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 1 - 10 of 32 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 30, 2013 Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
A friend sent me a sample of this and some vintage ERR in exchange for some ODF and some 7 yo LBF. I had been wanting to try this.

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

Pipe Used: various briars
PurchasedFrom: gift from friend
Age When Smoked: unknown
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 12, 2009 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
I liked this tobacco very much, but I found it idiosyncratic to a large degree. The tin aroma was pronounced perique but upon smoking, there appeared to be very little of this leaf in the blend. It didn't really rear its head at all until the bottom 1/3rd of the bowl. I almost wonder if the heavy perique aroma is some sort of casing, but I tasted nothing artificial in this tobacco.

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

The extreme fruitiness of the tin aroma did not come out in the smoke. The flavor was mildly sweet and very grassy, but really well rounded. This would make a GREAT all day smoke and a nice changeover for aromatic smokers, due to its natural sweetness. Left a dry heel as a plus! This is a well-conceived blend and is definitely recommended. I doubt I'll buy any more because I found it to lack the "pizzaz" I need but it's a good recommendation.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 18, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
A very nice smoke in the first half that loses some of it's luster in the second. In the first half there is a touch of citrus and hay with a fair amount of darker fruits and a moderate spice. I get a wine-like note on occasion. Lovely stuff. In the second half it seems to get slightly dull with more earthiness creeping in. Still a nice smoke, but it's a bit of a letdown after such a great start.

Medium in body and taste. I can't detect any added flavoring. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
PurchasedFrom: Cup O' Joes
Age When Smoked: 1 year
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 19, 2016 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
Dorchester smells like chocolate, to the point where I was sitting at a work table where I had set a sample baggie of the stuff and I spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out where the chocolate was.

Maybe I taste chocolate in the smoke too, on top of good Virginias? The Perique supports but it doesn't ever take center stage (try this sometime, C&D, it's nice.) Dorchester is a sweet and smooth smoke, one of the most well-behaved cut Virginias money can (occasionally) buy.

For the most part, with Esoterica, I don't believe the hype. Almost all of their blends have some close cousin that's easier to buy or another manufacturer's blend that outshines the Eso one. Dorchester, I can't think of what that would be.

Recommended, when you can get it.
10 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
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 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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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 16, 2011 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
It took me a while to nail the topping on this, but now I have, I can't help but think 'apricot!' every time I puff away on a bowl of this. This is quite often, as I very much enjoy Dorchester, with its pale golden virginia rough cut ribbons, a touch of perique and a generous helping of the aforementioned soft fruit flavoring. I actually had a rare pipe epiphany, smoking this on a boat on a sunny day, it just felt so good, I never wanted the bowl to end. I've found it works best in smaller bowls, group 3-4, as opposed to Dunbar which explodes with sweetness in larger 5+ sizes, but pushes perique spice to the front in smaller pipes. I'm not quite giving it 4 stars (yet), because since I nailed the apricot taste I find I don't find it as wonderfully intriguing anymore, and am currently in two minds whether to buy in bulk. Will give it another couple of ounces to decide if this is a keeper or a pleasant passing fancy.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 27, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
From my notes: I'll skip through the chase & keep it short & sweet. This was sampled back in 2010 along with some Stonehaven Flake & Tilbury. Yes. It is good! Perique is dominant and very noticeable throughout all but the last third of the bowl. Best described as a fairly heavily infused Perique blend. It's a very interesting & tasty VA/Per with good burning qualities. But still, a little too wimpy & this will be my one & only tin sample out of curiosity. Didn't matter to me at all that this was an Esoterica blend or where it came from. Stonehaven ended up in my top five but you can keep the Tilbury & Dorchester.

I believe that top shelf, aged VA leaf must have been used in this mixture &/or pure St. James Perique. Simply a great, quality tobacco that can be enjoyed any time if one likes VA/Pers. This, for me, was a unique tasting VA/Per that is unlike any other I've ever sampled. It still tastes good toward the end, smokes mildly, doesn't become harsh or bitter & leaves a light sweetness on the palate. FWIW, it seems that many pipers prefer mild or mild to medium blends but I've always preferred a quicker picker-upper. I think smoking an entire bowl of tobacco & still feeling the need for a nic-hit is a waste of $$. Recommended only for taste & quality & not based on its mild smoking nature. Any blend can be made to taste better if blended a bit on the wimpy side.
Pipe Used: Dunhill 2S Shell Briar
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: About One Year
3 people found this review helpful.
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