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An exceptionally fine vintage tobacco, handblended and aged in pressed cakes to develop natural mellowness. This 2002 blend is made with a special selection of the beautiful, ripe, Orange leaf of the 1996 South Carolina Border Belt crop.

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
Room Note

Favorite Of 1 Users

19 reviews
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Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Merry Christmas everyone for 2007! I like to open a tin of Christmas Cheer for this time of year although the series is usually best smoked during the hot summer months. This 5 1/2 year old tin has hit the spot this year. As always, the Christmas Cheer series never lets me down, and 2002 is wonderful. The aging has mellowed the virginia tobac somewhat but the sweetness has only increased. The golden/orange virginias usually age well. When smoking, the McClelland kethup taste is barely a hint and the sweet virginias are wonderful. I love this tobac and this series.


3 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (506)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I just finished off one of my two tins of the 2002 CC. After reviewing various versions of CC, it is hard to say anything new. I can't really differentiate between the various crops, mostly because I am only sampling one at a time and not side by side.

The only twist to this review would be that this is the oldest CC I have yet to try. I opened the tin at a get together at a friends house that included several pipe friends. A few things I recall from opening the tin. The leaf was dryer than the newer versions I have had. Also there was crystallization, but it was not as pervasive as one may expect. Finally, it was much darker than the newer versions.

Smoking the aged leaf was also different. Due to it's aridity, it lit up and smoked better than the newer versions. I wouldn't say it was much sweeter, but the sweetness was a little different. more of a preserved fruit type sweetness to it. It was a much smoother smoking experience as well; whereas, the newer versions can be more tangy and edgy.

I ended up popping this one with 13 yrs age on it. I have heard some speculate that Virginia begins to decline after 10 years and that 10 years is optimal. I have nearly every year of CC from 2000, so I am looking forward to experimenting with many different ages over the next several years.

As I have with all the CC's, I am giving this 4 stars as I just love the idea of CC and the fact that it is a flagship Virginia from the American master of the Virginia leaf. I have also heard it stated that it is the Single malt of the tobacco world. I think that it is an apt description. It is unfortunate that production will end this year on CC due to bureaucratic BS in the states. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to stockpile so much while I could.

Age When Smoked: 13 years

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (854)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This came very dry in the tin, which I didn't expect but for which I was gratified. Mostly dark in color with McClellands signature Virginia tin aroma, which almost always delivers a superior smoke. As this was dry enough to load immediately, I did just that.

As stated, this is a single crop of orange Middle Belt Virginia tobacco. As it is not a blend, it doesn't possess the "pizzaz" that a blended VA often does. This one just shows off that mellow middle ground between lemon VA's citrus and Red VA's tang, making this one a nice "set it and forget it" smoke that won't overwhelm you with nuances. Barely complex, this one focuses on the depth of this particular crop, and this one has amazing depth of character. Not overly sweet but sweet enough. Some light spice in the mix. I wouldn't say this is destined to be anyone's #1 go-to blend, but it's an opportunity to taste a single strain of Virginia that is completely natural and unflavored. Probably 3 stars for my personal taste but I have to give it 4 stars for the opportunities it presents the Virginia fan. Another standard setting McClellands Virginia!

2 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2231)
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

The vinegar/ketchup smell does appear in the taste of the tobacco, though it's much lesser than it smells. The Virginias are very ripe and dried fruit sweet, a bit tangy with some earth. At times, I get raisin notes and some nutmeg, too. The actual taste of tobacco is sublimated by the fermented sweetness. Burns cool, a little slow with some moisture left in the bowl, unless you dry it some first, which I don't do. Has a consistent flavor. Not a dull or harsh spot to be found. No bite, the nic-hit is mild. Needs relights. Sweet enough to be an aromatic, though I would not classify this as one. Has a pleasant after taste and room note. Can be an all day smoke.


2 people found this review helpful.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is only the second Christmas Cheer vintage I have tried, after the 2005. You know, with all of the highly spiced Christmas blends around, it is good that McClelland's version of a Christmas tobacco is a plain aged Virginia! I got a nutmeggy taste from the 2005, but this may have just been a product of the curing and aging process. The 2002 is reputedly a single crop from South Carolina, and as Ash said about the Alien in the movie of the same name, "I admire its purity." The famous vinegar reek is present in the tin, and I myself like to stick my nose in right after popping the seal to get a good whiff! After all, that smell has been waiting for me to enjoy it for almost eight years! The smoke was very mild, without a hint of the vinegar. I smoked it in possibly the best deal I have ever gotten in a pipe, an Ebay handcarved estate with indecipherable markings that cost me only 11.00 or so with shipping. Its hallmark is that it is a long smoker, even though the bowl is merely large and not huge. The bowl of this tobacco I smoked tonight, after smoking a few smaller bowls, lasted for a full hour and forty minutes. It is a great mild Virginia. I have had Virginias with more complex flavor notes, to be sure, and this may be what is keeping me from giving CC 2002 four stars at this time. However, when I want a pure one, this will be one of the tobaccos I reach for.

Update 4-2-10: Tin open (jarred) for three weeks, different pipe, mellow and heavenly, with pleasant mild spiciness. Sometimes with a tobacco like this, I give it three stars at first (if it doesn't blow me away or fail to impress me on the first couple pipes) with the full intention of considering an upgrade later. This makes the four-star cut!

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Honesty the tin note was almost indistiguishable to me other then the mild tobacco aroma.

First light- this took a bit to get lit for me, particularly since it felt like it was very low humidity for a "pressed" style. When I first lit the bowl up, my nostrils were assulted by something very acrid that almost made me sneeze, but it disappeared pretty quickly. as I started to smoke this this it really mellowed into a nicely favorful tobbaco with a real undercurrent of spicyness. I find myself being very careful to smoke this very slowly as that spicyness comes up to bite my nose if I puff too heavily on it.

Mid Bowl- Something really sweet starts to rear it's head at this point, the spicy undercurrent didn't go away, but the bowl just sweetened to the point that I looked up from what I was reading and thought "Wow, where did that come from?". As a smoke through this I am thinking to myself that this would be a great compliment to hard cider...or any cidar probably, but why not go hard if you can.

End- The sweetness of the mid bowl starts to receed near the end of the bowl, and is replaced with some of the spicyness again, and a hint of grassyness. it also starts to sour a bit, but not terribly much. I find I have to light it a couple times near the end but it finished with a nice grey powder.

All in all this is a very interesting blend, very complex to me, but not probably one that would make it into my rotation. The spicy note really plays havok with my nose, and causes my sinuses some issues. If it wasn't for that I could really see settling in with this some cider on a nice autumn night.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (303)
Mild to Medium Very Strong Mild to Medium Tolerable

I am sorry, but I just don?t get it. This may be quality leaf, from a peculiar crop and region, but I am simply not attuned to the way it is treated and processed. Not only do I find the traditional McClelland pungency offensive, but to me it tastes like Virginia cased in Bovril, with a bit of Lea & Perrin?s sauce added. Initially there is a certain resemblance to Red Cake, less sweet but in fact with more body and character. But there is a penalty: whereas in Red Cake the acidic undertone eventually dissipates, in CCH2002 it is somehow enhanced and multiplied ad nauseam. I guess my aversion to McClelland?s aroma is as common and unexplainable as the aversion many reviewers feel for the ?soapy? taste of some English tobaccos. In any case, I don?t get that strange BBQ-Rib sauce taste from other American straight Virginias (i.e. I absolutely love C&D?s Briar Fox). Otherwise a very nice tin, excellent packaging and great marketing.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1826)
Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

I have tried just about every Christmas Cheer that McClelland's has offered and this 2002 version was typically sweet and airy. Not a nicotine buster as far as matured Virginia cakes go, but I did enjoy going through the tin. I smoked Christmas Cheer 2002 mostly in the evenings. It didn't produce enough kick to get my day started.

Typical of McClelland's Christmas Cheer tobaccos, this one was at a good moisture level and smoked clean and dry.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Glorfindel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Glorfindel (81)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Well I finally finished this tin that I had smoked part of years ago and revisited just lately.. and Oh how it pleases. I simply haven't had a a McC Christmas Cheer that wasn't a winner. They all need a bit of drying at first but so do many other quality blends.

The rich creamy, grassy-hay, pure tobacco flavor is there. I like aromatics and to me the CC series is "naturally aromatic" if that makes sense....????

The simply nature of premium tobacco like this gives it that aromatic (pleasing aroma) quality and McC knows how to do it.

Open it, dry it smoke it, enjoy it, store it,, days, weeks months years,, repeat,, you will not be disappointed.

McC,, Please! Don't EVER stop making Christmas Cheer,,,,,, !!!! :)

4 stars (5 if I could) :)

Pipe Used: any and all

Age When Smoked: 2002 till present

Similar Blends: All CC series, and other top quality VAs.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Eric Cioe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eric Cioe (37)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Strong

I got a half ounce sample of this and smoked it and enjoyed it.

My sample had the characteristic McAroma, which unlike some other blends, I did get a little of this in the smoke. But mostly the taste was woody, earthy, fruity, and deep, with that sort of tangy red Virginia taste permeating. It isn't a particularly complex blend, but there are surprising layers given the single leaf involved.

It burned well when rubbed out, which is my standard method with flakes. Recommended if you can get your hands on it, but there are better blends in the same subgenre.

Pipe Used: Lots of them, but especially a group 4 Comoy apple

Age When Smoked: 12 years

Purchased From: Trade

Similar Blends: McCranie's Red Flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

flaminbill' Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flaminbill' (57)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I managed to sit on this for seven years before breaking it out. It has aged perfectly and the moisture level is just right. It is sweet, but not overly so and burns perfectly. I started this in a "new" 2005 Savinelli POY and it was great from the first bowl.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Age must make all the difference with this blend because I found it quite enjoyable. However, I didn't open the tin and smoke it until December 2004.

Not too wet, the flakes have the aroma of raisins when the tin is opened. Once rubbed out, the tobacco lit easily and stayed lit.

Nice sweet virginia flavor. I found it quite enjoyable and hope the tin lasts me awhile.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (304)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Typically McClelland from the get-go, with the typical sour and fruity smell in the tin! It's actually drier than the other flakes fron this brand, and maybe slightly less "stinky" (but I like that smell!). Too bad that it can't minimally be compared to Virginia 27 or Blackwoods Flake... I let my tin age 8 months before opening it, and it still bites the tonge and has a surprising mildness of taste. A bit "watery", not very fruity, a bit bitter and grassy. After letting the tin open for a week (with the lid on!), the taste improves a lot: it hasn't become so good as to challenge the two above mentioned champions, but it becomes tasty and lively. Alternately sour and sweet, spicy and not too bitey. So, I suggest to let this tobacco breathe, because it can become a good delicate smoke, much better than in a new tin! It's not bad at all, just a bit dull and green at times especially when freshly opened : maybe the other 2 tins I have in my cellar will take benefit from aging, so I'll eventually upgrade my review 10 years from now... and in the meantime I'll keep enjoying the other traditional McClelland offerings, which are lots better even without aging and breathing.

2010 Update: Well, time to open a tin I have cellared for some years... and I sense some improvement. Now the flavour is richer, more enjoyable. It still is quite dry in taste, but much more enjoyable.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Young Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Young Piper (302)
Mild None Detected Full Tolerable

A very nice, sweet and leathery flake. I bought a 100 gram tin from McCranies that was dated 7/20/02. Today is 7/31/04. I believe that the age may have played a good part in my liking this flake. It was not rough and bitey, but rather smooth and once fully rubbed, required very little relights. I really like this as its a single leaf, not a blend and it shows what a great virginia can taste like alone. Gotta try these each year! (i bought a tin off e-bay from 1997 so ill see how that year was shortly)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

November-2003.Christmas Cheer 2003.Well this is the first of the Christmas Cheer tobacco's I have tried.The flavour of the Virginia is definitely there adding a very pleasant taste.Though I must admit,I would have preferred it to be a little more prominent. Overall a pleasant smoke that last's for a good length of time due to the thickness of the broken flake,even though I did break it up even further.Light's well without fuss or bother & only required couple of tamp's.Glad I had the chance to try it,pleasant, but not spell binding!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This one's a dud. McClelland's Xmas Cheer is a yearly ritual for me, but the 2002 disappoints. With the enormous amount of leaf available to McC, I would have hoped for a better selection. It's not bad, per se, but rather pedestrian and indistinguished. Still, it's a decent smoke, and lovers of natural, unflavored VAs may enjoy its straightforward presentation.

Hopefully, the above opinion will be forgotten (or, better still, proven wrong) in years to come, as I have nevertheless chosen to retain several tins for cellaring. Xmas Cheer has always, in previous vintages, shown itself to be tailor made for long term storage. Perhaps in 2012.......

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

Purchased a tin as a xmas gift for my brother. The tin looked festive, so I figured it would be some sort of "Christmas" flavored aromatic. What could be better for a seasoned "aromatic smoker"? Not this tobacco, so I ended up taking it back with me, as he honestly told me that it?s not his style. I, on the other hand, have recently graduated from the bulk aromatics to the pure tobaccos such as this lovely ?orange leaf pressed Virginia Flake? from the 1996 South Carolina Border Belt Crop. Upon opening the tin, I immediately noticed the earthy Ketchup-like aroma that others claim McClelland tobaccos are famous (or infamous) for. An interesting looking tobacco that simply needs to be rubbed out before smoking. I had my fist bowl Christmas morning and enjoyed it instantly. It?s now been 5 days since I opened the tin and I must say, that this is a wonderful smoke. I have had a bowl everyday since Christmas. The flavor is very mild and clean tasting. A very mellow smoking experience for the true tobacco purist. If you enjoy a Virginia flake with a subtle natural sweetness, this is worth trying. Buy a Tin to enjoy and cellar one for next year. Highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (96)
Medium None Detected Full Unnoticeable

To one not accustomed to fine Virginias this is a delight. It is rich and full in my two identical smallish Stanwell freeforms...smoking very warm at the light and becoming cooler and more flavorful as the bowl progresses. Orange South Carolina Border Belt crop of 1996? Well, whatever, its a rare delight. For me it is neither an all day smoke like British Woods, London Mix or Mesphisto - nor is it a guilty pleasure like Penzance or Ennerdale. It is not in the least pedestrian but rather a unique and singular vintage well worthy of a quiet reflective hour. It was of interest that this was dry, firm, even leathery in the tin (most unusual for anything McClelland). It burns best for me well rubbed out and firmly packed as opposed to "stuffed and torched" as with Luxury Twist. Do I recommend it? Most heartily!

Nobody has rated this review yet.