Life After McClelland

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bluesmoke

Member
Jun 21, 2013
192
6
It's been a couple of years since McClelland shut down, and I just finished the last of my 40th anniversary. I have a tin of #24 left, but that's it. Has anybody found an alternative that's even close? Anyone have some you're willing to sell? Somebody help!
 
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sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,616
7,966
You're not going to find a substitute in production for a number of reasons. The kind of leaf and the careful hand picked cultivation of that McClelland relied upon it has given way to less costly methods. The cessation of Federal subsidies to tobacco growers made that inevitable as McClelland pointed out in their farewell letter.
McClelland had its own proprietary processing of their carefully selected leaf, with every stage carefully guided by Mike McNeil. That's gone as well. Say goodbye. It's over.

There's other wonderful Virginias to be smoked. They're just different from McClelland. HU, Ascadian, Rattray's, Germain's, KBV, and others. Time to move on.
 

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americaman

Preferred Member
May 1, 2019
513
1,327
Los Angeles, CA
Watch City blends are often compared to McClelland. Try Rhythm & Blues and Simply Red (which is compared to 5100). They’re not the same, but they’re great Virginias regardless. They might still have some in stock on their website.

Another possible replacement for you are the Ken Byron blends. Jupiter Slices is a popular one.
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
nope. I know despite never having had any of their blends. But often when people talk about other blends they will remind me somewhat of some blend I've had, that doesn't happen with their stuff. And even greater proof is I've never once heard one person say they found a good match. Considering how often I've heard people claim this blend is really this more expensive blend because of a slightly similar profile and description. So clearly a big nope, or some super secret under ground network swearing people to secrecy or death. So it's one or the other.
p.s. gervais wrote that as I was writing this and I didn't see it until after I published this comment. So if he disappears we'll know it's the second option of a secret society protecting their legacy.
 
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bent1

Preferred Member
Jan 9, 2015
650
1,002
60
WV
Watch City blends are often compared to McClelland. Try Rhythm & Blues and Simply Red (which is compared to 5100). They’re not the same, but they’re great Virginias regardless.
Simply Red is a tasty blend, not exactly like 5100, but delicious! Well balanced, ready to go right out of the bag.

 
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sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,616
7,966
Watch City blends are often compared to McClelland.
Yeah, but not by anybody with a well developed palette. That's not a dig at WC. Ernie has his own style and what he produces is fantastic and are blends I enjoy smoking as much as anything McClelland produced. But nothing WC makes is going to be like McClelland.

And leave us not forget that McClelland wasn't the stuff of lustful dreams until it was learned that they were closing shop. McClelland wasn't much mentioned in favored tobaccos on this or any other forum, except for an occasional mention of the Cheers, the Frogs, or Dark Star.

The closest thing to 5100 would be the Sutliff clone.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. But luckily, I have a goodly stash of my favorite part of McClellands' output, the matured Red Virginias, so I'm set for years.

And you don't know what you've got til it's gone,
Paved Paradise,
Put up a Parking Lot.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
32,046
19,223
I'm a burley guy first, but I much enjoyed McClelland's Virginias, but I wouldn't bother looking for any sort of match. On the other hand, there are extraordinary Virginia based blends that are available and in their glory. I have my picks, but I'll let the Virginia smokers with more refined tastes make the recommendations. Good Virginias and Va/Pers are everywhere.
 

jpberg

Preferred Member
Aug 30, 2011
1,377
1,609
Yeah, but not by anybody with a well developed palette. That's not a dig at WC. Ernie has his own style and what he produces is fantastic and are blends I enjoy smoking as much as anything McClelland produced. But nothing WC makes is going to be like McClelland.

And leave us not forget that McClelland wasn't the stuff of lustful dreams until it was learned that they were closing shop. McClelland wasn't much mentioned in favored tobaccos on this or any other forum, except for an occasional mention of the Cheers, the Frogs, or Dark Star.

The closest thing to 5100 would be the Sutliff clone.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. But luckily, I have a goodly stash of my favorite part of McClellands' output, the matured Red Virginias, so I'm set for years.

And you don't know what you've got til it's gone,
Paved Paradise,
Put up a Parking Lot.
I got my first tin of McClelland while at a party at the old Swedish Embassy in Seoul, circa 1989. It was Oriental #14. In the thirty years since, I’ve seen maybe one other person smoking it.
Sure, I miss the opportunity to buy more, but I know I don’t miss them as much as the guys who never smoked them while they were in production.
To the OP, as has been stated, don’t seek to find something similar, just find something else.
 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,920
15,147
Alaska
If you want McClelland pony up and buy it at the outrageous prices. That’s the only way you’ll get it.

If you want great Virginia tobacco, there are other options as others have mentioned. Nothing has, or likely will, replace or be strikingly similar to McClelland VAs for the multitude of reasons listed above, but there are dozens and dozens of very fine blends in their own right (many listed above).

It sucks that they’re gone, but they’re gone. No amount of inquiry or searching will find a suitable replacement or clone. It’s like asking “Which living comedian is just like George Carlin?”

None. Nor will there ever be. But there is still a lot of very good, very different stuff out there.
 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,954
2,690
I got my first tin of McClelland while at a party at the old Swedish Embassy in Seoul, circa 1989. It was Oriental #14. In the thirty years since, I’ve seen maybe one other person smoking it.
#14 is my all time favorite McC. Best. Scottish.Mixture.Ever. Followed by #8. At the shops I frequented when I first started haunting them in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, the Green Label Orientals easily outsold the Brown Label Virginia’s.
 

renfield

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2011
1,532
5,621
Sadly, there’s nothing very similar to McClelland’s on the market. Just try some other Virginias and find something you enjoy.
 
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oldred

Junior Member
Dec 1, 2019
71
122
I know I'm still a n00b but I poneyed up for some of the McClelland blends just to see what all the hype was about. They were good but plenty of stuff on the same level is out there and has already been mentioned. I will say I'm sad I won't have many other chances at the frogs though!
 

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