Monday, April 25, 2011

Too Busy Not to Smoke a Pipe

Being in pastoral ministry it is inevitable that everything ramps up to Easter Sunday. It is a blessed time and a celebration I revel in. Any opportunity to gaze most steadily at my Savior with my brothers and sisters in the Lord is a blessing. Yet in the Church that "ramp up" includes extra devotions, services, and special plans for each service. All of this can create the sad illusion of "busyness." And so often my pipe smoking time gets squeezed out (it has also been cold, which makes it tougher to get out). However, I notice that lack of time at the pipe causes a muddled and frazzled disposition that cannot be accounted for other than by facing the reality that I require a great amount of solitude to function in my role as a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a pastor and a friend. I have been thankful to take the time, and enjoy a bit more of the generous gift of PipePastor. Some highlights:

Smooth Black and Gold Cav - This one is from Aramark. Very nice, more blacks than golds. It has a tough of that "aromatic chemical" flavor to it, but not much. The beauty of this tobacco is that it does a marvelous job of sweetening as you progress through the bowl. If you like medium cased Cavendish tobaccos this one will serve you well.

Hiland's Snowflake - If Hiland's were my local shop this tobacco would almost certainly make my regular rotation. Hiland's blenders have really mastered that "natural-aromatic" balance. This is what I appreciate about a number of the Edward's blends as well (Blackwatch, Good Companion, Branywine, etc.). G.L. Pease wrote that all tobaccos are cased to one degree or another, and a well cased aromatic shouldn't act so different from a "natural". This one passes the test. The tobacco is good, flavorful, and develops nicely throughout the bowl. The flavor is difficult to put a finger on and the tobacco is mild, but not too mild. Great smoke.

Cornell & Deil Apricot - Okay, this had everything going against it in my pipe. First, I am not a fan of fruit flavors or toppings. Second, it was my third bowl for the night. Third, even if I did like fruity flavors, I am not terribly fond of Apricot. If the previous things aren't true for your this may be worth a try. For me this one simply wasn't what I am looking for. It was also hard to keep lit, but that could be any tobacco, bowl to bowl.

Cross Eyed Cricket - Cornell and Deihl also makes this one. This was a tobacco that seemed to generate a lot of heat on as many liked and many really disliked it. I am not adamant about the "purity" aspect, so I found it fun, light and playful. I have to tell you that the person I was smoking with really noticed the "room note" as being particularly pleasant. I enjoyed this one, but I will have to do it again to decide if I am going to buy another tin.

Jack-knife Plug - (G.L. Pease). This tobacco is "Holy Crap Stop the presses!" good. Striking. and delicious. My second "plug" tobacco and it is simply everything that I look for in a tobacco. Really high quality. I don't want to say much more about it as I will probably do another post just delving into the beauty of this excellent tobacco.

I would encourage you to take some time out and read Joffre's article Juxtaposing Good Friday and Earthday as it is noteworthy:

Finally, I would encourage you to think on these lines by Robert Frost:

The Pasture
I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long. -You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long. -You come too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Double Plus Good

Not so long ago I reviewed "Black Gold" from Hiland's Cigars( It is still a beloved aromatic which offers continual satisfaction. I have to admit, because of my diet, I had to cut down and only smoke it a few times a week. (I know that really wasn't funny, but it really does taste that rich). PipePastor, however, saw fit to blow my mind again, and I am thankful. I had a hard time imagining that adding a few flakes of Virginia to an aromatic could significantly change the experience (which is the distinguishing factor between "Black Gold" and "Black Gold Plus". At least enough so that I could be bothered to buy some until I ran out of the first supply. As I smoke a bit less in the winter (because the cold weather hurts my body) that wasn't going to happen for a bit. Yet, out of his own personal supply PipePastor, ( donated an amazingly generous supply of this treasure (along with enough new baccy's to keep me in fresh reviews for well over a year). But back to the issue at hand, with many thanks for the generosity of this brother of the Briar who is first and foremost a brother in the Lord.

It defies all reason. The thing that kept Black Gold from being my every day, every moment smoke was the fact that it is uniform (necessarily so). It is velvety, smooth and delicious. Tasting of a fabulously decadent vanilla frosted brownie and then some all the way to the bottom. However, the added virginia changes the whole character of the smoke. I won't say for the better, because both really are a bit beyond regular quality measurements. However, this brings things dangerously close to having an "everyday smoke" which (if you have been following this blog, I am philosophically and experientially opposed to). In any event, this gets a whole hearted recommendation. To quote PipePastor, "Get you some!" Call Hiland's Cigars up and order some. Tell them PipePastor sent you, because he did.

The weather is warming and the pipe is calling. More to come. Tuskeegee (sp?) Airman, Jackknife plug, something tasting of Apricots, and details on a good friend's upcoming venture in the creation of a smoking lounge right here in town. good!