The strongest blend in the HH line, Bold Kentucky contains a high amount of the finest dark fired Kentucky from the USA and Africa, combined with bright Virginias to soften the taste just a bit. Still earthy and smoky, the dark fired takes center stage, with a slight nuance of sweetness. It's all married in a hot press for one unique taste. Like all the other HH blends made by Mac Baren, this blend has only an absolute minimal casing and no top flavor at all.
It’s a warm Sunday evening as I await dinner. I trek into my tobacco room where I stare in glee looking over my selection awaiting something to jump out at me and say, pick me, pick me. And there it is, Mac Baren’s HH Bold Kentucky. And so, I pick up... Read More the jar, remove 4 slices and lay them out to dry for 45 minutes while I eat a hearty Italian dinner; after all it is Sunday.
The time has arrived as I fold and load 2 slices into my Sevket Meerschaum pipe. Followed by rubbing out the other 2 slices. I walk outside with my Yeti filled with ice and a small amount of apple juice. The ritual now begins. I tamp down the top and then char it for a few moments. I then tamp it down again and wait where I once again char it and tamp it down. Now, I wait about a minute and being the lighting process for a successful burn. Ahhhhhh, the smoke is voluminous and flavorful which reminds me of a wonderful barbeque.
I slow down my smoking and it was a wonderful 15 minutes. I let the pipe rest a minute or two and then relight it for serious business. The second session lasts 45 minutes where I get wonderful smokey flavor with some notes of hay, citrus and a hint of sweetness.
The second session has now concluded. I let the pipe rest for about 10-15 minutes where I scrape out the burned ashes and tamp it down. Time for a relight. The last session lasted about 30 minutes and was very strong and flavorful. This is not for beginners. If you’re a cigar smoker as I once was this will certainly remind you of the pleasure derived from a fine cigar; namely Opus X including the nic hit. All my sessions, the burn was even, smooth and full flavored.
Overall, this is a strong but yet flavorful tobacco which will surely delight the veteran connoisseur. My Sevket has a 2.75” bowl depth and about a .85 diameter so unless you’re used to this amount of tobacco, I suggest a much smaller bowl especially if you’re a neophyte. Good luck and enjoy life. Read Less
You hear warnings about super-powerful pipe tobacco, but if you are transitioning from cigarettes or some other form of tobacco, this is one of those that you might need. The nicotine kick is satisfying enough to get you through a craving. Even bette... Read Morer, the taste is just INCREDIBLE. It is strong, but still just sweet enough. I really prefer Balkans and Va/Pers, but if you need the nicotine you pretty much have to go with Burleys. There are a few good Burleys out there, but if you really want good flavor AND a satisfying nicotine hit to keep you away from bad habits, you should really give this one a try. Read Less
Although, this is a bold, heavy blend, don’t let the name scare you off. There is no bitterness, harshness, or bite here. Tin note is very pungent and earthy. Something between black tea, and horse manure (gotcha wanting’ to try it already, eh?). I ... Read Moregave it an hour’s dry time, but don’t think it needed it. The thin dark flakes work out into almost a shag cut. Burnt well, relight after I went to refill my coffee. Sweet earthy flavor, hints of oak smoke, charcoal, then fresh out of the oven pumpernickel bread about halfway thru. I’m not real sensitive to nicotine, but I suspect this has a good dose. Not something I’d smoke every day, but a nice smoke when you want to sink your chops into something more. Read Less
Take your time smoking this blend. It is wonderfully rich and earthy and there is some surprising sweetness, but it isn't citrusy or sharp. It's more like a bread compliment to the spice and nuttiness from the Kentucky. The only downside is it has po... Read Moretential to be too strong for some smokers. Read Less
Bk knocks every category out of the park! Price, ok maybe not price. Moving on! Presentation, gold foil. Flakes, compact perfectly moisture level, tight. Tin note, awesome combo of crispy bacon and vinegary tomato. Pipe pack, tight or loose, smokes ... Read Moregreat (does require occasional relight). Room note, amazing, best room note of any blend, toasted marshmallows. Nicotine, full throttle. Flavour, dark roasted coffee, espresso, smokey salty cocoa, sweet vinegary hay. The DF is the dominant consistent note throughout every bowl. Complexity is debatable, consistency is not. Wonderful smoke, top to bottom, every bowl. Read Less
Could have been a tin of steak sauce, upon first smell. There can be no doubt that this is of the highest quality leaf. I like it, I am still not sure how much though. Regardless, it deserves at least a 4.5 for being a high quality standard for what ... Read Moreit is. No doubt I'll return to this review sometime in the future to update once I've finished the epic journey that this tin is. Read Less
This blend is a good quality flake with a bit of drying needed from tin. Smell of tin has a savoryness about it. Flakes were rubbed out. If smoked slow a bit of hay/grass can be tasted. When big retrohale nic can be felt with a tickle of the nose. Mo... Read Morederate retrohale the savory flavor can be had just not as strong as the the tin note. This would be a blend I'd have someone start with trying to detect flavors because it not so complex. In my opinion wish this had basma instead of virginias. Good blend over all for nicotine. Post decanter up date/ palate change has made this blend great let it sit on the shelf for a while and the strong sharpness fades to smooth and earthy umami that is now dedicated to its only pipe cheers and don’t let your ember go out... Read Less
Bold indeed. Never smoked anything like it. Not for the beginner but very rich and powerful. Serious N dose. Great alone or blended with another tobacco. Easy to light, burns well and no bite. Nice smoky tin smell and enjoyable room note (for me, no... Read Moret for the wife). In my rotation !!! Read Less
It's not for nothing that Mac Baren is sometimes referred to as 'Mac Bitten'. Many blends that I've tried have started off well but didn't finish that way. Bold Kentucky is a very noticeable exception. Smoking it straight from the tin, it lights easi... Read Morely. From a light beginning, it builds to a wonderful, full, robust flavor that has no bite and is not harsh at all. (This makes it a bit dangerous, since the temptation is to smoke quickly. Don't!) Take your time and you will be rewarded with a rich, flavorful, smooth smoke that burns down to a white ash with very little dottle at the bottom of the bowl. I have tried and liked Irish Flake, but I absolutely *love* this stuff. I'll be ordering much more of this, and will be very interested to see how it ages. Read Less
As stated in another of my posts, Mac Baren has attained the halcyon of Germains and Gawith. HHBK is yet another stellar product in MB's HH line, and is of the highest quality. It's one of the most unique flakes not only in their line, but across all... Read More house lines. The only other flakes comparatively in boldness and nicotine strength, would be G&H Dark Flake Unscented or Peterson's Irish Flake. HHBK has a full, bold flavor. It's earthy, woody and the Virginia provides an underlying and consistent sweetness. Hot pressing melds these flavors and mellows the mixture thereby removing rough edges. Luckily, this lacks the vinegar that predominates in HH Old Dark Fired (can't stand that), but still possesses a bitterness now again as only Kentucky can provide. Sipped and smoked cool, as in pulling when the smoke gets thin, will yield great flavor. Too much puffing or pushing however, will only bring a sour bitterness that borders on rancid. The nicotine in this is perhaps the most potent I've had - aside from GH Dark Flake. Nicotine is 4.5 out of 5. This is stronger than HH Rustica and far better in flavor. I love the clean taste of MacBaren's HH line, and the presentation of their flakes; wrapped in gold paper and so cleanly cut and stacked, is appealing and denotes a special product for pipe smoking. I am putting POUNDS of this in the cellar. Read Less
As a Dark-Fired Kentucky lover, who fell in love at first puff, I have smoked through many a tin of Irish Flake, John Cotton’s Kentucky, and Mac Baren’s Old Dark Fired and Bold Kentucky, Samuel Gawith’s 1792 Flake. I’m most likely leaving out one or ... Read Moretwo. I love them all and appreciate their differences. But Bold Kentucky? That is what I go to when I want the most powerful DFK experience, with just a very minor addition of sweet Virginias in the mix. Of course, you know that with a higher percentage of DFK and with a lower percentage of Virginias per flake (as compared to the aforementioned blends), you are going to feel some serious firepower. This is Mac Baren’s Old Dark Fired with a bit less Virginias, decreasing the sweetness, while turning up that smoky barbecue flavor of DFK and something you’ll experience quite vividly, viscerally. That nicotine blast, which Mac Baren ratchets up here to full-throttle. Mac Baren achieves what I believe it hoped for here: to deliver a more powerful version of ODF, knowing that to do so would mean less Virginias and more DFK per flake. Try it, if you dare. At least keep it for those nights, and perhaps days, when you want to receive the utmost DFK experience, or to intake almost enough Vitamin N to kill a mule. As a reviewer shrewdly observed, this is an easier way to enjoy that flavor you might be chasing while trying to secure those evasive tins of Samuel Gawith’s ropes (especially Brown Number Four) and Gawith Hoggarth’s Brown Bogie. I’ll say what so many (and probably you) know to be true: Bold Kentucky is ideally enjoyed after a decent-sized meal. Else you might be found sitting down on the pavement, disoriented and “tired from the heat.” 5.0 stars. Read Less
This is a great Burley: one that belongs in the repertoire of any Burley lover, like yours truly. I think it has a similar profile to my favorite C&D Burley Flake #1. It burns steady, right from start. No tongue bite. The various flavors that com... Read Morepose this tobacco - chocolate, cream, nuts, coffee - appear in unison at first. As you smoke through the bowl, each nuance of this savory Burley acquires a more distinct expression. In other words, it becomes "bolder" as you smoke. Not so much in terms of strength, but in the "richness" of taste. There is also an undertone of sweetness that is quite pleasant. Producing a good amount of smoke, yet with a pretty acceptable room note, this is a real winner for the Burley lover. Read Less
Freshly tinned it is good. A few sharp notes here and there. The flavor has sweetness and I think the “bold” has more to do with the kick of nicotine than flavor, but there is plenty of Kentucky and Virginia flavor. Recently opened a 5 year old tin a... Read Morend aging makes this tobacco brilliant. All sharp notes have faded, leaving behind a really sublime smoke. Read Less
Great blend if one likes stronger mixes. It isn't the least bit harsh nor does it have a tendency to bite. It has a true Kentucky/Burley & VA flavor & the tin note was an earthy sweet & sour aroma. The flakes were quite dark & very moist with a minim... Read Moreal amount of yellow Virginia. I rubbed out a flake and let sit for about twenty minutes. I thought I'd try this out for a change of pace because I prefer stronger blends & Burley usually delivers a quick, strong vitamin N blast & this stuff works.
It is a strong tobacco that smokes mildly. It expands quite a bit after the charring light & provided an excellent burn rate and keeping it lit was not a problem. I didn't notice the Virginia that much but it's probably what tamed the slight bitterness of the Burley which soon subsided. The mild topping is barely noticeable and the flavor was mostly nutty, earthy Burley with additional sweetness coming from the Virginia infusion. Read Less
Absolutely love this tobacco. Taste is top notch, full strength nicotine level, the only tobacco stronger with such good flavor, is Rustica strain tobacco. This tobacco is very similar to Irish Flake in aroma and flavor, but has more nicotine. I coul... Read Mored not tell them apart by odor or taste, but could tell apart by strength, this had a tad more nicotine. Smokes best out of clay pipes, but I have not tried it in Meer. If folding flakes, I suggest drying out a bit. I do not dry the flake rubbed out. Best way to smoke is a partially dried folded flake, with fresh rubbed on top. It also mixes very very well with a touch of perique or rustica added to it if you need even more nicotine and a deeper spicy earth flavor. Read Less
I was looking for a big burley flake. Bold Kentucky delivered!! The tin note is delicious. BBQ meat. Smoke. Ketchup. The smoke is strong and full with lots of rich flavor. MacBaren makes the best burning flakes. IMO. Nicotine is present but not too... Read More overpowering. I highly recommend Read Less
If you are a Dark Fired tobacco lover, it's hard to imagine you won't enjoy Bold Kentucky. BK is one of the first dark fired blends I tried, and it was an instant hit for me. I simply couldn't get enough of that BBQ, savory, slightly sweet and very ... Read Morespicy aroma in the tin and smoke. Bold Kentucky is dark brown, going on black from the high percentage of dark fired American and African (Malawi?) Tobaccos, but the golden Virginia does mellow it ever so slightly. The flavor during the first half of the bowl is pure heaven, with that savory BBQ and American spice really dominating the senses, and if you love dark fired tobaccos you will most likely be in love here. African dark fired flavors are in abundance here, with the American lending it's signature spice and smokiness. The second half of the bowl the strength really kicks it up a gear. Most likely you will need a few relights here, but it's not to the point of annoyance. All that being said, if you aren't a huge fan of dark fired tobaccos then Bold Kentucky may be a little too much for a regular smoke, but I would argue that even for those less inclined it will provide a deeply flavorful and potent occasional smoke. I simply love this blend and honestly I'm not sure whether or not I like ODF or BK more but right now I'm smoking boatloads of both and loving it. Each smoke is unique, and different notes pop up all the time. Sometimes I get stray cigar notes akin to GH brown ropes and sometimes the delicious Malawi dark fired flavors of Dark Birdseye combined with a subtle sweetness of Virginia that just puts me in heaven. Mac Baren's is hitting home run after home run with these HH blends, with Old Dark Fired and Bold Kentucky leading the pack. Both of these blends are top of the line and really without equal if you ask me. Here you have two blends (ODF and BK) that are supremely delicious, exceptionally smooth, nearly 100% consistent, truly bite free, ample in nicotine without overwhelming, and provide ultimate satisfaction. Bold Kentucky can be smoked more than once per day but for the vast majority of people is not an all day smoke. Old dark fired is your all day smoke if you enjoy this one like me. Read Less
I bought a tin of this at Christmas because it was so highly recommended and have been trying it in various pipes for a couple months now. There are some things I really like about BK. It smells wonderful in the tin and when smoked. In the tin it has... Read More an almost beef jerky aroma; when smoked it's much like an evening campfire. But I find that it gets a bit to sour for me as it smokes down. Also, the nicotine hit for me is quite high. I just can't enjoy this straight up. I mix it 50/50 with Amphora regular or Irish Oak now. I still have over 50 grams of this left and would gladly swap it out at this point. Read Less
I give this one five stars,even though my I pad will only give me half a star tonight.Recommended after a rich meal with a cup of coffee.The flavor of the tobacco is very complimentary.Burns to a white/gray ash.I'm lighting up those ashes right now,c... Read Moreompleting last night's smoke.Don't light this up hoping for Hal O The Wynd.It just is'int like that,my smokers.The taste reminds me of Peterson's Irish Flake,But it's a lot more leathery and smoky.Try it Read Less
All i can say is WOW !!! This stuff is the best tobacco ever made by mortal man . Buy as much as you can afford you wont be sorry .
Taste is superb , burns very cool and slow , no bite what so ever ......perfection .
The high price of it keeps it f... Read Morerom being a 5 star blend for me. Read Less
I agree wholeheartedly when Mac Baren says this is their strongest tobacco to date. Very similar to the likes of their ODF but with much less of a vinegar smell from the tin and definitely more potent. A slightly sweet tobacco aroma is the tin note f... Read Moreor this one and nothing else. I smoked this fresh from the tin and although it did require a few relights, it did not smoke wet. Irish Flake has always been a favorite of mine and that is the benchmark for my comparison. I've noticed since KK no longer blends IrF, that its overall quality for me has dropped a bit. Still a good smoke, but not the same anymore. Enter HHBK. A great natural tasting tobacco with a very strong - but not harsh in any way - presence. A very full tasting, nicotine laced flake for sure. Needs to be smoked slowly and with thought or the nicotine will leave you with a lump in your chest. Same taste profile from the beginning to the end of the bowl. Nothing fancy, just good tobacco as it was meant to be smoked. If you like a good, stout and dark flake, this is the one. For me, it was Kentucky all the way as I could not detect any of the Virginia presence other than for the slight sweetness in the smoke. I enjoyed it more than ODF by the way. Kudos to MacBaren. Simply excellent and 5 starts!! Read Less
I love this stuff! The extremely rich and smoky flavor of the Burley really pairs nicely with the subtle sweetness of the Virginia here. It’s strong but well-balanced, and that musky flavor will permeate your senses in a way that keeps you coming bac... Read Morek for more.
I do have to add, though - another reviewer attempts to suggest this is a viable substitute for GH&Co ropes. Bold Kentucky certainly has a similar profile and decent strength, but it misses the flavor mark for me by a wide margin. It is not as oily or pungent - it’s more like a cousin than a brother. Still tastes delicious, worthy of 5 stars without any comparison, so don’t let that diminish your enjoyment of what this actually is - very good indeed. Read Less
I;ve recently come back to regular pipe smoking and gave up my cigarette habit. As a result, I have been exploring high nicotine blends for my morning withdrawals and coffee :-) So far, I've found that dark-fired Kentucky based blends deliver a wonde... Read Morerful combination of strength and flavor. This blend delivers on all counts. I find it's a great balance between the earthy element and floral element that Kentucky's can have. The flavoring here, if there's any, is far less notable than in Old Dark Fired, as are the VAs. This is similar to something like GH&C's Dark Flake or Conniston, but without any of the Lakeland notes, and the nicotine level strikes me as similarly high to those flakes as well. A real homerun for MacBaren, who seem to have access to tremendous DFK leaf. Read Less
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