Mac Baren - Black Ambrosia 3.5oz
The worst thing you can say about this tobacco is it's very similar to Original Choice. Very mild on the tongue, a nice aroma, a little more flavour, and lights and smokes very well. I could see using this as a daily driver.
Mac Baren - Original Choice 3.5oz
A Nice Everyday Aromatic
As a daily smoke, this is a great tobacco. Aroma is very nice, tongue bite is minimal, nicotine is moderately high, and it lights and smokes easily. If you want a slightly richer version that's still very enjoyable, try Black Ambrosia.
Mac Baren - Mixture Scottish Blend 3.5oz
A Very Enjoyable Tobacco
When I first got back into pipes after a few years off, I tried a tin of this. I wasn't impressed at the time. But I decided to give it another go, this time in bulk. I have to say that it has become a staple for me, as a tobacco with a very nicely rounded flavour profile. The aroma over the bowl is intoxicating, with a complex yet balanced profile that to me smells like natural tobacco. It lights well, smokes well, and is just as good dry as fresh. Cavendish isn't overdone, and taste evolves very nicely over the course of a bowl. Nicotine is moderately high, and I find I do specifically crave this tobacco at times. I will certainly be keeping a can on hand.
Mac Baren - Symphony 3.5oz
Passable Burley but Somewhat Distracting
Having enjoyed HH Burley Flake tremendously, I had high hopes for this blend. There's a flavour in the mix that I can't identify, which is throwing me off of really enjoying it. Tin aroma is quite similar to Golden Extra, with the fermented quality, but is much more grassy. The blend is significantly lighter in colour, and seems to emphasize the Virginia. The added flavour, possibly vanilla or chocolate, is present is just the right quantity to distract from the tobaccos, without really adding anything positive. Burley is muted, in the flavour profile. The blend may improve with age, but after a few weeks with it, it just seems like an inferior version of Golden Extra.
Mac Baren - Golden Extra 3.5oz
Excellent Non-Aromatic Burley
This is an excellent example of a non-aromatic burley blend. While not as refined as the gold standard, HH Burley Flake, it's a distinct step up from Symphony in depth an enjoyability. Tin aroma reveals a lightly fermented overtone, with some grassy notes. Flavour when smoked has a bit of chocolate, coffee, a little salt and some sweet and grassy Virginia. Mild on the tongue, although not as mild as HH Burley Flake.
Mac Baren - HH Burley Flake 3.5oz
Probably the best HH flake so far
I'm working my way through the HH line. The flakes are all superior to the loose blends, however, this one stands out. As is typical of the HH's, there's no tin aroma, but the taste, and aroma when smoked is dark and chocolaty, with clear hints of Virginia sweetness. It's an excellent everyday smoke, with a nice, full body flavour.
Mac Baren - HH Balkan Blend 3.5oz
This blend is interesting, but really lacks body and flavour. Nicotine level is quite low as well, which might appeal to some. As a daily smoker, I thought it could use a little more on the burley and latakia end and a little less virginia. There's just not a lot on the palate, and a straight burley blend would have far more flavor. As with all HH blends (loose, not flake), the can was very rusty and the paper was brown with rust.
Mac Baren - Burley: London Blend 3.5oz
This was an instant favourite. Tin aroma is very sweet, clearly some added flavour, but the tobacco blend is very solid, and utterly delicious. Like dark chocolate, with a little sweetening. This has quickly become my daily go-to.
Mac Baren - Dark Twist 3.5oz
Superb roll cake
This stuff is just fantastic, and I enjoyed the entire can. It's only equalled by the fantastic Vanilla Roll Cake. The bright Virginia spice/bite is expertly blended with rich cavendish. It's chocolaty and sweet, and burns and smokes really well. I would recommend this tobacco and will certainly buy it again.
Peterson - University Flake 50g
A little on the bland side
I've been sampling my way though a number of Virginia flakes lately. I recently tried Peterson Flake and was blown away by the rich flavour. I went through 5 cans of it and each one was better than the last. I popped open a can of this last week. It really doesn't stand up in comparison. It was a little on the damp side, so I gave it some air, which improved it. But I still found it didn't smoke all that well, and the flavour didn't improve as towards the bottom of the bowl. It was difficult to rub out properly, and when fully rubbed out, it was somewhat better. Still, not a lot of flavour compared to other flakes I've tried. I don't think I'd re-order it.
Cornell & Diehl - Virginia Gentleman
Mild, a little bland, and very dry
This tobacco comes very dry. It’s necessary to humidify it before smoking. It has very little flavour, but a somewhat sweet taste and smooth texture emerges when the humidity is right. It took me 15 days to finish the 16 oz, and it was notably stale by the end, despite refrigeration. I found some fermented or moldy clumps towards the bottom. For the money, it’s usable, but you certainly aren’t getting the quality of a good tinned tobacco.
Mac Baren - Cherry Ambrosia 3.5oz
Excellent tobacco with a nice topping
Ignoring the cherry flavour, this is, at its core, an excellent tobacco blend which burns consistently and cool. The cherry topping pairs nicely with the chocolaty burley and cavendish mixture to create a beautiful flavour and aroma. The blend is consistently cool and sweet using a variety of pipes and packing styles. It exemplifies the kind of high quality tobacco I've come to expect from Mac Baren.
Mac Baren - Vanilla Roll Cake 3.5oz
Excellent quality tobacco, great tin aroma, smokes slow and mild, and the taste has just a hint of vanilla, Virginia sweetness, and a little Virginia spice. The coins are very thin cut and nicely packed, and fill the can. Very little to no loose tobacco or broken flake. About 8-10 coins fill a medium sized pipe. They're best not fully broken down, but just folded twice. They naturally pack a little loose, so a good flattening with a tamper after each coin is added is wise. Best to use a well broken in pipe, as it does run a little on the hot side, especially if packed too loose.
Peterson - Flake 50g
Very nice flavor, sweet aroma
I'm on my fourth can now. In recent memory, I can't say I've tried a tobacco that tastes nearly this good. It's got a nice, robust flavour and a sweet aroma. Burns nice and slowly. It's good fully rubbed out, or loosely stuffed in. I'd caution not to pack it too tightly, as it needs room to expand. It's really great in smaller pipes, and can provide quite a long smoke even in a smaller pipe, like a System 317. You'll find the flavour gets rich and chocolaty in the bottom 1/3 of the bowl. Very nice.
Samuel Gawith - Commonwealth 250g
A long-time favorite
This tobacco has been at the top of my list since I first smoked it almost 20 years ago. I'd only been a pipe smoker for a few years, and had suffered through a variety of perfumed and sweetened tobaccos of questionable quality. When I started smoking commonwealth, it brought a whole new joy to pipe smoking. It's very well behaved, produces predictable results, can be relit repeatedly, smoked hard or light without losing its voluminous texture and great taste. It smells like wood smoke, which I personally love. Like a hickory note almost. The flavour is sweet, spicy and buttery smooth. This is a tobacco that works well for those who frequently pocket a lit pipe, as I used to do. The smell is not identifiable by most as tobacco, which allowed me to get away with pocketing the pipe, walking through a building, pulling it back out and continuing to smoke without a relight. If this is ever in stock again, I'm buying as much as they'll let me. Price is no object, this is THE tobacco I want to die smoking haha