Rattray Black Virginia

A coal-black cavendish without any flavour additions. A mellow tobacco which can be smoked the whole day long. The smoker may detect flavours of liquorice, plums and nuts.


Brand Rattray
Blended By Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Cavendish Based
Contents Black Cavendish, Virginia
Flavoring Licorice, Nuts / Beans, Plum, Sweet / Sugar
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.53 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 55 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 17, 2015 Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
The fermented Virginia/black cavendish has a mild sweetness: raisins, plums and a hint of tart and tangy citrus and tangy dark fruit, plus a little earth, grass, and a couple slivers of wood. The sugary topping is very mild, and doesn't sublimate the tobaccos that much. The strength is mild, while the taste just passes that mark. Has a mild nic-hit. Needs some dry time. Burns fairly well, cool and clean, and will leave just a little moisture in the bowl. Has a mostly consistent flavor until the last quarter where it tends to lose a little topping. It does lack a little depth. Requires a few relights. Has a routine after taste and room note. No bite or harshness. An all day smoke that won't get in your way as you go about your business.

20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 20, 2005 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I have smoked four bowls of this splendid weed just to be sure of my opinion of it. I've discovered the following...

1.) It smokes consistently, pipe to pipe.

2.) It is hard to get bit by it unless you really provoke it.

3.) From the beginning, to the end of the bowl, there is a consistent sweetness that only gives way towards the very end.

4.) It's lack of overcomplexity makes it a delightfully delicious, charming tobacco.

This will become a staple in my cellar. So far this has bumped its way easily to first place. I could smoke this all day, and not have a nicotine problem, and the flavor is so great that I am not tiring of it. Between this blend, Hamborger Veermaster, and Escudo. I'll rank this as a sublimely high, surpassingly excellent blend for a straight VA.

Sweet, butterscotchy hints with the occasional (if you smoke just a tad too hot) eucalyptus undertone. Unflavored, well-balanced, great character smoke. As much as I love to write, I cannot adequately describe the flavor of this wonderful blend. It's almost fruity, but not artificially so. If your tastes are sensitive, you're apt to find a medley of wonderful flavors in this tobacco that ranges from fruity to butterscotch-esque, to even a toasty finish. It's meant to be savored slowly, and while it can be described as being mild, it's quality as a VA in THIS posters opinion, is hard to surpass because...

1.) I like it's lack of overt complexity.

2.) I like that it's not prone to biting.

3.) It is easy to smoke, and enjoy at all times.

4.) The sweetness lasts and lasts.

Bottom line, this is a wonderful tobacco, and if there are any others like this, I simply must know about them!

Being such a lover of Virginias, now that I can REALLY taste their subtleties, I almost feel like I've graduated as a pipesmoker. This is a very, very wonderful blend, and if you're blessed with a Palate that can interpret the flavors... I'll leave it at that.
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 24, 2006 Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Pleasant
This will no doubt please the pipe smokers who enjoy light, semi-sweet Virginia flavor. Slow puffing really brings out the flavor.

I have seldom seen a dark stoved Virginia that packs less Nicotine wallop.

15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 31, 2015 Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild Very Pleasant
Upon opening the tin you will be greeted by the smell of tobacco, brown bread and a faint smell of molasse which grows stronger over the course of the tin. It is a very delectable smell and i often found myself just sitting there and smelling the tin. However, the smell is on the discreet side.

Its cut is more or less unique - think black tea, thats exactly how this tobacco looks like. The moisture was right and does not dissipate no matter how long you will need for finishing the tin. Whatever they use as humidifier *really* does its job.

Packing is easy as can be, even for the beginner. But as has been mentioned so often times, lighting can be a real hassle if you don't let the tobacco air out a bit. For me it worked just fine, when i let a tiny portion of the tobacco dry out and put it as a top layer in the already packed pipe.

Burning properties are excellent. Very smooth, very, very slow burning, almost like a flake and leaving only some fine ashes behind. Tongue bite is not really an issue but if you smoke it too hot it will bite you.

I do *not* agree that this tobacco is a hassle to be kept lit or that you have to relight often times, as many other reviewers stated. Guys, you just need to use your tamper and everything is fine and dandy. If you do not know how and when to use your tamper then yes, you will need *lots* of matches, no doubt. This, in my eyes, is maybe even another plus for the beginner, after a 100g tin you will have your tamping down i guess, or given up frustrated ;o)

Taste is mild and yes, it is monochromatic, does not develop at all over the course of a bowl and does not offer any depths do be found. But it tastes so, so well. Its very delectable and in its mildness a good trainer for your palette. It mainly tastes as the tin smells, brown bread, molasse, raisins and its sweet, really sweet. And in my opinion neither boring nor shallow, its just mild and elegant in every way. But keep in mind that sucking for flavour can be a real problem with this blend. Also it is not for the filter smoker.

You may forgive me if i say that i can imagine that this blend would have been sold as a women's blend in 1903. I really mean that in a positive way.

The room note is most delicate and incredibly delicious, it really is a treat even for the non smoker. I rarely find a tobacco that smells that good in the air and at the same time is that discreet. Aftertaste is just sweet. Take a small pinch of white sugar, let it dissolve in your mouth and then wait two minutes. That's how it tastes after the smoke, and it lasts long too.

This is a blend where i have some problems rating it. I feel it deserves a better rating than i gave for being a unique blend in appearance, taste, smell, mildness, monochromaticness (its not a bad thing in itself if you come to think of it). But at the same time i feel it deserves a worse rating than i gave and for the very same reasons too. So, in the end and seen strictly objectivly, a three star rating is well earned.

Now do i recommend this tobacco? Yes, i do *if* you feel attracted by the things i said about it. Else stay clear from it you most likely just will get bored. I also would like to recommend this blend for the beginner but *only* after you had a sample of it and got the hang of what this tobacco is and what it is not.
Pipe Used: It went trough rotation.
Age When Smoked: They don't print production dates on it.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 12, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
A distinguished exemplar of an undistinguished genre.

I approached Black Virginia without any great expectations because of the indifferent press it has recieved, but was pleasantly surprised. Jet black, crisp small shavings of tobacco gave an enticing aroma from the tin. The taste is sweet with a hint of spice. It is no Marlin Flake or Old Gowrie, but nevertheless a pleasant enough smoke. Takes light easily and burns down to a very fine grey ash.

Cavendish tobaccos, by themselves, are a bore but Black Virginia is an exception. It makes a fine first smoke in the morning. It can be smoked through the day, but it can get monotonous. The room note is delectable.
Pipe Used: Various briars
PurchasedFrom: A retailer in London
Age When Smoked: Ten years
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 29, 2001 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
Thinking it had been a while since I reviewed a tobacco that a lot of Gents had been smoking in this group, I picked up a couple of tins of Rattray's Dark Virginia. I've had 5 bowls since it arrived yesterday, and seem to get a pretty good idea of what it's about. Product: Rattray's Black Virginia, purchased at JR's site for $8.50. Appearance: 95% jet black ribbon, with just a smidge of lighter colored weed poking out. Pre-smoke: Pleasant scent of raisins upon opening. Good moisture content, basically the way I like it right out of the can. Packs well. Let's take it for a drive... Flame hits weed, releasing a nice, soft smoke. Smooth with full Va flavor. The top end of the scent is clipped and some of the piquancy that I usually seek in a Va isn't there. But the low end is delightful. The bouquet is slightly sweet, with elements of fresh mown grass and curing barn lingering in the air. Nutty midrange with hints of warm toast and coffee on a winter's morning. I've seen a lot of reviews refer to RBV as "Tangy". "Tangy *might* describe the tin fragrance, but the smoke? Unh uh. The word is smooooth! Mid bowl, the taste becomes fuller with nuance of cashew becoming more into play. Over puffing is especially to be avoided with this one, as pepper starts to edge it's way in if you try to treat it at one might a Burley. Good nicotine. Not quite the lightweight that some might have ya think. End range. I tend to find most Va's a little tough at end bowl, and while this one isn't a complete exception, it is smoother down at the heel than most. Pepper elements present from about 2/5th of the bowl lingered to the dottle. Summary: Well made smooth tobacco, that I would say is a must for any Va Lover. 8 out of 10 Bearclaws.

-- Bear Graves
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 16, 2015 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant
Has a tin aroma distinctly of dried currants. Sweet and spicy. I have no reason to think this is anything but natural stoved tobacco.

Burns cool and slow and is sweet and fresh throughout. Burns beautifully in an unfinished cob at a slow smoulder, yet still produces pleasant pillows of creamy smoke. Has an interesting smokiness as the bowl progresses and is better than linear.

More Fred Astaire than Mike Tyson, this one is for mature smokers tuned into the subtleties of stoved Virginias.

Edit Sept 18. After a few years of smoking this, subject to its on and off availability, I should add that while never less than good, this is a baccy that seems to have a lot of variation from batch to batch. Sometimes I catch a whiff of something perique like. Sometimes a fruit additive will pop up out of the blue. Sometimes the Va seems to derive from coarser stock. It remains one of my favourites and I wish it were available in bulk. Still, the variation is I think worth mentioning.
Pipe Used: Lepeltier/MM Missouri Pride
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 27, 2011 Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
Like Dark Fragrant from Rattray this is a jet black pure VA Cavendish. Unlike Dark Fragrant this is extremely bland and boring.

I am very well aware that Rattray-blends can be difficult to smoke and thence appreciate, and I am also aware that pure VA Cavendish can be a pain to keep lit, but I have had luck with some of the similar blends from Astley's, McConnell and Rattray, so I should think my empirical data should be ok.

Maybe this could be used to mellow out other blends og to smoothen them; I cannot say, but as a stand-alone, this will give you nothing - and I mean: nothing!

I have tasted E-gigarettes with more power...

Jakob Kiilerich, Denmark

(Review No. 100. Yay!)
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 31, 2008 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Nice pouch aroma! Whatever it is, it doesn't hold for either the taste or the room aroma when it comes to strength. This is a subtly-flavored stoved virginia with a mild tanginess that is quite enjoyable. As others have mentioned, this needs to be dried out or you'll puff your lips off trying to keep it lit. Dried out, it smokes cool and slow and burns to a fine gray ash. Doesn't change complexity as you go down the bowl. In fact, this is hardly a complex smoke. I'd call it very simple. A tangy virginia flavor that doesn't call much attention to itself.

While I find this a good tobacco and can recommend it, it really doesn't have enough flavor to suit me on a regular basis. I'm going to mix a small amount of blending perique to this and see what happens. Probably a very small batch to start. Still, this is a pleasant light tasting tobacco and is perfect for someone who doesn't want to be overpowered by their tobacco.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2001 Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Upon first examining this blend, I was a bit hesitant. The color reminded me of 1792 and other ultra-powerful Virginia blends, and I wasn't sure I was up for another such adventure, but I forged ahead anyway. The tin aroma is deep and fruity, with a rasiny smell I have come to associate with stoved Virginias. The cut desreves mention, as it is truly unique. Not quite a cube cut, too short ot be a ribbon, it is almost as if someone had made a ribbon cut, and then chopped it up with a cleaver. It took a couple of tries to get it lit, but once I had it going, it stayed lit with little fuss, and burned evenly throughout the bowl. The virginias in this blend are very sugary, without as much 'oomph' as some might like, but just about perfect for a Latakia-Lover like me that quite hasn't got the palate to enjoy most virginias. For all of it's imposing appearance, I found the blend to be pleasant and fun to smoke, a perfect companion to puttering arounf the house or answering email. I will probably keep some around for those times when I need a break from heavier 'english' type blends, or just really want a straight english taste. This was great with port wine, as well as iced tea.
5 people found this review helpful.
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