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From the website in English: This is the strongest pipe tobacco among the blends in the Mac Baren range and is not recommended for inexperienced pipe smokers. HH Bold Kentucky contains a high amount of the finest dark fired Kentucky from the USA and Africa, and is combined with bright Virginias to soften the taste just a bit. Still the taste is of earthiness with just a slight nuance of sweetness as the underlying taste, which comes from the leaf itself and the hot press, which marries the different tobaccos together. Like all the other HH blends this blend has only an absolute minimum of casing and no top flavor at all.

Notes: Released in November 2014.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByPer Jensen
Manufactured ByMac Baren
Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsKentucky, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2231)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Aptly named, HH Bold Kentucky has a lot of strength and boldness, and is indeed, the strongest tobacco in the HH line. The African and American dark fired Kentuckys are a bit dry, very earthy with some nuttiness and spice, and a minor amount of molasses sweetness. Smoked straight, dark fired Kentucky can be harsh and at times, bitter, so the bright Virginias are a necessary addition, succeeding in their purpose by softening most of the rough edges with some minor sweet citrus and grass notes. The Virginias do not dampen the power and hearty richness of the Kentucky, and a little of the expected roughness remains, but it is more palatable to smokers as a result of its inclusion. There are a few small sour notes from the Kentucky. There is no topping, and the casing - which I suspect is vinegar - is very minimal, and not noticed very often.

The slices are hot pressed and moist in the tin. It may help the burn rate if you dry them a little, but I have found they burned fairly well straight out of the tin, though the tobacco will require some relights. The slices are very easy to break apart, and easily rubbed out if that is your preference. Has a strong nic-hit. Burns slow and fairly cool with no bite, no dottle and very little moisture at the finish, even when it’s not dried out. The taste is consistent all the way through and doesn’t turn bitter at the end. Due to the strength of the flavor and nicotine, I recommend smoking it at no more than a moderate pace. Obviously not an all day smoke, but a smoker experienced with strong dark fired Kentucky products - or strong tobaccos in general - won’t mind having more than one bowl a day.


76 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1826)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Unnoticeable

I smoked a bowl of the Mac Baren HH Bold Burley on a recent 100 mile auto trip (I purchased a 5-pack a couple of weeks ago). I opened a tin and spread out just enough to dry for an hour before loading. It never did dry out. And, even though I smoked with the window cracked while I drove to promote a good air flow, the tobacco was hard to keep lit through the first half of the bowl due to the moisture level. I really enjoyed the overall flavor, but boy, did this stuff smoke fresh. It reminded me quite a bit of a fresh tin of Peterson's Irish Flake that I had purchased and smoked right after it came out. The HH Bold Kentucky was sweeter and stronger than the Pete Irish Flake and didn't have that sort of campfire woodsy taste I get from the Irish Flake. I socked away the other tins and will re-visit them in a few years. I'm going to order a dozen or so more tins to cellar as I really did think this one has potential to be a whale of a good smoke once the fermentation process in the tins does its job.

I'm taking the rest of the Bold Kentucky from the tin I opened to my local pipe club meeting. I can't wait to see how it affects whoever smokes it. Naturally, I will say that it seems to be a mild Burley. (-;


41 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Mac Baren should stamp the word "SATISFACTION" on every one of these flakes. It satisfies better than any other blend I've smoked. Great natural tobacco flavor with a hint of sweetness. This might be the substitute I've been looking for to replace my morning cigar. I used to smoke 5 or 6 cigars a day, but that got terribly expensive. That's the reason I picked up the pipe. I've been down to just one per day for a year or so now and this blend might just make that zero. Gonna give it a shot and if it works I'll send a thank you card to Mac Baren and my budget will send a thank you card to me.

Body is medium to full. Flavor is full. Burn is very good. Satisfaction is off the charts.

Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, MM Diplomat Apple

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

36 people found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (230)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

I agree wholeheartedly when Mac Baren says this is their strongest tobacco to date. Very similar to the likes of their ODF but with much less of a vinegar smell from the tin and definitely more potent. A slightly sweet tobacco aroma is the tin note for this one and nothing else. I smoked this fresh from the tin and although it did require a few relights, it did not smoke wet. Irish Flake has always been a favorite of mine and that is the benchmark for my comparison. I've noticed since KK no longer blends IrF, that its overall quality for me has dropped a bit. Still a good smoke, but not the same anymore. Enter HHBK. A great natural tasting tobacco with a very strong. A very full tasting, nicotine laced flake for sure. Needs to be smoked slowly and with thought or the nicotine will leave you with a lump in your chest. Same taste profile from the beginning to the end of the bowl. Can become a bit harsh if pushed. Nothing fancy, just good tobacco as it was meant to be smoked. If you like a good, stout and dark flake, this is the one. For me, it was Kentucky all the way as I could not detect any of the Virginia presence other than for the slight sweetness in the smoke. Kudos to MacBaren.

Pipe Used: Stanwell featherweight poker

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Irish Flake, MacBaren's ODK, Rattray's Stirling Flake, John Sinclair's Highland Sliced.

30 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (854)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Rather black thin flakes, neatly arranged in rows and presented as only Mac Baren seems to do. Earthy, deep tin note, and as a huge lover of ODF, I was excited to fire this up. I was not disappointed. I did have to dry it considerably to keep it lit and I found the flavor improved by a small margin when I did. But I didn't dry it to tinder... just short.

This seems to have been made for those who found ODF a bit lacking in boldness and dark flavor. I have no such issue, but if that is indeed what they were going for, they succeeded admirably. This takes ODF and elevates the deep Kentucky flavor without adding any harshness. There is the same mild sweetness that is very far to the rear but that keeps the tobacco from being all brawn and earth. This one leans towards G&H Dark Flake but backs off a little on the flavor in order to keep from becoming overly strong. Indeed, I cannot call this a "strong" tobacco, but perhaps I really mean it's not harsh as a lot of dark VaBurs can be. No real cantankerous qualities here, even when overpuffed, although it can show it's displeasure with higher temps by giving off a little bitterness. Perhaps this is the strong tobacco for those who don't like strong tobaccos but enjoy full flavor. This has that in spades. Mac Baren has definitely expanded their horizons with their HH line. I prefer ODF to this but this has a spot in my cellar as well. Four resounding stars!

24 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (506)
Extremely Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Of all the nicotine strong tobacco that I have tasted, this is, no doubt, the king. IMO. Make no mistake, this one is a nicotine bomb. Probably the strongest I have ever had, but this, alone, is not what makes it the king in my book. It is a combination of the flavor and its other uses.

Many of the nic bombs also have an overwhelming taste that borders on the completely nasty (1792) or the incredibly ashy (Burley Flake #3 and a host of other C&D burleys). This one is nutty sweet with even a bit of a chocolate type taste and is quite enjoyable to smoke. I have also found it to be not too disagreeable on the relight which is a good thing should you pack a bowl too big too handle.

Funny as it may sound, I typically smoke this one in large bowls. In fact at last year's Chicago Show, I loaded up my group 5 dunhill 5103 with this one a few times. I would smoke on it for a bit and let it go out and return to it later. I got about three smokes off it for each bowl packed. Due to this I would say this blend should be one of the first blends a new piper coming over from cigarettes should put into service. It seems to go against traditional wisdom to start with such a blend, but I strongly disagree with that tradition as it relates to ex cigarette smokers who require a lot of nicotine and are used to having short smokes.

This blend has another benefit, it will kick the crap out of any ghosts that may be in a pipe, so it is good to have around simply for that reason alone. So many good reasons to have this one on hand will make it a staple in my cellar for a long time. Highly recommended to all but the nicotine lightweights.

This one is sure to become a staple in my cellar.

23 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (342)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

First I have to say this is very good. I have been smoking it rubbed out straight from the tin with no drying time. The flakes are sliced thin, and rubbed out it is almost like a coarse shag.

It is DFK with the rough edges removed by the hot press and some Virginia. It has the DFK spice and the nicotine kick in the butt. It also has an earthy full flavor with a few sweet Virginia notes. Every now and then I get a slight sour. It never got bitter. The flavor was consistent through the bowl. It smoked cool for me.

I initially rated this Medium to Strong in the "Strength" category and have since changed it to Strong. It has the edge there on OJK and ODF there but not by much.

This is highly recommended for experienced pipe smokers who can handle a strong, full-flavored flake. It punches a lot of buttons for me. If you fit this description and you are on the fence, order some now.

16 people found this review helpful.

Mr. English Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. English (1)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I didn't find this as full as Irish Flake but similar in taste, only more refined. Very smooth tasting with some earthiness. Also got some nuttiness and a very slight sweetness. The second half of my bowl was definitely stronger than the first half. I let it go out half way to take care of the hounds and when I came back to it, it was much fuller. However, it was still very smooth. In terms of strength, I would put this between ODF and Peterson's Irish Flake with a nod towards IF.

It definitely needed some dry time, pretty moist in the tin. The flakes are presented in neat rows, three across about and five flakes deep. Smells heavenly out of the tin with a slight, but pleasant musty note to it. Rubs out easily into a very nice shag. Easier than ODF, actually. The wife enjoyed the room note but she also smokes cigars, so the non smoking SO might not like it as much. I will definitely be getting more in the 100g tin and hopefully the one pound bulk if released that way.

Pipe Used: Neptune Dublin, Peterson 606 Blackrock

Age When Smoked: New (Feb 2015)

Purchased From: Pipes & CIgars

Similar Blends: Irish Flake, Kendal Kentucky.

15 people found this review helpful.

Arizona George Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Arizona George (3)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

I was excited to get this, as I am a big fan of MacBaren HH Old Dark Fired. It came in, typically of them, a nice looking compact square tin, and the "fancy" gold foil inner wrap, surrounding a nicely presented, uniform, and quite dark flake. And with a notice on the bottom of the tin warning novices of it's strength. This is true, if you aren't an experienced smoker, or smoke cigars- this would be a little strong for you. However, for most of us it's totally okay, I would rate the nicotine level of a bowl of this as about the same as a medium full cigar, such as a La Gloria Cubana Series R. I rated it very strong, simply because I can't recall smoking many stronger pipe tobaccos. When you open the tin and smell this, it is pretty satisfying, a smell of strong smoky tobacco, a bit of a deep dried fruit smell, and just a hint of vinegar (I assume the casing), but mostly just strong unflavored tobacco goodness. The tobacco in my package was a bit moist, so I rubbed it out to about 3/8 of an inch and let it sit for about a half hour, it smoked just fine. I tried this in a couple of pipes, one a Calabash, I wanted to make sure that I am giving a fair overview, but honestly, it was much the same in all of them. I mentioned before that I am a fan of HH ODF, well I am, it's got a great full tobacco taste- on the other hand I often mix it with some Escudo or other VaPer or Virginia, because although it it very good, it is a bit monochromatic. With Bold Kentucky, this is not a problem. The strength it has, and the sweetness and tangy-ness of the Virginias in it, make it much more interesting and nuanced. It is at once smoky, earthy, and has just a bit of spice, a very full tobacco flavor, and an underlying sweetness (hard to describe- like a touch of the flavor of a dark chocolate brownie, maybe?), and just a touch of a lemony Virginia aftertaste . A bit of bitterness presents itself at the very bottom of the bowl, to which I say, don't knock yourself out over it, just call it done. If smoked at a moderate to slow pace, you will experience no tongue bite at all. I absolutely love this stuff, but I will not smoke it every day, just as I love steak, and will not eat it every day. It is simply too rich to do that (and it has no Latakia either- and doesn't seem amenable to the addition of any- which I would miss, sooner or later). It does definitely give a cigar like nicotine buzz (the ash even looks a bit white like good cigar ash), and it produces a great deal of smoke- although the smell is pretty tolerable-have some dinner before you smoke it. All in all, I like it very much, although I see it as a every once in a while treat, rather than daily smoke. Very rich!

Pipe Used: Pipa Croci, CBP Viking, Calabash

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired.

13 people found this review helpful.

Ducksbreath Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ducksbreath (120)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

These flakes come very moist, dark and somewhat fragile and remind me of the way Condor long cut looks and feels, but of course this has no discernible topping. In strength it is roughly equivalent to Condor, maybe a tad less.

In taste it reminds me most of Gawith Hoggarth Kendal Kentucky. Rich, creamy and full of Dark Fired notes. Although not quite as strong in N as Kendal Kentucky, it certainly delivers a punch yet is still approachable.

Further bowls have given me a slightly different take on this exceptional tobacco. There are tastes of very dark chocolate, and silky dark body, without sweetness. And the experience is akin to smoking a high quality, dark wrapper cigar, the kind that isn't so spicy as chocolatey, although this is something which I no longer do.

The added touch of Virginia and the processing create a refined, contemporary take on an old fashioned tobacco. Deeper and richer than Old Dark Fired, and without any of the roughness which DF in general can have, it will ring all the bells of someone looking for a full bodied smoke. Really a superb blend with good smoking characteristics and lack of harshness. Not for the smoker of Mac Baren Mixture Modern.

As good as Mac Baren is with toppings, it would be interesting if they had a "aromatic" version. I realize this goes against the H&H marketing idea. Anyway, this is a sure fire winner.

Pipe Used: Jorn Larsen, Dunhill

Age When Smoked: new

Similar Blends: Kendal Kentucky.

11 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1731)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky.

It's hard to find words to describe just how good this is! Even though there isn't any added flavouring the tin note is highly charismatic. It's very full and intriguing and suggestive of the hearty smoke that's about to follow. The flakes probably would benefit from a very short airing but it's not at all imperative to do so. They are a dark brown and fairly slim in width.

Despite the flakes are a touch moist it still ignites with ease. The smoke is such a joy! Yes, it's quite strong in nicotine but it's up to you whether or not you inhale the smoke, personally I don't so the N doesn't bother me! This has a brilliantly full taste. Although it's a fairly simple blend I find it quite a complex taste. All of the tobaccos can be acknowledged without any of them becoming too much. I get a wonderful deep nuttiness coming through accompanied by a delightful grass tone from the Virginia. The smoke is of a decent thickness and it doesn't burn too hot. It's actually quite cool. I get no tongue bite at all. Not even if I strain the guts out of it! It takes it's time in burning. It isn't one of those blends that's gone in a few puffs, it's a proper 'sit and savour' smoke.

I said at the start "it's hard to find words to describe just how good this is" and I hope I've done it justice! Full marks without a doubt.

Pipe Used: Pedder Jeppesen

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: My Smoking Shop

10 people found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (106)
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

Mac Baren is really on to a fantastically good thing with the hot-pressed flakes of the HH line. This, like Old Dark Fired, is in my top 2. Quick logic would show my 2 desert island blends are MB ODF and BK. In fact, if I depleted my entire inventory, as long as I had BK and ODF around I'd probably never need another blend around. Search for the holy grail complete.

This one is similar to ODF in the choice VA and dark-fired burley used...excellent quality is an understatement. The difference is the VA component has been reduced to mere seasoning and replaced with loads of that awesomely stout, heavily smoky dark fired. This is tobacco, my friends. No added sweeteners. Rich, flavorful, brimming with taste and nicotine, with just the faintest natural sweetness brought by the Virginia. This is the full-flavored cigar of the pipe tobacco religion.

As with ODF, I find the flavors are much enhanced by fold n stuff, smoked low and slow. I've never had burn problems, nor tongue bite. Just high octane, smooth and creamy smoking bliss. I smoked ODF when I want a more balanced and smoothed over dark fired blend, and pick BK when I just wanna be kicked in the neck by a three-legged kentucky mule. If you haven't experienced the greatness of MB HH flakes, listen to the reviewers here...get some ASAP.

Purchased From:,

Similar Blends: GL Pease Jackknife Plug, Peterson Irish Flake.

8 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Given a couple of the comments surrounding the “freshness” of Bold Kentucky, I choose to age mine for nearly a year prior to smoking. The neat flakes are leathery and smell of a typical dark fired Burley. They do need to be dried some for the best result. The Burley tastes more of the African variety than the American variety to my taste although I believe both are found here. I have smoked this folded and stuffed and partly rubbed out. BK burns slowly and to my taste, smoother than other dark fired blends that I have tried. It is sweeter than SG’s Lakeland Dark and less earthy than GH’s Dark Flake Unscented. I agree with the tin description as I don’t taste any topping. There is likely a bit of vinegar and possibly a little sugar in the casing. Like most Dark Fired Burley’s, it is strong. It is definitely stronger than McB’s Old Dark Fired. What separates this one from the pack for me is how smooth it is, with no bite. It is just smoky, earthy, slightly sweet and very tasty. There isn’t any complexity here at all, but the straightforward flavor is so good, I didn’t miss it. As others have mentioned, it will mainly appeal to experienced pipe smokers, so newbie’s proceed with caution. Mac Baren has taken a flavor that I usually associate with the British and shown that they are a player in this genre for sure!

8 people found this review helpful.

Mesh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mesh (50)
Strong Mild Full Tolerable

Ohhhh sheeeeet :)

What a blend! Another reviewer here made the comparison with Condor Long Cut and I can certainly see resemblances, not just in appearance but also in taste. Unlike the Condor flake, though, this is quite a bit smoother and, of course, lacks the soap dousing.

In my opinion, and based on the blends I've experienced, this is the best tobacco in its genre at the moment. And what a genre that already is! If Peterson's Irish Flake, Condor Long Cut, Gawith and Hogarth's Dark Flake and HH Old Dark Fired are all great tobaccos, for me this one beats them all. And it does so without going overboard with the nicotine - out of those tobaccos I just mentioned, I'd say that the first three all have more nic than HH Bold Kentucky. The right balance between flavour and strength in this blend has been achieved masterfully.

Well done, Mac Baren. Hats off to you.

8 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (271)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

Once more the German general importer for MacBaren made me wait for this blend. I'm beginning to dislike him.

Those who have followed my reviews know that I like the stronger blends, and KY in particular, so obviously, I was hot on the heels of this one from the moment it came out. Thanks to the people at Dan Tobacco, I got an early tin...

Opening the tin I see three stacks of chewing-gum-strip sized slices, cut thinly. That makes sense; we're talking about pretty strong stuff here. The tin note is sweet and malty, and has little of the horse stables scent usually associated with KY; it does have a vinegar-y note though. Overall, delicious.

I go the way Henrik Halberg of MacBaren recommends and fold-and-twist one strip of flake into a shallow, wide bowl. Lighting takes a little, but I manage to keep this stuff lit to the end without re-lights out of a fresh tin.

On lighting, the flavour starts out deep-malty-sweet, with a slight side note of top-notch Balsamico. The room note is robust, the VA for me more noticeable there than in the flavour. Sweet-malty, a little old-fashioned (I know that is not a very good description, but it's the best I can come up with). Halfway through the pipe, the VA comes forward a little, with hints of citrus in the flavour; I like it.

This blend has entered my rotation for late-evening smoking. It is easily the heaviest in Vitamin N from the MacBaren range, and I would like to thank Henrik Halberg for coming up with this concoction. For beverages to go along, I would suggest a good Espresso, or a strong Bock beer.

I have been told by a tobacconist that some of his customers complain about how strong HH Bold Kentucky is; talking with him I found that it seems most complainants used large pipes, rubbed out two or three flake strips and stuffed them in relatively tightly. Don't do that. For most aromatics smokers, I'd say take half a strip in a very small pipe, fold-and-twist, and see whether you can keep it lit. And for those not used to strong 'baccy, remember that this IS strong 'baccy. For those who like the Sam Gawith and Gawith Hoggarth ropes, go for it!

Pipe Used: db Mayflower, MM cob

Age When Smoked: Fresh from new tin

Purchased From: Dan Tobacco, Germany; HoS, Lingen, Germany

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith - Black XX Twist (Rope).

8 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (117)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

HH Bold Kentucky appears to be another hit from Mac Baren, given it finds its target market of experienced KY fanatics (mostly grumpy old men, I suspect). This one kicks into gear right away, and – all in all - it is, in fact, a straight-up, bold pipe tobacco. Grampa might have smoked something like this, back in The Day - if Grampa was a bad-ass.

In the tin, BK presents 3 rows of dark, short-ish, narrow flakes. Tin note is “no nonsense”, mostly strong, smoky, spicy KY, rich “regular” Burly, and some fairly aggressive, piquant “bright” VAs. The blended leaf is hot pressed and aged, and it looks, smells and tastes it. Tin moist, it takes a couple of tries to light BK. Dried, it fires up like tinder. Either way, it burns down slowly and evenly, like a good cigar. I generally use 1 flake, which I fold, spindle, and dry just a little, then I stuff it fairly loosely for a satisfying bowl. Once it gets going, there is plenty of smoke. It is thick, “smoky”, spicy, and dry, not at all sweet, and it may well strike some as “harsh”, at least initially. As for tastes, the dominant KY is smoky, earthy and piquant, with a fatty, “smoked meat” quality like a combination of dry salami and beef jerky. The “regular” Burly is strong, tannic, and voluminous rather than soft and round. If it’s nutty, then it’s Brazil nuts. The always-present VAs are Old School, with some punch and some zing to offset what sugar they bring. The flavors are generally well melded and they are consistently deep and strong, with sharp-ish, spicy side notes. Smoked carefully, BK smooths out as it concentrates, as it is smoked down. Strength is strong, tastes are full, and I’d think twice before smoking BK around civilians. Aftertaste is the end of the smoke, dragged out. YMMV, of course, but it’s perhaps best to at least start out slow and easy with this one, and I further recommend using a “Kentucky pipe” or pipes, since BK leaves its ghost in its wake.

After a wobbly start, Bold Kentucky has grown on me, and now I look forward to it. It wants time spent, and when I take my time with it, I find it very relaxing and quite satisfying. I highly recommend it to adventurous lovers of strong KYs and strong OTCs of yesteryear. Not recommended for beginners.

Pipe Used: various briars, all ghosted

Age When Smoked: right out of the tin

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: compare/contrast to Solani 660 Siver Flake and GLP's JackKnife Plug and Key Largo..

8 people found this review helpful.

PeterD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PeterD (91)
Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable to Strong

...Quite a fine flake tobacco...I believe HH Bold Kentucky is as good an example of a stout, well-crafted tobacco, as any I've come across in many years. Earthy, pungent, and full flavored, this is a 4 star flake...perfect moisture level and well above average nicotine level. Definitely worthy of a try...

Pipe Used: gp 3-4 size

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From:

8 people found this review helpful.

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

UPDATE: My God this stuff is good!!

Thank you MacB for hitting the note that I seek daily as an avid pipe tobacco lover. Unlike many other wonderful blends that are advertised as true tobaccos "for the lovers of pure tobacco flavor", HHBK has achieved this moniker with a degree of approachability and silk that envelops a rich and incredibly satisfying smoke. If you are familiar with their ODF, imagine that with an extra depth and "wallop". As they claim, a little natural sweetness from the VA to soften the burley, and it's perfectly done. It is indeed pure and manly. A greatly satisfying smoke of which one needn't be wary. It's a very enjoyable trip into the world of what has made pipe smoking an enduring pleasure for many centuries. Fantastic.

Pipe Used: I like smaller pipes for flakes

Age When Smoked: brand new product

Purchased From:;

8 people found this review helpful.

Greekpipesmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Greekpipesmoker (184)
Strong Very Mild Full Strong

After a period of smoking blends that i 've tried before i decided to open a tin of HH BOLD KENTUCKY one night before i go to sleep..once the tin cracks a vinegar combined with barbecue sause smell comes out.a deeper smell gives you some dark smoked fruits note.the flakes have the typical cut and moisture of the HH line.i prefered the rubbing method due to the hot pressing wich makes lighting less comparison with other flakes they rub difficult and not perfect.they are dark with little bright parts.the lightingis tricky and several relights are drying time needed.while smoking the flavours are strong and simple.lots of earthy notes,some smokey notes,few florall notes and dark fruits.some grassy notes are present for the topping it is present in the backround without being tense.generally there is a taste of pure tobacco from the begining till the end.burns cool and slow without tongue bite and harsh advise is to go slow and let it reveal it's taste and nicotine level wich is almost high.that makes it not an all day smoke but an ideal before sleeping blend.burns to total ash with a little moisture being created and a clear filter.i found similar spots with Peterson's irish flake but this one is smoother with better taste and lower nicotine conclusion this is a decent blend,not an all day smoke and a must for every kentucky lover.

Age When Smoked: Rubbed and packed at once

Similar Blends: I found some similarities with Peterson's irish flake.

7 people found this review helpful.

DenizBeck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DenizBeck (296)
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

After I enjoyed a generous sample of an Old Dark Fired Clone (Peter Heinrichs Old Dark Kentucky) so much, I was looking forward to smoke this one

I got told this would be the ODF "but more, just everything more" Well, imho they share a few nuances but this is something much earthier, much deeper, and a feel of ethereal-oilyness! Its a bit spicy, a bit "biting" , but not in a bad way.

A earthy stream of fine smoke flatters your palate. Decent smokiness to it. Letting the smoke float in your mouth reveals it deep earthiness and a excellent, tasty and very woodsy taste. A unobtrusive vinegar aroma is present in the back, just as in the tin note, which likely comes from a mild casing, for taste and preservation reasons I guess. You can clearly taste this was dark fired, you can litteraly taste the burned leafs! Also a minor nuttiness to it. Fine, fine Kentucky Blend!

This tobacco I enjoy most, when I "chew the smoke" gives me this ethereal-oil feeling, a herbal note and reveals much more of it's litteraly woody taste. Keep my mouth closed, and make (just slight) chewing-like gestures with my mouth, so most of the smoke gets out through the nose and the smoke can float and stream in your mouth and nose. Looks incredible dumb - tastes incredibly good and enhances the experience to sublimity. But this is only for doing at home ! ;-P (or for people who don't give a damn about what others might think - like me) Generally I'd advise to smoke this when having leisure and being at a quiet, not too windy place.

Even tho it's a bit of a hassle to light it and keep it lit, I personally find it to be most pleasant to smoke right out of a fresh tin. Letting it sit in the tin for some month won't dry it out that much, but just takes away a whiff - really not much! - of the taste.

Excellent after a good meal, or with a good drink (I had rooibos-caramel tea to it a few times - awesome contrast!)

This is the 11/10 to me. Not a All-Day-Smoke , but a good bowl 2-3 times the week after dinner I wouldnt wanna miss. (EDIT: kinda became a every-day-smoke...i smoked it almost every evening for quite a while, and still now I smoke it a lot)

Also as I'm writing this review im only 2 1/2 months into pipe smoking so I can tell it's definetly not only for "the experienced smoker" as the label says ;-) Well - I smoked cigarettes before, maybe that plays a role to it idk- but if you like a deep, earthy and rich smoke wiith a lot of woody qualities you should try it no matter how long you smoked the pipe before, because this is freakin awesome!

EDIT: This reviews were about tins produced in 2015. They were 25 cents cheaper, and the tins were a few centimeters bigger than the ones I have produced in 2016. Somehow I find the 2016 tins to be tasting a bit more vinegar-ish. Airing them out properly helps getting them just as earthy, and less vinegar-ish as the 2015 tins i've smoked.

Pipe Used: Clay Pipe / Various Briars

Similar Blends: a more potent, and more earthy version of, , Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired.

7 people found this review helpful.

J. Ward Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J. Ward (42)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

A beefy, rich bowl of pure baccy goodness with a big dose of nic kick, Bold Kentucky lives up to its name. I don't really pick up any sweetness, though. This one'll put some hair on yer chest. Personally, I'd recommend a smaller bowl after a good meal followed by a moderate cadence and you will be rewarded with a deep earthy flavor, spicy and slightly nutty, full and satisfying. As described, for the experienced pipe smoker.

Pipe Used: Big Ben Jockey 102

Age When Smoked: Less than a year

Purchased From:

7 people found this review helpful.

Bud_Harold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bud_Harold (22)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Mike Tyson would be proud. MacBaren delivers a straight right followed by a left cross to the kisser with this one. Full powered for sure, yet softened nicely with the Bright Virginias. No sweetness, no flavoring or casings. Just full tobacco flavor in your bowl.

Enjoyable, yet for me, I need a lil more complexity than the Bold KY brings. Some sweetness, nuttiness, something... Because of that I can only give it 3 stars.

Pipe Used: Wally Frank Huntleigh

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Gifted

Similar Blends: Irish Flake, ODF.

7 people found this review helpful.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (177)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin notes of rich tobacco, with a hint of a smell that reminds me of rubbed out pencil erasers, perhaps Dixon Ticonderoga #2. Flakes very moist in the tin, but a few minutes laid out after being rubbed out, of a few seconds in the microwave if you have the patience I do. Initial lighting takes a while, and relights are common. The flavor is rich, leathery and chewy. Pure tobacco goodness. I don't find this as strong as some people do, never had it give me any negative effects, even smoking in large bowls. Does great with DGT. The room note is terrific, not strong and off-putting as you may think it would be. Solid 4 stars, especially because this is the only Mac Baren that doesn't scorch my tongue!

If you are venturing into Dark Fired tobaccos, this is a must. And don't be afraid of what you heard about the strength, you'll be fine.

7 people found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (212)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

No two ways about it, this is a rich, spicy, unbridled tobacco. However, Mac Baren seems to have learned a few new tricks in the process of developing and producing these fabulous HH series flakes. First off, Bold Kentucky is absolutely delicious and amazing. I use the term amazing because despite the rich flavor and the ramped up strength, when smoked slowly Bold Kentucky still manages to be exceedingly mellow and very well balanced. Despite its strength, the flavor is exceptionally focused and has a remarkable amount of restraint.

The tin note is savory and has a slight vinegary edge with a hint of chocolate and reminds me of the smell of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. At first light, the flavor is very even keel with subtle hints of pepper, wood smoke and a sliver of sweetness. Gradually the flavor intensifies, delivering a full, rich and bittersweet earthy burley smoke that is soft rather than edgy.

Bold Kentucky does share some traits with Old Dark Fired, only it's stronger, deeper in favor and definitely not as sweet. Bold Kentucky has plenty of strength but Mac Baren’s hot pressing process has taken some of the teeth out of what would otherwise be a monstrously strong tobacco. What your left with is strong but approachable. The flavor strength is a firm-strong & the nicotine level is certainly higher than Old Dark Fired but it's not as strong as say Gawith Hoggarth's Dark Flake, Dark Birdseye or Sam Gawith's 1792. If anything, when it comes to nicotine, it's in the realm of the current version of Peterson’s Irish Flake. Nevertheless, when smoked in a smaller pipe Bold Kentucky has only ever left me feeling peacefully relaxed.

Once again Mac Baren has done a great job designing a blend that highlights their well-aged Kentucky dark fired leaf. Bold Kentucky is pleasurable smoke and it pairs nicely with a robust American style double or triple IPA.

Pipe Used: Briar

7 people found this review helpful.

atskywalker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
atskywalker (5)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The presentation is top notch with its compact elegant tin, its golden flake wrap, and the neatly seated 3 rows of flakes that demand your attention and respect.

This is a very satisfying smoke that will transfix you to your seat with its earthy/nutty Nicotine presence. It is a fair bit stronger than Irish Flake which is very strong in its own right so handle with care and enjoy the dizziness induced by this heavenly flake.

Irish Flake had been my favourite smoke since I started smoking pipe. HH Bold Kentucky seems to be its stronger wiser brother. If Irish Flake is Bruce Lee with all his exuberance, HHBK is an Aikido Master with his quite and grounded calm! Both mean business in their own way.

There is a hint of very subtle sweetness there because of the VAs but it doesn't show itself often. If there's anything missing in the blend (to my taste) is some more sweetness but this is my taste.

After folding a flake into thirds I cube cut it and gravity filled my pipe. It is silky smooth on the tongue without any tongue bite or irritation. Just taste and nicotine that has a commanding presence. Burns very well throughout fresh from the tin with a few relights due to me putting it down (upon relights, the subtle sweetness comes to the foreground.) Very enjoyable and satisfactory.

4 stars all the way. Tobaccos like this are the quintessential definition of satisfaction to me. Certainly buying more to cellar and enjoy on a daily bases especially in the morning with my black coffee.

Age When Smoked: Tin dated Feb 2015

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Irish Flake.

7 people found this review helpful.

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

Holy crap this is good tobacco!! Tin note is a strong burst of straight-up tobacco goodness without all the fruity fireworks. The flavor is as robust as the scent and the nic hit slaps you right across the ol bearded yap without turning your tongue into a dried up chili pepper. I set the flakes out for a 30 minute rest before firing up since they're a bit damp but well worth the wait. A great companion to Old Dark Fired. 4 Stars and a thunderous round of applause for Bold Kentucky!

Pipe Used: Hackert Billiard

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From:

7 people found this review helpful.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (200)
Strong None Detected Full Strong

Well. Having smoked quite a number of Toscano cigars over my long smoking life, I consider myself as a Kentucky aficionado. Nice that Mac Baren – a brand getting my appreciation even if in alternate phases… - has put on the market a couple of Kentucky flakes.

Thanks to a friend I’ve put my hands on a couple of 50grms tins. I’m working the first, but it’s a job slower than expected. This is not calling me very often, and I don’t know the reason, since it has all its features in the most perfect order. It’s considerably milder than some Lakeland beasts (say a GH’s Dark Flake) and sweeter than a Peterson’s Irish Flake, due to some Virginia. Smokes cool and steady.

I thinks it depends on the fact that lately my preference goes to Kentuckies (or, in general terms, dark fireds) in ribbon form (say DBE or our italian rustics). Just like I prefer the Virginias in flake form. It’s a matter of personal preference.

In terms of flavour, balance and quality, HHBK is top notch. Out of question.

Pipe Used: Dunhill, Ashton, Castello

Age When Smoked: one year

Purchased From: received as a gift

Similar Blends: mainly Irish Flake.

6 people found this review helpful.

fdcl50 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fdcl50 (9)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

This is a strong flavored blend of dark Kentucky and Virginias hot pressed into uniform flakes roughly 3/4 x 3 inches. Beatifully presented n a square tin wrapped in gold foil. The count is very generous and I was impressed by the sheer volume of tobacco in this tin. The smoke is wonderful creamy and voluminous. It was moist in the tin and so I dried it for a while in the sun whilst I watched my beloved Yankees take another drubbing at the hands of the evil Red Sox. A few glasses of red wine and a few relights later and I am sitting here writing this review with a nice satisfying nic hit after a nice flavorful enjoying smoke. Great stuff! I will have this tin to enjoy for a while as it dries out a bit and mellows. The meer was a precaution that was not necessary and I look forward to enjoying this fine blend in my regular briar rotation. Not for the faint of heart. Needs time to fully enjoy this delicious tobacco.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum lined briar

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin

Purchased From: Cigars international

Similar Blends: Or lick dark strong Kentucky.

6 people found this review helpful.

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

As somewhat of a novice pipe smoker, I was almost dissuaded from buying this tobacco by the reviews stating 'not for the newbies'. However, I'm nothing if not adventurous, and drawn to strong flavours. Gorgonzola cheese, espresso coffee, rich fruit cake, 80% cocoa chocolate and so forth. When I smoked cigaretes I smoked Marlboro Red, so I'm used to a big hit, and even today I admit that I inhale a little from my pipe, and like a nicotine hit that would knock down a cow. Dunhill nightcap is my constant smoke, my go-to blend, if you will.

So, I took the plunge with this offering, and I'm super glad that I did.

I'd have to say that my initial reaction upon opening the tin was "WOW, what a delicious aroma!" The tobacco is such a deep brown as to be almost black, with just barely a few strands of light Virginia. I have to say that, in contradiction of some reviewers here, I found it to be moist to the point of wetness, and requiring an hour of drying out on a sheet of kitchen towel in a warm, well ventilated room.

Once packed and lit, it smoked very well indeed, requiring so few relights that I'm fairly sure a more experienced pipe-er would go through the whole bowl in one light. Also, the tiny amount of excess moisture is most likely due to me and my packing/smoking style than a feature of the tobacco.

The taste is bold. Strong. Full flavoured. Earthy. Like eating a grilled portobello mushroom. Meaty, even. BUT. Not bitter. Not acidic. And the nicotine hit isn't enough to knock you down or give you head-spin. It's there, but in a manageable dose.

All in all, a very pleasant smoke. I've yet to decide wether or not I'll be buying it again, there are so many good (and bad) tobaccos out there to try. I'm sure this one would benefit from storage for a few months, so I might buy a few and keep them in hand.

So, in summary, if you like 'em strong and dark, not too sweet, and a bit 'off the beaten track' I think you should give this one a try.

Hope that helps.

Incidentally, if you don't drink, and you don't smoke.... you don't live longer. It just SEEMS longer(!)

Pipe Used: Classic (1967) Dunhill straight apple

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Burkitt's of Hove, actually

6 people found this review helpful.

turkoloco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
turkoloco (3)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is quite a strong tobacco. It gives a very nice Nicotine kick. It comes in very nice even flakes, which are a bit moist but they are very easy to rub out. When you open the tin it greets you with a very nice smell (at least for me) The smell reminds me of Old Horborn rolling tobacco. The smell could be coming from wine or vinegar.

The taste is very full. It makes you feel like you smoke a nice cigar. This is something you need to be careful with though. I smoked two bowl in one evening because I liked the buzz from it. After finishing the bowls it really disturbed my throat. After that I treated it with respect, and reduced the smoking amount and add a filter (which I really don't like) Also if you smoke too fast it can give you very little bite on the tongue.

I like to smoke this before bed, i can get a very nice sleep afterwards.

My favourite strong tobacco at the moment.

Pipe Used: Peterson POY 2009, Peterson Bulldog

Purchased From:

6 people found this review helpful.

FP Stew Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
FP Stew (20)
Strong None Detected Full Very Pleasant

This is a nice bold and full flavor tobacco that has no bite and is good from start to finish. I would even say that it has a hearty “meaty” quality that is satisfying. Works well in various size bowls and while it seems moist from the tin, it lights well and produces thick clouds of smoke. This one will join my rotation list and I’m planning on cellaring some to see how well it does with a few years of age.

Pipe Used: Several

Age When Smoked: 11 months

6 people found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (145)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The KY is the star of the show. It is earthy, spicy, slightly nutty at times and has a small note of molasses. The bright VA's have a slight citrus note that comes with the normal and expected notes of hay. The casing seems to have a little anise note which is subtle and perhaps a subtle hint of vinegar as well. That said, this is a good straight tobacco but it lacks the complexity of a four star rating. When I think of great VA/KY blends I think of GH's Dark Flake, and Dark Bird's Eye, or Solani's 660 Silver Flake (which has more VA's than this), and all are way more complex than this one. Overall, however, a good tobacco and worth a look if you like VA/KY blends.

Age When Smoked: 2 yrs.

5 people found this review helpful.

Stefanos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stefanos (170)
Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Presentation is impeccable, thin and narrow hot pressed flakes of almost black color cut with precision. Tin note is also good, heady, deep molasses and licorice aromas with a stewed fruit note. Flakes rub out very easily but can also be folded and stuffed. Optimum moisture level to smoke straight away.

The tobacco has a deep juicy molasses/licorice taste combined with first class tobacco. It balances between sweet and bitter tastes and is strong but smooth and very tasteful. It is nuanced and complex, with earthy, bitter chocolatey tones and a mild smokiness. Yes, this is a strong tobacco which might give you an occasional hiccup, but I do not find it overwhelmingly strong. However this means that it cannot suit an all-day use. Room note is quite strong but I find it pleasant.

Similar Blends: J.F. Germain's Rich Dark Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (102)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong

This is a superb dark flake, in the vein of Sinclair's Highland Sliced, Peterson's Irish Flake, and G&H's Dark Flake.

Typical Mac Baren quality abounds in the packaging and presentation. The rows of razor-edged nearly-black flakes grab the eye, and the nose: I smell vinegar, creosote and wood. The flakes are pliant, and after a gentle rub with a few minutes drying time, are ready to go.

The flavour is strong and uniform, with the plentiful dark-fired making itself known from first light, and never letting up, You needn't be a burley fanatic to appreciate this blend, but it wouldn't hurt. The taste deepens and strengthens throughout the bowl, accompanied by considerable nicotine. There are cigar-like notes present, especially in the retrohale, but the flavour is not that of a cigar, simply a strong burley-forward-with-virginia combo. The smoking experience is rich and the flavour unrelenting.

Room note is old-tymey, and it lingers. For me, this is an evening pleasure, to be enjoyed at the end of the day. It rewards slow stoking, and you can fall into an easy cadence with it. I actually prefer HH Bold Kentucky to the blends listed above, and the fact that it is (thus far) widely available is a nice bonus. Pairs well with cold tea and whiskey. I also advise having something sweet at hand to refresh the palate.

The tin I have been enjoying has about 2 years of age on it. It would be interesting to see how (if) it matures, so I intend to order some and put it aside.

Recommended for lovers of darker fare and the adventurous smoker.

Age When Smoked: 2 years

5 people found this review helpful.

pylet2000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pylet2000 (33)
Very Strong Very Mild Very Full Strong

As a big fan of HH Old Dark Fired, I had to try Bold Kentucky right? They are cousins to be sure, with Bold Kentucky being decidedly stronger.

In the tin, the smell is quite robust. I get more of a vinegar note from BK than I do from ODF. To the point that BK starts to smell a bit like barbecued meat. Not sweet molasses sauce barbecue, more like smoked meat. Perfectly shaped flakes, neatly arranged.

On lighting, you know it's gonna be a powerful smoke. Big, robust flavor. There may be other tobaccos involved, but it screams nothing but dark fired Kentucky. Very little, if any, sweetness. Despite it's strength, I didn't find myself getting bothered by the nicotine level, but it was on the edge of what would start to be too much.

So given it's big bold flavor and almost mono-dimensional character, I find myself liking Old Dark Fired a lot more. This is good, and despite the strength still very enjoyable. But it sets the volume knob just a notch or two higher than my tastes care for, where Old Dark Fired gets it just right.

5 people found this review helpful.

Phil Theharp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phil Theharp (16)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Not as strong as I was expecting having read some of the previous reviews. Nice earthy, woodiness to BK. I take flake every once in a while to see if I can find something quite as satisfying as the old St Bruno Flake and this is good, moist, dark and cool. More mossy that Irish Flake, which I do rate, and I did find myself reaching for the tin more regularly than I might have expected, so it did disappear in surprisingly short order. This tobacco is beautifully presented and will sit perfectly with a glass of ruby, winter ale. It will require re-lights and is best smoked slowly and where there is ventilation so that you do not lose family and friends in the haze.

Pipe Used: Peterson Rosslare

Age When Smoked: From the tin

Purchased From: JN Barber, Otley

Similar Blends: Irish Flake, Condor.

5 people found this review helpful.

Bifkinator Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bifkinator (10)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I bought this tobacco along with a few others of the same line during a sale (with latakia flake and old dark fired). All of the tins have sat in my tin box for over a year and this one has aged in a small sealed jar for about 3 months since I opened it. This is the last of the three to be smoked. It's definitely an interesting tobacco.

From the tin, or jar in my case, I get a lot of vinegar which is pretty tingly on the nose and it makes the other notes hard to pick up. I kind of like the vinegar smell though. After focusing in for a while I get some sweetness, fig, jam, some smoke, subtle molasses, and slight grass from the virginia. I really enjoy the scent of this and just cram my nose into it when I smell it.

Packing it is really nice! They have cut it into a half width flake so all you have to do is stack two, fold, and stuff. It's a little on the moist side but I like my tobaccos moist so that doesn't bother me. I hear of some people attempting to dry it saying it takes a long time or it simply doesn't so be aware of that if you wish to dry it. But an easy flake to pack!

One thing I don't like this tobacco is that it's difficult to light. No matter what I do or how I pack it (plug, rip and stuff, or rubbed) it takes a long time to get it going. You will have to baby it some. Once it's lit though it rolls nicely needing a relight every so often. Puts off a medium amount of smoke which surprises me since it's a bold tobacco. I enjoy the room note although those around me will occasionally not be fans.

For being a not so heavy smoke producer, the body is heavy! It feels very full in the mouth and bites pretty hard when I light it up. Once I get it lit though it smooths out so don't worry. That may just be me though. Flavor wise it's very interesting! For a heavy body it's flavor is somewhat delicate. It's smokey with a muted vinegar taste coming through, but not upfront, with a slight grassiness, soft hazelnut, and sweetness. It's an attention grabber for sure. The nicotine level is pretty high I will say. They don't lie when they say "we don't recommend to begining smokers" on the tin. It never hits me until about 2/3 of the way into the bowl then it hits hard. If you're looking for a good buzz on your smoke, this tobacco is a great choice!

Overall, a nice tobacco but I wouldn't say it's an everyday smoke and, for my taste, not a summer smoke either. This is something I would enjoy a lot more in colder weather and/or at the end of the day to wind down. If you're a beginning pipe smoker I would say wait a bit to try this one because the nicotine level can hit pretty hard. I have a friend who doesn't smoke often and couldn't finish a bowl because the nicotine was making him sick. But to the intermediate or advanced pipe smokers I say give it a try.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Punto Oro Lovat

Age When Smoked: 1+ years

Purchased From: Smoking pipes

5 people found this review helpful.

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

Yes, this is the strongest tobacco in the HH line.

I think you can call this one the "strong brother" of old dark fired...and ODF is not a soft tobacco at all. It has this charateristic earthy taste with a hint of nuts and a little bit of dark chocolate, it is less sweet then ODF and there is a bit more spiciness involved. It has a higher nic content and the last third of the bowl tends to be a bit too much for me. I enjoyed it, but I am not 100% in love with it. I prefer ODF and will try this one again after a certain aging process.

3 stars!

5 people found this review helpful.

Darth Vader Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth Vader (110)
Strong Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A good strong smoke not to disimilar to GLP Jacknife plug. This looks a little darker but delivers hearty dose of nicotine with a plesant leathery taste. Not nearly as woodsy or campfire as Old dark fired and for that reason i like it a little more.

Don't be afraid of trying this. Whilst reasonably strong, it is nowhere near Brown Rope in strength and much more smokable. An easy all day smoke and highly recommended. Mac Baren is really putting out great new products these days!

Notes: 21 slices of flake in a 50g tin. These are a bit damp and need drying out a little before smoking ( rub, then 15-20min dry). Excellent after dinner smoke.

Age When Smoked: 3 months

5 people found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (166)
Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Tasty from get-go. Cool smoking with lots of body. Smooth, almost creamy for a burley (say compared to most Burley Flakes). Burns steady. Great inner strength. Not overwhelming but not for beginners. Some chocolate undertones. (Better tasting to me than ODF by same blender which is darker tasting to me in a new tin.)

Pipe Used: 1940 St. Claude

Age When Smoked: new tine

Purchased From: smokingpipes

Similar Blends: Irish Flake, Highland flake..

5 people found this review helpful.

Lower Alabama Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lower Alabama Piper (14)
Strong Medium to Strong Full Strong

My elocution is not quite as refined as other reviewers since I'm just an old Southern Country Boy. I'm going to give another review on this later in the coming weeks as I smoke more of this tin. Everything I find about this particular tobacco is four stars. As I open the tin and take my first sniff it reminds me of a Beggin Strips for dogs it has that Smoky beef jerky smell that I find very pleasing. I have only smoked 5 bowls of this in my pipe. I'm comparing this to War Horse bar. This particular tobacco when they say is for the experienced pipe smoker there is a lot of Truth to that. Both the War Horse bar in this tobacco are so close and flavor I'm having a hard time at this point distinguishing it. so far the only difference is with this tobacco you have to sip it slowly or it will bite you. The flavor in my opinion is fantastic it is exactly what I'm looking for in a tobacco. The War Horse bar in my opinion does not bite you as quickly as this one will. The flavors are very very close. The more I smoke this I will update a little later. Like I said the only complaint I have is it has to be smoked slowly if you try to smoke it like a freight train you're going to get bit not bad but you're going to get bit. This is a very good tobacco with very good flavor lots of smoke the room notes are pretty good. I don't recommend this for a new pipe smoker. This is an update July 28th 2018. This is a rich smokey tobacco it has lots of flavor the further down the bottom of the bowl I get the nuttier the flavor. It still Burns hot if you sip it too fast. This is a smoke that's mean to enjoyed slowly I will be making another purchase of this.

Pipe Used: Missouri meerschaum Country Gentleman/Legend

Age When Smoked: Jan,2016

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: War Horse Bar.

4 people found this review helpful.

JoeP Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JoeP (1)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Where to begin as this is my first online review although I’ve been smoking for decades. It’s a warm Sunday evening as I await dinner. I trek into my tobacco room where I stare in glee looking over my selection awaiting something to jump out at me and say, pick me, pick me. And there it is, Mac Baren’s HH Bold Kentucky. And so, I pick up the jar, remove 4 slices and lay them out to dry for 45 minutes while I eat a hearty Italian dinner; after all it is Sunday.

The time has arrived as I fold and load 2 slices into my Sevket Meerschaum pipe. Followed by rubbing out the other 2 slices. I walk outside with my Yeti filled with ice and a small amount of apple juice. The ritual now begins. I tamp down the top and then char it for a few moments. I then tamp it down again and wait where I once again char it and tamp it down. Now, I wait about a minute and being the lighting process for a successful burn. Ahhhhhh, the smoke is voluminous and flavorful which reminds me of a wonderful barbeque.

I slow down my smoking and it was a wonderful 15 minutes. I let the pipe rest a minute or two and then relight it for serious business. The second session lasts 45 minutes where I get wonderful smokey flavor with some notes of hay, citrus and a hint of sweetness.

The second session has now concluded. I let the pipe rest for about 10-15 minutes where I scrape out the burned ashes and tamp it down. Time for a relight. The last session lasted about 30 minutes and was very strong and flavorful. This is not for beginners. If you’re a cigar smoker as I once was this will certainly remind you of the pleasure derived from a fine cigar; namely Opus X including the nic hit. All my sessions, the burn was even, smooth and full flavored.

Overall, this is a strong but yet flavorful tobacco which will surely delight the veteran connoisseur. My Sevket has a 2.75” bowl depth and about a .85 diameter so unless you’re used to this amount of tobacco, I suggest a much smaller bowl especially if you’re a neophyte. Good luck and enjoy life.

Pipe Used: Sevket Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: aged about a year

4 people found this review helpful.

MikeHaggarKJ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MikeHaggarKJ (22)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

This blend succeeds in what I presume is it's goal: FULL in strength, truly powerful in an almost humbling manner, without being harsh in the way that cigarettes or dried out cigars are. It's an experience in itself. Old Dark Fired, Peterson Irish Flake, Samuel Gawith Brown #4 and a few others can deliver the same experience. I recommend it to every pipester, but only after years off experience, and preferably slayed a few dragons, although that wouldn't be entirely sufficent preparation. No dragon is as strong as Mac Barens Bold Kentucky (or ODF or Irish Flake or Brown #4)

Compared to them, Peterson's Irish Flake and ODF in particular, this blend really makes you miss the burley in them and its delicious earthiness. The burley in Irish Flake/ODF adds depth and complexity that this blend, IMO, lacks. The DFK completely dominates everything and is only slightly counterbalanced by the VA sweetness, which I actually also find a bit overbearing and... too much. It is just a tad too sweet for my personal palate. For me, Irish Flake and Old Dark Fired (ODF in particular) are superior, they are virtually as strong but with better taste. BUT! If you're a DFK fan who enjoys VA sweetness more than me, or perhaps just dont enjoy burley like I do, this may be a match made in heaven for you.

4 people found this review helpful.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (198)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This blend reminds me of the rich, full tobacco flavor you can usually only get from a cigar. It doesn’t taste like a cigar, rather I get the same tobacco experience that I get from cigars. I didn’t find the strength as overwhelming as the tin would suggest, it’s strong to be sure, but not tremendously so, very smokable in a group 3 or 4 pipe, though I would hesitate to go any larger. Very highly recommended to experienced smokers who enjoy deep, earthy Dark Fired Kentucky tobacco.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Local B&M

4 people found this review helpful.

Christrom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Christrom (34)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

Oily, wet soil flavour and about as close as you would get to a cigar taste. Lovely spice and white pepper notes. Cool smoking, but for me, difficult to keep lit. Incredibly strong, so best for a rare treat!

Similar Blends: Revor plug.

4 people found this review helpful.

buroak Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
buroak (16)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

The Dark Fired is, as one would expect, the dominant player in this blend. It is earth, savory, and somewhat spicy. The Virginia is mostly here to chaperone the Dark Fired, but I pick up from it some grassiness/hay and a very subdued sweetness.

The strength in terms of nicotine content is closer to medium than strong, but very near a midpoint between the two. The taste is full but not as strong as Samuel Gawith's Lakeland Dark or Gawith Hoggarth's potent dark leaf offerings. Notably, Bold Kentucky is as moist or moister than Lakeland Dark or the Gawith Hoggarth dark leaf tobaccos I have smoked. Consequently, it requires dry time or many relights.

I enjoy Bold Kentucky when I want a full bodied, earthy smoke that is not as potent, taste or nicotine-wise, as the aforementioned Gawith blends. That said, for me Bold Kentucky is not as good as the Gawith blends. I certainly find myself hankering after Lakeland Dark far more often than I will want Bold Kentucky. Lakeland Dark is more potent in all respects, with a deeper and more complex flavor experience.

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

Great blend if one likes stronger mixes. It isn't the least bit harsh nor does it have a tendency to bite. It has a true Kentucky/Burley flavor and the tin I opened was fairly old based on the rust that had accumulated around the lip and seal of the tin. The tin note was an earthy sweet & sour aroma. The flakes were quite dark & very moist with a minimal amount of yellow Virginia. I rubbed out a flake and let sit for about twenty minutes.

Thought I'd try this out for a change of pace because I prefer stronger blends & Burley usually delivers a quick, strong vitamin N blast & this stuff works. It is a strong tobacco that smokes mildly. It expands quite a bit after the charring light & provided an excellent burn rate and keeping it lit was not a problem. I didn't notice the Virginia that much but it's probably what tamed the slight bitterness of the Burley which soon subsided.

It's been a while since I've smoked Irish Flake & this reminded me of that a little. The mild topping is barely noticeable and the flavor was mostly Burley with a slight sweetness coming from the Virginia infusion. After smoking a tin of this mix, I decided these types of blends along with a few, select VA/Pers will be my dominant mainstays... liked the true tobacco flavors and the Vitamin N blast... Super!

I preferred this over Irish Flake but like them both. I didn't notice a cigar aroma from HH Bold Kentucky like I did with Irish Flake back in 2010 but I don't notice any cigar essence in Irish Flake that is blended these days... tis now October, Anno Domini 2018. Could be my olfactory glands require a little maintenance or maybe new parts installed. I feel confident that Burley enthusiasts will like this really well. Gets stronger toward the end but Burns cool & dry down to a light gray ash. Great blend.

Pipe Used: Dr. Weller's Size Two

Age When Smoked: Two Years

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: HH Old Dark Fired.

4 people found this review helpful.

Corvus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Corvus (36)
Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Really high quality. To start, the Mac Baren tins are hard to beat aesthetically, fully painted, subtle and stately. The gold foil peels back to reveal three impeccably cut flake stacks, the definition of uniformity. Dark and moist, with a texture like a fruit leather. While somewhat moist it will take the match pretty easily. My tin has been open for some time and while it has dried slightly it has not lost that slight tack.

The taste is the classic smoky Kentucky, leathery, maybe some subtle pepper. It has several of the qualities that I've found in good burleys but have not seen described elsewhere. There is a root vegetable quality to the taste and aroma on the light, and even that spicy feel on the membranes that to me is very reminiscent of parsnips of all things or even a mild radish, perhaps slightly sulfurous. This fades quickly and settles to a strong biscuit taste, baked but not toasted, and maybe some subtle but deep leather. Along with this there is the definite burley nuttiness that most tastes like Brazil nuts or cashews and macadamias. This is accompanied by an oily viscous smoke. I seek this out and hit it on some other blends but cannot sustain it like I can with this. There is a sort of background sweetness, but a savory sweetness that is deeper than a simple sugar and this may be the Virginias. Once in a while there will be a tang verging on sourness, but this is fleeting. There are some quick passing bitter notes that increase in frequency towards the bottom. It's strong, but I don't rate it an ass kicker. Overall, it's not overly complex where you're left wondering what a taste is and where it went and very full tasting yet there are harmonious and low key notes throughout. A masterpiece.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

4 people found this review helpful.

Big Alp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Alp (2)
Strong Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

Very good tobacco. Smoky and sweet But not to sweet. It's very strong and high with vitamin N. This will definitely be in my rotation. I'm going to order some more tins and look let them age.

Pipe Used: Stanwell Deluxe, MM Cobb

Age When Smoked: New Tin

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: Old Dark Fired.

4 people found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (86)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable

This is an excellent pipe tobacco. It smells strong out of the tin with rich and dark flakes. To me it smokes milder than it smells. Not good at describing what it tastes like except to say this reminds me of pure tobacco smoked a hundred years ago.


Age When Smoked: 2 years

Similar Blends: Irish Flake.

3 people found this review helpful.

AcworthAl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AcworthAl (38)
Strong None Detected Very Full Unnoticeable

Great tobacco very strong but mild. Hard to keep lit. Great smoke Very tasty you must try this. Don't be put off by how strong it is.

Pipe Used: Dunhill

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

3 people found this review helpful.

Wibblefishofdoom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wibblefishofdoom (139)
Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Unnoticeable

I bought this from my local b&m as it is one of the HH tobaccos that I have yet to try. As a it of a fan of Kentucky I was quite looking forward to this and other HH offerings I have tried have yet to disappoint. So let's take a peek into the tin.

The tin design is one of those rare gems that catches my attention, this doesn't normally draw my attention with most tobaccos but, on this occasion, I found the red letting on the brown background quite striking. It's just a shame there's that massive health warning sticker that Her Majesty's Government insists upon staring out at me from underneath. The aroma from the tin is absolutely incredible, it has something of smokey bacon and barbecue sauce to it, it is a meatier reminder of GLP's JackKnife Plug. The dark brown colour of the flakes is a reminder of JackKnife too. It's there the similarity ends. Where JK is mild and has wafts of figs with a hint of lemon, this is full flavoured, it is one of quality well cooked meat with perhaps some hint of fried onions. It has earth tones too, providing a rich, full bodied flavour that cannot help but satisfy. The small thin flakes (very well cut in my estimation) make it very easy to pack, especially into a small pipe. It takes a while to smoke too, even on the one flake, making sure you're getting your money's worth from the tin. This is probably just as well as it is rather a strong smoke, not that that seems to bother me much these days but some newbies might want to take note. The only thing that takes the shine off an otherwise very well polished tobacco is that it does take a few lights to get going, but once lit it stays that way to the bottom of the bowl.

This has turned out to be all I expect from a Kentucky and a whole lot more and will be my go-to tobacco whenever I am hungry for this kind of blend. The only way I can see this tobacco improving is with aging and, perhaps, coming in the form of a plug. Now that is a tin of the good stuff that I would pay good money to get my hands on.

Pipe Used: Piloto Rustic Billiard

Age When Smoked: Fresh from the tin

Purchased From: Cuban Cigar Club

3 people found this review helpful.

GabrielCRT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GabrielCRT (95)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Another winner from Mac Baren. Bold strength, bold flavor, bold aroma. It tastes to me like a less sweet Old Dark Fired on steroids. The bright Virginias are grassy and marry well to the nutty dark fired Kentucky. The casing seems to add a tangy flavor to the blend which vinegar would certainly do. I'm excited to see how this blend develops with some age.

3 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

I'm in total agreement with reviewer "DrT99-2015-08-29" . This is a boring smoke . Kentucky Burley is front and center, gives an almost "metallic taste". Not really all that strong. I'm confused by all the 4 star reviews, as I'm sure, they are by my 2 stars. Will not buy again

Pipe Used: Cob and maple

Age When Smoked: 3 weeks open

3 people found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (271)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

In the tin, this smelled like a basic commercial bbq sauce, but that doesn't carry over into the bowl at all, so I would agree that there is no 'sauce' in the actual tobacco (ie the tin note comes from the processing, not a topping). However, unlike the consensus, I found this a rather boring, uninspired smoke and not even a strong one in terms of N, although it was 'full'.

Pipe Used: briars

Age When Smoked: 5 months after purchase

Purchased From: smoking pipes

3 people found this review helpful.

Pseudo Nim Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pseudo Nim (119)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I was persuaded to try this, not as good as HH Old Dark Fired, but good all the same, there seems to be some sort of flavouring there, but I'm damned if I can put my finger on it. Not one I'd stock up on, but I can see myself buying a tin or two in the future

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: My Smoking Shop

2 people found this review helpful.

FineShag Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
FineShag (1)
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Very Pleasant

High quality very fine strong classical tobacco. I was delighted to taste it and it instantly became my favourite. Very pleasent and easy to smoke. No waste.

Pipe Used: BBB, Liverpool model

Purchased From: Danish Pipe Shop, Copenhagen

Similar Blends: Peterson Dark Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

When I first tried this brand new it was overwhelming. I'm glad I waited to review it until after I rubbed it out and let it mellow in a jar for a month. It's perfect! This is the perfect cigar to pipe transition blend, in my opinion. Beautiful cigar-like aftertaste as well. Perhaps I'm not very subtle, but this has become me go-to blend. I like this one with tea, as the strong coffee I like seems to interfere with the smoky flavor a bit. (Coffee is good with the typical mellow Burley)

Pipe Used: Grabows and other cheap estates

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Cigars...even though there's no cigar leaf.

1 person found this review helpful.

Lager Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lager (7)
Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

As a fan of old dark fired I had to try this. My first impression did not go well as I found it overbearing and to much to handle? Away it went in the cellar and the tin from 2015 was logged and forgotten. To present day 10/2018 and re-evaluating the pipes I used and smoking speed, this has become a much better and richer smoke. I am sure the aging may have mellowed it a bit, but the packing method and smoking speed will do this justice. I generally rub out my flakes for some dry time and then use the pinch air pocket method, which has become my favorate packing technique. This is stout, rich and reminds me of beef jerky. Oh, a word of caution, this is packed extremely wet and when I opened my tin from 2015 the foil was stained and the tin was starting to rust in the inside. Anything more of this I cellar will go in a mason jar. This is delicious and I highly recommend it. Smoke in peace

Lager ( formerly budman)

Pipe Used: Stawell sixtus, petersons

Age When Smoked: 3 years

Purchased From: Pipes and cigars

Similar Blends: Old dark fired.

1 person found this review helpful.

Rustedrailsmokes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rustedrailsmokes (69)
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

I've been working my way through the HH flakes and saved this one for last.

My jar is dated 2016 and upon opening I found the flakes perfect for roll and stuff in a smaller Morgan Bones Pot.

I'll agree with the vinegar smell on the flakes and on the pre-light sip. After a charring light it burned great.

This really shines as an example of what DFK can be like. Deep dark flavors, nutty and rich. Quite an N kick to me, so I'll be sipping from smaller pots which are my choice for flakes these days. (I have moderate N toleration)

After a couple of bowls, I'm looking forward to adding some to my cellar and see it having more of a long term place than ODF which I also loved.

Pipe Used: Morgan Bones Pots

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: trade

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired.

1 person found this review helpful.

Little Steven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Little Steven (76)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Unnoticeable

There are other brands of this ilk that are of better quality. What this has is smokability. It lights easily and stays lit with no fuss.

It's ideal when you're feeling a bit lazy and want a problem free, good honest smoke.

It's a Volvo diesel. It starts every time and just keeps going.

Update 01/11/16:- I recently bought 6 tins. I'm now on the third tin. It must be from a different batch because it's lost it's charm and flavour. It's as flat and as boring as a witches tit.

It turns that I'm a Gawith Hoggarth fan boy and they do this type second to none.

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Tolerable

This tobacco is dark with strong leathery flavor, it has no complexity or nuances, just plain, strong smoke with good nicotine dose. I didnt enjoy a lot, it is very one-dimensional for my liking. I still prefer MB Scottish Mixture/Flake

Similar Blends: .

1 person found this review helpful.