Mac Baren Gold Block

Virginia, burley tobaccos sweetened by a secret process. Smoke this tobacco peacefully. Pouch blurb: "An aromatic blend of bright Virginia and rich burley tobaccos. Finest quality leaf for a subtle smoke."
Notes: Now owned and made by MacBaren. From P&C's website: Gold Block from Ogden's of Liverpool was known for being one of the most widely available pipe tobaccos in the UK. This smooth and relaxing blend of sweet, bright Virginia and mellow white burley is treated to a pleasant top note which allows the user to get real tobacco flavor, while delivering an enticing room note. For anyone who is looking for an all day blend, or for a lightly flavored tobacco for earlier in the day, Gold Block is certain to please.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Burley, Virginia
Flavoring Sweet / Sugar
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin weight, 50 grams pouch weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.09 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 86 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 17, 2020 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Oh lord I don't know where to start. This is by far the best I have smoked this year , Iand I have smoked a lot. At first, Pipestud is totaly right when he say Gold Block ages very well. I never encoutered such a deep virginia note when I opened the tin. The first time I can seriously compare the smell with figs. And what a deep smell. Sliced dried figs directly under your nose. I also compare it with syrup.or molasses. Very sugary in a very natural way.

After lighting a flavour explosion of the finest matured virginia flavour took place in my mouth, also in a clean non-aromatic way. There is not much burley to taste to me but I know it is there and it has its part. Best of all the flavour gets better as the bowl progress. There is no point to say it is enough and to harsh. I puffed till the the fire went out with joy. It is much more potent than an old aged FVF per exemple. When there is a topping then I am not able to speak of what it is. Maybe it is gone by the years. Or more probably it is flavoured very skillfully. The strenght could be a little higher but not much. It is one of the best english virginias i have ever smoked. I also had 20 years ago a fresh tin made in england by Ogden i guess but can not recall the experience. In this case, my tin was proper sealed and and the tobacco was still moist, you can't do wrong to pay the extra nickel when you are in good virginias.

At least, the smoke was totally cool and bite free

Manna from heaven
Pipe Used: Parker 109
PurchasedFrom: ebay
Age When Smoked: ca 30 years
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 25, 2018 Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable
I have a great fondness for the older incarnation of Gold Block from the 1980s and 90s and wanted to try some of the latest iteration as blended by Mac Baren and so I bought some as a Christmas treat. Some of its behavior is as I remembered it, as in it has to be lit very gently with a careful charring light and not over enthusiastically puffed for the first few minutes or it can bite like a bitch ! I knew that from the old version and was prepared for it and smoked my way through 3 bowls with no tongue bite. There the similarity ends unfortunately. Pouch note is ok but not like the sweet honeydew I remembered. Something is missing in the flavour as well. It is merely an ok smoke and nothing like the original. Mac Baren, please revisit this and try again as It has a lot of potential if you stick to the old recipe !

Update:- Having had this pouch for 2 weeks or so I decided to revisit it and change my approach to smoking it. The weird pouch note has dissipated and it now smells more grassy. I rubbed the bejeesus out of the rather coarse cut and allowed it to dry for 30 minutes or so and was rewarded by much more flavour and a far cooler smoke. It is more like I would have expected from the older version with citrus notes and far more sweetness overall. My suggestion to anyone trying this is to allow it some time for the topping to mellow and perhaps jar it for a while. Now 3.5 stars for me.
Pipe Used: Falcon
PurchasedFrom: Tesco
Age When Smoked: Fresh
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 12, 2017 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I think there's only one way to enjoy this tobacco and that is to smoke it as slow as possible. At my normal pace the flavor goes off the rails quite quickly. When I force myself to have the patience it provides a decent smoke with sweet hay, a touch of citrus, and a hint of nuts and earth. I'll recommend this to those who have the patience of Job.

Mild to medium in body and taste. Has a very mild added sweetness. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn
Age When Smoked: fresh
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 09, 2013 Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
I bought this because I remembered my mate's father smoking it and it seemed to have a pleasant room note. I am one of those people who can't actually smell the room note when smoking it myself. Positives : nice smell in the pouch, lovely appearance and packs well and easily. Negatives : Burns hot, produces not just tongue but whole of mouth bite, no flavour can be discerned because the mouth is numbed.

This stuff reminds me of a roll your own tobacco which I tried when I smoked fags called 3 castles.That too was a lovely golden colour and handled really well but when you actually smoked it your throat was left like you'd swallowed razor blades. Gold Block is the same, and no matter how carefully you smoke it ,it will punish you relentlessly.You sip to reduce the furnace in the bowl and just taste hot air then just after halfway down the bowl the gurgling starts and you are left with a plug of soggy golden dottle. I have tried this in a variety of pipes, I hoped a meerschaum would tame it but to no avail,I have mixed it with latakia and perique but nothing can improve it.If you persist to the end of the bowl you do eventually get some kind of taste. Unfortunately it is like a cheap cigar that has been lying in its own filth in an ashtray. The remainder of the pouch has been given away because I wouldn't even put it in my odds and sods jar in case it ruined the previous disappointments lurking therein. In summary I would say Gold Block is like a beautiful woman that you take to bed trembling with anticipation who then turns out to be a ladyboy...
Pipe Used: various briars, one meerschaum
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 12, 2012 Mild Mild Very Mild Tolerable
This is another one of those English over the counter blends, except this one isn't as satisfying and a tad disapointing, the smell of opening the pouch is pretty non-existent for this one, maybe some small hints of raisins but nothing spectacular,upon lighting, it tastes like hand rolling tobacco in your pipe, you'd be better off smoking something like Amber Leaf in your pipe, the flavors were unfortunately one dimensional and burned like a furnace with often tongue bite, I hate to give a bad review because Gold Block isn't what it used to be a long time ago (trust me, I've tried an aged variety from 1983 in a jar haha!) and it used to taste so much better, citrusy flavours were present in the older blend.

It wouldn't be a good tobacco to start puffing with, if anything, a beginner would be best going with Clan or St. Bruno in comaparison.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 29, 2012 Very Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
I tried this because it was recommended on a website. It burns well but with little flavour or anything else to recommend it. in the bag it smells weak. At least Condor has so much nicotine it makes my body quiver. I thought Clan was weak but next to this it's a stunna!

I'm waiting for 9 samplers from E A Carey's aromatic range and I know they will blow this away. I won't wake up at night dreaming of this stuff, I might have to give it a decent burial tomorrow. Don't waste your money! Seriously! For the same amount you can buy a Bentley; why drive a battered old Lada. It's crap!

EDIT: Just mixed 50/50 with E A Carey's Soft Aromatic Blend, it was like crashing a Bentley into a Lada; did nothing for either of them. I'm going to go up to St James in London on the weekend and pick up something nice in a tin!
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 15, 2011 Mild Very Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant
The smell in the packet is barely discernible, save for a vague scent of rice pudding. Probably the easiest lighting and easiest packable tobacco I've found so far.

The smokes is reasonable pleasant and light but doesn't particularly stand out amongst all the tobaccos I've tried. Does give a bit of tonguebite.

The nicest thing I find about this is the room note, which has a habit of popping up hours later and surprising me with a really nice waft of tobacco scent.

Update 27/04/2013

I recently bought a 25g pouch of this to check it out again. I've done this with a few tobaccos recently that I bought when I first started and wasn't fond of, usually because of rampant tonguebite, and ended up liking second time round, in part due to the tonguebite disappearing probably because I'm more used to pipe tobacco now. First time around I have to confess that the bite without filters was horrendous and manageable with (that's both bowl and stem). Sadly, this hasn't changed at all unlike the others and has fallen into the mediocre and the dull. I ended up putting most of the packet in my scragends mixture with the leftovers of a load of other tobaccos, only to be smoked when a lack of other tobaccos keeps me from smoking something good. Not so truly rank as to deserve a single star and that room note still charms, but I doubt I'll bother getting this again.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 07, 2008 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I'm going to go against the flow on this one - I like it. I've tried all the readily available shop (or "drugstore") brands in the UK bar this one, until now. I was put off by the reviews on here.

Typical cost cutting from Imperial, no longer available in a tin - it comes in a pouch either 25g or 50g. Very lightweight tobacco, almost like cigarette tobacco.

Packs easily, burns evenly (too quickly IMO). Pleasant smoke aroma (lots of it too), good basic flavour with no topping, cool burning and no bite unless provoked. It has the taste and smell of a classic British pipe tobacco. Guess this was why it was so popular and "the aristocrat of pipe tobacco" for so long. This is the "straight" blend I've been looking for - not too heavy on the nicotine and suitable for all day smoking. As another reviewer said it leaves you wanting more. I think I'll race through the pack I have.

Loved the anecdotes on here about it being more expensive than St Bruno back in the day and also the one about the Ogdens sales rep who recommended a 50/50 mix.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 24, 2020 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Near perfection in mediocrity?

Gold Block is not what I normally look for in a tobacco in terms of genre and strength. Yet, the mix of Virginia and burley leaf work so well together. They are mellow, sweet, grassy, and slightly nutty. The sugary topping melds nicely with the tobaccos. I was always a bit weary trying it after seeing all the negative reviews; however, Gold Block is actually pretty good.

*This blend was based on a limited sample size.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 11, 2020 Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable
This has always been what my Grandad would have called a “codgers” blend. I remember many a peer of his smoking this in potting sheds, greenhouses and generally pottering around the garden which is why I might still view this as a summer blend? That’s not to say they didn’t smoke it all year round but memories are memories I guess.

On my quest to find the best OTC blend in the UK, before supermarkets stop selling the stuff altogether like the Sainsbury’s local round the corner has done, I knew I would have to tussle with the Block.

This is not one for me - even if I sipped at it like a kitten, it bit the tongue out of my mouth. I remember it smelling very nice but when you are smoking it you don’t get any of that pleasure.

Has it changed since Ogden’s threw in the towel? I should expect so; they all have to one degree or another.

Would I buy it again? Not likely but it did mix very well with St Bruno to make the Ogden’s Mixture - the Bruno levels out the heat on the tongue to some degree and adds a little extra something to the mix.

If there are still people out there in the world who can keep their pipe on the go all day then it baffles me how anyone could smoke this all day, unless you have to build up a tolerance to it or just like a sadomasochistic smoke?

3 people found this review helpful.
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