Product Image

Where to Buy


A refined, long lasting blend of golden and dark Virginias, lightly pressed, cut and rubbed out. A soft, smooth mixture.

BrandEsoterica Tobacciana
Blended ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Manufactured ByJ.F. Germain & Son
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
CutReady Rubbed
Packaging8 ounce bag
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
Product Image
Mild to Medium
None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Sort By
Please login to review this blend.
JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2849)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The very grassy, haylike, moderately tart and tangy citrusy, floral, bready gold Virginias also have minor spice, sugar, acidic, sour and tea notes. They form the base of the blend. The dark Virginias offer a little fermented tangy dark fruit, wood, bread, earth, light sugar and floralness along with a pinch of spice as a supporting player. The strength and nic-hit are a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium. The taste just reaches the medium mark. Won’t bite, but does have a rough edge or two, and you may experience a little warmth on the tongue if puffed fast. Burns clean at a reasonable rate with a very consistent tart and tangy sweet, floral Virginia flavor. Leaves virtually no dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a short lived, pleasant after taste, and room note. Is an all day smoke. Though it was designed to be a light smoke, its lack of flavor depth, muted sweetness and complexity make it a two and a half star blend. I rounded it up to three mostly due to the quality of Virginias.


8 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

I have always found Scarborough to be beguiling due to the combination of Bright and Dark Virginia that has been fermented using that secret and very special Germain process that makes their Esoterica blends so delicious. The taste is refined and staid, does not produce a lot of variance, but with each puff, the progression down the bowl is captivating with its flavor, bit of sweetness and more strength than the average bear.

7 people found this review helpful.

½ bowl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
½ bowl (103)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Unnoticeable

Opening the metalized plastic bag reveals a tangled clump of 1mm wide ribbons – possibly from rubbed out flake. Its color ranges from honey brown to nearly black. The bouquet has only a mild tobacco aroma, but it possesses a smell reminiscent of powdered cocoa mix – complete with a complementary sweetness. The moisture level is ideal for immediate use; and it packs, lights and burns quite nicely.

Under the match Scarborough's Virginia is wine-like rather than sharp and grassy. A component in the overall taste is an herbal sweetness: imagine cooked carrots seasoned with basil; and that vague cocoa (or maybe licorice) taste alluded to in the bouquet also appears in the finish. As you can tell by my uncertainty, these tastes are pretty subtle and somewhat ineffable – so all the more delightful.

At around mid-bowl a slight tingling sensation develops on the back of the tongue and inner lips. It’s not the peppery pinch of Perique, but it reminds me of it. Something like that from a sharp, hay-like Va. flake wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, but it is quite unusual to find that tingle in a softer matured ribbon.

Scarborough has a very rich mouth feel, good body and strength, and a very smooth smoke stream that is not inclined to bite, though I don’t think I’d push this too hard. If smoked gently it will reveal subtlety and complexity; but it is equally well suited for smoking when your focus is somewhere else.

This blend doesn’t receive much attention – perhaps because it is eclipsed by its famously popular (and notoriously scarce) sibling, Stonehaven. It is attractive because it occupies a brighter, more exuberant niche in the Esoterica product line; and it possesses the same degree of quality, sophistication, and intrigue.

6 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Sweet hay and citrus with a touch of honey and an occasional floral note. Some lesser dark fruit notes. That floral note reminds me of the type you get from good quality honey so I think there is a honey topping. No real evolution here other than a very mild earthiness that develops late in the bowl. A pleasant smoke.

Mild to medium in body. Medium in taste. Flavoring is very mild. Burn is a little spotty.

Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30057)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable

Mostly light brown ribbon with a few flecks of gold. A hay aroma in the bag. The ribbons were very narrow for the most part but I also got some hints of broken flake. No problem to rub those out - I just thought it was interesting.

I found this blend rather thin tasting overall. The flavor was most certainly of Virginia with an emphasis on the sweeter lemon variety but also hints of a darker VA. But it lacked a spine, almost as if it was cured either too long or not long enough. Picture how overcooked noodles taste, as this was the impression I got - kind of limp and bland with a thin texture to the taste. If the Deacon's Downfall I just reviewed is a stew, this one is a bouillon cube... a chicken soup with no body and no chicken. Very disappointing. Everyone is different but my recommendation is that if you enjoy FVF, BBF, the various McClelland Virginias and things of that nature, you'll find this one wanting. If you're trying to replicate the magic of Stonehaven with another Esoterica blend, this ain't it. Not really sweet enough to recommend to Virginia newbies, either. I guess I'm not sure what the market is for this but others like it, so I'll happily forego buying up anymore of this hard to find blend. 1.5 stars rounded to 2, but mostly out of charity.

Age When Smoked: 1 year

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30057)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

First off, I am partial to Virginia leaf. My S.Gawith FVF stash is down to the last pound and can't seem to find anymore so I went shopping. I'm glad I did.

I heartily agree with mgdurand. It's time to revisit/discover this blend.The pouch note took me by surprise!!what is that? ...peppermint? over the sweet grassy virginia? No, I think not. Just the natural scent of the cured leaf.

This can BITE if you rush it so stay low and slow. The nic hit is sublime and I find the flavor much more interesting than FVF.It's a brighter cleaner smoke.

I have enjoyed two small bowls in the last 4-5 hours and my tongue feels a bit numb but not burnt. May be time for another..

3 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (241)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Scarborough is a very underrated tobacco, in my opinion. Probably the most different in the Esoterica Virginia line up, it is uncased and is a true straight Virginia. Like all Germain tobacco's the leaf and the processing are of the highest quality. The tin note to me smells like a fresh pack of cigarette's, Parliament. There is a somewhat sweet, prune like smell out of the tin with some grassy elements. The flavor is bready, with some hay, lemon and a tangy, earthy finish. This tobacco reminds me of Gawith Full Virginia Flake in a lot of ways, it burns much easier so it has an edge in my book on that alone. The nicotine level is the highest I have experience in an Esoterica blend and I would say that is in the upper end of medium. The after taste is quite pleasant and long lasting. If you want a nice, crisp, easy to pack and easy to burn straight Virginia, and can find this stuff, I would highly recommend it.

Pipe Used: Briar's, meerschaum, clay's and cob's

Age When Smoked: 2

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30057)
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Of the three pure Virginias I have tried from Esoterica, this is perhaps the most flavorful and interesting. While not as dark and full as Dark Star or similar flakes, it is nevertheless not a weak or extremely subtle smoke. And while I don't find this style of tobacco to be outstanding, it is still a good early or middle-of-the-day smoke for me. The aroma in the sample bag is somewhat mild, a nice average Virginia smell with a good deal of sweetness. The tobacco is mostly medium brown, with a small number of very dark and very light pieces mixed in. The cut is medium to long, and the moisture level is fairly low. It packs with a bit of difficulty, at least in a narrow pipe bowl, and lights easily. It burns well, requiring an average number of relights during a bowl. In the first third, the flavor is sweet and medium, with a hint of spice. There is some fullness and body to this, though it is by no means a heavy blend. I find it more flavorful and darker than Peacehaven and Cardiff, the other two Esoterica Virginias I have tried. There is some minor bite, but this is easily avoided with slow puffing. In the second third of the bowl, the flavor has darkened and matured somewhat. The spice note is still present, but the sweetness has faded a bit. The smoke isn't exactly smooth, but it isn't overly biting either. The taste is good, well mixed and somewhat complex. In the last third, the flavor continues to darken slightly. This part is especially good using DGT; it really brings out the subtle flavors. There is little sweetness at this point, and the spice note is not overly obvious. There has been no moisture through the entire pipe, and the bowl smokes clean and dry down to the ashes. Overall, this is a nice mild to medium Virginia tobacco. There's nothing really spectacular to this one, but nothing bad about it either. It is a good, lighter Virginia with nice flavor and decent complexity. I recommend it to any Virginia smoker, and I will likely be buying a tin when my sample runs out.

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30057)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm amazed that no one has reviewed this blend for 9 years. I first tried it in 1998 or so, and still have some squirreled away from that time. In fact, I devoted a pipe to this blend, an Ashton, which smokes perfectly.

Is this to say that it is the best thing in VA's? No, but it's pretty good. I find it's best smoked slowly while drawing some air into your mouth with the smoke, that gives the best flavor and brings out a lot of spicy complexities.

The 1998 is a coarser cut than the new stuff (my new batch is from like 2003 when I was buying up a bunch of tobacco) and does taste different. I'm not sure if it's an aging thing or they changed something, but the older one is better.

1 person found this review helpful.

NEWMAN Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
NEWMAN (301)
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

Extremely dry as received and this is evident in a hot smoke that dessicates your mouth. Although the tobacco taste is OK, this is another flamethrower from Esoterica.

Nobody has rated this review yet.