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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
None Detected
Mild to Medium, Medium
Room Note
10 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2151)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

The red Virginia provides some tangy dried, lightly fermented dark fruit and citrus, a bit of earth, a few blades of grass, a little sugar and wood, and a few various spice notes along with a slight floral hit. The “vinegar” essence dissipates rather quickly. Has a touch of a rough edge midst a little softness. The strength and taste levels are a step closer to mild than they are to medium. No chance of bite or harshness. Has no dull spots. The nic-hit is mild. Burns cool and clean and a little slow with a very consistent, fairly smooth flavor from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires some relights. Has a pleasant, tangy sweet and lightly spicy after taste. An all day smoke.

3 people found this review helpful.

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

As is my habit, I open and smoke Christmas Cheer when it is 10 years-old. This is my first taste of the '99 vintage. I have to say this is one of my favorites so far. I've let it breathe in its open tin (with the plastic lid on, of course) for a month, which really makes a difference, imo. Its delicate sweetness and medium body are most satisfying. The McNeils really have a way with Virginias. Keep in mind, as the previous reviewer forgot, that CC is not a blend but a single crop that represents the best of a particular year. Straight Virginia tobacco can burn hot and give the most experienced smoker tongue-bite if they're not careful. No worries about that with this tin. Ten years has tamed all the rough edges and seems to have brought out all the delicious qualities this vintage has to offer. If you can find a tin I highly recommend grabbing it; you won't be sorry. I have 2 more tins, one I plan to save until 2019 if I live that long. The other will be a Christmas gift to one of my pals.

2 people found this review helpful.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
Mild None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

In a word : Exquisite.

I rated Christmas Cheer 1999 as "One of my favorites, I smoke this regularly". Well, obviously, I won't be able to do that. Once it's gone, it's gone. But this is a four-star tobacco if ever there was one.

Tinned in 1999, smoked in 2004. I dropped the moisture down a notch or two, and made sure it was rubbed out a bit more than the broken flake, as advised by a previous reviewer.

A smooth easy smoke, full Va flavor. My wife is actually fond of the room note. She actually asked what I was smoking, and when I told her the name she said I needed to get more of it, because she really liked it. The I had to tell her the sad news - it is't available.

If you get a chance to get your hands on some of this limited quantity tobacco, by all means, try it. You won't be sorry. If you like Virginias, you'll love Christmas Cheer (1999).

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

First off, the rating I gave is for the quality and execution, because I only have so much of this tobacco. I can hardly smoke it regularly or in the forseeable future once my stash is gone.

That said, this is fine tobacco. Flavorful in the middle range, neither being a tenor or bass. It is just good, sweet, natural, easy burning, and unchallenging Virginia flake.

The tin insert describes Christmas Cheer 1999 as "a special selection of the beautiful, ripe, orange flue-cured Virginias of the Carolina Border Belt crop of 1994.

It is not complex like a blend with more than one tobacco variety, but it allows a smoker to taste an exceptional varietal for its own qualities and merit. I opened it Thanksgiving Day 2003 and am down to the last ounce or so.

This is mottled flake (almost large, rectangular chunks rather than flakes). It burns clean and dry to a white ash. It is relatively cool for a pure flue-cured product.

I recommend rubbing this out more than the broken flake form in which it was packaged. A wee bit of moisture reduction (open lid for a couple of hours) helps the lighting and burning qualities.

I am saving some of this to compare with other years hence and to add some sweetness to blends I feel need it. As a regular diet, such a tobacco would bore me a bit.

2 people found this review helpful.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (171)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I purchased 2 tins of this at Iwan Ries back in 2004 when I was in Chicago on business. I found it on the shelf stuffed away with several misc McClelland blends. Just as Darwin below, I like at least 10 years of age on the Christmas Cheer.

Popping this tin after 15+ years of aging, I was a bit nervous. Was it sealed properly? Will it be powder? Neither. Upon opening this tin, the famous tang of McClelland Va's was still present. What I assume used to be mottled brown flake appears almost pitch black, almost as if it had been stoved. Some streaks of medium brown leaf still appear, if you can see it under the glorious sugar crystallization. Preparing the broken flakes hasn't changed much, as it is still a bit difficult to rub out what flake remained intact.

Packing is easy, the leaf still lends a bit of spring. Lighting does require a bit of time, and is not something to be rushed. I waited this long to smoke it, why hurry now?

Initial lighting is pure bliss. Sweet sugary notes of the long aged Virginia taste almost like caramel. Usually young McClelland Va's give me tongue bite, but that no longer exists in this tin. I like to pack this tight, as small sips keep the flavor even keel, and keeps it lit. Thin wisps of smoke constantly emitting from my pipe tells me I am doing it right.

I don't plan on smoking this that often, so hopefully these two tins will last me for a few years. As long as I keep charity samples to a minimum.

Age When Smoked: 15 years

Purchased From: Iwan Ries

1 person found this review helpful.

Dnemets Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dnemets (3)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

A fine aged tobacco indeed. I found that no matter what you do, you get a little bite from it but otherwise it is a well behaved weed. It starts a little heavy after the first few puffs but mellows out in a BIG hurry; you know that sweet spot you get to when you are taking your time with a pipe and all the flavors come together in harmony?--It doesn't matter how you smoke this, it's a sure shot every time. I pick up a few peppery citrus notes-- which is very curious indeed, but enjoyable nonetheless. The tobaccos biggest fault here is that it bites. Get a tin if you are able, it's worth it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Nuke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nuke (2)
Strong Medium to Strong Full Pleasant

I have smoked through two tins of the '99 Xmas Cheer and have found it consistently outstanding. It is sweet, but not overwhelming. It is a little moist from the tin, so I have found that drying for bit before loading into pipe to provide a better smoking experience. It smokes a little wet, but that is me rather than the tobacco. I have found that it is a tad strong for a Virginia blend, but not nearly as strong as S&G Full VA Flake. No casing noted, standard McC tin note which doesn't carry over to the smoke. Room note is pleasant, toasty and mild. Taste is outstanding. A nicely done blend, highly recommended if you can get your hands on some.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Keeper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Keeper (112)
Medium Medium to Strong Full Tolerable

An amazing almost citrus tartness, melding with natural VA sweetness. A texture and flavor that is robust yet soft. Likely one of the tastiest "straight" VA mixtures I have had the pleasure to sample.

I was gifted a sample earlier in the year (2004), but saved it for Christmas morning in a MacQueen Churchwarden. Delicious. Though smoking it regularly is definitely not an option, I would if I could.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (102)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

A sample bag of 20 grams or so showed up in my mailbox 4 days ago , which has now been consumed. I will not usually write a review without having smoked a minimum of two ounces but this will have to suffice. I have not sampled any of the other available years of Christmas Cheer but have been told 1999 was a good'er. Blend is a broken flake, very wet to the touch. I detect liberal amounts of humectant applied here. There is a flavor added which I am unfamiliar with, very sweet but not pungent, rather contrasting with the more rich smell of well cured virginia. Lightup is sharp! Multiple flavors are present and all of them are hot. I found that even with an extremely slow cadence this flake burned much too warm for me to enjoy. One bowl takes me out of the running for most of the day, not what I look for in a hobby. I am sensitive to virginia bite but find this offering to be an extreme case. I'll leave this one for a more restrained smoker.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Scottish Soldier Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Scottish Soldier (6)
Mild Mild Mild Very Pleasant

I was fortunate enough to locate a couple of tins of this mixture. One will be smoked and the other "put away" for a special occasion. The aroma from the tin, once opened, reminded me very much of my mother's Christmas baking. The smell was very much like mincemeat tarts just removed from the oven - sweet, fruity and nutty. The flakes were gently rubbed out and then packed into a favorite Nording. The tobacco took a charring light very well; was further tamped down and then a final light was made. The pipe remained lit for well over one hour and the smoke was exquisite. This is a mild tobacco and the taste and aroma while being smoked was also very mild and quite pleasant. This blend is highly recommended if one is able to find an unopened tin.

Nobody has rated this review yet.