After sixty-five years of experimenting with our taste buds and listening to our customers' cravings and needs, we are proud to present a unique Virginia flake to be added to our selection of tobacco blends.
Based on 6 bowls, which is all I could score, and I was grateful to get it! This was dark brown in the tin with a rich, fruity aroma and some spice in the background. Sugar crystals abounded. Broken flake that needed quite a bit of drying time. I smoked one bowl at tin moisture, which was predictably mediocre. Just short of crispy is as far as I took this one and it performed best in that state.
Runwithdogs' review mirrored mine almost exactly. This was mostly a soft, tangy blend with a few sharper spots. It was clearly a McClellands product but it did not ring the same bells as, say, a Christmas Cheer, even though it leaned heavily in that direction. It was not very sweet or creamy but had a nice spice hit that was pleasant. "Pleasant" is how I would describe this one rather than the euphoric essence of most of the CC's. There was something missing, and I would say it's the sweet creaminess of what I'm used to with McClelland-sourced reds. A nice blend, but lacking the spectacular greatness that defines that blending house. I recommend it if you can find any, but I wouldn't expect it to be the finest Virginia you've ever smoked. 3 stars, although it might hit 4 for anyone not experienced with McClellands CC's or any of their regular blends with a fair bit of age on them. Worth a shot.
Well, it is surprising to see only one other review of this blend. RCUSElder observed in 2005 that with age this would be a fine blend. So, here I am in 2018 reviewing my tin of this tobacco that is now 13 years old. When I opened the tin, I was greeted by mahogany flakes full of sugar crystals and a fruity aroma of raisins and figs, as well as spice. After rubbing it out ( this was more of a broken flake in presentation), I fired her up, sat down with a good book and worked my way thru a couple bowls. If you enjoy McClelland Virginias, you will certainly enjoy this blend. Aging, as with all Virginias, only improves the tobacco, and it sure made for a nice presentation. Mild nic hit, pleasant room note, a little spicieness, all made for a fine smoke. Do I think it’s on par with the best aged Virginias I have sampled (McCranies 1983, REALLY old #27, REALLY old Blackwood)? No, but it is still a fine tobacco I look forward to working my way through. Something is missing here, which is why I gave it three stars instead of four. I think, from a purely personal perspective, I prefer sweeter, creamier matured reds over this blend. Regardless, recommended if you can lay your hands on a tin of this well aged Virginia.
I have a lot of respect for the SH blends and many of their blends are among my top ten go to blends, but this one is still a toss up.
Appearance and Tin Aroma: 3/4" by 1 1/4" flakes in the tin that are mostly mohagany colored with some stripes of golden VA interspersed. It smells like a typical VA from McClelland, the tin aroma reminds me much of the "Christmas Cheer" series.
Packing and Lighting: The flakes are moist, so I suggest airing out what you will smoke. Rubbing out fully seemed to work best in order for decent burning. 4-5 five lights to get going.
Initial Flavor: Very much like fresh "Christmas Cheer" Lots of Red VA flavor, clovey and spicy too.
Mid-Bowl: Could not get this blend in the zone, too spicy. Red Va is still prominent flavor.
Bottom of Bowl: Rounds out a bit, but still too many of the high flavor notes. Leaves quite a bit of moisture at the bottom and the shank when done.
Overall: This blend needs age!!! I can tell that it will develop into a very tasty blend once the sharpness mellows with age. It does taste very much like the "Christmas Cheer" series by MC so I don't think I will be purchasing anymore for now. Not really a bell ringer for this piper. After my last tin ages for a few years, I will revisit this blend and see what happens...
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