Newminster No. 23 Blackberry Brandy

Tobacco selection: Air-cured Burleys from Mexico and flue-cured Virginias from Brazil and USA. Sweet fruit taste perfectly balanced with brandy. A fine smoking blend on its own. Loose cut mixed with cut plug.


Brand Newminster
Blended By  
Manufactured By Villiger
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Burley, Virginia
Flavoring Blackberry, Brandy, Fruit / Citrus
Cut Ribbon
Packaging Bulk
Country Unknown
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.32 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 22 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 05, 2013 Very Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
I partake in few Aromatics, but I love the thought of a delicious berry and other fruit flavored tobaccos, so I try them when I see something I like, I didn't think the tobacco was overly wet, but the darkness of this blend and the wonderful aroma in the bulk jar at the B&M just forced me to buy some, and I'm glad I did, I don't ever dry any of my tobacco, so I stuff and puff, sure it takes a couple few relights but then again most do, and I'm not in a big hurry anyways, the flavor of the blackberries does come through, it's no where near over powering, the tobacco is definitely a mild flavor, but then just enough of the blackberry is left behind
Pipe Used: Nording Rshodesian
PurchasedFrom: Alegheny Smoke Works
Age When Smoked: unknown
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2015 Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Strong
This tobacco arrived as a sample from SPC--the other offering was a Tom Eltang that I had already tried. It has been quite some time since I smoked any aromatics--but my journey into pipe smoking many decades ago began with them.

The bag aroma is quite nice and not terribly overwhelming--but it is very full and obvious. As with many aro blends it was moist, but not sticky. The blend loaded quite well in a MM, and did not compact too tightly limiting the draw. A prelight started the bowl well, and there was no rise that required a lot of tamping.

For me, the taste of the Virginia came through immediately. Typical notes of hay and the sweetness of that tobacco--quite distinct from the sweetness of the blackberry and brandy. At first, the taste of the blackberry was a bit subdued--but began to take on greater character moving into the first quarter of the bowl.

At this point, the richer burley takes a center stage from the VA, as does the level of nicotine! It has a bit of a "tang" that is not quite a bite--but the mouth feel that is associated with a good burley. The smoke itself is a nice body--but not heavy or thickly creamy. This is quite satisfying for those of us who chase the tobacco tang of English/Balkan blends.

Halfway into the bowl and moving down, the blackberry fills in the balance from the earlier VA and burley steps--melding with each and making for a quite satisfying smoke. The nicotine remains moderately full, and the aroma of the blackberry and brandy FILLS the room--but not unpleasantly or cloyingly so.

The finish strengthens toward the bottom with some loss of the initial distinctions--a bit monochrome if you will--and the moisture levels damp but not too problematic to cause gurgling. I left a bit unsmoked--as is my custom even amongst my regular English/Balkan rotation. I had hints that the very last of it was not going to be particularly pleasant. On the second bowl later, I smoked it in stages--returning several times to relight and enjoy. There was no significant degradation of the blend--nor any harshness from resting.

All in all, I found this blend quite enjoyable--and will add a few ounces on a regular basis to my cellar. A thing to note though. Pick a pipe you smoke similar aro's in or dedicate a briar or cob. Once you pass a couple bowls through--it is going to move in and stay...
Pipe Used: MM Washington
PurchasedFrom: SPC
Age When Smoked: New Sample
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 26, 2016 Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Medium Very Pleasant
The burleys have some toasted nuttiness, wood and earth, and maybe a touch of molasses. They stand out a little more than the flue cured, grassy, tart citrusy Virginias, which also sports a minor earth note. The blackberry brandy topping is fairly sweet with a slight sour hit that I particularly notice in the last third of the experience, which interrupts the smoothness a mite. The topping does tone down the tobaccos, but they show up a little more after the half way point. The strength is a couple of steps past the mild mark. The taste barely reaches the medium level. The nic-hit is a shade past being mild. Burns cool at a slow to moderate pace with a mostly consistent flavor from top to bottom. Requires a few relights as the blend burns moist. Has no bite or harsh notes. Leaves some moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. The light sourness at the end of the smoke unfortunately translates to the short lived after taste. has a decent room note. Two and a half stars.

7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 24, 2018 Mild Mild to Medium Mild Very Pleasant
This is the perfect example of why one should smoke several bowls before writing a review. Had I written my review after my first bowl, this might have been a 4-star review. Instead, I give it a 2 (upgraded to a 3 on 12/21/18). I was initially quite impressed at how it holds its flavor throughout the duration of the bowl compared to some of the other aromatics that I've smoked. After smoking 9 bowls of the stuff, I'm beginning to regret that 8oz purchase that I made following the first bowl.

The taste is in no way off-putting. The jar aroma is quite pleasant, as is the room note (no complaints from the wife when I smoke this one inside). I find that this blend requires an above average number of relights, and the casing causes it to burn hot (both common problems for aromatics). I might be able to forgive this, but the smoke produced is fairly thin from start to finish. I feel like I'm slowly sipping air that has the faint taste of blackberries. It's really easy to push this one too much in attempt to coax thicker smoke and more flavor out of it than what it is going to give, and then I end up burning my mouth and tongue. So it's too much effort for too little payoff flavor-wise.

I do recommend smoking this one in a cob, or a briar dedicated to fruity aromatics, as the blackberry flavor will stick around for a bit. I smoked some Peterson Hyde Park in my Savinelli 601 when the last 2 bowls in the pipe were Blackberry Brandy, and I tasted the blackberry brandy more than expected or desired - I will note, however, that that blackberry ghost only stuck around for a couple bowls, so it isn't going to ruin your pipe.

12/21/18 EDIT: Smoking this more, I've found that if I just let it dry longer, and pack it tighter than I normally pack my nonaromatics, it makes for a much better experience with fewer relights. Upgrading from 2 stars to 3 stars. Sometimes it really DOES take time and effort, and willingness to change-up some of the things you're doing in order to figure out how to make a particular blend work better.
Pipe Used: Savinelli 601, MM Legend & a clay pipe
PurchasedFrom: The Pipe & Pint (Greensboro, NC) and
Age When Smoked: unknown (bulk)
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 13, 2017 Mild Strong Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong
Newminster - No. 23 Blackberry Brandy.

Just like CHEAP liqueur.

The blend is dark in colour, comprises fairly uniform/well rubbed ribbons, has only a little too much moisture, and the smell implies a sweet and sharp flavour. I second what AE1PT said about ghosting: for heavens sake, don't have your first bowl in your favourite porous Meer', it's gonna get ruined.

The smoke: the flavour lacks the sweetness of the pouch-note, but has twice as much sharpness; this causticity only increases as a bowl's smoked. To my palate the aromatics monopolize the smoke, leaving very little room to be able to identify much tobacco. Another low point, for me, is tongue bite.

The room-note's a bit too much, and the nicotine's mild.

No. 23? No thanks.

Not recommended.
Pipe Used: Cob
Age When Smoked: New
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2014 Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant
I am a big fan of *some* aros, but usually not anything with fruit as they've typically been fairly acrid, acidic on the tongue, and generally disagreeable in my past.

However, this blend was gifted to me to sample, and I am very glad it was.

Pouch note is smoky, with a strong presence of natural overripe blackberry.

The initial char and first few draws were very smooth and balanced, a faint smokiness, slightly stronger bready/yeasty characteristics, with strong blackberry and currant. Snorking and French Inhale left a strong taste and aroma of, well, blackberries! While the flavor was spot on, there was no syrupy or sickly sweet character to the smoke... think more of a very dry blackberry wine.

Nicotine content was a bit of a surprise, I'm guessing burley is a predominant tobacco in this blend. I went to the races a little on this one. It's sneaky because as soon as the flavor starts to get really good, so does the buzz.

All-in-all, a very enjoyable tobacco. I can see this being a great post-lunch smoke, a bright, warm, and gentle aromatic that would pair well with iced tea. Think of a well balanced tobacco, then add just enough blackberry topping to make it agreeable indoors. As far as a con, I would say the topping can overpower the tobacco somewhat, nothing is really "bold" here.
Pipe Used: MM Legend
PurchasedFrom: Unknown (gifted)
Age When Smoked: Unknown
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 01, 2020 Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant
I visited a local B&M to shop for cigars and stumbled upon this. It started out as a pretty good smoke, but deteriorated as the bowl burned down. It started to to sour the further I smoked and became intolerable by the time it got to the bottom 1/3 of the bowl. I tried it again in a cob with the same results. 1 star.
Pipe Used: Medico Crest
PurchasedFrom: Local B@M
Age When Smoked: new
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 31, 2020 Mild Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant
I one of those guys that loves cheap blackberry brandy and Manischewitz blackberry wine. Especially in the fall. I also enjoy a solid aromatic as much as I like my Balkans. if it's quality, ill consume it!

I bought a 2oz pouch of this without reading any reviews prior. I knew this could go either way. Harsh, goopy and sickly sweet, cloying, or flavorful fruitiness with a touch of alcohol.

It arrived with about a dozen other blends, and this was one of the first I choose to start reviewing. I headed up to northern Michigan on a few hour road trip and packed my first bowl.

The pouch aroma smells more like grape bubble gum than blackberry to me. Its not sticky, nor does it smell overly artificial. It is a bit moist, which did require a few initial lights on the first few bowls.

The aroma doesn't transfer much to the smoke. It does have a slight sweetness, a touch of fruit, but unless you knew this was Blackberry Brandy, you would never be able to decipher what is was by the smoke alone. If has a slight sharp note, but it's not off putting. Nothing creamy about this blend. Burn rate and evenness is surprisingly great even with the fresh moisture content. It can have a minor harsh spot, and it does change significantly as it burns down, coming somewhat flat. It leaves an ashy aftertaste, but no tongue bite. I'll have no problem finishing the last few bowls of this 2oz. 2.5 stars for now.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 25, 2016 Mild Mild Very Mild Tolerable
No Bite no nicotine. Nothing to recommend it. So I will not be buying this again. I will say that it has a nice pouch aroma, but that doesn't translate to the smoke, so why bother?
Pipe Used: MM cob, MM hardwood, both with filters
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and cigars .com
Age When Smoked: fresh to 4 weeks
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2015 Very Mild Medium Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant
I found this to be rather flavorless. The tin smell is decent enough. However, I just could not taste it. It had very little flavor at all, even tobacco flavor.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 19, 2012 Mild to Medium Strong Medium Very Pleasant
When I first read about Mr. Swearingen of enjoying a pre-release sample, I was very much intrigued by the sound of this blend. I was eager to pick up an ounce when it came out.

I don't often smoke aromatics, but the Blackberry Brandy sounded much too interesting not to try. The aroma is incredibly strong and the tobacco is very moist. It's the closest to hookah shisha I've ever seen in pipe tobacco. This blend could probably stand to have a good bit of air drying time, but I was too impatient to do so. There was a lot of relighting those couple bowls. That said, it was a good smoke. The flavor was incredibly present, and yet it didn't strike me as overwhelming (something that, say, Stanwell Melange did). I didn't really experience the room note, but I think it would be quite agreeable.

In the end, this isn't a tobacco for me to keep around, but I think it's good aromatic. If that's more your cup of tea, definitely give it a try.
1 person found this review helpful.
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