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

3.41 / 4





Please login to post a review.
Displaying 1 - 11 of 267 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 06, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Wanting to experience a higher quality burley after initial surveys of various tobacco types I turned to the search function here and found this to be the highest rated example. I was also intrigued by a straight burley flake, not a terribly common form of these tobaccos. I was not disappointed, however this can be a frustrating blend.

I find the packaging to be part of the fun of tinned blends, and while coming in the typical rectangular tin with a label, the antique nautical woodcut is really cool. The flakes are dark and moist, with a rich woody scent of tobacco and cocoa. The leaf is obviously of the very highest quality.

To address its assessment as frustrating, I find the physical smoking qualities to be somewhat poor as the flake is very moist and really required considerable attention. Part of this was impatience on my part as I plowed through my first tin without providing the type of climate control or preparation to achieve the proper humidity. The smoking of each bowl was the same as I would get bursts of incredible flavor that were difficult to sustain leading me to stoke the tobacco which is exactly the wrong way to treat this. This tobacco rewards slow smoking. I also find that the flavors develop much better with a tight pack, however go too far and it just won't burn well. The key is being attentive.

Despite those qualifications, the taste is inspiring. I have to take Solani at their word that no flavoring is added, but it's hard to believe because this pops with cocoa flavor and it's delicious. When crunchy dry it also produces a cinnamon note that combines with both the cocoa and burley pepper like a Mexican mole sauce. The burley roughness is there as well at times that reminds me of radishes. There are also toasted grains, the oily smoke of rich fatty nuts, and light caramelized sugars with a mild consistent sweetness that is more typical of Virginias. Unlike other burleys it doesn't get bitter or ashy. Nicotine seems pretty low for a burley.

I carefully considered the rating on this. The too moist flakes can be painful and frustrating, which could steer this to a 3. This is made more irritating because of the reward of the taste, but ultimately the taste is so outstanding that it is a solid 4. Take the time to get the moisture and preparation right and focus on your technique and it is an awesome smoke.
Age When Smoked: Fresh to 9 months
3 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.

122 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
115 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
50 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
44 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.

Age When Smoked: 5 years
24 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
24 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
22 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
17 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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
15 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
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.
15 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.