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.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I mean that in a good way. It's a very positive statement. Imagine a little old person, steel-rimmed spectacles, kindly eyes, lace; someone who danced with too many fly-boys during WWII, when she was still a young girl in Somerset. And married the only one who came back in 1945. A spirited old gal. Spunky. Witty, too.

She still has all her faculties.

Except for her sense of smell.

Smell is one of the things that goes downhill fast. Just ask the manufacturers of Limburger cheese, they can't smell (or they would NOT be committing their horrid crime against humanity).

In consequence of her nose weakening so, she now wears a perfume that is, well, shall we say, somewhat... unsuitable (though it is very old-fashioned).

A bit soapy. A bit too sweet and floral. A bit like how a root-beer float tastes.

A perfume made with Tonquin oil.

Tonquin oil comes from a tropical tree with sweet pungent seeds that are used for adding scent or flavour to pomades, candies, and tobacco.
[Is the light going off in your head now? Do you see where this is leading? I lured you in with the provocative title, and now, having got you where I want you, I am going to gibber on at length about pipe tobacco.]

1792 FLAKE
Manufactured in Kendall, Cumbria, England, by Samuel Gawith & Co. Ltd.

Yes, it really does smell like a sweet little old lady. But it smokes much better than she would, even if desiccated, de-veined, fermented, cured, pressed, steamed, and sliced into dark fibrous sheets. It is a full flavoured yet relatively smooth smoke, that finishes surprisingly fast for a matured Virginia. Not too sweet. Tangy and complex to the tongue, round and pleasant to the nose.

Despite the pleasing aroma, Savage Kitten still forces me to smoke it in the kitchen near the open window with the door closed - she does not appreciate old women.
I expect that in another thirty years she won't mind my smoking it in the parlor - she may smell like that herself then.

Oddly, the fragrance does not particularly adhere to the pipe, as subsequent bowls of McClellands flake tobacco are scarcely influenced. Bowls of Dunhill's Durbar mixture, or Standard Mixture Medium, a few days later, will taste no different than usual. In this it is entirely dissimilar to such rancid abortions as Troost, Clan, Cherry-Vanilla Hodgepodge, or any other dreck-muck-sludge compounds much recommended by idiots and misguided sweet funk aficionados.

It is far better tobacco than anything the Dutch or Danes produce, a truly excellent compound, and well worth experiencing. It takes me about a year to go through a tin, and if it dries out during that time I remoisten it with a little whiskey. The liquor sparks up the fragrance and melds the flavour-components. At times I will hold the tin up to my nose merely to inhale deeply. Sheer heaven.
You might not like it; not everyone does.

[Dark, pressed, and dizzy.]

I've also been smoking McClellands Blackwoods Flake, Dark Star, and Virginia No. 24 of an evening. All are up to the usual high standards of McClellands, and being Virginias, they often do not alert Savage Kitten to their smoke until I've nearly finished the bowl. Unlike Oriental mixtures, Virginias are stealth tobaccos. The Blackwoods Flake is easier to smoke than the Dark Star, which pretty much knocks me sideways. A fine product.

[Beware of bears.]

The Dunhill Durbar Mixture and the Standard Mixture Medium have too much Turkish and Latakia to pass unnoticed. I seldom smoke them in the house, even near the open window. Savage Kitten, who does not drink or smoke, describes them as noxious death-weed, and has threatened to emasculate me if her teddy-bear ends up smelling like barbecue because of them.
The bear is the oldest roomy, and apparently outranks me. Flaming Hell will burst forth on earth if the bear should smell of smoke.

I am far too fond of the bear to even think of causing that eventuality.

The bear at present smells warm and fuzzy, and very comforting.
Rather like a sweet little old lady.


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  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Much as I hate to disabuse you, I have to state that the title of this post was not all that alluring.

  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said…

    Sorry, put this first in old post. So here goes:

    The other day I hit geferlach traffic, I could see it was really bad so I says "heck, let me try local, can't be worse than this..."

    To make a long story short, I drove by the cigar store, and the car miraculously left the road, parked in front of the shop, and the seat ejected me. I thinks to meself, this must be a heavnly sign for me to enter the store - not buying anything, of course, just snuffing 'round - 'twas birthday season at the Izrael residence, and the collection agencies are hounding around day and night. To make a long story short, out I come with two of your suggestions, the Peterson Serlock Holmes and the Balkan from Saesini (why can't Nordics have simple names like Peterson and McCelland? Or at least something simple like Schwartsberger and Gruenwald?)

    Anyway, the Sherlock is good, but I was more impressed with the Balkan. McClellands has one called Syrian Balkan Super, I thik it is more 'beefy', but I'd have to compare closely. Anyway, nothing beats those nice tins, certainly not my store's ziplock bags. Tho it's easier to fill a pipe from the bag. You should write an article about Euro tins vs. US tins & bags. I still have to try the other two. Yet I'm still most tempted by the flavored ones from the store. Next time I'll get the nougat flavor, as well as the black cavendish with lots of vanilla. Nothing beats that one.

    Oh, just one sec, I forgot to tell you I recently discovered the light bulb. Or at least powdered milk: if you fill the pipe from the side, i.e. you don't push downwards but stack it in your fingers and press to the walls, (it's easier with something flat like a popsicle or knife), and pack it well without stuffing the canal, you get a very full and easy smoke that doesn't go out easily and lasts long.

    Now if I may make a few suggestions to you from my OCD: check out 'Birds Of Fire' by Mahavishnu Orchestra, 'Heavy Horses' by Jethro Tull, 'The Tain' by Horslips and 'Concertio de Aranjuez' by Paco de Lucia. If you can put up with heavy metal check out the new Priest, "Nostradamus", it's very good. You don't have to be a big metal lover to like it, it's kinda different with lots of synth and orchestration (part real), but still firm metal.

    PS 7/11

    I smoked the Saesini TWICE today (yea, it happens... two pipes in one day... tho for the most its one pipe in two days) and it's really good. Next I'll smoke McClelland's Syrian Super Balkan and Rose of Latakia, maybe I'll be able to compare them.

    Oh, one more word about music... When Snowy White's "The way it is" came out, it remained in the CD player for 3 months straight... one of the best albums ever. Well, among. Incredible, if you dig the stuff. (Modern Blues.) IMHO he's THE most underrated guitarist in the world, and certainly in BB King & Albert King's league. (Tho' a talmid of Peter Green).

    C. U.

  • At 7:44 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Tayere Yossi,

    I don't want to predispose you either way, but you'll probably find the Syrian Balkan better than Rose of Latakia. For some reason it just seems to have a better balance. One could almost call ita Scottish Balkan.

    Regarding the tins, I have a deep squishy soft spot for those old British style tins, whether rectangular (Samuel Gawith and Gawith Hoggarth) or round (Dunhill and everyone else) with the brand name and iconography enameled on (rather than simple label-pasted). They always radiated stability, quality, a good sound product with a satisfied customer base and a solid history. Plus the graphics were temperate and spare. The feeling of satisfaction that going to the corner tobacconist and purchasing one of those every week gave me was always part of the pleasure. No matter the weather, I showed up at the same time every seven days. The old coot behind the counter would with respectfull gravity hand me my purchase and thank me for coming. And then the pleasure of later opening up the tin - the thdlcqk! sound it made as one twisted the coin under the rim and let the air in, the sight of neatly creased paper enfolding a pressed disc of tobacco, the contrasting colours of the mixture, the upwards waft of fresh tobacco aroma..... Meh, untopping a can nowadays just does not have quite that joy.

    But if it weren't for McClelland, GLPease, and Cornell & Diehl, America would be as grim a place as modern Europe, where labels now have to advertise your imminent death, and the full smorgasbord of tobacco options is nowhere available.

    As far as vanilla tobaccos are concerned, the McBaren's Vanilla has a stellar reputation - I have no personal experience with it, though. Vanilla is a traditional enough addition that it crops up in minor amounts in many mixes.
    The actual aromatics in my ""cellar"" are 1792 Flake, Shannon (Dan tobacco - melon spray on fine aged cake), and Independence (also by Dan - florals on flake, a fresh-faced teenager with harlot perfume). Oh, and a few tins of Erinmore flake and Erinmore mixture - products I haven't touched in over thirty years, but I'm counting on nose-memory to give me a blast once I finally open these tins.

  • At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Longwinded, gibbering. And tobacco. Yep. Delivered on your promise.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And that applies all round.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Old ladies. Yum. Taste like penguins.

  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Old ladies. Yum. Taste like penguins.

    You base this on personal experience, I presume? And are you talking about food? Or are you necrophilicly inclined?

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    And regarding pipes and tobacco, this interesting blog:

    Written by a pipesmoker in China. Who seems to have a broad base of experience with several tobaccos.

  • At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now lets see, you have a schoolgirl fetish, a nurse fetish, a smell fetish, a panties fetish, and a tobacco fetish. Plus a little old lady fetish.

    Have you considered cutting back on the stimulants?


  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said…

    My feelings 'bout dem tins too.

    In fact, I think it reflects the EU vs. US mentalities: EU goes for the aestethics over practicality. US vice versa.

    I remember how my father was fuming about CD's when they were about to come out. He said it'll kill vinyl in a few years' time. He was right. Very few vinyls are released nowadays, mostly collector items and for enthusiats.

    In fact, your trips to the tobacco store remind me of my monthly pilgrimage to the record store. My tobacco store doesn't have too much of euro tins, mostly pushing his own stuff. I noticed Peterson's Irish Whisky which I never tried before, I guess that's mu next stop. But I'm not getting any tins from him anymore. It's a lot cheaper online, S&H is even less than sales tax if you get 3-4 tins at a time.

  • At 2:42 PM, Blogger J. "יהוא בן יהושפט בן נמשי" Izrael said…

    PS RE rose vs. Syrian - I have both, that's why I felt like I'm trying the saeisni balkan for naught. I did smoke the syrian a while ago, but for the life of me I can't compare from memory. I'd have to fill a pipe with each and compare on the spot. Which I am definitely NOT DOING, period.

    Rectangular tins - I seen in just this time, almost positive it was Dunhill.

  • At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rectangular tins - I seen in just this time, almost positive it was Dunhill.

    Probably the light flake. A small Zionist tin - it is blue and white. Good product.

    I miss Three Nuns. Dark brown flake, smelled like underwear.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 7:36 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Speaking as one who doesn't indulge in pipe tobacco, and isn't really that interested, a question presents itself: are there any tobaccoes out there that smell like penguins?

  • At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Smells like penguins? Freshly laundered penguins, penguins after a herring-gut orgy, or rancid drunken penguins?

    In the pouch, or after lighting?

    This is a question for a rabbi.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Or it is a question for a rabbit. Your choice. Not mine. I don't llisten from bird-burning rabbits either.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Eric The Rabid Tobacconist said…

    ... bird-burning rabbits

    The penguin is neither a bird nor an incendiaristic rabbit.

    The penguin is a quadruped which lives in big rivers like the Amazon. It has two ears, a heart, a forehead, and a beak for eating honey. But it is provided with fins for swimming.

    Penguins are larger than frogs.

    Penguins are dangerous! If you see one where people are swimming, you should shout: 'Look out! There are penguins!'

    Cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, los pingüinos!

  • At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Graham said…

    Most of the (US) flyboys were based in East Anglia or Wiltshire - Somerset was home to a lot of GIs though

    Bless her anyhow!


  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Graham said…

    H.B is clearly not a serious boycotter.....

    or in other words

    put that in your pipe & smoke it...


  • At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Soddy pervart basterd, you will go to hill!

  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    I'm already at the hill, you moron.

    We're you drunk when you commented?

  • At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Regarding tins, have seen several unextraordinary tins, empty, being sold in antique shops for unbeleivable prices. Dunhill, Balkan Sobranie, Erinmore, Capstan, and Three Castles. Prices up around twenty dollars.

    Dunhill is not antique. The others may be. Still reidiculous, these tins were menat to be disposable, or you put your screws and hooks in them. They made millions of those tins, there must be millions of them still around. Just wait until some old fucker dies, and go through his desk. Probably uncover the motherlode of emty tins and cans. Everybody has them.

  • At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Virginio said…

    It's way too hot for old lady, no matter how smoking. Darn this weather!


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