J. F. Germain & Son Rich Dark Flake

Notes: According to an email response from J. F. Germain and Son asking if they produced any other blend like Stonehaven, they replied that their Rich Dark Flake is similar to Stonehaven, which is produced for Esoterica in the U.S. market only.


Brand J. F. Germain & Son
Blended By J. F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Burley, Virginia
Flavoring Molasses
Cut Flake
Packaging Sold in various bulk pouch weights.
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.60 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 35 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 12, 2018 Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Germain's Rich Dark Flake in a Bones Hanging Brandy is today's treat. The sweet, dark VaBur flake has notes of dark chocolate, molasses, and dried currant flavors. With hints of hay and nuts. The smoke is thick, creamy and divine. This is a miracle blend, honestly. I prefer it to Stonehaven, although both are amazing.
Pipe Used: Bones Hanging Brandy
PurchasedFrom: A Friend
Age When Smoked: Fresh
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 09, 2018 Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant
This has to be one of my all time favourite tobaccos, for me Germain's is unlike no other tobacco, I am yet to find another tobacco that has the same aroma upon opening the packet. Although slightly more expensive that other loose tobaccos that I normally smoke, this is is definitely worth the extra money. Virgnia & Burley tobaccos always tend to be my favourite, I cannot quite detect the flavourings in RDF as every time I smoke it I seem to detect different notes. A tobacco definitely worth trying. Most recently smoked in my new favourite pipe haha www.gqtobaccos.com/pipes/savinelli-bings-favourite-brown-blast
Pipe Used: SAvinelli Bings Favourite
PurchasedFrom: http://www.gqtobaccos.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh / 1 week old
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 13, 2017 Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is one of those blends that you hear about that is rated so highly that you build it up in your mind into something spectacular. Perhaps I would be more forgiving of this tobacco were it not for the hype surrounding it. Nevertheless, when I saw it on a recent visit to my B&M in York, I jumped at the opportunity to get some. First impression was great, It has a delightful tin note, rich and molassasey. The flakes are homogenous and relatively thin (at last compared to G&H). But in some ways the flakes present the first problem. Wet, wet, wet and hard to break up. Even with a month or two drying time, the flakes are still wet and difficult to break up. This obviously is going to affect the smoking mechanics and I found it difficult to keep lit and I'm sure it also had an impact on the flavours I was getting.

Flavourwise, it tastes of tobacco and the casing doesnt interfere too much. However, I do also get a chemical aftertaste on this blend which I personally find offputting.

In conclusion, its certainly not terrible, and enough people like it not to take my experience too much to heart, but I am personally unlikely to buy it again and wouldnt suggest people go too far out of their way to acquire it.
PurchasedFrom: York B&M
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 23, 2017 Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Tolerable
Regarding taste there is always a subjective element, so although I enjoy this tobacco it’s not one of my favourites. And mainly this is because I am not very fond of the licorice/molasses casings in general. Yet quality judgement has to be more objective and Rich Dark Flake has qualities that qualify it effortlessly as one the best flakes around.

Why do I say that? First of all it is a very complex and deeply flavorful tobacco with an interesting measured casing. Then it has medium strength with a good nicotine content to satisfy any smoker and never overwhelm. While producing abundant smoke it burns as slow as any tobacco and lastly has a perfect 'mechanical' behaviour and easy handling.

It comes in long black mildly aromatized heavily pressed and super-concentrated flakes that offer a very long, slow burning (I easily get a two hour smoke in medium sized pipes!) flakes with an elusive aroma which seems to be of brandy, licorice, molasses and plum but at times I also sense dark chocolate, pine resin and even a fruitier aroma reminiscent of sweet orange peel. The flakes are moist and sticky but to my experience do not need any drying as they smoke perfectly.

The smoke is rich, creamy, mellow and sweet - exceptionally smooth! The casing is integrated with the tobacco so that until mid-bowl it has a uniform taste with a prominent molasses/licorice/fruit liqueur taste where the tobacco flavor always present. I also taste dark flavors of fruit, leather, rubber and a slight floral nuance. Towards the end the taste becomes more natural and this is where Rich Dark Flake really shines for me when the nutty Burley is most felt… It never gets harsh, strong or bitter and burns to the very end to a very fine grey ash.

It is quite similar to MacBaren's HH Bold Kentucky and I agree with fellow reviewer TW who says it is similar to St. Bruno only better in every way. And I have never tasted Stonehaven to add my comment.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 13, 2016 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
One of the best tobacco I tried. Smooth, unique, amazing,relaxing. Lits, burn, smokes,aftertaste is beyond the expectation. More than highly recommended. One thing, is really hard to get it.
Pipe Used: Various
PurchasedFrom: mysmokingshop.co.uk
Age When Smoked: Fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 27, 2016 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
Rich Dark Flake isn’t Stonehaven. Other than the fact that is each contains Burley and Virginia, I don’t even find them all that similar to each other. (I have smoked them side by side). RDF offers a different pouch scent that indicates right away that there is more topping and/or casing in RDF. The scent offers up some chocolate and in the pipe it leans more toward the aromatic side of the spectrum where Stonehaven’s steam treatment plays more of a prominent role in the flavor than RDF (which I assume has been steamed as well). Stonehaven is earthier where RDF is sweeter, especially when smoked in a cob. With all of that said, this is a very fine, lightly aromatic flake. It needs a fair amount of dry time and I prefer to fold and stuff it with some rubbed out to get things going. The Virginia’s are the lead players here with the Burley only in a support role. RDF is fairly straightforward in flavor and has a “richness” to it that offers up billows of smoke. There isn’t a bite to be found, even when pushed. RDF isn’t an easy acquisition in the US, but worth the effort. Three and a half stars.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2016 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
It feels like one of the Lakelands. The label reads "contains Virginia and Burley" and I believe it as I cannot detect any smoky edges so typical with Kentucky leaf. The topping is quite apparent but difficult to describe. The tin note kind of smells like a bottle of spicy old rum, but it slides inconspicuously through your taste buds. Because of its dark colour, you would have expected something somewhat stronger, both in the nicotine and taste departments, but these flakes seem to be rather mild/medium in this sense. The moist content is ridiculously high, so they might benefit from some drying time. I am finding the whole thing rather bland and tasteless, so 2 stars is as good as its gonna get.

Edit1: I had a few more bowls, and it seems to be OK. The only problem is that the Virginia it contains does not tell me anything, but I am going to upgrade to 3 stars as it seems to have other good qualities.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 16, 2014 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
RDF arrived in a peculiar unsealed pouch and inside were 10 quite long and very thin dark (nearly black) flakes, streaked with some crystals here and there. Quite wet, but I suppose that's a good thing considering it's only available as bulk. Airing a flake before packing is a good idea, but not absolutely necessary. And even so, it takes a little bit of work to get smoldering.

I had expected RDF to be, well, chock-full of flavour and to the point. But it's really not, it's actually quite the opposite - it needs to be smoked gently and slowly to find out what's really going on. I don't think the burley is immediately noticeable - at least for me it's very much in the background. The VA is the main player here, and it's really quite good. The creamy earthiness, brandy and malt notes, like mr Wibblefishofdoom suggests are quite accurate as a general flavour profile, but I associate the main flavour more with a dry red wine than whisky, and the brandy note coming through in the sidestream. It's all subjective in the end, of course, but very tasty all the same.

Each flake usually lasts me a good 2 hours or so, so it's a pretty slow burning affair, suitable for winding down in the evening. Not too strong in nicotine, but by no means too weak either - just right, in other words.

All in all, this is a very good blend. And while I probably won't be spending the rest of my life smoking it, I will certainly not be opposed to buying it again in the future. Go ahead and try it if you can, I'm sure it'll appeal especially to those fond of dark stoved flakes. In my opinion this is much better than certain other dark stoved flakes from another British blending house.
Pipe Used: Northern Briars billiard.
PurchasedFrom: MySmokingShop
Age When Smoked: < 1 month
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 06, 2014 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant
I was fortunate enough to acquire some of this tobacco while on vacation in the UK recently. A fan of Stonehaven, I had heard this blend was quite similar, so I expected good things.

It didn't disappoint. It is indeed like Stonehaven in many ways. And there is a possibility it's the same flake, different name. But for some reason I am more drawn to this offering, Rich Dark Flake. It is everything that Stonehaven is, but just a bit more. I can't quite put my finger on it exactly, but I do suspect that there is less Burley in this flake. The pouch note is richer and the smoke is sweeter. It is simply perfection in a flake.

The flake is clearly of English origin, akin to the house of Gawith and their offerings. It comes damp. I little dry time is definitely recommended. It has been masterfully prepared. To me this is a "special treat" tobacco. Even if it were readily available I would not want to smoke it every day. It is not a hearty meat and potatoes type blend, but rather a desert blend. And given its rarity, it suits it just fine. FVF Monday through Friday, and Rich Dark Flake on the weekends 🙂
Pipe Used: 4th Generation (Erik Stokkebye)
Age When Smoked: unknown
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 30, 2013 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
I have recently adopted RDF and it has quickly become my core smoke. As said, a shadow of red wine etc but its the delight of a well- rounded dark virginia burley blend which has soul that has made it a must-have for me. I have recently realized a preparation option which I now use with all flakes, and which has expanded my blend options. I am opposed to that advice which encourages the drying-out of tobacco flakes; the end result is that one smokes the bones of the blend. One must see that, as received, the moisture in a blend is locked in and the smoking experience is a wrangle on that condition. If a given flake rubs out to thick and sticky strings and is a bitch to smoke a realistic error might be made whereby the tobacco is rendered, through dessication, to a condition comparable to that of a dry, dead goat in the desert. Pre-hydration is the answer; instead of drying the flakes up, on opening the tin put a square of sponge (pre-cut to 1cm thickness and to shape) which has been moistened (not drenched) with mineral water onto the pile and close the lid. Leave for several hours and invert the flake pile, replacing the sponge, before retiring. Try the result and be mildly amazed. The pure, live mineral water hydration, a kiss of moisture on the tobacco, has brought the tars and oils to life, the burn is even, right through the smoke and there is a fulling of the tastes and flavours of the blend. At the same time, the smoking is cool and the pipe never overheats. I would place one caveat here; I am primarily a charcoal filter pipe smoker and the filter handles the slight increase of moisture with ease. I have encountered a slight but temporary steam burr with a plain pipe but this is relative and should not discourage suchlike smokers from testing my assertion. I am so satisfied with the congeniality and advantage of this hydration method that I now always use it to prepare my flake tobacco. I note that our American brothers, whose eloquent digest of blend reviews is almost a literary genre in itself, here on site, have problems acquiring tobacco from UK due to credit card rules? My supplier is at Mysmokingshop.com and has a wide range of noted blends. I don't know if this will be useful, but maybe money transfer through email contact with the dealer would help?
4 people found this review helpful.
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