Esoterica Tobacciana Margate

A classic English mixture done in the "old style" of many of the fine tobaccos that have now disappeared from the market place. Choice Orientals, matured Virginias, and generous quantities of premium Cyprian latakia keynote this rich, full bodied blend. A well balanced, robust and eminently satisfying smoke.


Brand Esoterica Tobacciana
Blended By J.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 2 ounce tin, 8 ounce bag
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.31 / 4





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Displaying 21 - 30 of 208 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 22, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I am of the opinion that J.F. Germain makes their best blends under their Esoterica label. Margate is another winner and it is no surprise that it is sometimes difficult to obtain. The tin scent offers a musty, smoky smell that I find very inviting. Like many of the Germain blends, the cut of the tobacco is very thin. It is important to “pack with care” to get the most out of Margate. There is a generous helping of Latakia in Margate, but for me, the Orientals are the star of the show. I have smoked many tins of Margate, and it is wonderful just out of a fresh tin as well as a tin with several years of age on it. The Oriental tobacco(s) in Margate do offer a bit of sweetness, but it is mainly with age and more subtle than one would find in Virginias. Margate has a flavor profile that is somewhat unique among English blends. Some have referred to it as having incense like flavor and I would have to agree as I think it is the best adjective to describe Margate's taste. It certainly has its own niche in a world filled with countless English blends. I can't quite go to four stars with Margate only because it doesn't quite hold my interest as long as some other English blends and it seems to be in and out of my regular rotation. By the same token, it always seems to find its way back. LOL!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 11, 2009 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong
I have been smoking pipes for more than 40 years now, and I am part of the legion in search for 'those' English mixtures: the advertised "old style". I must say that Margate is one of the closest Moderate flavor, quite British, but nothing memorable. I would compare to the second line oldies, like Four Squares, for example. I would say it is OK for the current standards. However there is a big problem, in my experience, that prevents me to recommend Margate to my friends. This mixture burns extremely hot, to the point of putting the pipe and my fingers in danger. Only a Meer can be smoked safely. And I felt the consequences in my lips too. Now that summer is coming, smoking Margate may become hell.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 07, 2020 Medium Very Mild Full Very Pleasant
Another great experience!

I know how difficult it is to get your hands on Esoterica blends, and I know how expensive they are if you try to buy them from those who try to make a business of their own, buying lots of tins then selling them at high prices. So many probably ask themselves: “Is it worth giving that money on eBay or should I still wait my chance to buy it when it’s available on official stores?” I hope my review will answer your question.

So, lets get to it!

First experience:

1st Tin note:

Well.... * sniffs * ... oh God, this is a strong, strong smell! * sniffs * ... smells a bit like the American version of Nightcap, it has that strange sting, mostly like an oriental but not leathery, more like vinegar mostly. * sniffs * The latakia doesn’t smell very strong.

I think it’s quite an old tin because the wrapper has a lot of nicotine on it, but even so the tobacco is quite moist.

There’s some black leaf in it which is the oriental and latakia, it also has a lot of yellow to dark yellow virginia. They seem to be very well balanced. The cut is not really a shag, it’s a peeble cut I think, something between very small ribbon and tiny bits.

The first match was horrible and that was my mistake because I didn’t puff correctly, but the second smoke was good. It lights up very well, it really reminds me of Frog Morton.

Few puffs later: Yeah, this definitely tastes like Frog Morton, it has that strange taste of barbeque sauce, vinegar, Warchestershire Sauce. It’s not very smoky either. It’s a good and pleasant smoke, but it’s definitely not full bodied, it’s actually a blend that you have to sip slowly, like an old wine, and enjoy it, because it’s complex, it’s not a straightforward latakia bomb or something simple, it’s actually complex in a very interesting and pleasant way. It burns very, very well.

I’ve let it cool down for like 5 minutes or 10 minutes at most and after I lit it the strange taste of vinegar went away. It’s a very buttery (like butter) and silky, smooth and a little leathery and a little smoky. It’s interesting because it has many aromas but none of them are pronounced, they dance together beautifully.

It’s actually quite sweet, it’s not what you would expect from an english. I don’t sense that smoky characteristic, or the leathery characteristic or the spicy characteristic. It’s hard to describe exactly because it’s crazy how many flavors and aromas are in this, which makes it a very good, interesting and complex smoke.

Middle experience:

Yes, it has that taste of Frog Morton on the Log at the first two lights but after that it gets very silky and buttery. It’s sweet and smoky. Definitely some very good latakia. It’s not super smoky, but it has that latakia sweetness. It’s not the sweetness of the virginia which has some citrus notes.

A few puffs later: Boy this is good! I’m just trying to think of a tobacco that I could compare it with but nothing comes to my mind. There could be... it has something from all the great blends like Early Morning Pipe, My Mixture 965 and a bit from Frog Morton at the beginning, but this is unique from all I’ve smoked so far, this is quite different, in a good way. It’s complex, it’s delicious!

As you smoke, the smokiness gets more pronounced. There is the leathery taste as well but both tastes are much much better and smoother and delicate than in other blends. The room note is overwhelming in a very good way, I mean this is powerful! It really smells powerful but also very good in my opinion. It’s... WOW! It’s like an incense of some very secret plant that you would imagine being used in the ancient temples in secret mystery schools.

One more thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how much you puff, how much and how strong you puff, this one doesn’t get hot at all. Not even the pipe doesn’t get too hot. It’s clear that the virginia used here is not in a big amount, at least that’s my opinion, even though the blend smokes great.

I think this is the perfect blend for a very cold winter night when you sit by the fireplace and you light up your pipe and you drink some cognac or brandy or whatever fine drink.

It is very powerful in terms of smell. So it will absolutely fill the room with its amazing smell. It delivers a very thick smoke both in the air and in your mouth. It fills your mouth with soft smoke, like a cloud. Even when you retrohale you feel a very smooth sensation of the smoke, it doesn’t feel any spice.

After you go halfway the bowl the aromas that I mentioned, like vinegar or whatever, they go away and they start to deliver natural aromas of a very fine tobacco and very well cured and very well blended.

The latakia is rich in flavor but it’s not that super smoky latakia, it’s more like a sweet soft latakia with a bit of smokiness.

I’m now super interested in Penzance which is actually what I’ve been after for a long time, but since I couldn’t get my hands on Penzance I’m very very very happy that I managed to get my hands on Margate.

I don’t usually finish a review before I smoke at least one full tin, or even two tins, but in this case I will only smoke about half of the tin and the rest I will leave it for the winter because this is in my opinion the perfect winter blend, like I said, imagining sitting in front of the fireplace where the smell of the burning logs are getting together with the smell of this fine blend, and the winter and the silent nights of winter, because this should be enjoyed at night, in silence, maybe along with a classic book and a fine drink.

Another good thing for me is that nicotine wise this is not mellow, because I like and I need nicotine and this one delivers enough nicotine so that I don’t have to light up those horrible cigarettes.

This goes on my favorites list!

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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2019 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
It is very easy to see why Esoterica tobacco is so highly prized. While the aroma directly from the bag is pretty much the same as any other English blend I've smelled, the taste is far superior. The tobacco is shag cut and easy to pack, and could do with a few minutes of drying before you start smoking.

The typical salty, peated flavor from the Latakia is at just the right level for my liking. I also get notes of toast, baking spice, earth, and a slight hint of pepper. The flavors meld so well together that it is almost difficult to separate them.

Margate burns very well and only required a few relights. The fine shag cut seems to keep the tobacco burning for much longer than more coarsely cut tobacco, which leads to a very long, enjoyable smoke. Margate can easily be smoked at any time of day and the mild to medium flavor won't overpower most other non-aromatic blends.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 03, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
"Happy mortal he who knows the pleasure that a pipe bestows."

Before I weigh-in on Margate, can I just say how glad I am that the finer, retro, off-the-grid charms, recondite rituals and artisanal pleasures associated with pipes and pipe tobacco remain such an obscure, undiscovered, underground undertaking that only we, the fortunate members of such a seemingly secret society, are currently enjoying(?)

I walked into to my local B&M tobacconist (Mission Pipe Shop in San José, CA) to pick some 6mm filters for a $53 Rossi Rubino I recently bought (without noticing it was filtered – my one and only filtered pipe). While there, I was also going to grab a tin or two of Margate that has been collecting dust on their shelves for the past two years (at least, since the last time I was there to pick up a pound each of Stonehaven and Penzance). Sure enough, when I walked in, there were half-a-dozen tins of Margate on the shelf, as well as some Dunbar and Pembroke. I picked up two tins of Margate, a tin of Dunbar, and then helped myself to their last 8-ounce bag of Penzance ($51, for 8-ounces of Penzance).

Can you imagine? In downtown San Jose – in the middle of Silicon Valley – I nonchalantly amble into my local pipe shop and casually pick up some Esoterica off the shelf, including an 8-ounce bag of Penzance (for $51). If pipe smoking ever hit fad status the way man-buns, vaping and Juuling had, can you imagine the calamitous effects it would have on the rest of us? The demand would so far outstrip the existing supply for everything pipe-related that the price of everything pipe-related would skyrocket to such astronomical levels as to utterly destroy this precious pastime for all but the obscenely wealthy.

The Margate is good . . .

Funny that people compare Quiet Nights to Penzance, but no one compares Penzance to Quiet Nights (I never made the connection myself, either way). While Margate and Penzance are clearly and closely related (one can both see and taste the resemblance), quite curiously, Quiet Nights is what came to my mind as I pondered over Margate. Margate has a spicy, smokey , incense-like perfume coupled with marvelous essence of Latakia flavoring, and a petite piquancy by way the Orientals and Turkish. Needs some dry time, as it also needs to be sipped. Methinks a wee more Virginia would have perhaps improved the overall experience, but with that said, Margate is both well-balanced and well-blended, a very fine English indeed. 4-stars.

PurchasedFrom: Mission Pipe Shop, San Jose, CA
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 09, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Recently I purchased a small hoard of 5 to 20 year old tins of various pipe blends. As per the statement of the seller, a small number of them were unsealed and my tin of Margate was one of them. Dated 2004, it did not appear sealed and I went straight to opening it. Surprise, as the mixture was found smokeable with some moisture intact. It had been a long time since I had smoked Margate and, as I puffed, I dredged up my memories of it from twenty-five years ago. When Esoterica blends hit the local market, we all smoked the majority of them and a ranking of their English blends formed in my mind: Penzance first, Pembroke second and Margate a distant third. Why? I just didn't feel it was distinctive enough to rank with the other two and was lukewarm in competition with the likes of Dunhill 965. Now, to the present tense. Thirteen years of aging in someone's basement had melded all components into a smooth, but narrow ranged smoke that was neither outstanding nor mediocre. The tin appearance had changed to a very darkish hue of some umber brown and some nearly black particles. The smoking experience was, likewise, very smooth and confined to a narrower range that lodged it right smack at the top of the bell-shaped curve of medium English blends. This is my main bone of contention with this blend, in that, it lacks competitiveness with other English mixtures I have available today and had available in the past. I don't have anything bad to say about Margate but, on the converse, there is a limit on what I can say about what is good about it-three stars.
Pipe Used: Ashton and Roush Lovats
PurchasedFrom: another pipe smoker
Age When Smoked: 13 years old
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2016 Medium None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Finally managed to get my hands on some of these due to the generosity of a friend visiting the States. This was the second smoke out of a brand new Savinelli and man! What a great smoke! My tastes have recently gravitated to oriental heavy English blends and this just fits that bill perfectly. Out of the tin rich, moldy, deep like freshly ground coffee with some sweetness added. A fine ribbon cut that needs a fair amount of drying time though, but once done packs sweetly into the bowl. First light is where the action begins and immediately the that first indicator of an oriental for me comes racing to the fore: a sweet, rose like flavour that pleasantly fills your mouth quickly followed by the rich chocolaty/coffee/woodfire taste of quality latakia. Heavenly. Normally I keep myself busy while smoking a pipe...reading, watching a video, whatever...but this held all of my attention. Right to the end where many other tobaccos tend to fade, that floral sweetness and smoky richness stayed. Absolutely delicious. Two downsides though: during the bowl it did seem as if the pipe got exceptionally hot every now and again. Even putting it down only alleviated it for a short time. This is probably due to the pipe being new, but cannot recall it getting this hot during its first smoke. And then towards the end of the bowl my tongue was definitely taking a bit of strain. Not so much proper tongue bite as with some Virginias, but almost a gradual drying out like when you've had a couple of bites too many of spicy food. But not enough to deter from four starts for me, definitely a top notch tobacco.
Pipe Used: Savinelli
PurchasedFrom: Friend
Age When Smoked: 1 month out of tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 10, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
A fantastic, traditional, old style English blend, indeed. Evokes good old memories. Very balanced and skilfully selected Orientals, kind of warm, creamy, full body aroma, no beak pecking spiciness. Scrumptious Latakia. Rich palette of flavours. Natural tobacco sweetness accompanies you throughout the smoke. A gorgeous blend for all lovers of the old style English mixtures that have gradually disappeared from the market. Thanks to Esoterica, MARGATE fills the gap. It’s on my favourites list now.
Age When Smoked: About one year.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 21, 2013 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Margate is another high-quality blend from ET. Tin note and light are well-tempered Latakia, and the light and the initial aroma and taste include the incense that Margate shares with ET's And So To Bed. Nice, and "sophisticated", indeed, but not my first choice for an everyday smoke. Like some other ET blends, the (shag in this case) tobacco loads, lights and smokes well when still "damp", needing only tapping (as opposed to poking or tamping) to keep it lit. The Oriental ("Turkish") tobaccos come up as the shag is (quickly) smoked down, and the blue-gray smoke and the taste take on a sharper, sourer note that I quite like. IMO, the best of this blend is the last of it. While I don't especially care for the immediate "smoky" aftertaste, this soon evens out to and lingers as the best of the final smoking notes.

All in all, an "impressive", fairly satisfying, Lat-forward blend that I hesitate to call a true English. Today I smoked Margate after a bowl of Orcilla Mixture (and after clearing my palate), and IMO Margate is "less" in the way of tobacco, per se, while being "more" in the way of component parts and "effects".
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2012 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I bought a tin of Margate in my search for the perfect Latakia mix. I've sampled so many in the past few years, and there are few that I return to on a regular basis. Nightcap, 965, and London Mixture have hit the heavy rotation with Dunhill's return to the American market, and I was looking for a strong Oriental counterpart to London Mixture for the sake of comparison.

Esoterica makes excellent tobacco, and in the esteem for Penzance, there are several in the line that have become sleeper blends for me. Margate fits that description. It is heavy on the Orientals and quite full, whereas most in that category are somewhat wimpy.

Browsing the reviews some time ago I came upon the astonishing claim that the blend is entirely composed of Oriental leaf and its smokier variety, Latakia. I just couldn't believe it--a Latakia heavy blend without any Virginias? I immediately pulled out my tin and began smoking away, curious whether this could be true. When evaluating the Oriental component, I make it a habit to pull the smoke through the nasal cavity to check for spiciness. In return, I was rewarded with a full onslaught of peppery spice. My appreciation for Margate hit a new high, and I dutifully consumed my remaining tin in short time.

Margate is an excellent counterpart to both London Mixture and Sam Gawith's Skiff Mixture, blends big on the Orientals. It lacks some of the sweetness that both exhibit due to the apparent lack of Virginia leaf, but it never feels light, or overwhelming. If you're mourning the inability to score a tin of Penzance, check this out...I think you'll find it a novel substitute, held to the same high standards of the entire Esoterica line.
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