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Hand-blended, premium pressed Virginia flake tobaccos. A fine vintage, naturally sweet, in limited quantity.

Notes: Produced in 1992, 1994-present in limited quantities. Tinned in July of the respective year.

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
CutBroken Flake
Packaging50 grams or 100 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Mild to Medium, Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3023)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The familiar "vinegar/ketchup" smell was less noticeable in the taste of the tobacco than it was to my nose, though I didn't find it distracting. The Virginias were very ripe, tangy, dried dark fermented fruit sweet with a little tart and tangy citrus, some earth, wood and a little spice, sugar, and grass here and there. The strength was a step the center of mild to medium, while the taste was a slot past that. It burned cool, clean and slow with some moisture at the finish even when dried a little, but no dottle. Needed some relights. Found it worked best when packed a little loosely. The nic-hit was mild with no bite, and had a very consistent flavor, and a pleasant after taste. An all day smoke.


6 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Looks in the tin like pretty much all the other CC's - broken flake of mottled color but leaning more towards the darker browns. Heavy McClellands fermented Virginia in the tin, or what some folks refer to as ketchup or vinegar. But fear not, if you dry it out properly, that aroma does not translate to the taste.

As is my custom, I smoked the first bowl at tin moisture. As usual, it was pretty blah. Smoked dry, it exhibited the usual red Virginia flavors of tang and fruitiness, with some "spice rack" notes. Losing the moisture will give you a much better idea of what the tobacco actually tastes like. This one needed more dry time than most CC's and even dialed in to the level I felt was ideal tastewise, this one never quite jelled for me like most CC's have. In fact, this was a bit on the unrefined side. It alternated between some areas of roughness and a lot of areas of being overly smooth and not as flavorful as most of the Christmas Cheer. For anyone that thinks they all taste alike, compare this one to the 2005. Very different in their presentation. I smoked about 2.5 oz of this over the course of a month, at different times of the day and so on to see if I could get its full measure, which I'm not sure I ever did. Suffice it to say that I have just the one tin and I don't feel any great need to search out more. Good but not great, and not up to McClelland standards in my book. One of the more odd CC's I've smoked. I'll finish the tin but I'd guess it'll be next Christmas before I do.

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I came upon this excellent tobacco by way of a friend who had himself sampled and sealed the flakes in a mason jar. Over time through a trade it made its way to my cellar and lingered there for almost a year before I smoked the last bit of it today, I was sorry to see it go.

I smoked this blend in over a dozen pipes ranging from large group 3?s to small group 5?s and I can recall no tongue bite or what I consider misbehavior whatsoever on behalf of the blend.

The tin note (or jar note) was light, and had lost much of the in your face aroma that comes from opening a brand new off of the packaging line tin and slightly hinted to figs, raisins, and straw. Also I might add it seemed to have lost much of the aroma that I find characteristic of McClelland blends, though present now were sugar crystals that had over time formed on the beautiful red and yellowish flakes.

I have smoked Christmas Cheer 1998 stuffed as a flake, and fully rubbed out, both techniques yielded a phenomenal smoking experience, the char light was no Herculean effort- the first few puffs were very zesty, and keeping the bowl lit was quite easy. Admittedly I rarely have a problem with relighting and am not prone to complain about having to tamp and relight a pipe, in fact it is one of the many aspects of pipe smoking that I very much enjoy.

The bowl that I am smoking at the moment is smoldering the last I have of this fine blend, it is in a Danish Pot carved by the extraordinarily talented Hans Former Nielsen. I find the taste to be consistent albeit a little more subdued with the younger Christmas Cheer productions; clearly it has mellowed with time though it lost none of its sweetness throughout the bowl.

Highly recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

12-03-04 Age makes a difference!

Appearance and Tin aroma: Dark reddish flakes lots of sugar crystals (6 years aged). Yes, it has the tang you either love or hate.

Packing and Lighting: The flakes were pretty tough after all these years of ageing. I found that it burns a lot nicer if fully rubbed out. Took 3-4 lights to get it going.

Initial Flavor: If smoked gently, delicious sweet VA tanginess. If you puff on it too strongly upon lighting, you'll get a bitter and astringent flavor.

Mid-Bowl: Sipping at this point yeilds a sublime flavor. You can almost taste each leaf's distinct flavor.

Bottom of Bowl: A nice build up of strength and spicyness that is not overwhelming. Very nice! Light grey ash is all that is left.

Overall: This is not a beginners blend. I found it worked best in Group 3 sized bowls. You must have good control in order to get the pot of Gold at the the end of the Rainbow. If smoked gently and methodically, you will be blessed with a fine, fine smoke with a clean aftertaste when it is all over. Unfortunately, when this is all gone (I'm about 3/4 done on a 100g. Tin)it's gone. I suppose I am going to get on the ball and start buying these CC's from MCC every year now so I can age them.

Rating: 4 out 5 points, Enjoy!

2 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (632)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have tried quite a few years of this annual McClelland offering and this is not the oldest, but it is the oldest that I could actually review. I was given a bowl of the 1994 offering at the last Chicago Show, but as is always the case with bowls at the Chicago show, they are accompanied by much whiskey and so many more bowls than I normally consume, that my palate is too overwhelmed to give a worthy review.

So I was happy when a friend from Quebec shared some of his bounty with me. This turned out to be about 4 big bowls worth. I am not good at differentiating between the diffrering vintages of CC as they all taste pretty similar to me, so I can't comment on how this particular vintage compares to the year before or after it, but with 20 years gone by at this point, I think it is a moot point.

Some say Virginias peak at 10 years aging, I say that is hogwash as I found this to be the sweetest tasting CC I have had to date and this comes not too far off finishing a tin of CC 2002 about a year ago. It was a phenomenal experience. The leaf itself did not contain much plume, actually less than was on the leaf from 2002, but it did not matter.

I have tins in the cellar dating from 2000 to the final year of 2017 (really 2016?) and this experience has mre really pleased at the prospect of trying these in the coming years.

As a friend once explained it to me. McClelland Christmas Cheer is to Virginia tobacco as the single malt is to Scotch whisky. And as always with the varying vintages, I highly recommend it.

Age When Smoked: 19+ years

1 person found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After being gifted an ounce of this at a recent pipe show, I was hesitant to smoke it due to the number of poor reviews. With that said, when I finally did smoke the 11+ year old blend I was pleased to find a quality Virginia flake. '98 is wonderfully sweet, with no bite, even when pushed. I wish I had more of it. Most of my Christmas Cheer tins are less than four years old so I am going to stay away from comparisons. Like most straight Virginia flakes, they are not meant for beginners. It is a little light in the strength department for my tastes but if offered another tin at a reasonable price, it would be a no brainer. Recommended!

1 person found this review helpful.

CornCob Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CornCob (94)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I had purchased two cans of this series(98'&02')and i held them in high regard and they earned a distingushed spot on the shelf next to my most prized vintage/limited edition blends, all but ready to be smoked with high anticipation when the time is right.Upon opening the can of 98', i was expecting a burst of festive aromas;nutmeg?eggnog?plum pudding perhaps?Instead i was met with christmas vinager!I was not optimistic at this point and was ready to call the whole thing off, but i perservered.I rubbed out a pinchful in my hand, then cupped my palms and went in for a sniff.I was greeted with a simple smell of the most typical run of the mill flakes on the market today.It took some effort to get it lit, but when it did, WOW did it burn hotter than hell.It lacked the flavour, complexity and body i had expected from a holiday smoke, especially one held in such high regard. Now thinking i had opened the only bad vintage, so i trucked on and against my better judgment i decided to open the 02' once my mouth had cooled. I so desperatly wanted to like the series, i wanted to look forwrd to ordering and smoking this treat of yule!But to my dismay and disgust there was absolutly no difference between the two in my opinion.I decided to give the two cans away to someone who may enjoy them, and vowed never to buy this series again. I think there are much better holiday/Christmas blends out there at better prices.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was anticipating trying this and was sorely dissapointed with it. This is possibly the worst mcclelland tobacco I have tried. This burns very hot and is like a pit bull with its bite! The flavor was not good either. It was a cross between pickles and steam. Very bad!

1 person found this review helpful.

RMP Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RMP (7)
Medium Medium Medium Tolerable

After experiencing the '97 CC, the '98 was a real let down. I seemed to be just another Red VA, with no real distinguishing flavors to make it stand out. Of the '97 I bought 15 tins; of the '98 I bought 1 tin, and ended up using it as blending tobacco. This '98 CC was just a blip, as all the subsequent CC's have been noteworthy from the start.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After almost a decade in the tin I figured it was time to let the cat out of the bag. The tobacco was firm and dry in the tin and had an almost coarse texture to it. Lighting it proved to be a bit of a challenge, but once lit it burned well. There were a lot of sweet tasting leaves in the first part of the bowl. As the bowl progressed the tobacco had a bit of spice to it. Towards the bottom of the bowl everything came together well. Why only the two star rating you might as? After having many other Christmas Cheer blends, I know McClelland is capable of so much better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable


There's not much to add to RCUSElder's excellent review, but I'll chime in anyway. Yes, it seems age does make a difference in this blend based on the previous reviews. After almost 7 years in the tin, this is one fine Virginia tobacco.

I will warn you that you may want to smoke this one slowly due to its high sugar content, but if you do you'll find the wonderful citrus/lemon flavor that makes it unique. The flakes are a little thick and tough, so I've been rubbing them out a little. I wouldn't recommend this blend to everyone, only dyed in the wool McClelland VA lovers, which I am proudly a member. This is not an everyday smoke, but a special blend for special occasions. I've got a few more tins tucked away, so I'll report back on the aging progress.

The "I smoke this on occasion" review is based on its limited production, not its quality or my enjoyment of this vintage Virginia.

Nobody has rated this review yet.