McClelland Christmas Cheer 2014

Handblended, premium pressed Virginia flake pipe tobaccos. A fine vintage, naturally sweet, in limited quantity.
Notes: From tin insert: We are proud to offer our 2014 Christmas Cheer pipe tobacco, an exceptionally fine vintage tobacco, hand blended and aged in pressed cakes to develop natural mellowness. This 2014 blend is made with a special selection of red flue-cured Virginia from an outstanding 2009 crop near Snow Hill, North Carolina. Superb sun-dappled leaf picked at peak ripeness, it is high in natural sugars, rich in oils. It should age extremely well in the tin. Each buying session, we look for tobaccos of exceptional quality and distinctive character. In various combinations their flavors, aromas, textures contribute to the overall excellence of all our products. The leaves of different crops and regions are combined to maintain consistency from year to year. With Christmas Cheer pipe tobacco, we treat our discriminating customers to the singular pleasure of a tasting of the very finest in tobaccos of a particular vintage, not worrying about maintaining the flavor and appearance of this product into future years but actually striving instead to present the unique character of a single crop and area. That's what Christmas Cheer pipe tobacco is all about. Happy sampling!


Brand McClelland
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 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

3.47 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 27, 2015 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
The red Virginias have a tangy dried and ripe dark fruitiness from start to finish. There's some earthiness and a little spice all the way, too. The "vinegar" flavor seems a little more obvious to me than it does in some other years, but it's not distracting, and lessens as you go along. Burns slow with a clean, consistent flavor, requires relights, and will leave some moisture in the bowl. May need a little stirring up in the final quarter, depending upon if you dry it any and how tight you pack it. No bite and has no harsh, dull or weak moments. Has a mild nic-hit. An uncomplicated all day sweet smoke with a very pleasant after taste and room note.

8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 23, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
An OK vintage, but I expected more from McC. Not alot of McC Vinegar, however, I happen to like McC Vinegar, gives that sweet and sour touch. My main problem is this is all base notes ,without the high notes and not enough sweetness, making this kind of bland for me. It just doesn't have that "twang". The taste is that "malty hay" somewhat similar to GLP's "Union Square" ( I like US better). It's got some "N" , It's smooth and without bite.

Tin says leaf is from a 2009 crop but I don't know when it was processed and tinned. Why do I bring this up, I feel it still needs a year or two of aging to bring out its best. Can you enjoy it now ? Yes, but I hope it will be better in a few years. I guess I'm spoiled by the 2013 Xmas edition that really improved with a year of age. This is 2 1/2 stars now, I'll see if in a year it gets the full 3

Revised 9/16/2015 - I'm willing to give this the full 3 stars. I find this an easy smoke with zero bite. This vintage reminds me of GLP's Union Square, malty and mostly base notes. Tin improves as it breathes.
Pipe Used: egg cob
Age When Smoked: 2months open/ 1 year
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 25, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I never really got on the Christmas Cheer bandwagon, since my tobacco smoking and my wallet don't have what it takes for building cellars of distinguished vintages. I was recently able to trade a bag of Esoterica for tins of CC 2014 and 2015 just to see what the fuss was about.

I figured I'd start with the oldest blend, although one year is apparently nothing in terms of how long you're supposed to age Christmas Cheer. What I found was a fairly standard looking McClelland flake accompanied by a strong smell of fermentation. The flakes had some color variation and came at an acceptable moisture, but a couple hours dry time didn't hurt anything either.

It smokes very cool and clean, and for the most part tastes like good red Virginia tobacco and not much else. I was a little surprised at how long it takes the flavor to deepen as the bowl stoves, it doesn't really get that big until the last 15% maybe? But it does get to tasting full at the end. There are never sharp flavor transitions, just a constant and slow deepening until the bottom of the pipe.

This is really high quality red VA tobacco pressed and prepared flawlessly. It's a little boring at this age, and lacking some flavor that a blend made to be smoked immediately might have, but I can't review it based on the future. It's very good, but doesn't have the complexity to be the first straight VA flake I reach for.

This sort of thing is probably best left to the folks who have the time, money, and faith in the future to let it sit for 5 or 10 years.
Pipe Used: basket pipe
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 26, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I have great regard for McClelland's tobaccos which are usually of high quality. So I had high hopes for this Christmas Cheer. Nice packaging and presentation with a wonderful deep grassy hay aroma in the tin. Smell reminded me of Escudo.

However the smoking experience was a disappointment. No taste. Unlike Escudo which has that same deep grassy hay small in the taste, this Christmas Cheer is tasteless and a rather plain uninteresting smoke. Half way through the pipe some tastes and smells start to appear but they are very subdued.

I didn't enjoy this tobacco which is a surprise given that it's a McClellan edition.

I should add that I don't usually like pure virginia anyway, most of which just remind me of cigarettes. I imagine if I keep searching I'll find one that gives that deep grassy wet hay smell in the taste and smoke smell, but this Christmas Cheer doesn't achieve that. Escudo comes close, but this one doesn't.

Edit: I tried smoking this one again, intrigued by the fact that all these Christmas Cheer issues seem to get high votes and are highly regarded. I loaded my pipe straight with the flakes (no rubbing or anything) then I smoked it slowly. New to virginias, I didn't realise that they have to be smoked very slowly to get the full range of tastes. Smoke too quickly and many of them become just tasteless and hot. So I took this one very slowly. And I mean VERY slowly, just sipping the pipe once the stuff was fully lit. Using this slow technique I got a different result - I could taste and enjoy the subtle flavors of fermented hay and horse manure. I'm looking forward to trying this one again now that I've found the proper technique.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 10, 2020 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Smoking these 2009 Red Virginias in 2020. When I first tried 2014’s Christmas Cheer the sugar content seemed extremely high and prone to biting the tongue. 11 years of age have treated this tobacco very well. It’s sweet, but balanced with tangy fruit notes and a mild spice. The smoke is very smooth with no bite or rough edges throughout the bowl. The vinegar (ketchup) aroma in the tin that I used to despise is still present but no longer distracting. I’ve always loved the room note of Christmas Cheer. I’ll be sad to finish the tin, but can live with C&D’s Carolina Red Flake as a superior replacement.
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