Rattray Stirling Flake

Stirling Flake is a full-bodied blend for the experienced smoker who enjoys the full power of an English Flake. Equal amounts of air-cured, flue-cured and dark fired tobacco give this powerhouse its specific flavour. Not for the [faint] of heart.


Brand Rattray
Series Flake Collection
Blended By Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Burley, Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


Medium to Strong
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

3.53 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 34 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 17, 2015 Strong Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Some say this blend is what Irish Flake once was and what its creators intended it to be, but it stands on its own: a strong Virginia flake, backed by muscular Burley and smoke-cured Kentucky tobaccos. This mixture results in a solid but nuanced flavor with plenty of kick, but varies enough over the course of a bowl to make a pleasurable all-day smoke.

A flavoring of anise crests the waves of first dark-fired, then Virginia and finally a rich, nutty, coffee-like Burley. Caramelized tastes rise within that, sweetened by the anise. Compared to Irish Flake, this is stronger and more intense in its melding of Burley and Kentucky flavors; where Irish Flake tends toward the strong side of medium, this is on the soft side of strong. It will not put the average smoker on the floor like the 'Happy' Brown Bogie but it will make its presence known. Reality clarifies after a half-bowl of Stirling Flake.

These flakes are thicker than the Irish Flake, and unlike your average Virginia flake, tend toward the more assertive taste sensations within that tobacco, helping it to complement like the broad Burley and sharp dark-fired flavors like notes in a chord. The anise provides a high harmony, but when it evaporates, the remaining dense flavor rises and finishes out the bowl with strength.

Some tobaccos grab you over time, by revealing what they have to offer by showing how it can be appealing. To those who like martial tobaccos, Stirling Flake unveils its power immediately: this hard-hitting tobacco flavor and experience fulfills what we think of when we conjure up an image of a tobacco made for heavy duty use. It delivers consistently and leaves behind white-grey ash in soft snowflake-like particles.

While some may bemoan the 'downfall' of Irish Flake, I see these two as brothers: the medium-strength version provides hours of pleasure without becoming overbearing, but for the driven person on a day of intense concentration, only the warlike sensation of Stirling Flake will do. This blend became a potential favorite quickly, and then a daily smoke as its many idiosyncrasies and texture of flavors came to light.
20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 17, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
Rattray - Stirling Flake.

In the tin the flakes look appealing, mostly dark with sporadic yellow flecks throughout. There isn't much aroma coming from the tin, just really a basic tobacco smell with a slight raisin type note. This is pretty unique for a flake from the tin as the moisture is spot on, Sam Gawith take note please!!! As the flakes aren't too dense in construction it can be prepared simply, whether you fold 'n stuff or rub out it gives a good burn so either method suits; it's just a matter of personal preference!

The taste of the tobaccos are perfectly weighted with one another, they come over quite equal after ten or so minutes. With the initial smoke it's the Virginia that takes the forefront but after a short while the nuttiness of the Burley creeps through and then becomes the same weight. The nicotine isn't that strong it will make your head spin but it's above medium. I find the smoke's good in temperature, it isn't the coolest but it's not too warm either. Another decent point is tongue bite, not one episode of bite throughout! The burn's even all the way through, once it's lit then the only requisite is the odd tamp to maintain the it. I find the room note rather basic, not bad, just simple. To me Stirling Flake is the archetypal 'no nonsense' blend, very simple and very satisfying.

Four stars.
Pipe Used: GBD Oom Paul
PurchasedFrom: The Danish Pipe Shop
Age When Smoked: New
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 15, 2015 Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant
Peterson's Irish Flake has been my number one tobacco for a good many years. Over the past several months it was noted on various pipe smoker's forums that Kohlhase-Kopp would no longer be producing Peterson's line of pipe tobaccos. Trying to find out who the new blenders of Peterson's flake tobaccos has met with little success. It was thought to be Mac Baren, but Per Jensen, himself, said no to their producing Peterson flakes. However, they seem to be producing all of their other tobaccos except for Hype Park (G&H produced).

Shortly thereafter it appeared Kohlhase-Kopp started to produce several flakes under the Rattray banner, Stirling Flake being one of them. It was said on the various pipe smoking forums that K-H are using he same leaf/recipe for Stirling Flake as they did for Irish Flake. I initially saw that Pipes and Cigars had it listed on their site, but was backordered (and still is as of this post) for quite some time now. Recently, I found it at Smoking Pipes and 4 Noggins. I went with 4 Noggins. Same price point, but better shipping rate for me.

As for the tobacco...same number of slices (12), same thickness of cut, same appearance, same tin note. The only difference I am noticing is a slightly more pronounced spiciness (at least as compared to my most recent smoke with IrF). All in all, very pleased with Stirling Flake and at this time I don't have any preference one over the other.

UPDATE 1-24-15: I've been smoking this and alternating with Irish Flake. I would have to conclude that I detect no difference whatsoever with regard to taste, flavor, etc. Verdict...SAME.

UPDATE 2-4-15: I feel this is worth mentioning here with regard to Irish Flake and posted under IrF as well:

Since my last update in Dec 2014, I stated that I detected no difference in Irish Flake. Now that may be about to change. I recently opened a tin in my line up (I date and number them as I receive them) and the first thing I noticed was the smell typical of Danish produced Virginia flakes - very fruity. The leathery/tarry smell so reminiscent of IrF was present but only minimally. The appearance and handling qualities of the flake appeared to be the same. The smoking experience was good, however, the fruitiness tasted throughout the bowl (I'm half way through the tin and this hasn't changed) and that Kentucky presence was not as noticeable. The overall strength is less as well. Still a good smoke, but if I want the "old Irish Flake" I'll got with K-H's Stirling Flake. I've tried that and it is identical to the Irish Flake I'm used to.
Pipe Used: Stanwell SB Bulldog
PurchasedFrom: 4Noggins.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Supposedly this is Pete's Irish Flake sporting new outer attire. Since I had some IF on hand, I decided to do a comparison. First of all, the tin aroma is different. In this one there's a bit of a medicinal aroma that l found disquieting when I first opened the tin. It didn't impact the taste, however. The color of the flakes is close enough that I can't detect differences.

In the bowl, this one tasted sweeter than IF. I likened it closer to something like Mac Baren's Bold Kentucky. Since I prefer that one to IF, I enjoyed this one more as well. It was fairly strong and had enough nicotine to satisfy all but the most demanding customers. Excellent deep flavor but not too robust. I paint it with the same brush as BK, and that is it has all the flavor of something like G&H's Dark Flake but with the attack of that one toned down. Good tasting smoke! Not much in the complexity department but if you like the flavor at first light, you'll like it at the end, provided you don't overpuff. Doing so as an experiment brought on the burley bitters, although it didn't bite. I still have enough BK in my cellar, as well as other things like SG Dark Flake and MacB's lighter cousin to BK that I probably won't need to buy anymore of this but if I didn't, I would pick this and the SG over the Mac B's. Juicy, dark and beguiling, smoke this if you can't stand another Virginia after a tough week. Great outdoor smoke too!
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
It's been 1 year and 4 months since I reviewed Irish Flake. At the time I gave it 2 stars. I felt it was just ok, nothing special. Since then I have acquired a taste for DFK and I seem to like anything that has it as one of it's components. I have to say that I like this blend. The DFK is the most prominent flavor. Earthy, spicy, and very mildly smoky. The Virginias add a nice mild fruity tang to the background along with a mild nuttiness from the Burley. Combined it's a very nice smoke. It should be smoked slowly, as pushing it can cause it to acquire a harshness. Thankfully, I've finally learned some patience and can avoid that. While I can't give this 4 stars I can give it a very solid 3.

Body is medium to full. Flavor is medium. Burns best for me fully rubbed out. Doesn't really require any drying time, but I give it a half hour or so.
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman, MM Mark Twain
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
Age When Smoked: fresh
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 22, 2016 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Rattray’s Stirling Flake is dark and rich, from the moment the tin is popped. In the tin, two rows of well-formed flakes are wrapped in white paper, with the now familiar “tobacco leaf” seal. The flakes are quite dark, also moist, and they smell of dark chocolate covered cherries, currants, prunes, geraniums, and deep Dutch licorice over the deep, well-melded, fermented tobaccos, which are said to be a range of VAs, Burly, and KY. I like to cut a flake to twice chamber depth, then fold it and spindle it thoroughly between my thumbs and forefingers, then I load the resultant “plug” loosely into a pipe. It lights and burns fine like this, straight from the tin. During the smoke the deep, sweet VAs emerge in the lead, while the KY is well-tempered and not so smoky or spicy as to dominate. The “regular” Burly is rich, smooth, round, and nutty, and although the tannins build as SF is smoked down, it never gets bitter. For me it’s an easy, relaxing smoke that’s interesting rather than clever. Strength is more strong than medium. Tastes are more full than medium. Room note is tolerable. Aftertaste is a tasty, lingering trailing-off of the smoke.

IMO, Stirling Flake is terrific stuff, and I am surprised it is not more popular. Four stars from me, also room in my cellar for it, on account of substantial VA. Others have noted that SF is similar to Irish Flake, and I think so, too, except I have fewer problems with SF; it smokes better for me and I take to SF’s additives better than I do those in IF.
Pipe Used: various briars
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins.com
Age When Smoked: fresh to several months
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 25, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I've gotten to a point where I want to either (a) send in a few undercover operatives to get the inside scoop on various manufacturers or (b) go to a doctor to have my tastebuds (and related senses) analyzed. Point being that I smoke a new (to me) blend and say "God, that's good, but I'd swear it's the same as.....(of which I have 50 tins in the cellar). That said, great tobacco this is, but if I had MacBaren's HH Bold Kentucky or HH Old Dark Fired in the rotation I'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Well, maybe I could. ODF is less round and rich. Bold Kentucky is a twin, fraternal if not identical. The few reviews here mention Irish Flake. I don't see it. That toast, this is cake -- neither close to mild but Stirling is just rounder. In any event, they are ALL 4-star tobaccos. All right up my alley for "manliness" but all very approachable. I'd go to Stirling for that rich and smooth strength in the dark-fired, kentucky vabur world. No complaints -- nothing wrong with an extra ten tins of this genre ;))
Pipe Used: I'm a straight billiard or dublin guy
PurchasedFrom: etailer
Age When Smoked: new and old (me, i'm old ;))
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2015 Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
This is a great flake. A while back I seen a posting on a forum claiming that this was the exact same tobacco as Irish Flake. As Irish Flake is one of my favorite tobaccos, I was quite anxious to try it. I did not compare the two back to back, but from my memory of the last completed tin of Irish Flake, I don't think the two are identical.

I found SF to be both earthier and sweeter than IF, I may actually like this one more than IF. I also think it is not as strong from a nicotine standpoint as is IF. It has a little in common to my tastes to RDF from Germain. Maybe a little lighter on the topping, but a similar rich taste in the leaf.

I really liked it and will purchase more. I highly recommend this one as I do the other two mentioned. They are all fantastic tasting vaburs.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2017 Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
As others have noted, either the same as Peterson Irish Flake has been, or very similar. To the, the underlying the tobaccos taste pretty much the same as far as I can tell -- a nice balance between the VAs and Kentucky, nice full flavor, easily worked flakes. The N struck me as a trifle less, but that's often the most subjective part of tobacco tasting. The casing also came across a bit more noticable (perhaps it was just a fresher tin?). If you like Irish Flake, try this and compare for yourself.
Pipe Used: briars, cobs, and meers
PurchasedFrom: Mars
Age When Smoked: 1 month after purchase
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 06, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Manufactured by Kohlhase & Kopp, this is supposed to be (more or less) the same blend as the old Peterson Irish Flake, when it was still made by them and not by Mac Baren.

The rather large and thick, mottled, dark brown flakes are neatly stacked into the rectangular tin, effusing a strong, earthy tobacco scent with an indistinct sweetness. The slices feel brittle and slightly moist.

You can easily use the fold and stuff method for filling your pipe. A single slice will usually suffice to give you at least an hour of smoking pleasure.

After the charring light, you need to tamp down and level out the ashes before applying the true light to get it burning steadily.

From the first puff on, you'll realize that this is stronger stuff, also on nicotine content! Beside an earthy tobacco taste from the Dark Fired Kentucky, there are sweetish fruity notes of dried figs, apricots or prunes. Smoking the Stirling Flake also requires some leisure in order to keep it burning coolly and slowly. That way, it gives you a satisfying smoke throughout the whole bowl and burns down evenly leaving some graying ash. To me it seems sweeter and milder than the new Irish Flake.

The room note is dominated by strong tobacco scents with some fruity sweetness in the background, which renders it a little more tolerable for the crowd.
Pipe Used: Stanwell Nr. 95 Silke Brun
PurchasedFrom: www.cigarworld.de
Age When Smoked: Fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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