Review by Cortezattic
Scarborough: A sweet and savory, mild Va ribbon w/ intriguing nuances
Opening the metalized plastic bag in which Scarborough is packaged reveals a tangled clump of 1mm wide tobacco ribbons – quite possibly from rubbed out flake. Its color ranges from honey brown to nearly black. The bouquet doesn’t deliver too intense a 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, but I have also had good results drying it a bit with a hot air blower. In either case it packs, lights and burns quite nicely.
Under the match Scarborough delivers a sweet herbal Virginia taste that resides in the wine-like part of the Va. continuum ranging from soft and fruity to sharp and grassy. An ineffable component to the overall taste also suggests a mild spice similar to basil mingled with the essence of cooked carrots; and the vague presence of that cocoa (or maybe even 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 ambiguous – but they are none-the-less 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 many subtleties and complexity; but it is equally well suited for smoking when your focus is somewhere else. This blend doesn’t seem to attract much attention – perhaps because it is eclipsed by its famously popular (and hard to get) sibling, Stonehaven. Frankly, I think it is much better because it occupies a brighter, more exuberant niche in the Esoterica product line; and it possesses the same degree of quality, sophistication, and intrigue.