Mac Baren HH Latakia Flake

(3.38)
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.

Details

Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type English
Contents Burley, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Flake
Packaging 3.5 ounce tin weight
Country Denmark
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.38 / 4
50

29

9

3

Reviews

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Displaying 21 - 30 of 91 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 08, 2016 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
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 10, 2018 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2018 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 26, 2017 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
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 08, 2017 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2015 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
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 17, 2015 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
PurchasedFrom: High street.
Age When Smoked: New
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 10, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 28, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: 2-6 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 29, 2020 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
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars, Local B&M, SmokingPipes, TobaccoPipes, TheStoryTellersPipe
Age When Smoked: 2 to 5 Years Old
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