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 110 Reviews
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
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 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 05, 2018 Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant
This blend is not only the definition of a 'Straight' Virginia, it's also the quintessential definition of Mac Baren's unique blending style in my opinion. This is not an aged, ketchup/vinegary blend, nor has it been rounded out with Burley, Perique, Kentucky, Latakia or any other such nonsense. It's straight-up Virginia for Virginia lovers, and there ain't nothing wrong with that! #murica *sips Kentucky straight bourbon*

All kidding aside, Virginia No. 1 is a classic, and I recommend it especially as a great blend to get familiar with in your early stages of pipe smoking as a way to learn & recognize the notes of quality Virginia leaf - grass, hay, and earth as well as honey, sugar, and vanilla make-up the bouquet. This blend will sweeten up your pipe a bit, and for this reason I often finish off my break-in process with a bowl or two of No. 1 in my new pipes to keep them smoking sweet. Similarly, I use No. 1 to freshen up older pipes which may have lost some of their cake flavor; nobody likes stale carbon cake, and I find smoking a bowl of No. 1 works better than alcohol, sweetening agents, reaming out the carb. No. 1 is not so sweet as to alter the taste of future blends (i.e. it doesn't ghost), but sweet enough to bring old flavors back to life, in my experience.

The one caveat with No. 1 is the same for all Mac Baren blends - remember how I said it's a defining blend for the brand? It's because Mac Baren is (in)famous for adding sugar water to many of their blends; No. 1 is a prime example of what this does: adds a nice boost in sweetness, though it comes at the price of smoking a degree or two hotter than a comparable mixture from another blender. You gotta like the way Mac Baren does things and know how to smoke their blends in order to enjoy No. 1 over the long run, but you won't be disappointed if you put in the extra effort to keep it smoking cool.

Being a straight Virginia doesn't help No. 1 smoke cool either because there's nothing to mellow out the warm Virginia varietals out like a Burley would. This is the risk with smoking straight Virginias (much like drinking straight bourbons!), Mac Baren or otherwise, but No. 1 won't bite you unless you let her. Like I mentioned earlier, it takes a bit of finesse and patience to not let the bowl get too hot and runaway on you, but it's so worth it. When you get the temp right and puff slowly, you can smoke No. 1 any time of day. It's not overtly heavy on the nicotine or body, and it will keep your lips smacking with sweet grassy flavor, similar to a sugar-tipped cigar.

For me, No. 1 is a must have on hand at all times. I recommend rubbing it out a bit more before loading a pipe, and don't let it get too dry or it'll be much more difficult to keep it cool. There's gold in them hills (i.e. this blend), if you know how to find it. Cheers!
Pipe Used: Castellos, Dunhills, etc.
PurchasedFrom: Briar Patch in Sacramento, CA
Age When Smoked: Fresh, bulk & tin
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2015 Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Hello everyone this is Jose Ruiz I hope your all having a great day.*:-h waveHere's another review for you to enjoy in your pipe smoking adventures. Today I'm going to be reviewing :Mc Baren's Virginia No.1 ready rubbed.

Cut: Small pieces of pressed tobacco Tin note: Raw honey comb/faint scent of bourbon/herbal grass notes Tin size:3.5 oz. Rating: 3 Strength: medium light/medium Room note: Pleasant to moderately pleasant/grassy herbal/citrus notes. Taste: Slightly honey sweet from the aged Virginia with a hint of bourbon/rum notes in the background, like a very lite caramel after taste. Nice herbal notes as it smokes Smooth cool burn. Notes: Ready to light right out of the tin, not to moist or dry. Has a dry hay/herbal note to it which I find pleasing to the palate with the natural sweetness. Stayed lit through out the bowl. Have a very nice richness coming through it without getting to strong at the end, has more complexity, robustness half way through the smoke with out much bite. I find coffee works well with this smoke for a good drink. This blend I personally think is great with a good corn cob to heighten the natural sweetness of the Virginia leaf and the natural sweetness of the corn cob. If you never tried a good corn cob I highly suggest you get one for your rotation of pipes to enjoy!!

As an added review from a non pipe smoker, I have my wife add her review as to the Room notes as I think most reviewers never actually add a opinion from a non pipe smoker. I personally think this is important *;) winking

Virginia #1 This pipe tobacco burns light and airy compared to others I've smelled. My husband lit this one and it reminded me of burning dry grass on a hot summer day as a kid with a magnifying glass. It also had hints of honey in the comb, an almost citrus odor. I would classify this pipe tobacco as summery for those reasons. So put some freckles on my face and plaster an old fashioned Hee-Haw straw hat on my head and I will still be, The Pipe Smokers Wife
Pipe Used: sav bent briar
PurchasedFrom: Sutliff
Age When Smoked: new
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 22, 2014 Medium to Strong Strong Full Pleasant
Rather a strange one this. I smoked the first bowl and thought 'Meh, a decent virginia smoke but nothing special' but over the next few days I found myself reaching for the tin more and more often. Ten days later and the the 50g tin is looking rather empty.

There is a sublety to this blend which does not emerge immediately, but it's mild enough to smoke at any time of the day. I found it tasted a little better in a meerschaum pipe for some reason.

It does smoke hot, as some other reviews have said, and there is a constaint threat of bite but I don't mind a tobacco which takes a little more work.

I would certainly buy again and regret not buying in bulk.
Pipe Used: Peterson 'Golden Princess' Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: liberté 56, Luxembourg
Age When Smoked: New
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 26, 2014 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
This tobacco is a solid 3 star tobacco. The taste was good, but more mild than I usually like. There is some tongue bite, but not too much. It smoked well.

Normally, a tobacco like this would be a one tin and done deal. However, there is one thing about this blend that makes it very worthwhile, the note. It smells phenomenal and this really adds to the flavor. The room note was very pleasant. This is a great non-aromatic tobacco to smoke around other people. If you are conscious about those around you and want them to have a good experience too, this is the tobacco for you. A Virginia with a room note better than many aromatics. It is for this reason I could see people smoking this blend all day every day, especially if they live at home with a wife etc. If room note is important to you, give this blend a try,
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 15, 2010 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
After reading certain bad AND good reviews about this tobacco, I decided to make up my mind about it and to give it a try. I must say that I was very satisfied with Virginia No.1. It's a straight, mild and sweet Virginia of high quality and thats exactly what I'm looking for. The moment you open the pouch, you are welcomed by a decent, slightly sweet, hay- like smell. Very sympathic and somehow very present, but not overwhelming. Packing goes easily, as being a ready- rubbed one. Just don't stuff it too tightly! Beautiful, medium blonde, broken flakes. Its moisture level was very good, not really dry, but not too moist either. Despite all the negative reviews concerning its burning qualities, I had no problems to light it (twice worked pretty well) and to keep it lit. It burned down evenly AND COOL. I didnt have any problems with tongue bite, but I didn't push it too much, as I'm a slow smoker, smoking the pipe for relaxation and enjoyment. Taste is medium, rather sweet and full, giving the distinctive, natural- sweet note of a beautifully selected Virginia. I detected some flavouring, but it matched the tobacco taste very well. It offers a pleasant room note, reflecting the smoking taste beautifully. After smoking, I wanted one more bowl, which is unusual for me, as I dont smoke for nicotine. I find it a bit strange that some smokers have problems to handle it. I experienced it very positive. Seems to be a more demanding blend. Might become an everyday smoke for me. Now I know why this is a Mc Baren classic. 4 stars.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 20, 2017 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Oh how we forget the good ole basics. This blend uses some really top quality Virginias in its blend. The tin opening reveals a beautiful palomino color hard cast Virginias. The aroma is that grassy earthy aroma. After a good rubbing the tobacco breaks down very easy. Light up was fine and as you would expect burn is quick and fairly hot as you would expect. Taste is that slightly sweet hay and grassy taste. This is like it was back in the good ole days before all these fancy aromatics and super blends. This is just a good ole basic Virginia blend that must be smoked slowly not to destroy the flavor not to mention a huge bite if you lose control of the smoke. You usually don't need a relight but that's OK 👌🏻 if ya do as it means you smoking nice a easy. The room note is outstanding with a light sweet smoky hay aroma that is very pleasing. This is how it was five decades ago when there were just simple straight forward blends. I truly enjoyed this smoke. Would it be in my rotation? No but it is worth a nice slow smoke from time to time.
Pipe Used: Meerschaum
Age When Smoked: Fresh
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2016 Very Mild Very Mild Mild Tolerable
A revised recipe or different components are used to make this blend from what I recall. It has been at least 10 years or so since I have smoked this Mac Baren/Sutliff offering. I agree with Pipestud it is topped with something but for me it doesn't diminish the quality of the Virginia's too badly. I give it a thumbs up and I think it's a pretty fair offering though a bit expensive. Yes there are better and more economically priced Va's available but I would smoke this one in a pinch Perhaps a few years down the road if it's still around I'll pick up another tin.
Pipe Used: Briar
PurchasedFrom: P&C and Smoking Pipes.
4 people found this review helpful.
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