McClelland Christmas Cheer 2002

(3.10)
An exceptionally fine vintage tobacco, handblended and aged in pressed cakes to develop natural mellowness. This 2002 blend is made with a special selection of the beautiful, ripe, Orange leaf of the 1996 South Carolina Border Belt crop.
Notes: Produced in 1992, 1994-present in limited quantities. Tinned in July of the respective year.

Details

Brand McClelland
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 50 grams or 100 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production

Profile

Strength
Mild to Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.10 / 4
7

11

1

2

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 21 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2014 Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
The vinegar/ketchup smell does appear in the taste of the tobacco, though it's much lesser than it smells. The Virginias are very ripe and dried fruit sweet, a bit tangy with some earth. At times, I get raisin notes and some nutmeg, too. The actual taste of tobacco is sublimated by the fermented sweetness. Burns cool, a little slow with some moisture left in the bowl, unless you dry it some first, which I don't do. Has a consistent flavor. Not a dull or harsh spot to be found. No bite, the nic-hit is mild. Needs relights. Sweet enough to be an aromatic, though I would not classify this as one. Has a pleasant after taste and room note. Can be an all day smoke.

-JimInks
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 05, 2014 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
This came very dry in the tin, which I didn't expect but for which I was gratified. Mostly dark in color with McClellands signature Virginia tin aroma, which almost always delivers a superior smoke. As this was dry enough to load immediately, I did just that.

As stated, this is a single crop of orange Middle Belt Virginia tobacco. As it is not a blend, it doesn't possess the "pizzaz" that a blended VA often does. This one just shows off that mellow middle ground between lemon VA's citrus and Red VA's tang, making this one a nice "set it and forget it" smoke that won't overwhelm you with nuances. Barely complex, this one focuses on the depth of this particular crop, and this one has amazing depth of character. Not overly sweet but sweet enough. Some light spice in the mix. I wouldn't say this is destined to be anyone's #1 go-to blend, but it's an opportunity to taste a single strain of Virginia that is completely natural and unflavored. Probably 3 stars for my personal taste but I have to give it 4 stars for the opportunities it presents the Virginia fan. Another standard setting McClellands Virginia!
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 22, 2007 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Merry Christmas everyone for 2007! I like to open a tin of Christmas Cheer for this time of year although the series is usually best smoked during the hot summer months. This 5 1/2 year old tin has hit the spot this year. As always, the Christmas Cheer series never lets me down, and 2002 is wonderful. The aging has mellowed the virginia tobac somewhat but the sweetness has only increased. The golden/orange virginias usually age well. When smoking, the McClelland kethup taste is barely a hint and the sweet virginias are wonderful. I love this tobac and this series.

aj
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 09, 2004 Mild to Medium Very Strong Mild to Medium Tolerable
I am sorry, but I just don?t get it. This may be quality leaf, from a peculiar crop and region, but I am simply not attuned to the way it is treated and processed. Not only do I find the traditional McClelland pungency offensive, but to me it tastes like Virginia cased in Bovril, with a bit of Lea & Perrin?s sauce added. Initially there is a certain resemblance to Red Cake, less sweet but in fact with more body and character. But there is a penalty: whereas in Red Cake the acidic undertone eventually dissipates, in CCH2002 it is somehow enhanced and multiplied ad nauseam. I guess my aversion to McClelland?s aroma is as common and unexplainable as the aversion many reviewers feel for the ?soapy? taste of some English tobaccos. In any case, I don?t get that strange BBQ-Rib sauce taste from other American straight Virginias (i.e. I absolutely love C&D?s Briar Fox). Otherwise a very nice tin, excellent packaging and great marketing.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2021 Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant
This is a tale of two tobaccos from the same tin: Back in Dec. of 2002 I decided to buy a tin of Christmas Cheer. Everyone was singing it's praised, so it sounded like a sure thing. I paid $39.00 cdn for the 100 gr. tin. ( If it were still available today it would cost me twice that!) What a dissapointment. I tasted none of the flavours that people raved about. All I got was that ketchup taste and smell along with a mighty dose of throat burn. I tried different smoking techniques, different packing methods, and different pipes, but nothing worked. My only reward was a ketchupy sore throat. So I gave it up as a lost cause and stuffed it in the back of the tobacco cupboard. Fast forword to the winter of 2021 and the middle of the pandemic lock down. I was looking for things to do, so I started searching through my old tobacco tins for lost treasures. I found this fairly full tin of Christmas Cheer. The tin contained flakes of tobacco that were as dry as cardboard that had spent the winter on top of a wood stove. The flakes hadn't turned to dust, so I decided to try and rehydrate a few grams. When they were back to a reasonable moisture level, I rubbed them out and stuffed them in a small dublin. Lo and behold I was tasting all the flavours that people were raving about 18 years ago ... there was incense and cinamin and a wonderful round earthiness topped off by a natural sweetness. Some briars brought out the darker flavours and other pipes the sweetness. I know this is a straight Virginia, but it could just as easily be an aromatic. And there was no throat burn or ketchup taste! In this case it paid not to throw out tobacco that didn't work the first time. Would I buy this blend again if it were still in production? Probably not. To begin with it would undoubtedly cost me at least twice as much now. Secondly, I'm of an age where I don't expect to be around 18 years from now. But, I can hope that when I reach the pearly gates, St. Peter will be there and hand me a well aged tin of Christmas Cheer as he says, " Well done thou good and faithful piper."
Pipe Used: variety of briars
PurchasedFrom: local B&M
Age When Smoked: 18+ years
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 24, 2019 Mild None Detected Mild Unnoticeable
I took a vacation day this Friday to give myself a four-day weekend with Memorial Day coming up. I decided to go through some of my samples and came across this I got about a month ago. I have about two small bowl samples of this from my pipe club. This was manufactured in September of 2001. Eighteen years, how time flies. This is not so much a review as it is bragging rights that I got to try another McClelland blend especially since they ceased their operation. As with just about everything they blended this is top quality leaf and smoked exceptionally smooth. Also, if you want to try different blends and have a pipe club in your local area you should check it out.
Pipe Used: Meerschuam
PurchasedFrom:
Age When Smoked: 18 years
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 09, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I just finished off one of my two tins of the 2002 CC. After reviewing various versions of CC, it is hard to say anything new. I can't really differentiate between the various crops, mostly because I am only sampling one at a time and not side by side.

The only twist to this review would be that this is the oldest CC I have yet to try. I opened the tin at a get together at a friends house that included several pipe friends. A few things I recall from opening the tin. The leaf was dryer than the newer versions I have had. Also there was crystallization, but it was not as pervasive as one may expect. Finally, it was much darker than the newer versions.

Smoking the aged leaf was also different. Due to it's aridity, it lit up and smoked better than the newer versions. I wouldn't say it was much sweeter, but the sweetness was a little different. more of a preserved fruit type sweetness to it. It was a much smoother smoking experience as well; whereas, the newer versions can be more tangy and edgy.

I ended up popping this one with 13 yrs age on it. I have heard some speculate that Virginia begins to decline after 10 years and that 10 years is optimal. I have nearly every year of CC from 2000, so I am looking forward to experimenting with many different ages over the next several years.

As I have with all the CC's, I am giving this 4 stars as I just love the idea of CC and the fact that it is a flagship Virginia from the American master of the Virginia leaf. I have also heard it stated that it is the Single malt of the tobacco world. I think that it is an apt description. It is unfortunate that production will end this year on CC due to bureaucratic BS in the states. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to stockpile so much while I could.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2016 Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
I have tried just about every Christmas Cheer that McClelland's has offered and this 2002 version was typically sweet and airy. Not a nicotine buster as far as matured Virginia cakes go, but I did enjoy going through the tin. I smoked Christmas Cheer 2002 mostly in the evenings. It didn't produce enough kick to get my day started.

Typical of McClelland's Christmas Cheer tobaccos, this one was at a good moisture level and smoked clean and dry.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 16, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
Well I finally finished this tin that I had smoked part of years ago and revisited just lately.. and Oh how it pleases. I simply haven't had a a McC Christmas Cheer that wasn't a winner. They all need a bit of drying at first but so do many other quality blends.

The rich creamy, grassy-hay, pure tobacco flavor is there. I like aromatics and to me the CC series is "naturally aromatic" if that makes sense....????

The simply nature of premium tobacco like this gives it that aromatic (pleasing aroma) quality and McC knows how to do it.

Open it, dry it smoke it, enjoy it, store it,, days, weeks months years,, repeat,, you will not be disappointed.

McC,, Please! Don't EVER stop making Christmas Cheer,,,,,, !!!! 🙂

4 stars (5 if I could) 🙂
Pipe Used: any and all
PurchasedFrom:
Age When Smoked: 2002 till present
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 22, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Strong
I got a half ounce sample of this and smoked it and enjoyed it.

My sample had the characteristic McAroma, which unlike some other blends, I did get a little of this in the smoke. But mostly the taste was woody, earthy, fruity, and deep, with that sort of tangy red Virginia taste permeating. It isn't a particularly complex blend, but there are surprising layers given the single leaf involved.

It burned well when rubbed out, which is my standard method with flakes. Recommended if you can get your hands on it, but there are better blends in the same subgenre.
Pipe Used: Lots of them, but especially a group 4 Comoy apple
PurchasedFrom: Trade
Age When Smoked: 12 years
1 person found this review helpful.
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