Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) Five Brothers

A unique pipe tobacco. 100% burley in a bird's-eye shag cut. Minimal casing and no top-flavors. Remarkably mellow, considering. One of the more unusual tobaccos available, extremely full-bodied, ultra-high nicotine content. A must for those who like living on the dangerous side.
Notes: Originally blended by Finzer Bros & Pinkerton.


Brand Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG)
Blended By STG Lane Ltd.
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley
Cut Shag
Packaging 1.25 ounce pouch
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Medium to Full
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

2.78 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 36 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 10, 2008 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Looking for that "drugstore" blend? A blast from the past? A bit of nostalgia? Need an ass kicking? These boys will open a six pack of whoop ass like you haven't experienced in a good long while. Made up the road in Loovul, KY.

I remember the old geezers smoking this stuff when it came in a paper pouch. Just the smell put me on one knee. When I first smoked it, it put me on both knees. They had to rock my head back and forth to get my lips unstuck from the bathroom tiles. Crikey!

This is some serious stuff, especially if you're a twelve year old boy.

Forty years later and it still hasn't learned any manners. How you can tell if it's fresh or not escapes me.

"Mind if I smoke?"

"Not at all. Mind if I puke?"

Made when men were men, and sheep were terrified.
52 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 07, 2002 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
The tobacco smoked in all those clay pipes in colonial times was strictly and exclusively Virginia tobacco, the only tobacco then known in the Western world.

Burley was introduced in the mid 19th Century, at about the same time that the British discovered "Oriental" tobaccos. When the Dutch found that burley admitted flavourings more easily than any other tobacco, they learnt to blend with it, and burley found a place in Continental Europe. But cased pipe tobacco was illegal in Great Britain until 1986, so there was never much call for it there and Burley never caught on in England, or throughout the British Empire and Zones of Influence. Thus, the shag that Sherlock Holmes is said to have smoked was certainly not Burley shag!

Most of the tobacco smoked thoughout the world before, or indeed after, World World I was certainly not burley, but Virginia.

FIVE BROTHERS is pure dark-cured burley, and thus quintessentially American. This type of burley is usually used to give body to certain blends. Smoked alone, it is potent. I like it. I never smoke it, because you can't find it in New York. In a corn cob it does not taste harsh, and since corn cobs are small...Try it with some Tennessee sipping whiskey why don't you. Boccato di cardinale!
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2001 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Five Brothers, the pride of the string cut tobaccos, the stuff of legends. For smoking or chewing; that alone should be the first indication that this brand is not for the faiint of heart. Five Bros is another one of those brands that I rememeber from my years growing up in Philadelphia. It was sold in a brown paper cylinder with a clay pipe in red and black and the mark of the John Finzer Company. It is now sold in a foil pouch, but still as exciting.

This was, and is, a string cut, or shag, largely from bottom leaves. Also known as "bird's eye" because of the method of cutting keeps stems in with the tobacco. See the Sherlock Holmes stories for the descriptions of shag tobacco. If moist and fresh, it can almost be smokable; not fragrant and flavorful, but smokable. If dry, it is Satan's blow torch.

Assuming that the pouch you obtain is fresh, you will find that the tobacco leaves the pouch in long strands, packing easily with just that spring in the bowl. I prefer a smaller bowl, perhaps a cob or clay, a meerschaum will also work well. The first light or two is sufficient to bring large blue-gray clouds in the room. That's a tobacco aroma, bitter and full. Five Bros has a characteristic nicotine "kick" that appears about 1/4 into the bowl, discernible but not overwhelming. By the 1/2 of the bowl. you may develop a tightness in the chest which will pass, leaving you w/ hiccups. Sipping water or coffee while smoking alleviates this sensation. 3/4 bowl and the full effect comes into play. You are now fully aware that you have been smoking a real tobacco. The mouth may be dry, or drier than you've become used to, your clothes are now imbued with the tobacco aroma, and the bowl is left with fine white/gray ash. This is what smoking was really like before WWI, which is why so many of the early 20th century pipes had smaller bowls.

AS said, not for the frail or the weak- intentioned. I could never smoke more than two bowls a day of this tobacco, and certainly never consecutively. It is, however, great to rescue pipes that have had crummy aromatics smoked in them.

Others in this family of high nicotine string cuts were Honest, Ivanhoe, Cutty Pipe, and Penn's Best. I have smoked them all and I cannot recommend them to any but experienced smokers because of their burn and noxious qualities.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 06, 2014 Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Strong
This is definitely an unusual blend. I received this as my free sampler from Lane a while back. It comes extremely dry as has been mentioned in the many reviews, but burns fine, if not, too fast. There is some nice burley flavor in this one. I have used it on occasion for blending, but I prefer Carter Hall in this role over Five Brothers.

This blend is very similar to a tobacco that my buddy's FIL smokes called Thuoc Lao. It is uncanny how closely it resembles in cut, texture and strength. The flavor is not that different either, but I prefer Five Brothers to that one. The Vietnamese typically only smoke that tobacco with water pipes due to its strength.

I like this blend and think it pretty good for the price, but the only thing that really differentiates this from the other famous OTC's such as SWR and CH in a positive direction is the heavy nicotine hit. I, personally, would rather stock my cellar with some C & D burleys that would be comparable in strength and inexpensive in bulk.

As for taste, I prefer SWR and Carter Hall and many other burleys to this. Don't get me wrong, I found nothing repulsive in its taste. I just prefer the other two of its contemporaries. I also don't like how fast it burns, something the other two don't do. So I do somewhat recommend this blend, but can't go with three stars due to the above reasoning.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 21, 2014 Extremely Strong None Detected Medium to Full Extra Strong
Five brothers is great at one thing: making a weak blend have some oomph. Yes by itself it is harsh and kinda nasty. I smoke two packs a day of Malboro's with pipes in between and I can feel the nicotine content. Anyone that says they cant must have an EXTREME tolerance or is trying to impress... As a blender burley this fits the bill, otherwise I cannot see a use for it....
Pipe Used: Cob
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fresh
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 09, 2015 Very Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Strong
So this is what nicotine tastes like. Not a lot of flavor, but not bad, either. This is pretty unrefined stuff and occasionally harsh (smoke it too fast and see what happens), fine cut in a cigarette shag, almost hairlike, no flavoring that I can detect. As one reviewer noted, this is like smoking dried Burley right out of the tobacco barn. To really like this tobacco and want it on a regular basis, you probably eschew frilly aromatics and tobaccos that offer lots of flavor, such as Perique, Latakia and Turkish, because this one is not for flavor addicts or those seeking complex flavors that evolve as the bowl is smoked.

FB is not, in my opinion, nearly as strong as some would lead you to believe, but that perception is in great measure dependent on your nicotine tolerance and experience. There are stronger tobaccos but you won't run into them everyday, and I do not doubt that the pulse quickens when smoking this; mind did. It's hard to imagine why anyone without a serious nicotine Jones would add Five Brothers into the rotation, when there are so many great tobaccos calling.

OK, enough about me. Pack this one somewhat tightly because it's a fast burner and then pace yourself. A bowlful of this can get pretty hot if you are a bellows smoker. Smoke it down to a white ash and reflect: was it worth it? I don't throw tobacco away, so I have half a pouch left. I think I'll mix it down with some Lane Burley Mild, maybe some Uhle's Blend 44.
Age When Smoked: 90 days
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2015 Strong None Detected Very Mild Tolerable
An air cured type, cigarette shag cut with some birdseye stems. I didn't find this as strong as others but it is a more robust nicotine smoke in general. Actually, I found the pouch aroma and taste somewhat flat and almost neutral. It has a slight straw or blonde hay aroma both in the pouch and smoked and that's about it. For this type of leaf blend I consider this rather smooth which leads me to think the leaf may be toasted that mellows it's character. Contrast this with Cornell & Diehls rather crude straight burleys which are strong in nicotine and harsh in character. Other than the higher nicotine this is a rather boring smoke. If one is after potent shag pipe tobacco then Gawith and Hoggarth's dark-fired shags have much more character and perhaps a bit more nicotine.
Pipe Used: Corncob
Age When Smoked: New
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 17, 2015 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a simple straightforward air cured burley. I get the usual nuttiness found in burley and some basic earthy/dirt notes nothing more. I do however, clearly pick up on a sweetness that burley just cannot give so a mild casing has been used to sweeten it up just a little. This is a rougher smoke then many others like G &H's Kendal KY for example. I find the nic. to be about at that level. Not nearly as high as many indicate here. Every rope and plug that I have smoked has more nic. in it to me. It will bite if you push it but there is no need to do that as what you taste on the first puff will be all you get out of this blend. A nice cheap burley that is a set it and forget it type of smoke. However, for me I think there is no need to revisit it as many other straight burley's are just better suited to my palate.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 23, 2014 Extremely Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
I smoked a bowl of Five Brothers last night, and a bowl of Five Brothers smoked me. Crispy dry in the pouch, super fine shag cut. Easy to pack and light but burns out so quickly that you have to drag like hell on it to keep the cherry lit. It either burns hot or goes out, no slow and steady with this one. By the end of the bowl my face was but a charred remains of it's glorious self. The heat radiating from the bowl lit my beard on fire, quite unusual. The nicotine bomb reduced my faculties to stumbling, drooling, and babbling. In short; super stuff, not so much on it's own, but for mixing with all those sappy sweet aromatics. In a 50% by volume blend FB really adds burley nut to the flavor of your favorite aromatic and increases the nic appeal dramatically. Right now I have some FB steeping in a tin of CAO black. The mixture looks ridiculous but smokes like a dream.

Update: Downgraded to 2 star. By itself there is no pleasure in smoking this weed. Mixed with an aro it's OK but why not just get a better aro? Can't place it on the same level as other 3 star tobaccos such as Skandinavik, Erinmore, some Dunhills, etc. Probably should downgrade further but I like the way it spices up a weak aromatic.
Pipe Used: Grabow royal duke
PurchasedFrom: smoke shop
Age When Smoked: 30 days
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 12, 2011 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Five Brothers is a shag cut old school Burley. It arrives in a pouch and is a very straightforward Burley with no complexity. I find it ready to smoke out of the pouch. Yes, it is strong and for me that's ok. It simply is boring and there are far better Burley's on the market. The reason why I rated it as "somewhat recommended" is because FB makes for a great addition to any blend in which a pipe man wants to add strength without altering the flavor too much. I always keep some FB on hand for this reason. I too, like Raffles below, add it to Prince Albert with great results as the two blends seem made for each other.
3 people found this review helpful.
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