header-photo

McCleland: Dominican Glory


Brand:McClelland
Blender:UNKNOWN
Tin Description:The flavor of a fine, mild cigar in a satisfying tobacco for the pipe. This blend of premium aged Dominican cigar leaf is seasoned with Matured Virginia for balance and refinement and is presented in a wide ribbon form for the best of both worlds.
Country of Origin:UNKNOWN

Reviewed By:Date:Strength:Flavoring:Taste:Room Note:Recommendation:
Zazoie01/15/2009MildExtremely MildMild to MediumPleasant to Tolerablesomewhat recommended
McClelland's Dominicon Glory is a mild cigar blend that ages well. I am reviewing a can that is over four years old and it just as lovely as any other McClelland blend. If you are a McClelland fan do not hesitate to try their cigar blends for it taste much like any of their other Mature Virginia blends. I detect little to no cigar leaf flavoring for it marries perfectly with the Virginia's. This blend also burns rather quickly due to its fine stringy cut. Not an every day blend for me but a treat nonetheless.

McClelland: Drama Reserve

Brand:McClelland
Tin Description:The famed Drama leaf is sweet and subtle with a natural olive oil fragrance. It is grown on the Southern slopes and foothills of the Rhodope Mountains, the Classic Drama Basma District in Greek Eastern Macedonia, and includes the renowned Mahalia. It is refreshing, delicate, intriguing. This blend is designed to demonstrate just why the classic top-grade Drama leaf is so celebrated.
Country of Origin:US
Curing Group:Air Cured
Contents:
Virginia
Oriental
Cut:Ribbon
Packaging:50g Tin

McClelland's Drama Reserve is a tasty smoke giving way to beautiful billows of thick white galvanized smoke. This is a hard smoke to define for me for its not quite like any other Virginia/Oriental I have smoked before. The taste is both sweet and spicy with an added layer of something else that feels like a hint of latakia but is not...perhaps that is the olive oily Drama leaf. This an exotic blend and surely worth a try.

Cornell & Diehl: Junkyard Dawg


Brand:Cornell & Diehl
Blender:Craig Tarler
Tin Description:A revival of a classic American blend that smokers of 30 years ago will instantly recognize. Contains burleys, Latakia and bright Virginia.
Country of Origin:US
Curing Group:Air Cured
Contents:
Burley
Virginia
Latakia
Cut:Broken Flake
Packaging:2oz Tin

C&D Junkyard Dawg is a wonderful blend and something off the beaten path as far as blends go for me for I am not a Burly guy. However, with the Dawg you get Burley/Virginia/Latakia mixture that is a decent smoke. My only issue is the bulling the Burley seems to do here for it surely smacks down the Vir/Lat every time their flavors attempt to come through. From the tin this stuff is beautiful and dry out to perfection. Just not my cup of tea but I can see why this is a popular blend. A nice offering and worth a try.

G.L. Pease Westminster


Brand:GLPease
Blender:GL Pease
Tin Description:Westminster: The very essence of the traditional English mixture; rich, elegant, refined, and exquisitely balanced. New World red Virginias are enhanced with a gentle caress of bright leaf, then lavishly seasoned with rich oriental tobaccos and generous measures of noble Cyprus mountain Latakia. Westminster is a satisfying blend, presenting layers of flavor to delight the senses and develop in the bowl. A perfect everyday English mixture. Full-bodied.
Country of Origin:USA
Curing Group:Fire Cured
Contents:
Virginia
Latakia
Cut:Ribbon
Packaging:tin

G.L. Pease Westminster is one of those rare blends that come along that have your jaw dropping and your mouth watering from the first bowl on. This blend is nothing short of being bloody brilliant. With the new year just getting off to a start I now can say, "bring it on!" The red virginias will have your mouth watering and will proceed to be soaked up nicely by the rich Cyprus mountain Latakia. This smoke leaves you in the tranquil and peaceful zone. This stuff is consistently yummy down to the bare bottom of the bowl leaving white ash. For those of you who do not smoke a bowl back to back...that will all change here!

With a market full of just okay blends we thank you Mr. Pease for standing out with Westminster. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

Keeping your pipe lit



So you are having trouble keeping your pipe lit are ya? Well take comfort that there is help, that its nothing unusual, and you are not alone. Here are some basic tips to help if you are new to pipe smoking.

#1: Make sure you are packing your pipe correctly. See articles on this blog about methods of packing a pipe. After learning a proper packing method then you just need practice. You do not want the tobacco packed too tight or too loose both are bad. Make sure the tobacco after being packed is still spongy to the touch.

#2: Char the packed tobacco before lighting also called the False Start. I think you will find you will have to do less relights if you scorch before lighting. To do this light the bowl and take a couple nice even draws. Let it go out and very gently tamper it down. Make sure you do not apply force just ever so slightly. Then repeat by lighting and taking another couple of nice even draws. Let it go out and tamper again. If the top of the tobacco is blackened evenly you are now ready to do the final light or True Start.

#3: DO NOT puff so hard. If you are a cigar smoker or former then this especially applies to you. Cigar smoking, for me, was about big volume and tasting big billows of smoke roll off the tongue. However, if you come to the pipe and do that you are gonna tarnish the taste of the tobacco, the opposite of cigar smoking. And by puffing so hard the tobacco is gonna burn too hot and scorch your tongue with steaming hot smoke, "tongue bite." Drawing out the flavors in pipe smoking is more about "sipping" the smoke out of the bowl. Just flip flop your methods of cigar and pipe. It takes practice and time to learn. Do I always have to "sip"? No. You will learn eventually nuances and certain puffing techniques will draw out certain characteristics of the various tobaccos in a blend, etc. The key is to start slow and rhythmically but do not start off puffing like a cigar or a train you will not last long and will have missed all the glorious subtleties of pipe smoking, and we don't want that.

I'm getting gurgles of sour spit coming up the stem of my pipe...help! It is most likely not spit but "dottle" caused by either puffing too hard or the tobacco is considerably moist in the bottom of the bowl. It maybe saliva if you are a "wet" smoker or you are blowing excessively into the stem. You can either stick a pipe cleaner down the stem to clear some of the excess dottle out. DO NOT remove the stem to clean while pipe is hot. You risk breaking the pipe at worst and at best the stem will no longer fit snug as it should. If it is becoming too much for ya put it down and fill a different pipe and start over. No need to keep going cause dottle ain't no fun!

*** Stir occasionally with the stir stick portion of a pipe tool this will move the ashes around and loosen them up so that they collapse nicely on the unlit tobacco.

#4 Final thoughts - Your pipe is new. A new pipe can cause your tobacco to not stay lit. You got to break it in first, develope some cake in the bowl before she will start staying lit for you. Also you may want to try putting a portion of your tobacco you want to smoke out on plate to dry for 1-2hrs or up 24.

Other helpful thoughts:

#1: Take advantage of the wide community of knowledge You need to find what works for you within the arena of shared knowledge among the pipe smoking community. Find online forums. Talk with your local tobacconist. Get involved and experiment to find what works for you.

#2: Pipe smoking is organic in that you, your instruments, and your ingredients are always in flux and you will learn to adapt and work the little subtleties of each. So relax. You will not always have a bowl that you never have to relight and that's okay if you got the basics down. (see 1-3)

#3: Remember to always love it. That is really important! You have entered a very special hobby and lifestyle that will continue to surprise you with depth each day you learn more about it. Your goal is not to become a pipe snob but to fall more in love with the peaceful nuances of your new found hobby. Goal isn't to have zero relights but to enjoy yourself.

I hope this helps and until next time may your pipes be lit and your cellars full!

*The entire contents of this article are written by Chris Rehers

How many pipes do you need?



How many pipes do you need to have a decent rotation? The answer has to be based on several variables such as the following:
  1. How often do you smoke?
  2. What type of tobacco do you smoke?
  3. Does your smoking style lend itself more towards ending up with a somewhat dry or wet pipe?
  4. Do you smoke the same tobacco all day?

As a general rule you should allow at least 1 to 2 hours for your pipe to rest after you finish smoking. This allows enough time for your pipe to properly cool down and dry out ... for the most part. The time of tobacco you smoke plays a role too. Aromatic tobacco burns slightly wetter and tends to cause a pipe to retain moisture longer. Virginias tend to burn cleaner and drier and sometimes the pipe can be put back in action in as little as 30 - 45 minutes. If you are accustomed to smoking your pipe enough to conflict with these suggested times then you should be using 2 or more pipes in your daily rotation. If you are a "wet" smoker or have a few cherished pipes that matter to smoker a tad on the wet side than you should also be using 2 or more pipes in your daily rotation. It is best to dedicate a pipe for each type of tobacco that you smoke. So, if you smoke more than one type of tobacco during the coarse of the day than you'll need to add more pipes into your daily rotation. Each pipe in your rotation should have the minimum of 2 days off after being used for the day and cleaned every 5 - 10 bowls depending on the tobacco smoked and your smoking habits.

Hmmmm ... So let's do the math ... well let's not and say we did and sum up with the following general rules of thumb; If you smoke on a daily basis and have a good pipe cleaning and care schedule established the bare minimum amount of pipes in your rotation should be no less than 3. 7 would be the ideal minimum and would ensure well rested, fresh pipes and spread out your time spent cleaning. What's right for you? Simply take these suggested minimum rotations and factor in the four questions above. 

Chris Rehers writes: I use a minimum of 10 pipes but I also clean mine after complete cooling. So I am able to smoke the same pipe 2-3 times in a 24hr period. I also like to have a couple pipes dedicated to particular blends that are always in my pipe tobacco rotation. For instance I have one pipe I smoke nothing but Frog Morton out of. Then I have a pipe dedicated to random english blends and another for aromatics. Your pipe dedication is completely up to you and how much you want to devote to your hobby. Also the more discerning your palate becomes the more you will probably move toward a consistent pipe dedication.

Hope this helps and until next time, may your pipes be lit and your cellars full!

partial source: vegassmoke

Pipe Shapes and Types

Here is chart of the basic shapes you will encounter in Pipe shape selecting; minus the churchwarden and semi-churchwarden.


There are basically three types of tobacco pipes commonly used:

COBCORN - A great beginner pipe; if you decide pipe smoking is not for you, you haven’t spent a lot of money. Actually made from corncob, it is easily cared for, very durable, and disposable. Eventually they wear out but you can always buy another one for about $5.

BRIAR - This is the closely grained burl joint between the stem and roots of the Heath tree, which grows in rocky slopes on the hillsides of Mediterranean countries. This burl is very tough, close-grained, and porous. It will not crack when exposed to heat. Good briar is hard to find, as the larger shrubs take a very long time to mature. The most suitable root may be 80 to 100 years old, and the finest pipe briar may be from a shrub that is over 200 years old.

he easiest way to tell if you have a well-aged briar is by the weight. A pipe that is made with well-aged briar will be very light in weight. If you hold two similar pipes together by the stem, the lighter, more balanced pipe will inevitably be made with older briar. Many of the very inexpensive drugstore pipes, like Dr. Grabow, are made with very young or flawed briar. Many of these cheaper pipes rely on filters to keep the smoke cool. A properly aged briar does not need a filter because the briar is extremely porous. Briar pipes are rated by the purity of the grain. A perfectly straight grain or Birdseye grain (little tight grained swirls), will command a very steep price. These pipes are purely for aesthetics and prized by collectors. They do not smoke any differently than a less-than-perfect grain. You can also save a considerable amount of money if you are not concerned with grain quality.

f you really want to find a good pipe for a bargain, you might want to opt for a sandblast briar. The briar used for these pipes have flaws in them such as very ugly grain or little holes in the wood. These pipes are then sandblasted into a rough grain. Sandblasted pipes are extremely porous and smoke very cool. Briar pipes are also sold as seconds. The tiny holes or imperfections in these pipes are filled with putty and then stained. Many of these pipes can be purchased for $5 to $20. If perfect, these pipes would sell for considerably more money.

MEERSCHAUM - Composed of the fossilized shells of tiny sea creatures that fell to the ocean floor millions of years ago, the highest quality meerschaum is found in only one place in the world: Eskisehir, in central Turkey. Many meerschaum pipes are hand carved into works of art. The meerschaum pipe gives the tobacco a very unique, cool smoking flavor. It absorbs far more moisture than a briar pipe. The pipe starts out pearl-white and eventually becomes a beautiful deep-brown color as it breaks in. This is one of the most appealing features of this type of pipe. Meerschaum pipes are a prized addition to many smokers’ collections.

Q: I'm a relatively new pipe smoker. .... how much should I spend on a pipe? Rich S.

A: There are several factors to consider when purchasing a pipe as a new smoker. The first, and probably the most obvious, is a function of your individual financial situation. $100 for some is a lot of money and for others not. Secondly, what brought you to pipe smoking? Cigars? Quitting cigarettes? Curiosity? What I'm getting at is ... might this be a fad or is it something you are willing to put the time into? Lastly, do you plan on smoking mainly outdoors or in the comfort of any easy chair? Based on your thoughts about what I've posed to you, here are our recommendations;
Buy the most pipe you can afford at this time. Whatever you do, do not buy a cheap drug store type pipe. They simply do not smoke very well and will give you a bad first impression of pipe smoking in general. The smoking quality of pipes does increase as the cost of the pipe increases until you get to the $100 - $150 range. After that you start to pay for the aesthetic qualities of the pipe. There are some great smoking $40 pipes on our web site such as the Savinelli Budget Pipes and the Brindisi line. A step up from there would be the main line SavinelliBrebbia and Stanwell. When selecting a pipe I believe pride of ownership plays a role as well. Also remember to leave a little room in your budget for a decent tamper and tobacco pouch. These two items will greatly enhance your smoking pleasure. As to why I asked where you'll be smoking your pipe for the most part ... the answer is simple. If you plan on doing a lot of smoking outdoors, while working in the yard and such, you might what to consider a rusticated pipe. The wear and tear of being outdoors will be far less noticeable on a pipe with a rough finish. Rusticated pipes generally cost less than smooth pipes. If you'll be smoking mostly indoors treat yourself to a smooth, polished pipe with as nice a grain pattern as you can find in your price range. As you sit and enjoy your pipe indoors you'll find that your senses will come alive. Smell, taste and touch all play a role. With a handsome pipe even sight becomes a pleasure. 

Q: I'm interested in buying my first pipe. Should I get a bent style pipe or straight? Malcom T.

A: Pipes are like shoes in many respects. What is attractive and comfortable to one person might be all wrong for another. From a technical stand point, here are a few considerations. Straight pipes tend to burn a little more evenly, cleanly and perhaps even a little cooler. The trade off is that holding it firmly in your teeth requires much more effort than a bent pipe due to basic leverage. If you tire of holding it in your teeth you'll need a free hand to hold it. Also, those of us who, over the course of time, have traded in our natural teeth for the man made kind might not have an easy time with larger straight pipes. I find straight pipes with saddle stems to be the most comfortable ... but that's me. Bent pipes are much easier to hold in your mouth and do not exert nearly as much leverage as a straight pipe. They also allow the smoker to catch an occasional whiff of their own tobacco directly from the bowl. Most people find them much easier to light and keep lit because you can see more of what your doing. The downside? When holding a bent pipe in your mouth over an extended period of time saliva tends to run down the stem causing moisture in the bowl which leads to a hot, gurgling pipe. Some less expensive bent pipes will not pass a pipe cleaner through without taking the stem off. That's OK when the bowl is cool but a major no-no when the bowl is hot.

partial source: vegassmoke

Tobacco Cellar? Aging Tobacco? What?



Did you know that your tobacco ages like wine? Actually, I think it ages even better! A lot of tobacco smokers will not even smoke recently purchased tins of tobacco but rather store them for aging, the storage place is called a tobacco cellar. So now you know what people mean by, "hey you should cellar some of this stuff." (see picture above) 

Here are some tips on aging/cellaring your tobacco.

#1: When you find a blend you like it is always good to pick up 1 can to smoke now and 3 or more cans to cellar; one can to smoke 6 months later, one can to smoke 1 year later, and 1 or more cans to smoke 5-15 years later. Most major changes occur after the six month mark then the changes are more subtle and take longer to occur. There are general stages: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years - all of which will show distinct changes but after five years the process will slow significantly.

#2: All tobacco does not age the same or does not deliver the same bang for your buck in terms of aging. Virginias and Perique blends will age most wonderfully. Beyond that you have Turkish and quality Orientals that will do alright, and possible Latakia though not great. Aromatics may or may not age it all depends on the casing which is responsible for killing the early aging process. Just not a good candidate.

#3:  Tin vs. Bulk Storage and Aging. The best way to age tobacco is to buy it in a sealed tin and keep it sealed. Bulk tobacco simply doesn't offer the same results. Once you expose them to air the aging process is cut but not all is lost. If you find a tobacco you like you may buy in bulk and if its still fresh you can break up the tobacco and transfer it to air-tight jars like Mason or Ball jars. Make sure your tins are stored in a cool and dry place...you don't want rusting...nothing worse than aging a tin for 10 years only to pop it open to see it ruined by a hole due to rust. No need to refrigerate the tobacco either which may cause damage to the cell structure of the tobacco anyway. 

DO NOT vacuum seal! Bad idea all around. You need some oxygen to maintain the aging process so stick with any air-tight jar and you will be good to go. 

Also I prefer to store bulk tobacco in smaller jars of 8oz mainly because you are gonna want to test them over time and if you put all your tobacco in one large jar once you open it you are stuck smoking the entire bulk you stored for aging even if you think its not quite ready yet. Whereas if you spread it over several 8oz jars you can smoke up on 8oz jar and leave the other jars for another date should you need to.

#4 Ok you have finally aged a tin of tobacco for six months and you are ready to sit down to smoke it. Before you do though you should go out and purchase a fresh can of the same tobacco so you can notice the changes, especially if this is your first time or you are not yet familiar with the subtleties of the tobacco you are smoking.

#5 Need a way of tracking what tobacco is in your cellar? There is a free online tool that allows you to enter all the data about your tobacco and begins to track the age for you. Plus this will allow you and your friends to see what you have in your collection and aging. Everyone I know uses this online software at http://www.tobaccocellar.org

What you have never had aged tobacco? You can also buy aged tins from smokers like you at the tobaccocellar.org.

Hope this helps! And until next time may your pipes be lit and your cellars full!

*The entire contents of this article are written by Chris Rehers 

 

Just For Him: Ruins of Isengard

Review Date: 1/10/09

Brand:Just For Him
Tin Description:This is the newest of the Middle Earth Pipeweed blends released by Just For Him.
Country of Origin:USA
Curing Group:Air Cured
Contents:
Cavendish
Black Cavendish
Virginia
Cut:Ribbon
Packaging:bulk

Ruins of Isengard is yet another blend in the Middle Earth Pipe Weed Series by Just For Him, justforhim.com I would place ROI second to Shortcut to Mushroom if you are going to explore the Middle Earth series, especially if you normally smoke pure English blends and rarely dabble with weed that is cased.

Packing: Frank Method and Three Stage packing all work here even though this stuff is rather moist and can be a little sticky. I never had to dry out, however, and needed no relights after two scorches and initial light.

Smoke: What we have here is a consistent smoke that is mildly sweet, which comes off as either a mild vanilla or a cream. The sweetness does not force itself nor taste artificial probably because of the Cavendish and Black Cavendish tag team. The sweetness comes through on initial puff and trails off into a mild smokiness. It is kind of like having desert before the meal, sweet and salty.

Final: However, the description may sound inviting but ROI is just ok when you consider how many other blends are on the market. Nothing special to see here. Just a change of pace without overdoing casing or artificial sweeteners.

Notes about Cavendish: Cavendish is more a method to treat tobacco than a type. English Cavendish uses a dark flue or fire cured Virginia which is steamed and then stored under pressure to permit it to cure and ferment for several days to several weeks. When done well, this tobacco is really fine stuff. Cavendish can be produced out of any tobacco type (mainly Virginia's and Burley's are used). The original English Cavendish is produced out of Virginia tobacco, which is slightly flavoured and heated by high pressure. This will give you a very dark, black tobacco. The modern version of Cavendish is generally much more flavoured. The natural taste of tobacco is almost gone. The flavouring is also called "Casing". This is the term used when you add a considerable amount of additives to the tobacco. This is usually done by producing a fluid mixture of sugar, liquorice or any kind of aromas in which the tobacco is soaked. The goal is to produce a sweet and smooth aroma. Modern Cavendish tobacco comes in numerous flavours, cherry, vanilla, rum, chocolate, strawberry, coconut .......and many other flavors.