Perhaps the most difficult thing to do as a writer, specifically one who is supposed to concentrate on pipe tobacco, is to focus on what I’m supposed to write about when it seems everything else happening around me is much larger. On one hand, if you’re reading this, you’re here to get away from everything […]Read more
Unlike the other folks of the Northern Hemisphere, Americans endure winter. We hardly celebrate or embrace it, and when we do, it’s often expensive, like skiing, or specialized, like ice fishing. There isn’t much in the way of “winter culture.” When I talk to Finnish, Icelandic or Swedish friends, for whom this is a large […]Read more
It was pretty wild to me today as I was writing no “1” in the space allotted for denoting the year. 2019 went out no more spectacular or horrific than any other given year this decade. Personally, if I were to do a review of the last decade as a whole (minus getting through this […]Read more
Bourbon Barrel Aged … fill-in-the-blank … but fill it in with Seattle Pipe Club’s Plum Pudding Tobacco … Holy Shit Dude! Sorry, but that’s what I say. That’s my uncontrollable blurt out for “Wow!”. That was my initial reaction to just the idea, and also my reaction after smoking it. You know that feeling you […]Read more
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- June 28, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 511
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 511! Our featured interview tonight is with pipe maker Nate King. Nate started smoking pipes in 2004, and starting making them in 2005. Prior to that he worked in the Indy race business where as a transmission specialist, precision and attention to detail is a high priority, and this carries over into his pipe making. Nate makes all kinds of pipes from the classic shapes, to whimsical. retro-inspired pieces such as a commission inspired by an old-style microphone. He has also participated in many collaborations on pipe designs, such as with fellow pipe maker Michael Lindner, and tobacco blender Gregory Pease. In Pipe Parts, Brian will have a pipe review, and at the end of the show we will have a guest rant. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- June 23, 2022 Kapp & Peterson Relocates to New Factory
Via press release dated June 22, 2022 – Kapp & Peterson is pleased to announce that as of 23 May, it has relocated to a new facility in the Deansgrange neighborhood of County Dublin — a relatively short walk from its previous home in Sallynoggin. Moving is not something the Dublin-based institution takes lightly. “We were in Sallynoggin for 50 years,” says Managing Director Joshua Burgess. “And Sallynoggin was only our second home after moving from the original St. Stephen’s Green factory in 1972.” Peterson’s staff leaves behind fond memories of Sallynoggin. “The factory in Sallynoggin was my first job,” says Factory Manager Jonathan Fields. “I worked in that building when I got married; I worked there when my kids were born.” “Despite our attachment to the building and the community, the move ultimately made a lot of sense for us,” says Burgess. “When Laudisi acquired Kapp & Peterson in 2018, we were able to sign a four-year lease. As our time in the building came to a close, we took a hard look at our needs,” he continues. Those needs included more space and updated infrastructure. “We reached a point where if we wanted to continue to grow and do things like update our tooling, some big changes were necessary,” notes Burgess. “For example, the electrical capacity of the building had reached its limit. The electrician at one point said, sort of jokingly, ‘No more machines. I can’t add one more machine without doing a serious overhaul of the electrical.’” “Moving the factory was a really big project,” says Fields, “but we wanted to make it happen with as little disruption to the staff and our pipe making as possible.” To that end, the entire Peterson staff pitched in, moving the equipment, tools, and briar that they know best. “We moved all our machinery and pipes in three days,” says Fields. “We left Sallynoggin on a Wednesday and started making pipes in our new home the following Monday.” After four weeks in their new location, the men and women who make Peterson pipes are settling into their new home. “The new place is great,” says Tony Whelan, former factory manager and 50-year Peterson veteran. “When I volunteered to help with the move, I became the first employee in Peterson history to work in three different locations. I’m proud of that.” In addition, Fields notes that the entire staff is getting to know its new neighbors. “The Grange pub is a good place to head after work. They pour a nice Guinness.” Peterson now finds itself with ample space for growth in pipe making and storage. “In the new space, we’re able to group work together in an intuitive way,” says Burgess. “All the machines that are related to drilling — bowls, mortises, mouthpieces — can now be in the same production line. It promotes better collaboration when everyone who’s doing the same sort of work is stationed together.” Sykes Wilford, Laudisi’s CEO, recently worked alongside the staff in its new location. “I’m so pleased with the new place and all the work the guys did to make it happen,” says Wilford. “Peterson has a bright future here, and I’m convinced that the new factory furthers our goal of making excellent pipes, firmly in the Peterson tradition.”
- June 21, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 510
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 510! Our featured interview tonight is part three with Fred Janusek. He is a Doctor of Pipes, and professor of mathematics. Fred is in his early 80s, and he has been smoking a pipe since college in 1957. His first pipe was a very shellac-covered Yello Bole. These are some great stories of back in the day when pipes were everywhere. We will skip our usual opening segment as we have that much good material from Fred. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- June 14, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 509
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 509! On tonight’s show we have a new segment of what Brian calls “Inside Fred’s Head” with Fred Hanna. Fred is a well-known pipe collector, author, and speaker at pipe shows. He has a PhD. in psychology and teaches the same at the Chicago Campus at Adler University. He is also author of the book, “The Perfect Smoke”. This is the eighth in a recurring series with a long form discussion of pipe and tobacco questions sent in by our listeners. In the opening “Pipe Parts” segment, we will have a Father’s Day Gift Guide for pipe smokers and collectors. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- June 7, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 508
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 508! Our featured interview tonight is part two with Fred Janusek. He is a Doctor of Pipes, and professor of mathematics. Fred is in his early 80s, and he has been smoking a pipe since college in 1957. His first pipe was a very shellac-covered Yello Bole. These are some great stories back when pipes were everywhere, including men’s clothing stores. At the top of the show, we will have an Ask the Tobacco Blender segment with Jeremy Reeves. Jeremy is the Head Blender at Cornell & Diehl, which is one of the most popular boutique pipe tobacco companies in the USA. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- June 3, 2022 Pipe Mysteries
Each month, my brain fabricates a few good ideas for this column, and a lot of silly ones. Usually, one of them sticks, and things just sort of flow from there. Sometimes, though, all those thought trains get derailed by some random preoccupation that takes hold with the tenacity of a terrier. This is one of those, for what it’s worth. It started when, stimulated by reading a recent wonderful review in this very publication of my own Westminster, I just had to open a similarly aged tin. For no discernable reasons, I’ve spent the past several months smoking mostly Virginia dominated blends, some with perique, some without, some with orientals, some with just a pinch of latakia. Those who have followed my follies for any length of time will recognize this as somewhat anomalous, as I’ve almost always been a bit of a steadfast latakia-phile, especially in the cooler months that we’ve now left behind. But, all through the autumn and winter months of 2021/22, Virginias have dominated my puffing patterns. I’ve really enjoyed the jaunt, but it was time to book passage back home, at least for a while, and that review was all the fare that was necessary for the trip. I grabbed a tin of a big, full mixture, pulled the ring, and fastened my seatbelt for the ride. That first bowl, after so many months, was nearly transcendent. All those familiar aromas and flavors were just so comfortable, and at the same time so nostalgic. This is the stuff that pulled me to the world of the pipe all those years ago. Aromas of wood smoke and leather and exotic spices that dance in the air and on the palate, reminiscent of those early days when I first wandered into Drucquer & Sons and fell in love with pipes and tobaccos. Back then, Virginias never held my attention for more than a bowl. I’d tried many of them, of course, but again and again, after a bowl was finished, I wanted something more savory, more complex, more Balkan. Those were the blends that felt complete to me, then, that I had a deep relationship with, while the Virginas were just delightful dalyances, a bit of an amuse bouche in preparation for the main, the plat principal which would almost always follow. (And, to stretch that analogy, perhaps to its breaking point, that’s where I’d always stop; I’ve just never been much of a desert guy.) A few days into this rediscovery, I pulled a cherished sandblasted lovat from the rack, filled it from the tin, gently applied fire, and waited for the music to start. The first puffs were like the orchestra tuning up; all those notes from all those instruments were there, if somewhat cacophonous, but then things went sideways. At the second light, the conductor’s baton poised for the downbeat, most of the orchestra, en masse, got up from their chairs and walked off the stage. The relationship between briar and leaf is one of those great and wonderful mysteries to me, and is something I’ve written about before. (cf. The Pipe Doesn’t Matter.) It’s a discussion that often generates more heat than light, but it’s one of those vexing things that never seems to resolve. I’ll never understand those who insist that the pipe doesn’t matter, and this is just another example of why I continue to insist that it does. More on that in a minute or two. This particular pipe is a wonderful example that has provided many splendid smokes, always with Virginia dominated blends. It delivers a richly flavored, effortless smoke, cool and dry right to the bottom. Not this time. It didn’t taste bad or off; it simply attenuated the flavors I was expecting to the point of non-existence, delivering nothing more than warm air to a deeply disappointed palate. And, that’s the WTHH (What The Heck Happened) moment when the preoccupation mentioned in the opening paragraph began. Similar things have happened before, and as any sensible person would, I’ve just switched pipes, stayed calm, and carried on. I’m not always sensible, and this was one of those times, and this was one of the most extreme examples of this peculiar phenomenon I’ve ever experienced. So I chose, instead, to take the opportunity to see if I could learn something, beginning by isolating the obvious things. First off, I could rule out the geometry, the so-called “engineering” of the bowl and airway. The day before, I’d smoked the same tobacco in an almost identically sized, shaped and drilled pipe, and it was superb. To rule out the possibility of “dirty shank syndrome,” I cleaned it thoroughly with several pipe cleaners and some high proof alcohol, let it rest overnight and tried again. No bueno. Visiting the cake, which I prefer quite thin anyway, I reamed it almost to the walls. Ditto. The salt and alcohol treatment similarly had no effect. Neither did a visit to the lab oven with the bowl filled with activated charcoal. I tried drying the tobacco. No joy. Maybe it was me – some subtle change in body chemistry, or an interaction with what I’d been eating or drinking? Was my palate fatigued? Was the climate influencing things in a bad way? Another pipe, known to be more sociable with full mixtures, filled with the same tobacco quickly falsified those conjectures. Waiting a couple more days, I filled the thing from an old tin of UK-produced Capstan blue, and it performed absolutely brilliantly, like nothing odd had ever happened. A bowl of aged Fillmore the next day was equally engaging. Then, another bowl of the aged Westminster. Nothing but an hour of puffing on hot air. In my experience, more pipes form happy relationships with Virginias than with the fuller of the latakia mixtures. Not being much of an aromatic fan, I don’t have sufficient experience with these tobaccos to do more than speculate there, but I suspect they may behave a bit […]