Mac Baren Three Nuns

Notes: The Three Nuns coin tobacco was originally a creation of J & F Bell, dating back to the 19th century. A favorite of British authors (and friends) C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien. In the formula from Imperial Tobacco, Three Nuns was a VaPer mixture. Pipe Tobacco Hall of Fame Inductee. Later this tobacco was made at the Orlik factory for BAT and Kentucky was substituted for Perique. The latest version, blended and manufactured by Mac Baren, follows the latter formula.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Brazilian Leaf, Perique, Virginia
Flavoring Rum
Cut Curly 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
Medium to Full
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.09 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 237 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 17, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I recently finished a 15 year old tin of Three Nuns, the tin looking like the picture attached to this thread.

Smooth, elegant and refined are three words that come to mind when smoking this wonderful creation. I don't know what the newer version tastes like as I can't find any in the U.S, and I don't recall how this stuff smoked back in the early 1990's, but this aged version exhibits no imperfections or aberrations of any kind. The perique marries perfectly with the virginias and the very slight topping melds harmoniously with the leaf. I found it somewhat less sweet than the current crop of Escudo - more along the lines of Dunhill Elizabethan, as another reviewer noted. A darker flavor but with wonderful high notes, just not a sweet virginia. On the basis of one tin, I have to say that I prefer this to Escudo.

Smooth, elegant and refined! If you can find an old tin, sit back and enjoy! If you have a batch of newer tins, age a few of them. Hopefully they age now as well as they did 15 years ago.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 31, 2015 Medium Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant
I hate to post a real downer of a review, but this is the worst tobacco I've had in ages. I mean, every hint that it's going to get sweeter, or spicier, or fuller, or... or anything at all.... just disappears as soon as you think "Ahh, here we go..." It doesn't go. It tastes flat, comparable to a cheap burley like Carter Hall but tastes worse. Expected good things from a good blender and a hallowed blend. Yuck. Flat and bitter. Cardboard would be as good.

EDIT: For the first time ever... I think I can say I had a "bad tin". I was gifted another tin of 3N last year and it bore no resemblance at all to the rotten-sock burley I had before. I find this tasty, pleasant and tobacco-y, like a diluted Scottish Cake maybe I'll give it another star.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 28, 2015 Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
The following review is based on a recently produced tin (a round tin. Purchased in 2014). I know the younger set dislikes us old farts reviewing blends we once loved; and how we complain about how different the new blends are from the old blends, but, you know, it can't be helped (wait until your favorite blends fall by the wayside and then reappear; you'll see).

The original Three Nuns was a blend I'd smoke from time to time back in the eighties—this current incarnation is not that blend. However, for me, all the attributes of the missing Perique remain; the tingling on my tongue (that real peppery smack), the strength of the blend; it all measures up to Perique. So, if there's no Perique in this, what's giving me all these signals? The Kentucky? The Virginia? It sure couldn't be the Burley. And, speaking of Burley, that's what I remember from the older blend—the Burley, then Perique. It was never a Perique bomb, like this new blend (or faux Perique, whichever might be the case). The nuttiness and body of the Burley used to come out more, not so with this new one.

Really, all this reminds me of the arguments running over Presbyterian Mixture; as to whether or not it really has Latakia in it. I guess the bottom line for me, is the new mixture is okay, but it's nothing to write home about. It certainly isn't in the same class the old blend was in. What a pity.

I'll give this current incarnation a high two stars (the old blend, a solid three). It so happens I own a much older tin of Three Nuns, and I'll pop it sometime in the future, when? I don't know. Check back for an update sometime.

Keep Piping!
Pipe Used: Boswell freehand
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 11, 2015 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The Bell's Three Nuns as manufactured by MacBaren is a very fine tobacco, but it is not the Three Nuns of old. For me, the only real drawback to this version is the name, a name which suggests a tobacco different from this current offering, the predecessor being the one presumably prized by C.S, Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

As a pipe smoker for more than half a century I sometimes smoked the original Three Nuns in my earlier years of pipedom. In those days of yore in a metropolitan area you had the option of several dozen over the counter blends as well as the tinned blends in a bricks and mortar tobacco store. I have always been a pipe smoker who preferred to have great variety in what I smoked, and thus I didn't smoke a lot of Three Nuns because most of what went into my pipes was the much cheaper OTC's. But when I smoked the Three Nuns blend I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Over the years Three Nuns was dumbed down, and eventually it was offered as a blend without perique. That didn't necessarily make it a bad blend, but it wasn't Three Nuns. To the best of my memory I never smoked a no perique version until the current incarnation which is manufactured by MacBaren. MacBaren has been roundly criticized for their no perique blend, but unfairly so. MacBaren manufactures Three Nuns, but they do not own the brand, and thus they follow the recipe they are given. There is some speculation that there are legal issues involved which prevent reversion to the original recipe.

So what do we have with the MacBaren produced Three Nuns? You find darkish medallions of Virginia and Kentucky (fired burley). The medallions in my tin were a bit worse for wear, partially broken up, which is no problem so long as you plan to rub out the blend rather than stack the coins. The tin smell has nothing out of the ordinary. Like most MacBaren products it is a bit too moist and benefits from breaking the seal several days before the smoking.

At any rate, the tobacco lights without great problem and is not difficult to keep lit. The flavor is predominately a slightly sweet Virginia, but the dark overtones of the Kentucky are always there, and they seem to intensify as you work your way down the bowl. Overall you will find a medium to full flavor which is quite pleasant for those who enjoy darkened Virginia/burley blends.

The room note will offend only the tobacco Nazis, but there is nothing outstanding about it either.The nicotine level is fairly high for a Virginia forward offering.

My personal experience in smoking this was quite positive. Three Nuns it ain't, but it is a very pleasurable offering.

I used several different pipes in smoking the tin, primarily Sasienis and Petersons. I had good luck with all, although I did not find one that particularly married to the blend.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 12, 2014 Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Unnoticeable
After reading a lot of positive reviews I thought I would purchase a tin of this tobacco. I opened the tin to a nicely packed coins of tobacco. I really didn't detect much of an aroma from the tin. After reading these reviews, I feel as though I smoked a different tobacco altogether. It was acrid from the start with a pepper flavored casing. I usually smoke a tobacco for the flavor or for the Vitamin N, and this tobacco doesn't fall into either one of those categories. If Dark fired is what you like I would recommend HH Macbaren Old Ready Rubbed Dark Fired tobacco any day over this! For all of the pompous pipe smokers burning this in a $300 pipe and trying to articulate a description of this in the most eloquent way, I laugh at you. Just because it comes in a tin doesn't make it good and this is clearly an example of that. I had heard of a pipe lasting all day and didn't understand that concept until I smoked this. The fact is everyone's palette is different and this tobacco was a very unpleasant experience for me. For those of you that actually enjoy this smoke up, but you can get a bag of bulk that is a lot better for a couple bucks....
Pipe Used: Italian Briar
PurchasedFrom: 4 noggins
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the tin
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 22, 2017 Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
This is not Three Nuns. Nor was the Orlik version. The original Three Nuns was sublime. A ten star hall of fame blend. So why call this 3 Nuns???? WHY WHY WHY? Call it four nuns, call it drunk Nun, call it Forty Seven Nuns...I dont care. But do not put a classic label on a blend that bears scant resemblance to the original. That old blend was a piece of history. And i find it really problematic to make money off that legend. So ONE STAR.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 11, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Unfortunatelly haven't tried any of the earlier versions.this blend is a must!when you crack the tin you get rich virginia flavours combined with nice flavours from kentucky.the coins are very easy to handle and at proper moisture.lights easy and might need some relights.while smoking the flavours are rich and deep combining dark fruits,citruses,nuts and some sweet notes.burns cool and slow.never bit me.the nicotine level is medium.the room note is my opinion this is an all day blend.totally recommended !!
Age When Smoked: When opened
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 11, 2014 Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
This is the same brand my Father and Grandfather used to smoke in the 70s, I have not tasted the old formula of this. But the new one is a very, very tasty option. Sweet and peppery at the same time. Round tin and not the square one I remember from back then.

I have bought a lot of different tobaccos this summer, but after three bowls of this, I went out and added another 5 tins of it to the storage and would probably have gotten this in more copious amounts if I had smoked it earlier.

The content of the tin was on opening a bit of broken and whole discs, which let me to experiment a bit with packing, as it is my first go at discs tobaccos, full discs in the bottom, with loose on top, full discs through the bowl, loose tobacco in the bottom... You get the drift, anyhow, my palate is not fine enough to detect any difference in taste regarding packing methode, nor did I experience any other hiccups with it, it is in my regards a cool and easy burning tobacco that burns all the way through the bowl with little moisture let-off. I could happily smokeThree Nuns and only Three Nuns for the rest of my days...
PurchasedFrom: Fredrik Tranter Tobacconists, Oxford
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
I´ve read and heard so much about this tobacco so i had to try it. This isn´t the original one but still i had to try it. I will make this review in two halfs, first off is "the good side".

In the tin the tobacco is cut in very very nice little "coins" and it gives a very nice first meeting with it. And when you pack and lit it up,the cut of the tobacco gives you always a cool smoke. I like to puff hard and it never ever bites. It´s perfect. The taste is mild until you reach down half the bowl. That was the good side.

Here is "the bader side".

When you have reached down half the bowl the kentucky comes kicking in. And i don´t seem to get a long with the kentucky so well. It turns the mild virginia into a "dry-harsh-smoke-thing" with irregular nicotin kicks. And the pipe tends to get hot (but it´s probably just me for puffing like a train).

I have tried this in different pipes and i discovered that in a longer pipe (14-15cm)it tasted best.

After a the first three bowls i had plans to let this one go. But i tried a little more and now with the tin almost empty i can master it.

Pack it loose in a longer pipe and it might work for you. The best of this tobacco is the nice "coins" and always a cool smoke.

For me this were the first and last time i dated Three nuns.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2009 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant
I'm amazed I haven't done this one on TR. 4 stars for the Three Nuns you buy today in the shops and smoke today in your for the the Three Nuns of yesteryear....tell it to my Grandfather who lies in a grave in Glendalough Co.Wicklow...he might be interested!
7 people found this review helpful.
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