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Sutliff's Cringle Flake is a limited edition release for the 2019 holiday season and consists solely of red Virginia tobaccos, pressed into flakes. It delivers flavors of bread and tangy fruit, with an underlying sweetness that make for a pleasant all-day smoke.

BrandSutliff Tobacco Company
Blended BySutliff Tobacco Company
Manufactured BySutliff Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringFigs, Other / Misc
CutFlake
Packaging1.5 ounce tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant
3.4
18 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
12
3 star:
3
2 star:
1
1 star:
2
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2602)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Several fermented, matured Virginias ranging from orange to red to dark brown provide a lot of very tangy dark fruit, tart citrus (with minute acidity), plenty of wood and earth, some sugary stewed fruit (plums, dates, figs) and bread, light grass, lemon, floral and spice notes, along with touches of sour and vinegar. There are light toppings: raisin, figs, and prunes, but they don't sublimate the tobaccos much, and compliment/enhance the qualities of the dark red Virginia. While I tend to notice the aspects of the darker Virginia (sugary stewed fruit, earth, wood, dark fruit) a tad more than the others, the percentages of the various Virginias are inconsistent from flake to flake, so what your taste buds observe will change as you smoke a bowl, and from bowl to bowl. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a step past the center of mild to medium. Won’t bite or get harsh, but it does have a minimal rough edge here and there. The broken flakes are a tad moist, but I saw no need to dry them. They easily break apart to suit your packing preference. Burns cool, clean, and a little slow with a woody, earthy, sour, spicy and savory, deep, ever evolving complex, very tangy and tart sweet flavor from start to finish. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, but it will require some relights. Has a very pleasant, mildly lingering after taste and room note. Not quite an all day smoke for the inexperienced, but it may be for the veteran. Three stars due to the inconsistent flavors, but four stars overall for the complexity and age potential. I suggest a wide bowl (pot, egg, author) to capture all of the nuances.

-JimInks

21 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1963)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Sutliff Tobacco Co. - Cringle Flake (Holiday Edition 2019).

Virginia perfection!

I received this a few weeks back but wanted to smoke a decent amount before reviewing it. Albeit, the impression I received upon first light is the same: magic!

The tin holds thick broken flakes that give off a rich, fruity, Virginia aroma. It smells more 'cased' than the taste; this has more of a matured Va flavour than a cased one. Because the flakes are partially broken I just stuff some into the bowl direct from the tin.

RICH, this could be the review! The smoke offers everything I love about a good red Virginia. It's as tangy as the McClelland Virginias used to be! I get no grass or citrus, no acidulous flavours, nothing 'fresh'; only opulent and deep flavours. I wouldn't say there's added flavours, it seems like a natural, mature smoke. The smoke is cool and bite-free.

Nicotine: just below medium. Room-note: nice.

Cringle Flake? Glad I have a few tins! Highly recommended:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: A few weeks

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

10 people found this review helpful.

Mork Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mork (68)
★★☆☆
Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

2019 Cringle Flake, Sutliff Tin Date/Age When Popped: Brand New Tin Description: Sutliff's Cringle Flake is a limited edition release for the 2019 holiday season and consists solely of red Virginia tobaccos, pressed into flakes. It delivers flavors of bread and tangy fruit, with an underlying sweetness that make for a pleasant all-day smoke.

Edit 12/30/19: Apparently my comments regarding the sales stats below were incorrect. SP sold out rapidly but as of this edit TP still has significant quantity and, far more telling, P&C is running a clearance sale on this blend to try to move what appears to be a significant amount. 50% off, which speaks volumes about their sale numbers. I’m leaving the review intact in its original form as a cautionary tale of predicting sales numbers and blend popularity as a reviewer 4 or 5 days after launch.

Storage: Fresh out of tin.

Flavor Profile: This has wild variations in flavor profile. In the four or five bowls I’ve smoked I’ve gotten deep classic sweet red spice, stewed fruits, brown VA (how exactly from a straight red VA blend, I’m not sure), and one bowl that was so bright it felt like I was smoking battery acid. Sometimes the profile will swing wildly even within the same bowl, or even puff to puff. So, I think JimInks is correct, there’s some variation to the leaf proportions that weren’t completely mixed. Fully rubbing it out seemed to help with the wild swings and produce a slightly more uniform profile. Which is a good thing, because when it’s hitting on all cylinders, it really has a very good flavor.

Overall the profile is what we would expect from a Christmas Red Flake which is obviously gunning towards replacing Christmas Cheer.

The problem I have with the blend is its extreme variability. Some may find that to be an exciting thing, sitting down and never knowing exactly which version of Cringle you’re going to get this time. But an important factor in a blend, to me at least, is consistency. Now, age may merge the profile into something more cohesive; we may get a far more consistent flavor once this has a year, or five, on it.

Subjective Musings: As mentioned in the previous section, this is obviously Sutliff’s attempt at filling the Christmas Cheer void. I think they get close enough in the concept and, with some reservations, think that age may make this an equal (though rather different) blend.

I really like the concept of a seasonal straight red flake. It gives something to look forward to and adds a bit of tradition back into the lineup. I think if Sutliff continues this (and why wouldn’t they, it sold out in under a week as a first year release- I bet they could quadruple production and still sell out rather quickly) we may be looking at a nice yearly treat.

I imagine I may get some hostility from folks for breaking the perfect scoring record at the time of this review, but I honestly feel that it is far too soon to award this blend with four full stars. I don’t know how it will age yet or what it will become. Judging solely on a freshly popped tin I think it’s a solid blend that shows potential to mature into something rather good.

The hype train is going to hit this one hard enough in the future, I am quite sure. However, if this was a regularly produced blend I strongly believe people would go “gee, that’s nice” and move on with their normal rotation. Much like Sutliff’s Kakes which arrived to great fanfare and have, arguably, been relegated to the status of good blends that no one ever talks about. But since it’s a “limited release” the pipe world will do what it always does and elevate this blend well above its true status. Which, as it stands currently, is a wildly inconsistent blend that manages to overcome its failings through moments of brilliance.

Cellar Notes: I have high expectations for the cellar potential of this blend and future productions of the same. A lot of my complaints could very well be dealt with once this blend has had a year or five in the cellar. I think it will amplify the deep reaches of flavor and the at times overly bright reds will calm down. If the bready fruit is brought forward and mixed more completely with the spicy sweet notes, it could be a really excellent blend.

Of course, since this is a review of a fresh tin during the first year of production, this is all pure speculation. But the elements are present for this to do rather well with a nice long nap.

Summary: A wildly inconsistent straight red VA flake that exhibits moments of brilliance which compensate for its shortcomings. Sweet, bready, fruity, spicy and far too bright, all at varying times within a bowl and from bowl to bowl; when it merges into a cohesive profile, it is truly excellent. Those moments are too few and far between to warrant a higher rating currently.

Rating: 6.2/10 - I will revisit this in a year once my current tin has had a year to rest in its mylar and give updated notes. I will do the same when I open my second tin in 2024.

Rating Scale:

10 - Gods Gift to Pipe Smokers, Buy It All No Matter the Cost

9 - Nearly Perfect, Deep Cellar Worthy

8 - Exceptional, More Than a Few Tins

7 - Very Good, A Few Tins

6 - Good, One Tin is Fine Thanks

5 - Average, Unremarkable, but Pleasant Enough, I’ll Finish the Tin/Sample

4 - Smokable, but Wouldn’t Smoke it Again

3 - I’ll Finish the Bowl, I guess

2 - I Wish I Hadn’t Done This

1 - Why Would This Get Produced

0 - Dump the Bowl

Brief Overview of Reviewer’s General Tastes: I am primarily a VA (and it’s variant combination forms) smoker who has great affinity for SG and comparable EU manufactured blends, along with a few of the US micro blender shops. I do enjoy English/Balkan blends on occasion and a few very specific tobacco forward aromatics. I am exceptionally picky about blends and tend to cellar deep and narrow on things, reserving the bulk of my cellar planning and space for items I find to be of significant worth as far as taste and experience. Anything of quality, but not of obsessive value to me, is cellared and purchased as condimental flavor breaks between my regular rotation.

Age When Smoked: Fresh from Tin

Similar Blends: Christmas Cheer.

8 people found this review helpful.

JuanOrez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JuanOrez (22)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I tried some of this expecting a mid quality tobacco. NOPE. This stuff is great! Whatever crop this was pulled from, it absolutely scratches my red Virginia itch. Is it as good a my McClelland favorites? Not yet but maybe it will get close with age!

If you like red VA's, please try this. You will be happy you did.

Pipe Used: Bent pot

Age When Smoked: Fresh

8 people found this review helpful.

Gripsholm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gripsholm (35)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I would like to thank Sutliff for picking up where McClelland left off!

Every year I would purchase a tin of McClelland's Christmas Cheer and cellar it to be opened the next year. An annual rotation. It was, and now thanks to Sutliff, still will be a Christmas tradition.

I bought 2 tins of Cringle Flake 2019 and cellared them for next year. I'm already looking forward to next years offering "Cringle Flake 2020" and hoping it will be available in 3.5 or 4 ounce tins.

I'll have to wait until next year to give a review on the quality of the flake. However, after reading reviews already contributed by our esteemed pipe smoking community, I'm highly confident it'll be a good one!

Hats off to Sutliff! Hip Hip Hooray!

Similar Blends: McClelland's Christmas Cheer.

8 people found this review helpful.

nkulk8r Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nkulk8r (86)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Cringle Flake, by Sutliff:

A sublime, limited edition Nutcracker Suite masterpiece release for the 2019 holiday season.

I'm not big on buying holiday blends, as I'm so often disappointed in them. But this being a red Virginia flake by Sutliff, I thought "why not"?

An exquisitely crafted artisanal blend, perfectly suited for the season (see JimInks' review). This will not only cellar very well, but also help to make for a magical and blissful holiday season this year (and for several more to come). God rest ye merry gentlemen -- and oh, what tidings of comfort and joy!

UPDATE 12-20-2019:

This is some uncommonly fine Virginia flake -- I'm lovin' this stuff. Quite remarkable, actually. Taste profile changes from bowl to bowl -- in a good way -- like an aluminum Christmas tree color wheel from 1962.

Pipe Used: clays, Briarworks Bullmoose (C11), 999

8 people found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (262)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

A friend of mine from the pipe club gave me a nice sample of this on Sunday where I had one bowl and it was pretty good. Today is January 01, 2020 and I have finished up the rest of the sample that was given to me in a Missouri Pride Corncob throughout the day which was about four more bowls. I enjoyed the sweet hay grass smell of the Virginia. Always makes me wish I could live out in the country. Nice sweet tasting tobacco and the more I smoke Red Virginias the more I seem to like this variety of tobacco. No bite to this one and a real relaxing smoke. My friend and one other member both think that this blend would improve with age and no argument here but still was good right out of the tin. At times when I smoke a blend, I like reading others reviews and sometimes I look for buzz words to see how often they show up in the comments. For example, out of 7 reviews, 3 mentioned that the flavor profile of the blend varied as they smoked different bowls of this, about half. I cannot comment as I would probably need to smoke a whole tin of this and there is also the power of suggestion since others have stated varied tastes throughout different bowls which might make me more prone to notice it than I would have otherwise. I am sure a few years of aging can only make this blend better.

Pipe Used: Corn Cob

Age When Smoked: New

5 people found this review helpful.

DirtyD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DirtyD (3)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Amazing delicious Va tobacco. Rich sweet, sour tangy flavors. Sweeness that goes lighter to darker as bowl progresses. I will buy more. No bite, smooth and just an amazing delicious baccy. I am leery of holiday tobacco because i don't care for aromatics. This is nothing of the sort. Cringle flake is sublime in a briar or cob. Definitely up there in top 5 of the Va tobaccos I've tried to date. Huge fan of ps lnf and ogs. Cringle is different in a good way. Tastes more aged and tangy. Reminds me of a Va with the macbaren odf treatment. Has a delightful sour note and is so so smooth and easy to smoke for a Va. Highly recommended, please don't buy it all up. D.

Pipe Used: Cobs, briars

Age When Smoked: Straight from tin , 10 minutes on paper plate

Purchased From: Smoking pipes

Similar Blends: ?.

5 people found this review helpful.

Ilpipatoreinamerica Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ilpipatoreinamerica (1)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

This tobacco is very interesting, the Virginia are more on the darker side with earthy note, coffee, dark cocoa and definite zestiness. It is not sweet but it is definitely oriented towards the nutty, zesty, acidic and perhaps soury note. When opened it is a bit moist but more than anything I found the flakes very juicy and greasy, quite shiny too and this proves the quality of the product. It strongly reminded me to the Crumble Kake from the same brand but with several layers of complexity added. Interestingly, every bowl is different but never unpleasant. Definitely enjoyable and it will be interesting to see how it ages as perhaps it may finally get some of the sweetness that is currently lacking.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

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

4 people found this review helpful.

MrKen57 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MrKen57 (1)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Overwhelming Tolerable

My first review here. I'm not a tobacco aficionado by any means, but I know what I like, and this isn't it. I bought this tobacco on a review (not here) that this tobacco was the answer to the McClelland brands that we know and love. Not even close. To begin with, the tin note is pure vinegar, not subtle and refined like the McClelland tobaccos, but rough and horribly acidic. But what the heck, I tried it anyway. On the first light, I tasted nothing but acidic tartness...that lingered...puff after puff. I gave it a chance, but halfway through, I had to dump the bowl. I felt like I was smoking Vinegar and Salt potato chips. Sorry Sutliff, nothing personal, because I love some of your other brands, especially the Crumble Kake series. I bought 5 tins, and I am returning 4. The sour taste still lingers in my mouth 45 minutes later.

Pipe Used: Northern Briars Rox Cut Canadian

Age When Smoked: fresh from tin

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

4 people found this review helpful.

Big Train Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Train (111)
★☆☆☆
Medium Extra Strong Medium Tolerable

So sorry to rain on the parade but I have problems with this blend. I found , upon opening , a fine looking virginia broken flake with an interesting tin note . I thought I had found a winner here . My mistake was lighting it up . My mouth was attacked with something that made it pucker up sort of like sucking lemons. It actually made my mouth sore . I knew it was not the pipe , a reliable pre lane Charatan lumberman . I let the tin sit for a while and tried it again , this time in a cob , not wanting to spoil another good pipe . It was even more problematic the second time . I needed to put the pipe out after a few puffs . I believe this would have been a good virginia flake had not someone gone around with a spray gun attacking the tobacco with some aromatic agent . Aromatic is one thing , tobaccoside is another . My mouth was sore hours after the smoke . It could be that , somehow , I was bothered by some aspect in the tobacco that others did not experience . Since others like it I will assume that I just had a bad experience .

4 people found this review helpful.

CountryPiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CountryPiper (18)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is the best Virginia Sutliff has released in my opinion, probably why it was so limited. I’m a Virginia lover, and ever since the closing of McClelland I’ve wondered if anyone else would come close to that flavor. Now I in no way mean there aren’t still amazing Virginia’s being produced, there definitely are, however this is the first one I’ve encountered that actually reminded me of the McClelland style/taste.

As soon as you pop the lid on one of these tins you see beautiful dark, Red Virginia broken flakes that are a little moist and smell of raisins, figs, and other dark fruits, I even picked up some ketchup. I prefer my tobaccos to be sipped which requires a dryer leaf so I did dry it for 20 minutes. The flakes rubbed out very well and packs nicely. It took to flame extremely well and provided lots of sweet at first. That flavor remained consistent throughout the bowl but you begin to get some bread, tang, and dark fruit after the first third. This blend burned incredibly well and was very smooth all the way to the end and left very little moisture in the bowl.

This doesn’t bite and is what I’d expect/want from a Red Virginia smoke. The aging possibilities here are phenomenal, I can’t imagine what this will be like 5-10 years from now. I am thrilled with this blend and really hope to see more of it in the future. Really great stuff here.

Pipe Used: Vorboril Bent Billiard

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: 5100 Red Cake, some of the Christmas Cheers..

2 people found this review helpful.

Elk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Elk (5)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

I don't write reviews but I just had to defend this wonderful blend. Semi sweet and fruity goodness!

This stuff is wonderful for the Red Virginia fan. However, to fully appreciate this tobacco it needs to be put in a jar for at least a few weeks for it to get to a point where one can taste all of the very pleasant flavors in it.

I like my Virginia's to be on the dry side when I smoke them and some dry time seemed to work here too.

I also found that certain pipes bring out more flavor, such as the medium sized, long stemmed apple that I used. Smaller flake pipes didn't do it for me with this flake.

I believe there could be some sort of mild fruit casing on this and that suits me just fine as it is a natural taste or it could just be the quality of the leaf, not sure but don't care either way.

I found this flake similar in taste to two members in my rotation. Cup of Joe's Yeti Flake and Chacom #4 ( orange ). All are a little different but share a similar and spectacular fruity Virginia flavor for the patient and experienced Virginia flake smoker. Four Stars!!!

Thank you Sutliff and keep up the great work!

Pipe Used: Briars, Meer

Age When Smoked: A few weeks in a jar

Purchased From: Various

Similar Blends: Chacom #4 and Cup O Joe's Yeti Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

McQueen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
McQueen (31)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is interesting blend... very very reminiscent of McClelland Virginia’s both in Tin note and taste. Lightly red broken flakes with some mottling.

I see other reviews where these new guys are loading and smoking straight out of the tin. This blend like most red leaf dominant blends, needs to breathe and dry before smoking, THATS when the magic comes out. An excellent straight red Virginia with a little sweetness and tang. It burns really well and pretty consistently. Now let’s go back to that wonderful McClelland door we all miss.

I and some other lucky ones heard about this blend during the Sutliff factory tour at the CORPS Pipe show this year. As we all know (or maybe some don’t) is that Sutliff sold a one time run of tinned McClelland #5100 as they had several pounds leftover from Before McClelland closed. As we all know (or maybe some Don’t ) Sutliff and McClelland worked closely hand in hand and used each others leafs. Well in a long conversation with a factory employee that went from Kids, to fly fishing, etc, he mentioned a new Christmas blend that they may be peppering some #5100 into to give it that signature McClelland “tang”. And honestly after smoking a full tin of this already, it wouldn’t surprise me. I’m putting two more tins away to See how they age. Highly recommended.

Similar Blends: McClelland #5100.

2 people found this review helpful.

W.B. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
W.B. (10)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

One of the best things about pipe smoking is the great variety of blends and the fact that not everyone enjoys, if you will, the same cup of tea. Still, i am a little surprised by the wide disparity in reviews of this blend. I am not a Virginia flake smoker in general. Once in a while Orlik but most virginia flakes, vaper and vabur blends are much too reminiscent of cigarettes for me. However, i ordered a couple of tins of this in a recent order and really love it. I have now ordered 20 tins both to smoke throughout the year and to cellar. I only smoke it once per day and I look forward to each bowl with happy anticipation. Yes, the tin note is vinegar and i found the initial bowl to be very sour at first. However, that initial vinegar fades reasonably quickly to reveal a darkly sweet and earthy smoke which is wonderful. I now love the bit of vinegar which sometimes is present and have found that it fades a bit as you progress through the tin. Another reviewer said that fruitcake comes to mind as a flavor profile and i think that this is apt as it does have a stone fruit and breadlike combination. Great blend and, hopefully, one which can be carried forward in other years.

Pipe Used: Castello 55, 10

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Various vendors

2 people found this review helpful.

RonR Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RonR (48)
★★★★
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

3rdguy

Just finished my 1st tin, wanted to let it sit for 6 months before exploring it. Rich fig and plum tin note, needed a bit of dry time. Takes several lights to get going no matter how long I dried it. Smokes down to a fine white ash. Little bit of wetness left over.

This is a spicy Red Virginia with some great taste and retrohale to explore throughout the smoke. It is still a bit fresh and will let the rest of my tins sit for a few years before trying again. When it comes out again in the fall I would stock up before it sells out, as it will. Good chance it ends up being one of the best Red Virginias out currently in a crowded field. Will also make a great mixer such as McClelland 5100 was.

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Briar

Age When Smoked: 6 months

1 person found this review helpful.

Planet Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Planet Scott (66)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin note on this is a wonderful spicy fermented flake with the vinnegar notes Mcclelland offered, just not as overwhelming. Sadly, the smoke was not there for me. My benchmark for straight Virginias is Opening Night,and the Cringle Flake did not reach that. It was not horrible, but it lacked the complexity I seek out in my straight Virginias. I have 2 tins, so I plan on letting the unopened tin set for awhile. 2.97 stars

1 person found this review helpful.

Tomcat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tomcat (77)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Unnoticeable

Opening the tin ,I was greeted with the usual fruity vinegar earthy bready aromas of the Sutliff red Virginias like 515rc-1 . I let this dry about a hour as it was fairly moist . It is mostly broken flakes of reds and some browns . The toppings added here are extremely subtle and complimented the leaf very nicely! It is very smooth and even on big puffs no harshness . Burns a little quick for a flake . Lots of baked bread .a little spice and very mild fruit which surprised me . Some hay and grass also . One topping that i think is fig is quite delicious. I like it and hope it ages well since I bought 6 tins ! Four stars - Sutliff is doing a good job with these red Virginias. The krumble cake. Red Virginia and 515rc-1 are also great and slightly differ from this .

Similar Blends: 515 rc 1 Sutliff.

1 person found this review helpful.