Robert McConnell Black Parrot

Virginia, Carolina & pure Louisiana perique, this unique square-cut tobacco emcompasses flavor, maturity and mellow smoking.
Notes: Previously produced by Ashton, this mixture is now under the flag of R. McConnell, but the manufacturer is always Kohlhase & Kopp.


Brand Robert McConnell
Blended By  
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Perique, Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 100 grams tin
Country Germany


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

Average Rating

2.95 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 37 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 15, 2004 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I popped the seal. I stuck my nose down into the tin. Whew! I pulled back quickly with eyes watering. This Black Parrot has a smell that shivered me timbers boys!

Once past the whiff, I got my bearings and pulled out a few chunks of the flake and rubbed it out to some degree and then let it dry for awhile. That took care of the smell. I then loaded up in a small Jacono billiard and set fire to 'er. This is a somewhat strong Virginia/Perique that needs very slow puffing to be appreciated fully. It also needs some relights, particularly during the first third of the smoke.

My impressions; a classic!
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 08, 2019 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The tangy dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready Virginias also sport a little tart and tangy citrus and grass as the lead components. The figgy, raisiny, spicy, plumy perique is a supporting player. The Carolina is mostly a flavor carrier. The “vinegar” quality of the tobaccos is very noticeable, and doesn’t weaken very much during the experience. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a step past the center of mild to medium. Won’t bite or get harsh. Burns cool, clean and a little slow as broken flake mixtures will. May need a light dry time. The sweet and spicy taste is very consistent from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires a fair amount of relights. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste and room note. Not quite an all day smoke.

10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2009 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Wow, that's an acridly vinegary McClelland, but I am in the camp that likes that smell. Not acrid when smoked, yet the perique content is moderately high. Not for the faint of heart; still I do love these aged VaPer flakes. My can is from 1995, and some of the tobaccos in this blend must have been well-aged when they went in the can. It has held up well, with just a touch of moisture remaining, and will continue to improve, which is good because I can't smoke this every day. More of a special occasion tobacco, like an evening when I've had too much ale and feel like singing pirate shanties to the imaginary black parrot on my shoulder. Raaak! Ahoy maties, there be rough waters ahead! Seems like a tobacco pirates would have liked, anyway. Salty brine in the nose and rum to chase it down with. Still, can be mellow and tasty as well, especially towards the end. Sip slowly, this one does not lend itself to heavy puffing.

2-15-10 A couple of months opened, and a couple more in a jar have mellowed this quite a bit. Still a bit sour and peppery if I puff a little harder, but I consider that a strength of this tobacco. Not for every day, but absence makes the heart grow fonder!

11-7-2022 It's been a while since I smoked this, and I sure do wish I had some more, and even though I don't have another bowl to smoke, and it's highly unlikely that I will ever see it again, I'm upgrading to four stars. Not sure why I gave it three in the first place, and at this point, would give McClelland's worst blend four stars just out of respect.

7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 05, 2005 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
I cracked open a January 2000 tin today. What a great feeling. It's amazing to see the tobacco still moist after years aging in the tin, to see the glitter of the power crystals that mark this time machine embedded in the flakes, and to smell that distinct McClelland aroma as strong as ever.

I have little experience when it comes to aging--and in the future, I'd like to try a batch of old stuff alongside the new, but I don't have that luxury at the moment. So, my review will be limited to what I have on hand, and thankfully, it's very nice.

I understand that aging is supposed to mellow a tobacco, and judging by the very mild taste, I suppose that to be the case here. Fellow reviewers seem to give Black Parrot a higher strength rating, but this particular tin falls well below those marks. That isn't to suggest there is a lack of flavor. The Perique is ever-present but doesn't strangle the Virginias with an uneven proportion. It's welcome getting that Perique fix without having to run for cover.

Black Parrot reminds me very much of McClelland's 2015, although smoother and better integrated, which isn't a surprise since Ashton is an extension of the McClelland line. I'd like to see some kind of blind taste test with these two, I'd bet that there would be a bit of confusion.

Again, this is best for those who like Vapers with a less pronounced Perique component. I fall within that category, and yes..although I very much admire Escudo's, I prefer this to such a Perique powerhouse.

3.5 out of 4
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This Va/Per comes as a coarse ready rubbed flake of tan and dark brown color, effusing a slightly sour ketchup-like scent from a fresh tin. Since the tobacco is rather on the moist side, letting the opened can rest for a while does it some good and gets rid of the acrid smell. After that, what's left is a sweetish tin note reminiscent of dried figs or prunes and brown bread.

In order to fill my pipe I like to make small balls of tobacco, which I stuff lightly into my bowl, because Black Parrot tends to expand upon setting fire to it. It helps lighting to put some broken bits and pieces on top. After the charring light you need to level out the ashes before applying a thorough true light to get it burning evenly.

From the first puff on there's a full boddied tobacco taste. Smoked with leisure, it develops a tangy sweetness from the Virginias together with some pleasant fruity acidity from the Perique, which lasts throughout the bowl, as well as some dark chocolate kind of aftertaste. Nicotine content is fairly high. It burns down leaving only a little moisture and some dark graying ash.

The room note is dominated by a sweetish, typical pipe-tobacco-like smell.
Pipe Used: Vauen Oxford 024
PurchasedFrom: Esterval's Pipe House
Age When Smoked: Fresh
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 04, 2020 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Black Parrot has a nice tin note, sweet with some sort of liqueur fragrance. It is cut in coarse ribbons and some pieces of broken flakes. It’s quite dark in appearance, almost black. Though rather moist it can be smoked as is without producing a particularly wet experience.

In the beginning it almost innocuous, very smooth, mellow, elegant but not much taste in it. Gradually the taste evolves but it never becomes a full flavored tobacco. Black Parrot is marketed as a Va/Per but it’s not very similar to most Va/Pers I’ve tasted. The taste is subdued, and there’s only a hint of spicyness. The overall feel is of a very smooth tobacco akin to pure Black Cavendish and it does not taste of any flavouring. It’s not bad at all, I like it, it’s just that sometimes I need something more.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 03, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
I am disappointed about this mixture. Honestly I thought it was better. I haven’t still found a perfect Virginia Perique and also this mixture didn’t satisfy me. Neither very negative nor very positive it is a simply perique mixture. In my personal rating (from 0 to 10) my score is 6 and two stars.

UPDATE 2017 - 05 - 03 I tried again this Perique mixture and I changed my opinion. It is a quite good Virginia/Perique blend with a high Perique content. No great defect. At the moment, in my personal rating (from 1 to 10), my score is 8 and three stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 08, 2011 Medium Medium to Strong Very Full Strong
This blend is recommended by the tobacconist when I bought a Danish freehand. Although the freehand only has a chamber of 18mm diameter, it does well with the Ashton Black Parrot!!

Ok, about the blend itself. Upon opening the tin, you know this would be a good stuff, although not as sweet in smell as the Orlik Golden Slice. The ABP is a broken flake and you do not need to rip before filling into a bowl. Just grap several and fold, pack it to the bowl and then enjoy the magic brought to you by fire and weed. The first taste is not that strong, thanks to the aged virginia. If you can make the ABP stay lit for the first 5 minutes, then you will have no trouble to smoke it until the end of the bowl, otherwise, you will have the pleasure to relight again and again.

During the entire smoke, ABP delivers a pleasent taste, however the others around you may not enjoy it as much as you do. The room flavour smells like something rich in oil and overburned. But as the smoker, this is definitely a blend worth enjoying.

Pitty to hear that ABP is hardly available now. Good news is that I have another 2 unopened tin in my collection. Guess I would age them for a very long time.

A definitely 4-star blend!
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 15, 2011 Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Picked up a 100g European can at my local tobaccoist. It is a nice blend of the three tobaccos. An open can has a mild molasses or carmel smell to it. The flavor is very mild, and I simply can not distinguish any peppery undertones from the perique - not a complaint, I just prefer a strong perique. It is a good mildness, perhaps better reserved for after a long day on the trail. Be forewarned: I found this to be an extremely moist tobacco upon opening. As such, I feel a finer cut would be better, as it seems not to ash very well. Perhaps upon aging, this tobacco may leave a firmer impression upon me.

As an aside, I have been enjoying it with an oloroso (Lustau Almacenista, Lot 0259) It's mildness does complement the strong overtones of the sherry wonderfully, and helps bring out the undertones of the solera flavors.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 06, 2006 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
EU version: I don't know why they call it square cut, since it's a broken flake similar in looks to Rattray's Brown Clunee (made by the same manufacturer, Kohlhase & Kopp). The tin aroma is delicate, fruity and sour. It packs easily and burns nicely if dried a little, with a delicate taste typical of a good Virginia with a moderate amount of Perique. It's good, but I have smoked more interesting tobaccos in this genre (including Ashton's own Old London and some McClellands), and at times it can become a bit dull and ashy. Recommended if you want a lighter approach to this classic type of blends, otherwise too delicate and undistinguished.

Update on the US version: I like it more! The taste is richer, sweter and fruitier, although undistinguishable from many McClelland offerings (after all it IS a McClelland!). If you like the Virginias from this Kansas City brand, get this Ashton if you can still find it. Tasty, not bitey, and very enjoyable. The US version deserves a "Recommended".

2022 Update: While I still have reservations about the cut (it's NOT a square cut! It's a VERY rubbed out flake, and they didn't even bother to update the tin description in so many years!), I have improved my rating on this EU version: it's delicate, but very easy to smoke, fragrant and low maintenance. Not as exciting as Old London Pebblecut, but definitely a fine smoke. But still, I remember the departed US version as much superior.
2 people found this review helpful.
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