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 1 - 11 of 38 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 08, 2024 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Tin note : Grassy, ketchup, vinegar, rose and citrus.

Flavor : When I first got this blend, all I got was ketchup and vinegar. Almost hated it. After letting it sit in the pouch for a month. The ketchup and vinegar notes toned down.

They were still there but not as much as the first few bowls. It became a more rounded blend. I managed to get some hints of grassy, tomatoes and carrot notes. This blend is really sweet, tangy and savory. There are also hints of rose or rosewater as well as stone fruits such as raspberry, peaches and mangoes.

This tobacco can taste fruity and tartly at times. Has very little rough edges, if any.. The flavor stays consistent throughout the bowl (even untill the very end).

Room note : according to my friends, Pleasant.

Mechanics : This is a ribbon cut. However, it tends to be quite springy and bouncy. So, try to avoid pushing it back in too hard, thus overpacking or packing it too tightly.

It requires quite a couple of charring lights to get going. Requires couple relights across the bowl.

With all that, It is not a challenging blend nor is it a really straightforward smoke in my experience.

Tongue bite : This blend barely bites. However, it might make the pipe wet and the stem might get gurgly. Hence, My advise is to keep a pipe cleaner or two to run through the stem mid-smoke.

Summary : Overall, This is a really good blend. In the initial stages it really put me off as I never was a ketchup guy. All it needed was a little time to sit and perhaps.. some air exposure.

I will really recommend it to new smokers as my friends who just started seem to enjoy it. One of them, bought 2 oz of it and smoked it pretty fast.

However, since it does not favor my palette, I will leave it at 3 stars.

Will i buy this again : not really
Pipe Used: Tekin topkapi meerschaum, al pascia meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: My local tobacconist (Tabac101)
Age When Smoked: Unknown
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 21, 2018 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.

56 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 02, 2018 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
43 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 21, 2018 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.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 01, 2018 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 25, 2018 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 23, 2018 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.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 04, 2019 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.
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes
Age When Smoked: Fresh
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 15, 2019 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
PurchasedFrom: Smoking pipes
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 12, 2019 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
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and cigars
Age When Smoked: New
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2021 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
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