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

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
CutBroken Flake
Packaging100 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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13 reviews
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Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29946)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

Similar looking to the 2002 but slightly darker, this is a single crop red VA to 2002's orange. Didn't come as dry in the tin as '02 but didn't need much drying time to stay lit and smoke perfectly. Tin aroma was rich and deep straight Virginia.

This one is richer than '02 and less sweet, a bit more tart and sour. Less emphasis on citrus notes with more hay-like qualities. But still with an underlying sweet taste. Compared to another McClellands red, #5100, this is considerably less sweet and more tart, but with a much deeper flavor. As this review is already comparison-heavy, here's another... This is to 5100 as, say, Penzance is to the MacBaren's Latakia Flake I'm working through. It has essentially the same basic flavor profile but is considerably richer in flavor and body. Now, I enjoy the 5100, and as an all-day smoke, I may even prefer it to this, but this one shows just how much can be gleaned from a single crop of tobacco by a master blender. The mouthfeel is almost chewy in comparison and the flavor fills the entire oral cavity. I hate to keep saying "deep" but there it is. This is Virginia as it occurs in nature without being futzed with beyond the basics. Not a terribly complex blend but not exactly "set it and forget it" either. McClellands blends tend to work for me because they eschew the high nicotine punch without sacrificing rich flavor. I smoke for flavor, and McClellands is a master of getting the most of it out of Virginia tobacco. Well worth a try for the Virginia lover.

6 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2706)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

The red Virginia is a bit earthy with a deep dried dark fruit; tart and tangy. Has a little spice, just a little more than a few other years. Has a nice sugary hit. The "vinegar” smell and taste lasts longer than other years, too. It’s very much like McClelland’s Red Cake, only a little mellower. Has a mild nic-hit. No bite, no dull or harsh moments. Burns slow and moist, and needs a slight dry time. Requires relights, and leaves a little moisture at the finish. Smooth and consistent flavor with a nice after taste that pleasantly lingers. An all day smoke.


4 people found this review helpful.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (71)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

My first Christmas Cheer...and one with nine years age? Yes, please. McClelland's Christmas Cheer is definitely worth the buy. It smokes like it's a Christmas cookie, soft, gentle and sweet. It was dry out of the tin due to the aging but the red broken flakes were perfectly ready to be stuffed and puffed. It's more on the mild side of things, as one may guess buying anything from McClelland's, but still has plenty of zest. This is a great tin to gift to a friend or to keep on hand for public or party smoking (they will love it). SInce cracking the tin, I have craved it daily. I only hope the newer versions are just as enjoyable.

Update: Finished the tin is just over a week. Why didn't I buy more? Count me in the Christmas Cheer cult who pays way too much on Ebay.

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29946)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Christmas Cheer is a regular for me. I usually smoke whatever is 3 to 4 years old. That being said I can't tell one bit of difference between 2001, 2002, and 2003.

It comes ready rubbed and is easy to further rub out and pack. I do not practice drying out my tobaccos and in fact upon opening tins I transfer the remaining tobacco to canning jars and lable them appropriatly.

I smoke Christmas Cheer in pipes that are dedicated exclusively to this particular series, not per year. Nothing else is smoked in these pipes.

I taste no casing or topping, and there is an absence of the spiceyness that I find in McClellands Blackwoods, or #27. It exhibits the usual Virginia Profile that I look for and the last half of the bowl is as usual with VA's stoved and much more flavorful than the first.

I highly recommend the Christmas Cheer Series for a smoker that enjoys VA rubbed flake and is not looking for the pizzaze of a more complex Dark Stoved blend such as McClelland Dark Star or #2035

1 person found this review helpful.

Jakob Kiilerich Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jakob Kiilerich (120)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This quite a nice blend. Upon opening the tin I detected notes of clove; yes I am almost certain that McClelland have added some of this christmas-like spice. It is not detectable when lit. The vinegar smell is not as pervasive as in other blends from this company, and the moisture level is a bit on the dry side compared to most McClellands. My tin is two years old, and I think the ageing has mellowed it out a bit, because this one do not bite at all.

CC2003 produces thick clouds of smooth and rich smoke, and there are many notes through the bowl. It is probably the best American pure VA I have ever had, and it makes me want to explore more from this company.

A fine product, recommended to every VA fan.

Jakob Kiilerich, Denmark.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29946)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is a nice straight VA flake -- not overpowering or underwhelming. It needs a bit of time to dry before smoking. (I typically rub it out and let it sit on a paper plate or napkin for an hour or so before loading. I usually buy 4 or 6 cans to store each year, and aging does mellow this blend nicely. Enjoy.

As a side note, it is interesting how different degrees of rubbing this blend out treat the flavor and burn quailities. Experiment for yourself.

1 person found this review helpful.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A fine quality Virginia. Fairly coarse and quite dry for a McClelland tobac. For devoted Viginnia fans only. Update: 12/28/08 Tried some very dry 2003 Christmas Cheer. Still a fine Virginia flake. Although bone dry, it smoked very nicely in a medium apple.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I have tried just about every Christmas Cheer that McClelland's has offered (except the 1992 and 1993 editions) and this 2003 version was typically sweet and airy. Not a bell ringer as far as matured Virginia cakes go, but I did enjoy going through the tin. I smoked Christmas Cheer 2003 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.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (329)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A nice flake in the usual McClelland tradition: sweet and sour, slightly tart, fruity and flavorful, slighly grassy and very American.

It is definitely better and tastier than the 2002 edition, although similar in appearance (maybe slightly darker).

The ketchup smell is a bit more subdued than in other McC offerings, and as usual it doesn't translate to a ketchupy taste.

My only "complaint" is that other "ordinary" McC blends like Virginia 27 and Blackwoods Flake are even better, richer and tastier than this "special edition" (which is supposed to be great and unique)... but this doesn't make Christmas Cheer 2003 any less delicious for lovers of the typical Virginia taste of this legendary brand.

I am happy to have some more tins of this in the cellar, which should age wonderfully: you can't go wrong with a McClelland flake!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

alfredo_buscatti Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
alfredo_buscatti (9)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This review will discuss McClelland's Christmas Cheer 2003, McCranie's Red Flake and Wessex Classic Virginia.

Christmas Cheer 2003 (CC) is a red Virginia made from a 1998 Old Belt crop while McCranie?s Red Flake (RF) was made from a 1996 North Carolina crop. CC and RF are both medium-to-full-bodied.

CC fails to deliver the consistently deeper red Virginia flavor that RF offers. While CC has bursts of RF?s consistently dusky red Virginia flavor-a flavor that in comparison is both darker and deeper than a signature brown Virginia, Rattrays Brown Clunee-such bursts are more atypical than constant. This is not to say that CC is not an enjoyable tobacco but simply that in the realm of red Virginia, RF is the winner.

RF?s tin notes state that softness is this tobacco?s chief characteristic. While I don?t disagree with this statement, I would add that RF?s deeper, richer flavor outdoes the competition. One wonders how the considerable tobacco wisdom of McClelland, whose most notable entry in the Virginia arena, its Christmas Cheer series, allowed itself to be content with anything less than a product just shy of perfection. Yet perhaps this has something to due with the time constraints of finding fine leaf in time to process it and still meet Christmas Cheer?s traditional release at the RTDA show.

We then come to Wessex Classic Virginia (CV), medium-to-full bodied, blended by Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. It has more in common with RF than CC and is comprised solely of mature Red Virginia. It has less flavor than RF but I tend to believe this a choice of the blender, not a flaw. It throbs with the rich, basal note of a curing process designed to produce a no-nonsense, straightforward, aged tobacco. Little complexity in comparison to CC, the most complex of these three tobaccos-if any Virginia can be called complex-just a delicious, singular, deep, red Virginia flavor. In comparison to CC, it has little of that tobacco?s grassy, reedy flavor components.

Ranking, in descending order: RF, CV, CC.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BostonPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BostonPipe (84)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Overall a nice example of their Christmas Blend series. A steady, rich, Virginia that runs consistent the length of the bowl. As nice as it is, I feel confident that with aging, it will take on an even more characteristics and nuances to increase it to a mezmerising experience. A fine example of the broken flake genre.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29946)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Every year Charlie Brown goes flying when Lucy pulls the football away at the last second.

Every year I pop open a tin of the current year's iteration of Xmas Cheer on release, only to ask myself why on Earth did I waste another tin of a tobacco that I know will not be ready for another five years. So this time, for a change, I decided to wait a whole year before opening a tin of MCC '03. Verdict- only four years too soon. I'm getting better, I suppose.

Tomorrow I will punish myself further by attempting to sample the '04 version. Some guys never learn.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mephisto Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mephisto (32)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

A limited tobacco and different every year...this year is rich and more in the traditional virginia tast than the last 2 years all of them however tend to the richer veriginias. A worth while treat and since it is limited you may not be ble to find this in the future however do give it a try and you will be pleasently rewarded. Smooth and slow with unique sweetness. The tobacco used is of great quality and produces unique taste. Mery Christmas!

Nobody has rated this review yet.