Mac Baren Plumcake

(2.88)
A mixture of fully ripe Virginia tobaccos, sliced, cask mellowed burley tobaccos, dark spicy cavendish and just a touch of latakia. To give Plumcake an elegant aroma, the blend has been flavoured with aged Jamaica rum. NEW TIN DESCRIPTION: Plumcake brings the thoughts back to old times, when the sailors onboard the sailing ships filled their pipe with good, satisfying tobacco and having the scent of tar and saltwater all around them. Bright Virginia tobaccos mixed with burley, a little original Mac Baren cavendish and just a touch of [Cyprian] latakia. On top of this masterly made blend original Jamaica Rum has been added to fulfill the impression. This blend is full bodied and rich, giving you the taste nuances of natural sweetness added with a slight taste of smoke, latakia and the distinctive aroma of sailor rum.
Notes: Introduced in 1957. As of 01/30/2019, according to Per Georg Jensen of Mac Baren it has "Latakia from Cyprus, it is many years since the Latakia from Syria were used.".

Details

Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Harald Halberg
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Aromatic
Contents Black Cavendish, Burley, Latakia, Virginia
Flavoring Rum
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams tin, 50 grams pouch, 16 ounce bag
Country Denmark
Production Currently available

Profile

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

Average Rating

2.88 / 4
78

133

60

27

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 298 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2015 Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Full Pleasant
My bias first. MB uses the same base Cavendish in many of their blends giving a similar taste, but unique to MB, in those blends that have it. Plumcake has it and I like it. That said, MB then blends additional taste profiles using different condiment tobaccos, top dressings, and cuts. I like their rough cut or broken cakes, spun and flake blends. Plumcake is, as the name implies a broken cake. I also have found that MB tobaccos that have aged in the tin with the vacuum broken so they have dried some smoke and taste better. Another alternative, if the tin is new, is to pack your pipe and let it sit overnight. Plumcake handles easier if it is drier.

Now, as other reviewers have noted PC can bite the tongue, especially if wet from a new tin. Even dry, it needs to be sipped - puffed slowly. I think too it does better in a larger pipe. If sipped, it rewards with a wonderful sweet and sour taste. It is plummy to the taste with a spicy counter taste. The combination of the Rum, Virginia, Burley, and MB Cavendish pressed into a Navy cake (what the sailors of old did with their allotment of tobacco on long voyages) marries to create its unique taste profile. My tin is 5 years old and counting (ok, my larder is large enough so I can age blends w/o going on a diet) and in the tin you can smell the sweet and sour aroma. The blend is predominantly dark brown and red leaf with a salting of black tobacco, perhaps perique ( it could also be steamed or blackened Cavendish).

If you like VA/Per or Navy cakes, and you sip this, it will reward you and is worth the effort. Remember those old sailors were a tough breed who smoked their pipes with leather tongues often in the wind. They wanted a big taste experience and PC provides it. Perhaps not for the novice, but I find it a rewarding blend as a challenge to sip, go slow, and as a change of pace from other blends. I am giving this 3 Stars since it can be difficult and is a change of pace blend for me.
Pipe Used: Barling #5 or 6 Apple sandblast.
PurchasedFrom: Iwan Ries
Age When Smoked: 5+ years
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 08, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
A tasteful mixture with several flavors going on in the smoke. There's just enough Cyprian Latakia to add a slight smoky, woody, earthy note. The earthy, woody burley is lightly sweet without much of the nutty, molasses flavor often found in the leaf. It's as much toasted as anything else. The Virginias are mild, grassy, woody, lightly tart and tangy citrusy, and tangy dark fruit sweet, and are complimented by a touch of brown sugar from the black cavendish. There's some honey and toast from the Virginia cavendish in a support role. The sweet, lightly spicy rum topping mildly tones down the tobaccos. The nic-hit is mild. The strength is in the center of mid to medium, while the taste is medium. Some people claim this tingles your tongue, but I think that's a matter of individual body chemistry and/or poor smoking habits, e.g., puffing like a freight train. But, even with that, I do recommend a sipping pace for this blend as it does burn a little warm. Burns at a moderate pace with a clean, very consistent, mildly rich, complex taste. Requires few relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. Has a short lived, pleasant after taste and room note. Can be an all day smoke.

-JimInks
92 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2002 Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Very Pleasant
This is a famous blend. It is very unusual and powerful on the tongue and palate. A slow burning rate brings the best out in this tobacco. A fast burn is not so good.

New pipe smokers should look elsewhere until they are out of diapers. Veterans with leather tongues can smoke this stuff all day, I guess. As for me, a 30-year pipe smoker who has had this blend many times over the years, I'll smoke it in the evenings on occasion just for a change of pace.

Finally, despite the name, this blend does smell and taste like tobacco. And yes, it has an unusual plum flavoring that is subtle enough to keep the true pipe man satisfied.
60 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 06, 2009 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Plumcake is a real pain in the @$$, more specifically, a pain on the tongue. I'm really disappointed because I love the way it smells, I love the way it looks and I really love the taste, but its a Pitbull. It bites and it doesn't let go. As soon as the great flavors develop one more good puff and you're torched and I mean torched hard. The trick is to puff gently through the whole bowl, but I can't do that. The flavor is so good that inevitably I will hit it too hard and burn a hole through my tongue. With Plumcake patience is the master, and I don't have enough of it. Maybe one day when I'm old and tired I can master this stuff because really, it does smell and taste great. As for now I just don't have the patience and discipline required to enjoy Plumcake.

By all means, if you can drive 25mph in a 25mph zone, then Plumcake is for you. If you can drive 55mph on the freeway (stay out of the left lane), then Plumcake is for you. If you enjoy watching paint dry, Plumcake is right up your alley. But that's not me.

Original review above 1/6/09

Update 9/13/09, After reading a review from dk-piper stating that he always uses a charcoal active filter and thus has never suffered from Plumcakes notorious and crippling tongue bite, I gave it a try. Well, dk-piper is absolutely correct ! I just smoked a bowlful of Plumcake and for the first time ever I suffered NO tongue bite and was able to finish the bowl. Ah ya, it was sweet smokey and tasty. The draft was a little restricted and the strength was considerably milder due to the 9mm charcoal filter, but finally I can now enjoy the flavor of Plumcake !

Upgrade from 2 stars to 3 1/2, Thanks to dk-piper and Tobaccoreviews.com
58 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Plumcake is a unique latakia mixture that bridges the gaps between aromatic, english, and balkan mixtures very successfully and is best enjoyed slowly. The room note is a delight not often found in latakia mixtures.

In the tin. Plumcake has a wonderful bouquet that reminds me of a whiff of quality scotch. The latakia smokiness and bright rum spice notes play so well together that they are nearly inextricable as to where one ends and the other takes over.

In the pipe. This blend is great when sipped. Yet as many have mentioned. Will be harsh if you prefer to not take your time. There is no real trace of the rum casing while smoking. Though I feel it does give you the slightest sweetness on the back of your throat The latakia is mild but ever present. It is more in the category of a balkan style mixture in my opinion but the smokehouse note of the latakia is much more present than the usual balkan.

The basics for a good blend are all here. Perfect moisture level right out of the tin. Smokes cool and dry. Packs and lights easily with few to no relights. Only thing again. As with most balkanesque mixtures. Sip it slowly or it will not only be far less pleasing as far as taste but will also bite you ferociously. You want to stretch a bowl out for well over an hour. The ember should be small and constantly shifted and every draw should be as if on the verge of going out. Slow and steady here ladies and gents.

The room note is the key to this blend. It has the trademark richness and boldness of a latakia mixture but there is a definite top note here that is very sucrose-sweet. This is yet another experience you will miss if you smoke fast. This would perhaps be the most "tolerable" room note I've come across in a latakia mixture when it comes to non-smokers being present... If smoked slowly!

Plumcake is a blend that will really make you learn to appreciate sipping your pipe. Yet for most beginning and intermediate smokers the true complexity will likely be left unnoticed because of this very reason. As they do tend to be guzzlers.
Pipe Used: Rusticated strawberry bent basket pipe
PurchasedFrom: Sutliff Tobacco Company
Age When Smoked: 1-3 months
44 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 17, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
Like anything else, when it comes to pipe smoking you have to decide what you really want out of the whole proposition. An experience akin to nekked bungy jumping? A sublime moment of Pipe Zen? Refinement and sophistication? Just a relaxing and pleasant bowl of tobacco? MacB Plumcake is going to give you the last of those options, and it will offer you nothing more than a pleasant smoke... and that's cool with me.

I've been smoking Plumcake for years - ever since 1989, when I discovered a tin of it in a small pipe shop in Abu Dhabi... not too far from the International Seaman's Club. (Or was that Dubai - I can never keep those two Emirites straight in my head). Back in those days we could smoke inside the skin of the ship, and the room note was a winner with my fellow squids. I've yet to meet a person who doesn't like the room note. The blend itself is rather unremarkable: Virginia, Burly, Latakia, MacB Cavenidsh, and a conservative sprinkling of rum to enhance a sorta plum-like topping.

I've smoked it in a bunch of pipes, and the only thing I can say is that it does better in a pipe with a large bowl - it allows the blend to open-up and reveal it's full magnificence. And its magnificence is in it's balance, because the different types of tobacco used in this blend compliment one another quite nicely and it becomes hard to discern one leaf over the other. The Virginia and Burley just blend into one another, and the Cavendish and Latakia go weaving in and out for the duration of the smoke. The rum and plum-like toppings enhance rather than drown-out the base tobaccos. Thus, you get a wonderful harmonizing of the different qualities you would expect from those individual leaves and toppings.

Pack it a bit looser than you might otherwise think it should be packed, gently char it, then gently light it, then gently sip on it. Do not cram it in there, do not take a blow torch to it, and do not puff on it like a freight train. Just gently sip on it. Snork it. Let the smoke roll around over your tongue just a bit. Take a big puff now and then. Puff slowly, and don't strain yourself in-order-to find any nuance. There isn't any. This blend's strength is to be found in its basic goodness, which will come to you on its own.

It's a basic smoke. On old-timer's smoke. A codger's smoke, conservative and satisfying. Is it a Codger Latakia blend along the lines of Walnut or Revelation, but with less Latakia? A Vabur with a pinch of Latakia? An aromatic that hasn't ruined the base tobacco with a ton of goopy flavorings? A light Balkan, Scottish, or English blend? Yes. Yes it is. It's in its own class, and if you're overly loyal to one genre or another you might not like it because it transcends traditional labels and gives you a blend that covers just about every base short of a Lakeland blend.

In the end, it's just a pipe tobacco. Nothing fancy or exotic, yet not really boring either. Slightly smokey, yet slightly sweet. A bit of nuttiness and toast-like flavor. Just a pleasant smoke with a nice room note - and if you're like me and that is all you generally want from a bowl of tobacco then Plumcake might just do the trick.

Pipe Used: A bunch of different ones over the years
PurchasedFrom: Various Sources
Age When Smoked: Fresh to well-aged
40 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2005 Medium to Strong Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
A rather strong tobacco for a Mac Baren, Plumcake seems to be a crossover between the traditional Mixture and a navy flake, to a great extent due to its Jamaican rum topping. In any case, it is an example of the apparently endless Virginia-Burley-Cavendish variations common to many Mac Baren blends. This one also has some Latakia, which I have yet to identify amongst the rum and the dark fired Cavendish.

Personally, I find that the predominant flavour in Plumcake comes from the Burley, a tobacco that tends to absorb and enhance any added savouring agent. The Virginias are there all right, but again, they tend to be subdued by the stronger Cavendish leaf (probably made from Virginias as well, but with a bitter-sweet edge).

In my experience, this blend benefits from overnight airing, as it comes rather moist in the tin. A nice mixture of ribbon cut brown and reddish leaf, with some black strands, it should be packed rather loosely. You might find it slightly difficult to get it going, and should leave some time between the initial charring light and the smoking proper. Due to the high sugar contents (not only from the Virginias and the Cavendished leaf, but from the rum also), this blend can burn pretty hot, so it should be to your tongue's advantage if you take things slowly.

Plumcake's flavour is not one I particularly like, although there is enough tobacco taste to make it an enjoyable, if intermittent, smoking experience. The sweetness of the blend is present throughout the bowl, and there is also a hidden spiciness, an almost piquant peppery undertone (could it be the Syrian Latakia?), that mingles nicely with the natural taste of the tobacco.

If smoked properly, this blend can last a long time and it leaves a nice and rich natural sweetness in the palate; not being an aromatic proper, this aftertaste does not linger on, and the pipe can be easily cleaned, leaving virtually no trace of the rum and sugar. I hear this is a very popular Mac Baren, and rightly so. But withtin this vein, I much prefer Navy Mixture (oddly enough with no added rum). 03/05
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 19, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
I am not the kind of guy who is likely to pick up a tin of something named "Plumcake" on a whim. I was complaining to my tobacconist about the bulk selection he had and he suggested Old Dark Fired which I liked a lot. The next time I went back, I asked him what he smoked, and he said he went through spells. Right now he was in a Plumcake spell. I picked up a tin.

The tin smells of fruit - figs maybe, and it reminds me a little of the pouch smell of And So To Bed.

I was pleasantly surprised by this blend. It is sweet and spicy with just enough latakia to barely notice. I got a lot of flavor and is a satisfying smoke that is a little different for me. There may have been a whiff of that rum in the flavor from time to time, but it was not a theme. I did not have issues with tongue bite, and it smoked well right out of the tin. The tin was a year old from the date on the back when I opened it. I will buy this again, just for a change of pace. I won't open another tin as soon as this one is gone. Solid 3 on the recommendation scale...
20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 23, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Mac Baren's Plumcake is one of my favorite tobaccos. As someone who smokes mostly VaPers but who also likes Latakia, I appreciate the combination of sweetness and smokiness that Plumcake delivers. While not a big fan of Burleys, in Plumcake its nuttiness is a perfect accompaniment to the other tobaccos. And, for me, that's what makes Plumcake unique, it delivers the best of all three types of tobacco in goodly measure and proportion. While supposedly flavored with rum, I don't detect it (truth be told, I've never tasted rum in any tobacco that claims to have it).

At the beginning of the bowl, the Virginias predominate and Plumcake can be quite sweet. As you progress through the bowl, the Latakia and finally the burleys come to the fore. However, the best qualities of all three are present at all times. The flavor also becomes increasing fruity so that the last few puffs are the best.

Be warned that Plumcake can bite if you puff too hard, but the main reason to smoke it slowly is to enjoy the variety and richness of the experience.

Plumcake contains just about the right moisture level as delivered (I dry mine out a little), is easy to pack and light and is relatively inexpensive if purchased in bulk.
Pipe Used: Various briars
PurchasedFrom: JR Cigar
Age When Smoked: Recently purchased
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2016 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
Mac Baren - Plumcake.

Quite coarse ribbons, mostly medium brown, with a notable, but not strong, aromatic aroma. My moisture's good.

Once lit, which is easy, the flavour matches the tin-note: the rum lends a definite molasses sweetness, but doesn't monopolize the smoke; it gives a mild sweetness, yet hardly any alcoholic piquancy. The tobaccos feel quite calm, the Lat' doesn't hog the profile but adds just a touch of smokiness. The others work quite well together, playing fair, without any seeming too overt. It burns well enough, but sadly bites me.

Nicotine: below medium. Room-note: pretty nice.

Plumcake? Not the best, not the worst. Ergo, three stars:

Recommended.

Recommended.

Pipe Used: Erik Nording Hunting Pipe
PurchasedFrom: Spainish tobaconist
Age When Smoked: 6 months
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2014 Medium Mild Medium Tolerable
I loved this blend. It was my door to the english side of the force hehe. When I opened the tin I smelled the spicy orientals with a hidden aroma (i would say raisins or rhum, not sure cause it's very subtle). It tastes great and the latakia gives a nice finishing touch. It's an all day smoker, and burns cool. I had to re-light only once, which was nice too.
13 people found this review helpful.
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