McClelland 3 Oaks Syrian

Rare Syrian latakia, with its renowned mellow smokiness, is balanced with naturally sweet Orientals and aged Virginia leaf to create a satisfying blend reminiscent of classic Syrian latakia blends of old. Formulated by Tad Gage to reflect the character of original Three Oaks Pipe Tobacco, it tantalizes with intriguing differences.
Notes: Introduced in 2009.


Brand McClelland
Series Collector Series
Blended By Tad Gage
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
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
Pleasant to Tolerable
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.55 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 94 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 03, 2014 Mild None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The four year old tin I purchased was a nice change of pace from the usual McClelland ketchup aroma, this was more similar to my favorite Dunhill blends of Durbar or London Mixture but without the nicotine hit . Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Dunhill Root Briar group 4
PurchasedFrom: ebay
Age When Smoked: 4 years
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2010 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
This one can fool you. Some bowls make you think you're smoking an Oriental blend with a background dose of Latakia. At other times you'll think you're smoking a Latakia blend with a background dose of sweet Oriental leaf. Either way, it's a bell ringer for me.

I really like the smoothness of the rich and smokey Latakia and the sweetness of the Orientals. It wa a killer combination and one I thoroughly enjoyed while consuming the tin in a matter of days.

It was just a wee bit too moist for me right out of the tin but dried quickly when left in the open air for a few hours. I'm gonna get me more of this!
31 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 03, 2014 Very Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
If you're looking for a heavy nic kick or something that pounds you in the taste buds, this is not your blend. But if you're a fan of high-quality English blends, it's a must try.

Very soft, mellow smokiness. Subtly complex. This is one of the few blends (two?) that has a hefty helping of actual Syrian Latakia in it, which might be why it's so unique (in my experience anyways):

If you're intimidated by Lat bombs, start with this one. To paraphrase another reviewer, it's like having your head gently stroked. But be warned, all the others might disappoint you. I've tried quite a few, and none of them have come close to knocking this one out of the rotation. Will be trying Mac Baren's Vintage Syrian soon, which Arno of Dutch Pipe Smoker fame favors:

Like many McClelland blends, it helps to give it a healthy amount of drying time.

As an aside, I can't understand why good Lat blends seem to get the thumbs down on room note so often, given how similar they are to incense, as well as all the other incredible smells and flavors they produce. But the overwhelming judgment of non-smoking roomates and spouses seems to be thumbs down.

2014.05.15 Update: I've had the pleasure of trying many more English blends since reviewing 3OS. I still give it four stars but like Samovar, Legends, and FMOTT slightly better (all tastier and more complex).

2014.07.26 Tweaking the rating down to a very solid three stars, as this doesn't compare to some of the Latakia blends I've tried since (e.g., White Knight, Samovar, Legends). But it's still among the best and gentlest intros to the genre, imo.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 15, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
If you are looking for a one dimensional Latakia bomb, look elsewhere. If you are seeking a sophisticated complex tobacco, this one is for you. This blend isn't about strength; it's the Pinot Noir of tobacco.

The tin aroma has a little bit more of a musty character than your typical English. The ribbon cut is a little wider than most brands ( similar to Peretti English blends). Upon lighting, the palette is caressed by a symphony of flavors. The Syrian Latakia let's its presence be known but never overpowers the delicate oriental and Virginia tobaccos. There is a unique bready type flavor that makes my mouth water. The strength increases very slightly from beginning to end. The flavors change with each bowl and never leave me bored.

This is hands down my favorite tobacco so far. A must try.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 20, 2012 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I have been in the minority when it comes to my thoughts about Three Oaks Syrian in that I have not been in the “wowed crowd.” I opened a tin (my second tin after struggling a bit through the first) about a year ago and put it aside. To my amazement, even after a year in an opened tin with the plastic lid on it, the tobacco was still too wet to smoke. I don't understand why the folks at McClelland feel the need to saturate their blends in humectants far beyond what is needed. As others pointed out, the time aside seemed to help even things out in the blend. The smoke is buttery, a little sweet and very smooth. I don't know if the percentage if Syrian is high, but it is a supporting player in the flavor department. I do think it is important to point out that Syrian will have different notes than Cyprian and that could cause some to think that blend is lacking in the Latakia department. I think the component tobaccos are perfectly balanced and the Orientals are very good. Those that really like English blends made by McClelland will find this to be among their best and likely a four star blend. To me, while very good, it tastes like many of the other McClelland English blends. If not for the Syrian, I wouldn't be able to tell it apart from some of the others.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 28, 2009 Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Very Strong
Perhaps this is another instance of having very different tastebuds than every other piper because my experience of this blend differs quite strongly from the previous reviewers. Indeed it almost seems to me like we're reviewing different blends.

For me this blend is very full and very smoky, with the Syrian Latakia coming front and center for a bravura performance. The orientals and virginias are in the shadows, ever present only if you pay attention to them, occassionally joining the star for a brief appearance, providing some distinctive harmony, then receding back to the shadows. And I don't taste anything sweet, in the usual sense (is ouzo sweet?), except for a single little nuance lurking way back there you have to look for.

I would also say this blend is deliberately not balanced in the usual sense, because it's not intended to be: the proportions serve to highlight the star rather than share the stage with her, thus it is balanced just as it ought to be: you don't upstage the coloratura during her big number. It seems to me the blenders found the very line where any more Syrian Latakia and the flavor would have hurtled over the cliff into a single-note sharp, tarry murkiness, any less and it would have dissipated into its surroundings. Given the degree to which the semi-transparent ouzo-lemony-creosote-laden smoky flavor dominates it's quite remarkable how complex and nuanced the blend remains.

If it's valid to compare tobacco with wine or scotch as a nuanced art for the tastebuds -- and I believe it is, since they all are concerned with the artful and subtle combinations of unique flavors arising from vegetative matter infused with the essence of their origins -- then this blend is exemplary of tobacco as a "single malt". Each single-malt scotch has a unique signature, and I can't think of any tobacco blend this analogy applies to better than this one. Instead of peat or iodine as the bed of nuance, we have here a silky smooth creosotic plane of flavor rippling with nuance. I don't know anything else that comes close to the flavor of this one.

I must confess I do not understand the comparison of this with Artisan's Blend at all -- Artisan's Blend is not anywhere near as smoky or creosotic, and the orientals are much more prominent there, as is the presence of the perique. It's surprising to me that a previous reviewer considers this an oriental forward blend for oriental lovers; the only tangy-spiciness of oriental I discern is some background colour through the semi-transparent waves of latakia. (And I'm an oriental lover. Oriental Mixture No. 14 -- now there's an oriental forward blend!)

Otherwise, the moisture out of the tin is perfect. Another reviewer suggested packing it tighter than usual and I agree. It's a very cool, dry, remarkably smooth smoke with a unique cotton mouthfeel you can sink your teeth into. It's not an all-day smoke, much like Cragganmore or Laphraoig would not be all-day drinks. This is a special, delectable smoke to be savored.

About the only thing I agree with the previous reviewers on is that this is one of McClelland's finest offerings -- and that's saying a lot! I am very impressed by this blend. Very impressed. It's perhaps the best "single-malt" tobacco blend I've yet tried.

No, no "perhaps" about it. It is the best "single-malt" tobacco I've smoked.

Highest recommendation.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 13, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
The smoky, woody, dry, wine-like Syrian latakia is the star component, but allows the woody, buttery sweet Orientals a fair amount of say in an important support role. There’s also a touch of sour and a hint of spice from the Orientals. The dark fruity, earthy, slightly sugary Virginias also sport light fermentative and short lived "vinegar" notes, and has a little less impact than the Orientals do. The nic-hit is just shy of reaching the mild to medium level. 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 mildly creamy, mostly consistent flavor. Some nuances peak and recede here and there. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, and needs some relights. Has a pleasant smoky sweet, incense after taste that translates to the room note. Can be an all day smoke.

10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 31, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is a well done Light English. I find the Latakia and Orientals to be well balanced. The Virginias have an adequate, but not strong, presence. The Syrian Lat is smooth and smoky. I find this to be a solid example of an English blend, but I don't find anything special here. Tastes vary though so give it a try. It may be just what you're looking for.
Pipe Used: MM General
Age When Smoked: 1 month
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2014 Extremely Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Well I have to say that my take is different from most reviews here. Taste is subjective so I guess it will happen from time to time. It is very smooth and rich with smokey Latakia that seems like it was indeed smoked wit oak rather then pine and the bitter slightly floral sweetness of the Orientals. The VA's also add to the sweetness and since the tin has been in my cellar for over 3 yrs it must be a little sweeter then when it was young. There also seems to be a very very small amount of bright leaf that gives only the faintest hint of spice. However, this is really where the high notes end. The tobacco is saturated with PG solution or some other humectant that keeps it way too moist. I can let it sit out for hours and still have several relights. There is to me a topping added too. I do get a faint taste of anise on the retrohale at about the end of the first 1/3 of the bowl and it never goes away from that point on. Finally, it does bite a little even with the age on it. Now, I do have to say that some of McCllland's blends do this to me so I came into it knowing it was a possiblity so if you seem to have this problem with them too be aware that despite the mild smoke it may bite. I would still somewhat recommend this blend espeically if someone was looking to try Syrian Lat. for the first time it is a good representive of what Syrian is compared to its Cyprus counter part. For me There is no need to revist this blend as it does taste similar to many McClelland Lat. blends with the change of lat being taken into consideration but I think there are much better Syrian blends out there.
Age When Smoked: 40 months
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 06, 2010 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
A thick ribbon cut blend of mottled milk- and dark-chocolate color. Loads and lights easily and settles in nicely at the initial match. Not quite enough of the usual McClelland fermented virginia aroma (what some call ketchup or vinegar) in the tin, but that's the norm for McC latakia blends.

As I stated, this blend takes to the match well and is off to the races with nary a backward glance. The flavor is the light sweet smokiness as mentioned below, along with an odd but nice combo of creaminess and an almost peatiness. This seems like the Lowland single malt of pipe tobaccos... very mild and easy to work with. However, each puff had a bit of dryness to the finish that I find different. I found this blend tasty but very mild. Someone looking to get into syrian latakia blends would do well to start here.

My only complaint, and what keeps it from that 4th star, is the flavor I experienced upon relights. With each one, the flavor turned very sour for about the first 4-5 puffs, which was quite a turn-off. I experienced this same flavor in Frog ATP as well, but it was prevalent in that blend, not just at relights. DGT suffered greatly with 3OS. I don't see anyone else having this problem, so it must be more me than the blend. I'm going to stick my other 2 tins in the cellar for a couple of years, as the tin I smoked was only a few months old. Couldn't wait to try it to see what the fuss was all about! This is what I get for my impatience.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
This is very good Balkan blend. The tin note is slightly different than the standard smell of McKetchup. Very pleasant, has some reddish colour, the first thought you get when you open it is to smoke it right away, immediately. And you do, moisture is ok from the tin, and it burns to the white ash smoothly. Syrian Latakia is mellow, everything is mellow, faint, pale, but still there is enough body to be decent smoke, let's say for the mornings or everyday smoke. Syrian Latakia usually has noble aroma that doesn't kick you but just stays there reminding you of it's beautiful presence. There are orientals also, not as aggressive as in other blends, all in all, it's a good smoke, nice, noble, mellow, .... I liked it a lot. Not my go to blend, but I will order some of it in the future. I've smoked other Syrian blends, this one is the mellowest. Highly Recommended.
Pipe Used: various
Age When Smoked: 1 month
6 people found this review helpful.
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