Author Topic: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer  (Read 2329 times)

Muddler

  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *****
  • Posts: 3606
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« on: December 04, 2011, 01:52:27 PM »
Christmas Cheer has been produced since around 1992. Here's what the tin insert has to say: "This 2011 blend is made with a special selection of ripe, orange-red, flue-cured Virginia from the 2007 crop grown near Wilson, North Carolina. It is rich in oils & sugars, deep in colour intensity, a beautiful leaf that should age with distinction.

With Christmas Cheer pipe tobacco, we treat our discriminating customers to the singular pleasure of a tasting of the very finest tobaccos of a particular vintage, not worrying about maintaining the flavor & appearance of this product in future years but actually striving instead to present the unique character of a single crop & area."

And that's what is special about Christmas Cheer - that it is a single crop blend, never to be repeated.

I opened my tin a few days prior to the review to let it dry out - something I prefer with most Va flakes. Any of the usual McC acetic acid smell had dissipated. The tin aroma is interesting & unusual - not the familiar stewed fruit/ fig smell of mature Va's but bright, fresh smells, quite difficult to pin down. Perhaps Citrus, kiwifruit & spice - could be cinnamon & cardamom. Fresh certainly, this tobacco was tinned in July 2011. And it's the tinning date that determines the aging of tobacco. Of course, it's too early for a Va but, after all, this is Christmas Cheer 2011. Incidentally, I bought 5 tins & will crack a tin each year to determine how it ages.

Smoking Christmas Cheer 2011 is a surprise - there is no rawness from young Va leaf but lots of delicate flavours - the same as those I found in the smell test. But these are set against a warm toastiness. The smoke is surprisingly mild - it doesn't have the fullness of earthy red Va's but brightness & freshness. Not mild as in a golden Va either - there is surprising subtle complexity. And Christmas Cheer 2011 is by no means too sweet, certainly not as sweet as previous vintages. Around mid-bowl the flavours deepen somewhat but the freshness remains.

This is a remarkable tobacco. I suggest you buy a few tins - you will be desperately sorry if you don't. To my mind & taste, the best Christmas Cheer produced since I began tasting them in 2007.

The picture is a postcard showing the world's largest pipe being smoked at the Wilson, NC tobacco festival.


Mike
 

strongirish

  • It's all my fault!
  • Adm and Senior Moderator
  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *
  • Posts: 8159
  • Thanked: 32 times
  • Got a lite?
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 03:16:41 PM »
I generally don't buy the very limited edition tobaccos as many times they are so good that I yearn for it but of course it's not available.  But the ones I have tried have some years been amazing. 
 

TommyTree

  • Rationer of the Longbottom Leaf
  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *****
  • Posts: 7371
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • It's all Earl's Fault!
    • View Profile
    • Ponderings from Piper's Paradise
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 04:53:15 PM »
Seems like the odd years are better than the even for some reason. Exactly the opposite of Star Trek movies.
"Mustard does not have a moral!" — Katie Lee
 

RickPiatt

  • 1 Gold Pipe
  • *
  • Posts: 1038
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 05:44:54 PM »
First of all THANKS for that review Muddler.  Because of the way you described the flavor distinguishing between the various VA flavor (which is exactly where I live when it comes to tobacco) I've got to snag a few tins.

In one place you try to describe the flavor thus: "Citrus, kiwifruit & spice - could be cinnamon & cardamom".  Are you inferring that this batch actually has some kind of flavoring / topping added or are you just trying to describe a nuance of an unflavored tobacco?

Be careful how you reply because it could mean the difference between me buying a few tins vs buying a few dozen tins!
 

Muddler

  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *****
  • Posts: 3606
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 05:51:31 PM »
No Rick, no flavouring or topping at all. Just pure Va goodness. I think you'll enjoy this one. If I'm wrong, I'll trade the tins with you & pay postage. So I'm pretty sure.
Mike
 

RickPiatt

  • 1 Gold Pipe
  • *
  • Posts: 1038
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 06:09:12 PM »
Mmmm, sounds just like what the doctor ordered!  Ok, one more question before I go spend a lot of money:  it sounds like it has one of the components of my favorite McClelland 2010 (2010 is "Eastern and Middle Belt lemon, orange, and orange-red Virginias").  I'm pretty sure you've smoked 2010 before.  Matter of fact I'd be amazed if you have not!  How does CC2011 compare to 2010?
 

Muddler

  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *****
  • Posts: 3606
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 07:02:41 PM »
Fresh 2010 is pretty raw to my palate - although I know you enjoy the vibrancy of the taste. Much prefer it with some age on it - & then it's very good indeed. CC 2011 is somewhat different -  a gentler/ less brash, more complex smoke. Perhaps even milder. But not totally unlike 2010 or Va#22, for that matter. More like 2010 than Blackwoods Flake, for sure.
Mike
 

JC

  • 2 Gold Pipes
  • **
  • Posts: 1763
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2011, 10:16:27 PM »
Thank you for the review... I have a tin on its way but based on what you had to say I think several more will be ordered soon.
"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause." Mark Twain
 

B4man

  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *****
  • B
  • Posts: 4455
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2011, 11:41:00 PM »
Great review, Mike!

I think I'm going to have to try some with my next order.
 

RickPiatt

  • 1 Gold Pipe
  • *
  • Posts: 1038
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2011, 01:39:22 AM »
Ok so we'll start off with 5 tins.  If I love it (and am not in a cheap basted mood) there will be more.  I'll let you know what I think when I get it.
 

archaggelospipes

  • 1 Pipe
  • *
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 06:01:06 PM »
After smoking the whole tin I can say that is one of the best Virginia mixtures I've tasted.
I love it's sweetness and the feeling of virginia smoke that fill my mouth.
It was the first CC tobacco I've ever smoked and I'm going to have more of them.
The vinegar smell went of after 3 days of open tin.
 

B4man

  • 5 Gold Pipes
  • *****
  • B
  • Posts: 4455
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 07:00:34 PM »
After smoking the whole tin I can say that is one of the best Virginia mixtures I've tasted.
I love it's sweetness and the feeling of virginia smoke that fill my mouth.
It was the first CC tobacco I've ever smoked and I'm going to have more of them.
The vinegar smell went of after 3 days of open tin.

Good to hear. You also just reminded me that I've yet to order some. I'd like to smoke my first bowl on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Thanks!
 

RickPiatt

  • 1 Gold Pipe
  • *
  • Posts: 1038
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2012, 11:11:18 AM »
So right after my last post in this thread the phone rings and Ckr is asking to join up with me to place an order for CC2011.  Way cool.  He was the one to actually place the order and the CC2011 has been sitting in his house waiting for us to get together.  The other day we got together to continue working on making a new stem for one of my pipes (btw this stem making is kinda cool!) and of course we popped the lid and sampled this baccy.

Mike's review is spot on.  I'd add more if I could but he's described it perfectly.  A VERY good tobacco.

One thing I will comment on is the juxtaposition of CC2011 / McC 2010 / McC 22.  All three are superb.  McC 22 is the odd duck of the three in that it is the least similar being darker in flavor to me.  But the other two are sisters and darn near twin sisters - just one has dark hair and one has light.  When I saw the leaf makeup I guessed this would be the case.  Basically if you tale the lemon VA out of McC 2010 you pretty much have CC2011.  It's the lemon VA in McC 2010 that makes it bite and is the reason I age it to tame that bite.  It also adds one more layer of superb citrus flavor to McC 2010 that unfortunately goes away with age.  So with McC 2010 I'm always left with a decision:  to smoke it fresh and suffer tongue bite or to age it and lose that citrus note.  Now with CC2011 the lemon is out of the equation.  The rest of the orange / orange-red VA flavor comes to the forefront and it is superb.

Years ago I hated the McC ketchup aroma.  Now it doesn't bother me but I mention it for those who care.  McC 2010 has a good dose of it but CC2011 has almost none.

Ok there you have it.  My first bowl was with no drying time (there was no tongue bite at all).  My 2nd bowl was rubbed out and dried for a little bit.  I liked it much more.  I'll continue with this blend for a while.  It's pretty great.  If you're a VA lover this is a 4.5 out of 5 star blend.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 04:36:53 PM by RickPiatt »
 

Quaffer

  • 2 Gold Pipes
  • **
  • Posts: 1265
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Pipin' ain't easy
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2012, 03:13:54 PM »
I haven't purchased any Christmas Cheer for quite a few years. I never disliked it, it just didn't hold my interest. Maybe I need to give it another shot. Thanks for the insights, Muddler and Rick.
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth" -- Albert Einstein
 

mouse

  • 4 Gold Pipes
  • ****
  • Posts: 2534
  • Thanked: 58 times
    • View Profile
Re: McClelland 2011 Christmas Cheer
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2012, 04:10:53 PM »
Bunch of enablers :). Just ordered some for the cellar while smoking a bowl of 1999. Good stuff.