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Notes: A blend of Virginias, pressed and aged to give an ebony appearance before cutting into 3 inch strips. A full strength smoke.

BrandGawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blended ByGawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Manufactured ByGawith, Hoggarth & Co.
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
FlavoringFloral Essences, Other / Misc
CutBroken Flake
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Extremely Mild, Very Mild, Mild to Medium
Medium to Full, Full
Room Note
Pleasant, Pleasant to Tolerable

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PipesterJim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipesterJim (47)
Strong Mild Full Pleasant

Gawith and Hogwarts don't exactly flood the market with new offerings on a regular basis. In the 6 or 7 years that I have been smoking a pipe their line up of flakes, plugs and twists has remained pretty much unaltered. Of course, you could argue that since the blends in their range are almost universally excellent (I might even say archetypal) they don't need to pump out new product all the time in order to retain market share.

How nice then, that when GH&Co do finally decide to grace us with a new flake, they absolutely knock it out of the park.

Westmorland Slices are in a similar wheel house to Irish Flake, Irish Slices, Highland Sliced, Old Dark Fired and other blends of that ilk. Not quite in the same ultra-heavyweight league as GH&Co's own Dark Flake, but still a sturdy smoke for fans of proper, traditional British style flakes.

For such a dark flake there is a pleasant, tangy VA presence, but this is well balanced with the fire-cured constituent and there could well be a bit of the air-cured Indian leaf that GH&Co frequently utilises as well, which gives that robust, cigar-like aroma when dominant.

There is also some lakeland essence in here, but it isn't too offensive and it is more soapy than overtly floral. It is unlikely to offend any but the most ardent haters. It's been a while since I smoked any GH&Co Coniston Cut Plug (in fact, that is what I had in mind to order when I saw this was available) but I would guess that this falls somewhere between the unscented version of CCP and the aforementioned Dark Flake in terms of all round strength and robustness.

I'm a huge GH&Co fanboy, but this is a great smoke with plenty of character. Far from being superfluous, it's another great addition to their already superb roster of traditional English style flakes. Nice one GH&'ve done it again!

Edit: I have just seen that my fellow reviewers don't rate this as particularly heavy in the nicotine department. Maybe my tolerance isn't what I thought it was. Maybe I just expected it to be stong and so that is what I experienced, but it seems pretty robust to me! My daily driver is Brown Irish and some blends leave me a little unsatisfied in the N department, but not this one. YMMV.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Tortuga Billiard and Cobs

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: mysmokingshop

Similar Blends: Irish Slices, Highland Sliced, Irish Flake.

10 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2081)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Gawith Hoggarth - Westmorland Slices.

This is badged as "Broken Flake" however don't expect it to be almost like ribbons as some broken flakes can be. Actually there are quite a few large pieces that could still use a rub or you could fold and stuff. The only smell that emanates is a full Virginia one and on the 'not so positive' side it's too damp. The tobacco isn't as bright as I would have expected a straight Virginia to be. If you want Orlik Golden Sliced colour you will be a little disheartened! After some airing (only a morning) it lights with excellent ease and the flavour is absolutely great! I think the simplest way to depict the taste is as being a kind of smoky, grassy one. Don't misunderstand me, it's not reminiscent of Latakia but it has a delicate addition of smokiness to it giving a fuller flavour. The nicotine isn't too much, it's not unrecognizable but I don't find my head spinning from it. Right from the beginning the burn is brilliant. It doesn't need much maintenance with the flame, it just burns steady and even. I find the room note very appealing from this as it has the standard Virginia fragrance but also a nutty characteristic to it. Another positive with the note is although it's a substantial aroma the room isn't engulfed in a huge volume of smoke!

I don't want to just throw four stars around but this is definitely one of those blends! Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Falcon

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: My Smoking Shop

8 people found this review helpful.

Steerpike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Steerpike (156)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong

EDIT about a week after writing the review. Having asked a gentleman from Kendal, I've learned that I was mistaken about the topping: it is Geranium oil.

I bought this a year ago from the market in Derby and only just got round to trying it. Its a dark (black) broken flake with some muscle. This seems to be listed above as having no scent or flavour applied: I don't believe this, it has a very subtle liquor and Tonka essence if I'm not mistaken.

The broken flake format is a bit of a funny one if you ask me. I like preparing flakes, so I'm not keen on ready rubbed, and think tobacco keeps better as flake. But this is just a mess of very thickly sliced flake pieces which will need a lot of rubbing to be smokeable: I don't understand why it is sold like this.

The aroma from the leaf is earthy and leathery, with the smoke of the fired leaf coming through and a hint of the alcoholic Tonka essence giving it some sweetness. Some drying time helps as it's a little moist. It needs two matches and some puffing to get it lit well, but then stays lit without much bother and burns very slowly.

The flavour is hearty and full, with a savoury smokiness coming through similar to the ropes. There's just a little sweetness and a peppery spice to it. It does not bite, but there can be a harshness on the tongue especially when lighting, that I've experienced with the ropes before. It is quite strong, and I think for me, this would be a better smoke for the autumn or winter (it's really warm at the moment).

I think this strong dark broken flake with a very subtle essence should appeal to the St Bruno and Condor fans, its pretty good stuff despite the unusual presentation. It satisfies.

Pipe Used: Falcons

Age When Smoked: 1 year ish

Purchased From: Derby

7 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

Cool , slow burner , no bite , a hint of licorice , although similar to Irish flake not as strong. Nicotine medium , this tobacco is no weakling. I only purchased 20 grams to try out and will not be smoking it by the pipefull as nicotine level is a bit high for me . Actually it's a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing , will be enjoying this when I fancy something a little stronger. Very nice , recommended.

Pipe Used: Briar ,

Purchased From: Arthur morris

Similar Blends: Irish flake. Full Virginia flake..

6 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (203)
Medium Very Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

These flakes somehow remind me of Bright CR Flake. They are way darker and moister, but they seem to develop similar features and traits. They both seem to develop against a darker and burlier backdrop and they are fuller than expected for a full virginia flake/blend. I can detect spicy notes and I think these flakes could be a great starting point for those burley leaf lovers who might want to transition into virginia blends. I am not quite sure what kind of virginia leaf they might be using here, but it has quite distinct cigarrish undertones. As for the topping, it says in the description it hasn't got any, but I am not quite sure this is the case. I´d say it is nothing specific I can put my finger on, but I can detect the Gawith Hoggarth hallmark all over it. Now what, despite being full, there is this sweet thing that starts developing in the background the more you progress with your smoke. All and all this is a great smoke, so a rating of 4 stars seems appropriate.

5 people found this review helpful. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note (231)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

For those who like Full Virginia Flake, this is a treat: a mixture of densely pressed Virginias with a hint of smoke, resulting in a honey/molasses flavor instead of the grain and agave flavor of yellow Virginias. The dreaded Lakeland essence is present here with power but the dark flake half of the flavor helps swallow it up. The result is an easy-burning, cool smoking tobacco of "ready rubbed" consistency that makes a pleasing smoke while working.

Thanks to PipesMagazine Forums member "mawnansmiff" for this sample.

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake, Peterson - Irish Flake, Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Conniston Plug.

5 people found this review helpful.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (107)
Very Strong Very Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

OooooWeeee this is some darn good stuff! Strong too. I was gifted this from a forum buddy that lives across the pond and he sent it to me as a 'mystery tobacco' which was very cool of him because it let me taste the blend without any preconceived notions and I was not influenced by the branding of the product. When I was ready to guess what the blend was I was 99% sure it was Samuel Gawith's Lakeland Dark as the cut and look of it are almost identical. Now that I've had more time with both I can pick apart the differences but they have a lot of similarities as well. The biggest difference is Westmorland Slices has slight top dressing that I can only describe as somewhat floral similar to what you would imagine from the Lake District tobacco blends but not quite a Lakeland per say. It's a very dark Virginia blend with plenty of nicotine. My fiend says it is the closest thing that he has tasted to Bracken Flake but I have not tried that one so I can not personally speak to that. I find that interesting though as I've also heard folks say that Lakeland Dark is similar to Bracken Flake so it appears there are similarities between the three of these blends and I can almost guarantee that if you like one of those three you will like this one as well. I wish this was available to us in the States but alas it is not. I need to somehow obtain pounds of this stuff, so here's to hoping.

Edit* 1-17-19 since writing this review I’ve acquired 5 tins of 2011 dated Bracken Flake and I will say that WS is not a dead ringer for BF the two are very similar and I’ll bet if ya like one, you’ll most certainly like the other. I personally prefer Bracken Flake but it’s not a fair comparison since the tins have 8 years of age in their favor.

Absolutely Essential

Thanks Simon!

Pipe Used: St. Regis, Rattray's

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith - Lakeland Dark, Samuel Gawith - Bracken Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

Phil Theharp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phil Theharp (16)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Bravo G&H! As I have, I think, previously noted I rarely opt for loose tobaccos. However, having just finished a tin of Peterson's Irish Flake I asked my local retailer what unperfumed flakes she had and this was offered. I was cautious; the only other G&H flake I have tried is Ennerdale - and you all know about that - so bought only 1/4oz. But I will buy more when next I visit. It comes as a broken flake with an acceptable degree of moisture. I found once lit it required almost no re-lighting and burned slow and cool. My all day choices being English mixtures I can find straight Virginias to be a little bland but WS has a nice blend of grassiness and unexpected pepperiness. One suspects G&H have not been able to resist adding a hint of flavouring. The smoke is juicy without being too fruity. I had intended to eke out my small supply until I was able to restock with tinned brands but found it went in short order. WS is not quite distinctive enough to merit full marks but it comfortably gets 3 stars from me and I will be purchasing a more practical quantity at my next visit.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tobacconist

Purchased From: Derby

Similar Blends: Irish Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

Little Steven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Little Steven (76)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When fresh this is a fine smoke. Rich, dusky virginias, hints of honey that tease one to slow down for more. At first glance this is a working mans baccy. But there's a coy refinement. Perhaps a gents bit of rough. If you dry it too much it transforms into a second rate Dark Flake Aromatic.

Purchased From: Mysmokingshop

5 people found this review helpful.

L'Italiano Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
L'Italiano (233)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Strong

This bulk is very particular and it is very interesting from the side of the taste. I think it is the only straight Virginia fire–cured (for example, Samuel Gawith Brown N°4 is composed of Virginia and Kentucky). For this reason this tobacco is less sweet compared with traditional straight Virginia but you can taste earthy undertones and a real tobacco flavor. If you want to try a straight Virginia fire cured this is the best and you’ll find an excellent quality. Unfortunately, here too (in this Gawith, Hoggarth bulk), you can perceive the same flavoring you can detect in “Best Brown # 2”, the earmark of this brand. So we have to admit there is a mild flavoring in it and this feature slightly changes the taste. It is, nevertheless, a good end result. In my personal system rating (from 1 to 10) my score is 8 and three stars.

5 people found this review helpful.

doktorstamp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doktorstamp (11)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a tobacco I took a chance on, and I am exceedingly pleased that I did. It has become a staple of my rotation. A pleasant, slightly tangy taste, oodles of rich creamy smoke, rubs out easily, readily takes a light, in fact more acquiescence could not be asked of a tobacco. Wholeheartedly recommended. G & H have a winner here

Pipe Used: Peterson Kilarney #68

Age When Smoked: Fresh

4 people found this review helpful.

Sangagor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sangagor (80)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Unnoticeable

Sweet smoked virginia. Pleasure each time you sip creamy smoke inside your mouth. For VA lovers it is the best replacement of latakia blends. This is how winter flake should taste.

Pipe Used: Stanislaw, cob

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

Ondraash Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ondraash (13)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Full Pleasant

Well this one is a BLISS! I remember first time I throw this to a bowl I was amazed and immediately thought: This would be my no.1 tobacco! I finished the sample rather quick and ran to store to purchase a whole pouch. But when I opened it the smell was a little bit different than the sample. A lot more lakeland. Now even the look was different. In the sample it was a flake/broken flake. Now there were very uneven slices, some of them were almost 1cm thick on one side narrowing to the other side. I cut it and rub it and packed the pipe and light it just to stay a little bit confused and dissapointed. It doesnt taste like the sample did by far. The lakeland topping was everywhere to hide the original sample taste. I am not a lakeland hater but this was too much. So I throw that to a jar and jar to a shelf to painfully dissmiss this one as a no.1. And I did well! I came back to that jar during the year several times. Guys, this tobacco ages like quality wine! Now the superb taste is back! The sweet, dark, mellow virginia with hints that I could describe as burly-ish and kentucky-ish but without those sharp notes. The aroma is nice lightly floral and ceam-ish and a little bit smoky but unlike latakia smokiness. It could be now retrohaled without problem (It was not possible at fresh state more than like three times because it pinched the nose like hell). Well, the BLISS is back. And I am glad.

Smoke and drive: Cool and pleasure.

Pipe Used: Jirsa, Krška, cob

Age When Smoked: from fresh to 1 year old

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

DarkFired Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DarkFired (3)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Tolerable to Strong

In my vintage Dunhill group 4, landscapes of Africa explode into view. Filthy, dirty, muddy, rich soil-like tones carry elegant but prominent hints and suggestions of cocoa powder, coffee grounds, espresso.

On top of this gloriously expansive compost heap are sprinkled a few tiny flowers (the geranium oil topping, very lightly Lakeland which I don’t usually care for but here integrates — and gets mostly lost — beautifully.)

This is a magical smoke for me. I am otherwise a huge Sam Gawith fan but don’t love everything they do. Usually I am with FVF and Cabbies, other magical weeds, happy. For example, Lakeland Dark has some similarities but this is far more rich, beautiful, complex and three-dimensional.

Other similar elements shared with Black Flake / Dark Flake but none reach the expansive, near-religious heights this one does for me. It’s a strong but rich and beautiful experience.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Tanshell, Petes, Savs, cobs

Age When Smoked: New

Similar Blends: Blake flake (McConnell) which is suooosed to be a clone of Dark Flake (Dunhill). Sort of like Lakeland Dark — the beginner version of this tobacco..

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