Sunday Smokes: Mac Baren Mixture: Scottish

In theory, on Sunday all the world relaxes. Some go to church to try to revive what they believe in the Old Faith, others putter around the house, knowing that eventually the Old Ways will return and bring their faith with them. Humanity needs to see more good in normal existence for that to happen, however.

“Sunday Smokes,” in a time-honored definition inconsequential to all, consist of those old favorites that are favored for their simplicity. These — more than the blends which over-intellectualized neurotics praise for their sandalwood, leather, virgin balsa wood, and honey-infused lightly roasted quinoa flavors — form the basis of the enjoyment of pipe smoking, namely walking around your town, picking up something tasty at your local news agent, stuffing it in your pipe, and enjoying the sweet flavor and warm late winter sun effect of nicotine, both relaxing and clarifying, as you contemplate your community with continuity between time immemorial and a glorious future.

Mac Baren Mixture: Scottish may be the first ambient tobacco to grace this pipe. Comprised of thirty-five different types of leaf, it arrays slightly different varieties of Virginia in layers to create a gradient, then stacks those with stratified Burleys for stoutness and depth, forming a mixture that provides a consistent flavor within which gentle variations roll, like echoing notes in the depths of a medieval cathedral, both affirming their center and deviating from it. It is a blend constantly in transition, but arriving back at its main flavor which is slightly concealed, sort of like a theme buried deep in the mechanations of baroque music or a pattern used in architecture to organize other shapes, such that it only reveals itself after years of passing the same building.

For example, this blend uses what tastes like Maryland leaf to lead in to a mixture of red, brown, and bright Virginias, with multiple types of each ensuring that flavor rolls between the nodal points of its leaf types and arrives at not an average or aggregate but protean cyclic expression of each type. It feels from the smoke like there is some Cavendish in here, most likely brown made in the simple Mac Baren style that preserves tobacco flavor more than the blackened sweet stuff that undergirds most aromatics. Some dark fired Kentucky Burley makes its presence, maybe even some Green River (Killer) Black Cavendish, a type made from Burley and not Virginia, as well as the white Burley that Mac Baren wields so well. The end result has a natural vanilla and honey flavor with the mildest hint of citrus, but is topped with maple sugar and possibly a light fruit flavor, melding it all into a melange where flavor is texture more than a dominant and repeated pattern.

Sunday Smokes favor blends like this. Most of it resembles the ready-rubbed of Golden Extra, which causes the tobacco to clump in little wads that easily slide into the pipe. Poke that with a thumb, set it on fire, and you are ready to begin your lunt (walk while smoking a pipe) through the familiar wilds of civilization, such as it is, with your thoughts remaining your own instead of distracted by a more exuberant blend. It does not shout to you, Mixture: Scottish, nor whisper. It hums with a sound barely distinguishable from the wind or the calls of migrating birds high above, blending into the experience like camouflage in a landscape, leaving your mind clear but prompting you to enjoy the gently rolling flavor and shifting center of this ambiguous but distinctive blend, then leaving a faint aftertaste of maple as you crest the final hill.

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11 thoughts on “Sunday Smokes: Mac Baren Mixture: Scottish

  1. Claudia Roth says:

    Mefitis have a new album out and this site fails to inform me?! Stop with this hipster blog posting and review some actual metal, Brett you lazy fuck!

    1. Mad Dog Nig Nog says:


      1. Morbid Curiosity says:

        BRETT! Costco is phasing out tobacco products… It turns out tobacco is not very profitable for them! Will tobacco go down with Western Civilization?? What a bleak future for nobility

        1. Costco is just chasing the Boomer vote.

          1. Snowflake pussy says:

            Boomers and Xoomers were the last cool kids to prop the tobacco industry. Its all downhill from there.

            1. Big Tobacco got replaced by Big Weed and vaping is generally seen as being for tools.

  2. Grossberger says:

    Does this blend suffer from the famous Mac Baren bite? I assume this is very mild and in the same vein as their Navy Flake.

    1. In my view, the Mac Baren bite is a good thing: it means that you are burning raw (maple) sugar instead of humectants. The right way to tackle it, in my view, is to draw shallowly after a light, meaning that you keep the smoke in the stem, and then let the leaf warm up. As the maple sugar burns off, the bite will go away. The other aspect of it — bite is either steam, acidity, or both — is the use of bright Virginias that need more aging. Throw a Mac Baren tin in the cupboard for a year and you get something with a lot less teeth.

  3. FESTER ADDAMS says:

    If I would say “death to” then I would actually be making sense!

    1. “Fuck Christ” = Christ is important, let’s fuck him.

  4. In Language and Death: the Place of Negativiy, “sacer” (the sacred) emerges as the foundation of the human community, and Agamben argues that the human community is essentially unfounded. It therefore also requires practices and rituals to give it a solidity. For Agamben, this also brings with it an original exclusion (we have community because something can exist out there, and we can measure ourselves against that which is not contained). This process is manifested as a sacrifice. And the sacrifice, in expelling someone from society, reveals this, namely that there is a threshold between inside and outside. Or, in Agamben’s words, the existence of a “zone of indistinguishability”: If someone can be excluded, then all of us are potentially excludable.

    Giorgio Agamben, pp.20

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