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 1 - 10 of 38 Reviews
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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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 29, 2014 Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Wicked and nasty tongue bite, pH gone wrong and far too alkaline; a terribly grumpy Racoon with a sore penis.

My tongue noticed it first then my whole upper palate, cheeks too and this was just at the time of lighting. I swiftly dumped the bowl, the tin contents are now in the composter. Decades ago I would've soldiered on through the discomfort hoping for something good to arrive, much wiser now fully realising that persevering would lead to many days perhaps a week of no combusting due to an eviscerated palate.

New pipe folks please be aware when you encounter a blend which 'bites' upon lighting before your briar even rises to operating temperature, fire the ejection-seat. It's not your pipe, too much flame, nor your packing method simply the pH of that blend does not agree with you, this will differ person to person and occasionally your palate can change over the years: more sensitive maybe less. Blends often change too usually not for the better; however, off-batches do arise.

Overall I prefer the American style Virginias as opposed to these Danish blends many of which seem to have that unpleasant topping/casing, their style I suppose which is simply not for me.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 01, 2016 Very Mild Very Mild Very Mild Pleasant
I purchased a 3.5 oz. tin of the ready rubbed variety a few days ago. I'm really trying to like it, but I don't think it's going to happen.

First the positive...

Presentation upon opening the tin gave me high hopes. I was greeted with light brown pieces of ready-rubbed flake. The aroma is sweet, reminiscent of fresh-cut hay with a light note of honey. Perhaps just a touch of molasses as well.

Here's where it went downhill...

I loaded it into my briar and lit up. I noticed immediate biting that did not let up. I did the best I could with it. But it was a losing battle.

My second attempt today was somewhat better. But it still smoked hot and had noticable bite. It improved about 2/3 of the way through the bowl. I managed to get a little bit of airy sweetness. But I had to baby it so slow that the reward was hardly worth the effort.

I have decided to try drying this a bit to see if it helps. But I would find it hard to recommend this tobacco to someone I liked.

After further research I learned that Mac Baren blends are reputed to smoke hot and bite. And to be fair, Virginias are notorious for it as well. Perhaps it is just my personal chemistry.

I hope this improves with time, but I'm not optimistic.

Happy Puffing,

Pipe Used: Briar and Hardwood
PurchasedFrom: Feerick's Candy & Tobacco Joplin, MO USA
Age When Smoked: 3.5 oz. tin produced 10/2015
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 22, 2002 Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
See lustra's review above, but stop right before the part about this being irresistable. There is obvious quality in this tobacco, you just can't get near it. Picture a really nice bottle of red wine, from a Grand Cru chateau, a great year. Now add some really nasty blackberry brandy to it. Get the idea with this? This is just about the hottest tobacco I have yet experienced. The wonder of it all is that MacBaren hasn't put out a non-cased version of this, since everyone seems to think this stuff would be better in its natural form. I actually threw this tin away, a very rare thing for me (that was before PIF was around...)
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 24, 2008 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
UPDATE: Couldn't help but noticing that 4 stars had become my default rating so I decided to do updates. When I came to this one there's only one thing I can think to say. What was I thinking? True to the brand, this stuff bites like a kicked dog and the taste probably resembles what smoking an orange or lemon peel would be like. While it is certainly true that straight virginias are much more high maintenance than my beloved burlies, this one truly abuses the privlege and technique just doesn't seem to matter. I even mixed some of this with 8% perique and aged it for a bit over a year. Still it barely exceeds piss poor moving into the low end of mediocre. If you insist on a straight Virginia, there are much better out there, Old Gowrie, SG Full Virginia Flake, and St. James Flake (a VA/PER) to name a few

ORIGINAL REVIEW: Being primarily a burley smoker, my friendly neighborhood B&M talked me into a round of Virginia #1, to be honest, Virginia smokers seem to be such a fanatical lot, I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. For a burley smoker, initially at least, there was an "off" taste to this blend. Not a bad or unpleasant taste just not what I was used to. A very odd, variation between the grassy taste and the citrus, sweet and sour taste, neither of which I had ever encountered in a burley. Light up through about half way down the bowl I thought "Gee, this is....different" by the time I had finished my first bowl I thought, "I could probably warm up to this." Well, that was about 3 ounces of this stuff ago and warm up to it I have, it has taken a spot in my regular rotation and the different taste is one I have grown to like. I enjoy this tobacco a lot and can see myself returning to it often. No, I've not turned my back on my beloved burlies and can't imagine becoming a Virginia smoking tobacco snob but the truth is that Virginia is a nice change of pace from Burley and/Latakia blends that constitute a more predictable portion of my tobacco regimen. I may not smoke Virginia #1 daily but there are days when this is all I want to smoke and on those days I consistently marvel at how nice and tasty a blend it really is. This is Virginia #1's niche in my rotation. If I smoked it all the time it probably wouldn't be near as good to me as it is but employing it in this way seems to make it very enjoyable and a good intro to Virginias in general. While I didn't experience the severe tongue bite of other reviewers, I did find this blend much fussier than the old school burlies I'm used to. It was very sensitive to how fast you smoked it or how it was packed. If puffed too quickly it became hot and if packed too loosely it would become a bit bitey and fussy. This being the case, it demands a bit more attention and definitely doesn't make my "mowing the lawn" tobacco list (this is mainly the old school burley blends PA, Granger, Edgeworth and the like that are more set it and forget it). Overall though, I found this a good change of pace smoke as an occassional treat. More importantly though, I think it probably peaked my curiousity to do more indepth experimentation with Virginia blends (Old Gowrie is probably next) These lighter, Virginia blends will probably become more routinely smoked as the spring and summer roles along.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 07, 2015 Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable
Va no. 1 is a hard tobacco to smoke. It burns very hot, produces a lot of moist smoke and can bite a bit.

There are better Virginias out there. Try SG Full Virginia Flake. Tastes better, burns better.
Pipe Used: Missouri Corn Cob
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 29, 2013 Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable
This s##t really bites and I mean really HARD worst tongue bite ever. But if one ignores the tongue bite it was a decent Virgina blend
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2008 Very Mild Mild Very Mild Pleasant
I have tried several of Mac Baren?s offerings and I hadn?t previously found anything I particularly liked, aside from Dark Twist Roll Cake. I don?t typically smoke aromatics, though smoke Haddo?s Delight by GL Pease, Luxury Twist Flake by Stokkebye and Hartwell?s Evening Stroll. Certain SG and G&H Lakeland scented varieties score high points with me. #1 Virginia seems topped or cased with some vague slightly artificial tasting honey flavoring used in many of their products with maybe a hint of whiskey.

Appearance: This blend has a beautiful presentation, being comprised of Bright and Golden Virginias in a ready rubbed format uniform in cut.

Tin aroma: This is a mixture of matured Virginias, with a light topping of artificial tasting honey. There seems to be a complete lack of complexity There is a slightly nutty quality as well, together, it is a fairly nice smelling combination, though not something that I'd say I have a strong preference for. The tin aroma also tells me to proceed with caution as with many other Mac Baren offering, this could be tongue bite in a tin.

The sample I'm reviewing was gifted by a friend and dates from July of 2003, I had hopes that the amount of aging would help tame the tongue fry I'd experienced smoking this in the past, no such luck. The pipe is a Jan Zeaman POTY 2004

This tobacco definitely benefits from air drying for at least ½ hour before smoking. Lighting is usually temperamental seeming to require repeated application of flame to get going, once going try to keep your smoking pace way down, as tongue fry is nearly inevitable. As expected, the initial flavor is very tangy VA and very sweet (almost sickening) and this develops into what I term ?monochrome?. The topping/casing agent never yields it?s dominance but allows the monochrome nature of the Virginia to come through. The topping/casing never completely leaves, adding a sweetness and a slightly generic and artificial taste to an otherwise natural presentation.

Mid Bowl: Approaching mid-bowl, the fullness tends to build and while this blend is not complex, just drones on an on in monochrome getting hotter and hotter as the smoke progresses. There are subtle changes here and there but hardly what I've come to expect in a 'pure Virginia mixture'. While not particularly strong in nicotine, there is plenty of flavor and body to this mixture. The tobaccos used in this mixture are of obvious quality, why then Mac Baren chose such an odd topping/casing agent is beyond me. It seems to be a nearly uniform choice in toppings for Mac Baren.

Home Stretch: As end of the bowl approaches, the strength of this mixture has built to it's peak of flavors and fullness. The pervasive sweetness and artificial taste is somewhat annoying, often masking what appear to be fine quality Virginia tobaccos and constant threat of tongue fry does not help. It has so much going for it, that what little I hold against it is probably not enough to bother most smokers. There are way too many other Very Fine Virginia mixtures out there for me to waste any more time trying to enjoy this.

Supplemental Notes: I would recommend this to seasoned Virginia smokers for a change of pace smoke. If you are looking for a true Pure Virginia, look elsewhere, this isn't one. Rating for those interested in numbers *
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Very Mild Tolerable
Unflavored Virginias that cross the boundaries of subtlety into blandness. It delivers its share of nicotine, but that's where the pros end.

Not a particularly terrible tongue biter, but the lack of taste leads to overpuffing, with dire consequences.

If you enjoy Virginias and you're a fan of Mac Baren, try HH Mature Virginia. If the latter isn't the case, you have dozens of better choices.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 10, 2008 Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant
I've written a few other reviews on Mac Baren Tobaccos, and have come to the conclusion that you should give their products a wee bit of time to dry out, before smoking them. The tin I bought of this Mac B. Blend is no exception. Upon opening the tin, I noted a scent, not unlike Ketchup, kind of a vinegary smell. It didn't taste that way though, in fact it was milder in flavor than what I was hoping for. It rubs out easy enough, and packs well. I didn't have any trouble lighting this up straight out of the tin. One pre-light, then a tamped re-light was all I needed, as I started to smoke a medium sized bowl of this blend, till the tongue-bite began to rear it's ugly head. I'm gonna let this one sit for awhile, before I give it a Yay or Nay rating...

2/10/08 Well, I'm back and I have to say again, that this stuff wouldn't smoke cool, even if you packed your pipe in ice for a week. Besides the tongue bite, I just don't find this to be a flavorable tobacco. The flavor's too mild, and the tongue bite is just awful. Other reviewers have said they detected no tongue bite. Well the tin I have is a fire-brand from Hell. I've tried this stuff in several different pipes, all to no avail. Hot, hotter, scorched beyond words...
3 people found this review helpful.
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