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 - 11 of 91 Reviews
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.

PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: April 2014
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 25, 2014 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.

-JimInks
104 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2014 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!
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: New
61 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 12, 2015 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.

Pipestud
48 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 05, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: Sutliff
Age When Smoked: 2014
36 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 02, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: fresh
32 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: Mac Baren sample from Chicago Pipe Show
Age When Smoked: Fresh
26 people found this review helpful.
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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
Jul 03, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes
Age When Smoked: New Tin
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 25, 2017 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.
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