Christmas Cheer 2013

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gmwolford

Preferred Member
Jul 26, 2012
1,355
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WV, USA
I've not written many reviews but am going to give it the old college try here.
Okay, today I start with McClelland Christmas Cheer 2013. I'm not reading the other comments and reviews beforehand so I don't slant my thoughts.
The blend presented as a lovely broken flake, mixed medium to dark brown tobaccos. The tin note was subtle, slightly hay-like with very little to almost no McClelland signature scents (BBQ, ketchup, vinegar, etcetera).
I chose a smaller Kaywoodie #10 bent billiard as the pipe of the morning for this blend. It smokes Virginias well and felt like a good choice, being well rested and of nice size (group 3 I guess).
I fully rubbed out my sample into a coffee filter as I always do. The first ting I noticed was the change in aroma; now the BBQ scent came out, but just enough to be known, not overwhelming. And there was more of the sweet hay-like scent, too, as the tobacco was prepped for fire. My sample was if near perfection for my preference moisture wise and required no dry time. I packed the pipe with the method I usually use, a three-step variation, and gave it a char.
The charring light brought forth a nice flavor of slight sweetness and BBQ goodness. The flame also produced a nice bloom, one that didn't expand too much but "just right". I left the pipe to rest a few minutes while making a cup of black coffee to enjoy with my smoke.
Returning to the pipe, I gave it a light tamp and exposed it to the flame again. Again I was treated to a nice BBQ sweetness and perfect bloom. Another light tamp and it was off and going.
After the initial few puffs, the BBQ a taste fades and is replaced by a mellow sweetness that only comes from a nice Virginia blend, one with wispy hints of grassiness and citrus gently tickling the tongue and pallet.
At the halfway point of the bowl I've had to relight twice, both times due to my negligence as I type this review. The taste has remained consistent and mellow, very nice and not hot, damp nor a hint of bite. Very little attention needs paid to the tobacco: a gentle tamp here and there is all it needs to keep it burning. This bowl has lasted about 40 minutes and I expect I have about that much more to go yet. I don't expect the second half to be any less tasty, and is likely to be better than the first. So I shall end this review here and savor the next portion of this classic Virginia blend. The remaining sample will most likely find its way into a pipe for Christmas Eve, a fitting smoke for that evening I think.
I have to say, I think this bowl hit its peak at 2/3 and seems to be lulling into boring territory toward the end of the bowl. It is still a tasty and well behaved blend that smoked cool and dry. But disappointed me in the sudden drop off in the final third of the bowl.

 

morton

Preferred Member
May 3, 2012
649
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Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Excellent review! I had just finished the final char/tamp light of a bowl of Christmas Cheer 2012 in a group 4 Trypis billiard and was perusing the forum topics when I came across your review, Greg. Many of the things you say about the 2013 are a dead ringer for the 2012 and as I continue to sip gently on this most delicious tobacco, I'll see whether the flavor drops off in the final third. With other Va's, I find that a sip or two of sparkling water/Club Soda throughout the bowl refreshes my palate so it doesn't get fatigued. I'll see if that helps for Christmas Cheer as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this tobacco.

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
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Nice review Greg!
I like all the C.C. years so far and have a tin from 2000 to pop open for X-Mas / New Years this year.
They are good from the start and even better after about 3 months of being opened.

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
3
At the halfway point of the bowl I've had to relight twice, both times due to my negligence as I type this review.
The review was excellent. Unassuming and matter-of-fact yet entertaining with the above being the "laugh out lod" moment.
Good Show!
j/B

 

skapunk1

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2013
495
0
I cracked open a 1999 tin for this season.

Let it sit for 3 week, and cube up enough for 5 or 6 bowls to dry. This will hold me off till xmas week.
Very impressive tobacco.

 

gmwolford

Preferred Member
Jul 26, 2012
1,355
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WV, USA
Thanks for the kind words, gents. This is my second vintage of CC, the other being 2011. If memory serves me, I preferred the 2011 over the 2013.
I usually have coffee or water with my smokes, sometimes my "vice drink" A&W LOL. I'll try it with water instead of coffee this next bowl. I also plan on using a conical bowl to see if I can get some lunch from the last third of the bowl.

 

gmwolford

Preferred Member
Jul 26, 2012
1,355
0
WV, USA
Yesterday I tried a bowl of CC 2013 in a Savinelli 316 KS: a Dublin shape with a conical bowl.
I almost immediately noticed a difference in the flavor profile in this pipe; there was a fairly pronounced bread/dough taste to the smoke which is not picked up on in the billiard. The bowl maintained good flavor and smoked well, again, for me; both pipes produced a long, cool, dry smoke. But as I suspected, the 316 produced a more flavorful smoke, with the tobacco not going so "flat" the last third of the bowl. However, I find this a fairly one dimensional smoke with little interest, not that that is a bad thing really; it would make an excellent all day smoke likely and would be great for times when your mind is on other things, not focused solely on the smoking experience as I was both times I smoked this, doing a review of the blend.
I have about five grams of CC13 left and don't expect it will give me much of a different experience than I've already had in another pipe. So, I mixed in less than a gram of granulated Perique and will see how that tastes in a few days or so.
All in all, I enjoyed this tobacco. It's definitely made of quality leaf and smoked well with a long, cool burn; my little Kaywoodie #10 lasted nigh on two hours the other day! It seems that this blend reminds me of McConnel's Rioe Honeydew only better; the smoking quality is higher IMHO because it burns longer and much cooler.

 

skapunk1

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2013
495
0
I'm going to try the 2005 I cracked a few weeks ago tonight. Hoping it'll impress.
Someday I might have the right moment in life to crack my 1999.
I definitely want a group to sit and share that with.

 
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