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 1 - 6 of 6 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 19, 2007 Medium Very Mild Medium Very Pleasant
Gold Block is not receiving the best of reviews here (for the most part), and that is no doubt because so many reviewers have only smoked the newer Mac Baren's pouched version which is not even a ghost of the original Ogden's produced Gold Block, which was a classic blend with deeply rich Virginia and Burley leaf that was almost black in color due to the special processing that made the palate squeal with delight. If you find an old tin of this stuff, pay the extra nickel to make it your own!

The tin I smoked was quite aged, perhaps 8-10 years. I'm here to tell you that it aged well. The shag cut and sublime Virginia/Burley leaf was peppered with an unusually naturally sweet flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed. It did indeed smoke cool, burn slow and provide lots of smoke. If you want a "tobacco tasting" tobacco with an unusual sweetness that is certainly unique, live on the wild side and try a bowl of this delightful blend.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 26, 2020 Mild to Medium Mild Mild Pleasant
Ahh, Serendipity!

I don't order tobaccos much anymore, mainly because I have a cellar that should keep me going easily for a couple lifetimes. The other day I ran out of pipe cleaners, so off to smoking to order some. There, flashing across the header is an advertisement for a tobacco on sale. Gold Block huh? I have heard of it, but never payed it much attention. The site says the tins they have are from 2016. Really? Well, like any good American consumer, I do what we do best. Impulse buy, pull the trigger, and man am I glad I did.

I like this one, and I mean I like it a lot. There is just something about it. The reason I know I like it, is because I have a palate with ADHD. I smoke a blend, and often halfway through the bowl I am already thinking about what I will smoke next. With this one? I can't help but to reload the bowl and smoke it again. It doesn't happen often.

This is a hide and seek blend. Don't know what that is? That is because it is a phrase I made up. You see, some blends are unflappable. I think of the iconic drug store burleys. When I light up carter hall, I get the same flavor no matter what. If I sit and concentrate, I get the same flavor, if I am mowing the lawn, I get the same flavor.

These hide and seek blends are the opposite. Every once in a while this fantastic sweet flavor pops up, and I love it. The second I am not paying attention, it disappears. Then I have to slow down, focus and find it again. It is like hide and seek for the taste buds. It may sound annoying, but for me, it is terribly exciting.

This has a sweet and slightly vinegary smell in the tin. The tobaccos are mostly lighter in color. What used to come ( I have heard) in a crumble cake type of block, not comes as a mass of very very long strings of tobacco, which, as a gravity feed bowl packer, I found rather annoying and impossible to pack. I usually end up taking large pinches and tearing it to shreds. Once this is done it packs easily.

The taste is of a nice high end Virginia, with a subtle, yet delicious and perfect sweet kinda taste. I really can't characterize it as anything specific, but oh man is it good. Smoke slow, and concentrate and you will be rewarded with it. Be careful though, if rushed, this blend can come off as a pretty boring blend. Due to the very fine ribbon cut, I find, even though I try and smoke it very slow, the bowl is rather quick, even in my larger pipes. It seems to be a fast burner.

You might find this boring, like other reviewers here, or you might be like me, and find yourself thinking all day about smoking it when you get home. There is only one way to find out which it will be.......
Age When Smoked: 4 years Old
6 people found this review helpful.
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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
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
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
Mar 13, 2021 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I really believe this is a misunderstood blend ! I totally love this blend and smoke it all the time. It needs to be dry as a bone and packed tight. I find it a wonderful light smoke with lovely sweet nuances. Lovely room note too. If you smoke it damp it is really bad and like smoking air - I have had one or two bad smokes in the early days and nearly abandoned it.

I smoke it in big pipes or in a cob. It seems to work really well in cobs for some reason. There is never any system overload – it is very light and I’ve never had the greenies or light head from too much nic hit. I have some really sublime smokes from Gold Block from understanding it better. I am very much in a VABUR phase with my pipe smoking journey and this one is really working for me at the moment.

I especially love it in my Paronelli Egg shaped Lemon wood pipe, or in my Savinelli 606. Didn't work so well in my Meershaum's. People say to mix it with St. Bruno – that’s certainly a possibility but I didn’t really enjoy that. I just don’t like soapy blends like St. Bruno or Condor, so IMHO its better on its own. Just enjoy it for what it is – but DRY DRY DRY. Light pre-dinner smoke with a cool beer. Maybe later on in the evening I'll move over to Presbyterian Mixture, my go-to English blend. Or Special Virginia from JTI which I love but find quite strong and is more an after dinner endeavour. Same with this go DRY or you'll miss the nuances.

I seem to be swimming against the tide on Gold Block but there you go! We are all different in the pipe smoking world, and tastes are amazingly varied. Adios Pipers.
Pipe Used: Paronelli Egg Limone, Cobs and Savinelli 606.
PurchasedFrom: Black Swan Shoppe UK
Age When Smoked: 53
1 person found this review helpful.
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