McClelland Bombay Court

An exotic Oriental mixture spiced with Turkish tobaccos, cut wide and enhanced by the natural aromatic, cool character of just enough smoky latakia. Matured Virginias fine-cut from aged cakes add their naturally sweet, full flavor.


Brand McClelland
Series Personal Reserve
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Oriental
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin, 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
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.27 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 52 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 29, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Ribbon cut of mottled blonde-to-black with a tin nose of superb oriental. This was another blend that I think I smoked one tin of when it came out in the '90's and decided it was not worth a second shot. However, when someone sent me a sample of Bombay Extra, I got the strong impression that this mellower cousin might fit what I was looking for. How right I was! Feels good to be right once in a blue moon!

This is a spicy, exotic oriental-FAR forward Scottish style blend, with those fantastic McClelland Virginias taking second seat and the latakia far to the rear. A mildly complex mixture, but not nearly as much so as many other Scottish blends I've smoked. This was steadier and focused on a symbiosis between the leaves into a top-to-bottom tasty smoke that would be rich enough to satisfy but still fairly mild and easy to smoke. The more of this I smoked, the more I wanted to smoke, and I can't think of a higher compliment to pay a tobacco. I also discovered that slow sipping this blend did not bring out the flavors. This blend liked to cook at a bit higher temp than, say, a Virginia flake. As a sidebar, despite what I hear from the current crop of "tobacco gurus" about the need to slow sip everything, I usually test each blend to see what puffing cadence it prefers, and I can't recommend that practice strongly enough. Granted, most blends like to take it slow. This one liked a bit of puffing - not too much, although even too much didn't cause it to be too cranky - but enough to get it cooking properly.

As I continue learning about tobaccos, I'm discovering what oriental-forward blends with light latakia (Scottish blends, as per the conventional wisdom... which may be THE wisdom for all I know!) bring to my rotation. I'm slowly leaning towards preferring the best of these over my usual Virginia fare. And this is one of the best.
Pipe Used: meerschaum and morta
Age When Smoked: 5 years
21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
A long time favorite from McClelland's and always a rewarding smoke. I get the Latakia flavor I am looking for as well as the enhancements the Orientals and Virginia tobaccos add. Actually a semi-sweet blend and truly unique.

11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Mild notes of smoke and wood from the Latakia. The Turkish leads with a nice note of butter and more wood. The Virginias add a modest sweetness. This is a good smoke, but is a little too woody for my taste. I wouldn't call it bland, but it borders on it. More sweetness would be nice. I can't get too excited over this one.

Mild to medium in body and flavor. Burns very nicely right out of the tin.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: fresh
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 19, 2015 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
The lightly floral lemon Virginia has a very mild spiciness to go with the grass, and tart and tangy citrus along with a pinch of sugar. The Oriental/Turkish are smoky, spicy, earthy, herbal, vegetative, floral, and very woody with a light salt, leather and sour notes. These components are noticeable in every puff, though the spice seems a little more prominent toward the finish, and the Virginia is a little less obvious than the Oriental/Turkish. The musty Cyprian Latakia is smoky, earthy, and woody sweet, and while a minor player, serves an important function. The "vinegar" notes disappear quickly, but the mild tanginess pleasantly lingers. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a step past the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh, but it does sport a few small rough edges. Needs a little dry time, and requires some relights, but smokes cool and clean with a very consistent sweet, spicy, savory flavor to the finish. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl if given that dry time, though I do not recommend letting it completely dry out. Has a lightly lingering, pleasant after taste, though you may not win too many popular votes in the room note department. Not an all day smoke.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 07, 2016 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
McClelland - Bombay Court.

Finally, after being messed around by the U.K. postal service, with there sur-charges, package processing, and official delays, I finally received my latest trade from my American pipe-pal Franck, aka Gentleman Zombie. For this trade, as well as brand new blends, we agreed to swap a few 'opened but not so fond of' tins. This is one of those; what do they say? one mans trash is another mans treasure!

Firstly, I'm unsure of the age so I can't comment regarding that, but it's just old enough for the broken seal to have made the hydration perfect. The ribbons are a fair divide between dark brown and black, and they're medium in size.

On the back of the tin it says "natural sweet flavour'; that's the one word that I wouldn't associate with this, it has a raw, full flavour, but not a sweet one (to me); unless that's meant rhetorically! I enjoy this kind of Latakia, it's not that smoky, but more woodsy. The Oriental/Turkish play a good role in completing the flavour: these are easily tasted and accompany the Latakia impeccably. To be truthful, out of the three it's the Virginia that offers me the least in the way of flavour; maybe a slight grass note, but nothing too pre-eminent. The nicotine? To me this is medium in the dictionary definition of the word! It burns superbly: hardly any re-lights, only some odd tamps, and no dottle.

Now the room-note: I like it quite a bit, it's nothing extraordinary but it's good nevertheless.

This also makes an incredibly good first smoke of the day. For the mornings alone it warrants four stars!

Franck, once again, thanks pal!

Pipe Used: Levent Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: Traded with Gentleman Zombie
Age When Smoked: ??
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 15, 2002 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
My tin of Bombay Court had a date stamp of March '97. I opened it and the aroma was a combination of the oriental tobaccos and what I can only describe as McClelland tin aroma. It's the same smell in every tin of Mclellands I've opened. The leaf was rough cut, mostly black with a few shades of brown. I have an affinity for Oriental blends in my Charatans so I filled up a bent acorn. The latakia was more dominant than the Orientals but did not overpower the blend. I smoked this blend in a variety of pipes, mostly of English manufacture. After about a week the McClelland tin aroma dissipated and more of flavor of the Oriental leaf came through in the smoke. In a small to medium bowl I found the flavor to change halfway through and the Orientals to be more pronounced. At one point I loaded a Sasieni pot and found the flavor to be better than expected considering the wide bowl. I next loaded an extra-large bowl, but the Orientals were lost in this pipe.

When I looked inside my tin a few days ago I realized I had been smoking this almost exclusively for over a week. I was even using this blend to re-season a small colection of estate pipes I had picked up recently. I plan to continue stocking my tobacco cellar with this blend and try some Bombay Extra in the near future.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 20, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
And yet another truly perfect offering by McClelland. I am glad that I stocked up on this before McClelland closed its doors.

I have just compared a tin from 2000 to a more recent one from 2015 and let me tell you that both of them were equally fantastic. I love just about everything about this tobacco. I love the artwork of the tin (who wouldn't?), I love the name Bombay Court (envisioning a scene set in India straight out of E.M. Forster's A Passage to India), I love the cut of the tobacco and I love the smell and taste of this wonderful product.

It has the exactly right amount of smoky Latakia, which is always there to keep one's interest up but never intrudes too much. It has those rich and slightly sweet nuances of Virginia, which are barely there but without which this whole blend would not work either. And most of all, there is a whole lot of Oriental tobacco which is herbaceous and somewhat "dry" (as in dry Chablis). All of this makes for a subtly refined and complex tobacco, which has to be smoked at the right pace and in the right mood. It is quite mild, but refreshingly so!

Bombay Court - one of my all time favorites, a tobacco that cannot be rated highly enough.

4 out of 4 stars.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 11, 2016 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
Having not had this blend previously, my review is based entirely on a single well-aged can.

My tin of Bombay Court has been sitting at the back of a shelf for some time, and as I prefer Turkish-infused blends in the fall months, why not have at it. The tin dates to 1997, and so has rested for a good while. Popping the top released a brace of beguiling smells: sweet, winey virginia, a bit of briny latakia, and a hefty sour note from the Turkish. Entrancing!

Lightup is soft and creamy, with essences of port and somewhat metallic notes from the Turkish. Things soon settle down into a dewey, ultra smooth virginia/oriental blend, and don't change much as the bowl progresses. Nicotine is mild, at most, and the whole affair is well behaved, burns effortlessly. Mouth feel is sleek and smooth, giving off an air of refinement.

And yet, I am left feeling that my tin may be past its 'best served' date. I could do with a little more character, and find myself both wanting more taste from the tobacco, and inevitably tugging too hard to find it. I also tend to crave something stronger after I finish with Bombay Court, which is a touch unfortunate.

Nearly two decades of repose may have eroded the character of this blend. I will likely revisit it on occasion, when weary of more assertive fare. I do find the quality of leaf and packaging to be excellent.

If it were possible, I'd like to have tried this at the decade mark. I am considering buying a tin of recent production, and putting it away for a few years. Perhaps I'll revisit this review then.

Age When Smoked: 19 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 30, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Rumor has it that McClelland has terrific selection of Orientals warehoused. I have no idea if that is true, but I do know that they have some very good Oriental “forward” blends. Bombay Court falls into that very good group. I tend to enjoy tobaccos on the drier side, and I find that with BC, the drier the better. The Orientals are top notch and BC is really balanced. Each of the component tobaccos seem to fit perfectly in this blend with just the right amount of each. The Latakia plays more in the background, although it is more than a just a condiment and offers just the right amount of smoky deliciousness. My just finished tin is from 2005 and there is a sweetness that reflects the age. I have not smoked it new so your results may vary.
Age When Smoked: 8 years
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 20, 2019 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This happens to be a favorite of mine but I'll try to be unbiased. I bought a tin about a year into my pipe journey in 2015. I was just starting to explore a variety of blends and McClelland was still readily available. From the name of the blend I expected something perfume-y out of a kind of oreintalist fantasy involving ornate wall carvings, sheer, gauzy drapes and a sleepy tiger. What I got was one of the most memorable Balkans I've ever tried.

The tin note is decisively barbeque-y - classic McClelland - with a pinch of pines and moss and diesel. It heralds some deep virginias done in the McC fashion and a very fine mixture of complex orientals and a backbone of latakia.

The taste - I can't separate the taste from my strongest memory of smoking it. I was at 1200 ft one a mountain outside of Telluride, CO sitting on a boulder which, in turn, sat in the middle of a flowing brook. My brother and I loaded bowls (I used my camping pipe: an old Royal Star Dublin whose walls were thick enough to be used as a cudgel) and puffed away during our break. The virginias set the tone with a deep, dark plum while the orientals provide a crisp top of spice like the cold, sharp air whipping through the tops of the trees. The latakia comes in somewhere in the middle of the profile adding a complex pine and backwoods fire aroma. Extremely well-balanced and always puts me in mind of a walk through thick alpine woods. If smoked right it's one of those balkans that feels so deep you can almost sink beneath it.

One of the reasons I love the pipe is the ability of taste and smell to transport us through space and time. If this smoke can bring me back to the San Juan Rockies than it's a winner for me every time. As a tobacco it's easy to load, the broad cut means that it will pack with plenty of room for air unless you're a jack hammer with the tamper and I find this to be the best way to load Balkans. It burns evenly to a fine ash and only requires a few minutes of drying. It doesn't seem to have much nicotine.

If you want something similar I'd recommend GLP Odyssey as the closest match I've found, SPC Plum Pudding being next. Magnum Opus has some similarities and Balkan Supreme can hit some of the same spots. I could make comparisons to Penzance and Wilderness but that wouldn't help you much.

If you can get some take it outdoors into the woods, that's where it's best suited. Enjoy.
Pipe Used: Royal Star Dublin
Age When Smoked: 1-2 yrs
2 people found this review helpful.
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