McClelland Classic Samsun

In the hinterlands just south of the Black Sea in Eastern Turkey, these prized Oriental tobaccos draw their sweet, nutty flavor from the rocky soil as they have done for 350 years. Enjoy the distinctive, mellow, pleasant character of the famed Samsun in this fine blend.
Notes: From McClelland: Samsun grows in the Black Sea region of Eastern Turkey. McClelland has secured the finest Samsun Maden-Canek leaves. They are small, thin, and elastic with a mellow, pleasant, distinctive aroma. Their sweet taste is like the sweetness in a nut meat or sunflower seed. They come from the hinterland of Samsun, mainly to the West of the Yesih Irmak River delta where the climate is very similar to the best Macedonian and Thracian growing areas. Samsun and all Classic Oriental leaves are picked one by one as they ripen, like flue-cured Virginias. If picked too soon so that the sap remains in the leaf during air and sun drying, the sugars will evaporate with the sap. If allowed to ripen too much on the plant, the leaf will be dry and brittle. Tobacco farmers of the classic Samsun growing region have elevated these harvesting and curing processes to high art. Taste what comes from 350 years of experience.


Brand McClelland
Series Grand Orientals
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Oriental
Contents Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Coarse Cut
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.55 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 76 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 23, 2009 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
This is as good as it gets regarding a plain old good smoke. Easy to light and quick to burn, Classic Samsun is a bell ringer and a delight for those who enjoy the "sock it to me" good old boy taste of tobacco.

Comperable in some respects to the old Dunhill #8632, but I just can't remember whether that hard to find "My Mixture" blend contained any Samsun leaf.

I may personally believe the strength could be revved up a notch here, but then, I like face slapping tobacco. This one is more gentle and will certainly be forgiving to those who puff like a freight train. Unusual flavor presentation that should be given a try just for the fun of it.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2014 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Ok, I think I’ve got just enough tobacco reviews under my belt to feel comfortable squeeing like a Japanese school girl. This one has it all - cut, balance, complexity, smokability, and availability. This will be a longish review, with the intention of helping fellow aficionados decide if this offering might be a good fit for their personal tastes, so bear with me.

Tin note: Dried prunes, with a hint of mocha, toasted pecan and bran muffin. Texture is springy and moist (possibly a touch of humectant present), and benefits from some brief drying.

Appearance: This is a coarse cut ribbon, and the coarse cut was THE perfect choice for this particular blend, because it helps it burn cool and slow, almost like a codger burley. As for tobacco varieties, there appear to be at least three distinct types present - a moist dark leaf (almost perique in appearance), a red leaf (fire cured ?), and a light brown leaf (possibly a bright leaf).

Skipping ahead to mid-bowl ... this is easily one of the most complex smokes I’ve enjoyed to date. Each of the three tobaccos in this blend bring their own qualities to the table. I have no idea which is which, so I’ll just go by flavor analogs to western varieties I’m already familiar with. The primary base seems to be a leaf exuding a rich nutty note (pecan & bran muffin) that evokes a mellow high quality burley that’s been slow toasted to bring out it’s subtle sweetness. Underneath that I detect a component exuding a subtle sweet/tart note reminiscent of dried apricots. There’s also a complex spiciness that probably comes from a combination of highly mineral soils and possibly a perique-like fermentation process - I get a healthy dose of fleur de sel and pepper, trailed by a very distant hint of Saigon cassia (the strain of cinnamon used in ‘red hot’ candies). There is also a very subtle hint of smoke, indicating at least one of the component varieties of this blend was fire cured.

The truly impressive thing about this blend is how exquisitely it ties all these interlocking complexities into a well balanced whole, and that it was given *just the right cut* so that it smokes cool - you can puff this fairly aggressively without it overheating. The result is an engagingly nuanced, spicy and satisfying smoke, with just enough coolness, tartness and sweetness to keep it from becoming acrid, heavy or fatiguing. It’s a minor masterpiece of growing, processing, and blending, and clearly demonstrates the depth of experience behind its manufacture.

A solid four stars from me. Picture a high end VaPr-Ky blend, done using all Turkish/Oriental tobaccos, and that will give you a rough idea of what to expect. This should appeal equally well to both VaPr and English fans alike, as well as hardcore tobacco geeks.
Pipe Used: Grabow Royalton
Age When Smoked: Unknown (tin not vintage dated)
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 05, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
This is one of the most interesting blends I've ever smoked. A coarsely cut ribbon, it packs and lights easily and stays lit. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I found no trace of sweetness in this blend - none at all. I found it earthy and lightly spicy, and as some reviewers noted, a body like a good burley and a bit of a cigar note that was not unpleasant. It was interesting to note the reference to chocolate, as I noticed a hint of it in the room aroma - of the unsweetened dark variety.

This blend provides a mouth filling smoke and the heavy clouds I blew out were constant rather than just after a light or relight. One thing I noted that I didn't see from others is that the taste became extremely harsh and cloudy just after a relight, but settled down a dozen puffs later or so. That is more a characteristic of burley than virginia, in my experience. The taste does not improve as the bowl progresses and the taste could be considered monodimensional in that respect if there weren't so much going on all the time! There's no latakia here, so the oriental is in the forefront. My only minor complaint about some of the other orientals in this series is that the orientals seemed to take a back seat to virginias. Not here. I think the base tobacco here is burley, and that's perfect because it allows the classic taste of samsun to shine through and take center stage. This smokes dry, and by that I mean not only does it not produce a wet heel, it leaves a dry, somewhat chalky finish.

My recommendation for reviews is always based on how well I liked them. This gets 3 stars for that and I believe I'll pick up a few more tins. As far as actually recommending this to others, I think everyone should try it; hence, 4 stars for my pipe smoking brethren.
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 10, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
The main achievement of this blend is its ability to marry a rich, full, and satisfying smoke with delicate and nuanced aromas. While sweet (but not sickly so), this blend never burns hot or produces tongue bite, which to me is rarely encountered among blends that lean toward this type of profile. Upon smoking, one is reminded of the sweet nuttiness of Virginia tobaccos and a subtle fig and leather type flavor, presumably from the orientals. Others here have commented on floral notes but I have not detected these..dried fruit is the star here. The very slight sourness that so elegantly balances the sweetness seems to come from a type of fermented quality contributed to the blend by the dried fruits..this could perhaps be interpreted as floral. The importance of balance should not be understated, it is key here. This fact is what makes Samsun such a satisfying and rewarding blend. This is full-on, blended natural tobacco at its best. Others here have commented here that while this blend is indeed of good quality and warrants purchase (if only for its novelty) it is probably not suited to regular smoking rotation. I very much disagree...This blend provides a superb counterpoint to Latakia-heavy English style blends and is in my opinion a fantastic all day smoker. If one doesn't enjoy this blend, then it is perhaps likely that this individual simply doesn't enjoy the flavor of tobacco (perhaps I won't go that far, though the temptation is there). For this reason it makes a good introduction to English style blends (In my approximation, Latakia presence is not a prerequisite in order for a blend to be described as English) for the smoker of aromatics or the novice. I should confess that I almost neglected to write that last statement, lest it scare off more seasoned veterans or those who desire a full-bodied English style smoke. Fear not dear reader. To the contrary, this blend does an incredible job at highlighting what makes pure, expertly blended tobacco so delightful. I simply cannot get enough of the stuff. I give it my highest recommendation. Delicious and positively addictive..great way to start the morning and to continue the rest of the day.
Pipe Used: Briar (would also shine in a cob)
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: Smoked immediately
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 15, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
My next stop with the Grand Oriental Express is Classic Samsun. There are beautiful mostly red-brown and some black ribbons of quality tobacco flecked with some bright ones. Given some air the tin smell is chocolate with exotic spices and a dash of cane sugar (or rum if you prefer), plus rosehip and hibiscus.

Like the smell, the flavours are also mild and requires attention and effort to explore. It's a delicate bled which mainly features cocoa powder cardamom (both green and black), vanilla, sandal wood, peanut, roasted almond and raisins notes on the palate. It is like Mediterranean breeze that blows the smell of the salty sea (and even fish to some extent) but then it turns and blows the spices of the land like thyme, sage and bay leaves.

This tobacco burns easily without tongue bite into a fine grey ash. The nicotine content is mild but it is a little bit stronger than the other Grand Orients I've tried so far.

Classic Samsun while being a delicate blend is more focused than Yenidje Highlander and Drama Reserve. It is an advantage against Yenidje Highlander which is somehow less than the sum of its ingredients. But Drama Reserve dwarfs Classic Samsun by delivering an ever changing but consistent tale of the Mediterranean. Classic Samsun is sailing around the Mediterranean Sea while Drama Reserve also involves getting off the ship and meeting the locals.

Classic Samsun is a great quality blend of subtle smoking experience. It is like a special dark chocolate that not only has vanilla and raisins in it but also cardamom, sage and a pinch of some top secret ingredients -- something I would surely love to try.
Pipe Used: meersch
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: freshly opened tin
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 29, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
The tin aroma is true McClelland Virginia but less ketchup-ish, more like roasted, even sun dried tomatoes. After the tin has been opened for a few minutes, the savory, food-like aromas, and sweet and sour notes fade slightly from the foreground. Making way for grassy, sweet roasted grain Virginia scents, raisins, and unsweetened chocolate (cocoa powder).

Perfect burn, loads of smoke. Virginia is thick in the background, Orientals give clean delicious exotic flavors, with subtle, almost ghost-like, undertones - tangy, sweet, savory, salty (sea air), very earthy, ripe cheese, bitter herbs, dark chocolate, cured leather, even Wax Lips (My fellow Baby-Boomers may remembers those).

Complexity in it's most subtle form. Tobaccos in perfect balance. Delicate and sensuous. So tasty you feel like you should be chewing it.

Basically - it's damn good. This is one of the best Oriental blends I've had. In fact, it's now one of my favorite blends, period.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 25, 2010 Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant
Delicate, sweet and nutty. Having gone through most of the Grand Orientals, this remains my favorite. After a bit of "air" time I find this tobacco to be best sipped. I especially enjoy it slowly in a Churchwarden. I don't find this to be a complex smoke, just straight forward with some flavor growth toward the end of the bowl. I have noticed a few comments on cost, for me, a former cigar smoker, it seems very inexpensive to me! LOL.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 15, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
An outstanding smoke that's quite complex. The stoved Virginias are sweet, toasty, mildly fruity and have a touch of spice. I agree with those that say Burley is in the mix. It's not a lot, but there's the unmistakable earthy nuttiness. The Samsun is a little musty, sour with a note that's close to butter, but not quite. They have a fair amount of spice. There's a hit or miss floral note that comes and goes randomly. Altogether this is a great tasting blend.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Burns great straight from the tin.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 08, 2012 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
This review is based on smoking two 50g tins of this tobacco.

This is a very mild, but delicious and rewarding tobacco. I find that it needs to be smoked slowly and packed a little tighter than I'm used to for greatest effect. When packed loosely or smoked quickly, it will have a generic cigarette-like taste. Smoked slowly, it is slightly sweet, spicy, and a little tangy. I repeatedly get an impression that reminds me of Djarum kreteks, which is not to say it tastes like cloves, but rather something reminiscent of the base tobaccos.

I like all of the Grand Oriental tobaccos that I've tried so far, because I love tasting Orientals without "tasting around" the Latakia, and this is my favorite.

Because of its mildness in flavor, I have decided to dedicate a pipe to this tobacco for future tins.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 02, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
As the other Grand Orientals series tobaccos from McClelland, this one offers an enjoyable, nice in strength, tobacco tasty and an unforgetable smoke.

If you are get used with the general sweet-sour smell and taste of McClelland tobaccos, you'll see also in this tobacco how it pronounces the overall taste and fun of the smoke. The main caracteristic cigarette like taste of Samsun leaf is rounded perfectly with McClelland's specific smell.

This tobacco packs, lits and smokes effortlessly. I highly recommend to air the tobacco before smoking for first time. And after opening the tin you'll see in a couple of days that the smell and flavor of the tobacco settles nicely. Actually this happens with all the McClelland's tobaccos I've smoked.

A must try real Turkish.
6 people found this review helpful.
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