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

3.69 / 4





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Displaying 21 - 30 of 116 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 10, 2017 Strong Very Mild Full Strong
After a period of smoking blends that i 've tried before i decided to open a tin of HH BOLD KENTUCKY one night before i go to sleep..once the tin cracks a vinegar combined with barbecue sause smell comes out.a deeper smell gives you some dark smoked fruits note.the flakes have the typical cut and moisture of the HH line.i prefered the rubbing method due to the hot pressing wich makes lighting less comparison with other flakes they rub difficult and not perfect.they are dark with little bright parts.the lightingis tricky and several relights are drying time needed.while smoking the flavours are strong and simple.lots of earthy notes,some smokey notes,few florall notes and dark fruits.some grassy notes are present for the topping it is present in the backround without being tense.generally there is a taste of pure tobacco from the begining till the end.burns cool and slow without tongue bite and harsh advise is to go slow and let it reveal it's taste and nicotine level wich is almost high.that makes it not an all day smoke but an ideal before sleeping blend.burns to total ash with a little moisture being created and a clear filter.i found similar spots with Peterson's irish flake but this one is smoother with better taste and lower nicotine conclusion this is a decent blend,not an all day smoke and a must for every kentucky lover.
Age When Smoked: Rubbed and packed at once
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 01, 2017 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
A beefy, rich bowl of pure baccy goodness with a big dose of nic kick, Bold Kentucky lives up to its name. I don't really pick up any sweetness, though. This one'll put some hair on yer chest. Personally, I'd recommend a smaller bowl after a good meal followed by a moderate cadence and you will be rewarded with a deep earthy flavor, spicy and slightly nutty, full and satisfying. As described, for the experienced pipe smoker.
Pipe Used: Big Ben Jockey 102
Age When Smoked: Less than a year
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 07, 2015 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The presentation is top notch with its compact elegant tin, its golden flake wrap, and the neatly seated 3 rows of flakes that demand your attention and respect.

This is a very satisfying smoke that will transfix you to your seat with its earthy/nutty Nicotine presence. It is a fair bit stronger than Irish Flake which is very strong in its own right so handle with care and enjoy the dizziness induced by this heavenly flake.

Irish Flake had been my favourite smoke since I started smoking pipe. HH Bold Kentucky seems to be its stronger wiser brother. If Irish Flake is Bruce Lee with all his exuberance, HHBK is an Aikido Master with his quite and grounded calm! Both mean business in their own way.

There is a hint of very subtle sweetness there because of the VAs but it doesn't show itself often. If there's anything missing in the blend (to my taste) is some more sweetness but this is my taste.

After folding a flake into thirds I cube cut it and gravity filled my pipe. It is silky smooth on the tongue without any tongue bite or irritation. Just taste and nicotine that has a commanding presence. Burns very well throughout fresh from the tin with a few relights due to me putting it down (upon relights, the subtle sweetness comes to the foreground.) Very enjoyable and satisfactory.

4 stars all the way. Tobaccos like this are the quintessential definition of satisfaction to me. Certainly buying more to cellar and enjoy on a daily bases especially in the morning with my black coffee.
Age When Smoked: Tin dated Feb 2015
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2015 Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable
HH Bold Kentucky appears to be another hit from Mac Baren, given it finds its target market of experienced KY fanatics (mostly grumpy old men, I suspect). This one kicks into gear right away, and – all in all - it is, in fact, a straight-up, bold pipe tobacco. Grampa might have smoked something like this, back in The Day - if Grampa was a bad-ass.

In the tin, BK presents 3 rows of dark, short-ish, narrow flakes. Tin note is “no nonsense”, mostly strong, smoky, spicy KY, rich “regular” Burly, and some fairly aggressive, piquant “bright” VAs. The blended leaf is hot pressed and aged, and it looks, smells and tastes it. Tin moist, it takes a couple of tries to light BK. Dried, it fires up like tinder. Either way, it burns down slowly and evenly, like a good cigar. I generally use 1 flake, which I fold, spindle, and dry just a little, then I stuff it fairly loosely for a satisfying bowl. Once it gets going, there is plenty of smoke. It is thick, “smoky”, spicy, and dry, not at all sweet, and it may well strike some as “harsh”, at least initially. As for tastes, the dominant KY is smoky, earthy and piquant, with a fatty, “smoked meat” quality like a combination of dry salami and beef jerky. The “regular” Burly is strong, tannic, and voluminous rather than soft and round. If it’s nutty, then it’s Brazil nuts. The always-present VAs are Old School, with some punch and some zing to offset what sugar they bring. The flavors are generally well melded and they are consistently deep and strong, with sharp-ish, spicy side notes. Smoked carefully, BK smooths out as it concentrates, as it is smoked down. Strength is strong, tastes are full, and I’d think twice before smoking BK around civilians. Aftertaste is the end of the smoke, dragged out. YMMV, of course, but it’s perhaps best to at least start out slow and easy with this one, and I further recommend using a “Kentucky pipe” or pipes, since BK leaves its ghost in its wake.

After a wobbly start, Bold Kentucky has grown on me, and now I look forward to it. It wants time spent, and when I take my time with it, I find it very relaxing and quite satisfying. I highly recommend it to adventurous lovers of strong KYs and strong OTCs of yesteryear. Not recommended for beginners.
Pipe Used: various briars, all ghosted
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: right out of the tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 09, 2015 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Holy crap this is good tobacco!! Tin note is a strong burst of straight-up tobacco goodness without all the fruity fireworks. The flavor is as robust as the scent and the nic hit slaps you right across the ol bearded yap without turning your tongue into a dried up chili pepper. I set the flakes out for a 30 minute rest before firing up since they're a bit damp but well worth the wait. A great companion to Old Dark Fired. 4 Stars and a thunderous round of applause for Bold Kentucky!
Pipe Used: Hackert Billiard
Age When Smoked: new
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 06, 2021 Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant
The pouch aroma is of a smoky, deep dried fruit, pure tobacco with an hint of sweetness and on opening the little plastic tray of tobacco the smell that greeted me was very reminiscent of the now defunct Digger Flake, the smoke too was also very similar, I should add that the long gone Digger flake was my favourite smoke of all time. From the very first light of my pipe the Bold Flake brought a nostalgic tear to ones eye, in that this tobacco as ended my personal search for a digger flake substitute. The smoke is sweet, satisfying, cool and the burley, Virginia mix is a marriage made in tobacco heaven. Nicotine content is strong and not for the faint hearted nor indeed would I recommend smoking this tobacco on an empty stomach, for the potency of this blend is about on par with Irish Slices. I smoked this in a brand new Nording Sailor pipe and the tobacco never bit back or smoked hot, which surprised me given that the pipe was straight out of the box and this was my first encounter with this magical blend. I was rewarded with about an hour of smoking Nirvana on just the one thin slice, which burnt down to a very fine ash with no hint of dampness or trace of dottle. Kicking myself that I only bought the one pack, because from now on this tobacco will be my number one smoke. I cannot recommend Bold Kentucky enough, try some and I can assure you that you too will be suitably entranced.

Pipe Used: Nording Sailor
PurchasedFrom: Black Swan Shoppe Scarborough
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 22, 2020 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
HH Bold Kentucky - Part 4 of 6 - MacBaren HH Flake Reviews

In honor of the just released MacBaren HH Rustica Flake (that I have jarred and is currently reintroducing oxygen and smelling wonderful) I will be reviewing the five previous HH Flakes leading up to a final review of that new release. I feel all tobacco requires a “Cool Down” period after you open the tin. A minimum of a month so the prior five HH Flakes will give me enough time to get Rustica ready for my liking. With that said: here is Part 4 of 6 . . . of my MacBaren HH Flake Series Reviews.

I have a friend. I know that may be hard for many of you to believe, but I swear it is true. Someone enjoys my company occasionally besides Dorothy. This friend and I first met at our local tobacconist. He was predominantly a cigar smoker at the time. Dorothy and I were smoking our Missouri Meerschaum Shire Cobbits that day. He informed me that he was a fisherman and a woodworker. He loved to fly fish and he liked to make boxes. I was immediately drawn to him because he has a genuine intellect. The guy is smart. He may not look it, but he has a great head on his shoulders. Loves the state of West Virginia as much I do. Left-handed just like myself. Soft spoken and polite, but also easily able flip that switch and let his inner “trailer trash” out if the situation calls for it. Him and I are like two peas in a pod.

As time progressed my friend took up the pipe. I do not know for sure, but I like to think that Dorothy and I may have made a bit of an impression on him. Regardless of why he started one thing remains obvious and apparent . . . he took to the pipe like a babe on the teat. My friend was born to smoke a pipe! So much so that he used his talents with wood working and made some beautiful pipes. He is a Morta smoker that swears by the bog-wood. He has gifted two Morta pipes to Dorothy and I. Dorothy has a Poker with a white stem and I have a Tomato Author dubbed “The Nauthor”. Both are great smokers!

We visit my friend and his wife from time to time. Those days I regard as some of the happiest times of my life. We eat, smoke, laugh, and simply enjoy each other’s company. We talk about our pasts as well as current events and even future possibilities. During those conversations we are almost always smoking. He seemingly always smokes something with Dark Fired Kentucky in it. If the blend doesn’t have DFK in it, he will pinch a bit in his pipe. Heavy nicotine blends are something that he, Dorothy, as well as myself have always welcomed in our pipes. I have always enjoyed HH Old Dark Fired, but in order to understand my friend a bit better I delved into the stronger Dark Fired blends that offer a bit more of the Vitamin N. That journey eventually led me to HH Bold Kentucky.

When you open a tin of HH Bold Kentucky you are greeted with a bit of vinegar, a bit of sweetness, as well as a mildly savory and earthy smell. Folding and stuffing Bold Kentucky is a must in my book. The char-light can be a bit difficult, but once you char the tobacco . . . it smokes perfectly fine with little issue. When you smoke this blend you immediately get the Dark Fired Kentucky in all its earthy, spicy, tart greatness. You will also be reminded of barbecue every now and then as you smoke. If your cadence is true, then you will even taste the grassy Virginias. Obviously adding sweetness to the blend, they also add a bit of citrus and dried fruit to the observant piper. The Nicotine is GLORIOUS! If you can handle your Vitamin N, this tobacco will never disappoint you. The calming effect is quite lovely. A friendly PSA to those lovers of HH Old Dark Fired that crave more strength . . . look no further than HH Bold Kentucky.

Due to the worldwide pandemic I have not been able to visit my friend for quite some time. We have kept in contact via text, telephone, and even the occasional video conferencing app. I am not sure if he has ever had the pleasure of smoking HH Bold Kentucky himself. If not, that will be remedied the next time I pay him a visit. I honestly think that I am able to understand my friend’s taste a bit better due in large part to this tobacco. As I type this and smoke a final bowl of this blend for quite some time (due to the fact that I smoked quite a bit of it this past week for this review) I realize that it is truly a wonderful blend that is great to smoke alone . . . but will be even better when smoked amongst good friends.

~ Barry
Pipe Used: Multiple
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars, Local B&M, SmokingPipes, TobaccoPipes, TheStoryTellersPipe
Age When Smoked: Fresh to 5 Years Old
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 07, 2017 Strong None Detected Full Strong
Well. Having smoked quite a number of Toscano cigars over my long smoking life, I consider myself as a Kentucky aficionado. Nice that Mac Baren – a brand getting my appreciation even if in alternate phases… - has put on the market a couple of Kentucky flakes.

Thanks to a friend I’ve put my hands on a couple of 50grms tins. I’m working the first, but it’s a job slower than expected. This is not calling me very often, and I don’t know the reason, since it has all its features in the most perfect order. It’s considerably milder than some Lakeland beasts (say a GH’s Dark Flake) and sweeter than a Peterson’s Irish Flake, due to some Virginia. Smokes cool and steady.

I thinks it depends on the fact that lately my preference goes to Kentuckies (or, in general terms, dark fireds) in ribbon form (say DBE or our italian rustics). Just like I prefer the Virginias in flake form. It’s a matter of personal preference.

In terms of flavour, balance and quality, HHBK is top notch. Out of question.
Pipe Used: Dunhill, Ashton, Castello
PurchasedFrom: received as a gift
Age When Smoked: one year
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 20, 2017 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
This is a strong flavored blend of dark Kentucky and Virginias hot pressed into uniform flakes roughly 3/4 x 3 inches. Beatifully presented n a square tin wrapped in gold foil. The count is very generous and I was impressed by the sheer volume of tobacco in this tin. The smoke is wonderful creamy and voluminous. It was moist in the tin and so I dried it for a while in the sun whilst I watched my beloved Yankees take another drubbing at the hands of the evil Red Sox. A few glasses of red wine and a few relights later and I am sitting here writing this review with a nice satisfying nic hit after a nice flavorful enjoying smoke. Great stuff! I will have this tin to enjoy for a while as it dries out a bit and mellows. The meer was a precaution that was not necessary and I look forward to enjoying this fine blend in my regular briar rotation. Not for the faint of heart. Needs time to fully enjoy this delicious tobacco.
Pipe Used: Meerschaum lined briar
PurchasedFrom: Cigars international
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2017 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The KY is the star of the show. It is earthy, spicy, slightly nutty at times and has a small note of molasses. The bright VA's have a slight citrus note that comes with the normal and expected notes of hay. The casing seems to have a little anise note which is subtle and perhaps a subtle hint of vinegar as well. That said, this is a good straight tobacco but it lacks the complexity of a four star rating. When I think of great VA/KY blends I think of GH's Dark Flake, and Dark Bird's Eye, or Solani's 660 Silver Flake (which has more VA's than this), and all are way more complex than this one. Overall, however, a good tobacco and worth a look if you like VA/KY blends.
Age When Smoked: 2 yrs.
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