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 41 - 50 of 116 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 07, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Not as strong as I was expecting having read some of the previous reviews. Nice earthy, woodiness to BK. I take flake every once in a while to see if I can find something quite as satisfying as the old St Bruno Flake and this is good, moist, dark and cool. More mossy that Irish Flake, which I do rate, and I did find myself reaching for the tin more regularly than I might have expected, so it did disappear in surprisingly short order. This tobacco is beautifully presented and will sit perfectly with a glass of ruby, winter ale. It will require re-lights and is best smoked slowly and where there is ventilation so that you do not lose family and friends in the haze.
Pipe Used: Peterson Rosslare
PurchasedFrom: JN Barber, Otley
Age When Smoked: From the tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 25, 2016 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I bought this tobacco along with a few others of the same line during a sale (with latakia flake and old dark fired). All of the tins have sat in my tin box for over a year and this one has aged in a small sealed jar for about 3 months since I opened it. This is the last of the three to be smoked. It's definitely an interesting tobacco.

From the tin, or jar in my case, I get a lot of vinegar which is pretty tingly on the nose and it makes the other notes hard to pick up. I kind of like the vinegar smell though. After focusing in for a while I get some sweetness, fig, jam, some smoke, subtle molasses, and slight grass from the virginia. I really enjoy the scent of this and just cram my nose into it when I smell it.

Packing it is really nice! They have cut it into a half width flake so all you have to do is stack two, fold, and stuff. It's a little on the moist side but I like my tobaccos moist so that doesn't bother me. I hear of some people attempting to dry it saying it takes a long time or it simply doesn't so be aware of that if you wish to dry it. But an easy flake to pack!

One thing I don't like this tobacco is that it's difficult to light. No matter what I do or how I pack it (plug, rip and stuff, or rubbed) it takes a long time to get it going. You will have to baby it some. Once it's lit though it rolls nicely needing a relight every so often. Puts off a medium amount of smoke which surprises me since it's a bold tobacco. I enjoy the room note although those around me will occasionally not be fans.

For being a not so heavy smoke producer, the body is heavy! It feels very full in the mouth and bites pretty hard when I light it up. Once I get it lit though it smooths out so don't worry. That may just be me though. Flavor wise it's very interesting! For a heavy body it's flavor is somewhat delicate. It's smokey with a muted vinegar taste coming through, but not upfront, with a slight grassiness, soft hazelnut, and sweetness. It's an attention grabber for sure. The nicotine level is pretty high I will say. They don't lie when they say "we don't recommend to begining smokers" on the tin. It never hits me until about 2/3 of the way into the bowl then it hits hard. If you're looking for a good buzz on your smoke, this tobacco is a great choice!

Overall, a nice tobacco but I wouldn't say it's an everyday smoke and, for my taste, not a summer smoke either. This is something I would enjoy a lot more in colder weather and/or at the end of the day to wind down. If you're a beginning pipe smoker I would say wait a bit to try this one because the nicotine level can hit pretty hard. I have a friend who doesn't smoke often and couldn't finish a bowl because the nicotine was making him sick. But to the intermediate or advanced pipe smokers I say give it a try.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Punto Oro Lovat
PurchasedFrom: Smoking pipes
Age When Smoked: 1+ years
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 07, 2016 Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Yes, this is the strongest tobacco in the HH line.

I think you can call this one the "strong brother" of old dark fired...and ODF is not a soft tobacco at all. It has this charateristic earthy taste with a hint of nuts and a little bit of dark chocolate, it is less sweet then ODF and there is a bit more spiciness involved. It has a higher nic content and the last third of the bowl tends to be a bit too much for me. I enjoyed it, but I am not 100% in love with it. I prefer ODF and will try this one again after a certain aging process.

3 stars!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 29, 2015 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
In the tin, this smelled like a basic commercial bbq sauce, but that doesn't carry over into the bowl at all, so I would agree that there is no 'sauce' in the actual tobacco (ie the tin note comes from the processing, not a topping). However, unlike the consensus, I found this a rather boring, uninspired smoke and not even a strong one in terms of N, although it was 'full'.
Pipe Used: briars
PurchasedFrom: smoking pipes
Age When Smoked: 5 months after purchase
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 26, 2015 Strong Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable
A good strong smoke not to disimilar to GLP Jacknife plug. This looks a little darker but delivers hearty dose of nicotine with a plesant leathery taste. Not nearly as woodsy or campfire as Old dark fired and for that reason i like it a little more.

Don't be afraid of trying this. Whilst reasonably strong, it is nowhere near Brown Rope in strength and much more smokable. An easy all day smoke and highly recommended. Mac Baren is really putting out great new products these days!

Notes: 21 slices of flake in a 50g tin. These are a bit damp and need drying out a little before smoking ( rub, then 15-20min dry). Excellent after dinner smoke.
Age When Smoked: 3 months
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2015 Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Tasty from get-go. Cool smoking with lots of body. Smooth, almost creamy for a burley (say compared to most Burley Flakes). Burns steady. Great inner strength. Not overwhelming but not for beginners. Some chocolate undertones. (Better tasting to me than ODF by same blender which is darker tasting to me in a new tin.)
Pipe Used: 1940 St. Claude
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes
Age When Smoked: new tine
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 22, 2020 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Although there are a few other English style Kentucky bombs on the market (1792, dark flake, irish flake) this hh bold Kentucky is a very welcome addition.. notably, because of the lack of topping added.. it is a big but remarkably clean smoke.. I'm not saying flavoring is bad.. I sometimes prefer it.. it is just really nice to have this option.. unlike old dark fired this one just has a very small portion of virginia.. I barely notice it in the background.. this is a big meaty earthy smoke.. it reminds me of a cigar I once had (terrible at remembering cigar brands).. woody, spicy, blah, blah, blah.. everything you could ask for in a Kentucky dominated flake.. the hot pressing really helps to tone it down a little.. it is just a relaxing strong smoke.. I love that kind of smoke in the cooler months.. top shelf for me..

Adding a note 5/23/20 Not sure if it is the climate where I live or the tobacco itself.. I only get good results when I dry this over night.. 30 min to an hour doesn't even cut it.. the difference in the smoke is night and day.. only ever experienced this with the gawith flakes.. lots of dry time and it is beautiful!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 09, 2020 Very Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
Bold is an understatement. Every puff is full-throttle - thick with the familiar and tangy flavors of “old leather and oil”, but with a nutty undercurrent of grassy granola running beneath it. At times it is almost reminiscent of wine, leaving a pleasant twang upon the tongue. It’s surprisingly sweet, very earthy, extremely delicious. The peppery sensation on the retrohale is quite satisfying. I smoke it all the way down to the heel of my pipe, where it finishes in a clean and powdery ash, tasty to the last.

Its strength took me by surprise. When it it arrived in the mail last week I immediately rubbed out a flake and packed it into a small briar. I expected this tobacco to be strong and so settled into my chair, lit it up. It hits the throat and sinuses like a bonfire, and within minutes I could feel the tingling sensation pass across my face and arms. Ah, but I have had stronger tobaccos. Later that evening I packed another small bowl and sat down to write this review, but I nearly fell asleep in the process.

No real need to mention the tin-note or presentation on this. Smells like barbecue sauce/ ketchup, which does translate into the smoke just like any good Kentucky. Mac Baren has exceeded all my expectations on this, I must try Old Dark Fired next.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a great Burley: one that belongs in the repertoire of any Burley lover, like yours truly. I think it has a similar profile to my favorite C&D Burley Flake #1. It burns steady, right from start. No tongue bite. The various flavors that compose this tobacco - chocolate, cream, nuts, coffee - appear in unison at first. As you smoke through the bowl, each nuance of this savory Burley acquires a more distinct expression. In other words, it becomes "bolder" as you smoke. Not so much in terms of strength, but in the "richness" of taste. There is also an undertone of sweetness that is quite pleasant. Producing a good amount of smoke, yet with a pretty acceptable room note, this is a real winner for the Burley lover.

P.S. Try it with a smaller bowl.
Pipe Used: Marxman Melo Prince
Age When Smoked: Fresh
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 24, 2019 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Back in 2015, the first 10 or so reviews I read respecting Mac Baren's HH Bold Kentucky made it easy for me to pull the trigger on a 2-pound purchase. A big fan of ardent burley blends such as ODF, Irish Flake, and Stonehaven, the first reviews of HH Bold Kentucky pushed all the right buttons for me.

After 3+years in the cellar, I'm just now getting around to taking BK out for a test drive. It's late November -- my straight Virginia blends have all been retired for the winter -- and with a sharp autumnal chill in the air, I settled on the porch with a generous 2-flake helping of BK stuffed into a preposterously oversized Neerup, accompanied by 4-fingers of Wild Turkey.

Long, dark uniform flakes easily present the most pleasingly pleasant smell of authentically honest pipe tobacco. Still moist and pliant after 3+years of rest, I pulled the flakes apart to dry some before rubbing them out a little more thoroughly.

Upon ignition, BK was everything I imagined it would have been when I purchased it 3-years-ago: a resolutely robust and invincible smoke, BK is full of spice and earthy essence, with the Virginia's playing a perfectly harmonious background role.

During the first 15-minutes of what was a 2-hour affair, I was able to pull off 5 or 6 retrohales; any attempts at doing so after that was just plain silliness. I would say the BK nic-hit is on par with 20mg of Nicorette. I had to drastically down-shift my cadence to a prudentially moderate pace with BK; a more sprightly cadence enhances the risk of an unnecessarily unpleasant and undesirable slap-yo-mama empirical wisdom.

Whenever I encounter a tobacco of such fine quality and caliber as Bold Kentucky, it makes me wonder how this tobacco would have been received by Union or Confederate troops had I wandered into one of their winter encampments with 10-pounds of the stuff. To sit around the campfire in the frigid cold, canteen cups filled with O-be-Joyful and pipes full of this beautifully brawny burley blend -- I would love to see their reactions, their faces, their summations of such a stout and huskily hardy tobacco.

HH Bold Kentucky is a convincingly legitimate, honest to God, old world pipe tobacco blend that is, quite simply, beyond reproach.

Four-and-a-half stars.

Pipe Used: Oversized Neerup freehand
Age When Smoked: 3 years
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