What's new

Substitute for McClelland's Christmas Cheer Series

sablebrush52

Well-known member
Patron
#62
Here's a thought, I was poking through your Leon Uris size cellar....
Why don't you just smoke the Christmas Cheer you have? You have it already, f*ck the replacement search.
Gawd...:shakehead: ( you people are nuts, you know that right)
Yeah, but, according to his tobaccocellar page, the poor chap's only got a 1500+ year supply, given his rate of smoking. What will he do after that?
 

sablebrush52

Well-known member
Patron
#64
I would bet that if anyone were to properly recreate Red Cake they could easily charge that.
Look at what it pulls on ebay. They could charge double.
Not only that, let’s say some one is willing to put in that kind of labor and somehow manages to secure a sustainable supply of leaf. What happens to the price people are willing to pay for “new 5100” when it’s now more or less readily available and goes from the stuff of legend to the stuff on the shelf?
The idea of pricing at a higher level had been proposed to the McNeils well before they closed up shop. Evidently, they didn't think it would work. I can understand it. At the risk of offending some delicate flowers out "there", I'm going to say that American pipe smokers are largely a cheap and spoiled lot. We've paid a lot less than everyone else, and bitched about the "high" cost constantly. What propped all that up were the farm subsidies, and once those went, it was only a matter of time either until prices accelerated significantly upward or growers turned to a more profitable crop.

Hindsight is 20/20. In the few weeks after the closure, blends available at $10 a week before were selling for $70 on eBay. Some of that was just panic buying, and prices have moderated a bit, though they remain largely at 3 to 5 times the original retail price. Five years from now today's prices might look like giveaways.

If someone went to the trouble of making a new 5100, one that somehow hit all the notes and was eerily similar to McClelland 5100 - there's a higher probability of my being elected Pope this month - it wouldn't affect prices on eBay at all. It might be 5100-like, but it wouldn't be McClelland 5100. I'll bet I could put some 5100 in a bag, tell people it's a clone, have them sample it, and hear how, good as it may be, it just isn't the same. I've pulled that stunt a couple of times with other blends, and nobody has figured it out.

How did the lyrics go? "You don't know what you've got til it's gone. Pave Paradise, put in a parking lot."
 

dmkerr

The guy from Nantucket
Staff member
#65
I'll bet I could put some 5100 in a bag, tell people it's a clone, have them sample it, and hear how, good as it may be, it just isn't the same. I've pulled that stunt a couple of times with other blends, and nobody has figured it out.[/SIZE][/COLOR][/COLOR]

"[/SIZE][/COLOR][/COLOR]
I've been on both sides of similar experiences. It's why I espouse smoking a lot of a particular blend before I put my name on a TR "review". A single bowl or two can fool you, as it has me and countless others. Blind sampling is "The Great Equalizer". Many self-proclaimed "experts" don't want to do it because it tends to show that they don't have the finely tuned taste buds they thought they had.
 

DrumsAndBeer

Well-known member
#68
I've been on both sides of similar experiences. It's why I espouse smoking a lot of a particular blend before I put my name on a TR "review". A single bowl or two can fool you, as it has me and countless others. Blind sampling is "The Great Equalizer". Many self-proclaimed "experts" don't want to do it because it tends to show that they don't have the finely tuned taste buds they thought they had.
I just signed up for a blind sample review trade w/ Adam. I am prepared to be utterly embarrassed.

If someone handed me a sealed tin of Capstan Blue and of Dunhill Flake, I could smoke them side by side and describe the subtle differences. However, I would never claim to be able to tell the two apart in a blind taste test. Especially considering all the variables involved, product and human.
 

jpberg

The Worst Thing about the Internet
Staff member
Sales
#70
The idea of pricing at a higher level had been proposed to the McNeils well before they closed up shop. Evidently, they didn't think it would work. I can understand it. At the risk of offending some delicate flowers out "there", I'm going to say that American pipe smokers are largely a cheap and spoiled lot. We've paid a lot less than everyone else, and bitched about the "high" cost constantly. What propped all that up were the farm subsidies, and once those went, it was only a matter of time either until prices accelerated significantly upward or growers turned to a more profitable crop.

Hindsight is 20/20. In the few weeks after the closure, blends available at $10 a week before were selling for $70 on eBay. Some of that was just panic buying, and prices have moderated a bit, though they remain largely at 3 to 5 times the original retail price. Five years from now today's prices might look like giveaways.

If someone went to the trouble of making a new 5100, one that somehow hit all the notes and was eerily similar to McClelland 5100 - there's a higher probability of my being elected Pope this month - it wouldn't affect prices on eBay at all. It might be 5100-like, but it wouldn't be McClelland 5100. I'll bet I could put some 5100 in a bag, tell people it's a clone, have them sample it, and hear how, good as it may be, it just isn't the same. I've pulled that stunt a couple of times with other blends, and nobody has figured it out.

How did the lyrics go? "You don't know what you've got til it's gone. Pave Paradise, put in a parking lot."
Am I gonna have to kiss your ring? I’m not really into that stuff.
 

Spillproof

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sales
#71
I forget who I was partnered with (possibly WharfRat) but a couple years ago I exchanged Blind Samples with someone and we both sent Red Cake (among other things). Obviously we both smoked Red Cake regularly but neither one of us correctly identified the samples. Mine was aged and his was fresh - I though his sample contained perique and he though my sample had a sugar topping. So I absolutely believe you could bag up Red Cake, call it a Match, and have people complain about it.

I also happen to think 40th Anniverary is as boring as English tea and only sold the way it did because it was new, and in a pretty blue tin.
(*ducks)
 
Last edited:

Terminus

Drink Water, Walk It Off
Patron
#72
. We've paid a lot less than everyone else, and bitched about the "high" cost constantly. What propped all that up were the farm subsidies, and once those went, it was only a matter of time either until prices accelerated significantly upward or growers turned to a more profitable crop.
I think you may be missing the logistics of all that VA was grown here in KY, NC, etc. So McClelland was in Kansas city, not a big jump. Lots of wholesale leaf at a short distance, then their outgoing distributors SP/4nogs/etc were pretty much right there too. Damn near perfect localized production/distribution chain.

Absolutely it was low priced. Other countries, well that's the taxman, not us being spoiled.
 

tfdickson

Well-known member
Sales
Patron
#73
I forget who I was partnered with (possibly WharfRat) but a couple years ago I exchanged Blind Samples with someone and we both sent Red Cake (among other things). Obviously we both smoked Red Cake regularly but neither one of us correctly identified the samples. Mine was aged and his was fresh - I though his sample contained perique and he though my sample had a sugar topping. So I absolutely believe you could bag up Red Cake, call it a Match, and have people complain about it.

I also happen to think 40th Anniverary is as boring as English tea and only sold the way it did because it was new, and in a pretty blue tin.
(*ducks)
Ha! Awesome!

6EA6B4D2-A602-4EAE-AA5F-AFA0C1B07EE9.jpeg
 

sablebrush52

Well-known member
Patron
#77
I think you may be missing the logistics of all that VA was grown here in KY, NC, etc. So McClelland was in Kansas city, not a big jump. Lots of wholesale leaf at a short distance, then their outgoing distributors SP/4nogs/etc were pretty much right there too. Damn near perfect localized production/distribution chain.

Absolutely it was low priced. Other countries, well that's the taxman, not us being spoiled.
We will agree to disagree. We've had it pretty good here, and I don't read a lot of acknowledgement about that.

If you accept McClelland's statement as to why they closed shop, it wasn't a lack of available leaf. If was a lack of available leaf of the quality they needed to make their blends their way. They acknowledged price supports had been beneficial - their word - to companies like theirs. Their leaf was hand picked so that only leaf that had reached the appropriate level of ripeness was gathered, a labor intensive method that is being replaced by automation and a consequent loss of uniformity in the leaf gathered. Why? Because it's cheaper to harvest that way. Plus, growers are turning to other crops. As has been acknowledged by growers, there's not much money to be made for all the work involved.

And it's not just in the US. For those of us who enjoyed Motzek Strang, it's been sad to hear that the reason no more is being made is that a particular farm that supplied an essential component has gone out of the tobacco growing business.

Smokers Haven has blends in stock and is asking $22 a tin. People are responding like their pockets are being picked.
 

Terminus

Drink Water, Walk It Off
Patron
#79
We will agree to disagree. We've had it pretty good here, and I don't read a lot of acknowledgement about that.

If you accept McClelland's statement as to why they closed shop, it wasn't a lack of available leaf. If was a lack of available leaf of the quality they needed to make their blends their way. They acknowledged price supports had been beneficial - their word - to companies like theirs. Their leaf was hand picked so that only leaf that had reached the appropriate level of ripeness was gathered, a labor intensive method that is being replaced by automation and a consequent loss of uniformity in the leaf gathered. Why? Because it's cheaper to harvest that way. Plus, growers are turning to other crops. As has been acknowledged by growers, there's not much money to be made for all the work involved.

And it's not just in the US. For those of us who enjoyed Motzek Strang, it's been sad to hear that the reason no more is being made is that a particular farm that supplied an essential component has gone out of the tobacco growing business.

Smokers Haven has blends in stock and is asking $22 a tin. People are responding like their pockets are being picked.
Right, I had read the statement along the lines of "We had it too good for too long and now it's time to pay the piper". If that wasn't the intent then it was my fault. What they charged was an average price in my opinion for premium US tobacco. Haven is germains, small batch ultra premium, imported. $22 is fair for the luxury. "For everything else, there's mastercard" :puffy:
 

sablebrush52

Well-known member
Patron
#80
I forget who I was partnered with (possibly WharfRat) but a couple years ago I exchanged Blind Samples with someone and we both sent Red Cake (among other things). Obviously we both smoked Red Cake regularly but neither one of us correctly identified the samples. Mine was aged and his was fresh - I though his sample contained perique and he though my sample had a sugar topping. So I absolutely believe you could bag up Red Cake, call it a Match, and have people complain about it.

I also happen to think 40th Anniverary is as boring as English tea and only sold the way it did because it was new, and in a pretty blue tin.
(*ducks)
That blue tin IS pretty! I think of 40th as Christmas Cheer 2018. When it was announced, my immediate thought was, "Well, that's it. They're releasing their valedictory blend and are going away." I didn't know that that was going to happen at that time, it was just a thought. I didn't find out that they were closing until later that year. The worst kept secret in the pipe world. I kept getting calls that started with "Don't tell anybody, but..." I even got calls telling me when McClelland would be shipping which blend.
Not being all that much of a McClellandhead, I didn't go on a spending spree, well, with the exception of 40th, which I smoked and decided to cellar. I did buy a few tins of blends I had been meaning to try some day since it was now or never.
There's no point mourning lost blends. There's a lot to enjoy that's available.