G. L. Pease Union Square

A blended, sliced cake of high grade flue cured leaf, from beautiful, sweet brights to deep, earthy reds, without the added sugars and flavorings common to many Virginia flakes. It's rich on the palate, evolving in layers with the clean, natural sweetness of pure tobaccos. It offers a pleasant room note, and a delightful finish. For those seeking the pure Virginia experience, try Union Square.
Notes: Union Square was released in May, 2009.


Brand G. L. Pease
Series Fog City Selection
Blended By Gregory Pease
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce tin
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.40 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 50 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 06, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant
This broken flake Virginia has a fermented dry fruit smell, the moisture level is on the wet side but could be smoked right away. It's a medium bodied Virginia tobacco with a natural sweetness and all the flavor spectrum that a Virginia lover would want in his pipe. One should be aware of its strength however, especially if smoked fast.

Virginia lover
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 14, 2013 Very Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is the last of three Pease tobaccos I bought a couple of months back and the one I've had the most problems discerning the flavour. Still, I have had a lot of pleasure from it so here goes the review.

The tin aroma has hints of lemon and the flakes are a nice mix of yellows and light brown and rub out very easily, once again I find myself impressed by the colour and consistency of Pease's offerings. The packing is easy and lighting is never an issue. The flavour is funny, as I can't pin it down to anything familiar, there are occasional hints of lemon but it's nothing consistent. I hate to disagree with most other reviewers here but I did find this incredibly strong, perhaps one of the strongest tobaccos I've smoked, and I have learned to puff it gently as a result. I do agree with Moniker that this one is better smoked when dry rather than damp, as the flavours come out better.

For me, this is a very good tobacco, let down a little by the strength and the issues discerning the flavour. It fully justifies another tin and perhaps a bit of aging as and when my bank balance allows.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 16, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Two-thirds of the way through a tin from 2011... one word. Pure. This tin description is spot on.

My thoughts are coming from the position of a relative novice in the ways of Virginias... so please, take this all with a grain of salt... but I have to say that Mr Pease's Union Square has been the most overwhelmingly positive experience I've had with a straight VA tobacco to date. I've enjoyed Tilbury, McClellands Brindle Flake and Gawith's Best Brown, but I've come to realize that these smokes have been, for lack of a better word, misguided and uniformed.

The beauty of US is that it more or less TELLS you how to smoke it. Everything I've read and been told about how to enjoy VA's has come to fruition in this flake. You do as you should and it yields immediate and wonderful results. It demonstrates all the rewards that slow, controlled and thoughtful pipe smoking can offer.

As far as flavor goes, zulujerk nailed it. The sweetness is sharper and clearer than more mature, dark flakes. I'd add turbinado sugar, the bready sweetness of whole wheat bread as opposed to molasses, caramel and stewed fruit. Fresh hay, toast and a pleasant tartness like Meyer lemons. The smoke is full and voluminous without being creamy.

The flavor is clean, concise and thoroughly enjoyable. The purity of expression is this tobacco's strong suit. I'd put this experience on par with that of drinking Elmer T Lee bourbon, or playing a Telecaster guitar. It's not flashy. It's not full of bells and whistles. But to the uninitiated, it is a formal initiation into the truest form. And for the experienced, a joyful foray into the simplest (in a Zen sense) distillation of what they love. This is kind of the sushi of tobaccoes, if you will.

But I'm waxing a little philosophical here. In the end, this is just a fantastic way to enjoy pipe smoking.

I'm curious to see how this ages and will be getting another tin or two for cellaring.

Thank you, Greg Pease, for the excellence.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 19, 2010 Very Strong None Detected Full Very Pleasant
My first tin was just over a year old. Second tin was just under a year old. Older is better.

The tin aroma is intoxicating, in a good way.

It did not seem too wet straight out of the tin. But even after drying for days, it smoked somewhat wet and hot, and required frequent relights.

The nicotine hit me halfway through my first bowl in a large poker. By the end of my first pipe of Union Square, I was woozy and sweaty and needed to lie down. I smoke a lot of strong tobaccos, and Peterson Irish Flake is a favorite, but this one is significantly stronger. Choose a smaller pipe and go slow. Should have named it Union Buzz.

The flavors are also somewhat overwhelming. Full Virginia Flake is bland compared to Union Square. It is prone to bite, so slow smoking is a must.

This blend has one of the most pleasant room notes that you will come across. It smells the way a pipe should smell.

After leaving the tin open for a couple of days, and still drying the rubbed out leaf for another hour, it smokes much better: less bite, less astringency, more sweetness. When first opened, this tobacco is too young, too wet, and too strong to be an all day or every day smoke. After three months of occasional exposure to the air and storage in a glass jar, Union Square is finally mellow enough to make it into my regular rotation.

Best enjoyed with strong coffee on a sunny morning on the back porch, with the rhododendrons in bloom and the hummingbirds buzzing and a view of the sea, and nowhere to go and nothing to do...
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 23, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
This is quite the interesting blend. A Virginia without toppings? Admittedly, I don't have a huge amount of experience under my belt regarding pipe smoking, but I have surely never heard of such a thing. I was rather excited to discover that my local B&M was carrying this new blend, so I grabbed a tin that had a little over a month age to it (4/6/09). Upon cracking open the sucker, I was met with an intriguing scent. I could definitely smell Virginias in there, but they were unlike any I had put under my nose before. The classic tangy Virginia smell was there with a vague hint of spice, but there was also a strong "earthy" scent in the mix. I found it to be very reminiscent of a burley blend, though it lacked the strong nuttiness. This definitely got me interested.

The cut of this tobacco is a coarse rub, with some larger flake pieces intermingled. The moisture is surprisingly low for what I would expect of a flake tobacco, but this cuts down on waiting for it to dry--I suspect some would even consider it to be just right for packing. The stuff is incredibly soft and flexible, even after a little drying, once again something I haven't seen in most other flakes I have sampled. Incidentally, packing is a breeze. My experience showed it to best benefit from a light packing if using a deep bowl, especially if left a little moist.

Light-up was like any other tobacco. The stuff catches pretty easily, so lighting was a pain-free operation for me. The initial aromas definitely reminded me of other straight Virginias, such as Full Virginia Flake. The flavor, however, is quite a bit different. The more typical flavors of Virginias come through along with the slightest whisper of spice, but there is only a subtle sweetness and a more earthy flavor. The earthiness is very similar to burley, as wildebeest mentioned. Overall, the flavor of the tobacco gave me the impression of a medium Virginia. Compared to FVF, the flavor is a bit less powerful and forthright. Definitely a blend to concentrate on.

In general, this is yet another well-put-together blend by Mr. Pease. I must agree with wildebeest in saying that straight Virginia fans should definitely consider trying this blend, as it offers an experience quite unlike most others. However, I only give it three stars as the lack of sweetness may turn off new-comers to Virginias, and lovers of English/Balkan blends may find it lacking in strength of flavor. Of course, if you think you may enjoy a pure and unique tobacco experience, you should definitely give this blend a try.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2023 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Sample bag from 2019. The aroma is sharp, tangy, vinegar, yeast, citrus fruit, and dark sweet hay from a barn. Very C&D in its aroma. If you like other Virginias from them you’ll know what I mean. It’s a light colored soft broken cake in typical C&D fashion. Moisture is there dry time recommended, breaks apart easily. The taste is mild and easy on the pallet. Citrus fruit, dark sugar, barn wood, and hay. There isn’t a whole lot to it but what’s there is a very pleasant and sweet straight Virginia. No harshness or bite very little tingle on the retrohale. Could burn hot. Some dry time might cut down on the relights. All and all it’s a good straight Virginia. A little boring and very mild by design. Definitely repeatable, nic hit is mild to maybe medium.
Age When Smoked: 4 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable
After having read many compliments about this tobacco, I was finally able to get it. Strictly speaking, it is pure Va and seems quite settled when opening the can. In dry, the aroma reminds me of certain young rosé wines, without attracting me too much. On the first charge I noticed that it was somewhat dry (perhaps too used to SG flakes) and I smoked it enthusiastically, but didn't notice anything special in it. I tried to moisten the broken flakes for a few days and tried to smoke again. I was still disappointed: not very complex, rather smooth and somewhat bitter. I was looking for those sweet notes during the smoke but I couldn't find them. Maybe I am too used to FVF. The smoke is light and light-bodied, but it's Va, and there is no doubt about that, for which I do not regret having bought it. But, in my country the 57 g of Union Square costs more than double that of the sealed aluminum envelope with 50 g of FVF, so I do not think I will buy again when I finish the can.
Pipe Used: Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 122
PurchasedFrom: https://www.patagoniapipes.com
Age When Smoked: canned on 07/2018
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 13, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I gave this straight Va offering a go when I was still wet behind the ears in the hobby. At the time I really wasn't able to suss out the leaf flavors well, so the first go wasn't so great. It's also a bit on the stronger side nic wise, so that also deterred me from it. Since then behind my ears have dried a bit and I've branched into LBF, Escudo, Golden Sliced etc., so I decided to give this another go.

The cut is a flake, but to me it's more of a broken flake. Most of them end up being about half the size of an average Orlik or Mac Baren flake. You can still put a few together to fold & stuff or you can just rub it out. With this blend I've rubbed it out and have had good results.

It packs pretty easily and takes a char/true light well. It burns on the slower side which I think helps draw flavors out better. Being a straight Va one would think this would be a fairly straight forward and mundane go, but it's quite the opposite. Because of the diversity of types of Va leaves it offers every flavor profile in that spectrum. You get the plum/raisin/fig notes. The bready yeasty notes come out as well. The citrusy earthy hay like flavors come in as well. It's a rare complex Va blend.

To me this is more of a sit down an concentrate on the smoke kind of blend, because of its complexity.

Overall I'd recommend it for anyone that's in to Va's, but not as a first foray into the Virginia genre.
Pipe Used: Pete Prevost bamboo shanked billiard
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 22, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
It's got a little more nicotine and flavor than the average Virginia Flake by Peterson, McClelland or Dunhill. Perhaps, even less casing is present even in the tin scent. So, I give him credit for something that really does seem a very true pure strong Virginia blend. It reminds me of McConnel's Red Virginia a bit. If I hadn't already smoked that, I'd likely be more wowed, but it's pretty similar in character, and I think McConnell's is a little tastier.

I do enjoy this one and it's a darn good smoke. I just have yet to taste that GL Pease Blend that verifies his stellar reputation as the best. I do think this one has potential to age into something better than smoking it new, but it's certainly not a negative review, just didn't blow me away. It's basically as good as other Straight Virginia's that are out there made by the reputable companies. It does have artisan quality flake, so that's a plus. Reminds me a bit of a McClelland, but completely without their signature.

If he was going for something pure, which maybe he was, he hit the mark. It's almost just a packed raw blend of Virginia tobacco's. I think I can smell the dirt it was grown in, its that natural.
Pipe Used: Meer
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 17, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Well-formed, loose flakes with a mild Virginia aroma greet the smoker who opens an aged tin of US. A tad moist on opening, but easy to pack and light no matter how firmly pressed. So far, so good!

I simply cannot agree with the plethora of laudatory comments with their extremely favorable contrasts to the great English Virginia flakes from so many producers (some of which are blended in the USA)! Perhaps I am not yet ready for a "natural Virginia" and historically prefer adulterated Virginias. I do not know! I do know this blend was very much less flavorful and generously satisfying than about every other "full Virginia flake" I regularly puff. I had high hopes after all the four star ratings!

To be fair, this Virginia flake has grown on me in a subtle way over the last several days. Well-aged and given enough air, the blend "rounds out" into a mild, satisfying smoke that is more generous than initially indicated. There is more sweetness and flavor satisfaction since I first opened the tin: three stars!
Pipe Used: Dunhill Billiard
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: 2-3 years
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