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.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


A long talk about barbers, during which my interlocutor stated that a hot shave, done well at an old-fashioned mens' hair establishment, was sheer heaven. Which I would not know, because I have never shelled out money for someone to come at my neck with a blade, what with being just a wee bit paranoid. And in any case, that seems like spa-pampering of the nails and foot rub variety; real manly men scrope their own damned neck.

This in connection with two things, the first being that the hot water in my building is out till Tuesday morning, and shaving and showering with icy water wakes one up better than any amount of coffee -- it is kind of like starting bolt upright and screaming from a coma -- and the second being the pipe tobacco I was smoking, which reminded him of the lotions and unguents at a traditional barber shop.

The tobacco was not dry. It can never be dry. Ever. It is so humectant and fragrant-oil rich that it is damned well embalmed. The mummy of tobaccos, sadly undead, to be dug up a thousand years from now by lizard-aliens in a perfectly "fresh" state, whereupon they will exclaim: "I don't know what they did with this, it ain't edible, but they were a bunch of right rotten bastards and the galaxy is better off without them".

Black Cavendish, Burley, Virginia. An aromatic.
Caramel, honey, and vanilla.

This stuff is made by Sutliff. And they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so. The last time I tried it was shortly after it first came out, when an elderly acquaintance opined that it was the best thing since sliced bread.
I puffed it for a few moments, then threw out the soggy mess in my pipe, and did not smoke again for the rest of the day.
It is pipe tobacco.

It is pipe tobacco in the same way that Mixture 79 is pipe tobacco, and made by the same disreputable company, which had its start right here in San Francisco. Shortly after the Gold Rush a bright young lad opened a tobacco and cigar business downtown, a generation or two later his heirs invented Mixture 79, and in 1933 started producing it on a commercial scale. In the very early fifties the San Francisco store was taken over by a long-time employee, Ed Grant, and renamed, the manufacturing side split-off and moved across the country.
Through acquisitions and mergers involving Consolidated Cigar, Heines, Altadis, Imperial, and a host of other names and marques, Sutliff finally became part of Scandinavian Tobacco.
The location on Market Street ("Grant's Pipe Shop") was sold to Ted and Joe in 2005 who ran it into the ground in 2012.

As I said, it is pipe tobacco.

Having used the open sample tin so many times to illustrate precisely what pipe tobacco should not ever be, and having had so much fun yesterday tormenting Hector by smoking an aromatic near him (ever see somebody go green?), I decided I needed to give this product a better chance, a fair shot, see if I had misjudged it, and whether it was in fact tolerable.

The sample tin has been open for three years. Someone must be smoking it, there's less than half left. Also, it should be bone dry.

It is still moist and greasy.

Spongy, oily, somewhat slimy to the touch. Packs okay. Lights okay. Tastes fairly vile at first draw. It is far too sweet. After a few minutes my temples are throbbing. Part way through the bowl I am staring fixedly at a tin of Dunhill's Aperitif Mixture, and trying to focus. Why did I do this? Is there any point to this sickening mess? It has absolutely no trace of tobacco flavour, and though they claim that it is dressed with vanilla, honey, and caramel, what I taste is a slight hint of mint and lavender, a strong dash of coconut, something akin to chocolate, and scads of propylene glycol.
If this were an aftershave lotion, strangers would lynch me.
Did they add menthol?

It does not get any better further in.

It smokes hot, wet, and nasty. It is impossible to finish the bowl all the way down. That pipe will have to rest for a week, and I may need to clean it with alcohol. Molto Dolce left my tongue feeling brutalized. I swished tea around my mouth several times, then rinsed with vodka and spat.
Swished tea again. Repeatedly.

Molto Dolce is the kind of tobacco you gift someone you hate.
It is worse, far worse, than Milango by Dan.
Which is also effing nasty.

I have a one pound container of Mixture 79 somewhere that was opened by its previous owner in the late nineties. It still has not dried out, and still feels as springy as the day it was extruded. More proof for the lizard aliens that we seriously deserve to be nuked. I tried smoking it once. My bad.
It likewise was a ghastly experience, not to be repeated.
Scientific curiosity be damned, don't experiment.
Frank Sinatra liked Mixture 79.
The swine.

Once Hector smelled the aroma coming from my direction he told me I would go to hell, I was a rotten degenerate, he really couldn't understand why I did it unless I secretly loved this nasty crap, which he insisted that obviously I must, and perhaps it was best for everybody if I died alone, a rancid old bachelor and as loopy as Michael or John Lee.
No wonder those two keep coming back.
I attract them, like roadkill.

The buzzards are swooping low over the nearby tidal flats, where some animal died recently and is getting really ripe. If you smell death near the gas station at the freeway entrance, that's what it is.
This is the stench of your nightmares.
Wake up screaming.

Then he walked away and lit up a Padron.
For the next two hours he avoided me.

Molto Dolce is the perfect pipe tobacco for young men who come out of the basement once in a while.


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  • At 12:52 PM, Anonymous We have ways to make you vomit said…

    Sounds like something only a pedophile or a republican should smoke. The nazi-jackboot of tobaccos, the veritable tank batalion.


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