Esoterica Tobacciana Tilbury

A harmonious blend of golden and dark Virginias with small portions of burley and air-cured leaf. Matured by a special process over 100 years old, producing a unique natural aroma and piquant flavor.


Brand Esoterica Tobacciana
Blended By J.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured By J.F. Germain & Son
Blend Type Virginia/Burley
Contents Burley, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams 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

3.34 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 104 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 19, 2012 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I should start by admitting that I am not a huge fan of VA's to begin with, but I do like to change it up from my regular diet of English blends. Having said that, I was not super-impressed with Tilbury. The VA blends I've tasted have been either straight VA flakes or VaPer's and I've preferred all of them to this.

In the tin, it smells lovely. Many reviews have already described the wonderful aromas and the promises of a great smoke to come. It's a bit wet and along with the shaggy cut, makes it a little difficult to load. It dries out relatively quickly though and once you understand it's moisture, you can get it to load and light pretty easily.

I divide my smoking experience with Tilbury into two phases. The first is a relatively mild virginia smoke - a little sweetness and a bread-like savory taste with ample smoke. Smoked slowly and thoughtfully, it's pleasant enough, if understated. After the rich tin aroma, I'd hoped for something more though.

The second phase is that in which the burley becomes more pronounced. The flavor becomes characteristically nuttier and flatter. My experience with Burleys has always been thus. While not unpleasant, I just find it boring, What the matured Virginias have to offer seems almost entirely covered up by the Burley.

All in all, it's a decent smoke. The quality of the leaf seems good. There are no unpleasant flavors or aromas and the consistency of the smoking experience tell me that much. The "potency" of the smoke is another issue. I don't have the highest tolerance for nicotine, but I can smoke this without fear of dizziness, which makes me wonder.

There are numerous other VA's out there to try, most of which I think I'll enjoy more than this VA/Burley blend. I probably won't ever get through the tin I have because of boredom, let alone purchase another. Still, I'm certain that others like it just fine, as the reviews indicate. I think it's just not my cup of tea.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 26, 2013 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Tolerable
There's a natural Virginia buttery tart and tangy citrus sweetness along with some hay/grass, bread, a little tangy dark fruit, wood and earth, and a honey note due to the expert mix of gold and dark Virginias. You get much of the full range of tastes that those Virginias usually have to offer. The burley is nutty and toast-like with an earthy, woodsy flavor that gets a little stronger as you smoke it down. The burley is almost a competitive component. The fruity smell out of the tin or bag allows you to think an apricot topping is present, and I claim it was added in the casing of the Virginia, but this varietal tastes lightly fermented in any case. The tobacco is ribbon cut and a little stringy, so it burns at a moderate pace, cool and clean with a very consistent sweet, nutty and woody, lightly rugged flavor from start to finish. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a step or two below that mark. Has no dull or harsh spots, and won't bite. Has a few rough edges. Leaves a little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights if you've given it a light dry time. I recommend that. Has a pleasant, lingering woody, nutty sweet after taste and stronger room note.

11-2-2022 Update: I have recently smoked several batches of Tilbury from 2019 to 2022, and have experienced a moderately stronger apricot topping every time. That subdues the tobaccos more than it did in previous productions. I'm not changing my rating, but I am recording the difference for those who read this review.

12-20-22 Update: The latest drop of Tilbury produces another change in the product. The apricot is barely noticeable. The Virginias are not sweet nor are they as complex as the pre-apricot dosed version discussed in my original review. This only has light touch of dark fruit, more tartly sour citrus, and I notice a smoke note that I never encountered in any version. There’s a little more sharpness and is mildly more sour as well. The Virginias remind me very much of those currently used in Dunbar, which are a downgrade from past manufactures. Three stars for this December 2022 version.

53 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 06, 2003 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Now here is a Virginia/Burley combination that offers pure tobacco taste. The tin aroma is quite nice; sort of a subdued sweet Virginia screaming "Smoke Me!"

The tobacco itself is a little too long stranded for me. I use a small food processor to chop most of my tobaccos anyway, so, a few seconds in the zapper was all it took to make packing a pleasure.

There is no tongue bite--thanks to the high quality of the Virginia and added Burley. It can be smoked all day without fatigue. The flavor is subtle and fairly one dimentional. But hey, if tobacco taste is what you're after, then here you go.

Updated 9/6/03.....I have just finished a tin of 5 year old Tilbury. I must say, this stuff tastes better and better each time I smoke it. A true classic that Virginia/Burley lovers will consider to be a top-shelf. Not inexpensive, but worth every penny!
32 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 27, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I have to agree with SApipe that this is a ribbon cut. But, who believes what it says on a tobacco label, anyway? Tilbury has become one of my two all day Virginia blends, the other being Stratford. This is one of those "smoke one bowl, why not another one?" tobaccos. I don't find that too often in Virgina blends. The Burley may be there in "small portions", but it does it's job to enhance the fine choices of the Virginias I see when opening the can. William Serad stated in his "Trial by Fire" compilation that Tilbury smelled "musty and foul smelling". Well, I enjoy the smell, and I don't get that impression. Smells a little cigar-like to me which I find appealing, even if I'm not a cigar smoker. Due to it's ribbon cut, it packs wonderfully. The top light is delightful filling my mouth with a coffee like taste. This continues along pleasantly from top to bottom. However, mid-bowl I find a slight chocolate presence making an appearance. It doesn't seem to have any chocolate topping, so it's the sort of nuance that just reminds me of chocolate. I've never smoked a chocolate topped tobacco, thank goodness. I'm no fan of Aromatics. You hear what I am trying to say when people describe wine without the presence of a particular substance in it. Well, I get this until I get toward the bottom, then it's real tobacco. Real Virginia. Real taste. BUT, no heat! Amazing! This is the coolest Virginia blend I have ever smoked, and yet still holds it's sweetness until the last puff. Recently, I was in a real hurry while trying to enjoy a bowl of Tilbury in a thin walled Canadian. I knew I was in for trouble. It never came no matter how hard I smoked that pipe. This pipe can be a furnace with other aged Virginias I have smoked. Not Tilbury. Finally, if "This is a potent tobac, causes dizziness!", I have never felt that from Tilbury. Highly delightful, and most highly recommended!
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 15, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
With the exception of Silver Flake, I don’t have any VaBur’s in my regular rotation as I am pretty picky with it comes to Burley’s. Owning only 3 tins of Tilbury of various ages, this one was purchased late in 2013. I simply love the tin note of this blend! I also really like very thin cut tobacco and while this one is slightly more difficult to work with than other thin cut blends, it burns with pure tobacco flavor. The word “butter” seems to come up a lot with this blend and I have to agree. The Virginias have a light sweetness and the combination of Virginias is proportionally perfect and the earthy, nutty Burley is delicious. There is no bite, even when pushed and it has enough backbone to keep me satisfied with a moderate nic hit. As each bowl progresses, the Burley becomes more apparent, but never overcomes the sweet Virginias. I tend to puff a little bit rapidly and to get the most out of this blend, a slower cadence is a must in order to get all of the tremendous flavor out of this blend and to keep the heat down from the very thin cut. I tend to have a pipe in my mouth most of the day and do find that I need to allow some extra time before moving on to my next bowl. Along with Solani Silver Flake, this is easily my favorite VaBur. Sadly, there will never be enough available to be a regular smoke.
Age When Smoked: Two and a half years
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 11, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Experience has shown me it is not wise to judge a tobacco until I have smoked it for about a month (unless it's just downright awful from the gitgo). Tilbury is one of those tobaccos that initially failed to impress me. It wasn't bad; it was just alright. However, I had just been coming off of a couple months of DSK and MacB Navy Flake, and so had to re-attune myself to the more subtle complexities of a more natural tasting tobacco such as Tilbury.

Anytime a tobacco's description includes the word 'piquant', I have to give it a try; mainly because I am a boob who does not know what the word means, and really want to find out what it is. And if it causes dizziness, then I definitely want to give it a go. Well, suffice to say, I didn't get dizzy. And I still do not know what that piquant flavor is (piquant pie?). But this is really good stuff.

It is, as others have already said, a very fine cut for pipe tobacco. And in the tin, it is very moist, and will remain so for quite a long while (unlike some of the Dunhill blends that dry out within a week). I really wasn't quite sure how to load this stuff into my pipe at first. Finally, I decided on the "grab a bunch, roll it up, and stuff it into the pipe until no more will go in" method. This seems to work, as I have had good luck with the pipe staying lit and smoking cool all the way to the bottom; at least in a small to medium size bowl.

Now, this tobacco does what I like my tobacco to do. It burns evenly, and it pretty much tastes the same at the bottom of the bowl as it does at the top; no big surprises halfway through. And the flavor is nice and tobaccoey sweet; not the pungent aritificial sweetness of an aromatic. For those who like the natural sweetness of a McClelland mature virginia, but not the vinegar/ketchup aroma and taste, this tobacco should be spot on.

**Did I actually say "spot on"? I have actually now begun ordering this tobacco in the 8 oz. packaging, so it ranks up with Gawith & Hogarth flakes for me.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2004 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Appearance: Mostly reddish tones, medium width ribbon.

Aroma: Substantial matured Virginia aroma with some trace of dark Burley.

Packing:. Packs well into any size bowl from group 3 through 5.

Lighting:. Lighting is quite ordinary. Not too slow to burn, nor too quick to catch.

Initial flavor: Very full bodied Virginia flavor with some extra strength noticeable. The additional component soon reveals itself as a very tasty Burley

Mid-bowl:. This is a simple blend, which has complex layers of flavors. The blending of sweet and nutty is extraordinary, while the fullness begs you to slow your puffing. Quite a bit of mouth feel to this blend, with a good range of middle notes, some high and some low, but no extremes. A cool smoke, but stays lit rather well.

Finish:. Finishes way too soon, leaving me wishing I had filled a larger pipe. Also leaves me satisfied for a while, no need for another. There seems to be a high nicotine content.

Summary:. Another superb blend from Esoterica. Reminds me of Cumberland, but without the Perique. An excellent choice for the evening, by itself, or with a nightcap.
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2014 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Fanastic tobacco. Esoterica is almost impossible to find online, but I found it at a few shops, in tins and bulk. I am reviewing the bulk variety, if it makes any difference. First of all, I do not know why the tin says broadcut, it is a very fine ribbon cut as others have mentioned. It packs easily and burns very very well, down to nothing. This is probably one of the coolest smoking blends I have ever smoked.

The flavor of Tilbury is exquisite! It has a plum like Virginia sweetness rounded off by the pecan like nutty, earthy burly. As you smoke it, the burly becomes more and less prominent. The flavor also intensifies in the last half of the bowl. Like most tobaccos, it is best enjoyed sipped, but thats hard to do with a tobacco this good. Blow the smoke through your nose, swish it around a bit. This is some pretty nuanced stuff.

I love burly, and I love Virginia. Before I found this blend, as I was tiring of full flavored latakia blends and smoking a lot of straight VAs and drug store burleys, I was hoping I would find a Virginia heavy blend with good quality burly leaf in it. This is it. This is like Carter Hall (which is fantastic in its own right) with 50 percent more virginia and better quality tobaccos, and no apparent topping.

My only regret is not buying more, Highly recommended.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 30, 2018 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
I usually smoke two, three maybe four different tobaccos each day and the next I might as well change and smoke others. With Tillbury I stuck! After opening the pouch, I kept smoking it almost exclusively for days in a row – a thing very unusual for me…

Tilbury comes almost shag cut but there are a few pieces of broken flakes in it as well. Colour is of different hues of dark brown. The pouch note is enticing, natural yeasty tobacco smell.

Loading is exceptionally easy and the tobacco needs only a few minutes of drying time. Lighting is also easy. In general, it is difficult for me to think of a less fussy tobacco. It smokes with incomparable ease, does not go out, burns slow and produces an abundant smoke. Naturally Tilbury’s mechanics are part of its appeal to me.

But taste is also superb. Natural, aged, yeasty Virginia goodness deceptively simple: you smoke it and while it’s a great natural-tasting tobacco, there seems to be nothing very exciting about it. But still, exactly because it does not have anything very particular but on the other hand it is solidly tasty with a taste that does not overwhelm or become boring after repeated use, I find it as good as it gets for an all-day tobacco!

Should be sold in bulk! Were it not for its scarcity I’d say that Tilbury is the perfect all-day tobacco. Alas, a pouch won’t last long and a replacement is not easy to get…

Tastewise it has the Germain touch which one can find in Medium Flake or Royal Jersey Virginia and even Uncle Tom but without the flavoring. Tilbury is to Esoterica what Ye Old Signe to the Dunhill line, or 5100 to McClelland, or Golden Glow to Gawith: a tasty, virtually straight, ribbon cut Virginia that is smooth and with no tongue bite suited for an all-day use. And though all the above lend themselves readily to blending with other tobaccos, Tilbury stands proudly on its own. It’s so satisfying on its own that I haven’t even tried to mix it with others leafs. And as for room note it is surprisingly innocuous to nonsmokers.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 27, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
A fiend of mine told me that this tobacco has no bells and whistles but it's an outstanding VaBur... I concur. This is another blend from Germain that I would consider a daily smoke if it were not for all you people buying it all up before I can get to it. Lol. This is a smooth, slightly sweet smoke and I see people using the word "buttery" to describe it in several different reviews and for good reason, it is somewhat buttery in flavor and texture. Again, Germain has a way of curing their Virginia's like no one else on the face of the earth. What is it that they do to their VA's that other people can't figure out? Well... that's half the fun, the not knowing, that is where the magic lies. This and Dunbar are my absolute favorite blends from the Esoterica line of tobaccos, you all can have your Penzance and Stonehaven. Give me Tilbury or give me death! Okay that is a little extreme but you get the point. Oh, and I agree with DK on the roomnote, it's absolutely stunning! The best of the best!

Pipe Used: Neerup, Stanwell, Gamboni
Age When Smoked: Fresh
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 17, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
The Burley is a little more nutty than earthy and has a little sweetness to it. It leads the Virginias by just a little. The Virginias add a little more citrus than hay and have a mild spice hit. They also give the smoke an underlying "freshness". It's a smooth smoke that satisfies in flavor and strength. Not the best VaBur I've had, but in my top five.

Medium in body and taste. No added flavoring. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
PurchasedFrom: Cup O' Joes
Age When Smoked: 1 year
7 people found this review helpful.
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