Rattray’s Marlin Flake is another great Virginia/Perique tobacco but with a touch of Cavendish. The tin note has a wonderful aroma of raisins, dates and dark molasses; I even get a hint of Christmas cake and Christmas pudding!
The long flakes remind me of beef jerky and are a little moist. Drying time would do this pipe tobacco well, as I did find that straight from the tin it needed a few relights. The flakes can be rubbed out or folded, but I did find with Rattray’s Marlin Flake that folding drew out more of the natural sweetness.
Rattray’s Marlin Flake does taste sweeter than Old Gowrie, and I think that the Cavendish really plays a part here. Rattray’s Black Virginia is a Cavendish and the sweetness here reminds me of that tobacco but Marlin Flake, for me, has a lot more depth and is stronger in nicotine. The sweetness is slightly syrupy at times but with that nice Christmas pudding spiciness. The perique is a condiment but I experience more perique with Marlin Flake than Old Gowrie. Yet the perique certainly does not overpower the Virginia so you get beautiful sweetness with some peppery earthiness.
I am a big fan of Old Gowrie and I would say that Marlin Flake is sweeter at times but has a darker and spicier edge due to the more prominent perique. This makes Marlin Flake similar but still different enough to keep in my tobacco rotation. This tobacco burns to a fine ash but does leave the pipe a little moist. Again, I think that drying out before hand would help with taste as well as lighting.
I am becoming a fan of the Rattray’s brand and Old Gowrie and Marlin Flake have become my favorite Virginias. Whilst technically not a straight Virginia due to the perique I find that the perique is always a background note that truly compliments the natural sweetness of this fine Rattray’s tobacco. Of course, taste is a very personal thing but if you enjoy Old Gowrie but want extra perique with some sweeter Cavendish and a bit more nicotine then definitely try Rattray’s Marlin Flake.
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