Review by cortezattic
Marlin Flake: a woodsy red Va. VaPer
Rattray’s Marlin Flake is a ready-rubbed Virginia flake that fits nicely in the family populated by Brown Clunee, Hal O’The Wynd, and mostly closely, Old Gowrie. Suffice to say, if you have enjoyed any of these sibling blends, then you will likely take a shine to Marlin Flake too!
They’re all different variations on the Va. theme, but the family resemblance is pretty obvious: the same leaf quality; the same care and attention to presentation and detail, such as cut and moisture level; the same rich, dark-end Virginia flavor; and the same full-bodied, satisfying and sophisticated profile: complex, yet exhibiting great integration, or unity of flavor.
The tin note delivers a slightly musty yet sweet Virginia aroma graced by whiffs of something vaguely acetic or vinegar-like (which vanishes on first light). I suppose the moisture is textbook correct, but I enjoy it best when it is slightly dryer than packaged. For me, this seems to produce a better burn and dryer mouth feel. Packing is easy and straightforward, and I have never found the need to further rub out what few chunks of flake appear in the mix.
It appears to be a basic red Va. flake, blended with black Cavendish and Perique so skillfully that neither of the latter two ingredients upstages the Va. The result is that characteristic Rattray’s unity that I mentioned earlier, delivering a sweet and woody, almost cedar-like red Virginia flavor with a somewhat flat, almost brut cocoa-like finish that is long lasting and very satisfying.
Marlin Flake burns nicely and produces a nice volume of medium-to-full bodied smoke with a medium-to-strong nicotine presence. It does not have even the slightest inclination to bite. It’s a great blend for those smokers who, like me, enjoy involving the upper palate, nasal passages, and sinuses when smoking indoors; yet it is tasty enough to smoke outdoors without diminishing the experience. (That woodsy aspect of its flavor almost demands a bowlful while on an autumn stroll in the forest.)
This blend has an unmistakable VaPer flavor, yet I think most smokers will find it to be just a touch sweeter and more woodsy than is typical of this genre. Yet Marlin Flake doesn’t strike me as being particularly fruit-like – a result perhaps, of a more restrained application of Perique. It is well worth the asking price; yet because of it, will probably never be more than a treat tobacco for cost-conscious smokers. I, for one, will always have a tin of it on the shelf.