Review by Schmitz Bitz
Review is based on 100g tin stamped '08. Unlike most flakes, I find this smokes best when well rubbed.
Upon first opening the tin, the trademark McClellands ketchup smell prevails; however, after being left to breathe for a few minutes, one can notice hints of rasins and dates begining to percolate amongst the Heinz.
The broken flake presentation tends to the more broken end of the scale. Dark brown, flecked with golden hues, I am struck by how this flake was very tightly pressed. As noted above, I found that it smoked best when rubbed out fairly well and given a good hour to breathe, with a good layer of fine "kindling" on top. I find this blend can be abused a touch more than the other VaPer's I've smoked before the bite comes in - which isn't to say that you wont feel this on the tongue. Perique is applied with a heavy hand, and through to the 2/3 point, your tongue will know it.
Although this blend tends to fight the initial light somewhat, once stoked, it burns nicely through the heel with a small amount of attention paid. This blend tends to produce a lot of smoke - it feels very full in the mouth, and will satisfy even the smoker of the stout Maduro.
On initial light, the subtle sweetness of the Virginias is predominiant, bringing flavours of sweet hay, and honey. The Perique remains fairly subtle at this point, offering up earthy rich sweetness akin to fresh figs and plums.
As the bowl progresses through the one-third point, the Virginias begin to mellow, while the earthy Perique takes the forefront of the blend. Subtle flavours of honey and treacle layer with the earthy sweetness of the Perique, while just a hint of the pepperyness to come plays on the back of ones palate. This interplays with an almost salty, umami-esque flavour, almost akin to sea-asparagus.
By the two-thirds point, the Perique fully makes itself known, with dominant flavours of figs and rasins, supported by the Viginias, which have taken a turn for the subtle, and remind me of molasses candy.
The room-note on this blend is quite pleasant, which is a good thing due to the sheer amount of smoke this blend produces. The billowing white clouds contain wafts of sweet-hay, honey, dates, and star-fruit...while not an aromatic, this won't scare anyone off.
The nicotine level in this blend is the high-side of middle of the road. I find that Perique usually leaves me satisfied in the N department, but with this blend, the cravings kick in pretty fast. Fortunately, the 100g tins are priced to accomodate!
All in all, this is one great VaPer from McClellands, and although it often is outshone by Backwoods Flake, not a blend to be missed.