Thank you for joining us for The Pipes Magazine Radio Show—the only radio talk show for pipe smokers and collectors. We want to thank you for listening and being one of our loyal 15,000 weekly fans. In tonight’s "Pipe Parts" segment Brian will discuss military mounts, spigots and other pipe adornments. We will have a holiday gift guide in the mailbag segment. Our Featured Interview tonight is with Rachel Campbell. Rachel is a young, energetic and enthusiastic pipe smoker and a YouTuber. She is a delight to talk to, and to listen to. Her grandfather smoked a pipe, and then her husband smoked a pipe, so she finally became intrigued enough to do the same. Our pipes are packed, drinks are poured, the sound check is done … pack a pipe, sit back, relax and join us for The Pipes Magazine Radio Show.
G. L. Pease
After a few hundred years of people smoking pipes, you’d think we’d have figured it all out. It seems a simple thing: Choose a pipe, fill it with tobacco using whatever well practiced technique is currently in fashion, properly apply the preferred source of flame, and sit back to enjoy a lingering, fragrant smoke. Pipes have been figured out, and we’ve got tobacco growing and processing well sussed. There really should be few surprises left.
This morning, as I filled my pipe with the tobacco I’ve been smoking almost exclusively for the past couple months, certainly long enough to understand how it behaves, how it tastes, I was prepared for nothing more or less than a great smoke, and that’s just what I was having for the first third of the bowl. Then the bells rang. It’s happened to most of us. We’re peacefully smoking away, enjoying the experience well enough, when something changes, calling out for our attention, shaking us from our quiet reverie.
Regular readers will note I’ve been systematically making my way through the product lines of Sutliff and Mac Baren over the last year since the latter bought the former. Getting to know these two blenders’ wares in such an intimate fashion has garnered valuable insight into what makes a tobacconist’s trademark flavors and techniques, and how they differ from their competition. Through many blends I’ll note the recurrence of certain tobaccos, appearing like all-stars in a lineup: Mac Baren’s “special” Cavendish, for example, with its signature maple sugar casing, or a certain combination of a bright Virginia and burley evident in many of Sutliff’s offerings. Read More…
It seems like only yesterday, at times, that I started out working in a tobacco shop, yet it was actually 37 years ago. The landscape was much different then. Our focus was pipes and tobacco- nearly 75% of our business was pipe related. Premium cigars amounted to less than 10%, with machine made cigars being much stronger, and the balance was in accessories and the like. Through the end of the seventies and into the eighties there was a precipitous drop in pipe smoking, yet somehow, pipe smoking survives.
G. L. Pease
Anybody want to guess what I've been up to over the past couple weeks? New product releases are always fun, exciting, scary, and often a little frustrating, as filling the pipelines takes time, and everyone, including me, gets impatient with inevitable early shortages. It takes time to catch up, but it eventually happens; that's all just mechanics. What's the scary part? Waiting for the reactions. As with any performance, the early reviewers and critics can either bolster the performer's joy, or make mincemeat of their sometimes fragile confidence. As a blender, it's not me who is on stage, but the script that I wrote, the production I directed. So, it's pins and needles time as I sit sheepishly in the back of the hall and the spotlight falls on the new blend. It will be that way for a while, until the audience either applauds or gets up en masse to leave the theatre and I hide under my overcoat. To take my mind off it, I could either drink heavily, or dip into the mailbag and see what interesting questions wait to be found. I'll choose the latter. For now. Let's get started.
I'm often asked, "How do you taste so good?" to which I reply that in a former life I was a chocolate éclair. Seriously, though, reviewing tobaccos for publication is a bit of work, but perhaps not as trying as one might think. People often tell me they don't have as refined a palate as I do, or some other such nonsense, like, "I don't know how to describe the taste; I only know what I like and what I don't." To this I say poppycock and balderdash. If you can discern the difference between blend A and blend B, or hot dogs and chocolate éclairs for that matter, then your palate is refined enough. If you truly can't, then stop reading right here and buy the cheapest tobacco available, because it won't matter what you smoke. For the rest of us, our own rich experience is all the background we need for tasting—that, and a willingness to trust our own judgment.
How many of us can remember the exact moment of our first meeting with what is now an old friend? I can say with confidence that I remember hundreds of them. I have them charted and spreadsheeted, many of them even with accompanying photographs, and I keep track of them all in my trusty notebooks. By now you may have a worried look on your face and fingers on your phone’s 9 and 1 buttons…but fear not, gentle reader. No, I’m not a celebrity stalker; I’m merely a tobacco enthusiast, and this is my story.
For the pipe smoking world, 2013 hasn't been much of a "smoking" ("hot") year.
Oh sure, recently we've had plenty of innovation (and re-innovation) in tobacco blends (Three Nuns and Capstan redux come to mind). And there have been vast strides made in pipe-making from absolutely astounding artisans.
The crafts of tobacco-blending and pipe-making are in a kind of renaissance, maybe even an artistic revolution. Perchance it's not too far off to say that pipes and tobaccos are going through an Age of Enlightenment.
For the pipe smoking world, 2013 hasn’t been much of a "smoking" ("hot") year.
Oh sure, recently we’ve had plenty of innovation (and re-innovation) in tobacco blends (Three Nuns and Capstan redux come to mind). And there have been vast strides made in pipe-making from absolutely astounding artisans.
The crafts of tobacco-blending and pipe-making are in [...]