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 17 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
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
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
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
Sep 09, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Final bowl of tin #2, aged one year. Having tried it in a variety of shapes, all briar, I get the best smokes out of tall, narrow bowls. I also learned to avoid pipes that have a lot of Balkan mileage on them, as the ghosts of Latakia in the wood interfere with the subtlety of this blend. It also benefits from concentration without interference from anything more intrusive than a good book or some classic jazz from the fifties.

Overall this one is well balanced and the ingredients are in near perfect proportion. Occasionally the red virginias get a bit rowdy, but that settles down quickly. I really like the use of both Syrian and Cyprian Latakia, and enjoy the way these two bob and weave throughout the smoke. The Maryland is so light I think it must be there only to contribute to the cool burning qualities.

In the taller bowls I get flavors of spices like cumin and cinnamon...some campfire/pine olives and anise. The final third of the bowl is where the virginias return emphatically, allowing the Latakia and other Orientals a well deserved rest. The end game is rich and creamy with light caramel notes and just the slightest hint of cocoa.

A very nice blend for when you have the time for contemplation and focus. It didn't work quite so well while I watched the Titans beat the Jaguars. Timing is everything.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 03, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Incense with some woody and Lat aroma. That is the shorthand way to describe another glorious McClelland contribution.

Clearly high quality, deep and murky Oriental dominates this blend, and what a great way to be dominated 🙂

I am not enough of an expert to expound upon all the different names for the Orientals and will leave that to someone with greater expertise, but the ones that are in this really smell like you are standing in an Orthodox Church in Greece and that are waving around the incense.

Its backed with just enough of the accompanying tobaccos to make sure that there is contrast and compliment, all in all, the best of its kind.
Pipe Used: Dunhill Reject Billard
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: Unknown
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 12, 2008 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I mostly enjoy the famous ketchup-smell from McClelland's tobaccos, particularly the one found in Virginias. The problem here is that this mixture's taste is pretty subtle, and the vinegar taste makes it difficult to savor the nice Orientals.

The solution is patience: open the tin, close it, and let it rest for a month or so. Then take what you want to smoke, leave it over a piece of paper for a couple of hours, load your pipe, and smoke away. The ketchup taste will be greatly reduced and you will be able to enjoy one fine Oriental mixture.

It didn't blow my mind up, but it was a nice experience.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 09, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium Strong
Balkan Sobranie White was my primary blend for years; like many fans I was heartbroken when it was discontinued, and even more crushed a few months later when its fraternal twin Bengal Slices was discontinued. The two tobaccos that have given me some solace since then have been Butera Pelican and Esoterica's Penzance; though neither one makes any claims at Sobraniehood they each have similarities and nearly that level of greatness. I believe Pelican is an attempt at Sullivan's Gentleman's Mixture, a great blend in its own right and which Pelican admirably duplicates.

Replicating Balkan Sobranie White has been a holy grail of the tobacco blenders ever since the great discontinuation, but no one has really succeeded (especially that excrebal Balkan Saseini). Unfortunately, McClelland now joins the list of failures. There are hints of greatness here; it has that clean smokiness, firm spicyiness, and a hint of saltiness that were characteristic of BS White, but unfortunately the McClelland Virginias are jarringly off-note; rather than a clean tart sweetness balancing the smoke, spice, and salt, McClelland gives us stewed-plums-and-ketchup. The result is good, but it's not "great", much less "Sobranie White Great".

Oh well. Maybe one day Esoterica will do a Yenidje version of Penzance.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 20, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This isn't a bad Latakia blend. One gets an idea of the interplay between Yenidje & Latakia. Fairly interesting smoke but not one I intend on purchasing again. It was not a true bell-ringer for me. Maybe I'm just looking for too much Sobranie flavor in these Latakia concoctions. Most leave me disappointed... mainly due to the apportionment of Latakia. Either too much or not enough. Sometimes they get it just right. However, this one seemed to have something other than a dominating Latakia presence. I think a tad more Latakia... just a tad, no Maryland at all (it's a wimpy, bland, tasteless tobacco) and replace it with a variety of Virginias would raise the bar considerably & turn this into a four star blend. But then again, it is intended to be an oriental & not a Balkan. Lastly, this tobacco wasn't blended to please only me & these are just my thoughts. I'm not crying though... just whining a little. I appreciate & respect those who rate it highly, however. Isn't it great we're not all the same? That would mean only one blend available to fight over & there'd be war!
Pipe Used: Stanwell Size 2
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fresh Tin
1 person found this review helpful.
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