Regular red Virginias have a flavor that can best be described as toasty sweet. Processing and maturing red Virginia can bring some surprising results. People used to buy McClelland 5100 Red Cake by the pound because of its zesty flavor. For those who miss that terrific flavor, you should try Sutliff Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1. This isn't an exact match for 5100, but it has a depth of flavor and a tang that you wouldn't normally find in a regular red Virginia, and it's priced very nice.

BrandSutliff Tobacco Company
Blended ByCarl McAllister
Manufactured BySutliff Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
Cup O' Joes
Product Image
Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant, Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 2 Users

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3046)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The earthy, woody, tangy ripe dark fruity, mildly sugary red Virginia also sports a very light tart sourness, bread, and vinegar with a bare hint of the floral and tart citrus. The strength is a step past the center of mild to medium, while the taste is close to medium. The nic-hit is tad less potent than the strength level. Won’t bite or get harsh, and has few rough edges. It may need a very light dry time. Burns cool and clean at a slightly slow pace if the tobacco is moist. Has a very consistent sweet flavor with a touch of savoriness from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasant, lightly lingering after taste and room note. An all day smoke that also makes a excellent mixer. It’s not quite McClelland 5100 - much less vinegar, and it's tangier, but just a little less sweeter - but it is the closest you will get to it. Should age well, though it’s ready to go as it is.


49 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2080)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Sutliff Tobacco Co. - Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1.

A blend inspired by Red Cake? Tough act to follow. McClelland were the kings of tangy Virginias; to me, at least. So, how does it compare?

On a very minor negative it arrives a touch moist, but nothing a short airing doesn't solve. The nose from the pouch is McClelland through and through: ketchup!

I love the smoke, it's just like a McC' Virginia. The flavour's inordinately ripe, rich, and mature. It isn't just a Va of hay and citrus sharpness, it's deep, tangy and sweet. The burn's medium in speed, exceptionally cool, giving a smoke without a bite in it. This is a blend where a long review isn't required, it's just a great smoke!

Nicotine: quite mild. Room-note: nice.

515-RC? The description may say it's not an 'exact match', but it's damn close! Highly recommended:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Rattray's Celtic

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

39 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30167)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I walked into my tobacconist and asked him for something reminiscent of the dearly beloved and mourned McClelland 5100 Red Cake. He plopped two jars down on the table and happily obliged to let me have a half a bowl or so of each right there. So, I chose the first jar, which happened to be Sutliff Red Virginia Ribbon, a fine choice, I thought. I lit my pipe and settled in, and what I found was a slightly young, tangy red Virginia with no reminiscent McC "smell", and only did I get pockets, or perhaps, subtle, faint hints of the old 5100 we know all know of. Happy, but not what I was looking for, I opened the next jar, and had my fill. This one brought me back to the same mental state that my brain associates with 5100 almost immediately. I found, though it wasn't quite the same, the hint of the McC Virgnia smell and hurriedly in excitement lit my pipe. Much better. Much more tangy in the same way 5100 was, and that deep red Viginia sweetness was present. I let my pipe go out, bought a healthy sized bag, and relit my pipe for the drive home. Hands down, folks, this is the closest you will get to 5100 this side of the moon. Granted, it comes a bit moist, and isn't exactly Red Cake, it's pretty damn close. I do get the sense that there is a hint of sweet topping that at times gets a little "sugary" for me, which is a difference between it and Red Cake, but hey, let's all appreciate that this tobacco exists, and be satisfied with this cheap, Red Cake-esque tobacco that will scratch your McC red Virginia itch. A final caveat - Let it age. It does seem a bit young to me, and will age beautifully, just as all Virginias do. I feel that with some age on it, it will perhaps be as close to Red Cake as anyone will get.

22 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30167)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

A Tale of Two Red Virginias, Part II. Golden ribbons with a bag note of hay. I get none of the McClellands-style sileage aroma from this, which was expected since it's not a McClellands blend. Came very moist and the proper moisture content was hard to dial in but it required some drying to get the PG to evaporate but not so much as to make the tobacco too dry. I left this one with a bit of moisture - not crispy. Review based on one ounce.

My first few bowls were what I would expect from a Sutliff match blend of #5100 Red Cake... very little depth, a definite subduing of the Red Cake tang and sweetness, and a fake "sweet-ish" taste from the PG (the flavoring I listed). I understand this is a bulk blend and requires some form of preservative, but I wish Sutliff could find something else, as the PG definitely contributes negatively to the taste and moves this further from a "match" blend (it isn't so named but Sutliff states that it's a substitute). But the good news is that there is almost no Sutliff signature chemical taste, once the blend dries out a bit. At any rate, as this blend dried on its own, it began to smoke more like a typical Red. Still nowhere near the depth of 5100, but at least moving in that direction. And once again, a single ounce of tobacco usually does not tell the entire story, even in a blend as simple as this one. I think this has potential - probably not to classic status like the McClellands but I would never expect that from a Sutliff blend, anyway. As a substitute for Red Cake, this one has a lot to aspire to, but again, I think it has the potential that, with some age on it, it might approach a fresh batch of Red Cake (which we will sadly no longer find). I'm going to pick up a half-pound and give it another spin in a year or so. 2 stars for my personal taste, 3 stars for its potential.

Update: I've smoked a few more bowls of this (ordered a pound to age but plucked out an ounce for current sampling) and I actually like it pretty well. I dry it out a bit and that PG-ish taste goes away. Pretty simple red VA with almost no complexity, but it tastes pretty good. Not as tangy and sweet as Red Cake but it's in the ballpark. It earns the 3 star rating I gave it and I think it's going to improve as time goes on.

14 people found this review helpful.

ATW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ATW (110)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Since I found out McClelland called it quits, it got me into a Virginia kick. I was trying to find something to fill the void since to loss of 5100. While almost every blend was good in its own rite, it just isn't 5100. 5100 is what got me started in appreciating natural tobacco due to its pure, zesty, creamy, semi sweet, unadulterated nature. Just light it up, puff away and don't think about it type of blend.

That all being said, I think Sutliff knocked this one out of the park. I can only find 3 difference so far. The bag aroma if more of a straight vinegar then a ketchup smell, and the tang is more pronounced and the zest is a little lower. But that's all fine by me. To me, this is similar to a well aged 5100. No matter what, nothing will ever be like for like. But I'm pretty sure this will be very much appreciated by most. And I'm damn sure my sample is not going to last long.

Update 9-30-2018. A difference that I am finding between 5100 and 515 is I've noticed 5100 actually starts to lose its flavor in the last 3rd but 515 keeps gaining in flavor. The sweetness starts to turn into a very nice creamy caramel/mocha flavor. Almost like McClleland Virginia #27 and in some ways it reminds me of Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake. Very very interesting. I am enjoying this more and more. A pound of this will be ordered very shortly. Excellent Virginia right here!

13 people found this review helpful.

nkulk8r Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nkulk8r (90)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Sutliff Tobacco Co. - Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1.

I took up the pipe in 2013, and it took me some time to learn how to appreciate Virginias. I snapped up quite a bit of the McClelland Anniversary 1977 - 2017 Virginias (both the ribbon and the flake). Somehow I missed the 5100 Red Cake -- the stuff everyone compares this tobacco to -- so, I can't compare the 515 RC-1 to something I have never smoked -- but, with that being said, I simply love this tobacco.

Sutliff Matured Red Virginia is everything a matured red Virginia should be: tangy, sweet, sour, citrusy -- with that signature McClelland vinegar and ketchup smell we all know and love (and miss) so well -- this stuff is just really good. Tin note is very much like the Sutliff Red Virginia Crumble Kake (though the vinegar is more redolent in the RC-1, while the crumble has more of a sweet/fruity bouquet).

Buying two pounds of this was an easy no-brainer. As others have noted, it does arrive a bit moist, and will need some dry time.

10 people found this review helpful.

Adam T Valleau Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Adam T Valleau (21)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When I heard recently that Sutliff 515 RC-1 red Virginia blend was similar to McClelland's 5100 Red Cake (RIP), I had to try some.There were many McClelland blends I liked, but 5100, along with the Frog Mortons, were my favorites. I ordered 2 ounces of the 515. This is usually enough for me to get to know a blend. By the way, the name here seems an obvious nod to 5100 Red Cake. I mean, 515 - 1 as a reference to 51 hundred, and RC as a reference to Red Cake? Anyway, even after a few bowls of 515, I could see the similarity to 5100 Red Cake. The tobacco was at the right moisture level. The “bag note” was… well, a little grassy, maybe, but there really wasn't all that much of a scent to my nose. 515 is a mature red Virginia with a nice, gentle sweet taste. Some reviewers have noted a lemony, sour taste they didn't like. Well, I've not been getting any of that, although there is a slight tartness to it. I can also taste a little earthiness and breadiness in it. I also like the mouth feel and body of this blend. It produces a fair amount of thick smoke for a Virginia. This blend is very well-behaved. It burns well with minimal relights, and provides a pretty long smoke when packed firmly. In comparison to 5100, 515 RC-1 is perhaps a bit milder in strength and taste, but not by much. Maybe 5100 was a bit more tart. Although not an exact match (and should we really expect that anyway?), Sutliff 515 RC-1 is remarkably similar to 5100, and for me is a very acceptable substitute. Sutliff has hit a home run with this blend, I think. Recommended.

Pipe Used: Large Canadian, medium meerschaum.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

Similar Blends: McClelland 5100 Red Cake..

9 people found this review helpful.

Pipe&leaf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe&leaf (9)
Mild Mild Medium Unnoticeable

I put it straight from the bag into the pipe. No drying time. It lit quite easily.

For the first third of the bowl, the tobacco tasted how it smelled out of the ziplock bag. I thought that was great because it's something you rarely get with pipe tobaccos. It's very savoury, but also sweet and zesty.

That zest disappeared for the last two thirds of the bowl leaving me with a flavour that's more tamed as though the pipe and the leaf decided to settle on an agreement of the sorts for the remainder of the smoke.

I'm looking forward to aging this stuff and see how it evolves.

Is it like 5100 red cake? I smoked the famous Mcclelland blend last spring, 9 months ago and I can see why people compare it. But the 5100 was way more mellow and understood itself for what it was. The sutliff seems like it's still becoming into its own if that makes any sense. Again, I think time will really see that this blend shines.

Happy smokes everyone. Hope this helps.

Pipe Used: Brigham three dot 624 bent billiard

Purchased From: Smoking pipes

9 people found this review helpful.

Tomcat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tomcat (221)
Mild None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

Upon opening the bag of bulk a very strong vinegar smell . Smoked about 6oz thus far and ready to review . I love sweet Virginia and this one does not disappoint! The tang is what I really love about it . Very simple and great by itself but also blended this with oriental (nice ) and made a mild english w/ perique and the sweetness and tang still strong . Great blender base and I cellared about pound and half . Hope it ages well! About an hour of drying and perfect . Leaves little ash and not too much moisture at bottom with one relight . I love it update 8/21/19 Just wanted to add this stuff is great for building cake in a new briar pipe !

Pipe Used: Tall conical dublin variants

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipes and cigars

6 people found this review helpful.

Big Blue Jazzman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Blue Jazzman (73)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Purchased this as a blending tobacco. Combined it with an equal amount of yellow virginia and a modest amount of latakia. Wow, jackpot! Then smoked a bowl of just the Red 515. Slow burning, tangy and double delicious! Bet if this was aged for 10 years it would be a smoke of religious experience. You also cannot beat the price. Fantastic job Sutliff!

Pipe Used: Ascorti New Dear

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smoking pipes

6 people found this review helpful.

cajomu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cajomu (80)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Sutliff Matured Red Virginia is a truly excellent tobacco. It has lots of flavor, a very pleasant room note and absolutely no bite. The tobacco is a uniform medium ribbon, mostly brownish red in color with a few lighter colored strands. The aroma of the unlit tobacco is slightly sweet and fruity. As delivered, it's a little on the moist side, so it needs a bit of drying out before smoking. As one would expect, since it is a Virginia, the nicotine hit is on the light side (although, if you smoke a large bowl, you will feel it).

Upon lighting up, the first thing that strikes one is how sweet it is -- it's one of the sweetest tobaccos I've ever smoked -- and the sweetness continues to the end of the smoke, becoming a little less pronounced around the half-way point. In fairly short order, one begins to detect a sourness that offsets the sweetness nicely and that is quite enjoyable. I reminds me of dried sour cherries, although the flavor is less of cherries and more of raisins. As the smoke progress, one begins to detect some darker flavors like molasses and burnt sugar. Towards the end of the smoke, I get a little bit of hay and grass, as the other flavors taper off. At the very end of the smoke, I detect a little bitterness, which is the only defect I can find.

Others have compared it to the much missed McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake, one of my favorite pipe tobaccos. I get that. However, SMRV is sweeter than Red Cake, doesn't smell of ketchup and is not quite as complex (yet interesting enough to be an all day smoke). I see that one reviewer detected some flavoring. I don't, but I think that is understandable, considering how fruity it is and how pleasant is its room note.

While good enough to smoke on its own, I think that SMRV would really shine as a blender. I can't wait to try it with Perique, with Latakia and with dark-fired burley.

I can't say enough good things about this tobacco. If you liked Red Cake or if you like your tobacco sweet and flavorful, SMRV won't disappoint. Buy a pound of it. It should age nicely and, considering how inexpensive it is, it's a great value.

Pipe Used: Various briars, clay

Age When Smoked: Recently purchased

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake.

6 people found this review helpful.

ScienceSmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ScienceSmoker (60)
Extremely Mild Extra Strong Overwhelming Overwhelming

This is a disaster. I bought some Sutliff 515 RC-1 about a year ago, and it was overwhelmingly doused in vinegar. Now, some people have said it has a "tang" or a bit of a vinegar scent... this is NOT that. My bag was off the charts. I'm convinced my batch was mistakenly over-drenched in it somehow. When you bring the bag close to your nose, it's an automatic physiological reflex to jump away, almost as bad as smelling salts... really. It's literally that bad. Totally unsmokable. Might as well be mustard gas. So, perhaps naively, I jarred it and set it aside hoping that some time in the cellar might... do something, perhaps smooth it out. Well... it hasn't. I opened it the other day, and it's as deadly as when I first received it. So I tried "airing it out" and then re-hydrating it. I did that several times already. The vinegar scent has decreased dramatically, but it's still too harsh to smoke. I'm hoping by the time I'm finished this process, there will still be some tobacco essence left. I will update if/when I can finally smoke this stuff. I feel like I should just buy another 2 oz of it, since this was almost certainly a fouled batch, but I'm hesitant to have more shipped to my house, lest the United Nations start thinking I'm stockpiling chemical weapons.

-=UPDATE=- After a few more airing out and re-hydrating sessions, I decided to try smoking it. It's still too harsh to smoke on it's own, so I mixed it up with some stoved Virginia, some latakia, and a bit of Turkish. The 515 RC-1 was only about 20% of the mix... and it was actually really good! Huge surprise.

Bottom line: When I got it fresh, it was completely unsmokable, zero stars. But after a year in the cellar, and 6 or 7 airing-out/re-hydrating sessions... I was finally able to use a small amount in a home blend.

5 people found this review helpful.

Rustedrailsmokes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rustedrailsmokes (293)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is based on 515 from 2018 and smoked in the summer of 2020.

I purchased a pound of 515 from Smokingpipes.com in 2018 in a sealed bag and managed to misplace it until the summer of 2020.

I decided it was time to jar it up for the cellar and kept out some to smoke.

Out of the bag, the moisture is just right. The bag note was slightly sweet. I don't get the same vinegar from the bag that I do when I open a precious can of McClelland these days.

The ribbon cut is easy to pack and light. It burns well. No tongue bite even if pushed. The flavor is pretty monotone but good. A nice sweet smoke but not quite up to the level of the old McC's or even the C&D Carolina Red Flake that I was smoking before this one. The nic level is medium to my taste and it can be an all day smoke.

For the price point, this is a no brainer. It makes a great VaPer when say 10% or 20% perique is added to it also. I've also had some with a little bit of Dark Fired added which is also pleasurable.

I'll keep this in the rotation through the summer and make sure that I pick more up when the bulks go on sale.

Pipe Used: Radiator Pipes, Cobs

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (202)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have never tried McClelland's 5100 Red Cake, so I can only judge this tobacco by its own merits. The tobacco leaf they use seems to be of good quality, but I do not see the point in smoking red virginia when you are after the tang and zesty notes only brighter virginias will produce. Also, the casing seems to be so much in your face for my liking. The room note is very similar to the one those cheap Danish aromatics will leave behind. After it wanes, more or less as you go past your first half and into the third quarter of your bowl, the tobacco flavour comes more upfront with slight bread and hay like undertones. Without the added flavour this tobacco would rate 4 stars, but in its current state I can only award it with 2.

5 people found this review helpful.

Poodlejuice Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Poodlejuice (51)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Sour and tangy dark fruit & vinegar notes on a lovely base of Chocolate & bread. Very simple, delicious, and easy smoke. Has a bit of the "sutliff sauce" on it, but I didn't find it to be too obtrusive or need any drying.

Definitely needs 6+ months of age to reach it's potential, but definitely worth a try, especially at the price.

4 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (633)
Mild Very Strong Mild to Medium Tolerable

This, to me, is a disaster. I applaud Sutliff for attempting to fill the void left by McClelland halting production, but this is far from 5100 and is a complete failure IMO.

McClelland Virginias had a unique smell that many people characterized differently. I, personally, was in the camp of saying it smelled like ketchup. Several people said that they thought it was vinegar and would refer to the elusive sauce as McVV. I never got any whiff of vinegar in a McClelland blend (and I know that Ketchup has vinegar in it, but it does not stand out). Others speculated that the smell was just pure virginia tobacco properly cured. I don't know and neither does anyone except the McNeils who never divulged their secrets as far as I know.

With that background, it is clear that the person at Sutliff tasked with making this tribute to 5100 was in the Vinegar camp, as this stuff is just drenched in vinegar. The first whiff of this in the bag is a dead ringer for the smell of a freshly opened bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. This is great with chips, in fact those are my favorite chips; but it is downright vile on tobacco.

I remember my first bowl of 515 RC-1. The smell was so off putting that I hoped like hell it would flash off quick when put to light. No, it does not. It takes a while and by the time it does, it is still not worth the effort as that vinegar smell is entrenched upon you. I tried maybe one or two more bowls and then relegated the rest to be serve as a blender. Even in this role, it failed for the first year or so adding an unwanted vinegar presence to everything it was blended with.

After a year, however, the vinegar smell finally disappeared and all that was left was an "OK" red virginia. If the blend started that way, I may have rated it higher, but the pain getting it there really keeps me from recommending this to anyone.

Vinegar does not belong on tobacco. Plain and simple. There is no good substitute for McClelland 5100 that I know of, but I can't let that garner an extra star for this blend. I would rather smoke C&D Blending Red Virginia than this catastrophe.

4 people found this review helpful.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (339)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

McClelland can never be matched. They were the epitome of Virginia and aged Virginia. That being said...

The tin note of McClellands Va's is a soft ketchup aroma. adding other ingredients to the red sauce tones down the sharpness. The tin note of this Sutliff is straight up vinegar. Its pungent and sharp. This is not a bad trait though!

The tobacco appearance is a medium to light brown leaf. Long, thin ribbon makes up the majority of this blend, with a small percent small chopped ribbon. The moisture seems to be perfect on arrival, also perfect for aging.

This blend packs well, without much spring, and the initial lighting takes very few matches. There is a clean, cool and crisp felling on the palate on the first 1/3 of the bowl. The tobacco is light and fragrant, with notes of hay and grass. This blend is easy on the tongue, even for those with a Va sensitivity.

If you are looking for a 5100 replacement, this will be as close as you'll get. 4 solid stars!

Age When Smoked: Fresh

4 people found this review helpful.

The Hun Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Hun (38)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I intended to use my last four ounces of McClelland's 5100 to compare to Sutliff's Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1 (SMRV), but when I opened the sealed jar of the 5100, I remembered why it has been around so long--there was a distinct aroma of cloves to it (not one of my favorite flavors for tobacco). Since there is only one review out of 188 of 5100 mentioning clove and my sample is of approximately the same vintage as that singular review, I am not going to compare the two based on what could be an aberrant sample of 5100.

SMRV has a smell and flavor reminds me of the long-defunct Beefamato drink that, I believe, Mott's (the applesauce people) put out years ago--lightly acetic with the mellowing effect of something "meaty" (for lack of a better word). There is a tang to it in the smoke, but that tang is mellowed by the background flavor. I believe that this Virginia is a good part of what is in Hearth and Homes' AJ's VaPer and Louisiana Red (two of my favorites), as I get much the same basic aromas and flavors from those two blends.

SMRV needs a bit of drying before it will burn reliably. The nicotine content levels out around the center of mild to medium. It burns at a moderate rate even when dried slightly, and I have yet to be bitten by it even though I tend to be a fast puffer. I guess that some would find it a boring smoke--there's not a whole lot of variety to it--but I find it to be a fine smoke.

I would gladly load a bowl of this any time of the day. Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Various briars and corncobs

Age When Smoked: New to 6 months

4 people found this review helpful.

guyakaguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
guyakaguy (2)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I’ve been hearing about the legendary Red Cake throughout my entire 17 years of pipe smoking, but I’ve unfortunately never had the ability to try it.

I have no idea how this compares to Red Cake, but it is a unique and interesting smoke, once you get it dried out enough. Being a bulk tobacco, I expected it to come bone dry - aka ready to smoke, but it actually came fairly moist. The initial odor I get right off the pouch/bag is a fairly strong acidic/vinegar smell, with a natural nutty sweet VA somewhere in the background.

I’m still working on getting the moisture level right, but it will be a gem once it’s dry. Smoking it without getting it adequately dry yields an exceptionally smooth and sweet and toasty and nutty VA with a pungent vinegar moistness that has a tendency to make its way into my mouth. It definitely needs to be dry.

I have tried mixing this 50/50 with Sutliff’s Red Virginia Ribbon, which I think will be an addictive powerhouse, IMO, once it’s had a chance to dry and meld a bit.

So far I’m really digging it. If I have change my mind, or change my tastes I’ll amend this review.

Pipe Used: 9mm bent briar, MM hardwood, Savinelli Unfinished

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

3 people found this review helpful.

Griswold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Griswold (21)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Everybody compares this to the sadly exctinct McClelland 5100 'Red Cake', which I liked quite a bit, but only had a few ounces now and then when it was available. As much as this comparison is obvious, it is just as unnecessary, for this is a fine tobacco in its own right. Not much going on in terms of flavor changes throughout the bowl, but in a good way. Definitely has all-day qualities, if one is an all-day smoker. Plus, the price is ridiculously low. This is as good as it gets if you like slightly tart and tangy red Virginia. Which I do.

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

J. Ward Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J. Ward (70)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this tobacco, and how similar it was to McClelland's 5100. The flavor profile is tangy red fruit, a bit of earth, baking spice, bready (like an unbuttered croissant), and a light sweetness. It smokes down to the bottom of the bowl with no bite or dottle, to a fine ash. The flavor pleasantly lingers on the palate well after the smoke is gone. There's little to no evolution, but the smoke is as delicious from the first puff to the last. A superb smoke! Easily 4 stars.

*Edit May 6, 2021 Sutliff's 515 continues to be a staple in my rotation, albeit quite infrequent. I reach for this blend when I take the whippersnapper to the park, on hot summer days, or when I need a great all-day-smoke to pack into my baccy wallet. When I've got this blend with me, out and about, I'll load several bowls throughout the day in my cob, for a satisfying smoke on the go. Though I'll say I'm no longer as enthusiastic as I was to compare this blend to McClelland's 5100. This is still a great red VA in its own right, and there are some similarities, but drawing that hardline comparison no longer seems fitting. I've got some jars of this blend aging, so we'll see how it matures.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Cobs

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

3 people found this review helpful.

DeathMetal.org Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeathMetal.org (231)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

Summary: a serviceable attempt to replicate McClelland Virginias, if you like acidic Virginias.

McClelland produced a type of Virginia with strong flavor that made it easy to appreciate for newer smokers, blending the tangy acidity of young red Virginia with a malted, vinegar-like flavor. In my view, they spray sugar on it and then partially Cavendish -- air roast -- it before pressing, which produces the unique "ketchup" odor of light fermentation along with the softness of Cavendish. Given the wide range of options, it seemed silly to fixate on these, especially when they were obviously young Virginias roasted to conceal defects, not necessarily the high-quality leaf boasted by the marketing materials. Sutliff hit the gold mine when the audience responded to these, and came up with its own version, which tastes like a lightly Cavendished and slightly fermented red Virginia. If you like sweet-sour candies, this will appeal. To my mind, there are better Virginias out there, and the quality blends tend to use a spectrum of red, brown, and bright Virginias to achieve this same effect, using older leaf to avoid the lemon drop acid blast of this leaf.

Similar Blends: McClelland - Frog Morton Across the Pond (Craftsbury Series), McClelland - Stave-Aged Virginia 35 Ribbon, Sutliff Tobacco Company - Cringle Flake (Holiday Edition 2020).

2 people found this review helpful.

hrhf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hrhf (38)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Edit: 19 July, 2021 Having been around the block a few times since this initial review, I’m revisiting to knock this down to two stars. It’s a perfectly serviceable blending Virginia, but a little lacking on its own.

I hope to experiment some with blending in the next year or so. I expect I’ll be able to use this as a component and come up with something enjoyable. I’ll update further at that point.

But for now: two stars. It’s not good enough on its own (even after a few months of cellaring) to hold its own against what I’ve been smoking: Mostly a steady diet of Gawith Hoggarth flakes.

Original review: 13 March, 2021 Since discovering this magnificent red Sutliff Virginia, along with its sister product (Sutliff’s bulk stoved Virginia), they have become the standard by which I judge all other Virginias. Each stands on its own quite enjoyably, but are truly great when mixed together in various ratios.

But as to the big red in question, I have no memory of having experienced the late great McLelland reds that this blend is apparently modeled after, so I’m judging it entirely on its own merits. So here goes.

This beautiful, quality matured blend of red Virginia, a bulk offering of Sutliff, presents a rich, savory, inviting jar aroma. There’s an almost pungent vinegar aroma that will hit you right after opening. But give a few seconds to allow a little air flow, and that subsides enough to allow you to smell it for what it is.

That scent, to me, practically screams “smoke me.”

So I do. Again and again.

This tobacco literally makes my mouth water while smoking it. I can’t think of another tobacco that does this, other than Sutliff’s Crumble Kake Red Virginia tinned offering, which I suspect is made of essentially the same stock. I love that one too. But, honestly, it’s hard to beat the price of this Sutliff bulk stuff. So it’s my go-to every day, several times a day, tobacco. The red. The stoved. The red and the stoved. The stoved and the red.

Seriously: with those two, I can blend flavor combinations that meet or exceed pretty much everything else I’ve been trying in the Virginia and Virginia Flake department. Sometimes I throw in a dash of C&D bright bulk. But, honestly, I don’t miss it when it’s not there.

The bottom line: Sutliff matured red is an excellent bang for the buck. I have over a pound of it jarred up for aging, and intend to add to my stash soon, so that I can actually let it get some long-term aging. I go through this stuff pretty fast. I’m hopeful that aging will produce something truly ethereal, because it’s great as new stock.

Four stars, but only because I can’t give it more.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New stock; four months

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Sutliff Tobacco Company - Crumble Kake Red Virginia.

2 people found this review helpful.

pokerpotpiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pokerpotpiper (11)
Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

I decided to buy and try this Virginia. Pretty quick, I have realized that it is tasteless for me. I have been using it adding to my Syrian Latakia blend, experimenting with different proportion for blending. Finally, I have found the blend of two and I have been piping it time to time during the day or in the evening with either coffee or black tea. Mild, lack of strong flavor when it is alone, however with the Latakia it became a nice all-day blend for a mid-size pipe. I advise to experimenting when you feel not comfortable with such blend or other ones. It seems to me a combined blend could be an interesting option versus a standalone pipe tobacco.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Dolomiti 320 KS 9mm

Age When Smoked: unknown

Purchased From: a US on line tobacco shop

2 people found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (218)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

515 RC-1 is a very good blend but for me it does not have the depth of tang or the depth of dark fruit notes that McClelland 5100 had. At the same time 5100 is a dinosaur. To be fare the notes say it is not an exact match but they do bring the comparison on themselves. That said it is still worth smoking. The jar note is slightly tangy, bready and earthy with a faint whisper of vinegar. The smoke does have a nice tangy note some dark fruit notes, a little earthy with a bread like note following in the background. As the bowl progresses the tangy moves to a tart slightly sour note at times and a nice clean woody note like a fresh planed oak plank comes in on occasion as well. The flavors do develop and become a little more clear at the bottom of the bowl and at this point the taste profile would be at medium for me. The finish is sweet and lingers on the palate for a good long while. The strength is at the right at the mild to med mark so an all day smoke if you are inclined. It does not get harsh or turn ashy. This one may age as the sweetness in the finish definitely suggests a lot of sugar content but it is very good at 6 months. I will be picking up a pound of it on my next order so this is really a 3.5 star for me right now. I will revisit this one soon as it will make it into a rotation and update as needed.

=Update= This jar has been setting in my cellar dating 2019/11/20 so a year and a day as of today. I have smoked about 8 oz of this most of it ROTT to about 6 months. I taste no change at the 1 yr mark. A very good red VA.

Age When Smoked: 6 months

2 people found this review helpful.

Cleonides Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cleonides (21)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant

A straight red virginia that is very heavily cased with propylene glycol, sugar, and vinegar which is unfortunate. In the jar I smell a lot of sweetness and vinegar with a little tobacco in the background. Mild nicotine.

It could be a 3 or 4 star tobacco, but the unjustifiable amount of PG makes it 1 star. I can taste the PG (or some other chemical) all the way through the bowl and it ruins what appears to be a nice red virginia.

If you like the sugar and vinegar thing (think McClelland), I suggest getting some of those fine C&D blending virginias, which have no PG or sweeteners, and add your own casing.

2 people found this review helpful.

doc pipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc pipes (110)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I smoked 5100 exactly once about a decade ago. It did not make much of an impression. This is quite similar in that it didn’t impress. The cold odor of this weed is less ketchup/bbq sauce than mcclellands. It is much more like somebody opened a bottle of household vinegar and gave the leaves a quick spritz before shipment. It has a syrupy sweet opening that is enhanced/magnified by using a wider bowl. There are some astringent notes akin to black Chinese Keemun tea, and these help to balance the sweetness. Not particularly tart or tangy. This was a blend that left me wanting something, feeling like something was missing every time I smoked it. No distinct bite, but can be a bit…”fatiguing” on the tongue. It’s not bad tobacco, just not something I am likely to go out of my way for again.

Age When Smoked: Fresh bulk

Purchased From: SP

1 person found this review helpful.

CDM Jr. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CDM Jr. (19)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

It's insulting to compare this bitter, bitey, pg cased cheap weed to 5100. Mary McNiel would not be amused. You get what you pay for. Many good RV's out there. This isn't one of them. They even added a phony hint of ketchup to humor you.

You want 5100? Go to ebay and pay the man what he wants. Otherwise, move on.


Pipe Used: Mario Grande

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

Similar Blends: Old barn hay.

1 person found this review helpful.

JaWiBr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JaWiBr (556)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Jar note of sharp vinegary, hay and tart stewed fruit. Tobacco is a ribbon cut of reddish brown and dark brown. Moisture content is ok, most pipe smokers will want to dry it out a bit. Burns slow with a few relights. The strength is mild to medium and nic is mild. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium and very consistent, with notes of vinegary sour, very bready, tart citrus, sugar, acidic, spices, zesty, lemon grass, dry wood, savory, rich earth, hay, floral, a semi-sweet tangy dark fruit background note, and a peppery retro. Room note is pleasant to tolerable, and aftertaste is great.

Pipe Used: Castello Old Antiquari G84

Age When Smoked: 4 years

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

Nobody has rated this review yet.

neuron_md Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
neuron_md (37)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It's been several years since I last tried MC Red Cake, but I remember it to be a mellow and sweet blend.

This blend is richer and tastier, in my humble opinion. In the bag, the leaf smells like it was sprayed with apple cider vinegar, not ketchup. When lit, it gives a full taste... tangy, a little sweet, and overall very delicious. It smokes cool and doesn't bite, but it has an astringent quality to it, very similar to sipping vinegar; so I suspect vinegar was used as a casing to this blend. It's also quite strong when exhaled through the nose... it nearly burned my nose hairs and that sensation stayed with me a long time during the smoke.

Overall, it's a unique blend and I enjoyed the experience and will buy some more. Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: corn cob

Age When Smoked: fresh out of the box

Purchased From: SPC

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Boatdock Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Boatdock (38)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is as close to McClelland 5100 as you're going to find. Just add some Perique and all is well. Just a damn fine blending Virginia.

Pipe Used: Irrelivant

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Just for Him

Nobody has rated this review yet.

b7q Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
b7q (53)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

If it's like 5100, I think it's more like Scotty's Old Red(it's gone off the market),except this one is a little more powerful.

I like the vinegar mixture, which reduces alkaline burns. and in addition to smoking it, I'm now ready to toss again.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum&Clay&Briar

Age When Smoked: new

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Anthony Caridi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Anthony Caridi (30)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Sweet yet tart. Slight vinegar with very mild metallic mouth feel. Plenty of Virginia characteristics. An interesting fruitiness. Mine needed some drying out. Still moist in mason jar after four years. Over all taste keeps growing on me as I proceed down the bowl. Top shelf smoke. Enjoyable all the way down. I'm inclined to say a very clean smoke with no bite nor any harshness. Yum.

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: 4 years

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Courtney Fish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Courtney Fish (33)
Mild to Medium Extra Strong Overwhelming Tolerable

REEKS of acetic acid from the pack - not tangy ketchup - so pungent it actually makes me involuntarily recoil when I put my nose in the jar.

Now, mechanically, it lights and burns well. It might indeed be good tobacco... but I can't taste it through the overpowering sour vinegar taste. I honestly cannot imagine how this would be pleasant even if blended.

I never had the opportunity of tasting McClelland 5100 Red Cake but I can't imagine this stuff is remotely what it was like. And in fact, based on the wonderful reviews for this (and the other quality Sutliff blends I have tried), I can only imagine I got a 'bad batch'. But man, what a bad batch it is. Either 515 RC-1 intentionally tastes like this (horrible) or Sutliff's quality control is poor. And viewing the other reviews here by date order, it does seem that something has gone wrong in 2021 - the previous poor reviews are complaints about flavour being too artificial/chemical - the unsmokable/doused in vinegar reviews all date from 2021...

This is honestly a new low for me - it is so bad I feel that I need to increase all my previous reviews by a star to make room for this - as it unfair to the quality of previous 1 star blends.

Pipe Used: Peterson, MM

Age When Smoked: 6 months in jar

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Nothing in my experience of 125 blends that I have previously tried. Thankfully..

Nobody has rated this review yet.