Mac Baren St. Bruno Flake

(3.29)
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.

Details

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

Profile

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

Average Rating

3.29 / 4
87

61

15

11

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 174 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 05, 2017 Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
So I'd had this on my wishlist for the now 6 years I've been smoking -primarily at first from the allure, history, and respect this blend has received world-wide... but until very recently it wasn't available in the States.

During my patience I grew to really appreciate both dark-fired and flued flakes, in no small part due to HH's signature series Old Dark Fired, as well as McClelland's Dark Star (Hell-all their Virginias are first - class for that matter).

Being a sucker for quality in both packaging and presentation, this square tin opens to present a placard card atop a heavy gold liner. The placard points out in detail the fact that vinegar is used in this blend-as has been the tradition since the Tobacco Purity Law of 1863?

It's almost a disclaimer of sorts to point out that this preservative -while imparting flavor- may actually rust the tin itself.

I point this out as I expected some derivative of "Lakeland Sauce" to be the flavorings to this blend- rose, geranium, licorice... a very muted version of Ennerdale if you will (as that blend contains the kitchen sink of sauces)!

I got none of that here. The only component I perceived other than high quality Kentucky & Virginias was the tanginess multiple reviews have agreed exist. I get nothing else.

Having stated this- it does impart a different 'effect' on the palate as without said vinegar this blend would surely present some sugary component, early to mid-bowl perhaps...? The tanginess is altered , offset it you will by those sugars, giving the blend a unique but in no way off-putting profile...

I'd consider this a "muted" Yang to Erinmore's "over-the-top" Ying. Perhaps it will grow on me, but I think I built up my expectations too much to gjve thus blend a fair shake.

After all I love all things Gawith & Hoggarth, and they throw more Lakelands at you than grandma did with her sausage gravy - drowning those scratch biscuits on Sunday morning...delectable on both accounts.

St Bruno is I'm sure consistent and reliable, it's not too strong, still demand a respectful cadence whIle being consumed, but it -to me at least- lacks je ne said quoi.

Pipe Used: Briars & Meers
PurchasedFrom: Pipes&Cigars
Age When Smoked: 18 months?
1 person found this review helpful.
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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.

-JimInks
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
Jun 29, 2014 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant
I have been smoking St. Bruno more or less from the moment I bought my first pipe as a young man. It was a standard smoke for so many men then, back in the mid 1970s and I often associate a Falcon with it, which is probably why I have four of those pipes in my current collection. Having enjoyed the Ready Rubbed for so many years, when its cut width was changed not too long ago, I found it less satisfying, so switched to the Flake. It was an instant hit with me and I now love the simple but oh so satisfying habit of selecting a flake and rubbing it out in the palm of my hand. I find this tobacco to be a perfect, workaday smoke. It satisfies in taste and nicotine hit, it has a great aroma and I find its medium strength enough to justify smoking this everyday. In fact, it is the house blend that I always have in the cupboard. The flakes have a floral, heavy, fruity smell, something akin to fruits steeped in molasses and possibly alcohol. They can be quite moist and I've sometimes noticed after rubbing out a yellow stain in the palm of my hand! The smoke is clean,creamy and tasty, combining sweetness/woodiness with a very slight hint of spice (though only just) somewhere along the line. I have never considered 'soapiness' to be one of its qualities. It can sometimes smoke wet, so a pipe cleaner is usually to hand mid smoke, just for inserting into the stem if the goo is rising. I find there to be a good balance in taste and that lovely fragrant aroma. One observation, with some recent smokes that have gone the full stretch in a pipe, is that I discovered a slightly acrid, bitter taste coming through towards the bottom of the bowl. With this in mind, I now rarely smoke right down to the last shred. Be that as it may, St. Bruno Flake for me has all the qualities of a perfect blend for daily use. Medium in strength, tasty to smoke and smell, it satisfies continually. Uncomplicated, or even unspectacular it may be, but it has proven to be a good, solid, reliable friend over the years.
Pipe Used: Mainly Falcons
PurchasedFrom: Local tobacconist
Age When Smoked: New
35 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
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
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
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2015 Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant
To my shame, I have never tried this tobacco before, despite living in the UK my entire life, and smoking a pipe for over 10 years (with a few breaks). I finally got round to buying some & I'm very glad that I did! Being readily available, it means that there is an alternative to my usual stand-in for my go-to OTC blend of Condor. The flakes themselves are what I would call 'poor' in their presentation, as I'm used to smoking thicker, longer, more uniform flakes. The ones in the St.Bruno pack are quite short, thin & a bit broken, so the appearance is not the greatest aspect of the tobacco, to be fair. However, this is a minor aspect of any tobacco, in my opinion. The pouch note is lovely, a floral, citrus, stewed fruit scent. More delicate and nuanced than many other flakes (i.e. Condor), but the tobacco also comes through gently underneath these pleasant notes. The tobacco can be smoked either folded & stuffed or rubbed out. I found it smoked well either way, but I preferred it roughly rubbed, an it maintained the intensity of flavour without burning too hot. From the pouch, it was possibly ever so slightly over-moist, but not enough to affect the smoke adversely. The result was a cool, fruity, citrus-tinged smokiness that synergised with - rather than overpowered - the tobacco. This is an aromatic, but is not the same as the gloopy Black Cavendish mixtures soaked in PG & Vanilla that we know so well. This is a different class of quality aromatic, highly recommended for those who normally say 'I don't like aromatics.' The pipe rarely required a relight. As I got towards the end of the bowl, and my roughly rubbed bits got compressed further, the flavour seemed to be less casing & more tobacco, which is what I expected to happen, as it normally does. The room note is fairly pleasant, much more agreeable to those around than a stout English blend or Rope. It is also fairly light, and dissipates quite quickly. The tobacco level is medium-strong, although closer to medium than strong. This is a good, readily available tobacco. I don't know why I avoided it for so long - perhaps it was because when I took up the briar, I lived less than 5 minutes' walk from a tobacconist, and could pick up all manner of tobaccos, so overlooked some of the more 'pedestrian' workhorses of the pipe world. However, I am onto it now, and shall be consuming more of this in future. It's not spectacular, but as a readily-available got-to, one could do far, far worse than this. It's a good, solid, pleasant, trouble-free amiable smoke. The only drawback is the taste can become a bit 'samey' by the end of the pouch & one smoke of this is much the same as any other, although none of them are really bad. Since finishing this 50g. pouch, I have bought 50g. of the ready-rubbed & mixed it with 50g. of 'Gold Block' which is stored in a bail-top jar, and shall be opened when I receive a new pipe which I have ordered in a couple of months' time. I believe this mixture is called 'Ogden's Mixture' and I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Pipe Used: Parker Billiard, Everyman, Aerosphere Billiard
PurchasedFrom: Smokemart Brighton
Age When Smoked: New
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
TW
Jul 16, 2012 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
St Bruno flake is one of the traditional mass-produced English tobaccos that's been around for ever. I first smoked it 30 years ago, and it doesn't seem to have changed or suffered much from changes of ownership and production shifting to Denmark. Flake used to be the choice of people who preferred their tobacco a little stronger, the ready-rubbed burning hotter and having a little less flavour and depth to it.

It's a very "basic" Virginia-based (probably African Virginias) blend, in that it has no pretentions and is pretty undemanding. A reliable, smooth, medium strength non-"Danish/US aromatic" tobacco that really tastes of tobacco, doesn't bite, blends well with plugs and twists and you can smoke it all day, every day. If it was a drink it would be a decent large-scale mass-production 5-year old blended Scotch intended to appeal to the masses, not a heavily peated 35 year old single-malt only enjoyable by a few determined "experts".

Which is pretty much what it was always intended to be.

If you want to know what the tobaccos smoked in the glory days of mass English working-class pipe smoking were like, forget Latakia-heavy blends and orientals, this is one of the three big hitters along with Condor and Gold Block. I used to smoke it 30 years ago, and while it's not my number one "go to" choice nowadays it still has a place in my heart and I smoke it once in a while. The world would certainly be a sadder place without it.

Every smoker should try it at least once, and if you're an aromatic smoker tempted to try a first flake or "real" tobacco, you could do far worse than St Bruno.
15 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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