At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Both Treppenwitz and Graham commented underneath my pervert odour post. Both asked questions.
[This post: ]

Treppenwitz asked:"I am looking for a good, aromatic, pipe tobacco. I don't want to smoke it, mind you. I simply want something that I can store in my home library for the sake of its aroma.

I have wonderful memories of the smell of my father's study from when I was a kid. He rarely smoked his pipe by the time I was born, but he maintained a few leather pouches of various tobaccos... just in case he should ever want to have a pipe. The result was that his study always smelled wonderful.

I have a nice selection of 'seforim' at home, but many of them are older volumes that have been bought at auction or rescued from shuls that were selling off their holy books. As a result, there is sometimes a musty smell near the shelves that I could do without.

It occurs to me that if I kept a few pouches of a nice pipe tobacco secreted here and there behind the books, it would be a wonderful improvement to the atmosphere.
So, any recommendations? And if so, how long would it take a leather pouch of pipe tobacco to lose its aroma?"

It's good question. A library should smell appropriately. I automatically think of the smell of the typical Chinese scholar's studyroom - hard inks made fragrant with camphor and resins, subtly perfumed paper, incense from Indochina made of fallen hardwoods from the malarial zone.

I have a selection of incense at home which is very pleasant, and which smells calm and not fruity. Easiest to get are sandalwood and winter pear joss-sticks - spend a little bit extra and get the better qualities, as they have finer ingredients and less glue. Black Sandalwood, which has a very scholarly smell, is also excellent - but fairly expensive. And not really a sandalwood - it's the aforementioned Indochinese hardwood. Good quality incense keeps away bugs, by the way.

Cedar, which is used to make cigar boxes, is also one of those old-fashioned smells. One could keep pipe-tobacco in a cedar box, as a friend of mine does.

But regarding pipe tobacco, I would suggest the Samuel Gawith 1792 Flake. It is made fragrant with Coumarin (Tonquin oil), which helps preserve the tobacco and keeps it bug-free. If the tobacco dries out, revive it with some alcohol. It will add a pleasant aroma for years that way.

Peterson's Irish Flake is also good in that regard, being slightly smokey and leathery (the effect of the fire-cured Kentucky pressed with Virginia), and for an old-fashioned perfume, I suggest Independence, by Dan Tobacco - I do not know how well it revives if it dries out (as inevitably it must). Samuel Gawith (England) and Dan Tobacco (Germany) make a range of high-quality tobaccos, several of which are aromatic - some extremely so.

Most mass-production aromatic pipe-tobaccos are much of a muchness. Fruits, vanilla, and chocolate-coffee-caramel. Some with coconut or almond toppings. These overpower, and attract bugs because of their sweetness, or may leave a sticky deposit if left in one place too long.

Avoid almost all Dutch tobaccos - some are the very definition of perversion. The Dutch are the whores of the flavour industry.

Heather Honey mixtures (many manufacturers), Rum-flavoured mixtures (many manufacturers), and Maple mixtures (many Drug-store blends) are neither entirely too objectionable nor exceptionally unstable.

Peterson and Ashton both make tinned aromatics which are of higher quality.

MacBaren's (a Danish company) makes several pressed rollcakes (small round slices) in tins. Some are more aromatic than others, but all are of excellent quality, and probably very suitable for use as "library besomim". Their Latakia Blend (actually no more than ten percent Latakia, the rest being Burley and Virginia) has a plummy smell, as does their Navy flake. Any tobacconist that caries MacBaren's should have a pamphlet describing the product.

Most 'Oriental' mixtures will add an old-fashioned smokey quality - the Latakia and the aged Virginias harmonize well. But they are not aromatic, and dry out eventually with little hope of revival. The Turkish component loses resinosity over time.

Scotch Blend nowadays almost always means nastiness. But traditionally it meant a generous proportion of strong Virginias with assertive condimentals (Latakia, Turkish, Perique). If you find a Scotch Blend that contains much black Virginia or stoved Virginia, it will add a raisiny whiney smell.

Avoid anything that reeks of cherries.

=== === === === ===

Graham asked:
"Where do pipe-smokers (non-Arabic) - smoke pipes nowadays? My late brother smoked pipes - but I've never seen people standing around on streets - smoking pipes."

At the tobacconist, at the Occidental Cigar Bar, or at Whiskey Thieves. On the front steps of apartment buildings, in the wicker seats under the awnings of coffee shops, in air-wells, or in the kitchen near the open window. We bellyache a lot.

"Do perverts smoke pipes? I'd rather think they smoke cheap cigarettes."
Anybody who smokes a cherry blend is by definition a pervert and should be kept away from little girls. Sailors, rapists, and Californians smoke cheap cigarettes.

"Are all women who smoke pipes also lesbian?"

No. Boruch Hashem.

"Is there a typical Jewish tobacco ?- I have seen old Polish Yiddish videos where all the wise men smoke a pipe."

No, but there is a series of tobacco mixtures with a Judaic theme put out by Cornell and Diehl ( see here: ).

Halav u'dvash - two types of Virginia, with fired Kentucky and a resinous fragrance added to make it aromatic.
Or Olam - Virginia, Perique, touch of Oriental.
Boker Or - Virginias, Orientals, touch of Perique.
Or L'Yom - Like Boker Or, but paler.
Shaarei Orah - A Burley based blend.

One could light up a pipe as part of havdalah, letting the whisp of fragrant smoke kiss the Sabbath adieu. Some Chassidic rebbes light a cigarette for davka that purpose. A cigar would be better.


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  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Important note regarding the incense: it need not be burnt. I have a few bundles in a ceramic pot on one of the high shelves, and a few small boxes with spiral incense in various bookcases.

    I only burn it when there is a danger of her suspecting that I have been smoking outside the kitchen or the crapper.

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger treppenwitz said…

    Wow! That was more information than I could have hoped for. Thanks.

    I guess the next time I am in the US I will have to visit a tobacconist.

  • At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Graham said…

    I too wish to express my appreciation of the Blogmeester's impressive efforts to answer my queries fully.

    Thank you blogmeester.

    Still... the only pipe-smoking women I knew were lesbian. Nice people - tweed jackets, corduroy trousers & brogues. Both teachers - Misses X & Y

    Maybe the Blogmeester's idea of lesbians is that of lithe Japanese teenagers - well I've been bested in fisticuffs by British Army lesbians (in the 1970's) and I still reckon that women who smoke pipes are not interested in my loins any day...

    Mind you 99% of heterosexual women remain blissfullly disinterested in my loins .

    Shucks, I don't smoke and I've too much meat in my trousers


  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I detect a them of smells. Do smells make you 'come'?

  • At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Theme. Not 'them'.


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