Reviews: 57803 Tobaccos: 4962What's NewLoginRegister

-

A highly sophisticated broken Flake of matured Red and Black stoved Virginias pressed with the finest Louisiana Perique. This beautiful, mottled tobacco has an especially deep, rich character with that mysterious and compelling aroma that is Perique's alone. A truly satisfying delight for natural Virginia pipe tobacco.

Notes: From McClelland: Occasionally we meet someone whose familiarity with a variety of tobaccos, sensitive palate, and desire for "that special tobacco" provide an inspiration for us. In seeking to satisfy a taste other than our own, we pleasantly surprise ourselves with beautiful results. This is what the Personal Reserve Series is all about. We developed this concept early on as a way to enhance our creative spirit. We are proud to offer these fine pipe tobacco blends, and hope you will enjoy them.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland
Manufactured ByMcClelland
Blend TypeVirginia/Perique
ContentsPerique, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutBroken Flake
Packaging50g Tin, 100g Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy 4noggins.com
SmokingPipes.com
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 10 Users

3.2
91 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
38
3 star:
34
2 star:
15
1 star:
4
Sort By
Please login to review this blend.
Pipe-arazzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-arazzo (71)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This review is based on a tin dated 2002.

Preparation: This tin had five years of aging, which I cannot compare to more or less aged tins, but it was good. Like others have noted, this is best after some months mellowing in an opened tin. I found that after 2 1/2 months after popping the tin, it really began to sing. This isn't work, but it does take patience. Packing is user-friendly. I just stuffed it in and lit it.

Smoking characteristics: After proper preparation, the tobacco did not bite and burned at a nice even rate. The ash could be a bit sticky and made it difficult to smoke all the way to the bottom. I'd recommend dumping out the ash after 2/3 of the bowl to alleviate this problem.

Flavors: This had a wonderful balance of earthy, bitter (in a good way like coffee), sweet, meaty, toasty, oily, and cigar-ish flavors. Mostly it remained in the lower registers. However, toward the end of the tin after it had dried out too much and was rehydrated, I found it got much sweeter and creamier. Don't know why; tobacco's mysteries are unfathomable.

Value: Out of a 100g. tin, I got 35 smokes. For comparison, let me note that with the same pipe rotation I got 15 for a 50g tin of Samuel Gawith FVF. Given that you can get 100g of St. James Woods for 12-15 dollars, this is a good buy.

Aftereffects: I hate to sound like a broken record, but concerning perique allergy, if you have it this one might not be a good idea. My eyes got bloodshot at night after I smoked this. Not bad enough to make me stop smoking it, but there it is. This only matters to those unfortunate enough to share my particular reactions to this condimental leaf.

Overall: This is a classic Va/Per, a must-try for all fans of the genre. Again, be patient with it and you will be rewarded.

4 people found this review helpful.

tpatriarche Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tpatriarche (23)
★★★★
Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

I don't usually like Virginia blends; the common bright leaf reminds me too much of cigarettes. This dark Virginia & Perique blend is a completely different smoking experience, very rich and aromatic. The scent in the tin has a hint of fruitiness, but I couldn't tell whether this was added flavouring or just the natural aroma. Definitely no casing (i.e. no Cavendish); the taste of the actual tobacco is rich and somewhat acid, like a fine Maduro cigar.

The cut is unusual (these days at least): broken flake is like a sliced block, 1-2" long, almost 1/16" thick slices. It needs to be rubbed. Rubbed & carefully filled, my large pipe took 2 lights but then burned very evenly for well over an hour. The tobacco is quite dense, so a pipeful contains more than the average: I've rated it Strong, partly because the long burn makes a pipeful more of a "hit" than a fine cut.

The Perique is subtle rather than dominant (IMHO). Fairly easy on the tongue, although a little hard on the throat if I smoke a lot. I can't add much more to the excellent descriptions others have posted except to say I like it, I like it!

I wouldn't recommend this for a novice smoker, but highly recommended for the rest of us "sophisticated" types, and a most unusual blend.

Pipe Used: Carey, Falcon

Purchased From: Goodfellas Victoria BC

3 people found this review helpful.

SmokeDawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeDawg (52)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

Wow! This is a geat blend. My experience with perique thus far has been limited to petersons irish oak. Which I love' its in my rotation but wouldnt be an all time everyday smoke. So with St. James I was looking for more of the pepper pop but was surprised of the cool and mellow of this blend. It is mastefully blended with top quality va and just the right amount of perique that doesnt over take the blend. Its not in your face aggressive like irish oak can sometimes be. In fact the buttery smooth taste of sweet va reminded me of hal of the wynd so much I thought i must have packed the wrong tobacco.

I aired this about 6 hours as its quite moist from the tin. The broken flakes are very moist and dark with a great fruity Va smell. This is slow easy burning with no bite. Smoking flvours lasted throughout the bowl. I recommend this for newbie VaPers like me. But its a tremendous smoking experience no matter what your usual taste are. Im very impressed with McClelland, and this blend will only get better with age. Med level of nicotine.

Pipe Used: Luciano dublin bowl

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin. Air dried 6 hours

Purchased From: Jr cigars

3 people found this review helpful.

bigblends Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigblends (46)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Very Pleasant

This review is based on a tobacco with three years of age.

St. James Woods (SJW) is a great VA/P blend with lots to offer. Opening the can lets out what I call the McClelland Stinger, but it's just a byproduct of aging -- and I've grown quickly to like it. If it shocks you, know that it passes when you let the weed breathe. Otherwise, you get an inviting, sweet, earthy, nutty, and nearly fruity scent. This is good, natural tobacco!

Lovely presentation in the tin: broken flake in variegated brown and very dark leaf. Some of the tobacco needs no rubbing out, but larger pieces get the chop as I prep them for smoking. Moisture is good in the tin, but I prefer VAs slightly more dry. I pack the pipe without applying pressure as I go. I only tap the bowl to get the tobac to settle in. I top it all off with some finely sliced leaf to get a good burn, and it's on.

This stuff leans toward the sweeter side, and the Perique really complements the overall body of the blend. Rather than add a peppery element that, in my opinion, would deliver too sharp a contrast to the VA characteristics, it enhances the VAs with a bouquet of vegetation, nutty spice, and savory depth. It's integrated quite well in SJW. I love Perique, so I'm an easy sell.

SJW smokes very well, stays cool, and burns nicely with no bite. Top third serves up the fine flavors you'd expect from high-quality VAs, and the Perique enters the fold midway. The second third ushers in the best both components have to offer. It's so full of marvelous flavor that I'd rather be smoking it right now than writing about it!! I find that McClelland VA blends like to take the bottom third to remind you of what the enitre smoke was about. End bowl remains cool and tasty.

I think SJW is a great smoke all around for anyone, and it's a good way to get acquinted with what a top-shelf VA/P mixture can offer. If you need a VA/P blend to introduce yourself to the genre, I think SJW is a safe pick.

3 people found this review helpful.

N3M0 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
N3M0 (2)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Appearance:

It looked to be a flake that was broken up into smaller pieces. Brown with some black, very moist/sticky pieces holding it together. It seemed a quite moist in the tin, however after rubbing it out it was less so, but still on the wet side. It rubbed out to long ribbon like strips for the brown pieces, and smaller, still sticky bit for the black pieces. You definitely will want to let this one dry for at least 30 min prior to smoking.

Tin Note:

Earthy, kind of like wet hay, but pleasant, with a hit of spice to it. Overall I found the tin not to be quite appeasing, I didn't pick up on the ketchup or vinegar scent others have mentioned.

Char Light:

Wow, the second I took my first smoke filled puff after the flame hit it I was smacked by an unexpected, delicious, but not overpowering sweetness.

1/3rd of the Bowl:

The smoke, I noticed, was wispy, not full and creamy like say STM. By itself it had a slight spice element, but when snorked...WOW, I was hit with the sensation that I just bit into a fresh, juicy grapefruit (again unexpected based on bag note & char light). The taste was unbelievable, so much so, that I found myself snorking more than I ever had.

2/3rds of the Bowl:

The delicious grapefruit note was still there, with the added sweetness I first encountered duing my char light (it seemed to take a back seat during the first 1/3rd but came back). To top it all off, the spice I noticed in the bag note came out as well.

Bottom:

Burned nice and cool with only a slight bite towards the very bottom. Only had about 5 relights throughout (which is good for me), everything burned down to a nice, white ash and only a very VERY small amout of dottle (which is probably on my part because I'm new). The flavors from the 2/3rd were still dominant at the bottom, with the spice intensifying slightly but never overpowering the grapefruit or the sweetness.

Conclusion:

This blend knocked my socks off, so much so that I am about to go smoke another bowl . It was sweet, zesty, and spicy, everything I like in a smoke. A full complexity of flavor, each complimenting one another. I definitely recommend this blend!

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (565)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

While Sam Gawith's St James left me a bit disappointed and wanting more perique spiciness, this one delivers in spades! Another McClellands masterpiece! This one is just about perfect as a VaPer, with a generous heaping of everything I crave in those special blends.

The perique meshes much better and more fully in this one than the SG SJF. There is the occasional separation during moments in the bowl and from bowl to bowl, but overall this is one of the most harmonious VaPers its been my pleasure to smoke. This will be in my constant rotation. Dry this one out a bit (perhaps more than a bit!) and enjoy. And, good news to you (we) cellar dwellers, this blend, while wonderful from a brand spanking new tin, becomes ambrosial with a few years of aging on it.

McClellands rules in the virginia and vaper categories! On the other hand, the tin of SG FVF I just cracked may just give the House of McClelland more than just a run for their money. Review coming up in about a month - stay tuned!

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a review of two, four-ounce tins. One had less than six months aging and the other tin, five years. Both were delicious, but with age came smoothness that made SJW one of the finest VA/P blends I have yet smoked- and I have been through quite a few. For the Virginia flake lover desirous of the mysterious something that only Perique brings, give this a whirl.

This is a blend that will leave your pipe cleaner after smoking it than before you started. After smoking SJW, my pipes are dry, smelling "fresh" and unspoiled, with fluffy, pure white ash to tap out.

The taste is round, rich and almost full, from the alto to the baritone, never really hitting the soprano or bass. SJW is not highly complex, but varying and truly interesting.

Perique is ever-present and never omnipotent relative to the exceptional Virginias. Careful smoking will reveal layers of flavors of brandied stone fruits, dark chocolate shavings and caramelized sugars. SJW is particularly tangy and ripe, despite the copious dark-stoved leaf.

This was acceptable simply loading the broken flake into my pipes, but a bit more rubbing brought greater flavor and little temperature worries. There is flavor enough with every sip to assure that one's tongue will be ready for a second bowl. It worked in all sized pipes. This can nip when puffed aggressively and a sooty taste will ensue to go along with your aching tongue.

This is one of my top VA/Perique picks. I have enjoyed for years and hope to keep its acquaintance. It does different things than my new friend, Fillmore. Viva la difference!

2 people found this review helpful.

Noorrmm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Noorrmm (193)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Appearance: Mostly dark, mottled broken flakes, average thickness. Also average moisture. Looks like a virtual twin of Blackwoods Flake.

Aroma: Very sweet, ripe Va. Aroma, with a noticeable tingle of Perique. Very little of the vinegary smell noted in many McC blends.

Packing: Rubs out easily to any desired degree. Can be packed int any reasonable size pipe.

Lighting: Typical flake lighting. Always needed a charring light, someimes needed two.

Initial flavor: Excellent Va/Perique flavor. The Va is definitely on the dark side, and yields mostly low notes, with the Perique adding the higher register with some raisin and fig flavors.

Mid-bowl: Smooth but highly complex assortment of flavors. Some are subtle, others are dramatic. Almost no tendency toward heat unless you puff too rapidly

Finish: Dry at the end, no noticeable difference, except less complex. Nice clean ash.

Summary: An excellent blend of Va/Perique. Could be an alternative to Escudo, or a change of pace.

2 people found this review helpful.

pop pops pipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pop pops pipe (24)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

I don't see the big deal of this blend ! Yuck ! A lousy excuse for latakia ! This is no Penzance, Sobranie, or anything comparable. I'm not a fan of frog Morton but I'll take that over this ! No flavor, blah. Taste like I'm smoking frankincense with no tobacco ! Where's the tobacco ?? Where's the VA ?? I like English but this is terrible. Come on all you English lovers, you can't be serious giving this 4 stars ? I think too many were drinking the kool aid when smoking this ! This is lousy, don't waste your money ! I like both aromatics and English and this is the worst English I ever had ! Totally bland no flavor all incense aroma ! No tobacco taste whatsoever ! Give me three nuns any day over this slop !

Pipe Used: don't ruin your pipe with this !

Similar Blends: Nothing I've ever smoked, been smoking pipes for 30 years !.

1 person found this review helpful.

Houndstooth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Houndstooth (16)
★★★☆
Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

The best of 3 MC tins I've had so far, and the best Vaper, but for me that's not saying much. I blend using perique, and the presence of that element is not at all strong for me in St. James. It is however likely part of the spice-along with that ketchupy note everyone smells with MC but somehow don't taste. (Pipe tobacco is such weird stuff, and no one would ever smoke a tomato blend regardless of if whether it tastes like tomatoes or not, but they will smoke a chocolate blend which doesn't really taste like chocolate.)

Virginia is what I get from St. James, with the perique further back. That's as it should be, given that the perique is the condiment.

The flake looks like the barky stuff people like to put around the bottom of trees and shrubs. I can't help but thinking there is something quintessentially North American about this tobacco. Redwood. Bacon. It's rustic. There's nicotine here, but it's nothing severe, and not a bit of tongue bite. It does however need to be dried for several hours.

It's true that it's not the easiest thing to keep lit, but that is also perhaps a selling point. The lady in my life (an ex cig-head) has no problem with smoky aromas; rather she dislikes voluminous clouds of smoke. St. James does have a very smoky flavor, but doesn't blast out clouds.

I rub it out because I like a nice pack. Overall, St. James smokes kind of slow and cool- kinda like a peat moss fire. It goes with whiskey and late night hours. I don't turn to it a lot but I do turn to it, and I'm sure I'll order another tin when the time comes. I'm giving it 3.5 stars, even if it's not my go-to. How about this question- should your go-to be your favorite? My go-tos are not- I tend to save my faves for more special occasions.

Someone else here wrote about the other 2 Vapers MC does; I need to go back to that for future reference.

Really, my other two McClelland blends have impressed me little. I have to say that this one grew on me, even if it took it's sweet time to do so. Another thing- the price is really right on this, and the other more expensive MC offerings simply haven't measured up. This is another prime example for me that "you get what you pay for" is often a lie. The amount of money spent on tobacco is absolutely no indication of quality; I know this well from the cigar world.

Pipe Used: small Ital. poker, cob, small meers.

Age When Smoked: bought half a year ago

Purchased From: Cigars Int'l

1 person found this review helpful.

JohnMA Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnMA (12)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

What can you say about this one? It's a top notch blend and my number #1. The combination of red virginia and perique is maybe the best combination in a pipe. Add to that the depth and base notes of the black stoved virginias. I find this blend to be complex and very tasty.

I recommend rubbing fully to get a nice even burn. Dry a little to your preference. I don't often smoke bone dry but I do dry a little. I usually smoke a small tin that I've aired a bit and then let sit in a closed mason jar. Over time it seems to open up the flavors in the jar.

Age When Smoked: New, less than a year old tin

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: Rattray - Old Gowrie, Cornell & Diehl - 067: Bayou Morning, Cornell & Diehl - Bayou Morning Flake, ST-Group - Escudo Navy De Luxe.

1 person found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (604)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After you get past the ketchup smell, the sweetness of the red Virginia melds well with the sweet black stoved Virginias, which in turn works well with the perique. The perique is a little peppery and raisiny, fig-like in taste. I dried the broken flake out a little, which helped the burn rate, and the flavor stayed intact. It's not very complex, but it is a relaxed smoke with a (barely) medium flavor, and worth smoking a couple of times a day.

1 person found this review helpful.

Perique Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perique (84)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The expected McClelland tin note. Presentation is semi-moist, dark, broken flake. This one will benefit from being rubbed out and dried for 30 minutes or more. Ideally, this blend would be jarred and aged for at least a year. The longer the better with McClelland Virginias. Since that's not always practical, I suggest at least 30 minutes drying time, if not an hour.

Very smooth smoking VaPer with a touch of creaminess on the charring light that is vaguely reminiscent of GL Pease's Fillmore, though not as stout or as Perique-forward. This soon gives way to the classic McClelland Virginia tang.

McClelland blends three very similar VaPers: Beacon Extra, St James Woods, and Bayou Sliced. And I would recommend them in that order. But all three are excellent choices and I recommend this one to any VaPer smoker without hesitation.

Similar Blends: McClelland - Bayou Slice (Blakeney's Best), McClelland - Beacon (Collector Series), McClelland - GKCPC Beacon Extra (Club Blends).

1 person found this review helpful.

Dr. Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Scott (82)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

My opinion of this tobacco has changed, for the worse, the more I have smoked it. My first time with St. James Flake was like having an exotic new lover. I thought I had found my mate for life, my new favorite tobacco. Perhaps I overindulged, smoking this blend frequently over the next couple of months. If it had been a one-night-stand, I would have been left with romantic memories of an exciting blend. But the bloom is off the rose.

Upon opening the tin, the odor is strong and harsh: not really ketchup, and not just vinegar...Heinz 57 steak sauce? It is as if the tobacco has been soaked in Heinz 57 prior to packaging. And contrary to what many reviews say, the Heinz 57 never completely goes away, no matter how long you dry it, or how long it is opened. I can still taste it at the end of the pipe. And after emptying the ashes, the pipe smells of burnt ketchup for some time. After making my way through almost 100 g of this stuff, I wonder if the tobacco is actually cooked in the sauce.

The broken flakes are thick and beautiful, black and brown, and feel quite moist. The tobacco burns well with occasional relights. It is slow burning. No matter how I try, I can not get it to burn hot or bite my tongue. It is smooth and easy to smoke. I recommend rubbing it out well, then letting it dry for some time, otherwise you will be left with chunks of charcoal instead of ash.

The Perique dominates, indeed overwhelms the rest of the blend. It may be heresy, but I think there is too much Perique in this mixture.

Medium nicotine content, and one of the easiest tobaccos I've ever smoked. But I am still bothered by the ketchup-steaksauce-vinegar flavor. What is that?!

I probably won't be smoking this one again. I like my VaPer straight. Hold the ketchup.

1 person found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
★★☆☆
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Pleasant

The dominant flavour here is of the red Virginia, with a decided Périque buzz on top of that, not unlike Wessex Sovereign Curly Cut. It's a combination I love. This has a bit more body at the bottom, but it also has a pronounced McClelland ketchup stink in the tin which is sometimes tasted in the mouth. I don't love that. This would have been a good three-star choice except for it.

1 person found this review helpful.

beaupipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beaupipe (100)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

There are few things that I enjoy more than buying pipe tobacco in a well-stocked cigar shop. Once upon a time, the store's buyer loaded up on pipe tobacco using the "if I have it they will come" logic. But they didn't come. I found just such a place in Vegas and picked up a few McClelland tins from the forgotten corner behind the ashtrays filled with tinned tobacco. The highlight is the '03 dated St. James Woods. I can't imagine being without this tobacco now that I've tried it.

Personally, I think the tin aroma is more HP sauce than ketchup- courtesy of the figgy perique, no doubt-and I've never had a problem with McCelland tin notes anyway. To me, they're a sign of authenticity.

This has dried out over the years and looks really beautiful--a mix of brown and black broken flakes alongside semi-broken clusters that make me think of jerky nuggets. It's not the easist to rub, and it's a devil to keep lit, but it is sooo worth the extra effort. At this level of maturity, this is an elegant, elusive, exasperating, extraordinary smoke. And oh so long. I couldn't believe how long it lasted.

I also picked up '05 Blending Perique and BB Latakia Flake. I might have to go back and scoop up the rest of their unintended cellar.

1 person found this review helpful.

bigjonburley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bigjonburley (64)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This va/perique combination has awoken my tastes to another deminsion in this genre of tobacco chemistry. The flavor= interplay between the va's and perique are complex and rewarding. Honey, cinnamon, and smoked almonds meld with powerful notes of figs and prunes. With each puff I got various degrees of the formentioned. When rubbed partially and gravity filled, I get a consistent burn rate accompanied with a complete burn. Very pleasing in the nose when exhaled. Some try to compare 2015 to st. james but, I find them to be on opposite sides of the universe in depth and flavor spectrum. The only thing that I have to say that is negative in nature, is soley relate to the fact that I am kicking myself for not trying this blend earlier.

1 person found this review helpful.

O'Confrère Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
O'Confrère (31)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin from 2006, opened, thoroughly rubbed out and allowed to dry in the dark to about 15%.

Round, rich, deep, flavorful, extremely well balanced, satisfying, delicious, yet never heavy, SJW replaced SG's SJF as my go-to VaPer some years ago. The perique is beautifully integrated. It burns well (if allowed to dry before smoking) and develops beautifully in the pipe, mellowly earthy with soft tannins and subtle elements of dark stone-fruits, hazelnuts, coffee and chocolate wafting in and out accompanied drily all the while by a hint of sweetness. There is no edge and no bite unless you apply the bellows, and why would you? There is plenty of flavor here at each sip.

For this smoker it has all the qualities. It is great from a fresh tin and develops spectacularly with aging. Try it with 5-7 years on it. Put some back. You'll be glad you did.

Highly recommended! For this smoker one of the very best VaPers.

Pipe Used: Several, reserved for VaPers.

Age When Smoked: Over 7 years

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mdnyc71 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mdnyc71 (22)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I enjoy everything about this blend with the exception of the moisture level. Even after rubbing out I have quite a time keeping it lit unless it dries for at least an hour. Otherwise, it is a wonderful VAPer with a flavor that is all its own.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (67)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Tin Date 2/2007

St. James Woods is by far my favorite of the Personal Reserve Series. As stated many times before, McClelland flakes need to be dried out blah blah blah, but once that optimum moisture level is reached, SJW is pleasing. Sweet and subtly sharp at the same time, tangy, elegant and in true McClelland's fashion, never too much. SJW fits neatly into my mild-medium slot in my spectrum of Va/Pers. It has a PERFECT amount of perique for my tastes for that range. When I want something stronger in the cajun weed, I reach for Escudo or even Haddo's.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is based on a full tin of St James Woods purchased a couple of years ago and just opened. SJW greets that nose with the usual McClelland fermented scent and like many McClelland's it arrives far too moist to smoke. After rubbing out the broken flakes it dries fairly quickly. Overall there are things I like about this VaPer and things that I find to be just OK. First off, like all McClelland blends, the quality of the tobacco appears to be great. The flavors really build nicely throughout the bowl. SJF is lightly sweet and the Perique is just right for me. As the bowl progresses, the sweetness is more pronounced. I wouldn't call it a negative, but for me; SJW lacks the body/strength that I prefer in some of my favorite VaPers. It is the one thing that will keep it from my regular rotation. When it comes to the McClelland VaPers that I have smoked, I prefer the Blackney's Bayou Slice a little bit more. Overall, I would recommend SJW to any VaPer lover, especially if you prefer your VaPers with a lower amount of Lady N.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (523)
★★☆☆
Extremely Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

I have decided to give up on McClelland. All last 5 or 6 mixtures I have tried had the same result as I just rated.

St-James Woods is no different. A beautiful broken flake, but that requires several charring lights, gives no taste, nicotine, etc.

The only one that still appeal to my tastebuds is 221B Arcadia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

samcoffeeman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
samcoffeeman (28)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Ok, I am a novice here. I have only smoked one bowl of this and it is my first perique experience. I had previously smoked some blackwoods flake, which I believe is the same as this without the perique. I rubbed the flakes and let dry for 15 minutes, after having had trouble with re-lighting I discover I need a method to dry my tobaccos out. I did not enjoy this smoke as much as I would have liked while I was smoking, but I do like the lingering flavor on my pallett. I was not ready for the pepper and spice of the perique. I am going to give this one a few more chances and maybe it will grow on me, or maybe perique isn't my thing. I did greatly enjoy a latakia blend recently. Agree with other reviews about the aroma coming out of the tin, and have heard that Mclelland is known for having a vinegary scent.

Second bowl update: I rubbed out the whole tin and gave it some drying time. The result was a more well rounded smoke, that stayed lit very well after 3-4 charring lights. It is one you can play with a bit, the slower you smoke the less pepper/spice you perceive, and vice versa. I still found that towards the end, the smoke didn't smooth out, and the pepper/spice still overpowered a bit. If you like that, you will like this smoke. I was looking for more balance.

Third bowl: Over time it is getting better. Perhaps mellowing out a bit with time now that its been opened and rubbed. I liked the level of spice and pepper, and there was some nice background flavor but still not enough. I'm sticking with two stars.

Ongoing: This really improves with time. I have a tough go with Va/pers, but this one is growing on me. I smoked it in a brigham with the rock maple insert filter and enjoyed it more than any other va/per I have smoked before. Moved to 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Philo Beddoe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Philo Beddoe (140)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Wonderful, this is like Marlin Flake with a good dose of perique. This tobacco has found a place in my stock rotation.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy Virginia/Perique blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cgar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cgar (37)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Acquired a tin of this dated back to 08. Tin appearance and aroma were well balanced with a beautiful presentation. It will require several attempts to get it lit but once it is, the beauty of this tobacco shines nonstop. A rich creamy smoke full of natural Sweetness with the Periques's compelling character adds that extra special tang that I have been looking for. Once you can get past the charring process required to get this magic weed lit, you will not be disappointed.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (155)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My review is based on some five bowls received from a friend. He has the nice habit to label the lid with the date of purchase, this tin is dated DEC '09.

The tobacco is a medium rubbed out flake, almost very dark brown with few lighter specs, delivering a quite strong spicy/vinegarish aroma, stiff to the touch.

A bit laborious to light, SJW then burns very cool and steady and doesn't needs relightings.

Perique is here but not in spades. I find nice and interesting the pairing with dark stoved Virginia and this one makes me think to Dark Fragrant (Rattray) and Maduro (McConnell).

The first half of the bowl consists of a mild bodied smoke with faint notes of grapes and coffee. Barely sweet & sour and almost non piquant, the smoke is refreshing but bit monotonous. The second half is much rewarding, instead. The smokes grows stronger, creamier and slightly musty. The flavour is dark and woody, with some raisins still on the back and occasional peppery notes.

Not the tobacco of my life, but a pleasant diversion

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Puffingstuff Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Puffingstuff (81)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

A delicious pipe full of magical tobacco. The stoved Virginias and the Perique come together for a night in Fantasia-esqe delight. I could smoke one bowl right after the other.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (218)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Upon opening the tin you get that all familiar McC vinegar/ Ketchup aroma. I allowed the tin to breath for about an hour but my anticipation got the best of me and I started to fill. The tobacco was in various sizes and thicknesses of flakes , so I rubbed out the larger pieces. It took about three charring lights to get the tobacco burning, but once it was lit, it stayed lit. The taste was sweet with a complement of raisin and prunes, very nice and no bite. The tobacco seemed to contain a large percentage of 5100 Red Cake with additional stoving and some additional stoved Virginias. The Perique was in the background, not heavy enough to be peppery. As I continued to smoke I noticed that the typical Ketchup taste stayed with the entire bowl, strangely this added a dimension that was complementary to the Perique and really worked for me? I would buy this again. PS very similar to McC Club Blends: GKCPC Beacon Extra but not as smooth and with less Perique.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Tin aroma is Delicious McClelland aged Virginia, With more than a little Perique. That mixture of the cured sweet and sour grain of the Virginia and funky ripe cheese odor of the Perique. Makes some interesting complexities, Ketchup of course, lemon, hard cheese, buckwheat, Smells like a fine VaPer blend.

Rub out to taste, lights and burns slow. If you don't rush the Virginia it smokes quite coolly. This flake's smoke is filled with delicious McClelland aged Virginia, warm, sweet and complex. But adding the Perique - adds a dimension of depth and earthiness. Really great stuff, may play second or third fiddle to some other Virginias in the McClelland Personal Reserve series - say “Blackwoods Flake” or “Dark Star“, but I found it very satisfying - and found it very easy to smoke. Goes on the favorites list.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

dustyz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dustyz (3)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Mild Full Pleasant

opened a tin of this a couple of months ago and filled one mason jar full to cellar and put about 4-5 bowls worth in another jar to try. and now i'm done my first bowl. wow.

like some people have noted, it doesn't roll out all that well so i packed it as flakes and topped with some loose stuff that i rubbed out. a little trouble with the lighting at first but once it got rolling it delivered on a lot of levels. each puff truly fills your mouth with exotic flavours of dried fruit and hints of pepper; a perfect marriage of these flavours. i love the mouth feel of this tobacco, a very sensual experience. and it keeps delivering from start to finish. the VA has a nice sweetness but not too sweet, kinda peeks out to say hello just when you need it.

it's quite a smoky tobacco but is likely the reason why it's so mouth filling, and lends itself to slow sipping. nicotine is on the high side but not overwhelming and had no bite throughout the whole bowl.

i've got some escudo on the way so very curious as to how it's going to compare but regardless of how it stands up to other VaPer's i can't imagine ever doing without this lovely tobacco in my rotation.

highly recommended.

and as far as the tin notes that everyone speaks of when it comes to Mc's, all it speaks to me is about style. they've picked a style, which i respect in any blending craft, and stick to it. it's a signature as much as anything. and regarding the ketchup tin aroma, i get (as i believe someone has said before) more of a dill/canned pickle aroma. and i can deal with whatever the tin notes deliver as long as it smokes like this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TheSmokinDragon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TheSmokinDragon (56)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

St. James as mentioned in other reviews has GREAT flavors, subtle sweet Vs, nice spice out of the Perique (tingle in the nose), flavors are a constant through entire bowl. I had nice flake still together in the 100g tin I cracked open so did a flake's stuff/light (dry it out for about an hour or two works best), burns very well/few relights but expected...Just a great smoke, will stock up a few tins for the cellar for later taste'in/should get even better with some age on the tins

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Palermo09 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Palermo09 (20)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

An excellent Virginia Perique blend, Perhaps my favorite. The broken flake is beautiful, good nicotine kick, and loads of flavor. Love the room note. McClellands finest among many great tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Denevei Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Denevei (58)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

St. James Woods is, in my opinion, one of McClelland's better offerings, and McClelland knows how to do Virginias. This tobacco is a mix of red Virginia, dark stoved Virginia, and perique, presented as a broken flake. In appearance, the flake first appears quite dark, but with a closer inspection, mottles of golds and browns are revealed; the tin aroma, while somewhat acetic as is typical of a McClelland blend, beckons the smoker with the sweetness of the fine Virginia tobaccos and the rainin-like fruitiness of perique. The flakes are a bit moist, and I'd recommend removing enough for a bowl, drying it a bit, and then rubbing it out. Doing so, the flakes easily rub fairly fine. The charring light brings mostly Virginia flavor, but once the bowl is lit the perique's darker nature is a presence. Those not familiar with perique might wonder if they are smoking a real biter, but I found that I could puff fairly heavily on the blend without risking damage. Rather, the perique mellows the normal bite of McClelland Virginias while adding a delightful not of fruit. The initial light is slightly difficult, but once the tobacco is lit it seems to stay so with little effort. By mid-bowl, St. James Woods becomes a fairly special smoke. The Virginias are darker in nature, less sweet than some, but with a complexity often absent from Virginias. It is creamy, with a slight hint of vanilla (though it is NOT topped), with a rich, dark and strong flavor. The perique's effect on the tongue has drastically lessened at this point, but the fruity taste of raisins, or even figs, remains, and even slightly strengthens. The flavor at the end of the bowl seems to fall off slightly, but remains good. I was particularly impressed by how fresh the flavor remained at this point. Overall, I'd call St. James Woods one of the better blends available from McClelland. It offers excellent Virginias mixed and balanced, with just enough perique to mellow the Virginias and add a fine flavor. Contrast this to their bulk 2015 Virginia Flake, which, no matter how well aged, leaves me feeling like I need Theraflu to cure my throat. If you like a good Virginia, I think you'll be pleased by St. James Woods, as you will be if you enjoy a Virginia/perique blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (53)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The review is based on a 50g tin from 2006. Tin aroma: A whiff detected a spicy note and I didn't get a Ketchup smell from this one. My first olfactory sensation was of Nutmeg and/or Clove. I think this mild topping enhances the flavor of the smoke which becomes sweet & mild after 1/3 has burned off. The first few puffs were a bit harsh & tart but give this one a chance and you'll get a burst of mild, sweet tobacco flavor prior to the halfway point.

Initially...the first few puffs, I didn't think I'd like St. James but it developed into an excellent smoke as the tobaccos began to interact. It doesn't bite, although you might think so because of the "Perique Affect." The flakes are dark & moist. They rub out easily though & it burns well enough. If you're a VA/Per fan, you might enjoy this as much as I did.

It left a sweet, pleasant aftertaste on my palate. It smokes mildly with diminishing flavor towards the end and burns down to a fine gray ash. The Perique kicks in pretty good near the end and it doesn't become harsh or bitter. Escudo is still my favorite VA/Per but I have only tried maybe...eight blends in this genre so far. I'm anxious to try the new Dunhill, Deluxe Navy Rolls. Therefore, IMHO, St. James Woods merits three stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Charlie Allnut Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Charlie Allnut (16)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A hotdog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sinister Topiary Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sinister Topiary (74)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

I largely agree with Dr. Scott's review below, especially about the Heinz 57 flavor, and the over-dominance of perique.

For me, the taste is like figs seasoned with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, then smothered with Vegemite or HP sauce. It does not have the elegance and balance of Escudo, but instead is monochrome and too sharp.

Like all McClelland's blends, it's quality. I expect there are some for whom this will be nectar, but it's just not my flavor.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mike Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Toney (44)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I expected more from a four year old tin. Upon first light, a bit harsh, acrid & bitey, but very spicy & loaded with Perique. Age had turned these moist flakes into a combination of very dark brown and blackish color. St. James Woods & Beacon are very similar in taste & neither tasted like any other VA/Per I've sampled in the past. I'm somewhat dissapointed and will confess that this is my least favorite VA/Per so far.

I preferred their Beacon offering over this. It was smoother, cheaper and that tin sample wasn't even aged. Maybe I've become spoiled by Three Nuns, Escudo & Reiner's LGF. I'll try this tin again later and if a bit of airing improves the quality, I will update this review. For now, IMHO, McC's St. James Woods merits only two st**s!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Traderbob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Traderbob (24)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My first tin of a McClelland brand. Purchased while on the road without being able to try first. Upon opening the tin - strong spicy, almost irritating smell. I have seen the comments of "ketchup" smell and did not know what they meant - now I do. After getting past the initial smell I found the texture and moisture level to be just right for me.

Pipe loaded easily as I was careful not to pack too tightly. First light and then pack was smooth. Had to relite a couple of times due to the fact that I smoke tobacco while still moiste.

The smell and taste while burning was great and a real suprise compared to the initial smell. Tobacco burned easily to a fine ash. Taste and smell improved as the bowl burned.

A great tobacco. Not one of my favorites due to the opening smell, but certainly would recommend this one to others.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I get used with McClelland tobaccos very well. I leave the tin open and the plastic lit on its place for a couple of days and the humidity and flavors settle well.

The stoved Virginias are delightful and the Perique addition to this blend is generos. I like the full tasty smoke of this blend and the sweet-sour flavor of it as the othe McClelland blends. The rich Perique might be somehow overwhelming if I would smoke this blend daily. Although it is an excellent Virginia-Perique blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BurghBelly Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BurghBelly (5)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

As I become more experienced a pipe smoker, I've noticed that I detect flavors more fully, and this is certainly a flavorful smoke: The VAs are stoved, and the Perique is quite tasty. A half tin of St. James Woods has been sitting in my basket of current tobaccos, and was unlidded by mistake, but having it dried out turned out to be an advantage -- the broken flake is burning quite evenly, without having to rub it out. Cheers!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sniper3 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sniper3 (26)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

If you are looking for smoothness and flavor like Escudo or Davidoff Flake Medallions - this is not it. Overcooked virginias and not enough perique. Rough and hard to keep lit. A let down. I liked the smell.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild Tolerable

Another high quality Virginia from MC. This one somewhat reminds me of Blackwoods Flake, although it's a bit milder, less complex, sweeter and daker. Perfectly spiced with Perique, noticeable but never overwhelming.

The ketchup taste is less than average for typical MC Virginias, another similarity with Blackwoods Flake. SJW is meant to be sipped, becoming tasteless when smoked hot and making it a great DGT candidate.

It would get 4 stars if it wasn't for a rather flat mid third of the bowl: the last one is where the flavor really kicks in.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tramroad28 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tramroad28 (26)
★☆☆☆
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

I tried this blend a while back and disliked it from the get-go and never made it thru the can. Blamed it on the sharpness of the perique amongst other reasons. Now, upon time and thought, I am not so sure. I post a NR simply because of that experience but acknowledge how personal tastes change or develop and plan to give this one another go. I post now simply to note that reviews are perhaps better termed ...opinions.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (119)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I've been learning to appreciate VAs more and more lately. Although this is a Vaper, it's a great way to ease into VAs. It's a medium-dark broken flake that looks just like Christmas Cheer except just a tad more broken up. Typical McC ketchup aroma that leans more toward A-1 steak sauce, with a great sweetness and a tiny hint of the Perique lurking in the background. In other words, it smells great!

I packed it lightly in a chubby Savinelli Author, and it burned well right out of the tin. The Perique manifests itself more during the first third as the familiar tang in the nose, but the VA sweetness shines through. This is a rich, wonderful smoke, and I marvel that it's me writing this since I have not been a big VA fan. But I'm learning...

The pipe lasted more than an hour. The Perique spice settled in and melded nicely during the last two-thirds, becoming the condiment that it's designed to be. The VA flake is obviously very high quality. My tin says it was canned in 2006 so it's had some time to age.

As a typical English blend lover, I can heartily recommend St. James Woods and will certainly be buying several tins to age even further.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tripjoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tripjoker (64)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is a real winner from McC. As Vapers go, this is one of my top 5. All the right flavors and strength levels are hit. Coffee, fresh baked bread, cinnamon, fresh turned dark bottom land, and the tang and sweetness of great Virginias.

As with most all McC. products, it does need a bit of drying to get to the proper smoking humidity for me. But that's OK. I'm more than prepared to go the extra mile for a smoke as good as this one.

And as far as the ketchup smell goes, I don't care a wit about it. I ain't here to smell the tin, I'm here because I smoke the stuff and the ketchup does not come through in the smoke or flavor. That Vinegar smell is really more of a byproduct of the Virginia curing in my opinion. McC does have a unique process and treats their tobaccos alittle differently. I'm generally not a fan, but when they get it right, I have to say so.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I flat out love this blend! What can one say? Far in the background there is cedar freshly cut. A little closer but still far off is the Italian Roast coffee and cinnamon. Then the spice really begins to tickle the tongue and the flavor opens into a full symphony of Virginia's warm sweetness which is complemented perfectly by the soft tingle of what must be the Perique...never more noticeable nor more enjoyable than in this blend. This one must be smoked in a large bowl and the first true light needs to be a good, long, even one. Once it really catches, it offers a nice long smoke. The bowl stays cool and there is no discernible bite. To my tongue, Latakia feels cool and Perique feels warm and this is the warmest smoke I've ever enjoyed. Definitely four stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

john doe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
john doe (41)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

UPDATE

I am upping my rating, this is a four star blend. I have finished the tin, and the second half of the can, as it dried in my glass jar, was like smoking a completely different tobacco. Fresh out of the tin it's sugar and spice, three months later and a bit drier, it's sweet and sour and cigar flavor. Both are amazing. This is a must smoke for VAPER lovers!

--

I finally get it. Vapers, that is. Smoke this one really, really slowly, at just the right moisture level, and the orgasm at the bottom of the bowl is something special.

Takes a lot of hard work and skill to pull it off the though, and if you puff too hard this sucker bites badly.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

arpie55 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
arpie55 (27)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

what can i say that has not been said? this is by far my favorite perique/va. blend. i can smoke this in any size pipe, at any time of day, anywhere and thoroughly enjoy it. this starts with the va. coming to front but then about a quarter of the way down the perique starts to struts it's stuff with a flavorful, fruity presence. this tobacco can be packed to burn slow and is a very good warm weather outdoor smoke, not because it smells bad, but because it burns so cool. i love it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
1 (8)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

What can I say about the magnificent tobacco blend from McClelland? It is truly a pleasure to smoke, the perique is perfect and the stoved VA is awesome. This tobacco surpassed my expectations. I sipped the first part of the bowl to find it subtle and not overly powerful. By the middle of the experience some sweet notes of the tobacco came out and by the end I was asking for more. Highy recommend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (198)
★★★☆
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

St. James Woods is an excellent Virginia perique blend, one of the best in the market today. The tin aroma is the same as Blackwood flakes, means sweet ketchup and vinegar, the flakes is ready to pack directly into your pipe, no raping or drying is needed, the burning property is dry and clean.

The taste is wonderful, same as bwf but a bit spicier and a shade sweeter. This is a delightful smoke, deep, sweet, dark, creamy and mellow.

I love most McClelland offering and I really enjoy the ?ketchup? taste and smell they have.

Blackwood flake, st James wood and dark star are 3 tobacco from the same family. If you like the virginia of McClelland, buy these 3 blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Michigander Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Michigander (19)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Boy is this different from anything I have smoked. The tin note really is like Ketsup and maybe a touch of Worchestershire. I found this broken flake a bit difficult to roll out as it always oriented itself to roll on its long axis which accomplished little. What seems to work best is alternating between rolling and pinching to break it up a bit. Upon opening it was moist and a bit difficult to get it started. the flavor is deep, rich and peppery. It definitely became fuller and more peppery over the course of the bowl. To me the room note was as unusual as the tin note. The strong Ketsup became a very mild aroma of sun dried, vine ripened tomato with a bit of white pepper. Very quickly this room note softens and sweetens and becomes quite nice. I honestly could not decide if I liked it or not. I now find myself in the mood for this about once or twice a week. Certainly a fine change of pace and a truly artful blend. To me this is the caviar of tobaccos. Very exotic and not something you will eat on a daily basis.

I would have named it St. James Kitchen.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarChef Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarChef (100)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

"Got any stewed prunes? Give them some black coffee. That'll sober 'em up."

Mmmmmm. Perique.

No kidding, I get a nice stewed prune note and a little bitter black coffee/chicory in this very good blend. And best of all, it still tastes like tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Country Gentleman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Country Gentleman (28)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Smells good in the tin and burning. Earthy, tangy, peppery. Nice broken flake. It does require a little effort to get burning properly. Tastes great. Very enjoyable.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

iggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
iggy (5)
★★★☆
Strong Medium to Strong Full Strong

I?m glad there?s confirmation here that this stuff has the scent of ketchup, and it?s not only my tin. This was my first premium tobacco and the first where I had to rub out the flakes. I went through the tin in about a year and smoked it with pleasure. Tongue bite was an issue but I really can?t complain. Are there really any blends where the flavor doesn?t disappear once the bowl is about halfway done?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipemanuk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipemanuk (76)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have discovered heaven in a tin. As an englishman, I have only recently realised the wealth of great tobacco's in the USA. We really never should have let you guys get away with rebelling... Enough of that! First time I tried SJW, I found the perique just a bit too hot to cope with and had a fizzy tongue for 12 hours or so. But, as many contributors urge us to not give up but 'Endeavour to persevere', I tried it again...this time very gently and I found flavour, depth, nuance of taste and utter enjoyment! There's a rich fruitiness...plums, damsons, seville oranges married with dark chocolate depths in this blend. The perique is just amazing when you treat this tobacco properly; it enhances and deepens and spices. I smoke it in a Jobert pipe..an olivewood pipe from South Africa. It's dedicated to VA's and though expensive (I have 2 children at university so pennies are scarce), it's money well spent. I suggest you try one; heavier than briar but provides an excellent smoke. Back to SJW. I'm ordering some 2015 to age as SJW is pretty expensive for me to get and hoping that it's a decent alternative; but SJW richly deserves its full marks. It's one of their best tobacco's ever .

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sensitivo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sensitivo (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

There is a definite simalarity in the McClellend tobaccos that I have tried. The ketchup aroma is distict upon opening the tin, and notably, a tang balanced with overall richness throughout smoking. This tobacco needs drying out. I find that the pepperiness of the perique developes as the tin empties. There is some nuttiness, a dried fruit flavour, and occasionally a cedar note. I really enjoy this tobacco; it reminds of the best cigars, but not overwhelmingly so, and it lacks any superfluous sweetness.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Con Brio Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Con Brio (6)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Im new to virginia/perique blends but I think I have a handle on this one. ITS GREAT! Almost through 100 gram tin and every pipefull has been very enjoyable. I'll buy more of this and also Blackwoods Flake before I run out of them.

The burn is great too. I rub it out more and let it dry out just a bit before the char/tamp/relight that gives it life and makes me so happy.

Con Brio.. happily burning down St James Woods one pipe bowl at a time.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wosbald Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wosbald (111)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Typically pungent in the tin with McClelland VA funk behind which the perique is noticable.

Typically fine red and black VAs mix well with a generous amount of perique. This deepens very nicely down the bowl.

This is yet another excellent McClelland VA flake and works best in a narrow gauge chamber.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SMOKETSES Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SMOKETSES (208)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

First, and once I opened the box, the ketchup Heinz flavor came to me, a note that I read and couldn?t believe. It is a flake tobacco red brown and black Virginia. Most reports say that (as for all the McClelland) it becomes even better if you leave it 2 - 3 years in the cellar to get mature. Somebody has forgotten it (4 - 5 boxes) since1998. Certainly the one I opened, needs to get dry, it didn?t really impressed me after the first smoke (as per example BOB?s] but generally it is a tobacco ?neither cold neither heat?. Meeting in 2 years. After a week, tobacco is much better. Coughing in the morning remains the same, dry but till the end of bowl, stable flavor and generally a pleasant, neutral smoking. It is very bitter.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tobacco Saves Lives Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tobacco Saves Lives (31)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I bought this when they were out of Dark Star, I have YET to have a bad can of McClelland. If you like to smoke, You WILL like this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

One of the best VaPer blends I have tried. This blend has just the right amount of perique to make things interesting. I especially like the ratio of red to black Va's. The over all taste is sweet with a bit of earthiness and slight taste of hay. The perique adds a slight spicy note that makes this blend great for an all day summer smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Grey Cloud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Grey Cloud (9)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I agree with puro66 about the unliding and putting the tin aside.

This is my favorite McClelland tobacco. After a year in the tin(see above), the tobacco mellows together and offers a much more relaxed flavour. The American Virginia is sweet and just right, add the perique and there is a naturally sweet carnival. I could smoke this tobacco all day.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (73)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I know that most smokers of McClelland's elude to the heinz ketchup effect. To me it actually smells like home canned pickles. Like many of the smokers in this forum I have smoked a lot of this makers products. They are in fact very nice people and passionate about what they do. My experience is that all of their virginia flakes benefit from extensive aging. They also benefit from popping the top, relidding and tossing the can aside and forgetting about it for about six months. This provides a much more enjoyable smoke in my opinion. SJW is a decent VaPer and worth trying. I don't think it is as good as their version of Black Parrot was, but still respectable. Puff slow and you'll enjoy. I can smoke this in any size bowl and enjoy.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

GeoLogger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GeoLogger (16)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I smoked this as my first or second attempt at finding out a bit of what perique might offer and I was really disappointed. I had ordered quite a few tins and I put them aside and never opened one again for years. The other day I was looking through the larder and I came across these tins and pulled one out to try again - what a shock!. This is without a doubt the one tobacco of all I have known that is the most improved by some age. This tin was from the '98 batch. All the edges were gone - just pure smooth good rich Va/Per which I actually prefer to aged Escudo for my own personal taste. I am so pleased I didn't chalk this up as a bad experiment back in '98 and trade this tobacco off. I wish I had 50 more tins aging instead of 4 or 5. Now to pull out that Beacon and give it another go.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (141)
★☆☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

As others have observed, this is pretty much Blackwoods Flake with perique added. I should like this, as I'm a fan of Blackwoods and I absolutely love perique, but this blend was a huge letdown.

In my experience, perique normally adds a stewed or ripe fruit essence while greatly enhancing the entire range of tobacco flavors. When used correctly, perique can unlock all the nuances of a blend, kind of like applying salt or other spices to meat can actually intensify the inherent qualities. It also usually imparts some strength, as perique is a nicotine laden leaf. In St. James Woods, however, it seems to do the exact opposite. The concoction was utterly flat, almost like smoking hot air, and I couldn't make out so much as a hint of the perique flavor I was expecting.

I ended up dumping what was left in the tin after forcing myself to smoke a half-dozen bowls. This is the only McClelland tobacco I've tried that was a complete waste of time, and this is by far the worst presentation of perique that I've had the misfortune to come across. If you're searching for a Va/Per, I'd suggest picking up some Filmore, Anniversary Cake, or St. James Flake (from Sam Gawith).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Maimonides Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Maimonides (70)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

SPICY SWEET. PEPPER A quality Virginia. Perique adds (if you like this) to the overall smoke. I upgraded this as I found a can dried out in my toolbox, threw in a ceramic disk, it was great. I always appreciate any tobacco that improves when opened. Its rich, similar to Dark Star, sweet at first with the zest of perique building through the bowl.

It is hard to go wrong with McClelland. ashey aftertaste.

BETTER PICK: MCCLELLAND CHRISTMAS CHEER 05' OR 06

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tymons Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tymons (5)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am now working on my second tin of St. James Woods. I think that this tobacco blend is my first experience with ?dark stoved Virginia? tobacco. It is one of the very finest tobaccos that I have ever smoked. St. James Woods delivers a mild sweetness, with no bitterness and no harshness (or bite) on my tongue. I do not know how to describe the aroma, except to say that it is a mild, pleasant tobacco smell. It is not at all similar to Cavendish or fire-cured blends.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NapaWineLover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NapaWineLover (66)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Updated Review -

After smoking a number of other offerings that I prefer, it seemed appropriate to update my review. It's been downgraded because of the frequency of which I reach for this. When I do ... prefer it in a small bowl.

The first thing I thought when I first smoked this tobacco was Dorisco on Steriods, but without the latakia. Those before me have done a marvelous job of describing the tin aroma and form. The real deal though is the wonderful initial flavor of this flake. I have only smoked this with considerable age. It still needs to rest after rubbing. I find an amazing mouthful of flavor without bite.

Spicy perique dancing atop a stage of deep toned VA's starts off with a bang and the last third of the bowl, oddly enough is extremely smooth. Flavors are full at the onset but not in a crude or rough way, but in a very refined way. Perhaps too much of a refined way though ... because by mid-way, I find it to be a bit boring. And by bowl's end I'm looking forward to my next bowl of something else.

I think McClellands use of the word "sophisticated" on the tin is most appropriate, however it may be a little too reserved for my tastes and not as interesting as others. However, it is very high quality ... no doubt.

Cheers, VC

Nobody has rated this review yet.

D'Jullius Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
D'Jullius (19)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable to Strong

I have yet to find a bad McClelland. I am sold on the entire company. This reminds me of Virginia 24 with Dark Star and the Zest of Perique in as well.

Too Good Not To Try. A smoky Virginia, That starts light and zesty, but develops a rich spice similar to Dark Star. Must Try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cosmoline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cosmoline (13)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Like many McCllelland blends, this one was pretty moist on opening. I let it dry out in the covered tin for a few weeks and it really came to life. It's an earthy tobacco with deep spice. I like smoking it with Cafe du Monde coffee as they seem to compliment each other. This seems like an ideal tin to age, and I'm stocking several for this purpose. After five or ten years it should move from a three star to a four. Both the Virginias and the Perique get better with age, and compliment each other. This is real St. James Parish perique, not the substitute stuff found in some other "perique" blends. The nicotine is there, but not too overwhelming. It's a great blend for those smokers who, like myself, dislike the abundance of latakia in many more complex blends. This is a strong blend with a lot of layered taste but without the Syrian campfire. Indeed I find I can really appreciate the virginias when I don't have to choke down a bunch of latakia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (87)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Gorgeous, this. I am a fan of 2015, an almost daily smoke, so it seemed natural to give this a go. St. James is pricey in Canada, albeit very tasty. Tin contents are a messy broken flake and the expected aroma of quality virginia. A few reviewers have labelled the perique as MIA, but it stepped right up to shake my hand, gently though, with discretion. Taste is similar to 2015 but as the tin says, rather more "complex". I found a spectrum of fullness present that I have not experienced with the above bulk, quite intoxicating. The blend is not overly sweet but savory and most satisfying. Unusually, I experienced very little bite, even straight out of the can into my pipe, with no drying time. Hey hey, she's a winnah...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

A good VAPER blend, nothing more nothing less, kind of an Escudo with the classic McClelland ketchup smell upon opening the tin. The good quality of the tobaccos used, another classic brand characteristic, guarantees an easy packing and an even smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ajaj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ajaj (69)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

I'm a fan of Mc's 2015 and other fine VAPERS, however, I did not enjoy St. James as I expected. The big difference between 2015 and St. James is the stoved virginias in St. James. This gives the tobacco an earthier deeper flavor but the pleasant 2015 sweetness and high notes are missing. The perique is first class but is lacking somewhat and quite muted. St. James does much better with some more perique added.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (75)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Wheres' the Perique? I must be honest in saying I could not detect any in the smoke. The vinegary tang was a little to pungent in this blend. Could it have had the effect of masking it? This may have been a rare inconsitent tin. The blending of the flake itself seemed crude. One peice of broken flake may consist of almost entirely black stove leaf and another of red virginia, with variations of running throughout the spectrum. This just did not seemed to be a precisely produced product that should have been blended with more care. The result of such would be a flake of finely alternate layerings of it's ingredients to produce a harmonious effect. Although the tobacco in and of itself is good enough.

- Cautiously not recomended, might try later

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (297)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Unmistakeably McClelland! Typical appetizing sour tin aroma, similar to Blackwoods Flake ma even more fruity: like pear juice with an extra acidic overtone (part due to the McC "ketchup", part due to the perique). If you have smoked other matured Virginias by this brand you know how to expect in quality and nice sweet fruitiness of the smoke, but the large presence of Perique imparts an astringent sourness. Very good, as the Louisiana leaf is well integrated into the blend. The taste stays consistent through the bowl, always very "sec": towards the end you may wish it had some more body and some more varied nuances, but it's still a very nice tobacco. Even with some aging (my tin was 2 years old) it can bite your tongue more than other McClelland tobaccos, so beware.

Not as great as Virginia 27 or Blackwoods Flake (which don't have Perique), but still recommended especially if you take care to dry it a bit after opening the tin.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Briarabbit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Briarabbit (116)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is my favorite McClelland pipe tobacco! Opening the tin the vinegar smell is very faint,but I do smell HIGH GRADE STOVED VIRGINIA and a hefty amount of that wonderful Louisanna leaf, PERIQUE. The color is Red,brown and black. Red,brown and black being the Virginia and dark brown the Perique. This tobacco is partially broken with some flakes broken in half.

(As others have said, let this tobacco dry out a bit)

Packing,the partial falkes fall apart easily,and it packs really well. Lighting is a breeze,and stays lit.

This is strong tobacco,and to me,that's a good thing. The taste is S P I C E Y,and D A R K. This tobacco tastes...spooky,and has that Perique echo that usually is way in the background,but here is playing up front along side the Virginia section. To me this is not at all for faint of heart,and most new pipe smokers should stay far away and ripen their taste buds first.

I wish McClelland sold this by the bushel! Bravo Zulu McClelland

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The St. James Woods that I tried was aged 5 years. The ketchup aroma was present, but somewhat muted. There was also a bit more of a spicy element to the tin aroma.

The ketchup is present in the taste at first, but quickly goes away leaving a very mild Virginia taste. The flavor builds gradually and by the 1/3 point it seems to be at its peak and maintains this level for the remainder of the bowl. The flavor is pleasant, not overly sweet. The finish was smooth without any harshness. Nothing remained in the bowl but some fine white to gray ash. The Perique is understated and enhances the overall flavor nicely.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Keeper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Keeper (112)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

A blend I just had the good fortune of trying gratis. A very dark, rich caramel like VA flavor which was a pleasure. The perique yields a spiced fruit undertone that I found very pleasant and never harsh. My sample is good and dry, which probably accounts for the smoothness and lack of bite. I never once experienced a sting outside the tart tang of the perique leaf.

This is a blend I am giving an overall high rating despite the fact I may not smoke it regularly (but will gladly finish off the sample). I tend to like my perique of the pinching jalapeno variety (Bayou Morning, Haddo's), where I would characterize this spice as closer to rich cayenne.

If you like a sweeter, more heavily stoved VA/P - this one could be for you.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

malthus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
malthus (5)
★★☆☆
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A $13.50 price tag is affixed to my can of St. James Woods. While this may not deter the dedicated and well-heeled pipester, I suspect that a few inquisitive souls would like to sample this blend before committing to the purchase of a 100 gram tin.Regrettably, I cannot donate to everyone the three or four grams necessary for a proper evaluation. I can, however, based on my own experience with this product, offer an ersatz demonstration to anyone with a food pantry: Go to your cupboard. Locate a packet of Old El Paso taco seasoning and tear it open. Hold it up to your nose. Note carefully the spicy ketchup smell. Next, remove the lid from that adjacent jar of pickled habeneros. The vinegar odor making your eyes water can readily be likened to McClelland's signature tin note. Here, you can either proceed to slowly chew a pepper drawn at random or gargle with a teaspoon of Tabasco brand habanero sauce. Actually, any pepper with a Scoville units rating of 300,000 will do for our purposes. With this experience fresh in your mind, reflect on the tin label's boast that St. James Woods is "pressed with the finest Louisiana Perique." For those who don't know, "Perique" is French for "prick," which, incidentally, is also an English noun. According to the New Dictionary of American Slang, it refers to "one who introduces a novice smoker to St. James Woods in order that he may amuse himself by watching his unsuspecting victim writhe in agony." The State of California warns that this product contains cancer-causing chemicals. Don't worry about tongue cancer, though. Yours will fall off before your 100 gram tin is finished.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darwin (101)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

05/30/04 SJW is a nice blend composed of red, and black stoved Virginias, with a moderate dose of perique. This week I popped a tin I've been aging for 5 years; I was excited about the possibilities. Unfortunetly, the experience didn't live up to the expectations. The deep notes are outstanding, but I crave the citrus tang I get from other McClelland VAs; here is where SJW is lacking for me. It seems the black stoved VAs mask the tangy red VAs as well as the fruity taste of the perique. Still it's a quality blend and others will surely enjoy the depth and subtle sweetness.

08/09/09 I just finished a 10 year old tin. The stoved Virginia no longer dominated the taste. Time melded the leaf and a more uniform flavor came forward. The perique seemed to get slightly more peppery and replace the fig and raisin in my prior review. I would have to say there was a nice improvement with the extra years, other than the effect of the perique because I'm partial to the fig and raisin flavor. I have an 18 year old tin stashed away. On its 20th birthday I'll report back.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joe Patterson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joe Patterson (48)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

I really like the strength this can deliver. If I am seeking strength, but not interested in smoking out the inside of a tree stump (latakia), then this is what I often go for. I the latakia blends mind you, but this is different. The tang of the VA's can be overwhelming, and the strength from the perique can pack a whollop at times, but by in large, the mix of the two is incomparable. I think I always have a tin of this open -- I'm going to make it a point to make sure I've got some aging at all times soon.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

chaplikc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chaplikc (135)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

While I dont like this as much as blackwoods flake, I do like this as least as much as dark star or better. This is good and reminds me somewhat of blackwoods flake except not quite as flavorful and complex as bwf. This is somewhat of a mystery in that perique normally brings out more complexity in virginia blends and I believe that bwf is very similar or the same but without the perique. At any rate I still enjoy this and would recomend this for virginia lovers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mailman 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mailman 5000 (60)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

McClellands flagship VA/P blend my tin was 4 years old . A fine looking flake . Great initial taste and a complex all the way down it of course merits recommendation . But the $64.000 question is with so many great VA/P blends availble is this one one of the greats . Maybe , but as other reviewers have noted 2015 may well have the edge to my taste. It's not bad but is perhaps not as good as I was hoping.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WxGuy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WxGuy (95)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

St James Woods, another of the "woods" blends from McC., apparently named after the parish where the inestimable leaf perique originates.

Unlike others, I found that about 3 h drying spread out on a cookie sheet was adequate drying time. (Also, the Mc.C trademark vinegar nose seemed to have evaporated). The consistency is just right for consuming as is. I find that leaving the broken flakes intact is an important thing to do with McC Virgs. to avoid the dreaded tongue bite. About a year of cellaring may have mellowed it a bit as well...

While still moist enough to be "flexible" rather than crumbly, I found this tobacco to remain lit surprisingly well. I use relatively small bowl (of which I have many) for Va/P blends, since they tend to be rather high in nicotine content. Typically a couple of lights on the front end, and one to finish things off is all that is required.

This is a quality Va/P blend, but I prefer McC #2015 as the virginias are a bit sweeter IMO and I love that sweet/perique juxtaposition. I will always keep some SJW around for variety's sake. THis stuff just keeps getting better w/ age.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tomgrega Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tomgrega (6)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I am actually trying my fifth bowl as we speak. Initially after opening it was very moist. The tin smell was very damp and the perique was pronounced. Being the compulsive person that I am, I of course immediately rubbed out and packed a bowl. Very hard to get going as to the moisture, and as a result, it burned hot. The perique overpowered the Virginia, and though not a terrible smoke, certainly nothing to write home about. I took the advice of the previous reviews and left the tin open to the air for about 2 days. The wait was worth it!!!! It required virtually no rubbing out, packed well, and burned cool and long. The Perique was just enough to give it a nice bite, but the Virginias were certainly the star. Defiantly a keeper, however those of us on the impatient side need to get over the initial bowl, let it dry out a bit and enjoy. (One day perhaps I?ll learn from those much wiser than me ).

Nobody has rated this review yet.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (260)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Another nicely prepared flake from McClelland that ranges from dark brown to black. Their typical vinegar aroma is again present when you open the tin and I let mine air out some before I even attempted my first smoke. I found a full, rich smoke suitable for enjoyment after meals that smokes cool and easily. I just can't smoke this one around company without complaints or negative comments. The heavy Perique loading of this blend, possibly combined with the jet black stoved VAs, is just too spicey for my tastes as an all day or even everyday smoke. You must love Perique more than I, to consider this as a regular smoke. I'm back to the Blackwoods blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Willy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Willy (75)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

When you open a tin of St. James Woods you're greeted with a pleasant but pungent vinegary aroma. Right away you know this stuff has some body to it. The mottled flakes were leathery like Blackwoods Flake and rightly so since this is Blackwoods w/a good helping of Perique. It rubs out fairly easy, packs and lights well but a little time drying helps. Spicy and tangy on the first puffs, the smoke is full, thick and creamy as you progress down the bowl, becoming rich and smoky after about the 1/2way point and losing a bit of the sweetness. The red & black stoved VAs dominate but the zesty, peppery taste of the Perique is most assuredly present. The tobacco does smoke a tad moist, but not enough to put one off or ruin the enjoyment of the smoke. That spicy taste remains present and reminds me of a lightly sweetened, mild salsa. There is a bit more "bite" here than w/Blackwoods but not overly so. The heavy smoke can nail ya, but relaxed puffing will keep the strength from being to "in yer face". This is a good blend that has a darker taste than say Three Nuns, Escudo or maybe Bengal Slices, all three of which I like, it's just heavier in body and taste and I would suggest this tobak for evenings after dinner or when taking a late fall afternoon/early evening walk. Burns clean to a fluffy ash. IMHO, ya gotta really like Perique to smoke this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

KEF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
KEF (13)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I'm fairly new to virginia flakes, transitioning from english blends, so this came as a wake-up call. Scent on opening the tin is vinegarish. After a few days of drying it loses the vinegar and slides toward a nose-tickling sharpness. Mostly darker thin cut wide flakes that I cut into 1/4 inch squares to smoke. I smoke this mostly in taller thinner bowls, and pack it fairly tightly - otherwise the flavor gets too thin for my english (blend) bred tastes. On lighting it is way more sharp than sweet, but as I (carefully) smoke it down the sweetness kicks in and remains to the end. Perique is obvious, but it seems to accentuate the virginia sweetness. The smoke does get thiner at the end of the bowl. This can bite terribly if smoked too fresh out of the tin or too quickly, but properly prepared and carefully smoked it is very enjoyable. Recommended. 8 of 10. - Kelly

Nobody has rated this review yet.

father_brian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
father_brian (12)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong

I enjoyed this blend, although I probably won't include it in my rotation. I find it a bit too strong to smoke on a regular basis.

The right combination of Virginas and Perique make this spicey blend a pleasure to smoke. It smokes smoothly, but can be a bit harsh to the inexperienced smoker.

The rough cut of the tobacco allows the smoker to break the chunks it into a desired size and consistancy, a plus for those who take their pipe smoking seriously. For those new to this style, it quickly becomes an inconvenience.

As with all McClelland blends, SJW is quite moist out of the can, but not as bad some of their other blends (e.g. Deep Hollow, Gray Havens, Frog, etc.). After initially opening the can, expose it to the open air for a day or two. This should dry it out a bit.

Otherwise, you'll get a lot of condensation, which spoils the smoking experience and ruins the unique taste of this blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mparker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mparker (51)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Nice va/perique blend. It's in flake form, but the flakes in my tin were sliced quite thin, are were fairly small (roughly dime-sized), so this tobacco needed no rubbing out. It's a little harsh when new, but smooths out within a few weeks of being opened. My current tin has been in the humidor for several years (obviously this isn't my daily smoke!) and my most recent pipe a few days ago was really quite nice, with the plum/dark cherry flavor of the virginias nicely balanced by the sour spiciness of the perique. You do have to be careful of the nicotine -- if you smoke too quickly or inhale a bit this tobacco will flatten you with its punch.

The room aroma from this aged tin is nondescript, the best description I could get from my wife was "pipey", but she didn't find it terribly objectionable. However, when this tin was new I heard the aroma described most charitably as "burning gym socks", so YMMV.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

rjm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rjm (10)
★★★☆
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

As with most McClelland blends, it is a mistake to judge this tobacco by its aroma in the tin. The typical "ketchup" flavor is there (although perhaps not as potently as in other McC. blends) and gives you little indication of what is to come. The tobacco itself is in broken flake form and is dark brown to black in color. As with all Va./perique blends, this blend benefits from a couple of weeks of drying out in an opened tin. (The SJW I purchased didn't really hit its stride until it had been open for two months!). I don't bother to rub this out, although if you are particularly prone to tongue bite you should consider doing so. The tobacco lights easily and stays lit with little difficulty. The wonderful perique flavor is obvious from the first puff, along with a certain "spiciness" that is, I believe, unique to this blend. I would consider this tobacco "strong", as it yields a good nicotine punch without being too overwhelming. Overall, I would recommend this to any va/perique lover as a must try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.