McClelland Yenidje Highlander

Highlander is the one blend so far in the Grand Orientals Series using Latakia. It is a classic mixture of the finest mountain grown Yenidje with both Cyprian and Syrian Latakia and just enough Matured Red Virginia and mellow Maryland. This is a smooth cool-smoking oriental mixture of outstanding character. Our inspiration was a vintage tin of the old Balkan Sobranie.
Notes: From McClelland: Oriental tobacco cultivation began in the 1600s around the villages of Yenidje and Kirdzhali after Venetian and Genoese traders introduced tobacco smoking to the area in the 1500s. The classic Basma seed introduced there over 300 years ago is believed by some to derive from an ancient Venezuelan variety of Nicotiana Tabacum named Barinas. The very finest Xanthi still comes from the original Yenidje (Genesaia) area of Western Thrace just north of the modern town of Xanthi. It is the Xanthi-Yaka-Basma and the Xanthi-Djebel-Basma that comprise the legendary Yenidje leaf which is thin, full-bodied, flexible, with fine veins. Full of oils, the best leaves are quite small, yellow to brown in color, with a pleasant, delicate aroma and sweet, mild, fresh flavor.


Brand McClelland
Series Grand Orientals
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Oriental
Contents Latakia, Maryland, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Coarse Cut
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 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

3.30 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 54 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 08, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
This Oriental blend has quite a range of nuances ranging from sweet to minor sour notes, smoke, wood, earth, a little dryness, some spice, and in the case of the yenidje, what I classify as an “unflavored soda” taste. As expected, they rule the day with this blend. The Virginia provides tangy sweet dark fruit and earth with a very light spice as a smoothing additive as an important condiment that acts bigger than its actual content. The Maryland essentially acts as a flavor carrier and doesn’t really add anything to the taste. The Cyprian and Syrian latakias add a smokey, woody, sweet and dry tone you’ll always notice as it continuously lurks in the back ground. There is the familiar McClelland “vinegar” that mostly lightly translates to the earlier portion of the experience. The nic-hit is in the middle of mild to medium. The taste and strength are closer to medium than it is to mild. Well blended with a fair amount of complexity, you’ll notice most every aspect of the lightly creamy, very smooth consistent flavor from top to bottom. Relights a few relights, and leaves just a little moisture in the bowl. Has a lasting, very pleasant after taste, and the room note won’t scare away your dogs or cats. It’s close, but not quite an all day smoke, though some experienced smokers may find otherwise.
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 17, 2010 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
This is the last of the Grand Oriental series - so far. I saved this one for last because I was afraid the addition of latakia would overwhelm the subtleties of the oriental tobacco. I was wrong.

Getting this out of the way first, I preferred the GO Yenidje without latakia but this one was a fine smoke. The latakia was expertly applied so as not to be overbearing. In fact, the latakia is mostly in the bouquet, with just enough flavor so you know it's there. I find this to be a nice, mild and spicy blend that doesn't knock you about the head with either flavor or nicotine. There is the virginia sweetness at the match that gradually gives up some ground to the oriental spice and the latakia just sort of hangs around to provide some further depth. I recommend you try this one with latakia and the Yenidje Supreme without latakia. The differences are subtle but significant. Both are worth a try.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This is a mega-winner from McClelland's and as fine an Oriental blend as I can remember ever smoking. The Virginia and Latakia components really meld into a rich, pure smoking experience that leaves me both satisfied and eager for another bowl.

The cut, though a little coarse, packs very well and stays lit with no trouble. There is a bit more strength than is normally encountered with this type of blend, and the taste stays with you for awhile.

I particularly enjoyed the way this tobacco presented its Virginia base up front, yet allowed me to taste the other components without being muffled.

This one gets my nod, for sure.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 14, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I bought this in order to get a better idea of what Yenidje taste like. In that I succeeded. I find it to be a bit sharp at first, but it does round off after a bit. Has a nice flavor, spicy, mildly sour and mildly buttery. The blend itself is very nice after the Yenidje rounds off. The Latakia is in just the right amount to keep from hiding any of the Yenidje and the Virginias providing a nice bit of sweetness. The Latakia does come out more in the finish and by then I'm ready for it to do so. A decent smoke.
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman
Age When Smoked: 1 month
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 07, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Yenidje Highlander presents very similarly to Yenidje Supreme but with a darker shade of brown and a smattering of black. The tobacco is on the dry side, as one might expect with an Oriental. Tin note is somewhat pungent, spicy-sweet, herbal with just a hint of ferment and tang. Takes a match well and burns dry and cool.

I expected this to be basically Supreme with a pinch of Latakia, and perhaps it is. But Highlander surprised me with more complexity than Supreme. I found the Virginias to be more assertive here and had you told me that was the case, I probably wouldn't have bought it, not generally being a raving fan of McClelland Virginia-forward blends. But the nuance and balance of blending here is simply extraordinary. The interplay of sweet, sour and spicy is a true testament to the blender's artistry. There is perhaps no better marriage than Oriental and Virginia tobacco in the hands of a master blender. The Latakia is truly condiment here but does magical things to this blend, grounding the sharper tobaccos and adding a mushroomy earthiness by mid bowl that contrasts beautifully with the dryer Basma notes and sweeter Virginia.

Highlander is smooth, rich, balanced and extraordinary. Fully satisfying without overwhelming, Highlander is a world class blend.

Miss Perique found the room note awful. But I loved it.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I Definitely highly recommend this tobacco. The latakia is light and the majority of flavor is provided by the top quality, very delicious, oriental leaf. Throughout the bowl the is an underlying Virginia sweetness that mellows and sweetens the smoke. It occasionally comes to the forefront of the flavor profile while being smoked, but for the most part provides that much needed back drop.

The Yenidje or Xenthi, or whatever kind of oriental leaf I cant pronounce is in this blend is excellent. Very spicy, not in the sense of a burning sensation, but like spices used to flavor meets. A bit of a clove flavor, and even a very very subtle mint like flavor in the way background of the smoke behind the virginias.

The Latakia produces its usual smokiness, though combined with the intense oriental flavor, produces something very close to a very spicy ham or turkey flavor, less the obvious taste of the meat itself.

Smells delicious to me in the tin and in the air.

This truly is an amazing tobacco, everything about it is great. It was good enough to make me want to try the other blends in the series.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 14, 2014 Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant
A fellow pipe smoker smelled the tin and said "Saloon Latakia". Well the tin aroma features a restrained but evident Latakia. The beautiful red-brown and dark brown leaves are spotted by black ones. But smoking it is a different experience.

The Latakia is only nice condiment to make this sophisticated blend more interesting. It is blended into this oriental-forward blend to such extent that at times it is barely detectable. It gives a nice smoky-ness to the flavour. Otherwise Yenidje Highlander is more similar to the other Grand Oriental, Drama Reserve, than to any blends I know having Latakia in it.

On the palate it is creamy, delicate and inviting to explore: butter, peanut, hay, some smoky-ness, pepper and paprika. In the first 1/3 of the bowl I sometimes detected anise as well but it vanished before I could investigate the nature and origin of this anise flavour.

Down the bowl the peanut turns to chestnut and then to walnut, the pepper and paprika to cinnamon and chilli. Also a little citrus-bitter flavour starts to appear which turns to bergamot and to something too ashy at the end.

This tobacco does not bite at all but I recommend you smoke it slowly because otherwise you would miss some of the subtle flavours and it would turn a bit bitter and less enjoyable.

I discovered only two things on the downside: 1) the ashy taste at the end; 2) in the first 1/3 of the bowl the smoke was sometimes irritating to my throat and my palate. Do not ask me how I don't understand it myself.

My favourite oriental + virginia blend is Drama Reserve which is full of subtle flavours to explore. I had thought that Yenidje Highlander would be a blend like Drama Reserve with a pinch of Latakia added. It surely sounds like a great idea. While the result is still a delicate blend it is somehow uneven.
Pipe Used: meersch
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: fresh
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 17, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
In one sentence, this is a perfectly good tobacco, but it in no way deserves to be called "Grand Oriental" or "Yenidje". The Yenidje almost vanishes in smoking, instead of being a strong top-note as one would expect from the name. This is what My Favourite Tobacconist would call a balanced blend.

On opening the tin, the charcteristic McC ketchup aroma was apparent, but doesn't seem to affect the taste of the smoke. I could smell the yenidje in the tin but barely taste it in the smoke. Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian has far more yenidje, and a little more latakia, even my local blender's imitation of Dunhill MM 965 has much more oriental character. Instead the red-cake Virginia dominates the flavour. Oddly,the Yenidje is more noticeable in the room aroma.

All that being said, this is a fine, satisfying smoke; the Latakia does not dominate & there is little tongue burn; smokes evenly; not too strong but very flavourful, with a fairly complex makeup. It's just misnamed or badly marketed. I'm tempted to downgrade it to 2 stars for misleading advertising, but that would be unfair. It is not McC's best or most charcterful blend (I nominate St. James Wood for that place), but it deserves 3 stars.
Pipe Used: Carey System
Age When Smoked: Fresh in tin
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 13, 2013 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
This tobacco is to be smoked as a treat, and not like everyday tobacco. I've been smoking it regularly for the past days, but this requires comfortable atmosphere, and not in the rush or while doing something else. I smoke it while driving lately, and I regret for missing all the subtle notes that require more attention. I'm not going to write about it's tin aroma, because every McClelland tin is absolutely the same, you can't tell by the tin aroma which is which because they are all like ketchup. If you leave it a bit to settle down, dry and mellow, the ketchup aroma disappears and it's ok. I put mine in a leather pouch and after a few days there it gets just as it should be. Latakias are less than expected, but there are both syrian and cyprian, so it's ok in the first third of the bowl. Yenidje is present, adds sweetness and freshness and together with syrian latakia makes the blend somewhat noble. After the first third, latakia goes completely in the background and the oriental comes upfront and the fun starts. VA also comes to the attention, and combined with the oriental it gets as fantastic as it can be. Wonderful all the way down throughout the bowl. You can dry it a little bit more than usual if you wan't to underline even more the fantastic oriental note. It tends to bite however, even if sipped gently. Nicotine is ok, but taste isn't full as I expected. It's subtle and mild, I know, oriental blends are like that, and if you put more of the "body" tobaccos, the orientals wouldn't play well, but this one could use just a little bit more VA and Latakia for my account. Anyway, awesome tobacco, try it, you won't regret.
Pipe Used: briars
Age When Smoked: 1 month
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 03, 2013 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
I have been smoking a 2007 tin of this superb blend a lot over the past couple of weeks. I'm near the end of a bowl in a Peterson B5 Donegal Rocky p-lip that is dedicated to lighter Latakia blends like GLP Piccadilly. But I digress... The yenidje is sublime, lending an herbal, vaguely floral note. The Virginias are sweet and give a solid foundation to the more exotic varietals from the former Ottoman Empire. I get that meat & potatoes flavor of burley here & there, and I assume that emanates from the Maryland tobaccos. The Cyprian gives a little body, but that Syrian is so intriguing. I'm familiar with it through MacBaren's HH Vintage Syrian, FMAtP. It's a big treat. Much more complex and definitely spicer and less smoky than the Cyprus leaf. This is good stuff and have a few more sealed tins from the early days of the blend, along with Black Sea Sokhoum--my other favorite in this series. I give it a 3.95 out of four because I occasionally get the McClelland ketchup thing. It's nice to exhale via the nose to experience a little more completely.
4 people found this review helpful.
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