McClelland Red and Black

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).


Brand McClelland
Series Club Blends
Blended By McClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 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

3.81 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 21 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 29, 2016 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 23, 2015 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.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 19, 2016 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!
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 04, 2016 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.
10 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 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 02, 2015 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 29, 2016 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
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 06, 2016 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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 22, 2015 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.
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