At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


On a forum someone asked readers what started them smoking a pipe. Quote: "Who or what inspired you to become a pipesmoker? How long ago? For me about six months ago I read a magazine and somebody told a story about his grandpa who always smoked a pipe that smelled like cherry vanilla and since then I have been on a quest to find tobaccos and pipes, as well as learning about the rich history of pipesmoking and enjoying the camaraderie we keep." End quote.

The last time I smelled cherry vanilla pipe smoke was seven or eight years ago. No, I do not miss it. Good tobacco does not need tarting up with fruit loop flavours, just like good tea and good coffee do not benefit from hazelnut passion mango syrup.
Or Irish Cream Vanilla soy milk, a product which I saw in a coffee bar.
If I were the panicky type I might have run out screaming.
Convinced that it was a sign of the devil.
Which it may well be.

When I was thirteen there was a pipe in the window of the tobacconist next to the local bookstore (Boekhandel Priem, in Valkenswaard) where I went regularly. After several weeks I bought it. Two months later I realized that having a smoking tool but nothing to put into it was silly. Bought my first tin of Niemeyer's Scottish Blend, then when I finished that, another tin of tobacco. But my father still occasionally smoked his pipes.
So I was pre-programmed in a way.

That year I got a short but sharply pointed lecture about fruity tobacco which corrected my childish tastes, and I have largely avoided such products ever since. We all at some point need such an intervention.


Niemeyer's Scottish Blend, and its cousins 'Irish Blend' and 'Danish Blend' no longer exist. That is a good thing, as they were aromatics and undoubtedly started many young lads on a life of depravity.

Such products are often called 'girlie tobaccos', which is odd, as so few women smoke pipes. I believe most females shy away from briars because of parental warnings that it will turn them into lesbians or space aliens.
Or, heaven forbid, Catholics.

Enough of them have become lesbians or aliens without that help.

Most smoking mixtures are aromatic.

No civilized pipe tobacco should smell like a strawberry macchiato, or any other product from the coffee shop syrup bar. Neither should coffee.

My father's disgust at candy cavendish made an impression on me, and even as a teenager I appreciated his approval. Which may have been unusual, but it seemed to me that he had done much in his life that was exemplary. I don't think that he'd approve of the Hello Kitty backpack I use to carry pipes and tobacco with me when I head off to work, but I don't think he would disapprove entirely either. And after a while he'd probably appreciate the snark in that ironic gesture of individualism.

Plus, there are no aromatics in that Hello Kitty backpack.
There's nothing there to be embarrassed about.
It is lovely, and extremely useful.
Black, white, pink.

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