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 71 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
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
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
Aug 28, 2017 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I'd have to say this is my desert island tobac. My first experience with it was a 12 yr old 9oz tin purchased from a b&m that was going out of business. At 9 dollars for the tin I figured why not. It was sublime. Since then I purchase in 1lb bulk as I like it aged at least a yr. Fresh is ok also just not as nuanced. Smokes cool and burns well I have tried several hundred blends and have at least 50 in the cellar but this floats my boat.
Pipe Used: various mostly briars but a few meerschaums
Age When Smoked: 15yrs to fresh
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 25, 2017 Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
As a beginner it was one of the first tobaccos I wanted to try, based on the different reviews and being one of the most popular virgina blends around. Of course as a fresh starter I managed to experience what bite is with this blend, but I assume other tobaccos would cause the same result at that time.

Later, as the time went by and became more experienced, managed to explore the different non aromatic tobaccos, I got to the point where I should give an other try to this blend. And what a good idea that was! What I remembered from the beginning, I liked the light casing on it and the pure tobacoo taste which I always serach for in any blends.

If you are able to find the correct briar for this blend and have the patience to smoke it slowly, you will get perect experience every time you reach for this tobacco especially outdoors. The taste of the different high quality virginias are in perfect harmony with the additional light honey/caramel taste. The casing has only a supporting role here - the main player will always be the belend of different virginias. Moisture level is quite good - in some cases it burns down without any religts. If puffed hard - it still can bite. Nicotine level not the highest - comparing to other virginia blends - so it can be a perfect all day smoke. Room note is quite nice - and could be tolerable for non smokers as well.

As being a Virginia blend I suppose it can age nicely. I will be able to find it out in a couple of years - I have different tins and jars in the cellar and will open one in every year to check the improvement.

If you get to to the point where you smoke at least a bowl or more/day and have a dedicated pipe for it, you can be sure that a perfect smoking experience is guaranteed for every day.

The bulk price is basically a gift.

Absolutely recommended.

ps. (for the home blenders - if you have some Solani Aged Burley Flake, give a try in a fifty fifty mix - heaven - )
Pipe Used: different briars - StanwellTrio207 is dedicated
Age When Smoked: fresh
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 19, 2017 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Another classical, old-style Danish blend by Mac Baren. Light, typical Mac Baren casing with the Mac Baren honeyish signature aroma, and a quite pleasant roomnote.

A very sweet sugary start that develops into a more subtle sweet and grassy, haylike, overall round taste with the honeyish aroma always (safely stored) in the backseat. Not adventurous, but safe and nice. Somewhat like your favourite candy: nothing interesting about it, nothing new, but you always crave for it.

To me, this one was a surprise. Deeply hidden in the shadow of it's bigger brother, the Mixture Scottish Blend, this little sis has it's own merit. A light and very pleasing smoke. Everything fits a sunny day -whether winter or summer- to lift the mood - as I said, like a treat with your favourite candy.

The Virginia No. 1 goes very well with a Darjeeling first flush or a fruity (more greenish) Oolong tea. It's a good morning smoke, and also nice durig the day, maybe not the right smoke for the late evening.

This one is supposed to bite very hard, but surprisingly, I didn't have any problems with that. Very easy to light, easy to smoke, just very few relights, reasonable amount of moisture in the bowl. Smokes quite cool and slow, if you don't rubb it out further.

Overall definitely a recommendation for the sunny days in life.

A remark for my fellow German countrymen: in my opinion this blend has to be smoked without a filter. A filter kills IMHO the taste and joy of this tobacco as well as you'll tend to smoke it to hot.
Pipe Used: different briars, falcon
PurchasedFrom: local B&M
Age When Smoked: very fresh (about 2 month out of the factory)
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 10, 2008 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I can't agree with the negative reviewers of this tobacco. I find this tobacco to be delightfully tasty and sweet. According to Mac Baren's website the tobacco is naturally sweet and not cased with honey as some would tend to believe. I personally enjoy this sweetness and the toastiness that develops towards the middle of the bowl.

The consistency of the rubbed out flake is perfect in my oppinion and I have not been bitten anymore than any other virginia tobacco out there. Go slow and enjoy and you won't have any problems.

This tobacco stayed lit remarkably well and I had no problem in getting down to the bottom of the bowl.

My particular batch was an attractive golden-amber colored.

I highly recommend if you like the more sweet virginias.
8 people found this review helpful.
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