Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired

(3.55)
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.

Details

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

Profile

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

Average Rating

3.55 / 4
170

50

20

7

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 19 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2015 Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable
This is my first foray into finding a replacement for my beloved Bracken Flake (RIP), because some misanthropic villain at Samuel Gawith decided to lessen the quality of my life by removing my favorite nectar from their inventory. Well, now the grieving is over. I accept the reality with reluctance and have entered the stage of acceptance. It's now time to move on. And so begins my hopeless journey to try to discover something that pretends to fill the void.

When I came across this flake the description sounded very promising, especially when I discovered that many of my favorite reviewers here think very highly of this one. So I plopped down $85 for a tin at my local Brick & Mortar. My first bowl was very promising. But as I worked my way through the tin I liked it less and less.

Clearly this is a nice, quality flake, beautifully constructed. And I discovered that a larger bowl helps bring out the flavor more. But though I stuck with it and tried to like it (at $85 a tin in Canada you can bet I'm going to try to like it!), it took me almost the entire 100 grams to realize that this is not a flake for me. I found it a difficult flake to work with, for one thing. (Darby, though, had good advice for how to fold the flake that worked for me.) And I could never get the moisture level right either.

But then I realized it's not a question of the moisture level. Dry or moist, it's the flavor of this that underwhelms me. Too much burley.

I think I've discovered something through this flake. Though many of my favorite flakes have ample amounts of Kentucky, I am not a fan of unadorned Burley. Each bowl, especially after the charring light, began with an enticing sweet, spicy & woody nuance. But that nuance never fulfilled its promise: the flavor quickly became monochrome and rather tasteless as I progressed through the bowl. Each bowl ended up tasting rather bland, like mildly sweet particle board with a hint of earthy darkness. The Burley in this blend is too prominent, overwhelming the virginias, which leaves me with a smoke that's too "open" and not very interesting. I see why Pipesmoking101 considers this a flat smoke.

I think I have an idea of what everybody else appreciates about it. But for me, it wasn't satisfying, and what flavor I got from it didn't exactly float my boat. Clearly a flake for those who love burley more than I do, I suppose. I think what ODF proves is that my favorite Kentucky-laden flakes need to take a trip through Kendal for me to enjoy them.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 20, 2017 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Fresh out of the tin I enjoyed this more. After a few weeks in a jar it lost something. The pungent tin note from the day I opened it is almost totally gone. I was expecting a bolder, spicier flavor from this blend. The flakes look great. They rub out amazing, but oddly they don't burn well. They smoke slow with thin smoke output. I found myself over puffing and over lighting this blend trying to locate more taste. I finally realized it's not there to be had.
Pipe Used: Briar and cobs
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: 3 weeks
11 people found this review helpful.
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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
9 people found this review helpful.
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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
8 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
Sep 15, 2017 Medium Very Mild Mild Tolerable
Honestly, I can't understand all the hype about this ODF. I mean ok, the tin is nice. The smell from the tin is nice, smokey, vinegary, barbecue whatever. The flakes look nice. But the smoke? It's very flat. It's boring. And the only way to make it burn is to grind it, everything else is a waste of time and lighter. I think that this is a good back-up tobacco for Black Cavendish-based or English Mixtures, in fact it adds some body to the taste, rounds the smoke up. Yet on its own it's not worth the time or the money, IMHO. Not bad, sure, but disappointing compared to my expectations.

** By the way - As the producers declare on their website, there is no Kentucky in this blend, only dark fired Burleys and Virginia. **
PurchasedFrom: Local tobacconist in Germany
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 19, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Mixed bag this tobacco, the pipe being very influential on the smoke.

In some pipes I get a sweet virginia start that fades as the bowl progresses into a deep woody smokey earthy flavour of the dark-fired burley. In some pipes I just get the deep woody smokey earthy flavour of the dark-fired burley. And in some pipes the sweet virginia weaves in and out of the dark-fired burley flavour all the way through the bowl.

I can see why people love this flake as it's easy to prepare, doesn't bite, smokes dry and it has alot of flavour. Personally I'm not keen on the very dominant dark fired burley flavour.
PurchasedFrom: mysmokingshop.com
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 04, 2017 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong
Came in a nice tin with very workable flakes. The flakes were thin enough to break apart nicely and they maintained their density once packed for a very long lasting smoke.

Having never tried this before, I was expecting the "hay" taste I associate with a virginia, but was unsure how the "Dark Fired" element would affect things. The initial aroma was light and didn't have any smoky or caramel smell I would've predicted from something "Dark Fired", nor did it smell like a Virginia barn, so I suppose I really had no idea what was coming.

It was a very deep smoke that caught me off guard with nicotine and a straight-to-the gut punch that gave me a bit of a buzz by the end and at times stung my nose. It was too heavy for my usual craving, but I did appreciate a very mild sweetness likely brought upon by the firing technique used.

This was the sort of smoke I could imagine a hands-on working man tackling.
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 24, 2020 Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Fabulous tin note. Unfortunately, it's one of those square tins that dry out rather quickly, so unless you plan on smoking the entire thing within a few weeks, transfer to a jar.

Lovely taste, although it is strong tobacco, so I tend to take frequent breaks during the bowl.
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes
Age When Smoked: Fresh from a new tin
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 05, 2020 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
I love Burley and this would be a nice starting point for newcomers. Rather light on the traditional burley taste and nicotine. Burns easy when dried a bit and available in bulk. I still have several tins from 2012 in the cellar. The entire HH line are good tobaccos.

Now for me I have smoked several tins over the years and it just does not have enough taste or nic hit to keep my interest. What is there is good, just not enough of it. I wish it were not so light in the loafers in what it offers me overall. Bold Kentucky is the step up IMO. Bold Kentucky is what I reach for and cellar.
Pipe Used: briars, cobs, meers.
Age When Smoked: 2012 to current production.
3 people found this review helpful.
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