From the moment Navy Flake first appeared on tobacconists’ shelves, pipe smokers everywhere have shown their appreciation of this mixture. There are many reasons why Navy Flake has become a true Mac Baren classic since then. When Navy Flake was developed in 1965, much work went into the composition of the raw tobaccos. Selections of Burley tobacco were made from our extensive stocks and after countless tests the right Burley content was found. Similarly, tests were then carried out on Virginia tobacco. Different qualities of Virginia tobacco were selected and test smoked. Finally, a handful of these were selected for inclusion in the blend. Once the right basic tobaccos had been found, a final important element was added to the mixture: a small measure of original Mac Baren Cavendish was added, and it is this which gives Navy Flake its full body.
The production process starts like any flake tobacco. The selected tobaccos are mixed and then pressed in a large tobacco press. Patience was to prove a virtue, as the pressed tobacco had to be left under pressure for at least 30 days. Having to wait so long before tasting the finished tobacco proved to be a challenge in itself, but a top quality flake takes time to produce. Without this process the tobacco would not develop properly – which would be apparent in the taste. Therefore everyone had to remain patient and await the final result.
Once the 30 days had passed, there was a thrill of anticipation as the pressed tobacco block was carefully cut into 1.4 mm thick slices – so-called flakes. The appearance of the tobacco was as expected, but what about the taste? Pipes were filled and lit, and for a few minutes there was complete silence. Everyone was concentrating on the new tobacco. After a short while the smiles began to appear. The blend had passed its first test and the taste was as it should be: slightly aromatic and full-bodied.
What the tobacco masters did not know at the time was that they had just created a Mac Baren classic.
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