May your pipe dreams come true...

May your pipe dreams come true...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tobacco Review: Esoterica Tobacciana's "And so to bed"

This is the blenders description:
Finest grade Virginia and Maryland type tobaccos are carefully aged and balanced with Greek Oriental leaf and top grade Cyprian Latakia, specially processed and matured.

What a hot summer!
This is the first new blend I have tried in a while so I was a bit excited to open the tin . The first thing I noticed was the oily stains on the paper cover on the inside... then the woosh of the can's whisky odor. I don't like aromatics but an occasional natural cased tobacco is fine. The hint of latakia is there but it's behind the whisky....thats all I smell. It hads a choppy ribbon cut which I love for the pure feel between the fingers and the burning quality. The ribbons are not very long so it's also a bit easier to fill a bowl. I can tell right now that this blend needs a bit of airing and aging for full effect. Time to put it to the flame and see. Yes its a bit too moist so it took a few light to get it going. I taste..... a musky whisky flavor. Not too heavy like a super english blast. This one is not going to be a night cap for me, but it might be for an aromatic smoker. It's a med weight blend that has a sweet kick in it.

Its near the end of the summer ...only one bowl of 1792 that I am saving for a special occasion. It is not available in the USA right now and I am looking for a sub. The summer was hot as hell filled with stress like no other. Very doom and gloom even though there were some great things going on. The pipe was a quiet friend to vent my problems away. I talk to myself when I smoke alone. Am I talking to my pipe?
Well a few of my pipes belong to my great grandfather and he loves to hear my 2010 anguish.
Fifteen mins in and the orientals are popping out along with the virginians. The whiskey has stepped aside and let the old timers voice there opinion. Maybe its my great grand father's voice. Thank you Donato! Now its a smoke ! I give it a 7 1/2

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tobacco Review: Iwan Rie's Proper English

I called up Iwan Rie's ....the best pipe tobacco store I have never been to, and was in need of my English blend of the the last 13 years....Sam Gawith's Skiff Mixture. Sold out ...and didn't know when they could get it . The guy on the phone recommended I try one of their house blends called "Proper English". Nice name,right up my alley, but I am always a bit nervous with house blends...I don't know I brand name queen ? i said what the heck and I ordered 8oz. of it so I could give it a few weeks of smoking it . Some blends grow with you over time and I wanted to give this one a fair shake. I also ordered a Macbarren navy blend that I used to smoke a long time ago. This is what I got out of my first day smoking "Proper English"

The cut is a thin and fine choppy ribbon cut. Not the long Dunhill ribbon cuts from 965 . A bit dry I humidified it for a few hours to give it a bit of spring. The description says "Old Belt Virginians,Orientals and a Heavy Portion of Latakia". I see a lot of Latakia but smoking it it seems very mello on the Lat. It is not as heavy a Samuel Gawith's Commonwealth. I think this one is a nod to Dunhill's classic 965 . Boy do I miss that one ... but this could be a nice substitute. I do like my heavy Lat blends but the nice thing about the ones that go easy on the Latakia is that the other flavors will take over and then when the Latakia pops up its a nice surprise. This one is that blend . The base is virginian....the main attraction is the orientals and the sideshow is the Latakia. it burns even and the surprise for me is every now and then I get a sweet thing happening. Not sure why but I like it . Let me give it a week I will know if this one's for me. So far so good ! The pipe in the picture is my Don Carlos freehand sandblast.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pipe Review 1927 Dunhill Sandblast Shell and a Nording Freehand

The first review is for the Straight Pipe you see above.
The story of where I got this pipe is the story of how I got into the world of pipeology. At age 12 I discovered my dad's pipe stash ,which was a few Carey "magic inch" pipes and a bag of dried out "something". At age 13 I had filled a pipe ,without his knowledge and smoked the dry and tasteless tobacco. Jump ahead 3 years .....I was at my grandparents house and in an old drawer I see 2 old and dirty pipes . I show them to my grandfather and he tells me they were his dads. He gave them to me and I took them home and bought some drugstore tobacco and gave one a test run . It was an amazing smoke . Tasty, nice room odor and had a lot of history behind it ...most of which I didn't know about yet .

A year later I was in what I call the greatest tobacco shop ever.."The Tobacco Tavern" in State College Pa. On of the guys in the shop saw one of my Great Granddads' pipes...and he said "where in the world did you get that ?" I told him the story and I have been smoking this pipe since. I didn't know that the pipe was made by one of the most prestigious pipe makers in the world and used aged brier wood that is 200 years old. I only smoke english blends and flakes that have Latakia in them in this pipe. I must say I am not a fan of straight pipes but this is truly one of the best smoking devices I own . The Best . The sandblast finish is the finest in the world. I have had the pipe professionally cleaned a few times but now I know how to do it myself.

Thanks Donato Lardieri for have good taste in pipes ...I will pass this one down to my son . He already told me he hates smoking but loves pipes and will display this one in his room when he grows up . His Great Great Grandfather would never believe it's still being cherished ....boy did his money get well spent !

The other pipe in the picture above is a Nording Handmade Freehand.
I bought this one in 2000 and I can't remember where.
The bowl is huge and on a good night I can smoke it for almost 2 hours.
It originally had an acrylic base that I removed ... now its in my top 5 best smoking pipes list .
The sandblast/smooth finish is a real work of art and the long stem gives it a cool smoke. This is my 1792 flake pipe ......I only smoke that blend in this one . Read below about that blend and you will see why.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review...Cornell+Diehl's Interlude

Pictured above is a can of Interlude and my #17 Nording Horn.

Well... this was a blend that was recommended to me by someone at Iwan Ries because of its strength. This is the manufactures description...
Deep Red Virginia kissed with a touch of honey to develop the natural sweetness of the leaf then sliced into flakes.

Well the can's whiff has the hint of honey ...and the red Virginian's tartness is present. It comes in a broken flake form and is a bit dry. I must say the first light and the first quarter of the bowl had the most sour and unpleasant taste ... I was mortified ...and then the sweetness kicked in . The smoke was never very strong and had a 2 note quality. Half way down the smoke was very pleasing . This smoking experience was like a Peyote trip with out the vomiting ! I was never a fan of the Red Virginians ....The dark brown ones were more my style guess the honey helps bring out the good qualities of the red V's but it takes awhile to work. I don't know if I will buy this one again ,there are too many good blends and flakes that can keep me busy and thousands of new ones to try. I must say the picture on the can is quite nice.It has a vintage beach scene that reminds me of "Chariots of Fire" I will be saving this can for the Peyote memory and the 2 trick pony.

3 stars

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Pipe Review ...Stanwell Featherweight 224

Well getting a new pipe is a big deal for me because its like making a new friend ,a friend that will be with you for the rest of your life. In this case its the first pipe I ever bought online just by looking at a picture.(mail order bride)...thats what I was thinking when I did it . The pipe is a medium to low priced pipe from Stanwell ...and my first from this very reputable company. This is a sandblasted horn shaped pipe and I fell in love just by looking at the picture.

When it came, I held the Stanwell box in my hand and thought there a pipe in here... no weight ... then I remembered by looking on the box side that it is indeed a "featherweight". I opened it up and removed the green cloth bag ...pulled it out ...... wow this is a small pipe !
I was a bit saddened by its size but quickly became optimistic because I did want a "coffee break pipe".... meaning very small. But this was not the coffee break pipe I wanted..oh well.The next thing I noticed was the fine sandblast. Dark, with a smooth birds eye rim...beautiful. This is not the sandblast of a Dunhill . I have one and it is a true marvel how they sandblast . Most of it comes from the 200 year old Brier Dunhill uses. The Stanwell sandblast is still very nice. The inside of the bowl is treated with the black stuff to ease break in time. Most people hate the stuff, but I don't mind it . I just use a Latakia blend to break in my pipes. In this pipe I used Sam Gawith's Commonwealth ...50% Latakia ...that should do the trick masking the sour new pipe taste.

I gave it the traditional honey smear ,packed a half bowl ...and smoked away. A week later's almost broken in . The tiny bowl last a long time because it is a bit deep and it is an excellent walking pipe because it is so light. It produced a sweet smoke almost right away...only getting a bit sour at the end. Perfect for NYC when I don't have a lot of time walking between subway stations or a quick smoke after performing one of my shows. Highly recommended !

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Review...Cornell+Diehl's Blockade Runner

Well I am not a fan of aromatic tobacco ...but I do like ones that use natural casings like honey,rum and natural oils . Read the description of this one.....

"A true Navy Cavendish crumble cake made with hand stoved red Virginia and golden Virginia and soaked in a premium rum for seven days, then lightly stoved again, pressed and cut. The seven days are the time it took our seagoing forefathers to sail back to New England from the Islands with the tobacco in their casks soaked with rum. The ship on the label is the Advance, the South's most successful blockade runner."

When you open the tin you will see a large piece of cake that smells wonderful. Rum is the first thing I smelled and then the Virginian comes underneath . The cake "crumbles" easily in to a shag looking consistency that is easy to fill a bowl. Its not too moist or dry and expands a lot when the flame hits the tobacco. Easy to light ...and then the tastes hits you . It actually tastes like the scent from the can which is rare with most aromatics...I don't consider this one a real aromatic .I smoked it in my old very broken in Peterson Sherlock Holmes pipe (picture above). I predicted that the rum flavor would die down and then the Virginian's would take over ...I was wrong . The rum stays the whole way though. Near the middle of the bowl the Virginia subtle sweetness comes through with flying colors. It stays lit and burns slow.

What a treat to find this blend on Iwan Ries website. I was looking for something new to try and this one jumped out at me . This cake will be in my 3 times a week smoking roster ...I give it 4 stars !

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My "decompression chamber"... or where smoke.

We have all had this happen....

You are walking down the street and you see an old man puffing away on his pipe and after you pass him you smell the wonderful scent of smoke that smells like a dessert.
Well thats not what happens when you pass me on the street smoking my pipe. Oh ,people see me coming , and they think how wonderful to see something from the old world... waiting to catch a whiff of my pipe brew.....and then it hits them . The odor of burned leather, overdone steak, camel dung tossed on a fire, or the best I have heard ... scented car exhaust. The stuff I smoke tastes like heaven but smells like least to everyone but me. I am a lover of latakia blends and flakes and almost everything I smoke has Virginian tobacco in it . Perique is also a nice change of pace from time to time . So where do I smoke at home my decompression chamber.
You know the little room when you open the front door in a home in Queens NYC? Five feet by four feet ...very small. The place where you keep a snow shovel and a few umbrellas...thats where it is. I transform it nightly into a mini den of delight . Folding lounge chair,portable heater that reeks of old smoke, a lit candle, my computer with music playing , and a glass of either tonic water or a fine N/A beer ....yes they make good ones ...not O'douls.
It is there where I wind down the day and clear my head from the insanity of freelance work and raising children. I sometimes chat on the phone with an old friend or listen to vintage radio dramas. "Lights Out","Jack Benny","The Witch's Tale" and of course "Sherlock Holmes" with Basil Rathbone.

I will never post a picture of the room ....its very unattractive. In my mind the walls are covered with African safari trophies,hand painted portraits of my family and my ancestors, and a huge bear rug under my red velvet arm chair. One of these days I will get that bear in upstate New York and make that fantasy a reality.