I was a little unsure if I wanted to do a review of FM. First, it is a regular smoke for me, it is easy to find, and one of my favorites, but as a result, that also means that it is easy to take for granted (i.e. I'm more likely to run to the computer during or after a smoke for something I don't smoke often or that is hard to get). Second, it easy to get and is one of those blends that if you smoke an English blend, you've probably had it before so most people on this board are probably pretty familiar with it. Last, and related to the previous one, if I did a search, I'd bet that there would be half a dozen to a dozen (if not more) existing reviews on FM on this site. However, we all take something different from each tobacco we smoke so I figured my take might be a little different from someone else's, it hasn't been reviewed too recently, I'm smoking it right now, and frankly, I want to add another tobacco award for McClelland (since it is one of my regular brands) to my list and need 5 McClelland reviews
Tin note: It is definitely a latakia based English style blend. The leather, campfire smokiness, and a little soapiness is there. It also has a slight oily smell to it. However, there is something else, something unusual, something you don't expect from an English. There is a sweetness to the note, some of the McClelland signature "ketchup" smell and taste (get to the taste when describing the smoking of it) that isn't quite ketchup but that is the common descriptor people use. It also has an unusual body to it for an English- a more aro-like body reminiscent of bread or even something sweeter like cake.
The taste and smell, like the tin note, is what you'd expect of an English with something extra. The latakia soapiness is there, but very subdued. The latakia wood smoke (campfire) flavor and smell is there, it is as strong as you'd expect out of any English blend, but it is not overpowering and is somehow more mellow than usual. In fact, mellow is a very good word to describe both the taste and smell of this blend. It is a sweet tobacco- between the Virginia, and the McClelland characteristic ketchup flavor (not overpowering, but there) it is already sweet. Though, like in the tin note, there seems to be more there. I suspect it is mildly cased with something, though I can't place it. There is a bit of a bread like or sweeter cake like body to the taste and smell- very mild and subtle, but it is there and it is very pleasant.
I am smoking this right now in my bedroom (I usually smoke outdoors). Leaving my room for a bit and coming back, I was greeted by a very pleasant room note. A little smokey (as in wood smoke "smokey" not tobacco smoke "smokey") along with some sweetness from whatever they may have flavored this with.
The whole experience with this tobacco is extremely pleasant and relaxing. The flavors and smells are familiar yet unique. It is definitely one of my favorites and will always be on my tobacco shelf. If you like aros, it would make a good into to English blends. If you like an English, it is a good English that is a little bit of a change of pace. I can't recommend trying it enough, it is great stuff!