Being a guy that enjoys exploring "the road less traveled" I became curious about McConnell Folded Flake. I found (count them) a whole thirteen reviews on TR on this blend. This piqued my interest so I posted here on puff to which no one replied (which of course made me even more curious). So, I broke down and ordered a tin so that I could test and review this little mystery blend. This review is after two bowls from a fresh tin in my square shank BB&S estate billiard (dedicated VA, light VaPer pipe).
Appearance: This is a very interesting blend. As the name conveys, it is a long flake that has been folded over on itself several times to fit the ID of the tin. It wasn’t possible to tell visually if this is a single flake folded over and over or if it is several long flakes folded together. It came out of the tin in a single “block”, and while you can tell it is a flake that has been folded (almost like a flat roll) it definitely was dense and firm and almost had the consistency of a plug. I didn’t “unroll” it due to the density of the fold, but it is very friable along the edges so this is where I have been pulling my samples from. All in all, one of the more unusual flakes, visually, I have experienced. Very nice presentation.
Smell/Tin Note: Very classic Virginia smell in the Non-McClelland sense. Strongly reminiscent of raisins or figs with just an undercurrent of a slightly moist fresh cut hay. Tin note on this blend reminds me of SG Full Virginia Flake though the hay smell is slightly more subdued and the raisin/fig a little more prominent. Very mild but extremely pleasant aroma.
Consistency/Lighting: The strands that I pulled from the block rubbed out very easily, and the moisture content was pretty well perfect straight from the tin. I did let it lay on the plate for a few minutes, but truthfully it didn’t really need it. The rubbed out ribbon was very much like Scottish cake in consistency and loaded easily with a slight spring that belayed any fear of over packing. Did not really need a charring light and took right off and unless neglected didn’t need a relight. Very receptive to small sips without ever threatening to go out.
This is a very mild and pleasant tasting tobacco. There is an ever-present though understated sweetness imparted by the matured Virginias that was consistent from the top of the bowl to the bottom. There is also an underlying richness that I am attributing to the addition of the Kentucky component. I could also catch just a bare hint of spiciness on the retrohale that I am attributing to the touch of perique this blend is purported to contain. The perique element is very slight and does little more than add a balancing element without ever making it solidly into the background, much less the forefront. Overall the perique and Kentucky components do little more than accentuate the clear star of the show, which is definitely the matured VAs. The bowl never became ashy or sour at the bottom of the bowl like alot of other blends do and was consistently pleasant throughout.
If you are a fan of FVF or Dunhill flake then this blend might be right up your alley. While not identical to either it certainly had elements that reminded me of both. If you are looking for a complex flavor “blitz” then this might not be your cup of tea. I found this blend to be more of a savory, uncomplicated, and relaxing experience. This is the third blend I have tried from this blender and this tobacco absolutely delivered on the quality I have come to expect from Robert McConnell tobaccos. I fully expect to grab a few more tins for aging as I can only see this getting better over time.