Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks, Ma!

My son has the best "thanks" in the world (in my humble opinion). He looks up and beams at me and fires off a quick "den-kyoo" (with the accent on the "den"). As he is one year old this is adorable. My mother, and possible the only one who reads this blog, gave me some fun money and this is one of the things I bought (I also bought another Greek New Testament, as my old one is getting ragged). This is the first Mac Baren tobacco I have ever had. It was reviewed well, and I still am not sure what makes something a "navy flake" but I believe it means that it is pressed with molasses, honey or some other natural sweetener. Whatever the case, it's good!

The flakes themselves are dryer than some others that I have had (perhaps it's the tin that I got), however they pack and smoke wonderfully. A fold, a fold and I'm off to singing with the Village People ("in the Navy..." but smoking this tobacco doesn't seem to get me a tan at all!). I often wonder about the amazing power of the naming of tobacco. Given the fact that our government restricts tobacco advertisement so heavily (a policy I respectfully disagree with) a great deal of the selling power is wrapped up in the name.

Pipe smokers are a romantic sort (or at least I am) and are really being sold an experience, rather than just some dried leaves that come from different parts of the world. I often find myself rolling the name over in my mind as I enjoy a bowl of tobacco. Even one that I have had quite often. When I smoke Frog Morton I drift hazily back and forth between a smoke in the swamp with the dignified character on the front, and the Middle Earth Shire village for which tobacco was named. And yes, "The Frog" does a wonderful version of "the rainbow connection."

Smoking Rattray's Black Mallory (usually from my clay pipes) I find myself being gently carried into a proper English pub to enjoy the Virginia and Latakia that permeates the air. The sweet vanillas of Edward's Black Watch, take me back to many nights of friendship and Bible studies with by brothers in Denver. The wonderful flavors of C&D's Bayou AM and Bayou PM send me thinking of a peaceful repose on a Louisiana Dock after a full dinner of pine needle pie and sweetened gator stew. And I do tend to enjoy them at their recommended times.

Would I come up with any of the associations if I was given an unlabled baggie of tobacco? Certainly not. But I can be honest: sell me a dream, a vision, a fantasy. Sell me a picture that I can see with my tongue, a smell that will take me somewhere and show me something new...I'm buying. Vulnerable to advertising: yes. But I'm still buying!

Navy Flake is delicous, sweet and fun. Long, slow, cool burning and sweet. Such a nice delicate sweetness that it demands to be breathed out the nose as often as it can be. Pleasant and to the point. It isn't something that I would want to smoke inattentively, there would be too much to miss, and I think the Nicotine level would catch me by surprise if I wasn't careful. Great for a long night's smoke, one flake takes me more than an hour and a half to get through, if I smoke continuously. 3.5 oz of that is going to go quite some ways. I'm excited! (music fade out... "in the Navy...")

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cigar Tobacco?

On the recommendation of another pipe smoker I decided to try Billy Budd by Cornell and Deihl. This is described by C&D's as: "A heavy Latakia blend with rough-cut burly,bright Virginia flake and a good amount of rough-cut cigar leaf. Created for our late friend Sailorman Jack." I enjoyed this blend great deal. At first, the idea of a cigar leaf in a pipe tobacco blend didn't really appeal to me. I'm not really enamored with cigars in any way, however, this was so highly recommended that I had to give it a shot.

I love the latakia, I love the cool feeling that this provides in the tongue. This tobacco smokes cool and is enjoyably. It is a truly unique tobacco. I don't imagine that this would ever become one of my mainstay tobaccos, but I do enjoy it every time I smoke it. The cigar leaf does come through in force, and even seems to eclipse the pipe tobacco in it, but there is a sense of a continued conversation throughout the bowl. It's different, and fun, not too exciting to be an every day smoke.

I don't imagine that I will be a serious cigar smoker any time soon, but this is a nice experience. I will surely order this tobacco again!