A pure blend of light and mild ribbon cut Virginias.

Notes: Originally blended in England.

Manufactured ByKohlhase & Kopp
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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None Detected
Mild to Medium
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2919)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Like many ribbon cut Virginias,this should be smoked rather slowly or it may nip at your tongue. It burns very well and evenly, so smoking it slowly won't require many relights. The Virginias are grassy with a hint of dark fruit, a bit of citrus, and just little earth and tanginess. The citrus is rather subdued due in part to the light buttery taste of the tobacco. The nic hit is mild. The flavor is mostly consistent all the way through. Leaves little moisture in the bowl. The after taste is pleasant, but short lived. Is an all day, uncomplicated smoke.


12 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

After having tried Astley's Dark Virginia Flake, I was eager to try a milder version. As it turns out, the darker version was far superior. Not too surprising for my tastes.

As others have mentioned, this is definitely not a "slightly rubbed out flake". This is a fine ribbon cut, almost a shag. Shags are temperamental when it comes to loading and they burn fast, and such was the case with this one. I had to slow down my puffing cadence to the point where I was not comfortable, and even then this one singed my tongue on a regular basis. Now, I'm not one to blame either tobacco or smoker for this phenomenon, as I believe it's simply a case of the chemical balances of smoker and tobacco being out of synch. But it severely limited my enjoyment of this blend. Further, I've never seen so many stems in a tin of tobacco, beyond St Bruno Ready Rubbed. It's cute in an OTC, but I find it annoying in a very expensive boutique blend.

Taste-wise, this is a very mild blend of golden virginias, but the flavor is subdued. I checked my notes on other blends because this reminded me of one - I think it's Esoterica Dorchester without the perique (flavor-wise). Interesting. However, this one dumbed down the flavor to the point where I asked myself why I continued when there are so many other excellent blends out there. I'm guessing this one has changed in taste since its changed blenders. Not a bad tobacco, but I was very disappointed in it after the excellence that is their Dark Virginia Flake.

8 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I think Astley's #55 will be a much better tasting tobacco with 3-5 years of age to it. I recently purchased the full range of Astley's tobacco for my local pipe club's tobacco bar. This one really had me interested as I am quite the Virginia fan. I am also a fan of nicotine and full flavor. #55 is weak in both of those areas, but I highly recommend this tobacco to my briar brothers and sisters who tend to enjoy lighter fare.

This tobacco has a wonderful taste (somewhat sweet in a figgy, fermented sort of way,) but due to the mildness, I can see where one might puff too aggressively in order to get at the flavor, which might cause the smoker to lisp for a few days.

8 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2051)
Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Astley's - No.55 Elizabethan.

The review I've just posted was on a blend that would suit beginners well: James Barber Maryland. This would also suit beginners and those who want a mild but natural taste.

The tobacco's quite light brown in colour, and the moisture's very good. The nose from the tin isn't any surprise: a perfectly simple Virginia smell. The mix contains medium sized ribbons, without the inclusion of any broken flakes or chunky bits.

The flavour from the smoke is extremely simple: grassy, hay-like, Virginia. It's nice because although it has all the common Virginia attributes, it's milder than usual for a Va: there's no sharpness nor zestiness, as can sometimes be the case. I note how a few fellow reviewers find this a bit nippy, but to be honest it causes me no harm there! Once it's lit, it burns steadily, providing it's maintained with a tamp or two.

The nicotine's quite mild for a Virginia, more so than normal, and the room-note's very pleasant.

Although it won't be added to my rotation it's good quality so I'll still recommend it:

Three stars.

Pipe Used: Stanwell 2016

Age When Smoked: 8 months

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop

4 people found this review helpful.

O'Confrère Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
O'Confrère (40)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

Yes, this is a lighter tobacco that will bite you if you hurry it, but if you'll let it dictate the pace, it will reward you with long, slow sips of delicious smoke that offer a surprising spectrum of flavors.

This tin is from 2008. It has aged well. In the tin: a hint of tree fruit (casing not top flavor) with grain and fresh Virginia grassiness. In the mouth: a fine play between sweet and savory elements.

In the nose (this is where it happens!): soft, delicious, captivating. Draw the smoke in again through the nose, or let it out through the nose. What a pleasure!

If you'll take some time with this one, smoke slowly, and follow its gentle lead, it will reward you with a wonderful and compelling smoke. This is one for times when you don't want to do anything but smoke your pipe and muse. It develops more depth as the bowl progresses, and although it is not particularly moist right out of the tin, a bit of drying produces a cooler and more flavorful smoke.

Although this is not by any means a nicotine threat, it may not be for the novice as it does require some skill to allow it to open up and show what it can do. On the other hand, if you are new to the pipe, this may be the very one to help you acquire that skill and learn how to get the very best out of a 'simple' Virginia.

But, having said that, even though this is delicious tobacco, it may require too much attention for many a pipesmoker. For this one it's a question of mood, time and place.

Taken on its own terms: highly recommended. Not taken on those terms: somewhat recommended. The average: three stars.

Pipe Used: Several. All reserved for Virginias w/out topping.

4 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

A touch of honey, a fair amount of hay, a mild spice. Pretty average as far as flavor goes. Burns quick and burns hot. It's not for me, but a slow, patient smoker might get some pleasure here.

Mild to medium in body and taste. No added flavoring. Burns like tinder.

Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Mars cigars and pipes

3 people found this review helpful.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (128)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I could taste this on the charring light, nice, very nice. A smooth easy going smoke, creamy and a decent flavour. I bought three tins of this and 109, based on the reviews, and I haven't been dissapointed K&K have done a good job of this one and number 55 will be added to the collection, if not permenant rotation.

The tin states "Slightly Rubbed out Flake", if this is slightly rubbed out, I dread to think of what there interpritation of "Rubbed Out" might be, the tobacco in the tin had the consistency of cigarette tobacco, (I can think of no greater insult) however, the smoke was superb, mild, light but with enough taste to keep one interested. This can be smoked from the first pipe through to late afternoon, or for that matter, whenever a change is required.

A fine quality tobacco, four stars

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

a delightful tobacco! i had not smoked it for many years, and feared the worst, but #55 seems to have survived being blended by kohlhase & kopp (whereas #2 is now an aromatic tobacco). the same enticing tin aroma and clean virginia taste as 20 years ago.

as others have noticed, there may be a little bit of perique added to it, but it may just be the yellow virginia's fruity and citrusy notes that come through. i notice a very slight dryness to the taste, too, and upon closer inspection, there seems to be a little yellow-green oriental leaf in it.

all in all, a must for the lover of (almost) pure (albeit mild) virginia. kohlhase & kopp are certainly very competent at recreating the flavour profiles of most of the once-glorious english brands (and i certainly don't feel that the "citrusy" astley's are similar to the "malty" rattray's). where k&k miss the mark is in the more powerful and darker blends, none of which are as strong or well aged as they were 20 years ago. and of course, some of the blends (like astley's #2 or old gowrie) are now aromatics...

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This Virginia has a pleasant aroma in the tin. It is easy to fill in the pipe and lights without a problem. The taste is similar to the NO.2, but without perique. It is a slightly sweet taste, a little bit tart, but a satisfying flavor that is not overly sweet like so many Virginias. I will place this tobacco fairly high up on my list of preferred Virginias. It makes for a nice change of pace for the smoker (me) who prefers latakia blends. Astley does it again.

2 people found this review helpful.

mariusK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mariusK (27)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Enough has been said here about this tobacco, so let me just wrap up: a mild and satisfying all day smoke with uncomplicated (in the best sense of this word) Virginia flavour. This is a smoke you can enjoy working or reading, it is unobtrusive, simple and pleasant.

Adding to my review: I smoked it now in a corn cob and it was delightful. Mild and without tongue bite. If you look for nicotine Ilsted’s Own Golden Flake will give you more than this blend.

Pipe Used: Kaywoodie, Missouri Meerschaum

1 person found this review helpful.

tamentis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tamentis (9)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin notes of raisin and hay. That addictive smell you get when a bit of cognac evaporates overnight in a glass, imagine it deeper and fruitier.

The cut is not "slightly rubbed out flake", it might have been a while ago, but no longer. The packaging was left untouched as the distribution rights moved from one manufacturer to the next.

It takes a conscious effort to smoke No. 55 slowly. If you don't pay attention, your bowl will evaporate before your eyes and you will be left with thin ashes. When you do take your time, the smoke has a clean and honest flavor that develops sweeter and more complex. That deeper flavor is always fleeting, so be patient, it's like taming a wild horse. After a lesson in self-control, some retro-inhaling and perhaps a few burns, you might truly enjoy that tobacco.

The lingering smell in my mustache is enjoyable, it's grassy and clean. It seems like a great smoke for a sunny day, watching nature or people, a few weeks away from summer.

Pipe Used: Small bent bulldog from St Claude

Age When Smoked: A decade in the tin

Purchased From: Davidoff of Geneva, NYC

1 person found this review helpful.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (161)
Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Zipadeedodahhh! This is a perky little smoke.. burns hot and fast! Slightly rubbed out flake!!! Really?? That's the shaggiest shag I've seen.. if I was judging on burning qualities alone this would be a one star smoke.. luckily.. there is flavor.. nice hay.. creamy.. a little sweet.. and frisky! Sometimes that's exactly what the doctor ordered. Update.. dry it out! improves the burn.. also brings out some flavor.. deeper eartiness

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Extremely Mild None Detected Very Mild Unnoticeable

Like Nojoqui noted earlier, sour plums and raisins in the tin. But very mild. Astley's manages to pack 50g into a standard 100g tin. I ran into the same problem in my bowl -- it doesn't pack very well, resulting on re-lights and a short smoke.

The taste is so mild as to be almost non-existent. If there's a saving grace to it, the room note ends up scoring fairly well, important if you have to pass a "spouse test". The upshot is that it's a weak Virginia with nowhere near the flavor I've learned to expect from golden Virginias, and, for the most part, not worth the number of matches it consumes.

Having said all that, this might be an excellent choice for someone trying to convert from cigarettes as I did 30 years ago. Inadvertent (or, presumably, inexperienced) inhalation won't leave you gagging for oxygen. It might even give you enough of a nicotine hit to try inhalation a few more times. But in the mild-Virginia arena I think I'll stay with the Orlik Golden Slices, or experiment with some of the recommended GS alternates.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (321)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

What a magnificent tobacco! This is a straight Virginia, slightly sweet and tangy in that natural Va. way, with notes of dried raisins and nuts, slow burning and with no tongue bite. Its ribbon cut, with some broken flake thrown in, of reddish, light and mid brown hues.

Its structure is similar to some of the best Rattrays (after all, it is blended by the same German house). As reference I would say it is somewhere in between the graceful elegance of Old Gowrie, but with more body and flavour, and the richness of Hal O? the Wynd, only slightly mellower. At the beginning the tobacco is a bit austere and dry, but as one progresses further down the bowl the different layers of tangy sweetness and spicy piquancy make themselves evident. It has a wonderful denouement, palatably nutty and rich, and it burns clean to a white ash.

Maybe this is what the other Elizabethan (Dunhill?s) would taste like if the Périque in that blend was subtracted. In any case Astley?s is an excellent Virginia, neither dry nor moist, with enough body to be taken seriously, yet smooth and temperate enough to be enjoyed leisurely. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is the second Astley's blend that I've tried (#109 being the first) and I find I've come across another very nice VA tobak. Upon opening the tin you're greeted w/a very pleasant and subtle sweetness that is of a light, musty fruit aroma which I'll credit to the fermentation. The tin is packed full of multi-colored ribbons that range from light blond to chocolate brown. For me the moisture level is near spot-on. Packs nicely and the usual lighting ritual is all that's required. At the get-go you taste a nice citrusy sweet flavor that reminds me of lemon/orange zest w/a VERY LIGHT hint of a brown sugar/cinnamon note hiding in the background. Just enough to say "I'm here". There is no casing mentioned, so I'll say it's the fermentation of these particular VAs. that gives this wonderful flavor. The citrusy flavor remains consistent throughout the bowl but varies slightly in degrees of strength, and the spiciness is subtle and tingles just a wee bit, with the taste of good VA tobacco the main player. Bit of a gurgle near mid-bowl, but this is just a one pipe-cleaner job, no worries. This gets somewhat richer as you smoke down, and there is an earthy/woodsy taste that steps in w/the hint of sweetness still present, but no harshness or ashiness. Mostly mid-range and high notes, there is some bottom to it but it's not overly pronounced. Burns well, very even (musta packed it right this time ;o]) and clean all the way down to a dry, fluffy gray ash. There is no Perique mentioned either, but the smoke tastes like there could be a very small amount in the blend. This could be an all-day smoke for most any VA. fancier, but some may want a little more "Oomph" in their pipe, at least nearing the evening times. I enjoy it and I believe I'll hafta keep some of this around. I think it would age very nicely. A very good VA tobacco, very lively and refreshing. I think I just may prefer it to #109. Works for me.

1 person found this review helpful.

Sasquatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sasquatch (88)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Grassy with a hint of ... yuck.

"Slightly Rubbed Flake" or cheap, acrid cigarettish shag? You decide. Actually don't. Avoid this affront to virginia smokers. It lights okay. That's the nicest I can be here.

Pipe Used: Castello

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: Fribourg and Treyer Golden Mixture..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

"A pure blend of light and mild ribbon cut Virginias" is an apt description. After half a lifetime of smoking cigarettes, a blend like this one showed me what tobacco actually tastes like. As a sidelight on that note, if anyone reading this is in the process of switching from cigarettes to pipes you'd be well advised to start with something like Astley's No. 55.

I like the taste of a straight VA very much. This is the blend I smoke when I'm not in the mood to play with the flakes LOL.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30082)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Upon opening a can of Astley's No. 55 I am greeted by what seems to be to me a cross between sour plums, raisins, and oatmeal. No wonder I like this mixture in the morning. I just finished a three year old can, and found it much better than a new can I recently endulged in. I think in both cases the tobacco is perfect in the moisture content. It packs really well being a ribbon cut with a little broken up flake thrown in. To say it is a "Slightly rubbed out flake", as on the can is something I would agree with as I smoke Astley's No.109 regularly. Between the two I would have to give the nod to No.109 just because I can rub it out to achieve a variety of conditions in a variety of pipes I reserve for Virginias such as these. No. 55 lights packs well, lights well, and is downright enjoyable from top to bottom. It does seem like there is a smidgeon of Perique present in the top half. The tobacco smokes really pleasantly dry, much more so than a mixture like Dunhill's Elisabethan Blend. I can consistently get by with only one pipe cleaner about mid bowl. No. 55 picks up about mid bowl and there is a wonderful light Virginia taste for the rest of the bowl. It finishes up with a nice white ash. I think this is a wonderful tobacco for my morning pipe. I am usually an English or Balkan smoker in the evening. I want more body later in the day that most straight light Virginias or Virginia Perique mixtures don't give me. If I do want to smoke something like that in the evening for a change in pace, I will find myself loading a pipe up with Haddo's Delight. No. 55 is an excellent morning puttering or gardening tobacco. A perfect choice for those activities. Also, good for waiting in the car while the wife wanders through the stores on a Saturday. Given the right place and the right time of day, Astley's No. 55 finds little competition for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyFlake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyFlake (17)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

(5/10/03) The aroma upon opening the tin is that of a musty sweetness with hints of figs and sometimes I pick up a peach aroma. The tobacco is a ribbon cut and offers all shades of color in the tan/brown spectrum. The moisture is almost perfect right from the begining, which for me, is on the dry side. I only let this sit open for about two hours before packing a bowl and firing it up. This stuff packs very easily and fires up like a dream. I like to smoke this in a medium size bowl. The first third of the bowl is kind of mild with the usual tangy / semi-sweetness offered in quality Virginias. There is also a subtle nutty flavor that comes to the front now and then. The middle third of the bowl is far richer than the first. In the final third the richness of the flavor profile stay about the same but there is a slight spiciness that comes to the front and picks up a little as you reach the finish. Nicotine content seems on the mild to medium side. I am an aggressive smoker and I kind of watched myself with this one. Although I never did get bitten, after a dozen bowls or so, I feel that this one will bite, if pushed too hard. This is simply another great Virginia Blend. I will always have some on hand.

Nobody has rated this review yet.