I’ve been a bad reviewer, my apologies. Life on occasion requires that you to have all hands on deck, and hobbies and responsibilities can get pushed aside. It is good to be back amongst the fine folks here at Smoking Jacket Magazine. There is no better reintroduction to tobacco reviews than Mac Baren’s truly inspired HH Vintage Syrian Latakia.
Mac Baren hit a home run with this impressive blend. Generally I prefer to mix things up and smoke several bends in a short period of time. Usually I go back and forth between trying something new and returning to an old favourite. Once and a while though, a special tin comes along that requires your full attention. You just want to keep smoking until there isn’t any left. This is one of those stand out tins.
The more pipes I acquire, the harder it becomes to choose. Today I chose my humble thirty dollar Medico Varsity bent billiard. It is simple pipe, the draft hole is off center, but it was one of my first. It’s great to have a little pipe that you don’t have to worry if it takes some wear. Having pored myself a cup of Earl Grey I wandered out to the deck to get down to business.
The tin note is exceptional. There is a definite earthy and smokey aroma from the latakia. Orientals, as you would expect, add a light sour note that balances out well. All together it reminds me very much of a wonderfully peated Scotch whiskey.
Lately I have been packing my pipes using the German method. As a side note, I am convinced this method provides a much better smoke than the standard three layer method. If you have not tried the German method (also known as the Frank method), I highly recommend experimenting with it. The moisture of the tobacco was perfect. The burn is even and easy to keep lit, the smoke is thick and voluminous and it burns down into a greyish white ash that holds its shape nicely. The taste of latakia shines through and is perfectly balanced by the sweet and sour of the virginas and Turkish orientals. Dark fired Kentucky adds some extra depth and body to the mix. I found the flavour to have a perfect complexity. It is smokey, peppery and yet very creamy. The further down into the bowl I got the more I enjoyed it. Pleasingly, there is enough nicotine to satisfy. There was no tongue bite even though I was puffing more frequently than I usually do. Also there was no excess moisture to cause any gurgle.
This 3.5 oz tin will be smoked in record time. Another order will be on its way soon. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Try it for yourself. You can get it here at pipesandcigars.com, and here at smokingpipes.com
“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone” – Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones.
By: Tad Seymour
Tad has been smoking cigars as a hobby for the past 15 years and took up pipe smoking a little over a year ago, though you would never know it by his large pipe and tobacco collection. His hobbies include golf, soccer, camping, reading, mead making and brewing, a glass of good scotch, and sharing a love of quality tobaccos with his friends.