YES, SANTA, WE HAVE A VIRGINIA HERE...
As you can tell, I have never visited the rest of the country.
He inquires how life is in civilization.
Which is California.
This is what I wrote back:
"Life continues to be engaging and entertaining, so I still haven't called the mothership to return to my home galaxy. The rain was NOT of biblical proportions, as was promised; I am very disappointed, and might actually write an angry letter to an editor. It's just rain. Although there is rather a lot of it at present. No snow or ice.
Almost shirtsleeve weather."
"Aside from which, they cater primarily to cigar fiends, with the pipe smokers being little more than colourful eccentrics that waft in and out occasionally, or glowering old crocks who reek of vanilla mango raspberry truffle.
I'm still in a Virginia daze."
Exciting new tobaccos which I have NO intention of ever tring out: peach orchard, vanilla-caramel crème brûlée, French bramble-berry liqueur, coffee toffee, and tropical fruit surprise.
I do not understand why aromatic nightmares are still ninety percent of the business. The only possible explanation is that most pipe-smokers are pretendeurs with no taste whatsoever and relatives who just love the whorehouse reek of old Harry's horrid pipe.
Both pipe and tobacco should be clean; not rancid and fruity.
If you cannot appreciate unflavoured tobacco, there may be something wrong with you. Perhaps it's glandular (seek medical help), perhaps genetic (please don't breed). In any case, take a deep breath, put the soggy sh*t down, and go sniff a pile of rotting fruit out back before the pigs get them.
Wash your underarms; they're keeping you from smelling well.
Something is interfering with your nose.
We think you're possessed.
Please don't revel in your nastiness.
Open sample tins left too long smell like spoiled butter. At least from that particular manufacturer. Either they have cows in the factory, or it's a chemical breakdown. Plus a faint whiff of soggy newspaper.
Aromatics pipe tobaccos are strictly for degenerates.
Some things that I've opened up, now that the rain is here.
Mac Baren's Modern Virginia Loose Cut
Flue-cured, with a small amount of Burley, and a fruity topping. Mostly ribbon.
This is innocuous and mild, an unchallenging smoke. Can't really identify the perfume, but I've been told that it's apricot and pineapple -- so it should remind one of Erinmore -- but instead I think it's a milder hint of Grousemoor or Sherlock Holmes. Easier to smoke than either.
Pressed flue-cured tobacco with a pineapple topping and whisps of licorice. Or something like that; no one is willing to divulge the secret. This is from a twelve-year old tin that I opened a few days ago to see if it was still as fairytale-like as I remembered -- there's a peppery old fart who buys five tins a month -- and whether the Virginias had softened much over time.
They have. Nice, albeit a touch depraved.
Borkum Riff Special Mixture No. 8
Mild air-cured leaf with steampressed flue-cureds, and a noticeable inclusion of substances which are in the vanilla, caramel, nougat, heather honey, and hazelnut category. It's quite pleasant. Available at only a few fine liquor stores, not all of them in nice parts of town.
I'm on my third pouch in two years.
Robert McConnell - Glen Piper
Mellow Aromatic Pipe Tobacco
Mature Virginia, sweet Cavendish, Brown Honeydew, Perique.
Ready rubbed out plug. Rich taste, mellow aroma.
With natural fruit flavours.
The tin is several years old. It has been described as mostly Virginias, with a dominant note of prunes and a lingering aftertaste that no one really likes. Although several people of impeccable habits also note that it deserves rather more praise than it often gets. Random descriptives: fermented fruit, herbal, swinish, flowery, steamed pudding, rum and chocolate, swishy, not overwhelming.
It may keep the fleas away.
I imagine that it is somewhat reminiscent of Germain's Plumcake, of which there are several enamelled tins stashed in the Dutch literature section.
I look forward to trying some.
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