McClelland 5110 – Dark English

McClelland Pipe Tobacco

When I was employed as a tobacconist, I always told my customers that pipe smoking is a hobby.  Pipe smoking is considered a pastime for a reason.  All serious pipe smokers know there exists a culture of pipe smoking, and that is part of the appeal to millennials who have taken up the pastime.

As a passionate collector and smoker, I look for tobacco blends that are both unique and encapsulate the culture of smoking a pipe in a single bow.

The McClelland Dark English is a blend that in one bowl communicates what the culture of pipe smoking is to the piper and his/her company.

FIRST IMPRESSION

The 5110 Dark English is a Ribbon cut English consisting mostly of Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, and a small amount of Virginia tobacco.  The lack of Virginia makes this a very dark English (typically English blends have a considerable amount of Virginia blend).

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Before smoking you will notice that this English has an incredibly full aroma, without a piercing scent sticking out.  So often with English blends, there will be a sharp, almost stabbing scent that is impossible to ignore.  In the Dark English, there seems to be a perfect balance of aroma that will stand out among the rest, without taking the chance of displeasure to the more sensitive “sniffers”.

I have also heard from others, though not experienced this myself, that this blend is fairly moist for an English blend.  Some may want to leave the bag or jar open for little while, drying out the tobacco to the preferred degree.

SMOKE

The smoke of the Dark English brings to life the culture of Pipe Smoking.

The taste, like the pre-smoke aroma, fills the palate. You will find that there is no individual flavor that protrudes and asserts itself as the “lead” flavor.  Because of the presence of the Latakia, you will taste an English blend, but there will be no sharp flavor that can sometimes be unpleasant and unnecessary in a smoke.

Because of the balanced and smooth flavor, there were no distinct taste I was able to pick out.

I will admit to you that I have a sensitive mouth.  Because of that, I am prone to the bite of tobaccos. However, I was surprised to find that I experienced no bite with this blend at all!  I believe this would be a tame, yet fully representative of a good English blend, tobacco that someone with a sensitive palate can enjoy daily.

This is also a great blend for a smaller pipe bowl.  I have noticed that I get the exact same amount of flavor out of a small corn-cob pipe and I do a king sized full bent.  This is great information for the buyer, for you can now use half of the tobacco, and get all the flavor, thus saving you money, that is so precious these days!

ROOM NOTE

Remember for me the first time you walked into a smoke shop and was entranced.  There were 10 different seasoned vets smoking different tobacco blends, filling the room with 10 distinct aromas that combined and emitted and absolutely glorious smell.

You couldn’t pick out any of these scents, you just know that now you love the smell of good pipe tobacco.

That is exactly what one bowl of the Dark English fills the room with: less of a smell, and more of an experience.

The incredibly balance of this blend will make you think of pipe smoking and how wonderful the hobby and art of it is.  I don’t believe that it can be described with words and descriptions of scents, but rather with the emotion of knowing that you are a passionate pipe collector and love nothing more than smoking your pipe.

STRENGTH

I believe this is a great MILD/MEDIUM smoke, although I am torn:

I would say this is a mild because of the lack of flavor.  Though it tastes wonderful, there is just no outstanding flavor that I can detect.

On the other hand, I would rate this a medium because of how well the flavor equally covers your entire palate.  There will be no remainder of your mouth that you cannot taste this blend after you smoke it.

Because of this cross-rode, I must rate it a mild/medium.

PAIRING

Because of the low level of flavor emitted from this blend, you must be careful with what you eat and drink while smoking.  If not careful, you will partake in something that will completely overpower the tobacco.

I have found that a salty home-made potato chip complements the Dark English perfectly.

The salt acts as a perfect break up of the lingering “smoky” flavor this blend leaves you with.  The great thing about the salty flavor is that it will not interfere with the next draw of the pipe, allowing you to have an almost  second first hit.  Be careful not to over-indulge in the snack however; salt can stick to the palate and just a little too much will linger in the mouth and ruin the rest of your bowl.

OVERALL SCORE

Personally, this is my favorite tobacco.  I love the emotions it evokes from me.  But behold, I must make an un-bias opinion that reflects what this tobacco really is.

I score this tobacco an 8 out of 10.

Although there is lacking flavor, it is undeniable that this is a very pleasurable smoke.  And while some wish it had more of an affect in their palate, none can deny that every bit of tobacco you get from the McClelland 5110 is delicious and problem free.

This is a tobacco that every pipe smoker, seasoned and juvenile, can enjoy and respect.

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