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Blend of Virginia and Kentucky. Slow burning and cool with a pleasant aroma.

Notes: Made by MacBaren since 2006, the company owns the blend as of 2015.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByMacBaren
Manufactured ByMacBaren
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsKentucky, Virginia
FlavoringFloral Essences, Fruit / Citrus
CutReady Rubbed
Packaging50 grams pouch
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
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Medium to Strong
Room Note

Favorite Of 8 Users

101 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

The Virginias are slightly grassy and earthy with some citrus and stewed dark fruit, which indicates bright and dark Virginias were used. I notice the properties of the dark Va. more. The dark fired Kentucky has some wood, earth and a little spice to go along with a little boldness as an important support player. I'm not positive what all the toppings are, but they are mild and aided with citrus. I'm sure they are rose geranium and tonquin, but while the toppings do sublimate the tobaccos to some extent, you won’t miss out on what they have to offer. There's a vinegar preservative, but it doesn't translate to the taste. The strength, taste and nic-hit are medium. Won’t bite even if you’re puffing like a steam engine. As with all ready rubbed cuts, it’s easy to deal with. It needs a light dry time, though I find it does well without much of it, and drying it too much would lessen the flavor a little. Burns at a slow to moderate rate with a smooth, consistent taste to the finish. No dull, weak, or harsh spots. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. Has a very pleasant after taste and room note. Easily repeatable during your smoking day.

The only differences I note in the ready rubbed version is that the tobacco flavor is a shade more obvious, which is often the case with this cut as more tobacco is exposed to air. It's also slightly mellower, which is also attributable to the cut.

22 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

The original Ogden's St. Bruno Ready Rubbed that came in a 50g tin was one of the finest tobaccos ever produced (IMO, of course.) I hoarded a dozen tins a couple of years ago from a private seller and unfortunately, they have all been consumed.

I have purchased and smoked the pouch version that is readily obtainable in England, and while the taste is similar, the current version is not nearly as elegant as the old, tinned St. Bruno Ready Rubbed.

I found the current version to be tasty, yet lacking in refinement. It is in ribbon form and packs and lights easily. It is somewhat powerful in the nicotine department and the taste is of quality Virginia leaf that has been cased lightly.

The no longer produced tinned version was more of a shag cut with a deeper, darker Virginia flavor that was loaded with nicotine and the casing caused the blend to smell and taste of hints of fermented raisins.

If you want to sample a quality, cased Virginia that packs enough wallop to keep the kids away, I can easily recommend this blend. If you are fortunate enough to locate a sealed Ogden's 50g tin, please forward it on to your friendly neighborhood Pipestud.

11 people found this review helpful.

Granny Smith Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Granny Smith (25)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Pleasant

I'm unsure which I prefer out of this and St. Bruno - maybe Condor slightly beats this one because the nicotine hit is higher but nonetheless this is a mighty fine OTC blend. I've not tried the Flake but that is next on my list, though the ready rubbed is wonderful. I get an aniseed taste from this which is quite delightful. If there is one downside to this blend it is that I smoke it too quickly because as soon as I've finished a bowl I can't wait to start another. Like Condor it may be slightly too overwhelming for a newbie pipe puffer but come back to it when you've put some hairs on your chest and you'll be glad you did. This is a Lakeland tobacco to be savoured - a totally wonderful smoke.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: ASDA

10 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is based on one 50 gram packet which was gifted to me. I'm going to have to figure out a way to find more of this stuff!

St Bruno absolutely cracks me up! My pouch had more stems in it than I've ever seen in any tobacco blend. One stem was as long as the shank on one of my pipes! That concerns me with respect to quality control, but honestly, the real test of a tobacco is how it pleases the smoker. And St Bruno delivered time and time again. I finished the packet in record time (STUPID, since I don't know where the next one is coming from!) and enjoyed each puff. I would call this a medium bodied tobacco with a very robust but not overpowering flavor. I love full flavored tobaccos that burst on the tongue, yet do not bite. This tobacco reminds me of a porterhouse steak!

I used to smoke this in flake form back when it was available in the U.S and I probably would have preferred the flake, but this ready rubbed version smokes nothing short of wonderfully. I wouldn't call it overly complex as it doesn't seem to develop down the bowl. But if you're a fan of instant gratification and an entire bowlful of wonderful flavor that doesn't change, this is something to try. I found the flavor of this absolutely compelling and I am now conniving to figure out how to get more in this country. Great stuff!

9 people found this review helpful.

Wibblefishofdoom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wibblefishofdoom (139)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Unnoticeable

It seems my original three-word, one-star review of this that boldly proclaimed "ready rubbed sandwich" has been deleted. It seems like someone out there in the haze of virtual pipe smoke that is the internet either doesn't have a sense of humour, hasn't watched This Is Spinal Tap or both. It's probably just as well as my opinion of this tobacco has changed, and I wonder somewhat if the recipe has too.

When I first bought this stuff, I found what seemed to be excruciatingly dry twiglets in the packet, it almost made me wonder if the blenders had been dragged through a hedge backwards on their way into work and shaken themselves off over that day's barrelful of leaf. It tastes like twigs too, damp ones at that. For dry tobacco it didn't half smoke wet. I think I ended up binning most of the packet I was that fed up of it. A second packet and a second chance for Bruno ended in similar fashion six months later. So Wibblefish, why on earth did you pick it up again? Well, having gone through a financially lean period recently and wanted an OTC tobacco that I could get from my local Tesco without it being too nice - I didn't want to buy a packet of Condor only to smoke it within a couple of days and not have anything left for the rest of the month. So I bought a 50g pouch of this with the intent of making my way through it come hell or high water. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. The tobacco, amazingly, looked like tobacco instead of those ghastly twigs. It packed well, lit well and tasted well. I did find the taste a little hard to pin down, I'm not sure about the whole fruity/citrus thing, but someone mentioned liquorice, I'd go with that. I will say it doesn't taste as good as Condor but there are moments in each smoke where I found a real sweet spot, where it tasted gorgeous. It would be nice to if that was more the norm with this stuff, but then I guess I would smoke it quicker, which was never the point of me buying it. Another plus point I found was that it put the cake on the pipe I smoked it in very quickly, more so than any other tobacco I have ever found. So those of you wanting to know how to cake up a new pipe, I'd suggest running a couple of pouches (go for the 50g ones, the 25g's are perhaps a little small) to get you going.

In summary, I'm glad to have a decent OTC for when times are lean. It's not as good as Condor, it's not as good as a lot of tobaccos out there, but it fits a very nice hole in my pipe smoking habits.

Pipe Used: MySmokingShop own brand briar

Age When Smoked: Fresh from the tin

Purchased From: Tesco

8 people found this review helpful.

garydobbs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
garydobbs (20)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

My fabourite of the easily available blends - I find this tobacco to always give a good full flavoured smoke. I like full bodied tobbacco and St Bruno is one such beast. The packet states that it is made up of Virginia and other fine leaf tobacco varities and I'm certain I detect some latakia in this. I've smoked both the ready rubbed and flaked variety and I slighly prefer the ready rubbed variety.

Pipe Used: Parker earl

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: ASDA (Walmasrt group)

Similar Blends: many English blends.

6 people found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (302)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is perhaps one of the most popular tobaccos in Great Britain. It may be similar to the flake version, but I believe the ready rubbed edition is milder. You can get this tobacco almost at any newspaper agent and convenience shop.

Easy to pack and light, it does have a certain industrial flavour (unfortunately common to many Imperial Tobacco blends), but it burns pretty well. Essentially a Virginia & Burley (Kentucky) blend, it is easy to smoke, with a rather subdued and dull sweetness (nothing artificial, mind you). Not a bad nose, it doesn't really bother those around you. Mild to medium, it is a rather uneventful smoke, but other wise quite agreeable and reliable. Someone once told me "This is what grandfathers smoke by the chimney, in winter evenings".

Not a bad choice.

6 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (326)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was impressed. It was sweet, heavy and tart. The strength grew as the bowl progressed. I wanted another bowl when the first one was done. This is one of those "not readily available" tobaccos in the US, since you have to order it from Ireland I think. I enjoyed it a lot, and if you can get it locally, I recommend it.

5 people found this review helpful.

Dubinthedam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dubinthedam (133)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

A top lakeland blend, very fruity and floral, a top quality pouch, nicer than Mellow Virginia and Condor which are along similar lines. Top, I can't wait to get my hands on the flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

Gaius Baltar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gaius Baltar (25)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This new version made by MacBaren is a pleasant surprise. IMHO is better than the previous Imperial Tobacco. The Va is sweeter and more pleasant, the Kentucky is spicing up and the Lakeland essence is still intense. The blow of Nicotine is appreciable. Advisable to crumble it very well and dry it a minimum of 30 minutes. Fill the bowl without tightening too much. This way, it burns well and does not go out. It does not bite. A renovated classic highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Patriot cob from Missouri Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New from the pouch

Purchased From: Taba-TK tobacco shop from Manresa (Catalunya)

4 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I recently received my one and only 50g of St. Bruno Ready Rubbed. My review of St. Bruno Ready Rubbed is nearly identical to my comments regarding the flake. The only real difference that I found was regarding the ease of use. This, as with my comments on the flake is from the Ogden era, as I have NOT smoked the Mac Baren version, so this should only be considered for purchasing it already well-aged. There is an underlying sweetness that I found very similar to Dunhill's MM34596, but where that tobacco fails to deliver, St Bruno brings along some great tobacco flavor to boot! It packs well and burns to a white ash. There is plenty of Lady Nicotine in St Bruno as well. I truly enjoyed this historic blend. My only reason for 3 stars instead of four is simply because I found the flavor to be one dimensional. However, I would strongly suggest trying this grand blend.(if Ogdens can be found)!

Age When Smoked: Well aged

4 people found this review helpful.

Young Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Young Piper (300)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Very Pleasant

Out of all the tobacco's I have yearned to have imported to the US none have captivated me like St. Bruno. The strength, the slightly floral aroma and the depth of flavor all add up to a most delightful slow burning leisure smoke. Why Smokingpipes and PipesandCigars have not made a deal with Orlik to have this imported is mindboggling but I digress and am happy to pay the exorbitant price of having it shipped to me. I love watching the YouTube videos of a Saint Bernard bringing some St. Bruno to a stranded piper. Great commercials!! Great tobacco as well!!

4 people found this review helpful.

Mesh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mesh (50)
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

St Bruno can still be found sold in local shops in the UK, although not as widely these days as before, at least in London. I've noticed that my local Tesco (which used to sell both the ready rubbed and flake versions until around 2010) no longer stocks any pipe tobacco at all, and nor does the Sainsbury's nearby. My local newsagent stocked St Bruno and Condor for years, but no more. As recently as a couple of years ago, it was common to see three or four pipe tobacco brands sitting behind a supermarket tobbacco counter. Things have changed, and rather suddenly.

But yes, as others have mentioned, this is a superb tobacco. Less perfumey and nicotine-rich than Condor, it nonetheless provides an extremely satisfying smoke and never fails to interest with its rich and dark qualities, which are balanced nicely with an array of lighter fruity notes.

It's unfortunate that a pouch of this old favourite is no longer only a short walk away.

4 people found this review helpful.

FiremanMick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
FiremanMick (11)
Medium to Strong Medium Full Tolerable

Smoking my way through the Macbaren Denmark produced incarnation of St Bruno.Excellent pouch packaging.For what was a very good over the counterish blend Macbaren have excelled themselves into making it into a top shelf blend.Cut is a bit finer with no twigs rangy bits.Moisture just right.Very easy to light and keeps lit.There was always a harshness to the flavour when coming back to a half smoked bowl.This has now gone.More subtle richness all through the bowl.Always noted by me was wastage towards end of bowl with wet gloop.This reincarnation truly smoke all the way through leaving a ' a fine white ash'Absolutely top smoke.

Pipe Used: Peterson 307

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Sainsburys

Similar Blends: Some stronger G and H offerings.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (110)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Not as strong or tasty as the flake, but when the flake is not available, as it often is not unless you go to a real tobacconist, this will do the trick

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Tesco

Similar Blends: The Flake.

3 people found this review helpful.

Alfonso Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alfonso (3)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium Tolerable

Very good Virginia tobaccos, with floral aromas. The Virginias, however, are the dominant flavours, with the Kentucky asserting its character. It is strong, smokes real well and tastes just great. A must-try classic. Recommended.

3 people found this review helpful.

Harry Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Harry (13)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

As a young man, just leaving his teens, St. Bruno was the apex and quintessence of my first pipe smoking experiences. Together with Condor, Erinmore and Mellow Virginia, it was a staple of thousands across the land. And the TV adverts (yes, you could watch youthful men puffing away on their pipes accompanied by myriads of young ladies all admiring the unique aroma) only helped to reinforce the notion that a pipe was the way to go. Dutifully, I followed in its wake and S.B. was the first pipe tobacco I ever tried. 41 years later, it remains a joy to smoke, though latterly in flake form. Its unique taste, flavour and aroma still captivate me. The smell of unlit tobacco straight from the pouch, the feel of the shreds in the fingers and that heavy, sweet, fruity smell in my hands, still entice me on every occasion and I always get that wonderful anticipation that, each morning after waking up, I'm going to have a cracking first smoke of the day no matter what that day is going to bring. This might be described as a love affair with St. Bruno, and I think that you would probably be right. I smoke other tobaccos and there are some that I love mightily. I've had a tobacco renaissance of my own in the last twelve months and have bought and stored more blends than I ever did in the previous forty years of pipe smoking. But St. Bruno is the one I adore the most. Perhaps it is the memory of those youthful days as I remember fellow students or my tutors lighting up in college, the heavy, rich fug that descended in our seminar room when the tutor would fire up, great clouds of creamy smoke billowing like a volcano and as he deeply inhaled the stuff and with a flourish exhaled enthusiastically into the room. Nostalgia plays its part. For me, St. Bruno is comforting, dependable, engaging and utterly engrossing. Not until the cut shreds were increased in width in recent months did I contemplate giving up my beloved ready rubbed in favour of the flake. The smoke wasn't quite the same, the rubbing out (yes, I rubbed out the ready rubbed) proved to be hard work at keeping the tobacco in the bowl, lit and burning brightly and the taste just wasn't the same feel either. So, my years of plentiful delight have been tragically cut down and allegiances have been switched to the flake, an even better taste and enjoyment as I head for the fifth decade of my own particular pipe mania. There are many wonderful, encapsulating and quite enthralling tobaccos out there and I cannot wait to try some of them, but my simple, straightforward, adorable and faithful St. Bruno will be my daily companion throughout.

Pipe Used: Peterson, Falcon, Northern Briars, Neerup,

Age When Smoked: Fresh from a new pouch

Purchased From: Local tobacconist

Similar Blends: St. Bruno Flake.

3 people found this review helpful.

SteveH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteveH (35)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I tried this 14 months ago, when I came back to pipe-smoking after a long break, and wasn't very impressed then. I'm now trying it again, and find it very good. It's dry and smoky, with a hint of liquorice - which usually comes from Latakia, though this doesn't contain any. It seems to get stronger as the bowl progresses, though that may be because I'm smoking it as I type in a freestyle Dublin, and some people claim that Dublins, with their conical bowls, concentrate the flavour more and more as the smoke progresses. Some people have compared it to Condor Long Cut, and there is a similarity, though this is decidedly drier in taste. Very good - will become a regular OTC for me, along with Condor, though I'll stick with my online-bought favourites most of the time. Henwrench's review sums up my thoughts exactly - it's one to buy if I run out of online stuff.

[Edit] This stuff gets better with every smoke - I'm smoking it as I type in a meer, and I'd swear, if I didn't know, that it was a Latakia blend, and a pretty strong one at that. I'm a big Lat fan, so that's fine with me. It has definitely replaced Condor as my favourite OTC.

3 people found this review helpful.

CornCob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CornCob (94)
Medium to Strong Very Strong Medium to Full Pleasant

When i think of the characteristics of an English tobacco i think of St.Bruno, that's really all i can say on the subject. Like Captain Black is to America, St.Bruno is to the English in my mind. An English institution.

2 people found this review helpful.

renwardhoop Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
renwardhoop (106)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Here was a surprise. What I thought I had bought was St, Bruno's flake, but on closer inspection and (obviously) on pouch opening I discovered this was ready rubbed.

I wasn't disappointed, either. It's a great blend, and only a tobacco strand away from the mighty flake. Indeed, I found bits of what looked like flake in here. I also found some bits of what looked like a thin strip of wood (yes, really). It happens sometimes even in the best and most expensive blends (Davidoff's you dogs take note) you can get a lump or a stick in with the mixture.

In ye olde days, of course, you'd have sent this back to the manufacturer and received a chest of tobacco and a grovelling letter of apology. Alas, not any more.

There are only subtle differences between this and it's flake brother (sister?). One is that the flavour, that deep malty taste and aroma isn't quite as profound here as the flake and the taste tends to tail off towards the end of the bowl. Apart from that this is, as I said, a great blend, a little more convenient than the flake (especially if you are banished outside). A consistent and satisfying smoke for a Saturday night when there's only crap on the TV.

St. Bruno remains the best OTC blend that you can still get from UK shops (in my area anyway) and even those are disappearing like a extinct animal from those nasty little metal-doored cabinets they hide their tobacco away in these days. Even good ol' Morrisons big supermarket doesn't sell ANY pipe tobacco at all now.

So, if you see this or the flake just grab it and cellar it if you must. I have a nasty feeling the death bell is being rung on OTC's UK.

Pipe Used: All of them briars and meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Spar shop, Upton, Worcestershire

Similar Blends: The flake. Condor green..

1 person found this review helpful.

Gordon Tavistock Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gordon Tavistock (12)
Medium Strong Full Strong

The underlying tobaccos in this blend are of good quality and have a very pleasant taste. The Virginia's are sweet and with a comforting bready note. The Kentucky – I assume it is the Kentucky in the blend that does this – provides a toasty body with notes of burnt wood (if you think campfire then that's not what I mean; think rather in the direction of roasted coffee beans or burnt toast). Nice creamy smoke that is thick enough to provide a complete visual disguise.

However, I can't get around to the particular flavour added to this blend, and that's why I halfway through my second bowl officially gave up St. Bruno and chucked the contents of my pipe into the cup of cold cappuccino in front of me. The flavour is soapy, like a Lakeland. For the record, I do like several Lakelands and Ennerdale Flake is one that I like a lot. Ironically, St.B reminds me a lot of EF, only that I instantly enjoyed the topping of EF, while can't get around to the topping of St.B. To me, the topping of St.B reminds me of chemical cleaning detergents, while the EF topping... somehow does the trick for me!

Due to the pleasantness of the leaf itself, I can't really blame my dislike of this blend on anything else than lack of personal preference for the topping. That's why I allow it two stars, although my personal smoking experience hardly deserves half a star. The fact that I can appreciate the different dimensions of the tobacco flavours despite the (to my palate) nasty topping, really means that this is quality tobacco. By all means, give it a go – some people love the stuff – and especially if you enjoy EF.

Pipe Used: Cob (the St. Bruno ghost is not a friendly one)

Age When Smoked: Fresh pouch

Purchased From: Some off licence news agent in East London.

Similar Blends: Ennerdale Flake (in principal at least, but oh so different to my palate) and Vanish Oxi Action..

1 person found this review helpful.

MarkTheLad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MarkTheLad (29)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I love the ready rubbed and tin both. The RR is more convenient though and not that different from the tinned version. I like to take St. Bruno with me when I travel because it's dependable, I get a good smoke every time. It is slightly floral, but not in the same way that most Lakeland type blends are. One of the things I love about this tobacco, is how well balanced it is. There is no flavor that overpowers another and I pretty much taste them all equally. It is nutty, earthy, creamy, slightly floral and a little sweet. British tobacco's all tend to be more hearty, meaty and earthy, this is no exception. The RR is ready to smoke right out of the pouch and I find the moisture content to be about right. This is a go-to smoke for me.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: Recently purchased

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (93)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This review is in regard to both the Flake and the Ready Rubbed versions of St. Bruno as they taste identical to me.

I discovered Condor before St. Bruno even came to our side of the pond (U.S.) and I fell head over heals for the stuff, hard and fast! When I finally got around to trying St. Bruno Flake & Ready Rubbed I didn't think much of it, I thought it tasted like a light, weak version of the almighty Condor. Over a period of about a year I kept going back to St. Bruno to check up on it so to speak and I was always left feeling good knowing that Condor will always be my go to.... then something happened.... maybe I got a little softer in my older age but damnit if St. Bruno ain't just the perfect smoke. It's got dark Virginia's to add depth, a little Dark Fired for complexity and spice and the subtle top dressing is just enough to keep things interesting with it's complex fruity/floral components that work synergistically to weave a beautiful tapestry that I consider an absolute masterpiece. As with anything of course you'll hear about the glory days of yesteryear and how it's just a shell of it's former self but hell, it's one of the best tobacco blends I've ever gotten my hands (palate) on so Mac Baren is doing something right. I find that the top flavors come out a little better in a tall and narrow bowl and I actually prefer this one right out of the tin/pouch as it seems to smoke just fine with the moisture level it's packed with, which is odd for me cause I usually prefer to air out my tobacco until it's just short of crispy. This one has plenty of nicotine to satisfy the addict and enough to give the novice a nice warm buzz, it's not too over the top in any shape or form and I now consider this one my holy grail all day smoke. I'll always have a place in my heart for Condor but I prefer to use that more as a treat than an all day smoke. Yes there are a lot of similarities between this and Condor which one fits your fancy? Only you can decide but I would say they're both worth trying at least once and if you're anything like me you just might find a place for both in your rotation.

ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL (both RR and Flake cuts)

Pipe Used: Stanwell, Neerup, Gamboni

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Gallaher Limited - Condor Ready Rubbed (Green).

1 person found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1643)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Mac Baren - St. Bruno Ready Rubbed.

When I first started piping, around twenty years ago, this was the blend I started with; it's pretty ubiquitous here in the U.K. And it's fair to say it's remained one of my favourites ever since. I had previously posted a review on here for it, but at the time had not long been discharged from hospital because of a head injury, ergo, it wasn't too articulate a review! So I decided to delete, and re-write my thoughts on this wonderful blend.

The ready rubbed mixture doesn't contain any pieces that still qualify as being 'broken flakes', there's a few coarse ribbons, but nothing in need of further rubbing. There are one or two twigs though, they need throwing out! The colour's prominently dark brown, with just a few lighter/very dark specks. The aroma's slightly floral, and it's perfectly moist.

It lights up easily, and gives (in my opinion) a brilliant smoke. There is an easily detectable added flavour, but it doesn't smother the tobaccos'. With the topping, I get mainly a floral/citrus taste; the citrus takes some time to appear, at first it's only the flowery side. I'm nonplussed as to exactly what fruits have been used, because I can only pick out citrus from the fruit selection. There's not much to be said about how the tobacco tastes; it seems fairly basic, so doesn't warrant many words. I find the nicotine medium, and the room-note's pleasant.

This is a blend that never fails to satisfy me!

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Butz Choquin Calabash Super Junior

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Co-op

1 person found this review helpful.

amlu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
amlu (1)
Strong Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

2 months pipe smoker here. Tried various "nice" brands before. Mostly GH and SG flakes. Found pipe smoking very nice. Got to order my tobacco online as there is no decent shops around. Recently found myself unable to order online in time, so went to local asda shop and picked up a packet of St Bruno. After reading previous reviews I was expecting something quite reasonable. People been comparing it to Ennerdale and thats one of my favorities. Got a packet and it smells same as blue drum rolling tobacco. (remember that from my rollie days) Smoking - just a big nicotine hit and a foul smell in the mouth. Plus some sore spots in my mouth too. Not nice at all. Picked up my jacket next day after a evening with a pipe (i smoke on a patio outside) and it stank of old ashtray full of cigarette butts. With everything I tried before its never been like that. Maybe i haven’t tried a truly horrible stuff before.

I like to have a bit of nicotine hit with my morning coffee and pipe, but come on, it supposed to be a pleasure, not a disgusting time.

I thought may be something wrong with my falcon pipe, my smell sense or something, went to the big city today and purchased a tin of MacBaren vanilla flake, loaded up the pipe, fired up, very nice as expected.

remaining St bruno will stay in an emergency jar to be touched only when nothing else is available....

Pipe Used: Falcon

Purchased From: over the counter ASDA

1 person found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (129)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant

It is not very often that you compel yourself to put everything into brackets and suspend judgement so that you can concentrate in one single blend. Yes, this tobacco is all that good: it really rocks. I have the habit to choose and pick this or that tobacco depending on how I feel, what time of the day, etc., but after coming across St Bruno, I am only interested in one thing. I have been exploring this tobacco for a week now and I still feel like I haven't had enough. The virginia content is quite nice and has a grassy sweetness to it, but the burley tobacco is simply gorgeous. Words that come to mind are earthy, nutty or cured. It has a very pleasant full-bodied floral dimension to it that wants to be smoked up close. I don't see much of a difference here with its flake form, but its broken flake appearance makes it easier to pack up your bowl on the go. Also, despite the fact St. Bruno has been labelled as an "aromatic tobacco," I don't quite see it that way. For one thing, the Lakeland casing is not very pronounced and its flavour is quite consistent (does not wane) throughout the entire bowl. That is to say I like this tobacco for what it is (a nice VaBur), and not so more for its casing or added flavour, which is minimal. This tobacco will definitely be my go-to option when all I want is to enjoy an everyday's blend.

Purchased From: Tesco

1 person found this review helpful.

SamH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SamH (31)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My default 'out shopping and feel like buying tobacco' purchase. Whilst occasionally I buy Condor for a change and prefer the flake version (no longer around in British supermarkets), this is a very good standby. Not everyone likes St Bruno, but I do. Essentially this is (to me) like a milder, slightly dryer version of the flake. A good thing to know is waiting for you. Update October 2015: I hae been flirting again with Condor and I have to say that after my initial pleasure in the change being a treat, and yes it burns and smokes nicely, I am definately, decidedly and completely keeping St Bruno as my staple tobacco. I admit that the ready rubbed (can get easily in Tesco etc) is not quite the same as the flake (Condor is pretty much equal RR & Long Cut really) but it is an old friend and I can't forget it. Go to staple when Flake is hard to come by.

Pipe Used: Mixture of straight billiards

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Sainsburys

Similar Blends: St Bruno Flake! (albeit different as well)..

1 person found this review helpful.

Christrom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Christrom (34)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Pleasant

Funny thing - when I got into pipe smoking I bought a packet of this, had a quick smoke of it and then thought, well there is a wasted tenner. I threw it into the bottom of the drawer and forgot about it.

6 months later I find it and out of curiosity opened the packet to find that it was still in very good nick, not dried out at all. I loaded my pipe and smoked it and since then I've had bowl after bowl of the stuff.

I don't know why I initially didn't like it - perhaps because I wasn't any good at smoking a pipe, but this stuff is as close to perfect as you could get. Plenty of flavour, but not too much, making this a very dependable everyday smoke. Very earthy taste, another reviewer likened it to malt loaf which I agree with. A little flowery without taking away from the tobacco, burns cool and slow.

This is perfection. Sheer perfection. The only downside for me is that it doesn't have that unique aura to it: it is well known, not esoteric. But so what? It deserves its popularity! WOW!

Pipe Used: estate billiard pipe

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: Some godforsaken supermarket

1 person found this review helpful.

ScannerDarkly7 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ScannerDarkly7 (10)
Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

As I write this, I am smoking a bowl of the Ready Rubbed version in a MM 'Legend' corn cob. It comes quite wet, but is smokable [keep in mind I've had a wet smoke and a dry one from this], but I've dried this out quite a bit, which makes little difference in taste, just easier to keep lit. Like many who live in the UK, I did not pick this up out of necessity, but out of sheer curiosity, and since I had already tried Condor [which one can only compare, as per OTC blends], I felt I've need to give the other OTC tobacco a shot. St Bruno is to old leather as Condor is to soap; unfortunately, both of those remain dominantly potent in either tobacco, respectively.

This tobacco, I find very strong, and I have a lot of Dunhill and Samuel Gawith English blends, but this is stronger than either. I don't know if it's a good thing, but it's pouch note is certainly akin to its smoke more so than any other tobacco I've tried. Whilst the old leather taste/aroma is present, it becomes rather mellow and allows for a spicy smokey oak to come through [but far too rarely], once you get over the strength. Even after drying out, I did have a little trouble keeping it lit.

There were moments in my bowl, where I did come close to enjoying a nice mellow, oaky smoke, but the overwhelming peppery spice came through far too much. That pepperyness is too harsh. Half way through the bowl, I actually thought it was finished and I was smoking ash! Recommended you scrape off layers of ash just to get back to tolerable smoke so you can finish a bowl. Any bowlful of tobacco that makes me think it's far too uncomfortable to smoke without a filter does not get a thumbsup from me -- especially when it's always been advertised as mellow -- for those younger like me, check out the old St Bruno adverts on YouTube!

Like Condor [sorry to keep mentioning it so much], I can see _why_ people enjoy this, and I think it's certainly worth trying, as it's very distinctive [not necessarily a positive]. I think the blend is quite simple, no complexity at all.

I would not recommend this tobacco, as I personally did not enjoy it. However, I would recommend at least trying to due to its availability if you are curious. Perhaps you're able to find the better of the flavours I mentioned I rarely experienced. Talking of experience, this is a blend I'd say is more likely to be enjoyed by the experienced pipe smokers... such as ex-MP Tony Benn, who probably smoke nothing else.

It claims to be a virginia-based tobacco. I'd like to know more, but I don't think its contents really account for anything over experience/taste.

It's interesting how I see a lot of people using St Bruno as a blending tobacco e.g. "Ogden's Blend": 50/50 St Bruno/Gold Block. Perhaps there is a foundation of something to build on here. Perhaps there's flavours you could build upon, or try and simmer the potency. Or perhaps people are trying to put to use 50g of something they'd rather not put in the bin!

I'd suggest using it to blend yourself some Kinnikinnick -- a Native American smoking product, typically made of mixture of various leaves or barks with other plant materials.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Legend Corn Cob

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Sainsbury's OTC

1 person found this review helpful.

WillBrown Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillBrown (108)
Medium to Strong Strong Full Tolerable

I recently picked up a sealed pouch of this blend while on vacation in Spain. I was really excited to see it. I used to smoke the tinned flake version of this back in the early 90's. Remarkably, the taste is exactly as I remembered, it was like being thrown back in time. I can't believe this is no longer available in the USA, it should be, it's the single best OTC tobacco out there right now. Honestly, I'd wish they'd sell this in a tin like they used to, maybe the blend would get more respect. The taste is very unique—flowery is how I'd put it. It borders on being too strong for me, the nicotine content is on the high end, and I usually shy away from strong blends, but, this is one I'd like to keep around, if I could. It's a great smoke if you're looking for a change of pace. Recommended.

Pipe Used: Jeantet Fantasy

Age When Smoked: ?

Purchased From: A Tobak in Barcelona, Spain

1 person found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (266)
Strong Very Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Unsurprisingly similar to the Flake, although the topping flavor is a bit more pronounced for me in this version. For further details, see my previous review for the Flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

TW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TW (34)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

St Bruno ready-rubbed's been around for a very long time. It's a classic example of an English pipe tobacco from before "English" meant "Latakia/Balkan". It's main competitor used to be (green pouched) Condor, and it seemed a general rule that if you liked one you really didn't like the other.

Now blended/produced by Orlik (I think) for Imperial Tobacco it seems to have survived the move to Scandanavia pretty well, with the basic blend, flavour and quality of the leaf used left alone.

It's clearly a Virginia/Kentucky blend, but the tobaccos are well cured and almost black. It's cut thicker than it used to be thanks to EU regulations, and as presented may need a bit of rubbing out (the old thinner cut rarely did). The burn rate may be a bit slower as a result, but it's still very forgiving about moisture level and doesn't seem loaded with humectants.

"Forgiving" might be the best overall description of St Bruno. There's hardly any bite, though it can burn a bit wet. It's not harsh and requires few relights. Perhaps worth mentioning that it's meant to be smoked old-fashioned British style without much if any drying out. Dried out too much it has less flavour, burns hotter and starts to bite.

In the pipe,as far as I can tell it tastes pretty much as it always did - medium in flavour, but with a quite sweet initially meaty fullness to it and a hint of spiciness. There's a hint of plummy fruitiness on first light, that disipates fairly quickly. Further down the bowl the Kentucky begins to make itself felt with a finish that's quite dry in tase and a little nutty.

There is a bit of flavouring, but it's a gentle, natural British style one intended to compliment the tobacco, rather than overwhelm the tobacco with something quite different like US or Danish-style aromatics. The topping/casing is nothing like the perfumey Lakeland "soap" floral one either, it's more a gentle deep fruity plum/raisin kind of thing. Doesn't ghost pipes either, at least as far as I can tell. It's the classic smell of British pipe smoking.

Overall, it's still a good tobacco and recommended, especially as it's often available at supermarkets in the UK. A classic of it's kind. Oh, and it's Tony Benn's regular tobacco and has been for many years which must say something.

By the way, the flake is very similar, but perhaps a bit stronger and with a bit more depth to it, but that might just be down to the different preparation. Certainly they were supposed to be the same tobacco, with the ready rubbed simply being pre-rubbed out for convenience.

1 person found this review helpful.

who broke my clay pipe? Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
who broke my clay pipe? (61)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

One of the first over the counter baccies i tried when i first bought my Peterson rustic bent apple 303 system pipe with the moisture trap resevoir in the stem.

Basically St Bruno is a very peaty full bodied do it all smoke. I really like St Bruno because its a brand thats been around for as long as i can remember and i rememeber all the adverts in the cinema and tv as a kid,and its a brand you can guarantee to almost find anywhere.

Initially i had some difficulty getting to grips with this smoke because it is quite a wet smoke strait out of the pouch . Over using my only pipe at the time without any rotation tarred my initial judgement. But experience has changed my tastes and techniques and i have revisited these OTCs again of which some of them are as good as anything that is harder to find.

50g Pouch bought at sainsbury's supermarket and guaranteed to be available at any tobacco counter that actually sells any pipe tobacco at all.

Appearance in the pouch:Rubbed flake but distinctly different from the "St Bruno flake" version.

Buttery, slight sour fruit plum or apricot/dried fruit pouch note.

A slow and cool smoke,long lasting actually and no bite. Quite a buttery thick mouth feel with a slight "wrights" brand "coal tar soap" leathery taste factor which is pleasant.Soapy but not a kendal style lakeland essence as much,this tastes like its the tobacco rather than fortified.

Smokes well strait out of the pouch. Quite a moist tobacco and leaves a lot of tarry condensation in the moisture trap of my falcon pipe, and due to the large size hyperbowl i use to smoke this in the trap has to be wiped out a few times during the smoking session or drown. But:for its prone wetness in the heel during a smoke ,it takes light like a cooperative champ anyway and it burns fine all the way down no problem. Its a cooperative smoke although a wettish one for a conventional briar maybe, but in a falcon system the moisture trap takes care of wet heel syndrome and prevents bogged briar or bad odour ever occuring due to lack of pipe resting time. I actually like it more without drying because it produces a thicker smoother smoke.

More on taste:a buttery virginia brown/golden sugar taste,malt loaf earthyness-more of an earthy smoke than a smokey smoke. On top of the virginia is perhaps a mellow brown cavendish/sweet heavy kentucky here. Some sweet raw carrot-wet acrylic paint(in a nice way like when opening a fesh tin of wall emulsion that smells almost eddible). Very natural full tobacco's and not airy at all;here is a full dense delivery,very round and heavy creamy,slight treacle molasis factor,,faint nutmeg-ish spice of the kentucky.

Easily an alldayer of the stronger type-would go well with a cream tea chaser or coffee and bailey's irish cream liqueur. Room note is pleasant enough for me but revisiting the room later it can smell a bit leather shoeish and ammoniac. Gets stronger down the bowl and the kentucky kicks in more-The dried fruit factor is felt more than it is directly tasted and is more like eating dates than figs actually-yes;definately dried dates and rich also.The mouth feel at the bottom also tastes quite reminicent of cake mixture for rock cakes or cookie dough prior to baking like when liking the mixing spoon.Imagine date and walnut cake minus the actual walnuts for a date cake and you will get my drift.

According to that ogdens sales rep which everybody seems to know like the story of the never killing the albatros;i will try mixing this with 50/50 with "Gold Block" by the same brand.

Years ago @7-8 i thought this was a fairly mediocre smoke,but having tried it again in system pipes i can totally give it a 4 star,so easy to smoke i look forward to coming home from work and loading a fatty bowl of this.The fact that its easy available and a good as anything which is harder to aquire is worth an extra star itself. I am on my second recently purchased pouch and intend to keep some handy.

1 person found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (227)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I requested the addition of the EA Carey UK match for St. Bruno Ready Rubbed to be placed in the data base - seemed to have glitched, however, so I am placing the review here and will correct accordingly.

I recently read in an online pipe smoking forum that EA Carey UK made a match for this tobacco. I found their web site and ordered a pouch (along with 3 other blends to be reviewed later). Not only was I able to order with a credit card, but I received my order in 10 days time. Simply first rate service! It came packaged in a 50g pouch that was labeled "Carey's Bruno Special." The pouch aroma was heavenly. There was the smell of maple, a hint of vanilla, an an undetermined fruit essence. It came as a Cavendish style mix - no sign of flakes rubbed out as found in the style of Mac Baren. I packed it in a cutty nose warmer that I use for new blends and it took to the match readily. Now I have to say that I have never had the original St. Bruno in any of its available forms, but if this is a true match, I have been missing something! This is no aromatic in the American sense. It is sweet tasting, although it may be a bit cloying for some as it was quite sweet. Although it managed to remind you that you were smoking tobacco and not candy, I would have preferred more in tobacco flavor and less of the sweetness. 3 P's is far superior in that respect. It is not floral or Lakeland-like in the pouch nor in the smoke. While discerning its sweetness/Virginia profile, I found it similar to Erinmore Flake without the Erinmore flavor (apricot and prune), but Erinmore retained more of its tobacco presence - a good thing for me. It smoked cool and dry to the heal without the slightest nip. It reminded me of Peterson's 3 P's (which happens to be a favorite of mine), not quite as strong in nicotine or tobacco flavor. In some ways, it reminded me of many Danish-style aromatics I used to smoke in my early days of pipe smoking that could be had from the Tinderbox and the likes., but way sweeter. I urge anyone that has wanted to try St. Bruno but has had difficulty locating some (USA especially), to visit EA Carey at and go from there. They have blends that are not available from their American store, and not overly priced either. Although a lot sweeter than I would have liked, I am very satisfied with this tobacco and do recommend it.

UPDATE 2-1-12: This review has now been placed under Carey's Bruno Special

1 person found this review helpful.

henwrench Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
henwrench (16)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

Bought some on the line of thinking 'if all else fails, at least I can grab some of this stuff from practically any newsagents'. Was a bit scared, worried that it would taste and smell like dung. Or roadkill. Packed a bowl of my wee Dr Plumb Lightweight. Got her fired up easily enough. Sat and chugged away for 15 minutes. While I wouldn't smoke this all the time however it certainly gets a 'Somewhat Recommended' because 'if all else fails....'.

1 person found this review helpful.

Jakob Kiilerich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jakob Kiilerich (120)
Strong Mild to Medium Full Tolerable to Strong

St. Bruno Flake in ready rubbed version.

Just as fantastic - no really: OUTSTANDING!!!!!!

Jakob Kiilerich, Denmark.

1 person found this review helpful.

Withnail Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Withnail (16)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, even smokers who are not lucky enough to live near a good high street tobacconist, can choose from a huge range of tobacco.

This is available from most cigarette retailers in supermarkets etc and is actually a lot nicer than I was expecting. I'd class this as a "no frills everyday smoke" with a nice solid flavour and pleasing smoke.

My one complaint. As pipe tobacco is not as widely smoked as it once was, I have no idea how long this pouch had been sitting on the shop shelf before I came alone and bought it. It was absolutely bone dry when I opened the packet. It wasn't too difficult to re-hydrate over a couple of days and I was able to smoke it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Alim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alim (3)
Mild Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

UPDATE (15/06/2011): St Bruno Flake has been changed so it's no longer super-fine but very much thicker (1.5mm). The new batches all come in this thickness. There is no marking on the packet to indicate the change or the reason for it. It's a different product now, and the flavour is a bit unevenly distributed throughout the tobacco. It rubs out to a substance just like the Ready Rubbed.

I usually smoke St Bruno Flake but this is being phased out in the UK because of new EU laws (pipe tobacco now has to have a minimum 1.5mm width), so I was forced to buy the Ready Rubbed as that's all the (supermarket) tobacconist had. The flavour of this one is not up to the St Bruno Flake, and it burns cooler and tastes milder. Having said that, it's perfectly acceptable and does have taste somewhat characteristic of St Bruno, and a reasonable amount of nicotine. However it's not worth really seeking out this ready-rubbed version as you won't get the famed St Bruno experience from it. The room note is fine but it has less subtleties in it that the Flake.

Interestingly, I didn't find it too moist to smoke right out of the packet. The Flake does benefit from being left out to dry a little, and improves a bit after a few months of being kept in a jar. This one probably is as good as it's going to get, straight out of the packet. I thought this one had a very slight vanilla note too (at first it did, then it vanished), so perhaps the mixture/formula has been changed slightly. Overall it's enjoyable and worth smoking, but I would prefer the flake again.

Even though it's ready-rubbed, it's somewhat gummed together sometimes and benefits from a little further rubbing. However the convenience of this is offset by the loss of the experience of rubbing the Flake, which becomes springy and fluffy due to its extremely thin cut. Although unlike the Flake, there will not be a dearth of crumbs near the bottom of the supply when it's running out.

Quite good, not at all bad and you could get a lot worse tobaccos than this. But the Flake has the edge over this one.

1 person found this review helpful.

Billy777 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Billy777 (17)
Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

A good everyday tobacco. The last time I was home in the UK I bought a 25g pouch - yes it's sold in that size of pouch too - and thoroughly enjoyed every bowlful. The fact that you can get it in almost any newsagent (drugstore) is a bonus too.

1 person found this review helpful.

PSLion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PSLion (2)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This was the second OTC tobacco I tried. My house mate was the first person I'd seen smoke St. Bruno while I was playing around with various Kendal blends. His pouch was old, dry, and stank. This put me off trying it for a good many years. Sundays, however, have a trend of being the day I try new OTC tobaccos due to my local tobacconist being closed that day. My normal at the time OTC, Condor Original, was out of stock and only 50g pouches of St. Bruno remained on the shelf. I decided it was better to have something than walk away empty handed, so I took a chance and tried it.

I'm glad I did. I remember waiting for the punch in the face I'd come to expect from a new pouch of Condor Ready Rubbed, but it never came. Instead, I was led by the hand to a calm river in a small forest whereupon I was invited to relax for a while. This, of course, being a metaphor. There was no harshness, no bite, no rancid flavour, the tobacco wasn't too moist or too dry, and it certainly didn't try to attack me. Instead, it just filled my face with a polite, yet exceedingly pleasant, flavour that almost felt like it didn't want to be overbearing but at the same time it wanted me to experience -something-. I wasn't entirely sure what the something was, though. It certainly wasn't soap, and I was grateful for that. It's the only new tobacco I have enjoyed so much that I had a second bowl only a few minutes after finishing the first (with a different pipe, of course). St. Bruno is certainly a multi-pipe tobacco and unlike Condor Original Ready Rubbed, there should be no ghost of St. Bruno left in the pipe afterwards.

I still don't know what that special something is. I doubt I ever will. The journey to discover it is an enjoyable one, though, as St. Bruno has now become my any-time-every-day tobacco. There's enough strength to keep me satisfied, and pleasing enough to allow me to smoke it around half-a-dozen times a day at least, often more. Even my non-smoking house mates aren't offended by it, although the one who smoked it originally now rather smugly claims me got me in to it in the first place. I would recommend St. Bruno to others. Maybe not as a first tobacco, but certainly as an enjoyable regular smoke once you've found your feet or a fall-back if a favoured tobacco is not available.

Edit: Jan 2016: Something has changed and utterly made me rethink the previous score and review. I don't know if my tastes have changed, or if there was a change in how St. Bruno has been produced but recently it has become a very bitter, hot, and unpleasant smoke. The rub has been hardly rubbed at all, with some pouches almost being flake-like. This mostly affected the 25g pouch, but the 50g pouches weren't spared the same fate in terms of taste. It has gone from my main tobacco I smoked daily to me actively avoiding it. It still has a nice room note, however. So, sadly, I have had to reduce the review to a single star of non-recommendation.

1 person found this review helpful.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (187)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable to Strong

Compared to the flake version, St. Bruno RR seems to me just a bit milder in the flavour dept.; I also find RR a tad "juicier".

A cool, "meaty" and satiating smoke: I'm just satisfied with it. For sure, it would be in my steady rotation if just were available in Italy... nevertheless, the flake wins the match!

Now: the so-called Ogden Mixture of old (Gold Block/St. Bruno 50/50). Very nice combination, indeed ! Gold Block properties smooth down the hints of soapiness of its big-brother and adds some sweetness/grassiness. Burns easy and cool, but needs a slow smoking pace to avoid tongue bite. The strength is toned down the right measure to make Ogden Mix perfect as all-day blend for whose liking a medium blend in the English Tradition.

Sorry for my off-topic, but I could not resist to tell just a word after Big-Chris-UK's interesting story (see Gold Block) and Dr. Dyson's

1 person found this review helpful.

Susanna Hoffs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Susanna Hoffs (74)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Tolerable

It is what it is...

A long standing British supermarket blend. If sipped, it's a steady smoke that edges towards a full flavour.

Not much more to say, other than the old TV ads with the St Bruno dog were entertaining.

I guess there's a reason it's been around for so long. Be careful though, a lot of the time if you are going to buy it OTC, ask the person how long it's been there, as often it's been there a while and can be dry..

Readily available in almost every newsagents up and down Britain. I guess this is the UK's 'Prince Albert'

1 person found this review helpful.

meerkat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
meerkat (64)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

This tobacco is (to my tastebuds, at least) a (slightly) poor relation to the flake variety. It is ostensibly the same as the flake but lacks a bit of the strength and (a tiny, tiny bit of the) taste.

It is still a very good tobacco and anyone who really hates rubbing out flakes will do well with this one. I smoke it when the flake is unavailable and I don't feel cheated but in a back to back comparison the flake just has the edge.

I don't know if it's because the tobacco stays fresher in a flake or if (Heaven forefend) the blenders take the opportunity to sneak something else into the ready rubbed or maybe it's psychosomatic.

Anyroad, this is a great tobacco which doesn't earn my top rating purely so that I can draw a distinction between it and my preferred version. Unfair? Possibly.

It's still a British institution.

You should still buy it, smoke it and love it.

1 person found this review helpful.

DEN-C1956 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DEN-C1956 (32)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

mmmmmmm,ST BRUNO...yes....the second best pipe tobacco you can buy at the newsagent,i must say that i do like this pipe tobacco a great deal...burns well..and tastes very nice..a little to finely cut if you ask me,but having said that its easy to pack the pipe,never had any stalks in the tins/pouches that i maybe im lucky..i remember the tv ads...the young chap walking down the road with lots of young woman trailing behind him,it always made me laugh,but its an honest pipe tobacco and easy to get on with,if 'condor'was not on the shelve at the newsagent i would always buy a tin/pouch of ST BRUNO.yes..a good pipe to enjoy anytime...ok time for a review i think, after buying other brands of tobacco i came back to ST bruno wow..was i dissapointed the cut of the tobacco is now more like branch twigs and putting the tobacco in the pipe is not so easy now,its far to thickly cut (EU regs again) still smoked ok..but due to the thicker cut..its hard i will not be buying this so much.

1 person found this review helpful.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (129)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Much of what I said in my review of St Bruno Flake applies also to the ready rubbed version. It's a dark, predominantly Virginia, tobacco with a full-bodied, fruity fragrance in the pouch and a strong, pleasant and instantly recognisable room note. It packs, lights and burns well. After a bland start, the flavour fills out and remains uniform all the way down the bowl. Sip it, or it'll bite your tongue and you'll miss the depth of flavour; it's also fairly strong in terms of nicotine content. There is a distinctive fruity/nutty/woody taste that defies description; there's a casing of some sort, but I don't know what it is. I can't detect any appreciable difference between the flake and ready-rubbed versions; though the ready- rubbed burns more quickly and hence is inclined to be hotter. Perhaps the flake is also a wee bit tastier or more full-bodied; but there's not much in it.

St Bruno in either of its forms is a worthwhile and satisfying smoke, though perhaps not one for the beginner. I find, incidentally, that DGT is very rewarding with St Bruno. If you come back to a partially smoked bowl, you find that the casing has gone and you're getting a very full and rich pure Virginia flavour.

St Bruno (perhaps jointly with Three Nuns) is in my view the best of the everyday 'supermarket' tobaccos. If you don't have a specialist tobacconist nearby or just want to walk to the corner shop for some baccy, St Bruno (either flake or ready rubbed) is about as good as you can do. Because it is packaged in a plastic pouch that might have sat on a supermarket shelf for weeks, it can be pretty dry when you buy it; but this is a common problem: a nuisance, but easy enough to remedy, when all's said and done. Good value for money; recommended.

Update, 26 March 2014: St Bruno Ready Rubbed is now the only tobacco available in my local B & M. Even Condor and Gold Block have gone the journey; there is, I'm told, no demand for them, though cigarettes are as popular as ever. That St B should be the sole survivor in a market the bottom of which seems to have fallen out says a lot for its quality/popularity, I guess.

Pipe Used: Various billiards and bulldogs

Age When Smoked: Usually straight from the shop

Purchased From: Local corner shop; St Bruno is readily available everywhere in the UK

1 person found this review helpful.

The Full English Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Full English (31)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

I'm broken boned and spewing blood, marooned on an arctic ice shelf in my turtleneck sweater after tumbling from the precipice of a glacier. With an icicle stuck up my arse, and my right arm idly swinging from an ice-pick, some 150 metres above me, I'm buggered. I'd also die for one last smoke to ease the pain, but my left hand is severely frostbitten. Cue the music - and a dopey, great St. Bernard Dog upon the horizon, lolloping to my aid and wheezing under the sheer weight of the biggest slab of St. Bruno RR you've never commercially seen. Evidently, it's been via the airport and had the sense to afford me some timely duty-free.

"Cancel the chopper. Paws or no paws, get that pipe filled and spark up!"

At least that's how the UK St. Bruno ads of the 80s would have us believe it, when I was a youngster... More or less. Nowadays, you have to walk to the newsagents and pay for the privilege. Meh.

Those were my overriding memories of St. Bruno, until the day I mistakenly bought flake to make rolling ciggies as a student. Now, as a pipe smoker, I procured a small pouch of RR to readdress the balance. Evidently, I wanted to hate it, not simply because of the my aforementioned naivety, but rather more because it's a commercial smoke in the UK, available in any two-bit local shop (sadly, we don't do drugstore blends in drugstores in England). And commercialized things, as I have attested to in the past (see my 'Clan' review), are objects of derision; to be avoided, in my experience.

However, unlike 'Clan', it's commercial shelf neighbour, aside of Condor, this is actually a rather pleasant smoke, if not the most exciting. It's pouch note seems to be a lot stronger than the smoke, with a 'meaty' (almost seasoned steak), robust body, moderate sourness, and the faintest hint of dried fruit sweetness. I certainly don't sense any of the soapiness that some have mentioned. It's thinly rubbed, compared to many, yet yields a decent moisture content. I didn't get the large helping of tobacco stem that some did in my 25g pouch.

First impressions are indicative of a strong tobacco, but St. Bruno is far from it; smooth and bite-less, with a mere hint of added flavouring, that I can't quite place. In smoking quality and coolness, it's akin to McQuaid Plug, albeit without the generous depth of flavour.

For me, it went some way to prove that I can walk down the road and buy generally good tobacco, without having to mail order from the internet, or travel to a bigger city. It's a middle-of-the-road, inoffensive smoke, with reasonable characteristics. It tastes ok, burns well after the first charring, and will see you through the whole day.

The "Patron Saint of Pipe Smokers" slogan from the 80s, seems to have been replaced with "A Pipe's Best Friend". I can't help wondering if that's largely to do with the evident inoffensiveness of this blend. Would I smoke it again? As a back- up option, when I'm clean out of everything better, yes. Would I recommend it to you? Yes. Is it the best commercially available pipe tobacco? I would think so.

For the record, the St. Bernard on the pack still looks under the weather. Perhaps that's due to the death of the high street tobacconist that we should all lament.

1 person found this review helpful.

garydobbs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
garydobbs (20)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Pleasant

This is my fave of the easily available brands. It's a very dark tobacco and seems to keep moist and pliable far longer than most of the other common makes. I find it smokes well and the taste is delicious.

NOTE: I have now been smoking a pipe for some six months and have tried numerous brands by mail order and from the supermarket. I must say from the easily available brands this is always my first choice. A brilliant tasty tobacco.

I am now in my second year of pipe smoking and I still enjoy this tobacco - it's rich taste certainly pleases me and I find its aroma delicious. Highly thought of by me.

And a year later this is still a fave for me. Though I must be honest and say that these days the tobacco seems a little moist and is best dried in the pipe for an hour before smoking. When you get it going the flavours and truly inspiring and long lasting.

Pipe Used: Big Ben

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: ASDA (Walmasrt gr

Similar Blends: ENGLISH BLEND.

1 person found this review helpful.

Contemplative Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Contemplative (22)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

This had been my staple for the last couple of years, before I bestirred myself to make the effort and look round the net for a greater variety than the very few proprietary brands on offer at most street outlets in the UK.

As I wait for a tin of J.J. Fox's Dorisco mixture to arrive (hopefully tomorrow), I am smoking St Bruno. The old rich, mellow, distinct flavour of this mix, perhaps the most up-front and distinctive flavour of any tobacco, is very evident, and very pleasing. If there is just one tobacco to be labelled 'pipe tobacco', then surely this is it, for the aroma is so strong, so pleasant, so deep, so well-known. Yet the note 'sounded', so to speak, becomes monotonous after a while, like that of any proprietary brand, though this to my mind is undoubtedly the best of that breed.

St Bruno lights extremely easily, burns evenly and slowly. I have never found any harshness taint the deep flavour which I experience. The tobacco mixes well with some others, and somewhere on this forum (maybe this thread), someone noted that, many years ago, a travelling tobacco salesman said that a 50/50 mix of St Bruno and Golden Virginia produced, in his opinion, just about the best pipe-smoking experience. I've tried that mix, and it ain't half bad (note to U.S. readers: that means it is very good). However, I still prefer St Bruno on its own.

It's nice to be smoking a pipeful of my old staple. It's always very satisfying. However, I have moved on, and other smoking experiences are the ones that now rock my boat. However, as top dog in the proprietaries, old faithful St Bruno deserves 4 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

neuron_md Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
neuron_md (13)
Strong Mild to Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A strong, rich- flavored tobacco. The room note is assertive and bold, yet pleasant. It smells like "real" tobacco (no artificial scents). The tobacco flavor "bursts in our mouth".

It has a strong nicotine content, and smoking a bowl in a small (Group 3) pipe made me feel woozy.

But it leaves you with a pleasant feeling and you're looking forward to the next bowl.

I can't smoke more than a bowl of this a day, though, because of its strength.

An end-of-the-day, after dinner smoke for me.

Totally satisfying!

1 person found this review helpful.

Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (102)
Strong Medium Full Tolerable

St Bruno Flake was a staple smoke for me until export to Canada was halted a few years ago. Since then I have smoked the pouches of RR I stockpiled regularly but conservatively. It is remarkably similar to the Flake offering, albeit slightly less strong. Nothing satisfies like St Bruno and it is a pity it can now only be purchased in Europe. I will continue to keep it on hand until the law dictates other wise. When that happens, I shall purchase the recipe from Imperial, move to China and smoke in peace.

1 person found this review helpful.

poupehan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
poupehan (23)
Strong None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

It has been stated that the ready rubbed and the flake version would be similar. I'm not sure about that. 50g pouches mention odgen's of liverpool and a local adress near Antwerp, so maybe I could be smoking an export product and not the real (UK) thing (?).

St Bruno RR is a rather finely rubbed dark brown tobacco. I believe it is essentialy matured VA and I detect no casing. No citrussy bergamot, no soapyness, none of that stuff, just straight tobacco. In my experience it comes a bit too moist for ideal results. It is better when dried out a little. The moistness may result in a steamy smoke and a tendency for the tobacco to become compact and clog. In ideal (moisture) conditions, this is a nice cool smoking, non-gurgling, non-biting smoke. I don't remember to ever have been bitten, even when smoking steamier pipes. The taste is very mild and sublte, and it is best to allocate a pipe only to st Bruno because the mild taste can quickly be overpowered by ghoshts of previous smokes. The taste stays in the natural tobacco woody/nutty register and has a bitter quality. Not the obnoxious bitternes that makes for the bad name of burley - more the "good bitterness" sought after in beer- the association with guinnes comes spontaneously to mind. The sidestream smoke is agreable and the room note is sweeter than the smoke and not too offensive. St Bruno is strong in the nicotine dept. but remains civilized.

I realy like this tobacco and it is in my regular rotation; I hope that the flake will available (again) in the near future. Highly Recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
Strong Mild Medium Tolerable

I have smoked the flake version of St Bruno out of the tin off and on with enjoyment. The ready rubbed version seems to have a different character. It makes me queasy. Is some of the taste sprayed on?

The noble hound on the tin and the pouch - isn't he supposed to be carrying a much needed life-saving dram of something potable?

1 person found this review helpful.

canvas Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
canvas (135)
Strong Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This was a brand that seemed to pop up a lot whenever I shop online for tobacco. I was kind of curious, what made this pouch blend more pricey (as I often relate a pouch to the cheaper cuts). Well, this was the first time I've opened a pouch blend that didn't seem cheap on quality. You get a nice meaty ribbon cut that is moist and will burn for days. The nicotine packs a wallop and has plenty of Virginia grass taste.

It has a very mild sweetness when smoked and hint of citrus before being lit. To be honest though, I felt a bit mislead thinking of this as an aromatic, as there was not much added flavor I could detect once the lighter got it burning.

This is not something in my wheelhouse, so for me it is a pass, but I would suggest all you Virginia smokers give it a light... I think you will be pleased.

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thesmoggypipester Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thesmoggypipester (52)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Well I decided to give St bruno a go again after I seen it is now made by mac baren.

Last packet I got the casing was overwhelming, and as soon as I delved a little deeper I could see why very easily. The packet was filled with twigs and God knows what, good tactic by its then maker, imperial, buckets of casing to try and disguise a poor quality tobacco.

Anyways opening the packet today, and what a pleasant surprise.

To me the casing is toned back Co siderably to allow some really nice quality tobacco scents out. The smokiness of the kentucky, the nice tart citrus of the virginia and then the typical St bruno flavour. I still can't pin point it exactly, but it has an almost vinegar like acidity to it, with a little sweetness. And even better the tobacco is actually tobacco and not the contents of the forrest floor.

Moisture is OK, it's usable from the pouch but I don't think a little dry time would do much harm.

Smoking the tobacco flavours ring out with the underscore of the famous St bruno flavour. It's actually a decent tobacco again, and one I enjoyed, would I have again, sure thing, Mac baren have really turned it around as I feel if it was still in the hands of imperial, with its dwindling quality it would of eventually quietly slipped away.

All in a solid 3 stars from me and welcome back St bruno.

Pipe Used: Falcon

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Pleasant

For a pouch "over the counter" type tobacco ( more European style than American) ,this has got to be one of the best. It's got a slight "Winey" flavor that works very well as it doesn't overpower. The tobacco itself is a Virginia/ Kentucky combo ( and maybe some Mac Baren's Cavendish ?), that packs a punch, and is well done. Now, will I reorder this , well probably not , just doesn't have the complexity. But I will throw this in the cars glove box with the old pouch of Carter hall and Sir Walter for emergencies .

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: new

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lazarus77 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lazarus77 (87)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Went to town and forgot my tobacco at home.Shame. Drug store had only this blend for sale. Happy that forgot my tobacco at home. Sweet and smooth taste of Virginia. No tongue bite. Lits easy,burns easy pleasant smoke and after taste. Recommended.

Pipe Used: Stanwell private collection

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Drug store

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Theosprey247 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Theosprey247 (69)
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

The rubbed out flakes need some drying time or you'll spend more time relighting than smoking. I found it helps to rub out the bits to aid in packing. Has a slight floral taste. At $10 a pouch not worth the cost.

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: New

Nobody has rated this review yet.

HastingsPiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HastingsPiper (3)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Strong

This was the first OTC tobacco I bought as a new pipe smoker. Since then I have waded through quite a few, so I thought I would revisit St Bruno for a fairer judgement. The pouch note is very pleasant, and slightly overpowering, and consists of a dried fruit/fig aroma and quite sweet. Nice though.The few pouches I have purchased have been way too moist and will steam and burn your tongue like a branding iron, so beware, and dry this a little first. I packed my trusty Falcon international with some dried out Bruno and sat down for a smoke. I really don't know what to make of this blend, or what it is trying to be. I found the taste very strong, floral, with nutty undertones, and a reserved sweetness, but mixed with a bitterness about half way through the bowl. The room note is pungent, lingers forever and smells like sour milk the next morning. Not nice. I did experience a small amount of bite, even dried, which began to irritate me too. The general appearance of the blend is rough cut and, as another reviewer pointed out, is littered with twigs!. I found this stuff hard to keep alight too, maybe it needed further drying. The taste is very similar in parts to Condor, but without that luxury feel and creaminess that makes Condor so nice to smoke. I would guess this a very inexpensive tobacco disguised as something else. It just doesn't seem to hang together in a way that a quality blend should. It's not terrible though, and is very popular. If I hadn't smoked Condor I would say it's a fairly good smoke overall, but it needs a little work to get the best from it, so maybe not for beginners . Condor sees it off in every way in my opinion.

Pipe Used: Falcon International.With and without filter.

Age When Smoked: New, dried each fill for an hour before lighting.

Purchased From: Asda

Similar Blends: Condor ready rubbed..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cigarcohiba Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cigarcohiba (30)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable

I read very "interesting" reviews for this particular blend. Unfortunately, I was expecting a "traditional" English blend tobacco. The taste reminded me of some sort of old style cologne.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lord Clam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lord Clam (5)
Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Strong

This is a classic English pipe tobacco, favourite of old men in Britain and Tony Benn. In the pouch it smells woody and spicy, with an overpowering smell of shoe leather.

I have had trouble keeping it alight and packing it,possibly due to the new width of the flake. Initially, you get a massive hit of nicotine, however once you are used to the strength and the vitamin - N kick, some wonderful spicey notes came through.

As I am used to smoking aromatics and light tobaccos, I found this was appreciated best, for me, in a corncob with a filter. This allowed me to not get too overwhelmed by the strength, and allowed the definite positives of the blend to come through.

Another point of interest is that it creates a wonderful thick cake on your pipe!

This is a good all round English tobacco, consistent and easily smokeable, if not for the faint - hearted.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Dr.sadik Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr.sadik (100)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Strong

st.bruno has been on the market for a long time and i can see why! its a ready rubbed flake of virginia and burly with a mild lakeland flavor, the broken flake texture makes up for easy to fill, long, clean smoke with virginia lakeland flavor dominating (milder than condor however). it can be a relaxing smooth smoke with not much expectations to put on the table. i would recommend it to non aromatics and english tobacco smokers. the room note is not friendly and this blend like many lakelands can ghost your pipe and mouth!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Grandad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Grandad (8)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable to Strong

I would not recommend this at all. The taste is not pleasant and the smoke leaves a very stale smell in the air. For the Price of this over-the-counter tobacco, you can easily find better quality tobaccos elsewhere and maybe even a little cheaper... I would pass what I have left on to someone else but none of my enemies smoke a pipe!

With this tobacco, I also found that it's tar content is very high! I've never had such a collection of gunk in my pipe when cleaning the stem as I have with other tobacco's. You may as well shred your tyres and smoke that instead.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (108)
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

Have to be honest, I didn't really care for this one. It reminded me of a mild version of condor, but with a bit more bite. Even sipping this guy gave me troubles with tongue bite, it smoked terribly hot. I'd like to try the flake, I tend to like flakes better than these sort of ready rubbed blends. If you like Condor, give it a shot. Not really for me. I only smoked a few bowls before passing this one along.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ruffinogold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ruffinogold (107)
Medium Very Strong Medium Tolerable

It is a flowery soap flavored aromatic . It is less soap flavored than Condor , which isn't saying much if you don't like this type Aromatic

Age When Smoked: Fresh and then aged a few years to try it again

Purchased From: OTC in newark England

Similar Blends: All the rest of the flower/soap flavored aromatic blend out there.

Nobody has rated this review yet.