Union Square, Newminster Superior Navy Flake, and St. Bruno

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dcicero

Member
Apr 23, 2019
161
401
I recently posted a thread asking for VA suggestions as, up until now, the only VA I have come to enjoy is Royal Yacht. This site did not disappoint. I received great suggestions and settled on trying Union Square, Newminster, and St. Bruno.

I'm not great at writing reviews, but hopefully this will at least give some indication of how these blends behave.

Union Square
I liked this blend the least of the three, so I've decided to cellar it and see what happens after a while. It came at a moisture ready to smoke I thought right out of the tin. It was easy to pack, light, and keep lit. Overall, the blend was for the most part uneventful for me. Most of the way it seemed as though I was smoking a decent quality cigarette. I know its tobacco, but to me this lacked enough complexity to really keep me interested. The flavor did not change much throughout the bowl. Hay and grass highlighted the smoke, but not in enough of a pronounced way. It was just a stale, basic, experience for me.

St. Bruno
I enjoyed this smoke after I stopped trying to analyze it. It took about 20 min of air drying to get it to a decent moisture level. The topping, which out of the tin is very strong in smell, I have read many people detest. I actually think its a preservative of vinegar if I'm not mistaken. It grew on me throughout the smoke, but only after I stopped trying to figure out if I liked it or not. I don't really need to break down the complexity of flavors in this blend, because I believe I can sum it all up with 1 sentence: It tastes like OGS without a topping. I've read OGS has a topping, and I've read it doesn't. Either way, whatever that floral scent is in OGS its distinct. There is a name for it, I've since forgotten. But it's the main thing I don't like about OGS. About halfway through the bowl though, the OGS natural, rich, tobacco flavor really shines for me, and that's what St. Bruno was like for me.

Newminster
For me, this blend was absolutely delicious, complex, and full of character. It took about 20 min to air dry to a decent moisture level. It was easy to light and keep lit. The tin note is exceptional, not like fresh pastry, but more like walking into a place where pastry is made very day. The scent of the place itself is simply a pastry aroma, but it's not trying to be. The note carries into the smoke, if smoked cool. But if you heat it up a little, a new dimension emerges, it moves from bready to grass, hay, and a bit of citrus. Push it too hard though and it warns you by becoming a bit rough and bland. Thats ok though, I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth between flavors of cool and warmer smokes. It was a remarkable experience. Also, it comes in bulk, so that is a huge plus. Will definitely be stocking up very soon.
 

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dcicero

Member
Apr 23, 2019
161
401
Is there a difference between topping and "scented"? I've found the source that says OGS is "scented" with bergamot. That's the flavor I dont like. So, to me, st bruno tastes like OGS without the bergamot.
 

davidintexas

Preferred Member
Jun 4, 2013
632
72
Interesting that you find St. Bruno to taste like OGS without the sauce. OGS has no dark-fired (Kentucky) and St. Bruno does, which to me makes them miles apart
 
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musicman

Member
Nov 12, 2019
266
1,190
Tucson, AZ
Great write up! FWIW, my experience with Newminster 400 and Union Square has been the opposite. I love Union Square, but thought Newminster was just ok, but I think that all has to do with age, as the tin of Union Square had about a year of age on it, and the Newminster was pretty fresh. Looking forward to seeing what happens to the Newminster with some time, and it also looks like I need to order some St. Bruno!
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,603
13,115
That's an interesting tour of your Virginia blend adventures. The Union Square might come to life, at least somewhat, with some aging, or it might benefit from adding one condiment or another to suit your taste. I'm interested in the post because I keep getting drawn in to burley blends while having a number of Va and Va/Per blends on hand unopened. I will have to venture into those, some golden oldies, including McClellands and Russ O.'s El Nino.
 

Sewage Pipe

Junior Member
Nov 15, 2019
73
215
Newminster 400 has been in my rotation from the first month I started smoking. I wasn't smoking anything else for a while. Also I might be by myself here but I prefer fresh than aged due to that subtle sweet graham cracker flavor/scent
 
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SpookedPiper

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,547
5,878
That's an interesting tour of your Virginia blend adventures. The Union Square might come to life, at least somewhat, with some aging, or it might benefit from adding one condiment or another to suit your taste. I'm interested in the post because I keep getting drawn in to burley blends while having a number of Va and Va/Per blends on hand unopened. I will have to venture into those, some golden oldies, including McClellands and Russ O.'s El Nino.
Times awastin', crack open one of those oldies..aren't you curious?
 

Jaylotw

Member
Mar 13, 2020
178
962
NE Ohio
I just recently jarred a pound of Newminster. I think its a damn good smoke! The tin/bag/jar note is my favorite of any tobacco I’ve ever smelled, and if you smoke slow I find that it carries into the flavor of the smoke as well. It, along with Yorktown, are my favorite bulk VAs.
 

Saintwilliam

Member
Sep 26, 2019
211
280
Newminster is one of my reading tobaccos. It just has a lovely present flavour that I don’t have to work for but if I want to look up from my book and focus on it it shines :)

Union Square, well I stoves the one tin I had and now I will be happy to finish it.
 

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