Rattray Marlin Flake

Marlin Flake combines dark Virginias, black cavendish as well as a pinch of perique.
Notes: A companion to Old Gowrie. A shade darker, different aroma, but otherwise a tobacco in the same tradition.


Brand Rattray
Series British Collection
Blended By Kohlhase & Kopp
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Black Cavendish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.31 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 153 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 13, 2008 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable to Strong
Well, as a Latakia lover I never thought that I might like a sweet tobacco, so I tried this Virginia blend just out of sheer curiosity for how this kind of stuff would taste... Any time in the past when I decided this kind of experiments I always was sorely disappointed: any aromatic, no matter its quality, would find me bored. To me, smoke must have the taste of smoke, and I always returned to English blends. The problem was not in my dislike of sweet tobaccos, but in my choice of aromatics to find that sweetness: Marlin Flake taught me that a tobacco can be, at the same time, deliciously sweet, absolutely not cased, and completely satisfying to my taste buds. Upon opening the attractive parchment colored 100g can, I was shocked by its form: until then I had read of flake tobacco, but never seen it. The wide strips, soft to the touch and almost rubbery, give a pleasant sensation. The tin aroma is incredibly sweet: dried figs and raisins, strudel-cake. Wow! This stuff can almost be chewed (I tried!)... At my first bowl I was uncertain on how to pack this... I just shredded some bits from the flakes, and stuck them without much fuss in the largest pipe I own (a bent Savinelli, which I then found to be a brand of pipes which perfectly brings out the taste of Va Flakes). As a consequence, lighting was a bit of a hell: many bursts from the lighter, and some retamping. Ultimately, the tobacco took well to the flame: it never required relighting (following bowls required no more than one). The coarse cut of the unrubbed flakes provided me with one of the most satisfyingly slow smokes I have ever experienced. This is a tobacco that burns extremely slow and cool (it's hard to feel too much heat on the outside wall of the pipe!), but also very regularly. My first bowl was enjoyable, but not as much as later ones: I was overwhelmed by the titanic sweetness, which reminded me of Sauternes (a sweet and "sappy" French white wine) and honey! I almost got nauseated! Then I began to get used to it, and now I still rank it as a robust and very sweet Virginia, but perfectly tolerable... and immensely pleasurable. The subtle fruity (no casing here, just a wonderful natural fruitiness due to the sweetnes of Virginia) nuances are a delight, and the flavor stays consistent until the bottom of the bowl with grassy and fermented hints here and there... so much that I often find myself with ashes in my mouth without prior warning signals! Room note is sweet and grassy, but very perceivable and nasty to the nostrils of a non-smoker. Care must be taken not to smoke too fast, unless you want to completely destroy the flavour. Some significant wetness can occur during a smoke (also because a bowl of this lasts me over an hour), but a pipe cleaner inserted in the stem will bring out again its magnificent qualities. At the end of the smoke I usually find some noticeable wetness (a bit sticky and smelly) at the bottom of the bowl and in the shank. If you want it to burn a bit faster and smokier, you can unrub this tobacco fairly easy: I usually do so to smoke it in my smaller pipes. I guess I'll keep experimenting other matured Virginia flakes after this successful experience, and this one will always remain as a landmark against which I'll measure all similar products, such are its qualities. It's a tobacco that I would recommend to all aromatic fans who are willing to give it a try and pass to natural tobaccos, and to all Latakia lovers like me who want to have a pleasant surprise with something completely different! See also the almost equally good (but different) Ashton's Old London Pebble Cut for comparison.

2008 Edit: After almost seven years from this review, I am smoking a tin that I have been cellaring for 4 years, and had become puffy and swollen... Wow, this still is one of my top five Virginias! Ripe, sweet, nutty, rich, mouthwatering... With more experience on my hands, I have to say that it lights and burns perfectly (just crumble the flakes a little bit), and the moisture I had written about in my old review was just a matter of bad smoking technique and crappy pipe (yes, that Savinelli was not that great after all...). I really love this tobacco (enjoying it in a Ruby Bark Dunhill with a very open draw right now), and I just hope they haven't tampered too much with its recipe in recent years... I guess I'll have to buy a fresh tin to check it out...
78 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 15, 2002 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
After reading so many favorable reviews regarding Marlin Flake, I had to try it for myself. I have smoked many Rattray tobaccos over the years, and I found it curious that I had never tried Marlin Flake. Well, I'm glad I finally did!

Upon opening the tin, I immediately detected that unmistakable tangy Virginia smell. But since the flakes were a bit too moist for my tastes, I quickly rubbed them out and then let the tobacco sit in the open air for about an hour. The airing out reduced the tangy odor considerably.

Because once rubbed, the strands are very short. So, I didn't need to give the tobacco a whirl in my blender (which I usually do to make packing more uniform to produce a much cooler and easier to manage smoke). I loaded up in my P&T mag Cooke POY - one of my favorite smokers - and lit up. The flavor was subdued with no bite at all, and the tobacco stayed lit extremely well. I found the flavor to be fairly one dimensional at first although the taste perked up a lot during the last half of the smoke. A pure tobacco taste with a nice kick of nicotine! I found the flavor to be similar to Dunhill's Royal Yacht without the casing. It also reminded me of a more refined version of Orlik's Golden Slices.

This is a very nice blend, and I will purchase more for smoking and cellaring. And yes, although this is a straight Virginia, it is indeed a blend. I have read some other reviews where the reviewer mistakenly indicated a blend meant different tobacco types such as the combination of Burley, Virginia and Latakia leaf. Actually, a straight Virginia can be a blend if it contains differing types of the same leaf. Marlin Flake contains several types of Virginia, and is therefore a "blend." And a darn good one!
69 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 26, 2002 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
The solidly-made, medium-brown flakes are heaped into the delightfully old-fashioned, parchment-coloured RATTRAY tin; they give off an irresistible, mouth-watering smell that tells the whole story. I cram an unrubbed strip into a typical, military-bit, 2/4 bent Dutch billiard by Messrs Peterson, and fire away!

What joy. No dificulty in lighting up at all. Big flavour from the beginning. Delightfully heart-filling white smoke, lots of it. No excessive heat or need to nurse?I have seldom smoked a better-behaved flake.

The smooth-burning stateliness of this tobacco is stunning. I am able to develop a steady-puffing lilt that is just a balm to my cardiovascular well-being! Reading Bob Massey's entertaining book Dreadnought as the sun streams in through the living-room's windows, relaxation is total: this is what smoking is supposed to be like.

I love the flavour: big as in a matured flake but not cloying or bloated. It has something of the best kind of sweet potato pie, without that slightly dusty, salty, sandy note of some gray-flavoured flakes (Limerick); less monotonous that S. Gawith's Full, less predictable and stereotyped than Tordenskjold; comparable perhaps to Royal Vintage Dark Stoved, except that the flavour here, while just as big, is less, well, stoved: more lively, less muddy. There is a fascinating bittersweet fantasy to this tobacco that I love: ideal for Spring cogitations, as Nature renews itself, and we only hope for the same.

As well-behaved as Wessex' Brigade but considerably more interesting and distinct, I give this flake the Highest Recommendation.
53 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 27, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
I think this is what God smokes. This might be my number one blend! Beautiful Virginia tang and the perique settles into a nice plummy fruity spice that I can't get enough of every time I smoke this Rattray masterpiece! MF has a solid natural sweetness that delivers on every smoke, and my smoking cadence whether aggressive or slow leaves me with no bite, just the presence of quality tobacco on the tip of my taste buds. I would like to thank 'Beer' and 'DK' for pushing me over the top to go ahead and purchase this baccy, when I had just made an order only weeks prior. It was worth it, and you better bet it is going in both the cellar and the rotation. I was somewhat hesitant to go ahead with MF because of my experience with Hal O' the Wynd, which is rather dull, flat, and obtrusive on my flavor profile. MF delivers with a clean zesty flavor from first match to bottom of the bowl. It's not a very heavy smoke, I would call it medium in body, but there is some nicotine there, so I like to go slow, and enjoy every puff. As the bowl progresses I notice a little more rounded flavor and the sweet tang, while still very present, allows room for creamy puffs of a more natural Virginia base, with overtones of fig, bready, maybe even yeasty somewhat reminiscent of a bright Belgium beer that has similar nuances of flavor. All the way to the bottom of the bowl there is an interchange of sweet Virginia tang and rounded fruit notes as I mentioned above. Maybe it's not fair that I'm smoking a bowl of it as I write this review, because every time I lite up with this flake, I'm blown away!

I once read that this tobacco isn't quite complex enough, but I disagree, it just needs to be savored. And if it is too monochromatic for anyone, I would argue that this is the best there is. It's wonderful, it's sweet, it's satisfying, and the after taste is also quite lovely--slightly grassy, yet chewy sweet. I want more!!!

Update: 8-17-16 I still rate this tobacco highly, but it doesn't always deliver that pitch perfect smoke where it is all you can do to slow down and savor each sip. I may have gotten accustomed to the flavor of MF so I now only smoke it as a treat instead of using it in my regular rotation. Still very good, just a little hit or miss on great.
Pipe Used: Cob and Briar
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: Fresh and 2 years
30 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 26, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is one of if not THE best VaPer flakes I've ever had. The tin note is a quite strong sour citrus, with a very slight savory hint to it. Very good. I like the rolled up flake that it is presented as because it gives you more control over how much you get. It comes a little more moist than I would usually care for in a flake but for this one that is not a problem. The flavors are almost exactly the same as PS Luxury Navy Flake, a sweet citrus evenly balanced with savory and slightly tangy Perique. It does have molasses taste to it as well that is not present in the PS, making it just a little more interesting. I would totally recommend this blend to any Va or VaPer lover.
Pipe Used: Peterson 308 system
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 13, 2004 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Rattray?s Marlin Flake is a semi-stoved Virginia flake that is blended by Kohlhase, Kopp and Co. of Hamburg, Germany.

The tin aroma of Marlin Flake is wonderfully pleasing. This aroma is full and smells of sweet ripened figs with chocolate/molasses undertones. Marlin Flake is composed of Virginias of varying grades. The flakes are primarily dark in color but are completely striated throughout with red/brown and golden/orange shades.

The cut of Marlin Flake is a very long (sometimes as long as 8 inches!) flake with a medium width and thickness. The long handsome flakes are coiled neatly around one another inside the 50 gram tin. This Virginia flake tobacco is velvety soft and rubs out easily without any tearing. Marlin Flake can be rubbed out to a ribbon consistency if desired. Marlin Flake is a more dense tobacco and this facet of the flake should be taken into consideration upon packing. The initial moisture content is quite high but curiously enough does not tend to affect the burning or bite characteristics of this blend in any negative manner.

Marlin Flake lights easily enough for a Virginia flake and it possesses an even, medium-slow burn. Marlin Flake does not leave any moisture in the bottom of the bowl. The room note is quite light and is not unlike other flue-cured Virginias.

The taste of Marlin Flake is sweet and uniform throughout without much complexity and lacks any hints of dark spiciness that are present in blends such as Butera?s Royal Vintage Dark Stoved flake. Even though Marlin Flake is quite sweet and rich, it is in no way overbearing or boring. Remarkably, Marlin Flake has very little if any bite even as the burn nears the bottom of the bowl. This is a true accomplishment for a Virginia flake blend, since these blends are notorious for their hot smoke. Marlin Flake is perhaps the coolest smoking Virginia flake on the market. No real drying is needed since Marlin Flake smokes reasonably cool from the start. The smoke produced is medium-thin.

Marlin Flake, although not as complex as some premium Virginia flakes, possesses a wonderful taste, burn, and tin aroma. These characteristics make Marlin Flake one of the premier Virginia flakes on the market today.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 08, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
The discription in the 50g tin says wich is very tempting!when you open the tin you smell dark fruits,figs and citruses.rubs very easy and it doesn't need more than a half hour of drying out.lights easy and some re lights are needed.while burning the flavours are very pleasant between dark sweet fruits citruses and spices in the backround.also a pepper note is detected.burns slow and peacefull though it bites a bit.the nicotine level is low to medium.the room note is pleasant to others.burns out perfect with some moisture at the end of the bowl.to me it is not a typical VI/PER but something very unique that any gentleman should try!
Age When Smoked: Rubed and left it dry for 1/2 hour.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
If everyone should have a perfect blend, then this is mine. Marlin Flake is so amazing that every time I smoke it makes me feel puzzled why I stored so many other tobaccos. It's packed easily. Just need cut it properly long and fold it, the burning is also good, maybe it is a little wet, but when this stuff lighted, it burns well. It tastes like the plum candy, slightly tart and delicious. Not too full, but balance everywhere. The strength is medium at most IMO. About the smell, when I open the tin, I feel Rattray is crazy, they are not producing tobacco but food. It's too sweet that you could know that by smelling! I never chew it, but I believe this could be eaten and not bad. Maybe the room note is not as good as that, but because my wife says nothing when she is beside, it should be pleasant. In a word, I can smoke it all day. Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Corn , stanwell
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 17, 2015 Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant
This is a luxurious smoke, gentlemen. I received a tin of this from a friend of mine who works for JR Cigars, and I must say that it hits the spot if you're in the mood for something sweet. The tin note smells of sweet dark fruits: prunes, raisins, dates, and figs come to mind. There is a light grassy aroma as well, which will carry through ever-so-lightly to the smoke.

This broken flake was dry enough to light upon opening a fresh tin. It took flame readily, and burned evenly throughout the bowl. I usually don't have to relight this one at all. The smoke is creamy and plentiful. As for flavor, it is absolutely delicious! The dark VA's come into play here providing sweetness and body to the smoke, while the Perique adds a darker, spicier touch. It had a moderate nicotine hit, which I was not really expecting (but enjoyed). This blend keeps my attention from the beginning of the bowl to the end, and I find myself craving the flavor, especially in the mornings. If you want a great VaPer, go for this blend. It is well worth the price.
Pipe Used: Peterson, Dr. Grabow Westbrook
PurchasedFrom: JR Cigars, Burlington, NC
Age When Smoked: 1 year
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2002 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Appearance: A mostly dark brown and red flake, each flake being over 6 inches in length and folded in a stack to fit into a cylindrical can. There is a considerable moisture content, typical of Rattray blends both new and historical.

Aroma: Oh, boy. The first impression is dark chocolate with raisins and figs (not too dry). I haven?t smelled anything like it since Sobranie Flake went off the market. I was unable to detect any difference between this and Hal O? the Wynd.

Packing: Owing to the size of the flakes, it was easier to pack into medium and larger bowls. Smaller bowls need a bit more care in rubbing out.

Lighting: Best left to dry a bit before smoking, or lighting may be difficult. Once it?s aired out, it lights and burns well.

Initial flavor: Just a rich, sweet, full Va. Flavor with many nuances. The smoke is dense, and there is a decided strength of flavor to it, although I don?t feel a high nicotine content.

Mid-bowl: There is a good range of medium and low notes to the blend, very little in the way of higher range. The blend continues to delight the palate, and remains cool to the tongue. Even a few strong puffs occasionally doesn?t result in any bite. One of the best tasting Virginias I?ve tried in years, very similar to Hal O? the Wynd.

Finish: Smokes dry, cool and gentle right to the end. If I remember to rub out the first pinch a bit, it will burn down to clean ash.

Summary: Maybe too strong for a first experience with Va, especially for a new pipe smoker. Having made that disclaimer, I will recommend to any smoker who loves Virginias, particularly the darker matured varieties.
11 people found this review helpful.
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