SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
For a long time I played V16 2.5 reeds on tenor and I found just the opposite situation to what you describe. They played a bit too hard right out of the box, but after a couple of playing sessions (and sometimes a bit of sanding on the back), they played well and lasted as long as any other cane reed. I find the V16 reeds to be about a half strength harder than other reeds at the same number. IOW, a V16 2.5 is roughly equivalent to a 3 in most other brands.V16 2.5 reeds (at least the good ones) seem to play fine out of the box but then get soft quicker than usual.
But once I switched to Rigotti Gold (2.5 strong & 3 light), I never looked back.