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Review of my First McClelland Blend: No. 22 (Matured Virginias)

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    Anonymous

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    I was lucky to get ahold of a small sample of this fine, fine tobacco! As mentioned before, ALL of the US blends are unavailable here (I got told due to too high cumarin in it), and this is the 2nd USA-Tobacco I got to smoke. My first one was JackKnife Plug, which I love and can "easily" (compared to other US blends) get in Swiss from a friend.
    I was excited to try the famous McClelland Virginias and so I share my thoughts on this wonderful blend with you guys!

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    McClelland - No. 22 (Matured Virginias)

    A balanced blend of Eastern and Middle belt Virginias aged in cakes to develop their natural sweetness. A zesty tobacco with rich undertones, coarse enough to smoke on windy days outdoors, but easily rubbed-out to suit any occasion.

    Preface & first impressions
    As stated above, this is my 2nd US-blend, and I'm craving to get more of this fine weed.

    Anyways, when opening the sample-bag I got greeted by the typical vinegar scent of McClelland. This seems to be quite natural pipe tobacco, as the "sample-bag note" is very mild and inconspicuous. When sticking my nose real close to the flakes I get scents of vinegar, hay-ish grass, and very little citrus & sweetness.

    As I only have a sample I can't comment on moisture level, mine came in perfect smoking condition. The bright brown flakes with yellow speckles are only coarsely rubbed out and there are some half flake slices in there, that I could also fold&stuff if I wanted to. Yet i rubbed it out until I had a coarse ribbon-like cut.

    Tasting notes and smoking experience
    After first light (which is pretty easy to do when at good moisture level) I was surprised by a rather spicy and "dark" toned Virginia. Intense (dark/whole-rye-)bread aroma is the soul and body of this blend, that's underscored by a mild citrusy-sweet undertone. Decently spicy and very tobacco-y. A mild toast note is also there. It's a piquant Virginia blend, and only has very little sweetness to round this to a unique melange. Only hints of stoved-fruits (mainly figs and plums) in the background.

    Definetly full-bodied for a straight Virginia, this blend is far from being flat! Rich in aroma, not overly complex, yet it has a few nuances to explore if you take your time and mind on it. Honest, zesty, flavorful! Doesn't bite, even if pushed a bit.

    Recapitulation
    Not a single moment of hestitation....THIS is a high-class straight Virginia, and I'm really sad we can't get this top-notch blend over here in Germany. I'm only lately getting into straight VA blends, and this must be in the Top-3 of my favorite straight VAs! From the intriguing appearance, to the very natural unburnt smell of this tobacco, up to the genuine, full-bodied and tasty aroma of this blend - everything is in perfect harmony and balance!

    I'm deeply impressed by my first McClelland blend, this seems to me like the US equivalent to german manufacturer "Motzek": Very(!) natural tobaccos, skillfully blended into mixtures, that are far from being average. Blends with soul and character.. Love it!

    TobaccoReviews.com
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    Yea...you have some fine tobacco manufactureres on the other side of the world. I only can compare this to Motzek, quality and naturalness-wise. THIS is pipe tobacco, as I wish more blends would be like.

    Hope you enjoyed reading it and greets from Germany,

    Deniz

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    Interesting review Deniz. I personally found #22 to be somewhat 'thin' in the flavour department, something I have found common in pretty much all of the McClelland straight Virginia flakes I have smoked though I have yet to try #27.

    There is flavour there of course but to get the best of it the blend needs to be sipped very gently and even then it's a hit and miss affair. I mostly just got warm air

    I prefer my Virginias to be more robust and fuller bodied as per Full Virginia Flake. With FVF the flavour is there right from the start to the end of the bowl, you don't need to seek it out, it's there all the while.

    There's a reason why FVF currently has 514 (331 four*) reviews on Tobaccoreviews.com and McClelland #22 has 40 (16 four*) reviews.

    One McClelland blend I would suggest you try is Tawny Flake. I found that to be a nice sweet Va with a much better flavour profile than many of their other efforts.

    Also, though not a straight Virginia I can highly recommend their #2015 VaPer. That really is a belter of a smoke.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Thanks for you opinion Jay!
    I was interested in FVF for a while now, but I always thought it to be "citrusy, sweet" Virginia blend, like A LOT of staright VA blends are. They are simply too thin for my taste. Maybe I thought so because it's so bright colored? IDK. I prefer more - like you also describe and preffer it a - "robust and full-bodied" and piquant/zesty Virginia and somehow I found #22 by McClelland to be just that. I admit, it's not the most intense aroma #22 gives, but it's pretty close to being what I'd call a "Virginia Powerhouse" (tastewise) F.e. Vauens Virginia Flake has got that robust body, with a lot of different flavors. Michas Cake has got that too. Or Tabak Kontor No. 33 must be the most complex Virginia I smoked so far (has aromas of bread, apricots, grass, toast, piquant spice, citrus"...yea it has pretty much all aromas a Virginia can have. I also noticed, that I LOVE VA blends when there's red VA involved.

    So FVF is more a piquant, "dark" Virginia? I don't like them to be too sweet, and only for a "citrusy-grass aroma" I won't buy a tin that costs nearly 14€ here. So I hestitated, but I'll trust you if you tell me its what I'm looking for: Piquant, full bodied, more earthy and fruity than just "citrusy grass" in flavor department.

    Regards,

    Deniz

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Coumarin was removed from all American pipe tobaccos in 1996.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    thanks for the input aquadoc, then the guy (that works at Peter Heinrichs shop) who told me this must be mis-informed! He said it was too addict people to certain blends. After it got forbidden in Germany, about 70% of the Dunhill blends were removed from the shops, and those that got "re-released" with moderate coumarin in it diddn't appeal anymore to the people who loved them before. That's what I got told and it seems plausible! But I diddn't knew USA also forbid coumarin.

    Regards

    Posted 1 year ago #

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