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Mac Baren Navy Flake: A review.

#1
I've been sampling various Mac Baren blends for the past few months, ever since trying Symphony which really impressed me.
The latest tin which I just cracked open today is Navy Flake.

The presentation in the tin is beautiful with the gold foil, and the flakes are just what you would expect from a Danish house; uniform and stacked perfectly in two rows. The tin note is some sort of fruit - maybe plum or apricot. I do not sense any Rum aroma although it is billed as being in there.

Mechanics; I rubbed out a single flake easily into a nice ribbon which I loaded into a MM Diplomat that is dedicated for Mac Baren blends. I used a balsa filter as I have learned that Mac Baren can bite easily and the filter seems to mitigate that somewhat. In this case there was no bite whatsoever. The moisture was perfect right out of the tin and I was able to smoke the entire bowl with very few re-lights.

Taste: I had high hopes that this would serve as a replacement for my favorite McClelland Navy Cavendish which sadly is no more. ( I have three 100 gram tins which will have to last for the rest of my days)
Mac Baren Navy Flake is not at all like the McClelland. In fact they have nothing in common. It is however a very nice flake. I found the fruity tin note carried over into the taste and reminded me of a milder version of Erinmore Flake. This is not what I was expecting and it detracts from an otherwise very good flake. Interestingly, I encountered no tongue bite - even though I pushed it a bit over the careful cadence which I usually practice when smoking a Mac Baren product. It's quite mild. I get a tea like tang from the Virginia and some smooth body which I guess comes from the Burley although I don't get any real Burley flavour. It's sweet, but not cloying. Easy to smoke and no bitter or ashy ending.

I will certainly finish the tin but I don't think I'll be laying any away.
 

craig

Well-known member
#2
I've been sampling various Mac Baren blends for the past few months, ever since trying Symphony which really impressed me.
The latest tin which I just cracked open today is Navy Flake.

The presentation in the tin is beautiful with the gold foil, and the flakes are just what you would expect from a Danish house; uniform and stacked perfectly in two rows. The tin note is some sort of fruit - maybe plum or apricot. I do not sense any Rum aroma although it is billed as being in there.

Mechanics; I rubbed out a single flake easily into a nice ribbon which I loaded into a MM Diplomat that is dedicated for Mac Baren blends. I used a balsa filter as I have learned that Mac Baren can bite easily and the filter seems to mitigate that somewhat. In this case there was no bite whatsoever. The moisture was perfect right out of the tin and I was able to smoke the entire bowl with very few re-lights.

Taste: I had high hopes that this would serve as a replacement for my favorite McClelland Navy Cavendish which sadly is no more. ( I have three 100 gram tins which will have to last for the rest of my days)
Mac Baren Navy Flake is not at all like the McClelland. In fact they have nothing in common. It is however a very nice flake. I found the fruity tin note carried over into the taste and reminded me of a milder version of Erinmore Flake. This is not what I was expecting and it detracts from an otherwise very good flake. Interestingly, I encountered no tongue bite - even though I pushed it a bit over the careful cadence which I usually practice when smoking a Mac Baren product. It's quite mild. I get a tea like tang from the Virginia and some smooth body which I guess comes from the Burley although I don't get any real Burley flavour. It's sweet, but not cloying. Easy to smoke and no bitter or ashy ending.

I will certainly finish the tin but I don't think I'll be laying any away.
excellent review, I found it was a good smoke from mac baren, I haven't rushed out to get more but it is in my notes that if I fancy a change of pace then it is something I will revisit.

one thing I did find that for a flake it is very easy to work with, in fact I would recommend this to those who wish to try a flake for the first time, as it is very easy to work with and it is quite forgiving for a blend that has quite a large percentage of Virginia content.
 

Arkie

Well-known member
#3
I tried Navy Flake about 20 years ago and again 8 or 10 years ago. Both times I wasn't displeased but I wasn't impressed. It's one of those mixtures that I wish I could like but it seems so bland to me I can detect hardly any flavor. I might get another tin and let it age for a few years to see if that will help.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#7
I've been sampling various Mac Baren blends for the past few months, ever since trying Symphony which really impressed me.
The latest tin which I just cracked open today is Navy Flake.

The presentation in the tin is beautiful with the gold foil, and the flakes are just what you would expect from a Danish house; uniform and stacked perfectly in two rows. The tin note is some sort of fruit - maybe plum or apricot. I do not sense any Rum aroma although it is billed as being in there.

Mechanics; I rubbed out a single flake easily into a nice ribbon which I loaded into a MM Diplomat that is dedicated for Mac Baren blends. I used a balsa filter as I have learned that Mac Baren can bite easily and the filter seems to mitigate that somewhat. In this case there was no bite whatsoever. The moisture was perfect right out of the tin and I was able to smoke the entire bowl with very few re-lights.

Taste: I had high hopes that this would serve as a replacement for my favorite McClelland Navy Cavendish which sadly is no more. ( I have three 100 gram tins which will have to last for the rest of my days)
Mac Baren Navy Flake is not at all like the McClelland. In fact they have nothing in common. It is however a very nice flake. I found the fruity tin note carried over into the taste and reminded me of a milder version of Erinmore Flake. This is not what I was expecting and it detracts from an otherwise very good flake. Interestingly, I encountered no tongue bite - even though I pushed it a bit over the careful cadence which I usually practice when smoking a Mac Baren product. It's quite mild. I get a tea like tang from the Virginia and some smooth body which I guess comes from the Burley although I don't get any real Burley flavour. It's sweet, but not cloying. Easy to smoke and no bitter or ashy ending.

I will certainly finish the tin but I don't think I'll be laying any away.
In the Mac B line, Plumcake is closer to the Navy Cavendish, sweet/sour with rum, and a little smoky/woody. But still a mile apart really.

I like Navy Flake, I have tins and bulk in the cellar. Nothing fancy, just a tasty smoke for me. With age it does nothing but improve too.
 

PipeHaze

Well-known member
#11
In the Mac B line, Plumcake is closer to the Navy Cavendish, sweet/sour with rum, and a little smoky/woody. But still a mile apart really.

I like Navy Flake, I have tins and bulk in the cellar. Nothing fancy, just a tasty smoke for me. With age it does nothing but improve too.
Where have you found it in bulk?