variations: it will smoke considerably different depending on how much you dry it and how thinly you rub it out. As with FVF, I have smoked half a kilo while not feeling confident that I have got the handle of it. Still, were it not such a good tobacco, I would have given up, but then again, when BBF is good - which is not always - it’s very good!

It’s sweet like a bakery product, earthy, yeasty, surely darker flavours than Golden Glow but less yeasty than FVF, it has a nice medium strength and it gives me the feeling of smoking as natural a tobacco as any. BBF taste is unique among Virginias and it’s also very good to mix with some Orientals.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
An excellent example of a pure Virginia Flake. Samuel Gawith does this type of tobacco better than anybody else in my opinion, and these flakes are no exception.

Compared to Full Virginia Flake, Best Brown Flake is noticeably more subtle, a touch sweeter, and perhaps a bit less "chewy". I find it to be at least as enjoyable as Full Virginia Flake depending on my mood, and better than any other make's straight Va.

Like all Gawith flakes, these take a little experimentation to get right: They come overly damp (good for aging), hold moisture longer than most tobaccos, and won't burn right when freshly opened. Let it get too dry, and you lose some of the flavor and soft tones. The right moisture is different depending on whether you want to rub out or fold and stuff, and smokes a little different in large or small bowls. Thus the slightly higher level of "fuss" required to figure this flake out. You are rewarded with an excellent straight Va flavor for your troubles. When I feel I have the moisture right, relights are on par with any other flake.

In the 250g box, the value is rather decent as well for the quality of the tobacco.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 17, 2015 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
A superb Virginia flake. From the tin, the flakes are perfectly formed and firmly pressed and the tin note is sweet and bready. The initial flavor has a slight sugary quality to it, along with a delicate grassiness. The finish gives a faint hint of a topping that's quite nice and entirely reminiscent of the high note found in Full Virginia Flake. The smoke is smooth and flavorful with absolutely no harshness. Like all top notch Virginia's, Best Brown Flake saves the best for last. Down the bowl, the flavors deepen but they also liven up and hints of spice appear amongst a warm, rich woodsy flavor and creamy texture. No bones about it, Best Brown Flake is a perfectly executed blend and it presents all the hallmarks of a high quality straight darker Virginia. I still prefer the extra richness of Full Virginia Flake, but Best Brown Flake makes a very similar statement, albeit in a milder fashion.
Pipe Used: Briar
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 08, 2009 Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Top notch, as one would expect from any SG Virginias. Best Brown is milder and darker than FVF, providing more nuances and some extra depth, with no extra flavors. The purest Virginias you can find without running into blandness.

If you love sweet Virginias, this one is the perfect for a very contemplative smoke. I usually smoke FVF, IRC Flake or Old Gowrie, leaving Best Brown for completely serene occasions.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 20, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
With so many reviews published already, there is not much more to be said about this fantastic VA flake

The greatest virtue of BBF by Samuel Gawith in my opinion is that you do not tire of it over the years. What is also pretty cool about it, is that it's one of those tobaccos that come to you naturally - you don't have to spend hours on decoding its flavor profile before you start to enjoy it. So this makes BBF attractive to novice smokers as well.

The smoke is sweet, rich, earthy, full, floral (not as in Lakeland essence but as in white wine) and just downright pleasing. I really like FVF as well but to me there is no question that the throne of the best Samuel Gawith straight VA belongs to BBF. Why? Mostly because I think it is more complex and manages to strike more notes than FVF does.

4 out of 4 stars.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 22, 2018 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is probably the best “sweet” tasting flake I’ve smoked.

I enjoy FVF but the room note is atrocious.

This one is much more mellow and has a more pleasant room note. My only criticism is that it lacks nicotine strength for my taste. That’s the only thing keeping it from a 4 star rating in my opinion.

The tin starts off “wet” as many SG blends. Really I would say it is more oily than wet. Dry it too much and it loses some of the flavor.

It’s good rubbed out but I prefer fold and stuffed.

You can get a good long smoke out of this even in a really small pipe with a out of third of a flake using the fold and stuff.

It’s super tasty and I’ve enjoyed it in every pipe I’ve smoked it in.
Pipe Used: Savinelli Dublin & Qandale, Stanwell Bent Apple
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: 1-2 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 26, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
When I decide to test/taste something new to me, I go like this: load it in different pipes with different pressures at different moments of the day. At the end of Tin 1 I am very close to have a good grasp on the thing. So this is, say, my 15th puff with BB: take a flake, fold it once on the long side then once on the short side. screwed it in a Ser Jacopo group 2. needs drying, prepare a Lapsang Suchong
tea's ready, back to the thing. light it, quite a remissive tone, three matches do... bitter chocolate , coffee, nuts and hay, then the road seems to go somewhere else but instead.... it doesn't go, kinda stays there, within a strict Virginia area.... it's true, the risk is monotony... you find yourself expecting an evolution that never comes... at any moment it gives you that FVF hint like a suggestion, but then... nothing more... me as a stjames lover, I feel it like it BUT... no perique, road closed again if you know what I mean... NOW here is why BB is splendid: if you focus on that single note, like single malts, THEN you'll find all the beauty of a natural, honest and excellent tobacco. It's a metaphor of pipe smoking, thus a metaphor of life: "less is better" (Miles Davis)-- Only drawback is about all the excellent natural, and CHEAPER, tobaccos on the market...
Pipe Used: different briars
Age When Smoked: new
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 06, 2021 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
When the tin is opened, elongated flakes composed of bright and dark virginias appear. These flakes are irregular in shape and frayed, as is typical for this brand. They have a perfect degree of humidity to load directly from the tin to the pipe, although this does not mean anything because this aspect can be different in each occasion, depending on the tin that touches each one. The aroma is that of a mild virginia, mainly of hay and bread in the baking process.

Once the tobacco has been rubbed and the pipe loaded, the tobacco shows its high quality, burning well and without producing bites. The flavor is what one can expect after sniffing it in its tin and that for me is already a virtue. Over time I have learned that in the best tobaccos the aroma in the tin and its taste when smoked differ very little. Smooth, fine, silky, slightly sweet, but less than FVF (yes, the comparison had to come).

At this point I don't think it goes without saying, but highly recommended.
Age When Smoked: Unknown
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 08, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
I really have come to love the mellowness of these African Virginias . Very easy on the throat but with a good nic-hit with the flue-curing . VERY lightly cased like Union Square . Malty with oats and almost caramel like sweetness. Bready and musty . Not much hay and grass or citrus . A little apricot . Very creamy and smooth . Tingles the tongue a little but no real bite . This is a fresh tin also . Can’t wait until my stash gets some age on it ! Top notch ! 4 stars for this biased Virginia lover .
Age When Smoked: 3 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 28, 2018 Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Very Pleasant
I was gifted this in 2016 as part of "Smoking Santa" exchange with a fellow pipe smoker. The jar lid had a 9/23/10 date on it. The ribbon flake crumbles easily and packs well. I suggest letting it air for 15-20 minutes or it can be difficult to light. What a wonderful smoke, smooth and creamy from the start all the way through with a wonderful room note. There's a nutty sweetness that is cool and not harsh in anyway.
Pipe Used: Kaywoodie Billiard
Age When Smoked: 7.5 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2017 Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant
Marvellous Tobacco! full bodied, flavorful virginia, that is as smooth as silk. The sweet beautiful flavor comes out the best for me when i rub out a bowl and let it sit out for around 30 40 minutes, Thats all it takes. I absolutley love this flake straight from the tin, you can age it of course, if you want it to shine even more.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 18, 2017 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Samuel Gawith - Best Brown Flake.

I wish every Samuel Gawith had the same amount of moisture when fresh as this! What's happened, I don't know, but the usual Sam G' soaking wet flakes have been replaced by some perfect ones; stone me! They aren't too thick either, and they're slightly broken, making loading a bowl as unproblematic as any decent flake.

Lighting B.B.F. is relatively simple, and then it gives a slow burn with a mid temperature smoke. To me, this would suit a beginner to our hobby instead of a sweet aromatic. The taste is a toned down, soft, and sweet Virginia one, without many of the cutting flavours sometimes found in Virginia blends; deep and sweet instead of sharp and zesty. Apart from the sweetness I get no extra flavouring. And nor do I get any tongue bite.

The room-note's pleasant and the nicotine's a little below medium.

I have no doubt in my mind that Best Brown Flake is high quality, but in all honesty it bores me after a short while.

Three stars based on quality.

Recommended.

Pipe Used: Peder Jeppesen
PurchasedFrom: My Smoking Shop
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 24, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Scored an almost 14 year old tin of this from a silent auction at Strauss in Florence Kentucky. I had never tried fresh Best Brown, let alone any with significant aging. This tobacco has been a treat, and I'm hanging on to the last half of this tin with my life.

Popped the tin and the thin flakes had partially melded together with age. Residual moisture had escaped and left delicate, flimsy flakes for me to pick apart. Airing some out for 15 minutes made it bowl-ready. I wasn't prepared for the flavor journey I was about to take. Sweet, musty, funky, savory, delicious.

The best comparison I can make flavorwise is to my favorite kind of beer. Bottle fermented Belgian ales with significant age. Yeasty, murky, bready and sweet.

Recently I bought a 250g box of Best Brown to see what it's like fresh (and to start aging some in a jar). While decent, it's nothing like what it becomes after 10+ years. Ive actually tasted a similar note to the aged Best Brown in Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake. Looking forward to aging some of that too.
Pipe Used: Various small pipes by Anastasopolous and Gamboni
PurchasedFrom: Strauss Tobacconist
Age When Smoked: ~14 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 23, 2017 Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
This flake is the second best blend after full virginia flake.when you open it you get a light sweet topping in combination with citrus dried fruits and a little grass.rub it and let it dry a little.the lighting needs a little effort though the result is great.a decent sweet flavour with citrus and a hint of grass.magnificent!burns medium never bites and leaves a bit more moist at the end of the bowl.the nic level is low to medium so it's an all day blend to me.you can smoke it every hour leaving you a great aftertaste.defenitelly should try it!!
Age When Smoked: Rubed and leave it to dry out a couple hours
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2015 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
A basic, no frills Virginia flake. Has a nice sweetness that vaguely resembles brown sugar or molasses. Not very complex, but it is enjoyable to smoke. Has a satisfying strength to it. I get the best burn when it's very dry, but even then it takes a few matches to get going and requires a few relights. It's a good, solid smoke.

Mild to medium in body and taste. I think it does have a very mild sweet topping.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Mark Twain, Diplomat Apple
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 24, 2015 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I was amazed when I cracked the tin open. I expected to find, well, a BROWN flake product. What I saw was well-cut flakes of such a light hue they reminded me of the Lakelands in Squadron Leader when that blend is first opened. By the next day, they had begun to turn brown and within a couple more days the tobacco had indeed turned brown. I remember Escudo doing the same.

I was not particularly (yes, I know this is heresy) impressed with FVF and was prepared to be underwhelmed by Best Brown Flake. I was wrong, I thoroughly enjoy this VA flake, less tangy that FVF, but still full enough flavored to my liking. Straight Virginias tend to leave me with an unpleasant aftertaste; BBF does not.

I could probably keep typing, trying to come up with more hyperbole, but cutting to the quick - this is good product. I keep a couple of tins in back up and one opened at all times.
Pipe Used: Briars - prince, diplomat, GBD 9438
PurchasedFrom: Cigar Express, McKees Rocks, PA
Age When Smoked: New production
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