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Spinkle

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2019
333
1,750
38
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I know from the copious anecdotal evidence posted to these forums that I am not the only one that uses TobaccoReviews.com as a source for determining what blends I should try next. When I'm not otherwise occupied I'll often browse around to see what's new and go through regular members' reviews to learn about the blends and see if my tastes line up with theirs.

I often find myself reading up on a blend, and the description or one of the reviews brings up questions, mostly of the not really important variety, but still they tend to gnaw at me a bit.

So, I figured that we could start a thread where anyone can ask a question about something they've read about a blend or the old timers could share some interesting facts about some of the tobaccos. (This doesn't need to be strictly tied to the TobaccoReviews.com site reviews).

Succinctly, I'm thinking this thread could be a repository for esoteric pipe tobacco facts.

Thus, my first question, by way of example:

I was reading through the Cornell & Diehl Billy Budd review page today:

Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd (Melville At Sea) - Tobacco Reviews - https://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/298/cornell-diehl-billy-budd

The blend description states "Billy Budd was created for C&D's late friend Sailorman Jack."

Who the heck was Sailorman Jack? What was his relationship to C&D? Do I have too much time on my hands?
 

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swilford

Member
May 30, 2010
135
76
Little River, SC
Along with Billy Budd - Sailorman Jack, there are a bunch of old alt.smokers.pipes references: Firedance Flake from Samuel Gawith is named for June Stark, an old regular on ASP who passed in the mid-2000s also, for example. I participated actively on Alt.Smokers.Pipes from late 1999 to about 2003, at which point the community was falling apart (for a variety of reasons, but that's a whole other post).

As for general TobaccoReviews history, it was created by Jon Tillman in early 2001 and Jon wrote the code the first couple of versions. I participated in its creation, but peripherally. He sold it to Laudisi in mid-2001 when he joined the company. We worked on it together (though I didn't really write any of the code then) until late-2005 when he left Laudisi. Laudisi maintained the site and I maintained the code-base for about a year at which point Jon got it back and ran it for a few years until he sold it to Speccom, who then sold themselves last year.

Somewhere in there--maybe four or five years ago--Speccom had the code rewritten. Since no work had really been done since 2006, it was terribly dated at that point.

And then a couple of years ago Speccom wiped the user accounts for inactive users and lumped them together under an anonymous account, so a lot of the early reviewers aren't listed (Jon, Bear Graves, Colonel Panic, me and bunches of others) anymore, though the reviews themselves are still there.

Sykes
 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
977
796
Along with Billy Budd - Sailorman Jack, there are a bunch of old alt.smokers.pipes references: Firedance Flake from Samuel Gawith is named for June Stark, an old regular on ASP who passed in the mid-2000s also, for example. I participated actively on Alt.Smokers.Pipes from late 1999 to about 2003, at which point the community was falling apart (for a variety of reasons, but that's a whole other post).

As for general TobaccoReviews history, it was created by Jon Tillman in early 2001 and Jon wrote the code the first couple of versions. I participated in its creation, but peripherally. He sold it to Laudisi in mid-2001 when he joined the company. We worked on it together (though I didn't really write any of the code then) until late-2005 when he left Laudisi. Laudisi maintained the site and I maintained the code-base for about a year at which point Jon got it back and ran it for a few years until he sold it to Speccom, who then sold themselves last year.

Somewhere in there--maybe four or five years ago--Speccom had the code rewritten. Since no work had really been done since 2006, it was terribly dated at that point.

And then a couple of years ago Speccom wiped the user accounts for inactive users and lumped them together under an anonymous account, so a lot of the early reviewers aren't listed (Jon, Bear Graves, Colonel Panic, me and bunches of others) anymore, though the reviews themselves are still there.

Sykes
Bear Graves! His write-ups were always a highlight for me in the emails. I remember that he had a health issue and then he somewhat left the scene. It would be great to hear that he’s doing alright.
 

dcon

Preferred Member
Mar 16, 2019
1,025
1,754
Jacksonville, FL
Sailorman Jack was very active on the newsgroups about twenty years ago and on. He was very knowledgeable and always willing to discuss pipes and tobacco.
 
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BROBS

Preferred Member
Nov 13, 2019
2,686
6,602
37
IA
Along with Billy Budd - Sailorman Jack, there are a bunch of old alt.smokers.pipes references: Firedance Flake from Samuel Gawith is named for June Stark, an old regular on ASP who passed in the mid-2000s also, for example. I participated actively on Alt.Smokers.Pipes from late 1999 to about 2003, at which point the community was falling apart (for a variety of reasons, but that's a whole other post).

As for general TobaccoReviews history, it was created by Jon Tillman in early 2001 and Jon wrote the code the first couple of versions. I participated in its creation, but peripherally. He sold it to Laudisi in mid-2001 when he joined the company. We worked on it together (though I didn't really write any of the code then) until late-2005 when he left Laudisi. Laudisi maintained the site and I maintained the code-base for about a year at which point Jon got it back and ran it for a few years until he sold it to Speccom, who then sold themselves last year.

Somewhere in there--maybe four or five years ago--Speccom had the code rewritten. Since no work had really been done since 2006, it was terribly dated at that point.

And then a couple of years ago Speccom wiped the user accounts for inactive users and lumped them together under an anonymous account, so a lot of the early reviewers aren't listed (Jon, Bear Graves, Colonel Panic, me and bunches of others) anymore, though the reviews themselves are still there.

Sykes
Oh so that’s why all those reviews say “Emeritus Account” ! I had wondered what happened.

that site is a wonderful resource especially on blends with abysmal descriptions at best.
 

Spinkle

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2019
333
1,750
38
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Very interesting responses thanks to all - I hope these memories that I've dragged up are all positive ones. I find it so interesting that the online community has impacted the industry so much over the years - the reference to Firedance Flake is a prime example of this.

I'll see what other questions raise their heads as I continue to search for that "perfect" tobacco.
 

sholto

New member
Apr 18, 2019
40
42
Robert Lewis Tree Mixture was apparently a private blend for one Colonel Tree. Other than being a customer, what else (if anything) is known about said gentleman?
 
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olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
3,970
3,533
Hmm, wonder if there'll be any blends named after or referencing some of the current members and regulars here. Can you imagine Cosmical Flake or Shiver Me Timbers: Duane's Private Stock? How about Ale Hood's Gin Vanilla?

Oh, yeah, the damning, er deeming regulations. :rolleyes: Nevermind, a man can dream...
 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,759
1,621
I find it so interesting that the online community has impacted the industry so much over the years - the reference to Firedance Flake is a prime example of this.
As do I, especially as I have read before that we are such a small subsection of pipe smokers online. Imagine everyone that smokes a pipe that isn't online or doesn't contribute to a forum.
 
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sumusfumus

Senior Member
Jul 20, 2017
388
75
If memory serves me, Sailorman Jack, was at one time, back about 20+ years ago, the president of the New York Pipe Club. This club is still active. Jack was literally, quite a larger-than-life character, to say the least. I was a new member of the NY Pipe Club back in those days, and Jack was an imposing -in a good way- figure.

I recollect, when Jack walked into a room, all eyes turned towards him in anticipation of some ribald, but hilarious comments. I believe he was also known as quite a racounteur of amusing, entertaining, sometimes bawdy, off-color stories.....also a singer of old sea chanties, replete with double entendres.

Sailorman also smoked very strong pipe tobaccos loaded with smoky, leathery, Latakia, mixed with cigar leaf. You could smell him coming a mile away, and that strong tobacco blend gaged me. I didn't care. Back then, I was still wet behind the ears, so I usually would just sit back, and watch Jack as he worked the room.

I wish I had gotten the chance to know him better.
 
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