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!

Friday, March 02, 2007


Pipe and tobacco e-tailer site,, was apparently hacked and is currently inaccessible. The photo is a screenshot I took this evening showing what is on the site at this time.

After running a Google search on the domain, I was able to view a cached page of the site and could view back pages in real-time, however, the main page remains altered. I have sent e-mails to the site's owner and posted a notice on alt.smokers.pipes newsgroup. Anyone who has ordered from this site recently may want to check their financial information in case that data was mined by the hackers.

More on this story as it develops.