Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Over the weekend I stuck my nose into a tin of Cornell & Diehl flake and inhaled deeply. Sheer heaven. The sliced rounds from a different manufacturer also smelled wonderful, but that may have been because of five years maturation.

This old badger likes his stinky stuff.

Plus setting fires.


None of the three blends with which I experimented over the weekend are suitable for young people, unless they are exceptional. All three will appeal primarily to arthritic men who have survived youth and are settling in to a graceful middle age surrounded by their stamp collections, boating memorabilia, and seventies rock and roll posters.
Again, not children. Normal folks.

[For the record: I do not collect stamps, never boated, and dislike 70's music.]

By Cornell & Diehl
Red and blonde Virginia flake.

A sumptuous and delightful pressed Virginia for quiet enjoyment. Rich and fruity from the carotenoids, an easy smoker, and a superlative blending tobacco. Golden blonde, mostly. Smoked slow it is exceptional.

Ideally, one would enjoy this product with some sherry under peaceful circumstances, perhaps in one's own living room, ensconced by the fire, with a thoughtfully written news magazine. Except of course that nowadays the living room is off-limits for Uncle Crotchet and his pipe, we mustn't use the fireplace because of the asthmatic orphans downwind from here, and there were screaming sports fans in the backroom.
I do not watch sports at all. Ever.
It was extremely good.
Several bowls.

Savinelli, via MacBaren. 
Virginia, Burley, and dark-fired African.

Smallish loose roundels of spun tobacco with a toasty spicy tin-note. It smells comforting, like a good aftershave or the living quarters of a favourite college professor, maybe hosting a mathematics get-together. In this day and age he'd be fired for smoking around students, because they're fragile, and mathematics is hard and genderist in any case. It is very enjoyable in the pipe. There is a sweetness that builds, and the fire-cured tobacco behaves modestly. Indeed, it does have Burley, but not too much.
This resembles the current versions of Three Nuns.
Only a minor amount of Perique.

Tea time of the gods. Kick the children out into the yard, shut the windows, and ignore the howling storm this evening. It is bitterly cold outside, but those whelps can handle it. Back in my day we'd play outside in all weather, dressed in nothing but a potato! Kids these days!

I have enough to last through winter.

Samuel Gawith
Pressed Virginias, Latakia, and whisky.

A smoky reek from the open sample tin, which I've been slowly but steadily depleting for a while now. First tasted this four years ago when someone brought it to the meeting of the pipe club. This tin is not from then. It is is amazingly comforting on a cold morning, the Latakia is noticeably present, but this is by no means a Levantine overload for young whippersnappers. Rather, this almost defines old codger tobaccos. Restrained and moderately spicy, not subdued but diplomatic. If you wore tweeds and often finished your days with Scotch whisky, this would probably be your regular smoke.
Goes well with a cup of strong Pu Erh tea.

My apartment mate would quite likely consider this the quintessence of stinky old toad, and object fiercely to me lighting it up.

All of these were enjoyed at work, where there are no angry vegetarians, anti-vaxers, gluten-phobes, or fiercely disapproving puritans of the anti-tobacco type. While there I swill strong tea throughout the day, and gaily light up my stinkiest pipes. The tin of Opening Night is there.
I need to buy some for home.

The only fly in my ointment was the presence of other smokers. Some of whom like sports and have odd personal philosophies.

I do not like sports.


At home on my days off I often have a pan on the stove with half a dozen dried Chinese dates (紅棗 'hung jou') and a couple of thick slices of ginger simmering for two or three hours, to disguise the fact that I have been smoking. The result is a refreshing beverage that's good over ice.
So far my apartment has not wigged-on to this subterfuge.


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

No comments:

Search This Blog


June ended not a moment too soon. It wasn't a good month, and the less said about it the better. Stop me before I go on about it ad naus...