Solani 656: Aged Burley Flake

Notes: Blender R.L. Will developed a unique toasting process to enhance the natural sweetness of this blend. No sugar has been added. As of 2022, licorice is the main flavoring "with a hint of chocolate", as per the label. The burleys on the tin are now listed as white burley only.


Brand Solani
Blended By R.L. Will
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley
Flavoring Cocoa / Chocolate, Licorice
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.42 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 20 of 264 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 04, 2013 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
It has a deep cocoa taste, a bit of nuttiness, earth and wood, and is slightly bready and floral with a light brown sugar and molasses. The white burley adds mild sharp, sour, acidic notes in the background, and some strength. It's responsible for the slight bitter note at the finish. They say there's no cocoa or chocolate added. That isn't true. These toppings moderately sublimate the tobaccos. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is in the center of mild to medium. It burns clean, cool and slow, requires some relights, and the deep, rich semi-sweet, slightly savory flavor remains consistent to the finish with very little moisture left in the bowl. It has a pleasant after taste that slightly lingers, and the room note won’t offend a normal human being. Has no dull or harsh notes, and it will not bite. It does have a few small rough edges. Can be an all day smoke for the experienced smoker, and repeatable for anyone else. Four stars.

UPDATE 7-5-2022 . The blend has been changed. The deep cocoa topping was replaced by an almost medium strength, mildly sweet licorice which tones down the burleys a little more than before. I do notice cocoa far in the background. Overall, the blend is less sweet by two steps now. The burleys are different, too. The white burley has a similar ruggedness to the new Wessex Burley Flake: moderately rougher, earthier, woodier, breadier, and nuttier with a savory note new to this manufacture of ABF. Those aspects are a little less obvious here due to the licorice, but it’s still a different presence than it originally had been. The strength, nic-hit and taste levels have not changed, and all other non-updated aspects still apply. Three stars is my current rating at TR for this current production.

116 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 08, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Yes, Solani has come out with an elegant Burley Flake. I have smoked this regularly over the last several months and will continue to do so.

The flakes are not large and rub out easily as the moisture content is not too heavy. The leaf burns cool, dry and slowly - which, I believe, contributes to the cool smoke. Unlike the cheaper Burley blends, this one does not get bitter near the bottom, and you'll be glad because each puff is a true delight.

You don't need to think too much about this blend as you smoke it. What you get with your first puff is what you'll get with the last; a smooth, semi-sweet Burley taste that is not heavy on the palate and leaves you wanting another bowl.
111 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2009 Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
Update: Still "Heaven on Earth.", the very best of the bunch for me.

Here are my cased and not so cased comparators (ranked):

-- Classic Samsun Grand Oriental (McClelland)

-- Balkan Sasieni or Balkan Supreme

-- Full Virginia Flake

-- Frog Morton, OT Town

-- Frog Morton, AT Pond

-- Butternut Barley

-- Westwinster (Pease)

-- Sunday Picnic

-- Golden Extra

-- Opening Night (C&D)

-- Balkan Flake

-- Vanilla Black Cavendish

-- Odyssey (Pease)

-- Galway Treasures of Ireland

-- Mixture 79

-- Black Velvet

On a scale of 10 being the bset, and 1 the least, only Black Velvet plunges beneath a 5


I reviewed this a few days ago, but it never got posted. Here goes again.

This is my first review here. Thank you all for this satisfying resource.

My review of this Solani, a sensational smoke, should be taken in the context of my history (1.) Who would of thought that my appreciation of pipe tobacco could elevate to the stature of that of the gourmand? It is true. Wine, music and food: make way for something as wonderful.

Solani first and foremost engages the tongue. There is a broad swath of mild sweetness that bathes the side of the tongue. It is so wonderful, that one wishes it could be swallowed, to be completely savored.(2) Next, one realizes that it otherwise smokes as pretty uncoated/unflavored/uncased. Some might consider this boring. I obviously do not. I am getting a nice amount of smoke, which well  tastes like a full smoke with maybe a hint of a nuts (as in granola?). Those who say this is a boring smoke, must have developed a high threshold to subtlety, or have a greater scale upon which to opine. To me, the smoke dances and swirls within the palate, revealing a dynamic vitality: dark, then lightly smoked nuts and sweets, but never bitter.

I already know bite  tongue, palate, and cheek. I do not like bite; I now do not see any reason to smoke a tobacco that bites. (3) I am not yet knowledgeable enough to classify Burleys vs. other contents, However, as this is a Burley  I love this Burley.(4)

To me this Solani is like impressionistic music (Debussy, Sati); not Beethoven; not Bach, nor Mozart; certainly not heavy metal! This is smooth, serene, but full, friendly and well  comforting? Now if someone could make this at half the price . . .

All my best, Pipetype

NOTES: 1) I was a cigarette smoker for 50 years (now completely abstinent for 6 years), who only early-on occasionally smoked a pipe. My pipe tobacco at that time was limited to drug store brands. Of these I favored Balkan Sobranie, Mixture 79, and sometimes Half and half; never had been to a tobacconist. Recently, after watching a Sherlock Holmes episode (w/ Jeremy Brett) it occurred to me that I might be able to smoke a pipe with little risk of re-addiction to cigarettes. My current over-the-top enthusiasm for my New World of pipe tobacco is tempered by modest concerns about the health implications of pipe tobacco. To get this far, Ive had to endure emotionally loaded humiliations by fanatical anti-smoking kin and friends; must smoke in my own cave or outdoors. Ive looked at available very good epidemiological data on the health risks of pipe tobacco on those around me, and myself. Of all the risks, I am somewhat concerned about oral (and distantly: esophogeal, liver, and bladder cancers) due to tars which are powerfully delivered by side stream pipe smoke, saliva etc. I wish there could be a place where we could share information on this unemotionally. There must be a way to rinse away oral tar after smoking. I cannot find any scientific data on the efficacy of Medico and other filter systems in removing tar. However, what is that really awful smelly gunk in the filter, if not tar? So purely empirically and with speculation, I started using Medico filters, and if inserted correctly (i.e. to the bowel end) do not seem to mar the heavenly experience of a great tobacco. Suffice it to say, at this time for me the pleasures of pipe tobacco smoking outweigh any risks, fool that I am in the minds of those around me.

2) Indeed, I had the terrible tendency while smoking this brand to swallow as much wonderful tobacco tinged saliva as I could produce. This is probably the reason (passage of large amount of tar directly into the upper esophagus) why the risk of upper esophageal carcinoma is more frequent in pipe smokers than normals or cig smokers. So, Ive stopped doing it as much as possible.

3) I have a suspicion that an unpleasant bite of a tobacco (as differentiated from a wall of flavor) signals a health risk. I get bite form some tobaccos, no matter how I smoke them. (4) In order to understand whether I like other Burleys or just this one. Maybe because I was a cigarette smoker, Burley is just familiar to me. Perhaps the air curing increases the nicotine level. But that does not explain the sugary first taste which must be added. I can say I am also in love with Butternut Burley. My investigations continue.
48 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2012 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
It's not like Solani ABF really needs another rave review but I can't help myself. This is truly some sublime burley leaf. The flakes are roughly the size of a stick of gum, and are right away at perfect smoking moisture. The tin aroma is a weighty dark dried fruit scent, reminiscent of currants or sultanas. As for preparing ABF, I have had great results using the fold and stuff method but I prefer to rub them out one at a time with each smoke. I typically place larger pieces in the pipe first and then top off each bowl with smaller bits to aid combustion.

It took me a little while to appreciate this tobacco and to find my preferred method for enjoying it, but once I did - WOW what a smoke. And this tobacco only gets better when removed from the tin and jarred up for a spell.

What amazes me the most about this tobacco is that when smoked in the right pipe (I prefer a small pipe with this one), there is slight underlying honey like sweetness that really starts to come through just after the initial light. Sweet smoke flavor from a burley!??? Yes. And the more time I have spent with ABF, the more this subtlety has become apparent to me. Perhaps there is an added topping? Whether it's just some magical leaf al-natural or one hell of an amazing topping, I really don't care because ABF burns cool, even, and flavorful regardless of my cadence. As the bowl progresses, the faint sweetness disappears giving way to a rich deep and somewhat piquant tobacco flavor with a side stream aroma reminiscent of fruit wood smoke.

Also I should mention that I am officially among the ranks of the nicotine impaired and usually a strong dose will have me reeling. That said, I have experienced no adverse effects from smoking ABF, even on days where I have indulged two or more times. Excellent stuff. 4 stars all the way.
42 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 06, 2014 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
It is with great smoking pleasure that I write this review.

Now, this tobacco won't be for everyone. If you are looking for a dazzlying symphony of flavors that have pizazz, you're barking up the wrong (tobacco) tree.

What I will say is that Solani has probably written Burley history with this blend. I have never smoked a Burley that has such a high quality and enjoyable taste. And it's a flake! (I love almost ANY flake tobacco, almost)

When you open this tin up you'll be greeted with a nice clean cut flake that is dark for the most part but has smatterings of light leaf. The flakes are nice and orderly compared to those of Samuel Gawith flake tobaccos (which look like a form of beef jerkey sometimes). It would be a good idea to let this dry for at least 10 minutes as it's pretty moist out of the tin.

This tobacco has a decent dose of Vitamin N and has a full medium to strong taste (I rated it as just medium but it's definetly full and best after a nice meal). I wouldn't smoke this on an empty stomach. The room note is what you should expect out of a burley, somewhat like a fine cigar but not as stringent. You can get whisps of cocoa and a nice nut, almost like a Brazil nut. I imagine this is what burley tobaccos of yester year tasted like.

What's interesting about this tobacco is that it doesn't give that burley mule kick to the back of my throat that I usually get when smoking them. If you've smoked a burley (especially Kentucky) you know what I'm talking about. Matches860 on youtube said it best and I'll paraphrase, "You're not going to get those English blend flavor pops, but you know what you're going to get with each puff". And that my friends, is a wonderfully full taste of high quality burley tobacco.

24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 26, 2009 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Update 7/29/09

This, along with G&H's Kendal Kentucky, is the finest burley tobacco I've ever smoked. Very flavorful and well behaved. If you love burley, definitely give this a try. It gets better and better the more I smoke it and is in my permanent rotation. Upgraded to a solid 4 stars!

Original 3/26/09

I should start off by stating that I'm not (yet) a huge burley aficionado. I generally prefer virginias and vaper blends and if they have some burley mixed in a la Reiners Long Golden and it works, that's fine. I find straight burley a little too one-dimensional and lacking in complexity. But I agree with Beaupipe's review - complexity isn't supposed to be here.

That said, I very much enjoyed this tobacco. It's a no-frills beautiful burley flake with a top note of licorice and perhaps a few other things as well, although I don't taste some of the potentials mentioned by the other reviewers, which I attribute to my rookie status as a burleyphile. This is just a great straight forward smoke for when I'm in the mood to "go natchel". I found it performed best in a meerschaum or double walled clay pipe, both of which tamed the Burley Beast and reduced the potential for tongue bite while allowing for a bit more rigorous puffing. Aged Burley Flake is definitely something I'll return to, although it'll probably be a once a week or so thing.

If you love straight burley and you haven't tried this yet, wait no longer. This is a winner.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 06, 2017 Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
At first: **This flake ISN'T unflavoured NOR UNSUGARED!** - K&K states on their website "Chocolate Flavouring", and only mentions White Burley as ingridient.

And the additive list reveals it has ~5mg of flavouring and ~168mg of added sugar on 1000mg of tobacco: I just hate this kind of false advertisment and wonder why it's allowed *"oh, an oh so natural blend, no sugar added."* . . . 168mg of sugar added... as well as PG!

I also wouldn't argue that there's some Kentucky and maybe Brazilian Burley in it. Especially when looking at the flakes it gets obvious that several leafs were used as the colours range from medium-brown, brighter speckles to straight up black sparkles. So the description is a straight up lie from A to Z...

**Condition** out of the fresh tin is quite moist, but somehow it can be lit and smoked easily right out of the fresh tin. The flake slices stick to eachother and one can have a hard time separating them. Drying it out will enhance the spicy notes and the flavour profile changes a bit. I feel the flavouring fades from airing out. To me it seems the drier tobacco is, the more (natural) taste it has. The chocolate becomes more natural, Burley-ish cocoa and dark chocolate instead of the added choco-flavoring thats present when smoking a freshly cracked tin. All in all the smoke is more smooth and more natural to me when dried out.

**The tin smell** is that of deep, dark toned cocoa, it is nutty, offers rich bread and a whiff of raisins I perceive as well. When dried out the bready scent intensifies, gets less chocolaty, yet the cocoa-note is still there.

**The taste** is just a genius as it's simple imho. The main thing I'm getting when smoking from a freshly opened tin is a good and intense nutty and bready flavour with lots of tobacco qualities. Cocoa can be found, but the bready-nuttiness prevails to me. The raisins I had smelled from the tin isn't to be found in the taste. The decent bready aroma is reminiscent of whole-rye bread, like that of a good Virginia blend.

When smoking it dried out and matured for several months in a tin/jar the added chocolate flavouring also fades in the taste and becomes more natural. Either way (moist- or dried-out), this tobacco has a tangy and bitter tone to it, like that of pure cocoa-beans, or 80-90%+ cocoa chocolate, which I find pleasing. Decent spice throughout the whole bowl, as well as a "toasted" (like toasted bread) feel to it in the flavour and mouthfeel.

Nothing fancy but a honest Burley Blend (with an dishonest description) that's a treat to anyone who likes Burleys.
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 03, 2011 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
They're not kidding about the sweetness. In a blind test I'd be likely to mistake the leaf for Red Virginias. What a wonderful smoke, completely contradicts my original perceptions of Burley as a component.

Like many pipe smokers, I switched over from cigarettes, my abandoned affection for Camel Wide Lights. Cigarettes are primarily made from Burley, yet I developed an early distaste for the leaf in my pipe. I found the nutty taste harsh, and had a single pouch of Edgeworth Ready Rubbed hidden in my desk drawer going on three years. It never seemed to go away. I had given up on the stuff until recently, when I was given a blind sample of a blend I had come to love. I found myself shocked to learn that it contained Burley, which I mistook for Turkish leaf, because it had a pronounced spicy note that I associated with the leaf.

It became my immediate and perhaps flawed conviction that Turkish varieties are nothing more than Burley seeds grown upon another soil, lacking the nitrogen that would make them robust as their more diverse counterpart. Immediately I opened up that old pouch of Edgeworth and had what I can only describe as a revelatory smoke. Spice filled my nose and for days straight I could only smoke the remaining contents of my fast dwindling pouch. Where I once shrugged the demise of the blend, I now mourned its absence, and took it upon myself to restock my desk drawer with a capable supply of exceptional Burley blends that I could further sample the leaf.

Aged Burley Flake hit my chart immediately, as I figured it might be a worthy alternative to Edgeworth Slices, of which I had only encountered praise. Having never smoked a Burley flake, I found the novelty exciting, as I've said the blend delivers a smooth, almost Virginia like experience. Sweet, mellow in strength, this is a contemplative smoke, delivered in a beautiful tin, packaged in subtle brown shades.

The tin, square and metal in nature, exhibits a flaw plaguing others of its sort, namely Peterson's University Flake and Samuel Gawith's offerings, including Squadron Leader and Full Virginia Flake. They fail to adequately contain moisture, leading the contents to dry quickly. I found it necessary to transfer the already dried contents to an old McClelland tin, complete with a dampened cloth to rehydrate the blend. My enjoyment was not hampered in any way by the actions, though I find the process an annoying and avoidable step should these blenders modify their designs. These things should be built for their practicality, rather than aesthetic sensibilities, however attractive they may be.

My senses still muddled by a recent cold, I've found the similarities with my more familiar Virginia flakes greater than they likely are, and I apologize for speaking out of line. I was reminded of the disparate nature when a passerby entered my den in despair. "Are you smoking something different," I heard. "It smells terrible." Indeed, my affection for this hobby has compromised my sense perceptions--a tradeoff I wouldn't exchange for all the riches in the world.

I wondered then why I had disliked Burley so much in my smoking, and came upon a theory that it was an aversion to the cigarettes themselves, which had only really served as a nicotine delivery system, the tobacco itself irrelevant. The chocolate undertones now enveloping the remainder of this dwindling bowl, the spicy note engulfing my nasal passage, I look back upon this transition with amusement. I smoke a pipe, bitches.
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 29, 2017 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Solani - 656: Aged Burley Flake.

This was the first Burley flake I reviewed, but since I've smoked lots of tins over about five years after the initial review I thought I'd re-post.

It's an absolutely perfect Burley smoke! Nutty, rustic, a tiny note of cocoa, steady burning, and no bite. It's simply a wonderful flake. I can't think of much more that needs to be said!

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: pleasant.

Easy to rate, four stars:

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: All
PurchasedFrom: Various
Age When Smoked: Mostly new
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 05, 2009 Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
After years of reading the reviews, I am adding my two cents worth. This is my second review. To offer a perspective, My regular, most smoked blends are: SG's Best Brown Flake, 1792, Luxury Twist Flake, Old Joe Krantz, Old Crooner, Christmas Cheer, Manhattan Afternoon, and others that are similar.

Aged Burley Flake: upon opening the tin for the first time, what immediately came to mind was the memory of lunches I had with fellow University of Miami professor Gil Johnson(deceased), trumpet teacher famed for his being lead player with the Philadelphia SO. We would have lunch at a great Cuban restaurant on 8th St in Little Havana and then go next door to Nick's Cigar shop for an after-lunch cigar. There was a selection of hand made cigars called the "Cabinet Series" that although not flavored, had a kind of chocolate/coffee aroma. ABF has that scent: deep and rich, cigar-like with a subtle chocolate/coffee flavor.

Smoking ABF, the flavors give way to an earthy, sometimes gravel-like flavor. I would not call this a Burley blend like Revelation and Peretti's blends which I smoked years ago. It is more cigar-like. I really enjoy it when sitting on my back porch around 2AM after I have played a gig-I am a jazz pianist. We live near the beach in Dania, Fl on the wetlands. The sight swampy smell of the wetlands on a steamy evening goes very well with ABF. Add a sip of rum and the experience is tropical.

In a word: excellent! This is one of my regulars.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 08, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I'm going to say right now that to my palette, this is the best straight burley on the market today, on the stout end of the flavor spectrum. There are a few blends on the lighter, sweeter side of the genre that are of equal quality (Uhle's 00 comes to mind), but none that carry Aged Burley Flakes robust flavor profile.

Presentation is dark brown, uniform but loosely pressed flakes that rub out (or stuff) easily. The tin note is of fine chocolate.  True, unadulterated, top-notch burley taste: deep, rich cocoa flavors dominate, with a background of parchment, macadamia nuts, and just a hint of white chocolate on the tip of the tongue. The flavors are consistent from true light through the end of the bowl.  Even a good burley can get a bit ashy and monochromatic towards the end of the bowl, but there is none of that here. 

Aged Burley Flake is ready to smoke right out of the tin, takes a march well, and burns cool, slow, and dry. This is an exceptionally cool smoke for such a deep, rich burley blend. There is no heat here, and no bite. 

This is a blend that's been on my hit list for a long time. But only when my beloved Burley London Blend was discontinued and increasingly harder to find did I finally pull the trigger. Wow am I glad I did. I've searched and searched through other burley blends, many of them very good, but this is my new favorite. 
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 20, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Even though everything superlative said about a tobacco has been said about Solani Aged Burley Flake, I'm going to say some more superlative stuff about it because it is, without question, very superlative.

This was the first tobacco early in my pipe smoking hobby that I fell in love with. Back in those days, I was playing around, like many pipe smokers do when they're just starting out, trying different things. I liked some aromatics, some over the counter burleys, some crossovers, but no tobacco truly wowed me....until Solani ABF.

"Great God Almighty!" I cried out during my first bowl, scaring the crap out of my dogs.

That was long ago, in the mists of time. I am a different man now. There is a patch of gray in my beard and Alanis Morissette, whom I used to be a fan of, now sounds like a cat being tortured.

I still love ABF, though. I always will. Nostalgia is a big part of it....coming home late at night after busting my ass in the kitchen (I worked as chef in those days) and having a few beers and a bowl of ABF. It was the perfect decompression and probably why the patch of gray in my beard isn't bigger than it is.

It is a simple tobacco, really, all burley, from three terroirs, blended and aged and prepared with such skill that it is elevated beyond its components. Musty, nutty, rich,'s simply fabulous.

I wad and stuff it, like a big ol' chaw. I wad and stuff all my flakes. Rubbing out flakes makes them taste somewhat muted or, perhaps, muddled. Might be just me, though. Drying a flake a few hours before you devour it also improves things.

By this point in my hobby, I have found many wow factor tobaccos, some of which I like better than ABF, but as the first, it will always have a place in both my heart and cellar.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2012 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Very Mild Unnoticeable
This is cased wet shit. How any of you shit's get through a bowl is amazing. Stick your aged burley up your ass. And I like burley. Never ever again will I buy this over priced junk.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 19, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Blender R.L. Will has achieved a minor masterpiece in this truly elegant blend of burleys. This is the first (and thus far only) pipe tobacco that was so wonderfully rich, restrained and well balanced in its dark grandeur that it prompted me to pinch a small strip into a tiny plug, and pop it between my cheek and gums, just to slowly savor the flavor from a different angle. More on that later**.

The flakes here are a moist and lovely chocolate brown (the Kentucky dark), with some highlights of lighter brown (the Brazilian light) and beige (the Malawi white). The tin note has a restrained nutty aroma with hints of ground coffee, and only a modest hint of dark sweet malt. Some drying time is a must here, but your patience is richly rewarded.

There’s so much going on here that I’ll skip ahead to mid bowl, by which time the flavors have fully settled and come into focus. Now, most of us pipers are familiar to some degree with the gentle nuttiness that a good burley brings to the table, but the triple dose of perfectly matched top quality burleys here takes things to a WHOLE new level. Here, a rich complex nuttiness takes center stage ... picture a large mortar holding a palmful of freshly roasted brazil nuts and filberts (with shells & bitters intact), add some toasted carob pods, roast chicory and cocoa nibs, some medium roast coffee beans, some dark malt extract, a small curl of Saigon Cassia, and perhaps a chip of black licorice candy, then crush it all up with a lightly charred wooden pestle straight from the fireplace. Try to picture the combined aroma, and that’s as close as I can get you.

In addition to all that, there’s an equally wonderful lack of major flaws or balance issues. The sweetness is restrained - neither dominant, nor submissive. The Kentucky dark also brings a subtle nuance of smoke. The natural alkalinity of the burleys is present but not onerous, and the gentle bite actually compliments the slightly tannic and peppery finish. It’s a very impressive multi-layered balancing act that somehow all works, despite (apparently) a complete lack of added flavors, sweeteners or aromatics. Color me impressed. The only minor crime here is that this brand currently only comes in tiny 50 gram tins (nothing larger) that are not vintage dated, nor fully airtight once opened (tip: repackage in glass, if you plan to consume slowly).

This is a rare find, and highly recommended, both for straight up smoking, and for blending some tasty complexity into lesser fare. A perfect four stars from me.

---------- ** Taste: Smoking definitely brings out more of the complexity than mere saliva, but for the record, a tiny pinch exudes some of the same notes of coffee beans, carob and chicory I mentioned earlier, along with a pleasing astringency.
Pipe Used: Grabow Royalton
Age When Smoked: Unknown
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 04, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
In appearance these are dark chocolate flakes with a generous measure of of light tobacco spread throughout. The layers of leaf are on the loose side and rub out easily.

The tin note gives off generous cocoa aromas with woody undertones and the sort of caramelisation one finds with well cooked roast beef. I apologise for the bizarreness of that comparison, but it took me awhile to locate where I had smelt that aroma before and that really is what it reminds me of. There is also a soft malty sweetness.

This is a very slow burning tobacco but will require some attention. Rubbed out, a single flake lasts me well over an hour. One would be hard pressed to find a tobacco that delivers better value.

In terms of its flavour while smoking, this is not a tobacco that has been processed into something different to its burley nature, in the way virginian tobaccos are transformed by being pressed into flakes. Rather, this is a burley that has been tamed. Aside from its slow burning qualities, it has no bitterness at all and is exceedingly smooth. I did not detect any particular flavour profile beyond a creaminess and a malty, but not especially sweet, taste.

Of special note is how the ph of this tobacco has been balanced, at least to my palate. I did not need a drink to accompany this tobacco and did not find myself with any excess saliva at all. Nor does it seem to have much of a kick nicotine wise. Of course YMMV.

This is a very good all day smoke, surprisingly gentle, that would go well with a real ale and good friends. Honest tobacco, made well.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 22, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Wish I didn't have to write this. Opened a tin of this about 3 weeks ago. Been trying since then to dry some out the way I like it. It's not possible. Laid a bowls worth on a paper towel like I always do. Usually have several blends drying at the same time. Dozens of blends dried over the next seven days, most in just an hour or two, except for one, That would be this one. Seven days and it was still as wet as it was when I put it out. How wet? Very wet. You can use dozens of matches to get through a bowl. This is unacceptable. I tried the microwave method next. 8 seconds, fluff it till it felt dry. 8 more seconds, fluff until it felt dry. Still takes dozens of matches to get through a bowl. I don't know how you folks managed this stuff. There must be a secret that I'm not privy to. Never got a good enough taste of it to properly comment on that. Also, you shouldn't pay any attention to the ratings of strength or such. I have no real idea of what they should be. I'm through trying. They should have named this Aged Humectant Flake.
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman
Age When Smoked: fresh
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 16, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a quality burley smoke. There is good, solid tobacco flavor and none of the bitterness you get sometimes. This smokes like a slightly fuller version of Uhle's Blend 00, and I do not detect any topping. I think there is a little in Blend 00. I have enjoyed this a lot. Even if you think you don't like burley, you should bum a few flakes from a friend and give this a try.

This and Uhle's Blend 00 are about as good as burley gets for me.
Pipe Used: various briars
Age When Smoked:
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 25, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I'm not a big burley fan but this is a great tobacco. I've been enjoying this blend for quite a while, but had not had any in a few months. I found the open tin in my stash and it's totally dried out, and I mean crispy. Loaded it in a little Herter's Angler's pipe, which holds just enough for about a 20 minute smoke. Obviously there was no problem lighting it.

People talk about "nutty" flavors, and I agree, but to me it's the earthy kind of nuts like brazil nuts and a hint of filberts. The first half of the bowl was pure earth, like fresh garden dirt. It warmed up to a combination of nuttiness and earthiness and was just plain good all the way down. To be honest I've forgotten what it tastes like fresh, but I can vouch that it's good even when crispy dry.

I have more tins, and hopefully I'll be trying some soon that's fresher. Regardless, this is a really good, tasty blend. For me it's meant for sipping. It is not overly complex, but it has enough variation and nuance to keep it interesting to the bottom if you slow down and enjoy it. Easily a four star burley.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 06, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
First a commentary: I notice that there are often debates of the manufacturers claims on tobacco's; it is essentially, "Are they lying about the ingredients or not?". What I find funny is that the tin says what it says and then you read 10 reviews and 6 say there is and 4 say there isn't... so to me this shows that it is not clear and then I ask why question the manufacturer. We taste what we taste and it is there or it isn't. If it is to you, then it is there. Perception is reality.

This tobacco is a finicky one in my experience. In the right pipe it is very good, in the wrong pipe it is like a mouth full of soot. The problem I have is that it is not easy to tell so once I found the one briar I liked it in, that is where it is going to stay. In a meer or a cob this is consistently good but different in each. The tin note is like nestle's quick and some straw, a very nice smell. Simple and light. The smoke, as others have said is very straight forward and uni dimensional, but that is good in this case. It is a light grassiness to it, lightly sweet and slightly bready. This is where I break from the crowd. I smell the chocolate in the tin but get no such flavor in the smoke, which is unusual for me since most Burley blends have a chocolate note to them. This is lauded as THE Burley and I don't get it at all. There is a slightly woody/light honey/vaguely floral like taste to it that is very pleasant but also, for me was hard to pinpoint. I have often felt like using "nutty" as a descriptor, but I cannot tell you what nut it tastes like. The best I get is like acorn, but I have never eaten an acorn...nor do I know if that is actually categorized as a nut. The mind is a terrible thing. Light finish and crisp aftertaste. Burns well and clean.
Pipe Used: meerschuam, cob and briar
Age When Smoked: new tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 11, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Until this tobacco I would have considered myself a Virginia and Latakia enthusiast. The Burleys that I had smoked previously had mostly been dark fired Kentuckys, and I find these tobaccos a bit too spicy for my palate. The one Burley exception - Semois (which I guess you could say really isn't a Burley but another plant altogether) is one of my favorites. So I wanted to try a Burley that wouldn't irritate my mouth. I enjoy stronger taste tobaccos, but not a tobacco that is spicy. And so my experiences with Burleys had been not as good as my experiences with Virginias. However, I have been enjoying Solani Silver Flake - even though it contains dark fired Kentucky - and is just a bit rough on my mouth. It's a tobacco that I can recognize as top notch, even if a bit spicy for every day smoking for me. So I decided to look for another Solani that I could try.

I read many of the reviews of ABF. It sounded like it was worth a go. And I'm glad I did. In comparison with all the other Burleys that bite or burn my mouth, ABF smokes very smooth. Plenty of flavor, and I must say that I find the room note to be very pleasant - just a warm, rich tobacco aroma.

This is a tobacco that comes ready to light right out of the tin. The flakes themselves are are wonderful to look at, hold, and smell - thick enough to hold together but not too thick - wonderful ranges of colors. Not overly moist. Superb tin note. On first opening the tin I was amazed that Burley could smell this nice. And the first smoke didn't disappoint either.

I cannot compare this with any other Burley, as I'm not a Burley guy. But I am a Solani ABF guy. I just purchased a second tin, and I'm going to lay in a fairly large stock to age for a year or two - not that it really needs it.

And so for the Virginia smoker who hasn't had much joy with Burleys - this is a great way to find out if you can possibly like Burley - or at least Solani's take on Burley. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than other tobaccos, but I have found both this and Silver Flake worth any premium that I pay. Just top tier tobacco.
Pipe Used: Peterson Killarney. Savinelli. Butz-Choquin
Age When Smoked: New from tin
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