Sunday, Church-Going Tobacco (McClelland’s Personal Reserve: St James Woods)


In the olden days, man could sit in the back of his Catholic parish and smoke his pipe. In some churches, the priest might even join them after service. Well what do you think they smoked at St James Parish, Louisiana? Well I bet it was some sort of flake of matured Red and Black stoved Virginias pressed with the finest St James Parish Perique…he eyes his can of McClelland Personal Reserve St James Woods suspiciously.

But, seriously folks, when I first opened up this tin, I was immediately met with that bright, fruity, Virginia aroma hinted at by the nutty, spicy scent of the St James Perique.

The tobacco rubbed out readily, and I was soon ready to pack my pipe. I chose my German freehand, because it has a deep bowl, and it often takes me a good long smoke to decide if I like a Va-per.

Well, I have to say right off the bat, that this one was different. I lit up, and took about five puffs and I was hooked. In a word, delicious! The blend of Virginias, with the St James Perique, is done so masterfully as to say this immediately became my favorite Va-per.

To be honest, I was starting to be turned off of them, as I have had a whole string of mediocre Virginia / Perique blends of late. I was beginning to give up hope. Then along comes McClelland.

The mix is a fairly good blend of Virginias, both red and black, with, in my opinion, 10 to 15 percent Perique.

The room note is typical of uncased tobaccos, nutty and woody and not something that is going to impress the in-laws. To a refined smoker, the room note is a smoky blend of matured and stoved Virginia’s with the nutty Perique scent.

The tobacco burns clean, and dry and leave behind very little trace of dottle. All in all it took me 45 minutes to smoke a bowl, and I enjoyed every moment of it. It brought me back to the simple life of early 20th century Louisiana around St James Parish. I could see myself as a child playing in those woods, while my father smoked a pipe with the priest. And I could see myself smoking a pipe with the priest, whilst my children played around the woods.

Overall, my new favorite Va-per, and a definite part of my rotation. You can get it HERE, at for $8.93 U.S. to buy the 50 gram tin, and $15.41 for the 100 gram tin.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

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