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Rich and full of flavor, especially appealing in the evening, still spiced gently enough with Latakia and Turkish leaf to be a superb occasional tobacco for the individual who normally prefers lighter mixtures and Matured Virginias.

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeOriental
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging50g Tin, 100g Tin
ProductionCurrently available
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22 reviews
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (826)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a light tasting, bland mixture. The description does state that it's designed for the person that normally prefers light mixtures or matured virginias, so in that respect they are correct. But they also state that it's rich and full of flavor, and in that I'd have to disagree.

I find this blend wimpy. It's along the lines of Rattray's 7 Reserve which I'm not crazy about either, but which seems a more fully realized blend than this one. I think McClellands is a great blender (indeed, they are my overall favorite) but they seem to struggle to produce latakia mixtures that are to my liking. Or maybe I'm just of strange tastes. But so far nothing in their green oriental series does much to distinguish itself. 3 down, 2 more to go - and I'm not looking forward to the rest of the journey.

5 people found this review helpful.

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

#12 has been around for a long time and has an ardent following. The Virginia/Oriental base is, typical of McClelland's; a quality laced offering. The combination is too light for me though. It made me puff a little too fast and my tongue protested.

Many thanks to McClelland's for making something to suit everyone's tastes.

Best, Pipestud

5 people found this review helpful.

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

Wow....I thought #6 and #8 were bad. This is just a touch of sweetness with a mild taste of Oriental. Nothing else. If it has Latakia, I can't find it. A waste of good matches.

Mild in body and flavor. Burns well after a stubborn light.

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

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is nice. I'm just adding a few comments, not a full description of this obviously fine Oriental mixture, since I'm working with a small sample. The sample is very well aged, being from 1995. As is true with most McClellands, time treats this blend very well! I am mainly a Virginia man, but like Latakia, tending to prefer either a light application or a mainline, rather than "the average English." Oriental #12 goes in the light application category. Smooth and delicate, the blend is best slowly sipped. The Virginias in here are mild, but of the usual McClelland quality, and are perfectly balanced by the light Latakia and exotic Turkish. Attractive tobacco, with a nice cut and mixture of colors tending to black, which must indicate a certain percentage of stoved Virginia, since the Latakia is really very light. I have smoked mixtures this old by well-known blenders that are now crumbling to dust, but this has held up very well. I've been smoking this bowl very slowly, with lots of relights (no, it's not my first bowl, more like my fourth!) and am getting some nice flavors. Delicate flavors, almost flowery, though there are no toppings. This is pleasing me greatly, as I have been overdoing the heavier blends as of late. If I get more of this, and smoke enough to really put it through its paces, and it keeps giving me bowls like this, I could see putting up a fourth star.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

The more I smoke this, the better I like it. While it's not my favorite pipe tobacco (I favor a good English, like Dunhill 965), it offers a very pleasant smoke without a bite. I'm new to Orientals. This is the first Oriental mixture that I've tried. I'm enjoying it. I can understand why other smokers consider this mixture rather blah. I give it a 3.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Billiard

Age When Smoked: 2 to 3 months.

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

JustPlainChris Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustPlainChris (12)
Mild None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

The reviews here are a great tool for finding new tobaccos to try. But take the reviews with a grain of salt! There are just too many factors to take into consideration to get a truly accurate review. The best reviewers have experience in their craft (pipes and tobaccos) and have the fully broken in pipes to prove it. They also tend to have what many newer pipe smokers lack: patience. If I had a dollar for every time someone reviewed a blend after only smoking it once or twice I would have enough cash to buy an S Bang!

In other words, try to read A LOT of reviews, and if you like a review, read that reviewers OTHER reviews to get a feel for their knowledge and experience. Anyway, continuing on:

Since I can't find my beloved Penzance anywhere, I began my search for a "replacement" until more could be aquired. As the Oriental content is one of the key "personalities" of Penzance, I decided to find a comparable blend with good quality Orientals.

Side note- I have read that the reason for the Penzance shortage is due to Esoterica having problems with their Oriental leaf supply. I don't know if it is true, but that's what I heard.=

Being a lover of all the McClelland Tobacco Company blends I have tried (Dark Star, Anniversary, Christmas Cheer), I decided to try a McClelland blend with some of that delicious Oriental leaf.

After reading all the varied reviews here, I went to my local tobacco shop with the intent to purchase a pure Oriental, like Drama. I saw the green labeled Oriental and took a chance with the 12.

Upon popping the tin I got the familiar McClelland virginia aroma I love. Calling it a ketchup smell is wrong. It does have the smell of stewed tomatoes and vinegar, but ketchup just isn't quite right.

Anyway, the tobacco was moist and cut just perfectly for easy packing.

I loaded up an old Dunhill I use for my "English" blends, and did my two requisite charring lights followed by my regular tamp and light.

At first, I thought the blend tasted rather bland. I relaxed, and tried to ease into the experience and take my time. Sure enough, I was rewarded with a wonderful smoke that varied in taste but never left the path of "mellow, tasty, and creamy."

Yes, you can taste the sweetness of the Virginas. Yes, the Latakia is VERY subtle here, and at first I was offended by this. Then I remembered I had bought an ORIENTAL blend and NOT an ENGLISH blend!

For what it is, this is really good tobacco. It was just what I was looking for. After the tin had some time to dry a bit, it became even better.

It was NOT a replacement for my Penzance, but I am glad I found this blend and gave it a try as I really did enjoy the tin. I will be purchasing more and I will be adding this to my favorites.

Don't buy a Jeep and then get upset when its not a Ferrari! In other words, if you want a good blend with a light Latakia finish and mellow Oriental flavor, grab some of this stuff!

1 person found this review helpful.

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

Spicy and lemon like, this is a spritzy Oriental and Va, with the barest whisper of Latakia. Burns fast and clean and is light on nicotine and very fresh on the palate.

Not a lot of depth, but this clearly isn't the intention of the makers. It is rich, in the sense of being tasty and bright, but there are few darker notes in this tobacco. It is what it is, and I enjoy it a lot. Somewhat reminiscent to me of Skiff Mixture but with even less Latakia.

For me, suits a summer's day in the garden with a pilsener.

Pipe Used: Cobs

Similar Blends: Skiff, Wingate, Squadron Leader.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tripjoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tripjoker (65)
Very Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable

This has all the hallmarks of a McClelland blend. Heavy on Va., and light on everything else. It seems to be the way with this company. I have tried literally dozens of their tobaccos and have found precisely 4 of them that have hit the mark that they advertise.

So light are the amounts, that you are left wondering if they left out the condiment leaf entirely.

This may be pleasing to the more timid smoker, one that does not want a full tobacco flavor. But, if you actually like to taste all of the components in a blend, this is not recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

chibacity Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chibacity (2)
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

Very little flavor. Once in a great while the VA would show up, but otherwise very bland. This is from a tin dated 2004.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Lochinvar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lochinvar (78)
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

I am reminded of sticking my head over a pot of boiling water and tasting the steam. I have no idea what they do to the tobacco that goes into this blend, but it must be akin to the cellular maceration that turns normal tobacco into cigarette filler. I fail to see how a blend with Virginias (McClelland being known for good, serviceable Va's), Latakia (Most pungent of all varieties) and oriental (the king of flavor) can come together and create a blend 100% less than the sum of it's parts. After a thorough drying out, serves well as tinder for lighting campfires.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I tried to like this one, but I encountered some problems. At first the bowl starts out smooth and flavorful, but at the second half I was tongue bitten.The tin containing the tobacco was from '02. I just was not able to capture any flavor from the smoke.

However, if someone can enjoy and capture the flavors in this blend, there are plenty of aged tins available.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sick_Willie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sick_Willie (1)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The first half of the bowl smoked nice and cool, with just a little taste of the latakia and good overall flavor. Second half was a little warmer, and the taste seemed a little bit stronger, which was good. Love the smell of the tobacco and the smoke. Looking forward to another bowl tonight.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

This blend is fairly similar to the #14, but on a much smaller scale. It is not as much in your face as its bigger brother. I think it can still be considered a Scottish mixture but it is much toned down in the Latakia and Turkish department. It is exceptionally mild at the top of the bowl. Towards mid bowl is where this blend gets a bit interesting, the VA tobaccos really fill out with mild sweetness, and well balanced earthy tone. The Latakia that is present also shows up at this point. It is slightly smoky and barely salty. There is only a slight hint of Turkish spice at this point. All in all this blend is a nice mild blend that is a nice change of pace. Do your self the favor of concentrating on this smoke, if you do not it can bite you. One other thing to note, the tin that I purchased was stamped '99, what a lucky find.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NapaWineLover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NapaWineLover (66)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

It is my opinion that the label note on this tobacco is only partially complete. This is a fine tobacco and from the tin description I wouldn't have bought it unless I had sampled it.

This is another magnificent Oriental blend from a company that has produced many winners for my tastes. Its one of those blends that I can take solo when traveling and not regret it. On many occassions I have lit up consecutive bowls of No. 12 and never sorry. Once again, I have smoked different aged tins, from 6 or more years to 2 years and have been equally pleased. Don't get me wrong, McClelland makes plenty of stuff that is not my cup of tea, but there are at least 5 Blends of theirs that I have grown to adore. This is another one of them.

The VA's are present from start to finish without a bite yet nice sweetness while the orientals share the stage and bring a wonderful interestingly spicy pleasure. It's middle of the road as far as strength and it's never boring.

*Update: for the above Aug 06 - After finishing a few tins of varying age, I have discovered that there is a consistency issue with this blend and I have removed it from my rotation. I have replaced it with a blend or two from other blenders.

Cheers, VC

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Not a bad English mixture but nothing to remember: it packs and burns well, but warms the pipe a little more than usual. I haven't found it very flavourful, but enough tasty to be an all-day blend. There's a lot better tobaccos out there.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Meerschaum Man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Meerschaum Man (85)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is often overlooked in the quest for the more bold statements in tobacco mixtures. This I feel, in part contributed to the happy situation when I was able to secure an aged supply. My first two (2) oz had over six (6) years in the tin and my favorable experience with it has made me grateful that I've got more after this is smoked up. A large part of the complexity is how time has treated the Virginia and Oriental leaf. Smooth and sweet, it is best smoked rather dry as it presents from the tin. I would recommend a slow and deliberate smoke with this one not only to gain maximum flavor but to avoid the tongue bite commonly associated with Virginia leaf. It would be to your advantage to smoke this indoors or much of the subtle ambiance will be lost outdoors. This is sweet recreation for those seeking a subtle diversion from their usual tobac.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a Yanik Inverted Skull

Nobody has rated this review yet.

emmbee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
emmbee (174)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I don?t know why this blend receives such middling reviews. No. 12 may not be for the novice, and its light subtlety may not shake the foundations. You have to give this one time. It will not reach out and grab you, but rather, slowly entice you with its charms as you proceed down the bowl. This is a light Scottish adventure unlike anything I?ve come to expect from McClelland, and yet, it?s everything I would expect from them. The label indicates that it?s an evening smoke, but it could easily be an all day. Latakia & Turkish are supposed to be in this, but all I really taste is sweet matured Virginias for which McC excels. The tin note is ketchupy, even gassy; a Polish lady friend of mine aptly calls it ?sweet fart?. The initial light is bland but soon reveals a complexity of heathery flavors and the satisfying sweetness of pressed Virginias. The cut is a beautiful shaggy ribbon. Caution: don?t smoke this outdoors, as you won?t taste or smell anything but hot smoke stoking in a bowl. Don?t rake the leaves or watch an intense movie or read an involving book while smoking this. Devote your full concentration to it and you will be amply rewarded. This is a contemplative blend for the serious pipe smoker. Sit back, relax and experience pure, unadulterated tobacco perfection that will leave you looking forward to more. This is what pipe smoking is all about.

Four of five stars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have to say this is one of McClelland's finest offerings.It is a true Scottish mixture.This blend has an all natural taste that leaves you wanting more.THe dominant flavor is Virginia with the orientals as a compliment.It burns very slowly and has a rich natural taste. My only complaint is it seems to leave me with a sore tongue the next day.I don't blame the blend I merely think that McClelland's process does this to me. I really think everyone should give this a try.3 of 4 stars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Montague Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Montague (32)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

McClelland?s Oriental Mixture No. 12 is a blend of Turkish leaf with a sweet yet piquant flavor. The smoking characteristics of this mixture do leave something more to be desired though.

The initial tin aroma is very strong in a sharp acidic note. After hours of drying, the true aroma of the blend reveals itself as being slightly smoky with a tart pungency. Oriental Mixture No. 12 is a combination of Virginia flake and Turkish tobaccos with a small amount of Latakia added. The color of this mixture is as follows: 50% black, 40% brown, and 10% pale orange brown.

The cut of Oriental Mixture No. 12 is a crimped ribbon cut of Orientals interspersed with a small amount of dark broken Virginia flake pieces. The initial moisture is slightly above average. This blend needs considerable drying in order to obtain more adequate smoking characteristics.

Oriental Mixture No.12 lights easily but also tends to extinguish easily, especially when the moisture has not been removed yet. Even when this negative moisture is removed, the tobacco simply needs too many relights. The burning of this tobacco tends to concentrate itself in the center of the cake rather than consuming the entire cake itself. When this blend does burn entirely, it leaves the pipe bowl clean. The room note can be considered somewhat weak without any striking characteristics.

The flavor of Oriental Mixture No. 12 is mildly sweet with herbal or spicy nuances. With all things being considered, this blend has a balanced, medium low strength taste. With moisture, the tongue bite of the blend is a bit much though this can be considerably reduced with the almost complete removal of the moisture. The smoke made by this blend is wispy and again, of a non-characteristic nature.

McClelland?s Oriental Mixture No.12?s heavy usage of sun cured Turkish tobaccos makes for a delightful taste and a change of pace from the Latakia ladened English blends. With this being said, far too many relights are needed with this tobacco mixture making for a somewhat unenjoyable smoking experience. Considerable aging (5 years) does not seem to reduce the negative qualities of this blend but does help create a more smooth and complex taste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BostonPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BostonPipe (83)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

After reading the reviews I can see that I am not the only one that senses the need for aging. I have found this to be true over the years of all the McClelland Oriental Blends I have tried, regardless of their number. They greatly improve with the aging process.

Anyway. This blend packs easily and I have found that I seldom need a relight. I found the "matured" virginias needed a little more aging as they were a little jagged around the edges, (a tin from this year). In other words, I had to slow my smoking down so as to not be bitten.

The latakia is there in a nice proportion, the orientals played in and out of the exerience. It is just the virginia is unpredictable going down the bowl.

If this blend runs the way of the other McClelland Oriental Blends, cellaring will definitely improve it. I have two other tins of this blend earmarked to be opened around 2007, lol.

=Update 01/05/2012 I am sitting here smoking a tin I opened about an hour ago from 1995. Unbelievable, what a difference sixteen or seventeen years in the tin makes! All the flavors have beautifully melded together and the 'jagged-edged' virginia's I wrote about in my first review are totally gone; just smoothness the run of the bowl. Simply, Delicious!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

RobAtHome Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RobAtHome (25)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I can't give this tobacco a bad review. I've broken into a 5-year-old tin of this blend and have found it completely enjoyable, even though I don't consider Oriental blends to be McClelland's forte.

In the tin, this is a mixture of dark brown matured Virginia and Turkish in a long ribbon cut, and even darker Latakia which has been applied with a generous hand. The aroma is dark and rich, with the Latakia in the fore, and the subtle, ripe sweetness of the VA in the background.

This is a bit moist in the tin. I let a bowlful sit out for a while before loading it into a pipe. Just before the tobacco ribbons get "crunchy" seems to be the optimal moisture level. I would imagine smoking it moister would lead to nipping at the tongue.

The flavor is solid English. The Latakia is assertive and resinous, but not overwhelming. The Virginias add a toasty, over-ripe fruit flavor in the base note. The combination is well balanced. The blend doesn't really evolve much except to increase in intensity as it's smoked. However, I don't consider that a bad thing really, as the flavors are good ones.

This is a good, reliable Latakia blend of medium to full body and medium strength. It's a good late-evening tobacco - something to settle into with a good book. If you're disappointed with a fresh tin, seal it up and put it away for a while. Come back later and you're sure to be rewarded with a much mellower, pleasant experience.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tillmanj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tillmanj (73)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Tin Aroma: Pleasantly smoky to my Latakia-jaded nose, but with that sweetness that heavy oriental blends always seem to develop.

Physical Characteristics: a variety of shapes and sizes to the individual pieces in this blend, ranging from larger dark broken flake pieces of matured virginias to smaller ribbon cut orientals, spaning the whole spectrum of tans and light browns.

Notes: I smoked a 100g tin that had aged for three years. Packing and lighting were relatively easy, though I did have to let the can air out a bit before it would light easily. I seem to have this problem with a lot of tinned tobacco, so it is probably me, and not any one manufacturer. The sweetness from the aroma never really showed up in the smoke. Almost all of the flavor I got was an interesting interplay between the Virginias bright notes and the musky Orientals. During the tin I smoked, there were a few uteerly enjoyable bowls when everything went right and a few abmoniable bowls in which I ended up dumping half of the tobacco in disgust. Most every bowl however fell midway between the two extremes; a nice enough smoke, but plagued with relights and a constant threat of tongue bite. I am beginning to think that either my technique is horribly flawed or that stoved Virginias just do not agree with my chemistry.

Verdict: This was a little too straightforward for me, and the 'matured virginias' bit the heck out of me, so I probably won't be revisiting this blend soon.

Nobody has rated this review yet.