Balkan Sobranie - The People Behind The Mythic Brand

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misterlowercase

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May 31, 2012
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It's a rather odd tale, how two people from opposite coasts in Russia, one from Bessarabia and one from Yakutsk, first met each other in jail, and within earshot of the hoofbeats of revolution and entrenched cruel xenophobia, could somehow escape the devastation and end up in London Town to form one of the most mythic names in baccylore: The House of Sobranie.
I'd discovered this book a while back by complete accident, then forgot about it, then remembered it and finally got myself a copy --- when it arrived I quickly scanned it for relevant info, interesting but not earth-shattering, it didn't grab me, I sat it aside.
Today I drove my father down for a procedure and knew I'd be in the waiting room and was desperately trying to find something to read, having no luck, but then I noticed this book and grabbed it.
This time I was in the correct frame of mind to absorb the qualities of what this book is, initially I'd thought it'd be tediously boring reading and never really got around to it outside of the quick scanning over.
Well, this afternoon I was totally and fully engrossed with this book, it is a gripping tale, emotional and educational.
Written by a grandson who is trying to unravel a mystery, and a sense of love is felt upon the pages, breathing, giving breath to lost memories while uncovering facts and forming an overall whole.
Right from the acknowledgements,

I was hooked.

...from the lawyer-encircled wagon train, which is all that remains of the UK tobacco trade, David Lewis of the premier cigar importers Hunter & Frankau Ltd introduced me to Robert Emory of Sobranie's very first retail outlet James J. Fox and Robert Lewis Ltd, who generously gave me one of the rare porcelain cigarette boxes which were one of the firm's hallmarks.
The first go round I admit to being a lazy reader and not even attempting to read the first few pages,

but it all came to me eventually I guess, sometimes it's like that, things will just serendipitously hit you when you're at your most receptive.
On page 2 it says:

This is a story of what led to that strange encounter, and of their tale, it is like a nest of enamel-painted matryoshka dolls. Layer by layer, new images emerge. Though they are images of times long gone, of parts of the world even today unfamiliar and hostile, of a family that never made the headlines, the underlying issues and values are much on our minds today: the ineradicable curse of terrorism, the systematic cruelty and criminality of authoritarian regimes and their legions of servants and officials, massive social upheaval and suffering, and quiet courage in the face of adversity.
Then the snowball starts and I'm at page 50 before I know it, time to pop out for a pipe and continue reading --- will probably finish it up this evening because at this point I am completely immersed within that world.
The author says of his grandfather, Mr. Redstone:

David was small - a little over five feet tall - eyes twinkling behind his spectacles, and always formally dressed. His shirts were the kind that required bone and brass collar studs back and front, and cufflinks, and his three-piece suits were impregnated with the fragrance of the rich Yenidje tobacco that was the lifeblood of his business, much as an elderly priest's soutane might carry the faint breath of incense.
It's a thoroughly enriching read,

good for anyone so interested in such, and along the way one picks up some solid history too, I'm not that familiar with revolutionary Russia and it was an extraordinarily complex time, the author has a knack for putting everything in a proper perspective and I'm glad he wrote such a book.
A good book!

From Siberia with Love: A story of exile, revolution and cigarettes

by

Geoffrey Elliott

http://www.amazon.com/From-Siberia-Love-revolution-cigarettes/dp/0413774597

 

thefalcon

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Dec 23, 2012
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I find it very intriguing to learn more of the History behind some of these fabled Blends! Sounds like an enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing ole boy!
Eric

 

deathmetal

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Jul 21, 2015
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I remember how highly prized these cigarettes were in the 1980s. Fascinating history, and something to hunt down at our local library.

 

chasingembers

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Nov 12, 2014
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Books, yet another one of my vices. Grabbed a copy at Amazon for under three bucks. Can't wait, sounds very intetesting, and I do love historical reads. Thanks for the info!

 

misterlowercase

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May 31, 2012
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Another cool unexpected surprise was an appearance by one of my cultural heroes...
page 62
Many passed on from the provincial jails to Moscow's Butyrki prison. It lies on what was once the highway from Moscow to St. Petersburg, near to the Petrovsky Park, whose chateau was said to be the closest Napoleon came to the heart of Moscow. About half of the 1,300 convicts in Butyrki at the turn of the century were 'politicals'. Their communal cells, twelve paces long by five wide, lined by wooden sleeping platforms, held twenty-five prisoners. To the 'house spirits' of the Butyrki and into its generations of warders, a scratching, hawking, feverish prisoner was just another number, whether murderer, revolutionary, poet or peasant; the roster of those who passed through its gates over the centuries is the story of Russia. Some found inspiration. In his first published verse, the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, a troublesome sixteen-year old prisoner whose cell window gave him a sobering view of an undertaker's parlour, wrote in 1919 after several months in solitary confinement:
I learned to love

In Butyrki

Who cares about the Bois de Boulogne?

Who sighs over seascapes?

You know I fell in love with a 'funeral establishment'

Through the peephole of Cell 103.​
 

misterlowercase

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May 31, 2012
4,296
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Might as well add this footnote,

a short manifesto written by David Burliuk, Alexander Kruchenykh, Vladmir Mayakovsky, and Victor Khlebnikov

1917
Пощёчина общественному вкусу
A Slap in the Face of Public Taste

To our readers – an Unprecedented Unexpected First.

We alone are the face of our Time. The horn of time is trumpeting through our lingual arts.

The past constricts us. Academia and Pushkin make less sense than hieroglyphics. Dump Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard the ship of Modernity.

Those who don’t forget their first love won’t recognize their last.

Who would trustingly turn their last love to Balmont’s perfumed lechery? Does it reflect the vigorous spirit of today?

What coward would fear to tear the paper armor from the warrior Bryusov’s black tuxedo? Or does it shine with unknown beauties?

Wash your hands that have touched the filthy slime of books written by countless Leonid Andreyevs.

All those Maxim Gorkys, Kuprins, Bloks, Sologubs, Remisovs, Averchenkos, Chornys, Kuzmins, Bunins, etc. need only a dacha on the river. Thus fate rewards tailors.

From the heights of skyscrapers we look down on their sorry asses!

We order the reverence of poets’ rights:
1. To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with fabricated and derivative words. (word-novelty)

2. To insurmountable hatred for the language existing before their time

3. To wrench with horror from their proud brows the Wreath of cheap fame you have made from bathhouse switches

4. To stand on the rock of the word “we” amidst seas of boos and outrage.
And if your filthy stigmas of “common sense” and “good taste” are still present in our verses, they nevertheless glimmer with the first heat-flashes of the Newly Approaching Beauty of the Word – sufficient and valuable unto itself.
Word.

 

misterlowercase

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May 31, 2012
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That wasn't in the book,

just thought I'd add some context to Mayakovsky.
I was pleasantly surprised to see him show up in the story!

 

deathmetal

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Jul 21, 2015
7,723
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Thus fate rewards tailors.

From the heights of skyscrapers we look down on their sorry asses!

We order the reverence of poets’ rights:
1. To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with fabricated and derivative words. (word-novelty)

2. To insurmountable hatred for the language existing before their time

3. To wrench with horror from their proud brows the Wreath of cheap fame you have made from bathhouse switches

4. To stand on the rock of the word “we” amidst seas of boos and outrage.
And if your filthy stigmas of “common sense” and “good taste” are still present in our verses, they nevertheless glimmer with the first heat-flashes of the Newly Approaching Beauty of the Word – sufficient and valuable unto itself.
I can get behind this. Most of what succeeds is merely popular instead of good.

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Looking around at pipe porn this morn,

and close to pulling the damn'd trigger onna Tupitsyn --- it's taking fierce willpower to resist.
I dig Grechukhin's aesthetic,

http://tobaccodays.com/interviews/vladimir-grechukin-the-new-classics-master/

...but cannot come close to affording an example of his work,

Tupitsyn closely follows along the same lines, but also has a 'facet' influence from Poul Ilsted, and he makes some killer Rhodesians.
Here's a few pipe porn keywords to do in google images iffit strikes yer fancy...
ТУПИЦЫН трубка
КОВАЛЁВ трубка​
ШЕКИТА трубка
Харламов трубка​
Пономарчук трубка
:
:P ...yes,

I am currently in a very Russian mood.

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
http://imgur.com/gallery/6hZjK
:eek:
Odd.
Straight outta Brooklynski!
Favorite comment:

This is the kind of stuff that gets you on a government watchlist
The Present Day Proletariat Refuses to Knuckle Under Imperial Wax Solvent
:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxDq5KKNVbA

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
I remember how highly prized these cigarettes were in the 1980s.
I don't know about USA, but Sobranie cigarettes are still sold here. The interesting thing is the flavor they have. Very distinguishable. By the way, Sobranie means "meeting" in Russian. Whenever you need a Russian speaking person, I am here :)

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Thanks for the info jvnshr.
:worship:

Whenever you need a Russian speaking person, I am here :)
...and much appreciation for the linguistic services offer as well!
What is the Russian word, in Cyrillic, for sandblast?
:?:

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,979
43
Baku, Azerbaijan
@misterlowercase
бласт (blast) - sandblast

пескоструйная камера - sandblasting equipment

бластовые трубки - sandblasted pipes

 
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