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 - 10 of 29 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 17, 2014 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.
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 26, 2014 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 09, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 21, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 16, 2017 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
PurchasedFrom: Joshua Ward
Age When Smoked: N/A
7 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
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.
6 people found this review helpful.
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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
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 19, 2015 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.
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 21, 2014 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...
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: April 2014
5 people found this review helpful.
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