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A rich full Oriental mixture, pleasantly fragrant with just enough rare Syrian latakia to satisfy without overwhelming. Warm spiritually satisfying, this dark, full Oriental pipe mixture is redolent with exotic Syrian latakia. Soothing as a cup of rich Russian tea.

Notes: Originally introduced in April, 1995 for the Chicagoland Pipe Collectors' Club, is now part of the Club Blends Series.

Blended ByFred Hanna
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeOriental
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
CutCoarse Cut
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
Where to Buy
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None Detected
Medium to Full, Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 12 Users

43 reviews
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Sinister Topiary Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sinister Topiary (84)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

What an honor to be the first to review this sublime blend.

Just when I thought I'd found the blend I'd been searching for with McClelland's Scottish Woods, I try Samovar. I'm embarrassed to say it, but this is the blend I've been searching for too. I guess I was searching for both of these blends. Scottish Woods appeals to my desire for an oriental forward blend, and this one appeals to my desire for a full, dark english where the oriental is not the star but a character actor that works harmoniously with the rest of a world-class ensemble.

The syrian in this forms a wonderful, unobtrusive, silky bed on which the other ingredients frolic and dance. Indeed Samovar is a perfect name for this blend, as it is more than a little reminiscent of Russian Caravan, a blended black tea usually comprised of Oolong, Keemum & Lapsang Souchong (though sometimes with Assam instead of Oolong & Keemum): strong and malty yet dry, with a smokiness that suffuses the flavor, finishing with just a hint of some kind of bittersweet dark liquor. Unlike the tea, however, this blend burns beautifully. Oh, and it has a luxurious mouthfeel too.

This is the most richly satisfying dark, subtle, nuanced, full blend I've ever had. This blend is like the place in the Venn diagram where Three Oaks Syrian and Scottish Woods intersect, and that makes for a blend that is otherworldly delicious: Samovar is another major masterpiece of the blending arts from a master blender.

I am sated. I don't feel a need anymore (for now) to keep looking for the Holy Grail of blends. With the discovery of Samovar my Desert Island Blend Collection (DIBC) feels complete: between this and my other four (and a few three) star blends I am content.

18 people found this review helpful.

Marshall Law Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Marshall Law (50)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This juggernaut of incredible flavors bowled me over from the very first puff! This is one of the finest oriental-forward English blends I've ever experienced. Sinister Topiary's review is highly accurate and does the blend justice. From beginning to end, each bowl is rich with dense, velvety, slightly sweet smoke. The Syrian latakia is perfectly proportioned within the blend, and despite a big oriental push mid-bowl, it stays provocatively present.

Simply put, Samovar could be considered, in a word, delicious. I made the mistake of smoking this directly after Pease's Caravan, which seemed quite harsh and two dimensional by comparison. Between Wilderness, Legends and Samovar, McClelland's has set the bar impossibly high. An easy four stars and an instant classic.

16 people found this review helpful.

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

When I first opened my tin of Samovar, the smell is slightly sweet and smoky, but not as sweet as my current favorite McClelland blend, FMOTT. I find the flavor is mild, but grows as the smoke carries on. I get a little bit of a floral taste, the kind that comes from the Orientals, not the kind of floral that comes from a Lakeland style blend. I like the way this is blended because the Latakia doesn’t overpower the Oriental flavor. It is very balanced. I haven’t had a lot of experience with Syrian Latakia and I find it more subtle and I like it. I could see Samover as part of my regular rotation.

8 people found this review helpful.

Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (69)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

In recent months, I've been playing around with combinations of Syrian Three Oaks and Frog OTT and ATP in order to punch up the former without pushing that subtle, seductive Syrian Lat too far into the background. I ended up with something that's pretty good (calling it Tree Frog...get it?), but Samovar seems to get a little closer to what I was shooting for.

I've had trouble keeping it lit at times (too much humectant?). Have found that pack a bowl carefully and well in advance helps.

2015/03 - The more I smoke this, the more deeply I fall in love with it. Smoky, sublime, tasty, and beautiful. This is a desert island selection for me.

Pipe Used: Boswell freehand

Age When Smoked: < 1 year

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Hearth & Home Magnum Opus.

6 people found this review helpful.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (78)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is the greatest Oriental blend McClelland has ever produced. It reminds me of the old line tobaccos from when I started smoking, when names like Cotton, Rattray, Sobranie and Bell's ruled, and the proper amount of preparation and maturation was taken. Either they spent a long time perfecting this blend (like the above houses did) or someone had their best day ever when they mixed this.

When I smoke Samovar, the individual components mix well into wonderful, dry, exotic flavor. While it is an excellent singular taste, the best qualities of the individual components shine through. The Orientals come through with a spicy citrus and never get sour or too hot, the latakia adds a dry smoke but does not (as many do) give a tarry house-on-fire note, the Virginias are sweet and full with no vineger or bite.

I am interested to see what a few years of aging will do to this.

6 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2133)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The Syrian latakia is smoky, woody, and dry wine-like, and occasionally is mildly upstaged by the very rich, smoky, woody, dry and slightly sour, buttery sweet with mild spice and earth from the Orientals. There is a mild floralness to them, too. The red and dark Virginias offer light tangy fermented dark fruitiness with some earth in a condimental role. The grass and citrus from the lighter Virginia is a background player. The nic-hit is a hair closer to mild than it is to medium. Won’t bite or get harsh even when pushed. May some dry time. Burns slow, clean and cool with a little inconsistency in the nuanced flavors. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl. Needs some relights. Has a very pleasant, lightly lingering after taste. The room note won't likely pass the wife test, though. Not quite an all day smoke, but it is repeatable.

5 people found this review helpful.

MDP Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MDP (39)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a stand-out offering from McClelland. It belongs in a category of blends they produce or did, but does not duplicate its companions. Those being British Woods, Frog Morton on the Town, Old Dog and the blend McClelland tinned for Butera Royal Vintage series, Latakia No. 1. There is also a similarity of style to Lane’s now discontinued Crown Achievement sold in bulk and discontinued sometime in 2009 (now back in tins as Summer 2014).

Samovar is distinguished from the latter blend, however. Samovar is full in flavor like CA, but it has neither the harshness nor bitterness CA produced. And while Samovar is unstinting in flavor, there is a magical effect of variation akin to intermittent eclipses of sunlight from drifting clouds.

Few tobaccos enthrall me: Samovar is one. Samovar reminds me of what I liked about Dunhill’s My Mixture 965 in the early days of Murray (I cannot compare with pre- or post-Murray). Not that Samovar is in the same style as MM965, but Samovar has a caramelized creaminess and shifting of flavors that creates balanced, complementary taste impressions.

The latakia in Samovar is Syrian in origin with lovely woodsy, almost fruity, smokiness. The remaining oriental leaf is magnificent: sweet, rich, spicy and herbaceous. It has the greater presence than the modest, but obvious and smooth, latakia.

The overall oriental weight in Samovar is that of a Balkan, and it would be justified calling Samovar a Balkan-style blend if it were not for the balancing, relieving and lifting sweetness from matured Virginias and lightly sweetened black Cavendish keeping the oriental leaf from hegemony. I would call Samovar a Scottish blend or better, a full-flavored, medium-strength Americanized English.

However one classifies it, Samovar is worthy of a full-tin sampling by anyone who enjoys or wants to enjoy oriental and latakia without being over- or underwhelmed by either.

Pipe Used: Large, small, conical and straight drilled

Age When Smoked: Fresh tin

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars dot com

Similar Blends: British Woods, Frog Morton on the Town, Old Dog, Latakia #1, Crown Achievement.

5 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (833)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a dark black color with streaks of walnut brown. Had the unmistakeably winey smell of Syrian latakia in the tin and an underlying aroma of good orientals. The cut was a ribbon with a few clumps. My tin was two years old.

This is a fine blend but, unlike my fellow reviewers, I find nothing here to get overly excited about. Nice dark taste and full like the McClellands Royal Cajun line is full - not in strength but in richness of flavor. I'd call it medium, but this does have decent flavor. The orientals have the lead in the flavor department with the latakia always in attendance with each puff. The previous reviewer said this reminded him of Frog ATP and I agree. I like this one better, but only slightly. The occasional odd taste rears its head and that may be simply a slight aversion on my part to Syrian latakia. I find this one to be mildly complex with a smattering of depth. Nothing much beyond the ordinary, but certainly worth a try, and this one apparently sets some hearts a'flutter. This one I'd rate 2.5 stars, rounded up because McClellands is a quality blender and I'm sure they got this one just how they wanted it.

5 people found this review helpful.

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

This is like smoking hot buttered Latakia. I'm not saying it burns hot, just that it reminds me of hot buttered popcorn that's been a little burnt. It burns nice and cool. Smoky, buttery, sweet & sour, a little woody, and very, very smooth. Delicious. My favorite McEnglish thus far.

Medium in body and flavor. Burns great straight from the tin.

Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Mark Twain, Patriot

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

4 people found this review helpful.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (1280)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong

I think Samovar might be the most delicious and satisfying English mixture I've ever smoked. Starts out noticeably sweet, presumably from the Virginia. After a few puffs, the Orientals kick in, enriching the flavor, and building steadily as the bowl progresses. Samovar is, so far, my only experience with Syrian Latakia, but now I know I like it. It's a constant presence, a fragrant ribbon that weaves in and out of the smoke.

Samovar is very well balanced, but I would say the Orientals take the lead with their warmth and spice. I love exhaling this smoke out of my nose. That's often a good indicator for me that I'm experiencing some very fine Oriental tobacco. The Virginia provides a naturally sweet foundation for the others to build upon. Syrian Lat seems a lot more delicate and nuanced than its Cyprian cousin. It's almost like a perfume or incense that occasionally wafts up before fading back into the background. I shudder to think that some day all the Syrian Lat will be gone. We pipe smokers will have lost something truly special, and the world will be a sadder place for it.

All in all, an astonishingly pleasant smoking experience. I can't praise it highly enough.

Age When Smoked: 2 years (2012 tin code)

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: G. L. Pease - Maltese Falcon (Heirloom Collection).

4 people found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (111)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

To me nothing special here; smokeable yes, special no. Actually rather boring with the very occasional Oriental leaf making itself known, hesitant to even call it an Oriental blend; however, technically it is. Bitter mid-bowl and the rest of the way down and too grassy for me.

Perhaps older versions were superior; regardless, I won't be buying this again nor it is recommended since the billing and blend are mediocre at best, with generosity.

The last tinned McClelland that I'll ever buy far too much Propylene Glycol screwing-up the combustion, as result plenty duds o'plenty apart from Butera Latakia no. 1 and no. 2 those are cellar worthy in my view. Mike Butera must have a rider regarding PG, thankfully.

2 people found this review helpful.

MJG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MJG (16)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Leaf: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish and Virginia. A good split of Dark and Golden leaf, a nice thick ribbon with only a few 'chunky' bits here and there. Nice, high quality leaf.

Tin Aroma: When I popped the tin the first thing I was greeted with was a lovely, rich, smokey dose of Latakia, which slightly subsided as the Orientals appeared with their sweet, tangy, spicy scent. The Virginia wasn't far behind, it's freshness slightly hard to pick up but it was adding to the sweet aroma now wafting from my tin. Mouth watering.

Taste: Now here's what I'm looking for in a smoke. The taste is so closely reflective of the aroma, at first the beautiful rich latakia smokiness butters you up with it's creamy texture and taste. The orientals arrive soon after, they are smooth, crisp, tangy, with a lovely sweetness that clings to the palate, a subtle spiciness that make me light up on the retrohale as it so slightly tingles the nose. The Virginias arrive with a little extra freshness and sweetness for good measure, they help cut the oriental tanginess without detracting from it at all. The tail end of each puff is carried by that beautiful rich Latakia that never overpowers the other elements, but serves to add another layer of richness and complexity, helping provide that nice creamy thick, flavour filled smoke. The smoke changes slightly either way as the bowl goes on, some parts darker and richer, some lighter and sweeter, but never dull or boring.

Smokeability: Moisture was fine out of the tin, packs well, stays lit easily. Burns cool and dry, and finishes in a fine white ash that falls out of the inverted bowl barley leaving a trace bend at the end of a smoke. Doesn't bite, and doesn't try and kill you with nicotine.

Summary: This is a glorious pipe tobacco. You can really taste the quality, it is rich, complex, exceedingly smooth. The thick clouds of smoke produced are packed with flavour, they smell amazing. This touched all the based for me, Rich, Dark, Spicy, Smoky, Sweet, Fresh, Tangy, Any English/Oriental/Balkan fan should give this a try, it truly is a great blend.

Pipe Used: Meer, Cob, Briar

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: 4noggins

2 people found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (180)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

This is a strange tobacco. For the most part it is a medium bodied English, albeit one that is light on Orientals and Latakia, but which can throw up some decidedly harsh notes. Generally speaking I like McC Virginias and how they are conditioned, but not here. There is also a fair amount of stick and stem in this blend, so not exactly top shelf leaf.

To my palate this is stronger than an English should be, and there is also some bitterness, particularly as the bowl progresses. I think there is Burley in Samovar, but I seem to be alone in thinking this.

Not by any means a bad smoke but not my cup of tea.

2 people found this review helpful.

Dino Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dino (3)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Samovar has become my favorite English blend. And, as many reviewers of this blend have stated, the key descriptive term is balance. The richly piquant Orientals, the sweet, bright Virginias, and the silky smooth Syrian Latakia tobaccos are masterfully combined to make a deep, warm and utterly satisfying smoke. The color, aroma and cut of this lovely tobacco excite the senses. It begs to be stuffed into your favorite pipe and slowly savored, like a well-aged single malt. The flavors fill your mouth, and, as you smoke, each of the components makes itself know, yet the impression is one of pure harmony. Samovar burns clean and even; no bite, no moist dottle. The aftertaste lingers, a sweet, spicy, smoky coda. Can you tell that I like this stuff? Anyone interested in a refined, distinctive and wonderfully congruous English style tobacco, should sample Samovar. It is, in my opinion, one of the finest blends that Mary and Mike McNeil have produced.

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I think that when TR was recently changed the website, the newer version of this was added to the mid 1990’s run of this blend. My now empty tin is from the new era. Although McClelland makes a lot of English Blends that I enjoy on occasion, I generally don’t find any in my normal rotation. Samover could change all of that for me. Samover offers a sour/smoky scent to my nose indicative of its components. Like most blends made by McClelland, I find it far too wet for my liking so I gave it significant dry time. It was worth the wait. An adjective I have never used with a tobacco blend immediately came to mind at first light, velvet. It is so very smooth, almost too smooth as I like a little more strength in my blends, but the flavor, oh the flavor is a bell ringer. The smoothness reminds me of the Levin era Syrian Ringlow Reserve and given the Syrian in both blends I guess that’s no surprise. The combination of the Orientals, which lead the way, followed by the Syrian Latakia is paired masterfully. There is a subtle sweetness that shows itself from time to time too. This is a mild, biteless well done blend that is hands down one of my favorites from McClelland.

Age When Smoked: 4 years

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Full Very Pleasant

I don't find many Oriental blends to have much strength, this one is an exception. I do not know if there is a difference in the revival of this one as compared to the 1994 PCCA original or the 1995 Chicago Show original. I do know that there is a lot of flavor here and most of it is derived from the Latakia, which is top shelf. It is truly spicy (thanks to the orientals), and will plaster the heck out of the palate, so puff slowly.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Being fond of Balkan derivatives as well as Syrian latakia in general, several of the highly recommended blends in this category have been on my radar for some time now.

This blend fits the profile, dark ribbon cuts peppered with soft crumbly bits of latakia sparsely added, with some yellow Va shag throughout -typical McKetchup note-though sweeter. Perfect moisture content here-I cellared this tin for 16 months.

Subsequently the burn characteristics were spot on, and despite my poor packing methods it remained lit and toasty throughout.

I have to say the use of the Syrian latakia is absolutely perfect! You taste a sweetness that -despite the smoke being light and dry (think Cult's Blood Red Moon) it's so flavorful and forgiving to the Thomas the Train's amongst up. The Virginias add to the sweetness without being hayish, and the entire experience was ...refreshingly.

Samovar tastes mild but it is strong enough to be my morning wake up dose, but could be an all day blend in my opinion.

I would throw out there that if your new to pipes, an aromatic fan or apprehensive about Latakia in general (they have to some a reputation of being applied in a heavy-handed manner) [think Lat Bombs] this could very well change the paradigm.

Splendid in every way!

Pipe Used: Dedicated Lat Briars

Age When Smoked: 16 months

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

Similar Blends: Legends, Fox Hound-both great Balkans btw..

1 person found this review helpful.

crazy owl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
crazy owl (71)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I can only add to the highly accurate review from sinister topiary that I feel a strong part of excellent burley.In fact I can scarcely perceive the Va size.For me is an absolutely different blend unmistakable with any other save,perhaps,Black House.If keeps the level of quality this may be in the future a mythic blend and,of course,if the aging is good.For special moments not an all day smoking.

Pipe Used: many briars

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: smokingpipes

Similar Blends: black house.

1 person found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (76)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

When I thought I couldn't be any more impressed by McClelland's contributions to the world of English blends after smoking British Woods, Samovar comes along and stuns me.

Stuns me!

Actually stunned!!

I smelled the aroma from the tin, and indeed it is very similar to British Woods in several regards. The Latakia is clearly at the front, no mistaking that at all. Behind it though there is a casing of something that I cannot identify, almost a very very mild syrup or something. Not anywhere near enough to classify this as cased, but just a delicate hint. It might even be naturally occurring and not intentional, but there is just the slightest sweetness.

Epic quality, really rich components, all dark and murky. The initial light makes you think of sitting beside a roaring open fire in Winter, the smoke is thick and creamy plumes, the texture is Lat heavy but you can detect that tiny sweetness as well as the beautifully crafted Oriental and VA mix. Its more Oriental heavy than VA, which is a subtle difference from British Woods in which I get the VA throughout. It gets spicier the longer it goes, the Lat stays there but moves to the side little by little, and it almost becomes an Oriental blend by the end.

Wonderful stuff.

Pipe Used: Peterson Killarney

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Cigars International

Similar Blends: McClelland British Woods, Sutliff Bosphorous Cruise.

1 person found this review helpful.

King T Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King T (9)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

If you are a latakia lover then this is a must try. Who my kidding, if you are a latakia lover you have most likely already tried this blend. And the chances that you like it a lot are very high. I took this tin out to where my friends and I smoke our pipes on Friday nights. Not everyone there is a latakia lover. Only a couple of us are latakia fanatics. But everyone who smoked a pipe at group tried the blend. And at the end of the night everybpdy had only positivity to say about it. A few made note of the name as they wanted some for themselves.

On opening any tin I always take a big smell. This tin was no different. I was expecting a huge and maybe even over powering smokiness smell of deep campfire. But I was greated with something else. This was a very smooth and mellow latakia smell. But the orientals are what surprised me the most. Very crisp and it actually made my mouth water a little bit. Yes, the thought of what would it taste like did cross my mind. The note of virginias in this blend is very difficult to detect upon opening the tin. It took me some time but I think I could barely smell any virginia if at all. This smells predominantly of oriental and latakia.

Lighting this blend was easy. Didn't have to let it dry out at all. Straight out of the tin to the pipe. And to top it off, no need to char light it and retap. One light is all it took. It's like the blend was wanting to be lit and smoked.

First taste was smokey. But the orientals made their pressence known along with a great dose of that wonderful syrian latakia. Balance at its best is the only way to describe this taste. The tobaccos here blend well. Nothing sticks out dominantly more than it should. Again, balance is the word here. The burn is even down the bowl. Everytime I smoke this blend I tap it down no more than three times and maybe relight three times max. More often than not one relight is all I did.The smoke is is very, very smooth. Exhaling through the nose at times reminds me of how calming and relaxing this blend can be if smoked slowly. I have decided a two, slow sip cadence is best to maximize my enjoyment with this blend. Accompanied by water to drink as to not impede the accuracy of the tobacco I think was a good choice.

At the end of the bowl all I did was turn the pipe upside down and tap. The ash freely fell out. It didn't even look like there was moisture in the bottom of the bowl. At that moment I remember thinking, "when am I going to smoke this next?" I ate dinner and the next bowl I smoked was Samovar.

Pipe Used: peterson

Age When Smoked: 2014 right out of the tin

1 person found this review helpful.

Demetri Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Demetri (113)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

What a superior blend! I have yet to work my way through all McClelland's blends containing Syrian Latakia but this one is outstanding. This is better than their Syrian Full Balkan and their Syrian Super Balkan. In appearance it resembles the Syrian Full Balkan (which I gave 2 stars long ago) but the flavor is more like the Syrian Super Balkan - but better. It is far better balanced. Silkier, smoother, more velvety.

As with most true Latakia based blends, do not expect a nicotine onslaught. I don't miss that anyway. It's that good.

In short the flavor profile is more robust than either other. I don't know about Russian black tea but this is the aged Merlot of the pipe tobacco world. A daily bowl is a treat, especially in the evening which one can savor its smoky delicacy at leisure, and yes, with some good hot tea. This is not a beer and chips blend - it is a celebration smoke.

As to comparing it to Ashton Artisan's Blend - remove the perique in that, soften the Virginias, up the other Orientals a tad: there you go. As to comparing it to the C&D Cordial - I only do that from a taste similarity in that the black cavendish there softens its Cyprian Latakia into a more Syrian-like experience, add more oriental varieties than just Ismir: There you go.

But it is most like C&D Star of the East - just much, much smoother and without the sneaky nicotine kick SOTE can give by bowl's end.

My favorite blend is still C&D Engine 99. If I was on our desert island and had a large supply of it that would be my choice. But if I were restricted to only a small stash of pipe tobacco on that island and could only smoke a bowl a week, or a month, or worse, this one might get the call.

Pipe Used: Large briar billiards and pots

Age When Smoked: Two years

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Cornell & Diehl-066: Star of the East, Cornell & Diehl - 973: Cordial, Ashton - Artisan's Blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (136)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Extremely pleasurable tobacco experience. Great blending with great tobacco. Multi-dimensional and complex, yet balanced. Delivers spice and floral notes on the retrohale. Burns clean on one light, post char. 4*.

Pipe Used: Karl Erik

Age When Smoked: Tin stamped 122 12

Purchased From: P&C

1 person found this review helpful.

Monarchist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Monarchist (4)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

This ribbom-cut blend immediately makes itself known as you pop open the lid with the smokey Syrian Latakia predominating. As is usual for me, I immediately took out a pinch to play with. While not wet, it is somewhat on the damp side, so I took out a bowlful and spread it out to dry. After about 15-20 minutes I judged it ready to smoke, and decided on a pipe with a deep, but not too wide bowl. The pipe that fit off the top of my head was my Bjarne. I packed it slightly tight at the bottom and worked my way to a looser pack up to the top. It takes a small bit of work but after going through a standard pipe-lighting routine, it caught and burned nicely.

In a word - WOW!

As with the tin, the first thing that makes itself known is the Latakia. Is delicate an adjective you can use for Latakia? Well, thats how it tasted to me. Right behind it though was the unmistakeable sweetness of the Virginia, with the spicyness of the Orientals bringing up the rear. I have no idea which Oriental vatietals were used in this blend, but they add a smooth spicyness (if that makes any sense) without that perfumy, soapy harshness I've encountered with some other Orientals.

That said, Samovar must be sipped, as the Virginia will bite if you're not careful. A slow, smoldering bowl is best. This will, in most likelyhood require some relights along the way, but so what?

All in all, in some ways, and I'll probably catch hell for saying this, something in the back of my head whispered something "Bohemien" at me. Now it's been a long time since I smoked anything "Bohemien", so I won't insist on this, but for me, the impression was there.

Incidentally, I unintentionally got to sample the DGT potential of Samovar and I must say it's great! Somehow, the sweetness of the Virginias remains, but the bite seems to have attenuated a great deal, allowing for a bit more vigorous puffing.

Another item - room note. Had a friend drop in and I offered him a bowl of Samovar. As I was smoking cigarettes at the time, which temporarily ruins the palate for pipe tobacco, I got to sit back and enjoy the aroma. Now, keep in mind that I love this stuff, so my opinion may be skewed, but I thought the room note was great. The general aroma was soft with the Latakia definitely present but in no way overwhelming.

I can't speak to what age will bring to the table with this blend, since I've not had the oportunity to sample any but the current offering, but I'm keeping my eye out for either the original production, or the current one with age on it, and should I luck out, I'll try to add my impressions to this review.

In conclusion, if you want to try a really great English blend that gives balanced satisfaction without overwhelming, you must give this a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I really LOVE this blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

vaperfavour Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
vaperfavour (30)
Medium None Detected Full Strong

I must agree with Pipestuds review! absolutely delicious! I have one more tin left from 1994. The syrian is in the background but has moments when that fruity, smoky taste lets you know its there. the orientals are strong and sometimes almost too powerful. the tin note when first opened is offensive to say the least. like old sweaty socks, but man, what a taste. I have yet to find any tobacco on the market today that tastes like that. Excellent in colder weather. I once smoked this just outside the Russian tea room in Chicago after having Black Russian tea from a samovar after an incredible dinner and i must say I will never forget it. Stunning. If you come across a tin pay through the nose to get it. I would.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Samovar is without question the best of the PCCA blends i have tried to date. I was fortunate enough to purchase a variety of PCCA tins in an estate sale and have had fun going through them.

Samovar is loaded with spicy, smooth, yet dark and strong Oriental leaf. The Orientals made for a unique presentation and the Virginia and Syrian Latakia were both somewhat in the background of this smoke.

If you are a fan of powerful Oriental leaf (hard to find,) Samovar may be worth looking for. I don't know how many tins were produced, but I imagine scoring a tin on Ebay would be worth the added price if this is your cup of tea. I know I'll be hunting for more.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (105)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This a fantastic blend from popping the tin the final puff. The tin aroma has the distinct Syrian wine like character; subtle smoke and a savory wine like smell. The Virginia's are characteristically McClelland, sweet and vinegary/bbq sauce. There are also some woody notes likely from the orientals. The smoke is nuanced, sweet and subtle. the Latakia is subtle on the bed of VA's which are sweet and earthy which support the Syrian leaf. The Orientals are spicy and woody. Every puff provides a different flavor and how puff (retrohale) highlights a different aspect of the blend. Great stuff.

Pipe Used: briar's, cob's and meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 2 years +

Purchased From: B&M

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CherchezLaghost Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CherchezLaghost (51)
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Suffice it to say that if you love oriental led ensembles and the Mcclelland deftness of hand with blending, this is one to visit. Worthy, deep and warming. Syrian is truly precious.

Pipe Used: Cobs, meerschaums, briar

Age When Smoked: New to 2 yrs

Purchased From: Tinderbox

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Calamiti Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Calamiti (54)
Very Mild Very Mild Very Mild Unnoticeable

In the West, you smoke tobacco. In Soviet Russia, tobacco smokes you.

I've been to Soviet Russia several times so I have a first-hand experience regarding what kind of "soothing rich Russian tea" they drink there. It's nothing like the smoky Russian Caravan Tea we believe they drink. Any tea I have ever been offered there (and believe me I've been offered a plenty of it in caffees, offices and at the home tables) was nothing more than a light tea-coloured solution barely retaining any tea flavour. It's because what we call "Ready-To-Drink Tea" they in Soviet Russia call "Sawarka" that means "Tea Concentrate, That Still Needs To Be Diluted 1/7 With Hot Water". The real Russian tea is essentially a homeopathic solution, really far from rich and full.

I should have recalled that Soviet Russian experience when picking Syrian Latakia blends to stock my cellar. After reading many reviews here I expected Mac Samovar to be a Syrian Lat bomb. If it happened to be quite an opposite, there's no one to blame but myself. I should have more literally understand the tin description, which expressly and honestly promised me exactly "a cup of Russian tea". That is, an enormously diluted blend where the content of Latakia is faint almost to the point of disappearance.

I hate to put low marks on tobaccos which don't have any obvious flaws. Samovar is a well made blend, just too mild to my liking. For someone else it could be a favourite. That's why three (and not two) stars. Ultra-mild Latakia lovers would love this blend.

Pipe Used: Comoys Yachtsman

Age When Smoked: 2

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wellpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wellpipe (59)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is a very special blend. Funny to me how this is typed as an Oriental while Three Oaks Syrian, with the same listed ingredients, is considered a Balkan. I find Samovar very similar to Three Oaks in flavor but with the spice and strength dialed back a couple of notches. Three Oaks is a full-on symphony while Samovar is more like a string quartet: refined, sweet, delicate. I have smoked this both indoors and out and the subtle flavor nuances are much more discernible indoors - soft spice with an almost floral quality. Room note is great too - classic English but soft.

Age When Smoked: 2 yrs

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Coffeewaterbeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Coffeewaterbeer (6)
Medium Medium to Strong Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I was worried that the high acclaim and my hopes would have set the bar too high for this blend and I was most happily incorrect. I should preface that I don't believe I've ever had anything with Syrian Latakia in it before nor am I an old hat in the realm of Orientals. I have had Charing Cross but was ignorant of the specifics at the time and just knew it was an English.

On opening the tin, I now understand why some differentiate between campfire and BBQ aroma, this falling dead center of the latter. A sweet smokiness had my nose in the tin longer than normal to fully take in this new characteristic. The leaves were perfect in moisture which was a relief as I had ants in my pants to get a bowl of this smoldering.

Initial light granted nice thick soft white clouds of smoke as others have stated, beautiful to behold. The flavors.... This is unlike anything I've ever had before, there was a smoky latakia tobacco flavor that was neither flat or too sharp (perfect). Tea and the mustiness of my grandparents attic shared the spotlight with the Lat which kept me staring off at nothing while processing this new mix of taste and smell. I haven't smelled that wonderful particular mustiness since I was a kid but flashed immediately back to those days.

Initial retrohale did send a bit of tingle into my nose before the bowl found it's cadence but that did subside into something smoother as I progressed. Never did the bowl get too hot and I only had a relight around the beginning of the 2/3 mark after a light tamp.

I'm only one bowl into this but my experience has me still thinking about that tin sitting at home while I'm imprisoned for "The Man" for the next 8 hours. What spell has this cast on me? I will add some more detail to this when this tin is no more.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Full Bent

Age When Smoked: Tin Date Dec 2014

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Like nothing else I've had yet..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Toasterbottom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Toasterbottom (13)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Yes. Yes. Yes. Is it because I'm smoking it from one of my favourite pipes? Is it because I've just opened the tin and filled my nose with its beautiful earthy scents for the first time? Is it because I'm sitting under a yellow lit overhang of a field house in my local park on the first warm night of the spring with my dog lying quietly beside me? Is it because I've just come from having a few drinks with friends I don't see often enough? I have no idea. But as I sit here with billowy clouds of Orientals and Syrian latakia around my head on this warm, still night, I'm thinking this is about the finest tobacco I have tried yet. Will it taste the same tomorrow in my car on my way to work? No idea. But right now, in this place, looking out at fresh grass and leafy trees in the darkness while I stroke my dog's neck... it's perfect.

Pipe Used: Nording freehand

Age When Smoked: 6 months approx

Purchased From: 4noggins

Nobody has rated this review yet.

raybrown55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raybrown55 (26)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

Squadron Leader is the English blend I smoke most of the time. Samovar is somewhat Squadron Leader with Orientals enhanced, a satisfying smoke with a wonderful aroma. Packs easily and stays lit without problems. If you like Squadron Leader, you should give a try to this.

Purchased From: Dubini (Switzerland)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Otis56 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Otis56 (31)
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

I am so done with McClelland products. I have been trying to smoke a can of Samovar for the last couple of days. I have become use to there products being to wet for days after opening. But the amount of lumber in there products has come to An all time high with this can of Samovar. Big hard chunks of lumber instead of tobacco. Can not pack a pipe with this crap if you tried. I have no need to put up with this crap when there are plenty of other better products out there to choose from. Sad thing is like every company out there today no one at this company seems to listen or care about there customers. I say pass on McClelland and perhaps you should to. Peace.

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: All McClelland blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Passion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Passion (28)
Mild to Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I love Syrian latakia. This is the best syrian blend I have tried. Sweet and nutty with that syrian incense like cloying taste. I want to puff it all day it is so good. My second favorite tobacco.

Burns well and tastes phenomenal. Anyone who enjoy Syrian should try this blend. It is truly the blend that all other syrian englishes want to be!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

keisel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
keisel (12)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of my favorites, it's one of the must perfect balanced blends I ever smoked. The latakia is there, the oriental is there and all that with a slow burning. I think it's important to say that one of the tins I got was not 100% the same with the others, it was more hot burning and not 100% same taste. I hope it was a bad luck (?). For all you latakia-oriental lovers, don;t miss this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Barling Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Barling (19)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Strong

This has become one of my favorite English blends of all time. The Syrian Latakia in this really sings and the overall blend is one of the sweetest and nuttiest tasting English blends I have ever encountered. I am definitely going to stock up on about 10 tins of this and recommend you seek this one out if you are looking for an absolutely delicious English blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ChronoB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ChronoB (3)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

This may be the most balanced blend I've ever smoked, and is now my "go to" blend. Sweetness from the virginias, floral spiciness from the orientals, and smooth, smoky Syrian Latakia all work in harmony. Samovar is more than the sum of its parts. Full and flavorful but never overwhelming. Easy to pack, light and smoke. No tongue bite, and easy on the sinuses. Wonderful in every pipe I've tried with it. I highly recommend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

porshcigar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
porshcigar (28)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

If you like Oriental/Latakia mixtures, you will love this blend. For me, this blend lights well, and smokes cool and dry all the way to the bottom of the bowl like all great blends. The Latakia and Orientals in this blend deliver what I look for in my pipe smoking. The Latakia in this mixture is just perfect, there is enough to satisfy my craving for the stuff, but not so much as to over shadow the fine orientals. I smoke Samovar several times during the week, and once I start with it I generally smoke it the rest of the day. I recommend it highly. Buy it, smoke it, and enjoy it. This is a CPCC club blend, so every puff supports the Chicago Pipe Show.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

Updated 10/31/11 Well with a little time to breath, I have to agree with reviewer " DK" above, " nothing to get excited about". I tried this both in a cob and brier with the same "blah" results. It starts with Latakia that quickly fades to Orientals that fades to one dimensional mottled smoke. It is kind of spicy ( I agree with "Pipestud" above), some bitterness and boring, I don't even know how to place this. I won't buy again ( Scottish Woods is much better than this), removed a star. Tobacco does improve as you get to the bottom of the tin which leads me to believe this needs more resting time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Saint Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Saint (7)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

This is one outstanding blend. It gratifies without overwhelming says it all. I can smoke this anytime of the day or night.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Layman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Layman (9)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

All I can say is, wow. I've been a fan of the grand oriental line and I swear that this blend has a touch of Samsun in it. As an English blend it is extraordinarily smooth and cool to smoke, but with a bit more of a silky touch to it. No bite whatsoever. There are a lot of English blends that try to come off as something new and better, but most really just fall along-side every other blend. This one sticks out and goes the extra mile. It has what you expect with a bit of Latakia, but the oriental addition is done up just right. You get a very complex and rewarding smoke that is truly great right down to the bottom of the bowl. My only complaint was that it's a bit difficult to light, though it is good to go once that's accomplished.I really cannot wait to try this in the summer when I go camping or hiking! I'm definitely going to get a good supply of this to stock away and I imagine you will too if you give it a try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cranziron Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cranziron (9)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Nirvana!!! This is the most sublime tobacco I've smoked to date! It is a full, dark English that doesn't overpower and all the components are in balance working together to produce an unforgettable experience. Sinister Topiary's review just about says it all. Get some of this now!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

porshcigar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
porshcigar (28)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

I am smoking a tin of the McClelland Collector Club Series tins of Samovar. A CPCC blend from the series. I find that it lights well and burns well. For me that is an essential element for any blend. The taste is true to an Oriental mix. No bite or harshness to this blend; and it delivers a good steady taste from start to finish. This is going to be one of my regular blends in rotation. Highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.