Mac Baren HH Pure Virginia

A blend composed of both air dried and flue cured Virginia tobaccos. HH Pure Virginia is 100% Virginia tobaccos from North America and Africa. Both continents have a high reputation for growing the finest Virginia tobaccos in the world. Like all tobaccos in the HH family this blend has no top flavour and only the absolute necessary casing in order to emphasize the natural tobacco taste. You will experience the natural sweetness and “grassy” taste from the Virginia tobacco.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.37 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 83 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 20, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Upon opening the tin, you are greeted with a sweet, fig like and fruity smell. It is simply a phenomenal smelling blend. It comes in the traditional, thin MacBaren flakes (about half the size of an Orlik flake for comparison purposes) and the presentation is top notch IMO. It is easily lit, stays lit and smokes to a fine ash with no hard tobacco clump at the end to boot. Perfect in that regard.

Smoking mechanics: should be sipped like all pure Virginias and I dry it out minimally. Just enough so there is a little spring back when you squeeze it. I've found it to have best flavor if done this way. However, here's the key with this blend and I've found this to be the case more than many other blends I've had: YOU MUST FIND THE PROPER PIPE SIZE AND SHAPE TO SMOKE THIS IN! It drastically changes the taste if not done so. It honestly oscillates between a mediocre, so-so smoke to a phenomenal, top notch smoke if you find the correct combination. So far, the best shape I've found for the blend is the 320 Savinelli. The Savinelli Marron Glace 320 KS to be exact. Like I said, minimally dry it out, smoke/sip it slow and use a good pipe and you are in for a world class, second to none smoke. Just don't give up on it and keep trying things until you find the right combo for you personally. I highly doubt you'll be disappointed, if you like Pure Virginias that is. Happy smokes brothers!

UPDATE (6/21/2020): This blend has only gotten better since writing my first review of it. Simply phenomenal. I've found several other pipe combinations that smoke this beautifully and some that don't seem to do so well so I hope it's encouraging to all of you that smoke this terrific blend. I've got a couple of years on the jar I'm smoking out of today and it is wonderful. Smooth, mellow, and subtle with increasing sweetness as i work through the bowl. 5 and 10 years down the road WILL do wonders for this blend and that's saying something because it's tremendous right now as is. In short, I can only speak more positively of this blend as of this two-year update. My cellar is well stocked, enough said. Enjoy fellas, this one's a beauty!
PurchasedFrom: Online retailer
Age When Smoked: Fresh
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 26, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I've always been a fan of Mac Baren's Virginia No 1 and their Virginia Flake. I've just added their Modern Virginia to that list, but their HH Pure Virginia is now my favorite Mac Va.

Mac Baren's tin presentation is always appealing as is the readiness for a smoke right out of a fresh tin. The tin note was of tobacco, mild and not grassy as is typical of many Virginias. There was no flavoring I could detect while smoking; just a very pleasant, atypical tasting, Virginia from first puff to last with a very appealing pure tobacco taste throughout. It didn't smoke hot or bite and it smoked dry to the heel. I can smoke this all day, every day. This is a keeper and as previously stated, now my favorite Mac Baren Virginia offering. 4 stars!
Pipe Used: Stanwell sandblast featherweight poker
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 07, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
HH Pure Virginia is another first class offering in this limited series from Mac Baren. Presentation is 3 rows of small, perfect flakes the color of toasted “wheat” bread of the sort one tends to get in diners. Tin note is grassy and fairly sweet, with some toast and some hay, with a depth to it that’s hard to describe. It can be folded and stuffed straight from the tin, but sans drying it takes patience to get it well lit or keep it burning. In the end, after a good deal of fiddling around with it, I prefer to rub it out and load it into a VA pipe. I find this blend to be naturally "aromatic" off the match, and the tastes get richer as it is smoked down, with meadow grasses, toast, and hay from the flue cured and just a little sweetness, earth, and oats from air cured brown and red leaf. I get no “dark fruit” from this blend (and not a lot of sweetness, either). Anyway, the balance struck is impeccable, and it is smooth and well melded top to bottom. Strength builds gently toward medium; likewise the tastes. Room note is pleasant. Aftertaste is a sweeter, lingering version of the best of the smoke.

Here we are today, with TR as a resource and worldwide access to the best overall lot of tobaccos in my lifetime. There are great VAs aplenty, and you can add HH Pure VA to the list, IMO. It took me a while to figure it out, but I like it right enough now, and I recommend it a 4’s worth to experienced VA lovers.
Pipe Used: various VA briars
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: from the tin to 2 months in a jar
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I have come to expect great things when I try any of the HH blends by Mac Baren and this was no exception. A great Virginia as natural as you can get. This has abundant hay like sweetness with light citrus tones.

I really enjoyed this one, but it does not eclipse my favorite Virginia, that being Dunhill Flake. DF is a touch less natural and probably has a light topping on it where HHPV does not. I would also put Capstan Blue above this one, but these things will not make it any less than four stars in my book. If for nothing else, this will give one the taste of a Virginia with the minimal amount of tinkering.

If you like this blend then you are a Virginia lover for sure. Now that DF is no longer being produced and Capstan is expensive, this will become the Virginia I recommend to those who want to try a straight Va.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 10, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
Being a Virginia flake smoker I was excited to try this new issue . Upon opening the tin I was not impressed . The flake seemed way too hard and was not responsive to good packing . There was little or no tin note , not at all what I expect from a primo Virginia flake . The first bowl was not at all enjoyable giving me a nice case of tongue bite . I smoked a few more bowls and found it even less acceptable than the first . I have read the other reviews of this tobacco , all from reliable smokers , and I wonder why I am in such disagreement . This tobacco simply has none of the delicate , subtle taste that I associate with Virginia flake . I gave the rest of the tin away at the Kaywoodie show in New York and felt well rid of it .
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2016 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
HH Pure is a medium-colored hot pressed flake made of what I can imagine are the highest quality VA tobaccos Mac Baren has in the warehouse. I can't knock them for anything mechanical - I smoked an entire tin folded and stuffed, because there was no need to even think about rubbing this out. It lights and burns beautifully, and smells pretty good while it goes.

I dinged it a star because it doesn't show the complexity I find in the English-style flakes or in the best quality McClelland straight VAs. It's not monochromatic by any stretch of the word but it seems to progress predictably from start to finish. Nothing wrong with that, but also nothing standout that would earn that fourth star.

This is good pipeweed, lovingly made and artfully presented, and it might be the stealth blend of the HH line since nobody seems to have noticed how good it is just yet.
Pipe Used: basket pipe
Age When Smoked: so fresh
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 28, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Deep brown hot pressed flakes cut with military precision, medium flavor with a wonderful peppery note, and fairly good strength. Presentation mirrors the rest of the quality - it's on point, Tip.

All you FVF and Best Brown Flake hoarders, buy a few tins of this for the apocalypse, and maybe some to smoke now.
Age When Smoked: 3 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 11, 2022 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
I will confess that I am a bit biased towards this blend. This blend and the Sav. Brunello Flake that is made by MacBaren are my two favorite blends made by this manufacturer.

With that said, I will say that this blend reminds me a lot of a slightly more user friendly and a smoother version of Samuel Gawith's Full Virginia Flake. I have smoked a bunch of both and have loved SG's FVF since when you could buy a pound for $30. Yeah, imagine that.

I will say that FVF will always be a Gold Standard Blend but because it has become so hard to find here in the US I have found that HH Pure Virginia is the closest substitute (if not replacement) in my opinion.

It is a bit stronger than most of their Virginia offerings and I would recommend smoking it in a wide shallow bowl. That is how I have gotten the most flavor out of it. Fold and stuff it or rub it out and pack it. To me the flavors are the same. Pure bliss.
Pipe Used: Most recently a Radice Bulldog
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
HH Pure Virginia - Part 3 of 6 - MacBaren HH Flake Reviews

In honor of the just released MacBaren HH Rustica Flake (that I have jarred and reintroducing oxygen) I will be reviewing the five previous HH Flakes leading up to a final review of that new release. I feel all tobacco requires a “Cool Down” period after you open the tin. A minimum of a month so the prior five HH Flakes will give me enough time to get Rustica ready for my liking. With that said: here is Part 3 of 6 . . . of my MacBaren HH Flake Series Reviews.

I have always understood that Virginia tobaccos were normally the base of most blends due to the natural sugar content. That sweetness greatly assisting the blender with balancing their creation. Using a food analogy, I have always seen them as the grains of the tobacco world. Like bread or rice (both of which I love), I simply was not able to eat them by themselves. I needed some jam on that bread or some beans with that rice.

Back in September of 2018, Dorothy and I were at Sutliff for their excellent pipe show. We met a lot of good people those couple of days. Some of which later became very dear friends. The older gentleman sitting across from me had an IT background much like myself. We were both tinkerers and due to this we hit it off almost immediately. Having such similar interests, I was hooked on our conversation. During which I asked what was in his pipe. His response: “Amphora Virginia”. I immediately scoffed at him. “How can you smoke straight Virginias like that? Put some Latakia in it!” I proclaimed. Back then I was hooked on Lat-Bombs and anything else was seen as an inferior smoke in my mind. His response was that Latakia is too heavy. Virginias were something he could smoke all the time. He proceeded to pinch out about half his pouch, put it in a Ziplock, and gave it to me. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I thanked him and put it away.

If you have been following my other reviews you will have already guessed that about seven months later . . . my palate burnt out due to my blending and taste testing latakia forward tobaccos. I was forced to move away from that leaf. One fateful night I was frustrated that I couldn’t enjoy pipe tobacco like I used to. I pulled out the Amphora Virginia that I was given, stuffed it into my pipe, and proceeded to start a journey of which I have yet to return. That experience can only be described as utterly sublime. I was simply enthralled with the flavor. I thought to myself: “OH MAN! If what some consider to be an OTC Virginia is this good . . . I wonder what is seen as a more Premium Virginia will taste like?!?!” That fleeting thought eventually lead me to picking up a tin of HH Pure Virginia.

The tin note of HH Pure Virginia is a bit underwhelming. A touch of sweetness and grass. But that’s about it. The flakes are beautifully cut and optimally hydrated, which is what I have come to expect of all MacBaren tobaccos. I always choose to fold and stuff any MacBaren flake I come across because to not do so just seems to be a bit of an injustice to me. They are simply the perfect candidates for that method. When you light HH Pure Virginia you are immediately greeted with that subtle sweetness that is very familiar. A dried fruit sweetness akin to raisins. You will notice an earthy tone throughout the smoke. The main notes you will taste are grass and hay. Occasionally you will be greeted with a bit of citrus that is a bit tart but never unpleasant. When you retrohale this tobacco you are overwhelmed with the grassy taste that MacBaren proclaims you will experience, but you will also taste a bit of bread and hay. An experienced smoker will find this blend to be surprisingly complex for a straight Virginia and will easily be able to pick out the Red and Bright Virginias.

HH Pure Virginia is a prime example of a damned near perfect straight Virginia. I dislike comparing tobaccos. I honestly feel that every tobacco blend has its own special quality that is only cheapened when being compared to something else. With that said, I feel that this is one of the few scenarios where it would be appropriate. If you’re a smoker of Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake, Capstan Blue, McClelland 5100, Orlik Golden Sliced, etc . . . you will most definitely enjoy MacBaren’s HH Pure Virginia Flake. If Escudo Navy De Luxe sets the bar for VaPers, then HH Pure Virginia sets the bar for straight Virginias. It is a wonderful tobacco that only gets better with age.

As I sit here smoking my final bowl of HH Pure Virginia for quite a while (due to smoking so much of it for this review), I cannot help but think of that older gentleman that I met going on two years ago at Sutliff. His generosity in giving me that huge pinch of Amphora Virginia really had an impact on my tastes and how I perceive tobacco as a whole. If you are reading this review, you know who you are. This past October, I was able to thank you in person for the role you played in my journey through this vast hobby. It may have been such a little thing to you . . . but know that to me it has meant everything.

~ Barry
Pipe Used: Multiple
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars, Local B&M, SmokingPipes, TobaccoPipes, TheStoryTellersPipe
Age When Smoked: Fresh to 6 months
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 03, 2019 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong
Presentation is wonderful as it always is with Mac Baren's flakes. They are neatly organized and uniform. This review is based on a four year-old tin. The flakes were really dark with some bright flecks here and there.

The tin note upon opening smelt of vinegar, a slight dried fruit hint, and somewhat like cured meat. As it spends time in a jar it gets closer to smelling like dried fruit. The flakes are a little moist. I tried folding and stuffing and rubbing out as well. I found that rubbing it out and drying it a bit to burn best and taste the best.

The smoke starts out sort of nondescript, just a slight vinegar and fermented taste. At about mid-bowl I pick up tangy vinegar notes, woody notes, nuts, maybe almonds, toasted bread notes, banana, oats, hints of cinnamon, pastry notes, a touch of cake batter, sultanas, figs, molasses, and it builds in woody smokiness towards the middle and end of the bowl with those pastry and fig notes lingering in the background.

There is not much acidity, and no citrus notes, to my palate. I didn't find this to be a sugary sweet flake. I also don't get the honey notes typical with many Virginias.

Strength is medium maybe. Nicotine is medium. I have gotten a big nic hit with this blend once. I had just a little food in my stomach, smoked too fast, and it got me.

I recommend this for the Virginia-lover who enjoys the more natural tobacco taste, or the person who likes darker Virginias. This blend showcases all that Virginia can be, in that it is both sweet and earthy, or sweet and savory. To my taste, this is closest to Wessex Brown Virginia Flake, but maybe better. If I blind-tasted this I might think there was Burley, but the tin does say there are air-cured Virginias in there as well.

I would buy this again, and hopefully get a younger tin with some bright notes and honey notes, which I think I missed out on because my tin was old. It's a quality Virginia with complexity, depth and roundness.

*Update* 7-18-2019 It's got depth and body and it might be the best straight Virginia I have smoked yet. I think it just needed air.

*Update 12-25-2019* I bought a younger tin to see what this is like with less age. This tin is dated Oct2018. It has the dried fruit notes, honey notes, cereal notes, in addition to the notes mentioned in my original review: smokiness and nuttiness, cocoa.

The only negative thing I can say about it is that when it's young it can be a total fruit bomb, and make your pipe taste that way. The development runs its course into more flavors when smoked, but it is very fruity Virginia flavor when young. It has more zest when young, and more darkness and depth when aged.

This is an extraordinary straight Virginia.

Pipe Used: Bent brandy,billiard,bent apple,Canadian
Age When Smoked: ~3 years, 1 year
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