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

3.70 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 115 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 05, 2016 Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
Mac Baren is really on to a fantastically good thing with the hot-pressed flakes of the HH line. This, like Old Dark Fired, is in my top 2. Quick logic would show my 2 desert island blends are MB ODF and BK. In fact, if I depleted my entire inventory, as long as I had BK and ODF around I'd probably never need another blend around. Search for the holy grail complete.

This one is similar to ODF in the choice VA and dark-fired burley used...excellent quality is an understatement. The difference is the VA component has been reduced to mere seasoning and replaced with loads of that awesomely stout, heavily smoky dark fired. This is tobacco, my friends. No added sweeteners. Rich, flavorful, brimming with taste and nicotine, with just the faintest natural sweetness brought by the Virginia. This is the full-flavored cigar of the pipe tobacco religion.

As with ODF, I find the flavors are much enhanced by fold n stuff, smoked low and slow. I've never had burn problems, nor tongue bite. Just high octane, smooth and creamy smoking bliss. I smoked ODF when I want a more balanced and smoothed over dark fired blend, and pick BK when I just wanna be kicked in the neck by a three-legged kentucky mule. If you haven't experienced the greatness of MB HH flakes, listen to the reviewers here...get some ASAP.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2015 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
These flakes come very moist, dark and somewhat fragile and remind me of the way Condor long cut looks and feels, but of course this has no discernible topping. In strength it is roughly equivalent to Condor, maybe a tad less.

In taste it reminds me most of Gawith Hoggarth Kendal Kentucky. Rich, creamy and full of Dark Fired notes. Although not quite as strong in N as Kendal Kentucky, it certainly delivers a punch yet is still approachable.

Further bowls have given me a slightly different take on this exceptional tobacco. There are tastes of very dark chocolate, and silky dark body, without sweetness. And the experience is akin to smoking a high quality, dark wrapper cigar, the kind that isn't so spicy as chocolatey, although this is something which I no longer do.

The added touch of Virginia and the processing create a refined, contemporary take on an old fashioned tobacco. Deeper and richer than Old Dark Fired, and without any of the roughness which DF in general can have, it will ring all the bells of someone looking for a full bodied smoke. Really a superb blend with good smoking characteristics and lack of harshness. Not for the smoker of Mac Baren Mixture Modern.

As good as Mac Baren is with toppings, it would be interesting if they had a "aromatic" version. I realize this goes against the H&H marketing idea. Anyway, this is a sure fire winner.

Pipe Used: Jorn Larsen, Dunhill
Age When Smoked: new
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2017 Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong
After I enjoyed a generous sample of an Old Dark Fired Clone (Peter Heinrichs Old Dark Kentucky) so much, I was looking forward to smoke this one

I got told this would be the ODF "but more, just everything more" Well, imho they share a few nuances but this is something much earthier, much deeper, and a feel of ethereal-oilyness! Its a bit spicy, a bit "biting" , but not in a bad way.

A earthy stream of fine smoke flatters your palate. Decent smokiness to it. Letting the smoke float in your mouth reveals it deep earthiness and a excellent, tasty and very woodsy taste. A unobtrusive vinegar aroma is present in the back, just as in the tin note, which likely comes from a mild casing, for taste and preservation reasons I guess. You can clearly taste this was dark fired, you can litteraly taste the burned leafs! Also a minor nuttiness to it. Fine, fine Kentucky Blend!

This tobacco I enjoy most, when I "chew the smoke" gives me this ethereal-oil feeling, a herbal note and reveals much more of it's litteraly woody taste. Keep my mouth closed, and make (just slight) chewing-like gestures with my mouth, so most of the smoke gets out through the nose and the smoke can float and stream in your mouth and nose. Looks incredible dumb - tastes incredibly good and enhances the experience to sublimity. But this is only for doing at home ! ;-P (or for people who don't give a damn about what others might think - like me) Generally I'd advise to smoke this when having leisure and being at a quiet, not too windy place.

Even tho it's a bit of a hassle to light it and keep it lit, I personally find it to be most pleasant to smoke right out of a fresh tin. Letting it sit in the tin for some month won't dry it out that much, but just takes away a whiff - really not much! - of the taste.

Excellent after a good meal, or with a good drink (I had rooibos-caramel tea to it a few times - awesome contrast!)

This is the 11/10 to me. Not a All-Day-Smoke , but a good bowl 2-3 times the week after dinner I wouldnt wanna miss. (EDIT: kinda became a every-day-smoke...i smoked it almost every evening for quite a while, and still now I smoke it a lot)

Also as I'm writing this review im only 2 1/2 months into pipe smoking so I can tell it's definetly not only for "the experienced smoker" as the label says 😉 Well - I smoked cigarettes before, maybe that plays a role to it idk- but if you like a deep, earthy and rich smoke wiith a lot of woody qualities you should try it no matter how long you smoked the pipe before, because this is freakin awesome!

EDIT: This reviews were about tins produced in 2015. They were 25 cents cheaper, and the tins were a few centimeters bigger than the ones I have produced in 2016. Somehow I find the 2016 tins to be tasting a bit more vinegar-ish. Airing them out properly helps getting them just as earthy, and less vinegar-ish as the 2015 tins i've smoked.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 07, 2017 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Mike Tyson would be proud. MacBaren delivers a straight right followed by a left cross to the kisser with this one. Full powered for sure, yet softened nicely with the Bright Virginias. No sweetness, no flavoring or casings. Just full tobacco flavor in your bowl.

Enjoyable, yet for me, I need a lil more complexity than the Bold KY brings. Some sweetness, nuttiness, something... Because of that I can only give it 3 stars.
Pipe Used: Wally Frank Huntleigh
PurchasedFrom: Gifted
Age When Smoked: 2 years
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 16, 2016 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Given a couple of the comments surrounding the “freshness” of Bold Kentucky, I choose to age mine for nearly a year prior to smoking. The neat flakes are leathery and smell of a typical dark fired Burley. They do need to be dried some for the best result. The Burley tastes more of the African variety than the American variety to my taste although I believe both are found here. I have smoked this folded and stuffed and partly rubbed out. BK burns slowly and to my taste, smoother than other dark fired blends that I have tried. It is sweeter than SG’s Lakeland Dark and less earthy than GH’s Dark Flake Unscented. I agree with the tin description as I don’t taste any topping. There is likely a bit of vinegar and possibly a little sugar in the casing. Like most Dark Fired Burley’s, it is strong. It is definitely stronger than McB’s Old Dark Fired. What separates this one from the pack for me is how smooth it is, with no bite. It is just smoky, earthy, slightly sweet and very tasty. There isn’t any complexity here at all, but the straightforward flavor is so good, I didn’t miss it. As others have mentioned, it will mainly appeal to experienced pipe smokers, so newbie’s proceed with caution. Mac Baren has taken a flavor that I usually associate with the British and shown that they are a player in this genre for sure!
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2016 Strong Mild Full Tolerable
Ohhhh sheeeeet 🙂

What a blend! Another reviewer here made the comparison with Condor Long Cut and I can certainly see resemblances, not just in appearance but also in taste. Unlike the Condor flake, though, this is quite a bit smoother and, of course, lacks the soap dousing.

In my opinion, and based on the blends I've experienced, this is the best tobacco in its genre at the moment. And what a genre that already is! If Peterson's Irish Flake, Condor Long Cut, Gawith and Hogarth's Dark Flake and HH Old Dark Fired are all great tobaccos, for me this one beats them all. And it does so without going overboard with the nicotine - out of those tobaccos I just mentioned, I'd say that the first three all have more nic than HH Bold Kentucky. The right balance between flavour and strength in this blend has been achieved masterfully.

Well done, Mac Baren. Hats off to you.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 23, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
No two ways about it, this is a rich, spicy, unbridled tobacco. However, Mac Baren seems to have learned a few new tricks in the process of developing and producing these fabulous HH series flakes. First off, Bold Kentucky is absolutely delicious and amazing. I use the term amazing because despite the rich flavor and the ramped up strength, when smoked slowly Bold Kentucky still manages to be exceedingly mellow and very well balanced. Despite its strength, the flavor is exceptionally focused and has a remarkable amount of restraint.

The tin note is savory and has a slight vinegary edge with a hint of chocolate and reminds me of the smell of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. At first light, the flavor is very even keel with subtle hints of pepper, wood smoke and a sliver of sweetness. Gradually the flavor intensifies, delivering a full, rich and bittersweet earthy burley smoke that is soft rather than edgy.

Bold Kentucky does share some traits with Old Dark Fired, only it's stronger, deeper in favor and definitely not as sweet. Bold Kentucky has plenty of strength but Mac Baren’s hot pressing process has taken some of the teeth out of what would otherwise be a monstrously strong tobacco. What your left with is strong but approachable. The flavor strength is a firm-strong & the nicotine level is certainly higher than Old Dark Fired but it's not as strong as say Gawith Hoggarth's Dark Flake, Dark Birdseye or Sam Gawith's 1792. If anything, when it comes to nicotine, it's in the realm of the current version of Peterson’s Irish Flake. Nevertheless, when smoked in a smaller pipe Bold Kentucky has only ever left me feeling peacefully relaxed.

Once again Mac Baren has done a great job designing a blend that highlights their well-aged Kentucky dark fired leaf. Bold Kentucky is pleasurable smoke and it pairs nicely with a robust American style double or triple IPA.
Pipe Used: Briar
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 15, 2016 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Tin notes of rich tobacco, with a hint of a smell that reminds me of rubbed out pencil erasers, perhaps Dixon Ticonderoga #2. Flakes very moist in the tin, but a few minutes laid out after being rubbed out, of a few seconds in the microwave if you have the patience I do. Initial lighting takes a while, and relights are common. The flavor is rich, leathery and chewy. Pure tobacco goodness. I don't find this as strong as some people do, never had it give me any negative effects, even smoking in large bowls. Does great with DGT. The room note is terrific, not strong and off-putting as you may think it would be. Solid 4 stars, especially because this is the only Mac Baren that doesn't scorch my tongue!

If you are venturing into Dark Fired tobaccos, this is a must. And don't be afraid of what you heard about the strength, you'll be fine.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 10, 2015 Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable to Strong
...Quite a fine flake tobacco...I believe HH Bold Kentucky is as good an example of a stout, well-crafted tobacco, as any I've come across in many years. Earthy, pungent, and full flavored, this is a 4 star flake...perfect moisture level and well above average nicotine level. Definitely worthy of a try...

Pipe Used: gp 3-4 size
Age When Smoked: new
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 29, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
UPDATE: My God this stuff is good!!

Thank you MacB for hitting the note that I seek daily as an avid pipe tobacco lover. Unlike many other wonderful blends that are advertised as true tobaccos "for the lovers of pure tobacco flavor", HHBK has achieved this moniker with a degree of approachability and silk that envelops a rich and incredibly satisfying smoke. If you are familiar with their ODF, imagine that with an extra depth and "wallop". As they claim, a little natural sweetness from the VA to soften the burley, and it's perfectly done. It is indeed pure and manly. A greatly satisfying smoke of which one needn't be wary. It's a very enjoyable trip into the world of what has made pipe smoking an enduring pleasure for many centuries. Fantastic.
Pipe Used: I like smaller pipes for flakes
Age When Smoked: brand new product
8 people found this review helpful.
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