Monday, December 24, 2007

New Acquisition for 12/24/07

This is THE most beautiful straight grain I have ever seen in Poul Winslow's Crown line! I have long been a big fan of Winslow pipes and this one was haunting me for quite a while. I ust took the plunge and clicked "Add to cart" and already the post-purchase guilt is creeping in.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pipe Rut

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't find the enthusiasm to smoke a pipe? Every open tin of tobacco seems boring and nothing in your stash interests you? Has this gone on for more than a day or two? If so, then you, my friend, are in a "pipe rut".

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

New Acquisition for 12/15/2007

This is one of the most beautiful pipes I have ever seen. This is an Ardor Urano poker with sterling silver spigot and a faux amber stem. I love Ardor pipes as they are not only beautiful but they are perfectly engineered smoking pipes.

Many thanks, once again, to Joel at The Briar Pipe!

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Acquisition for 12/13/2007

This is a Winslow Crown 200 poker. I love the Winslow Crowns and I have never owned a poker before but this one was just too nice to resist. Many thanks to Joel at The Briar Pipe!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Acquisition for 11/28/2007

This is a Savinelli Pisa shape no. 316KS. I love this shape and it smokes Park Square perfectly. Very light with a nice hand feel. Well balanced with no jaw fatigue.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Review of Mac Baren's "Honey & Chocolate"

I have long been a fan of many of Mac Baren's offerings so I wanted to try their newest blend "Honey & Chocolate". This is a black cavendish blend that is heavily topped with cocoa, honey, licorice and sugar.

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

My review of Peterson Special Reserve 2007 tobacco

This tobacco comes in a beautiful burgundy collector tin with the actual tobacco inside of a sealed cellophane bag. The leaves are light and fluffy and range in color from light tan to black. The moisture content is more towards the dry side and it is not sticky. The leaves do not stick together when pinched. The cut is a mixture of ribbon, crimp and broken flake. The tin description is that this tobacco is a Virginia, Burley and cavendish blend with a top flavor of rum, macadamia nuts and coconut. The smell in the bag is more of a cinnamon/allspice motif, however, it is not overwhelmingly strong.

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

"Unusual Pipes" No. 8

I've seen large pipes, jumbo pipes, "magnum" pipes...I've seen "stacks" and "chimneys" but none quite like this one.

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!

New Acquisition for 11/13/2007

I have a passion for Savinelli pipes and when I saw this one I knew I had to have it. This is an unusual line called "Savinelli Standing". These pipes are standard Savinelli shapes that have been designed to be able to stand on their own without the use of a stand or rack. I like the burgany stain and the thick shank.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Acquisition for 11/07/2007

Here is the newest member of the family: a new Ben Wade Roma giant canadian! This beast is eight inches long and two inches high. I'm looking forward to filling this bowl up with some good tobacco and sitting down for a nice three-hour smoke.

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

Burley Revisited

A while ago, I wrote an article about Burley tobacco. Since then I have continued smoking many various burleys and I feel that I have gotten to know this leaf pretty well. Here are the qualities that make a good burley:

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.

Peretti's "Park Square" review

Intro: I have smoked many VA/Perique blends and have enjoyed almost all of them, yet none have ever stood out like Peretti's "Park Square". It has established itself as my main blend of this genre. Loved by many respectable pipemen, Park Square is a diamond in a mountain of rubies.

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

New Acquisition for 10/10/2007

This is a Ser Jacopo I purchased brand new on 10/08/2007. It is a "Maxima Maxima" and the dimensions are: Length:18,5 cm. Height: 7 cm. Bowl Diameter: 5,6 cm. Chamber Diameter: 2,3 cm. It is my very first Ser Jac. I've wanted one for quite a while since I have heard so much about them over the years. This is a BIG pipe!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Last Smoke of the Day Thoughts and Musings

Today was a busy but decent day. The weather was sunny and clear, the temperature varied between 72-76F with very little humidity. I spent a couple of hours sitting on my deck with Valentino, my nine year-old German Shepherd Dog. In between watching the cars pass by and the occasional neighbor walking a dog, Valentino enjoyed the time by napping. I, on the other hand, was fielding some phone calls and e-mail conversations on my Blackberry while gently sipping on some Peretti's "Park Square" in a small Stanwell straight grain. My oldest daughter was home from school today so she was running around the yard trying to catch bugs with a net.

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

Old-School American Blends

This is a good time to be a pipe smoker. There are myriads of blends available in all sorts of forms and configurations. English blends with top quality leaf abound with premium burleys in various forms. We have matured virginias, virginia flakes, virginia plugs, stoved virginias, red virginia, lemon virginia, black virginia, brown virginia...there's "old belt", "middle belt" (championship belt?). We have a multitude of virginia and perique blends that are commonly referred to as "VApers". Aromatic blends are rampant with every flavor that one can think of. Any of these types of tobaccos can come in various cuts...plug, cake, crumble cake, ribbon, shag, slice or flake...spun-cut, loose-cut, twist, rope and navy-cut (sound like a song yet?).

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

Get a Grip! Get a pair of grips!

Are these beautiful or what? These are custom pistol grips handmade by pipemaker Joel Shapiro. Joel is expanding his briar art endeavors to making custom pistol grips made from top quality briar. While I no longer own a firearm, if I did I would certainly have a pair of these babies on it. Check out more at Joel's site.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Acquisition for 08/24/2007's another Boswell!!! Beautiful freehand with partial rustication and a handmade acrylic stem. This has a large bowl with thick walls and shank so this will be a nice cool smoke. I can just imagine it filled with a great blend right now...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Acquisition for 08/15/2007

This is my newest Boswell purchased today! A chubby freehand with big thick bowl walls and a jade-tinted acrylic stem. This is going to be a great smoker!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Unusual Pipes" No. 7

I know there is a shape called "Apple" but I have never seen one before that was quite such a literal example of it's namesake. This pipe is a creation of "Mr. Groum's Pipes". Amazing detail on this wooden sculpture, especially on the bowl lid. I would think an apple-scented aromatic would be the most appropriate blend to smoke in this pipe.

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Acquisition for 07/27/2007

Finally! Another new Boswell! This is one of my all-time favorite shapes of his, the chubby apple. They fit great in the hand, light in the jaw and of course since it's a Boswell, a perfect smoker. I just cannot get enough of these pipes!

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Unusual Pipes" No. 6

This is a compilation of several unusual pipes that I found on the web a few years ago. On this picture one can see a "Hammer" pipe, a "Soccer Ball" pipe and a freehand that looks like a whiskey barrel. I don't remember where I found this picture or who the pipemaker is but I do hope that you enjoy these unusual pipes.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

For the Love of Virginia Flakes

How I do love Virginia tobacco! I love the bright golden leaf, the brown, the sweet red, the dark stoved, shag, loose-cut, plug and partially rubbed ones. No Virginia, however, is as good (to me anyways) as the Virginia flake.

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

"Unusual Pipes" No. 5

Here's another unusual pipe for you all to enjoy. I'm not sure who the creator of this pipe is. What would one name such a pipe as this? Any suggestions?

Friday, July 06, 2007

"Unusual Pipes" No. 4

I'm not sure what to call this particular pipe. I'm inclined to think of a canoe or a slipper but it really is just...unusual!

I like the strips of smooth briar against the dark rusticated wood. This must have taken a very long time to create.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Unusual Pipes" No. 3

This is a Viprati pipe and it has one of the finest displays of straight grain that I've ever seen. This is the "pipe side" of the piece. You can see the awesome grain pattern on the bowl walls and the silver extention. There is a thin layer of briar spread over the back of the pipe shape that acts like a canvas for the celebration of the grain on the other side which is here:

Is that a beautiful sight or what? It just makes me want to burst into song..."Amazing sweet the lines....."

The Ultimate Cross-Grain

I did not feel that this particular pipe fell into the "Unusual" category but is more of an "Ultimate". This pipe was made by Luigi Viprati and it is a huge piece with the finest cross-grain I have ever seen. Luigi really shows the grain patterns well by putting the straight grain on the rim of the bowl and the walls all superior birds-eye. I am not sure, but the stem looks like it may be made of genuine Amber. The pipe is spruced up even more by the implementation of a silver extention.

I hope you enjoy this magnificent specimen of briar.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Unusual Pipes No. 2"

Being the Fourth of July, I thought I would stick with the theme and present this pipe for the "Unusual Pipes" feature. I am not sure who made this pipe but the only visible nomenclature is "USA". This would be a perfect pipe to be smoking today while watching some fireworks or at a BBQ.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Unusual Pipes" No. 1

Welcome to a new feature I would like to present here called "Unusual Pipes". I want to share photos of pipes that are prime examples of thinking outside the box. So without further ado, here is our first one!

This is called a "Liberty Bell" pipe and it was made to celebrate the American Bicentennial back in 1976. I'm not sure who exactly made this pipe, but it is certainly unique!

New Pipe Information Resource

A friend of mine recently started a great new site for compiling vast information on pipes, tobacco and the hobby of pipesmoking. Check out The Pipe Filter!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Acquisition for 06/28/2007 Part 2

Wow! Two new pipes in one day! This one is an exquisite piece handmade by Italian master Luigi Viprati. This pipe has a natural finish with some beautiful grain, a horn shank band, silver shank extention, a virgin bowl and an elegant white stem. What a truly immaculate piece of art to be added to the collection!

New Acquisition for 06/28/2007

Another Boswell is added to the family with this gorgeous custom freehand! Handmade acrylic stem, natural plateaux rim and some nice grain are featured on this big beauty!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New Acquisition for 06/17/2007

I saw this Wessex bent billiard in the display case at the local JR Cigar and had to have it. I have two other Wessex Cumberland pipes and they are great smokers. I love the shape on this one.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Of Mixture and Bliss

When I was younger and living in a big city I used to love sitting in a living room window, sipping fresh imported coffee, smoking some Mac Baren Mixture, listening to jazz and looking out at a gorgeous sunny day. It was my definition of pure bliss. My favorite Mixture pipe has always been a medium-sized Winslow Crown 300 freehand. It has always provided a perfect smoke and could bring out the best flavors that Mixture has to offer. It felt perfect in my hand and was pleasing to my eye.

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

New Acquisition for 05/29/07

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

New Acquisition for 05/08/2007

This is a gorgeous "Bridge" pipe hand-crafted by my favorite pipemaker JM Boswell. This pipe has near-perfect grain and a beautiful hand-cut cumberland stem.

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

New Acquisition for 04/29/2007

I just ordered this new Savinelli Virginia series pipe in Shape 703KS (The "KS" stands for "King Size" as it is a larger sized version of the standard shape).

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

New Acqusition for 4/22/2007

This is a custom author by master craftsman JM Boswell. The base is covered in near-perfect birdseye as it transforms to running lines of straight grain all around the bowl.

The dimensions... Height of Pipe 1-3/4 Diameter of bowl top - 1-3/4" Diameter of tobacco Chamber - 7/8 " Length is 6" Weight 2-1/2 oz

Monday, April 09, 2007

Tobacco Review: Solani Aged Burley Flake

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

Blends of the Undead

I was working on some writing this evening and the subject matter was zombies. It got me to thinking "What blends would a zombie smoke?" I came up with a few blend names that I could see being smoked by some of the Undead.

"Dead Virginia"

"Buried Burley"

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Old Zombie"

"Cemetery Wynd"

"Funeral Flake"

"Brains & Burley"

"Potters Field & Scream"


"Decay o' Flesh Flake"

"Cajun Coffin"

"Haddo's Death"

and the all-time zombie favorite: "Scary Cherry"

Have one you'd like to share? Leave a comment!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Nutty Buddy: Burley

Ah, the delightful Burley leaf!

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 can compliment almost anything it is used 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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Most Unusual Pipe

Recently I came upon this pipe on a site called Neat Pipes. This is a Radice creation that has two large bowls and one very large stem. One can just imagine the many various ways that this pipe would be able to be smoked. One could smoke one bowl then start another one immediately afterwards, both bowls could be smoked at once with two different blends providing all sorts of variables for experimentation purposes. More than likely, this pipe will end up in the collection of someone who will keep it as something to look at and perhaps sell at some later time. Personally, I would like to see the double-bowl concept deeply researched and deployed into the mainstream pipe culture. We could be on the verge of a whole new era in smoking!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chat with us!

The alt.smokers.pipes newsgroup, as well as many other pipe smoking forums, can be a great place to chat with fellow pipe smokers. One of my favorite places to chat is the A.S.P. channel on IRC. Join me and the regular chatters for fun, humor, information and talk. Share your pipe knowledge or get some of those big pipe questions answered! If you ever get on the Undernet, join channel #alt.smokers.pipes and be a part of the group.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Little Experiment: Air Pocket Packing

Recently I read an article in Pipes and Tobacco Magazine regarding a packing method called the "Air Pocket" method which was invented by pipe industry icon Fred Hanna. This method involves pushing a large bunch of tobacco into the pipe and twisting it in without having any tobacco lying at the bottom of the bowl. It sounds easy enough, so I thought I would try an experiment in just how much better this method actually is. I started with a brand new pipe and a ribbon-cut blend of tobacco. I smoked a bowl using the standard three-level method then the next day I would smoke it using the new Air-Pocket method. What I noticed was that my smokes using the AP method lasted longer, seemed to have more flavor and required less tamping. The biggest difference I noticed was that the burn was much cooler. There was never a bite in a bowl packed with the AP but the bowls with the three-level could bite quite easily. So far I have not tried using the AP on different cut blends like flakes, cubes, etc. but when I do I will be sure to report those findings here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

New Acquisition for 03/09/2007

This is my newest acquisition: a brand new Ardor Urano sandblasted billiard. The very first time I saw this pipe I knew I had to have it. It is a pipe of large size...the tobacco chamber is 7/8"x7/8", the depth is 2" and the pipe length is 6.5". The weight of this pipe is 67 grams. I particularly love the blue and white swirled acrylic stem and the sterling silver band. Special thanks to The Briar Pipe for their top-notch service!