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 21 - 30 of 246 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 09, 2018 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Old Dark Fired is a full and tasty blend. Nutty, earthy, molasses sweet burley, aided by deep Kentucky with notes of smoked wood and earth, and a bit of spice that builds just prior mid-bowl which is more noticeable on the retrohale. The virginia lends a welcome grassy/hay sweetness to the blend and melds seemlessly with the other components. This blend benefits beautifully from age, becoming slightly sweeter. It comes a bit moist, so drying time is recommended. Nicotine is a notch or two above medium. 4 stars. Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Big Ben Jockey 102
Age When Smoked: 1 Year
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 16, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Had you asked me about Mac Baren before I tried this, I would have said I don't like Mac Baren tobaccos. I still don't like them, but this one was love at first light, it's just good quality tobacco taste all the way through, from first light all the way to the end, just a smidgen over medium in strength, could even be an all day smoke as it gets closer to winter. This is another one I make sure I have a small stockpile of.

1 August 2019

Just wanted to update room note :-

One of the few tobacco's I smoke that meets with both wife and dog approval !!!
Pipe Used: Good in all pipes I've used
PurchasedFrom: My smoking shop
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 02, 2013 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
This is a full flake in the finest tradition which puts FVF in its place. The tin-note is heavenly with that almost offensive fermented power that one instinctively knows signals a bold smoke. The first-light suggests wonderful things and then there is the taste some of us have been searching for for a long, long time. This is a quality rendition of "real tobacco", with ever-increasing taste, not a hint of bite and clouds of full, unctious smoke. I personally find that it rises in strength to an almost overwhelming degree then, afer a rest, returns to normal as the moisture evaporates to make the final third far more enjoyable than I had anticipated. I feel it is a testament to the blender's art that the the nicotine content is about as reasonable as one could expect for such an up-front offering- I was a bit shaky but not overhwelmed. It is a little stronger than I am comfortable with as a broken flake but rubbed out it is more or less perfect. No gurgling, no casing (that I can detect), no ashy dissapointment at the end. There is much more going on than in Peterson's Irish Flake, which tastes black and un-nuanced in comparison- think Condor Long Cut with an added nutty-citrus note and absolutely no perfume. I plan to dial it down a touch with 10% Union Square to add yet more expansiveness to the taste, but this is a work in progress. McBaren have for some time now, had a reputation as a "beginner's brand"- this is certainly not the case for HHODF. It is the real deal. All you pipist who have to have IF or CLC to find a satisfying pipe take note; there is a new sherrif in town.

Addendum: I have subsequently mixed HHODF with GLP's Union Square, approx 50/50 ratio and rubbed out to approx a broken flake consistency then allowed to marinate for a couple of days in a large jar with enough air in it to allow both tobaccos to breath. This mixture is quite possibly the best tobacco I have ever tasted in my life. Due to the differing strengths and palates of the two blends, the HHODF is dialled down to about 70% but the piquant, citric Va from US does not overwhelm, serving instead to make the ODF serve as a basenote to a complex smoke- think rasperry coulis on top of a bitter dark chocolate sauce, with the perfect lemon sponge in the middle. These tobaccos were made for each other. Truly exceptional.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 01, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
Well, never been a fan of the HH series (which is weird, since I love some of Mac Baren's classic blends), and I had no big expectations for this one since I don't love dark fired burley too much.

This is a stout and very traditional flake, something a bit like Orlik Dark Fired Kentucky in taste, but less extreme.

A well done tobacco: nice rubbery flakes, good presentation, easy to pack and smoke, and it packs a good flavour punch. What's not to like then? Well, something's got to do with my personal taste: I prefer my flakes on the sweet and sour side, not on the "earthy and cigar-like" one. While I can enjoy some burley in my blends, I don't like it to be so dominant. Of course if you like earthy, cigar-like, woody notes, you'll probably love this one. What I can objectively say, though, is that the flavour evolution is quite lacking: like this taste profile or not, you will get it from beginning to end with almost no variation (apart from some increased bitterness in case of wet/hurried smoking). And this is my main gripe with the HH series: all these blends seem a bit too monolithic for me, with none of the subtle interplay of the coin cut or flake blends that MacBaren offers.

Nicotine is slightly heavy, but nothing particularly troublesome.

A decent tobacco, then, if you like the style. But again, I think you might find some more complex blends of this kind out there.
Pipe Used: Dunhill, Le Nuvole, Castello, Asthon
PurchasedFrom: Danpipes
Age When Smoked: a few months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
HH Old Dark Fired - Part 2 of 6 - MacBaren HH Flake Reviews

In honor of the just released MacBaren HH Rustica Flake (that I received three tins of yesterday) I will be reviewing the five previous HH Flakes leading up to a final review of that new release. I feel all tobacco requires a “Cool Down” period after you open the tin. A minimum of a month so the prior five HH Flakes will give me enough time to get Rustica ready for my liking. With that said: here is Part 2 of 6 . . . of my MacBaren HH Flake Series Reviews.

During my short journey enjoying the pipe tobacco hobby, I have had the privilege of smoking many different blends. My best guess would be around 500 and around 300 currently accessible. With such variety it can be difficult to focus on a certain tobacco at times. It is called “The Paradox of Choice” or what I like to refer to it as: “First World Problems”. Admittedly being a creature of excess, I welcome it. But I am also all too aware of the inherent biases that come with such variety. Namely my fondness of some of the very first tobaccos I have ever tried.

MacBaren’s HH Old Dark Fired was the 25th pipe tobacco that I have had the pleasure of smoking. It was also the very first tobacco I have tried with Dark Fired Kentucky. Yes, I keep record of the tobaccos I have tried. See for yourself under opened: It came to me highly recommended by pretty much everyone at my local tobacconist. But I didn’t purchase my first tin until watching a review of one of the most respected as well as missed YTPC members . . . John Harden aka Matches860. You can see his original review here:

Matches did his review of HH Old Dark Fired with his famous: “Friday Savinelli” (a Savinelli Roma Lucite 673 KS) at a place he called Fisher Meadows. As he watched joggers and fishermen, he went on to describe this tobacco. He claimed to be introduced to ODF by someone sending him a few flakes in a plastic bag. Then eventually someone else sent him a full tin and other tins followed without him ever requesting them. He showed the flakes off and said that they make his mouth water just by looking at it. I honestly couldn’t agree more with John. The very first time I opened a tin of HH Old Dark Fired . . . my mouth did water. It wasn’t the sight of the flakes that caused this, though. It was the smell.

The tin note of Old Dark Fired can only be described in a word as: “SAVORY”. You get smokiness, sweetness, mild vinegar, BBQ and/or ketchup in your nose as you smell the tin. Smelling this tobacco makes me want to eat it. I always prepare this tobacco like I do all MacBaren Flakes. With the fold and stuff method. When you first light HH ODF you will be overwhelmed (in a good way) with the Dark Fired Kentucky. It is herbal, woodsy, sour, earthy, and spicy. The smokiness does translate into your smoke, but not as much as smelling it from the tin note. The Virginias and Burleys both play supporting roles in this tobacco, but are noticed equally. Nutty and earthy Burleys along side sweet and citrusy Virginias holding up the Dark Fired Kentucky throughout your bowl. Upon retro haling you will notice a touch more spice. This tobacco is simply wonderful from start to finish.

Returning to John’s review he claimed that it was probably his first introduction to fire cured tobacco. He stated that he can always tell that if a tin doesn’t last two weeks, then it means he really likes it. Apparently he went through the first tin in a few days. I have purchased eleven tins of HH Old Dark Fired in three years. I have some flakes that are three years old, one year old, six months, and fresh. For this review I tried them all and can honestly say that not much has changed. Almost indistinguishable from each other except that the older it gets, the slightly milder it becomes. Per really outdid himself with this tobacco. It is an exceptional flake that holds up very well as it ages and is perfectly smokable when it’s fresh (still needs that “Cool Down” period imho).

At the end of John’s review, he stated that when he was on Facebook and he sees someone that says they are smoking ODF, he can almost predict what else they’re going to be smoking. People that have his same taste. He went on to mention some of those blends and said there were quite a few that escape his memory because he’s kind of vegged out sitting there and then he giggles. You can see very plainly that he enjoyed HH Old Dark Fired very much. So, in Matches memory I think I will follow suit and smoke another bowl of HH ODF and veg out myself.

~ Barry
Pipe Used: Multiple
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars, Local B&M, SmokingPipes, TobaccoPipes, TheStoryTellersPipe
Age When Smoked: Fresh to 3 Years Old
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2017 Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable
A very gentle introduction to Kentucky tobacco. I find the Va dominates the smoke. The quality of the tobacco and flakes is very good, and I got a little more flavor when I rubbed them out as opposed to folded. Very little bite, a MacBaren first for me. Unfortunately, I found the flavor somewhat lacking and lost interest in the smoke half way through every bowl. I much prefer other Kentucky blends (Irish Flake), and in comparison can only somewhat recommend this one.
Age When Smoked: 1 year
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 31, 2017 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Having smoked and LOVED the "Bold Kentucky" first - this somehow seems like a "little-brother-version" of the Bold Kentucky by Mac Baren. Still this blend has it's own taste, that only reminds of Bold Kentucky. In the Shop I got told, they would be almost identical - which I absolutely can't agree on!

So here's my review, which is also kinda a **comparison of the Bold Kentucky & Old Dark Fired:**

**Tin-Note:** Once you pop the tin open, you get greeted by a acidic-sour, a bit vinegar-ish smell and a rich earthy note. Very rich and smell-wise the Old Dark Fired (ODF) has much more "oomph" in the tin note, than the Bold Kentucky (BK). The Bold Kentucky is deep earthy in smell, while this is more sour and a bit sweet and acidic in smell. Highly enjoyable , but the BK tin note is better to me.

**The flakes appereance** is almost the same to the BK flake slices. A deep brown flake, with slightly more bright spots (which are the Virignas) than the Bold Kentucky. Very well crafted and appetizing.

**The flakes condition** at first is a bit moist, so I rub it out when the tin is fresh opened. After 2-3 days storage in the tin the flakes have the perfect condition for smoking it with the "fold & stuff"-method.

**Taste:** The lighting is just as easy as enjoying this blend. At first I thought this was a bit flat. I guess my palate was expecting something more "Bold Kentucky-ish". Which this totally isn't to me. They are the same "style" or "type" of tobacco, but with very different taste.

**Bold Kentucky has** this deep earthy, almost aetheric oil and a nice woody taste,**whilst OLD DARK FIRED is** much more mellow and soft in taste.

The taste is **earthy**, but also has this **vinegar-ish and floral** note to it. Very natural, very rich and creamy. I get some **dried-fruit**-like taste, too. Slightly nutty, but really just a whiff to me. It's like a 50%-Version of the earthy, woodsy Bold Kentucky taste, with some sour- and sweetness to it and a little of what id call "floral taste".

**Old Dark Fired (to me) is a All-Day and Every-Day-Smoke, whilst BK is more something after a good meal, or a nightcap.** But Old Dark Fired is very digestible and can also be smoked on a empty stomach - which I wouldnt advise anyone to do with the Bold Kentucky!

**All in all** this is somehow a "tuned-down" version of Bold Kentucky, but not exactly. Mac Baren´s Old Dark Fired has it's own and unique taste, and should more be called Bold Kentuckys COUSIN instead of his "little brother. They share a few things - yet this is a different (tasting) blend.

4/4 Stars to me - no doubt! I couldnt say if its better or worse than Bold Kentucky - they are both excellent, tasty and natural tobaccos. Old Dark Fired can be enjoyed all day, every day. Me, as a Kentucky and Burley Fan(atic) I smoke this daily at the moment. It matches (almost) all situations and is never too strong.

Chapeau to Mac Baren and especially Henrik Halber for creating these two Blends. (+ a lot of other delicious blends from the HH-Line)

**EDIT:** After 1 1/2 months of storage in the original tin the tobacco naturally lost some of it's moisture. BUT ALSO some of it's vinegar-ish smell and taste (which I appreciate) and becomes more like Bold Kentucky - tastewise! The strenght is lower than BK, but the taste becomes much more woodsy, smoky, less vinegar-ish, less sour. I like it that way even better!
Pipe Used: Clays, Cobs, Briars
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 09, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
I could really smell the Kentucky when I opened the tin. I did the fold and stuff method to pack my pipe and fired it up. I was greeted by a dark, earthy, woodsy kind of smoke. A single flake burned for a long time. This is a great wintertime one for me. It's definitely not lacking in vitamin N either. Not an everyday smoke for me, but one I treasure and like to savor and puff on slowly. This one doesn't bite me in the least either. One I definitely like to keep around.
Pipe Used: Danish Briar
Age When Smoked: Fresh out of tin.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 11, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
It seems serendipitous if not an honor that I post the 100th review of what it truly an outstanding toby, HH Old Dark Fired. My journey into pipe smoking has been immensely benefitted by this site- and the postulates of wiser Sages than myself, which is what led me to try this tobacco,... I would not have considered it two years ago,

I state this to as Burley-forward blends are not my cup of tea, and this blend seems as such to me, in description as well as taste.

But oh how this blend has it all: Richly designed packaging complete with gold embossed foil, 1/2 width flakes of equal proportions - fruity in their freshness, perfectly cut for folding and stuffing even small bowls.

And the flavor!!! The burley has a chocolate-like smoothness, which marries so well with the Virginias that the combination achieves a smoothness and sweetness that is quite uncanny to me- and absolutely no bite, none whatsoever. It smokes cool, becomes more complex as the bowls progress, and shines for me in a smaller Meer, burning slow and lasting quite long even with me mimicking Thomas the Train.

I cannot recommend this enough. It doesn't strike me as super strong in the Vitamin N department, but then again I am well seasoned. Other than that aspect, I'd recommend it to every enthusiast who wishes to partake in what separates the wheat from the chaff, curds from the whey....

Simply fantastic! !!
Pipe Used: Meer and Briars
PurchasedFrom: Pipes&
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 03, 2014 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Tin note is dark, earthy loam, mushrooms and cocoa. Plenty of leather too. This is a burly tobacco, pardon the pun. Very flavorful, complex, solid dose of vitamin N if that's what your in to. Highly recommended.

Not for everybody. If you're a new pipe smoker or graduating from aromatics, ask someone for a flake or two to sample. Or you might want to start with Solani Aged Burley as a kinder, gentler introduction to this genre.
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