Monday, December 24, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
For the past couple of months I have been experiencing what I call "Transient Pipe Ruts" or "TPRs" for short. I don't know if it is because of the bleak Winter weather or if it is just because my pipe smoking routines, ("PSRs" for short), have become mundane. I seem to find myself staring at my pipe and tobacco cabinet only to walk away empty handed. This problem has given me so much stress that I am becoming frail and tired, ("FAT" for short), so I decided to seek professional help.
I spoke to my associate, ("ASS" for short), who holds his PhD in Psychology, ("PP" for short), so I know he is a very smart ASS. I explained to him that my TPRs have made me FAT and I needed his advice on how to improve my PSRs. Oddly, he suggested that I get the book "Obesity Free Forever", ("OFF" for short), to which I asked "Where do you get OFF?" The smart ASS still has not spoken to me ever since so he can take his PP somewhere else as far as I am concerned.
So I still suffer from the TPRs and I am more FAT than ever. My wife said that she thinks my ASS is FAT as well but she insists that I will get OFF "never in my lifetime".
Maybe I'll just buy some new pipes!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Many thanks, once again, to Joel at The Briar Pipe!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The cut is your standard Danish loose cut with short ribbons of dark brown and black leaf. The moisture content is rather high but not quite "wet". The smell from the tin is a heavy musty scent with a slight resemblance to chocolate.
Packing is pretty easy and I went a little light on the pressure. The initial match brought forth a very dark and heavy flavor similar to the tonquin topping of Sam Gawith's "1792 Flake", although the Mac Baren is not as sophisticated as the Lakeland flake.
When pushed, this blend will bite quite hard. The flavor becomes one-dimensional and tastes not unlike old coffee grounds. If puffed with a lot of respect the tobacco burns slow and cool and requires few relights. A slow cadence rewards the smoker with a subtle sweet dark chocolate flavor and exhaling through the nose only enhances this effect. The general flavor is different from any other blend I have smoked before and it would be correct to say that one might need to acquire a taste for this.
For a moist tobacco it smokes dry and leaves the pipe walls clean of any sticky residue. It does, however, color the flavor of the bowl after one smoke so you may want to avoid using a favorite pipe to try this one.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Packing was very easy and I used the "three-level" method. In keeping with the theme, I smoked this in a Peterson Irish Whiskey billiard that is kept for plain and sweetened burleys. It was nice to be able to pack an aromatic blend into a pipe and not have sticky fingers afterwards.
At the first match I tasted a harsh "burning lettuce" flavor and almost instant tongue bite. The smoke mellowed a bit and I started to taste a little bit of the casings. This blend starts off tasteless and builds as the bowl progresses. I consider this characteristic a positive since you are able to ease into the flavors as opposed to being blasted with it from the first puff.
This blend thrives on a slow puffing cadence where the flavors can come alive slowly and cleanly. It does not produce a lot of large smoke clouds but instead you get just what you take. The flavors build and I taste something similar to one of those cherry cordial candies with the dark chocolate shells. I also taste a spirit of some kind but it leans more towards a whiskey rather than a rum. The real treat is in the nose exhalations where you can taste a slight sweet/nutty flavor mixed with the spirits. I did not taste or smell any coconut but perhaps a more distinguished palate will pick up on that. The casings enhance the tobacco but never become overwhelming at all. The room note is very pleasant.
The flavors remain consistent throughout the bowl and it ends in a sweet farewell. There was no moisture in this smoke at all and when I ran a cleaner through the pipe it came out dry. All that was left in the pipe was a fine light grey ash. The pipe walls were clean and there was no residual smell left in the pipe. There was no harshness that usually accompanies many other blends as they wind down to the end.
I would highly recommend Peterson Special Reserve 2007 for anyone who enjoys a top-quality aromatic blend. Just remember to smoke it slowly or it will bite you big time.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This was a pipe on Ebay but I could not find any of the actual dimensions listed, nor was there a brand name. The stem is unusual being as long as it is without any bends which would make it very difficult to smoke. I also wonder how one would be able to tamp and clean a pipe like this.
Not a pipe that one would consider a good functional pipe...but it certainly is unusal!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
I purchased this pipe this afternoon from Puffers Pipes and what a great service they provided! Check them out for yourself. Thanks much!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
1. Dry smoke: A good burley smokes dry and cool. One should rarely need the use of a pipe cleaner during the smoke and should have very little moisture when cleaning the pipe. 2. Nutty flavor: A good burley has a nutty flavor. It should never be bitter but instead should host a warm wood/nut-like flavor similar to that of a walnut. 3. Sweetness: Because there is no natural sugar in Burley, there should be very little sweetness, however, there should be a hint of it at times. It should be subtle and in the background. 4. Chocolate flavor: A good Burley has a slight natural chocolate flavor. It should be subtle and in the background but definately present. 5. Consistency: A good Burley should be consistent throughout the bowl. While the fullness should increase some, it should not become overwhelming nor grow weaker as the bowl progresses. 6. Clean Pipe: Good Burley should leave your pipe clean after smoking. This means no sticky residue on the walls of the pipe once you dump out the ashes.
Burley is a very underrated tobacco but many seasoned pipemen love it for it's natural charms.
Appearance: Dark red, brown and black ribbon/loose-cut leaf. Pretty even ratio of all three.
Pouch smell: Cloves, pepper and fruity wine.
Smoking quality: Park Square burns cool, dry and leaves the pipe clean. It can bite if pushed hard which is only to be expected given the nature of this blend. When treated properly, relights are a minimum.
Taste: Upon the initial puff, one tastes the sweetness of the Virginias. Soon, the spiciness of the Perique kicks in and it all comes together in a well-balanced flavor of subtle sweet with a dash of peppery spice. It is best when smoked slow and savored. The fullness gradually grows throughout the bowl but never becomes overpowering. Eventually, it goes out and will not relight. Turn the pipe over and see the soft white fluffy ash fall out of the bowl and into your ashtray. You will feel sad at first that the smoke is finished, but there is always more. You will want more.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I was in the middle of typing an e-mail when suddenly Valentino started barking at something across the road. I looked up and saw a man walking out of the woods! He put some branches down then started back towards the woods when I noticed something strange around his face. I looked closer and saw that in his mouth he held a half-bent Peterson System pipe! He went into a nearby house that had recently been sold to some new people so I am assumming that he might be a new neighbor. This is incredibly cool since he would make the third pipe-smoking neighbor of mine. If you went down the line of houses on my street you would find five cigar smokers, three pipe smokers and myself. I made a mental note, and a Blackberry note, to myself to meet the new neighbors and talk pipes. I just hope this one is actually knowledgeable about them instead of the "No-frills aromatic in a Grabow/cob/basket pipe" like the other two guys on the street.
My thoughts of having another piper to chat in-person with were interrupted by my son's pre-school calling to tell me that he woke up from his nap with a high fever. I packed up and took him to the doctor's office. The diagnosis was a simple viral bug he must have picked up at school. You would think that having a fever would slow an almost-five year-old boy down but not my kid! Despite a temperature of 101.8F he was still a spinning blur like that of the old "Tazmainian Devil" cartoon character.
So now the house is quiet, the brats...err...children are all in bed and I am sitting here enjoying some Peretti's "Omega" blend in a Nording Signature freehand. I made some tea I got from Singapore that is extremely dark and bitter. I enjoy a good tea with my last pipe of the day because it really slows things down nicely. I use an old three-minute sand timer for steeping the tea at which time I gently fill the pipe. If everything is done properly I will be taking the final sip immediately after the final puff of the bowl. It's just a little ritual and method I like to employ on occasion. Valentino is sleeping again only now it is in front of the children's bedrooms. My three cats are all curled up and napping....which is what they do for 22 hours every day.
I hope you enjoyed reading this bit of my evening as much as I am enjoying living it.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Many years ago, pipe tobaccos were mostly burley-based and not topped with a lot of fancy syrups and perfumes. They were the staples of the American Pipe Smoker in a time when a guy could go to work in the morning, smoke all day in the office and come home to a happy family and a hot meal. After dinner the family would gather in front of the television set and enjoy some good wholesome American entertainment. The sounds of the old classic shows and the smell of Dad's pipe smoke are still cherished memories for many folks to this day.
In today's social climate of "political correctness", those happy carefree times are long gone but certainly not forgotten. While we are no longer allowed to think about wives taking care of the home and children, or smoking at work, or Mom cooking real food, we can take great comfort in knowing that there are still some blends that are reminicent to that golden age of the pipe.
For the past year or so I've heard many pipe smokers discuss blends from a shop in Boston called "Peretti's" and how wonderful their tobaccos are. Foolishly assumming that these were probably just re-labelled Lane blends, I dismissed any thoughts of trying any of them. Recently a fellow pipe smoker, whom I have a great respect for, sent me a sample of "Park Square" from Peretti's. This is in no way anything close to Lane tobacco...this is some real "old-school" American tobacco! After cursing myself for not having tried this before, I started to panic in fear that this blend might end up discontinued like many of the other great classics. Upon my initial order I received a sample of a fine English blend called "Omega" and, once again, I was overwhelmed at how wonderful this stuff is!
I am enjoying these treasures from Peretti's immensely and with each bowl I am trasnported back in time fifty years...when a "tv" meant "television" and not "transvestite"....when "PC" meant "Pepsi Cola" and "Perry Como"...when food was cooked at home and had fat, grease, salt and sugar without the shame, guilt and warnings of impending death with each bite taken.
This is a good time to be a pipe smoker.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
For the past few months I have been smoking a lot of Burleys with the occasional bowl of a good GLP english. Coming off this expedition I took up the Virginias once again and have been re-discovering the joys of this leaf. I smoke these flakes intact with no rubbing out.
I've long been a fan of the McClelland Matured Virginia "Brown Label" blends so I decided to begin my journey there. Each one of these exquisite tobaccos has it's own personality and characteristics that make them a delight with every bowl. This is not an endorsement of McClelland, although I do recommend them highly, but rather a statement of my appreciation for the subtle nuances of Virginias presented in a fine flake form.
Virginia No. 24 is a darker Virginia and it has some sharp notes and a rich full flavor. It matures further down the bowl as the tobacco cooks presenting a wide spectrum of flavors. Sweet, tangy, tart, dark but mostly just plain good.
Virginia No. 22 is a brighter leaf with a light flavor with an emphasis on the tangy flavors. I enjoy this one as a morning smoke as the bright zest of the leaf wakes me up and charges my batteries.
Virginia No. 27 is a nice mixture of sweetness and tang. It has a pleasant room note and a gentle light flavor. The more it cooks, the more robust it gets. This is a great mid-day smoke!
There are many other great Virginias from McClelland that cover the entire range of this magnificent leaf. I look forward to revisiting the "Reserve Series" blends like Blackwoods Flake and St. James Woods.
Won't you join me in a bowl of matured Virginia with a favorite beverage (mine is fresh strong coffee). Forget the world for a while, sit back and enjoy the show of flavors.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I hope you enjoy this magnificent specimen of briar.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Many things have happened since those days. I no longer live in the city, I have a family now, I have survived September 11, 2001, a few medical emergencies, a battle with cancer and I have matured. My tastes in pipe tobaccos have matured greatly since then and Mixture is no longer a staple in my tobacco inventory. I have since moved on to blends that have more strength, variety and subtle nuances of flavors.
I have often thought of my days with my Winslow and Mixture. The times were simpler then and life was an exciting adventure. Those many "window smokes" brought great comfort and enhanced the beuty of those gorgeous sunny days in the city.
This afternoon as I sit by the window of my home in the "burbs", I am sipping some fresh imported coffee, listening to the same cds I did back then and smoking some Mac Baren Mixture in my Winslow Crown 300. The day is a dry 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I recently won this brand new il Ceppo stubby billiard on Ebay. It's got some nice straight grain, a thin gold band and handcut brindle stem. Handmade in Italy, this pipe sports a virgin briar bowl and promises to be a great smoker!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I can honestly say that in my collection of over 100 pipes the Boswells (14 and counting) are the only pipes of one brand that are all perfect smokers.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The stem has a very subtle bent to it and it wrapped in a fancy shank band. This pipe sports some very nice grain and a generous tobacco chamber.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
Here is my review of the new Solani Aged Burley Flake:
First of all, I love all tobacco. I am not partial to any particular type of blend. I love VA, VApers, English, Balkan, Burley and good aromatics. With that said, here is my review of Solani Aged Burley Flake:
The day I ordered my tin of this blend I had also ordered a tin of Wessex Burley Slices. When they arrived I noticed that the tins were identical with the exception of the label. The interior packaging is also identical including the little picture of a Burley leaf. I will not compare these two tobaccos but I did find it interesting that there was no difference in the packaging.
The Solani flakes are pliable without being too moist. I smoke flakes unrubbed so I fold two flakes lengthwise then fold them once over width-wise. I place this plug into the bowl with the bent part of the tobacco facing the bottom of the bowl. I thrn gently work the top of the plug around so it makes a nice tight pack yet with a good open draw.
The flakes light up quickly and evenly. The initial taste is a bit of rasin-like flavor followed by some good dark nutty Burley taste. The smoke is very smooth and mellow. There is little to no sweetness during the smoke, just a nice nutty smokey full-bodied flavor that grows in strength as the bowl progresses. It provides a very good olfactory (through the nose) taste that compliments the flavor that the mouth receives. There is very little bite even when producing some huge clouds of smoke. It also smokes quite dry and needs only one pipe cleaner throughout the entire two-hour smoke. It burns slow cool and easy.
Solani Aged Burley Flake leaves the pipe clean and burns down to a fine light grey ash. There is no mouth fatigue so you are ready for more as soon as the bowl is complete. The nicotine content is pretty high but not overpowering like some ropes can be. This is a true Burley without the sweetners or perfumes so this may not be the best choice for a beginner. For those who really love a good honest Burley, this is it!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
"Ashes to Ashes"
"Brains & Burley"
"Potters Field & Scream"
"Decay o' Flesh Flake"
and the all-time zombie favorite: "Scary Cherry"
Have one you'd like to share? Leave a comment!
Saturday, March 31, 2007
How I truly love the taste of a good Burley! So often we hear about Virginia blends, Latakia and Oriental concoctions, but it seems that the Burley leaf is one of the most underappreciated tobaccos there is.
A good burley is sweet, nutty, full and creamy. Blends like Barbary Coast, Nut Brown Burley, Wessex Burley Slices and Solani Aged Burley are all top-quality leaf. There are some blends that contain terrible burley and they taste bitter, harsh and even a little sour. Usually these blends are found in drug stores or discount stores like WalMart.
Burley is to tobacco what rice is to cooking. Unlike the Virginia leaf, Burley does not have a high content of natural sugar, so it makes a good neutral base for a recipe...it can compliment almost anything it is used with...it takes on the flavors of the other ingredients. Burley is used in most aromatic blends because it absorbs the flavorings that are added.
Most Burley comes from Kentucky and Tennessee. It can be ribbon-cut, flake and (my personal favorite) cubed. Many smokers praise the combination of Burley smoked in a corn-cob pipe. Another great combination is a fine Burley smoked in a meerschaum. Because of the lack of natural sugars, Burley does not experience the drastic changes from aging that Virginia leaf does.
If you have not yet explored the wonderful spectrum of flavor that quality Burley can provide, why not check out some of the above mentioned blends and sit back for a real treat.