Top 10 Best-Selling Mac Baren Blends

Updated for 2022 to incorporate current data and edited to reflect product availability.


Top 10 Best-Selling Mac Baren Pipe Tobaccos at Smokingpipes.com

The history of Mac Baren began in 1826 as a small snuff and chewing-tobacco production facility in Svendborg, Denmark. Originally dubbed S. Bønnelyckes Tobaksfabrik, the factory continued for 60 years with little renown before its proprietor lost ownership in a poker game in 1887. The winner, then, traded it to Harald Halberg for a horse and a barrel of whiskey, and renamed the firm the Harald Halberg Tobacco Factory.

Halberg had completed his education in tobacco rolling, and it took longer to become a certified spun-tobacco master than it did to earn a bachelor's degree. With such expertise, Halberg founded Mac Baren on a tradition of quality, spun-cut tobaccos, and his competition was vast: In the late-19th century, there were over 400 tobacco factories in Denmark, four of them in Svendborg. By 1900, Halberg's was the only one left in the city. Passed to Harald's son Eimar and then to his grandson Jørgen, the Harald Halberg Tobacco Factory was eventually renamed "Mac Baren" after WWII out of fear that the original name would be confused for a German company — such origins having fallen out of favor in that era.

Since then, Mac Baren has delighted pipe smokers with some of the most pristine and celebrated tobaccos available, and today, the operation is supervised by head blender Per Jensen. Today, Mac Baren's portfolio spans an array of discerning mixtures from exquisite Aromatics and refined English blends, to nuanced Virginia- and Burley-based tobaccos — many boasting recipes that date to the mid-20th century. With such a vast selection, it can be difficult to decide which blends warrant consideration, so we've compiled our top 10 best-selling Mac Baren pipe tobaccos. We hope it guides your exploration of the brand's distinguished lineup and hopefully introduces you to some newfound favorites.

    Top 10 Best-Selling Mac Baren Blends:
  1. 10. HH Bold Kentucky
  2. 9. Golden Extra
  3. 8. Navy Flake
  4. 7. Vanilla Roll Cake
  5. 6. HH Latakia Flake
  6. 5. Virginia No. 1
  7. 4. HH Pure Virginia
  8. 3. Mixture Scottish Blend
  9. 2. Vanilla Cream
  10. 1. HH Old Dark Fired

10. HH Bold Kentucky

HH Bold Kentucky

The brainchild of Mac Baren's product specialist, master blender, and tobacco ambassador, Per Jensen, the HH line is a series of pipe tobaccos devoted entirely to showcasing the natural characteristics of various components — blended with only minimum casings and no toppings whatsoever. Since its inception in 2006, it's quickly become among Mac Baren's best-selling and most sought after series, and HH Bold Kentucky showcases Dark-Fired Kentucky. Aside from the limited-edition HH Rustica blend, HH Bold Kentucky is the strongest pipe tobacco in Mac Baren's portfolio. It contains a significant percentage of Dark-Fired Kentucky from the USA and Africa — the tobacco varietal containing the highest levels of nicotine, and while it does pack a punch, it's remarkably balanced overall, the Dark-Fired slightly softened by Bright Virginias and mellowed through hot-pressing. Though comprising the same components as Mac Baren's HH Old Dark Fired, HH Bold Kentucky offers a stronger presence of Dark-Fired Kentucky's distinctive mesquite notes, offering a bold and smoky flavor profile.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz

No big long-winded review here. Just good, strong tobacco taste with a slightly sweet taste that stays good all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Hit it out of the park, Mac Baren.
- timsmcm, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Dark-Fired Kentucky, Virginia
  • Cut: Flake
  • Family: Burley
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9. Golden Extra

Golden Extra

While most people tend to associate Burley-based tobaccos with American blending houses, the Danes have their own way of preparing the air-cured leaf as well, typically yielding milder mixtures, often with light casings of cocoa and anise. Mac Baren's Golden Extra is a delicious example of a traditional Danish Burley blend, easy to smoke and easy to enjoy. While the Burleys take center stage, their inherent nuttiness is complemented and accentuated by the cocoa and anise casing, while a good portion of Virginias balances the mixture with a touch of sweetness. Golden Extra has been one of Mac Baren's best-selling blends for years, and if you haven't tried it yet, you may appreciate how approachable and easy-smoking it is.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

This is my everyday blend. It is simple but comforting and pleasant. I use it for breaking in pipes and when I want a nice basic pipe tobacco. The room note is pleasant and the blend doesn't bite.
- Eric G., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia
  • Cut: Broken Flake
  • Family: Burley
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8. Navy Flake

Navy Flake

Historically, Mac Baren has specialized in spun-cut, aka coin-cut, tobacco, with many of the blending house's early mixtures, such as Stockton, being coin-cut blends. First introduced in 1965, Navy Flake was among the first flake-cut blends Mac Baren produced, and it's since come to epitomize the manufacturer's approach to the cut. Navy Flake is a traditional, Burley-forward flake tobacco, elevated with Virginias for sweetness and Mac Baren's Original Cavendish to smooth it all out. The tobaccos are blended together with a slight casing redolent of brown sugar, booze, and honey, and pressed for a minimum of 30 days before being sliced into 1.4mm flakes.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz

For me, my perennial tobacco. The one tobacco I'm never without. Good, rich, smooth smoke. Slight topping of honey in the tin that in no way overwhelms this blend of Virginia/Burley.
- nitehawk, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia, Black Cavendish
  • Cut: Flake
  • Family: Burley
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7. Vanilla Roll Cake

Vanilla Roll Cake

Mac Baren excels at manufacturing spun-cut pipe tobacco blends, utilizing traditional, by-hand processes and high-quality tobaccos. Vanilla Roll Cake represents the only coin-cut mixture to make this best-sellers list, though, and the Danish blending house does an excellent job of adding just the right amount of Madagascar vanilla without overshadowing the inherent flavors of Virginias and Burley. Such a combination provides a profile marked by natural tobacco and smooth, creamy, and sweet vanilla that delights lovers of Aromatic and Virginia tobaccos alike.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz

I'm not typically an Aromatic guy but this stuff is phenomenal! You can still taste the zesty Virginias and that is rare with aromatic tobaccos. The vanilla is silky smooth, none of that goopy sauce crap. Treat yourself!
- James B., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Virginia, Burley
  • Cut: Coin
  • Family: Aromatic
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6. HH Latakia Flake

HH Latakia Flake

In line with the HH line's theme of showcasing a particular tobacco varietal, HH Latakia Flake highlights the smoky, woodsy profile indicative of Latakia and English-family pipe tobaccos. English blends are most often ribbon-cut, making Mac Baren's HH Latakia Flake among the few flake-cut English mixtures. It combines Bright Virginias, Orientals, Burleys, and a generous portion of Cyprian Latakia, the Orientals enhancing the mesquite, incense-like qualities of the Latakia. The Virginias then add a bit of natural sweetness, while the Burley adds strength and depth to the smoke. It's an extraordinarily complex flavor profile, but also elegant and refined — the heat-pressing process marrying all those flavors into a complex profile. HH Latakia Flake satisfies Latakia lovers, but is different enough from other English blends to delight those not typically drawn to Latakia-based mixtures.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz

Reading through all the reviews since Latakia Flake's debut, it's fair to conclude we are all shooketh. It's so totally different, wildly different, and it's so absolutely delicious. It's as if Mac Baren discovered the REAL way Latakia is best incorporated in a blend. Latakia Flake is a game changer. It cleared the battlefield for me. All the English blends I was working through, they're basically irrelevant. This blend sets the bar.
- DK Acolyte, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Latakia, Orientals, Virginia
  • Cut: Flake
  • Family: English
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5. Virginia No. 1

Virginia No. 1

Considered one of Mac Baren's staple classics, Virginia No. 1 was first released in the mid-1950s, and it's among the oldest pipe tobaccos on this list, having delighted pipe smokers for nearly 70 years. As a straight-Virginia blend, it showcases carefully selected Virginias, and like many of Mac Baren's mixtures, it focuses on the tobaccos' naturally sweet, grassy, and citrus-like notes, elevated by a subtly sweet topping to provide a cool, sweet smoke that doesn't hide the natural tobacco flavors while still providing a pleasant room note.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

This is most likely my favorite one so far. I love the taste of hay and bread. Being a baker at heart and having spent time at my late grandfather's ranch, it takes me back to a simpler time. When enjoying this blend, think of it as a good sipping whiskey, take your time and enjoy it.
- Stu H., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Virginia
  • Cut: Broken Flake
  • Family: Virginia
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4. HH Pure Virginia

HH Pure Virginia

As the name denotes, Mac Baren's HH Pure Virginia is a hot-pressed flake composed entirely of Virginia tobaccos, namely those from select growing regions in North America and Africa. Its profile is deep and bready, with bright highlights and a distinctive hay-like grassiness. Compared to Mac Baren's other Virginias, such as Virginia Flake, HH Pure Virginia is slightly less sweet and citrusy, more redolent of freshly baked goods with a little spice and a deeper, molasses-like sweetness. In other words, it's more similar to something like Samuel Gawith's Full Virginia Flake than to a blend like Orlik Golden Sliced.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz

Another MacBaren jewel. Tasty, zesty, subtly sweet, never harsh, slow burning goodness. Rubs out easily ,doesn't need too many relights. Weird thing is each bowl takes me elsewhere; with each bowl, I discover something new. Thank you Per Jensen. Highly recommended to all pipe smokers.
- Angus, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Virginia
  • Cut: Flake
  • Family: Virginia
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3. Mixture Scottish Blend

Mixture Scottish Blend

Mixture Scottish Blend or simply "Mixture" is among Mac Baren's most popular blends, not only here at Smokingpipes but worldwide. Originally introduced in 1958, it illustrates Mac Baren's signature Danish approach to blending: focusing on high-quality raw components elevated by subtle casings that amplify the natural characteristics of the leaf. Made from over 35 different tobaccos from all over the world, Mixture showcases various grades of Burley and Virginia leaf, married by Mac Baren's Original Cavendish. Given its wealth of components and subtle casing, Mixture is extremely complex, so much so that each bowl offers a new discovery; it can fade quietly into the background if need be, and its modest nicotine levels make it mellow enough to smoke all day.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

It falls somewhere in that middle ground. You can taste that the tobacco is fuller in flavor and depth than a straight Aromatic, yet is sweet and has some flavoring in there. Smokes cool, dry, and finishes to a nice ash. Leaves a pleasant room note. Not bad at all for a change of pace. I'd smoke it again.
- Timothy S., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Burley, Virginia, Black Cavendish
  • Cut: Broken Flake
  • Family: Aromatic
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2. Vanilla Cream

Vanilla Cream

Beloved by newcomers and experienced pipe smokers alike, Vanilla Cream is a delightful blend of Virginias, Burley, and Mac Baren's Modern Cavendish, a Black Cavendish which adds a rich creaminess to the smoke that's further enhanced by an exotic vanilla topping. Unlike similar vanilla Aromatics, the top note is present in both the smoke and aroma, yet it never masks the natural flavors of the high quality leaf itself, yielding a fragrance and flavor more akin to freshly baked pastries than, say, vanilla extract.

Available in: 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

This is one of the best vanilla Aromatics out there. I enjoy this and the flake version. Both are similar in taste and smoke. Welcome to flavor city!
- Casey Jones, 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Virginia, Burley, Black Cavendish
  • Cut: Ribbon
  • Family: Aromatic
  • Strength:
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1. HH Old Dark Fired

HH Old Dark Fired

Mac Baren describes HH Old Dark Fired as an English-style blend, referring not to the presence of Latakia but to the traditional processes employed to produce this old-school flake tobacco. Select grades of Virginia leaf are blended with a significant percentage of Dark-Fired Kentucky, cased only slightly to enhance the sweetness and augment the pH, and then hot-pressed. The heat pressing steams the tobacco under pressure, expediting the marrying process and giving the blend an aged or matured quality right out of the tin. Though quite similar in strength and components, Old Dark Fired seems to be a little less mesquite in flavor than HH Bold Kentucky, offering a more rounded finish full of earthy spice but also a deep, rich sweetness similar to molasses.

Available in: 1.75oz | 3.5oz | 16oz | Bulk

I put off getting any of this one for a while. I've been burned by the hype bug before. In this instance, I regret that decision. Everything from the deep, spicy flavor to the perfectly cut flakes is of amazing quality. I can't get enough of it. If you haven't tried it yet you really should. It's every bit as good as people say.
- Brett T., 5-star review at Smokingpipes.com
  • Components: Dark-Fired Kentucky, Virginia
  • Cut: Flake
  • Family: Burley
  • Strength:
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So there you have it: our top 10 best-selling Mac Baren pipe tobaccos here at Smokingpipes. Keep in mind, these blends were ranked based on popularity, not by our own tastes or judgements. If you don't see your favorite on the list, leave us a comment and share your thoughts — perhaps it will make it in a future list!

Latest Updates (2022):

  • HH Old Dark Fired stayed at #1
  • HH Pure Virginia moved from #2 to #4
  • Vanilla Cream moved from #3 to #2
  • Mixture Scottish Blend moved from #4 to #3
  • Navy Flake moved from #5 to #8
  • Latakia Flake stayed at #6
  • HH Bold Kentucky moved from #8 to #10
  • Virginia No. 1 entered at #5
  • Vanilla Roll Cake entered at #7
  • Golden Extra entered at #9

A note on the tobacco information.

Strength: a measure of the tobacco's body and nicotine. One is the lowest. Five s is the highest.

Room Note: a measure of the pleasantness or intensity of the smoke's odor to everyone else in the room. One is the least intense room note, while five s would be the most noticeable to others.

Taste: A measure of the the power and fullness of the smoke's flavor, with one being the most mellow and five s being the fullest.


Comments

    • David Zembo on September 27, 2020
    • The literary corner of Smokingpipes never lets us down; thanks for another great read. Fine tobaccos and writing in a properly chosen pipe never disappoint! My familiarity with Mac Baren goes back to my college days in the 70’s. Having smoked most of the offerings (Burley Flake and Mixture Flake are among my favorites) there are yet more to explore thanks to a well stocked cellar awaiting their turn. Having recently added some tins of Stockton, I sadly missed out on the recent re-release of the Burley London Mixture last smoked in 1975! Oh well, until next time.Dz

    • Brian Gleason on September 27, 2020
    • Thank You for all the work you did in this article. I enjoy the Brand's blends. Very tasty and depth to them. Stay safe and healthy.

    • Pam H on October 22, 2021
    • Most fun I've had reading an internet article in quite a long time. My favorite thing's about mac b are their multitudes of top shelf products, fantastic value, and most of them are great all day smokes while also being wonderfully nuanced. Who else pulls all of these off so effortlessly?

    • John Vince on May 22, 2022
    • I have the Mac barren cherry fantastic

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