Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My Perfect Smoke

Most pipe smokers have their own definitions of a "Perfect Smoke", as I have mine. This evening, after a rather difficult few hours, I enjoyed a "perfect smoke" by my standards. Please allow me to share it with you.

My favorite pipe is a Winslow Crown that I bought new about four years ago. It's not fancy but it is the best smoker I've ever had. Dedicated to Mac Baren Mixture since its first bowl, this pipe has been with me through good, bad and everything in between. Every pipe smoker should have a pipe they love this much. Tonight, only the best pipe-and-tobacco combination could even things out.

After dinner I sat down with the coffee and broke out the Winslow and Mixture. The loading step felt just right as I finished picking off the last strands of stray tobacco from the top of the bowl. Charring light. First cloud of smoke. First taste of the Mixture. Very nice. Some tamping, a relight and we're off. The first half of the bowl is always sweet yet tangy...almost tart. I delight in watching the pipe, feeling the grain...exhaling through the nose occasionaly to experience every nuance of sensory delight.

As the tobacco slowly burns down to the equator, the flavors become deeper, sweeter and more complex. After years of this ritual I know just the right temperature to keep the Mixture burning at its optimal taste. Maintaining the smoke is like flying on Auto-pilot as I can sit back and enjoy the wonderful taste and aroma of my favorite pipe and tobacco. Soft Brazilian jazz, hot coffee enhance the serene experience. Stress becomes smoke that rises into the air...relieving my soul of the crushing weight it once bore.

Sadly, yet right on time, the pipe goes out and the Mixture has become a small pile of grey ash. Once the pipe cools it is lovingly cleaned and delicately placed on the rack where it will rest comfortably until the next time.

What is your "perfect smoke"?

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