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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 Latakia 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.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByHenrik Halberg
Blend TypeBalkan
ContentsKentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutCoarse Cut
Packaging50g Pouch, 100g Tin
CountryDK
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy 4noggins.com
SmokingPipes.com
Iwan Ries
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 19 Users

3.2
153 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
68
3 star:
56
2 star:
26
1 star:
3
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A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (73)
★★★★
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.

14 people found this review helpful.

soteria Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
soteria (3)
★★★★
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.

6 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★★★
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!

6 people found this review helpful.

Professor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Professor (67)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Mac Baren's HH Vintage Syrian is a marvellous tobacco. The easily-packed cut is superb and it burns to a nice fine ash. The well-aged sweet Virginia comes through predominately, but the Latakia is there adding a lovely touch of smokiness. If that were not enough, the Oriental provides a dash of creaminess and the Kentucky a nuisance of nuttiness assisting the pleasant room note. What strikes me further about this Mac Baren offering is the total lack of aftertaste or odour when the bowl is through. With some tobacco, the flavour remains in the mouth the next day. With this, the flavour is enjoyed fully while smoking yet vanishes when done. I have found that I can enjoy this all day and, in fact, for weeks straight and not become exhausted by it as the weed is well-rounded offering a multitude of varied flavour. I am duly impressed with this offering and recommend it without reservation.

6 people found this review helpful.

viscfab Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
viscfab (81)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have just ordered and received a tin of this incredible blend. Being a Dunhill 965 lover for many years and also being able to enjoy some of other Mac Baren blends overtime I was hoping this blend would come in handy to fill the gap left by Dunhills withdrawal from the Global market. I was not disappointed. This is for me the best Mac Baren blend made so far. Upon opening the tin the delicious melange of campfire smoke provided by the high quality syrian latakia blends nicely with the sweet Virginia contents rounded by the Kentucky added for spiciness. I have not perceived any casing here, if there is flavouring it was vey mildly added and does not contribute to the overall taste. The blend is easy to pack and lights very easily, not being difficult to keep it lit until it reaches the end of the bowl. All the smoky flavours are there, paired with a subtle sweet VA taste, an awesome experience. It grows better throughout the smoke until it ends in fine gray ashes. Half to bottom of the bowl the spiciness add even more depth to the bouquet of this pleasant surprise. Thumbs up to Mac Baren for producing this spectacular English blend. I will keep it in my rotation for sure. I am also a Penzance lover so you get the picture here, although this is not as powerful as Penzance it fuly complies with my English blends cravings. Highly Recommended.

4 people found this review helpful.

petrisz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
petrisz (2)
★★☆☆
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

3 people found this review helpful.

Gun Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gun Smoke (15)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

This is one of the best tobaccos I have ever tasted. Absolutley world class. Virtually no tongue bite ( perhaps just a small tingle on the tongue ), and fantastically delicious. Yes it is mild, which makes for a great morning smoke, but it does NOT lack in taste.

There is very little nicotine, and I suspect that this is the major reason why nicotine addicts might give this blend a lower rating - which is entirely unfair. This blend should be judged on its own merits; not its nicotine level.

This blend requires almost no relights, and sometimes it requires none at all. Burns all the way to the bottom most of the time. And as stated, little if any tongue bite.

The Syrian latakia is sublime... heavenly even. Very different than its Cyprian cousin. It is more subtle and smooth. And the virginias taste as if they were already aged before it was canned. It makes for a slighty sweet smokey flavor that will leave you craving more.

Upon opening the can, I could smell something like pumpkins, sweet potatos, and figs. WOW! what a curious scent. It reminded me of autumn time when multi-colored leaves are falling.

I have smoked many different blends - dozens of them. But this is like nothing I have ever tasted. And the room note is very inviting even to the non-smoker.

Exceptional. Among the best in the world. I just hope Mac Baren doen't run out of Syrian latakia.

3 people found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (67)
★★★★
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.

King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (40)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

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 us 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 Mac Baren's quality control.

Pipe Used: Ashton Sovereign ELX billiard

Age When Smoked: 2 yrs old

Purchased From: pipes and cigars

Similar Blends: no other Balkan or English I have ever smoked.

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (578)
★★★☆
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

2 people found this review helpful.

AE1PT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AE1PT (4)
★★★☆
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

2 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (153)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium 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

2 people found this review helpful.

rekamepip Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rekamepip (72)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Mac Baren HH Series Vintage Syrian Made in Denmark by Mac Baren Tobacco Imported by Sutliff Tobacco Company

The label states: A Little under half of the volume is a smooth and yet powerful Latakia from Syria. this tobacco gives the blend an overall smokey taste. To add a spicey note to the blend, Turkish Oriental has been added, Different Virginia tobaccos from 3 countries add a sweet natural taste. To complete the taste with depth and body we added some Dark Fired Kentucky USA.

Tin Notes: Wonderful aroma - a full bodied smell ! Good Moisture Content and easy to smoke right out of the tin Great cuts of tobacco make it easy to load and burn

Smoking: The Tobacco here smokes well in all different types of tobacco pipes. I have tried it in a deep well briar bowl and can fully enjoy this blend for an hour or more and the flavor stay consistent from start to finish. The tobacco smokes really well in hardwoods such as walnut wood and olive wood pipes but i must say that a small clay or pipestone pipe with a long stem works best for me as they tend to heat up at the bowl a little hotter than a briar pipe and thus releases some flavors that may be overlooked with other pipes

Room Note: what room note

Overall My 5 Star Rating = 4

Pipe Used: Pipestone Rock Cob, Corn Cob, Clay and Briar

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: pipesandcigars, 4noggins and sutliff

2 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.

2 people found this review helpful.

Ixtlan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ixtlan (18)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Strong

First of all I wish to state I am an Aromatic smoker and love them. That said I do like a break now and then and ordered a tin of HHVS. To my surprise I ended up with a pound and a tin by mistake. So I loaded a bowl up and gave er a shot. I had heard about Syrian Latakia and wanted to give it a try. I will start with Room Note. Wife hates it and it leaves a mild cigar aroma in the room too. Now the taste. I like and dislike this. It has a definitive oriental spice taste to it which I enjoy very much. But also has a Cigar taste that I am not a big fan of. I assume that is the Latakia in the blend. It leaves a sweet aftertaste which I also enjoyed. It is a strong flavored tobacco and rather pleasant however. Nice break now and then and I actually believe I will grow to like it as a now and then change. With the amount I ended up with I think it will take me the remainder of my years to consume. Perhaps I can trade a little here and there. But I will keep some around for those Break from the aromatic cravings.

2 people found this review helpful.

Alguhan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alguhan (140)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

If you are looking for a decent Latakia - Oriental blend you must give this tobacco a chance. The blend is perfectly proportioned and was one of my very pleasant smokes of this kind.

The latakia strength is gentle and meanwhile considerable. Also it is elegant as expected from a Syrian. Orientals, and I think epecially the Turkish are a great addition of spices. Overall the whole taste is sweetened with som good quality virginia.

Packs and lights well, offers a long lasting smoke, and leaves a wonderful taste on the palate.

2 people found this review helpful.

Rodrigo de Xerez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rodrigo de Xerez (16)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

No doubt this is quality tobacco. No doubt it doesn't suit my taste.

Twenty years ago I was a very big fan of Mac Baren's tobaccos. I liked the sweetness, I enjoyed the quality, I loved the smell they produce, and I did not suffer from tongue biting. As a matter of fact I have never experienced this cause I just smoke two or three pipes a day.

But one day, ten years ago, I began to be fed up with this House honey-topping. Always the same in every tobacco they produce. And, my dear friends, HH Vintage Syrian is not exception: you can notice as soon as you open the tin. You know, some persons hate aromatics after smoking them many years (and this is my case)

The tobaccos mixed are good... really good. Problem is that it is to bland for me: in terms of Syrian Latakia subtleties I incline to heavier mixtures; Artisan's Blend, for instance. Also in terms of Orientals -I am a big fan of them- this is quite bland (I cannot feel the head-going effect I love in subtle orientals)

IMHO (i.e.: according only to my taste): A good tobacco you can enjoy from beginning to end... but pretty lightweight and not so complex. I can recommend as a transition from aromatics to balkans or english mixtures.

RdX Score: 83.13 (my scores are the result of adding 10 scores, from 0 to 10, after smoking with 10 different pipes)

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (198)
★★★★
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.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (100)
★★★☆
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

Ranger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ranger (58)
★★★☆
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

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.

1 person found this review helpful.

zierro Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zierro (11)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

I tried hard to like this blend. It just didn't do a thing for me.

The tin aroma was a bit sour, but not a distraction. The initial light seems to coat the mouth with a blanket of casing. Didn't bite, just muted the taste. I found the true tobacco taste peaked through about halfway through a bowl. The Syrian was pleasant enough,would have prefered more of it and less Kentucky and Virginias. Kept hoping to find some excitement, but nothing.

I had tried a tin about a year ago, and have made my way through about half a second tin. It is a quality blend. Just no magic in it for me. 6 out of 10

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Here is a poor man?s Westminster. It is a close match, minus the depth, sharpness and taste. This is a paltry substitute. It is especially suited for a morning smoke with a Irish coffee or maybe a Guinness. A decent mix of Syrian latakias, Orientals and Virginias. I have only smoked it in a Stanwell Golden Danish, but I have my eye on a Bjarne freehand. It may be better there.

1 person found this review helpful.

stream25 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
stream25 (7)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

I am writing this after two bowls of this popular tobacco. First smoke was in a filtered cob, while the second was in a half bent apple. As usual, MacBaren provides a generous amount of tobacco for the price. It also smells nice in the tin. The tobacco was fairly easy to keep lit and packed well. Unfortunately, that's where the positives ended for me. I found this tobacco to be very mild and one-dimensional. When I see Latakia, I expect big Latakia taste that is full bodied and "smokey." That's missing here. It's also hard to believe the laundry list of tobaccos that constitute HH Syrian as it fails to result in any complexity. As Latakia based blends go, I found this to be a disappointing lightweight.

1 person found this review helpful.

cbd2 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cbd2 (10)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This tobacco blend seems to have both its lovers and detractors but I'm somewhere in the middle. Personally, it's not a blend to my taste. I find it far too mild to get my taste buds excited on any level and yet I can see that it might be a good blend for those taking a first stab at English blends who don't want to be overwhelmed by the bold taste that (I believe) a good English blend should present.

For seasoned English smokers this will come as a dull surprise but for those just starting out it may be just the ticket. No offense is intended here towards anyone, and I really do think this would make a fine tobacco for new pipe smokers and for English virgins. It's just not for me. I found it exceedingly bland and dull and the Latakia was a huge disapointment.

Oh one thing - the tin holds 3.5 ounces and is a very good buy if you like it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mike Castello Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Castello (49)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

I see that most of the reviews for this blend are favorable. I have not read them. I'm going to be different because in all honesty, this blend just doesn't do anything for me. Yes it is an English with a lot of Latakia in it, but the flavor is bland. It's not a bad tobacco, it just doesn't stand up to comparison with various blends from Pease, Balkan Sasiene, or Dan London 1000. For example, if I compare Vintage Syrian with Pease Caravan, two blends that I would say are similar, Caravan has a bold flavor while the VS is faint, timid if you will. VS is priced well, easy to find, the cut is ribbin, moisture in the tin is just a bit too much, but smokable. The shortcoming is that it just doesn't have enough taste for me to want to smoke it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (298)
★★☆☆
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

Glorfindel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Glorfindel (57)
★☆☆☆
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

Ditto Moe: "not so good."

I enjoy many other latakia blends (Cyprian), but not this one. No disrespect, but I found this a little "sickening" in taste.

Apparently I don't like Syrian Latakia.

:(

1 person found this review helpful.

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.

1 person found this review helpful.

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.

1 person found this review helpful.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (73)
★★☆☆
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!

1 person found this review helpful.

Sasquatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sasquatch (65)
★★★★
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.

1 person found this review helpful.

Intermezzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Intermezzo (2)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The tin aroma is a wonderful bouquet of Virginia sweetness and Latakia smokiness. The cut is perfect and packs well into the bowl.

This is a nice medium bodied European mixture (I have a hard time calling something made in Denmark an ?English? mixture) that burns well with no bite. For a blend that is described on the tin as being almost half Syrian Latakia, it is the natural Virginia sweetness that stands out on the palate, with the Latakia providing a smoky background and the dark Kentucky providing a rich depth of flavor. The room aroma is pleasant but not overpowering. And as was stated in many reviews, there is little to no aftertaste - once the bowl is done, the flavor is gone. It burned evenly to the bottom of the bowl, leaving nothing but a mottled gray ash.

Overall, this is a very pleasant mixture, but as a Latakia fan, I have to admit some disappointment ? I expected the Latakia to be the star of the show, and both the tin aroma and the flavor were more Virginia than Latakia.

Altogether very enjoyable, though, and will certainly find a spot in my regular rotation.

1 person found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (574)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Original 10/15/2006: I want to like this blend, perhaps with some more age in the tin I will, I think that this is a very fresh batch. I find the tin aroma musty, not smoky and somewhat underwhelming. It packs and lights easily in my Ashton LX chubby billiard. The mixture is mostly dark, there is some Latakia there along with plenty of Kentucky; I would like this better with more Turkish and less Kentucky. 5 out of 10 stars.

Update 8/23/2009: Looking for something a little different yesterday morning I pulled a half-full tin from my long term storage (cooler) and packed up one of my Imp Meers. The tin aroma has changed in the almost 3 years since I last visited this and the Syrian Latakia has become more pronounced and the VAs seem more fragrant. The blend has been kept in proper humidified condition and seems to have aged well just as I suspected it would. Packing is simple and straight forward, the cut of Mac Baren's blends is always excellent.

The flavor and aroma at first light is mostly Latakia, the Syrian is excellent, as I progressed down the bowl the VAs seem much sweeter than 3 years ago. There is some Turkish there, perhaps not as much as I would prefer but it is pleasant. The bitter Kentucky I didn't care for previously has now mellowed and provides some interesting depth to the smoke. I had purchased 5 tins and only smoked a dozen bowls from just this one tin, I'm certainly glad I have four more tins to look forward to. I think I'll grab a few more for future. 9 of 10 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

tennessee texan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tennessee texan (21)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Good taste and flavor and a bit on the mild side for my taste. A few more relights necessary for me than normal. Burns down to the bottom of the bowl with little dottle left in the bowl. For me, this tobacco burns a bit hot. Lack of aftertaste is quite remarkable. Tin aroma is very nice.

1 person found this review helpful.

tacoeatingzebra Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tacoeatingzebra (36)
★★★★
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...

1 person found this review helpful.

emmbee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
emmbee (174)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

For the oriental lover, very European and no similarity to the usual honey heather note akin to all MacBarens. The trouble is that you have to be careful how you smoke this stuff. Too fast and its acridity will render your palate turgid. Too slow and you'll wind up drawing only slight puffs of oriental heat and juice. This is a special blend for those who really enjoy Syrian latakia and a lot of orientals. Mac Baren does a couple things well, especially Virginia based products. They really have no business working with elements they're not prepared to blend well.

One and a half of five stars

1 person found this review helpful.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is for the English smoker loking for something very different. No long descriptions here just what it tastes like. 1 part NAT SHERMAN #536, 1 part BLACK DAWG, and 1 part MACBAREN MIXTURE. COMBINE THE THREE AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! SMOKY, SOUR, AND SLIGHTLY AROMATIC IN THE MACBAREN WAY. MANY FLAVORS OCCURRING ALL AT ONCE. DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH CYPRIAN LATAKIA-TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMAL,BUT A TAME AND FRIENDLY ONE. A GREAT CHANGE OF PACE! 3 OF 4 STARS.

1 person found this review helpful.

Adguru Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Adguru (20)
★★★★
Medium Strong Very Full Tolerable

MacBaren is a class act. I've been rooting for them to have a hit in their recent offerings. I even dutifully tried Cube. Well the boys have come through with a bonafide hit, HH Syrian is as good as any English I have ever tasted. Deep and complex, this is one that will hopefully have a long life ahead of it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Oblong Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Oblong (3)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This new blend from Mac Baren, which I just received today, is packed rather solidly in the can. It has a sweet and smoky tin aroma. Once you've dug it out and loosened it a bit you can see the various components: syrian latakia and several kinds of virginia as well as the orientals, which make it attractive to the eye. It looks like a complex mixture, and it is. I tried it in a meerschaum and the various components kept popping out, keeping the flavor changing until the bottom of the bowl. The orientals are nicely blended, but I hardly noticed the Dark Fired Kentucky. It was a very enjoyable smoke. I would have expected it to be a bit moist, given that it felt moist from the tin, but it smoked fine, without a lot of moisture. It's not quite as strong on the latakia side as Balkan Sasieni or even Butera Pelican. The latakia is not as pungent as I might have expected for 50% mixture (I use Gawith and Hoggarth Syrian Latakia in my own homemade blends and it's a lot stronger than this). But often too much latakia will drown out the more subtle flavors in a blend. That is not the case here. I don't know that the Virginias were all that necessary, as the Turkish seems sweet enough. Nice room note. I would definitely buy it and smoke it again.

1 person found this review helpful.

jackhackett Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackhackett (76)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Finally, a Mac Baren product that neither tastes like honey-kissed nothingness nor burns like the sun. I knew before I bought it that the blend contained VA, kentucky, and some oriental and was not a balkan; still, I was expecting LATAKIA---it is named 'Vintage SYRIAN' after all. This blend is sweet, as one would expect from this brand, though the latakia helps to temper this somewhat.

It is well-rounded in flavor and reasonably soft on the tongue. And, as the previous reviewer noted, once done, the taste is gone---and forgotten. My personal tastes would lead me to request more oriental and less VA here, but this is good leaf, and a good attempt at producing something unique with character and complexity.

I'm not saying that I do not see/smell/taste the value of the product, but honestly it's just not capable of living up to the hype that surrounded its launch, which I believe the manufacturer accomplished with more success than the actual blending of this product. This blend is a vast improvement over the current offerings I have tried from Mac Baren, however, and I will purchase more once the hype-and-hoardfest dies down.

And no, you cannot have the rest of my tin.

1 person found this review helpful.

Meerschaum Man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meerschaum Man (85)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This fine blend is worth the coin... Certainly, the Syrian is quality and the Dark Fired Kentucky provides excellent counter point of a rich quality to the smokey, campfire like character of the Latakia. I was looking for more than I found in the character of the Virginia, Turkish and Oriental components that could have made this blend truly stellar. Make no mistake, this is quality tobacco and I will surely purchase more in the future when it becomes more widely available. It burns well and contains little debris. For my taste, I took the liberty of adding a small amount of some 6 year old Oriental #12 from McC's that provided a rich, smooth almost buttery dimension to the existing harmony of the Syrian and Kentucky. This blend invites all to enjoy and others to be creative. MacB's quality is trademark.

Meerschaum Man Smoking an Altinok Smooth Canadian

1 person found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (57)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hillbilly08 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hillbilly08 (11)
★★★★
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 moistness, lights well for me straight out of tin, without the "fireworks" commented on by others. The aroma 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: Bald-Headed Teacher by 4noggins, although BHT is less complex and perhaps not as refined while of course much cheaper (and a top blend on its own).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Coda Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coda (18)
★★★☆
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...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

gam86 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gam86 (34)
★★★★
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.

balkan_boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
balkan_boy (31)
★★★★
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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (574)
★☆☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Overwhelming

The last time i had this blend was 2 years ago,but dont care for it. There is just something about that doesnt set with me, aroma and taste, its just odd.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SmokeDawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeDawg (55)
★★★★
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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (35)
★★★☆
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.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (110)
★★★★
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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (574)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Pleasant

flavour:

very close to the american Bohemian scandal * by GLP Pease

+ a touch of Dark Fired Kentucky.

But Taste:

better in comperison by fresh stuff. The Kentucky is good

Wheras the Tobacco of C&D is IMO to young or not whatever

* misleading name

Bohemian is wether english nor american. Its Eastern Europa

or is it Bohème ?

is it ENGLAND, Europa or is it just and simple a American Blend ?

Age When Smoked: 3 month

Purchased From: tin + bulk

Similar Blends: Bohemian Scandal.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Houndstooth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Houndstooth (17)
★★★★
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?.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (661)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a smooth and creamy latakia dominant blend, well balanced by the other ingredients. The Kentucky is noticeable here and there, and adds a pleasing burley note and a hint of spice that takes a back seat in the latter department to the Oriental and Turkish components. Quality light and dark Virginias give a solid base to the blend, adding the natural sweetness one would expect from them. I am surprised that a Balkan with this much latakia is not a lat-bomb, which works to the favor of my personal taste. Smokey and woodsy, it is like a better, bolder version of Gawith's Squadron Leader without the hay taste, a more pleasing naturally sweet Virginia base, and light spice. The components are well mixed, resulting in a consistent tasting mixture that burns even and cool. One match and you may finish without relighting. Made for smokers who want a semi-complex tasting creamy mild to medium English blend. Your friends will smell it and think you've started a campfire in your den.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

William H. Hardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
William H. Hardy (31)
★★☆☆
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 (51)
★★★☆
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 (7)
★★★★
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 (41)
★★★☆
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 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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (224)
★★☆☆
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.

barneco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
barneco (6)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I find this a pleasing smoke, overall. However, I doubt it will be a regular for me.

I really enjoy Latakia, and this blend delivers. The Latakia is definitely the star of the show. The orientals also play a significant, but not overwhelming, role. I find that the VA rounds it out and adds just the slightest amount of sweetness. This works really well with the spicy oriental and gives an overall rich, complex smoke. I don't detect the Kentucky.

The burn is great. It was dry enough to smoke immediately from the pouch and required minimal relights. Doesn't burn too hot and is fairly forgiving on your chosen smoking speed.

I do get a fair bit of bite from this blend, regardless of how I smoke it. I also get a fairly significant amount of nicotine from this blend. I prefer less noticable presence, so these two factors will likely prevent me from picking this one up as a regular.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pjorge1036 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pjorge1036 (2)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I was gifted a sample pouch two years ago and this is the first time trying it. The pouch aroma was smoky and very pleasant. I packed a bowl in a pipe with a giant 2 1/8" bowl and fired it up. while charring tobacco I got a tingling sensation at the tip of my tongue that disappeared after a few minutes into the smoke. A nice smoky, peppery, flavour with a subtle sweetness was present from the start. The Syrian Latakia was not overpowering at all. The Virginia, Kentucky and oriental leafs were well balanced, each one complimenting the others. There was a creamy, maybe even soapy flavour detected with a little spiciness present. I was able to smoke the entire bowl with only 2 relights, not bad considering the size of the bowl. in conclusion this was aa easy to smoke satisfying blend with a pleasant to me tolerable to others room note and no bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

under the arbor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
under the arbor (12)
★★★☆
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.

ROBERT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ROBERT (16)
★★★☆
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

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hunter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hunter (38)
★★★☆
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.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (205)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

biggy1812 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
biggy1812 (2)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Excellent English blend.The Syrian Latakia gives it a distinctive smoky peppery flavor.At first I was not impressed but after trying this blend in different pipes I have found the right combo and have come to enjoy the complex layering of flavors.The room note is nice but failed the wife test.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

imago Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
imago (63)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Nice flavour, somewhat smoky, yet leathery aroma. Packs and burns well, and, unlike every other Mac Baren tobacco I've ever tried, it doesn't bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

John Frum Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
John Frum (15)
★★☆☆
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.

risle-lariviere Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
risle-lariviere (33)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Different from what we are used to from similar blends. I have no doubt the Syrian leaf plays a role in it but they didn't use a lot of it so , subtle but noticable.

Really nice and interesting but aging it didn't changed it that much.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TheSmokinDragon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheSmokinDragon (56)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

smoked sweet and a lil salty for me, lots of flavor w/creamy campfire...burns cool with cball/air pocket method or Frank with no relights after a char...just a GREAT blend, grab a tin or pnd :-) think I will as will...YUM!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OldManRichard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OldManRichard (3)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

VERY INTERESTING! This tobacco smokes very well and the smell is in your face but in the best way possible. As a whole it is almost perfect except one things, the afertaste. For me (I tend to smoke as slow as I can) and there was a terrible aftertaste, as if what you would find in an aromatic blend or if you smoke on the faster side. It is a taste that I have never found in any english blend, only in tobacco's with a heavy flavor topping. My only guess is that it is an enlgish topping but that is just odd to me because I have never heard of a english style topping. I enjoy this tobacco very much so, but there is a fine line of how to smoke it in which I have not found yet. All in all a good smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lombard65 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lombard65 (48)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I am pleasantly and positively surprised by this mixture. For me the Mac Baren tobacco are no longer as it once was. This did not exist 30 years ago, so I can not make any comparison. But my view is actually very good, creamy, smooth, balanced, I might put a bit more Latakia (which I will soon). The first smoke I did, I drew a bit of that taste mildly soapy, almost floral, which I tried with the version of Orlik Dunhill Early Morning, Solana Gold Blend 779. But then, just a good harmony in the smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Papercutpostman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Papercutpostman (7)
★★★★
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I just opened a fresh tin of HH Syrian and the smell of the tin really reminded me of Dunhill 965. However, I noticed an assortment of different colors which gave me a hint of what's to come!

One thing I like about Mac Baren's tins is that they pack a lot of tobacco inside! I took a good pinch of tobacco and left it out to dry a bit because it came pretty moist. After it was dried (but springy), I loaded up my extra large Savinelli Baronet pipe (510) so that I could pick up the subtle differences between the tobaccos.

Once lit, this baccy burns pretty well. The taste is similar to that of Frog Morton but does not carry as much sweetness as the McClellands. The taste is definitely smooth. It is definitely complex and changes from mildly sweet, to leathery, to nutty. All throughout the smoke was this creaminess with no bite! There's a bit of a grassy undertone as well.

I am definitely getting more HH Syrian. It's one of those blends that go really well with coffee! There's enough nicotine for a calming effect but not too much that I cannot concentrate on the taste.

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.

pipe row19 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipe row19 (25)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Im trying to get threw the whole mac baren list of toabccos i was very pleased with this. Not for the new pipe smoker at all but for the experinced one. The Latakia provides a nice strong smokey taste. If you like a stronger blend with that classic latakia taste i recommend this for you. Remids me of when i used to camping it has that campfire smokey taste. Very nice blend

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SMOKETSES Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SMOKETSES (208)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I want to say that I am "enemy" of McBaren. In one of the meetings of the pipe club.gr however, dm14 HH had brought a Mature Virginia and offered me to try saying: "taste it and you'll be talking about it, series HH causes no tonque bite”. And he was absolutely right. So, on a trip to Ukraine I found a shop and got 2 tins of 100gr. Includes Kentucky, Virginia, Oriental and mainly Syrian Latakia. This smoke made me figure out the Syrian Latakia. Easy going and at the same time strong and sweet taste which doesn't feel too heavy. You can smoke it any time of the day. No relationship what so ever to Cyprus' Latakia. Fills the bowl easily, lights up easily and retains its flavor until 4/5 of the bowl. It is a very good tobacco for those who love the English ones. I firmly keep 1-2 tins in "my cellar." And not to forget that it leaves a nice scent in the room!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bulldog Jeff Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bulldog Jeff (11)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. Genuine smoky Latakia flavor with some spice and some sweetness. It always satisfies. Packs well. Burns well. Nothing to complain about but the price.

I crave this. I covet this. I kicked Dark Twist out of Humidor No. 1 to accommodate this tin.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hacker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hacker (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is mixed for me. I´d like it for no flavoring, complex taste and optimal strength. Bougth an 16oz canister (#102/1500) I smoke it everyday with much pleasure. Let? try, may be it is for you too!

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.

Claudius Stradivarius Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Claudius Stradivarius (171)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Probably the most unique English Blend on the market today.

Not very strong in nicotine it still retains qualities and merits that makes it worthy.

The leaf comes out as rather dry but the significant amount of Syrian Latakia makes this a very slow burning blend.

This is an english blend that tastes like an English, but also like MacBaren's Scottish Mixture.

That's what makes it unique. It's not a cased or topped mixture by all means. But it brings a special taste to it.

I guesse this one willbe like Erinmore Flake or University Flake: a love/hate tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Boston Bill Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Boston Bill (11)
★★★☆
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

I bought this because I wanted to KNOW what the heck Latakia added to a mix, and there wasn't too many better choices at the time. I was rewarded with the knowledge that I love Latakia and what it adds to a blend, but that it might not be my everyday smoke.

I really enjoy this blend from time to time. I use it to shake things up and keep from getting bored with my choices, or as a special treat. Its an excellent smoke in its own right- rich, powerful, strong- but its too strong for me to be my main smoke too often. Word to the wise!

I find the aroma in the tin really enjoyable and inviting- hints of campfire mixed with pipe tobacco. The flavor really coats your palate, and it lasts forever, so if you're planning on eating something delicate, don't smoke this, or IMHO you won't taste anything else for hours. That said, I really enjoy this smoke, and it even pairs well enough (IMO) with a nice single malt Scotch.

(I usually smoke 3 different bowls in a row: I start out with something mild, then step up to medium (a Virginia or a Vanilla-flavored?), then end with something stronger (usually MB Mixture), once my palate is more involved. This is sometimes the last thing I smoke.)

HH Vintage Syrian is a great example of a strong blend. Excellent quality that burns pretty well. And if you're curious about Latakia, as I was, then I recommend this as a good place to learn. It'll certainly help you learn your tolerance level for stronger tobacco. (May even help you gauge reactions to the "Wife test" too!) Try it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

drnick0143 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
drnick0143 (1)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have tried three MacBaren blends and so far, this is my favorite. Being a newbie pipe smoker, I was nervous about hopping aboard the latakia and Oriental train, those tobaccos being described as pungent and peppery. HHVS is simply marvelous. The charring light and first few puffs of the true light send the most fragrant smoke I've had in a long while. It's comparable to the first drag off a clove cigarette, without the cloying tingly feeling. Like a good vodka, the texture of the smoke, as well as the taste, is of better quality IMO, than the other aromatics that I've tried. My first MacBaren was vanilla cream loose cut, which wa tasty, but chemically and harsh on the tongue. Next I tried dark twist, which was much smoother, but too mild in the flavor department. HHVS seems to be both smooth and flavorful at the same time.

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.

isteen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
isteen (1)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

The blend have been fully covered by others, so I'll just describe my experience with it. It was recommended by a friend, and since I haven't smoked latakia before, I was a bit sceptic at first. I got a bowl of the stuff in the mail, so I thought why not.

When opening it, my first thought was: This is like fish food smells. After it's lit, a really pleasant smoky (but mild) taste surprises you.

It's like the best of two worlds - the pleasant taste of smoking a pipe, and the instant nicotine kick you get from smoking a cigar.

You can smoke the stuff right from the morning, and it won't give you any tongue bite.

Even if you don't think latakia is for you, I would highly suggest you try it out - I feel confident you won't be sorry.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

shihan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
shihan (22)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

On first inspection the blend seemed a little dry. This did not detract from it burning slowly. The orientals or maybe the turkish component give it a nice spicy nuance.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mparker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mparker (51)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

I love many MacBaren blends (a tin of Navy Flake is always open) but found this one to be unfortunately misguided; yet another attempt to use Syrian in a blend where Cyprian would have been a better choice. Syrian struggles when paired with too much sweetness, the use of sweet virginias in this blend was an error that was only compounded with the use of the MacBaren house topping, and has simply caused that heaping helping (40% if the manufacturer can be believed) of Syrian Latakia to disappear.

The deeper earthiness of Cyprian would have gone beautifully with this blend; conversely had MacBaren ditched the topping and gone with some blend of lighter virginias then the Syrian could have had a chance to stand up on its feet and showcase its sublime character.

Not a bad blend though, in its own way.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★☆☆☆
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".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Archangel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Archangel (22)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

An extremely interesting mixture that combines spicy Latakia, smoky dark - fired Kentucky sweet virginias and nutty Orientals.

Despite seeming rather dry upon opening, this tobacco smokes very slowly due to the high proportion of Syrian Latakia and brings high rewards to the smoker. The tin aroma is a combination of the MacBaren mixture aroma and the spiciness of the Latakia. The tobaccos range from orange to dark brown, almost black to golden brown to green (orientals).

This mixture proves that MacBaren can produce an English mixture that has nothing to envy to the current classics. Despite revealing a somehow low level of nicotine, the outstanding taste certainly compensates.

The only downside is the room note. As where my wife will tolerate and almost like Balkan Sasieni's room note, she has some issues with this one. So I have to smoke it when she is not around to enjoy it at its full potential.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sirchud68 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sirchud68 (43)
★★★☆
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 (100)
★★★★
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 (23)
★★★★
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.

tramroad28 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tramroad28 (26)
★★★☆
Mild Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It is what it appears to be. I bought one tin...then three more. Nuff said.

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.

langston302 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
langston302 (14)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Vintage Syrian has been one of my go to blends for some time now. I have enjoyed bowl after bowl and never had any tongue bite. This blend is a sweet/smokey flavor profile that I really enjoy. I have found it to be ready to flame right out of the tin. I have also found that tinned VS is a might bit tastier than the bulk packaged stuff. The flavor profile is more pronounced. I would will and do recommend this blend to smokers who would enjoy a unique flavored English blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Requiem Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Requiem (36)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Syrian latakia is very different from the Cyprus variety, and I find it more suitable for the hot weather. I strongly recommend those who don't enjoy the "campfire" caractheristics of Cyprian latakia to give a try to its Syrian brother.

I had some amazing smokes with this blend, as well as some so and so smokes... the pipe in which I smoked it made a big difference, as well as the temperature and, obviously, the biggest of all circumstances... my overall mood.

About the presence of the famous MacBaren's sweet topping, my impression is that it is present, although under disguise provided by the leafs. When smoked after heavier english blends you will notice the sweetness.

I seem immune to tongue bite (so, can't give an opinion on that). It burns well and cool. (Had about 7-8 bowls of it, courtesy of a friend, a little on the dry side.)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Rusty Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rusty (38)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Maybe it's the Syrian latakia, or maybe that addition of dark fired Kentucky that gives this blend its distinctive flavor. I don't know. I just know this is good. I would describe it as crisp and clean tasting, owing to the balance of Virginias and orientals. No MB sweetness here, and no bite either.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (155)
★★★☆
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.

Sniper3 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sniper3 (26)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I like many of the MacTobaccos. HH Syrian is, I think. one of their nicer offerings. Did not tast any MacSugar in this, and it provided a cool smoke. It is a little reserved in the flavor department, even with 50% latakia. I think that if smoked in a often used well run briar you would miss a lot of what it has. Its great in a clay. A good offering from MacBaren. See for yourself. I prefer something a little heavier - but I would not run from a tin of this if someone poked it at me.

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.

Stationmaster Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stationmaster (7)
★★★☆
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Don't get me wrong its nice, but surely this is just Plumcake with some (not much) latakia thrown in. It will bite you if you try to get it to kick. Its definately a first of the day smoke cause its a bit pale after smoking some of the more stout offerings.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Gordy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gordy (16)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is great stuff. Powerful Latakia, smooth and cool. Rich smoky flavor! An eye opener to be sure. I always have a tin on hand!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Peter Zorg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peter Zorg (34)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

I like this tobacco, but find it too mild. It is a little smoky and well balanced, but definitely too mild for me. UPDATE: I tried this in an Orlik sandblast billiard, and I happened to love it in this pipe. All in all it got a very pleasant mild smoky taste, should be smoked very slowly, and is quite relaxing.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Coltrane Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coltrane (26)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Many people complain about this tobacco being caught-up in a lot of hype. I don't go with hype, I research things and if I see something I think I might like I go for it. With that being said...

My twin brother and I found this blend in a smoke shop in San Francisco after months of searching. I was very reluctaant to try this blend as it sat with my pipe rack for literally months before I even opened it up.

The tin aroma is very smokey and spicey which kind of left me feeling like "Umm, do I really want to smoke this stuff?" It wasn't sweet in the least like a few low hitters have stated here.

It packs very easy in my Bjarne Copenhagen Billiard and lights very easy as well and gives you a cool dry smoke. It's moisturee content is very low, almost un-noticable, unlike the HH Mature Virginia my twin brother prefers.

The smoking experience is very plaesent and enjoyable with rich and full bodied flavors of Sarsaparilla with the initial light-up that moved on to spicy flavors of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and leather with hints of dark chocolate and vanilla. It leaves you with a smooth lingering finish of sweet spices, sarsaparilla, leather and toasted nuts with hints of vanilla and caramel. Many people have complained about having severe tongue bite with this tobacco. I smoke this at work on my 30-minute lunch breaks and have never had any tongue bite; oh and I don't have time to slowly smoke this stuff. I only have 30-minutes to eat and then enjoy a bowl so these complaints must come from people who huff and puff like locomotives or the big bad wolf.

The room aroma is very nice and mellow with aromas of sweet spices, vanilla and leather. I mean it almost smells like someone is cooking oatmeal raisin cookies in the distance only not as sweet. It is very pleasent and enjoyable.

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something unique yet full of character and body, you get a very high quality blend at a very reasonable price.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Northern Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Northern (6)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

I?d like to put in a word for this one. Smoking, as I do, many different tobaccos, I have a need for something stable and not overpowering but which still has interest, so that there can be a relaxation from too much nicotine, too much VA, too much of anything. And for me, this is the one to provide that relaxation. In the way of Latakia mixtures I find it unique in that it manages to deliver interest and satisfaction without overdoing anything ? so it never overwhelms you and you never require a rest from it. I find it an interesting and sophisticated mix which is very well behaved (burns steadily, never bites, always delivers the same taste etc) and is pleasant at all times and is never boring ? as are many similar blends. This is something of an achievement, I think.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big Nick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Nick (72)
★★★★
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.

UsaRet Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UsaRet (17)
★★★☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

This is a nice smoke with your first cup in the morning. It burns clean and dry, leaving a clean palate.

For my taste I would rather have more strength but I do not hesitate to recommend this to someone who likes a milder tobac.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This is a great blend of its kind. It tastes very natural. It has a strong smoky scent but after lighting it goes away and it becomes quite enjoyable even for non-smokers. I found that it's in perfect balance with it's slight spiciness and mildness. All in all it well worth a try. Oh, and it has no tongue bite what is great.

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 (32)
★★★★
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 have any astringent or overpowering sour notes, and 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.

Darwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darwin (101)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Strong

I waited until I finished a full 100g tin before I wrote this review. HH Vintage Syrian is one of the best English blends I've ever tried! Its taste is unique and fantastic. I let the smoke completely envelope my tongue with rich, smooth but spicy flavor. The Kentucky gives Vintage Syrian greater strength that I often find missing from most English blends. It's not just composed of great leaf, but is blended in a way to highlight this magnificent latakia. I know Syrian latakia can be hard to come by and disappear suddenly, so I have put 10 tins away just in case. That's not going to be enough, because I can enjoy this any time of day, and sometimes I smoke it all day long.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ToboldHornblower Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ToboldHornblower (15)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

This tobacco is my current favorite. Very subtle with many flavors emerging throughout the bowl. Depending on what you scoop out of the tin you can count on variety from bowl to bowl. Some may find that inconsistent but since the tobaccos used are so good I look forward to what each bowl holds. You get many different flavors in one bowl and from bowl to bowl from one tin.

Smokes dry and I simply do not see how anyone could get tongue bite from this blend unless they smoke far too fast. It is truly a blend to be savored, not rushed, as the slower it is smoked the more the many flavors emerge.

Those who have a devotion to one type or flavor of tobacco will probably not like this one. If your palate craves a pipe experience with a rich palatte this is your blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Titus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Titus (3)
★★★★
Medium Medium to Strong Full Tolerable

This blend is first rate. Everthing about it says quality. The tin,packing paper and aroma when you open the tin. The blend itself is complicated bringing many different tobacco's together. The Syrian Lat mixed with the Turkish gives a wonderful and distinct smokey taste that is married up with sweet VA's and orientals. The dark Kentucky adds some earth flavor to give it a bottem note and the whole thing produces tons of chewy smoke. I like to smoke this in a big L.Viprati rusticated with a square shank and a bent saddle bit. I "drink" in a long big puff and exhale out the nose like a Bedouin in his tent with long swirls of smoke around my face and a soft cloud overhead. After a few long soft pulls I swear I can see the long dark coast of Arabia and hear the music of that mystical land. Yes, great tobacco smoked in a good briar can and should have that effect on you. This blend is destined to become a classic.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ankara_Dave Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ankara_Dave (7)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Tolerable

Before I offer a review, I like to dedicate a pipe to a tobacco and give it at least five bowls or so before rendering a verdict. With this I gave it around ten before coming down on it. Overall, I'm teetering between 2 and 3 stars. The tin aroma is rather nice, good latakia balanced by the VA's and the others. A nice "campfire" scent, with a little spice in the background. Smoking though, I'm left wanting a bit more. More latakia, more VA, more everything. It's just a little bit flat for my taste, even when it's the first of the day. Smoke it after anything else with latakia in it, such as my typical daybreaker Frog Morton, and you'll really ache for more flavor. This isn't to say it's a poor blend, it's not, but it's just missing something. Good for a change of pace now and again, but not in my normal routine.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This review is of one, large bowl, compliments of my tobacconist. I have a load of favorite English blends aging in my cellar, so the chance of me buying this and smoking a full tin any time soon is slim. That is sad, because this is one Mac Baren blend that has my respect (sorry, can't think of another MB blend at this time). I will put some away to enjoy five or ten years from now for a real treat.

This is no half-effort at a world-class English blend with an Americanized twist. This is the real McCoy, friends. It has it all. It is smooth, balanced, mature, sophisticated, transparent, and tongue-friendly. It does not taste like any other English I have tried and has perhaps the finest Latakia I have tasted. Bottom-line, this is delicious, rich and worthy of your money if you are searching for a favorite smoke or one more smoke for the rotation. It has some nic-kick, too.

Better than most of the boutique English blends I have tried the last 15 years, and HH V. Syrian is from no boutique. It is from the monster Mac Baren.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

a very nice surprice from mac baren a very big difference from what we got from them untill now. give it a try

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SirLoirn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SirLoirn (126)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin: Light VA and slightly musty aroma. A variety of colors: black, brown, tan, green. Only slightly moist; ribbon cut.

Packing & Lighting: Packed easily, stayed lit. Produced very little moisture concerns. Burned a long time, but got fire hot towards the bottom of the bowl.

Taste & Aroma: A high-quality, smooth smoking experience. If this is Syrian Latakia, I'll take it. Overall a soft, sweet, woodsy, almost salty leather, taste and aroma. Surely this is not half Latakia; it is not robust enough in character.

It is interesting trying to single out the VA, smoky Latakia, and nutty Burley components from each other in the sweet woodsy melange. It is difficult to discern if any orientals are smoothing out the rough edges. A challenging and rewarding experience in that respect. There is a level, firm, woodsy quality, but with a classic soft tone.

Nicotine: Medium

Room Note: Mild VA

Overall: I was initially enamored with HH. It is creamy, having a soft VA taste and aroma. That it smokes dry or bite-free is a frustrating concept. Small amounts of condensate did form in the stem, but the bowl is left dry. Thus, a steamy sting, or classic tongue bite, developes due to the combined effects of moisture and bowl temperature.

To control this, some HH was air-dried for one hour, where it was bonedry. Whether straight from the tin or dried, the tobacco stings/bites.

The packing method was also varied to control bite. Packed loose, with tobacco just gravity fed, tapping the side of the pipe and no tamping, HH still produced the same bite/sting to the tongue.

Cannot recommend due to the bowl smoking hot, with classic tongue bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JEM Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JEM (12)
★★★★
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.

Dikos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dikos (12)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Medium Full Tolerable

Nice present from MB to english blend fans. From first part of bowl i can't remember where i feel this taste...but i remember it was Plumcake, but an improved for me version - more latakia, less bite (for me no bite at all) fresh at the end of smoking, and a cool smoke as their promised. Very good price, very smooth latakia..i will place it in my rotation. 4 stars.

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 (66)
★★★★
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.

Big bad Jon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big bad Jon (232)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

This my friends is a classic blend. The latakia is well rounded and balanced. It is not a kick in the pants latakia like Pirate Kake, or old Ironsides, even with its high latakia percentage it is a smooth gentle tobacco. The big difference to this blend I think is the complexity added by all the different tobaccos added along with the latakia. With so many latakia blends (which I like also) there is only the flavor imparted by the latakia. With all the subtleties you will find yourself discovering different tastes and nuances for quite a few bowls. From the sweetness of all the different VA's to the spice of the Orientals. This is an all around great blend. THe tin note is pretty much what you would expect, smoky and earthy. The tobacco really shines about mid bowl and burns to a very fine white ash. This is as good as it gets.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PfeifenRaucher Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PfeifenRaucher (53)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

General impressions: The tin smell reminds me of BBQ sauce - sweet yet smoky! The room note is best described as either burnt chocolate or roasting coffee - I got compliments on it! The taste is very surprising given the tin smell - it's not as smoky as I would have expected (unlike Cyprian latakia). Its hard to put my finger on what this blend tastes like, but the closest comparison I can come up with is Nat Sherman's 536 mixture only spicier and smoother. The moisture level is perfect out of the tin and requires no drying. Relighting is only needed occasionally.

Who should buy this: You like non-aromatics but find traditional latakia mixtures too strong or want a something milder. I think even die-hard aromatic smokers could appreciate it. If you like Nat Sherman's 536 mixture you will most certainly enjoy this. This blend DOES NOT taste like your typical latakia-packed English - I couldn't tell that there was 40% latakia in it (unlike say, Dunhill Nightcap where the latakia content is overwhelming to the point of unpleasantness IMHO). This would also be a great blend to break in a new pipe with due to its incredible burning properties (see comments below).

Final notes: Beside the wonderfully mild taste and smell, this is one of the ONLY blends I have encountered that TRULY smokes ALL the way to the bottom of the bowl without the frustration of constant relights and tongue burn. Others have commented on this as well and they are not kidding. I was shocked at how little dottle there was left. It also burns with out ANY gurgle - you do not need a pipe cleaner for this stuff. Great stuff. A lot of work clearly went into this blend.

My only real complaint is that it seems to only be sold in 100 g tins, which makes the price a bit steep; I would prefer a 50 g tin and not have to worry so much about keeping it from going stale too fast.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BigSwede Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BigSwede (61)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big Blue Jazzman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Blue Jazzman (32)
★★★★
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!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

loosewatches Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
loosewatches (108)
★★★☆
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

This blend provides a couple of things I thought I'd never see.....Multiple reviews classifying a MacB tobacco as 'medium to strong', and, and tobacco that doesn't taste like a typical Mac Baren. This is, by far, the most complex of the Mac Baren line.

I'd be buying much more, and giving it another star, were it not for one nagging question.....Do Mac Baren tobaccos undergo a nicotine removal process during manufacture? Because this, like the rest of their line, contains almost none.

But, if your looking for a great (almost) pure tobacco experience, and are worried about getting a nicotine buzz, put some of this in your pipe.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Right off the bat - Congratulations to all of the folks over there at MacBarens! This, and Matured Virginia in their HH line, should prove to them that they really have it in their corporate psyche to blend very good non-aromatic blends. If these two blends sell enough, maybe it'll encourage them to try more of them, like a real good VaPer. (Note the subtle hint :-)

Tin moisture is really good to me, and I find it ready to roll. The tin aroma is smoky and somewhat sweet. It packs nicely, and isn't too fussy to work with. I like that. I have dozens each of vintage Dunhill English blends; London Mixture, Early Morning, Standard Mixture Medium and Mild, 965, etc. My foundation for quality Latakia comes from those golden pre-Orlick days, as well as Greg Pease's Ravens Wing.

And to my mild surprise, this HH Syrian holds its own. I can taste 30-40% Latakia, and it definitely seems to be the subtler Syrian variety. Woodsy, and sweet blended tin aroma translates into the same as a bowl of this progresses. It isn't quite as complex as Westminster or Odyssey, but it develops beautifully. Burns cool and dry, stays fairly well lit, requiring maybe only one relight. HH Syrian works equally well in medium or larger sized pipes, and overall, this is quite wonderful stuff. I think Latakia lovers need to at least buy a tin of this and give it a shot. It isn't Sobranie or vintage 965, but it is very good. I'm thinking that in a few years of aging, this will move from what I'd give a 3.25 stars to right now, to a good 3.75.

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.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Jaybee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaybee (76)
★★★★
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!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Guyrox Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Guyrox (131)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This tobacco came as a surprise; I haven't smoked any McBaren tobaccos in a while - the last was Navy Flake, which lacked taste and strength- because they were either too cased, either too mild, either too tongue biting. But this one is as it says, an English Blend, but with the MacBaren traditional taste. To make myself clear, think of the Scottish Mixture taste, not cased, and add Oriental and Syrian Latakia in noticeable proportions, and you have HH Syrian. The result is quite surprising because, while you are smoking an English that is not tongue biting - let's not forget, it's a MacBaren-the room note is not harassing for people around you, it is quite discreet, as I noticed myself after walking around the appartment as I was around mid-bowl.

Upon opening the tin, the smokey Latakia is quite present. It took a couple days before I detected the traditional MacBaren aroma, mixed with the Latakia. An explosion of colours welcome your eye: gold, light brown, brown,orange, some red, green and black leaves. The cut is medium and the moisture level is very low, which makes the tobacco ready to smoke immediately upon opening.

This bakkie is easy to fill, easy to lit and easy to keep lit if given a minimum of attention.

The taste is definitely english/oriental throughout the bowl. But remember, it is a Syrian Latakia, not the Cyprian, which is stronger both in taste and especially room note! It becomes stronger passed mid-bowl, but not overly. It smokes very dry and leaves a nice dry bowl at the end.

I like this blend because, while I can smoke an english/oriental blend, the room aroma doesn't bother my wife at all. This is the magic of the Syrian Latakia.

Recommended!

Update 10/07/2007

After more pipefuls, I must upgrade my assessment and give this Bakkie 4 stars.

The thing is, the first half of the bowl, the latakia/oriental are mostly dominant; past half bowl, the sweetness of the VAs and Kentucky kick in big time, and by the last quarter, it's a mixture of both.

Definitely a very tasty, enjoyable, complex smoke...Highly recommended!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (263)
★★★☆
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.

ChicagoPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ChicagoPipe (45)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I stopped by the Mac Baren booth at the Chicago Pipe Show, and decided to try a can of Vintage Syrian. I have never been a fan of Mac Baren blends, too sweet and too bitey, but this is an exceptional blend. Like reviewer A.Morley, I'll have to take back everyting I said bad about Mac Baren blends.

The flavor of the Syrian latakia is a real treat. Smooth and mellow and yet very smokey. Nice sweetness from the VA's and the dark fried KY gives this blend a nice background. This is not an all day smoke, but great in the evening with a cocktail. This will defenitly be in my rotation.

Recommended

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Wow.

What can I add to the favourable reviews here.

One the driest smokes for me, ever. Crisp, clean, complex, refined, layered.

A blend in the best sense of the word. Nothing over the top.

A classic in the making. Stock up.

As for me, additional tins have been layed on...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Talonr1701 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Talonr1701 (119)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Full Pleasant

I've discovered that I love Syrian Latakia. Mixed with Virginias, for me, It gives this great sweet(like berries), smokey flavor unlike anything else. This blend is no exception. A fantastic exotic spicey, sweet and smokey blend that is a real treat. This is worth the price. Unlike most MacBarens, this is a very low maintenace blend. Not much worry about bite. Very clean burning. Not many relights. Really, you need to experience it. Highly Recomended. I have no warnings or downsides.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joey (9)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was given a sample pouch of this tobacco by my friend Rafe since he does not like Latakia. I was told by him the story of the fire and that this was supposed to be some of the best latakia out there. Now, to be honest with you the first couple of bowls I was really not impressed. I had never smoked Syrian Latakia before and did not know what to expect. I was used to the other kinds of lat and was looking for that "salty" taste.

After reading some reviews about it on here I went back and tried it again and after smoking several bowls of it now knowing what to look for I can say I truly enjoy this somewhat complext blend. I don't taste much of the oriental or turkish blends. More the sweet hits of VA and the latakia. Towards the end of the bowl the nutty taste of the KY starts to come to me and is kind of a calming taste.

Overall I am very pleased with this blend now that I know what to look for and know what syrian lat is supposed to taste like. I recommend this to anyone that wants a smooth semi-sweet tasting smoke that really is not to strong.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Casper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Casper (22)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Similiar to McLintock's syrian in many ways and thus, (as it is also a favourite), I define syrian by those blends as opposed to others of the same name, (McClelland's); that latakia can have a sweetness. A broader cut ribbon than McLintock's it really deserves a dedicated pipe to preserve that delicate sweetness that comes from both latakia and virginia. A celebration for one with a sherry casked single malt - holy smokes woman can't you just leave me be! This is great stuff at a great price in the 100's tins!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr.Vince Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr.Vince (11)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is definitely a blend for grownups!

A little too much nicotine for a regular smoke for me, but one I will keep in the lineup for special occasions. subtle combination of spice,sweet,and smokey.However, subtle does not mean boring, or mild. If you have cooked your tastebuds out on overly sweet or spicey blends you might be missing out on a uniqe blending of pipeweed. I have tried other blends of Mac Baren's and was not impressed, not even enough to write a review! This blend however is some special stuff. My tin got a little warm in shipping (that happens when you live in the desert.) but I believe it helped bring the moisture level to optimum. It smokes slow and steady in my full bend Peterson silverband( I'm not too big on full bends, but I have a couple.)And I would say that a hard cured English or Irish pipe will be an optimum pipe for this blend. An Italian Briar will soak up a little more flavor than you might want to keep unless you are going to be exclusive with this blend. The next time I find some in stock I will pick up a couple more tins for the future, as it is selling out as fast as most retailers can get it in.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (138)
★★★☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

porshcigar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
porshcigar (27)
★★★★
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Zone Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Zone Smoke (199)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A smooth and tasty blend made with some very high quality Syrian leaf. The tobacco packs well and smokes dry leaving nothing but white ash at the end of the bowl. The fire cured Kentucky leaf adds an interesting dimension to the blend while the latakia makes it's presence well known throughout the bowl. Like most Danish blends, Mac Baren's tobaccos can bite if not smoked with your full attention. However, this blend essentially has no bite whatsoever. A real treat for Syrian latakia smokers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.