Je suis la pipe

Je suis la pipe

Let’s take a quick trip to the long, long ago. Back of the beyond, as the wanderlust mountain adventurer and pipe-smoking author Horace Kephart once said of a hiking trip into the deep woods and ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The time of this Pundit adventure was somewhere in the late 1940s or early 1950s on a peanut farm in the dust-covered and rutted red clay roads of South Georgia.

My grandfather was a farmer of anything that would grow green, including tobacco, sorghum, peanuts, corn, vegetables, and on and on. He even kept pigs around for (uh) slaughter and butchering for his smokehouse. Pipe firmly clinched, grandpa, of course, performed the slaughtering and butchering while his grandchildren cringed on the sidelines.

He smoked a corncob pipe, usually grabbing a browning barn-aging leaf from a hanging stalk. He’d crumble the leaf in his palms, stuff it into the battered and rim-carved cob, strike a kitchen match off a hip of his overalls, and puff contentedly.

I tried an immature leaf once, just like my grandfather. Ripping the match up my backside and puffing.

My pipe-loving friends, that is not recommended. I turned as green as a fresh tobacco leaf. I shan’t tell you the rest. You can imagine if you’ve ever experienced a seismic nicotine hit!

And, ahem, I may have been all of 10 years old at the time. I figured anything my grandpa did was simply fine for moi!

Again, not recommended.

What has me in a reflective mood is the recent bulk and tin order from A nice 16-ounce bag of Gawith Hoggarth’s No. 25 Mixture accompanied by its beauty of a tobacco jar (it’s a tight-locking can) and a couple of small batch tins of Erik Stokkebye’s 4th Generation Resolution.

One of my earlier years of sampling Gawith blends was the hefty 1792 flake. Brothers of the briar, I was slam dunked (please note the reference here to March Madness of bracket basketball and now the Final Four crescendo) once again with a volcanic nicotine eruption!

And those of the Briar Brotherhood who enjoy a bit of history will recall that the Revolutionary Wars in France began in 1792.

The conflicts of that era led to King Louis XVI losing his head (um, ah, via the guillotine in 1793).

This was just one year after old Sam Gawith and Thomas Harrison, his father-in-law, moved the entire kit and kaboodle tobacco operation (snuff was big then) from Scotland to the Lake District of Merry Ol’ England.

The ye olde tobacco equipment from the time of Louis XVI (with head firmly attached before the fatal blow) continues today in use for the famed Gawith and Gawith & Hoggarth tobacco blends.

So the lesson here is to watch those muscular nicotine contents if you are a wuss, like the Pundit.

However, I do enjoy the G&H aromatic mixtures, such as No. 25. Sweet, easy on the tongue, and the nic hit is not a blast of the sweats and other drastic bodily events.

No. 25 is quite easy on the nerves and is an all-day smoke for the Pundit, as are many other G&H aromatics.

I avoid twists, ropes, and plugs with strength ratings off the charts. I’m just not tough enough for these nicotine brutes but admire you pipe puffers who handle them, including something called a bogie, with little or no loud emissions from the netherworld.

And here is trusting that my pipe-puffing pals enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day with your favorite Wearin’ O’ the Green and a pipe full of, mayhaps, Cornell & Diehl’s 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Reserve from the rich mind of talented and creative C&D master blender Jeremy Reeves.

Of course shared with chums over an Irish pint or some Irish coffee, hopefully. And just because St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone doesn’t mean you can’t share a pint with your puffing pals.

And now a note from a pipe-smoking Irish Bard, just to top off the day:

Mistakes are the portals of discovery—Irish author James Joyce.

From the Irish to the greatest of American pipe and cigar-smoking authors, Mark Twain.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, famously known to the world as Mark Twain, was born Nov. 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, and died April 21, 1910, in Stormfield, Redding, Conn.

There are too many quotes from this greatest of authors, but here are just a couple of Pundit’s favorites:

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education—Mark Twain

Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been—Mark Twain

And another tip of the hat to the French Wars mentioned earlier.

Charles Pierre Baudelaire, a pipe-smoking French poet, was born April 9, 1821, in Paris, France, and died Aug. 31, 1867, in Paris.

Baudelaire comes to mind since he penned a poem from the viewpoint of his pipe!

This fell under the collection of Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil). Yes, that’s right. Just a few words from les poem, maestro, if you please:

I am the pipe of an author;
One sees. . .That my master’s a great smoker.

Spring has sprouted (les Pundit is not les poet). That means days are longer and pipes and tobaccos have more time to bring much joy to our lives.

And in our efforts channeling Baudelaire, Je suis la pipe d’un auteur. Until next time pipe-smoking friends.

Special for spring is a delightful collection of pipes and blends. From left, Cornell & Diehl’s St. Patrick’s Day Reserve 2023; Gawith Hoggarth’s beautiful green (natch) lock down tin loaded with Mixture #25.Sitting atop the mixture is a Peterson St. Patrick’s Day 2023 221 fishtail and bringing it all together is a Sherlock Holmes Rua Spigot Milverton P-Lip. (Photo by Fred Brown)

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