Created and named for a very special friend. Tom blended a mixture of fine Matured Virginias and a touch of Burley that is cool and rich with a subtle sweetness that doesn't end when you lay down your pipe. This blend is extremely mild but has the balance many pipe smokers seek.
This is as fine a bulk virginia/burley mix as you will find anywhere. As is the case with everyting the McCranie boys (Todd & Trent) do, this is first class all the way. It is a reved up version of Half & Half. I really can't compare the two any other way except to say that this is a Lexus while H&H is an Edsel.
The blend lights easily, has a somewhat throttled back strength, and smells awsome in the air. Give this a try and you will come back for more!
Surprised there hasn’t been a review of McArris from McCranie’s on this esteemed benchmark website since 2011, four years ago since the time of writing this one here. McArris is a superbly soft and mellow blend of exquisite subtly, elegance, and sophistication; characteristics, these days, that are rare in the culture of bombast, loud-mouthed self-promotion, and extreme-this and extreme-that. Simple pleasures are indeed the best, and McArris is as unadorned as it is dependable. Been smoking pipes and tobaccos all over the world since 1981, and this blend since 2004. Tending to favour Balkan’s, English/Scottish, and Virginia’s most of the time, but picked up another two-ounce bag of McArris yesterday and oh-how-I’ve-missed-you. Perfect low moisture level, ready to pack and light now. No detectable artificial anything. Just wonderful occasional whiffs of caramel fragrance, touches of sweet mature Virginias and understated Burleys. Little to no gurgle, comparable to the high-quality non-aromatics I usually smoke. A little Burley bitterness on the re-lights which is par for Burley and not unlike the hops in your pint of IPA. So fine and reliable a friendly mixture from a true world-class tobacconist deserves a recent review and accolade. McCranie’s is no commonplace “stockist”, but instead “artists” in all things tobacco, staffed by erudite old-school Carolina gentlemen; they know their stuff and don’t make you feel like a dumb-ass if you don’t. If you adulterate your beer with fruit, and spoil your coffee with dumps of tacky flavoured syrups, or enjoy horrible brown-sugared marshmallow-ed sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, then you’ll have to look elsewhere for your gloopy vulgar fix. But if you appreciate fine brandy over cheap tequila, or Connecticut shade rather than Maduro, then try McArris simplicity for some peaceful quiet relaxation. The ‘aromatic’ for pipers that don’t smoke aromatics. Can you say cognoscenti?
This tobacco blend, a sweet mix of Virginias, burley, and what I think must be a sweet cavendish (perhaps it's slightly cased), was originally created by Tom McCranie for a favorite customer. The blend name comes from the customer's name, Harris, and the shop name. It has become, over the years, the most popular bulk tobacco sold by McCranie's, and for good reason. The blend is good from the start, apparently already somewhat aged. I have some set aside to age further, and will again review it in about a year. From the initial light, the sweetness of this tobacco comes through. I don't often smoke aromatics but this is one I can smoke at least as a pleasant change of pace. The tobacco's pouch aroma is rich, indicating quality tobaccos throughout, and the room note is certainly pleasant. The sweetness of the blend carries through to the bottom of the bowl. Mid-bowl I detected a bit of slight acidity, from the burley, but it is not unpleasant, just a bit strong. There's no unpleasant acidity at the bottom of the bowl, as there is with many aromatics; rather, the taste remains pleasant, with what I found to be a reduction in the slight acrid nature of the middle of the smoke. The blend DGTs well, too, though I think it's best smoked from start to finish. I personally prefer this blend in a meerschaum, as I do with most aromatics. In briar, for some reason the blend is slightly less sweet to my tongue, though still quite pleasant. This is, I think, an excellent starter tobacco, and also a fine blend for aromatic smokers who are looking to transition from aromatics to more natural blends. It's not a tobacco I'll keep around as a regular, but one I'll happily smoke either as a change of pace or in settings when a pleasant room aroma is needed.
My journey into pipe smoking began with a trip to McCranie's Pipe Shop in Cornelius, NC, where I purchased a Dr. Mac bent apple and a 2 oz bag of McArris. McArris was suggested by Trent McCranie as a good place to start, and looking back, I assume this is because of its mildness and pleasant aroma. It also packs easily, burns well, and doesn't bite. Considering my addiction to the pipe since, one could conclude that Trent did a good job in setting me on my journey.
Fast forward 3 years and I find myself a latakia junkie mixed with the occasional straight VA. Upon moving in with the girlfriend, I revisited this blend as a compromise with the better half to find something more pleasant to her senses. And why not reminisce with my virgin blend to reflect on how my preferences have changed? My conclusion? This is a fine tobacco, but just not my cup of tea. I smoke less than a bowl a day, so there just isn't time for this stuff for me. Sorry Wifey, I had to trash this.
2 stars for "natural" tobacco smokers. 3 for aromatic smokers.
Got this during the recent Bjarne show. A very nice virginia dominated burley blend. From start to finish you get a nice, sweet, grassy sweet full tasting smoke. No hint of bite or nip IF...... When I tried this at McCraines in their tobacco bar, it was pulled from a common tub, so it was dry and ready to smoke.... If you buy the stuff, it was practically DRIPPING with PG. Smoke out of the bag, the flavor is flat and tastless. Let it dry for about 3 days, and the flavor comes back. Sad but true. This would have gotten more stars if not for this latter fact...
This very subtle blend has that unmistakable soft sweetness which I find unique to McClelland's virginias. While this is blended by McCranie's, I am told that all of the base tobaccos are from McClelland. There appears to be a very slight aromatic component, but the dominant smell both in the pouch and while smoking is that of the matured red virginia. The description claims there is some burley in there as well, but I don't sense it at all. Perhaps there is just enough of it in there to tame the bite I sometimes get from McClelland's blends. This packs and burns easily due to the mainly ribbon cut. The flavor is consistently mild, sweet, and even a little bit buttery throughout the entire bowl. There is so little nicotine in here that I don't feel it at all. I prefer to smoke this in a full-bent pipe so I can enjoy the wonderful aroma as much as possible, and I often exhale it through my nose. Like most mild blends, smoking McCarris in the same pipe tends to make the flavor more full. This is a great morning smoke due to it's lack of nicotine, mild flavor, and pleasant aroma. In fact, it is so tasty and mild, I have to restrain myself from madly puffing away at it and burning my mouth. I highly recommend this blend for new pipe smokers or smokers of aromatics who want to try out a more natural blend. If you are looking for stout flavor, however, this won't satisfy you. Available from McCrannie's Pipe Shop.
Update 11/23/2005 -- Coming back to this blend after some time away from it, I am downgrading my recommendation by 1 star. Still a nice tobacco, but becomes flavorless well before the bottom of the bowl.
A mild to medium Virginia blend that is subtlety sweet, mildly aromatic and kind to the tongue. I could not detect the burley either. It should be smoked before heavier blends to appreciate it fully, i.e., this is an excellent morning smoke. I would smoke it more often if I solely smoked aromatics.
A cigarette is to be smoked. A cigar is to be enjoyed. A pipe is to be savored.
This blend would be in my top five of all time were it not for an unfortunate side effect this has on me. It gives me an ache in my back. I don't know how, but it does it! If it weren't for that one odd effect, I would smoke the Heck out of this stuff. Smells great, tastes full and wonderful, would be a good all-day smoke for me.
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