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 1 - 10 of 87 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 29, 2015 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
The Virginias are slightly grassy, rather earthy and woody with some tart and tangy citrus, bread, light sugar and floralness, a pinch of spice, and some stewed tangy 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, floralness, herbs, dry sour and light spicy sweetness to go along with a little boldness as an important support player. The rich floral toppings are rose geranium and tonquin, but while the toppings do sublimate the tobaccos to some extent, you won’t miss out on what the varietals 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. The flakes are easily manipulated to suit your preference. 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 cool and clean at a slow to moderate rate with a smooth, very consistent taste to the finish. Has no dull, weak, or harsh spots. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. Requires some relights. Has a very pleasantly lingering after taste and room note. Easily repeatable during your smoking day.

9-30-2016: having very recently smoked the 1980s version, I would say that there are a few differences between the two vintages. The flakes were much longer.The older version has a stronger, deeper rose geranium topping. The tonquin was a tad stronger, and a little deeper. The tobacco flavors also have more depth, and a little more earth and wood. The taste is essentially the same otherwise.

71 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 08, 2002 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
One of the all-time classic tobacco blends, St. Bruno Flake is indeed star material! Not easily obtainable in the U.S., if you can find a tin, scarf it. This blend is the top seller in the U.K., and has been for many years. Fortunately, I cellared many tins about 10-15 years ago and it ages quite nicely.

St. Bruno is not for those with weak constitutions. It is a man's tobacco with a true tobacco taste and enough nicotine content to satisfy even the most veteran smoker. In looking at some of the above reviews, I get the idea this blend was tested by youngsters with no chest hair. Well, they'll grow a few after an evening or two with St. Bruno!

Seriously though, the flake and particularly ready-rubbed version of this blend were true legends when produced by Ogdens. If you can find a tin on eBay or elsewhere identifying Ogdens as the blender rather than the currently produced St. Bruno's from Imperial, grab it quick! I just finished a tin of St. Bruno's ready-rubbed that was 20 years old. Each bowlfull was like manna from heaven!

Again, this tobacco has some kick. If you like tobacco flavor and a cool, sweet smoke, try this classic. If, on the other hand, you prefer melba toast and milk, look elsewhere!
49 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 05, 2014 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
Ogden St. Bruno Flake.

The moment that I open this I am instantly delighted by what's in the pouch. The flakes are quite thin, very dark brown in colour and seem to be of a good moistness. O.K, a little extra airing would very slightly improve it but it's not at all imperative to do so. The aroma coming from the blend is almost identical to the ready rubbed, albeit, not quite as strong. Although it's a touch moist it's still extremely easy to rub and fill with. Once that's done the smoking begins, as does the supreme joy!

As I found with the aroma, the floral attribution isn't quite as indomitable as the ready rubbed one, but although more tamed it still makes an eminent impression. The burn's really steady, and the smoke delivered is of a medium temperature. This one bestows NO bite whatsoever, whether I pull like it's a tug of war or gently sip like I'm having tea with her majesty the Queen! On to vitamin N: perfect, again it's the same as the ready rubbed version. Although the floral touch is a little lighter, if exhaled through the nose/retro-haled it becomes almost identical to the rubbed version.

Love it.

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Peterson Dracula
PurchasedFrom: G.Q Tobaccos
Age When Smoked: New
28 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 06, 2014 Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Very Pleasant
The quintessential british tobacco that is st bruno. I tried the ready rubbed version of this nearly two years ago and i didnt really care for it. I hace been itching to retry this after members of psf raved about the qaulities of the flake version. Opening the tray the aromas are very full on. A sweet tangy slightly smokey aroma emanates from the fron the tray. The flakes are quite possibly the flimsiest i have ever seen but this is a good thing as they are very easy to rub out and fill the bowl with. They take the flame like a charm and the flavours are beautiful. Sweet, good tobacco flavour, a hint of stewed fruits and touch of sour. If i was blindfolded and didnt know what i was smoking i would swear it was a vaper. To me it is quite a different smoke to condor i didnt detect floral and i found it was considerably weaker in strength than condor. And it maintains its flavour better towards the bottom. An absolutely stunning british flake that can be smoked all day long.
Pipe Used: alco with bulldog bowl
Age When Smoked: new
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 29, 2010 Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Living in the U.S, I was lucky enough to score a series of 25 gram packets of this, the flake version of which I used to smoke in the "old days" when it was as rare in the U.S as dirt. I've since smoked and thorougly enjoyed the Ready Rubbed, giving it a much deserved 4 star rating on TR.

As for the flavor of this in comparison to the RR, I found no major differences. This bursts on the tongue at first light and is a marvelously simple, mellow yet robust and tasty blend. This is elevated above the RR only because I don't find all the stems in the flake version. That gives me the serene feeling that the quality control is better. But I can and do smoke and enjoy both. As mentioned, this is hardly a complex blend but the mere fact that it smokes consistently well from top to bottom is a testament to its understated greatness. In fact, this is one of those rare blends that I could smoke all day every day if I were forced into that. I would long for some other blends, of course, but I'd still be a happy camper. St Bruno is, in my humble opinion, the finest OTC currently being made. Grab either version if you enjoy a flavorful and non-complex smoke.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 13, 2015 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
This is to me the best widely available flake out there. Not everyone likes it, but I find it has just the right amount of punch to it and is incredibly pleasant on most occasions. In fact in a tie with Full Virginia Flake (SG's), I don't know which would win. Opening the pack it always reminds me of a sort of Christmas pudding. It rubs out nicely and is just a nice, solid tobacco to have. Occasionally I will buy Condor instead, but generally, like my favourite curry, tea or pint, I'll pick St Bruno. Update, 7 months later, still the best, try it and see. I find it hits all the right balances. Yes occasionally i crave a bit of Full Virginia Flake or Kendal Cream for a change, yes I love Condor and it's ready rubbed is the best burning tobacco i've found ever, but I will always come back to St Bruno and the flake if It's around. It's the pipe equivalent of coming home. Further to this, i'm actually now waiting for the Condor to run out so I can go back to St Bruno as a staple. (I bought too much Condor and like a really rich food too much is more than enough! Also the nicotine in St Bruno is to me really not that far behind Condor's which actually is not that strong really). I have tried a lot of tobacos over the last 15 odd years and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING makes a pipe work for me like St Bruno flake. If it disappears I quit smoking. Simple as that. (I ought to anyway but.... St Bruno!) Stick with this one if you're going to smoke!
Pipe Used: Straight billiards of different varieties
PurchasedFrom: mysmokingshop
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the shop
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 09, 2022 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I have a lot of tobaccos in my cellar, but just recently I have been taking a minimalist approach, and have spent some time smoking solely St Bruno flake. And the more time I have spent slowly sipping this slow-burning, rich, and comfortably satisfying tobacco, the more I have come to appreciate its understated genius. I suppose this is the closest UK equivalent of an ‘old codger burley’ in the US, and as I edge towards old-codgerdom myself, I am increasingly valuing the wisdom of simplicity. I don’t intend by any means only to smoke St Bruno henceforth (though as a desert island smoke it must be a serious contender), but it is good to know that there is always a reliable, trusty and comforting companion, rather like an oenophile’s house red, that one can reach for at the end of a hard day, or as an accompaniment to whatever drink one happens to be enjoying, in the certainty of a relaxing smoke that will never disappoint.
10 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
8 people found this review helpful.
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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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