Among the many advantages of living in Saint Charles, IL. is the fact that getting to the annual CPCC show, held every year at Pheasant Run Resort, is just a few minutes drive for me. As anyone who has ever attended the CPCC show can attest, it is a pipeman’s paradise, and this year was no exception. The pipe makers and vendors that we know and love were all there, and now that the show is over and everyone has gone home, the “experts” dutifully write, for their respective mediums, the now requisite tobacco and pipe reviews.
I suspect that what I will present here will comprise a somewhat unique perspective of one of this year’s show offerings. I will not write about the new C&D, McClelland, G.L. Pease or Pipes and Cigars offerings. It isn’t necessary. Plenty of others will write those reviews, and deservidly so. In this writers not so humble opinion, these purveyors of pipe tobacco produce and market the finest product available. So much so, that I have come to expect nothing but the best from them, and they rarely disappoint. So I will not say anymore about the firms mentioned above.
What I am motivated to talk about this year is what I call “The Big Surprise”. Altadis. I’ll be more specific. The Altadis “Sutliff” Private Stock Premium series. The Big Surprise for me is that I would not have given you 50 cents for a car load of Altadis pipe tobacco before the show, but after trying a few blends from the Sutliff series, I will be a regular customer. Gone from this series are the aromatics that taste like they were soaked in cheap pancake syrup. I’ve so far smoked “Maple Street”, CD Blend, and their Balkan Blend (the name escapes me, temporarily I hope). All three are delightful blends that produce a nice room note and are easy, relaxing smokes. I would not have classified the “Balkan” blend as a traditional Balkan, because it was just a tad sweet and didn’t necessarily meet the flavor profile of what most pipemen would consider a Balkan, but it was very good none the less, so much so that I will buy it and add it to my everyday rotation, as I surely will CD Blend and Maple Street. Altadis was extremely generous with their samples, so I have quite a number of their other blends to try. At some point in the not to distant future, I will review some of these in detail, but for the present, I felt moved to alert the readership of this fine electronic publication to the Sutliff series from Altadis. My hat is off to Altadis for obviously listening to their customers and producing some fine new blends.
Every year, I leave the show having learned something. This year, my lesson learned was to open my mind and “quit smoking the name” as my pipe smoking friend, “Chicago Pipe” would say. He’s right. There’s lot’s of great stuff out there. I wonder what next year’s show will bring?