Don't get me wrong: I love a lot of blends from GLPease, McClelland, the Gawiths, Dan Tobacco, Robert McConnell, and Robert Lewis. But I think if I were restricted to just one or two brands, the top of my list would have to be filled by Rattray and Esoterica.
Apart from the flavor and quality of these companies' blends, one of the main draws for me is the simple fact that their ranges are fairly limited. Because neither company has dozens of blends in their line-up, it's easy to go through their lists and sample everything they produce. That makes it possible to really dig in and get a very well-rounded sense of each brand's "house style": The flavors/aromas they focus on, the tobaccos that typify their blends, their philosophy -- if you will -- of tobacco blending. I love that. I look at some other companies, and their lists are so overwhelming, I tend to pick a handful of mixtures and then stick with them. (I compare it to reading. If you really want to get a well-rounded sense of an author, it's much less daunting to pick up a Dan Brown novel -- of which there are only a few -- than to dive into Stephen King or Joyce Carol Oates.)
As a result, I've discovered that I like virtually everything I've tried from both companies.
Rattray does three amazing Virginia-forward blends (Old Gowrie, Hal o' the Wynd, Marlin Flake), some amazing blends that bring unflavored cavendish into the mix (Jocks Mixutre, Black Mallory, 7 Reserve), and some oriental/Turkish-forward blends that set a high standard for that style (Highland Targe, Red Rapparee).
I'm still digging into the Esoterica range (a challenge, given the limited availability lately), but this company also works wonders with the addition of cavendish to rich blends like Penzance and Margate. And So to Bed is a lighter take on that style, resulting in something that makes it very hard not to just keep refilling the pipe. And, for me, Stonehaven is the Virginia/Burley flake by which all others should be judged: rich, mellow, smooth, surprisingly sweet and not a bit harsh. (Esoterica also produces flakes unlike any others I've encountered: soft, easy to crumble. . . like velvet on the fingertips.)
Sure, their limited lists mean that you're not going to find a true Balkan here or anything in the style of an American aromatic. But if you've never paid much attention to these companies outside of some of their Big Names (Hal o' the Wynd and Penzance, respectively), I'd really encourage you to give them a chance and explore everything their ranges have to offer.