Yes, Virginia, There Is Burley

I almost called this post “Damn Burleys!” That’s not an insult but rather an expression of respect, just as the old Washington Senators fans used to cry, “Damn Yankees!” (There’s an old Broadway musical by that name.)

What I’m getting at is that my exploration of full-bodied burleys has to a large extent eclipsed my taste for straight Virginias. I still like them, but now that I’ve smoked robust burley blends, Virginias seem kind of tame. Add perique or latakia — or both — and some Virginia-based blends hold their own. I love Dunhill (*wah*) Nightcap, My Mixture 965, and Elizabethan Mixture. I like Navy Rolls. I also love McClelland (*wah*) Dark Star and Dark Navy Flake. But to my palate, Cornell & Diehl’s Haunted Bookshop, Pegasus, and Pirate Kake really shine by comparison. I have to watch out for the nicotine hit, but these are some mouth-watering tobaccos, so flavorful.

If you think burley means only Prince Albert, Carter Hall, Granger, and the matches for Edgeworth Ready-Rubbed — all good though mild blends there’s a world of robust burley blends waiting for you.

Give one or two a try. But handle with care.

4 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, There Is Burley

  1. When I began pipe smoking, I swore I’d never smoke burley. Now I prefer strong burley blends. Haunted Bookshop, OldJoe Krantz, Burley Flake 2, and MacBaren Bold Kentucky to name a few. I tried the otc stuff and they never seemed to pack the flavor like those I mentioned. Have you tried Old Dark Fired or Bold Kentucky? I love Virginia Blends but prefer them with a little burley or perique. GLP Union Sqaure, Dunhill Royal Yacht/Ye Olde Sign, SG FVF, Capstan Blue, and McClelland Blackwoods Flake being the best I’ve tried. I like the virginias to be malty, bready, with a little hay and grass. I tend to agree Virginias can be a little tame after those strong earthy burleys enter your rotation.


    1. The only dark fired I’ve had is the Mac Baren HH ready rubbed. It didn’t do much for me even when mixed with No. 1 Virginia. But I am with you on burley generally. Today I had a bowl of Stokkebye cubed burley which has Virginia. It is great and very good mixed with Crooner as my friend David Carswell showed me.


  2. I love C&D burley-blends; I think they are the best! I’m going to have to try Pirate Kake I reckon; I see so many other pipe men enjoy it I figure I must be missing something.


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