McClelland CPCC Samovar

A rich full Oriental mixture, pleasantly fragrant with just enough rare Syrian latakia to satisfy without overwhelming. Warm spiritually satisfying, this dark, full Oriental pipe mixture is redolent with exotic Syrian latakia. Soothing as a cup of rich Russian tea.
Notes: Originally introduced in April, 1995 for the Chicagoland Pipe Collectors' Club, is now part of the Club Blends Series.


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


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

Average Rating

3.64 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 44 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 20, 2010 Medium Extremely Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable
What an honor to be the first to review this sublime blend.

Just when I thought I'd found the blend I'd been searching for with McClelland's Scottish Woods, I try Samovar. I'm embarrassed to say it, but this is the blend I've been searching for too. I guess I was searching for both of these blends. Scottish Woods appeals to my desire for an oriental forward blend, and this one appeals to my desire for a full, dark english where the oriental is not the star but a character actor that works harmoniously with the rest of a world-class ensemble.

The syrian in this forms a wonderful, unobtrusive, silky bed on which the other ingredients frolic and dance. Indeed Samovar is a perfect name for this blend, as it is more than a little reminiscent of Russian Caravan, a blended black tea usually comprised of Oolong, Keemum & Lapsang Souchong (though sometimes with Assam instead of Oolong & Keemum): strong and malty yet dry, with a smokiness that suffuses the flavor, finishing with just a hint of some kind of bittersweet dark liquor. Unlike the tea, however, this blend burns beautifully. Oh, and it has a luxurious mouthfeel too.

This is the most richly satisfying dark, subtle, nuanced, full blend I've ever had. This blend is like the place in the Venn diagram where Three Oaks Syrian and Scottish Woods intersect, and that makes for a blend that is otherworldly delicious: Samovar is another major masterpiece of the blending arts from a master blender.

I am sated. I don't feel a need anymore (for now) to keep looking for the Holy Grail of blends. With the discovery of Samovar my Desert Island Blend Collection (DIBC) feels complete: between this and my other four (and a few three) star blends I am content.
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 03, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This juggernaut of incredible flavors bowled me over from the very first puff! This is one of the finest oriental-forward English blends I've ever experienced. Sinister Topiary's review is highly accurate and does the blend justice. From beginning to end, each bowl is rich with dense, velvety, slightly sweet smoke. The Syrian latakia is perfectly proportioned within the blend, and despite a big oriental push mid-bowl, it stays provocatively present.

Simply put, Samovar could be considered, in a word, delicious. I made the mistake of smoking this directly after Pease's Caravan, which seemed quite harsh and two dimensional by comparison. Between Wilderness, Legends and Samovar, McClelland's has set the bar impossibly high. An easy four stars and an instant classic.
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 13, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
The Syrian latakia is smoky, woody, and dry wine-like, and occasionally is mildly upstaged by the very rich, smoky, woody, dry and slightly sour, buttery sweet with mild spice and earth from the Orientals. There is a mild floralness to them, too. The red and dark Virginias offer light tangy fermented dark fruitiness with some earth in a condimental role. The grass and citrus from the lighter Virginia is a background player. The nic-hit is a hair closer to mild than it is to medium. Won’t bite or get harsh even when pushed. May some dry time. Burns slow, clean and cool with a little inconsistency in the nuanced flavors. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl. Needs some relights. Has a very pleasant, lightly lingering after taste. The room note won't likely pass the wife test, though. Not quite an all day smoke, but it is repeatable.

12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 06, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
When I first opened my tin of Samovar, the smell is slightly sweet and smoky, but not as sweet as my current favorite McClelland blend, FMOTT. I find the flavor is mild, but grows as the smoke carries on. I get a little bit of a floral taste, the kind that comes from the Orientals, not the kind of floral that comes from a Lakeland style blend. I like the way this is blended because the Latakia doesn’t overpower the Oriental flavor. It is very balanced. I haven’t had a lot of experience with Syrian Latakia and I find it more subtle and I like it. I could see Samover as part of my regular rotation.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 13, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
In recent months, I've been playing around with combinations of Syrian Three Oaks and Frog OTT and ATP in order to punch up the former without pushing that subtle, seductive Syrian Lat too far into the background. I ended up with something that's pretty good (calling it Tree Frog...get it?), but Samovar seems to get a little closer to what I was shooting for.

I've had trouble keeping it lit at times (too much humectant?). Have found that pack a bowl carefully and well in advance helps.

2015/03 - The more I smoke this, the more deeply I fall in love with it. Smoky, sublime, tasty, and beautiful. This is a desert island selection for me.
Pipe Used: Boswell freehand
Age When Smoked: < 1 year
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 30, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is like smoking hot buttered Latakia. I'm not saying it burns hot, just that it reminds me of hot buttered popcorn that's been a little burnt. It burns nice and cool. Smoky, buttery, sweet & sour, a little woody, and very, very smooth. Delicious. My favorite McEnglish thus far.

Medium in body and flavor. Burns great straight from the tin.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Mark Twain, Patriot
Age When Smoked: fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
This is the greatest Oriental blend McClelland has ever produced. It reminds me of the old line tobaccos from when I started smoking, when names like Cotton, Rattray, Sobranie and Bell's ruled, and the proper amount of preparation and maturation was taken. Either they spent a long time perfecting this blend (like the above houses did) or someone had their best day ever when they mixed this.

When I smoke Samovar, the individual components mix well into wonderful, dry, exotic flavor. While it is an excellent singular taste, the best qualities of the individual components shine through. The Orientals come through with a spicy citrus and never get sour or too hot, the latakia adds a dry smoke but does not (as many do) give a tarry house-on-fire note, the Virginias are sweet and full with no vineger or bite.

I am interested to see what a few years of aging will do to this.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
This is a stand-out offering from McClelland. It belongs in a category of blends they produce or did, but does not duplicate its companions. Those being British Woods, Frog Morton on the Town, Old Dog and the blend McClelland tinned for Butera Royal Vintage series, Latakia No. 1. There is also a similarity of style to Lane’s now discontinued Crown Achievement sold in bulk and discontinued sometime in 2009 (now back in tins as Summer 2014).

Samovar is distinguished from the latter blend, however. Samovar is full in flavor like CA, but it has neither the harshness nor bitterness CA produced. And while Samovar is unstinting in flavor, there is a magical effect of variation akin to intermittent eclipses of sunlight from drifting clouds.

Few tobaccos enthrall me: Samovar is one. Samovar reminds me of what I liked about Dunhill’s My Mixture 965 in the early days of Murray (I cannot compare with pre- or post-Murray). Not that Samovar is in the same style as MM965, but Samovar has a caramelized creaminess and shifting of flavors that creates balanced, complementary taste impressions.

The latakia in Samovar is Syrian in origin with lovely woodsy, almost fruity, smokiness. The remaining oriental leaf is magnificent: sweet, rich, spicy and herbaceous. It has the greater presence than the modest, but obvious and smooth, latakia.

The overall oriental weight in Samovar is that of a Balkan, and it would be justified calling Samovar a Balkan-style blend if it were not for the balancing, relieving and lifting sweetness from matured Virginias and lightly sweetened black Cavendish keeping the oriental leaf from hegemony. I would call Samovar a Scottish blend or better, a full-flavored, medium-strength Americanized English.

However one classifies it, Samovar is worthy of a full-tin sampling by anyone who enjoys or wants to enjoy oriental and latakia without being over- or underwhelmed by either.
Pipe Used: Large, small, conical and straight drilled
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars dot com
Age When Smoked: Fresh tin
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 02, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong
I think Samovar might be the most delicious and satisfying English mixture I've ever smoked. Starts out noticeably sweet, presumably from the Virginia. After a few puffs, the Orientals kick in, enriching the flavor, and building steadily as the bowl progresses. Samovar is, so far, my only experience with Syrian Latakia, but now I know I like it. It's a constant presence, a fragrant ribbon that weaves in and out of the smoke.

Samovar is very well balanced, but I would say the Orientals take the lead with their warmth and spice. I love exhaling this smoke out of my nose. That's often a good indicator for me that I'm experiencing some very fine Oriental tobacco. The Virginia provides a naturally sweet foundation for the others to build upon. Syrian Lat seems a lot more delicate and nuanced than its Cyprian cousin. It's almost like a perfume or incense that occasionally wafts up before fading back into the background. I shudder to think that some day all the Syrian Lat will be gone. We pipe smokers will have lost something truly special, and the world will be a sadder place for it.

All in all, an astonishingly pleasant smoking experience. I can't praise it highly enough.
Age When Smoked: 2 years (2012 tin code)
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 08, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I think that when TR was recently changed the website, the newer version of this was added to the mid 1990’s run of this blend. My now empty tin is from the new era. Although McClelland makes a lot of English Blends that I enjoy on occasion, I generally don’t find any in my normal rotation. Samover could change all of that for me. Samover offers a sour/smoky scent to my nose indicative of its components. Like most blends made by McClelland, I find it far too wet for my liking so I gave it significant dry time. It was worth the wait. An adjective I have never used with a tobacco blend immediately came to mind at first light, velvet. It is so very smooth, almost too smooth as I like a little more strength in my blends, but the flavor, oh the flavor is a bell ringer. The smoothness reminds me of the Levin era Syrian Ringlow Reserve and given the Syrian in both blends I guess that’s no surprise. The combination of the Orientals, which lead the way, followed by the Syrian Latakia is paired masterfully. There is a subtle sweetness that shows itself from time to time too. This is a mild, biteless well done blend that is hands down one of my favorites from McClelland.
Age When Smoked: 4 years
5 people found this review helpful.
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