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 08, 2015


I never met Bob Runowski, who passed away in July of last year, but I have smoked his tobaccos. Bob had a great affection for air-cured leaf.
It was the old-fashioned American blends that he liked best.
His own stuff evoked a bygone era, and a golden age.
Americana, Bailey's Front Porch, Bayou Morning, Elegant Emu, Epiphany, Good Morning, Haunted Bookshop, Home From The Hills, Morley's Best, Old Joe Krantz, Pegasus, Purple Cow, Riverboat Gambler.

Over all, excellent pipe mixtures.

My favourite Runowski blend is probably Haunted Bookshop -- I look at my cellar, and I seem to have the most of that -- but all of his creations deserve praise. Bob was the master of Burley blends, which probably explains why some of his sterling efforts are no longer available. Cornell & Diehl has been Laudisified, and Burley leaf, not being the most popular of blending bases anymore, represents an older America that is fast dying off. The younger crowd prefers fruitloops and cotton candy.

Nope, shan't sneer at any of the berry farts that are now so prominent.
But I will mention that other than Black Vanilla Cavendish (from various manufacturers) and Cherry tobacco (from various even more misguided manufacturers), one of the most popular products among the younger set appears to be Molto Dolce, by Sutliff. Molto Dolce is a soggy abortion, greasy to the touch, in which black Cavendish, Virginia of some sort, and alledgedly a smidge of Burley are drenched in vanilla, caramel, and honey.
It is a flamboyant whore, and may destroy civilization.

This is where the future lies. Laudisi have probably recognised this, and if Bob Runowksi were still alive, he would be horrified.

I avoid Molto Dolce like the plague, as well as its fans; for all I know it might indeed be smokeable. It is, after all, combustible, or so I've heard. I use the open can of Molto Dolce to show what tobacco is NOT supposed to be, as well as to scare people of refinement and good taste.
Tobacco, embalmed with moisturizers.
Bomb shelter shreds.


At this very moment I am enjoying a bowl of Haunted Bookshop. It was tinned in 2007. Burley, red Virginia, and a subtle hint of Perique.

Many younger people will not like it, because it is unflavoured, and requires a brain to appreciate. Gandalf imitators with their churchwarden pipes may barf in consequence, and their sponge-brained wives will wrinkle noses in disgust at so horribly un-hobbitlike a smell.

No, I cannot tell you what the room-note is, I do not have a hobbit bitch infesting my living space. Women who like aromatic mixtures are to be strenuously avoided.

I think it probably smells like tobacco.


Follow brief descriptions and reflections on products for which Bob Runowski bears responsibility. He will be greatly missed.

Black Cavendish, Latakia, Burley, and Virginia.

A reliable old-fashioned blend that delivers a steady smoke for the man who wants something unpretentious in his pipe. Not very complex, but it is reminiscent of many of the tobacconist products of yore. If this doesn't remind you of the shop where your father bought his weekly two ounces, nothing will, and you may be dead above the neck.
Highly recommended.

Burley, Latakia, Perique, Virginia.

Smoky, mellow, sweet, and earthy. A pensive blend for old-fashioned people. Sometimes the Virginia adds a tanginess when you don't expect it, sometimes it doesn't. It is a very old-school product, and may whomp you with the nicotine. Especially early in the morning.
Not great.
But damned good.

Virginia and Perique.

Red Virginias meet peppery Perique. Figgy, and fermentive. Sweet, creamy, zesty, refreshing. An adult tobacco. Memorable.
Undertones of a rich earthiness.
Not for wusses, nor Hobbits

White Cubed Burley, Latakia, Red Virginia, Perique and Black Cavendish.
Blended By Bob Runowski and Craig Tarler

Burley and Latakia forward, supported by other tobaccos. Smoke it slowly for fullest enjoyment.  The black Cavendish may throw you for a loop; it is not fully a player, and it can be discordant.

Burley, Latakia, Perique, Virginia.
Tarler & Runowski
Lightly topped.

Figs, prunes, citrus. Modeled after an old Philip Morris pipe mixture.
Nicely balanced and harmonious. Some people love it.
I don't.

Latakia, Turkish, and Virginia.
Tarler and Runowski

I can't tell you anything about this, as I bought it primarily for the label art, and have never opened a single tin. They're sitting on a shelf with all the other tobaccos.
I suppose eight years age means I should sample it....
But I've got too much other stuff going on.

Burley, Kentucky, Perique, and Virginia.

Robust, and extremely likeable, like a sailor on shore leave. The tin note is tangy, and makes me remember summers long ago. Yeasty. Hay and wild grasses. A lovely product that leaves you feeling satisfied; you will not need to smoke anymore for a while.
I think you should have some tea after puffing this.
Or lunch. Definitely lunch.

Burley, Latakia, Perique, Virginia.

Ethereally sweet, and slightly nutty. The spiciness of Latakia becomes smooth and chocolaty in conjunction with the air cured leaves. The Perique is a delicate touch.
Virginias: sometimes unnoticeable, sometimes charming visitors. Figgy.

Burley, Latakia, Virginia.

Sweet, creamy, with a very slight spiciness. If you suck furiously, the sweetness fades and the Latakia jumps out at you. This is a blend that requires a sober approach, and will reward forethought.
Not a casual tobacco by any standards.

Burley, Kentucky, Perique, Virginia.

Coarse and unsophisticated of appearance, providing a potent sweet-nutty-creamy smoke. This may very well be the most straightforward tobacco you will ever smoke.
It is strong, and not for the faint of heart.
Hobbits beware!

Virginias, Burley, uncased Black Cavendish.

Prominent Burley nose, not surprising given that there are three different types playing together. Nuttiness, almost cigar-like flavours, sweet, ever so slightly fruity from the beautiful Virginia, and clean burning. This is NOT a heavy product, but neither is it for dilettantes.
This stuff smells fantastic.

Burley, Cigar Leaf, Latakia, Virginia.

If it weren't for the Latakia, one might be baffled. Cigar tobacco is largely a wuss; in the first few weeks it dominates and dries the mouth, but after several months it will quiet down, and eventually barely be noticeable. This is pleasant and mild, and does not smell appealing to other people when smoked.
Toasty, with the faintest hints of burning sugar and fruits.

Burley, Turkish, Perique, Virginia.
Blended By Bob Runowski and Craig Tarler

Complex, resinous, slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness. Bold. It can hit you in the face. The Turkish proves itself a necessary component, if only to tone down what would otherwise be a cudgel.


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

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