This is a hot pressed flake tobacco, meaning that during the pressing steam is added to mature the tobacco further and to ensure a mellow smoking experience. A blend of bright Virginias, spicy Orient, a bit of burley, and a fair amount of Cyprus Latakia is the foundation of HH Latakia Flake.

The taste is complex with the smoky note from Latakia in the front seat, the subtle sweetness from the Virginias working in the back, and the mellow spiciness from the Orientals popping up from time to time, creating an intimate interplay where all tobaccos play their role and contribute to this unique smoking experience.

HH Latakia Flake has very little casing and no top flavour at all. The only taste you will experience is the natural taste from the tobaccos used.

A mellow, yet satisfying tobacco, with a lot of nice, smoky aroma.

Notes: Released at the 2014 Chicago Pipe Show.

BrandMac Baren
Blended ByPer Jensen
Manufactured ByMacBaren
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsBurley, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging3.5 ounce tin
ProductionCurrently available
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3047)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The hot pressed flake breaks apart very easily though it needs to dry a few minutes first. It's creamy and smooth, and easy to keep lit. The earthy, dry, woody, floral, herbal, vegetative, buttery sweet, lightly sour Orientals have a mild spiciness, and gets slightly more noticeable when you reach the half way point in the bowl. This product is a little sweeter than your average English, and I believe there's some unsweetened sugary black cavendish in it, though the description doesn't note it. Maple was used as binder, and not a topping. There's an ample amount of smoky, woody, earthy, leathery, musty sweet Cyprian Latakia without being overwhelming. It's the lead component. The bright Virginias have a natural tart and tangy citrus sweetness, and a very mild grass note as the core base for the other components to play off. The burleys are mildly molasses sweet, woody and nutty with a touch of earthiness in the background. The mildly sweet and more savory campfire flavor is very consistent from first light to last puff with a very pleasing, lingering after taste, and it won't bite or get harsh. It has very few rough edges. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps short of medium. Burns cool, clean and a little slow, requires some relights, and leaves just a little moisture in the bowl. Has a tolerable room note. The rich complexity of this flake entertains the taste buds, and should appeal those are looking for more than a dry smoke. Can be an all day smoke.


100 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have just finished about 50 grams of the 100 gram tin of the new HH Latakia Flake from MB. I am impressed! The flakes are neatly arranged in the tin in similar fashion to the Old Dark Fired flakes. There is no doubt that LF has been topped as there is a slight fruity scent that I find similar to some of the Schurch Modern English blends. But it is very light and doesn’t overly intrude on the smoke. There are two things I loved about this flake right away. The first thing is that LF offers none of the Mc-bite that many MB blends are known to have. I am not easily bitten but with the exception of Old Dark Fired, I have been bit by almost every Mac Baren blend I have ever smoked. The second thing I love about LF is that unlike other Latakia heavy flakes, this one holds together in the same fashion a good Virginia flake does. It can easily be folded and stuffed, broken into pieces or rubbed out. Regardless of how it is smoked, I find a few minutes of dry time offers the best results. In terms of flavor, the Latakia is a dominate player, but leaves plenty of room to taste the flavor of the Virginias and Orientals. All three play a noticeable role in LB. The Burley seems to just add some backbone, but I can’t quite single it out. The topping offers a slightly sweet taste that is different than the sweetness offered up buy some Latakia blends. Given the fact that the component tobaccos play a large role here, I think it’s safe to say that this will cellar very well. HH Latakia Flake, coming on the heels of the outstanding Old Dark Fired, Mac Baren is really onto something with the introduction of these two excellent, high quality flakes. Highly recommended!

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

57 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I'm joining the band here. HH Latakia Flake is a champ. Nice presentation of the various components of this blend and the Latakia really stood out with a boldness. The Burley was a team player but did add strength to the overall presentation. A very smooth smoking experience and this flake is a slow burner, which made the experience even nicer. Just a marvelous tobacco for fans of English - or any other - style of tobacco that offers strength and flavor in a way a good tobacco should.


45 people found this review helpful.

ZoNoMo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ZoNoMo (3)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable

Before I get into the meat of this review, I feel the need to come clean and confess my sins. Hi… my name is Monte and I am an Aromatic Tobacco smoker. {Hi Monte!} Since I started smoking a pipe in November of 2012, I have made many attempts to try and become normal by smoking English and Virginia blends. I’ve even purchased several tins knowing eventually I’ll come around, mature, and become a “real” pipe smoker. So far… it hasn’t happened. Truth be told, when the fine folks at Sutliff asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing this tobacco, I jumped at the chance. I kind of wanted to provide a little payback for the dozens of Aromatic Tobacco reviews I’ve read that begin with the phrase “I’m not an aromatic tobacco smoker but …..”. So here goes.

The very first thing you notice when you pop the tin is the amazing aroma. I don’t mean the overly cased foofie fruity notes found in many popular Aromatic Tobaccos which seem to have no resemblance to its taste. I mean a very deep, rich, earthy and even leathery scent. It reminds me of something made in yesteryear that oozed quality. I actually found myself going back again and again for more sniffs. I couldn’t get enough of the smell. My wife asked me if I was going to actually smoke the stuff or sniff it to death.

Inside the tin is a generous amount of “Juicy Fruit Gum” size strips of dark brown pressed Latakia Flake. Wait just a sec while I go back and smell it again…. Ok I’m back.

The tobacco had a bit more moisture than I expected so I rubbed it out and let it dry for about 15 minutes. I packed it into a beautiful Davorin Morta pipe that he made for me in 2013. I’ve been told that Morta pipes are particularly good at enhancing the smoke of English tobacco but I honestly don’t know. I’m lighting with Diamond GreenLight matches.

After lighting this pipe, I have to honestly say that I was in for more pleasant surprises. The rich scent of this tobacco flows easily into its taste. It actually tastes as good as it smells. Very few Aros can claim that. There is a slight hint of sweetness that comes through too though no one note overpowers the rest. Based upon the other non-Aromatics that I’ve tried, his HH Latakia flake seems to have a balance that is pleasant and inviting. I have to say that smoking this tobacco has rocked my perception and understanding of Latakias and Virginias to the core.

Mac Baren H&H has provided me my first ever path to actually enjoying non Aromatic pipe tobacco. I am now left wondering if this very tobacco – HH Latakia Flake – is what pipe tobacco is supposed to taste like.

Monte Montemayor

Pipe Used: Morta

Age When Smoked: 2014

Purchased From: Sutliff

33 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This is truly delicious. A rather sweet flake with ample smokiness and a nice touch of spice. Can't say that I can pick up the Burley. There is also, which to my taste buds, is a mild floral note. All together this provides a very flavorful, enjoyable smoke.

I'm somewhat susceptible to bite from bright Virginias and I noticed that when this is moist the infamous MacBite was lingering just below the surface. Got some tongue tingle but no actual bite. Drying it before smoking erases all hints of bite and is recommended. Drying has no effect on the flavor and has the added benefit of a better burn.

Medium in body. Medium to full in flavor. A wonderful smoke.

Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

30 people found this review helpful.

SmokeKing David Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeKing David (134)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

The manufacturer's description is accurate. The latakia is present throughout the smoke, but it gets stronger and also wanes periodically. This allows the Virginias and Orientals to make themselves known at times during the bowl. I don't detect burley per se, but I think it adds a little more body and hints of earthiness.

I dried the flakes for about 10 to 15 minutes. It still seemed a little damp. As a result, the tobacco needed an extra few lights to get going. But once it did, it burned steadily for about 45 minutes to an hour. My pipes were of below average bowl size, and the flakes provided a relatively long smoke.

I also liked the fact that this tobacco produced lots of fragrant clouds of smoke. It's such a tasty and fulfilling blend that I could not help retro-haling the smoke! I didn't get any bite at all, either.

This HH Mac Baren product is less sweet than HH Vintage Syrian (which I also enjoy). I didn't detect any topping in this Flake. It sort of reminds me of some GL Pease latakia blends.

It's nice to see Mac Baren produce an English-style blend, and name it appropriately (unlike the no-longer-produced "Latakia Blend," which, although enjoyable as a Virginia-based smoke, has a misleading name as it has a miniscule amount of Latakia).

I highly recommend Mac Baren's new Latakia Flake.

Govern Yourself Accordingly.

Pipe Used: Bob Hayes bulldog, Northern Briars Prince

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Mac Baren sample from Chicago Pipe Show

24 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (393)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A friend of mine brought some of this back from the Chicago Pipe Show. I have been smoking it rubbed out.

This is a very high quality flake, and I am enjoying smoking through the half tin. The profile is slightly sweet Virginia with an everpresent but fairly mild latakia note and a little oriental spiciness. The burley may be there for body, but it does not contribute to the flavor for me.

The experience is very smooth and it is a slow smoke. When puffed I get more of the oriental spiciness. In the HH lineup, I prefer ODF and Vintage Syrian to this, but I don't hesitate to give it a strong recommendation. Latakia Flake is a milder blend than these other two, and like JimInks I suspect there may be some black cavendish in it. I don't pick up any topping, but from the component tobaccos I expected a stronger, edgier smoke.

19 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Dark black thin flakes with a light streak or two, once again Mac Baren gets an A for presentation. Beautifully arranged flakes that hold their shape nicely and don't crumble as you fold them. So naturally I preferred this rubbed out, because that's just the way my luck runs. :) Comes pretty moist in the tin and needed quite a lot of drying time for it to perform its best for me. I like dry flakes, often crunchy dry, but this one liked a bit more moisture than most. But at anything resembling tin moisture, it smoked steamy and the flavor was greatly reduced.

Latakia up front, but this was no lat bomb. The Virginias were secondary and seemed sweeter than usual and tasted "non-Virginia-like" so I suspect a topping, although I couldn't say what was used. It was not overdone. Zero bite to this one, and not a lot of complexity. The orientals popped up from time to time and I would have preferred more of their presence, as the mouthfeel of this was on the thinner side and could have been helped with more oriental flavor. On the other hand, Mac B's ODF has a thinner mouthfeel than other blends in its genre and I smoke it a lot. So it has to do with a personal bias regarding latakia blends, I suppose. But make no mistake - this is an extremely well crafted blend and should be tried by all latakia fans. 3.5 stars, and really a 4 star blend on an objective level (at least, as objective as any reviewer can possibly hope for) ... but a 3 star blend for my subjective tastes. Try some... and pick up some ODF while you're at it. If you thought of Mac Baren as a typical Danish-style blender, these two and the rest of the HH line should expand your thoughts.

17 people found this review helpful.

AE1PT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AE1PT (8)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This fine blend stands in a place all of its own! The blenders have found a perfect combination--and well matched preparation (steam pressed) to achieve what has become a top tobacco in my cellar.

My first impression was not that great though. The tin notes were seductive, smokey, sweet and slightly grassy from the Virginia. I took a flake directly from the can and used a Z fold to pack. For whatever reason, this caused the Latakia to rebel and deliver a turpentine painting rag sort of experience. It did not burn very evenly either. But I never judge a tobacco on one bowl, or one packing method if a flake.

The second round was in a larger chambered pipe, rubbed out and dried for about half an hour. What a difference--it was almost if I had opened some other kind of tin. The charring burn produced a rich, creamy cloud of smoke. Little tamping was necessary. The smoking burn started the real experience.

Sweet, full, and a barely noticeable floral note which I presume is from some light casing came in as part of the Lat. This Cyprian is not 'heavy' and distracting--but smooth and tasty. The oriental and Virginia jump right in and play as equal partners with the Lat--but not a muddle. Honestly, I cannot really find the burley as its own identity. But that is not a bad thing!

The tobacco has a nice burn all the way to the bottom. Responds well to letting it go out and relighting at a later time--which is something I do regularly. No bite or gurgle from drawing moisture or condensing oils. It smokes well in small bowls as well as large chambered pots and stacks.

Smoked straight or as a bit of "flair" to other blends, I cannot say enough about the creamy, flavorful nature of this. And a great aftertaste when the bowl is finished. I now have 5 tins of this in the cellar to age a bit--and more to be added with future orders. If you like a smooth Lat that is well matched to Virginia leaf--be sure to try this masterful tobacco.

Although very different, if you are a smoker that enjoys Vintage Syrian you will quite likely find this a nice contrast and addition to your cellar!

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: New Tin

Purchased From: SmokingPipes

15 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (633)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I was surprised to see I hadn't yet reviewed this one. I was given a small sample of this that I loved, that was followed by a near full tin from a friend who did not like it. Smoking through that full tin only reaffirmed my love for this flake.

The Latakia is always at the forefront of this blend, so it does stay true to its name, but I would not consider this to be a full English or a latakia smokehouse by any means. I can't really take too much Latakia in a day and have a hard time fingering any to be an all day blend, but this one could be a candidate.

I really enjoy the addition of burley to the blend as it adds a nice nutty sweetness and takes this blend into the realm of the American English/Scottish type mixtures. This is one of the finer examples of either of those genres that I have tasted. While there is an oriental presence in this flake, it is subdued and used sparingly. The Virginia is there to amplify the sweetness of the other leafs, but is otherwise hard to pick out on its own.

As I had said I really enjoyed this flake and will stock up some more in the cellar. Highly recommended and another great blend carrying the HH designation.

13 people found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (242)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

First I will start off by saying that I am not a big fan of Latakia, but Mac Baren's HH ODF is one of my top three tobaccos and I definitely wanted to try their HH Latakia Flake. This is not a Lat bomb by any means, but the Latakia does play the major roll in this flake. I was figuring that the hot press method would meld the flavors in a way that other methods would not, taking away some of what I usually don't like with Latakia...I was right! The tin note upon opening is Latakia (not overwhelmingly so), some spice aroma (I figure from the Orientals) and overall, good tobacco aroma. No hay-like tones whatsoever. The flakes are nearly black and aligned in three rows ala HH ODF, resulting in each flake slightly smaller than a stick of chewing gum - a perfect size. I took two flakes out and let them air dry for 5 minutes and then folded and loaded into a Tom Eltang Stanwell SB. Pre-light sucking on the stem revealed Latakia, and some creamy, minty notes, albeit subtle. Very different and appealing to me. Lighting and keeping lit was very easy. Smoking from beginning to end was effortless and resulted in a very relaxing, enjoyable smoke. Yes, the Latakia was there but what I find different is that its flavor was so well merged with the other tobaccos that this flake smoked as "one flavor" for me. Not airy, moderately full in mouth feel...very appealing indeed. Coming from someone who tolerates but does not love Latakia, my hats off to Mac Baren for making such a fine flake, one that I can smoke each and every day. Now if they would only produce an HH Burley flake like the unfortunately defunct Edgeworth Sliced, this would, for me, be a triple play!

Pipe Used: Tom Eltang Stanwell SB

Age When Smoked: Fresh - tinned 4-14

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

13 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (2081)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Mac Baren HH Latakia Flake.

What a flavoursome smoke!

From the tin it's a little moist but nothing too problematic. I take a flake, set it aside for a short while, rub and load.

Although the smoky Lat' leads the flavour isn't totally cartelized by it. The Orientals give a lively touch and the Burley offers a nutty character. I find the Virginia the lightest of the bunch, by a long score. The burn can't be faulted and the temperature's cool.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: pleasant.

A four star smoke:

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Rattray's Six Friends

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

10 people found this review helpful.

Swiss-smoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Swiss-smoker (87)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Tolerable

The beautiful dark flakes are equally cut (in 3 rows) and are neatly arranged in the tin. Upon opening the tin, the very first breath is a heavy sourness as a result of enhanced maturation through hot steam when pressing the tobacco cake. Excellent! The following breaths are rewarded with ample sweetness of honey, molasses, toffee, maple, and of course, Latakia and Virginia.

The flakes break apart very easily. For the first bowl I did not allow any drying time. The tobacco was slightly to damp, though. After lighting with a little more effort than commonly, I had a pleasant smoke that needed no relights. Since the square tins, once opened, never close that tightly any more, as opposed to the round ones, I decided to leave it like this to dry gently and slowly in the original tin for a couple of days, which turned out to be just the right thing to do. Since I smoke with filters, I always have an enjoyable dry smoke anyway. Excess moisture is soaked up by the blotting-paper wrap of the filter.

I was surprised to smoke a round, sweet and mellow blend, no Lat-bomb, as expected. This time the overhead description is quite accurate in my view. I love Latakia, and Latakia is dominant here but leaves room for others. Therefore I would not call this blend one-dimensional. The well chosen Orientals donate spice and character to this mixture, what I highly appreciate. The backbone of this mixture remains Virginia. Actually, I cannot pick up the Burley, except for occasional sparkles of nutty notes in the second half of the bowl, which I assume originate from Burley. Otherwise the flavour of this mixture is pretty much consistent throughout the bowl.

The soft carpet of natural sweetness of Latakia and Virginia, as well as their natural aroma, together with the already mentioned tangy Orientals, is what I like in this blend. What I dislike is this kind of obvious artificial sweetness that has been overlaid with casing. It sticks unpleasantly on my lips. There is no need for an added artificial sweetness in this mixture! The natural sweetness of the tobacco does the job. If there was to add sweetness at all, natural Macedonia Bright (a sweet Oriental) would have been a much better choice. The excessive sweetness remained stuck on my pipe, which I dedicated to this tobacco. I had some trouble cleaning the pipe and getting rid of that cloying stuff, in order to smoke “normal” tobacco in it again.

For my needs this blend is too sweet and lacks complexity. And I miss the peaty “horse-stable ambiance” in this Latakia. It will not be part of my tobacco selection. Having said that, the HH Latakia Blend remains a recommendable smoke, only for all those looking for a well fermented, mellower, lighter and sweeter Lat/Vir with no peaks and tongue bites.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum from Turkey

Age When Smoked: New, out of the tin.

Purchased From: Tobacconist across the border, in Germany.

9 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (321)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The 50 gr. tin had a very nice presentation of 18 Flakes 1"x3" long. They needed some drying prior to smoking and I decided to lightly ball and stuff one flake using the "air pocket" method for packing. The flavor was not an overpowering heavy campfire latakia, but rather, a smooth fruity floral latakia that says," this may have some Syrian ?". This blend has a nice balance between the latakia and the Virginias , however , for me, I like a little more sweetness in a "Medium Light" style of latakia blend.

The overall experience was very smooth , no bite, not bitter or ashy, with a smoky flavor all through the bowl including a few relights. Very "Samual Gawith" or GL Pease like in behavior and style, without any signs of Mac Barens bite . I'm very impressed with this Mac Barens offering,

Will I be buying more , probably not, as I said I like a little more sweetness that I get from some of McClelland "Medium" Latakia blends.

I have to say, that some of the reviewers were spot on , especially, "Steel Cowboy " and "Smokeking David". But those that talked about a topping and sweetness , I just didn't get that ?

Pipe Used: cob and maple

Age When Smoked: 4 months open

9 people found this review helpful.

wags888 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wags888 (11)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Delightful. A gift from a friend. Mild, but enough Latakia to provide that smokey campfire that I adore. First tried folded and stuffed, which I've never done before. And, without dry time. Oops. Lots of bite, re-light every few minutes, ugh. Second bowl, rubbed out and dried for 15m. Want a treat. Creamy, smokey, easy to keep lit. There's a sweetness I don't get with other English, and I assume that's the Virginias in it. I'll be picking up more for my cellar.

9 people found this review helpful.

Fire and Oil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fire and Oil (16)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I need to preface this review with the statement, "I'm not a fan of latakia."

That said, I really really enjoyed smoking this. I chalk this up to two factors:

1) It's a flake and I just like flake tobaccos best. I can control the texture, they burn smooth and cool, and tend to be more flavorful.

2) There's a LOT of virginia in this blend which lends a bright sweetness to the heavy, oily latakia flavor.

Like I said, I'm not a latfan. But sometimes, I just crave it. When I do - this is the tin I reach for.

9 people found this review helpful.

Fife&Drum Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fife&Drum (34)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Very pleasantly surprised. One of the best Latakia/Oriental blends I’ve tried. Penzance of course is my favorite. Smokey Latakia tin note, with Virginia bringing up the rear. Fairly easy rub which remains course. First match and the familiar toasty Mac Baren flavor greets you, which I enjoy immensely and sets this blend a bit apart from other English blends. I taste the Virginia’s with Latakia in the foreground, and the orientals and Burley bring a nice earthy spice. This gets a bit darker tasting as the bowl progresses. Sometimes with a slight Cinnamon character from time to time. I rate this an excellent blend. Only drawback is that it burns all too quickly and a tin doesn’t last long. One slice of flake per bowl. Maybe because I enjoy smoking this so much. Ah well...

Age When Smoked: 2015

8 people found this review helpful.

Pierre Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pierre (14)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm lost on this one. Out of the tin I smelled the sourness of the VA first, Latakia secondarily. I didn't note any of the topping smell, however it is there, I'll talk about that soon. I sized up that it oughta be a good blend and a good flake.

First bowl was from my Cavicchi dublin. Flake had been dried around 15 minutes, then folded and packed. First light - ouch! Okay I guess the charring light sometimes bites, second light - ouch!!! What!?! Okay, it's lit now I'll smoke it through. Really, OUCH. This blend bites like microwaved ramen. Throughout the whole bowl, it just kept getting worse. Fine whatever, I'll try again later.

Second bowl in a Klodt dublin. Flake had been dried for an hour, then crumbled and packed. First light - ouch! Second- ouch! I'm about to give up. Finally, after a couple minutes the bite subsided and it wasn't as bad. I don't know if I might have to dry this stuff overnight but it's seriously bitey. Sigh.

Onto flavor. Very good! There is definitely some sweetness stemming not from the VA but definitely from some cavendish or a topping. It's noticeable in the smoke and more so in the room note. Doesn't take away from anything though, actually quite nice paired with the lat/va. You get the pleasant fruit preserve hint from the VA, a nice healthy note of latakia, and the burley I didn't taste, as I almost never do.

So truly, I'm torn as it is. This is a great tasting blend, it really just traumatizes your tongue. I don't remember smoking an aromatic that burned me that badly. Really unpleasant.

Pipe Used: Cavicchi Dublin CCC, Klodt Dublin

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

8 people found this review helpful.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Excellent English/Oriental Flake, very sweet with deep, dark and smokey BBQ flavor, the Turkish flavor is dominant with strong floral/Oriental aroma.

This one (with ODF) is another hit from Mac baren, Superb stuff

Similar Blends: Penzance, Squadron Leader.

8 people found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (321)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

This is a bit monochromatic in flavour (in spite of all the components, the subduded Latakia becomes the front runner and, ultimately, the only runner) but it is smoooooooth. Very nice, velvety, somewhere in between dark unsweetened chocolate and a bit of tonka bean flavour in the background.

I can barely taste the other tobaccos compriosing this flake. But it is a naturally sweet, slightly bitter ride all the way. Soft, leathery, deep and slow burning. Flakes are very dark brown, almost "dry" (meaning they are not oily or humid), yet easy to break and fill in the pipe. It lights with a single match, and if smoked slowly it will go on without the need to relight.

Really nice stuff, and perhaps a good introduction to latakia. Slightly similar in structure and taste to Gawith's 1792 flake. I know, I know, the latter has no Latakia, but the taste is rather similar, albeit this one is milder, smoother and more tolerable.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Roma

Age When Smoked: N/A

Purchased From: Joshua Ward

Similar Blends: Somewhat similar to Gawith's 1792 Flake.

7 people found this review helpful.

porshcigar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
porshcigar (44)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This is an outstanding blend for Latakia lovers like myself. It lights very well, smokes smoothly, and burns to a fine grey ash. It is a very cool smoke that smokes quite slowly.

6 people found this review helpful.

DenizBeck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DenizBeck (323)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This blend totally surprised me... I was expecting a "Lat-Bomb"-Flake, very smoky, very dark and tart. But this actually is something totally different for me. The Latakia is present, yes.. but not as smoky and musty as it usually comes, it's buttery, sweet and accompanied by a variety of other flavors.... but first:

The tin note.. the tin note is peaty, sweet, slightly sour and decently smoky. Anyone who has smoked a Mac Baren flake knows what's waiting inside the tin.. perfectly even flake slice in a "Bubbe-Gum-Slices" form. Burns good right away from the fresh tin, but I like some drying time to enhance flavors and perfect burn.

"The_German" wrote something about this blend using salty licorice instead of sweet licorice. I knew licorice was used in a lot of tobaccos and blends, but HH Latakia Flake is the first blend, in which I really taste it as such!

From the first puffs I get an aroma of salty licorice... and I mean.. it truly tastes like licorice! Another reviewer here stated it's like eating salty licorice and drinking some wine alongside... and really.. that describes it quite good! Salty licorice taste is always in the back. The Latakia is more earthy and woodsy than smoky, yet gives some mellow smokiness, that's unlike any Latakia blend I had. It has a wine-like taste, almost like the Syrian varietal of Latakia. The Burley isn't really noticeable, but I guess it contributes to the rich body of this blend! But the Orientals are there, especially afterthe first 1/3 of the bowl. Sour, woodsy, spicy and dry with some ethereal oiliness to it. Also a (very) mild, caramell-y sweetness is everpresent, yet never obtrusive. Very genuine aroma! The smoke itself also has a toasty and roasted quality to it and is richly creamy.

This truly is a speciality and was a big surprise to me.. I've expected something totally different, but HH Latakia Flake isn't what you think off, when thinking "Latakia Flake"... it's mellow in the smoke, yet full-bodied aroma with a most genuine taste. I love it! 4/4 stars for an outstandingly good Latakia flake!

Pipe Used: Clays, Cobs, Briars

6 people found this review helpful.

Pops Pipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pops Pipe (19)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Wow ! This stuff is awesome ! Sweet/ smokey flavor, stays cool. Latakia is up front but the virginias are right behind it. You get a slight whiff of black cav in the side streams, wow very unique. This stuff favors a big bowl as i used the fold/ crimp/ stuff method and it was packed pretty tight in my Savinelli 616 but stayed really cool. Each tobacco compliments the others and makes this a well balanced, and nicely melded flake. Flavorful, sweet, smokey, creamy. This is like " Dare I say?" Penzance ! Its that good !

Pipe Used: Savinelli 616ks

Age When Smoked: 3 years

Similar Blends: Penzance.

6 people found this review helpful.

gahdzila Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gahdzila (61)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Very Full Strong

Thin, clean cut intact flakes, solid black in color. Tin note is straight latakia. The flakes are quite moist in the tin, and definitely benefit from drying time. Actually, I'm being generous, let me rephrase that -- very wet, and virtually unsmokeable without a lot of drying time.

Smoky leathery latakia is at the forefront. One who does not ordinarily smoke much latakia could certainly be justified in calling this a "lat-bomb." There is a noticeable sweetness from the Virginias. The Orientals seem subdued. Flavor is straightforward, not terribly complex, and consistent throughout the bowl.

A nice full straightforward English. Everyone else seems to like it, so take my review with a grain of salt. Admittedly, I have been moving away from latakia blends lately. HH Latakia flake seems rather straightforward and boring to me. It seems really light in nicotine, considering the heavy taste and mouthfeel. I won't be revisiting it.

6 people found this review helpful.

marosi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
marosi (70)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a another very good offering from the HH line, and is certainly very fine in every way. I struggled with how to rate this due to the competition. This type of mixture goes up against the old school English blenders who have been in business for 200 plus years in many cases, and they are indeed some heavy hitters. In comparison to the best of the offerings from those houses, this is a three star blend - recommended, but not life changing. However, setting aside that elite 5%, in comparison to the rest of the field this stands head and shoulders above what anyone else is doing, and deserves the four star rating I have given it. It is interesting that, to my understanding MB actually purchased vintage steam press equipment from England in order to be able to offer these types of tobaccos, and this is when they started releasing stellar offerings such as Old Dark Fired and Latakia Flake. Mac Baren is slowly moving into the halcyon realms of houses such as Germain and the Gawiths, and deserves to be there given the care and attention that they have applied to bringing the HH line to market.

This is a dark and beautiful mottled flake in the tin, with the latakia evident through the mixture. It needs a little drying, as most flakes do, and once ready rubs out nicely and packs easily. It burns faster than an S. Gawith flake, which is not a bad thing, and is little less VA forward than the Gawith offerings. It takes a char readily and once lit burns easily without much fuss.

This is a very centered, balanced mixture and it is hard to find where the latakia ends and the orientals begin. IT is creamy and smooth, not to the extent of something like Exotique, but still very well behaved and rich. I find the flavor to be medium to medium/full. The HH Vintage Syrian, for example, is more flavorful and stronger tasting, but that is also nearly 50% latakia.

This is a lovely flake and a very good value. 100g for 16-18 dollars is a bargain, and it can be an easygoing all day smoke. It does not supplant the other giants of this style, and if I had to reach for one or two and no more this would probably not be it (to may taste Exotique or Best Blend from Smokers Haven, blended by Germain, are as good as this style blend gets, albeit they are not flakes). On the other hand, at almost half the price for 90% of the pleasure, a strong argument can be made that this should be the daily ration, with the others reserved for special occasions. What a nice dilemma to have!

Pipe Used: Ser Jacopo smooth Bent Dublin

Age When Smoked: 1 yr

6 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Motoyoshi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Motoyoshi (68)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Typical HH MacBaren flake presentation. Perfect and uniformly shaped flakes, all the size; about the same size of a stick of gum. The tin note has a typical Latakia scent and a subtle sweetness about it.

It's a very dark flake but I don't think anyone is expecting "Latakia Flake" to be golden brown. If you rub your flakes out it's a synch, but I prefer to roll and stuff. Either way the tobacco burns very evenly. Some drying time should be on the menu as the flakes are moist for my liking.

Let's get onto the smoke. The steam pressing really helps round off the rough smokey edges of this tobacco. It's unlike most other Latakia forward blends as it's very sweet ( slight casing detected but unobtrusive to the smoke) but has no rough corners. I love this stuff fresh out of the tin. You get a lovely sweet burnt marshmallow flavors swirled in with some nice VA support and a slight creaminess.

Despite being a latakia forward blend, this is still a flake. I did not enjoy this in my pots and 7/8 bowls. The best smokes I got were in my 3/4 wide chambers and typically billiards and dublins. When smoked in, let's say a Savinelli 320, the flavors are very thin and it wasn't enjoyable. One of my best pipes for this blend was the Missouri Meerschaum Bent Ozark Hardwood.

When I got this I loved it, it had just enough Latakia kick to keep me satisfied while being smooth and enjoyable. Then I smoked about half way through the tin and set it aside form 6 months enjoying my many other blends. Upon revisiting it there was something missing. It became too smooth and even had a slight vinegar flavor to it. The creaminess had also diminished. I give this three stars because it was a 4 when I got it and a two recently. I recommend this to anyone who wants a smooth latakia experience though.

Pipe Used: cobs, briars, meers and morta

6 people found this review helpful.

Beardywul Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beardywul (5)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

My most latakia heavy smoke yet, since my little new voyage of discovery began 5 months ago and here I am reaching for the laptop to give it 5 stars to bolster it's average after just one bowl. That's because it was well behaved, lit well, stayed lit, didn't bite and tasted as lovely and creamy, smoky and gorgeous just as most of the other appreciative reviewers, to whom I am now very grateful, have already said.

It's composition of component flavours have been well described already and all I can pretty much say is that you can well believe the majority of what the people who love this have said. Having got to this point from buying fairly mild 'Englishes' and 'Orientals' like Presbyterian, Dunhill Morning, Rapparee, McConnell Oriental and Skiff, although this is the most lat forward of them all, the Turkish and Oriental I've grown to enjoy is definitely still subtly noticeable here. Kind of supporting, perhaps bolstering the lat in a lovely, uneven combination. They really work well together.

There's also something else in the quality of the smoke that I can't help but be reminded of from having had HH Old Dark Fired (which I could also rave about). The subtle sweetness (far, far more subtle here), the body, the coolness; all great like ODF and a tiny modicum of the same flavour, although only in a very subtle, underlying and supportive way due to that lat and light oriental dominance. It certainly isn't 'Old Dark Fired for the lat lover', though. Latakia Flake is what it is.

A few other things. I just rubbed a couple of flakes out then spread it out to dry a little faster than it otherwise would have as flake, about 10 or 15 minutes and gave it a basic 3 step pack. Then: if only my ex-girlfriend could have been this gorgeous and well-behaved. Lots of little crumbs when rubbing it out, more than other flakes I've tried but they were very good for kindling and allowed me almost a one match light.

It fairly mucks up the innards of a pipe after just one bowl too but I don't care. If only the ex was as dirty, as well. Although funnily my balsa filter only seemed to pick up moisture; nothing tarry like with lovely Old Gowrie.

I'm going to take half of what's now a small collection of pipes I'd intended to rotate for 'Orientals' like Skiff or McConnell and just dedicate them to this or trying out Squadron Leader, etc.

But another English would have to be bally-well spiffing indeed, old bean, to beat this!

Pipe Used: Straight Falcon Coolway billiard

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: High street.

6 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am thrilled with this new HH series offering from Mac Baren. The flakes are dark, and I mean DARK, with Latakia and Stoved VAs. A few streaks of Golden VA here and there. The tin aroma is of a Latakia dominant aroma, deep and smoky, with a sweet touch, very light, that I associate with dark coco. It needs some drying time. As with all the MB flakes, this one is extremely easy to rub out. Rather easy to light once appropriately dried, the LA dominates the taste experience from beginning to end. I can't really say I pick up clearly the VAs along the way or the ORs or the BUs, but there is an occasional sweetness or spiciness that is rather faint. And the LA becomes darker in taste as I progress down the bowl. It's never harsh; it's creamy, silky, and smoky with leather and earth notes. The sweet topping is not really detectible in the smoke, but it makes the roomnote definitively friendlier for those around me. The Vitamin N goes from mild - medium to medium past the 1/3 point and maintains itself afterwards. As where Germain's Special Latakia Flake left me on my Latakia hunger very much (but their ORs are incredible!), MB Latakia Flake satisfied my hunger. If you like Latakia, you will like this one. It's never as deep and complex as Gaslight, which stands in a category of its own, but boy, MB Latakia Flake can stand its own ground. I am confident that with a couple years of aging, this will be a stout blend well appreciated by the pipesters who fancy LA. It is, in my book, a winner.

6 people found this review helpful.

CFAF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CFAF (9)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Very interesting. A flake tobacco that's not hugely rich, and that's OK. I enjoy the Virginia in the blend, but it's not overwhelming, which is good because too much Virginia is going to make my world spin. Latakia comes through nicely, but not overwhelmingly. A good balance. The result, for me, is a light-medium English blend, which burns forever. That's always a good thing.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: 2-6 months

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

6 people found this review helpful.

B&D Pipes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
B&D Pipes (9)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

HH Latakia Flake - Part 5 of 6 - MacBaren HH Flake Reviews

In honor of the just released MacBaren HH Rustica Flake (that I have jarred and ready for this coming week’s review) I will be reviewing the five previous HH Flakes leading up to a final review of that new release. I feel all tobacco requires a “Cool Down” period after you open the tin. A minimum of a month so the prior five HH Flakes will give me enough time to get Rustica ready for my liking. With that said: here is Part 5 of 6 . . . of my MacBaren HH Flake Series Reviews.

In all honesty I was quite worried about this particular review. There is a reason why it is the last one before I did Rustica. If you have been following my reviews, then you would know by now that after I burnt my palate out over a year ago, I lost my taste for Latakia. I used to be a Lat-Bomb freak and very much so enjoyed HH Latakia Flake. But nowadays I smoke an English/Balkan/Scottish blend probably about once every two to three months. And when I do it’s a rather light one such as Early Morning.

My overall concern is that I would utterly despise the blend due to the changes in my tastes. And that simply wouldn’t be fair to MacBaren, ESPECIALLY since there was a time that it would have probably been my favorite even before HH Burley Flake. I got myself so worked up about this situation that I even considered having Dorothy do this review in my stead. She having never lost her taste for Latakia and smoking blends such as Nightcap almost every other day. Eventually decided to man up and do as I promised and review every tobacco in the HH Flake line. So . . . I have smoked almost nothing except HH Latakia Flake this week. I am sure most of you can understand and agree that the occasional Virginia and Burley palate cleanser was healthy for this review.

When you open the tin of HH Latakia Flake, you are greeted with that smokey note. I also picked up a bit of vinegar as well as possibly a hint of sweetness. The flakes were a bit more brittle than the other HH Flakes, but this could simply be due to the fact that all of my tins are a bit older. 2018 being the newest of all of my HH Latakia tins. One thing I find that can easily be claimed as universal is that this Flake is the easiest to keep lit out of all the HH Flake line. I can remember more often than naught relighting only twice, maybe three times for an entire bowl. As a fold and stuffer that is rarely the case for me. It was a welcome change of pace.

While smoking HH Latakia Flake you are obviously greeted with an abundance of Cyprian Latakia. But it’s not a Lat-Bomb. It’s smokey yes, but also very smooth and creamy to the point that I would swear there is a bit of topping added to it. It is always at the forefront of your smoke and no it never pushes the other pushes tobaccos to the side. In the passenger seat are the Virginias which are very noticeable and have a bit of tang and citrus to them. Due to this I would swear they are predominantly Bright Virginias. The Burleys are every present in the background and do their job holding up everything else with a framework of earth and wood. I believe I also notice the Orientals pop up every now and then after halfway through the bowl. They provide an incense type quality that pushes the Latakia ever forward.

In all honesty this tobacco has surprised me. I was able to smoke numerous bowls of it this past week and haven’t grown tired of it. HH Virginia and HH Bold Kentucky both wore me down a bit, but HH Latakia has not. In fact, I believe it has done quite the opposite. By no means am I back to where I once was . . . but I am now getting a craving for Latakia every once in a while, that I haven’t had in over a year! I plan on trying to smoke something with Latakia in it at least once a week in hopes that I can keep that craving rolling. I highly doubt I will ever bounce back to being a Lat-Bomb fiend (smoke times smoking latakia pretty much straight with only a pinch of Virginia and Oriental), but still I am quite thrilled that I am able to enjoy Latakia once again.

MacBaren . . . all of your HH Flakes are made to a point of perfection. Your symmetrical packaging alone should give most smokers a hint that they are about to smoke a very thought out tobacco. HH Latakia Flake follows this trend and has quite possible reinitiated my interest in Latakia based tobaccos! Thank you for all of these wonderful blends. And I look forward to getting to know HH Rustica all next week!

~ Barry

Pipe Used: Multiple

Age When Smoked: 2 to 5 Years Old

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars, Local B&M, SmokingPipes, TobaccoPipes, TheStoryTellersPipe

5 people found this review helpful.

Gr8tefuldawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gr8tefuldawg (87)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Mac Baren- HH Latakia Flake

Tin is dated Oct2018, upon opening met with a bouquet of smokiness and some sweet and sour elements.

Packed easily, and relatively dry, I gave this an extra 15 minutes to dry. First light was met with smoky Latakias and some sweet ketchupy Virginia’s, the flavor is smooth and have not noticed any rough edges throughout the smoke.

HH line has impressed me thus far with its quality and price.

The Latakia stays put, the virginias bring a nice degree of sweetness throughout the bowl, the orientals are there on occasion and gladly to a lesser degree the burley can be tasted slightly on occasion, but faintly.

Although the name is Latakia flake, this is no overpowering lat bomb.

This tastes great, smokes great and could become a regular, I recommend this to newer smokers and seasoned veterans.

Pipe Used: Rossi 320

Age When Smoked: 19 months

Purchased From: Tobaccopipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

Wes-NY Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wes-NY (12)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Beautifully formed hot pressed flakes can be easily prepared in any method you choose. The moisture content is spot on and stays lit easily. The quality Virginia's have a grassy, slightly sweet, citrus quality to them. The Latakia is far from a bomb even though it is called a Latakia Flake with woody smokiness and some earthiness. Then the Orientals are the spice and incense. The Burley add a depth of mellow sweetness. This flake is meant to be savored slowly but will not bite if rushed. Each component plays off the other with different players all complimenting each other throughout the bowl. Very consistent from start to finish. Wonderful when aged and develops beautiful crystals.

Pipe Used: Amorelli 2019 POTY

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: Tobacco Corner

Similar Blends: J.F. Germain's Special Latakia Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

Ocelot79 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ocelot79 (32)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

First smoke for me of this one, and proved a very pleasant one. The real treat for me was the absence of that dry flat spice often imparted to otherwise great blends by 'orientals' - whatever that means from case to case. So we're left a medium smoke with enough Latakia to merit the name, and a good balancing dose of VA fullness and creaminess. Was absolutely consistent from first to last, with no tantrums or overheating. I think this would make a good introduction to Latakia / VA for those not familiar, and it makes an interesting change for the likes of me who generally smoke straight VA flakes. I fold and roll the flakes so that I keep long strands upright in the chamber - but I will try rolling the folded flakes a bit more than normal next time to see if that reduces the need for relights. Good stuff.

Pipe Used: New Meerscaum

Age When Smoked: less than one year

Purchased From: Smokingpipes USA

5 people found this review helpful.

dbl-bbl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dbl-bbl (45)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

Update: Upon my findings below I socked away a tin of HH LF into a Ball jar and let it “rest” for about 1 1/2 years before giving it another whirl. Wow. Time was very kind to this blend as the overwhelming wine-like floral note that I spoke of earlier was much more subdued, yet what remained was an excellent mixture that I would put in the same class as Penzance ... even better ... much more tasty & smooth. Just thought I’d follow up and make this note for those English blend smokers interested in a trial. For me, I think this aged much more beneficially than did a stash of Penzance for which I did the same. The aged Penzance seemed to fizzle out in the taste & aroma department unlike this HH LF which IMHO certainly improved. As such, I’ve elected to upgrade my rating to 4 stars as I didn’t mind the wait!

Original review: Reviewing English Latakia-based blends is becoming a challenge for me as there are so many to choose from in this crowded tobacco genre. Upon opening the tin I'm greeted with a floral/wine-like bouquet; reminiscent of Smokers Haven Cognac, Esoterica’s Pembroke, or MacBaren's own Solent Mixture (yet the LF bouquet is much more pronounced). Perhaps this was so because this baccy had 3 years of fermentation in the tin before I opened it. MacBaren advertizes LF as having minimal casing with no top note applied ... but me thinks the so called minimal casing is some "stout stuff". The flakes are neatly & beautifully wrapped in a fancy golden foil within the small square tin. The flakes were rather moist so I chose to fully rub them out. Even so a bowlful took to the char light quite easily and the burn is nice and slow down to a fine gray-white ash. The taste profile too is quite similar to the aforementioned blends, yet this one is surely more wine-like than I remember those others. I expect that some air & jar time may tone down the LF scent & flavor as it did for my small stashes of SH Cognac, Pembroke, and Solent Mixture. All in all, I like this blend ... but for my personal tastes I prefer the scent & taste of more traditional English Latakia & Balkan offerings (e.g. Brebbia # 9, HH Vintage Syrian, etc). It’s a very good blend and for my tastes it earns a solid 3 star rating.

Pipe Used: Briars

Age When Smoked: Aged 3 yr old tin + 1 1/2 yr again later

Similar Blends: 1) Smokers Haven Cognac, 2) Esoterica Pembroke, 3) MacBaren Solent Mixture.

5 people found this review helpful.

Jorge Soler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jorge Soler (203)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Ripe, fruity, spicy, dark, rich, creamy and mellow are words that will pop up in the head when you smoke these flakes. The marrying in between all the different components comprising this blend is well achieved. Its slow burning properties won't allow you to produce copious amounts of smoke, but this is offset by a dry and cool smoke. The zesty and nutty characteristics of both the virginia and burley leaf is not quite apparent, but something to look for as you progress with your smoke. These are standard off-the-chain flakes, there is nothing special about them, but they hit the right spot in terms of a run-of-the-mill all things to all people smoking experience. All and all, they seem to be similar in character to other latakia flakes in the market, but the price tag and availability is certainly a bonus.

5 people found this review helpful.

Halbarad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Halbarad (4)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Coffee, dark chocolate, smoked meat, and sweet Virginia notes.

Due to the hot pressing, this blend is fairly homogeneous, and you won't get too many pops of flavor. However, this doesn't bother me at all considering how delicious and outstanding this blend is, but admittedly I am a flake lover so the lack of flavor pops isn't anything new.

This is in the sweet spot of latakia content for me and the blend maintains a great balance of smoke and sweetness with delightful spicy incense in the background. I would say that this is an order of magnitude less smokey than a beast like nightcap which makes it more interesting to my palate and ismore consistently what I'm looking for. I wish this flake had more nicotine (like nightcap), but I don't smoke for the nicotine so the lack of buzz is totally fine. The flakes are beautifully presented and come moist (though not near Sam Gawith levels) which makes this a perfect on the go baccy. I really hate it when my tobacco dries out on me before I am ready to smoke it so the moisture content is perfect for me.

All together this is a really wonderful latakia, and I've found myself consistantly picking this over nightcap, squadron leader, frog morton's cellar, or duhill's 965. I can say that after 4 or 5 tins of this, that this is currently my favorite English. I still go back to nightcap on nights I'm craving something bolder, but this blend seems just right for me.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Shell Briar

Age When Smoked: 6 Months

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Frog Morton's Cellar, Dinhill's 965.

5 people found this review helpful.

Trainman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Trainman (4)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

If you happen - like me - to miss the Special Latakia Flakes by Germain, this is maybe the only substitute to somehow resemble the original. Salty, light and spicy. Of course Cyprian Latakia will never catch up the Syrian but this one is as good as it gets.

Pipe Used: Falcon

5 people found this review helpful.

Antihero Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Antihero (17)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I fully join the description of JimInks. Plus: this is one of my favourite tobaccos. Five stars! P.S.: Since my "review" was too short, I want to add that smaller bowls will give you a more pleasant smoking experience. P.P.S.: In order to give you the opportunity to judge my ranking appropriately I may say that I'm smoking pipe for 15 years and do prefer Latakia Blends and non-aromatic VaPers/VaBurs.

Pipe Used: Smaller Princes and Bulldogs

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin

Purchased From: www.tabak-kontor.de

5 people found this review helpful.

Wellpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wellpipe (66)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a fine, smooth, well-behaved blend with solid natural tobacco flavors consistent from start to finish. The flakes are thin, neat, and nicely presented. I rolled a rotary blade through three flakes at sort of a diagonal angle making long, skinny strands and let them dry out for a few minutes before compressing into a ball and packing inverted into a large bowl. After a thorough charring light first and then another match for the main light HH Latakia Flake delivered a long, slow burn from start to finish with a delightful amount of leather, spice, nuttiness (from the Burley I presume) and sweetness which I like. Dense, creamy smoke with a good amount of earthy flavor but it never got sharp or overpowering. I kept it tamped gently the whole way through and there was only dry, gray ash left at the bottom when it was done. This blend has class and smoothness with rich Latakia flavor - definitely a keeper for me and a must-try for Latakia fans. Did not bite at all (unlike my experience with some other MacBaren blends).

Pipe Used: Large bowl Wellington

Similar Blends: Flake format / thickness / sweetness and consistency a little reminiscent of Stonehaven..

5 people found this review helpful.

crapgame1967 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
crapgame1967 (61)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

First off I had no idea this was a Mac Baren blend because a friend sent exactly ONE perfectly shaped flake packaged in a small zippy bag as part of a larger "flaky" care package to help me get to know and understand flake tobacco. The bag just had "HH LAT FLK" marked on it and with the help of some fellow pipe smokers it was determined this was the blend. Had I known this at the beginning I would have tossed it in the trash due to my many past bad experiences with MacB blends. Well enough of the back story.

This flake I folded up and just stuffed into the bowl and after poking it it a few times I charred the top, poked and lit the pipe again sat back and had a most enjoyable smoke. Dark,very dark is the way I describe the flavor of this flake.Not a nightmare type of dark but a calming and relaxing type of dark. There is also dark chocolate,dark roast coffee all other types of dark food or drink that come to mind when smoking this and I would recommend having some . Enjoyed after a long stressful day this tobacco will reward you with a desire sip on your favorite beverage, turn on some Franz Liszt, close your eyes and let the darkness lull you away.

Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman

Age When Smoked: Unknown

Purchased From: Gift

5 people found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (106)
Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin I got, dated NOV2014, says nothing about burley as an ingredient. Upon popping the tin, however, you're blasted with so much smokiness that it couldn't all be from the load of latakia. The latakia smokiness is there in no small quantity, but another smokiness is there that will be all too familiar to fans of HH Bold Kentucky and Old Dark Fired flakes. I do believe there's some Kentucky in there, so I agree with the contents listed on this page.

I was on the fence for a long while about trying this one, but dang it I'm glad I did! My reservation was that I already have a stockpile of choice latakia blends, but 9 out of 10 smokes I go for something else, be it straight VA, vaper, or vabur. I enjoy the occasional English/ Balkan/ oriental blend, but I enjoy dark fired and burley even more. Anyway, LF far surpassed all my expectations. The latakia is full and smoky without being harsh, the VA is mellow and sweet, and the orientals lend a rounded sour note that keeps it really interesting. The interplay of smokey, sweet, and sour is nice, and also quite unique in my book.

Hats off to Mac Baren for another fantastic flake! I'll be adding more of this to the cellar alongside the stores of HH ODF and HH BK. Awesome trio of flakes.

Pipe Used: MM Morgan

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin(NOV2014)

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com

5 people found this review helpful.

Leeboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Leeboy (20)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

I'm going to keep it short. Latakia from start to finish is great with the orientals poping up at times. I didn't detect the burley or sweetness from the virginias. It became quite a boring smoke for me sorry. There are many great medium English blends out there but this one didn't inspire me to buy it again. I also got some bite from this. I think it's one to try as you might pick up on the subtle flavours I didn't get.

5 people found this review helpful.

Little Steven Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Little Steven (76)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

Latakia is a once in a blue moon treat for me. I find it leaves me a tad wanting. Flake form gives that extra oomph. This one is a smidgeon below the quality of Gawithian Winter Time or Navy Flake But what it does have is that Mac Baren perennial - smokability. This means it's more accessible for a chap like me. Easier to smoke, palatable sweetness. Good flavour. So I'll be buying it again - once in a blue moon.

5 people found this review helpful.

SmokeDawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeDawg (82)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

This is one I occasionally like to open and get a deep long whiff. I love that sharp English tobacco smell and this one has a nice sharp "pop" to it.

This tobacco is quite moist and difficult to light if you load straight from the tin, a proper drying out is highly recommended for better lighting as well as maximizing the flavor.

This is actually a mild and easy smoke. It's a bit smoky, a tad sweet and burns really well. I recommend giving it a go.

UPDATE 5:19.15 Well. This must have been better than I projected as I went through the tin faster than a Politician through other peoples money. The tobacco got a bit sweeter as the tobacco aged in the air. I would buy this again.

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

5 people found this review helpful.

PeterD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PeterD (91)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

...An exceptional tobacco from H. Halberg...These HH series tobaccos are quite exceptional and Latakia Flake is no exception.

I found the flakes to be at the right moisture level and no drying time needed. The "creamy smokiness" is different and very enjoyable and has a "roundness" that I find pleasing. This is not Vintage Syrian in flake form. I like VS too, but this is its own product. Many would say this is a stout tobacco, however, its components are balanced and straight-forward, thus making this flake more a medium strength than strong.

I'm giving this 3 stars because I want to smoke more of it before making a final decision.

Worthy of a try for any English/Latakia lover...

...a pipe is to be savored...

...update: 5-30-14...I have smoked quite a bit of this over the last few weeks and I continue to be impressed...as either my first smoke of the day to my final pipe of the day.

Pipe Used: group 5 and larger...

Age When Smoked: April 2014

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

Steerpike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Steerpike (156)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This was a gift from someone special. And a special gift! This is a tobacco unlike any other, it defies categories and does its own thing.

The presentation is excellent, very neat flake slices tidily stacked. The aroma in the tin is sweet, leathery and smokey, not like an English mixture and not like an aromatic, but defiantly it's own thing.

It's moist, but burns OK, with far more sweetness than any English mixture, or indeed many flakes. The smoke is creamy smooth and carries a strong waft of Latakia smoke throughout. Orientals are present in moderation giving some spice, and strength is moderate. It leaves some moist dottle.

The Latakia flake thing had been done before by Samuel Gawith, without toppings (Balkan flake) and with (Navy Flake, Bothy Flake), and by Germains, with their dusty smokey interpretation. This is its own distinct thing, halfway sweet like a Danish aromatic, but with the flavour and pungent aromas of Latakia and Orientals. Well worth a try.

Age When Smoked: New

4 people found this review helpful.

Tucane Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tucane (31)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Tin note is typical of MacBaren and latakia (obviously).

Also, quite different from other latakiablends I've tried, not in a bad way, more like unexpected. I thought it would be a bit sweeter smokewise or more incenselike so to speak, but soon realized it was more down to earth. Latakia brings what latakia brings, smokey, woody and dark notes while the subdued oriental component just adds a touch of floral spice. Burley is more evident giving a dryer more nutty backstory, while virginias give it some zest. Nice balance between the component tobaccos makes it a pleasant experience all the way through. Nice smoke!


4 people found this review helpful.

Mikefu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mikefu (20)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Upon opening the tin, You are greeted with the typical Mac Baren presentation of immaculately stacked flakes, a beautiful dappled dark brown. The aroma is one where the Latakia is evident in its smoky goodness, but not overwhelming, where the nutty burley and fruity and sharp Virginia lead the way, with some sour and smoky Oriental undertones. Moisture level is pretty good, and only a few minutes drying time is needed. I prefer the fold and stuff method with this, as with most MacB flakes. The charring light takes a little patience, but once lit it burns well with few relights. The first quarter of the bowl is dominated by a fruity, tangy explosion of Va goodness, with lots of dried cherries and a little spice from the Orientals. After a crescendo of dried apricots, the bowl settles down into a nutty, slightly sweet burley dominated flavor, with the Latakia providing a thick, chewy smoke with characteristic leather, campfire, and piney twang. The sweetness and tang continue to present themselves less and less after midpoint, where cocoa and toasted almond flavors develop. Burns slowly and cool with a disproportionate amount of smoke. Great blend that although light on the Latakia, is a smooth complex smoke that really fires on all cylinders. Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Various Briars

Age When Smoked: 3 years

4 people found this review helpful.

TheAromaticDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheAromaticDan (10)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I rubbed out the lovely thin flakes and lightly tamped the tobacco. I found that the taste and strength was rather mild, although the orientals and the latakia were in the foreground. Tastes were slightly sour/spicy and smokey, VAs were in the background. I didn't get a N-hit at all, which is pleasant. All in all, definitely recommended if you like tasting Latakia paired with Orientals!

Pipe Used: various without filter

Age When Smoked: approximately a year

Purchased From: Pfeifen Huber, Munich, Germany

4 people found this review helpful.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (117)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Dark, near black moist flakes. When I first opened the tin there was a fruity cased virginia smell and taste when initially smoked that was appealing in itself but clashed with the latakia in a similar way to Rattrays English blends that I find detracting. That dissipates after a few weeks into pretty much as described on the tin here the latakia is in the forefront supported by the sweetness of the virginia and casing with all the rest in the background. Being in the form of a stoved flake makes for a more uniform smoking character that doesn't have a lot of varying complexity. Subtler notes of the orientals present themselves along with the burley that provides a bit of a toasty note from time to time. Again, the casing is the big drawback for me and doesn't work with the latakia that I perceive as a slight banana-like creamy sweetness; I hate bananas. My taste buds must be playing tricks on me. Aside from that, this has a lot in common with Frog Morton(which I like) and may be a suitable replacement but is sufficiently not to my liking.

Similar Blends: Frog Morton.

4 people found this review helpful.

MikeHaggarKJ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MikeHaggarKJ (22)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Imagine eating salty licorice and drinking red wine while smelling tar (the type derived from wood) Gets more tar-like mid bowl, but it's not smokey in quite the same way whisky nor other english blends. It is sweet, but in constant interplay with the sourness and spicyness. The sweetness isn't constant, nor is any attribute off its flavour really. Indeed, this is a blend with constant development off flavour throughout the bowl.

Not a standard english blend at all in my opinion. The spiciness is too... different. But it still satisfies my latakia cravings.

Truly a unique smoking experience that I don't think will suit everyone. Don't immediately jump from mild aromatics or standard VA/Burs to this. But it is a truly unique, complex and delicious smoke achieved in honest ways, reminding us all how beautiful and magical the tobacco plant can be when put in the right hands.

Pipe Used: Cobs & briars

Purchased From: Pipcenter

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

What, simply put, a great tobacco! The hot pressing process enhances the Latakias' smokiness; the Orientals' spiciness and the Virginias' sweetness, making this flake a genuine pleasure to smoke. All three components are clearly distinguishable and none overshadows the others. Even the cocoa topping fits into the equation and does not deter from tasting the tobacco. Mac Baren created a splendid tobacco with the Latakia Flake!

Age When Smoked: 3 years

4 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (248)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Tin note is very McClelland like, vinegary sweetness with the smokiness of the Latakia. I like the thin flakes. Rub out easy and require about 5 minutes dry time once rubbed out. This tends to smoke a little hot and moist. Best dry smoke pipe was a meerschaum and it was cool and dry, every other pipe this is wet and hot and can bite you if you are not careful. Smoky latakia and spicy orientals is what I get right away. The orientals are spicy and woody. The latakia is mellow and sweet. like a campfire that had a few marshmallows fall in during toasting. It is odd I get an tannic mouth feel from this like after a dry red wine or strong cup of black tea, more of a feel than a taste. It has some creamy and buttery flavors mid smoke from the orientals, I'd say and the burley provides a toasty, nutty flavor in the background. This is a very nice simple, not overly complex smoke. Not a mainstay in my rotation but very nice on occasion.

Pipe Used: Briar, meerschaum and cobs

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

4 people found this review helpful.

Ahmad Othman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ahmad Othman (51)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Just looking at a tin of this, presentation is neat and grande. Flakes are well pressed and easy to break. Hot pressing them, gives them a unified look and feel. Aroma out of the tin is great. That smooth, smoky and incense sweet Latakia aroma. Breaking a flake is a breeze. Actually more than you think, It makes it hard to use fold method on it. It requires some dry time. 30 minutes did the trick for me. It lights very easily, and stays lit. Requires minimal to no relights at all. On first light, your palette is greated with a strong flavour of Latakia, reminiscent of those used in Dunhill blends. It is tasty, creamy, smooth and cool.. It gives a joy of Latakia for the first part of the bowl. Afterwards, It opens up a bit. Some creamy, and herby orientals alongside sharp yet gentle high note grassy Virginia complement the Latakia in an excellent way.It has a great body of smoke. It keeps its consistent flavour and aroma throughout the bowl. It leaves a bit of moisture while smoking, so you may need to clean the smoke hole once or twice. So, a Peterson System or any army mount pipe would be useful.. It burns cool and clean till the end and leaves second to none dottle.. And clean, well burnt ash. For a lover of Latakia, this is definitely heaven.. A medium bodied, complex yet not overwhelming blend with a low to medium nicotine hit and no harshness whatsoever. This blend will definitely make my rotation, and I shall enjoy it as much as I can

Pipe Used: Peterson Pipe of the year 2014 Ebony

Age When Smoked: Two years aged

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Dunhill - My Mixture 965, Dunhill - Baby's Bottom (My Mixture BB1938).

4 people found this review helpful.

Phil Theharp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phil Theharp (16)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This tobacco does need some drying time. I'm ordinarily a straight-out-of-the-tin man. Two bowls convinced me I needed to change my approach. The Devil himself couldn't have kept it alight. I am still in search of the ultimate flake, and as a confirmed Latakia hound I thought this might be it. The jury is still out. But there is no doubt this is a first class blend. Two hours drying and the flakes - which smell outstanding and are beautifully presented in the tin - burn slow, cool and sweet. HHLF cannot be described as complex in taste and is medium in strength. The light, grassy sweetness of the smoke does not quite deliver the richness promised by the nose from the tin but rewards from first to last draw from the bowl. One certainly never loses interest. I suspect I may be re-stocking when my initial batch is depleted.

Pipe Used: Peterson Irish Harp

Age When Smoked: Best a few hours from tin

Purchased From: JN Barber, Otley

Similar Blends: Various English blends but in flake presentation.

4 people found this review helpful.

LightMyBriar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LightMyBriar (18)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a well done flake.

The scent in the tin is like smelling a bag of barbecue potato chips. In the bowl, it is actually similar to that as well. I noticed some reviews mentioned a topping, but I didn't sense any. The flavor is sweet, spicy, and smoky, all in equal parts. The aftertaste is very nice, like a smoky coffee/chocolate flavor. One thing I did notice is, pace is something one needs to be mindful of for this tobacco, as it develops a strange chlorine flavor when pushed beyond a certain point. I didn't realize this was the cause until just now as I'm smoking it. I wondered if smoking it hot was the cause and deliberately smoked this much softer than I normally do, and I've avoided the chlorine.

This isn't my preferred style of Latakia mixtures, so I don't think I'd buy it again, as I prefer blends with Latakia to not be so sweet, but that does not take away from the quality of this blend. Those who like sweeter Latakia blends will really enjoy this. It is very well done.

Pipe Used: Briars, meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

4 people found this review helpful.

Timbo 556 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Timbo 556 (6)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This was my first Latakia flake tobacco that I have tried. I really enjoy a medium English type bends when done right. When I received my tin of Latakia Flake I was impressed with the presentation of the product. The tin is simple but done nicely. The inner gold tinted foil is stamped which is typically only on the HH line. When I cracked open the tin I was greeted with a sweet, musty smell. The flakes are in line with MacBaren's standard which are perfect flakes shaped like pieces of stick gum. The tobacco was moist but I don't feel that they were too moist. I like to try new tobaccos as follows: fresh out of the tin or as some say ROTT (right off the truck)/ 1 week after jarring / and another week or so. (Quick note: I remove all tobaccos I receive from the original packaging and I place them in canning jars right away. I do not do the full canning process though. I just place in jar with the top cover and hand tighten the ring) 1st impressions: right out of the tin the tobacco did require some dry time. I rubbed out the beautiful flakes and let them air out for 10 minutes. The tobacco fresh was somewhat bitter but I expected that. The bowl progressed slowly requiring multiple re-lights. The Latakia was strong and the orientals and Burleys/ Virginias were perfectly balanced. I knew this stuff was gonna be good after a week in the jar. One week later after being placed in the jar the tobacco was perfect for smoking. No dry time was really needed. I chose to fold and stuff rather than rub out this time. BAM! Perfect! This stuff is really good tasting and smells great. The bitterness almost completely gone. The musty smell toned down. The smoke was cool and I did not have to re-light every 5 minutes. I really enjoyed the flavor. I am still learning to pick out specific notes but I can say this tobacco Is very deserving of the 4 stars I am giving it. I will be buying more for long term aging as I can imagine it will only get better with time. If you haven't tried anything from the MacBaren HH line you are really missing out. I have yet to find one I didn't like. They say they use no topping and minimal casing only on the HH line and i would agree that i could detect a very minor hint of casing but no top flavoring was detected on my palate. I think MacBaren hit a home run with Latakia Flake and I highly recommend trying it if you like English blends. I wouldn't say that it is a very heavy English it is a tick over medium in my opinion and it hits that sweet spot for me. I will post an update after I have let it sit in the jar a while longer.

Pipe Used: Old billiard no name

Age When Smoked: Tin date 2/2015 smoked fresh 12/2015

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com

4 people found this review helpful.

Reagold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Reagold (29)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Smooth as silk, classically elegant, beautiful dark flakes with low nic.

Another great offering from the HH line from Mac Baren, that really resembles the great standarts of yesterday tobaccos.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Onda 121 KS rusticated

Age When Smoked: At least 4 years

3 people found this review helpful.

HeavyTrees Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HeavyTrees (70)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

As any lover of Latakia and English blend's I was attracted by this one... first due to its description and also by the moderate pricing.

Flakes are not as I was used to from other MB flakes bit less compact and only 2/3 the size. I'm rubbing out most of the time anyway so it was just nice and easy to rub apart. Cold smell is dark and a bit fruity at first. Had to stick my nose in again to detect a smoky Latakia smell.

Packs easily when rubbed out and takes flames immediately. I'd suggest larger bowls for this as the taste tends to get lost with smaller ones.

First taste that hit my tongue was a nice and dark smoky lata - warm and comfortable, backed by sweet sugar coated Virginia and a tiny bit of Burley. Some spices come through more and more during the smoke but the Latakia stays in foreground without penetration; mild all over and sweet like sugar. Great for Latakia novices. Burns cool and steady without biting and doesn't need too much attention when rubbed out.

HH Latakia Flake is a medium bodied sweet and spicy well matured tobacco. It's sauced for sure but not overwhelmingly and underlining the natural tobacco tastes. Great all day smoke.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: Dried 3-4 hours

Purchased From: Local shop

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Very dark, beautiful, even flakes carrying a scent of thick molasses. The Latakia smell is very faint. Odd for a mélange boasting to be a Latakia Flake, innit? Anyway, it's not really a problem, as th smell is utterly delicious.

Took a big meerschaum and stuffed three flakes after speedily drying them. Lighting was easy. The first few puffs are very VA/Bur forward. I think I taste more the Orientals too.

Just a few puffs later, the beautiful Latakia kicks in. This is by no mean a Lat bomb, its flavour is very subltle and delicious.

That thick molasses smell is felt a tad in the taste, I really can't put my finger on what it could be. The virginias remind me slightly of the HH Mature Virginia taste, but far far better.

This smoke is decent and recommended. I would return to it, but not when I want a Latakia blend.

Pipe Used: Straight Billiard Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: www.pipe-shop.net

3 people found this review helpful.

Alhaji Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alhaji (33)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am on my second bowl of this tobacco now. Lovely dark brown appearance in the tin with a fruity whisky aroma. This may be responsible for the sweetness that massaged my palate throughout. But this may well be the interplay of the Burley and Viriginia. A mild, consistent smoke from get-go to finish. Very balanced - nothing overwhelms throughout the smoke as a result. It neither burns hot nor bites. Re-lights are not necessary unless too tightly packed in the bowl. The Latakia is evident, with a hint of spice, but is not overpowering. I did notice some dottle, which I attributed, once again, to having stuffed my pipe too tight or too loose while loading. I eliminated this by passing a pipe cleaner through the stem of the pipe and 'rearranging' the tobacco inside the bowl. It could be an all day smoke, even for new pipe smokers. Yet it is not lacking in nicotine.

Pipe Used: Dymka Jirsa Supreme

Age When Smoked: New.

Purchased From: Danish Tobacco Shop, Denmark

Similar Blends: Early Morning Pipe without the sweetish flavor..

3 people found this review helpful.

TexLaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TexLaw (1)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Very Strong

The very short version is that this is a rich, delicious smoke that can be far too moist if you don't watch out.

The tin note is rich, deep, complex, and seductive. My reaction when first opening the tin was something along the lines of "oh, BABY!" The room note nearly made my wife want to take a puff (and that is saying something--believe me).

Overall, the flavor is rich and complex. While the Latakia, orientals, and Virginias all show themselves, none dominate. It's quite a blend, with all the players complementing each other well. I could not pick out any burley in particular, but perhaps that burley is what helps to tie everything together. The steam pressing is noticeable, as the flakes both look and taste quite melded from the beginning. There cannot be a whole lot of burley in this blend, as it burns pretty dadgum hot, even in such a moist state.

Upon opening the tin, I couldn't wait to load a pipe with this stuff and get to smoking. However, having read many posted reviews, I exercised a bit of patience by coarsely rubbing out a couple of flakes and letting them sit to dry for about 20 minutes. That seemed to get the tobacco about right, but I was wrong. It was a juicy smoke that was hard to keep lit. After a couple frustrating relights, I finally just put the pipe down for about a half hour. That was worth the wait, as I was finally rewarded with a much more comfortable smoke that still was rich and flavorful, but also still on the fussy side.

My next smoke was a couple weeks later, loading with a fold-and-stuff of a couple of flakes (a lot, but it was a good-sized bowl). I let the whole flakes dry for at least a good half-hour, as I took the time to get a few quick things done around the house and then ran to the post office to drop a couple things off. The flakes acted like I hoped they would while folding and stuffing, but they turned out to still be too moist by a long shot. I had a pipe cleaner down the steam within 10 minutes of the true light, and I could already feel a bite coming on. Again, I set the pipe down for a good half-hour or so, and I got the same rich, comfortable, but fussy burn I had before.

The aroma and flavor of this blend warrant 3 stars and will keep me coming back to it. I's absolutely delicious for any Latakia lover (even if it's not as Lat forward as one might expect for a "Latakia Flake.") At the same time, I can see why many of the VA and VaPer lovers enjoy it, as well (again, not so Lat forward). I'm looking forward to suture smokes, but I will give it a good deal more drying time in the hopes that improves the comfort and convenience of the smoke.

I'm also eager to see how this ages. I'll squirrel away a few tins to find out.

Pipe Used: Tinsky morta billard; Moretti briar dancer/sitter

Age When Smoked: <1 month

Purchased From: P&C

3 people found this review helpful.

The good Rev. Rizzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The good Rev. Rizzo (36)
Mild None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

A five star product all the way around if you're a Latakia lover like I am. Great consistent flakes. A relatively good humidity in the tin. Easy to rub out and get a good initial burn. Nice sweet creamy taste all the way through.

3 people found this review helpful.

ColinK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ColinK (15)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

An enjoyable and simple flake. Not too strong, not too weak, with a very haylike/grasslike taste with a HINT of sweetness in the way background. Burns fairly well down to a nice gray ash. One I will hold onto as an occasional, but not very dynamic in its' flavoring. Enjoyable.

Pipe Used: Peterson System Standard

Age When Smoked: Unknown

Purchased From: Gifted from Friend

3 people found this review helpful.

soteria Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
soteria (6)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin dated April 2014. Mac Baren's HH Vintage Syrian is one of my favorite tobaccos of all time. So naturally I was jumping for joy when I first learned that Mac Baren was releasing a Latakia Flake at the 2014 Chicago Pipe Show, albeit with Cyprian (and not Syrian) Latakia. I was fortunate to snatch up a sleeve of tins in late April 2014 when it was first released to the public.

The initial excitement turned to major disappointment when I initially tasted this. For one, this blend was SWEET, unnaturally, heavily cased sweet. It totally dominated the Latakia and made the tobacco very one-dimensional. The second disappointment was the lack of complexity. The blend basically tasted the same from beginning to end. One of the things I enjoy about a good English or Balkan is how the various tobaccos mingle with one another and how the smoke evolves over the course of the bowl. But this, whether the flake was rubbed out or folded, or dried to various degrees, I couldn't get past the sweetness. I finished a tin and a half but never really enjoyed it. I ended up placing the second half-smoked tin in the cellar last summer and forgot about it.

Fast forward to late January/February 2015. Tin now has about 9 months of age and the flakes are comfortably dry but not tinder-like. What a difference a little bit of age makes! Make no mistake, this is still a sweet blend, especially for having a decent amount of Latakia. But the unnatural sweet casing has largely (but not altogether) faded. This blend now tastes quite similar to Mac Baren's Virginia no. 1 but with a backbone of Latakia. Contrary to Mac Baren's description, I think the sweetness of the Virginias take center stage, with the Latakia very present but in more of a background role. This is by no means a Lat-bomb by any stretch. And that's not necessarily a bad thing because there's so many Lat bombs out there to fill that role.

My experience is that the Latakia is fairly aggressive at the beginning of the bowl, and vies for center stage with the Virginias. By mid bowl, the Virginias tend to dominate and the smoke takes on a smoother, sweeter note. Towards the end of the bowl, the Latakia reasserts itself and the tobacco tends to be bolder that any other point.

I give this a solid three stars. The fact that this is on the sweeter side but still contains Latakia actually satisfies a craving I sometimes have, especially when I want a milder tobacco but with a decent dose of Latakia. The reason it doesn't get four stars is because I can't easily discern the Orientals. Whatever Orientals are here are dominated by the other tobaccos. The other thing is this blend just isn't extremely complex. I think the fact that it's steam pressed causes it to taste a little too homogenous for my liking. Still not a bad blend at all and I'm actually happy now that I have three more tins of this cellared.

Age When Smoked: April 2014

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

3 people found this review helpful.

WorkingClassChap Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WorkingClassChap (197)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Very Strong

Smoking now:

Flakes smell like sweet fermented tangy ketchup. Reminds me a lot of ODF without the hickory notes. Rubbed out. Would benefit from some drying.

This is interesting. Maybe it’s the burley or the hot pressing but this isn’t like a typical English tobacco. It seems richer, sweeter, earthier, more… congealed. Very flavorful, but little harshness, some spiciness, and the Latakia is not overwhelming. The retrohale is grassy, herbal, earthy, vegetative but with some sweetness so it’s not harsh. The Latakia is musty, leathery, herbal, there’s a fair amount of fermentation to this too. It’s not a Latakia bomb, or oriental forward, it all seems very balanced and congealed. This is very full flavored. This is fresh, but with some age on this I bet it’s even nicer. The underlying sweetness, much like ODF, makes this enjoyable.

This did sort of dry my mouth out a bit, burley will do that to me, but no bite. At the end of the bowl the flavors got a bit over whelming and unpleasant for me. It’s good, but not in my wheel house so 3 stars.

2 people found this review helpful.

pipelicidad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipelicidad (26)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is very good flake. The smoky, dark, and super smooth latakia is at the very centre throughout all of the smoke. The virginia and orientals are somewhere in the background. I do not detect any toping/casing. The overall smoking experience is very pleasant, although it can be a bit monotonous. In my opinion, it comes too moist out of the tin, so drying out the flakes a little bit is recommended. It burns easily and does not get very hot in the pipe. I noticed that it lost some oomph after a couple of years in a mason jar. In case you were wondering, it does not resemble Germain’s Special latakia Flake

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Mysmokingshop

2 people found this review helpful.

Manorhill Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Manorhill (15)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I normally avoid Mac Baren tobaccos as they tend to be of a mild persuasion. However the HH varieties promise strength.

In the pack is a foil-sealed tray containing 18 little soldiers. Careful rubbing is needed so as not to end up with lots of small bits. The moisture level is not too high.

This is a damn smoky number! Similar to Peterson Irish Flake but not as strong - more orderly.

Pipe Used: Various

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smoke King

Similar Blends: Peterson Irish Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

PaulMcCoy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PaulMcCoy (78)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Nothing is too far forward. It’s easy to pick out each component, and they all work really well together. The burley is a nice change of pace. It needs some drying time. Maybe 10, 15min. Pretty slow burning. Thumbs up.

Pipe Used: Peterson 80s - Savinelli 122

Age When Smoked: Fresh

2 people found this review helpful.

LiterarySmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LiterarySmoker (143)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

I have to admit I'm newer to Englishes as my favorites are VaPers so finding components is a little more tricky for me. Anyways I saw this a while back and me being on a bit of a flake kick I thought I'd buy a small tin to give it a try. When I first smoked this I really didn't know what to think of it, so I put it in a jar and let it sit. I bought this tin about a year ago if I remember correctly so it has a little age to it.

Now when you open the tin, the flakes are not what I'm used to getting from MacBaren. Normally MacBaren flakes are very uniform like in the Old Dark Fired and the Pure Virginia, these flakes are very loosely held together and they fall apart fairly easily. Mine all but rubbed itself out when I was putting it in the jar for the first time.

The tin note here is smokey, woody Latakia, Virginia sweetness, and citrus, and some tang from the Orientals. As the flake is pretty much rubbed out in the jar it's easy to pack your bowl. I find that when this blend is fresh it takes a little longer to light up, but if you dry it for a little while, or even if you pack your bowl the night before it drastically reduces lighting time. It does need a few more than average relights throughout the smoke.

Once lit, the Latakia is very smokey, woody and creamy and it is definitely up front for me. There is a pervading sweetness that is very slightly citrusy coming from the Virginias. I will say this is an overwhelmingly cool smoke, it is really hard to get this blend to burn hot. I think I taste a hint of maple in here and it could be what was used for a binder. It's not overpowering anything and I barely notice it. I notice the Orientals as herby, floral and slightly sour.

In all I think this is a solid Lat forward blend. It makes a fine autumn smoke, and it isn't as heavy as some of the more Latakia forward blends I've tried. Now the taste in this blend is more of a medium, and so is the strength. Lady N is not sitting you down. A solid English, I just wish I could fold and stuff the flakes.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Oceano Poker

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com

2 people found this review helpful.

Bassel_L Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bassel_L (7)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

First latakia flavoured flakes I've ever tried. It is not an overwhelming Latakia blend as I supposed it would be, but it was suprisingly good for a strong latakia lover. The virginias upfront with latakia hit from time time is very satisfying. The flavour is almost the same with every bowl and for the entire bowl! The steam pressed flake method has definitely given this blend a unique and distinctive flavour.

Wish you all a happy smoke!

Pipe Used: Big Ben Bent Pipe

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

BlueDog1950 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BlueDog1950 (17)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Very nice perfect thin flakes. Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia and burley.

Exceptional Latakia forward blend with high quality Virginias and hits of Orientals to spice things up but very much in the background. I did not detect the Burley, it is very much in the background. Very smooth mouth feel that burns evenly with no relights. Tin smoked was 4 years old which might enhance the mellowness. Very rounded marriage of the components, Latakia is very pronounced but not over the top like, for example, Pirate Kate or BlackHouse, both of which I love. This blend is a perfect example of how to balance the typical Lat, Virginia and Oriental components. Taste is very rich while still mellow enough to enjoy without any harshness whatsoever. Soft mouth feel, lots of smoke, strength is moderate to full, smokes cool, with a very pleasant aftertaste. NIc hit is mild. No topping or casing detected, just natural tobacco with some sweetness from the Virginias, the smokiness of the Latakia is delightful and the hits of Orientals compliment the experience. Smoked in Nording freehand. Again, tin reviewed was 4 years old so flavors were perfectly blended over the years. I am a fan of Latakia and Balkan blends and this is one of the best. Very highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Nording freehand

Age When Smoked: 4 years

2 people found this review helpful.

Zippo2000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Zippo2000 (12)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

Very well balance bland, the latakia and oriental on the background you can taste it but virginia always on the front. It not boring, smoke slowly because it tend to burn hot. Very nice and recomeded

Pipe Used: Peterson, Unknown Briar Pipe

Age When Smoked: 1 Year

Purchased From: Smokingpipes

2 people found this review helpful.

DCD Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DCD (8)
Mild Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The name would lead one to expect a significant Latakia component in this blend, but I can scarcely detect it. I am not a lover of "latbombs" but if I buy a tobacco with Latakia in it I do want to experience its typical smoky and campfire notes, even if subtly incorporated. Here the trace of that flavor is so faint that I think I might be imagining it. The main reason for this is the excessive casing, which overpowers the blend and rounds off the Latakia component so much as to obscure it entirely. It is not a bad casing--round, sweet, and chocolaty, perhaps with anise as well. In this way it shares some properties with Old Dark Fired, which I believe is one of the components of this blend. But here its presence, combined with the heavy casing, makes for a muddled profile resembling more a Cavendish than a Latakia blend. I do get Latakia in the tin aroma, but it does not translate to the bowl. Presentation is the usual HH high standard, but a bit wet, no doubt due to the heavy casing. The flakes are more fragile than ODF or HH's Pure Virginia Flake. That said, this is a well-made tobacco like all in the HH line. I think inveterate aromatic smokers will especially like it, and I can enjoy it as I would any decent Cavendish, as long I forget the name. But I would like to have seen HH have the courage of the conviction contained in the name of this blend and issue a true Latakia flake that doesn't hide behind a heavy casing.

Pipe Used: Stanwell and Savinelli billiards and dublins

Age When Smoked: fresh from tin and left open a week or so

2 people found this review helpful.

LannarkGent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LannarkGent (145)
Medium Strong Very Full Strong

A solid flake. The latakia flavor is consistent and the mixture burns well. I have 2 pounds in the cellar. This smokes down well and unmoved pics are exceptionally rare.

2 people found this review helpful.

who broke my clay pipe? Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
who broke my clay pipe? (70)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

My first Latakia flake. Tin aroma is quite a saucy ketchupy/smokey chutney. The ketchup factor doesn't translate to the smoke.. Superb manners,really cool long lasting steady mellow non bite esoteric smoke.. A subtle balanced English. Its latakia forward but its not a complete lat bomb. Its quite a dry taste smoke actually,no real sweetness, and the Virginia,burley,oriental play a well melded light balanced support behind the latakia which supplies good body. I thought at one point I got a slight sweet and sour mango note,could of been passion fruit even for a fleeting moment,like fermented fruit: this reminded me of another favourite English called punchbowle..: The latakia in this certainly tastes like its of the same gene,but in this latakia flake is not a whole buttery Virginia support, but a dryer mix of the nutty chestnut factor of the burley with a subtle sweetness from the Virginia and that slight herbaceous sweet and sour of the oriental.. Since punchbowle has been discontinued I have wanted something that would fill that vacuum. This is has the properties I liked in punchbowle but its got its own thing as well .There isn't any big transitions in the smoke,its mainly a consistent beefy,leathery,earthy,corn flour, lightly salted latakia until the last of the bowl where it suddenly becomes burley forward in a toasted salted nutty finish. Moisture level was perfect,i didn't bother pre drying. Folded,twisted,stuffed. The burn time on this alone makes it a total bargain.

Pipe Used: falcon bantam

Age When Smoked: month

Purchased From: www.smoke-king.co.uk

Similar Blends: murray's punchbowle.

2 people found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (146)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Nice, uniform flakes, wonderful smokey scent of Latakia out of the tin. The flakes are dark brown to black in color, solid enough that they hold their shape and work well in a fold and stuff without falling to shreds. I tried to buy this quite a while ago and due to my careless nature, I had ordered McConnel's Latakia Flake by mistake. This is a much better smoke, in my opinion, but not as flavorful as Brebbia's Latakia Flake, which is a favorite. It beats Balkan Flake by a wide margin, which I found bland without the inclusion of Orientals.

I'm currently smoking this in a brand new Parker apple, my go to line of budget pipes. Maybe I've just consumed too much Latakia that I can't really appreciate the flavor of this blend, as the leaf feels restrained for what is advertised. To me, this smokes like a typical English blend.

Though the Latakia is evident, it tastes like this particular flake is driven by other components. The Oriental offers a slight spice, if you care to search, and the Virginias do not appear to afford any degree of uncharacteristic sweetness, they simply seem to carry the blend. There's Burley, which I fail to note, that no doubt adds a particular roundness to the smoke. Medium in strength, this is a tasty smoke, far more so than your typical MacBaren, which I normally associate with blends that espouse a flatter profile (not including Old Dark Fired). MacBaren gets points for a typically flawless presentation.

If I didn't enjoy Brebbia's offering so much, I'd probably care more for this blend, but it's a solid smoke if you're interested.

Pipe Used: Parker Apple

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Similar Blends: Brebbia's Latakia Flake, McConnel's Latakia Flake, Balkan Flake.

2 people found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (112)
Mild Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Yes I'm pleasantly surprised, anticipating Mac-bite and none to be found even puffing along at a good clip.

A rather deceptive blend given the tin-appearance and aroma one thinks Lat-bomb, not at all. In fact the Latakia is very mute far too much of an Anise casing/topping. I cannot call this an English.

The flakes need some drying, afterwards I cube-cut them fairly chunky with my scissors and gently rubbed them out a bit more still chunky though. It packs great and combusts very well albeit slowly one of the many reasons why I enjoy flakes and cakes.

Plenty of sour casing notes and not enough Latakia presence for my liking. Also the casing/topping does coat your palate so last bowl of the day at least for me. I cannot recommend this blend . . . very boring and mute.

2 people found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (76)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Call me crazy, but I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Smells great in the tin, packs well, and then you have a long long time on puffing on a very lat forward blend that is, to my simple tastes, one dimensional and flat. It doesn't seem to change at all as the bowl goes on, I kept hoping and hoping for some of the other flavors to raise their hand and come forward, but all I got for two full bowls was a big lat bomb, and nothing else.

I really thought this would be HH Dark Fired for Lat lover, but it has nothing of the complexity of flavor that DF has.

Now, I happen to like lat bombs, so its not a one star, but even by lat bomb standards, there is nothing to get worked up about.

Not impressed.

Pipe Used: Rusticated apple

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Free from show

2 people found this review helpful.

drPo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
drPo (3)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong


Well packed in a tiny, painted, neat can - my favorite format. In the middle, typical for Macbaren, very refined, giving the tobacco the hallmarks of a luxury product, golden foil. No cheesy plastics!

Tobacco - presentation

Three rows of narrow, moderately moist, definitely dark (90%) petals, with a small dose of chestnut threads. Two flakes are usually required for a medium pipe.


My can, after eight years, smelled insanely! The obvious smell of lataka mixes into an intriguing melange of virginia vinegar aromas, with a bit of Maggi, cooked vegetables (especially - I know it sounds idiotic, but it's true; the smell of sweet stewed onion), sweet dried tomatoes, ketchup.


Aromas from the nose mirored on the palate. Woodsy, spaicy orientals playing with chocloate, smoky Latakia. Some vegetal, hay notes, with deep sweet from Virginia. Last 1/3 is more floral. Dry type of tobacco (drying palate). Easy stay lit.

Great smoke :)!

Pipe Used: Designe Berlin (DB) Bent Rhodesian

Age When Smoked: 8 years old

Purchased From: Smoking King UK

Similar Blends: Bob's Chocolate Flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

Singularis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Singularis (18)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Some quick notes after my first smoke of a slightly aged (about 1 year) and fairly dried out -- but still very smokable -- flake.

Upon lighting, I could definitely smell the latakia, and could even taste it a little, but only at first. Almost immediately, though, it moved to a taste almost identical to HH Burley Flake, of which I've smoked through nearly a whole tin. But that latakia definitely added something, which made itself ever more present throughout the bowl.

HH Latakia Flake definitely comes through as an approachable, though certainly not one-dimensional, burley-forward English flake that I definitely look forward to smoking more of (I still have about two bowls of flake remaining). I'm not sure I'd jump to purchase a large tin, but maybe a small tin, if there was a Mac Baren sale on.

I would also compare this blend favorably to Russ' Tastykake.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Burley Flake, pipesandcigars.com - Russ' Tastykake.

1 person found this review helpful.

Noddadoc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noddadoc (4)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I was disappointed in this smoke. Now in all fairness, I have only had one bowl but typically my first impression tells me what my experience will be like with the tobacco. I may edit this later but for now, I need to go with my first impressions for anyone on the fence about buying HH Latakia Flake.

Given the wonderful reviews and the delightful presentation and tin note of this flake, I was shocked to find this smoke very monochromatic and uninspiring. No, its not a lat bomb. But for some reason, all I could tease out of this blend was Latakia flavors. I didn't get any other nuisance flavor. I had a smidge of Virginia, a bit of floral oriental, and a lot of Latakia. And this remained steady through the whole bowl. Nothing changed, nothing deepened, nothing made me stop while I read my book and go "hmm, now that's good." I kept waiting for the reason this flake gets so many good reviews and it never happened for me.

In my humble opinion, there are so many better English blends than this. The pros: flake is beautiful, the smell of the tin is of deep, rich latakia. There is some tang there too, sour...like a very good, smoky vinegar. The flake is thin, easy to prepare and stays well lit with no drying time on my end. It smokes cool and no bite. The room note is pleasant for a Latakia blend. It smelled like there may be a casing in there somewhere but I detected no sweetness. If there is a casing, I didn't get that when I smoked it.

I would say if you are new to Latakia, this is a good starting point. But when I compare this blend to my favorite Latakia blend, Plum Pudding Reserve, it just doesn't stack up. I look for complexity in a Latakia blend because there are so many good Latakia blends. I am hoping with some age on this flake, it'll develop. The tobacco just feels "young" to me. It needs age maybe? Just wasn't a fan and found myself plopping it into a jar and re-visiting it next year in hopes the flavor develops.

Pipe Used: Molina Briar

Age When Smoked: New in Tin

Purchased From: TP

1 person found this review helpful.

Stah Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stah (152)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

The 2019 excise can was difficult to open. Apparently, the tobacco was still fermenting or had been sliced and packaged while still warm. The smell from the can turned out to be very complex and multi-layered. Certainly, in the name of the blend, the latakia played a major note - the tar, ash and leather were quite clearly indicative of the English blend. But there was a musky-spicy oriental scent, a nutty burley note, and a bit of a sweet citrusy scent mixed in very harmoniously. None of the notes were prevalent or out of place in the ensemble. No latakia bombs, exceptionally smooth.

The tobacco itself was an even dark chocolate color, no bright flecks. Extremely evenly sliced, the thickness and format are the same as Old Dark Fired, a little more moist, dense, but very easily kneaded into quite fine fibers. You can see that the tobacco is very well matured. The two plates fit neatly up to the top in my Peterson 05 without the filter.

When I lit it, I felt the bouquet of a very solid, expensive English blend. The carefully calibrated intensity of the latakia flavor, of course, will be unfamiliar to a beginner. But it harmonizes well with the nutty and woody notes, to which there is a distinctly fragrant pepper, a little bit of withered hay and a slight sweet accent. Also (I'll tell you heresy!), I prefer Cypriot latakia to Syrian latakia. It's softer, and has a less pungent smell of tar, with tan leather and musk mixed in, and there's a brighter woody note on the palate. Given the fact that Syrian latakia is becoming extremely rare, this is the future that awaits us. The strength of the tobacco is slightly above average, the tobacco does not bite, burns very slowly, evenly and coolly.

The smoke is bitter, with a bright spicy note and a characteristic smell of latakia. It is very soft, it does not hang like a column in the room, it dissipates easily, but the tobacco flavor remains. That would be the end of it, admitting that the blend is extremely successful, and for sure it will take its place in my collection, constantly needing to update it, because it is impossible to refuse smoking it.

But I moved on. I took a couple of flake records and set them aside, packing them in a jar under a vacuum lid. A month later, I opened it and tried the tobacco again. I was pleasantly surprised by the difference: during this time the latakia had weathered slightly, the aroma and flavor of the tobacco became even more harmonious, turning into a luxurious blend without a single flaw - dense, medium strength, with terrific flavor. Bravo, Mac Baren! And thank you.

Pipe Used: Peterson 05

Age When Smoked: 2019

Purchased From: Online

1 person found this review helpful.

Karam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Karam (59)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Impeccable presentation as always with MacBaren HH flakes, the smell from the tin is a bit barbecue/vinegar, not dissimilar to the initial smell of HH Old Dark Fired, and Latakia underneath.

Each flake makes for a single regular-sized bowl, either folded and stuffed, or crumbled, and can be smoked immediately without further drying.

The taste is what it says on the tin: it is an English blend in flake form. I need to draw parallels with Dan Tobacco's Old Ironsides as it's the last Latakia flake I smoked. MacBaren's offering is more refined, but also subdued. Latakia is the main flavour you'll get, but it is somewhat weaker and the different tobaccos are better melded together, so you won't get a highlight of Virginia, or Oriental from the Latakia base. While this is in principle a good thing it makes is a bit of a blander smoke overall.

It is a great product, for sure, but I know I'll go to Old Ironsides when I'll next shop for a Latakia flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

Michael D Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Michael D (34)
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Once this tin is open, it is time to move it to a jar. The flakes are very thin and fold easily to fill the bowl. a few false starts gets it going and some relights will make it to the bottom of a slow burn. The burley is lost in the blend. I get a hint of cigar flavor. The Virginia and fruit flavor casing add the very mild sweetness and slight citrus tingle. The orientals add a bit of spice. Halfway through a bowl I can get a bit of bitter taste from the pipe end. not very pleasant, but the only thing memorable about the smoke. I feel there is a lot going on here, but not well blended. There are way better Latakia flakes out there for me. A mild latakia blend that is less sweet and uninspiring than what I usually like. Some may enjoy the mildness of the blend, if they can ignore the bitter.

1 person found this review helpful.

ATW Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ATW (110)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I've tried and tried and tried with Mac Baren. I wanted to like their blends, but i just can't do it. This blend has been another fail for me. It actually starts of pretty good. It has a very creamy quality to the flavor, a semi sweetness and semi smokiness, but it all drowns out after 15 minutes of so into flavorless steam. This is my experience with this flakes new and at 4 years. Some things just don't change.

1 person found this review helpful.

JaWiBr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JaWiBr (561)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Package note of tart smoky, moderate spice and vinegar. The mostly black and dark brown flakes easily rub out, moisture content is fairly high, a bit of drying is recommended. Burns slow with a few relights. The strength is medium and nic is mild. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium to full and consistent, with notes of sweet campfire, earth, pine wood, floral, herbal spice, leather, sour musty vegetative note, sweet grass, tart lemon, mild bitter nuts and a moderately peppery retro. Virginias is barely winning the lead over Latakia. Orientals are supporting. Burleys is providing backup. Room note is tolerable, and aftertaste is awesome.

Pipe Used: 1981 Peterson Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: TobaccoPipes.com

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mijnnif Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mijnnif (130)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin note Musky Latakia earthy. Beautiful flakes. Needs to be rubbed out. I let this sit for 5-10 minutes before smoking. Starts out mild Latakia forward with some light Orientals. As you progress through the bowl, the sweetness starts coming through from the Virginia's. One of my favorite blends an all day smoke for sure. I purchase in 3 packs

Pipe Used: Savinelli Brier

Age When Smoked: 3 months old

Purchased From: Smoking pipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Voyaging Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Voyaging (80)
Mild Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Mac Baren always gets an A for presentation. The flakes are neat and uniform. The tin note was pretty sweet and earthy, slightly pastry-like, maybe molasses. If you know the Mac Baren casing you know what I mean. With air time, the smell resembles a Latakia blend a bit more.

This blend is mild. The flavor is mild as well, but round, and quite full-flavored, meaning a sort of wide range of flavors. It has the flavors of a typical Lat/Turkish/Virginia and some more. Latakia is generally in front, but mostly smoke and a chocolatey-ness. There is a salted butter, molasses sweet flavor that eventually develops, and it's wonderful.

Taste and strength are both mild, flavor is mild, but full. Nothing is intense with this blend. It's simply consistent and easy in the experience, typical of Mac Baren blending, and that's commendable. This is an all-day smoke, in my opinion. Four stars.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: ~one year

Purchased From: 4noggins

Nobody has rated this review yet.