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What Would Holmes Have Smoked?

(22 posts)
  1. choch

    choch

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    This weekend I've been rewatching the excellent Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series (it's the gold standard Holmes IMHO) now that it's available on Netflix streaming. This evening I was browsing some online stores and came across "Peterson Sherlock Holmes" blend, which is described as:

    "This mixture is made from an old Irish recipe dating back to 1880 and is one of the finest tobaccos smoked in the time of Sherlock Holmes. The high-quality Virginia and burley blend pocesses all the natural flavor and aroma associated with Premier Virginia tobaccos"

    This got me thinking, what were high end pipe tobaccos like in 1890's England, and what would Holmes (were he a real person) have been smoking? Any thoughts??

    Cheers,

    Craig

    "I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking tobacco and also the drinking of alcohol before, after, and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."
    Winston Churchill, Said during lunch with Arab leader Ibn Saud, when he heard the king's religion forbade smoking and alcohol
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. kabong30

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    I'm in the same boat on watching Holmes. Just got started on season 2 I'm also a big fan of the new BBC series but there is decidedly less pipe smoking (read, none).

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. schmitzbitz

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    A strong black shag kept in a Persian slipper hung on the mantle. Usually smoked in a clay, oily black with use, but sometimes in a "cherry wood" dark with age. As Holmes was an addict of the strongest sort, this would likely be a very strong blend - I can envision something like Tambolaka fitting the bill.

    Watson smoked ships tobacco (a rope, I suspect) prior to his engagement, however switched to Arcadia mixture to appease the fairer sex.

    McClelland has a take on both - and a third tobacco only mentioned by room-note in the tome, Honeydew.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. judcole

    Jud

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    Peterson's Sherlock Holmes is am enjoyable smoke. Need to grab a couple more tins.

    Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
    Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close
    Rudyard Kipling
    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. cortezattic

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    Like schmitzbitz alludes, it must needs have been rugged stuff. Think nicotine, not nuance!
    I seem to recall from one of the stories that Dr. Watson complained about the room note, or perhaps just the choking volume of smoke.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    .
    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. zanthal

    zanthal

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    I thought some mention of the type of tobacco had to have been mentioned in the books (which I have not read).

    I don't remember where it's based, but there is Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club... I'm smoking Great Hiatus right now actually.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. hobie1dog

    hobie1dog

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    I think he liked "Walnut" You know, something he could have bought at CVS

    Earth: The Insane Asylum of the Universe. Nowhere else could things be more messed up.

    Does a culture based on separation and competition, of scientific sophistication and mideval religion, offer happiness even as it ravishes the Earth that sustains it?
    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. irishsmoker

    irishsmoker

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    Think of the most dry and fowl smelling nicotine heavy tobacco you can think of, and that is what Holmes would've smoked.

    "May my last breath be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled in a jest." - Charles Lamb
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I am several years removed from reading Doyle. But did not Holmes reach for the black shag when he had a difficult case or was partaking of the 7% Solution.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. spartan

    Spartan

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    Straight Dark Fired Kentucky Leaf

    "I was born to lose. So I'll die to win." -Breaking Benjamin
    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. baronsamedi

    baronsamedi

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    What he smoked was probably strong and cheap. Probably tasted like a black shag RYO from the drug store and loaded with nicotine!

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. ohiopuffer

    ohiopuffer

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    Being a genius wouldn't he probably have experimented blending his own tobacco?Just a thought as I do not know alot about Holmes I have never read any books but a friend has suggested I watch the series you guys are talking about.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. mluyckx

    Belgian Mick

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    Straight Dark Fired Kentucky Leaf

    I agree based on reading the books that it would have been a dark, strong, shag-cut, heavy nicotine tobacco with a unpleasant room note. I have one.. Gawith & Hoggarth Kendal Kentucky

    Shag: check
    Dark: check (although not quite black)
    Strong: check (it's 100% dark fired Kentucky)
    Nicotine: check (it can give me a buzz.. and I smoke nails for 30+ years)
    Foul smelling: If I believe my wife.. double check

    MIght be on to something.... all I need is a old "disreputable" clay, black with age, or an oily briar

    "The fact is, squire, the moment a man takes to a pipe, he becomes a philosopher. It's the poor man's friend; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes a man patient under difficulties. It has made more good men, good husbands, kind masters, indulgent fathers, than any other blessed thing on this universal earth."
    -"Sam Slick, the clockmaker" aka T.C.Haliburton
    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. schmitzbitz

    schmitzbitz

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    Good call there Mick; I think you are onto something - according to the Samuel Gawith site, Gawith Hoggarth first opened their doors under the G&H name in 1878, focusing on "twist tobacco" while Samuel Gawith focused primarily on snuff.
    We also know that Conan Doyle was a student until 1881; then spent time at sea on a whaler prior to opening his failing medical practice in 1882. It was here that he first began to pen the iconic detective stories, with "A Study in Scarlett" first published in 1886; making the good doctor (and by extension, the detective) contemporaries of G&H tobaccos. What I can't determine, however, is just when G&H blends were introduced - SG has a much better history available - and just how far-reaching G&H blends were - I can't find any evidence of A.C.D. having lived in the Kendal region, but rather Sussex, Hindhead, and Edinburgh (which isn't to say he wasn't influenced by the Lake District; I just can't find solid evidence to support this).

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. dochudson

    dochudson

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    What he smoked was probably strong and cheap. Probably tasted like a black shag RYO from the drug store and loaded with nicotine!

    Five Brothers?

    I Enjoy Aromatics
    I Enjoy Peterson Pipes
    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. romeowood

    romeowood

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    Escudo

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. baronsamedi

    baronsamedi

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    Escudo covers the strong part!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. gecko13

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    Anybody know where I can get a sample of Tambolaka ?

    "To Learn Who Rules You, Find Out Who You Can't Criticize" Voltaire

    "The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected..."
    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. lraisch

    lraisch

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    McLelland's makes their "221B series" based on blends mentioned in the canon. The Black Shag is awful stuff, though probably just as Holmes prefered (remember he also smoked cigars and cigarettes).

    The Arcadia (Watson's blend) is quite good, a nice mild English.

    I also enjoyed Honeydew to a certain extent.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    gecko13 asks

    Anybody know where I can get a sample of Tambolaka ?

    4noggins carries it, but they're currently (6/2012) out of stock. No great loss in my book -- cigar leaf and Burley.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. zanthal

    zanthal

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    I think he liked "Walnut" [:laughat:] You know, something he could have bought at CVS

    hobiedog has a good point. What makes Sherlock Holmes notable is his passion for logical deduction, not his choice of tobacco.

    But Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club's Great Hiatus is the one blend that I could actually conjure up any sense of the Holmes stories while smoking. I'm sure it's entirely subliminal because of the name

    Is the Jeremy Brett TV series any better or worse than this latest incarnation?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. jiminks

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    At least Holmes didn't smoke Mixture 79!But maybe Lestrade did!!

    Posted 1 year ago #

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