McClelland St. James Woods

A highly sophisticated broken flake of matured red and black stoved Virginias pressed with the finest Louisiana perique. This beautiful, mottled tobacco has an especially deep, rich character with that mysterious and compelling aroma that is perique's alone. A truly satisfying delight for natural Virginia pipe tobacco.
Notes: From McClelland: Occasionally we meet someone whose familiarity with a variety of tobaccos, sensitive palate, and desire for "that special tobacco" provide an inspiration for us. In seeking to satisfy a taste other than our own, we pleasantly surprise ourselves with beautiful results. This is what the Personal Reserve Series is all about. We developed this concept early on as a way to enhance our creative spirit. We are proud to offer these fine pipe tobacco blends, and hope you will enjoy them.


Brand McClelland
Series Personal Reserve
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Perique, Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
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

3.31 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 65 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 07, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
While Sam Gawith's St James left me a bit disappointed and wanting more perique spiciness, this one delivers in spades! Another McClellands masterpiece! This one is just about perfect as a VaPer, with a generous heaping of everything I crave in those special blends.

The perique meshes much better and more fully in this one than the SG SJF. There is the occasional separation during moments in the bowl and from bowl to bowl, but overall this is one of the most harmonious VaPers its been my pleasure to smoke. This will be in my constant rotation. Dry this one out a bit (perhaps more than a bit!) and enjoy. And, good news to you (we) cellar dwellers, this blend, while wonderful from a brand spanking new tin, becomes ambrosial with a few years of aging on it.

McClellands rules in the virginia and vaper categories! On the other hand, the tin of SG FVF I just cracked may just give the House of McClelland more than just a run for their money. Review coming up in about a month - stay tuned!
27 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 17, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Sugar and spice and everything nice. This is one of the best balanced VaPers on the market. Equal influence from both components. The Virginias are superb. Wonderfully sweet. The Perique is superb. Wonderfully spicy. The fruitiness from both abounds. This isn't just a home run, it's a grand slam. I like it better than Kajun Kake which, until now, was my favorite VaPer.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in flavor. Burns very well and even.
Pipe Used: MM Country Gentleman, Diplomat Apple, Mark Twain
Age When Smoked: fresh
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 08, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This is my favorite blend. This makes up the majority of my cellar. It's rich, creamy and with a good dose of perique. Red virginia tang makes up most of the flavor with the creamy black virginia and the perique. It's a really well balance, rich flavor. It's a very well blended and harmonious mix. Sometimes I add blending perique to straight viriginias but I can't match the harmony in SJW. Something about the pressing and aging I guess that makes this blend so well integrated. The quality of the tobacco and blending is top notch. I'm a big McClelland fan in general. I won't say anything about tin note or moisture level because it doesn't matter does it really? The tin note doesn't come through in the smoke. Just dry a bit to suit your taste. I'd rather it be moist and flavorful than bland dry and boring. This is fairly sweet but more of a red flavor than yellow or golden virginia if that helps. The black stoved viriginia does add creamy sweetness but maybe not as much sweetness as lighter virginias.

As far as aging this stuff it's really well aged by McClelland out of the gate. It doesn't have that rough around the edges thing like other brands (I won't name names). I've smoked after aging in the tin for a couple of years and it gets even better.
Pipe Used: Briars, meers
Age When Smoked: 1 year
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 08, 2014 Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant
I don't usually like Virginia blends; the common bright leaf reminds me too much of cigarettes. This dark Virginia & Perique blend is a completely different smoking experience, very rich and aromatic. The scent in the tin has a hint of fruitiness, but I couldn't tell whether this was added flavouring or just the natural aroma. Definitely no casing (i.e. no Cavendish); the taste of the actual tobacco is rich and somewhat acid, like a fine Maduro cigar.

The cut is unusual (these days at least): broken flake is like a sliced block, 1-2" long, almost 1/16" thick slices. It needs to be rubbed. Rubbed & carefully filled, my large pipe took 2 lights but then burned very evenly for well over an hour. The tobacco is quite dense, so a pipeful contains more than the average: I've rated it Strong, partly because the long burn makes a pipeful more of a "hit" than a fine cut.

The Perique is subtle rather than dominant (IMHO). Fairly easy on the tongue, although a little hard on the throat if I smoke a lot. I can't add much more to the excellent descriptions others have posted except to say I like it, I like it!

I wouldn't recommend this for a novice smoker, but highly recommended for the rest of us "sophisticated" types, and a most unusual blend.
Pipe Used: Carey, Falcon
PurchasedFrom: Goodfellas Victoria BC
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 17, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This review is based on a tin dated 2002.

Preparation: This tin had five years of aging, which I cannot compare to more or less aged tins, but it was good. Like others have noted, this is best after some months mellowing in an opened tin. I found that after 2 1/2 months after popping the tin, it really began to sing. This isn't work, but it does take patience. Packing is user-friendly. I just stuffed it in and lit it.

Smoking characteristics: After proper preparation, the tobacco did not bite and burned at a nice even rate. The ash could be a bit sticky and made it difficult to smoke all the way to the bottom. I'd recommend dumping out the ash after 2/3 of the bowl to alleviate this problem.

Flavors: This had a wonderful balance of earthy, bitter (in a good way like coffee), sweet, meaty, toasty, oily, and cigar-ish flavors. Mostly it remained in the lower registers. However, toward the end of the tin after it had dried out too much and was rehydrated, I found it got much sweeter and creamier. Don't know why; tobacco's mysteries are unfathomable.

Value: Out of a 100g. tin, I got 35 smokes. For comparison, let me note that with the same pipe rotation I got 15 for a 50g tin of Samuel Gawith FVF. Given that you can get 100g of St. James Woods for 12-15 dollars, this is a good buy.

Aftereffects: I hate to sound like a broken record, but concerning perique allergy, if you have it this one might not be a good idea. My eyes got bloodshot at night after I smoked this. Not bad enough to make me stop smoking it, but there it is. This only matters to those unfortunate enough to share my particular reactions to this condimental leaf.

Overall: This is a classic Va/Per, a must-try for all fans of the genre. Again, be patient with it and you will be rewarded.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 29, 2020 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
McClelland- St. James Woods

Wow, as I’ve become a fan of the Virginia Perique blends, this is the cream of the crop for me.

I have a hard time trying McClelland blends as has been said before you can’t find them anymore and well if you do prepare to pay, however a pipe club friend gave me the last of his tin dated 2016, and wow. I’ve only smoked one bowl but must say nothing can compare.

The tangy Virginia’s are there and they are something I’ve been searching for dearly in other blends, the Perique never overpowers and compliments perfectly.

These blends do what others still strive to complete, good luck going back to other blends after this one.
Pipe Used: Bones dublin
PurchasedFrom: Gift
Age When Smoked: 4 years
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 25, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Perhaps McClelland's most appreciated true VaPer blend, St. James Woods is rich and compelling with creamy smooth Red and dark Virginias of unusual maturity, combined with a restrained yet generous hand of St. James Parish Perique. The combination is not only electrifying, it is a one of a kind flavor presentation, for sure. Virginia/Perique fans, rejoice!
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 26, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
WOW!!! I am not a Virginia / Perique expert by any means but I have tried several over the years including such legends as Escudo, Red Paramour, 2015 and Old Gowrie but non have made me anticipate a bowl with such intensity. I find myself salivating just thinking about it! I much prefer the red and stoved Virginia's with my Perique than the Escudo grassy types. When combined they produce a sweet and sour taste like no other, even 2015 which while excellent does not have this sweet BBQ aroma and taste and for once the McClelland ketchup aroma really adds to the experience. No bite, no shards of stem or unsmokeable bits (which I was not expecting from their personal reserve series since I think its their flagship line) and of course the added age that this blend possesses even before its tinned. My tin had 8 years of age and I smoked it in record time. This can certainly be an all day blend but I prefer to save it as a late night treat since even while puttering you will miss the delicate nuances. St. James is like General Tso's Chicken sauce, sweet, a little spicy and sour, just lovely. I really wish this came in bulk, sure I can buy a ton of 100 gr tins but I would prefer to can 2 or 3 pounds.... The best Vaper that I have found so far, just above Old Gowrie in my preferences.
PurchasedFrom: The Tobacco Leaf, Las Vegas
Age When Smoked: 8 years
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 03, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
McClelland St. James Woods is indeed one of the more sophisticated and finest VaPers out there. Instead of bright and brown VAs you will find red and black ones. The typical ketchup aroma does not only welcome you when you open the tin, but I found it slightly present throughout the entire smoke as well. Even in the after taste it’s there. If you don’t like the ketchup/vinegar note, this blend is not for you.

When smoked, SJW tastes full, of dank bread, tart and spicy with an interesting deep sweetness. The blend is balanced and complex at the same time, if that makes any sense. What makes no sense is to use a carbon filter on this, it will kill the fine delicacy. It is very soft on the tongue, burns slow, cool, with a little bit of moisture towards the end. Room note and after taste are intense, but pleasant regarding to my wife.
Pipe Used: Several briars with and without filter
Age When Smoked: fresh to 1yo
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 04, 2014 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant
Upon popping the tin I get a nice Virginia tangy noseful and my senses remember it, it's that McClelland tin nose we all love so much... And I mean that, because McClelland Virginia's will always smell like sweet magic to me. St. James Woods comes a little wet, and needs to dry. It does best with a few hours of drying time.

Upon lighting I am immediately greeted with a hearty tobacco flavor, rich in sweetness and spicyness. No joke on the interplay between sweet and spicy, they play off of each other beautifully, while never overtaking that cool hard tobacco wallup. She smokes creamy and long, giving way to that zesty tang. I did have to relight from time to time but this wasn't as bad the longer I had my tin. By the time I had a few remaining bowls it was the perfect dryness for easy prepping and delivered beautiful flavorful smokes. This va/per is sweet, spicy, and incredibly rich on the palate in the perfect sense. The nicotine hit was just right for me, never knocking me off my feet but letting me know it was there. If you want a great example of a Virginia with wonderful full flavored perique, give this one a try. Beautiful blend of Virginia and perique! If you've been on the fence in regards to trying a perique blend, allow yourself the pleasure of St. James Woods, it is balanced, and sure to satisfy!

Pipe Used: Briar and cob
PurchasedFrom: B &M
Age When Smoked: 1-2yrs and fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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