Mac Baren Original Choice

Original Choice is a new pioneering pipe tobacco which will appeal to "novice" pipe smokers and the younger generation. It has a mild, aromatic taste, and the truly remarkable thing about Original Choice is the fact that we have managed to develop a tobacco that does not smart on the tongue. Original Choice is made of specially selected tobaccos. It is a blend of Virginia tobacco from North Carolina and mild, air-dried Burley from Tennessee. One of the suppliers of the Virginia tobacco is Boyette Farm, where the Boyette family has been working since 1797 to produce the best possible Virginia qualities. Their success has been due in part to the warm and dry climate. It is now the fifth generation that has taken its place behind the solid oak writing desk to play roulette with Mother Nature, as the family puts it. Fortunately, thanks to generations of experience, the odds are stacked in favor of the Boyette family. That is why a plug of Original Choice is always a good idea. The packaging is made of an exclusive type or corrugated card, which not only looks good and protects the tobacco but is also completely environment-friendly. It is not every year that Mac Baren Tobacco launches new types of tobacco. That is why we have pulled out all the stops to make full use of our experience and our production of the new blends. That is also why we have managed to make sure that Original Choice does not smart on the tongue. Numerous test smokers have already given Original Choice their approval and have already made it their first choice.
Notes: Introduced in 1998.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By MacBaren
Manufactured By MacBaren
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Burley, Cavendish, Virginia
Flavoring Other / Misc
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 40 grams pouch. 50 grams tin
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.76 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 129 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 24, 2009 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Nice paper-board outer package with a tobacco leaf sticker on it and no other motifs than mac-baren crest. Looks as it is a true tobacco we are about to try.

A lot of black cavendish among bright virg. and burley. No artificial aromas and toppings to kill the tobacco taste, if we ignore the natural sweetener which only enhances the fine natural aroma.

It smokes fine, tastes sweet enough, mild, but still is a serious smoke with some body. An all day smoke for any occasion. The room note is very nice, fruity almond like.

It suits all, from beginners to ones moving from aromatics to a more natural english or oriental blends.

It's neutrality will not appeal to heavy latakia smokers nor sweet cherry-vanilla-aromatics lovers. However it has it's place in a spectrum of tobacco and in a way it makes an important link in a chain of many blends.

I recommend it to all that start with smoking pipes, to all that want a day off from the heavy english mixtures, and to all aromatics lovers willing to try something more natural.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 27, 2015 Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
There is a little grassy, tart and tangy citrus from the Virginia, along with some nutty, earthy, woody, molasses sweet burley in a supporting role. The black cavendish sports a very mild sugar hit throughout the smoke. The fruity toppings have among them a little cherry, some berry and honey, and perhaps a hint of caramel. The vanilla is a moderate addition. They also have a light syrupiness. The tobaccos are sublimated by the toppings, which are the main players. Has little nicotine. The strength is mild, while the taste is a couple of steps past that mark. No chance of bite or harshness. Burns at a reasonable pace with a very consistent creamy smooth sweet flavor. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. Requires an average number of relights. The after taste pleasantly lingers, and the room note will please most people. Can be an all day smoke.

44 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 31, 2006 Extremely Mild Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant
I will recommend this one to the pipe smoking hobbyists among us who don't care for a lot of tobacco flavor or nicotine and have a sweet tooth. Additionally, you can choo-choo train this one with your puffing cadence and never blister your waggle.

As for me, I prefer the home run to singles.

Oh, one of the previous reviewers described this as a "ramped up" Captain Black. Great descriptive and dead on.
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 24, 2014 Very Mild Very Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant
Finally an "Aromatic" that doesn't taste like soap!! More than a few reviewers have said that folks that prefer Latakia Blends probably won't like this one. WRONG!! I love Latakia. I love Burley. I love Va and Ky as well as Orientals and Perique. When the tobacco is done right, I have a very diverse taste and enjoy many different combinations. Original Choice was done right, IMO. I am not a fan of aromatics and til now have not smoked any in many many years. I found this blend to be very pleasing to smoke, albeit a very light smoke. Nothing wrong with a light smoke sometimes. This one goes good with morning coffee and is a nice change of pace. Try it! You'll like it!
Pipe Used: Savinelli "Tignanello" 614 Oom Paul
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: New
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 29, 2014 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Very Pleasant
Mac Baren - Original Choice.

This has quite an intriguing description, so I was thrilled to try it! The mixture has a pleasing aroma to it: not particularly aromatic but more of a full tobacco smell with a slight fruity edge to it. It is of a perfect quantity with the moistness and appears to be predominately darker Cavendish pieces.

Due to the moisture level it lights up with great ease and once lit burns very even at a steady pace. The ash left behind is very pale and the smoke given off is a great temperature, not too hot nor too cool. The flavour is super! Although it is classed as an aromatic the aromatic side is incredibly delicate and doesn't mask the tobacco flavours. There is a VERY slight floral note but it is not at all omnipotent. The tobacco tastes are brilliantly balanced, I thought from the appearance it would be only a Cav' taste but actually they are all present at an equilibrium that is perfect. Vitamin N? Again perfect, and if you choose to inhale the smoke by exhaling through the nose the delicate aromatic side is embellished pleasantly. Tongue bite now: quite a surprise as unlike the expectation with Mac B's this one appears redundant in the bite department!

This one would make a stupendous first time aro' or a great choice for those of us that are sick to death of heavily cased cherry or vanilla ones!

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Peterson
PurchasedFrom: Smoke King
Age When Smoked: New
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 23, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Full Very Pleasant
What they say is true: this is a perfect smoke for a beginner. I thought I would move forward from Original Choice over the years, but actually I got stuck with it. It's my default if you like, something I always have in my collection. A lot has been sad about it here: it's a true rich aromatic, without any artificial taste, you can taste real tobacco. It has different layers of taste, different aromas while you smoke. It's extremely easy to smoke. All of this is true. But I have to add something.

I get back to Original Choice, sometimes for days in a row because of the after-taste. It has a very pleasant and long lasting after-taste that can make me dependent. I can feel it in my mouth (and beard) even 12 to 20 hours after the last smoke, and often it makes me covet. A sip of water can refresh it, and makes me want to light another pipe. And it has a wonderful beard capture. My family loves the smell of Original Choice in my beard, and when I smoke something else during the day, in the evening they will miss it. Where's your dad-smell?

This tobacco is my base, maybe it's not passionate love, but it is a long and warm friendship.
Pipe Used: Peterson bent Dublin, Szabó Ambiente large
PurchasedFrom: any better tobacco shop in Budapest
Age When Smoked: new from pouch
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2002 Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
Appearance: The blend was mostly variations of lighter colors (about 70%), the remainder much darker. It was much drier than the tinned Mac Barens that I've tried in the past.

Aroma: All that came through was the flavoring/scenting agents used. They were somewhat fruity and sweet, and were able to mask what I assume are burley and virginias. No orientals af any kind were detected.

Packing: Packing was quite easy in a variety of bowl sizes. The dry tobacco did not tend to clump or stick together, making a nice springy pack with little attention.

Lighting: As expected, the blend was quite easy to light. In fact, in a fairly narrow bowl, a one match light was often possible.

Initial flavor: Two impressions immediately. Cooler than expected, and rather fruity tasting. I can't identify most of the flavors that came through, except for the faint impression of banana. (BANANA???) Better on a bowl of corn flakes than in my pipe!!

Mid-bowl: Continued cool and gentle on the tongue, smoked dry and clean. However, the flavor did not develop beyond the first impression.

Finish: The finish was still cool, just a bit stronger in taste, and still dry.

Summary: An excellent choice for the aromatic smoker. It burns cooler and drier than much of the breed, and doesn't gunk up the pipe. It does leave an aftertaste in the pipe, as all flavored blends do. Way above average for an aromatic, but just not my style.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 12, 2010 Mild Medium Mild Very Pleasant
A previous review discerns "toffee, figs and almonds" in MacB Original Choice, but I also received a whiff of something close to the cherry topping in SG Celtic Talisman, although much more subdued and almost vestigial, together with a bit of warmed up butterscotch. An extremely sweet smoke, thanks to the casing and the virginias. But not cloying, thanks perhaps to the burley. The base tobacco is extremely good and the general effect is one of a pleasingly sweet, rich and tasty smoke, right out of the tin. (Well, let it air a bit, as one should all MacBaren blends.) I wonder how it will taste with some weeks in the jar. Nicotine level is low, which I prefer, so YMMV. I smoke slow so I never get bitten by any MacBaren blend or few others for that matter. Again, YMMV. The ribbon cut should be filled loosely, not packed or jammed, and smoked in a size 4 at least for the maiden voyage. This and MacBaren Dark Twist Roll Cake would be excellent choices for the fall and winter months. I dare say the OC room note would give it an edge during the social commitments of the holidays.

02/13/2011 Update: I can't believe I only gave it three stars orginally. This baccy has "legs" and along with Dark Twist has become my favorite MacBaren blend. Time in the jar just makes it better.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 31, 2013 Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant
First off, I am a lover of aromatics and have been smoking pipes for over 20 years. I was never a big fan of MacBaren blends, but my local tobacconist had an open tin of this mixture. I never buy a cat- in-a-bag when it comes to pipe tobacco (too many BAD experiences). I liked the tin-note, so I asked for a sample. I enjoyed this tobacco so much, that I bought a 100g tin. Here is my review:

Tin note: fruity, but not overpoweringly so,so that the aroma of the natural tobacco leaf is also detectable.

Moisture content: unlike many aromatics, which are too moist to smoke out of the pouch/tin, MacBaren Original Choice is ready to smoke. The tobacco packs well without plugging up the draw. If it dries out, however, I would recommend remoisturizing it. Otherwise the tobacco cannot be packed properly, resulting in a quick burn with tongue-bite.

Room note: A real crowd-pleaser, this tobacco is one that even anti-smokers will be tempted to love. My daughter, who usually complains about my pipe smoke (even though I never smoke in the house, only outdoors), exclaimed that this pipe tobacco smells really pleasant. I did smoke this in a pub, and after leaving the room, then reentering it a few minutes later, I noticed a pleasant, slightly fruity scent, reminiscent of "grandpa's pipe".

Smoke: You will need to perform 2-step lighting, with a charring light followed up by a 2nd light. No tongue-bite (unless you let the tobacco dry out - see "moisture content"); pleasant, slightly sweet, typically aromatic taste; no dottle; smokes to the end of the bowl; no "wet draw" (a.k.a "tobacco juice"), though moderate residue in smoke channel after pipe has cooled down (recommend using 6 or 9 mm charcoal filters, if your pipe is fitted for them).

Overall, I find this a very pleasing smoke, and it has become my go-to-tobacco when I want to please non-smokers in my vicinity. Despite contrary information in the product description above, I would not necessarily recommend this for novice smokers.

BTW: Both MacBaren and Stanwell have reduced their pouch content from 50g to just 40g, of course without reducing the price. This is rather unfortunate, and I felt duped once I noticed this fact!
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 14, 2008 Medium to Strong Very Strong Medium to Full Pleasant
I bought a pouch of this tobacco in the tobacco store only because it was the cheapest solution. I stored it in my cigar & wine temperature controled humidor for about 4 months and I finally opened it with plenty of expectations.

But the flavory changed my mind. Looking closer and it is not hard to find some sugar cristals sticked on the leaves. I first thought that I may be cheated with some kind of drug-store products. Afterh checking on, and I think maybe it IS the charactor of the tobacco. I did not through it away. I transfered it to a used tea tin. I ordered some Corn Cob pipes to smoke this tobacco. Each time I feel happier looking at the tin with less and less remainder inside.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 21, 2021 Mild Medium to Strong Medium Very Pleasant
The room note is something to die for, but this tobacco is a waste of time if you are a seasoned pipe smoker. Not that there is something intrinsically wrong with it, but I'd give it to someone who is just starting. Having said that, if there was a nonaromatic version of this blend I'd probably change my mind. I do not hate it, but I do not love it either.

Edit 27 Agust 2021:

I think I have been somewhat unfair with this review. Aromatic though it might be, I like it. It evolves nicely, no tongue-bite, nice room and tin note, the casing is not horrible, good combination of bright and burley leaf, the nicotine content is OK, has some complexity, and it is easy to approach. I am upgrading it to 3 stars.
3 people found this review helpful.
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