Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am about half way through my first tin of Mississippi Mud and have enjoyed it a great diehl so far. I have been on an adventure to understand and enjoy perique more (or at least be able to identify it). I get conflicting definitions of what perique does in a blend from different sources. This seems to be the case with a number of pipe tobacco things leading me to conclude that everyone has a different mouth, a different way of smoking, and a different reason for smoking. I am led to believe that there is a fair amount of perique in this blend (it is named as the first condimental on the tin). I have had a bayou bulk blend from Edwards that claims to be heavy on perique and it's the same taste. Spicy, spicy!
I love the zip that this tobacco has. It's not overly punchy, and it doesn't ruin my mouth for later. I don't really taste the latakia...I'm sure it is there, I just seem to hone in on that perique taste. I can't really say what the room note is because I smoke outside, that doesn't mean that anyone else agrees on it though! One reviewer smelled someone else smoking it and fell so much in love with it that he went out and bought a larger can to make sure he could perfume his house with it before company came over (note to self, don't ever do this), another reviewer claimed that the best point of comparison to the smell of this tobacco is that it most resembles the smell of someone extinguishing a wood fire with their mornings outlet of fluids. I personally can never tell if something smells good or bad as I love the smell of pipe tobacco in almost every case. My wife however only knows one tobacco by name - this one. I can smoke this on the way to my destination in the morning, and my wife will be able to tell that I had smoked Mississippi Mud when I return home that night. Anything that has that distinct a smell must be good. Same rules apply to dairy, strike that, different rules for milk.
All said and done, I love this tobacco, it has a flavor that keeps me wanting more of it, I finish most every bowl I start because it's just so interesting (whereas with less interesting tobaccos I may just get cold and go inside, finishing the bowl in the morning). Don't be scared by the look of it (it does look very much like mud). The taste is great. I have to admit, I would love to be a tobacco namer (is that a job?). C&D seems to have the most fun in naming their blends and designing their tins. Even still, it seems like they named most of them after watching too many Tex Avery cartoons (I'm looking at you Bow-Legged Bear!). It doesn't make them any worse for the smoking, though!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Special Balkan

Isn't Bing Crosby the greatest? I don't know much about his personal life. But I love the way he makes a pipe look so good. The way his voice sounds. The way he embodies that dignified, American, fatherly type of personality. I love the roles he chose in movies and I love the way that he played them. The banter between he and Bob Hope, the Andrews Sisters and Louis Armstrong is just so light, fun and wholesome. For some reason I constantly find myself looking to old Bing as an image of something good and real. It's one of the beautiful images associated with pipes that is burned into my brain (along with Bilbo, Gandalf, Sherlock, and a few others).
Tonight I closed off another beautiful day with a bowl of Edward's Special Balkan. It is just a beautiful blend of Latakia and some other oriental tobaccos that has a spicy yet soft full flavor. One reviewer that I read claimed that this tobacco made them feel like they had just finished Thanksgiving dinner. That's an image that comes back to me every time I smoke this tobacco (I buy it in great quantities). And I know exactly what this fellow was talking about. It is a rich experience, and it makes one feel full and satisfied.
I'll be the first to confess that I'm not terribly discriminating. The list of tobaccos that I enjoy is (at this point at least) much longer than the list of tobaccos that I haven't liked. I guess the experience of smoking a pipe is too nice not to enjoy. As I sit back and enjoy a pipe I'm always in good company. I have a number of good smoking brothers (brothers in the Lord). And when I am alone I find some of my best times of prayer and reflection come while enjoying a pipe. I suppose that is why it is difficult for me to have a bad experience. The time alone is as coveted as the time with friends. The blessing of having something that causes me to be endlessly thankful (though it may only be a small thing) reminds me of all of the really big things that I am endlessly thankful for. And I'm thankful for you, dear reader, and I hope you have a bowl of full and satisfying to tobacco lined up in the near future that draws you towards thankfulness as well. Or, if not tobacco, some other small pleasure that does the same thing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

First Time's the Charm!

Well, here it is! This is the first home made, hand made, corn cob pipe that I have ever made. I was going to try to make one out of wood, but I heard that there are great risks involved in trying to smoke from the wrong kind of wood. Corn is safe. I found out also that you need a fat cob to really pull it off properly because this one only holds a narrow shaft of tobacco and that limits effectiveness for anything but my goal of having made a pipe myself and enjoying it for what it is! Next time we will be able to work wit a large cob and hopefully have a large bowl. Nevertheless, this one does work and is very rustic. I dehydrated the cob in a food dehydrator overnight and carved it out with a pocket knife and a drill. I glued the stem into the bowl and stole a vinyl mouthpiece from another Missouri Meerschaum cob pipe that I have had for a couple of year. Great stuff. I'm only two smokes in, but I enjoy it for the uniqueness, and right off the bat there was nothing but a special sweetness attached, though a whole bowl is done is less than a quarter of an hour.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sometimes you wanna go...

This probably isn't the experience of every smoker, and couldn't possibly be in every town. There are two main tobacco shops (that I am aware of) around the Denver area. One is Edward's tobacco, the other we shall affectionately call "brand x." I won't write about "brand x" because I don't have anything particularly good to say about it, except that there is one nice bulk tobacco that they sell that seems to be comparable to "Drury Lane" at Edwards. This being said, I think Edwards is one of my favorite things about smoking a pipe. Perhaps not in my top five but it's pretty high in the top 10.
I dropped by Edwards the day I turned 18, and they got me started. They are helpful and kind. This, however, is the cool thing. The owner and the two fellas (and one lady) that work there remember nearly every name...including mine. You can come in about any time of day, light up a pipe and enjoy some good conversation with any number of people. Go in at the right time and you'll hear old vets talking about Vietnam and WWII (Yes, there are some older smokers there...still alive! Nobody ever told them the government lies that smoking kills, so they will keep smoking and living until someone fills them in!) Other times about politics, other times sports. It isn't that women aren't allowed here, but I don't know how many women are really anxious to get in anyway.
My wife has gone to Edwards twice without me to buy pipes (one for an anniversary and once for father's day). Each time they were helpful and respectful, though she didn't like the smell of all the smoke. Yet, it's a safe place for men. Jokes that wouldn't pass in mixed company come out a bit more freely. The tobacco is there, but it's as much an excuse as anything. Menfolk don't want to be caught around female safe-houses. The salon, the department store, the stitch and bitch meeting. Yet, for some reason men aren't allowed the same privacy. Edwards goes a long way to restore that. They will put a free bowl of tobacco in your pipe and will tolerate most anyone sitting around and listening to the conversation (I know this because they tolerate me). What more could you ask for out of a tobacco shop?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Totally into that!

I think I just got it. There are many who get into pipe smoking for the beautiful variety and fun of collecting and restoring pipes. I can understand this, but it really isn't me. I had always thought that I was cared more about the tobacco and the practice of smoking than the pipes themselves. This is probably still true.
Then I ran into this article online ( and I gotta say it scratched me right where I itched. This has always been it! I don't think anything I would make would last very long, but I imagine I wouldn't mind making another one. Finding a cherry tree I'm not so convinced I can do though I will probably obsess about this until it happens. Burn it out, make another one. Then eventually go back to my standard pipes. I just have to admit. This is the kind of pipe collecting I could really come to enjoy. I will have to find out how they smoke before coming to any final decisions but the idea is pretty firm and since I don't usually smoke a bowl to hot I imagine that I could make a bowl like this last a while. for thought.
This reveals something to me. The creative person that I am would rather have something ugly that I made, eat something disgusting that I cooked, smoke something wretched that I drilled out myself than enjoy the work of a better artist. I have no excuse for this. I imagine hat this is strange? Perhaps. I don't think it's megalomania, because I don't imagine my creations to be in anyway as good as those who have acquired a level of skill and artistry that surpasses any I will every reach. I would just rather be involved in the process. I am available to discuss the many reasons why I may feel this way, but I don't really feel like I want to address this issue with a view to changing it. Go figure.