Mac Baren Navy Flake

Carefully selected Burley, Virginia and the original Mac Baren Cavendish have been pressed and stored for weeks before being cut into slices. The pressing process ensures a slow burning tobacco.
Notes: Introduced in 1965. According to Mac Baren.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley, Cavendish, Virginia
Flavoring Floral Essences, Fruit / Citrus, Rum
Cut Flake
Packaging 100 grams tin weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.10 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 339 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 26, 2016 Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Tolerable
After moving through Blockade Runner and Luxury Navy Flake I moved on to this mix in further investigation of the genre. The 11,000+ hit review on YouTube with the rousing score, nautical imagery, and the huge smoldering pipe sealed it- I had to have this. With anticipation I opened the tin, pulled back the gold foil and admired the look of the perfect flakes. Dark molasses and hay are the prominent tin notes.

I lit up and was rewarded with a bit of the molasses, but more so honey. Some tangy Virginia flavor shined through, but dulled by the obvious presence of a somewhat flat burley and the cavendish. Nirvana! About mid-bowl some spice notes arise, especially clove and cinnamon. Persistent sweetness throughout and some toasty grains. It smoked quite warm and I wised up to some drying and a lighter pack. The lighter honey notes diminish and the molasses ramps up and it started to get a little murky. The lingering aftertaste was quite welcome. Quite a tobacco on the first bowl.

I went through the first 1/4 of the tin (100 g) fairly quickly and also continued to allow it to dry. My enjoyment though started to diminish, both during the course of each bowl and over time. Now, I find this blend cloying and over processed. The base tobaccos are of quality, but it is pretty heavily cased. It has stayed tacky to the touch even while dried to the point where the flames are friable. As the bowl develop it gets wet and develops bitterness. The dark molasses has become unbearable, nearly to the point of nausea. I also feel a coating in my mouth, unlike anything else I have tried. In my greed I have way too many opens tins and pouches and have resolved to remedy that before exploring further. Unfortunately, this damned oversized tin has become a bit of a personal white whale.

I regret that my opinion has so soured on this. I really enjoyed it initially and had high expectations, but just don't care for it now very much. With almost everything else I've smoked I've usually gained appreciation or came to recognize other similar blends as superior, but with this it shrinks in my estimation. With that said it still gains a qualified but lowly recommendation due to the quality of the leaf and presentation as well as the initial impressions, but I surely won't be revisiting.

Finally, a personal quibble on the naming. This not a navy blend. Yes it is a Va flake, but there is no rum and it is adulterated with burley. I would suggest it is a VaBur aromatic. Approached as such maybe it would be more enjoyable.

3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2013 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
One of the easiest flake blends to rub out without being dry, and one of the easiest burning flakes, too. Lots of fruit notes, and an occasional hit of hay, flowers and oats. The nutty, earthy, woody burleys have a small molasses hit. they are the lead components. The grassy, tart and tangy citrusy and lightly tangy dark fruit, earthy, woody, bready, floral, sugary, stewed fruity, mildly honeyish, Virginias and black Virginia cavendish compliment the topping of this blend. There's a light spice/cinnamon hit, too. MacBaren said only a tiny amount of rum is present, but I think it’s a little more intense than that. They also say no honey has been added, so that essence comes from the Virginias as I previously noted. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh, and barely has any rough spots. Burns at slightly less than a moderate pace, cool and clean with a mostly consistent sweet, lightly floral, spicy flavor from top to bottom. Requires a little more than an average number of relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. Has a very pleasant, lightly lingering after taste and room note. An all day smoke.

115 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 14, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
UPDATE: This is a classic, the more I smoke it, the more I like it. I find myself reaching for this over many other tobaccos, both for "daily" kind of smokes and for "treat" smokes. Just a lovely product. Unspectacular, but just damn good. Wife-friendly, tongue friendly, pipe-friendly... what a great product.

I agree with Skando's review, by and large. This is very pleasant stuff, and doing the folding the way they do on the Mac Baren website, you get a really nice smoke, and a long, satisfying one at that. Tin moisture is perfect.

If you can't abide Navy Flake, you should probably sell your pipes. Not that this blend is so incredibly fantastic, but it really is very solid and inoffensive in all ways. Good tasting, easy smoking. Possibly my desert island smoke, not because it is so special, but because it is so unpretentious.

Quality is always top notch with Mac B, and this stuff could teach some other flake manufacturers a thing or two. Beautifully presented, and just a real pleasure to smoke.
78 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 23, 2002 Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
A traditional navy flake that is cool, semi-sweet, and will go slowly down the bowl, even if fully rubbed out. Mac Baren hit a home run with this one for me. It is a bit too strong to enjoy all day and night, but as a quiet respite from a long day, you will find this tasty blend to be the ticket for a nice long evening of enjoyment. The overriding factor of the blend is that is has more Burley than Virginia in the taste. So, if you are not fond of Burley tobaccos, don't join the Navy! If you are, sign up right now!
50 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2014 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
I picked up this blend to compare it to the SG version of this type of blend. To me, this is the weaker one as far as nicotine goes. The SG gives a far higher hit of Vitamin N than this one. This does give a nice hit of it, just not in the range of the SG. With that said, this is a fine blend that MB puts out. I think it may be their best blend, YMMV. The flakes are easy to stuff into the pipe and once lit, it says lit with no problems. It burns down to a fine ash at the bottom of the pipe. This blend does have a certain sweetness to it, which pulls everything together nicely. If you have a low tolerance to nicotine, this may be the one to give a try. Highly recommended.
43 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 30, 2014 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild Pleasant
Navy in a blend name often signifies a distinct rum taste, but MacBaren Navy Flake has only the lightest kiss of rum. (Curiously. MacBaren Plum Cake could easily be called Rum Flake, as it has a dominant rum, not plum, flavor.) The flavor to the light aromatic Navy Flake is predominately the MacBaren standard maple sugar and water, which provides a taste akin to honey/molasses. Navy Flake also seems to have a little cinnamon added.

This is an aromatic, but it is a light aromatic, and even some pipe smokers who eschew aromatics may find Navy Flake palatable. The room note is not heavily aromatic, and it is quite pleasant.

The flakes themselves are the impeccable MacBaren production, clearly defined, but easily crumbled. Navy Flake may be smoked either by cramming the flakes down or rubbing them out. I tend to cram, and then rub out a topping to ensure an easy light. Navy Flake does light easier than many flakes.

The flakes are predominately burley, lightly sweetened by Virginia and the MacBaren cavendish, a cavendish that does not turn off as many smokers as do many cavendishes. There are some smokers who do not like burley, and they will not care for Navy Flake, as it is burley forward. But aside from these, the majority of pipesters will find Navy Flake quite pleasant.

Normally I smoke aromatics in my meerschaums and/or my cheaper pipes because of the ghosting issue. Navy Flake is not particularly prone to ghosting, so I often use my more expensive pipes when smoking it.

Navy Flake comes short of the WOW! factor for me, but It always gives me a rewarding smoke, and in a large bowled pipe a long lasting one.

I do not have bite issues with Navy Flake when using a leisurely puffing cadence. Be aware that a significant number of smokers have a body chemistry that creates bite problems for them with the MacBaren offerings.
28 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 27, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Well, I must point out that this is the first flake that I ever tried and was blown away after smoking it. The tin smell is so good that I just want to break some up, pack it between my gums and my lips and slowly chew it (I used to do that with this blend but it has been several months since I have).

Since first trying Navy flake, I have tried over a dozen other flakes from various companies. I keep finding myself coming back to this one. I smoked it so frequently, that I once purchased five tens at once when getting a discount on bulk tins was an option at a popular site (less than $10 U.S. per tin). That site now charges over $13 U.S. per tin. That is still better than the B&Ms in my state that charge anywhere from $17 to $27 a tin. It is the only flake that I have ever purchased in bulk, and will do so in the Mac Baren 16 Oz box again soon.

The flakes are easily rubbed out and not too moist out of the tin. However, I found out that just a little drying allows it to open up to more complex flavors in the proper bowl. Rarely does it ever need a second light if one tamps gently along the way. I have received numerous compliments on the aroma. While it is definitely on the milder side for a flake, it makes for a good one to enjoy by constantly, gently puffing and then expelling through the nostrils. Smoking it this way allows the smoker to take in the whole breadth of the flavors which include mildly sweet virginia, nutty burley, dried fruit and distant honey and rum flavors. The complexity of this fine flake must be savored by not over drawing on the tobacco while it is being sipped through the mouth and exhaled through ones snout. If you get it too hot, then it is not quite as enjoyable. However, if it does get a little hot, it never seems to bite the tongue.

I have turned on several friends to this blend - all of which have enjoyed it; most of which have gone on to purchase some for themselves. If you enjoy flake and want an all-day smoke, this one will not disappoint. The flavor builds towards the end of the bowl when the virginias and burleys have married in the heat to a true perfection of tobacco bliss. At this point, the honey is still there but it just brings out the natural flavor of the quality tobaccos that much more.

What takes this one over the top is the price. I don't believe there is a better dollar or dollar value in a tobacco product. Yes, there are some better blends/flakes out there. But there is nothing that I feel I get quite as high of a pleasure to cost ratio than Mac Baren Navy Flake.
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Mac Baren - Navy Flake.

This arrived with just the right amount of hydration, making it ready to smoke. I like to fully rub and to do so with this is easy. It's a breeze to get lit.

The smoke's mildly flavoured, so the tobacco's are supported by a sweet rummy addition, not smothered. The burn from it's good but if it's puffed with too much alacrity it can bite. The nicotine's mild enough to be inoffensive to beginners, yet it's not so weak as to be a complete let down for seasoned puffers. The room-note's quite pleasant.

Navy Flake? Four stars:

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Mr Brog
PurchasedFrom: Smoke King
Age When Smoked: New
20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 24, 2009 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
This is an amazing MB blend and probably my favorite VA blend so far. Outstandingly pressed Virginia/Burley and Cavendish make it a rewarding experience opening the tin. A delicious whaft of Honey and Rum invades the notrils. The flakes ae easy to brake ad rub and filling the pipe is not a problem at all. The room note is very pleasent and the taste throughout the bowl is rich and sweet. A keeper.
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 20, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
I know that we are supposed to say that MacBaren tobaccos burn hot, but this was not my experience with Navy Flake. I do find the flakes too moist, and you can either leave a flake out or open the tin and wait a couple of weeks. This is a tasty mild VaBur on the burley side of things. It has a mild honey topping and a whiff of rum flavor. It is a good solid smoke, and I will buy it again.
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2009 Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I had to smoke this to compare it to SG Navy. Totally different tobaccos. Strangely, given Mac Baren's reputation (along with much eastern-European fare) for making aromatics, MB Navy seemed more natural in flavor than SG's version. It just tasted to me like a burley-virginia flake, with subtle grassy notes with the characteristic "nutty" burley flavor. Unfortunately for my tastes, as is common with burleys, this had a very dry mouthfeel (regardless of the humidity of the tobacco). I liked how easy it was to fold it and stuff it into pipes of the size I favor (3/4" to 13/17" in diameter). Unlike others, I found this did not really need drying out. Perhaps my tin was an anomaly. I would like to try other MB flakes in the future because of the ease with which they can be smoked. But this one's flavor left me a bit cold. Worth trying if you like grassy virginias and dry tasting burley.
15 people found this review helpful.
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