Would McClelland Sell Their Recipes and Methods?

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anotherbob

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2019
6,636
12,208
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In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
What more were they supposed to do? They let their dealers know months in advance so that they could inform their customers, while asking that it not be spread about, so that regular customers could stock up rather than the usual horde of speculators and wannabe scalpers. It wasn't exactly a secret. I knew they were closing months before the announcement.

I bought a few tins of this and that and stocked up on the 40th. I would have stocked up on that one, closing or no. Maybe I should have bought a few hundred tins with which to gouge people but that didn't occur to me.

Some people here have commented that they weren't informed by their B&Ms. Well, this effort involved human beings, so not perfect, nor consistent, and not the NcNeill's responsibility

People act like the NcNeils owe them and that's delusional.

I honestly do not see the benefit of rehashing this over and over. McClellands has been closed for 3 years. They worked their asses off for 40 years and provided many much loved blends. It's done, done, done.
it all reminds me of people getting mad after a break up. Like they already gave you more then they had to and they don't owe you to continue giving you more then you had before. If everyone stopped making pipe tobacco I'd hate it but wouldn't think any of those companies had personally done a thing to me, otherwise then getting me what I wanted at one time.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
5,793
17,577
I remember stopping at 8 or so B&M's in December when McClelland had announced closing. And calling at least that many. Most of them were fully aware that McClelland was closing when questioned. Several even mentioned they'd spoken with Mary and was told what was still available to them. I'm not sure how it could have been handled any better.

The real problem was people ignoring the messages. I remember at least one of the major retailers had a 10% sale as late as February and the was still a lot of McClelland available including 40th Anniversary. There was a 25 tin limit. If you didn't get any, you only have yourself to blame. Trying to lay blame on McClelland is absurd.
 

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logs

Preferred Member
Apr 28, 2019
1,773
4,754
What more were they supposed to do? They let their dealers know months in advance so that they could inform their customers, while asking that it not be spread about, so that regular customers could stock up rather than the usual horde of speculators and wannabe scalpers. It wasn't exactly a secret. I knew they were closing months before the announcement.

You'd have to listen to the Country Squire podcast to get the full critique but basically the complaint was that 5100 was a base ingredient used by many professional blenders who relied on it. They were unhappy the McNeil's didn't give warning to business customers about it being discontinued and felt mislead into thinking its disappearance was temporary. Apparently all this happened before the McNeil's started telling anyone they were retiring.
Hell if I know.
 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
13,105
14,613
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
You'd have to listen to the Country Squire podcast to get the full critique but basically the complaint was that 5100 was a base ingredient used by many professional blenders who relied on it. They were unhappy the McNeil's didn't give warning to business customers about it being discontinued and felt mislead into thinking its disappearance was temporary. Apparently all this happened before the McNeil's started telling anyone they were retiring.
Hell if I know.
I find it difficult to believe that blenders, of all people, were unaware of 5100 becoming unavailable. Maybe the Country Squire was. The trade was aware months before the closure happened. That's how I knew about it.

Ultimately it just doesn't matter. It doesn't change reality. And at this point in time, such complaints are completely beside the point.
 

BlackSwampPiper

New member
May 9, 2021
25
142
Ohio
Who knew what when is tough to discern, but there is potentially a loss to the pipe community that some of the methods or techniques will not be passed on. Sure the leaf is different, but it will be different again tomorrow, maybe better! I work in a trade and having journeyman pass down experience and expertise is one of the things that helps keep the trade alive! The beauty of what they did that was special is that STG probably doesn’t have the skill or patience to respect those methods and get those results, the “secret recipes” require skill and experience that few would be able to replicate, and those few could probably do it nearly as well. Their brand and recipes are nearly dead and fading, and in 50 years if somebody tries a tin they’ll probably say “well the other stuff around must have been better or these guys wouldn’t have closed down”. A huge portion of a legacy is moving it down. Sure they’ll be the best for a few old timers for a bit, certainly til they pass on, but then so will the old timers and then the reputation, recipes, methods, and art will amount to rumors and speculation, a veritable ghosted pipe, a hint of Latakia when you know you packed that bowl with a Va-Per. McClelland will become the Studebaker, Auburn, Deusenburg, Pontiac, Cord of the pipe world, something ever more rare that fewer and fewer experience until it is forgotten. A legacy without perseverance through generations is just ephemeral pride, fleeting and soon forgotten. The hope is that most things get better over time, building on the past. Look at baseball, football, cars, planes. Sadly, McClelland will never serve as a foundation for something better. No Jack Welch or Bear Bryant tree of coaching success. Just the end of something that was good for a period of time. There will be something better coming, and we’ll all say so because we’ll not have had McClellands in so long. It will fade to oblivion, being bested by far inferior products and methods that are still available.
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2019
6,636
12,208
43
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Who knew what when is tough to discern, but there is potentially a loss to the pipe community that some of the methods or techniques will not be passed on. Sure the leaf is different, but it will be different again tomorrow, maybe better! I work in a trade and having journeyman pass down experience and expertise is one of the things that helps keep the trade alive! The beauty of what they did that was special is that STG probably doesn’t have the skill or patience to respect those methods and get those results, the “secret recipes” require skill and experience that few would be able to replicate, and those few could probably do it nearly as well. Their brand and recipes are nearly dead and fading, and in 50 years if somebody tries a tin they’ll probably say “well the other stuff around must have been better or these guys wouldn’t have closed down”. A huge portion of a legacy is moving it down. Sure they’ll be the best for a few old timers for a bit, certainly til they pass on, but then so will the old timers and then the reputation, recipes, methods, and art will amount to rumors and speculation, a veritable ghosted pipe, a hint of Latakia when you know you packed that bowl with a Va-Per. McClelland will become the Studebaker, Auburn, Deusenburg, Pontiac, Cord of the pipe world, something ever more rare that fewer and fewer experience until it is forgotten. A legacy without perseverance through generations is just ephemeral pride, fleeting and soon forgotten. The hope is that most things get better over time, building on the past. Look at baseball, football, cars, planes. Sadly, McClelland will never serve as a foundation for something better. No Jack Welch or Bear Bryant tree of coaching success. Just the end of something that was good for a period of time. There will be something better coming, and we’ll all say so because we’ll not have had McClellands in so long. It will fade to oblivion, being bested by far inferior products and methods that are still available.
is your trade poetry or just a poetic chap?
 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
17,064
29,582
63
Sarasota Florida
The topic that will never die, I love it. I was never a MC smoker as their red virginia's didn't agree with me. The only blend I could smoke from them were their lemon virginia flake which was either Dark Star or their Butera Dark Stoved blend.

When I was told they were closing I went after the Butera offering based upon jiminks recommendation and I went after it hard for a week or so. I ended up with 140 tins and could have bought way more but I thought 140 would do the job. I didn't buy to resell. I bought because I thought with a good ten years, I would be smoking a killer aged blend. I will check the blend at 6 or 7 years to see how it is doing, It may be that it is great after 6 years and will start smoking it, who knows.

The funniest part of their closing was all the blends that no one wanted getting scooped up just because of the name on the tin. People were buying it without trying it and they were paying stupid money. MC was noted for their Red Virginia's, and some oriental blends but they had their share of losers like any house has. I can't wait till people start trying it and they find out some of their blends actually suck.

I hope people enjoy these blends that are not highly rated. I am pretty sure they are not going to be at the top of their cellars. They have a load of aromatics that people will either like or hate. I wish them luck.
 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
13,105
14,613
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
Who knew what when is tough to discern, but there is potentially a loss to the pipe community that some of the methods or techniques will not be passed on. Sure the leaf is different, but it will be different again tomorrow, maybe better! I work in a trade and having journeyman pass down experience and expertise is one of the things that helps keep the trade alive! The beauty of what they did that was special is that STG probably doesn’t have the skill or patience to respect those methods and get those results, the “secret recipes” require skill and experience that few would be able to replicate, and those few could probably do it nearly as well. Their brand and recipes are nearly dead and fading, and in 50 years if somebody tries a tin they’ll probably say “well the other stuff around must have been better or these guys wouldn’t have closed down”. A huge portion of a legacy is moving it down. Sure they’ll be the best for a few old timers for a bit, certainly til they pass on, but then so will the old timers and then the reputation, recipes, methods, and art will amount to rumors and speculation, a veritable ghosted pipe, a hint of Latakia when you know you packed that bowl with a Va-Per. McClelland will become the Studebaker, Auburn, Deusenburg, Pontiac, Cord of the pipe world, something ever more rare that fewer and fewer experience until it is forgotten. A legacy without perseverance through generations is just ephemeral pride, fleeting and soon forgotten. The hope is that most things get better over time, building on the past. Look at baseball, football, cars, planes. Sadly, McClelland will never serve as a foundation for something better. No Jack Welch or Bear Bryant tree of coaching success. Just the end of something that was good for a period of time. There will be something better coming, and we’ll all say so because we’ll not have had McClellands in so long. It will fade to oblivion, being bested by far inferior products and methods that are still available.
Yep, and that's that. I have no problem with the McNeils making the decision that they made. It was theirs to make, and anyone not in their shoes is second guessing at best.

Michelangelo destroyed all of his preparatory sketches because he didn't want to distract people from the wonder created by the finished work. How he got there was his own personal way and couldn't be duplicated.

Everything is temporary.
 

captainsousie

Preferred Member
Aug 1, 2012
3,390
1,992
Yep, and that's that. I have no problem with the McNeils making the decision that they made. It was theirs to make, and anyone not in their shoes is second guessing at best.

Michelangelo destroyed all of his preparatory sketches because he didn't want to distract people from the wonder created by the finished work. How he got there was his own personal way and couldn't be duplicated.

Everything is temporary.
This is very true. One thing many of us forget is that people have the ultimate right to do with what they wish with their property (in many cases). We don't have to agree with their decisions but we have no rights to that property. Being upset, irritated or even happy about it is an exercise in futility.

Another example. I have seen a few beautiful cars go to Count's Customs on his show and in my opinion they turn a beautiful classic into a hacked-up abomination. However, wasting my time thinking about it is not productive as I do not own the car, I do not own the shop and I have no say in whether the show is broadcast.

On some level I do find it sad that some of the decisions were made in the way they were but I have no right to their property and it only serves to raise my stress level to think about it more than in passing.

Now, some of you will pick apart whether you think it is really their property or how someone like the taxman or HOA can take away your property but my core premise stands.
 

BlackSwampPiper

New member
May 9, 2021
25
142
Ohio
Yep, and that's that. I have no problem with the McNeils making the decision that they made. It was theirs to make, and anyone not in their shoes is second guessing at best.

Michelangelo destroyed all of his preparatory sketches because he didn't want to distract people from the wonder created by the finished work. How he got there was his own personal way and couldn't be duplicated.

Everything is temporary.
Michelangelo’s work is still being enjoyed today, and into the foreseeable future. McClelland’s tobacco is going the way of the BetaMax, every day that goes by there are less and less people who understand and appreciate it.
 
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sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
13,105
14,613
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
Michelangelo’s work is still being enjoyed today, and into the foreseeable future. McClelland’s tobacco is going the way of the BetaMax, every day that goes by there are less and less people who understand and appreciate it.
Sure, and maybe that's OK. Of course, Sobranie closed up shop in around 1980 and their products are still coveted and talked about, so there is the occasional exception.

Then again, that current Balkan Sobranie is a good argument for letting things just die.

BTW, Betamax was the far superior tech of its day, but people were not willing to pay the price for a deck.
 

smudgersmissingleg

Preferred Member
Jun 9, 2018
2,196
6,864
120
England
I only managed to get 7 tins before they closed down. Importing into the UK from America can be very expensive and when they were closing I didn't have any cash.
I've got a single tin each of 40th, Red & Black, Christmas Cheer 2014 and Virginia no. 24 that I'm looking forward to cracking one day😊.
 
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brian64

Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2011
7,122
5,832
I wouldn't go that far.

View attachment 79988
Please put your location in your Profile as people are forgetful.
Why:
That will save questions in the future as to where you live when you later mention local stores, weather, tobacco prices, availability, regulations, location of photos, wildfires, air quality, etc. In many instances that saves time for those who read your posts.
How:
Under your avatar, (top right, left most of three symbols) you choose "Account Details", which brings up "My Account". "My Location" is halfway down. Whatever you're comfortable with- town, city, county, state. Just country if you must.
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2019
6,636
12,208
43
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Sure, and maybe that's OK. Of course, Sobranie closed up shop in around 1980 and their products are still coveted and talked about, so there is the occasional exception.

Then again, that current Balkan Sobranie is a good argument for letting things just die.

BTW, Betamax was the far superior tech of its day, but people were not willing to pay the price for a deck.
or having to switch tapes in the middle of a movie. Never ever underestimate the draw of convince at the expense of all else.
 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
2,297
4,582
What a shitshow.

The sort of crap being tossed around in this thread is nauseating.

Anyone, who for any reason whatsoever, calls Mike or Mary McNeill "arrogant", "selfish", or refers to their retirement as a "dick move" or similar, knows nothing.

Absolutely not a single solitary damn thing about the situation or circumstances which guided their decisions.

I do.

I could walk to their house from where I'm sitting right now, and have known them for decades.

Both are absolutely at the top of the list of people I've ever known regarding generosity, helpfulness, caring, and integrity. I could tell firsthand stories and incidents that you literally would not believe regarding those traits.

So, shit talkers and self-declared experts, please AT LEAST stick to subjects you actually know something about. The S/N ratio here is already abysmal enough.
Nailed it.
 

chasingembers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
27,834
38,284
Please put your location in your Profile as people are forgetful.
Why:
That will save questions in the future as to where you live when you later mention local stores, weather, tobacco prices, availability, regulations, location of photos, wildfires, air quality, etc. In many instances that saves time for those who read your posts.
How:
Under your avatar, (top right, left most of three symbols) you choose "Account Details", which brings up "My Account". "My Location" is halfway down. Whatever you're comfortable with- town, city, county, state. Just country if you must.
I thought everyone knew I was a Southern Croatian business man.🤷‍♂️
 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
2,297
4,582
As to 5100 specifically and the sudden disappeance, that one blender is apparently still crying about, my memory is that they thought they had an alternate source lined up, took delivery of a bunch, taste tested it, and threw it out. The had no intentions of leaving any of their accounts in the lurch. I believe @pipestud posted something about this at a time when it was still unclear (including to them) that they would shut down completely.
 

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