I wasn’t planning on doing a review of Union Square, (since Bob did one already) but then I smoked it and was compelled to do so. I was actually traveling at the time and didn’t have a computer in front of me, so I took out a little piece of paper and wrote down: G.L. Pease Union Square. Tastes Tangy. Smells like Apricots, Prunes, Raisins. Moist out of the tin … later, towards the end of my first bowl, I wrote: Amazing Virginia blend. Great crossover for aromatic smokers. I almost don’t believe this isn’t an aromatic. (I mean that in a good way.)
G.L. Pease Union Square just became one of my new favorite Virginia blends. There are just so many good pipe tobaccos out there, and if you’re like me, you buy way more than you can smoke. When I was talking to our Associate Editor, Bob Tate, yesterday, he told me that he has a computer program that calculated that he has 9-years worth of tobacco if he smokes 3-bowls a day, every day for the next 9-years … and of course doesn’t buy any more tobacco. (Yeah, like that’ll happen.)
I’m not as bad as Bob, but I probably have about 1.5 to 2 years of tobacco, which includes a bunch of tins that have never been opened, of tobaccos that I have yet to try. So what prompted me to open my tin of G.L. Pease Union Square dated September 2009?
I was on my way to San Francisco for an Internet trade show where I would be a featured speaker. Greg Pease and I had been emailing back and forth about the start of his new column on the site, (you can see Greg’s first article here) and we talked about possibly meeting up in San Francisco since he lives in the Bay Area. I figured I better be smoking one of his blends when I meet him, and since Union Square is in San Francisco, that is what I picked for the trip. Greg and I missed the opportunity to meet up, but I did smoke Union Square in Union Square.
I hope I didn’t scare anyone away when I said I almost couldn’t believe this isn’t an aromatic. That was one of my first reactions because it smells so good, and (unlike some aromatics that don’t deliver on the taste compared to the tin aroma) it tastes good too. This blend is all Virginia Tobacco with no added sugars or flavorings. It is a little sweet because Virginia tobacco has a higher concentration of sugars than other tobaccos.
The tin description accurately describes Union Square as a "blended, sliced cake of high-grade flue cured leaf, from beautiful, sweet brights to deep, earthy reds, without the added sugars and flavourings 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, we proudly present Union Square."
My suggestions for getting the most enjoyment out of Union Square is to 1) smoke it slow – it can bite a little if you are a hyperactive smoker. My first few smokes were great as I was very relaxed. Then I smoked while working and stressed over too much to do and I got it a little hot and bitter, but that is my fault, not the tobacco’s. Also, smoking it slow brings out the nice sweet Virginia flavor. 2) Try the Fold & Stuff method instead of rubbing it out. I did it both ways, and the Fold & Stuff, packed a little loosely worked best for me. Or, if you want to rub it out, pack the bowl a little loose. 3) Smoke it with a clean palate, and not after you’ve smoked a Latakia blend earlier in the day.
Union Square starts out a little light, but it gets better and better as it goes. I even just got a little hint of vanilla as I am smoking and writing this at the 2/3rds point of the bowl. I enjoyed Union Square so much that I smoked it exclusively for three days straight.
I was quite surprised when I read a few reviewers describing Union Square as having a high nicotine kick. One guy said it kicked his butt more than Peterson Irish Flake. I can’t understand that at all. Irish Flake actually does make the room spin for me, and I definitely consider myself a lightweight when it comes to nicotine. I got no nic-kick from Union Square at all, which for me is a good thing.
If you’re feeling nice and relaxed, and want to enhance your leisure time with a tasty bowl of pure Virginia pipe tobacco, give G.L. Pease Union Square a light.
|A look inside the tin at Union Square
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|Close-up of Union Square’s Sliced Cake of Flue Cured Bright Virginia and Red Virginia Tobaccos
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|Back of the Tin Label of Union Square Pipe Tobacco
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Brand: G. L. Pease
Blender: G.L. Pease
Tin Description: A blended, sliced cake of high-grade flue cured leaf, from beautiful, sweet brights to deep, earthy reds, without the added sugars and flavourings 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, we proudly present Union Square.
Country of Origin: USA
Curing Group: Flue Cured
Contents: Virginia – Bright Virginia, Red Virginia
Flavoring: None detected
Room Note: Pleasant