Best Enjoyed Afterward! (Mac Baren Dark Twist Roll Cake in a MacQueen White Wizard)


One of the best parts of writing reviews is the chance to sample different tobaccos.  I recently received a shipment of Mac Baren tobaccos, including some old favorites, and at least one new favorite.  Having recently done a review on Mac Baren navy flake, and having enjoyed a few bowls of Capstan Gold, I looked forward to my next Mac Baren product, and picked Dark Twist Roll Cake from the available selection. describes the tobacco as follows;

Dark Twist was introduced in 1955. It is rightfully the most known of the Mac Baren Roll Cake tobaccos. Whole leaves are used as wrapper for the rope and the inlay is divided into two groups.

The first group contains 100% pure Virginia tobaccos, meaning that the whole leaves are used as wrapper leaves and the leaves with small imperfections are used as the inlay.

The second group contains whole Virginia leaves as wrapper and Dark Fired Kentucky as inlay, meaning you see the dark tobacco in the centre and the brighter Virginias around it.

After the tobaccos have been spun into ropes it is stored for weeks and then cut into small coins. The blend of Dark Twist is broken down as follows. For every 2 coins of Virginia tobacco there is 1 coin with a centre of Dark Fired Kentucky.

Like most of our spun tobaccos, water and maple sugar are boiled and added to the tobacco. This is all we add, so the taste is very natural with the interplay between the natural sweet Virginias and light sour and smoky flavour from the Dark Fired Kentucky perfectly blended to create a natural tobacco taste.

And has this to say;

Dark Twist is a full roll cake tobacco for special moments. It’s round in taste and quite unique. The specially spiced, dark Cavendish ensures its pleasant taste and harmoniously matches the choice Virginia tobacco. The mellow but pleasant top dressing finishes things perfectly.

Well, it definitely sounds interesting.

The 100 gram (3.5 ounce) tin is slightly difficult for somebody with my disabilities to open, but that is to be expected.  Once opened, I am greeted with the fresh smell of the can.  The sweet, slightly fermented tobacco bouquet is appealing, if unexciting.

I fold and stuff four or five flakes into my Peterson Canadian P-lip and light up.

This is where things start to go wrong.  The tobacco doesn’t burn very well at all, and is really quite full of tongue bite; it seriously interferes with my enjoyment of the tobacco.  I end up leaving off the bowl, and tapping it out early as almost un-smokable.

Then, as my mouth settles down, the aftertaste hits me!  Wonderful!  Magical!  Magnificent!  The taste this tobacco leaves in your mouth is indescribably good.  If only the tobacco didn’t bite so hard?!

I resolve to this tobacco another try, this time in a Churchwarden, and see if I can’t mitigate the tongue bite a little with the long stem.

So, the next morning, while I sat alone waiting for people to get up, I grabbed up the MacQueen Wizard Churchwarden and rubbed out three flakes.

Well, the tobacco lit easily enough, and stayed lit.  And to a large extent, the long-stemmed wizard did alleviate the tongue bite, however, as the tobacco heated up the tongue bite worsened.  The harder I puffed on the pipe, the worse it got.  I found that if I let the tobacco burn coolly, the tongue bite was allayed, but I still got that unbelievable aftertaste.

In a Churchwarden, smoked slowly, this is a great tobacco, but a few puffs like a steam engine and this tobacco becomes un-smokable.

Best enjoyed patiently, or appreciated afterward.

You can find this blend in the 3.5 ounce (100 g) size at for $13.34 USD or for a few cents more at  You can also buy a 1 pound bag at for $43.89 USD.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!


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