What's Wrong With Me (I Don't Like Esoterica)

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elvergun

Member
Oct 21, 2017
111
0
I have smoked Stonehaven, Dunbar, And So To Bed, Penzance, and Margate. Based on many reviews, these blends are supposed to be the Holy Grail of pipe smokers. I think these blends are very, very mild – it’s like smoking hot air (ha).
Okay, so I just don’t like anything from Germain (I also did not like Balkan Sobranie because it is also too mild for my tastes). I usually stay away from milder blends. I like stuff such as Nightcap, Irish Flake and Ten Russians. The thing is, tobaccoreviews classifies the Esoterica blends I’ve tried as Medium to Strong (strength) and Medium to Full (taste). Stonehaven is supposed to be a medium to full blend, but to me it tastes like…err…nothing. Blackwoods Flake and FVF blow Stonehaven out of the water (again, according to my taste buds).
So what gives? Do I dislike Esoterica because the blends are too mild? But if this is the case, how can people believe that Stonehaven or Penzance are medium to full in strength? How can someone smoke a blend and think that it is mild and someone else perceive it as being strong? The opposite does not happen often – smokers do not say that Nightcap is a mild blend.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,051
349
Nothing wrong with you, apparently you just have bad taste in tobacco! :nana:
Nightcap is actually not as strong as it’s made out to be. I think it’s pretty mild, honestly.
Stonehaven is more on the medium spectrum than mild, it’s one that took me many years to appreciate. But hey, you like what you like, it’s as simple as that.

 

menuhin

Preferred Member
Oct 21, 2014
642
1
Hi elvergun,
Blackwoods Flakes and FVF versus Stonehaven - it sounds like comparing apples to oranges.
By "strong", you mean the strength as in taste or as in nicotine?

Can you provide more examples of what you would rate as Full taste and / or Strong strength?
I have yet to really like a Germain blend, but their tobaccos definitely have some appeal.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,899
897
People experience flavors differently. Some have more sensitive palates than others, some can enjoy a wider ranges than others, etc. No right or wrong with it, just how it is.
Do you dry your tobacco until it's very dry prior to smoking it? Because with Dunbar and Stonehaven, as with most tobaccos, the proper moisture level makes a huge difference between what level of flavor these blends deliver, and Stonehaven is particularly finicky. Are you sipping them slowly? Most Virginias deliver their best when sipped slowly. Did you exhale through your nose? You have more flavor receptors there than in your mouth.
All that said, I too find many of Germain's tobaccos lighter than I like. But not all of them, and Dunbar is not a light smoke when you know how to smoke it. It's no secret here that I dislike Penzance. But I dislike most English blends. My favorites are Dunbar, Dorchester, and Tilbury. But none of them are going to be flavor powerhouses because they're not those types of blends. You find your flavor powerhouses in the English, Balkan, Oriental camp. Virginias, Va/Pers, Va/Burs, etc are much milder flavor profiles.

 

elvergun

Member
Oct 21, 2017
111
0
menuhin,
I usually prefer strong tasting tobaccos.
Full taste and strong strength = Dark Bird's Eye, Nightcap, Royal Yacht.

Full taste and medium strength = Hal O' the Wynd, Plum Pudding

Medium taste and medium strength = FVF, Blackwoods

Mild taste and Mild strength = Anything Germain 8)

 

jravenwood

Senior Member
Apr 23, 2017
405
4
Nothing wrong with you! As sable said everyone is different and has different likes and dislikes, no different than food ynow?

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,762
1,211
United States
I find Stonehaven to a be a full flavored blend that is medium in the nicotine department. How old was the Stonehaven you smoked? Age makes a difference like in most blends. When fresh and with too much moisture, the flavors can be muted. What type of pipe did you use? Does it have a ghost from previous blends? All of these factors can contribute to a less than stellar smoke.
Esoterica in general is an overrated house as they have 2 blends (stonehaven and penzance) that are carrying their other blends to immortal status when they are just average smokes to my tastes.

 

joeman

Member
Mar 6, 2016
297
0
South Carolina
I have a couple pals who only smoke Carter Hall...others who simply love Mix 79...and so on. As they say..."like what you smoke"...there's nothing wrong with you. 8)

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,843
417
Elvergun, I totally here what you are saying. One big comment: the pipe itself has a huge impact on the experience with Penzance/Stonehaven, not as much with the ribbon cuts or other offerings from Esoterica. For example, a Morta or well aged briar will really bring out the nuance of some Esoterica blends, especially the English.
Early on in my journey I too felt serious let down when smoking Penzance/Stonehaven; those being the "grail" tobaccos so revered on the internet and spoken of in hushed tones and whispers of wisdom. Then I had some and blah, nothing, nada, boring. As a guy who really does his homework and research I couldn't understand what I was missing. Then, I learned a few things along the way that eventually led to a Zen experience. Some thoughts below.
1. Smoke it inside/indoors

2. Try it in a Morta pipe!

3. SLOW Cadence!

4. Don't overpack the Crumble cake!

5. If it's not your wheel house then move on.

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,262
154
@elvergun, for a couple of decades after it was made available in the US, Esoterica gathered dust on the shelves of the relatively few B&M's that stocked it.

 

elvergun

Member
Oct 21, 2017
111
0
5. If it's not your wheel house then move on.
I think this is the solution.
I tried 2-4 with not so great results...and smoking indoors (1) is not an option. Every time I smoke Stonehaven I think, "I could be smoking FVF instead, rats". Every time I smoke Dunbar I think, "I could be smoking Beacon Extra instead". And when I smoke Margate or Balkan Sobranie I wish I was smoking Nightcap. LOL.

 

johnbarleycorn

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2015
2,081
7
As everyone else has already said individuals have different tastes. I can certainly understand someone not liking the flavor of Penzance... but if you are not getting any flavor but hot air from it you are either doing something wrong or you have damaged your tastebuds. In my opinion. But then again you DID ask for opinions.

 

elvergun

Member
Oct 21, 2017
111
0
but if you are not getting any flavor but hot air from it you are either doing something wrong or you have damaged your tastebuds
Sure...but then other blends would also taste like nothing to me, no?
Blends which are supposed to be (taste wise) strong do taste strong to me. Blends which are supposed to be in the medium range do taste medium to me. All the Germain blends which are supposed to be medium to strong taste like hot air to me. :?

 

johnbarleycorn

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2015
2,081
7
^ that is strange. But it’s actually a good thing for you since you can save a lot of time and effort by not chasing those blends. And I agree with you that FVF is very hard to beat.
On a side note I like the taste of Dunbar but I have an awful reaction to it every time I try to smoke. Sort of like swishing kerosene in my mouth. It’s the only tobacco that I have that reaction to.

 

elvergun

Member
Oct 21, 2017
111
0
But it’s actually a good thing for you since you can save a lot of time and effort by not chasing those blends.
Ha...true. And it is indeed a good thing since those blends are not exactly the cheapest to buy or easiest to find. I had already started the chase, but as soon as I have enough posts I'll be putting all my Germain up for sale or trade.

 
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