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Distinctive Virginia Flakes - the finest matured red and stoved Virginias processed separately, tinned together to marry. The Red and the Black, pipe tobaccos to mix to your personal taste...satisfying the fancy of the moment...each bowl a new adventure.

Notes: McClelland's Red and Black was created for the 30th anniversary of the Conclave of Richmond Pipe Smokers (CORPS).

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

What a beautiful adventure I had with the contents of my first tin of Red & Black. This is, without question, one of the finest new smokes I've had in years. The contents are large broken flakes mixed half and half of stoved Black and Red Virginia. The contents arrived that way as the intention by McClelland's is to have the smoker explore the variances with his/her own palate by mixing to personal satisfaction.

I began by smoking a bowl of the Black flake. I rubbed it out fairly well and then stuffed the contents into my pipe. Biteless and smooth from top to bottom no matter how hard I puffed. And folks, this is matured Virginia! No fresh "tang," just creamy smoothness from top to bottom. It also showed some strength, particularly as I got past the mid-way point of the smoke.

For my second bowl I went for strictly the Red Flake. It was easier to rub out than the Black as the leaf was softer. At the match and right on down the bowl it showed more backbone and had more depth of flavor than the Black, and that flavor varied as the tobacco was consumed right down to the bottom of the bowl where there was nothing left but snow white ash.

Bowl number three with a 50/50 mix of the Red & Black was the cat's meow, and solidified my thinking that Mike McNiel remains one of the most under rated blenders on the planet. I like a stronger presentation and the Red alone delivered, but for those who enjoy a more refined and subtle Virginia presentation, the mixing of the Virginia variants in this blend is nothing short of genius and smoky perfection. The Black & Red played off of each other as well as Brooks & Dunn ever did. I've already ordered 20 more tins and plan on giving the contents some time to age - although this is not fresh tobacco and was aged for years before tinning. By far, the best new Virginia product on the market in a long, long time!


36 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3050)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

This product is individual matured red and stoved Virginia flakes in what seems to be equal proportions. How it taste will depend on how you pack it. You can emphasize either one, separate them entirely, mix in equal measure or pack your bowl with whatever you pick up out of the tin. The latter is what I prefer. The flakes are easy to break apart to suit your purpose and for an easier burn rate, which will be slow unless you cube cut. If you choose to have both in them, you’ll get a mix of tangy ripe dark, fermented stewed fruitiness with plenty of earth, some wood, and a light spice (from the red Va., which also has a light “vinegar” hit). Those characteristics will change leads if you pack it as I prefer. The strength level is a little closer to medium than it is to mild. The nic-hit is mild. Burns cool, clean, and smooth with a variety of flavors dancing on your tongue. Has no dull or harsh spots. Requires a fair amount of relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. I suggest a loose pack or you may risk having to stir up the tobacco in the last quarter to burn it to ash. Has a very pleasant after taste that lingers a little. An all day smoke that will continually hold the interest of a straight Virginia smoker.


22 people found this review helpful.

Sasquatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sasquatch (90)
Medium Medium Full Tolerable

I won't try to add details to other reviews - Pipestud's is pretty complete. All I will say is that I enjoy this tobacco tremendously. It's just sweet enough, just strong enough, great flavors, always changing.... if you like red virginias, va/pers, aged virginias.... get a tin of this. It's great fun. 11/10

Pipe Used: Castello, BST, Peterson

Age When Smoked: unaged, 6 months in tin.

Similar Blends: I find this a little similar in composition to some of the coin-cuts available - Davidoff Flake Medallions come to mind, as do the Mac Baren coins, Dark Twist, Club Blend. It's not as sweet as the MB stuff. The interplay of flavor from 2 distinct tobaccos in one bowl is the keynote..

15 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Red and Black are many blends in the same tin. Comprised of both Red and Stoved Virginia flakes, each bowl will offer a different flavor profile depending on the allocation of each that you decide put in your pipe. There is less of a“fermented” tin note that McClelland Virginia's are known for although it has never been an issue for me. The moisture content is just about pipe ready. Personally, I gravitate to a 50/50 mixture of each, however I can see many combinations achieving a great result. While McClelland Virginia's are loved by many (Including my bride), I tend to smoke EU made VA flakes for the extra “punch” that they tend to offer. But I must say, Red and Black has made me a believer! A 50/50 mixture offers a very smooth, very flavorful, somewhat sweet and tangy flavor. The sweetness is subdued a bit, but in a good way. The flavor is deep, but I don’t get the spice component that others have described. Red and Black offers a bit a strength, but is by no means strong. I have smoked nearly all of the McClelland VA flakes made over the past 20 years and Red and Black, IMHO is, hands down one of the best Virginia flake blends that McClelland has ever produced. Congrats to McClelland on bringing a great new blend to market!

13 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (633)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I just recently finished the generous sample of this I received at the Chicago show and I am very happy that I picked up a few tins of this while I was there. This is a fantastic blend and a great idea as well. The thought that you can customize your smoke with the two distinctly different flakes is just a fun idea.

The red and black flakes are of high quality as should be expected as they are made from McClelland, who in my opinion, are one of the masters of the Virginia leaf. I didn't do what others in this review thread have done as far as trying each individually before combining them. I simply grabbed and rubbed haphazardly giving me different combinations of the leaf each smoke.

All of these bowls were fantastic and each was a little different as should be expected. I normally would not award four stars to a blend until I have had the chance to smoke a full tin, but this was just so good, and the fact that it is such a novel idea, it justifies a fourth star.

Cheers to McClelland for consistently thinking outside the box and continuing to put out new concepts in tobacco when you would think that everything has already been done so far.

11 people found this review helpful.

SeoulSister Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SeoulSister (37)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am a big fan of McClelland tobaccos and so I was interested to try the new Red and Black. I like to break the flakes up into small pieces and smoke a 50/50 mixture of the red and stoved flakes. One of the things I noticed first was that it burns very slowly and it is a little stronger than other McClelland Virginias that I enjoy. I really don’t like nicotine so I needed to go slowly. Red and Black is very smooth! It’s not as sweet, and a little stronger than my “go to,” 5100 Red Cake. I think that the stoved Virginia smooths things out, but lessens the overall sweetness yet R&B smokes like an aged blend. I expect to be smoking a lot more of this fine tobacco

9 people found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (217)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A superlative offering from McClelland. As the name suggests, the tin is comprised of equal portions of well fermented dark stoved and red Virginia flake. The red Virginia flakes are pliable and easy to work with and the dense crumbly black flakes will draw some comparisons to Dark Star. Now you can mix these to your liking, but as others have mentioned a 1:1 ratio seems to be where the greatest dynamic range in flavor happens, and these proportions are what I am basing my review on.

For preparation, I chose to rub the flakes out and I gave each bowlful about 10-15 minutes of dry time prior to loading up & smoking. Altogether, Red & Black is a medium-bodied smoke with sparkling flavor clarity. It is somewhat reminiscent of Blackwoods Flake, but rest assured this isn’t simply a deconstructed version of it. There’s a certain level of flavor-intensity here that’s quite substantial. The flavor profile is a bit tangy, but mostly earthy with a pleasant dark & slightly sweet woodsy taste. It's very smooth. Each bowl I have smoked has burned exceedingly slow and quite cool. I can easily get an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half out of a smaller group 4 sized bowl. This is also what I would categorize as a zesty smoke, and it’s spicier on the palate and in the nose than most straight McClelland Virginia's that I have smoked.

The best thing about this tobacco is that it’s extraordinarily forgiving. A lot of Virginia’s don’t taste their best when overheated but Red & Black doesn’t seem to care. I enjoy puffing on this one a little harder. Doing so reveals deeper, sweeter caramelized flavors and a fairly intense VaPer like spiciness with no bite. At a slow sip or a steady draw, Red & Black is a marvelous smoke and it is easily one of the best Virginia's that I have ever put to flame.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll finish this tin in record time.

Pipe Used: Briar

9 people found this review helpful.

Big Train Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Train (118)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Mike Mc Neil gave me a can of this to taste at the 2015 Chicago show . He said it might be the highest quality Virginia he has used . After smoking that can , and many after , I can see why he said that . This blend has two separate piles of Virginia , one stoved and one plain . The smoker can mix them any way he likes to load his pipe . What a great idea , just like Mike's stave aged tobaccos . Just when you thought you have seen everything Mary and Mike continue to amaze .Like all Mc Clelland flakes this is a " hard flake" that takes some preparation . I had my best results by crumbling it up real fine in my fingers and using only 25% stoved . It should not be too tightly packed and puffed slowly for best results . I also enjoyed smoking either choice straight which doesn't surprise me ; top quality Virginia will give you that tangy yet subtle taste that Virginia lovers so much enjoy . You can also use the stoved to liven up other Va. flakes. This is truly one of the great smokes. 3/19/18 Can you believe that we are never going to get any more of this . It will pass into legend as well as it deserves . There is never going to be any more Virginia of this quality . There is never going to be a blender like this . I am blessed with two dozen cans . Not for sale at any price ... Pete

Similar Blends: Mc Cranie's red flake.

7 people found this review helpful.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (107)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a fun blend! I will admit, I almost didn't buy this because of the cheap graphic design on the tin, it looks generic and is a major turn off. Make no mistake! This is a grade A Virginia blend consisting of two different cured flakes of VA and you can blend them yourself to taste. I am more than happy with the 50/50 mixture of the red and black flakes. The smoke behaves best when left to dry for 30-45 minutes before packing your bowl. Sweet, creamy smoke that is unparalleled in today's market. I can't even imagine how amazing this blend will smoke in 5-10 years... I look forward to finding out! Absolutely essential!

7 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30194)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Large broken flakes with the red and the black (stoved) separate but intertwined. Interesting concept of allowing the smoker to blend the components to their liking. Tin nose was subdued and I was a bit disappointed at the lack of that beautiful McClellands fermented Virginia aroma. But there are other blends that take care of that need.

I first smoked a bowl of the red, then a bowl of the black. The fallback position is that the red is a flake version of 5100, but it isn't... at least it doesn't taste much like it. It's less sweet and more rich and overall tastier than 5100. The black looks a lot like Dark Star and indeed is about as pliable (not much) but doesn't really taste like DS. In this tin it's more subdued, less overtly tangy and more balanced. Perhaps what has happened is that each flake has taken on some of the characteristics of the other while simmering in the tin. That would make sense, I suppose.

Burned together, this was a mildly spicy, rich tasting, mellow Virginia blend, with no emphasis on the usual Virginia descriptors. It's sweet but not citrusy, with a wonderfully light coffee essence lurking way to the rear. It's not overly grassy - too much personality. There was even some sweet nut flavors. My only problem with this is that it took over half of each bowlful to find the zone that I'm used to with Virginia flakes. In the first 60% or so, it danced around that zone, would land on it for a moment or two and then dance away. Finally it locked in and when it did it was everything I wanted in a Virginia tobacco. Very tasty, very compliant, not overdoing anything but covering every base. I smoked this in smaller pipes (Group 5) to see if it did this consistently (it did) and I preferred it in larger pipes. The last 40% or so continued to improve down the bowl with the flavors becoming slightly more apparent as I progressed. That smacks of high quality Virginia to me. Just to pick one of my favorite McClelland Virginias broken flakes for comparison, Boston 1776 locks in almost immediately and goes from sublimely excellent to near-perfect by the time the bowl is over. Red and Black is a bit lazier, preferring to play around for awhile. 3.5 stars for this one, but not a 4 star blend in my book. However, I plan to buy more and experiment further. This is still an excellent blend and the one issue I had with it may be more me than tobacco.

6 people found this review helpful.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (96)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable

I won't go into descriptive detail here, yammering on about this or that nuance dancing in and out and all that silliness. I'm not writing this to see myself in print, so to speak, but to give a personal vote...cast yea or nay. For me, like Pipestud, this blend warrants a rousing YEA! So far, I've only smoked it 'together' and I've been rewarded significantly. It comes at just a perfect dryness for manipulation, rubbing, stuffing, lighting and smoking. It is a willing partner and doesn't there's that. I used a trusty Pete B5 Harp Bulldog which turned out to be a good partner. Puffed lightly (sipped) but steadily it was very easy to control the burn and heat so I believe I was getting a good flavor profile. And yes, the red and the black did each have their respective moments of dominance. But all in all it was a blended of the best pure VA smokes I can recall. Very fine flavors, very agreeable in management, one couldn't ask for more. I'll close by saying that over the years I've collected a lot of tobacco and have pretty much centered on a dozen blends that I most favor. When I do order some latest and greatest blend I'm almost always disappointed in some aspect where it falls down...for me...cause all this is very personal. My grail isn't yours, and vice versa, etc. But this is one that I'll never regret dropping a dime on. Absolutely excellent quality and performance along with rich and rewarding VA flavors. Five star...and that's for a 2015 TIN. What will it be like in 2020? Etc. Oh Mama!

Pipe Used: Peterson Harp B5

Age When Smoked: Pretty fresh - tinned 2015

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

5 people found this review helpful.

JuanOrez Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JuanOrez (22)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Pipestud described this best. I'm not great with words so I'll keep this short. If you like virginia blend tobacco, look no further. Between this and a couple others from McClelland, I don't need any other blends. This concoction deserves more stars than I'm able to rate. I can only imagine what a couple years age will do to this blend. Absolutely the highest quality tobacco out there.

Pipe Used: Savinelli, cob and Roush

Age When Smoked: Fresh

3 people found this review helpful.

manno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
manno (50)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

just got through a half a tin. wow. one of the best virginia flakes i've ever had, and by FAAAAR the coolest presentation. half the flakes are red and half black (duh -- that's the name). i smoked a red first, a black second and then mixed them for the third. it's like getting 3 great flakes in one tin. and no doubt, the two "marry" a bit in the tinning and aging process. sweet, deep, highest quality, beautiful flavors to the bottom (in all 3 iterations). if you like pure virginia flakes (stoved, matured and the rest) do yourself a favor, go get it.

Pipe Used: medium-bowled flake pipes

Age When Smoked: new, but some age prior to tinning

Purchased From: on-line

3 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (321)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Original review ( read revised also)

I never experimented with different blending proportions of the flakes in the R&B . I just rubbed out the entire tin.

I found the resulting tobacco to smoke like a 60/40 blend of McC's Beacon Extra and Dark Star ( both 4 star blends in my book). Yes , I do taste a touch of Perique ( Beacon Extra) but the combination of these two fine blends presented a problem with burn rates for me. I've always felt that the Dark Star had to be smoked at a smolder, or it turned bitter, where as the BE I smoke at a more aggressive cadence , bringing out the perique and high notes. I could never get this right as I smoked the R&B. The blend was either bitter or hot with only brief moments of greatness.

On another point , the R&B was noticeably hard to rub out ( think “ Dark Star”) and was way to moist to smoke. When I returned the tobacco to its tin , I noticed that the R&B only half filled the tin. Coincidentally, I was also rubbing out a new tin of a GLP blend, this filled its tin. Hmmm, half the smokes for the money , Is McC taking lessons from Samuel Gawith ?

Revised 2016-03-16- After about 7 weeks of breathing, drying and rubbing this blend has gotten very special, tasty, tangy and sweet. Nothing but good and the Perique note is gone. YOU HAVE TO RUB THIS OUT AND LET IT DRY. Also, reviewer "Sasquatch" nailed the taste with MacBarens Dark Twist. I always liked the taste of dark twist, with it's spice, but it ALWAYS bit like a dog. This blend, Red & Black, is spicy yet smooth.

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: new? revised 7 weeks

Similar Blends: MacBarens Dark Twist ( without the bite).

3 people found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (209)
Mild Very Mild Medium Tolerable

The flakes are somewhat broken and of mostly leathery consistency. The stoved Virginia is almost black and the red Virginia is fairly dark as well, but the tobacco can be told apart easily enough. The Red smells like vinegar. The Black smells like dried fruits.

This is a review of the two types of flakes smoked together 50/50.

This is a mild, sweet and somewhat spicy tobacco. It burns fine with a little care and is very gentle. There is a soapy/musty character to this as the bowl progresses that I did not find pleasant but is unobtrusive enough not to mar the experience for me. Still, it was enough for me to think something was not quite right with this tobacco for me. I also thought the room note was somewhat cigarette like.

Really, somewhere between a 2 and 3 stars, but points to McC for thinking outside the square with this one.

Pipe Used: Lepeltier

3 people found this review helpful.

Stefanos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stefanos (222)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Beautiful tin note, sweet and intensely acetic, tell-tale McClelland’s with both red and stoved Virginias making their presence felt to the nose. Flakes are broken. The blacks are thicker and less pliable than the reds. They need some drying time and some effort to rub out.

Once mixed the Red and Black produce a very civilized Virginia of medium strength with rather light nicotine content and medium body, very smooth but somewhat lacking in taste and I also sense a slight metallic flavor which I do not very much appreciate. Somehow for me it’s like the smoke lacks a backbone, a fuller, sweeter base upon which it could shine. Also in the beginning I can sense the acetic flavor much more than in any other McClelland blend.

Smoked on their own, I find the Black to be more satisfying. Extremely smooth, considerably sweet and quintessentially McClelland, it also has a higher nicotine content to make it more appealing than the Red. The Red on its own is juicier but nowehere near as flavorful as 5100 let’s say. Now, one can play with differing proportions but one tin was not enough for me to experiment sufficiently.

While the concept and presentation is very enticing, I cannot say that I enjoyed Red & Black as much as I thought I would. It’s a glossy tobacco but I feel it is overprocessed and the edges which have thereby been trimmed take away much of the naturalness and some of the complexity and flavor. I have no idea how it will age, nor will I find out…

2 people found this review helpful.

steppx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
steppx (186)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

McClelland virginias are the best. Its hard not to give four stars to their straight virginia flakes. Blackwoods Flake, 1776, Dark Star, and then those with Perique like Bayou Slices and Beacon Extra, or with oriental like Pebblecut. And they make the Butera line that includes the exceptional Golden Cake. They are the masters of virginia flake tobacco and this is a perfect example. The tin has black stoved virginia and stoved lighter virginia...I take it to be Red, or mostly Red virginia. (hence the name). In any case it is just a wonderful old school virginia flake treat. Slow and cool, delicious and complex. The nic hit is below medium, but above mild.

Purchased From: 4noggins

2 people found this review helpful.

Bluegrassbrian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluegrassbrian (9)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The first time I popped a tin I was met with the typical mouthwatering Mcclelland aroma. The red virginia flakes and stoved virginia flakes are 50/50 as promised. I try to rub out the same ratio for every bowl. Having smoked most of Mike Mcniels offerings I thought I knew what to expect... I was pleasantly surprised however. Both flakes exhibit lovely flavors by themselves of course, but combining themy in a bowl is a treat. Having smoked several tins I feel I've come to know the blend well. In my opinion the red Virgina flakes here serve the purpose of a canvas for the stoved flakes to spread out on. The stoved flakes carry a subtle, unique taste character unlike DarkStar or other similar looking stoved flakes from Mcclelland. It's a savory, semi-sweet flavor that entices you to puff vigorously.

All in all its one of my favorite blends. A good idea, executed perfectly.

Pipe Used: Il Duca billiard

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

krg1000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
krg1000 (183)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I saw this as a new arrival at my local B&M and picked up a tin. They said the tins were flying off the shelf and I can see why. This is one of the finest blends that McClelland has put out. The components used are obviously high quality. Like a lot of the other reviewers here I mixed things up with smoking the flakes separately and together. Pipestud hit the nail on the head with his review, so I will simply say I am of the same opinion. What a great idea that McClelland has come up with here. The only thing for me was that the nicotine was a bit low for me or perhaps I was just wanting another bowl straight away, since its that good. Very much indeed recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

Antonius Blok Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Antonius Blok (192)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Although it will have been said here many times, it does not hurt to inform those who are unfamiliar with this tobacco, which is made up of flakes of two different types of virginias, red and stoved, something that would not be remarkable if it were not for the fact that these virginias come separated in their tin, in such a way that they can be smoked singly or mixed. This suggests to me that perhaps three revisions should be made, but hey, you don't have to go too far, among other reasons because pipestud has already done it...

In any case, any of the options you choose to load your pipe will be a success, with the proportion you want to put in each one, since virginias are very rich and of high quality.

One of McClelland's best virginias

Happy New Year to all you pipe smokers out there! (to those who change the year)

Age When Smoked: 7 years

1 person found this review helpful.

Kiwipiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kiwipiper (6)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Absolutely one of my favourites, needs some dry maybe 2-3 hours, I've tried rubbing it out and cubing it both work great but I prefer cube cutting it, burns slow ether way but I think it's a little more flavourful cube cut.

Very sweet and tangy pretty consistent flavour thoughout the bowl, it almost melds mid way though and has a sweetened cranberry flavour.

Pipe Used: Comoy and Ser jacopo Canadian

Age When Smoked: Less then 1 year

Purchased From: 4noggins

1 person found this review helpful.