Mac Baren Club Blend

A roll-cake tobacco, spun from rich, matured Virginia and choice cavendish tobaccos giving Club Blend its medium strength and delightful aroma. Edit: According to Mac Baren's website, Club Blend contains Virginia and Dark Fired Kentucky. Besides maple sugar and water, no additional flavouring is added to the tobacco.
Notes: Introduced in 1955.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Virginia Based
Contents Cavendish, Kentucky, Virginia
Flavoring Other / Misc
Cut Curly Cut
Packaging 100 grams tin weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.97 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 73 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 29, 2006 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Let me begin by saying that this has become one of my favorite blends over the past few years or so. I had shied away from MacBaren products when I started pipe smoking because of a dreadful throat and tongue excoriating experience early on with Virginia No. 1 before I understood how to smoke such tobaccos. I was a self-affirmed aromatic and drugstore burley smoker back then, and couldn't dream of what all of the fuss was about with all of these "fancy" tinned tobaccos. I had never paid too much attention to the tins of MacBarens at the local tobacco shop until one day I spied the red/orange can of club blend, read the description and impulse purchased. Soon afterwards I was hooked, and favorably impressed enough to sample most of the remaining macbaren tobaccos most of which I can admit that I enjoyed enough to send be searching further into the world of fine tobaccos. So, in a sense, I would say that MacBarens tobaccos paved the way for me to acsend into the world of good smokin'. Now, the thought of smoking something out of a sticky jar sends shivers down my spine. Club Blend is nicely packaged, somewhat moist on opening but stabilizing to a perfect consistency by the time the quater-smoked point is reached. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the bright virginia grassy dryness with the sweetness of the black cavendish. I can't detect any top-dressing but the cavendish is flavored with something that I can't seem to put my finger on. Some people have remarked that Dark Twist is the same thing as Club Blend, but I beg to differ. Dark Twist is another one of my favorites, but it is certainly darker and more somber and overtly sweet in both flavor and tin odor and has not the wonderful "bilayer" of taste that club blend puts forth. The bright virginia lays down a base, and then the black cavendish peeks out with it's velvety sweetness through the nose and palate. I like to stack pack the coins and then rub out one or two on top and I find that packed this way affords me about 45 minutes of constant smoking, usually without relights. For some reason, I have not been a victim of the dreaded "MacBaren Bite" with any of their roll cut blends like some reviewers have. It burns cleanly to a white ash and I have never heard a gurgle out of any of my pipes when smoking it.The room note is very virginia, less offensive to my better half than some of the blends I have endeavored to smoke indoors. I usually smoke at least one bowl of this per day, and I find that it makes for a nice "afternoon, after work, before dinner" smoke during that hour or two during which I like to have a hot cup of strong tea and read my mail or "weekend puttering around the garden or working on the boat" in a big billiard where the freshness of the breeze complements nicely the freshness of the bright Va. I save the evenings, though, for darker pleasures...
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 16, 2017 Mild Mild Mild Pleasant
Tin presentation is little disks of sliced spun tobacco. Aroma is mild, and generally brown sugar sweet with some Virginia notes.

A little moist when fresh, I find all of these MacBaren spun blends to be best when well dried. Even when dry, there is a little bit of nip present that requires caution to not get carried away with puff cadence. And it's easy to get too eager, the flavor is subtle and encourages a faster draw trying to get more flavor to burst forward. What bursts forward instead is tongue tingle. Go easy, and you're rewarded with a very pleasant, mildly sweet smoke.

I once had a blend that called itself Natural Dutch Cavendish, it was more brown than black cavendish, and had a very distinct flavor that I find to be present here. I detect essentially no black cavendish character. The Virginias are very nice, with more of a hay / grass note than yeasty or bready. The topping / casing is noticeably sweet but not really artificial or annoying like a sticky aromatic, and as others have mentioned gives off a toasted marshmallow note. Mixed against the nice Virginia baseline, it's pleasant.

In general, I visit this blend roughly once a week, and enjoy it pretty greatly when I do. Given it's tendency to get tingly and the care it requires to not bite, I personally can't call it an every day smoke. But it's a treat nonetheless, and of the MacBaren roll cake tobaccos, my favorite.
Pipe Used: Cobs and briars
Age When Smoked: fresh to several months after openning
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 09, 2014 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I got this 4 year old tin with the purchase of an estate pipe.

The tin note is of sweet prunes, and though a bit odd, was not unpleasant.

I found this to be a very smooth smoke, but ultimately unremarkable. It lacks character, and I was hoping for a richer smoke. Given the fact that it is already 4 years old, I doubt that any aging will solve this problem (if any of you were thinking that for a new tin).

There are many better options available, but this blend may appeal to those liking a very mild, gentle smoke.
Pipe Used: Brigham Dublin
Age When Smoked: 4
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 08, 2019 Mild Mild Mild Very Pleasant
Beautiful brown spun discs with the black "heart of darkness". Pleasant Virginia tobacco aroma with some topping that I don't see as "fruit" or "citrus" but more like honey. I rubbed the discs out for best effect and gave this a prodigious drying time until it was just short of crispy. I picked this up as part of a large trade because I was curious if I would get the chemical burn even before I lit it, as happened many years ago when I attempted to try this blend. I didn't.

This is a Mac Baren's roll cake through and through, which was its weakness to my tastebuds. The honey-sweet casing came through heavily even when properly dried out, and the overall presentation was sweet but not quite too sweet. Close but just missed going overboard. Occasionally I would get a hint of something like burnt marshmallows that was, unfortunately, too fleeting. This could have used a pinch of Kentucky or something to spice it up. But for the most part, this was a pleasant if not groundbreaking smoke. I saved back 1.5 oz from the 3.5 tin for later when I want something on the sweet side, and I thought it would work better perhaps outside in the summer. 2 1/2 stars, but not quite a 3 star blend in my book. But I would have no problem recommending this to someone who enjoys Dark Twist and the other Mac B roll cakes. I think this is one of the best of that bunch. And once dried out, it averaged only 2.67 relights per bowl, for those of you who find that information critical.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 01, 2018 Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant
The best smelling of the MacBaren blends when burning. Has quite a chemical coctail present, with benzoic acid leading the way, which gives it its sweet benzoin incense or maple like flavor and room note. I have had a tin of this which was nearly 20 years old, and had turned a very vivid orange color. The room note was very inmpressive, and it tasted good also. However, I get the MacBaren bite, which is due to its chemical coctail, so I don't buy their blends, only occasionally try samples offered, or tins gifted. It is law now in Germany for a complete ingredient list, including amounts used per KG, to be available to the public, for any tobacco product. My German friend kindly sent me the list for many blends. MacBaren more or less has a laboratory in most of their blends. So, while this is a nice smoke, I won't be buying any.
Pipe Used: Servi meerschaum.
PurchasedFrom: Gift
Age When Smoked: 20 years.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2017 Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant
Truly a "middle of the road" blend... sweet, but with some spice. Quite natural, but aromatic in taste. For me it also takes the middle of the 3 Roll Cakes I got to smoke from Mac Baren. Stockton being by far my favorite, Club Blend 2nd place for its smooth and all-day-suitable aroma and strenght, Dark Twist takes the 3rd place, because I find it a tad too sweet.

Mac Baren says this is only treated with water and maple-syrup, and has "minimalistic casing" and I'd agree that a hint of a fruity-casing is present. Tin note is wonderful... lots of natural, bready, yeasty tobacco aroma, some citrusy fruit notes, with maple-ish sweetness to it.

In the taste it's quite natural tobacco aroma. Rich, but mellow flavours of dark bread and walnuts that are supported by a midly fruity, moreso citrusy freshness. A decent sweetness is always present, that has a maple-ish touch to it. An delicate interplay of tart-spice and refreshing, citrusy-sweetness.

On the lower half of medium in strenght, I find this could be appealing to beginners who want to discover more natural pipe tobaccos, as well as for Virginia lovers, who like some spice and every other smoker, who likes a "middle of the road" blend, that is very All-Day suitable with an aroma that's never too much, but also satisfying. Smehow "Club Blends" always lend me to believe it should be a blend of which you can crack a tin open, put it on the pipe clubs table and say: *"Fill a bowl boys..."* and everyone would like the tobacco fine or at least like it OK. Club Blend is one of these blends! I can't imagine anyone finding this totally offensive!

Yup... another well done Roll Cake by Mac Baren, great series they produce and worth every penny imho!

Pipe Used: Clays and Briars
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 17, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Solid three stars. I don't get the description above saying this has a citrus/fruit flavoring. Mac Barens site only says their typical preparation of their Original Cavendish has a maple sugar casing. That is all. And indeed this is exactly what this blend presents. A typical Va, Burley, Cavendish blend. Smooth with a nice mild depth of flavors. Doesn't evolve too much but is consistent throughout the bowl. I like the small disks of roll cake. Fun to rub out. Sometimes I don't rub them out but just crumble them between the fingertips. Easy. Takes the flame very well and burns slowly. As with all Mac Baren offerings so far, for me gentle sipping is the way to experience them. An all day blend for sure. No frills. Consistent. Toasty and lightly sweet.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2011 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
First things first. The description above identifies this as having a fruit/citrus flavoring. I do not believe that this is accurate. Mac Baren states that all of their spun tobaccos of this style receive only a sugar topping, and that to a small degree. In addition, their website also gives this their lowest rating possible for aromatic flavor. While one may taste citrus, my own experience is that this blend indeed contains only a light sugar casing.

Now to the tobacco. It certainly looks as described, which is as a blend of virginias and cavendish. It is their typical Mac Baren sliced roll cake - long ribbon cut tobacco spin which appear to be pressed into a tube shape, and then sliced into thin discs.

The tin moisture is significant, and the blend itself benefits greatly from significant drying prior to smoking. Most Mac blends can bite if not smoked with respect. This is no exception. When dried to the touch (but not wholly crisp) the bite all but disappears unless smoked fast and furious, and it burns slowly and evenly. The flavor is rich and sweet, and consistent from start to finish. It is not complex, but offers a satisfying mouthful of smoke which is sweet but offers natural virginia flavor. Yummy.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 10, 2022 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant
The description in store said the tin was released in 2006, but I knew that Mac Baren had changed the tin designs at the turn of the Millennium, and design was old. I was able to find the period when it was imported to the United States. There was a great surprise for me: it turned out that the importer indicated on the tin was ordering Mac Baren before 1986! That, in turn, meant that the tobacco had been in the tin for at least 35 years. I opened the tin, poured the contents into the glass jar and let the blend rest for about a month, then decided to try it.

Appearance: over the years, the tobacco has turned into a tightly pounded, tin-shaped puck consisting of coins the color of a well-baked apple with slightly lighter streaks. Each of the coins was about two centimeters in diameter and a millimeter thick. The fresh coins could be stuffed into a tube in a stack, but over time the mixture dried up a bit and the fibers lost their flexibility. Now they could only be turned into ribbons and stuffed into the tube in the usual way.

Flavor: in one word, luxurious. A soft and dense note of figs clearly dominates, despite the complete absence of perique in the recipe. Apparently, red Virginia, fire-dried Kentucky and Cavendish twisted into bundles, glued with maple syrup and cut into coins, over 35 years in the tin produced an awesome result, similar to the flavor of a very good perique. There was a woody note with a slight smokiness through it, along with a faint scent of orange zest. I took a couple of coins in my hand, kneaded them a little, and over the fig base came the aroma of fine muffin bread. After a few seconds, it all came together to form a wholesome, calm and very pleasant aroma.

Taste: It would seem that with such a flavor, Virginia should have led the way. But to my surprise, once smoked, the flavor is dominated by a smoky, woody and nutty - but extremely smooth! - Kentucky note, shaded by the sweetness of baked fruit, candied orange and a subtle bread crumb, which is given by a mixture of Virginia and a small dose of Cavendish. Gradually, the smoky Kentucky note recedes into the background, leaving the woody and nutty component to dominate, the Virginia adds a little sweetness, the various notes weave into one dense, but light flavor. The tobacco, left in a tin for such a considerable period, has become much less demanding to the smoking temperature, and the harshness in it is pretty diminished, it doesn't bite and has only a little roughness in taste. Nevertheless, I don't advise to rush with it, because despite its age it smokes quite warm, burning out into a light gray dust and leaving almost no moisture in the pipe. By the way, the shape of the pipe does not affect the taste of the tobacco. The strength of the tobacco is somewhat below average, even in a extra large pipe I did not get a nicotine hit. The aftertaste is sweetish-woody, with an emphasis on the woody note, short-lived. The smoke from the tobacco has a faint woody smell and dissipates easily.

What's the bottom line? To be completely honest, mixed feelings. On the one hand, tobacco has become an excellent blend over the years, with Kentucky playing a major role, but this strangely doesn't bother me at all. I would be more than happy to smoke this kind of tobacco every day. On the other hand, to smoke such tobacco every day in modern times, back in the early days of my acquaintance with the pipe, I should have stocked up on it at every opportunity. To be honest, I know what a fresh Club Blend is, and this tobacco is obviously not for everyone. It's quality, moderately bright in flavor, but slightly pungent on the palate and burns hot enough. I'd be interested in getting my hands on a few tins and putting them on the far shelf. However, I recently had the opportunity to try a 20-year-old Club Blend and compare how much it has changed in the 15 years that make up the difference between the two tins.
Pipe Used: Peterson 80s, 106, System 314
PurchasedFrom: Online
Age When Smoked: at least 35 years old tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 31, 2019 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
It is a Curly Cut with a dark brown, almost black core of Dark Fired Kentucky (according to Mac Baren’s homepage), NO Black Cavendish as stated in the description above. Virginias in different shades of brown surround this dark core. The medium sized rolls look pleasant and it is effortless to rub directly into the pipe. Ideal moisture in tin, very easy to light, steady and cool burn, no tongue-bite.

The overhead description of this page mentions that there is a flavouring of “other / misc”. Again, this is in total contrast to Mac Baren’s description on their homepage. There is only maple syrup added for sweetness, and NO flavours whatsoever, according to Mac Baren. I cannot find any flavouring myself, I only get a palette of natural tobacco taste.

In my perception, the backbone of this blend is mainly Virginias, together with a rather dominant aroma of Dark Fired Kentucky. It is also possible that the boost comes from a robust Virginia. I’d say, for a Mac Baren this blend is quite strong, not in nicotine though. Sweetness is in the background, just right for me. I would call “Club Blend Roll Cake” a pleasant everyday mixture, strong enough to enjoy, without being too strong to smoke several pipes in a row. There are no outbursts of fancy aromas to dig for, it’s just a pleasant one to smoke. I will add it to my rotation, together with Mac Baren Dark Twist Roll Cake.
PurchasedFrom: Local tobacconist.
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