A really full bodied but amazingly smooth dark flake tobacco prepared from traditional English recipes and methods. A good pinch of mellow yet spicy perique brings out the rich flavor of Former's Straight Grain Flake.

Blend TypeVirginia/Perique
ContentsPerique, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy TobaccoPipes.com
Cup O' Joes
Product Image
Medium, Medium to Strong
None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant, Pleasant to Tolerable, Tolerable

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3047)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Tolerable

The Virginias are grassy with a bit of bold earthiness, bread, some sour lemon, mild sugar, light wood and a small floral note. The sweetness is tart and tangy citrus, and tangy dried fruit. The earthy, woody perique is strong, offering some plums and raisins with a sharp spiciness in every puff. There's a prevalent musty, leathery, bitter quality that, depending on your personal preferences, either clash with or compliment the sweet and sour flavor. Despite all of that, you'll notice a creaminess from the topping that keeps this from becoming harsh, though I suspect a pinch or two of dark cavendish is present. The strength and nic-hit are a step past the medium mark. The taste is a notch past that level. Won't bite or get harsh, though there are few minute rough edges. Burns slow, cool and clean and requires some relights, leaving little dampness in the bowl. The flavor is deep and very consistent from top to bottom. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste, and stronger room note. Made for an experienced smoker, so it's not an all day smoke. In many ways, it's a bolder, sweeter, spicier version of Dunhill Navy Rolls with some different flavor hits.


7 people found this review helpful.

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

Former's - Straight Grain Flake.

Nightmare: I spent ages trying to find this last night, I knew I'd bought it but couldn't find it for love nor money! I opened my tobacco cupboard today and it had appeared exactly where I'd been looking; I think I'm loosing my mind!

Although it's listed as a flake, it's actually half broken (not ribbons, yet still not whole flakes). The smell from the tin is a little bit like a currant bun: dough and raisins. The moisture quantity is exemplary, and it needs no further rubbing for the way I load it; just more of a scrunch between the fingers as I stuff it in.

Straight Grain Flake only requires a light touch of the flame to initiate a good burn, and then it gives a very high quality smoke. It tastes similar to how the tin-note suggested it would; the Perique gives a raisin quality but there's also a kind of bready/doughy taste at first; it's not at all caustic. After about ten minutes the bready flavour subsides somewhat and the dried fruit becomes the dominant taste. The Virginia adds a slight grassiness, but in comparison it's nowhere near as bolshie. A bowl of S.G.F. burns well, leaving hardly any dottle.

I don't find the room-note too bad, again, there's a sort of mild dough quality, and the nicotine's just above medium.

Straight Grain Flake easily deserves four stars:

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Rattray's 2016 Pipe of the Year Poty Bullcap

Age When Smoked: One Month

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

6 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Another winner. First half gives me sweet dark fruit with some tang and spice. Second half the fruitiness fades a bit and is supplemented with baked breads and spice. Wonderful well rounded flavors. Just a great all around smoke.

Medium in body. Might be a touch of added fruity flavoring. Taste is medium to full. Burn is decent, but needs a relight or two or three.

Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable


The flakes are broken and rub out easily if that is your preference (it is mine). The Perique comes through in gentle, soft waves while the Virginia is more demanding of your attention. I can't place my finger on the flavor as it is quite unique. Oriental undertones? Nah.

I think this will be a wonderful tobacco after a few years in the cellar. It's just a smidgen rough around the edges but provides an otherwise stellar smoke.

I must give Former's other offerings a try - and soon.

4 people found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (305)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I found this to be the most enjoyable of the newly introduced Former Flakes. The nicely prepared strips have an ideal moisture content and readily pack without rubout even in medium sized bowls. The blend consists of darker and redish VAs with just the right balance of Perique for my taste. However, you must like Perique to like this blend. Lighting and burn rate were excellent and resulted in an effortless smoke without relights. The taste and strength doesn't change much as the smoke progresses but this is a good smoke with natural tobacco taste. I'll order some more tins for aging and hope for even better satisfaction.

4 people found this review helpful.

Slow Triathlete Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Slow Triathlete (62)
Medium to Strong Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The appearance in the tin of this blend is similar to Stokkebye's Luxury Navy Flake but a lot darker. The tin aroma is a mix of the dark, tangy, sweet Virginias along with the underlying spice of the perique. There is also a hint of leather in there as well. This is one of my favorite smelling blends in the tin. It doesn't really smell like any other blend. I opened several other Vapers and stuck my nose in all of them and none of them smelled as good to me as this one.

I rubbed out the flake a little but to dry for a few minutes before packing this in. I have started using the Air Pocket Method for my flakes and broken flakes and that is what I used with this blend. I smoked this in a Peterson 268 Zulu shape as it seems the best for me with this blend.

Lighting was very easy. Once rubbed out this blend is made up of very narrow strips of tobacco which take to flame very easily. This blend has a very dark Virginia taste to start off with. There are some lighter flavored Virginias in there that provide high notes, perhaps Red or maybe even Lemon Virginia. I'm not sure but they are delicious. The perique is there in the background but it really comes to the forefront after about 1/3 of the bowl. Then it kicks in and rounds this blend out very nicely.

It has a fuller taste and strength than a lot of the blends in this showdown. Now this is not to say that this is a nicotine bomb like Night Train seems to be but it is definitely more full than any of the Hearth and Home blends. The taste and strength last through the rest of the bowl and never turns sour near the end.

Overall this is a very, very enjoyable blend. While it is not my favorite smoke it is definitely in my regular rotation. It is also one of the better bargains out there and I will be ordering more tins throughout the years to lie down in the cellar. This will be one that really gets better with age in my opinion.

3 people found this review helpful.

Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (106)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

I did not find this as full tasting as other reviewers.

My one tin of Straight Grain Flake had 4-5 years of age on it. The nose on opening was of tobacco & fruit - especially apples - and some plum notes. The flakes were slightly messy and broken, with lots of black, brown and blonde colours. This is great smelling stuff in the tin, if you like those sorts of smells.

Lightup is sharp and bit thin - lots of citrus and apple tastes coming through. SGF really responds well to some resting time, and that is how I tended to consume it. The apple additive was tenacious, only dispersing after the half-way point of a bowl. The overall presentation is of a decent va/per, a bit stringent, but certainly in the 'good' spectrum. Nicotine strength was below medium for me, and the blend required an easy hand in stoking - lots of potential for bite here if overpuffed.

I enjoyed my tin, but find many other va/per offerings reach greater heights than this, so I will not be in a hurry to restock.

3 stars seems fair.

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was strongly - unfortunately - disappointed by this flake. Because it is not a dark flake, but mostly a golden VA with some darker leaf. Which means a smoke with a rather hay/cereal taste with barely a plum taste from the PER that does not seem to be fermented (which I still prefer to the peppery taste of the fermented variety). No surprises, no evolution in the complexity. It is not full bodied and the PER does not bring out any rich flavours. Smokes well but not suitable for the experienced smoker. I would recommend it, though, to the beginner that wishes to venture into VA/PER mixtures. Then, Escudo and Davidoff Medallion Flakes would be the next level.

2 people found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (179)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Thanks - freed from that mirror (see Montogomery).

Rumored, again, to be a clone of St. Bruno's Flake which is not available in the U.S. or in other places as well. TPSE (April '05) opined that this is a new replacement to St. Brunos in the U.S. and a good one

Darker virginias than the other new Former mostly bright flakes. With reds and some more perique here. This tastes like a full dark flake but with a little let up due to the reds.

To me it's more like Astley's 109 flake than St. Bruno. I've smoked the original St. Brunos, which is stout, dark, but with intensely sweet flavors, yet cool. This is not quite as sweet.

If you ask me, G&H's Ennerdale Flake is closer to and better than St. Bruno. But I am not a die hard. This flake is not as sweet.

But enough comparison, it's not that distant from St. Brunos, but it is good and deep in its own right. Dark, cool, stoutish, yet sweet, it's a leathery flake to feel and rub out or break up. I break it up a little for a small bowl.

If you want to try a darkish flake with a sweet fruity type note, give this a spin. I'll spend a while finishing the whole tin yet but I have smoked about 15 plus bowls in a small Dunhill. Enjoyable. The sweetness will probably become more pronounced with some additional age. It's deep and enjoyable even if you haven't tried the original saintly one.

2 people found this review helpful.

Jens Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jens (2)
Mild Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Very nice tobacco! East to light, burn well and a great taste! I got and old tin! I think is it about 10 years old. Absolutly no toungebite at all!

Pipe Used: Stanwell Nr15

Purchased From: Gotteftermatan

1 person found this review helpful.

Dr.sadik Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr.sadik (120)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

I have highest respect for Former, his carving skills are undoubtedly superb. One would not judge of personal taste however, because that is subjective. This blend is a vaper indeed however it feels and taste young. Nevertheless it do taste good but just harsh around the edges. The flakes comes in the tin broken not ready rubbed and dry enough to pick and pack. Burns slow and relatively cool to fine ash, mildly sweet and it certainly have a casing of some sort (think erinmore vs grousemoor) but not as strong, more detectable in tin note, if thats off putting to you then be warned. Dan tobacco genre is typical just like any other manufacturer and if you like their flakes you will love this one because it is a refined version. It did not knock me out so it not heavy but then again that make it an all day puffer. Al janabi

Pipe Used: Briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Erinmore, samwell gawith grouse Moore, new minster superior navy flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

steppx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
steppx (186)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

these new-ish Former flakes....all of which are vapers technically, are excellent. This might be my favorite of the 3 though it depends on one's mood. This has a sweeter virginia base, but also one that has perhaps a touch darker and longer pressed blend of varietals. The amount of Perique is different, too. This one is sort of in between I suspect. But none of them have a LOT of Perique..

Since the closing of McClellands, good virgina flakes are hard to come by (and given the hysteria about hoarding coupled to the Feds new draconian rules). So this was a pleasant surprise. Reminds me of a bit more substantial Vintage by Fribourg & Treyer. That, plus a pinch of perique..or pinch and a half. Might be compared, too, to Solani 633...though this is a notch hardier. It is a stronger fuller version of cross grain flake, also by former. The fermentation is a bit heavier too. All around excellent

Purchased From: cup o joes

1 person found this review helpful.

DeathMetal.org Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeathMetal.org (231)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Summary: this is what most Virginia flakes hope to be when they grow up.

The bready note of the tin gives way to a thick, rich smoke within the flavor range of medium Virginias. It is both sweet and dark, a wonderful liminal sensation of being caught at the decision point between extremes. The leaf burns gently, with less bite than the usual Virginia flake, but delivers a strong enough smoke to remind you of the origins of this leaf. Flavors vary between the grainy sweet and nutty warmth of the best of this variety, but together form a honey-sweet but tangy mixture of tobaccos that delivers all that one might hope for as an experienced smoker.

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake, Erinmore - Erinmore Flake, Capstan - Capstan Original Navy Cut.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

I cellared 5 tins of this dated from 2005. The age has darkened the tobacco quite a bit. This comes across as a spicy VaPer with definite sour notes. I do not like it as much as the Former Cross Grain Flake, which is milder and sweeter, so I am going to let the remaining tins age for a couple of more years before trying it again.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

This one gets an A for presentation. Beautiful mottled flakes arranged neatly and looking smart. Tin nose is overly fruity, kind of like raisin drenched in a sugary plum sauce. I smoked this stuff moist and dry, folded and rubbed, in meerschaum and briar. Whether the tin nose biased my taste buds, I can't say, but the experience was far from enjoyable.

Whatever casing is used seems to clash with the perique. From the match to the dottle, my tin smoked massively sour and unpleasant. I don't think perique itself is quite so fruity. And the "fruit" had a rancid taste to it. There appeared to be good quality virginia in the blend but the casing (I assume) was so intrusive that it covered the base tobacco like an overcoat. Perhaps I got a bad tin but I don't care to try again. Hopefully others will enjoy this more than I did, but based on my experiences, I would recommend looking elsewhere for a VaPer.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Suggested to me by a pipe shop owner when I inquired about a good Va/Pe. I was a little skeptical first because it seemed like he was just getting rid of old stock because I am new at this, but all skepticism was gone after the first bowl. When opening it, you get a heavy raisin smell, but none while smoking. It is easy to smoke and very flavorful. A fantastic balance between the two tobaccos. Just a great smoke. Highly recommended!

1 person found this review helpful.

Bluenoser Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluenoser (34)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

I really like this tobacco. It is a wonderful Virginia perique mixture. Upon opening the tin you are hit with pungent aroma of fine aged Virginia and a deep and I mean deep odor of prune/raisin. There seems to be an added flavoring to this blend and I would guess it is prune juice. I say that because the prune fragrance is very dominating. If I'm wrong on that point then the perique must be plentiful and of the highest caliber. This is similar to St. Bruno just a wee bit milder,however the main difference being Bruno is obviously very British and this is, well not. For those of you who smoke English made tobaccos you probably know where I'm coming from. Great smoke, great vaper. Come to think of it, this blend is an older brother to Royal Jersey Perique and a younger brother to St. Bruno flake. Highly Recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (73)
Strong Strong Full Tolerable

I've been thinking of trying this blend for quite sometime and finally have gotten to it. As to the rumors of being a replacement to St. Bruno, it's just a rumor. This blend is far sweeter than Bruno and that is a bit of a detractor for me. I'm not sure what the flavoring is. It is pleasant enough but just a bit overdone, again for me.

The tin aroma is most inviting and the broken brown/black flakes are easily packed in your favorite bowl. The virginias are of high quality and the perique kicks in after a few puffs and remains steady in the background throughout the bowl.

I will revisit this at a later date but suspect it will not make the regular rotation.

UPDATE 5-01-13: Not only did it not make rotation it's flavor became quite annoying and horribly ghosted a very nice pipe. We're not talking Casper here, but full on horror show.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tidepiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tidepiper (2)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I'm new to this reviewing tobaccos so bare with me. I've been smoking for 20 years and how these blends got by me I don't know. I find it very spicy with a sharp Raisin and plum. What I like the most is the musty almost "stinky" tones through my nose. It's definitely an all day smoke for me. I've gone through 2 tins in the last 72 hours. I'm will definitely buy a lot more to put up for later. I believe it will get better with time.

Pipe Used: Roadtown poker

Age When Smoked: Don't know. Can't figure out the date code

Purchased From: Cupojoes

Similar Blends: Peterson navy rolls.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipesINpairs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipesINpairs (19)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Unlike certain well-known people with no redeeming qualities who nonetheless attempt to dominate the public consciousness through the leasing of their already over-promoted name, Former actually does have talent and actually does produce quality work deserving of his reputation. This is why I thought it odd to find a blend with his name on it. A cheap marketing ploy? Does he actually smoke this stuff himself? I remain skeptical.

Otherwise, this blend is good. Maybe not deserving of the name we associate with some of the finest pipe craftmanship in the world, but not terrible. Perique people will very much like that the perique is very round, fruity, and forward in both tin aroma and flavor. The VAs are on the bright end of the spectrum and are frequently overshadowed by the PER. Slight topping too - nothing that steps forward, but there is definitely an additive that leaves "that" sour-dryness on the tongue. I agree with Jimijinks, I would not be surprised to learn of some small amount of Cavendish hidden in there somewhere.

The flakes are broad, as you'd find with Dan tobacco. Moisture is right, behaves very well. In all, not a YUGE, GREAT blend, but I'm not SAD I tried it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.