Mac Baren Virginia No. 1

In 1955 Virginia No. 1 was introduced to the world’s pipe smokers, and today Virginia No. 1 is one of the Mac Baren Classics. The natural sweetness from the carefully selected Virginia tobaccos, are to be enjoyed every time you light up this magnificent blend. In addition to a slow, cool smoke this ready rubbed blend gives you the slightly sweet smoke. Try the Virginia No. 1 and find out for yourself why Virginia No. 1 is reckoned as a Mac Baren Classic Blend.
Notes: Introduced in 1957, according to Mac Baren's website. Introduced in 1955, according to the tin description.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Jørgen Halberg
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Flavoring Sweet / Sugar
Cut Ready Rubbed
Packaging 100 grams tin weight, 100 grams pouch weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.79 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 274 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 10, 2008 Mild Mild Medium Very Pleasant
Virginia No.1 is a beautiful, bright, golden broken flake, tin aroma and flavor is wonderful! Kind of dried cherries, with sweet honey/candy note, the smoke is sweet, fruity with hay flavor and it is a mild Virginia.

I am not sure if this tobacco is naturally sweet (as claimed in Mac baren website) or if there is some sweetener added on. However, in order to verify the claims about the "overwhelmed sweetness" and the "hot burns" of this Virginia, which has been repetitively mentioned by other reviewers, who prefers "naturally sweet Virginia", I have done a trial test by smoking 2 pipes at the same time, VA No.1 side to side with "the natural" Marlin Flake and I found that MF was definitely much sweeter than VA No.1. and of course, the bowl burns much hotter.

Virginia No.1 is good examples of how an excellent blend can be severely down rated in a snow ball mechanism of negative reviews on rating system. In fact, it?s all about a Placebo Effect when a reviewer is judging a blend, his judgment in largely influenced by the brand name, the price, the tin art, the opinion or other reviewers, his negative or positive expectations, the blend rank in the stars rating , and so many other factors and considerations.

Virginia No.1 is simply the best Virginia out there and it is my favorite Virginia smoke, this is a fact that I knew before even the existence of the internet or the tobaccoreviews website, this is what I have been smoking all day long since many years, I have tried most Virginia tobaccos available in the market and found Virginia No.1 was the best, I orders it in 1 pound plastic container or in 100g tin, I don?t recommend buying it in pouch or in bulk since I noticed the quality was much inferior.

My rating:

* Bad ** Good *** Excellent **** Exceptional
65 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 Mild to Medium Pleasant
The first thing that hits you when you smoke this is a honey and sugar taste with some acidity. After a few puffs, the tart, tangy citrus, tart lemon and grassy/hay flavor you expect from a mild dark gold Virginia broken flake makes itself known. The honey flavor becomes a bit less obvious later, though the honey is from the tobacco and not from a topping. There's also a bit of spice and a few floral notes that join with a hit of toast to offset the sweetness with just enough tang to keep this from being one-dimensional. I sense hints of rum and licorice toppings. May bite if pushed hard, though I have found that several years of age greatly reduces that possibility, and the acidity level in particular. The strength and nicotine are a couple of steps past the mild mark. The taste is just past the center of mild to medium. Has a few rough edges. Burns clean at a slightly slow pace with a very consistent grassy, sugary, tart and tangy flavor. Requires a few relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste, and room note. This tobacco was designed for the all day smoker who just wants a pleasant smoking experience. Also, it may be lighter change of pace for one who prefers stronger, darker Virginias. It's one of those Virginia blends that really benefits from age.

56 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2008 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Virginia No. 1 is a good Virginia blend. The taste is sweet like dried cherries. The aroma is delightful. The bite is minimal for a Virginia tobacco. I really like this blend and will probably come back to it. The light casing adds a nice dimension. A nice, no nonsense VA.


This has become a staple in my rotation. In fact, I smoke more of this blend than anything else. This is simply the best Virginia tobacco out there when you factor in flavor, smoking qualities, price (I buy it in bulk), and ability to age. Never mind the fact that you don't have to rub it out, pack your pipe and you are ready to go. The smoke is sweet and has notes of figs and cinnamon. The aroma is wonderful. It ages great! I have some of this that has be aging for almost three years and it is the best!

I have tried a lot of Virginias from almost every maker, the negative reviews here are largely unwarranted. This is as good as any Virginia on the market. As with all MacBaren blends, this has a stigma put upon it. However, just as with all of MacBaren's standard blends, it is of the finest quality and a delight to smoke.

If you like Virginia, buy some VA #1.
40 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 12, 2014 Mild Mild Very Mild Pleasant
I'm going to bypass describing the look texture and smell of VA. 1. Others have already done so and described it well. I care how it smokes, so this is the brass- tax-bottom-line of my experience. MILD. VERY MILD and Simple. This is not an aged VA and is basically a purely rubbed out flake of straight VA. No thrills. No depth.

Mac Baren had to sugar water it to enhance the flavor or in other words, give it flavor at all. Very mild with added sweetener to help it along. This blend has the ability to scorch the tongue of someone with little to no puffing skills. It acted like it was going to bite me but it never did. Just leaves a weird coating on your tongue. I will finish this out, but would not purchase it again.

Update review: Oct 20, 2014. So far there are only 2 times I went back and edited my review by adding another star. I'll be a man about it and say I've been enjoying VA. No1. lately. I've picked this blend back up and I've been surprised. The blend IS mild but has a great aroma and a tasty sweetness to it that make it a pleasure to smoke. I'm adding another star.

Update review! Feb. 25, 2015. I missed on this review completely and I'm a Dawg crawling back with my tail between my legs. Va. No1. Has won my heart and become my top 1 or 2 favorite tobaccos. I can't believe something I gave such a scorching review to has become one of my all time favs. If I'm stranded on an island with just one tobacco and pipe. I want No.1 with my large Peterson XL305. Four stars!!!
Pipe Used: Peterson XL305 Peterson 312
PurchasedFrom: Ansteads Tobacco
32 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 11, 2014 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
This is a very good, lightly topped Virginia. The tobacco itself is somewhat rubbed out broken flake and came at a great moisture level for me. I did nothing to prepare it and loaded the pipe straight from the tin.

Smoked, there is a honey flavor and a whiff of a spice I can't put my finger on. There is that citrus and hay you get with the sweet in a Virginia blend. It all works well. The flavors intensify as I go through the bowl. If you like Virginias and don't mind a little topping, I predict you would like this a lot.

This tobacco gets mixed reviews and the common complaint seems to be that it burns hot. I did not have a problem with this and found it easy to smoke slowly. If anything it burned cool for me and was easy to keep lit. As an advantage for the all-day or nicotine-sensitive smoker, this has a good flavor and is fairly mild in vitamin N.

This is a solid 3 on the rating scale. I am puzzled by the "burns hot" comments. Maybe this is groupthink, and there were "me too" comments after an early negative eval. Maybe it is differences in body chemistry.
30 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2003 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
A long-time classic from Mac Baren, Virginia No. 1 is loaded to the gills with quality cask Virginia aged flavor enhanced with a topping that is similar to that of Mac Baren's Navy Flake. In fact, it may be the same honey like topping, but the application to this totally different style tobacco made it a unique experience for me. Probably one of the finer Virginia aromatics ever to hit the market. Not a lot of strength, but plenty of depth of flavor that leads me to see why this is one of Mac Baren's top sellers.
28 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 29, 2007 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
UPDATE: It's funny how buying a new pipe can lead me to try an older blend again, but that's how I started smoking Virginia No. 1 again. I bought an Ardor that looks kind of like a bee hive, and this honey-sweetended tobac came to mind.

Other reviewers on this site have recommended that one should let MacBaren blends dry a bit before smoking, pack it pretty loosely, and slow down one's smoking pace. I followed this in the past with other MacBaren blends and have had great results. Anyway, I had a 5-year aged tin, and I smoked right throught it. Well, the aged tin was magnificent. It was naturally sweet and I really liked it. I tried a new tin of Virginia No. 1, just to see if it was the aging that led to such a great smoke. The new tin smoked fantastic, too.

I have now smoked through yet another tin, and also throught many other Virginia blends to see how they compare to Virginia No. 1. Surprisingly, I like this blend more than every other Virginia blend I tried, including some prominent and very highly regarded Virginias and VaPers. Virginia No. 1 is sweet and light, yet I find it satisfying. I like it so much that I am finding it hard to get back to smoking my usual English/Balkan blends. I guess those other blends, which are now in Mason-type jars, will just have to wait!

A friend of mine once told me that you need to learn how to smoke a blend, and that you need to be more patient. This advice dovetails with the above-mentioned comments on this site from other reviewers. I am really glad that other reviewers gave us their tips on how to smoke MacBaren blends I am now a convert; in my opinion this time-tested blend is tops! I smoke this almost every day now and look forward to every bowl.

Virginia No.1 is definitely Number One with me!

ORIGINAL REVIEW: This is kind of a fickle tobacco; sometimes hot, sometimes cool. Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter. Sometimes requires few matches, sometimes many. A pretty decent weed but even at its best it is monotone, and just too inconsistent. I'll get around to finishing the tin. But my taste buds say that MacBaren's HH Mature Virginia is superior.
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 10, 2016 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
What would Epicurus smoke?

Mac Baren Va. No. 1 perhaps? The great 3rd-century-BC advocate of the happy, tranquil life was a champion of simple nourishing pleasures, not an indulger in sumptuous banquets and wild orgies as sometimes depicted. After all, the purpose of enjoyment is to be happy and contented. Why foolishly indulge and shortly thereafter end up with a blaring hangover and chronic indigestion?

Trying out a lot of different pipe tobaccos is a great idea. I do it myself, and advocate it heartily. But there's no doubt about it: after a long spell of mixed fare, the taste buds grow dull and adding even more variety seems to make things worse.

Va. No. 1 seems to work miracles when dullness sets in, reinvigorating the taste buds to their original keen state. I found it incredibly boring on the first try, but switching to large pipes and slowing down made the blend taste better and better.

A lot of pipe smokers mention the sweetness of MB Va. No. 1, but I don't get that at all. Undoubtedly the Virginia leaf has a lot of natural sugar, judging from the glistening hard cake it develops in the bowl. But the flavor to me is tart and dry, like fine ripe pears and apples. Delicious and invigorating.

I smoke a lot of this, so I buy it in bulk which is the same high-quality though much less expensive than the tinned version. I like to think that I enjoy it the same way Epicurus savored his daily bread with the occasional slice of cheese. Enjoyable, satisfying and nourishing, and no strain on the budget.
Pipe Used: Cavicchi Bent Dublin
PurchasedFrom: Online Vendor
Age When Smoked: Fresh
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 12, 2009 Mild Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Whew! This one is a sweetie, and by that I mean it's like sucking on a popsicle! The sugar content in this must be extremely high. But it's a good tasting popsicle and, like a popsicle, when I'm in the mood for it, nothing else will do.

This has great flavor that lasts all the way down the bowl. It's sweet but it's great at certain times. This is one of my favorite blending tobaccos! I've blended this with varying amounts of latakia, perique, burley, stoved virginia and even some McClellands Red Cake (which didn't work out too well for more than a couple reasons!) and it's so heavy in flavor that unless I went totally overboard with the condimental tobaccos, this one took center stage. But it was graceful in victory! Stoved virginias and perique with Virginia #1 yielded some nice results. The stoved toned down the MacB's a bit and the perique added some spice to the sweetness.

But still this is a nice smoke on its own. I couldn't smoke it all day every day just as I couldn't eat chocolate cake every day but I always have some on hand when the mood strikes. If you like a sweet virginia, you should definitely give this one a spin.
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 07, 2009 Mild Extra Strong Mild to Medium Pleasant
I now know what we did with the left over Napalm form Vietnam. This stuff will flat out burn your taste buds clean off. It is a shame as the tobacco appears to be of the highest quality and I hate to be so down on a blend from a company that produces so many fine blends. I actually bured the rest of the contents in my fireplace as an offering to the gods of fire. Hot stuff!!!
14 people found this review helpful.
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