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 21 - 30 of 86 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2017 Very Mild Mild Mild Pleasant
ìts a typical Macbaren burley blend, with virginia behind. Its sweet, cool and easy to smoke all day. Its not at all complex and can get very boring very fast. But...many many people love this blend so this speaks to the subjectivity of taste in pipe smoking. If i want this sort of blend, id pick one of the pure virginias from macbaren, which tend to have a touch more character.

it is what it is.
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 24, 2015 Mild Very Mild Very Mild Pleasant
I wanted to like this. I bought loads on a whim a while back. I found it dry, harsh, lacking in nicotine and hot to smoke. TW's review of 2012 says it exactly. However, when I was at school my carpentry teacher smoked Gold Block all day long in class and I used to love those crisp autumn mornings, going up the stairs in the old converted barn to lessons. The smell of turned pine and Gold block mixing with the crisp autumn air. Bonfire night and the smell of cigars and hotdogs coming soon, Then Christmas. Then I tried it when I grew up. Now I smoke Full Virginia Flake and from a packet St Bruno. Completely different. I don't hate it, if you smoke all day and slowly it could be quite ok, It's not 1988 any more and I don't work outdoors so I prefer a punchier heavier strength tobacco. (I work long hours most days, so whilst I long for the days when one could smoke at the drawing board, actually I'd probably end up smoking continuously whilst awake so looking in a positive light, at least for most hard working men a pipe is a treat to look forward to I suppose). I can't hate this tobacco at all as it taught me at an early age that pipe smoke is nicer than any other.
Pipe Used: Billiards.
PurchasedFrom: Online bulk supplier.
Age When Smoked: From the pack.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2015 Mild Very Mild Very Mild Unnoticeable
My first post.

After far too many years rolling my own smokes I have made the move to piping. I bought several OTC tobaccos from my local supermarket to see which if any suited my palate. I have to say of all those that I tried, Gold Block is by far the worst of the bunch. A very bland smoke that bit both my tongue and my throat (non of the others bit at all). When smoking rollups I blended my own baccy, usually a mixture of Old Holborn with Drum/Sampson which I suppose gave me something of a strong baccy and perhaps this is where Gold Block misses the target.

So as to not waste the stuff (foolishly bought 50g) I shall be mixing it with equal quantities of St. Bruno & Condor, both of which I much prefer in the vain hope I might end up with something smokable.
Pipe Used: Various 'basket' pipes + a rather nice Parker.
PurchasedFrom: Asda
Age When Smoked: Fresh.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 28, 2015 Very Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Reading all these reviews reminds me of the BB King song, “the thrill is gone”. Perhaps however, a bit of Burt Bacharach’s “love sweet love” is in order! I understand from friends and other sources that the new stuff is, to put it politely, rubbish! I can’t speak to that as I have never tried it but I can tell you as a lover of all that is vintage, this stuff ages wonderfully! Most if not all of the Gold Block tins I have are from the late 80’s to early 90’s. Therefore, I have only had the Ogdens produced GB. I’m not a chemical engineer but something wonderful is happening in that tin over time. A pure Virginia taste with a touch of honey is prominent. When you first light up, you get a musky aroma as well, like a cork from an old bottle of wine. It’s truly an enjoyable experience. Perhaps I’m swimming upstream, but I would simply encourage anyone so motivated or curious to find an old tin and give it another try. I never have trouble finding it at pipe shows, by the way.
Pipe Used: Kaywoodie
PurchasedFrom: Pipe Shows
Age When Smoked: 20+
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 24, 2012 Mild Very Mild Mild Tolerable to Strong
a ribbon cut mixture of of virginia and burly and perhaps other leafs but in lower percentage (bright virginia being dominant in texture and in taste). out of the pouch it has a hay grassy smell to it, the fine cut makes it easy to pack and it smokes cool if you dont pack it too tight and smoked slowly. very mild on the strength compartment and can be smoked any time of the day. burn to clean ash and leaves a clean pipe. the room note is not friendly though as with all non aromatics virginias. an easy non significant all day smoke. just put that in your pipe and smoke it!!
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 10, 2011 Mild Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Packet:50g gold foil pouch.

Reasons for purchase: - call it delayed nostalgia -This i had to try because its one of the few brands I remember seeing often as a kid since 70s. Holding the packet alone evokes images of my youth by association.

I don't think any baccy has taught me more about the sublime art of pipe smoking and the necessity of 'getting it right'' than Gold Block: Gold block was for me the most volatile tobacco i had ever attempted to get any pleasure from. Gold block is absolutely pipe sensitive :depending what you are smoking it in you will either get a burnt mouth or a golden delight of a smoke.

I have tried every pipe size , shape and material. Experiments with different pipes has paid off in a kind of apprenticeship with this. I wanted to like this baccy first time round because you see it everywhere in the UK , and even for its sensitive bastard nature it had in good moments a unique sweet and sour citrusy simplicity which no other pipe baccy i have tried come close.

I am not sure i totally understand its popularity given its traits , but it must have something golden within which other pipesters agree is worth perseverence for. When its good its perfect.

Pouch Aroma: sweet honey virginia - like when you take your watch off on a hot summers day and sniff your wrist,,,slightly honeycombish.

Tobacco type:Aromatic maybe- it has a sweet and sour lemon juice /lemon grass taste meets barley sugar sweets.

Pedestrian comments:None really ,,,except from others i know in the pub who had smoked it in the past and i will mention their oppinions as well..

Bailey's irish creme liqueur on hand ,as this has a neutraliser effect on tobacco acids or whatever that causes tongue bite..

This goes well with a shot of gordons dry london gin i might add,it seems to have a neutraliser effect.But its really working well in this pipe and so i am not sure i want to mess with it.

It has a fizzy sherbert citric acid sourness with a slight sucrose sweet limey or white grape essence and the mouth feel is like a lighter weight Dunhill Royal Yacht. A consistant mild grassy sweet and sour,slightly bitter hayish honeysweet fruitiness

On lighting up i get a dryish burning wine cork,after tamping an oaky burning/smouldering green grass,followed by a lemon grass as it settles dow; ,beansprouts ,lychee, Hillman Superminx pvc car seats,and the sweetish honeysuckle and limey grape aromatic overtones.

what you get out of it depends entireley on what pipe you smoke it in and how well broken in your pipe is. It may not be what it once was,but i never smoked the original incarnation,but i can get it to taste how i wanted it to taste which is good enough.

It really goes to show how pipe sensitive some baccies are and how an at first seemingly horrible smoke can turn into a 4star smoke in the right pipe. Experiments with different pipes has paid off . It burned cool and tasted like a can of pineapple and grapefruit lilt .
Pipe Used: peterson 303, Falcon bent,Park lane.The Pipe.
PurchasedFrom: Anywhere
Age When Smoked: New and couple of years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2010 Mild Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable
This review is based upon a 25g plastic pouch of the recent variety:

I impatiently grabbed a pouch of this from Tesco, for want of trying something new, but in all honesty, I could have simply veered left to point at the ample selection of budget cigarettes. Gold Block epitomizes the jaded selection of mainstream, same-old pipe tobaccos in the UK - or to put it bluntly - those few that are only readily available away from internet shopping. Why anyone would choose this particular pipe tobacco more than once defies logic and reason, as one may as well just buy rolling tobacco and give up the briar. It seems to render the whole notion of pipe smoking a moot point.

Indeed, Gold Block shares the same kind of grassy, hay-bale aroma and quality of Golden Virginia, and it's cut a shade above shag. It's lightly sweetened rather than cased, but imparts very little flavour and does nothing to really rouse the blend out of monotony. Neither does the Virginia hold up as a good example of a well- seasoned base - lending credence to my theory that Gold Block is cut and banged out in record time, stems and all, devoid of quality management. Even Drum and Amber Leaf rolling tobacco are better examples, and frankly I'd rather have those scorching in the pipe than this.

As a cigarette smoker, I can acknowledge that without the nicotine, a cigarette is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard, and Gold Block seems equally pointless, with a low nicotine content. It loads and burns well, but it's fine cut will need a lover's touch when packing, or else you'll find you've just made a tight plug with a terrible draw.

In summary, this is a rather stale and grassy tobacco that tickles and scratches the throat in an unpleasant manner; the room note being sadly reminiscent of the kind of itchy-eyed summers, with a high pollen index that I loathed as a boy.

Trust your intuition next time you're at the supermarket - and jog on by. If you're not buying Condor, your money is better spent on the web.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 30, 2008 Very Mild Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant
I can?t think why I hadn?t reviewed this one before. Haven?t smoked it in a decade or so. A very popular blend in Britain, as I recall. It was easy to come by, not particularly expensive, and good to smoke in public. No one seemed to mind. In fact, publicans would encourage you to light up in order to produce a cosy, customer-friendly atmosphere.

Very mild, but without tongue bite, the blend?s almost natural sweetness (a topping, I presume) was redolent of cocoa beans and hazelnuts. It could become somewhat monochromatic and dull; then again I believe this tobacco was never meant to incite wondrous deeds, nor deep-contemplative inner experiences in the Balkanic/Latakian sense of the term. Rather, Gold Block seems to have been conceived as that perfect silent companion for those who enjoy a peaceful evening by the fire or sitting at a desk, surrounded by books, pen and paper.

Odgens? refer to Gold Block as the ?aristocrat of pipe tobaccos?. Personally, I wouldn?t find it an insult (to the breed or the manufacturer) to hail it as the Bassett Hound of Pipe Tobaccos.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 11, 2020 Mild Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
I am not sure why this is selling so well. It's without doubt the worst of the Mac blow torches. This one is particularly hot and would have thought they would have made it good quality seeing as it's sold everywhere. Really bland,,, really hot,,, really rapid burning. Almost clan like burn
Pipe Used: Bartoli massa
PurchasedFrom: Sainsbury's
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 05, 2018 Medium Extremely Mild Mild Tolerable
From what I feel higher nicotine content than your average aromatic. Very unnoticeable flavoring and grassy tin notes. Burns quickly but its not too hot and there is no tongue bite. Smooth smoke. I would say its something that goes well with a milk tea. But its not an all day smoke you can get bored of the flavor pretty quickly I usually smoke this pack once or twice in a week and while smoking there is nothing to write home about.
PurchasedFrom: Ada Tobacco
Age When Smoked: Aired 5 hours
2 people found this review helpful.
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