Sunday, February 25, 2018


From a tobacco perspective the past week has been educational. Rumours, so far not confirmed, indicate that a much beloved company may soon be no more. McClelland Tobacco, founded by Mike and Mary McNeil over forty years ago, is apparently reducing production OR closing, due to a number of factors, none of them financial. The scarcity of Red Virginia which is up to their standards is one thing, the almost complete absence now and for the foreseeable future of Syrian Latakia is another, the FDA being a blister about tobacco a third, and the government paying farmers to not grow the one crop that made the colonies profitable comes fourth. And there's more.
Plus Mike and Mary have been doing this for over a generation.
It's time to enjoy the fruits of their labours.
Now is as good a time as any.

Roger: "Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history."

Any substitutions, of course, mean that the blend(s) in question could not be "grandfathered in". It would be a new product, subject to the entire shitcan of punitive measures meant to cripple the tobacco trade.

What the McNeils have reportedly indicated to a number of people in the industry is that despite present circumstances they will continue, albeit with a much more limited palette of products. That likely means that many of the blends that you enjoy will NOT be made, nor likely ever made again.

Other sources state, however, that they are shutting down.
Permanently. Completely. Entirely.

*      *      *      *      *

Many of us have a stash to last us quite a while, but we want more; with the disappearance of so many fine blends and companies over the past quarter of a century, each new loss spurs us to further acquisition, and makes us despise the long cold claw of the anti-tobacco fiends worse.

Smokers of aromatics are unconcerned at present; their tawdry pleasures seem safe, sofar, and there will always be commercial whores spritzing candy essences on worse-than-mediocre leaf. But even they should worry, as San Francisco and other "progressive" municipalities have decided that flavoured tobacco products target children, minorities, and the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans and Queer community, and must be banned.
Which is probably the wave of the future.

That, and higher taxes.


Eventually the only ones left may be the big business manufacturers of cigarettes. Who will always thrive. Because that's the American way.
People will smoke. Even if they have to sell the baby.
And smuggle it in from other states.
Like New Jersey.

PS.: The next meeting of the pipe club is coming up. We will be planning revolution and putting together lists of politicians, lobbyists, and health care professionals. Praise Baby Jesus assault rifles, errm, "hunting tools" are still legal, and likely to be so for years to come.

Come on over to the dark side.
We have wine and cheese.
And hug dolphins.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Lifted from discussion at the GPSS on Facebook said...

From Pipe Mags Forum: "I just got off the phone with Mary McNiel. I had left them a message earlier in the day and she was kind enough to call me back. Mary is undoubtedly one of the nicest (and most knowledgeable) people in the tobacco industry. We had a wide-ranging discussion on how the industry has changed over the past decade or so: The removal of government price supports, the farmer buyouts, the demise of the auction system, all of which has led to an overall decline in the quality, availability and diversity of tobacco available to McClelland. Then there's the FDA, and the great regulatory and financial burdens it will place on them. Up to a half million dollars to get all of their blends tested to meet FDA regulations. And if they suspend production of a blend (due to not having the right leaf available, as in the situation with 5100) they may not be able to resume production without going through the FDA approval process for new products.

In the end, Mary and Mike have made the decision to close their doors. The exact timing isn't known to them as of yet, as they are still tinning blends that they have in stock. But they do not foresee much, if any, additional production. "We look at the burdens that lie ahead with the FDA. What does the future hold?" Mary told me, "We're just going to close the doors"."

The back of the hill said...

Thank you. Now see the following, written by a man who made one of the great blends.

From the GPSS, Yesterday at 13:33 ·

"I just had a long talk with my buddy of 30 years, Mike McNiel. They are tired. They have had a great run. There will be no more McClelland tobacco. They have exhausted their stock, for the most part, and (good for them), they are out of tins, labels, and most of their tobacco. So they are not stuck holding the bag on anything. Whatever is out there is what it is. I don't think Mike or Mary will contradict me. Whatever you find out there will be the last. Now, I have to figure out what to talk with Mike and Mary about besides tobacco, because they are dear friends. Maybe fishing?"

End quote.

Well. That pretty much says it.


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