Who Is The Best Virginia Blender With McClelland Now Gone?

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plugugly

Member
Mar 9, 2015
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McClelland was a unique blender of Virginia tobacco; probably irreplaceable in point of fact. But they are gone now and Virginia lovers have to buy somewhere! This forum has a great depth of knowledge and experience so the question is: who is the best remaining Virginia blender (if there is only one) and perhaps a few words on why the poster holds the opinion?

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
In my opinion I think Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG makes some great Virginia's. Examples would be Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake, Astleys no 109 and no 44, Rattray - Hal O' the Wynd ,Marlin Flake to name a few.
Samuel Gawith makes Best Brown, Full Virginia and St James Flakes, all fantastic blends.
R.Will makes Solani 633 and Silver Flake.
Mac Baren makes Old Dark Fired, St Bruno Flake, Capstan Blue and Gold flakes.
Peterson makes University and Irish Flake and Perfect Plug.
I am sure there are many more people will name. Tons of great Virginia's still out there.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
1,973
29
There are many other quality Virginia products out there. Unfortunately, none come remotely close to the unique flavors, variety and quality the Mcclelland line afforded.
Try some stuff. SG FVF or BBF. Rattrays have several decent Virginias. Capstan Blue flake. GLP union square. The list is near endless. Order some and form your own opinion.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
There are excellent Virginia available, such as the ones mentioned above. They will be of a different style than McClelland, but not inferior.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
Mark,

There are many other quality Virginia products out there. Unfortunately, none come remotely close to the unique flavors, variety and quality the Mcclelland line afforded.
Totally disagree with that statement. Mc Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
1,973
29
Totally disagree with that statement. Mc Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.
Perhaps I should have prefaced my comment with Red Va. I also made 3 points, unique flavors, variety and quality. I agree quality is subjective. As to the other two, I can’t think of another company that comes remotely close.
You well know I took your list and have tried nearly every one on it, perhaps every one. I have ended up purchasing multiple tins and in some cases, pounds of each. I haven’t found any of them very similar to McClelland but still very good and enjoyable on their own merits. Between the 40 pounds of McClelland I managed to stock up on and your list, I should be able to enjoy good Va tobacco through the end of my life.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
When it comes to Red virginia's yes MC does it differently than anyone else.
I am glad you were able to stock up like you did, looks like your source was on the money.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,944
132
Rattray's selections are close, as far as having that slight acidic vinegary aroma from fermented leaf. But, the actual smoke is not very tangy or sweet, or not as tangy to me as McC's.
Most of the rest of what I have tasted just tastes processed, but pleasant to smoke. I would have agreed with Astleys 109, as it was my first Virginia to fall in love with, at least until they changed something about their product.

But, I fell fast and hard for McClellands. Sure, I have stocked the rest of them, but that tangy sweet red Virginia is hard to beat. The rest of the Virginias are just... meh, ok, IMO. I'll smoke them to be smoking.
Nope, once gone, I don't think we will see the likes of that wonderful aroma that they were famous for again. Unless someone unlocks their secrets. I'll be growing and playing around with trying to capture their essence for my own homegrown enjoyment. But, this is all coming at a time when it will be hard for a company to just come up with a new product, even if they figured out McClelland's secret curing process.

 

folanator

Preferred Member
Nov 24, 2015
695
18
Maybe it's becasue I'm an entrepreneur that looks for opportunities, but I'm having a real hard time thinking that some producer won't try and re-create the magic.

 

thomasw

Preferred Member
Dec 5, 2016
863
0
Totally disagree ... McC Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.
There are excellent Virginia available.... They will be of a different style than McClelland, but not inferior.
+1 Wessex, MacBaren and Solani make VA-blends I love. Capstan Blue or Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake might be my personal favourites.

 

folanator

Preferred Member
Nov 24, 2015
695
18
@oldgeezer hoping that the powers that be come to their senses. It's happened before. Fingers crossed.
Is McCranies still going to be available or are they made by McC as well?

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,941
116
I'm still holding out for the pipe angel to rescue McClelland, but if not, other blenders have had their sterling example. No one is going to do just that, from their sources, with their secrets and expertise, and their artistry, but there are some fine blenders out there. Russ O.'s Fire Storm is one of my favorites, but there are a number of excellent Virginia blends out there, some that will survive the regulatory onslaught, and some blenders that may specialize more to fill the gap, if one opens.

 

virginialover

Senior Member
Mar 29, 2016
444
0
Well I think that McClelland Virginias were American and that gave them the savory flavor profile along with the special process. Most brands especially German and English use Empire Virginias (Africa and India) which are earthier and with coarser characteristics. I heard that some Danish brands still use American Virginias, it's worth checking.

 

josephcross

Preferred Member
Dec 30, 2015
945
2
Solani 633, Rattrays Hal o the Wynd, Escudo and Samuel Gawaith FVF or St James Flake are my favs. GlPease’s Fillmore and Luxury Bullseye Flake are excellent too. I think there are many fine VA’s out there. They not be McC, but they are just as good to me. Now is a good time to explore and figure out what you like because McClellands is just the beginning of the madness.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,015
203
I can’t believe no one has mentioned Esoterica’s VA’s yet! To my tastes Esoterica’s and Samuel Gawith make the best VA’s the world has ever seen. I enjoy McClellands VA’s too but after awhile they all started tasting the same to me so I was able to just pick one and stick with it. I am going to miss them and their closing has really given me a heavy heart and I wish them the very best in their retirement but life goes on and so shall we.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
For those with slightly deeper pockets, check out HU tobaccos. Hans is one of the finest blenders there is. You can order HU tobaccos here:
https://www.pfeifendepot.de/produkt-kategorie/pfeifentabak/hu-tobacco/