Sutliff Tobacco Company Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1

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.


Brand Sutliff Tobacco Company
Blended By Carl McAllister
Manufactured By Sutliff Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging Bulk
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.08 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 38 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 15, 2020 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 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
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 14, 2018 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
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: Recently purchased
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 13, 2021 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.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 02, 2021 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2019 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 30, 2019 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
PurchasedFrom: smoking pipes
Age When Smoked: fresh
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 02, 2021 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 13, 2019 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 21, 2021 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
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: New
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2020 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.
3 people found this review helpful.
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