Tag: prince

My no. 1: Abingdon

Sometimes it is with tobacco as it is with music. You hear songs that are ok or ones that suck until suddenly, whoaaa.. What is that?? You listen to it more closely and slowly feel yourself falling in love with it with every time you hear it. After that the song sort of becomes part of your life and you keep listening to it until the day you die. Luckily I am not yet in that last phase but master-blender GL Pease’s creation Abingdon certainly has ingrained itself in my existence.

Unfortunately I can’t remember exactly when I first smoked Abingdon. My First Pease blend was the then hyped Chelsea Morning. With trembling hands I popped that tin, filled the bowl, lit the pipe aaand… It sucked. Perhaps I was expecting the nectar of the pipe-gods or so but it wasn’t on par with anything I had in my mind. I never had it since, maybe I should because during the years my taste-buds have vastly improved. After that I got a sample of Westminster from a friend and it blew me away. Ok, perhaps this “Dark Lord” Pease-guy does know what he is doing after all, I thought. It must have been after that when I tried my first bowl of Abingdon. Apparently I liked it really, really much because when I look at my tobacco tin purchase history the name “Abingdon” often pops up. Nowadays about once a year I open up a tin of it as a treat to myself. It never fails to deliver.

Thanks to Troy Lloyd

Backstory:
I quote GL Pease here: Some may have caught the hints of the inspiration behind this one when I’ve written about it in the past, but for the rest of you, here’s the back story. When I began to think about what I wanted to do with the Classic Collection, I had it in mind to pay tribute to some of the tobaccos of the past that had inspired me over the years—not to attempt their recreation, which is always something of a fool’s errand, but to produce blends that were reminiscent of what certain blends meant to me. It was my desire to paint something of a leaky memory picture of what the now old 759 was like in its relative youth that inspired me to concoct Abingdon. First, there was 759 and there was 759. The blend went through some changes during its life, and not every vintage is like every other. Too, while many have claimed to “clone” or “replicate” particular blends, I have never once found one of these copy-cats to successfully reproduce one of the old blends. In most cases, they’re not even really close. Later vintages of 759 seem to have been more dominated by Latakia. For those, I think Abingdon may be a little closer, though certainly not identical. Abingdon was named after Abingdon on Thames, the home of the legendary MG motorcar. For me, something about that wonderful, oily, intense smokiness of the tobacco recalled the wonderful smells of my old MGA, so it seemed fitting.

Description from the producer:
Abingdon: Dark, Mysterious and Full. Abingdon is the fullest Balkan style blend in the collection. It is rich and robust, powerful and forthright, yet still possessing subtlety and finesse. Dark flavours of wood and leather mingle with delicate undercurrents of sweetness, and deep earthy notes, while the oriental tobaccos provide hints of their verdant, sometimes herbaceous character. A big Balkan blend, reminding us once more of what these blends used to be. Because of the high percentage of dark and oriental tobaccos, it’s recommended to pack Abingdon a little less firmly than you might a lighter blend. Abingdon was released in July, 2003. And another quote from GL Pease himself: Abingdon is not topped or cased. It, like most of my blends, relies solely on the flavours of the leaf to make it what it is. It’s actually a fairly simple formula, but the result is delightfully complex. It’s an interesting mixture as it is quite heavy with latakia, but the orientals are more subdued. The virginias form the backbone of the smoke, but the latakia makes quite a statement.

Package/tin:
A typical American round pop-lid tin with paper wrapper. I must say that for this review I have an old production tin (from 2012). Not too long ago the artwork changed a bit. But still on the front there is a picture of a bulldog shaped pipe on top of a fountain pen and a piece of writing paper. On the back it says: A full Balkan style blend with a generous measure of Cyprian Latakia, seasoned with fine red and lemon yellow Virginia tobaccos, and enhanced with rich oriental leaf. Abingdon is bold and assertive, while retaining a stylish finesse. The Classic Collection draws inspiration from the great tobaccos of days past. The blends offered are not meant as attempts to replicate them, but to pay them homage to capture some of their essence.

Contents/Ingredients/cut:
Upon opening the tin I am greeted by the light and dark blended ingredients: Cyprian latakia, red and lemon yellow Virginias and orientals. The cut is a kind of rough ribbon cut with chunky pieces throughout it which you sometimes have to rub out a bit.

Smell from the tin:
The smell from the tin is wonderful to my nose. Sweet, salt, leather, smoke, spice, autumn, wood, earth all mixed into one like the instruments of an orchestra. I would have expected to notice more of the latakia. Perhaps it is the age of tin (6 years) so that the tobaccos inside have mellowed but this does not smell at all like the “bold and assertive” which is promised on the tin label.

Taste:
Upon lighting the blend there sometimes can be a slight bitterness, but it usually goes away after a few puffs. I have to think of my old and trusty Toyota Starlet. When I first start it there is lots of smoke and the pungent smell of petrol but after some hitting the gas it runs smoothly. Sort of the same with Abingdon. When the blend awakens and I am lucky I get some dark fruit/raisin/apricot taste-swirls throughout the rising smokiness from the latakia, the Virginia sweetness and the oriental sourness. For me Abingdon is not a complex blend. Once it gets going basically the same taste stays throughout the bowl with some little nuances here and then. But that basic taste is… So damn yummie! The balance between all the tobacco components is unbelievable. Lots of contradictions but somehow they work together like a well composed symphony. The instruments are soft, creamy, smooth, full, leather, musty, earth, sour, spice, wood and smoky. The resulting piece is Abingdon. Like with the smell I had expected more latakia “oomph” but I am glad it is not there. The dark leaf is almost like the conductor who supports the other instruments and let them play better. In some of the Tobaccoreviews.com reviews I read comparisons with my favourite whisky: Lagavulin. And I have to agree! The two make a perfect pair. Like with Abingdon Lagavulin boasts a lot of smokiness but if you compare it to some other whiskies (Laphroaig, Ardbeg) it really is not that much. Also Lagavulin possesses that rich, full harmony of flavours that Abingdon has. Anyway, in the end the tobacco burns down to a fine grey ash.

Miscellaneous:
Abingdon can bite a little bit if you pack the bowl too firmly and the tobacco is too moist. But if you take that into consideration, no problems at all. It stays pretty well lit throughout the smoke, nicotine hit is mild to medium. In my opinion and experience Abingdon performs best in somewhat larger (Dunhill group 4) prince shaped or pot shapes pipes. It certainly is not an all-pipe friend.

Room-note:
Whenever Ellen sees this tin on the table in our living room she starts to shift uncomfortably. “Is this that blend, you know? Well, I am afraid it is darling.. Oh.. Ok, eh, I am going to sleep/play music/do the laundry/get the f*ck away from here/etc.” As I write this I am smoking a pipe of Abingdon, Ellen just came downstairs and immediately got a red face. “Are you smoking it again? Yes darling. Grrr.. I really wish you waited until I had to go away for work. You can write in that blog of yours it is the most vile, evil smelling tobacco there is! I just did that darling.”

Price:
On Smokingpipes.com a 2 oz. tin will set you back at $10.63 (± €9,30). An 8 oz. tin will cost you $35.70 (± €31,25).

Conclusion:
From all the still available tobaccos I like Abingdon the best. Period. Of course I prefer blends like London Mixture State Express, Renaissance or De Graaff Kegelbaan but eejj, I can’t get them any more. Abingdon possesses an old world quality which only improves with age, a timeless mixture. I can totally imagine myself sitting in my living room decades from now when I am old, wrinkled and slightly senile, while smoking a pipe of well aged Abingdon, enjoying the hell out of it and thinking back to the good ol’ days before tobaccogeddon. Just before Ellen whacks me with her walking stick while shouting “You are not smoking it again aren’t you??”

Of course I wish all my readers a merry Christmas and a smoky 2019!!!

The Frisian prince

Typical town in Friesland

In the Northwest of the Netherlands the province of Friesland is situated (“Fryslân” in the Frisian language, yes they do have their own language). A lot of Dutch people go there on vacation because of the beautiful nature (lots of lakes and canals) and peace and quiet. Friesland is one of the less-densely populated provinces in the Netherlands. It is also well-known for ice-skating, a lot of champions come from Friesland and if there is a very cold winter the famous Elfstedentocht is organized. And it is in a small village in the heart of “Fryslân” where pipe-maker Meindert lives.

Meindert

Meindert

Meindert is 64 years old, a long time pipe-smoker, retired and a Frisian man in heart and soul. That means he is proud, honest, righteous, loves to be on the water, works hard and takes no bullshit from no-one. Working with his hands is also something that is in his blood. His father was a professional carpenter who could make anything out of wood and was not afraid of showing the tricks of the trade to his son. Also for years Meindert was a maintenance mechanic at a local factory and one of his hobbies was being a radio amateur so for that he build small and big antennas. Unfortunately he got problems with his heart and after having seen the gates of Saint Peter twice he was forced to slow things down. But Meindert is not the man to take it easy and do nothing. So through Fred, a member of the Dutch/Belgian pipe smokers forum and Dutch importer of Mr. Brog and Country Pipes he got into pipe making about 8 months ago. That was something which required little physical effort and was perfectly suited for the still recovering Meindert.

One of the early Meindert pipes

One of the early Meindert pipes

On the forum he posted several of his finished pipes and although some of them lacked a certain finesse I could clearly see that Meindert had talent and skills. After making a couple of prince-shaped pipes (my favourite shape) I decided to ask if he could create one of those for me. But I wanted to test the man. I did this by asking if he could make one of the most challenging shapes in my eyes: the 8-side panelled prince. This because it is a combination of symmetry (all corners must be 45 degrees from each other) and flowing elegance. Gracefully Meindert accepted the challenge and got busy.

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Corrections from my side

One of the best things about him is that he can accept constructive criticism. Some pipe-makers are headstrong, have a sort of impenetrable ego which holds them back from getting better. I know sh*t about wood-working and all the machinery (I was born with 2 left hands) but I do know something about flowing lines, symmetry and cohesion in a design. And Meindert is very handy but could learn a bit more about flowing pipe shapes and the little details that comes with such. So he was ready to accept criticism from my side when he send the first pictures of the prince-making process. I would look at them, make corrections in Photoshop and tell him why I did that. For example he mailed me a photograph of the unfinished bowl and by putting lines, arrows and digitally reducing excess wood I could let him know what to do. Of course he was not able to always precisely do what I asked but with every correction he made the pipe got better. The devil is in the details and boy, I sometimes was a real demon. But Meindert never did bulge under my pressure, kept eager to learn and continued delivering the goods. And how good he was was proven when Fred made a visit. Meindert showed him my prince and told him that getting every panel to look exactly the same was a tough job. Fred looked amazed at the pipe and told that such pipes normally are made in machines in pipe-factories where the angle of cutting can be programmed. Something I did not know. So in fact I asked Meindert to be as precise as a machine. And he came damn close!

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Aqueduct

At the beginning of last week Meindert informed me that he had almost finished the pipe. The only thing left to be done was the bending of the cumberland stem but I thought it was a good idea to do that when I was with him. Of course I was going to pick up the pipe myself. I am a bit ashamed to say this, but I have never been in Friesland before. I grew up in Brabant in the South of the Netherlands so for a long time Friesland was almost like an exotic country to me. However, now I live in the province of Overijssel and that is quite a bit closer to the North of my country. Last Friday I took a day off and drove to the heart of “Fryslân”. An enjoyable ride if I may say so. When I drive to Brabant where the head-office of my work is located the roads are always busy and often I get caught up in a traffic jam. The journey North was deliciously quiet with nice far stretched views of the countryside. Suddenly I saw in the distance something that looked like a train slowly passing over a viaduct. When I came closer I noticed to my amazement that it was not a train, but a large river boat which gradually floated above the highway. What I had seen was an aqueduct, something which exists for a long time but was new to my eyes in this form. So strange to see a big ship above you.

DTM_Mellow_MallardAt exactly 2 o’clock I arrived at a petrol station in the village where Meindert lives and phoned him up. This because he lives at the waterside where no car can come. Soon he came walking out of a small side-street and gestured me to follow him. We arrived at the back of his home and shook hands. So nice to see him after all our e-mails. He guided me into the renovated shed of his house which was divided in 2 parts: his working room and the computer room. We sat down in the working room and lit up a pipe. *Pheww* “You are smoking latakia right?” Meindert asked. “I like aromatics myself, I never understood why people like the smell of burned rubber.” “Well, the taste is vastly different than the smell, believe me” I said. Luckily we don’t all have the same tobacco preferences. But I knew Meindert liked a sweet smoked so I brought a couple of aromatic tins that he could keep. In return he had some tobaccos for me which included the Mellow Mallard made by DTM. A blend I did not know but after smoking a couple of bowls I now really like!

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Remember the 3 golden rules: light, space and warmth

Soon the lovely wife of Meindert boldly defied my latakia fumes and brought a cup of coffee which gave me the opportunity to look around the working space. What really struck me was how tidy and organized it was. All the machines were clean and every hand-tool had a logical place and was neatly attached to a wall or placed in a tray. I complimented him with this because I know that some other pipe makers have pretty chaotic working rooms. “One of the first things I learned when I had a working space were the 3 golden rules: light, space and warmth.” Meindert said. “Light because you have to able to clearly see what you are doing. Space as in not having a big room but having the space to be able to properly do your job. Warmth because you can’t work well with cold muscles.” What I also liked were all the old hand tools that Meindert inherited from his father. Where for example a lot of pipe makers use machinery to make their stems Meindert uses his father’s tools. All handwork.

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Heating up the stem for bending

After the second cup of coffee it was time to see what I have came for, my panelled prince. It was smaller than I thought but nonetheless I was pleasantly surprised. It looked better than on the pictures! The acrylic cumberland stem still was straight so Meindert got to work by lighting a candle. Huh? Is he praying for good luck this way or…? I know that pipe-maker Vandaahl uses some kind of industrial blow dryer to heat up the stem for bending. It turned out that Meindert was warming up the stem the old fashioned way. Very tricky and when I nervously looked at him he had to laugh, relax! At bit above the candle-flame he slowly rolled the stem of the pipe around and around with a steady hand. Suddenly I saw that a part of the stem became flexible and Meindert carefully bended it following my directions. I made a comment before that he had a tendency to bend his prince-stems too close to the shank so while I looked over his shoulder he asked if it was ok. Ehhrrr.. Yes?

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Checking the bend

When the stem had cooled down I was able to properly examine the pipe. Damn! The bend could be a bit more but worse, the stem was crooked, it had a deviation to the left. So Meindert heated it all up again and made the correction. Hmm, better but there was a tiny bump on top. No problemo, some fine sanding paper took care of that. But still the bend could be more. Heating, bending, arghh! A good bend but once again crooked! Really, if I were Meindert I would have kicked myself out of the door. But he stayed ice-cold and once again bended the stem. Perfect! I breathed a sign of relief while Meindert buffed the pipe to a shiny whole.

IMG_0812Oh wait! I almost forgot, I still had to perform my pipe-cleaner test. That means that when I fold one of my pipe-cleaners it has to pass the smoking channel pretty easy. And it didn’t.. I asked which drilling diameter was used. “The one Peterson uses (Meindert is a huge Peterson fan), 3.0 mm.” Ahh.. That explains.. Fortunately making the drilling wider was no problem. 3.1 mm, 3.2 mm.. “Meindert” I said “please make it 3.5 mm, that should do the trick.” And indeed with 3.5 mm my pipe-cleaner went through the smoking channel effortlessly. I told him that you also get a better draft with 3.5 mm and thus a better smoking experience. Meindert thought that was very interesting and he is going to experiment with it.

The finished prince

The finished prince

The rest of the afternoon went by too fast. Before I knew it it was 6 o’clock and I had to go home. We shook hands again and I hit the road. The next day I smoked the panelled prince for the first time and I was delighted! The bit felt very comfortable between my teeth, not too thick and also not too thin, just perfect. Of course smoking a pipe for the first couple of times is not really fun because a layer of cake still has to form inside the bowl. But nonetheless I was impressed about the smoking qualities. I also kept looking at the pipe form every angle. I am sure almost every pipe-smoker sometimes takes the pipe out of his mouth and admires it. I sure did that with Meindert’s pipe and am still doing it.

Meindert has to take things slowly because of his health. So if you are interested in him making a pipe for you (he makes about 1 pipe per week) please contact me and I will connect you through.

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2014 PRF-pipe made by Ian Walker

2014 PRF-pipe made by Ian Walker

2014 PRF-pipe made by Ian Walker

The Dutch/Belgian Pipe Smokers Forum (in short: PRF) has had quite a lot of merchandise through the years. Shirts, caps, business cards, mouse-pads, ashtrays, poker-fiches, dice, stone tampers, tobaccos and.. Pipes! Belgian member Shaun took it on to himself to organize the creation of a yearly forum pipe. For 2012 and 2013 we had beautiful pieces from renowned Belgian pipe-makers Elie and Dirk Claessen. My favourite shape is the prince and after years of trying to bribe Shaun with beer, tobacco and beautiful women I finally got what I wanted: a prince shaped forum pipe! And not just that, it was made in Britain by respected pipe-carver Ian Walker.

moneyThis is how the process went, written by Shaun himself: Every year, right after Christmas, I start making a list of possible candidates for the forum year pipe. In this period I do a lot of research, mainly checking websites from pipe-carvers and feedback from their customers. After my initial research I start asking for feedback on the forum, this would be around March. Every forum member can send me suggestions of pipe-carvers they would love to make our year-pipe. This year we had a lot of discussions about the budget, because we wanted to create an opportunity for every single member of the forum to own a year-pipe. I knew it was going to be difficult as the goal was set around €90. This would be a nearly impossible task, because not many craftsmen are eager to make a pipe with this low budget while the expectation is that they still do the best they can. Despite everything I felt the need to try it and satisfy the forum members.

David Enrique

David Enrique

The first one I contacted was David Enrique from France. He wasn’t very happy with my proposal, but promised me that he would do the best he could. So he started searching for old briar blocks in closed Saint-Claude factories. But the following of this lead would soon turn out to be a failure. David contacted me back, said this would be impossible thanked me for the honour and pulled back out of the project..  After this call I felt he wasn’t very happy about me wasting his time on this budget matter. And I couldn’t blame the poor guy! I mean, in his place I wouldn’t settle for less than a good quality pipe. A forum is a great thing, but can also become a marketing nightmare for a pipe maker when the order turns out to be not that great.. Bad comments fly around the internet even faster than… You know what I mean.

Turkey-flag_000The second lead brought me to Turkey. After a long search I finally found a guy in a remote village who had a phone.. With a shaky connection.. I tried in my best English, French and German to explain him that I wanted to place a large order. But due to communication problems and a very high telephone bill, this trail also was a dead-end.

bigbenSuddenly I had a plan, maybe I could contact Big Ben, the old Dutch pipe factory. A factory would certainly give me a good price. From the beginning I knew the chances were slim because a factory always sells to stores and never to individuals. And if stores found out they sold straight to customers, WWIII certainly would be on our hands. Still I gave it a shot but they never answered my mail. I was very disappointed in them because I always had a good contact with the director, Mr. Gubbels. After them I tried Peterson, Stanwell etc… When I saw it already was July I panicked and started screaming like a little girl..

Ian Walker

Ian Walker

Then it suddenly hit me. On our forum I saw some work of British pipe-carver Ian Walker. Forum-member Dewitte (Sven) once bought a pipe from him. Actually a prince model shaped pipe, with a very nice cumberland mouthpiece. EUREKA! I soon contacted him, negotiated a price (€125), got things going and low and behold, at the beginning of this month the 56(!) pipes were delivered at the forum-members homes! Thank you Ian Walker!

George Walker

George Walker

Talking about Ian Walker, here is some more info about him: The grandfather of Ian Walker, George Walker, started working for Duncan Briars in England in 1922. After 36 years in 1958 he left Duncan having been head-foreman in charge of production and started Northern Briar Pipe Repair Service, together with his son Peter. Father and son built their business repairing pipes for most of the quality pipe shops in the United Kingdom. When he finished school in 1972, Ian Walker joined the family business. Like everybody else at the factory Ian started as an apprentice, sweeping the floors and making tea (they’re British, duh!). Later he was allowed to polish some pipes and in the evenings he learned how to make silver bands from sheet silver at his Grandfather’s workshop.

A young Ian Walker and his father

A young Ian Walker and his father

In 1983 the parents of Ian bought a local tobacconist shop in Heaton Moor, Stockport. By this time Ian was doing all the repairs and had become one of the foremost pipe-repairmen in the United Kingdom. Wanting to further develop his skills, Ian started making pipes himself in the shop. These pipes sold well and he decided to expand this side of the business and was soon making pipes for other local shops. Further encouraged by several top British pipe makers (like Bill “Ashton” Taylor) to develop his talents, Ian has expanded his business and shortened the name of the company to Northern Briars. Today his pipes are sought after in Europe, North America and the Far East.

Sea Shell pipe

Sea Shell pipe

Ian Walker sources his briar from Italy where, according to many pipe-makers, the best stock can be found. Every pipe is totally hand-crafted by Ian himself and all pipes have hand cut stems using the best grade German vulcanite. The rustication of Ian’s Roc Cut pipes is a time consuming process which is done entirely by hand. This unique finish has proved to be extremely popular as well as finishes of Ian’s own imagination like the Sea Urchin and the new Sea Shell.  Ian’s skill in silver mounting also enhances many traditional styles of pipes.

FLTR: Martin, myself, Ian Walker and Paul

FLTR: Martin, myself, Ian Walker and Paul

I met Ian at this year’s Inter Tabac Fair in Dortmund. A very jovial, enthusiastic man who immediately noticed the Dunhill I had dangling from my mouth, “Ah! British made! Just like my pipes!” As much as he talks in real life, as little does he write in e-mails unfortunately. I asked him some questions by mail and got decent answers. Only, not long answers.. But Ian had a good excuse, he was very, very busy finishing our forum pipes. Here is the interview:

Ian Walker and the late Bill "Ashton"Taylor

Ian Walker and the late Bill “Ashton”Taylor

From who did you learn your craft? I heard somewhere that Bill “Ashton” Taylor was one of your teachers, is this true? I was taught to make pipes from my Grandfather and Father. Whilst the late Bill Taylor was a good friend, I already was a pipe-maker when I met him. The only thing Bill advised me to do in 2005 was to visit the international shows.

You source your briar from Italy because you believe the best briar comes from this country. What makes Italian briar superior? The Italian briar I use continues to give good results, so why change? My supplier supplies many artisan pipe makers.

What kind of curing has your briar and why? I do not cure the pipes as such. Good dry seasoned briar is the secret. However, I do something to the pipes which my Grand father taught me. Alas, this is a secret, I am sorry.

vulcaniteYou solely use vulcanite for your stems, why is this and why not acryl? I use vulcanite as this is a English tradition. Dunhill, Les Wood/Ferndown etc. The Cumberland mouthpieces are the best quality German vulcanite available. I make acrylic on order.

Can you tell us something more about your regular pipe-series? I mean the Bruyere Premier, Bruyere Regal, Rox Cut Premier and Rox Cut Regal? The Bruyere Premier’s are made from straight grain plateaux. The Bruyere Regals are made from cross grain blocks. The Rox Cut can be made from plateaux or cross grain.

From your Specials-serie I very much like the sea-urchin, helix and oriental. What was the inspiration for these models? I watch for shapes on the internet and shows and also the odd pipe that comes in for repair. This year I have made a pipe, the Sea Shell, just by looking at a sea shell on the window sill.

Ian's boat containing his workshop

Ian’s boat containing his workshop

Can you tell us a bit more about your beautiful signature Roc Cut rustification? This has changed over the years as I tried different techniques of rustication. Last spring I went to a wood festival in Wales and there was a stall selling old tools. I bought a few old gauge switches which proved to be successful. As I work on the boat there is unfortunately is no room for a sandblast machine.

When you have a piece of briar, do you already see a shape in it? Let you dictate the briar which shape is going to come out? When making stock pipes for shows, a block can change shape two or three times for the original idea I started with.

Please describe the whole process from start to finish from having an idea for a pipe (or an order) to the final end-product. 1 briar block. Turn the bowl and drill the tobacco chamber. Turn the shank, bore the shank. Then grind the bottom to marry up with the turned bits. Fit the rod and shape into the stem. Then sand the complete pipe with finer sandpaper wheels and pumice then polishing mops. Stain, stamp and final polish.

When did you began smoking pipe? I started pipe smoking in mid 1970’s.

Northern Briars Uncle Paul

Northern Briars Uncle Paul

What are your favourite pipe shapes and why? All pipe shapes are interesting to a pipe maker. Whilst I like Uncle Paul and Hungarian shapes they are the most difficult to make.

What are your favourite pipe brands (besides your own brand of course) and why? Any artisan pipe makers pipes.  There are so many good young American pipe makers around. I also like Alberto Bonfigliolo and Les Wood/Ferndown. I am always interested when their pipes come in for repair.

What are your favourite tobaccos, what do you like to smoke yourself? It seems that when I find a good tobacco they take it off the market.. I did like Balkan Sobranie flake in a green tin. Then Dunhill Light flake but they changed it and it is not the same.. I smoke Samuel Gawith Full Virginia flake.

On which pipes that you made are you most proud? All the pipes I make. But to make a new shape that I have not made before is always one to be proud of.

Which of your pipes would you recommend for beginning pipe smokers? Any Group 3 size or Group 4 size pipe. Not to big, not to small and straight or with only a slight bend in any finish that suits you best.

Any last words to readers? It has been a pleasure making these pipes for the Dutch/Belgian forum. It would be good whilst on holiday somewhere to see someone smoking one of the forum pipes. All pipe makers know their own work.

IMG_0418For about a week and a half I have the 2014 forum-pipe in my possession. Ian did a great job considering he had to make 56 pipes! According to him he never got such a big order from a forum! For a prince the pipe is quite a robust one, I am used to more slender shapes. Also it is “only” a group size 3 which is a bit surprising for such a large pipe. But then again it really is a unique piece in my prince collection. Technically the pipe is flawless. Thick walls and a pipe-cleaner passes easily through the stem and bowl. I like the used briar, it reminds me very much of the old Dunhill Root Briar. Although that was made from Corsican briar and Ian uses Italian.. I must say he took a real risk with the finish, it is smooth without any rustification or sand-blasting. Very hard to find 56 pieces of briar who are all flawless enough to make smooth finishes. So some pipes have fills I heard (and saw) from other forum-member. Not mine, it just has some kind of small flaw on the bowl which does not bother me at all. The most important is that it smokes good, and that the pipe does. I had a “magical fit between a tobacco and a pipe” with it. The tobacco in question was Penzance, absolutely very yummie!

So, if you’re a pipe-maker and you are interested in making an edition of the annual PRF-pipe, please contact Shaun: hetpijprokersforum@gmail.com

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The Dunhill Shell Story

Dunhill_logoMy love for Dunhill pipes began when I purchased a Dunhill Bruyere pot model from 1976 through a member of the Dutch pipe smokers forum. Before that I had a couple of bent Petersons, a few Winslows and that was it. I was searching for a really good pipe to smoke latakia-blends in, a pipe that would do a fantastic blend justice. And well.. The Petersons did not cut it.. Absolutely beautiful pipes but as far as smoking goes.. Mwah.. I must say, I still have a Peterson from 1923 and that one smokes superb. But the newer ones were just not my thing. My Winslows are superb pipes for aromatic and Virginia/Virginia-Perique blends, but latakia, no. At first I saw a Dunhill pipe as a bit snobbish, not something I like. But when I read something more about the history of Alfred Dunhill (I love history) I began to feel more for the brand. The Dunhill Bruyere pot I bought was a great smoker when filled with the dark leaf. It just tasted better, the draft was better, the mouthpiece felt better etc. But I did not like the look of the pot very much. And then I fell in love with the Prince shape.

My Dunhill Shell Briar from the patent eraLike I said in my “Prince of Pipes” post, for me the epitome of the prince pipe is an army mount Dunhill Shell briar from the patent era. Why a Shell? I guess just personal preference, I like a beautiful sandblast more than a straight grain. But how did the Dunhill Shell pipe came into being? The “marketing” tale is this: Alfred Dunhill went down into his basement during winter. He wanted to make a couple of pipes (as far as I know he was a gifted blender, not a carver, but ok..) and he accidentally left a half finished one by the heating boiler. Sometime next summer he suddenly thought of the pipe. He found it and it looked like some of the grain had “shrunk”, leaving a relief pattern similar to that of a sea-shell. In reality the company experimented since 1914 with Algerian briar (attractive and pretty inexpensive) for a smooth-finished pipe.  But without success because of the softness of the briar. So the blocks were simply laid aside the stove. After several months it seemed that the heat from the stove had affected the condition of the Algerian briar blocks. They had shrunk to a mere “shell” with the grain standing out in relief similar to that of a sea-shell (I feel like repeating myself). And so the Shell finish was born. Working together with the London Sandblasting Company to perfect the process of accentuating the briar relief, a patent was finally awarded in late 1918.

Pipe bowls lying in their oil bath.

Pipe bowls lying in their oil bath

Another invention was the treating of the wood with oil (oil curing), which strengthened it and removed impurities. Here is how Alfred Dunhill explained the process of oil curing and sandblasting in the patent application: This invention relates to the treatment of the surface of the wood of wooden tobacco pipes, for decorative purposes, and refers to a process by which the grain is accentuated or made to stand out in relief, thus giving the wood a very elegant appearance, without interfering with the durability of smoking qualities of the pipes. Although the sand blast has been used previously for the treatment of the surface of wood, to accentuate the grain, I have found in practice that this treatment in itself does not give satisfactory results as there is a tendency for the wood to become cracked and injured, a result that does not occur with my process where it is used as an auxiliary to the treatment by steeping (in oil) and by heat.

Bowls drip-drying

Bowls drip-drying

In carrying out my invention, I shape the pipe in the ordinary way. I then steep it for a suitable time in a mineral or vegetable oil. For instance, in the case of Algerian briar, a wood very suitable for the production of these new tobacco pipes, the article may be steeped for a long period say for several weeks, in olive oil. After lt has been removed from the oil, I subject the article to the action of heat. This process occupies a number of days, the oil exuded or coming to the surface being wiped off periodically. The result of the treatment is that the grain of the wood is hardened and stands out in relief to a certain degree, but the oil coming to the surface forms an impervious coating.

Sandblasting a pipe

Sandblasting a pipe

I (then) submit it to the action of the sand jet or sand blast, which removes the hardened coating of oil and also has the effect of cutting away the softer wood between the grain and leaving the harder portion -the hardness of which has been intensified by the process of steeping and heating- in very high relief. If the article is again steeped in oil, it will take up a further amount and the treatment by heat and the sand jet or sand blast may be repeated; and so on for as many times as may be required according to the extent to which it is desired to accentuate the grain or make it stand out in relief. The resulting article is extremely hard and constitutes an admirable tobacco pipe for the smoker.

See the underlying red stain?

See the underlying red stain?

The sandblasting techniques were not completely mastered by the Dunhill pipe makers in the beginning of the 1920’s. So the pipes were aggressively, deeply blasted through a “double blast” process. Because of the softness of the Algerian briar especially in the early years the shape of the pipes was often dramatically altered. Sometimes so much that the regular shape number no longer could be used. In the late 1920’s and 1930’s the blast was more controlled, but still deep and craggy. This style continued into the 1960’s and is now considered classic. Since the late 1960’s Algerian briar became unavailable for Dunhill thus much harder briar (Grecian) had to be used for the finish. The consequence of course was that the Shell blast became significantly more shallow. The stain of the Shell is black with an underlying layer of warm red. So especially older Shell pipes reveal a warm shade of red when you hold them in the light. However, I remember reading somewhere (can’t find it now, you always see this..) that Dunhill once decided to make the Shell finish all black. It was not appreciated by Dunhill fans..

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My 1927/1928 army mount Shell prince

I now have two Shell prince pipes, both from the patent era. And I LOVE them. The first is an army mount from 1927 or 1928. I saw this one on the English ebay; the mouthpiece was pretty oxidised, the white spot had turned black and the rim was a bit shaved off. It did have a “buy it now” price that was pretty low so without thinking any further I bought it. When I received the package and saw the pipe it looked better than on the pictures. I even could see the registration number on the stem. I send the pipe to the repairman and he did a wonderful job, it was good to go for years to come. Today this Shell prince is my benchmark pipe for latakia blends.

IMG_0021What I forgot with my first Shell I did do with my second: ask more about the pipe. My second Shell I recently bought (also on ebay) from a very nice British fellow named David. On the picture I saw a patent era Dunhill pipe from 1950 in pristine condition. Except for the tenon, which was cleanly broken. I took the gamble and made a bid which was, to my delight, the winning one. I send pictures of the broken tenon to the repairman and he just said: send it over. One and a half week later I received the pipe back and to my relief the repair was immaculately done. The original mouthpiece was saved, only the tenon had been replaced. I also saw a strange “C” stamp on the bottom that I did not not know of. Well, I know that a “C” stamp can stand for Churchwarden. But obviously this was no churchwarden. I kept on mailing with David (who in the past had a lot of informative talks with Richard Dunhill) and asked him if he knew anything more about the pipe. This was his answer:

IMG_0024In answer to your question, I don’t, I’m sorry to say, have all the background to your pipe, but I am able to tell you that I purchased the pipe in Brighton (on the south coast of the UK) in about 1997. I purchased it from the estate sale of the original owner (whose name was not publicly declared at the time) and whom I understand received it from Alfred Dunhill Limited as a “gift” at some point in the early 1950’s. The pipe may have been given to him because of his association with the Dunhill business as a stockist, a valued supplier, a personal friend of the Dunhill family or perhaps even a favoured customer (actors, celebrities of the era and those notably in the public eye were actively courted and encouraged by Dunhill to be seen and photographed with ‘white spot’ pipes between their teeth in the 1940’s & 1950’s) Unfortunately, however, the exact provenance of your pipe we shall never know for sure.

See the

See the “C” stamp on the left?

On the subject of the ‘C’ stamp, the reference you found is quite interesting as it depends on where and how the ‘C’ is used on a Dunhill product. For instance, it may indeed indicate ‘Churchwarden’ if aligned with the ‘style’ stamp, or a large capacity one-off bowl if used after the letters OD on a Dunhill ‘special’ (ODA’s & ODB’s being slightly smaller)… It was even used on top grade straight grain or ‘Dead Root’ pipes at one time to indicate the degree of quality e.g. DRA, then a DRB, DRC etc.. (I’ll stop now!!) – there are so many different subtleties in the stamping. Incidentally, the ‘C’ for complimentary was also used on other products as I had an early Dunhill lighter that had it over-stamped on the base and which I knew had been a retirement gift.

My two patent era Shell briar prince pipes

My two patent era Shell briar prince pipes

Pipes, such as yours and that are marked with a ‘C’ were deliberately undated (as there was no need to identify the start of the one-year guarantee period) and were stamped with the ‘C’ to show that they were given free of charge to their original owners. Most of the pipes specifically made for members of the British Royal Family were also, I understand, marked with the ‘with compliments’ ‘C’ stamp. That said, don’t get too excited… King George V, his son The Duke of Windsor and his successor, King George the VI, were famously known for ignoring the ‘royal drawer’ preferring instead, to select pipes for themselves from Dunhill’s standard, year-dated stock as they liked to ‘browse’ through the choice and extensive range on offer to all who visited the Dunhill shop in London.

I love information like this, for me it makes the pipe and history come alive. So I hope to stumble upon many more old Shell briar princes, for a good price of course. After all, I’m Dutch.

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I crave for some Craven Mixture

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A 1932 ad for Craven Mixture

Some time ago while browsing on the British ebay I saw an old still full and sealed tin of Carreras’ Craven Mixture. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered reading about it. After a quick Google search I knew it. It was the blend famous novelist and author J.M. Barrie called “Arcadia Mixture” in his famous “My Lady Nicotine” book. The ebay tin looked pretty good so I decided to bid on it. To my pleasant surprise I won it for very little money. The lady from who I bought it was somewhat worried when she had send the package: “You are not going to smoke it right? It’s OLD!” I answered “Madam, I have every intention of smoking it!” And so I did.

A 1918 ad for Craven Mixture

A 1918 ad for Craven Mixture

Craven Mixture originally was made by the Carreras Tobacco Company. The House of Carreras was a tobacco business that was established in London in the 18th century by a nobleman from Spain, Don José Carreras Ferrer. In the early 18th century Carreras began trading in London. This was a time when cigars were increasing in popularity and Don José became a pioneer in his field. However, although business went very well it did not become a major company until his son, Don José Joaquin, began to specialise himself in the blending of tobaccos.

George Grimston Craven, 3rd Earl of Craven

George Grimston Craven, 3rd Earl of Craven

By 1852 Don José Joaquin Carreras had established himself near Leicester Square. In 1853 he was granted the high honour of being the sole supplier of cigars and tobacco to the Spanish Legation (a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy) in London. Don José’s fame as a skilled tobacco blender soon spread. He produced special blends to suit the individual tastes of the highest members of society. Fashionable and distinguished customers visited his showrooms to select their own tobaccos. One of Don José’s most famous customers was the third Earl of Craven. A special blend, yes you guessed it correctly, Craven Mixture, was created specially for him.

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Another 1932 ad for Craven Mixture

Carreras soon opened another shop. This time in the Arcade in London’s newly developed and fashionable Regent Street W1. Here he was visited by royalty from many countries. Some of Don José’s tobacco brands became world famous. As well as Craven Mixture, you had Guards’ Mixture, Hankey’s Mixture and others. Over one thousand brands of cigar (!) could be bought from Carreras. Together with snuffs, cigarettes, pipes and other tobacco related items. The business remained in the hands of the Carreras family until 1894 when Mr. W J Yapp  took control. In 1903 Carreras leadership fell to Bernhard Baron when he and Yapp both became directors.

J.M. Barrie c. 1910

J.M. Barrie c. 1910

J. M. Barrie, best known as the creator of Peter Pan, was a valued customer during the 1890’s. When he wrote “My Lady Nicotine” (which was published in 1890) he centred the story around a mythical tobacco called Arcadia Mixture. It did not take long before Carreras realised that the only tobacco Barrie  bought was the Craven Mixture. In January 1897 Barrie confirmed to Don José that Arcadia Mixture and Craven Mixture were one and the same. Shortly after that Carreras began using Barrie’s endorsement in his advertising. Craven Mixture sales increased rapidly at home and abroad.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson

In the stories of Sherlock Holmes the blend also appears. It was Dr. Watson’s favourite pipe tobacco. Holmes recognized it by it’s characteristic fluffy white ash. It was said to be of such extraordinary character and delicacy that it stopped all conversation.

After some very, very successful decades the Baron family (which had held a controlling interest in Carreras since the early 1900’s) decided to sell their shares in 1958 to Rothmans. Carreras Rothmans Ltd. was formed in 1972, when Carreras Limited was used as the vehicle for the merger of various European tobacco interests to form Rothmans International.

Nowadays Craven Mixture is no longer made. Although McClelland re-created the blend: 221b Series, Arcadia. Cornell & Diehl also made a re-creation: 531, Yale Mixture.

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My freshly opened circa 1930’s tin of Craven Mixture

Ok, enough history. Let’s go back to the tin I purchased. I date this one to the 1930’s because of the mention of Arcadia Works on the tin (post-1928) and the resemblance to the tins on the advertisements you can see in this post. Besides a little rust the knife-cutter tin looked just fine, the foil below the lid was intact. Still, you can never know how the tobacco in the tin behaved after about 80 years. There can be microscopic holes which let the air out,  the inside could be very badly rusted etc.. So a bit nervous I pulled the little knife on the lid away, took a deep breath and placed it on the foil thus penetrating it. To my absolute delight I heard a 3 second long hiss of escaping air and smelled the ancient tobacco. Yessss!!! That meant the tin still was sealed! Quickly I cut away the rest of the foil by turning the lid around. I could not believe the tobacco inside was still moist and springy after all this time. The smell was a bit sour, like a pile of autumn leaves on the earthy ground.

IMG_9429I grabbed my old patent era Dunhill shell briar prince, filled it up and lit it. I was rewarded with a very smooth smoke and taste. Of course the ingredients had decades to blend inside the tin. The mixture is fairly strong in the nicotine department. After only one third of a bowl I already found myself running to the fridge for some fruit-juice to temper my fast aggravating queasiness.. Identifying the individual elements in this mixture is pretty difficult. As far as I can taste after one bowl this blend contains Syrian latakia. At least, after smoking quite a lot of McClelland Three Oaks Syrian past week I can pretty safely say it is Syrian. Besides the typical smoothness and smokiness of the Syrian dark leaf I also detected Virginias. I do not think a lot of bright Virginias were used since the blend is not really sweet. Orientals I did not detect. The flavour is quite straight, pure, strong and unified. The smoke has a constant and consistent taste and body from start to end.

No one who smokes the Arcadia Mixture would ever attempt to describe its delights. J.M. Barrie. Well, I just did.

Here are some more pictures of my tin:
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The Prince of Pipes

The first half year that I smoked pipe I was looking for a shape that appealed to me. One that was able to make my favourite latakia mixtures shine. I found it in the Prince of Wales (or in short “prince”) shape pipe.

Before I mostly used full bents. They hung comfortably in my mouth, smoked pretty good, I was satisfied. Until the point that I smoked blends with latakia more and more. I got the feeling I did not got the maximum out of those mixtures. And that frustrated me. What is the point of smoking excellent tobaccos when you can’t get the most out of them??

© Neill Archer Roan

© Neill Archer Roan

Then I stumbled upon an article by the famous pipe blogger Neill Archer Roan: Finding That Magic Fit Between Pipe and Tobacco. In short, the complexity and tastefulness of English/Balkan blends is amplified in pot and prince shaped pipes. Those have square tobacco chambers which are most of the times more broad than for instance billiards. Because of that broadness there is more tobacco-surface that burns at once. That means more flavour. This was also acknowledged by the old owner of De Graaff. Once one of the most famous Dutch tobacco shops. The man (apparently a walking pipe and tobacco encyclopaedia) always smoked latakia mixtures from a pot. Yes, which has the same smoking characteristics as a prince.

But I prefer a prince above a pot. This because of the more elegant shape. Pot pipes are often straight and I still like a slight bend in the mouthpiece.

Loewe prince

Loewe prince

In contrary to common belief the prince shape was not designed by Dunhill, but by Loewe & Co. An old name in British pipe making, similar to brands like Comoy, BBB and GBD. It is said that Emil Loewe (a Frenchmen by origin) was the first to make pipes made from briar in England. Most of the customers in his shop were theatre people from the West End who liked the elegance in his pipes.

In the 1920’s he designed a pipe for Edward, the then Prince of Wales (hence the pipe-shape name “prince”). Who later became Edward VIII and finally was the Duke of Windsor. The shape is a statement of the stylishness of the period. During the reign of his father (also a heavy smoker) Edward was a leading socialite of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The epitome of the elegance of the period. Befitting his royal stature, nothing he owned was less than first class. His taste was impeccable. At least, that is the story..

My story continues when I asked on the Dutch pipesmokers forum if anyone had a prince shaped pipe and was willing to sell it. One member replied and for a measly sum I was able to buy my first prince. It was a Rossi with two smoking channels in the mouthpiece which made it hell to clean.. The sole reason I sold it some time ago. But the pipe smoked very good! Finally I had the idea I was getting more out of my tobaccos. But when proper used you can smoke a pipe only once a day. So I desperately needed a second one. I had read once that Mr. Pease liked the GBD brand much. So after a short search on e-bay I luckily found a GBD New Standard prince from the ’70’s. This one I still have and is one of my favourite pipes. It tastes amazing, especially with Abingdon. The only downside is that it smokes wet. But nothing a pipe cleaner can’t fix.

My Dunhill Shell Briar from the patent era

My Dunhill Shell Briar from the patent era

From there I bought more and more prince shaped pipes and I fell in love with the Dunhill brand. For me the epitome of the prince pipe is an army mount Dunhill shell briar from the patent era. And a few months ago I managed to acquire one on e-bay! Not easy because 1. they only sporadically become available and 2. are VERY expensive. But being Dutch (read: cheap hehehe) I managed to get it for a really good price. I just got lucky that I bought it from someone who did not know much about pipes. All hail to the pipe-smoke God.

Currently my prince collection consists of the following pipes:

GBD New Standard rusticated

GBD New Standard rusticated

GBD New Standard

GBD New Standard

Peterson prince from 1923

Peterson prince from 1923

Dunhill Shell Briar from patent era (1927 or 1928)

Dunhill Shell Briar from the patent era (1927 or 1928)

Dunhill Bruyere from the patent era

Dunhill Bruyere from the patent era

Dunhill Root Briar from 1962

Dunhill Root Briar from 1962

Precious Penzance

Penzance

Penzance

Background information: The range of Esoterica tobaccos was founded by Steve Richman, the owner of the Piedmont Tobacconist in Oakland, somewhere halfway the 1980’s. He was looking for someone who could produce his blends. Tobacco company JF Germain and Son on the British Channel Island Jersey heard about his interest and made contact through the British embassy. They must have been what Steve Richman was looking for because they started doing business together immediately. For the evaluation of the created blends Steve Richman founded a panel in which GL Pease also took place. The tobacco about which this review goes, Penzance, was fashioned after Smokers Haven Krumble Kake (which was already made by Germain). The only difference was that Penzance contained more latakia. Later Steve Richman found that just running his business was enough for him and he wanted a bigger and better distribution for the Esoterica range. So he sold everything to Mike Butera who, according to mr. Pease, did not change the recipes. In 2009 Butera Pipe Company’s entire line of pipe tobacco blends, plus the rights to the Butera Pipe Tobacco names, was sold to US distributor Arango Cigar Co. Yes, the same company who now holds the right to the Balkan Sobranie name in the US.

99994054196828508_UEMbZcXt_c07.30 am on a weekly day. *Beepbeepbeep* I awake startled, set off the alarm and smack a few times with my mouth. Jeepers! What a smell, what did I do yesterday? My sleepy brain sits down to work. What did I ate last night.. Noodles with chicken. No it’s not that. What have I been drinking? Water from the tap, it’s not that. Did I do certain things with my girlfriend Ellen? Yes but no, not that. Oh wait! I remember! Yesterday I smoked Esoterica Tobacciana Penzance! The tobacco that you enjoy extra long no matter what you eat and how well you brush your teeth.

esoterica_penzance_packagesPackage: The by JF Germain and Son on the British Channel Islands made Penzance comes in two packages. 1. A tiny gold tin of 2 oz. with a label that could be printed on a standard house, garden and kitchen printer. 2. An airtight bag in which the loose tobacco occupies 8 oz. Personally, I use a tin which I fill up with Penzance from the bigger bag when it is empty.

esoterica_penzance_contentsContents/composition: “Finest English mottled flake” says the tin. It is a wonderful complex secret recipe of the finest Virginia, choice Turkish, Orientals and Cyprian Latakia. All hand blended together, hard pressed and broad cut into thick flakes. This is what they call a crumble cake (no not THE Krumble Kake) and it is a rightful name. The tobacco already crumbles when you shout too hard at it: Clan (by Theodorus Niemeyer) is the best tobacco ever!!

noseSmell from the tin: Wow, uhm .. Fierce, penetrating, leathery, earthy. If you know the smell of a freshly ploughed field when it has just rained just know what I mean. Seasoned pipe smokers who can not smoke in the vicinity of their girlfriend / wife, you simply have to smell it to get a kick out of it. I think that when you leave it half open on the ground it would make a fine ant-exterminator.

The old press at Germain in which Penzance is made

The old press at Germain in which Penzance is made

Taste: The first time I lit it, I just thought: Whoa! Greasy smoke and flavor! Latakia! You can say that other tobaccos are coffee but this is espresso. I also tasted an after-taste that I could not place until a number of pipes later: salty licorice (a candy in Holland)! Not that that dominates in a nasty way, it actually belongs to the whole experience. The smoke is very smooth (Penzance will not bite even when you step on it) with ever present Virginias waving in and out and hints of orientals coming forth halfway the bowl. A class act from the creators! According to Robert Germain the secret is the time that Penzance stays in the press: 14 days. Disadvantage, oh well, disadvantage, depending on how you look at it, the taste lingers in your mouth for a loooong time. As described above, you have fun of it the next morning and afternoon. Avoid actions and intimate conversations with family and colleagues.

pipeCombustibility: The flakes are very moist / oily. It is recommended that you let them dry out a while before smoking. The flakes from the large 8 oz. bag are even more wet / oily. Once you’ve lit the pipe they burn a long period. I lit a pipe at the beginning of a soccer match. At the end of the match I was not through yet. Life can be good.

thumbsRoomnote: Too bad the tin is so small. Otherwise they could have added: This tobacco scares away mosquitoes, birds, rats, nagging wives and door-to-door salesmen.

IMG_0418Miscellaneous: The tobacco crumbles easy so filling the pipe is even for folks who are not used to flakes not too difficult. If the pipe is filled you need to gently treat the tobacco and when smoking don’t tamp too hard. If you are too heavy handed with the tobacco, you get a wet lump at the bottom of the bowl. Talking about the bowl, I discovered that this tobacco tasted the best in a somewhat larger, relatively shallow bowl. I liked Penzance best in a prince model pipe. That is when you give the tobacco the opportunity to really shine. As for the vitamin N, I found this tobacco to be spot on. It makes me nice and relaxed but without any side effects.

moneyPrice: Penzance is very difficult to obtain, and that is going on for years now. Occasionally a small shipment is sold in a (online) tobacco shop but when the great crowd of Penzance enthusiasts discovers that, it is sold out in no time. If you have the luck to be there on time than you pay for a tin ± $ 10.15 and a bag ± $ 28.95. Of course you can often buy Penzance on ebay, but those prices.. *pheww* And as it takes longer for a new shipment to arrive, the prices only get higher..

011Conclusion: Because of the scarcity of the tobacco people begin to make comparisons with Balkan Sobranie and Bengal Slices. There is great fear that Penzance also disappears (Ok, Balkan Sobranie is back now). Although that is not true and there is no evidence for it. The thing is that there are so many fans that JF Germain and Son can not keep up with the production, they are only a small company. But the large fan base does point out one thing: This is good stuff of great quality! Not for everyday use, but if you’re sitting on your own in the evening in your living room or porch without having anything to do, Penzance is your best friend.

Oh Penzance, my Penzance,
What penitence I pay for my Penzance.
And yet what puissance I have for my Penzance.
To hold and to love, to long for and to wait,
As my pince-nez falls, I note:
For where there is a presence, there is Penzance,
A renaissance of prescience required,
Fore there shall I wait, for my penitence
For my love, my Penzance.