I've had a 2007 bag of Stonehaven in my cellar since 2007, and I've been avoiding it. I tend to steer clear of higher-nicotine blends. . . and my experience with Solani's Aged Burley Flake, a blend I'd been assuming was similar, was just "okay." For me, it was too nic-rich, which gave it a harshness I didn't always appreciate.
Last week, I decided to open the bag for some trading here. And yesterday I finally decided to actually try Stonehaven for myself.
I loaded up a pipe I dedicate to burley and VA/burley flakes, and cautiously lit the bowl. Still afraid of the hit that was going to come, I smoked very slowly, almost fearfully. But then: Oh. My.
This was good stuff. Rich, mellow, soft, and surprisingly sweet. This was unlike Aged Burley Flake in just about every way. So I tried exhaling through my nose, my method of seeing just how powerful the nicotine is (because high-nic blends really irritate my nose). It was absolutely fine, as if I were smoking anything but a Virginia/burley blend. I don't know how much of this was due to age and how much is just typically "Stonehaven." But I totally get what all the fuss is about.
This is wonderful tobacco. It's the fourth Esoterica blend I've tried, and the fourth one I've thoroughly enjoyed. Now, if only it were actually available for purchase. . .