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 - 9 of 9 Reviews
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
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
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
Sep 15, 2008 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
There are many opinions of McClelland blends, and they often fall into one of the following categories:

1. McC tobaccos smell strongly of rancid ketchup.

2. Hint of tomato, nothing to worry about.

3. McC never smells like ketchup, reviewers #1+#2 are insane.

Having contentedly smoked a few perfect cans of this (usually) fine blend, I discovered the secret of McC ketchup: poor quality control resulting in an inconsistent product.

My first 3 tins were perfect. The yenidje seemed carried by the latakia, which was in turn supported by the virginias. The aroma from opening each can was a joy in itself. YH had earned a place on my jar-shelf near Abingdon and Charing Cross.

I smoked (almost) the last of can #3, opened the jar reserved for YH and opened can #4.

The forth can was a different creature. (it was purchased and opened during the same few months) The aroma of rancid ketchup flooded out. I pinched out enough for a small pipe, let it dry+air for about an hour, and smoked it. Still rancid. After 24hrs of airing out the tin, the ketchupy aroma and taste vanished. Sadly what was left had almost no flavor.

3 out of the ~20 tins of McC tobacco I've opened (several have been gifts to a cigar-smoking friend) have had this problem, not enough to even speculate about statistics (or develop a strategy to avoid the bad). I probably would've given this blend a "4 star" rating if not for the inconsistency. I dislike the idea of cellaring 10 tins of tomacco because they came from a bad lot.

(If anyone's keeping track, here's my "bad count": 1/4 Yenidje Highlander, 1/1 Dominican Glory Maduro, 1/2 Rose of Latakia, several others without problem)
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 27, 2009 Medium None Detected Very Mild Strong
I'm mainly a VA & VA/Per blend proponent. My tastebuds dictate what I like or don't like & I can't help that. It's a palate chemistry reaction thing & this blend leaves me to ponder: Why was this blend labeled or classified an Oriental? If this is an Oriental blend, why was so much Latakia mixed in? Shouldn't it have been the condimental tobacco rather than the dominant player in this blend? IMO, there was a Latakia overload in this Oriental. I would have labeled this a Balkan and given it another name so as not to confuse, which comes easy for me.

I have spent quite a bit $$ on different English & Balkan blends that contain Latakia in a effort to aquire a taste for them. Try as I might, it just doesn't work for me. I'm glad I tried this blend, however, because it was the straw that broke the camel's back. From this day forward, until my time on earth is through, I shall avoid Latakia like the plague. I'm sure it wasn't this blend, but I had to scrap it about mid bowl. I cleaned my pipe & palate & restoked with some "New World" tobacco.

Everything is back to normal now except for a bit of lingering nausea. I understand that there could be a conflict due to my genetic makeup. Anyway, the remainder of this tin and anything else that contains Latakia will be donated to a local pipe club if they're willing to accept this challenge. To rate this blend with a single * would be too critical, so I'll give Yenidje Highlander two s**rs!
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 22, 2008 Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant
I bought two tins of Yenidje Highlander; one to smoke immediately and one to cellar. Unfortunately my first several bowls of this have left me wondering what all the excitement is about. On initial opening of the tin, I was captivated by the fantastic smell of the Latakia and was anticipating the creamy smoothness typical to a good Balkan blend. Thus far the smokes have been "bitey", relatively flat and bland in taste and significantly nasty towards the bottom of the bowl. The tobacco packs very well, burns very well and otherwise exhibits respectable behavior in public. It also DGT's exceptionally well, in fact, I noticed with my third or fourth bowl of this that it actually tasted creamier and more Balkan if I let a pipeful sit for a few hours before finishing it off. I'll allow my second tin to age for several months, perhaps even a year, and will revisit it then. Yenidje Highlander has gained the appreciation of too many veteran pipesters for me to believe it is a bland, listless blend.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2008 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Today I opened this box. Maybe this is the last McClelland that I smoke.

I?m, honestly, very angry, with this ketchup flavor that is in all the McClelland. Is it still possible in an oriental tobacco with strong dose of Latakia from Cyprus and Syria, the flavor of ketchup Heinz to be stronger? What is this perfume finally?

In a correct humidity, when you open it, it burns your throat enough, it can be set easily in the bowl, it burns well, it makes a relatively calm and soft smoking, BUT at the end, it gets mud. How is it possible for such a dry tobacco with oriental and Latakia to get so mud?

I give him only two stars since I disagree with many of the reviewers, because of this ketchup flavor which bothers me a lot.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 16, 2007 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I must have gotten a bad tin, this blend seemed rather bland to me. For so many years, I have heard discussions about the Yenidje leaf and how it was the primary spice of Sobranie, this cannot be representative of that long hallowed leaf. I tasted a decent some Virginia with a slightly spicy Latakia afternote, there was some new flavor, which has to be the Yenidje, but it was so subtle as to be almost missed.

I very much wanted to taste this magic leaf that I have heard so much about, but I can only assume that my can was lacking or that the current crop of Yenidje lacks the character of the leaf of 20+ years ago.
1 person found this review helpful.
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