Mac Baren Presbyterian Mixture

Mellow blend of US Virginia tobaccos and high quality Macedonian grades-exclusive, aristocratic pipe mixture.
Notes: This fine tobacco originally had no name. It was blended before the first World War especially for the Very Rev. Dr. John White, sometime minister of the Barony Kirk in Glasgow and Moderator of the General Assembly in Scotland in 1929. He introduced it to Stanley Baldwin, later Earl Baldwin, Prime Minister in 1923, 1924 and 1935. He liked it so much that regular supplies were sent down to him and it was he who suggested that it be called "Presbyterian Mixture". As there continues to be controversy over the question of whether Presbyterian Mixture contains latakia, the following quote from page six of the blender's 2008 catalogue should leave the matter settled: "Extraordinarily soft blend of finest US Virginia grades and a number of selected latakia leaf tips. Ideal mixture also for beginners with English tobaccos." Originally blended for mass market by William P. Solomon, whose recipe it still follows. The "International" version is called "Melange". Currently made by Mac Baren.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Planta
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Coarse Cut
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Denmark
Production Re-release


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

Average Rating

3.20 / 4





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Displaying 21 - 30 of 303 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 04, 2018 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
It's easy to see why this blend has been around for so long. This is an easygoing all-day smoke for me. It's an English, but it's not at all heavy on the latakia - which is more of a condiment here and is barely even perceptible. If any of the leaves stand out it's probably the orientals, but everything really does blend together quite well. Packs easy, stays lit well enough - but the first couple bowls out of the tin did require 10-15 minutes to dry. If/when I can find it available for purchase I plan to stock up on this. The one tin I bought has left me wanting more, but now everybody's sold out.
Pipe Used: various briars and MM cobs
Age When Smoked: fresh
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
UPDATE 9/25/13

Was gifted a tin of this recently and cracked it. There can be no doubt that this contains latakia. People must be confusing the latakia for straight oriental here. The taste and aroma make the inclusion of latakia rather obvious to me, although it's a subtle amount. The orientals are much more prominent, as is the virginia. Still good stuff, just not a world beater.


I bought a tin of this because I'm currently experimenting with oriental blends without latakia. So I was a bit surprised to smell a light amount of latakia in the tin aroma. So as not to ghost the pipes I have reserved for oriental-no-latakia, I smoked this in a brand new IMP meerschaum pipe. As is the custom, the pipe is now ghosted with the aroma of latakia. How disappointing! For those who feel there is no latakia in this, all I can say is that it fits much better in my Balkan blend pipes and not at all in my oriental pipes. If it's not latakia, it's doing an incredibly believable impersonation, both in taste and room aroma. In my consternation, I checked with a reputable tobacco etailer as well as a tobacco expert mentioned in a review below, and they both felt there was latakia in this mix. So if you're looking for a true oriental without latakia, buy this one at your own risk, as there seems to be dissension in the ranks.

But I tried to view this objectively as a lighter bodied Balkan blend rather than allow my disappointment to bias my findings. This is a very decent smoke with a mild-to-medium flavor. It does develop a bit down the bowl but I would classify this as a "steady eddie" - not many surprises here. Nothing at all wrong with a lack of surprise, but on the flip side there is some depth and nuance here. Just not a bunch. I think it's a perfectly fine blend. I smoked the entire tin but I found it ordinary enough that I won't buy any more. As always, your mileage may vary.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 07, 2020 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
A quintessential, mild English blend. The virginas drive the bus with hay and slight citrusy notes. The orientals bring the earthy/woody/spicy notes. I'm glad its confirmed that there are latakia tips in the blend, as I do taste smoky latakia notes in the background. This is a top English blend for me, as it can be smoked all day, is easy on the tongue, and leaves little moisture on the bottom of the bowl.
Pipe Used: Peterson system, Erik Nording, Lorenzo Spitfire
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes
Age When Smoked: 6 months
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 09, 2019 Medium Medium Medium Tolerable
Classic light English. Tin note is sweet from the Virginians musty and tangy from the Orientals and slightly smoky due to the latakia content but, it is mostly in the background. This is an oriental forward blend that will not fatigue your taste buds. The smokes is sweet, tangy, earthy and smoky that keeps things interesting. This is an overall good choice in the rotation when you want a smooth lighter English that some nuance that is not over powered by that latakia. Tobacco moisture is good out of the tin. No bite.
Age When Smoked: Fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 26, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I 've always found pipe smoking has a lot in common with praying. And so it seems to me indeed proper when a pipe-tobacco mixture is presented with a religious eponym. Such as "Presbyterian".

Since the first time I smoked it I knew this was the one. The one EnglishBalkan mixture that had the exact qualities I was looking for: balance and strength. I am a predominantly English/Balkan advocate with a lesser taste for American or Virginia Blends and I am sceptical towards Aromatics and consequently avoid toppings, casings etc. And I have smoked a lot of English and Balkan mixtures the likes of "Balkan Supreme", "Proper English", "Engine 99", "English Oriental", "Byzantium", "The solent mixture" etc but none, I say none, has ever come even close to "Presbyterian".

So what we have here is a masterfull - masterfull - Balkan blend: Orientals, supplemented by bright Virginias and intensified by the strategic -almost superficial in this case- use of Latakia. Opening the tin you encounter a firm, rich aroma, like freshly composted grass springled with honey. There is sweetness, yet it isn't sweet. And there is sourness, yet it isn't sour. There is a "rural", an "agricultural" fragrance to it, please forgive my vagueness, but yes, something fresh and light and soul lifting, but at the same time down to earth and muddy. I just love it, no question. Springy, brunnete ribbons with blond and dark flashes, a nice cut overall. Packs ok, lights easily, burns mostly troublefree to a fine ash. When it comes to tasting it... what a blessing! Lush and bittersweet, - mostly sweet due to the Virginias interplay. Able bodied too. Enhanced to excellence by the easygoing, fragrantly sour predominance of the fine orientals. Like spiced dried prunes. And there 's the Latakia, peaking out of small hideouts to add smokiness and playfullness. Simple joyous complexity! Gods, my heart sings to you for she has known you... As for the room note, there are few that find it a bit intense, even pungent, but to the majority, it is quite tolerable.

So? What is so special about this blend? What is it that makes it stand out of the rest English/Balkan lot? I once used to think that it was the combination of low Latakia usage and a "mysterious" light casing or topping. It was that combination which allowed the blend to excite you with it's taste and aroma without the need of constant Latakia "explosions". Or so I used to think... But then, I smoked straight pure greek Basma tobacco (the Wolfway Epos Blue), and all came to light. I am now vehemently convinced that the distinguished qualities of the "Presbyterian" originate -at least in their majority- to the use of the Basma, which is grown in Greek Macedonia and Thrace and is famed for its aromatic properties and smooth, low nicotine levels. Such a presence would explain the exquisite aromatic nature of the blend and at the same time its lightness and inability to bite. Not to mention the question of the existence or not of Latakia, since the aroma and taste of the Basma would render any role of it secondary and simply complementary.

So, is there Latakia, or not? I insist that there is... But who knows, other than the blender him or herself? And who cares? As tobacco blends go, "Presbyterian" is a true, joyous miracle...
Pipe Used: Briar
PurchasedFrom: Greece
Age When Smoked: fresh / tin stored up until 5-6 months
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 21, 2017 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
This is the most balanced latakia blend i 've ever tried.comes out with a nice cut easy to pack and light.the aromas when you open the tin are interesting as you get latakia some spicyness and some burns cool and behaves as you treat to it.if you go easy on that you get sweet nuts and spices.if you go hard latakia dominates the taste in a really good way!after 2 tins i would purchase it again and again!not a blend to start your day it's nicotine content is medium to high..after launch with a cup of coffee is an excellent combination to relax you!defenitelly try it out.
Age When Smoked: When opened!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Visually, a striking mixture of tobacco ranging from blonde through to almost black.

The tin note is sweet and savoury. Pine notes predominate but there is a full earthiness redolent of leather and stables. Latakia is obviously here.

Lights easily with a single match and burns without need for relights or tamping to the very bottom of the bowl. An absolute delight.

The latakia is centre stage for the first third or so and then settles down. The latakia is not particularly aggressive however. I did not feel that I had been sitting alongside a campfire all night. As the bowl progresses the flavours marry and settle. It is sweet, subtle and soft. I did however detect some ammonia, though not enough to cause concern.

I could not pick out orientals apart from the latakia specifically. I really do think some delicate virginias bring much of the magic here. Whatever, the blend is a delight however it is made.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 03, 2014 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong
I got a tin of this through a random blind tin exchange that we included in a PSF get together. I consider myself fortunate to pick this one after smoking it as it is an excellent Balkan blend. I can see where there is controversy as to whether there is any Latakia in this blend as the dominance of this blend lies in the sour orientals that are elevated by a sweet Virginia. This is a great blend.

Also notable on this is the sidestream aroma. It is fantastic. I highly recommend this to the Balkan smoker.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 27, 2010 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable
Nice picture of a cathedral on the banal tin sticker, as opposed to the painted blue lid of old. Old fashioned words like 'Presbyterian' and the all inclusive puffers favourite adjective 'mixture'. A marketing man's dream!

All in all a very decent mild/medium, creamy English blend. Will join my other favourites such as Peterson's Old Dublin, MM 965, 'And so to bed' and Penzance!

Good luck getting the latter!!
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2004 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
"A mellow blend of US Virginia tobaccos and high quality Macedonian grades."

That is how this old blend is usually described?a little more useful, I'd say, that all that piffle about Stanley Baldwin. Do even the oldest smokers remember who he was? [The original appeaser, he was British prime minister on three occasions, 1923-24, 1924-29, and 1935-37.]

This is a virginia-oriental blend, and there is no latakia here, although some of the stoved Virginia might fool you. It is subtle, smooth, slightly bland, not exactly memorable?just like the 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley.

Pease's CAIRO, for example, is really the better mixture. And, of course, Fox' CAMPANILE is my absolute favourite for a Virginia-Oriental.

Yet I kind of enjoy this, even if it really lacks colour and piquancy to my old Episcopalian palate.
7 people found this review helpful.
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