McClelland British Woods

Full, rich and dark, heavy with fragrant latakia, spiced with premium Macedonian tobaccos. Lightly sweetened with matured Virginias, this distinguished Oriental mixture is slow burning and cool smoking. It offers richness and depth plus unparalleled smoothness and refinement.


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


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

Average Rating

3.27 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 89 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 18, 2015 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
The Cyprian Latakia is the major player: sweet, smoky, musty, and woody, though it doesn't over power the other components. The matured Virginias offer tangy ripe dark fruit, lightly tart citrus, earth, wood, and a few grass and bread notes. It also has the "vinegar" hit one normally expects from McClelland, but that disappears fairly quickly. The Oriental/Turkish are campfire smoky, earthy, herbal, floral, woody, lightly sour, with some spice, though they don't show up in every puff. The strength is medium, while the taste is a step past that mark. The nic-hit is a slot behind the strength level. Won't bite even if you puff fast. You'll need to give this a little dry time. Burns cool, clean, smooth and a tad slow with a mostly consistent flavor to the finish. Requires some relights, and will leave a little moisture at the finish. Has a short lived, pleasant after taste and stronger room note. Not an all day smoke.

19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 12, 2005 Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Originally, I was not a fan of McClelland. Then again, I tried them about 25 years ago as a lad, too eager to try every sugarcoated aromatic out there. Since resuming piping, I find that McClelland is one great tobacco blender, and I am anxious to try more of them. I especially enjoy their Personal Reserve line. So far, BW might qualify for a desert island choice.

Like most of their blends, BW has that ketchupy, barbeque aroma in the tin, though not as pronounced as their mature Virginia series. BW is more along the lines of the Frog Morton series: relaxed, woodsy, mellow and campfirey. This is a spicier version of Across the Pond of that lineage.

This is the usual thickly cut, loosely packed mixture of dark stoved Virginias with Latakia making a subtle show in the background and tangy Macedonian tobaccos. If such a moniker exists, one might call this an American English. It?s subtly sweet and silky and leaves the room with a beautiful aroma. A friend commented that my living room smelled like a fireplace. Puffed slowly or aggressively, this is a chewy smoke. If there is a casing, it?s a very light top dressing that?s barely detectable outside of the tin aroma. This is a tobacco that I look forward to all day for that last evening smoke.

It?s amazing how each manufacturer has a signature that identifies them and yet, sets them apart from all their competitors: Wilke: molasses and baked spices; Dunhill: grass, peat and smoke; McClelland: barbeque and burnt ember. All of McClelland?s foundations are basically the same and yet subtly different. BW is a blend that I can smoke all day, and am bittersweet when the bowl and ultimately, the tin, come to an end. It always seems that there?s never enough tobacco in the tin. More and more, I am finding that this is replacing my usual default Dunhills. In an age of outsourcing and lower standards, McClelland remains true to form. Buy American? Yes, indeed!

Though not cheap, McClelland is a standard for quality in pipe tobaccos, and a brand that every loyal pipe smoker ought to sample at least once in life. I am sure that one or a few of them might become part of your standard repertory, as they will mine. Certainly, BW ranks right up there with the best of tobacciana.

Five of five stars
annual update 12/12/05

I bought a 100g tin of this magnificent tobacco last year & let it age in the tin. We're having an early winter & it's been very cold & dry. I promised to open this one around the holidays, and I'm so glad I did. BW emotes an almost nostalgic feel, like being home for the holidays with old friends & family. The ketchupy tin aroma has all but dissipated, leaving only a subtle mellowness. The leaf is satiny moist with just enough dryness to make it burn confidently but not like a fiery blast furnace. The aroma is smokey, with just the perfect amount of sun ripened oscuro-like spice. The taste is a delicious melange of exotic Macedonians & Orientals. BW is a meticulously blended chorus of celestial voices. While other blends I've revisted seem to go backward in quality, this actually got better. I will get another tin & age it for next season. BW is a richer, chewier Ashton Black Dog & a more muscular Frog Morton on the Town. The winner & still champion, & unless something grander comes along to sweep me off my feet, BW is probably my all time favorite. It doesn't get any better than this. Bravo!

Six of five stars
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 17, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
If you need a Latakia fix you've come to the right place. The Lat is silky smooth and creamy. 1st class stuff and it dominates this blend. Beside it (not behind) I get the Macedonian, but there's a problem. The notes of the two are very similar and the Macedonian just doesn't distinguish itself. The result is a little like a piano that plays only one and a half notes. Hard to make music with one of those. The Virginias do add a little sweetness, but little else. Overall it's not monochromatic, but it is close. If you're just looking for a nice smoky, creamy Lat fix, this will fill the bill. If you're looking for more, keep looking.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Burns well.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: fresh
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 03, 2014 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant
This is McClelland at its underrated best.

Everyone knows McClelland for this matured VA's that pack most of their blends, that unmistakable ketchup/vinegary and sour matured goodness. That is their hallmark, but for this, they took that as the bedrock and added some wonderfully rich and sumptuous Latakia and Oriental to make the most satisfying English blend I know of. I'm serious, its that good.

A lot of English blends focus on the Latakia and have a huge dose of it, and add in some of the other ingredients almost as condiments, whereas British Woods gives the VA equal pegging, and as there are McClelland VA's in there, they pack a wallop and augment the Lat and the Orientals so well without being in there as "also-rans".

The result is such a rich a fragrant smoke. Its like Lancers Slices except with that Middle Eastern spice element thrown in, and all in such high quality and perfect cohesion that each puff gets better the whole way down.

Impossible to get it to bite, no dirty taste when pushed, no run-off in the bowl or stem, and unlike other English blends which can actually lose pop as they age when cellared, this gains a lot as the VA's continue to ferment and keep getting richer.

If someone held a gun to my head and asked me to choose between this or Black House, I would mutter "British Woods" under my breath. Black House opens to such wild and extravagant flavors that you just can't comprehend it, this opens quietly and builds and build to a wonderful finale.

Awesome. May it never go out of production.
Pipe Used: Peterson Killarney
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: 4 years
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 20, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I first got into pipe smoking many years ago via nothing but bulk english blends and have only recently started to branch out into tins. I came across this one not too long ago, and it is a revelation. It has become my quintessential, supreme english blend. The search is over.

Like McClelland's Dark Star, this tobacco sometimes seems to me to transcend the sensual and approach the realm of high art. Incredibly smooth, silky, full, rich, subtle, even -- dare I say? -- close to perfection. It's everything I could hope for in a terrific, peaceful smoke.

Such a calmly joyous experience, like the fourth movement of Mahler's 4th. This blend is so good that I cannot consider British Woods an everyday go-to blend, but something to be relished when the mood is right, a Lagavulin rather than a Johnny Red.

Pipe smoking exists for blends like this.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 20, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Slightly Oriental forward, but the Latakia and matured Virginia leaf is not far behind. A superior blend that has been a huge McClelland's favorite for many decades. The way the leaf combines for such a rich presentation is due to a special process by the blender that marries all the components in their natural juices for many months before tinning. Just a remarkable blend.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 03, 2005 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
i was in a local tinderbox buying some tins of fmott.i was talking to the guy that worked there about how much i really enjoyed fmott.when he handed me the tins,i noticed that they were dated 2000.i was really happy to buy some 5yr old tins of fmott and made the comment to the guy that i could`nt believe how old the tins were.well he told me how alot of thier pipe smokers buy the tinderboxes bulk blends and don`t really buy alot of tins.

he asked me if i had ever smoked british woods? i told him i had`nt,and he told me he had some tins that were 7yrs old sitting on the shelf.well...i told him i`d have to try it some time,and i took my fmott and left.i got home, and alittle later i started thinking about giving british woods a,i got on line and read the reviews on it,and they all seemed pretty good.well,i went back the next day and bought a can to try.i got home with my new tobacco,sat down,opened the tin,and packed my pipe.all i can say! i liked this tobacco from the first puff.

it smoked cool,with no tounge burn,and the flavor was great.after a secound and third bowl,it was back to the tinderbox to buy some more tins.maybe i was spoiled by this tobacco,due to it`s age,but i really like it.i`m glad i gave this one a try.its a great addition to my heavier english blends,ashton old dog and nightcap.i like my tobacco alittle on the drier side,so i let the rest of the tin air dry for a bit.i will keep some of this toacco in the cellar.give it a try,i don`t think you`ll be disappointed.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2011 Mild Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
An Americanised English blend. Not overly complex, a Steady-Eddie type of blend. It's very consistent smoke from first light to bowl bottom. Cool burning and slow it lasts quite a long time, which I like. Nice mouth-feel and the Latakia is tempered down a bit, by some Propylene Glycol. Somewhat of an all day blend.

After tin opening, it needed to dry-out for about 72 hours, which helped immensely.

Would I buy it again? No, there are other ones in my view which offer more depth and complexity. All said quite good, not great.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 28, 2010 Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable
McClelland calls British Woods "full, rich and dark." What? While, admittedly, the contents are 90% darkened, broad cut leaf, I find this blend bland and weak, and I'm a bit curious how so many people can agree with the tin description. Maybe I've upped my nicotine consumption so much that I can't appreciate the subtlety, I don't know, but my opinion of British Woods closely mirrors my other experiences with McClelland English's, particularly from the the Frog Morton line. Where's the strength?

The ingredients are exceptional, but they are lost on me...I can't find myself able to pick out the Macedonian leaf or any other of the fine Orientals employed in various McClelland blends. That's not a knock on McClelland, but rather my own shoddy palate--no one should doubt the quality of any McClelland mixture. British Woods is unfortunately destined to the back of my smoking drawer, which is a shame because I spent nearly twenty dollars on this tin (my misguided attempt to support the local brick and mortar). I suppose if I were to change this blend up, I would go for a stronger Virginia component, though as is, far too light for my tastes.

Two of five.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 26, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Much has already been said about this wonderful tobacco and by those who I would say are unmatched when it comes to reviewing blends. For me, writing reviews is cathartic. It reaffirms my love or disdain for said product. And British Woods I love! Upon cracking the tin your senses are greeted with beautiful, spicy, smokey latakia and just underneath that an exotic spice from the orientals, and of course the ever present McClelland Virginia tang.

As an early pipe smoker, I classified this as an English blend, but after a little experience and familiarization with the pipe I would throw this in the Oriental/Balkan category. The ribbon is a very mottled cut which is a little harder to work than some other blenders shag/ribbon cuts, but that's okay. This stuff is worth it! The charring light delivers a nice peat smoked flavor, reminiscent of a first sip of good whiskey. Once you light it for good the latakia gives way to the Virginia's and the blend settles down and delivers a relaxing interplay of sweet and smoke. At approximately one third of the bowl the sweetness takes over with a nice sour note mingled in and bringing with it slight smokiness from the latakia. At this point, British Woods truly is a joy to sip. So easy to savor and you don't have to pull hard for flavor, each sip delivers the tangy sweet, smokey, sour richness promised on the tin label. Very good indeed!
Pipe Used: Many
PurchasedFrom: B & M
Age When Smoked: fresh and aged 3 years
5 people found this review helpful.
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