Review by The German
That's a NAVY flake!
After having had quite a few other tobaccos named Navy Flakes, and at the time not accustomed to Sam Gawith's take on all things sliced, I bought my first tin of this on a whim.
Opening the tin, I was initially shocked -- a Lat-dominated Navy flake? Then I took a deeper sniff and found that while SGNF is a bit of a Lat bomb, it also has copious amounts of very sweet VA and a topping of rather good rum, as opposed to many other rum-flavoured blends I have had before.
As usual with SG, the leaf is rather wet out of the tin, and my first few tins had the famous irregular slices; my more recent tins had regularly-, if thickly-cut slices, so I guess SG finally fixed their slicing machine (there had been a bit of a discussion about this in various forums, with input from SG themselves explaining that, at the time, they could not get a replacement for the broken cogwheel that controls the thickness of the slices...).
That aside, I find that rubbing out the slices and letting them dry for a bit before stuffing a pipe is a good idea. The rubbed-out leaf lights up readily, and immediately goes into deep VA/Lat country, the rum adding some sweetness without being obtrusive. The room note is very smoky and may not be to everybody's liking, but I have experienced a militant non-smoker actually accepting it -- go figure.
The smoke is cool, sweet, full, toasty, smoky, with a good amount of Vitamin N in it. All of the SG offerings are heinously expensive where I live, but I still find this blend to be worth the expense and would not want to go without it for more than a month or two.
Highly recommended for its full, no-excuses Latakianess (if there has not been such a word before, now there is), full, sweet taste and great burning qualities (once dried for a bit). Love it!