Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

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Rusty
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Rusty » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:57 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:40 pm
Rusty wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:28 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:31 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:19 pm
Rusty wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:17 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:57 am
I did learn, after a little more exposure to pipes and pipemakers, to take some of his more idiosyncratic assertions with a grain of salt.
I've never read his book. But he was the one who provide a nice guide to colouring meerschaums in the spring 2003 issue of P&T magazine. I became a beeswax maniac and a licensed evangelist. Please, if you could, provide a sampling of some of his "idiosyncratic assertions". Maybe there are more manias awaiting. LOL!

Wasn't he the one who 'preached' about opening airways?
Yes, and to a degree I tend to agree with him on that.

His writing is often done without qualification or suggestion of nuance. I'm not sure he is unaware of these complications, but the writing is not rigorous in this regard.

His insistence that all pipes be opened up to 5/32" or even more regardless of other design parameters neglects the interaction of other variables. And in his writing about open airways, in one essay he leaves the impression that simply opening the airway will leave the smoker with a pipe that they can set down for several minutes and always come back to later to find a pipe still possessing a healthy ember.

Another piece similarly lacking in nuance appears to suggest that the quality of smoke a pipe provides is exclusively the consequence (our at least overwhelmingly) of the qualities of the piece of briar from which the pipe is made. That he asserts elsewhere the tremendous influence of airway dimensions would indicate that neither of these assertions, as they appear in separate essays, is intended to be taken as simplistically as they appear - but the writing, as a critic might suggest, is flaccid in this regard.

My guess is that he did not intend to assert either to the degree of exclusivity the individual pieces seem to suggest, but he might well leave many readers with those sorts of impressions. In one essay he creates the impression that he is asserting, for example, that the only difference between the smoking experience of a Chonowitsch and a less expensive production pipe is aesthetic, the quality of that experience lying in the briar not the execution. My experience leads me to believe that some pipemakers have learned a great deal through pipe making and pipe smoking experience (along with innate talent and a gift for pipemaking), and as a result they have developed a rare intuition regarding the almost unknowable number of variables (including but not limited to the size and shape of various apertures within the pipe and qualities of briar) that work together synergistically to create a superlative smoke. The best piece of briar in the wrong hands, in my opinion, will yield a pipe that smokes terribly.

But the point he was trying to make in that essay that snobbery about the stamp on the pipe has no place in our hobby, and that a particular Peterson or Stanwell might smoke as well or better than a particular pipe made by a highly regarded pipe maker, again, is one I agree with.

Once again, it was the lack of clarity in the writing that failed to make his overriding point about snobbery clear.

He received a lot of criticism for appearing to assert (yet again, without sufficient nuance or elaboration) that all pipes need to have been smoked at least 50 to 100 times before any judgement can be made about their smoking qualities. It's the dogmatism of such positions in the writing that is idiosyncratic and questionable. When pressed in conversation, I understand he willingly modifies such assertions. But that conversation and those qualifications do not always appear in his essays.

To his credit, he does report a great many varying opinions regarding how one should go about breaking in a new pipe before making his own suggestions, and even includes the contrary advice of some to just load a new pipe up to the rim and not worry about it at all.

My belief is that he is a valuable and knowledgeable resource to the pipe community, that he is justifiably opinionated, but that he either did not have access to a capable editor or this book was self-edited and the book suffered for it.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.
I tend to be very critical of poor editing.
You're very kind. That man doesn't write so much as masturbate, and his book was a monument to onanism. He might be a good man. He may be a kind man. He probably loves his family. But boy, that book stunk on ice to the point I don't think I could give the fellow a fair shake in real life.
LOL! Thanks. I'll have to see if my library (or any library) carries the book. This is intriguing.
I started opening problem pipes, almost 20 years ago now, and I was amazed at the result. I was very conservative and would alternate very small changes with smoking tests. I was quite surprised at how dramatic the changes were. I toyed with a shim to close the giant mortise gap in one of my pipes because I couldn't make a new tenon. I was just fascinated at the dramatic results. But I started with problem pipes.
I think he's right about airways, having done the experiments, though he may be a bit extreme (I never opened any pipe to 5/32"), and I also suspect he's correct about Chonowitsch vs. other pipes, and the role of briar. What's the score? This is from experience rather than reading Newcomb.
Perhaps I don't need the book?
Oh, I expect he's correct about most things he writes about. I don't grudge him his knowledge. It's there and unmistakable. I tend to agree with him on most things. His personality and mine are just oil and water. He wrote that book to make sure you knew he'd written an authoritative book. The fact that it was informative as well seemed to be a secondary consideration.

The only thing I'm of two minds about is the wide open airway. I agree it makes a pipe smoke better, but paradoxically, I always end up with a mouthful of ashes because I learned to smoke on British airways. Get it? Yeah, I apologize.
I should introduce you guys to some Christians. You might be shocked at some of the extreme statements they take as gospel. Well... :oops:

Here's another puzzle. Most Italian pipes really do have a marvelous flavour yet when we experience Italian/ Corsican / Sardinian etc briar in the hands of pipe makers from Denmark, Britain, Canada, etc it doesn't taste like pipes made in Italy/ Corsica etc. This is when they're new. I'm wondering whether the location where the briar is cured has some role here. And what the heck does Castello do to their briar that it seems to have a flavour gain bump in the higher end spectrum. They're different. Really interesting with Virginias.

I had dropped and snapped the tenon on my Savinelli Autograph. They replaced the tenon, which I thought was just fine. But it didn't 'taste'/smoke like my Autograph anymore. Very odd but also frustrating. I really enjoyed the flavour I got from that pipe. For a few years I didn't smoke it. I finally decided to take a close look at it and see what had changed. I determined that the airway in the tenon had not been matched to the airway in the stem. It was much narrower. That was my first excursion with my drill press. I incrementally drilled out the tenon to match the stem airway. And the result was that it tasted like my Autograph again. Small changes in the airway will effect flavour.
A mood rises just to have.

Though it is not too sweet, the citreous marble design is refreshing womanfully, and a mood rises just to have.


~ Pen review (Onishi-seisakusho Fountain pen Acetate Lemon) on a Japanese site

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durangopipe
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by durangopipe » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:02 pm

Rusty wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:57 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:40 pm
Rusty wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:28 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:31 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:19 pm
Rusty wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:17 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:57 am
I did learn, after a little more exposure to pipes and pipemakers, to take some of his more idiosyncratic assertions with a grain of salt.
I've never read his book. But he was the one who provide a nice guide to colouring meerschaums in the spring 2003 issue of P&T magazine. I became a beeswax maniac and a licensed evangelist. Please, if you could, provide a sampling of some of his "idiosyncratic assertions". Maybe there are more manias awaiting. LOL!

Wasn't he the one who 'preached' about opening airways?
Yes, and to a degree I tend to agree with him on that.

His writing is often done without qualification or suggestion of nuance. I'm not sure he is unaware of these complications, but the writing is not rigorous in this regard.

His insistence that all pipes be opened up to 5/32" or even more regardless of other design parameters neglects the interaction of other variables. And in his writing about open airways, in one essay he leaves the impression that simply opening the airway will leave the smoker with a pipe that they can set down for several minutes and always come back to later to find a pipe still possessing a healthy ember.

Another piece similarly lacking in nuance appears to suggest that the quality of smoke a pipe provides is exclusively the consequence (our at least overwhelmingly) of the qualities of the piece of briar from which the pipe is made. That he asserts elsewhere the tremendous influence of airway dimensions would indicate that neither of these assertions, as they appear in separate essays, is intended to be taken as simplistically as they appear - but the writing, as a critic might suggest, is flaccid in this regard.

My guess is that he did not intend to assert either to the degree of exclusivity the individual pieces seem to suggest, but he might well leave many readers with those sorts of impressions. In one essay he creates the impression that he is asserting, for example, that the only difference between the smoking experience of a Chonowitsch and a less expensive production pipe is aesthetic, the quality of that experience lying in the briar not the execution. My experience leads me to believe that some pipemakers have learned a great deal through pipe making and pipe smoking experience (along with innate talent and a gift for pipemaking), and as a result they have developed a rare intuition regarding the almost unknowable number of variables (including but not limited to the size and shape of various apertures within the pipe and qualities of briar) that work together synergistically to create a superlative smoke. The best piece of briar in the wrong hands, in my opinion, will yield a pipe that smokes terribly.

But the point he was trying to make in that essay that snobbery about the stamp on the pipe has no place in our hobby, and that a particular Peterson or Stanwell might smoke as well or better than a particular pipe made by a highly regarded pipe maker, again, is one I agree with.

Once again, it was the lack of clarity in the writing that failed to make his overriding point about snobbery clear.

He received a lot of criticism for appearing to assert (yet again, without sufficient nuance or elaboration) that all pipes need to have been smoked at least 50 to 100 times before any judgement can be made about their smoking qualities. It's the dogmatism of such positions in the writing that is idiosyncratic and questionable. When pressed in conversation, I understand he willingly modifies such assertions. But that conversation and those qualifications do not always appear in his essays.

To his credit, he does report a great many varying opinions regarding how one should go about breaking in a new pipe before making his own suggestions, and even includes the contrary advice of some to just load a new pipe up to the rim and not worry about it at all.

My belief is that he is a valuable and knowledgeable resource to the pipe community, that he is justifiably opinionated, but that he either did not have access to a capable editor or this book was self-edited and the book suffered for it.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.
I tend to be very critical of poor editing.
You're very kind. That man doesn't write so much as masturbate, and his book was a monument to onanism. He might be a good man. He may be a kind man. He probably loves his family. But boy, that book stunk on ice to the point I don't think I could give the fellow a fair shake in real life.
LOL! Thanks. I'll have to see if my library (or any library) carries the book. This is intriguing.
I started opening problem pipes, almost 20 years ago now, and I was amazed at the result. I was very conservative and would alternate very small changes with smoking tests. I was quite surprised at how dramatic the changes were. I toyed with a shim to close the giant mortise gap in one of my pipes because I couldn't make a new tenon. I was just fascinated at the dramatic results. But I started with problem pipes.
I think he's right about airways, having done the experiments, though he may be a bit extreme (I never opened any pipe to 5/32"), and I also suspect he's correct about Chonowitsch vs. other pipes, and the role of briar. What's the score? This is from experience rather than reading Newcomb.
Perhaps I don't need the book?
Oh, I expect he's correct about most things he writes about. I don't grudge him his knowledge. It's there and unmistakable. I tend to agree with him on most things. His personality and mine are just oil and water. He wrote that book to make sure you knew he'd written an authoritative book. The fact that it was informative as well seemed to be a secondary consideration.

The only thing I'm of two minds about is the wide open airway. I agree it makes a pipe smoke better, but paradoxically, I always end up with a mouthful of ashes because I learned to smoke on British airways. Get it? Yeah, I apologize.
I should introduce you guys to some Christians. You might be shocked at some of the extreme statements they take as gospel. Well... :oops:

Here's another puzzle. Most Italian pipes really do have a marvelous flavour yet when we experience Italian/ Corsican / Sardinian etc briar in the hands of pipe makers from Denmark, Britain, Canada, etc it doesn't taste like pipes made in Italy/ Corsica etc. This is when they're new. I'm wondering whether the location where the briar is cured has some role here. And what the heck does Castello do to their briar that it seems to have a flavour gain bump in the higher end spectrum. They're different. Really interesting with Virginias.

I had dropped and snapped the tenon on my Savinelli Autograph. They replaced the tenon, which I thought was just fine. But it didn't 'taste'/smoke like my Autograph anymore. Very odd but also frustrating. I really enjoyed the flavour I got from that pipe. For a few years I didn't smoke it. I finally decided to take a close look at it and see what had changed. I determined that the airway in the tenon had not been matched to the airway in the stem. It was much narrower. That was my first excursion with my drill press. I incrementally drilled out the tenon to match the stem airway. And the result was that it tasted like my Autograph again. Small changes in the airway will effect flavour.

Quite the thread vortex here, but I didn't know what to isolate in order to make this comment:

It would seem that in matters related to pipes, no less than theology
we now see through a glass darkly.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:30 pm

A bit more on the older shape names, I took a couple of pix and here's that "bevelled Haiti" I was talking about, from a 1924 City de Luxe brochure ,
(not 1922 as I incorrectly stated earlier).

Image

In the Blue Riband book, the author expresses surprise that the "Bullcap" family of shapes is somewhat delicate and lightweight as he had always imagined the shape to be beefier and more bulldog-like, the image below is from a Comoy's catalog circa 1962,
they offer a similar shape as the "bevelled Haiti" pictured above, but refer to it as a "panel bowl bullcap".

Image

Shape 364 above is another of my favorites and City de Luxe also offered the shape, called by them "The Viscount".

Image

I've seen that shape described as a "Student Prince" by some,
and I think Kaywoodie called it a "Collegiate".

I have a pair of petite Lite-Wates (Sasieni 2nd) and a GBD in a similar shape...

Image

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:44 am

Image

Kendal Brown:
The History of Kendal's Tobacco and Snuff Industry

by
J. W. Dunderdale

This book is essential if you're an aficionado of Kendal-made tobacco and may be interested with the rich history so associated.
It comprehensively outlines the three main firms: Samuel Gawith, Illingworth, and Gawith Hoggarth.

It is a labor of love and the work of one unique individual:
James Dunderdale was born in Mansfield in 1912 and worked as a precision engineer, settling in Kendal after his retirement. Finding that the history of the local tobacco and snuff industry had never been written, he set to work on a book which was completed about 18 months later.
Sadly, James’s work was never published before his death in 1996. However, his only daughter, Patricia, showed the manuscript to Anne Bonney, of Helm Press, and with some editing and updating by her, Kendal Brown has now been published.

http://www.cwherald.com/a/archive/the-s ... 79505.html
The book is well-illustrated with old adverts and factory photos, as well as various documents.
Here's an old advert for Samuel Gawith's Twist which is in the book:

Image

And here's a factory shot of that twist actually being made:

Image

As expected, the reader will learn much about the intricate family histories that make up a large portion of the story, stuff like what was written on the old Samuel Gawith website inwhich it was actually taken after Dunderdale:

https://web.archive.org/web/20130817210 ... /?PageId=4

There is much written of snuff too of course, and good portions dealing with pipe tobacco --- I would have loved to see old price lists and pictures of old tins or packets, but as it is, it is quite good in that department and the reader will pick up some interesting tidbits,
like this bit from page 151:
Until 1970 all the firm's twist packets were hand packed, but since then various types of fully automated packing machines have been used, and although the packets are now sold as 'priced pieces' all pieces are accurately weighed amounts. In the hand packing days it was common practice to finalise the weight of the packets accurately by including a small 'make-up' piece of twist known as a 'jockey', and many customers came to regard the jockey as a bonus, or extra over-weight piece, so that if the packet contained only the one accurately (and correctly) weighed length of twist they felt that they had been 'cheated'. This explains why, though the packing machine is quite capable of weighing and cutting off the required amount in one place, the packets still contain the small bit of twist, the 'jockey'."
That little "jockey" may have been a countrywide cultural trend beyond just Kendal, as I once had an old packet of Franklyn's Plover Pigtail with a little chunk that I had thought was cut by the previous owner, but after reading the above it dawned on me that perhaps it was actually a "jockey" piece. I cannot say for certain from only one small sample, but the chances are good that it was common practice back in the day.

ImageImage

I love the book and have learned quite a bit from reading it, I also revisit it for a re-read every now and then and it holds up to multiple readings.

This is another book which fluctuates wildly in price since it is out-of-print, but here's a rough guideline:

$15 - $25 --- bargain price
$25 - $40 --- average price
$40 & up --- exorbitant rare bookseller price

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by durangopipe » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:31 am

Wonderful posts, philo!
Enjoying them immensely.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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philofumo
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:43 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:31 am
Wonderful posts, philo!
Enjoying them immensely.
Thank you much.

Your enthusiasm makes me enthused too!

This is a favorite topic of mine, so I'm very glad that UncleBob had the good idea to start it --- I look forward to reading this thread as it develops.

I only have a short weekend home and then back out into the smartphoneless caveman void of an internetless existence LOL and I'll be absent for a few more weeks, but waiting in the wings are several more books, and for now I'll add a couple of Danish-language examples, with a short preamble...

I've always enjoyed reading tobacco reviews, even ones in foreign languages, and that's easy for me nowadays what with all the techno-glitz pushbutton ease of encyclopedic array, and indeed, tobacco reviews flourish most plentiful in this haphazard virtual bazaar with opinions and critique bursting forth from every little corner in myriad different languages...

...but back in the Dark Ages, that is the forlorn time before our common ghostbox platform, actual tobacco reviews were somewhat of a rarity, with seemingly only a scant few even published, and such often tended to be more generalized than specific with brandname details.

A specialized magazine like TPSE may have carried detailed and critical reviews, but as far as such being contained in books? I can't really name any. I'd love to hear of such if you can point one or two out, other stuff like Compton Mackenzie's Sublime Tobacco where a tobacco like Warlock Rich Dark Flake is named and described.

So it came to be that somehow I ended up with a couple of Danish language books in my library, it's hard for me to pass these things up, like a moth to flame I'm attracted to the light, and if I am burnt, it is only in the metaphoric sense of burning with passion.

I'd like to briefly discuss two important figures in the development of Denmark's pipesmoking scene, and I hope that maybe you can find some interest in it all.

The first person we will talk about is Paul C. Olrik.

Jakob Kiilerich on TR helps us here put Olrik's persona in perspective:
As a Dane, one of the big influences that made start my pipe smoking career some twenty years ago, was extensive literature written by the Danish pipe guru Paul C. Olrik.
Paul was raving about how good English tobacco was, but he was also raging against Danish tobacco as being mass produced inferior tobacco that would only please the mob. Mac Baren took a big hit in the sixties, and a "war" between independent literature and the industry raged across good 'ole Denmark.

That made me avoid Mac Baren for quite some time.

Olrik was very wrong in some aspects, because Mac Baren makes some outstanding blends nowadays as well as some rather unfortunate concoctions. (see my other reviews if I should manage to tickle your curiosity).

http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/707 ... eview51690
And Jan Andersson offers this article:
http://www.svenskapipklubben.se/sv/wp-c ... sk-man.pdf

Olrik has many books:

Image

The bound editions seen in the above photo are of the magazine he produced, which was called STOP, which loosely means "pause for a smoke",
you can read more about that publication here:
https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/16/a-da ... -rochacki/

But this is the only book that I have by him:

ImageImage

Below are several of the reviews from that book - he has an even more comprehensive book reviewing tobacco called: Tobakskrukken – En karakteristik af 125 kvalitets-pibetobakker, but I don't have that one yet.

Image

He says this at the beginning of the review section:
The art of tobacco blending has been cultivated in Great Britain for more than 250 years.Hundreds of recipes have passed from tobacco-blender to tobacco-blender.The traditions have been taken care of from generation to generation. Irish, Scottish and English tobaccos are favorites with thousands and more thousands of confirmed pipesmokers everywhere in the world, became known as the finest and the best blends you can offer your pipe and yourself.
Here's his review of Brown Capstan, shown first in Danish just so you can see it, then the translation.

Brun Capstan
(W.D. & H.O. Wills). Også den hører til de tobakker, man så at sige er flasket op med siden sine første år som piberyger. Den spiller videre på temaet fra den gule og den blå. Bare med større kraft og fylde. Den er mørk som en sydlandsk senorita, stærk som hendes temperament (advarsel mod svedperler på panden!) blid og sødmefyldt som hendes læber - med et underfundigt kogleri i sin smag og duft. Det er en varm, drøj og stærk oplevelse. Godnatpiben til den, der kan lide at trække sig tilbage og nyde dagens sidste pibe i ophøjet ensomhed, fjernt fra hverdagens trivialiteter. På tankeflugt med de blå røgspiraler.

Brown Capstan:
Also this one belongs to those tobaccos, you can say you have grown up with since your first year as pipesmoker. It continues to play on the theme of the yellow and blue versions. Just with greater strength and a fuller satisfaction. It is as dark as a señorita from the south, strong as her temper ( warning against sweat-beads on your forehead!), gentle and as delightfully sweet as her lips - with a subtle sorcery in its flavor and fragrance. It is a warm, tough and strong experience. The good night fill for those who like to retire and enjoy the last pipe alone, far away from the tediousness of the day. Out of mind with the blue smoke spirals.

Here's a couple more:

Dunhill Dark flake:
Originally this tobacco was imported on urgent and repeated requests from fastidious and particular pipesmokers. Back then it was called::" My Mixture no. 179". Now the name has changed as you can see by the entry heading. It is blended of almost 20 different virginia tobaccos.The smell which arises from the newly opened tin is promising: Spicy and heavy with traces of a rainwet afternoon on a quiet path in the forest woods.The taste is slightly sourish, very full, but soft and round. It tastes best in a strong pipe with a wide chamber - a pot is suggested. Its aroma is so beautiful that ones wife will spontaneously say: "That must be a lovely tobacco". And so it is. But beware! It carries the indication "Full Strength" and that's the truth. There may well trickle small beads of sweat upon your forehead, if you do not smoke it exceedingly slow and thoughtfully.

Dunhill My mixture 620:
Warning to those who fly in that error that a mixture absolutely must be seasoned with Latakia and other strong things.That is 620 not. Joyful fanfare to all lovers of pure virginia in all its tantalizing, nectarine and manifold glory. This mixture is composed of diverse virginia varieties in differing grades and degrees of maturation. It is additionally a handcut flake, and the result is a blend which makes even a spoiled old virginia-smoker roll back up to the whites of their eyes in a blissful enthusiasm. What a sweetness, what a satisfaction, what a roundness, what a softness. What satiety - what happiness. Friends! I have got many clobbers on the head for my willingness toward the spontaneous and out of this world enthusiasm. I take the risk to get even more. The stars cannot reach. " Non plus ultra" is for me the only classification which can describe this. We have the character absolute. But there ought to be an extra star for this tobacco.

Three Nuns
(J.F. Bell). Det er den mest navnkundige blandt spunde tobakker, som Curly Cut også kaldes. Kernen i de runde skiver er Perique. Udenom den ligger forskellige virginiasorter af forskellig modnings og lagringsgrad.
Stop den rigtigt. Pas på, at de små skiver kommer til at stå så lodret som muligt. Tryk nænsomt sammen - endelig ikke for hårdt. Krads op i brandfladen med en tændstik eller pegefingerneglen, så ilden kan få godt og rigtigt fat. Tænd så - langsomt og omhyggeligt. Læn Dem tilbage i stolen og koncentrer Dem om bare at nyde. Så vil De forstå, hvorfor denne Curly Cut er blevet verdens mest navnkundige.

. . .

I happen to be fond of tobacco reviews which may use poetic turns of phrase, but I know many are weary of such things, for me though I love it!

Olrik is quite good at it too!
i.e.:
"Spicy and heavy with traces of a rainwet afternoon on a quiet path in the forest woods."

or

The good night fill for those who like to retire and enjoy the last pipe alone, far away from the tediousness of the day -
out of mind with the blue smoke spirals.




Next,
we are on to Jakob Groth and his book,
God Tobak

Image


This book contains some lovely images of old tins and pouches:

ImageImageImage
ImageImageImage

And now a few of his reviews:

Wills Brown Capstan:
The taste of this dark brown flake is the epitome of these tobaccos in this subgroup. Lots of tobacco feeling, a light sweetness and lots of fullness and saturation. Besides dark virginia, it tastes a little of both burley and perhaps kentucky. But the smell betrays nothing. Not the biggest siren song, but genuine tobacco.

Ogden's St Bruno.
Here is seriously the possibility to try kentucky! Already after the lid is lifted, sweet seasoned smells of dark virginias and kentucky comes forward out. The relatively thin, easy to take apart flakes are almost coal-black and emphasize the impression of a very, very full-bodied tobacco. The lid states that it is a blend of "mild virginia and other fine leaf". However, I would reckon it among the 2-3 heaviest tobaccos on the Danish market in regards to strength quotient. Big men have been sent reeling from this tobacco. On the other hand, it is actually gentle to mouth and throat.

Gallaher's Condor.
As Rich Dark Honeydew is that within the last year become a pouch of tobacco (with the foil around, so the likes humidity), which are available in both flake and ready rubbed. The color is almost black. It is relatively flavored, so I have been in doubt, it should be under the very flavored tobaccos (see the special) or here. Its flavor is somewhere between Mick McQuaid and Erinmore in taste. One should well into stopped before the flavor dimmed and the strong virginia emerge. Perhaps there is also a little kentucky. The strength is full, but feels soft and nice. Remember not to smoke in many different pipes, the taste gets pretty much.

Carroll's Mick Mc Quaid.
This tobacco, "Mic Mac" among friends, is just as cozy as the old fellow who decorates the lid. As with his little brother Rich Flake it is lightly flavored. A pleasant Irish-style sweetish flavour is also the first taste impression. Soon you will feel the heavy, mature virginia. After 10-15 min. of smoking , it actually reminds me mostly of Brown Capstan. Also this one is very full and satisfying, but not as much as the former one.

No. 5 "Rich Dark Virginia"
(Charatan). Som ovenstående har denne elementer af både det sødmefulde og det kraftige "tobakssmagende", men med overvægt mod sidsstnævnte. Jeg gætter på at der indgår en eller anden form for kryddertobak, men jeg kan ikke smage mig frem til hvilken. Det varer lidt før den kraftige styrke mærkes. Den kan have tendenser til bitterhed, men ikke ubehageligt.

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Rusty
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Rusty » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:48 pm

philofumo wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:43 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:31 am
Wonderful posts, philo!
Enjoying them immensely.
Thank you much.

Your enthusiasm makes me enthused too!

This is a favorite topic of mine, so I'm very glad that UncleBob had the good idea to start it --- I look forward to reading this thread as it develops.

I only have a short weekend home and then back out into the smartphoneless caveman void of an internetless existence LOL and I'll be absent for a few more weeks, but waiting in the wings are several more books, and for now I'll add a couple of Danish-language examples, with a short preamble...

I've always enjoyed reading tobacco reviews, even ones in foreign languages, and that's easy for me nowadays what with all the techno-glitz pushbutton ease of encyclopedic array, and indeed, tobacco reviews flourish most plentiful in this haphazard virtual bazaar with opinions and critique bursting forth from every little corner in myriad different languages...

...but back in the Dark Ages, that is the forlorn time before our common ghostbox platform, actual tobacco reviews were somewhat of a rarity, with seemingly only a scant few even published, and such often tended to be more generalized than specific with brandname details.

A specialized magazine like TPSE may have carried detailed and critical reviews, but as far as such being contained in books? I can't really name any. I'd love to hear of such if you can point one or two out, other stuff like Compton Mackenzie's Sublime Tobacco where a tobacco like Warlock Rich Dark Flake is named and described.

So it came to be that somehow I ended up with a couple of Danish language books in my library, it's hard for me to pass these things up, like a moth to flame I'm attracted to the light, and if I am burnt, it is only in the metaphoric sense of burning with passion.

I'd like to briefly discuss two important figures in the development of Denmark's pipesmoking scene, and I hope that maybe you can find some interest in it all.

The first person we will talk about is Paul C. Olrik.

Jakob Kiilerich on TR helps us here put Olrik's persona in perspective:
As a Dane, one of the big influences that made start my pipe smoking career some twenty years ago, was extensive literature written by the Danish pipe guru Paul C. Olrik.
Paul was raving about how good English tobacco was, but he was also raging against Danish tobacco as being mass produced inferior tobacco that would only please the mob. Mac Baren took a big hit in the sixties, and a "war" between independent literature and the industry raged across good 'ole Denmark.

That made me avoid Mac Baren for quite some time.

Olrik was very wrong in some aspects, because Mac Baren makes some outstanding blends nowadays as well as some rather unfortunate concoctions. (see my other reviews if I should manage to tickle your curiosity).

http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/707 ... eview51690
And Jan Andersson offers this article:
http://www.svenskapipklubben.se/sv/wp-c ... sk-man.pdf

Olrik has many books:

Image

The bound editions seen in the above photo are of the magazine he produced, which was called STOP, which loosely means "pause for a smoke",
you can read more about that publication here:
https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/16/a-da ... -rochacki/

But this is the only book that I have by him:

ImageImage

Below are several of the reviews from that book - he has an even more comprehensive book reviewing tobacco called: Tobakskrukken – En karakteristik af 125 kvalitets-pibetobakker, but I don't have that one yet.

Image

He says this at the beginning of the review section:
The art of tobacco blending has been cultivated in Great Britain for more than 250 years.Hundreds of recipes have passed from tobacco-blender to tobacco-blender.The traditions have been taken care of from generation to generation. Irish, Scottish and English tobaccos are favorites with thousands and more thousands of confirmed pipesmokers everywhere in the world, became known as the finest and the best blends you can offer your pipe and yourself.
Here's his review of Brown Capstan, shown first in Danish just so you can see it, then the translation.

Brun Capstan
(W.D. & H.O. Wills). Også den hører til de tobakker, man så at sige er flasket op med siden sine første år som piberyger. Den spiller videre på temaet fra den gule og den blå. Bare med større kraft og fylde. Den er mørk som en sydlandsk senorita, stærk som hendes temperament (advarsel mod svedperler på panden!) blid og sødmefyldt som hendes læber - med et underfundigt kogleri i sin smag og duft. Det er en varm, drøj og stærk oplevelse. Godnatpiben til den, der kan lide at trække sig tilbage og nyde dagens sidste pibe i ophøjet ensomhed, fjernt fra hverdagens trivialiteter. På tankeflugt med de blå røgspiraler.

Brown Capstan:
Also this one belongs to those tobaccos, you can say you have grown up with since your first year as pipesmoker. It continues to play on the theme of the yellow and blue versions. Just with greater strength and a fuller satisfaction. It is as dark as a señorita from the south, strong as her temper ( warning against sweat-beads on your forehead!), gentle and as delightfully sweet as her lips - with a subtle sorcery in its flavor and fragrance. It is a warm, tough and strong experience. The good night fill for those who like to retire and enjoy the last pipe alone, far away from the tediousness of the day. Out of mind with the blue smoke spirals.

Here's a couple more:

Dunhill Dark flake:
Originally this tobacco was imported on urgent and repeated requests from fastidious and particular pipesmokers. Back then it was called::" My Mixture no. 179". Now the name has changed as you can see by the entry heading. It is blended of almost 20 different virginia tobaccos.The smell which arises from the newly opened tin is promising: Spicy and heavy with traces of a rainwet afternoon on a quiet path in the forest woods.The taste is slightly sourish, very full, but soft and round. It tastes best in a strong pipe with a wide chamber - a pot is suggested. Its aroma is so beautiful that ones wife will spontaneously say: "That must be a lovely tobacco". And so it is. But beware! It carries the indication "Full Strength" and that's the truth. There may well trickle small beads of sweat upon your forehead, if you do not smoke it exceedingly slow and thoughtfully.

Dunhill My mixture 620:
Warning to those who fly in that error that a mixture absolutely must be seasoned with Latakia and other strong things.That is 620 not. Joyful fanfare to all lovers of pure virginia in all its tantalizing, nectarine and manifold glory. This mixture is composed of diverse virginia varieties in differing grades and degrees of maturation. It is additionally a handcut flake, and the result is a blend which makes even a spoiled old virginia-smoker roll back up to the whites of their eyes in a blissful enthusiasm. What a sweetness, what a satisfaction, what a roundness, what a softness. What satiety - what happiness. Friends! I have got many clobbers on the head for my willingness toward the spontaneous and out of this world enthusiasm. I take the risk to get even more. The stars cannot reach. " Non plus ultra" is for me the only classification which can describe this. We have the character absolute. But there ought to be an extra star for this tobacco.

Three Nuns
(J.F. Bell). Det er den mest navnkundige blandt spunde tobakker, som Curly Cut også kaldes. Kernen i de runde skiver er Perique. Udenom den ligger forskellige virginiasorter af forskellig modnings og lagringsgrad.
Stop den rigtigt. Pas på, at de små skiver kommer til at stå så lodret som muligt. Tryk nænsomt sammen - endelig ikke for hårdt. Krads op i brandfladen med en tændstik eller pegefingerneglen, så ilden kan få godt og rigtigt fat. Tænd så - langsomt og omhyggeligt. Læn Dem tilbage i stolen og koncentrer Dem om bare at nyde. Så vil De forstå, hvorfor denne Curly Cut er blevet verdens mest navnkundige.

. . .

I happen to be fond of tobacco reviews which may use poetic turns of phrase, but I know many are weary of such things, for me though I love it!

Olrik is quite good at it too!
i.e.:
"Spicy and heavy with traces of a rainwet afternoon on a quiet path in the forest woods."

or

The good night fill for those who like to retire and enjoy the last pipe alone, far away from the tediousness of the day -
out of mind with the blue smoke spirals.




Next,
we are on to Jakob Groth and his book,
God Tobak

Image


This book contains some lovely images of old tins and pouches:

ImageImageImage
ImageImageImage

And now a few of his reviews:

Wills Brown Capstan:
The taste of this dark brown flake is the epitome of these tobaccos in this subgroup. Lots of tobacco feeling, a light sweetness and lots of fullness and saturation. Besides dark virginia, it tastes a little of both burley and perhaps kentucky. But the smell betrays nothing. Not the biggest siren song, but genuine tobacco.

Ogden's St Bruno.
Here is seriously the possibility to try kentucky! Already after the lid is lifted, sweet seasoned smells of dark virginias and kentucky comes forward out. The relatively thin, easy to take apart flakes are almost coal-black and emphasize the impression of a very, very full-bodied tobacco. The lid states that it is a blend of "mild virginia and other fine leaf". However, I would reckon it among the 2-3 heaviest tobaccos on the Danish market in regards to strength quotient. Big men have been sent reeling from this tobacco. On the other hand, it is actually gentle to mouth and throat.

Gallaher's Condor.
As Rich Dark Honeydew is that within the last year become a pouch of tobacco (with the foil around, so the likes humidity), which are available in both flake and ready rubbed. The color is almost black. It is relatively flavored, so I have been in doubt, it should be under the very flavored tobaccos (see the special) or here. Its flavor is somewhere between Mick McQuaid and Erinmore in taste. One should well into stopped before the flavor dimmed and the strong virginia emerge. Perhaps there is also a little kentucky. The strength is full, but feels soft and nice. Remember not to smoke in many different pipes, the taste gets pretty much.

Carroll's Mick Mc Quaid.
This tobacco, "Mic Mac" among friends, is just as cozy as the old fellow who decorates the lid. As with his little brother Rich Flake it is lightly flavored. A pleasant Irish-style sweetish flavour is also the first taste impression. Soon you will feel the heavy, mature virginia. After 10-15 min. of smoking , it actually reminds me mostly of Brown Capstan. Also this one is very full and satisfying, but not as much as the former one.

No. 5 "Rich Dark Virginia"
(Charatan). Som ovenstående har denne elementer af både det sødmefulde og det kraftige "tobakssmagende", men med overvægt mod sidsstnævnte. Jeg gætter på at der indgår en eller anden form for kryddertobak, men jeg kan ikke smage mig frem til hvilken. Det varer lidt før den kraftige styrke mærkes. Den kan have tendenser til bitterhed, men ikke ubehageligt.
It's true; there were very few reviews. We regarded the print ads as 'reviews' and that was often the only source for information about the blend. Pipe smokers tended to talk about this stuff. But even the contents were a mystery. Part of the problem was that we didn't have even an appreciation of basic tobacco lore and terminology. Things we take for granted today were largely missing. Plus we were encouraged to find "our blend" and stick with it. I tried just about everything in tins and I was criticized for it. It appeared as something like dilettante behaviour to many other pipe smokers and tobacconists. Look at cigarette smokers and their persistent buying of the same product day after day. If you ask them about leaf constituents they have no idea. Pipe smokers were not different. Completely different times. So who needs reviews? Often the only source for opinion on the tobacco was the guy at the cash register. They mostly didn't know.

It's fascinating that he doesn't comment upon the St. Bruno topping which was really more evident in the past. Yet he comments about the flavouring in Mick Mc Quaid which was very light in application compared to other things. We never had an authoritative source for St. Bruno tobacco constituents. But I rather doubt that it contained much Kentucky, if any, (by this I presume he means dark fired). It wasn't nearly as strong as he suggested. They must have had some Burley in it to carry the flavouring. And it was fairly well known as a Virginia flake that would not bite and was quite approachable even by newbs. It was mostly flue cured darkened in a press other than that. There is a significant contrast of St. Bruno with Three Nuns which was a real shock to the mouth. It was VERY lively and bit like hell. Many of us hated it.
A mood rises just to have.

Though it is not too sweet, the citreous marble design is refreshing womanfully, and a mood rises just to have.


~ Pen review (Onishi-seisakusho Fountain pen Acetate Lemon) on a Japanese site

Image

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philofumo
BROTHERSMOKE, Bizarrely Packaged Wealth of Information
BROTHERSMOKE, Bizarrely Packaged Wealth of Information
Posts: 978
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:26 pm

Rusty wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:48 pm
philofumo wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:43 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:31 am
Wonderful posts, philo!
Enjoying them immensely.
Thank you much.

Your enthusiasm makes me enthused too!

This is a favorite topic of mine, so I'm very glad that UncleBob had the good idea to start it --- I look forward to reading this thread as it develops.

I only have a short weekend home and then back out into the smartphoneless caveman void of an internetless existence LOL and I'll be absent for a few more weeks, but waiting in the wings are several more books, and for now I'll add a couple of Danish-language examples, with a short preamble...

I've always enjoyed reading tobacco reviews, even ones in foreign languages, and that's easy for me nowadays what with all the techno-glitz pushbutton ease of encyclopedic array, and indeed, tobacco reviews flourish most plentiful in this haphazard virtual bazaar with opinions and critique bursting forth from every little corner in myriad different languages...

...but back in the Dark Ages, that is the forlorn time before our common ghostbox platform, actual tobacco reviews were somewhat of a rarity, with seemingly only a scant few even published, and such often tended to be more generalized than specific with brandname details.

A specialized magazine like TPSE may have carried detailed and critical reviews, but as far as such being contained in books? I can't really name any. I'd love to hear of such if you can point one or two out, other stuff like Compton Mackenzie's Sublime Tobacco where a tobacco like Warlock Rich Dark Flake is named and described.

So it came to be that somehow I ended up with a couple of Danish language books in my library, it's hard for me to pass these things up, like a moth to flame I'm attracted to the light, and if I am burnt, it is only in the metaphoric sense of burning with passion.

I'd like to briefly discuss two important figures in the development of Denmark's pipesmoking scene, and I hope that maybe you can find some interest in it all.

The first person we will talk about is Paul C. Olrik.

Jakob Kiilerich on TR helps us here put Olrik's persona in perspective:
As a Dane, one of the big influences that made start my pipe smoking career some twenty years ago, was extensive literature written by the Danish pipe guru Paul C. Olrik.
Paul was raving about how good English tobacco was, but he was also raging against Danish tobacco as being mass produced inferior tobacco that would only please the mob. Mac Baren took a big hit in the sixties, and a "war" between independent literature and the industry raged across good 'ole Denmark.

That made me avoid Mac Baren for quite some time.

Olrik was very wrong in some aspects, because Mac Baren makes some outstanding blends nowadays as well as some rather unfortunate concoctions. (see my other reviews if I should manage to tickle your curiosity).

http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/707 ... eview51690
And Jan Andersson offers this article:
http://www.svenskapipklubben.se/sv/wp-c ... sk-man.pdf

Olrik has many books:

Image

The bound editions seen in the above photo are of the magazine he produced, which was called STOP, which loosely means "pause for a smoke",
you can read more about that publication here:
https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/16/a-da ... -rochacki/

But this is the only book that I have by him:

ImageImage

Below are several of the reviews from that book - he has an even more comprehensive book reviewing tobacco called: Tobakskrukken – En karakteristik af 125 kvalitets-pibetobakker, but I don't have that one yet.

Image

He says this at the beginning of the review section:
The art of tobacco blending has been cultivated in Great Britain for more than 250 years.Hundreds of recipes have passed from tobacco-blender to tobacco-blender.The traditions have been taken care of from generation to generation. Irish, Scottish and English tobaccos are favorites with thousands and more thousands of confirmed pipesmokers everywhere in the world, became known as the finest and the best blends you can offer your pipe and yourself.
Here's his review of Brown Capstan, shown first in Danish just so you can see it, then the translation.

Brun Capstan
(W.D. & H.O. Wills). Også den hører til de tobakker, man så at sige er flasket op med siden sine første år som piberyger. Den spiller videre på temaet fra den gule og den blå. Bare med større kraft og fylde. Den er mørk som en sydlandsk senorita, stærk som hendes temperament (advarsel mod svedperler på panden!) blid og sødmefyldt som hendes læber - med et underfundigt kogleri i sin smag og duft. Det er en varm, drøj og stærk oplevelse. Godnatpiben til den, der kan lide at trække sig tilbage og nyde dagens sidste pibe i ophøjet ensomhed, fjernt fra hverdagens trivialiteter. På tankeflugt med de blå røgspiraler.

Brown Capstan:
Also this one belongs to those tobaccos, you can say you have grown up with since your first year as pipesmoker. It continues to play on the theme of the yellow and blue versions. Just with greater strength and a fuller satisfaction. It is as dark as a señorita from the south, strong as her temper ( warning against sweat-beads on your forehead!), gentle and as delightfully sweet as her lips - with a subtle sorcery in its flavor and fragrance. It is a warm, tough and strong experience. The good night fill for those who like to retire and enjoy the last pipe alone, far away from the tediousness of the day. Out of mind with the blue smoke spirals.

Here's a couple more:

Dunhill Dark flake:
Originally this tobacco was imported on urgent and repeated requests from fastidious and particular pipesmokers. Back then it was called::" My Mixture no. 179". Now the name has changed as you can see by the entry heading. It is blended of almost 20 different virginia tobaccos.The smell which arises from the newly opened tin is promising: Spicy and heavy with traces of a rainwet afternoon on a quiet path in the forest woods.The taste is slightly sourish, very full, but soft and round. It tastes best in a strong pipe with a wide chamber - a pot is suggested. Its aroma is so beautiful that ones wife will spontaneously say: "That must be a lovely tobacco". And so it is. But beware! It carries the indication "Full Strength" and that's the truth. There may well trickle small beads of sweat upon your forehead, if you do not smoke it exceedingly slow and thoughtfully.

Dunhill My mixture 620:
Warning to those who fly in that error that a mixture absolutely must be seasoned with Latakia and other strong things.That is 620 not. Joyful fanfare to all lovers of pure virginia in all its tantalizing, nectarine and manifold glory. This mixture is composed of diverse virginia varieties in differing grades and degrees of maturation. It is additionally a handcut flake, and the result is a blend which makes even a spoiled old virginia-smoker roll back up to the whites of their eyes in a blissful enthusiasm. What a sweetness, what a satisfaction, what a roundness, what a softness. What satiety - what happiness. Friends! I have got many clobbers on the head for my willingness toward the spontaneous and out of this world enthusiasm. I take the risk to get even more. The stars cannot reach. " Non plus ultra" is for me the only classification which can describe this. We have the character absolute. But there ought to be an extra star for this tobacco.

Three Nuns
(J.F. Bell). Det er den mest navnkundige blandt spunde tobakker, som Curly Cut også kaldes. Kernen i de runde skiver er Perique. Udenom den ligger forskellige virginiasorter af forskellig modnings og lagringsgrad.
Stop den rigtigt. Pas på, at de små skiver kommer til at stå så lodret som muligt. Tryk nænsomt sammen - endelig ikke for hårdt. Krads op i brandfladen med en tændstik eller pegefingerneglen, så ilden kan få godt og rigtigt fat. Tænd så - langsomt og omhyggeligt. Læn Dem tilbage i stolen og koncentrer Dem om bare at nyde. Så vil De forstå, hvorfor denne Curly Cut er blevet verdens mest navnkundige.

. . .

I happen to be fond of tobacco reviews which may use poetic turns of phrase, but I know many are weary of such things, for me though I love it!

Olrik is quite good at it too!
i.e.:
"Spicy and heavy with traces of a rainwet afternoon on a quiet path in the forest woods."

or

The good night fill for those who like to retire and enjoy the last pipe alone, far away from the tediousness of the day -
out of mind with the blue smoke spirals.




Next,
we are on to Jakob Groth and his book,
God Tobak

Image


This book contains some lovely images of old tins and pouches:

ImageImageImage
ImageImageImage

And now a few of his reviews:

Wills Brown Capstan:
The taste of this dark brown flake is the epitome of these tobaccos in this subgroup. Lots of tobacco feeling, a light sweetness and lots of fullness and saturation. Besides dark virginia, it tastes a little of both burley and perhaps kentucky. But the smell betrays nothing. Not the biggest siren song, but genuine tobacco.

Ogden's St Bruno.
Here is seriously the possibility to try kentucky! Already after the lid is lifted, sweet seasoned smells of dark virginias and kentucky comes forward out. The relatively thin, easy to take apart flakes are almost coal-black and emphasize the impression of a very, very full-bodied tobacco. The lid states that it is a blend of "mild virginia and other fine leaf". However, I would reckon it among the 2-3 heaviest tobaccos on the Danish market in regards to strength quotient. Big men have been sent reeling from this tobacco. On the other hand, it is actually gentle to mouth and throat.

Gallaher's Condor.
As Rich Dark Honeydew is that within the last year become a pouch of tobacco (with the foil around, so the likes humidity), which are available in both flake and ready rubbed. The color is almost black. It is relatively flavored, so I have been in doubt, it should be under the very flavored tobaccos (see the special) or here. Its flavor is somewhere between Mick McQuaid and Erinmore in taste. One should well into stopped before the flavor dimmed and the strong virginia emerge. Perhaps there is also a little kentucky. The strength is full, but feels soft and nice. Remember not to smoke in many different pipes, the taste gets pretty much.

Carroll's Mick Mc Quaid.
This tobacco, "Mic Mac" among friends, is just as cozy as the old fellow who decorates the lid. As with his little brother Rich Flake it is lightly flavored. A pleasant Irish-style sweetish flavour is also the first taste impression. Soon you will feel the heavy, mature virginia. After 10-15 min. of smoking , it actually reminds me mostly of Brown Capstan. Also this one is very full and satisfying, but not as much as the former one.

No. 5 "Rich Dark Virginia"
(Charatan). Som ovenstående har denne elementer af både det sødmefulde og det kraftige "tobakssmagende", men med overvægt mod sidsstnævnte. Jeg gætter på at der indgår en eller anden form for kryddertobak, men jeg kan ikke smage mig frem til hvilken. Det varer lidt før den kraftige styrke mærkes. Den kan have tendenser til bitterhed, men ikke ubehageligt.
It's true; there were very few reviews. We regarded the print ads as 'reviews' and that was often the only source for information about the blend. Pipe smokers tended to talk about this stuff. But even the contents were a mystery. Part of the problem was that we didn't have even an appreciation of basic tobacco lore and terminology. Things we take for granted today were largely missing. Plus we were encouraged to find "our blend" and stick with it. I tried just about everything in tins and I was criticized for it. It appeared as something like dilettante behaviour to many other pipe smokers and tobacconists. Look at cigarette smokers and their persistent buying of the same product day after day. If you ask them about leaf constituents they have no idea. Pipe smokers were not different. Completely different times. So who needs reviews? Often the only source for opinion on the tobacco was the guy at the cash register. They mostly didn't know.

It's fascinating that he doesn't comment upon the St. Bruno topping which was really more evident in the past. Yet he comments about the flavouring in Mick Mc Quaid which was very light in application compared to other things. We never had an authoritative source for St. Bruno tobacco constituents. But I rather doubt that it contained much Kentucky, if any, (by this I presume he means dark fired). It wasn't nearly as strong as he suggested. They must have had some Burley in it to carry the flavouring. And it was fairly well known as a Virginia flake that would not bite and was quite approachable even by newbs. It was mostly flue cured darkened in a press other than that. There is a significant contrast of St. Bruno with Three Nuns which was a real shock to the mouth. It was VERY lively and bit like hell. Many of us hated it.
Thanks for the commentary Rusty, it is appreciated.

Yeah, it's sorta hard for me to wrap my head around because I didn't start with pipe until the internet age, if I had began in the pre-internet age I think that my experience and/or preferences may be quite different because it is likely that I would have no idea that Irish plugs existed and it may have even been difficult for me to find my way to the flavoured UK stuff like St. Bruno or Condor, although Erinmore Flake did seem ubiquitous so maybe I would have started there? Who knows?

I'd suppose locale and region would also play a role, what was available where one was, but if one was hip to the mailorder houses I reckon one could expand the horizon with some more of the obscure imported stuff. And speaking of mailorder houses, and the reliance upon manufacturer/distributor descriptions, it could sometimes get zany, especially with Wally Frank who in a pre-war catalog once described an Irish plug as containing "sweet Bog Cavendish" LOL

Image

Full description:
It is the finest old Irish type pigtail Plug that it is possible to make. Medium strength and dark in color, being made of sweet Bog Cavendish, Dark Virginia, and Syrian Latakia. tightly compressed into hard, solid bars by the old Irish technique. If you want to experience the sweet-scented tobacco flavor that the Irish poets raved about - try a bar of Wally Frank Blackthorne Plug. It will give you a new and different tobacco thrill!

As fate would have it, I recently stumbled into an old Blackthorne Plug which is date-stamped to 1939 --- more of a curious artifact than something I'd smoke.

ImageImage

Anyway, back to the point --- personal interaction and word of mouth would've been paramount for discovering new tobaccos to try, if one was so inclined. I was slightly surprised to hear that in certain quarters your wide-ranging tastes were viewed as dilettante behaviour, but it made sense as you further elaborated and gave perspective of the times.

I remember reading GLPease's missive of when he first took note of Balkan Sobranie, the smell seemed distinctive and intoxicating to him, it was being smoked by a friend of his brother at a baseball game if I remember correctly. There's another story I read of a student in mid 60's Oxford Mississippi who by chance once encountered an unknown-to-him William Faulkner at the towns Rexall drugstore and saw him buying Sobranie and St. Bruno which he had the store special order for him, the student took his lead and bought some as well, and so began a friendship as outside Mr. Faulkner questioned the student as to his choice of tobacco, the student said "I have no idea what it is but I saw you buying it and thought I'd give it a go."

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