Notes: Different Virginias [as well as burley], USA, Zimbabwe, Zaire, and India. The casing consists of several extracts like fig-tree-fruit, tamarind, nut, truffle, apple syrup finally rounded with Irish top flavor.

Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBurley, Virginia
FlavoringApple, Fruit / Citrus, Irish Mist, Nuts / Beans, Other / Misc
Packaging100 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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Mild to Medium
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StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2050)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

Former - Private Flake.

Whenever I read fruit/citrus in a description it often fills me with dread. It leads me to expect an over sharp, lemony, caustic flavour. But that isn't the case here!

The moisture and build of the flakes mean a bowl can be loaded in seconds, all they require is a light touch to turn them to ribbons. The colour's medium brown, and the tin smells aromatic, but there's no sharp fruit.

The smoke has a deeper, richer style of aromatic flavour, rather than sprightly and sharp. At the start the strongest flavour is easily the figs. And then we have the nuts, playing perfectly with the Burley, and equalling the figs after halfway. The Irish Mist gives notable flavour: creamy and slightly piquant, but much stronger for the beginning of a bowl. There's a sweetness present, but it doesn't have any idiosyncratic traits to suggest it's from the apple syrup; I'd say it's simply any old syrup! The burn's good, albeit a touch quick.

The nicotine's medium, and I like the room-note.

I'll happily highly recommend Former Private Flake:

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: Two months

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

4 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

One of the all-time great tobaccos of its type in my opinion. Stout Virginia leaf combined with exotic Burley trim from South Africa, and then a fig like topping mixed in to provide a strong but deeply flavorful blend that is sure to please.

4 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

My positive experience with Private Flake from Former could be the result of receiving a well-aged tin. The underlying flakes appear to be of high quality and the tin note offered up some manually added fruitiness as well as the scent that often comes from well-aged Virginias. Out of the more than eight or nine hundred different blends that I have smoked, Mixture 79 is by far my most hated blend. Thankfully, I didn’t taste the comparison that others have mentioned. The flakes only required a few minutes under a desk lamp to become pipe ready. I prefer to fold and stuff this flake with a little bit rubbed out to get things going. It is slow burning and I didn’t get a bite, but it will burn warm if pushed. I didn’t pull out all of the toppings as for me it was mainly just fruity with some nutty (not from the Burley) flavor in the background. Given the aromatic quality to this blend, I was a bit surprised by the amount of nicotine that this smoke offered. Considering the large number of pipe tobaccos that are out there today, there are plenty of blends that are much stronger, but this one is no wimp. The Burley also provides some back bone to this blend too. I can easily see how this blend isn’t going to be a hit for a lot of folks, but, at least well-aged, I rather enjoyed it.

Age When Smoked: 10+ years

3 people found this review helpful.

tillmanj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tillmanj (73)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Tin Aroma: This is definately a flavoured blend, and the aroma tells the story. On top of the sweet, mellow Virginia scent, there lies, thick, like fog, a soapy, syrupy smell, one that reminds me of the sour mash used in making apple cider.

Physical Characteristics: A partially rubbed-out flake. Mostly light and bright, but with a darker vein here and there. I had a good bit of trouble keeping this lit, probably due to the topping and assorted humectants. Burns somewhat evenly to a dirty grey ash.

Notes: From the first light, I was hit by a blast of artificial flavor, definately not the thing I was looking for in a Virginia flake. Consequently, this blend was restricted, during further smoking, to clays and meerschaums, less likely to retain any residue of the unnatural aroma. Unfortunately, the casing used is pervasive, and stays with the smoke all the way through, turning the last few puffs into a bitter, stinking morass.

Verdict: I was pretty dissapointed in this blend. I would rank it above Erinmore, but just barely. I might recommend this to someone, if I didn't like them.

3 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (310)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

The tin note is somewhat fruity, but VA comes through, as does something flower-ish: the flavouring is more complicated than just some fig sauce, it seems. In the tin, the slices contain veins of bright, brown, grey-ish and just a touch of red leaf.

The slices stick to one another, making it hard to extract a complete slice for folding, so I rub out. Lighting goes very well for a flake. The flavour is sweet-tart (lots of VA goodness!) with the Burley and the sauce adding an extra dimension without going over the top—very tastefully applied without killing the tobacco flavour.

Burns down to dry ashes for me, the room note is nice, and here we are at the full rating.

Pipe Used: Torben Dansk Snaps, MM cobs

Age When Smoked: Fresh from new tin

Purchased From: DanPipe, Lauenburg, Germany

Similar Blends: Nording - Erik's Reserve.

2 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

I really like the flavors here, both natural and added. The natural flavors are fruity and tangy and have a nice depth to them. The added are mostly fig and a touch of nut. I find the overall flavor very pleasant, It comes at the proper moisture from the tin for an immediate smoke, just a touch on the dry side. I have to deduct a star for a slight ph bite. I get a bit of a tingle to my tongue and lips that mildly lessens the pleasure of smoking this fine flake. It burns perfectly and remains a cool smoke even when pushed a bit. Since ph bite is a personal thing you may not experience it here. Worth trying.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in taste. I find the added flavoring to be mild to medium. Same results in briar, cob, or clay.

Pipe Used: Ropp Dublin, MM Mark Twain, MF #4

Age When Smoked: 2 months

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

orharris Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
orharris (3)
Mild Strong Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Has a very strong taste of the flavoring used. Tastes like some talcum powder smells. Not a favorite of mine at all. I have spent hours trying to remove this very taste from estate pipe that I have bought in the past. Although some may prefer this taste, I do not and will gift the rest of this newly opened tin to someone else who prefers to sample or try other flavors from time to time.

2 people found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (303)
Medium Extra Strong Extra Full Pleasant

I found the possibility of an aromatic flake interesting enough to give this one a try even though I normally smoke VA flakes. The blend consists on nicely formed flakes of golden to light brown tobaccos. All of the many positve smoking attributes are totally overshadowed by the soapy tin aroma, taste and aftertaste. The casing is so strong that I didn't sense much of a VA/Burley flavor at all. Perhaps this is a favored taste of the Danish pipe maker, Neilsen, but it's not for me.

2 people found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (385)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for something different at the club and saw this and the price tag was also a selling point. This was a 50-gram tin with nice beautiful brown flakes. The tin was small enough that you feel like you are getting your moneys worth as the trend is to throw some flakes in a large round tin with a lot of empty space. Not even sure how long this one has been laying around. This has a really sweet tin note that several reviewers have described as fig like so I will go with that. This is another what I would call a natural aromatic in that it finishes the bottom of the bowl dry and not goopy or wet and has a more natural taste. The more I smoked this the better I enjoyed. I did notice like another reviewer that this tends to burn a little quick. A nice relaxing time this afternoon sipping coffee on the front porch after work.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

1 person found this review helpful.

pipey duck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipey duck (45)
Mild Mild Medium Unnoticeable

As always with DTM tobaccos this tin tasted not as the last tin of the same stuff. What I had now was a pretty fine flake in the old irish tradition. I opened the tin and the smell was heavenly! At first a very matured virginia came to mind . So sweet, fruity and round with no artificial flavour agent to detect. Also while smoking I couldn`t say what they used to create such natural sweetnes. Only my experience with virginia flakes at all ages said there is something used and it is used very expertly. The downside to me is a little lack in nicotne how it is often the case. In summary: sweet but not cloying round and bitefree. I like it

Pipe Used: several

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Gerd Jansens Pfeifendepot

Similar Blends: maybe erinmore flake but less scented.

1 person found this review helpful.

steppx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
steppx (184)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

a simply classic great semi aromatic virginia flake. The very highest quality virginia, stoved, and then given a complex flavoring. Reminds me of erinmore flake only sort of more elegantly rendered. Medium strength and nic hit. Go get some...if you can find any.

Purchased From: cup o joes

1 person found this review helpful.

Corncob3 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Corncob3 (77)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

I like this one, but it took a few bowls and some experimentation to get the best results. When I aired out and packed my pipe it was bland. When I broke the flake apart, smoked right from the tin and gave about two false lights the smoke was well balanced with more depth and flavor. Pleasant room note, I'm primarily a burley smoker (Velvet a staple in the rotation and just this week discovering Sycaway) so this was a nice change of pace. Not a four star blend, but solid nonetheless. One of those tins you like to keep around just because.

Pipe Used: Corncob

Age When Smoked: Fresh out of the tin

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (221)
Medium Very Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

Found this on sale and thought that someone who makes pipes that nice might know a thing or two about Va flakes. I was wrong, as other reviewers have said, this is a nice Va flake of medium strength, but the casing just ruins it for me. I agree that it tastes like mixture 79, and as I don't like that tobacco either due to the perfumey taste I cannot recommend Private Flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Tolerable

A highly anticipated Christmas gift from my room mate, this tin of tobacco was a good gift for me. It came highly recommended by our local tobacconist; for smoker who wants a full flavor smoke, but also wants mild strength. I'm also not the best with flake tobacco, as I tend to prepare and pack them terribly. However, I did okay with this one. The tin note was very familiar, and much to my surprise, a friend of mine across the room got a whiff when I cracked the seal, and told me precisely what it smelled like before I could figure it out for myself: Fig Newton cookies (or biscuits for all of you British Blokes). Now, Fig Newtons are delicious on their own, but I've never smoked one, so at this point in the game I was a little worried. As I analyzed the scent a bit further, it was clear that Hans Nielson (Best pipe maker alive, produces pipes under the brand Former) likes his Virginia flakes. This blend certainly smells woodsy, nutty, fruity...so many things going on all at once. I lit it up and it tasted very good. It has a prominent nutty flavor and a slight fig-like taste as well. It's how I imagined Virginia flakes to taste when they're not loaded with ameliorates. I like it okay, but it takes some getting used to. The closest thing I can equate it to is Peterson's Sherlock Holmes. Mild, pleasant, cool smoking, but full enough to get a good taste. Perhaps I'll do to Former's Private Flake what I did with the Sherlock the next time I smoke it: Drink a good bourbon or dark rum with it. I've found that flavorful dark liquors such as whiskeys and rums bring out the full rich flavors in Virginia blends. All in all, I'd say it's a solid choice. It tastes pretty damn good. Oh, and for all you Aromatic puffers out there who are trying to like English blends but don't like the Latakia? Try this. I'ts a far cry away from the wet smoking, flavor-loaded Aromatic tobaccos that tend to smell better than they taste, and it certainly doesn't kick your tongue where it counts with overpowering Spice Tobaccos. Very good transition blend. Don't worry, it doesn't bite or pack the punch of Latakia, so if you want a gentle, natural, English blend, you will most certainly not be disappointed with Former's Private Flake. Sounds like Mr. Nielson knows what the hell he's doing when it comes to pipes.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Medium Medium to Strong Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Very nice.

A "plain" tobacco with a very pleasant taste.

One of my favourites.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Strong Very Strong Extra Full Strong

I recently obtained a small sample of this blend straight from the tin. The tin aroma is intriguing with a strong Virginia aroma plus a casing that is not that noticeable. This is a light colored blend. There are light ribbons and flakes with a bit of a somewhat darker but still light ribbon components. This looks like a blend that is really going to bite. As soon as the flame hit, I immediately became aware of a strong aromatic that was not that noticeable in the pouch. The taste was familiar. I have to rely on a 30 year old memory for it has been that long since I smoked a blend with this flavor. The taste is somewhere between Erinmore Flake and Mixture 79, or even a combination of both. The description reads "The casing conists of several extracts like fig-tree-fruit,tamarind, nut, truffle, apple syrup finally rounded with Irish Top-flavour". Add to that description a hint of Irish Spring soap. Whereas Erinmore and #79 leave unpleasant memories, Private Label is a little more subdued. I don't mind this as much. And, there is bite, but a little less than I expected. It burns clean and dry to a darkish gray ash. I would not mind smoking this on rare occasion, but it would not be a regular for me. I would only smoke this in a Meerschaum. The aromatic will flavor a briar, and be very hard to remove. I can possible recommend this to those that do not find Erinmore overbearing. If the thought of Erinmore Flake heads you for the exits, pass on this.

1 person found this review helpful.