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 1 - 9 of 9 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 30, 2015 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
PurchasedFrom: Tobacconist across the border, in Germany.
Age When Smoked: New, out of the tin.
9 people found this review helpful.
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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 04, 2016 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 01, 2018 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.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 09, 2017 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
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: 1 year
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
DCD
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
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: Free from show
Age When Smoked: New
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 14, 2021 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
PurchasedFrom: TP
Age When Smoked: New in Tin
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 08, 2020 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.
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