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, August 25, 2011


What should have been a pleasant half-hour with a pipe and some new tobacco became an exercise in more than saintly patience.
One of my friends had given me a fresh packet of St. Bruno Flake recently, and I was looking forward to a satisfying third pipefull of it.

Unfortunately 'Left Testicle Dave' was at the wall, holding forth.
Any conversation with Left Testicle is trying - one seldom knows what he's on about - but today was particularly bad. The dear man must've had THREE bowls of cereal this morning.
I think he practically lives on super sugared chocolate clusters, and big cigars that make a statement.
He was quivering so much he nearly fell off the wall.
Humpty dumpty.

"A distinctive blend of smooth Virginia and other fine leaf"

Yellow pouch containing a sealed tray of thin dark slices.
One third of the front of the pouch bears the statement "smoking kills", the back flap has the inscription "smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes", next to a very lovely picture of open heart surgery.

For anti-smokers, such things count as pornography - I'm sure some glandered old puritan somewhere is getting her rocks off on that photo and caption big-time - so I'm delighted that both sides of the fence are made happy by EU labeling laws.
We smokers will simply blip right on over the snuff photo, while the vicious health trolls will get all gooey and deliquescent from our discarded wrapper.

The tobacco within is considered a classic in England, being one of those products that many people across a number of generations and all classes have long been lovingly familiar with.
Originally made by Ogden's in Liverpool, who started production in 1896, since then the trademark has been held by Imperial Tobacco, who have reportedly farmed it out to Orlik in Denmark.

I do wish Left Testicle would stop ranting..... does anyone have a banana they can give the man to shut him up?

St. Bruno smells vaguely like Ennerdale Flake, which I once affectionately described as having all the fey charm of a cake of pissoir disinfectant.
But it is a far milder and more refined perfume.
More real, and not at all reminiscent of a public loo.

Instead, it's what your grandma would whiff like, if she secretly smoked Erinmore when no one was around. And remarkably, it smokes rather like Erinmore, albeit with far far less of the Hello Kitty trollop fragrance.
Very pleasant. An oddly masculine aroma.
The smell of the topping reminds me of prunes, oil of bergamot, and just ever so slightly of citrus. Other traditional additions to many pressed tobaccos are vanilla or Coumarin, almond essence, and licorice extractum, so I'm sure that the topping is more complex than just two ingredients. But it has not been applied with a heavy hand, and barely influences the smoke.

Dave, have you considered therapy? I'm sure you could get a group discount, there's that much work to be done.

One slice is enough for a good half hour. Fairly smooth, a bit creamy. Not particularly strong, no tongue bite.
Yes, somewhat higher in nicotine than a number of other tobaccos, but it won't have you heaving up your wheatabix unless you hotbox it.

Which I rather wish someone would induce Left Testicle Dave to do. I would bring a tarp for the occasion.

Best in a medium sized bowl, or even one somewhat larger. St. Bruno does not come into its own in narrow bores, though a small pipe makes it is easy to understand why it is a best-selling tobacco.
But in a somewhat larger brier its charm is more easily understood.

Dave, that stogey looks like it's unraveling. You're not supposed to soggify the end of the cigar that goes into your mouth, you know.
Puff, calmly. And dispose of the butt properly, don't eat it.

One of the good things about smoking a pipe is that it inculcates an equitability of temperament. A pipe smoker is a calm patient man, who will neither panic nor over-react even if his car flips over and slides down hill into the gravel pit.
Thoughtfulness, emotional balance, and intelligent awareness are things that mark many pipe-smokers.
Cigar aficionados, on the other hand, are excitable and nervous, and often will shoot off at the mouth when serenity is called for. They crave attention, and will whine and act up when ignored, or their dyspepsia kicks in, or their sex life becomes a natural disaster, or people visit them in the retirement home.
Add to that the normal social environment of some cigar smokers, such as seedy dives with brass poles, or race tracks and pawnshops, and you can see why cigar smokers naturally have a dubious reputation.
Smoking a pipe is a sign of balance and sound judgment.
Cigars..... not so much.

I wonder if anyone can train Left Testicle to sit up and balance a sugar cube on his nose?

At some point in the future I shall have to order some more St. Bruno from Synjeco in Switzerland. This batch won't last forever - might not even make it to the end of the month - and like other products from Imperial Tobacco it isn't imported into the United States.

Good stuff.


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  • At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yay, another tobacco post! Thanks for the review, one of my favorite smokes. I must admit smelling St. Bruno Flake makes McClelland's ketchup scent seem less of a new-world aberration -- surely there's some similar fermentation process going on, though to far less an extent than in, say, Blackwoods Flake, with a ground of dark burley, maybe even fire-cured. Whatever it is, it's supremely mellow and ruminative, with just enough old-timey scent to civilize it.


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