McClelland Anniversary 1977-2010

An elegant matured Virginia ribbon-cut blend, naturally sweet with that clarity of flavor possessed by only the best Virginias. Seasoned lightly with fine, cool-smoking Cyprian latakia. Aged for months to mellow.
Notes: Originally a limited edition Virginia mixture released in 2002 in celebration of McClelland's twenty-fifth anniversary; McClelland has decided to reintroduce its Anniversary blend in 2005 due to overwhelming demand. A fine Virginia mixture with just a pinch of latakia to spice things up; this is an impeccable blend, sure to become a favorite. Originally released in 2002 to commemorate 25 years of quality tobacco manufacturing, a total of 3000 tins were issued wrapped in commemorative ecru paper with a red wax seal. A second issue, bearing a green wax seal and an updated date span on the paper wrapping (1977-2005), was released in 2005. A third issue, bearing a (brownish) natural wax seal and updated date span (1977-2010), was released in 2010.


Brand McClelland
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Virginia/Latakia
Contents Latakia, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.22 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 69 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 23, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I have to go against the other reviews. I read the reviews and bought this tobacco anticipating greatness. I gave it away after two bowls. I do not like this one at all. I'm not a big fan of latakia, which is the predominant taste, for me, in this blend. However, if you like latakia, give it a try. I don't want to turn anyone away. I'm just giving you my review. It was easy to light and keep lit, the texture of the smoke is what I like, and the aroma in the room is okay.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 09, 2010 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
An excellent virginia blend with a smidge of latakia. The virginias are naturally sweet and complex and the addition of a light amount of latakia really takes this blend to another level. On the face of it, it seems that mixing two tobaccos together should be easy. As an amateur blender, I can say it isn't!

I never got a chance to smoke the original issue but this 2005 is excellent. It has a nice level of smokiness... not too much so that the virginias are buried, but enough to elevate this beyond their green Oriental series. This is one blend that in my opinion the smoker needs to exhale through the nose, at least occasionally, to get the most from it. It's very nuanced, and simple puffing will cause the smoker to miss a lot of the subtleties. Exhaling through the nose includes the entire tasting palate and elevates this blend to superstar status. Anniversary is that good! I'm going to stock up on this and hope that when this vintage is gone, they'll come out with another that is just as excellent!
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 29, 2002 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant
First, let me say how much I appreciate McClelland's tobacco company for all it has done for our hobby. They have many wonderful blends to choose from, including Anniversary. My pipe club popped a tin of this at our year 2008 meeting. All 16 members who attended tried a bowl and the reviews were glowing. Most enjoyed the blend from top to bottom. Their impression of the Virginias was that it was stronger near the bottom, but not harsh, and that the Latakia was smoky and rich. Truly worthy of its name, Ecru paper with wax seal wrap, and the McClelland's name.

13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 31, 2002 Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
Like a lot of folks, I remember the old McClelland tobacco tins. Beautifully wrapped in white paper, with a giant, red wax seal displaying a Whale breaching the Ocean's surface in the moonlight, the tobacco was a stand out in it's market, even before you opened the freakin' tin.

Packaging: 100g tin, labeled with ecru paper, gold embossed logo and script. Covered in Ecru paper, sealed with red wax. Tobacco appearance and fragrance: Fully rubbed, good uniformity, overall very dark in composition. Upper olfactory registers the ever so faint McClelland signature acetic acid, with delicate hints of Latakia, rounding the lower realms. *Perfect* moisture content, by my tastes. Packs well, let take 'er for a drive!!! Flame hits weed, releasing soft clouds of muted fragrance, soft? This stuff makes velvet seem like sandpaper. The scent is primarily Va, with utterly no edge. Latakia is present, but in such small amounts that it only provides a slight darkness for the Moon (Va) to hang in. The Bear's palate can detect no orientals (save Latakia, if you choose to categorize it thus), and no perique. Burn was consistent all the way through, developing an extra dimension of nuts in the bottom third of the bowl. Bottom line: Outstanding example of a soft, all day, indoor English tobacco. Displays great finesse and breeding. Would especially recommend to those who prefer their weeds with less Latakia, and to Va lovers that would like to add an occasional Latakia into their rotation, but who have been put off by "Big Shouldered" Lats. 9 out of 10 Bear Claws.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
When I smoke a blend consisting of nothing but Virginia and Latakia there are two things that I have come to expect. First that I will be treated to a tangy, meaty, smoky combination that both invigorates and relaxes; second, I expect this experience to be negatively augmented by a fair share of heat in smoking that detracts from the overall experience in that I have to be extra careful not to scorch my tongue and ruin all further enjoyment of flavor. It is the one great curse of all blends of this sort.

Or, at least, it was up until now. Somehow, the notoriously inconsistent McClelland Tobacco Company have managed to make a blend of naught but Latakia and Virginia that not only showcases all of the best smoking, olfactory, and visual appeals of those varieties of leaf, they do so without any heat or harshness coming through in the smoke. This stuff is good, righteous good and a truly worthy commemoration of the company?s fortuitous anniversary. Truly, that charming waxen seal was not wasted on these tins.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
This review pertains to the red wax version. The Cyprian latakia is smoky, woodsy sweet and while not a major component, you will notice it throughout the smoke. Sometimes, it's more obvious than it is at other times. The Virginias seem to be red and stoved, offering some sweet fruit (dark and citrus with a mild fermentation), a little earth, slight grassiness and a touch of spice. It has the familiar "vinegar" smell you expect from a McClelland Virginia blend, but that taste doesn't linger throughout the smoke, nor does it mitigate the flavor nuances. The nic-hit is just past the mild level. Won't bite or get harsh and is a cool smoke. Burns slightly less than moderately, and requires some relights, and burns just a little moist. Sometimes, it will leave a little dottle, other times not, so I recommend a light dry time. Has a very pleasing after taste and I never heard a complaint about the room note. Not quite an all day smoke, unless you're a McClelland aficionado who's addicted to this company's blends.

10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 12, 2011 Mild Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
It was the green wax seal and almost plain looking paper packaging that caught my eye. McClelland Anniversary? What's this? McClelland makes some (of what I consider) good tobacco! I popped onto this site and as soon as I saw that it was a combination of Virginia and Latakia, I was intrigued, and knew I had to give this a go.

This is one of those tobaccos that is truly different. After first popping the tin, the sweet smoke of latakia drifted up to my nostrils. Just the faintest hint of vinegar and BBQ sauce floated around in the air. I sealed it again, and upon popping it a second time, I was struck with a beautiful scent of dried sugar plums. Nosing this tobacco is a curiosity.

It's late 2011, and this tin was from 05, so perhaps it was the additional 6 years of aging this tin did in an Albuquerque tobacco shop. The moisture level was perfect- throughout the smoke, I got absolutely no gurgle, and next to absolutely no tongue bite. The other tobaccos I regularly smoke- They couldn't boast that on their virgin experiences with me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I carefully loaded half a bowl into an askwith accustomed to english tobacco, and put flame to it. First light came and went, and the tobacco uncooperatively went out on me. The first tenative sips were almost exclusively the sweetness virginia leaf. The tangy, smoky latakia just barely started to underscore the Va leaf, but died with the flame. I patiently finger tamped the tobacco, and lit it again. Then, it stayed lit without complaint, The soft, silky smokiness of latakia filling both my palate and the air. The next puff was straight back to virginias- sweet lemon! Then Smooth smoky sugar. And again- back to white sugary sweetness that for just a fraction of a moment nearly reminded me of white cake.

I set the pipe down to go find a proper tamp just in case it decided to play with me more. I dug through a junk drawer, finally locating a czech tool on my nightstand. 3 minutes later, and this tobacco- amazingly- is still cooperatively lit in the pipe! And upon picking it up again I was struck by the true dichotomy of the tobaccos present- Balance is not a word suited to describe this tobacco, because although The Virginias and Latakias are evenly matched, it is not "balanced" in the way we use the term to describe a good english blend.

No. This tobacco IS equilibrium. It is the see-saw. not balance, but the act itself.

I don't know what category of smoker I fall into- I was an on again, off again smoker of aros for years, and then finally, several years ago wised up and picked up some "real" tobaccos. I tried an English blend at the local tobacco shop, and found it much too "strong" for my liking. So then, I looked into Virgina tobaccos. I bought some university flake, which was not exactly to my taste, and after trying a few others (including orlik's golden sliced) I settled on Marlin Flake as a semi- regular tobacco to smoke, finally moving somewhat back into the English tobacco scene when someone recommended Legends (and then Wilderness) to me.

But Marlin Flake was my primary smoke. Just... as I adjusted to the English blends, something began to disturb me, more and more, about the high Va content tobacco. Perhaps it was too sweet. Perhaps it was the mouthfeel. I don't know.

I think, when I picked up this tin, I was at that perfect moment when this tobacco would be my sunlight. I was lost somewhere between Va and Lat, with most aro's a distant, dusty thought in my mind.

And this tobacco fit perfectly into the transitioning gap I had made for myself.

Near the end of the bowl, it finally did gutter out and require a re-light. It re-lit without argument and stayed that way, but the quality of the smoke had changed again. It was thicker, creamier. There's something magical about the way a tobacco can change towards the end of a bowl. Perhaps, in those last minutes of bliss, this tobacco became more than the see-saw.

For those of you out there who are aromatic smokers just trying virginias, add this to your list to try in the not too distant future. If there is anyone out there, like me, who truly wasn't sold on the complexity of English or the sweetness of VA, This may be the blend for you. Some few pipe smokers will truly not appreciate this blend- the die-hard on either side of the Va(VaPer)//English(Balkan) line. Most will at least appreciate it. Some will love it. I for one, will be ordering additional tins for the cellar... It is perhaps the best marriage of sweet and fruity Va and smoky, luscious latakia I could imagine.

UPDATE 10/25/11: I still love this tobacco and stand by what I said, but this blend, as good as it is, does not compare to mcclelland legends.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Given McClelland's history of producing top quality products, one would expect that a blend meant to serve as a sort of flagship commemorative product would be outstanding. In that respect, Anniversary doesn't disappoint.

Anniversary is a bit of a cipher for me, as I can't think of anything quite like it. First off, the VAs are superb but different than any I've sampled before. The tin description for this mixture says they have "clarity," and it's correct -- they have a lot of high notes and an almost fragile quality about them. Another way of describing this is to say that the range of VA flavors are exceptionally well-defined. I get primarily hints of lemon, cinnamon, and cane sugar as well as the signature McClelland's tang (some call it ketchup or vinegar). There is very little of the depth I experience with, say, Blackwoods Flake or Dark Star. The VAs are delicious, but also thin -- they have little in the way of a bottom note. To invoke a musical analogy, the VA flavor is akin to listening to a symphony played entirely on flutes: achingly beautiful, in large part because it's so delicate, even ephemeral.

This is where the cyprian latakia comes in. Most of McClelland's most successful products are straight VAs, and I imagine there might have been some temptation to release an all-VA blend. That would have been a mistake in this case, snd the decision to use latakia in Anniversary was absolutely perfect. Rarely have I encountered a blend in which the attributes of latakia when used as a condiment are so dramatically illustrated. As the tin description indicates, it slows the burn and cools the smoke. More importantly, it provides desperately needed bass notes to the concert, anchoring the performance in a way that allows the VAs to dazzle the audience with intricate solos.

Okay, okay -- I'm maybe waxing a little too poetic here. Oddly enough, it's not even that I like this blend THAT much (it's not a desert island smoke to me, as much as I enjoy it). It's too mild, for one thing. It's also not at all complex. But I am really impressed by the overall composition of this mixture -- this is one of the best presentations of both latakia and VA that I've come across. There is almost no integration of flavors here, and this blend is all the better for that lack. The sharp contrast of sweet/smoky allows both types of leaf to really shine. For this reason, Anniversay might be the most ideal introduction to latakia I could imagine, and it could easily turn someone into a drooling addict of McClellands unique style of VAs. I find it interesting to note that many reviewers have said they feel that Anniversary has more latakia than advertised. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment. Instead, I believe that the latakia is thrown into such a sharp contrast by the VAs that the smoky taste seems far more potent than the actual proportions would indicate. I actually get more of the spicy nuances that define latakia's flavor from this blend than I do from many Balkans, even if the brute strength isn't there.

Anniversary doesn't fit well into traditional categories, at least not in my opinion. It's obviously not a straight VA blend, but I also wouldn't call it an English mixture even though its ingredients should automatically qualify it as such. But the flavors simply don't remind me -- even in passing -- of a traditional English or Balkan. What Anniversay DOES make me think of is that genre known as "American English," in which blenders typically use a base of burley and varying amounts of latakia (sometimes with other leaf included in condimental amounts). I just can't put it in the same category as Westminster or Commonwealth, but I do find it very easy to compare it to Epiphany, Bald-Headed Teacher, or Morley's Best. Strange ....

Anyway, the burning qualities of this are typical for a ribbon cut. It's a lot drier than most McClelland products, which is a nice surprise. I experience minimal tongue irritation with Anniversary, which I consider essential to my enjoyment of a blend (my mouth is quite sensitive to VAs). The strength is also minimal -- there's more nicotine here than in Frog Morton, but not by much.

This is one of those blends that makes me wish that tobaccos were rated here using five stars instead of four. Why? Three stars doesn't seem to do this justice, but Anniversary also doesn't quite deserve the highest rating available. I would like to give this four out of five stars, but I guess I'll just call it a 3.5. If nothing else, I have a hard time imagining anyone genuinely disliking this mixture (unless they just despise latakia) and I'm sure that some will love it. As I said earlier, I doubt this stuff will ever be a true favorite but I nonetheless hope to have a tin on hand at all times. I could easily imagine some smokers calling it their Holy Grail.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 23, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
EDIT 8-16-2017

I am coming back to this one to just leave my impressions on the tin of the first issue (red seal) I recently finished. I must say I was left with mixed feelings on this one. To start, I purchased two of these tins in an estate auction. One was opened and the other sealed. So I obviously started smoking the open container first.

If I had to grade this container, I would have removed a star, but I am not going do so for a few reasons. The first is that I don't know how long the tin was open, but the contents were pretty dry. It was smokable but it was not as pleasurable as my first experience with this blend a few years ago. Smoking this confirmed two things that I believe happens with aged tobaccos.

First, Virginias do indeed get better and second, Latakia does not. This had hardly any leather smokiness left in it. But the Virginia was mild and sweet. I will be interested when I pop the fresh one from 2002 to see if the experience is the same.

Knowing I will be coming back to this, I will say this. It is my theory that people who believe Latakia improves with age are people who do not really like Latakia. Or maybe people who have a lot of tins they sell on consignment that are old and contain Latakia.

I also have a tin of the green seal that I will be able to compare as well. In any case, I have to more trips to this review in the future and will consider it a work in process until I am able to finish them all. 🙂

Original Review 10/23/2015

I was fortunate enough to have a forum friend send me a healthy sample of this one. I was hesitant on this one and that is, perhaps, the reason I never purchased a tin. When I read Virginia and latakia, I immediately thought this would be like Frog Morton which I did not like. I shuddered at the thought of having 100g of something that tasted like that.

So I was pleasantly surprised when a package of samples included this. I was even more pleasantly surprised after smoking it. I not only like this blend, I loved it. Not like Frog Morton at all. This was more like Sam Gawith Navy flake to my tastes. More about the sweet Virginias with a whisper of latakia. The result is a wonderful Virginia blend from a company that knows how to do Virginias. The Virginia in Anniversary is very sweet and of the lighter colored variety with hay type sweetness with maybe a touch of citrus. The whisper of lat sets it apart from other straight Virginias allowing room for this in any rotation.

As to the vintage of this blend, I believe my sample was from the 2010 issue. I highly recommend this to Virginia lovers who want a different twist to their favorite Virginia staples. Oh, I also noted that the typical scent from McClelland Virginias was very subdued in this one, so I think that people who are opposed to that scent could also like this one.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2012 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
McC Anniversary… Let me first say, Latakia is not my favorite flavor enhancer, like to much topping on a overdone Aro, IMO latakia can likewise ruin an otherwise good tobacco. But the good folks at McClelland did not just roll off a log when it comes to blending to perfection, and this blend IMO is just about perfection. I found it much easier to smoke than some of their (McC) other fine Virginia blends, Anniversary seems milder for one thing, and just seems to adapt to a variety my sometimes unorthodox smoking styles without getting nasty.

My tin had a hard brown wax seal, the tin was dated 2010 so I guess it is some of their latest lot of this product. Lights easy, and has a smooth creamy taste with some pleasant sweetness. I found almost zero true tounge bite, just the typical tingle, I get when smoking any full flavored VA.

IMO this blend is dominated by the flavor of fine Virginia's, with just the right amount of Latakia that is noticable in it's aroma, but not so much in its taste. For me, a worthwhile and satisfying smoke.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 30, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This review is based on the later release, with the green wax seal - the date stamp on the bottom of the tin indicates 2005.

Upon opening I was surprised how comparatively little of the signature McClelland ketchup aroma is present and how forward is the Latakia smokiness. The label says "seasoned lightly" with Latakia but I take issue with their interpretation of "lightly." Seems to me from the aroma, the appearance, and the taste that there is a bit more in there than the description suggests.

I have loaded this blend traditionally and with the Frank method, the latter seeming to provide a bit more consistent flavor throughout the smoke. And what a wonderful smoke it is! The natural sweetness that is indicative of a very fine Virginia leaf is unmistakable, while the Latakia smokiness is also right there in the foreground. Both characteristics blend smoothly but remain distinct and enjoyable throughout the smoke. I could not detect any flavorings.

Again, the level of smokiness indicates to me there is more than just a light serving of Latakia here. Seems to me it's more likely in the 20 to 30 percent range. The flavor is neither monochrome nor complex, but the constant interplay of VA sweet and LAT smoke compliment one another perfectly. Rather mild, very well behaved in the combustion department, providing copious smoke, and great flavor to the very end make this an ideal all day smoke.

I can easily see myself stocking up on this one.
5 people found this review helpful.
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