McConnel Ripe Honeydew Review

McConnelI received this blend as part of a trade in the fall of 2013. It came to me in a ziplock bag and was very dry; since it was already opened and not in its tin I don’t know if this is the “norm” for this blend or not. I jarred it the day I got it and waited a few weeks to try it. I don’t remember the exact weight I received (the volume easily filled an 8 oz. Mason jar without packing it too tightly) but have smoked it on and off since receiving it up to this writing, which I have about 12 grams now remaining, keeping it jarred the entire time.

While the description of the blend saying it has “a touch of honey”, I didn’t really detect any honey in the tin (jar) note, nor in the subsequent smoke. It did have a pleasant, grassy note, with a sweetness that may have been the topping but wasn’t coming through as honey to me; it smelled very much like I would expect a Virginia to smell.

The smoking experience with this blend was very consistent over time and from pipe to pipe, which I’ll describe in a moment. I would add here that another review I had read commented that the “honeydew” in the name doesn’t refer to the flavoring but to the old term for a sweet, simple Virginia tobacco and I affirm his statement, both by experience and researching the comment.

Being very dry, it was easy to pack; it was in a ribbon like state, I don’t know if that is how it is packaged or if it had been rubbed out before I received it. It took a flame very easily and produced a nice bloom on the false light. The true light, which alway came on the second try for me, again produced a nice, but slightly lesser, bloom and it smoked with little more than the occasional tamp: no fuss, no muss kind of blend, which I liked.

The flavor was pure Virginia goodness in my opinion; I didn’t taste the honey topping at any point that I recall. The blend did require sipping to avoid it getting too hot and, perhaps because it was so dry, burned fast: similar to a shag cut I’m that respect.

I have smoked the tobacco in a variety of pipes (materials and sizes) and found it to smoke/taste consistent in all of them: burning well, tasting sweet and grassy, and not wet smoking unless puffed hard.

As I mentioned in the first few sentences, I have a small amount remaining and have commenced and experiment with it. Since I found the blend, or at least the batch I have, to be rather one dimensional and fast burning I added about 10% Perique and 5% Latakia to it, in hopes of a,ping up the flavor and slowing the burn. After a good mixing and a few days “marrying” in the jar, today I tried out the “amped Honeydew” in a Falcon. The results were very good: the blend burned much slower and cooler and was given an extra zing and a tad bit of depth from the added tobaccos.

While this is a pleasant enough smoke on its own and may be better if I had gotten it straight from a sealed tin, it is unlikely that I will purchase this blend in the future. I would consider it on a trade Or if I got a VERY good deal on it since I think it would be a good blending Virginia.


gregGreg Wolford is 47 years old, medically retired, and lives in West Virginia with his wife of 26 years and three “fur children” (some people call them dogs). A father of two grown children and grandfather to a five year old grandson, he enjoys writing, leather working, and doing various activities at his church. Greg also loves to restore and collect estate pipes, mostly vintage American made brands, with Kaywoodie and YelloBole being among his favorites. You can find more of his work and story on his blog (GregWolford.wordpress.com) and some of his pipe restoration articles on www.rebornpipes.com where he is a contributing author.  He was one of our 2014 contest winners for the “Best Tobacconist Review.”  He is joining our team as a regular contributor.

 

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