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Handblended, premium pressed Virginia flake. A fine vintage, naturally sweet, in limited quantity.

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
Packaging100 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note
28 reviews
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (833)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Like the 2004 version, this is a chestnut brown broken flake with the wonderful McClellands tin aroma. This is an orange virginia, unlike the 2004, and also unlike the 2004 version, this one is nothing short of absolutely amazing!

This is one of those blends that I knew was going to be incredible from the first few puffs. The very mild citrus sweetness was offset by a malty spiciness that melded perfectly. Reasonably but not too complex, this improved as the bowl progressed, and the final 1/3 was absolutely sublime, with a toasted oat flavor amidst the very light citrus. Like all the Christmas Cheers I've smoked, this is virginia in its purest form (at least, it's purest that is ready to smoke!) with no added flavors or artificial sweeteners. Yet, it's sweet enough to be satisfying to an aromatic fan as well as the Virginia aficionado. McClellands has the finest virginias in existence, bar none, and also the ultimate method of processing the leaf, to my tastebuds. In fact, I would have to rank this as in the Top 3 of all straight virginias. Naturally it's as rare as hen's teeth, and I only have one more tin. So here's hoping that those who call McClellands virginias "ketchupy" or "vinegary" will stay away from any sales of this incredible blend and leave them for me! :) I'm going to buy whatever I can find. This one is that good... as good or better than any straight virginia in existence.

7 people found this review helpful.

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

I purchased a tin of this back in 08. I refrained from leaving a review after the first few bowls, as I was just not that impressed, but I could see this gaining quite a bit with some age. I would smoke a bowl every 5-6 months, and see how the aging process had progressed.

The first few years left an ashy-cigarette coating in the mouth, along with unbearable tongue bite. The flavors were getting there, but the tongue bite had restrained any definite flavor profiles.

I smoked a bowl of this today 7-27-11 and I must say, these tins are now ready. I have every single year starting from 1999 cellared, and plan on smoking a tin, and keeping a tin. With today's economy, you never know when you may have to sell off your prized collection to pay the bills. hahaha

Pairs well with bourbon and Tanzanian Peaberry coffee.

5 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2144)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

The red Virginia is a little earthy with a deep dried, ripe dark fruit and a little citrus; tart and tangy. Has mild bursts of cinnamon and nutmeg, but it’s a smooth smoke with a little sugar. The "vinegar” smell and taste lasts longer than other years, and sublimates the tobacco flavor more than some other years. It’s a little stronger and deeper in flavor than it is in other productions. Burns slow and moist, and needs a slight dry time. Requires relights, and leaves a little moisture at the finish. Has a mild nic-hit. No bite, no dull or harsh spots. Has a smooth and consistent flavor with a nice after taste that pleasantly lingers. An all day smoke.

4 people found this review helpful.

Duke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Duke (41)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

I picked up a couple of tins at the 0808 NASPC and boy oh boy am I glad. It is a great looking dark red and brown broken flake Virginian. It looked overly moist straight from the tin. I found that if I place tobacco on the back of my hand I judge the moister content better; think of checking the baby?s bottle for excessive heat. So I rubbed the flake first then aired it for 30 minutes. Vinegar schminegar who the heck cares how the pouch aroma smells, it is when oxidation occurs we are rewarded. There is no doubt that this is prime leaf and not over-burdened by excessive topping. If McClelland said it used Hawaiian Punch for topping I say, bravo, because I don?t taste the Punch just great tobacco. This leaf is simple and subtle in that it?s only Virginian leaf, yet sweet and spicy. Its flavors magnify as I advance down the bowl-Oh yeh! At different smokes I?ve noticed various waves of nicotine, and each were quite pleasant. The room note is exquisitely Virginian.

I spent a long weekend comparing CC 05 with Dunhill Lt Flake and McB?s Virginian #1 with Lt. Flake my overall favorite. See, for years I?ve reached for Lt Flake when wanting a Virginian smoke. Christmas Cheer 05 though is one superb tobacco and I highly recommend it to all Virginian tobacco lovers.

For me to understand and appreciate and choose a tobacco I must smoke it exclusively over a period of time, such as a week or two. So prior to the weekend of multi sampling, as mentioned above, each of those tobaccos was smoked exclusively. I simply cannot smoke multiple tobaccos one after another and form an opinion on one, let alone all. I simply get sensory overload. Anyhow, McClelland makes some fine Virginians.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Just finished one of my tins of Christmas Cheer 2005 after letting it age over a year in my cellar. This has to be as good as any, if not better than any Christmas Cheer McClelland's has produced.

The pressed cake was simply delicious. Sweet, a bit of strength, and a complexity not found in other years.

I think McClelland's tried their best to make Christmas Cheer 2005 a bell ringer, and they succeeded.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

For my review of this blend, I will share a post I made on this blend on pipesmokers2, a group on Yahoo. I had just received two tins of CC2005 when I made the post. Apologies to those who may not be familiar with the friends to whom I make reference in the portions of the post that I copy here.


One of the tins of 2005 will be smoked in December of 2010. The other however, was for this year. Even though this is the current year's offering, it is already 8 years old, as it is the 1997 crop. My only other experience with CC was with the CC1999 that Jeff shared with me last year.

For those who may be unfamiliar, Christmas Cheer is a single crop, single leaf tobacco. To call it a blend would be a misnomer. It is selected and aged, and when the gurus at McClelland feel it's ready, it becomes the CC of that year.

When I opened the tin, I was greeted with a wonderful aroma of a freshly cut field with undertones of rasins, and of course the trademark McClelland 'ketchup' aroma. :-) I rubbed it out a bit and set it aside to dry.

I stood before my pipe racks for a while, this is an important decision! I needed a well-broken-in Va pipe, worthy of what I anticipated in the tobacco. Finally, I decided on a hand-made Kirk Bosi. This pipe has always done a wonderful job on the Va type blends.

From the first charring light, I knew this was a winner! A wonderful Va flavor, representative of the genre. Hard to imagine that this tin was only sealed about 5 months ago.... but then the tobacco had already aged about 8 years before it went into the tin.

As the bowl progressed, the flavor increased, as expected. By mid-bowl I was in a state of altered consciousness. This is wonderful stuff. Very subtle nuances, and a thoroughly delightful flavor throughout.

Before I finished the bowl, I rubbed out the next bowl. I'm still trying to decide which pipe this will grace, but right now I am leaning toward the Oom-Paul that was gifted to me by Bishop Ivan.

Well, I just checked - the second bowl seems to be dried to perfection, so I have a pipe to load!

Merry Christmas everybody!

2 people found this review helpful.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Well, could be four stars but I can't give everything four and there are some McClellands I like better. Just seemed to have slightly less character (only slightly) than Blackwoods, Brindle Flake (Ashton), or Dominican Glory Maduro. No one else detected the aroma in the tin of nutmeg, so maybe it's just an overtone of the aged Virginia. This is the only Christmas Cheer I have tried, so I'll try to find some more, especially the older ones.

1 person found this review helpful.

wildebeest Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wildebeest (6)
Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I smoke mostly English, Balkan, and VA/per blends, but whenever I get a brand new pipe, I like to use a straight VA to break it in. Cut Virginia Plug, Marlin Flake, and Full Virginia Flake, for example, are three very tasty blends that have done a wonderful job of breaking in some of the best pipes in my collection. But despite how tasty those blends can be, I eventually end up dedicating each pipe to something else. I'm afraid the same will be true this time around, but not for the same reason. This is the first pure VA that has ever captivated me from the beginning to the end of each bowl. It is nothing short of spectacular. Simultaneously spicy, sweet, and earthy, it manages to impress me equally with its first sweet puff and with every puff thereafter, as the flavor becomes progressively darker and deeper. Alas, I am almost done with the only tin I've got, so this Castello is likely to see nothing but Fillmore or Embarcadero soon. (Not that I mind Fillmore and Embarcadero, but I already have multiple pipes devoted to each.)

1 person found this review helpful.

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

After being opened for about a month or so, this tobacco might be one of the best VA's around. The tobacco is absolutely a must try. It is a bit unique because it does not taste as sweet as I thought it would. I liked the fact that it burns a bit cooler than some of the Christmas Cheers do. It also burns down to the very last flake. It has some really nice subtle earthy notes and has a delicious tin note. I think this one might be it, I will gladly buy the rest of what the tobacco store has and keep it for a long time. I bet this will only get better with age.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tiepolo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tiepolo (40)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Popped a 3 year old tin some days ago. I have a little stock of this, bought at Iwan Ries 3 years ago and open a tin around this time of year. There is enough good things said about this tobacco here and they are all true. It's excellent, very smooth, no bite, lots of nuances to contemplate on. A solid 4 stars VA IMO. I personally don't mind the "vinegar" smell in MC tins. When I was young, living in Greece, someone would bring sometimes a carton of US made Marlboros. That was the smell you got back then opening a packet, a smell associated with quality, real American VA, long gone of course in the chemical processes of cigarette manufacture today.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I am giving this blend three stars although I can't personally stand the vinegar/ketchup taste that comes with it (and seems to be a feature of all McClelland's VAs).The quality of the leaf is first-rate and the flavor has a great many subtleties as you work your way through the bowl (including, as others have noted, the occasional hint of cinnamon). I used to smoke lots of McClelland VAs, but over the past few months the trademark McClelland flavor mentioned above started tasting horrible to me, and I can barely stomach any of this company's VAs nowadays -- I find myself smoking lots of VAs from C&D, GLP, and Rattrays instead. Nonetheless, I believe this is a matter of personal taste and would highly recommend this blend to anyone who likes quality VAs and isn't put off by the ketchup/vinegar taste that accompanies it. I'm aging three tins of this right now in the hopes that (a) the ketchupy taste will fade over time or (b) I'm once again able to stomach it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bent-1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bent-1 (36)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

This blend is pipe picky. But, in the right pipe, it yields a sweet, warm citrus taste. I experienced no bite, burned cleanly down to the bowl's bottom. The first draw to the last was consistent. Rubbing out is recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

MikeA Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MikeA (9)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

My tin has been open for 1 yr now (seal broken with top on). It's smoothed out now from what it tasted initially.

small to medium broken flakes stay moist evan as I opened the can after a year. Date on can is 07/05.

Love this tobacco.

But not 4 stars worth.

The taste is not as full as a FVF but more so than Rattrays OG. It's not as sweet or cool as FVF but is sweeter than OG.

The strength is less than OG.

I still need to be carefull and smoke slowly in order to minimize the chance of tonge bite.

This is a very engoyable smoke

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Carlos Foot Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Carlos Foot (1)
Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant

I am a Virginia lover, yes I am, I loooove it, and I can say I just loved this tobacco!!! The tin aroma allready tells you that this is a special tobacco. It burns well, it stays lit all the way, it's just perfect. For your concern, in my modest opinion, this one is better than my Old Golrie and my Hal O' the Wynd. This one I'll take with me to the Heaven. THANK YOU LORD!!!! Best regards from BRAZIL!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Strong

Little I can add after many superb reviews, so I'll just stick to what I have not read below:

The (in)famous vinegar/ketchup McClelland smell: it's there on every McClelland tobacco I have tried, but that never bothered me in the least. One of my favorite tobaccos is Bulk #2015, where I've found it to be very strong. Who cares, I'm in heaven when I smoke it. Now, when they actually make me taste vinegar, even in a subtle and inconstant way, I don't appreciate that. That only takes one star away.

The second minor drawback is a sharp, almost tangy taste. Had I tried a well aged tin, this baccy would probably get that fourth star back. Aging should improve this enormously.

Overall, a top quality Virginia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

smokey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokey (120)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The following review is based on a tin of CC2005 that was allowed to age for two years. I did try one bowl before transferring it to a jelly jar and found it a little harsh and hard to keep lit. The broken flakes were lightly chopped in a coffee grinder to about 1/4 their original size just before smoking.

The history of this tobacco has been pretty well covered so I will just give you my smoking impressions. First, the (in)famous McClelland tin odor, also known as the vinegar/ketchup smell. I have an idea this has something to do with a preservative McC uses on their tobaccos as they tend to hold their moisture pretty well over long periods of time. I don't spend much time sniffing tins so it doesn't bother me much.

Lighting and burn are only OK with CC2005, I had to use several relights even after chopping the tobacco up. The reader should know that I am a wet smoker and have never mastered one match bowls, but this one seemed a little more troublesome than many others. YMMV.

Taste is where this tobacco starts to shine. McClelland's real talent, IMHO, is in their VAs and this one upholds that tradition. It has a tangy VA sweetness that catches one's palate immediately upon lighting and remains pretty consistent to the end of the smoke. It does not have the tendency to bite that many VAs do, although the reader should also know I'm a pretty slow smoker.

I buy almost all my tobacco on-line due to lack of local B&Ms and can find very reasonable prices on all McClelland blends.

Scores; taste- 16 of 20; lighting and burn-6 of 10; value-8 of 10. 30 points equals *. A good solid VA smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cosmoline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cosmoline (13)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I followed the advice here and stowed this one for a year. I opened it again today and I find it's improved quite a bit. It will burn you, and still needs to dry out a bit to stay lit, but the taste is worth it. My bet is another year or two or ten and this will get even better. What would happen if you mixed in some perique, I wonder.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

obxemt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
obxemt (26)
Strong None Detected Medium Strong

I read these reviews and bought a tin with high expectations. I smoke McClelland and McCranie's almost exclusively, and find many of their VA offerings to be sublime. I smoked several bowls of this and was horrified. It was putrid, difficult to light and keep lit, smelled like a car fire and tasted like I was smoking hay clippings and corn silk soaked in cat piss.

After leaving the tin open for a total of about 48 hours it smelled EXACTLY like ginger snap cookies, so I was hoping it would get better. Unfortunately, no luck. The nastiest blend I've yet smoked and a huge disappointment.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Meerschaum Man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meerschaum Man (85)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Once again, another fine year's product for who can appreciate a long burning and multidimensional smoke. A year in the tin has been beneficial. Rich and satisfying, it can be smoked either rubbed out or (my preference) just stuffing the flakes into one's bowl. I leave the tin open for awhile, which helps to dry it out and let some of the McC's tin aroma dissipate. For years to come, I've cellared a few tins, which I hope I'll have the discipline to let age.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a Ural 'Valiant' by Baki

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (303)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

If you have tasted previous Christmas Cheer offerings, you know what to expect here... I will simply add that this edition is slightly smoother, rounder and tastier (and less grassy) than previous editions I had tried (2002 and 2003).

A good solid Virginia tobacco, still not up to the best (#27 and Blackwoods Flake) but certainly consistent and recommendable.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

raadman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raadman (31)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

Hey, I'm not stopping the four star parade here...just ordered six more tins!

Update: The more I smoke this tobacco the more I'm convinced there is a cinnamin topping that is very evident in the tin aroma and flavor... that would explain the more than usual bite. I don't know why McC doesn't just admit it...the topping works real well with the sweet Va's and it is appropriate for the season.

dunhill grp 4

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bushi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bushi (12)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A very nice Virginia. Relax & take it slow when enjoying a bowl of this. You'll be rewarded from this very unique complex flake! I think it would bite if hit too hard. I wish I had baught an extra tin or two.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Yorkie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Yorkie (2)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

You need to be setting down in your favorite chair the lights low and quite all around to pickup all the flavors in this offering from McC. The flavors run from sweet and zesty then creamy back to zesty then just sweeet and other that I can not describe but feel. There is alot going on here and slow puffing is required because it can bite if pushed to hard. I found it smoked the best just rub out a little and on the dry side. I would put 2005 at the top of the Christmas Cheer line.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jackhackett Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jackhackett (76)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Seems awfully complex in taste and scent for this to be a single kind of tobacco from a single crop; and also is there not some sort of very light casing used here to produce this holiday melange scent?

As VA flakes go, CC'05 is relatively decent all round, and does indeed seem to have been imbued with Christmas spirit. Construction is sturdy flakes that seem to crumble more than rub out. CC '05 can be a bit bitey but not dramatically more so than any other VA; as always, puff patiently.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kerdy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kerdy (43)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is the first time I have tried Christmas Cheer. I have been buying tins since 2003 and putting them back. This year I decided to get an extra tin and try it out. I am glad I did, but I have to say that if you arent careful, your tongue will pay the price. It was a nice tobacco. No special flavoring added. I rubbed it out and let it dry a bit before I smoked any. The things I like best about it was that it burned clean all the way to the bottom, produced good hearty volumes of smoke and once it caught and took off, I never had to relight which for some reason tends to be a problem for me. If I could have kept from having my tongue singed, I would have given it 4 stars. I hope that aging it will take care of that problem. Good experience!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

GeoLogger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GeoLogger (16)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

I like Virginia tobacco. I like McClellands. I love the Christmas Cheer offerings. The Christmas Cheer selections are given as designed to feature a single crop. So this year we get Middle Belt flue cured 1997. How wonderful, I can now say a bit about what I think of "Orange Middle Belt" Va. This is pretty nice too; the cut is great, the colour is great, and the flavour is fantastic. I personally don't pay much attention to room note; it usually smells like tobacco. I also don't do much tin-sniffing. But taste is another matter - and this is one fine tobacco. It is a very smooth mild and extremely friendly version - but it is Virginia. So I won't promise that tongue-bitten nonVirgina sorts will be converted but this one isn't all that brassy. If you like Virginia, and especially if you already know you like McClellands, then I feel comfortable in predicting you will enjoy this immensely.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joseph Durham Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joseph Durham (16)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I have been smoking pipes for four years. I have smoked the same blend for the period of time never trying anything new. I received a sample of this years Christmas Cheer, and I had to try it.

I rubbed the flakes, leaving only little clumps. Tamp lightly, but enough that it will stay burning. Burns wonderfully, no tounge bite, absolutely wonderful.

Bought one can, however, I will have buy more and cellar them. I can only imagine how wonderful this will taste in about five years.

For my first time at trying a Virginia blend, and not an aromatic, I can't wait to try more.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tubalcain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tubalcain (6)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Let me start by saying that I find a little of everything I like in this tobacco. A little pungency, medium to full body, and straight-forward. The flakes are broken up a little and are dark brown and black. The tin has the famous/infamous McClelland ketchup aroma. I find it best to fully rub out, let sit for 1/2 to 1 hour, pack a little on the loose side, and smoke away. Absolutely no tongue bite no matter how hard it is smoked. As far as the flavor is concerned, this stuff is absolutely sublime. It is highly recomended and is unique unto itself. I will be buying a couple more tins to stow away for a later time. Do yourself a favor and enjoy a can for the holidays.....I will be thoroughly enjoying mine.

Nobody has rated this review yet.