James Fox - Provost Mixture
    March 7th, 2017

Kyle Weiss
As changes start to happen every year about this time,
a reversal of what usually happens around October–I start finding I want a little less Latakia and a little more Virginia. It’s true across much of the pipe world: all roads lead to Virginia…once they are cleared from snow, that is. I’ve spent some considerable time inside as the Wild West has been inundated with rain, and in my case, a lot of snow. I’m ready for some sunshine.

James Fox tobaccos aren’t as big a name in my neck of the woods as far as pipe tobacco, yet I do remember spending some time with the company’s products a while back. My predecessor Mr. E. Roberts tackled another James Fox product, Dorisco, which I also dove into in a more casual manner over on another forum. I remember having a good run-in with Campanile as well. As my tastes have been seasonally migrating, I shrugged and nodded as a random tin chose itself for me and fell out onto the floor as I rummaged through my cellar…

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Seattle Pipe Club - Mississippi River
    February 10th, 2017

Kyle Weiss
Is everyone enjoying their February and first steps into 2017? With the snowy weather keeping people indoors, or at least when they are outdoors dealing with snow, and the political climate, media pundits and internet trolls having a great time losing their minds, I’m avoiding it with much success. Snow or public insanity, this is part of why I smoke a pipe, go back to obsolete things like books with pages, and listen to weird music broadcasts on shortwave and medium-wave radio. Usually this is done late at night when the world is sleeping and preparing itself for another day of irrational activities, unproductive participation and self-righteousness.

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Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd
    January 8th, 2017

Kyle Weiss
Normally, I like to showcase new tobaccos that I either have not tried or that have just come onto the scene. This month, however, with the beginning of a new year, I’m going to talk to you about an old favorite and an old standby that doesn’t get a lot of attention. 2016 was an interesting year for me, and for a lot of people perhaps one of the more volatile the world has seen. 2017 can be looked at as a new beginning with new changes and challenges, or it can be looked at as a larger, future adversary of things to come. In either case, an old, trusted friend is usually the best ally to have in any situation. One of those old friends for me is Cornell &Diehl’s Billy Budd. Good for any situation day or night, blue-jeans simple in approach and beat-up pickup in character, there isn’t much that’s particularly fancy about it–and where the charm and beauty lies.

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E. Roberts
The year’s come and gone, as they always somehow do.
World events have been both bitter and sweet, as have personal ones. We’ve raised a bowl to a few broken pipes this year, sadly, but have seen many new pipers take up the mantle. The pipe world stands its ground against encroachment from taxes and regulation, not to mention the flux of social mores, and still we thrive, evidenced by the unprecedented addition of artisans, blends, and new blood to the hobby. One is reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same. For this holiday respite, we’ll look at a blend that changes every year, yet remains of the highest quality.

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Le Petit Robin Semois Tobacco Review
    November 3rd, 2016

Kyle Weiss
Semois is a rich tobacco cultivated and bred exclusively in Belgium that started gaining ground in the US a couple of years ago. Since then, American pipe smokers looking for something a little different to stuff in their briars were piqued. There’s plenty of interesting articles and talk about it on the Internet for those more curious about its history, how it is grown and what sets it apart. For this review, however, I’m going to focus on my time spent with Vincent Manil’s “Le Petit Robin,” the newest of the Ardennes Valley creations. This Semois is different than others, and with reason: it’s a “Semois enhanced” tobacco, with roughly a third of it being Semois, the rest comprising of naturally sweet and lighter (what I assume are) Virginia leaves. The idea of this particular blend is a mellower character than an all-Semois tobacco. Le Petit Robin intends to give a taste of the Semois experience without being overwhelming.

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Kyle Weiss
I wish to begin by stating that the Briarworks’ Country Lawyer (as well as the rest of the line) being packaged in jars is awesome. I know the twist-tins, square tins and “cat food cans” are lovely vessels that serve their purpose, but Briarworks introducing this line of tobaccos in canning-type jars is pretty cool. They’re practical, they’re reusable, and they keep tobacco quite nicely; unless you break them, that is. I use mason jars quite a bit for keeping tobacco anyway. This by itself is worthy of attention, if not it standing out on shelves, or for simply being useful. The labels have a charming sketch on each of the offerings, a round cutout that in this case reads:

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Tobacco Review: GL Pease Temple Bar
    September 6th, 2016

Kyle Weiss
Oh, praise the gods, it’s September.
It’s my second favorite month, mostly because the waning heat gives way to promises of future autumn colors and crisp nights. Shadows start getting longer and the sun starts to creep into windows yet again. Fire pits around the neighborhood begin tingeing the air with wafts of hardwood smoke, long-awaited fruits and vegetables are swollen with tasty promises, and the Sierra Nevada aspen groves & blooming sagebrush give mountain canyons streaks of bursting yellow…

…it’s a lovely time of year. As tree leaves lighten, my tobacco leaves of choice start to darken. Last month I was delighted by “Regents Flake,” one of two new offerings from GL Pease, and this month seems about perfect for the slightly more bold of the two, Temple Bar. The tin goes on to say:

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GL Pease Regents Flake Review
    August 11th, 2016

Kyle Weiss
It’s been a while since there’s been a new GL Pease offering, and this time, we’re getting two: One is called "Temple Bar." The other is Regents Flake, which I’d like to tell you about today. Gregory Pease is a dark and enigmatic fellow as I imagine him; cloaked in long robes roaming the upper floors of some ancient castle, with dusty tomes, quill pens and lantern light flickering off brick walls. He’d be surrounded by countless jars of different shades of unknown leaves, labeled in Latin, large mixing bowls, sadistic wooden boxes with screw-presses and cranks nearby. The smell of his newest creation would grace the air, only interrupted by the joyous cackles of a mad scientist…

…okay, so that’s not exactly how it happens, I’m pretty sure. Greg and I have spoken a few times, and while dark and mysterious, I only wish he had an ancient castle in which to invite me.

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Kyle Weiss
Ever had a hankerin’ for pumpkin pie in July?
Mulled wine in spring? Grilling up hamburgers in a snowstorm? Yeah, me too. This was pretty much me with Latakia for the past week. It might be hotter than the devil’s toenail fungus outside, but here I am, seasonally breaking my own tendencies and smoking an English blend during summer.

It all started when I picked up (yet another) Peterson product, this time a sea-blue pouch of something called “Wild Atlantic.” It tempted me away from routine and circumstantial, seasonal dogma–I’m not much for the smoky stuff this time of year. The pouch of this leaf is inexpensive, and I’ve had some pretty good luck with the Peterson line of non-aromatic tobaccos. Generally speaking, I think most of us (especially in the US) don’t buy too much pouched pipe tobacco. For some reason, it suggests the pipe tobacco might not be quite as nice or quality as something in a tin. The last time I had a good tobacco I enjoyed out of a pouch was Warrior Plug–which the only reason why I don’t think they tinned that stuff was because it would sound like a rock rattling in a bean can.

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Cornell & Diehl: The Beast
    June 6th, 2016

Kyle Weiss
Forgive me for going a bit off-topic right out of the gate.
Personally, I knew it wouldn’t last for long, a new era of piping geared toward hipsterdom, one that started challenging some traditions of our lifestyle and hobby and embracing or even changing others. Pipes are getting artsy and wild, and tobacco has started to follow. There’s a current trend of anti-trend, one that seeks the newest, most obscure and best, with bonus points for being in limited supply. These are crown jewels in the coolest of the cool. Except the point is not to be cool, because cool isn’t cool anymore, if you weren’t aware.

It’s a new era, all right. Subculture is now mainstream, what was mainstream is seen as something boring and static and everything from tastes to experiences are staring to be manipulated by a generation; there is no stopping it. Millennials who are coming of economic age and are flexing buying power for not only them, but their young families. They’re buying and asking for things quite different than their fore-generations, things like exclusive products, saving money so they can live acetic & retirement-like lives now to go travel and explore while they are young–rather than older. They think not so much of the future, but of the now.

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