1. Make sure you have a clean pipe that you didn't smoke an English or Aromatic in. You can probably get away with using a Burley pipe but for best results, get a new pipe (it's a good excuse to buy another pipe). Virginia blends can be very light and mild, especially if you started with heavy English or Burley blends that may have had high levels of Latakia or Perique. All Virginia tobaccos have a high nicotine content because they typically are grown in nitrogen rich soils, so be carefulů.you can get a "head rush" if you smoke them too fast.
One of the characteristics of Latakia and other Oriental tobaccos is that they are grown in nitrogen poor soils. This means a low sugar and nicotine content but makes the tobaccos naturally spicy.
2. Virginia tobaccos are more sensitive to packing than English or Burley. You may have to experiment with different styles of packing until you get correct pack. Much more so than Burley or English blends, a tight-packed Virginia is a fireball waiting to happen! They also need to be slightly drier than other types of tobaccos. Don't hesitate to allow flake Virginia blends, Ready-Rubbed, Shag, or Ribbon cuts to sit for 30 minutes or so, before packing.
3. Smoke Virginia as slowly as you can, almost to the point of having it go out. Virginia tobaccos have naturally high sugar content, so they can smoke hot if the puff rate is fast. The best flavors from Virginia seem to come through towards mid-bowl and build to a sweet peak at the end. Slow and easy is the best approach with Virginia blends.
Suggested Virginia Tobaccos to try:
Some of these tobaccos are flake blends and if you need help with this type of tobacco go to How to smoke Flake Tobacco to learn more about how to handle and smoke flake tobacco.
A. Esoterica Stone Haven: A marriage of air-cured leaf and Burley with selected dark Virginia. Hard-pressed and aged to produce brown flakes with dark undertones. A traditional English flake favored by experienced pipe smokers. A personal favorite!
B. Park-Lane Red Paramour: An all Virginia blend comprised of Red Virginia ribbon, Gold flake, red and black matured Virginia cake tobaccos, enhanced with the slight addition of Perique and a scented Virginia flake. For the lover of straight Virginia blends, a smooth and naturally sweet mixture! Go to Park-Lane Tobacconist to order some of this terrific blend. Another personal favorite!
C. Solani Virginia Flake: A classic flake with bright Virginia's and perique. This cool, slow burning blend has a natural sweetness and a wonderful room aroma.
D. Mac Baren Virginia No. 1: A ready rubbed tobacco of exceptional and matured Virginia tobaccos, which bring about its mild and characteristic sweet taste. Ready Rubbed Virginia tobaccos, easy to fill and naturally sweet.
E. McClelland 22 Matured Virginia: A balanced blend of Eastern and Middle Belt Virginia's aged in cakes to develop their natural sweetness. A zesty tobacco with rich undertones. Course enough to smoke on windy days outdoors, but easily rubbed out to suit any occasion.
F. McClelland 25 Matured Virginia: A balanced mixture of the smoothest and most refined red and black aged Virginia cake tobaccos in a fully rubbed form. Ideal after dinner when a rich, satisfying flavor is most desired.
G. McClelland 27 Virginia: An excellent all-day, indoor smoke, this beautiful, orange-red, shag cut cake has a mellow flavor and a light, subtle aroma.
I. Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake: A dark-brown, and dense flake created in the heart of Lakeland. Rich and full in flavor, a special treat for lovers of Virginia leaf.
J. Esoterica Woodbridge: A wonderfully complex mixture consisting of six light Virginia's, four Virginia's pressed until reddish brown and then rubbed out, plus Golden and dark Virginia's hot pressed until jet-black. Twelve different Virginia tobaccos, lightly laced with licorice and natural fruit extracts perfectly blended and fully matured. A true luxury blend that leaves the pipe clean and dry.Go to Park-Lane Tobacconist to order some of this terrific blend.
K. McClelland 5100 Red Cake: A style of English Virginia that has seldom been seen in America. A sweet, exceptionally soft, fully-rubbed matured cake. A wonderful blending tobacco as well as fine, medium-bodied straight smoke. This is an extremely high-grade refined product. A personal favorite!
There are many more...but these are great Virginia blends to try.