McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake

This blend is a style of English Virginia that has seldom been seen in the United States. A sweet, exceptionally soft, fully rubbed matured cake.


Brand McClelland
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Ready Rubbed
Packaging Bulk
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
Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.38 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 97 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 30, 2014 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I only smoke English blends and Lakeland scented flakes so when I decided I wanted to expand my horizons, my husband suggested starting with 5100 Red Cake. The tobacco has the ketchup smell that everyone talks about but it didn’t put me off. I dried it for a while before packing it. After lighting it, I didn’t get any of the ketchup smell in the taste. I just get a sweet, slightly spicy taste with a very, very slight grassy note. As I got further through each bowl, the sweetness from the Virginia grows and leaves a nice sweet, stickiness on my lips! It never burns hot and there is no bite. I was very pleasantly surprised by this mild to medium blend and I found it very pleasant to smoke! Even though this is not a typical smoke for me, it has made me want to try other straight Virginia blends.
Age When Smoked: 5 years old
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 14, 2006 Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
I find McClelland's 5100 to be very similar to McCranie's Red Ribbon. (Both are tinned by McClelland). This tobacco smelled delightfully Virginia sweet in the pouch. And the flavor is wonderful and naturally sweet, just a really remarkable very delicate Virginia flavor. I can see where this straight Virginia would be a wonderful end of the day smoke if your palate has been overloaded. It could be a good first pipe of the day smoke too due to its lightness. And finally, it is a great blending tobacco and marries well with blends that you like but think may need more sweet Virginia to settle the other components. As for me, I love mixing 5100 with straight Burley blends to give me the sweetness I so much enjoy while still getting the strength from each puff that Burley tobacco can so often provide. No matter how you smoke 5100, it will be palate pleasing, I assure you!
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2005 Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
I wouldn?t be content if I didn?t have a few Bell jars of McClelland 5100 Red Cake snugly aging down in the dark, cool pipeweed corner of the basement. As an inexpensive bulk, with a little aging on it, 5100 compares favorably to Rattray?s Hal O? the Wynd.

The aroma of 5100 out of the Bell jar and in the room is delightful. Smoked properly, it delivers a hearty mouthful of taste with no bite. The first third or so of the bowl is mild and sweet. Later the smoke becomes heavier, retains sweetness and becomes a tad harsher, but not at all unpleasant. 5100 leaves a sweet taste in the pipe bowl, allowing the piper the option of a taste treat by following with an occasional bowl of a Latakia mixture.

That said, 5100 has a few idiosyncracies of which new and seasoned puffers should be mindful.

As a rubbed out flake, 5100 visually appears as an attractive heap of small bits of high quality leaf, ranging from gold to dark brown. It also has a humectant that retains moisture even after several years of aging. To me, this is fair warning of a tobacco that requires a light hand in packing, several matches to get burning properly and vigilance to keep burning. I can?t recall ever smoking a bowl of 5100 through to the bottom without relight.

For me, getting optimum taste from 5100 requires 15 minute smokes, allowing the smolder to expire, light tamping, putting the pipe aside to cool for 10 minutes, and then repeating. A small price to pay, I?d say, for a great and, in comparison, inexpensive pipeweed.

Using the uneducated thumb method to cram as much 5100 into the bowl as possible, lighting up with one of those awful pipe torches, then stubbornly huffing when the smolder begins to expire, will inevitably lead to gurgles and wrong-headed exclamations about Virginia?s tendency to nip or worse.

But with a skillful touch and a little patience, such unpleasantness is easily avoided and the smoker will count himself fortunate and wise to have put away an ample store of this excellent and affordable Virginia.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 02, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I give Bulk No. 5100 a four star rating because it is the bulk tobacco that I smoke most, McClelland is justly famed for their Virginias, and I am fond of a number of their tinned blends, in particular No. 22, No. 24, No. 25, and No. 27 from the Matured Virginia series. I like 5100 even better, and even though I meander through many offerings in the bulk department of McClelland and many other brands, I smoke 5100 more than any other bulk offering.

This is a fully rubbed out small ribbon. Identified as a cake, at some point in its preparation, probably in the fermentation process, it was pressed into a block and then later put into its rubbed out form. It has some of the acetic "ketchup" smell that all McClelland Virginias manifest, although this is lighter than most of its siblings. The "ketchup" odor does not bother me, although it is apparent in the pouch.

As a red Virginia, this tobacco has considerable natural sweetness. I do not detect an additional sweetening element.

The tobacco lights well, not as easily as some which share its smallish cut, but nevertheless without difficulty. I have to trouble in keeping it lit.

The room note is of a pleasant natural tobacco variety. It will not elecit the compliments of non smokers that a sweet aromatic may, but neither will it engender complaints.

The nicotine level is on the low side. Virginias have the reputation for being bite prone, but I find no need for extraordinary care in the puffing technique to protect my tongue when smoking 5100.

I personally do not jar bulk tobaccos for long time storage. Many of those who do laud 5100 as a good candidate for long term aging. McClelland bulks use tobaccos with less maturity than those in the tinned blends, and thus it seems reasonable that aging will improve this offering.

Yes, 5100 is monochromatic. But its taste, on the light side of medium, wears very well. My own habit of varying my tobacco from smoke to smoke may be partially the cause, but when I return to it from whatever is in my current rotation (I normally have five tins, pouches, or baggies open) I find it to be a treasured friend. Likewise, when smoking large bowled pipe, I do not find this a smoke which grows dull before the end. In the case of 5100, the end is a dry light grey powder.

My current pipe collection numbers 51, including two Dunhills. The brace of Dunhills are not what I consider my best two, but they handle Virginias better than any others in my rotation.

10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2002 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Appearance: Medium to dark red ribbon. The ribbons are quite uniform in length and width (about average). The tobacco was moister than I like it, but might be perfect for many. I happen to like the dryness of Cornell and Diehl blends.

Aroma: Rich sweet aroma with only the merest trace of the ?vinegar? smell that seems to pervade McClelland reviews. The trace dissipated in a short time.

Packing: No problem in any size or shape bowl. Easy to get a nice, springy surface.

Lighting: Nothing unusual in the lighting, neither oo easy nor too difficult.

Initial flavor: Smooth, refined and rich. Not a subtle virginia at all. Makes me realize why I like blends with Red Va. Has a full range of flavor components, from the high notes to the low (but not very low).

Mid-bowl: Continues to charm the palate with layers of flavor, when smoked slowly. With cellaring, this might rival Rattray?s Hal O? the Wynd for flavor.

Finish: No significant change at the bottom of the bowl. Leaves a dry ash in a clean pipe.

Summary: Might be a little too strong for an all day smoke for many, but YMMV. An excellent choice for fans of deeper Virginias. An amazingly good tobacco for the price. I plan to cellar a few pounds for the future, and might try using it as a blending base.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 17, 2017 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
McClelland - No. 5100 Red Cake.

I remember hearing Matches860 describe this as a Religious Experience on one of his YouTube videos. That sold it to me!

The Cake has been rubbed to an easy to manage ribbon, and mine arrived with a good moisture content. In colour it comprises a few dark pieces, a couple of light ones, but is mostly a medium brown.

The smoke: the description does a pretty damn good job of summarising it! I find it an exceptionally easy-going blend. The Virginias give a relaxed and velvety flavour with a definite sweetness. The taste is unadulterated: it's pure, and untainted by extra flavours. I find it becomes EVEN MORE insouciant feeling as the bowl progresses, going from soft, to out-right silky! The burn from 5100 is great, as is the temperature.

The nicotine's mild, and I like the room-note.

No. 5100 Red Cake = highly recommended.

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Peder Jeppesen
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: New
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 17, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
5100 is an interesting animal, being an all red Virginia I had read it would age very nicely so ten years ago I ordered a pound and a half from Dave at Bufflehead tobacco, I smoked the 8 ozs and canned the pound. I had intended to age the pound for a couple of years and forgot about it so here I am with a decade old pound of 5100, and you know what? I much prefer the fresh 5100... ah so is life. The fresh 5100 is tangy! oh so tangy, in fact it just makes my mouth water thinking about it, the smell of vinegar and tomato, vegetables and plum, so delicious. The aged 5100 has greatly darkened, mellowed and defiantly smoothed out but removed all the fresh attributes that I love. I do prefer the Orange Virginia's that are used in the Christmas Cheer blends and wish that they would create a ribbon blend of Orange Virginia's but until then I will continue to buy 4 ounces of 5100 at a time since I do prefer it super fresh but YMMV so by all means try ageing your 5100 but understand that you will lose the delicious tang that it is known for when young. I will use the aged 5100 to enhance Haunted Bookshop and other C&D blends that need a better red Virginia or a shot of spice.
PurchasedFrom: Bufflehead Tobacco
Age When Smoked: fresh and 10 years
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2018 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I've been meaning to review this tobacco for quite some time, and was only reminded that I haven't by the fact that McClelland has now ceased production of tobacco and is closing its doors. What a shame and what a loss for the pipe world!

5100 is a fantastic everyday Virginia. Simple on the surface but there is depth there for those really willing to explore. It is medium in body and strength. It's got a delicious tangy sweetness, packs easy, and burns perfectly. How do I describe the sweetness? Its so natural that its hard to draw comparisons. But I think if I had to describe the flavor, I would say it tastes like a fluffy marshmallow.

And man, I'm sure kicking myself for not stocking up more on this. I have only about a pound in my cellar. It really is such a perfect all-round Virginia. In fact, I can't think of a more versatile tobacco that has ever existed. Great for blending, breaking in new pipes, or puffing on all day enjoying the subtle nuances of the finest VA leaf America has to offer.

R.I.P. 5100 Red Cake. The pipe community mourns your loss.
Pipe Used: Peterson 106
PurchasedFrom: Beehive Cigars
Age When Smoked: 5 years
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 08, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This is probably the most popular of McClelland's bulk blends, and must be one of their most popular blends overall. 5100 is Virginia, straight up, and a wonderful tobacco for do-it-yourself blenders. It's also a great smoke on its own, which is how most people I know use it. The tobacco is sold in various amounts, but I like to buy at least a pound. According to McClelland, the blend starts as a cake, but is sold in a fully rubbed form. The pouch aroma is pleasant, but definitely smells like a robust Virginia tobacco.

5100 packs very nicely into a pipe. From the first light the blend delivers a nice, mild but full flavor typical of Virginia tobacco. There is a pleasantly creamy undertone to it, though not as noticeable as, say, McCranie's Red Flake or 5115. But the overtone is slightly fruitier than Red Flake, too. For my way of smoking, the flavor gets a bit stronger as I get through the bowl, but it remains pleasing and satisfying, never acrid. Like all Virginias, the sugar content of 5100 makes it likely to cause tongue bite if smoked hard, but an experienced Virginia smoker can enjoy this blend as an all-day smoke without worry.

5100 is an extremely pleasing and delicious tobacco. I've blended it with others, such as 2035, with some success, and have also added in a dash of perique. Perique, mixed lightly with 5100, gives it more fruitiness and seems to actually make it milder. I would have to say that this ranks as one of my favorite tobaccos. It's a standard by which other, similar blends may be judged. An amazing value for the price.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 22, 2010 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
I have read the reviews of smokers that smoked a bowl or two to write a review and those who smoke it occasionally. This has been my primary smoke since 1999 and I have smoked it on and off for years before that, beginning in 1987. I was trying to figure out what my friends at McCranie's Pipe Store saw in it. Prior to that I smoked a lot of aromatics and I was a cigarette smoker.

Herein is a commentary that what the tobacconists told me years ago, that in order to fully appreciate one's pipe and tobacco one must quit smoking cigarettes. They were right, and when I finally did, I discovered a whole new world of pipe smoking. The longer I smoke my pipe the more I appreciate this tobacco right here under review. This is my main smoke. There is not a day that goes by that I smoke the pipe that I do not smoke this excellent tobacco. The advertisement that you might have heard is right this is a very rare find in the tobacco industry.

If you invest a pipe to the cause, preferably several pipes and smoke this tobacco more than once under various conditions you will discover that it is complex in flavors. It is sweet without being syrupy. It is mild but full of flavor. The flavor tones are not one dimensional, it is both sweet and tart and the flavor tones are both round and high. In other words there is a full spectrum of flavor. you will, if you give it a chance, discover that there is a full wall of flavor that comes from a natural, un-flavored straight tobacco. It is neutral, inasmuch as you can smoke this tobacco in a pipe that you smoke an aromatic, that if aromatics are your thing, this is a nice full real tobacco change up, that if given a chance could become your main smoke.

It is not overpowering but it is rich in flavor. I personally love this tobacco more than any other on the market today. It is my constant "go to" tobacco. It burns well from the top to the bottom of the bowl, any bowl. Different pipes, different shapes render different characteristics of the smoke, but this tobacco acquits itself wonderfully in all of them.

I recommend this one to everyone, novice and seasoned alike. But you have to give it a chance and throw away your preconceived notions.

This is one of the best sellers most places and for a reason. If you don't like it, that's great as far as I am concerned. Until they kill tobacco absolutely, they will keep making this and that will mean more for me.

On a scale of one to four, I give it a ten.
5 people found this review helpful.
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