The old ones cry out from the dark, moss mottled labyrinth within me. I sit, huddled in my office waiting for it to find my scent. I hear it sliding down the hallway now, mandibles chittering, tentacles search every crevice, every nook, as it sniffs for my natural light.
Only my pipe is with me to comfort me in my time of distress. My faithful friend in hand.
I pull out my tobacco pouch and fumble with it in the darkness. I have but one candle left, and it is burning fast and dim. I am having my last smoke as I write this warning. They are watching, they are seeking, but they can’t take my pleasures from me.
I won’t let them.
A breeze slides under a nearby door as the satiny ribbons of Virginia, Black Cavendish, Oriental, and Perique tobaccos curl around my fingers. I caress them. They respond and release their scent which wafts up from my old leather tobacco bag. It smells of aged earth, fresh mud with hints of spicy peppers, a slice of fermented pear and a forgotten glass of wine. Under this is a barndoor opening to reveal something else almost unknown. Rain-caked hay stirs on the floor of this magnificent odor, moved by the phalanges of a complacent breeze. I want to step in.
I carefully tip the candle over my pipe with a shaking hand and give the false light. And I immediately taste the tang of the condiment tobaccos. Tart like candy. It makes the mouth water. The Katerini is speaking to me in an ancient tongue. They tell forgotten tales of earth-laden huts in the Orient, the perique petrified citrus and the honey-sweet Virginia tobaccos of an old continent.
I tamp the stirred ash at the top of my pipe with my fingertip blindly and then give it the true light. Going more in-depth I taste a peppery essence on the tip of my tongue. Then a hint of dark fruits smashed to reveal a burst of burgundy flavor. Bitter greens cloy the back of my tongue. A smoldering fire of leaves doused with a dark stout. There are many layers here and only so much time to seek through them.
The smoke fills the room with charred vanilla and time; it’s the aroma of the burning pages of an old book. Also, there’s something pungent and piquant about the way it makes the room smell. It reminds me of a professor I once knew who became obsessed with the nature of the bottomless epoch and set about eating a clock one piece at a time. It smells of a dangerous kind of knowledge. Something not entirely pleasant but also enticing is pulsing in it.
It was on an old boat that I smelled something similar. I was granted access to an unexplored region of the African Jungle and part of my journey to the dark continent was spent sitting cross-legged on a skiff allowing passage of rare spices from the Orient. Those spices mixed with the dew of the rolling sea and the wooden body of the ship itself remind me of this smoke. That was the time I first heard the slimy things moving. They slipped about within an old, unmarked crate that no one wanted to go near.
I should have known better than to take the graven image that fell from a dark hole chipped in the wood of that crate. Little did I know it had been whittled away from the inside.
The time has come. The bowl has finished and now so will I. It has been a pleasure.
Other Tobacco Notes:
It was an enjoyable smoke to me, though I think the addition of some of the more abstruse condimental tobaccos may throw some people for a loop. Order with caution. This will not be for everyone. I just happen to be an adventurous smoker who would enjoy the tart notes with the abundant earthy notes playing together.
Pipe Used: Peterson System Standard 307 with P-Lip
Age When Smoked: Ancient… Just kidding. It was fresh from the tin.
Score: 4/4 Stars. It will stir something unknown within you. Beware!
|Brand||Cornell & Diehl|
|Manufactured By||Cornell & Diehl|
|Blend Type||Virginia Based|
|Contents||Black Cavendish, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia|