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McClelland Christmas Cheer 2007 - Pipe Tobacco Reviews

    December 19th, 2010


By Bob Tate

McClelland Christmas Cheer

McClelland Christmas Cheer 001 McClelland Christmas Cheer 2007


The tin aroma of this blend is very sweet and tangy. There is also a very strong vinegary smell that reminds me of ketchup. I have a bit of experience with McClelland tobacco blends and I know that this is a common smell in a lot of their tobacco tins and that it does not affect the flavor and room note aroma of the smoke. It goes away almost instantly upon lighting. The moisture content of this tobacco is pretty moist out of the tin and some drying time is recommended. I took a few of the broken flake pieces, fully rubbed them out, loaded my pipe, and proceeded to the charring light.
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The Smoke Shop - Annapolis, Maryland

    July 7th, 2010


By Bob Tate

Peter Keller, Owner of The Smoke Shop

Peter Keller, Owner of The Smoke Shop

When I first stepped into The Smoke Shop, it was like stepping into a time machine and going into the past. They are a true tobacconist shop with a lot of history. The Smoke Shop first opened for business in 1948 and during all of this time; they have kept the nostalgic feel in their shop. Once I walked into the shop, it felt like the world slowed down and I forgot about the hustle and bustle of the people outside running around doing their tasks. When I left the shop, it felt kind of strange stepping back into a fast paced world where everything is hurry, hurry, hurry.

When I say that they are a “true tobacconist shop”, I mean that they have, and cater to, every type of tobacco and tobacco user. They also carry a full line of pipe smoking accessories. Most of us have been in shops that focus on mainly cigars with pipes and pipe tobacco as an afterthought. The Smoke Shop does not focus on one particular type of tobacco and tobacco user. They are equally focused on everyone who enjoys tobacco products, no matter which type it is that an individual prefers.

Nothing is an afterthought to them an they are a full service shop. They will take the time to walk the customer through all of the steps to get the most enjoyment out of the experience. The staff is friendly and they are knowledgeable in everything that they sell and know their products very well. That is becoming a rare thing in this day and age. A lot of other shops seem to focus on selling their products and not necessarily helping out the consumer, especially those that are new to the enjoyment of premium tobacco products.
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Interview With Master Blender Russ Ouellette - Part 2

    February 12th, 2010


By Bob Tate

russ-ouellette-01In part 1 of our interview with Russ Ouellette (Blendtobac), we talked about some of the things he has done before he got heavily involved in the tobacco industry. We also talked about how he got started blending pipe tobacco blends, how he maintains the consistency of his blends, some of the problems that he has acquiring certain tobacco components, and a few other things. Here, we pick up the interview where we left off in Part 1:

PipesMagazine (PM): What are some of the major changes that you have seen in the pipe industry over the years that you have been involved?

Russ: Certainly from the pipe end of things, some of the old brands are not quite what they used to be, but there are still a lot of wonderful pipes out there. I think one of the best things to happen is that we’re seeing more individual carvers around the world. There weren’t that many individual artisans in the US in the 70’s even though the market was pretty strong. It was mostly mass manufactured, even though a lot of those brands produced wonderful quality pipes. But now we’re seeing a lot more one-of-a-kind freehand pipes by very, very talented carvers.

In terms of tobaccos though, it’s radically in the other direction where the European cigarette companies have snapped up a lot of the Oriental tobaccos that used to be available for pipe blends and some of those tobaccos that I mentioned to you before just aren’t available. Mike McNeil [McClelland Tobacco] was able to acquire a number of different Orientals because he has a friend in the cigarette business. Unfortunately, I don’t have a contact like that; that would allow me that kind of access. And a lot of the old blends have disappeared; the current versions aren’t the same as what they used to be. The one thing that I think a lot of people don’t understand is the subtle complexities of the tobacco leaf, and they shouldn’t have to. Unless you’re dealing with it, you won’t recognize it unless you’re doing it all the time. One of the problems that I have seen in recent years is that a blend will become unavailable and I’ll get phone call after phone call, you know “Can you reproduce it?” Some people say that they can and they make an attempt, and sometimes they do a great job of it. Read the rest of this entry »

McClelland Holiday Spirit 2008 - Pipe Tobacco Reviews

    December 20th, 2009


By Bob Tate



The tin aroma of this blend smells really good and reminds me of some of the smells that are encountered during Holiday baking. Dark rum is the predominate aroma and there is a hint of dark chocolate and I also picked up on a slight hint of coffee. The moisture content is a little on the moist side and some drying time wouldn’t hurt. I smoked it right from the tin with no drying time and it smoked well with no problems. The cut on this blend is pretty chunky with some large pieces of leaf. Read the rest of this entry »

McClelland Christmas Cheer 2006 - Pipe Tobacco Reviews

    December 2nd, 2009


By Bob Tate


christmas-cheer-2006-001 christmas-cheer-2006-002


This excerpt is taken from the paper insert inside of the lid of the tin:
This 2006 blend is made with a special selection of ripe orange-red flue cured Virginia from the Old Belt crop of 1999. Picked at its peak, it is rich in flavor and naturally sweet and mellow.
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McClelland Frog Morton - Pipe Tobacco Reviews

    August 18th, 2009


By Bob Tate


The tin aroma of this blend has that great smoky aroma that Latakia lends to a blend. There is also quite a bit of sweetness mixed in with the aroma. The moisture content is a little on the wet side and some drying time is recommended. I filled the pipe using a two step packing method and proceeded to the charring light. Read the rest of this entry »