McClelland Katerini Classic

The small, heart-shaped Katerini leaf, grown from Samsun seed on mountain slopes in Greek Western Macedonia, is delicate, elastic, robust. The aroma is subtle. Notice the sweet, mild, curry-like flavor in the mellow Virginia-based blend. Easy to pack, delightful to smoke.
Notes: From McClelland: Katerini is a very important tobacco producing area southwest of Thessalonika on mountain slopes of mainland Greece (western Macedonia). The small, heart shaped leaf that takes the area's name and makes it legendary is grown from Samsun seed. Katerini leaf is light golden in color, delicate, elastic, porous and robust. It has a more subtle aroma than Samsun but notice an especially sweet, mild curry-like flavor in this fine blend.


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, 100 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.24 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 21 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 22, 2010 Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant
I have been on the Grand Oriental tour since Thanksgiving. Katerini Classic, along with Smyrna #1 and Drama Reserve are among my favorites. This is a great blend.

As with all these, I let them dry for a day. Except for Smyrna #1 which has a top note of cinnamon, there has been the ketchup or acetic acid smell, predominate in many of the McClelland Virginias. These blends have a Virginia base that appears to be a broken flake of stoved (black) and red varieties. Most of my smoking time has been with group 4 size briar bowls, mostly Dunhills, Barlings, Comoys, and Charatans. I do need to try these blends in my meerschaums.

These Grand Orientals are mild, low nicotine, sweet Virginia smokes with a "pop" that only oriental leaf can give. To my tongue and palate it is very enjoyable. They burn well, are complex in flavors, do not bite or overheat and burn to a dry grey/black ash. These are "top shelf" tobacco blends.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 11, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Katerini Classic presents as mostly medium brown ribbon with a smattering of darker shades. Tin notes are dominated by a sweet herbal tang with a distinct backdrop of cumin and floral notes, some medium chocolate and a subtle dried apricot & fig component. As with any good Oriental, Katerini arrives at optimal moisture content and is ready to smoke right out of the tin. However, I would recommend exploring this complex tin note for a bit as the tobacco breathes. This is a truly fascinating tin note that deserves your attention: stir it, sniff it, stir it again, smell it some more. There are many layers to be uncovered here in what to my nose is among the most complex of tin notes.

Katerini takes a match well, and the charring light brings herbal and spice flavors that are somewhat akin to those of Drama Reserve, though less intense, dryer and less tangy. There is a distinct cumin note always in the background - so I understand the blender's analogy to light curry in the description. This is an extremely forgiving blend that smokes very dry and very cool. The complete absence of heat or tongue bite and the intriguing flavors at first tricked me into puffing away, but I slowed down a bit to really think through the complexity of delicate flavors here. It's also easy to mischaracterize this as a "light" or "mild" blend. In reality, Katerini is a flavor bomb - though one of extreme subtlety.

Flavors are consistent throughout the bowl, with a hint of sweetness that raises its head every so often. The mouthfeel is thin for a McClelland Oriental/Virginia, but the complexity of flavors here allows Katerini to more than hold her own. It could simply be that the Virginia component has been toned down here to allow the more delicate Samsun/Katerini flavors to shine. This is a blend for those times when I want to sit back and really think about what I'm smoking- to just become immersed in the tobacco. That said, this is definitely not one I can smoke after indulging in a deep, rich VaPer - the strength, boldness and assertion of flavor just isn't there. This is a "time and place" tobacco.

Katerini lacks the fuller mouth feel and richness of other blends in this line, but should be on any Oriental enthusiasts to-try list as a delicate expression of the tobacco blender's art.

Update 2020: I had stockpiled a few McCelland Orientals, but this was not one of them. What a mistake. And a great loss to the tobacco enthusiast’s world.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 04, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Well now, here's a little truffle for your tobacco shelf.

Pop open the tin and Katerini Classic greets you with that familiar McClelland sour smell. Don't be put off. Although I personally enjoy 'Virginia tang', it is a minor player in this nicely conceived blend.

The label describes this as a "mellow Virginia-based blend", but Burley-philes should like the way the Oriental tames the not-too-sweet Virginias. It delivers a basic tobacco taste with a hint of curry in a briny and vaguely tangy background. Some raw greenish tasting notes here and there contribute more than they detract. For the curry flavor McClelland should've named this "Huck Finn on the Ganges", or "Mahatma on the Mississippi".

In an earlier review I panned McClelland's Yenidje Supreme, stating that I neither expect nor appreciate flavors from the kitchen spice rack in my smoke. Well, hypocrite that I am, I have to admit that the taste of curry in this smoke works well. Of course such a description is a mere resemblance, and a blend's taste is a quintessential property; so this isn't actually a curry taste, but you get the idea.

Katerini Classic has a simple and balanced mosaic of flavors that should appeal to most smokers; and I think you should try it. At first I tried it in a briar and I thought it was lousy. I switched to a narrow but deep meer and changed my mind.

It packs nicely; needs occasional re-lights; good smoke volume; good intensity of flavor; no bite; weak in nicotine; some nice subtleties of flavor and aroma; smokes down to dry ash. This blend continues to reveal nuances of flavor and aroma with every bowl I smoke -- but it also grows correspondingly more tiresome overall. I give it two stars for its palatability and novelty. I like it, but I won't give it three stars because, IMHO, it is destined to be a one time purchase for most smokers, and I think it is overpriced.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 17, 2011 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
The lightest Oriental mix, very mild, yet tasty and interesting. I found this quite impressive and perfect for a beginner, in that it has the taste of real tobacco, but will not overwhelm the palate.

Good introduction to Oriental condimentals.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 17, 2009 Very Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Pleasant
I found this the least enjoyable of all the McClellands Grand Orientals. That's not to say that this is bad, it's just a little too light for my tastes. It packs well and burns well, requiring few to no relights. It's a pleasant enough smoke but I have the same problem with this that I had with the Yenice Agonya, and that is that I feel like I'm puffing too hard to get more flavor out of it. Consequently, it turns harsh due to overpuffing.

The virginia is present and there is a wisp of oriental spice. However, the virginia seems to be very youthful and the oriental too sparse (for my tastes). If you are moving away from aromatics, this might be a good place to start. If you like extremely mild tobaccos and subtle flavors, this is recommended. But if you prefer full flavored or full bodied blends, the delicacies here may escape you as they largely escaped me. If you can only try 2 or 3 of the Grand Orientals, skip this one.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 23, 2021 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
McClelland is often, deservedly so, for their Virginia mastery and it is a shame that they were not as highly praised for their Oriental tobacco’s. L.J. Peretti and McClelland are the two best in this genre. This is another masterpiece lost to time and modern farming and world demand for refined tobacco. The tin note is a base of McClelland VA with spice and vegetation. The spice is light and similar to dried basil or very old dried mint. The tobacco smokes dry and cool and has a dry mouth feel, think a cup of strong tea and the tannic feeling on the tongue.

The Virginia’s provide a strong base for the flavor but they are not overly sweet. There is a musty, earthy, barnyard like flavor that underpins this blend. This is also very woody, the Orientals have that balsa wood with subtle spices. I can see why they use curry but more in feel than in flavor, but that dry spicy flavor on the tongue. The flavors are light but this is quite a complex blend. The finish is long and it is light and almost floral, but not really flavor that lasts for several minutes. This tobacco can be sipped or pushed and it provides a different flavor profile based on approach if pushed it can get ashy at the 3/4 mark. Highly recommended for Oriental lovers if you come across it in the aftermarket.
Age When Smoked: 10 years
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 20, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Here lies an opportunity to taste an aged unobtrusive, and genuinely charismatic oriental that should -or at least could-provide something for all toby lovers.

I mean it's not too strong, it's got a natural sweetness -due to that wonderful oriental Katerin leaf, it's got strong Va undertones-this is McClelland after all, and if you order now (Jan 17) via Pipes &Cigars you'll likely get a tin aged 9 years!!! My tin was 2007, and man does time help Virginias!!

The interaction b/t those aged Virginias and that curry like orientals reminds me of Maltese Falcon from GL Pease, yet with a sweeter structure. No bite whatsoever, no matter if you chug it like a locomotive pulling 1000 tons up a 25 degree incline.

I'm going through the Oriental Series to better my understanding of that oft overlooked tobacco class, but this could truly be an all day smoke for me. Burned through this tin with singular attention -which means 4 stars for me.

Please consider the Grand Orientals for your palates education - you won't be disappointed.
Pipe Used: Briar but best in Meer
PurchasedFrom: Pipes&Cigars
Age When Smoked: 9 years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 06, 2017 Mild Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
Mixed cut. Contains pitch black chunks of presumably fire cured tobaccos, loose red ribbons, and brighter chunks of broken flakes. Slight vinegary note combined with a very faint nutty sweetness which reminds me of custard pudding for babies.

Packs and lights fairly easily but needs a few relights which I think is only natural with those chunks it contains.

This tobacco is certainly reminiscent to me of old Greek cigarettes. To my mind it’s an archetypal Greek blend sans Latakia. The Katerini leaf is tangy, curry-like as the tin description states and it also reminds me of cumin and dry limey soil. The other tobaccos play a supporting role probably adding some body and that faint vanilla note which I suspect is a very mild topping. Katerini Classic is the drier (i.e. less sweet) of all the tobaccos in the Grand Oriental series I’ve tasted so far. Its taste is more robust than the Classic Samsun’s and considerably less sweet. Still this is a mild tobacco, very natural-tasting and quite cigarette-like. For me it’s much easier to understand than the Classic Samsun.

I believe this tobacco is an acquired taste and I can see how one cannot like it. On the other hand I do, although the similar-tasting cigarettes of old were awful as far as I can remember…

I sense the taste of an old tobacco here, I don’t know if it is related, but the tin I’m smoking is nine years old.

You want an idea how the Oriental leafs taste? Then try this.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 12, 2016 Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant
Another winner in the Grand Orientals series, Katerini Classic rewards with a delicate undertone of spice and is especially naturally sweet compared to some of the others in this series. Certainly no bite, even when you suck hard like I did while trying to coax out a little more strength. It didn't happen, so, I did the usual and added some Five Brothers to the Katerini... Now we're talkin'!

2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 04, 2014 Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Last year I got turned on to McClellands Drama Reserve, which was excellent, so good I purchased more of that blend and several other Grand Orientals—Katerini Classic is my second stab at this wonderful series. First off, I love oriental tobaccos, they are my single favorite type of tobacco (with burley coming in a close second—who'd of thunk that?), so, I was looking forward to this one.

Being both oriental tobaccos, I find it hard not to compare Katerini with Drama. I found Katerini to be both stronger and fuller than Drama Reserve. I also got thicker volumes of smoke with this blend over Drama, too. Taste wise, there are some subtle similarities between the two tobaccos, but I did not get any curry-like flavor from Katerini at all. Katerini is marginally sweeter than Drama, but it's difficult for me to put my finger on any specific taste.

Overall, I like this blend, but I found myself dipping into my second tin of Drama Reserve much more often than the Katerini. Katerini's a good blend, and I can't wait to try another in this wonderful series.
Pipe Used: Alexander Zavvos Apple
PurchasedFrom: 4Noggins
Age When Smoked: ?
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