MacBaren HH Balkan Blend

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slowroll
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Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:30 pm

Finally tried a few bowls of this. Like many others, I've been curious to see how it stacks up (pun) to HH Vintage Syrian.
Nice tin note reminiscent of many good English blends over the years, smoky and with a detectable oriental and bright Virginia presence. The smoking, however, is not at all close to HH Syrian. It has less of the full bodied flavor, that nice round and rich mouthfeel that HH Syrian has. What it does have is more of the astringency of Orientals and maybe the bright Va contributing to a Sharpish taste. The latakia is not as dominant as in the HH Syrian. To me, HH Syrian resembles an old English mixed with ODF. This one doesn't strike me that way. What it makes me think of is Squadron Leader mixed with C&D Byzantium and Smyrna. Not a bad tobac, but not overwhelming IMO. When my Vintage Syrian runs out, I'll be smoking more C&D Engine 99.
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Fr_Tom
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Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:46 pm

This is a good review. There was always a slightly "meaty" quality to Vintage Syrian. It had just the right amount of spicy and smokey for me. It was easily my favorite English. Thanks!
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slowroll
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Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:13 pm

Meaty is a good description of Vintage Syrian. My description of HH ODF has always been that it reminds my of a seared Filet Mignon. The Syrian is like that with latakia dominant .
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Middle Earth
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Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:05 pm

I expect I will like it
A lot
Only HH blend I have not tried as the are no freaking one pound boxes yet.
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houtenziel
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:02 am

Even after a few bowls of Vintage Syrian, I am feeling the loss. I almost wish I had never smoked it, so that I could just be blissfully ignorant. VS hits all the right notes for me, and I've yet to find any other Latakia mixture that doesn't taste a little out of balance at some point in the bowl. :cry:
The search will continue..
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Middle Earth
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:56 pm

HH Latakia Flake floats many a smoker's boat.
Rated the same by the pipe smoking community.
Regardless of reviews or ratings it only opinion that matters is the one smoking it.
Having smoked both, I will take Latakia Flake every day over Vintage Syrian, which was real good. Just not as good.
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houtenziel
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:58 pm

Middle Earth wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:56 pm
HH Latakia Flake floats many a smoker's boat.
Rated the same by the pipe smoking community.
Regardless of reviews or ratings it only opinion that matters is the one smoking it.
Having smoked both, I will take Latakia Flake every day over Vintage Syrian, which was real good. Just not as good.
Latakia flake is great, but to me Vintage Syrian is next level. They are somewhat dissimilar flavor wise, so I am not sure it's really a good comparison.
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MikeDennison
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:34 pm

Who is the blender of Vintage Syrian? You guys have piqued my interest!
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houtenziel
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:51 pm

MikeDennison wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:34 pm
Who is the blender of Vintage Syrian? You guys have piqued my interest!
Mac Baren. Unfortunately Syrian Latakia is extinct, so the blend went off the market. The supposed replacement was HH Balkan Blend, but it sounds like a completely different mix.
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MikeDennison
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Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:38 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:51 pm
MikeDennison wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:34 pm
Who is the blender of Vintage Syrian? You guys have piqued my interest!
Mac Baren. Unfortunately Syrian Latakia is extinct, so the blend went off the market. The supposed replacement was HH Balkan Blend, but it sounds like a completely different mix.
Oh. Ok. Too bad. You guys were making it sounds really good!
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