McClelland Beacon

Bright high sugar content Virginia cake made with lemon yellow and orange Virginia leaf along with a healthy dose of seven year old Louisiana perique. A blend to calm a weary sailor outrunning an approaching storm.
Notes: Repurposed in 2009 from a PCCA Blend.


Brand McClelland
Series Collector Series
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Perique, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 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

3.56 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 41 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I agree with most of my fellow reviewers, this is an exceptional VaPer that is heavy on the Virginia and light on the Perique. In fact, one of the most delicate Virginia/Perique blends I have tasted in quite some time. It is a delightful blend (as evidenced by all the folks giving this one 4-stars), with a full measure of taste and decent strength. I can see where experienced pipe smokers would gravitate to this leaf. Not only is the flavor and strength very noticiable, the flake cut gives this one staying power. Beacon has it all!
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 02, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
The lemon and orange Virginias have a tangy smooth fermented fruity sweetness with some citrus and earth, and minor grass notes. The perique is spicy, raisins, and dates. It's "vinegary" as many McClelland blends are, but it weakens after a while, and quite nicely compliments the other flavors. Well blended, you taste every nuance in virtually every puff, though I do not find the perique to be a "healthy dose" as it is advertised. To me, it's more of a supporting player, likely due to the Virginia sweetness. The nic-hit is just past the mild level. The broken flake is a little moist, though I found it didn't cause excessive relights, and it's very easy to pack. Burns cool and clean at a slow to moderate pace with a consistent flavor: no dull or harsh spots. Leaves just a little moisture in your bowl, but most of the time, will burn to the last ember. Has a very pleasant after taste and a nice room note. Can be an all day smoke.

17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 27, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The orange and lemon-yellow virginias are well in the foreground. The perique is present but almost muted, being expertly blended to cool down the virginias. As a result, those sugary virginias provided me with a cool smoke and no tongue bite whatsoever.

This is the smoothest VaPer, with the best virginia flake that I've smoked to date. I like milder blends (i.e., lower to moderate nic strength) ideal for multiple and relaxing smokes, and this one is it for me. This very rich and flavorful tobacco is ideal for me, a lover of virginia blends. Those who like heavy nic blends beware.

Yes, there is some whiff of vinegar/catsup in the tin aroma but none in the smoking, and even then subdued in comparison to other McClelland virginia tin notes (added to the fact that this is a 2 year old tin). I didn't fully rub out the flakes, just broke them down into strands. It filled the bowl well although there was some need for relights in the first half. This is just niggling, however, and maybe rubbing it out completely will fix that "problem".
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 21, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
destined to be a classic. I have been smoking this for 15 years. I dont consider it for smoking till it hits 5 years old. i haqve a few tins with 15 years on them and let me tell you, age some tins this long it becomes a near religious experience at this age. sweet witha touch of citrus yet dark at the same time with the perique becoming that sugary plum like taste that is so deep its incredible, my mouth starts to water just thinking about it. the flakes become leather to the touch covered with crystals and bloom. I opened a 15 year old tin 3 months ago that had a light dust all over it that smoked so good it was indescribable. when young, beacon can bite if smoked quickly so for those new to this blend, age it, age it, age it!
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 28, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
The pipeguy website claims this blend is akin to the old Cope's Escudo blend... hmmmmm... not sure I'll quite buy that - but this is a pleasantly tangy, spicy and tasty VaPer. I find no top note on opening the tin, other than a subdued McClelland stoved Va tang (which I love!) and a quiet undercurrent of the Perique. The Perique is subdued in this blend (at least in my tin) and much more so than I remember the old Escudo (and certainly the ACP version). I have been smoking quite a lot of 633 over the summer and it's nice to smoke a quality VaPer without the sweetish overbite that I get from that (admittedly addicting) weed. This is clean, fresh and quite unadulterated tobacco - carefully blended, with the components allowed to be themselves, thereby enhancing the whole to a marvelous effect. This is blended by McClelland, but it is certainly not like the other VaPers from that company - especially the ubiquitious 2015 - and other than the stoved Va component, this is really nothing like anything else they do.

At the first light, the smoke is almost purely Virginia. After a tamp and a relight, the bowl smokes strong and sweet with just a little tingle from the Perique. As the bowl progresses, the Perique brings it's fruity spice to the party, but not in an aggressive way at all. This is a very smooth blend. At the last third, the sweetness gives way to a matured Virgina heartiness and the Perique just dances around in the background, tingling your nose and making sure you don't just drift off into Neverland... and then - ash. Just nice clean ash left in the pipe at the end. No dottle to speak of and not a lot of anything gurgling through during the whole affair.

I smoked this in a variety of pots and billiards - Group 3 to Group 6 - and even had the huevos to load up my big old Boswell Dublin, which is ODA and then some - and is not my usual VaPer choice (yeah this weed is that smooth) - with this stuff and it still went down nice and easy. My little Italian pots love this stuff too, although the smallest ones (my little Caminetto Sports) remind me that this is stoved Virginia after all... calm down!

So - I'm not sure why I'm the first one to review this marvelous blend, but if you like VaPers, I have to predict that you'll love this stuff silly.

Four stars - easy!
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 02, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
You had me at 7 year old perique!! Beacon is a wonderfully balanced and rich vaper. The virginia's are tangy, not too sweet. The range of virginia flavors is great. Then there's the perique. The perique flavor is there but it's not overly peppery up front. I prefer Beacon to Beacon Extra. Not surprisingly Beacon is less stout and strong of the two. Beacon is more of a pipe taste than a stout cigar type taste. If you like the genre its a number 1!

Saint James Woods is still my #1, followed by 1776. Beacon is a strong third. I can definitely see why people put Beacon above SJW. Beacon is very balanced and smooth. There's just something about the reds and black stoved combo that keeps me coming back to SJW more. As far as 1776 I really like the sweet, lighter flake with a pinch of perique at times when I want a lighter smoke.

I hope this helps other va/per lovers. I think that there is nothing better than a virginia and perique combo smoke. Some say that McClellands vapers are all the same. I will say that they are similar but there are subtle differences and they are all top notch blends.
Pipe Used: lovat
Age When Smoked: New, less than a year old tin
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 29, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Popped new tin to the scent of tangy-sweet McClelland Virginia. Then add a little hint of black pepper, and strong hard cheese (Perique). Cured hay, malt flour, dry oatmeal, surrounded by the sweetness of the bright Virginia. Delicious aroma. Nice Perique, chewy and tasty Virginia cured as only McClelland can.

Rub, rub, rub - pack and light.

Bright Virginias, fresh and sweet, oat flour and rising dough. Lemongrass tanginess, feed grains and cut hay. Autumn leaves, incense-like notes, dry cocoa. The whole thing has a feeling of depth and earthy richness. Sweeter and richer as the smoke progresses. Peppery spice slips in halfway down the bowl, this only seems to cement the balance rather than upset it.

This is a top quality flake. Don't rush the bright tobaccos or they can bite, not really too much of a problem at first, seemed to get worse halfway through the tin, seems like I had to be more and more careful to avoid a burnt tongue. Still masterfully done. Perique is nice, just a whisper. A balanced, tasty Virginia flake of depth and complexity.

A solid 3 ½ Stars
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 28, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
After reading the previous review, all I can say is "Viva la Difference!". I have no doubt that the reviewer wrote what he experienced; it's just that my experiences were wildly different.

I found this to have a bit milder taste than I was hoping - certainly not strong. The perique was applied delicately, as the tin actually states, and the wonderful McClellands virginia flavor was the dominant one. The tin aroma was the usual McClellands fermented tangy VA smell... the kind that makes me overanxious to fire up a bowl. I had zero problems keeping this lit, even straight from the tin, but I preferred the flavor when I dried this out overnight, as is typical for me with VA's. The room note was very nice indeed.

I finished this tin in record time. Even so, it wasn't a perfect smoke, and not nearly as good as their Bayou Slices, a blend that is close in lineage and looks similar in the tin. That blend had a bit heftier dose of perique and was sweeter as well as spicier. This one, surprisingly enough, was smoother than Bayou - I say surprisingly because the toasting process in the latter was to smooth it out, I thought. It seems to me that Bayou uses red VA as a base while this one uses more lemon and orange, and that may be why I prefer Bayou. Nevertheless, Beacon is a great smoke and I will probably buy more to age but I prefer other McClelland vapers.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 17, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Without a doubt, one of the very best blends I have smoked. As a VAPER, it is in the upper tier in its class. Along with Fillmore and Escudo, it is tops with me.

Beacon is also in the category of Escudo and Fillmore in fuller flavor, stronger in the nicotine department and complex. It is pretty hard for me to imagine someone liking Fillmore and Escudo and not liking Beacon. However, put another way, if Fillmore is not sweet enough and Escudo too sweet and peppery, Beacon fills-out the middle ground and won't overwhelm those moderately sensitive to Perique.

Beacon is heavier than most other VAPER blends that profile brighter tobaccos, casing or little to middling Perique. I think few blends are heavier (Night Train comes to mind). As much as I truly enjoy McClelland's SJW and other VAPER's they blend, this is nothing whatsoever like what McC has done previously.

Rubbed-out and a tiny bit dried-out made for my nearly being bowled over with Beacon's depth and creamy, smooth personality, rich complexity and full mouth satisfaction. It is also very cool. This is also a visually appealing flake, if you are like me and your mouth waters at the sight of ruddy Virginias.

I will try to age some for a few years as long as I am able to smoke Beacon regularly. Beacon is available only direct from

Four very bright stars. This blend alone could make Bob Hamlin a world-renown blender (and to a few insiders, he is renown already).
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 26, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

One of the very finest tobaccos I have smoked in my almost a decade of wanderings. The Beacon deserves its name, shining across the oversaturated supply of halfling mixtures, with strength of flavour and structure like no other.

I am a big admirer of Virginia-Perique blends. I find their elusive sweetness enticing and have several open tins in constant rotation, always searching for those perfect moments when all the variables align and the blend comes to its own.

What sets Beacon apart for me, first, is that those sweet spots are far more common and dependanble than many its competitiors. While blends like Solani 633 shine thanks to their creamy smoothness, their sugars taste drier and more straightforward to my palate. With Beacon, the sweetness is at once rounder and more complex, ranging from sourness to dark molasses.

I love the characteristic smell of McClelland's vinegar that seems to scare off so many first timers. If that means more aged tins for me, I could hardly complain. For my part, I can forget myself with a freshly opened tin for a very long while.

I find the Beacon smokes as well in colder weather as it does in warm. I have enjoyed it on a blazing and moist day in central Vietnam, just as I have in the biting Midwestern winter in the US. I do recommend drying it out a little, as the flakes come well moistened in the tin. They rub out beautifully though, never crumbling too much while still being pliable in the bowl.

I very hearty recommendation to add to the hundreds before me. For once, a blend deserves every single star in spades.
5 people found this review helpful.
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