McClelland 3 Oaks Original

Three Oaks Pipe Tobacco has been called a modern day classic. Generous amounts of the finest Cyprian latakia are balanced with premium Oriental tobaccos and sweet Virginia leaf. Rich, yet cool smoking from the tin, Three Oaks matures gracefully, developing sweetness and additional complexity.
Notes: Repurposed in 2009 from a 1989 Tad Gage's Blend.


Brand McClelland
Series Craftsbury Series
Blended By Tad Gage
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 graams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.32 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 25 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 01, 2009 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Another sleeper. This is a regal blend the description above of which is absolutely correct - no hype, just exactly accurate. Yes, "Three Oaks matures gracefully, developing sweetness and additional complexity", but I might add this blend also exhibits a creamy mellowness that I find so rarely since the Dunhills went AWOL. To light a pipe load of Three Oaks Original is to make a commitment to SMOKE because one will get lost in the fine experience. A couple light pulls and then savoring the taste. A couple more, and then, again, just staying engrossed in the fine flavors it lingers in one's mouth. Superb. It reminds me of my first taste of Johnnie Walker Black Label or my first bottle of a Russian River Valley Chardonnay. The creamy, mellow aspect - Drama? Izmir? Who knows? It works. The predominately dark blend promises a Latakia overload, AND the Latakia is evident in every puff, but curiously it does not drown out the Virginia's and Orientals until the last of the bowl. So, why do I give this magnificent blend 3 instead of 4 star rating? Aftertaste. While these fine flavors persist well after the pipe has gone cold, the creamy, Virginia sweetened Oriental flavor disappear and seven hours later the smoky Latakia remains in my mouth, but now as if I had consumed some tanning agent. I can imagine what Socrates tasted in his last drink. Still, I'll smoke this again, maybe once a month or so.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 01, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The smoky, woody, sweet and lightly musty Cyprian latakia is the star component. In an important support role are the woody, dry, slightly sour and spicy, buttery sweet Orientals. The dark fruity, earthy, slightly sugary Virginias also sport light fermentation and “vinegar” notes, though the “vinegar” lessens by the end of the first third of the experience, and weakens a little more after that. The Virginias are a little more than a background player more often that not. There is a little inconsistency in taste as some of the varietals step up and recede at different times. The strength and taste levels are a little closer to medium than the Syrian version of this product, but it still falls just short of that threshold. The nic-hit is in the center of mild to medium. No chance of bite, and has no dull or harsh moments. The tobacco may need a light dry time. Burns cool, clean and a tad slow with a moderately creamy, smoky, rich flavor. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, and needs some relights. Has a pleasant smoky sweet, musty after taste that translates to the room note. Can be an all day smoke.

5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 26, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This is an old recipe blend that Tad Gage came up with almost 30 years ago and its popularity is still going strong. He has two versions (the Cyprian & Syrian Latakia), and the only real difference that I can detect is that the Syrian is more smoky and sweet tasting. The Orientals really sing in 3 Oaks and the Virginia is well aged and sort of tart sweet. I like the fact that Tad included some muscle in these two outstanding blends. You will know you've had a bowl of thickly rich tobacco once done.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 29, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
I purchased this tin from my local B&M that had two years of age on it so I knew I was good to go. Got it home, blew off the dust and cracked the tin. I see three types of tobacco in ribbon cut with a whole lot of stems. Aroma is very smoky with barely any McClelland BBQ tang (which I love). Billows and billows of smoke!!! Great to make smoke rings! Taste is a medium English with a whole lot of flavor. I like this blend since one ingredient does not overwhelm the rest, Latakia is used as a condiment and lets the Orientals shine. The Virginias are nice and sweet and augment the Latakia and Orientals nicely! I am surprised at the previous reviews not being (on a whole) all that kind to this blend, 3 Oaks is really very complex, every puff brings a different flavor and by pulling more or letting it go out you can adjust the flavor as well. Quite entertaining when you are not concentrating on other things. So far one of the best English's I have had so far! Really nice with a little pinch of some Virginia Woods to sweeten it up a bit as well!

*** footnote: I just cannot believe the willpower of some people! I mean imagine someone buying a tin of Autumn Evening in 1962 and keeping it sealed all this time! I cant even keep a tin for two years without opening it... Christmas Cheer 1944!! Wow, even before the Dodgers left Brooklyn!! Seriously though, down at the bottom below a review where it says age is for the age of the tobacco not your age. 🙂 No one cares what year you were conceived in the back of grandpas Studebaker... They do make me laugh though seeing age: 62...
Age When Smoked: 2012 - two years
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Nice tasting rendition of our old familiar "virginia, latakia and orientals" recipe. Smells sweet and smoky in the tin. Call it ketchup or vinegar or whatever, but McClelland tobaccos have the finest tin aroma! And I hate ketchup and vinegar.

At any rate, I enjoyed the flavor of this one as an all-'rounder, but I especially enjoyed it's layers of complexity. The blend changed from moment to moment. Sometimes it was a sweet virginia with a side of smokiness, sometimes it produced this tart toasted quality, and sometimes it approached a lat bomb. Memories of certain Pease blends constantly came to mind as I smoked this and ultimately I came to the conclusion that it had 90% of the flavor of Odyssey and 90% of the complexity of Abingdon in one blend. It's like someone combined those two but reduced their top strengths somewhat.

This is an excellent blend. I wasn't crazy about all the stems and clumps and that loses one star. I can't call this a modern day classic but it's definitely a blend that someone who is into this traditional recipe should try. It has its own flavor signature that I find quite worthwhile.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 28, 2009 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
This is my kind of smoke! Tin aroma starts off sweet as can be, with a delicious smokiness that makes you impatient to light up. Moisture is perfect, a little on the dry side compared to most, which is the way I like it. Lights easily and stays lit with very little maintenance.

This is such an interesting tobacco! The first third is what you'd expect with a blend including these ingredients - a smooth, smoky, latakia-driven flavor with sweet virginias adding support and an occasional kick from the orientals. After the first third, there is an interplay between the orientals and the latakia, as the virginias always maintain an even-keeled supporting role. At times it tastes just like Lancer's Slices - just VA and lots of LAT smokiness. At other times, especially when the temperature of the smoke rises a little from some more concerted puffing, the orientals kick up and take the lead. You can control which flavor you experience by just changing your cadence.

This blend never burns hot, barely warming the surface of my Nording Signature freehand. Granted, this is a thick-walled pipe but many other blends have heated it up significantly. Three Oaks Original keeps cool, stays rich, never gets sharp or bitter, and smokes to the bottom with a dry, dark-colored ash. No gurgling, just a wonderful, sweet/smoky, oriental-spiced wonder.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 10, 2015 Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant
This blend reminds me of one of my favorite blends Chipman Hill, or, better still, as I'm sure 3 Oaks was around well before that blend, Chipman Hill reminds me of 3 Oaks. This blend confirms to me that McClelland knows how to handle Latakia—the Frog Morton Series, the Oaks, and the many other Syrian and Cyprian Latakia blends they offer, this has to be their specialty.

All the baccy's in 3 Oaks really work well together, especially the Latakia. The smokey sweetness of that leaf really shines through here, but the other baccy's weave in and out very well. This is a nice blend, in fact, a great blend.

I heartily recommend this one, especially for English/Balkan pipers.

Keep on Piping!
Pipe Used: Jobey Stromboli
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 04, 2010 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
This is another delicious, extremely high-quality blend from McClelland. Demetri used the word "regal" to describe this blend, and I think that's a perfect characterization. Indeed I don't think I can improve on Demetri's review. I will however offer a couple of annotations to it.

Before I had read his review I, too, thought of Johnnie Black. Whereas Three Oaks Syrian is an excellent example of tobacco blends being like a "single malt" scotch, this can be likened to a top-notch blended scotch. And, to continue the comparison, like a blended scotch this can be enjoyed with more frequency, unlike a single malt which ought to be savored when the time is right.

You can taste the many similarities between these two siblings, and yet they're different enough to be entirely different smokes. To use another analogy: by taking an image and shifting its color lookup table (eg: moving the hue slider in photoshop) the image can have an entirely different feel. This blend feels like the taste-lookup table of Three Oaks Syrian has been shifted from unique, translucent waves of creosotic amber to more opaque waves of a more familiar sweet-smoky ivory creaminess to create a different, though equally exceptional smoking experience.

I don't experience the aftertaste that Demetri does, which causes him to drop his rating to three stars. However, I was reluctant to give this one four stars because I didn't think it would be fair to its sibling Three Oaks Syrian, which is a truly transcendent blend. But it would be wrong to give this any less than four stars since it legitimately deserves it -- it's an exceptional blend in its own right, one which I find I can smoke more regularly than its brother which, to me, is to be more savored. This and its brother have both become desert island blends for me.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 17, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
As I am ever confused of the concrete definitions of Balkan's, I am going to call this a Balkan since it has Latakia, Turk/Oriental and VA's...this also has Perique but not sure where that fits in with a Balkan. This is a solid blend and I would say not a typical McClelland blend. What I mean is that this is top notch like McClelland blends all are but I do not feel it is a Virginia dependent tobacco which is where I categorize McClelland as world class. This is a very well balanced blend and a pleasure to smoke The tin note is the first place that it strays from the normal McC profile. There is no ketchup/vinegar smell in this blend. The tin note is sweet and smokey and has a sour note, but not the typical McC aroma. The blend is sweet Cyprian Latakia expertly balanced with top grade Turk/Orientals. There is a wonderful malty character along with a fizzy woody spice from the Orientals. I cannot say for sure but the Orientals are of the very best. I sense Izmir and Drama for sure and there is a seltzer like fizz that suggests Yendji to me. The wood is exotic (cedar, hickory and a balsa wood taste). The VA's are a mix but there appears to be a nice stoved red in here that provide sweetness and a breadth quality to the smoke. The perique is almost undetectable until the bottom of the bowl where I get a plummy sweetness and a boost to the spice especially on the retrohale.

The malty flavor and well balanced nature of this tobacco is what makes it so good. I had a very hard time calling our the individual nuances and it would have been easier to write the review as a singular malty, sweet smokey flavor. Almost like good TX BBQ Brisket. It is just damn good! Burns to ash and needs a few more relight than normal (due to the rough cut). A slightly damp heel.
Pipe Used: Briar
PurchasedFrom: Mars Cigars
Age When Smoked: 2 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 11, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Very Full Strong
After loving the Three Oaks Syrian, I felt compelled to try the Cypriot version of the same. This also gave me the opportunity to confirm something that I had long suspected, that I prefer Cyprian Latakia to Syrian Latakia.

In any case, both of these blends are full Latakia blends and do offer a great way to compare the two leafs side by side, although anyone wishing to take on this experimentation, better act quick as it appears McClelland has finally reached the end of their stash of the Syrian leaf and with the state of the civil war in Syria, the leaf's very existence seems close to extinction.

On to the smoking experience. This delivers exactly what one should want from a full latakia blend. Creaminess, smoothness and smokiness all wrapped into a smoking experience that refuses to bite. This one lights up a little better than most other McClelland blends, but otherwise performs similar. Although this has Virginia in it, you will not pick up any ketchup, or whatever you associate McC's signature Virginia tin note with.

The Lat pretty much dominates the scent. The oriental component is apparent once lit up and compliments the latakia perfectly. This is not an all day type blend. At least it isn't to me. Anything this heavy in Latakia is an end of the night thing for me, preferably with a glass of whiskey on the rocks.

In summary, it is good and everything you should want in a full English blend.
3 people found this review helpful.
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