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Notes: The Nicotiana Rustica is the sister of the tobacco plant that we know and love (Nicotiana Tabacum). Native to the Amazon region and other parts of South America, the plant and the various types of use spread throughout the American continent. The English settlers found the rustica tobacco in North America in 1607 and saw how the native Indians smoked the tobacco in clay pipes. Since the nicotine content of the rustic plant is unusually high, however, it quickly went out of fashion when the Virginia and burley tobaccos known today were discovered and spread. Today, tobacco on a rustic basis can only be found in Eastern Europe, in the countries of the Middle East and in Asia. A new process was developed to make this very potent tobacco edible for the German palate. The tobacco leaves are sun dried and thus retain their natural sugar. Dark Virginia and Burley were also added to balance the flake. Like all flakes of the HH series, the Rustica was also hot pressed, which allows the tobacco flavors to combine optimally and to mature through a light fermentation. Despite all these measures, the HH Rustica still has a very high nicotine content, it is by far the strongest tobacco in the Mac Baren range and is probably one of the strongest pipe tobacco worldwide. We recommend that you eat well and use a small pipe before enjoying this flake, but don't be put off; the Mac Baren HH Rustica is probably the most extraordinary tobacco of recent years and an absolute pleasure experience.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByPer Jensen
Manufactured ByMac Baren
Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsBurley, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutFlake
Packaging50 grams tin
CountryDK
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Very Strong
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Very Full
Room Note
Strong
Reviews
4 star:
19
3 star:
7
2 star:
3
1 star:
0
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2727)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

The exceptionally floral, bold Nicotiana Rustica provides a fair amount of spice, earth, wood, sugar, vegetation, herbs, light tart and tangy citrus, a little acidic peat and cigar, tea, smoke, toast, and leather. It also has touches of roughness and sour bitterness as the lead component. The mild spice strikes me as a cross between what I find in an Oriental, and the kind I notice in cooking spice. The floral quality reminds me of a G&H blend without the Lakeland. The Rustica’s potency makes it a little difficult to ascertain the amount of grass, tart and tangy, sugary citrus, mild tartly acidic lemon, moderately tangy dark fruit, earth, bread, wood, floral, flue cured Virginias used in the blend. I rate them as just above being a condiment in terms of effect. The very nutty, earthy, toasty, woody, sugary, lightly molasses sweet and floral burleys are supporting players that are obvious in every puff. The taste is just beyond the full threshold. It has a dominant strength level. The nicotine is a shade less so. There’s no chance of bite or harshness, and has few minute rough edges due to the steam pressing of the flakes. The flakes easily break apart to suit your packing preference, and as they are mildly moist, they don’t need any dry time. Well balanced with some complexity and nuance, it burns cool, clean, and a little slow with a very consistent, fairly smooth, lightly creamy and sour, moderately sweet, floral, nutty, lightly spicy, zesty, robust flavor from start to finish. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires a fair amount of relights at first, but once it’s going, fewer are needed. The pleasant after taste, and strong room notes linger a bit. It’s certainly not an all day smoke, but the veteran and the adventurous, less experienced smoker may be drawn back to it some time during the day. Four stars out of four.

-JimInks

46 people found this review helpful.

Dr.sadik Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr.sadik (120)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Very unique indeed! Smelling the tin is almost like bold kentucky or G&H dark plug, however there is a floral herbal scent going on in the background. Fermentation is comes to mind whenever i smell it. With minimal drying time this blend burns perfectly to fine grey ash. Room note is not favorable like the 2 blends i compared with. The taste is unique but not necessarily the best, again very floral almost lakeland essence. I prefer the old dark fired and bold kentucky to this but your milage may vary. I consider my self tolerant for nicotine and i did not find this overwhelming. I smoked pure rustica before and its very harsh. This blend is mellowed by the addition of other components which showcase mac baren blending skills. If you love any of the mentioned blend then this worth trying otherwise leave it be. Kindest regards Al janabi

Pipe Used: Briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky, Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Plug, Samuel Gawith - Black XX Twist (Rope), Peterson - Irish Flake.

15 people found this review helpful.

p120d16y Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
p120d16y (21)
★★★☆
Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

Primarily a backbone of full burley flavor, a noticeable added minor sweetness from the VA, very smooth with no biting. Blend has a bit of a vinegar-tang to it overall that almost smokes away as you get near the bottom of the bowl, likely from the hot pressing of the flakes. Overall, not stronger in nicotine than most already on the market strong blends. GH brown twists and C&D strong burley blends are higher in nicotine than this "Rustica" flake, which would lead me to believe there is barely any Nicotiana Rustica leaf in the blend, just enough to harmonize with the added VA and burley components. A very solid burley flake much in line with the Old Dark Fired or Bold Kentucky blends.

Pipe Used: cobs and various briar

Age When Smoked: hot off the press

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

Similar Blends: Old Dark Fired, various other full strength burley flakes. Smoother than C&D burley flakes, but less nicotine..

11 people found this review helpful.

AC Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AC (19)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

Rustica is a wonderful smoke. It showcases a remarkably similar profile to G&H’s Dark Plug, however without any trace of the cloying Lakeland essence I never liked. At first, floral notes are prominent, but that initial phase does not last long. The focus is mostly very earthy, leathery-sweet, and nutty, but in a narrower spectrum than the Dark Plug. This means that it is first, a more well-behaved tobacco, with less extraneous bitter notes, although one perceives the fermented quality, and second, the tobaccos are melded to a higher degree, in my humble opinion. This means that it tends towards a more monochromatic profile, albeit rich in every way a pure tobacco should be. Still, it does not detour much from its central theme of earthy-leathery-nutty taste with a medium dosage of very pleasant subtle sweetness. Dark Plug is more “rebellious”, but it has a wider spectrum of flavors that may appeal to some, while I prefer the intense and uniform straight tobacco flavors from Rustica. The nicotine is not as great as advertised, but this could just be due to the fact that I am an experienced smoker. Around the middle of the bowl, the melding comes to a “singularity” of tastes. Extremely tight in terms of the profile, where you basically only taste the Burley pushing forward with the added dimensions of the other components. In the last third of the bowl, another change occurs: a delightful increase of sweetness, which now comes to the foreground. Really spectacular at this point. This is a masterfully blended old-style “serious” tobacco, that needs to be calmly enjoyed on a full stomach. It is most definitely a keeper for me.

UPDATE: I have been smoking this delicious tobacco in a Williamsburg clay pipe. In my opinion, it brought the experience to an even higher degree of enjoyment.

Pipe Used: Peterson Apple Spigot

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: www.smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: G&H Dark Plug.

10 people found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (311)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable

As soon as I read about this, I had to try it. A sucker for flashy advertising. I have smoked this throughout the past week and here are my thoughts. The tin is impressive with a good solid 3.5 ounces. I had the pleasure of opening tin 3439 of 7100. Inside is beautiful medium dark flakes stacked like chewing gum. The tin note reminds me of a really strong chewing tobacco I tried called ‘CUP’ when I was a kid, strong and sweet. I took one stick, slightly damp, tore it apart and put it half of it in My Peterson 317 which is a really small bowl bent shape pipe which I reserve for really strong and potent tobacco. This has a nice strong natural taste to it but surprisingly, at least for me I did not find it to be the nicotine death trap that I was concerned about. Ole Nic is there of course and if you chugged this like a freight train you might get derailed. As I do not always smoke nonstop, one stick lasted me well over an hour. Day 2, I got out my KB&B Capitol pipe with the threaded briar insert, I got this one on eBay and though did not know when I bought it (fairly inexpensive) that it had a replacement stem until I read this excellent article on the restoration of one, https://rebornpipes.com/tag/kbb-capitol-pipe/. Smoke is fairly mild tasting compared to what I thought when ordering this. It is a good blend, and can I tell you that I detect the Nicotiana Rustica, not really as I have never had it before but that in no way detracts from the excellent quality and taste of the blend. I would like to know the percentage though. My last bowl lately was in my Peterson of Dublin tankard, another small bowl pipe with equally excellent results. This is obviously in the family of Bold Kentucky, Old Dark Fired, etc. Is it worth the hype? Let me say this, I am glad that I got some but there are a lot of other tobaccos out there that foot the bill.

Pipe Used: KB&B Capitol

Age When Smoked: New

Similar Blends: Bold Kentucky, Old Dark Fired, etc..

9 people found this review helpful.

B&D Pipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
B&D Pipes (9)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

HH Rustica Flake - Part 6 of 6 - MacBaren HH Flake Reviews

In honor of the just released MacBaren HH Rustica Flake (that I have spent over a week with!!!) I will be reviewing the five previous HH Flakes leading up to a final review of that new release. I feel all tobacco requires 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 6 of 6 . . . of my MacBaren HH Flake Series Reviews.

So, my final MacBaren HH Flake review is here. And it only took me six weeks! Also, for the first time I am three days late! I do apologize for my tardiness . . . but I honestly needed more time with HH Rustica. I have never had Nicotiana Rustica before and I wanted to know for a fact that I was able to understand what I was smoking. After approximately nine days with it, I feel I am adequately prepared to speak upon the subject.

Normally when I do these reviews, I am able to speak upon a person and/or situation to tell a bit of a story that relates to that particular leaf. With this release . . . I am at a bit of a loss with that. Never having any previous encounters with Nicotiana Rustica, I am only able to reminisce about other heavy nicotine tobaccos. With that said, on last year’s Fourth of July Dorothy and I were smoking 1792 Flake out of our Bones Churchwardens. It was a warm day but a nice overcast kept it cool. A couple of the old ladies gathered around us because they enjoyed the smell of pipe tobacco. Dorothy and I were so consumed in the conversation that before we knew it, we had three fourths of the two and a half flakes it took to fill each of our bowls already smoked. And that was when we noticed it . . . THE NICOTINE!!!

We were dizzy as all get out. I personally had so many hot flashes that I questioned if I was going through menopause. The mild numbness that accompanied it was quite welcomed because neither of us dared to stand up for a good twenty to thirty minutes after we were done smoking. And during that time my buttocks had to have fallen asleep at least once or twice. That wasn’t the strongest nicotine sickness I have ever felt . . . but I can say it was the most memorable as well as the most enjoyable out of them all. There is a picture of us floating around these pipe communities with our red faces on that day. So, how does HH Rustica Flake compare?

When you first open the tin of HH Rustica Flake you are greeted with a very savory smell with a bit of vinegar and possibly an herbal and/or floral note. I cannot pinpoint which, but I would say floral due to the taste (more on this later). The flakes are perfect to fold and stuff like all other MacBaren flakes I have come across. After rubbing out a little for the tender at the top, lighting can be a little more of a pain that most of MacBaren’s flakes. I honestly do not know if this is due to the moisture or the Nicotiana Rustica leaf itself. But once you get a proper char light, your bowl is good to go. When you smoke HH Rustica you will get very bold flavors. A mild spice, wood, earth, and a floral taste that isn’t overpowering of the other notes like a Lakeland can be. When you get those notes it’s the Nicotiana Rustica you’re tasting. The bright Virginias are sweet, citrus, with grass, and hay notes and are in the passenger seat. The Burley is toasted and nutty, ever present in the back seat constantly asking: “Are we there yet?”

When you retrohale HH Rustica the spice almost overwhelms the senses. More than a few times this tobacco has cause my eyes to tear up on the retrohale. But it seems like your nasal passage gets used to it with a little time and the spice dissipates quite a bit. But if you don’t retrohale for a few minutes that spice will slap you upside the head again no matter how far down the bowl you have smoked. With this tobacco I normally retrohale almost constantly because I dislike that spice hit. How is the nicotine with retrohaling that often? It is indeed strong. But not as strong as I am used to with some other blends. I can feel the mild dizziness as well as warm flashes, but no numbness with this blend. I would most definitely tell those of us pipe smokers that cannot handle nicotine well to tread carefully with this flake, but for those of us that are experienced plug and twist smokers . . . it can be an all-day smoke. Hell, I smoked it constantly for nine days straight!

I have enjoyed my time with HH Rustica Flake. I enjoy stronger nicotine tobaccos so this was right up my alley. Very complex blend that is quite welcome in my collection. I only wish that it wasn’t a limited release (hint, hint, wink, wink. Here’s looking at you Per). MacBaren makes some damned fine tobaccos. They are among my favorite manufacturers of fine tobacco. From my perception they are the undisputed flake masters and their HH line represents the best of what they have to offer in natural fine leaf tobaccos. It has been an honor and a privilege to review these very fine, lightly cased tobaccos.

I am happy to have finished all six of these reviews. I hope you readers have enjoyed them. It does sadden me a bit that it’s over now. Especially when MacBaren’s main line is so full of wonderful aromatics. I am not much of an aromatic smoker myself . . . but MacBaren shines when they create aromatics. They are some of the few that I can actually enjoy because I am able to taste the fine tobaccos used in the blend. So many of them are expertly crafted this way. With that in mind, please consider keeping an eye out in the future when Dorothy and I review all five of MacBaren’s 7 Seas aromatics!

~ Barry

Pipe Used: Multiple

Age When Smoked: Jarred for a month

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

8 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2011)
★★★☆
Overwhelming None Detected Very Full Strong

Mac Baren - HH Rustica.

Like their HH Old Dark Fired Plug Cut when I received this I intended on cellaring it for quite a while. But unlike the 'Plug this arrived with a broken seal on the tin. So, cellaring it became a moot idea.

The tin holds three rows of flakes, dark in colour, and luckily the damaged seal hadn't ruined the tobacco. Just the smell alone sets the precedent for POWER; it smells somewhat 'meaty'. Because the flakes are relatively thin they rub easily.

Now, the smoke. Many blends afford the smoker an excellent opportunity to decipher a myriad of flavours and nuances. Bread, hay, grass, molasses, peat, garden slabs, etc., but this isn't one to offer that opportunity; to ME. As this is my first experience with Nicotiana Rustica I can only describe how I find it: meaty. I don't notice any Virginia grass or citrus, the only flavour, to me, is this formidable, 'meaty', one. A sort of beefy, steak-like, taste. It burns reliably, creating a cool, bite free, smoke.

Nicotine: one of the few blends to make me feel sick; had to abort it last night! Room-note: very strong, and quite appalling!

HH Rustica? Hmmmm, subjectively speaking I don't like it, at all. But, I'm sure lots will enjoy the inimitable flavour. This uniqueness is why I feel it deserves three stars:

recommended.

Pipe Used: Peterson Atlantic #03

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

7 people found this review helpful.

GabrielCRT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GabrielCRT (109)
★★★☆
Extremely Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I always look forward to new tobacco from Mac Baren especially in the HH series. Rustica is a hard-hitter. The nicotine is very powerful but leaves me feeling relaxed rather than dizzy. I haven’t been able to get this tobacco to bite no matter how fast it’s smoked. It’s really smooth with a toasty, spicy, nutty, cigar-like flavor. The retrohale is intense with lots of spice. Some espresso notes come and go throughout the bowl. This is not an all day smoke or an everyday smoke for me but it will stay in the smoking rotation because it is unique and tasty.

7 people found this review helpful.

Snappo's Pipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Snappo's Pipe (23)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

I let a fresh bowlful dry out in the pipe... crispy. Takes to flame easily and delivers in billowy bliss. This is strong and spicy on the tongue, and flavors open up as they make way through the back of throat n nose connection. A subliminally mild sweetness envelopes the tongue while a beautifully mesquite-like flue-cured Virginia smokiness rides leather-saddled shotgun alongside of Billy Bud. There's a new sherriff in town!

Pipe Used: Baby cob

7 people found this review helpful.

DeathMetal.org Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DeathMetal.org (183)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Summary: a strong, rich blend which emphasizes the smoked Virginia flavor.

Exotic Rustica adds a piney, berry-like, and vegetative flavor to this mixture of dark-fired Virginia leaf and mixed Burleys. While the Rustica flares into the profile quickly, with a flavor like pine or a ripe acidic berry, over undertones of green vegetation, it quickly becomes absorbed into the smoky-sweet flavor of the dark-fired Virginia, with the Burley broadening and warming that taste. Like other Mac Baren English-style flakes such as "HH Bold Kentucky," this creates a sweet-sour balance between the smoky and sweet, with the Rustica throwing in some chaos that serves the role that a top flavor might. It burns down to fine grey ash, and smokes well to the last, but has some strength to it, although not far beyond "HH Bold Kentucky" or one of the Gawith, Hoggarth Ltd. ropes.

Similar Blends: Tambolaka Natural Tobaccos - Tambolaka Pipe Tobacco, American Snuff Company - Cotton Boll Twist.

7 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (203)
★★★★
Very Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Strong

Mac Baren HH Rustica, tin 1,752 of 7,100: Strength is very strong; tastes are very full. Floral notes notwithstanding, it ghosts pipes and stinks up one’s hair and clothing, and it empties a room like mustard gas. Despite all this (or maybe it’s partly because of it), IMO it takes its place alongside HH Old Dark Fired, Bold Kentucky, and Burley Flake as a blend for the ages. In the tin are well-formed, tightly packed, dark flakes that at first seemed resinous rather than moist. The tin note is damped and low, almost brooding, floral and slightly acidic and smoky, like peat, and musty, also slightly yeasty, the lot being rather like wet tea leaves, but much stronger and deeper, and more vegetal. And it smells to me like there might be some tonquin in there. The flakes are easy to break, fold and stuff into a pipe, if you’re up for a lengthy session. Lighting and smoking are easier if the flakes are dried some prior to stuffing, but it’s more floral smoked straight from the tin. My compromise is to rub it out and stuff it straight from the tin. However you smoke it, once it’s well lit it burns like a good cigar, all the way down to fine ash, if you keep it going. As for smoking Rustica, whatever form you choose, I recommend a cautious approach, at least at first. Set aside some time for it, and start with a little bit in a small pipe, until you get a feel for it. I find this blend to be quite fragrant, nutty, and delicious, with the smoke from combustion being very similar to but considerably more open, floral and fragrant than the tin note, the difference being in this way akin to incense. Other scents and tastes I noticed were juniper, pine nuts, and rhubarb. Both the Burleys and the Virginias are strong examples, and they are well met and well melded with the potent Rustica varietal. Again, although Rustica is quite palatable, it is also quite strong, and I find the effects of the nicotine to be somewhat “different” than usual, not in a bad way, just something to be reckoned with. Forget driving, chainsaws, etc. Though it’s generally like the strongest Lakeland ropes, sans toppings, it’s its own thing, almost - but not quite - cigar-ish. Overall it’s sweet, sour, bitter and sublime. On reflection, I remember having thoughts like this when I smoked my first real Cuban cigar, many years ago, comparing it to “Havana Seed” cigars I’d had up to that point. Rustica is definitely The Real Thing. Aftertaste is a long trailing off of the best of the smoke, only sweeter.

HH Rustica is very certainly worth smoking, if you’re experienced and/or cautious. 4 stars, and hats off to Per Jensen.

Pipe Used: varius KY blend briars

Age When Smoked: from an undated tin

Similar Blends: Compare/contrast to Brown Irish X, etc..

6 people found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (307)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Pleasant to Tolerable

An interesting bend, but I do wonder how much Rustica is actually used. Nice earthy tin note, which carries over. Smoking it, the notes are earthy ones: peat, a little leather, maybe a little mushroom, but the VAs really provide the solid base for the blend. Strong N? Yes, but not over the top; somewhere between GH's Black Irish and GH's brown ropes, maybe a little closer to the ropes. If you smoke those, or Revor Plug or 1792, the N here won't bother you (I hesitated between rating the N strong or very strong). The overall flavor itself is much stronger (or at least more noticeable to me) than the N, again along the strength line for many brown ropes.

All in all, interesting, flavorful, but not earthshaking.

Pipe Used: cobs

Age When Smoked: 3 months

Purchased From: smoking pipes

6 people found this review helpful.

riobrew Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
riobrew (65)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong

Well, here's my take on this new blend. It's very strong tasting, a singular taste from beginning to end. A little stronger at the end but not overly different then from the first light. Has a lot of nicotine so it's not for beginners or those that do not enjoy high nicotine blend like Peterson Irish Flake or Gawith Hoggarth ropes. I do not get the lakeland like other have reported. What I do get is the strong dark tobacco taste that's in GH. I used the fold and stuff method in a smaller size Algerian billiard briar. One flake folded with 1/3 of another flake rubbed out on top for a starter. Smoking slowly I got well over two hours of a wonderful smoking session. This is a great tobacco and one I will enjoy in the future. I feel it has great aging potential. If you're not into strong blends leave this one alone. If you haven't had strong blends I would recommend you start with something else. A GREAT TOBACCO! Highly recommend.

Pipe Used: Algerian billiard

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

Similar Blends: Maybe some of Gawith Hoggarth ropes..

6 people found this review helpful.

DenizBeck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DenizBeck (322)
★★☆☆
Very Strong None Detected Very Mild Tolerable to Strong

Mhm.. this somehow eludes me. I like tobaccos such as Bold Kentucky and Old Dark Fired by Mac Baren, but this one came along a little flat and and lacking in soul to me.

The unburnt scent I perceive as leathery, earthy and somewhat floral (reminiscent of violet candies we have here), and reminds me of Bold Kentucky and ODF.

In the pipe this is rather strong and stout smoke, with the same qualities I found in the unburnt tobacco's scent. It's solid, I'd smoke it again when offered, but this isn't my cup of tea.

It's an interesting idea but imho it doesn't quite catch fire - metaphorically and literally, as I found this one to burn rather poorly, albeit I dried it out to almost crunchy consistence. Maybe it's the rustica that burns poorly? I don't know, but fellow pipe smokers also had that problem, regardless of short or long drying times. Only 2 stars for me here.

5 people found this review helpful.

HeavyTrees Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HeavyTrees (68)
★★☆☆
Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Strong

Received a generous sample of this one that lasted for five bowls and a half cob so that I could try different bowl sizes and moisture levels. Best for smoking it in my opinion is rubbed, dried out at least a few hours and in a larger sized bowl.

At opening it smelled really decent and sour like dark bread loaf. Very moist as said but nicely pressed as one is used from Mac Baren flakes. Stuffs well when rubbed out and takes few more relighting than others.

One will notice from the first puffs that the Rustica has quite a unique taste; very spicy and almost pungent but it is rounded by some sweet counterparts as the Virginia and Burley do play a certain role in the back. I tend to blow out through my nose and find this a bit irritating to my mucus, smoke is getting up my nose feeling like wasabi. Sometimes I can taste floral essences alongside a spicy VA like St. Bruno but stronger; in spices as well as nicotine then it punches back like black pepper with wooden notes hard to differentiate from a camp fire. Had to relight from time to time and the leftover ashes had some black spots in it. Filter was pretty wet with every smoke.

Not exactly my cup of tea but an interesting experience as there’s no other blend like this out there. For me? I’ll stay with some good old Latakia, Orients and Perique when I need additional spices. HH Rustica is very strong over all

Pipe Used: Medium and large briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh, dried overnight

Purchased From: Friend

Similar Blends: Like a much more spicy version of, Mac Baren - St. Bruno Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

Ducksbreath Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ducksbreath (125)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Strong

This could be ODF with Nicotiana Rustica added and carefully blended.

I do not find this as strong as some Lakelands, dark fired ropes and shags, so don't be afraid, though it will only appeal to those who like the strong stuff.

To me the Rustica adds a wet-haylike core that is not really mouthfilling but clearly belongs to the wilderness, a hint of the untamed. Yet it is never harsh or overwhelming, Mac Baren could never do that.

This is deeper visit to the plant world than smoking your normal baccy, earthy and weedy, almost of the barnyard, but not that pungent.

Western civilization meets The Primitive in this tin.

You can't go wrong by trying this !

5 people found this review helpful.

nkulk8r Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nkulk8r (90)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

Irish Flake was my very first review on TR back in July of 2016 (after having only picked up the pipe in 2013). Irish Flake was also the first time in my life that I overdosed on nicotine. As a 17-year-old in the Army, I smoked Navy Player and Lucky Strike cigarettes, and to break my deadly cigarette addiction I transitioned to cigars in the early 1990s, and I gravitated toward darker and stronger maduro blends. So, when I transitioned from cigars to pipes, I fancied myself a seasoned, hardcore tobacco aficionado.

When I discovered TR and read the reviews for Irish Flake, I was like: "'experienced smoker', my ass" . . . I loaded a bowl of IF and smoked it like it was just another English or Balkan blend. The resulting nausea, vertigo spins and whole-body-misting sweats left me incapacitated and horizontal on the couch for a full four hours.

Irish Flake became one of my favorite smokes, as well as ODF and Bold Kentucky (and all the other HH blends). So when I saw the HH Rustica offering, well . . .

I totally get the floral components, as well as the nuttiness and the earth. The thing that I was on the lookout for the most was the N-Factor -- and the N was definitely there.

As far as overall taste and satisfaction goes, I prefer IF, ODF and BK over Rustica. But if I ever need a nicotine fix, Rustica is now my go-to blend.

Sometimes we need a glass of wine. Other times we need a gin tonic, or a martini; and then those times when nothing but a bracing bourbon, neat, will do. And then there are times when nothing but full-on 'shine will satisfy. Rustica is the new moonshine for me.

One flake fills a Williamsburg clay perfectly; half-a-flake for a Jamestown clay. (I have 27 briars, but those are for English and Balkan or Lat-heavy blends; I only smoke IF, ODF, BK and straight Virginias in clays).

I would be interested to know the proportion/percentage of Rustica that actually made up the flake by weight/volume.

If HH Old Dark Fired is a 1911 Colt .45, then HH Rustica is an 1847 Colt Walker .44 (an old school, authentic, rustic, black magic, black powder pistol that packs a potently powerful punch).

In 2016, I rated Irish Flake's strength as "Very Strong"; in 2020, I'm giving HH Rustica a "Strong" rating (it's all relative, right)?

HH Rustica: A real bang-bang blend.

If you're an adventurous piper (or just plain curious), this is worthy of a try.

I would finally suggest a rustic clay for such a rustic blend.

Pipe Used: Various clays

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Similar Blends: Nothing I've smoked to date..

5 people found this review helpful.

tpatriarche Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tpatriarche (43)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Overall an excellent blend, the Rustica is there but well blended,

Opening the tin yields a rich, earthy aroma, a hint of muskiness almost like Perique, The hot-pressed flake needs plenty of rubbing; instead of the traditional thumb-in-palm technique, I've been using thumb and two fingers of both hands over the tin, Being a glutton for punishment, I ignore the manufacturer's recommendation to start with a small pipe and fill my jumbo Carey.

It takes a few lights to get it going, but then it smokes evenly down to the bottom, Strong, but not the strongest I have smoked—Perique still holds pride of place there. Rich smoke, no tongue bite, but a little throat bite, which I attribute to the Rustica, I sip slowly, savouring the richness. Good to the last puff.

I've smoked straight Rustica, from LeafOnly, lightly cured. It's rough and raw in that form. Not here. I'm pretty sure I taste quite a lot of Rustica, but the hot pressing and extra fermentation has tamed it.

Definitely a keeper, a one-a-day smoke to be appreciated. Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Carey Magic Inch, briar churchwarden

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: smokingpies.com

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired.

4 people found this review helpful.

the_german Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_german (303)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Strong

The short version: Open the tin. Then put the lid back on and put it in your cellar for a few months. Then, rub out and sip slowly.

The long version: The fresh tin has a strong, almost nasty smell of leaf. Not tobacco leaf, but more rotting deciduous-tree leaf. The taste is similar. But after a bit of airing-out and resting, there is a change to a more sweet and spicy note. That's when it begins to make sense to actually fill a pipe with this blend.

The leaf is not quite as dark as some other reviewers have noted, more a medium-to-dark brown. The Rustica content is between 50 and 70 %, the balance being Burley and Dark VA. The ripened tin has a slightly musty, but also chocolate-ish note to it. The slices rub out easily (they can also be folded, but that leaves me with way too much dottle), and stuffing and lighting is standard for a flake.

The smoke itself is stout, with the Rustica providing some sharp notes, but well-tempered in the aired-out version to make for a strong, malty and varied smoke, with notes of anise, Trappist Beer, chocolate (hey, there's Burley in there!), and young white wine in there (there's also VA in the mix) and all popping up now and again, making this a very interesting smoke.

I do need the occasional relight, but the end result is a very dry grey ash with no dottle. The rather high vitamin N content of the Rustica comes through from beginning to end, so this is one for the experienced smoker.

For that experienced smoker, I very highly recommend. Well done, MacBaren!

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: Fresh from new tin to 6 months

Purchased From: Tabak Heinrichs online store

Similar Blends: Totally unique..

3 people found this review helpful.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (146)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Rustica is one of the most exciting and unusual blends to come out in the already eclectic world of pipe tobacco.. This is a testament to Per Jensen and the entire staff at Mac Baren.. Keeping things interesting during these times of uncertainty.. While I don't intend to add to the hype of the strength of this blend , I will say it really surprised and snuck up on me.. I smoked HH Bold Kentucky several times and it never made me ill from nicotine.. Rustica got me a couple times.. it hit me in the pit of my stomach and for awhile I did shy away from returning to it.. the reason, I eventually figured out, was that the deceptive smooth character of the smoke tempted me to puff it at an aggressive pace.. it does not feel as strong as it is.. and it is quite flavorful without being hard to smoke (other than the nic load).. I would compare it to a cigar that has you feeling so content and relaxed that you accidentally neglect to take stock on your level of nicotine intoxication.. you certainly can pay the price! Maybe keep some sugar close by.. but enough of strength talk.. The main draw of this blend is the unique flavor.. It is an odd combination of sour, sweet, floral, and earth and beyond that something that I am not able to put into words.. maybe this is the rustica strain.. because I have nothing to compare it to I struggle.. maybe vegetal, herbal, or woody but that seems somehow insufficient.. it is almost a pleasant kind of sour that balances so well against the virgina/burley backdrop.. It does not fatigue the palette nor does it seem to bite.. I understand why some have compared it to lakeland but even that does not seem to fully do it justice.. it is so different from gawith dark flake or 1792 and yet those are the only blends that even come close to the profile.. it is much more of an alien blend.. a new species.. I would highly recommend it.. Small bowls are suggested with good reason. The aroma while smoking this is absolutely sensational.. probably not so much to the bystander.

2 people found this review helpful.

Rustedrailsmokes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rustedrailsmokes (251)
★★★☆
Extremely Strong None Detected Very Full Extra Strong

This one is interesting. I loved the idea of bringing back Rustica (The original tobacco) to the limelight. When you read early accounts of North American tobacco and how harsh it was, this is what they were talking about. The stuff of legend...

I decided to give it a try after reading the early reviews as something different. I've approached it as that not something trying to become my all day smoke or even a star in the rotation.

Love the packaging/presentation. It was full to the top of nice looking stacking flakes. The tin note to me was leathery and some notes I couldn't define. The flakes were a little moist, but leaving one out for an hour, I was able to easily load one of my small "tasting" Canadians.

Took a little bit to get going, but after that it burned really well. The flavor to me is on the dark end with lots of peppery and leathery notes. It's consistent through the bowl. Retrohaling got straight black pepper to my smell/taste.

I'm a nicotine lightweight usually and the small bowls to me are the perfect size as I don't really think I'd enjoy or be able to handle a large bowl of this at one sitting.

I'm glad I got some while it was available as it is an enjoyable experiment. Not something I'd smoke often, but perfect when I really want a change of pace in the evening AFTER A MEAL.

Pipe Used: smallest canadians

Age When Smoked: fresh from tin

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Jman51790 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jman51790 (4)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

At first opening the tin it smelled like Bold Kentucky but with a little bit of something else, kind of like a flower, not like perfume or dish soap, but something else. It's hard to describe as it doesn't remind me of anything similar, not a bad one though. this reminds me of a cigar actually. It kinda smokes like the Bold. Not as high in nicotine as I had hoped though, but it does have some kick. Don't let "Rustica" scare you away from something good, as there are definitely stronger blends out there, like I believe 1792 to be. It's definitely not your typical blend, but definitely worth trying if you can get your hands on it as it is a limited production. Hopefully they will make more in the future. Can't wait to try it again in a year.

Pipe Used: Molina Briar

Age When Smoked: 3 months

Purchased From: tobaccopipes.com

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky.

2 people found this review helpful.

Tomcat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tomcat (125)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Unnoticeable

Rustica has an obvious floral and vegetative essence all the way through the bowl . Nothing like anything I have smoked up until now . It is also nutty ,smokey , herbal spicey ,toasty and woody . I get some burley-dark fired familiar notes as well . Very little sweet grassy hay citrus Virginas or the Rustica overpowers them one . The blend gets almost sweet cigar like near the bottom in every bowl . Glad I tried it . I probably won’t smoke it a lot and will experiment with it as a mixer . I’ve been smoking SMALL bowls and I enjoy the nicotine and haven’t felt nauseous yet ! A unique smoking experience. I feel closer to the earth . 3 stars

Pipe Used: Small

1 person found this review helpful.

CivilWar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CivilWar (8)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I have been smoking Mac Baren's HH Rustica for over six months now, going through several tins. This has become one of my staple go-to tobaccos. I particularly like to smoke a flake/stick in the morning with a cup of dark coffee. Makes for a nice start to the day.

The opening tin note is somewhat similar to HH Old Dark Fired. A sweet smokey bbq aroma.

The flakes are fairly dry out of the tin, but even so, they are a bit difficult to light, especially using the fold and stuff method. I found I prefer fully rubbing a flake/stick out and somewhat loosely packing it in my pipe. Using the fold and stuff method I need multiple relights, whereas, when I rub it out I only need a couple for relights.

On lighting, Mac Baren's HH Rustica has an unique earthy almost light herbal/floral scent/taste, not overpowering. It's NOT a sickly purfumy floral sent, it's more like an earthy Chrysanthemum mixed in with herbal hints. The Virginia's and Burley's mix in harmoniously. Personally they all meld together for me and I can't discern one out from the other. In general I find Virginias to have kind of a sweet note, similar to the smell of fresh collected hay with some hints of citrus. I find Burleys to have kind of a nutty and toasty flavor.

The nicotine is on the stronger side of most pipe tobaccos. Somewhere in the realm of Gawith Hoggarth and Co's Brown Irish Twist. I can get a little green when I smoke a couple of flakes/sticks in a row.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: Over 6 months

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com, & Smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

Karam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Karam (37)
★★☆☆
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Here it goes, I'm halfway through a 100g tin so I believe I have a fair idea of what this tobacco is like, given I never had a blend with N. rustica before.

First of all, huge kudos to Per Jensen and MacBaren for doing this, along with everyone involved in it's development, I understand it was not an easy task to bring a "wild" tobacco to the mass market, but it's been successful! It takes a robust operation like MacBaren to pull it off right.

Presentation is impeccable, like all of the HH line, three neat stacks of chewing gum-wide dark, nearly black flakes, all perfectly even. Smell is slight BBQ, vinegar, and herbs. I'll come back to the herbs...

I've tried cube cutting, folding and stuffing, and rubbing out, leaning to rubbing out with this one as I find folding and stuffing especially (my preferred treatment of flakes) to be tricky to keep lit, even after drying. Initial flavour is soft, vinegary and woody, the first nasal exhale is eyewatering, yes there is a lot of nicotine here! A lot more than Old Dark Fired, a little more than Gawith brown ropes, a lot more than Gawith black ropes, a little more than 1792 Flake, and a bit LESS than Motzek Dark Twist.

It's hard to tell if it's spicy or it's just the nicotine burning the nose, I lean towards it being the nic as the taste overall is not particularly spicy.

The taste is consistent, I don't find it particularly "full", it feels a bit soft to me, more towards a bright tobacco than a dark one, despite the flakes themselves being nearly black. There is floral and herbal tastes, and bitterness like, an Earl Grey tea steeped for too long. Bitter herbs in fact, or grapefruit. That's where the blend started going sour for me, I don't like bitter tastes, even when talking beers unless it's Guinness, I prefer a porter or a Bavarian Weissbier. HH Rustica gives me a lot of bitter herbs, like an Asian shop without the spice. Pity is once the bitterness showed up I couldn't get it out of my head, it was here to stay, and make me want to finish the tin, but not get another.

Overall, a bold and successful experiment, showing there's still life and desire for innovation in pipe smoking, but for me there are both stronger and tastier strong blends I'll go to before reaching to Rustica again.

1 person found this review helpful.

Cold Comfort Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cold Comfort (14)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

I love MB HH line, and this is no exception. It's similar to Bold Kentucky, but lacks the sweetness of that blend.

I detect just a slight floral note, not as strong as Lakeland, but I suspect the aging process has contributed to this. There is a pleasant acidic taste in mouth feel that doesn't overwhelm.

Deep, leathery earthy flavour, with great retro-hale. Has a few rough edges at start, but settles in for a great smoking experience.

I had no lighting problems, a few extra tries at start then normal re-lights, usual flake behaviour.

If you are new to dark heavy burley/virginia flakes, you might find this a challenge. I found the nic hit on par with MB HH Bold Kentucky (my daily fave). Room note is OK, but that is something I don't really worry about - it's all about taste, and this tobacco has it in spades.

Pipe Used: Pete Kinsale XL17, large Meershaum

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin

Purchased From: 4 Noggins

Similar Blends: MB HH Bold Kentucky - not as sweet.

1 person found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (175)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Strong

Strong tabac taste. Slow burning. Recommend rubbing and small bowl. Needs drying. Still need relights.

Mostly burley flavor - woody and earthy - and a bit of Va. rustic sweetness. No bite or added flavors, but complex and rich for an all natural smoke. Devil Anse would have liked this ( but all day?).

Nice hit can be felt on a empty stomach by some, but I didn’t feel much. Stronger than ABF.

Recommended for adventurous. Unique experience. Finished 1/3 tin (29 bowls).

Pipe Used: Ropp

Age When Smoked: New tin

Purchased From: SPC

Similar Blends: Aged burley flake, ropes, old joe kranz, etc..

1 person found this review helpful.

LiterarySmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LiterarySmoker (69)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

I'm newer to strong tobaccos but I'm no lightweight. I like to smoke the HH Bold Kentucky and ODF as well as blends like Kajun Kake and Bow Legged Bear. So this is an interesting experience. A little history here might help. From what I can find online, Rustica was a leaf commonly smoked in the Americas before Burley and Virginia tobaccos were found and cultivated. It does have a higher nicotine level than most blends and indeed it is the strongest blend I've smoked to date but I wonder how it compares to Kendall Twist, Black XX or Peterson Irish Flake.

The tin has some nice tins art but that's not why we are here. When you crack it open you find the same perfect MacBaren flakes we've seen for Pure Virginia, ODF and Bold Kentucky. The smell is dark chocolate raisin, BBQ spice, and dark fruits. The flake is easy to fold and stuff or rub out to your preference. I like a long steady smoke so I almost always fold and stuff. This does take some time to get lit just like the Bold Kentucky. Today I have prepacked my bowl a day in advance and it lights a little quicker. Needs more than average relights but because of the strength that shouldn't be a problem.

The taste. Lighting up I find what I think is the rustica up front. BBQ spice, citrus, sourness, cigar-like, floral and slightly leathery. Up next I do taste Burley, it's chocolaty, nutty, and woody. The Burley was heavy in the smell, and I want to say that it is what is contributing to the dark fruit smell that I noticed. There is Virginia in this blend but I am having a hard time finding it probably because the Rustica has some shared characteristics. I can see it is adding some background sweetness and citrus to the mix.

Overall the blend is very well balenced and unique. The room note is strong and even though it is subjective, unless your friends and family smoke I think you will be relegated to porch. Lady N has come to pull out all the stops and if you aren't ready for her she will punch you straight in the jaw. The taste fills your mouth much like a good full bodied maduro cigar. I give it a Very Full. On the strength I give it a Very Strong. I just ate dinner for lunch and I feel it in my head. There are a few sites that still have this available if you are up to the challenge, but I hope that MacBaren rereleases this blend because it is really good. This is not an all day blend, just beacuse it is so full your taste buds might need time to recover.

Pipe Used: Basket Pipe

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CarlC Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CarlC (16)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

Started out with small chambered non filter pipes.Used a 9mm Peterson with a group 5 sized bowl the other morning for the first time after a full breakfast while driving along I 95 south, and managed to stay within the lines.This is a very flavor forward tobacco.The filter pipe just takes the edge off of it, and none of the actual flavor is sacrificed.(remember,JUST my opinion)this is pure high end tobacco, and one fine offering.There is a hint of leather in there,but no asphalt,as in Black XX rope.There is nothing I would call bite, either,filter,or no filter.If new to tobacco, this will make your planets whirl and twiril.Don't be scared off, try a little in a small chambered pipe! Just eat something first. Recommended.

Pipe Used: Various small bowl pipes/and a Grp 5 bowl

Age When Smoked: 6 months in a jar

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Nothing yet that I've smoked.Not even the Gawith ropes..

Nobody has rated this review yet.