First Penzance Smoke

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zion

New member
Jun 5, 2019
16
23
Just finishing my first bowl of Penzance and thought someone might appreciate some thoughts. Relief. Relief that I prefer Pembroke and Margate. This Penzance is good. Gentle. Fantastic aroma and taste. Took some effort vs previous experiences with Esoterica to light, but little effort to keep lit. A great complement to tonight’s Scotch which is an aged in IPA barrel experimental. But relief. Relief that it’s not the hens teeth to me that I’ve heard so much about. Tin of Century en route for my next tasting.

 

danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
748
24
I lucked into a bag a few weeks ago, and I enjoy it, but feel lucky that I don't find it the pinnacle of tobacco pleasure. It's merely great! Boy, it is just about the softest feeling tobacco in the hand, and so crumbly.
Still need to try Margate/Pembroke

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
92
Alaska
Had my first a few weeks ago as well, lucking into some at the local B&M. It is great tobacco, definitely up there with my favorite english blends so far (SPC PP and GLP Maltese falcon). A lot of folks prefer margate. I haven't smoked enough of either to say for sure either way yet, but after one bowl, I hate to say, If you put a gun to my head I'd take the Penzance.
Got some Pembroke with a significant bit of age on it I'm going to load up next. We'll see how it goes.
Dunbar is still my favorite Esoterica blend as of yet.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
1,973
29
Penzance is quite good. Just not worth all the hype, the chase and the price some people pay on the secondary market. I remember a time when you could walk into a tobacco shop and be able to buy all of it you wanted. It hasn't gotten better, it just became unobtainable.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
Dunbar is still my favorite Esoterica blend as of yet.
Shhhhhh! Don't let others know or it will become impossible to get.
Dunbar is awful! Smoking it will cause your Johnson to shrivel up and fall off. Stay away!

 

danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
748
24
The unobtainability of so many tobaccos is one difference in where pipe smoking does not compare well to cigar smoking as a hobby for me. There is just no equivalence in terms of so many nominally regular, current production products to be so impossible to find. Sure, there are limited edition cigars, but with a few exceptions, those are generally intended to reach as many smokers as possible, just for a limited run. Maybe it's just financially impossible for most people to buy 20 boxes of the same cigar at a time. I don't know, but it's kind of a bummer. Sorry, I know that's sort of off-topic.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
92
Alaska
Maybe it's just financially impossible for most people to buy 20 boxes of the same cigar at a time.
I think this has a lot to do with it. I wouldn't dream of paying $100 for a 100g tin of pipe tobacco, which equates to 35 or so smokes for me. However, when I was really into cigars, dropping $100 on a box (10-25 smokes worth) would really be considered a mid-range, if not low priced box. Most pipe tobacco tins cost the same as ONE high end stick, and they don't require a humidor that must be maintained carefully, etc.
It seems logical that the fact that pretty much all pipe tobacco comes out of the gate at affordable cost, rather than $200 a box, has a lot to do with the more popular blends scarcity. Many of the limited edition sticks you mention from famous makers, are cost prohibitive for a lot of cigar smokers.
There could be some production related reasons as well, don't know how they compare when it comes to availability of the tobacco itself for the blenders, casing, topping, packaging, etc. Maybe most cigar makers having production/rolling locations right where their product is regionally grown, not to mention cheap labor, makes it easier to ramp up to the demand?
Disclaimer: The above comments are based on no scientific data whatsoever, and are simply the internal half drunk brain dialogue of an amateur pipe smoker who knows next to nothing about the industry. Take that for what it is worth (very little).
sablebrush or one of those dudes probably has a more accurate explanation based on facts and science.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
1,973
29
In the late 90's, Fuente Opus X were every bit as unobtainable as Penzance. In fact, Fuente wasn't even shipping Opus X to the West Coast at all for quite some time. From 1997 to around 2005, there were a number of unobtainable cigars that were chased and sold for very high prices on the after market. Fuente Between the Lines and certain Anejo were other ones. 858 Sungrown were even somewhat difficult to come by. Of course, Cuban cigars were impossible to obtain legally here in the USA and those not in the know would often pay 2 to 4 x the real purchase price to get them.
The Cigar Boom died a long time so you no longer see the shortages as you once did.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
92
Alaska
The Cigar Boom died a long time so you no longer see the shortages as you once did.
As opposed to the pipe smoking boom, which is alive and well......hahaha.
Just kidding, your points are all perfectly valid, there have certainly been some unobtainium-ish cigars in the past. I remember fighting to find opus x for the first few years I smoked. When I finally found the first one I was so excited to light up I accidentally smoked it on an empty stomach and I thought I was going to fuckin die.

 

hauntedmyst

Preferred Member
Feb 1, 2010
1,116
67
Penzance is my favorite tobacco. But when you can't get it and have to smoke something else, it's like enjoying a 10 and being forced to settle for a 9.5. There are plenty of blends that are nearly as good at 9.5 on my scale and that extra .5 just isn't anywhere near worth the price gouging prices to get Penzance.

 

craig61a

Member
Apr 29, 2017
221
13
While I enjoy Penzance, I usually only purchase it when I can buy it for retail (if I’m lucky enough to stumble upon some). At the current going rate I can purchase several lbs of something else that I can enjoy as much or more.

 

cshubhra

Preferred Member
May 11, 2017
966
258
Just before I stopped (paused) smoking a pipe in Sep 2017, I had scored a tin of Penzance. (At a reasonable price). I liked it a lot then. After almost two years, when I restarted, I started with Penzance, I liked it a lot, but did not feel I will miss it.
On the other hand - I have 5/6 tins of Nightcap, dating from 2012 till 2017. I so fondly remember Nightcap smoking sessions, I am not able to touch them since they cannot be obtained any more. I had a very old tin of EMP and that’s the best smoke so far since I had a few bowls last week.
That’s a good smoke for me - I will miss Dunhill, though I have about 12 tins of various Dunhills which will last me a long time, at my current rate of smoking.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
sablebrush or one of those dudes probably has a more accurate explanation based on facts and science.
Para-science is more like it. I have this principle which I call the Psychopathy Of Scarcity. People believe that when something is scarce it must be better. This isn't always true. The scarcity of Plague, for instance, is a good thing.

When it comes to pipe tobaccos, scarcity fuels a perpetual motion machine. When I first started hearing about Penzance in the early 2000's it was considered a very fine blend among a number of fine blends. If you wanted to smoke it, it was readily available at your local tobacconist, as were any number of Esoterica blends.
That changed in 2006, or maybe it was 2007, when regular shipments from Germain's suddenly stopped. When they resumed after a number of months. The first shipments were snatched up immediately. Afraid that shipments would be interrupted again, people started hoarding the stuff. Stonehaven wasn't even on anyone's radar back then, much less an obsession like it is today. Penzance would disappear from online stores in seconds. The inability to buy the stuff (at least from the usual online suspects - B&M's had it sitting on their shelves) caused people to fixate on procuring it for themselves, and when they procured it they proclaimed it the greatest blend in the known Universe. All that free publicity over Penznace further escalated its perceived desirability. The panic surrounding it hasn't stopped since. But prior to the interruption of shipments from Germain's, Penzance was one highly regarded blend among many.

I have no idea why shipments were interrupted, but my guess would be that Germain's was busy making other blends to meet other obligations, and didn't have the capacity to also make Penzance. Germain's is a small boutique blender working at capacity in a very traditional way. Some of the equipment used is over 200 years old. Changing that ancient pipeline would change the blends. All that said, a couple of years ago, Germain's let it be known that they would increase the flow of Esoterica blends and they have been easier to obtain over the past couple of years.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
Sweet. I read it as "psychology of scarcity", but see now you wrote something else. Perfect.
I used to call it the "Psychology" Of Scarcity, but I altered it in the name of accuracy.

 

sandiegosam

New member
Jul 8, 2019
7
0
I really liked Penzance the first time I tried it....maybe 15 years ago. That said, I recently tried GLP Quiet Nights and I was surprised at the similarity (and perhaps superiority) to Penzance. However, I have to add the caveat that its been a LONG time since I've had a bowl of Penzance.

 

pipingfool

New member
Sep 29, 2016
20
0
I received a small sample of Penzance from a guy that made a custom pipe roll for me last year. While I really enjoy the blend, I was already several tins deep into GLP Quiet Nights and have several tins tucked away in the "cellar". I was glad to discover that while Penzance is a really good blend, it did not dethrone Quiet Nights as my favorite English Blend.
I still have a little of that sample left so I might smoke some tomorrow night after my birthday dinner.
It is a treat, but I'm not going to go to great lengths to try and get it, nor will I empty my bank account for a tin.

 

dcon

Preferred Member
Mar 16, 2019
598
12
Penzance is good and I like to keep plenty around. I, too, prefer Quiet Nights. I find Dunbar incomparable, even if it has the Johnson side effects.