Based on over 200 years of experience, this mixture of Virginia, burley, Kentucky and Oriental tobaccos has been developed. This typically dutch, slow-burning blend owes its well-balanced taste to a unique cavendish process.
I was visiting relatives in the city of Brandenburg, Germany, and had run out of tobacco. I found a tobacconist's shop and ducked in. They had a standard assortment of aromatics and English blends, typical for a respectable tobacconist, though certainly not exclusive. I am adventurous and like to try something new from time to time, so I saw this and asked the clerk about it. She stated that this brand was the only pipe tobacco available in former communist East Germany. Tobacco has traditionally been a cash crop in the area around Mühlhausen for several hundred years, and the collective farms were certain to use home grown tobacco rather than imports for their products. After German re- unification in 1990, Reemtsma Tobacco bought up most of the brands of the former East German tobacco cooperative. Although western brands swamped the market, the former East German brands of tobacco products still have a faithful following, which prompted Reemtsma to continue to produce and market these regionally. This included Prestige Regular Pipe Tobacco. Reemtsma is now a part of the Imperial Tobacco Group. So much for the history. Now to my review.
This tobacco is, as is mentioned above, a traditional "Dutch" blend, meaning that it is not as heavily flavored as the Danish aromatics. There is no mention of the flavoring on the package, though I would agree with "The German" that there is a slight citrus note detected. Otherwise, I think that the scent from the pouch is more of natural tobacco, with the Kentucky and Orientals dominating. It is ribbon cut and light to medium brown in color. The moisture content is just right. The coarse ribbon cut makes packing your bowl somewhat difficult, so I would recommend smoking this in a pipe with a wide bore bowl.
Once packed, a regular charring light followed by a second light gets this smoke going. The taste is aromatic, ranging from a slight sweetness (probably from the Virginias) through a mild nuttiness (Burley) to a smokey pungency (Kentucky and Oriental) that I find a nice change from many heavily flavoured mixtures. The room note is pleasant and slightly sweet. I did not have any problems with tongue bite or wet dottles. Quite the contrary, this tobacco smokes cool and mild, right to the bottom of the bowl, leaving only a fine ash to tap out.
My overall recommendation: Not an exquisite luxury blend, but then it never purports such. Prestige Regular is a mild and pleasant everyday smoke, especially on a warm summer's day. It has enough complexity to keep you interested, but not so much as to require all of your attention. I think I'll add this to my regular rotation.
Update July 2017: MacBaren Tobacco has bought this brand, and unfortunately changed the blend so that it no longer contains Kentucky. It is now much sweeter and more moist out of the pouch, so that, without additional drying, I've had trouble keeping my pipe lit. The taste is definitely different, and while pleasant, it is no longer the tobacco blend I originally described. I would now describe it as a typical unflavoured Danish aromatic blend.
Bought purely out of a sense of adventure; I partially regret having done that.
Long story short: mixed ribbons and ready-rubbed, almost uniform medium brown. Pouch aroma is of oranges and something else--cocoa? Not sure. Stuffs, lights well, leaves some dottle even if smoked carefully, but not too much.
The room note is, in a word, non-distinct, but probably on the worse side of tolerable for most; to me, it is a little stuffy, if you know what I mean. Taste is sweet for the most part, with some orange actually being in there. For me, there is a sort of citrus-caramel aftertaste that lasts for a while.
Not something I am going to buy again, but not bad enough to throw away the pouch either. The blend, overall, comes over a bit like Clan with a citrus sauce instead of the topping.
Prestige Regular Mixture truly is a hidden gem to me!
The pouch comes in a classical design that makes a noble and traditional impression. Once you open the seal and take a sniff you'll notice a rich nutty scent, along with hints of chocolate and very little fruit tone to it. This one is certainly flavoured, yet the flavouring is well done and perfectly woven into the flavour-profile, so that it doesn't seem to artifical, nor obtrusive.
The tobacco itself is a broken Flake (oppositely to the description here - did they change it?) with big chunks of roughly broken out flake pieces. I had a few pieces that had the size of half a normal flake slice. Very appetizing. You'll have to rub them out a bit more for filling your bowl, and you can almost fill your pipe with a "ball of tobacco" (means, take the broken flake chunks and form a ball-form out of it - very gently!).
Packing, lighting, keeping lit? No problems here! Flawless condition and quality.
On first light you'll instantly get greeted by a deep and rich melange of nutty, slightly spicy Burleys, which also offer quite a bit of milk- and dark-chocolate notes! The dark Fired Kentucky is slightly recognizable, but it's there and adds earthy, slightly woodsy tones to the flavour, as well as it harmonizes perfectly with the Burleys taste. Also a decent spice is always present, but never overpowering. The Orientals used are light handed applied offer mildly woodsy-dry flavours. A hint of sourness if you're looking for it. A pleasant sweetness is always present to underscore the nutty- and chocolaty qualities.
The flavouring enhances and underscores the natural tobacco aromas instead of working against them or supressing them. Prestige Regular matches the criteria of a "dutch aromatic" I'd guess.
Prestige Regular´s taste reminds me a lot of "Amphora Full (Aroma)", no wonder they both come from Mac Baren and have the same composition of tobacco leafs. But Amphora Full Aroma is stronger flavoured and is more in the alley of an "true" aromatic. Prestige Regular is like a less flavoured, more tobacco-y version of Amphora Full.
A blend for the decades. It exists for well over 100 years, and I hope it will exist for many decades more, as this is what a lot of non-pipes-smokers think of when thinking of "pipe tobacco".
Room note as described by my girl: "Sweetish and spicy, like good tobacco" interestingly she couldn't smell chocolate in the room note. In the category of "aromatics" this one of the better blends!
Ha, I wouldn't have known this was a MacBaren blend without reading the fine print!
The burley is strong in this one and that should usually mean instant like from me, but the problem with Prestige is that it's... A bit boring. Large ribbons and strands mean a bit of rubbing to pack a good bowl, lights up and burns easy. The burley is there, dominating, but it's somehow completely middle of the road; the virginia and orient even more characterless side players. There's just enough taste to say that it's not completely bland, but only just.
Unlikely to buy again although would still choose this as a very basic smoke over many other brands that are actively offensive.
EDIT: Forgot to mention the tongue bite which is pretty considerable, considering how mild the smoke otherwise is.
Pipe Used: various
Age When Smoked: Fresh from pouch
Purchased From: Souvenir shop in Binz, Rügen Germany
regret i bought this....enormous tongue bite. no taste,no flavor.....not worth the money and certainly not the MacBaren name....had too much moist in the 50 gr package.....i felt like having bought water....
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