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 11 - 20 of 54 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 30, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I have a dreadful fear, that the day may come when the Grand Orientals have run their course, and I have yet to sample the greater majority.

I absolutely love this blend. It's got an English kick like I've never tasted before, and the Syrian leaf is a beautiful accompaniment to an already well blended mixture.

I remember my early pipe smoking days...just a couple of years ago...I bought the McClelland Super Balkan variety, and I just couldn't pick it apart from a regular Cyprian mix. I think the defining moment came when I smoked MacBaren's Syrian mixture and fell in love with the different properties from the Cyprian leaf.

Now, Highlander has both, but I can easily detect the Syrian, and I cannot fathom a time in the future where the supply may run short and dry. I don't care what it takes, I want more Syrian Latakia in my blends. Bashar al-Assad is a jackass to be sure, I understand, but I am willing to overlook some serious flaws if I can keep smoking this masterful concoction. dwindling tins!

Four of Four.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 27, 2008 Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable
I really can't agree with most of the enthusiastic comments here...

This is a good tobacco, but not that different from other McClelland Latakia offerings: that is, very "green", vegetal, lemony and not as full, leathery and nutty as other great latakia blends from the UK or the USA (such as GLPease's).

Take any other Syrian Latakia blend by this brand (such as Rose of Latakia), add a little more Oriental fragrance and just pinch more Latakia... and that's it.

Nowhere as classic English or Balkan as some reviews would suggest. It is less ketchupy than other older McC blends, and it actually has more Latakia flavor, but it's bland to the point of boredom.

Not enough "juice", pals...

Anyway, quite pleasant and well-behaved.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 10, 2007 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
First off, I hope someday, somehow, to burst a major and irritating myth here. It's a little off-subject, but I can't resist the temptation any longer. Good Ladies and Gentlemen: McLelland flakes DO NOT SMELL LIKE KETCHUP, CATSUP, OR ANYTHING IN BETWEEN...A recent non-scientific study has revealed this very clearly to me, anyway. Similar to catsup? Maybe a little--McC offerings such as Dark Star or the annual Christmas flake can also be compared to certain types of chutney, fermenting hay bales ... but who started this ketchup thing? Anyway, it's only an opinion, but it feels good to get that out into the open!

Yenjidje Highlander: ahh! It's Christmas in August! I love this blend -- smooth, inviting, prone toward meditative, relaxed reverie. Been having success with this fine blend mainly in my small collection of Dunhills--very satisfying in a clay-type Churchwarden, and I may even dedicate a group 3 tanshell lovat to this one. Less tame and a little bit harsher in a short, stubby Castello which has a lot of air flow.

As others have noted, YH doesn't veer full-on into the territory of heavy Balkan blends, as there is indeed not enough Latakia for that to be the case, it seems to me. What is this--a 'Turkish' or 'Oriental' type blend?

In my original review, I'd mentioned a touch of harshness at the charring light. I take that back--I may have been working it too hard or putting the flame directly to leaf, a surefire way to get a bit of bite.

With easy puffing, small bowlfuls lasted a long while, up to an hour, for me. Not always staying lit easily but I've been enjoying this blend during one of the most humid summers in my memory (smoking outdoors 95% of the time), so that contributes I reckon. An instant favorite which will remain in my top rotation as long as it's available (hopefully for many years) and it was enjoyed/appreciated by my non-pipesmoker friends on a recent trip to the north woods of Maine (the mosquitoes did NOT enjoy it, fortunately).
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 29, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
A friend of mine texted me and asked if I cared to meet him to try out an unopened tin of this blend from 2014, (650114). How could I say no. I also brought a 14-year-old tin of Syrian Super Balkan that we opened also. The tin note was that of a very sweet Oriental smell, not your typical English Latakia note. I have had two to three bowls of this and it smokes cool, slightly sweet and pleasant. My palate does not really pick up much if any of the Syrian or Cyprian Latakia in this blend. Definitely to me fits the Oriental style blend. Not a lot I can add except I have two more bowls of this and will smoke it soon in rapid procession. Is this one I wish I could have stocked up one, more than likely no but it is a McClelland and it is good. Any time I can smoke McClelland is a great day. Thanks again friend for bringing it in.
Pipe Used: Briar
Age When Smoked: 6 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Sounded exotic so I took the plunge. This is a smoke that reveals itself over time. and it is worth the journey. There are many things going on here. Im not a big latakia lover--but i do appreciate and enjoy the smoky exhale of the leaf. Here it is applied with grace and a true blender's skill. the Latakia supports rather than leads. and it is only noticeable on the back end of the smoke--which is perfect for that effect.

The full body of the blend is a cool and easy smoke. its there to enjoy if you want it, but not bold or in your face. All I can really say is--when i first smoked it-I thought--OK, mellow English blend with slight sweet overtones of a hint of Syrian will be OK for that rotation disruption once in a while. But now, its my go to smoke morning or night. I appreciate its light complexity and character of the smoke. it seems to bend to fit the mood.
PurchasedFrom: Smoking
Age When Smoked: new
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 14, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Good stuff, indeed. The tin I bought had a few years of age on it, which had greatly softened the Lat and focused the Turkish leaf. The Turk was out front, the Virginian well in the background in this tin, with the Lat providing a bit of generalized smokiness. It was terrific.

No McCletchup, just a wee vinegary frisson to the tin note upon opening. The sweet and sour of the Turkish leaf tasted great on the draw, but the room note did not make me any friends. Don't know how this compares to a fresh or fresher tin, but I recommend it wholeheartedly. Not too strong, though: nic-hitters will have to get that somewhere else, though there is enough nic and tobacco taste to satisfy all but the hardest hitters, I think.

Let me confess that I am not one of the Oriental cognoscenti, though I like the stuff. This blend is really tasty if you like the sweet-sour Turk experience, with a strong VA bottom. Love the coarse cut, too.
Age When Smoked: 10
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 01, 2013 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
A delicious oriental blend, tin aroma has that nice sweet aroma from the oriental leaf, and accompanied with smokey latakia, there is just enough latakia, to accompany both the aroma, and flavor with out stealing the show from the Yenidje
Pipe Used: CassanoCanadian, a Big Casino Cutty
PurchasedFrom: Allegheny Smoke Works
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This is only my second McClelland blend... and I have to say it's a little underwhelming for my tastes. Maybe I am not familiar enough with Yenidje to understand it's characteristics, but if my palate does not lie, I'm not entirely impressed with this king of Orientals. I have hopes, especially as it was a 4 year old tin... thinking it should have maybe developed nicely.

The Good: It is a completely unoffensive smoke. I can happily puff on this in any of my latakia-dedicated pipes and not dislike it. It lit and burned nicely, did not bite horribly and gave great volumes of creamy smoke and balanced flavor. Almost too balanced.

The Bad: I wanted more... more latakia, Cyprian... Syrian... or anything. I also wanted more Yenidje. I detected a familiar dryness and sharp, clean flavor... but nothing of the swirling, dancing, exotic Oriental flavors I love in Esoterica's Margate or GLP's Charing Cross. And it lacks the balance, yet distinct flavorfulness of Gawith's Squadron Leader or Skiff Mixture.

This would be an excellent "gateway" tobacco for those who have never had a proper English or Balkan Blend... but for me, I found it somehow lacking in ALL departments. It didn't satisfy my Oriental itch, OR offer me a mild, sweet alternative to bolder, more distinct blends.

I love 3 Oaks Syrian and am curious to try other MC blends... my next foray into them will be Wildnerness... and I've heard good things about Blue Mountain. So I'm not giving up on McClelland (especially as a Kansas City native who supports local business!)... but I won't be returning to this blend any time soon.

It is clearly quality leaf and thoughtfully blended... just not to my tastes.

Two solid stars.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 07, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
This pays homage to the Sobrranie of old. It is a very flavorful blend. A true Balkan in every sense of the word. The Xanthi is strong in this blend and I love its bitter mid-range flavor notes. Unfortunately this one stinks really bad to non-smokers, so be warned. I have gone through several tins of this blend and am currently out, time to re-stock! Definitely one of my favorites...
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 26, 2010 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Wow this stuff is wonderful. I bought a few of each in this series and let them age for over 2 years. This one I bought one. As DK below stated, I was woried the Latakia would over power the oriental.

Man, was I wrong. The flavor is amazing. I'd have to put this one up with 3 Oaks Syrian. Not because they are so similar, but because they are both top English blends.

To those who have a hard time picking out the individual weeds in an English blend, this can be your education. The Latakia, both Cyprian and Syrian balance the Va's- which add that typical Va sweetness, and the wonderful oriental spice. I believe using both Latakia types is great, as GLP proved with Renaisance and Ravens Wing. The Cyprian gives us the smokey leather, while the Syrian give the wonderful spice quality.

I can't believe I waited so long, but I will stock up! The age probably married the leaves together and the Va leaves are coated in wonderful crystals. Try it, it is sublime.
3 people found this review helpful.
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