Robert McConnell Old London Pebble Cut

Selected red mottled leaf from Carolina rich in flavor and oils, small Oriental leaves from Macedonia of piquant aroma and bright nut-flavored broad leaf from Virginia, all combined to form the framework of this blend. All are left in bulk to merge and finally a quantity of pure Louisiana perique is added. This blend is then hard pressed as in the old maritime method of "carrottes" hydraulics taking the place of spun yarn and muscle. The resulting 'cake' is then cut and stoved to impart a light toasting effect and packed. Surely one of the most popular tobaccos of all it brings back flavours long since forgotten in today's mass produced substitutes.
Notes: Kohlhase and Kopp replaced the Macedonian Oriental leaf with "deep black cavendish", as stated on the website. New description: Traditional flake from dark Virginias, deep black cavendish and perique. A tobacco with a fine, natural sweetness, yet vigorous in taste.


Brand Robert McConnell
Blended By Kohlhase & Kopp
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Black Cavendish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 100 grams tin
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.30 / 4





Please login to post a review.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 43 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 20, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
As one who doesn't normally fall into the adage of "this was good until it changed blenders" pitfall, I find this blend to be quite an anomaly. I smoked a lot of this in the early to mid 1990's when it was made by (I believe) McConnell's. It was so good that when I gave up pipe smoking from 1995 until 2007, I kept 6 tins of it, knowing that I would return to smoking when my kids were raised.

The "McConnell's" version is nothing short of a classic. Beautiful broken flakes with the zest of perique and the wonderful tang of fully matured virginias. I smoked quite a lot of this back then. It rivaled Cope's Escudo then, and it rivals A&C Peterson's Escudo now.

Fast forward to 2007. I still had my six tins of the old stuff but was anxious to try the McClellands version, as they are far and away my favorite blending house overall. I was not terribly pleased with the change. Granted, all I had to go on of the old stuff was my memory and tins that had aged over a decade, but the newer stuff had lost the pizzaz somehow. Let's just say I was happy to have those old tins, and I've found a few more on Ebay since.

Now we have the K&K version, available only in Europe. Worse still. It's not a bad tobacco on its own but it has retained little of the depth of flavor and complexity of the old version. This is heartbreaking to me.

I wish I could smoke the K&K version with a clear mind but being intimately familiar with what this blend used to be is hard to overcome. Consequently, this review is worthless and I don't exactly know why I'm writing it. I guess it's to tell Vaper fans that if they find the oldest version in the 100 gram tins that look exactly like the current version but aren't stamped "made in the EEC", they should either buy it on sight or contact me immediately so that I can!
14 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 17, 2005 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
This is a review of the McClelland version.

I have been venturing the line of McClelland's offerings and I must say, as a Dane, that that weirdo BBQ aroma does not appeal to my tastes at all. McCranies Red Ribbon and VA Woods (pardon my French) sucked real bad. It was as if I could sense some quality leaf underneath a heavy load of Heinz, but all along just wished that I could smoke a bowl without that particular condiment.

Hmm.. All that said: Pebblecut does have some of that vinegar aroma in the tin and when I popped it, I was sure I had wasted my money. But Pebblecut, when lit, does not taste like ketchup at all thank goodness!

Instead I was greeted with a fine rich, soft and creamy smoke that is countermeasured by a certain "zing" from the Périque, and great spiciness from the Macedonian leaf. Some of the "rich-soft-smooth-creamy" VA blends tend to get boring after a while but Pebblecut has that little ekstra "tickle" that keeps your papilles awake.

My surroundings loved the room note, burn qualities are exceptional plus no blisters on the palate. I could wish for more nicotine though, (and this is why Pebblecut only receives 3 stars) but all in all satisfactory.


Jakob Kiilerich, Denmark.

August 17, 2005

This stuff has really grown on me; I have ordered more for cellaring, and will upgrade this review to four stars. Yummy!
8 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 10, 2006 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
This is McClelland's #27 with a touch of Perique added. Smoke as is or rub it out a bit further before loading to enhance an even burn.

The presentation at the match is that of a solid, middle of the road in strength Virginia with a smashing dash of quality Oriental leaf and a smidgen of Perique to round out the blend.

Pretty decent stuff.
6 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 29, 2004 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Blended by the McClelland Tobacco Company, Ashton?s Old London Pebblecut tobacco blend is an interestingly tangy Virginia based flake.

The tin aroma shouts of a pleasing sweetened Vinegar smell. Although this particular aroma diminishes in pungency over time, it does remain a distinctive characteristic of this blend. Red mottled Carolina leaf, Macedonia, Virginia broad leaf, and Perique tobaccos combine to form this blend. Pebblecut is of a deep mahogany red striated slightly with bands of yellow.

Pebblecut appears in a longer, slightly broken flake with a thicker cut. This tobacco rubs out relatively easily especially after it has dried out a bit. Loading a pipe of this tobacco blend is fairly simple. Pebblecut arrives slightly moist but no real drying is necessary for a satisfying smoke.

Pebblecut also lights easily for a flake tobacco and has a trend of burning evenly. A match or two is usually needed to finish the smoke completely. The burn leaves the sides of the pipe bowl clean and no real gurgling was noticed during the smoke. The room note tends to be somewhat sharp and overall decent.

The taste of this blend tends to be tangy, sweet, and with a slightly spicy background. This spiciness is no doubt due to the Perique though this added Perique only plays a subtle background role, never asserting itself throughout the smoke. The smoke remains medium hot but subsides about half way through until eventually cooling considerably. Also, as the smoke progresses, the entire taste becomes smoother with perhaps a slight loss in the tartness of the blend. A somewhat wispy yet smooth and continuous smoke is rendered by the blend.

Pebblecut is a very interesting Virginia flake variant. The full tartness of the pouch aroma may at first seem overpowering but with a bit of familiarity it becomes a very interesting a favorable characteristic of this tobacco blend. Tangy, sweet, slightly spicy, and recommended.
6 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2017 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
This one is the best Perique mixture I ever smoked. Really intriguing, enchanting in taste, rich in exotic flavors. Excellent Virginia, superb Perique and wonderful Oriental leaf in an extraordinary “Old London Mixture”. Great, really great, to smoke slowly in a perfect silence. A nice tobacco to find peace of mind. I think Tolkien’s pipe-weed is something to do with Latakia, but if you prefer Perique, without any doubt this is Tolkien’s pipe-weed. The finest weed in the Southfarthing. In my personal rating system (from 1 to 10) my score is 10 and obviously 4 stars.
5 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 19, 2017 Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Woh ! new all day Waper,,,spicy ,dark,good room notes.Great right from the thin. Burns slowly,,nice dark tobacco taste to the palate. Not so strong in nicotine either,but it,s there,so what moore can i goes well with a cup of coffee...and shure its a winner for me.Recomended!
Pipe Used: Dunhill pot
Age When Smoked: 1 month
4 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Comprised of ragged broken flakes, the tin nose is sharp with a strong aroma of fresh cut grapefruit. Sugar crystals are to be found here and the flakes tend to darken in color as the tin is allowed to breathe, turning from a deep mottled brown to a dark chocolate brown with streaks of chestnut and tan. Benefiting from the type of attention typically due such broken flake preparations, it can be rubbed to taste and does well in a variety of pipes.

Marked by a persisting high note which is alternately tart and sour, Pebblecut showcases an integrated combination of Macedonian Oriental and Louisiana Perique against a background of mellow, well-aged Carolina red Virginia. Mildly sweet, once comfortably settled in the bowl it offers a mélange of subtle flavors which range from mild citrus and sun tea to malt vinegar and old wood. On the light side of medium bodied, the finish is short and has a tendency to fall flat. The flavors are there, but the body to carry them is not.

Opened ten years after it was tinned by the good folks at McClelland, the sample on which this review is based clearly displays the effects of a decade at rest. Muted in parts and deepened in others, the Perique has been shorn of all but a modicum of the peppery spice of its youth and the fragrant pungency of the Oriental has mellowed considerably. While both appear well integrated into the mild Virginia base, to this reviewer's tastes the overall lack of body throws off what might otherwise have been quite a pleasant vintage smoke. While certainly known for its ability to play on the high end while young, in terms of aging potential the overall lack of a solid Virginia base makes its stunning looking tin label its most endearing characteristic. In this reviewer's opinion, the old McClelland made Ashton Pebblecut looks much better on the shelf than it tastes in the pipe and I for one do not lament its passing.
4 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 01, 2004 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
My second venture into Virginia flake territory, after the wonderful Marlin Flake by Rattray. Much of what I said in the review of MF applies here, too, so you might want to take a look there before reading this. What are the differences? First of all, the can aroma has a much more fermented smell. More pungent, with a dominant dried plum flavor and almost-vinegary overtones. Probably it's the presence of Perique. In comparison to MF, it unrubs even better, and smokes just as well. It is a bit less "rounded" and sweet/grassy in taste, and while sometimes it shows a higher spiciness, some other times it feels a bit "empty" and watery. While the first half bowl of Pebblecut is very stimulating to the palate, with citrus note and an everchanging taste, the second half degrades a bit. While Marlin Flake can be relighted at will, this Ashton blend seems to lose something. And even without relighting, the last 1/3 of the bowl has a rather plain and sometimes even slightly unpleasant taste. Personal impressions, no doubt: both MF and Pebblecut are great Virginia flakes which resemble each other in look, taste and burning characteristics, and the preference towards one or the other is just a matter of taste. A serious Va smoker should definitely try both. The presence of Perique in Ashton's tobacco is quite discreet and tolerable even to those who usually don't love this kind of leaf. This one is less famous than Rattray's blend, but it might just click for you. Note of warning: the European packaging of this blend is in a 100g parchment colored tin. The american version is in a 50g tin with a completely different look. This review was written following my notes based upon the European version: several months later, I also tried the US version: the look in the tin is completely different (it's broken flake, not a whole one), the smell is even more vinegary and fruity (of course, being made by McClelland) and the taste slightly differs, suggesting more than a hint of the Orientals. It almost tastes like a much fuller and slightly sweeter version of GLPease Cairo. I like both versions, but probably I prefer a little the European one.
4 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 02, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Bought as a sample from the local tobacco specialist provider, so the tin note abstains from this review per now. The tobacco, however, offers a sweet, tangy smell, as many has said before me, like sweetened vinegar.

Much of the aroma is preserved to the palate upon smoking, with the addition of some red berries and Perique-spiciness dancing in the background. The body of the smoke is no more than medium, but still delivers a really pleasant puff. Though maybe not a favourite yet, slightly more deserving than three stars, and a pleasant break from my recent heavier tobaccos and burley blends.


The more I smoke it, the more I like it. It’s proven to become a staple of a recurring VaPer in my rotation. (Yes, I am aware of the Black Cevandish, and might just be why it is my preferred one.) I up my recommendation to four stars.

UPDATE 3rd of September 2019

Having bought my own tin, I cannot help but mention the aroma, and flavour too, is highly like “lavashak”, and Iranian sour candy made from raw fruits and berries and water, specifically ones made of figs. Truly outstanding!
Pipe Used: Norrøna Lillehammer 1212
PurchasedFrom: Sol Cigar Oslo
Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin and by three weeks
3 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 25, 2013 Mild None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
I was using this to break in my new Peterson. That pipe is now dedicated to this blend. My new Fav tobacco!

Rubbed out only. I love that job as it is cathartic and part of the pipe experience. Best gas mileage of any tobacco yet for me. 1/3 bowl for break in lasted 40 min! In a B11! SMOOTH! CREAMY! RICH! Amazing tin note, with a bit of the infamous condiment smell, but VERY light. And none when smoked.

I now understand what "soapy" means, and it is NOT a bad thing! Smoked out of a breeze and at a break-in pace, it smoked cool with zero gurgle. And that was was rubbed out only, no dry time.

Definitively changes mid bowl, but still amazing and polite. My first "stock up" tobacco.

Still no cake in my new pipe and 50 grams down. May have to break in with something else, super clean and dry burn with very little ash and zero dottle.

3 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.