Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired

A bold flake of dark-fired burleys in a well balanced unity with flue cured Virginias. This flake is hot pressed, meaning that during the pressing, heat is added by steam to the tobaccos which causes the tobacco to intensify the marrying process giving us a bolder tobacco. The robust, earthly flavour of the dark-fired burleys shines through in the taste, and you will experience a deeply satisfying smoke indeed.
Notes: One of the most fascinating parts about this tobacco that will be sure to confuse a lot of American pipe smokers is that, despite the fact that HH Old Dark Fired contains zero latakia, Mac Baren still considers it an English because of the method used in its production, specifically the steam press.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Burley, Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin, 1 pound box
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.55 / 4





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Displaying 121 - 130 of 246 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 26, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
On opening this up I was taken right back in time to when I was a boy watching my grandfather ready his old straight Falcon for smoking. The full on aroma of xmas cake, figs & raisins wafting out of the pouch reminded me of one of his brands, however I can't remember what it was unfortunately.

Beautiful dark flakes that somehow 'look' as they smell: deep & rich... the single flake I took out to fill my small bowled cob rubbed in my palm easily into

I think the N must be "adequate" with this one as I found myself satisfied after the small bowl I had.

I read in other reviews that aging/jarring this tobacco for a time is really a worthwhile exercise so I'll make sure I do just that to experience what ODF has to offer after some time.

On the whole I like this tobacco, a pleasant change to the Latakia blends I've been exploring, enough to make sure it has a permanent place in my 'cellar' (or tobacco cupboard at least! 😉 ) While moisture isn't really a problem with this tobacco, I'll leave a couple of bowls worth out to dry for a time in order to compare it to the "fresh out the tin" state I've been smoking it in.

If you haven't tried this tobacco yet then don't waste another minute, get at least a tin ordered...2oz incase you don't like it but I can't see that being the case to be honest
Pipe Used: MM Cob, Dr Plumb Meerschaum lined
PurchasedFrom: GQ Tobacco
Age When Smoked: Fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 08, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Unnoticeable
This is an almost perfect smoke for the experienced pipe smoker. I just grabbed a piece of flake and stuffed it into the pipe. One light and it was up and burning. You can smoke it fast or slow without much fuss, although furtive puffs can get you a bit near the Virginia tongue bite we all dread. The omission of latakia or other so-called "orientals" is a bonus, as not everybody appreciates that dry lingering aftertaste those tobaccos tend to leave. We Brits tend to prefer the moisture in flake tobaccos, and this one just about ticks all the boxes. Our home produced efforts are often laced with syrupy sugary toppings, and although Macbaren does use maple syrup in its blending process, there is nothing much sweet in this flake except the tobacco taste.
Pipe Used: Stanwell brushed and Missouri Meerschaum various
PurchasedFrom: Pipe shop, Edinburgh
Age When Smoked: straight from tin
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 25, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
HH ODF is strong; full bodied flake tobacco. I don't get affected easily by nicotine but this one makes me a little lightheaded from time to time. I find it stronger in vitamin N than Dunhill's Nightcap and SG's rope tobaccos.

It needs some dry time if you want to smoke it folded and stuffed. However, if you want it directly out of tin, I suggest cube cut gravity fill. I've also tried it fully rubbed out but I found that the nuances in smoke fade away by doing so.

Upon tin opening you get the fermented tobacco smell which is buttery and like a good old Anatolian cheese. It gives a shiver to senses.

Smoke characteristic is unique, due to the hot steam press. Burley is the king in this bouqet. And Virginia gives the natural sweet taste but it stays a little behind the curtain occasionally.

It burns controlled until the very end if packed not too dense. I've found it better in big chamber pipes, while cube cutted. Fold and stuff suits best for narrow and deep pipes using half of a flake.

Hot beverages like tea or coffee accompany very well to this marvelous blend.

By the way no tongue bite in my experiences at all.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 28, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Today is sad day for me, as it is time for me to do something that I have not done for many, many a year. Unfortunately it is time for me to deliver a 1-star rating on a tobacco, and it is with a sad heart that it is this tobacco to which I must deliver it. Upon opening a tin which had been received already opened, but resealed a year or two earlier, I got a tin note of - - - nothing. Not even a tobacco smell. Unaccustomed to such an experience, I lifted the flakes out. I have recently been smoking large bulk flakes, and these seemed quite pathetic really, by comparison. Small, weedy, thin little things, seemed too small to really satisfy, but undeterred, I soldiered on. Loading up various pipes, with flake prepared in a range of ways, from folded & stuffed to fully rubbed, I got - - - nothing. No taste whatsoever, it was like smoking hot air. After about 15 flakes of this nonsense, I ended up blending it with some XX Black Rope I had lying about, and that at last gave it some oomph, but, honestly, I wouldn't even bother touching again, even as filler. It brought nothing to the table, bar a reasonably good burn rate (even that veered into 'hot' territory too often for my liking), and a room note that was, like the tobacco, almost absent. Like the smoke, the room note was thin, weedy & weak, pleasurable to non-smokers only by its' apparent absence. In all my years of tobacco reviews I have only ever pulled out the one-star card once before, and that was for the aberration that is 'Clan', but in this case, I cannot hold off any longer, for me, MacBarens ODF is a distinctly One-Star tobacco (although it's still not as bad as Clan).

The only caveat that I would add is that my sample may have been somewhat dry, although sadly, my manual inspection of the flakes in no way indicated that this was the situation. It may just be that I cannot establish the nuances within this tobacco that make it such a pleasurable experience for others on this site.

*****UPDATE 2015-12-14*****

Since writing my original review of this, I have received more ODF which was much fresher & I will promote this tobacco to 3 stars. It is a pleasant smoking sweetish Virginia with a nice dose of sour spiciness in the background (I assume from the Kentucky, or perhaps just the combination of the two types of tobacco). I also get a pleasant nuttiness from this one, like hazelnuts. I smoke it folded & stuffed with a bit rubbed out on top to get it going. Burns well once lit. Light enough to be enjoyed an time of the day, but not so mild as to be insipid. Recommended for all those who like flakes of this style. The room-note is somewhat stronger, but not overpowering. but that is not the most important thing to me. The flakes are well-presented out of the tin & a uniform cut. My fist review was obviously based on flakes that were too dried out, as what I have now is like a different tobacco. Very nice, decent tobacco. Not a star tobacco, but still good.
Pipe Used: Everyman, Old England Zulu, Peterson Baby Calabash
Age When Smoked: 1.5 years
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 04, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
MB HH Old Dark Fired is dark, ripe and satisfying. Despite the full, spicy taste with subtle, but present natural sweetness, it doesn’t sting or bite you at all. I could feel the tad above medium nicotine content about half way down the bowl in a comfortable way.

Earthy notes of the dark fired Kentucky are well balanced in the mix of Virginia characteristics. Smell and taste complement each other so nicely, that I don’t want the smoke to escape into the air. I should find a tiny room and lock myself in while smoking this. The bad thing about this tobacco is, that it might make fellow pipe smokers turn on each other, in a battle for the tins available… . Enjoy!
Pipe Used: Various with and without filter
Age When Smoked: fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 26, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
I bought a tin of this a while back and just cracked it today, I've been looking forward to it for a while. I've read nothing but glowing reviews of ODF, one guy's complete review was "It's a gift from God" so to be honest I was prepared to be disappointed; nothing is that good.

Well, it's damn good. The glowing reviews are well deserved, the flavor is amazing and even my uneducated palate can pick out the subtleties. The burley is predominate of course and the taste is bold and wonderful, but it doesn't overpower the Virginias. The only slightly negative thing I can say about it, and this will not be a factor for everybody, is that the nic is pretty strong. I have a relatively low tolerance and have to smoke this gem in a small bowl and, sadly, I don't think it would be an all day smoke for me. Every day, but not all day. I give it 3 stars for sissies like me, but if you can take the Vitamin N hit, it's 4 stars all the way.
Pipe Used: MM Cob
PurchasedFrom: local B&M
Age When Smoked: Tin fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 02, 2014 Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Very Pleasant
I heard JD on the excellent Country Squire Radio Show going on about this blend, and I promptly ordered a tin. WOW! Thank you JD -Relaxing with a bowl of Old Dark Fired is a pleasure. There is a poetry to the smoke that teased my muse, hinted at exotic places and forbidden pleasures with the intesity of its tastes...when I first lit the bowl I was seated on a park bench in drab Tonypandy but almost immeditaley I was transported to a woodland teaming with wildlife, day became night and nubile maidens danced for my enjoyment. OK sorry - in other words this is a bloody excellent tobacco. It leaves a velvety chocolately aftertaste and for its strength smokes incredibly mild.
Pipe Used: Big Ben
PurchasedFrom: smoking
Age When Smoked: fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 24, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
I just reviewed Mac Baren ODF ready rubbed. I recently had the pleasure of being able to A/B both ODF and ODF-RR; I mean, about 100 gr. of each. I call it the Great Pipegasm. Which do I like better? Truthfully, it depends on which I'm smoking at the time; that's the one I like better, lol. I do like a flake better than ready rubbed in general, but MB's ready rubbeds are easy to smoke.

Great burn if you know how to fold flake, lights easily, no bite and gets better the longer she burns. Fine white ash at the end. Did I mention that this baby has a serious nic hit? Not overwhelming, but you will damn sure know you're smoking tobacco. I found moniker's detailed 2013 review of this blend to be very close to my experience.

There seem to be a few folks who don't like Mac Baren, but I'm not one of them. As far as I'm concerned, both ODFs proclaim that Mac Baren can make a tobacco as good as any in the world.

If you haven't tried the two ODF's and you like Burley or a good Va-Bur, you owe it to yourself to order these. Preferably both, but either will do. God, do I envy you.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 30, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This blend far surpassed my expectations. The smell from the sample that I got was very different from any other straight Virginia I've ever had. Most of the characteristics you would expect from a Virginia were there (sweet, citrus) but is accompanied by a dark, smoky, very savory note. One of the thin flakes fills my little Pony Express perfectly. Both fold-and-stuff and rubbing out methods work just fine. The taste is definitely of Virginias but has a smoother and darker flavor than others. From such dark and strong flavors I would have expected a monster vitamin-N kick, but in the small bowl I barely got anything. Mind you, anything more than 1 flake of this might be a little too much for my liking. I got this as a 5 flake sampler and am likely to buy myself a tin!
Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum Pony Express
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
Tin Note: If you ever been to a good Italian restaurant then your no stranger to the fresh bread and sweet oil vinegar you get before your meal. Well this blend to me smelt just like that. I love that as an appetizer I am not entirely sure its what I like my tobacco to smell like.

Initial Light: I had no problems getting the pipe lit and to my surprise I was hit immediately with a wonderful flavor resembling the sweet grass taste of a sugar cane. I was shocked that a tobacco that smelt like vinegar would end up tasting like sugar cane amazing.

Mid-Smoke: Although the smoke isn't thick and creamy, at this point the flavor is just taking over and shows no signs of stopping. The sweetness from the Virginia pops up over the earthy tone of the burley, Leaving a full satisfying smoke packed with just the right amount of sweetness and boldness. However I had a hard time keeping the pipe lit and had to relight twice.

Bottom of the Bowl: The smoke is much creamier now and the Virginia is out to play full throttle. It popped out a lot more and now leaves a sweet after taste in your mouth after every puff out. The smoke is much more filling and flavorful.

Room Note: My wife popped out to show me something and this point I think I had a little to much of the Whiskey cause I don't remember what she said. But I did ask her about the room note nodding with a boyish smile, she said 1 out of 4 but forget that I like this blend to much so i made it a 2 out of 4 Marriage is about compromise after all.

Dottle: Nice Ashy finish plain and simple.

Smoking Duration: Crap, I totally forgot to record this (how much did i drink?) It was a small bowl so I'd say it was a good 30min.

Overall: This blend was an odd one for me because it made my "test sheet" fail in some ways. It appears that my senses are in conflict with this blend. My nose does not like it but my taste-buds are in love and crave it. However, I will age and cellar this blend even if the record shows an arguable in flavor though agreeable in smell score.
Pipe Used: Peterson After Dinner Calabash Pipe
Age When Smoked: 1 year
2 people found this review helpful.
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