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The base of the blend, a little under half of the volume, is a smooth and yet powerful latakia from Syria. This tobacco gives the blend the overall smoky taste, a powerful taste and yet without any tongue bite. To add a spicy note to the blend, Turkish Oriental has been added. A mix of different Virginia tobaccos from 3 continents adds a sweet natural taste. To complete the taste with depth and body, we added a little dark fired Kentucky from the US.

The HH Vintage Syrian is a loose cut tobacco, which guarantees a smooth and steady burn. It does not get hot which means you will find extremely little bite on your tongue. When you empty your pipe after smoking, you will find only fine grey ashes, the sign of a slow and dry smoke.

Notes: Introduced in 2006 as HH Vintage Syrian Latakia. Discontinued in 2017 when the stock of Syrian latakia ran out.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByPer Jensen
Manufactured ByMacBaren
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsKentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutCoarse Cut
Packaging50 grams pouch, 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
CountryDK
ProductionRe-release
Where to Buy PipesAndCigars.com
Iwan Ries
SmokingPipes.com
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 30 Users

3.3
215 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
104
3 star:
68
2 star:
37
1 star:
6
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A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (97)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

After having smoked Vintage Syrian I will now take back everything bad that I ever said about Mac Baren. This is a glorious blend, a blend for a new century, and a true testament to the tragedy of the scarcity of Syrian Latakia that has befallen the English speaking world.

The initial pouch aroma was very much like many other mixtures I have had from Mac Baren, making me initially distrust it, but as I had been promised Syrian Latakia, I persevered. The one thing that I found unpleasant about this blend presented itself at first light, this being that, no matter what the pack, it springs out of the bowl at the touch of a match and scatters burning bits all about. This minor inconvenience is soon compensated for by a flavor that delights and invigorates. It is like one of Liszt?s Hungarian Dances: rollicking and playful, but with all of the complexity of a masterwork.

It is sweet and light by right of some very fine Virginias but it is broadened with a flavor like unto fresh bread by the addition of Burley. All throughout, though, the greatest treat is the Syrian Latakia. This once prized and now rare leaf lends an essence of Rosemary and Mesquite and a bit a citrus that works wonderfully with the Virginia and generally makes one rise up anew with a love for life. This is why, if there be any justice in the world of tobacco, HH Vintage Syrian will become a classic.

51 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a smooth, lightly wine and creamy, fairly smokey, woody Syrian latakia dominant blend, well balanced by the other ingredients. The Kentucky is noticeable here and there, and adds a pleasing woody, light nutty burley note, with a hint of spice that takes a back seat in the latter department to the dry, sweet and sour, woody Oriental and Turkish components. Quality light and dark Virginias give a solid base to the blend, adding the natural citrus and stewed dark fruitiness one would expect from them, as well as some earth and a touch of grass. I am surprised that a Balkan with this much latakia is not a lat-bomb. Smokey and woodsy, it is like a better, bolder version of Gawith's Squadron Leader without the hay taste, but with a more pleasing naturally sweet Virginia base, and light spice. The nic-hit is mild. Won't bite or get harsh even if pushed. The components are well mixed, resulting in a very consistent tasting mixture that burns even, clean and cool. One match, and you may finish without relighting. Leaves very little dampness in the bowl. Has a pleasant after taste. Made for smokers who want a semi-complex mild to medium English blend. Your friends will smell it and think you've started a campfire in your den.

46 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is another of the new blends from the always innovative Mac Baren's line of pipe tobacco offerings. The Syrian Latakia is top shelf and smokey. The Turkish Orientals, the Virginias and even the Burley all come through as you work you way down the bowl.

I think this is as fine a Latakia blend as is on the market today because of the flavor and hint of spice that keeps the tongue interested.

It is easy to pack, light and keep lit.

Another Mac Baren's bellringer!

40 people found this review helpful.

soteria Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
soteria (6)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Ah, my beloved HH Vintage Syrian, and probably my definitive desert island blend. I vividly remember my first encounter with this tobacco. I had purchased the one pound bag which comes in the Mac Baren HHVS ceramic jar. I knew I was in for something special because the jar absolutely reeked of a strong but very pleasant woodsy/campfire/BBQ aroma. This despite the fact that the jar and bag were still completely sealed. Upon opening the jar, the aroma intensified. Even merely handling the sealed bag exuded that marvelous smell on my hands which lingered for several minutes. In other words, I loved it!!

Visually, the blend is an attractive if not typical looking English/Balkan mixture. Though Mac Baren purports that just under half the volume is Syrian Latakia, I am not convinced. Based on taste and appearance, I would estimate it's is the 30-35% range. There's definitely a lot of dark tobacco (Latakia) in it, but it doesn't overwhelm.

Upon lighting the blend, the Syrian takes center stage, which I've found is the dominant player for about the first 1/4 to 1/3 of the bowl. From that point on, the Syrian almost unequivocally tones down a bit. At this point, almost anything can happen, and this is where the blend turns into something of a wild horse (though normally in a good way). Oftentimes, the Kentucky burley will become dominant with the Latakia present but definitely in the background. When this happens, the blend taken on a whole other dimension, and to me becomes almost mildly cigarish. Though I favor the taste of the Syrian, the burley gives the blend depth and actually keeps it from being too monochromatic. When the Syrian does emerge more strongly later on, it's a welcome reappearance and helps me to appreciate it's presence more. The orientals in this blend are certainly discernible, but to my palate they never dominate (as they do in something like Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend, which is another Syrian Latakia tobacco in the same class as HHVS, though much spicier).

I would definitely recommend this blend for those of you who are unacquainted with Syrian Latakia, or if you've been turned off to traditional (Cyprian) Latakia blends in the past. Though Syrian isn't everyone's cup of tea, I find it much more refined, sweeter, and less harsh than it's Cyprian cousin. It's a very mellow and smooth tobacco which I think produces an amazing incense-like room note. I also found this tobacco smokes best when it's quite dry, so don't be afraid to let it air out.

As a postscript, I believe the Syrian used in this blend is absolutely top shelf. If you search the web, you can find an interview by Greg Pease where he discusses the so-called "Syrian" Latakia that often gets passed for the genuine article. He said the Syrian used by Mac Baren is completely legit, and I'd venture to guess it's probably of the same vintage that Greg used in now extinct blends such as Renaissance, Mephisto, and Bohemian Scandal. What I found interesting is Greg actually said he (unsuccessfully) tried acquiring several bales of Syrian from the major blenders that still have it, Mac Baren being one of them. If it's good enough for him to be interested in blending with, I'd say it doesn't get much better.

Try this blend while you can. Syrian Latakia will probably not be around too much longer and when it's gone, it's gone. Given the state that Syria is in, I'd be very surprised if anything like this gets produced again in the foreseeable future.

Age When Smoked: October 2010

Similar Blends: Bill Bailey Balkan Blend, Ashton Artisan's Blend.

30 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Black and brown mottled ribbon with Mac Baren's typical high quality presentation. Beautiful smoky tin aroma on top with a rich tobacco smell underneath. Very enticing. Starting out, this one did not disappoint, and I smoked about 6 bowls in a row without alternating.

As with the tin aroma, the Syrian latakia smokiness and light pepper ruled the show. The Virginia provided just a touch of additional sweetness that I eventually wished would be more prominent. As much as I usually enjoy Kentucky tobacco, I think that is what negated a 4th star for me. It added body, to be sure, but for me it seemed to ground this tobacco that started off headed for the stars. I don't want to make too much of that, as I'm quite sure this blend is exactly what Mac Baren's was trying to accomplish but as with their HH Acadian Perique, there is just one too many components in this blend for my tastes. This is a very good blend and I enjoyed the latakia flavor, but it just wore me out over time. It didn't have the depth and focus of my current Syrian latakia reference, McClellands Syrian Full Balkan. Nor the natural sweetness. I would love to taste this one without the Kentucky added, as it might be perfect for me in that case. But again, this is still a very good blend that should be tried by anyone interested in Syrian latakia. I'm saving the rest of this tin (about 2 oz worth) for later experimentation.

Pipe Used: meerschaum, morta and briar

Age When Smoked: 1 year

21 people found this review helpful.

drbarryk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
drbarryk (4)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

After searching 55 years (now in my 75th year overall) I finally discovered the blend that burned only in my most ambitious tobacco imagination.

HH Vintage Syrian produces the most delectable nose and mouth tapestry yielding smokey campfire, pungent blossoms, and earthy sweetness.

The long wait was worth it. After almost six decades of experience and experiment I now can fully appreciate this unique captivating blend and its Syrian Latakia foundation. So glad I was able to stick around.

Pipe Used: Various Dunhill; Everyman billiard

Age When Smoked: New to 2 months- now cellaring several pounds

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

Similar Blends: As I remember a combination of Dunhill My Mixture No. 10 (the fullest English in their line at the time) and Balkan Sobranie (both late 1950s-1960s).

17 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (129)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Strong

After Balkan Sobranie, this is probably the best Balkan mixture I've ever tried in my life. As I opened the tin, I was absolutely delighted to find the gold and black leaf that comprises this mixture, which is reminiscent of the aforementioned. The ribbon cut is quite consistent throughout and the tin will benefit from some drying time. This is a full bodied medium strength tobacco with many nuances and undertones. The tin note is not very pronounced, but the smoking experience is that of a proper Balkan mixture. I particularly like the rough taste it leaves on the tongue, which is very similar to that of some Rioja wines or walnuts. I am not sure whether this is coming from the latakia itself or the orientals, but it is very pleasing anyway. The Syrian (not Cypriot) latakia leaf in this tobacco seems to come from a 1975 bumper crop. This could be argued, but I have no reason to disbelieve it based on my smoking experience. Because of its strength, I guess you could start the day with this tobacco, but I'd rather have it as a late evening blend. I am not sure whether I'd recommend this tobacco to any aromatics lovers, but it is very forgiving anyway. I can't detect any tongue bite at all and you don't need to pay full attention to it in order to get the most out of it.

Pipe Used: Bog Oak

Age When Smoked: 1 year, perhaps

Purchased From: John Howlingsworth

Similar Blends: Balkan Sobranie.

15 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (326)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This one may be a 4 and not a 3 by the time I finish smoking up the tin. It is well balanced and you can taste/enjoy the Virginias and the orientals. The Kentucky dark fired is there for depth and body, and it provides some strength. The latakia is always there, but it is a component and not the defining flavor.

There is a spicy quality to this which I like a lot. It is hard for me to decide if it is a quality of the Syrian or the combination of the Kentucky and orientals. I do know it all works and this blend is easy to recommend.

Edit: I am bumping this up to a 4. It really is that good. I got more, and I find that I am smoking a bowl of this a day and really enjoying it. I am changing the roomnote from "tolerable" to "pleasant to tolerable" as well since a daughter comments on an "incenselike" quality that she likes.

Purchased From: original tin was a gift from a friend

15 people found this review helpful.

JasonH Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JasonH (4)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This site along with your reviews have really made this pipe smoking adventure so much more enjoyable. I have been a pipe smoker off and on for 10 years but it wasn’t until this last year that I really learned to smoke a pipe and with this site and your reviews, have made this a wonderful and pleasurable journey. Discovering all these tobaccos has been a revelation.

This Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian was purchased after a rather pleasing introduction to Syrian Latakia via Ashton Artesian. I needed to confirm my suspicions about my personal preference for Syrian Latakia over Cyprian Latakia. I find that the Syrian Latakia is similar to Cyprian but it is smoother and more rounded. It has the Cyprian Latakia flavor profile, but its not as in your face, even in a Latakia forward blend like this.

For me, this is a medium to strong Latakia forward English experience. But, with Syrian having a smoother, creamier character, I don't feel like I have been "Lat Bombed". Quite the contrary this is one of the more balanced English blends I keep on hand. The Turkish Orientals do give it a little spice but in comparison to say a Squadron Leader (which I love but find fairly peppery/spicy) is very mild in comparison. The Virginia/Kentucky do give it that sweet bottom end I also enjoy. It has hints of a sweet English at times, something like GL Pease - Maltese Falcon on "6 out of 10". Over all its very well balanced with a wonderful interplay of cool creamy smokey Syrian Latakia, with just enough Turkish Orientals to have a bit of spice and finished off with a medium to mild sweet note. I am not sure what is providing this earthy finish to the blend but its noticeable and unique to this blend in my experience. Over all, Its complex, smooth and really just wonderful.

I would expect that if you are a lover of strong Latakia blends like C&D Pirate Kake or even Dunhill Nightcap, this blend may seem a little bland or understated. There is a subtle complexity here that really favors the slow contemplative sipping approach. I have seen zero bite issues even if you push it a bit. This is easily an all day smoke for me and it settles nicely into the background if I am focused on other things or it can easily consume my focus with all its subtle nuances.

A note about that note. I have a supportive wife who also happens to be able to smell mouse flatulence at 200 yards. She is 100% a fan of my hobby but has some very definite opinions about the room note of various tobaccos and honestly, is not a fan of most of the tobacco smells. For us, this is definitely one of the more subtle room notes. Its interesting, while I did confess that there was Latakia in the blend she noticed immediately that it was different without knowing it was Syrian. To sum up, she says this smells more like burning leaves in the fall (Syrian Latakia) instead of a pine fire (Cyprian Latakia). She also picked this blend to be "the one" if she was going to be in a car while its being smoked.

I am going to give this my first 4 star review. To my mind its very rare to have a tobacco that fits an all day smoke AND you can slow down and really savor it and be totally satisfied In my experience an all day smoke is generally tame or one dimensional. That is not the case here. Even with that said, I do admit I love having some variety. I enjoy a face slapping Plum Pudding on occasion, I also love a big burley punch from an Old Joe Krantz. Those tobaccos are amazing but I can't do them all day. If I could only have one tobacco - the desert island query - it would be the Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian.

Pipe Used: Cobs, Canadians, Wardens - All good

Age When Smoked: new from tin

Purchased From: tobaccopipes.com

Similar Blends: GL Pease - Maltese Falcon, Gawith - Squadron Leader, Ashton Artesian.

9 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This has some really nice flavors. Smoky, spicy, earthy, a mild sour note, a mild note of butter, and a very pleasant gentle sweetness. All the components compliment each other very nicely.

If you retrohale constantly like I do you may notice an occaisional sharpness from the Orientals. Wish that were a little smoother. Due to that, for me, this is closer to 3 stars than 4. I'll give it 3+.

Medium in body and flavor. Burns well with a little drying time.

Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman, MM Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: 8 months

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

8 people found this review helpful.

petrisz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
petrisz (9)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Tolerable

I'm fond of English and Balkan blends and like latakia. In my country there is not much variety of English and Balkan blends. The market is small and people tend to like the aromatic blends. I've bought this as the tobacconist swore its quality stuff. Out of the box it smells great, heavy, honey, smokey. It's a bit juicy so it requires some drying. The flavour first seems to be OK but then I noticed some chemical taste was always sneaking in the background. Once I became aware of it, it completely ruined my smoking experience. It also has a noticeable tongue bite. At the end I gave the unfinished tin away... I must also add that this is still among the better MacBarrens I've tasted so far and I am happy that MacBarren creates other than aromatic blends.

Pipe Used: meersch.

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: Pipatórium, Budapest József Krt., Hungary

8 people found this review helpful.

CarolinaEsquire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CarolinaEsquire (13)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Mac Baren hasn't always been a favorite of mine, but there aren't many tobacco options with Syrian Latakia still in them and on the open market. There are others on the after market, but I'm not into shelling out $100+ for a tin of tobacco -- worth it or not. So I reached out for the HH Vintage Syrian blend from Mac Baren and I am so glad I did. It's wonderful.

Now, if you're thinking that this is going to be the more common smokey Latakia found from the Cyprian variant, you're going to fill ripped off and wonder what the heck you're now smoking. Cyprian Latakia is great in it's own right, but it's definitely different than the Syrian style. Cyprian hits you over the head and says, "Hey, I am smokey and sweet!! Enjoy me like the campfire that I am." Good stuff. But Syrian Latakia says, "I'm smokey and sweet too, but I'm going to leave you with a lingering tart aftertaste." And that's what this one does. Delicious.

HH Vintage Syrian is not a heavy, smokey blend. It's a well balanced, smooth blend that is really quite sweet on the palate, but has a nice, tart finish. Not sour like a pungent Oriental, but tart like you might get from Sour Patch Kid (but that's just used as a reference for the tartness. This isn't candy-like). The tartness is also what folks refer to as the "wine-like" taste. They aren't wrong. It also stays throughout the bowl, making you want to reach for another because it's so tasty. There is a smokey quality to it too, but just not in the same way. Then, every once in a while, a straight Smyrna leaf will jump out at you and say, "I'm here too. Check me out!" And it's good! It's that musty, sour taste those that like Oriental varieties tend to like. So it's just enough to break it up and keep it lively.

The nicotine is right in the middle. Enough to make me feel mellow and remind me that it is there, but not so much as to leave me feeling uneasy and not too little to make me wonder what all the fuss was about. A nice experience.

Again, this is one wonderful smoke that for me, has already improved with age in the jar. I bought this blend in both tins and by the pound. I didn't want to look back one day and think, "Man, I wish I bought some of that stuff while it was available." That feeling sucks. So I bought a bunch. I smoked another bowl of it just before writing this review to refresh myself and it was even better than the last time I had it. I just bought another pound in bulk.

One final note: I enjoy this in a cob. You can enjoy it any way you like, but if you can, keep it separate from a pipe that you use for Cyprian Latakia. For now, you will have lots of chances to smoke Cyprian, but that may not be the case for Syrian Latakia. So be sure to get the most from the experience and don't let the two mix together to alter the flavor, if you can.

With that said, Enjoy!

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com and Smokingpipes.com

7 people found this review helpful.

Seasoned Puffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Seasoned Puffer (6)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I like Latakia very much. I think a review of any Latakia blend should begin with either that statement or its opposite---saves a lot of meaningless review blather. This is an unusually well-balanced blend! The semi-sweet leathery/smoky tones of the Syrian Latakia make its presence known via pre-smoke aroma and an almost uncanny tendency to hang in the background, enhancing the other tobaccos in the blend----very nice! You are well aware of its presence but not in an overpowering or stage-stealing way. There was absolutely no bite at all. The entire bowl smoked with a most enjoyable coolness, even in the retrohale. It burns very well. I trimmed ash twice, gently tamped and never had to re-light from begin to end. The only drawback might be that it does not bring much of a nicotine buzz, hovering right at the top of Mild and gently going over to Medium at around 3/4 way through the bowl. I liked it very much and will definitely make it a favorite part of my rotation. Differences between Syrian and Cyprian Latakia (I love them both) are highlighted in this blend---if you are curious about that sort of thing. If you like Latakia--try it. If you do not like Latakia, leave it alone. If you are curious about Latakia, definitely try it as it is not at all overpowering but most satisfying in a background sort of way.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Bing's Favorite

Age When Smoked: three weeks

Purchased From: 4noggins.com

6 people found this review helpful.

pipedrum22 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipedrum22 (15)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

WOW! If you are a Latakia lover like I am, you'll LOVE this blend! The tin says it's just under half Latakia and boy, do I believe it. Turkish Orientals and Kentucky give this blend a touch of spice that is extremely pleasant. This blend burns very well and produces billows of smoke, which I love. Absolutely no trace of tongue bite is to be found while enjoying a bowl of this fine blend. I would highly recommend this blend for everyone and anyone who enjoys a good latakia blend.

6 people found this review helpful.

King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (114)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

I have said before that the english blend field is a very crowded one and you never know quite what you are going to get when you open a tin of a blend that you have never smoked, but we all can expect to get something. My problem with HHVS is that, basically, I got nothing. My experience with this blend was so negative that I was initially hesitant to even attempt a review and have waited weeks so I could mull over what exactly to say - so, here goes.

I had a big expectation about trying this blend: a bold black tin with a lion's face on it, a bold description from Mac Baren and a lot of favorable to stellar reviews on this site. Boy, did I ever get the opposite! I popped the black tin open and set it down on the bench in front of me and inhaled. Nothing. I leaned half way down toward the tin and inhaled. Nothing. I then picked the tin up and held it close to my nose - a faint confusing aroma. I put my nose down so close to the tobacco that the tip of my nose was actually touching it. Then, and only then, could I detect any aroma at all - weak, thin and faint. I then took some of the tobacco out and put it on a sheet of paper and inspected it. Not at all the ribbon cut that both Mac Baren and most of you reviewers noted, but a kind of flattish group of reddish brown and black flakelets of uniform size that I found rather strange. I smelled my fingers for evidence of aroma on them - nothing. So, I loaded my Ashton and lit up: no odor on the char light, no detectable odor on the relight -hmm? So, next I puffed harder to produce a larger volume of smoke and exhaled it against my hand in front of my nose. Only then did I get any aroma at all and, again - weak, thin and faint. I went ahead and smoked the whole bowl all the way down but it never improved. I then tried to use HHVS in microblending, but it weakened ever batch I mixed-up - very strange and very disappointing. I can come to only two possible conclusions about this: one - most of you reviewers are involved in a collective hallucination or two - this tin of HHVS I opened is DRASTICALLY different from those the rest of you have reviewed. As I have faith in my fellow smokers and reviewers, I opt for conclusion number two. If this is correct, and all indications are that it is, then this represents a huge breach of quality control. =UPDATE=-3/4/15 - I just got back from the St. Louis pipe club show where I was given a tin of Mac Baren HHVS. As soon as I popped the lid I knew two things: 1. THIS is the tobacco blend that you other reviewers were talking about and rating so highly and I concur - 4 stars all the way! and, 2. The tin I opened and reviewed above was, indeed, a huge mistake and breach of quality control - a three and a half ounce tin of trash!

Pipe Used: Ashton Sovereign ELX billiard

Age When Smoked: 2 yrs old

Purchased From: pipes and cigars

Similar Blends: any quality medium/heavy English blend we have all smoked over the years.

6 people found this review helpful.

Iroquois Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Iroquois (3)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This was my first love in the tobacco world. Last Christmas I received a pipe from my uncle, and it was accompanied by an aromatic tobacco. What a delusion it was! But I knew that pipe tobacco world was bigger, and I was suggested to try this one as an entry-level english blend. Just on opening the pouch, I was overwhelmed, and my first thought was "maybe that's what pipe smoking really is!". Once lit, I was amazed by the smoky aroma, and the spicy note I never experienced before. Now, after a year and some different blends, I smoked the bottom of that same pouch, and the result was: "I was lucky to have this as my first tobacco love". The combustion is easy to manage, it is easy to smoke it cold, and that is the way I like it. The first half of the bowl is exceptional: the smokiness of latakia is well supported by the orientals, and it remains soft in the mouth while being very tasty. After some time, something heavier comes in (I think the Kentucky), giving it a harsher taste, which, in the second half, unfortunately loses part of the smokiness. The last part of the bowl is what prevents me to give it a 4 star: I find it rather plain in the end, and in an harsh way, leaving your mouth not particularly pleasant. I avoid this inconvenient by stopping smoking it when it starts to happen. In the end I strongly recommend it to whoever wants to approach english blends or who wants something special (Syrian latakia) in a all-day form. This is maybe my favourite tobacco, and for me it will have its own place in my heart (and in my rotation), simply because it is my first love.

Pipe Used: Fincato Billiard

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Tabaccheria Sansone, Rome, Italy

5 people found this review helpful.

Cumarinophil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cumarinophil (105)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Mac Baren HH Vintage Syrian is smoky, spicy, slightly tangy but smooth with good natural sweetness and a comfortable, satisfying strength at medium to full taste. Did I mention the complexity? I believe the addition of Dark Fired Kentucky makes a difference more in feel than in taste, but it definitely does especially in the second half of the bowl. Very nice.

It plays in the same league as Nightcap, Squadron Leader or Artisan’s Blend for the World Championship in pipe smokers’ satisfaction.

5 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1643)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian.

When I open mine up the first good point presents itself, perfect moistness! The smell is smoky but nowhere near as heavy when compaired to many other Latakia blends. This is reflected in the taste:

The Latakia is the driving force however it has more of a subtle quality to it rather than resembling barbecue fumes! After the initial quarter bowl of Latakia flavour the other constituents make their presence known. The Latakia doesn't subside completely, it just allows a little room for the other tobaccos to gain applause. I notice towards the end of the bowl how little I have had to keep re-lighting my pipe, it's burned consistently throughout. I feel that HH Vintage Syrian would be a great starting point for someones Latakia journey with it's subtle flavour as opposed to beginning with an out and out 'smack in the face' Balkan!

Nicotine: mild to medium. Room-note: quite pleasant.

Four stars.

Pipe Used: Erik Nording

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

5 people found this review helpful.

Steden Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Steden (94)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Full Strong

HHVS is really plenty of Latakia, it starts with that rare and precious Syrian ruling the flavor profile with Orientals well integrated, Virginias and Kentucky are in the background. Taste is savory rather than sweet, this Syrian/Orientals fullness seems remarkably pleasant, although quite monotone.... But, within minutes, the Kentucky comes out stronger and a cloudy smokiness takes the center stage, at this point the blend looses any interest to me, it isn’t bad but really dull with that dense smokiness through and through and anything else to tell of.

Pipe Used: Briars, meer

5 people found this review helpful.

AE1PT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AE1PT (8)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Popped my first tin of this (3.5 oz) a couple months ago. Great tin notes, but seemed a little damp. The first impressions were not that exceptional--it seemed a bit overbearing in flavor and lackluster in general. I have learned though that the first blush is often misleading! It took about three bowls to truly begin appreciating the character of this blend.

I came across it as a suggested offering for those who liked Balkan Sobranie. Having not tasted that, I cannot offer a clue. But as a very nice changeup from heavier, Cyprian based Balkan blends this one certainly passes muster. I took a sample out and seperated the Lat from the bulk--and it appears to me to be about 40-45% Latakia. I would give it a 4, but there are only a couple tobaccos I reserve that accolade for. The 3 in this case is given for a fine, well presented and thought out blend that is flavorful, pleasurable, and reasonable in cost.

The tobacco held and continues to hold a great opening tin note. Deep and woodsy, with a smokey, sweet fragrance. It has a much better character once it dries out a bit, with a fuller flavor that separates into tobacco components--as well as a nice burn rate.

For me, the 'real light' delivers a rush of flavors--the smokey sweetness of the Lat, the pleasant sour of the orientals--which never run over the top of the sweet Virginias--nor do any of the other constituents become muddied by the Burley. A nice full smoke presentation, even when not terribly dense. Halfway through the orientals diminish somewhat, but do not disappear. This is good!

Rarely do I smoke an entire bowl in one sitting. The relight is always easy, and does not have a bite that some tobaccos have when rested and put to fire again. Going toward the bottom of the bowl, the flavor becomes richer, but still keeps the different characters of the tobacco present. One thing though, even when drier if one draws heavily on a regular basis it will attract and produce moisture.

This has now become a daily smoking tobacco along with several others. As some have stated, given the social and political climate in Syria the Lat may be an endangered product. I am now ordering a pound of this a month and cellaring three-quarters of it--as I want to age a sufficient quantity to the two year marker. And to also make sure that I have a supply that with careful stewardship will last into the future!

Get this and enjoy it while you can!

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New Tin

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

5 people found this review helpful.

DCD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DCD (8)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

This tobacco reminds me of the old Dunhill Standard Mixtures: Full but smooth, with a base of ripe and soft Virginians accented with leathery, smoky Latakia that never overwhelms. In this respect it resembles Samuel Gawith Balkan Flake despite the different composition. There is none of the acrid sourness that I sometimes find in the current Dunhills, including Durbar and other lat-heavy blends. Is this the difference between Cyprian and Syrian? The quality of the Virginias? I don't know, but the smoke is creamy and smooth, with a fine subtle sweetness in which the spicy, woodsy quality of the Latakia melds beautifully with the ripe Virginia base (again like SG Balkan Flake). Slowly sipping on this is the best way to appreciate its quality, which is easy to do because it stays lit easily. Even the last quarter of the bowl (which I often don't finish when smoking the Dunhills) maintains this refined character. This is a textbook English, masterfully composed.

Pipe Used: Large Dublins by W.O. Larsen, Barontini, Pascucci

Age When Smoked: New in tin

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

4 people found this review helpful.

marosi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
marosi (67)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This is another very good offering from Mac Baren. It is not perfect, but it is perhaps the imperfections or differences from type that make it worth keeping around.

First off people need to let go of their attempt to cling to labels like "English" or Balkan." Those are artificial constructs which mean nothing outside of being a modern marketing tool. This is not an "English" blend, and is not meant to be. There are some very good articles about how these terms have been twisted and misused over time, and that applies here in spades. Mac Baren clarifies that this recipe is in fact inspired by early MB mixtures from more than 120 years ago. It is not blended to match a preconceived type or style, so don't let the fact that this does not taste or smoke like other "english" or "balkan" blends bother you. Enjoy it for what it is, which is a danish mixture with latakia and orientals, and next to no casing.

The mixture is dark in the tin, and smells fantastically of leather, earth, smoke, and tobacco. It dries easily and packs with next to no rubbing out needed. It takes a little effort to get it going, but once lit it will burn with few relights needed.

The flavor profile is medium in taste, and the latakia is surprisingly subdued. While it is cohesive, I would say that it is not as well rounded and harmonious as something like Margate or Exotique. For me this starts out smooth and gains a little edge as I work through the bowl, which is the opposite of what is often experienced. It never gets hot or bites, however. A periodic tamp and gentle smoking bring out the best experience, and it is cool and tasty.

When I say it is not perfect in my mind I am thinking of that tiny bit of sharpness, and the lack of big, rich clouds of creamy smoke. It is just a little bit thin in that department. In addition, it is really very mild in strength for this type of blend, and I can smoke a large bowl without noticing the nicotine at all. Gawith has any number of aromatics that have three times the nicotine that this has. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a little surprising when you read what the constituent tobaccos are.

I would not need a pound of this, but I would not want to be without a tin on hand either. It is very enjoyable and offers a different flavor profile from similar blends actually blended in England. It is its own thing, and in that regard deserves the four stars given, and is highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Ferndown Bark Bulldog

Age When Smoked: 4-5 years

4 people found this review helpful.

ElMog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ElMog (30)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

My first encounter with Syrian leaf. As stated in my review for 3 oaks, on first puff i was enthralled by this blend. Incense! Cedar! Old mouldy wooden trunk ! Long lost parchments and secrets! It tasted religious. Bliss lasted for a few minutes, and then... well, all that initial goodness seemed to fade...

On most subsequent smokes, i found this blend to be very dry, to lose all flavour if it gets only slightly too hot, and leave me with a dry mouth and an unpleasant aftertaste. At other times, at mid bowl, i was able to appreciate the transition from latakia smokiness to dark fired smokiness, rounded by the sour-ish orientals, but since the opening notes are so pleasant, it never feels very appealing to me. As for the end of the smoke, it can get harsh and bitter.

I will give it some more tries, and try to be careful, because it has its moments when it shines

Pipe Used: Briars

Purchased From: 4noggins

4 people found this review helpful.

Pipesmoking101 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipesmoking101 (62)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I received a sample of this, and right out of the pouch this tobacco looks and smells great.

From light brown to black, a good mixture of colours, with the quantity of brown slightly outweighing the Latakia. There are a very few truly blonde pieces mixed in, but they are so sparse that they need to be looked for to be spotted. The cut seems to be a mixture of true ribbon, cube & wild cut.

The note on the nose is sweet, with mind background hints of honey combining with the Kentucky and Latakia. It is obvious from this aroma alone, that the Latakia is Syrian.

Lighting the tobacco, it takes the flame well & burns fairly steadily throughout the bowl, requires possibly 3 or 4 relights to smoke to the heel.

The taste is mostly just the Syrian Latakia, the Kentucky is in there & the other Orientals add a mellowing note. It should work quite well, but I have realised that I just don't really appreciate Syrian Latakia, but prefer the Cypriot version, which is stronger in taste, has a darker, more leathery tone to it & is generally a superior tobacco. For those who prefer the Syrian Latakia, this could be just your thing. The taste doesn't really develop, but there is an underlying smoky sweetness, probably from the Kentucky, which continues throughout, and is very much like refined sugar or honey on the palette. Despite the claims of 'no tongue bite', I did get hints of a bite from the get go (although it never fully flayed my tongue).

The room note is typical of Lat, but as it's the Syrian version & has some sweeter undertones, is probably not as pungent as other English blends.

The nicotine is mild/medium, but much closer to medium than mild.

I will finish this sample, I am glad I tried it, but I won't be buying any. As I said, Syrian Latakia is not my thing (from the examples of it that I've tried anyway). If you like it, you may like this, and because of the positive points, I'll give it a somewhat recommended, but that's being generous. Only for real MacB. lovers & Syrian Lat. officianados, I think.

Pipe Used: Peterson Dongeal Rocky 68, Stanwell Squat Bulldog

Age When Smoked: Unknown (received as a sample, fairly new I think)

Purchased From: Sample from a friend

Similar Blends: McLintock - Syrian Latakia Blend.

4 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
★☆☆☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

I am an English blend lover. Add in Syrian Latakia and it should be a home run. With that said, I dislike this blend more than any English I have ever tasted. In fairness to Mac Baren lovers, I tend to dislike most of their products. With such rave reviews, I elected to give Mac Baren another shot. Maybe its a common topping found on their blends that disagrees with me? I tried VS in three different pipes as sometimes its a matter of finding the correct pipe for a particular blend. In each case, I couldn't finish the bowl. Since many folks like this blend, its probably worth a try. For me, this is a solid "no go".

4 people found this review helpful.

Mikefu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mikefu (10)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

After smoking this for a couple years off and on, I decided that it was time to write a review, particularly in light of its impending extinction. This blend has an intoxicating mellow Latakia note from tin, balanced with the sweetness of Virginia and a little spice from the Orientals. It’s quite fluffy for a Latakia-heavy blend, and packs and lights easily. I find 45 minutes or so of drying time does the trick quite nicely. Upon lighting, you get a good thick creamy smoke, with a delicate Latakia flavor, despite the high percentage of Syrian leaf. It is woodsy, nutty, briney, and wonderfully spicy, in the incense-type of spice, not the piquant sense. Burns well with few relights, and is one of the “dryest” finishing blends I’ve had, the tobacco equivalent of a dry Cabernet. It’s definitely not a Latakia-bomb, and mellows through the bowl with more sandalwood and dark chocolate cocoas developing in the last third. I like it and have stocked up for the future, as it is now discontinued from MacB. If you like Syrian and like refined Balkan and English blends, I recommend you do the same. Solid 3.5 stars.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh and 2 years

3 people found this review helpful.

archéologue Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
archéologue (5)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of the finest English blends that I have ever smoked. Well balanced, no bite and burns clean to the bottom of the bowl. The only minor issue: the tobacco comes in very small cuts and morsels, which makes it slightly hard to pack properly and because of the that it requires a few relights. Latakia doesn't take a dominance and Orientals and Virgnia mixed with it and bring up a pleasant falvor. Nicotine is low. Another good tobacco from MacBaren.

Pipe Used: Peterson Churchwarden

3 people found this review helpful.

dragonman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dragonman (1)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

As a new pipe smoker , the only thing I knew is that I hate aromatics . My father smoked a coconut aromatic that I never knew the name of and I hated the smell. After learning that I like thick , heavy smoking cigars I stumbled into HHVS . Love at first feel. THIS is tobacco ! I cannot articulate exactly what is so good - it just is . I may not know much about art , but I know what I like . I smoked a few tins , then bought a few pounds . Sometimes it tastes a little light , but then I'll smoke Nightcap and it seems like too much of a good thing. I like both but smoke much more HHVS . The tins seem a bit tastier vs the bulk pound bags - but that could just be my imagination . I do prefer it in a briar slightly more than my only Meer . Either way , I'll take it . Apparently , I enjoy Latakia .

3 people found this review helpful.

ii31al Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ii31al (5)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

For those who smoked Cyprian Lattakia and didn't like the overwhelming taste of it give this one a try you won't regret it. Well balanced blend all day smoke.The only thing I didn't like is the burley !

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

Napping Puppy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Napping Puppy (25)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

The secret of this blend is the mysterious creaminess that is pleasingly peppery rather than being excessively sweet. Perhaps that is the direct result of aging the Syrian Latakia, of which Mac Baren still has a generous stock.

This is the most natural tasting tobacco among all other Mac Baren's blends. A natural beauty which forms an inimitable pleasure on its own. Highly recommended.

3 people found this review helpful.

Mofrackey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mofrackey (6)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I recently started smoking my pipes again. And for the past couple months, I've enjoyed my VA and Va/Per flakes. Mostly all I smoked until about a weekend ago I started really loving all of the English blends I had cellered for a few years. And I'm now smoking mainly English /Balkan Blends. I found this and opened it up to day and found the tin note to be intriguing... This tin is dated Dec 2015. I packed it up and it actually was amazing! The Syrian latakia is another breeding. Very complex blend without being too much. I am a lat fan atm but not lat bombs. I'm still rather new to English blends on my pallet again. And I found this blend to be very satisfying. I can see my taste buds craving this tobacco. Will try to find another tin to jar and hopefully our beloved Syrian Latakia will be around for a long time. Otherwise at least I'll have a few jars.

Pipe Used: Bubula Wood. Viking classic Apple

Age When Smoked: 2.5

Purchased From: Milan Tobacconist

3 people found this review helpful.

Stinkypipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stinkypipe (156)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

If your a latakia lover like me and more specifically Syrian Latakia this is one of the few blends that actually has Syrian Latakia. Oh that sweet smoky baked bread flavor is there with the slight vinegary kick. The opening is glorious with the smoky Latakia aroma. Light up is a breeze and burns very cool. The flavor and taste are what you would expect from Syrian Latakia with a bit of spicy kick from time to time but not really distracting from the overall taste. Burns very cool throughout the bowl and taste continues for the entire smoke. This is also great for mixing with other blends to enhance the smoky flavor of just about any blend. I mix about one quarter total weight with McClelland Just Plain Nuts blend and get a wonderful nutty smoky taste. Today finding any Syrian Latakia is like finding Gold. If you love it you must grab some of this loose or in a tin. Four plus stars for me.

Pipe Used: Boswell nose warmer

Age When Smoked: Fresh and aged

Purchased From: Pipes and cigars

Similar Blends: No blend seems to give you as much Syrian Latakia as this blend. Nothing out there right now can match the Syrian flavor of this blend..

3 people found this review helpful.

Jared Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jared (6)
★★★★
Very Strong Medium to Strong Extra Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The best Balkan mixture I've ever tried in my life, I think this is the worthy heir of the legendary Balkan Sobranie, which I was able to appreciate, because among the treasures of my grandfather.

Pipe Used: Savinelli

Age When Smoked: 3

Similar Blends: Sobranie of London - The Balkan Sobranie.

3 people found this review helpful.

who broke my clay pipe? Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
who broke my clay pipe? (61)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Tin note:- Cream of tomato soup,faint strawberry wine,light earthy mushrooms with spice.

Light up:- using gas lighter ;a zingy peppery incense bomb right up my nostrils ,had to resort to cooler matches to back it off a bit. Difficult to stay lit.

Taste :-Pan fried molluscs,earthy oysters with soy sauce , developes into a spicy HP brown sauce,rose wine and faint Turkish delight with peppery fruit pickle and smokey burnt spices and herbs on a yeasty bready bread. Has faint perfumey incense factor like those Djarum cigarettes with clove.

Smoke performance needs to be smoked cool otherwise all the subtleties are lost in mud,but this also makes it have a propensity to extinguish. The extinguish factor and cold drawing is quite tasty in its own right, sort of smoked stewed strawberries with burnt herbs which gives me cooking ideas. Relights were muddy poor crap until it heated up again into the complex sweet and sour zone,then it would over heat. The tobacco seemed dry enough to smoke strait away so I did but it seemed to be an inconsistent performer.

Compared to the Cyprian HH Latakia Flake which has a more sooty, coaly, beefy, meaty, salty latakia ;-this Syrian mixture is obviously different in an exotic kind of way. I think I must say that while a delight to taste I prefer the HH latakia flake due to its cool burning,easy to keep lit and burn forever nature. I think I probably prefer Cyprian latakia as well in fact due to its gothic funereal atmosphere;the Syrian tastes kind of mystic temple in my mind ,nice,naughty and different but I wouldn't over rate it,its more feminine in taste than the Cyprian in my opinion. I have never smoked it before.

Remedies:- this stuff is quite coarse cut and rough ribbons compared to contemporaries like Dunhill; combined with my small bowl this was probably why it wouldn't stay lit or burned too quick. Dried some out a bit and chopped it smaller with scissors so it would fit enough quantity in the bowl sorted it out where it burned consistent. I think the cut more was the issue more than moisture reasons. The taste in subsequent bowls has since stayed consistent in the goldilocks zone as well rather than alternating between mud and perfume due to relights..

Would I buy it again?:- I bought two tins at the same time so I already did; one to experience and one to save in case this actual latakia goes missing in action due to geopolitics. Would I buy it a 3rd time? ;-I dunno, not in a hurry at the moment;i don't think this will be an everyday or frequent smoke with me due to the incense factor actually, which although pleasantly exotic,is a bit intrusive over longer sessions and becomes less appreciated. Its something I will savour for those obscure moments when I am in the mood where its a welcome surprise again.

Deserves 3 stars because its top leaf and so uniquely exotic,only the cut itself held it back in my pipe.

Pipe Used: Vintage falcon bantam

Age When Smoked: month

Purchased From: cant remember online

Similar Blends: Dunhill London mixture.

3 people found this review helpful.

pylet2000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pylet2000 (33)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Initial review, will revisit:

Smoked about 10 bowls of this so far, and it's very enjoyable to Latakia fans. In research of this blend, it seems the recipe is very old, as are the Syrian Latakias used. This Syrian leaf is indeed a bit different than most Cyprian, leaning a bit towards the incense side and less of the leathery side. As many have said, the dominant taste is the Syrian and overall the blend is Latakia smoky, sweet, slightly sour, slightly tangy, and decidedly fragrant of exotic incense. Something I've not heard said is that this blend has a syrupy thickness to it, I can only smoke a bowl per day for its potency of flavor, persistent mouth presence, and clinging aroma. Truly exquisite, I intend to stock up while it's still available. I'll initially rate it a 4, it's a delicious blend and has enough uniqueness to it to make it highly recommended in my opinion.

If I were to critique it in any way, it might be that the Latakia is a bit too much of the blend. I've smoked straight Cyprian before and HHVS has much of the same effect: so much of an incense quality to it as to minimize the role of anything else. I like it a lot, but could not smoke only this. Once every couple days though, a delightful treat!

Now, if they made a Vintage Syrian Mellow with normal condimental ratios of the Syrian leaf, it could well be a regular choice in my rotation.

Pipe Used: Savinelli

Age When Smoked: 3 days to 3 weeks after opening

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

3 people found this review helpful.

Circle H Brothers Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Circle H Brothers (8)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I purchased this blend simply because it included Syrian Latakia. I am a huge fan of Ashton's Artisan's Blend, so I wanted another English Blend with Syrian leaf to compare. PnC had this on sale, so I grabbed a 3.5oz tin. While it is on par with AAB, it is a different animal altogether. At first the Latakia grabs hold and makes its presence well known. At around the midway point, however, it falls to the background and the Orientals and the Virginias really start to sing. The Kentucky Dark Fired is present, but in body only in my opinion. Getting down to the last third of the bowl, a very interesting flavor starts to emerge. There is a Cola/Root Beer type of flavor that starts weaving in and out of the reemerged Latakia. Very strange, but enjoyable. I would highly recommend this blend to anyone wanting to try out Syrian Latakia. It is balanced and enjoyable all the way down to the heel.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Silver Canadian & Ascorti Business

Age When Smoked: 0-3 months

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

3 people found this review helpful.

Jevverrett Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jevverrett (83)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This one I bought bc I wanted to check out the Syrian Latakia I've been hearing so much about.

Tin note is smokey and woodsy. Loose ribbon cut, on the dry side. Has some sticks in it that need to be picked out here and there. Packs very well, lights well, burns well too. Very tasty. Smokey, slight bitterness like green olives. Sweetness comes through midway and the flavor becomes more complex, spicy even. Taste improves (to me) on a relight. Burns to a fine ash.

Wow. This is a great blend. I like the taste of most macbaren tobaccos, even though they bite me. This one only bites a bit on the charring light. I couldn't smoke it all day bc it has a lingering aftertaste that is great. It gets in the way of whatever else I'm smoking that day. May be better in the evening in a larger bowl.

Age When Smoked: Fresh tin

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

3 people found this review helpful.

Stu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stu (12)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Yes! This has it all, dare I say is perfect, and is the best Latakia mixture I know of as of this writing. It only took less than an ounce to appreciate the greatness of this blend and it has become my go-to tobacco. When I look at the handful of open tins I just reach for this every time, although once the honeymoon is over I will surely have a couple other blends in rotation, more for curiosity's sake, but since I only have about a bowl a day it's so great to find something that consistently satisfies. This discovery started with my fondness for Ashton's Artisan Blend, which I'm very fond of and is one of my favorites. The tin says something about Syrian Latakia, which I thought was all Latakia, before learning about Cypriot Latakia. Fast forward a bit and I figured I'd try more blends that are known to contain the Syrian product. HH Vintage Syrian seemed like a gimmick, given the diminishing availability of the leaf as of this writing. But I was trying to determine the difference between blends with the two different Latakia's so I bought a tin. The answer to that query was that the two are subtly different to me, almost to the point that I wouldn't be able to tell in blends where it's used lightly, but blends high in Latakia portray the differences more clearly. Most importantly, and this may seem obvious to many, I learned that it's the the mixture that makes all the difference, followed by the quality of the batch of Latakia itself and that batch's qualities. In other words, there are many Latakia blends with the Cypriot variety that run circles around most of the blends currently available that contain Syrian Latakia. So this is definitely not an issue of one Latakia being "better" than the other. My conclusion is that this particular blend is more the result of a masterful harmonizing of tobaccos rather than it being Syrian Latakia. That is the strength of this wonderful blend. The Latakia is huge, very present, clean and cool. The exotic, fragrant note dominates throughout the bowl. The supporting Virginia is excellent, achieving what for me is a maximum sweetness without becoming saccharine, but balancing the smokiness of the Latakia culminating in the incense quality many describe. The Orientals are tucked neatly in between giving the experience a third dimension, especially in the taste. The description notes the use of Kentucky, and I can't say I can pick out that note but it probably plays a role in the luxurious feel and weight of the smoke. It's a medium strength and medium-full flavor that satisfies, and is never too much or too little in any department. I can't say that about any other blend.

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: G.L. Pease Westminster, Ashton Artisan.

3 people found this review helpful.

Plihopliheri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Plihopliheri (12)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Bought a tin over a year ago after reading raving reviews here, smoked a couple of bowls, and was slightly disappointed. Coming back to the blend now, it was a very different experience: delightful! Faint memories of way back when I started pipe smoking and was hooked on aromatics except for the occasional Balkan Sobranie came to mind, and if these memories aren't totally illusionary, this is the closest to Sobranie that I ever found.

A well-balanced, medium strength blend which does not bite your tongue and palate, holds enough flavor to make your mind wander, and has just enough sweetness in the room note to make it acceptable to the Mrs, the HHVS made it to my personal top group. (This group top being Nightcap, Squadron Leader, Artisan's Blend, 965, EMP)

Going to my tobacconist on Monday to buy 5 or 6 tins.

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: 1.5 years

Similar Blends: Balkan Sobranie?.

3 people found this review helpful.

point9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
point9 (114)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

There are only a few English/Balkan blends that use Syrian latakia and this is one of them. However, it is overrated in my opinion. The rather subtle, smooth latakia do not come out notably and as a mixed Balkan/English, it lack complicity and united balanced flavor. It may get hot but no infamous Mac bite noted. As to those who want a taste of Syrian tobac, Three Oaks Syrian may be a much better recommendation.

3 people found this review helpful.

Jose Ruiz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jose Ruiz (7)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Hope every ones doing ok today. Todays review for your pleasure will be from Mc Baren's HH Vintage Syrian.

Pipe: Peterson p-lip bent smooth Tin size: 3.5 oz. Tin note: Smokey, campfire aroma, Rich, some natural sweetness and roasted nut notes.

Type: Latakia Blend

Tobacco: Virginia, Burley, Oriental, Latakia

Cut: Loose ribbon cut

Strength: Medium full to full bodied

Taste: Richness from the Virginia as well as slight natural sweet notes, nice Smokey campfire aromas from the Syrian Latakia, Peppery goodness from the Oriental leaf, with a nice roasted nut taste from the Burley. Well balanced blend with a lot of great complexity and richness with out being very strong and over powering.

Room note: Nice billowing clouds of aromas that remind me of a summer campfire. Great roasted nut notes with a nice hint of incense of sandalwood or cedar. Very pleasing aromas for sure.

Notes: Out of the tin is ready to pack into your bowl, nice loose cut ribbons. Used the 3 tier method. Has a good amount of Syrian Latakia which produced a good amount of white smoke. The aromas that came from the smoke is very enticing that continue on to the end of the bowl. Taste was also great, reminded me of roasted nuts and woody spicy notes with a hint of pepper. Noticed a natural sweetness coming thru which helped balance the whole blend nicely. This blend is very well balanced with a lot of complexity and richness without losing taste at all throughout the whole smoke. Only took very few relights, burns cool thru it all. I highly recommend HH Vintage Syria to anyone that like full bodied latakia blends or who is interested in trying one for the first time. Taste is great thru out the whole smoke, aroma is pleasing, burns cool. Will make sure to keep this in my rotation. If you never tried it ,give it a try you wont be disappointed.

I rate this blend: 4.0-4.5 out of 5

The Wife's Review:

I really liked this blend. It, like the 3 nuns evoked a mental image for me, this time of the distinguished woodsman. It had a more raw, outdoorsy, woodsy smell than 3 nuns when I was sitting in the room with it. I personally have never been at a turn of the century, rich mans, woodsy retreat but that is what this pipe reminds me of... Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Ford. If they spent a weekend vacation at their sumptuous country estate and were sitting around together, this is what I imagine they would smoke. So give me a whiskey on the rocks and send me off for a weekend with this blend, please!

Pipe Used: Peterson p-lip bent smooth

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: sutliff

Similar Blends: bell's three nuns.

3 people found this review helpful.

ATW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ATW (45)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

I tried this stuff around 3 years ago and didn't care for it. I'm use to a McClelland and a Dunhill style English blend. Here it is 3 years later with a new tin of it (I gave my first away) trying to give it chance, since 3 years has been awhile and my taste could have change....... But is hasn't. Every bowl was the same. Very bitter, hot, and ashy. I'll just stick to my 3 oaks Syrian.

10-20-17 well the tin is almost 3 years old now. Loaded up a bowl. It tastes better but holy hell the tongue bite is terrible. And im being very easy on the puffing.

Age When Smoked: New

3 people found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

This tobacco shares the typical Virginias taste of many Mac Baren's, like The Solent Mixture, which makes it different to other English mixtures. The high proportion of Syrian Latakia makes it different in time to all other Mac Baren's, giving Vintage Syrian its unique and unmistakeable taste.

Highly recommended for English mixtures fans.

3 people found this review helpful.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (102)
★★★☆
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a difficult tobacco to locate, metaphysically speaking. Fond as I am of it (in certain moods, mind you) it is a little curious in the way it expresses itself. Despite its high Latakia content, said to be 40% by some sources, 50% by others, HH Vintage Syrian doesn't seem to act either English or Oriental, and certainly not Balkan. It makes me think of "men's night" at an all-girl bar. It dresses the part, but it doesn't really fill out its pants.

That's not to say it's not a fine tobacco, because it really is. It may, however, be too subtle for its own good. For that matter, the mild, incense-like smokiness of the Syrian Latakia often seems overmatched by the sweetness of the Virginias. And in the smoky-sweet tug of war that defines mixtures like this, I'm not sure the sweetness wins the battle without a little help from the tug fairy. It tastes a little enhanced. I'm also inclined to worry that the questionable balance of this blend in youth may hamper it down the maturation road.

After a week or so of smoking this to the exclusion of all else, however, I've decided that HH Vintage Syrian just needs to be in a committed relationship. The first couple of bowls I smoked reminded me of a Canadian on the first day of his Caribbean vacation - a little pale in comparison to the rest of the beach's cast - but when smoked to the exclusion of other tabacs, it seems to come into its own, smoky-sweet, elegant, refined. I find it particularly lovely early in the day.

It reminds me a great deal of DAN Tobacco's estimable Gordon Pym, another restrained and delicate tobacco which doesn't really fit into convenient categories and to which I've also failed to commit. Ah well. It's not you. It's me.

3 people found this review helpful.

oldermanpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldermanpipe (13)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is going to be difficult. For me, it is sort of like seeing an old love, years later, and thinking, "she used to be beautiful." So, you go to a bar and drown your sorrows. Or, if you are of healthy psyche, you go on home and "love the one you're with."

There was some libelous scratching a while back on a smokers' website that Mac Baren was secretly substituting Cyprian weed for Syrian. Per Jensen of Mac Baren properly defended his honor to deny the canard. From my perspective he is an honorable and honest man. The Latakia in HH Vintage Syrian is absolutely of Syrian origin...when you can taste it. And there's the rub.

If anyone out there is looking for an unqualified Syrian Latakia opium jag, fellas, that boat has sailed. About a year ago, I found a tin of HH Vintage Syrian that dated to 2011, and it was a whole different experience. It was not a "Lat-bomb" (and thank goodness for that!) because the base tobacco for Syrian Latakia, Shek-el-bint, is a bottomless font of nicotine, and to use it in the quantities the Cyprian weed is used would leave too few smokers to make this website viable. But that tin definitely gave one a real idea of the charms of Syrian Latakia. This new tin simply does not. If you don't know what you're looking for, you're not likely to find it. If you can snag a tin of Three Oaks Syrian or Samovar from McClelland, you'll get a much clearer idea.

Now, for the positive. This is a very tasty smoke in it's own right. The tin aroma is a whiff of yesterday! The orientals are intoxicating. The Virginias are bright and sweet. And these come through in the smoke. So does the Kentucky...unfortunately. But without it...who knows what this would be?

Pipe Used: GBD, Missouri Meershaum

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Ocelot79 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ocelot79 (13)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

The most obvious impression is that this is a well-made blend of high-quality ingredients. Unlike some other reviewers, I do not find the Latakia to be very strong, but I do find it to be at the correct strength for the classic taste. I go to Balkan Sobranie if I want more Latakia for a special occasion. I really like the restrained balance of this stuff, and I enjoy the dryness of the taste as a change from the creamier Virginias I habitually smoke during the day. For me, it's an evening smoke. The blend is very well behaved and smokes evenly and smoothly. A great reliable intro to Latakia blends for the newcomer, and a classic favourite for the old hand..

Pipe Used: Large-bowled Charatans and Upshalls

Age When Smoked: 4

Purchased From: Ries, Chicago

2 people found this review helpful.

toddsmith7378 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
toddsmith7378 (32)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

My this was love at first bowl for me. It comes with a bit of a story. Five or six years ago I had my 2nd go around with pipe smoking. My palette had moved beyond the cheap aromatics that caused me to stop before that into new territory.

I found myself smoking tins the tobacconist recommended. I was pleasantly enjoying Elizebethan by Dunhill and Navy Flake, but the "Across the Pond" by Frog Morton was my favorite.

As recently as a year ago I picked up the hobby again with renewed vigor and quickly developed a bit more of my palette and a substantial collection. I had a little bit of my Across the Pond left and when it was gone, it was totally gone. I did manage to find a tin that I vowed only to open on a special occasion since my old favorite had gone extinct. The culprit, Syrian Latakia.

Oh yes, I read reviews that most people preferred the Frog Morton Cellar with the Cyprian Latakia anyway, but I got my start on Latakia with Across the Pond. Cellar is a great and superb tobacco in its own right, and if I hadn't fallen in love with Across the Pond first, I'd likely prefer it, but that's not the way it was. I had become acquainted with the Syrian leaf first, and it just isn't the same.

After searching aimlessly for a long time for something, anything, with Syrian Leaf, I had no luck, and no hope for ever getting any of the leaf in the near term future. That is until I stumbled across the HH Vintage Syrian which I found available by the pound.....What?

Immediately, I grabbed me 16 ounces given that it had stellar reviews and my favorite leaf. Wow, just wow. I'm so happy again to taste this exquisite form of Latakia.

It's a subdued Latakia compared to its Cyprian brother. It's like smoking dark chocolate, or a mellow roast dark bean coffee. It is the same Latakia that I had in the Across the pond, except dare I say, even better.

I can't completely remember the former as its been so long, but it definitely has that same Latakia from Syria nuance and I taste the former glory again. Glad I got a pound of this stuff and will be able to enjoy it for many years to come as its now a staple in my substantial rotation. Thank you Mac Baren for giving me the opportunity to cellar and smoke this lost love tobacco I truly thought I'd never get to enjoy regularly ever again.

Pipe Used: Peterson P-lip.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Across the Pond - Frog Morton.

2 people found this review helpful.

the_dalai_lama_himself Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_dalai_lama_himself (43)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Pretty average kind of blend, mild more than medium but has that Syrian element as well as some other interplay which keeps it interesting and the Syrian mystique factor.. its pretty good.. typical danish blend refined and somewhat delicate. Definitely an all day smoke.. worth some back up tins. I’ll add some flavor notes next bowl.

2 people found this review helpful.

DenizBeck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DenizBeck (263)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Wonderful... very different from most english blends, very natural, very unique. This is far from being a Latakia-Bomb! The Latakia is present, but so smooth and unobtrusively charming in the background...its wonderful!

Tin note is dominated by woodsy, smoky and very slightly sour Syrian Latakia and has some honey-ish sweetness to it. Little nutty from the Kentucky and Orientals leaf.

In the smoke Vintage Syrian has some decent Latakia to it, yet never obtrusive or overpowering. Smoky, woodsy, spicy slightly sour and creamy. The other ingridients offer some honey-sweet aroma, nuttiness, earth and round the blend so that even me, who doesn't like Latakia too much can appreciate it very much. Great for Latakia beginners, wonderful for Latakia Fans who look for a smooth, creamy and full-bodied aroma.

Insane how good Syrian Latakia taste...whilst I'm offended by both the smell and taste of cyprian Latakia, the syrian gold impresses me with its mellow, yet distinctive flavor. Too bad it will be run out soon... Mac Baren will replace this with "HH Vintage Latakia Blend", which is the same blend, but with cyprian Latakia... I have a sample of it at home...and it offends my nose again. Nope... If you love Syrian Latakia hoard this as long as you can!

Albeit I smoke this only occasionally I'll give it the whole 4-stars, as it's a 4-stars blend for me, just not my personal every-day-smoke!

Pipe Used: Clays, Cobs, Briars

2 people found this review helpful.

derekpodo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derekpodo (4)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

...simply a beautiful smooth and elegant blend....very well balanced,, lightly woodsy, sweet, grassy....masterfully tied together in a subtle flavourful way until the very bottom....very well done.....(to me it's not about the full flavour as it is about the subtleness and delicate balance of the quality tobaccos used)

2 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (112)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

From the aroma in the tin I expected a strong Latakia meal. This stuff is SMOOTH! great taste from the Latakia the Virginia's definitely round out the smoke. First two bowls were straight out of the tin and into the pipe, was a bit wet, bowls 3 through bottom of tin I let it dry out for about 20 minutes. burned with only one relight on uninterrupted smokes. Edit 10/17 After smoking another 3.5 oz tin, I felt my previous review was not deep enough. This is such a joy to smoke! One of the creamiest latakia blends I have come across. The tin aroma on this tobacco could be an all day affair. It smells of rich smoky latakia and a sweet woody smell that can only be from the orientals and the kentucky combined. The smoke starts out very latakia forward, that rich sweet smoky flavor from the Syrian Latakia. As the bowl develops past the first third the creaminess balances the latakia in a way that I haven't experienced with other blends. I would almost say malty, like a malted milk ball. The flavor is something that I experience with other Balkan blends but it is usually fleeting and is a welcome guest during the smoke. With Vintage Syrian the malty flavor appears early in the smoke and stays with me throughout the bowl. I have found it to be deeper and more complex in a briar (preferred in the bulldog shape). but is also there in a cob or a meerschaum. The tobacco is ready to smoke right out of the tin or bag but I prefer my tobacco on the drier side and this is no exception, 15 minutes or so of drying time and this will burn to ash with one light (after the charring light) unless you decide to let it go out. I have let some half bowls sit on my desk over night and on a morning relight this is one of the best smokes with a cup of coffee I have ever had. Fantastic smoke.

Pipe Used: several briars, cobs and meerchaum

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Uhle's Tobacco

2 people found this review helpful.

L'Italiano Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
L'Italiano (170)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Really high quality. This tobacco has a delicious, smoky, rich taste. Syrian Latakia is excellent and you can perceive a lot of complex nuances: earth with softer hints of musk, wood rich in special essences, incense, fragrance of wet pines and many other. This is a very good Latakia mixture. So, well done to Mac Baren. In my opinion only a defect: a very mild strength! For this reason, in my personal system rating (from 1 to 10), my score is 9 and three stars.

2 people found this review helpful.

dbl-bbl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dbl-bbl (36)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant

With supplies of Syrian Latakia dwindling & being consumed by our pipe clan, soon to be extinct like the dodo bird, one can't help but feeling a little sad knowing that someday the show must end. It's not that Cyprian-grown Latakia is bad, it's certainly good, but the Syrian variety is notably more refined (smoother).

This is simply a good, clean, earthy, woodsy Balkan tobacco blend that can be smoked all day. Although half the blend is purported to be Syrian Latakia, it's certainly not a Lat Bomb by any stretch. All tobacco components are just in the right proportions .... my hats off to Henrik Halberg the blender of this fine masterpiece (that’s if I wore a hat)! My hope is that the replacement for this blend, using Cyprian Latakia, will be equally as top notch as this one. Of course it wouldn't / couldn't / shouldn't be called Vintage Syrian ... maybe Vintage Cyprian. Time will tell. To my knowledge, I'm not aware of another Balkan offering by MacBaren as of this writing. If you like a good smooth Balkan .... enjoy this one while you can get it. As for me, I'm going to do some hoarding before it's all gone.

Pipe Used: Briars, Meerschaums & Cobs

Age When Smoked: Fresh & Aged Several Months

2 people found this review helpful.

Boswell Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Boswell (9)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a delight. Creamy, spicy, incense-sweet, nutty, fragrant, smooth and cool. I only discovered this recently, but will be buying more. If you like Ashton's Artinsan's blend, or the Comptons of Galashiels mixtures, you should give this a try.

J B Priestley memorably described the pleasures of 'lying in a hot bath, smoking a pipe … lost in steam, the fumes of Latakia and the vaguest dreams'. I think he would have enjoyed dreaming over a pipe of Vintage Syrian, had it been around in his day.

2 people found this review helpful.

Swiss-smoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Swiss-smoker (62)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

The name of this blend suggests that I may expect a heavy, old style English blend with a high dose of lush Syrian Latakia in the lead. Unfortunately it does not meet my expectations. It does not get near a traditional, old style English blend. Maybe the word “vintage” rather refers to the type of Latakia (old style Syrian Latakia), not to the mixture as such. Anyway. Moisture in tin is perfect. Tin nose is promising. Stuffing and lighting is easy. It burns hot. Leaves back an almost white ash. No aftertaste.

The tasty Orientals donate some body, but it does not dig deep at all. This blend is too mild in taste. Although all ingredient tobaccos can be singled out, the lack of power does not leave enough for all flavours to develop entirely. Sweetness is about ok, I would not like more. A soft carpet of scrumptious Latakia and scrumptious Kentucky provides a decent woody smokiness and accompanies you throughout the bowl. Kentucky is more prominent than Latakia. For my personal satisfaction I would appreciate to have all Kentucky replaced by additional Syrian Latakia. Never mind, regarding many laudatory reviews it remains a light English-style mixture with its own merits. I am disappointed, mainly because it’s too faint, not because I don’t like the taste of it.

Age When Smoked: New, out of the tin.

2 people found this review helpful.

PhillyB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PhillyB (65)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am very impressed by this blend. It is (I think) the first blend with Syrian Latakia I've ever had, and first impressions are good!

Out of the tin it has the typical Latakia smoke, but with a little more going on than some other Latakia heavy blends I've tried. There's a little sour and sweet, likely from the Virginia and Orientals. I don't really pick up on the Kentucky as much, but more about that in the actual smoking.

The taste is excellent. No two ways about it, this blend is an exceptional one. If you like Latakia at all you will more than probably like this. The flavor follows much the same path as the aroma, with Latakia being present but not as overpowering as some blends. The Kentucky is present, but co-mingles with the Latakia. The Virginia and Orientals have their typical characteristics, adding a slightly sweet and sour note to the overall taste. Everything blends together for the most part and forms a wonderful and intricate taste I found myself analyzing through the whole bowl.

Quite similar to both BlackHouse and Frog Morton OTB. Might buy another tin to stash for future use.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman

Age When Smoked: fresh

Similar Blends: Hearth & Home - Black House (Marquee Series), McClelland - Frog Morton on the Bayou (Craftsbury Series).

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipenick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipenick (27)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Been smoking this blend on and off.Got 2 tins as a gift....smoked those and and I must say It's a nice blend...except strength wise which's mild and the sublime taste which's medium.The tin note is just perfect,sour,smokey,sweet...just perfect.Good quality leaf as MB usually have...packs easy,smokes easy but for me it dosen't fully satisfy my needs.Good all day smoke.More strength so this blend would be in my top 5 now it's on the top 10.

Pipe Used: Ashton's,Savi's and Cobs

Age When Smoked: 4 months

Purchased From: gift and local tobacconist

Similar Blends: Artisan Blend,Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend.

2 people found this review helpful.

LightMyBriar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LightMyBriar (13)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This was my first ever taste of Latakia, and it set the bar very high for me. The Syrian stuff, to my taste, is far more flavorful than the cyprian variety. A deeper flavor with a lighter body, more incense notes than just 'smokiness.' The Virginias used are an excellent carrier for the Latakia. They create a creamy base for the Latakia to dance on top of.

When I want to smoke something with Latakia, this is the tobacco I go to every time. While I do appreciate "English Blends," none fulfill the flavor craving that this tobacco does. It's a shame it is on its way to extinction :(

Pipe Used: SMS meerschaum, Chacom Maya, Paul's Pipes Castle

Age When Smoked: 6 Months

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (180)
★★★★
Mild Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

A ribbon cut mix of pale green thru to black tobaccos. Predominantly mid brown. Altho Latakia is the dominant tobacco here both in composition and aroma, it is surprisingly subdued. On the nose is the clear sweet note of the McB Cavendish and some smoky, cigar like notes from the DFK. As is the case with Stockton, the Cavendish might also be the DFK. There is sweetness from the Virginias and herbal notes from the Orientals.

Straight from the tin this is a little on the moist side, but takes a light fairly easily and will burn with few relights. I didn't find it burnt to a fine white ash as others have reported. Towards the end of the smoke there was some wetness in the bowl. It burns cool.

I thought the tobaccos in this blend were very well integrated giving a balanced flavour profile. This is not imo a tobacco in which there is a strong expression of any particular component at the expense of others. It is not therefore a Lat bomb, despite the large proportion of that leaf. I can't tell whether the sweetness comes from the Cav or the Orientals or the Virginias; a little of each I suspect. This sweetness is married to a lemon zestiness and the smokiness of the Lat which, overall, reminds me of Keemun tea with a slice of lemon. I think the sidestream aroma of this tobacco is the best I have ever encountered.

This tobacco is imo a modern classic. It is faultless.

2 people found this review helpful.

Hillbilly08 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hillbilly08 (38)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Unlike aromatic tobaccos, this one tastes better while smoked than what it smells like when the tin is first opened. It packs well, and despite some residual moisture, it lights quite well straight out of tin, without the "fireworks" commented on by others. Depth and flavour both develop slowly, and so it is not a blend for impatient smokers. I was surprised by the complexity and mildness, absence of any bite, and also by the gradual change in flavours as you progress down the bowl. Produces very fine white ash early (straight from the top) which does not darken. The tobacco stays lit and does not overheat, produces a long-lasting and cool smoking experience. Unusual experience for me (a straight aro smoker) and definitely well worth trying for a change of pace. Worth the price.

Pipe Used: Chap A-947 (St. Claude briar), 9mm filter

Age When Smoked: new, straight out of tin

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: possibly Bald-Headed Teacher by 4noggins, although BHT is less complex while of course also much cheaper (but a top blend on its own merit).

2 people found this review helpful.

balkan_boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
balkan_boy (49)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

So, you think of Mac Baren as a mediocre brand and the best they could do is a "bearable" tobacco blend? Well I thought the same. Now I don't think that way anymore. Mac Baren may have a lot of crapy blends, but when it comes to HH Vintage Syrian, they've reached their top. I am about to forgive them for all the shitty blends they come up with, just because of this one. Syrian Latakia is something very subtle, with mild taste but very strong and powerful when in larger quantities. Here it's just the right amount.

Mac Baren case and stove their Virginias in some bad way, and they all have that "honey" Danish note and tongue bite, here it's not an exception. You can smell that familiar (and hated) note in the tin, but it's not that noticeable when you smoke it. It does however give to the blend a certain unique freshness along with the Syrian leaf. Nice burning, stays lit without any problems, doesn't change much as it advances through the bowl, it's not picky, tastes pretty much the same dry and wet, and in different pipes. I was about to give it 2 stars, just because it's Mac Baren, but the smoke is good, and I will replenish my stocks, so to be honest, 4 stars for the blend, highly recommended.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: 3 months

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

This is my no.1 favorite English blend, a very elegant English blend with an outstanding sweet and smokey flavor, not strong in nicotine but very rich with delightful flavor.

I find HHVS and Mixture are very similar in sweetness and body.

Thank you MB for this Excellent blend!!

2 people found this review helpful.

Ranger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ranger (64)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

The first thing I noticed after I lit the bowl was the lack of the typical MacBaren flavoring. The taste was a good blend of latakia and virginia with the latakia dominating but not overwhelming the blend. It burned great in all bowls and the smoke was good to the bottom. Very good tobacco.

2 people found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

Not being a fan of aromatics, I have never found a truly satisfying MacBaren blend...

But look here, what a nice surprise! An almost-traditional English mixture from the Danish brand!

Smell in the tin is very promising, sort of a "light" version of GLPease Bohemian Scandal.

Sadly, the smoking experience is a bit less satisfactory. Mind you, it has no big flaws or nasty traits. It is consistent in flavour, burns great, it is not marred by weird flavourings, and it is classic enough not to turn away lovers of true English tobaccos. My only complaint is that it can be a bit underwhelming at times: the Syrian Latakia is fragrant and with a clearly different note than the one found in most other blends, but the balance leans on the lighter side. In spite of the heavy percentage of Syrian leaf, this one is clearly less spicy and rich than Bohemian Scandal (which had a lesser dose of the precious ingredient). Probably the trick is in the Orientals: no one finds good ones like Mr. Pease does, or blends them as skillfully with the Latakia. The result, in this MacBaren blend, is a bit monochromatic, and tends to get boring on the long run. Still very pleasant and smokeable, and certainly better than most other modern English mixtures (especially the now crappy Dunhills).

So, would I recommend this tobacco? Definitely give it a try, as it is a quality product, honestly priced and with many interesting traits, but I probably won't buy it again. It doesn't offer the level of complexity, richness and flavour I want from a Latakia mixture. If I hadn't tried GLPease's Bohemian Scandal (of which I still have a few tins), I would probably give it and extra star, though, for the pleasant and fragrant use of the Syrian leaf.

2 people found this review helpful.

Sasquatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sasquatch (81)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong

I've put off reviewing this stuff. The initial hype around this release had me thinking that God himself had blended this. Therefore, I was disappointed when I actually smoked it. That said, I am now at the bottom of 100g tin, over a period of six months or so. The final verdict: This is excellent pipe tobacco.

The syrian latakia is nothing like the cyprian or macedonian we are used to. Completely different animal, and a rather gentler one. When this blend first came out, people said all kinds of things, all based on the Syrian half of the can contents. I'm not an expert, but I think what makes this tobacco truly charming is the virginia half, which is blended with real skill. The big helping of Dark Kentucky is particularly welcome.

In the pipe, this stuff is a bit spicy, with hardly any of the usual smooth greasy smokeyness from "latakia", which I think some reviewers miss. I think this is produced/made up for with the Kentucky. The underlying flavours are myriad and subtle - cactus or lime - certainly a citrus note that is separate from the Va sweetness. Some dry woodiness and some cigar-like notes. It manages to maintain a fairly heavy presence though, for all that.

Not everyone's cup of tea, but taken for the blend it is, rather than the blend one might expect (or for another Penzance, or whatever), this is a fantastic tobacco. My wife absolutely hates the room note, however.

2 people found this review helpful.

tacoeatingzebra Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tacoeatingzebra (37)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I was simultaneously thrilled and hesitant to try this blend. Thrilled, because I wanted to sample the world renowned Syrian latakia in a fair amount, and hesitant, because what little experience I'd had with Mac Baren was yucky, to put it colloquially. It involved a cotton candy flavor and hellish tongue bite.

Admittedly, I have relatively limited experience with Syrian latakia, as I only began smoking latakia blends in 2003 --and that was Lane's HGL. Aside from this one, I've also had McClelland's Rose of Latakia, which is, as many of you know, a rather mild blend. This one is a bit stronger, but not tremendously so.

I found upon smoking it for the first time that I liked it so much, I wanted to devote a pipe to it exclusively. a Jirsa Calabash shaped pipe with a deep bowl loves this stuff. It lights effortlessly despite feeling & looking a little more moist than most tobaccos I enjoy smoking. Cyprian latakia tastes and smells a bit more woodsy and in my limited experince with the Syrian variety, I've noted more of a clove/cardamom/nutmegy flavor and that deep rich Kentucky gives it a kick that's quite nice. The orientals in this are of a similar quality to those in Balkan Sasieni. The room note, likewise, has tones of the above mentioned spices and is likely the most pleasant latakia blend to innocent bystanders...

2 people found this review helpful.

Adam Perski Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Adam Perski (6)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

-Latakia in this Blend seems to be real Syrian Latakia made in Latakia city (لاذقیه) in Syria because when i cracked the tin i noticed yellow marks that Tobacco left on the paper and when i touched the tobacco there is some tobacco that seems to be really old and it has to be Latakia (regarding to current situation in Syria probably production of this kind of tobacco has been stopped since a long time ago).

-If you like smoky and kind of Harsh smoke then this blend could be suitable for you because the Latakia is too dominant.

-Additionaly it is too flat for me like some basic Balkan , for example Samuel Gawith Skiff Mixture tasted similar to this (At least for me) .

-I personally like tobaccosin English/Balkan category more similar to Dunhill early morning which are mild , so this blend is too smoky for me and it cant put it in my daily rotation and only sometimes i like to smoke it .

Pipe Used: DB , B&B , Stanwell

Age When Smoked: Probably one year after being packed

Purchased From: hacico.de/Germany

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith - Skiff Mixture.

1 person found this review helpful.

Royalbullet81 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Royalbullet81 (3)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Yes this blend taste of Latakia "smoky", but it is very light. If you are a Nightcap Latakia fan, this will disappoint u. Actually in my opinion the Virginia sweetness Is more present and upfront, then Latakia. well the name kinda of mislead, if u ask me. I mean this is call Vintage Syrian cuz it is Latakia frome Syrian right? then if u ask me, it should really taste of Latakia. At least Latakia taste should be in front, not in the background. But yes it dos taste of Latakia.... in background. And it is a simpel smoke if u ask me, not much complexity, Virginia sweetness and Latakia. so all om all, and just like HH Acadian Perique, this tobacco disappoint me, the main Taste is light weight.

Pipe Used: Sanvinelli Capitol

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop

1 person found this review helpful.

roadkill0000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
roadkill0000 (23)
★★☆☆
Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

this review is just to keep track for myself mainly, less intended as a serious in depth review. Just to keep an eye of what ive tried and what I like, with quick notes about it. alot of these notes are from memory, and I will update the review as I continue smoking them.

this is a very different tobacco. not that its bad, just not my cup of tea. i diddnt go for it often. nothing made me want to smoke it. im not sure what was the right mood i had to be in or it put me in. it had darkness, spice, earth, just a weird, different profile then im used to. not my thing.

1 person found this review helpful.

Max1a Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Max1a (38)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This tobacco was gifted to me. I found it to be a beautiful blend to look at. The pouch smell is flat and bland. The mouth taste of the tobacco is acceptable. Lights easy, needed two relights before it held a coal. The taste is flat and dry with a tingle of the Dark Fired Kentucky. This is a "good", not Great tobacco. Try it, you may like it. Just not for me.

Pipe Used: Group 3 Briar Canadian

Age When Smoked: 1year

Purchased From: ?

Similar Blends: C&D English blends.

1 person found this review helpful.

Carlo1986 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Carlo1986 (22)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Medium-strength E.M., always earthy and smoky (there is Latakia for 40% of the total weight); not so spicy and nutty during the first third; leathery and woody at the second and last third; bitter during the last third (I suppose the cause is Kentucky).

Pipe Used: many briars

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: local tobacconist

1 person found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I finally found a HH Mac Baren blend that I am not too keen on. Overall, I have been blown away by how good they all are, but this one just did not do it for me. Maybe it is too singularly focused on showcasing the Syrian Latakia that it just seems out of balance to me.

It seems to have a lot of sharp edges that I would prefer to have smoothed over a bit. (The Cyprian) latakia flake accomplishes this with a little bit of burley thrown in to compliment the virgnia and latakia. This one is much different than that blend and I think the difference lies more in the condimental leaf used rather than the differences of the two latakias.

As with all the other HH blends, the leaf is quality and the packaging is attractive. I think the true Latakia fiends will really enjoy this one. I like Latakia, but I do not like to be clobbered by it. This one does that for me. YMMV

1 person found this review helpful.

WillBrown Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillBrown (108)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

It's uncommon, at least in my experience, to come across a tobacco that so closely matches another tobacco (unless the blender intended it so). Vintage Syrian tastes so similar to Billy Budd I had a tough time telling them apart (I smoked them side by side, similar is almost an understatement). BB's Latakia was slightly more pronounced than HHVS, but the overall taste profile between the two baccy's were nearly identical. The only obvious difference in taste between the two blends is the Maduro in Billy Budd, which, to my palate, was relatively minor.

Is one of these blends an homage to the other? I don't know, nor care. There's room enough for both. If one can't find Billy Budd available, then buy Mac Baren's Vintage Syrian—as far as I'm concerned, they are a horse a piece!

Keep on Piping!

Similar Blends: Billy Budd.

1 person found this review helpful.

renwardhoop Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
renwardhoop (105)
★★☆☆
Very Strong Very Strong Very Full Tolerable

Now don't get me wrong. I haven't got it in for Latakia like my son thinks I have.

I like it. Indeed I like this blend. Well the taste anyway.

The cynical will accuse me of not packing properly, or not drying out but this is an absolute bugger to keep alight. I gave up, with regret, in the end.

I can see why people like this blend. Latakia nuts (like my son) will adore it it. I think I'll keep the butane for the Seven Seas and Larsen's Old Fashioned.

Pipe Used: Meershaum

Age When Smoked: Several months cellared

Purchased From: Yoings, Barnstaple, UK

1 person found this review helpful.

gladi8tor96 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gladi8tor96 (133)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an interesting english/balkan blend. It's flavor and smoke are somehow different than other balkan's I have tried, in both negative and positive ways. I too, like some other reviewers, have the one lb bag/jar. It was on quite a discount sale at my former tobacco shop, as they were closing up shop after 30+ years in business. I thought, why not?! It's priced well and it's Mac Baren and it's Syrian Latakia.

I recently have been smoking a few bowls of this, now that the tobacco is aged 5 years or so in the jar. I actually had forgotten I had the jar for quite awhile. The tobacco is very dry, on the verge of being 'no good'. I've taken steps to 'remedy' this situation however.

The tobacco from the jar is still very smokey and delightful looking and smelling. Loads well and lights well, but does expand up out of the top of the pipe no matter how it's packed. The smoke is very latakia dominant for at least the first 1/2 bowl...and what a great flavor that is, with wonderful room note. Not much sweetness is detected, except around half way down it seems to open up to more sweetness, but just a tad. The orientals seem non-existent to me and there isn't a nutty flavor or that musty flavor that seems to be present in most balkan blends. The smoke is flavorful and strong though. It's a great blend, but for me, I think there are better balkan blends. However, having said that, the Syrian latakia in this blend makes it a treat!!

Negatives: Burns hot and can be a bit bitey - might be my tobacco is too dry? A bit monochromatic

Positives: Excellent tastey smokey flavor from Syrian Latakia.

Pipe Used: Bent Billard, Dublin, Egg, Acorn, Corn Cob

Age When Smoked: Smoked over a five year period

Purchased From: Jeanie's Smoke Shop

1 person found this review helpful.

raybrown55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raybrown55 (27)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable

Very rich and mellow taste, but too much Latakia for me to take it im my regular rotation. I prefer to enjoy it sometimes at late evening, in the last bowl of the day. Recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

coldmoon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
coldmoon (24)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Bought HHVS while traveling as you can't get this in my country. The tin aroma reminds me of campfire, woodsy kind of smell with some vinegary/BBQ component as well. There are mainly chocolate-colored and black tobacco pieces in the tin. Nice loose cut tobacco.

Packed the tobacco by using standard 3 layer method. Packs very easy. The taste of this blend benefits from the pipes with larger diameter bowls, like Savinelli 320. Tried to smoke it in the narrower bowl - the taste wasn't as pronounced.

Took 2 charring lights to get the pipe going but after that no problems whatsoever. Stays lit very easily.

The taste is smokey and slightly sweet. Although I smoke Balkan blends very rarely, I like the taste of HHVS very much. You have to smoke this tobacco slow because otherwise you will burn your tongue.

The room note is not annoying or unpleasant. It's actually rather pleasant. Been smoking this blend indoors with no complaints.

It's one of my favorite tobaccos. I highly recommend this blend to any pipe smoker who likes balkan and english blends.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Trevi 320

Age When Smoked: 1 year

1 person found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (76)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

Holy smokes! This was much more of a Lat-bomb then I was expecting.

The Lat blows up big in your face off the bat, very big, rich and smoky. I think this was slightly too damp, but still lit ok and took a bit of care to get it going.

The first half of this bowl was all rich Latakia, I couldn't get anything else whatsoever. However, as it mellowed and warmed up, the other elements came through. I didn't detect very much oriental at all, I started to get the sweetness come through, and the Kentucky came out in terms of nuttiness but more in how it starts to burn.

Its good, I hesitate to be harsh as like I said my bowl was a little damp, so maybe I missed some of the nuances. Will try again, for now, very nice, but not as special as some are saying.

1 person found this review helpful.

Coda Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coda (33)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

I am not one for heavy Latakia blends. However, HH Vintage Syrian fits the bill when I feel like something heavy. A Balkan blend, essentially, HH Vintage Syrian consists of Syrian Latakia (which I find especially creamy), Turkish Orientals, Virginias, and (what makes the blend, in my opinion), Dark Fired Kentucky. Smokey, sweet, and spicy, HH Vintage Syrian is a pleasant Balkan blend that any lover of Latakia will enjoy...

1 person found this review helpful.

bstone Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bstone (3)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is one of my favorite Latakia blends. It has a relatively full flavor from the tobaccos and a pleasant smokiness that I love Latakia for. Never bites for me and burns to a nice gray ash at the bottom of the bowl. For me it leaves little to no after taste once i'm done which I find great. This is a good working blend that you can enjoy in a cob all day, or relax to at the end of a long day. The room note may turn many off to it that don't enjoy the Latakia/Oriental tobaccos, but it is high on my recommend list.

Age When Smoked: New

1 person found this review helpful.

SmokeDawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeDawg (82)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Couldn't wait to get my hands on a tin of this blend based on the consistent high reviews. Opening the tin I was hit with a strong smokey BBQ smell that got my mouth watering. I loved the presentation of dark tobacco sprinkled with much a lighter shade. I also noticed the generous amount of tobacco for the price. My next impression was this tin oozed quality and attention to details. It's obvious the crew at Mac Baren put alot of work and thought into this blend and it shows long before the first pinch. This is a premium quality tobacco.

It's moist but lights very well out of the tin. Dense sweet smoke. On the hard light, the heavy bbq smell vanishes and I tasted the Latakia with a now subdued smokey fire cured base. Little to no tongue bite. The only draw back I can say about this blend is it tends to really mello out and wash out near the middle and end of the bowl. I found it hard to pick up different varations of the blend when I get to the middle ways or bottom of the bowl than the first few mintues after the hard light. However, I love this tobacco and I highly recommend it. I have permanently added it to my tobacco carrying pouch as my out and about companion.

Pipe Used: Various.

Purchased From: JR Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (136)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

A wonderful blend, delivering what is advertised. The Syrian Latakia component creates a delightful aroma. This translates to the rich flavor - delicious, smoky latakia, bolstered by excellent base tobaccos. Sweet, natural tobacco flavor shines all the way through. Finishes with a fine ash and clean bowl. 4 stars.

Pipe Used: Savinelli

Age When Smoked: Can't crack code; at least 3 months.

Purchased From: Corona Smoke Shop, Battle Creek, MI

1 person found this review helpful.

Houndstooth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Houndstooth (34)
★★★★
Very Mild None Detected Very Full Pleasant

After a couple of years, I'm finishing up a pound of H&H Vintage Syrian after having smoked many Peter Stokkebye Cyprian Latakias over the course of more than the last decade. There is really no comparison between this H&H and those largely heavy L bombs. I'd not been expecting anything this subtle; it's been nice exploring something completely different. I had no idea just what I was missing all these years, and my guess is that its largely the Orientals which come into play that I've been enjoying so much, combined with the Syrian L charms, which are still like new to me.

The sweetness has grown as this blend has aged, and look Mom, no Black Cavendish! Must be a very nice VA at work. I'm wanting more of this, but I think I need to move towards other cheaper, less Latakia-heavy, Cyprian blends by makers other than PS to see what else I've been missing. The tobacco is springy, and not at all dense, and this goes for the flavor too. I'm also looking forward to tins of Solent mixture and Acadian Perique, now that I've gotten past my self-imposed reliability zone. This is the first time the word "refreshing" has come to my mind while trying to describe pipe tobacco. It's a bigger world than I thought out there. Four Stars.

Pipe Used: Mexican Dublin basket, Baccara Author, others

Age When Smoked: 1- 2 years

Purchased From: JR Tobacco

Similar Blends: Balkans?.

1 person found this review helpful.

SouthBound Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SouthBound (10)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I've been smoking mostly Lat-bombs lately, so that my have influenced my "Mild to Medium" rating. This is not a powerhouse blend, but it is one of the best Latakia blends I've smoked to date. The smoke is smooth and creamy with perfect touch of spice coming through as the bowl progressed. Every now and then, I got a whiff of Dark Fired in the sidestream, but I didn't detect it in the snork. I pushed it pretty hard toward the end with no McBite.

This is one excellent smoke. I will definitely stock up on it next payday.

Update: After finishing a tin, the luster has faded from this one for me. I still enjoy it, but many other English blends have come along that wowed me more than this one. It's still a good smoke, but I don't think I'll stock up on it. For all of that, I'll move my rating down a notch. 3 solid stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

ROBERT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ROBERT (17)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

this is a good blend to just sit back and enjoy while you are alone and day dreaming

1 person found this review helpful.

Fofo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fofo (81)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Very Mild Tolerable

Not horrible by any means but not something I'd buy again. As far as English/Balkans go this stuff is too bland tasting and the blend seems to rely solely on aroma. I like the aroma, very leathery and woodsy, but I expect more flavor from a Balkan.

Also, while I don't often experience tongue bite, this is one of the blends I find needs to be smoked carefully otherwise it does bite.

Seems like this is tailored more for the Danish who, while they are fine cigar smokers, tend to favor bland pipe blends for reasons I don't understand.

If your English/Balkan tastes run more along the lines of Dunhill, GL Pease, Esoterica, and such then I doubt you will find this blend satisfying.

1 person found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (264)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Opening the tin, the Latakia is noticeable, but very restrained. I can smell the Orientals in there immediately. The leaf is mixed brown to dark brown, with the occasional yellow highlight. The moisture level was perfect in the tin I got.

Stuffing, lighting, maintenance are all easy, and this blend burns down without any relights, no condensation at all, and the remains are the promised bright, somewhat mottled ashes.

This is a mild Balkan blend IMHO; the Latakia does define the taste to a certain degree, but the Orientals also come through with a touch of spice from the DFK.

Beautiful all-day smoke that needs little maintenance or thought and is quite pleasant.

1 person found this review helpful.

BigSwede Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BigSwede (80)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm with Stacey on this one. I'm not a huge latakia fan and it's taken me a while to find some that I like/tolerate. As it is, I might smoke the odd pipeful of anything from Nightcap to Squadron Leader but find that I need some time to recover afterwards. When I lit a pipeful of this stuff in the smoke shop I knew right away that this one was different.

This is a very smooth, unobtrusive and has a rounded almost mellow flavor. A lot of the other latakia I've smoked while enjoyable is, to me, a little too "sharp" and smokey. I'm smoking a couple of pipefuls of this a day without the usual "overdose" I get from the other latakia tobacco. The virginias, oriental and dark fired kentucky tobaccos combine in the backround to give this a nicely well rounded flavor.

This packs nicely, lights up without difficulty, and smokes down to nothing. First time I knocked out my pipe I kept looking into the bowl for the rest of the tobacco: nope, it burned down to nothing and stayed enjoyable throughout the entire experience. This is very good stuff. Maybe it's not for the seasoned latakiaphile (although it shouldn't be a bad experience) but for those who are looking for a "real" latakia that has a little extra something this could fill the bill.

1 person found this review helpful.

Big Blue Jazzman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Blue Jazzman (47)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Mac Baren blends have never impressed me too much over the years, so I was hesitant to purchase HH Vintage Syrian. I'm very glad I did.The tobaccos are high quality. The Syrian and various Virgina's and Orientals work very well together. Taste is magnificent from start to finish. Burns well and stays lit with only a few re-lights. It's been blistering hot with no rain and I've found it a little rough to smoke some of my usual blends. No problem with this one, could easily be an all day smoke. Mac Baren has come up with a winner, and this one is going into my rotation.Top notch!

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Update 7/21/07

I've found that a moderate dose of blending Perique pretty much cancels out any complaint that I have of HH Vintage Syrian. I can happily reorder a second helping.

Four of Four.

2/26/07

I don't know quite how to rate this blend. My expectations, as well as probably everyone familiar with HH Vintage Syrian, were built up to near ridiculous proportions. People have been praising this blend as though it's the coming of some messiah. Naturally, I had to get my hands on it.

So when I ordered Vintage Syrian a few months ago and found a shipment statement delivered to my door apologizing for being out of stock, I was ripe with sadness and even cried a little. My rendezvous with perfection would have to wait another month or so, until after I had vanquished the present supplies.

I recently made a posting on ASP in anticipation of a new shipment and a Mac Baren rep named Gene actually landed a response to some criticism from a comment a fellow pipester had made. It was an unexpected event, and I feel I must relay his message, somehow. Here's a snippet:

"This NEW blend was introduced at the Chicago Pipe Show in 2006. I want to give some information on this NEW blend. There is 40% Syrian Latakia in this mixture, not 50%. In addition there are 4 Oriental Tobaccos as well as 8 Virginia tobaccos and a slight touch of Fire curred Kentucky Burley. Mac Baren will have this blend for years to come and have all the Syrian Latakia necessary to keep this blend going indefinitely."

He rambled on a few more paragraphs, but I'm sure you get the idea.

If you need some further opinion, I'll tell you, the Syrian is definitely front and center in this new concoction, which is nice, because it does make an exemplary showcase for the leaf. I'm led to believe, however, that Vintage Syrian wouldn't be such a big deal if it weren't for the widespread fear that Syrian shall never return in full to the pipe smoking community.

I suppose my only significant complaint would be consistent with all Mac Baren blends I have sampled. This stuff is far too mild for my tastes. All the puffing in the world won't satisfy my voracious appetite for nicotine. I'm a real savage, I know.

I tried to ask Gene why Mac Baren can't make a stronger blend. He didn't respond, however. I honestly don't blame him, though. The discussion had at that point shriveled to a lifeless stub.

Three of Four.

1 person found this review helpful.

Jaybee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaybee (77)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Fot the most part, I am a big Mac fan. However, this blend is exceptional. It is not only my favorite MacBaren blend, but possibly my favorite tobacco overall. The smokiness plays very well against the sweetness of the virginias and the result is a surprisingly subtle and sophisticated taste. Congrats to Mac on this one!!!

1 person found this review helpful.

porshcigar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
porshcigar (30)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Mac Baren now has an excellent blend for the Non-Aromatic pipe smoker. This was distributed as a sample blend at the 2006 St. Louis Pipe Show, along with rating cards. This where I first tried this blend. The ratings at St. Louis must have been very good because the blend was introduced for sale at the 2006 Chicago Pipe Show where I bought a goodly supply. This one gives a good cool smoke. The taste is crisp and without a bite. It lights easily, burns slow and steady, and does not have any moisture problems, as in burns dry, no need for constant use of a pipe cleaner to keep out the gurgles. I enjoy this blend and I plan to keep buying more of it. This is going into my tobacco rotation as a regular.

1 person found this review helpful.

Kunsan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kunsan (76)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild Mild Tolerable

A disappointment. Very low in Latakia content compared to its title of Vintage Syrian. The virginias are mild. Felt at times like smoking hot air rather than genuine tobacco. Not a patch on other Latakia mixtures. Won't buy it again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Rob73 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rob73 (77)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A blend underestimated by many people. The price/quality ratio, but also the tobacco itself (with Syrian Latakia, it seems, but I doubt it) make it, instead, an excellent choice for the newbies who want to start with the English Mixtures and also a great all-day smoke with an easy and satisfying Oriental-Latakia taste. 4,5/5 in my personal rating system.

Purchased From: Noli, Milano (Italy)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Little Steven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Little Steven (66)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Mac Baren is an honest brand. Always has been. What you get is the reliable naff quality time after time. Easy to smoke and not for me. Then along comes the HH series with promise of reinvention. The ones I've tried so far fulfill this promise. But not this Vintage Syrian. It needs to drop the HH and be rebranded amongst the regular Mac Barens. Take heed Mr Halberg. You remember all those Skoda jokes?

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

crazy owl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
crazy owl (72)
★☆☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

Glorious aroma from the tin but when smoked is absolutely FLAT.First aboard I believed in a miracle in the Mac Baren mediocrity,in a charitable way of saying,but all this come to an end of non-substance smoke.I wouldn´t say a bad tobacco,at less it doesn´t bite the honest smokers tongue like the typical Mac Wolf,but whole neutral.I use it for experimental blends.

Pipe Used: several

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: local tobacconist

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Arkie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Arkie (129)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Medium Medium Tolerable to Strong

I'm sure this mixture accomplishes what MacBaren intended it to do and if you like Lat bombs this is the blend for you. I prefer a more balanced mixture such as Presby or Skiff so I'm biased in my evaluation. I would rate it 3 stars in regard to my personal taste but 4 stars for in consideration of its quality leaf, etc.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

gam86 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gam86 (49)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Strong

Very good tobacco even in the poch is very pleasant to smoke, not to strong a very good balkan, offcourse there are better tobacco but for the price ad the quality this is a top tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (69)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant

Inspired to try this by Arno's side-by-side comparison to Three Oaks Syrian (http://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/hh-vintage-syrian-vs-3-oaks-syrian/).

Although this blend reportedly has one of the highest levels of Syrian Lat, it's different from most of the Lat blends I've tried. MacBaren throws a lot into this one, and two of the other components -- Virginias and Turkish -- shout for attention while the KY is relatively subdued.

It packed beautifully but did require two relights. Out of the gate, it tasted and smelled of burnt rubber, but that subsided quickly. Room note was nice, cocoa and spice through the first half of the bowl, then burnt cedar, incense. Didn't get that rich, soft, bluish Lat smoke until about halfway through, but once I did, it was enjoyable.

However, the Turkish kept jumping to the front of the line, and the experience alternated between a nice, mellow Syrian/KY blend and something more akin to a cigarette (albeit a quality one). No tongue bite, and other than the relights, it combusted nice and evenly.

I prefer the mellowness of McClelland's Lat blends, but this is an interesting use of Syrian Latakia, and I suspect it will get even better with age. Would give it 3.5 stars if I could.

Pipe Used: Boswell freehand

Age When Smoked: new

Similar Blends: If you sprinkled MacBaren's version of Three Nuns into GL Pease Abingdon, it might come close....

Nobody has rated this review yet.

William H. Hardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
William H. Hardy (76)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Strong

You know, this one is a bit of a mystery to me. When I first received the tin and smoked it for the first few times, I thought it was great. After I got to about the bottom half of the tin, I started to loathe it. The flavors, at first, were all fantastic, initially, and I enjoyed it immensely. I suppose that after a while, my tastes started changing and it began to just taste like mud to me. I have liked 3 Oaks Syrian, Gordon Pym, and others with Syrian Latakia a lot, so I cannot really explain this, except that, halfway through the tin, my tastes changed. Strangest thing...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tleek Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tleek (48)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Very good english blend. Full flavored but very smooth and well balanced. Definitely a lot of latakia in this one, but the other tobaccos compliment it greatly, and the syrian latakia is a lot more smooth and creamy than Cyprian.

Very smoking barbeque type flavor, with a subtle sweetness.

Definitely worth a try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smoke (13)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Very Pleasant

Smoking after two days of tin being poped seemed to help settle the flavors. Full bodied english, the latakia gives a nice cocoa taste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pacman357 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pacman357 (15)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

One of the finer Lat blends available, IMHO. I liked it so much, I bought the company. Well, actually, I bought a whole bunch more of it, which I imagine was more within my reach financially. If I could change one thing about this blend...well, I wouldn't change anything. Complex, more than a token amount of Lat in it, and the other support characters fit in quite nicely.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Phonomet Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phonomet (44)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a nice smoky latakia blend, more savory than sweet. The supporting actor is the dark fired Kentucky which gives it a bar-b-que or chipotle smokiness. Won't overwhelm your taste buds but won't disappoint.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Scot Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Scot (7)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is not the best Syrian blend I've ever had, (G.L.P.), so I can't give it 4 stars... But it's a damn good one. Works best in my medium to large bowled Lovat's and it takes nicely to relights. It's a rich, spicy and satisfying smoke that keeps me reaching for it more and more. I look forward to it coming up in the rotation and have a couple of those aforementioned pipes waiting for it when it does.

It will bite if pushed but it kinda demands a slow cool smoke. If you keep it there it's just solid beginning to end.

----Update 6/25/2015---- Circumstances in life sometimes come up and as such, almost of 2lbs of this stuff ended up being put in a air tight container and stored for 4 years. when I was finally able to get back to it I found it still reasonably moist and no worse for the wear. Loaded the pipe, fired it off and oh man... my world basically came to a full stop for 45 minutes. Using words like great, superior or fantastic are not strong enough. It's dark and smokey with just a few notes of sinister thrown in... and all the little nuances in there dancing around the Syrian, wow... Yeah, it gets more stars today! Unbeatable experience IMHO.

Pipe Used: Peterson #501, Peterson #53

Age When Smoked: 4+ years

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Opened my tin about a year ago and resealed it and just gave it a retry. Boy , I know that this drum has been beat before , but once again Mac-BITE. I really tried to give this a sip but the spice grows and grows and the tongue gets raw. The flavor is good with the typical light Mac's Latikia, and it is nothing to get excited about. I really don't know why I would buy this again. This is an all day smoke, if you only have a 1/2 a bowl per day!!!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

under the arbor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
under the arbor (13)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Is there something "finer" about Syrian Latakia versus others or is it just me? We're too early into the can to tell if this will unseat my London Mixture for the "leadoff position". I must say though it does have some bite which is more like "My Mixture 965" than the Dunhill [Orlik] London Mix, but time will tell. The jury's out on the room note as the boss is still at work at the time of this writing. To date, MacBaren has yet to disappoint; Navy Flake, Scottish Mixture, Navy Mixture, etc. are quite fine, not everyday for my taste, but fine notwithstanding. I'm waiting on my Westminster and British Woods tins to arrive and can only say they'll have some work to do in order to bump this out of the three hole. By the bye, the two hole currently belongs to Arcadia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hunter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hunter (52)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Significant but not overpowering Latakia. At the tin I thought this was going to knock my socks off. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a smooth, rich satisfying smoke. Packs well, stays lit and burns relatively cleanly. Wife says it is pleasant in the room. This is a good go-to blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

John Frum Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
John Frum (17)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Great tobacco. Have had a tin in my rotation for over a year. At first was unsure if it was for me, but changed my mind, don't really know why. MacBaren are spot on, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Only gripe is its lack of availabilty in the UK. Why? Answer came there none. I had to order from the US of A with the attendant hassles. Anyway, I really like this one, and when my tin runs out will get more.

Incidentally, would welcome 100gm tins of MB's Vanilla Cream over here as well, another favourite of this reviewer, but these are likewise unavailabe. Am dead curious to know the reason for this. Anyone?

4.4.12 Am sorry to say have changed my mind about this blend after a few years, am downgrading to 2 stars. I still have the original tin, which speaks for itself. It's tasty enough, no problems there, great earthy aroma, yes, and I'd be OK with it if not for the damn bite!! I agree with some other reviewers in this, that no matter what I do, it nips me hard every time and I value my tongue. I wanted to like it, but simply have had to abandon the effort. Re pipe-smoking generally, have only been back with the programme for a few years after a long break and have come to enjoy the relative safety, not to mention quality, of the two very fine Sam Gawith English blends, Skiff and Squadron Leader. HH reminds me a bit of Squaddie, but the latter wins for me hands down.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

radioisotope Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
radioisotope (17)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

When I first got this 6 months ago, I wasn't too sure about it. Today I decided to pop open the mason jar I had it in and man I love this stuff! I don't know if its because it sat for 6 months or my tastes have changed. This is a great latakia blend because it's not over powered by it. I can actually taste the other tobaccos added and they marry together nicely to make a very rich tobacco and smokey taste. Wife said it has a nice camp fire smell but not something she would want inside. She also thought it was a little heavy on the breath. Another nice thing is no matter how hard you puff there's no bite. Mac Baren got it right with this one, I'll definately be getting more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Dr. Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Scott (82)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

The flavor is obviously different from Cyprian Latakia blends. I would rate it the best Latakia I've ever tasted. But like all MacBarens, it bites me bad...something about my own personal chemistry I suppose.

I purchase mine from the bulk supply of my local tobacconist.

Best paired with black tea and savory foods like fine cheeses. Then the sweetness of the smoke really shines.

Not as popular with the wife due to the room note.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tee-dub Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tee-dub (48)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

An odd, yet pleasant, melange of flavors in this mixture. The Syrian Latakia is both leathery and smoky, but tends to the former. There's a notable taste of black pepper and, occasionally, a dash of sweetness.

A bit lighter in color than one might expect, given that Latakia is said to play such a prominent part.

Burns slowly and cleanly, and easily.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kerdy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kerdy (43)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is a Latakia whopper. This is something I think I will save for winter smokes and enjoy much more then. Not bad though.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

eamonclever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
eamonclever (45)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

I am not a great MB fan, most of their products are not my style. But this one HH vintage syrian has a good chance to become a member of my rotation. It is a perfect every day smoke. Perfect moisture out of the tin, easy to pack and no problems smoking even large bowls. First light and no further problems smoking the bowl down to the bottom without further relights. No gurgle no problems with moisture, no pipecleaners necessary during the smoke. Smoke it with/without filter - very pleasant smoke. Perfect to smoke the pipe while I work. Very low nicotine content, that´s what MB is known for. A very modern mixture not for purist smokers. Highly recommended to beginners. Fine taste of latakia in a good way, good mixture, high quality of leaf.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sirchud68 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sirchud68 (58)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

I find this to be a good solid smoke. This is my main blend I'm using in my first meershaum.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Demetri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Demetri (113)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was more than surprised at my first bowl of HH Vintage Syrian and with each successive smoke since. I had heretofore written off any Euro-English for my tastes. Always there seemed something amiss with them - the Latakia so smoky that it tasted outright charred or burnt, the Virginias seeming too green or too edgy in the Danish product I've tasted thus far. Then along comes MacBaren with this and I'm quite taken with it. To my American taste this says "ENGLISH"! Now I do realize there are English purists here who maintain that a true English is Latakia and Virginia - period. That's fine. Everyone has his opinion. But this offering is a worthy tribute to MacBaren's founder and a great English, IMO. The Syrian Latakia here is a bit more smokey from what I tasted in McClelland's blends and without that sharp, charred taste which I find in Stokkebye's. It is not quite as "cool" as the that in McC Syrian Full Balkan (which seems almost menthol-like), but does have more taste as the trade-off. And it has that subtle saltiness I miss in so many blends - a flavor enhancer whether planned in the recipe or there by accident. The Virginias, presumably three or more being from three continents are well behaved - not overly tangy but just sweet enough. The Orientals do not come through for me as they seem for others but perhaps their role is in taming those Virginias and I just mis-judge them. Then the Kentucky. Yummy addition well suited to my taste. I do realize, my friends, that I have a very heavy bias for anything English that Cornell and Diehl produces (thus far as I've smoked) and with that in mind I must admit that HH Vintage Syrian has vaulted into my top 5 blends. It also, from this side of the Atlantic, is a remarkable value in formal tinned blends whether domestic or imported regarding price. If caught alone on a desert isle with my pipe and a large supply of this I would be a happy castaway.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tpatriarche Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tpatriarche (32)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Compared to other Oriental or English mixes available where I live, this has much more of the "Turkish" top-note. Somewhat like the OLD Balkan Sobranie, or Balkan Sasieni from Villiger Stokkebye, although the Yenidje aroma is not nearly as prominent. Plenty of character. If you like a true "Turkish" blend (as opposed to just Latakia), try this one, especially if you prefer a blend where the varietal top-note does not dominate.

Medium-strong; a good steady burn but only if kept on the dry side; more tongue-bite than some Syrian tobaccos, but easy on the throat. A very satisfying smoke. I find the Room Note pleasant, but those around you will NOT like it if they are not fond of the typical Balkan aroma.

To reduce the bite, I blend it myself with a very mild plain Syrian (bulk from a local tobacconist, brand/manufacturer not known); the oriental top-note still comes through, but there is less bite and it burns more evenly.

If you can find the special offer one-pound canister, it is an excellent buy just for the container. The tall canister is an attractive black & gold, similar to the tin pictured above, and has a _very_ tight seal. I have had it for more than six months, and have only had to add a damp sponge to freshen it once or twice.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RMBittner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RMBittner (66)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Review is based on a May 2006 tin from the Chicagoland Pipe Show, opened November 2009.

To my palate, this is essentially a latakia/VA mixture, with the faintest hint of burley. Although the ingredient list also includes "Turkish Oriental," I can't say I've ever found it in the smoke. What is found -- especially at the first light -- is a healthy, delicious dose of that unique incense that can only come from Syrian latakia.

I'm especially fond of those much-treasured Syrian blends from G.L. Pease. This is not quite like that. This Syrian lacks the delicacy and depth of those skillfully made blends. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth smoking; while it can hint at those now-discontinued blends, it is something else altogether and cannot replace them.

What it can do, however, is provide a rewarding smoke. After that initial burst of Syrian spice fades, the blend slips into a more straightforward latakia/VA blend. However, unlike, say, a McClelland blend, the Virginias here taste darker and rounder; I'm guessing that the bulk of them are of African origin, such as you'd typically find in a Gawith blend.

I haven't historically been a MacBaren fan. Every other blend I've ever tried from MacBaren has been thin tasting and prone to heat and tongue bite. This was a very pleasant surprise: No problems whatsoever down the bowl. And because of the "darker" Virginias and the healthy dose of Syrian latakia, this offers a smoke that really stands alone among English blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (187)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

I have taken advantage of a short holiday in Amalfi to study three products:

- Orlik Golden Sliced

- Condor Long Cut

- McB's HH Vintage Syrian

Here my impressions about the third a last one.

With my most surprise, HHVS appeared in Italy about a month ago (not the same happened to HH Mature Virginia, hope my further wait will be short). A tin was immediately grabbed (I don't even remember the price...) and opened-in-a-rush, fearing to face something just of the kind of The Solent.

No: HHVS is a true English Mixture, no need of special olfactory training for tracing the presence of Latakia.

The product comes in a 100grms tin , medium ribbons ready for smoke, I just load the pipe quite loose.

I have had half the tin gone, smoked prevalently into bents, now a big rusticated Savinelli Riviera shape 616KS (9mm balsa filter removed) which is working right with this tobacco.

In a word HHVS is a medium modern English, due to the both declared presence of a small quantity of Ky and a very minimal casing (sugar). Over the time I have had the way to understand that the Syrian Latakia has different properties than the Cyprian variety. Its more delicate and citrusy rather than purely smokey, a true pleasure. I said that HHVS is a "true" English, because the Orientals are definitely here in respectable quantity and quality. The Ky plays a marginal role, just to add body and some additional strength. Va's of different origins and colours are very good quality. Just for the play of comparing to something else... think to Dan's BBBB (or Balkan Brebbia) just two notches milder. Something good for the good season.

My thumbs up to McB, nice job ! I don't mark it four just because the second half of the bowl resulted a bit ashy, maybe due to the Ky. Hope to get the HHMV soon, and... the new born Acadian Perique ?!?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipePaladin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipePaladin (78)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

i love kentucky and i respect the oriental and latakia leaf if they are found in the right dosage.. this mixture i think is one of the best macbaren i ever had! do try a pipeful and it will win you in seconds.. good job!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

chgo.piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chgo.piper (37)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

not a fan of blends that are over powering with latakia which is why I enjoy this blend. I could still taste the virginia with the latakia complimenting the experience. cellaring this blend may soften the latakia a bit, but, the virginias should evolve which for me will make this blend that much more enjoyable.

UPDATE:12-15-2010 When this stays in a mason jar even for a few months, there is more sweet spice that emerges as I work my way down the bowl. This is another good example of a great blend naturally developing wonderful flavors with just a little patience & time... Very enjoyable

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jankoez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jankoez (67)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am almost over with my tin and still I am not sure how to rate this blend. Maybe it is because it lacks of thrill of excitement. It is good, correct and fortunately it possesses enough strength. However, it gives an impression that it is not finished. Something is missing...

My rate should be in fact 2.5.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big Nick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Nick (74)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

This stuff is so smooth and tasty I have a hard time believing that the Latakia content is almost 50%. I'm not generally fond of heavy Latakia blends as they tend to make my mouth taste like @$$. The Syrian Latakia seems to be more refined and mellower than Cyprian and still delivers a nice smoky flavor. The Virginias truly do add a nice natural sweetness while the Turkish Oriental add a nice contrasting musty sweetness of its own. The whole thing just works ! The He Man Latakia Lovers Club will probably consider this to be too mild, but really, Isn't Latakia suppose to be a "Condimental Tobacco". I guess that just depends on how many tastebuds you have left.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cmhpipesmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cmhpipesmoker (21)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was happy to see that MacBaren, whose blends seem to be a bit on the milder side, was taking a step forward to possibly creating a true English blend, at the very least a Balkan/Oriental blend. I, like so many other reviewers, really wanted to like this blend but also found I was a bit disappointed and found it lacking and a bit bland.

Upon first opening the tin and each subsequent time thereafter, I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting a pungent sweetness, mustiness and the peppery aroma of the Syrian latakia others state this blend has but was hard pressed to find them at all. The aroma was figs and light pears, maybe a slight hint of mustiness but not very outspoken about it. Not something I would expect in an English/Balkan blend. Much later I was told that MacBaren "cases" all their blends.

In the pipe, it smokes a bit more like it is advertised to be but have to agree with several of the other reviews and that it is a bit bland. The tin's aroma comes through as does some Virginian sweetness with off and on smells of hay. As this tobacco aged, I found the aromas of the latakia, the orientals and the Virginias coming through but just no real complexity to it. However, I found that after several months, even with proper cellaring, it started to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Possibly because of casing?

Overall, this is not a bad blend and will say that it may be the right blend for someone, just not right for me. I can only give two stars due to the fact I would not purchase again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

butter_side_down Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
butter_side_down (12)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

UPDATE 9/25/08

When I re-read my original review I have to laugh at myself. I left it here mainly for amusement purposes.

I can say that I agree with the me from last year on quite a few points. The description of the blend and smoking properties is still accurate. I'm not ashamed to say that I still think it's a pretty good blend. But I did kind of go overboard a bit. All I can say is that I'd only tried maybe ten or fifteen blends, and it was far better than most of them. I've got a little more perspective now.

HHVS is pretty darn good. Not amazing. But pretty darn good. Nothing wrong with that. Makes for a nice, enjoyable and reliable smoke... which is the kind of blend I normally give three stars to, so I'm going to revise my original rating to reflect that.

-------------------------------------- FROM 6/29/07

I just lost a very long and tediously poetical review of this tobacco by letting my browser session time out. Oh well. Here's the condensed version.

This is an excellent tobacco. Packs great. Requires few relights. Burns to the bottom. No bite, no gurgle. The individual components interact in a very harmonious way, but each is still detectable in the blend at different parts of the bowl. The flavor is mild but very, very tasty. Seemed merely pleasant at first, but has since revealed a nice, subtle complexity that keeps me coming back. Others have noted that they are dubious about the claimed amount of Latakia. I can understand why they might feel that way. This certainly does not taste like the Latakia powerhouse you'd expect by the claim that it makes up almost 50% of the blend. But to me, it doesn't matter that much whether it's 20% or %50 latakia. Either way, it's excellent stuff. Besides, if you're looking for latakia overload (and sometimes I am), there's always Old Ironsides.

Being relativley new to the pipe, I can't speak to how this blend rates against this or that late lamented classic (specifically Bohemian Scandal or Balkan Sobranie), as I have not had the good fortune to sample them. And maybe that's for the best, because that allows me to judge HH Vintage Syrian on it's own merits, of which there are many. It may not be the absolute best tobacco in the world, but it is VERY, VERY good. I believe that there probably are tobaccos that are better... but not by much.

In an ideal world, it would be a little stronger, but it's SO close to perfect now, I really wouldn't want them to mess with the blend just to attempt to remedy this one very minor nit-pick.

So, with that said, allow me to dash some hopes. It's probably not the second coming. But if it ever goes away, I have no doubt that my memory will convince me that, in fact, it was.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bent-1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bent-1 (36)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

HH Vintage Syrian is a regular in my rotation. The description is a bit is a bit off as it's not strong/stout blend. I think that's where some low ratings emanate. Smoking this after a bowl of Raven's Wing or Nightcap, it will seem flat.

Rather, it's a nicely balanced tobak that requires a relaxed cadence & a little drying (10-15 seconds in the microwave), as well as a clean pallet. I like it best in a Meerschaum or a briar not seasoned with a strong Latakia or aromatic blend.

The flavor is of a smooth, light creamy nature. The sweet VA plays nicely with the orientals (neither overpowering each other), and the Kentucky adds a gentle warm spice & a richness (again not overpowering the VA's or Orientals) to the taste. Never does this blend overpower with an astringent or sour note, 1 yrand leaves the option to enjoy a bowl of something else. Given that, I find it completely enjoyable, consistent from tin to tin.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JEM Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JEM (21)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

What a surprise! I'm not a fan of Latakia at all and, in fact, I received this tin by accident. I ordered Mature Virginia and ended up with Vintage Syrian. I actually opened this tin with the intention of smoking a bowl and throwing it away! I was and still am very happy with this tobacco. I just smoked a bowl a few minutes ago and still love it.

It has a nice, natural taste and the aroma in the room is pleasing. I usually ask around to make sure I'm not blowing someone away. So, everyone finds this smoke pleasing. It doesn't bite my tongue, which is nice, because I'm a wimp when it comes to tongue bite!

I recommend everyone try this one. You may or may not like it, but it sure surprised me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

flaminbill' Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flaminbill' (57)
★★★★
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

I am quite surprised with HH Syrian. I have not had much success with Mac Baren tobacco. The first couple of bowls tasted odd to me as the only Syrian I had sampled before was McClelland's FMATP -- I have not been willing to part with $75 for Pease's Bohemian Scandal on the internet. I have also since explored McClelland's Rose of Latakia and I like it as well.

I have been smoking this mostly in a CAO Meerschaum and a very nice Reiner Barbi. I liked it so well that I had to go out and get six more tins to cellar for later.

This is a bite-free, very smooth smoking and creamy tasting tobacco. I am a big fan of the Cyprian latakia blends -- Westminster and Caravan are two of my staples. But this is a nice change of pace.

Some reviewers have complained about the price, but to me $10 or $11 for a 100 gr. tin is pretty damned cheap

Nobody has rated this review yet.

stoic066 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
stoic066 (7)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

After several years of trying to find Shangri La of pipe tobaccos I think I got one. This one is a winner to me. It has everything that I like about pipe tobacco. After popping the can open there is an aroma of coffee and chocolate. Tobacco itself is esthetically pleasing mixture of black and red brown ribbons. It is just perfect for lightening it right out of the box. Lights up easily and when puffed lightly but regularly does not have tendency to go out. The taste is that of coffee, chocolate and of course tobaccos. Absolutely no bite. Ash is gray to dark gray. HH Vintage has become my every day smoke. Highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (76)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

With the Burley that is in this blend I would classify it as an American/English type. This is nice tobacco, high in quality with no drek, tobacco dust, or stems littering the blend.

Predominate note on openning the tin is the smokiness of Latakia. On lighting, this blend is very smooth with no tongue bite. About one third of the way into a bowl a spicy sweetness from the Turkish and Virginia kicks in and stays to the end. Any nutty flavors from the Burley are very very subtle. It burns to a dry clean white ash to the bottom of the bowl.

The interplay between Latakia and other leaf types adds depth and complexity to this blend. It is smooth, spicy, with a subtle sweetness. The last Syrian Latakia I smoked was in Balkan Sobranie and too long ago for me to remember the subtle differences with Cyprian. I have fond memories of those Balkan blends, however, and caughed up the not too subtle $15.00 per 100 grams because Syrian Latakia was featured in this blend. But I was not disappointed and highly recommend this blend to other patrons of the pipe.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Let's just say I was expecting something more. There was a lot of hype surrounding this blend, but what I ended up with was an unspectacular English-type mixture that bit with all the ferocity that MacBaren is famous for. The flavor is definitely interesting, but hardly worth all the fuss and certainly not worth risking a scorched tongue for (IMHO, of course). On the plus side, this tobacco burns very well and some might be greatly intriqued by the flavor the Syrian leaf imparts, even if they choose not to pursure it further than a single tin.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stacey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stacey (40)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Well I'm basing my review on the free sample pack I got when I bought the mother lode of tobacco at Knox Cigars. This is very interesting stuff. My first try at a Syrian and I was impressed, quite a bit of taste without the woodsy, campfire smoke taste of other Latakia's. It is completely different than the other Latakias and I prefer this a little over the others. I bet this will be better in a tin so I'll update my review after I get some and perhaps this will move to a 4 star.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (302)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

This one was quite a surprise. I had previously tried MacBaren?s Latakia mixture, and it seemed to me like a typical MB-Danish Cavendish mélange, with a bit more density from what I believe is Cyprus latakia. Not this blend.

Not at all artificially aromatic, Vintage Syrian has a fine aroma and taste in the best Oriental (rather than English or Balkan) tradition. If anything this is somewhere in between Fox?s Campanile and Dunhill?s Early Morning. Basically a medium strength mixture, it burns cool, it?s easy to pack and, yes, there is no tongue bite. In my opinion, the Turkish and Syrian latakia are the predominant flavors. The Virginias and the Kentucky leaf are noticeable and add certain sweetness to the mixture, but always remain in the background.

I agree this tobacco is nothing to write home about, but it is a very good tobacco, and worthwhile for any Oriental/English smokers. It might be just a tad too strong for those unaccustomed to these mixtures, but it could be the gateway to fuller and stronger blends of this nature. The room note is not as aggressive as other Oriental or English mixtures (though opening a window is highly recommended if smoking it indoors). I find it a good smoking experience and will buy more in the future.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fumeur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fumeur (6)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

I can't say I thought much of this. First of all, it seems to be mostly Virginias, with a little latakia thrown in; and not very distinguished Virginias at that. Secondly, it burns moist and poorly. Thirdly, it bites.

Didn't get anything out of this one.

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puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (74)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

Before giving my review it is only fair to say up front that I have never liked MacBaren tobaccos. The majority of them contain Danish Tongue Bite #5 and those that don't simply don't cut it.

That being said my decision to buy this blend last year was a difficult one. It was in and out of my virtual cart more times than I can count. The hook of course was the Syrian latakia. I really like the stuff and I really wanted to try this blend. Could it be that MacBaren had finally done something right? Finally I could resist no longer. Wow, what a disappointment.

A little under half the volume is supposed to be the latakia. Try way under half. Try maybe an 1/8th of the volume. To their credit I will say it is the best tobacco MacBaren has ever produced. No tongue bite and it is smokeable. I will not be buying this again. I don't even know that I will finish the tin. It sits on my shelf mocking me!

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sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I can't believe it! A non-aromatic MacBaren! And a good one too. I agree with most of the reviewers, this blend is great. I was a little anxious with it: I know MacBaren blends are very well done, but this is, as far as I know of them, their first effort with a truly English Mixture (though the Kentucky leaf is slightly out of place). Indeed they made a fine job. As usual the cut is broad and mixed, but the packing and burning are easy, even and dry. The taste is exactly what you should expect from a classic blend: smoky, masculine, a little bitter at times. All in all a really fantastic surprise.

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Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

After the disappointment with Irish Flake I was a little apprehensive whether the expectations aroused by the press that Vintage Syrian had recieved would be met.

It is dry in the tin, with a very muted aroma. Easy to pack, easy to light, and once lit it burns effortlessly to the bottom of the pipe. After many years I was able to fully smoke a pipe with a single lighting.

The taste is nothing short of superb - in the Syrian Latakia kind of way. The Orientals add their spice and the Virginias their sweetness. What the Kentucky does I have not been able to discover. The room note is pure delight. Unfortunately, both the after-taste and the room note are evanescent. Bohemian Scandal light?

Mac Baren have stepped outside their usual turf with Vintage Syrian, and in cricketing metaphor, have hit a clean six. This is some of the best tobacco news of recent times.

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Mitland Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mitland (7)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I find that this doesn't qite live up to the hype. Ther's a very slight topping noticible, akin to toasted coconut. The first thing I tasted upon the second lighting were sweet Virginias that gave way to a cigarish character with a background smokiness. The latakia comes to the front mid bowl. DGT works well here. They say there is Oriental leaf here, if there is it's well hidden. All in all a pleasant blend that could do with some age. I'd prefer more Orientals and can definately do without the Kentucky as it only detracts from this otherwise fine blend.

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Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (165)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a string cut Latakia blend leaning more to the sweet virginia or cavendish fans, but it definately has a good dose of Syrian kick to it and a hint of Kentucky. I can't really detect the Turkish with all else that's going on here.

I smoked half a tin so far (maybe two ounces mostly in a Hahn pipe from my local Metairie Tinder Box). It was a little too sharp at times until the tin dried out some after several weeks, then it got smoother. Don't get me wrong, for a blend with this many potent ingredients, it is smooth enough.

Per of MacBarens says he has a several year supply of the black manna, Syrian Latakia. With the way there is a run on the tins (I'm sure thanks to the publicized Syrian loss Mr. Pease and Tartler suffered a couple of years ago now), I'm not so sure about that.

I do find it smooth and tasty, but not as balanced as most say. That must be for me that it leans toward sweeter virginia troops. If I want sweet virginias, i'll just smoke that and don't normally want lots of other stuff mixed in. This has lots in the mix.

Still, the purity of the Kentucky leaf and Latakia and its kick are intreging, and a mouth full of soft yet somehow spicy flavors seduces me now and again.

A noble effort and one of MacBaren's very best IMO. Different from their run of the mill sweet blends. No offense, I know many of their blends are liked, and I do smoke their burleys off and on. I'd say try a tin of this and cellar a few tins. It cuts across many types, medium English or mid-Balkan, Virginias, Cavendish, etc.; stronger than the latter varieties but not too much.

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