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The small, heart-shaped Katerini leaf, grown from Samsun seed on mountain slopes in Greek Western Macedonia, is delicate, elastic, robust. The aroma is subtle. Notice the sweet, mild, curry-like flavor in the mellow Virginia-based blend. Easy to pack, delightful to smoke.

Notes: From McClelland: Katerini is a very important tobacco producing area southwest of Thessalonika on mountain slopes of mainland Greece (western Macedonia). The small, heart shaped leaf that takes the area's name and makes it legendary is grown from Samsun seed. Katerini leaf is light golden in color, delicate, elastic, porous and robust. It has a more subtle aroma than Samsun but notice an especially sweet, mild curry-like flavor in this fine blend.

Blended ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Manufactured ByMcClelland Tobacco Company
Blend TypeOriental
ContentsOriental/Turkish, Virginia
CutCoarse Cut
Packaging50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
ProductionNo longer in production
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Mild to Medium
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WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (81)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

I have been on the Grand Oriental tour since Thanksgiving. Katerini Classic, along with Smyrna #1 and Drama Reserve are among my favorites. This is a great blend.

As with all these, I let them dry for a day. Except for Smyrna #1 which has a top note of cinnamon, there has been the ketchup or acetic acid smell, predominate in many of the McClelland Virginias. These blends have a Virginia base that appears to be a broken flake of stoved (black) and red varieties. Most of my smoking time has been with group 4 size briar bowls, mostly Dunhills, Barlings, Comoys, and Charatans. I do need to try these blends in my meerschaums.

These Grand Orientals are mild, low nicotine, sweet Virginia smokes with a "pop" that only oriental leaf can give. To my tongue and palate it is very enjoyable. They burn well, are complex in flavors, do not bite or overheat and burn to a dry grey/black ash. These are "top shelf" tobacco blends.

10 people found this review helpful.

Perique Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perique (163)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Katerini Classic presents as mostly medium brown ribbon with a smattering of darker shades. Tin notes are dominated by a sweet herbal tang with a distinct backdrop of cumin and floral notes, some medium chocolate and a subtle dried apricot & fig component. As with any good Oriental, Katerini arrives at optimal moisture content and is ready to smoke right out of the tin. However, I would recommend exploring this complex tin note for a bit as the tobacco breathes. This is a truly fascinating tin note that deserves your attention: stir it, sniff it, stir it again, smell it some more. There are many layers to be uncovered here in what to my nose is among the most complex of tin notes.

Katerini takes a match well, and the charring light brings herbal and spice flavors that are somewhat akin to those of Drama Reserve, though less intense, dryer and less tangy. There is a distinct cumin note always in the background - so I understand the blender's analogy to light curry in the description. This is an extremely forgiving blend that smokes very dry and very cool. The complete absence of heat or tongue bite and the intriguing flavors at first tricked me into puffing away, but I slowed down a bit to really think through the complexity of delicate flavors here. It's also easy to mischaracterize this as a "light" or "mild" blend. In reality, Katerini is a flavor bomb - though one of extreme subtlety.

Flavors are consistent throughout the bowl, with a hint of sweetness that raises its head every so often. The mouthfeel is thin for a McClelland Oriental/Virginia, but the complexity of flavors here allows Katerini to more than hold her own. It could simply be that the Virginia component has been toned down here to allow the more delicate Samsun/Katerini flavors to shine. This is a blend for those times when I want to sit back and really think about what I'm smoking- to just become immersed in the tobacco. That said, this is definitely not one I can smoke after indulging in a deep, rich VaPer - the strength, boldness and assertion of flavor just isn't there. This is a "time and place" tobacco.

Katerini lacks the fuller mouth feel and richness of other blends in this line, but should be on any Oriental enthusiasts to-try list as a delicate expression of the tobacco blender's art.

Update 2020: I had stockpiled a few McCelland Orientals, but this was not one of them. What a mistake. And a great loss to the tobacco enthusiast’s world.

7 people found this review helpful.

½ bowl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
½ bowl (103)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Well now, here's a little truffle for your tobacco shelf.

Pop open the tin and Katerini Classic greets you with that familiar McClelland sour smell. Don't be put off. Although I personally enjoy 'Virginia tang', it is a minor player in this nicely conceived blend.

The label describes this as a "mellow Virginia-based blend", but Burley-philes should like the way the Oriental tames the not-too-sweet Virginias. It delivers a basic tobacco taste with a hint of curry in a briny and vaguely tangy background. Some raw greenish tasting notes here and there contribute more than they detract. For the curry flavor McClelland should've named this "Huck Finn on the Ganges", or "Mahatma on the Mississippi".

In an earlier review I panned McClelland's Yenidje Supreme, stating that I neither expect nor appreciate flavors from the kitchen spice rack in my smoke. Well, hypocrite that I am, I have to admit that the taste of curry in this smoke works well. Of course such a description is a mere resemblance, and a blend's taste is a quintessential property; so this isn't actually a curry taste, but you get the idea.

Katerini Classic has a simple and balanced mosaic of flavors that should appeal to most smokers; and I think you should try it. At first I tried it in a briar and I thought it was lousy. I switched to a narrow but deep meer and changed my mind.

It packs nicely; needs occasional re-lights; good smoke volume; good intensity of flavor; no bite; weak in nicotine; some nice subtleties of flavor and aroma; smokes down to dry ash. This blend continues to reveal nuances of flavor and aroma with every bowl I smoke -- but it also grows correspondingly more tiresome overall. I give it two stars for its palatability and novelty. I like it, but I won't give it three stars because, IMHO, it is destined to be a one time purchase for most smokers, and I think it is overpriced.

4 people found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

The lightest Oriental mix, very mild, yet tasty and interesting. I found this quite impressive and perfect for a beginner, in that it has the taste of real tobacco, but will not overwhelm the palate.

Good introduction to Oriental condimentals.

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Very Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Pleasant

I found this the least enjoyable of all the McClellands Grand Orientals. That's not to say that this is bad, it's just a little too light for my tastes. It packs well and burns well, requiring few to no relights. It's a pleasant enough smoke but I have the same problem with this that I had with the Yenice Agonya, and that is that I feel like I'm puffing too hard to get more flavor out of it. Consequently, it turns harsh due to overpuffing.

The virginia is present and there is a wisp of oriental spice. However, the virginia seems to be very youthful and the oriental too sparse (for my tastes). If you are moving away from aromatics, this might be a good place to start. If you like extremely mild tobaccos and subtle flavors, this is recommended. But if you prefer full flavored or full bodied blends, the delicacies here may escape you as they largely escaped me. If you can only try 2 or 3 of the Grand Orientals, skip this one.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (246)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

McClelland is often, deservedly so, for their Virginia mastery and it is a shame that they were not as highly praised for their Oriental tobacco’s. L.J. Peretti and McClelland are the two best in this genre. This is another masterpiece lost to time and modern farming and world demand for refined tobacco. The tin note is a base of McClelland VA with spice and vegetation. The spice is light and similar to dried basil or very old dried mint. The tobacco smokes dry and cool and has a dry mouth feel, think a cup of strong tea and the tannic feeling on the tongue.

The Virginia’s provide a strong base for the flavor but they are not overly sweet. There is a musty, earthy, barnyard like flavor that underpins this blend. This is also very woody, the Orientals have that balsa wood with subtle spices. I can see why they use curry but more in feel than in flavor, but that dry spicy flavor on the tongue. The flavors are light but this is quite a complex blend. The finish is long and it is light and almost floral, but not really flavor that lasts for several minutes. This tobacco can be sipped or pushed and it provides a different flavor profile based on approach if pushed it can get ashy at the 3/4 mark. Highly recommended for Oriental lovers if you come across it in the aftermarket.

Age When Smoked: 10 years

2 people found this review helpful.

JustinCarcerated Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustinCarcerated (99)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Here lies an opportunity to taste an aged unobtrusive, and genuinely charismatic oriental that should -or at least could-provide something for all toby lovers.

I mean it's not too strong, it's got a natural sweetness -due to that wonderful oriental Katerin leaf, it's got strong Va undertones-this is McClelland after all, and if you order now (Jan 17) via Pipes &Cigars you'll likely get a tin aged 9 years!!! My tin was 2007, and man does time help Virginias!!

The interaction b/t those aged Virginias and that curry like orientals reminds me of Maltese Falcon from GL Pease, yet with a sweeter structure. No bite whatsoever, no matter if you chug it like a locomotive pulling 1000 tons up a 25 degree incline.

I'm going through the Oriental Series to better my understanding of that oft overlooked tobacco class, but this could truly be an all day smoke for me. Burned through this tin with singular attention -which means 4 stars for me.

Please consider the Grand Orientals for your palates education - you won't be disappointed.

Pipe Used: Briar but best in Meer

Age When Smoked: 9 years

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

Similar Blends: Maltese Falcon -like.

2 people found this review helpful.

Stefanos Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stefanos (222)
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Mixed cut. Contains pitch black chunks of presumably fire cured tobaccos, loose red ribbons, and brighter chunks of broken flakes. Slight vinegary note combined with a very faint nutty sweetness which reminds me of custard pudding for babies.

Packs and lights fairly easily but needs a few relights which I think is only natural with those chunks it contains.

This tobacco is certainly reminiscent to me of old Greek cigarettes. To my mind it’s an archetypal Greek blend sans Latakia. The Katerini leaf is tangy, curry-like as the tin description states and it also reminds me of cumin and dry limey soil. The other tobaccos play a supporting role probably adding some body and that faint vanilla note which I suspect is a very mild topping. Katerini Classic is the drier (i.e. less sweet) of all the tobaccos in the Grand Oriental series I’ve tasted so far. Its taste is more robust than the Classic Samsun’s and considerably less sweet. Still this is a mild tobacco, very natural-tasting and quite cigarette-like. For me it’s much easier to understand than the Classic Samsun.

I believe this tobacco is an acquired taste and I can see how one cannot like it. On the other hand I do, although the similar-tasting cigarettes of old were awful as far as I can remember…

I sense the taste of an old tobacco here, I don’t know if it is related, but the tin I’m smoking is nine years old.

You want an idea how the Oriental leafs taste? Then try this.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

Another winner in the Grand Orientals series, Katerini Classic rewards with a delicate undertone of spice and is especially naturally sweet compared to some of the others in this series. Certainly no bite, even when you suck hard like I did while trying to coax out a little more strength. It didn't happen, so, I did the usual and added some Five Brothers to the Katerini... Now we're talkin'!


2 people found this review helpful.

WillBrown Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillBrown (137)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Last year I got turned on to McClellands Drama Reserve, which was excellent, so good I purchased more of that blend and several other Grand Orientals—Katerini Classic is my second stab at this wonderful series. First off, I love oriental tobaccos, they are my single favorite type of tobacco (with burley coming in a close second—who'd of thunk that?), so, I was looking forward to this one.

Being both oriental tobaccos, I find it hard not to compare Katerini with Drama. I found Katerini to be both stronger and fuller than Drama Reserve. I also got thicker volumes of smoke with this blend over Drama, too. Taste wise, there are some subtle similarities between the two tobaccos, but I did not get any curry-like flavor from Katerini at all. Katerini is marginally sweeter than Drama, but it's difficult for me to put my finger on any specific taste.

Overall, I like this blend, but I found myself dipping into my second tin of Drama Reserve much more often than the Katerini. Katerini's a good blend, and I can't wait to try another in this wonderful series.

Pipe Used: Alexander Zavvos Apple

Age When Smoked: ?

Purchased From: 4Noggins

2 people found this review helpful.

Dr. Scott Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dr. Scott (82)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

As a Virginia lover, I absolutely adore the Grand Orientals. After all, they are really just a good mellow McClelland Virginia with just enough of the Oriental to give an appreciation of the showcased varietal.

This blend is not one of my favorites, or should I say not one of my regulars? I have other blends that fill this niche, so I don't go out of my way for Katerini Classic. But if I run across a tin at Ye Ole Brick & Mortar, I will gladly purchase it to support my local tobacconist and revisit this special blend from time to time.

The tin aroma is dominated by the McClelland "Heinz 57" aroma, but there is none of that in the smoke. It is a typical McClelland ribbon cut. I came to this blend after it had four years of age in the tin. I dry it on a plate for about 30 min prior to loading a large bent billiard.

At first, I detect nothing but the classic McClelland aged Virginia. Then, as the first quarter of the bowl progresses, the Katerini becomes more and more pronounced. It is a sort of spicy floral perfume, tasted more on the palate than the tongue. I find it less subtle than Classic Samsun, and overall a more pleasing smoke than its cousin. The medium nicotine content is just perfect. I can huff and puff on my big billiard without it biting. No need to baby it.

Perfectly done, accomplishing the mission of the Grand Orientals series, this will no doubt become a favorite of many pipe smokers, novice and veteran alike. Four stars, easy.

2 people found this review helpful.

weePipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
weePipe (5)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

A wonderful mild to medium oriental blend that is complex without being heavy. Whispers of warm caramel wash over the refined soapy oriental leaf- my tin was from 2007 so everything was melded together and subdued somewhat with an underlying spicy creamy hit. As with all of the other grand Orientals in the series the Virginia is the dominant leaf- ripe and fermented they add a backbone of tang, caramel and very slight grassy notes.

Pipe Used: Dunhill county billiard, Ashton brindle Apple

Age When Smoked: 2007

1 person found this review helpful.

Jacinto Cupboard Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jacinto Cupboard (209)
Extremely Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Has the typical McC tin note of fermented Virginias. Some spice in there as well.

Takes a light easily and burns without fuss. This is a mild, gently sweet, not at all cloying, fragrant smoke. Silky smooth. I enjoy this immensely and it is possibly my favourite of the Grand Orientals series.

Pipe Used: Lepeltier

1 person found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Very Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Most of the Grand Orientals that I have tried are very mild and this one falls into that group. I find it really requires a nice "slow sip" to really get this blend to sing. I don't get a mild curry-like taste as the blender suggests. Sweet, but not too sweet. I should also point out that having smoked this "new" and also with 4 years of age on it, time treats this blend well. It does need to be dried as it arrives too moist, but it's worth the wait. With classics in the same line like Samsun, it's easy to overlook this one which is a shame. Good stuff, Recommended!

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

In the tin, this medium ribbon blend is notable for its initial turkish spiciness along with a notable dose of perique. The McC virginia fermented scent, stemming from both black stoved and red virginias, is present, though subdued.

Since the spirit of this series is, apparently, the splitting of hairs... some nuances exhibited are: herbed chicken broth, ginger, sweet bun, cincinnati chili, and sesame. The perique is gently evident throughout the bowl.

After sampling both the Katerini and the Black Sea Sokhoum, I am not sure that McClelland fully exploited the potential for this series. If McClelland's intent was pure education, the addition of condimental leaf (in this case perique), as well as the fact that the condimental leaf varies between blends within the series, complicates this end. I finished the tins unsure of my grasp of each varietal's specific character. This deficiency would be gladly forgiven had either blend been notably singular and iconic. However, though they may be savory, delicious, and composed of top-tier leaf, they fall slightly short of timelessness. This seemed best in narrow to medium gauge chambers.

1 person found this review helpful.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (119)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This I can honestly say is the only oriental based blend with no latakia to ever capture my attention and keep it for an entire tin! When I cracked this tin I was hoping for something new and interesting, and the aroma that wafted forth was no disappointment. It was a new sweet, sort of figgish smell that I had never experienced before. Up to this point I was mostly an English man, having moved away from aromatics, and this tin gave me something entirely new. This blend has a succulent sweetness to it, a beautiful taste, a bit one dimensional, but at the same time I loved every sip. It is a gentle blend, a true connoisseur's choice I think. It packs very nicely, and at least for me, it smoked straight through to fine ash. It is perfect for the smoker who is over aromatics but wants something smooth and gentle with a nice sweet flavor and no bite, I could smoke this one over and over again!

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

Smyrna Light? Seems almost like a blend of Smyrna and Samsun but much more mild. By comparison, this mellow blend is more delicate, smooth, subtle, and gently fragrant. Smoke slowly and sip lightly, lest you pummel the subtleties of this delicate construct into irrelevance. Unlike some of the other blends in the line, Katerini doesn't get more spicy or intense if you work it harder, or as you approach the middle of the bowl. It is consistently mild and slightly sweet throughout. Lights and smokes flawlessly, cool and dry. Pleasant, sweet aftersmoke taste. Not as full or rich as its big brothers, Samsun and Smyrna, and lacking a bit of the finesse and uniqueness of Drama. I can see some fellow pipe-a-holics finding this blend too delicate or light in the flavor department, as it requires you to stay focused in order to catch the whole performance. Still excellent. Three stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Katerini Classic didn't dissapoint me as the rest of the Grand Orientals Series tobaccos. It is so good that I only can compare it with the other tobaccos of the same series.

I found this one similar to Samsun and Black Sea Sokhum (all of these three tobaccos are from the same seed, but grown in different zones). It is a mellow version of Samsun, with almost the same cigarette like flavor, and lower nicotine dose. It has a subtle spicy note and a little bit oily taste which reminds Yenice Agonya from the same series. I can say that it has also a very subtle sweetness.

Packs and lights easily, leaving a fine whitish ash. A must try for the oriental fans.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Basically a good quality light virginia with just a twist from the Katerini leaf. If smoked slowly you'll taste a pleasant and very subtle curry/cummin like flavour.

I would give it 3 stars if a little stronger in nicotine.

Smoke it in your virginia dedicated pipes without fear of ghosting.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Extremely Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Wonderful, smooth, and lots of mmmmmm moments! To my great surprise, the tin description is spot on... I am normally a lover of bold VaPer blends but this one is a sublime keeper, a fantastic change of pace, and will immediately enter my rotation.

Mine was tinned in 2007 and I suspect that a little age works miracles for this blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30116)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

My review will be a lot less detailed and sophisticated than 1/2bowl's, but I like this blend a bit more than he did. In comparison to the other Grand Orientals, this is more like the kid brother that tags along with the big boys: not quite up to their level of risk-taking, but fun to have around. I didn't pick up any notes of kitchen spices, but what I did find was a smooth, pleasant smoke that I'd be glad to have in my rotation. I smoked this in a small briar and it burned well, only requiring a relight or three to finish the bowl. If you like the other GO's, I think this is worth trying if only to experience a very different sort of blend from the others.

Nobody has rated this review yet.