Mac Baren HH Burley Flake

(3.63)
A burley dominated flake containing tobaccos from 3 continents. Besides burley, this flake also contains ripe Virginia tobaccos and a small portion of dark fired Kentucky.

Details

Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley, Kentucky, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin, one pound box
Country Denmark
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.63 / 4
56

18

6

0

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 80 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 16, 2023 Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
A five year old square tin from my cellar. Upon opening greeted me with a fermented smell of grapefruit which did not translate into the smoke. Very smooth but monochromatic in character; Less interesting than a fresh tin from what I can remember. The other elements of virginia and especially the small amount of dark fired leaf seem like they have dissipated. This smokes very similar to Sutliffs ready-rubbed pressed burleys: Edgeworth match, RL-PR, F.G. 51 though the later two have a tad bit more of added casing that rounds them out a bit. Toasty aroma with a very light, straight forward natural burley flavor that verges on cardboard. Needs casing for my taste. The new tin way back when did remind me a bit of the old Lane Ltd. Edgeworth Slices. Maple sugars, molasses, licorice and perhaps rum would be a nice addition in a spin-off blend.
Pipe Used: Stanwell Danish Design brushed billiard
Age When Smoked: 5 years (Oct 2018)
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 06, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
The nutty, earthy, woody, lightly molasses sweet, mildly chocolatey burleys take the lead over the other components. They also sport a touch of spice and light dryness. The tangy, ripe dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready, slightly grassy and sugary, light tart and tangy citrusy dark Virginias play an important condimental role. There’s also a strand or two of tangy ripe dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready red Virginia in the mix. The lightly spicy, woody, earthy, vegetative, floral, nutty, mildly sweet dark fired Kentucky is a background player. The strength is just past the center of mild to medium, while the taste level falls just short of medium. The nic-hit is a step or so past the mild threshold. No chance of bite or harshness, and has no rough edges. The flakes are a little moist, but I saw no need to dry them. They easily break apart to suit your preference. Burns a little slow, cool and clean with a fairly rich, mostly consistent, woody sweet predominate burley flavor from start to finish. I recommend a wide bowl to enhance the range of nuances this blend has to offer. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and does require some relights. The very pleasant after taste and room notes lightly linger. Can easily be an all day smoke.

-JimInks
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2018 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
After I saw JimInks post on pipesmagazine.com that Iwan Ries had this for sale I immediately purchased 2 tins. I'm primarily a Burley fan with Burley Slice (BS) and Aged Burley Flake (ABF) favorites, and with their respective availability these days in question, the Mac Baren offering was a must for me.

I've always been a fan of the late Mac's Burley London Blend (one of the first tobaccos I ever smoked over 40 years ago) and Golden Extra in that order; always hoping for a Mac Burley done as a flake. Opening the tin reveled two neat rows of flakes ala Mac Baren that were medium brown in appearance. The tin note had a faint cocoa smell with a bit of sour and a very mild fruitiness which I assumed was from the Virginia in the blend. I've always found the moisture content of Mac Barens ready for smoking. Interestingly this Mac flake was sturdier than their Navy Flake and Mixture flake; not crumbling apart as easily. Loading and lighting were easy as expected. The smoking experience was superb. I didn't find any similarity to Burley London or Golden Extra. There was always a faint cocoa taste while smoking with a dryness and minimal sour I've come to experience with good Burley leaf. I feel the cocoa presence was a combination of the inherent quality of Burley and perhaps what the Burley was cured with; it wasn't a top dressing to me. I couldn't pick up any Virginia per se, but along with a subtle sweetness (probably from the Virginia) throughout the smoke and you have what this is all about. It has way less cocoa presence than ABF and didn't detect molasses as with BS. It smoked clean and dry to the heel with a minimal of relights along the way. The room note was that very comforting, pipey smell you get from a good Burley. All excellent across the board. Not as strong as ABF or BS and no appreciable nicotene effect with fast puffing. There was never any bite whatsoever and this never smoked hot - at all. If ABF and BS vanished from the USA market, this would satisfy completely as my go to Burley flake. A GREAT offering from Mac Baren and my favorite flake of theirs to date, one I will be smoking daily. Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Stanwell sandblast half bent Dublin
PurchasedFrom: Iwan Ries
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
58 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 24, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The late, long-time Master Distiller of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Parker Beam, used to scratch his head when reviewers of his bourbons would comment that they tasted apricots and leather in his whiskey. "I don't put any apricots and leather in there. I put corn and water into an oak barrel; and that's all I taste: corn and oak." Well...rye (or wheat) and malted barley go in there also...and a closely guarded yeast...but definitely no apricots or leather! Parker, an old customer of mine, had as sophisticated a palate as there ever was, but his only criterion was: Is this good bourbon or bad bourbon?

Burley, like bourbon, was originally a Kentucky product. And, in fact, the two still compliment each other marvelously.

HH Burley Flake is a fabulous smoke. In the tin, it has the faint cocoa aroma that all good Burley has, although it comes through in the smoke only incidentally. There is no discernable top dressing, nor is there anything to caress the senses besides the exelent Burley, along with a bit of Virginia and Dark Fired Kentucky. Mostly, the taste is earthy and "summery," as in summer in the Ohio River Valley, where Burley first was grown.

Having been a longtime Burley lover, there is nothing to fault here. The smoke is cool and bite-free; whether folded or rubbed out. To me, there have always been two types of Burley pipe tobaccos: Edgeworth and Granger. This is more on the Granger end of the spectrum, a darker and stronger tobacco. This is not as brutally strong as Solani ABF, but it is fuller and tastier than Wessex Burley Slices. Though in character more like the Wessex. This is by no means a mild, nor medium smoke. But for ANY Burley lover...a must-try.

UPDATE

I won't say this is the best Burley smoke I have ever had; that still goes to the Larus and Brother Edgeworth Slices of 1972. But I was 19 then, and the memory of a 65-yr-old man is bound to be a bit suspect. Though the first couple of puffs of Sutliff's Edgeworth Match bring back just what was so great about it. After that...eh, not so much.

HH Burley Flake grabs the basis of that late, lauded smoke, and provides a wonderful Burley satisfaction for the whole bowlful. There really isn't a wrong note to be had. I might prefer a bit more cocoa, but that is by no means a criticism. This stuff is fine...just fine.

The original Edgeworth is gone. Just like the Original Balkan Sobranie, and the original Brush Creek. Or the original me. But for what's left of me...this will do.
53 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 18, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is quite a departure from what I have come to expect from Mac Baren with their burley based HH series blends. When smoking this, don’t expect the bigger presence of Old Dark Fired or the spiciness & enormous low notes of Bold Kentucky. This one is designed to be a mild, yet flavorful all day kind of smoke, and in HH Burley Flake I think Mac Baren has created exactly that.

The tin note is unassuming; it’s dry and earthy in a vegetal kind of way, with a hair of sweetness coming from the Virginias along with a faint trace of hard wood smoke from the dark fired Kentucky. The flakes are evenly cut and perfectly pressed. The moisture content is spot on and any method of preparation could be applied here. Whether rubbed out, cubed or folded and stuffed, I found that Burley Flake burns easily and smokes slow and cool regardless.

When lit there’s a subtle sweetness that comes forth which quickly gives way to the woodsy, nutty, earthy mineral notes of the burleys. As the bowl progresses there are a few subtleties and the overall flavor develops into a balanced and moderately complex smoke that’s mild to medium in flavor and strength. The most unique aspect of HH Burley Flake is a light, yet pervasive cigar-like note that comes into focus at times, especially on the finish. I say “cigar-like” because it’s not a dead ringer for cigar, but rather something in the ballpark. I have never noticed this particular aroma or flavor attribute in either of the other HH burley blends, so I am going to assume that it’s coming from the Indonesian grown burley which adds a certain something that’s quite foreign to my senses. The uniqueness of this flavor alone makes HH Burley Flake an intriguing tobacco to smoke.

Overall this is an exceptionally smooth, high quality milder burley blend with a sweeter tone and absolutely no harshness or bitterness. It's an honest & unpretentious product. For now I am rating this as recommended. But I have a feeling that I might really grow to appreciate this flake even more down the road.
35 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 23, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Nice, wide easy to pack flakes with the typical MacB attention to uniformity and aesthetics. The pound box is really a thing of beauty, with its line of beautiful dappled brown flakes standing side by side like soldiers awaiting orders. I prefer the fold and stuff method over rubbing them out, and in doing so am rewarded with an easy to light and easy to maintain flake smoking experience. They start out just a touch too moist, and I dry them for 30-45 minutes before folding. At initial light, I am greeted by a nice nutty burley flavor with a touch of sweetness and a hint of vanilla flavor. Not from a topping, I don’t think, but just from a well executed treatment of quality leaf. The vanilla fades into chocolate notes after the first third, and the spice from the dark fired begins to kick in, giving occasional hints of Mexican chocolate on the retrohale. The molasses notes remain light and subdued throughout, and while present, are definitely akin more to light molasses than blackstrap. As the bowl progresses, it develops a minerality, akin to a dry old word white wine, almost a flintyness. The grassiness of the Virginia comes and goes for the latter two thirds of the bowl, rounding out the increasing spice of the dark fired. Not a terribly complex smoke, but one that doesn’t wear out its welcome with monotony either. Burns well, I only need a couple relights. Burns cool and slow, and you have to really try to get any bite out of it. Has a little moisture left over, but nothing serious. Overall a very good flake that I highly recommend.
Pipe Used: Various Briars
Age When Smoked: Fresh
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
HH Burley Flake - Part 1 of 6 - MacBaren HH Flake Reviews

In honor of the just released MacBaren HH Rustica Flake (that I ordered three tins of) I will be reviewing the five previous HH Flakes leading up to a final review of that new release. I feel all tobacco needs 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 1 of 6 . . . of my MacBaren HH Flake Series Reviews.

Burley and I have had a troubled past to say the least. For the longest time I simply couldn’t find a taste for it. I understood it’s burning properties and ability to take on other tobacco’s flavor’s with ease, but due to this and what I thought was my personal distaste for the tobacco on its own, I always found it as more of a condiment tobacco than a base. One of the guys at my Pipe Club is a local historian. He loves his Burley and is always eager to explain the origin of any Burley blend that he frequents or how Burley was a key player in our society’s tobacco history as a whole. I would look at him sometimes and think: “I love his passion, but dislike his taste in tobacco.”

Fast forward to October 2019. I was at Sutliff for their excellent Pipe show. I had the honor of talking to Per Georg Jensen. MacBaren’s head blender and the man responsible for many fine tobaccos on today’s market. I was in a bit of a rut at the time. My palate was burnt out due to taste testing too many LAT-bombs while trying to perfect my Full English Blend: 2B. I showed Per my recipe and asked him for any advice. His response: “Have you thought about trying a little Burley in it?” I looked quizzically at him and simply said: “no”. He recommended adding about five to ten percent of Burley in my blend while cutting down on the oriental. I did as he instructed and finally got 2B to where I wanted it to be. But that is a story for another time . . . this story is about how taste testing various Burleys to add to my blend has caused me to find a very wonderful craving for the leaf.

During taste testing Burleys, I came across HH Burley Flake. When you first open a tin of MacBaren’s HH Burley Flake you are greeted with . . . well . . . next to nothing. It is slightly earthy and very dry on the nose. It reminded me of smelling dry ground possibly with an added sweetness to it. Packing the flakes are a synch with Per’s own fold and stuff method found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9tzmB0JInY&t= Pausing the review for a moment; I have personally found that all of MacBaren’s flakes are made perfectly for the fold and stuff method. If you have not had success with that method in the past, I highly suggest you watch that video and use MacBaren flakes to remedy that failure and find out for yourself what I consider to be the best way of smoking flake tobacco. Continuing with the review; when you first light HH Burley Flake you are met with a mild sweetness. It is a very mild and nuance smoking experience throughout but at the start a little too mild. It quickly picks up and you will notice that “Herbal Note” that I use to describe the taste of Burleys always present throughout the smoke and getting deeper in its richness and tone as the bowl proceeds. If you have conquered your smoking cadence you will notice a nuttiness and even a mild chocolate note here and there. If you’re a master piper you can even catch the Virginias with their grass and citrus. The Dark Fired Kentucky is always in the background and barely noticeable at all, but will tap you on the shoulder every once in a while, with a touch of spice.

MacBaren’s HH Burley flake is an exquisite all-day Burley. Low on nicotine, but high on flavor and nuance if you allow it to be all it can be by smoking it slowly and as cool as you can possibly keep your ember. I decided to not HH Burley Flake in my personal English blend. Not because it wasn’t suitable. I never used it because it is simply too fine of a tobacco. Smoking any other tobaccos with this fine piece of blending art would simply be a travesty to me. MacBaren’s Golden Extra may be my go-to all-purpose tobacco, but HH Burley Flake is that fine reward that I give myself when I accomplish something. It is that lure used to keep me running on my track day after day.

In closing, HH Burley Flake is my favorite of all the MacBaren HH Flakes. And the reason why I wanted it to Kick off my six MacBaren HH Flake Reviews. Due to MacBaren and Per, I now agree with my Pipe Club’s local historian about Burley tobaccos. Not just merely about their importance but also their ability to be enjoyed as a main component in a blend. It is a wonderful thing indeed to have your mind changed on a subject that you thought you were starting to fully understand.

~ Barry
Pipe Used: Multiple
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars, Local B&M, SmokingPipes, TobaccoPipes, TheStoryTellersPipe
Age When Smoked: Fresh to 6 months
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 14, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I am surprised some rank this as mild. Per (the blender) on PM radio talk show cautiously said the Indonesian burley component alone is powerful. It is "tempered" with Malawi and Brazilian burley and DFK. It is perhaps milder than the ingredients themselves would suggest. It is strong enough to satisfy someone who likes OJK by C&D IMO, but just not as heavy.

A burley lovers blend for sure. Earthy yet with a slight dark fruit note from say the Virginia. A cigar mouth feel due to richness but no cigar leaf is involved.

Easy to rub out and burns easy no matter how packed. Not hot, wet or biting, but straight tobacco.

Not as "coco-ish" or as strong as ABF but stronger and not as Virginia forward as burley flake #5.

A fine, fine repeatable smoke. Smoked near full 3 1/2 oz. tin, save a couple of flakes yet.
Pipe Used: Tim West TPC '18, Mark tinsky bulldog
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: new tin
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2018 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Mac Baren’s HH Burley Flake exceeded and shattered my expectations. The smoke is delicious and phenomenal. The flakes break apart easily and really require no dry time, and I smoked 3 bowls in succession after cracking the tin. There’s a light hay and honey sweetness that accompanies the nutty, cocoa, and earthy notes of the Burley. The dark Fired lingers in the background contributing the slightest bit of wood to the blend. By the last 3rd of the bowl there’s more earth, nuttiness, and cocoa than hay and honey, but it remains slightly sweet. I’m inclined to believe there’s a very lightly and expertly applied topping of honey to this blend, but if there’s not, I’m blown away! This blend slightly resembles Mac Baren Golden Extra in the first 3rd (but better!) and Solani Aged Burley Flake in the last 3rd (but better!), yet this blend is a uniquely delicious, top notch Burley Flake. Strength and flavor just a hair below medium. Easily 4 stars.
Pipe Used: Briar
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I'll be smoking a lot of this flake this summer. The "HH" series is full of home-runs and this is a great addition. Lots of hay and earth in the tin note. The Burley is very smooth with chocolate, molasses, and an elusive cinnamon note. The grassy Virginia helps provide balance. I find the Kentucky leaf most evident at the end of the bowl. It's mildly woody with a little bit of spice. Faint cigar notes pop up occasionally. This is definitely designed to be a mild-medium all-day smoke and it delivers bowl after bowl.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 26, 2019 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I will cut to the chase with this review. HH Burley Flake is very good. If you like burley, you should try this.

The flakes are a medium dark brown, and they are a long, wide flake - 4 3/4 in by 1 3/4 in. Mine were in a large sample and not straight from the tin. Moisture level was good. I rubbed mine out and smoked it without drying time. I smoked one bowl folded and stuffed. The flakes are not so firmly pressed that they are challenging to rub out properly. The pouch note is slightly earthy-sweet.

Smoked this is a wonderful burley-forward VaBur. There is no sour or bitter edge. The Kentucky provides a little spice. There is a little cocoa and I tasted a few sweet notes from the Virginia. It was slow burning and easy to keep lit. The taste was very consistent, although the Kentucky may have been a little more forward in the second half of the bowl.

This is a solid 4 on the scale. For my smoking dollar, it is not going to replace ODF, but if this was all I had, I would be happy and grateful to have it. If ODF is a little "much," I claim this might be just right.
11 people found this review helpful.
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