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 31 - 40 of 246 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 14, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I am above all a strong complex tobacco fan. I bought some HH ODF to try after leaving behind Aromatics and focusing on the wonderful world of Virginia, Kentucky, and Burly blends.

This is hands down a quality blend.

When opening the tin, the tin note is a strong complex bouquet of dark ripe fruits, barbeque, and some grassy Virginia in the background. No casing noted, but there is a subtle vinegar note that is nonexistent when smoked. 1 year in a jar and the dark fruits really come to the forefront.

This tobacco comes in those perfect MacBaren flakes, and I found them at a perfect dryness to smoke right out of the tin. They fold and stuff easily, which is my preferred method, but rubbing it out is also an enjoyable experience. The tobacco takes a little while to light, but once it's lit there is not problem keeping it lit. It requires the average amount of relights for me.

Taste. Creamy, a little spice, dark fruits again, slightly sweet and a little floral, with a hint of grassyness from the Virginia at the very back. Rich and full, yet subtly smooth. The smoke when lighting is a gorgeous white smoke, and this continues throughout the bowl. The nicotine in this blend is medium to strong for me, if I haven't eaten I feel it, but typically I don't.

This is an all around good smoke for me, and qualifies for an all day smoke. The HH line has never done me wrong yet and this one is something everyone should try.
Pipe Used: Kaywoodie Birkshire Large Panel
PurchasedFrom: Mi Casa Cigar Bar
Age When Smoked: 1 year
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 27, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Um – okay, so . . .

This is a masterpiece tobacco.

After having read all of the reviews for Mac Baren’s HH Old Dark Fired, I bought two pounds of the stuff straight-away. There really was no need to sample it. Upon receiving said supply of ODF, I found that my gut feeling/instincts/intuition (and the reviews) were more than just a little correct: Old Dark Fired really is a truly outstanding creation from Per Jensen.

There are currently four Mac Baren tobaccos in my cellar assortment, and ODF is now one of them (Latakia Flake, Vintage Syrian and Acadian Perique are the other three). I have never tried, nor do I own a Mac Baren tobacco product that I did not/do not like (and not many people can say the same).

I think I read somewhere (or maybe I just dreamed it) that somebody said we were living in “the golden age of pipe tobaccos.” Whether somebody really said that (or I just dreamed it) I believe that to be a true statement. I bought 2-pounds of Old Dark Fired tobacco for 13¢ per gram. (Now let us all practice a moment of mindfulness and thoughtfully reflect upon that fact for just a minute, shall we)?

By the pound, Old Dark Fired arrives in beautifully uniformed 4.5” x 1” flakes.

People have been reviewing/writing about ODF for years, so I’m rather late to the party, and there really isn’t much I can add that hasn’t already been said about ODF. “Well-balanced”, “harmony”, “harmonious” and “harmonized” are among the most reiterated and appropriate words used to describe ODF, and I wholeheartedly agree with those assessments. I also found that ODF best behaves, smokes the coolest, and is enjoyed the most when folded (using Per Jensen’s preferred U-fold method).

I don’t like comparing tobaccos (actually, I hate comparing tobaccos -- it just goes against the grain). I really don’t find all that much similarity between Old Dark Fired and Irish Flake, for example. Both contain Burley, Kentucky and Virginias, but that’s really where the similarity ends. The tin notes are not the same (in my opinion, not even close, really). IF is a decidedly stronger blend, with a much fuller taste and a higher nicotine content than ODF. That is not to say I like Irish Flake better than I do Old Dark Fired -- or the other way around, for that matter – I’m just saying that they are two Burley-based tobaccos which (again, in my humble opinion) are not all that similar. I LOVE Old Dark Fired, and I also LOVE Irish Flake. But if I want to go for a rodeo ride and get my teeth kicked-in by a Burley blend, I’m reaching for Irish Flake. ODF is a kinder, gentler VaBur than any other I have tried -- certainly the most refined and elegantly blended VaBur I have come across. For this review, I just finished a folded flake of Old Dark Fired, stuffed into a Tom Eltang rusticated poker (for breakfast, on an empty stomach mind you) with just some cold brew coffee and creamer as a chaser (so, what does that tell you)?

And so with all of that, I am going to add yet another 4-star rating to the already 70%-plus super-majority of 4-star ratings for Mac Baren’s Old Dark Fired, a truly remarkable blend for the ages.

7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 02, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Strong
Virginia/Burley flake you say, well this is right up my alley, light 'em up. I smoked exactly two tins of this, so I think I can give an honest review. I have to admit that I came with the preconception that this, being a Mac Baren blend, would bite at some point. It didn't, no matter how hard I pushed this, at times puffing like a freight train, I could not get this to come close to biting. However, working through the two tins, the blend never developed a unique character or depth that I felt it was capable of. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a fine blend, and a great introduction to VA/BUR's in general, but I think this will really shine when aged for a time to build some character. I plan on purchasing a couple of tins and revisit this at a later date to see what father time has accomplished.

Smoked in a variety of pipes, but for this review I smoked ODK in a Radice Rind Bulldog. There is a subtle sweetness coupled with spicy/sour notes as you work your way through the smoke. The mouth feel is creamy at times and the dark fired never overwhelms the palate. Burns down to a fine ash with little dottle left in the bowl. The smoke is firmly in the middle of medium strength for me and was quite satisfying.

Pipe Used: Radice Rind Bulldog
PurchasedFrom: John Haynes Tobacconist
Age When Smoked: 6 months
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 16, 2013 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Many have been talking about this tobacco and how strong it is and full bodied and it just didn't ring my bell at all. It was wonderful to find a MB blend that didn't scorch my tongue, but where is the flavor? It had a mild aroma, but where's the taste? Additionally, this is supposed to be loaded with Vit. N....really? Could not find that either. I do smoke some stout natural VA blends with Latakia and Turkish/Orientals, so maybe I'm already saturated with nicotine and resistant to milder flavors. I don't really think so though, good try MB, just didn't work for me.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 24, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I was sat on my couch rubbing out a few flakes of this when it first arrived, when my two-year-old happened to toddle past. Her eyes lit up, her mouth dropped open, and she said “Eat? Bite, papa?” No, no - of course not! But it really does smell like good meat in the tin, like a rich and savory barbecue, and it smokes just the same. For a tobacco that has practically no casing whatever, it is surprising how many positive reactions it garners from non-smokers. And that only scratches the surface of its appeal.

There is enough Virginia here to sweeten it up and make it accessible for any time of the day, but that heavy taste of Kentucky leather and oil will still linger long on the sinuses and palate, and the nicotine is extremely satisfying without being nauseating. This is perhaps the smoothest and tastiest treatment of DFK I have ever encountered. Sit it down, fire it up tomorrow, it will only get better.
Pipe Used: All of them
Age When Smoked: New/ 6 months
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 31, 2020 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Unnoticeable
The tasty Kentucky has a vinegar tart ,fruity raison wine like flavor . Herbal and floral . The lesser notes i get are cocoa and nutty .. A little spice . I get a similar maple flavor like Dark Roll Cake . A lot more complex than i would have expected. Some hay and grass from the Virginias are right there at the same time . A lot more interesting than a regular burley type blend . I like this more with each bowl . Kudos to Per Jenson as I like all his blends so far . Thank you to Mac Baren for dating the tins . It tastes and burns better with a little dry time . Good nic-hit . A winner for sure !
Age When Smoked: 17 months
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 05, 2017 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
I cannot agree with the high rating given this blend by many as I have smoked it in a few nice briars and while it is a nice burning tobacco when properly rubbed and aired, I would gladly trade away the remaining 60 grams for a bit of ordinary Virginia flake. This tobacco has a decidedly intriguing sweet & sour tin aroma I associate with pressed tobacco lightly fermenting but I must say I was mislead by this as smoking same produces a taste that I find unvarying and somewhat sour. The smoke linger reminds me of the smell that assaults one's nose when walking through a recently extinguished forest fire - a distinctive pungency I've always found unpleasant. While I know that Mac Baren tries to provide good blends, I feel this is not one of their better efforts. Continuing on that line, I would suggest any piper considering HH Old Dark Fired should try to mooch a bowl from a friend - or buy just 50 grams rather than the 100 gram tin I purchased in a weak moment. The remnants I have are now stored until such a time I can fully consider what leaf I shall add to improve its taste and room note.
Pipe Used: Comoy Canadian, Comoy Billiard
PurchasedFrom: Kitchener, Canada
Age When Smoked: 10 months
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 13, 2013 Medium to Strong Strong Very Full Pleasant
This is a review for a tin with a manufacturing date of “Nov 2012”. First, I am a non-apologetic burleyphile and was curious to try a blend incorporating the dark-fired variety. The tobacco smells like vinegary raisins with a very faint wood smoke aroma (reminded me of Jack Daniel's) that disappears after the first 10 seconds of opening the tin. A cayenne pepper tingle takes over your mouth and nose at first light. Although this blend is not supposed to contain perique, it wouldn't be the first time a blender keeps some ingredients undisclosed…. This “perique-like-peppery-wanna-sneeze” sensation disappears after a while letting loose the strong Virginia flavor. The Virginias dominate throughout the first half of the bowl. So much so that I was starting to think that someone at MacBaren screwed up and put some Acadian Perique in the wrong tin… Then, towards the end of the bowl (just when the nicotine kicks in), appears an earthy clove flavor which I presume is the dark-fired. Unfortunately, just as this spicy aroma makes its appearance, so does an ammonia aftertaste on the exhales. To be fair, ODF is made with good quality tobaccos but “where´s the burley?”. The blend is called ODF so why aren´t the burley´s up front instead of being used as spice??? I guess I was hoping for a Bur/Va instead of a Va/Bur. I also love the cigarish room note (Insert comment using the word “wife” HERE).

As a side note, after seeing the YouTube video on the making of ODF and the fact that Mac Baren´s HH series is, in part, dependent on its limited stash of vintage dark-fired burleys (it may even have less than its Syrian Latakia!) one is left wondering that perhaps the dark-fired leaves are being “stretched” and the blends are slowly being diluted. It would be interesting to compare early tins with these latest ones. I will now buy and smoke some pure dark-fired burley and verify if it´s my palate or perhaps the Virginias are too overpowering for moi.

UPDATE: I just smoked another folded flake in a cob and WOW, burley city! So what gives with this stuff??? My only explanation for such a turnaround in flavor is that, perhaps, the pressed cakes were not as homogenized as one would wish and my first flakes were Virginia-rich. So mea culpa for being such a conspiracy theorist. Will definitely be getting more if the following flakes tastes like this one. Will overlook the ammonia hoping it's a natural byproduct of the leaves. 4 stars ****
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 06, 2018 Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Strong
From what i 've noticed from my experience the HH line refers to experienced smokers because of the complexity the blends have to offer..once the tin opens a deep vinegar,bbq sause and dark fruits smell comes out.the dark flakes have some bright spots with perfect moisture.the flakes are somewhat compact due to the steaming process so i recommend a second rubing to make the lighting easier with fewer relights needed.while smoking you instantly realize the complexity of this blend.the main falvours come from the burleys wich are earthy,nutty and sharp.virginias are citrusy,fruity and sweet.the dark fired kentucky are very spicy,smokey with lots of vinegar notes wich i suppose are enhanced from a similar topping.the flavours are married in a very balanced way from the beginning till the end offering a natural result with strong flavours and lots of complexity.even if rubbed very thin it burns slow to perfect ash and cool with some moisture being created at the filter.the nicotine level is just a bit above medium but not strong.the aftertaste is spicy and sharp with no chance of tongue note is strong and no pleasant to my opinion it is not an all day smoke even for an experienced advice is to dedicate a small bowl and enjoy it after a nice dinner with a nice smoked whiskey.
Age When Smoked: 1 year cellared
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 08, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Presentation: A very nice presentation: sharp-looking tin design, with the blend neatly packaged in an attractive glossy, golden wrapping paper. It has a very premium, luxurious feel to it.

Upon opening, my first breath of the tin was a very rich, earthly, ‘darkened sweet hay from a Danish barnyard’ (if that makes any sense, hey I’m doing my best here) type of aroma. I can also smell a slight fig, dried fruit aroma. As odd of a description that is, Old Dark is probably the best smelling blend so far, even my girlfriend liked it and she complains about almost everything.

Taste: Perfect to smoke the second you open the tin, lacks any real moisture (which is odd because I hear it is very moist out of the tim). My biggest surprise was how mild the taste was, especially with a name like “Old Dark Fired”. With blends such as St. James Flake, Old Gowrie or Dunhill Navy Rolls, the taste was distinct and immediate. However, with Old Dark Fried, I wasn’t sure what I smoking until 15 minutes in, where I noticed a very slight nut-like taste, mild cigar taste, maybe a hint of chocolate added in. I also sensed a slight fig and dried fruit after-taste, with some smokey, wood type flavor. The taste actually gets a bit milder later on, which was a shame. The taste is not very complex at all, but at the end of the day, it is an enjoyable, relaxing smoke.
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