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In the hinterlands just south of the Black Sea in Eastern Turkey, these prized Oriental tobaccos draw their sweet, nutty flavor from the rocky soil as they have done for 350 years. Enjoy the distinctive, mellow, pleasant character of the famed Samsun in this fine blend.

Notes: From McClelland: Samsun grows in the Black Sea region of Eastern Turkey. McClelland has secured the finest Samsun Maden-Canek leaves. They are small, thin, and elastic with a mellow, pleasant, distinctive aroma. Their sweet taste is like the sweetness in a nut meat or sunflower seed. They come from the hinterland of Samsun, mainly to the West of the Yesih Irmak River delta where the climate is very similar to the best Macedonian and Thracian growing areas. Samsun and all Classic Oriental leaves are picked one by one as they ripen, like flue-cured Virginias. If picked too soon so that the sap remains in the leaf during air and sun drying, the sugars will evaporate with the sap. If allowed to ripen too much on the plant, the leaf will be dry and brittle. Tobacco farmers of the classic Samsun growing region have elevated these harvesting and curing processes to high art. Taste what comes from 350 years of experience.

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeOriental
ContentsOriental/Turkish, Virginia
CutCoarse Cut
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium
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73 reviews
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Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This is as good as it gets regarding a plain old good smoke. Easy to light and quick to burn, Classic Samsun is a bell ringer and a delight for those who enjoy the "sock it to me" good old boy taste of tobacco.

Comperable in some respects to the old Dunhill #8632, but I just can't remember whether that hard to find "My Mixture" blend contained any Samsun leaf.

I may personally believe the strength could be revved up a notch here, but then, I like face slapping tobacco. This one is more gentle and will certainly be forgiving to those who puff like a freight train. Unusual flavor presentation that should be given a try just for the fun of it.

23 people found this review helpful.

Darby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darby (15)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Ok, I think I’ve got just enough tobacco reviews under my belt to feel comfortable squeeing like a Japanese school girl. This one has it all - cut, balance, complexity, smokability, and availability. This will be a longish review, with the intention of helping fellow aficionados decide if this offering might be a good fit for their personal tastes, so bear with me.

Tin note: Dried prunes, with a hint of mocha, toasted pecan and bran muffin. Texture is springy and moist (possibly a touch of humectant present), and benefits from some brief drying.

Appearance: This is a coarse cut ribbon, and the coarse cut was THE perfect choice for this particular blend, because it helps it burn cool and slow, almost like a codger burley. As for tobacco varieties, there appear to be at least three distinct types present - a moist dark leaf (almost perique in appearance), a red leaf (fire cured ?), and a light brown leaf (possibly a bright leaf).

Skipping ahead to mid-bowl ... this is easily one of the most complex smokes I’ve enjoyed to date. Each of the three tobaccos in this blend bring their own qualities to the table. I have no idea which is which, so I’ll just go by flavor analogs to western varieties I’m already familiar with. The primary base seems to be a leaf exuding a rich nutty note (pecan & bran muffin) that evokes a mellow high quality burley that’s been slow toasted to bring out it’s subtle sweetness. Underneath that I detect a component exuding a subtle sweet/tart note reminiscent of dried apricots. There’s also a complex spiciness that probably comes from a combination of highly mineral soils and possibly a perique-like fermentation process - I get a healthy dose of fleur de sel and pepper, trailed by a very distant hint of Saigon cassia (the strain of cinnamon used in ‘red hot’ candies). There is also a very subtle hint of smoke, indicating at least one of the component varieties of this blend was fire cured.

The truly impressive thing about this blend is how exquisitely it ties all these interlocking complexities into a well balanced whole, and that it was given just the right cut so that it smokes cool - you can puff this fairly aggressively without it overheating. The result is an engagingly nuanced, spicy and satisfying smoke, with just enough coolness, tartness and sweetness to keep it from becoming acrid, heavy or fatiguing. It’s a minor masterpiece of growing, processing, and blending, and clearly demonstrates the depth of experience behind its manufacture.

A solid four stars from me. Picture a high end VaPr-Ky blend, done using all Turkish/Oriental tobaccos, and that will give you a rough idea of what to expect. This should appeal equally well to both VaPr and English fans alike, as well as hardcore tobacco geeks.

Pipe Used: Grabow Royalton

Age When Smoked: Unknown (tin not vintage dated)

Purchased From:

18 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (826)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This is one of the most interesting blends I've ever smoked. A coarsely cut ribbon, it packs and lights easily and stays lit. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I found no trace of sweetness in this blend - none at all. I found it earthy and lightly spicy, and as some reviewers noted, a body like a good burley and a bit of a cigar note that was not unpleasant. It was interesting to note the reference to chocolate, as I noticed a hint of it in the room aroma - of the unsweetened dark variety.

This blend provides a mouth filling smoke and the heavy clouds I blew out were constant rather than just after a light or relight. One thing I noted that I didn't see from others is that the taste became extremely harsh and cloudy just after a relight, but settled down a dozen puffs later or so. That is more a characteristic of burley than virginia, in my experience. The taste does not improve as the bowl progresses and the taste could be considered monodimensional in that respect if there weren't so much going on all the time! There's no latakia here, so the oriental is in the forefront. My only minor complaint about some of the other orientals in this series is that the orientals seemed to take a back seat to virginias. Not here. I think the base tobacco here is burley, and that's perfect because it allows the classic taste of samsun to shine through and take center stage. This smokes dry, and by that I mean not only does it not produce a wet heel, it leaves a dry, somewhat chalky finish.

My recommendation for reviews is always based on how well I liked them. This gets 3 stars for that and I believe I'll pick up a few more tins. As far as actually recommending this to others, I think everyone should try it; hence, 4 stars for my pipe smoking brethren.

15 people found this review helpful.

Schrieber Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Schrieber (1)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The main achievement of this blend is its ability to marry a rich, full, and satisfying smoke with delicate and nuanced aromas. While sweet (but not sickly so), this blend never burns hot or produces tongue bite, which to me is rarely encountered among blends that lean toward this type of profile. Upon smoking, one is reminded of the sweet nuttiness of Virginia tobaccos and a subtle fig and leather type flavor, presumably from the orientals. Others here have commented on floral notes but I have not detected these..dried fruit is the star here. The very slight sourness that so elegantly balances the sweetness seems to come from a type of fermented quality contributed to the blend by the dried fruits..this could perhaps be interpreted as floral. The importance of balance should not be understated, it is key here. This fact is what makes Samsun such a satisfying and rewarding blend. This is full-on, blended natural tobacco at its best. Others here have commented here that while this blend is indeed of good quality and warrants purchase (if only for its novelty) it is probably not suited to regular smoking rotation. I very much disagree...This blend provides a superb counterpoint to Latakia-heavy English style blends and is in my opinion a fantastic all day smoker. If one doesn't enjoy this blend, then it is perhaps likely that this individual simply doesn't enjoy the flavor of tobacco (perhaps I won't go that far, though the temptation is there). For this reason it makes a good introduction to English style blends (In my approximation, Latakia presence is not a prerequisite in order for a blend to be described as English) for the smoker of aromatics or the novice. I should confess that I almost neglected to write that last statement, lest it scare off more seasoned veterans or those who desire a full-bodied English style smoke. Fear not dear reader. To the contrary, this blend does an incredible job at highlighting what makes pure, expertly blended tobacco so delightful. I simply cannot get enough of the stuff. I give it my highest recommendation. Delicious and positively addictive..great way to start the morning and to continue the rest of the day.

Pipe Used: Briar (would also shine in a cob)

Age When Smoked: Smoked immediately

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

10 people found this review helpful.

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

My next stop with the Grand Oriental Express is Classic Samsun. There are beautiful mostly red-brown and some black ribbons of quality tobacco flecked with some bright ones. Given some air the tin smell is chocolate with exotic spices and a dash of cane sugar (or rum if you prefer), plus rosehip and hibiscus.

Like the smell, the flavours are also mild and requires attention and effort to explore. It's a delicate bled which mainly features cocoa powder cardamom (both green and black), vanilla, sandal wood, peanut, roasted almond and raisins notes on the palate. It is like Mediterranean breeze that blows the smell of the salty sea (and even fish to some extent) but then it turns and blows the spices of the land like thyme, sage and bay leaves.

This tobacco burns easily without tongue bite into a fine grey ash. The nicotine content is mild but it is a little bit stronger than the other Grand Orients I've tried so far.

Classic Samsun while being a delicate blend is more focused than Yenidje Highlander and Drama Reserve. It is an advantage against Yenidje Highlander which is somehow less than the sum of its ingredients. But Drama Reserve dwarfs Classic Samsun by delivering an ever changing but consistent tale of the Mediterranean. Classic Samsun is sailing around the Mediterranean Sea while Drama Reserve also involves getting off the ship and meeting the locals.

Classic Samsun is a great quality blend of subtle smoking experience. It is like a special dark chocolate that not only has vanilla and raisins in it but also cardamom, sage and a pinch of some top secret ingredients -- something I would surely love to try.

Pipe Used: meersch

Age When Smoked: freshly opened tin

Purchased From: 4noggins

7 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

Delicate, sweet and nutty. Having gone through most of the Grand Orientals, this remains my favorite. After a bit of "air" time I find this tobacco to be best sipped. I especially enjoy it slowly in a Churchwarden. I don't find this to be a complex smoke, just straight forward with some flavor growth toward the end of the bowl. I have noticed a few comments on cost, for me, a former cigar smoker, it seems very inexpensive to me! LOL.

6 people found this review helpful.

Tom Servo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tom Servo (58)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

The tin aroma is true McClelland Virginia but less ketchup-ish, more like roasted, even sun dried tomatoes. After the tin has been opened for a few minutes, the savory, food-like aromas, and sweet and sour notes fade slightly from the foreground. Making way for grassy, sweet roasted grain Virginia scents, raisins, and unsweetened chocolate (cocoa powder).

Perfect burn, loads of smoke. Virginia is thick in the background, Orientals give clean delicious exotic flavors, with subtle, almost ghost-like, undertones - tangy, sweet, savory, salty (sea air), very earthy, ripe cheese, bitter herbs, dark chocolate, cured leather, even Wax Lips (My fellow Baby-Boomers may remembers those).

Complexity in it's most subtle form. Tobaccos in perfect balance. Delicate and sensuous. So tasty you feel like you should be chewing it.

Basically - it's damn good. This is one of the best Oriental blends I've had. In fact, it's now one of my favorite blends, period.

5 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

An outstanding smoke that's quite complex. The stoved Virginias are sweet, toasty, mildly fruity and have a touch of spice. I agree with those that say Burley is in the mix. It's not a lot, but there's the unmistakable earthy nuttiness. The Samsun is a little musty, sour with a note that's close to butter, but not quite. They have a fair amount of spice. There's a hit or miss floral note that comes and goes randomly. Altogether this is a great tasting blend.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Burns great straight from the tin.

Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

4 people found this review helpful.

Lyle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lyle (30)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This review is based on smoking two 50g tins of this tobacco.

This is a very mild, but delicious and rewarding tobacco. I find that it needs to be smoked slowly and packed a little tighter than I'm used to for greatest effect. When packed loosely or smoked quickly, it will have a generic cigarette-like taste. Smoked slowly, it is slightly sweet, spicy, and a little tangy. I repeatedly get an impression that reminds me of Djarum kreteks, which is not to say it tastes like cloves, but rather something reminiscent of the base tobaccos.

I like all of the Grand Oriental tobaccos that I've tried so far, because I love tasting Orientals without "tasting around" the Latakia, and this is my favorite.

Because of its mildness in flavor, I have decided to dedicate a pipe to this tobacco for future tins.

4 people found this review helpful.

Alguhan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alguhan (140)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

As the other Grand Orientals series tobaccos from McClelland, this one offers an enjoyable, nice in strength, tobacco tasty and an unforgetable smoke.

If you are get used with the general sweet-sour smell and taste of McClelland tobaccos, you'll see also in this tobacco how it pronounces the overall taste and fun of the smoke. The main caracteristic cigarette like taste of Samsun leaf is rounded perfectly with McClelland's specific smell.

This tobacco packs, lits and smokes effortlessly. I highly recommend to air the tobacco before smoking for first time. And after opening the tin you'll see in a couple of days that the smell and flavor of the tobacco settles nicely. Actually this happens with all the McClelland's tobaccos I've smoked.

A must try real Turkish.

4 people found this review helpful.

Perique Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perique (150)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

McClelland's Classic Samsun presents as a full array of dark to light brown ribbons. Tin note is chocolatey, with some wood tones and a subtle, sweet background note that is almost cake-like. Moisture content is just right for an Oriental and, as one might expect, Classic Samsun takes a match well, burning slowly, evenly and very dryly.

The charring light brings a rush of classic Oriental flavors including wood, salt, mild pepper, parchment and a backdrop of floral exotics. As the true light progresses, these flavors intertwine and even out to produce an Oriental experience that can't be beat. Salt, nuts and white pepper define the first third of the bowl while a soft chocolatey sweetness asserts by mid-bowl. The final third is spicy and peppery but never harsh. The finish is dry and spicy leaving no dampness or mess in the pipe. I'm just not sure how this can be topped as an expression of Samsun tobacco.

Classic Samsun performs extraordinarily in the bowl: a cool and slow burning tobacco with no bite, no preparatory drama and little maintenance required. Room note is to the neutral side of smokey and generally inoffensive. I humbly offer my highest praises for this tobacco.

3 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (477)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

It is kind of tough to review such a blend as this. Kudos to McClelland for putting together this series to allow people the opportunity to discern the flavors of individual leafs that are often buried within other blends. So often you hear Oriental and Turkish without realizing all the different tastes that that label encompasses.

So with that I do recommend this to someone to garner the taste of Samsun, because it is definitely the star of the blend. So much so, that the McClelland scent haters will rejoice at the lack of signature Va smell issuing forth from the tin. I think that is how it should be with the GO series as the Va should just be along for the ride, offering minor sweetness to the blend.

That said, I am not too crazy about this blend as the taste of the samsun is just a little too sour for my palate and I feel it just needs something else and this, perhaps, is the reason it is more often used in the condimental sense. Not even the fact that the tin was six years old when I popped it could save this one for me.

So I don't recommend this for a tasty smoke unless you are, perchance, a die hard oriental lover which I am definitively not. I do recommend trying out the series for what it is. A chance to taste the different flavors of oriental strains of tobacco. It is for this reason that I will continue to try them all out as well, but I likely won't reorder any of them.

Age When Smoked: 6 years

Purchased From: Carmel Pipe Shop, Carmel, CA

3 people found this review helpful.

LannarkGent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LannarkGent (105)
Mild None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

This is a classic oriental. I have smoke raw aged Samsun leaf, and this is very close. Samsun is a very complex flavor and when slowly smokes reveals layer after layer of fine tobacco flavor. This oriental is a delight and should be smoked as often as possible.

2 people found this review helpful.

atomicbuster Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
atomicbuster (54)
Medium Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

So this is what Oriental tobacco is. Very interesting. This is my first venture into strictly "Oriental" tobaccos and I must say I am very pleasantly surprised. The fact that this produced no bite except when I puff super intensely and fast to try to get bitten, earns this tobacco 3 stars off the bat. This is definitely not an aromatic, but there is indeed a slightly nutty aroma. Any "sweetness" is subtle and mostly imagined. Dry it for a day or two, then get a good charring light, and you are good to go. It also lasts a long time in the bowl and no truly foul aftertaste. Man, this is a good tobacco. The only thing I think some people would have a problem with is the fact that it is very reminiscent of smoking a cigarette, including a noticeable nicotine kick. It took me a few bowls to get over that, but once I did, I was able to enjoy it with no problems. I will have to try the other Grand Orientals to really compare, but I feel confident in highly recommending this.

2 people found this review helpful.

SeoulSister Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SeoulSister (37)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

upon the first lighting of this tobacco, It started off mild and sweet with a creamy smoothness that was pleasantly surprising. As I smoked further into the bowl it got a bit tangy and no bite. I also get a very subtle nutty flavor too. The strength stays fairly mild, but the gentle flavor gets a little fuller by mid bowl, but I wouldn't call this "full flavored." I know that some have mentioned that room note was pleasant to some ladies, but my husband who is also a pipe smoker actually disliked the room note and had mentioned it on several occasions as I was smoking my pipe. Overall, I really liked this blend from the very first bowl. If the other Grand Orientals are this good, I can't wait to try them!

2 people found this review helpful.

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

I wish I could compose the words and sentences to do this tobacco the full justice it most assuredly deserves. If one cares for Oriental tobacco at all, this will very easily go to the top headings of your list. A taste of spice, a taste of sweetness, a taste of earthiness. None of which are overwhelming, but migrating to the front for prominence, staying long enough for you to enjoy and be pleased by that sensation, then withdrawing to the background for the next momentary sensation to please you and it then also drifts into the background to be replenished by a new sensation of pleasure.

It does not bite your tongue or scorch the roof of your mouth. I have not been able to push it to become a nuclear rocket sled on a stick. I make the suggestion to get your pipe packed correctly so that you may smoke it as slow as possible, not to avoid heat, but so that you may "sip" this tobacco and truly enjoy its spectrum of flavors.

I highly recommend this tobacco not only to Oriental tobacco lovers, but for those willing to change from aromatics or Latakia smokers wanting a change of pace. It is on my lists of "Always Have" and "Grab Now."

My Dunhill pipes love it and so do I.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Group 4 Shell Ring Grain

Age When Smoked: 2 months

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Along with Drama Reserve, my favorite from the Grand Orientals collection. Low on vinegar casing, this is the more "burleish" of all Orientals, with an earthy, almost nutty taste and excellent burning properties. And the only one I can smoke twice in a row without getting bored.

A must try.

2 people found this review helpful.

bent-1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bent-1 (36)
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

Throughly enjoyed this blend. Classic Samsun is a subtle blend, and best smoked in a pipe that smokes neutral, such as a meer. It has a lightly creamy flavor, with a natural sweetness. There is a nutty component, such as in a good straight burley, but without the cigarish flavor or bite of a burley.

I'll add to this review as I'm not doing justice to the blend. Suffice to say, this is what I want my aromatics to smoke & taste like.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

Pipe smoking friends, this is wonderful. It just has to smoked to be believed. There is a slight cigar note, but the main thrusts are subdued Virginias and exotic, dark spice and earthy truffles. There is a pleasant acrid, slightly sour note noticeable at bowl's end.

Samsun is not Yenidje and it would have been hard to note the differences without this series (I'll bet most blending houses nowadays need this series to compare what fine varietals are all about, given that most blenders have recently only had blended Orientals to work with). Both varietals are wunder-leaf on their own.

This kind of mixture makes one forget about Latakia, and makes me think that blenders use too much Latakia to compensate for low-quality Orientals and/or inferior flue-cured tobaccos.

There is some sort of chocolate top note, but whether this is from the leaf or accentuation by the blender, I'm not sure. This top note does not translate into the flavor or burning aroma.

The burning qualities and ash are superior. This is very cool, dry smoking and lush. I will try the rest of the series, now that I have smoked YS, YH and CS.

2 people found this review helpful.

Marquis de Loquacia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Marquis de Loquacia (1)
Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

This delightful blend ostensibly consists of un‐topped Turkish tobacco from the Balkans. This is absolutely lovely: Upon lighting the bowl with a flaming charred splinter of bird‐eye maple, the smoker is confronted by an innocuous plume approximating in taste a hypothetical confection consisting of marshmallows and dried figs—perhaps some drunken makeshift 'smore' analogue consisting of alternately‐skewered 'Fig Newtons' stacked in close proximity to marshmallows roasted over a fire: An aromatic conflagration engulfing planks of oak (4×2), coffee beans, cocoa hulls, and one unfurled ceylon cinnamon strip dipped in cranberry juice. But after persisting with this, the taste slowly morphs to one reminiscent of hay and smoldering birch bark—not what most people would usually consider 'good,' but more approaching my idiosyncratic preference. Persisting further with additional Samsun tobacco addition—over a Costa Rican espresso and lit with butane—the smoker is presented with a new suite of flavors, including: graham cracker, pencil shavings (from a Dixon Ticonderoga™ pencil), burnt Pop Tart™, and middle‐aged nutsack—definitely getting better. But perhaps the best way to appreciate McLelland's Classic Samsun is through a flax rolling paper—as a cigarette—where halfway through the smoker is graciously presented with an unparalleled array of flavors that can only be described as your grandmothers vagina being licked through a sepia‐toned photograph from the '60s. Thus: McLelland's Classic Samsun never disappoints and offers nothing less than a 4‐star experience, the rating which I had personally given it (I'd give it four million if they'd let me.. .)

1 person found this review helpful.

steppx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
steppx (146)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is just excellent. I understand that some people find this too subtle. But I think its as tasty and smooth as any tobacco of this sort that one can find. All of the Grand Oriental series by mcClelland have been criticized for lacking in power or Nic strength, and its true, I guess, if that is what you are looking for. But the taste is perfectly balanced. The Samsun is present without in any way taking over the smoke. The Viginias are classic McClelland and hence excellent. if you like Oriental, then get this one. Its delicious, and burns cool and pretty slow for a ribbon cut. The Samsun is dusky and a bit sour, but it has also contains a natural sweetness that comes for the Virginia. Its a four star blend, but I understand it might not be for everyone.

Purchased From: 4noggins

1 person found this review helpful.

JustinCarcerated Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustinCarcerated (99)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

My 6th Grand Oriental to date, and I am officially in love with Samsun leaf. As is stated in the footnotes for this blend, great care is taken with this ( and all these "boutique" oriental specialty blends I believe) to cultivate the full sugary flavor of these delicate leaves... think white tea leaves if you've ever been so fortunate to taste this fantastic tea leaf.

Deftly blended with quality Va's this Turk/Oriental leaf has caused me to rest my thoughts of Turkish blends in general. Prior to the Grand Os I associated (rightly or wrongly) Turkish toby with roughness; think London Mixture, Standard Mixtue, Sherlock Holmes etc, where it is a background to English-centric blends.

Here Turk leaf is front and center, and as has been more eloquently stated than I can do justice the result is harmonic perfection. A mild blend that at the same time isn't light in texture or taste.

Sweet, savory and yet at times slightly spicy, never ever hot or bity, this blend has body and personality. The only peculiarity I took note of is that it tasted even better when very loosely packed... this caused it to burn faster but it allowed the flavors to flow better.

Pipe Used: Meers

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: All Grand Orientals are similar except for the star leaf of that blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

eon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
eon (11)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

Ahh, the Samsun! Like all blends in the Grand Oriental line, this one is sure to please an experienced smoker as much as a newcomer. It is easy to fall in love with, while offering great depth to the more discerning palate. The palate is tantalizingly sweet, especially once you master the pace. Light in strength yet highly satisfying in flavour, room note, and the after taste. As great in the heat of summer as it is on a winter afternoon.

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

I bought this tin in 2008 because it showcased one of the lesser utilized Turkish components, Samsun, and i was looking to find a good sample that might isolate its profile without Latakia, as the smokiness might mask the flavor. I smoked half a dozen bowls and shelved the tin. It seemed unremarkable.

Well, I pulled this after pouring through about fifty half finished tins that I threw in a box after moving into my new place. I thought, maybe I missed something.

Years later (8 years), it's still moist! Hmm. What do they put in this stuff??

In my reassessment, I find the spice is standard, the Samsun doesn't stand out, the bowl doesn't seem to develop through the smoke, and the blend is mild. Not a favorite.

Here's a couple stars for trying something new.

1 person found this review helpful.

Corvus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Corvus (36)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

I turned to this blend in order to explore the world of orientals as an interesting component of some tasty blends, to broaden my knowledge of condiments, to satisfy my curiosity after reading Dutch Pipe Smoker's excellent rundown of Turkish varietals, and to find a new blend. Kudos to McClelland for developing this line so targeted to the hobbyist piper.

The tin note is fragrant ketchup, strong and peculiar, but not unpleasant. There are also some herbal and spice components. The Samsun is presented in coarse blackened pieces, similar in appearance to Perique, with red and trace bright Virginias. The smoke is nice, creamy and soft, with good volume and burning characteristics. This is probably the best burning tobacco I've come across straight out of the tin.

While the prior areas set the stage, a blend like this is all about the taste. The dominant taste is tamarind- think Worcestshire sauce. Other components include brown butter and burnt sugar, and maybe other spice like mace. There is a trace smokiness. Moving towards the end of the bowl there is increased nuttiness, distinctly like pecans. It also tends towards bitterness at the end.

Overall, according to the rating category of this site it's a 3, a recommended blend, one that I feel people should try. As for my personal taste/satisfaction rating it is closer to a 2 or 2.5 and I am unlikely to buy it again, although I look forward to others in the Grand Orientals series. While the taste of the leaf is remarkable, it's just not my cup of tea as a regular smoke. That said I have a better appreciation of this as a condiment. I also feel like I need some acid or citrus to cut the fatty smoke and strong spice, like a bright leaf. I like it a little better in my clay as its more neutral and more subdued like the tastiest Camel that could be imagined.

1 person found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (180)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

A coarse cut mix of mostly dark brown and black tobacco with the occasional light leaf. The tin aroma is Christmas Pudding, dried fruits and spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, mace.

A little moist straight out of the tin, once underway, burns without attention.

This is a sweet, gentle and subtle tobacco that dances on the tongue and is very pleasing to the nose. There is some pepper, and an almost floral musk note, as the bowl progresses.

Pipe Used: Lepeltier

1 person found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (1270)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Can be hit or miss for me, but mostly hit. In the right pipe, smoked carefully, it can deliver an outstanding oriental tobacco smoking experience. I find it works better in larger bowls. Rich, dense, flavorful smoke. Burns cool and stays lit for me, and I'm certainly no pro in that department. I still have a few tins of the others in the GO series I haven't tried yet, but so far Classic Samsun stands out as one of the better ones. 3.5/4.0

EDIT: Changing the room note from Strong to Pleasant. When you come back into a room where this is being smoked, the aroma is amazing! Rich, fragrant orientals and warm, toasty virginias. It's a gorgeous smell.

Age When Smoked: 6 years (2007 tin code)

1 person found this review helpful.

Katharsis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Katharsis (39)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is the blend that has turned me on to try the rest of the Grand Orientals series. Quite good. And sip slow, not fast, or it will ruin it. I thought I hated it at first, but that was because I was huffing and puffing.

Sweet, delicate, satisfying, and not too rich, so that this could be an all-day for some.

UPDATE: I figured I should come back and say that the roomnote on this is fantastic. A friend was smoking it near me and it was amazing. I'm not sure how anyone could dislike this note, smoker or no.

1 person found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This blend is another treasure given to us by McClelland! I really like Samsun. But, this blend is a gentler oriental blend that needs to be smoked gently to draw out its complexity. I enjoy this blend in the evenings after dinner in my back yard, puffing gently and contemplating life as the sun goes down...

While not one in my top rotation, still a great one to have and enjoy from time to time. I seal mine with some aluminum foil and then put the plastic cover on.

1 person found this review helpful.

Slow Draw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Slow Draw (26)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

Classic Samsun is a stand out Oriental blend. Opening the tin makes you want to grab a fork and napkin (I found it best in a pipe though). Savory, sweet, smoky, tangy ...these simple words don't even work when trying to describe this blend! Read some of the reviews and you'll see what I mean. Classic Samsun comes moist in the tin, and smokes much better after a good drying. The burn is good and the smoke is thick and silky. Once it's burning about mid bowl, the flavor opens dramatically, and I can get lost in delicate dance between rapturous flavor, and tongue bite! Not strong with nicotine, so fill a big bowl and getting into it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Laudante Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Laudante (29)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild Tolerable

The word I can better think of for describing this blend is: Neutral. For the good and for the bad. There´s nothing to criticize about it, but nothing to praise either. As I said, this quality can be good or not so good, depending on personal preferences and different moments. In other words, for me it´s great to smoke it early in the morning, when the tasting buds are flowering and need something delicate and elegant, or it can be good as well to "clean" your taste, just in the sense Francis Poulenc used to say that Mozart was to clean your ears after Wagner; but on the other side it´s flatness can make it become very boring.

What happens to me is that every time I smoke it I say: Wow, how nice is this!, but I almost never feel like smoking it again. I have to force myself, to say it somehow. Weird, isn´t it?

It tends to become a little bitter towards the end, as most orientals do.

1 person found this review helpful.

CapnStuby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CapnStuby (33)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

UPDATE II: (07-10-08) This tobacco just keeps getting better and better! I sip it slowly, treating it like a Turkish hookah, and tease the smoke out until the flavor rises, then letting back until it's almost out. A few rapid puffs bring back a wave of pure, smooth flavor and I repeat this to tobacco ecstacy. If McClelland can keep the quality consistent, they've made my Top 3 rotation for a LONG time to come!

UPDATE: Note that the character of this tobacco changes drastically when you reach the bottom of the bowl. The room note changes to a MUCH fuller and more acrid cloud and the spice will hit you like a freight train (which I enjoy.) So, to keep with the analogy, the last few puffs of the bowl are the stinger at the end. STILL a favorite, but changing the room note to "pleasant to tolerable" and the taste to "medium to full" to reflect this. I still highly recommend it, though!

This blend is the apotheosis of orientals, in my opinion. With that said, let me make the analogy of a symphony to press home the characteristics of this fine tobacco.

At first light, you can feel the bass warm up. Tubas, low brass, tympanis meld together in a mellow earthiness that caresses the tongue and is never harsh. This is complimented at the top of the bowl by a subdued spice, a pianissimo piccolo that switches to the high brass by midbowl. The notes of the main melody ring clear from here to the end, yet that soothing bass line is never overpowered nor does it ever falter. As the conductor, you alone have the power to keep the bassline going, but you can also pull harder and faster to bring more of that top melody to the forefront. At the finale, a pleasant burst of spice hits the senses and the aftertaste is a warm fade out; applause for yet another fantastic performance.

Although this tobacco isn't as complex as others (the flavors don't seem to change much, they only swell in size), it smokes clean, cool and mellow, yet packs plenty of flavor in the bowl. I would say that this is an all-day smoke and it's also got a wonderful room note for those days in the cafe.

Whether walking through the woods, reading a book or sipping a cup of coffee, this tobacco is a loyal companion and music to my senses!

A DEFINITE recommend! Even if you're not a big Oriental fan, this won't disappoint you a bit!

1 person found this review helpful.

Calamiti Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Calamiti (54)
Extremely Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

I like the McClelland's idea of presenting grand classic Orientals to broader public. While most of other producers are very esoteric in regard of exact leaf varieties they use in their blends, McClelland tries to give a pipe smoker a clearer idea on what Samsun or Smyrna or Drahma is and what's the difference between them.

Saying that, I'm not too excited about this particular tobacco. The leaf from Samsun does really have some unique aroma and flavour nuances. But its another noticeable quality is high oiliness, which makes the smoke clammy and suffocating by the end of the bowl. That's just the way some Orientals are. You just like that or not, and me, I don't like that. And what I really disapprove is the lack of nicotine. Nic-free tobaccos should be labeled as that, just like caffeine-free coffees are.

I like the educational effort though. So this blend gets two stars and "Somewhat Recommended" from me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JEM Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JEM (21)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I’ve traveled throughout Asia and have a thing for orientals. Lol.

In the tin, this blend had a nutty and faintly dried prune/raisin smell. It was easy to pack and after a couple of charring lights we were smoking. The flavor was mildly smoky and sweet. I was unable detect plums/raisins. It was a pleasant smoke and stayed lit almost to the end, but I had to relight once. I hit it pretty hard, but it didn’t over heat the bowl or bite me. The nicotine was mild, too. I’ll continue smoking it to see if my opinion changes, but right now I have to say it wasn’t special, but it was good.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Natural

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

jhand45 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
jhand45 (13)
Mild Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

A curious tobacco. If you're wanting to refine your pallet and get to know the taste of different orientals, this will definitely fit the bill. If you're not... its still ok, but certainly not an every day smoke

Tin note is of that old McClelland vinegar which I find a bit offputting but evaporates fairly quickly after being lit. The Samsun is very forward in this blend with the Virginias really existing to provide some balance. I like it and I'm really glad I tried it, but it can be a bit monochromatic. Nice for something a little different and perhaps a good one for people who are playing with mixing different blends (I personally found it came to life a bit more when a touch of prelip was added).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stefanos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stefanos (139)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

Tin note has a faint vinegary smell, but generally I find it quite similar to other tobaccos in the Grand Orientals line. I also detect something like vanilla custard pudding for babies note in all the tobaccos in the series I’ve tasted which makes me think of a very mild flavoring.

It comes in coarse cut ribbons of perfect moisture, it packs and lights easily and stays lit.

It is a very mellow smoke with a delicate nutty (nutmeg/muscat) and a faint vanilla-like aroma which is either completely natural or mildly enhanced by some topping. In any case it feels like a very mellow natural-tasting tobacco. Absolutely no harshness and no tongue bite here. Nicotine level is lowish as well and this might deter some from using this as an all day tobacco or exactly the opposite depending on one’s need and tolerance of nicotine. For myself I use this tobacco as a delicacy just once in a while savouring it’s subtle nuances.

I stress the fact that it is a very delicately aromatic tobacco. So much so, that if you do not know what to expect the subtleties of the Samsun leaf might be lost on you. Not that it would be an unpleasant smoke, on the contrary, it would be an enjoyable mild and mellow pure-tobacco tasting smoke with a very pleasant aromatic nutty sweetness. But, what I am trying to say is that if you are trying to figure out what the Oriental leafs taste like, it’s not the best place to start. Even within the McClellands Grand Orientals line, the two other tobaccos I’ve tasted (Smyrna and Yenidje Supreme), I think are more ‘robust’ and therefore better starting points. (By the way, one of the best Oriental blends available in my opinion is 4noggins’ El Rincon de la Pipa showcasing the Izmir leaf.)

I think I prefer Classic Samsun less than the other two Grand Orientals I’ ve already had, but I did not taste them together, so I can draw no definite conclusion.

Update: I mentioned above that it stays lit, however there were a few chunks of broken flakes which were really hard and very dry with no elasticity at all. I do not know if they were meant to be this way or otherwise it was the result of considerable ageing but I found they did not help the burn of the tobacco so I picked these pieces, I ground them to almost powder and mixed them with the rest which I let get some air and jarred it again. I found it not only smokes better but is also more flavorful after this 'treatment'.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (102)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Unfortunately, the orientals come off as too subtle and diluted. You would get more oriental "punch" from one of McClellands virgina-oriental flakes. Upon opening the tin there is a slight acetic tang characteristic of McClelland of coarse with elements of brown sugar-like sweetness and lesser chocolate. Smoking wise, it has a round character, very mild with a slight sweetness and more so monochromatic. One of the blending components I think is green river black cavendish which I find as a detraction. That sort of cavendish to me has a marshmallow-like taste that surely doesn't compliment premium leaf. I wish the samsun leaf had a better platform to present itself.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

crazy owl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
crazy owl (70)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Strange blend indeed.You can fell the typical Mc Clelland Va,not very much,the Samsun leaf,with a touch of fine Havanna cigar and last but not least a background of burley or something like.The sum of all these is a soft but not sweet intriguing smoke.Worth to try but I prefer other Grand Orientals like Yenidje,Drama and Agonya.Beware if you are a declared enemy of Burley,because the presence in this blend ,IMHO,is obvious.

Pipe Used: meers and briars

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

point9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
point9 (114)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a 2-year tin that I open, and the oriental/Turkish is the main role of this blend as McC described. I assume there should be some buley to provide the body. Exotic, smoky with slightly sourness is the flavor, but lack complexity. I think it would blend well with some VA or Vaper, even with a pinch of latakia. I only smoke this maybe once a month for pace change.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Rogala Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rogala (4)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Tin note: Dried figs, light coffee and nutty toasted grains with notable spicy exotic notes underneath...a fresh smelling mixture; moist but not "wet", although I elected to dry it for 15 minutes before smoking.

Appearance: Thick ribbons of richly colored leaves....some dark, some medium brown...some reddish, all of them fresh and moist.

Ease of smoking: Lights moderately easily and burns evenly....which is good because this blend is so subtle that one truly NEEDS to smoke it quite gently. It will give off a nice quantity of white smoke and will smolder down to a soft whist ash when smoked properly.

Taste: Draw on it slowly and gently and it will reward with many subtleties, including fragrant incense, surprising floral notes and zesty spices coming to the forefront. Heavy-drawing / over-puffing can often result in a bit of a muddled and one dimensional taste however....complete with a tangy burning sensation on your throat and the roof of your mouth.

The bottom line: This blend can be a bit challenging, with a "hit or miss" quality from bowl to bowl and even pipe to pipe (Note: Go with a larger size with at least a 9/64" draft hole, IMO). For a lover of oriental or Balkan blends, the chance to taste an individual leaf is sort of a "must do", and in that sense, I recommend that you try this and all the other Grand Oriental offerings from McClelland.

Scoring: As a previous reviewer wrote: "In the right pipe, smoked carefully, it can deliver an outstanding oriental tobacco smoking experience." I agree, and when one does get that "magical bowl", it is very special indeed....but the flip side of this must also be considered when scoring....and any blend which is this finicky is tough to rate higher than 3 stars, IMHO.

Pipe Used: Small Bowl Crosby & Large Bowl Dunhill

Age When Smoked: 3 years in the tin

Purchased From: Iwan Ries

Similar Blends: McClelland - Drama Reserve (Grand Orientals), McClelland - Smyrna No.1 (Grand Orientals).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sjdugi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sjdugi (22)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Upon opening this tin of tobacco, I was greeted by an almost overwhelming floral scent (which turned me off a little) However, this goes away after a short time so no need to worry about it. The tobacco itself is great; easy to pack, easy to light and keep lit, and it smokes slow and cool. I was surprised how mild the flavor was relative to the scent but despite that, it's still quite enjoyable. A lot less of an incense smell than other orientals. The room note is also not as pronounced as I thought it would be but I find it quite pleasant, and I think anyone who enjoys orientals would as well. Overall, a very nice tobacco and I would say a great one to start on if you're just to entering the realm of oriental/balkan blends!

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: /r/pipetobacco

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ant Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ant (4)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

...from a novice pipe smoker:

I didn't know what an Oriental was when I bought the tin but since I've only smoked a few other blends I was interested based only on the strong reviews. I was never so delighted before and since (so far anyway) with this blend. So this blend totally caught me by surprise and maybe its because I haven't smoked the many fine blends that are out there but never-the-less I've ordered more to keep on hand for storage and to smoke daily. What else can I say, this is a good smoke from beginning to end - gets better towards the end - and I anticipated smoking it at the end of my day everyday - ...and was disappointed when my tin was empty. This is a great blend, lots of flavor.

Pipe Used: MM Cob

Age When Smoked: Fresh Can to about Two weeks

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bteddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bteddy (23)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Was hoping for something more, a pleasant and very mild blend with nothing much standing out as far as flavor goes. This would be a good blend for a new smoker to break into Orientals, just not my cup of tea.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

samcoffeeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
samcoffeeman (33)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm a new pipe smoker. My taste is not refined enough yet to equate the flavors to nuts or fruit or something similar. I may never get that. I know when i like something and when I do not. While I have not found other McLellands to be very special, I am quite pleased with this. I do detect some of the McLelland vinegary scent out of the tin, but not as much as some others like blackwood flake. It has a very nice spicyness, you can feel it but not overpowering. The flavor is very mellow and pleasant. It smokes pretty easy, without many relights. Overall very enjoyable.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (319)
Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I was disappointed with this, some of the other Grand Orientals are much better. I find the flavor too mild, low in "N" and I have a tendency to smoke this fast and get some tongue bite. Just not for me.

updated 1/26/2015-What was wrong with me when I first reviewed this blend ??? . Yes , if you puff on this like a freight train, it will remove your taste buds , but take it slow, and this is a flavorful light blend , with a sweet flavor and fragrant floral scent. Very interesting and pleasant . moved from 2 to 4 stars

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Nobody has rated this review yet.

s-liskey Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
s-liskey (6)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This blend hits the spot! I smoked this blend after a few years of aging and I had no problem with tongue bite at all as others have posted! Aside from ph I have wide open draw and find that tighter draws give me tongue bit on a regular basis. This bend has a unique taste that rocks the senses! It's very clean and refreshing yet has enough body and taste to satisfy. The T-leaf takes over on this one and is made more complex by the Virginias. The room note is pleasantly wonderful and the taste is a nice tempo change. It burned clean all the way down and left a nice ash. It was never harsh, even at the bottom of the bowl. And it fished just as it had started, A winner!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (108)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I've tried a few of the orientals from McC now and they have been hit or miss for me, this one, while being a bit temperamental has been a hit. If I don't smoke it slow the flavor dies for sure and it is sensitive to ghosted pipes, but when done right in the right pipe, it shines with a nice tangy, sultry sweetness that lingers in your mouth long after each puff. A wonderful mild tobacco with an excellent room note and a unique personality!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kokinhenik Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kokinhenik (47)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Neptune's trousers this smoked with a bite! I was trying to sip..but at the 1 mph mark I couldn't get any slower. I set it down to rest for a bit, came back about 10 minutes later, and it was still lit!!! Unheard of with a pipe tobacco. The tin was from 2007. I'll moisten it up a bit and try it again. It honestly smoked so hot I couldn't taste much.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Russtafarian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Russtafarian (3)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant

I thought the flavor was bland initially, but it grew on me and now is a very clean tobacco flavor without many additives.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Dr. Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Scott (82)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A perfect marriage of Virginias and fine Turkish tobacco. In a churchwarden on the seashore on a sunny Spring day, it is a little slice of heaven.

Compared to Drama Reserve, it is milder, and it has a more floral perfume that diminishes after the tin has been open for a few weeks.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

deepbass9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
deepbass9 (7)
Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I'm all about variety, I'm all about quality and my palate is wider than many. Tobacco moisture, tongue bite, mood, smoking circumstances and other controllable variables won't be covered. This review is based on multiple bowls over time.

This is a wonderful blend that I can't imagine anyone not enjoying. It's light, mild, smokes easily and tastes great. Sweet and savory, complex but subtle

This an excellent tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Layman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Layman (9)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I've been trying these Grand Orientals and this one has still stayed at the top of the list. As the name implies, this is really a classic, mellow smoke that has become one of my go-to tobaccos. She likes to be smoked slow and has the potential to bite if you are a huffer, but seriously all you have to do is relax and enjoy the subtle flavors as you let it caress your tongue. It's actually better when you crack the tin open, put the top on and just let it sit for a week or two to get just a tiny bit drier. Truly a tobacco that you can enjoy at any time of the day.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarBurner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarBurner (29)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Delicious orientals dominate the added Virginias making this an ideal a.m. tobac or any time during the day. The sweetness and earth notes continue throughout the bowl. I like my tobac bordering on crispy so a 10 minute drying was required. I have found in my 45 years of pipe smoking people smoke their tobac too wet causing instant tongue bite. This is a result of the moisture producing HOT STEAM which in turn burns the buds right off your tongue. I will definately add this tobac to my rotation.A sure winner!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I've always favored orientals and was delighted to find McClelland devoting a specialty niche for them. After a while, I tire of latakia permutations and perique disagrees with me.

As a favorite go-to smoke, I've always kept at least two tins of Frog Morton Across the Pond handy. Classic Samsun and its partner Yenice Agonya surpass it in every way but price. I mention FMAtP not that they are directly comparable, but fans of that version of Frog would enjoy this tobacco as well.

The room note is beloved by a (female) cigarette-smoking companion who eagerly shares my pipe when I light this up. As with many other subtle tobaccos, I enjoy it most in a plain clay pipe (though they are not as comfortable in my mouth). Because of the subtlety of tastes and mildness, I'd advise against it for those who cannot get enough latakia and perique. This has an entirely different appeal.

This blend has immediately smokable, unlike most Pease blends, in my experience. Yet it does age well, especially for an oriental and even keeps fresh in an open tin, a fact I appreciate because I smoke relatively infrequently these days. I'm just now finishing a tin I opened almost two years ago and am looking forward to reordering more of this and others in the series. My only regret is that this delightful mixture is still unavailable in bulk.

This mixture deserves my highest regards.

Update 5/13: I opened my third, maybe fourth tin. Although just acquired, it dates from 2007. I was never able to summon the willpower to cellar this blend; I'm fortunate aged tins are still available. Six years after tinning, the tobacco has no bite (can't recall it ever did), the sweetness is neutral to slight, the aroma of the smoke is heavenly with a touch of cedar. Unlike others in the series, I cannot stop until the last of it is burned in a medium bowl, though the first 2/3 are the best. The components are perfect in proportion, perfect for my smoking habits and nicotine requirements and I continue to enjoy this thoroughly. I look forward to ravaging this tin, enjoying every puff.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SammyBirdland Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SammyBirdland (2)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is a great tobacco. The taste is nice and sweet and kept my interest throughout the entire bowl. Something about the sweetness seems vaguely dried-fruity to my tongue, in a very subtle way.

Highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LeFlaneur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LeFlaneur (6)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I was a newish pipe smoker who had tried aromatics and always felt they were all about smell and not about taste, so I wandered off trying different VAs, Englishes and the Grand Orientals line. Pretty soon I got to this and it was like a light bulb went off. Oh now I get it.

This is not strong tobacco. It's not a wallop of flavor but more a little journey for my taste buds. There's a little nuttiness, then sweet, then earthy, I just don't get bored with this one.

This holds a special place in my heart for starting my love affair with orientals. I would recommend this to anyone, especially wandering newbies. Smoke this and see what a great natural tobacco can be.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Benton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Benton (13)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This was my first McClelland blend and I sure got lucky. I've got about five other tins open and usually never smoke two bowls in a row of the same blend, but when I opened Classic Samsun the rotation came to a screaching halt until the tin was empty.

My favorite feature is the fantastic turkish aroma. The nicotine levels do seem very low, but I don't mind.

I like this blend so much that I wish my tobaconist wasn't an hour away so that I could get more this afternoon.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Marshall Law Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Marshall Law (50)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

What an excellent tobacco blend! A luxurious and indulgent smoke in every sense, elegant in its simplicity, an oriental rite of passage rife with dense, silken billows. Starts off mild, nutty and slightly sweet, and the orientals are intriguing, flavorful, and interesting, in such harmonious balance with the delicious trademark McClelland's virginias that there are simply no distractions from your enjoyment. No tongue bite, no goop, a cool, slow burn, tasty and mellow from start to finish with increasing intensity and dynamics of flavor as you go through the bowl, and a pleasant, rich Turkish room note, to boot. This is the grand, gentle introduction to fine orientals for the beginner, but can still be the constant, rewarding old friend to the experienced, and shows just what a good mild oriental blend should be. Do try it in a variety of pipes until you bring out the qualities you prefer in the blend. Perfection in my book, and my favorite oriental blend to date. Yum.

UPDATE: TURKISH DELIGHT! Burns so cool and dry! Just goes and goes, no re-lights necessary here if you are even mildly attentive. Ethereal, savory, sublime, euphoric, intoxicating, delicious. The mild spiciness grows and morphs gently but steadily, fringed with rewarding swells of mild but complex flavors, and by the middle of the bowl, opens up a can of tasty, rich oriental whoop-a$$ on your senses. Never gets over the top, however. Just don't smoke it too aggressively, or like any turkish blend, it can get harsh and dry/numb the back of your throat. Try this blend in a larger-diameter bowl, sip slowly, and it stays sublimely mild and smooth. I even tried it in an inexpensive Savinelli 315EX Hercules prince, and it kicked butt and took names, right to the bottom of the bowl. Unstoppable stuff. Both flavor and fragrant turkish room notes are top-notch all the way.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

KiwiPipeSmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KiwiPipeSmoker (2)
Extremely Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

If someone was thinking of starting to smoke a pipe, this is the tobacco I would suggest. Is has a mild taste, low nicotine and a nice room note.

However, I don't want anything thinking that means I don't think a hardened veteran pipster should try some. (Okay, maybe if you smoke XXX Rope, Rum Twist and other huge blends you might not get this tobacco). This tobacco has a perfect sweetness to match the light spice and earthyness of the oriental leaf. Definitely not cloying.

If this tobacco has more nicotine, I think I would smoke it all the time. That to me is it downside: not enough vitamin N. If you don't care if you tobacco has any nicotine, and you like a mild or medium taste, I can't recommend this tobacco enough.

On the more practical side. In typical McClelland style, the tobacco was a bit moist, but the standard McC ketchup smell was largely (though not completely) absent. It packed and lit beautifully. There was no bite, and a lovely room note.

Yeah, this is a great tobacco. 8/10

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Feetup Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Feetup (17)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

What can I say, this is a damn fine tobacco. Sweet, consistent, great taste, no bite and passes the wife's smell o meter. I did note however a slight sourness at the bottom of a small bowl. Upped the size, and presto!

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Tallman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tallman (35)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

Though this blend is, as one reviewer states, a little pricey for everyday is one that I intend to always have on hand. Sweet, pure tobacco taste...I couldn't make it bite and it was a breeze to pack and light, and burn, burn, burn. As the estimable Pipestud says...a bellringer!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

htduck Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
htduck (28)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Wow. What a wonderful smoke. Easy to light, stays lit very well and the smoke is rich and full. Very mild, if you're looking for a jolt, not here friend, but the smoke is so good you could cut it and eat it. Think veal vs heavy beef - veal is much lighter than heavy aged beef but it's pretty tasty. My favorite of all the Grand Orientals and of any Oriental in my supply. I suppose I will be shopping for a good supply of this stuff - it's the top of my list.

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

Recommended because of the quality and exoticism, but I must not like too much oriental in my blends. I like the sweet & sour taste and the mellowness, but I get bored with it and have never finished my tin. This has kept me from trying the other blends in the series. I'll give it another chance some day.

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pipetype Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipetype (10)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I AM HOPING the most experienced of you can help me understand what I am liking and why. A comparative list follows this review of my tastes.


This smoke is a humble, yet exotic journey of a smoke. It is 2nd on my favorites list below.

There are no distractions in this experience such as bite, difficulty lighting, or sogginess. It smokes long, cool, and smooth. Just when you think it is going to bring up a nasty edge, it instead says: "Now here is where I was grown. Isn't it a wonderful fresh after the rain rich soil?" Then just when you think this terrain is going to get boring and slushy, it says, "Look over there at that beautiful patch of purple ground cover Keep looking because there is more of that in different shades and textures. Look at those sticks also."

I taste the tiniest bit of vinegar and the mildest bit of tomato paste and salt! I happen to love ketchup! Whatever this is, it is in the best of taste, and subliminal.

This treasure is worth every pricey dollar. As such, I don't think most of us can justify it as more than a 'special event reward' of sorts. If it were on special it would be an all day pleasure for me.

A WORD of caution though: some may find that it contains an allergen. I wouldn't be surprised if small amounts of ragweed are in there. I got a flush and started sneezing a bit. It passed, but comes back at times.

______ OK:

Is there a common denominator(s) to this list? If I knew, then I could explore the class in more detail!

Here are my cased and not so cased comparators (ranked):

--Solani Blend 656

--Balkan Sasieni or Balkan Supreme [in that order: they are not the same no matter what some people have said]

--Full Virginia Flake

--Frog Morton, OT Town

--Frog Morton, AT Pond

--Butternut Barley

--Westwinster (Pease)

--Opening Night (C&D)

--Golden Extra

--Sunday Picnic

--Balkan Flake

--Vanilla Black Cavendish

--Odyssey (Pease)

--Galway Treasures of Ireland

--Mixture 79

--Black Velvet

On a scale of 10 being the bset, and 1 the least, only Black Velvet plunges beneath a 5. This is a shame becaise I still have 15 ounces of the stuff.


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Demetri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Demetri (113)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A short review:

Sublime. Non plus ultra.

The tin description is right on target.

Perhaps a wee bit pricey, but you do get what you pay for.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This is a very good and unique blend. There is a bit of earthiness and a little Virginia sweetness that combine to provide a tasty, interesting experience. It never gets overly complex, and the flavors won't knock your socks off, but it's a reliably tasty, interesting treat. Good herbal oriental flavors come through, and sometimes just a hint of floral character.

Like most orientals, this one gives me a tangy burn at the back of my throat and in my sinuses not unlike perique does, but not nearly as strongly as some oriental mixtures, either because there is less in the blend or this Samsun is much milder and smoother than others.

It's relatively dry (what I would call perfect moisture) out of the tin, the ribbons pack easily and perfectly, the smoke was copious and it stayed relatively cool. No relights necessary, and it smokes all the way down to a lightweight ash. Definitely something you should have in the drawer if you like oriental tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bigjonburley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigjonburley (64)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is incredible! Highly addictive. I flew through my tin in no time. ORIENTAL to the max. Nutty, piquant, light, and smooth. Could not get it to bite no matter how aggressive I puffed. Extremly light yet complex in the nose. I love it. Smokes as light and smooth as some of the silky burleys yet has all of the best qualities of the finest orientals. Can't wait to try the others in the line. My only complaint is the tins 50gram size accompanied by the fast rate of consumption, thus making it a very expensive everyday smoke.

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joseph Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
joseph (46)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A fantastic smoke. Mild, but lots of flavour (nutty indeed, as the tin description says). I like it most in a big corn cob. Just great!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

½ bowl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
½ bowl (97)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Creamy and nut-like with an oily flavor and exotic herbal spiciness. The palate is met with a barrage of complex and slightly pungent flavors reminiscent of some root vegetables (horseradish and parsnip come to mind) -- all couched in a bed of soft, sweet Virginia leaf. Strongly herbal, but just short of being cloying. Good burning characteristics and no bite. Not an all day smoke, more of a novelty or palate re-adjustment smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (78)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is the finest offering I have tried (haven't had the Drama or Smyrna) in this series. It is the greatest of an awesome series, where only one got below 4 stars. This is like the top of Everest, if I could I would give it Ten Stars. The blend burns great, doesn't burn out and it takes a lot of puffing to overheat it. I do not detect the cigar note as I somewhat do in Black Sea Sokhoum, just an opulent richness. This and the rest would be totaly ruined by latakia. Sweet, pungent, great for mellow times or, for me, all day. Smoking this for the first time was like the first time I experienced Rattray blends. Destined to be a classic.

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

This is another fine blend from McClelland's Grand Orientals range. It has a flavor note, I find in some good burley blends. Some may call it a cigar note, however after trying all my favorite burley blends, I find it is similar. However in Classic Samsun that flavor note is clear as a bell chime.

The burning quality of this blend has been excellent. It burns dry to a fine ash. Smokes cool, when it is sipped as a fine virginia type blend.

A fine blend, that I pray is not of finite supply.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big bad Jon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big bad Jon (232)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This blend is a bit more mild the the others I have tried. I have to agree that there is a small cigar note to this, but it is not the first that came to mind. What I was blown away from was how smooth and refined the taste was. There is a slight sweetness at the match, but then as the bowl progresses a more earthy note takes the fore front. This blend is not a powerhouse like some of the blends I enjoy, but is more a nice mellow morning smoke. I have to agree with others I have talked with, that this blend is the antithesis to the powerful Latakia blends that try and mask the taste of the other tobaccos. I think that Latakia would ruin this blend. Another thing that this blend needs is a gentle smooth draw, it does not take a lot of care to keep going and it seems that the slower you draw, the more nuances come out. Is this blend cased? I am not sure, if so it is very mild and a somewhat good compliment, another reviewer thinks chocolate, I am not sure if he is correct, but it seems as good a match to the blend as anything, it is so faint that I am not a skilled enough reviewer to refute the claim. I think if it is chocolate it is a richer chocolate possibly dark chocolate, and that may be what the sweetness is from. This blend is awsome and a must try for everyone.

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tacoeatingzebra Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tacoeatingzebra (37)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

For me, this one is a bit like Black Sea Sokhoum in that there's a cigary note to it. Makes some sense that Classic Samsun is most similar considering that both regions border on the eastern half of the Black Sea. I would say that Classic Samsun is significantly less sweet and a touch more sour. I've been smoking it exclusively in a Vuillard Virgin Briar. It has consistantly given tasty, smooth and cool smokes

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