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A bold flake of dark-fired burleys in a well balanced unity with Flue-cured Virginias. This flake is Hot Pressed, meaning that during the pressing, heat is added by steam to the tobaccos which causes the tobacco to intensify the marrying process giving us a bolder tobacco. The robust, earthly flavour of the dark-fired burleys shines through in the taste, and you will experience a deeply satisfying smoke indeed.

Notes: One of the most fascinating parts about this tobacco that will be sure to confuse a lot of American pipe smokers is that, despite the fact that HH Old Dark Fired contains zero Latakia, Mac Baren still considers it an English because of the method used in its production, specifically the steam press.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByHenrik Halberg
Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsKentucky, Virginia
Packaging50gm tin, 100 gm tin, 1 lb box
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy Cup O' Joes
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Medium to Strong
None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note

Favorite Of 34 Users

127 reviews
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moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (62)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

In view of recent changes to this website, here is the full review of HH Old Dark Fired that I ought to have done in the first place:

IMO, this blend is an all-time classic. Tin note is deep, dark chocolate over fermented raisins and exotic spices, over the rich, fermented dark-fired leaf, and if you keep sniffing you may detect the sharp-ish cigar notes also mentioned by some other reviewers. The beautiful, large flakes are well presented and easy to work with, and they can be smoked right out of the tin. Rubbed out, ODF can be smoked as a medium/full no-brainer, easy burning, with blissful clouds of spicy, rich, chocolate/raisin smoke. These days I usually cut some "using" flakes to length based on a nominal chamber depth and I dry a piece out some before I roll, spindle and loosely stuff it vertically into a pipe. This technique results in a stronger, more cigar-like smoke that also burns down to a fine gray ash, just like a cigar. The chocolate and raisins are still present in spades, but the spices and the whole tobacco aspect of the smoke are stronger and sharper, including all the dark-fired nuances you could want, under the circumstances. Aftertaste is pretty much aftermath, persistent and delicious to this tobacco lover. Strength just nudges over my idea of medium, with a lot of taste for this level of nicotine.

If you have not yet tried this, and if you can handle real, full tobacco, I strongly recommend you try ODF, if you can find it. I don't smoke it often, but I always find it satisfying when I do smoke it.

Update: Not to "temper" the review, rather simply to add, like most "highly processed" pipe tobaccos, the additives in ODF tend to delineate with time spent in a jar. In this case, the result is the apparent mild scent and very muted taste of said additives, along with a very slightly acrid quality toward the end of a bowl. And, no surprise, the constituent tobaccos also become more melded and more mellow. Not really a problem for me; just saying. Of course, one way to "handle" this is to enjoy it straight away.

Pipe Used: various briars

Age When Smoked: "fresh" to almost 2 years from jars

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: ODF & Sillem's Commodore Flake put me in mind one of the other, despite their obvious differences. GLP's Key Largo is another one; different, but also has "that something". Also compares/contrasts to Solani 660 Silver Flake and Gawith, Hoggarth's Brown Irish X..

30 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (1464)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

It's a little closer to medium than strong in regard to strength and taste, but I think it depends on how used to strong tobaccos you are. Burleys and Virginias work in darn near perfect harmony, and you can taste both in every single puff. There's a natural sweetness that was enhanced by being steam pressed, mild nuttiness, tart and/or slightly sour and tangy at times, with a bit of earth, wood and smoky quality as well as a bit of spice from the dark fired Kentucky. The complexity works to its advantage. I didn't really get the fruitiness some have noted, except for maybe a little date note. There may be some flakes that are more complex, but not by a whole lot, and this gives you plenty enough as it is. Burns at a moderate pace, fairly evenly, and is tinned at the perfect moisture level with a decent nic-hit that gets stronger as you smoke along. Needs a few relights, but the taste is consistent form start to finish, and little moisture is left in the bowl. I recommend a slow puffing cadence for best effect.

There are stronger tobaccos. I find these burleys work better with the Virginias than other kinds of dark-fired ones; not too strong to knock you off your feet, and certainly not weak.

24 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (733)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Based on a 1 oz sample I got from a pipe forum pal. After I finished the sample, I ordered 10 more tins. I doubt that will last very long. This is one excellent tobacco, a wonderful example of what a skillful blender can do when they keep the honey and sugar in their respective containers and put out a natural tobacco. This is far from the prototypical Mac Barens that offends some smokers with its bite, lack of flavor and character, and sappy sweetness (the 3 biggest complaints I've heard... and I can't say they are unreasonable complaints in most cases).

I have smoked a fair bit of G&H Dark Flake and Peterson's Irish Flake. I prefer this one, and not by a small margin. Mac Barens managed to get most of the strength and earthy "presence" into a flake that doesn't overwhelm the nuances inherent in the leaf. They melded the two together exquisitely. This is earthy, dark and incredibly deep - and it is strong as well - but it's not so overpowering that even someone that shies away from nicotine couldn't enjoy in a small bowl. It's tasty and refined and luxurious. Probably the best dark flake I've ever smoked and my early leader for Best Tobacco of 2012. The best Christmas present I could receive would be to find this available in bulk! If you like strong tobaccos but find them to be occasional smokes due to their brutality, get yourself some of this. Mac Barens kept the best parts of strong dark flakes and made a blend that most anyone would find smokable. Well done, Mac Barens! Blending genius, pure and simple.

UPDATE 6/5/13

This now comes in 1 pound boxes (bulk). Merry Christmas to ME! I just bought two boxes. I've smoked hundreds of tobaccos and this is now in my Top 5 of currently produced blends. Simply excellent!

20 people found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (169)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

When first lit, Old Dark Fired delivers a flavor that is quite soft and very enjoyable. The beginning of the bowl is reminiscent of a smooth earthy cigar, one with just a touch of spice to it. I love to smoke this in my little Peterson Tankard. The concentration of earthy dark chocolate like flavors mixed with the dark-fire spice is absolutely wonderful. Old Dark Fired has a warm primary tone with deep molasses like flavors and a lingering midrange honey like essence that is similar to the tin note.

Now that I am half way through my second tin, I have found that for me it is imperative to fold and stuff this flake. Getting it going and keeping it lit is a bit more of a process but the payoff in flavor is nothing short of amazing. When rubbed out, Old Dark Fired can take a serious turn to the bitter side of the flavor spectrum. But when folded, it burns remarkably cool and maintains its round semi-sweet bitter chocolate like flavor for most of the bowl.

As expected, middle to end bowl flavors develop nicely & even though they become more bold and spicy, never am I overwhelmed when smoking this beautiful flake. If anything the intense bittersweet smokiness that ultimately develops seems to just welcome me in & I feel right at home with its strength.

I can't say enough good things about this flake. It's just plain stellar. It's by far and away the best thing I have ever had from Mac Baren and I will always keep a tin on hand.

19 people found this review helpful.

DoomDealer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoomDealer (9)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

First of all, let me say I'm an inexperienced pipe smoker, so my review(s) won't be as in-depth or sophisticated as those by more experienced smokers. I enjoy my pipes immensely, as well as discovering new tobaccos, and I intend to wean myself off cigarettes once and for all in the not too distant future.

MacBaren's HH Old Dark Fired is a tobacco I wanted to try for some time, having read all the raving reviews and having heard lots of good things about it. So when I ordered my Churchwarden I ordered a tin of this as well. I'm normally a bit sceptical about reviews (I read them but I like to make up my own mind) but in this case they were absolutely spot on.

I don't know a lot about tobaccos (or blends) - Virginia, Latakia, Perique and what-not. For me there are only two important aspects when it comes to tobacco: a) I want top-notch quality (with the prices especially in the UK I'm not gonna spend my hard earned cash on anything other than top-notch quality tobacco) and b) whether or not I like it. Everything else is secondary.

I've tried a few tobaccos over the years, but nothing could have prepared me for this. When I lit my pipe with this in it I was floored! I'd never quite experienced anything like it! On opening the tin I was already quite impressed: neatly arranged flakes and a beautifully deep, heavy and rich aroma; a hint of chocolate and fruit to my nose. This has got to be one of the best tobaccos out there at the moment and this is coming from somebody who, in essence, has only tried out a fraction of the tobaccos on offer. Why? Because I fail to see how anybody could feel that this tobacco leaves anything to be desired! In fact, I daresay even the most ardent aro smoker would be more than happy with this most of the time. If you haven't tried it yet then I'd strongly suggest you get a tin as quickly as possible. You owe it to yourself to try this!

I've so far only tried it rubbed out (works for me), after having let the tin dry out a bit over night, despite the moisture being pretty much perfect. For some strange reason it doesn't seem to like my Churchwardens (gets quite hot and there's a lot of gurgling going on, but that could easily be just me), but in my battered, 25 year old Ermanno Elite it was perfect (same way of packing and smoking): cool with an intense, complex and rich aroma; absolutely no TB whatsoever (and I know a thing or two about TB having smoked mainly aro's), no wet mess at the bottom of the bowl and the nic kick is perfect.

Having tried HHODF was like a lightbulb moment for me and I've since banished my aromatics to the back of the cupboard. This is unbelievably good stuff! I could quite happily smoke only this for the rest of my life and never look at another tobacco ever again. I'll be buying much much more of this. Absolutely glorious!

UPDATE: After three tins of this, I still maintain that this is absolutely fabulous stuff and fully stand behind my review! My tobacconist was gonna discontinue this stuff (apparently nobody buys it), but I managed to persuade him to keep it in stock. Phew. I have thrown out all my aro's because I realised what rubbish I had been smoking up to that point, and I can only recommend everybody else doing the same.

Pipe Used: Aldo Morelli, Ermanno Elite, Peterson Churchwarden

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke-king

12 people found this review helpful.

samcoffeeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
samcoffeeman (32)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I'm almost finished my first tin of this. I've smoked similar tobaccos like Jackknife plug and Stonehaven. This blows those two well-regarded tobaccos away. The flavor profile is excellent. It is rich, smooth and complex, hints of smokiness and spice with some sweetness. The smoke is never overwhelming despite its full flavor. It doesn't bite. I like the nic kick it gives, which is an eye-opener. I'm about to buy large quantities of this stuff, it is that good. Mac Baren hit a home run, and usually I'm not too fond of their offerings.

11 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1453)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This review of HH Old Dark Fired is one in which the tobacco was fresh from the order when it first hit the scene a couple of years ago. The steaming of the leaf certainly took away any tendency for there to be a bite to the leaf and it was very dark. The floral scent was heavy and it did convey to the smoking experience itself, although not with vigor.

The earthy flavor of the Burley leaf was stout and the Virginia was in the background and frankly, did little to naturally sweeten the overall presentation. The taste was certainly on the high side of medium and despite claims of this one containing decades old burley, it still had a fresh taste to me that was not unpleasant but sure didn't add anything to the smoke. And, I never got the impression that this is a strong blend although it was not limp wristed either. I did sock away a few tins to enjoy in a few years, and I doubt I will be smoking any more of this until then.


7 people found this review helpful.

hedgehog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hedgehog (8)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Short version: a towering, noble, austere triumph,

Presentation: perfect, finely brindled and squared-off flakes. If a Saville Row bespoke suit could be converted into a flake tobacco, that flake tobacco would be Old Dark Fired.

Pack and Light: I may be a control-freak about my burn, but I prefer to rub this flake out myself so that I can ensure a perfectly even pack. The flake requires very little drying time right out of the (admittedly recently produced) tin. Two charring lights and we're airborne for the rest of the bowl.

The first third reveals the astringent depth of the Very Old Virginias that star in this blend, a sort of balsamic like complexity without the sweetness, or maybe something like the tang of salt-pickled lemons. In short order, however, the dark fired burleys join ranks with the Virginias, and the smoke begins its long smooth march from bright to dark, building both in complexity and strength without ever losing composure.

In the second part of the bowl, a deep, mocha creaminess combines with something raisiny, and the combination is almost heartbreaking in its classical, unflashy symmetry of high and low, sweet and bitter, rich and bright.

The finale arrives when the smoke shifts to a woodier, more cedary dryness, and the burley presides over the striking of the set.

A serious and uncompromising tobacco, demanding and rewarding undivided attention. One of the best.

Pipe Used: Medium, U-shaped bowls, esp. billiards.

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Gawith FVF.

6 people found this review helpful.

Darby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darby (15)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

MacBaren HH Old Darkfired (Burley/Va Flake)

When I first shopped for this blend, I was gently forewarned it was for experienced smokers, and after enjoying most of a 100g tin, I’m inclined to partially agree, mostly on account of its burning qualities, which can require some initial trial and error for people unaccustomed to dense slightly moist flakes ... more on that at the end of the review. For now, I’ll cover the basics, for the benefit of newcomers to this unctuous offering.

First off, props to Mac Baren for their use of compact, high quality tins that are properly sized for the contents provided, and properly vintage dated.

To begin - HH ODF is a firm, slightly moist, and robustly kilned dark flake, comprised of Burley and Flue-cured Virginias. The burleys bring body and a rich nuttiness to the table, and the naturally sweet and slightly citrusy virginias (already flue-cured before being pressed and kilned into the dense dark cake these flakes are cut from) add some deeply caramelized and slightly tangy nuances to the mix. The resulting tin note is most simply described as a symphony that (for me) evokes hints of KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce, a touch of Belgian dark candi sugar (used by Trappists to color/flavor lush offerings like “Chimay Blue” nut brown ale), and a slightly smokey/spicy hint of Chipotle chili pepper. This is a rich, naturally pungent and toothsome flake, and clearly shows old fashioned quality craftsmanship.

The obligatory charring lights bring forth the dark, sweet, nutty and slightly saucy tin aromas, along with a subtle tang evoking faint hints of tamarind and caramelized orange peel. The flavor gets briefly confused as the majority of the bowl slowly kilns and gets ready to release its goodness, but as the first third winds down and the mid-bowl comes online, the flavors settle down, mellow a bit, and everything begins firing on all cylinders. In short order, a rich maltiness appears, accompanied by gentle hints of milk fudge and toffee, riding atop a soft milky/peppery sting that almost evokes perique, and with slow steady sipping those flavors carry all the way to the end of the dottle. My tin featured a faint hint of youthful edginess that will doubtless fade with some extended aging, but it's barely worth mentioning, and par for the course for bold vintage tobaccos like this one.

Bottom line: this is a rich, solid, dark flake that can be enjoyed straight, and also used to add oomph and complexity to lighter VaPrs beset by anemic cores of unflavored cavendish. This dual use makes HH ODF a great addition to any tobacco larder.

Recommended (3.5 of 4 stars, which gets rounded down to 3).

Suggested pairings: For beers, dry Irish or dryish imperial stout, trappist brown ale, dopplebock, or eisbock (ex: Samiclaus). For wine, Cream sherry. For bourbon, dark lush offerings like Baker’s 107 or Pappy VanWinkle 18. For scotch, Macallan 18. For brandy, a nice dark Armagnac. For rum, Gosling Dark Seal.

UPDATE (Apr 2014): Solani - 656: Aged Burley Flake has bumped HH ODF off my favorites list, and is my currently reigning favorite burley-based blend. I've since rounded ODF downward from 3.5 to 3 stars, instead of up to 4. Also, I've discovered that the tins for this product are no longer fully airtight once opened, so if you consume this slowly I recommend repackaging in glass.

------------------------------- Packing tips:

It took a little trial and error to find the best method to enjoy this tobacco. Mac Baren put out a YouTube video advocating the two-flake “half-fold and stuff” method, but for me it seems to give a slightly uneven pack and some excess 'channeling'. A closely related method method is the “Z-fold plug”, whereby you stack two flakes, fold lengthwise (across grain) in thirds in a z-pattern, then roll it gently crosswise (with the grain) to form a shorter cylindrical plug. That method worked slightly better for me, but still resulted in some channeling and some extra re-tampling/re-lighting. Everyone has their favorite method for flakes, but for this tobacco, the following seems to work best for me: leave two flakes out to dry for 15-30 mins, then use a chef knife to cross-cut them into quarters, then rub them out into short ribbons (some of which will naturally crumble into smaller fragments). Sprinkle into your bowl, compact lightly (this tobacco expands during smoking, so pack with restraint), then top off and repeat until the pipe is just over ¾ full. Two charring lights (with several small puffs apiece), a gentle tamp, followed by true lighting, and you’re good to go.

Pipe Used: Dr Grabow Freehand Briar (Group 4)

Age When Smoked: Aug 2013 (100g tin)

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Solani - 656: Aged Burley Flake.

6 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (816)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant

Old Dark Fired . This I find to be very auspicious . The presentation of the flakes is very good , of a good thickness with a very good moisture content making them incredible to rub and fill with . It has a very predictable Virginia and Burley aroma which is as you would expect ! It is incredibly easy to light and gives a very steady burn . For me it has a very full Virginia and Burley flavour with no bite ( which I find many Mac Barens can give) . If you are a fan of a full tasting Virginia/Burley then this will not disappoint you !

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

6 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (473)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I've been smoking the ready rubbed version for about a year and a half and liked it so much I just neglected to try the flake. Evidently, 8 months ago I had decided to try it, bought a tin, and promptly forgot about it. Found it last week and have been hitting it pretty hard since. The MM Mark Twain is the perfect size for rolling and stuffing two flakes into so I've been using that pipe exclusively. It's a very firm pack, but always leaves a good draw. The flavor here, as opposed to the ready rubbed is a little sweeter and purer. The same wonderful brown sugar notes are there, but they seem cleaner. The natural tobacco notes are a bit more evident as well. It's a much longer smoke, about an hour and fifteen minutes compared to forty-five or fifty. I would expect that because I don't use two full flakes if I rub it out. This is just a fantastic tobacco regardless of how you smoke it. I love it stuffed or rubbed. The slightly better flavors smoking it rolled or folded and stuffed are a plus in it's favor. The ability to buy it in bulk is a plus in favor of the ready rubbed. They're both great and I'll keep both in my stash.

Body is medium. Flavor is medium to full. Needs a little drying time. When I plan to smoke it rolled and stuffed I do so then leave the pipe out with the stem removed for about eight hours. Burns perfectly after that. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best smokes on the planet.

EDIT: Just read DK's comment about the flake now being available in bulk. I wasn't aware of that. Checked the prices and saw that a pound of flakes is only $3 more than a pound of ready rubbed. I'm going with just the flakes from now on. FURTHER EDIT: The flakes can be found at the same price as the ready rubbed. $43 a pound at both and also has it at $46, which is where I first looked.

Pipe Used: MM Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: 8 months

Purchased From:

5 people found this review helpful.

cobacco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cobacco (52)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

5 Stars! Damn this stuff is good! I love burley and ODF is an excellent flake to put alongside Irish Flake and Gawith Louisiana Flake. I am amazed that a simple steam process can produce such a unique and flavorful smoke. I received a rusty one year old tin from pipesandcigars THANK YOU! I've been taking these wonderfully aged flakes right out of the tin, folding up and stuffing without drying. After a slightly persnickety relight you get a wonderful sweet nutty flavor and it's a good long smoke for a burley blend. $13 bucks is a bargain for this 3.5 ounce tin. You'll get about two dozen small bowls of high quality smoking. ODF is easy on the palate, so you could smoke it hard, but it heats up, so you have to go easy, especially on the last half of the bowl. Flavor is good to the bottom of the bowl. Leaves the pipe clean and dry. Goes great with amber beer.


Age When Smoked: 1 Year

Purchased From: pipesandcigars

5 people found this review helpful.

The Happy Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Happy Piper (14)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

This is a full flake in the finest tradition which puts FVF in its place. The tin-note is heavenly with that almost offensive fermented power that one instinctively knows signals a bold smoke. The first-light suggests wonderful things and then there is the taste some of us have been searching for for a long, long time. This is a quality rendition of "real tobacco", with ever-increasing taste, not a hint of bite and clouds of full, unctious smoke. I personally find that it rises in strength to an almost overwhelming degree then, afer a rest, returns to normal as the moisture evaporates to make the final third far more enjoyable than I had anticipated. I feel it is a testament to the blender's art that the the nicotine content is about as reasonable as one could expect for such an up-front offering- I was a bit shaky but not overhwelmed. It is a little stronger than I am comfortable with as a broken flake but rubbed out it is more or less perfect. No gurgling, no casing (that I can detect), no ashy dissapointment at the end. There is much more going on than in Peterson's Irish Flake, which tastes black and un-nuanced in comparison- think Condor Long Cut with an added nutty-citrus note and absolutely no perfume. I plan to dial it down a touch with 10% Union Square to add yet more expansiveness to the taste, but this is a work in progress. McBaren have for some time now, had a reputation as a "beginner's brand"- this is certainly not the case for HHODF. It is the real deal. All you pipist who have to have IF or CLC to find a satisfying pipe take note; there is a new sherrif in town.

Addendum: I have subsequently mixed HHODF with GLP's Union Square, approx 50/50 ratio and rubbed out to approx a broken flake consistency then allowed to marinate for a couple of days in a large jar with enough air in it to allow both tobaccos to breath. This mixture is quite possibly the best tobacco I have ever tasted in my life. Due to the differing strengths and palates of the two blends, the HHODF is dialled down to about 70% but the piquant, citric Va from US does not overwhelm, serving instead to make the ODF serve as a basenote to a complex smoke- think rasperry coulis on top of a bitter dark chocolate sauce, with the perfect lemon sponge in the middle. These tobaccos were made for each other. Truly exceptional.

5 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (263)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

I picked up a tin of this at the tobacconist yesterday, and I have really enjoyed it. It is a good, nutty, earthy burley with some Virginia overtones. It is deep and full - just a little of the Virginia tart and sweet. It delivers on the tobacco taste. I did not detect any added flavor, but I don't have the most delicate palate. It has a good consistent flavor and smokes very clean to the bottom of the bowl. If you would like to try a really good medium-strong pressed burley blend, this is highly recommended.

Edit: I am now three tins deep into the ODF experience, and my evaluation has not changed. I have been rubbing it out. This is excellent tobacco at an affordable price. If this blend sounds remotely appealing, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

5 people found this review helpful.

Sinister Topiary Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sinister Topiary (82)
Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

This is my first foray into finding a replacement for my beloved Bracken Flake (RIP), because some misanthropic villain at Samuel Gawith decided to lessen the quality of my life by removing my favorite nectar from their inventory. Well, now the grieving is over. I accept the reality with reluctance and have entered the stage of acceptance. It's now time to move on. And so begins my hopeless journey to try to discover something that pretends to fill the void.

When I came across this flake the description sounded very promising, especially when I discovered that many of my favorite reviewers here think very highly of this one. So I plopped down $85 for a tin at my local Brick & Mortar. My first bowl was very promising. But as I worked my way through the tin I liked it less and less.

Clearly this is a nice, quality flake, beautifully constructed. And I discovered that a larger bowl helps bring out the flavor more. But though I stuck with it and tried to like it (at $85 a tin in Canada you can bet I'm going to try to like it!), it took me almost the entire 100 grams to realize that this is not a flake for me. I found it a difficult flake to work with, for one thing. (Darby, though, had good advice for how to fold the flake that worked for me.) And I could never get the moisture level right either.

But then I realized it's not a question of the moisture level. Dry or moist, it's the flavor of this that underwhelms me. Too much burley.

I think I've discovered something through this flake. Though many of my favorite flakes have ample amounts of Kentucky, I am not a fan of unadorned Burley. Each bowl, especially after the charring light, began with an enticing sweet, spicy & woody nuance. But that nuance never fulfilled its promise: the flavor quickly became monochrome and rather tasteless as I progressed through the bowl. Each bowl ended up tasting rather bland, like mildly sweet particle board with a hint of earthy darkness. The Burley in this blend is too prominent, overwhelming the virginias, which leaves me with a smoke that's too "open" and not very interesting. I see why Pipesmoking101 considers this a flat smoke.

I think I have an idea of what everybody else appreciates about it. But for me, it wasn't satisfying, and what flavor I got from it didn't exactly float my boat. Clearly a flake for those who love burley more than I do, I suppose. I think what ODF proves is that my favorite Kentucky-laden flakes need to take a trip through Kendal for me to enjoy them.

4 people found this review helpful.

oldcodger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oldcodger (60)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

HH Old Dark Fired is the finest burley flake I know, and that is saying a lot for there are some outstanding competitors, Solani Aged Burley Flake and Peterson University Flake in particular.

This is fired burley that has been steam pressed to a dark brown with just a few light brown flecks. There is enough Virginia to round out and sweeten the taste.

MacBaren manufactures an exquisite flake. I find this to smoke best with the flakes jammed in the pipe with a little rubbed out as tinder to start the light. (This is also available in a rubbed out form, and I find that version wimpier.)

MacBaren buys and stockpiles tobaccos of very high quality, and even their cheaper blends are highly processed, some might argue over processed. I certainly would not maintain that this offering is overly processed. For my money, MacBaren has done this just right.

The taste is full, but not overwhelming. There is complexity here. Every puff does not seem the same as you work through the pipe-full. Bite is not likely if a proper puffing cadence is utilized. (With some MacBaren mixtures you have to be exceedingly careful; not so with this one.) The taste is nutty with chocolate overtones. It all burns down to a dry light grey ash.

The room note has a pleasant natural tobacco aroma, but is much more neutral than the taste the smoker enjoys. The nicotine level is fairly high.

I have smoked this in all kinds of pipes, from meerschaums, cobs, and briar cheapies to my Dunhills. All of the pipes that I have tried with this smoked wonderfully well.

There are some smokers who eschew burley, and they will not care for this. Those sensitive to high nicotine levels will also find this a tough go. For everyone else I give an unreserved thumbs up.

4 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (278)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Come on, who are they trying to fool, this tobacco is too high class, too tasty, too wonderful to be Mac Baren's ! When you open the tin you see perfectly sliced flakes of dark brown tobacco and a scent of apricots and raisins, good enough to eat. I took one flake out , gave it a quick rub and decided it was too damp to smoke , all I could stand waiting was 5 minutes before I had to pop it in the micro wave for 7 seconds, it was then at perfect humidity. The light and burn was perfect.

Ah, how to describe the taste? Did I mention that I'm NOT a Burley fan, but coincidently about 3 weeks ago ,on a lark, I ordered an oz. of Sutliff's Edgeworth Ready Rub Match, just to bring back some memories from 40 years ago. It was OK, but this blend takes ERR to a whole new level. The distinct ERR molasses taste is there, but only lightly in the background, a well cured dark Virginia took the center stage. Layered on top of this is a distinct touch of Perique ( I realize that Perique is not listed) . This gives a raisin taste, a bit of spice, and a wonderful incense scent when allowed to drift up the nose. . I don't get the cigar notes that some of our reviewers have described as I get with Solani's 656 Aged Burley Flake, but rather more chocolate raisin flavors. Powerful "N", you bet, it should come with a warning "don't operate power tools while smoking this". Oh , no bite !

If I was to try to blend this, I would start with 80% SG"s St. James Flake and add 20% Edgeworths Ready Rub. Best Kentucky/Burley experience in a long time, but this is more of a " creamy Vaper" to me.

SIX WEEKS LATER- I've had this in the cellar only covered ( sometimes I seal tins with a hot glue gun). The tobacco is now perfect for smoking, the flakes are still pliable but on the dry side. Using a Missouri Maple, I lightly folded and stuffed a few flakes and this tobacco was magnificent. It still retained a sweet dark molasses flavor but the Perique spice and raisin FLAVOR has faded, but not the incense SCENT. Allow the smoke drift up the nose ( reminds me of a new Book). Also, allow time to savor this one, at a slow sip, and don't miss out on the scent (becomes lost using the DGT). Still a 4 star and I have to revaluate my dislike for Burley.

Pipe Used: cob/ Maple

Age When Smoked: 1 month/ 3 months

Similar Blends: 80% St. James Flake & 20% Edgeworth Ready Rub, also, a stronger Robert McConnel Scottish cake.

4 people found this review helpful.

Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (65)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Tin note is dark, earthy loam, mushrooms and cocoa. Plenty of leather too. This is a burly tobacco, pardon the pun. Very flavorful, complex, solid dose of vitamin N if that's what your in to. Highly recommended.

Not for everybody. If you're a new pipe smoker or graduating from aromatics, ask someone for a flake or two to sample. Or you might want to start with Solani Aged Burley as a kinder, gentler introduction to this genre.

Similar Blends: Pease New World Triple Play.

4 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Motoyoshi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Motoyoshi (67)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

It's hard to write this review without any bias because this is one of my favorite tobaccos...from one of my least favorite blenders.

I think most agree that MB's flake presentation is second to none; this being no exception. Perfectly cut thin strips of dark leaf with very few flecks of light colored tobacco. The tin smells of something sweet, spicy, smokey all rolled into one. The moisture level out of the tin may be a bit high for some, but not too much drying time is needed. I actually prefer this tobacco a little on the moist side for optimal flavor. No DGT for this one.

Tastes good rubbed out but I prefer to fold and stuff. Another reason I like this more than the ready rubbed. When smoking a flake of this, the flavors tend to seem to come out more and have a broader range. I always find the Kentucky kicks the first 1/4 of the bowl but slowly loses its potency making way for the other profiles. The VAs are sweet and work very well with the smoke and spice. Steaming these leaves has truly made it easy on the tongue (unlike other blends from this company). There is a subtle sweetness that I detect and I know they use minimal casings; just enough to bind the leaves. But in no way does it inhibit the flavors in the smoke.

In my experience, Kentucky can sometimes have a tendency to dry out the smoke. I find the Kentucky in Three Nuns to be over bearing and drown out the sweetness of the VAS. ODF on the other hand has a juicy quenching flavor. Think of a BBQ pork shoulder in a slow cooker. Being that it's sweet enough on its own, I tend to not enjoy this in a cob. I enjoy this in my briars the most.

Vitamin N for this doesn't seem to bother me but I have heard many say it was too much for them. Room note is nothing to rave about but that hasn't stopped me in the past. If you liked Savineli Doblone d'Oro, you should try this. And vice versa. I've enjoyed this so much I've already bought a couple of the pound boxes and have several tins in the cellar. I hope this never goes out of production.

Pipe Used: Mortas, cobs, briars and meers

Age When Smoked: From fresh to 3 years of age

Similar Blends: Savinelli - Doblone d'Oro.

3 people found this review helpful.

Earl Grey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Earl Grey (34)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I could really smell the Kentucky when I opened the tin. I did the fold and stuff method to pack my pipe and fired it up. I was greeted by a dark, earthy, woodsy kind of smoke. A single flake burned for a long time. This is a great wintertime one for me. It's definitely not lacking in vitamin N either. Not an everyday smoke for me, but one I treasure and like to savor and puff on slowly. This one doesn't bite me in the least either. One I definitely like to keep around.

Pipe Used: Danish Briar

Age When Smoked: Fresh out of tin.

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Peterson Irish Flake.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (102)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Had you asked me about Mac Baren before I tried this, I would have said I don't like Mac Baren tobaccos. I still don't like them, but this one was love at first light, it's just good quality tobacco taste all the way through, from first light all the way to the end, could even be an all day smoke as it gets closer to winter. This is another one I make sure I have a small stockpile of

Pipe Used: Good in all pipes I've used

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: My smoking shop

Similar Blends: FVF with hobnail boots on.

3 people found this review helpful.

JustinCarcerated Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustinCarcerated (77)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

It seems serendipitous if not an honor that I post the 100th review of what it truly an outstanding toby, HH Old Dark Fired. My journey into pipe smoking has been immensely benefitted by this site- and the postulates of wiser Sages than myself, which is what led me to try this tobacco,... I would not have considered it two years ago,

I state this to as Burley-forward blends are not my cup of tea, and this blend seems as such to me, in description as well as taste.

But oh how this blend has it all: Richly designed packaging complete with gold embossed foil, 1/2 width flakes of equal proportions - fruity in their freshness, perfectly cut for folding and stuffing even small bowls.

And the flavor!!! The burley has a chocolate-like smoothness, which marries so well with the Virginias that the combination achieves a smoothness and sweetness that is quite uncanny to me- and absolutely no bite, none whatsoever. It smokes cool, becomes more complex as the bowls progress, and shines for me in a smaller Meer, burning slow and lasting quite long even with me mimicking Thomas the Train.

I cannot recommend this enough. It doesn't strike me as super strong in the Vitamin N department, but then again I am well seasoned. Other than that aspect, I'd recommend it to every enthusiast who wishes to partake in what separates the wheat from the chaff, curds from the whey....

Simply fantastic! !!

Pipe Used: Meer and Briars

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipes&

3 people found this review helpful.

Granny Smith Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Granny Smith (23)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This is the kind of tabacco I love - slow burning and smooth with an aftertaste of dark chocolate. I don't rub out the flakes but rather fold them into the pipe, which I think gives a fuller flavour than rubbing the tobacco out. There are several blends that I always keep on hand and this will become one of them. The nicotine hit is considerable which is something I love - not for me those weak tobaccos, but give me a full bodied smoke and I'm in my element. And Old Dark Fired is one such tobacco. This is likely my all time favourite and as been for sometime. Of course I'm always trying new blends, looking for that perfect pipe tobacco but Old Dark Fired comes pretty close to what I consider perfect. I've just ordered two more 100g tins so that should tell you something.

Sitting outside on a nice evening with a glass of Merlot and a pipe full of old dark fired is a pleasure comparable to sharing a bed with Colin Firth. Full bodied and satisfying with a smouldering darkness that seduces the tongue. There is a distinct chocolately aftertaste but that's only half the story because I've never found chocolate that tastes this good.

Pipe Used: Falcon limited edition white tip

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Black Swann

Similar Blends: pure pleasure.

3 people found this review helpful.

Britannia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Britannia (10)
Medium None Detected Medium Strong

Virginia/Burley flake you say, well this is right up my alley, light 'em up. I smoked exactly two tins of this, so I think I can give an honest review. I have to admit that I came with the preconception that this, being a Mac Baren blend, would bite at some point. It didn't, no matter how hard I pushed this, at times puffing like a freight train, I could not get this to come close to biting. However, working through the two tins, the blend never developed a unique character or depth that I felt it was capable of. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a fine blend, and a great introduction to VA/BUR's in general, but I think this will really shine when aged for a time to build some character. I plan on purchasing a couple of tins and revisit this at a later date to see what father time has accomplished.

Smoked in a variety of pipes, but for this review I smoked ODK in a Radice Rind Bulldog. There is a subtle sweetness coupled with spicy/sour notes as you work your way through the smoke. The mouth feel is creamy at times and the dark fired never overwhelms the palate. Burns down to a fine ash with little dottle left in the bowl. The smoke is firmly in the middle of medium strength for me and was quite satisfying.

Pipe Used: Radice Rind Bulldog

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: John Haynes Tobacconist

3 people found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (896)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Many have been talking about this tobacco and how strong it is and full bodied and it just didn't ring my bell at all. It was wonderful to find a MB blend that didn't scorch my tongue, but where is the flavor? It had a mild aroma, but where's the taste? Additionally, this is supposed to be loaded with Vit. N....really? Could not find that either. I do smoke some stout natural VA blends with Latakia and Turkish/Orientals, so maybe I'm already saturated with nicotine and resistant to milder flavors. I don't really think so though, good try MB, just didn't work for me.

3 people found this review helpful.

Haddock Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Haddock (3)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

First the tin, i love the small mac baren tins with flake. The look of the tin is a bit old school, as the HH line is, two lions with the logo.

The smell from the tin is amazing, i get more Kentucky than Virginia. The flakes is dark and i think the Virginias is the same as Dunhill RY. The taste is a pure tobacco taste, and i love it. Coming from Denmark where Mac Baren also is coming from, i have tried most of their tobaccos, i do smoke aromatics very day but not the ones from Mac Baren they are just bad. I was beginning to think what they should do to up their products and then HH line came.. wow.

I cant recommend this blend enough, thats even coming from a big aromatic lover.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum pipe

Age When Smoked: New tin

Purchased From: Danish pipe shop

2 people found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (52)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Top five for me. Actually top 2, and I've neglected reviewing for so long simply because I'm incapable of doing this blend justice with any words I know. I'm a simple man, and I like my tobacco the same.

Open the tin or jar anywhere in the house, and you'll know it at the other end of the house. The distinct, delectable smokiness is strong with this one. To me it resembles really smoky BBQ sauce. I've never had the ready rubbed, but I find that rubbing out the flakes destroys a lot of what I love about ODF. Although it does light off a little easier that way. Apparently, like good BBQ, low and slow is the way to go for flavor. So I fold and stuff, after giving the flake a wee bit of dry time, then give it a couple of charring lights. It burns long and cool with minimal relights this way, and the richness of flavor is astounding to say the least. You have to try ODF to get the flavor profile...I think any description just falls short. All the richness of Irish Flake complemented by quality red Virginia. Maybe a mixture of IF and McClelland Blackwoods would give you a fair comparison. I personally enjoy the room note, and so does my wife, which is a bigger deal than what it sounds when the temp outside is nearing 100 and I just have to get my ODF fix.

Seriously fantastic tobacco. ODF and brother Bold Kentucky caused a restructuring of my rotation. Simply put, once I discovered the two, all my others sat collecting dust while these two disappeared at alarming rates. But now I have an ODF/BK day to look forward to 3-4 days a month. And those days I just seem to jump out of bed a little earlier, feel a little brighter, and spend a lot more time with the pipe. Thank you Mac Baren.

Pipe Used: MM country gentleman, MM mark twain

Age When Smoked: Fresh to 1 year

Purchased From:,

Similar Blends: MB Bold Kentucky , Peterson Irish Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

Ian K Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ian K (23)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Wonderful, plum / Xmas pudding note in a tin of small medium cut flakes just the right size for a small to medium Dublin bowl.

Another tobacco that didn't set me on fire at first but 3 months in the jar was well rewarded with a wonderful mature plum / raisin / brandyish burley tasting smoke that had me rushing to the tobacconist to buy another couple of tins for cellaring.

The dark flake packs and burns perfectly with a cool burn and great taste to the bottom of the bowl which comes all too soon (must buy a bigger pipe for this one). Up there with the top 3 for me and sort of leading me away from the Latakians for the moment which have been very much my go to's for some time!

In some, open the tin try it and then jar for a couple of months and try will reap the rewards as I did.

Pipe Used: Petersons Fermoy, Royal Danish

Age When Smoked: +3 months

Purchased From: GQ tobaccos, Edinburgh pipe shop

2 people found this review helpful.

Noodle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noodle (5)
Strong None Detected Full Unnoticeable

Much has been said already about this, so I will keep it short and sweet If you like simple good old fashioned flakes with no silly added flavours then buy this. Are you new to burly and Virginia blends but put off buy the often mentioned nicotine levels buy this It's fantastic smokes well however you fold stuff or rub it May I suggest you go the whole hog and smoke it from a cob it works just about perfectly with them

Edit time as I've smoked this more and more ive smoked less of the usual walnut, irish flake. It really is quite a pleasant unassuming smoke which just gets better and better

Pipe Used: Jambo meer, mm spool, duncan indeluxe

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Bates tobacconist, St. Helens

Similar Blends: University flake Irish flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (302)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Well, never been a fan of the HH series (which is weird, since I love some of Mac Baren's classic blends), and I had no big expectations for this one since I don't love dark fired burley too much.

This is a stout and very traditional flake, something a bit like Orlik Dark Fired Kentucky in taste, but less extreme.

A well done tobacco: nice rubbery flakes, good presentation, easy to pack and smoke, and it packs a good flavour punch. What's not to like then? Well, something's got to do with my personal taste: I prefer my flakes on the sweet and sour side, not on the "earthy and cigar-like" one. While I can enjoy some burley in my blends, I don't like it to be so dominant. Of course if you like earthy, cigar-like, woody notes, you'll probably love this one. What I can objectively say, though, is that the flavour evolution is quite lacking: like this taste profile or not, you will get it from beginning to end with almost no variation (apart from some increased bitterness in case of wet/hurried smoking). And this is my main gripe with the HH series: all these blends seem a bit too monolithic for me, with none of the subtle interplay of the coin cut or flake blends that MacBaren offers.

Nicotine is slightly heavy, but nothing particularly troublesome.

A decent tobacco, then, if you like the style. But again, I think you might find some more complex blends of this kind out there.

Pipe Used: Dunhill, Le Nuvole, Castello, Asthon

Age When Smoked: a few months

Purchased From: Danpipes

2 people found this review helpful.

DrDyson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrDyson (120)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a very nice offering from a manufacturer whose tobaccos I usually don't much care for: substantial, earthy, slow-burning, tasty and satisfying, and completely without any kind of gimmicky topping. It's far superior to MacBaren's Virginia and Navy Flakes: tobaccos that always seem to me to lack 'body'. The neatly arranged flakes in a handy tin is a plus point also. I'm inclined to describe HH Old Dark Fired as a sort of younger brother of Peterson's Irish Flake: same "traditional" characteristics, but not quite so in-your-face. When I first tried it, I wasn't all that impressed; I guess I came to it expecting to be a bit underwhelmed. Then, rather to my surprise, its subtleties began to make themselves felt more and more, and I came to like it a lot. Incidentally, unlike so many MacBaren offerings, ODF will not bite you unless you positively ask it to. This is definitely one of those tobaccos that grows on you with experience. I don't expect to smoke it all the time, but it will find a regular place in my rotation.

Contrary to what some other reviewers have said, I would recommend rubbing it out rather than the fold-and-stuff method. It's smokable straight out of the tin, though - unlike so many dark flakes.

Pipe Used: Masta Zulu; Peterson billiard

Age When Smoked: New, straight from the tin

Purchased From: Durham Pipe and Tobacco Shop

Similar Blends: Peterson's Irish Flake, but not so powerful; Ogden's Walnut Flake..

2 people found this review helpful.

SmokeDawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeDawg (80)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

To date, this is finest blend of Virginia and Burley I have ever smoked and I couldn't imagine a future Virginia Burley blend improving upon this beauty. The Virginia and Burleys are so well blended they work in PERFECT HARMONY side by side like the rails of a train track transporting the piper to destination Tobacco-topia. You get the warm cocoa buttery Burley and sweet flu cure Va at the same time throughout the whole smoke and not in rotation like other blends.

This is a marvel and as well as a triumph for Mac Baren. This get a 5 out of 4 stars. Walk off home run…. turn out the lights… Highly Recommended.

Pipe Used: Comoy straight grain.

Age When Smoked: fresh from tin.

2 people found this review helpful.

lvpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
lvpipe (13)
Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The best MacB tobacco imo although I really like HH Arcadia Perique. ODF is smooth, flavorful, easy on the tongue. Preparation is easy enough that I have not tried the RR version. ODF reminds me of Peterson's Irish Flake, not quite as strong in flavor or nicotine but it is softer on my palate. For the lovers of steamed and pressed tobaccos this predominantly Burley Flake is a must try. Just so you know where I am coming from my top 5 tobaccos are SG FVF, SG SJF, Penzance, G&H Sweet Rum Twist and MCB ODF. I have many that are close contenders in this race, this is as near as I can narrow it down. Other Burley favorites are C&D BF #1,2&3, OJK, GLP JackKnife Plug and G&H Kendall Kentucky. The reason I mention my favorites is because when I read reviews I like to know what the reviewers like as it helps me decide whether their taste are similar to mine or not.

Similar Blends: Peterson's Irish Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

piedpipester Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
piedpipester (19)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

With the exception of a while that I was lured away from pipes by the charms of Padrone, i've been smoking a pipe since 1974, and believe it or not, this is my first Mcbaren blend. Short and sweet, this is one of the best flakes i've smoked. Intense flavor, yet I had no nicotine overload (but it is there in the right amount for me) I can taste both burly and virginia which leave a clean aftertaste. An excellent after dinner smoke, and highly recomended!

2 people found this review helpful.

macpuffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
macpuffer (17)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

No need to add anything to the numerous reviews......this is just a wonderful tobacco.....totally sublime. The taste is just wonderful..this is a classic and I will be buying more soon.

Pipe Used: Falcon with meer bowl

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Robert graham in glasgow Scotland

Similar Blends: Condor without the perfume.....but much better quality base tobacco..

2 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (230)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

As previously with the other HH blends, the German importers made me wait, and even a trip to Denmark did not help: this blend was unavailable in the country of its own origin. So, finally, this blend is being imported. Knowing the previous reviews, I had high hopes.

Opening the tin, the note is amazingly fruity, but after a more thorough sniff I get the dark fired bits; the tin contains three stacks of fold-and-twistable slices which are easy to, er, fold and twist. The tobacco is mostly dark brown, with a few bright highlights in there.

As always with flakes, lighting is not a no-brainer, but it's OK. From the start, there is a good amount of smoke, and a very nice, sweet-and-toasty flavour, though not quite as savoury as I would have expected. Not disappointed here, but I do stand corrected.

As the smoke progresses, that savoury meaty flavour does begin to appear, as does some more strength... ODF is a late comer, but come it does. I use one slice and fold-and-twist into relatively large bowls to allow the 'baccy some space to expand; that seems to work remarkably well.

A warning for beginners: this blend starts out rather harmlessly and tastily. It will remain tasty throughout the smoke, but towards the final quarter will become anything but harmless; there is quite a kick in it towards the end.

That said, I enjoy ODF with a heavy Bordeaux or similar, or a Highlands Single Malt.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New tin through up to 2 years cellared

Purchased From: DanPipe

Similar Blends: Peterson - Irish Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

bigsmokingwolf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigsmokingwolf (2)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Mac Baren Old Dark Fired Flake

A dark brown flake with some light marbling that is cut with great precision, the tin note is earthy, slightly Smokey and meaty.

To start this off right, I slightly rubbed this flake out into my tobacco tray and allowed it to sit in the open air for 30 minutes before loading my pipe.

After loading this slightly rubbed and aired-out flake in my briar poker, I began the char light, and after two char lights its going fine. It has a dark nutty flavor like that of a roasted brazil nut with just a slight sweet Virginia taste and aroma sneaking in the back door, the retro hale brings a spicy fermented pepper note to the party, what a treat!

As I work my way down the bowl, this tobacco gets better and better leaving me wanting more. To me the burley takes the lead here and never completely wavers to the Virginia, however the Virginia stays in tack with just the right amount of sweetness. It burns cool. No wet mess at the end in my pipe. I have many Mac Baren blends in my cellar, this blend to me, ranks right up there with HH Matured Virginia and HH Vintage Syrian.

2 people found this review helpful.

Yorgo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Yorgo (1)
Medium to Strong Strong Very Full Pleasant

This is a review for a tin with a manufacturing date of “Nov 2012”. First, I am a non-apologetic burleyphile and was curious to try a blend incorporating the dark-fired variety. The tobacco smells like vinegary raisins with a very faint wood smoke aroma (reminded me of Jack Daniel's) that disappears after the first 10 seconds of opening the tin. A cayenne pepper tingle takes over your mouth and nose at first light. Although this blend is not supposed to contain perique, it wouldn't be the first time a blender keeps some ingredients undisclosed…. This “perique-like-peppery-wanna-sneeze” sensation disappears after a while letting loose the strong Virginia flavor. The Virginias dominate throughout the first half of the bowl. So much so that I was starting to think that someone at MacBaren screwed up and put some Acadian Perique in the wrong tin… Then, towards the end of the bowl (just when the nicotine kicks in), appears an earthy clove flavor which I presume is the dark-fired. Unfortunately, just as this spicy aroma makes its appearance, so does an ammonia aftertaste on the exhales. To be fair, ODF is made with good quality tobaccos but “where´s the burley?”. The blend is called ODF so why aren´t the burley´s up front instead of being used as spice??? I guess I was hoping for a Bur/Va instead of a Va/Bur. I also love the cigarish room note (Insert comment using the word “wife” HERE).

As a side note, after seeing the YouTube video on the making of ODF YouTube Video and the fact that Mac Baren´s HH series is, in part, dependent on its limited stash of vintage dark-fired burleys (it may even have less than its Syrian Latakia!) one is left wondering that perhaps the dark-fired leaves are being “stretched” and the blends are slowly being diluted. It would be interesting to compare early tins with these latest ones. I will now buy and smoke some pure dark-fired burley and verify if it´s my palate or perhaps the Virginias are too overpowering for moi.

UPDATE: I just smoked another folded flake in a cob and WOW, burley city! So what gives with this stuff??? My only explanation for such a turnaround in flavor is that, perhaps, the pressed cakes were not as homogenized as one would wish and my first flakes were Virginia-rich. So mea culpa for being such a conspiracy theorist. Will definitely be getting more if the following flakes tastes like this one. Will overlook the ammonia hoping it's a natural byproduct of the leaves. 4 stars **

2 people found this review helpful.

Roy Odhner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Roy Odhner (8)
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

If you like the full, rich flavor of Peterson Irish Flake but find the Vitamin N content just too dang strong for your candy azz (like I do), then this just might be the blend for you.

Upon opening the tin, you nose will be greeted by the smell of sweet BBQ sauce... much like when you open a tin of McClelland tobacco. I find that the flakes need to be dried for about 15 minutes or so. The fold and stuff method doesn't really work for me, so I just fully rib them out and then fill the pipe. The initial light-up is a bit tricky, as is keeping the stuff lighted. The room note? Well, you might not have to outrun any angry mobs, bit it's not gonna win any popularity contests either.

So, what's the pay-off? Bold, full, manly, VaBur flavor, bay-bee! I love MacB blends, but this is not your typical MacB flavor profile. It's got some resemblance to their wonderful Navy Flake, but the HMS MacB is running at full ramming speed with this blend. The only thing that I've smoked that comes close to this is Pete Irish Flake, but that's way stronger than this stuff. (So if you've not tried IF, then let this be a warning to you). This is a full, rich, and bold VaBur blend. However, it is not so bold that you need to smoke it in a small bowl. Quite the contrary - go with a bigger bowl so you can experience the full measure of this truly brilliant blend.

Do I like it, and would I recommend it? Yezzir.

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (665)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

My comments on Old Dark Fired are based on far less than I would usually smoke before forming an opinion. But I was gifted it a nice size sample and it is one of those rare tobaccos that was full of enjoyment right from the very first puff. I almost always receive an ample amount of tongue bite from Mac Baren blends, but not with ODF. I allowed the flakes to fully dry to the point that they crumbled, but were still just moist enough to prevent them from turning to dust. The nicotine hit for most of the bowl is a bit less heavy on the throttle than similar offerings in this genre from Gawtih Hoggarth and Sam Gawith. But it isn't weak either and the flavor is full and delicious. As others have pointed out, it is earthy and to my taste, slightly sweet. While I do taste the similarity to GH and SG blends, I don't quite find the similar flavor in Old Dark Fired to Peterson's Irish Flake, but it could just be my taste buds. I have only smoked about a half dozen bowls of this, but find it to my liking in a medium size bowl, such as a group four. The burn is clean and dry. ODF will find a spot in my cellar. Highly Recommended!

2 people found this review helpful.

schlicter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
schlicter (3)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

when i saw dark fired i thought of orlik dark fired kentucky. i should have though of toilette paper. opening the tin, there was no aroma what so ever. reviewers complain of the mcclelland virginia "ketchup" smell, not realizing that virginia's ferment and that is the "smell". this tobacco was a zero. no aroma, no taste, zero. i threw the tin in the trash. and i do think mac make some great tobaccos.

2 people found this review helpful.

William H. Hardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
William H. Hardy (55)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This is a pretty darn good burley flake. I can't say anything bad about it, actually. It's stout, full-flavored, and has a good nic hit. It's not as strong as some of the other tobaccos that I smoke, but it's definitely not a lightweight. It never gave me the "nic hics." It's usually enjoyable and I never actually noticed any "burley throat" from it. All that being said, however, it's just not one of my favorites.

I usually fold-and-stuff most flakes, but this was one that seemed to behave a bit better when it was rubbed out a bit. I'm actually quite happy that Mac Baren has ventured into more full-flavored types of tobaccos. I actually hadn't had a lot of luck with Mac Baren in the past. Plumcake was just okay, Vintage Syrian was kind of boring, and I hated Virginia #1. Not the flavor of Virginia #1, just the fact that I could never smoke it without it frying my tongue.

I hated to give this three stars, but I just don't think that I'll ever buy it again. It was good and I enjoyed it, but I just don't think it'll make the re-order list. I would give this a solid 3 stars and maybe a bit more. Even if there was a 5-star rating scale on here (which I think would be more accurate for my purposes) I would still give it a 3-star review, I think. There are just others along the same vein that I prefer. It's definitely worth trying and may be your "holy grail."

1 person found this review helpful.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (170)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Where Bold Kentucky had a burnt rubber sort of tin note, ODF is quite different. Tin note of ODF is of briny green olives, and a slight sour smell of fermented Virginias. Same procedure to dry out as BK, rub out and let sit for a while, or microwave for 6-8 seconds, depending on your helping size. Packing can be a bit sticky, but not to difficult.

Initial lighting seems easier than BK, and this tobacco expands quite a bit in the chamber. This is another terrific Dark Fired blend from Mac Baren. Much more sweetness and balance, but this also has unadulterated tobacco flavoring. Earthy, smoky and very flavorful. Stays lit throughout most of the bowl. Burns dry and even down to the bottom. I'd have no problem adding this to the list of recommended Dark Fired Tobaccos!

1 person found this review helpful.

Esskie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Esskie (6)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

On opening this up I was taken right back in time to when I was a boy watching my grandfather ready his old straight Falcon for smoking. The full on aroma of xmas cake, figs & raisins wafting out of the pouch reminded me of one of his brands, however I can't remember what it was unfortunately.

Beautiful dark flakes that somehow 'look' as they smell: deep & rich... the single flake I took out to fill my small bowled cob rubbed in my palm easily into

I think the N must be "adequate" with this one as I found myself satisfied after the small bowl I had.

I read in other reviews that aging/jarring this tobacco for a time is really a worthwhile exercise so I'll make sure I do just that to experience what ODF has to offer after some time.

On the whole I like this tobacco, a pleasant change to the Latakia blends I've been exploring, enough to make sure it has a permanent place in my 'cellar' (or tobacco cupboard at least! ;-) ) While moisture isn't really a problem with this tobacco, I'll leave a couple of bowls worth out to dry for a time in order to compare it to the "fresh out the tin" state I've been smoking it in.

If you haven't tried this tobacco yet then don't waste another minute, get at least a tin ordered...2oz incase you don't like it but I can't see that being the case to be honest

Pipe Used: MM Cob, Dr Plumb Meerschaum lined

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: GQ Tobacco

1 person found this review helpful.

Llewellyn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Llewellyn (9)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Rich, toasty, malty and earthy. This is my favourite afternoon smoke. No tongue bite and easy to keep lit if rubbed out well. Excellent choice for an afternoon of reading.

Pipe Used: Peterson House, Castello Chimney

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: Walper Tobacco, Waterloo

Similar Blends: Esoterica Stonehaven, Germains Brown Flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (896)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Tin date is October 2012 - The flakes are drier than my usual English ones, but still perfect for smoking. At this age, the Burley is silky smooth and the VA underneath is sweeter. It is so, so good.

Coming from straight VAs and aromatics, I usually smoke 1/2 to 3/4 a flake, there's a lot of nicotine in this much Burley.

Age When Smoked: 3 years

1 person found this review helpful.

cajun Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cajun (11)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable

This is an almost perfect smoke for the experienced pipe smoker. I just grabbed a piece of flake and stuffed it into the pipe. One light and it was up and burning. You can smoke it fast or slow without much fuss, although furtive puffs can get you a bit near the Virginia tongue bite we all dread. The omission of latakia or other so-called "orientals" is a bonus, as not everybody appreciates that dry lingering aftertaste those tobaccos tend to leave. We Brits tend to prefer the moisture in flake tobaccos, and this one just about ticks all the boxes. Our home produced efforts are often laced with syrupy sugary toppings, and although Macbaren does use maple syrup in its blending process, there is nothing much sweet in this flake except the tobacco taste.

Pipe Used: Stanwell brushed and Missouri Meerschaum various

Age When Smoked: straight from tin

Purchased From: Pipe shop, Edinburgh

Similar Blends: Peterson Irish Flake, although noticeably less strong in all respects..

1 person found this review helpful.

pecheur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pecheur (18)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Mixed bag this tobacco, the pipe being very influential on the smoke.

In some pipes I get a sweet virginia start that fades as the bowl progresses into a deep woody smokey earthy flavour of the dark-fired burley. In some pipes I just get the deep woody smokey earthy flavour of the dark-fired burley. And in some pipes the sweet virginia weaves in and out of the dark-fired burley flavour all the way through the bowl.

I can see why people love this flake as it's easy to prepare, doesn't bite, smokes dry and it has alot of flavour. Personally I'm not keen on the very dominant dark fired burley flavour.

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

erkantural Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
erkantural (10)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

HH ODF is strong; full bodied flake tobacco. I don't get affected easily by nicotine but this one makes me a little lightheaded from time to time. I find it stronger in vitamin N than Dunhill's Nightcap and SG's rope tobaccos.

It needs some dry time if you want to smoke it folded and stuffed. However, if you want it directly out of tin, I suggest cube cut gravity fill. I've also tried it fully rubbed out but I found that the nuances in smoke fade away by doing so.

Upon tin opening you get the fermented tobacco smell which is buttery and like a good old Anatolian cheese. It gives a shiver to senses.

Smoke characteristic is unique, due to the hot steam press. Burley is the king in this bouqet. And Virginia gives the natural sweet taste but it stays a little behind the curtain occasionally.

It burns controlled until the very end if packed not too dense. I've found it better in big chamber pipes, while cube cutted. Fold and stuff suits best for narrow and deep pipes using half of a flake.

Hot beverages like tea or coffee accompany very well to this marvelous blend.

By the way no tongue bite in my experiences at all.

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (76)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This tobacco is a nice combination of Virginia and Burley tobaccos (VaBur). The tin note is rather pronounced and has a nice vinegary/ketchup tone to it. The flakes are well presented and consistent in both length and thickness. They are really dark in colour with visible gold spots in it. The moist content is rather high, so the flakes will benefit from some drying time. The Burley qualities of this tobacco is quite apparent and has a slight floral note to it. It does not seem to smoke hot in your bowl and I cannot detect any tongue-bite. The taste of this tobacco seems to develop well and will evolve from medium to full as you progress more and more with your smoke. The flue cured Burley tobacco seems to add an earthy dimension to it and I am not finding the virginias overtly sweet. I cannot find any faults or loose ends in this tobacco, but I am not overexcited with it. I would certainly recommend this tobacco to all Virginia lovers, but I am not sure whether the newbies will enjoy it because of its complexity.

Edit: The burley leaf in this blend, which is barely noticeable, will act as a buffer in between your palate and the virginia tobacco it contains enhancing its properties. I am positive all virginia lovers will love it (it feels like smoking a straight virginia on steroids).

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: ?

Purchased From: John Howlingsworth

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipesmoking101 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipesmoking101 (57)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Today is sad day for me, as it is time for me to do something that I have not done for many, many a year. Unfortunately it is time for me to deliver a 1-star rating on a tobacco, and it is with a sad heart that it is this tobacco to which I must deliver it. Upon opening a tin which had been received already opened, but resealed a year or two earlier, I got a tin note of - - - nothing. Not even a tobacco smell. Unaccustomed to such an experience, I lifted the flakes out. I have recently been smoking large bulk flakes, and these seemed quite pathetic really, by comparison. Small, weedy, thin little things, seemed too small to really satisfy, but undeterred, I soldiered on. Loading up various pipes, with flake prepared in a range of ways, from folded & stuffed to fully rubbed, I got - - - nothing. No taste whatsoever, it was like smoking hot air. After about 15 flakes of this nonsense, I ended up blending it with some XX Black Rope I had lying about, and that at last gave it some oomph, but, honestly, I wouldn't even bother touching again, even as filler. It brought nothing to the table, bar a reasonably good burn rate (even that veered into 'hot' territory too often for my liking), and a room note that was, like the tobacco, almost absent. Like the smoke, the room note was thin, weedy & weak, pleasurable to non-smokers only by its' apparent absence. In all my years of tobacco reviews I have only ever pulled out the one-star card once before, and that was for the aberration that is 'Clan', but in this case, I cannot hold off any longer, for me, MacBarens ODF is a distinctly One-Star tobacco (although it's still not as bad as Clan).

The only caveat that I would add is that my sample may have been somewhat dry, although sadly, my manual inspection of the flakes in no way indicated that this was the situation. It may just be that I cannot establish the nuances within this tobacco that make it such a pleasurable experience for others on this site.

===UPDATE 2015-12-14===

Since writing my original review of this, I have received more ODF which was much fresher & I will promote this tobacco to 3 stars. It is a pleasant smoking sweetish Virginia with a nice dose of sour spiciness in the background (I assume from the Kentucky, or perhaps just the combination of the two types of tobacco). I also get a pleasant nuttiness from this one, like hazelnuts. I smoke it folded & stuffed with a bit rubbed out on top to get it going. Burns well once lit. Light enough to be enjoyed an time of the day, but not so mild as to be insipid. Recommended for all those who like flakes of this style. The room-note is somewhat stronger, but not overpowering. but that is not the most important thing to me. The flakes are well-presented out of the tin & a uniform cut. My fist review was obviously based on flakes that were too dried out, as what I have now is like a different tobacco. Very nice, decent tobacco. Not a star tobacco, but still good.

Pipe Used: Everyman, Old England Zulu, Peterson Baby Calabash

Age When Smoked: 1.5 years

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Junkyard Dawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Junkyard Dawg (76)
Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This is a great flake very similar to, but that has nothing to envy to Peterson's Irish Flake. As it aged some, I can make out the sugar crystals starting to form on the flakes. Spicy and a tad, but just barely, sweet, it's an outstanding tobacco that burns nicely and evenly when rubbed out, that packs some really good Vitamin N and leaves me wanting more when I'm done my pipeful. This will become a favorite for the evenings. It's very close to Irish Flake in taste but it has an extra sweetness IF does not have. Mac Baren are seriously impressing me with this one, HH Acadian Perique and the most recent offerings such as Modern Virginia and HH Latakia Flake. I am an enormous fan of this manufacturer, now, along with Orlik and their Dunhill recreations; GL Pease; and C & D. If you like dark, strong, BUs combined with dark VAs, ODF is a must try. I like Irish Flake a lot, but love ODF.

Pipe Used: Invicta; Luciano; meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 2 Y 10 M

Similar Blends: Irish Flake from Peterson..

1 person found this review helpful.

Klause Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Klause (2)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Very Pleasant

These flakes are beautifully presented in typical MacBaren style - they are a beautiful dark colour like Irish Flake, but seem to be a thinner cut and break apart more easily.

The aroma is a fresh rich earthy densness that just invites you to breath in deeply, hold, and very slowly exhale, before hurrying back for more. This is a quality tobacco, oozing class, but not afraid to rumble if the company requires it.

First bowl I did a fold and stuff in a beautiful Danish acorn, fairly loosely packed (as is my preference). Charring light produced a good quantity of smoke of a fairly solid consistency, full of flavour - a good tobacco honesty, with a healthy dollop of what I think was a virginia sweetness. Let it go out. Sit for a bit and admire the pipe, letting the tobacco rest.

True light and good, dense smoke, with huge amounts of flavour, deep tones, with what I can only describe as a fizzy sweetness coming through. A few draws in and it's out!!! Turns out it's a bit of a devil to keep lit. May be my packing, my smoking technique, the moistness of the flake, or a combo of all three. But, I never fight it, and don't care about having to relight.

The flavour seemed to be fairly consistent all the way down - a beautiful solidity that I can't quite put my finger on, with the sweet virginia singing gently along in accompaniment, maybe a little more softly towards the end.

A beautiful, smooth, strong smoke - immensely satisfying. Absolutely no bite or harshness, even when pushed a little. In fact, it was so good I loaded up immediately and set-to again.

Second bowl was rubbed out fully. It took light very easily, still needed a few relights, but fewer. Again, maybe packing, moistness or method. Reckon it was a bit moist, and I do pack light. I also like my tobaccos to get barely smoldering - gives me more flavour - so I tend to relight a few times anyway.

Fully rubbed out produces a sweeter smoke - but not vastly sweeter. The deep tones are still very much there, just the virginia is a little more forward. Just as smooth, just as gentle as the folded flake. This is completely at odds with the impression the flake gives when removing it from its packaging - it looks strong (it is), rough (nope), harsh (never), ready for anything (I think it is, y'know). This is a smoke you could use all day. Perpetration method produces enough of a difference to suit varying moods.

I think I have really fallen for this tobacco. I like dark, strong tobaccos, but have been getting into light, bright VA's lately. This has definitely drawn me back to the dark side - Irish flake didn't quite manage this and it's a beautiful tobacco - a good glass of mature, full bodied port after a heavy meal - ODF is the Christmas Ale you wish your local brewery made available all year round.

1 person found this review helpful.

TheJayBee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheJayBee (72)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This is one deliciously perplexing tobacco. Smelling this baccy reveals a false impression. It has a strong Virginian smell and a quite meak Burley one.

So, is there not much Burley in here? This time folks, only trust the flake of leaves ignited inside your smoking temple.

The marriage of the flue cured and fire cured leaf is one of the most successful I've smoked yet.

The burleys are so earthy, so round, with a herbal, autumnal and almost peppery hint perfectly harmonious with the tangy, sweet and jammy virginias. Also, it delivers a nice dose of Vitamin N. a 5* blend!

Pipe Used: Pierre Morel Short

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

1 person found this review helpful.

brashboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
brashboy (71)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

I just reviewed Mac Baren ODF ready rubbed. I recently had the pleasure of being able to A/B both ODF and ODF-RR; I mean, about 100 gr. of each. I call it the Great Pipegasm. Which do I like better? Truthfully, it depends on which I'm smoking at the time; that's the one I like better, lol. I do like a flake better than ready rubbed in general, but MB's ready rubbeds are easy to smoke.

Great burn if you know how to fold flake, lights easily, no bite and gets better the longer she burns. Fine white ash at the end. Did I mention that this baby has a serious nic hit? Not overwhelming, but you will damn sure know you're smoking tobacco. I found moniker's detailed 2013 review of this blend to be very close to my experience.

There seem to be a few folks who don't like Mac Baren, but I'm not one of them. As far as I'm concerned, both ODFs proclaim that Mac Baren can make a tobacco as good as any in the world.

If you haven't tried the two ODF's and you like Burley or a good Va-Bur, you owe it to yourself to order these. Preferably both, but either will do. God, do I envy you.

Similar Blends: Mac Baren Old Dark Fired Ready Rubbed.

1 person found this review helpful.

PhillyB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PhillyB (63)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend far surpassed my expectations. The smell from the sample that I got was very different from any other straight Virginia I've ever had. Most of the characteristics you would expect from a Virginia were there (sweet, citrus) but is accompanied by a dark, smoky, very savory note. One of the thin flakes fills my little Pony Express perfectly. Both fold-and-stuff and rubbing out methods work just fine. The taste is definitely of Virginias but has a smoother and darker flavor than others. From such dark and strong flavors I would have expected a monster vitamin-N kick, but in the small bowl I barely got anything. Mind you, anything more than 1 flake of this might be a little too much for my liking. I got this as a 5 flake sampler and am likely to buy myself a tin!

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Pony Express

1 person found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (341)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Fantastic burley blend here. I picked up a tin of this on my way to Florida when a fortuitous potty stop brought be within striking distance of a Strauss tobacconists shop. My wife had to let me go in. I purchased a tin of this based on all the good things I had heard about it, but perhaps the most influential part was that many forum friends said it was like Irish Flake. I got this response when asking for a less expensive alternative to IF.

Well other than being in flake form and containing similar leaves, I would say it is not too similar to Irish Flake, but it is very good in its own right. I still like Irish Flake better and am coming to the conclusion it cannot be cheaply replaced. But enough about that. This a review of ODF.

I have tried Burley London Blend and liked it, but I like this one much better. This is a deeper earthier blend. It gives off a chocolatey nutty taste, but not in the cheap topped aromatic sense. It is a very natural tobacco taste. The amount of body in this blend is perfect to my tastes; whereas, I find BLB a little light in that department. This is likely the dark fired Kentucky.

The use of the DFK is great. It doesn't choke you with spice or gum up your mouth requiring a jug of water to get down a group 4 bowl. It can be enjoyed in a contemplative setting on the porch or while doing the busy putzing stuff many of us do with a pipe hanging out of our mouths.

In summary, I will repurchase this often. While it doesn't supplant Irish Flake it is welcome in the rotation and worthy of four stars. I encourage everyone to try it and fill a big jar of it.

Pipe Used: best out of my Ascorti King Size Calabash

Purchased From: Strauss Tobacconists

1 person found this review helpful.

ddmholst Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ddmholst (23)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

What a lovely smoke. Claims to be full and bold and maybe it is to some but for me it's more medium. Nicotine content seems in the middle of the scale. I'm not great at associating tobacco with too many other flavors but I get some chocolate and nuts? I can't really say too much about this other than it is really good and delicious. There is a slight difference with taste and burn when fully rubbed or smoked in flake form. I would highly reccomend this. I find I can enjoy this anytime of day but usually ends up being a morning smoke.

Age When Smoked: 1.5 years

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

Smokeybear86 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smokeybear86 (14)
Mild to Medium Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

Tin Note: If you ever been to a good Italian restaurant then your no stranger to the fresh bread and sweet oil vinegar you get before your meal. Well this blend to me smelt just like that. I love that as an appetizer I am not entirely sure its what I like my tobacco to smell like.

Initial Light: I had no problems getting the pipe lit and to my surprise I was hit immediately with a wonderful flavor resembling the sweet grass taste of a sugar cane. I was shocked that a tobacco that smelt like vinegar would end up tasting like sugar cane amazing.

Mid-Smoke: Although the smoke isn't thick and creamy, at this point the flavor is just taking over and shows no signs of stopping. The sweetness from the Virginia pops up over the earthy tone of the burley, Leaving a full satisfying smoke packed with just the right amount of sweetness and boldness. However I had a hard time keeping the pipe lit and had to relight twice.

Bottom of the Bowl: The smoke is much creamier now and the Virginia is out to play full throttle. It popped out a lot more and now leaves a sweet after taste in your mouth after every puff out. The smoke is much more filling and flavorful.

Room Note: My wife popped out to show me something and this point I think I had a little to much of the Whiskey cause I don't remember what she said. But I did ask her about the room note nodding with a boyish smile, she said 1 out of 4 but forget that I like this blend to much so i made it a 2 out of 4 Marriage is about compromise after all.

Dottle: Nice Ashy finish plain and simple.

Smoking Duration: Crap, I totally forgot to record this (how much did i drink?) It was a small bowl so I'd say it was a good 30min.

Overall: This blend was an odd one for me because it made my "test sheet" fail in some ways. It appears that my senses are in conflict with this blend. My nose does not like it but my taste-buds are in love and crave it. However, I will age and cellar this blend even if the record shows an arguable in flavor though agreeable in smell score.

Pipe Used: Peterson After Dinner Calabash Pipe

Age When Smoked: 1 year

1 person found this review helpful.

Christrom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Christrom (27)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

If I ever get sentenced to death I will smoke this and stare at my captors. It is dark, rich, bitter, peppery and has attitude. cigar tones aplenty. Just sublime. Sauron would smoke this stuff.

Purchased From: smoke king

Similar Blends: Conniston cut plug.

1 person found this review helpful.

CharatansMake Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CharatansMake (18)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

EXCELLENT!! The taste of this tobacco is deep, full and earthy. Highly recommended and one of my favorites. For sure I will always have some tins of this great herb in my depot.

1 person found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (144)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A mid to dark brown flake with prominent flecks of gold. The flake is dry. It rubs out to a sort of Scotch ribbon and burns well in this state.

The predominant tin aroma is dried fruits.

The dark fired leaf here is quite muted. Only occasionally are cigar notes encountered and the flavour to my nose is muddy. I don't get much from the Virginias at all except some sweetness. Despite the dryness of the flake this burns with some steam produced. There is ammonia here that can be intrusive. Putting some age on this tobacco seems like a good idea.

Comes at a good price point but is not in the same league as its rivals. A weak 3.

1 person found this review helpful.

Derfargin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Derfargin (2)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Was anxious to try this one due to all the great reviews, and now that I've got a few bowls behind me, I'm very glad to have picked some of this up. I've already put an order in for a few more tins. The tin note, is like standing over a grill while grilling on a summer day. BBQ, and smokey, a very savory smell.

After reading lots of the reviews, most have said the fold and stuff method seems to work well for this, and I agree. It smoked much cooler with the fold and stuff method opposed to rubbing it out. Wow, as I sit here typing, I'm thinking about my evening smoke. My first experience with MacBaren was VA #1, and then Navy Flake. The jury is still out on VA #1, and the Navy Flake I've had hit or miss experiences with it. ODF, is really a hell of a smoke, and will most certainly giving it a spot in the Ol' Rotation.

Now that's it warming up, I'm looking forward to spending the warmer months with my pipes and ODF close by.

Pipe Used: MM Maple Diplomat, Briar Oom Paul

Age When Smoked: Fresh out of tin

Purchased From: Harry's Smoke Shop, Philadelphia, PA

1 person found this review helpful.

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

just discovered this flake, its wonderful very mature fruity flavour gets better the further down the smoke and no bite whatsoever any pipe smoker looking to change from ready rubbed this is the one ,a bit like university flake but much smoother and a lot tastier a good four stars this one, thanks macbarren

Pipe Used: peterson 301 premier rustic

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: lieth pipe shop

Similar Blends: Peterson university flake..

1 person found this review helpful.

Ducksbreath Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ducksbreath (103)
Strong None Detected Extra Full Pleasant

Update: I find I don't smoke much of this excellent flake. When I'm in the mood for this type of thing, I reach for my stateside stash of Condor instead and put it in one of my 3 Condor-lakeland pipes. Or, if I want something lighter in the same vein, I reach for University Flake/Wallace Flake.

When I smoke HH Old Dark fired, I find I just miss the interplay of casings with the strong, smooth, dark leaves.

I really think MB should come out with an aromatic version !. They do this for other countries (Maltan Ready Rubbed, Mick McQuaid, etc.) with strong underlying tobaccos, right ?

I think, to a degree, Mac Baren has thrown the baby out with the bathwater with the H&H line. Some of the H&H line leaves me a little underwhelmed. I can't smoke the old light bitey stuff anymore (Symphony) but I really do like the subtle flavorings of Symphony, Golden Extra, Navy Flake, Plumcake, they all have wonderful aromas and casings, I just can't take the heat. So...howabout a Full Strength Plumcake type of thing ?

The hype is right. Mac Baren hit a home run, as this is best of the really dark flakes I've had (I'm not including flakes containing Latakia).

What makes it so ? Taste with tremendous depth and some natural sweetness, without any harshness, monotony, or back of the throat roughness. It is smooooooth. Yes it has a good dose of N, but not as much as the deep, Guinness Stout like flavor would indicate. Not as powerful as some Lakeland type tobaccos, although it tastes as strong.

So...the approach is not really different than from any other good Mac Baren blend, putting taste and nuance above all else. It's just, in this case, the body has gone from Mild to FULL and the casing is gone. Interestingly, the room note is very pleasing to my wife.

Pipe Used: Nording Handmade

Similar Blends: Aged Burley Flake, Dark Flake, etc..

1 person found this review helpful.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (134)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Deep, rich, complex flavor develops from the initial light. Burns easy and smooth. Excellent spice note, particularly on the retrohale. Processing/blending of the tobacco is excellent. Pure tobacco that sings in the bowl. Rewarding experience all the way. 4 stars.

Pipe Used: Karl Erik, Nording Freehand

Age When Smoked: NOV-2012

Purchased From: Corona Smoke Shop, Battle Creek, MI

Similar Blends: HHODF points out the harshness of FVF.

1 person found this review helpful.

ap Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ap (57)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Great stout flake with very little sweetness from the Vas and a lot of smokiness from the Dark Fired Burley. Cool smoking and decent nicotine , a winner!

1 person found this review helpful.

7formy1911 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
7formy1911 (37)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I don't like flakes and I don't like MacBaren's other offerings. Having said that HH Old Dark Fired has completely changed my mind on both fronts. This is a fantastic flake that has full flavor a decent nicotine hit and satisfies my craving for a lightly flavored flake in my rotation.

I've pretty much concluded after some experimentation that I prefer this flake folded and stuffed into a wide gauge bowl that is fairly shallow. About 7/8" in diameter and 1" to 1.25" deep. It seems like the initial folding and stuffing may leave a lot of room in the bowl but once it expands after lighting you're glad to have the extra space.

The initial light brings out a flavor comparable to Peterson's Irish Flake but certainly not identical. IF seemed to have a more plumb type of flavor and ODF is more towards the smokey beef jerky side of flavors. Much more savory than sweet. The nicotine is certainly bearable and not on the level of Irish Flake but definitely a notch below.

There is a slight tang in the first 1/3 of the bowl but the flavors seem to become more dark as the bowl progresses and leaves you with a wonderful interplay between the Virginia and dark fired. This flake is quite complex and worth a contemplative sit if you just want to explore the flavors. Among the flavors I find a gentle salinity like you might find in English blends, a tangy and slightly sweet flavor along with darker fruits at times as well as a faint smokiness from the dark fired. These flavors seems to switch off and weave in and out of the smoke. Very interesting but never overbearing. I find that this flake doesn't have any issues with relights and I don't find any off flavors or bitterness from having it sit for a bit or even over night.

This is a masterfully done flake and has me rethinking my bias towards MacBaren. I have not been terribly impressed with past offerings but I will certainly await anything new from them that may interest me and my tastes which tend towards some combination of burley, Virginia, perique, and dark fired. GL Pease Cumberland and C&D Old Joe Krantz are two such blends that are permanent fixtures in my cellar. HH ODF will certainly find a place in there as well.

1 person found this review helpful.

Smoking Sam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smoking Sam (20)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I FINALLY managed to snag four ounces bulk or Mac Baren's ready rubbed HH Old Dark Fired. It was well worth the wait.

The tobacco arrived moist and fresh in a Ziplock baggie. The smell alone was worth the price of admission.

Housekeeping. Smoked in a full bend R1 Ser Jacopo Rhodesian pipe.

This blend packed ridiculously easily, lit well, stayed cool, and burned effortlessly. A profusion of blue smoke. Puffed fast or slow, makes no difference - it doesn't bite.

Full, rich flavor. Every so often, I got this sharp taste of lemon, a flavor which literally bursts onto the pallete. Delicious! I am pairing this tobacco with an Arnold Palmer lemonade and sweet tea mixture, and the lemony notes are a perfect compliment. Pleasant aftertaste. This bowl smoked down to a fine ash, which simply fell out of the bowl and left my pipe bowl absolutely clean. Zero dottle. Zero goop. This stuff is excellent.

The tobacco is a great change of pace from full English mixtures and straight Virginia blends. The flavor profile is wonderful. I have not been a fan of Mac Baren blends previously due to the tongue bite, but this is by far the best blend of theirs that I have tried. I am very pleased with my purchase, and I will be filling my pipe with this often. Definitely a four star effort. HIGHLY recommended!

== UPDATE, 6/15/2013 ==

I smoked a bowl today, and noticed that the nicotine kick intensified at the bottom of the bowl. I had to set the pipe down.

1 person found this review helpful.

nitekrawlr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nitekrawlr (26)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

MMMMMM.....MacBaren. Another high quality offering from MacBaren. Best smoked in long, slow puffs, to appreciate the nutty flavor of the high quality Burley tobacco. Similar in nic level to MacB's Navy Flake (still my favorite), as it gives me the hiccup's, indicative of a good nic hit......enjoy.

1 person found this review helpful.

Phantom55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phantom55 (29)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is the first MacB tobacco I have been able to enjoy. Doesn't seem to have the house casing, which bites the daylights out of me. A nice dark flake of medium body and strength. I rub it out and don't dry it at all. No problems with lighting, or keeping lit. Nicotine not particlarly strong to me. Has the typical smokey flavor of a dark fired Kentucky. Kind of a letup version of GH Kendal Kentucky. I'll keep some around, but prefer the Kendal Kentucky for a regular smoke.

1 person found this review helpful.

SmokeKing David Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeKing David (123)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This is a pretty stout flake. Yet it seems, to me, more sophisticated than similar blends/flakes such as Jack Knife. I find more nuances in HH than I do in Jack K.

Despite its strength, it does not bite. This stays lit really well, too.

I like most MacBaren blends, so it probably is no surprise that I give this four stars, though three and a half is what I would give this if I could.

Govern Yourself Accordingly.

1 person found this review helpful.

manno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
manno (43)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Update of 2014-12-07: Sitting with my laptop in front of me smoking a bowl of this and feel compelled to say that this is simply GREAT tobacco. Rich, tasty and unobtrusive yet with a very strong and confident personality. Incredibly satisfying and tastefully rich. Damn it's good stuff. So glad I went totally OCD on my orders a few years ago.

I've had a few tins of ODF and it is a consistent and excellent product. Well cured, well blended, well cut and, well, very enjoyable. Packs and burns with ease and to my most important criterion, totally satisfying. I love the taste that seems to swirl around in my mouth between sips and puffs, and the fabulous aftertaste (if that word can be used to connote an asset and not a liability). This tobacco is why I have smoked a pipe for so long now. ODF, and feel free to laugh, makes you feel like a man (and not in the "I just set the record for consuming a gallon of habenero sauce in 6 minutes and now I'm going to puke" kind of way. Along with a few other HH offerings (Mature Virginia comes to mind) MacBaren has come in from the cold and raised the bar. Good for them (and us).

Pipe Used: I'm a straight billiard guy

Age When Smoked: 2-3 years

Similar Blends: Nothing comes close.

1 person found this review helpful.

oregonpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
oregonpipe (13)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Wow! Is this really from MacBarens? Smoked a lot of their blends 35 years ago. Never very impressed except for maybe Navy Flake. The past two years of pipe smoking (after a 35 year hiatus) have been spent mostly with VAs and VApers. My only ventures into VABurs have been 4Noggins Weybridge and ET's Tilbury. Oh, and 2oz. of Stonehaven I happened to score by being in the right place at the right time. Never been a big burley fan, but VABurs are another story. Read the reviews of ODF and thought I had to give it a try. An English style VABur flake...and from MacB...with 4 star reviews. So here goes.

Nice square tin with 3 rows of 3"x7/8" rather thin distinct flakes of dark brown with lighter stripes. Tin note: first sniff, teryaki beef jerky. Second sniff, heavy red wine. First bowl right from the tin, rubbed out, was way too moist and smoked way too burley-forward and very harsh. (Could this be the reason for a couple of negative reviews?) Advise to rub out and let air dry for at least a half hour, minimum. Whole different world! The VAs come out and play in that very smooth, round burley body. Nice stuff! Burns like a dream. Treat it right and it will give you a very satisfying, natural tobacco smoke. The flakes also lend themselves to fold-and-stuff, if that is your preference. But I will stick with the rub out method.

OK. Fantastic smooth, round, rather stout VABur flavor. The balance of burley and VA is extraordinary. Very nice flakes in a handy tin. And it's from MacBarens. I hope this is a harbinger of great things to come in the future. Oh, and the price...3.5oz for what you can easily pay for 50gr. 4 stars ! Enjoy!

1 person found this review helpful.

MDP Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MDP (39)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

100 grams of two neat stacks of perfectly formed, sliced flakes fill the rectangular tin. The flakes are wrapped by gold foil paper, but nothing can envelope the rich, earthy, and even meaty aroma that rises, weighted, from the freshly opened tin.

The flakes are of a consistency that affords the smoker typical pipe packing methods for the whole or rubbed-up flake. Still, a few moments out of tin rarely injures and oft improves the the smoking quality of most tobaccos. ODF will light and burn delightfully with a bit less moisture than present out of the tin. My preferred preparation is folding flakes lengthwise into thirds and making short sections by the pinch, rubbing up the sections, and then trickle, tap, trickle tap loading them into a group 2 or 3 bowl. ODF also does very well just rubbing up a whole flake into long ribbons.

ODF is clean-tasting, lacking the "soot and dirt" aftertaste I find prevalent in Petersen's Perfect Plug. ODF is also very, very smooth by any comparison, but particularly for a flake loaded with nicotine laden burley. PPP is quite harsh in the latter regard. There is also real tobacco flavor in ODF, not much from casing and no top note detected. The tobacco flavor is steady throughout the smoke, varying subtly between the sweeter Virginias and smokey, loamy dark fired leaf. The flavor emphasis definitely tilted toward the darker leaf. At times, there is a musty note that reminds me when I was a small boy playing in the far reaches of grandpa's closet at his home near the ocean. He lived far enough from the shore to miss the salt air, but close enough to gather in the damp. There is that note of the sea on some puffs.

Nothing bland about ODF, and one does not get the sense that Mac Baren intended to show how strong a tobacco can be. ODF is strong, but nothing in the neighborhood of Irish Flake, Dark Flake, 1792, or death by rope tobaccos. ODF is by my impression, stronger than Pease's Jack Knife Plug and not quite as interesting. On the flavor emphasis, JKP and ODF are opposite sides of the same coin. JKP veering more in flavor throughout a bowl, and the flavor supplied more from the Virginia leaf. I say they are of the same coin in that they are extraordinarily similar and certainly belong to the same genre of tobaccos by leaf content and flavors present.

Mac Baren surprised Britain's man o' war fleet of stout, dark tobaccos with an irony analogous to an English buccaneer swinging from a Viking longship and in the attempt capturing many British loyalists with the introduction of Old Dark Fired.

The irony is that a famed Dane factory known for oft bland, aromatic, nicotine- challenged, offerings is now more royalist than the Queen (of England) in producing a steamed and pressed flake of Virginia and dark fired burleys full of power akin to those manufactured in the UK, past and present.

Whether an irony or surprise to any, some, or most, a new vessel has raised the waterline for all the boats in the harbor of manly smokes. Old Dark Flake has certainly accomplished this in a non-aromatic and handsome presentation.

1 person found this review helpful.

MerleDixon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MerleDixon (4)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I read all the reviews on this and thought I'd like to try some. My local cigar shop had a couple of tins of various MacBaren blends, and I had bought them all, so they placed a very large order for tons of different pipe tobaccos. They previously only carried "drugstore" blends and the few tins of MacBaren HH series blends that I bought. Anyway, I am grateful they invested several hundred dollars for my benefit. I'll have to review their shop on another site...hehe.

Anyway, my initial impression of this tobacco was, well, not very good. I really wanted to like it but didn't necessarily look forward to smoking more. I'm sure glad I gave it another go. This stuff is amazing. For any other smokers out there like myself who are just starting out with pipe smoking, I am lerning that different tobaccos must be packed differently. The method that gave me such an amazing experience was cutting the flake into cubes. It may seem like a daunting process, but this blend is more of a special treat than anything else, so why not?! Smoke it slowly and the flavor will shine through. The nicotine level is also pretty high compared to the other blends I've smoked, which is not a bad thing at all. This will be worked into my rotation as an after meal smoke.

I hope others who initially don't like this give it a second try. I can't wait until tomorrow evening so I can smoke some more.

1 person found this review helpful.

tvine Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tvine (3)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I will simply state that this blend is quite extraordinary. The main flavor profile is that of several Lakeland tobaccos, G&H Dark Birdseye, Dark Flake Unscented as well as most G&H and SG ropes. Also similar to Peterson's Irish Flake. If you have read about this tobacco, none of this is news to you. The main difference for me is the faint coming and going flavor of a mild Danish Virginia. I do not care for straight Danish Virginias, but the fluttering effect here brings a wonderful sweet dimension to the smokey, dried meat aspects of this tobacco. it smokes remarkably cool, with a nice nicotine kick that is not overwhelming. It is not subtle, nor is it bruising and aggressive. This will certainly be a staple in my rotation. Hope this helps.

1 person found this review helpful.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (79)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

It just seemed that the whole quote from Per Jensen should be included:

According to Per Jensen, Mac Baren Product Manager, the steam press makes it so that the "tobaccos marry faster and in a completely different way than what we normally produce. In short, they alter the taste. This blend is a heavy/strong tobacco with a lot of vitamin N."


My turn...

I ordered a tin as soon as I heard about this one, as I'm a fan of Dark Fired Kentucky. Everything I had read and heard sounded right on the money for my tastes. Was I disappointed? Not in the least. I took 4 of the small thin flakes out of the tin to dry them. Interestingly they REALLY dried. When I rubbed them out the flake 'fractured' into smallish thin brittle shards. Oh great! I thought. Well, I tried them anyway...and even though they were totally dried out they smoked really, really well. Then I mixed some fresh rubbed with the dried, about 50/50...and it also did really, really well...same burn, same flavors.

So...what did it taste like? It was deep and full and had that 'dark fired Kentucky' character. It wasn't sweet, but it wasn't bitter. To me, the dark fired essence was moderate...and didn't overwhelm the fullness of the Burley or the VA background. In other words there was a good balance and I would suggest this as a blend that might be enjoyed by those who appreciate any one of the a change of pace from their usual fare.

The initial claims as to its strength I found to be a bit's nowhere near the Gawith ropes, twists, etc. P's Irish Flake is stronger. But this is definetely above medium...on a 10 scale maybe a 6.5 or 7. On the scale they use here, that makes it "strong".

Though not one to make comparrisons very often, the best way I can describe this one is that it's like..."Gawaith Dark Flake Lite"...a bit lighter in flavor, in N and in overall impact. This doesn't make it any less of a blend, as that 'less-ness' allows its flavor profile to be more round, which I would call and asset. All in all it's absolutely excellent! Quite an achievement for MacBaren in my humble opinion. And lastly, as the tin is 3.5 oz. (100 gm) you get a decent handfull of the stuff, for which I'm very glad.

Very highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (76)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I will just add to the chorus of fine reviews here. MacB has "hit one out of the park" with ODF. Just a lovely smoke in all ways. If you like flakes and Burley you will like this. The Virginia adds a very subtle sweetness where earthy flavors and dark fruits dominate. I too would not label this 'strong'. Smokes 'medium' to my taster.

Pipe Used: Dunhill squat bulldog Cumberland

Age When Smoked: Just purchased in April

Purchased From: Iwan Ries

Similar Blends: Edgeworth flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

GabrielCRT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GabrielCRT (50)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a rich and flavorful flake from Mac Baren. Not as strong as Bold Kentucky but a little more complex. The Kentucky leaf is nutty, earthy, and woodsy. The Virginia(s?) is sweet with fruit, raisin, and bready notes. There is a consistent but mild tanginess throughout the bowl possible from a vinegar casing. Great in cobs, briars, and meerschaum. This blend ages well but is perfectly ready fresh.

Age When Smoked: 2012-2016

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Appalachian Chef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Appalachian Chef (51)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

A classic for sure. Full bodied and full of flavor. This is not a smoke for beginners. Beautiful flake cut with a ton of rich and heady smoke. It's staying in my rotation and cellar for years to come!

Pipe Used: Moonshine XXX El Capitan

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Little Steven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Little Steven (18)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Unnoticeable

This is Massey Ferguson axle grease mixed with vinager. At least, that's what it tasted like to me. Don't get me wrong, it's a damn fine baccy. It's well thought out and well put together. Lots of stars. This is just not for me.

An update a few months later

A few tins of this jumped off the shelf at me last week. I tipped one on to newspaper (The Sunday Times - it might be that what made the difference). I let the flakes sit there for an hour and then lit up.

It's still axle grease and vinegar but now a sturdy sweetness was present throughout, almost down to the dottle.

And it was milder than I recall.

A good robust smoke!

Pipe Used: Stanwell billard.

Age When Smoked: Fresh from the shop.

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop (nice chaps).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wes.B.Greer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wes.B.Greer (2)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

(I dont review on here much, but this is worth the time to put into typing) Mmmm. Mmmmh! "Old Tastey Flake" as I have now dubbed this Tobacco is an amazingly deep and earthy experience. I purchased my 3.5 oz tin from Edwards Pipe Tobacco and couldn't be more pleased. This tin had been brought back unopened after a previous customer had returned his lot due to one tin being a little dark around the wax seal ring. I opened this tin and saw the same darkening around the edge but after unfolding the wax paper, the Tobacco was in perfect condition. Moist to perfection and perfectly cut to fit neatly into the tin.

The tin note was rasins and figs with hints of molasses and semisweet chocolate. Rubbing this out only confirmed the excellent condition of the flakes, jist the right amount of moisture and rolling it between my fingers broke it up into a nice ball that was easily packed into my Falcon Bowl.

On first light I realized I had packed it too tightly and had to ruffle up the bowl to get a good draw. (Flakes always take some time to figure out since one is never like the other). After getting it lit, the initial smoke was light and airy, but throughout the bowl the smoke thickens up. If packed well, this will be a long and enjoyable smoke.

The finished product was a light gray ash and some serious moisture in the bottom of the bowl. Since I smoke a Falcon, that wasn't much concern since they're easy to clean. Overall, I may head back to Edwards and grab another tin since I like this so much. If your a burley fan, do yourself a favor, at the very least, pick up a small tin of this stuff. It'll make you smile.

Pipe Used: Falcon Hunter

Age When Smoked: 1-2 months

Purchased From: Edwards Pipe & Tobacco

Similar Blends: Solani Aged Burley Flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

noquarter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
noquarter (21)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

To begin with, I really like Irish Flake which led me to try ODF. I would still prefer the IF but this tobacco is also very good on its own. This could be the IF without the additional flavoring. Good clean burn with a nice flavor profile all throughout the bowl especially on a conical chamber.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ArmedOctopus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ArmedOctopus (20)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I would be hard pressed to add more to what has already been said. This is a very good quality tobacco. Dark and rich both in the tin and in the pipe. Very pleasant and enjoyable. A bit stronger in the nicotine department than most pipe tobaccos, but not cigar knock-you-on-your-butt strong by any means. I would say the flavor is pushing the stronger side of things. I also have to say that, to me, the flavor is pretty one-dimensional....which isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a simple smoke and sometimes you just want to enjoy a good flake. This hits on all cylinders in both departments. Nothing exceptional. But solidly good.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Houndstooth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Houndstooth (29)
Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant

I will not spend much time on this as it will be wasted; plenty have been here before me and have done admirable jobs.

The long and short of it is that Old Dark Fired is splendid stuff; maybe the best flake I've ever smoked. It's easy to see how quickly one could get spoiled smoking it. It's so good that I plan to break it out only on special occasions- what I'll be smoking instead is P Stokkebye's Luxury Bullseye Flake.

If you can afford to smoke Old Dark Fired all the time, it's not super-expensive. But you probably won't enjoy much else after getting spoiled on it except maybe for Latakia blends, if you enjoy them.

I smoke ODF in smaller bowled pipes because squandering any Old Dark Fired would be a crime.

Pipe Used: Bent Bob's sitter, small cobs

Age When Smoked: August 2013

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: Peterson's Flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PuffPuffKeep Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PuffPuffKeep (8)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I'm getting raisins, leather and a mild apple cider vinegar from the tin. Tobacco smokes with tones of nuts, leather and wood with a sweet finish. Leather mellows. Smoke goes creamy with nuts and wood remaining sweet. Leather's gone, the wood is fading, still nutty but now with a feint citrus in the background. Strength lingers one notch above medium. A good tobacco.

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NobbyR Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NobbyR (77)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This accurately cut and stacked flake is an interesting blend, because it consists solely of Dark Fired Kentucky Burley and Virginia grades. The slices are dark brown with only a few lighter sprinkles. Moisture is perfect.

The tin note is full bodied and spicy as well as tarry with hints of apricot an aniseed.

The flakes are ideally suited for the fold and stuff method. For this kind of cut, lighting is quite easy: a single charring light, some leveling out the ashes and a single true light will usually suffice.

The Dark Fired Kentucky gives this blend a tart, peppery, earthy taste reminding me of the smell of burning autumn leaves. Underneath that, there's a tangy sweetness that reminds me of dark chocolate, raisins or pumpernickel. This is a strong smoke, albeit not as high on nicotine as Nightcap, for example. It burns down easily leaving some greying ash.

The room note is earthy and smoky.

Pipe Used: Poul Winsløw Giant

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Esterval's Pipe House

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WillBrown Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillBrown (100)
Extremely Strong Extremely Mild Overwhelming Overwhelming

Sadly, the following review is based on a compromised tin. I suppose this was bound to happen after 75 some tobaccos, so, take this review as is. I surmise the tin was compromised at the place I had purchased it from (an online baccy shop, of which I cannot name because I bought it about 2 years ago; in other words, I can't remember the name of the shop but, I can say, since I mostly only purchase from 3 shops online, it was one of them). The seal was broken on the tin, and some moisture got inside, both rusting the rim of the tin and discoloring the gold foil wrapper. The tobacco actually had some MOLD inside! (not Pflaume, or Pflume, real mold). I found an undisturbed flake in the middle of the cut stacks of flake, and, after mustering a little bit of courage, I smoked it.

I never thought I'd smoke a baccy stronger than Manil's Semois, but this flake was even stronger than that. Now, was this a result of the tin being compromised or not, I cannot say. The tobacco tasted like, well, metal, rusty metal, yet, I could tell, somewhat, that this once was a good burley, but, overall the taste was really foul. A truly bad smoking experience.

I hesitated to review this tin, but, I take them as they come, and tell it like it is. The really sad part of this really poor experience, is that I'll probably never buy this baccy again—and, it's not Mac Baren's fault, surely.

Keep on Piping! (I trust)

Pipe Used: Boswell

Purchased From: Can't remember

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Spring has sprung finally ,ok well as far as the calendar is concerned and warmer weather's is a coming .We can start to actually go outside out of hibernation and enjoy our pipes and relax more outdoors. Todays review will be on Mac Barens' HH Old Dark Fired:

Pipe Used: Eric Berk Freehand, briar slight bent

Tin Size: 100g.

Tin Note: Peppery spicy notes, slight aroma of black licorice

Cut: Hot cured pressed flake

Tobacco: Virginia, Burley

Taste: Peppery, full body with a nice natural sweetness from the Virginia

Strength: Medium/Full

Aroma : Very strong full bodied pillowing smoke, peppery aroma

Notes: This tobacco had very nice uniformed cuts, rich dark chocolate brown flakes, out of the tin it was a bit moist and it can use some dry time before packing for a way better smoke. The room note is a very rich strong complex aroma. I don't recommend smoking it inside unless you enjoy a very strong smell. It's not a bad smell by any means but it is as full bodied as you would come to expect just by looking at it. Therefore, other people may not like it. I packed it using the bend and fold method and rubbing it out. I find it had more complexity with bend and fold as compared to rubbing the tobacco out. The pipe didn't need many relights after the false light. I noticed a nice nuttiness from the burley which added a nice dimension to it as well as the natural sweetness and herbal grassy notes from the Virginia. While doing this review I also paired it with a nice cup of hot coffee/cream/sugar and it went very well together. I suggest you smoke this blend nice and slow for the best results and pack it lightly, tamp it as you need to. I recommend this one. I am confident it will get way better with some age on it. So go get yourself a tin already.

Keep on puffin !!!!!!

Rate: 3.0-3.5 out of 5

The Wife's Review:

My husband lit Old Dark Fire up and the first thing I noticed was the peppery smell. It tickled my nose like fresh ground black pepper; not hot but spicy. After I got past the peppery effect I noticed a clean crisp woodsmoke note, like burning aged oak or cedar. My hubby is right though, unless you like a fire-pit in the middle of the living room, it would be best smoked outside on a cool summer night, with a breeze to soften the tangy bite that gains harshness as it fills the room. I would probably actually like this one during the summer months, outside. It definitely is not a blend I would recommend for winter or even early spring. Or anywhere enclosed!

Pipe Used: Eric Berk Freehand,Briar slight bend

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: Sutliff

Nobody has rated this review yet.

pipedrum22 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipedrum22 (15)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

If you are looking for a solid, full flavored Virginia/Burley flake, then look no further than this Mac Baren blend. Typically, I am not a fan of stronger flakes, but this is definitely an exception. I would recommend allowing a flake to dry out for a few minutes before smoking, but other than that it burns well and smokes cool. The nuttiness and sweetness of this VaBur leaves the smoker with a sense of complete satisfaction when they reach the bottom of the bowl. The nicotine level is high as expected, but it is not overwhelming by any means. On the rare occasion that I reach for a strong flake, this is the one I choose

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cumarinophil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cumarinophil (104)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

MB HH Old Dark Fired is dark, ripe and satisfying. Despite the full, spicy taste with subtle, but present natural sweetness, it doesn’t sting or bite you at all. I could feel the tad above medium nicotine content about half way down the bowl in a comfortable way.

Earthy notes of the dark fired Kentucky are well balanced in the mix of Virginia characteristics. Smell and taste complement each other so nicely, that I don’t want the smoke to escape into the air. I should find a tiny room and lock myself in while smoking this. The bad thing about this tobacco is, that it might make fellow pipe smokers turn on each other, in a battle for the tins available… . Enjoy!

Pipe Used: Various with and without filter

Age When Smoked: fresh

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Adrian B. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Adrian B. (28)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I bought a tin of this a while back and just cracked it today, I've been looking forward to it for a while. I've read nothing but glowing reviews of ODF, one guy's complete review was "It's a gift from God" so to be honest I was prepared to be disappointed; nothing is that good.

Well, it's damn good. The glowing reviews are well deserved, the flavor is amazing and even my uneducated palate can pick out the subtleties. The burley is predominate of course and the taste is bold and wonderful, but it doesn't overpower the Virginias. The only slightly negative thing I can say about it, and this will not be a factor for everybody, is that the nic is pretty strong. I have a relatively low tolerance and have to smoke this gem in a small bowl and, sadly, I don't think it would be an all day smoke for me. Every day, but not all day. I give it 3 stars for sissies like me, but if you can take the Vitamin N hit, it's 4 stars all the way.

Pipe Used: MM Cob

Age When Smoked: Tin fresh

Purchased From: local B&M

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LannarkGent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LannarkGent (27)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong

This a good strong full flavored blend. There seems to be some kind of plum note in there . With lots of vitamin N, this hits me a lot harder than Dunhill Night Cap. This blend is not for everyone, but fine for those who like a no nonsense smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (220)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A nice straightforward dark fired, a good intro to the category for those that haven't tried one. The flakes are easy to fold and fairly easy to light. Not an 'oh, wow' blends by any means, but certainly a reliable smoke. Since I know there are many tobaccos out there I would rate a 4, the question arises would I rebuy this particular tobacco, assuming my tastes don't change much more. In this case, the answer is not too often.

Pipe Used: various meers, cobs, and briars

Age When Smoked: 14 months

Purchased From: pipes & cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

garydobbs Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
garydobbs (20)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Very Pleasant

I heard JD on the excellent Country Squire Radio Show going on about this blend, and I promptly ordered a tin. WOW! Thank you JD -Relaxing with a bowl of Old Dark Fired is a pleasure. There is a poetry to the smoke that teased my muse, hinted at exotic places and forbidden pleasures with the intesity of its tastes...when I first lit the bowl I was seated on a park bench in drab Tonypandy but almost immeditaley I was transported to a woodland teaming with wildlife, day became night and nubile maidens danced for my enjoyment. OK sorry - in other words this is a bloody excellent tobacco. It leaves a velvety chocolately aftertaste and for its strength smokes incredibly mild.

Pipe Used: Big Ben

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smoking

Similar Blends: A night with a sexy Amazonian babe.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darth Vader Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth Vader (104)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Wow. Smoky campfire. Kind of like 1792 without the touquin flavour. Very nice stuff and stronger than most other McB's. Buying it by the pound at present.

Pipe Used: Briar

Age When Smoked: >1y

Purchased From: 4Noggins

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mville Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mville (9)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This was my first time trying a dark fired kentucky, and one of my first flakes. I think its a really great tobacco, with great flavor, and a great change from my usual english blends. will keep this on hand.

Pipe Used: Briar

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: P&C

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Much has been written about this blend. ODF is probably the most popular blend Mac Baren currently makes. This is a great blend. I can't really think of anything to say that hasn't been said before. This blend is popular for a reason. Incidentally, I have found that ODF reminds me of Condor Long Cut, minus the floral component...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Chris66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Chris66 (10)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Like smoking a bit of Gandhi's flip flop ! Perhaps I just don't like flake tobacco, but dear God they can't all be this bad. Not for me.

Pipe Used: Peterson

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: A bit of twig pulled from between a tramps toes..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (74)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Rich, full and satisfying. I could stop right there and say no more but I won't. MacBaren has not been a blender that I am fond of and I've tried more of their blends than I care to remember. HHODF is about as far from a normal MacBaren blend as you can get, in a blind taste test I would never have put them down as a possible blender of this beautiful chocolate brown flake. It is indeed rich with all natural tobacco flavors of bold strength. Yes the nicotine level is full and ordinarily I avoid those type of blends because simply put I neither crave nor desire nicotine, spinning head and an evening at the vomitorium are not my preferred evening pleasures. That said I could not resist buying this to see if MacBaren had truly put a "different" style of tobacco out. The answer is yes they did. I smoke it slowly because of the nicotine and will only occassionally have a bowl because of Lady N but it is certainly a tobacco of high caliber and if you are in search of a full all natural tobacco give this a try, you'll probably fall in love.

This gets 3 stars from me but the overall quality scores 4.

Pipe Used: Ferndown Bulldog

Age When Smoked: a few months

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fredkao Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fredkao (11)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have only 1 Mac Barren, this one. I will say, it's not for new pipe smoker like me. It's a too much good tobacco to be trully appreciated so I keep it in a jar at that time but I'm sure, after a few bowl, it's a wonderfull tobacco.

update: Well, I ordered a lot more. I will jar some. It's just a so beautifull tobacco. The strenght is medium in the first1/3 then increase. The chocolate note is present as other mentioned it. Taste is sweet and creamy. I'm not an expert so the only think I can say: "it's very complex and you are never bored with it". It can be smoked at any pace it won't bite. Don't need to relight either. It's one of my favorite along with GH flakes. You can go for it with banded eyes.

Pipe Used: French pipe from St Claude

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TheWoodwose Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheWoodwose (17)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

"Yum" is the first word that comes to mind.

I have only smoked two bowls of the stuff so far but I am really enjoying it. I am not very experienced with flakes (the only other one I have tried is Erinmore Flake) so I am still working on learning how to prepare it to my liking but man is it good!

The tin note smells very savory, almost like bacon. The flavor is exactly what I was hoping for, savory and smoky. It makes for a good long smoke and the room note is very pleasant. It is definitely not the strongest tobacco or the most flavorful I have had but -- what it has -- is all good.

Very highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jacques1960 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jacques1960 (27)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

As others have written, Mac Baren has fallen short of its promise many, many times.

HH Old Dark Fired is a notable exception. This reminds us of what they are capable of delivering, among the best conceived and executed tobaccos available.


Huzzah !

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeliner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeliner (12)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I`m really surprised about Mac Baren. With the Old Dark Fired present MB an absolutly unusual product. But let me say, it is really a very nice surprise. The look of the Old Dark Fired is really great, dark stoved Virgina Flakes cut accurately. The pipe is easily to pack with and the taste is creamy, malty without any tongue bite or sharpness. The taste is not complex but the taste is constand till the end of the pipe.The Old Dark Fired is in my opinion not as strong and more creamy as the Ilsted Dark Fired Plug. But both tobaccos presenting the same kind of taste. Personally smoke not much such kind of tobaccos only sometimes, but when I smoke the Old Dark Fired I always enjoy this tobacco. Only 3 stars from me,because I`m not a fervent admirer of such tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (281)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Nicely prepared dark flakes with some yellow stripes ~ 3"x7/8" and slightly thinner than many that I smoke but this just makes for easier packing with my fold technique. I thought the moisure content right from the tin was high and led to a harsh and bitter smoke. However, with drying, that improved although this is still the strongest McB that I've tried and I'm not sure if this is the result of the dark firing/pressing or high Burley content. I didn't sense and missed any of the sweetness of the VAs I normally smoke but this was probably designed to this end. High test nicotine so I'd only recommend for an experienced puffer.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WeCamps Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WeCamps (2)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is my stranded-on-an-island blend. I found this to be surprisingly tasteful and I really enjoy the after taste it leaves when the bowl is gone. I prefer this rubbed out and in a shorter wider bowl. The tin smell is unusual and dark and the flakes seem damper than most flakes right from the tin. After rubbing it out and waiting to pack it for 10-15 minutes, it loads easily. Lighting takes a couple (strong) attempts but stays lit fairly well with only a relight or two needed if the tamping or puffing isn't controlled and consistent. I have a 50/50 love/love-not with Mac Baren tobacco but this is one I go to more often than any of the other Mac Baren blends I have tried.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Clive Moses Apikouris Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Clive Moses Apikouris (30)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

Savory, smokey, tangy, spicy, robust and delicious. I can see why some who might sample this would assume that it contains Latakia. On opening the tin you are greeted by nice rows of of dark mottled flake, the welcoming aroma is slightly sweet and smokey, a bit of a muted dry fruit scent, perhaps a bit like brown sugar but also a bit like the whiff a Maple smoked cheddar cheese with a hit of black pepper. Nothing funky though, actually quite mouth watering. The flakes rub out easily, they are not overly wet or sticky. Like other Mac Barren products I've tried they have a perfect moisture content. I pack my pipe with a kind of a Frank method and once lit it burns perfectly until you don't want it to. I've smoked this marvelous tobacco in a variety of pipes, right now I'm pleasingly puffing away on it in a Barlings Garnet Grain and the experience is always just as enjoyable. HH Old Dark Fired has the signature Mac Barren Maple sugar in the background,and by the way I've never experienced the infamous "MacBite" from any of their blends I've tried; you just need to understand how to smoke them. I've already touched on the delectable flavour. It is very complex and while robust it is smooth in the manner of a fine Corojo cigar with not a single unpleasant note. As for the "N" level, it is a bit potent but not a knee-knocker. This is a tobacco that I crave smoking, not a blend I'll go to for the sake of variety in my rotation. HH Old Dark Fired pairs well with a variety of beverages from an old fashioned Johnny Walker Black and soda to what I'm sipping with it now, unsweetened Chinese Oolong tea. Most highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Oldman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Oldman (5)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Makes a great smoke. I found that drying it out a bit helps in cutting it into small cubes helps in packing it into your pipe. No bite noticed and the taste is quite good. I plan to make this a regular addition to my cellar.

I don't understand the terrible one-star review but everyone has their right to an opinion. I just really don't understand this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This beautiful flake has a very complex flavor profile. It is sweet, smokey, dried fig like and just all around one tasty blend. The presentation is first class and the 3.5 oz tins represent maybe the best valued tin on the market. It is a very high quality blend that lends it self to my favorite preparation of cube cutting it. It smokes extremely cool with absolutely no bite.

In regards to people who give this a one star review, I submit these people have no idea what constitutes a quality blend. It is one thing to not like a flavor of something, but to state in public that this has no flavor, means the person who says this has no idea what flavor is. There is so much flavor to this that you would have to be dead not to recognize it. As said before, it looks like a troll is just dissing this for the sake of taking a shot at Mac Baren. It makes all the other reviews by said persons not worthy of consideration.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

chaplikc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chaplikc (135)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I can not say enough praise about this blend! This is in my top 5 all time favorite flake tobaccos. It has been a while since a blend has commanded my attention such as this one has. I am a sucker for a good burley Virginia flake and this one seems to hit everything just right. The flavor is wonderful leaning towards the burley but the Virginia is there and is very good. I have found that this blend smokes better for me on the dry side so I like to let it air a bit before smoking. I highly recommend this blend and my hat is off to Mac Barens for this one! I never thought Mac Baren would make one of my all time favorite blends!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (896)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

This offering definitively remains the best from Mac Baren. I love DFK and seek every opportunity to buy tobaccos conatining this leaf.

But, in the case of ODF, the tin note and its taste do not agree with my tastebuds. I smoked about 8 pipefuls and cannot stand the taste. I find this really unfortunate but there is nothing I can do about it for now except revisit in a year or so.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

II Stormy II Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
II Stormy II (14)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable

Great smoke. Charring light is a little harsh but it soon smooths out and is very enjoyable. I use cube cut for this flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

First off let me start by saying to the guy that threw this away, next time before you get rid of tobacco, please send it to me I'll pay your shipping. I hate to see tobacco thrown out. Now to the review... I would say this is tobacco at its best. I love most of the hh blends. This is just good strong old fashioned tobacco. This tin note its grand. Recommend drying and then rubbing out this one, it's hard to get lit. The aroma is awesome and enough nicotine to give the seasoned smoker a good time. It really does remind me a lot of Irish flake. In fact I would say buy this over Irish flake. On smoking pipes you can get 3.5oz of this for 11 bucks but with Irish flake you pay 9 for 1.78 oz. It's a real bargain. If you love a good strong flake you gotta try this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Puffingthebriar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Puffingthebriar (17)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

After a few friends telling me to try this one i jumped in with a order for 3, 100grm tins,i love this stuff, i would not of guessed this was a mc-Barens tobacco,i would of said it was a S/G blend its so smooth and tasty from start to finish,4++++ from me on this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (202)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

This was another hit for MacBaren! I bought 5 tins of this from my online tobacconist because I had heard so many good things about it and i love it.

This is master tobacco blending at its finest, the bold bitterness of the dark fired burley combines with the sweetness of the Flue-cured Virginia creates a sensory delight, This contains great burley which provides body and a woodsy taste to the smoke, fantastic!,Also, while this blend is very comparable to Irish Flake and Dark Fake, it is without a doubt superior in every way.

Just dont try to inhale the smoke as there is enough nicotine to kill a horse!

Superb stuff, 4 stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

grimpeur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
grimpeur (82)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have long been a fan of a number of Mac Baren's offerings, Dark Flake is certainly an outlier amongst them. When I see that a blend incorporates fire-cured tobacco, I tend to shy away; I generally find the cigar-like taste to be off-putting. But, in Mac Baren I trust...

This is simply superb. The cigar note is quite subdued, it just adds a little spice to the experience. The level of strength suits me to a "tee". I am finding it perfect for the autumn weather. At least once during each bowl I've smoked of this blend I find myself pleasantly surprised: "Mac Baren made this!?" Had somebody given me an unmarked sample, I would have sworn it was a G&H offering: it has that sinew and smoothness.

I was getting ready to order a shipment of Revor and Warrior plug tobacco from the U.K., now I'm wondering if the money might be better spent laying in a supply of Dark Fired. I can't give it higher praise than that!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TheSmokinDragon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheSmokinDragon (56)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

MB hit a home run here...I llike my SG 1792, Irish Old Dark Fired slides into the rotation...don't just buy one a sleeve

Nobody has rated this review yet.

juvat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
juvat (36)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Rich, dark and flavorful. This blend reminds me of Bow-Legged bear in smell but thats where the similarities end. Has a very robust taste of burley but much stronger, tastier and more earthy. It smokes cool with thick, rich clouds of smoke. It also has an almost cigar like essence to it know and then...almost.

Bravo Mac Baren! I can find no faults with this blend.

NOTE CONCERNING THE 1 STAR REVIEWS: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. No argument there. But I can't help but wonder if some people see a blend that has nothing but 4 star reviews and decides to make a 1 star review just to spite it. smell? No taste? Really? REALLY? It's one thing to say "Its not my cup of tea" or "I just didnt care for it." But when you write a review saying things like "Whats the point?", "It has no smell/taste/aroma" and "I threw it in the trash" (sure you did), it just screams tobacco reviews troll and seriously calls in to question the validity of your review as well as your personal character.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

juanmedusa Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
juanmedusa (8)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Wow. They really made an excellent English style flake. I agree with everyone's notes on the tobaccos it resembles but I would point out that it really isn't a clone or direct replacement to any one of those. I love IF and many SG and GH&co flakes. This tobacco will not satisfy any craving for the lakeland flavor but is a straight forward tobacco in their class. Definitely a bit lighter than IF. But as an outstanding flake in it's own right and given Mac Baren's strenght of consistency, uniformity in cutting, value and accessability (though they seem to be a bit behind demand with this one) it's a real contender for our tobacco dollars. I'll be purchasing again.(on a side note, nice to have a biteless MacB!)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wawalsh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wawalsh (8)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I was an avid pipe smoker for years giving it up after my favorite tobacco was no longer made. I came back once I realized the plethora of tobaccos available online. Instead of smoking only one tobacco, I now find myself having the pleasure of choosing a tobacco according to my mood. With these days turning cooler, I opened a tin of this tobacco and am thoroughly delighted with it. Extremely cool smoking and flavorful. The aroma of the tobacco burning from the bowl is very deep and fantastic. This is my go to tobacco at the moment. I would highly recommend this tobacco for the experienced smoker.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

daveyj66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
daveyj66 (8)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

MacBaren has this one right! A fine flake of Virginias and Burleys hot pressed. If they can keep up with the demand and put this out in bulk, many smokers will be happy!

This is a very rich and flavorful smoke which I have enjoyed the last 2 weeks going through the 100g tin. It is a tad moist but drys very easily and makes for easy loading once rubbed out. From my first bowl of this tobacco I knew I was going to like it. It will not be for everyone though as it is very strong and I am sure has a high nic content.

This flake has found a spot in my cellar, know I just hope MacBaren does this right and has it readily available. So many of the great tobaccos of today are so difficult to acquire.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bluenoser Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluenoser (34)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Old Dark Fired is an exquisite example of the very finest in dark flake manufacturing. I can only imagine the excitement at the MacBaren factory when they finally rolled out their first sheet for sampling. The interplay and melding here between the Burly and Virginia leaves is quite remarkable. The smoke is semi-sweet, dark ,rich, very prune-like with the depth of resoundingly masculine character yet equally refined and eloquent. It's being compared to Irish Flake and G&H's Dark Flake and I do indeed find it very similar to the later just with less nicotine. As others have stated however, this is by no means a slight to the strength of ODF, it has plenty of kick and I find it similar to Solani's Aged Burly Flake in the heft department. MacBaren has a sure winner on their hands and I would even go out on a strong limb to suggest ODF could very well become the new tobacco of 2012 that sets the standard for all others in its' genre. Highly Recommended!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

vinnie799 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
vinnie799 (33)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

One thing I like to do when cracking a new tin of tobacco is to catch the tin note immediately as soon as the seal is broken. This aroma is heavenly to me; true tobacco smell. This blend of Va and Dark fired burley is a fine offering from MacBaren's. I feel that it is their strongest blend even though it only rates a three on the front of their tin. And I for one like STRONG I don't know how far their numbers go up but by looking at their tins I'd imagine up to about five. I would easily give Old Dark Fired a strong four on their ratings in strength. The Burley in this is a nice bold base for the VA to chirp up and sing a bit. A hint of sweetness abounds from the Virginias here. And I also like that fact that the taste stays with me for a while after putting the pipe down! I like that feature, alot. The flakes are really hard pressed and the three rows of flake are a tad difficult to separate. Now, if you don't mind bustin' up the flakes the go ahead and tear into the bars of flake. Otherwise, I found it necessary to CAREFULLY remove a bar of flakes and separate the stack with a knife or the flat of my pipe tool. That is not to say that they must be cut apart but gently separated. The price for this ELEGANT presentations and smoke is really really good in my opinion from my source which a can't mention here and very worth the outlay for 100 gram tin. The tin seems to hold a seal fairly well unless they are pressed/packed so tight that if air got in it couldn't mess things up but who knows. This blend is a treasure for late night smoking.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

alpyesilay Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
alpyesilay (9)
Strong None Detected Medium Strong

I dont understand the idea of this product. Worst one in HH series. Seems like Samuel Gawith XX Black Rope. But softer. Dont spend your money on this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mcbpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mcbpipe (11)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I was able to obtain a tin of this after the Chicago show. My first comment of this is the fact that I really appreciate a full 100 gram tin rather than the usual 50 grams. I enjoy MacBaren blends and especially the H H series. This is a robust tobacco with no detectable added flavouring. It is good hearty tobacco in the English (Lakeland ) style without the added essences.I like to take out two or three of the slices & let them dry out a little and in this way it takes to the light easily and stays lit through the bowl. I prefer a small bowl and enjoy it most in the evening after a meal. The cosest I have come to this is probably Irish Flake but I enjoy the lighter strength. The smoke overall is one of pure tobacco with a good strength. I have smoked all of the MacBaren 3 strength tobacco & feel this should probably be a four. I will definately be laying more of this in stock & be keeping it on hand.Well worth trying and good value for the money.

Update Nov 7/12 I have now smoked two tins of this marvellous blend & I find Ijust like it more & more. It is a dark, smooth blend with a smooth nicotine dose. I am hoping that McB will catch up with demand & pack in 1 pound boxes.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (210)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Mac Baren has hit one out of the park with HH Old Dark Fired. I recently received two 100gm tins from Iwan Ries. The tin note is pure tobacco and very similar to Irish Flake and Highland Sliced as the flakes are earthy in their smell. They are very dark and tightly pressed as with IrF and HS (tightly pressed flakes is new for a Mac Baren flake) and similar in size to Ir F. They are stacked into three neat rows. They are cut a tad thinned than IrF which makes for easier packing.

The flakes were at a good moisture consistency for packing and lighting. In a blind smoke, I would never ever guess this was from Mac Baren. This is one fine smoke. IrF and HS are two of my favorite tobaccos ever and now I have a third in the same genre. HH ODF has a very rich, natural flavor profile with solid, pure tobacco taste. It exhibits a nice spiciness while smoking. Unlike the spiciness of Perique, there is no pepper notes at all, which is a good thing for me as I don't care for Perique. I don't think there is any casing, and if there is, I can not detect it. It has a healthy dose of nicotine that takes an immediate front row seat. By the way, this offering is a smoother smoke as it doesn't seem to have the harshness I sometimes experience with a bowl of IrF.

I have quite a bit of IrF and HS but I can see myself reaching for this new offering from Mac Baren when I want a rich, pure tobacco smoke. It is simply fantastic in my book. If you like IrF and/or HS, you will not be disappointed at all. I enjoy other Mac Baren tobaccos, but this one is way ahead of the pack and is a major player in the pantheon of fine smoking tobaccos. My hat goes off to the blenders at Mac Barens for introducing such a winner. 10 stars across the board!!

UPDATE 6-9-12: Close to finishing the first of two tins, I will have to ration this as I read on the Mac Baren's website that due to the overwhelming positive response to this new HH blend, Mac can't keep up with demand. They say it is not a question of increasing production, but ODF needs a long time to store. The end result is they don't expect any more supply at the earliest until 2013!

UPDATE 3-6-15: I've been smoking this from a tin that's just going on one year old. It's dried out sufficiently to pose no problems with lighting, staying lit, or other issues that moisture brings to the pipe. The tin note and pre-draw taste through the stem is that of a freshly opened box of yummy raisins - very delicious. As much as I enjoyed this when it was first released, it is just superb with some age and drying on it.

Pipe Used: Various Peterson's and Stanwells

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin

Nobody has rated this review yet.