Monday, January 31, 2011

Too cold to smoke...

I freely admit that I have been a bit pouty the last few days. I have young children and whenever they are awake I want to be with them. If then can come out while I puff merrily on my pipe then all is well and right with the universe. However, if it is too cold to bring them out into the frigid air then I cannot, in good conscience make them miserable to suit my desire to puff away, even at the finest tobacco. Additionally, if it is cold during the day, it is yet colder once the kids have gone to bed. This means that I am unable to enjoy my pipe nearly so much (even if I can get out to smoke it). Ah well, one more reason to be thankful for the spring and summer months.

I haven't been posting nearly as much here as I have been taking up much of my free time with my other project "Clandestine Pipe" on YouTube. ( Be that as it may, I have been wanting to write this message for a while. A new pipe came into my hands (actually several new pipes came into my hands in the last two months). But the one I wish to focus on today is a Mauro Armellini Church Warden pipe. It is my first church warden and I simply adore it. Here is a picture of it:
I love the bend as well as the "rodesian" shape to the bowl. It is the perfect sitting and sipping pipe. As much as the last few days have been too cold, we have had something of a reprieve from winter in the last few weeks, sometimes being to sit out and smoke in little more than a jeans and a light jacket. This bowl has been a steady companion, and fits the evening smoke perfectly. I have filled it most commonly with Dunhill's Nightcap, and have enjoyed it every single time. I have yet to write my article on Early Morning Pipe, but that will just have to wait, I still don't feel like I have come to a full enough understanding of EMP to be able to write on it coherently.

In any event this Churchwarden has already been a faithful companion on more than a few evenings of sitting and puffing and has made for great conversation amongst my brothers of the briar whom I smoke with most often here. So, with great thanksgiving I enjoy this pipe and the bag of Rivendale that accompanied it. Edward's Pipe and Tobacco in Denver wins yet another point. They always treat me well, and Bryan always remembers my name, but even better they always treat my mother and wife well when they go in to purchase something for me. It may sound a bit silly, but it means a great deal to me that they always are kind, gracious and respectful when helping the loving women in my life find "just the right pipe" for me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Famous Pipe Smokers and their Tobacco

I received a beautiful birthday present of a church warden pipe (thanks Ma!) which I will feature in a future notice, but this post is inspired by my mother in a different way. She is apart of a series of postings dedicated to Kenneth Graham's master work The Wind in the Willows ( this is a wonderful book that weighs very heavily into what I view the perfect life to be like. She asked me if anyone smoked a pipe in that book. If memory serves, the Rat does. Even if he doesn't ever do it in the book (which I believe he does); he ever will in my mind. This got my mind rolling around the other famous pipe smokers who never told us. So I thought I would expose them, as well as the tobaccos that they smoke:

The Rat from wind in the willows smokes stoved red virginias, and some Frog Morton for a treat. Usually from his clay pipe (living near the river is a bit humid for briar) and when he is in the mood for a good sit from a larger calabash.

Pooh smokes mostly from a corn cob pipe, but occasionally pulls out an old rusticated pipe with an 1/8th bend in the stem. He smokes honey cavendish, of course.

Brave old Captain Nemo is fond of smoking Burley based blends in a straight billiard shaped pipe.

Chuck Norris, never to be outdone, holds the tobacco in his bare hand. Lights it with his burning rage, enjoys it in such a way as to not influence children to smoke, while deriving more pleasure from it than most mortals are capable of experiencing. He then delivers the only truly objective tobacco review that is available to humanity and posts it on using a different handle each time (so there is still some challenge for the rest of us).

Who else smokes a pipe and we don't know it? What do they smoke?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Next Step

Could this be what beautiful tastes like? I never would have known! It is no secret that Dunhill tobaccos have returned. The return of Dunhill tobaccos has been much celebrated by the internet pipe smoking community, and with good reason. I am told by word of mouth type sources that Dunhill used to outsell every other brand of tinned tobacco available. This was the experience of one Tobacconists down in Denver, anyhow. I, however, took Dunhill tobaccos for granted, never trying one before they left us. No one told me how good they were, or sang their sweet songs until they were already quite gone. I chanced upon a tin of London Mixture some months ago and was impressed to no end. But, as those closest to me will tell you, I am easily impressed.

I have often wondered if it is a bad thing to be easily impressed. I have to admit I am a bit overawed by this amazing world, by the amazing and wonderful people in it. It seems like there is no charge for being amazed with life. I'm not sure what people gain out of being difficult and ornery, but that's not my problem here! Perhaps I just watched Pollyanna too many times as a child, but if you meet me, you can make a wild guess that I like you, and am interested in what you are going to say next. Call it a character flaw; I'm not changing.

But back to the tobacco. So I finally got my hands on a tin of Nightcap and a tin of Early Morning Pipe. I just got it today, so this is a "first impression" review. I smoked the Nightcap, because it is night. I am very strict about observing the tobacconists wishes of when he or she thought that said tobacco was to be enjoyed.

I didn't expect much. People often romanticize anything once they can't get it anymore. It is so safe to say, "That was the best tobacco ever!" Once you can't get it anymore. I think it also lends fodder to the whiny negative hearts who always long to look back and find the best things in memory and the worst up ahead. I personally believe the best tobaccos are yet to be made, but enough religious talk!

This tobacco is delicious. It is smooth, yet full bodied, the blend virginias and latakia is perfect, beautiful, wonderful. The tin aroma smells very similar to London Mixture. This is a query that I have had for some time. It seems that tobacconists manage to maintain a thread of consistency through wildly different blend. C&D's tobaccos all have a strange (but lovely) Cornell and Deihl aroma. MacClelland's tobaccos are famous for having a vinegar, or ketchup aroma when the tin is first popped. If you were to hold a pouch of fresh Prince Albert under my nose and then one of Carter Hall, I would never be able to tell the difference (both Middleton tobacco). However, it may just be the result of some similarity in the blends, in this case.

This tobacco smokes extraordinarily well. Truly a delight, cool and smooth, and it only required one relight (this is usually a result of a tobacco that I know well, but in this case it smoked easy). The bowl (standard size) that I smoked in took around an hour plus to smoke, and there was still some noticeable doddle after all that. (I had to go in, as my toes were cold). In any event, I would invite you to try it, if English blends are your speed. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I look forward to enjoying Early Morning Pipe tomorrow at 5:30 am - SHARP.

My prediction: I predict that those of us who never tried it before will say: "WOW! This was great, but I will continue to smoke my other tobaccos as well!" and those who enjoyed these tobaccos before will begin soon to pine for "old" Dunhill and to talk about how they were before. This will leave everyone wondering if they aren't really after the feeling that they had those years ago, rather than the tobacco...