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.