Astley's No.109 Medium Flake

An excellent all day smoke for the Virginia lover. Mild and mellow mixture.
Notes: Originally blended in England.


Brand Astley's
Blended By  
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.24 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 74 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 05, 2003 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant
I ran out of my other Virginia flake, so I bought a tin of this, and I'm glad I did. Tobacco comes moist, as most do from K&K, and the flakes are folded into 5" slices, no problem, I pulled one off and let it air out out. The tobacco has that nice natural smell, and packing was like most rubbed out flakes. Charring light took two matches probably still a tad moist, and we went along, a tasty Virginia with no bite, unless you smoke like a freight train. This stuff is great, I haven't been this exicted about a Va flake since I tried FVF. I wanted another bowl after I finished my first, which is what I did. Good Stuff.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 14, 2013 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
"There are certain delicious sensations that are no less intense for being vague." - Charles Baudelaire

I suspect that Astley's 109/Virginia Flake - like the proverbial prostitute with a heart of gold - suffers long at the hands of its habitués, not to mention being "ghosted" by myriad other tobaccos that are used in the same pipe. So, my recommendation comes with a stipulation, that the smoker takes the time and makes a best effort to discover what is special here.

This tobacco is fresh and enticing right from the tin, falling to short, chunky "ribbons" as the flakes are handled. It packs and lights OK and, once it is lit, I find it takes but little attention to keep it lit. It makes enough smoke, and it is "strong enough", within the context of its profile. IMO, it is best smoked in still air, to the point of smoking it indoors, if you can. Anyway, I do NOT recommend doing chores with a pipe full hanging from your jaw. I will even go out on a limb and say it might be best in a narrow "sipping" stack that is dedicated to it.

What is really good here may be ephemeral, but it is also exceptional, if not unique, mild, rather nutty Virginia tobacco with a delicate topping that need not offend even the most sensitive and inquisitive palate. This same VA does "muscle up" some over the course of a bowl, but in decidedly relative terms, and many probably never even notice this effect. Smoked down, the "smoky" part of its Va flavor concentrates, to the point where one might well miss the rancid fruit and an increasingly "acrid" quality that is - somehow - not only not offensive - at all - but it is part of what makes this blend special, IMO. And, oddly, the delicious, enduring aftertaste gradually works its way back to Va sweet.

All in all, despite my prolix intonements, I am pretty much at a loss for words here, like trying to describe dejas vu (or type it without proper script options...). Just, if you're willing to make the effort, this can delight, reward and even satisfy in a way that is not only different but better than other "light" tobaccos.

Update: Just wanted to share that A 109 needs to be kept in its sealed tin if one aims to age it. It dries and wilts sadly if left for long in a jar, even a "sealed" Mason jar. Since it needs close to "factory" moisture to act as intended, IMO, either smoke it soon (best), or keep tabs on hydration, once a tin has been popped.
Pipe Used: various briars; narow sippers preferred
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: young-ish to old-ish
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 08, 2015 Medium Very Mild Medium Very Pleasant
Astley's - No.109 Medium Flake.

What a delicious tobacco this is. It had me captivated the moment I cracked open the tin. Rather than being separate flakes this has been packaged in a similar fashion to Orlik Golden Sliced; one long flake rolled up. Upon the opening I can see that the tobacco has secreted a fair quantity of oils as the paper that tops the tin is heavily stained from them. The smell from the can is so enticing, a sort of raisin/dough/bread like aroma. The tobacco is quite dark in appearance and although the paper top had a good oil covering the flake itself is of a perfect hydration to smoke right away. I opt to tare off some of the flake, rub it out, pack my pipe then light it up and if I was captivated from the aroma I'm truly enchanted by the taste.

I get a flavour very similar to the tins note. Obviously the Virginia is the main player, grassy and fresh but alongside it there's that same raisin/dough/bread enhancement which is absolutely lovely. The nicotine is about medium in this which suits me well. If you require a tobacco to sit and relax with without the need to keep fiddling about with your lighter and tamper then this is for you; it can be enjoyed with very few relights and only a little tamping.

If someone were to say to me "this is the only blend you can smoke for the rest of your life" my retort would be "well I can easily deal with that". Total smoking bliss. Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Peterson Sherlock Holmes Lestrade
PurchasedFrom: The Danish Pipe Shop
Age When Smoked: New
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 17, 2011 Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant
I don't recall the other Astley blends being this way, but this was what I call a "wraparound" flake, in that it wasn't cut in bars or flakes. It was a huge rectangular chunk of tobacco that was folded over several times before tinning. As I broke off flakes, I would flip this chunk over and start on the other side to keep the chunk in one piece. Kind of cool, but then I'm easily amused.

Very well-behaved tobacco. Smoked great either folded and stuffed or rubbed out. The lemon citrus flavor of bright virginia was noticeable but not overwhelming. There were definite bass notes in this one and it was exquisitely balanced. Neither too mild nor too heavy, not too light or too flavorful. Not terribly complex but not a one trick pony. This is "just right". Consequently, there's not much to say about it. You'll either like it or you'll love it but I can't imagine any virginia smoker disliking it. I prefer Astleys #44 but that's just me. This is something every VA smoker should try, particularly if they like to smoke while doing other tasks. This one won't demand your attention. Good stuff!
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 09, 2014 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
There's a light topping of some kind that added a light citrus/sugar note, but it tended to fade as I smoked. The raisin hit I sensed when I opened the tin also seemed to fairly much vanish. The Virginias offer a fair amount of tart and tangy citrus, hay and grass, bread, earth, wood, mild vegetation, tangy darker fruit, light sugar, spice, acidic lemon, and floralness. Not very complex, but it isn't meant to be that way. The strength is in the center of mild to medium. The taste level is a step past that center. The nic-hit is a notch less potent than the overall strength and body. Won’t bite, but fast puffing may result in a harsh note. Has a few small rough edges. The flake is easy to break apart. Burns a touch warm, clean and slightly slow with a very consistent flavor from top to bottom. Requires a few relights. Leaves little moisture in the bowl. The short lived after taste and room notes are pleasant. Can be an all day smoke. Three and a half stars.

UPDATE 6-2022: The changes in this blend are similar to other recent K&K products that I have smoked. The main differences are the elevation of the tart and tangy citrus, floralness and the sour lemon, all of which are more potent now. The tangy dark fruit, earth and wood are barely evident. Even though it’s not visually apparent, the amount of red Virginia was cut quite a lot with orange Virginia which accounts for much for the changes. The sugary citrus topping is stronger now as it has a little more than a moderate effect, and does not wane. I also sense a light syrup note which was not present before as well as a little more acidity. Burns a tad harsher now. The strength, nic-hit and taste levels are a notch higher here. The room note is a little stronger, too. All of the other previous observations of the earlier manufacture still hold. I deduct half a star because of the extra acidity, so I rated it at TR as a three star blend.

14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 29, 2015 Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I have a pipe dedicated to this blend; I've smoked five tins.

This is the first VA that I really fell for. The first four tins I smoked had a really nice, deep, chocolate overtone that I really liked. Although labeled as a straight VA, I detected a very judiciously applied sugar and chocolate/carob top dressing--nothing that would jump out, ghost a pipe or get in the way, but something that made the flake very approachable.

The last tin I smoked, purchased in 2012 and smoked in 2015, had no detectable chocolate topping. This may be because it dissipated over the years of aging, or possibly because the formula changed. Either way, it remained mostly familiar and delicious.

A lot of straight VAs are grassy, lemony, or hay-like (which I love), but are a little harder to appreciate for the newcomer, depending on experience. I loved this as a newbie, and continue to return to it.

As with most Virginia tobaccos, smoking as slow and cool as possible yields the best results. These are not bold flavors compared to Latakia blends or strong aromatics.
Pipe Used: Several dedicated to VA, one to this blend
Age When Smoked: Several tins, varying from 0-3 years
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2014 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The description on the tin is spot on with this broken flake. Sweet, mature Virginias are there from the get go. This tobacco is sensitive to how and when you smoke it. Use the same pipe and make it your first smoke of the day. This way you make the most of it.

I like the honey sweet and raisin taste, mellow and yet interesting. It's a shame that there is the typical European topping of aniseed and licorice applied to this otherwise perfect flake. This topping is sometimes strong enough to distract you from a good and honest smoke and then disappears to come back when you have settled once again. For me that's the only minus.

Virginia lover
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 05, 2013 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
I am a big fan of well-aged Virginia's and VaPers. I wasn't bowled over with excitement by my first experience with #109. Having stowed away the second of two tins for several years, I decided to revisit it since it has garnered a lot of positive reviews. The aged, darkened flakes smelled of the usual raison, fig and hay scent that comes from an aged Virginia blend. #109 offed some sweetness, but not as much as I expected. Astley's #109 smoked with a nice balanced flavor, but it bit me. I seldom get tongue bite and so I soldered on with different pipes, different cadence and packing methods, but I just couldn't get past the bite. I guess it is just a body chemistry thing, but it is what keeps me from rating it higher. It is worth a try for Virginia lovers, but not one I will personally be buying again.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 08, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Having a very Va sensitive tongue, Astley's 109 is probably the most mild mannered Va out there. Definitely one of my favorite tinned Va flakes to date. I purchased this tin in 2003 and didn't open it until 2006. I smoked a few bowls, and left it at that. This was before I "understood" Va flakes.

Well, 2011 rolls around and this guy gets on a HUGE Va flake kick, unlike any kick I have ever been on before. Spending hundreds of dollars trying to sample as many Va's as I can. While stocking the cellar with my newly acquired blends I find this tin of 109 deep in the back of the shelves. I take it out and open it, finding the moisture content still perfect, even though it had been opened for 5 years.

Everything clicked and finally made sense. This was one fine smoke. Sweet, complex for a Va, and just plain enjoying. Lit, packed and stayed lit without troubles. Great room note, and just enough nicotine to know your pipe is lit. I highly recommend this blend, escpecially those with sensitive tongues.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 22, 2011 Very Strong None Detected Full Strong
For the virginia lovers, this is the tobacco to smoke. It is a superb flake by Astley´s as well as their best blend, in my opinion.

In the tin the tobacco is tangy and a little sour: nicontina is here at her best. If you let the flakes dry a little they might turn a little white. The flake is somehow sharp, so rubbing turns out to be an important decision: to brake or not to brake?

This delicious blend is also strog for me, so I just smoke it on the evenings or after an abundant meal. And also only when I want to remember that life has a lot of good things to deliver.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2016 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Can’t believe I never got around to putting in my 2 cents about this one, especially considering that, along with Compton’s Commonweal, McClelland Rich Virginia Ribbon, Boston 1776, C&D Opening Night, F&T Cut Virginia Plug, McCranie’s RVF and RVR, Samuel Gawith BBF and FVF, it’s one of my go-to ‘straight’ virginias (must be a bit of burley in some of them).

This one brings together the most disparate elements beautifully. It’s at once dark, earthy, bright, tangy, creamy and surprisingly rich. How’s that possible? It’s herbal, pleasantly tannic (think coffee!) and, yes, with a lovely sweetness. It develops wonderfully in the pipe and ages deliciously in the tin. The richer second half of the bowl offers leatheriness and buttery nuttiness (burley? African virginias?). No. 109 has depth and balance. It is a very distinctive tobacco, definitely one to try for Va. lovers. I 'cellared' about 20 tins some years ago, and I'm glad I did!

Highly recommended!

Also recommend the reviews from Bear, moniker, and DK…
Pipe Used: several, all reserved for Va's w/out topping
Age When Smoked: 8 years
4 people found this review helpful.
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