Confidential sources exclusive to PipesMagazine.com tell us that the fabled Semois tobacco, made by Vincent Manil in Belgium, will be imported into the United States and be available for purchase in January 2014.
This tobacco is so unique and rare that The New York Times published an extensive article on it. Our own Gregory Pease was interviewed for the NYT piece, and he penned an introduction to it; When Tradition Endures.
We are told that Mr. Manil is finalizing the Customs and Border Patrol approved English labels for export to the US and that by the end of January the product will be shipping out to customers from the domestic importer.
Here are the details we have so far …
1. The release of Semois in the US is confirmed to be taking place in the month of January.
2. The initial release will include solely La Brumeuse (thick cut) pipe tobacco, but plans are to introduce new products over the coming months.
3. The product will be available through only one online retailer…(this is due to the next detail…)
4. Since Semois is a hand-roasted artisanal tobacco, the supply is very limited. Vincent can only produce a certain amount each month for the US. (This is not much different than the situation with J.F. Germaine & Sons.)
5. It will be available in 100g and 250g packages.
We do not currently have the identity of the importer / retailer, and will update our readers as soon as we have the information confirmed.
It was announced today that Cornell & Diehl, the well-known boutique pipe tobacco manufacturer based in Morganton, North Carolina will be merged with Laudisi Distribution Group (LDG). LDG is a subsidiary of Laudisi Enterprises, run by Sykes Wilford. Laudisi Enterprises is the U.S. distributor for Savinelli products and also runs Smokingpipes.com. The merger of LDG and C&D will be effective January 1, 2014.
The two founders of the companies, the late Craig Tarler of C&D and Sykes Wilford of LDG had done business together for over ten years, and in the process became friends and confidants. Mr. Tarler approached Mr. Wilford with the idea of taking over Cornell & Diehl years ago, but as Wilford puts it; “It wasn’t something we were ready for then.” Tarler, advancing in years and with an eye towards a succession plan, in 2008, brought in his son Chris to help run the business.
Gradually, Chris Tarler took over most of the management responsibilities from his father, and then all of them when the elder Tarler passed in September 2012.
After LDG took over the distribution of Savinelli products in October 2012, they instituted new processes and procedures which created efficiencies that afforded the opportunity for improved customer service, marketing and product development. While Wilford and Chris Tarler were in the process of working together on special tobacco projects, they became friends and Wilford told Tarler of his success with the Savinelli arrangement.
In an exclusive interview, Sykes Wilford told PipesMagazine.com:
"Since Chris and I are friends, we spent a good bit of time discussing the sorts of things we were doing with Savinelli distribution in our distribution division, Laudisi Distribution Group. As we got talking, it became clear that while Cornell & Diehl were clearly making great tobacco (I’m smoking some right now), there were a number of areas peripheral to their core business (i.e. important things that don’t have anything to do with the actual making of tobacco) that we could help with. Laudisi has a lot of experience with business processes, software, logistics and marketing. Further, we think that with the help of Laudisi Distribution Group, perhaps Cornell & Diehl–along with the other brands they manufacture, such as G. L. Pease and Captain Earle’s–could be more widely distributed into smaller shops across the country. We decided to start exploring the possibility of Cornell & Diehl joining the Laudisi family of companies."
"Ultimately, we worked out a deal where Chris Tarler and Patty Tarler, the owners of Cornell & Diehl, would become part owners in Laudisi Enterprises. Chris will join Laudisi as VP for Manufacturing and the entire C&D staff will become Laudisi team members. Keith Toney will move from C&D to LDG as we shift the distribution for C&D to LDG for the US market. Manufacturing will continue in Morganton, NC at the current C&D facilities."
Wilford stressed that there will be no changes to the tobacco blend recipes. Some of the tin art will change, and the C&D website will get a much-needed makeover. Direct-to-consumer sales will cease, but special orders can still be placed through any retailer interested in doing so.
Cornell & Diehl will maintain the same phone number and facilities so they can still be reached just as before.
Wilford summed-up by saying; "I’ve long been a fan of Cornell & Diehl’s tobacco and good friends with the Tarlers. Working on all of this with Chris and Patty has been really rewarding, learning about their business and about making tobacco (at a level of detail that I didn’t know existed) has been a ton of fun. Helping them with technology and marketing has also been a lot of fun. I’ve known for years that they were great people; I’m excited that Chris and I will be working closely to make Cornell & Diehl even better than it already is."
We asked Chris Tarler what excited him most about the new arrangement and he said; "The fact that the day-to-day administration of the business is lifted from my shoulders and I can concentrate solely on being creative with new blends and production has me extremely enthused. The company has been growing so fast that the management duties have grown to take up too much of my time. Now we can concentrate on manufacturing. This will reinvigorate the company for new blend development and increased manufacturing. Orders will be speeded up, customer service improved… this is better for the customer all around."
"It was a dream for my father to secure the future of Cornell & Diehl and this gives us a way to do that. We have such a great relationship with Sykes that this was the next logical step."
We also spoke to Gregory Pease, Blendmeister at G.L. Pease Tobaccos, which are produced by Cornell & Diehl.
Pease asserts; "This is really exciting for me, opening the door for some wonderful new opportunities. Not only will it help expand distribution, making my blends more accessible to a wider audience, but it will also make possible some ideas that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but just haven’t had the business resources to accomplish. I plan on creating more limited edition blends, and have some top secret new projects that I wasn’t able to do before the merger. Additionally, just having more marketing muscle behind the product is going to be good for the G. L. Pease brand overall."
Phillips & King International and Erik Stokkebye are delighted to announce the launch of a fifth 4th Generation pipe tobacco blend, namely “1882 Founders blend”. 1882 - the founding year of the Stokkebye Tobacco Company. This Mixture is the epitome of English tobacco blending tradition and is sure to please the discerning palate. 1882 achieves the perfect balance of Latakia and Oriental sun-cured tobaccos, enhanced by mature Virginias from the USA and complemented by full body Kentucky tobaccos. A classic English smoke using only the finest quality leaf.
This is a must-try for all fans of English tobaccos. Watch for it’s introduction next month.
After a month of speculation and rumors run rampant in pipe forums, it was officially announced today that Capstan and Three Nuns pipe tobaccos would change production houses … and the bigger, more exciting news for Americans is that they will be made available in the USA for the first time in roughly 18-years.
Arango Cigar Co. is now shipping new Wessex pipes along with Wessex classic pipe tobaccos, and featuring them in their pavilions at this year’s IPCPR trade show.
The new Wessex Bristol pipe line takes center stage, finished in smooth ($77 MSRP) and in either black sandblast ($63). Bristol comes in apple, billiard and Dublin shapes, all with black Lucite stems. Each bit has a metal band that inserts into a mating metal band on the shank.
Starting in the 1930s, Albany, NY was home to a legendary tobacconist- The Smoker. The shop was a mainstay, operated by Solomon Levin, first on Madison Avenue, and after being sold to Mel Feldman in 1973, moving to Washington Avenue not far from the Capitol building in the 1980s.
Many pipe smokers looked upon the shop as the place to search for estate pipes of all kinds. The owner for the last thirty years of its existence (the store closed in late-2011), Mel Feldman, has been well known for his knowledge of estates, and particularly Barlings. In fact, Mel picked up the nickname “Mr. Barling” for his extensive background regarding that iconic brand.
But Mel and his shop were also renowned for the widely varied house blends that he made by hand, one pound at a time. When Feldman began appearing at the consumer pipe shows, which began in the eighties, many people around the country were finally exposed to these wonderful tobaccos and became fans. In response, Mel worked with Cornell & Diehl to take his fourteen most popular blends and have them tinned. As a result, even more people became steady customers of The Smoker.
After the new millennium arrived, Feldman realized that the hassle of day-to-day operations wasn’t worth the strain, so he turned to mail order. Unfortunately, due to a questionable interpretation of the laws, New York State forced him to close. It seemed that the devotees of his blends wouldn’t be able to purchase them any longer.
In early 2013, the owner of Pipes and Cigars.com, Scott Bendett approached Mel about the idea of bringing back those original tinned blends, some of which date back to the 1930s. When he expressed interest, Feldman worked together with longtime friend and blender for Pipes and Cigars.com, Russ Ouellette, to recreate those blends.
When Feldman was satisfied that the blends were up to his standards, an agreement was made to have them tinned for sale through Pipes and Cigars. As a bonus for his customers, Mel pulled out the formula for a blend that he had made for well-known pipe and tobacco collector Fred Goldring, and with Mr. Goldring’s blessing added that to the lineup.
To reintroduce these blends in grand style, PipesandCigars.com will distribute samples of the blends at the Chicagoland Pipe and Tobacciana Show on May 4th and 5th, in St. Charles, Illinois at the Pheasant Run Resort. At the same time, 1.5 oz. tins will go on sale on the website.
G. L. Pease
Mike and Mary McNiel of the McClelland Tobacco Company have something very special to present this coming weekend, 4-5th May, in Chicago.
Several 4-ounce tins of rare, very old Dunhill tobaccos were discovered last year amongst company artifacts. These will be on display and made available in a silent auction conducted at their table at the 18th annual Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show.
Fred Hanna and I were present during an informal unveiling at last year’s Kansas City show. Never at a loss for words, Fred said, “These are not collectors’ cans, they are museum pieces.” Included in the lot is a tin of Savory’s Savory Blend, something neither Fred nor I had ever seen.
To say that they are remarkable specimens would be a dramatic understatement. If their considerable age establishes their rarity, their exceptional condition amplifies it. For the tobacco geeks amongst us, these are nothing short of magnificent.
The tins appear to date to approximately 1952-1953. All but the Durbar have intact tax stamps, and all are marked with the Royal Warrant and accompanying text, "By Appointment to the Late King George VI," who held the throne until his death in February, 1952. This text would have been used at least until the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in June, 1953. The tins are puffy and tight, with no pinholes or leaks. Hanna commented, "I’ve never seen anything like this." Neither have I.
Mike and Mary will be accepting silent, sealed bids for these tobaccos during the show at the McClelland Tobacco table in the Expo hall, where the tins will be on display. Winners will be announced at noon on Sunday.
DUNHILL’s Standard Mixture, 4 oz - starting bid $1500
DUNHILL’s Aperitif, 4 oz - starting bid $1500
DUNHILL’s Three Year Matured, 4 oz - starting bid $1500
DUNHILL’s Durbar, 4 oz - starting bid $1500
SAVORY’S Savory Blend, 4 oz - starting bid $1400
A few other interesting vintage tins will also be available. Be sure to stop by at least for a look. These tins are a rare piece of history that simply must be seen.
Kansas City, KS - The Briar Portrait Gallery (BPG) announced today the launch of its newest product, "The Pipe Smoker’s Poker Deck" just in time for the Chicagoland Pipe Collector’s Club Pipe Show. This beautiful 54 card deck features full color portraits of pipes from over 50 of the world’s most beloved pipe carvers.
The initial run of the deck will be packaged in a limited edition "Nostalgia" tin. The run will be limited to 500 decks and will be a suggested retail of $16.99.
BPG founder and deck designer, Dustin Babitzke, is thrilled that the launch will coincide with the Chicago show. "I’ve been working really hard with the playing card manufacturer over the past four months to get this deck just right. When I saw heard the news that the decks would be delivered on the last day in April, I was ecstatic! Chicagoland here we come."
BPG has been a steadfast proponent of the UPCA and NASPC and wants to use the initial release of these decks to help promote Pipe Clubs nationwide.
BPG will be donating 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the deck to a pipe club (registered with the UPCA) of the purchaser’s choice. Pipe Shops and Pipe Clubs around the world will now be able to enjoy their favorite card games while getting to appreciate some beautiful works of art in the process.
This is just the start for "The Pipe Smoker’s Poker Deck" series. Pipe shape specific decks, country of origin specific decks, and custom decks for dealers and pipe makers featuring their logos and pipes are already in the works. Decks will be distributed through BriarPortraitGallery.com and on sale in person at the Chicagoland Show. A limited quantity are available for online dealer and retail store purchasing. For more information on distributing or custom deck design please contact the Briar Portrait Gallery at email@example.com.
About Briar Portrait Gallery
The Briar Portrait Gallery was founded by Dustin "Big D" Babitzke in 2012 to help promote the beauty and artistic expression that has emerged from the modern pipe making movement. The Briar Portrait Gallery has been working with pipe makers and pipe clubs from around the world to showcase the talent and skill of today’s top Artisans. The company’s main goal is to show the world that our hobby is not just about a "quick nicotine hit"but about a fine appreciation of the nuances of materials, craftsmanship, and true woodworking mastery that goes into the creation of a pipe.
Rumors and speculation were running rampant yesterday about the future of PipesAndCigars.com. They were in fact acquired by Cigars International. The confusion and conflicting information was the result of their original intent of not making the announcement until the The Chicagoland Int’l Pipe & Tobacciana Show. The show takes place in early May.
The Chicago show is the largest pipe and tobacco show in the world, so many companies make their big announcements there. Those plans were foiled for PipesAndCigars.com when an email from a former disgruntled employee was posted and re-posted in different online forums—the sender and recipient names having been removed. The email is shown below.
Richmond, VA - Today it was announced that the Mac Baren Tobacco Company of Denmark has agreed to buy the Pipe Tobacco Division of Altadis USA in Richmond, Virginia. The transfer of ownership will be final on or about May 1, 2013.
With the new ownership comes a new / old name for the company. Altadis USA Pipe Tobacco Division will now be a stand-alone company named Sutliff Tobacco Company. This was the original name of the business when H.W. Sutliff founded it in San Francisco in 1849.
All production and distribution will remain the same, including product lines that do not contain the Sutliff brand name, such as Tobacco Galleria pouches. In other words, everything made in the Richmond factory will continue to be produced and distributed just as before. The product mix will not be limited to Sutliff-branded products, even though that will be the new company name.
In time, the pace of new product introductions from Sutliff is expected to increase, and there may be new jobs created with the need for an expanded salesforce. (No layoffs are anticipated with the new ownership.) Additional salespeople may be needed to take over the Mac Baren distribution from Phillips & King International.
As part of the deal, Sutliff Tobacco Company will be the new U.S. importer / distributor of Mac Baren products. There are synergies with Sutliff’s stronger focus on pipe tobacco, which should increase market share of Mac Baren products in the U.S. Sutliff’s retailer-base is more closely aligned with Mac Baren’s. The former distributor, P&K is involved in several other product categories that did not afford them the opportunity to focus solely on pipe tobacco. (All Mac Baren products will continue to be made in their factory in Denmark. See the factory video tour here.)
In a quid pro quo, Mac Baren will distribute Sutliff products outside of the U.S. It seems both organizations are poised for increased sales and market share globally.
In a telephone conversation with Paul Creasy, the former General Manager of the Altadis division, and now President of the new company, he spoke about how this deal will reinvigorate the Sutliff Tobacco Company. "The last time this company was owned by an actual pipe tobacco company was 1969! This deal has been in the works for over a year, and I’m thrilled to have it come to fruition."
"Commonwealth-Altadis is in the cigarette and cigar business. Pipe tobacco is so different and so small that it doesn’t even merit an asterisks in the annual report. On the other hand, The Halberg Family has owned Mac Baren Tobacco Company for 125 years. They are pipe tobacco people." (In other words, they "get it.")
"I’ve known all of the guys at Mac Baren for years. I’ve been to the factory in Denmark, we see each other at shows… you should remember to always be nice to people because you never know who you’re going to end up working for."
Creasy explained that being owned by an actual pipe tobacco company will make it much easier to allocate resources for new products and marketing. He expects there to be an increase in new product introductions and promotions as the bureaucratic handcuffs have been removed, so-to-speak.
"It’s hard to make the case for a new flake that will set the pipe tobacco world tingling, but not even register on the radar of a large company—cigarette people deal in billions, cigar people deal in millions and pipe tobacco people deal in thousands. Thousands still means something to us. They don’t mean as much to very large corporations. Expect to see more new products and promotions in the future."
Since the Sutliff Pipe Tobacco Company has such a history, and part of the appeal of pipe smoking for some people is the nostalgia, we asked Creasy if some old, historic Sutliff blends may be brought back.
He quipped; "Well, we could bring back Carolina Queen, which was probably last on the market when Benjamin Harrison was in office." (Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the U.S. from 1889 - 1893.)
History of Sutliff Tobacco Company as told by Paul Creasy via telephone
It’s a long history. When I originally came to the company 25-years ago, it was referred to as the Sutliff Division (1988). The Sutliff family owned the company from 1849 to 1969 when it was bought by Consolidated Cigar. Gordon Sutliff the great, great, great nephew of the founder of Sutliff comes to our Christmas party every once in a while. He sold the company to Consolidated Cigar in 1969.
Consolidated Cigar went through many different ownerships—it was owned by Gulf & Western, it was private, it went public, there was a leveraged buy-out, and then eventually in 1999—Seita, the French tobacco monopoly bought Consolidated Cigar. They only owned it briefly, then Seita and Tabacalera De España merged (and this is all unrelated to pipe tobacco - we’re just a rider on this roller coaster ride) … Altadis was formed from this merger. At the same time Tabacalera De España owned Hav-A-Tampa and Seita owned Consolidated Cigar, so now the two major cigar companies in the country are merged together because their two parent companies merged. That was around 2000-2001. Altadis USA was founded as a subsidiary of the parent company in Spain.
Altadis was then purchased by Imperial Tobacco in 2008. Prior to the purchase of Altadis, Imperial Tobacco owned Commonwealth Cigarettes here in the United States. Commonwealth Brands (cigarettes) and Altadis USA (cigars) merged to become Commonwealth-Altadis USA. In the meantime, we’re just this little pipe tobacco company along for the ride.
Commonwealth-Altadis, which is now one company that has just gotten progressively bigger, is selling the Pipe Tobacco Division separately to Mac Baren Tobacco Company. We have now come full circle and will once again become Sutliff Tobacco Company, as a stand-alone, separate business with operations being maintained in Richmond Virginia. We are a separate business from Mac Baren, but owned by them, officially around May 1st.