Mac Baren HH Highland Blend

Fully matured Virginias, ready rubbed burleys, latakia and a touch of fire cured cavendish is the recipe. We added one of the worlds finest 30-year old Scotch whiskies, Glenfarclas. The natural flavours from the tobacco and the delightful taste of the Scotch marry perfectly, so when smoked you experience the mellow taste and subtle smoky note of the tobaccos combined with the overtone of a fine scotch.
Notes: Discontinued in 2014.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type English
Contents Burley, Cavendish, Latakia, Virginia
Flavoring Whisky
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams tin
Country Denmark
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

2.81 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 26 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 08, 2014 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
The twelve year old Glenfarclas Scotch whiskey moderately sublimates the tobaccos as well as being a team player. The woody burleys are nutty, oat-like and sweet with light earthiness. The tar and tangy citrusy, grassy Virginia cavendish is bready with a mild spice hit in a support role. The Cyprian Latakia is a condimental ingredient, mainly pushing a little smoke, earth, and wood more than actually latakia taste. Creamy at times, slight sour notes pop up here and there as a contrast to the sweetness. It doesn't bite or get harsh, but it should be sipped just the same as it can burn a little warm if forced. Sports few rough notes. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps past the mild mark. Burns clean at a reasonable pace with a mostly consistent flavor. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a pleasant, lightly lingering after taste, and room note. Can be an all day smoke.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2016 Very Mild Medium Very Mild Very Pleasant
I love a lot of the Mac Baren offerings and I'm still scratching my head over why HH Highland Blend passed the company's taste test but was then discontinued. Did their brewery shut down causing them to lose their pipeline to Glenfarclas Whiskey (whatever the heck that is?) Nice overall presentation of Whiskey that was misted sparingly, but enough of it to enhance the balance of the blend. Provides a unique smoking experience.

7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 15, 2016 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I just recently finished a sample of this I got a few years ago. I remember tasting it once, thinking to myself "meh", jarring it and putting it onto a shelf where it got buried. Recently I have been on a mission to finish most of my open containers, so I revisited it and was much more impressed with it this time.

I have found I am not a big fan of blends flavored with whiskey even though it is always my first choice of adult beverage. That said, a couple do stand out, notably Peterson's Irish Whiskey and McClelland's 35th anniversary. I would put this above those two which is odd as Scotch is usually my last choice of whiskey. A whiff of scotch usually brings back ill memories of raiding my dad's bar when I didn't know what I was doing as a kid. These adventures invariably led a to vomiting.

So with that said, I was actually very pleased with the tin note of HHHB. It is funny as it is undoubtedly a scotch aroma, but mixed with the various tobacco leafs it is a very pleasant aroma that I could sniff for hours. The blend smokes nice, albeit a little hot if you are not cautious. It has a very sweet aroma with a touch of smoke, which I had assumed to be coming from the scotch, before I realized there is a touch of Latakia. It is added condimentally. The star in this one is certainly the scotch and maybe the burley.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the bowls I had and am now disappointed I didn't stock up on this one before it got discontinued.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2014 Medium Medium to Strong Medium Pleasant
I really like this, and am sad to hear they are discontinuing it.

It deserves to be in the HH line, its much higher quality than the Classic or 7 Seas series.

Quite rich, its VA forward with the Lat in the background, and the Glenfarclas casing is very nicely done. It smokes cool, very rich aroma and I would call this crossover rather than full aro as the tobacco components are more of the draw than the casing.

The Lat adds creamy and rich consistency, but the smokiness is kept at bay, the VA's warm up and bring some sweetness into the fold, the whiskey also warms up and comes across as deep and peaty.

Delightful, all round.

Don't know why it gets such visceral dislike from some quarters. I didn't think it was chemical or cloying at all.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 23, 2013 Strong Medium Full Tolerable
This is only my 2nd Mac Baren, but it falls far short of the HH Vintage Syrian, one of my favorite Balkans. Not that this is unpleasant, but I did get some nasty tongue bite (first time that's happened in a decade or more). There is such a thing as the dreaded Mac Baren tongue bite after all, I'm sad to report. I can be a bit of a puffer though, so it could be my own damn fault, especially given my inexperience with burley.

There is some sweetness due to the whiskey no doubt. Not a great deal of Latakia kick though; not that that's a bad thing or anything. This tobacco just doesn't have what I'm looking for though- as a Balkan, or semi-aromatic. Two stars.

UPDATE: Over two months later, I felt I'd underestimated this tobacco. It stands on its own merits. I'm adding another star for a total of 3 stars. Not bad stuff.
Pipe Used: Peterson Army- the best of others
PurchasedFrom: Cigars Int'l
Age When Smoked: Nov 2012 according to tin
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 07, 2011 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Tolerable
The HH blends are truly a different animal from other Mac Baren products, and this is no exception. Reviewers which are lumping this in with other non-HH Mac Baren products are really not giving these blends a fair or objective look, because they are distinctively different and Mac Baren makes no bones about that. I am not saying that they are inherently better or worse, but they are not prepared in the same vein, and it is simply inaccurate to review them as if they are. The HH blends focus heavily on the flavors of the constituent tobaccos used in the mixture, and have little to none of the typical Mac Baren casing which flavors many of their other blends, and gives them their Mac Baren character, for better or worse. As a result, the HH line is nothing like other blends such as Roll Cake or Club Blend.

Both within Mac Baren, and in general, I would urge everyone to take each review with a grain of salt and try things yourself before you write something off based on the palate of another. Sometimes the difference of a pipe or humidity level can make a world of difference in the smoking experience and taste, and this should also not be forgotten. My experience are that Mac Baren blends are not for the beginning smoker, meaning someone who has not learned to control their rate of puffing, moisture level, packing, and relighting. Many are very good blends, but if you take them straight from the tin to the pipe, and light and puff heavily and frequently, you are indeed likely to get some, or a lot, of tongue bite. If you take your time, however, and dry them to a lower moisture level before lighting up, you will be rewarded.

This is not my favorite HH blend - that accolade goes to the Acadian Perique, which I find both delicious and wonderful to smoke. This mixture, like all of the HH blends, is a blend of several tobaccos, and is only lightly cased with the whiskey. It packs easily in the bowl without much tamping, and lights and burns readily. I find it a little spicy at the beginning, and mellows as things move along. As others have noted, I do not taste the whiskey as much as I smell it in the tin. It does offer a nice rich mixture of virginias and latakia, with something extra, perhaps from the whiskey, perhaps from the dark kentucky. It is a cool smoke, but is more likely to bite in my estimation if you are careless than either Acadian Perique or Vintage Syrian.

I do not find this an out of this world, best of the best blend, but it is a very fine quality and enjoyable smoke. The HH blends really show what Mac Baren is capable of when it steps away from the usual cased virginia and burley offerings. Both Acadian Perique and Vintage Syrian are "better" in my estimation, but this is a good study in contrast, and definitely has its own flavor.

*** I just wanted to offer an update and say that, now that my tin is a million years old it is so, so much better than what it used to be. The blend originally to me had a sharp flavor (not tongue bite, but just an sharpness that detracted from the flavor) and did not seem cohesive on my palette. That has all changed. It is now much mellower and richer, the sharpness is gone, and it offers a well rounded tobacco flavor with a hint of whiskey. I am going to smoke more of it now in various pipes to see how this holds, but It seems like good things are happening. of course, one could argue that if you have to wait 6-8 years for a blend to become truly tasty, then that is not worth the wait, but it is, trust me it is.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 05, 2017 Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
I opened this time after 3 years of "cellaring". My memories of it from the past weren't distinct so I had little prejudice in giving it a go. Upon opening one finds a rough cut, kind of shag or perhaps roughly rubbed out flake of various shades of brown, with much having a golden hue. The tin aroma is sweet and a bit smoky. As for Scotch Whisky, I detect little Whisky scent or flavor, perhaps because I'm enjoying this along with a fine dram of Talisker Storm which would overwhelm a milder Scotch whisky flavor or smell. The blend is very Virginia forward, something usually not to my liking. However 3 years of aging have mellowed the nasty Virginia tongue burn and instead it's just grassy sweetness, supported by some Cavendish and Burley creaminess and body. As for the Latakia it's hard to notice much here at all if any, much less of a smoke taste than the tin aroma would make one think would be encountered. My pipe burned smoothly without needing a relight. HH Highland Blend is not something I'll smoke too regularly but it is certainly enjoyable.

An update one day later: I didn't notice it at the time as much but the Virginia mouth scalding was taking place. I know that many love Virginia tobacco. However I am one of many who find the stuff's alkaline burn too discomforting. After smoking this "Virginia forward" blend my mouth developed a feeling of scalding throughout the following morning and the roof of my mouth even had skin peeling. It's tobaccos like this that had me putting away my pipes for years. I'm lowering my score here.
Pipe Used: Design Berlin 9mm Cutty NeoLine 11 9mm
PurchasedFrom: I believe
Age When Smoked: 3 years
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Very Pleasant
I have to admit this blend was a surprise for me.

The sweetness of the virginia blends perfectly with the very slight whiskey flavour, while the latakia provides just a hint of smokiness and smoothens to the blend. To me this is perfectly balanced throughout the bowl. This by far isn't an aromatic blend, as you always clearly can make out the pure tobacco taste. Even towards the end of the bowl when the flavouring becomes less and less. It is a perfect example for a scottish blend.

The room note is purely fascinating and i fail to describe it. Also the ghosting is very nice and pleasant, i love to smell the smoked and cleaned bowls for it. I can't make out any crossover as the flavouring really is very slight.

I strongly recommend to hurry up and grab the remaining tins that are still easy to to get. I know i will!
Pipe Used: It went trough rotation.
Age When Smoked: Fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 21, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Overall Highland Blend is a pleasant tobacco. Even if it is flavoured with scotch whiskey, I cannot help but compare it to Plumcake; the basic tobaccos are rather similar, for the exception that HB has more backbone in terms of richness, strength and tobacco taste. HB is well balanced, smokes easy and offers a combination of sweet, spicy and smoky tasting experience. I will buy again when I seek a milder tobacco as a change of pace.
Pipe Used: Corn cob and meerschaum
Age When Smoked: 14 months
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 11, 2013 Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I see this has some mixed reviews... I have to say, I am a fan of this. I have not tried everything in the MacB lineup, but this is my favorite so far. I prefer this to Club blend and Dark Twist by a long shot. Not to mention its way cheaper in bulk than those two highly regarded tins. I find this to be very complex, not overbearing with the casing and just a nice change of pace. Room note is a bit of a problem with the wife, but I love it. Just put your nose down in a pouch of this and it gets the blood flowing. A really nice blend that is a keeper for me.
2 people found this review helpful.
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