Newminster's No. 702 Light Burley is sure enough just that: lots of light Burley. For those partial to this variety of leaf it may make a fine smoke on its own, while others may appreciate it as a blending (or simply blend-adjusting) component.
The toasty, nutty, woody, earthy burley has a light molasses sweetness with a touch of oats and cocoa. The strength and taste levels are mild. The nic-hit is rather light. It won’t bite or get harsh, but has a hint of dryness that underscores the experience. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with a very consistent flavor. Doesn’t require many relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. Has a short lived, decent after taste and room note. Is an all day smoke that also makes a good mixer.
The blend appears quite chunky, there's a fair few pieces of flake that aren't broken that much. The moisture's perfect, and the colour's medium brown.
For the initial quarter it tastes like quite a standard Burley blend, but after that's burned it seems to get richer.......quite a lot richer, and somewhat toasty. There's actually more flavour than the name Light implies. The burn from No. 702 is ok, providing it's given proper attention; it's not a blend for the lazy smoker, it requires lots of maintenance!
The nicotine's mild to medium and the room-note's quite nice: great aroma and it doesn't fill the room with lots of smoke.
This is an all-day celebration of pure Burley flavor. Nutty, grassy, oily, leathery, tangy, peppery, with hints of cocoa and granola, I don’t mind channeling Whitman and simply listing out everything there is to love about Burley here. Lights and stays lit extremely well when rubbed out. Cool burning and bite-free. Perfect strength to enjoy the leaf as much and as often as you smoke, as light as it could possibly be. If you like Prince Albert but hate having a chemical lacquer applied to your tongue, this one is for you.
Pipe Used: Various briars, cobs, clay
Age When Smoked: New
Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com
Similar Blends: Stokkebye’s No. 312, Prince Albert.
Fire cured leaf aside, most burleys to me do not taste of nuts or cocoa or much else underneath their toppings, and they almost always seem to have added flavourings. When the natural flavour of plain burley is allowed to show thru, it smells to me rather musty. I am in the camp of people who are reminded of old books on this score.
Newminster 702 is that rare beast, an unflavoured light burley. It smells of, well, an antiquarian bookshop. Being of Commonwealth stock it offers me no memories of Grandad. My oldies smelled of Va, and mostly dark Va flakes at that. My American friends might think differently.
This is a one light tobacco that burns trouble free and without any kind of fuss. It is one dimensional, but I do not see that as a fault. Sometimes, simple is what I want. It is light in nicotine as well, all of which suggests that is an ideal 'beater' tobacco. The broken flake, and it is comprehensively broken, makes for an ideal moisture content and easy pipe packing. A strong 3 from me.
Edit March 2019. There is a mild topping to this tobacco that seems to vary in strength from batch to batch. Some sort of fruit or alcohol that I can't identify. Does not intrude upon the smoke but worth noting for those seeking a pure tobacco.
Presentation: I've had two 1oz samples of this. The first sample had more intact broken flakes and the second was more of a ready rubbed consistency, with a few larger pieces of broken flake. In either case, both samples came at the same moisture. I'd say that even though it's more dry than some might prefer, I find that it smokes wonderfully at this level. Lovely colors of golden brown and chestnut mixed.
Palette: A light aroma of graham cracker, milk chocolate and nuttiness. The tin (bag) note is not strong but it is there. Very pleasing. Lighting up, you know this is a burley, but a delicate one at that. Given the name, it surely does sit on the lower end of strength, but not in flavor. The straight burleys used are quality and offer a very mild nutty, chocolate and molasses flavor, a touch of honey and toast and a little bit of earthy spice. A small wood note from time to time but really this blend is all about consistency. I find that the smoke doesn't change too much and is pretty straight forward in terms of flavor.
Performance: It's an all-a'rounder that doesn't excel in any department, but doesn't miss anything when you think of what burley is supposed to taste like. Very mild nicotine-- and I mean very mild. On par with Prince Albert in terms of nicotine. I smoked two bowls in a row and was ready for a third. Burns at a reasonable pace, perhaps a tad faster with the dryness of the blend. Leaves some moisture in the bowl and requires one or two relights. A definite all day smoke for burley lovers, and easily a repeatable one for those that are dipping their toes into burley leaf.
Conclusion: One of the few blends that I'm surprised has hardly any reviews. This blend is a diamond in the rough. It is the perfect all day blend. I'm not a burley fanatic, but this is by far my favorite burley. Since it is blended by MacBaren, I want to take a jab and compare this to Golden Extra. I have laid both blends next to each other and they are practically identical in terms of cut, and color. Albeit, GE has a few more strands of bright due to the Virginia's. Golden Extra also has an added topping/casing of chocolate and cocoa, so it is a tad sweeter than Newminster LB. Nevertheless, Newminster to me is the unadulterated version of MacBaren Golden extra, omitting the topping and the small amount of VA leaf. Both are great blends, but Newminster Light Burley comes in as a little more natural and at a better price point for bulk. I think if you are looking for a great bulk blend, check this one out.
Summary: a gentle Burley blend full of natural flavor with a light honey, maple, or sugar casing or topping.
The blend comes in ready-rubbed form, which is to say big chunks of flake, and gives off that sweet smell of fermenting hay from an old barn. It lights easily, but you might want to dodge the "Mac Baren fireball" from a casing of honey, maple, or possibly sugar which gives this flavor a spin. At this point, you get into the guts of this white and dark Burley mix, which favors the sweeter almonds, oats, barley, and molasses tastes inherent to Burley, given just a nudge by the sweet casing or topping. In my experience, if breath-smoked this blend tends to stay lit and smoke down effortlessly to the end of the boll. A skosh short of medium strength, full of flavor and not unpleasant to the bystander, this blend takes my vote for future of Burley in the pipe.
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