McClelland Matured Virginia Navy Cavendish
Being a lover of McClelland and their Virginias, it was high time I tried this blend. I've been through all of the other in the Matured VA series, my favorite being #24 but I've enjoyed all of the others - 22, 25, 27. (Makes me wonder about numbers 1-21 and 26...) I've had this tin for a while and just got around to cracking it this week, its dated 2008. I think I stayed away for the most part due to experiences with some other Navy blends that weren't that great. I've had a number of bowls now and thought I'd post my impressions.
The tin note has some of the typical McC fermented VA, but is pretty complex beyond that with grassy notes, carmely notes, and of course the presence of rum - but it isn't overdone.
Like almost all McC VAs I burn, I rubbed it out and left it to dry for 30-60 minutes before packing and lighting. The smoke initially has a nice sweetness and is quite rich to my palate. It burns well and doesn't require much maintenance. At times I taste hints of the rum, but most of the time its a nice sweet VA. Maybe too sweet at times, even going slow and taking breaks at times it feels like its burning my mouth. But I haven't experienced any real lingering 'bite' which is good.
What I think I like most about this blend is the finish - that's where I notice the rum most. A pleasant taste indeed and something I don't find in many blends, even other "Navy" blends.
McClelland describes this blend like so:
With this tobacco, we reintroduce the smoker to the traditional Navy Cavendish, pressed in cake and aged naturally with Dark Jamaican Rum to achieve its rich depth of flavor, color and aroma.
I can't comment on how traditional this blend itself is, but I do know the history of the navy blend and cavendish, and I'm very happy to say that McClelland has produced what may be my favorite in this range. Unlike some others, it is very natural tasting and the rum is not overdone but lingers on the palate. I'm really loving this and plan to grab more to cellar for enjoying in years to come.
4/5 stars from me. Just another reason for me to continue to revere McClelland and the great work they're doing for pipers.