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Santa started his celebration a little early again this year(in June) and we wound up with 400 tins of the same exceptional Latakia blend as last year in which Santa used Syrian Latakia instead of Cyprian. It is now aged six months and should be better than last year. This is a very stout blend which we have smoothed out with a touch of unflavored red Virginia cavendish. Yes, Virginia Cavendish!

Notes: Discontinued Blend.

BrandCornell & Diehl
Blended ByCraig Tarler
Manufactured ByCornell & Diehl
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsCavendish, Latakia
Packaging2oz Tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note
6 reviews
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UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend is C&D's version of McClelland's Frog Across the Pond, in my opinion. Both are syrian latakia-laced very mild English/balkans, and both very nice mixtures for those whose tongues are not yet desensitized by husky he-men latakia/perique blends. Wusswords, I know. So not everybody's a fan of Nightcap.

I like Syrian latakia: it's sweeter and less bitter than its Cyprian counterpart, like bacon is to charred steak. Both have their appeals, but the Syrian seems more transparent, allowing other flavors to shine through as well. In this case, it's red Virginias. Very little sweetness here despite them and the cavendish; I like to add a pinch of blending oriental for more breadth and aromaticity.

This blend is an artifact already. You won't find it being coveted like its overhyped cousins from the Pease camp, but it is definitely worth buying at modest prices if found. This may well have been mistakenly blended; it needed just a bit more development. Overall, I think McClelland's Frog is better in terms of richness, availability, value and as a showcase for Syrian. Three stars, nonetheless, I think this will age very nicely.

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29765)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Let me start by apologizing for reviewing a tobacco that is out of production. It is less than helpful to read about a tobac that is hard - if not impossible - to find. Sort of like when I read reviews of the old Balkan Sobranie (which I smoked). It is nearly painful!

I am currently enjoying a tin of Santa's Mistake that is dated 11/03. So it is the original run. I found the tin - somewhat dusty - in a pipe shop I stopped at during a recent trip. I bought 2 tins (there were 3).

Syrian latakia is so wonderfully different than its cousin from Cyprus. Syrian is far mellower and less smokey. Lightly smokey and complex but not the big smokey hit associated with Cyprian latakia. Now don't get me wrong because I love Cyprian latakia and smoke plenty of it . . . but Syrian is uniquely different. Syrian is gentle and complex whereas Cyprian is full and flavorful.

As for Santa's Mistake - I disagree that it is a "full English blend" as advertised. Instead, I find it very mellow and smooth with not too much of a nicotine hit. Reminds me of a high-quality Balkan without that Turkish influence (does that make any sense at all?).

If you enjoy English or Balkans and run across a tin or 2 of Santa's Mistake you should buy it. It is very tasty and would even appeal to those of you who like real tobacco flavor but are not partial to heavy Latakia.

And the real lesson here is to frequent local pipe shops . . . particularly when traveling. You never know what you might find!!! Plus we all must support our wonderful hobby!

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29765)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I bought this blend out of curiosity as well as the fact that Syrian Latakia is in very short supply. I wasn't disappointed. Craig certainly came up with a winner mixing red virginia cavendish and Syrian latakia. The combination of flavors is phenominal. Upon opening the tin, the broken flake looks a lot like Squadron Leader but that's where the similarities end. It lights easily and stays lit. The Syrian latakia is not overwhelming but dances naked with the red virginia cavendish to create an orgy of smokey goodness. Burns extremely clean all the way down.

Get this stuff while you can because when it's gone, it's gone.

1 person found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

12-24-2004 Santa has done well!

Appearance and Tin aroma: Mostly light leaf, some reds, and some of that black shiny Syrian. Smells wonderful, the Syrian leaf aroma very noticable.

Packing and Lighting: Easy, with moisture perfect out of the tin. 2-3 lights max.

Initial Flavor: Syrian Latakia! Yummmm.

Mid-bowl: The red VA cavendish is noticable and adds a nice sweet note to the smoky Syrian leaf.

Bottom of Bowl: A tartness comes out (Perique?), but is not overwhelming. There is also a healthy increase of flavor strength from the Syrian leaf with some of the similar wine notes that Pease's Bohemian Scandal has.

Overall: This is a nice counterpoint to the McClellands "Christmas Cheer" series. Be sure to stow away a tin or two, since the Syrian used in this is gone now. I found a big pipe to be the best way to enjoy this blend. Obviously, this will be a special occasion smoke for me. Well done, C&D.

Rating: 5 out of 5 points, enjoy...

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29765)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Christmas Eve - 2004 A couple weeks of airing time has transmuted this blend from "nice" to wonderful. It has the smoothness associated with many cornerstone blends (Frog Morton, 965), yet I find it much richer and more satisfying than either of those two. The cavendish in 965, IMO is that blend's downfall into boring predictability. Here it echoes in and out of the slight spice of the Syrian.

A shame that this mishap is a scarcity, as it is frankly one of the best English mixtures I've had. Were it available all the time it would be my mainstay in conjunction with the esteemed Margate - when I wanted something a little more "in your face". I believe the quality and skill outranks any of the Dunhill offerings. As has been noted - a large bowl is the way to go. The smokey musk at the bottom makes this a very pleasant ride with a rewarding finish. I've got my stash, and I'll likely order your share if you neglect this blend. -----

As far as this Elf is concerned, Santa can continue making these mistakes. This is a fantastic - smooth and naturally sweet - blend. There are notes of cigar, cocoa and spice - a nearly perfect winter blend. Gentle on the palate yet satisfying. Harmonized, musky yet inviting and savory. It is an exceptionally high quality set of ingredients blended and aged expertly.

With the low production amount I unfortunately will not be able to smoke this regulary. The shortage of Syrian makes this christmas gift an extra precious stocking stuffer. However I do plan to savor and reserve an amount of this 4 star offering.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29765)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Like others, I only smoke this on occasion due to its limited availablility. Last year, I was fortunate enough to get 4 cans -- delicious! This year, especially with the shortage, I am making sure to stock up! As the other reviewer mentioned, this is lighter on the palate than most of the heavy hitters, yet still satisfying with its sweet high and low tones. Highly recomended -- if you can find it.

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