E. Roberts I’m often asked, "How do you taste so good?" to which I reply that in a former life I was a chocolate éclair. Seriously, though, reviewing tobaccos for […]Read more
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- December 2, 2022 Ghosts of Christmas Present
Two of the larger-than-life names at this time of year, other than the pipe-puffing big white bearded guy in the North Pole, who runs a shop full of elves and reindeer, are the two named Charles—Darwin and Dickens. You probably already know this, if you have been paying close attention to the Pundit, I love the month of December. And, yes, the Pundit makes a gift list, a Christmas card list, a recipe list, you name it, and the Pundit puts it on a list this time of year. And checks all multiple times. It’s the season of rejoicing after a long, hard year. It is the time when we can all come together over a nicely written poem, a Christmas story, a pint, and a pipe, and two of the Pundit’s favorites: a humongous Christmas meal with family, and a new Christmas pipe and tobacco. So, let’s get back to the Charleses before this missive runs amok with Christmas lights flashing all over the place with reindeer a-leaping and elves dashing for cover. Let’s start with the great biologist first. Charles Darwin roamed the South Seas for five years aboard Her Majesty’s Ship Beagle on a fact-finding voyage. The stop at the Galapagos Islands with its infinite variety of critters provided a foundation for the foundational On the Origin of Species (ahem, one of the Pundit’s favorite reads). Now that your appetite has been whetted here is the punch line: The Pundit is not sure whether or not the great biologist smoked a pipe. I’ve found that he did and didn’t because of notoriously bad health. So, we can’t claim Mr. “Origin” as a pipe smoker, but the wonderful folks at Peterson have produced their version of tribute for one of its Christmas 2022 shapes: The Darwin, beautifully outfitted with Peterson’s first-time presentation of a pipe with copper spigot mounts and finished with a lovely rustication and fishtail stem. Naturally, Pundit leaped right in and purchased the Darwin Christmas 2022 Pipe. It is the classic B42 shape, the Darwin. Here is what Truett Smith at SmokingPipes.com says about the Darwin: “In 2009, Peterson released the Darwin “B42” shape in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The English naturalist’s seminal work was published in 1859, just 17 years before another Charles would join Fredrick Kapp in founding the longest-standing pipe manufacturer in the world: Kapp & Peterson. The “B42” is a robust bent Apple, displaying an Author-like substance through the shank and transition that exemplifies Peterson’s signature aesthetic — a perfect homage, to both Charles Darwin and Charles Peterson himself.” Very well said and a perfect picture of a Peterson pipe. Oh, and Pundit also picked up a special Cornell & Diehl “Ghosts of Christmas Present,” blend with which to break in the Darwin. More on this blend in just a moment. And now we turn our attention to one of the greatest novelists of the 19th—and just maybe any century—Charles Dickens. Another recommended author from the Pundit’s library of noted novelists and writers. Each December Pundit and his daughters read “A Christmas Carol” together and talk about its many lessons. Dickens’ novella of Christmas was published in 1843 and has never been out of print! The story tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a penny-pinching aging old coot, who is visited by the spirit of the late Jacob Marley, his former business partner. Other ghosties arrive, too, from Scrooge’s past, present, and future Christmases. Well, if you have never read A Christmas Carol, which Pundit finds hard to believe, there won’t be a review here. Only to say, Scrooge is changed after the ghosts arrive and have their say with him, thus giving him a renewed view of life. You will just have to read the novella to get a better understanding of a great piece of literature. Now, here again, it is not certain that Dickens smoked a pipe. Some accounts say he never smoked because of ill health during his lifespan. Again some stories relate that he enjoyed “latakia” from time to time. But we do know that he wrote some of the best novels of the Victorian era, during Britain’s Industrial Revolution, which was an especially hard time for “street children” who had no home but the hard, filthy life of city slums. Ok, so about “Ghosts of Christmas Present,” blend from Cornell & Diehl from SmokingPipes.com. I picked this blend to go with my Darwin Christmas 2022 pipe because it combines two of the Pundit’s favorite contents, straight Virginia, and a dash of rum flavoring. This sort of hints at the swashbuckling days oer the “wine dark” seas (with poetic apologies to poets everywhere and the nonpareil Homer). And, for a much better review of this special Wintertime Reserve blend by C&D, head over to the nonpareil tobacco reviewer Jiminks. And now a noteworthy mention of an occasional pipe smoker, John Steinbeck. He was born Feb. 27, 1902, in Salinas, Calif., and died Dec. 20, 1968, in New York City. Steinbeck, the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, was one of America’s greatest writers and another Pundit favorite. You just can’t beat The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, Travels With Charley, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and any other piece of writing by this master wordsmith. And now a couple of parting quotes from Steinbeck: “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America And this last, one of the Pundit’s favorites from Steinbeck: “I guess there are never enough books.”― John Steinbeck, A John Steinbeck Encyclopedia Merry Christmas and happy puffing on your favorite blends in the New Year.
- November 29, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 533
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 533! Our featured interview tonight is with Tim Beaumont from Papa Bear’s Pipes. In 2018, Tim quit his job to pursue his passion of wood-working, and began making furniture. He had a piece of walnut wood that looked like it would make a nice pipe, so he made one. Next, he made one from the more traditional briar. Then he made another, and another and so on. We’ve heard similar stories before. Tim’s pipes are beautiful works of art in classic, and freehand shapes. At the top of the show, Brian will have his annual gift giving ideas for pipe smokers. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- November 22, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 532
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 532! Our featured interview tonight is with Sergio Castello, a pipe smoking enthusiast from Mexico. He lives in the capital city of Sonora, Hermosillo, near the border with Arizona. He is a vintner by profession, growing table grapes in his family’s business, Viñedos 2000. His grandfather, a doctor, smoked a pipe, and although he never saw him smoke, he did see the pipe rack in his office as a kid, and would play with them and pretend he was smoking. When he was 18-years old he got into cigars, and then pipes. At the top of the show we have a tobacco review of a surprise gift that went missing for a year and a half of an L.J. Peretti blend. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- November 15, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 531
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 531! Our featured interview tonight is with pipe maker Yiannos Kokkinos. Yiannos is from the Mediterranean island country of Cyprus. He studied Graphic Design in Greece and Fine Arts in Italy and used to work as a designer. His pipes are completely handmade from Mediterranean briar. At the top of the show in Pipe Parts, we will have an “Ask the Pipemaker” segment with Jeff Gracik. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- November 14, 2022 2022 Texas Pipe Show Report
This years Texas Pipe show started out a bit chilly at a balmy 40 degrees. Luckily, it warmed up into the high 50s for the day with the sunshine making it a perfect day in Texas. The quaint “last pipe show of the year,” was a great end to the season with carvers and vendors braving the cool morning to show off their new and estate pipes and pipe related paraphernalia. This was also the first year Kevin Godbee (owner of PipesMagazine.com) made an appearance at the Texas Show. He got a chance to chat with everyone in between judging a cookoff competition at the World Food Championships. The Texas Pipe Show started as a very small trunk show with a couple vendors like the Pipe Tart stopping in on her annual road trip to visit family. In 2017 the Texas clubs combined forces to put on a larger event drawing from all over the state with the North Texas Briar Club, Dallas Pipe Club [Loan Star Pipe Club], Austin Pipe Club, and the Waco Pipe Club with our local celebrity Steve “The Pipe Stud” Fallon. In addition, the Houston, San Antonio, and Abilene Pipe clubs also made an appearance to throw down a challenge at the slow smoke. This years show was hosted once again by Rhonda and Steven Rast, owners of Tobacco Cabana in Cedar Hill, Texas just outside Dallas and Fort Worth. Hosting the pipe show at Tobacco Cabana allows the show to be free to the public and free to vendors and carvers, keeping the costs low. Every year the Texas Pipe Show chooses a charity to work with to donate half the raffle proceeds to. This year the show chose to donate to Cigars for Warriors. Executive Admin Assistant Paul Hinman from Cigars for Warriors was onsite checking out the show and snapped a pic with the shows organizers. Cigars for Warriors is entirely volunteer run with no one taking a salary and is the largest cigar based charity in the US. Cigars for Warriors generally ships out 300-400 boxes of cigars, pipes, and tobacco a month and have shipped over 1.1 million boxes to our active duty soldiers. It’s not cheap to send care packages – they can run over $160,000 a year postal bill to ship all the boxes. Proceeds from this years Texas Pipe Show will go to help offset that shipping cost. And speaking of proceeds, this year the show had a special raffle with a seven-day Ashton Pipe Set donated by Steve Fallon with a description as such: William Taylor made 7-Day Wooden & Leather Encased Set of Ashton pipes. And Taylor himself, in addition to the pipes, also hand-made the wood & leather topped case that comes with removable legs that can enhance the collection further by the presentation of an “Ashton Pipe Table! This fabulous and still unsmoked set of year 1988 Ashton pipes also have Sterling Silver bands. They enhance each pipe beautifully. Five of these pipes are in Taylor’s not often seen Brindle finish and the remaining two pipes are in his Pebble Grain finish. As noted below, all of these pipes are large in size, too. This handsome set comes with Certificate of Authenticity plaque signed by Mr. Taylor himself! Among his many talents, the late William Taylor (dec. 2009), was known for his extraordinary sandblasting abilities, and every one of these pipes do indeed show off terrific sandblasts. The hand made stems are also works of art and made for comfort. And finally, also included will be a plaque from importer R.D. Field, stating that this is the first Ashton 7-Day cased set ever imported into the USA. This years slow smoke was sponsored by Missouri Meerschaum with their donation of clay pipes, and Turbo Tins custom tampers sized down to fit. First prize was a pipe donated by Pete over at Briarworks which had the Texas Pipe Show Logo etched in the shank as well. Additional prizes donated by The Pipe Tart, Steve Fallon, and STG. The slow smoke was an officially sanctioned UPCA regional competition. But in true Texas style they couldn’t be normal. This year they had small clay pipes that were approved by the UPCA. Normally, slow smokes need to be in briar pipes but after chatting with our friends in Europe they agreed that local or regional slow smokes were meant to be community building and not as strict on the rules when it came to pipe choice and cost. So clay pipes it was, and as such, 3 grams of tobacco would not fit in that pipe no matter how hard you tried. Isaac won the slow smoke with a finishing time of 43:04 which for those pipes was impressive. As a winner at the regional show he’s able to compete in Chicago in 2023 and his entry fee is covered. The show had many familiar faces traveling from all over the US. Some new faces as well, selling unique leather products. The show already has a date for 2023 and will have some exciting news about the size and scope. It will be held once again in Cedar Hill, Texas on November 11th, 2023 and since it’s on Veteran’s Day there will be some future updates about the interesting changes coming soon in the new year. Photo Gallery Below Credits James Foster, Kevin Godbee
- November 8, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 530
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 530! Our featured interview tonight is with Fernando Santiago. Fernando is a collector of predominantly Leeds-era Ben Wade pipes along with seconds brands, pipe catalogues and price lists. His collection also includes cigar and cigarette holders and match vesta cases, boxes, pipe sleeves and pamphlets. He has also collected print matter including a company history and advertising. As if that’s not enough, he has also conducted interviews (to the extent possible) with the living descendants of Ben Wade and children of the final proprietors of the company before its sale to Hermann Lane. In Pipe Parts, we have a large mailbag to get caught up on that includes some pipe smoking 101 refreshers. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!