Wow, What a srurprise. A selection of Mac Baren. is available on the RSA market sold in plastic pouches. As I don't do plastic pouch baccy as it is difficult to cellar. I have ignored it for some years now being under the impression that it may somehow be inefrior quality and not worthy of a tin.
Known in th USA as golden Extra it is marketed here and in Europe a Golden blend. For those of you who love burley, this is a must try.
At first glance you know you are dealing with quality tobacco. It is offered in a broken flake form. The package refers to it as Ready rubbed but slightly crunched is more like it. Interesting that the pouch contains some full flakes, some a bit broken and the rest rubbed slightly. It smell good and one cant miss the power of burley here. There is a slight hint of citrus and nuts but the smell is more natural than aromatic. (I do not like strong Aro much)
The first bowl came straight out of the package. It was a little sharp and rough around the edges but I felt it had merit from the word go. The second bowl after dinner was a pleasant surprise. I filled the bowl "stuff and puff" style. the tobacco had time to breath and mix with air for a couple of hours. I must say, I really enjoyed it. Golden blend is a little monotoned and uncomplicated. Not mentioned on the package but there must be a fair bit of VA in this blend. At stages the burley opens the door for a typical VA sweetness to come through. This is very much in the background though.
The sweetness is natural in flavor though. At stages I get a little hint of what one finds in OGS in terms of a citrus taste. Some folks express that these is a strong sense of honey and chocolate but I did not find this the case at all. Infact, the slight sweetness that may be present is mostly natural.
Golden Blend a clean burning baccy, infact it is one of the cleanest burning blends I have smoked in a long time. It produces a cool dry smoke with little changes in character from the top to the bottom of the bowl. The tobacco burns evenly and slowly producing a fine powdery ash at the bottom of the bowl.
The only criticism I have here is that it needs to be smoked slowly or at a moderate pace. If smoked to fast it has the tendency to bit the roof of your mouth like a rabid dog. This may be an unfair statement as the samples I have tried are quite young and fresh out of the packaging. The Second bowl some hours later was bite free and mellower in taste.
I am impressed with this blend. It is a basic tobacco good for easy everyday smoking. I was so happy with the samples that I have smoked that I will purchase some 250g to cellar. Although burley may not age as well as VA, I am sure that a couple of years in the cellar will improve this blend 10 fold.
For those of you who enjoy burley this is a must try. As mentioned this is definitely not a pure burley bled like say Pete Irish flake or C&D Safe Harbor Flake. There a a little more balance to it with the VA added producing a mild smoke with a fantastic room note.
I score this blend a cool 7.5 outa 10. Maybe I should add two marks extra for being one of the few decent baccies redly available in South Africa besides Peterson.