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.


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


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

Average Rating

3.40 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 293 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 08, 2013 Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable
I recently purchased one tin of BBF and 3 Golden Glow from Sturks Toabcconists in Cape Town. I took it on the recommendation of the owner of the store.

The tin aroma, although impressive, is not AS good as say GG. It is very subdued in comparison.

I did not expect much from this flake in all honestly.

It was when flame met tobacco in a Design Berlin Prelude 5 that really surprised me. I have NEVER smoked a flake that gave up so much taste. Creamy, musty, bitter, sweet all at once, puff after puff, clouds of thick, delicious smoke.

I have since smoked it in a variety of pipes and the results are all the same. This is an OUTSTANDING Flake and my favourite at the moment.

IMHO, this is the Best Brown Flake i know of ;), I gotta get more...lots more.

Mo, South Africa
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 13, 2012 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
This was my first foray into the world of Old Sam and boy did I fall in love. I am a big fan of Virginia Flakes and why I did not try this years ago, I know not why. The flake is a beautiful brown soft and pliable. The tin note smells like raisins and figs and is quite sweet. I broke out some flakes and rubbed them out, let them sit for about an hour and a half and then loaded my pipe. The tobacco flavor started out sweet and tasty and continued that way to the half way point. The flavor got richer and deeper the longer I smoked and I basically fell in love.

The tobacco burned to a fine white ash and left nothing in my bowl. There is absolutely no bite to this tobacco and it has now become one of my go to smokes. The fact that you can buy this stuff by the pound makes it an exceptional value in my book. I highly recommend this to any Virginia lover and anyone who happens to smoke a pipe.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 28, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I love well aged blends but I always review “new” tobacco. Unfortunately, in this case, due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining SG blends here in the US, this review is based on a two four year old tins. That's the bad news; the good news is that age serves this flake really well. Sweet with soft edges, Best Brown is forgiving for a puffer like me. Now that the tin has aged, much of the tin scent of “hay” has been replaced with raisons and figs. I am one of the few that isn't a big fan of FVF, even when FVF is aged. I find BB to be a far more enjoyable smoke. It needs some dry time, but it's worth the wait as it burns cleanly with the flavors developing throughout the course of the bowl. I don't find it to gather a much more strength as the bowl progress's. I have smoked BB in various size bowls and folded as well as rubbed out and my choice is a smaller bowl, fully rubbed out. I guess I'm just going to have to “suffer” though a few more aged tins! Highly Recommended
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
This flake is a mighty fine example of pure Virginia tobacco. No flavorings, toppings, and no casing. It is not as one-dimensional as some say, rather a straight forward Virginia flake tobacco that I smoke any time of day or night.

I do not dry this out too much as I prefer higher moisture content in flakes/plugs. This flake ages and maintains its character well.

I smoke this in a group 4/5 straight billiard.

I give this a 4 star recommendation as I find this a perfect example of top-notch manufacturing, flavor, consistency, and taste.

...a pipe is to be savored...
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 29, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This tobacco forces me to calm down, to sit back and focus on nothing but enjoying my time with the pipe. My first go with best brown was not very memorable. It came off a little bland. There was nothing off putting or harsh about it, just a regular smoke... Fast forward a year and though I still have a lot to learn about my pipe and tobacco, my acquired experience in that year has afforded me incredible smokes with SG Best Brown.

I prefer BB rubbed out and dried for at least several hours. The moisture level is usually quite high and I prefer my tobacco on the drier side and I've found BB performs wonderfully at these conditions. From the charring light it delivers a juicy sweetness! Not exactly an in your face sweetness but a lovely slight roasted malty sweetness. Reminds me of a bock beer that has nice caramel undertones. When smoked slow, this stuff really comes through clean and pungent in a good way. I can smoke a bowl in the house and the wife doesn't notice as long as I do so a few hours before she comes home and I find the room note quite nice, but I also love this tobacco.

One negative I have found is that I have a hard time smoking this down to the bottom. I almost always have a little dottle at the bottom of the bowl, and this tends to get a little acrid if I push it or try to salvage what tobacco remains in my pipe. I believe this is probably due to my inexperience rather than the tobacco devolving into a lack luster over stoved mess. But I still give this blend 4 stars, the first 2/3 of the bowl is lovely! Highly recommend this and if smoked slow it will reward you!
Pipe Used: many
PurchasedFrom: B &M
Age When Smoked: New bulk and 1 year old bulk
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 04, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I know... it just depends on what you are looking for and what you want out of it. BBF is an old staple of mine. It is not multi-dimensional nor complex, but it is a reliable smoke that always tastes good and sometimes delicious. It's one you can go to when you don't want to think about which tobacco you'd like to smoke next. It's a good companion. Like a faithful dog, it doesn't require much attention but will reward it. For that: four stars.

However, again like an old dog, if it is too wet you don't want to get too near it (although it does smell better). It often needs a considerable amount of drying. I remove it from the tin, rough it up and leave it open in a jar overnight, then cap it and put it away for awhile, checking it, and if necessary, opening the jar again for awhile. Once it dries it is an easy smoke anytime, and stays fresh in the jar for onks. It's also a good staple for the 'cellar' as it gains with age.

BBF is a classic. It is a no nonsense, easy-does-it flake, with which every smoker should be acquainted.

P.S. Sometimes I think this may contain a smidgeon of Turkish (Izmir) leaf... Don't pick it up on the tongue as much as I catch an occasional whiff in the air...
Pipe Used: Several. All reserved for Virginias w/out topping.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 19, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Where has this Virginia been all my life? Admittedly... I smoke straight Virginias not too often, but if I want something smoother, milder, I'll grab for some straight VA.

Inside the tin the typical moist Gawith Flake. Long, and not too densly pressed. Tin note reminding me of oat, bread and honey, with maybe some citrus. Drying it out for right amounts of time is key imho...find your personal sweet spot and maximize the joy.

Once smoldering Best Brown holds up to its's one of the best Virginias I had so far! Oaty, bready, slightly honey sweet and spicy and definetly some earthiness to it. It only has a minor citrusness and fruit tone to it as I perceive it...very rich aroma. After a while I also get a hay-ish dimension out of it. Toast-y and creamy. Not the simple "grassy/hay-ish and citrusy" Virginia one might think of when thinking of some other straight Virginia...but that's what I love about BBF and straight Virginias...bready, oaty, earthy dimension, with a rather dark, rich and spicy character! BBF has it all..

It also reminds me a lot of St. James Flake minus the Perique. Similar tin aroma, similar Virginia taste. Bet they use the same leafs for the two.

I'm overwhelmed by its beauty and aroma...4/4 stars, instant of the few Virginias I'll keep at hand any times.
Pipe Used: Clay Pipes / Various Briars
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 19, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The comparisons are Gawith's own Full Va Flake and probably Macbaren's HH Pure Virginia flake. Hot pressed and unadorned. Best Brown is lighter in color than FVF and a bit sweeter and brighter in taste. Its a very fine virginia flake, no question. It maybe hasnt the complexity of FVF but its got its own appeal...a subtle sweetness and its also an easier smoke to repeat during the day. Pure virginias on the market run from Buteras dark stoved and several of the heavily stoved McClelland flakes all the way to Pease's Union Square and then Wessex Brigade Dark Campaign flake. Or Astely's 44. The latter two have a bit more casing (that is, IF best brown has any...its hard to tell...but most tobacco made for pipe smoking have at least a tiny bit). I rate BB among the very best and honestly i smoke it more often than I do the FVF. Its a classic. Been around forever and is always popular.
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 09, 2005 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
When BBF hit ASP, the pipe newsgroup, it was the tobacco of the moment for a month or so. I recall it as being the beginning of the pipe world's Lake District invasion, and the Zimbabwean/Malawian/Brazilian Virginias, combined with the steam-pressing attributes, made this a very different animal than what most were used to smoking.

BBF's primary attribute, to me, is it's fickleness. When it smokes well, there is almost nothing better. It has a warm, "brown", sweet, hay-like characteristic that is nonetheless very natural tasting (although I believe some sweeteners are applied). It smokes quite cool, but is rich and self-assured. Each puff is a delight.

When it doesn't smoke well, though, which is about 65% of the time for me, it is just "ok". The sweetness doesn't show up, it smokes hotter, and it just doesn't flash its charm. I can't explain why it does this, but it keeps BBF from being a part of my regular rotation. I"ve had better luck with its plug version, Kendall Plug.

Additional comment: I don't find ANY soapiness in this blend, and I am very sensitive to that floral stuff. It smells like cut, partially-dried grass or hay in the tin, but it ain't stinky.

Update January 2005: If you love BBF, you MUST try SG's Medium Virginia Flake. If you don't like BBF, you MUST try SG's Medium Virginia Flake too.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 21, 2016 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
First I love Samuel Gawith for it's total lack of marketing. I mean, look at the name of this! Look at the "tin art". I can even imagine they creating the name:

- How we will be calling this new blend?

- Well, what is the cut?

- Flake.

- What is it color?

- Brown.

- Do we have a better brown flake than this in our production?

- No.

- So I think that "Best Brown Flake" suits good.

- Brilliant! How inventive!

Ok, on to the tobacco itself. If you're expecting good mannered, well-disposed squared flakes, sorry! You'll find dark, thick and uneven flakes thrown in the most messy, almost offensive way. But the smell will make you forgive all this. It's clearly well aged.

We'll, I'll love flakes and I love to fold'n'stuff them, so my first smoke was terrible, I just find impossible to fold'n'stuff this, it´s too thick at least for me. So next I tried to rub it (crucify me). And when I rubbed this I found out how pressed it was! You can rub this forever, there's always another piece of flake that turns in mountains of tobacco. I also tried to slice it in tiny cubes. These two ways it worked much better.

Is it delicious, intriguing, and every other fancy description already used on the others reviews? For sure. But for me is also very, very unpredictable, and that makes me smoke a little tense and spoils a part of the pleasure. Anyway, a classic that deserves to be smoked by everyone.
8 people found this review helpful.
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