McClelland Wilderness

This remarkable blend formulated by Fred Hanna provides a multi-layered, rich, taste experience. The highest quality Syrian latakia combines with a small amount of Cyprian to form the base for an exquisite array of rare and precious Orientals - sweet Drama, exotic Yenidje, and more. Red Virginias complement the blend, adding sweetness, richness, strength, and creaminess. Smoke this mixture and listen for the echoes of savored memories.


Brand McClelland
Series Collector Series
Blended By Fred Hanna
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

3.61 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 30, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
In a newly opened tin, Wilderness looks and smells at first like a spot-on, “deluxe” light/medium English (not a Balkan), with nice, plump, variegated ribbons and an excellent balance of perfume-y Latakia and mild Orientals just over a well-chosen assortment of smooth VAs. However, keeping after the scent, I began to suspect that much of what smells so “good” at first is “enhancements” rather than tobacco, per se (not that I care, if I like the results). As usual, I started out by smoking a bowlful of this blend pulled straight out of a new tin and stuffed into a good briar, and then I went on to try everything I could think of to make it better. Wilderness is typical of the McC blends I’ve tried in that it takes both patience and perseverance to light it and keep it burning through an entire bowlful. That accomplished, the best of this blend for me is at first match, when it smells and tastes like the initial tin note, sans accumulated, combusted additives. After the char, re-light follows re-light, and/or there is lots of stoking and fussing with it. There is ample, fragrant smoke when W is fully lit, and the tastes remain well balanced, of a piece, with the Lat slightly on top, then the Orientals, followed by the VAs, and it stays rather mild for most of a bowl. Basically, there is more (and less) going on here than tobacco. Though I continue to enjoy the tobacco-ish tastes, an “oily”, “chemical” taste increases and ultimately coats my mouth, taking more and more away from the best of W until about the 7/8 mark, when – oddly – the oiliness abates, or it is finally overtaken by something other than propylene glycol. By this time the tobacco tastes have morphed somewhat, and the lot is a little more “bracing” and very slightly bitter, though not in a bad way. The Lat, Orientals and VAs are all still “there” in good proportions; that never really changes, and I like that part of W. Strength is mild to medium; tastes are the same. Room note is pleasant. Aftertaste is a mixed bag, best and worst of the smoke that fades away fairly quickly.

Propylene glycol is not just a common humectant, it is the MSG of pipe tobacco, and McC is known to use more of the stuff than a cheap Chinese restaurant. So, is this my biggest problem with Wilderness? I dunno. Let me just say, “it’s not the Wilderness; it’s me”, since I can’t think of a pipe tobacco I’ve enjoyed more and less at the same time, apart from maybe Irish Flake, and in that case the cognitive dissonance I experienced had similar causes, but I was more impressed with the positives, overall. Anyway, I sort of hate to do it, but if I stick to my usual TR rating system (explained in my profile), then I have to say, I can see where others might enjoy this, but I’m done with it; ie., a tepid 2 stars from me. I’ll probably bring what’s left of my tin back to my tobacconist for use as a sampler, to serve as a free/fair warning to others. From now on, the only way I’m trying another McClelland tobacco is if it’s free. Since I paid for this one, and I smoked it in good faith, I’m speaking my piece.
Pipe Used: various briars
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: from a newly opened tin
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 24, 2016 Mild Medium to Strong Mild Pleasant
If words like subtle, smooth, and creamy appeal to you you might enjoy this blend. There's a huge distraction for me in Wilderness. This is something I'm noticing to be a recurring theme in the McCllland blends I'm exploring. The foundation for this blend must be a Cavendish that I would classify as aromatic. The taste and aroma are unmistakable to my palette, and I mean like 1Q type of Cavendish. This is the dominant flavor, with the other elements piggy-backing ever so lightly on that foundation. The result is a aromatic crossover, that might be "wild" for the aromatic piper. Considering that pound for pound this is on the top of the price scale for pipe tobacco, I am surprised. I would advise the piper that enjoys, say, Dunhill blends, and are interested in full tasting tobacco, to steer clear of this.
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: New
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2010 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
I know that I am going to go against the majority on this one. I really loved Mr. Hanna's Legends so I couldn't wait to try Wilderness. The tin smell is fine with me and at first light, I found Wilderness a slightly sweet, creamy smoke. There is a lot going on in this blend. The mix of different flavors is very interesting. My issue comes up when I reach about mid bowl and the flavor really turns nasty for me. I tried several different pipes in hope that I had just selected the wrong briar. I have come to the conclusion that there is something in my chemical makeup that just can't tolorate this blend. A quality tobacco for sure, but just not for me. Two stars.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 04, 2018 Very Mild Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable
I think now I understand why this blend is called "Wilderness". It's probably because of some peculiar (and rarely coming forward) aromatic notes of Oriental tobaccos in it similar to slight scent of pine resin - that pleasant smell of pine forest in a hot summer day, the smell of wilderness.

Acknowledging the uniqueness of the piny note, I don't like 'Wilderness' at all. For my taste, it's disappearingly weak and flat. By the middle of the bowl the already faint flavours dissipate in a stream of hot Propylene Glycol steam, and the experience of puffing on Propylene Glycol vapour is something closer to the so called (and rightly despised) "vaping" than to pipe smoking.

"Wilderness" was the last of seven different Syrian Latakia blends I bought during the last year's Syrian Latakia Hoarding Rush (which burst, as many may remember, after some big guys in pipe tobacco industry had officially proclaimed Syrian Latakia an extinct species). Like many fellow pipesters, I spent then kinda little fortune on my last-hour Syrian collection. Now, after having thoroughly sampled them all, I came to not worrying too much about the vanishing of Syrian Latakia. I like Latakia, just not this kind of it.

Too mild and too much humectant-soaked to my liking. Two stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 07, 2011 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I was disappointed with my trip to this wilderness. I had high hopes after reading so many positive reviews and the tin aroma seemed just about perfect. I was immediately reminded of Squadron Leader or Rattray's 7 Reserve.

Unfortunately, the taste has just not been as satisfactory. The Virginias used here have a sharpness to them that does not blend well with the other tobaccos. At least to my taste the blend seems out of balance. Mclelland's own Arcadia is a better choice.

There is potential here and perhaps 3 to 5 years of age will meld things together, but for now I will look elsewhere for a nice light English blend.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 22, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I procured a tin of Wilderness with much anticipation a few months back. The glowing reviews here did much to fire my enthusiasm, I admit. That, plus knowing McClelland's expertise with Virginias and Yenidje(ala Tudor Castle) made me think this was a 'must have'.

There is no accounting for taste, it appears.

It's not bad by any means. Just not what I hoped it would be. It comes off to me as an oriental blend, the Latakia playing second fiddle. This in itself is neither here nor there, but I find Squadron Leader a tastier rendition. There are some nuances in Wilderness that are worth exploring further, no doubt, but I find after every bowl I've had that I don't care to flesh them out. Not caring to fire up another bowl is a death blow for a blend, at least in my book.

I still have a tin of it's kissing cousin, Legends, on hand. It will be interesting to see how it compares.

For me, Wilderness gets two stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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