Mac Baren St. Bruno Flake

St. Bruno Flake is a distinctive blend of smooth Virginia and smoky dark fired Kentucky — pressed and sliced into thin flakes that are easy to prepare and enjoy. It's topped with subtle floral and fruity notes for a unique aromatic experience.
Notes: Made by MacBaren since 2006, the company has owned the blend since 2015.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By  
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Kentucky, Virginia
Flavoring Floral Essences, Fruit / Citrus
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin weight, 50 grams pouch weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.29 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 174 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 30, 2022 Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
Given what I'd read about this tobacco I was expecting something like Condor Flake or Ennerdale Flake. Perhaps the Ogdens original was, but aside from being of the same essential idea; steam pressed flakes of Va and Ky touched up with a hard to describe or identify flavouring, they're not nearly as similar as I expected.

I wouldn't myself call this an aromatic. It has a flavouring, apple geranium would be my guess, but it's lightly applied. You couldn't say that about Ennerdale or even fairly recent versions of Condor. It's probably closer to something like University Flake.

It's fairly consistent thru the bowl. Quality tobacco that is rich and deep and smoky, balanced out by the lightness of the topping/casing.

It's a little moist straight from the tin and in that state will leave some moisture and gunk in the pipe. Otherwise a straight forward blend which imo is a sort of gentrified version of blue collar classics like Revor or Irish Flake.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 16, 2020 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This was one of Grandad’s favourites, along with Erinmore and the ever ready Condor, and was one of the first tobaccos that I ever had in my youth. Grandad, being a sound Yorkshireman, only bought this when Condor (which was cheaper) wasn’t available.

In my opinion it has changed since Ogden’s gave up the ghost with it: the slices appear to have been cut smaller but a bit thicker these days and the pouch note doesn’t seem so rich.

One thing that still remains though, is the burn time - this is definitely a marathon and not a sprint!

This in itself leads to a problem for the modern piper; yesteryears smoker could light this on his way to his place of work and he could still be happily chuffing away at it an hour later. These days, very few of us work in places where we can indulge ourselves with tobacco for so long - maybe if you’re a dry stone waller or a farmer you could but not for us city folks.

For this reason it’s an after work, get the coffee on and relax kind of smoke for me.

I find that the flake, which does taste better to me than the ready rubbed, is best off folded into a bulldog and when you’ve got her going, sip at it - once it’s going, it stays going for ages, even if you you aren’t drawing on it.

Grandad said it was nearly the same as “Ferry Flake”, which was his favourite tobacco before the last knock about with our Teutonic cousins. I couldn’t attest to that though - I can’t even find any mention of Ferry Flake on the internet so i presume it has been lost to history apart from this small foot note.

The flavour is lovely - citrus, nutty, niceness that envelops the mouth.

Room note is pleasant; I’m the only pipe smoker I know and the room note always smells different if you’re the one doing the smoking and the smelling I find!

Some people don’t like this because of its availability/popularity - some people need a hobbitesque adventure to get the right tobacco for them but this is genuinely a popular blend for a reason.

You’d be a daft apath not to give a whirl and see where it might fit into your tobacco collection because it is that nice.

Edit* - all reviews being subjective to a myriad of changing conditions individual to the circumstances of each smoker I get absolutely no “floral” or “soapy” taste when smoking Either of St Bruno’s incarnation. For some to call it a Lakeland is, for me, nonsensical, for this to be called an aromatic, the same - this is a straight forward tobacco with a straightforward tobacco flavour. The pouch note has changed a great since I were a lad and my reward for being good was a sniff at my Grandad’s tobacco pouch; it has lost the fruity/figgy/plum/stewed fruits with undertones of cut hay/grass I remember and now has a smell that seems to change from pouch to pouch. The pouch note now sits somewhere on the sharp, tart smell of pickling vinegar end of the spectrum at one end and table sauce (ketchup/HP/A1) at the other. This is mildly reflected in the smoke with it being more “juicy” (for want of a better word) on occasions; the worry for me is now the consistency of the tobacco - 4/5 pouches could be amazing or it could be the other way round, 1/5 are amazing and I give up trying to play that lottery…only time will tell. Still worth a crack though in my opinion.
Pipe Used: Large bowl bulldog
PurchasedFrom: GQ and the supermarket
Age When Smoked: New to 6 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 17, 2012 Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant
50g Pouch with inner foil sealed carton.

Pouch aroma golden rich stewed juicy fruits with sourness.

Appearance;bark coloured moist flakes with golden streaks,fairly flakey consistancy but uniform and well packed and presented(if you care about presentation).

To fit in my storage kilner jar i cut the flake piles into 3 equal squares dividing the length where it becomes a broken flake (i tried my best)and for an easy preparation size for my smallish falcon bulldog bowl which i have dedicated to this flake.

As soon as i sniffed the contents i had high hopes that this was going to be the quintessential juicy fruit golden nectar i have been seeking.

Drawing through my as yet unlit pipe for a few clues before ignition,i get the fruit stew(think plums,apricots,peaches,apples,pears) with a bit of soap(the soap may well be a ghost of whatever this estate pipe had smoked previously, but it was reamed and cleaned by me for this. Being already familiar with st bruno ready rubbed i didn't think it would impede the taste,and it was likely that this being purchased in the UK would of probably been smoking st bruno or simular in its past life).

Fairly simular to the ready rubbed except earthier,richer and definately more aromatic. More burley forward and cooler than the already cool(but wet) ready rubbed..Both are cool smokes anyway but do produce wetness in the moisture trap,but its handleable and because it tastes so good strait out of the pouch i don't bother pre-drying.

This i feel is the one i have been looking for,for a long time, and produces a very rich distinct pleasant fruit nectar aroma which i remember as a kid.

Walking or playing in the woods this thick rich smoke would linger wherever a pipe smoking dog walker had been previously. You wouldn't see the walker but you could smell that they had been around.Its like a tobacco equivalent of juicy fruit bubble gum and is for me the quintessential pipe aroma. Before i knew about flakes i always thought this was st bruno,but when i smoked st bruno ready rubbed,although pleasant, it didn't quite produce the results i was seeking and so my quest was still open. I thought maybe it was a forgotten discontinued brand,or that maybe the original recipe had changed over the years,or that my young nose in the 70s smelt things differently. Its not as if i really knew for certain that it was st bruno,its possibly an instinct picked up by hearing or reading what i saw around me or watching what people pulled out of their pockets(yes i was that annoying kid who stared at pipers having their private smoking moments).

Anyway i nearly wrote off my search until i found st bruno flake and read on here that it was different to the ready rubbed;it is different for sure.

This produces as near as dammit to that memory aroma. Being the smoker and not the passing pedestrian, its not as easy for me to tell because i am tasting as well(same as other baccies that i cannot smell as easy when i am the one doing the smoking).

(I have also recently discovered 'condor long cut' flake which is different to the 'condor ready rubbed' version in a simular way to st bruno which made me question my memories to make sure i was correct;they are both rich fruit smokes and do simular jobs(i could try a 50/50 mix).

Anyway this for me is a totally 4 star baccy and its an OTC. Fruity buttery and not quite as soapy as the ready rubbed version.No bite either.

I expect i will always have some of this on hand as long as it is still made.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 01, 2003 Strong Strong Very Full Tolerable to Strong
I have been smoking a bowl of St. Bruno Flake each day for over twenty years, usually my third pipe of the day, and I carry it with me in my pipe bag with its special pipe just in case I stop for a Guinness on the way home. Although I have a lot of it in my basement in tins, I now order it from Europe in bulk. I am keeping the tins for the day the smoke police prevail. I roll out a fistful while it is still moist and keep it in a Ziploc bag where it gradually dries out. It smokes better when it has been dried a little. The smell in the tin is of some kind of spice or herb I cannot identify. The flakes arrive dark brown, pliable and moist. The tobacco loads easily and burns to a white ash all the way down to the dottle. I devote a large Wiley billiard to St. Bruno and smoke nothing else in it; I like a big dose of this stuff and have always smoked it in good sized billiards. In addition to the spices or herbs, a sweetener has been added which I think is neutral, but it is difficult to tell because the tobacco has a distinctive flavor particularly at the start. The smoke is "cool" and sweet with absolutely no bite. It is a typcial English flake with a powerful nicotine content that you can feel humming on your tongue. A third of the way down the bowl, I become inured to the flavoring additives and the taste of rich Viriginia takes over and the strong Virginia flavor builds as does the nicotine. If you smoke it on an empty stomach it can punch you in the gut, and there have been times when on relighting, it has given me the hiccups as Condor Original can sometimes do. You will need to clear your palate after a bowl of St. Bruno because any tobacco you smoke immediately afterward will not convey its ordinary taste. This is a great English flake for its unique flavor, the flavor of Virginia, its smoking characteristics and its strength. I intend never to be without it. Highly recommended. Paddy.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 09, 2022 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
A great English traditional pipe tobacco, sold OTC at most supermarkets here in the U.K. as ready rubbed and flake. Slightly aromatic. A cool smoke that requires little relighting. Tastes of Virginia, slight floral fruit taste, pleasant all day smoke. Most people enjoy the aroma so room note is good. Great memories of this and not as "full on" in flavour as it's competitor in this field, Condor tobacco. May ghost a pipe but only for a few days. For a tobacco which is known as a mainstream pipe tobacco, this remains a high quality smoke. I enjoy the flake since the ready rubbed seems to now contain larger ribbon grade, which is a shame as it is not as pliable when packing your pipe. I suggest that this tobacco is more enjoyable for the experience pipe smoker. If you're a Puffing Billy then naturally it can run hot. Like all pipe tobaccos it requires gentle sipping to be enjoyed for languid calm smoking. Burns evenly down to a fine white ash. I think the flake is more subtle and within its medium more interesting in taste. Goes very well with a fine mug of Yorkshire Tea with sugar and milk (or as fellow Americans call it "English Breakfast" tea). Smoking a full pipe takes about an hour and easily relights if you take a break. Enjoyably relaxing.
Pipe Used: Mullins & Wrestley straight billiard
PurchasedFrom: Morrisons supermarket
Age When Smoked: 2 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 16, 2020 Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant
Anyone who knows me will know that I have a special place in my heart for this blend. So much so, in fact, that it has become something of a joke; "why don't you try something else?" they say. I do try other tobaccos, and enjoy them, but my All-Day smoke has to be St Bruno Flake. Sadly, so many people turn their noses up at St Bruno, but I wonder if that's because it's a simple OTC. I always say, if it's lasted as long as it has they must be doing something right! Let me try and explain: upon opening the funny little bag you get these days (I collect antique tins, and I've got to say the old old St Bruno tins were much more stylish than these plastic bags!) you are greeted with a most sugary, bread-dough, geranium, "Lakeland" aroma. Rubbing it out is a lot of fun, as you release that goodness from the flakes. Smoked you still get those flavours, unlike some tobaccos which taste totally different to how they smell. Retrohaling is probably the best way to experience the notes, as it floods your senses with the spirit of yesteryear. I always like to think about the generations of working men puffing away on St Bruno engaged in every conceivable job. Dried out a smidge it burns a tad better, though I haven't had much problem fresh from the pack. Perhaps a few relights if it isn't dried a bit. Tongue bite? No, not really, unless you're sucking on it fresh and damp like a hurricane. I've gone on brisk walks, and puffed away and not had any bite. Smoked fold 'n' stuffed and rubbed out, both work well. No complaints from the missus either, except that I'm "smoking more often" now. St Bruno will always get my vote. Try it today!
Pipe Used: Peterson 317, various billiards.
PurchasedFrom: John Hollingsworth, Birmingham
Age When Smoked: Fresh to a year old.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 10, 2017 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant
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)

Age When Smoked: 1 year, 5 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 20, 2017 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The perfect all-day smoke balances the different characteristics of tobacco, and "St. Bruno" hovers between sweet and dark while keeping natural leaf flavor strong as slightly aided by toppings. The dark Virginia taste dominates, aided by small amounts of dark fired Kentucky Burley, with light Virginias entering the play mostly to naturally sweeten it. On top of this is a combination of floral, citrus and possibly tonquin-like flavorings that meld into dark fired flavor and are absorbed by the sweetened dark Virginia. The result is mellow like molasses and marshmallows melted onto a rich grain, burns smoothly, cool and slowly, which presents the ideal convenient tobacco experience of picking up a packet of "St. Bruno," letting it dry slowly after opening, then folding and stuffing a flake for an hour of contented sipping. If this were priced more reasonably, it would be a daily smoke for me.

Thanks to Pipes Magazine Forum member "misterlowcase" for this sample.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 23, 2011 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Being of a newer generation of American pipe smokers, the glory years of this fine flake had passed me by. After reading Keith Richard's (yes...of the Rolling Stones!)autobiography where he discussed the wonderful smells of this flake in his father's home, I was incented to take a look for it. I was gifted some by a friend from the Ogden's era of St Bruno and it was excellent. 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 truely 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) 3 1/2 stars!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 30, 2004 Overwhelming Strong Medium Tolerable
Every time one of these fancy makeovers sweeps over this site, one of my reviews bites the dust. In this case it was St Bruno, the only tobacco that has ever made me sick. I didn't like the taste much, either. Smells like moth balls.
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