Mac Baren – HH Bold Kentucky

preview_B_can_New_Bold_Kentucky_large“This is the strongest pipe tobacco among the blends in the Mac Baren range and is not recommended for inexperienced pipe smokers. HH Bold Kentucky contains a high amount of the finest Dark Fired Kentucky from the USA and Africa and is combined with bright Virginias to soften the taste just a bit. Still the taste is of earthiness and smoke plays the major part with just a slight nuance of sweetness as the underlying taste. The origin of the taste is in the leaf itself and thanks to the hot press the different tastes merry into one unique taste. Like all the other HH blends this blend has only an absolute minimum of casing and no top flavour at all.” – Mac Baren

On March 20, 2015, Mac Baren released the reformation of their beloved HH series.  This reformation included some slight changes to their blends (while keeping the exact flavor), fantastic new artwork, new smaller tin options, and best of all a new blend: Bold Kentucky Flake.

Personally, I believe this blend is legendary.

The level of flavor and intensity acquired from just a couple hits of this blend is enough to make you remember it for life.

Bold KY is the perfect blend to come home to after a long day of work and to prepare you for a relaxing night of comfort.

First Impression

First of all, this blend is dark.  DARK.  The fermenting process they used for Bold KY must have been quite hot and extensive because this blend is definitely intense.

Something you will notice with this blend is the crazy nicotine content (which we will address later).  When I opened this tin I went ahead and rubbed out the whole lot.  By the time I was done, this dark oily tobacco just about gave me a nicotine buzz by being absorbed through my fingertips!

Tin note of this blend is intense.  Smells of tobacco.  You can smell the curing process still taking place.  Other than that, I didn’t pick up an any specific flavor notes.

While this tin is packed moist, the moisture level didn’t bother the packing process at all.  In fact, it made it a little easier.

Mac Baren Tobacco,, Mac Baren HH, Mac Baren HH Pipe Tobacco, Old Dark Fired, Latakia Flake, Acadian Perique, Vintage Syrian, Danish Pipe Tobacco,Smoke

Instant buzz.

I would strongly advise any smoker who doubts their ability to handle nicotine to avoid this blend.  You will be overwhelmed.

Now that we have gotten the disclaimer out of the way, the flavor of this tobacco is quite unique.

I often find that the strong nicotine blends tend to have loads of flavor.  However, Bold KY is not overwhelming with any flavor.  There are definite traces of spice, minute nuttiness, and a present vinegar thanks to the fermentation.  I am not complaining though.  The smoke relaxed me so much I seemed to not be thinking about the flavor, but rather enjoying being outside, reading my book, and drinking a bourbon.

While the blend is very oily, there is no problem smoking.  The moisture in no way inhibits lighting and miraculously doesn’t contribute to any spittle build up (which was a very pleasant surprise).

Room Note

Well I cannot really defend the room note of this blend.

Like most Dark Fired Kentucky tobacco, it tends to smell like a campfire.

It is quite pungent as well.  I did not dare smoke this blend in my home, so rather I took out a few bowls in my car.  The smell seemed to linger twice as long as other tobacco’s, and while I didn’t mind the note, I cannot say that my wife did.

While the note may not be terrible, it will more than likely not impress any bystanders.


What I am going to suggest here is not so much of a pairing, but of a meal.

You would be wise to smoke this on a full stomach.  Without calories and protein resting in your gut, then you will be much more prone to the nicotine of this blend.

I really enjoyed having a Cook-Out tray with a burger, cajun fried, and an oreo shake with mine.  But I enjoyed it with any fried food. Find a nice full meal you like and pair it with this smoke before hand.


Bold Kentucky is definitely a Full flavored blend.

This is true not so much that is overwhelms you with flavor, but because it is just hands down intense.

Overall Score

I really enjoyed this blend.

Bold KY is a blend that can be the full flavored cornerstone of your collection.  There is a lack of negatives to this blend.

I give Bold Kentucky a 7 out of 10.

There are two reasons why I give this blend a 7: 1) I believe there is room for a more complex flavor profile that matches the overall intensity of this blend, and 2) it cannot be smoked by everyone.  A high scoring tobacco should be able to be enjoyed by smokers of all kinds.

You can bet your cellar that I will be keeping a tin of HH Bold Kentucky in mine!


Images provided by Mac Baren.


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