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 Mac Baren
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

2.78 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 109 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 11, 2015 Mild Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
Experienced pipe smokers will recognize that the sizes of a pipe's bowl and packing methods, in their wide variety, deeply affect the smoker's ability to take pleasure from a blend of tobacco.

Most Mac Baren blends, and Virginia no. 1 is certainly no exception, are usually best smoked in medium to large-sized bowls, so as to allow for very loose packing of the blend. I believe that the overall impression that this and other blends from the same manufacturer produce tasteless, hot smoke comes from an inability of finding a suitable way of packing the pipe.

Because Mac Baren produces blends with an unusual diversity of cuts, often the inability to recognize the best packing method immediately condemns the blend for the smoker who is thus incapable of obtaining any gratification. This is a disgust I know first-hand, having wasted several ounces of their tobacco as a result of similarly poor experiences.

Virginia no. 1 has long been presented as a broken flake, perhaps too easily rubbed. The most pleasurable bowls I had with this blend were those where I did little rubbing. Depending on the size/height of the bowl, two to three generous portions off the tin or packet should suffice, with little or no pressure of the finger applied between layers. Perhaps a sprinkling of crumbs from the bottom of the packet on top may make it easier to light the bowl.

The packet version of the blend comes most of the time with the right degree of humidity, requiring little or no control of this factor upon opening it. When packed correctly, the blend offers a modest but pleasurable and sincere range of flavours; between hints of honey and hazelnuts for the first half, to a more grassy tone near the very end.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 08, 2009 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Almost finished my first 100g tin...just bought another today. I love the stuff! I delayed opening the tin due to reviews talking about bite. Actually I found for a VA and a MacB blend this was very's a great price, and a great blend. Don't let the Anti-MacBaren squad put you off buying this simple, honest and fruity VA. I didn't find it too sweet either, just right on the sugar marks to MacB...again....dub
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 12, 2007 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable
I think Mac Baren flummoxes a lot of pipesters, and I don't know if it's a body chemistry thing, or a pace thing, or a dryness thing. Yes, this tobacco can bite. But it is very sweet, very easy to smoke, and does NOT bite if you dry it just a bit and smoke it slow, just like all the other MB products. They can git ya. But if you slow down, and look for the subtle flavours... man, Mac Baren makes damn good pipe tobacco.

This is like a slightly sweeter, slightly spicier Orlik Golden Sliced. Smoke volume is nice, and it's a satisfying pipe (and yet I am left thinking immediately about that sexy sweetness at the top of the bowl... maybe I'll pack another...).

Nothing overly exciting, though, and I doubt that a really experienced Va smoker is going to be putting aside the Marlin Flake for this product.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2022 Mild to Medium Medium Medium Tolerable
My tin came from a tobacconist that apparently doesn’t sell much of this blend. The outside of the tin was dingy (though the seal remained intact), though I tended to think of that as an asset rather than a disadvantage— a pre-aged tin, as it were. No date code on the tin, but the gent behind the counter noted that they didn’t get much call for this mixture. Is it just me, or are Virginias getting harder to come by in brick and mortar stores. Anyhow, I was pleased to take it off his hands. A lazy Saturday came along and I was growing tired of the Latakia I’d been smoking, even though it’s February and still cold out, which usually means an English or Balkan blend for me. I had a new-to-me pipe handy as well: a pretty Dustin Franc bulldog which I scored from eBay. Well, well. Pry open the tin and am happy to see a well-packed mass of reddish-brown ready-rubbed flake. Tin note is quite prominent at first, then fades away fairly quickly: a bit of cherry, a bit of sugar. Packs nicely, and I didn’t feel the need to rub it out any more than it was. Actually, I used the air-pocket method to fill my pipe, kind of twisting a plug into the top of the bowl. Takes the flame readily and unfussily. Smoke pours from the bowl and my tongue is flooded with the flavor profile of this tobacco immediately. It’s kulfi: that Asian dessert that I detested in my childhood, but here find immediately beguiling: a creamy, milky sweetness. I haven’t consumed any dairy in the last 10-odd years, but the sweetness is decidedly dairy-like. Creamy, thick and sweet. An undercurrent of woodiness and a slight sourness is barely enough to provide a counter note, but it is there. Mostly just waves of sugared, milky sweetness.

It’s like that the whole way down the bowl. I’ve come to associate straight Virginia with a certain complexity, but this is not complex. Just sweet creaminess. This is smack-dab in the category of a dessert smoke. I had poured a finger of bourbon to accompany, but I put it away as the sweetness became a little too much. Nicotine levels are medium-ish, though my perception of that is likely skewed by the bourbon.

A few relights, but not a bother. Flavor is consistent and smoke is plentiful, and also consistent. By the end of the pipe, I’m happy and satisfied. Will I smoke this daily? No, but then I don’t eat whipped cream for every meal. However, sometimes, I’m in the mood for a spoonful of cream straight from the tub. And I’m always happy when I sneak it.
Pipe Used: Dustin Franc bulldog
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 26, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This straight Virginia is very sweet and tasty, smoked slowly it has a slight and rewarding degree of complexity. However, for some reason I can't seem to get a consistently enjoyable smoke because it can and does at times get wet and hot. Even when paying particular attention to packing it lightly etc. I don't know about this one, I really don't. It smells beautiful in the tin and tastes great when smoked but this one might be too temperamental for me to buy again I think. I recommend you try it though because it is different to anything I've tried before in the 'straight virginia' department. It has a unique flavor.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 07, 2016 Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
Truly superb tobacco! A welcome wash to reset the palette after the heavier Latakia English blends. One of the few blends that I feel taste like the tin note. Lots of sweet grain in the tin note, and a lot of that making its way to the smoke itself. Slow your pace while smoking, and you'll avoid the bite. Too fast, it'll get you. I was instantly impressed with this blend, and it became an instant staple in my rotation.
Pipe Used: Cassano fishtail Italian briar.
PurchasedFrom: Tinderbox Tacoma wa.
Age When Smoked: Fresh bulk
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2014 Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant
The tobacco is a 100% Virginia blend. The taste is mild and the room note is pleasant. I couldn't taste the honey flavour. But I think this is a solid tobacco for people who love smoking original tobacco without extreme flavoring. Also I detected a little bit of tongue bite but not extreme.You should give the tobacco some air to dry a little bit.

A perfect all day tobacco.

Edit: Best pipe forms for a smoke is a Bent Rhodesian or a Prince for me. Love this to a cup of good coffee or espresso.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 01, 2014 Mild Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant
On some days Virginia no. 1 is a 2 star smoke and sometimes a 3 star smoke for me. One of those blends that is not in my regular rotation but something I do reach for on occasion. You can definitely taste the sugar and vanilla casing which isn't too bad in this blend. Definitely smoke it slow. This allows the Virginia flavor to come through and plays nicely w the flavoring put in the blend. It isn't anything out of this world, just a mildly sweet VA with a nice little topping. I try to pack about a half bowl with this one because the flavor tends to subside if I go at it any longer than 40-45 mins, but I don't keep track... It could last a little longer than that. The flavor is definitely reminiscent of vanilla but there is also nice Virginia sweetness that brings out a nutty side to the blend. And that's about it, which isn't a bad thing, just not a great tobacco. It's solid and sometimes that's just what I need.

The tin aroma is exactly as expected, vanilla, sugar, and a hint of citrus somewhere in there. If you're put off by the ketchupy vinegar smell associated with some Virginia's then this is one positive with this blend because I don't get any of that here.

Generally a mild smoke, but it does burn hot, so smoke her slow. If you like a sweet forward Virginia, this one might be right up your alley, and the room note is pleasant and doesn't linger. A nice 2 or 3 star smoke for me. I'll go ahead and give it 3 stars as I'd recommend it to those interested in the style.
Pipe Used: briar
PurchasedFrom: B&M
Age When Smoked: fresh
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 22, 2021 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
Virginia No 1 has been on the market for five years longer than I have been smoking a pipe (1955 v. 1960) and I remember it always being around everywhere my pipe and I went in the old days. Yet, I have no conscious memory of ever buying a tin until I bought a three-tin shrink pack to stash in 2018. Needing a Virginia for blending purposes, I opened one and began using it and it blends really well. The real surprise was in smoking it straight out of the tin. Speaking of the tin, No 1 makes a handsome image on opening with a range of color from gold to ruddy brown. The tin aroma is distinctly Virginia and the tobacco was only slightly too moist to smoke and I gave it thirty minutes. Here is the surprise - this Virginia is a relatively stout smoke and gets stouter in the bottom half of the bowl. I only experienced tongue tingle if I pulled too hard too many times in a row and adjusted my pace accordingly. I'm not a frequent Virginia smoker and the fact that I didn't pine for something stronger right away told me everything. While not quite a four star blend, Virginia No 1 is solidly three stars and I recommend it as an "old reliable".
Pipe Used: Charatan Special 44
Age When Smoked: tinned May, 2018
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 21, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
MacBaren Virginia No. 1 Ready Rubbed has a coterie of Virginia loving advocates. It also breeds a minority of pipe smokers who decry it as being a tongue scorcher. I belong to the first group.

Opening the tin (in the U.S., it is also found in pouch form in other areas, and is widely available in bulk form) and you will find a rather coarse cut ready rubbed tobacco of a light to medium brown hue, and a pleasant aroma. There is the characteristic slightly sweet with a tinge of citrus Virginia smell. Those who decry the fermented "ketchup" odor of some Virginia offerings (such as those provided by McClellan among others) will appreciate the absence of that tang.

As with most tinned tobaccos (and my experience with MacBaren in recent years has been only with tins) it performs best when dried out a bit. Although the ready rubbed form offered here is fairly coarse, I do not have trouble getting a good light. When I smoke this while giving my full attention to the pipe I do not have to relight. But while piping and doing something else (such as surfing the internet or working in the yard) I do have to relight occasionally.

The room aroma is pleasant and of a natural tobacco nature and will not elicit objections except from those who object to all tobacco smoke. Virginia No. 1 is mildly flavored with the characteristic MacBaren honey-like taste (which is actually primarily maple sugar water). This flavoring merges very nicely with the natural Virginia taste. There is no complexity here. The various Virginias used do not provide layers of flavor which vary during the smoke. Nevertheless, although this is in fact a one dimensional tobacco, I do not find it tiring, even in a large bowled pipe. With a large bowl, this will offer quite a lengthy smoke. As various Virginia blends go, this is on the mild side. The nicotine punch is low.

Using a proper puffing cadence, I do not experience tongue bite with Virginia No. 1. Some pipe smokers do, and the number of these is too large to blame those who experience bite problems entirely on overpuffing. Hold in mind: one, many who enjoy Virginias (I smoke them about a quarter of the time) enjoy this tobacco immensely, and they help make MacBaren a very big seller world wide; two, those who are sensitive to tongue bite may find this a challenging smoke. I give fair warning to potential smokers of this tobacco who have sensitive tongues. But for others, I give an enthusiastic thumbs up.

In my last tin I used a variety of pipes which I reserve for Virginias or Virginia/periques. The one I used most was a Sasieni 4 Dot which is not a cosmetic gem but is a very good smoker.

2 people found this review helpful.
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