I had been debating a few other pipes before I bought this one. I went with the Boswell because it is a unique piece and every single one I have from them is a perfect smoker. I am looking forward to smoking this fine piece. I'll bet it gets here before that new Radice Rubino does!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The pipe is an oil-cured twin-bore "nosewarmer" in the Rubino finish. It sports an elegant handmade silver band and a virgin bowl rim. Unlike most Radice pipes, this one also has a virgin bowl...no coating! To say that I am looking forward to having this piece of art in my hands is a gross understatement.
I am not sure which blend to use in this pipe. For those of you that have Radice pipes, what would you suggest works best in these?
At the time I was not very much into Latakia blends, but the photo of the open tin looked so good that I could not resist ordering some. Those beautiful wafers of tobacco was so appealing and I could not wait to try it. When it arrived I was disappointed that it did not look anything like the picture had shown. There were no wafers, just a huge brick of jet black dirt. I did not know how to pack something like this so I was headed for disaster before I even got it out of the tin. I experienced the horror of the tobacco shooting out through the stem and into my mouth, the foul taste of the rich Latakia, etc. It was not a good experience at all for me and I gave my entire 5 tins to a friend who loved it.
Thanks to master blender Greg Pease I came to love Latakia and the fine English blends that showcase this wonderful leaf. Perhaps if I were to try Penzance today, my review would be much more favorable...but I doubt it...it still sucks!
I now find this blend to be very good. I have been smoking it almost daily and have noticed the various nuances of flavor it can provide. It can also turn nasty if not treated with the utmost respect. Old Gowrie seems to smoke best in my meerschaums where it tastes sweet and light. When packed a bit loose using the 3-level method it burns well without many relights and retains that sweetness throughout the bowl. It does increase with strength but never seems "over-the-top".
This shows me that there is a lot to be said about giving a blend at least one full tin before coming to a conclusion. Perhaps I should give a few other blends a revisit to see if I may have misjudged them.
Nonetheless, the 320EX shape is one that I am trying to collect. It seems to perform very well and the wide bowl top allows for a huge burning ember. I can easily make one of these pipes smoke for two hours, especially with a broken flake cut blend like Rattray's "Old Gowrie". They also feel comfortable in the hand and the thick walls provide a very cool smoke. The balance is just right so you can clench it without suffering from jaw fatigue.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
During my hiatus from my usual business of making music (medical reasons) I've been doing some of my writing. My most recent work is a very short piece called "Nocturne". I think many pipe smokers would enjoy it since pipes are prominent in the story. I would like to share it here in hopes that some of you may find it entertaining. My apologies to those who think it sucks...
The night is dark and cold. The wind is calm as the snow saunters towards the ground. Windows that proudly displayed bright sunshine mere hours ago now wear glistening gowns of crystal. The room is silent. The faint amber glow of the candle’s flame provides the sole source of light. Nestling back into the comfort of the leather recliner, I kick off the corduroy slippers and pull the blanket up to my chest.
Reaching for the tamper made from Black Palm wood, I gently press it around the warm bed of tobacco ash. I take a long relaxed draw from the pipe then slowly create a soft cloud of blue smoke. My eyes lazily follow the curved wisps of the tobacco’s spirit emanating from the bowl like apparitions performing a ghostly dance in a macabre celebration of their release unto the heavens. The taste of the blend is delightful to my senses. The scent of pipe and tobacco in unison tantalizes the nose and calms the soul. The briar feels warm and natural in my hand, like an old friend, enhancing the comfort of solitude. I lay back contemplating complex thoughts and exploring nocturnal dreams.
Serenity is broken as several electric lamps turn on. Looking out the window I see flashing yellow lights reflecting off the iced glass. The sounds of trucks pulling away from the utility pole in front of the house bring reality back to my inner sanctum.
I clap my hands two times and the room returns to the candlelight, and I to my nocturnal dreams.