According to Stephen A. Ross, in his article "Tobacco Renaissance," in 1887 Harald Halberg, son of merchant captain Hans Nissen Halberg, who ran cargo including snuff, chewing, and pipe tobacco, decided that instead of going into the family business he would buy S. Bønnelycke, a tobacco factory located in their home town of Svendborg. He renamed the venture Harald Halberg Tobacco and Cigar Factory (Harald Halberg Tobaks and Cigarfabrik).
It wasn't until the middle of the next century, however, that the company saw international repute, after Harald's grandson Jørgen found himself stranded in the US after the outbreak of the second World War. Being that he was from a family of tobacco producers, Jørgen soon found work in pipe tobacco factories, producing the aromatic blends that dominated the 1940s: Mixture 79, Rum and Maple, and the like. The war ended and Jørgen headed back to Svendborg to start work on new lines of tobacco using the aromatic techniques he'd learnt in America — Mac Baren Golden Blend and Mac Baren Mixture, both released in the '50s. The new tobaccos were popular, and the company gained repute both domestically and overseas, so much so, in fact, that the company was renamed to Mac Baren Tobacco Company in 1995, in order to align itself with the flagship products.
Fast forward to 2006 and Mac Baren releases a new blend, Vintage Syrian, under the new HH line, named for the company's founder, Harald Halberg. Of course, the blend isn't "new" per se, the inspiration for the recipe originates back to the start of Mac Baren Tobacco, more than 120 years ago. A typical blend for late 1800s, it consists of minimal casing and no top flavours, instead relying on the full and rich natural flavours of the tobacco. The success of the Vintage Syrian blend led to further entries in the HH line.
An exceptional blend of Syrian Latakia with spicy Turkish Oriental, sweet Virginias, and a little Dark Fired Kentucky for depth.
A blend that includes Virginias, Burleys, Original Cavendish, Dark Fired Kentucky, Orientals, and, of course, a fair amount of Acadian Perique, a lighter and smoother version of this unique tobacco, chosen so as not to overpower the nuances of the other tobaccos. It is a rich, flavorful, and very satisfying smoke.
A bold flake of dark-fired Burleys in a well balanced unity with flue-cured Virginias. This flake is hot pressed, meaning that during the pressing, heat is added by steam to the tobaccos which causes the tobacco to intensify the marrying process giving us a bolder tobacco. The robust, earthy flavour of the dark-fired Burleys shines through in the taste, so you will experience a deeply satisfying smoke indeed.
The Latakia is up front, the Virginia chimes in with a bit of sweetness, the Orientals throw in spice, and the Burley provides elements of nut and earth. All are hot-pressed, to marry the flavors into a dark, complex cooperation.
The HH tobaccos have been great sellers for Mac Baren, and the fact that the company has been able to bring smokers a traditional, natural pipe smoking experience has been a point of pride and pleasure. Expanding upon this success, Mac Baren is now relaunching the line, with new tin art featured on a new 1.75oz size, which will be available as of publishing this blog. The larger 100-gram tins are to remain available as well, and will be transitioning to the new tin art shortly.
The new artwork, featuring the Mac Baren crest with its lions, crown (both of which it shares with the Danish coat of arms), and the initials of the company's founder, Harald Halberg, is a return to tradition for the Danish tobacco manufacturer. Despite a lot of their rise in fame stemming from branching out into American style aromatics, their earliest heritage is with natural tobaccos, using only the necessary, minimum casings, and no top flavouring at all, just as was the practice at their founding in 1887. It's a tradition the HH series keeps alive, and one that has only earned Mac Baren an even wider loyal following.
To celebrate the new look and packaging, immediately until March 31st at 11:59PM, Mac Baren and Smokingpipes.com are offering 20% off any five or more 100g tins in the HH line. You can mix and match or stock up on your favorite: five tins or 105 if you prefer. Either way, if you have five or more 100g tins of Mac Baren HH blends, you have 20% off.