Peterson 2014 Christmas Pipe plus Cornell and Diehl We Three Kings

Christmas 2014 PetersonChristmas in August…

Review of Peterson Christmas Pipe 2014 and Cornell and Diehl, We Three Kings, 2014 Christmas tobacco blend.


Okay, we are halfway through September but I’ve been debating whether or not to post here this video I recorded for YouTube in August reviewing the already released 2014 Christmas Peterson pipe and C&D’s 2014 Christmas blend. Admittedly, I don’t have this video thing down quite yet, but I came to the decision, ah, why not. Here it is…

Christmas in August… 2014 Peterson Christmas Pipe, Cornell and Diehl “We Three Kings”

Holiday Season Pipe Tobacco — Why Bother? Part II

McClelland's Christmas Cheer 2013

S0, If There’s Nothing Much Special or Particularly Cheerful about Holiday Season Pipe Tobacco, Why Bother?

I obviously failed to make note of the retailer’s comment about McClelland’s seasonal blend, Christmas Cheer“Even though the tobacco is a remarkable smoke right now, Christmas Cheer is even more outstanding with some age on it, so lay in a few for cellaring.”  Good advice about the cellaring, I’m thinking.

Continuing my thoughts about “Christmas season pipe tobaccos” from part I, my question regarding this blend is, if it’s not actually ready to enjoy during the season it’s released — 2013, in this case — when will it be? 2021?

Because, I mean to say, I did not enjoy this smoke at all fresh from the tin.

Here’s the deal…

I’m back to regularly smoking a pipe for a couple years now after some absence, and as the just past Christmas of 2013 began its approach, I thought, hey, let me add to the celebration with a good holiday kind of smoke, something kind of special, something not only I but those who would be within smell-shot might also favor.

Well, what better way to achieve that than to partake of a tobacco “specially blended” for the occasion?

I understand that any so called “seasonal blend” is most likely nothing more than what any other regularly available blend could be. What we’re talking about is just joining in on the fun of a once-a-year occasion and adding some different twist to our normal routines. So even if it’s nothing more than a marketing ploy, what the heck; however, I would think the blend should somehow match up to the smoker’s expectations the marketing department has set. Truly, when it comes to tobacco, we should be enjoying a different twist to a blend that is not made readily available during the rest of the year because of its use of a rare leaf, an expensive curing process, or maybe some difficult to create super deliciously aromatic topping that even tastes like it smells. And I want to smoke it now, the Christmas year it’s available, not two Christmases later. I don’t see this happening.

Cracking the tin, Christmas Cheer gave me a nose load of the famous McClelland ketchup smell. Finding the odor unbearable, I “decanted” the broken flake into a mason jar. McClelland states that this blend is from a prime batch of 2009 harvested leaf. Obviously it will improve with further aging, but it must be ready now, right? After three weeks, it was time to light up.

The blend’s ketchupy aroma had shifted to a less offensive spicy barbeque scent — yet still not so appealing to me. I loaded a partially rubbed out and folded tobacco into my pipe and put it to flame.

Not one to go into the “sip slowly and allow your tongue to caress the playful taste of Bergamot — citrus, not herb — from the foot of the highest hill facing the sea… South Dakotan honey from 2012…a touch of  Madagascar vanilla, perhaps…?”  I’m pretty caveman with my descriptions…

Pros: The expected almost grassy-like sweet and tangy Virginia essence smoothly maintained its presence throughout the bowl along with a mild to medium tobacco flavor; DGT provided a bit more fullness; Pleasant enough room aroma.

Cons: Despite the good stuff noted above, the bad stuff, i.e., ketchup or BBQ sauce, whatever, still popped through in room note, in flavor profile while smoking and in aftertaste. So much so, I can’t even think about going back to this tobacco for at least another six months. By then, Christmas Cheer 2014 will almost be ready!

Christmas Cheer 2013 might very well turn into a remarkable smoke that I can thoroughly enjoy within another year or two. Like a fine wine, it has a particular vintage that might benefit to some degree with a certain amount of cellaring. But I would like to enjoy my Christmas cheer in the year it is appointed. Is it wrong of me to ask for that?

In Christmas season 2014, I’m going to purchase the requisite minimum amount of Boswell’s Christmas Cookie, about which I have heard good things but have yet to try. If it doesn’t “do it” for me, I shall never again try any pipe tobacco labeled “holiday,” “Christmas,” or other kind of “seasonal” this or that.

If pipe tobacco manufacturers cannot create an honest-to-goodness once-a-year special blend for the holidays — I shan’t be suckered, again. Really, why bother?

Hmmm, I don’t know… maybe C&D Maple Cavendish?







Holiday Season Pipe Tobacco — Why Bother? Part I

Holiday Tobacco pic
My attempt at Madison Ave. marketing style photo on kitchen table

Don’t Mean to Be the Grinch, but There’s Nothing Much Cheerful about Holiday Season Pipe Tobacco from What I Can Tell…So Why Bother?

This post is primarily a brief review of McClelland’s 2013 Christmas Cheer and Holiday Spirit, but from my experience, it sums up what I feel about other special, limited run “Holiday Season” pipe tobaccos I’ve tried.

Which is to say, not much, maybe even, yuck.

Okay, not really “yuck,” but I find them to be underwhelming in a big way. Let me explain by starting with Holiday Spirit…

If you’ve read my “About Pipester” page then you know I’m not a big fan of aromatics, but I’m always willing to spark up a bowl, thinking, maybe this is the one. So it was with Holiday Spirit this year. The label marketing copy on the tin sounds so good, “…flavored with dark rum, pecan and cocoa. It brings a warm glow to the coldest winter day. The aroma of a favorite holiday confection….” Oh, it was that part about the holiday confection that got me.

So I bought not one tin but two, thinking a buddy of mine also might like a little holiday confection aroma around his place.

With an eagerness I think we all feel when getting into a tobacco for the first time, I popped the lid to get my nose into this surely delicious mystery I held before me. A blast of rummy fruitiness greeted my nostrils. I sprinkled a bowl’s worth onto a sheet of paper on my desk to dry out some before smoking.

Whoa! Did I knock over an open bottle of booze or something?

That’s some tin note. I guess they’re not kidding about the rum in this mix or the fruity casing, which provided a sickly sweet fragrance as it wafted through the room.

I loaded up, and having now smoked two thirds of the tin, here’s what I’ve found…

Pros: Tobacco was not overly sticky; Cool, smooth burn, wasn’t fussy; Mild; Smoked every time to the bottom of the bowl; Never a gurgle; Only a threat of tongue bite when I went puffing for some flavor; No dottle to speak of, pretty danged dry bowl at finish; Pleasant room note (I should hope so, but I can’t say I’ve picked up any holiday confections. Maybe I did. A little.); It’s fine to keep the tobacco in its can, nice marshmallow scent surrounds the closed container.

Cons: Did I miss some special directions somewhere? Where’s the flavor? A flirtation with sweetness began about halfway through the bowl; Not even a tobacco taste to speak of; Slightly unpleasant waxy feel in mouth.

In the end, Holiday Spirit is not a “bad” smoke; it’s just really no smoke, at all. So why the heck bother?

Is it only so those who happen to be within smelling range don’t turn their noses in disgust?

If that’s the case, then certainly there are other tobacco blends out there on a daily basis that fit the bill… but are also enjoyed by the smoker for their flavor.

Or, is it only a marketing ploy by blenders to make some extra coin off suckers like me come Christmas time?

I fight such cynicism. I really do.

Holiday Spirit gets me down in its disappointing emptiness. For the life of me, I could coax very little flavor out of this tobacco. I’ll have higher spirits myself when I finish this tin — or give away to someone who can appreciate what few bowls it has left (for I can’t through it away).  No HS for me next year.

BTW, my buddy hasn’t cracked his tin, yet.

I’ll discuss the non-aromatic Virginia  holiday mixture, Christmas Cheer, in the next post, Part II, and wrap this up.

Till next time… I’ll keep some ‘baccy by the doorway for ya.