Mac Baren HH Bold Kentucky

From the website in English: This is the strongest pipe tobacco among the blends in the Mac Baren range and is not recommended for inexperienced pipe smokers. HH Bold Kentucky contains a high amount of the finest dark fired Kentucky from the USA and Africa, and is combined with bright Virginias to soften the taste just a bit. Still the taste is of earthiness with just a slight nuance of sweetness as the underlying taste, which comes from the leaf itself and the hot press, which marries the different tobaccos together. Like all the other HH blends this blend has only an absolute minimum of casing and no top flavor at all.
Notes: Released in November 2014.


Brand Mac Baren
Blended By Per Jensen
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.68 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 116 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 20, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Aptly named, HH Bold Kentucky has a lot of strength and boldness, and is indeed, the strongest tobacco in the HH line. The African and American dark fired Kentuckys are a bit dry and sour, very earthy, woody with some nuts, herbs, floralness and spice, dryness, along with a minor amount of molasses and barbecue. Smoked straight, dark fired Kentucky can be harsh and at times, bitter, so the bright Virginias are a necessary addition, succeeding in their purpose by softening many of the rough edges with some minor tart and tangy citrus and grass notes. The grassy, tart and tangy citrusy, tangy ripe dark fruity, earthy, woody Virginias do not dampen the power and hearty richness of the Kentucky, and a little of the expected roughness remains, but it is more palatable to smokers as a result of its inclusion. There are a few small sour notes from the Kentucky. There is no topping, and the vinegar casing is very minimal, and not noticed very often.

The slices are hot pressed and moist in the tin. It may help the burn rate if you dry them a little, but I have found they burned fairly well straight out of the tin, though the tobacco will require some relights. The slices are very easy to break apart, and easily rubbed out if that is your preference. The strength is very potent, and the taste is full. Has a strong nic-hit. Burns slow, clean and fairly cool with no bite, no dottle and very little moisture at the finish, even when it’s not dried out. Requires some relights. The deeply rich, bold taste is very consistent all the way through, and doesn’t turn bitter at the end. Has a long lived after taste and potent room note. Due to the strength of the flavor and nicotine, I recommend smoking it at no more than a moderate pace. Obviously not an all day smoke, but a smoker experienced with strong dark fired Kentucky products - or strong tobaccos in general - won’t mind having more than one bowl a day.

121 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 30, 2015 Strong Extremely Mild Full Unnoticeable
I smoked a bowl of the Mac Baren HH Bold Burley on a recent 100 mile auto trip (I purchased a 5-pack a couple of weeks ago). I opened a tin and spread out just enough to dry for an hour before loading. It never did dry out. And, even though I smoked with the window cracked while I drove to promote a good air flow, the tobacco was hard to keep lit through the first half of the bowl due to the moisture level. I really enjoyed the overall flavor, but boy, did this stuff smoke fresh. It reminded me quite a bit of a fresh tin of Peterson's Irish Flake that I had purchased and smoked right after it came out. The HH Bold Kentucky was sweeter and stronger than the Pete Irish Flake and didn't have that sort of campfire woodsy taste I get from the Irish Flake. I socked away the other tins and will re-visit them in a few years. I'm going to order a dozen or so more tins to cellar as I really did think this one has potential to be a whale of a good smoke once the fermentation process in the tins does its job.

I'm taking the rest of the Bold Kentucky from the tin I opened to my local pipe club meeting. I can't wait to see how it affects whoever smokes it. Naturally, I will say that it seems to be a mild Burley. (-;

70 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Mac Baren should stamp the word "SATISFACTION" on every one of these flakes. It satisfies better than any other blend I've smoked. Great natural tobacco flavor with a hint of sweetness. This might be the substitute I've been looking for to replace my morning cigar. I used to smoke 5 or 6 cigars a day, but that got terribly expensive. That's the reason I picked up the pipe. I've been down to just one per day for a year or so now and this blend might just make that zero. Gonna give it a shot and if it works I'll send a thank you card to Mac Baren and my budget will send a thank you card to me.

Body is medium to full. Flavor is full. Burn is very good. Satisfaction is off the charts.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, MM Diplomat Apple
Age When Smoked: fresh
58 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2016 Extremely Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Of all the nicotine strong tobacco that I have tasted, this is, no doubt, the king. IMO. Make no mistake, this one is a nicotine bomb. Probably the strongest I have ever had, but this, alone, is not what makes it the king in my book. It is a combination of the flavor and its other uses.

Many of the nic bombs also have an overwhelming taste that borders on the completely nasty (1792) or the incredibly ashy (Burley Flake #3 and a host of other C&D burleys). This one is nutty sweet with even a bit of a chocolate type taste and is quite enjoyable to smoke. I have also found it to be not too disagreeable on the relight which is a good thing should you pack a bowl too big too handle.

Funny as it may sound, I typically smoke this one in large bowls. In fact at last year's Chicago Show, I loaded up my group 5 dunhill 5103 with this one a few times. I would smoke on it for a bit and let it go out and return to it later. I got about three smokes off it for each bowl packed. Due to this I would say this blend should be one of the first blends a new piper coming over from cigarettes should put into service. It seems to go against traditional wisdom to start with such a blend, but I strongly disagree with that tradition as it relates to ex cigarette smokers who require a lot of nicotine and are used to having short smokes.

This blend has another benefit, it will kick the crap out of any ghosts that may be in a pipe, so it is good to have around simply for that reason alone. So many good reasons to have this one on hand will make it a staple in my cellar for a long time. Highly recommended to all but the nicotine lightweights.

This one is sure to become a staple in my cellar.
41 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 23, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
I agree wholeheartedly when Mac Baren says this is their strongest tobacco to date. Very similar to the likes of their ODF but with much less of a vinegar smell from the tin and definitely more potent. A slightly sweet tobacco aroma is the tin note for this one and nothing else. I smoked this fresh from the tin and although it did require a few relights, it did not smoke wet. Irish Flake has always been a favorite of mine and that is the benchmark for my comparison. I\'ve noticed since KK no longer blends IrF, that its overall quality for me has dropped a bit. Still a good smoke, but not the same anymore. Enter HHBK. A great "no additive to my taste" tobacco and very strong. However, I would like more in the way of flavor. Needs to be smoked slowly and with thought or the nicotine will leave you with a lump in your chest. Same taste profile from the beginning to the end of the bowl. Can become a bit harsh if pushed. Nothing fancy, just good tobacco as it was meant to be smoked. If you like a good, stout and dark flake, this is the one. Kudos to MacBaren, but I prefer their Amphora Kentucky over this one.
Pipe Used: Stanwell featherweight poker
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
38 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 12, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Rather black thin flakes, neatly arranged in rows and presented as only Mac Baren seems to do. Earthy, deep tin note, and as a huge lover of ODF, I was excited to fire this up. I was not disappointed. I did have to dry it considerably to keep it lit and I found the flavor improved by a small margin when I did. But I didn't dry it to tinder... just short.

This seems to have been made for those who found ODF a bit lacking in boldness and dark flavor. I have no such issue, but if that is indeed what they were going for, they succeeded admirably. This takes ODF and elevates the deep Kentucky flavor without adding any harshness. There is the same mild sweetness that is very far to the rear but that keeps the tobacco from being all brawn and earth. This one leans towards G&H Dark Flake but backs off a little on the flavor in order to keep from becoming overly strong. Indeed, I cannot call this a "strong" tobacco, but perhaps I really mean it's not harsh as a lot of dark VaBurs can be. No real cantankerous qualities here, even when overpuffed, although it can show it's displeasure with higher temps by giving off a little bitterness. Perhaps this is the strong tobacco for those who don't like strong tobaccos but enjoy full flavor. This has that in spades. Mac Baren has definitely expanded their horizons with their HH line. I prefer ODF to this but this has a spot in my cellar as well. Four resounding stars!

29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 08, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
First I have to say this is very good. I have been smoking it rubbed out straight from the tin with no drying time. The flakes are sliced thin, and rubbed out it is almost like a coarse shag.

It is DFK with the rough edges removed by the hot press and some Virginia. It has the DFK spice and the nicotine kick in the butt. It also has an earthy full flavor with a few sweet Virginia notes. Every now and then I get a slight sour. It never got bitter. The flavor was consistent through the bowl. It smoked cool for me.

I initially rated this Medium to Strong in the "Strength" category and have since changed it to Strong. It has the edge there on OJK and ODF there but not by much.

This is highly recommended for experienced pipe smokers who can handle a strong, full-flavored flake. It punches a lot of buttons for me. If you fit this description and you are on the fence, order some now.
27 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 24, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
I didn't find this as full as Irish Flake but similar in taste, only more refined. Very smooth tasting with some earthiness. Also got some nuttiness and a very slight sweetness. The second half of my bowl was definitely stronger than the first half. I let it go out half way to take care of the hounds and when I came back to it, it was much fuller. However, it was still very smooth. In terms of strength, I would put this between ODF and Peterson's Irish Flake with a nod towards IF.

It definitely needed some dry time, pretty moist in the tin. The flakes are presented in neat rows, three across about and five flakes deep. Smells heavenly out of the tin with a slight, but pleasant musty note to it. Rubs out easily into a very nice shag. Easier than ODF, actually. The wife enjoyed the room note but she also smokes cigars, so the non smoking SO might not like it as much. I will definitely be getting more in the 100g tin and hopefully the one pound bulk if released that way.
Pipe Used: Neptune Dublin, Peterson 606 Blackrock
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & CIgars
Age When Smoked: New (Feb 2015)
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2015 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
I was excited to get this, as I am a big fan of MacBaren HH Old Dark Fired. It came in, typically of them, a nice looking compact square tin, and the "fancy" gold foil inner wrap, surrounding a nicely presented, uniform, and quite dark flake. And with a notice on the bottom of the tin warning novices of it's strength. This is true, if you aren't an experienced smoker, or smoke cigars- this would be a little strong for you. However, for most of us it's totally okay, I would rate the nicotine level of a bowl of this as about the same as a medium full cigar, such as a La Gloria Cubana Series R. I rated it very strong, simply because I can't recall smoking many stronger pipe tobaccos. When you open the tin and smell this, it is pretty satisfying, a smell of strong smoky tobacco, a bit of a deep dried fruit smell, and just a hint of vinegar (I assume the casing), but mostly just strong unflavored tobacco goodness. The tobacco in my package was a bit moist, so I rubbed it out to about 3/8 of an inch and let it sit for about a half hour, it smoked just fine. I tried this in a couple of pipes, one a Calabash, I wanted to make sure that I am giving a fair overview, but honestly, it was much the same in all of them. I mentioned before that I am a fan of HH ODF, well I am, it's got a great full tobacco taste- on the other hand I often mix it with some Escudo or other VaPer or Virginia, because although it it very good, it is a bit monochromatic. With Bold Kentucky, this is not a problem. The strength it has, and the sweetness and tangy-ness of the Virginias in it, make it much more interesting and nuanced. It is at once smoky, earthy, and has just a bit of spice, a very full tobacco flavor, and an underlying sweetness (hard to describe- like a touch of the flavor of a dark chocolate brownie, maybe?), and just a touch of a lemony Virginia aftertaste . A bit of bitterness presents itself at the very bottom of the bowl, to which I say, don't knock yourself out over it, just call it done. If smoked at a moderate to slow pace, you will experience no tongue bite at all. I absolutely love this stuff, but I will not smoke it every day, just as I love steak, and will not eat it every day. It is simply too rich to do that (and it has no Latakia either- and doesn't seem amenable to the addition of any- which I would miss, sooner or later). It does definitely give a cigar like nicotine buzz (the ash even looks a bit white like good cigar ash), and it produces a great deal of smoke- although the smell is pretty tolerable-have some dinner before you smoke it. All in all, I like it very much, although I see it as a every once in a while treat, rather than daily smoke. Very rich!
Pipe Used: Pipa Croci, CBP Viking, Calabash
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: New
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 01, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky.

It's hard to find words to describe just how good this is! Even though there isn't any added flavouring the tin note is highly charismatic. It's very full and intriguing and suggestive of the hearty smoke that's about to follow. The flakes probably would benefit from a very short airing but it's not at all imperative to do so. They are a dark brown and fairly slim in width.

Despite the flakes are a touch moist it still ignites with ease. The smoke is such a joy! Yes, it's quite strong in nicotine but it's up to you whether or not you inhale the smoke, personally I don't so the N doesn't bother me! This has a brilliantly full taste. Although it's a fairly simple blend I find it quite a complex taste. All of the tobaccos can be acknowledged without any of them becoming too much. I get a wonderful deep nuttiness coming through accompanied by a delightful grass tone from the Virginia. The smoke is of a decent thickness and it doesn't burn too hot. It's actually quite cool. I get no tongue bite at all. Not even if I strain the guts out of it! It takes it's time in burning. It isn't one of those blends that's gone in a few puffs, it's a proper 'sit and savour' smoke.

I said at the start "it's hard to find words to describe just how good this is" and I hope I've done it justice! Full marks without a doubt.
Pipe Used: Pedder Jeppesen
PurchasedFrom: My Smoking Shop
Age When Smoked: New
15 people found this review helpful.
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