Five Brothers Burley

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Jun 5, 2019
Los Gatos, CA
1st crack at Five Brothers Burley in my little Stanwell 86. I’m no tobacco reviewer, so please forgive an amateur attempt at it.

This tobacco has a reputation for being very strong and absolutely untouched with any toppings or additives. Out of the pouch, it is super long fine shag. It’s almost like pulling steel wool apart in order to get a bowls worth. I also understand that this cut is probably made more for RYO, than a bowl.

The pouch note is very strange to me. Although I get that super fresh black tea like freshness, it also has a pungent note of celery to me. Like dried celery in a spice jar.

I bought this tobacco specifically for running through my estate pipes that have either ghosting or just funk from being old. It is very easy to light, as you can imagine with a super fine wool like texture. It has that super clean fresh pure tobacco flavor and smell. It leaves a strong black tea flavor coating in my mouth. It tempts me to take an inhale bringing back my memories of smoking cigarettes, but this was a mistake. I haven’t purposely inhaled in many years and gives me a sharp punch in the lungs. The exhale is that sweet tobacco goodness that we all used to look for in the first drag of a cig in the morning. Alas, it will be my last attempt at inhaling because I’m not looking for that.

As for strength, it lives up to its reputation. I have a naturally highish resistance to nicotine, but after a 1/3 of a bowl, I’m feeling the buzz and it’s not going away any time soon. Strong enough to have put the pipe down and walk away at around the half bowl mark, which comes pretty quick. If you want this tobacco to give you a long smoke, you need to pack it tight and fasten your seatbelt.

The nicotine hit withstanding, I really like the flavor of this leaf. Super fresh and a pure and leaves a clean taste in my mouth. I will have to be careful with this stuff and only smoke it periodically or I’m afraid it will build my tolerance and craving for nicotine very quickly.

I’m a burley lover so its not a huge surprise how much I like this. I have some pouches of Ken Byron Ventures Burley and Burlier Morning pipe that are way too aromatic for me and I will be using this to build up some stoutness to those blends.


Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
Dalzell, South Carolina
I smoke it straight most of the time, but I also use it to up the strength of many mild aromatics. I mix it alot 50/50 with Prince Albert for a good morning smoke with coffee. I agree with you that it's not a blend you should inhale. I try sometimes, but I get a burning in the chest, but not when I smoke the 50/50 Prince Albert mixture.

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Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
Yes, good on its own and a boost for many/most other blends. I don't smoke for the nicotine, but as a burley, it is the U.S. Semois.
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Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2020
NE Ohio
5 brothers is awesome stuff. Just no nonsense tobacco. It used to be my quick smoke go to, but I’ve been loving Ryback lately-just as much strength, a nice shag cut, but a bit more flavor due to some DFK. All that aside, 5 brothers is as utilitarian as tobacco gets and serves its purpose well.
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Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
There are two absolute classic reviews of Five Brothers.


“Looking for that "drugstore" blend? A blast from the past? A bit of nostalgia? Need an ass kicking? These boys will open a six pack of whoop ass like you haven't experienced in a good long while. Made up the road in Loovul, KY.

I remember the old geezers smoking this stuff when it came in a paper pouch. Just the smell put me on one knee. When I first smoked it, it put me on both knees. They had to rock my head back and forth to get my lips unstuck from the bathroom tiles. Crikey!

This is some serious stuff, especially if you're a twelve year old boy.

Forty years later and it still hasn't learned any manners. How you can tell if it's fresh or not escapes me.

"Mind if I smoke?"

"Not at all. Mind if I puke?"

Made when men were men, and sheep were terrified. “.

Not sure who:

“My Father-in-Law smoked this stuff, so I think he was trying to get rid of me when he gave me a pouch to try. I usually smoke Prince Albert, and E.A. Carey's blends. When I opened the pouch, the aroma took over the environment. My cat hissed and arched her back (they really can detect evil....). All the house plants died...even the plastic ones. The room note was classic peat bog. As I took a deep breath and filled my pipe, it was squirming in my hand, trying to get away. I should've stopped right there. It lit easily, unfortunately. After my first puff, my whole life flashed in front of my was very depressing.... Have you ever smelled the peat that nightcrawlers are in when you buy a carton of them at a bait store? That was what this tasted and smelled like, with a little burly thrown in for camouflage. I experienced major vertigo, so it was a good thing I was sitting down. After the second puff...just before I passed out, I had visions of guys in Environmental suits placing my pipe, and this tobacco in ziplock bags, and decontaminating the house. Seriously, this is the absolute worst...whatever it is, I have ever tried to smoke. It really does taste like worm-dirt, with some cow-chips mixed in, and smells even worse. It is strong enough to floor a Water Buffalo. I really did have to throw the pipe away, carefully....I could never get the smell or taste out of my DIplomat, even after repeated cleanings with pipe sweetener. I could only manage a few puffs of this before putting it out. I couldn't smoke it long enough to tell if it burned hot, or not. You should have to have a license from the EPA to even sell this stuff. I would definitely advise anyone to avoid this 'blend' at all costs, unless you are on some kind of macho-trip, or really into self-mutilation. I smoke for pleasure, and I have nothing to prove. Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Age When Smoked: 1 day Purchased From: My Father-In-Law Similar Blends: Worm-Dirt.”

I think there is another review out there were a guy claims to have found himself in the top of a backyard avocado tree with a machete clenched between his teeth after a few puffs. But that might have been a review of one of the Gawith ropes.

@pipestud, a regular 5 brothers smoker, has claimed that the Briar Chef review, which has disappeared from that site, was the best review ever posted there. I had to dig around to find a copy elsewhere, not sure where I finally latched on to it.

I have smoked 5B on two occasions from the old paper pouch days. As strong as the Danish (?) version is now, I believe that version was even stronger. But how would I know? Alcohol isn‘t the only thing that destroys brain cells. @pipestud is living (well, sort of living) proof.

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