Esoterica Tobacciana Penzance

A wonderful complex secret recipe of the finest Virginia, choice Turkish and Orientals and Cyprian latakia, all hand blended together, hard pressed and broad cut into thick flakes. Long matured and easily crumbled to facilitate pipe filling.


Brand Esoterica Tobacciana
Blended By J.F. Germain & Sons
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Flake
Packaging 50 grams 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

3.48 / 4





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Displaying 31 - 40 of 464 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2016 Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I was gifted some of this from a forum member. I wanted to try it, but not badly enough to wait around my phone or inbox to spend $40+ per bag. With the waiting lists that some of these retailers have these days, I figured I would save myself a lot of time and trouble by just laying low.

So this is the "holy grail" of English blends. I opened the Ziplock bag that my sample came in and trembled with humility. Was I worthy enough to partake of this holy mixture? Was my heart pure enough? This is what the gods and goddesses smoked the day the world was conceived? I was overcome with emotion and cried uncontrollably at the honor that I had bestowed before me.

With that being said, I packed it into a 1947 Parker billiard. It smelled nice and smokey in the bag, and I was beginning to think I had a Lat bomb on my hands. After lighting (which it readily took and held for the remainder of the smoke), I realized that this was indeed a damn good smoke. I was afraid it would be musty or spicy with the oriental content, but these orientals are of the sweeter variety. They add an exotic spice to the amazing tobacco flavor. I was able to pick out several flavor profiles as the bowl burned: wood, earth (albeit not bitter in any sense), leather, spiced cream (think eggnog). The flavor never once got bitter or overly smokey. It burned to a fine white ash and left no burnt aftertaste in my mouth. I was impressed.

I can see how this would be a hyped tobacco to many. However, I personally don't see how this blend commands the prices or popularity that it does. I would like to keep some on hand, but I didn't find it miraculous enough to scour the deepest ends of the Earth just to pay $50 for an 8 oz. bag. My 3 Oaks is readily available and scratches the same itch that this blend would satiate. I recommend that anyone who likes English mixtures should try this at some point in their lives. Maybe I WASN'T worthy after all...
Pipe Used: Parker
PurchasedFrom: Gift
Age When Smoked: Unknown
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 05, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The tin aroma is unforgettable, but not the smoke. Clean, subtle, latakia predominant flavor does not compensate the relatively weak body in the taste. Not saying it lacks strength, but somewhat monotone to me. I definitely expect more due to the hype. It is one of the most overrated blends on the market in my opinion.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
Tip-of-tongue sweetness throughout, more honey-like than sugar. Huge creaminess, hints of peppermint, Promite on dark-bread. Cloves perhaps. Cocoa. Virginias drifts in from time to time with suggestions of the greener ages of hay. Perhaps a little fruitiness here and there, but overall more towards the bread-like... the savoury-sweet pastriness of nuts and salt and honey and malt and yeast .

As suggested it may be the Virginias here that give this blend so much to age towards. Smokiness deepening towards the bottom of the bowl, becoming more savoury and salty, sweetness still present and delicious, further suggestions of axe-ire and intentional lens-shake, trending bokeh shots... [sorry, wrong review], finishing up with nicotine contentment -just slightly stronger than not.

Presentation is rich and velvety. Smoke is rich and velvety. Rich and velvety.

Does not develop much down the bowl as other blends might, but this is not a bad thing. Similar dimension throughout, but a very very good one. A unified and distinct flavour in the genre. Don't be too furious or you might get burnt rubber... sip, and you might get truly sublime.

Overall, a simply gorgeous blend.

Note: I smoked this blend long before the hipsters took to it and must say I'm disappointed that's it's harder to be had these days. It's a remarkable blend, but surely not as venerable as the nu-tweedsters might have us believe. Whatevle.
Pipe Used: Most of them.
PurchasedFrom: 4Noggins
Age When Smoked: 5+ Years
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 29, 2015 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Gifted 100gms of this baccy when buying an estate pipe off Ebay. Mmmmm....secret blending recipe....if I were to carry out a blind tasting of Penzance I would immediately state that the blend was in fact Revor plug rubbed out fine.Black oily flakes(I know Revor is a block) crumbles readily. This Penzance is a very fine old school no nonsense smoke but I think Revor just pips it to the post.I am aware tobacco tasting is a purely subjective thing so other reviewers will no doubt have their own take on this tobacco but for me it is almost exactly like good old Revor plug with a slightly oriental aspect.Good stuff though! 4 Stars.
Pipe Used: Peterson 9s Falcon,Comoys Bulldog
PurchasedFrom: Gifted to me
Age When Smoked: Months?
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
My first bowl has proved to be quite an extraordinary journey.

Fully rubbed out; dried for 5-10 minutes (per my tobacconist's advice), it lit quite easily. At first, the taste reminiscent of corn flakes, I was put off. That opened up a bit. I find the pleasant sour tang that appears now, a welcome development. The strength remains light-mild for the first quarter-bowl. The Latakia builds to fill it out to a stern medium. Just so. Then come the Orientals; a bit of mustiness; some earthiness. This blends into the Virginias. A bit grassy, but not too sweet. The smokiness never disappears, but does pop in enough to remind you of It's presence. All of the aforementioned components are still here; a swirling melange of the symphony that, I am now seeing, is Penzance. The deftness of this blend really shows halfway into the bowl. The balance, currently showing, is where I usually prefer to start, in a bowl. Earthy, musty, nutty, leather; they're all suitable adjectives, but underwhelmingly so.

It smokes wonderfully. I only had to relight due to the extremely restricted sipping which I attempted. Even then, a minimum effort was required to produce a clean, even burn to termination.

I can see what the hype is about. Not an all day smoke; maybe not an every day indulgence. Definitely one to keep in the cellar. I'll buy what's available, but not necessarily at the premium I've seen it go for... Neophytes, wait on this one. Better yet, buy it if available, and then wait. Get a variety under your belt before attempting to tame this one. A bit of age will reward your patience. -SR
Pipe Used: Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: The Tinder Box, Costa Mesa
Age When Smoked: Fresh, bulk
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 23, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Penzance is definitely worth all the positive reviews. This krumble kake is one of the best Oriental forward latakia blends I've had the pleasure of overpaying to smoke...grin. Seriously, though hard to find, it was worth the chase. Lighting this up and closing ones eyes while sipping a tea and listening to most any of the classic rock groups from the 60s or 70s and I'm in heaven. This packs very easily and takes to light easily after a little drying time. The aroma is fantastic and my palate felt clean upon finishing. All the components of this blend merry together so well that you would think another bowl is called for, surprisingly you may not need a second bowl since this really satisfies your smoky, spicy, sweet tooth. This is not a powerhouse for nicotine, but that seldom drives my desire for any given tobacco. Highly recommended!! MGBWYA
Pipe Used: Stanwell
PurchasedFrom: BATB
Age When Smoked: Fresh Tin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 13, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
It's true, it's true, it's all true. I didn't want it to be, but it is. I've read a bunch of the reviews of this tobacco and was recently walking through the local pipe and tobacco shop, when I noticed the golden glint in my periphery...I stopped and looked to the left. Lo-and-behold, there was an 8-oz. bag of Penzance in their pipe tobacco humidor.

I stared at it for a few minutes, having the internal debate with myself. I then walked up front and asked the store's 'pipe guru' what he thought of it. His response - 'I have 2 lb. cellared and if they let us buy more than one bag out of every shipment we get in, I'd have a lot more.'

I bought it, took it home, and debated ripping it open right away so as to try it immediately. In the end, common sense won out and I decided to wait until that night when the kids were in bed and asleep (the wife was out-of-town) so I could take my time and enjoy it.

Holy cow, did I ever! This is one of the most perfect tobaccos I've ever smoked. Fullness and richness but without any overpowering elements. I won't repeat what so many others have said about this phenomenal tobacco, because it's all true.

I smoked two flakes that night and cellared/jarred the rest. This will be a once-in-awhile celebratory tobacco, at least until I have about 5 lb. or so cellared and can enjoy it a little more often. If you like English blends and can find this, buy it.

Incredible stuff.
Pipe Used: il ceppo Bulldog (nicknamed 'The Cannon')
Age When Smoked: First two flakes <1 day, the rest is cellared
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 04, 2014 Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Unfortunately, it is worth the hype. It is worth hunting this down, scouring B&M's and websites, its worth all the superlatives, all the praise, all the mystique.

This will become this generation's 759. I'm almost sure of it. When this goes OOP, watch out, it will be gouged to heck, there will be silent auctions for the tiniest amount of it, there will be blends and competitions dedicated to mimicking it and trying to match it with what's available. College kids will ask us what was it like to smoke, what compares to it now, was it really THAT good?


I didn't want this to be the case. I really wanted this to be like a Tulip craze, a complete bubble of speculation with no substance, but then I got some, smelled it, packed and smoked it. There is nothing like it. The orientals are a one-off hit. I don't know what they are called, where else you find them, but there is an oriental in this which unmistakable and just such an enchanting taste and smell that it cannot be described.

Sadly, the scarcity goes on. I have 2oz in a mason jar, and a sealed 8oz bag that I dare not open until I can secure some more. You may hate me for my hoarding, but once you smoke some, you will join the herd. I almost guarantee it.
Pipe Used: XXL Custom Poker
PurchasedFrom: Shhhhhhhh!!
Age When Smoked: Unknown
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 01, 2013 Medium to Strong Medium to Strong Medium to Full Tolerable
Penzance is a classic, there's no doubt about it. It's a truly amazing smoke—smooth, smokey, bacony, not your usual English blend, that's for sure. My bowl lasted nearly an hour—an hour of pure bliss. This blend is a true credit to the art of blending tobacco (God knows what's in it, though). Now I know why it's so hard to hunt down, it's good, really good. If you have a chance to buy it at a reasonable price, do so. I'd like to thank Bobby G at Pipes & Cigars for the 8 oz. bag he sold me (at retail, no less, thanks much!). Because of its scarcity, I will enjoy it only on occasion. Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Molina bent
PurchasedFrom: Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: ?
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 21, 2013 Medium None Detected Full Tolerable
ORIGINAL REVIEW 11/21/13 Well it feels weird for me to review a blend off of two bowls, but I figure that this is review 358 and since I have nothing bad to say, why not.

A fellow Forum buddy sent me the leftovers in a tin that had dried out with several other samples. I rehydrated it while up north hunting and packed my Large Altinok Canadian. My hunting buddy who I recently reintroduced to pipe smoking also had a bowl. We both agreed it was an incredible smoke. I smoked the last bowl of it in the tree during a cold morning hunt.

I usually don't like full English blends although there are a few that really hit the spot once in awhile and I can see this one sharing that trait. It was smoky and smooth and burnt cool. I wish I had more.

Anyway, I have likely already said too much as there is a reason this is extremely hard to obtain. It is that good. Highly recommended.

EDIT 12/15/14 After finishing 8 ounces of this recently I will say that it maintains a four-star rating IMO. As I now move into my fourth year of smoking, I find my tastes now moving more into the fuller bodied Lats and the lighter ones no longer really do it for me. This is a great tobacco and I think it fitting of its demand.

That said there are some that I favor over this blend. To start with there is Smoker's Haven Krumble Kake which is even harder to obtain than this as it has not been available for a few years. I was fortunate enough to find a forum member willing to trade me for some.

I would also put HU's Fayyum kake above this, but not by much. Being that it is in Germany and needs to be shipped overseas this is a costly alternative, but it is available and I would recommend that to overpaying for some Penzance.

There are two I have had that are highly available and I think are better than Penzance and they are both by McClelland. One is Blue Mountain and the other is Three Oaks Syrian. I do prefer these to Penzance and the thought came to me that this should lower Penzance to three stars, but the differences are minor and all of these blends are worthy of four stars. Since I think this a blend everyone should try, I will keep it at four stars and I will rebuy it any opportunity I get.
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