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 1 - 10 of 22 Reviews
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
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
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
7 people found this review helpful.
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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.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 23, 2017 Very Strong Very Mild Very Full Strong
As a big fan of HH Old Dark Fired, I had to try Bold Kentucky right? They are cousins to be sure, with Bold Kentucky being decidedly stronger.

In the tin, the smell is quite robust. I get more of a vinegar note from BK than I do from ODF. To the point that BK starts to smell a bit like barbecued meat. Not sweet molasses sauce barbecue, more like smoked meat. Perfectly shaped flakes, neatly arranged.

On lighting, you know it's gonna be a powerful smoke. Big, robust flavor. There may be other tobaccos involved, but it screams nothing but dark fired Kentucky. Very little, if any, sweetness. Despite it's strength, I didn't find myself getting bothered by the nicotine level, but it was on the edge of what would start to be too much.

So given it's big bold flavor and almost mono-dimensional character, I find myself liking Old Dark Fired a lot more. This is good, and despite the strength still very enjoyable. But it sets the volume knob just a notch or two higher than my tastes care for, where Old Dark Fired gets it just right.
5 people found this review helpful.
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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
5 people found this review helpful.
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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!
5 people found this review helpful.
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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
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 04, 2017 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
The Dark Fired is, as one would expect, the dominant player in this blend. It is earth, savory, and somewhat spicy. The Virginia is mostly here to chaperone the Dark Fired, but I pick up from it some grassiness/hay and a very subdued sweetness.

The strength in terms of nicotine content is closer to medium than strong, but very near a midpoint between the two. The taste is full but not as strong as Samuel Gawith's Lakeland Dark or Gawith Hoggarth's potent dark leaf offerings. Notably, Bold Kentucky is as moist or moister than Lakeland Dark or the Gawith Hoggarth dark leaf tobaccos I have smoked. Consequently, it requires dry time or many relights.

I enjoy Bold Kentucky when I want a full bodied, earthy smoke that is not as potent, taste or nicotine-wise, as the aforementioned Gawith blends. That said, for me Bold Kentucky is not as good as the Gawith blends. I certainly find myself hankering after Lakeland Dark far more often than I will want Bold Kentucky. Lakeland Dark is more potent in all respects, with a deeper and more complex flavor experience.
4 people found this review helpful.
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