May your pipe dreams come true...

May your pipe dreams come true...

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.

The Return of 1792

The reason this is called the "return" is because about 8 years ago I had this tobacco and it made me nauseous, dizzy and I swore never to buy it ever again ......
About 2 months ago I had a little voice tell me to give it another try .....and this is the story.
1792 flake tobacco is made by my favorite tobacco company Samuel Gawith. They have been in business since 1792 and this is a mixture that has been around since then . They still use the same machines to press and cut the tobaccos and the flavorings they use are natural . This flake has tonquin flavoring which is a vanilla substitute that is illegal in the USA because it is poison. Its being smoked so they will let it by on this one . Here is their description on the process......

"This is a full strength, mellow tobacco comprising a blend of dark fired Tanzanian leaf. It starts as 7 lbs. of hand stripped leaf and goes through a steaming process prior to its being pressed. The cake, having been prepared, is wrapped in a selected leaf and packed by hand into a 12 inch square. This cake is pressed and left for a minimum of 2 hours. Then, the pressed cake is placed into a steam press where it is baked at a high heat for two to three hours. The baked cake has then taken on 1792's characteristic rich, dark color. Its hardening occurs during cooling. Once the process of cutting the flake and adding Tonquin flavoring is carried out, hand wrapping and packing finalizes 1792, making it ready for rubbing into your pipe."

That description is from Iwan Ries +Co ...

Well I must say after years of hating this one... I now love it .
As you can see in the picture it is very dark. When it is just opened, the flakes are very "wet"
and they need about 2 hours of airing out before it is ready to smoke . This is one of the hardest tobaccos to keep lit, so for a beginner this one is a nightmare. The flavor is a heavy, oily,thick smoke with a hint of chocolate. It is the headiest tobaccos I have ever had and it is best smoked at the end of the day . In one of my large bowled pipes I can keep going for almost 2 hours. The taste of chocolate goes in and out with this one which makes it a joy to smoke . It keeps you on your toes and every now and then it will surprise you with a new flavor that came from nowhere. I think it is best smoked in a larger pipe so the tobacco can ferment in you pipe longer developing a better taste.
This is my recipe for the perfect pipe ... 1792 flake rubbed in a large bowled pipe, Vivaldi station on Pandora Radio, and a glass of Tonic Water with ice.
The result.....happy clouds of the happy trees that Bob Ross painted. Remember?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ground Control for Tobaccoland !

Welcome to the world of Pipe Smoking and Fine Tobaccos

This is me in my office with my monster friends,magic tricks,books of forbidden knowledge and my favorite pipes. Welcome to a world where fantasy becomes a reality and my imagination soars to new heights.
In this office I rehearse, write, and do the busy work that keeps me busy in busy season, and busy in slow season getting ready for busy season. What a tongue twister that was !
In a later post I will show the whole office ..... its a real chamber of horrors !