As for this being a facsimile for Esoterica Penzance I feel unable to attest as I had that years ago, sent from my pal Franck (Gentleman Zombie), in the USA. So, rather than lots of perspicacity, my experience with Penzance was about 50 grams! But, going on my notes, this isn't a million miles away!
The moment this came in the post I opened it, filled, and lit. Although it's supposed to be a flake the majority of my pouch was broken. A dark, nicely hydrated, broken flake, with a customary English aroma. This is one of the rare blends that achieved adoration from the first puff.
As I remember (from my notes) Penzance to be, this is a heavy-weight smoke. But, the Latakia doesn't cartelise and take over the smoke with a tumultuous smoky flavour. Instead, it shares the lead with the Orientals. This makes the flavour deep; there's lots of wood, sweet-butter, and some smokiness. As I often find, with English or Balkan blends, the Virginias are tautological; I taste NONE! This is all about the Latakia and Orientals! The smoke given is cool, coming from a good burn.
Nicotine: medium. Room-note: not bad!
1820 Flake? I put it straight in my favourites during my first bowl; I love it! If you can get it, get it! Highly recommended:
Tastes like Penzance to me. Might contain a small fraction less Latakia, but in a blind test, I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference.
Great blend. I never understood English (Latakia) smokers until I tried Penzance. The second bowl of it was like a revelation. I told myself, I think I get it now. Before that, smoking a Latakia blend wasn’t a pleasurable experience. They all tasted very similar to me. All I tasted was the Latakia, even if the blend contained only minute amounts of it.
Whether you like English and Balkan blends, or you’re a Virginia and Burley type of piper, you owe it to yourself to try this tremendous blend. It truly is a masterpiece. The hype might be overblown, but not by much. Please trust.
I was always perplexed by the fact that Penzance being produced in the UK (Jersey to be exact) was not available in the UK. I read the hype on pipes.org from our friends in the USA which made me believe that this really was the Holy Grail of pipe tobacco. One poster stated that if he could not get Penzance he would give up pipe smoking! So as soon as I heard that Germains had produced a replica of Penzance called 1820 flake for the UK market I did of course want/need to try it. I ordered 100g from GQ tobaccos and when it arrived I thought well here we go. On opening the pouch I was somewhat underwhelmed by the aroma. I had expected strong latakia but no it was more an earthy aroma. The dark flake crumbles as soon as touched so hardly any rubbing needed. I have now smoked 4 or 5 bowls and as soon as you light up you get the latakia with added spice and a very smooth smoke. I am unable to comment on whether this is an all day smoke in the accepted way as I am one of those smokers who if I like a tobacco it is an all day smoke to me. Yes, I like it, I like it very much. I also like St Bruno, Condor, Erinmore, Germains Special Latakia Flake, Samuel Gawith Cabbies Mixture, Commonwealth Mixture and a good few others. If I could not get 1820 Flake would I give up the pipe, of course not, I would wave a fond farewell and reach for the Bruno. Is Penzance/1820 Flake over hyped? Probably a bit but it is still a marvelous tobacco.
Pipe Used: Meerschaum
Age When Smoked: New
Purchased From: GQ Tobaccos
Similar Blends: J.F. Germain Special Latakia Flake.
Wonderful stuff. I like many English blends and this is right up at the top. The flakes come smashed to pieces, but after a little drying time, you will be treated to a very pleasant smoke. Needed a few relights, but I highly recommend you try this satisfying and complex blend.
This is an excellent, earthy, latakia and oriental blend. Can't compare it to Penzance as I haven't had that privilege, but it is very good - not spicy like the 1820 original, as it seems to lean harder toward latakia, and less incense than more fragrant blends.
Takes its place in regular rotation, and could be a real favourite. Too crumbly to be a real flake, mind!
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