McClelland Royal Cajun Special

Two dark stoved Virginias and one wide cut lemon Virginia expertly blended with Cajun Black. This blend is one of a kind, ethereally smoky, deeply rich and incredibly complex. Virginia's natural sweetness cooled by Cajun Black's fire-curing and perique style processing.
Notes: Cajun Black is the first new pipe tabacco component in more than forty years. Cajun Black derives from Virginia seed brought to southern Kentucky long ago to grow in that fertile, heavy soil where it was crossbred to create dark fire-cured tobacco. It is stalk-cut and hung over slow-burning hardwood slabs in a three to five step smoking process until it turns a deep chocolate color and achieves its distinctive smoky flavor.


Brand McClelland
Series Royal Cajun Series
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Coarse Cut
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

2.96 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 28 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 02, 2010 Very Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
This is the last of the Royal Cajuns for me, and the least tastebud-provoking. It's a fine tasting, if overly mild blend for me, but it definitely does not ring my chimes the way the other two did, particularly Ebony. Dark seems more complex to me but Ebony is more flavorful.

This is a rough chop-cut tobacco, mostly black in color but with a bit of lemon VA thrown in. The taste of this resembles Ebony much more than Dark but is considerably milder and harder to extract. It came at very nearly the proper moisture level in the tin but it did benefit from a couple of minutes of drying time. Still, I had some minor difficulties keeping this lit. As do most good VA tobaccos, it improved down the bowl but never really reached that level of taste nirvana that I experience with Ebony. This one is just too mild for me and I had to work too hard to find the flavor. But if you like a nice mild tobacco and you want just a bit of that deep dark roast coffee flavor with your Virginia tobacco, give this one a try. If you find you like the flavor but find it just a bit lacking in "oomph", go straight to Royal Cajun Ebony.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 07, 2015 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable
What a peculiar tobacco this is. The tin note immediately makes the stoved Virginia obvious, and there is the signature dried fruits aroma of McC's conditioned blends. I picked up an odd strawberry jam aroma as well. There is nothing on the nose that reminded me of perique.

Visually, this is a short coarse cut, predominantly black with 10% or so of yellow leaf.

I found this tobacco chameleon like in its complexity; each puff giving off new and different impressions. It is sweet, sour, salty and pungent, with a tarry, smoky quality that reminded me more of English ropes than it did of anything from St James Parish.

It burns beautifully and somewhat quickly.

This is clearly a first class tobacco, but even writing as an aficionado of stoved Virginias, which I think is the core of this blend, I am hesitant to recommend it because this is so singular in its nature that one will simply have to try it and find out. This *might* be worth looking at for people who enjoy the complexities and richness of dark ropes and twists but find the hassle in the bowl too much.

I also thought this stronger than most reviewers have, but then my tastes have evolved to prefer lighter fare.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 05, 2008 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
A McClelland brochure says Cajun Black is the first pipe tobacco to be developed in over 40 years. Virginia seed was grown and crossbred in Kentucky. This tobacco leaf is processed by fire-curing and Perique-style fermentation. This Perique-style pressing and fermentation gives the new Cajun Black leaf its characteristics.

RCS has a McCellandish strong, sweet buttery and raisin tin aroma as its key signature. It's coarse, chunky ribbon cut, one of the widest ribbon I've ever seen, particularly in the lighter leaf. It's 90% black and 10% blonde leaf. Moisture is less than in other McClelland blends. It packs readily. Tin date code on bottom: 980206, meaning tinned in 2006.

Another signature is that RCS is a VA with a sweet flavor and a mild salt and sour Perique effect. With careful attention, a chocolate-vanilla taste and aroma is noticed.

A third key element is a strong toasty taste that is not tangy or sharp. This toasty undertone is really nice.

Somewhat mild in taste and aroma, RCS is medium in nicotine strength. It leaves a moderate room note.

Definitely not a strong Perique style of tobacco; it emanates only a moderate truffle-like pugency of Perique.

RCS burns mostly to the bottom of the bowl and is only vaguely moist, with little gurgle. Three hours air-drying left it a bit more dry and slightly easier to light and burn to the bottom.

This is a somewhat medium all-day smoke. If you are looking for an expensive VA having mild Perique qualities, this is it. But, there are VA tobaccos available with St. James Perique blended in. For RCS, the Perique thing seems to be a promotional alternative designed to please smokers of quality VAPER blends that will likewise not offend non-smokers.

Overall: RCS: Liked this the most, due to a toasty undertone.

RCE: Liked somewhat; decent, in that it is mild.

RCD: Considered not even finishing the tin; plastic tone; lingering negative room note.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 12, 2009 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
i like this! i found it to be quite flavorful and unique. rich, smooth, and satisfying. the tin aroma and the color are wonderful, it packs and burns with ease, and solicits many compliments about how good it smells burning. as we all know, this is blended with the "new perique" due to the la. st. james parrish hardships, while i am not so sure it is too similar to the original perique (which i like very much), i would accept it as an alternative on it's own merit any day. i applaud the group that had the foresight to develop this. i will return to this and i will try the other two in the series.

01/2016 as an additional note, I found this to be even more pleasant when put through a tobacco grinder to loosen up and tear some of the larger chunks, it helped bring out more flavor and aided in burn. Good made better.
Pipe Used: Briar and meer
Age When Smoked: 1 year in tin
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 22, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
When I reviewed Royal Cajun Ebony (RCE) on the 5th of October this year I gave it a major thumbs up. At the time, I had not yet tried the Royal Cajun Special (RCS) nor the Royal Cajun Dark (RCD). I am smoking RCS now and find it quite delicious also albeit a tad stronger.

The Royal Cajuns (RCs) are a completely different tasting blend from the normal tobaccos we smoke in terms of appearance (real nice darkish), richness and flavour/taste. Don't get me wrong; there are many top class tobaccos out there but the flavour of the RCs is quite unique.

This is as creamy and spicy sweet as RCE but a little less so; not sure why it is less spicy that RCE, but perhaps because it has less Perique than RCE or none at all. Or does it? To my taste, RCE has a slight edge over this (RCS) and since I gave RCE a straight four star, I will rate this as a four, less half. But I can see RCS joining RCE as part of my regular rotation.
Age When Smoked: New
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 19, 2011 Very Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
This is my second Royal Cajun, after the Dark (could not put hands on the Ebony).

Basically, we are in the same territory (how could it be different ?), just some small differences: a dash of lemon Virginia is thrown in the dark base, offering fruity tones. Possibly this is even milder than the Dark, but neverthess satisfactory and refreshing the same way.

Regarding me, my preference still goes to the Dark.

The Royal Cajun line seems to me something able to encompass the pipsters' different tastes, and that's the geniality of the blender.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2010 Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable
I haven't been looking forward to this review. With every subsequent bowl smoked, I knew that my review would be ravaging. I hesitate only because I admire McClelland, particularly for their insistence on experimenting. There are only so many blenders as bold...actually, there are none, I apologize. I crave different tastes, and when I scour the interwebs in search of something new, I am inevitably led back to that familiar profile of a whale taking in a breath of fresh air. In my mind, GL Pease exists to refine, and McClelland exists to create. Royal Cajun is squarely within that tradition, and I confess, I feel a bit guilty for hating the stuff.

"Cajun Black." I remember reading about this a few years back, a bit intrigued, imagining that I would get around to it sooner or later. That time has come, with a tin dated 2006--that's a good four years of age. Reading the verbose insert provided by McClelland, my first instinct was to imagine a cross between Latakia and Perique, a smokey, fermented condiment soon to line the shelves of tobacconists and their mason jars of blending can this fail?

My only reservation going in was the notice that these blends lack oomph. I like a strong tobacco, and have gone far enough to add Perique and sliced rope as necessary to toughen up a blend. Nothing is safe, from Frog Morton to Blue Note. This tends to change the taste profile, obviously, but it extends the range of tobaccos that I may sample, which my curiosity appreciates. So, I stand ready to amend this concoction if necessary.

Prodding though the contents in the tin, the tobaccos are course, largely black-- the stoved Virginias and Cajun Black indistinguishable, and a bit of that light, lemon Virginia, sparingly evident. The classic McClelland Virginia scent pervades throughout (I do enjoy the novelty, I admit).

The smoke, honestly, doesn't deliver the promise of new flavor. The blend is decent enough, but I don't seem to taste anything that new or that different. There's a hint of what might be Perique, and some smokey notes, but taken together, it's nothing distinct enough to warrant jubilation.

I understand now why the blend is so pair this with a strong Virginia, or a robust Burley would diminish what little individuality the blender claims that this leaf may possess. And so you are condemned to these mild smokes, or some oft hope that the next batch might use a stronger strain of Virginia. Either way, the future is bleak, as perhaps obvious by the lack of other blenders who have taken to the cause of "Cajun Black". But McClelland is a tasteful company that could probably make a pile of crap at least halfway palatable, which is clear in the simple instance of Special, which should ideally fail to offend most people.

Forty years, that's how long it's been since a new tobacco component emerged-- according to McClelland. I like the desire to branch out, but I think we can do better.

For my part, I'll take a pinch of Perique and snap my fingers.

One and a half of Five.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 03, 2006 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I am fortunate to have smoked this excellent blend of skillful curing and inspired blending. The result is a smoking experience for pipesters seeking pleasures both subtle and complex. It burns easily without leaving undue mess in the bowl save grey ash. The element of Cajun Black is going to be around for a long time once people have the opportunity to smoke it. I have no problem recommending this to anyone, except maybe those who do not smoke Perique. I've already started laying in a supply to cellar, since I don't think I can keep it out of my rotation of blends I keep open. I have little discipline in this matter.

Meerschaum Man Smoking a CAO Dunhill Man Pasha
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 21, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Very Mild Pleasant
I opened the tin and sniffed a fruity smell which was not unpleasant. Upon lighting I was waiting for "something" to happen, and continued to do so throughout the bowl. Coming from liking English blends to this provided a nice change of pace. It definitely had a Perique heritage. It's a nice smoke, nothing (for me)to write home about..I tried it and that's that.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 16, 2010 Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
One has to give credit to McClelland for thinking outside the box with the creation of this series. This dark, rich, rough cut tobacco comes ready to pack with a slightly smokey, chocolate (not aromatic) tin note. At first light the taste is very mild, slightly sweet and somewhat monotone. Sadly, that was the profile for the majority of the bowl. It's not bad tobacco, just boring. I wasn't looking for a "new" perique, but I had hoped that the process would bring about more complex flavors. If you are a fan of very mild, straight forward tobacco, this might be worth a try.
1 person found this review helpful.
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