Mac Baren Mixture in Bulk

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by User4408, Mar 27, 2013.

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  1. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Mac Baren Mixture Scottish Blend is one of my favorites. I smoke considerable quantities of it.

    So it would make sense to buy it in bulk. However when I did so back in 2005, the 5-pound bag was something of a disappointment. The cut, texture, and color were identical to the tinned version, but the aroma was completely different. It had a strong alcoholic fragrance (like Scotch) instead of the honey toast aroma that I like so much.

    Therefore I buy it now in the 3.5 oz tins, and I'm never disappointed. The quality is absolutely consistent. But perhaps my earlier bulk batch was just a fluke, and I should reconsider how I purchase it.

    Do any of you have experience buying Mixture Scottish Blend in bulk? And if so, is there any difference from the tinned version? Are the 1-lb and 5-lb versions the same? Are the aromas consistent with the tinned version?
     
  2. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    I don't smoke Mixture but I just bought a 5-lb bag of Symphony and noticed it was a bit drier than the tinned stuff. That was good for me. But the taste and aroma were the same. Your experience may have been a fluke... and "should" have been a fluke, but who knows. Hope it turns out to be, because the bulk purchase is certainly more cost effective.
     
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  3. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    The Mixture was also a bit drier but re-humidified very quickly, in less than a day, with indirect moisture. I try to keep the tobacco pliable (and touch it as little as possible) to preserve the original cut and its marvelous burning qualities.

    So this is at least some evidence that my batch was a fluke. A thought did just occur to me that I could buy 4 oz. of the bulk and test it out. And, assuming it's OK, hope that it doesn't change again when I put in the order for 5 pounds!

    Flukes aside, I hand it to Mac Baren for maintaining extremely high consistency. Everything they do is well thought out and well executed.

    And BTW congratulations on the Symphony. I smoked a lot of it back in 2006 and occasionally crave it. The Kentucky Burley is very satisfying and there's a certain unique subtle flavor or aroma in there that gets even more attractive over time. Delicious.
     
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  4. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Yes. It ages quite nicely. It doesn't change dramatically but it gets more mellow and that slight sting goes away completely. It was far and away my favorite Mac B until Old Dark Fired came out.
     
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  5. cmkiefer

    cmkiefer Member

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    Just cracked open a 1 pounder of Mixture and rejarred it last weekend. Didn't notice any difference in "tin note" or smoking. I love this stuff.
     
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  6. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    You can get the tins for $7.95 each or the 5# bulk from JR Cigars for $107.95, shipping cost is $5.00 per order.
     
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  7. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. That's encouraging.

    So the 1-lb version of Mixture sounds pretty much identical to the tinned version in flavor and aroma. I still have my doubts about the 5 pounder though. There's a snippet review at Pipes & Cigars that echoes the experience I had.
     
  8. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Great info, cobbsmoker. Thanks for sending that along. It's really funny to me that this high-quality well-made imported pipe tobacco is now less expensive than than drugstore tobacco!
     
  9. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    If the bag was sitting somewhere lame for a while .. could have been the culprit .
     
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  10. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    That's a possibility.

    I got it in 2005, so memories aren't too sharp. I believe the package was dated and recent. I definitely recall that the tobacco was in perfect condition: dry to the touch, but pliable and springy when you squeezed it between the fingers. And it looked EXACTLY like Mixture Scottish Blend, which is pretty difficult to fake since it has so many different tobacco types and cuts in it.

    As you mentioned elsewhere Mac Baren are masters of consistency. They can be relied on to deliver tobacco in a perfect ready-to-smoke condition. And the 5 pounder I got is actually perfect in every regard except that it reeks of scotch, which is not a bad thing but disappointing if you're expecting honey toast. And when the smell is different, the taste can't help but be different too.
     
  11. James1956

    James1956 Member

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    I've noticed the same thing with MacB VA #1. I buy it in bulk regularly and enjoy it, but it doesn't seem to have the same aroma as the tinned version. I do buy a tin on occasion, and always relish the scent when it is first opened.
     
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  12. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    You have 7 year Scottish ! Scottish is the only blend I ever aged .. and it just so happens I aged mine for 7 also . mine changed and got richer and mello and all around lovely ..... I'm envious :D
     
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  13. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Here are some photos of the Mixture stash and how much it changed over the years. Just click the thumbnails for a better look ...

    [​IMG]

    That's right: those are my wife's Italian bail-top jars that she thought were supposed to be for dried pasta. And I'm hoping like hell she's not a fan of PSF.

    [​IMG]

    My experience is the same as yours: aged Mixture is richer and mellower. I still can't believe how strong the Scotch vapors are after all these years.
     
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  14. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Yep. I think when you smoke these tobaccos over the long term (which you obviously have) you start to appreciate nuances that are completely invisible to the occasional smoker. For example I snagged a tin of this a while back ...

    [​IMG]

    and was amazed by the subtle difference: it was still sweet, but in a warm caramel maple-sugar kind of way. The bulk version is excellent but somehow more muted. Like you say, the tinned version has that mouth watering scent.

    All three are obviously the same tobacco though. The cut, color, and burning characteristics are identical. Perhaps a slightly modified process is used for bulk packaging.
     
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  15. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    Lovely pictures ! Love the stuff ! MB GE darkens also and the topnote is more distinct .. have some 10 year old MB GE ... it's fantastic . Don't let anyone tell you Burley doesn't age . The cheap stuff , like SWR [ which I love ] , ages a bit but not as much as the better Burley
     
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  16. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Ah, good on YOU. I needed a reminder to smoke burley every once in a while. And GE is one of the best IMHO.

    OK, I don't have 10-year old GE, but I do have a tin of Mac Baren Fireside which is said to be from the 70's. And Fireside is definitely a burley, more in the style of GE than London Blend since it's silky (rather than dry) and has that distinctive honey fragrance. As a matter of fact, when I popped the lid on Fireside it smelled like there was a honeycomb inside, and I'm not exaggerating. Luscious!

    Well, here are some photos to compare and contrast. I have the cappuccino in there as a point of reference:

    [​IMG]

    And closer up ...

    [​IMG]

    And finally a shot of a Cavicchi 2C Author with some 3-year old GE simmering inside ...

    [​IMG]

    Even though I'm pretty firmly over in the Virginia camp, the depth and aroma of burley are very satisfying.
     
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  17. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    Man , youre killin me ........ more envy :D . I would imagine the Fireside was a lighter color years ago . I didn't start smoking MB products till later on .. I was hooked on Three Nuns and Edgethworth . Heck , it might have been early 90's before I smoked an MB Product ... thus I have never tried Fireside . So being your pulling out these big guns , I gotta ask ................ You have any aged MB Latakia ? ...that you don't want :xd:
     
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  18. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    It's funny that you should ask. I did have a hogshead crate holding sealed tins of mid-60's LB. After reading your post I went to my cellar to fetch it for you, but noticed a yawning gap where the crate used to be. So I asked My Little Welsh Firebrand where it went:

    "Oh," she said, "after seeing that you had re-purposed my pasta jars as tobacco humidors, I figured there must be some sort of new policy in this house. So I re-purposed those tins. Yesterday I set aside their contents and now I'm using the tins to hold my painting and watercolor supplies."

    "Oh, OK, no problem!" I said. "Can you tell me where you put the contents?"​

    "Well, the tobacco was all dark," she said, "Obviously it had gone rotten. Plus it smelled kinda like camel poop. So I chopped it up in your blender and mixed it in with the garden fertilizer. You'll find it in the shed."

    She had her nostrils flared at this point. So I just lowered my head and backed slowly out of the kitchen.

    Sorry about that, ruffinogold. Maybe next time.
     
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  19. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    :eek: .... bbbbbbbut [​IMG]
     
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