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A special formulation of six light Virginias plus Golden and dark Virginias with air-cured leaf and a pinch of Louisiana Perique. Easy burning is ensured by the carefully selected cut. The Perique balances the Virginias; for the discerning palate.

BrandEsoterica Tobacciana
Manufactured ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeVirginia/Perique
Contents Perique, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutReady Rubbed
Packaging2oz Tin, 8oz Bag
CountryUK
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant, Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 3 Users

3.1
61 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
23
3 star:
23
2 star:
13
1 star:
2
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mdnyc71 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mdnyc71 (22)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

I purchased my first tin of Dorchester at Barclay Rex in NYC about 4 years ago. It was my first VAPer (I had been smoking English blends) and was purchased on a whim. I now most often smoke VAPers and still enjoy Dorchester.

There is a light topping that makes for a pleasant room note but doesn't interfere with the tobacco's flavor. To me, this is a light, mellow smoke (the inverse of GLP's Fillmore) that never bites. I most enjoy Dorchester in a medium to large bowled pipe. The nicotine level is never overwhelming.

It's a shame this has become so hard to find. I'm waiting for Esoterica/Germain to either increase production or raise the price. I'd be happy with either. It's my #2 behind its sister blend, Dunbar.

3 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (136)
★★★☆
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A friend sent me a sample of this and some vintage ERR in exchange for some ODF and some 7 yo LBF. I had been wanting to try this.

This is a quality Virginia with a little perique that became more evident as I smoked through the bowl. There seems to be a very mild topping with a slight fruit flavor. Another reviewer said apricots, but I don't think that is it. It may just be the plum in the perique and not a topping at all. The fruit flavor is very subtle. This is a flavorful smoke, and there is a depth to it with all the complexity of a sweet Virginia blend kicked up just a notch. I enjoyed this a lot.

Pipe Used: various briars

Age When Smoked: unknown

Purchased From: gift from friend

2 people found this review helpful.

A.E. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A.E. (22)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Esoterica Dorchester blend enjoys a reputation for flavor and rich character that's out of proportion to the reality of it, in my opinion. It has a pleasant dried fruit aroma in the tin. The smoke is rich but essentially one dimensional, except for some pepperiness which was slightly harsh and not an asset. The Virginias weren't as sweet and flavorful as I'd like, which makes me suspect that the quality of the tobaccos may not be top shelf to begin with. This is a reasonably good tobacco blend, but I personally prefer more elegance and complexity. My hope is that over time, a mellowing and marrying of flavors will raise the experience it brings, but if the tobacco is only mediocre to begin with, nothing will change that. I purchased (3) 2oz tins. After opening the first tin, I'll be content to allow at least 2 yrs of aging before opening the next one. I'll review it again at that time. For now, I'll give it only 2 stars.

Pipe Used: Davorin Morta

Age When Smoked: Recent blend

Purchased From: Windy City Cigars

2 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (566)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

When I first opened the 8 oz. bag, I was greeted with the deep sweet smell of raisins, figs, and apricots. The tobacco was fresh and slightly moist, and silky. What surprises me about that is how little moisture I get in my pipe by the time I finish a bowl of it. It burns slowly to a dark gray ash and I almost never have any dottle. The taste is consistent, smooth, very slightly buttery, and the sweet fruitiness of the Virginias is understated, but filling. A perfect, delicate marriage of Virginias with not the slightest hint of tongue bite. I can hardly detect the perique, so if there really is any in here, it's in the smallest of quantities. It doesn't matter; it doesn't need it.

One of the best, most delicately delicious, gentle and elegant tobaccos I've ever smoked. I'm very curious to see how it develops with age.

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (557)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I liked this tobacco very much, but I found it idiosyncratic to a large degree. The tin aroma was pronounced perique but upon smoking, there appeared to be very little of this leaf in the blend. It didn't really rear its head at all until the bottom 1/3rd of the bowl. I almost wonder if the heavy perique aroma is some sort of casing, but I tasted nothing artificial in this tobacco.

As another poster mentioned, I had extreme trouble getting this tobacco to accept a charring light. Once I did, I had no trouble getting it to burn but it always seemed like there was a coating of something or other that was repelling flame.

The extreme fruitiness of the tin aroma did not come out in the smoke. The flavor was mildly sweet and very grassy, but really well rounded. This would make a GREAT all day smoke and a nice changeover for aromatic smokers, due to its natural sweetness. Left a dry heel as a plus! This is a well-conceived blend and is definitely recommended. I doubt I'll buy any more because I found it to lack the "pizzaz" I need but it's a good recommendation.

2 people found this review helpful.

kg0mz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kg0mz (54)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

This is tasty stuff. Grassy, sometimes sweet, strangely organic, and often tangy. The perique subdues the throat-razors of the VA for me. It is a kinder/gentler VAper, but fairly complex. Moisture is about right. Dry VA is REDRUM on my throat, but not Dorchester. Maybe it is the air-cured leaf coming to my rescue? I just noticed the contents: Kentucky. What's with that?

Sweet in the tin, very ripe. In the bowl it has a veiled quality about it that blurs things a bit unlike St. James Flake that is clear as a bugle. My new top 3 (aged St. James Flake bulk, St. James Flake tinned, Dorchester).

2 people found this review helpful.

O'Confrère Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
O'Confrère (31)
★★★☆
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

When I first tried this blend (from a tin), the smoke was wonderful and I was completely taken with it. Then I purchased the larger pouch, and had several smokes that were so peppery, sharp and lacking in balance that I gave up on it. Have only recently got around to trying it again. The reviews below are surprisingly contradictory and mirror my own experience. I think the problem is that the constituent tobaccoes are not always mixed well. As mentioned, the tangled shag cut is mixed with very stiff, leathery, broken flakes, and sometimes the proportions of shag and flake vary in the tin or pouch more than the producers (and the smokers) would like. The same is true of each pipe. One has to make sure to get a good mixture of all the elements into and throughout the pipe, and this often seems to be more a question of luck than anything else. Of course, I may be completely wrong here, but it might explain a lot, and when I take greater care with packing it seems to increase the probablities of enjoying the smoke.

As to the aroma in the tin, many have pegged it as apricot. To me it smells very strongly of chocolate syrup with perhaps a background of dried fruit or fruits (maybe apricots).

Haven't smoked enough of this to determine whether it's mixed better in the pouches (would seem most likely) or the tins, but my first tin was delicious. So, go figure. I don't know whether to recommend this to you or not. The quality seems to be there, but I've had awful smokes (one star) and smokes that were wonderful (four stars). This may be the one for you, as it seems to be for many below. Will go with that flow and round up the average from 2.5 to three stars. You pays your money and you takes your chance.

1 person found this review helpful.

A Northern Breed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A Northern Breed (16)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Dorchester... it is difficult to review this because I have just submitted my review of Dunbar, and I find the two to be quite similar. The differences are there, but it takes a very refined palate (which mine is not, I do not think) to discern them. However, I will give it a go, because, well, I like it, so why not?

The presentation is typical Esoterica, which is a good thing. The tin has a nice design, rather classical, and I like the fact that Esoterica packages two ounces (being roughly 56 grams) rather than the standard 50 grams that most use. The smell is a bit nicer in the tin than Dunbar, being of raisins and sweetness, and the sweetness is something which Dunbar does not have as much in the smell. This is based upon a literal side-by-side comparison of smells. The Dunbar smells more like it was aged and acquired a bit of mustiness, while Dorchester is cleaner and brighter.

It packs quite well, and it takes a light quite well also. It burns clean to the bottom of the bowl and leaves behind a nice, fine ash. The taste is just right. It is very much a bright Virginia taste, not as heavy on the Perique as, say, Escudo, in my opinion. Really, that's what makes the biggest difference with Esoterica's VaPers: they are bright, and the Virginia is easily the most apparent thing in them, with the Perique adding that nice hint of spice. Escudo, as I have said before, is not nearly as much of a VaPer as Dunbar or Dorchester, just because it tastes sweeter, darker, kind of like a nice, dark basement, whereas these Esoterica offerings are more of the brightness that characterizes fine Virginia tobaccos.

Overall, I would certainly recommend this to anyone who is trying to get into pipe smoking. In fact, the VaPer genre, in my opinion, is an ideal introduction into pipe smoking; either VaPer or a nice Burley, that is. As I say often, the only reason it gets a mere 3 stars is that I reserve four stars for my absolute personal favorites. Highly recommended; your money will not be wasted here.

1 person found this review helpful.

fireball Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fireball (36)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

It took me a while to nail the topping on this, but now I have, I can't help but think 'apricot!' every time I puff away on a bowl of this. This is quite often, as I very much enjoy Dorchester, with its pale golden virginia rough cut ribbons, a touch of perique and a generous helping of the aforementioned soft fruit flavoring. I actually had a rare pipe epiphany, smoking this on a boat on a sunny day, it just felt so good, I never wanted the bowl to end. I've found it works best in smaller bowls, group 3-4, as opposed to Dunbar which explodes with sweetness in larger 5+ sizes, but pushes perique spice to the front in smaller pipes. I'm not quite giving it 4 stars (yet), because since I nailed the apricot taste I find I don't find it as wonderfully intriguing anymore, and am currently in two minds whether to buy in bulk. Will give it another couple of ounces to decide if this is a keeper or a pleasant passing fancy.

1 person found this review helpful.

David Douthitt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
David Douthitt (2)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

This is most probably my favorite tobacco. Opening the tin, the smell of this blend reminds me of fried okra, if that makes any sense. This would be hard to smoke right out of the tin, and takes for me an overnight drying-out to smoke properly. While I normally smoke stronger blends ( my all-day smoke is Cornell and Diehl's Old Joe Krantz), this one is plenty strong, and the flavor is the perfect balance of Virginia and Perique. This one will always find a place in my rotation!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (70)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Many of the Esoterica tobaccos are overlooked because of the adoration (properly bestowed) for Stonehaven and Penzance. I've only recently come to Dorchester as I explore VaPers and it is a solid favorite of mine. A decent helping of Perique gives it spice and fruitness. Ready to smoke out of the tin without much additional drying, Dorchester burns cool and always satisfies and relaxes. I favor it in a Meerschaum which seems to accentuate the rich raisin-like flavor. It has become an addition to my cellar and I always look forward to a bowl. Recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (485)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have been attempting to compare and contrast Dunbar and Dorchester for a few months now and they are very similar. They are both excellent quality with about the same amount perique that is contained in our benchmark Orlik Golden. Dunbar and Dorchester are natural and smoke wonderfully. These blends definitely provide a unique experience worth trying. the difference in taste between the two is small, but dorchester is lighter, sweeter, and fruitier while dunbar is spicier and has more of a rich plum taste. If you could only choose to try one, I would personally recommend Dorchester.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (119)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This was the first VA/Per that I ever smoked and did so on the First IPSD that I have experienced as a pipe smoker. I am glad I did not review this when I first purchased it as I was not really getting the taste of VA/Pers then.

I have purchased two other VA/Pers since (or 1 1/2 if you really consider Old Gow'rie a Va/Per) I really enjoyed it, but feel too unqualified to give it a 4 star. I did like it better than the other I purchased (Anniversary Kake), but that one is becoming better with age and as it dries.

I will say that this blend really taught me about Perique and it is the only blend containing the same where I really smell raisins and can learn to appreciate the fruity smell to which so many here refer.

I love OG, but think it more comparable to straight Va's. Definitely recommended and I may repurchase at least to compare to some other notable Va/Pers I plan to purchase in the future.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (217)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Very nice VaPer, smooth, bright, sweet with just the right balance of Perique. I smoked this outside next to the ladies and they commented how good it smelled. The smoke is very satisfying, no bite and not too spicy. It has been some time since I smoked " Dunbar" , which I like very much, and I can't remember the difference between these. I guess I will try a back to back comparison and update later. I do find that this is a little damp right from the tin and I recommend that you smoke it on the dry side.

Updated 8/18/2011 -A back to back comparison between " Dorchester" and "Dunbar" revealed the following:

Cut/ Moisture/ lighting: Same, very acceptable

Tin aroma/ Appearance: Similar but Dorchester had a hint of snuff scent and was a lighter color

Flavor: Similar, Dunbar was more mellow and matured where as Dorchester was brighter and slightly sweeter flavor

Tongue bite: Dorchester had a very slight nip at the tongue where as Dunbar had no nip and was an all day smoke

Overall: Both are excellent Vapers , I favor Dunbar only because I am very sensitive to Tongue bite.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (53)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Yes. It is good! Perique is dominant and very noticeable throughout all but the last third of the bowl. Best described as a peppery smoke. It's a very interesting VA/Per with good burning qualities.

An enjoyable VA/Per for "me." I believe that top shelf leaf was used in this blend. Simply a no nonsense blend of quality tobacco that can be enjoyed any time if one likes Perique blends.

This, for me, was a unique tasting VA/Per that is unlike any other I've ever smoked. The end of the bowl tastes good, smokes mild and doesn't become harsh or bitter. Therefore, IMHO, Dorchester merits four stars. Sampled in a size 2 Dunhill Shell Briar.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (89)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I had a sample of this blend last summer that I smoked through. I would like to get some more of it at some point. I very much enjoyed this one. The blend took a liking to my Peterson Rocky Donegal Canadian, and that was the go to blend for this pipe until the sample ran out, I think it really shines in such narrow pipes with medium to longer stems. I nice stout VA with a bit of that peppery perique coming through, another blend that I compared it to was MacBaren's jokingly named Latakia Mixture, I found the two to be similar in flavor and enjoyed smoking them in tandem to get just that bit of difference. I can't give much information on the tin note since I only smoked a sample from a baggie and did not have a tin, but I would like to come back to this one and smoke through a tin as I very much enjoyed it!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Denevei Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Denevei (58)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Esoterica's Dorchester is a blend of several different Virginias, what they call air-cured leaf, and perique. They describe it as containing a pinch of perique, but to me it seems to be a generous pinch. It is said to be for a “discriminating palate,” and since I really like this blend I'll take that as a compliment! The tobacco itself is a ready-rubbed ribbon, though with some larger pieces of less rubbed broken flake. In color it is mostly browns and golds, though with some very dark, almost black mixed in. The blend is rather moist for my taste, and so I found that I like to allow it some time to air dry; doing so also allows me to enjoy the rich and pungent aroma of this blend, which has a smell that reminds me of the haroset my children bake for Hanukkah. The perique in the blend adds the usual, raisin-ish taste and aroma to the tobacco, though it hits me differently than perique does in some blends. While the flavor from it is a good, pronounced presence it isn't as spicy to me as in other blends, which I think might be the result of some amazing balancing of the other constituent tobaccos with the perique. What it does add, however, is a level of flavor and depth absent in many straight Virginia blends. Dorchester seems to somehow become lost in larger pipes, so I would recommend using only smaller bowls. I have a Group 4 Dunhill which seems about perfect for the blend, as does a Kirk Bosi pipe. In smaller bowls, the nuance and variety of each type of leaf seems able to escape from the others at various times during the smoke, and so to show a wonderful complexity in the tobacco. Smokers who complain that Virginia blends lack flavor will be delighted by this Virginia blend for that reason. The flavors become richer and more pronounced as you get deeper into the bowl, never becoming bitter or acrid. All in all, this is a delightful blend, and one I highly recommend. However, bear in mind that it is best suited for smaller pipe bowls, and prepare to be disappointed if you load it into something large!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Julian Arden Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Julian Arden (8)
★★☆☆
Mild Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

Somewhat disappointing. Encouraging, classic tin label, pleasant, although maybe a bit cautionary open tin aroma, and really nothing special, when smoking. Aroma, which is nice before smoking, is almost insensible in smoke itself. I was surprised, how distinctly biting and choking is a smoke of this mixture. I am afraid, that it is feature of poor quality tobacco. Strange. I can't recommend it to nobody.

After a month: all right, I don't like to be too cruel. So be it: upgraded from one to two stars. Perhaps somebody will like this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (33)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild Mild Tolerable

Good tobacco constiiuents, I'm sure but for ,me ,personally nothing remarkable in the combination they are in.The perique is nice but in my opinion kinda whispy. Others have complained about it being heavy but to me it is at best medium.Tried this blend because the suppliers were out of the "Nirvana" tobacco - Stonehaven( which I have not tried as of yet).I do hope it is beter than Dorchester when I finally do(if ever due to near permanent undersupply)

I'd sooner spend the money on Orlik Golden Sliced or a couple of the Stokkebye Virginia/Perique mixtures-(except that nasty Luxury Twist stuff).

Oh Well, there ya go - Somewhat Reccomended only- especilly considering the price!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★☆☆
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable

Like many of the tobacco's in the Esoterica line, Dorchester is made from good quality leaf. It is also pretty high in nicotine, which is not a problem for me. The tin aroma is excellent. The reason why I am reviewing this as a "somewhat recommended" is because the perique is added with a heavy hand. I like my Va/Pers a little more on the sweet side with the perique not taking such a dominate role. This blend is a three or four star blend if you like a larger amount of perique. Dorchester packs well, but because of the cut, I would recommend not packing it too tightly so it doesn't burn hot. Dorchester should age fairly well. Somewhat Recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tortuga Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tortuga (17)
★★☆☆
Mild Mild Mild Pleasant

Dorchester is a mild Va/Per blend consisting of six types of Virginia leaf - mostly bright, and a modest amount of dark brown perique. Twisting open the circular 50g tin reveals a lively, fruity tin aroma that I wish could fill my house. The cut is mostly a very thin ribbon with a small amount of what looks like ready rubbed perique flake. I really like the burning quality of this thin ribbon and also the way it packs in the bowl. To me, it has a very light citrusy flavor. The sidestream is nice due to the high quality va and that mild citrusy thing, creating a very tolerable room note. I think it's probably a great warm weather smoke. Over all, this Esoterica offering is extremely mild. That may be it's Achilles' heel actually. Who knows, perhaps with age this blend could develop into something more majestic, but with so many other va/pers in the market offering terrific returns right out of the tin, it may be hard for me to buy this one again without long term cellaring in mind.

Esoteric's Dorchester is a very good blend that is a little too mild for me.

3 of 5 or 2 of 4 Stars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Alguhan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Alguhan (140)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Well, first of all I must say that, if you are not a fan of the blends in which the Perique addition has made generously stay away from this stuff. The tobacco in the tin smells nice. It has a shaggy ribbon cut so some of you may prefer to chop it a bit. For me tha packing was not a problem. It lights easily and I can keep it lit without problems. The Virginias are really flavorful and sweet. Perique doesn't let you to enjoy a lot this sweetness. It is spicy and very peppery. The combination of flavors and overall strength of the blend satisfies me. I've enjoyed every bowl of it and ordered some more..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BingCrosby Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BingCrosby (48)
★★★☆
Medium Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

The only other va/per blend I tried prior to this were escudo and mcconnels scottish cake - so my idea of what to expect was limited.. I found those two great blends to be perfectly balanced but I did not taste the spiciness that others associate with perique.. it was more like chocolate and nuts.. which are great flavor notes.. Dorchester is the blend which changed my perception.. while others say this is light in the perique department I found many of the spicy and vinnegary notes that were not so pronounced in the aforementioned blends.. in fact, this blend while it seems to contain some nice virginias, seems to be dominated by tangy high notes and maybe a little pepper.. the aroma from the tin reminded me of scottish cake.. and it seems to come a little on the wet side. It is also slightly difficult to light - but once it gets going it smokes just fine.. Dorchester, for me, is delicious and different - certainly not for everyone as it has a very strange and precise flavor profile.. It is strong but not overpowering.. maybe not an all day smoke. I found it to be spicy in a way I wasn't expecting.

note- some drying out time really mellows out the flavor for me.. much smoother overall smoke with hints of spice

another note- while i cannot understand the negative reviews of this blend.. I will say that after smoking it for awhile now i find it not as well balanced as some other va/per blends.. if you want something more balanced check out solani 633, escudo, mcconnell's scottish cake.. however, having said that for me the flavor profile of dorchester is interesting and different.. so I can still recommend it as a sort of alternative to the standard va/per taste - which is all too frequently the same from blend to blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

arbor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
arbor (9)
★★★☆
Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is my first review so understand that I am not familiar with describing pipe tobaccos. I usually smoke more aromatic and sweet tobaccos so this one was a bit of a change for me. I like the taste and the strength of it, but it is a bit on the spicy side. I enjoy the packaging and tin smell, but I feel like when it is smoke it is rather spicy and a bit harsh. I don't think I'll buy it again because of that but I am glad I tried it out.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
★★★★
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

Very nice-when the tobacconist had it on sale, I finished the tin and turned around and bought three more. One tin was older, and had a completely different, fermented taste. I still have some of that one left, but I think this one might be better fresh. It has a wonderful smell in the tin, maybe a slight topping but I can't put my finger on it. Mainly just a good grassy, sweet Virginia. The perique is there, but in the background in my opinion. Does not bite, and the taste and body are of the type that allow one to puff away without punishment.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tallman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tallman (35)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Edit--I have to upgrade this tobacco to 4 stars. I just finished a bowl that was just...sublime. No other word for it. Sweet Virginias, and enough perique to make me say WOW. This could easily become my favorite. Favorite VaPer, anyway!

This is a wonderful "next step" when the new pipe smoker wants a little something more than an aromatic. Though I can't speak for the more experienced pipe smoker (I've been at this for less than a year) I'll bet it could become a real regular smoke. Wish it was available in bulk! Try it, you may make a friend for life!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Sextants_Shepherd Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sextants_Shepherd (3)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This tobacco is a very fine, quality product. Packs and burns nicely, not overly wet in a freshly opened new tin and dries well after opening.

A blend, by definition, should be more than the sum of its parts - as such Dorchester could reasonably be described as a marvel of subtle blending.

The overall taste is oats, apricot and molasses. The rich sweetness ventures to the level of pronounced at the onset, but a mild darkness develops to balance the sugar out before it becomes overwhelming.

I find that I enjoy this most in a big bowled bent-billiard, the more the space the more mild the blend seems to smoke. I drink big draughts of the stuff this way, and although it is so good I that I tend to puff too often, burning the bowl is a concern but burning my tongue is not (and here I give the big bore Radice most of the credit).

In a smaller bowled apple the blend has a bit more punch. Either way, delightful taste with either a glass of cool water or unsweetened black tea.

One caveat I would make: DGT is not the best for this blend. Unlit in the pipe is Ok overnight or through the workday, however.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tobold Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tobold (7)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

12/18/08 - This is a "blue-collar" review from a long-time pipe smoker who is neither a connoisseur nor a gourmet. I like subtleties up to a point, beyond which I cannot detect them. There are very few aromatics that I like anymore. I love orientals, latakias, and Virginias, but burley gives me some trouble. Most of the time, I like stronger blends over weaker ones and in larger pipes than smaller ones. I have exceptions to all of the above. With that said . . .

This review is from a bagged sample given to me by a friend.

A dark brown fine ribbon-cut in the tin with a mild virginia aroma. Complex from the touch of the match! This has such a sweet & flavorful room note you'd think that it was flavored with something. Lots of high, sweet notes. Wonderfully complex dance of flavors that defy description. No bite. William Serad says to use a clean, small-bowled pipe to get the full effect. I'm afraid that most of the complexities may be beyond my simple palate, but I'll keep this around to challenge me. Recommended!

As I detect little of the perique, I'd place this only slightly behind the wonderful Red Ribbon!

I'll keep this on hand because it's a unique complex Virginia blend that challenges my palate!

Rated 8 out of 9 leaves.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Laudante Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Laudante (29)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I know that people can have different tastes, but I can simply not imagine how can some put a one star rating to this astonishing blend. Even from the tin it starts to satisfy. The amount of Perique is just right, it burns perfectly well, the virginia mixture is very interesting, the curing and aging are perfect, made, blended and aged entirely in the British Isles. ¿What else can one ask for?

UPDATE: After almost finishing the tin I started to notice that my first impressions were false as regarding the sweetness of this blend. I found that the taste is indeed so spicy, especially at the last third of the bowl, that too much smoking of this can saturate you. So I made an experiment. I had an old Burley Slice that to be smoked alone was too dull and heavy for me, so I mixed the last three flakes with the equivalent amount of Dorchester, and the result was great. Both tobaccos enhanced one another. The dullness and flatness of the BS was given the freshness and grace that was lacking, and the spiciness (like Tabasco sauce, as my friend Tantric says) was tempered and "rounded", so to say, by the Burley. The mixture acquired a deepness and ripeness, to say something, that none of the conforming tobaccos had on its own. After this update I will change my rating to 3 stars for the Dorchester alone, but 4 stars for the mixture proposed. I guess other high quality burleys would work as well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cbd2 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cbd2 (10)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

After not smoking any VaPers for number of years, this blend was recommended to me by my local tobacconist and, boy, am I pleased with it!

It's a bit moist coming out of the tin but that's nothing that a couple of hours of drying (per bowl) won't remedy. It packs nicely and every bowl 've smoked has been a 'two match' bowl, burning cleanly with a good deal of smoke yet keeping the pipe remarkably cool.

The Virginia has a sweet taste and mixes nicely with the spiciness of the Perique. I had none of the problems that some have noted with either lighting or "gobs" of Perique.

This has become one of my favorite early morning blends and I highly recommend it to lovers of great Virginias with just enough Perique (which, to my taste buds, should never overwhelm blend). Perhaps it could be called a fine introduction to VaPers, or a blend that is extremely well-suited to the occasional VaPer smoker.Note that the tin describes the blend as having a "pinch" of Perique so I would not recommend this to those who like a great deal of Perique.

As an interesting side note, I've had many compliments for how "nice" Dorchester smells from non-pipe smokers - NOT a compliment that I'm accustomed to receiving with my usually heavier English blends, and as I don't consider this to be anywhere near an aromatic!

This is my first review here and I would like to thank those who contribute here - this site has been a great guide to some very fine smoking.

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Pipeline Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeline (206)
★★★☆
Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

April 2008: Well, I'm not smoking this anymore. Perhaps heavier blends with more Perique have become my mainstay. Super quality with a profile outside what I reach for nowadays.

July 2003: Dorchester in bulk has become a daily companion before dinner. It is faultless, flavorful, mature and complex. Only absent-minded smoking will make this bite.

I have yet to find its superior in the mild to medium flavored Virginia/Perique category. I have searched for years.

If you want to begin somewhere with natural Virginia pipe tobacco, Esoterica is a good place to start (and stay). If you have not yet mastered flake-form tobacco, again, try Dorchester's fill-friendly ribbons.

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Slow Triathlete Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Slow Triathlete (48)
★★☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The review below is part of a VaPer Showdown that I conducted between several VaPer blends:

Well today was a Dorchester day. I went through the whole sample that Ultramag sent to me last month (Thanks again!!). And after my enjoyment of this blend I've decided that it is now in 2nd place.

Like most people who reviewed this blend, I found that this had the least amount of Perique in it compared to the others that I have smoked so far. However, the taste was still great and somewhat creamy. The perique and the virginias were seperate in the beginning and it was a bit spicy when I finally got it going. After about a third of the bowl the blend settled down and melded together well.

I did have an issue lighting this one. I dried it correctly but I had one clump of tobacco sitting on top that refused to light. After two attempts I scooped that piece out of there and it lit perfectly. This blend stayed lit better than the other two so far. It required two relights but I believe that it was more my fault because my brother called and I was trying to smoke, review, and talk to him all at the same time.

I would recommend this blend to anyone who is just getting into VaPers and doesn't want to get blasted with Perique right off the bat.

The standings so far:

1) Escudo 2) Esoterica Dorchester 3) Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye Flake

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Hermit 78 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Hermit 78 (33)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

My tin had about three years of aging on it, and the inside wrapper was stained a greasy brown. There are lovely little crystals sprinkled throughout. I have a complaint, though: while the virginias may be accurately described as "ribbon cut," the perique is present in gobs that are practically pressed flakes by themselves. I went through the tin and broke these up. Perique is not a tobacco that I want to mess with in thumbnail-sized chunks, thank you very much.

I find a two finger pinch of Dorchester needs a good hour to dry out before it's ready to go in the pipe. And, as other reviewers have mentioned, it's important not to overpack it. The virginias are sharp, toasty and a little sour at first. The perique is rich, tangy, spicy and woody, and not at all subtle. This is less sweet and more savoury than McClelland's 2015. The taste is like fig balsamic vinaigrette with cracked pepper.

Dorchester is not a classic of the magnitude of Penzance or Stonehaven, but it certainly has character. Hasty puffers should be careful, as this stuff can easily incinerate the tongue.

UPDATE: I like the taste of Dorchester, but I burn the heck out of my tongue every single time I smoke it, no matter how slowly I go. I'm of the opinion that virginia tobaccos smoke better in flake form almost invariably, with or without perique.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.629 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.629 (133)
★★★★
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Dorchester.19/03/07. I have given Dorchester,a rating of "Highly Recommended" So,long as it has some to it.One half of my generous sample has been aged for a minium of six month's.And the other half for twelve month's."Result" Delicious,perfecto! "Without doubt" Well behaved all the way down to the bottom of the bowl,leaving no goop,or sourness at all. "Highly recommended"

Nobody has rated this review yet.

loosewatches Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
loosewatches (108)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Ahh Dorchester. I'm surprised this gets only 3 stars overall. I think this is a perfect VaPer. Spicey virginias, they say are six, are full of body, and mild sweetness, perique is in the precise amount to counterbalance. No bite, and it's cheap, too. 20$$ for 8 oz. . . a little rugged tasting. . .bitchin'stuff.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

mrmcmc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
mrmcmc (15)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

OK, Just my two cents worth, and that will be a nickel adjusted for inflation.

Today I ventured into a bowl full of Dorchester that I have been aging since 1996, or the end of 1995, you get the picture. And all I can say is, WOW!!!, what a treat. This tobacco still smells new in the jar, and tastes even better.

The virginias have aged beautifully, and the perique is still there weaving its magic throughout the bowl, in perfect harmony. The taste is somewhat sweeter, fromt the aged virginias, than a new can, and the Perique plays harmoniusly throughout the virginia flavors. Layered, complex, subtle, tasty, and sweet. A really nice smoke. This is not to be rushed, but to be enjoyed at leisure with the greatest pleasure!!!

If you have the patience, try aging some this long, and see for yourself. I have roughly half a pound of this, and I guarantee it won't last long.

This was smoked in a medium sized 1987 Andre hand made straight grain pipe.

By way of comparison, I smoked a bowl of similarly aged Dunbar, and it was, for the most part, flavorless.

HAPPY SMOKING!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

dualkarnain Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dualkarnain (69)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is a good VAP blend that is flavorful. The virginias really stand out here, which is a good thing.

If you have a few extra dollars, though, try Reiner's Long Golden Flake. It is much more refined and smooth.

This blend brings to mind one of Chaucer's narratives in 'Canterbury Tales.' In the portion of this famous tome you read that a particularly greedy priest is made to promise that he will share out equally that which he is donated. Then instead of receiving monetary gains, the individual in question proffers the gift of flatulence to the surprised, newly wordbonded priest who must now go to his peers to give them their portion...

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Elric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Elric (34)
★★★★
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

This is a marvelous VA/PER which is extraordinarly well-balanced. The blend of Virginias and Perique work together in excellent harmony. There is a hint of sweet to the smoke and room note and a double helping in the tin aroma. I cannot understand the reviews noting this blends dryness and/or bitterness as it doesn't exhibit either characteristic regardless of type or size of pipe to my mind. Mild enough to be an all-day blend without being cloying but stout enough to feel like you smoking real tobacco with no shortage of character. Highly recommended

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I must admit to having smoked very little of this to date. I will update this as warranted. At this time it is too rich a flavor for my less-experienced palate. I much prefer Dunbar to Dorchester. If you like big taste in tobacco, give it a whirl. It is of the highest quality as well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Todd Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Todd (9)
★★☆☆
Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

10/27/04 - Dorchester (new, tinned)

Tin: This long shag cut shows a nice-looking variety of leaf - medium brown VA's are most prominent at maybe 60-70%. There is a noticeable dark-fruitish aroma in the tin, typical in character to other VA/Per's but stronger. I suspect there's some kind of topping going on here, but in itself it's not offensive. My tin was very moist. The rest of the review assumes substantial drying time before smoking - fresh out the tin, the moisture level made this unsmokable for me.

Pack: The long ribbons are a minor fuss to pack evenly and definitely present a risk of overpacking, but just a little bit of caution should avoid any problems. No real issues here...

Light/Burning: The tobacco lights easily and burns cleanly down the bowl. In several bowls, I found that I had actually smoked the tobacco almost completely to ash when I emptied them. For smokers or situations that demand a low-fuss burn, this could be a major plus.

Flavor: Here's where I start having problems. The first half of the bowl or so is dominated by a sweet Virginia taste, though the Perique's influence is noticeable. But the flavor is muddy and unremarkable. Not unpleasant, but just not very interesting. I'm not sure whether this is a result of the topping I suspect to be present, or is simply the taste of the base Virginias. The second half of the bowl sees the Perique pick up considerable strength, but again just not in an interesting way. There's no bite to this tobacco if smoked relatively carefully, but I do get an odd astringency in my mouth from the smoke that is vaguely unpleasant.

Pipe Choice: I found this smoked best in medium (Group 4 size) bowls. Bigger pipes only increase the muddiness of the flavor, and small pipes just don't give me enough of it.

Overall: Virginia/Periques are my favorite blends, but this one just doesn't do it for me. Escudo or Haddo's are far more interesting, as is Esoterica's own Dunbar. For a new VA/Per smoker, I'd rather recommend Astley's #2 for a medium-weight yet approachable introduction or Haddo's for its complexity and depth. I could see Dorchester being a reasonable all-day smoke, due to its excellent burning properties, medium flavor, and bulk availability. But for me, this just isn't entertaining enough. Aging could very well tame the sweetness of the VA's and bring out some more sparkle, but with so many worthy competitors why bother?

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Beer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Beer (296)
★☆☆☆
Mild to Medium Mild Mild Tolerable

I don't like this blend: it's inferior to Dunbar, not as lively and varied, and showing a finer cut. In spite of the fruit, at times flowery tin aroma (vaguely Erinmore-like), it produces quite a weak, bitterish, empty smoke. Its sourness and dryness can be bothering on the long run. Quite unappealing.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Esoxhunter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Esoxhunter (60)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

September 2004

This is the first Esoterica tobacco that I really didn't care for much, even though I am a confirmed Va/P smoker. Although the body was plenty full and the taste was plenty flavorful, the flavor is one that didn't set particularly well with me. I can't tell for sure whether this tobacco is actully cased, but the disagreeable flavor was one I recognized from some of the araomatices that I have smoked--kind of a weird off-sweet flavor that I can't quite put my finger on. Some of the previous reviewers have described this a a "musty" tobacco--perhaps the "must" is what I am detecting? For me, the disagreeable sweetness eventually disipated, leaving nothing but a blast of Perique.

So strange was the flavor of this tobacco that I thought perhaps that one of my wonderful Bjarne Freehand plateaus, reserved only for Va/P blends, was the culprit. Subsequent use of the pipe, however, indicated that the weed, and not the wood, was responsible.

I'll stick with Dunbar if I want a good Esoterica Va/P blend, or one of my "unmusty" favorites--Haddo's Delight or Escudo.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Joe Patterson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joe Patterson (48)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

There are a number of Va/P blends on the market that I smoke far more often than this one -- but none of the others are shag cut, and that, and it's mild personality, sets this one apart for me. If you like Va/P, you should try it -- if St. James Woods, Solani 633 or some of the other powerhouses provide to much nicotine for you but you still like that spicy/figgy taste, this is most certainly worth a try.

For me, the Perique barely asserts itself until midway, if not the bottom of the bowl, but make no mistake, it lingers just below the surface at all times. I prefer more flavor and more nicotine in my Va/P than this one provides.

The shag cut of this blend is a blessing and a curse -- it can pack great and burn all the way to the bottom of the bowl just as easily as you can overpack and hardly keep it lit -- be careful packing!

I suspect that in a year or so, I'll want to break open another can, but in the mean time, I'll likely stick with something else.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

The Keeper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
The Keeper (112)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I haven't yet met an Esoterica Tobacco I haven't liked. Dorchester continues this trend.

I won't go over all the details again; most reviews here cover it well. What I can do is compare it to other popular VA/Perique blends that I have tried. Smoked it in a locally carved freehand that is Perique seasoned: I was almost reluctant to do this as I was afraid I'd end up with too much spice and not enough body. No chance. This tobacco's flavor stood on it's own.

To match it against, say - Stratford by GL Pease: I found the taste in Dorchester fuller, heartier and less raw (probably due to the aging that Esoterica puts the weed through), and more subtle in the use of the Perique. This perique also had a slightly tangier, sweeter flavor than other blends that use it. It was still spicey - but didn't contain the double barreled sensory assault of Haddo's Delight. How does it match against this popular Pease Perique powerhouse? Dorchester does something different... it truly comes off as a refined VA/Perique blend that you can relax and enjoy with the occasional tangy surprise. Not the S+M thrill-ride that Haddo's occasionally delivers (quite well)!

I would by no means call this blend "mellow" but it is not at all abrasive. Exceptionally smooth, flavorful and good right out of a freshly opened tin (some drying will no doubt only improve it). Not a single bite or sting to the tongue. This may be that Perique/VA combo I've been looking for.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Willy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Willy (75)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Not much more need be added to the reviews of my esteemed colleagues, I'm just pokin' my nose in the door. I've stated before that I seem to reach for Esoterica tobaks quite frequently, and Dorchester is another winner that finds its way into my pipe bowls. Smooth and cool, the VA's are obviously high quality, lightly tangy, sweet and nutty & the Perique offers a bit of spice and balance to the smoke. Easy to pack and burns evenly and dry to a whitish ash. Virtually no bite, nary a gurgle. For some, IMO, this could be an all day smoke but YMMV. Another Olde World kinda smoke that too me is reminiscent of thatched roof cottages and quiet country lanes on an Autumn day. One of the better VA/Perique blends out there. Works for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is another excellent example of why Esoterica is one of the premier tobacco companies in the land. It is made with an exceptionally sweet blend of Virginias and a very healthy dose of Perique. If you don't thoroughly enjoy V/PA blends then you pbobably won't enjoy this very much. The perique is of the fresh jalapeno variety and interplays with the virginias quite well. If you think the perique is a little strong when you first light up, just wait until you reach the halfway point! This is certainly the most perique I have ever encountered in a blend. I noticed that some of the previous reviewers thought that there was cavendish and burley present in the mix when they did blind taste testing. This is probably due to the extremely sweet Virginias used. This is necessary however to offset the strong perique content. The burley taste comes from the interplay of the Virginias and the perique, the same faux burley taste I have found in other VA/P blends. This will bite like the dickens if you are not paying attention to it. Due to the complexity of the flavors here however, this is a tobacco that needs to be smoked nice and slow anyway. Too strong and complex to be smoked everyday, it is something that I will enjoy smoking on occasion, when I can focus solely on the experience.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

BriarNorth Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarNorth (49)
★★★★
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

This is my all-day Va/Per blend. It smells and tatses wonderfully fruity and figgy and the perique kicks in nicely mid-bowl without overwhelming the blend or the palate. Packs and lights easily, no tongue bite, burns clean to a fine ash. What can I say? This is an ideal tobacco. I buy it in bulk and keep it on hand at all times. Another stunner from Esoterica.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (137)
★★☆☆
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a ribbon virginia-perique blend for sure. The virginia is slighted scented with some type of fruit essence. Sweet tasting even with the perique, but the sweetness fades a bit near the bottom. I found this to be an inconsistent delight. The tins smoked well enough in a medium Upshall and Jacono, but when I graduated to more in a pack size, I found that the blend packed some bite. Not consistently bad, or hot, just some bite. Maybe from the perique, which I normally like in many blends. Similar to Escudo in taste my book, which I don't find to bite but which is a shade stronger (if aged). I can't understand the inconsistency, becasue I smoked this for a while in the two pipes I mentioned, in similar conditions. Obviously, many enjoy it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Nimrod Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nimrod (29)
★★★☆
Strong None Detected Full Unnoticeable

So far my experience with VA-perique blends is pretty limited having only tried Haddo's Delight. That being a bit too overwhelming for me I decided to continue my adventures into VA-perique blends elsewhere and I seem to have run into something good on my second try.

On opening the tin this stuff smelled very familiar. Spicy, sweet, fruity... for a while I couldn't place it but then it occured to me. This stuff smells almost exactly like a good strong spicy-hopped ale like perhaps an IPA (india pale ale). Being a lover of such beers, and not being able to drink them much due to health reasons, this was very appealing to me.

The cut for this stuff seems a little odd to me. Its almost a shag but not quite. I find this a bit hard to pack and I'm left wondering why they cut it in this manner.

The smoking qualities of this stuff are pretty much like it smells: spicy, fruity, sweet. Compared with some other VAs I think this is a bit less prone to tongue bite. I'm not sure what else to say except that its really good.

Especially if you like a good strong ale of this character, you should give this one a try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Inquisitor Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Inquisitor (155)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

(From a blind taste test).

This took a bit of time to develop. At first light, I experienced a touch of tongue-sting and harshness. No Latakia, but I am sensing a decent matured Virginia component. I suspect that the slight sting is bright, or more likely, red Virginia-based. The somewhat dry sample does not initially display any truly distinctive manufacturer-flavors, so McClelland, MacBarens, Lake District mfrs and GL Pease don't seem likely. I don't believe I have ever tried this tobak.

Five minutes into the smoke, any suggestion of harshness is gone as the bowl settled into a slow smoulder. The flavors are unifying nicely, while a subtle sweetness appears. I'm not picking up any true top range, despite the receding sting. What little there is seems to be more of an extension of a mid-range creaminess (condensed milk-type), slight mushroom mustiness (which I attribute to matured VA), semi-sweet chocolate and a ginger beer tingliness that slightly bites the nose, in a pleasant way. The combined effect is quite nice, especially with the steadily-developing sweetness. I' m not suggesting that this is topped or sweetened in any way.

Mid-bowl: I notice a bit of nico-buzz when I get up to let the dog in. While I haven't been truly bitten, my Michelob Amber demonstrates that my too-often flapping tasting organ has not escaped unscathed. I am undaunted, though, because I am enjoying this. My initial impression is that this is primarily a matured and red VA blend, perhaps with a touch of non-Latakia oriental or burley (which I still have a hard time describing). I'm not tasting Perique.

A 10-minute DGT creates no ashiness, though a welcome green tea-like bitterness says "hello." The smoke is thick and the side-stream continues to bite my nose more noticeably than any blend I can recall. A VERY slight, pleasant, flower-blossom nuance has appeared, while the semi-sweet chocolate/cocoa element has become constant (delightful). The bass range isn't too deep, with a brown sugar/light-fireplace character. The mid-range has picked up a hint of walnut, while the natural sweetness has increased in the manner of a good, classic American-grown Virginia.

Suprisingly, several re-lights are necessary as the bowl nears the end. The tongue-sting potential remains. A certain "heartiness" pops up, and the cocoa tone has become so evident that if this had been the beginning of the bowl, I might have suspected the masterful application of a subtle and delicious top.

Second Smoke: I eagerly return to Sample "C" a week after the first smoke, this time with a Savinelli Punto Oro Dublin. I pick up some stoved flavors I missed on the first go-round. The mid-range creaminess develops a caramel-like tone in addition to the condensed-milk element noted in the first bowl. I also taste a yeasty-hot-italian-bread flavor that I'm surprised I missed before. I guess it just proves that you don't know a tobacco until you have tried it a few times in different pipes. The flavors are fairly consistent, but there are many and they are all delicious.

The slight nicotine buzz again appears at ½ bowl, but it is of the gentle, happy variety. While the signature tin aroma is absent, this is smoking closest to McClelland #24 or a Butera Virginia. On re-light, an oolong-tea/IPA bitterness coats my tongue. Not unpleasant, but it somewhat masks the VA sweetness. But the sweetness returns steadily, along with the strength. Additional matured Virginia flavors begin to perk around the peripheries. Nose tickling could be Perique? I just can't tell.

I recommend this tobacco to anyone who likes Virginias. Keep it low and slow to maximize the experience and avoid the heartbreak of TB. Yummy stuff, I'll probably buy several tins.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bernie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bernie (6)
★★☆☆
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

This review is from a blind tasting.

I don't know if it's because I've been smoking stronger tasting stuff today or if this blend just has a very weak opening but for the first couple of minutes I could just about detect the presence of a VA with a good character but which was doing nothing to distinguish itself. Like Sinatra humming within a crowd of football fans. A few minutes later and the scene has changed dramatically. There is now a lot of VA flavour present along with some kind of burley I believe. The VA impression doesn't last as the burley comes on really strong now. This is a most pleasant smoke. I could live with this one as a regular. Looking at the blend in the bag it has two basic colours. Light and dark brown. I suspect a VA and a burley and possibly a small amount of Perique might be present as there is a little spiciness but if it is Perique it is doing little for the VA if indeed there is VA here as the predominant flavours are all burley ones for me. But it is a good quality burley. In fact this is a really good kick ass burley. There is a great abundence of flavour here. Warm caramelised creamy nuts about describes it. There is a slightly toasted character too.

Another day another bowl.

Looking at the leaf spread over a sheet of white paper I see there are some fairly chunky sized black pieces. Reading about my last smoke with this stuff leads me to think these might be cavendish, a tobacco I have tended to avoid due to it being sweetened and widely used with aromatics.

I've loaded up a Lorenzo bent Dublin and this is the first bowl of the day. It is not a good first smoke of the day I'm finding. It lacks any distinctive sharp flavours that I like first thing. It's much more gentle than my usual kind of morning blend which is quite often something like Dunhill Nightcap with added cigar leaf.

Again it has quite bland beginings and slowly begins to reveal more flavour. It is taking it's time today though. I'm about half way through the bowl now and although it is pleasant it is too subtle for me right now. This would be good to smoke when you don't have much attention free to devote to it.

There are two kinds of pipe smoking pleasure for me. The first is just plain smoking. I like to smoke. I like to have a pipe in my teeth and draw smoke from it. The second is the pleasure that comes with the taste of certain kinds of leaf or combinations of leaf. This is a pleasure that is acquired by trying different blends and giving more attention to what we are smoking. When particularly good flavours are pouring forth I get a combination effect of both these pleasures and it becomes difficult to put my attention on anything else. That is what I consider to be "the zone". This blend is a good smoke but isn't pulling me into it to the exclusion of everything else.

I have enough left for a smaller bowl which I shall smoke later on today but right now my verdict is Not Guilty. If there were no other blends in the world this would be worth smoking as it is pleasant enough but I wouldn't advise anyone else to take up the pipe for it.

Last Impressions

For the last bowl I chose a small bent bulldog of no known name but stamped with the name of a good tobacconist in the West Country. Immediately upon setting fire to it I was rewarded with a nice strong shot of burley. It seems to like this pipe better than the last. The burley is more up front now. Less flowery and more savoury with a richer tobacco taste. But ultimately this is still pretty bland for me. I have no idea what this blend is but would be surprised to find it is anything more than a cheap drugstore burley blend!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1005)
★☆☆☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Whew, after reading the last two reviews, I sure hope there's enough room on this thread for mine.

This blend has quite a bit of Perique and that Louisiana Hot Sauce makes its presence known from the moment you set fire to the leaf. This is also a very shaggy cut, and will not pack well unless either chopped or given a whirl in a blender. The cut was not a problem for me as I use a blender on just about all of my tobaccos for an even pack and burn.

Way too much Perique in this blend to make me happy. I barely finished one bowl. It's also a bit nippy on the tongue, even with slow puffing. If you love Perique, well, a bowl is as good as a gallon with this stuff -- enjoy!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (263)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a wonderful matured, naturally sweet and fragrant Virginia, with quite a bit of Périque.. It comes in an elegant tin, with a kind of parchment paper printed to make it look like it was hand written in old ink. The tobacco inside is rather moist, but it is very easy to pack and light. The leaf is beautiful and I believe of high quality grade.

Though I am not (yet) an absolute Périque fan, I have come to enjoy blends with this leaf thanks to Fox?s Dorisco, Petterson?s Irish Oak, and Solani?s 633. IMO, after a number of bowls of Dorchester, I believe this could be the rubbed out version of Solani?s 633: the Virginias are as sweet and winey, and the Périque is as juicy and piquant. Because of the ribbon cut, I find Dorchester easier to smoke than Solani?s, but I enjoy both very much. Neither are tongue biting, and they both offer a rich and fresh flavour, and a medium strength smoke. This is my first experience with Esoterica Tobacciana, and I was very impressed with the quality of this blend. I will be enjoying more of this in the future. Highly recommended, especially if already acquainted with Va/P mixtures.

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

I love this stuff. Another wonderful Esoterica blend. Dorchester as you have read is a virginia/perique blend that has a musty aroma in the tin and on lighting has a wonderful flavor profile and spicy side as well due to the perique. At any time of day is very enjoyable. This is one of my favorite Va/Perique blends along with Dunbar, Astley's #2, Escudo and Haddo's Delight. I would have to say I have preference for Astleys #2 then Dorchester and then Dunbar for my top three. A big 4 1/2 stars.

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lustra Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
lustra (170)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Dorchester is a lovely shag-cut Virginia/Perique blend. The cut is very fine, and in the tin, one smells the rank pungency of Perique that heralds a good smoke. This is a bit hard to pack due to the length of the cut, but once lit, it burns very well. This blend burns cool, doesn't bite much if at all, and alternates between a nice cool neutral taste and a sweet Virginia taste with hints of Perique pepper breaking through. This blend didn't really "develop" for me, but there's enough interplay in the basic ingredients to keep me entertained. Dorchester produces a lot of smoke, always a plus for me, and it burns to a fine white ash. Plus it doesn't clobber the palate as some Latakia blends do. This makes a very nice morning smoke and goes well with a fine Assam, or even Green, Tea.

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Albion1956 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Albion1956 (41)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Once again the weather is changing, here in the east, so it's time to try some new Va/Perique blends. First up; Dorchester. Opening of the tin presented me with that elusive fragrant of Perique, how spicy to senses. Tobacco comes moist, so some air will help. Packing the bowl with this robbon cut can be tricky, so do be careful. Charring light emits the earthy blend of expertly blended Va's, with some Perique. Tamping, and then the second match. Now the tobacco start's to come to life, and great match, providing a fair amount of smoke. This tobacco, like all Va.'s, will bite if your not careful, so smoke slow , and enjoy. Towards the the bottom, it can get a little strong, but should be expected. Tobacco burns to a light grey ash, and all the way to the bottom, with no dottle. A great blend. Now on to Dunbar.

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howie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
howie (46)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This review has been written as a portion of a three part review of Elizabethan Mixture, Haddo?s Delight, and Dorchester. For the best understanding of my thoughts on this, read all three together. I have recently completed tins of all three, with comparison in mind. 2/2002.

My tin of Dorchester was opened upon purchase, but had been on the shelves for at least six months, so had some opportunity to age a bit in addition to tin preparation. This is a very nice blend of Virginias with a nice helping of Perique. The cut is a shag cut ribbon (1-1.5mm) that burns very nicely. It is not uncommon to remain lit for 40-60 minutes and does not pack down too densely in the bottom of the bowl, which I had been concerned about at first.

The tin aroma is a very appetizing experience, with fruity tones. The appearance of the ?baccy itself is a nice mixture, largely of medium color leaves, but with a variation of tones, perhaps reflecting the six different VAs that are listed on the tin description. A number of partially rubbed flakes were found in the mix, with crystals, which was a surprise based upon the youth of the tin. Humidity is good for smoking immediately, but I have gotten into the habit of leaving new tins open for a week prior to smoking to allow them to adjust to a more oxygenated environment.

This starts off flavorful from the first smoke and picks up a richness and depth as it is smoked, getting spicier as it goes. The bottom of the bowl can be fairly strong in flavor and a bit tarry to the taste, but I have not experienced the ashy tastes that I have seen in the others.

I have picked up a couple of 5 year old tins that I am looking forward to trying, and plan on making this a regular in my rotation. Four Stars.

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Tbombadil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tbombadil (11)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

Since any taste review is so subjective let me start this by saying that I consider myself a Virginia smoker first and foremost. I like perique blends, latakia is something that I can generally tolerate only in moderation. My basic everyday smoke is aged 5100 and I've got several tins of Escudo in reserve as well as a jar or two of 2015 sitting around aging at any given time.

That being said I have to say that Dorchester is one of the nicest experiences I've had in a long time. I recently got a couple tins of this stuff from tobaccodirect and for some reason actually cracked one very soon after its arrival (I generally tend to buy stuff and let it age for a while before getting around to trying it). When I smoked my initial bowl I violated one of my principle rules for taste testing tobaccos. I had just gotten a nearly unsmoked Capitello rusticated dublin that I wanted to try something special in so I used it to try the Dorchester. Usually I don't like trying a new blend and a new pipe together as it can get hard to tell which I'm really enjoying. This time the synergy was nearly perfect. I had "one of those smokes" where everything was perfect.

Throughout the bowl the perique was very pronounced, stronger than Escudo but not quite so overpowering as 2015. It was just short of becoming too much. A perfect example of edge play. The Virginias complemented the perique beautifully and there was none of the muddiness I find in Va/perique blends that also contain cavendishes such as Haddo's or Elizabethan Mixture. The taste experience was a great ride from initial light up on through mid bowl and into the final third of the smoke. All in all it was a smoke that had it all. I've since tried this blend in another pipe or two as well as the Capitello and, while not having another of those once in a blue moon smokes, results have been consistantly excellent.

This is a tobacco I'd list as a must have for any Va/perique fan. While perhaps a little heavy on the perique for a regular English smoker I'd say it should be tried just to see how much perique a blend can have and still retain the subtleties of a Virgina blend. My personal rating for this one would have to be 9+ out of 10.

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MikeB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MikeB (15)
★★★☆
Strong None Detected Very Full Strong

This is my first VA/Perique blend. It hit me like a ton of bricks by half way throught the bowl. The smoke started off well and the taste is very nice. I smoke aromatics mostly and this is a very nice switch. I will try some more blends like this one.

If you like a little spice in your smoke, this is very nice. And the easiest to keep lit. I made it all the way to work with only one relight. (30 min drive)

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Sceny Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sceny (66)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is the second Virginia/Perique blend I've tried, Escudo being the first. I did not enjoy Escudo very much, and this blend confirmed that I simply don't prefer this style of tobacco. It was not a bad smoke, however, and I'll likely finish the sample I have without difficulty. In the sample bag, the smell is very mild, sort of a medium "tobacco" smell with nothing standing out. The blend appears to be a mix of medium and lighter brown leaf in a long, narrow cut, with the occasional large black chunk thrown in. It's a bit tricky to pack, but with a fairly low moisture content, it does light easily. In the first 1/3 of the bowl, the main flavor is that of a medium Virginia, mild and uncomplex. The taste is darker overall than that of Cardiff at the start, and there is perhaps a hint of spice in the background. There is also some bite if I don't puff carefully. In addition, it seems to need more relights than usual at the very start, despite the dryness of the tobacco. Moving on into the second third of the bowl, the spice in the background has become more pronounced. This reminds me a lot of Escudo, but I find this blend somewhat more flavorful. The Virginia flavor, while still "medium" in body, is showing some signs of complexity. I don't notice any of the usual Virginia sweetness here, but the taste has matured somewhat. Into the final third, the spicy note is becoming more obvious. It adds nicely to the complexity of the tobacco flavor, forming a nice, light mixture. It finishes pleasantly, leaving a spicy taste on my tongue. Overall, while this isn't my favorite style of tobacco, I found this to be a nice enough diversion. It matures and develops best in a deep-bowled pipe. I actually prefer this to Escudo, as having a bit more flavor and fullness. If you like Escudo, I certainly recommend that you try this. It burns well without any moisture, and tongue bite is avoided through careful smoking. I'll likely keep a small amount around for when I'm in the mood for this style of tobacco, though I don't believe I'll buy a full tin.

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pokrsmokr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pokrsmokr (32)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

For those of you who like Virginia/Perique blends, Dorchester is a must try. Like most VA/Perique blends, Dorchester has a very sweet yet pungeant tin aroma -though I agree with others that it's a bit more musty than the Three Nuns, escudo et al.. I also recommend the tin over the bulk as the bulk seems to be very prone to mold (I had a large mold ball in one bag), and it's taste is substantially 'off' that of the tinned version. perhaps with some aging the bulk would compete, but this review will be on the tinned version. Dorchester is a medium brown/light brown ribbon cut tobacco. The sweet virginias dominate the smoke until halfway through the bowl, with the perique present but not as in your face as some other VA/Perique blends. At about the halfway point, the pungeant and spicy perique comes into it's own as the Virginias take a back seat -but don't et me wrong, they're presence is NOT forgotten. Their sweetness remains. There is a very enjoyable 'sweet spot' with this tobacco in the zone where the VAs and Perique compete for dominance -the smoke is exquisite at this point. Creamy, sweet and spicy all at once. Very enjoyable. The finish of Dorchester is not as enjoyable as the rest of the smoke as the spiciness grow in strength exponentially and quite frankly can be a bit much. Overall, Dorchester is a quality tobacco which will always have a spot in my tobacco closet. One of my favorite things to do is fill the bottom 1/2 of a bowl with Esoterica's Tilbury and the top 1/2 with Dorchester. This seems to help avoid the spice overload which I described and the transformation between the smouldering Dorchester and tilbury is simply phenomenal. Try it...

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