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Manufactured largely by hand in accordance with age-old traditions, Mac Baren's Vanilla Roll Cake features a wrapper of whole leaf Virginias, with additional Virginias, modern Cavendish and a touch of burley. Further enhancing the natural sweetness of the Virginias is a subtle casing of premium, Madagascar vanilla. Piquant and yet smooth and creamy, Vanilla Roll Cake represents a confluence of tradition and innovation — applying traditional preparation to Mac Baren's signature Danish approach to casings for a naturally sweet, nuanced, and supremely enjoyable smoke.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByPer Jensen
Manufactured ByMac Baren
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Burley, Virginia
CutCurly Cut
Packaging3.5 ounce tin, one pound bag
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium
Room Note
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2727)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

The various gold and light brown, fragrantly floral Virginias and Virginia cavendish offer a lot of tart and tangy citrus, some grass/hay, tartly sour lemon, sugar, bread and toast, light tangy dark fruit, earth, vegetation, wood and spice, along with slight acidity and incense. They are the lead components. The burley provides a lot of earth, wood, nuts and herbs as a strong component that plays above its percentage in the mix. It is almost a supporting player. The strength and nic-hit are a step past the medium mark. The taste is a notch past that level. Won’t bite or get harsh, but it does have a few minute rough edges. As the creamy smoothly sweet Madagascar vanilla topping mildly tones down the tobaccos, it also synergistically unites with them to create a mostly consistent, piquant, creamy sweet and tingly spicy, fragrantly floral, zesty, well balanced, complex, deeply rich flavor that extends to the pleasantly lasting after taste. The topping does weaken a mite toward the finish. The coins are rather pliable, and moderately moist so they don’t need any dry time. Burns cool, clean, and a tad slow. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires a few more than an average number of relights. Has a pleasant room note. Not quite an all day smoke, but it is repeatable. Four stars out of four.


24 people found this review helpful.

Slow Triathlete Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Slow Triathlete (49)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Should I start this off like so many other reviews on TR? I don’t usually smoke aromatics but……..

Just kidding, I smoke several that would be considered light aromatics or straight up aro blends quite often. I will say that first off this is not your Grandpa’s Vanilla blend.

I think that most of us cut our teeth on crappy vanilla and cherry blends. It’s a wonder sometimes that any of us lasted after those fire burners. This blend is not that. There is A LOT going on in this blend and vanilla is just scratching the surface. Let’s get to it then.

Appearance: This comes as a standard MacBaren Roll Cake. If you have sampled any of their other Roll Cake blends (and I highly suggest that you do, especially Dark Twist) then you know what to expect here. However, this is the lightest colored roll cake that I remember getting from them. Light brown to a bit darker brown is what you get here.

Packing: I usually folded two coins and stuffed them into my pipe and then rubbed out 1-2 coins and filled that on top. This seemed to work for me but I have wider bowled pipes.

Pre-Light Aroma: If you are reading all the way to here then you know that this is a Vanilla blend. However, this is not the typical Vanilla blend in my opinion. There is no chemical smell and it doesn’t smell like cheap vanilla. Imagine that you take an actual Vanilla Bean and break it under your nose. This is what that smells like. I find it very satisfying. There are underlying tobacco aromas underneath this but the Vanilla is in the forefront.

Lighting and First Half: I dried my coins out a bit. They felt a bit damp to me upon opening them and I always give my tobacco 15-30 minutes to dry and breath a bit. Because of this the blend was very easy to light and stayed lit with the normal amount of relights.

To me the vanilla really comes in at the beginning and then mellows out after the first 5-10 minutes of smoking this. It doesn’t go away but lets the other flavors come through a bit. The lighter Virginias definitely have a flavor here with some lemon, sugar, and hay and the burleys add a bit of toast and bread on the back end. Like I said earlier, there is a lot going on here.

Last Half and Final Thoughts: The second half of the bowl really brings all of the flavors into syncronicity. All of the flavors are there but they play off of each other in a delightful way. Think of it as a nutty vanilla bread but in the light sense. I really liked it! Now I know that most conventional wisdom says that aro blends do not really improve with aging but I’d be very interested to see what this blend would taste like after a couple of years. The base tobaccos are great and they can only get better with age and the vanilla might incorporate itself into the tobacco more as well. I believe that it would be a great blend with a few years on it? Who knows……

Pipe Used: Castello Straight Apple

Age When Smoked: Fresh

11 people found this review helpful.

Rustedrailsmokes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rustedrailsmokes (251)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I'm a big fan of coin cut/curly tobaccos so I was excited to give the vanilla roll cake a try.

The bag note was sweet, but not nearly as strong vanilla as say 1Q. The moisture level was ideal in the bag and it's very easy to prepare the coins however you want. They are very similar in size to Three Nuns or the other MB coins.

The were easy to light and burned very well. Produces a nice thick smoke. The main taste that I got was sweetness from the Virginias. There is just a little spice from the KY. The vanilla is a nice touch, it's mildly in the taste but much stronger in the room note which my wife complimented.

I tried them first broken up in a small canadian that I use as a tasting pipe. I followed that by folding/pressing in an Author shape using some of the "shavings" as tinder on top. Burned well either way and provided a nice long smoke.

This is going into my rotation for when I want something a little sweeter but with a good tobacco base and/or if I'm going to be smoking around others.

Pipe Used: Small Bowl Canadian and Fat Author

Age When Smoked: fresh from bag 2020

Purchased From:

11 people found this review helpful.

CivilWar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CivilWar (8)
Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I haven't been smoking aromatics all that much lately but when this came out I had to give it a try; I'm glad I did. If you like vanilla aromatics, then, in my opinion, this is probably the best one out there.

The tobacco comes in finely cut coins that are easy to rub out or stuff them in your pipe as-is. Mac Baren states that they use "a subtle casing of premium, Madagascar vanilla". I will attest that the tin note is a sublimely rich deep vanilla. It smelled natural and not artificial. The tobaccos used are whole leaf Virginias, with additional Virginias and partially cavendished, whole leaf dark-fired Kentucky. I like dark-fired Kentuckys, and cavendished dark-fired Kentucky is something I really wanted to try.

The tobacco came at the perfect moisture content (i.e., on the edge of being slightly dry) and I didn't need any drying time. I chose to rub out a several coins and lightly stuff my pipe. It was easy to light, burned well, I only needed a couple of relights.

The smoke has a sweet rich vanilla flavor from beginning to end. It never faded away or burned off. There really was a nice sweetness to the smoke, which was likely from Mac Baren's traditional application of maple sugar. It really didn't have a maple taste, just a warm sweet taste that complemented the vanilla. The Virginias provided their usual sweet grass/citrus/tobacco flavors. The cavendished dark-fired Kentucky added depth to the smoke, as a condiment, and provided somewhat of a brown sugar flavor to go with the vanilla.

Not knowing if this is going to be a regular offering from Mac Barens, I decided not to chance it and bought several tins to keep it in my rotation when I want a warm sweet rich vanilla smoke.

Age When Smoked: Just Released

10 people found this review helpful.

MidwestBriar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MidwestBriar (2)
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Mac Baren Vanila Flake is one of my favorite blends, so when this was released I knew that I had to try it out. I think this blend will be compared to VF quite a bit, and for good reason. The quick and dirty of it is this: the Roll Cake has more tobacco flavors that come through than VF does. VF has more sweet vanilla flavors than the Roll Cake does. Vanilla Roll Cake tastes like the older, wiser version of VF. The vanilla topping is more robust and natural, less candy-sweet. The tin note is phenomenal. I could get hyperbolic and say it made me drool... but it really does smell delicious. I rubbed out a few coins, and packed them into an old Peterson billiard that seems to take every type of tobacco thrown at it. The vanilla topping is more in the aroma/room note than in the actual flavor, but the sweetness is present - probably due to the bit of cavendished tobacco in there. Because I didn't let it dry out for a bit, I had more relights than normal. I'll also add that I don't frequently smoke coins, so my packing may not have been up to par. This smokes like any other Mac Baren. It's easy to puff too hard and get some bite. Take it slow and steady, however, and the quality tobaccos shine through. I hope this becomes a regular blend - but who knows. There have been quite a few limited runs lately, but this is not one to skip on. Fans of Virginia blends with light toppings, you'll enjoy this one.

Pipe Used: Peterson Donegal Rocky

Age When Smoked: new/fresh tin

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Mac Baren Vanilla Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

SmokeKing David Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeKing David (134)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

I pretty much enjoy every MacBaren roll cake/coin cut blend. This one is a little milder than the others. The vanilla flavoring is not heavy; it was applied lightly. So this is not a traditional American style aromatic in that the natural tobacco can be tasted and the topping does not overwhelm.

Pleasant smoke. Does not burn too hot; doesn't bite. I recommend it.

Govern Yourself Accordingly!

Pipe Used: Nording, Peterson

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

Similar Blends: MacBaren Club Blend with a little vanilla.

4 people found this review helpful.

Dave da Dragon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dave da Dragon (8)
Medium Medium Full Very Pleasant

I’ve been smoking this blend for over a month but held off my review because I just couldn’t reconcile what I had heard was in it and what I was tasting. Add to that the fact that the label on my tin was different from what I had heard was supposedly in it. I just found out what’s what and it seems some of the earliest tins had incorrect descriptions which has since been corrected. Now it makes sense and my sense of taste and smell wasn’t completely out of whack after all, so on with my review.

From the best of sources this blend contains a Virginia leaf wrapper, more Virginia, some of what’s called Modern Cavendish ( if I am not mistaken it’s Cavendish processed Virginia which is a little softer and mild than traditional Black Cavendish ) and a touch of burley and of course flavored with vanilla. It is very similar to Mac Baren Vanilla Flake in makeup and yet very different to me in taste. The vanilla used is a Madagascar vanilla so that may be different I am not sure but the overall taste sure is to me. To me Vanilla Flake is sweeter and covers the base tobaccos flavors more than the Roll Cake. Sort of like a good vanilla ice cream in comparison to a premium real vanilla bean French vanilla.

The Virginias are naturally sweet with a bit of grass and citrus and the Cavendish is mild and not too sweet but smooths out the possible rough edges that Virginia sometimes has. The burley is hardly noticeable but it does also balance out the blend and adds some smokiness and smoke richness and a small touch of burley nuttiness and brown sugar but only a touch. The Vanilla is not as sweet as most and allows the tobaccos to come through. It’s what I call a “dry vanilla” flavor, like a fine dry wine, it definitely is delicious but not so heavy and it delights the palette and the nose while smoking and the room note is yummy too but not strong or long lasting. The vanilla comes across as warm too, with almost a cinnamon hint in it.

Over all it’s superbly delicious and different enough to be unique. Smoke it slow and give it maybe a touch of drying time. Check out Per Georg Jensen’s video on YouTube about the best way to load your pipes with roll cakes/spun cuts and it will yield the best flavor as well as being very easy for all such cuts. Doesn’t bite and it can be an all day smoke but it’s a great dessert smoke like a fine aperitif. On the light side of middle ground on nicotine, very flavorful but not overpowering and just a delight to smoke!!!

4 out of 4 for me!!!

Dave Da Dragon

Smoked in several pipes from Churchwardens to short pipes, filtered and un filtered and various bowl shapes and sizes and all work fine.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: September 2020 tin date, 3-4 months

Purchased From: B&M

Similar Blends: Mac Baren Vanilla Flake...but very different too.

4 people found this review helpful.

Bishop’s Pipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bishop’s Pipes (7)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I love it! What else can I say. Virginia. Burley. Real, authentic vanilla bean tasting vanilla like some other reviewers cited and it certainly doesn’t overpower the smoke. It’s there and it’s fantastic. I think they nailed it with this blend and a 3.5 oz tin is a nice added bonus. I’ve been looking for a vanilla blend like this and finally found it. Try some like RIGHT NOW!

3 people found this review helpful.

Viscfab Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Viscfab (36)
Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant

Not much to add from the reviewers above. I love spun cut tobacco, I love Virginias, I love the way Per Georg Jensen created intricate flavours to complement the already spectacular tobacco profiles. The coins are beautiful and smalish - brownish golden. They have a delicious blended smell of pure Virginia greatness with the best quality Vanilla aroma in the pipe tobacco mkt. Reminiscent of Vanilla Cream - my fave aro of all time, this is even better, because it is not as strong, just right and complements a creamy full bodied but tender smoke in a fantastic way. Room note is superb, flavour is delicious. No goop, no mess. fine ash after the delightful lunting. Ultra satisfying. Top rated.

Pipe Used: Vauen

Age When Smoked: Fresh - 6 months

Purchased From: Local tobacconist - importer

Similar Blends: Vanilla cream mixed with Dark Twist..

2 people found this review helpful.

Ocean Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ocean (1)
Very Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

This is my first review. I just had to say, this tobacco bites. It tastes and smells great. But don't believe people who want to say it doesn't bite. They might be too experienced and accustomed to avoiding bite. But if you take this tobacco fresh from the tin and you aren't careful how you pull on it, you're gonna get bitten, guaranteed.

Pipe Used: Country Gentleman cob.

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: Virginia.

1 person found this review helpful.

REO Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
REO (6)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My first Mac Baren spin cut. Perhaps some drying would enhance the blend but it smokes fine out of the tin. The lightly applied high quality vanilla mixes quite well with the tobaccos and complements the sweetness of the Virginia but not overpowering and you just barley know it is in the background. No bite even when pushed a little. Delightful smoke and pairs well with coffee and later with a sweet bourbon. I left a half a bowl on the porch overnight and it was very good the next morning. Quite enjoyable blend.

Pipe Used: Sav Roma 320

Age When Smoked: Fresh out of tin

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

1 person found this review helpful.

Field_Value_Null Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Field_Value_Null (3)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Every few years something new will convince me to go outside my rotation of 6 or 7 blends. I love vanilla, and I’m a Virginia/Perique smoker. Thought I’d give it a chance.

Smells wonderful, room note is fantastic . But this tobacco just isn’t for me. It’s a little too sharp on the tongue for me. Perhaps a year or 2 in the tin would mellow the Virginia’s. But I will never know, as there is no room inside my cellar for experiments anymore. I recommend you trying it if you enjoy aero’s. I just haven’t found one I enjoy yet. But again, this stuff smells amazing.

Pipe Used: El Tang basic, group 4 size comoy, 320

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.