I popped the tin and was delighted to find 16 elegantly packed slices of golden flake approximately 2¾” x ⅞” by about 1 mm. thick. They had a sweet grassy smell and a gentle pungency that reminded me of green olives. There was also another side to the sweet aroma -- one that was a bit darker in character, and perhaps a little vanilla-like, but hard to pin down.
I tried the fold and stuff method a couple of times and that worked ok; but those bowls required a lot of relights. The flavor was excellent but the smoke stream felt too thin, and the mouth-feel didn’t seem to be there for me. I get much better results by rubbing-out a flake fully: it springs into a lacy, delicate shag that packs and smokes wonderfully – especially after a few seconds of drying with a low velocity hobby type hot air blower.
This is an excellent choice for one’s initial foray into the world of Va. flakes. It is a very straightforward, racy Va. flake. It possesses the complexity for which Va. flake is renowned, and it is not confounded by amendments. It may have a touch of Burley or Perique in vanishingly small quantities – I dunno; but there’s nothing in it contrived to produce a unique and distinctive product. It is merely a fine example of a good product.
I like to think of it as a quintessential Va. flake – the “plain Jane” of the genre. There’s actually something to be said for that: it makes an excellent benchmark smoke for comparison purposes; and you’re sure to enjoy this one every time you smoke it. I wouldn’t call this an all day / every day smoke; and you will find that it is best smoked in solitude, and when you have the luxury of focusing on the quality leaf in your bowl.
Details: medium strength, flavor and sweetness; good balance; good smoke volume; good mouth feel; very natural tasting (non-aromatic, or at least not an OTC type aromatic); excellent burn characteristics (if rubbed-out, at least), and no tendency to bite if smoked properly. This is something every Va. lover should try at least once.