Pipe Tobacco Review: McClelland Honeydew (22b series)

Image from pipesandcigars.com

I sat in my office chair, scratching my chin at the mystery presented to me. My newly acquired Ben Wade rusticated Canadian had just finished its breaking in period, and it sat in front of me in great distress. There was a piece of paper wrapped around the stem of the pipe, and opening it revealed a most troubling letter, with words spelled out with newspaper and magazine clippings.

“fiNd THe rIGhT PiPe tOBacCO 2 pAiR wiTH tHiS pIpE, OR IT’ll B SLEepInG on tHe PIpe raCK. PerMANeNTly!”

I adjusted my deerstalker cap and placed my chin on my hands. No time for playing my violin tonight. If I wanted to save this pipe from a terrible fate, I had to act quickly. Thankfully, I had just the pipe tobacco to try, McClelland’s Honeydew, from their 221B Series. If all went to plan, this would end up as a one pipe problem.

I ordered the tin at the same time as the pipe. I had read that one of my favorite authors, M.R. James if you must know, used to smoke Honeydew pipe tobacco when he worked, so I thought I’d find a similar blend to try. Typing Honeydew in the search engine for pipesandcigars.com on my Victorian computer brought this blend up, and I ordered it post haste.

With the clock ticking, I popped the tin open and gave Honeydew a whiff. The tin note had that famous McClelland ketchup aroma to it. It didn’t exactly bring Honeydew to my mind, but given McClelland’s previous track record, I had confidence it would save this pipe’s life.

The tobacco itself was in flake form, but chunky, so the fold and stuff method wouldn’t be the way to go. I rubbed the flake out, the tobacco having some moisture, but not enough to require drying out. As I did so, I noticed the shadow of a figure moving closer towards me, the author of the note, no doubt. Once my endangered pipe had been filled, I dove through the glass window of my office and escaped into the night.

The streets of Victorian Chicago were foggy that evening as I ducked through alleys and back streets until reaching the train station. I boarded the train headed towards Victorian Peoria, found a private cabin in the smoking car, and closed the blinds. Out of danger for the moment, I pulled out my matches from my coat pocket, struck one, and lit my pipe as the train left the station.

At once, I tasted a sweetness in the smoke that betrayed the ketchup aroma from the tin. The flavor had a fruity quality to it, not overpowering the taste of the Virginia leaf, but complimenting it. There was the Honeydew, no doubt about it. I nodded my head in contentment; this was quality leaf, not the dreaded goopyness so commonly associated with aromatic blends. There was balance between the flavoring with the Virginia, making it the perfect kind of aromatic for the seasoned pipe smoker. The nicotine levels were mild and pleasant, no head spinning to be found.

As I puffed away, a shadow appeared in front of the door to my cabin. At first, I assumed it was the ticket collector entering to punch my ticket, but the door slid open and I was confronted with my mortal enemy, Professor WeaselPiper.

Professor WeaselPiper tipped his top hat and brushed his cape out of the way as he sat across from me, flashing his cane with sword hidden inside. He sneered at me as I tamped the tobacco down in the generous chamber of my Canadian.

“It’s over, Detective BadgerPiper,” he said triumphantly. “Hand over the Canadian and I might let you live.”

“You’re too late Professor,” I said, pointing my pipe at him. “I’ve found the tobacco destined to pair with this pipe. The game is over.”

The Professor glared at me through his monocle with ill intent. “Impossible, it takes sampling countless blends to find the right— .” Professor WeaselPiper paused and sniffed the air. “Say, what is that wonderful aroma coming from that pipe? You must tell me!”

“Honeydew by McClelland,” I replied as I ran a pipe cleaner through the stem. The blend made my pipe gurgle a bit, which was the only minor fault I could find with it. The Professor stared at my pipe jealously, before sheepishly pulling out a pipe of his own.

“Would you mind sparing some for me to sample?” The weasel asked with a twinge of embarrassment.

“I’d rather not,” I replied with a sniff. “Besides, where you’re going you’ll be lucky to find even the most chemically laden cherry aromatic.”

The door to my cabin slammed open as five police officers led by Inspector OtterPiper rushed and overwhelmed my constant antagonist.


“You haven’t heard the last of me!” shouted Professor WeaselPiper, shaking his paw in defiance as the officers led him into their police wagon in Victorian Peoria. “I’ll be out of prison in a matter of days! No Victorian jail can hold me!”

“How’d you know Honeydew would do the trick?” asked Inspector OtterPiper as he filled his pipe with my tin of Honeydew.

“Elementary, dear OtterPiper,” I replied as I puffed my pipe in the train station. “The narrow bowl shape of this Canadian is perfect for flake tobacco. I deduced that a McClelland flake aromatic would save this pipe’s life.”

It’s been months since this case has been closed, and every bowl of McClelland’s Honeydew has been as good as the first. I heartily recommend it.


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