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This remarkable blend formulated by Fred Hanna provides a multi-layered, rich, taste experience. The highest quality Syrian latakia combines with a small amount of Cyprian to form the base for an exquisite array of rare and precious Orientals - sweet Drama, exotic Yenidje, and more. Red Virginias complement the blend, adding sweetness, richness, strength, and creaminess. Smoke this mixture and listen for the echoes of savored memories.

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

Favorite Of 19 Users

56 reviews
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Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

I popped the tin of Wilderness in great anticipation. I had previously smoked a tin of Legends, which is the companion blend to Wilderness and created by the same tobacco chef (Dr. Fred Hanna), and I went bug-eyed bonkers over that one. I stuck my nose within a whisker of the leaf and took a long whiff... Oops, there went some drool.

I plucked a bowlful of leaf from the tin. I then spread it out on a sheet of paper and somehow managed restraint and let the broad ribbon cut tobacco greet the fresh Texas air for about 15-minutes. I then carefully loaded up my pipe. At the match (well, my Old Boy lighter), a thick cloud of creamy, rich smoke began to fill my office. I took a few long, slow pulls. I don't know how deep an ocean is, but this tobacco surely matches its depth with a starburst of flavors. The delightful Oriental presence made itself know immediately. The sweet Yenidje and bold Drama interplay was stellar as was the leathery background provided by the highest of quality Syrian and Cyprian Latakia. My tongue was also occasionally washed with the Virginia addition that always supported, but never interfered with the star players.

What would I compare Wilderness to? Nothing. It is that wonderfully unique. As long as I have an opened tin of Wilderness within easy reach I know this is going to be a wonderful New Year!

23 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A complex English where all the flavors work together without crowding each other out. The spice and light wood from the Orientals are noticeable from the first puffs, as are the smokey, woody sweet Syrian and Cyprian latakias. The Yenidje provides slight soda, dry, woody notes. The red Virginia is tangy dark fruit sweet with a little earth, with barely a hint of the famous McClelland "vinegar" essence. The Turkish lurks in the background, adding an ever present woody, smokey, lightly dry depth. Being that this is not a latakia-dominant mixture, it's milder than you might expect. The nic-hit is just past mild. Won't bite or get harsh. I rate the taste as "medium" more for the spice content than the strength of the latakias. Burns at a slow to moderate pace, cool, clean, smooth and creamy sweet with a fairly consistent flavor. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no dottle. Needs a few relights. Has a nice after taste. Almost an all day smoke.

20 people found this review helpful.

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

To me, Wilderness is Frog Morton camping. It is an exceedingly mild English blend with grand ambition, apparent in the use of rare Turkish leaf, Yenidje and Drama, which add a wonderful spice to the smoke. I admire McClelland for their ability to take risks, and I would say that having Fred Hanna concoct his own mixes with their best leaf easily demonstrates McClelland's commitment to extending the breadth of fine pipe tobaccos.

But as usual, I have problems with McClelland English blends. They are simply too light for my tastes and I find myself puffing at a ridiculous pace in an effort to absorb enough nicotine. I know that not everyone feels this way, those that seek flavor more so than strength, and I extend an enthusiastic recommendation to these people. For a mild English, Wilderness really is hard to beat, and I think fans of the Frog Morton line will find this a truly exotic, novel creation that may present a pathway to appreciating greater complexity.

So, my "two star" rating in no way suggests that Wilderness is an average blend--it's not. One should only read the relevant (and fascinating) Smoker's Forum posts to understand Fred's passion in its creation, and the deep respect his fans have shown in their embrace of the blend. Yet in my own drive, I find it a bit difficult to fill my pipe with Wilderness, often going for inferior, yet stronger mixes that populate my cabinet. It is these second choices that will compete with Wilderness when my favorites are on back order.

Smoking the blend now in a large bowled Peterson billiard, I am happy for having gone the other route, though I know I will run into the same, conflicting motivations when the time comes to fill my pipe with another English.

* Update

Well, it's taken me nearly half a year to finish off this tin, and the last two bowls, smoked in quick succession, have warmed me up to Wilderness. I wouldn't call it a favorite, but I have to appreciate the Turkish component, which puts the blend in the same category as Russ's Magnum Opus, different and powerful. It gets in your face and reminds you that you're smoking something special. I still do have some problems with the blend--it starts off kind of so-so and the mildness is always evident. But about a third in when those Orientals kick in it's a sublime smoke. I have a hard time placing the Syrian leaf, but it's not a problem, anyhow. The smokey Latakia flavor is always in the background for me. One bowl left...I think my vacation is coming to an end.

* Update

A day later and I'm just about finishing that last bowl. Wilderness went from a hated to loved blend in a very short time and I can't quite understand what I missed through the majority of the tin. Perhaps my ability to appreciate Oriental blends has matured, and my desire for overwhelming nicotine doses and Latakia bloat have declined. In any event, this is an excellent Oriental blend--and I say that because the leaf seems to me the most prominent in the mix. Now I'll have to go and reorder based on this brief window of experience. Tastes can change dramatically, I have found, and while I know that to be true, usually my opinions flop in the opposite direction, from Loved to Hated. I have learned to appreciate the Wilderness--sorry for the lousy joke.

14 people found this review helpful.

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

This English is lead by the Virginias and Orientals with the Latakia providing a strong base. There is a nice amount of sweetness, but I wouldn't quite call it a sweet English. The wonderful Orientals counter-balance that sweetness to a certain degree. My tin was slightly dry and just the way I like it for immediate smoking. Lights well and burns great. Mild to medium in body. Medium in taste. Although I could easily detect the McBBQ in the tin note I couldn't taste it in the flavor. This isn't my favorite type of English, but I found myself enjoying every bowl. It's a great smoke.

Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

10 people found this review helpful.

Kraft1994 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kraft1994 (54)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A fantastic blend here. Just a wonderful, sweet, spicy and mild English blend. An all day smoke that really sings. This blend could not be more appropriately named. Weather your camping in late summer, hunting in the fall, ice fishing in winter or going for a spring stroll through the forest this blend is made for the outdoors. Such an earthy, natural blend that just seems to enhance the beauty of the wilderness. You'll never catch me on a fishing trip with out my deep bowl corn cob and a tin of McClelland Wilderness. An absolute favorite.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum General

5 people found this review helpful.

KinnScience Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KinnScience (30)
Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I want to start off by saying this is not Balkan Sobranie ... thankfully. While I believe the hype surrounding Balkan Sobranie was more about it's absence than it's essence, I have enjoyed it more than once. Wilderness is its own blend, and has its own character. Are there components that are similar to BS? .. sure, one can distinguish throughout the smoke the hits of elements synonymous what what BS offers. But this blend is a much fuller and complex blend IMHO. The name "Wilderness" is apt indeed as the tobacco imparts flavors and essence to remind one of a deep green forest of pine with a few patches of hard oak. The blend is remarkable. The Syrian Lat offers a sublime smoky foundation that is sprinkled with a touch of juniper. The orientals rise quickly to the surface to infuse the palate with sandalwood and mid-Eastern incense. The relatively small amount of VA offers a delicate and subtle sweetness that can be missed the smoker is not paying attention, though it marries to the sweet pungency of the Drama to create a new creature that dances across the foundation of dark earth and pine needles like Autumn leaves on October's wind. All of these delightful components infuse the senses in waves of differentiation like a Tchaikovsky concerto. The richness of Wilderness' essence can often be strong, but not overpowering, as its music takes us from elegance to climax, and back again.

One previous review demonstrates the faceted construct of this blend by offering 3 reviews at three different time periods. He begins by experiencing only a glimpse of rich taste Wilderness imparts, then later realizes he has missed a great deal, and finally understands that he had only begun to explore the enigma of this blend. Prevalent in oriental and Syrian elements, if you enjoy a tobacco rich and full of flavor, you are sure to enjoy this blend.

Pipe Used: Cavicchi, Dunhill, Ferndown

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Some elements are similar to other blends .. but clearly this tobacco stands on its own as an original..

5 people found this review helpful.

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

There's Propylene Glycol in this and far too much of it in my view. A lot of blenders use the stuff, and is generally considered a safe food additive. Of course aromatics are swimming in the stuff, which is one reason why I stay away from them.

Propylene Glycol is a mild flavour enhancer, in addition to moisture management for those who don't care about managing their blends after popping the seal.

One can tell by looking at the leaves, they are too shiny, colours are too rich, and a bit spongy. You can also tell by chewing some of it, a slightly sweet taste similar to balsamic vinegar.

I had some McClelland non-sealed tins which I forgot about in a drawer for fifteen years or so with only the snap-lid on them and they're still supple and moist.

Propylene Glycol obviously keeps things moist for a ridiculously long time. It also enhances the combustion with a cooling effect, all the leaves combust slowly and evenly, around the same temperatures. It also contributes to mouth feel with a slight creaminess, basically because your converting it into a steam vapour and it cools again in your mouth, thus coating it.

Of course there is a trade-off, it obscures the tin-nose a lot. This is quite obvious with Wilderness. And the colours no longer look natural. It also messes things up flavour-wise about mid-bowl when the wheels seem to fall off the bus and the flavour completely shuts down. I also found this blend hard to keep alight thanks again to the PG.

The first third of of this blend was pleasant, interesting Orientals layered and complex reminded me somewhat of Pease's Odyssey. The remaining thirds it totally fall apart water-logged in PG.

Regardless enjoy your mileage may vary, mine certainly did. If McClelland insist on adding this much PG to their blends I'll quite buying them.

5 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Tan-to-brown-to-black in color, a beautiful looking ribbon cut with an astounding tin nose. Light but pungent, there is no doubt of the presence of Syrian latakia. A lighter tasting version of its Cyprian brother, Syrian adds a wine-like taste and bouquet.

Well, this didn't bring to mind any long-lost blends of yesteryear, but it stands pretty well on its own. I wasn't as impressed with the flavor and smokability of this one as I was its Fred Hanna stablemate, Legends, but this is certainly a worthy blend. It may be more complex than Legends. There was a pretty active tapestry of flavors weaving in and out, with the Syrian latakia adding its usual mild sourness and piquency. The orientals were of the spicy variety, which made the overall picture gel. I found this one a little difficult to smoke when I wasn't paying attention, as the blend forced me to deal with it. As I said, this is one active blend that didn't seem to want to rest. However, the flavor was far from assertive. I wouldn't have objected to a little more "oomph".

As with Legends, a pretty good smoke but nothing I'll smoke again too often. The oriental/latakia market is booming (although Syrian seems to be the provenance of one U.S blender) and there just isn't enough boldness here, even amidst the activity. But if you want a good tasting smoke that is very complex and you like a mild blend, this one could be for you.

5 people found this review helpful.

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

Fred Hanna has created an absolute masterpiece in his new Wilderness blend. When I finish a bowl, I just can't wait until the next one! This is one of the most flavorful blends I've had in a while and in my opinion destined to become a legend (wait...that's the name of his other blend...hmmm...)

One might think the star of the show is the Syrian latakia, which is close to the truth, but the orientals Fred chose ("sweet Drama, rare Yenidje, and more") put it over the top. There is a buttery toastiness that starts at first match and doesn't stop. There is a hint of lingering Virginia sweetness but that is not what will appeal to people with this blend. By no means a LAT bomb, yet woodsy, rich, and deep, one of the most complex blends I've had in a while.

The Virginias stick with their supporting role and never really make much noise. The interplay of the two types of Latakia with the Oriental weed is absolutely delicious and entertaining. I find myself concentrating just to try to identify the myriad flavors that present themselves as the bowl progresses. It certainly gains some strength during the last third, and a bit more finesse and attention to technique are required to keep the flavors flowing. But Wilderness is good to the last drop.

A true desert island - or wilderness - blend for me!

5 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (102)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

In a newly opened tin, Wilderness looks and smells at first like a spot-on, “deluxe” light/medium English (not a Balkan), with nice, plump, variegated ribbons and an excellent balance of perfume-y Latakia and mild Orientals just over a well-chosen assortment of smooth VAs. However, keeping after the scent, I began to suspect that much of what smells so “good” at first is “enhancements” rather than tobacco, per se (not that I care, if I like the results). As usual, I started out by smoking a bowlful of this blend pulled straight out of a new tin and stuffed into a good briar, and then I went on to try everything I could think of to make it better. Wilderness is typical of the McC blends I’ve tried in that it takes both patience and perseverance to light it and keep it burning through an entire bowlful. That accomplished, the best of this blend for me is at first match, when it smells and tastes like the initial tin note, sans accumulated, combusted additives. After the char, re-light follows re-light, and/or there is lots of stoking and fussing with it. There is ample, fragrant smoke when W is fully lit, and the tastes remain well balanced, of a piece, with the Lat slightly on top, then the Orientals, followed by the VAs, and it stays rather mild for most of a bowl. Basically, there is more (and less) going on here than tobacco. Though I continue to enjoy the tobacco-ish tastes, an “oily”, “chemical” taste increases and ultimately coats my mouth, taking more and more away from the best of W until about the 7/8 mark, when – oddly – the oiliness abates, or it is finally overtaken by something other than propylene glycol. By this time the tobacco tastes have morphed somewhat, and the lot is a little more “bracing” and very slightly bitter, though not in a bad way. The Lat, Orientals and VAs are all still “there” in good proportions; that never really changes, and I like that part of W. Strength is mild to medium; tastes are the same. Room note is pleasant. Aftertaste is a mixed bag, best and worst of the smoke that fades away fairly quickly.

Propylene glycol is not just a common humectant, it is the MSG of pipe tobacco, and McC is known to use more of the stuff than a cheap Chinese restaurant. So, is this my biggest problem with Wilderness? I dunno. Let me just say, “it’s not the Wilderness; it’s me”, since I can’t think of a pipe tobacco I’ve enjoyed more and less at the same time, apart from maybe Irish Flake, and in that case the cognitive dissonance I experienced had similar causes, but I was more impressed with the positives, overall. Anyway, I sort of hate to do it, but if I stick to my usual TR rating system (explained in my profile), then I have to say, I can see where others might enjoy this, but I’m done with it; ie., a tepid 2 stars from me. I’ll probably bring what’s left of my tin back to my tobacconist for use as a sampler, to serve as a free/fair warning to others. From now on, the only way I’m trying another McClelland tobacco is if it’s free. Since I paid for this one, and I smoked it in good faith, I’m speaking my piece.

Pipe Used: various briars

Age When Smoked: from a newly opened tin

Purchased From: Liberty Tobacco

Similar Blends: compare/contrast to GLP Meridian.

4 people found this review helpful.

Choctaw Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Choctaw (7)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Upon opening the tin, one is greeted by the lovely fragrance of very high-quality Syrian and Cyprian Latakia leaf. This owing to the predominance of Latakia in the Wilderness blend. The nose is heavy on the "lat". Given somwhat greater attention, the aroma of world-class balsamic vinegar peeks through - just a bit that floats up from the wonderful orientals Darma, Yenidje and perhaps others, too. Delicious stuff!

The cut is coarse and reveals the black, yellow and tan bits of intoxicating leaf. It does struggle against the match and it is a challenge to light and nursing the embers is a chore with Wilderness. It never burned fully, and a rather hefty amount of dottle greets the smoker at the end of the bowl. Might this shortcoming be based in "operator error"? Yes, of course - in fact I suspect it is likely that I played in role in the unfavorable lighting and burning characteristics of the blend.

Now to the heart of the matter! Wilderness was as flavourful as any blend I've had the fortune to smoke. It's an extremely complex, layered, sophisticated smoke of the very highest order. Especially tasty to my palate are the wonderful orientals which serve as a fine counterpoint to the excellent Latakia.

This is as good as it gets gentlemen and ladies. Highly recommended. 4 Stars!

Pipe Used: Peterson's, Chacom

Age When Smoked: New-Fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Nothing. This is a Balkan style blend of great complexity and nuance. It is what it is - nothing exactly like it that I know of..

4 people found this review helpful.

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

I was leery buying this one at first, as I normally don't care much for McClelland's latakia blends because they usually lack both the complexity and strength I like in English/Balkans. Wilderness, however, is the first latakia blend from this company I've fallen in love with, in large part because it remedies the most important of those two issues.

This is one of the most complex things I've ever smoked, rivaled only by the new Magnum Opus blend from Hearth & Home and some batches of seriously aged Renaissance and Samarrah I lucked into. Every few seconds the flavor seems to shift, yet always retaining a subdued sweetness and the smoky spice of both types of latakia. It never fails to hold my attention throughout the smoke, as it never grows tiresome or bland. While some reviewers have stated they don't taste much latakia, I have to question whether they are simply accustomed to the sharp, smoky Cyprian variety. This is the closest thing to Syrian "lat bomb" I've ever smoked! But that also means the character is very different from Cyprian-based blends, which have a "smoky" or "campfire" flavor. The Syrian, on the other hand, is more reminiscent of red wine, incense, or even curry. Hannah has stated publicly that this contains nearly 35 percent Syrian latakia, which is a prodigious amount of that particular leaf (which is considerably stronger in flavor than its Cyprian counterpart).

Fred Hanna, of course, is known as one of the world's premier experts on the legendary Balkan Sobranie mixtures, and it's interesting to note that the ingredients listed on the label are a dead ringer for the Sobranie "white" mixture of old. It's also worth noting that Hanna has not chosen to describe this as a recreation of that famous blend, although he has said publicly that his appreciation for the classic mixtures is what inspired him to take on this project. I doubt that he could have recreated the Sobranie's flavor with the constituent tobaccos here (McC's virginias are too pungent and unique to ever sucessfully mimic those used in European blends) but this stuff is absolutely superb on its own terms. I've picked up flavors that I've never before encountered in a pipe tobacco, and I've gone through hundreds of blends over the past 20 years. Hanna has said this blend has 12 different tobaccos in it (Syrian, Cyprian, a mix of Vas and a whole slew of orientals) and boy does it show!

The burning characteristics here are pretty good if not spectacular, it's very cool in the pipe, and it doesn't have much potential for bite.

If I have a criticism, it is one voiced already by several others. Wilderness has relatively little in the way of nicotine strength even though it is (to my palate) full flavored. I like powerful blends such as Old Joe Krantz, Billy Budd, Bosun Cut Plug, etc., and Wilderness falls far short of those. On the other hand, I've run into VERY few blends of this type that satisfy my cravings for Vitamin N, and Wilderness does at least have more nicotine than other McClelland mixtures (I estimate it to be about the same as Carter Hall).

Anyhow, Wilderness has shot to the top of my English/Balkan rotation with a bullet. Primo stuff. If you go into it looking for nicotine or a large dose of Cyprian latakia, you will likely be disappointed. For the rest of us, four stars.

4 people found this review helpful.

Stu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stu (12)
Mild Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant

If words like subtle, smooth, and creamy appeal to you you might enjoy this blend. There's a huge distraction for me in Wilderness. This is something I'm noticing to be a recurring theme in the McCllland blends I'm exploring. The foundation for this blend must be a Cavendish that I would classify as aromatic. The taste and aroma are unmistakable to my palette, and I mean like 1Q type of Cavendish. This is the dominant flavor, with the other elements piggy-backing ever so lightly on that foundation. The result is a aromatic crossover, that might be "wild" for the aromatic piper. Considering that pound for pound this is on the top of the price scale for pipe tobacco, I am surprised. I would advise the piper that enjoys, say, Dunhill blends, and are interested in full tasting tobacco, to steer clear of this.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: 4noggins

3 people found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (203)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a fantastic tobacco blend. From charring light to end, Wilderness is sweet with a distinctly fragrant incense-like wood smoke scent. Faint hints of McClelland's fermented Virginia tang are also noticeable, as are the hints of the holiday spice flavors that one finds in their Matured VA's. However I find that the most compelling aspect of Wilderness is the use of both Cyprian and Syrian Latakia which seems to deepen the aroma while providing a richness in flavor that is both profound and unique. This has been done in a few other blends, but the Syrian/Cyprian harmony struck in Wilderness is superb.

As the bowl progresses everything just gets better. The Latakia while used generously, never overwhelms. The smoke remains smooth, creamy & lightly sweet and the spicy quality of the Orientals provide plenty of sparkle, making the later portion of the bowl all the more interesting.

Altogether, Wilderness is not a flavor hammer, it's actually quite mild. But that's not to say it's lacking in flavor. If anything it's a perfect example of what makes most McClelland blends so great. Wilderness is perfectly balanced, mild enough to smoke any time, and yet it has plenty of flavor and complexity. In fact there's enough nuances and tricky little olfactory sensations in a bowl of Wilderness to write plenty more about. And of course all this makes for a very wonderful smoke.

Age When Smoked: 3

3 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

When I was stocking my cellar I was sure that I would have some regrets in the end and Wilderness is one such casualty. Over the last few years, I had too many open containers and so many more blends that I wanted to try. So if I wanted to try something I would just buy it and cellar it until I winnowed down my open containers enough to try it later.

Such was the case with the tin of Wilderness I bought 2 1/2 yrs ago. I, unfortunately, did not get a chance to try this til after the cat was out of the bag about McClelland's dwindling Syrian reserves and production ceased. Although aware of the Syrian shortage in plenty enough time to do something about it, I had not found a Syrian blend worthy of deep cellaring until I tried Wilderness.

This blend is fantastic. It is a ready rubbed blend that carries the strong scent of McClelland Virginia leaf, or Ketchup as some say. The smell doesn't carry through to the smoke as far as I can tell. The Virginia presence is strong and provides much of the sweetness one experiences. The star condiment as far as I can tell is the Yenidge. It is by far the dominant taste IMO. I really can't tell the drama leaf from the other elements, but it may have a lot of play in the side stream note. This blend also has both Cyprian and Syrian Latakia, but neither is overwhelming in presence and both play back in the blend. There is little smokiness and leather to this blend and I think it is the better because of it. In fact, I find this to be a Balkan that is more on the refreshing side and it makes for a good warm weather smoke.

Now, for my favorite part of this blend. It is the side stream aroma. I spent almost as much time sniffing the top of the burning bowl as I did smoking it proper. If they sold incense that smelled like this I think I would permanently burn it in my garage.

To now all has been positive and the only negative I can find is that I can't find it anywhere to buy another tin. If anyone does not like this blend I will trade you for it. If you are in a B&M and are reaching for it and you see me coming through the door, watch out. lol This stuff is that good and is bound to go down as one of the great blends that they don't make anymore.

Age When Smoked: 2 years 5 months

2 people found this review helpful.

Stinkypipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stinkypipe (156)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Wow this is darn good. I was surprised just how well this smoked. I know they use Syrian and Cypress Latakia. With the lack of any more Syrian Latakia being available I was afraid it would be loaded up with Cypress Latakia and just a touch of Syrian. Well let me tell you that is not the case. It is very well blended and the taste is really good. If you like me love the flavor and taste of Syrian Latakia you will not be disappointed with this blend. Of course outstanding room note cool burning and not much in the way of bite. This is a true four and one half star smoke in my opinion. Unfortunately I can't do half a star so keep that in mind. This is a blend you can enjoy in a large bowl.

Pipe Used: Boswell

Age When Smoked: Fresh in tin

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Perhaps a milder blend of Boswell Northwoods.

2 people found this review helpful.

SiChange Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SiChange (39)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Complex, buttery medium English defined by the red Virginia base and interesting mixture of orientals. Really good quality leaf. A four star blend without any doubt.

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Pipeandcigars

2 people found this review helpful.

Otis56 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Otis56 (31)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I really enjoyed the vrginias in this blend there is a certain amount of sweetness to this blend that I find delightful. It is always a treat to have quality Syrian Latakia in a Balkan blend. I also was impressed with the choice of orientals Mr Hanna chose for this blend. All in all a delightful cool smoke with a wonderful room note. There are some pleasant florals coming from the orientals as well. I smoke this all day long. Peace.

Pipe Used: Ashton bent billiard

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: Some fine Moroccan hash I smoked in the 70's.

2 people found this review helpful.

Perdurabo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perdurabo (23)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

My first experience with a English/Balkan blend was Frog Morton On the Bayou. Loved it until it got some age (4Months). That Toad turned to card board. No more McClelland for me. For some reason I picked up three more McClelland tins, one happened to be Wilderness. I have really begun to enjoy orientals via Sqaudron Leader and H&H Larry's Blend. Today, I said "what the heck, it's time to open that 2 Year old tin of Wilderness".

First half of the bowl was mild, reminds me of Sqaudron Leader. By mid-bowl the orientals are dancing with the Syrian and Cyprian Latakia. The Latakia is definitely in the back ground. The red Virginias are really nice, they remind me of SPC Mississippi River. I haven't reached the end of the bowl quite yet, Oh! There it is sweet leather. Nice. Hints of orange spice, earthy leather....very exotic. (This stuff gets so subjective 😜)

I really hope after jarring, Wilderness doesn't do what The Lousiana Toad did and turn to bland card board spiced with tape.

I'm journeying back indoors to repack this pipe. This rarely happens.

UPDATE May 22 2015 I made a statement about the Latakia being in the background, I don't know if that is entirely accurate. You may sense that it is but I think the Syrian Latakia brings a little sweetness that marry's well with the red Virginia. Giving Wilderness an illusion of lat. in the background. Of course this isn't any where in the ball park of being a Lat. bomb.

Pipe Used: CCob RustiCob Dipolmat

Age When Smoked: 2 Year Tin

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: Squadron Leader.

2 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

With the first touch of the match I was reminded of a 90% Dark Chocolate flavor , some sweetness but a slight bitterness. Very smooth and bite free with excellent balance between all the components. Yes, this reminds me of Legends and Jubilee. Very complex and interesting . Pleasant incense like aroma. I can't see why this isn't 4 stars , and I do like this better than Jubilee which is very similar.

Updated 8/18/12 I had both a tin of Wilderness and Legends open and was switching smokes between the two, I could not tell the difference. I decided to load two pipes and smoke them at the same time ??? Results: Legends Is creamier, zero spice on the tongue, almost no "McC Vinegar", and a bitter sweet cocca taste. Wilderness, is also very smooth but has that tangy sweet and sour "McC Vinegar" ( I love McC Vinegar), not as creamy, but more hidden flavors of cocoa and sweeter. I think Wilderness is the slight winner for me.

2 people found this review helpful.

Krosham Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Krosham (11)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I ordered a tin of this based on all the positive reviews here. As soon as it arrived I opened the tin in eager anticipation. The tobacco was beautiful. The tin note was amazing. I excitedly fired some up.

What a struggle. Could not keep it lit....burned hot when it burned at all. Flavor was not terrific. REALLY disappointed. I thought that perhaps because I was new to pipes that I did not "get" what this blend was all about.

Now that the tin has been opened I cellared it in the tin with just the cap on it.

Fast forward 2 months....time to try it again. Hmmm...not as moist in the tin as I remembered. BAM!! Now I get it. The reviews are correct. This stuff is awesome. The flavors are all there in perfect harmony. No struggle...just blissful thick smoke.

Time to buy some more (and cellar it!)

2 people found this review helpful.

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

Another great blend from McClelland, formulated by Fred Hanna. Legends is a great blend that I smoke on a regular basis. Wilderness is another great blend that I will also buy and smoke in the regular rotation. For me, Wilderness lights well and smokes cool and dry to the bottom of the bowl. I love Latakia blends, and this blend delivers the taste I crave. However, I would not classify this as an overwhelming Latakia blend. The Latakia is very well balanced with orientals and other leaf to satisfy, but not overpower. A great smoking blend with a beautiful taste. I recommend it very highly.

2 people found this review helpful.

Nonpareil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nonpareil (16)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was disappointed with my trip to this wilderness. I had high hopes after reading so many positive reviews and the tin aroma seemed just about perfect. I was immediately reminded of Squadron Leader or Rattray's 7 Reserve.

Unfortunately, the taste has just not been as satisfactory. The Virginias used here have a sharpness to them that does not blend well with the other tobaccos. At least to my taste the blend seems out of balance. Mclelland's own Arcadia is a better choice.

There is potential here and perhaps 3 to 5 years of age will meld things together, but for now I will look elsewhere for a nice light English blend.

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

I know that I am going to go against the majority on this one. I really loved Mr. Hanna's Legends so I couldn't wait to try Wilderness. The tin smell is fine with me and at first light, I found Wilderness a slightly sweet, creamy smoke. There is a lot going on in this blend. The mix of different flavors is very interesting. My issue comes up when I reach about mid bowl and the flavor really turns nasty for me. I tried several different pipes in hope that I had just selected the wrong briar. I have come to the conclusion that there is something in my chemical makeup that just can't tolorate this blend. A quality tobacco for sure, but just not for me. Two stars.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (112)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a very nice Balkan blend and a refreshing break from the Latakia mania in most newer English blends these days. Tin note is latakia forward with the familiar McClelland ketchup smell, but not as strong as other blends. Sour Orientals are also front and center in the tin note

The flavor is deep, complex and well balanced. The use of both Syrian and Cyprian Latakia is masterful. The base of Virginia's is sweet and I believe it is a blend of bright and red VA's, some of them stoved.The stoved VA's play nicely with the fabulous Turkish/Oriental adding additional spice. The Oriental's are the star of the show. Woody and spicy with a "fizzy" seltzer like flavor. There are toasty notes along with sandal wood. The Syrian latakia is sweet and smokey and the Cyprian kicks in here and there with that campfire flavor and pine tar (maybe creosote). This blend changes throughout the smoke and should be smoked when you have time to contemplate the different tobacco's. My favorite part of Balkan's is the malty flavor and this one is no exception but it was improved by the combo of Latakia from two countries (my opinion I guess). Great smoke...I wish there was more Syrian Latakia to make more. I have one tin and it will be taken out on occasion

Pipe Used: Briar's

Age When Smoked: 5 years

Purchased From: B&M

1 person found this review helpful.

JuanOrez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JuanOrez (17)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Another perfect all day tobacco from McClelland. I'm not sure what to say. This is super unique and very, very tasty. I crave this one. As an added bonus it burns and packs perfectly. I would be happy if this was the only tobacco I could smoke.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

My God, it's full of stars.

I can't possibly deconstruct this. A beautifully weighted tobacco that smokes like a dream and transcends the genre. Smoke it while you can because the orientals will not age well and some of these constituent tobaccos might never be seen again once stocks are gone.

Pipe Used: Lepeltier

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Fred Hanna must know his craft, because the Collector Series has some fantastic blends to savor, and I see Wilderness as being the Yang to Legends Ying- two blends sharing the majority of individual components, but exhibiting markedly differing flavor profiles.

Legends, IMHO, is to this period in time what great tobaccos of the past have been touted to be, Sobriane, Three Nuns, perhaps even Bengal slices from back in the gap. The difference with both of these Hanna creations is that these gems fly under the radar and are not well known, yet both have 4 star ratings!

So where Legends is creamy, sweetened naturally by the Orientals, deeply Balkan in its makeup, Wilderness to me approaches this genre from a briny saltiness, never from a position of sweetness, yet rich and oh so tasty, complex throughout the bowl. It is strong in the Vitamin N department than Legends, making it more appetizing as a nightcap bowl.

Burn characteristics are spot on, single light, slow burning never hot, never harsh, even for a chimney such as myself!

I cannot recommend this blend enough, although Legends is right below Penzance in my top tobys, although Wilderness would more resemble Penzance than its brother. ...from the same mother. Highly highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Meer and Briars

Age When Smoked: 2 years and some change

Purchased From: Pipes&

1 person found this review helpful.

Prof Korn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Prof Korn (7)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Complex but not overpowering. A little spice, a little latakia and very well balanced. Some will find it too weak. Very easy to smoke. Smooth. Personally, it is my favorite to smoke outdoors. It is so easy on the tongue that a little wind doesn't cause trouble. The flavors will make you think woods, campfires and fresh air.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Tabacco shack Mt airy

1 person found this review helpful.

Polaris82 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Polaris82 (22)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Before reading any off the reviews below, and lighting my first bowl of Wilderness, the first thing that came to mind.......Frog Morton on the Town crossed with Britts Balken! This is VERY Smooth, and leaves a very apparent creamy taste in your pie hole! Lots of puffy white smoke also. The yenidje does not play second fiddle to the latakia in this blend! If you want to experiment with the yenidji leaf, try this blend! 4 stars easy!

Pipe Used: Mizzu meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From: Boswells Chambersberg, PA

Similar Blends: Frog Morton On The Town/Britts Balken, Drama Reserve.

1 person found this review helpful.

Hottgunn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hottgunn (19)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Very nice. I would call it a very soft (creamy to some) Oriental tobacco. Keep your "Nose Peeled" while smoking this one as it has many different aromas and favors floating around - as other reviewers have already said. You can't really tell what's coming next and I suppose that's the joy of it. Tin aroma is very similar to Legends but this is more like a loose cannon as far as flavor goes. A more or less incense like aroma most of the time. Somewhat damp right out of the tin but not as extreme as some McClelland blends. It is good to me now but I'll wait for final judgement later on.

1 person found this review helpful.

King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (114)
Strong Very Strong Extra Full Pleasant

This is another of the modern englishes that I've recently gotten around to smoking. I couldn't find it on local smoke shop shelves, so I bid on a tin or two on e-bay. When I opened it I knew I was into something nice. When I lit it, I was sure. The tin appearance was attractive - a brown and black mixture with a wonderful aroma. Being a McClelland blend I anticipated it would be quite damp. It was a pleasant surprise to find that it was only slightly damp and a sample dried out overnight to a smokable condition. I can't help but wonder if the blender, Fred Hanna, had anything to do with this drier presentation.

When you light this tobacco up, you know you are smoking something solidly traditional and of very high quality. The smoke is rich, smooth and dense and very, very enjoyable. There was absolutely no bite nor did it have any unusual qualities. I smoked it straight through with constant enjoyment and had no desire to alter it in any way. It is an outstanding example of what I refer to as a "sweet english".

Wilderness is one of the best of our renaissance englishes that we are so lucky to have today. I rank the top three modern englishes as: Magnum Opus, Wilderness and Black House in that order.

Ah! Wilderness. Thanks Fred. Four Stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (180)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I won't go into detail about the composition of this fine blend, others have already covered that. I will say that this blend snuck up on me, it smells wonderful in the tin but it had little first. I thoroughly cleaned a pipe and dedicated it to Wilderness for the rest of the tin. Wilderness is subltety defined, the flavors come through like a fine Jazz quintet, each leaf takes his turn at the lead, as the others lay back and keep the rhythm. This is one of the most complex tobaccos I have ever smoked, do not try to rush this smoke, it takes a soft touch, but you will be rewarded handsomely for the effort.

1 person found this review helpful.

Calamiti Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Calamiti (66)
Very Mild Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

I think now I understand why this blend is called "Wilderness". It's probably because of some peculiar (and rarely coming forward) aromatic notes of Oriental tobaccos in it similar to slight scent of pine resin - that pleasant smell of pine forest in a hot summer day, the smell of wilderness.

Acknowledging the uniqueness of the piny note, I didn't like 'Wilderness' at all. Its taste and flavour are disappearingly weak and flat. By the middle of the bowl they actually dissipate in a stream of hot Propylene Glycol steam, and the experience of puffing on hot Propylene Glycol vapour is something closer to the so called (and rightly despised) "vaping" than to pipe smoking.

"Wilderness" was the last of seven different Syrian Latakia blends I bought during the last year's Syrian Latakia Hoarding Rush (that burst, as many may remember, after some pipe tobacco industry representatives had officially proclaimed the species Ultimately Extinct In The Wild). I spent then kinda little fortune on my last-hour Syrian collection. Now, after having sampled them all, I don't care about Syrian Latakia. I like Latakia, just not this kind of it. Well, that was a valuable education.

Too mild and boring and too much humectant-soaked to my liking. Two stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

drbarryk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
drbarryk (4)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Wilderness... lost now in a wilderness with no Syrian Latakia... thanks, Fred, for briefly taking us out of a tobacco nostalgia wilderness and showing that the good old days can be as recent as yesterday....

Pipe Used: Various briar

Age When Smoked: Few months

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: Some blends of yore, but more importantly, stood alone on its own.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fred T Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fred T (67)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I think that there's a subtle difference between a good English and a good Balkan. It's certainly true in this case. Many Balkans overpower you with Latakia. Too much in my view. This one is an excellently balanced blend with great flavor in a relatively mild smoke, very English in it's character. If you like a good English, you'll probably enjoy this blend. Another winner from McClelland.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Ruby Bark Number 4

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Dunhill 965, Perfection.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This tobacco encapsulates my idea of the perfect outdoor smoke. It's slightly sweet, noticeably spicy, and light enough for an all-day smoke while out on the trail, camping in the woods, and sitting around a fire telling stories. Hanna's complex Orientals bring this blend to life and keep me coming back for more. This tobacco has evolved into one of my favorites and always has a spot in my rotation.

Pipe Used: Bjarne Viking, Captain Black Helmsman

Age When Smoked: New Tin - 2 years aged

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Brooklynsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brooklynsmoker (10)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

An English blend with virginias and orientals and something else? On opening the tin you get the McBBQ thing but that has never really bothered me.Smokey latakia and deep virginias come forth.The taste is really a medium English and yet their is a lot of complexity to this blend.I can not figure out what the mystery taste is but it does have an almost piney character to it.might be one of the Orientals. This is a favorite for me and one of Mclellands best in my humble opinion.

Pipe Used: some cobs and some briars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

codyp Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
codyp (65)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I tried this blend a while ago for camping and such, long enjoyable smokes and was very pleased. I got it again recently and am still very pleased, even though it is -20 degrees outside(MN).

I find this blend to be very sweet and a decent body the same time. It's a good all around blend for an english smoker. The Virginias really come out in this blend which I appreciate from such a good virginia blender such as Mc.

In short, good taste, decent room note, and a good all around english you should try.

Pipe Used: Peterson System (Bent), AKB Meerschaum

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes, Local Shop

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joeray Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joeray (61)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Pleasant

I really like this blend, feels so balance between the flavor of east and west. Quite complicated but i like it. I can feel the sweetness of virginia, the smell of Latakia and the spicy of Orientals at this blend. Sure does this is a blend that i will buy it again.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cochon74 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cochon74 (29)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I'm writing this review months after finishing my tin of Wilderness, so it will be largely impressionistic. But I can say thati remember it fondly - a well- orchestrated blend. I remember a fairly rich, complex smoke with lovely Syrian Latakia notes, with ample smokiness, Orientals and a savory-sweet Va base.

Lighting and burning characteristics were superb. All in all, this tobacco was a winner.

The tin did not last long, as I recall. I bought a second to have on hand and plan on opening it soon.

A solid 4-star blend

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I just finished a couple samples of this from a friend -- the end of his tin. I must say, if the end of the tin is this good, it must have been great throughout. This was on my to-try/to-buy list recently, and having smoked some finally, it's a definite to-buy.

Smooth Syrian latakia definitely comes out even though this blend is very well balanced on the VA/Or/Lat front. The description says "sweetness, richness...creaminess." Yes, definitely yes, to these three descriptors. This is great stuff.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (93)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Wow! I think Fred Hanna gave Tad Gage a run for his money on this here blend! I went home with a sample tin of this yesterday and I can't believe how good it is! It reminds me of 3 Oaks Syrian, only a bit more full bodied and complex. I think I may have a new favorite blend! Only time will tell. The room note is fantastic too!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (59)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin aroma is similar to another McC blend...Yenidje Highlander but the taste is quite different. There is black, brown and light colored leaf in the mix. For the first few puffs, I mainly noticed a spice-like flavoring. This flavor soon deminishes and the various tobacco flavors begin to meld and interact.

I'm not experienced enough to sort out the types of tobaccos in this blend but the compilation evolves into a satisfying, anytime smoke. The Latakia presence is not overwhelming but is applied in good balance. This stuff burns great, produces good tobacco flavor & is fairly easy on the palate for a Latakia blend.

Wilderness doesn't produce a sweet tasting smoke but delivers more of a straightforward, smoky tobacco flavor. I did not immediately crave another bowl but will probably get lost & wander in the Wilderness again soon.

I'm not overly fond of this mix and feel it is already much over-rated. For me, it was too plain/bland/tasteless and Latakia dominant to deserve four stars. I cannot sense the "depth" in this mixture as compared to...say, Mississippi Mud & other Latakia blends. Therefore, IMHO, McC's Wilderness merits three stars!! Sampled in a size two Stanwell.

Nobody has rated this review yet.