Mac Baren HH Latakia Flake

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.


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


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.39 / 4





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Displaying 61 - 70 of 92 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 08, 2015 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
PurchasedFrom: P&C
Age When Smoked: <1 month
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 08, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 17, 2015 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
PurchasedFrom: Gifted from Friend
Age When Smoked: Unknown
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 11, 2015 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
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 18, 2022 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 24, 2022 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
PurchasedFrom: Mysmokingshop
Age When Smoked: 2 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2020 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
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2020 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
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 24, 2019 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
PurchasedFrom: Local shop
Age When Smoked: Dried 3-4 hours
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 21, 2017 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
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