- Feb 18, 2019
- Reaction score
Nice big bowl of Hobbits Weed in the big Don Carlos 2 note bent dublin with first cup of coffee. Back to the stash for something different for a second bowl.
McClelland was a great blender. I got started with them in 2000 when I was working in Little Rock. A gentleman in the pipe shop I visited offered me a sample of Dark Star and showed me how to fold and stuff. A technique I had never learned as I had never smoked flakes till then or if I did I rubbed them out. I liked it a lot and started trying their other blends. St. James Woods was a fave but fell in love with Frog Morton. Others may come close but none that I've tried can duplicate the original McClellands.Currently about halfway through a bowl of 2010-era McLelland Dark Navy Flake. Kudos to @Natch for this generous sample. I find it important to have that reference point, as a serious pipe smoker.
I now better understand how Sutliff’s 515-RC actually compares to the real deal. While they’re in the same ballpark, this dark flake has a breadth and depth of flavor that the Sutliff lacks. I think mixing the 515 with Sutliff’s bulk stoved Virginia gets a little closer.
But it still ain’t McLelland.
I put myself in a bad spot as a pipe smoker. I first explored the world of pipe tobacco for a couple of years over a decade ago, but a series of rapid succession upheavals in my life led to my pipe passion getting lost in the shuffle, and I basically forgot about my pipes for a decade.
Back then, I had sampled just enough McLelland (I really liked 2015) to know I liked it. So when I rediscovered my pipes back around the holidays, the first thing I wanted to do was explore the brand in greater detail. It was a gut punch to discover they were no more.
I’d basically “slept through” the end days of this venerable brand. No chance to grab a few tins for a rainy day. And it’s not like there are other brands that are close to that, as far as flavor profiles.
Anyway... again, major props to Natch, who has also been indispensable in helping me add a good amount of well-aged stock to my respectable (but almost wholly new stock) little cellar.
I’ll try to remember to add a few notes/observations here as I work my way through some outstanding decade-old blends from Gawith Hoggarth, Sam Gawith, Rattray’s, Peterson and others. I’m also looking forward to tasting what a decade has done for GLP Triple Play, because I wasn’t exactly wowed by the new stock.
I have a Shamrock in the 999 shape and a Shamrock billiard with a beautiful cross grain that that may have the tightest birdseye on both sides of the bowl of any Pete I own. It's funny how pipes that might have been relegated to lower status or even seconds back in the day might be a first today. Neither is a particular favorite just because I have others I prefer but both are good smokers. I certainly wouldn't shy away from one, particularly an older one. JMOHas anyone have any opinions on the Peterson shamrock line of pipes? seems to be a lot of hazy info online.The one I am looking at is an older one,but I am a sucker for these author pipes...
When I found McClellands British Woods I knew I had finally found - after years of searching - my Arcadia (see Sir James Barrie's My Lady Nicotine). When my stash of that is gone I just may give up my pipes all together.McClelland was a great blender. I got started with them in 2000 when I was working in Little Rock. A gentleman in the pipe shop I visited offered me a sample of Dark Star and showed me how to fold and stuff. A technique I had never learned as I had never smoked flakes till then or if I did I rubbed them out. I liked it a lot and started trying their other blends. St. James Woods was a fave but fell in love with Frog Morton. Others may come close but none that I've tried can duplicate the original McClellands.