McClelland Navy Cavendish

With this tobacco, we reintroduce the smoker to the traditional navy cavendish, pressed in cake and aged naturally with dark Jamaican rum to achieve its rich depth of flavor, color and aroma.


Brand McClelland
Series Matured Virginias
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Virginia Based
Contents Virginia
Flavoring Rum
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


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

Average Rating

3.07 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 74 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 05, 2016 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is the original Cavendish (Golden Cavendish), the first creation of this extraordinary invention. If you want to try the original Cavendish here is it. Pure Virginia leaf pressed in cake and aged with Rum. No other ingredient. Simple with a natural taste. The idea is great because McClelland gives all of us the opportunity to taste the real Navy Cavendish of the origins. The result is not as exciting as the premise. I mean that this is a good cavendish, but not excellent. It has no complexity, probably because of the simple “original recipe”. But it is natural and this is a merit. From the side of the taste two stars, but four stars in regard to the idea. So, for these reasons, in my personal system rating (from 1 to 10) my score is 8 and three full stars.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 29, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I'm gonna be a little long winded here, but if you bear with me it'll all make sense in the end. I'm a tinkerer....there I said it....I like to tinker with things and I've been tinkering with rum flavored tobacco for a while now. In the process I've learned a few things that I'd like to share.

First, let's talk rum. The English speaking islands of the Caribbean make their rum from molasses. It tends to be of the dark variety and has a strong flavor of molasses and sometimes added spices. It is usually sipped straight. The French speaking islands make their rum (rhum) straight from sugar cane juices. It tends to be of the lighter variety and has much less flavor which is why this variety is most often used for mixing. The Spanish speaking islands make both and concentrate on smoothness through aging in old oak barrels. It is the dark rums of the English speaking islands that are most often used for flavoring tobacco due to the more intense flavors.

To flavor tobacco with rum it is soaked in it and allowed to dry which removes the water and alcohol leaving behind the solids that make up the rum's flavor. The flavor will be that of molasses, caramel, and whatever spices were added to the rum. Some tobaccos are soaked and dried as many as three times. Of course, the more times soaked the stronger the flavor. I've been doing it myself with a VaBur I made for this purpose and a blend that is soaked only once has some unique characteristics which show in this Navy Cavendish. I'm certain that this is a once soaked blend. By the way, I like to use Kraken Black Spiced Rum (Trinidad and Tobago) due to it's heavy, sweet molasses flavor and the use of 11 spices. This blend uses a Jamaican and I wish I knew which one.

This blend had me going in circles for a while trying to find the right pipe for it. None of my cobs did the trick. A clay didn't do it either. A meerschaum didn't do it. I started in on my briars and hit the jackpot with a Rossi Author. The wide, somewhat shallow bowl is just what this flake needed.

The smoke starts out a little out of harmony. This is characteristic of a once soaked rum blend. The rum flavor and that of the Virginia co-exist side by side, but neither really taste like themselves. That's the effect they have on each other early in the bowl. As the bowl progresses the two flavors start to define themselves and at around half bowl a perfect harmony is reached and I get the flavor of raisins covered in molasses. This flavor lasts for the duration of the bowl. It is exquisite. This is a wonderful flake.

Thanks for bearing with me on this one. Mild to medium in body. Mild in flavoring. Mild to medium in taste. Takes a few lights to get going, but burns well thereafter without any drying time.
Pipe Used: Everything. The winner is my Rossi Author
Age When Smoked: fresh
39 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 27, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
The Virginia cavendish offers a little tangy dark fruit, a bit of tart and tangy citrus, a little grass, earth, bread and wood with a touch of honey. The Jamaican rum topping is sweet and a little spicy. The rum mildly sublimates the tobaccos, and is complimentary to the tobaccos. The strength is just past the center of mild to medium. The nic-hit is in that center. The taste level is medium. Has a few very minute rough edges. It does need some drying time, and you will need to break up the flake a bit. It seems to work best when sipped, but that's for savoring the taste and not due to its burning properties as it burns cool and clean, and won't bite. No harshness exists here. This slow burning blend has a very consistent flavor. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, and requires some relights. Has a pleasant, slightly lingering after taste, and room note. Can be an all day smoke.

22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 01, 2008 Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
If you can get through the first half a dozen puffs or so, you're on your way to a great bowl of tobacco!

This stuff, especially if not properly dried out, starts off harsh. I actually have to relight early (unless it's bone dry). Once the tobacco is evenly burning, it's a wonderful smoke that improves in the bowl as it progresses. I don't find any butter notes and I wouldn't call this a smooth tobacco. It's quite flavorful, much like eating a porterhouse steak. Each puff simply tastes like another bite of steak and as you get closer to the rib - oh mercy!

If you enjoy Guiness Stout, you'll have to try the two together, perhaps after a nice porterhouse or NY strip.

Very highly recommended
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 24, 2017 Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
This one is overflowing with quality matured Virginia leaf that McClelland's is so proud of (and rightfully so). The process involving the pressing and marrying of the leaf with dark Jamaican rum was a home run, too! Spicy sweet in presentation with the Virginia's maturity and the rum's piquant flavoring playing off of each other as perfectly as Fred & Ginger. And I can't even imagine what these beautiful dark golden flakes will taste like now with all the aging. Folks, join the Navy now and thank me later!
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 21, 2013 Medium Medium Medium Very Pleasant
I love this flake. I like that it has great virginia flavor with only rum added. I think many people are used to other flavors like maple, vanilla, etc. in addition to the rum. This one however seems only to have rum added. This could be why many people say that there isn't enough rum flavor. I really like its simplicity. The rum is a wonderful addition to a top notch virginia flake. The rum adds sweetness and a great depth of flavor. It may not be a flavor bomb but it's a great virginia flavor.

It can burn hot at first and give some bite. I think this is natural with booze blends. I rub out fully and dry a bit. Get a nice char light and then let it slow down. Then sip and savor. I add a pinch of blending perique to spice it up a bit sometimes.

I will have a tin or two on hand of this and will try aging some.
Pipe Used: Poker briar
Age When Smoked: New
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 02, 2015 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
I think Geronimo Von Klaus and several other reviewers nailed it. It's a highly underrated, fantastic smoke for the genre that melds into smooth harmony with proper prep and staying with it about 1/3 into the bowl. The tin note wasn't pleasant when I opened it for the first time, but after a day open, it's intoxicating. The rum is definitely in the background, and the typical fermented McClelland aroma is somewhat tamed. I can't offer an opinion of newer tins, as I was lucky enough to pick up a neglected tin with 6 years on the shelf at a local tobacconist. I was discouraged by the mixed reviews and first impression, but have tried it in several pipes and now love it. It's an interesting change of pace from McClelland's other matured VAs and doesn't rival my beloved No. 27, but it's a darn good navy flake. I'm a bit hooked on it at the moment when I want a smooth, flavorful smoke. I'm tempted to stock up on more of these neglected 6 year old tins!
Pipe Used: Lama clay, Paykoc meer, Brigham Algonquin Volcano
PurchasedFrom: Nashville Smoke & Ale
Age When Smoked: 6 years
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 03, 2014 Strong Medium Medium to Full Tolerable
I think this is the best of its kind, just make sure if you are in a B&M that you look at the bottom of the in and get the oldest one.

This needs some drying out and can be hard to pack as its prone to going out, but when you get it right, when its well-aged, well-packed and well-dried, you are in for a very satisfying and deeply flavorful smoke,.

As always, VA's so rich and tangy that your mouth almost waters on sniffing it the tin, but there is something there that makes this all the better, that Rum casing. It doesn't smell like nasty, hungover alcohol like I find GH Rum Flake does, or even GLP Sextant where it smells like the breath of someone who had a skinful of rum the night before and is now suffering, this smells like nice and classy rum which is being served to you aboard a sailing vessel on a nice day without a care in the world.

The prep is so important. Shortcuts equal bite or blowing through a book of matches and giving up in annoyance, but its worth it.

Cannot think of a Navy Flake as good as this. Maybe a little light on the casing as the VA's hit high guy near the middle and can drown out the rum casing, but otherwise, a real winner.
Pipe Used: Peterson Killarney
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: 4 years
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 26, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I don't find much similarity between NC and other typical black cavendish blends. In fact, I think that association might prevent some smokers from trying it to begin with. A better category to consider it among is Virginia flakes.

NC is not a powerhouse flake by any means, despite its deep dark appearance. It is mild in strength, but has a nice rich medium flavor profile. I do not detect the rum as such, but there is a consistent underlying sweetness that is very nice. There is no harshness at all, and every bowl for me has always been dry and cool (and I can puff a little fast sometimes). It is always very well behaved. It's flavor is a very smooth medium stoved Virginia, earthy with that sweetness I mentioned. Another reviewer used the word "malty," and I agree with that. It's one note and will not blow you away, but I never found it boring. That said, I never had to go searching for its flavor either. It's pleasant and delicious without being overbearing.

Again, I want to stress how well behaved it is. I never rub it out, so I cannot say how it burns or tastes with that preparation. It does need some drying time, and I've had best results when the flake chunks (which I break up to the equivalent of a large cube cut, with larger chunks in the bottom of the bowl to create an air pocket) are getting a little hard around the edges. Always dry and cool.

Someone who likes the stronger flakes would probably be underwhelmed. If you like things right down the middle in terms of strength and depth of flavor, you should give it a try.
Pipe Used: Brigham billiard, Savinelli prince, Savinelli Zulu
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 26, 2012 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I remember the days back when I was unable to smoke many McClelland Va's due to tongue bite. Come to find out, it was all operator error. When I slowed down, sipped and properly dried and packed their Va's, most if not all, are pure nirvana now. And This blend is no exception! Reviewer DK (below) is the one who turned me onto this blend. As he states, if you can make it past the first few puffs, this is an extraordinary blend. Tangy in the tin, without a lot of rum to speak of, but you should be able to find it mid bowl, as it doesn't come right out. One key tip I can offer, when it comes moist in the tin, a bowlful for 10 seconds, and 10 seconds ONLY, in the microwave dries this to smoking perfection, ready to pack and light.

Paired well with a Founder's Breakfast Stout.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 13, 2011 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant
This review is based on a tin from 2005 that had been kicking around my cellar for the past year. Each time I returned to it, I found that I liked it more and more. The dark flakes remind me of Dark Star in appearance. I choose to rub out the flakes or smoke them chopped. I find that I like it chopped better. There is a tangy sweetness that I really enjoy. Like some of the other reviewers, I found it difficult to detect any rum in the blend. It has either dissipated with age or it has been added with the lightest of hands. Being a bit of a puffer, I was pleased to find that it can be pushed a bit without any bite. The flavors are pretty straight forward without a lot of complexity. Navy Cav is a little light in the strength department for my taste and that would be its downfall for me in terms of future purchases. However, fans of matured Virginia's should give this blend a try. Recommended
7 people found this review helpful.
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