Brand: Mac Baren
Blended By: Mac Baren
Model: St. Bruno Ready Rubbed
Tobacco Type: Dark Fired Kentucky, Virginia
Blend Type: Aromatic
Strength: 3 of 5
Room Note: Pleasant
Flavoring: Fruit, Citrus
- 50 g. / 1.75 oz.
I had a pleasant recollections of St. Bruno flakes (decades ago, I must confess) as something robust. This ready rubbed tasted somewhat tame, though not unpleasant at all.
St. Bruno Flake has been around for decades and is often included on must-try Virginia lists. You may have even seen one of the old TV commercials on YouTube, they're quite funny. Or, maybe you've heard that St. Bruno was the patron saint of pipe smokers, though I could not verify that one. What we have here is a Ready Rubbed version of that famous Virginia and dark fired Kentucky Flake where the Virginias seem aged to perfection. It is very Virginia forward, with the Kentucky in a supporting role and carries a somewhat sweet flora aroma in the pouch. Deep red to brown in color, this is not a bright Virginia of grassy notes, but rather a rich and tangy flavor comparable to ketchup or BBQ sauce. That's not to say St. Bruno tastes like either, but it has that same sweet and spicy combination with an obvious vinegar aroma. In my opinion, the uniqueness of St. Bruno's flavor comes from their use of vinegar as a preservative. This does nothing to harm the Virginia though, in fact, it's all the better for it. It helps cut the bite of the Kentucky and mellow the overall flavor into an always cool tasting smoke. I've actually tried to smoke this as hot as I could and never came close to tongue bite. So, how does it compare to St. Bruno Flake? As near as I can tell, this is identical to buying St. Bruno Flake and rubbing it out yourself for a lot less money. The Flake version often costs half again as much as the Ready Rubbed pouch where the work's been done for you. The pouch actually works well to keep the tobacco fresh too, maybe even better than the square-style Flake tin. The tobacco comes moist but smoke-able, but I let mine air-dry one or two full days just for ease of lighting and keeping it lit. This tobacco can hold it's moisture for a lot longer, so don't be afraid of it drying out quickly. Both versions of St. Bruno age superbly. The sugars in the Virginias combine with the vinegar easily making this sweet enough to smoke anytime of day or even as a palate cleanser between smokes. With a little age it smokes much sweeter too, like you'd expect from quality Virginia. Whether you've had St. Bruno Flake and wished it didn't cost so much or you're just looking to try a unique old Virginia tobacco without the hassle of prepping flakes, St. Bruno Ready Rubbed could be just what you're looking for. Enjoy.
Yes, sweet and spicy. Woodsy as well, though I could detect a hint of cedar. Drying it out for half an hour made it more enjoyable. Despite the mild casing it tastes and smells of all natural tobacco.
St. Bruno has been around for a while and had several variations. I'm reviewing the most recent version on its own merits. Let me start by saying this is probably not what most people call an aromatic. This has none of the overly chemical top casings added that cover the natural flavors of the tobaccos. What we have here is a very nice VA/Dark Fired Kentucky broken flake where the rich Virginias seem aged to perfection. This is not a light VA of grassy notes, but rather a spicy, rich, peppery flavor some would compare to ketchup or BBQ sauce. That's not to say St. Bruno tastes like either, but it has that same sweet and spiciness with an obvious vinegar aroma. But, the vinegar does nothing to harm this great tobacco. In fact, it's all the richer for it. It's part of what sets St. Bruno apart in taste. St. Bruno ready rubbed comes on the moist side but is smoke-able fresh from the pouch, and after a couple of days of drying it's perfect. Even fresh it loads easily and smokes consistently throughout the bowl with little variation to the taste and flavor. If you haven't tried St. Bruno and are a fan of sweet & spicy tobaccos, this could be just what you're looking for? This ages superbly. The sugars in the Virginias combine with the vinegar to easily make this sweet enough to smoke any time of the day. As it aged I felt less nicotine and overall it smokes much sweeter. Also, I've had the flake version and cannot tell any difference if you're going to rub out your flakes anyway. Enjoy.