Mac Baren Symphony

A very harmonious ready rubbed tobacco dominated by the selected burley tobaccos and with a minor part of Virginia and the original Mac Baren Cavendish. In this blend the tobaccos are adjusted to bring out the slight natural sweetness and with the tender note of chocolate - which is found in all excellent burley tobaccos.
Notes: Known as "Harmony" in Europe.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley, Cavendish, Virginia
Flavoring Cocoa / Chocolate
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 100 grams tin weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.74 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 28 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 07, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
The chocolate from the earthy, woody burley is mild, and also provides light molasses and nuttiness. The tart and tangy citrusy, grassy, hay-like, bready Virginia is a supporting player. The sugary sweet black cavendish underscores the experience. There's a little spice, honey, grass, citrus and earth from the dark gold Virginia cavendish in the background. The chocolate topping mildly sublimates the tobaccos. The strength is a couple of steps short of the center of mild to medium. The taste level is in that center. The nic-hit is mild. It burns at a slightly more than moderate rate for a broken flake with a very consistent chocolate sweet, grassy, mildly spicy flavor. Requires few relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. The spice from this Dutch-style blend may tingle the tongue of a fast puffer, so I recommend a slow cadence. Has a pleasant short lived after taste, and room note. An all day smoke.

I've smoked both a fresh sample, and a 1978 sample. The aging effect is interesting. It's much more spicier and sweeter with a deeper taste, like the fresh version on steroids.

48 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 23, 2015 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Pipe smoking never ceases to amaze me. I was expecting a Burley forward VaBur and was surprised to get a Virginia forward VaBur. Thinking on it I realized that most, if not all, were smoking this in briars. As some of you may know, I use only cobs unless I'm using a briar in an experiment.

I unretired a briar, loaded it up and, sure enough, got a nice Burley forward VaBur. Rich nutty flavor with the Virginias providing a sweet backdrop. In my well used cobs I get a sweet, citrusy Virginia forward VaBur with the Burley providing a nutty background. In both cases I only get the chocolate topping in the aftertaste.

It really does matter what you smoke this in. It's not only very tasty, it's versatile providing two blends in one depending on the pipe. It needs to be smoked slowly and gently to get the most out of it. Pushing this one is a really bad idea. It will lose it's flavor and become a blowtorch. A very interesting smoke.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in taste. Flavoring is extremely mild. Burns very well.

EDIT: In my excitement I forgot to mention the Cavendish. In the cob it's barely noticed. In the briar it sits between the Burley and the Virginias providing a smooth, toasty note.
Pipe Used: Jobey Lovat, various MM cobs
Age When Smoked: fresh bulk
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 18, 2018 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The negative reviews about this blend are unumerous and most contain fair criticism, but I feel they don't do this blend justice.

Here's how to avoid a hot, biting, monochromatic smoke with this blend: (By the way, I bought this in bulk; tin qualities may be different for this tobacco)

1. Let it dry for at least 10 minutes 2. Rub it out a little. It's called ready rubbed, but there are some big pieces and long strands. Rub it out a little. 3. Pack it lightly and loosely. 4. In a corncob pipe 5. Light and take long, slow, gentle draws.

I am very sensitive to tongue bite, but I didn't have any problems with this. An initial nip at the start of the bowl reminded me to back off, and I did with great results.

Is it"flat?" Only if one's taste buds are dead. There is a subtle interplay between the grassy sweet-tart Virginias and the solid, malty and chocolatey burleys.

Is it topped? Contrary to the description here, I don't think so. MacBarren says it is not cased, and I believe them. (The cavendish component however has been treated with sugar water/honey as part of the process). But no cocoa topping is present. You can take a small bit of leaf and actually taste it with your tongue (don't swallow the saliva...spit it out or risk nausea). You won't get any cocoa on your tongue. I'm very sure the chocolate notes are natural to the burleys. I rate this as 3 stars with caveats. Rub it, dry it, baby it a little, and smoke it in a cobb. You'll enjoy it. Recommended.
Pipe Used: M.M. Country Gent, other cobbs
Age When Smoked: Fresh bulk
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 21, 2014 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Smoking this while writing this review. Nice blend overall , but one of those blends that you keep around for the sake of. I often refer to MacBaren as the poor man's pipe tobacco. They offer great quality at at an affordable price. That being said Symphony reminds me of Carter Hall, Navy Mixture and Wessex Brown Virginia. Another reviewer mentioned finding a rythm with this blend, and that's the key to enjoying it. I would also recommend wiping out the shank chamber inbetween smokes with a q-tip. Moisture build up does not mix well with MB's spicy cavendish, which might be the culprit that gives the dreaded bite. Best way to describe Symphony: a malty ginger snap with a selztery overtone. Give the pipe a good scrubbing before smoking. Dark brown mixture that's reminscent of shredded wheat with similiar texture. Symphony will keep you guessing as the ginger and burley element rise and fall and dance with each other at times. Virginias add a mellow sweetness. Nice and toasty room note. UPDATE 12-23-14: I did notice a bite, more so when I smoked fresh out out of bulk bag it came in and rubbed out. When I jarred for a few days the flavor softened a bit. A pleasant smoke at any rate that requires the ocassional tamper. I wish MB would bring back Navy Mixture. This is the closest thing to it. Not to overdo a pun but this is more of a rhapsody than a symphony.
Pipe Used: Corncob
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 29, 2021 Medium Mild Mild Tolerable
The presentation is always nice and neat with Mac Baren. This a ready rubbed, so there are flake pieces, but packing is made easier with this cut. When smoking this blend I never rubbed it out. I just stuffed the tobacco into the pipes and kept checking my draw to get the right resistance.

The tin note was fruity when first opened, like many Virginia blend, but as this gets some oxygen, it turns toward a Burley smell, a little chocolaty and leathery.

This is best sipped, and it's a nice blend that has some zest and it develops into a chocolaty, raisiny, molasses flavor. There are some cereal and bread notes here and there as well. It has salty and sweet sensation ranges and pillowy body to it that continues to develop and increase in smoke density as the bowl progresses. At times it reminds me of the HH Burley flake--this kind of fusile, earthy, engine oil note that I love and find unique.

I smoked this in a variety of pipe shapes, lengths, bowl demensions, etc. It burns well and relatively cool. I think a bigger billiard was more enjoyable, but anything worked really. I found it did not bite, contrary to many opinions on Mac Baren's standard line of blends. I found the nicotine unnoticeable. It's a nice all-day blend, and mild, that doesn't require much thought, but given the time and attention it sure does charm me.

I would recommend this to Burley-lovers and Virginia smokers as well. Recommended, three stars.
Pipe Used: Various briars.
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: One year
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 04, 2021 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable
I enjoyed the first half of the 100 g tin of this that I purchased nearly six years ago; the other half is jarred for further investigation later. This is a good European aromatic assuming you are not looking for a topping drenched aro. I found the topping applied much to my liking, lightly.

I do not like chocolate toppings and this one does tread on that side, but it is light enough to make it bearable and even enjoyable to my palate. It really accentuates the burley and makes this more like a burley blend to me than an aromatic. It actually reminds me a little of Golden Extra in character.

One caution I would point out on this blend is that it will bite with the slightest elevation from a slow puffing cadence. You have been warned. To anyone who smokes a lot of Mac Baren products, this is nothing new to them, but I would put this one up with the touchiest of their "bitey" blends. If the cadence is right however, it is a great smoke IMO. Nice moderate sweetness that you would want in a Virginia/Burley blend with a touch of chocolate to elevate the Burley. It performs well and is packaged in the typically classy Mac Baren presentation.
Age When Smoked: 5 yrs 8 months
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 07, 2020 Medium Medium Medium Unnoticeable
I bought this the other day at the pipe store on a whim. I have smoked quite a few of the HH blends and apparently had forgotten about the infamous Mac Baren tongue bite, in fact I have a 21-year tin of Scottish Blend that after a few bowls I have to give it a rest but I am getting ahead of myself. I bought this in bulk out of the pipe store’s tobacco jar and it is a nice dark brown broken flake with a topping that says it is flavored with cocoa and chocolate. I couldn’t guess what it smelled like blindfolded so I will take their word for it. It is very slightly moist and holds a match really well. I was surprised at how few relights if any I needed while smoking this. It tastes smooth, maybe a little chocolate flavor can’t really say but tastes good. The problem is that I had to really sip on this one as to avoid the dreaded tongue bite and after a few bowls I decided to take a break as it started to nibble a little bit on my tongue. his one could really burn hot if pushed. Taking it slow I really liked but not sure if I have the discipline to make this a regular smoke but one, I am sure will return to. Definitely worth a try.
Pipe Used: Meerschaum
Age When Smoked: New
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 09, 2014 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
My first try with Symphony ended in a wicked tongue bite. I haven't smoked a lot of Mac Baren blends, but I understand that these tobaccos can pack a big bite if you aren't careful. The first smoke pretty much turned me off to the blend.

But something brought me back for another taste, especially after reading reviews of this tobacco that suggest rubbing it out creates an entirely different experience and taste. So, I rubbed out a pinch, and man oh man, it's an entirely differently experience, indeed. The chance of bite decreased dramatically, and I could taste a symphony (ha) of subtle, dark, sweet flavors from the Burley, the bright sweets from the Cavendish, and the subtle yet complimenting Virginias. It's wild how something initially so bland and biting turned into a pleasurable tobacco by merely rubbing it out.

Warning: even after rubbing it out fully, take the blow slow. Find a rhythm, and hang in it. The tobacco can get way too hot very fast, and leave you with a burn. This blend requires patience. At first, it seems taxing, but the flavors are quite rewarding. I'll probably finish of this tin in the next two weeks.
PurchasedFrom: Libation Station; Johnson City, TN
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 30, 2009 Mild Mild Medium Pleasant
Someone was nice enough to send me an lb of this delightful tobacco. I'm certainly grateful and if I can determine who this came from I will be happy to send them my thanks.

I found this tobacco to be very much what it Mac claims it to be. First light and a puff yields a very distinct Virginia aroma and flavor: Mild, grassy, and naturally semi-sweet. After a few puffs (and yes I tend to pull on the fast and heavy side) you begin to notice the burly which gets stronger as you move through the bowl. Cavendish peeks through after the first 3rd and dances in and out throughout the rest of the smoke. Symphony is a good name for this tobacco as it does yield a myriad of flavors at different times. As you smoke it .. you find yourself settling on a predominant flavor but then find that it waxes and wanes throughout the experience. My first thought at the beginning was "this is a VA ... not a Burly"; then, "ahh there is the burly"; followed by, "wow this is all burly .. with perhaps a bit of cavendish flavor"; and finally, "hmmm, the burly doesn't dominate after all". Terrific smoke!

What a treat to be surprised. I'll bet it would be even better if smoked with a bit less enthusiasm; also I'm betting a bit of aging would add to the delicacy. I'll be getting a few more lbs (guess I'll have to buy it this time) and adding to my cellar. Thanks again (whoever you are).

Well worth a try. Oh, and as for the nicotine, it does tend to develop more toward the last 3rd... even more than you might expect. Not sure why.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2009 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant
I am smoking this as a change of pace since many years now, this is a balanced mixture of many tobaccos mixed at equal proportion where it is hard to taste or to recognize any of them, the balance is strict and well calculated, the flavor is particularly neutral and monochromatic (in the good sense) and the only remaining element in the flavor is a taste of "chocolate" with the Mac Baren honey flavoring.

This blend is particularly enjoyed by Mac Baren fans (and I am one of them) who are very familiar with the famous Mac honey casing.

I like to smoke this blend when I am in mood for nothing.
3 people found this review helpful.
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