G. L. Pease Embarcadero

Rich, ripe red virginias are combined with top grade Izmir leaf, pressed and aged in cakes, then sliced into flakes and tinned. The result is a wonderfully fragrant, natural blend with subdued sweetness, more "brut" than "demi-sec", delightful toasty flavors, and hints of nuttiness and roasted coffee. Satisfying and refreshing; a comforting smoke, with enough complexity to keep it interesting.
Notes: Embarcadero was released in July, 2007.


Brand G. L. Pease
Series Fog City Selection
Blended By Gregory Pease
Manufactured By Cornell & Diehl
Blend Type Oriental
Contents Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 2 ounce tin
Country United States
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.13 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 96 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 12, 2008 Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant
I recently moved away from the SF Bay Area, and after reading some of the reviews of this tobacco, I couldnt resist it, as I am a very big fan of Pease blends, and his Cumberland is at the top of my top ten I think. This tobacco is similar in some ways, it has the richness and complexity of the virginias, complimented by spicy orientals. It is a beautiful appearing tobacco in the tin as well. I smoked this stuff in my clay pipe and it is so full of various flavors and sensations that it is a truly contemplative smoke, if that means anything. I highly recommend this tobacco, try it for yourself, but give yourself some time and smoke it mindfully. If you want to absentmindedly puff away on something, smoke something else because this one deserves your attention.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 07, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The red Virginia offers tangy dried dark fruit, a pinch of spice, some bread, a floral note, and a lot of earth and wood. It is the lead component. The Izmir has some sour bitterness, and is earthy, woody, toasty, nutty, and slightly floral with a very mild spice hit. It is a supporting player. I didn't really notice any coffee, but I got a hint of cocoa here and there. I also taste a minute hit of cigar, more so after the half way point. Not quite as complex as some make it out to be, but it sure has enough variety of flavors to keep you continually interested. The contrasting tobaccos meld well to create a well balanced smoking experience. Near the finish, there are a very few cigarette notes, but I didn't find it distracting in any way. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is in the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh, but it does have a few rough edges. Burns slow and cool with a mostly consistent taste. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl. Requires some relights. The after taste is pleasant, but short lived. The room note is a tad more potent. Not an all day smoke.

37 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 14, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Every so often I'll run into a mixture that I absolutely love. However, it's infrequent that I smoke a blend that I initially think is "good," and months down the road find myself head over heels for it. For me Embarcadero is one such blend & it's positively worthy of at least a true two ounce try. I say this because it took me a bit of time to develop a palate for it.

Without a doubt Embarcadero is a wonderful tobacco. It's flavorful, nuanced, balanced and deceptively complex. The red Virginia is sweet, malty, a bit earthly and it's harmonized perfectly with the savory bitterness and slight astringency provided by the fragrant Izmir leaf. This tobacco is masterfully prepared and the broken flake cut provides an endless amount of complexities.

The most wonderful aspect of Embarcadero is the contrast in the flavors between the two leafs. The interplay is simply delightful. The Izmir distorts the Virginias, the Virginias respond correcting and at times over-correcting the balance. Altogether this sounds very simple but down the bowl these shifts in flavor back and forth between sweetness, bitterness, & rich earthiness happen in a multitude of varying degrees, creating a wide array of more finespun flavor nuances. Embarcadero also has a gentle spiciness that builds gradually adding another layer of enjoyment.

I wouldn't go so far as to call Embarcadero “pipe dependent,” but it's definitely worth experiencing it in more than one pipe. You will notice slight differences in how it tastes from pipe to pipe. I ran it through about five different pipes before settling on my one and only Dublin which features a gradually tapered conical bowl that is somewhat wider than average.

It pairs nicely with a dark porter style beer or a simple cold sparkling water. DGT seems to provide a bit more complexity but most important is that it tastes just as good to me as where I left off.

Ultimately this is an honest to goodness, unabashed top notch tobacco mixture

Highly Recommended
37 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 22, 2007 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
Embarcadero is, without question, the best Virginia blend Pease has put together (IMO, of course)

This tobacco will be easy to review. For those of you who have had the pleasure of smoking the famous McCranie's 1983 Crop Red Ribbon, simply think of it with Izmir leaf added. Thus, a bit more spice and less "lemon" in taste.

I find Embarcadero to be much better when totally dried out. Otherwise, it is a bugger to keep lit and does bite if you are one of those pipers (and I am), who craves a little strength with every puff.

For those who enjoy stronger Virginia blends, this one may be just a wee bit light, but for those who do not crave the heavy nicotine hit, this bowl of oatmeal will be just right.
29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 21, 2008 Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant
I popped open my tin of Embarcadero on its one year birthday. I had really wanted to try this sooner but it just got lost in the cellar. I am a fan of only two other Pease blends. Filmore and Barbary Coast. I'm not much of a Latakia fan so that knocks out most of his blends for me right off of the bat. This one, however, was much different.

Man, this blend has a great aroma in the tin. It's kind of a sweet and sour smell. I assume the sweet is from the Virginias and the sour comes from the Izmir mixed in there.

The cut on the blend is like nothing I have seen so far. It's kind of a ribbon cut but the ribbons are really long and pretty wide. It makes packing the pipe interesting. Not hard, but interesting.

My blend came a bit wet so I laid all of it out on a paper towel and dried it for about an hour and a half. Now it is at the perfect moisture level for me. The first light was very easy. Did a few false lights to really get it going and then I was off to the races.

For those who know me, I am usually a VaPer smoker. This different spice tobacco really appealed to me. It was similar to Perique but also very different. The Izmir plays in and out with the Virginias and never takes over. The Red Virginias are very flavorful in a way similar to Rattray's Hal O The Wynd.

I have smoked about half of the tin so far and I really, really like this blend. I will definitely be buying more to smoke.
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 27, 2007 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I have been looking forward to Embarcadaro since it was announced as I am quite partial towards GLP's products and especially his Virginia based blends.

Upon opening the tin, I was unimpressed by the aroma. Hey came to mind. Hey? Well, maybe my olfactory senses are going downhill, but that is what I sensed. Then I discovered the moisture level to be about as high as those cheap drug store blends I smoked until I learned what quality tobacco was all about.

This was not a good start. In all my years of smoking, I have never enjoyed a tobacco that did not have an inviting tin aroma, save one single exception. And to me, hey is not inviting. I really feared a scorched tongue as a result of the anticipated steam from burning such a moist tobacco. Never did I smoke a blend with both of those characteristics.

Had I an opportunity to sample this blend at a tobacco shop or at a pipe show I would have probably passed on to another blend without even giving this one a chance. With two strikes going against it, I packed an Ashton XXX chimney using whole flakes inserted lengthwise into the pipe and topping off with a bit of loose tobacco.

Remarkably, the tobacco lit easily with only two matches and burned cool down to the bottom of the bowl leaving only ash. The smoking process seemed to go on and on. I don't know if it was because of the tobacco itself or because I could not help but slowly savor the myriad of flavors.

While my first pipefull was quite enjoyable, what followed next was nothing short of magical. I dried out a few flakes and began anew. Everything about the process remained the same, except for the flavors which burst forth. The experience was positively overwhelming. I'm not even going to try to enumerate all of the flavors since I haven't even discovered them.

This is not a blend to smoke casually. It would be a waste of good money and good tobacco. I smoke this one as well as some other tobaccos only during the evening when I can relax and pay attention to the experience (usually) along with a cup or more of espresso.

So what makes this blend so good? Of course, there is in addition the quality tobacco one expects from GLP and the techniques he uses in production, the intrduction of the Izmir leaf. I find that the addition of most Turkish leaf today in many, but not all blends is more of a liability instead of an asset. Such was not the case twenty and more years ago when most blenders used either different Turkish leaves or in ways no longer done today.

Izmir is a leaf with which until today, I have been unfamiliar. I have no idea how it would smoke on its own. When blended with the Virginia's in Embarcadaro the results are truly amazing. Unlike a previous reviewer, I did not find substantial changes in the taste during the beginning, middle and end, but rather subtle changes from puff to puff.

I can't help but thinking of Wagner and how he introduces various lietmotifs in his music that continually evolve throughout the work. And then there is (genuine) Cajun food and great French Cuisine. The leitmotif in Embarcadaro is the spice that is both pronounced and yet subtle. Cajun food, when done well, will enable the diner to experience a different taste sensation with each bite due to the spices which are pronounced. French food on the other hand, provides a fine experience with its subtle use of spice. Embarcadaro gives us the best of both experiences.

Back to the moisture issue. I wrote to Greg and he provided a rather extensive reply. In short, it is his belief that the high moisture content is necessary for the flakes to hold together especially in transit and that he preferred the taste better. Well, I can't argue with the production or transit issues, but for me, drying this one out a bit adds immeasurably to the experience. To each his own, as they say.

I've been smoking a pipe for fifty years. On about a half dozen occasions, I come across a blend that is so extraordinary that it is destined to become a classic. Embarcadaro is added to that short list. I haven't been wrong yet, and I don't think I'm going to be wrong with this one.

Most highly recommended.
20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 14, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
After a point it doesn't make any sense to make a blend for the sake of making a blend, and by the time Embarcadero came down the pike GL Pease seems to have lost his mojo. He's not any good at Va/Or.

McClelland makes several incredible Va/Or blends that can be used as a yardstick to measure anyone else's attempts - #24, Drama Reserve, Smyrna #1. Embarcadero never gets close.

It's sour, and surprisingly damp for a C&D tin. The VAs are obstructed by a cigarette flavor that must be coming from both the Izmir and whatever Virginias C&D chose for this. The room note is again cigarette, which is a pretty quick turn-off for a pipe blend. The strength is standard Pease - a good bit stronger than any other blend of the same kind would be.

As the Renaissance Reserve showed, Pease can make a good blend when he's playing to his strengths. Embarcadero is not where his strengths lie.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This puffed tin is from the spring of 2008.

A broken flake, reddish brown with darker brown strands mottled with the marvelously odd lightly greenish yellow of the Izmir. The colors darken as they mature in the tin.

Tin aroma: beautifully sweet, sour, lightly fermented, intriguing with teasingly subtle fruity elements: figs, dates, chocolate, citrus (orange flower water? Cointreau?), and, perhaps, cherry. Very distantly dessert-like. What is that? Like black forest cake... dough?

Moisture level upon opening 16-17%. Dries quickly to 13-14% and seems to profit from a bit of airing.

At the light an almost off-putting tannic spiciness dominates. As the smoke progresses the flavours modulate, becoming mellow, more complex as the tannic aspect subsides to an enjoyable level (becoming reminiscent of the tannins in espresso, a taste that recurs) giving way to toastiness and depth balanced by sweetness (subtle), spice (fascinating), and, at times, an herbal earthiness. Flavours emerge and withdraw, swirl and settle in a smoke rich with body and a satisfyingly smooth mouth-feel. A captivating caleidoscope always in slow movement ...

The aftertaste is clean and yet complex with a hint of Cointreau or Grand Marnier and a number of flavours that one can't put one's 'finger' on.

Give this one a charring light and get this one going for a few draws, a tamp and a couple of draws more and put it aside for a few minutes. This seems to bring out a mellow depth of flavour making the smoke 'bigger' upon relight and allowing one to skip a large portion of the tannic phase.

In "Embarcadero - A Point of Departure" posted (2007) in his "The Briar & Leaf Chronicles" (http://www.glpease.com/BriarAndLeaf/?p=40) Greg Pease's description is, as one would expect, hard to top. Who knows this tobacco better?

There is much here that reminds me of smoking a cigar and it is more cigar-like than any pipe tobacco I can recall at the moment. See what you think. It is a unique blend.

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Several, reserved for Va/Orientals w/out Latakia
Age When Smoked: 6 years old, tinned 2008
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 23, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I really wanted to like this blend: I like VA/Orientals in general; I particularly tend to like Red Va blends. And, in fact, I do like the taste of this; the Red Va is the main note and the others make it interesting. For whatever reason, however, for me the 'mouthfeel' of this blend is harsh and unyielding (no, not tongue burn or bite), despite trying several differently-shaped briars. Only a very well-used (perhaps even over-used) cob really tamed that harshness to the point where this was to a degree enjoyable.

If you like Red Va/Va/Orientals, give this a try; you may not experience that harshness and really enjoy the blend. However, I must rate it by how I experienced the totality.
Pipe Used: various briars and a cob
PurchasedFrom: 4 Noggins
Age When Smoked: 2 years, 9 months
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 02, 2010 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
It's a rare occasion that I completely agree with a blenders tin description. This is one of those occasions.

Once I got over some initial disappointment regarding the "too subdued" oriental flavor, I discovered what a nice tasty red VA this blend is. The oriental stayed firmly in the tin and room aroma and steadfastly refused to come out and play with the taste buds other than a swish here and a breath there. This is one of those GLP blends that I first smoked in 2008 and found severely lacking but that has come of age since. I don't enjoy playing into those old sayings such as "Pease blends need to age before they should be smoked" but it was quite accurate with this one. The tin I just finished was from early 2008.

The additional cellar time really opened up the flavor of this. The red VA's were toasty and lightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness... er... ok, I'll stop writing and tell you to simply read the tin description. It perfectly describes my experience. I would have liked more oriental flavor but this one was quite good as a (mainly) straight virginia. Not a steady rotation-maker but definitely a good smoke, supremely preferable to Union Square and well worth the time. Recommended.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 25, 2007 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant
I don't know how to describe this. But I take comfort in the fact that nobody else does either.

I think, on balance, that Weedmeister Pease should have named it Sheherezade.

For one reason, because the experience of it is as out-of-the-ordinary as the Sultan's encounter with her must have been. Because she's a figure from the Near East, where Izmir comes from. Because the diaphanous harem costume you visualise her in that (from the rest of the National Anthem that nobody learns) half reveals, half discloses is as close to an analogue with its flavor as weeks of pondering (and smoking) it can come up with.

Big deal, you say. Another tobacco. Big deal, the Sultan said. Another woman. But, in both cases, the range of expectations is transcended. It begins with Wow? ! How often does that happen ? And it isn't a tin-note assault on your senses Wow (like the patchouli oil the rest of the harem girls probably slathered themselves with) either. It's subtle. Intriguing.

Subtle, intriguing and . . . diaphanous. How else can you describe the flavor of Embarcadero ? It eludes being pinned down to similarity with anything you're used to from the world outside of fairy tales. It's comprised of Virginias and Izmir, but GLP's alchemy transforms them into shifting combinations (plural) that have no analogues in the world of experience with the Virginia and Oriental peasent girls from the village. Well, except that they do. And it's this back-and-forth, yes-but-no character that 's going (I suspect) to get to you. Smoke a tin of it with careful attention, and you're no closer to having a handle on its allure than when you set out. It may be a lifetime quest. Especially as a friend who is extremely well-versed in matters weedular estimates that, in light of its constituents, it will probably reach its full flavor potential after twenty years.

I began my acquaintance with Sheherezade properly. Princesses don't live in hovels, so George Dibos rolled back the odometers on two well-seasoned, classic billiards to zero for me. (NBB : heed Pipeline 's advice ! The Izmir in Embarcadero can really, really clash with the residues of some other tobaccos).

Suitably prepared, 1,001 nights await you. Each one a Revelation. (A term familiar to all from the Bible, where it is the English equivalent of the Greek apokalupsis : the removal of a veil).
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