Thank you for joining us for The Pipes Magazine Radio Show—the only radio talk show for pipe smokers and collectors. We broadcast weekly, every Tuesday at 8 pm eastern USA time and are available on nearly all podcast sites and apps. Listen on your computer, tablet, phone and even in the car! Our Featured Interview tonight is with Glynn Quelch. Glynn is a retail tobacconist, and tobacco blender in Nottingham England. He creates some quite interesting and unique tobaccos that are unlike any others. He also mostly keeps to the old British Tobacco Purity Laws. In "Pipe Parts", Brian will talk about different ways to pack flake tobaccos. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
Here in the Northeast, autumn has most definitely arrived: leaves are rustling underfoot, there’s a chill in the air, and sweaters and scarves are the order of the day. There’s no staving off the season, so one may as well give oneself over to it and enjoy. I’m drinking my tea hot now, rather than iced, and my taste in tobaccos is veering toward the spicier blends, be they Lat bombs or Perique powerhouses. With the changing of the leaves, let’s take a look at some fall leisure activities that are perfect for maximizing your own piping pleasure.
A week ago, through some unusual circumstances, I had an opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Pipe Mecca—Low Country Pipe and Cigar and the headquarters of
SmokingPipes.com. For some pipe smokers with amazing brick and mortar shops nearby their homes, this might not have held the same significance as it did for me. As someone who lives in China, however, I get excited and press my face to the window when I pass a wine store with a single tin of MacBaren Mixture Flake on display for $30. This was essentially my first time in a real pipe shop since I was in college, and there were more pipes on the wall than I imagined possible. There were displays of tins and jars of tobacco in every direction I turned, and I literally giggled as I walked in circles trying to hold myself back. Eventually I made my way to a big leather couch to try to regain my composure, only to find there were more tins available on the coffee table for free sampling than I have open in my own collection.
With pipe in hand, supermodel Irina Pantaeva is turning heads in Hollywood. She’s one of the world’s most sought-after supermodels, an exotic beauty who came to New York four years ago from her native Siberia. A brunette Eskimo, she sought to leave her mark on a profession still dominated by Scandinavian blondes. And leave her mark she did — she’s been photographed for the world’s glossiest fashion publications, and was profiled in The New Yorker by no less a scribe than Jay McInerney — and her lyrically-written new book, Siberian Dream (Bard/Avon, $23) poignantly tells the tale of how she made it happen.
It's Saturday, 4 October as I sit down to scribble out this rather late edition of this column, and as I do so, I'm caught up in a mistral of thought blowing loudly through my head, matching its speed with the activities of the previous month. In the small winery at which I am seasonally employed, we've just taken in the last grapes we'll process this year. It's been exhilarating, exhausting, challenging. Harvest came early for the Pinot Noirs that we do, and the grapes, always on their own schedule, following the whims of nature, came fast. What took place over six or seven weeks last year happened during just under four weeks of September, leaving only some Zinfandel stragglers to arrive on the first day of October. The month was filled with long days of dark to dark early risings (which, as a nocturnal creature, is not in my nature) and late homecomings, sorting, fermenting, punching down, babysitting, temperature monitoring and adjustment, testing sugars, sealing, barreling. I'm often amused by the reaction of people when they learn that I work making wine, thinking it a glamourous thing; the stains on my nails, my hands, my jeans , the aching muscles, the constant fatigue are anything but that. It's satisfying work, though. At the end of a day, there's something real that can be pointed to. That. Over there. That's what we did today.
We pipe enthusiasts are an odd lot; at once an anachronistic bunch who cling to rituals and relics of the past, while simultaneously reinvigorating the hobby via the power of the Internet—we are, right now in fact, engaging in our collective pastime on the web's #1 Source for Pipes and Pipe Tobacco Information. Enjoyment of fine tobacco is a hobby that spans generations, and across these generations, the new technological paradigm has been enthusiastically embraced. It will make interesting study for future historians to explore the ways that technology shapes communication in this century. The marvels that have allowed us to hold conversations across the world at the speed of light have also saddled us with the chaff of pop culture—"reality" television comes to mind.
Since hunting season is upon us now it might be fun to look at some hunting gear. I chose the hunting jacket, pipes and a special watch to limit what could become volumes of material. My father was an avid hunter, pipe smoker and a watch aficionado, so I was introduced to these subjects quite young. Now my Dad, Harry, God rest him, loved to hunt fowl. Mallard, canvasbacks, doves, grouse, quail and crow were his usual quarry. He did not hunt larger game animals. Shooting fowl on the wing meant he was a shotgunner. He did hunt deer once with solid slug loads, but decided he disliked sitting in a blind for long periods having to be silent and motionless, mostly.
The journey begins with the tin itself: the artwork decidedly modernist, abstracting the number 5 and offering the descriptive text of, "BALANCED SMOKING TOBACCO—COOL WITH A RICH FLAVOUR". Is this an act of modernist art in itself—rejecting the formalism of touting one's ingredients, making meta-commentary on the literary tradition of advertising copy—or merely, as my girlfriend suggests, "just the way they want to describe it?" Regardless, once the tin is opened the mystery of its contents becomes apparent: the Latakia in this blend is bold, assertive, and indeed well balanced with the pressed Virginia and burley that complete the trio. Styled as a robust English, the aroma does proclaim itself immediately on opening, but then relaxes a little with some airing time; the bouquet calms and the blend's complexity becomes more apparent. Imagine the smell of a log cabin, slightly musty and humid; stoke the fire, toss on a log of sandalwood, and you can begin to have an idea of the aroma. The ribbons themselves are hearty, chestnut- and reddish-brown, streaked through with jet black. After regaling my girlfriend with a barrage of ruminations on the modernist camp, extolling the virtues of Dos Passos, and gently stoking the ember in my Sasieni billiard, it was obvious that I'd become both smarter and more attractive since opening the tin*. This was promising to be a good smoke.
What do you have when you take the best piece of briar you can find, cut it and shape it by hand, buff it to ultimate smoothness, fit a hand-cut mouthpiece individually crafted to complement the bowl, and polish it with pure carnuba wax to enhance and protect the wood grain with a brilliant luster? Most likely a fine quality handmade briar pipe that will please any smoker. But will it satisfy the demanding standards of Richard Dunhill, who alone decides which of the top-quality pipes his company produces deserve the highest accolades? That is another story, as Dunhill's rigorous grading process determines the following designations for the famed line of Dunhill pipes:
When I was at a recent pipe show I noticed a guy walking around with a messenger bag that looked really nice. I asked him if it carried pipes, and he opened it. The front pocket had room for a tablet and the back pocket had 8 pipes tucked away in individual pouches and all his accessories. I was so impressed that I asked where he got it and he gladly gave me the information and website.
I feel as many of you may feel, when you spend a lot of money on a pipe you worry about how you can protect your pipe when you take it out and about. And when you take it out you may want to bring its friends along for the ride as well. This is where Smokin’ Holsters comes in.
We are pleased to announce the October 2014 Winners for the PipesMagazine.com Cartoon Caption Contest Sponsored by SmokingPipes.com and Savinelli.
1st Place - Jason Strandemo, Clive IA
2nd Place - Michael Satz, Boise ID
3rd Place - J Matt Harnish, Avon IN
Captions are shown below -