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Esoterica

(32 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by uncleblackie
  • Latest reply from uncleblackie
  1. uncleblackie

    uncleblackie

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    What's the deal with that?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. phred

    phred

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    Good question. Could you be a little more specific?



    "De gustibus non est disputandum."
    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. tarheel1

    tarheel1

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    Its a good brand of tobacco.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. misterlowercase

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    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    esoterica
    [es-uh-ter-i-kuh]

    plural noun
    1. things understood by or meant for a select few; recondite matters or items.

    2. curiosa

    origin - 1925-30 - New Latin, noun use of neuter plural of Greek esōterikós, by 1807, Modern Latin, from plural of Greek esoterikos "pertaining to those within"

    First Known Use: circa 1929

    The term derives from the Greek, either from the comparative ἐσώτερος (esôteros), "inner", or from its derived adjective ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos), "pertaining to the innermost," both compounds of ἔσω (esô): "within", thus pertaining to interiority, the initiatic or mysticism, all these terms relating to what lies within a sacred enclosure. Its antonym is "exoteric" or "profane".

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    What's the deal with that?

    The psychology of scarcity.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. msandoval858

    msandoval858

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    They make some quality tobacco. I'll buy some of their blends when they are available at the right price. However, I wouldn't go out of my way paying top dollar. Plenty of other good and readily available blends out there that I enjoy.

    Mike
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    What's the deal with that?

    The psychology of scarcity.

    Or,
    the scarcity of psychologists.
    LOL
    Some of the people driving demand at the insane prices need to get their heads examined!

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    billypm

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    I stocked up last year at my little hole-in-the-wall local B&M, buying Penzance, ASTB, and Pembroke for just under $5 an ounce. I wouldn't pay much more than that, but I'm ecstatic at having such lovely tobacco in jars in my closet for that kind of money. I really enjoy them, especially Penzance.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. layinpipe

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    Sū-rch Fünkshűn. It's really not that hard.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. melvinsunsmokedcastello

    melvinsunsmokedcastello

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    "The psychology of scarcity."

    This. About 10 years ago Penzance was a regular in my rotation. It was readily avaliable and was priced normal. I bounced off it thankfully, as the prices it brings now are INSANE. Its good stuff no doubt about it...but nowhere near worth what its going for now. Its ridiculous imo..

    Samuel Gawith/Gawith & Hoggarth rope and plug junkie..
    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. escioe

    escioe

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    'The prices it brings now' are $32-40 at most places for an 8oz bag. I've certainly never paid more than that. I've also never made more than two phone calls, and I've got enough Stonehaven to last me well into my 30s.

    As for the supposedly new scarcity, I submit the follow post from alt.smokers.pipes from 1997.

    Have any of the Penzance lovers in this newsgroup had difficulty
    obtaining Penzance? I ordered a pound of bulk Penzance a week ago and
    learned after calling the supplier that it is back ordered

    What followed included some ambivalence:

    If I were you I would continue to be a happy smoker. I bought a tin
    last week and after having tried it on four different occasions, have
    yet to be impressed. It's nice, but not worth a rave, IMHO

    Greg Pease raving about it:

    Nothing is like Penzance.

    Here's what someone who would know had to say regarding the shortage. And remember, this is 17 years ago:

    The demand for Esoterica Tobaccos (especially Penzance) has overwelmed
    both Robert Germain (The Manufacturer) and myself. For this we both
    Thank all who love these pipe tobaccos. I am assured a delivery soon
    which will include a good quantity of Penzance. Your Tobacconists will
    receive their orders shortly...Thanks for your patience...

    Kindest regards,

    Michael A. Butera

    I just shake my head at most of the talk here about Esoterica, because almost all of it lacks any historical perspective.

    1. They've always had trouble keeping up with demand, though it's gotten especially bad lately with the folks who feel like they have to lay up tobacco for their lifetime and well beyond RIGHT NOW CAN'T WAIT TAXES GOV'T etc, etc. Nevermind that the prices on Esoterica 8oz bags have been priced basically in line with inflation over the last 17 years.

    2. Stonehaven and especially Penzance have always been the most popular blends. It's not like someone decided two years ago that these were incredible, and everyone went out and bought it. When you have people like Greg Pease, Paul Szabady, and Irwin Friedman singing the praises of not only Esoterica as a whole, but of one or the other of those two blends in particular in 1997, you can bet it wasn't a fad that hit when the scarcity did.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    Good info escioe.

    Those footnotes do put things in perspective.

    I actually think the points you bring up would be a great topic of discussion
    and is worthy of having its own thread.

    But,
    this isn't exactly a serious Esoterica thread...

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. brian64

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    Esoterica What's the deal with that?

    Precisely...anything esoteric spurs questioning.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    escioe: thanks for your input, it really helps understand things and put them into perspective. I am not surprised this has been going on all these years; what needs to be appreciated is that JF Germain is not a manufacturer the size of Orlik or Mac Baren, for example.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. lordofthepiperings

    lordofthepiperings

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    I've always been curious as to why they're always sold out.

    Is it because they only produce so many tins/pouches a year?

    Is it a question of accessibility of acceptable leaf to make the blends?

    Is it some crazy corporate scheme to drive up prices?

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. dread

    dread

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    I have recently fallen in love with Margate. It pops up often enough that I have plenty available at my slow pace of smoking. Also, as others have said, there are many great tobaccos out there, no need to lose sleep over not getting a tin before the rush sells them out. I May be one of the few that actually appreciates when a seller puts a tin limit on them, that way I can get what I need at least.

    ". . . I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul."
    - INVICTUS
    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. mrenglish

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    @lord Germain is a small operation and not only does the Esoterica line but makes tobaccos for other business as well as having a line of their own tobaccos. They are just not big enough to keep up with demand. Leaf could play a roll in what gets made when, but overall I think they are just a small company with world renown tobaccos.

    Michael
    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. lordofthepiperings

    lordofthepiperings

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    @mrenglish Thanks for the explanation.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. escioe

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    Regarding the slow process, once again, a 1997 explanation from Greg Pease is illustrative:

    The "factory" is a tiny affair on Jersey (the Channel Island, not one of the
    seven gateways to hell...). The blends are all batched by hand, and
    processed in small drums. They simply can not up production if demand
    increases too much. Nor will they, as quality is the most important thing
    to these folks. They will sell all they can produce, and if demand
    increases, that's just too bad. They are truly an old-world sort of
    operation.
    As aging is an important part of the process, I sincerely doubt that this
    would be neglected. Further, Mike Butera is a real fanatic about things
    like proper methods and proper aging, so I'm quite sure *he* wouldn't allow
    it. I'm sure we don't have to worry about Penzance quality. This has
    happened before, and as soon as the tobacco was ready, the stuff arrived
    safely and was as delicious as ever.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. melvinsunsmokedcastello

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    "'The prices it brings now' are $32-40 at most places for an 8oz bag." ----- I only ever see it available on ebay at much higher rates..that said I dont really attempt to find it. Wasnt there just a thread about one of the site sponsors pricing much higher then that anyway??

    "1. They've always had trouble keeping up with demand,"---- Not the years I spent with it..it was never on backorder and always in stock..

    "2. Stonehaven and especially Penzance have always been the most popular blends"------Yup..

    " It's not like someone decided two years ago that these were incredible, and everyone went out and bought it" -----sure seems like it though. FFS if someone posts on here that its in stock somewhere its sold out in an hour..

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    tppytel

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    I read ASP regularly in 1997.

    1. They've always had trouble keeping up with demand...

    Not to my recollection. I smoked a selection of Esoterica blends from 1996-1998. I don't ever recall any of them being difficult to find. I could order them online or find them at a well-stocked shop, no problem. Esoterica didn't have huge distribution back then - my local, small shop had never heard of them. But Iwan Ries always had a full shelf when I visited.

    2. Stonehaven and especially Penzance have always been the most popular blends.

    Penzance yes, but I don't remember anyone talking about Stonehaven back then, or even for some time afterwards. It may have been mentioned somewhere, but it definitely wasn't a thing. I took a break from following pipe smoking online from 2004'ish until recently, and it wasn't until returning here that I remember hearing about it. Penzance was their flagship blend for sure. But if I had to pick a runner-up it would be Dunbar.

    They're good blends for sure, and certainly the small size of the operation contributes to the scarcity. But it's hard not to see some degree of consumer psychology at work here.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. planetary

    planetary

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    I remember whining that Stonehaven was not a tinned blend and therefore below my notice. Fortunately, I bought some and stashed it away, nevertheless. I definitely recall Penzance being the scarcer of the two in the early aughts.

    I like aged pipe tobacco and Cuban cigars. planetary on forums, and occasionally Posthuman on YouTube.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. troutface

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    'The prices it brings now' are $32-40 at most places for an 8oz bag

    Exactly, but like most things in high demand, if you want it NOW you will pay considerably more. If you are willing to be patient and do a bit of work it can be had for $35 a bag. I think a handful of people are paying high sums for these blends and getting too much attention, skewing the perceptions of others and the whole thing starts to snowball. We should all listen to Aaron Rodgers and just "RELAX"

    "Each of you be a light unto yourself; betake yourself to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone beside yourself." -The Buddha
    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I'm on board with one of Escioes observations. The big issue is not that there is such a change in demand or production, it is that there are some out there that feel the need to snatch up every single possible bag that shows up on the market.

    Yeah, yeah, I know... taxes, gotta stock up now... and of course there is the "hoarding for the sake of using tobacco as a bartering item someday" but that is a whole other thread. There are guys out there that are still grabbing as much as they can when it shows up and they have more than they will ever be able to smoke.

    Oh well, such is life... how the world works.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. yazamitaz

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    You are right Justin. My problem, admittedly, is that I am too lazy to call around and hunt for it. I don't support any B&M enough to ask them to get it for me.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. escioe

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    Penzance yes, but I don't remember anyone talking about Stonehaven back then, or even for some time afterwards. It may have been mentioned somewhere, but it definitely wasn't a thing.

    Again from the alt.smokers.pipes group:

    Mark, in 1996:

    Can anyone out there provide any reactions --pro or con-- to Esoterica's
    Stonehaven mixture? I haven't yet been successful in obtaining any; it
    seems to be in very short supply, which is probably a good sign.

    Irwin Friedman's response:

    Stonehaven is one of my regular smokes. It is on the full side. It
    doesn't have the perfume of Condor and other Irish processed Virginia but
    it certainly has the strength. I would describe it as more full than
    Capstan full strength.

    It is definitely worth the wait to get a hold of some.

    Greg Pease, 1999:

    I've smoked some other tobaccos which are not as
    strong, but have made me anywhere from dizzy to severely ill. Nightcap
    is one of those. I really like the way it tastes, but I can't smoke
    a full bowl. Ditto Stonehaven, a wonderful Virginia that makes my nose
    sweat in short order, and the ensuing symptoms are to unpleasant to
    recall, let alone share.

    It showed up on a couple of lists of top tobaccos in 1997 and 1999.

    Irwin Friedman in 1996:

    Some of pipe smoking friends have rightfully accused me of smoking
    Virginias that are overpowering. Are there any other fans of really
    full, rich matured Virginias out there? I enjoy Stonehaven from
    Esoterica Tobacciana and Gawaith and Hogarth's Dark Birdseye among
    others. If anyone else has suggestions or experiences I'd appreciate
    hearing from you.

    There are also great reviews of the blend before 2005 on tobaccoreviews.com.

    The scarcity is obviously a much bigger issue these days. And Penzance probably always was THE Esoterica blend, though I suspect that's due to most smokers of quality tobacco preferring latakia blends over Virginia flakes. Among Esoterica's non-latakia blends, Stonehaven seems to have been the most highly regarded for a long time.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. pitchfork

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    Esoterica makes some great and unique tobaccos, including Penzance and Stonehaven, but also Margate and Dunbar. My first bag of Stonehaven was generously given to me by peckinpahombre and I picked up another from Iwan Ries a while back -- that will last me for a long time, so I'm not chasing it at the moment.

    Dunbar is a great VaPer with a really unusual musty tang to it that I really dig, so that's the one I'm always on the lookout for.

    Are they overpriced? Yeah, some of them, at least for my needs, but there's really nothing quite like them, either.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. mustanggt

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    Dunbar is a real treat for me also. I like it quite dry. It's flavor is too muted with even a smokable moisture level.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. zzeman

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    I remember mail ordering Penzance from a B&M on the East Coast back in 1998, when I couldn't find any in the Bay Area. I stopped smoking for a while, and since I've started again, I haven't even bothered trying to get Penzance. It had been my favorite, but it just seems like so much trouble now, and there are so many other good blends try.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  31. woodsroad

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    Why anyone would counterfeit $20's when the could be counterfeiting Stonehaven, I don't know. The eBay prices are just silly. But, then again it does present opportunities for the enterprising.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. uncleblackie

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    Gentlemen,

    Thank you for all the replies. I now know what the deal is

    Personally, I thought my post about the antique John Middleton meerschaum pipe would have drawn more interest.

    Actually, I smoke Penzance regularly and it is easily one of my favorites. Margate is also a fine smoke. I enjoyed ASTB though it does have a slight aromatic quality that is difficult to pinpoint. Had about an ounce of Pembroke earlier this year and wasn't blown away by it but would try again.

    Stonehaven however, reminds me that I don't care much for blends that are lacking in a decent amount of latakia. I purchased about three ounces in bulk this year and went through about an ounce before I decided to put the rest away. I plan to visit it again in a year or two and see what difference that might make on my impressions.

    All this said, I have never paid more than six dollars an ounce (a bargain in my opinion) for any of this and I agree with others who suggest supporting your local shop.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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