I’ve been on a Balkan kick lately and I was in the mood for something with extra Latakia in it today, so it may surprise you that I reached for a Samuel Gawith blend. While they make amazing tobacco, I wouldn’t say SG is known for their Lat Bombs, they seem to be more known for their Virginia Blends but there is one in their catalog that I hardly ever hear anything about. Commonwealth Mixture.
It’s hard to convey the excitement I feel when I see that Fall has officially begun. I realize it before most people. My reminder comes in the form of sweet sweet smoke because my Autumn starts when Straus is selling Sleepy Hollow again.
It reminds me of when I was little and I saw the first Halloween-flavored McDonald’s adds on TV. They’d be advertising their candy collecting pales with a spookie jingle and I would know summer would soon be over. These reminders normally come before the weather turns, like a little wink and nudge that summer will soon be over and it will be time for Apple Cider and hoodies and technicolor leaves on the trees.
Straus putting out their fall aromatic does that for me now, carrying on a wonderful tradition in my life. So let’s talk about it, and why you might want to try it, even if you aren’t an aromatic smoker.
Penzance. What can you say about a tobacco so magical and elusive that it has entire fansites about it? It has the fanbase of a fictional anime or some kind of bizarre film. There are people who spend hours a day putting their names on lists and making documents and spreadsheets and getting credit card information ready just so they can get a single bag of the mighty Penzance. What is this all about?
Esoterica Penzance, Balkan Sobranie, Samuel Gawith and Germain’s Brown Flake are but a few of the mystical tobaccos which eluded me for years, always lurking just out of reach. I would hear people praise them in forums or at my local smoking parlor and get angry because I wanted to be a part of the discussion.
There’s a spot near my house where a small creek tiptoes under an old bridge which is haphazardly shuffled about by greenery and has begun coming apart over time.
I’ve been visiting it for a while now. I love to sit under the bridge and smoke with the tadpoles and crawdaddies as I read a good book. I usually pack some coffee and a blanket to keep myself warm because this time of year the ground gets cold and hard, and the water starts to freeze around the edges of the banks, but the middle still runs free.
Back in November Mr. Brog got wind of my Blog and sent some of his items my way for review. One of those products in the package was a metal, all-in-one pipe lighter with a tamper and pick that hid in the bottom. After four months of use, I wanted to talk about my experience with the lighter and whether I would recommend it for the $24.99 sale price.
Time travel doesn’t exist… YET! But if it did, and I could give myself a little advice about all the things I’ve learned as a pipe smoker over the last 20 years, it would go a little something like this:
Winter is waning, although the cold is still making its way in through the cracks. I’ve reached the point where I am ready for warmth again. It’s a frigid morning, and I gaze at the frosted tips of the Kentucky bluegrass out my window flickering in the morning sunrise, scattered by strong, cold winds.
I reach for my Mr. Brog #89, considering what I should smoke. I recently had War Horse Ready Cut and enjoyed it, so I think I will try the War Horse Bar this time. Let’s light up!
The winter chill is radiating from the closed window as I stand in my office in my robe looking out at the blanket of satin white. I just woke up, and I’m waiting for the coffee to finish percolating as I watch the wind blow around the fine powder. I reach for my Mr. Brog #89, considering what I should smoke. I want something that will wake me up and push away these chills that are radiating to my bone. I think back to my recent experience with Tabac Manil’s Le Petit Robin and what a great experience that was. I decide to try another one of Mr. Manil’s offerings: Pure Semois La Brumeuse.
It’s 1 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, and I find myself craving some sweets. I’m watching my weight, so a cupcake is out of the question. I reach for my Savinelli 645, considering what I should smoke. It’s cold outside, so I want something that will impart some warmth but also satisfy this sweet tooth. I decide to crack a tin of Stanwell Vanilla.
Megan kept still. She was listening with her entire body.
There were tells that every soldier knew; some taught in basic training, but most learned over time. Silky footsteps whispering in the grass. The metallic chatter of a bullet rattling in its chamber. The muted thunk of gear on gear motion. The slink of a knife pulled from its sheath. The stuttered breath of that last fearful gasp. A nervous heart. All these were thumbprints of an intruder.
It’s 6 in the morning on a Tuesday, and I just woke up an hour ago. I reach for my Mr. Brog #89, considering what I should smoke. It’s cold outside, so I want something that will wake me up and warm my body. Something classy, with an old school vibe. I decide on an unopened brick of Tabac Manil’s Le Petit Robin.
I was 16 years old the first time I ever stepped foot into a tobacco shop. Taking place over 20 years ago, this was before all the draconian laws were made to tax and ban smoking out of existence. I’m 37 now. I’ve been going to the same shop all this time. Others have come and gone, but one store has stood the test of the ages.
I take a coach to the crossroads watching the mountains through the small window as we proceed to the point where Bulletsville meets with Perdition. It was a bumpy ride. My pipe jostles from my purse and clatters to the hardwood floor. I pick it up and blow it off as the coach suddenly comes to a halt.
You step toward the gates of light, thirsting, searching for some kind of unwarranted truth. What will you find?
Beyond the first gate, there is a pipe, prefilled with some unknown mystery.
Matches or lighters? It’s a battle that has been raging for many many years. Some say matches are unreliable in windy situations and stink. Others say lighters burn too hot, can damage your pipe and can leave a sticky butane residue in your bowl and on the rim, imparting a taste to the tobacco.
Well, I’m here to tell you about a third option. Hemp Wick Lighting.
When I was a young boy, over 30 years ago, it was common for us to spend some time in the summer and fall months camping at a mountain-base site near Mammoth Cave known as Jellystone Park. Today, many years later, I grab my pipe and sit down to go through some old pictures of my camping experiences while I smoke a bowl of Cornell & Diehl Mountain Camp.
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!
Canning jars. We all use them. Heck, I buy them by the box. The next time you buy a box of Jars DON’T RIP IT OPEN. Take a moment to read this and follow the steps. You’ll have a handy tobacco mat that you can use when filling your jars to handle the spills that happen during the canning process.
It’s 5 in the morning on a Wednesday, and I just woke up. I reach for my pipe, wondering already what I am going to smoke. I want something that will wake me up and warm my core. Something citrusy, with a springtime feel, is looming in my future. I reach for an aged can of Wessex Gold Virginia Flake.
Spending some quality time with your tobacco can be a meditative experience. If you buy the right kind of smoke and have a good knife in your hand, you can reach an excellent level of enjoyment directly through tobacco preparation.
I turn the corner of the street, not missing a beat. I’ve been commissioned to take photos of working people in Cincinnati for a puff piece a local Newspaper is running. I’m on the job per usual; the camera’s in a heavy bag on my back, and my smoking pouch is at my side. My pipe is empty but wedged in my teeth because I’m afraid I’ll break it if I keep it in my bag as I chug along.
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The Mr. Brog Leather Combo Pipe Pouch is a fantastic way to hit the road with a couple of pipes and some of your favorite smoke. It holds one medium-sized pipe or two small pipes and a half an ounce of tobacco comfortably.
Best of all, it’s only $24 bucks, following Mr. Brog’s rule of keeping quality smoking gear down to a sensible price. I went ahead and hunted the best deal, just click here and don’t say old Jay never did anything nice for you!
I step off the stagecoach and find myself back in front of the old bookshop I’d left so far in the past. Catching my reflection in a rippled rain puddle I see that everything about me has changed over the years, everything but one. I pull my grandfather’s pipe from my breast pocket and wedge it in my teeth.