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10 of the Best Burley Blends to Try

10 of the Best Burley Blends to Try

Posted by Greg Rosenberg on 22nd Mar 2023

Table of Contents

  1. Mac Baren HH Burley Flake
  2. G. L. Pease Barbary Coast
  3. Tabac Manil La Brumeuse
  4. Sutliff Ready-Rubbed
  5. John Cotton's Double Pressed Burley
  6. Solani Aged Burley Flake
  7. Peterson Irish Flake
  8. Cobblestone Hiking
  9. Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop
  10. Wessex Burley Slice

Burley is perhaps the most common varietal seen in  pipe tobacco blends after Virginia, but it's often defined more by its utility than its flavor. Bringing body and strength to a blend is of course important and plays a significant role in how we experience the taste of a mixture. However, the beige flavors that we often associate with Burley can belie the nuance of this tobacco. However, we see in many Burley-centric blends that the potential for the air-cured leaf is far-reaching and versatile. 

It wasn't easy to narrow down, but we've put together a list of some of the best Burley pipe tobaccos that showcase the virtue of this humble varietal. 

Mac Baren HH Burley Flake

Mac Baren HH Burley Flake pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley, Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Flake
Strength Medium
Packaging Tin [1.75 oz / 3.5 oz] | Bag [16 oz]

The HH Series from Mac Baren's Per Jensen is an assembly of incredible blends, each formulated to speak to the individual allure of natural tobacco—no topping and no more casing than necessary for balance.

For HH Burley Flake, the air-cured American staple is on display, bolstered by Virginias and a light portion of Dark-Fired Kentucky for complexity. The attractive, neatly pressed flakes carry the essential Burley nuttiness and molasses. Virginias bring tang and enough sweetness to take the edge off without bringing the Burley out of focus. The Kentucky modestly imparts floral and wood notes. A Burley attraction with a few players adeptly added for a perfect balance. 

G. L. Pease Barbary Coast

G. L. Pease Barbary Coast pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley, Perique, Virginia
Flavoring Brandy
Cut Cube/Mixed
Strength Medium
Packaging Tin [2 oz / 8 oz]

One of Pease’s early blends in his line of  Original Mixtures, Barbary Coast was first introduced in 2001 and has remained a favorite for many pipe smokers. 

Burley is foundational to Barbary Coast, but there is plenty else going on. Atop the nutty and woody body, Red Virginia offers dark fruit, tang, and sweetness. The Perique perfectly complements, adding some spice throughout the smoke in moderate yet apparent measure. Finally, the brandy topping is faint, bringing depth to the profile without eclipsing the fine, natural tobacco.

Tabac Manil La Brumeuse

Tabac Manil La Brumeuse pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley (Semois)
Cut Shag
Strength Medium-Strong
Packaging Foil Brick [3.5 oz]

Tabac Manil La Brumeuse is a special tobacco that is all its own. It features Semois, a uniquely rustic Burley sub-varietal that is only grown in the Semois Valley in the Belgian Ardennes region. Confounding common wisdom around efficacious growing conditions, this shady floodplain produces a tobacco unlike any other. Once a thriving industry in the region, today only a few growers keep Semois tobacco alive—among them is Vincent Manil.

La Brumeuse means "the misty one" in French, aptly named for the peculiar conditions from which the Semois is grown. Manil undertakes the entire process from seed to packaging. No need to import outside leaf, as La Brumeuse is purely Semois—no other varietals and no added flavors. The result is an earthy, herbal smoke to be enjoyed slowly and tranquilly (and a respect for a healthy dose of nicotine). A fine choice for those coming from  premium cigars.

Sutliff Ready-Rubbed

Sutliff Ready Rubbed pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley
Flavoring Cocoa, Molasses
Cut Cube/Mixed
Strength Mild
Packaging Bulk

Sutliff Ready-Rubbed pays homage to the legendary Edgeworth Ready-Rubbed, which was released in 1913 as a pre-prepped alternative to Edgeworth Slices—quite a novel format at the time.

Sutliff tobacco's take offers a topping-forward interpretation of the classic Edgeworth mixture. Molasses and cocoa are perfect complements to nutty Burley. Though Aromatic-leaning, you still get a clear Burley taste. The leaf goes through a slight toasting process, mellowing the mixture and allowing sweetness to flourish. You won't get the nic-hit that often comes with Burley dominant blends.

John Cotton's Double Pressed Burley

John Cotton's Double Pressed Burley pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley
Cut Cake
Strength Medium
Packaging Tin [1.75 oz]

Manufactured by Sutliff, the  John Cotton's Double Pressed series offers some excellent mixtures, Double Pressed Burley being a favorite. 

"Double pressed" refers to the process of first pressing the tobacco into a flake, before being tumble into a ready-rubbed mixture to again being pressed into a crumble cake, resulting in a harmonious and rich flavor profile. 

John Cotton's Double Pressed Burley is presented as a great introduction for those who have not yet found the charm in Burley as a nuanced varietal. Virginias are added to give the Burley-centric blend a natural sweetness, as well as some Dark-Fired Kentucky to offer complexity with a bit of spice.

Solani Aged Burley Flake

Solani Aged Burley Flake Blend No. 656 pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley
Flavoring Cocoa, Licorice
Cut Flake
Strength Medium
Packaging Tin [1.75 oz]

Solani Aged Burley Flake can be one of those elusive blends. Thankfully it's still in production, but it doesn't last long once in stock. Nonetheless, its scarcity is for good reason—this is a beloved mixture that’s well worth grabbing once it comes around.

An R. L. Will creation, manufactured by Kohlhase & Kopp, Solani Aged Burley Flake offers deep flavor with a light sweetness. The earthy, brown sugar notes from the Burley are pleasingly topped with accents of cocoa and licorice, the latter seeming to take the lead. These top notes bring out the Burley's fine qualities without taking too much attention from the natural flavor. 

Note: For the popular blends that don't stay in stock long, consider signing up for an email notification. 

On the listing for out-of-stock blends, there is a text box where you can submit an email address. You'll recieve a message immediately when stock is updated, so you won't have to be checking back.

Peterson Irish Flake

Peterson Irish Flake pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley, Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Flake
Strength Strong
Packaging Tin [1.75 oz]

For many, the best Burley tobaccos must have a kick.  Another great option for those who enjoy a stout blend,  Peterson Irish Flake sees Burley, Kentucky, and Virginia mixed together in equal measure for a truly robust and flavorful smoke.

Burley offers a hearty base, but Kentucky is the foremost flavor. Unsurprising, as the seasoning tobacco is often used as a spice in condimental measure. A little goes a long way, and there’s a bit more than a little here. Virginia brings things together, offering a sweetness to add some nuance. Tangy BBQ, anise, spice, and smoky flavor are in full effect here.

Cobblestone Hiking

Cobblestone Outdoors Hiking pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley
Flavoring Cocoa
Cut Flake
Strength Medium
Packaging Tin [1.75 oz]

A relative newcomer to the world of pipe tobacco, Cobblestone Hiking, from the  Outdoors series, has quickly become a mainstay for those who are fans of the popular Burley Flakes that take inspiration from the legendary Edgeworth Sliced. No doubt, it’s appreciated as a mixture on par with the best Burley blends out there, while being (at this time) more accessible than some of its popular peers, which tend to be scooped up quickly.

Cobblestone Hiking takes the cocoa topped Burley mixture in a natural direction, only lightly flavored, bringing out a delightful sweetness and depth reinforcing the best characteristics of the air-cured leaf. There’s plenty of natural woody and nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness and nutmeg spice. 

Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop

Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop pipe tobacco

Tobacco Burley, Perique, Virginia
Cut Coarse | Cake
Strength Medium-Strong
Packaging Bulk | Tin [2 oz / 8 oz] (Cake only in 2 oz tin)

The late Bob Runowski knew his way around a Burley blend, and we can thank him in part for a Burley renaissance of sorts to which his contributions to the  classic Cornell & Diehl line up have certainly played a crucial role. Burley focus was much a staple of the so-called Codger blends. These are fine Burley blends indeed, their staying power isn't for nothing, but a rise in boutique Burley-focused mixtures has gifted us some of the best Burley blends.

Perhaps most appreciated of Runowski's blends is Haunted Bookshop. Named for the Christopher Morley novel, the modern classic is a love letter to Burley’s natural, understated flavor, displaying the charm in subtle nuance. The base is further filled out with plummy Red Virginias, atop which we have peppery Perique. Haunted Bookshop offers a significant strength, so come  prepared for a healthy nic-hit and stout body.

Wessex Burley Slice

Wessex Burley Slice pipe tobcaco

Tobacco Burley
Flavoring Licorice
Cut Flake
Strength Medium
Packaging Tin [1.75 oz]

We end with  Wessex Burley Slice. Like Solani, here is another elusive blend, but well worth looking out for. Wessex Burley Slice is also another favorite from the blending house Kohlhase & Kopp—apparently the German blending house knows the American leaf well, as it seems we can thank them for many of our best Burley blends.  

In Wessex Burley Slice, the eponymous leaf imparts delightful notes of nuts, wood, and toasty bread. Here, the cocoa accent takes a step above the subtle licorice lilt. These flavors bring a fine nuance to the blend, but Wessex Burley Slice is another wonderful flake leaning into the natural Burley quality. Moderately sweet—satisfyingly nuanced. And if you enjoy a smoke with your coffee, few blends are better compliments in my opinion. 

In assembling this list, it's struck me how the best Burley blends are crafted like odes to the natural qualities of the leaf—be that through minimal added flavors or an approach to flavoring that is subtle and more accentuating than contrasting. But this is far from a comprehensive list of the great Burley blends out there. We carry many more as well as amazing blends of all varieties. And if that wide selection leaves you unsure where to start, feel free to  get in touch and we'll happily help you find the right tobacco or pipe for you. 

10 of the Best Burley Blends to Try