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Esoterica Tobacciana Penzance

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Kapnismologist

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Vaperfavour and Stefanos,

Both of you bring up, what I would consider to be at least, very interesting points relating to issues of vintage for this oft-discussed offering. This extends, it seems into at least some of the rest of the range as well - evidence, perhaps, of all types of possible production / recipe / protocol shifts at Germain at that time (e.g., crop-leaf shifts, equipment upgrades, pre-blending or post-aging protocol changes, etc., etc., etc. - who knows).

In this case, I would say let's make a note of it and, should something evolve out of it now or later so much the better. If only I had a good datable range of samples, perhaps a vertical tasting would be in order. If nothing else, though, this is all invaluable data from my perspective and should I come across some older examples, especially '96 or earlier as noted by Vaperfavour, I will acquire and test as possible.

Vaperfavour - if you could check the older tins you have cellared when you get back in July (and perhaps snap a few pics which I can add to my ever-growing tin photo archive), that would great information to have. Please do add it to your 'to do' list if you don't mind.

Thanks gents!
 

Wet Dottle

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Don’t want to change the subject, but Penzance is a favorite of mine. I never noticed the abrupt changes in taste mentioned above, but my palate is not that delicate, therefore I can believe what vaperfavour and Stefanos say. But I did notice that a few years of age do make a difference, the Latakia becoming less dominant and the smoke sweeter. However, several years ago I discovered that I like Krumble Kake more and switched to it, therefore I don’t know how the recent batches are like, but I sure hope its quality remains as I remember it.
 

Kapnismologist

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Vaperfavour, Stefanos, and Wet Dottle (in no particular order),

Since we have all smoked examples with some age on them, I would like to ask if you too have noticed what appears to be sugar bloom (I am not certain this is what it is) on older examples? I have noted this here and there on older (more than 2 years) old samples, and am wondering if anyone has found the same.
 

Wet Dottle

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Yes, I have noticed small white specs on the aged tobacco, but not in new tins. I assumed it was sugar crystals, but have not tried to confirm the assumption. The tobacco tasted fine, therefore it is reasonably safe to say that it was not mold. And yes, I've smoked moldy tobacco. Bleagh!
 

Kapnismologist

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Wet Dottle":wl75qjme said:
Yes, I have noticed small white specs on the aged tobacco, but not in new tins. I assumed it was sugar crystals, but have not tried to confirm the assumption. The tobacco tasted fine, therefore it is reasonably safe to say that it was not mold. And yes, I've smoked moldy tobacco. Bleagh!
The exact same here.
 

Mikem

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Very solid reviews and comments all around gentleman. I have a couple of tins in my cellar and one who likes English/Oriental blends it sounds like it is time to crack open one of the tins and give it a try. I am a giant fan of Pembroke (with several pounds in the cellar) so Penzance sounds like it would be another blend that could become a favorite. Thanks to all for sharing their comments and observations on this blend.
 

Tom Clemons

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Excellent review of one of my all-time favorite blends, which I've smoked for 11 years or more now. I would probably re-write my TR review if/when I get the inclination. It is in my top 10 blends, but probably not my lone desert island smoke that it once was.

For the most part, I completely agree with the reviews and packing techniques here. Penzance is a Va/Oriental/Latakia blend where the latakia does not dominate but plays the supporting/percussive role of sounding woodsy/leather base notes to the melody of orientals and harmonious Virginia.

I've smoked Penzance from '98 purchases as recently as a year ago. I've noticed the crystallization also. But I've not noted any real differences in the blend over time in terms of components or flavor/aroma.

I agree with the packing suggestions completely. I'll also suggest that this blend should be smoked slowly and contemplatively to really enjoy its subtle complexities. I think I once wrote to smoke it as if it were a bite-y Virginia.

My challenged palate has a very slight different take on Penzance than what has been presented here. I think this blend leans toward the sweet side, instead of the savory polarity, if by savory you all are meaning sans sweet. Perhaps this is because I only smoke aged Penzance anymore?

Also, and this is heresy, I know, but I think there is a very slight topping to Penzance. Perhaps it is just a slight sweetner, but sometimes I think i detect a faintest hint of anise. I have three pipes reserved for Penzance alone and so I know this is not any ghost from another blend. I keep my pipes dry and clean, so I don't think it is due to pipe-related contributions, other than the cake in these pipes is solely Penzance cake.

I once smoked Penzance side-by-side with Smoker's Haven's Krumble Kake with another pipe smoker with an excellent palate and we agreed that Penzance was the sweeter smoke (noticeably so) as well as having a more oriental saliency while the latakia was not quite as pronounced. Both tins were of the same vintage and we used two almost identical S&R Yard pipes for this comparison. Contrary to some reports, these are not the same blend, or they have not been in the last several years. They look differently, smell differently and taste differently.

Well, there are my two cents, YMMV. Thanks again Kap for an excellent, well-written review.

TC
 

Trout Bum

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Great review, Kap, and thanks for posting. I have wanted to try this mixture for some time; the accompanying discussion has only whetted my appetite the more.
 

jlong

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Penzance is truly a classic. It may not be for everyone but it is has its good share of fans. Penzance is in my rotation. It's a pleasant, cool burning, tasty smoke for me. Something to really relax with after a long day. Outside, on a clear cool evening, crickets chirping, and moon glowing. That's heaven man. I dry it out for 30 minutes or so and do the fold and plug thing (carefully) in a medium size bowl and it gives me a long satisfying smoke.
 
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