Capstan & Three Nuns Returns to the U.S. Market After 18-Year Hiatus

Available June 10 – Exclusively from

After a month of speculation and rumors run rampant in pipe forums, it was officially announced today that Capstan and Three Nuns pipe tobaccos would change production houses … and the bigger, more exciting news for Americans is that they will be made available in the USA for the first time in roughly 18-years.

The Capstan and Three Nuns trademarks are owned by Imperial Tobacco, and had formerly been produced by the Orlik / STG factory in Assens Denmark. Although they were in current production, these tobaccos haven’t been commercially available in the U.S.A. for almost two decades.

Mac Baren Tobacco Company has already made the first production run, which, at press time, is just waiting to clear U.S. customs. There will be four versions of Capstan, plus the Three Nuns blend. All of them will be in 50 gram (1.75 ounce) tins.

The five tobaccos are:

  • Capstan Blue Flake
  • Capstan Yellow Flake
  • Capstan Blue Ready Rubbed
  • Capstan Yellow Ready Rubbed
  • Three Nuns

Mac Baren Tobacco Co. has kindly provided the blends ingredients:

Capstan Original (Blue)

Tobacco: Virginia (USA & Brazil)
Type: Pressed tobacco
Cut: Flakes
Strength/taste: Medium to full / Natural sweet taste of full Virginia flavors

Capstan Gold (Yellow)

Tobacco: Virginia (Brazil & USA)
Type: Pressed tobacco 
Cut: Flakes
Strength/taste: Medium / Natural sweet Virginia taste

Capstan Original (Blue – Ready Rubbed)

Tobacco: Virginia (USA & Brazil) 
Type: Pressed tobacco
Cut: Ready Rubbed (Pressed, cut and rubbed out)
Strength/taste: Medium to full / Natural sweet taste of full Virginia flavors

Capstan Gold (Yellow – Ready Rubbed)

Tobacco: Virginia (Brazil & USA)
Type: Pressed tobacco 
Cut: Ready Rubbed (Pressed, cut and rubbed out)
Strength/taste: Medium / Natural sweet Virginia taste

"The difference between Capstan Original and Capstan Gold is that many pipe smokers find the Gold version to be a bit milder and slightly sweeter, where the Capstan Blue shows the full flavor Virginias in the taste (More Virginia taste)." – Per Jensen, Mac Baren

Three Nuns

Tobacco: Virginia (Africa), Dark Fired Kentucky (Africa)
Type: Spun tobacco
Cut: Roll Cakes 
Strength/taste: Full / Natural sweet taste of full Virginia flavors combined with a slightly smoky note coming from the Dark Fired Kentucky.


Imperial Tobacco, as previously stated, owns the rights to the Capstan and Three Nuns pipe tobacco blends. They are also the owner of Altadis USA. Mac Baren recently acquired the Altadis Pipe Tobacco Division from Imperial and reverted the company’s name back to its original roots—Sutliff Tobacco Company. Mac Baren negotiated this as part of the deal as well, and Sutliff will be the importer / distributor of Capstan and Three Nuns in the U.S. Exact retail prices were not available at press time, but it is expected that they will be just a small amount higher than a Mac Baren branded 50 gram tin.


"We’re excited to have these brands back on the US market after so many years. It’s a great thing for American pipe smokers and for the pipe tobacco market in the U.S." — Paul Creasy, President, Sutliff Tobacco Co.


The four Capstan blends (Yellow and Blue, each in Flake and Ready Rubbed) and Three Nuns will all be available from starting on or about June 10th. They will initially be exclusive to for three months, then will be distributed more widely in the United States.

It’s not clear why the blends were not imported into the US market for so long. However, during their time away from the American marketplace, they were still sold (and were very popular) in Europe; especially Germany, Denmark and elsewhere in northern Europe.


"Capstan and Three Nuns are iconic. They came off of the U.S. market sometime right before I became involved in the tobacco industry in the late 1990s, but they’re the sort of legendary tobaccos that people just don’t forget. I’ve had hundreds of conversations over the years about these celebrated blends. And I’ve carried more than a few tins of both Capstan and Three Nuns back in hand luggage from Denmark and Germany for my own consumption over the years. To say that I’m excited that these are coming back on the market would be a remarkable understatement. will be the launch customer for these blends in the US before they’re more widely distributed. As the head of, I’m really excited about that. But, as a pipe smoker finally able to get these in the US, I’m positively giddy." — F. Sykes Wilford, President,


We here at are quite excited as well.


12 Responses

  • Good news indeed. It’ll be interesting to see what puffers on this side of the pond think about these blends.
    It’s a shame Mac Baren can’t produce the original Three Nuns though.

  • Great news. Does anyone know how long Mac Baren has been producing Capstan? I bought some tins last month from the Danidh Pipe Shop in Copenhagen and I wonder if I am already tasting the Mac Baren product? Anyone know when the production shifted in European distribution channels? Thanks

  • I still have a dozen tins of the Capstan Blue Flake on hand and it will be nice to compare the new release. It’s nice to know there’s no worry about running out of this special Virginia Flake anymore. Thanks for the good news.

  • Is there also any news when exactly these tobaccos will become available in Europe? We now still have the old stock made by Orlik.

  • Arno, I have both style tins as well. The stuff in the narrow tins (older) is cut into thin slices. The stuff in the newer wider tins is slightly thicker. But the taste is the same to me, or very similar accounting for difference in aging of course. Have you tried the wide tin?

  • Yeah I am smoking from a wide tin right now actually, bought a month ago in Germany. The thing is, I have not smoked from a narrow tin for over a year, so I can’t really remember the taste. I still have one left of those and I really want to save it.. But the stuff from the wide tin is indeed pretty similar to what I could remember. Still one of my favourite Virginias. Also the smell from the tin, very hay-like. Always remembers me of my uncle and aunt’s farm 🙂

  • @alfredbarr
    the codes on the back of the tins are different. The Orlik/STG tin has 10 digits and then 4 (the first 2 digits is the year of packing). The MacBaren one has 8 and then 5 (the 3rd & 4th digit gives you the year). Here in Europe Orlik version is still in stock at many b&m

  • Capstan and three nuns were easily available when I was young here in England and in the newspaper shop where I was a paperlad, so were many others.If only I had known then what I know now.We used to pinch capstan full strength and medium fags from the shop on our way out but they were so strong we couldnt smoke them but by christ we tried.