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 1 - 10 of 250 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 26, 2013 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
It's a little closer to medium than strong in regard to strength and taste, and that observation depends on how used to strong tobaccos is the smoker. The main component is the earthy, woody, floral, spicy, fairly dry, herbal, mildly tart and tangy sour, nutty dark fired Kentucky. Earthy, nutty, woody burleys, and earthy, woody, tangy dark fruity, tart and tangy citrus sweet Virginias work are secondary stars. You will notice every aspect in virtually every puff. The natural sweetness of the varietals are enhanced by being steam pressed, and there's a mild vinegar and barbecue hit from the binder. The harmonious complexity of the flavor works to its advantage in terms of its effect on your taste buds. There may be some flakes that are more complex, but not by a whole lot, and this gives you plenty enough as it is. Won’t bite, and has a few rough edges. Burns clean, a little slow, and is tinned at the perfect moisture level with a medium nic-hit that gets a little stronger as you smoke along. The taste is very consistent from start to finish, and little moisture is left in the bowl. Requires some relights. I recommend a slow puffing cadence for best effect. Has a pleasant, lingering campfire after taste, and stronger room note. Not an all day smoke.

There are stronger tobaccos. This is not too strong to knock you off your feet, but certainly not weak.

169 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 13, 2013 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
In view of recent changes to this website, here is the full review of HH Old Dark Fired that I ought to have done in the first place:

IMO, this blend is an all-time classic. Tin note is deep, dark chocolate over fermented raisins and exotic spices, over the rich, fermented dark-fired leaf, and if you keep sniffing you may detect the sharp-ish cigar notes also mentioned by some other reviewers. The beautiful, large flakes are well presented and easy to work with, and they can be smoked right out of the tin. Rubbed out, ODF can be smoked as a medium/full no-brainer, easy burning, with blissful clouds of spicy, rich, chocolate/raisin smoke. These days I usually cut some "using" flakes to length based on a nominal chamber depth and I dry a piece out some before I roll, spindle and loosely stuff it vertically into a pipe. This technique results in a stronger, more cigar-like smoke that also burns down to a fine gray ash, just like a cigar. The chocolate and raisins are still present in spades, but the spices and the whole tobacco aspect of the smoke are stronger and sharper, including all the dark-fired nuances you could want, under the circumstances. Aftertaste is pretty much aftermath, persistent and delicious to this tobacco lover. Strength just nudges over my idea of medium, with a lot of taste for this level of nicotine.

If you have not yet tried this, and if you can handle real, full tobacco, I strongly recommend you try ODF, if you can find it. I don't smoke it often, but I always find it satisfying when I do smoke it.

Update: Not to "temper" the review, rather simply to add, like most "highly processed" pipe tobaccos, the additives in ODF tend to delineate with time spent in a jar. In this case, the result is the apparent mild scent and very muted taste of said additives, along with a very slightly acrid quality toward the end of a bowl. And, no surprise, the constituent tobaccos also become more melded and more mellow. Not really a problem for me; just saying. Of course, one way to "handle" this is to enjoy it straight away.
Pipe Used: various briars
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: "fresh" to almost 2 years from jars
79 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 15, 2012 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Based on a 1 oz sample I got from a pipe forum pal. After I finished the sample, I ordered 10 more tins. I doubt that will last very long. This is one excellent tobacco, a wonderful example of what a skillful blender can do when they keep the honey and sugar in their respective containers and put out a natural tobacco. This is far from the prototypical Mac Barens that offends some smokers with its bite, lack of flavor and character, and sappy sweetness (the 3 biggest complaints I've heard... and I can't say they are unreasonable complaints in most cases).

I have smoked a fair bit of G&H Dark Flake and Peterson's Irish Flake. I prefer this one, and not by a small margin. Mac Barens managed to get most of the strength and earthy "presence" into a flake that doesn't overwhelm the nuances inherent in the leaf. They melded the two together exquisitely. This is earthy, dark and incredibly deep - and it is strong as well - but it's not so overpowering that even someone that shies away from nicotine couldn't enjoy in a small bowl. It's tasty and refined and luxurious. Probably the best dark flake I've ever smoked and my early leader for Best Tobacco of 2012. The best Christmas present I could receive would be to find this available in bulk! If you like strong tobaccos but find them to be occasional smokes due to their brutality, get yourself some of this. Mac Barens kept the best parts of strong dark flakes and made a blend that most anyone would find smokable. Well done, Mac Barens! Blending genius, pure and simple.

UPDATE 6/5/13

This now comes in 1 pound boxes (bulk). Merry Christmas to ME! I just bought two boxes. I've smoked hundreds of tobaccos and this is now in my Top 5 of currently produced blends. Simply excellent!
67 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 13, 2013 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
When first lit, Old Dark Fired delivers a flavor that is quite soft and very enjoyable. The beginning of the bowl is reminiscent of a smooth earthy cigar, one with just a touch of spice to it. I love to smoke this in my little Peterson Tankard. The concentration of earthy dark chocolate like flavors mixed with the dark-fire spice is absolutely wonderful. Old Dark Fired has a warm primary tone with deep molasses like flavors and a lingering midrange honey like essence that is similar to the tin note.

Now that I am half way through my second tin, I have found that for me it is imperative to fold and stuff this flake. Getting it going and keeping it lit is a bit more of a process but the payoff in flavor is nothing short of amazing. When rubbed out, Old Dark Fired can take a serious turn to the bitter side of the flavor spectrum. But when folded, it burns remarkably cool and maintains its round semi-sweet bitter chocolate like flavor for most of the bowl.

As expected, middle to end bowl flavors develop nicely & even though they become more bold and spicy, never am I overwhelmed when smoking this beautiful flake. If anything the intense bittersweet smokiness that ultimately develops seems to just welcome me in & I feel right at home with its strength.

I can't say enough good things about this flake. It's just plain stellar. It's by far and away the best thing I have ever had from Mac Baren and I will always keep a tin on hand.
62 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2015 Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
A very nice and bold tobacco. The steaming of the leaf certainly took away any tendency for there to be a bite to the leaf and the earthy flavor of the dark fired Burley leaf was stout and palate fulfilling. The Virginia was in the background and slightly sweetened the overall presentation. The taste was certainly on the high side of medium and I am sure the decades old Burley employed is what makes this one very noticeable in the strength department. Personally, I think this is one of Mac Baren's finest offerings!

54 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 07, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
First of all, let me say I'm an inexperienced pipe smoker, so my review(s) won't be as in-depth or sophisticated as those by more experienced smokers. I enjoy my pipes immensely, as well as discovering new tobaccos, and I intend to wean myself off cigarettes once and for all in the not too distant future.

MacBaren's HH Old Dark Fired is a tobacco I wanted to try for some time, having read all the raving reviews and having heard lots of good things about it. So when I ordered my Churchwarden I ordered a tin of this as well. I'm normally a bit sceptical about reviews (I read them but I like to make up my own mind) but in this case they were absolutely spot on.

I don't know a lot about tobaccos (or blends) - Virginia, Latakia, Perique and what-not. For me there are only two important aspects when it comes to tobacco: a) I want top-notch quality (with the prices especially in the UK I'm not gonna spend my hard earned cash on anything other than top-notch quality tobacco) and b) whether or not I like it. Everything else is secondary.

I've tried a few tobaccos over the years, but nothing could have prepared me for this. When I lit my pipe with this in it I was floored! I'd never quite experienced anything like it! On opening the tin I was already quite impressed: neatly arranged flakes and a beautifully deep, heavy and rich aroma; a hint of chocolate and fruit to my nose. This has got to be one of the best tobaccos out there at the moment and this is coming from somebody who, in essence, has only tried out a fraction of the tobaccos on offer. Why? Because I fail to see how anybody could feel that this tobacco leaves anything to be desired! In fact, I daresay even the most ardent aro smoker would be more than happy with this most of the time. If you haven't tried it yet then I'd strongly suggest you get a tin as quickly as possible. You owe it to yourself to try this!

I've so far only tried it rubbed out (works for me), after having let the tin dry out a bit over night, despite the moisture being pretty much perfect. For some strange reason it doesn't seem to like my Churchwardens (gets quite hot and there's a lot of gurgling going on, but that could easily be just me), but in my battered, 25 year old Ermanno Elite it was perfect (same way of packing and smoking): cool with an intense, complex and rich aroma; absolutely no TB whatsoever (and I know a thing or two about TB having smoked mainly aro's), no wet mess at the bottom of the bowl and the nic kick is perfect.

Having tried HHODF was like a lightbulb moment for me and I've since banished my aromatics to the back of the cupboard. This is unbelievably good stuff! I could quite happily smoke only this for the rest of my life and never look at another tobacco ever again. I'll be buying much much more of this. Absolutely glorious!

UPDATE: After three tins of this, I still maintain that this is absolutely fabulous stuff and fully stand behind my review! My tobacconist was gonna discontinue this stuff (apparently nobody buys it), but I managed to persuade him to keep it in stock. Phew. I have thrown out all my aro's because I realised what rubbish I had been smoking up to that point, and I can only recommend everybody else doing the same.
Pipe Used: Aldo Morelli, Ermanno Elite, Peterson Churchwarden
PurchasedFrom: Smoke-king
Age When Smoked: New
37 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 24, 2014 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired.

Matching the name the flakes are dark in colour, are of an average thickness, and out of all the tins I've had never has one arrive 'soaked'; sometimes a bit moist, but not drenched. The aroma seems fairly stereotypical for the ingredients.

Bold is the word for the flavour. The cured Burley/Kentucky outweighs the Virginia, causing a full smoky/fiery flavour. The Virginia's easily subordinate, comparatively. Having smoked this blend for years I'm yet to get a bite from it!

Nicotine: strong. Room-note: not the best!

A stout blend that deserves four stars:

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Most I own 😉
PurchasedFrom: Various
Age When Smoked: Various
29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2015 Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I've been smoking the ready rubbed version for about a year and a half and liked it so much I just neglected to try the flake. Evidently, 8 months ago I had decided to try it, bought a tin, and promptly forgot about it. Found it last week and have been hitting it pretty hard since. The MM Mark Twain is the perfect size for rolling and stuffing two flakes into so I've been using that pipe exclusively. It's a very firm pack, but always leaves a good draw. The flavor here, as opposed to the ready rubbed is a little sweeter and purer. The same wonderful brown sugar notes are there, but they seem cleaner. The natural tobacco notes are a bit more evident as well. It's a much longer smoke, about an hour and fifteen minutes compared to forty-five or fifty. I would expect that because I don't use two full flakes if I rub it out. This is just a fantastic tobacco regardless of how you smoke it. I love it stuffed or rubbed. The slightly better flavors smoking it rolled or folded and stuffed are a plus in it's favor. The ability to buy it in bulk is a plus in favor of the ready rubbed. They're both great and I'll keep both in my stash.

Body is medium. Flavor is medium to full. Needs a little drying time. When I plan to smoke it rolled and stuffed I do so then leave the pipe out with the stem removed for about eight hours. Burns perfectly after that. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best smokes on the planet.

EDIT: Just read DK's comment about the flake now being available in bulk. I wasn't aware of that. Checked the prices and saw that a pound of flakes is only $3 more than a pound of ready rubbed. I'm going with just the flakes from now on. FURTHER EDIT: The flakes can be found at the same price as the ready rubbed. $43 a pound at both and also has it at $46, which is where I first looked.
Pipe Used: MM Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: 8 months
27 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 04, 2013 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I picked up a tin of this at the tobacconist yesterday, and I have really enjoyed it. It is a good, nutty, earthy burley with some Virginia overtones. It is deep and full - just a little of the Virginia tart and sweet. It delivers on the tobacco taste. I did not detect any added flavor, but I don't have the most delicate palate. It has a good consistent flavor and smokes very clean to the bottom of the bowl. If you would like to try a really good medium-strong pressed burley blend, this is highly recommended.

Edit: I am now three tins deep into the ODF experience, and my evaluation has not changed. I have been rubbing it out. This is excellent tobacco at an affordable price. If this blend sounds remotely appealing, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 07, 2013 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
I'm almost finished my first tin of this. I've smoked similar tobaccos like Jackknife plug and Stonehaven. This blows those two well-regarded tobaccos away. The flavor profile is excellent. It is rich, smooth and complex, hints of smokiness and spice with some sweetness. The smoke is never overwhelming despite its full flavor. It doesn't bite. I like the nic kick it gives, which is an eye-opener. I'm about to buy large quantities of this stuff, it is that good. Mac Baren hit a home run, and usually I'm not too fond of their offerings.
23 people found this review helpful.
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