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A selection of choice Virginia, burley, Oriental, and latakia from Cyprus is carefully blended. The Virginia and burley tobacco supports the smokey note from the latakia, and the Oriental tobaccos add a slightly spicy dimension to the overall taste. A true English blend.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByPer Jensen
Manufactured ByMac Baren
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsBurley, Kentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant, Tolerable

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2270)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The very smoky, woody, earth, mildly sweet Cyprian latakia is the lead component, but not by a lot. The moderately spicy, woody, floral, earthy, dry and buttery sweet Orientals play an important support role with the sweetness and wood being just a little more prominent than the other aforementioned attributes. The nutty, earthy, woody, lightly cocoa-ish, lightly molasses sweet burley plays a step below the level of the Orientals. There seems to be more of the grassy, citrusy bright Virginia than the burley, but it is in a secondary position below the other tobaccos. The woody, earthy, lightly sweet and floral dark fired Kentucky is a condiment at best. The strength and taste thresholds sit squarely on the medium mark. The nicotine is a little closer to medium than it is to mild. Won’t bite or get harsh. Expertly blended, you’ll notice all very consistent flavor nuances from start to finish in virtually every puff. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a very pleasant, lightly lingering after taste. Can be an all day smoke.


23 people found this review helpful.

Dave da Dragon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dave da Dragon (3)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

One of the better Balkan mixtures I have had. Well balanced between the smokiness of the Latakia with the Oriental right behind it making for a well rounded smoke flavor with a richness not usually found. There is a citrus note and sweetness from the Virginia, but also a sweetness like brown sugar or molasses from the Burley, neither being forward but rounding out the back ground with a nuttiness and maybe a touch of cocoa. Smokes cool and not at all harsh or bitter like some Balken's are to me. Consistent through out the bowl but not monotonous with little variations here and there. All premium tobacco and it burns clean to the bottom of the bowl after a little drying. I can definitely see this going into my rotation and being an all day smoke, a really nice English that should improve a bit with some age, the tin I tasted was only a month old!!!

Pipe Used: Ashton 210

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: gift

Similar Blends: McClelland - Frog Morton on the Bayou (Craftsbury Series).

9 people found this review helpful.

oldermanpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldermanpipe (21)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

The most surprising thing about this blend is the fact that I am only the third person to review it here. That is truly strange, given that this is the latest addition to Mac Baren's estimable HH Series, and was assumed to be the successor to the highly and oft' reviewed Vintage Syrian. goes.

Like Vintage Syrian, Balkan Blend is lovely to look at in the tin, and even lovelier to smell. There is firm reason for that: the two look and smell exactly the same, presenting a melange of different-colored leaf, and an olfactory feast that will bring back the good old days for smokers of a certain age. But then you light it up.

I wish I could give Balkan Blend a glowing review, but America is all too plagued by "alternate facts" right now. So, here are the facts as I see them. This is at best a mediocre blend. Something seems to vanish between the tin and the pipe. That something is character. The blend has a flavor, but it is non-descript. The Oriental is there, and the Virginia, and, one supposes, some Dark Fired Kentucky. The Latakia seems to be MIA. In fact, Presbyterian Mixture, which many argue has no Latakia at all, has more Latakia presence than Balkan Blend.

The scuttlebutt on this is that Balkan Blend is Vintage Syrian, but with Cyprian weed. There seems to be some merit to that rumor. Even late in the game Vintage Syrian had an intrigue and body that are totally lacking here. Balkan Blend is better described as Balkan Bland.

Pipe Used: Baracchini Pot

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

5 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28563)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Pipers here on Tobacco Reviews who have a penchant for Balkan blends probably have reservations pertaining to Mac Baren's HH Balkan Blend. I don't know when it became available on the market because I've been out of the hobby for a five years. It contains a type of Burley that usually isn't found in a Balkan blend. I'm writing this review from the charring light to the finish & will try it in two different pipes before making a final evaluation. The tin note is that of a sweet, sour, fermented smoky aroma. Those of you who've smoked Balkan blends know what I'm referring to even though I may not have pinned the aroma down specifically.

However, a strength test noted that the Burley was condimental only & barely noticeable but probably added to the strength along with the Perique which also seemed lightly applied but noticeable in the flavoring. I was also able to determine that the Cyprian Latakia was the main player initially in the tin note as well as through the smoking session but tones down about the halfway point as all the varietals interact and come on in to join the party. So far as I can tell this is a quality Balkan but will know more when I sample my next bowl in a Missouri Meerschaum that's caked up.

OK... dried out another bowlful quantity and put fire to it... not much flavor other than the Cyprian presence & a bit of harshness initially which is usually the case when lighting up. Set the pipe down a short while & fired up again & was better this time around... less harshness, & more of a milder flavor. After another short break in the action, tamped it down a bit & fired back up... much better. Very little bite or harshness. I'm about 1/3 the way through my second bowl & I'm not as yet getting much sweetness & the Cyprian presence is still most notable & there is still a little harshness but we have a ways to go yet. I'm approaching the halfway point now & noticing a very slight sweetness as the varietals are beginning to interact but I'm cooling my pipe at this point & taking a quick break.

OK... it is only about the halfway point that you'll finally experience that tasty interaction process. It just seems to take a while for this flavor to finally develop but when it does, Balkan lovers can expect that alluring & elusive flavor that we expect from a good Balkan. From my experience thus far, it would seem that this blend would be better served up in a deeper bowl... at least 1 3/8 inches or more... similar to what we might use to smoke a Virginia blend. FWIW, I liked this better than the HH Vintage Syrian Balkan because HH VS contained an abundance of Syrian Latakia that sort of overwhelmed the Oriental but then again, they are two different animals... one heavy Syrian & the other Cyprian in moderation.

The HH VS was a real treat straight from the tin but much better after I tamed it down with a combination of Orientals containing mostly Yenidje, Green River Black Cavendish, added a "pinch" of Lane Vanilla Cavendish & turned it into a proper Balkan blend itself. I guess I just favor a sweeter Syrian Balkan. This HH Balkan was/is better than anticipated. Also, it's hard for me to determine which of the Latakias I like best... they're both good but I think I would use the Syrian if I were going to mix a "great" Balkan... I'm thinking some vintage Wellhauers would work really well for a Syrian & McConnell's Cyprian for the other. I plan on mixing some up in the very near future.

My blending experiments are still an ongoing process & we'll see how things turn out & if something extraordinary develops, I'll pass my notes on to all interested parties. I hope this review helped those who are as yet undecided on whether or not to try Mac Baren's HH Balkan Blend. I think it's a very good Cyprian Balkan... better than most I've sampled so far with a reasonable price tag. Crystal Palace is my favorite Balkan because of the sweet flavor & Arango is also a real treat & the price is right. Two saw-bucks for a half pound ain't bad!

Pipe Used: GBD Virgin Apple / Missouri Country Gent Meer

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: A few other quality Balkans & a bit similar to Arango Balkan Supreme...

3 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1775)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Mac Baren - HH Balkan Blend.

I love a Balkan for my morning smoke and popped 'Pease Piccadilly the other day and that's one hell of a blend. I like to have a few on the go so opened this up.

Appearance: a medium ribbon where there's a higher amount of brown pieces to black. The Latakia can be easily identified in the tin-note and the water content of this tin was smack on.

It's a smoke with an undeniable presence of Latakia, but not one where the Lat' rules the roost. The rest play an important role. To be fair I find the least character comes from the Virginia, but the others meld together to create a flavoursome back-up. There's exotic Orientals, some coarse Burley, and a fire-cured flavour from the Kentucky; it's this that reduces the rating, for me. It burns fairly slow, distributing a cool, bite-free, smoke.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: not great.

HH Balkan Blend? If it weren't for the Kentucky I'd rate this with three stars, but as it is I'll give it two:

Somewhat recommended.

Pipe Used: Peterson Kenmare X220

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.