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 - 11 of 77 Reviews
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
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
Aug 21, 2009 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Oh, my! Mac Baren scores BIG with this one! As someone who struggles to find a Mac Baren blend that is better than "ok", this is a real find!

Mostly burley but with a bit of virginia and cavendish, this smokes like a classic straight burley... robust, flavorful, interesting. But it develops like a virginia blend, starting out with a mild sweetness that becomes bolder down the bowl. As the description states, there is a hint of darker chocolate sweetness as well as a beautiful burley nuttiness that is absolutely irresistable! This is one excellent tobacco!

Smoked slowly, this one sings! As I smoke all tobaccos I intend to rate at varying degrees of vigor, I should say that this one will bite if smoked at anything beyond a moderate level. Even slowly, there was a slight hint of sting. But sit back and puff slowly and methodically and this blend is one of the best I've ever smoked. From a guy who was about to write off Mac Baren tobaccos, this one is a keeper!
40 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 31, 2008 Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
A Burley and Virginia combination that has a casing that simply puts the contents in a class by itself.

Symphony is a broken flake that loads easily and burns evenly. It is a cool blend if smoked on the slow side. A revved up puffing cadence will attract the heat. I also detected a smidgen of added flavoring in the natural, Mac Baren's sort of way.

This is not a bad smoke at all!
28 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
Dec 04, 2017 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant
I’ve been smoking MB Symphony for 40+ yrs & highly applaud it.. the tin presentation is lovely; aroma is nutty, sweet & spicy with overtones of molasses. It packs well in a medium fashion, smokes nearly an entire pipe w/o relighting & room note is sumptuous & enjoyed by others —- even non-smokers. It burns to a nice clean white ash. This is to be savored like anything of quality—-so drawing excessively will B I T E has been well received by friends & easily becomes a go-to tobac. I rate it a 3.5.
Pipe Used: Dunhill, Ashton, Blatters, Comoys
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes. Etc.
Age When Smoked: New to aged: Tin & Bulk
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2017 Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Mac Baren - Symphony.

When I opened this I was of the mind it was an aromatic ribbon, never mind, it's a good blend, I'm happy I messed up, lol!

It's quite a coarse broken flake, which has a good moisture amount when fresh, is medium brown in colour, with a tin-note not too suggestive of an added flavouring; in this case chocolate. Due to the size of the broken flakes I give a pinch a final rub before smoking any.

I enjoy the flavour of Symphony a great deal: it's mainly the tobaccos, with a tiny proportion of added flavouring. The Burley, to me, seems heavier in weight compared to the others. The chocolate is light; it seems more like a slight sweetness, rather than a definite chocolate addition. I don't get any tongue bite and it burns even and steady, but I have a problem with the heat; it's not the hottest I've had, but it does require a bit of a gentle technique.

I find the nicotine medium, and the room-note pleasant.

Although this isn't totally perfect, I'll happily highly recommend it!

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Cob
Age When Smoked: New
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 03, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
MacBaren Symphony is a burley/Virginia/cavendish mixture which is marketed outside of the United States as Harmony. There seems to be some sort of copyright issue with the Harmony moniker in the U.S.

Pop the tin and you discover a ruddy brown broken flake with a distinct fermented raisin or fig smell characteristic of many MacBaren tobaccos. The MacBaren broken flake presents a fairly rough cut, and I usually rub it out some more, With a bit of the tobacco rubbed out at the top pf the bowl it will light easily enough in its natural state, but you will probably need several relights during the smoke. Rubbed out you have a good chance of smoking the entire bowl without relighting.

The aroma presents a quite pleasant natural tobacco smell that by and large most will find pleasant. As with other MacBaren offerings, I personally do not encounter bite problems when I smoke Symphony with a well modulated puffing rate. Nevertheless I must note that a fairly significant number of pipe smokers encounter bite problems with the MacBaren blends, either because of extreme tongue sensitivity or due to the state of their personal body chemistry.

Symphony is a burley forward blend. The burley component presents some note of chocolate and a bit of cashew nuttiness. As with the entire MacBaren line the quality of the leaf used is high.

The Virginia portion of the mixture is present in a more than negligible amount and offers a mildly sweet haylike contribution to the smoke.

The cavendish is the MacBaren Original Cavendish, which is burley that has been pressed and fermented down to a blackened state and then cased with a honey-like flavoring which is in fact (at least primarily) maple sugar water. The sweetened cavendish creates what I would term a semi-aromatic smoke, although it is at least as strong as that used in Scottish Mixture, which MacBaren rates as a light aromatic.

The Harmony moniker fits this blend more appropriately than Symphony. The constituent tobaccos offer their contributions in a mellow in and out harmonious fashion. Symphony suggests great variations ranging from restrained to bombastic, and that is not the case here. It burns to a light grayish ash with little moisture.

I find it difficult to rate Symphony. For me personally it is a solid three on a four star rating for I do enjoy burley forward blends. I suspect most pipe smokers who include and enjoy burley frequently in their puffing experience would also rate Symphony as a three star. But for those who have little affinity for burley based blends, I suspect the conclusion would be that this is a somewhat blah offering. Although the taste approaches the medium range, and it demonstrates a bit of underlying sweetness, it is nevertheless a somewhat restrained flavor. So I give only a two star rating, although I do think burley lovers will be more appreciative than that.

I use numerous pipes when I smoke Symphony. As many reviewers note, burley often shines most brilliantly in a cob.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 27, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
I have been totally surprised by this remarkable Burley blend! When I opened the tin, instead of getting acquainted with the typical MB Burley aroma, I was struck by an aroma that reminded me of another tobacco; it took me a while to figure it out: Dark Twist Roll Cake. I would suppose the addition of MB's Cavendish and some VA made the difference for the tin aroma. The cut is typical of most of MB's non coin mixtures: a partially rubbed - out flake, on the long side of cut. Despite being a bit dry, Symphony burns slowly and beautifully. It delivers a nice chocolate and nut taste; I find it is much tastier than what London Burley or Golden Extra bring; the occasionnal nice sweetness provided by the VA and CA make Symphony my favorite Burley blend with Wessex Burley Slices. Puffed at a decent cadence, it brings a very pleasant smoke and has enough nicotine to make me happy. I prefer Symphony to Golden Extra because of the addition of the CA. I have another 3 tins and I will be buying more. Edit: I bought another 5 tins. This is a Mac baren tobacco to try, it's simply great.
Pipe Used: Butz - Choquin; Stanwell; Mark Tinsky
Age When Smoked: 9 months
6 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
Jan 30, 2012 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I like this tobacco. I like it so much I bought a pound and put it down to rest.

The mixed reviews seen here do not surprise me at all. As with all Mac Baren pipe tobacco this stuff can really sizzle your taster. A gentle approach of this blend fully rubbed out and smoked in the right pipe can be a real pleasure.

There is a flavor there but I do not get chocolate, I would call it just sweet. I like this blend because it does not taste like vanilla or cherry or honeydew like other aromatics, it just has a sweet tobacco taste. Kind of like the old school american OTC blends in a tuxedo. I really do like it.

If you smoke it fast you are wasting your time, and I am beginning to think that there is a way Mac Baren cures their tobaccos that does not agree with some people. Some cannot smoke any Mac Baren blends, others never have a problem.

Give it a shot, you never know. This one fits me quite nicely. Highly recommended.
5 people found this review helpful.
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