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Thread: Tribute to McClelland's

  1. #1
    Moderator Brooklin Bill's Avatar
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    Tribute to McClelland's

    It’s never a good thing when choice is limited. And that’s what happened with the ‘retirement’, for lack of a better word, of McClelland’s Tobacco Company. The story of this company is really quite remarkable. Unlike most of the tobaccos we smoke, the blends have a history. The McClelland’s tradition stretched only for around 40 years. But during that time became known as artisan reputation blenders of over 240 tobaccos as referenced on tobacco reviews.

    I wasn’t introduced to McClelland tobaccos until I started reading the forums. I remember in 2008 I made my first order a tin of Matured Cake and Oriental Mixture. As soon as I opened the tin it became evident that this was not my first time sampling their tobacco. There was a quality about the tobacco preparation that seemed to be singularly their style. And at this point I am not speaking about the vinegar or ketchup topping many people mention for not liking their blends.

    The broken flakes in the tins come crispy stiff and look more like dark brown and orange coloured shiny, brittle, Shellac flakes rather than tobacco. I immediately knew that I had purchased bulks which had to be made by them as I had never seen other tobaccos cured the same way. Not all of them were like that, of course, but it was easy to tell. I later tried some Frog Morton, several Virginias, their top VaPer blend and I also bought mixing Latakia and Perique. I can’t remember how many of their line I have tried but it certainly didn’t scratch the surface. So I suppose I missed out. Really though, I never ever saw their tinned tobacco for sale locally.

    I don’t know if he remembers but Dave sent me a tin of Christmas Cheer 2009 a long time ago. I was tickled over the idea that a firm was blending vintages. I later bought 2 tins of 2013 Cheer and then received another tin from Dave dated 2016. Well this past December 24th eve, I decided to open the 2009. It was overdue!

    The tobacco was a softer broken flake but all of the same basic size, four chicklets arranged in a square, easy to rub and light. They smoked very, very mild and I wondered whether it had aged for too long. As I smoked some small bowl pipes of it I pondered how I could possibly have a comparator to gauge the strength and taste. Well as you might have guessed I decided to open the ’13 & ’16 at the same time so that I could get an idea of these vintages. So all I have been smoking these last 8 weeks is this 300 grams of Christmas Cheer. They were all the same basics, descriptions and content for the most part. A little too much on the mild side but fine tobaccos.

    Anyway, over this time I lamented their retirement which in itself is unheard of. Who works for 40 years to build a brand, equity wealth, experise and all of the rest it takes to become successful at business only to close it down to defend their reputation. That in itself should impress their dedication onto the memory of McClelland’s tobacco company.

    What were your thoughts bout McClelland's Tobacco Company? Any blends you miss?
    "The box with the least amount of matches makes the most noise." MWB

  2. #2
    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    Well said, Bill.

    For me, the numbered Va's (24, 25, etc.) in tins, and 5100 in bulk (superb basis for blending).

    Never fancied their Latakia mixtures (although the Grand orientals were good).
    Work is the curse of the smoking classes

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    PSU Member coalsmoke's Avatar
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    I sure do miss McClelland tobaccos, Bill. My favorites were Blackwoods Flake, Dark Star, St. James Woods, #24, Christmas Cheer, and the Grand Orientals plus a few others. The VAs were the top of the line and some of the best that I've ever smoked. I have a tin of #25 in the cellar that I'll open one of these years.
    Last edited by coalsmoke; 02-28-2019 at 18:57.
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    PSU Member Fr_Tom's Avatar
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    I was fond of 2015 and 5100. I picked up a tin of Christmas Cheer 2014 (in 2014) that is waiting for the fullness of time. I was never the fan of the various Frogs, but I know lots of people were.
    "Prov'dence don't fire no blank ca'tridges, boys" Roughing It, Mark Twain

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    PSU Member PyrateMate's Avatar
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    Aye Mr Bill, me memories o Mr McClelland's baccies be a few very fond ones... simply loved all their Holiday and Christmas blends...5100... Navy Cavendish will be misses fer sure... The Frog Morton's series are also goin t be sadly gone... been holdin onto several tins till a good time in the future...

    Long Live McClelland's!

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    PSU Member Simon G's Avatar
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    I only got to try a small selection of theirs, before they disappeared. Black Shag & Honeydew, from the 221b line. Still haven't opened the tin of Arcadia, as of yet. Beacon was the one I really liked. Only had a couple of tins of it, but was highly impressed.
    St. Bruno simply satisfies!

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    PSU Member allyby's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Moderator Brooklin Bill's Avatar
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    Now ....now Ally, not all of them were like that. And come to mention it I never ever had tongue bite with any of their Va's. I wonder if the topping had something to do with that.
    "The box with the least amount of matches makes the most noise." MWB

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    PSU Member coalsmoke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooklin Bill View Post
    Now ....now Ally, not all of them were like that. And come to mention it I never ever had tongue bite with any of their Va's. I wonder if the topping had something to do with that.
    I think the ketchup/vinegar aroma of the tobacco turned some people off but, from what I understand, was from the processing and not a topping. It was never detectable to me when smoking the tobacco, however. No tongue bite ever experienced here, either.
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  10. #10
    PSU Member coalsmoke's Avatar
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    The only problem that I've had with McC tobacco is that I thought they would be around for many years to come. When the owners decided to retire, they also decided not to sell the company or its recipes, thus making a sudden end to their wonderful tobaccos. I never thought about putting my favorites into the cellar except for a single tin, something that I lament to this day.
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