Review: Penzance

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texmexpipe

Preferred Member
Oct 20, 2014
972
0
I was fortunate to get a few bowls thrown in with a recent trade. Since picking up the pipe I've read often of the wonders of this blend. I've seen how it sells out very quickly and how grown men are reduced to pitiful slobbering hounds when they even think about this blend. With this in mind I approached smoking this like a 40yr old virgin approaches their wedding night. That is to say I was excited, not aroused, get your mind back on the tobacco.

The note in the bag was nice and what I would expect from an English. I packed my Ashton, a favorite of mine for Latakia blends, and proceeded to light up. The char light was nice, nothing crazy or unexpected. There in lies the bottom line for the rest of the bowl. This is a nice smoking blend. It is exceedingly well balanced. It's members all play so nicely with each other that it becomes a fault in my book. Like the everybody plays, everybody wins soccer teams, this blend is somewhat disappointing for the hype. In the end I found myself wishing that something would come out on top.

All was not lost. This was certainly smooth, it had a nice earthy aftertaste, and it was a pleasant way to spend an hour. Was some nuance lost on me? Most likely. I won't be going to any great lengths to purchase this.

If you come across this it is worth the purchase. It is also worth noting to those who have not yet tried this that there are blends out their that will give you an approximation of this blend. H&H 10 - midnight is very close in many ways to this blend, and maybe (gasp) even better. Let the stoning and public shaming begin...

 

voorhees

Preferred Member
May 30, 2012
3,555
31
Gonadistan
I received a sample about a year ago, loved it. Maybe it was aged, perfect pack, divine intervention? I don't know. So, I decided if I could purchase some I would. I did not call all over, just got lucky.

I smoked it and enjoyed it, not the mind blowing experience I remembered. I still have a a large potion of that first bag jarred up and partake of it about once a month and now have about a lb on hand.

By and large I keep more Dunhill 965 on hand and enjoy it on a more everyday basis.

Penzance is a great tobacco and quality smoke. No doubt.

 

jthomas04

Junior Member
Oct 15, 2013
72
0
Trust me, you're not the first to be left underwhelmed by this mystic blend. Call me a sucker but about a year ago I paid $100 for an 8 oz. Bag from 4 noggin. Let's just say I had buyer's remorse for a week. It's a quality blend for sure, but in no way superior to all the other English blends out there.

 

yazamitaz

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2013
1,757
0
I bought an 8 oz bag from a friend (and member here) and have yet to smoke it. In fact it is still in the bag. I know I need to jar it up and will be doing so soon.
I have smoked a few bowls of this and while it is different, I find HH Lat Flake to be a quality smoke of tobacco that you don't need to hunt for. No, its not a perfect replacement, but the Lat Flake is a good smoke.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,582
64
No stones here! When I first tried it, about 8 years ago, I didn't much care for it. It's a good blend, but not of a type that has much appeal for me. I kept wishing there was something more in the profile. I put that bag away and forgot about it. Fast forward to a couple of days ago, when I came upon the jar of now 8 year old Penznace. I decided to give it another try. It packed and lit easily and burned well. Nice clouds of creamy smoke. The flavor is rich and complex, the profile is still incomplete for me, and I still don't care for it. I'll bring it to my club meetings until it's gone.

It reminds me of Gaslight, just not nearly as big and without the "charred steak" note. Blends will appeal to some and not to others. Many find Penzance to be their favorite blend. For me it's one that I find unbalanced, a bit salty, lacking a touch of a sweet savory component to provide the counterpoint. No one blend is going to thrill everyone. That doesn't make it a bad blend, just one among many.

 

billypm

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2013
302
1
I think Penzance is lovely.
It's funny about these unattainable "Holy Grail" tobaccos- lots of people just adore them because they are scarce and overpriced, not necessarily because of how good they are. And then there are those who absolutely pan the heck out of them for the exact same reasons. The truth I think, is is the middle. Penzance is really good. Penzance is not worth $50 an ounce, unless you have that kind of money laying around and can afford it-- at which point I say go for it!

 

daimyo

Preferred Member
May 15, 2014
1,461
0
Whenever I speak of Penzance, I try to warn the uninitiated that its value and brilliance are in its balance of flavors. For me this produces subtlety and flavors you don't get when one component takes the lead. One thing it's certainly not is a flavor bomb. I think many people, when seeing so many accolades assume it must have a bold flavor instead of that of a well designed classic English. I like the stuff quite a bit but I can see where it's not going to appeal to everyone.

 

allan

Preferred Member
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
0
Bronx, NY
I do enjoy Penzance, and was happy to receive a bag from one of our members. This discussion reminds me of the pursuit of Cuban cigars. Many believe that the Cubans had the special soil enviornment that only could produce such flavors that could elevate one up to nirvana.
To me, the Cubans I've tried over the years were excellent, but really no better than the Hondurans, Nicaraguans, etc. I think the true issue was that they were difficult to obtain, and therefore took on a mysticism far beyond their value.
So true for many blends and for that matter, pipes.
On the other hand, there is always the exception; Sobranie 759. IMHO.

 

hiplainsdrifter

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2012
974
0
Whenever I speak of Penzance, I try to warn the uninitiated that its value and brilliance are in its balance of flavors.
This. I hear a lot of badmouthing on this forum of hard to get blends. I think people forget that it is just tobacco. But then, when you pay 100.00 for 8 oz, you would expect it to open doors to new dimensions or something. There is a reason this stuff is hard to get- it is a an exceptional English tobacco. I have tried quite a few English blends now, including several that people told me were better than Penzance, but really they were just different. There is no substitute for it. So, if your palate can appreciate its complexity, you will probably hunt for it.

 

daimyo

Preferred Member
May 15, 2014
1,461
0
film where the lovers light up a pipe after sex instead of a cigarette?
Damn it, she promised me that she would not post those videos to the internet....

 

fnord

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2011
2,752
0
Topeka, KS
Shawn:
What a lovely review of a really nice English tobacco. Penzance is good. Really good. But is it the end all - be all?
No. Not for me.
My daily smokes are 10 To Midnight, Larry's Blend, Nightcap and PS Proper English. When I'm looking for an evening treat I'll reach for a jar of Gaslight, Low Country Black (so under rated and overlooked), Magnum Opus, SOTE and Montford Point Marines.
In the same vein, I drink Hiram Walker's Ten High Sour Mash on a daily basis. My special occasion bourbons include Old Pogue, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, Russell's and damned near anything blended by Jimmy and Eddie Russell at Wild Turkey.
Life is short, folks. Smoke and drink well.
Fnord

 

judcole

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2011
4,657
6
Detroit
I like Penzance a lot. I was able to smoke it and enjoy it for what it is, a tobacco whose

value and brilliance are in its balance of flavors.
This was before the hype, when it was easy to get, and no more expensive than anything else. I even was able to procure a few tins to cellar.

Right now I've got a tin open that I bought in the fall of 2007. I had a bowl yesterday, in the Tim West Canadian. I fired it up for my drive to our local JR Cigar for the meeting of the MDPC. About 75 minutes later,I tapped out the dottle. The latakia and the Virginias and orientals were all beautifully balanced, creating a wonderful hour plus.

Is everyone going to like it? No. Would I pay $100 for an 8 ounce bag? No. Would I pay $100 for a pound? Probably. Am I going to spend time trying to chase some down? No. Am I going to savor every bowl I have? You betcha - and there's three more tins in the cellar, from 2007 and 2008. I am going to make sure that at least one hits the 10 year mark.

 

derfargin

Preferred Member
Mar 3, 2014
2,025
0
Kennesaw, GA
I've got about an oz left from 2 oz. I'm in the "not worth the hunt" camp. I really find that Pease's - Quiet Nights is about comparable, and it edges out Penzance due to it's availability.
Penzance is fine tobacco, but for me, my money is best put toward other blends.

 

zenforest

New member
Jan 4, 2013
34
0
Paying $100 an oz for some hyped up (but supposedly hard to obtain) pipe tobacco........is like paying for Blood Diamonds......Don't believe the hype.
Too much quality out there to pay a premium for a legal plant leaf.

 

4nogginsmike

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
1,043
0
I guess I'm lucky that the Penzance bug has never bit me. I might pay $100.00 for an 8 oz bag in the hereafter, but by then I'll be better healed;). Back on earth there just ain't no way. $100.00 buys me 2 500 g bags of GH tobacco or 1.5 lb of GLP, so, in this case, it's at least three times more expensive (GLP) and as much as four times more expensive (GH).
I'm sure Comptons, Steven Books and some as yet not available Semois are better tobaccos, but liking the tobacco I currently smoke is not a problem for me. I think it's good stuff. I'm more liberal in the realm of pricy cigars, but I really can tell the difference between $5, $10 and $15 cigars, and somehow spending more for cigars makes sense to me whereas I'm satisfied with lesser tobacco agents in the realm of pipes. That's why I smoke pipes multiple times everyday and only one or two cigars a week. In any case cigars are so expensive, and so delectable, to smoke up you've got to smoke less.
In this regard, as for pipes, I have the next 25 artisan pipes that I'd buy already found, and ready for my order, but as I don't have $500.00-$1,000.00 to drop on each one just now, I just window shop, careful to clean up the drool. But there is some stunning work out there; check Jorn Micke's Dublin Zebra on Scandinavian Pipes; 360 degrees of stunning straight grain. My pipes tend to be a little less expensive, like the $65.00 Edwards Algerian Briar 7 inch Canadian that I'm smoking; for that, all of 40 g. Mostly if a pipe has a place to stuff tobacco and a hole on either end, I'm good.

 

tarheel1

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2014
936
0
I was fortunate to pick up 3 2oz tins and an 8oz bag for 90.00. They are from 1999 and perfect condition.