Esoterica Tobacciana Dorchester

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


Brand Esoterica Tobacciana
Blended By J.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Perique, Virginia
Flavoring Apricot
Cut Ready Rubbed
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce bag
Country United Kingdom
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

3.27 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 88 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 25, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
When I first opened the tin, it smelled like aged dried fruits. After two years in a mason jar, it smells like old, dirty, sweet cloths, but in a good way. Its suppose to have perique, but I didn't taste it when smoke. This tobacco smokes really well all the way through. Its not boring, but consistent. It's not one of my favorites but I recommend it for its quality.
Age When Smoked: two years
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Dorchester... it is difficult to review this because I have just submitted my review of Dunbar, and I find the two to be quite similar. The differences are there, but it takes a very refined palate (which mine is not, I do not think) to discern them. However, I will give it a go, because, well, I like it, so why not?

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

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

Overall, I would certainly recommend this to anyone who is trying to get into pipe smoking. In fact, the VaPer genre, in my opinion, is an ideal introduction into pipe smoking; either VaPer or a nice Burley, that is. As I say often, the only reason it gets a mere 3 stars is that I reserve four stars for my absolute personal favorites. Highly recommended; your money will not be wasted here.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 04, 2010 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
Like many of the tobacco's in the Esoterica line, Dorchester is made from good quality leaf. It is also pretty high in nicotine, which is not a problem for me. The tin aroma is excellent. The reason why I am reviewing this as a "somewhat recommended" is because while I like perique, it lacks the fruitiness I prefer. This blend is a three or four star blend if you like a the pepper side of perique. Dorchester packs well, but because of the cut, I would recommend not packing it too tightly so it doesn't burn hot. Dorchester should age fairly well. Somewhat Recommended.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 08, 2009 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
This is tasty stuff. Grassy, sometimes sweet, strangely organic, and often tangy. The perique subdues the throat-razors of the VA for me. It is a kinder/gentler VAper, but fairly complex. Moisture is about right. Dry VA is REDRUM on my throat, but not Dorchester. Maybe it is the air-cured leaf coming to my rescue? I just noticed the contents: Kentucky. What's with that?

Sweet in the tin, very ripe. In the bowl it has a veiled quality about it that blurs things a bit unlike St. James Flake that is clear as a bugle. My new top 3 (aged St. James Flake bulk, St. James Flake tinned, Dorchester).
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 22, 2018 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
So, I've been hitting the Dunbar pretty non stop since I picked up the 8 oz bag and have just been loving it. There's some obvious similarities between the two.

Dorchester has a much more apricot-ish smell out of the tin, but don't worry it isn't a flavoring, just something a bit noticeable and fresh which is more in your face than Dunbar. Dunbar has a fresh type aroma, but this is more obvious and in your face about it.

Perhaps, it is just the lighter Virginia's in a higher concentration. Without going into aromatic territory, this is a focus on the higher range of Virginia's, at the more citrus/hay sweet bread end of the flavor spectrum. It's a bit lighter than its brother Dunbar. There's noticeable perique in the flavor, but it is a condiment, not dominating, or ever present, just a little hit of some plumy perique without a whole hit of pepper.

While I enjoy this blend and all, I'm glad I only got the 2 ounce tin vs. the 8 ounce of Dunbar. I taste these flavors and a little more full body on the sweet bread in Dunbar than this. While neither go into red virginia or dark territory Virginia in their taste, this one just hangs around at the upper end of the spectrum with a bit of perique and it is missing some of the more mid range fuller notes I love in dunbar. It just tastes a lot like a better quality, but similar to if I mixed some of Lane's bright Virginia with a tad of perique. That's about it. Think a bright virginia medley Va/per. Not really any bite.

5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 06, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This tobacco is a very fine, quality product. Packs and burns nicely, not overly wet in a freshly opened new tin and dries well after opening.

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

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

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

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

One caveat I would make: DGT is not the best for this blend. Unlit in the pipe is Ok overnight or through the workday, however.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 10, 2008 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
After not smoking any VaPers for number of years, this blend was recommended to me by my local tobacconist and, boy, am I pleased with it!

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

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

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

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

This is my first review here and I would like to thank those who contribute here - this site has been a great guide to some very fine smoking.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 27, 2004 Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable
10/27/04 - Dorchester (new, tinned)

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

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

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

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

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

Overall: Virginia/Periques are my favorite blends, but this one just doesn't do it for me. Escudo or Haddo's are far more interesting, as is Esoterica's own Dunbar. For a new VA/Per smoker, I'd rather recommend Astley's #2 for a medium-weight yet approachable introduction or Haddo's for its complexity and depth. I could see Dorchester being a reasonable all-day smoke, due to its excellent burning properties, medium flavor, and bulk availability. But for me, this just isn't entertaining enough. Aging could very well tame the sweetness of the VA's and bring out some more sparkle, but with so many worthy competitors why bother?
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 05, 2015 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I received this as a sample from a friend. The instant wiff I got was dried fruit and something kinda smokey. When smoked it was sweet and earthy, a little tangy here and there. It is somewhat complex, in that, flavors and smells like grass and fruit come together indiscriminately. It's not one after another, the flavors really meld together and make a unique taste and room note. It didn't taste at all like I thought it would, smelling something smokey I was expecting something different. It is very smooth and mellow through the entire bowl. The complex taste is consistent all the way through with no bite. All in all, I definitely recommend.
Pipe Used: MM Washington, Peterson 309
PurchasedFrom: Gift
Age When Smoked: N/A
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 09, 2013 Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable
When I first tried this blend (from a tin), the smoke was wonderful and I was completely taken with it. Then I purchased the larger pouch, and had several smokes that were so peppery, sharp and lacking in balance that I gave up on it. Have only recently got around to trying it again. The reviews below are surprisingly contradictory and mirror my own experience. I think the problem is that the constituent tobaccoes are not always mixed well. As mentioned, the tangled shag cut is mixed with very stiff, leathery, broken flakes, and sometimes the proportions of shag and flake vary in the tin or pouch more than the producers (and the smokers) would like. The same is true of each pipe. One has to make sure to get a good mixture of all the elements into and throughout the pipe, and this often seems to be more a question of luck than anything else. Of course, I may be completely wrong here, but it might explain a lot, and when I take greater care with packing it seems to increase the probablities of enjoying the smoke.

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

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