McClelland Christmas Cheer 2013

Handblended, premium pressed Virginia flake pipe tobaccos. A fine vintage, naturally sweet, in limited quantity. The 2013 blend is made with a special selection of orange, flue-cured Virginia from the 2009 crop near Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Picked at the peak ripeness, high in natural sugars, rich in oils, intense in color, this is a marvelous leaf that should age with distinction.
Notes: Released at the 2013 IPCPR trade show. Additional material from McClelland: We present this 2013 Christmas blend in partially broken flakes so the smoker can rub them out to suit any occasion. Savor the flavor as it develops throughout the smoke. Each buying season, we search for tobaccos that possess superior quality and distinctive character. In various combinations, their flavors, aromas, and textures contribute to overall excellence in our entire pipe tobacco product line. The leaves of different crops and regions are blended to maintain consistency from year to year. With Christmas Cheer, we treat our discriminating customers to the singular pleasure of a tasting of the very finest in tobaccos of a particular vintage, not worrying about maintaining the flavor and appearance of future generations of this product but actually striving instead to capture the unique character of a single crop and area. That's what Christmas Cheer is all about. Happy Sampling!


Brand McClelland
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 100 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

3.63 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 27 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 12, 2014 Mild to Medium Extra Strong Medium Overwhelming
Being a green horn to pipe smoking, I'm still new to everything but I have been a cigar smoker for a while. From the moment I opened the can I could smell a hint of raisins, fig, a little hay smell as well. Reading through the forums prior I decided to let a bowl sit out for about an hour before smoking it. From the false light it tasted quite well rounded with a wonderful play on each portion of the tounge. Definatly sweet, almost like a cranberry orange coffee cake with a side rustic hint of oaken barrel. with progression it only got better! I really enjoy this smoke and I'm looking forward to my next bowl of it! Four stars!
Pipe Used: Italian briar
Age When Smoked: fresh out of the can
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 14, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
First I want to remark how long that smoke can last! I smoke it in a very small french briar pipe and it can last for more than 1 hour, producing a very generous amount of soft, almost silky smoke. Pure joy! Hints of fresh hay, raisins, sweet and tangy as virginia can be. Top notch tobacco! the McVinegar tin scent disappears when smoked letting only the very best virginia experience I ever had express itself fully. I'm used to smoke navy escudo as VaPer. Loved the Va in it but this one goes way beyond and that's just the best thing I can say about it! If you can find one tin left...GRAB IT! A genuine 4 stars of course! (PS: I didn't find it to burn hot as other mentionned earlier).

NB: After letting it dry a bit I found that some pleasant iode-like nuances come through much like a Talisker scotch without the peat taste of course, will definitly pair my bowl with a glass of it next time.
Pipe Used: french briar
PurchasedFrom: cup o joe's
Age When Smoked: fresh tin (2013)
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 07, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant
I was given this by my parents for christmas when I was over in the states visiting them for the holidays. This was also my first ever McClelland Tobacco as they're not readily available to me over here in Germany. On opening the tin, what I first got was the (as I've read many times before) typical scent of ketchup that most McClelland Virginias supposedly have. I didn't find that unpleasant - the second and third times I stuck my nose in gave me rich, delicious smells of wood, stoved fruits and something spicy.

It's quite moist out of the tin, but dried for an hour or so it's perfect to take a few flake scraps, roll them into a ball and just plug those in the pipe (loosely!).

The charring light does give me some bite, but once it's lit and going, it cools down real nicely and tastes nothing but delicious.

There's flavors of wood, spice, stoved and dried fruits and a hint of sweetness. Sometimes something like toasted wheat bread comes through, which I really like. Also, the mouth feel is rich, thick, almost chewy... I love this stuff. If I could describe the smoke in terms of something touchable, I'd say kind of like well worn-in, dark beeswax leather...

This is so good it's too bad there's never going to be this same blend again. I bought 3 more tins while I was there so I could take some home and enjoy it for 3 more years - every upcoming Christmas.

Very very glad I had the chance to try this!
Pipe Used: peterson donegal rocky 999 filterless
PurchasedFrom: christmas gift
Age When Smoked: freshly opened
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 06, 2013 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This is a nice vintage. If you like "Mc-Vinegar", it ain't here in the smoke. I happen to love Mc-Vinegar , gives that tang, this is more base notes than high notes. Reminds me of the 2012 Christmas blend, but I do like this better. You do get a great hay scent when you "French inhale", no bite and some sweetness.

The flakes needs to be rubbed out and allowed to dry some or you will run into the problem of a hot smoke when you push this to keep it lit.( as some reviewers have reported)

I really think this would be exceptional with 3 years of cellar time, but right now, I give it 2 1/2 stars

Updated 7/23/2014- Well, I've had this tin in the cellar for about 8 months and it is still nice . I've picked up some changes, it has turned more "Malty" in flavor and it reminds me very much of C&D's Briar Fox. I also get the best results from a cob. I have found this is excellent on the relight, flavor stays and doesn't get ashy. Deserves 3 1/2 stars
Pipe Used: cob
Age When Smoked: 1 month/ 8 months
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 19, 2015 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant
The sweet Virginias are a bit earthy with slight grass and a lot of dried dark fruit tanginess and wood. The mild spice reminds me of nutmeg. The "vinegar" last a little but doesn't distract if you're used to it, because you come expect it from the CC offerings. No bite, no harshness. Has a slightly more than a mild nic-hit. The strength is in the center of mild to medium, while the taste level just reaches the medium mark. Burns slow and moist, but a little dry time will fix the latter, though I really don't so much of that. Requires relights, and will leaves a little moisture in your pipe. Smooth and deep consistent flavor with a very pleasant after taste that pleasantly lingers. Can be an all day sweet smoke.

4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 08, 2014 Mild Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable
Okay, today I start with Christmas Cheer 2013. I'm not reading the other comments and reviews beforehand so I don't slant my thoughts.

The blend presented as a lovely broken flake, mixed medium to dark brown tobaccos. The tin note was subtle, slightly hay-like with very little to almost no McClelland signature scents (BBQ, ketchup, vinegar, etcetera).

I chose a smaller Kaywoodie #10 bent billiard as the pipe of the morning for this blend. It smokes Virginias well and felt like a good choice, being well rested and of nice size (group 3 I guess).

I fully rubbed out my sample into a coffee filter as I always do. The first ting I noticed was the change in aroma; now the BBQ scent came out, but just enough to be known, not overwhelming. And there was more of the sweet hay-like scent, too, as the tobacco was prepped for fire. My sample was if near perfection for my preference moisture wise and required no dry time. I packed the pipe with the method I usually use, a three-step variation, and gave it a char.

The charring light brought forth a nice flavor of slight sweetness and BBQ goodness. The flame also produced a nice bloom, one that didn't expand too much but "just right". I left the pipe to rest a few minutes while making a cup of black coffee to enjoy with my smoke.

Returning to the pipe, I gave it a light tamp and exposed it to the flame again. Again I was treated to a nice BBQ sweetness and perfect bloom. Another light tamp and it was off and going.

After the initial few puffs, the BBQ a taste fades and is replaced by a mellow sweetness that only comes from a nice Virginia blend, one with wispy hints of grassiness and citrus gently tickling the tongue and pallet.

At the halfway point of the bowl I've had to relight twice, both times due to my negligence as I type this review. The taste has remained consistent and mellow, very nice and not hot, damp nor a hint of bite. Very little attention needs paid to the tobacco: a gentle tamp here and there is all it needs to keep it burning. This bowl has lasted about 40 minutes and I expect I have about that much more to go yet. I don't expect the second half to be any less tasty, and is likely to be better than the first. So I shall end this review here and savor the next portion of this classic Virginia blend. The remaining sample will most likely find its way into a pipe for Christmas Eve, a fitting smoke for that evening I think.

I have to say, I think this bowl hit its peak at 2/3 and seems to be lulling into boring territory toward the end of the bowl. It is still a tasty and well behaved blend that smoked cool and dry. But disappointed me in the sudden drop off in the final third of the bowl.
Pipe Used: Kaywoodie #10
PurchasedFrom: Gifted sample
Age When Smoked: 1 plus years
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 17, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
How many tins did you buy?

I'm not sure what I can add to this that other reviewers haven't already said. This year's blend is a masterpiece as is, and could go down as one of the all time greats with some age on it. I have a tin stashed away for a few years...
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 01, 2013 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I really like the aroma when I open the can for the 1st time. I can smell the sweetness of virginia tobacco and the smell is almost similar like a milk candy that I usually buy it when I celebrate Chinese New Year. Need a little preparation to enjoy well this blend. I need to rubbed into smaller pieces so I can pack it well and then aerated it for a little while, so I can start a pleasant journey with this blend. This blend is quite smooth, almost without kick, but I can taste a very sweet virginia blend, it is cool and burnt well. At half bowl, I can taste the milky taste again, very sweet, like a chinese milk candy. So I give this blend 4 stars for the pleasure that it given to me.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 30, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
It took the better part of five years for me to see what many of you have been stating as fact for years - McClelland knows Virginias.

I now see the light! Review the ratings of McC's Christmas Cheer selections since the 90s, always in the high 3-4 ratings. This year was no different - flue-type toby, broken flake type cuts, proper moisture even at 4 years plus in the cellar.

Its the clean, deep earthy manner in how McC develops there Virginias - not light, citrus-like or hayish, not here. Here Virginias come to mature, deepen, and gain character.

As much as I like Orlik, Peter's Luxury Bullseye, Dunhill Light Flake etc - my initiations to Virginias - I wrongly created a paradigm that all Virginia's were limited to such intonations of flavor... thank you McClelland for modifying my thought processes.

If your new to pipe tobacco, please consider Christmas Cheer in your future purchases, and McClelland Virginia-forward blends of any type.
Pipe Used: Meers and Briars
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: 4 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 05, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Light brown broken flakes a mellow citrus tin note. Comes much to wet to smoke out of the tin and I dried it in levels to see what produced the best flavor. Almost crispy is where this worked best for me. I lightly rubbed this one out and it burned perfectly with no moisture and few relights.

The flavor of this was perfectly orange Virginian with light citrus notes and a mild tang. Orange VA always tastes so "clean" for lack of a better word and I wish I was better at describing its taste. Often times lemon VA is overly sweet and citrusy while reds can be too drily tangy without enough sweetness. Orange is right in the middle with just the right amount of sweetness, and a well done orange is probably my favorite unprocessed VA flavor. This blend provides that in spades, and I wish McClellands had a regularly-available VA with the same flavor. I'm going to have to try the #27 again, because my recollection is that is the closest to this flavor. At any rate, this is a refreshing smoke that doesn't overwhelm. It's a wonderful untampered-with orange that will give you the insight you need into this marvelous species of Virginia. If you find your Virginias too this or that, enjoy one that straddles the "too" camps. Strong 4 stars.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 02, 2014 Mild None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Tin: Not as much ketchup/vinegar as other McClelland blends. I picked up some mince meat and raisin, as well.

Cut: Broken Flake. The flakes are cut a little thicker than most. Imagine the thickness of two Orlik Golden Sliced flakes. The flake is easy to rub out and loads nicely in the pipe.

Flavor: Once this baby got going there were flavors that I didn't expect from a tobacco. On the draw there was rich raisin. I tasted snickerdoodle and a little gingerbread while exhaling through the nose/mouth.

I smoked this fresh out of the tin, then again 6 months later. The flavors were definitely more pronounced after the aging. The sweetness really comes out.

All in all, this is a fantastic tobacco. It is going to take a long time to finish this tin. It is WAY too good!!
Pipe Used: Peterson System, Kaywoodie Meerschaum
Age When Smoked: Fresh & 6 Months
3 people found this review helpful.
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