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A marriage of air-cured leaf and Burley with selected dark Virginia. Hard pressed and aged to produce brown flakes with dark undertones. A traditional English flake favored by experienced pipe smokers.

BrandEsoterica Tobacciana
Blended ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsBurley, Virginia
FlavoringOther / Misc
Packaging2 ounce tin, 8 ounce bag
ProductionCurrently available
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None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 18 Users

191 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

You may prefer to dry it some - I like it with some moisture, as I feel it tends to lose some flavor when it's real dry. Dry or moist, you'll get a long lasting smoke as it burns cool, clean, smooth and slow. Fold and stuff, cube cut, rubbed out... no matter how you prepare it, Stonehaven delivers a very consistent VaBur taste with a rich, but mild dark chocolate, deep dark fruit, a little grass, wood and a bit of earth and molasses, and a light nuttiness. The burleys are a little more obvious than the Virginias. Treacle is one of the toppings. I have occasionally noticed a slight inconsistency from bag to bag, but not often. An experienced smoker will be more sensitive to what complexity is here as some flavors are subtle, and may not appear in every puff. The nic hit is mild to medium at best. Won't bite, or get harsh. If you leave it as moist is it usually is when purchased, you may have to stir up the bottom of the bowl a little, but generally, it leaves a little moisture, but no dottle. Requires some relights. I suggest packing the tobacco a little loose. Has a very pleasant after taste and room note. Can be an all day smoke.

47 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

This is a tobacco I always keep a good stock of. This blend always provided me with one heck of a unique smoking experience. The silky smooth, long dark strips (which look just like beef jerkey), always make my mouth water just by looking at them. They always are moist, so, rubbing to suit my taste is difficult (I like my flakes rubbed out to the hilt). Once rubbed out I let the tobacco sit in the open air for a couple of hours (minimum), because the flavor and strength is more pronounced when smoked dry.

The smell is deep and dark, just like the leaf, and the older Stonehaven (produced before the turn of the 21st century), is much more perfumed than current production with not quite as much of a nicotine hit. This is also one of the coolest smoking blends I've ever put in a pipe. The flavor comes on strong, and is almost like dark chocolate in its richness.

This may not be a morning smoke for some because of its strength on the palate. But, I can see where this can be puffed in the late afternoons and evenings non-stop. Puff as hard and fast as you like, there will be nary a nip! Again, I have never smoked anything quite like this. Although loaded with Burley, Stonehaven is smooth all the way down the bowl whereas many Burley blends will fan their gill plates near the bottom.

25 people found this review helpful.

A.E. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A.E. (22)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Esotericas Stonehaven tobacco is a good English tobacco - no more and no less. The approach to its marketing has apparently created a "mystique" based demand founded on its 'unavailability'. People are well known to want more of (and pay more for) what they purportedly 'can't have'. I'm no different - I paid a ridiculous premium for my first, and only, sampling of Stonehaven. Why so 'unavailable'? Is the tobacco harvested from the dark side of the moon? or from some mysterious tropical island that only appears once a year in the remote Pacific? C'mon....clearly it's a ploy to create demand and price point where the quality of the actual product doesn't truly justify such. Good tobacco in a fine blend? Yes, but there are many as good or better. Pipes and has a better English blend in their Marquee Magnum Opus, in my opinion. Compton's of Galashiels blends are far more rich, luxurious in taste, and rewarding to smoke than any of the Esoterica blends that I've tried, including Stonehaven and the equally 'unavailable' Penzance. Try Esotericas Stonehaven if the opportunity arises and you are a fan of good English pipe tobacco. However, if you never get your hands on it, don't fret. You haven't missed out on anything spectacular. Certainly, don't pay more for it than your local tobacco shops own good English blend. In all honesty, I'm a bit put off by the way it's qualities and desirability have been falsely inflated by the manufacturing of a supposed perpetual 'unavailability'. That seems greasy to me....After all, it's only tobacco for goodness sake.

21 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (326)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Thanks to a pipe smoking friend, I have had some six year-old Stovehaven calling to me from my desk. This is one of those things where if you waited for the occasion that was worthy, you would soon have some seven year-old Stonehaven. I decided not to wait for a special event. Maybe I decided to create one.

It is hard for me to describe because I am not the poet. There is a depth to it, and it is smooth and full of VaBur flavor. There is a smoky thing going on in the flavor profile and I found it slightly sweet and a little heavy. It smoked very cool for me, and it was a longer smoke than I expected. Those flakes are dense. I have a theory that when there is not enough taste in a tobacco, I puff it too fast trying to extract some. Stonehaven does not have the "not enough taste" problem, and I am finding this to be a tobacco that suits me every well. I have about an ounce total, and I will enjoy it.

I know I am not adding much to the body of knowledge about this legendary tobacco, but I do want to cast my vote with four star folks. FWIW, I rubbed mine out.

Pipe Used: just rocked in a National large billiard

Age When Smoked: six years

Purchased From: gift from friend

19 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

As Korndog said, this HAS to be dried out to be appreciated for the near-perfect smoke it is. I sampled it fresh out of the bag and it was a bit hot as it got down the bowl. Dried to the point where it breaks off easily (not quite crumbly) is about perfect for me. If you're going to give this blend the time it deserves, I recommend you dry it thoroughly. Experiment with different degrees of moisture until you find the right one for you.

This blend has depth and complexity, the nuance of flavors coming through at different times. Sometimes the burley takes center stage and sometimes the stoved virginia rears its head. Throughout most of the smoke, this blend is a true "blend", with all the tobaccos melding harmoniously into what just may be my favorite mixture. I have about 20 "favorites" and I think this one may be the best of that group. I cannot recommend this blend highly enough. If you like natural tobacco taste with just a slight sweetness that can either be complex enough to sit and contemplate or easygoing enough to sit and forget, you have to try this one. If you don't like it, don't throw it out! I'll be happy to take it off your hands. :)

14 people found this review helpful.

A. Morley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
A. Morley (97)
Medium None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Very Pleasant

The Esoterica line are some of the most well-regarded tobaccos to be found today. This is not unjustified as J. F. Germain, the historic company of the Isle of Jersey which blend and tin all of the tobacco under this label, are known for using the absolute finest leaf and employing the most exacting of processes. One need look no further than their price to determine this. I will say that, as regards the mixtures Germain puts out under their own name, I have always been impressed. It is when they produce for a private label, when they are asked to do something a little different, that I find I am never fully satisfied. Bear in mind, though, I can never fully decry these blends out of consideration for the obvious quality of the leaf. That, and I have yet to try any of the blends they produce for the Smoker?s Haven, which I understand are very good.

Stonehaven would initially appear to be a classic flake, all dark red and sweet-smelling as it is. The addition of Kentucky Burley here makes it something a bit more off from the beaten path, perhaps even an Americanized British flake. Sadly, an as much as I like Burley, this is Stonehaven?s one downfall. There is something about the addition of Kentucky leaf to red Virginia that destroys the sweet tang of the Virginia and makes the flavor of the Burley unnoticeable. When I am smoking a flake this dark or when I am smoking a flake containing Burley, I expect a big flavor. The flavor of Stonehaven is most often mild to the point of being a vapid nonentity. Sometimes it is as though the mouth is full of nothing but hot smoke, and while, I suppose, this is always true when smoking a pipe, it should never seem like only that. There is a middling amount of strength, but this is hardly any compensation.

Once again, the ingredients are of the finest. The flake is thin and flawless with a texture of silk and leather. Still, I would as soon exchange this for a foil pouch containing something with an appearance like unto dog hair if I were to get some true taste from it. Like that paper tiger Penzance from the same line, Stonehaven has many superfluities and very little of what counts.

Regards, A. Morley Jaques

12 people found this review helpful.

Smoking Sam Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Smoking Sam (20)
Medium Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I ordered an 8 oz. bag of Esoterica Stonehaven back in January 2013 from a local tobacconist. One bag is all that the owner would allocate me. I received a phone call today to advise that the tobacco was in stock "IF I WAS INTERESTED!" Having never tried this highly touted tobacco, yes, I was interested. I traveled to the tobacco shop on my way to lunch, and the employee manning the register couldn't locate the bag. Bummer! After we both made a thorough search, and contacted the store owner by telephone, we located the Stonehaven in a bulk glass display jar on the shelf. No one had put my name on the bag, but the entire 8 oz. content was there, fresh, and only a few hours out of the bag. I was asked if I wanted the opened tobacco, to which I replied, "yes, I'll take all of it." The owner was embarrassed that this had not been set aside for me, so she volunteered to get me another, unopened bag, from a sister store in another city. She asked, "would you like one bag or two?" I said that I would take a couple bags if she had it available. She promised that she would have it available tomorrow. BTW, there was an unopened bag of Penzance in the store that was being held for me. I bought that as well. The Penzance costs $40, and they only charged me $33 for the opened quantity of Stonehaven. In short, today has been a very good pipe tobacco acquisition day for me.

Enough with the logistics, how does it smell, smoke and taste?

Smell? The other reviewers were not wrong on the smell. There is a pronounced, delicious smelling aroma of figs, plums, and chocolate. The flakes are quite beautiful, moist, and a rich dark color. There is no question that this is premium quality tobacco.

Lighting? Fully rubbed out, and fresh and moist out of the bag, one flake fit my jet black rusticated Ser Jacopo Dublin perfectly. It took a couple of false lights to get the tobacco going, and then the burn was perfect - even though the Stonehaven was moist.

Taste and smoke? Mild. Satisfying. Subtle. A very nuanced taste of aged straight burley and Virginia tobaccos. The taste is slightly sweet. The tobacco smokes VERY coolly. Plentiful bluish gray smoke. There is zero tongue bite. Nose exhale is excellent. The ash is salt and pepper colored.

This is not a tobacco that reaches out and grabs ones taste buds, say, like a full Balkan or strong English blend; however, it DOES provide a nice, relaxing, smoking experience. My strong coffee with cream and sugar, frankly, overpowers the taste. The nicotine level seems to be about medium strength. I rate this tobacco - three stars. I will amend my rating, if my opinion changes, but I think that is a fair evaluation.

Esoterica Stonehave (and Penzance) are worth having at the retail price, but I refuse to pay the eBay scalper's exorbitant usury prices. I don't think an 8 oz. bag is worth $100, at least not to me. Stonehaven is very comparable to FVF, Full Virginia Flake, which I find is easily obtainable here in North Carolina.

Obtaining? How does one get it at the "regular" price, you may ask? Patronize and support your local tobacconist, put in an order request, and WAIT patiently. You will be rewarded for your loyalty. Esoterica releases this tobacco, and Penzance, twice yearly, about every six months. I placed my order in January of 2013, and I took delivery today, which is spot on for retail deliveries.

I plan on smoking the jarred 8 oz. flakes of Stonehaven in my regular rotation, and I will cellar the other two bags, if my tobacconist comes through on their promise. At one flake per bowl, it should last a long time....

9 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (492)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

The unobtanium of the pipe tobacco world. It is absolutely incredible and worth all that is said of it. The greatest vabur I have had the pleasure of smoking. I was lucky enough to have forum friends send me plenty of this over the past year and am just nearing the end of those samples. I have never had a bad bowl of it yet.

There is really nothing that I can compare this blend to. IT has a lot of body to it and the Virginia (very mature) and burley combine to give a sweetness that is perfect to the tastebuds. The flakes themselves are so thin and fragile they make prep a thing of ease. I won't downgrade on the availability factor, but it is a bummer that Germain can't keep up with its demand.

It is even a bigger bummer that people can cash in on nearly double the cost of this once they buy due to that same demand. OK, rant over. Get if it you can find it.

Pipe Used: Best in my Dunhill 5103 shell

8 people found this review helpful.

hiplainsdrifter Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hiplainsdrifter (9)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This legendary tobacco scarcely needs another review, but in light of the more recent lackluster reviews, I feel compelled to speak up for this wonderful blend. This stuff is fabulous. Massive tin notes of dried fruit with some pleasant grassy and chocolate undertones, overall very autumnal. Beautiful thin, dark flakes that fold or cube-cut easily, or fully rubbed out if you like. Best dried for an hour or so before smoking. A complex flavor profile through the bowl, with that heady dried fruit tin aroma translating to a similar semi-sweet taste on a solid fine Virginia backbone. The burley makes this a very mellow smoke despite the abundance of flavor and balanced sweetness. The second third is a truely spectacular pipe smoking experience. Although you can push this tobacco more than other Virginia flakes, it will welcome very slow sipping for maximum flavor output. Yes, this tobacco has a lot of hype and is always sold out. That is because it is great. If anyone tells you otherwise, I would suspect that either their taste buds are severely pidgeon-holed, or they are trying to dissuade you from searching for it so they can find more for themselves.

7 people found this review helpful.

Bulldog8483 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bulldog8483 (12)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Recently, I have heard so many mixed reviews of this blend. Everything from "Amazing to Severley Overrated." General consensus is that it is a really good blend, but I think the scarcity and the hype has evidently left its mark and not in a good way. It appears from my reading up on the blend that a decent group of smokers believe that Esoterica is forcing this blend to be rare and scarce because they only release a little at a time. I have to say that this could be happening, but at a minimal level. The real reason both Penzance and Stonehaven are rare and scarce is because they use specialty aged tobaccos and obviously aging tobaccos correctly takes time. They can attempt to artificially speed up the process, but that has its downfalls both in terms of quality and most importantly taste.

To get to the point of reviewing the tobacco itself, I believe that this is a quality tobacco that is noticed both in look and taste. I do believe the hype has hurt the tobacco as mentioned earlier because smokers come in with really high expectations and I can't blame them, I kind of did too. However, if you take that into consideration and temper expectations, I really believe there is a good chance that you will like Stonehaven. Its fruity smell out of the tin is not extremely pleasing to me, but it is certainly not a turn off something like McClelland's Christmas Cheer Virginias for example. I, personally just do not like that smell in the slightest, but rather prefer something like the smell of Orlik Golden Sliced "haylike" aroma for example. Either way, the raisen, figlike and sweet smelling tin note is still solid in its own right.

As for the smoke, I noticed a drastic difference when smoking it somewhat damp, yet easily smokable versus smoking it dry, I mean really dry. Something like 12 hours of dry time. The drier it was, the better the smoke and flavor was, which I thought was kind of different. The complexity of the blend seemed to come though more and it was a much more satisfying smoke as well. Big, white clouds of dry smoke were commonplace when smoked this way versus when I smoked it on the damp side. I tasted the subtle sweetness and at the end of the exhale I tasted something like a dark chocolate taste that was quite pleasant, even though I'm not much for sweet tobaccos. Stonehaven burned cool, tasted pleasant and was quite satisfying overall I have to say as the blend unfolded down the bowl. I think those of you that believe it is overrated, possibly try to smoke it dry and see if it changes things for you. Nothing to lose and everything to gain in that regard. As a side note, I think the pipe you smoke it in also might make a difference. It was true in my case and it might be something worth trying for those looking to change it up a bit as they try to extract the complexity of this blend.

Overall, I rated the blend 4 stars. I would rate it a 3.6-3.7 to be exact and I do like Penzance better. I think the hype around Penzance is legitimate because I have not found anything like it in terms of exact taste and most importantly quality. With that said, Stonehaven is very solid in its own right and I think that J.F. Germain and Son's Rich Dark Flake is very close in terms of tin note and taste. Not identical, but real close in my opinion.

In closing, I believe it is worth a try if you can get your hands on some relatively easily for the quality of the tobacco and Esoterica's great reputation in general, however doing a bunch of work to get some is not worth it in my opinion. I say this not because Stonehaven is not worth it, but going through all of that work is not worth. Stonehaven is a quality tobacco that gives you a great smoking experience I expect that those of you that try it will find it to be that way as well. Just keep in mind the different ways of smoking it to ensure that you get out all this blend has to offer. I hope that this helps guide you all in your search for great smokes.

Pipe Used: Savinelli 2101 Dry System Pipe

Age When Smoked: Couple days old.

Purchased From: Brick and Mortor

Similar Blends: J.F. Germain and Son's Rich Dark Flake.

5 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (102)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Esoterica Tobacciana’s Stonehaven is – IMO – an archetypal English flake tobacco, not only in terms of the blend and the way it’s processed, but also in terms of the way it smokes, which is perfectly. It is everything I want in my pipe, and there is nothing there that I don’t want, apart from regret over not laying up more of it when I had the chance.

Tin note is the yardstick for VA/Burs, featuring chocolate and prunes over the tobacco. The tobacco is pre-aged, correctly pressed and fermented, and it’s also perfectly “conditioned”, ready to smoke right out of the tin, given a proper fold-n-stuff load, which is to say, not too tight. There seems to be a range of VAs, with plenty of red and brown, also some air cured leaf along with the stoved, and fruit has been added at some point. The lot is deep, dark and sweet like molasses and treacle, but it is not cloying, and the Burly is as “fatty” and rich as any I’ve ever sniffed or smoked, nutty and just tannic enough to add its own brand of “tang” to that of the VAs. The flakes are moist, and they require some patience at the light (preferable, IMO, to drying it out). Stonehaven is great right from the match, and it just gets better as it is smoked down. There is plenty of smooth, fragrant smoke, and the scents and tastes run parallel, quite rich and thoroughly satisfying, overall, with exemplary balance from top to bottom. Strength is medium; tastes are toward full; room note is pleasant. The aftertaste is the best of a very fine smoke, and it lasts for a long time.

I hope it’s clear that I love this tobacco, and I’m glad to have found a tin to review since I joined TR. IMO, this is one of the most “satisfying” pipe tobaccos on the Planet. It is delicious, long-lasting, and “comfortable” in a way that too few modern (not to mention available) blends can equal. Obviously, I think Stonehaven is worth the chase it seems to entail these days. Four Stars, of course.

Pipe Used: various briars

Age When Smoked: fresh to aged

Similar Blends: Compare/contrast to GLPs JackKnife Plug or Peterson's Perfect Plug.

5 people found this review helpful.

DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (203)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Without a doubt the most elegant and unique burley/Virginia flake that I have ever encountered. From the bag, the flakes are very moist and smell like dried fruit and dark chocolate. Obviously, this flake does require some dry time. When lit, the most obvious flavor comes in the form of a subtle sweetness which is most likely the product of Stonehaven's light treacle topping.

The actual flavor of this tobacco is burley driven but somewhat elusive, and often what I experience are mere hints or suggestions of certain flavors rather than anything clearly pronounced. However, I find this to be a large part of the allure of smoking this rare tobacco. Stonehaven is not what I would call a rich tobacco, but it's still a fairly complex smoke with a wide range milder dark, muted, stoved tobacco flavors. In other words, the flavors are not huge but they are still present. The treacle topping is executed perfectly and sweetens the smoke just enough to provide a counter balance to the bitterness of the nutty tasting burley. The mouth-feel of the smoke is superb, it has in spades that creamy attribute found in some of Germain's other blends that has the uncanny ability of feeling full while tasting relatively mild. The overall result is a silky smooth, bitter-sweet smoke with a dark & distinct earthy flavor. Stonehaven is extremely refined and aside from Germain's own Rich Dark Flake, there's nothing on the market even remotely like it.

The first time I smoked Stonehaven I didn't really get it. But at this point in time, I hadn't really found my stride with burley. But over the course of time I began to appreciate just how distinct this fine tobacco is. It doesn't shine in every pipe, and its flavors don't always come directly to you. But when Stonehaven is properly prepared and burning well, it can make for a truly fantastic experience.

Pipe Used: Briar

5 people found this review helpful.

Peter Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Peter Piper (41)
Strong None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Strong

As a Brit, I have long looked at reviews on here and comments on various forums with a degree of envy, this stuff is unobtainable in my neck of the woods and seemingly rare as hens' teeth even in the US. So imagine my delight when a friend across the pond gifted me a sample and aged for 4 years to boot.

The flake is dark and mottled. A little unwieldy, cube cutting seemed the best option and I took it on advisement to let it air and dry for a while before packing.

Light it up and oh my, what an underwhelming disappointment. There is a pleasant sort of fruity/cake smell from the pack, but this does not seem to carry over at all into the smoking. It is impossible not to be influenced by reputation and, although I wasn't quite expecting angels dancing on my tongue, I did at least hope for something distinctive and striking. Instead, it is rather bland to my taste if truth be told and remains consistently rather monochromatic throughout the bowl. There is a kind of burnt tar taste beneath it all, which is not particularly to my liking.

I returned to the prepared batch a little later to try again, by this stage the consistency was almost dry and crunchy. It remained still far too dark and woody for me, I honestly wouldn't realise that Va was a part of this blend if I didn't otherwise know. To cap it all, it left an unpleasantly musty aftertaste which I haven't tasted since the last time I had a Marlboro cigarette many years ago.

All in all a huge disappointment and it left me scratching my head at all the positivity and hyperbole which surrounds this blend. Truly, when it comes to tobacco, everybody's taste clearly varies.

Sadly, not recommended.

Pipe Used: Alco

Age When Smoked: 4 years

5 people found this review helpful. Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note (120)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Tolerable

Summary: The Virginias and Burley work together to form a rich, chocolate and molasses-tinged malty flavor in this gentle flake.

Someone once said that Esoterica tobaccos are not so much distinctive as they are highly refined versions of known favorites. "Stonehaven" combines the nutty flavors of Burley with the sweetness of red Virginia, creating a finely-integrated experience that smokes well with few relights, delivers a consistent flavor and has none of the peaks and valleys of less engineered blends. Like many finely integrated blends, it seems monochromatic until the different dimensions of the flavor observe. It strikes me as a more civilized version of the offerings from Gawith Hoggarth and Condor, and a perfect all-day smoke.

Thanks to Pipes Magazine forum member "misterlowercase" for this generous sample.

Similar Blends: Orlik Tobacco Company A/S - Dark Strong Kentucky, Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Flake, Peterson - University Flake.

4 people found this review helpful.

Liquid360 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Liquid360 (10)
Medium Medium to Strong Full Very Pleasant

With any legendary, generally well regarded... Well anything, there will always and forever be those who will claim to dislike it based strictly on principal, although never would they admit it to be so. They wil act as though it is somehow beneath them, not wishing to be seen be seen as fanboys or girls. Sure, some will genuinely either dislike or think average, but there are a great many "haters". This is a hall of fame, top of its game tobacco. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Get if/when you can. $100 a bag is steep to be sure, but try scoring world class anything for less.

Pipe Used: Dunhill Diplomat #5

Age When Smoked: 5yrs

Purchased From: Pipestud

Similar Blends: I find it to be entirely unique.

4 people found this review helpful.

AfternoonPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AfternoonPipe (5)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

A friend in my pipe club gave me a few bowls worth of the Stonehaven he had aged for around 2 years (and he's quite experienced at ageing quality tobaccos). It was probably the most extraordinary smoke I have ever had. I like how the flake comes, and in general I like flakes because I'm very particular about how the pieces of tobacco are broken up so I can pack it just right... which I find especially important with Virginias and Virginia/Burleys, given that they can be a bit more sensitive when it comes to how they are smoked. It definitely covered what I've always appreciated about a good Virginia/Burley blend, this one with the Burley more forward, as far as I could tell. What amazed me though was the sweetness. I'm not usually looking for a sweet taste in a tobacco, but this was absolutely delightful. It reminded me of a much more subtle version of the taste of chewing on a piece of freshly chopped sugar cane... which has that grassy, woodiness, but also a lovely sweetness that is in no way overbearing. I enjoyed every second of the few bowls I smoked. The nicotine was very pleasant as well. Perhaps on the slightly stronger side as tobaccos go in general, but pretty normal for a Burley/Virginia... very relaxing. I'm not sure I'll get to experience something quite like that tobacco ever again.

Pipe Used: Mastro de Paja bent acorn

Age When Smoked: 2 years old

4 people found this review helpful.

wdsmith Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wdsmith (11)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild Tolerable

I second, rather heartily, the very spot on review of Vytis. It is high quality leaf, about that there cannot be any doubt, but the magic is just not there. I bought a pound of this and smoked probably 5 ounces, in pipes of many styles, shapes and material (briar, meer,cob and cherrywood) before coming to the conclusion that the blend just was not worth the hype. It was rather like smoking hot air regardless of how I went at it. Even when sipped slowly, it failed to release any flavor. Luckily, I purchased it at retail thus saving the aforementioned second mortgage. I ended up trading the rest for an equal amount of Samuel Gawith's "1792 Flake"-- Wise decision. If you are gifted some or find it at retail, do give it a try but do not expect pipe smoking Nirvana. The two best in the Esoterica line are Dunbar and Margate. I would look there first.

As a side note, while my sample did not have the age on it that the previous reviewer's had, I did hang on to this for about two years and kept it sealed in two bell jars. I would visit it from time to time, hoping that age would be kind to it. Alas, it was not to be....

(Up next... Penzance and that's not looking too good either!)

4 people found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (227)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

After almost a year of searching for Stonehaven as I am sure many of you have found it is always listed as "Out of Stock" at online tobacconists, I managed to find and purchase four ounces of a very elegant looking flake tobacco.

The flakes were not wet or sticky at all, but very, very supple and springy - the consistency of a Twizzler. They were also the thinnest cut flake tobacco I have ever experienced, each flake measuring 5 inches in length and a good 3/4 inch in width. They were not black as some others have described, but a beautiful, deep brown with some golden flecks (I'm assuming the Virginia) peppered within. The pouch aroma was very sweet smelling and agreeable - unlike anything else I have ever encountered in a blend. I can concur with the reviewer who likened it to a champagne. After inserting a folded flake into a 30 year old plus free-hand, Danish-styled Ben Wade chimney, I sucked on the stem. The taste I experienced was that of the peanut-shaped candies that are of the hard marshmallow variety - deliciously sweet. Considering how fresh the flakes were, they were not wet or damp to the touch (this, however, varies from batch to batch, some batches very damp to the touch). It took a bit to get it lit, however, and needed a frequency of re-lights along the way. Dark gray ash was present at its finish along with some crunchy residue - not goopy dottle, just tobacco that was hard to re-light. The tobacco taste starts off deliciously sweet, quickly yielding to the stoutness of the Burley. The Virginia was present, but definitely took a back seat to the Burley. If smoked fresh, it has the tendency to smoke hot and nibble at the tongue a bit. In too large a bowl pipe, it tends to lose its flavor. The nicotine effect was very evident and can creep up on you if you start puffing too fast, giving me a full feeling in the throat. The room note produced is very nice and sweet smelling. It is certainly "Burley forward" and its strength develops by mid-bowl and continues throughout. I have found its overall Burley taste and initial sweetness similar to Solani's Aged Burley Flake, but not as stout as ABF. It is also similar to Erinmore Flake with regard to its depth of flavor due to stoving. Stonehaven does have one of the best room notes I have ever enjoyed in a blend, pleasantly "pipey." A great DGT when re-entering a room where it is being smoked. However, the flavoring and sweetness is milder than I would prefer, resulting in puffing faster to get more flavor. This has a negative effect in negating any flavor whatsoever, but does not produce any bite. This one needs to be puffed slowly to retain its flavor profile and I can't smoke it in too large a bowl as it tends to lose its flavor. Therefore, smaller, narrow gauged bowls seem to work best. For me, it goes best in a 20 year old medium gage Barling. Really dry it out for the best smoking experience.

Overall, I did enjoy Stonehaven. While perhaps not the holy grail of Burley/Virginia flakes, it is a very well put together flake and I particularly enjoy the thinness of its cut, lending itself easily to a variety of packing methods (fold and stuff, rubbing out, or stripping). It has been very difficult to come by, not to mention pricey, and I am afraid this will remain so. I read on an online forum that the machinery used in the production of Stonehaven broke down a while ago, and as of the time reported (Fall '09), has remained in a state of non-repair. Not a 4 star for me and therefore not worth the high prices you see on ebay for the offering. Good for when the mood strikes, but not daily.

UPDATE 7-17-10: I recently read a post on an online forum where the poster contacted JF Germain and asked what, if any, flavoring was used on Stonehaven. The answer he received was treacle.

Here is what I found out about treacle: Treacle is the generic name for any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane and is defined as "uncrystallized syrup produced in refining sugar". Treacle is used chiefly in cooking as a form of sweetener or condiment.

The most common forms of treacle are the pale syrup that is also known as golden syrup and the darker syrup that is usually referred to as dark treacle or black treacle. Dark treacle has a distinctively strong flavor, slightly bitter, and a richer color than golden syrup, yet not as dark as molasses.

4 people found this review helpful.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong

Woof! and Again! The VA/B answer to 85% latakia balkans. I was intrigued by the above reviews and, being of virginia mind and burley body, gave this a whirl. It whirled me instead. All the previous reviewers nailed it collectively. Really: a sensory blitz that saturates the palate. Monochromatic it definitely isn't nor is it delicate. Plan on 2 hours for an average bowl during which you'll find every taste above plus a dozen more that don't have words. I can only add a couple I didn't see: maduro and red cameroon. I'd recommend this to smokers of the richest cigars. They may never go back.

Unlike other high nicotine blends, this doesn't numb or bite my tongue. It may not please bystanders. To hell with them: they wouldn't understand.

Definitely not an all-day smoke. One bowl is enough for a long while. My half pound will last me until there is world peace. In case of another eggs-in-one-basket warehouse fire or nuclear holocaust, I may lay in another half pound.

My highest recommendations. In a class by itself.

Update: one of the reasons I like this so much is due to its cigar character. A downside is that it craps up a pipe, especially if you leave ash or especially dottle in it. I now have two pipes dedicated to this as a result. Another aspect: as with cigars, I despise relights. No DGT for me with this. No complaining, just a heads up. Still love it. Ex-cigar smokers: manna here.

4 people found this review helpful.

CaliPipeGirl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CaliPipeGirl (3)
Strong Medium Full Pleasant

Blend Name: Esoterica Tobacciana Stonehaven

Description on Tin: "A marriage of air-cured leaf and Burley with selected dark Virginia. Hard pressed and aged to produce brown flakes with dark undertones. A traditional English flake favored by experienced pipe smokers."

Leaf: Virginia, Burley

Tin Aroma: Fresh baked cookies

Taste: Good virginia flavor with burleys there, and molasses in the background

Smokability: I rubbed this out. It does take a few relights at times. Burns to a white ash. Can smoke all the way to the bottom of the bowl with no change in flavor

Room Note: Pleasant

Thoughts: This tobacco is one of the few that I think live up to the hype. It is very delightful to smoke

Recommend to: People that prefer a darker virginia or kentucky flavor, molasses flavored. Very stout.

Summary: I very much enjoyed smoking this. No tongue bite. It does have a nicotine kick so I could only smoke half bowls. Great tobacco to sip on and still get that great flavor.

My Background: Been smoking pipes for about 1 1/2 years. Started out on aromatics, then moving on to Virginia and English. Not a big fan of Latakia, but I really like Perique and Kentucky Dark Fired.

Pipe Used: Block meerschaum, cob, briar

Age When Smoked: unknown

Purchased From: Gift

Similar Blends: Peter Heinrichs - Dark Strong Flake (Special Selection).

3 people found this review helpful.

CTS Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CTS (136)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

It's good - much of the flavor complexity can be missed if the baccy isn't slowly sipped, to pull out the flavors. Has a medium nic hit, which is plenty for me. I really like the way the burley in this balances out the VAs for flavor delivery. Complexity develops the further you go in the bowl. Very pleasant. 3+*.

Pipe Used: Italian Basket 35+ years old.

Age When Smoked: Unknown; gift from BOTL

Purchased From: Unknown; gift from BOTL

3 people found this review helpful.

DrT999 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrT999 (266)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Based on a one ounce sample. This is an interesting if contradictory blend. The leaf aroma does have dark cocoa overtones, which doesn't come through in the smoke. The flavor is mild, yet deep, dark, and somewhat complex. For me, this cool smoke doesn't taste of either burley or Virginia, just slightly malty tobacco, just barely on the sweetish side. While excellent, it's not so great I would pay a premium price on the secondary market, but on the off chance I ever see it listed other than as ‘out of stock,' I would snap up a bag to cellar without a second thought.

3 people found this review helpful.

cigrmaster Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cigrmaster (4)
Medium Medium to Strong Full Tolerable

This is a very unique world class blend that is deserving of every 4 star review. The flavors are a sweet and dried fruit like with a smokey back bone. The flakes are thin and long and perfect for cube cutting. It needs to be dried usually for at least an hour before smoking to get the humidity out. If smoked too wet, the flavors do not shine. Age does this blend wonders with 3 years being the minimum for me. If you are a flake lover, this is a must for your cellar. It is worth the chase.

3 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Wow! After over 100 four star reviews, there's not much to add, but here goes. This has a great tin aroma, to me its a combo of figs, raisins and wine. It seems very moist and so I let it dry for a couple of hours. I think that this was a mistake and I now prefer to let is sit for just a few minutes and then rub it out. Stonehaven doesn't bite, but I still like to sip it slowly as I find a bowl lasts a long time and it really brings out all the taste. It doesn't suffer a case of the "bitters" that other burley's sometimes have. My only gripe is the inability of Esoterica to keep stores in stock as demand always out paces supply. Very highly recommended!

3 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Tolerable

Stonehaven looks very similar to Dark Star in its flake form but I like it much better than DS. It has no bite but it is probably not an all-day smoke for most. Previous reviewers have noted the fine qualities of this great tobacco before me. No need to restate them.

I rate this tobacco 9.8 out of 10

3 people found this review helpful.

Jaybee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jaybee (77)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

All things considered this has to be one of the best tobaccos I've ever smoked. Plenty of flavor, medium strength, acceptable room note and doesn't bite. It comes a little damp but smokes well even in this state once it's lit. A very forgiving pleasure in a somewhat unforgiving world.

3 people found this review helpful.

Stan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stan (165)
Strong Mild Full Strong

The black beauty of pipe tobacco. Burley, stoved virginia, pressing, and some essence perhaps. It smells wine like in the pack, and leaves a very "thick" room aroma.

Dark, delightful, cool, a sweet charcoal taste, good body, no bite, and almost meal-like.

Smoother than Dark Star and Dark Stoved, far less potent that Gawith 's 1792, and the burley content makes it less perilous than other dark flakes (Marlin Flake, etc.). So if you want to take a bold move to dark virginia flakes, here's a place to aim for.

Not the easiest to pack and keep lite, still it can be tamed most of the time. The burley content may be a bit much for those sensitive to it.


3 people found this review helpful.

point9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
point9 (114)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend might be the most difficult to get on earth, and the price on eBay is ridiculously off the charts. My review is based on 2 full bowls with 3 years of aging. Sugar crystals can be seen on the dark, solid and neat flake. It reminds me a lot of Mac Baren HH ODF with less sweetness and deeper note. The flavor is clean, consistent and burns slow and even. But I certainly won't spend excessive money to get a tin unless it's been aged for decades.

2 people found this review helpful.

Bonneville Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bonneville (49)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

In reviewing this blend, I tried not to be biased by the fact that this stuff is in very high demand. This is only because for some reason, supply is very short. Germain must not want anyone to smoke any of their tobaccos. Ever.

That being said, I was very excited to try this. A friend was able to acquire some and shared some with me. I'm normally not very keen on Burley. This dark rich smelling flake has its fair share of this full bodied leaf. Now, either I've been smoking shitty Burley up till now, or Germain just knows how to do it right. The Virginia in this tobacco takes the drivers seat but the Burley adds an incredible dimension to the smoke. Every once in a while I smoke something that really WOWS me. This was one of those times. The experience was absolutely sublime.

Rich, deep, sweet, creamy, and slightly nutty. I was getting a really nice flavor of what I can only describe as Pistachio/Vanilla ice cream. The flavors were constantly changing throughout the bowl and it held my interest the whole time.

Summary- IF you ever get your hands on this stuff, save it for a time when you can sit down and think of nothing else. You will be richly rewarded. BUT, please do save some for the rest of us :)

Pipe Used: Aldo Velani Filtro

Age When Smoked: unknown

2 people found this review helpful.

aadelma Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
aadelma (66)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

A unique and wonderful burley/va blend. A friend of mine gave me several bowls from his well-aged stash. Rubs out, packs, lights, and burns easily. Silky smooth with just the right balance of matured Va and high quality burley. Fairly strong but not overpowering. I don't find it to be at all like Tillbury. I had tried FVF hoping it would be a stand-in, but it isn't even close due to it's lack of burely, flavoring, and poor burning characteristics. Unfortunately, it is unobtainable except at horrifically inflated prices.

Age When Smoked: 5+ years

Similar Blends: There is nothing else like it..

2 people found this review helpful.

ERader Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ERader (5)
Medium to Strong Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Just a super tobacco, I found it very relaxing with just the right amount of Nicotine. High quality!

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipemanuk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipemanuk (76)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

I add this review principally to say that Stonehaven is sold in the UK under the title Germain's Rich Dark Flake.

It is pretty easy to order online and seems to be available at least at the present.

Everything else about it that the community have said in praise I heartily endorse!

2 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

Yup, it's excellent stuff! I have dedicated a pipe to Stonehaven because of its unique flavor and what seems to be a light topping. I normally don't smoke aromatics, but this one doesn't have enough to matter. Perhaps its just the processing that gives it that sweetness and flavor...whatever it is, I like it a lot and I always keep some around.

2 people found this review helpful.

strongirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strongirish (249)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

I love the way this tobacco looks. Long very thin slices of very dark brown almost black tobacco. Looks like it would be a very strong, spicy smoke but in reality is is fairly tame. It has a sweet, musty aroma and just look delicious. I set mine out on a tray to dry overnight and loaded it into a Pete System to give it a go. It rubbed out to a nice thin ribbon flake, I left some pressed to allow a long smoke and lit it up. It took several lights to get it going, but once fired up, it stayed lit and burn nice and even all the way down. It was a lot milder than I thought it would be. It has a musty haylike VA flavor and a musky room note that I found pleasant. It does gather flavoe as it burns down but never bites nor does it coat my tongue. It left a dark grey dottle and no moisture in the bottom of my pipe. I don't give this a four star as I like my smoke to be a little richer and stronger, but I do have to say this would be a good into to this type of blend.

2 people found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This flake is a dream come true. Visually it looks like a piece of old rubber tread that was left out for years, but the aroma is sweet, tangy, and rich. The flakes are oily to the touch and I recommend that you rub them out thoroughly before packing. Once rubbed-out, it packs easily. Warning, start with half a bowl first, because this blend lasts a very long time. 1/2 a bowl lasted 1hr 15 mins. Initial flavor is sweet and tangy like a glass of fine cognac. As you progress down the bowl the tanginess goes into the backround and you get a rich, rich full bodied flavor of stoved VA with the burley flavor adding a nice background nuttiness. This blend smokes very cool and because of its richness you never find yourself puffing strongly. Toward the bottom of the bowl, the blend intensifies and you are finally done. You are left with dry, fine mottled grey ash. This blend leaves you very satiated and relaxed. I have never encountered a smoke like this before. This is the best flake I have ever smoked and has displaced Marlin Flake as my favorite. The nicotine is there but never kicks you like escudo or any of the Dunhill offerrings, it left me like a wet noodle albeit a very satisfied one. I am not sure there is a casing in it, the aroma may just be the fermentation process. Regardless, try this stuff, you may be pleasantly surprised. Rating: 5 out of 5 points, a true tulip blend, Enjoy....

2 people found this review helpful.

orka Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
orka (64)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This review is based on a modest and well aged sample kindly provided by a friend. Practically impossible to find in this part of the world, and nearly so in the parts of the world where it is being sold, by the looks of it. So take that for what it's worth and please excuse the in parts crude review, as I wasn't able to spend as much time with it as I normally would.

The flakes bear a striking resemblance to Germains Rich Dark Flake, but the aroma is more akin to that of cocoa and coffee beans with faint earthiness and grass. I smoked most of the flakes simply folded and stuffed, which yielded a rich, sweet, incredibly tasty and cool smoke. Consistent in taste pretty much from start to finish.

I rubbed out a few of the flakes, but found the taste to be better when simply folding and stuffing. Rubbed out, the character of the blend changed a little and became somewhat drier and even slightly woody in the aftertaste. Not bad, but I liked the consistency and depth of it better when not rubbed. That made it just perfect for thinking about other stuff and not the pipe.

Part of me was hoping that this blend would be just hype and I wasn't missing out on anything special. But sadly all evidence points to the contrary. Sure, I am sometimes guilty of hyperbole when there's something new in the pipe, but here I genuinely loved every second of every smoke from start to finish. And that is something very rare. I would gladly smoke this daily for the rest of my days if I could. But oh well, better to have loved and lost and all that, right?

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Northern Briars billiard, Savinelli 804 KS.

Age When Smoked: Unknown (many years in a jar).

Purchased From: Gift.

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Tolerable

For the course of a couple of months, despite an obvious ignorance, I have taken time to attempt emulating a classic pipe tobacco blend - Stonehaven. We all know the basic story. The blend is itself unobtanium. You cannot find a sample on the shelves of any merchant without exercising extreme measures. When the blend is in stock, it is quickly bought out in seconds, and then resold on the secondary market for many times the market price. Set your alerts, wait patiently for an email, and attack, it is what many of us have come to do to find ourselves in company of Stonehaven. I have been unable to score any from a multitude of stores for many years, and I have tried. Complaining about this on an online forum, a member kindly mailed me a two bowl sample, the first of which I smoked a moment ago in a virgin, and very cheap, pipe. Unable to secure a decent portion for a comprehensive review, I remark that I speak from a single bowl, and so my words cannot fully appreciate the apparently innumerable characteristics of this esteemed blend.

For what it is, I am in awe of its ordinariness. I cannot believe so much attention and heartache exists over a singular blend, particularly a blend such as this, whose flavor is marked with no discernible novelty, whose construction as well, bears no uncommon features, and with all my palate has to muster, finds no solitary meaning worthy of duplication. The taste itself seems more Virginia forward than I anticipated, grows richer at 1/3 of the bowl, seems to have faint Lakeland notes, and something resembling chocolate—perhaps the growing domination of the Burley element as the bowl matures.

For this I have bought pounds of whole leaf, constituted a copy without ever having sampled the blend, and now compare the two. My blend, having rested roughly one week out of the press, remains sticky from the treacle casing, the small and thin plug, cut thick, broadly, with a half remaining for the purpose of stoving. In contrast to the wonderful chocolate tin note of Stonehaven, this amalgamation reeks of vinegar. I have taken whole leaf, applied the constituents with anti fungal treatment, which I assume has altered the aroma to something resembling a typical McClelland. In contrast to whatever I have made, which consists of 3 parts red, 3 parts bright, 3 parts air cured, and one park dark fired, Stonehaven smokes sweeter, a measure’s worth less potent, and of course smooth, without the rough edges of an amateur’s hand. I have the pleasure of smoking many fine flakes, from varieties of pure Virginia, including FVF to VaBur blends like University Flake and Erinmore, to those featuring dark fired leaf, such as Old Dark Fired. If I could draw a parallel, I would suggest, as I have heard, Stonehaven resembles the firm taste of Old Dark fired, with a good portion of sweeter Virginia leaf. That concoction would likely spare me the desire and drudgery of finding more Stonehaven.

Now if I must be honest, I should say, if available, I would buy Stonehaven for its notability, keep it in fairly well stock, with an occasional smoke through the year. To the people who have invested heavily in this breed of Tulip, I say, you are wolves. To those who possess the pleasure of enjoying Stonehaven in quantity, I understand the desire and affection some grow toward any of many blends, but to encourage the select few who buy the stuff, inflate the prices, and then flaunt their success, you have erred. These folks are bad for our community and when another blend inevitably dies or retreats in availability, they will quickly consume that market and begin again their vulturous affliction for bleeding us all.

Though my experiment has failed, I have finally found solace in knowing that I have sampled the fabled blend, Stonehaven. Success!

Pipe Used: Stanwell Billiard

Similar Blends: Old Dark Fired, University Flake.

1 person found this review helpful.

getyur@sstomars Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
getyur@sstomars (5)
Medium Very Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable

boy, where to begin... ahh yes the beginning. so the first time i tried this stuff i was floored by how awesome it was. the flavor was not very in depth but it had a wonderful taste of dark unsweetend bakers chocolate. i was totally in love, and the problem was i was only given a few bowls as a sample. ok no problem, flash ahead about a year (thats how long it took me to get a bag of it) and see me happily jar up the nice wide long dark flakes, load a bowl and..... nothing. and i mean nothing. no flavor, of any kind. well maybe it needs some age. well here i am with still a few oz left, and its been five years and i still think its flavor less. this has to be the biggest case of the emperor wears no cloths. to me at least. im sure the scarcity of this and other esoterica blends plays a big role in the demand, we want what we cant have. and im sure they play on this at esoterica. im not hateing them for that after all they are a bussiness. but really smoke this stuff with an open unbiased mind. cause to me its really waaaaaaaaayyy over rated. and i do want to say thatl i have only tried my samplw and the 8oz bag, and i hear that esoterica can be very inconsistent. so maybe my bag was a bad batch??? not sure but i can say that some friends i know from a local tobacconist all agree w me, that esoterica, even though produces quality products they just are not the stellar blends that the market makes them out to be. i personally think that luxury navy flake by PS is a far superior blend even though they are not even the same types of tobacco. and LNF is never out of stock or cost more than 2.50$ an oz

Pipe Used: cob, peterson system, savinellie 413, falcon.

Age When Smoked: o years to 5 years

Purchased From: smoking pipes

1 person found this review helpful.

Legionnaire Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Legionnaire (26)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Why do so many refer to this blend as the holy grail of tobaccos? Because it is. Flakes that have the appearance of beef jerky with a slightly purple hue at times, this blend is just plain heavenly. The fermentation of the leaf leaves it with a naturally faint fruit note that I find pleasant. The smoothness exhibited by this blend is unmatched. It has enough strength and flavor to satisfy without being a ball breaker. If you can find it, buy it.

1 person found this review helpful.

CherchezLaghost Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CherchezLaghost (52)
Mild Mild Medium Pleasant

An outstanding offering from a very special blender. I'll begin by saying im partial to Germain. I like the leaf and top notes that they bend together into some really unique mixtures. Stonehaven is no exception. The virginias are very subdued with age, and a little less assertive than i typically like in a vabur, but they bring a certain depth. The predominant flavors are earth, molasses and spice. If that palette is one you enjoy, then you should very much like this mixture. The flakes themselves have a very unusual texture; they are oily, supple, smooth and leathery. They are moist, but i prefer them that way as the earth flavor will dominate the smoke as they lose humidity. They show signs of bloom directly from the tin. There is a complexity that lets you know you are indulging in something rare, and unfortunately for us, it is something of a rarity. Like many of its stablemates Stonehaven is rather lacking in the nicotine department. This is a treat for when i am satieted with nicotine, but crave something rich and luxuriant and heady. I purchased 2 8 oz bags that my b&m tobacconist was sly enough to stash away for me, and i suppose it should be enough to last me forever, as i diligently jarred it up and smoke it as an occasional treat. Easy to recommend. One of the few flakes i actually prefer cubed and gravity loaded.

Pipe Used: Cobs, meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New to 2 yrs

Purchased From: Smokers Haven

1 person found this review helpful.

Right Wing Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Right Wing Piper (11)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Stonehaven is not a tobacco that would likely be well received by neophytes to the pipe smoking hobby. Although some may be able to appreciate it, it's really more suited for the veteran pipe smoker. These well aged and well fermented strips of premium Flake tobacco typically require some drying out prior to smoking. The result is clouds of pure enjoyment. The aroma when you open the jar (which is how it should be stored) is that of a fine wine and the flavor when smoked is just as sublime. For those not already aware, this blend is made in small batches, aged prior to shipment and is scarce. So, of you have a chance to get some, I highly suggest you do.

Pipe Used: Briar, Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: 2 years

Purchased From: Just For Him

Similar Blends: Not similar to any other blend..

1 person found this review helpful.

GabrielCRT Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
GabrielCRT (94)
Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Stonehaven: pretty good. A very cased and moderately topped flake tobacco. The red Virginia is sweet and smooth. The Burley is chocolatey, nutty, and provides some strength. The topping tastes like molasses and fruit to me. The smoke coats the palate with flavor. This is a cool-burning and never biting blend. I enjoy this just a little less than Erinmore which says something either about me or this tobacco.

1 person found this review helpful.

Katharsis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Katharsis (39)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

Had several bowls of this the past week or two, and it's really growing on me. As others have said, there is a chocolatey aroma from the leaf, but for me it was more like chocolate covered cherries. Though I actually hate chocolate covered cherries, THIS actually smells wonderful. Some of that aroma carries over into the flavor, but don't be scared off by reading "cherries" -- it's not cherry-like in the smoke at all.

The flakes themselves are, so far, the thinnest sliced flakes I've seen, and they hold together quite well. I haven't smoked them in flake form yet.

Good, sweet blend, not as rich as FVF to me, but I actually find this a great blend for a morning VA. As for the nicotine content, not sure why everyone rates this on the high side. After a full bowl I feel almost nothing, whereas something like JackKnife Plug I can only smoke half a bowl and even that almost destroys me. This stuff seems to have the least nicotine to me than all the VAs I've had.

1 person found this review helpful.

Puffingstuff Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Puffingstuff (100)
Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

(Gregorian Chants here) I bought a slab of this tobacco about 7 years ago. I am now smoking it. I rub this completely out until it is fine. It is Deep,dark burley, with a spooky, haunting old Virginia leaf lacing through bringing a sweetness to the campfire mystique.

1 person found this review helpful.

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

I think there could well be a liquor topping here. I soaked Gawith FVF in Courvoisier and it turned the same color! Well, Stonehaven is the best tar-black hootch-soaked beef jerky I've ever smoked. Still have a bit left, and it just keeps improving. What others say is true-lots of smoke, forgives being smoked fast, no bite, etc. I like it blended with a Virginia flake as well.

1-22-10 More than a year on (I first reviewed this blend months after I bought it), and jar aging has done its work. Wonder how it would taste in five years? What a great burner: can be smoked fast or slow, or alternating fast and slow, with nary a bite or relight. Superb mellow taste.

12-19-11 Smoked some again recently, and very nice after yet more aging! I could see getting an 8 oz bag if I saw one. There's some been popping up recently from time to time, but of course more pricey than when I got mine!

1 person found this review helpful.

butman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
butman (47)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

This tobacco is just a treat. The flavoring is completely pleasant and it's a mix so you have several different things to enjoy. It smells great, lights up really well and just goes in any pipe I have tried it in. In fact I was about ready to ebay an olive wood pipe I had tried and tried to enjoy. Stonehaven saved the day. I filled it, lit it and man it was superb. It's a regular in my weekly rotation. I treat it like a trip to the ice cream store...not too often, but gotta do it.

1 person found this review helpful.

Davetopay Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Davetopay (43)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Tolerable

WOW! This is good stuff. I finally got around to having a bowl while taking a walk around town with the wife yesterday, and now I wonder why I didn't try it sooner. It really does look like a slice of old tire, or maybe roofing shingles and tar, but is sooooo much better to find in your cellar. It reminds me of a more potent version of Bob's Choc. Flake with out the flowery Lakeland essence. (I assume that's what I detect in Bob's) This came to me much drier, and less breakable than other flakes I have had. I had to take out a plate, and rub it with great vigor to get it ready to smoke. I have yet to try folding slices and loading them into the pipe, but they do fold easily without breaking apart. I do have doubts about how well this will stay lit due to its density. It's flavor was very consistent all the way through my pipe. I could taste chocolate, almonds, brazil nuts, and something lemony lurking in the background. Never gave me any bite and only needed a usual light/tamp/light. No gurgles, no goo, and a nice clean ash when done. This stuff is tops. Gonna go place an order on payday for a few tins.

1 person found this review helpful.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

A very interesting baccy indeed. By description alone one would expect this to be very similiar to Dark Star. One would then be very surprised to discover upon the match that it is not. They are certainly not interchangeable. I love DS and find I smoke at least a tin every year. (which is quite alot when you smoke a bazillion new ones all the time!) Stonehaven however, is more refined and more in the vein of the Lakeland District than DS ever dreamed of being. The high range of this tobacco incorporates the sourness of a fine white wine, while the bass notes tend too lead themselves towards dark chocolate and raisins. How do these flavors, which seem so dissident, go together and create such a seamless and tasty tobacco? That is the question isn't it. I think perhaps the burley content goes a long way towards marrying the flavors and not to mention adding one heck of a whallop of nicotene to the party (and no this isn't the type of burley that you find in Carter Hall pouches). All in all, someone had too have whipped up some tobacco blending magic to have come up with this wonderful blend. Too rich to smoke regularly, none the less, it is exquisite.

1 person found this review helpful.

JohnnyThousand Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyThousand (4)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable

I’ll cut to the quick on this one. Simply stated I think Stonehaven is highly overrated. For me, this was like puffing on a cigarette. I got none of the tastes or notes mentioned in other reviews. I rubbed it out and it was fairly dry. Still, it needed more re-lights than I expected. Nothing special about this blend, at least not for me.

Pipe Used: Savinelli Venere

Age When Smoked: Unknown, passed on from a friend

Purchased From: Unknown

Nobody has rated this review yet.

the_dalai_lama_himself Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the_dalai_lama_himself (43)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Wonderful aroma, flavor is ok. Decent blend of burley and Virginia leaf, not one of my favorites. Has some nice sweetness and grassy fruit from the Virginia and malty/woodsyness to it from the burley. Overall worth getting but nothing amazing imo middle of the pack for esoterica..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

½ bowl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
½ bowl (99)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Unnoticeable

Stonehaven is a somewhat moist, hard pressed flake, about 5” x 1¼”, and only 1/32” thick. It has a very dark, mottled brown color and leathery appearance – though for all of that it handles fairly well. If one is reasonably careful, the flakes can be folded and rubbed out into a springy shag without crumbling them excessively or creating tobacco pebbles. From that point I dry it slightly with a hot air blower before use.

The aroma from the bag is at once wheaty, musty and boozy; and a faithful harbinger of the dark flavors that will soon bathe the palate. It packs nicely; lights-up reasonably well on 2 matches; and burns slowly – seemingly forever. One flake in a bowl large enough to accommodate it will burn for about 1½ hours; and given its full flavor and strength, it can easily fatigue the palate. Since my first experience with it I have relegated it to much smaller pipes.

Stonehaven has a very heavy, full tobacco flavor -- very complex, but not delicate by any means. It has good body with a full mouth feel that involves all the taste buds, palate, nose and sinuses. This blend's tastes belong to the dark end of the spectrum, like anise, fennel, fig, coffee bean, black chocolate, tree bark, black tea, etc. -- not precisely those flavors, but like them.

There are also ethereal traces of something floral or perfumy, musty, and citrus – but these are mere suggestions -- not explicit tastes and aromas. This is not a bright, sharp Va. flake. Neither is it sugary sweet. Perhaps the pressing technique moderates both of those Va. properties, rendering a smooth smoke with only a subtle sweetness. It is exceptionally smooth, and produces great volumes of lush, chewy smoke that is fun to channel through the nose and sinuses.

I like it a lot, though it’s too rich and luxuriant to smoke on a daily basis; and I don't understand why people hoard it and make it difficult to obtain. I would recommend that everyone try a bowl of it -- but if you can’t get it, rest assured that there are better, more available blends with their own allure. If you have tasted Gawith’s Full Virginia Flake, then you have covered pretty much the same ground as Stonehaven.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Darth 69 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Darth 69 (107)
Strong Mild to Medium Mild Pleasant

Finally scored some of this rarest of rare stuff. I've never seen it available before in my 20 plus years of pipe smoking despite smoking other members in this brand line going back almost that far. I found it in bulk at a Tobacconist. They had Penzance too. This flake is exceptionally mild and smooth despite it's nicotine strength. It's not immediately perceptible but a third of a bowl in, my head started to feel it and was starting to break out in a light sweat so, I had to stop. It's too rich for me. It's a thin sliced, moist and pliable dark stoved flake with a lessor fig fruity bouquet than most other dark stoved virginias. There is also something along the lines of a brandy flavor which someone else has alluded to. Knowing the Germain guys, they use a fair amount of flavoring. The burley doesn't come through in a usual way with air cured and darker notes but, is melded with the virginia which dominates contributing to the bite-less mildness on the palate despite adding larger nicotine strength and impact. If they could only come out with a version with far lesser strength.

Purchased From: Tinder Box" Crystal Court" South Coast Plaza

Similar Blends: Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake, McClelland Dark Star.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Bluesmoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bluesmoke (75)
Overwhelming None Detected Full Very Pleasant

Wow, this is strong stuff!! The flavor is dark, sweetish, tarlike and overpowering to me. I tried simple sipping, but I like to get the furnace going from time to time and this blend chokes me. I'm not sure if this is the nicotine making me pause or the very robust flavor. The quality of the tobacco seems high quality, but not quite the plumes of smoke I look for. I must admit that I have yet to find a tobacco with an unpleasant aroma, this smells great nonetheless. This is a fine offering from a fine maker, but I have to pass on SH, I much prefer its cousin Tilbury. If you like em' strong then I recommend this, if not try just a little before buying any substantial amount. CBWYA

Pipe Used: Sav.

Age When Smoked: New Bag

Purchased From: BATB

Similar Blends: Irish Flake, Bracken Flake, 1792, various Ropes for strength..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Appalachian Scholar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Appalachian Scholar (34)
Very Strong None Detected Very Full Very Strong

Let me preface this by saying I am not an English fan. "Esoterica" means "hidden" or "secret" knowledge of a particular knowledge (dad was a Freemason and the term popped up in many of his books). In this case, Esoterica Tobacciana means secret knowledge of tobacco. I think they should have kept their secret.

I tried this in 2003 and it had the same campfire smell as other English blends. If Arcadia represented a 10 on the strength scale, this blend would probably represent a 7. If you like English blends, then you might like this. Otherwise, stay away.

Pipe Used: Basket Briar

Age When Smoked: New

Nobody has rated this review yet.

nikko Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nikko (5)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Unnoticeable

Marlboro, hot dry smoke, no flavor at all, smells like it taste, to sum it up. I just don't see what I'm missing here? I've had this ageing since 12/2009 didn't like it then don't like it now.

Pipe Used: dunhill amber root

Age When Smoked: 4 years

Purchased From: cup o joes

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Dude Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Dude (9)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

very unique flake tobacco- the smell is chocolate and fruit. Taste is full with a little sweetness at the end of the smoke. I find it like a lighter version of 1792 flake where its a medium to strong tobacco that doesnt bite , with a unique flavor.
Unlike 1792 , the flavoring of the smoke is sweeter and not so overwhelming , its more if a aftertaste.
Ages well and smoke well out of a fresh tin. Comes moist in the package. Thin cut flake smokes well dried out. too much drying out though seem to loose a little of the flavor.
Also interesting is that I think that Germain does age this tobacco quite a bit prior to shipping out. When I open new packages the flakes are already covered in white sugar crystals .
Can be recommended to dedicate a pipe to this blend.
Must try blend!

Pipe Used: pipes reserved for virginia

Age When Smoked: fresh tin to 4 yrs

Nobody has rated this review yet.

hawky454 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
hawky454 (93)
Very Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is one of a kind! Reminds me of dark chocolate when preparing the flakes, both smell and appearance. This blend will satisfy your nicotine needs. The taste is absolutely amazing, I won't even try describe it (plenty of reviews already.) I just felt the need to express what a wonderful blend this is. I don't care if you like aro's or English blends.... This will reward the smoker who truly loves the taste of tobacco! Absolutely essential!

Down side: Everyone seems to know how good this blend is and it's very hard to come by. If you see it, stock up and cellar as much a you can. It only gets better with age.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

ap Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ap (57)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Great dark Burley/Virginia FLake with a light fruity topping. this almost impossible to find leaf burns cool and delivers a decent nicotine dose. Outstanding Smoke

Pipe Used: MM Patriot

Purchased From: 4noggins

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (72)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

It's hard to add anything new to the many favorable reviews to this outstanding blend. Not being a burley smoker, I wasn't sure if I would find Stonehaven as fascinating as other have--but I do and it has opened the world of burleys to me. It works best for me pretty dry and in a meerschaum. It has a "golden," rich flavor to me, unlike anything else I've tried. It smokes cool and dry. Unfortunately, it's very hard to locate on-line but local stores seem to carry the 8 oz. bags fairly often. No pipe smoker should go through life without at least trying Stonehaven. A great change of pace for an english/Balkan smoker. Highly recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

albfneto Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
albfneto (184)
Strong Strong Full Strong

Well, seems to be made with good quality tobacco, but the blend taste is pure smoke... Yes, in it, all is strong... Strong ammonia content, strong nicotine, strong bitter taste, room note also strong... Difficult to pack, difficult to light, difficult to burn,the pipe fades easily, but interesting flavour and taste,remember the ancient England tobaccos, the antique Dunhills etc... Clearly is a good quality stuff: 3 stars, but is not for novice or all day smoking, each day. Their taste is all strong that easy saturates all the perceptions, becoming boring to the smoker. 3 stars for their quality, but only if you enjoy strong tobaccos,

Nobody has rated this review yet.

wekers Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wekers (14)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Pleasant

After see a greats reviews about, i try get. Very difficult to find it. well i can say that i am not enjoy, is not my favorite style tobacco. Denote a large virginia blend, bite a tongue on begin of smoke, after a some minutes not feel more on your tongue. A one observation that is a very very dry on taste. Maybe a good virginia, you may not realize, but a bit strong, serious seems have a lidocaine inside lol.give 3* stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

derlict311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
derlict311 (70)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an good blend. It's been alluding me for years now - just never have been able to find it. Burleys front and center but there is much more to be discovered. A "rich" blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

fireball Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fireball (36)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

I've been smoking a fair amount of this recently having got hold of two bags and jarring them. It's a very dark flake that smells like dark chocolate in the jar, with little or no sweetness apparent. This pretty much transfers over to the smoke, with packing requiring breaking up the quite irregularly cut flakes, and to my tastes, it needs to be a bit dry, otherwise taste drops off. It's quite hard to keep this rich, dark smoke alight for me, regardless of pipe, but well broken up and dried out a bit helps. It's complex certainly, and not the sort of tobacco I could smoke all day. I usually smoke this in the evening to finish off the day, and if you get it right it is very good - chocolate, very slightly bitter-sweet, room note is excellent according to the missus. Stonehaven's cousin, Tilbury, is much more of a daily goto smoke for me; sweeter, easier to handle and just as satisfying.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Wellpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wellpipe (59)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I've been dipping into a jar of Stonehaven for about a year now, and have concluded that this is a true GEM of a tobacco. I've tried preparing it several different ways. My best results have been rubbing a flake out, letting it dry for a couple of hours or more on a sheet of paper, and then loading it inverted using the 'air gap' method. Smoked gently it is soft and slightly sweet with some nice complexity - it reminds me of nibbling on graham crackers with a slightly sweet, nutty, rich molasses flavor that is a delight from the top to the to bottom of the bowl. I have not experienced tongue-bite from this blend when I have allowed it to dry adequately. If I find myself lighting it over and over again I know it was too wet.

This blend definitely belongs up at the top of the list, and as my German-speaking friends would say, it is "Ausgezeichnet!"

UPDATE 9/25/2011: Pairing recommendation. 50/50 orange brandy (Grand Marnier or similar) and good brandy over a couple of ice cubes and swirled around. This nicely compliments the sweet flavors of the VA, brings out the citrus, and cools the palate on a warm summer day.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipeliner Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipeliner (13)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I rubbt the tobacco, causing the burning and the lighting offered no difficulties.

Immediately after lighting dominates the sweet-spicy flavor that addresses the significant Burleynote a palatable name, however, dominates the tobacco flavor. This dominance is lost after the first third of the pipe and the Burley now enters significantly in the foreground. The taste can now be best with malty-sweet and describe woody, light and sweet and in every case.

From half of the Stonehaven Pipe improved markedly in strength, but without being uncomfortable. I have the taste to be very complex, scary and exciting always regarded as a filling. The burning is, as already mentioned, very well and without noticeable condensation.

For me, the Stonehaven has got hold immediately a place in my hit list. A great Burley Flake with skillful English flavor to the tobacco taste is suppressed but not excellent addition. The Stone Haven is not a tobacco for me to early morning hours, but he simply lacks the sparkle, but a great tobacco taste when addressing to the dark side. I smoked him as always without a filter and can, therefore, to recommend only pretending.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (108)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend took me some time, we still have a love hate relationship. Upon opening a jar of this blend one is always greeted by the beckoning smell of chocolate, it is almost seductive. When I first tried this blend that was where the pleasures ended for me, when I would smoke it, it just never tasted right. I now believe this was due to the fact that my first sample had been heavily dried out and I had to bring it back to life over a time. I think I lost some flavor in the process, however even when I first got a new sample, I tried it in various pipes to no avail, I just couldn't stand the stuff, I couldn't even finish a bowl. Then I finally bought my first meerschaum, I decided to give Stonehaven a go before I put any other tobacco into it. Lo and behold, it was infinitely better in the meer. Since then that is the only pipe I smoke it in. My latest impressions are that this flake matches up nicely with it's tin note, it had a nice dark VA sweetness to it almost like FVF, but then when you are done smoking your mouth is left with a chocolaty aftertaste, subtle but marvelous tasting. It is quite the interesting blend even though we got off to a rocky start. I hope to continue developing my taste for this blend in the future.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

M.Toney Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M.Toney (59)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Sampled from a three year old Mylar bag. The large flakes are neatly arranged in a clear plastic tray inside the bag. It is very dark & thinly sliced...needs drying out for sure. They were very moist from this eight ounce pouch. An interesting flavor this one has...Chocolate Mint! Smells just like those chocolate covered mint patties that had a Polar Bear figure on the wrapping.

It's a tangy, zesty, sweet smoke with a mild topping that enhances the flavor and allows it to deliver a cool, sweet, chocolate mint flavor that doesn't detract so much from the tobacco taste. Whatever, the smoke tasted good & I felt a cool, tingly sensation on my palate that felt...soothing. It left a pleasent aftertaste in my mouth.

For me, the taste is indescribeably delicious. I like to fully rub out the flakes to remove the little sticks. It burns relatively slow & delivers soft, mild smoke, is totally biteless & forgiving. Good flavor, for me anyway & this should satisfy any demanding pipe smoker. Varying flavors & nuances derived therein will perk up your palate

Seems to take on a little sweeter note as the bowl progresses and Brother Burley's flavor becomes more dominant near the end. Can't see why anyone wouldn't like this. The nicotine content is fairly'll be doing fine long before the bowl is finished.

I was fortunate enough to obtain a few bags just before it became unavailable on the open market. An excellent VA/Bur, this one. Therefore, IMHO & because I liked it so much, Stonehaven merits four stars! Sampled in a Dunhill & a Stanwell, both size 2 smokers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Merven the Great Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Merven the Great (18)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I agree with poppy, very tidy smoke indeed! I think the mix is as close to perfection as you would hope to get. I have, on occasion, grabbed another pipe and loaded and on my way again. Something this nice cannot be good for you, but it'll put you in sated state.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Red Rapparee Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Red Rapparee (8)
Medium to Strong Mild Full Tolerable to Strong

Hey all. Red here. Here's my two cents on this well reviewed and hard to find tobacco.


Last week I finally caught up to an eight ounce bag of Stonehaven. I must say I was hesitant to pull the trigger based on the supposed topping. I am not a fan of cased burleys as they tend to go bitter on me just when they begin to get interesting. Kind of like those movies that end in mid-story, jerking you into their world with a good tale and then just as you're paying close attention, WHAM!, they roll credits. Aggravating. Anyway, needless to say I came home with Stonehaven in my bag of goodies from my local tobacconist. Exciting.


The weed is presented in beautiful fashion. Long dark flakes splayed across the tray like a deck of muddy playing cards. They smell dark and earthy. Like the smell of wet peat upon which was poured a pound of sugar, a cup and a third of maple syrup, and two tablespoons of molasses for some unknown heathen ceremony. Intriguing.


I found rubbing out and allowing this weed to dry for an hour produced the best results. Fresh from the bag it's like trying to light an Irish bog. Ample smoke. Dark earthy undertones of an unusually high decibel, without being overpowering. Smooth. Sweet with a hint of blackstrap molasses and nuts. Medium/high Nicotine. The sharp Virginias are there but the action is with the burley and the topping. As a rule I dislike all but the most lightly applied essence on my tobacco. This is an exception. Very unique and extremely delicious. Leaves some dottle. This tobacco was excellent in my Peterson B10, loving the thick walls and ample chamber, however, this pipe is now as haunted as the Tower of London. Oh well, at least I know what pipe I'll be regularly smoking Esoterica's Stonehaven in.


Post ten bowls of Stonehaven I have now settled the 'What am I going to smoke in my new Pete' question. I have a new 'now and again' smoke for when I am in the mood for something other that my regular Virginia flakes and VA/Pers. I also now possess an aftertaste not even original Listerine can knock the paint off of. All in all, I'd say I came out on top. Bravo Germain. Well blended.

Highly Recommended.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (76)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

I purchased this tobacco last November 08 where upon I put it in a mason jar. I wasn't impressed when I first tried a bowl , especially given the reviews below. Now with nine months aging I find that either my taste buds have changed, or the tobacco has improved, and I would bet on the latter.

There are a lot of reviews that describe this tobacco well. It is an extremely fine VA/Burley flake.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Budman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Budman (25)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Not much to add,just read the reviews! Someone really did there homework on this! This is one great blend! Bravo!!!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

elelion Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
elelion (25)
Medium Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

It's amazing the Champagne-like take of this blend. I first smoked it with a new pipe and then I do not want this pipe to be served for other blends, for not letting other smell ruin the hint of the fine champagne. I do not smoke to fast however I never get more than 30 minutes to finish my bowl. It burns too fast -- not too much hot air but I just couldn't controll it.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Henry Mars Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Henry Mars (21)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I took some of this weed on a cruise a few weeks ago. I never smoked it before ... very stupid of me. This is the best Burley - Va. flake I have ever tried. This stuff must be dried out a lot. I left several slices out for a few days before lighting. After lighting settle in because you are going to have a long pleasant ride. It starts out kind of dark not too sweet like a nice nutty burley then every once in a while the sweet Va. peeks in for a visit. You don't have to think too much about it but puff slowly because it is the real deal. I have a few tins of Edgeworth Sliced put up for safe keeping. It kind of looks like they are going to be safe for a very long time, because Stonehaven blows it right away. This is the kind of smoke that makes me want Balkan Mixtures less and less.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

chgo.piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
chgo.piper (37)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I smoke this out of a savinelli bing's favorite (smaller bowl and slightly longer stem than other billiards). Stonehaven smokes extremely cool and smooth. winey/virginia taste until mid-bowl and then takes on more earthy and grassy notes due to the very high quality burley. No bite at all, however, I would prefer it with a little less rum-like sensation on the palate.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Country Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Country Piper (12)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Pleasant

I have been smoking Stonehaven for some time now. I smoke it in a Wilkes billiard and I really like this tobacco. It requires some drying time before lighting up but it is worth it. Somewhat hard to prepare but here again, well worth the effort. I like the room note as it is calming to me. I prefer to crumble this blend versus rolling it up and placing in the pipe. This tobacco should age well as I have several jars in the cellar. Buy this and give it a ride. The flavor is of chocolate and the VA melds well with the high quality burley.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

kg0mz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kg0mz (54)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin aroma is chocolate chip muffins, and alluring. This is a beautiful flake. About the stigma associated with suspending delayed gratification, at my age, and having worked with psychologists all my life...(yawn). I jelly rolled a flake because fresh out of the bag it lends itself to doing that. A perfect fit.

I admit the vast majority are in step, and this flake will be better dried a little and and aged some, probably rubbed out too. I enjoy folding or rolling flakes. My plan is to dry it a little and try folding it. If it doesn't reveal its 4 star qualities I will age it and rub. Or maybe I will cut it with scissors into small pieces. I like that suggestion.

Right off the bat I had to run a cleaner through to address a slight gurgle. After that it burned dry and even, a couple of relights.

Not much going on. A little VA tangy-sweetness. No bite. A well behaved rich tobacco smoke, this. The burley produced no real nuttiness, but the nicotine satisfied. A pleasant finish. Chocolate? It must have escaped out the top of the bowl. I look forward to enjoying this as a four star tobacco.

3/13/09 Update: Air dried for 45 minutes and rubbed out it is much improved. Woody, earthy, rich like baked acorn squash. The finish reminds me of 1792 with chocolate. 4 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipenGuitar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipenGuitar (15)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium Tolerable

When dried out for about an hour, one can find this to be an enjoyable smoke. Puff with modesty, and it will return a subtle sweetness, as most Virginia's do. Wonderful hint of a coffee/chocolate, especially in first 1/3 of bowl. It slowly dissipates and the aroma becomes more of a natural tobacco smell...(for a lack of a better explanation)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

lvpipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
lvpipe (13)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I agree with the previous review. I had some for 2 years and pretty much gave up on it. I decided to give it another try and found it delicious. I would rate it 4 stars except you have to age it for so long before it can be appreciated. I will not miss Orlik Dark Kentucty as long as this is available. Prior to ageing it has a strange taste that I cannot describe. Dark Kentucky has an Anise taste that pretty much goes away after a week of opening the tin. I like strong VA's the best and some of them need ageing or at least some dry time. My favorite Burley's are Solani's Aged Burley Flake and CD's Riverboat Gambler. Now I believe Stonehaven has taken the lead, and is among my top 10 favorites of all tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild Pleasant

It took me two year to discover the glory of this blend, In fact, when I purchased the 8oz pack two years ago and upon smoking the first bowl I was completely disappointed, I found this was a nonsense blend, I then put it in small jar and forgot it in the drawer.

Recently and by simple curiosity I opened the jar to find some black color flakes, very fermented with promising smell, well, you guess... oxidation and bacteria where doing good job, I will not describe the taste simply because I cannot. What I can say is that this is actually the best smoke I have in my tobacco collection.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Old Puffer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Old Puffer (42)
Medium to Strong Mild Full Tolerable

4/18/09 Since my original review, I've come to better terms with this baccy. I have learned to let it dry out almost to the point of crispness, just under the point of crumbling when packing, and packing it very loosely. It now lights up easily with one match and stays lit nicely all the way to the end, has lost almost all of it's cigar taste, and no longer leaves a foul odor in the pipe after smoking (I am owing all this to the high moisture content previously noted). I've come to regard this as a Full Virginia Flake without the problems in rubbing out and packing. In fact, blending it with FVF makes for a darn good smoke!

The overall richness and naturalness of flavor has put it in a category of pure English without the orientals and Latakia. It has moved far up the list of good baccys in my collection and has become one of my more favored. All this said, I most likely will buy more.

10/01/08 This baccy has to be dried out some to be acceptable at all to me. It packs well (no sticks either) and evenly, lights OK but sometimes needs 3 matches to get it's head down, stays lit well and has a nice, robust, unadorned tobacco taste. Presents plenty of good, rich smelling smoke with no sucking up required.

My only problems seem to deal with moisture content and strength. If it isn't dried out, it starts gurgling at about 1/2 bowl and gets super strong as it nears the bottom. If dried out sufficiently, as in previously stated reviews, starts to smell and taste like a cigar which I find offensive, and still gets stronger near the end of the bowl. It also leaves my pipes with a strong, somewhat offensive after-odor which doesn't go away easily or readily.

I don't detect the Burley (unless I don't know the difference) in the flavor but the Va comes through loud and clear.

This is probably a very good smoke for the right palate and I wouldn't turn it down in a pinch and will finish what is on hand. I seems to be pretty representative of a true English blend without orientals or Latakia. However, I don't think I'll be buying more.

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Max1a Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Max1a (38)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

A very high quality flake no doubt about it. Much tastier with a little moisture remaining. Too dry, and it takes on a cigar like quality. I wouldn't call it a burley exactly. At least not in the classic sense, making it unusual and hard to desribe. It contains quality burley tobaccos, yes, but the presentation seems to change most of the burleys' characteristics to a dry, flat character instead of nutty and mellow. Think "dry vs. wet" martini All and all a very nice tobacco.

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flaminbill' Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
flaminbill' (57)
Medium Mild Medium Tolerable

This is another Esoterica overrated blend to me. To me this stuff tastes remarkably like McClelland Royal Cajun Special or vice versa. I started this in a large Stanwell Egg which I had previously smoked a few bowls of Royal Cajun in. I thought that it was a leftover ghost taste. However, I broke a brand new Savinelli and voila, it tasted the same.

At least if I don't care much for the Royal Cajun, I only have 2 Oz. to deal with. As we all know, most retailers only offer Stonehave in 8 Oz. packages.

It is presented well and dries out for smoking in about an hour. It does burn well and does not bite. There is something about the taste that doesn't ring my bell, and I guess I would say the same about Royal Cajun.

To date I have smoked this fully rubbed. I have not found the happy medium between when it is too wet to smoke and when it turns into crackers.

I won't give up on it yet because I have another 5 Oz. or so to smoke. I just don't see it as a 4** blend.

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Xeneize Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Xeneize (275)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Tolerable

Rich, solid and delightful, with subtle wine and cocoa aroma. Like every true pleasure, not to smoke all day.

Everything else has already been said.

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Spike Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Spike (296)
Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

07/26/2005 Chocolate shoe leather! A real chore to smoke. Maybe I am too impatient to deal with this flake. It just takes a lot of preparation to smoke a bowl of this when there are so many easier to use flakes available. A quality tobacco that is at this point not in my four star rotation. Will update this review at a later date as I own a good deal of this flake.

02/08/2006: I suspect you either love or hate stoved tobaccos. I enjoy many of Esotericas' blends, and I enjoy many flake-type tobaccos, this just isn't one I favor.

5/21/2007: I finally found a way to get a great smoke from this flake. I have some that is thoroughly dry and gave it a whirl in the coffee grinder.(Used only for tobacco) It ended up in tiny chunks and smoked very well. Excellent flavor and great burning qualities. I used a very small pipe.

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AL Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AL (24)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

I do like a good Burley and Virginia blend, and this is one of the better ones I have found. Stonehaven is good any time of day. I?ve used this tobacco in all shapes and sizes of pipes with pleasure. The long strips of flake are laid out neatly in the foil pack. I have a pair of sharp scissors that I keep handy for cutting up this blend. On opening the foil bag I find a somewhat fermented vegetal smell with a hint of chocolate. Moisture content for a bulk is good. I cut this up with scissors into small chunks and let the tobacco air out a while before smoking. I do not rub out any of the tobacco. Once lit, this tobacco blend is an excellent smoke, no bite at any time, and the tobacco does not become overpowering. The second and third quarters of the smoke are the best for me. The Virginias in this blend provide a light tartness to the smoke. The Burley seems somewhat neutral. The last quarter gets a little sour for me sometimes so I do not always smoke this all the way to the bottom. Produces a dark gray ash. I can imagine how some would smoke this all day.

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DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

As others have pointed out, Stonehaven looks like beef jerky or bacon, and has a slightly fermented taste/aroma. VA and burley are combined in perfect proportions, making for a sweet/sour experience that evokes no easy comparisons. There's very little -- if any -- tongue bite here, and as it ages the VA becomes more assertive. This is a "must try" for lovers of both VAs and burlies. I suspect that latakia junkies might like it, too, for a change of pace -- this tobacco is as rich and complex as many English or Balkan blends. This is the Balkan Sobranie or Penzance of VA/burley. As such, it might not work well as an all-day smoke: it's incredibly rich, and better suited for times when you can sit and leisurely enjoy the nuances. Some people consider this their hold grail, and there are times when it seems as though it's worth its weight in gold on E-bay. I don't like it quite that much, but YMMV.

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Ranger Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ranger (64)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A great tobacco! Not my favorite virginia, but a nice change of pace. Very dark, thin slices with a scent of chocolate maybe, or figs. The flakes burn exceptionally and last a very long time in the pipe. The aroma and taste goes well on a cold evening with a strong bourbon or ale.

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wyrmis Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
wyrmis (7)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Burleys and I tend not to get along, but I probably could not tell you why. Somewhere in my history I got turned off from them and have generally avoided them. That's why my given this brand a chance was something of a fluke. It had hight ratings, but I was not sure if I would like it.

All I can say is that I am real glad I gave this a chance. Its wonderful flavor makes me think that I need to give burleys a second chance. I would have trouble pinpointing it precisely, but it is sort of a sweet but nutty flavor. I pick up hints of a chocolate-like flavor (but not a casing, just a similar tone) along with some faint, "christmas" spice. It makes for a wonderful after taste. The burley comes on strong at first, and then mellows out, and then returns for a kick at the end.

It gives enough of a punch to make it worth your while, but does not overpower. It burns slowly and smoothly after getting it good and rubbed out, staying lit extremely well. It is a most relaxing experience.

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Danno Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Danno (102)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Stonehaven has been on my short-list of 'must try' tobaccos for too long now. Having been sampling it of late, I admit to wishing somewhat ruefully that I had smoked it sooner. The aroma is compelling, something of sugary liquor, cordial perhaps? The flakes are thin, pliant and jet black, staining the fingers as one massages them. With the naked eye you could never tell burley was included in this concoction but it does sneak in about half way down the bowl. The flavor is akin to some of the Lakeland greats, albeit sans certain English 'essences', growing dark near the bottom of the bowl. I found Stonehaven to smoke relatively dry and cool, but the casing implies that it will flavor the pipe to a degree. Ultimately, not spectacular but decidedly interesting enough to warrant further consumption. Fans of Bracken Flake, take note of this offering.

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JB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JB (43)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

I can't believe that I've waited so long to try this blend. I could kick myself! It has everything that I look for in a tobacco blend, but in many ways it defies description. None of the ingredients pop out at you and's a true blend. It does remind me of the feeling that chocolate gives you, but it doesn't really taste like chocolate, if you know what I mean? It smells great, tastes wonderful, and if you're patient enough to rub it out properly it will reward you by burning very nicely.

What's odd about this tobacco is that it virtually lacks pouch smell, at least that's my experience. But it blossoms in the pipe into something rich, full and delicious.

All I can say is, "well done" to Esoterica!

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Pipepundit Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipepundit (168)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant

A gem.

The ash has flecks of gold, like the ash of Marlin Flake, indicating some similarity of raw material. Rich and opulent, at times not so much baroque as rococo. As distinctive, and as satisfying, as Aztec drinking chocolate.

Among the mighty triumvirate of cooked virginias - Full Virginia Flake, Marlin Flake and Stonehaven - Stonehaven is the head.

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SopwithCamel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SopwithCamel (255)
Strong Mild Very Full Tolerable

Though certainly not part of my regular tobacco diet,much like a fine cigar, this is a wonderful once in a while treat. This is a rich, full flavored, delightfully decadent blend. If you are a connossieur of fine,lovingly crafted, tobacco, don't hesitate to try this.

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Paddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Paddy (127)
Medium Medium Full Tolerable

Marvelous tobacco. It is very similar to Tavern Tobaccos Laurel Flake which is made by S. Gawith and to S. Gawith's Navy Flake. As with the others, it comes quite moist and must be thoroughly dried before smoking. I like to rub out a flake first and then allow it to air. It is very mild and mellow with a sort of dark rum flavor. This does not, I think, deliver a lot of nicotine. But as a pleasant smoke after dinner, it is very good. Most highly recommended. Paddy.

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