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Highlander is the one blend so far in the Grand Orientals Series using Latakia. It is a classic mixture of the finest mountain grown Yenidje with both Cyprian and Syrian Latakia and just enough Matured Red Virginia and mellow Maryland. This is a smooth cool-smoking oriental mixture of outstanding character. Our inspiration was a vintage tin of the old Balkan Sobranie.

Notes: From McClelland: Oriental tobacco cultivation began in the 1600s around the villages of Yenidje and Kirdzhali after Venetian and Genoese traders introduced tobacco smoking to the area in the 1500s. The classic Basma seed introduced there over 300 years ago is believed by some to derive from an ancient Venezuelan variety of Nicotiana Tabacum named Barinas. The very finest Xanthi still comes from the original Yenidje (Genesaia) area of Western Thrace just north of the modern town of Xanthi. It is the Xanthi-Yaka-Basma and the Xanthi-Djebel-Basma that comprise the legendary Yenidje leaf which is thin, full-bodied, flexible, with fine veins. Full of oils, the best leaves are quite small, yellow to brown in color, with a pleasant, delicate aroma and sweet, mild, fresh flavor.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland
Blend TypeOriental
ContentsLatakia, Maryland, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutCoarse Cut
Packaging50g Tin, 100g Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant, Pleasant to Tolerable, Tolerable

Favorite Of 6 Users

3.3
44 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
23
3 star:
11
2 star:
10
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0
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Mike__P Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike__P (87)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Over the years, my taste in tobacco has changed, and I now enjoy more subtlety and depth of flavor over brute force in an English/Balkan blend. Gone are the days when nothing but a Peasean full frontal assault of aggressive Latakia, Virginia and Orientals would do. Instead, I now prefer blends like Yenidje Highlander, where the panoply of flavors are understated and restrained, but no less impressive and satisfying.

YH is a delicious, mellow and refined blend for lovers of Oriental-forward, lighter English/Balkans. It's a true medium smoke, both in strength (yes, there's nicotine in this one, folks) and taste. I enjoy these types of mixtures most, but I find that many of the good ones tend to blend together in their relative sameness. Not so YH. This is the first time that I've experienced Xanthi in the recipe, and I have never tasted anything quite like it. It has the familiar, incense-like quality of its cousins, but delivers a much smoother, softer, less intense flavor that is surprisingly sweet and satisfying with a lingering aftertaste that is light and absolutely pleasant. The Latakias are condimental -- they balance everything perfectly with a light, smoky coolness, while the Virginas provide a solid base. I enjoy red VA most, and it melds perfectly with this Oriental variety.

This is a genius blend. Give it a try, but judge it for what it is. More and more, I am appreciating the McClelland Englishes, such as YH and Legends, for their finesse and balance.

4 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (203)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I bought this in order to get a better idea of what Yenidje taste like. In that I succeeded. I find it to be a bit sharp at first, but it does round off after a bit. Has a nice flavor, spicy, mildly sour and mildly buttery. The blend itself is very nice after the Yenidje rounds off. The Latakia is in just the right amount to keep from hiding any of the Yenidje and the Virginias providing a nice bit of sweetness. The Latakia does come out more in the finish and by then I'm ready for it to do so. A decent smoke.

Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

balkan_boy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
balkan_boy (34)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This tobacco is to be smoked as a treat, and not like everyday tobacco. I've been smoking it regularly for the past days, but this requires comfortable atmosphere, and not in the rush or while doing something else. I smoke it while driving lately, and I regret for missing all the subtle notes that require more attention. I'm not going to write about it's tin aroma, because every McClelland tin is absolutely the same, you can't tell by the tin aroma which is which because they are all like ketchup. If you leave it a bit to settle down, dry and mellow, the ketchup aroma disappears and it's ok. I put mine in a leather pouch and after a few days there it gets just as it should be. Latakias are less than expected, but there are both syrian and cyprian, so it's ok in the first third of the bowl. Yenidje is present, adds sweetness and freshness and together with syrian latakia makes the blend somewhat noble. After the first third, latakia goes completely in the background and the oriental comes upfront and the fun starts. VA also comes to the attention, and combined with the oriental it gets as fantastic as it can be. Wonderful all the way down throughout the bowl. You can dry it a little bit more than usual if you wan't to underline even more the fantastic oriental note. It tends to bite however, even if sipped gently. Nicotine is ok, but taste isn't full as I expected. It's subtle and mild, I know, oriental blends are like that, and if you put more of the "body" tobaccos, the orientals wouldn't play well, but this one could use just a little bit more VA and Latakia for my account. Anyway, awesome tobacco, try it, you won't regret.

Pipe Used: briars

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

2 people found this review helpful.

tleek Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tleek (51)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I Definitely highly recommend this tobacco. The latakia is light and the majority of flavor is provided by the top quality, very delicious, oriental leaf. Throughout the bowl the is an underlying Virginia sweetness that mellows and sweetens the smoke. It occasionally comes to the forefront of the flavor profile while being smoked, but for the most part provides that much needed back drop.

The Yenidje or Xenthi, or whatever kind of oriental leaf I cant pronounce is in this blend is excellent. Very spicy, not in the sense of a burning sensation, but like spices used to flavor meets. A bit of a clove flavor, and even a very very subtle mint like flavor in the way background of the smoke behind the virginias.

The Latakia produces its usual smokiness, though combined with the intense oriental flavor, produces something very close to a very spicy ham or turkey flavor, less the obvious taste of the meat itself.

Smells delicious to me in the tin and in the air.

This truly is an amazing tobacco, everything about it is great. It was good enough to make me want to try the other blends in the series.

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (589)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

This is the last of the Grand Oriental series - so far. I saved this one for last because I was afraid the addition of latakia would overwhelm the subtleties of the oriental tobacco. I was wrong.

Getting this out of the way first, I preferred the GO Yenidje without latakia but this one was a fine smoke. The latakia was expertly applied so as not to be overbearing. In fact, the latakia is mostly in the bouquet, with just enough flavor so you know it's there. I find this to be a nice, mild and spicy blend that doesn't knock you about the head with either flavor or nicotine. There is the virginia sweetness at the match that gradually gives up some ground to the oriental spice and the latakia just sort of hangs around to provide some further depth. I recommend you try this one with latakia and the Yenidje Supreme without latakia. The differences are subtle but significant. Both are worth a try.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Wow!

This is a mega-winner from McClelland's and as fine an Oriental blend as I can remember ever smoking. The Virginia and Latakia components really meld into a rich, pure smoking experience that leaves me both satisfied and eager for another bowl.

The cut, though a little coarse, packs very well and stays lit with no trouble. There is a bit more strength than is normally encountered with this type of blend, and the taste stays with you for awhile.

I particularly enjoyed the way this tobacco presented its Virginia base up front, yet allowed me to taste the other components without being muffled.

This one gets my nod, for sure.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

I was here when a classic was born.

First, this is no mild Balkan, it is that it is NOT harsh, bitey, overly bitter, raw or lacking balance and grace. Second, this has an edge, though finished, an oomph and character not to be confused with a full English blend. One exhale through the nose will prove it. Third this is so smooth and flavorful that I doubt there is a Balkan blend being made that can equal it on both points simultaneously. Fourth, this blend has something that is greater than the sum of its parts. That something is magic. Like Wagner?s opera, it?s in the repeated listening that his brilliance shines forth brightest. McClelland?s spell spins slowly in YH, but cast, it enchants the willing subject.

This simply misses at no point. I do not know what the original Balkan Sobranie tasted like before it was defanged, as is alleged, of its constituent varietal leaf. The point is as mute as taste buds have memory as concerns BS. That blend is now too aged to be of useful comparison to even itself when first made. The McNeil?s were inspired by the white label Balkan Sobranie. It was a bold assertion on their part to put Yenidje Highlander up for comparison to BS, given the lore, worthy and silly, of that departed spirit.

This is too good not to try at least one full tin before judgment. The tin contents visually are similar to that of Yenidje Supreme, with a few specks of dark brown (Syrian Latakia), some darker browns/blacks (Cyprian Latakia) and some light, ruddy leaf I suspect to be Maryland. I think it is the Maryland leaf which makes this as cool as can be. Most Balkan blends challenge the integrity of my tongue and throat.

In flavor, YS and YH are cousins, but also distinct enough, YH being heavier, deeper, not really sweet and well, a Balkan more than an Oriental mixture as is YS. This burns cleaner than most every Balkan I?ve had the pleasure smoking. No dottle whatsoever. It does benefit the smoker to pull out a large pinch of the blend and let it lose some moisture for five minutes or so. That?s it. With just the three months aging, this is wonderful. Perhaps aging will sweeten this a touch, but not much. I would not want this much sweeter. It is hard to imagine the blend any smoother and probably does not need more than a year to reach its full potential. Long-term aging remains a question mark, lest this lose its edge, growing hoary-headed and a bit feeble. Delightfully, I hope to know the answer someday.

2 people found this review helpful.

peacepipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
peacepipe (16)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

First off, I hope someday, somehow, to burst a major and irritating myth here. It's a little off-subject, but I can't resist the temptation any longer. Good Ladies and Gentlemen: McLelland flakes DO NOT SMELL LIKE KETCHUP, CATSUP, OR ANYTHING IN BETWEEN...A recent non-scientific study has revealed this very clearly to me, anyway. Similar to catsup? Maybe a little--McC offerings such as Dark Star or the annual Christmas flake can also be compared to certain types of chutney, fermenting hay bales ... but who started this ketchup thing? Anyway, it's only an opinion, but it feels good to get that out into the open!

Yenjidje Highlander: ahh! It's Christmas in August! I love this blend -- smooth, inviting, prone toward meditative, relaxed reverie. Been having success with this fine blend mainly in my small collection of Dunhills--very satisfying in a clay-type Churchwarden, and I may even dedicate a group 3 tanshell lovat to this one. Less tame and a little bit harsher in a short, stubby Castello which has a lot of air flow.

As others have noted, YH doesn't veer full-on into the territory of heavy Balkan blends, as there is indeed not enough Latakia for that to be the case, it seems to me. What is this--a 'Turkish' or 'Oriental' type blend?

In my original review, I'd mentioned a touch of harshness at the charring light. I take that back--I may have been working it too hard or putting the flame directly to leaf, a surefire way to get a bit of bite.

With easy puffing, small bowlfuls lasted a long while, up to an hour, for me. Not always staying lit easily but I've been enjoying this blend during one of the most humid summers in my memory (smoking outdoors 95% of the time), so that contributes I reckon. An instant favorite which will remain in my top rotation as long as it's available (hopefully for many years) and it was enjoyed/appreciated by my non-pipesmoker friends on a recent trip to the north woods of Maine (the mosquitoes did NOT enjoy it, fortunately).

2 people found this review helpful.

petrisz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
petrisz (9)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant

A fellow pipe smoker smelled the tin and said "Saloon Latakia". Well the tin aroma features a restrained but evident Latakia. The beautiful red-brown and dark brown leaves are spotted by black ones. But smoking it is a different experience.

The Latakia is only nice condiment to make this sophisticated blend more interesting. It is blended into this oriental-forward blend to such extent that at times it is barely detectable. It gives a nice smoky-ness to the flavour. Otherwise Yenidje Highlander is more similar to the other Grand Oriental, Drama Reserve, than to any blends I know having Latakia in it.

On the palate it is creamy, delicate and inviting to explore: butter, peanut, hay, some smoky-ness, pepper and paprika. In the first 1/3 of the bowl I sometimes detected anise as well but it vanished before I could investigate the nature and origin of this anise flavour.

Down the bowl the peanut turns to chestnut and then to walnut, the pepper and paprika to cinnamon and chilli. Also a little citrus-bitter flavour starts to appear which turns to bergamot and to something too ashy at the end.

This tobacco does not bite at all but I recommend you smoke it slowly because otherwise you would miss some of the subtle flavours and it would turn a bit bitter and less enjoyable.

I discovered only two things on the downside: 1) the ashy taste at the end; 2) in the first 1/3 of the bowl the smoke was sometimes irritating to my throat and my palate. Do not ask me how I don't understand it myself.

My favourite oriental + virginia blend is Drama Reserve which is full of subtle flavours to explore. I had thought that Yenidje Highlander would be a blend like Drama Reserve with a pinch of Latakia added. It surely sounds like a great idea. While the result is still a delicate blend it is somehow uneven.

Pipe Used: meersch

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: McClelland - Drama Reserve (Grand Orientals), McClelland - Blending Latakia.

1 person found this review helpful.

OSR Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OSR (73)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

To me, this is the closest blend to the Original Balkan Sobranie White that I've encountered. That says it all. Your mileage may vary. McClelland knocked it out of the park.

Similar Blends: Original Balkan Sobranie White.

1 person found this review helpful.

tacoeatingzebra Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tacoeatingzebra (36)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

I have been smoking a 2007 tin of this superb blend a lot over the past couple of weeks. I'm near the end of a bowl in a Peterson B5 Donegal Rocky p-lip that is dedicated to lighter Latakia blends like GLP Piccadilly. But I digress... The yenidje is sublime, lending an herbal, vaguely floral note. The Virginias are sweet and give a solid foundation to the more exotic varietals from the former Ottoman Empire. I get that meat & potatoes flavor of burley here & there, and I assume that emanates from the Maryland tobaccos. The Cyprian gives a little body, but that Syrian is so intriguing. I'm familiar with it through MacBaren's HH Vintage Syrian, FMAtP. It's a big treat. Much more complex and definitely spicer and less smoky than the Cyprus leaf. This is good stuff and have a few more sealed tins from the early days of the blend, along with Black Sea Sokhoum--my other favorite in this series. I give it a 3.95 out of four because I occasionally get the McClelland ketchup thing. It's nice to exhale via the nose to experience a little more completely.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tumbaki Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tumbaki (9)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Medium Mild Pleasant

I love it. I would order more, save my cellar is full to the rafters. Moisture perfect upon opening the can. No need for drying out. Burns sweet and cool. No bite. Lots of creamy white smoke. Burns to a white ash to the bottom of the bowl. Second relight seldom necessry. My hat off to the folks at Mclelland for this superior blend. Try itt, you won't de dissatisfied.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

This pays homage to the Sobrranie of old. It is a very flavorful blend. A true Balkan in every sense of the word. The Xanthi is strong in this blend and I love its bitter mid-range flavor notes. Unfortunately this one stinks really bad to non-smokers, so be warned. I have gone through several tins of this blend and am currently out, time to re-stock! Definitely one of my favorites...

1 person found this review helpful.

don1688 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
don1688 (27)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Wow this stuff is wonderful. I bought a few of each in this series and let them age for over 2 years. This one I bought one. As DK below stated, I was woried the Latakia would over power the oriental.

Man, was I wrong. The flavor is amazing. I'd have to put this one up with 3 Oaks Syrian. Not because they are so similar, but because they are both top English blends.

To those who have a hard time picking out the individual weeds in an English blend, this can be your education. The Latakia, both Cyprian and Syrian balance the Va's- which add that typical Va sweetness, and the wonderful oriental spice. I believe using both Latakia types is great, as GLP proved with Renaisance and Ravens Wing. The Cyprian gives us the smokey leather, while the Syrian give the wonderful spice quality.

I can't believe I waited so long, but I will stock up! The age probably married the leaves together and the Va leaves are coated in wonderful crystals. Try it, it is sublime.

1 person found this review helpful.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I mostly enjoy the famous ketchup-smell from McClelland's tobaccos, particularly the one found in Virginias. The problem here is that this mixture's taste is pretty subtle, and the vinegar taste makes it difficult to savor the nice Orientals.

The solution is patience: open the tin, close it, and let it rest for a month or so. Then take what you want to smoke, leave it over a piece of paper for a couple of hours, load your pipe, and smoke away. The ketchup taste will be greatly reduced and you will be able to enjoy one fine Oriental mixture.

It didn't blow my mind up, but it was a nice experience.

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have a dreadful fear, that the day may come when the Grand Orientals have run their course, and I have yet to sample the greater majority.

I absolutely love this blend. It's got an English kick like I've never tasted before, and the Syrian leaf is a beautiful accompaniment to an already well blended mixture.

I remember my early pipe smoking days...just a couple of years ago...I bought the McClelland Super Balkan variety, and I just couldn't pick it apart from a regular Cyprian mix. I think the defining moment came when I smoked MacBaren's Syrian mixture and fell in love with the different properties from the Cyprian leaf.

Now, Highlander has both, but I can easily detect the Syrian, and I cannot fathom a time in the future where the supply may run short and dry. I don't care what it takes, I want more Syrian Latakia in my blends. Bashar al-Assad is a jackass to be sure, I understand, but I am willing to overlook some serious flaws if I can keep smoking this masterful concoction.

Ahhh..my dwindling tins!

Four of Four.

1 person found this review helpful.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (300)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I really can't agree with most of the enthusiastic comments here...

This is a good tobacco, but not that different from other McClelland Latakia offerings: that is, very "green", vegetal, lemony and not as full, leathery and nutty as other great latakia blends from the UK or the USA (such as GLPease's).

Take any other Syrian Latakia blend by this brand (such as Rose of Latakia), add a little more Oriental fragrance and just pinch more Latakia... and that's it.

Nowhere as classic English or Balkan as some reviews would suggest. It is less ketchupy than other older McC blends, and it actually has more Latakia flavor, but it's bland to the point of boredom.

Not enough "juice", pals...

Anyway, quite pleasant and well-behaved.

1 person found this review helpful.

pipinNfishin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipinNfishin (21)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Yenidje Highlander contains syrian and caprian latakia. This blend like Yenidje Supreme smokes cool and dry. Yenidje Highlander burns to a find ash.

I have been smoking the Grand Oriental blends in narrow bowled pipes, but I prefer them in wide bowls. It may be just a personal preference, but I can detect more subleties of flavor. Because the blend contains latakia, Yenidje Highlander is not as subtle as the other Grand Oriental blends, but the Yenidje leaf is still subtle. The effect that latakia has on Yenidje leaf is amazing. It brought out incense like qualities.

The nicotine strength is tad stronger, that Yenidje Supreme, but not by much. Yenidje Highlander is a very nice blend to smoke in the quiet of a evening.

1 person found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (57)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Incense with some woody and Lat aroma. That is the shorthand way to describe another glorious McClelland contribution.

Clearly high quality, deep and murky Oriental dominates this blend, and what a great way to be dominated :)

I am not enough of an expert to expound upon all the different names for the Orientals and will leave that to someone with greater expertise, but the ones that are in this really smell like you are standing in an Orthodox Church in Greece and that are waving around the incense.

Its backed with just enough of the accompanying tobaccos to make sure that there is contrast and compliment, all in all, the best of its kind.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Reject Billard

Age When Smoked: Unknown

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BigCasino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BigCasino (27)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

A delicious oriental blend, tin aroma has that nice sweet aroma from the oriental leaf, and accompanied with smokey latakia, there is just enough latakia, to accompany both the aroma, and flavor with out stealing the show from the Yenidje

Pipe Used: CassanoCanadian, a Big Casino Cutty

Purchased From: Allegheny Smoke Works

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Demetri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Demetri (100)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

There is really very little I can add to all the superlatives used below to describe this blend. It is all that is praised of it. I was particularly impressed at the melding of the two Latakias along with what I imagine is the Xanthi. My tin quickly disappeared. I remember smoking Balkan Sobranie back in 1969 but not enough to imprint my memory. But in any case, with that inspirational pedigree this is most worthy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (227)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Wonderful stuff, great balance between the latakia, Orientals and Virginias. Has that typical McC sweet and sour that I love. A little light on "N", but very smooth and no real hot spice. You can smoke this as fast as you want without tongue bite and without turning bitter ,but its' also great at a sip . Give the tin a week to breath. Oh , I do find it goes out at a sip very easy, but it is smooth and not ashy on the relites.

I have to agree with almost everything said by reviewer, Michael 03/14/2012

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cochon74 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cochon74 (21)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is only my second McClelland blend... and I have to say it's a little underwhelming for my tastes. Maybe I am not familiar enough with Yenidje to understand it's characteristics, but if my palate does not lie, I'm not entirely impressed with this king of Orientals. I have hopes, especially as it was a 4 year old tin... thinking it should have maybe developed nicely.

The Good: It is a completely unoffensive smoke. I can happily puff on this in any of my latakia-dedicated pipes and not dislike it. It lit and burned nicely, did not bite horribly and gave great volumes of creamy smoke and balanced flavor. Almost too balanced.

The Bad: I wanted more... more latakia, Cyprian... Syrian... or anything. I also wanted more Yenidje. I detected a familiar dryness and sharp, clean flavor... but nothing of the swirling, dancing, exotic Oriental flavors I love in Esoterica's Margate or GLP's Charing Cross. And it lacks the balance, yet distinct flavorfulness of Gawith's Squadron Leader or Skiff Mixture.

This would be an excellent "gateway" tobacco for those who have never had a proper English or Balkan Blend... but for me, I found it somehow lacking in ALL departments. It didn't satisfy my Oriental itch, OR offer me a mild, sweet alternative to bolder, more distinct blends.

I love 3 Oaks Syrian and am curious to try other MC blends... my next foray into them will be Wildnerness... and I've heard good things about Blue Mountain. So I'm not giving up on McClelland (especially as a Kansas City native who supports local business!)... but I won't be returning to this blend any time soon.

It is clearly quality leaf and thoughtfully blended... just not to my tastes.

Two solid stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (89)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This was an enjoyable blend, although I only had a small sample, so I would like to smoke through a whole tin of it sometime. I heard such raves about this blend that when I first got my sample I dreamt of my previous experience with Katerini Classic from the same series. When I tried it, I can't say I was entirely disappointed, but it was not what I was expecting. It was good but for me the latakia was not strong enough and the orientals didn't shine like I wanted them to. It's a good smoke, and I want to try a bigger sample, but my initial bout with it didn't drive it up to my favorites list along with it's cousin Katerini.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (53)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This isn't a bad Latakia blend. One gets an idea of the interplay between Yenidje & Latakia. Fairly interesting smoke but not one I intend on purchasing again. It was...not all that enjoyable for me. Maybe I'm just looking for too much Sobranie flavor in these Latakia concoctions. Most leave me...dissapointed due to little more than a dominating Latakia presence.

I think more Oriental, less Maryland and more Virginia might fix this blend. Therefore, IMHO, Yenidje Highlander merits two stars. Sampled in a size two Stanwell.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bent-1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bent-1 (32)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Zulujerk nailed it, 100% I like this blend dried just a tad, and smoked in a .750" (19mm) bore. Smoked slowly, it's completely enjoyable, and rich. The Syrian is so smooth, and the Yenidje adds buttery smooth spice, as well, the VA is sweet, but never overpowers. This is just delicious!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Briar Mike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briar Mike (17)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I bought this and the Yenica Agonya to try near the same timeframe, and initially I liked the Yenice much better. I let this one sit for a while and came back to it because the Yenice was getting low. I think some time on the shelf helped this blend get itself together. I think it came out nice and mellow, and I can say that the non oriental componenets have not overpowered the Yenidje. I think I will get this not as often as the Agonya or other Orientals, but it might grow more on me still.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mike Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Toney (44)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Very Mild Strong

I'm mainly a VA & VA/Per blend proponent. My tastebuds dictate what I like or don't like & I can't help that. It's a palate chemistry reaction thing & this blend leaves me to ponder: Why was this blend labeled or classified an Oriental? If this is an Oriental blend, why was so much Latakia mixed in? Shouldn't it have been the condimental tobacco rather than the dominant player in this blend? IMO, there was a Latakia overload in this Oriental. I would have labeled this a Balkan and given it another name so as not to confuse, which comes easy for me.

I have spent quite a bit $$ on different English & Balkan blends that contain Latakia in a effort to aquire a taste for them. Try as I might, it just doesn't work for me. I'm glad I tried this blend, however, because it was the straw that broke the camel's back. From this day forward, until my time on earth is through, I shall avoid Latakia like the plague. I'm sure it wasn't this blend, but I had to scrap it about mid bowl. I cleaned my pipe & palate & restoked with some "New World" tobacco.

Everything is back to normal now except for a bit of lingering nausea. I understand that there could be a conflict due to my genetic makeup. Anyway, the remainder of this tin and anything else that contains Latakia will be donated to a local pipe club if they're willing to accept this challenge. To rate this blend with a single would be too critical, so I'll give Yenidje Highlander two s*rs!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kleophrades Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kleophrades (39)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A subtle and soft blend, as one would expect. Burns well out of the tin with about fifteen minutes of dry-time. It starts off very subtle indeed ? too much so for an English smoker like me ? but soon I started to notice a gentle cocoa-like finish to each puff. Could this be the latakia? The flavor gradually lifts off as you go down the bowl. The Orientals deepen in complexity, giving slight acid tang to balance the cocoa/latakia, while the Virginias keep it naturally sweet. All in all it?s very nice and well balanced, a true connoisseur?s tobacco. I would call it a Balkan?s lighter cousin, the way that some big red wines (say Burgundy) have whites produced from the same grape. (That?s pretentious, I know, but it?s true!). I tend to prefer more body to my smoke so I give it three stars, but that?s not meant to slight its quality. Good stuff!

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Xyzzy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xyzzy (3)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

There are many opinions of McClelland blends, and they often fall into one of the following categories:

1. McC tobaccos smell strongly of rancid ketchup.

2. Hint of tomato, nothing to worry about.

3. McC never smells like ketchup, reviewers #1+#2 are insane.

Having contentedly smoked a few perfect cans of this (usually) fine blend, I discovered the secret of McC ketchup: poor quality control resulting in an inconsistent product.

My first 3 tins were perfect. The yenidje seemed carried by the latakia, which was in turn supported by the virginias. The aroma from opening each can was a joy in itself. YH had earned a place on my jar-shelf near Abingdon and Charing Cross.

I smoked (almost) the last of can #3, opened the jar reserved for YH and opened can #4.

The forth can was a different creature. (it was purchased and opened during the same few months) The aroma of rancid ketchup flooded out. I pinched out enough for a small pipe, let it dry+air for about an hour, and smoked it. Still rancid. After 24hrs of airing out the tin, the ketchupy aroma and taste vanished. Sadly what was left had almost no flavor.

3 out of the ~20 tins of McC tobacco I've opened (several have been gifts to a cigar-smoking friend) have had this problem, not enough to even speculate about statistics (or develop a strategy to avoid the bad). I probably would've given this blend a "4 star" rating if not for the inconsistency. I dislike the idea of cellaring 10 tins of tomacco because they came from a bad lot.

(If anyone's keeping track, here's my "bad count": 1/4 Yenidje Highlander, 1/1 Dominican Glory Maduro, 1/2 Rose of Latakia, several others without problem)

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BriarChef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarChef (100)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Final bowl of tin #2, aged one year. Having tried it in a variety of shapes, all briar, I get the best smokes out of tall, narrow bowls. I also learned to avoid pipes that have a lot of Balkan mileage on them, as the ghosts of Latakia in the wood interfere with the subtlety of this blend. It also benefits from concentration without interference from anything more intrusive than a good book or some classic jazz from the fifties.

Overall this one is well balanced and the ingredients are in near perfect proportion. Occasionally the red virginias get a bit rowdy, but that settles down quickly. I really like the use of both Syrian and Cyprian Latakia, and enjoy the way these two bob and weave throughout the smoke. The Maryland is so light I think it must be there only to contribute to the cool burning qualities.

In the taller bowls I get flavors of spices like cumin and cinnamon...some campfire/pine scents...green olives and anise. The final third of the bowl is where the virginias return emphatically, allowing the Latakia and other Orientals a well deserved rest. The end game is rich and creamy with light caramel notes and just the slightest hint of cocoa.

A very nice blend for when you have the time for contemplation and focus. It didn't work quite so well while I watched the Titans beat the Jaguars. Timing is everything.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DSturg369 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DSturg369 (1)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I received a sample of this from a friend. I've smoked a few bowls of it now and I really like it. No cover-up tastes, just good tobacco flavors. It lights easily, burns fairly cool, and requires few relights. Leaves a nice grey/black ash all the way to the bottom of the bowl. It does end in a slight "ashy" taste, and that's why only 3 stars. I'll be getting more of this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Latakia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Latakia (69)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A great blend. Initially when opening the tin, had the typical aoma of McClelland catsup (I disagree witht he review that this is not a distinct McClelland smell...not that I don't l ike it...it is distinct and for lack of a better descriptive aroma, I think catsup) The taste after the light was magnificant. The Yenidje tobacco is very unique and blended with the latakia, it gives off a beautiful room aroma. The latakia is not prnounced and I wonder what a bit more latakia would do for the blend. The Yenidje makes the smoke very smooth but spicy. Could the cooling be the Maryland or is it this oriental. Would like to try the other Grand Orientals to sample the combinations with Yenidje. Burns well and leaves a light ash. This blend is unique and when a change is needed but do not want to compromise the spice or the bit of latakia smoke, this is a great one.

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Stacey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stacey (40)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

For starters I didn't detect any of the ketchup/vinegar smell in the blend, not that that puts me off anyway. This is a very nice blend, occasionally the virginia dominates and that is unfortunate. I like this company's virginia, it just seems a tad out of place here. This blend really shines when you get that incense-like whiff, that I'm assuming is the Yenidje. I love Syrian and this doesn't seem to have much of that or else the Cyprian is interfering with it. All in all, when the bowl doesn't contain too much virginia, this hits its stride and is pretty good!

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Ben Rich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ben Rich (34)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

I bought two tins of Yenidje Highlander; one to smoke immediately and one to cellar. Unfortunately my first several bowls of this have left me wondering what all the excitement is about. On initial opening of the tin, I was captivated by the fantastic smell of the Latakia and was anticipating the creamy smoothness typical to a good Balkan blend. Thus far the smokes have been "bitey", relatively flat and bland in taste and significantly nasty towards the bottom of the bowl. The tobacco packs very well, burns very well and otherwise exhibits respectable behavior in public. It also DGT's exceptionally well, in fact, I noticed with my third or fourth bowl of this that it actually tasted creamier and more Balkan if I let a pipeful sit for a few hours before finishing it off. I'll allow my second tin to age for several months, perhaps even a year, and will revisit it then. Yenidje Highlander has gained the appreciation of too many veteran pipesters for me to believe it is a bland, listless blend.

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

This is it, the tobacco of my dreams. The balance of tobaccos is impeccable. The tin note has the slight vinegar smell that McClelland is known for (I have finally gotten use to this) and small amounts of latakia. The blend has nice colors of med. brown and some dark latakia. There is also some red as well. The taste is beyond anything I expected, slightly sweet, and smoky and the Orientals are delicate and well wonderful. It stays lit well and never gets too hot. The tobacco burns cool, and tastes great. All I can say is this is one grand tobacco. I can not wait to try the rest of the series.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SMOKETSES Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SMOKETSES (208)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Today I opened this box. Maybe this is the last McClelland that I smoke.

I?m, honestly, very angry, with this ketchup flavor that is in all the McClelland. Is it still possible in an oriental tobacco with strong dose of Latakia from Cyprus and Syria, the flavor of ketchup Heinz to be stronger? What is this perfume finally?

In a correct humidity, when you open it, it burns your throat enough, it can be set easily in the bowl, it burns well, it makes a relatively calm and soft smoking, BUT at the end, it gets mud. How is it possible for such a dry tobacco with oriental and Latakia to get so mud?

I give him only two stars since I disagree with many of the reviewers, because of this ketchup flavor which bothers me a lot.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

churchwarden398 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
churchwarden398 (18)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Grand, indeed, is the word for this blend! This was my first experience with Yenidje. So I prepared myself to be cautious. Like some of the reviewers on this site, I was never blessed to have tried Balkan Sobranie. So I will not waste your time by guessing with imagination. However, if this blend is even half the blend Balkan Sobranie was in its heyday - what a treat that must have been!!! My pipe smoking, traveling friend used to smoke Balkan Sobranie as his regular blend. So the next time he and I travel, I will invite him to have a pipeful of YH and report back with his reactions. Knowing him, this might be a bit tame for him as presently he blends his own using a 60% latakia mix.

Back to the task at hand. YH, imho, is well worth the extra money. Latakia is definitely present with its campfire- like smell. The Yenidje provides a good scent as well. The intro- duction of Maryland helped to calm down the Yenidje just a tad. Had it not done so, I imagine it could have been what those people on this list describe if one were to smoke a pipeful of only Perique. Do not get me wrong, I love perique! However, I am a bit skiddish about trying it as the main course. After my pipes cooled a bit they had the aroma of finding one of granddad's pipes years after he had last smoked. I tried this blend in two regular-gauge, chambered pipes and it was wonderful. Today, I got out my favorite, large-bowled, rusticated, Savinelli and the tobacco really seemed to sing. All in all, this was a WONDERFUL experience. To be sure, this will be a mainstay in my rotation.

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wosbald Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wosbald (111)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

The tin aroma of this mixture of fine-cut ribbon and small, flakey chunks is dominated by musky yenidje with both latakia types chiming in distinctly though not overwhelmingly. The typical McClelland virginia aroma is present, though not dominant.

The flavor is centered on the richness of the yenidje. The use of both cyprian and syrian latakia only augments this blend. The mellow maryland leaf slightly cuts the impact of the bolder matured red virginia. The use of dark-stoved VA and latakia is restrained.

One of the finest of blends, Yenidje Highlander is remarkably delicious and nuanced, a light to medium english with memorable turkish character. It goes well in a chamber of any gauge.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (140)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I must have gotten a bad tin, this blend seemed rather bland to me. For so many years, I have heard discussions about the Yenidje leaf and how it was the primary spice of Sobranie, this cannot be representative of that long hallowed leaf. I tasted a decent some Virginia with a slightly spicy Latakia afternote, there was some new flavor, which has to be the Yenidje, but it was so subtle as to be almost missed.

I very much wanted to taste this magic leaf that I have heard so much about, but I can only assume that my can was lacking or that the current crop of Yenidje lacks the character of the leaf of 20+ years ago.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mparker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mparker (51)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Strong

Balkan Sobranie White was my primary blend for years; like many fans I was heartbroken when it was discontinued, and even more crushed a few months later when its fraternal twin Bengal Slices was discontinued. The two tobaccos that have given me some solace since then have been Butera Pelican and Esoterica's Penzance; though neither one makes any claims at Sobraniehood they each have similarities and nearly that level of greatness. I believe Pelican is an attempt at Sullivan's Gentleman's Mixture, a great blend in its own right and which Pelican admirably duplicates.

Replicating Balkan Sobranie White has been a holy grail of the tobacco blenders ever since the great discontinuation, but no one has really succeeded (especially that excrebal Balkan Saseini). Unfortunately, McClelland now joins the list of failures. There are hints of greatness here; it has that clean smokiness, firm spicyiness, and a hint of saltiness that were characteristic of BS White, but unfortunately the McClelland Virginias are jarringly off-note; rather than a clean tart sweetness balancing the smoke, spice, and salt, McClelland gives us stewed-plums-and-ketchup. The result is good, but it's not "great", much less "Sobranie White Great".

Oh well. Maybe one day Esoterica will do a Yenidje version of Penzance.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Though new, this blend belongs to the past: the leafs and the taste remind me of old Balkan, with a marvellous smoky flavour and deep oriental penetration. The cut is fine, so I expected a pretty fast burning: not at all, it burns slowly and dry, completely biteless. There are few words to describe the deepness and interplay between latakia and yenidje here, just perfect, Balkan at its best. The only little annoying thing is that I had to relight more than usual but, as the previous reviewer, I'm experiencing a definitely wet weather here, and that counts. For sure I will stock some tins in my cellar, I've very curious about how will this blend refine with some age. At McClelland they proved again that they're among the best blenders in the world.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (75)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A great offering from McClelland and so totaly unlike their other Orientals, and by that I mean the insipid Green Line and Not the personnal reserve that was created by Barry Levin and stolen by McC. This is a blend of a bygone era. Wonderfull, campire smoky with a great edgy acidity from the yenidje, balanced by the sweet virginia component. The syrian really shines and masks the inherent problems with cyprian Latakia.Really loverly. This is a smooth blend, to me good any time of the day, but especially after dinner. Reminds me of the old Cotton and Rattrays offerings. There may be no finer line today than this new oriental line. Huzzzahhh!!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

If you are a fan of -- or are curious about -- orientals, you must give this one a try. It's an outstanding blend that highlights the Yenidje while still giving the latakia room to make its presence known, and placing the Virginia and Maryland quietly in the background. Apart from my first tin of Odyssey, I can't recall the last time I smoked through a new mixture so quickly.

Technically, I'm not sure this qualifies as a true Balkan; the latakia isn't quite as predominant as I would expect. (The Syrian lends it a bit of delicacy...and "delicacy" isn't something I typically associate with Balkans.) For that reason -- as well as the fact that the Virginia is subdued and the Yenidje itself is delightfully mellow (not acrid, as some other oriental varieties are) -- I wouldn't call this a "full" blend. To me, it's of light-to-medium strength and flavor.

I smoke outdoors, usually, so I can't comment on the room note at all. I can say that the aroma for the smoker is enthralling.

But how you categorize it is pretty much beside the point. It's definitely Balkan-ish, it's definitely of high quality, and it's definitely delicious.

Nobody has rated this review yet.