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 1 - 10 of 50 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 17, 2021 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
In the tin I get sweet dark fruit and a bit of grass or hay.

For a moment I got a whiff of strawberry candy. However, the dominant note is by far sweet grass and hay from the bright Virginias with just a bit of dark fruit from the red Virginias. It's not nearly as tangy and sweet as many other straight Virginia blends due to the lack of added sugar. However, it brings out some of the leaf's natural sweetness and lemon sourness.

Not an overly rich, deep, or complex blend, but does have high and low notes. The grassy and lemon top is completed by a drop of warm bread notes so it's by no means a boring smoke, although the flavor doesn't change much throughout the bowl.

Mechanically, I found that rubbing out the flakes is the easiest way to pack and smoke Union Square. Smoking cool for a straight Virginia and in a moderate pace. No tongue bite. Can be an all-day smoke. Minimal relights.

Mild in body and strength. I do wish it'd have more of both, especially a bit more of body. At times it feels a bit like a chewing gum tastes once the flavors start to disappear, although it's nowhere as drastic as that in the case of Union Square.

This blend is in line with blends such as Orlik Golden Sliced and Mac Baren HH Pure Virginia, as well as Capstan. I've never smoked Full Virginia Flake, so I can't comment on that. Out of these four, I'd probably rank it last as each of the others brings forward something that Union Sq. doesn't. However, I love straight Virginias on the bright side and this is a very good blend. Balancing between the blend on its own and between the way it's compared with other similar blends, I'd go with a three star rating.
Age When Smoked: 7 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 07, 2013 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
Original Review 8-7-2013

I purchased a tin of this around christmas 2012 and wasn't overly impressed when I first opened this in Feb 2013, but by Late March I was really starting to enjoy it and found it slowly becoming one of my favorite Va blends. Although it won't supplant Dunhill Flake from the top of my rotation, I still highly recommend it and find it worthy of four stars as it is different enough from DF that there is room for both.

Greg Pease's objective with this blend was to make a very natural VA and he succeeds in his attempt as it appears to me to be as natural as is possible. This one will come off as pretty harsh if smoked mindlessly or too fast, it is meant for the slow meditative puff. It also has a surprisingly high nicotine content which was something I was not expecting from such a low processed light colored leaf.

I look forward to buying some more of this in the big cans and aging them. Something tells me this will age beautifully.

Update 5/6/2020

I just finished the second tin since the review above and have a few more yet in the cellar for later smoking pleasure. I am knocking a star off for now and the reason is kind of long and complicated to explain. This is something I almost did after finishing the first tin following that review, but decided not to at that time and am glad I did wait as I would have taken it down a couple of stars at that time.

This blend has clearly changed since I first smoked it in 2012 and I wish that I would have written down the tin date of that tin I purchased in 2012. The change I believe is a response to the mold problems that plagued Cornell and Diehl. It has been openly acknowledged that they do things differently now so as to avoid the problems they had in the past.

Now back to that second tin. I popped it and it had a large mold growth in it. I reached out to Laudisi and they graciously replaced the tin promptly. This happened after the change. Upon opening the new tin, the smell was much different than I previously noted. It had an off smell. Not the hay/citrus fresh smell of Virginia that I previously encountered. The new smell was closer to decomposing vegetation and not too different from that of compost.

I don't know what it was but I did not like it. Shortly after this I noticed that every new CD or Pease Va heavy blend had the same smell. As many of these were rum topped, I first thought that was the culprit and that the Union Square must now have that same topping. I have since come to the conclusion that this is just the way their virginia smells after processing. Whatever the case, I did not like it.

But what to do. Well, the answer, it turns out, is to wait. I recently opened another tin that had aged 5 years and the smell did not have the same effect on me. I don't know if it just mellowed with age or if I have just gotten used to the smell having smoked several of these Virginias since then. It is probably a combination of both. While I enjoyed this tin much more than the last, neither was as good as the first. I feel it can no longer hold up to the Virginias that I have rated 4 stars. Thus, it is now a three star blend. Good, but I have several better options in my cellar.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 12, 2009 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I don't usually care if a Virginia flake is actually not pure Virginia but contains something else (a touch of burley, a hint of cavendish, or other condiments) as long as it tastes good. For the same reason, I don't mind casing and flavoring agents, as long as they are not intrusive and/or actually help to enhance the tobacco ending up in a still rather natural tasting experience. For example, I like several of the more conservative Mac Baren blends which are obviously treated with sugar, molasses and honey: they taste good, and that's enough for me.

Anyway, I was curious to try whay Greg would pull out of the magician's hat with this one. Pure Virginia, and absolutely no casing? A recipe for failure? A tobacco which would be devoid of flavor and difficult to keep lit? Since Greg is not crazy, there was no worry about these things.

Actually, to me, the tin aroma doesn't smell particularly different from other Virginia (broken) flakes: an intriguing perfume of dark cocoa, of dried fruits, of sweet/sour sauce, of hay. Same things I have experienced before. So, it turns out, the best flavors that come out of a good blend are actually due to the leaf. Good to know!

Packing and lighting is easy due to the broken flake/ready rubbed appearance: just stuff the bowl, press it a bit and fire away.

It is a very tasty blend from the first minutes: smooth but full bodied, alternating between a moderate natural fruity sweetness, a pleasant grassy astringency, and a very "organic" feel. It doesn't taste over-processed or too restrained: you can clearly always feel you are burning some vegetal stuff, but in a good way (=it never tastes like an overprocessed blend where the tobacco is just a distant hint). It does NOT taste green, edgy or sour, at all. Very consistent from start to finish, and rather complex too. And of course no bite at all.

Again, it is impressive to think that the big flavor this blend has to offer (it probably is the one with the most distinct character in the Fog City line, although Montgomery's creamy balance is still better to my taste) is completely due to the great choice of leaf, some careful processing and nothing else.

My only drawback is that, being used to lighter stuff, I find Union Square a slight bit heavier (in body, taste and nicotine) than I usually prefer. Not a problem, though: it's not a monster like Haddo's or some British Virginias, and I can easily smoke this in a small bowl (no larger than group 3 or 4 Dunhill equivalent). Actually, I feel that a medium-small bowl is also very good for the flavor development, because this tobacco tastes good from the start and doesn't actually need an hour of slow burning in a large bowl (like other Virginias do) to reach its optimum.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 08, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Not exceptionally complex but a good solid rich Virginia blend. Doesn’t have the traditional Virginia notes one would expect. Didn’t get any grassy hay or much citrus. Instead, a marzipan and orgeat bomb with a cinnamon finish and some mild woodsy dryness in the mouth . Blend gets more flavorful as the bowl progresses. Sweetness not sugar on the tongue instead a deeper kind of almond pastry sweetness. Quite good but not what I’d expect from most Virginia blends. More of a desert blend. Unique and delicious. Warm smoke but no bite. Might up dry time to 30 minutes. Nic got more than most Virginias, medium nic.

Method: cut flake with scissors, 10 minute dry time Location: inside
Pipe Used: La rocca 1/4 bent billiard
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 10, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Union Square has bright VA's out front with notes of grass and citrus. The Red Va's trail behind but will move forward at times. They are very tangy with a yeast like note on occasion, dark fruit notes, some toasted bread notes and a faint spice. The VA's are slightly earthy with a touch of sweetness. The flavors stay at the mild to med range and you need to really focus on the smoke to find all of them. I would still not consider this as complex as others but it does hold my interest nonetheless. It does not get ashy or cigarette like in any way, the mouth feel stays smooth and creamy. The nic is at the mild to med range and can be sipped all day if one is inclined to do so.
Age When Smoked: 8 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 12, 2019 Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
Union Square has a very light aroma of bread with a hint of baking spice upon opening the tin. The flakes are, for the most part, broken up quite a bit. They also are fairly easy to rub out. The tobacco is dry enough to smoke right away as well.

At the start of the bowl there is a hint of toast and practically nothing else. However the blend opens up nicely after the first third or so. There’s some grassiness as well as dark fruit and spice. Any discernible flavors are on the mild side and require you to smoke slowly and really think about what you’re tasting. If you’re doing anything else while smoking Union Square, you may miss out on the subtle flavor.

Overall Union Square lights up easily and stays lit well, only requiring a few relights. This is definitely a first smoke of the day.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 25, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I'm not saying this is a bad blend by no means, but it needs aging for sure. My palate is over dominated by very young, bright Va. i only get just a hint here and there of the red. Too sharp and bright for my tastes, burns pretty hot, and gives me incredible tongue bite. I only suspect it's because of the lack of age. It has all the potential to be great. Just need to give it time.

Update 5-28-19 with almost a year as of the production date of this blend, the addition 6 months has really helped this one out. The natural sweetness has really shined through. C&D Virginias always have a burley like character imo but the age has let me know otherwise. The brights add a hint of citrus. The reds give it a deeper profile without drowning out the brights. It still has a tendency to give some bite but a slow puff here and there prevent that from happening. I'm sure with more age it will smoke cooler and sweeter. As I've stated before, age will do this blend great justice and so far it has shown me that it has.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2018 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I am on a quest to find a VA to replace McClelland, and this is certainly a candidate. It is not McClelland-ish, but it is a very good smoke. There is no "tang", and certainly no ketchup, but rather a smooth and creamy VA taste. There is no discernible topping, and exhibits, as qualified elsewhere, a very natural tobacco taste. There is a subtle sweetness, and a "bready" quality sneaks in occasionally. It is not a "biter" but can exhibit harsh spots if you get carried away. I read another review that suggested a dedicated "clean" pipe and that is probably a good idea. It is a sort of broken flake and should probably dry out for a few minutes to get the best experience, but it is smoke-able out of the tin. Good stuff, and an excellent candidate for cellaring.
Pipe Used: various dedicated to VAs
PurchasedFrom: Watch City
Age When Smoked: new
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 26, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
I was looking for a Va. blend and ordered this to try.

I tried it 'fresh' so maybe my experience was different to others who aged it.

On opening, it was very dry, almost papery but with good texture. It packed very well and lit easily but burned hot.

I was disappointed. Not because there was anything wrong with the product in any way - it was just that I was expecting an awe-inspiring 'wow' factor smoke with a rich 'leafy' aroma in the smoke and notable Va. flavours and sweetness on the palate.

The actual product is more subdued and complex which is what I'd have assumed it to be if I hadn't been led to expect otherwise.

The product is clearly of excellent quality. Regardless of what others may say, it does need to be kept in its drier state rather than humidified as any 'bite' you get from it burning hot is much milder than from it being smoked in a moister state.

It is certainly worth a try as an all-day blend though is one of the milder Pease blends with lower nicotine. A good indoors product as outdoors the smoke aroma isn't very intense.
Pipe Used: Ropp Bulldog
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 20, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Medium chocolate brown, uniform color, broken flake at an average moisture level. The smell in the jar caught me off guard, so I had my 9 year old check it as well. His assessment - "Hmm! Raisins? And something else. Smells pretty good!". What I smelled was a sweet fermented fruit scent (raisins is pretty close) up front and also a slight hint of hearty grain. Ok, short answer - it smells like raisin bran. Yes, really.

The fruity-raisin flavor doesn't carry over to the smoke at all for me, though. But the cereal grain flavor does. Tobacco-Wheaties. If I'm really really patient and really really careful, I can coax a good bit of sweetness out of it. And if I abuse it, I can get a little bite out of it, but I didn't find it to be particularly bitey. I don't know how old this is, as it was a sample I got in trade, but I suspect it's not terribly old, and I suspect it will show improvement with age. Nicotine level is no higher than medium.

Overall, a decent middle of the road straight Virginia. If that's your forte, you might just love this stuff.

originally reviewed 8/10/2012
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