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A century-old recipe for natural flake with true tobacco taste. Navy Cut.

Blended ByWessex
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note

Favorite Of 1 Users

20 reviews
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Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Wessex tends to offer strong flakes and Brown Virginia Flake was no exception. Deep in flavor and higher in nicotine content than many Virginia offerings. I don't know about you, but with Virginia leaf, the dark always beats the bright when it comes to lady-N. Anyway, this is a naturally semi-sweet Virginia with some punch. Does not burn particularly slow for a flake, and a little restraint keeps the tongue from being nipped. Great bottom to this one. Enjoy!


18 people found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (233)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

I was anxious to try this blend and loaded a pipeful right after it arrived via UPS. What I like about Wessex Brown Virginia Flake is the absence of the typical grassy Virginia note. The flakes are packed in 4 rows across the tin's width and stacked. By no means dry, the flakes are difficult to take out intact as they tend to split up lengthwise - similar to my most recent experience with Mac Barens Navy Flake; quite crumbly actually. I don't think there is any glue used to keep these flakes from breaking apart. This is good for those who prefer a broken flake style packing, making it quite easy to load your pipe. They are of a medium brown color with lighter flecks throughout. The tin aroma had a naturally sweet character to it, reminding me of Mac Baren's Virgina No. 1 but not as heavy. I can not tell if BVF is cased from the tin aroma alone; only with deep inhalation of the tinned tobacco do I get a faint whiff of citrus/raisin. A beautiful room note to boot. My daughter says it is sweet and comforting. DGT also is spot on.

Considering the freshness of the flakes, it lit very easily and remained lit throughout the entire smoke. No re-lights required. It produced a good amount of smoke and did not start off harsh as many Virginias do. There was never any Virginia tang with this one, either. Its character remained pretty much the same throughout the smoke. No bitterness evident at all. In some ways similar to Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake in the flavor department - perhaps not as strong.

UPDATE 8-24-10: I've been smoking this from a tin that after opening the vacuum seal, I let sit for nearly 8 months. It has darkened beautifully and the added fermentation has added a tremendous depth of flavor - not really citrus, but more raisin/fig/prune-like. By the way, newer tins now have the flakes cut as 2 rows of double-width flakes (similar to Orlik Golden Slice 50gm) across the tin's long side.

12 people found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

My tin of Brown Flake was relatively old, sitting undisturbed on a store shelf for multiple years now. I bought it from a cigarette and bong shop that had a few pipe smokers long ago, in another life. The pipe tobacco was left over from the previous owners, who had made a decent effort at attracting us pipe smokers. Apparently, I'm the only semi regular that still frequents the joint on a not so frequent basis, which is sad, because we had quite a few fellows who would show up to sample the tobaccos, and their variety at one point wasn't bad. I presently use the place to pick up those now aged tobaccos, but the selection is wearing thin, and I realize that only a few trips remain.

There were two Wessex blends still sitting on the shelf, Brown Flake and Red Flake. I've had my share of Red Virginias over the years so I thought Brown Flake might extend the breadth of my experience. I was eyed suspiciously, and asked repeatedly if I wished to purchase an item, as if my plans for theft were well established and expertly devised. After a good ten minute search for my selection, I browsed the crummy supply of overpriced cigars for five minutes and finally gave up, delivering my single tin to the register.

I generally have sympathy for tobacco shops, but this place induces rage. I suppose it's not fair to criticize a purported smoke shop for selling bongs to make ends meet, and I guess one can't fault people for buying marijuana pipes disguised as briar. I know as well that lottery tickets will supplement such meager revenue, I just rather it be pipes and tobacco.

Upon opening the small, squarish tin, I could see firsthand the state of the container itself. It was entirely corroded away, the rim of the tin caked, black and sticky with a combination of oxidization and rust. The wax paper protecting the tobacco was absolutely covered in dark brown juice, always a good sign. At home I promptly removed the tobacco and transferred it into a discarded 2 ounce tin, to find that the inside surface of the old Wessex container showed similar signs of disarray, so much that I was forced to abandon the layers of tobacco that had come in contact with the tin itself, which had acquired a nasty metallic scent. I was worried there for a bit, but when I transferred the tobacco I felt reasonably sure the contents were fit for smoking.

The tobacco itself smelled powerful, deeply fermented and fruity, despite the lack of an obvious casing. Over the years, the individual flakes had fused together, turning the tobacco into a solid sparkling dark red brick. It was impossible to separate the flakes at this point, so I picked away at the surface, pulling pieces apart and shoving them into my pipe. For my first trial I loaded the tobacco into a small Parker Billiard and gave her a quick light. The grassy notes were entirely absent, replaced with a deep, molasses-like undertone that coated the mouth with a sugary film. On first smoke, Brown Virginia bit fiercely, and I had to adjust my rapid puffing cadence with tiny sips until everything settled down. About half way into the smoke, the blend began to further develop a dark sugary flavor, caramelizing into a sublime, sweet smoke with some decent body (this blend alone is probably more robust than the entire catalog of McClelland Virginias, for comparison, much on par with something like Full Virginia Flake, or G&Hs Brown Flake).

I recently made a hefty Virginia order comprising many different manufacturers and their various offerings. It was my attempt to find a reasonable substitute for FVF, having come up short consistently now for several months of directed searching. My effort to scope out Virginias such as this Wessex variety was really a gambit to find that Virginia with a dark press similar to Samuel Gawith's product, that molasses note a target of my affection. But I suppose I'll have to wait for more opportunities when my much anticipated order arrives. Why don't more manufacturers employ this technique?

Brown Virginia Flake was really an impulse buy to get me through that waiting period, as I have grown tired of the many VaPers in my smoking cabinet, Perique having a unique attribute of components to wear me down after extended exposure. As it stands, Brown Flake is a decent, pure blend, maybe somewhat dull but perfectly smokable, and I'm puzzled as to why it hasn't received much attention from reviewers. I know, the black tin art is a little bland and definitely minimalist, but the tobacco is very nice, if lacking in flair.

A bit of advice to those seeking a replacement for FVF--I would say branch out in every direction. Don't be afraid to select something you're unfamiliar with. Virginias age wonderfully, and given a few years you really can't go wrong, even if you pull a few stinkers in all the madness. That might not rest well with those that want immediate gratification, and I understand, shopping for replacements can often leave one wanting.

That said, having killed half a tin of BVF, I'd be happy with another five sitting in my smoking cabinet.

11 people found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (293)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a nicely prepared blend of medium to dark brown VAs with an ideal moisture content. The natural oils and sugars actually bled into the waxed paper tin liner although I don't know how long my tin had been aged. The layers are very pliable which permits packing without any breakup or rubout and results in an cool, even burning smoke. Relights are easy and do not bring even a hint of bitterness. Just as advertised, this one is a high quality tobacco with a true, natural but generally sweet taste. This taste is consistent within the bowl and from bowl to bowl. Some may view this as boring, but to me, this is an ideal smoke. I'm glad the recipe survived for a century to permit my enjoyment. If you like straight VA flakes, give this one a chance.

9 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (321)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Great stuff, I can't see any Virginia smoker not liking this one. I've been meaning to review this tobacco for a few years, but every time I open a tin I smoke it down so fast I never get the chance to review it. This was again almost the case , I opened a two year old tin, smoked all but one bowl and put the remainder away for 3 months. Well, I just smoked that remaining bowl, I had to rehydrate it by mouth breathing on it a half dozen times .

The taste is a spicy ( not bitey ) Virginia that packs some "N" punch. It is a naturally sweet Virginia and more English style than Danish ( agree with reviwer "Zulujerk 2011-08-03" similar to FVF). I would also compare it to "Solani 660 Silver flake" but,,,,,,instead of a Kentucky component, I detect an addition of Samson. The Samson is most noticeable in the fragrance and when slowly "mouth breathing". More molasses tasting than grass/hay and even though this is a flake cut , it tends to burn fast.

Every time I try this tobacco, I think to myself "I should stock up on this" , I just never do , I seem to run out of money before I get down to the "W's" when ordering brands. I'm putting this on my "Wish list".

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Similar Blends: SG FVF but faster burning, Solani 660 w/o Kentucky, McC - Classic Samson but smoother.

8 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is one of my top 5 favorite tobaccos. I like this better than the Red flake but just by a little bit, it was a hard call they are so similar. This one to me is just a bit sweeter and just a tad richer. Very high quality tobacco. I think this is the best straight Virginia flake tobacco I know of.

8 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2575)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

The Virginia has a mild, toasty dark fruit sweetness with a light tanginess, and a bit of earth. There's a minor spice note as well. Has a medium nic-hit. The flakes easily break apart to suit your preference. Burns at a moderate pace with fewer relights than your average flake tobacco. Leaves almost no moisture in the bowl as it easily burns to ash. Won't bite even if pushed. A decent all day smoke that you don't have to think about that much. Very one dimensional in flavor. Two and a half stars. Though I suppose three isn't an unreasonable rating, it lacks body and some richness when compared to other brown Virginia flakes like FVF, Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake, Astley's No. 44, or Capstan Blue, which are in the same genre, so it's hard to recommend as a result unless you prefer something milder with less interesting aspects.


7 people found this review helpful.

Greekpipesmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Greekpipesmoker (201)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is my first blend from WESSEX.Always wondered why a blend made in Germany can't be found in Europe.once the tin breaks a wonderfull aroma comes out very natural and pleasing.the flakes are made from bright and brown virginias, in proper moisture very manageable either to rub or to fold with easy lighting if rubbed.while smoking there's only pleasure.the flavours are rich,natural and pleasing.grass,citruses.dark fruits,earth and vinegar notes are combing perfect.i also noticed some plum notes.are you sure there's no perique included?burns medium hot and almost quick to perfect ash without moisture at the end of the bowl.the nicotine level is medium with no chance of tongue bite.the room note is ok and the aftertaste can be an all day smoke.totally recommended

Age When Smoked: new

5 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (906)
Medium Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Very thin flakes of a chestnut brown color. Hard to load as a flake due to the flakes falling apart so I rubbed it out. It took to the match quite well and didn't suffer too many relights.

The only way I have to measure a blends nicotine strength is if it gives me either the shakes and dizziness or makes me hiccup. Some heavy burley blends do one or the other or both but this was the first straight VA that made me hiccup. So I have to assume this one is heavy in vitamin N.

Taste-wise, this was good but not great. Not a reference virginia like Blackwoods Flake, FVF, Opening Night and several others. But worthy enough. The taste was on the light side but it had good body and strength. Very much a bread-like quality, as it went beyond hay. A slight spice and an even slighter sweetness. This is about as "straight" a straight virginia as I've ever smoked - no frills of any kind. I preferred this one to the Wessex Red, which surprised me. This didn't have half the tang of Red and didn't make up for it with the usual VA sweetness. I guess you could say I found this one tilted toward the boring side. Nothing special, but worth a try. I'd give this a 2.5 rating if I could but it's good enough to round up to 3 stars.

5 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

A relatively mild flake with a wonderful mellow flavor. Mildly sweet dark fruit with some bread notes showing up in the second half of the bowl. Not a lot of complexity, but there are times when I don't want much. A very nice all day smoke for the Virginia lover.

Mild to medium in body and taste. No added flavoring. Burns great.

Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

3 people found this review helpful.

Voyaging Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Voyaging (65)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The presentation of the flakes is nice. They are uniform, and the kind of like Mac Baren's flakes, like sticks of gum. The tin note is kind of like oats, or cereal, and not very much fruit.

In terms of moisture, this flake was ready to be smoked really. It burns well, and has a simple quality to it. It is not really grassy like many straight Virginia flakes out there. It's more on the oats and warm cereal notes scale of Virginia flavor profiles. If you're in the US and you've had Raisin Bran, that cereal is a reasonable comparison for the flavor, but just the bran flakes mostly. There are some fruit notes in there, but mostly what you're going to get is cereal notes. There are some additional notes of molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and baking spices, molasses, and tangy, savory charred wood notes towards the middle and end of the bowl.

The strength is medium. Nicotine is mild to medium. Sip this tobacco and you will be rewarded. I smoked this during the fall months in New York, USA.

If you like the darker Virginias, even Burley flakes, I think you will like this blend. If you are not a seasoned Virginia smoker, it might be easy to be underwhelmed with this blend. If you find yourself underwhelmed, I suggest smoking the entire tin to really understand it, and see if you like it. There aren't many straight Virginia flakes like this on the market. The price is also reasonable and average for 50g.

My only problem with this blend is that it is not readily available. If you want something somewhat close with the base notes, that is readily available, Capstan Original Navy Flake (blue) is a reasonable choice. Capstan has some grassy, brighter notes, but the two blends share some of their characteristics with one another.

Highly recommended due to it's uniqueness.

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - Capstan Original Navy Cut.

2 people found this review helpful.

Dr.sadik Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr.sadik (118)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

Interesting taste indeed, there is a flavoring of some sort or the virginias were stoved for prolonged period. No sharpness and the taste is almost full, bread/beans, that the first thing that comes to my palate. Smell like the sweet barbecue beans in the tin. Room note is tolerable not good but better than your regular virginia. Hard to get it to bite but if you smoke too fast it may. Burns well and the nic hit is mild to medium. 2 stars and some change, price and availability prevent it from being a 3 star.

Pipe Used: Briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Macbren navy flake but not as complex and sweetness is toned down to 30%. Better yet smell/taste/body but different cut to orlik version of dunhill royal yacht.

1 person found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1947)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Wessex - Brown Virginia Flake.

The second of the three Virginia flake colours Wessex do: gold, brown, and red. I posted Gold Virginia Flake yesterday, am on Brown Virginia Flake today, and will post Red Virginia in a few weeks when it's arrived!

As I found when I opened Gold yesterday, the presentation of the blend is without fault. two rows of quite thick, perfectly hydrated, slightly mottled flakes. The thing I find slightly perplexing though is the colour: despite the names, gold and brown, the 'brown' one's lighter than the gold! Like yesterdays Gold, rubbing Brown is trouble-free, in fact this is even easier: simply give it a gentle scrunch and it breaks into ribbons.

It's a simple task getting a burn initiated, and once lit it goes steady and cool, at a medium pace. Onto the taste: not sweet or fruity, and slightly, dare I say, boring. It's slightly more vibrant a-taste for the initial quarter, but this edge gets lost. It's replaced by a sort of dough-like flavour, but it's a flavour that lacks depth and just seems mundane: too savoury without much character.

Nicotine: mild to medium. Room-note: pleasant enough.

Not a fan. One star:

Not recommended.

Pipe Used: Brebbia Fat Bob

Age When Smoked: One month

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (181)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This one just missed on me. I try to find the positives in all blends and there are a few. The VA's have a bread like sweetness, almost malty but this sweetness is very light. The taste is thin and rather one dimensional. That said, I just cannot recommend this one. When I think of what a Brown flake could be I think of SG's Best Brown and FVF to name a couple of my bench marks . This is not in the same league as these and others. No need to revisit this one for me. Your mileage my vary.

Age When Smoked: 1 1/2 yrs old

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

I smoke this every night in a Don Carlos Smooth billiard. Perfect nightcap.

1 person found this review helpful.

Past Master Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Past Master (20)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I bought this several years ago, opened it and smoked maybe one bowl from the tin. I've kept it in a zip-lock bag with a couple of other similar blends in tins, but recently found it completely dried out and hard. I sprayed some distilled water on it, put it back in the plastic and set it aside for a couple of weeks. Tonight, I opened it and smoked a bowl from the now revived and moistened contents, and found it to be a mild to medium, and very enjoyable smoke.

I will definitely replace this tin in the near future and make it one of my favorites.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

Somewhat similar to Red Virginia and Golden Virginia, but not quite as pleasant. It is rather bland compared to the other two and the flavor is somewhat "monotone". DGT does not suit it very well. I'm looking for a virgina with a little more grassy citrus flavor. The three (Red, Gold, Brown) are somewhat similar, but not as similar as the F&T line.

1 person found this review helpful.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This flake comes in a 50g tin. The flakes are cut endwise into narrow strips. This tin is a bit on the damp side, and the tobacco smoked a bit moist. It required a pipe cleaner and two relights, but other than that it burned very well to the bottom of the bowl. This is a beautiful smoke for the lover of brown Va. flake. A very light neutral sweetner has been added to enhance the flavor. The smoke delivers a consistent toasty, brown Va. taste. It also provides that marvelous tingle in the nose that you get from a fine cigar - not the cigar flavor, but the tingle. This has the deeper brown Va. flavor as opposed to the tang of the red Va. or the mildness of the gold. For the lover of brown Va., this would be an ideal all day smoke, but you would need to love the straightforward, consistent flavor from start to finish. Its only drawback is that it is quite expensive, and probably too expensive to be an all day smoke. I recommend this most highly to Virginia lovers as a special treat and to every pipe smoker as a must try tobacco. Paddy.

1 person found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (292)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A pleasant, straight forward brown VA with some bits of bright. A smooth, mellow smoke, the folded flakes burn a tad faster than many, but not enough to overheat. An all-day smoke on its own, it also is good smoothing out some of the more overpowering blends when you don't feel like the intensity but want the flavor (1792 for example).

Pipe Used: briars, cobs, and meers

Age When Smoked: opened on delivery

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28806)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

High quality tobacco at a premium price. The tobacco delivers a round sweet tangy Virginia mellowness that I do savour. It is sweet, and needs a night to dry out. My favourite is the red virginia flake by Wessex,but this is a second choice. Good tobacco if you like the Brown Virginia variety.Sure to please.

Nobody has rated this review yet.