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Thread: 2011 St. Bruno vs 2015 St. Bruno vs 2015 St. Bruno mixed with SG Lakeland Dark

  1. #1
    PSU Member Markus1970's Avatar
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    2011 St. Bruno vs 2015 St. Bruno vs 2015 St. Bruno mixed with SG Lakeland Dark

    Tasting 2011 St. Bruno vs 2015 St. Bruno vs 2015 St. Bruno mixed with SG Lakeland Dark

    Freshly opened St.Bruno pouches:
    Both pouches were stored in big jars unopened, each jar contained other St Bruno pouches from the same respective year. Before jarring them in 2011 and 2015, I didn't take them out of the plastic foil that was sealed around the actual pouches.
    Once opened today (10 September 2017), the 2011 and 2015 versions looked and felt identical: same colour range from a brighter red-brown to an almost black dark brown. Same humidity, same cut, finely rubbed flakes of the same thickness, both with a few pieces of not completely rubbed out flake.

    Smell in the pouch:
    Both 2011 and 2015 seem to have the same fruity/floral topping, and in the same strength. The 2011 had an added smokiness in the pouch note that was lacking in the 2015 (Thus far my earlier impressions were confirmed). I sniffed at various jars containing G&H blends such as Dark Flake UNSCENTED or Kendal Dark, and none came as close to the missing smoky element as S&G Lakeland Dark. The tin of Lakeland Dark was also opened today and jarred immediately.

    Smokes:
    I filled two Falcon bowls of the same shape, the Dublin (cylindrical shape despite the name) and filled one with the 2011 version of St. Bruno. The other bowl got a ca.50/50 mix of 2015 St Bruno and Lakeland Dark. When I lit the latter bowl, the Lakeland Dark seemed to overpower the St Bruno. Then, for a while, I repeatedly lit both bowls to try and keep them lit simultaneously, but that didn't work for more than a minute or two at a time. The taste I got from both bowls eventually seemed identical, whether smoked while keeping them lit simultaneously, or while smoking them one after the other.

    For a third pipe, I filled a James Upshall apple with the 2015 version of St Bruno. I expected a marked difference in taste, a lack of the dark fired components that I had previously, in the earlier discussions here on PSU, felt was lacking in the 2015 version compared to the 2011 one. But against my prejudices, and to my disappointment (as I was apparently proved wrong), the 2015 on its own now seems very close or identical to both the 2011 and the 2015/LD mix, even though the third pipe isn't the same time or size as the other two.
    So after smoking half to three quarters of a bowl each, of the 2011 straight, the 2015 straight and the 2015 mixed 50/50 with LD, I notice so little difference that I'm not confident that I could tell them apart in a blind tasting. The straight 2015 might have a touch more of the topping coming through in the smoke, but I wouldn't bet on it now.

    I will have to repeat the comparison on another day, and inside the house, as the breeze blowing into the shed might also affect the outcome. I might also have to smoke one bowl at at time to get a better separate impression of each variety on its own. But if the result is repeated, I would not have to worry about the newer St Bruno version, and would not have to bother mixing it with the Lakeland Dark. Then again, I look forward to using the LD in other mixes.

    Best wishes
    Markus

  2. #2
    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    That was worth doing - it removes "confirmation bias" (although mine would have led to the same thoughts).
    Work is the curse of the smoking classes

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    ADMINISTRATOR dmcmtk's Avatar
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    Good post Markus!

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    PSU Member Simon G's Avatar
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    Good work Markus & a thorough examination! I'm sure you'd notice a difference however, if you compared your latest pouch from 2015 to a pouch from 2017. Hopefully we'll meet up in Nottingham as I've got Bruno of varying ages & you'll taste the difference.
    St. Bruno simply satisfies!

  5. #5
    PSU Member Yohanan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comparison.
    Smoke What You Like, And Like What You Smoke...Regardless Of What Anyone Else Thinks...

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    PSU Member Scottishgaucho's Avatar
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    My last St Bruno experience was in May 2015. It also my first IIRC which is probably a good thing going by what those with many years experience of the blend have to say about the old v modern version. I enjoyed the blend very much and look forward to trying it again.

  7. #7


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    Great thread! I've booked marked it to review at a later date as I don't have the time to read through it but I appreciate you sharing your comparisons with us!

  8. #8


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    Markus, give the LLD/Bruno mix some time to marry and come back to it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I let my first batch sit for a month and it was wonderful.

  9. #9
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    Thanks you for sharing your impressions.
    St Bruno with Lakeland Dark. Need I say this is no whimp's mixture? LOL
    I am wondering if Mac Baren had already taken over production of St Bruno in 2011?
    That would explain why the 2011 and 2015 vintages were about identical.
    Unfortunately, St Bruno flake is not what it used to be. I used to smoke it back in the early 1990s. The presentation was the same. But the flakes were quite black in color; the aroma was different, deeper and pungent; and it packed a massive nicotine punch.
    It was quite the tobacco!

  10. #10
    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puffer View Post
    I am wondering if Mac Baren had already taken over production of St Bruno in 2011?
    Since 2006.
    Work is the curse of the smoking classes

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