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An elegant matured Virginia ribbon-cut blend, naturally sweet with that clarity of flavor possessed by only the best Virginias. Seasoned lightly with fine, cool-smoking Cyprian latakia. Aged for months to mellow.

Notes: Originally a limited edition Virginia mixture released in 2002 in celebration of McClelland's twenty-fifth anniversary; McClelland has decided to reintroduce its Anniversary blend in 2005 due to overwhelming demand.

A fine Virginia mixture with just a pinch of latakia to spice things up; this is an impeccable blend, sure to become a favorite.

Originally released in 2002 to commemorate 25 years of quality tobacco manufacturing, a total of 3000 tins were issued wrapped in commemorative ecru paper with a red wax seal. A second issue, bearing a green wax seal and an updated date span on the paper wrapping (1977-2005), was released in 2005. A third issue, bearing a (brownish) natural wax seal and updated date span (1977-2010), was released in 2010.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeVirginia/Latakia
ContentsLatakia, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging100 grams tin
CountryUS
ProductionNo longer in production
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant

Favorite Of 2 Users

3.2
68 reviews
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4 star:
28
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28
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10
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

An excellent virginia blend with a smidge of latakia. The virginias are naturally sweet and complex and the addition of a light amount of latakia really takes this blend to another level. On the face of it, it seems that mixing two tobaccos together should be easy. As an amateur blender, I can say it isn't!

I never got a chance to smoke the original issue but this 2005 is excellent. It has a nice level of smokiness... not too much so that the virginias are buried, but enough to elevate this beyond their green Oriental series. This is one blend that in my opinion the smoker needs to exhale through the nose, at least occasionally, to get the most from it. It's very nuanced, and simple puffing will cause the smoker to miss a lot of the subtleties. Exhaling through the nose includes the entire tasting palate and elevates this blend to superstar status. Anniversary is that good! I'm going to stock up on this and hope that when this vintage is gone, they'll come out with another that is just as excellent!

14 people found this review helpful.

A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (97)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

When I smoke a blend consisting of nothing but Virginia and Latakia there are two things that I have come to expect. First that I will be treated to a tangy, meaty, smoky combination that both invigorates and relaxes; second, I expect this experience to be negatively augmented by a fair share of heat in smoking that detracts from the overall experience in that I have to be extra careful not to scorch my tongue and ruin all further enjoyment of flavor. It is the one great curse of all blends of this sort.

Or, at least, it was up until now. Somehow, the notoriously inconsistent McClelland Tobacco Company have managed to make a blend of naught but Latakia and Virginia that not only showcases all of the best smoking, olfactory, and visual appeals of those varieties of leaf, they do so without any heat or harshness coming through in the smoke. This stuff is good, righteous good and a truly worthy commemoration of the company?s fortuitous anniversary. Truly, that charming waxen seal was not wasted on these tins.

9 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

First, let me say how much I appreciate McClelland's tobacco company for all it has done for our hobby. They have many wonderful blends to choose from, including Anniversary. My pipe club popped a tin of this at our year 2008 meeting. All 16 members who attended tried a bowl and the reviews were glowing. Most enjoyed the blend from top to bottom. Their impression of the Virginias was that it was stronger near the bottom, but not harsh, and that the Latakia was smoky and rich. Truly worthy of its name, Ecru paper with wax seal wrap, and the McClelland's name.

9 people found this review helpful.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Given McClelland's history of producing top quality products, one would expect that a blend meant to serve as a sort of flagship commemorative product would be outstanding. In that respect, Anniversary doesn't disappoint.

Anniversary is a bit of a cipher for me, as I can't think of anything quite like it. First off, the VAs are superb but different than any I've sampled before. The tin description for this mixture says they have "clarity," and it's correct -- they have a lot of high notes and an almost fragile quality about them. Another way of describing this is to say that the range of VA flavors are exceptionally well-defined. I get primarily hints of lemon, cinnamon, and cane sugar as well as the signature McClelland's tang (some call it ketchup or vinegar). There is very little of the depth I experience with, say, Blackwoods Flake or Dark Star. The VAs are delicious, but also thin -- they have little in the way of a bottom note. To invoke a musical analogy, the VA flavor is akin to listening to a symphony played entirely on flutes: achingly beautiful, in large part because it's so delicate, even ephemeral.

This is where the cyprian latakia comes in. Most of McClelland's most successful products are straight VAs, and I imagine there might have been some temptation to release an all-VA blend. That would have been a mistake in this case, snd the decision to use latakia in Anniversary was absolutely perfect. Rarely have I encountered a blend in which the attributes of latakia when used as a condiment are so dramatically illustrated. As the tin description indicates, it slows the burn and cools the smoke. More importantly, it provides desperately needed bass notes to the concert, anchoring the performance in a way that allows the VAs to dazzle the audience with intricate solos.

Okay, okay -- I'm maybe waxing a little too poetic here. Oddly enough, it's not even that I like this blend THAT much (it's not a desert island smoke to me, as much as I enjoy it). It's too mild, for one thing. It's also not at all complex. But I am really impressed by the overall composition of this mixture -- this is one of the best presentations of both latakia and VA that I've come across. There is almost no integration of flavors here, and this blend is all the better for that lack. The sharp contrast of sweet/smoky allows both types of leaf to really shine. For this reason, Anniversay might be the most ideal introduction to latakia I could imagine, and it could easily turn someone into a drooling addict of McClellands unique style of VAs. I find it interesting to note that many reviewers have said they feel that Anniversary has more latakia than advertised. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment. Instead, I believe that the latakia is thrown into such a sharp contrast by the VAs that the smoky taste seems far more potent than the actual proportions would indicate. I actually get more of the spicy nuances that define latakia's flavor from this blend than I do from many Balkans, even if the brute strength isn't there.

Anniversary doesn't fit well into traditional categories, at least not in my opinion. It's obviously not a straight VA blend, but I also wouldn't call it an English mixture even though its ingredients should automatically qualify it as such. But the flavors simply don't remind me -- even in passing -- of a traditional English or Balkan. What Anniversay DOES make me think of is that genre known as "American English," in which blenders typically use a base of burley and varying amounts of latakia (sometimes with other leaf included in condimental amounts). I just can't put it in the same category as Westminster or Commonwealth, but I do find it very easy to compare it to Epiphany, Bald-Headed Teacher, or Morley's Best. Strange ....

Anyway, the burning qualities of this are typical for a ribbon cut. It's a lot drier than most McClelland products, which is a nice surprise. I experience minimal tongue irritation with Anniversary, which I consider essential to my enjoyment of a blend (my mouth is quite sensitive to VAs). The strength is also minimal -- there's more nicotine here than in Frog Morton, but not by much.

This is one of those blends that makes me wish that tobaccos were rated here using five stars instead of four. Why? Three stars doesn't seem to do this justice, but Anniversary also doesn't quite deserve the highest rating available. I would like to give this four out of five stars, but I guess I'll just call it a 3.5. If nothing else, I have a hard time imagining anyone genuinely disliking this mixture (unless they just despise latakia) and I'm sure that some will love it. As I said earlier, I doubt this stuff will ever be a true favorite but I nonetheless hope to have a tin on hand at all times. I could easily imagine some smokers calling it their Holy Grail.

8 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This review pertains to the red wax version. The Cyprian latakia is smoky, woodsy sweet and while not a major component, you will notice it throughout the smoker. Sometimes, it's more obvious than it is at other times. The Virginias seem to be red and stoved, offering some sweet fruit (dark and citrus with a mild fermentation), a little earth, slight grassiness and a touch of spice. It has the familiar "vinegar" smell you expect from a McClelland Virginia blend, but that taste doesn't linger throughout the smoke, nor does it mitigate the flavor nuances. The nic-hit is just past the mild level. Won't bite or get harsh and is a cool smoke. Burns slightly less than moderately, and requires some relights, and burns just a little moist. Sometimes, it will leave a little dottle, other times not, so I recommend a light dry time. Has a very pleasing after taste and I never heard a complaint about the room note. Not quite an all day smoke, unless you're a McClelland aficionado who's addicted to this company's blends.

7 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

EDIT 8-16-2017

I am coming back to this one to just leave my impressions on the tin of the first issue (red seal) I recently finished. I must say I was left with mixed feelings on this one. To start, I purchased two of these tins in an estate auction. One was opened and the other sealed. So I obviously started smoking the open container first.

If I had to grade this container, I would have removed a star, but I am not going do so for a few reasons. The first is that I don't know how long the tin was open, but the contents were pretty dry. It was smokable but it was not as pleasurable as my first experience with this blend a few years ago. Smoking this confirmed two things that I believe happens with aged tobaccos.

First, Virginias do indeed get better and second, Latakia does not. This had hardly any leather smokiness left in it. But the Virginia was mild and sweet. I will be interested when I pop the fresh one from 2002 to see if the experience is the same.

Knowing I will be coming back to this, I will say this. It is my theory that people who believe Latakia improves with age are people who do not really like Latakia. Or maybe people who have a lot of tins they sell on consignment that are old and contain Latakia.

I also have a tin of the green seal that I will be able to compare as well. In any case, I have to more trips to this review in the future and will consider it a work in process until I am able to finish them all. :)

Original Review 10/23/2015

I was fortunate enough to have a forum friend send me a healthy sample of this one. I was hesitant on this one and that is, perhaps, the reason I never purchased a tin. When I read Virginia and latakia, I immediately thought this would be like Frog Morton which I did not like. I shuddered at the thought of having 100g of something that tasted like that.

So I was pleasantly surprised when a package of samples included this. I was even more pleasantly surprised after smoking it. I not only like this blend, I loved it. Not like Frog Morton at all. This was more like Sam Gawith Navy flake to my tastes. More about the sweet Virginias with a whisper of latakia. The result is a wonderful Virginia blend from a company that knows how to do Virginias. The Virginia in Anniversary is very sweet and of the lighter colored variety with hay type sweetness with maybe a touch of citrus. The whisper of lat sets it apart from other straight Virginias allowing room for this in any rotation.

As to the vintage of this blend, I believe my sample was from the 2010 issue. I highly recommend this to Virginia lovers who want a different twist to their favorite Virginia staples. Oh, I also noted that the typical scent from McClelland Virginias was very subdued in this one, so I think that people who are opposed to that scent could also like this one.

Similar Blends: Sam Gawith Navy Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

TK Pipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TK Pipe (101)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

McC Anniversary… Let me first say, Latakia is not my favorite flavor enhancer, like to much topping on a overdone Aro, IMO latakia can likewise ruin an otherwise good tobacco. But the good folks at McClelland did not just roll off a log when it comes to blending to perfection, and this blend IMO is just about perfection. I found it much easier to smoke than some of their (McC) other fine Virginia blends, Anniversary seems milder for one thing, and just seems to adapt to a variety my sometimes unorthodox smoking styles without getting nasty.

My tin had a hard brown wax seal, the tin was dated 2010 so I guess it is some of their latest lot of this product. Lights easy, and has a smooth creamy taste with some pleasant sweetness. I found almost zero true tounge bite, just the typical tingle, I get when smoking any full flavored VA.

IMO this blend is dominated by the flavor of fine Virginia's, with just the right amount of Latakia that is noticable in it's aroma, but not so much in its taste. For me, a worthwhile and satisfying smoke.

5 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This review is based on the later release, with the green wax seal - the date stamp on the bottom of the tin indicates 2005.

Upon opening I was surprised how comparatively little of the signature McClelland ketchup aroma is present and how forward is the Latakia smokiness. The label says "seasoned lightly" with Latakia but I take issue with their interpretation of "lightly." Seems to me from the aroma, the appearance, and the taste that there is a bit more in there than the description suggests.

I have loaded this blend traditionally and with the Frank method, the latter seeming to provide a bit more consistent flavor throughout the smoke. And what a wonderful smoke it is! The natural sweetness that is indicative of a very fine Virginia leaf is unmistakable, while the Latakia smokiness is also right there in the foreground. Both characteristics blend smoothly but remain distinct and enjoyable throughout the smoke. I could not detect any flavorings.

Again, the level of smokiness indicates to me there is more than just a light serving of Latakia here. Seems to me it's more likely in the 20 to 30 percent range. The flavor is neither monochrome nor complex, but the constant interplay of VA sweet and LAT smoke compliment one another perfectly. Rather mild, very well behaved in the combustion department, providing copious smoke, and great flavor to the very end make this an ideal all day smoke.

I can easily see myself stocking up on this one.

4 people found this review helpful.

haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (47)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I?ve really tried hard to like McClelland blends, really hard. They are a big furry lovable company with a great many suitors, and, gosh darnit, they?re American as Apple Pie. Apple Pie with Ketchup. No matter how I try to get around it, that ketchup in the tin just bugs me, even in their heavier latakia blend, the ketchup rises to the top. It?s not like it tastes like burning ketchup in the bowl or anything, it?s just getting that far, packing ketchup into one of my precious Radices? or even one of my not so precious Savenelli?s, or decidedly knock around Peterson system pipes. That said, I really like the anniversary blend. Not sure why exactly, it?s not like you can?t tell it?s a McClelland blend or a bottle of Heinz from across the room, but burning in the bowl it?s sublime, a subtle combination of sweet and earthy, complex, mysterious, like an aged Pu-Erh cake or something dark and red in bottle in a cellar. After the char it stops smelling like ketchup too. I?d suggest it?s just the aging, their anniversary being almost four years ago after all, but I?ve smoked aged McClelland blends before that weren?t good enough to get me over that ketchup hump. No, this is a superior blend of tobacco, and though I might have limited credulity here (if I like it four stars, if I don?t one, no in between) this really is a four star blend, unless you don?t like Virginia blends at all.

If I were helping wean someone off of aromatics, this is the blend I?d choose, not because it?s similar to any aromatic, but because it?s a very well behaved Virginian, no biting or barking, and because unless you have a stubborn palette, it?s hard not to like this stuff, and it?s mild but not bland and not lacking in nicotine. Ok, shutting up. Four stars. Smoke it.

4 people found this review helpful.

JustPlainChris Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustPlainChris (12)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Like so many before me, I read the reviews here and also noted Mr. Serad's glowing accolades in P-T Magazine. The presentation of the tin is magnificent, with white paper wrapping on the outside of the tin itself, and topped off with an old-style wax seal bearing the famous McClelland whale.

I carefully opened it, and the seal now sits proudly upon my bookshelf. Upon opening the tin, my nose was greeted with the wonderful smell of fine, aged, Virginia tobacco and the wonderful, smoky scent of Latakia.

The moisture level was spot on, and the cut was exemplary; packing was easy in all of my various pipes. Unlike many others, I had no problems lighting this tobacco nor keeping it lit. Just smoke slowly and patiently and use the tamper wisely and you should have no trouble.

(I think too many pipe smokers tend to puff too fast, and thus, either fail to enjoy the blender's labors, and/or scald their poor tongues and blame the tobacco and not the technique.)

The first impression of taste was of sweet, fragrant Virginias, with the Latakia only there to compliment and add coolness. As the bowl burns to midpoint, the Latakia fades away and comes back at just the right time. The aroma is of fine, burning tobacco. No foul cigarette reek here!

The room note is delicious to smell both during the smoke and after the pipe was back resting in my cabinet. My wife, on the other hand, hates any pipe smoke that doesn't smell like a Glade scented candle, and her comment was, "Oh! Stinky!" That sealed the deal for me, and this shall now be added to my growing rotation! This is a very satisfying smoke if you smoke it slowly and actually take the time to try and taste all the nuances it brings to your senses. I really enjoy many of McClelland's fine tobaccos, and this one is definitely worth trying. It is something special.

4 people found this review helpful.

Oldbelt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Oldbelt (8)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My pipe is usually loaded with a Virginia straight or Va./per. I am not a Latakia fan entirely. I do like a hint of Lat here and there. The other day I was making my way to work on a cool rainy morning and I had the Anniversary blend and a cup of dark Sumatra. I quite enjoyed this blend. Nice sweet Va. with a reminder that there is Lat in it every once in a while. Although not to complex, it's a cool easy pleasant pipe. Burned nicely and even, just a few re lights. Not an English by any means but a different Va blend.

Pipe Used: Stanwell freehand

Age When Smoked: 4

Purchased From: McCrannies

Similar Blends: None.

3 people found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (165)
★★☆☆
Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

This is an aged virginia blend consisting of rich red ribbon, stoved virginia, and some latakia. That's all. The black leaf is not all latakia. But there is no other condimental leaf in the mixture.

Virginias, not latakia, dominate the flavor, but the black stoved virginias add depth and the subtle latakia adds coolness.

When I first tried the blend after the first of the new year in 2002, the bottom half of the smoke developed too much in strength. I realized the blend, probably already aged for over a year by the manufacturer, still needed another 6 months plus aging. Now, after 7 additional months in my "cellar" (boxes), I am smoking up the final two-three ounces in a medium large Wiley rusticated horn. I have a few bowls left. It is much smoother now but still on the strong side of straight virginia blends.

It is heavier than Oriental No. 1 (which is a mild-medium English and which has more of a red virginia base and less dark leaf) by the same manufacturer, but not as dark tasting or rich as Mc Crainies' Murdocks Pipe (which is Scottish and has more dark leaf including more latakia, added perique, etc.), also by the same manufacturer. So it is a middle of the road between these two but still weighs in closer in fullness to the latter, Murdocks (which is much smoother and more balanced to me even though it has heavier tobaccos). The manufactuer has other somewhat similar red-stoved va. blends and flakes, like Butera's matured ribbon, but the latakia here is what makes this one different.

You can still taste the red virginias in the blend even with the darker leaf which adds a deep contrast to the flavor. It has weight, is not hot, and is fairly steady burning after you have the bowl going good. If you are a straight virginia smoker and want somether with a little more weight than virginias alone, give this a try. I understand the manufacturer will continue to make this into the future and so it will not remain a limited edition.

3 people found this review helpful.

tankbuster183 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tankbuster183 (5)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The smoke: the initial flavor is a burst of sweetness from the Virginas, I'm talking almost a mellow sugarcane. The latakia is apparent, but playing a supporting role here, giving some body to the smoke without overpowering the Virginia. Using a P-lip was a good choice, as the latakia hit the roof of my mouth, it made for a nice retrohale. The flavors meld over the course of the smoke until about the last third, where the latakia is stronger, and the sweetness of the Virginias is not as apparent and has given way to a toasty, dry, somewhat ashy-bland finish: not unpleasant, but nothing special. Bowl smoked down to a coarse purple ash (jk, it was fine white/gray ash like every other tobacco ever). Didn't feel a nicotine buzz, hardly ever do.

Consensus: I didn't love this blend when I first opened it, but the age has done those fine McClelland Virginias some good. Anyone who has smoked McClelland blends will know the Virginias I'm talking about, they are just superior in every way. I've smoked the Frog Morton blends, which I find to be overrated; don't get me wrong, they're good, but I feel McClelland's strength lies in their Virginias. This anniversary blend is really a Virginia with some latakia to showcase the natural sweetness of those Virginias. I don't particularly love Virginia blends (I'm one of the 3 people who doesn't like OGS) but this really hit the spot without tasting too cigarette like, and made for a nice change. The only complaint people may have is the finish is somewhat weak and it's not too complex but I like that: it lets the tobacco speak for itself. Recommended. Not knock your socks off, but worth having on the shelf for when you aren't in the mood for a straight English or Virginia flake.

Pipe Used: Peterson 312

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: JR Tobacco, Selma NC

2 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

(Tin dated 2015 with a brown wax seal) a very smooth offering, McC does all their Virginias really well and this is no exception. The blend is a predominantly a red Virginia blend with only a touch of Latakia . The Virginias are sweet & tangy without any bite. The Latakia provides some creamy smoothness without dominating the Virginias. This is a typical McC use of latakia, almost Syrian in style , smooth yet fragrant but not harsh or campfire strong .

I find this blend very similar to Solani White & Black, but smoother, and maybe even a little milder. If your looking for a replacement for Lancer Slices ( Virginia/Latakia ) this isn't it, LC is not as smooth and has more Latakia .

The price break at 100 gr vs. the 50 gr. for the White & Black makes this blend the buy. If you like Virginias and don't mind a touch of Latakia, , this could be for you. Another McC "Virginia" gem.

Just as a side note on the tin dateing: according to the notes above , the brown seal was produced between date span (1977-2010) and was released in 2010, but my tin was date stamped "9 _2015" ???? Was this a date or a run #? I don't really know if my tin is new or 5 years old?

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: new

Similar Blends: Solani White & Black.

2 people found this review helpful.

Young Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Young Piper (300)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have smoked both the 2002 version and a current version with a year of age on it. Besides the Virginias deepening and sweetening with age, both versions featured the same taste and fine tobaccos. I really enjoyed how the smoky latakia played off the sweet Virginia in perfect harmony, not one tobacco overtook the other, reminded me of a steak from Ruth Chris with butter and salt, the latakia playing a condimental role and not overpowering the virginia. Delicious fresh but with 5+ years this turns into a masterpiece that needs to be tried. Anniversary is not a complex blend, but the latakia increases the sweetness of the Virginia much like how salt in caramel or chili powder in chocolate does. Anniversary will not win you praise from the opposite sex regarding room note but did not get me kicked out of the house for smoking either... YMMV... I suggest buying two tins, one to smoke now and the other to compare your notes in 5 years. The best sweet and sour blend I have had the pleasure of trying, 4 stars easy with some age on the tin!!

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Tin date 092005. Latikia blended perfectly with the VA. Sweet and creamy, this is one of the few McClelland Va's that do not bite my tongue. Rich and chewy smoke, burns perfect to the bottom of the bowl. Moisture content perfect upon opening. A definite recommendation.

2 people found this review helpful.

RMBittner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RMBittner (66)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a rich, nuanced matured-Virginia blend that really hit the right notes for me. Smoking it back-to-back with Old Gowrie (a favorite straight Virginia) brought out the distinctive qualities that make Anniversary deliciously unique. The latakia, which a few others here have found overwhelming (much to my dismay), is actually a very subtle presence that adds a layer of depth and complexity to this blend without ever becoming a dominant presence.

This doesn't reach the heights of sweetness or complexity that you'll find in Hal o' the Wynd or Dark Star (hence my 3 stars), but, to my palate, it never fails to deliver an enjoyable smoke. It's something special, and it's definitely worth cellaring.

Bob

2 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (112)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

McClelland is a master of Virginia's. this blend is another shining example of their work with premium Virginia's and a masterful hand with the Latakia. I have had few blends where Latakia is truly used as a condiment to the blend, and this one it is done extremely well. The smokey Latakia supports and amplifies the VA's and works well in elevating the smoking experience. The Virginia's are spice and sweet with toasted bread flavors. There is also a lemony/citrus flavor in this blend. A complex Virginia smoke with an added dimension from the Latakia, I am surprised how much I like this blend, I thought the lack of Orientals would make this an odd smoke but boy was I wrong. Nice work by the wizards over at McClelland.

Pipe Used: Briar's and cobs

Age When Smoked: 3 years

1 person found this review helpful.

Joeray Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joeray (61)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I had another generous gift from my friend, this tobacco is came at bulk size for non aromatic blend, 100gr a tin and that is really please me up. Classical packaging with a paper and sealed with wax and it made me cant wait to open it as soon as possible because my experiences with almost all McClelland's blends are great. i dont give a care to any reviews and just really passioned to open the tin and smoke it into my pipe. The tin notes is good, creamy virginia with little bit smokey latakia smells good at my nose, but from the scent, i guess this tobacco is not contains lot of latakia, just unbalanced mix with virginia at dominant side and i just want to ask someone, is just me or anybody had same experiences with me if virginia tobaccos from McClelland smells with a little bit gingery scent and milky scent? 1st i got it at McClelland Christmas Cheers 2013, McClelland Christmas Cheers 2012, Bulk #2015 VaPer, and now i found the same scent from this tobacco.

From the cut, is not difficult to pack it properly into my pipe. im using my Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 111KS to smoke it at the first time. The moisture level is good, just at the proper level even it looks like so oily and shiny like a wet blend but in facts, the moisture level is very good. Is easy to light, even i think to my self that i dont need a cherring light, just smoke it directly from the first light. At my pipe, this stuff burnt quite well, just pack it with a gentle so i dont found any trouble when i make a draw and maintain the light. The smokes is quite great, with a mild to medium strength ascending from the first half part of the bowl until finish and i dont detect any artificial flavor had been added, only sweet natural virginia (with little bit citrus, gingery, and milky taste), little bit grassy, sour, and rather spice.

The smokey taste that i had been expected is not much appears, sugary and grassy taste is the dominant taste. If someone expecting this stuff will taste like others english blend, it will disappointed. This stuff is just like almost a straight virginia blend with a little bit seasoning, sometimes the smokey taste appears but i had noted this stuff is also little bit sour. When my friend came to my house at visit and smokings together, i gave him a try and he doesnt like it because it taste so sour for him. The room notes is tolerable, my wife not lot of complain about it, the taste is sweet little bit sour and the smokes is quite great. Is a good tobacco but not kind of my favorite.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 111 KS

Age When Smoked: Unknown

1 person found this review helpful.

krg1000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
krg1000 (180)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When I saw a tin of this at my local B&M, I simply had to have it and give it a whirl. It was well worth the slightly higher price. First off, this is a marvelous blend that you just wish McClelland had made a ton of. All the components come together for me the almost perfect smoking experience. The packaging just adds to the pleasure of getting to the tobacco. High recommended, if there is any left I would grab them.

1 person found this review helpful.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (70)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a review on the second issue of this Anniversary blend from 2005, dated 9/2005. What a treat! I can't say that I've ever smoked a blend with seven years of age on it. The tobacco was dark brown with shades of latakia mixed in. The smell was lighter that I expected but had remnants of the McClelland smell I've gotten use to, some "ketchup and/or pickles". AB was physically lighter and drier than I'm use to with any ribbon cut, no doubt due to the years it's lived in a vacuum abyss. At first, I hardly notice the latakia. The orientals and mellowed-out virginia takes the lead. The latakia becomes more pronounced and begins to really show itself after the bowl warms up and boy does it take over towards the finale! I smoked some with my friend who manages Ted's Tobacco in Omaha. Both of us had a pronounced pipe-smoker buzz and we weren't real sure if it was the N factor or the unknown qualities from the aging of the tin. Regardless, it smoked like a dream needing only a couple relights. Smoking AB is something special and puts me firmly in the camp of those who seek aged tobacco. I am going to savor the rest of it, making it my nighttime blend for the fall season.

1 person found this review helpful.

Brother Of The Leaf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brother Of The Leaf (8)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

The Anniversary I'm smoking is the 1977-2010, brown wax seal. As others have noted the packaging is outstanding. The wax seal is a great touch. When smelling the tobacco in the tin I pick up both the spiciness of the Latakia and the sweetness of the Virginias. The tobacco packs nicely, but was a little difficult to light and keep lit. Just as a side note I'm reviewing this on a fresh tin. I'll come back and update once I've let it dry out a little. The tobacco gives a very sweet blueish smoke and produces a nice white and black ash. I get a bit of tongue bite, but this could be due to the wettness of the tobacco. As of now I'll give this tobacco a 3/4 and will update once it dries out.

1 person found this review helpful.

Darth Vader Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth Vader (110)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Nice packaging but the tobacco fails to deliver the expected amazing smoke in my opinion. Pretty mild; to my tastes it is very one dimensional and while this tastes ok, it doesnt really excite me. The Lat is tangy with no bitterness and i feel it's the quality of the Latakia that lets this down. Since i wont buy any more of this, there will be more tins available for the people who love it. Everyone wins.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

arpie55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
arpie55 (64)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

my first 2 bowls of this were pleasant enough but after having smoked it for awhile i find it to be rather boring. it tends to have just one line of flavor all the way through a bowl and if not careful it tends to bite. i am a big fan of most mc's va. blends but would not buy this again, i am even sorry that i bought it in the first place. i thought maybe adding a little blending perique would make it more interesting but did not really even have good results with that.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

t-rexxx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
t-rexxx (5)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

very smooth and ready to smoke right out of the can.bought 5 tins after a sample from a friend.burns well and stays lit to the end a rich tasting mccranies red ribbon with a little latakia kick.my tins are all from 2001.Once you open the tin you can't stop.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

My tin is the 2005 run. I smoke Latakia blends as a change-up, but really like the touch of Latakia found here. I could smoke it all day. The Virginias are high quality, as I would expect from McClelland.

Downgrading to three stars-that is just my opinion. Still a tasty blend, but it is not going to make my greatest hits list.

Edit 7-18-12: Well, I'm well into a huge Marxman Jumbo-full of this blend, and I like it. Maybe a bit more Latakia than Oriental #1, and the thing is with this one, is that it has the Latakia combined with that well-known "vinegar" thing found in McClelland matured Virginias. I just don't think it would be the first McClelland I would buy again, unless I got a really good deal on it.

So, I'll smoke up the rest I have, enjoy it, and stick to McClelland Matured Virginias and Christmas Cheer before I go buying anymore of this.

Don't get me wrong; I'm enjoying this pipe, but I think my main issue with it is that I don't like the typical McClelland "vinegar" (even though I know that's not what it really is) combined with this Latakia. It has taken me a while to finish this tin, and I gave some away, so I guess this is my final word. Still recommended, of course, even if it's not my favorite McClelland.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JEM Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JEM (21)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have to go against the other reviews. I read the reviews and bought this tobacco anticipating greatness. I gave it away after two bowls. I do not like this one at all. I'm not a big fan of latakia, which is the predominant taste, for me, in this blend. However, if you like latakia, give it a try. I don't want to turn anyone away. I'm just giving you my review. It was easy to light and keep lit, the texture of the smoke is what I like, and the aroma in the room is okay.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ranger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ranger (64)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

This a good smoke with virginias predominant and the latakia a background player. While the smell is sweet, the taste was less pronounced. While this does seem to be one of the drier blends from this company, for me it is also one of the harder ones to keep lit.I have two more tins which I will stash for quite a while to see if my impressions have changed. Overall, two and a half stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Very Mild Tolerable

Drier than usual McCs, and dries faster in the tin. The Virginias may be of good quality , but the result is bland and they don't really shine, neither does the Latakia. Typical very light EM, one of those middle of the road efforts with little taste and no particular merits that don't belong to any of the two categories... Overhyped, to say the least.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a tobacco I allow to become bone dry before smoking. It offers a pleasant Virginia smoke with a modest dose of latakia. I think there is a flavoring additive underneath the smokiness of the latakia, just enough to give this blend a unique flavor, but not so much as to distract. I smoke this on rare occasions and a 100g tin will last me a long time. About half way down the bowl it becomes a smooth Virginia experience wrapped in that latakia smokiness. Not bad. Not great. A pretty good change of pace. Recommended. Paddy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JB (43)
★★☆☆
Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I echo the comments made by some of the reviewers earlier that I appreciate McClelland's for everything they have contributed to the pipe smoking hobby. Perhaps I had my hopes up too high thinking that this would be a blend that would ecclipse other McClelland's blends in some fashion? I'm not sure, but Anniversary is a bit too mild for my taste. I like the company's blends that have a bit more tang and flavor. It is almost like McClelland's wanted to show that they could do something different with this blend. There is nothing wrong with Anniversary, but I would't rush out to buy any more than what I currently have. Now Pease's Stonehenge, that's another story!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mephisto Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mephisto (32)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Very nice and unique a soft and balanced blend with high quality all over it. A limited blend and a treat if you can find some. I do like itbut it is a special occation kind of thing.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
★☆☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

While the quality of this blend is very apparent, I have to say that the room note is a "killer" My wife stated that it smelled just like cigarettes and I had to concur. This for me was definitely an outside smoke. As i smoked this, two things came to mind: First, smoke slowly, even though this is rubbed out, the virginia will toast your tongue if you are not careful. Second, not enough latakia for my palate. I kept hoping the latakia would develop near the bottom of the bowl but such was not the case. This is one of those quality blends that just didn't work for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.