Various shades of brown ribbon with a tin nose of straight, basic orange Virginia. Just the faintest breath of typical McClellands tin scent, certainly not enough to send those folks who think "Ketchup" scurrying away. This is a good solid straight orange.
Orange VA is, to me, a sweet and crisp form. If you view lemon (yellow) VA as a light citrusy fruit taste, think of orange VA as more apples and melons...without really tasting like either. And perhaps a bit of ginger. This struck me as a true "mind meld", meaning it didn't veer heavily into either McClellands or H&H territory, as I've come to understand them, anyway. This is a smooth, mellow, lively tobacco, but it strongly encourages sipping, as it can bite if pushed. Briskly sweet without diving headlong into it, and a nice touch of mellow spice. Complex doesn't define this but neither is it overly simple. Straight orange VA's are pretty rare, so it's not easy to find something to compare this to, but it's a refreshing break from the norm. It's interesting to try and envision which blender did what to this blend. I see it as perhaps McClellands tobacco and processing with Russ' signature all over it, as it simply does not taste like a prototypical McClellands VA. I wish I could express how it's different but perhaps I just need to smoke more of it to understand. No problem there. I wouldn't call this a favorite just yet but it's more than interesting enough to pursue further.
The processing of the orange Virginia includes a little stoved orange. I get a rich burst of mildly tangy citrus, a little sugary ripe darker fruit, some grass, a little earth and wood as well as a touch of bread, stewed fruit, spice and tart lemon. The “vinegar” note disappears very quickly, but the fermented quality holds all the way through. The strength and nic-hit are in the center of mild to medium. The taste level is a hair short of medium. I did not encounter any bite potential or rough edges. Burns cool, clean and slightly slow with a deep, fairly consistent flavor. Sometimes, the nuances are slightly more obvious than other times, but in totality, you get a well, uh, melded smoking experience from top to bottom. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires a few relights. Has a pleasantly, lightly lingering sweet after taste. An all day smoke.
This is one I will likely regret not stocking up on as I did not try it til after the McClelland buying frenzy began. This is the best Ribbon Cut Virginia that I have ever tasted barring, potentially, the bowlful of 1983 Mcranie's that Scottie Piersel gave me in Chicago after selling me a pipe.
However the roasting was done with this orange leaf, it manages to coax out the perfect level of sweetness to my palate. A lot of sugar and citrus notes come to mind. It is mono dimensional to be sure, but such a great dimension it is. I only bought one of each of the mind meld blends when they came out, so I will be looking forward to trying the VaPer offering in hopes that it is as impressive as this one. If you can find this one, I highly recommend it.
Starts tangy then fades to a darker blend. almost reminds me of Butera's ," Royal Vintage Matured Ribbon" , I seem to taste some slow stoved Virginias, although they don't admit to that. No Bite and very smooth for a Virginia. Very McClelland like in taste and behavior without the vinegar , another great McC Virginia offering. This would get the full 4 stars if the tanginess stayed around longer
I would say of all the Mind Meld blends this is the most varied of taste and flavors. Open the tin you get a nice orange note. Lights easy burns cool and taste is simply amazing. I get orange peal and citrus with a bit of ginger flavor. The flavors continue through the bowl and as I got to the end of the bowl I get a grassy and sweet hay flavor. This is an outstanding blend that makes for a great all day smoke. Frankly, this group of tobaccos, The Mind Meld group, is perhaps the best group of tobaccos I have ever smoked as a group. Each and everyone is tasty and each one is different from the others. You could take this group as a full rotation and never get tired of any of them.
A very nice and somewhat complex Virginia blend. It does have some stoved in the mix. It can be seen as well as tasted. It may be stoved Orange which would make the description accurate. Regardless, this stuff tastes great. Hard to describe what fruit this taste like, but it is tart and sweet. With the fruit I get occasional notes of toasty marshmallow as well as cupcake. The marshmallow note is, no doubt, the stoved showing itself. This is a wonderfully smooth smoke given just a bit of an edge by the tartness. A very unique smoke and worthy of 4 stars.
Mild to medium in body. Medium in taste. No added flavoring. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
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