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 1 - 10 of 47 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 16, 2019 Mild Mild Mild Pleasant
Well, this was an odd experience!

I bought this tin on the 2nd of May 2019 and opened it in the middle of October 2019. When I opened it I was shocked to discover that it was not vacuum sealed, the tin just opened easily. So basically, for 6 months (at least) this tin was sitting there without being vacuum sealed. I never checked it, so I didn’t know until I decided to open it. And I don’t even know how old this tin is, because I don’t know how Planta tobacco tins can be dated (if they can be dated).

HOWEVER.... the tobacco is contained in a plastic wrapper and a paper disc over it, so I guess that this is what saved my tobacco. Curious enough, even after all this time, the tobacco was not dry at all, it was just right to put in the pipe and smoke. However, I did put it in a vacuum sealed jar.

First impressions:

Now, the second surprise came when I wanted to smell the tobacco from the tin. It had a very sweet note, somehow close to vanilla. I really didn’t expect this, because it’s an english blend, right? It somehow reminded me of Samuel Gawith Perfection. I don’t know if this is normal for Presbyterian, maybe my tin was different, maybe I need to get another one that smells and tastes like most people describe it.

The cut is indeed a coarse cut, small pieces, a lot of golden leaf, some brown leaf and a little black leaf, which should be the latakia. You can tell it contains a lot of virginia just by looking at it, so no mystery here.

I packed up my pipes easily, and it was also easy to light it with two matches and keep it lit. Burned great, maybe a bit too fast. It didn’t get hot, but it somehow burned fast, I didn’t even realize I was already to the half of the bowl.

The first smokes were very sweet, with a grassy and sweet virginia in the front, a bit of floral taste and yes, vanilla taste. Why does my tin have this vanilla note? I don’t know. However, there’s also a little smoky, creamy latakia in the back. Tastes more like a scottish blend than an english blend, if we take the description of the scottish blend from pipedia, saying that “A Scottish blend is similar to an English, with less Latakia, a more dominant Virginia character and, perhaps, little or no oriental leaf.” This is how I would label it.

The taste is mild to medium, but it’s good. I didn’t like Early Morning Pipe because it was too mild and flat, but Presbyterian, even though it’s as mild as EMP, I like this one better, I find more taste in this, so if you’re out of EMP and want something similar, get yourself some Presbyterian.

Later impressions:

After many other bowls and almost the tin empty, I decided to give the final impressions, because guess what! Things changed!

While it sat in the jar for a month, it changed. First of all, the vanilla smell is not that strong anymore, but it still delivers a very sweet smell.

So, what about the taste? Well, definitely changed. A decent virginia with a touch of latakia.

Still mild, but the vanilla taste is gone, leaving a virginia forward taste, and a liiiiittle taste of creamy latakia. When you get to half of the bowl, the sweetness fades a bit, leaving some room for the little amount of latakia. This is why I don’t know if I should smoke it in a pipe for virginia tobaccos (like a billiard, chimney) or a pipe for english blends (prince, pot, bulldog, author etc.).

Having so much virginia in it, not only changes the flavor, but the smoking technique as well. What I mean is that if you puff too quick or too much, you’ll have the same experience as with a straight virginia: It gets hot, not necessarily the smoke, but the pipe. So, puff easily. If your pipe gets to hot, let it rest for a few minutes. The good thing is, this tobacco doesn’t go off easily, so you don’t need to puff too much in order to keep it lit. It burns excellent, with no need or relights, leaving a good gray-white ash and leaves very little dottle or moisture.

It’s a decent smoke, I don’t know if it’s better than Early Morning Pipe like I initially thought, but not my type. I like strong blends, strong latakia. It’s subjective in this case.

However, I doubt that you’ll hate it. There’s nothing to hate about it. It will either leave you indifferent or you will like it. Easy to smoke, pleasant, but nothing special, a good all day blend.

9 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
Aug 23, 2011 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable
I really wanted to like this blend! It lacks in complexity, it's too wet even after sitting months in an unsealed tin. It's only claim to fame is that it fools a lot of folks into thinking there is Latakia in the blend. There's nothing wrong with an English blend lacking Latakia, but the rest of the tobaccos need to really stand out and that just doesn't happen in PM. Two stars for historical relevance .
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 24, 2020 Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable
Man, they weren't kidding when they said this was a "mild English blend".

Upon first tin crackage, there's a very pleasant, but mild, sweetness and smokiness. It comes in a very thin, stringy ribbon cut. Really almost a shag. It loads easily enough and is well behaved in the pipe. The flavor, however, is an extremely mild "orientelness" with a hint of sweetness. Not bad, but not great, there's better mild Englishes out there.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 18, 2012 Medium to Strong Mild Medium Tolerable
I always wanted to try this because, well, I am Presbyterian!!! Not BAD by any stretch, but, considering I can get numerous bulk baccy's much cheaper, not worth the cost. Nothing great. Nothing distinctive. Certainly nothing worth paying $15 for 1 3/4 oz when I can get bulks I like better for $3 - $3.50 per oz! I'll keep the tin as a conversation piece, but I doubt I'll ever buy any more!
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 17, 2018 Mild None Detected Very Mild Strong
Well, after reading all the reviews on Presbyterian Mixture I felt compelled to see for myself what "some" of the hype was about since the majority of users gave it three or four stars. Still, there were objectional reviews as well. I finally broke down & purchased a tin. I concur with those who claimed it had some bite to it... noticed that right off. Whether it contains Latakia or some specially treated Virginia concoction is academic. What I'm always looking for in a good blend is an appealing flavor with some punch & I found very few redeeming or alluring qualities about this mixture. I found it to be lacking in flavor, smoke volume, aroma & it was really wimpy in the Vitamin N department. I found the room note to be fairly objectionable & it smoked the same from start to finish & had an extremely fast burning rate... a full bowl doesn't last very long.

I've also noticed that most, not all but most Latakia blends are lacking in Vitamin N & Latakia blends were never my cup of tea anyway. I have stumbled upon a few that weren't too bad and some just overpowering. I loved the BSOM & the original MM 965 but fat chance of acquiring them now. At this point in time, Mississippi Mud & Old Dublin with its unique flavor will be the only Latakia blends I will ever use & after this most recent trial with PM, I find no purpose in sampling any more of these types of blends... this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I did not dislike the Pres mix so much but certainly wasn't crazy about it either. I was unable to discern the Orientals or Virginia flavor because the way the leaf was processed, it detracted rather than added any flavorful dimension to this blend. This will be a tin that will be sealed in a plastic bag within an ammunition container to maintain freshness in the event I might want to give it another try while I'm still above ground but if I don't take or have that opportunity, I won't regret it.

I also contend that the lower & even some obnoxious reviews this mixture received is because many were expecting something different. FWIW, since I don't inhale & choose not to pave my lungs with nicotine asphalt tar & take a chance of coming down with COPD or lung cancer, I opt for the stronger blends that will absorb into the membranes. So, I prefer the Kentucky/Burley, VA/Per, VA/Bur/Per, VA/Bur, etc., or even a reasonably stout, shall we say?... a concentrated VA blend akin to Royal Yacht or maybe Ye Olde Signe. As many of you may be aware, Kentucky/Burley has twice the strength of Virginia tobacco & will hit you harder & faster... like a good, strong cigar or a Burley that can't be inhaled anyway & might give you the hiccups. Rather than recommend, condemn, or praise Presbyterian Mixture, I advise one to try it at their own discretion. You might find a tin for a ten & like me, you might have mixed feelings about your possible, wasteful expenditure. Would I purchase another tin? No need to! This one will last the rest of my life & will most likely be handed down to my descendants. However, we're all of differing DNA, so, as to how one smokes a pipe, his taste preferences... "shaken or stirred" & considered quality & value of any blend should be respected. For me, Pres Mix didn't quite measure up... two stars.
Pipe Used: Vintage Meerschaum Size 2 billiard.
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: Fresh Tin
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 21, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
The tin said "Made in EU." Before I opened the tin, which was marked "Air Tight," a wonderful aroma emanated from the sealed tin - not sure exactly how to describe it. Pungent. Earthy. Tobaccoey. Leather. When I opened the tin and started to break up the compressed strands, the aroma intensified. Added to the above descriptive words, it reminded me of the smell of fresh mowed hay and dairy cows. The tobacco inside was moist, and I wondered how well it would take to a match and stay lit. I gravity fed it into a new meerschaum and very lightly tamped it. Took to a match perfectly after two charring lights. Billowy puffs of smoke, no bite. The taste was reminicscent of a mild cigar or a cigarette. Disappointing. If I want to smoke a cigar, I'll smoke a cigar. Well, I was determined to discover how it would finish out, and after getting about halfway down, the flavor became more nuanced and enjoyable. Burned clean to the end, just gray ash at the bottom of the bowl, no dottle or goop. Left a pleasant aftertaste. I suppose I will eventually finish the tin, but I am not sure if I'll buy another.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 09, 2006 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
How do I love thee, Presbyterian, let me count the ways: the tin with its old church floating in the clouds. That stodgy, Protestant appellation given to a pipe tobacco, no less. And yes, even its unremarkable but charming history and endurance. This is a blend that has been around a long time, and for very good reason. A homage to the Very Rev. William White of Barony Kirk, Glasgow and Earl Baldwin. I can almost hear the glorious musical strains of H. Walford Davies or Sir Charles H. Hubert Parry as the Earl made his way through some pompous national affair. While the Earl may no longer be remembered by modern day Scotsmen, happily for us, his favorite tobacco is!

The aroma is positively wonderful in the tin, with its plum/prune bouquet. And yes, one could easily be fooled that there is latakia in the mixture and not just stoved dark Virginias. Critics find the flavor bland, but I don?t feel that way at all. Though now made in Germany, this is Scotland in a can, and it brings wonderful memories of that delightful and rugged place to mind. The colors of the tobacco are an uncomplicated burnished black and white. The aroma is salty, earthy and briny, like the Isle of Skye. It has a hint of peaty smokiness, like a fine Islay malt. This is an excellent accompaniment to Laphroig or Lagavullin. The texture is fine ribbon cut and its long, moist strings pack beautifully into any number of bowls. I take mine in a small full bent Dunhill. This is truly an evening smoke, though I?ve cheated, and had some during the day. I also appreciate that this is packed in a plastic bag inside the tin and not just paper, which can cause quicker drying. Pipes magazine aptly called it ?belt and suspenders? packaging.

The light is easy, usually no more than one or two matches is required to keep this going for a long, contemplative smoke. Though perhaps not as deep and spicy as Durbar or as exotic as Frog Morton On the Town, Presbyterian is in a class by itself, and there?s nothing else quite like it. It leaves a beautiful, puffy white ash and raises a lovely crown upon lighting. Never any wet dottle in the bowl, and I?m generally a salivating, chewy smoker. However, unlike Dunhill, which generally gets better as it dries out, Presbyterian is more robust when it?s new and moist.

Though a bit pricey, Presbyterian is a rare and joyous find. It?s a polished blend that shall always find a place in my collection and that I can always turn to for its simple, distinguished elegance. I hope to smoke it on a future trip to Scotland, when my heart shall once again be in the highlands.

Five of five stars
aug 2006 update

This might be the wrong time of the year for this stuff, though something tells me it's more than that. This is really a cool weather blend. Still, it's my third tin, and each time, it gets a bit worse. This is no longer a Scottish blend. It's made by that damnable German/EU company to which Dunhill, Rattray and other once great blending houses have outsourced their wares. This is still good on the nose and keen on the palate, but it's a raging firebrand on the tongue. They must be spiking this with Zyklon B. This blend has certainly changed like so many others. None of the Dunhills are good anymore. Rattray is pedestrian, and this is not far behind. Too bad that even a venerable blend as Presby has gone the way of all flesh.

Two of five stars
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 07, 2022 Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant
Excellent for new time pipe smokers wanting to try English blends. Nice mild flavor with moderate room note. Used to be my favorite until I acquired taste for the stronger blends.

Inexpensive and great for new time pipe smokers. If I’m in the mood for a mild smoke this is my go to.
Pipe Used: Wellington Jumbo
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and cigars
Age When Smoked: New tin to 4 years old
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 31, 2016 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Disappointing. Honestly I thought it was better. Latakia is present, and not sparingly, but with a generous sprinkling. And it’s a great Latakia taste. I read about the debate if there is or not Latakia in this blend. Well, if you don’t taste Latakia in this mixture you can’t taste anything else, you can’t detect anything else and perhaps, no offense, smoking pipe is not for you. Why disappointing? Because from the side of Oriental and Latakia you can detect subtle nuances of woodsmoke, moss, weald and the taste is very good and characteristic. But from the side of Virginia there is no sweetness. I’d like the Virginia more present, to balance the excellent Latakia and harmonize the oriental taste. On smoking, a bitter taste remain in the mouth and I prefer a more balanced taste with a little bit of sweetness. Ok, it’s only my opinion. In my personal system rating (from 1 to 10) my score is 7 and two stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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