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An outstanding, well balanced mixture of four Virginias, pressed until reddish-brown and then fully rubbed up. A truly traditional tobacco for the most discerning palate.

BrandEsoterica Tobacciana
Manufactured ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
Contents Virginia
CutReady Rubbed
Packaging8oz Bag
ProductionCurrently available
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Extremely Mild
Room Note

Favorite Of 1 Users

16 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2058)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

The Virginias are very grassy with a light earthiness, a fair amount of citrus and fruit, a little tangy dark fruit and a very mild spice note. However, these attributes are a lot milder and lack the depth of flavor and strength one would expect it to have. I can't identify the mild sweet topping, but it does sublimate the tobaccos a mite. The nic-hit is mild. May nip the tongue and have a little harshness unless you are a slow puffer. Burns moderately for a shag cut (partially due to the moisture content of the tobaccos) with a consistent taste, though it burns warm. Leaves just a little dampness in the bowl, and needs a few relights. Has a nice after taste and room note. An all day smoke.

8 people found this review helpful.

Alhaji Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alhaji (33)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

Little wonder Esoterica brands go out of stock so quickly. The note from the 8oz pack is not like anything I've experienced before. Not certain what it is but the fine, very light, shag-looking mixture sure had the aroma of a great wine - the best of any Virginia I have ever encountered. I recently got the tobacco from Iwanries and it was delivered to me today.

It was easy to load though it took two-three lights to get it going. Yet it had a great, rich taste once the smoke was underway. I do agree with one of the reviewers here that it would have been more stellar if the tobacco tasted anywhere near its fragrance. But this is not necessarily a handicap. There was some sweetness - not near as sweet as some reviewers have stated. I did puff hard and impatiently to be able to 'squeeze' out the taste but did not experience any tongue bite.

It's in a class of its own and, right now, though there was not that much complexity to it, I do not know of that many Virginias yet that I have smoked, more tasteful as they may be, that, IMO, have any much deeper complexity. I do believe that it will 'ripen' and achieve a certain distinction with age.

Until such time that I am able to savor it after some aging, I'll settle for a three-and-half star for myself but I'll highly recommend it to others, if only for them to experience the 'tin' note, that amazing aroma from an open pack. I have to add that the room note is not, well, so pleasant.

Pipe Used: L'Anatra Hornsitter

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Iwanries

4 people found this review helpful.

Willy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Willy (75)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Cardiff to me is one of the milder blends in the Esoterica line, but flavorful enough that I like to keep some around for a break from the heavier blends. The subtle sweetness is present during most of the bowl, and like Tantric said this is somewhat similar to Gold Block but I find the flavor to be a bit fuller with a tad more body than GB. This can get a bit hot if you puff to fast so keep your rhythm relaxed. Nice VA flavor and the taste of spice here and there is most pleasant. Burns well, as do all of the Eso's, to a gray ash. Leaves the pipe clean too. Like others have stated, this would be a good morning smoke with a hot cup of coffee. The quality is apparent and I believe the flavoring is intended to compliment the blend and not mask any inferior leaf. Works for me.

My wife and I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and may God richly bless you and your families!!!!

4 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (683)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Cardiff is an example of one of those tobacco's that has a great tin note, but never lives up to the promise of that note. Cardiff is very mild with an extremely light topping that I can't quite put my finger on. Like other Esoterica offerings, the quality of the leaf is good and Cardiff has a nice sweetness to it. Not bad for an occassional diversion, just not interesting enough for an everyday smoke.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Cardiff is about as old world as you will find in a tobacco. No frills and a palate pleaser, for sure. Germain used four types of ribbon form Virginias and wove them together for further melding. Straight forward, honest and rather strong, this one will bring back memories of grandpa!

3 people found this review helpful.

Sceny Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sceny (66)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Here is a nice, lighter Virginia blend that starts off soft and finishes strong. As an early morning treat, I highly recommend it. In the bag, I can smell sweetness and a very mild, "bright" smell. In appearance, this tobacco reminds me of dried grass, mostly medium brown with a few lighter strands. The cut is medium in length and narrow, making packing easy. It has a slightly below average level of moisture, at least in the sample bag, and it lights very easily. For the first third, the flavor is very mild. I can taste a very soft, almost "pale" sweetness that mingles with the tobacco flavor. The flavor is good, but rather subtle; it teases, like a thought on the edge of being remembered, and I find myself puffing too hard in an attempt to make it show itself. There doesn't appear to be any problem with bite thus far, and the narrow cut burns very well, requiring less than the normal number of relights. In the second third of the bowl, the sweetness is still present, perhaps a trifle stronger. I'm detecting a hint of spice(?), and the Virginia flavor has matured somewhat, becoming slightly darker. Still, this is a very soft, subtle smoke, free of bite so far. I find myself wondering what this would taste like pressed into a flake. Moving into the final third, the sweetness has further intensified. I still wouldn't call it strong, but it is finally making its presence known as more than a background note. The overall flavor has darkened as well, becoming almost full in taste. While by no means a rich, dark smoke, it has matured into a flavorful, pleasant mixture that isn't bad at all. This maturation seems to go especially well in a tall, narrow bowl. I still haven't noticed any problems with bite or moisture with this tobacco. I was sorry when the bowl was over and I was sucking ashes. Overall, this is a blend that I found surprisingly enjoyable. The weak start is made up for by the strong finish. While not nearly as full as my preferred Latakia blends, I still enjoy this as a first-bowl-of-the-day smoke; it seems to wake up the taste buds without overwhelming, and the burning characteristics are excellent. A very good blend that I recommend as a nice, light change of pace.

3 people found this review helpful.

bryantm3 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bryantm3 (29)
Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant

Sweet, light and grassy, Cardiff is cut finely, almost looking like grass, or how a bale of hay looks from a distance. It gives a consistantly nice taste and rates well in my book. Great for late summer/early fall. Don't know why this is given 2 stars; it must be because of the small amount of people that have tried it.

2 people found this review helpful.

Captain Pete Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Captain Pete (83)
Very Mild Extremely Mild Very Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I just simply do not know where to start with this one. As with many of the tobaccos produced by Germain's, it's taste is a bit of a disappointment when compared with its tin aroma. Its aroma is mouthwatering, but its flavor is mouthwateringly bland. And any attempt at forcing more flavor through the pipe resulted in fairly severe tongue bite; unusual for tobacco made by this particular company.

2 people found this review helpful.

CaptnDan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaptnDan (242)
Very Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant

Even with 8 years of age, this blend still just lacks that certain something that makes me say "Hey, I gotta get more of this!".

I like Virginias, but not this one. I had to pay constant close attention to it to avoid getting bitten. Even then, I didn't get away completely clean.

Flavor is mild, and just not worth the effort.

2 people found this review helpful.

Colonel Panic Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Colonel Panic (42)
Very Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This is a nice light, sweet tobacco that is reminiscent of the finer Danish mixtures. It's a fine cut and packs easily; the first few puffs bring a fairly intense maple/toffee flavor but this diminishes quickly, leaving a pleasantly sweet Virginia taste. It gets fuller toward the bottom of the bowl but does favor slow smoking due to a tendency to bite, and responds nicely to a DGT after some of the flavorings have evanesced. I often smoke a partial bowl of Cardiff right before bed then put it aside...I call it "making breakfast" :)

This tobacco is soft and sweet, so lovers of English or heavier Virginia tobaccos probably won't 'get it'. If you don't mind some mild flavorings and like to indulge your sweet tooth now and then, this is a good smoke.

2 people found this review helpful.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

If Virginias are your thing I guess this is ok. It was not one of my favorites though. I found it bitey and boring. you decide.

1 person found this review helpful.

SopwithCamel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SopwithCamel (255)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

This is a nice, mild, light Virginia, with a delicious butter toffee topping. I really enjoy it in the morning with a cup of tea or coffee.

Once this blend dries a bit, it becomes very prone to bite, and for that reason, I can only recommend it to the most experienced Virginia smokers.

1 person found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (301)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild Pleasant

This is my second Esoterica blend. Again, I am impressed by the quality of the leaf, the preparation of the blend and the care taken in the whole product. I would say this is a slight aromatic smoke, a bit on the mild side, but if smoked slowly it can deliver enough tobacco flavour to make it really pleasant.

The tobacco comes almost shag cut, so it can be easy to clog the bowl. I find it difficult to light. Once it gets going, however, I fin this a very civil, friendly, peaceful smoke. If anything, this could be close to the original Gold Block (not the PG conoction that's for sale now), except that this one has a more natural aroma.

It is a nice cavendished leaf, not exactly extraordinary, but quite tasty and friendly. IMO its a bit similar to Vanners mixture, without the tangyness. Every now and then, a very good smoke and a good introduction to less aromatic tobaccos.

1 person found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (286)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

This mixture of darker VAs is fully rubbed out and I normally smoke flakes. Although easy to light and even burning, it smokes too hot for me and was really too dry as received even from a reputable site. Perhaps it's technique, but I don't like to work @ enjoying a tobacco. The flavor, although sweet, is also milder than I normally enjoy.

1 person found this review helpful.

provguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
provguy (52)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Here is an Esoterica blend that is a virginia blend and is fully rubbed out in relatively fine strands of tobacco. It packs easily and burns well but I find burns a tad on the hot side and is prone to giving one a toasted tongue. IF you nurse it and go relatively slowly the flavor is there and is quite good. Because of that I won't be buying anymore of this blend soon. However, I do really enjoy the flavor( as I do of most Esoterica blends). 2.5 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

Joe Patterson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joe Patterson (48)
Very Mild Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an odd one, I first smelled what appeared to my nose to be Three Year Matured VA -- but, wait! This one is actually worth trying! A bit sweet, but nothing that will get into your pipe. I am primarily a VA smoker, and this is one I'll save for a time when only "something different" will do.

Nobody has rated this review yet.