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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.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutBroken Flake
Packaging50g or 100g Tin
CountryUS
ProductionNo longer in production
Product Image
Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Tolerable
2.9
14 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
3
3 star:
8
2 star:
1
1 star:
2
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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.

ajaj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ajaj (69)
★★★★
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.

aj

1 person found this review helpful.

Ego Archive Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ego Archive (14)
★★★☆
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.

Eric Cioe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eric Cioe (24)
★★★☆
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.

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 (71)
★☆☆☆
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.

Zone Smoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Zone Smoke (199)
★★★☆
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 (297)
★★★☆
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 (78)
★★★☆
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.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (263)
★☆☆☆
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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.629 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.629 (133)
★★☆☆
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.

LoisKelly Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LoisKelly (55)
★★★☆
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.

BrianChido Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BrianChido (1)
★★★☆
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 (70)
★★★☆
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.