Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

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Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by UncleBob » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:37 pm

We need a thread about books concerning pipes and pipe tobacco. I just bought Barling's Celebrated Briar Pipes from smokingpipes.com. Here is the blurb from the website:
This neat booklet is essentially a detailed facsimile of an original Barling pipe catalog from the early 20th century, showcasing many of the marque's classic designs as they appeared in marketing materials from the era. In addition to those iconic shapes, you'll also find within the catalog seldom seen pieces such as the Captain Warren and special edition presentation cases. An excellent piece of history to add to your pipe smoking literature.
Product Number: 001-119-0037
$16.00


This looks to be a reprint of a Barling's product catalog printed for International Exhibition, London, 1851. It is only 28 pages and all the pipes are represented by "illustrations exactly two-thirds actual size." This catalog offers all the shapes, by number, offered by Barling's at this time. In addition, it offers examples from the following options:
  • Stems come in vulcanite but also available in block amber
  • Gold mounted pipes available in all shapes
  • Silver cover pipes "suitable for yachting, shooting, and motoring, in all our leading shapes". The catalog depicts four distinct styles of silver covers.
  • Meerschaum-lined pipes available in three shapes: The Regent (bent briar, no. 103), The Bulldog (straight, diamond-shank bulldog, no. 70), and The Straight Army (straight billiard with army mount, no. 13)
  • Crocodile and Morocco pipe cases in both single pipes (like some meerschaum pipes now) and companions (multi-pipe sets)
  • 8 different companion sets: 7 with 2 pipes and various stems and 1 with 3 pipes. All have either 1 pipe with a vulcanite stem and 1 with an amber stem or amber and vulcanite stems for all.
  • Stems come in push tenon, army mount, silver/gold spigot, and silver screw.
  • Not shown but offered are presentation cases holding 2-6 pipes are kept in stock. In addition, presentation cases can be made to order "with any of our shapes and in any manner, at short notice. The Cases can be supplied with Gold Lettering or engraved Silver Shields."
I like the idea but I am not sure if $16 is a fair price. Still, I enjoy it over all and I hope to acquire other reprints of catalogs as they become available.

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Rusty » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:54 pm

1851? That is the decade that is apparently the beginning of the commercial rise of briar over clay and meerschaum.

Shapes, man! We have to hear about the shapes. What are they and what are they called?

Did God license them, or what?

You can tell us.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by sweetandsour » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:17 pm

"Perique", published by The Historic New Orleans Collection. An interesting 6-page review of perique's history includes at least two possible origins of the unique process. Following the review, forty (40) black and white photos with brief captions chronical the planting, growing, harvest, preparation, curing, and final processing of the tobacco. All in all a very nice coffee table book.
The price listed on the jacket is $25, but I think I picked this copy up at a sale shop somewhere for considerably less.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by John-Boy » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:58 am

Not really reviews, but some info on books here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13055
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Pepik » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:17 pm

Looking at the original thread - I did searches on the Amazon for it. On the Amazon I found that "My Lady Nicotine by J. M. Barrie" is available free if you have a kindle account.

Go to the Amazon, if you do, and snag it now.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:51 pm

UncleBob wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:37 pm
We need a thread about books concerning pipes and pipe tobacco. I just bought Barling's Celebrated Briar Pipes from smokingpipes.com. Here is the blurb from the website:
This neat booklet is essentially a detailed facsimile of an original Barling pipe catalog from the early 20th century, showcasing many of the marque's classic designs as they appeared in marketing materials from the era. In addition to those iconic shapes, you'll also find within the catalog seldom seen pieces such as the Captain Warren and special edition presentation cases. An excellent piece of history to add to your pipe smoking literature.
Product Number: 001-119-0037
$16.00


This looks to be a reprint of a Barling's product catalog printed for International Exhibition, London, 1851. It is only 28 pages and all the pipes are represented by "illustrations exactly two-thirds actual size." This catalog offers all the shapes, by number, offered by Barling's at this time. In addition, it offers examples from the following options:
  • Stems come in vulcanite but also available in block amber
  • Gold mounted pipes available in all shapes
  • Silver cover pipes "suitable for yachting, shooting, and motoring, in all our leading shapes". The catalog depicts four distinct styles of silver covers.
  • Meerschaum-lined pipes available in three shapes: The Regent (bent briar, no. 103), The Bulldog (straight, diamond-shank bulldog, no. 70), and The Straight Army (straight billiard with army mount, no. 13)
  • Crocodile and Morocco pipe cases in both single pipes (like some meerschaum pipes now) and companions (multi-pipe sets)
  • 8 different companion sets: 7 with 2 pipes and various stems and 1 with 3 pipes. All have either 1 pipe with a vulcanite stem and 1 with an amber stem or amber and vulcanite stems for all.
  • Stems come in push tenon, army mount, silver/gold spigot, and silver screw.
  • Not shown but offered are presentation cases holding 2-6 pipes are kept in stock. In addition, presentation cases can be made to order "with any of our shapes and in any manner, at short notice. The Cases can be supplied with Gold Lettering or engraved Silver Shields."
I like the idea but I am not sure if $16 is a fair price. Still, I enjoy it over all and I hope to acquire other reprints of catalogs as they become available.

Image
It is indeed a neat bookish thing and I've enjoyed looking through it, and although $16 is a bit steep for a booklet of this size, it is very finely produced as an exacting facsimile with the reproduction qualities being top shelf.

The facsimile was originally self-published by noted Barling collector Jesse Silver in 2013 and that's the copy that I have,
is this edition the same?

He has worked tirelessly with an indefatigable spirit editing the Barling entry at Pipedia and it is a shining example of briar pipe scholarship taken to the Nth level --- it is easily the most comprehensive and detailed entry on the site:

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling

It is noted that this catalogue is likely from 1914 --- the 1851 date refers to the winning of the awards at the exhibition.

There are a few pages from that catalogue available for viewing on the Pipedia site.

My favorite shape from it is No. 95f, The "Goodwood", but I am fascinated by No. 1727, The "Motor" because the registered design of the rotating windcap was rather ingenious in my estimation...

...1923 advert:
Image

1925 advert from an Australian newspaper lets us know that these were very expensive pipes in their day:

Image

The patent for the revolving dome which dates to 1907 and was granted to Walter Frederick Barling,
is pretty damn cool and reading the patent application is interesting.
The full document can be viewed,
here:
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... cale=en_EP

A thumbnail:
Image
The cover or lid (f) is rotatably mounted in a guide-ring (c) hinged to a mount (b) on the top of the bowl,
so that it can be turned with its inlet openings (g) in the desired direction with regard to the wind.

A recent auction for a 1922 silver hallmarked Motor example fetched around $800 USD:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1922-Handmade-B ... true&rt=nc

ImageImage

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:19 am

John-Boy wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:58 am
Not really reviews, but some info on books here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13055
That is a great list there.

My alltime fave book regarding tobacco is Sublime Tobacco.
It is a joy to read.

The Ehwa book is the most helpful tutorial style book,
hands down.

For anyone interested in the historical aspects on the UK tobacco trade, reading the following two books gives much, almost too much, interesting information:

WD & HO Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry, 1786-1965 by B. W. E. Alford
and
Trust in Tobacco by Maurice Corina

I will try to add here in this thread, which is a wonderful idea by the way, a few reviews in the proper sense --- eager to review Kendal Brown which I'll try to do at some point this weekend, in the meantime, here's something bookish that I scribbled on about previously...

ImageImage
Sherlock Holmes said:

"I have been guilty of several monographs. They are all upon technical
subjects. Here, for example, is one "Upon the Distinction between the
Ashes of the Various Tobaccos". In it I enumerate a hundred and forty
forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates
illustrating the difference in the ash. It is a point which is continually
turning up in criminal trials, and which is sometimes of supreme
importance as a clue. If you can say definitely, for example, that some
murder had been done by a man who was smoking an Indian lunkah, it
obviously narrows your field of search. To the trained eye there is as
much difference between the black ash of a Trichinopoly and the white
fluff of bird's-eye as there is between a cabbage and a potato."
Upon the Distinction Between the Ashes of Various Tobaccos
by
Nino Cirone
Ian Henry Publications
2000

http://www.ian-henry.com/holmes/

This numbered limited edition is of 300 copies is of the famous monograph written by the eminent consulting detective, re-discovered and newly edited by Nino Cirone, with contemporary illustrations by Paget, Partridge, et al – but there are a few anomalies to disturb Sherlockians, not least that some stories that had not yet been written by John Watson are somehow included! Puzzle your way through the Canon.

Although the original msrp was only £15.99, current available copies fluctuate wildly in price, some astronomically so, but with patience you can find a copy for a reasonable sum.
edit:
just checked Abebooks to see what was on offer --- 3 available copies with one edition having a truly insane asking price:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Search ... &kn=&isbn=
8O

An interesting sidenote:

David A. Randall helped penning this catalogue in 1937:

http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/holmes ... iana.shtml

Image
David A. Randall, then manager of the rare-books department of Scribner’s Book Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, later the head of the Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington. Randall was a Baker Street Irregular himself.

For this sale, he and Starrett created the memorable Catalogue of Original Manuscripts, and First and Other Important Editions of the Tales of Sherlock Holmes, as Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with Important Biographies, Pastiches, Articles, Etc., and a Few Extraordinary Association and Unique Items, which contains a strong streak of whimsy.

Alongside legitimate entries for items in Starrett’s collection are convincingly written but entirely fanciful ones, for items such as monographs by Sherlock Holmes that exist only in Dr. Watson’s tales — such as Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos, in which, said Holmes in the novel The Sign of Four, “I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates illustrating the difference in the ash.”

http://www.bsiarchivalhistory.org/BSI_A ... 0Shelf.pdf
I have enjoyed this book very much.

If you are interested in Sherlockiana and can find a copy for a reasonable price, it is well worth getting.

ImageImage
Image

I was so taken with the descriptions that I tried a few with my own hand in imitation of the style and had great fun in so doing.



Crom Dullahan & Co. - Tathagach Bar

Founded at Dungarvan, Ireland, in 1832, this company specialises in hard tobaccos and Dullahan's Tathagach Bar is one of the firms most popular offerings.It is best known for robust strength, yet smooth mildness, coupled with an aromatic scent unlike any other.

Lime water is used in the boilers for the massive steaming presses, which add traces of a tart citric flavour note.
The engines are fueled by bog-wood , saturating the entire atmosphere, and a peaty creosote smokiness seeps into the leaf,
adding even further undertones to its odoriferous complexity.

It then undergoes repeated liquid immersions, in various steeps, to acquire its unique perfumery -
most notably, the strange pharmacopoeiac elixir contains valerian root , decoction of figs, cascarilla bark extract, and orris oil.
Essence of ambergris is added to prolong the intensity of bouquet.

Tathagach Bar has a loyal following with workingmen, but is of a price not easily afforded by unskilled labourers,
finding most favour amongst blacksmiths, coal heavers, railway workmen, farmers scattered across the countryside,
and rather oddly, a fair number of cantankerous old judges.

The ash is a peppered dark grey, with the inky flecks having a shardlike character.
Density is remarkable. So heavy are the particles of ash that when placed in water, they will actually sink.
Very few other ashes exhibit this characteristic.
Hardened and compact dottles are also often found alongside.

Image

~ ~ ~


R. Rory & Sons - Inverness Twist

Robert Rory's Inverness Twist is especially prized in the North and is extremely suitable for the sporting outdoorsman; it is especially the tobacco of choice amongst deerstalkers as it is said that the aroma is attractive to deer and may actually lure the beasts into close proximity.

Using as the main filler a strong dark Kentuckian, and smaller scrap portions of Varinas from Venezuela;
as the cover is used a rich deep ruddy Virginia to wrap the outer layer.

The manufacture is time-consuming and requires much dexterity.

Image

One man and two boys are necessary to produce it, a bench several yards in length is made use of, with a spinning wheel at one end, turned by one of the boys. The other boy arranges a number of damp leaves, with the stalks removed, end to end upon the bench, taking care to lay them smooth and open; and the man immediately follows him, and rolls up the leaves into the form of a cord by a peculiar motion of his hand. As fast as this is done, the finished tail is wound upon the spinning-wheel. It is transferred from the spinning-wheel, by the action of machinery, to a frame connected with it.

Subsequently, it is wound or twisted up into a hard close coil, and darkened by immersion into a spirited olive oil which has been infused with various herbs and roots that are said to be Druidic.

The long coiled rolls are then slowly roasted upon heated slabs.

When this entire meticulous process is finished, the twists appear blackened, as if they had been dipped into an inkwell.

The ash is noteworthy as it appears coal black with a gleaming sheen; and when rubbed between the fingers, there is a noticeable oiliness. There remains a subtle trace of its distinct odour. Density is on the heavy side, with a granite-like inner core. The texture is uniformly smooth and firm with no anomalies.

Image

~ ~ ~


Captain Yorke of Whitechapel - Old Bardo Black Shag

A very strong dark shag as the sort sailors and fishermen seem to prefer, although it has gained wide acceptance amongst the general working-class as well, a universal soother as it were. It is one of the oldest recipes by the renowned Captain Yorke and continues to be made true to the original formula and preparation by his inheritors, Old Bardo Black Shag, along with the equally celebrated Fantasma Flake, enjoy an immense popularity and both are distributed far and wide across the country.

Old Bardo has a signature scent owing to civet musk being added liberally as a dressing agent, and the aroma is further enhanced by the fact that during the cure it is laid below a bed of bronzing bracken, mottled bramble and moss, which contribute a subtle vegetative quality of a woodsy character.

It is deceptively stout in the sense that it is so smooth and mild smoking, yet carries a very heavy weight of strong stampeding elephants if puffed too vigourously in frantic fashion.

It is, of course, raven black of colour, and quite crisp to the touch.

The ash, however, is nearly white, being a very pale shade of grey, tending to be quite fluffy and delicate - indeed, the slightest touch will obliterate it into nothingness. The exotic fragrance is lost in the ash, yet its distinctive tendency toward complete disintegration remains a telling clue.

Image

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:46 am

A few more notes regarding the Barling catalogue:

I noticed that The "Motor" pipe is listed as a (New Design.) --- and since the patent was accepted in May of 1907 that would seem to help place the date of publication more toward late 1907 through 1908 or 09, or the 1910 date as suggested at the Pipedia page.

Interesting it is.

Image

Also of interest,
Barling produced a pipe that they called "The Jap" -- a sporting nosewarmer-type number.

Image

What grabs my attention is that Peterson also made a model called a "Jap" which was also a nosewarmer-type, but with more canted bowl, and that would seem to suggest that the moniker had a certain currency as a shape name in that at least two different manufacturers used it, and that's pretty interesting as the older shape names sometimes fall out of favor and in our modern eyes they may seem strange, like one of my favorite shapes is listed as a "bevelled Haiti" in a circa 1922 City de Luxe brochure which is essentially a slim Rhodesian...

...anyway,
here's a wonderful blogpost by Mark Irwin which touches upon the Peterson version of the "Jap".

https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com ... jap-shape/

Neat stuff.

Image

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by durangopipe » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:57 am

I'm enjoying this thread very much.
Thanks to all who are posting.

I thought I might mention the book, In Search of Pipe Dreams, by Rick Newcomb.

My guess is that many of the pipe aficionados here read these collected essays when they first appeared in the pipe buff press, but I, coming quite late to the collecting of pipes (rather than simply smoking a few), had not previously been exposed to his writing.

The book was an interesting mix of pleasure and pain, at least for me. I did learn a great deal about some carvers I hadn't yet discovered, but the author's "voice" and certainty in the assertion of his own personal preferences and quirks revealed a man rather fond of himself. He comes off as a bit of a stuffed shirt; still, overall, I found the book a fun read. 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.

Maybe we should approach all pipe authors (and each other) with a mixture of both skepticism and forgiveness. This is, after all, a hobby. How much fun would it be if we didn't form strong opinions and enjoy expressing them? And, how boring would it be if we all agreed about everything? This, in the end, might be the most important lesson this book taught me.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Joshoowah » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:08 pm

philofumo wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:19 am
John-Boy wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:58 am
Not really reviews, but some info on books here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13055
That is a great list there.

My alltime fave book regarding tobacco is Sublime Tobacco.
It is a joy to read.

The Ehwa book is the most helpful tutorial style book,
hands down.

For anyone interested in the historical aspects on the UK tobacco trade, reading the following two books gives much, almost too much, interesting information:

WD & HO Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry, 1786-1965 by B. W. E. Alford
and
Trust in Tobacco by Maurice Corina

I will try to add here in this thread, which is a wonderful idea by the way, a few reviews in the proper sense --- eager to review Kendal Brown which I'll try to do at some point this weekend, in the meantime, here's something bookish that I scribbled on about previously...

ImageImage
Sherlock Holmes said:

"I have been guilty of several monographs. They are all upon technical
subjects. Here, for example, is one "Upon the Distinction between the
Ashes of the Various Tobaccos". In it I enumerate a hundred and forty
forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates
illustrating the difference in the ash. It is a point which is continually
turning up in criminal trials, and which is sometimes of supreme
importance as a clue. If you can say definitely, for example, that some
murder had been done by a man who was smoking an Indian lunkah, it
obviously narrows your field of search. To the trained eye there is as
much difference between the black ash of a Trichinopoly and the white
fluff of bird's-eye as there is between a cabbage and a potato."
Upon the Distinction Between the Ashes of Various Tobaccos
by
Nino Cirone
Ian Henry Publications
2000

http://www.ian-henry.com/holmes/

This numbered limited edition is of 300 copies is of the famous monograph written by the eminent consulting detective, re-discovered and newly edited by Nino Cirone, with contemporary illustrations by Paget, Partridge, et al – but there are a few anomalies to disturb Sherlockians, not least that some stories that had not yet been written by John Watson are somehow included! Puzzle your way through the Canon.

Although the original msrp was only £15.99, current available copies fluctuate wildly in price, some astronomically so, but with patience you can find a copy for a reasonable sum.
edit:
just checked Abebooks to see what was on offer --- 3 available copies with one edition having a truly insane asking price:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Search ... &kn=&isbn=
8O

An interesting sidenote:

David A. Randall helped penning this catalogue in 1937:

http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/holmes ... iana.shtml

Image
David A. Randall, then manager of the rare-books department of Scribner’s Book Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, later the head of the Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington. Randall was a Baker Street Irregular himself.

For this sale, he and Starrett created the memorable Catalogue of Original Manuscripts, and First and Other Important Editions of the Tales of Sherlock Holmes, as Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with Important Biographies, Pastiches, Articles, Etc., and a Few Extraordinary Association and Unique Items, which contains a strong streak of whimsy.

Alongside legitimate entries for items in Starrett’s collection are convincingly written but entirely fanciful ones, for items such as monographs by Sherlock Holmes that exist only in Dr. Watson’s tales — such as Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos, in which, said Holmes in the novel The Sign of Four, “I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates illustrating the difference in the ash.”

http://www.bsiarchivalhistory.org/BSI_A ... 0Shelf.pdf
I have enjoyed this book very much.

If you are interested in Sherlockiana and can find a copy for a reasonable price, it is well worth getting.

ImageImage
Image

I was so taken with the descriptions that I tried a few with my own hand in imitation of the style and had great fun in so doing.



Crom Dullahan & Co. - Tathagach Bar

Founded at Dungarvan, Ireland, in 1832, this company specialises in hard tobaccos and Dullahan's Tathagach Bar is one of the firms most popular offerings.It is best known for robust strength, yet smooth mildness, coupled with an aromatic scent unlike any other.

Lime water is used in the boilers for the massive steaming presses, which add traces of a tart citric flavour note.
The engines are fueled by bog-wood , saturating the entire atmosphere, and a peaty creosote smokiness seeps into the leaf,
adding even further undertones to its odoriferous complexity.

It then undergoes repeated liquid immersions, in various steeps, to acquire its unique perfumery -
most notably, the strange pharmacopoeiac elixir contains valerian root , decoction of figs, cascarilla bark extract, and orris oil.
Essence of ambergris is added to prolong the intensity of bouquet.

Tathagach Bar has a loyal following with workingmen, but is of a price not easily afforded by unskilled labourers,
finding most favour amongst blacksmiths, coal heavers, railway workmen, farmers scattered across the countryside,
and rather oddly, a fair number of cantankerous old judges.

The ash is a peppered dark grey, with the inky flecks having a shardlike character.
Density is remarkable. So heavy are the particles of ash that when placed in water, they will actually sink.
Very few other ashes exhibit this characteristic.
Hardened and compact dottles are also often found alongside.

Image

~ ~ ~


R. Rory & Sons - Inverness Twist

Robert Rory's Inverness Twist is especially prized in the North and is extremely suitable for the sporting outdoorsman; it is especially the tobacco of choice amongst deerstalkers as it is said that the aroma is attractive to deer and may actually lure the beasts into close proximity.

Using as the main filler a strong dark Kentuckian, and smaller scrap portions of Varinas from Venezuela;
as the cover is used a rich deep ruddy Virginia to wrap the outer layer.

The manufacture is time-consuming and requires much dexterity.

Image

One man and two boys are necessary to produce it, a bench several yards in length is made use of, with a spinning wheel at one end, turned by one of the boys. The other boy arranges a number of damp leaves, with the stalks removed, end to end upon the bench, taking care to lay them smooth and open; and the man immediately follows him, and rolls up the leaves into the form of a cord by a peculiar motion of his hand. As fast as this is done, the finished tail is wound upon the spinning-wheel. It is transferred from the spinning-wheel, by the action of machinery, to a frame connected with it.

Subsequently, it is wound or twisted up into a hard close coil, and darkened by immersion into a spirited olive oil which has been infused with various herbs and roots that are said to be Druidic.

The long coiled rolls are then slowly roasted upon heated slabs.

When this entire meticulous process is finished, the twists appear blackened, as if they had been dipped into an inkwell.

The ash is noteworthy as it appears coal black with a gleaming sheen; and when rubbed between the fingers, there is a noticeable oiliness. There remains a subtle trace of its distinct odour. Density is on the heavy side, with a granite-like inner core. The texture is uniformly smooth and firm with no anomalies.

Image

~ ~ ~


Captain Yorke of Whitechapel - Old Bardo Black Shag

A very strong dark shag as the sort sailors and fishermen seem to prefer, although it has gained wide acceptance amongst the general working-class as well, a universal soother as it were. It is one of the oldest recipes by the renowned Captain Yorke and continues to be made true to the original formula and preparation by his inheritors, Old Bardo Black Shag, along with the equally celebrated Fantasma Flake, enjoy an immense popularity and both are distributed far and wide across the country.

Old Bardo has a signature scent owing to civet musk being added liberally as a dressing agent, and the aroma is further enhanced by the fact that during the cure it is laid below a bed of bronzing bracken, mottled bramble and moss, which contribute a subtle vegetative quality of a woodsy character.

It is deceptively stout in the sense that it is so smooth and mild smoking, yet carries a very heavy weight of strong stampeding elephants if puffed too vigourously in frantic fashion.

It is, of course, raven black of colour, and quite crisp to the touch.

The ash, however, is nearly white, being a very pale shade of grey, tending to be quite fluffy and delicate - indeed, the slightest touch will obliterate it into nothingness. The exotic fragrance is lost in the ash, yet its distinctive tendency toward complete disintegration remains a telling clue.

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Highly interested in that Sherlock Holmes book. I see some website called Parish Chest has some for 15 pounds, but I doubt it's legit. At $350 on Abebooks is still too rich for me. Shame too, as it looks like an interesting read.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Rusty » 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?
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by UncleBob » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:41 pm

Next up is Comoy's Blue Riband by Neill Archer Roan. Here is the blurb from Smokingpipes.com:
How does one produce a masterwork? In Neill Archer Roan's case, it's been a combination of years of collecting and casually studying Comoy's Blue Riband briars, followed by finally delving full-bore into intense and in-depth research of the history of the Blue Riband itself, Comoys as a whole, and the multitude of shapes they created across the years. Beautifully presented, full-colored, and thorough, here Neill presents one of the finest collections of the Blue Riband pipe, not only lovingly photographed, but also preceded by a discussion on Neill's philosophy in doing so, and the techniques he used to capture them best. From the dust cover to the forward by Lucien Comoy, to the final chapter of selected "Comoy's Ephemera" and appendix of notes and sources, Neill has produced here one of the finest works, and presentations, on the subject of pipes, period.
Product Number: 001-119-0024
$36


This book is a limited edition publication of 500 and serves as "a catalog of Neill Archer Roan's collection of Comoy's Blue Riband pipes that was exhibited at the 2014 Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show in St. Charles, Illinois." In addition to some fine photos of the pipes, It features a forward by Lucian Comoy, whose father (Pierre) was the last of the family to work for the firm; a small essay on Comoy's Blue Riband pipes; an informative essay on the photography process used for the catalog; a small essay on Comoy's classification; and a small appendix portraying some Comoy's ephemera including a few shape charts, some pages from Comoy's sales catalogs, and a table of shapes with only text descriptions.

The pipe catalog itself groups the collection into Billiards and Pots, Dublins and Zulus, Bulldogs and Rhodesians, Globes (Apples) and Princes, Canadians, Liverpools, and Lovats, Miscellaneous including a beautiful Kruger Extraordinaire (Shape No. 236) and a lovely Woodstock (Shape No. 202), and a custom Blue Riband Pipe Rack. Around 90 pages are dedicated to photographs of Roan's collection and the photographer must have an excellent camera (for Skip).

Personally, I was disappointed with this book. I have a Comoy's Blue Riband and I was looking forward to learning more about these pipes but the information provided was sparse. As a catalog, the photography was stellar but most all the pipes are portrayed from one angle. I can't but help thinking that more information about Comoy's in general and Blue Riband pipes specifically would make the $36 seem more worth the investment. I think one will be more satisfied with this book if one approaches this catalog as a picture book celebrating one man's collection rather than an informative study of the Comoy's brand or Blue Riband pipes.

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by durangopipe » 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.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by hugodrax » 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.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Winton » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:43 pm

DON'T get Peter Maddock's book Santa's Pipe Dream! I thought this e-book on Amazon was free, but I accidentally paid $.99 for it.

Yes, Santa was smoking a pipe, but his wife is badgering him to give up this foul habit. It was only mildly entertaining when he fell asleep with his pipe and woke up with his beard on fire. He had to go face down in a snowbank to put the fire out. It went downhill after that.

You have been warned.

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by hugodrax » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:51 pm

The Pipe, by Georges Herment.

Charming bit of continental absurdity. Wonderful book. All about enjoyment. No dogma. Advocates such strange practices as lighting ones pipe with a burning ember left in the bowl. Delightful humor.

Bonus? M. Herment was a member of The Quintet of the Hot Club of France.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by Rusty » 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 (that's a guess), and the role of briar. What's the score? This is from experience rather than reading Newcomb.
Perhaps I don't need the book?

Once I started really looking at the internals of my pipes I learned a lot about them. It's an odd discovery that the airway in the stummel is often (with factory pipes) much wider than the airway in the stem. And in some cases there is enough difference that one wonders why they did it that way. I oscillated between thinking it was intentional (maybe as a measure to reduce the incidence of burned out pipes by throttling draw) and thinking they lacked an understanding of physics. But it's also true that heavy use will close stummel airways esp near the chamber so it's also possible that it was intentional and intended to reduce smoker frustration with closed airways. I've never seen a good explanation.
Last edited by Rusty on Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by hugodrax » 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.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re: Reviews of Books about Pipes and Pipe Tobacco

Post by philofumo » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:45 pm

:


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.

Then, last year, 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 dusty book slung askance and grabbed it.

That particular time I was in the correct frame of mind to absorb the qualities of what the book is; initially I'd thought it'd be tediously boring reading having to do with intricate family history and never really got around to it outside of the quick scanning over for the Sobranie company history that I was most interested in.

But then, that day while sitting in the waiting room, I was totally and fully engrossed with this book, it is a gripping tale, emotional and educational, both visceral and cerebral at the same time.

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.

And that time, in the proper frame of mind to absorb and engage with the story - 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 started and I'm at page 50 before I knew it, a real page turner inwhich I became completely absorbed, an unknown world revealed as an intense story unfolded.

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,
great 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 ... 0413774597

Image

I learned quite about about the Russian revolution, how it went down and some of the actors involved, and even had a surprise appearance of a favorite poet on 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.
Пощёчина общественному вкусу

And,
here's a professional review too,
from The Telegraph:

(I think that Anne is a bit too harsh on the book)
Siberia and Sobranies
Anne Applebaum reviews
From Siberia With Love by Geoffrey Elliott
12:01AM GMT 28 Dec 2004

Perhaps because it is a lost civilisation, the Russian empire seems to exert an almost magnetic attraction on the children and grandchildren of the people who left. In recent years a notable number have traced their families back to Polish villages or Tsarist palaces, pieced together the histories of those places using family memoirs and old photographs, and written books which describe what, if anything, still remains of their ancestors' past.

Geoffrey Elliott, a British banker who writes at one point that he has lived an easy, "marshmallow" life, felt the same kind of attraction to the story of his grandfather David, a Russian socialist who met his grandmother, Manya, in a Siberian prison. Later, the two of them lived in central Siberia, before the Revolution forced them to flee across China to London. There David founded a company that produced fine cigarettes – the famous, gold-tipped "Balkan Sobranie" brand - and aromatic pipe tobacco.

It is easy to see why this story had so much appeal for Elliott, who has meticulously re-created his grandparents' world, using memoirs, books, travel and the Russian language-skills he learned not from his family, but from the British government at the Joint Services School for Linguists.

He describes David's birthplace in Bessarabia, at the time a mishmash of Jewish, Moldovan, Russian and Turkish cultures; Odessa, where David, a contemporary of Trotsky, studied and grew attracted to the revolutionary socialism that drew in many young men at the time; Nerchinsk, where Manya was born, a distant East Siberian town which was largely populated by the indigenous Buryats. Most memorably, he describes their flight out of Russia, which began with Manya and her children desperately clutching on to the roof of the train bound for China. Later, Manya remembered "men and women being dragged off the train to be shot, and others killed when random bullets smashed through the windows".

At one point she hid her elder daughter in a laundry basket so that she wouldn't be seen by any of the marauding soldiers. Afterwards, they lived for months in a train car in Harbin, almost completely destitute. All they had taken with them were a few pieces of jewellery and some gold coins, hidden in the underclothes of their smallest child.

Geoffrey Elliott has done his research, and re-creates all of these scenes with great care. Unfortunately, the characters at the centre of the book, David and Manya, remain impossible to fathom. Neither wrote extensive memoirs, and neither spoke very much of their experiences to Elliott himself. As a result, most of their memories come through other people, and he is forced, again and again, to guess at what they might have thought or felt.

He cannot explain, for example, why David was really attracted to revolutionary socialism in his youth: "No one will ever know when and why his heart tuned in to dreams of change." He doesn't know whether David actually met Trotsky in Odessa, although he speculates that he "must have come across the man who might have led Russia". He doesn't know much about David and Manya's happy marriage either, or how they felt about their religions, Judaism and Russian Orthodoxy: "Did David and Manya pray to their respective Gods, and for what?"

These frequent, unanswered, rhetorical questions ultimately intervene in the story, as does the author's occasional weakness for tired metaphors. Through the first part of the book, he talks about uncovering new aspects of his grandfather's life like so many Russian matryoshka dolls, and at one point he says his grandparents feared their cigarette business would disappear "in a puff of smoke".

Reading this well-intentioned book, it is impossible not to conclude that writing about one's own family is, in the end, much harder than it seems. However amazing their stories, a daughter or a grandson will always feel much more passionate about a father or grandfather than the ordinary reader. Geoffrey Elliott has succeeded in transmitting that passion, but hasn't quite managed to convey who his grandparents really were, or what motivated them to live as they did.

Anne Applebaum is the author of 'Gulag: A History' (Penguin).

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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 3:48 pm

hugodrax wrote:That man doesn't write so much as masturbate, and his book was a monument to onanism.
Didn't Woody Allen respond to a similar comment by saying something like, "Sure, now you're criticizing my hobbies."

In addition to the poor editing, I did find the book to be a bit self-absorbed. But I read it early in my piping journey and I learned a lot.

I doubt there's much new there for you to learn, Rusty.
I rather think you could write a far better book.
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

2017 Morley - Outstanding BRATASS of the Year

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