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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Relevant and purely imaginary quote: "Good heavens, Cletus, it smells like a Turkish cat-house here". There are three things that mark a misspent pipe-smoking youth. One of which is Erinmore Flake.


In the spring on 1974, when I was still fourteen years old, our cat discovered my pipes and tobacco where I had hidden them, under a cabinet in the downstairs drawing room. That evening my mother lectured me on the evils of smoking - it took her all of three cigarettes puffed in slow succession to deliver the lecture - and then my father spoke sternly to me. The gist of his discourse was I had to keep my pipes clean (always use pipe-cleaners), and good pipe tobacco needed no additional fragrances; perfumed tobaccos that smelled like a Turkish cathouse were garbage, and should be avoided like a dose of clap.
This is Pshat.

Since then I have not smoked Erinmore Flake.

All pipe smokers of a certain age have experimented with it - it is hard to avoid buying this product at least once, as the friendly and colourful tin with its garish red blazoon on a yellow field beckons one from across a counter, lures one with its cheery appearance, shakes an appealing visual leg at the easily distracted young rake. And like an adventure with a drug-addled whore, one very quickly regrets the decision. From close up, the perfume is strictly drugstore bargain, the make-up thick and smeared, the hotel-room mildewed and depressing.

[All of which is Moshol, please understand.]

For me that 'regret' came one day in March of that year, when I smoked two full bowls of Erinmore Flake one after the other. And threw up violently as a result. I was sick as a dog. Utter misery.

In all fairness I should mention that this may have been caused by not using pipe-cleaners, and inadvertently swallowing some of the gurgle in the shank. This was before my father's words of advice. Pipe-cleaners, in this allegory, are either condoms OR a course of penicillin - either way, this is the Remez.

A few days afterwards I repeated the experience. Two bowls. Followed by nauseated heaving.

I never did finish that tin.

[An infuriating waste of money - did I ever mention that I am a cheap-skate? It's a Dutch characteristic I have never shaken, and have no intention of giving up. Throwing away money on a tin one will not finish is a souring experience.]

Erinmore Flake, with its fruity reek and foul habits, was the veritable tart among the tobaccos, the whore of Babylon, the shameless Catholic Church among the sober Protestants. I loathed it. For years those attractive yellow tins mocked me, from dark corners of tobacconists, or neatly stacked shelves, on two continents. Where-ever I saw an Erinmore tin, it seemed to wink and say "how about it, big boy, I've had my shots".
I resented the implied familiarity - I did NOT want to be seen in its company under any circumstances.

So, seeing as I have been in an experimenting mood these past few months, and having heard that Erinmore Flake will soon no longer be available on these shores, I naturally bought a tin.

Made in the EU under the authority of Murray Sons & Co LTD, Belfast
[Originally by Murray Sons & Company Limited]

Short slices of Virginia flake, cased with pineapple, and possibly also licorice and prune extract.

It is not nearly as funky as I remember it, because it is no longer the same. Erinmore Flake was one of the trademarks moved by British American Tobacco to Orlik in 2005. It may have been changed somewhat after the transfer, but it is as likely that Murrays toned it down after the eighties. It actually smells fairly pleasant now. If smoked slowly, the pewy stink burns off after the first few puffs, and a pleasant Virginia taste comes through which is rather enjoyable. It burns down cleanly to a fine white ash.

[If NOT smoked ultra-slow, it leaves your mouth feeling like you've got a case of oral clap. Be forewarned.]
--- --- --- --- ---


I would not recommend Erinmore Flake, will not publicly admit to liking it, and shall not smoke it at the Occidental for fear of being labeled a disgusting pervert, but it certainly isn't bad. I'm over half-way through the tin, and will definitely finish it. It has all the illicit appeal of a dewy teenager alone in the house and tiddly on her dad's bourbon. Yummy.

Erinmore Flake is slightly reminiscent of Dunhill Light Flake - probably because they have for a long time been produced by the same factory; the tins presently available come from Orlik Tobacco Company
( ).
Before Orlik started making the Dunhill Flake, it likewise was manufactured in Belfast - Dunhill have not had an actual plant since 1981, when Rothmans International consolidated production of all their pipe-tobaccos at Murrays.

[It being remembered that Carreras International bought Murrays in 1953, and acquired Dunhill in 1967, then were themselves purchased by Rothmans in 1972. Production of Dunhill pipe-tobacco was moved to Belfast in 1980 and 1981. Rothmans merged with British American Tobacco in 1998, B.A.T. shut down the Belfast location and farmed out manufacture of pipe-tobaccos to Orlik in late 2004. By 2005 Belfast started disappearing from the shelves, to be replaced by Danish product. In February of 2007, B.A.T. sold all brands save Dunhill and one other (something unmentionable) to Orlik. Orlik is now the largest producer of pipe-tobacco in the world.]

I suspect that the recipe in the seventies had an inclusion of air-dried leaf (Burley or Maryland), which allowed it to suck up more of that Hello Kitty teenage hooker aroma. Straight Virginia (flue-cured) just doesn't soak up the cheap cologne very well. The product looks the same, but is a fish of a different kettle.
This, of course, is the Drash of the shiur.

A further indication that this is not the same product as the Erinmore Flake sold in the seventies lies in the complete absence of any involuntarily recalled memories. It does not stimulate flights of remembrance, I do not automatically go back in my mind's nose to the park near the Kleine Ven in Valkenswaard where I upchucked the first time, nor to the bench in the small courtyard along the Eindhovensche Weg where I was sick the second time. I do not feel the warm breeze outside the apartment buildings in the newer neighborhoods, nor see the streetlights through the branches of the trees.
I have to deliberately work at bringing those scenes back to mind, the tobacco does not do it.
This is the Sod.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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  • At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shit, that sure is the most reek and ranking tobacco posting ever. Kudos. I'm impressed.

    I don't smoke.

    But I would, after this.

  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Admittedly, I know virtually nothing of pipe tobacco, but surely cats are not normally interested in them? Might it not be possible that some flavor component in Erinmore flake might have replicated catip? Perhaps that would account for your projectile ralphing.

  • At 9:26 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Possible, yes, but not entirely likely. Closed tin. I think it was just mischance - the tin and most especially the pipes were probably handy playthings for a bored cat.
    Approximately rat-sized, and easily battable.

  • At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tobacco equates to sex, tarts, and diseases? Sounds more exciting than I could ever have imagined.

    I always thought tobacco meant wombats, penguins, and llamas.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That, in short, is what this blog seemed to be attempting to convince its readers of.

    And several amphibians.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Slimy creatures. Oop. Yuck.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "under a cabinet in the downstairs drawing room"

    Oy, for a second I thought that said 'downstairs davening room. That surely would have been a fine thing to have.

  • At 9:58 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    "Drawing room. There are no members of the government dead in our davening room".
    "Yah, well, you know what I mean!"
    "Well, it's..."

  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Here I was expecting something degenerate. You disappoint me.


  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I really doubt that a pipe cleaner is as effective as a course of pennicilin. But if you wish to use one on your petzel, you should do so. I look forward to a detailed posting on that noble experiment.

    As the song says, whip it, whip it good!


  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just whip it.

    Levitacious Wax

  • At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He's back. And he's depraved.

    Lev, the idea of pipe-cleaners is that you stick it in to something. Only if you have a narrow uretthra do you whip it. Which begs the question as to the biological provvenance of Bobby - he jes' ain't right. Personally, I suspect Bill of having had a "hand" in that matter....... looks the same, physique wise.
    And Peggy is a fire-cracker besides.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said…

    i don't know anything about pipes or tobacco... but i think now i know too much :-P

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Hmm...definite food for thought.
    You are postulating that Arlen is some sort of Texan Peyton Place, I mean over and above the Nancy Gribble/John Redcorn dalliance...very interesting.

  • At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We long for the days when tobacco tarts hawked their wares, wearing provocative clothes and wiggling their curves. A burning cigar is like an angry nipple, a cloud of sweet smoke like luring perfume, and lurid tins and wrappers like the clothes that strippers cast aside.

    Yes! Sex and tobacco and big band stomp! Baby!

  • At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When you die, you get 72 tins of Erinmore Flake. It is written.

  • At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Jim Rudisill said…

    Sweet Lord, I've nearly soiled myself laughing at this post. I began pipes later in life. However, my mentor started me correctly - my first bowl was from a late 70's-era pouch of Balkan Sobranie. It was like smoking buttered steak.
    Casings? Dessert blends? How could I?

    Okay, I do admit to one. And only one. You can get it from Craig at C&D, but he's getting it from J and Louise of Hermit. It's their English Atmosphere. Take their Ten Russians and add a nice hint of... vanilla? Honey? I'm not sure, but it's basically black cav and all pressed into a brick. I had it back when we could still smoke at the NY pipe show (in Newark NJ) and blew thru my 2 oz tin in damn near one sitting. You might enjoy it too.

    A fine blog. Keep posting!

    Jim R
    (rocker311 on

  • At 9:38 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Any thoughts about what Khan gets up to in the privacy of his own house? Cross-dressing?
    We know that Boomhauer has a fairly scandalous lifestyle, I'll tell you what.

  • At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Poof tobaco. Only someone with gender issues would smoke Erinmore. It's dreck.

  • At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Smoking is for sissies anyway, real men inject the nicotine directly into their blood.

    Sherlock Holmes? A friggin' poofter. Should've shoved the cocaine up his darn nose, dissolved the tobacco in whiskey, and shoved it in a needle right through his sternum.

    Queer assed bugger.

  • At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Queer assed bugger

    A hyphen is required. Please insert hyphen somewhere near the ass part. Dpending upon the meaning you wish to give your comment, you may do so between the queer and the assed, or before buggery.


  • At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sherlock Holmes? A friggin' poofter.

    You are probably confusing him with Basil Rathbone. There is bugger all evidence that Holmes was in any way sexually inclined. Except for that bit about VR in bullet holes in the wall. He had an all-American gun fetish. Which may, or may not, be friggin' poofty. I have often thought it so.


  • At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Don Jose Carreras Ferrer y Murray said…

    Tin Description: A superb blend of premium Virginia leaf topped with a secret recipe and aged under pressure to marry the flavors. The aged cake is then sliced thin and packaged. Can be rubbed to suit any taste. Medium in strength with a refreshing aroma. A cool clean burning all-day smoke.


    Oh my God, we've created a monster.

    It's alive! It's alive!


    Murray's Tobacco Works opened premises in Sandy Row in 1901 when it took over the site of the old Blackstaff Flax Spinning & Weaving Company Mill. Many generations of local families have been employed there, in the manufacture of its tobacco products. At one time, 800 people were employed in Murray's.


    In same category: Dunhill Light Flake, MacBaren's Virginia Flake, Gawith Hoggarth Best Brown, S. Gawith's Medium Virginia, and most especially Orlik's Golden Slices (Judges Flake). Most unscented.

  • At 9:05 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    The VR thing would indicate more of a spiritual kinship with Dr. Hunter S. Thompson than any definite sexual proclivities.

  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Sweet Lord, I've nearly soiled myself laughing at this post.

    Good heavens, we don't want that!!! The tobacco itself might cause that effect in any case.

    But seriously, glad you liked the piece. I'll check out some of your postings on


  • At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shredded bottom. With a perfume from the fruity shower gel. A vision of a young lady sitting on a pipe.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jim R, what's this about black cav? Carefull, man, you'll get the NAACP here in no time, and make tobacco into an ACLU issue. Please, we must now call it "African American Cavendish".

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Or 'Melanin-enriched cavendish'.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 6:25 PM, Blogger J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said…

    ROTFL, when I was a kid I had to invent all kinds of things to hide my fags, until one day I forgot them in my jacket's pocket, and my mom washed it punkt that day! I was terrified what would happen now, the next morning I just found them in the bathroom on the shelf. No one said anything.

  • At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Smoking is an evil art. All parents long for the day when their whelp discovers evil. It leads directly to grandchildren, you see.

    You thought 'cigarettes'. She saw 'grand kids'.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 3:19 PM, Anonymous M.W. said…

    Other than fruity stinks, there's nobbut here!

  • At 2:15 PM, Anonymous José Carreras said…

    There's alittle bit of stinky fruit in every man.

    Especially the Royal Navy.


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