I’ll be honest, one of the things I enjoy most about this job, besides the feedback, learning and discussions that come from it, is the freedom I have. My boss is cool, and I can sit anywhere and write about anything I like, as long as it focuses on pipe tobacco. I also enjoy choosing what I get to smoke. Sometimes I have space between manufacturer’s new releases to smoke and I am able write about something that comes from my heart, and my experience—not just flavor nuances and chin-scratching about what leaf may lay inside. Lately, and possibly due to members recently discussing “Quiet Nights” by GL Pease, I’ve had a proper craving for something familiar, something I can hang my hat on. Writing these reviews can be like shaking hands with one hundred new people, it’s all very exciting, however it’s nice to sit down and take a breather with a familiar friend you don’t have to explain yourself to, nor they to you. History is important.
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 389! Our featured interview tonight is with Rich Lewis. Rich is a Pipe Maker, Tobacconist, Tobacco Shop Owner, and Musician, and has almost 50-years in the industry. He started working in his dad’s store, The Lewis Tobacco Shop, in 1972 when he was 20-years old. In the 80s, he studied with some of the finest pipe makers in Italy and England. Rich is known for the “Armadillo” bowl shaping. He also makes great standard shapes. Rich’s son, George also makes pipes with him. In Pipe Parts Brian will answer a listener’s question on Dunhill Pipes, and discuss different eras of Dunhills. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
I had a chance to sit down with Chris Gawith and chat to him about his two brands, Samuel Gawith and Gawith and Hoggarth. It was an audio interview, so I have transcribed it as such.
Are you thinking about dropping one of the brands?
No, not at all. They are all made under the same roof; when Sam Gawith came over to us we bought the men, machinery, and the brands, basically everything just sort of moved, more or less all of them stayed, maybe one or two decided to move on. It has been run up to now as just their company under our roof, which works to a point. But now we’ve discovered what the demand is, but the two brands will remain as they are.
The problem with leaving it just at that stage which we are trying to address. You can’t operate as a business with two teams of people; we need to manage the equipment and the human resources to deliver what pipe smokers want us to deliver. Gawith Hoggarth can produce tobacco a lot quicker; it’s just the nature of how the tobacco is made at Samuel Gawith.
Have you ever had this thought cross your mind: your tobacco cellar, chock full of all those terrific blends from yesteryear, are likely to outlive you!
Yes, I have!
Just the other day, when I was taking stock of the elder cellar, of which I pride myself upon, a light dawned.
Ladies and germs, uh, gentlemen, this tobacco cellar is broad, deep, and comprehensive.
Bring on the tobaccoalypse, I said. My cellar can weather the storm and keep on sailing.
Back in the 1980s, I commenced with this maxim: Buy one tin to smoke, one to the cellar.
That worked well for many, many years. Now, let’s fast-forward to the 2000s.
When the feds began sword rattling about wiping out tobacco blends as we know them, my cellaring habit became severe.
Last May I attended the Chicago Pipe Show, and the first person I saw was an Englishman named Reggie Stevens. Reg lives in Birmingham, England and speaks with the accent of someone who has lived in the north of England his whole life. He sounds a little like Ringo Starr.
“Reg!” I said, “It’s so good to see you!” as I gave him a big bear hug.
“Well, I’ll tell you, mate,” he said, “I’m feeling a little better now. My wife of 54 years died in January, and this is the first time I can feel the cloud lifting a little – because of all the love and friendship there is at this pipe show.”