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 21 - 30 of 293 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
Age When Smoked: 1-2 years
5 people found this review helpful.
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