Hard to believe there's only one other review of this. Orange-red VA broken flakes, mottled with deep browns and some golden strands. Typical McClellands tin aroma but subdued. The tobacco had survived its aging very well, as it was still quite moist. As always, I smoked a bowl at tin moisture and found it underwhelming so I smoked the rest of the tin very well dried out. Yes, I smoked the entire tin, which is REALLY dumb, since I may never find another... and this was one of the top 2 or 3 CC's I've smoked!
If you're a fan of orange-red and red VA, picture in your mind the finest representation of that... the one you reach for when you can stand no more surprises at the end of a hard day or the one you start your day with because you know it always delivers the goods. Now age it in your mind 22 years so that your perfect tobacco becomes even smoother, mellower, yet tastier as well. More perfect. This tobacco, properly dried, starts out almost creamy, along with a fruity aspect. Reminded me of an Orange Julius (are those still around?). The deep earth of red with the crispness of an orange and a hint of lightly spicy fruit at the edges was irresistible. Virginias get no better than this, folks. This and the 2005 CC are the pinnacles. And yet this one improves as you go down the bowl. I did find that a too-large bowl was too much and a Group 6 was as far as I could take it. I've heard weird stories about peoples tastebuds wearing out after 2 hours of smoking. I had no such trouble. Even up to 3 hours straight, this one sung, and sung more resonantly the further down the bowl it got. I smoked about a dozen bowls of this consecutively, and I'm usually all about mixing things up. This one was just too good to share bowl time with any other blend. A million stars for this one. McClellands is the Master of Virginia leaf!
10 Jan, 2011 Today I decided to break in my new “strawberry” from Liskey pipes using Christmas Cheer 2006, since I had a tin that had cracked open in shipping and had been transferred to a glass jar for keeping. Upon opening, I found an aroma reminiscent of McClelland's pressed Virginia blends. I immediately thought of blend 2010. 2006 is a very welcome change from the English blends that I have been smoking. It has the sweetness of a well aged pressed Virginia as well as the ability to burn very slow. I am most impressed with the flavor that is coming from this. I don't really pick up on a “tobacco” taste, just a very smooth, nutty; almost caramel-molasses-fig taste that includes hints of cherries and is quite refreshing. I smoked 3 bowls of this in the strawberry and could have done a 4th.
11 Jan, 2011 I am smoking more of this today, only in my large bowl Radice. I have truly missed the flavors of a pressed Virginia from time past, and am glad I decided to smoke this for a change of pace. I will switch between my Radice and my Liskey and possibly finish this tin by week's end. It is “that” good. I can only hope the other Christmas Cheer's are equally as good. One word of caution… If puffed hard this does get hot in the Radice, so care must be taken. In a large bowl pipe I have been finding this to be a little on the sharp side (spicy). This was not noticed in the smaller bowl of the strawberry yesterday, but it could be the rate at which I am puffing or the English blends that have been smoked prior in the Radice. I also suggest rubbing out as much as possible. A partially broken half rubbed course bowlful might be the cause of the heat on the bowl. I have determined, after 2 ½ hours, that this is not a “LARGE” bowl tobacco as it seems to lose its flavors the farther down the bowl you get, starts getting a tad bitter and just does not cut the mustard at this point. This is no better than Star of the East while working down the bowl. I smoked another bowl in the strawberry today. What a delight in this pipe. It is smooth, sublime and it does not ever get bad. Gotta kinda watch how hard I puff to keep the temp down so I don't burn my new pipe, but I really like this pipe/tobacco combination.
12 Jan, 2011 Hit the strawberry again today. I am truly enjoying this pipe/tobacco duo as it seems to be a match for each other.
14 JAN, 2011 Another bowl went on it's marry way today. I am really enjoying this blend. Something about it just hits the sweet spot on my palette. This makes 6 bowls since the 10th of JAN. Smoking the entire tin by the weekend won't quite happen, but it has been a very nice adventure.
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