Mac Baren HH Vintage Syrian

The base of the blend, a little under half of the volume, is a smooth and yet powerful latakia from Syria. This tobacco gives the blend the overall smoky taste, a powerful taste and yet without any tongue bite. To add a spicy note to the blend, Turkish Oriental has been added. A mix of different Virginia tobaccos from 3 continents adds a sweet natural taste. To complete the taste with depth and body, we added a little dark fired Kentucky from the US. The HH Vintage Syrian is a loose cut tobacco, which guarantees a smooth and steady burn. It does not get hot which means you will find extremely little bite on your tongue. When you empty your pipe after smoking, you will find only fine grey ashes, the sign of a slow and dry smoke.
Notes: Introduced in 2006 as HH Vintage Syrian Latakia. Discontinued in 2017 when the stock of Syrian latakia ran out.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Kentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Coarse Cut
Packaging 100 grams tin weight, 100 grams pouch weight
Country Denmark
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.29 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 69 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 16, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Black and brown mottled ribbon with Mac Baren's typical high quality presentation. Beautiful smoky tin aroma on top with a rich tobacco smell underneath. Very enticing. Starting out, this one did not disappoint, and I smoked about 6 bowls in a row without alternating.

As with the tin aroma, the Syrian latakia smokiness and light pepper ruled the show. The Virginia provided just a touch of additional sweetness that I eventually wished would be more prominent. As much as I usually enjoy Kentucky tobacco, I think that is what negated a 4th star for me. It added body, to be sure, but for me it seemed to ground this tobacco that started off headed for the stars. I don't want to make too much of that, as I'm quite sure this blend is exactly what Mac Baren's was trying to accomplish but as with their HH Acadian Perique, there is just one too many components in this blend for my tastes. This is a very good blend and I enjoyed the latakia flavor, but it just wore me out over time. It didn't have the depth and focus of my current Syrian latakia reference, McClellands Syrian Full Balkan. Nor the natural sweetness. I would love to taste this one without the Kentucky added, as it might be perfect for me in that case. But again, this is still a very good blend that should be tried by anyone interested in Syrian latakia. I'm saving the rest of this tin (about 2 oz worth) for later experimentation.
Pipe Used: meerschaum, morta and briar
Age When Smoked: 1 year
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 19, 2006 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Mac Baren's HH Vintage Syrian is a marvellous tobacco. The easily-packed cut is superb and it burns to a nice fine ash. The well-aged sweet Virginia comes through predominately, but the Latakia is there adding a lovely touch of smokiness. If that were not enough, the Oriental provides a dash of creaminess and the Kentucky a nuisance of nuttiness assisting the pleasant room note. What strikes me further about this Mac Baren offering is the total lack of aftertaste or odour when the bowl is through. With some tobacco, the flavour remains in the mouth the next day. With this, the flavour is enjoyed fully while smoking yet vanishes when done. I have found that I can enjoy this all day and, in fact, for weeks straight and not become exhausted by it as the weed is well-rounded offering a multitude of varied flavour. I am duly impressed with this offering and recommend it without reservation.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This has some really nice flavors. Smoky, spicy, earthy, a mild sour note, a mild note of butter, and a very pleasant gentle sweetness. All the components compliment each other very nicely.

If you retrohale constantly like I do you may notice an occaisional sharpness from the Orientals. Wish that were a little smoother. Due to that, for me, this is closer to 3 stars than 4. I'll give it 3+.

Medium in body and flavor. Burns well with a little drying time.
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman, MM Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: 8 months
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 28, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This was my first love in the tobacco world. Last Christmas I received a pipe from my uncle, and it was accompanied by an aromatic tobacco. What a delusion it was! But I knew that pipe tobacco world was bigger, and I was suggested to try this one as an entry-level english blend. Just on opening the pouch, I was overwhelmed, and my first thought was "maybe that's what pipe smoking really is!". Once lit, I was amazed by the smoky aroma, and the spicy note I never experienced before. Now, after a year and some different blends, I smoked the bottom of that same pouch, and the result was: "I was lucky to have this as my first tobacco love". The combustion is easy to manage, it is easy to smoke it cold, and that is the way I like it. The first half of the bowl is exceptional: the smokiness of latakia is well supported by the orientals, and it remains soft in the mouth while being very tasty. After some time, something heavier comes in (I think the Kentucky), giving it a harsher taste, which, in the second half, unfortunately loses part of the smokiness. The last part of the bowl is what prevents me to give it a 4 star: I find it rather plain in the end, and in an harsh way, leaving your mouth not particularly pleasant. I avoid this inconvenient by stopping smoking it when it starts to happen. In the end I strongly recommend it to whoever wants to approach english blends or who wants something special (Syrian latakia) in a all-day form. This is maybe my favourite tobacco, and for me it will have its own place in my heart (and in my rotation), simply because it is my first love.
Pipe Used: Fincato Billiard
PurchasedFrom: Tabaccheria Sansone, Rome, Italy
Age When Smoked: 1 year
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
My first encounter with Syrian leaf. As stated in my review for 3 oaks, on first puff i was enthralled by this blend. Incense! Cedar! Old mouldy wooden trunk ! Long lost parchments and secrets! It tasted religious. Bliss lasted for a few minutes, and then... well, all that initial goodness seemed to fade...

On most subsequent smokes, i found this blend to be very dry, to lose all flavour if it gets only slightly too hot, and leave me with a dry mouth and an unpleasant aftertaste. At other times, at mid bowl, i was able to appreciate the transition from latakia smokiness to dark fired smokiness, rounded by the sour-ish orientals, but since the opening notes are so pleasant, it never feels very appealing to me. As for the end of the smoke, it can get harsh and bitter.

I will give it some more tries, and try to be careful, because it has its moments when it shines
Pipe Used: Briars
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Popped my first tin of this (3.5 oz) a couple months ago. Great tin notes, but seemed a little damp. The first impressions were not that exceptional--it seemed a bit overbearing in flavor and lackluster in general. I have learned though that the first blush is often misleading! It took about three bowls to truly begin appreciating the character of this blend.

I came across it as a suggested offering for those who liked Balkan Sobranie. Having not tasted that, I cannot offer a clue. But as a very nice changeup from heavier, Cyprian based Balkan blends this one certainly passes muster. I took a sample out and seperated the Lat from the bulk--and it appears to me to be about 40-45% Latakia. I would give it a 4, but there are only a couple tobaccos I reserve that accolade for. The 3 in this case is given for a fine, well presented and thought out blend that is flavorful, pleasurable, and reasonable in cost.

The tobacco held and continues to hold a great opening tin note. Deep and woodsy, with a smokey, sweet fragrance. It has a much better character once it dries out a bit, with a fuller flavor that separates into tobacco components--as well as a nice burn rate.

For me, the 'real light' delivers a rush of flavors--the smokey sweetness of the Lat, the pleasant sour of the orientals--which never run over the top of the sweet Virginias--nor do any of the other constituents become muddied by the Burley. A nice full smoke presentation, even when not terribly dense. Halfway through the orientals diminish somewhat, but do not disappear. This is good!

Rarely do I smoke an entire bowl in one sitting. The relight is always easy, and does not have a bite that some tobaccos have when rested and put to fire again. Going toward the bottom of the bowl, the flavor becomes richer, but still keeps the different characters of the tobacco present. One thing though, even when drier if one draws heavily on a regular basis it will attract and produce moisture.

This has now become a daily smoking tobacco along with several others. As some have stated, given the social and political climate in Syria the Lat may be an endangered product. I am now ordering a pound of this a month and cellaring three-quarters of it--as I want to age a sufficient quantity to the two year marker. And to also make sure that I have a supply that with careful stewardship will last into the future!

Get this and enjoy it while you can!
Pipe Used: Various
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes
Age When Smoked: New Tin
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 06, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Tin note:- Cream of tomato soup,faint strawberry wine,light earthy mushrooms with spice.

Light up:- using gas lighter ;a zingy peppery incense bomb right up my nostrils ,had to resort to cooler matches to back it off a bit. Difficult to stay lit.

Taste :-Pan fried molluscs,earthy oysters with soy sauce , developes into a spicy HP brown sauce,rose wine and faint Turkish delight with peppery fruit pickle and smokey burnt spices and herbs on a yeasty bready bread. Has faint perfumey incense factor like those Djarum cigarettes with clove.

Smoke performance needs to be smoked cool otherwise all the subtleties are lost in mud,but this also makes it have a propensity to extinguish. The extinguish factor and cold drawing is quite tasty in its own right, sort of smoked stewed strawberries with burnt herbs which gives me cooking ideas. Relights were muddy poor crap until it heated up again into the complex sweet and sour zone,then it would over heat. The tobacco seemed dry enough to smoke strait away so I did but it seemed to be an inconsistent performer.

Compared to the Cyprian HH Latakia Flake which has a more sooty, coaly, beefy, meaty, salty latakia ;-this Syrian mixture is obviously different in an exotic kind of way. I think I must say that while a delight to taste I prefer the HH latakia flake due to its cool burning,easy to keep lit and burn forever nature. I think I probably prefer Cyprian latakia as well in fact due to its gothic funereal atmosphere;the Syrian tastes kind of mystic temple in my mind ,nice,naughty and different but I wouldn't over rate it,its more feminine in taste than the Cyprian in my opinion. I have never smoked it before.

Remedies:- this stuff is quite coarse cut and rough ribbons compared to contemporaries like Dunhill; combined with my small bowl this was probably why it wouldn't stay lit or burned too quick. Dried some out a bit and chopped it smaller with scissors so it would fit enough quantity in the bowl sorted it out where it burned consistent. I think the cut more was the issue more than moisture reasons. The taste in subsequent bowls has since stayed consistent in the goldilocks zone as well rather than alternating between mud and perfume due to relights..

Would I buy it again?:- I bought two tins at the same time so I already did; one to experience and one to save in case this actual latakia goes missing in action due to geopolitics. Would I buy it a 3rd time? ;-I dunno, not in a hurry at the moment;i don't think this will be an everyday or frequent smoke with me due to the incense factor actually, which although pleasantly exotic,is a bit intrusive over longer sessions and becomes less appreciated. Its something I will savour for those obscure moments when I am in the mood where its a welcome surprise again.

Deserves 3 stars because its top leaf and so uniquely exotic,only the cut itself held it back in my pipe.
Pipe Used: Vintage falcon bantam
PurchasedFrom: cant remember online
Age When Smoked: month
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2009 Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a difficult tobacco to locate, metaphysically speaking. Fond as I am of it (in certain moods, mind you) it is a little curious in the way it expresses itself. Despite its high Latakia content, said to be 40% by some sources, 50% by others, HH Vintage Syrian doesn't seem to act either English or Oriental, and certainly not Balkan. It makes me think of "men's night" at an all-girl bar. It dresses the part, but it doesn't really fill out its pants.

That's not to say it's not a fine tobacco, because it really is. It may, however, be too subtle for its own good. For that matter, the mild, incense-like smokiness of the Syrian Latakia often seems overmatched by the sweetness of the Virginias. And in the smoky-sweet tug of war that defines mixtures like this, I'm not sure the sweetness wins the battle without a little help from the tug fairy. It tastes a little enhanced. I'm also inclined to worry that the questionable balance of this blend in youth may hamper it down the maturation road.

After a week or so of smoking this to the exclusion of all else, however, I've decided that HH Vintage Syrian just needs to be in a committed relationship. The first couple of bowls I smoked reminded me of a Canadian on the first day of his Caribbean vacation - a little pale in comparison to the rest of the beach's cast - but when smoked to the exclusion of other tabacs, it seems to come into its own, smoky-sweet, elegant, refined. I find it particularly lovely early in the day.

It reminds me a great deal of DAN Tobacco's estimable Gordon Pym, another restrained and delicate tobacco which doesn't really fit into convenient categories and to which I've also failed to commit. Ah well. It's not you. It's me.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
After smoking this for a couple years off and on, I decided that it was time to write a review, particularly in light of its impending extinction. This blend has an intoxicating mellow Latakia note from tin, balanced with the sweetness of Virginia and a little spice from the Orientals. It’s quite fluffy for a Latakia-heavy blend, and packs and lights easily. I find 45 minutes or so of drying time does the trick quite nicely. Upon lighting, you get a good thick creamy smoke, with a delicate Latakia flavor, despite the high percentage of Syrian leaf. It is woodsy, nutty, briney, and wonderfully spicy, in the incense-type of spice, not the piquant sense. Burns well with few relights, and is one of the “dryest” finishing blends I’ve had, the tobacco equivalent of a dry Cabernet. It’s definitely not a Latakia-bomb, and mellows through the bowl with more sandalwood and dark chocolate cocoas developing in the last third. I like it and have stocked up for the future, as it is now discontinued from MacB. If you like Syrian and like refined Balkan and English blends, I recommend you do the same. Solid 3.5 stars.
Pipe Used: Various briars
Age When Smoked: Fresh and 2 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2017 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
For those who smoked Cyprian Lattakia and didn't like the overwhelming taste of it give this one a try you won't regret it. Well balanced blend all day smoke.The only thing I didn't like is the burley !
3 people found this review helpful.
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