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.

Monday, July 14, 2014


He left the table briefly after we finished dinner, and returned moments later. As we talked, I could see his fingers snaking across and picking up my tin of tobacco. Of course I let him do so. One does not deny one's own father a bowl. It was so rare that he smoked a pipe by then, and it was largely because he used to be a pipe smoker that I had acquired the habit.

By the time I was a teenager he no longer indulged as regularly. Good tobacco blends were nearly impossible to find in the Netherlands (which is still an issue), and his British co-workers didn't visit England often enough.
But he didn't mind my Balkan Sobranie, and I felt closer to him when he took some. There weren't that many things we could share.

From my early teens until a few years ago I smoked mostly Oriental mixtures, which are made of Latakia and Turkish on a basis of Virginias. Since late 2010 my preference has been for aged Virginias. Partly it's because the taste is softer, mellower. And partly, a calmer habitus.

Virginias take a slower approach, a different attitude.

Smell is a psychological stimulant.

When I was an infant, my father still smoked a pipe regularly. After we moved to Holland he experimented with various mixtures, including Baai Tabak (straight Maryland compounds), English flakes, and Dobie's Foursquare Blue. The mind still revives at such aromas.
I have a few tins of Foursquare Blue left.
It is no longer made.

I remember the fragrances from the past particularly fondly.

Sunday afternoon. Strong tea.
Pipes and books.

An entire generation has grown up since, whose nose-memories are formed by marijuana and bazooka-barfing fruity cocktails. They hate tobacco, and rarely drink tea. Their dull sensibilities have been formed by brutish and typically self-indulgent middle-class preferences.
That dividing line shows that I am older.
I completely disapprove of dope.
No, it's not therapeutic.
It's just pot.

The Grateful Dead were a bunch of untalented stoners, and their fans are braindead slackers.

My father passed away years ago. I don't think he would entirely recognize what I have become, but I think we would still have very much in common.
If he were alive, he would no doubt enjoy sitting down with a pot of rubinous brew on the table, a tin of pipe tobacco between us, and a stack of books.

I know we have similar values.
Definitely kindred tastes.

There's a stack of empty tobacco tins over by the window. Rattray's Old Gowrie and Marlin Flake, Escudo, Davidoff Flake Medallions, Orlik Golden Sliced, Samuel Gawith Best Brown, Full Virginia, Golden Glow, and St. James Flake.
This place is a mess, but there is much here that has memory attached.
Like friends and family, however, there is a slow flux.
Change is a constant.


I've often advised other pipe smokers that if they want an old-fashioned full Latakia blend, especially if they liked what Dunhill and Balkan Sobranie produced years ago, there are four excellent newer products that they should keep in mind: Three Oaks Syrian, Wilderness, Legends, and Westminster.
That last mentioned is by Gregory Pease.
The others are McClelland.

All four of these are profoundly spiritual, truly classic tobacco mixtures. Indeed, their Latakia content is fairly close -- around forty five percent, probably -- but each one is different. and they induce shifting moods.
Imagine a forest in autumn with crunching leaves underfoot.
A train ride at night, while it rains outside.
Dwinelle Hall, many years ago.
Caffe Mediterraneum.
Cups of Ceylon.


If your children do not develop good habits in their teenage years, there is something wrong with you. Perhaps you indulged the little brats too much? Far better that they should smoke a pipe instead of illicit substances, read rather than listen to rap, and for craps-sakes, smack those sickening Starbucks and McDonalds drinks out of their hands.

This message was brought to you by a fine British-style spun-cut, with a heart of Louisiana Perique. It's a darn good thing.


Found a new pipe and pipe tobacco internet site today, which promises hours of solid pleasure browsing.

Pipe Village: 煙斗村

If you read Chinese, cruise on over.
They'll welcome you.


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


  • At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Charming story about your smell memory. I don't normally read articles about pipe tabacco. In this case I started on it becuase of the family connection which I like. I have pipe/smell memories with my own father and all his books.

    As to your comments on pot; I have to disagree. I won't go into detail other than to say you don't have all of the facts. People do use pot for pleasure and that's okay I guess. I don't see how that's much diffrent from consuming wine.

    But some people use pot becuase big pharma prosaic like solutions are so much overkill & a boat load of side effects to boot. Those people (myself included) just need a little help to lead normal lives. I'm not pleased with the situation but I'm making the best of it and I'd appreciate it if the perfect holy people would extend some grace.



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