Mac Baren Burley London Blend

A very distinct tobacco. Made from white burley, well matured in wooden casks and pressed in broken flake form. A real smoking pleasure.
Notes: Introduced in 1965 and consists mainly of carefully selected burley tobaccos. Just a little Virginia has been added to give the blend a natural sweetness. You will notice the slight natural chocolate note, which is found in all good burley tobacco. The very special top flavor in combination with the tobaccos gives you a very distinct smoking pleasure. Discontinued 2014. Re-released in 2020 and 2021 as limited editions.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley, Virginia
Flavoring Cocoa / Chocolate
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams tin, one pound bag
Country Denmark
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.04 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 158 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 24, 2010 Medium Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
A top burly blend, a top MAC b. A must try barley blend. Its a classic.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 20, 2013 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
The burleys were high quality: a lot of earth, nuts and cocoa with notes of honey, oats, some molasses, and slight spice with a dry, woody, rough edge from the white burley. The golden Virginia was citrusy sweet and a little grassy in the background, and has a spice note. A little cocoa topping was evident as well as some molasses and a few drops of vanilla. They mildly toned down the burleys. The strength was just past the center of mild to medium. The taste level was a couple of steps past that mark. The nic-hit was a notch below the strength threshold. Could nip at the tongue only if puffed like a steam engine, which could also produce a hint of cigarette, which is a common trait with burleys. The flakes were easy to break apart, and fit in a pipe as one preferred. Puffed at a moderate rate, it burned cool and clean and just a tad slow with a very consistent mildly sweet, nutty, lightly savory flavor. Seldom left much moisture in the bowl, and required a few relights. Had a pleasant after taste, and room note. Was an all day smoke. A no nonsense product. Four stars.

Update 7-22-2019: I have been smoking an early 1970s production of this blend. Outside of the fact that the cocoa was a little less pronounced (likely due to the topping fading some), it's consistent in every way with the review I previously wrote.

Update 8-20-2020: Recently, Mac Baren produced a limited run of BLB. It tastes exactly like the previous version. Even the nuances are the same.

Update 9-13-2022: This year's release has a smoother, silkier chocolate topping with a tad less depth of flavor. The vanilla is more prominent than the chocolate. The toppings tone down the burleys a couple of steps more than what has preceded it. There are fewer rough edges and nuttiness as well as a result. Three stars for this production, and my current rating reflects this version.

40 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 26, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Inevitably, this blend is destined to be compared first and always to Golden Extra. And why not? Same genre, same blender, same tin, same cut, same price point. Visually, the two tobaccos are indistinguishable.

Wonderful burley tin note of wheat, dry oats, wheat straw. Broken flakes. Just the right moisture level. Takes a match very well and burns evenly. Not much to dislike here. Straightforward burley flavors: wheat, parchment, tiny hint of cocoa. I detect little if any Virginias and the top noting mentioned in the blender's description is extremely mild. The Virginias are there to add the slightest touch if background sweetness. I wouldn't call this a VaBur. And despite the top-noting mentioned, this is nothing like a flavored burley or aromatic. Very dry, cool, white smoke.

Overall a superior smoke for burley lovers. No bite, even when puffed hard. An extremely 'neutral' tobacco, as a fine burley should be.

Overall an excellent, best-in-class burley. For an uncomplicated burley, I'm not sure how you top this. Add in the value and you've got a winner.

Note: the slower you sip this, the more you will taste the light cocoa flavors. It will be difficult, as the blend is so delicious you'll want to puff it. But try to sip it and you'll really get the natural and unflavored sweet milk chocolate notes of the excellent burley in this blend.

Edit 2016: As this blend has been discontinued and becoming increasingly harder to find, I must lament the loss of this tobacco to the pipe smoking community. Eclipsed only by Aged Burley Flake and possibly Peretti's No.333, this was among the finest burley blends out there. Why this was discontinued is anyone's guess. Perhaps there just aren't enough burley lovers out there. But for those few, this one is a must-have. Track it down.

Another edit: Dang, I miss this blend...
27 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 13, 2013 Mild Mild Mild Pleasant
MacB Burley London Blend is a wonderful smoke. If I was to compare it to any other blend, I'd say that it is a fuller version of Sir Walter Raleigh. It's also similar to MacB's Golden Extra, but darker and earthier. Appearance-wise, its a medium brown ready rub. The tin note is a chocolate honey nut. The chocolate and nuttiness is to be expected from a good Burley, but the honey-like flavor is the topping. It's also got just a bit of sweet Virginia leaf in there to smooth it out. The room note is, well, pipe-like.

Burley blends are generally nothing Earth-shattering, and are just decent and solid smokes. MacB BLB is no exception, but it is a very well-done Burley blend. I think it's one of the best Burleys out there, and it's my personal favorite - even beating out my beloved SWR. Like any good Burley, if you go looking for the goodness then you'll miss it. The trick to finding the goodness is to pack it loosely, gently get it going, sip on it, and clear your mind. As you get into that slow puffing cadence and allow your thoughts to float away on the wonderful billows of smoke you'll discover that its goodness has found you. And unless you're tongue has been totally corrupted by syrupy aromatics or leathery Lat-bombs, or you think that pipe tobacco must be a complex or nuanced affair, then I think you'll find that it is a wonderful smoke.

If you're a lover of classic Burley blends like Sir Walter, Carter Hall, or Prince Albert, then I think you're gonna love it. If you're new to pipe smoking, I think you need to try this so you can see what pipe tobacco is really all about: No heavy casings, no sticky sweet additives, no complex mixture of a hundred different tobaccos, and no adventure in every bowl - just good old fashioned tobacco flavor with a hint of cocoa-honey sweetness, and a room note that most people find pleasant.

For me, BLB is best enjoyed when all I want to do is enjoy an honest bowl of tobacco. I sit back in a big, comfy chair. Let the cat sit on my lap and purr or reach down and scratch the dog's ear, kick back in a comfortable shirt and a pair of well-worn blue jeans or khaki trousers, have a nice beverage by my side (coffee, iced tea, or a cream soda), and just enjoy the peace and comfort for their own sake. Puff slowly and without any particular purpose in mind, and just enjoy being alive.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 27, 2003 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I took BriarLaw's advice. I bought two tins of this tobacco, stuck them in my cellar for six months and then popped the lid on one of the tins just last week. Boy, am I glad I did.

I'm singing with the crowd -- yummy stuff!

Upon popping the tin, I was greeted with what might just be the best tobacco smell I've encountered after more than 32 years of bustin' open tobacco lids. I struggled to load my pipe patiently and carefully. I lit up and enjoyed a delightful smoke.

Burley London is partially rubbed out, and burns fast. So, it doesn't need further rubbing. It does not produce a lot of smoke and is rather light in the nicotine department for a straight Burley. It is lightly cased, so, you will get a hint of sweetness throughout the bowl without any typical Burley harshness.

You will know that you've tackled a Burley tobacco while smoking this one, and it's as mellow as any Burley I've ever smoked.

If Burley is in your tobacco arsenal, arm yourself with this. Mac Baren's "went yard" with London Burley.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 24, 2009 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
I have been smoking Mac's Burley London Blend for nearly 35 years. As I enjoy a good Burley, it has always been one of my rotation smokes.

What I like about Burley London Blend is that it has a nice, solid tobacco taste throughout the smoke with always a hint of sweetness in the background (probably a combination of the VA present and the light casing). Bulk is less moist than in the tin. I do, however, store even the bulk for about a month before smoking it. This greatly reduces the risk of any tongue-bite. All the Macs bit me like a pit bull when I first fancied on them many years ago. The fresh bulk bag aroma reminds me of raisins and a touch of honey. I don't get that same aroma from the tinned version, but the smoking characteristics are indistinguishable from one another. I get a nice chocolate, raisin-like note with slow smoking. I find it best in a Dublin or narrow billiard. The flavors are more pronounced with the last third of the bowl and without the Burley bitters.

If you dry the Mac Baren products a bit, take care in packing, and sip at your pipe, there shouldn't be any issues with tongue bite. The room note is pleasant - even for non-smokers in my experience. When I first started smoking, I thought sweetness (aromatics, heavily cased) was the way to go. Not anymore for me. Burley London Blend has a background sweetness which for me is just right. Although the tin description lists it, I do not detect the said Virginia presence, but I am sure it does contribute to the very subtle sweetness. The least astringent/sour of the Mac Baren's Burleys, and for me, the best.

Pouch or tin aroma is one thing, but taste is what it's all about for me. True tobacco taste is inseparable from a good room note in my opinion. After all, you want to taste and smell the blend you're smoking. It has that "pipey" smell about it that I enjoy upon re-entering the room where it was being smoked - old school and comforting. Doesn't happen with many blends, but with Mac's BLB, it happens for me. A solid Burley smoke rating 4 stars!

UPDATE 1-3-20: Before Christmas 2019 I saw on where Mac Baren has re-released this for a limited run. Since it was always a favorite and having been quite upset at its discontinuance, I snagged 5 tins. I'll start off by saying this is still a stellar blend, but in my opinion, not exactly the same as what once was. Mac Baren's may be using the same base tobaccos, however, upon opening the tin, there is a pronounced alcoholic/chocolatey aroma - very pleasing but never present in its previous iteration. The chocolate translates to the taste for the first several puffs, but soon settles into a more subtler presence. My daughter said it smelled of brownies baking in the oven. The white Burley definitely comes through as in the past with its astringent qualities. The Virginia isn't noticeable to me. The overall top dressing does detract from the smoke, but it is still a good one and I would happily purchase it on a regular basis if it went back into continuous production. I still have about 100g worth of LBB from over 10 years ago. The two are not identical; the older is better. Perhaps with some age the top dressing will dissipate and this great Burley can once again take top billing. I do think Mac was trying to imitate Aged Burley Flake with the over the top chocolate essence, but in my opinion, the original was better without it.

2-5-20 UPDATE: It actually is difficult to tell IF Mac is using the same Burleys they used in the original run of BLB. There is definitely a chocolate top dressing that was not present in the original, and quite frankly, ruins what the blend once was. It has a similar tin aroma as found in their now defunct Honey & Chocolate blend (different tobaccos to be sure, but same chocolate aroma/taste). I still like this, but Mac...why ruin a good thing? Either you are trying to cover up an inferior Burley or you're trying to compete with Solani Aged Burley Flake.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 02, 2020 Mild Mild to Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Mac Barens: Burley London Blend: This was one of the first MacBaren blends I smoked in the late 1960s ... reminiscent of what my grandfather smoked ..also reminds me of being in a tobacco hanging shed in Wisconsin, i.e., Air-curing...a full-bodied broken Flake & a no-nonsense tobacco. The MB site reports contents of white burley with a tad of VA, thus some sweetness. It develops a rather creamy experience, is mild & has no bite; burns rather cool & does burn fairly fast. The nic is mod to mild. I smoke out doors or in the shop so can only report my own feed back ...very enjoyable; aroma like a pleasant peaty fermentation. I loaded a Group 4 & found it very satisfying. It displays spicy notes of cocoa & a woodsy aroma... a Burley lovers tobacco. It is not difficult to recommend this to you. Try it!
Pipe Used: Briars:Dunhill, Comoy’s, No. Briars
PurchasedFrom: Various;
Age When Smoked: 5 mos.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 03, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
London Blend is a simple burley - mild and tasty. I did not taste much Virginia, but I can believe there is a little there. If I ran out of tobacco someplace, I would not hesitate to pick up a tin of this. I am unlikely to just buy some just to have around. It was a little like Prince Albert to me without the harsh edge if you puff too fast. This is a good smoke for the car - it does not require much attention or distract. It has a pleasant room note.
Pipe Used: various briars and a cob
PurchasedFrom: gift of 4 oz bulk
Age When Smoked: unknown
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 05, 2020 Mild to Medium Medium Medium Pleasant
This review is for the December 2019 Re-release of this blend. I wanted to have at least 6 bowls of this in different pipes before making a verdict. I really like this old school Burley blend. I think it’s closest to Edgeworth, but with more chocolate and less maltiness and less molasses. A bit more richly flavored as well, leaning more toward aromatic territory while still being a codger style burley. It will bite a bit more than Edgeworth if pushed hard, but nothing to detract from the experience unless you are an absolute freight train. Good cut, needs a touch of dry time, which also takes the topping down a bit, and burns evenly and well, quickly but not hot. Overall, a great reissue of a classic that I never tried before it was discontinued, but stocked up on with this rerelease.
Pipe Used: Various briars
Age When Smoked: Fresh
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 15, 2022 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Mac Baren’s Burley London Blend 2022 Tin 4956/5000

A rich, medium-dark sticky ready-rubbed blend of burleys with what appears to be a lite amount of bright virginia’s. Rich, deep chocolate tin note. Reminds me of my late mothers-in-law German Chocolate cake (dark baking chocolate, walnuts, and coconut). A deep, rich, nutty, sweet, chocolate, earthy aroma. In essence, Burns easily. I only had to apply a good one-time charring light to this blend and tamp down from time to time to completion of this bowl. Mild to medium in body and somewhere in the mild to medium nic arena. This is a wonderful burley smoke. Smooth, creamy, and with no tongue bite. I was happy to land a couple of 100g tin’s of this current blend. We'll have to wait and see what 2023 will bring us from Mac Baren!
Pipe Used: Savinelli Rusticated Roma KS141 6mm filter
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: March 2022
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 08, 2021 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
This review is for the 2020 release. Don’t be misled by a few reviewers on here comparing this to a drug store burley. That’s total nonsense. This is a far, far better quality tobacco. Opening the tin, your hit with a mouth watering aroma of cocoa, fig and maybe a hint of liquor. The cut is broken flake. Moisture is smokable straight away, but I’d recommend a bit of drying. At first light the cocoa is prominent. After a few minutes the flavor becomes darker. They say this is white burley. But in my experience, white burley doesn’t have this depth of flavor. The smoke is rich and full flavored. Earthy. I almost detect a note of Kentucky burley. Burns slow too. The cocoa dissipates leaving a pleasant musty, earthy smoke to the bottom of the bowl. A classic, no frills, high quality blend that seems to take me back in time. Room note is also quite pleasing. Not cigarette like, as some burleys are. I’d recommend this blend for a intermediate/experienced smoker.
6 people found this review helpful.
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