Just Released: Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired
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17 May 2012

Just Released: Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, May 10, 2012

We've been reading a lot about the recent Chicago pipe show here and on various other blogs and such, and they pretty much all talk about the same thing: massive awesomeness. Because the show is so massive, there exists the small, unavoidable, yet perfectly obvious fact that we are all bound to miss something in our report of the show. In fact, a great number of people probably missed a lot of things, or at least wish they had opportunities to touch back to something that initially grabbed their attention.

It goes without saying that pipe shows are about pipes, but it’s also true that they would be nothing without tobacco. While I'm privy to only a small number of things that go on around here at Smokingpipes headquarters - because we are rather vast as well - I do remember hearing a buzz about a new Mac Baren tobacco some time ago. To be more precise: Mac Baren’s new HH Old Dark Fired. Mac Baren makes wonderful tobaccos, and their attention to blending, cutting, and slicing are rarely equaled which results in a line of consistent products. Ted talked about this tobacco. Sykes talked about it. There was a lot of buzz going around the Chicago show because it was first introduced there. Why did I not take the time to fire up a bowl the four days I was surrounded by pipes, tobacco, and friends? I have no idea. Perhaps it was because I was smoking some vintage Virginia flake tobaccos, wasn't in the same room when someone had an open tin, or, most likely, the fact that I pretty much stick to smoking only a few tobaccos.

Ever since I got back to the office last week, John and Ted have repeatedly asked me if I was going to try a bowl. Since I’m the one who walks around the office offering samples of whatever seemingly simple, yet subtly bizarre food I might have just prepared in the kitchen to some of my co-workers, I finally decided to try a bowl this afternoon. John's initial description of a tin aroma akin to BBQ smoke made me curious, as did Ted's threat to punch me in the face if I didn't take a bowl. The tin aroma is fantastic. The thin flakes, neatly arranged in stacks of three slivers side-by-side make for a beautiful arrangement, and the ease of twisting up a bird nest of tobacco for the bottom of my pipe to be covered with the remainder of the fully-rubbed out flake got me off to a good start. While moist in the tin, I only dried the tobacco on a piece of paper for ten minutes. The threads took easily with a match and were tamped without any need to light the bowl again. Pungently sweet smoke with a considerably balanced chord of chocolately-sweet, clove-spice asserting itself early on. The sweetness fades, but a rich spice on my palate and an ever-so-slight warming of my forehead from the nicotine kick remains subtle, but constant throughout the smoke.

For fans of Burley blends, or those of you who are a bit curious as to whether you may like this, I would highly recommend this tobacco. As I am currently typing this introduction, the fragrant smoke makes for a pleasant taste that goes extremely well with my cup of black coffee. Perhaps you might take this opportunity to see what the new Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired has to offer.

Aside from a lengthy tobacco introduction, we have a lot of great pipes freshly updated. Pieces from Tokutomi, J.Alan, and Former can be found, as well as dozens of designs from L'Anatra to Peterson. If estates are what you crave, we have seventy-two to whet your whistle.

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector

Posted by adam at 4:30 PM | Link | 3 comments

Re: Just Released: Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired
Can you elaborate on the "bird's nest" method of flake packing? Sounds interesting.

Posted by david peters on May 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Re: Just Released: Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired
Dave, I like to break up flake tobaccos into fine ribbons for my pipes, so all I do is roll the flake up and rub my hands in a swirling motion to break it into ribbons, which ends up looking somewhat like a ball of steel wool. The "birds nest" reference is just taking part of the coarsly rubbed flake - just a pinch - and putting it into the bottom of the pipe and gently pressed down with my finger, which probably looks like a tiny birds nest. I do this so the airway won't get clogged when I fill the rest of the pipe with the finer ribbons.

Posted by adam on May 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Re: Just Released: Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired
Well now that is a good idea, flake ribbons seem to be really good at inserting themselves down the airway better than a pipe cleaner. Thanks man!

Posted by david peters on May 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

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