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Handblended, premium pressed Virginia flake tobaccos. A fine vintage, naturally sweet, in limited quantity. Made with a special selection of the rich, smooth Mahogany North Carolina flue-cured crop of 1994, ripened to perfection in the Oxford area.

BrandMcClelland
Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ContentsVirginia
FlavoringNone
CutBroken Flake
Packaging100 grams tin
CountryUS
ProductionNo longer in production
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Strength
Mild
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant
3.1
18 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
7
3 star:
7
2 star:
2
1 star:
2
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Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I love smoking Christmas Cheer, but hate reviewing it. I love the pure Virginias, and love McClelland, but have a hard time distinguishing among the 5-6 CCs I've tried. The only one I think I could pass a "blindfold test" with is the 2002, since to me it seems to be even purer and more austere of a "single malt" Virginia than the others I've tried.

No exception here. As I have come to expect with this series, a lovely, pure Virginia best suited for slow sipping. 2002 is my favorite so far, but only by a little. This one does seem to have a slightly fuller flavor to it than 2005, 2007, 2010, and certainly the very subtle 2002. Yes, maybe I could pass the blindfold test with this one, for different reasons than with the 2002, but 2005 and 2007 taste almost the same to me!

I've only tried CCs from the 2000s, though I do have a sealed tin of 1999 (don't think I'll crack it anytime soon, though I would like to try some of the older ones).

5 people found this review helpful.

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

I have enjoyed many of the McClelland's Christmas Cheer tobaccos of years past. My 2004 vintage tin had aged a bit in my "cellar", and being in the mood for a pressed Virginia Flake, I grabbed it.

Well, one reviewer here claimed to know how best to smoke this flake to make it shine brightly. So, I gave it a try. I used a well broken in pipe, I rubbed the flakes out somewhat, and let the 'baccy sit for 20 minutes to dry just a little bit. Finally, I gravity fed the leaf into the pipe without much tamping down. Out came the Carona Old Boy and I set fire to the leaf which promptly released all kinds of wonderful flavors onto my tongue.

This one burned just a tad warm so, I smoked slowly. It is long on flavor and light on strength.

It's hard for a Texan to enjoy Christmas in July (Predicted high today in my neighborhood is 102 degrees), but Cheer '04 did the trick!

5 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

A great, great flake. I got the last tin at my tobacconist this past December '06 and I'm only a few short bowls away from never tasting it again here nearing the end of February 07. It will be sorely missed. If you like McConnell's Scottish Cake you'll love this stuff. I don't know why I'm even bothering to review it any more as I imagine most of the tins are sold out by now.

There's a solid flavor throughout, very woodsy and sweet, reminiscent of a campfire. I'm not too poetic when it comes to describing flavors sometimes, but I know that this is one of the best flakes I've had in my pipe, for whatever it's worth.

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

This is my favourite of the Christmas Cheers thru '05. It is a very sweet, almost tart and perhaps sharp Virginia. Brassy is a word I sometimes use. Grampa oftened complained if a tobacco was too "bright". I think possibly the terms are for the same concept. But everyone I ask thinks bright is a different thing than the next guy seems to think. Well, brassy is to me the ability to find that bit of bite, a sharp dose of tangy, that is your tongue warning you of a Va that would bite if you let it. And I think this is a bit brassy. A little brass is a good thing. I smoked this mildly and evenly and often. I smoked the first three tins of my original four tins without even realizing the risk. But I got back to town and got some more. I don't know what there is to not like in Christmas Cheer 2004. The stuff was ten yrs old before you ever got any - but age it if you like. If I have any left by the time '06 comes out it will be a miracle. If you have any left in ten years or so look me up.

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I wish to respond to a few of the above reviews, as I've found that there is an art to preparing this flake before enjoying it's true bounty. Not that any of you are wrong, boys (at least, I think you're boys/men, not too many female pipe tobacco reviewers out there, seemingly ... ). Taste is such a personal thing; whether you enjoy the finest Balkan, or ground up hay soaked w/ cheap bourbon, is up the individual. That being said ...

First off, select a pipe that cools/softens the flavor -- it would seem that any Ashton or the right Dunhill would do the trick, to name a few possibilities. Or a long clay (Xmas Cheer was great in my new clay Dutch clay, bought here in NY at the historical Keene's Chophouse). Then, rub it out somewhat carefully/thoroughly, and let it sit for 20 minutes to dry just a little bit if you have a freshly-opened tin (unless you are in a very humid room/space--if so, skip that part). Finally, gravity feed without much tamping down. Gentle tamping can happen later once the blend is cooking right.

Smoke this baby easy & slow and she'll reward you big-time. Some of that magical VA 'toastiness' that I've come to look forward to is in there, as well as some fruitiness and spiciness; and after a somewhat harsh beginning, Xmas Cheer '04, like all the others I've tried in this series, rewards your patience and care.

4 people found this review helpful.

LV9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LV9 (83)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

As fears as McCellland virginias goes this is one is breed of a different color, you can actually feel the nicotine, there is a certain harshness to it that I'm going to refer,as character, it is almost a pretentious exercise in reviewing a blend that is no longer made but I will say this the virginias in this blend were top notch, the vinegar smell is completely gone and is easy to smoke just the right amount of Dottle.

Pipe Used: Bjarne bent apple

Age When Smoked: 12 years

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Chestnut brown broken flakes with the typical McClellands fermented Virginia tin nose. As this was a 1994 crop and now 20 years old, and since McClellands Virginias are world-renowned as especially fantastic when aged, I couldn't wait to fire this up!

Unfortunately, this one smoked with a bitter, tart flavor that I found objectionable. It came fairly dry and I tried it further dried out, at tin moisture, and I even hydrated it, which is usually the kiss of death for me with Virginia flakes (and indeed, hydrating made the tobacco worse). There was a nice tangy VA flavor underneath but it didn't prominently emerge until about the last 1/4 bowl. It DGT'd just fine but no improvements. Meerschaum or briar didn't matter. I got a flavor like the taste you get from tobacco juice when your tobacco is too wet and seeps into the mouthpiece, but this tobacco burned very dry. Not sure of the cause of this - bad tin, perhaps.

As with all the Christmas Cheers I've tried, this is a pure, natural and unflavored single crop tobacco. Unfortunately, this particular crop apparently doesn't agree with my tastebuds. I have another tin that I may experiment with later but for now, this one earns a mere 2 stars from me.

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★★☆
Very Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend didn't really do it for me at first. I could smell a bit of a cinnamon from the tin, but it tasted too tart (almost bitter) for my palate. After smoking about a third of the tin, I decided to stove it. The result was fantastic! It really matured the smoke, and the bitterness all but disappeared. If you didn't like it, stove it. You might be surprised.

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★☆☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Unnoticeable

I sampled a bit of this at a local tobacconist; He had an open tin. It?s a festive can, and the description of the contents courtesy of McClelland?s own extensive product brochure, makes this out to be a truly unique designer blend full of the most unique cuts of tobacco culled from a variety of vintages. Alas, it did nothing for me. The tin aroma is flat. The thick cuts of Virginia are broken into small, chunky bars. It?s not an easy slice to rub out, nor is it easy to pack. Like other experiences I?ve had with matured McClelland Virginias, it?s next to impossible to keep lit, requiring half a box of matches for one pipeful. The taste is static and doesn?t seem to develop into anything. I smoked about half the bowl, became disinterested, dumped it out and tried something else; Frog Morton Across the Pond, I think it was. Fortunately, Frog was magnificent and I?ve been hooked ever since. Cheer is a holiday gimmick with the kind of marketing hype one gets too familiar with at Yuletide. Save your money and buy something else.

Luckily, this blend, like Christmas, comes but once a year.

One of five stars

3 people found this review helpful.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (115)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I agree on many points with the previous reviewer. In my own words this is a wonderful qualilty in a virginia flake. A somewhat mild, yet profound complexity to be experienced by the smoker. Spice notes that accompany a higher than average natural sweetness with a noticeable coolness than one usually finds in a straight VA flake. There is also that characteristically McClelland vinegary tang upon opening the tin. The only one complaint I have is like with many of McClelland flakes and blends the tobacco is cut to wide. This makes it troublesome to keep lit. However, what a fantastic example in natural tobacco qualities can be achieved with top quality leaf and extended aging. In this case 10 years.

- Recomended

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

I look forward to Christmas Cheer each holidy. It doesn't really vary much from year to year except that i would say that 2004 is a bit stronger than the previous one's. Tin aroma is like Russion Tea minus the cloves. Cinimin, apple, and tea are the main complements on top of a good virginia. I smoke this stuff on a regular basis. Even though it's seasonal, there's even Christmas Cheer to go year round.

3 people found this review helpful.

marosi Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
marosi (70)
★★★★
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

I feel a little guilty posting a review of this since the tins are so limited in availability and so expensive, but I smoke it and enjoy it, so for posterity here goes. At first blush this is like all Christmas Cheer offerings, a straight VA broken flake with little processing to my knowledge in the traditional sense (such as steam pressing i.e. SG FVF). For years my local pipe shop was loaded to the gills with McClelland and often little else, so while their offerings have never been among my favorites, they were unavoidable if you were hankering for something new and buying local. For me a little Christmas Cheer goes a long way, I am still smoking from a tin of 1998 that has been open and jarred for more than a decade. It can be somewhat monotone and hard to smoke, frankly, so while I have several other tins of CC I never cracked another open and stuck to my two or three bowls per year routine.

For me this year, however, was another level of flavor and enjoyment, and it is not going to last ten years now that it is open. I purchased the tin somewhere around 2004-2005 and did not open it until 2019, so it had ten years on it when they released it, and I put another fifteen on it in my cellar. That may sound extreme but these types of VA’s are almost limitless in their aging potential and only get better the longer you wait. Well, this 26-year-old VA is now amazing, just beautiful in every respect. The tin aroma has that twangy McClelland vibe, but in addition this one has deep tones of spiced plum with cinnamon and nutmeg. It is mouthwatering.

It is a broken flake that looks like old dark brown shoe leather. I rub it out about 50-75% more than it already is in its broken tin form, and pack it loosely in small, narrow bowled pipe. A little goes a long way, and the bowl I smoked last night lasted for more than an hour in a pipe whose chamber is below the second knuckle of my pinkie and no bigger around. I find it best dried out so that it is still flexible but not moist to the touch. It takes a bit of effort to get it going but once it is started after a few false lights it will burn readily with minimal (maybe 4-5 over the course of an hour) relights. I find that the best flavor is preserved by letting it go out and then relighting as opposed to puffing and lighting constantly to keep it lit, and that also controls the heat overall. When puffed gently this does not bite (but it will if you overdo it) and all of that rich sweet spice is what you taste – sweet VA’s with tones of Christmas spices, like a fruitcake. This is very consistent from top to bottom but gets a little richer as you move down the bowl.

For reasons stated above I do not have a number of years to compare this to yet because I never cracked my other tins of CC. I find it much more complex, spicier, and better in every way than the 1998 offering. Is it worth north of $100 if you do not already own a tin? Only you can say, but I would offer this guidance. If you are a fan of McClelland style VA’s, and the CC offerings in particular, then I would say that this is essential. If not then I would not kill myself hunting a tin down, but certainly if you can find a tin for a reasonable price or if you get it as a gift (I gave two of mine from various years to good friends, so maybe you will get lucky in the future too) then it is well worth cracking it open. You could also let it sit for another twenty years. Mine has not even begun to sugar up yet so it will only get better. A final tip would be not to leave it in the tin after it is open under any circumstances. That plastic lid does not hold the moisture and it will dry out, and once that happens you lose the magic with this one. Immediately put it in glass with an airtight seal after you crack the tin (canning jars are really the only option for foolproof safe storage) and it should last a good long time.

Pipe Used: Ser Jacopo smooth bent rhodesian

Age When Smoked: 26 years

Similar Blends: Other Mclelland VA's and Christmas Cheer especially, but still unique..

2 people found this review helpful.

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

The red Virginia is rather earthy, slightly grassy with a deep dried ripe, tangy dark fruit, bread, wood, a little tart and tangy citrus, sugar, and light spice. It’s more tart and tangy than usual. The "vinegar” smell and taste lasts longer than other years, and sublimates the tobacco flavor more than some other years. It’s not quite as smooth as it is in other years, but the rough edges are small. Won't bite or get harsh. The strength and nic-hit are a step past the center of mild to medium. The taste level is a slot past that mark. Needs a light dry time. Burns clean, cool, slow and moist with a very consistent flavor from top to bottom. Requires some relights, and leaves a little moisture at the finish. Has a lightly lingering, pleasant after taste and room note. Can be an all day smoke. Three and a half stars.

-JimInks

2 people found this review helpful.

ddmholst Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ddmholst (23)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is the only Christmas cheer I have smoked so far. I am lucky enough to have various years cellared so I'm sure to review more when I do decide to pop those tins.

First of all let me just say from my experience I find mcclelland Broken flake blends a little difficult to deal with. I have found that ample drying and fully rubbed out seems to burn best. If left in their broken clumps they require tons of relights.

This being almost ten years old I wasn't sure what to expect. Truth be told I don't have that much experience with aged tobacco. When I popped the tin I was greeted with the classic ketchup smell. The tobacco was still fairly damp. I smoked several bowls fresh from the tin and it was to damp to deal with plus I did not really rub it out all the way. I decided to allow the remainder of my tin to "air out" for a day then rub it out and put it in a mason jar.

Now when I smoke this I completely rub out a bowls worth and allow to dry 10-15 minutes. From the initial light I was greeted with a very delicate but sweet Virginia flavor. That flavor is very consistent throughout the bowl. I find gentle sipping seems to bring out the best of this blend. I get sweet grassy flavors with a light citrus taste here and there. This is a rather pleasent tobacco to smoke. It suits me well in the morning with my coffee. The wife thinks the room note is ok.

I have DGT this and it does gain a little deeper flavor but not too much. Overall this is a good smoke. I would reccomend it. I only gave it three stars because for me it's not strong enough, but I don't think it's supposed to be. It is overall a great smoke but can be a bit of a bitch to work with and keep burning.

Pipe Used: Mr brog amigo 51

Age When Smoked: 9+ years

Purchased From: Ebay

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I finally got up the nerve to open my tin. What awaited me was the very faint smell of vinegar and mildly sweet yet earthy Virginia flakes. Great I thought, the moisture content was good, and things seemed to be aligning them selves well after a good rub out and light packing I went to light and wait, where is the flavor??? This has to be the mildest straight Virginia I have ever tried. I was hoping for something a bit stronger in the nicotine department too. The flavors were not bad, but just lacking in strength. If there was a way to concentrate the flavors this one would be a winner. It burns extremely well and exhibits no tongue bite. I guess this is a good first pipe of the day Virginia.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★★★☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I believe that this VA has not been given enough credit for its composition. I agree with POUNDER's review, in that the beauty of this blend lies in its potential. Although this tobacco is already ten years in the making, there is still so much unmetabolized sugar remaining, that this VA will age to perfection. I really can't get over the amount of sugar that must have originally been present in this leaf but, this is what allows most VA to age so well. Stock up on this one boys, the future of this blend is bound to be legendary.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This stuff burns the mouth and tastes like No. 27 and The Navy cavendish had a kid that couldn't live up to his poor parents name! So why the high rating ? Because I believe in this flake. I have utter faith that given a few years of aging this stuff will be remarkable. Opening a new tin right now and tasting it is an exercise in what is to come. Greg Pease is one of the most esteemed blenders in America today. His only problem is his typically American trait of impatience. All of his wonderfully blended tobaccos are sent out to the consumer far to young. If you taste a Pease blend that is absolutely no good, simply put the remainder in a mason jar and wait a year. The transformation is amazing. Now this is a problem that the McNeills have never shown us before and I hope this doesn't become a habit. How many smokers around the world have been informed that Mr. Pease is one of Americas best only to pop the top and taste an unsmokeable tobacco that is merely lacking age? Do you think they will ever buy anymore, much less take these American tobaccos as seriously? Hopefully so, but I still think that all of these young blends would sell better and make a much more favorable impression if they were sold when they are mature and ready. Perhaps they were just in a rush to find a special leaf for this years Christmas blend and had to release it. But don't you think they would have been better served by keeping it in good aging conditions and releasing it as next years blend? At the very least they could put a note with the tin description with the advice to open and put in jars for aging awhile before partaking. I think the public would appreciate this and would end up buying more. Oh well, enough rambling- go ahead and stock up on this stuff- just be more patient with it than its blenders- and in time I think you will have a heavenly smoke!

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29935)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

A one dimensional smoke that is nothing special in any way. Small, thick flakes that are mediocre tasting at best. The only thing this blend offers is some tongue bite.

1 person found this review helpful.