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Hand-blended, premium pressed Virginia flake tobaccos. A fine vintage, naturally sweet, in limited quantity.

Notes: Produced in 1992, 1994-present in limited quantities. Tinned in July of the respective year.

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
CutBroken Flake
Packaging50 grams or 100 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Mild to Medium, Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
9 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2097)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The familiar "vinegar/ketchup" smell was less noticeable in the taste of the tobacco than it was to my nose, though I didn't find it distracting. The Virginias were very ripe and dried dark fermented fruit sweet, rather tangy with some earth, and a little spice, sugar, and grass here and there. It burned slow with some moisture at the finish even when dried a little, but no dottle. Found it worked best when packed a little loosely. The nic-hit was mild with no bite, and had a consistent flavor, and a pleasant after taste. An all day smoke.

4 people found this review helpful.

Ian Weeks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ian Weeks (36)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I came upon this excellent tobacco by way of a friend who had himself sampled and sealed the flakes in a mason jar. Over time through a trade it made its way to my cellar and lingered there for almost a year before I smoked the last bit of it today, I was sorry to see it go.

I smoked this blend in over a dozen pipes ranging from large group 3?s to small group 5?s and I can recall no tongue bite or what I consider misbehavior whatsoever on behalf of the blend.

The tin note (or jar note) was light, and had lost much of the in your face aroma that comes from opening a brand new off of the packaging line tin and slightly hinted to figs, raisins, and straw. Also I might add it seemed to have lost much of the aroma that I find characteristic of McClelland blends, though present now were sugar crystals that had over time formed on the beautiful red and yellowish flakes.

I have smoked Christmas Cheer 1998 stuffed as a flake, and fully rubbed out, both techniques yielded a phenomenal smoking experience, the char light was no Herculean effort- the first few puffs were very zesty, and keeping the bowl lit was quite easy. Admittedly I rarely have a problem with relighting and am not prone to complain about having to tamp and relight a pipe, in fact it is one of the many aspects of pipe smoking that I very much enjoy.

The bowl that I am smoking at the moment is smoldering the last I have of this fine blend, it is in a Danish Pot carved by the extraordinarily talented Hans Former Nielsen. I find the taste to be consistent albeit a little more subdued with the younger Christmas Cheer productions; clearly it has mellowed with time though it lost none of its sweetness throughout the bowl.

Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

12-03-04 Age makes a difference!

Appearance and Tin aroma: Dark reddish flakes lots of sugar crystals (6 years aged). Yes, it has the tang you either love or hate.

Packing and Lighting: The flakes were pretty tough after all these years of ageing. I found that it burns a lot nicer if fully rubbed out. Took 3-4 lights to get it going.

Initial Flavor: If smoked gently, delicious sweet VA tanginess. If you puff on it too strongly upon lighting, you'll get a bitter and astringent flavor.

Mid-Bowl: Sipping at this point yeilds a sublime flavor. You can almost taste each leaf's distinct flavor.

Bottom of Bowl: A nice build up of strength and spicyness that is not overwhelming. Very nice! Light grey ash is all that is left.

Overall: This is not a beginners blend. I found it worked best in Group 3 sized bowls. You must have good control in order to get the pot of Gold at the the end of the Rainbow. If smoked gently and methodically, you will be blessed with a fine, fine smoke with a clean aftertaste when it is all over. Unfortunately, when this is all gone (I'm about 3/4 done on a 100g. Tin)it's gone. I suppose I am going to get on the ball and start buying these CC's from MCC every year now so I can age them.

Rating: 4 out 5 points, Enjoy!

1 person found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After being gifted an ounce of this at a recent pipe show, I was hesitant to smoke it due to the number of poor reviews. With that said, when I finally did smoke the 11+ year old blend I was pleased to find a quality Virginia flake. '98 is wonderfully sweet, with no bite, even when pushed. I wish I had more of it. Most of my Christmas Cheer tins are less than four years old so I am going to stay away from comparisons. Like most straight Virginia flakes, they are not meant for beginners. It is a little light in the strength department for my tastes but if offered another tin at a reasonable price, it would be a no brainer. Recommended!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RMP Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RMP (7)
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

After experiencing the '97 CC, the '98 was a real let down. I seemed to be just another Red VA, with no real distinguishing flavors to make it stand out. Of the '97 I bought 15 tins; of the '98 I bought 1 tin, and ended up using it as blending tobacco. This '98 CC was just a blip, as all the subsequent CC's have been noteworthy from the start.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CornCob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CornCob (94)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I had purchased two cans of this series(98'&02')and i held them in high regard and they earned a distingushed spot on the shelf next to my most prized vintage/limited edition blends, all but ready to be smoked with high anticipation when the time is right.Upon opening the can of 98', i was expecting a burst of festive aromas;nutmeg?eggnog?plum pudding perhaps?Instead i was met with christmas vinager!I was not optimistic at this point and was ready to call the whole thing off, but i perservered.I rubbed out a pinchful in my hand, then cupped my palms and went in for a sniff.I was greeted with a simple smell of the most typical run of the mill flakes on the market today.It took some effort to get it lit, but when it did, WOW did it burn hotter than hell.It lacked the flavour, complexity and body i had expected from a holiday smoke, especially one held in such high regard. Now thinking i had opened the only bad vintage, so i trucked on and against my better judgment i decided to open the 02' once my mouth had cooled. I so desperatly wanted to like the series, i wanted to look forwrd to ordering and smoking this treat of yule!But to my dismay and disgust there was absolutly no difference between the two in my opinion.I decided to give the two cans away to someone who may enjoy them, and vowed never to buy this series again. I think there are much better holiday/Christmas blends out there at better prices.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big bad Jon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big bad Jon (232)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After almost a decade in the tin I figured it was time to let the cat out of the bag. The tobacco was firm and dry in the tin and had an almost coarse texture to it. Lighting it proved to be a bit of a challenge, but once lit it burned well. There were a lot of sweet tasting leaves in the first part of the bowl. As the bowl progressed the tobacco had a bit of spice to it. Towards the bottom of the bowl everything came together well. Why only the two star rating you might as? After having many other Christmas Cheer blends, I know McClelland is capable of so much better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darwin (101)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable


There's not much to add to RCUSElder's excellent review, but I'll chime in anyway. Yes, it seems age does make a difference in this blend based on the previous reviews. After almost 7 years in the tin, this is one fine Virginia tobacco.

I will warn you that you may want to smoke this one slowly due to its high sugar content, but if you do you'll find the wonderful citrus/lemon flavor that makes it unique. The flakes are a little thick and tough, so I've been rubbing them out a little. I wouldn't recommend this blend to everyone, only dyed in the wool McClelland VA lovers, which I am proudly a member. This is not an everyday smoke, but a special blend for special occasions. I've got a few more tins tucked away, so I'll report back on the aging progress.

The "I smoke this on occasion" review is based on its limited production, not its quality or my enjoyment of this vintage Virginia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

chaplikc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chaplikc (135)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was anticipating trying this and was sorely dissapointed with it. This is possibly the worst mcclelland tobacco I have tried. This burns very hot and is like a pit bull with its bite! The flavor was not good either. It was a cross between pickles and steam. Very bad!

Nobody has rated this review yet.