February 22, 2018, 11:22 am
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Esoterica Penzance

Penzance, a crumble cake style English slices with a bewitching tin aroma, has caught my attention.

I've read about Penzance, that it has a nice dose of latakia, some virginia, and some orientals. I've also read that is surpasses many flakes/slices in terms of flavor and smokability. Most important, of all the tobaccos I currently smoke, not a single one is a flake. I was pretty sure I was missing out on something, and since I had to visit the tobacconist anyway, I decided to spring for a tin.

I am not easily impressed. I have given away more tobaccos than I smoke. I do not like a great deal of what is out there. This is not the case with Penzance. I have found that I REALLY like Penzance. I most certainly AM impressed.

Let start off by saying that I was scared. The last slices I tried tasted like rose water, and I nearly threw up. I'm also somewhat cautious when smoking blends high in Virginia tobaccos, since those tend to burn my tongue. So, I cautiously dedicated the chosen pipe - a GBD New Century rhodesian. Ah, fitting. An English pipe for an English tobacco.

I pack the pipe as I have read one should pack slices. Roll a ball of tobacco and drop it into the bottom of the bowl. Fold a couple slices and lightly stuff them edgewise on top. Sprinkle what fell on the table on top of that. Do not tamp. It went better than I had expected - facilitated, no doubt, by the somewhat small size of the slices.

Unlike with other virginia-based blends, I do not get burned by this tobacco. I have noticed that I rarely get burned by "expensive" Virginia blends. That's a lesson slowly being learned.

The flavor is somewhat flat at first lighting, but you can certainly detect the latakia, which is Cyprian apparently. However, that flatness soon develops into an interesting dance of flavors. The latakia is always present, and the Virginias impart a mild sweetness that rounds out the smoke. You can detect the orientals, but to my tongue, they played only a supporting role and never made their presence known in an obtrusive fashion. These oriental tobaccos provide a richness and fullness, supporting the Virginias while allowing the latakia to be a featured player.

Toward the end of the bowl I expected things to go somewhat bitter, however that did not happen. The richness and fullness remains to the end, and does not falter. The tobacco does develop a deeper flavor at the end, something reminiscent of the first lights of GLP Raven's Wing.

There is generous amounts of smoke to this tobacco, and a heavy room note, so for that reason I'm banned to outdoor or screen porch smoking when I load this one up. The same place I'm told to go when I want to smoke Robusto or Raven's Wing.

To compare to Raven's Wing again, I would call this a "mild" tobacco. However, if you're familiar with Raven's Wing that's not saying much. If you were to compare it to, say, Santa's Mistake from C&D, you would find this a more robust blend - however, it keeps the same coolness and stability throughout the smoke. And since I just recently smoked the last of my Santa's Mistake, I think I've found a tobacco to take it's place in the rotation.

All in all, I'm very happy with this choice, and after the several bowls I've smoked, I notice that the tin is nearly half gone. Apparently I need to go get more - and hopefully I'll be able to keep my hands off the tins long enough to properly cellar them.

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