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Great care is taken in slow-stoving beautiful, sugary Virginia until it is jet black; then, it is mixed with high-sugar bright Virginia to achieve a perfect balance. Never sharp, always mellow and rich, this exceptional blend has the qualities necessary for perfect aging.

Notes: Originally introduced in February, 1993 for the Conclave of Richmond Pipe Smokers, is now part of the Club Blends Series.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland
Manufactured ByMcClelland
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging50g Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
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Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
3.2
5 reviews
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (595)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Black and yellow in the tin, as expected. Beautiful McClellands tin aroma, again as expected. This one is simple, yet different. Take a bright lemon virginia and mix it with a black stoved virginia, what a concept. :) But at least with McClellands, I haven't seen much of this kind of thing.

This one is a bit reticent to take the match but eventually I overcame that. I found it interesting in that even when puffed quickly, it doesn't produce a large volume of smoke. In fact, this one almost dictates the puffing pace and not because it gets nasty. It just works best at one puffing cadence only. Interesting, that. I think the addition of the stoved VA... crossed between Dark Star and Black Shag in cut ... sort of forces a slower puff. I did not do the 10 second microwave on this one as I do on Dark Star (still the best tobacco prep advice I ever got and I wish I could remember where it came from so I could thank the advisor profusely!) as it really didn't need it that badly. Taste wise, this worked exactly as I suspected - a spicy but light tasting cross of sweet lemon and spicy stoved. Nothing magical, just a good mixture that satisfied the taste buds if not the need for an awesome "mouthfeel". I liked this one but it didn't ring my chimes too loudly. Worth a try, though, for those who enjoy a light tasting (but tasty) "spice rack" kind of flavor.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

The tin aroma of this mixture of fine ribbon and finely broken flake chunks is of lemon, raisin, and spice, that aromatically reflects the lemon/pepper visuals of this beautifully fabricated blend. Of course, the typically McClelland, silage-like tang is in full force.

This is a "half and half" mixture of brighter virginias and black stoved virginia. The gold virginias, varying from a richly deep gold to painfully bright lemon, are of impeccable quality, penetratingly sweet and fragrantly nutty and without trace of harshness. The black virginia, being essentially Dark Star, needs neither introduction nor further accolade.

By amply rewarding deliberate and attentive puffing, Sophisticate's contrast of depth and delicacy satisfies on all levels. Though, in the final count, it may be seen as little more than yet-another McC virginia variation, this one, by providing the "bright and black" analogue to the ubiquitous "red and black" genre, is deserving of especial attention. This went best in narrow gauge chambers.

1 person found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (97)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A tasteful mixture of black stoved Dark Star-like chunks and lighter Virginian ribbons. It smokes extremely well and the bowl moves forward progressing through a laundry list of varying VA flavors. At charring light it's sweet and tangy with delicate spice notes. As the bowl develops it gradually becomes bolder and more woodsy, yet all throughout the smoke it remains smooth and focused. The cut of this blend creates plenty of flavorful subtleties, all of which are mellow enough to quietly enjoy all day, yet firm enough to remind you that you have a lit pipe in your hand. Time has been very kind to my sample of this mixture, so I am sure that a younger version would also smoke quite well. Another very solid McClelland straight Virginia offering.

Pipe Used: MM Legend

Age When Smoked: 17

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sinister Topiary Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sinister Topiary (74)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a very nice pure, clean, sweet virginia. It's a simple, straightforward smoke that has some delicate sweet & spicy playfulness just under the surface, but it's kind of an "open" smoke with not a lot of depth nor fullness to it. It's unusual in that there's not a lot of midrange, mostly high notes with some bass support. As others have said, going slow brings it to life.

Technically, it's also a very user-friendly smoke: moisture level is perfect from the tin, the shag cut packs easily, lights and stays lit well, and leaves no dottle. I did find, however, that it's pretty picky when it comes to finding the right pipe to make it sing.

"Nothing magical", as DK says, but still definitely recommended for a very pleasant smoke for the virginia lover looking for a very friendly naturally sweet variation. Would also serve very well as an introduction to the world of pure virginias.

Purchased From: Cheers Smoke & Gift Shop; Toronto

Nobody has rated this review yet.

arpie55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
arpie55 (32)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

this is a blend that has definite appeal but does not rock your socks. must be smoked slowly to fully appreciate and to avoid va. tongue bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.