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, September 22, 2009


We carry scars from the past in our souls. What hurt many decades ago still floats to the surface in the quiet of the night; we must have pacifiers to distract us from unwelcome memories.

Books, entertainments, and pretty things - these are the baubles that lead the mind away from minefields.

Oh, and pipes and tobacco. Of course! What would life be like without pipes and tobacco?

During my childhood I developed a taste for good quality pipe tobacco, which cost four or five times as much as the pouched dreck common to the hordes. It was a profound hardship. There were many times when I did not know if I would be able to buy that precious tin of Balkan Sobranie or Dunhill London Mixture and I often worried that the tobacconist would raise the prices, or not order any more...... being seemingly the only person in Valkenswaard with a Latakia fetish was the full extent of my teenage angst.
Yes, you sympathize. I can tell.

[Balkan Sobranie Mixture: Somewhat less than half smoky Syrian (Latakia), nearly a quarter resinous Oriental (Yenidje from Thrace or Macedonia), and for the rest, charming flue-cured leaves (Virginia). It stank. But tasted very very nice indeed.
Dunhill London Mixture: More than forty percent Latakia, twenty four percent Turkish (Smyrna, Samsoun, etcetera), plus Virginia Cavendish, with perhaps a smidge of something else. It stank. But the taste was quite appealing.]

I am scarred - I got kicked out of a bar once for smoking Dunhill Nightcap.

[Dunhill Nightcap: Fifty percent plus of Latakia, on a base of dark Virginias and Cavendish. Need I mention that it stank? It was delicious!]


Recently I was at the local tobacconist, observing a transaction while I smoked. An elderly gentleman was buying a pipe for his son. Between the two of them they carefully examined most of the good quality briar in the store, before carefully choosing the specimen that pleased them both. After paying the father asked about certain tobaccos - he fondly remembered Balkan Sobranie.
Alas, Balkan Sobranie is no longer available, hasn't been for years. The Dunhill he asked about can no longer be found either. The fragrance of remembering has been diminished.

The son, being of a more recent vintage, was perfectly happy with Greg Pease's Westminster, and also smoked Abingdon - both are English style mixtures of Latakia, Oriental, and Virginias. His dad had brought him up well.
Evenso, he lacked some of the crucial background data necessary to fully participate in the conversation. His stinky memories are not the same as our stinky memories.
Our stinky memories are better. Much much better. Positively putrid.

After they left I purchased four tins of Germains - two Tilbury, two Dorchester.

I cannot remember which one of the two has been described as having a pronounced odeur of unwashed flatulent peasant, with a hint of citrus - both blends are aged Virginias mixed with other substances, so it could be either. At some point I shall find out.

It will be delightful.



Currently working on a tin of Cornell & Diehl's 'Old College' (#530), which is a robust and flavourful interpretation of full English with a touch of air-cured leaf among the Virginias, darkly fragrant. The tin has been aged for two years. It is very good.

Other English blends by Cornell & Diehl which smokers of English mixtures would like are Red Odessa (#968R) and Yale Mixture (#531). Red Odessa is quite enchanting, Yale reflects a less Oriental persona admirably. Both have substrata of some very lovely Virginias.

Craig Tarler has champions with these three products.
They are the past recaptured, in several wonderful ways.

As always, age first, then air a bit.


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  • At 10:22 AM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    You, sir, are a freak. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) ;)

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…


    Mais non, je suis plus normal. Pasque toute les autres sont les freaquezoides!

    I have enough normalcy for several people, that is all.

  • At 5:01 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Weirdo. With all respect.

  • At 10:10 PM, Blogger Telmac said…

    while the G.L. Pease London mixture really is my favorite, there was once a very stale imitation 965 that I smelled, which was very nice. It had managed to keep it's musty base, while dropping the more sour tones.

  • At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Just sayin' said…

    What would life be like without pipes and tobacco?

    mmmm, less stinky?

  • At 2:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It had managed to keep it's musty base, while dropping the more sour tones.

    That's called maturity. A well aged tobacco.


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