The good pirate Alender Calam laughed to himself as he walked to the binnacle, smiling around his pipe. The last month had been kind to him. He was rich with a dead man’s treasures and now he was on his way to see a very close friend he hadn’t seen in years!
He spun a peculiar coin between his fingers. Slightly warm to the touch, tit had a hole cut through the center. He held the coin to his eye and peered through it at the dark shapes around him; mountains of black ocean with a shimmering foil top of moonlight.
He sighed as he wished to see the familiar island of his dreams.
Oh well, he had what he required to live and more, so he should be happy with that! There wasn’t much an old salt needed in his duffle as he sat adrift; the ocean mostly provided it for him. I sturdy hip to call home, and Queen Damascus was certainly that. An excellent and right pipe was a must; he’d acquired a rather ornate clay during a recent “visit” to a merchant galleon left adrift. He’d also received as much smoke as could last until they tied up again. Barrels of rum were snatched that beautiful day; he eyed the grog in his hand, spinny-headed and happy.
He took a full breath of ocean air. Soon the island would show because it had to. It was the longest night of the year, and here he was, celebrating proper on the Solstice!
He looked around. Landlife was a fool’s burden. He admired the moon and stars. The night was heavy with moonlight. There was hardly a need for lamps tonight, it was so bright! He turned to a large wooden barrel sitting next to the watchman’s compass and wrenched the lid off. Immediately hit with the exotic, smoky aroma of Latakia, he sighed. He reached his craggled hand into the barrel and mixed it up, breaking apart the clumps. He began to fill his new pipe, which had since burned empty.
As he filled it, he drunkenly sang an old song he’d learned long ago:
“Bright, sweet shining – jubilee!”
The seaman said to the shuffled sea.
The waves, they giggled a symphony.
The boat cleared’er throat,
and the man laid’is eyes
Out amongst the cerulean glory.
Old Calam trailed off into a hum as he finished filling his pipe, sprinkling the dark leaf mixture past the rim of the clay until it spilled into the wooden barrel. He leaned down and inhaled deep. The Latakia was pregnant with memories, hearkening back to the late evening fires his father would tend through the night during the yearly Solstice Eve ritual that was popular on the small island he called home as a boy.
There were eight tobaccos in the private stock he was smoking, one for each of the seas, if you named the dark waters of the sailor’s heart. Past the burnt bark of the smoky Latakia, he could smell the spicy Turkish and Oriental leaves. They were exotic, aromatic wonders, white pepper, a touch of curry from lands unknown and smashed green coffee beans. Then there was the light touch of Virginia leaf in the aroma, slight but there nonetheless with citrusy hay, like the landlubbers feed their riding horses. Finally, at the tail end of the room note, there was a faint touch of perique in the mix. It offered the old sailor a hint of fermented fruit like the salted lemons he chewed to stop the scurvy from coming.
Moved by the aroma of the unburned leaves he bellowed his song further into the night!
The captain stood, a proudly man
With a smile on his face
And a clay in his hand.
In a boat which was rugged and hoary.
Months ago’ee’d seen her there,
As if dropped down from above!
In the tide, a mermaid bride –
And’ee knew she was his true love!
The pirate paused his song, stomping his boot and swaying to the music in his mind. He tamped the tobacco into the pipe and continued humming, the world slightly tilting as he watched the seagulls that had joined his boat for a while. That meant the island was coming soon.
He pulled out his glass and peered into it. As he’d guessed, there was the dark sliver that told him his instincts were right. Soon he’d be in the single place in the world that he could truly call home.The wheel was already locked, no need to change course.
Time to celebrate! He snapped and flipped the ancient coin, it caught the light and shimmered.
He stuck a bit of hempwick he’d pulled from his trouser pocket into a nearby lantern and cupped the flame as he brought it to his pipe. He drew the fire in with measured, short breaths and it licked the stock of his pipe causing the filaments to squirm to life.
The tobacco was dry and ripe for smoking, perfect! It had been the Private Stock of a Captain named Earle and it took to the flame quickly. Calam’s mouth filled with the smooth, oak-tinged smoke. He let it roll on his tongue. The Latakia was the first thing he noticed. It stood as the Mast and Deck of the ship, treebark, and leather, with notes of strong black coffee. Though very full, the smoke was silky, with not a single hint of harshness. There was a touch of the bitter, blackstrap molasses as well and hints of aged sorghum.
The orientals were sitting under the taste of the latakia, in the berth of the ship that floated on the smoke with gray billowing sails of whisp. Complex and spicy but curiously creamy as well, it was a delight to experience them.
At the bottom sides of the stern, the perique could be found in the air. It was the taste of fermented oranges, hops, and aged caramel that came to be, with the base of black pepper.
The keel of Virginia leaf, with touches here and there of that firm clay earth of his homeland and golden hay, smoked sweet. In waves of satisfaction, Captain Calam continued his song, his voice now strengthened by a beautiful zen smoke and the anticipation of meeting an old friend.
When weeks had passed – he set out at last
To find his coral reef queen.
With sun burning fast – he tightened the mast!
And the ship! How she groaned as she leaned!
To his dismay, long grew the day.
The waves waved goodbye
and the smoke blew away.
The wind left him lone
Now at mid-bowl, the smoke had mellowed, and the tobacco was tasting further of earth and hay as if the keel Virginias were having their day in the spotlight. The glowing red bark of the Latakia had lessened in strength but still smoldered spicy and satisfying.
He could see the island without the aid of his glass now that daylight was breaking. It wouldn’t be much longer! Excited, he continued singing:
A cloud came along, ‘twas singing a song
and the man took it as a forewarning.
Unknown to him, Across the way,
on a bed of grass, the mermaid lay
preparing herself for her man.
The island she lay on
like those children play on;
a scribble and some sand.
To her surprise – a tear in her eyes.
The captain was turning around!
The captain sighed, not seeing his bride
he headed back t’ward town.
Calam stopped singing as he noticed that the ancient coin was warmer than the blood in his hand. He held up the coin and peered through it, aligning the hole with the island. He watched the island through the currency slowly growing, reaching the outer edges. When the island was large enough to touch the outer rim, he flipped the coin into the water and yelled, “Pull up the sails!! Pull up the sails! Anchor down this beast you wretched bastards! We have arrived!”
He started laughing, and the wind grabbed his laughter and took it high into the sky to play with the gulls that were now circling the ship as his men followed his orders.
He sang to them as they worked, finishing his song.
To this day, the captain’ll say
that the storm would have
swept his boat away.
But we all know, from his eyes of woe
though the captain keeps it inside –
If it weren’t for his fear,
his bride would be here
instead of the lonesome tide!
The boat came to a stop as the anchor splashed into the water. Captain Calam walked to the railing where he had just tossed the coin into the drink. He pushed up on his toes and leaned over the rail, whispering into the dark waves.
“Are you there my dear?”
“I’m here.” The water called back in a bubbly female voice. The ancient coin jumped at him out of the water and thumped against his chest, where he caught it and put it back on the hemp rope around his neck.
“I’m coming down there, my love. It’s been too long!” Captain Calam whispered. “Hold fast!” And he hummed the tune as he began taking off the layers of clothes.
Thanks for Reading! Merry Christmas! Blessed Yule! Happy Solstice! Have a wonderful Holiday!
A Message About Pirate Consistency:
First off I must note that I changed many terms and tobacco names from what a pirate would have called them in his or her day to what we commonly know in our time. I had initially written the piece with more pirate speak, but as accurate as it was, it was not informative or helpful. While they are meant to be entertaining and fun, the primary aim of a Storied Review is to give information on the tobacco blissfully, so I made acceptions to my creative and time-specific terms and stuck with ones which the reader would be familiar.
Other Tobacco Notes:
|Brand||Hermit Tobacco Works Co.|
|Blended By||Cornell & Diehl|
|Manufactured By||Cornell & Diehl|
|Contents||Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia|
Strength Notes: This is a Latakia and Oriental/Turkish heavy blend. Even fans of Latakia may find it to be a bit much. Just keep that in mind.
Cut: A densely packed Krumble Cake. Not as hardened as a plug, but nearly so. In fact, this is the sturdiest crumbler I have ever come across personally. It was quite easy to cut with a sturdy, sharp knife. It burns slow and strong.
Nicotine Strength: The nic hit is quite high. Those who are sensitive may want to smoke this after eating a nice meal.
Drink Pairing: I enjoyed this with a Guinness Draught Stout, pirate style!
Pipes Used: Peterson System Standard 307. It works well in a medium to small bowl. I think it would be nice to have it in a clay, to pay homage to the times, but have not had a chance to do that yet. Otherwise, it will smoke in just about anything. Pull out your most piratey pipe, matey!
Age When Smoked: Fresh as the ocean dew, but dry to the touch in the tin and ready to smoke!
4/4 Stars. A Wonderful English Blend for your Inner Pirate!