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Prime, ribbon-cut Burley with a touch of Virginia Bright. A truly rich Burley without added flavorings. A great natural blend for Burley lovers.

Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsBurley, Virginia
Product Image
Mild to Medium
Very Mild
Mild to Medium
Room Note

Favorite Of 3 Users

29 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (1946)
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The Virginia is a little grassy and sweet with a touch of citrus, and very slight sharpness. Though it is a minor player, it contrasts nicely with the burley. The burley is the star; nutty with a touch of molasses and some cocoa. They say there is no topping here, but I disagree because there’s no known burley with this much cocoa taste, which is rich with being powerful. I get a vanilla note which either comes from the topping or a pinch of coumarin. Has a mild nic-hit. No chance of bite is present. No harsh or cigarette notes at all. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with a smooth, mildly creamy, consistent flavor. Needs few relights, and leaves just a little moisture in the bowl. Has a decent after taste. Can be an all day smoke.

3 people found this review helpful.

The Saint Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Saint (7)
Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Very Pleasant

I'm not a big burley smoker. I've always found them rather bland, until now. I opened the zip lock bag it came in and put my nose to the tobacco, chocolate and vanilla came to mind, but just a hint, not like a aromatic blend. Packed easily and stayed lit well. So smooth and no bite. This would be my first recomendation to a new pipe smoker. Before I knew it the bowl was done and I wanted more. Whenever I want a change from my Latakia english type blends, I will have this by my side.

2 people found this review helpful.

Ryepipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ryepipe (19)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Smooth, really. If this is not cased then it must be some Deertongue but just enough to sweeten in the background. Way less than C & D's Crooner. This is by far the best uncomplicated burley I have tried. I'm not an all day smoker but I can do a bowl in the am and more later. If you like burley this is a gimme. Happy camper here.

Update:11/20/10 okokok enough with the deertongue. Still like but less frequent.

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (799)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

I bought an estate briar and the seller threw in a 2 oz baggie of this. How cool is that??? Toffee-brown ribbon cut with a rather noticeable aroma of chocolate in the bag. Easy to load and it took to the match very well, giving off large plumes of smoke.

This seemed a bit to0 moist and a bit too chocolatey to be "unflavored" as is claimed. I think McCranie's sources some of their blends from McClellands and I believe this is one. McClellands "unflavored" burleys seem a bit flavored to me as well, and I think this is their X-10. But no matter, this is no aromatic. The burley and bright tobacco taste is at the forefront. The casing is mild enough to be noticeable but is not intrusive. Seems like an excellent tobacco to break in a briar, and I picked up two recently (odd for a dedicated meerschaum guy!). I found no complexity here, as is the case for many burley blends, but the flavor was consistent up and down the bowl and didn't get bitter or harsh... which sometimes does occur with burley. So if you enjoy a little extra flavoring in your burley but still want a natural smoke, this one should be on your short list.

1 person found this review helpful.

LifeOfRiley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LifeOfRiley (11)
Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

In a word, pleasant. There's the obvious nuttiness of the burley but also just the right hint of vanilla or deertongue in the background. It can be enjoyed as an all-day smoke while going about your business, but also has enough subtlety to be quietly savored on the back porch. Nice room note, easy to keep lit, little to no bite. Use it either as a mainstay or for when you want to a change- up from English or aromatic blends.

1 person found this review helpful.

Steden Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Steden (93)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Another gift from Clarkus. Indeed an exquisite tobacco offering to the nose the typical dark chocolate note of the Burley (underlined with a light cocoa/vanilla flavoring) and delighting the mouth with an unbelievable mellowness and a pleasant nuttiness. Besides it smokes quite cool leaving a pleasant room note.

Thanks to Clarkus and applause to the blender of Mc Cranie's.

Drink suggestion: a chestnut beer.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1826)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

This, my friends, is one of the smoothest, delightful burley blends I have ever had the pleasure of putting into my pipe. When my palate screams for burley, Old Master is the ticket!

This burley does not bite, does not turn sour as you move down the bowl, and leaves a fresh, clean taste in your mouth once you have completed a pipeful. The taste buds clammer for more almost immediately.

Seriously, if you have not experience Old Master's flavor and you enjoy burley, call the McCranie boys and order a pound of this stuff. You can thank me later.

1 person found this review helpful.

Clarkus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Clarkus (26)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Without repeating what has already been said, this is my favorite burley blend. I've been a burley smoker for years only recently venturing into VA's and I find this to be an extremely fine tasting blend. It burns well, smells good and tastes great. While I intend to continue my venture into VA's I will certainly want a burley to go to and this will be it.

Update: Middleton's Sugar Barrel blows the doors off this one. I'm leaving my recommendation at three stars because it is a decent burley.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

Folks seem to love this! Well, I will give it three stars, then. Actually, it was one of the first pipe tobaccos I tried, and I moved on from it. I can't think of anything negative to say about it; apart from the fact that it just didn't turn my crank, resound with me, whatever. Supposed to be a great tobacco for the beginner, but the first tobacco I loved was Stokkebye Bullseye Flake. No accounting for taste! Old Master is mild and pleasant, perhaps too much so.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

frankluke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
frankluke (17)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

this blend was just a throw in a few orders ago from mccranies, it's a bulk blend doesn't look all that great, palish looking burley and lemon colored virginia, which i hate the color of. smell in the baggy was, well, nothing, it didn't have a sweet smell or a hay smell that i get from other burley blends. now maybe you can understand why i didn;t bother trying it for a few months. for whatever the reason i decided to try this last week. i'll keep it short and sweet, this is simply the best burley blend i've tried... looks aside this blend get's A's across the board from packing, lighting, smoke volume you name it. cool smoking, thats not a throw in line, it smokes extremely cool and fresh and has a nice room note. you get that typical nutty burley taste but with the addition of virginia you get an added sweetness thats not found in most burley blends i've tried, thats a big reason on why i like this blend so much. give it a try fellas, it's a can't miss blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Plex Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Plex (39)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

Simple, flavorful, sweet, smooth burning with great nose, no glop, bite or goo found in the bag, bowl, stem or mouth.

Well worth getting yourself a sample bag and relaxing after lunch with a pleasant and pleasing smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SirLoirn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SirLoirn (126)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Only one solid dark red-brown auburn or chestnut color to it. Moderate vanilla chocolate aroma in the bag. This tobacco comes in bulk, not tin.

Light, mellow chocolate taste and aroma.

Light sweetener and a smidgen of vanilla may have been added, and mildly nutty. Leaves a pleasant room aroma.

So, it may be lightly flavored, but this is definitely a Burley, not an "aromatic."

Tobacco in the bag is moist. Incomplete combustion in bottom of bowl due to moisture, using tobacco straight from bag. Let the tobacco dry out for a day on a plate. I tried this and it still smoked wet in the bottom of the bowl(humectant?). And it still left a sticky reidue on my fingers.

No tongue bite, but scours the lips.

Slow burning

This could be smoked all day. A mild, mellow Burley.

4 stars for a mild, light, all-day smoke with a good room note. 2 stars, due to moisture in pipe and mouth scour.

3 stars overall

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Michigander Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Michigander (19)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

This one is much milder than I had expected based on the aroma in the bag. It is a beautiful if somewhat mild smoke. I detected none of the sweetness or casing that others have commented on. To me both the taste and the aroma are clean and natural tobacco. The room note is mild yet pleasant. Towards the light end of the spectrum and a very nice smoke.

As with all McCranie's, the burn is spot-on and ends with a dry ash.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pkloop Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pkloop (50)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

The one arrives in bulk..

Upon opening the bag I am greeted with a wonderfull aroma. The bags' content, is a mostly brown mix of burley & I guess VA. My sample was neither overly moist or PG'ed..

Packing & Lighting: This blend is an easy 3 step pack & lighting is a breeze. The leaf takes to flame straight away.

Smoking: This is an excellent burley! Smooth, cool, nutty, sweet. There is no way that this isn't cased. Its too sweet to be straight. Not that the sweetness is a problem mind you..Its great and doesn't distract at all. FWIW I can't detect any VA's here..and I could care less..This is a great blend.

Finish: Finishes up to a nice, dry, ash. You won't be finding any huge clumps of dottle left over.

Folks this could easily be an all day smoke..never hard on your palate..just a nice sweet & nutty taste. Give it a won't regret it! 3 of 4 nice blend McCranie's!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

obxemt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
obxemt (26)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

If you've decided to venture out and look for a burley blend, stop here. I can't really add anything to the other comments, other than to point out the high quality of the tobacco itself. Also, if you are a dedicated aromatic smoker, you may want to start with "Porter's Pride" instead, which seems to me to be a more aromatic version of this (maybe the same thing, just cased?). Appearance is identical and aroma is quite similar. Even though PP is a high quality mild aromatic, when you want something more natural but still with a nice aroma, switch back to this. I purchased this on Bjarne day as well, and found the moisture content was perfect for smoking...not dry, not moist.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Talonr1701 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Talonr1701 (119)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Picked this up going to the Bjarne Trunk show that McCraines hosted. They were great hosts and we all had a great time..... That said, I got three blends while I was there. I am starting with Old Master. Smoking this at their great tobacco bar- This was a mildly sweet, nicely nutty blend with a bit of spice that reminds me of granulated deer tongue. Its a great blend that burned to a nice white ash, very well behaved- no bite or nip. Got 7 oz's. When I got it home, the stuff was damp with PG or some kind of artificial humectant. Serious bummer. It took three days to dry out and start to recover the taste I was looking for. Over all- Recomended- but it would have done better with less PG.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Brian Scherzer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brian Scherzer (6)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I tend to choose which tobacco to smoke based on the pipe and the mood I may be in at the time. Sometimes, I want a stronger taste or maybe a bit of "pepper" from a blend with perique in it. What had been missing for me was a blend that was relatively mild, had little casing, but had taste and good room note. Based on the reviews read here, I decided to try Old Master, and found that it was a perfect fit. Unlike some fairly mild blends, OM has sufficient taste to keep things interesting. It is neither sweet or sour, but has a distinctive taste that is unlike the other blends I smoke. It seems perfect for a beginning smoker due to a lack of tongue bite, easy loading into any pipe, and good burning qualities. A person might get bored with OM after a while, but I now find myself smoking Old Master about 50% of the time. More experienced pipe smokers will likely enjoy OM whenever they want a smoke that isn't overpowering or highly aromatic.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

There's a lot of "no's" with this tobacco that add up to one big yes. No bite, no re-light, no topping, no dottle, and no sour pipe. It burns slowly, evenly, and completely to a fine ash.

The smoke is light and full bodied. The taste: nutty and vaguely sweet. It's also one very consistent smoke. I'm new to Burley, so I have to figure that's it. Most VA's and aromatics I've had seem to taste differently in different pipes. Not OM; I've packed it in a Peterson, a Don Carlos, a beater, and a corn cob; with the same wonderful results. (Sitting here, about to light the THIRD bowl of it today!) Really didn't think anything could be this good.

One last note: I kind of get that McClelland "vinegar" aftertaste with Old Master. Has anyone else had this experience? But far from being a negative it's a huge personal plus and the reson I pay through the nose for 221b Honeydew. It makes it more than a smoke, it's a snack in a bowl.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

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

I readily join the chorus of praise for this fine blend of quality tobaccos. The sweetness of Virginia Brights has it's sharpness mediated effectively by the Burley's rich and full nutty flavor. Here is a smoke for any time and place. As the smoke progresses, it continues to develop into increasingly greater levels of enjoyment, not unlike the prelude of a sunrise. From fine ingredients come fine products and this is no exception. I can think of other Burley blends that have achieved far less with more tobaccos used. Simple, yet high in quality, these leaves combine to give a most unusually satisfying smoke. Slow burning and heavy with dark oils, it yeilds an excellent reward for the Burley/Virginia pipester.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a Flying Dragon by Gezer

Nobody has rated this review yet.

tonyg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tonyg (103)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Not being a big fan of burley, Old Master was a plesant surprise. This is a high quality tobacco despite its relativly low cost. For whatever reason, the Virginia's seem to prevail and shine in this blend. The folks at McCrannie's do a very fine job with all their tobaccos. If you're looking for a Virginia Blend from them, you might want to begin with Owner's Choice or My Reserve; if you're looking for a Burley blend, then Old Master or Currituck is the way to go.

I find that airing this out a bit, produces a far more enjoyable smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OLDTIMER Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

I have been a pipe smoker for over thirty years, and I am always looking for the perfect all day tobacco. Well I just found it. This tobacco is so mild, and tasty, and bite free, I want another bowl right after I finish my last.It is slightly sweet and nutty in flavor. If you like Burley try this one. It is truly different.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Taste Buds Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Taste Buds (169)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I'm slowly working my way through my second 7oz. bag of Old Master in two years. So it's obvious that burley blends are not a regular smoke for me. This mixture arrives very wet and needs a few days to dry out. Once dried, it is a very pleasant nutty mixture of fine burley with a touch of virginia. There is definitely a sweetener added, which does not distract from the taste and seems to smooth it out. This blend burns cool and dry to a white ash and there is no harshness. It smokes well in both briars and cobs, although cobs and burley seem to go together. The room aroma is pleasant and light. This is a very straightforward one dimensional blend which I'll smoke more of during the summer months.

Update: October 21/05 I'm downgrading this blend to 2 stars from 3. I've lost my taste for this tobacco. If you check out my reviews, you'll see that I've found a burley replacement that's substantially better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ENThomsen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ENThomsen (5)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This blend is possibly THE choice for the unaltered burley smoker. Perhaps HOW is the master of burlies, but they would do well to research how the McCranies came up with this one. I alternated smoking OM with (HOW's) "Union Leader" and detected no flavorings with OM while UL's light honey topping became more apparent.

Granted, OM could have less moisture, but, this is far from a "problem".

OM is definitely worth whatever effort it takes to get it: start driving to Charlotte or place your order now.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.1512 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.1512 (196)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Now here is an absolutely fantastic Burley blend. Creamy and nutty with just a hint of vanilla. Yummy stuff!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Blackie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackie (16)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

This is a fantastic Burley blend. As others have noted, it is creamy, nutty and has the most vague whisper of vanilla. At the proper humidity, this burns extrodinarily mild and all the way down the bowl. So far, I've smoked this in three different pipes, and it really did not matter, I could not force this to be bad in any way.

After about half the pipe, I noticed that I was enjoying the tobacco so much, that I was really heating the whole works up by aggressive puffing. Not a hint of a bite or change in flavor, however. This really behaves.

In a world of tobacco complexities, O.M. is like a ice cold glass of milk or iced tea. It is just a pure, refreshing, honest flavor. Whether you smoke VA, English, or topped blends, I highly recommend Old Master. This is obviously an outstanding grade of Burley and is, in my opinion, the benchmark of Burley tobacco.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (86)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

McCranie?s Old Master Review

I don't review many...a kindness I've decided to bestow on the good readers here. But I wanted to do this review as a favor to Todd McCranie for being kind to me when I didn't really deserve it...and because I wanted to see this excellent product called up when others did a search here based on 4-star rating (which takes five reviews). So then:

But before I do...I DID order a pound of the same time (though from different shops) that I ordered a pound of Nut Brown Burley...thanks pipestud! OK - onward...

I'd been skulking along the backroads and often dismal alleyways of Burley and mostly Burley blends...grilling a number of "most likely suspects"...finally rounding up MacBaren's Burley London Blend and Wilke's Nut Brown Burley as those that I thought had the best physical smoking characteristics and richness of flavor...without the fizzle and sourness or bite I sought to avoid. And although there are many other fine entries into this catagory the exploration ultimately led me to McCranie's Old Master - as in many times past following the guideposts set by erstwhile reviewers here that have gone before me.

What a find! Pouch aroma is divine! Smokes smooth and cool all the way, consistant of flavor, eager of burn, thick clouds, friendly to pipe after pipe (each of my two identical inexpensive Stanwell "freehands" and the little Bjarne pot...all of which seem to smoke everything this blend). I'm smoking it now in a deep antique microrusticated Brackner Danish Ax and it's holding it's own, if not perfectly, at least rather well. Frequent mild tamping seem to help it stay cool in this bowl - but I'm thinking a bowl of less volume is the answer. Next will be the obvious Cob - I've a fairly new bent Country Gentleman that awaits. There seems to be some conversation that this might be cased, though McCranie's literature says not. Whatever. If so, it must be with the same pixie dust that the god's have blessed onto Bob's Chocolate Flake - for without a true side by side my oral and olefactory flavor neurons seem to tickle the same receptor cells in what remains of my brain. This is praise, as Bob's is considered a guilty pleasure around here. I'm thinking that this will be a marvelous Summer standard...though it never turns truely hot or humid in our end of the world. I can huff and puff and try to melt my pipe with the gusto of my cadence - and the stuff just chugs away providing it's steady cocoa-bacco flavor. I don't think others have mentioned...that a light sipping/side-streaming really allows the flavor to bloom. Lovely. Let's see...the price is right (it's bulk), moisture level at delivery is fine, packs and lights very easily...gosh folks, to me it's a major winner! 5 out of 5

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tiger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tiger (53)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Well, Mr. Pipestud above called this one right on target. Holy Toledo this stuff is good! I really, really like McBaren's Burley London Blend but it has just been moved to 2nd place. McCranie's "Old Master" is way, way above anything I ever thought Burley could be!!!


Nobody has rated this review yet.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I don't know how to fully describe this concoction except to say this is very tasty and a cool smoke as well. Rich enough to hold ones' interest but mild enough to smoke most of the day. And, it smells much better than most blends with this much flavor. Update: Downgraded to three plus due to mild taste.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
Mild Mild Medium Pleasant

This is one great burley blend! Don?t look for complex flavors here but do look forward to a straightforward pleasingly sweet and very flavorful smoke from beginning to end. For you fast puffers, puff away, there is no bite. McCrainie?s claims this is a natural tobacco without added flavorings but I?m not so sure. I found Old Master to be a very flavorful blend. Maybe it's just me but I think it has a modicum of topping so McCrainie?s claim leaves me puzzled. Regardless, this is an all day smoke for sure! If you are like me and have several tobaccos open, you may find yourself reaching for this blend more often than your other open blends. I thought I liked Wilke Nut Brown burley and I do but, and this may be sacrilegious to say, I like Old Master burley more. I actually find Old Master more similar to the fruity topped Country Doctor by HOW, but better as well. I rate this tobacco 9.95 out of 10

Nobody has rated this review yet.