Esoterica Tobacciana Dunbar

A mature recipe of seven types of Virginia tobaccos blended with Louisiana perique, lightly pressed for several days to mellow the mixture, then cut into flakes and rubbed up. A high quality blend with a savory taste and a fine bouquet. An outstanding tobacco with a rich depth of flavor.


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

3.41 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 105 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 13, 2013 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
My original 10-13-2013 review: The bright and darker Virginias provide a lot of tart and tangy citrus, vegetative grass/hay, bread, a fair amount of tangy dark fruit, earth, wood, floralness, mild sugar. light sour lemon. and a touch of vinegar and acidity as the lead components. The earthy, woody perique produces a moderate amount plums, raisins, figs and pepper. It offers secondary support rather than full support. The apricot topping is very mild, and doesn’t tone down the tobaccos much. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a step below that mark. No chance of bite or harshness. Has a few rough edges. Well balanced with some richness, it burns cool and clean at a reasonable rate with a very consistent fruity, mildly spicy, floral, lightly sour flavor that extends to the moderately lingering, pleasant after taste. The room note is a little more potent. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Not quite an all day smoke. Four stars.

Update 12-23-2022. I have tried three samples from 2020, 2021, and 2022 drops, and the blend has been changed. The tart and tangy, more sour citrus is more dominant, and the tangy dark fruit is in the background. The sour lemon is much more obvious than before as is the acidity. That’s because there’s more bright, and the dark Virginias are cut with a lighter grade. The perique is more plummy, and not quite as sweet. Neither are the Virginias. The overall spice content is slightly stronger because of the brighter Virginias, and the perique has lost a step of potency from earlier versions. The floralness is more pronounced. Has a little more roughness, but won’t bite, though fast puffing may grant you a small harsh note. These aspects are elevated more in the 2022 productions than the previous two years, but not by much. The apricot isn’t quite as deep as before nor is the overall flavor as rich. The strength, nic-hit and taste levels remain consistent over the years. All other characteristics are the same as I noted in my original review. Two stars for the current manufactures I have experienced. My current rating reflects these years, and not the earlier years.

64 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 11, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Dunbar was processed in the typical Germain way that sweeten's the Virginia in a manner that has never been duplicated. And, history dictates that the more Dunbar ages, the presentation's depth really shines, particularly with the delicate, yet firm addition of pure 100% Louisiana Perique that does not overwhelm, but gently supports the top shelf Virginia leaf. One of the finest Virginia & Perique blends (if not the finest), that I have ever smoked.
41 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
Esoterica is really something. Everything they put out is top notch, and this is no exception. I cannot say whether this or Dorchester is my favorite VaPer, but it's one of the two as far as pure VaPer taste goes. Everyone says Escudo is it when it comes to VaPers, but I disagree, as Escudo - although it is very good - does not have the brightness of Virginias like the VaPers from Esoterica.

The tin is Esoterica's standard tin, and I like the fact that they measure it out to two ounces (56 grams) rather than the typical 50 grams. Upon opening the tin, the scent is of raisins and wood, with the Virginia brightness notably shining through. The cut makes it a little difficult to remove from the tin and pack, but no big deal. Takes a light nicely, although it may require a relight or two, which is also no big deal. Overall, well done on the presentation.

The stuff tastes fantastic and clean, and the Virginia and Perique are blended so well that they harmonize, rather than singing separately. The taste is very much of a VaPer, but it's odd because I find it very different from Escudo. Escudo is a bit darker and a bit too heavy on the Perique for me, whereas this Dunbar (I'm smoking it as I type) is brighter and cleaner tasting, with obviously top-notch Virginia's. As compared to Dorchester, I like Dunbar because it has so many Virginias (seven, to be exact), which increases complexity.

Overall, highly recommended. I think that if I were trying to get a friend into pipe smoking, I would give them a VaPer, and Dunbar might just be it. In my opinion, a much better example of the genre than Escudo, albeit quite different.
33 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 10, 2014 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Germain's descriptor of “savory” pretty much sums up the flavor of Dunbar for me. A counterpart to the brighter and sweeter Dorchester, Dunbar's flavor is quite a bit darker with plenty of wood, earth and spice. I'd say that this is one of the darkest tasting Virginia perique blends of any that I have had the pleasure of smoking.

Once it gets going, the smoke takes on a rich chocolatey fig-like flavor which is nicely enhanced by the piquant zip of the perique. There is some good strength here, but it never overwhelms. Dunbar is a well matured tobacco mixture, evidenced by its deep mellow flavor which is delivered with zero bite and no harshness.

Truth be told, as good as this blend is, I have always prefered a sweeter, tangier VaPer with a bit less bottom-end complexity. When it comes to Vapers, I am more about the high-notes than the low. Nonetheless, Dunbar is still an extremely enjoyable blend and one that I will continue to smoke on occasion for a change of pace.
Pipe Used: Briar
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 21, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I went in to Dunbar without any expectations, other than it being a respected VaPer. That said, I didn't expect it be a contender against Escudo!

This is a really lovely VaPer. In a nutshell, while Escudo has a mysterious depth to it, Dunbar has a surprising delicacy to it (as Sceny incisively noted) and a subtle dark sweetness that is unique for a VaPer.

Dunbar sits on the same shelf right next to Escudo -- just as stellar, but in a different way. DrumsAndBeer is, as usual, highly accurate: this is a VaPer for those with a predilection for a lower tonality (such as me). If I happen to reach for Escudo instead of Dunbar when I want a VaPer it's only because Escudo is one of those rare blends that has a touch of magic to it.

A must try for the VaPer lover, or someone wanting to sample another top-notch variety of the genre. And take this one slow, otherwise don't even bother 'cause you'll be wasting your time and 'baccy.
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 11, 2001 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Nicotiana tabacum is the Linæan classification of our favourite weed, and nicotiana would indeed be the most correct Latin term for things about tobacco. Less correctly, but still possible, one could derive tabaciana from tabacum. But tobacciana is an absurd macaronic barbarism. And so, I have always looked at these blends with a jaundiced eye.

Still, Virginia-cum-Périque is like cat-nip to me, so I decided to swallow my monocled disdain and try this lamely labeled mélange.

Yum, yum!

The Périque element in this blend is dramatic and deliriously overpowering: it tastes like some fiery single-malt liqueur, sweet, rich and peppery?do you know Drambuie??a dream come true! The virginia wherein this Créole beauty is mounted is like sweet gold: it never gives up. I was such a pig that, after sucking several bowlfuls of this in a row, I nearly blistered my tongue! Aye, the laddie can bite, alright.

I got this tin from a neighbourhood shelf, where it probably had been sitting for a long time: the paper sleeve inside was drenched through, and the "pouch" aroma had a semi-putribond redolence proclaiming "Périque orgy". So, Périque-haters, beware: this could kill you. If you are like me, though, you will be hooked immediately.

Now, if they could only straighten out their Latinity! I might even condescend to try Penzance.
20 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Strong
I just finished a tin of this that I had bought a while ago. I really liked this one. I also really like Dorchester. It is funny when reading comparisons between the two blends how very differently people view the two. For Instance, I find Dunbar to be sweeter than Dorchester and lighter on the perique. There are some who agree with me and some who find the exact opposite to be true. All I can really add to this is they are both delicious and you will be happy doing your own comparison.
PurchasedFrom: P & C
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 13, 2011 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Move over Escudo, Dunbar is my new favorite VaPer. Upon opening a tin you notice a wonderful "Raisin Bran" smell with just the right moisture content and a fully packed tin ( that I will talk about later). The tobacco packs and lights easily and stays lit without any moisture buildup. Initially there is a sweet Virginia flavor and ample Perique mustiness. These continue to play throughout the bowl and depending on how hard you puff, you can bring each of these out in perfect balance( slow sip, it's sweet Virginia, faster it's Perique). I find the room note wonderful but unfortunately the " wife test" always says no to Perique. I enjoy smoking VaPers in a cob as I think it brings out the Perique. I don't know how they blended these Virginias, but there is absolutely no bite or even a sensation of pepper on the tongue that I find even in a fine blend like Escudo. The tobacco is smooth, flavorful, complex and satisfying with ample N . It is also economical as I will explain. If you just take the tin weight, at 56.7 gms. not 50 gms. and doing our math, that's 13.4% more tobacco by weight than most others. In addition, I prefer to look at tin volume and how many pipe full's I can get. Dunbar is tightly packed to the brim whereas Escudo is only half full of its pretty wheels. I estimate I'll get 30% more pipe-full's when it's all said and done. Dunbar is my clear choice

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

Cut/ Moisture/ lighting: Same, very acceptable

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

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

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

Overall: Both are excellent Vapers , I favor Dunbar only because I am very sensitive to Tongue bite.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 18, 2016 Mild Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
ET’s Dunbar is delicious and forgiving, and IMO it might be the best introduction to the VA/Per genre. Its tin note presages the smoke: plums and figs over fermenting, grassy dough. The short ribbons are mostly golden, reflecting the predominant, flue cured VAs, and there are precious few dark ribbons, partly because there is not a lot of Perique in this blend. It handles, loads, lights and smokes with little effort, and it burns down quickly. I prefer to smoke Dunbar with original moisture, because it makes more smoke this way. During the smoke, one clearly tastes and smells all the tin notes, and there is very little in the way of “pepper”. In fact, it strikes me as pretty mild on all fronts, yet it smells and tastes great. Its room note is also pleasant, while the aftertaste is souring, smoky, golden grasses.

No suspense here. Four stars for quality and for effortlessly being what it is.
Pipe Used: briars dedicated to VA/Pers
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: fresh to pretty old
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 01, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
This is one of my favorites. I sometimes open the jar just to smell it and drool. It's difficult for me to describe, as I usually am simply absorbing pleasure and not paying attention to subtleties when I smoke it, but...

Dunbar smokes beautifully. Very cool, very even burn, even when seriously abused. The perique makes it spicy and complex, while the top-quality virginias give it a rich, subtly sweet backing. Packs easily, and seems to suit every pipe I've packed with it. In a small pipe, one could smoke it while driving; it is light, gentile, and easy to manage while still giving nicotine satisfaction. In a big, cavernous bowl, one can sit and prepare oneself for a long and utterly satisfying experience as its rich and changing flavor takes you for a ride. My usual, recently, is honestly a medium-large cob, and I find that the two match quite well.

I think the tobaccos Esoterica uses in this blend are of such quality that they could be utterly ham-fisted with the blending and still produce an almost perfect tobacco. This is absolutely tip-top quality leaf.
9 people found this review helpful.
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