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 02, 2009


Thomas at the tobacconist mentioned that a gentleman from South Africa had come in with an old pipe, looking for something similar to what he used to smoke several years ago. The gentleman left with a pouch of a Balkan blend, but the search continues. Did I know anything at all about pipe tobacco in South Africa?

Naturally I immediately remembered a pipe tobacco that was probably never even sold there: VOORTREKKER, manufactured by Theodorus Niemeijer in Groningen. It was a medium ribbon-cut Maryland, with a fairly mild taste. The label had a picture of a Boer wagon train on the veld. Hence the flash of memory.
It was what the Dutch call Baai Tabak: plain ribbon-cut air-cured tobacco, primarily Maryland, with some other leaves added to balance the taste.


South African tobaccos tend to be mostly flue-cured with air-cured leaf added to temper, with some pressure to meld the components before slicing or shredding. So it is doubtful that the elderly gentleman had smoked anything like a Dutch Baai Tabak.
What he probably smoked was BOXER, a bright ribbon-cut product made by Leonard Dingler LTD.
Leonard Dingler (pipe tobacco and snuff) goes back to the early part of the twentieth century or before, and was family-owned till purchased a few years ago by Swedish Match - which today announced intent to sell the company to Phillip Morris.

The Boxer line includes Piet Retief, Best Blend, and Mild Gold.
Swedish Match also makes Black & White, Giraffe, and Nineteen O'Four.

Other South African pipe-tobaccos are Assegai, Fox, Horseshoe, and Jock.

Unfortunately, I can only guess what Boxer tasted like - though, as it is the most popular of South African pipe tobaccos by far, the other pipe tobaccos probably offer alternatives that relate to it - circling around the standard, as it were.
Based on descriptions I have heard it could be a mostly flue-cured ribbon-cut cake with a mild top-dressing. A substitute here in the US would probably be a mixture of forty to eighty percent shredded medium Virginia flake, with the rest fire-cured, Burley or Maryland, Cavendish, and Black Virginia. Again, just guessing.

The South African gentleman might also like an English flake from Samuel Gawith, or even a plain Dutch Cavendish - one without the whorehouse reek so typical of many popular pressed 'Ollanders.


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  • At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


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  • At 1:32 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Please note: the preceding comment is, technically speaking, spam. Specifically Chinese language dildo and sex-toy spam. Feel free to click on the links, especially if you have an absurd sense of humour. Or your desperate and bored.

  • At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Crusty Dog said…

    Regarding tobacoo the gentleman might like Mac Baren's Symphony. It is a cool mixture of Virginias and aged Burley with very mild casing. The tobacco is harmonious, and undemanding. A broken flake with a pleasant exchange between the sweetness of the flue cured, and the nuttiness of the aircured. Slightly sweet.

  • At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Usually when you post about tobacco my eyes glaze over , so yes, chinese dildo and sex toy spam might be a welcome change...

  • At 11:49 PM, Blogger Telmac said…

    wha is this at he top, t has numbers and text, is it supposed to be in something of oriental origin? correct me if that is not the appropriate term as long it cannot be possibly assumed in the same context of a racial slur. Also I am scared to click on the links, should I be?

  • At 11:49 PM, Blogger Telmac said…

    wha is this at he top, t has numbers and text, is it supposed to be in something of oriental origin? correct me if that is not the appropriate term as long it cannot be possibly assumed in the same context of a racial slur. Also I am scared to click on the links, should I be?

  • At 11:50 PM, Blogger Telmac said…

    also, I would think that he would have been a hooka-man?

  • At 10:23 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…


    The Chinese links will take you to a store that sells long sausage-shaped objects and small "oyster-like" squishy objects that, oddly, will fit another object, which is shaped remarkably like a sausage.

    As I wrote earlier, "Specifically Chinese language dildo and sex-toy ....".

    Go ahead, click on the links. It will be educational. Perhaps disturbing, definitely NOT safe for a school environment or when a young lady of tender sensibilities is looking over your shoulder. But definitely 'educational'.

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    also, I would think that he would have been a hooka-man?

    Why? North Africa is hookah-stan. South Africa, several thousand miles away, is normal pipe land. There are two types of pipe that originiate in the South African heartland: the Ooom Paul (a fully bent briar with a deep straight-sided bowl) and the Calabash pipe - which looks like the stereotypic Sherlock Holmes (even though he never smoked one in the books).

    The Calabash is made by hollowing out and drying a gourd in a curved mold, then fitting a stem at the narrow end and an insert-bowl at the other end. It smokes very dry and cool.

  • At 10:29 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Note: only when fingers slip are there three o's in Oom Paul. Normally, two o's are sufficient.

    The pipe is named after Paul Kruger - fondly nicknamed 'uncle' (oom) Paul by the Afrikaners.

  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    Hmm, I wonder what they'd call a pipe named after Paul Krugman?

  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Thanks for introducing us (however inadvertantly) to "", where you can "let every erotic fantasy be come areality": somehow, the more I look at that phrase, the less it looks like a typo.

  • At 5:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To be honest Boxer tastes like dried veld grass. It is horrible and cheap - thus smoked almost exclusively by poor workers in the form of hand rolled cigarettes. Jock also falls into this category.

    Fox is much better albeit a bit too strongly flavored for me. Nineteen O'Four is about the best of the lot mentioned here - smooth and cool to smoke, relatively cheap and available in a wide variety of flavors. Black & White and Assegai are not that readily available so I have no experience with them but they seem to fall into the higher priced class.

  • At 11:05 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Dried veld grass? Yowza. Not surprising, though. Plain tobacco, minimally cured, shredded or ribbon cut - that seems to be the norm in many areas.

    In the Netherlands, at one time, there were "blends" that consisted primarily of shredded cigar tobacco. Mediocre stuff that wasn't good enough for even the local cigar factories. Interesting to smoke, smelled rasty, and eventually gave one a cough that sounded like you were hacking up a hairball. Such things were, of course, VERY popular.
    Cost less than of a pouch of Baai Tabak. Only half the price of Sail or Amphora.

  • At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In GB a tobacco was sold called Afrikanner Mixture,


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