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 22 Reviews
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
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
Nov 05, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The Samsun is very woody, earthy, floral, smoky, a little vegatative, dry and tartly sour, nutty, mildly buttery sweet with a little spice and a touch of stewed fruit and incense. The strength and taste levels fall a step or two short of medium. The nic-hit is a rung below them. Won’t bite, but fast puffing with grant you a harsh note. Has a few rough edges. Burns cool, clean and slightly slow with a very consistent, lightly sweet and more savory flavor that translates to the lightly lingering after taste. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and needs just above an average number of relights. Not quite an all day smoke. Makes a better mixer.

5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2009 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Along with Drama Reserve, my favorite from the Grand Orientals collection. Low on vinegar casing, this is the more "burleish" of all Orientals, with an earthy, almost nutty taste and excellent burning properties. And the only one I can smoke twice in a row without getting bored.

A must try.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2018 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable
The coarse ribbon cut packs and lights well. The smell has the classic McClelland vinegar with some celery salt and curry (seriously). Very spicy, but not overpowering. Very unique.

The flavours come across as nutty, musty, and toasty, with a little sweetness. As you work your way down the bowl, the spice and nuttiness grows, while the sweetness steps back. The bottom of the bowl is much earthier and carries some marshmallow-like sweetness. The flavours are gentle, but not disappointing.

Just right on the nicotine. I'd call it medium strength.

Though it did tend to smoke a little wet for me, it burned to the bottom cleanly. Don't ask me how.

It's a nice blend, but were it still in production, I probably wouldn't buy it again--there are just too many blends to try!
Age When Smoked: Two Years
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 29, 2017 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
I’ve traveled throughout Asia and have a thing for orientals. Lol.

In the tin, this blend had a nutty and faintly dried prune/raisin smell. It was easy to pack and after a couple of charring lights we were smoking. The flavor was mildly smoky and sweet. I was unable detect plums/raisins. It was a pleasant smoke and stayed lit almost to the end, but I had to relight once. I hit it pretty hard, but it didn’t over heat the bowl or bite me. The nicotine was mild, too. I’ll continue smoking it to see if my opinion changes, but right now I have to say it wasn’t special, but it was good.
Pipe Used: Savinelli Natural
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: 6 months
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 13, 2017 Mild Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
A curious tobacco. If you're wanting to refine your pallet and get to know the taste of different orientals, this will definitely fit the bill. If you're not... its still ok, but certainly not an every day smoke

Tin note is of that old McClelland vinegar which I find a bit offputting but evaporates fairly quickly after being lit. The Samsun is very forward in this blend with the Virginias really existing to provide some balance. I like it and I'm really glad I tried it, but it can be a bit monochromatic. Nice for something a little different and perhaps a good one for people who are playing with mixing different blends (I personally found it came to life a bit more when a touch of prelip was added).
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 06, 2017 Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant
Tin note has a faint vinegary smell, but generally I find it quite similar to other tobaccos in the Grand Orientals line. I also detect something like vanilla custard pudding for babies note in all the tobaccos in the series I’ve tasted which makes me think of a very mild flavoring.

It comes in coarse cut ribbons of perfect moisture, it packs and lights easily and stays lit.

It is a very mellow smoke with a delicate nutty (nutmeg/muscat) and a faint vanilla-like aroma which is either completely natural or mildly enhanced by some topping. In any case it feels like a very mellow natural-tasting tobacco. Absolutely no harshness and no tongue bite here. Nicotine level is lowish as well and this might deter some from using this as an all day tobacco or exactly the opposite depending on one’s need and tolerance of nicotine. For myself I use this tobacco as a delicacy just once in a while savouring it’s subtle nuances.

I stress the fact that it is a very delicately aromatic tobacco. So much so, that if you do not know what to expect the subtleties of the Samsun leaf might be lost on you. Not that it would be an unpleasant smoke, on the contrary, it would be an enjoyable mild and mellow pure-tobacco tasting smoke with a very pleasant aromatic nutty sweetness. But, what I am trying to say is that if you are trying to figure out what the Oriental leafs taste like, it’s not the best place to start. Even within the McClellands Grand Orientals line, the two other tobaccos I’ve tasted (Smyrna and Yenidje Supreme), I think are more ‘robust’ and therefore better starting points. (By the way, one of the best Oriental blends available in my opinion is 4noggins’ El Rincon de la Pipa showcasing the Izmir leaf.)

I think I prefer Classic Samsun less than the other two Grand Orientals I’ ve already had, but I did not taste them together, so I can draw no definite conclusion.

Update: I mentioned above that it stays lit, however there were a few chunks of broken flakes which were really hard and very dry with no elasticity at all. I do not know if they were meant to be this way or otherwise it was the result of considerable ageing but I found they did not help the burn of the tobacco so I picked these pieces, I ground them to almost powder and mixed them with the rest which I let get some air and jarred it again. I found it not only smokes better but is also more flavorful after this 'treatment'.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 07, 2016 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
Strange blend indeed.You can fell the typical Mc Clelland Va,not very much,the Samsun leaf,with a touch of fine Havanna cigar and last but not least a background of burley or something like.The sum of all these is a soft but not sweet intriguing smoke.Worth to try but I prefer other Grand Orientals like Yenidje,Drama and Agonya.Beware if you are a declared enemy of Burley,because the presence in this blend ,IMHO,is obvious.
Pipe Used: meers and briars
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes
Age When Smoked: fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 10, 2016 Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a 2-year tin that I open, and the oriental/Turkish is the main role of this blend as McC described. I assume there should be some buley to provide the body. Exotic, smoky with slightly sourness is the flavor, but lack complexity. I think it would blend well with some VA or Vaper, even with a pinch of latakia. I only smoke this maybe once a month for pace change.
2 people found this review helpful.
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