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.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Something that surprises me, given that I’ve blogged about everything under the sun, and have, in fact, presented subjects far more exciting and adventurous, is the popularity of a minor essay composed over two years ago.


It is my most popular post by a very wide margin. Even my very well thought out 'instructions on raising children article doesn't come close.
The portrait of a naked schoolgirl on a bed of tobacco has garnered many more page views than anything else I've ever written.
The concept fascinates any number of readers from all over the world. Not a day goes by that it isn't visited at least once.


Obviously, these people are cigarette smokers who are wondering if they should switch to a pipe.
Pipe-smoking has gravitas. Pipe-smoking seems intellectual. Pipe-smoking is a darn fine sporty-looking thing to do.
And it possibly has other benefits - but let's do some internet research first!
Before they know it, they are reading about a naked saleslady with an accordion, as well as butter and soap.
They never knew pipe-smoking opened the doors to such exciting prospects.

A naked schoolgirl on a bed of tobacco is a force for good.

The young lady in question was described as "a lovely Cantonese teenager".
That was a spur of the moment decision, but it could just as easily have been a fiery Indian maiden on a hogshead, or a elfin woman from Iceland wearing a dead swan.
The tobacco was also detailed: Virginias, Turkish, Latakia - what is often termed a medium Oriental blend.

Obviously, for people who aren't partial to such heady mixtures, something else is required. Perhaps a Danish girl advertising blonde flakes - either MacBarens or Orlik Golden Sliced.

A smart-aleck continental brunette for Semois, a Scottish redhead for aromatic mixtures, and 72 naked ladies wearing full-body burkas for either strong Latakia blends or shisha.
Black for the first mentioned, tie-dye for the latter.

Smokers of Burley, as is well known, are more effectively approached by an immense naked fat man on a bale, along with a bottle of cheap Rye.
No naked schoolgirls for them.

Black twist demands an albino.
Cigarettes for children? Hello Kitty Brand!
Smokers of cheap cheroots probably like asses and sheep.
Bankers with Havanas would drool over naughty pictures of real estate.

It's all about brand placement and market share.

And yes, you should switch to a pipe.

Most definitely.


Aromatic mixtures: these are usually blends in which natural and artificial flavourings are both steamed into the leaf during Cavendish processing as well as sprayed on as a top-dressing. The best are only mildly flavoured and use high quality tobacco. The worst are horrifying concoctions of fruit and cake perfumes that will leave your pipe gummy and your nearest and dearest refusing to let you anywhere near their children.  
Balkan Mixture: a blend heavy on the Latakia spectrum, with Turkish and Virginia.   Black Cavendish: often an air-cured tobacco which is light-pressed, and strongly flavoured with sugar added, then steam-heated till black. Usually reeks of cheap vanilla and leaves a sticky residue on the fingers and in the pipe. There are some versions which are unflavoured and clean, but they are hard to find.   Black Virginia: ribbon-cut flue-cured tobacco toasted in a closed container till dark and shiny, which develops a mild caramelization.  
Blonde Virginia (Bright Virginia): flue-cured bright-coloured leaf grown on poor soil, which yields an attractive product known for a relatively high natural sugar content. It is suitable for pipe tobacco blends, cigarettes, and producing dark-stoved flakes.   Burley: air-cured tobaccos with a low natural sugar content that are suitable for flavouring, though best when pure. They yield a strong smoke with a nutty tone.  
Carolina: region where some of the best flue-cured leaf comes from.   Cavendish: formerly barrel packed leaf that fermented during long storage, now any type of tobacco which is treated with some pressure and heat, and often flavoured.  
Dark-stoved flake: tobacco pressed and heated till quite dark.   Drugstore tobacco: the cheapest mixtures available, in a span from relatively unflavoured mostly Burley concoctions to candy-stench Cavendishes made by houses that have no shame.   Dutch Cavendish: the best of these are innocuous, the worst are ghastly.   English blend: often a compound of Virginias, Turkish, and Latakia, with slightly more restraint than a Balkan mixture.   Flake: tobacco which has been pressed in block form to meld the flavours, then sliced. Most often a whole leaf blend of various flue-cured leaves ('Virginia'), though air-cured leaf (Burley, Maryland, and Kentucky) may be added, as well as Perique. It has to be smoked really slow, lest it overheat and cause tongue-burn.  
Hello Kitty: drug-slut brain-eating zombie.   Latakia: Dark smoke-cured leaf used condimentally in many blends. In the past this was produced only in Syria from Shek El Bint leaf, nowadays it comes primarily from Cyprus where they use Smyrna seed stock. The taste is not quite the same - the Syrian version was wine-like, sec, and leathery, whereas the Cyprian version is resinous with a sweetish undertone.  
Maryland: a mild relative of Burley, also air-cured. Thin ribbon cut was the preferred smoke of many people during the day when this was commonly available. Combines well with Virginia.   Oriental mixture: a product with Turkish ('Oriental') leaf in noticeable measure, which also includes Latakia and Virginia.   Perique: dark leaf tobacco manufactured by controlled rot in tightly packed barrels, which is particularly useful in small proportion to add sweetness, spice, and mildness to blends. If the percentage is too high it will put hair on your chest.  
Prilep (Perlepe): area in Macedonia known for Turkish tobacco, which though excellent for pipe mixtures is mostly bought by the cigarette industry and bastardized with the usual chemicals and additives.   Red Burley: a type of Burley which is hardly cultivated anymore, the common cultivar nowadays being so-called 'white Burley', frequently simply called 'Burley'. Red Burley is stronger, and not as suitable for many of the treatments to which Burley is subjected.   Red Virginia: sweet and mildly flue-cured leaf, often from Virginia or Carolina, although also grown elsewhere.   Samsoun: a fragrant leaf from the Black Sea coast.   Scandinavian mixtures: the scientific approach to satisfying all tastes, being Burleys and Virginias given a mild Cavendish treatment and often a top dressing that includes licorice extract (narrows the tongue-burn sensation while augmenting the sense of sweetness), anise (also alleviates tongue burn), and other flavourings in often barely noticeable quantities. Some Scandinavian mixtures are quite good, others veer into nightmare territory.   Semois tobacco: a variety of tobacco similar to Burley and Maryland, grown on poor soil in the Semois region of Belgium, and air-dried in barns.    Shisha: alleged to be tobacco, drenched with molasses and fruit flavours, smoked in hubble bubbles.  
Smyrna: a sweet and fragrant Turkish leaf from Izmir.   Toasted Cavendish: fire-cured Kentucky leaf. Low in natural sugars. It adds a mild almost chocolaty characteristic to blends, and combines well with a little Turkish.   Turkish: tobacco grown in the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Russia, and formerly also in Egypt. Also called 'Oriental'. The soil-type must be rocky, so that it absorbs heat during the day and radiates it out at night. These tobaccos are usually small leafed, and highly resinous, though with a low nicotine content.   Twist: leaves spun into a thick cord, lengths of which are sold over the counter. Nowadays there are very few companies that still make such.   VaPer: a mixture of Virgninias and Perique which is often pressed and aged before slicing.   Virginia: formerly tobacco from Virginia and Carolina only, nowadays a common term for all flue-cured tobaccos of that type. It is grown in Tanzania, Kenya, and India, among other places.   Yenidje: a resinous and slightly sharp pale Turkish leaf from the Balkans.


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



  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Seamus said…

    You really need to paint word-portraits of all the temptresses nude, semi-nude, and even partially veiled, that are represented by all the raw tobaccos that you have listed in this post.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older