By Bob Tate
As some of you may already know, HH Highland Blend is based off of an old blend that Mac Baren used to produce called Highland Mixture. They tweaked and re-worked the recipe and re-named it HH Highland Blend. You can read more about it in Kevin’s article and review – New Mac Baren HH Highland Blend Exclusive Sneak Peek
The pouch aroma is smoky and sweet with a hint of tang. The sweetness stands out above the smokiness from the Latakia and there is a heavy smell of BBQ/BBQ sauce in the aroma. I sometimes notice this BBQ type of aroma and flavor in some blends with Latakia. It smells really nice. The moisture level is perfect for smoking without any drying time needed. I loaded up my pipe and proceeded to the charring light.
On the charring light:
Flavor: Mainly sweet with hints of smokiness and BBQ sauce type flavor.
Aroma: Sweet and smoky aroma.
I finished lighting the pipe and settled in for the smoke.
Right at the start I had a shock to my senses because the flavor of the smoke was totally different from what I was expecting. Based off of the tin aroma of sweet, smoky, BBQ sauce type aroma; I was expecting a heavier, in your face, smoky Latakia flavor. But what I got was a sweeter, lighter flavor. It is like if you take a drink of water from a cup that you think has iced tea in it. You were expecting the flavor of iced tea, but water is what you got and it kinds of shocks your senses.
The main flavor that I get from this blend reminds me a lot of the flavoring in Mac Baren Plumcake, but lighter. I have never been able to describe the Plumcake flavor and I still can not describe it. It is like the Lakeland flavor as far as you have to taste it to know what someone is talking about. I like it a lot. Although I am picking up on that same flavor and it reminds me of Plumcake, it is also very different from it.
The Plumcake flavoring that I detect in Highland Blend is lighter and more subdued. There is more smokiness with hints of BBQ sauce flavor as well. It also has a fair amount of sweetness. So far I am really digging Highland Blend, it tastes great! The finish is really nice as well. I am picking up on BBQ sauciness and sweetness on the finish.
Around the mid-bowl point I still taste the Plumcake flavor, but it is a little more subdued. I am starting to taste more of the flavor from the Scotch Whisky at this point. The finish has changed a bit as well. There is still the sweetness, but the BBQ flavor has faded out quite a bit and I taste more of the Scotch on the finish. This change in flavor lasted through to the end.
While I have made some comparisons between Highland Blend and Plumcake, I do not want anyone to think that this is the same thing because it is not. I really like both blends and while there are some similarities, they both stand on their own as individual blends and deserve to be recognized as such. Highland Blend has more body and smokiness than Plumcake and it also has the added flavor of the Scotch and the complex BBQ/BBQ sauce type of flavor that I detected from the Latakia that they used.
Highland Blend is a great blend and I really like it a lot! It smokes cool, dry, and doesn’t bite me at all. Technically I would say that this is an aromatic blend, but it is a light aromatic blend and is done perfectly. I suggest that everyone try this blend. I think that it would satisfy smokers of all genres; Aromatic, Virginia, and Latakia smokers. This is a great blend and I will definitely be getting quite a few tins of it when it becomes available. I Highly Recommend it!
Brand: Mac Baren
Blend: HH Highland Blend
Description: Fully matured Virginias, Ready Rubbed Burleys, Latakia and a touch of Fire-cured Cavendish is the recipe. We added one of the world’s finest 30-year old Scotch whiskies, Glenfarclas. The natural flavours from the tobacco and the delightful taste of the Scotch marry perfectly, so when smoked you experience the mellow taste and subtle smoky note of the tobaccos combined with the overtone of a fine scotch.
Cut: Ready Rubbed
Tobaccos: Virginia, Burley, Latakia, Cavendish
Taste: Sweet, Smoky, BBQ, BBQ Sauce, Mac Baren Plumcake Flavor, Scotch Whisky
Room Note: Pleasant