Mystery Tobacco Review March/April 2018
Why smoke and review pipe tobacco not knowing its components or who produced it? So, we can provide you, the audience, with an objective perspective on a product easily influenced by a few big voices in a small hobby. Yes, whether or not you want to accept it, you are a human being, whose interests and perceptions are influenced (like it or not) by the feelings, opinions, and ideas of others. The purpose of the Mystery Tobacco review segment is not to eliminate these influences, rather, it’s an attempt to neutralize outside commercial influences that harbor unintentional effects on us as consumers/hobbyist. Also, it’s a fun thing to do!
Although we missed a month, we are back with the March/April Mystery Review. The three panelists were given samples of this month’s tobacco with no identifying information and asked to smoke a few bowls and provide their perspective. Let’s see how this month’s blend measured up to the pipe smoking panelist.
On to the review…
From the Tin
Derek: Fine ribbon cut. Natural sweet aroma with a little musty funk.
Corey: The smokiness of the Latakia really stands out as you open the bag and smell the blend. After the initial hit of smokiness, the spiciness of Orientals comes out with a sense of that old-time type smell…of old books and papers spread out on an old, fragrant cedar desk. The tobacco is finely cut into ribbon pieces, a shag type cut in the old style; reminiscent of the Esoterica cuts. In fact, this tobacco makes me think Margate!
Kyle: This shag cut is not very appealing to the eye. My bag/sample is very dry (I hope the others weren’t sent out this dry…). I smell from the ‘tin’ shows strong hints of both Latakia and faint Oriental notes. I cannot detect any type of topping or added flavoring, however, as I stated, the tobacco is very dry. The blend is a mix of both dark black leaf and faint pieces of light brown Virginias.
Derek: Packs and lights well. A nice light sweetness is present. I notice some smokiness from a little touch of Latakia. To me, the main flavor is the Oriental. Orientals always bring a “funky” flavor. Married well with the other components for a mild to medium strength blend.
Corey: The initial light ignites the Latakia smokiness and creaminess…it starts off slowly and unassuming. This is a strong tobacco, strong flavor, full aroma, strong room note that will definitely chase those away that don’t like pipe smoke and will stink up a room. The flavor is great, especially for those who enjoy Latakia, but that’s not all it offers. There comes a spiciness, presumed from Orientals that come into play and create a rich, deep, yet creamy flavor, a type of creosote flavor, which I mean in a positive sense. All of this must be softened by a bit of Virginias, which may also add to the creaminess, pulling any harshness from the Orientals out, so it does have a good balance.
Kyle: The tobacco packs well but burned a little hot in all three bowls I smoked. There is a pleasant room note that has a musty, old cologne reminisce to it. I am not sure a non-smoker would care for the smell; however, I didn’t mind it. The tastes were somewhat bland and ill defined. I could easily identify a burnt/charred meat tastes and was occasionally entertained by a woody sweat undertone, but other than that, the tasting notes of the smoke didn’t do much for me. The tobacco was easily medium bodied throughout with a noticeable, but not overpowering, nicotine hit. The bowl burned down to a nice white ash leaving very little dottle.
Derek: This is good. It’s like a nice mild Balkan blend. Reminds me of Early Morning Pipe. An all-day blend. I would buy this.
Corey: This tobacco is blended craftily, the cut works and packs well–like old style. The tobacco performs well all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. Smokes perfectly with lots of flavor and aroma, strong and somewhat complex, a good smoky Latakia blend that isn’t too overdone or overpowering. Well worth trying, purchasing, and cellaring especially.
Kyle: Overall, this tobacco was good but far from great. I am willing to bet the dryness of the tobacco inhibited it from fully performing as it should. I am not disappointed in the tobacco but would not reach for it again with so many other great Latakia/Oriental choices on the market (if those are actually components of the blend…). Glad I smoked it but would not purchase again.
Derek (4 Pipes)
Corey (5 Pipes)
Kyle (3 Pipes)
Now that we have established our thoughts and scores, it’s time to reveal the tobacco. The Mystery Tobacco for March/April 2018 is:
Esoterica Pembroke (2012)
Info & Overview
Brand: Esoterica Tobacciana
Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Type: Shag
Available Packaging: 2oz tin
Price: $15.25 USD
There are several questions that come to mind now that I know the brand and age of this tobacco. Question 1. Does aging tobacco really make it better? At least for me, this blend was nothing overly special. It is said that Virginias age much better than any other type of tobacco. With this blend being primarily Latakia/Oriental, I’m not sure six years of age has done anything to improve the tobacco. In fact, for me (not the other reviewers), it only mellowed the tobacco to the point of bland. Question 2. There is always a lot of hype around Esoterica blends. However, is it the actual tobacco/blend they seek or the excitement of the hunt and find of this rare, frequently unavailable, brand (blend vs. brand)? I suppose more investigation is needed to answer both of these questions and I happily volunteer to be the one to conduct the study!
Thanks again for taking the time to visit The Pipe Professor webpage. I hope you have enjoyed reading this Mystery Tobacco review and stay tuned for more reviews, news, and general pipe smoking related content. Until next time, cheers!