Monday, July 03, 2023


On one of the pipe forums someone asked people what their favourite aromatic blends were. The answers were instructive. Remind me sometime not to hang around with perverts or teenage boys. There are some people who like churchwarden pipes, dressing up as hobbits, drinking weak tea with extra sugar, second breakfasts, and tromping over the blasted heath of Mordor looking for elves. And butterflies! Or poncing around renaissance fairs during summer, speaking fake Elizabethan English and not washing for several weeks.

Sherlock Holmes, as is well known, was an aficionado of Captain Black Grape and Molto Dolce. As well as brutish sailors he picked up on the docks of the East End late at night.

The less said about rum-soaked cherry tobacco with chocolate shavings the better.

I myself tend toward severe Puritanism when it comes to pipe tobacco. It should only smell of repressed British public schools, savage wippings on sailing ships, malaria, typhoid, and black water fever in tropical hellholes, plus existential angst and despair.
Leastways, it should make you think.
Several years ago I smoked a very pleasant MacBaren's product ((Virginia Flake, in the little yellow tin) around some friends having coffee. One of whom said it stank, because of the subtle top dressing, and insisted that I go around the corner out of sight and smell.
It was actually very nice and I still have several tins of it.

I'm sort of okay with aromatics. Sure, they smell bad and suggest unspeakable perversion, but if that tickles your boat, that's fine.

In recent months I've been enjoying Hill Of Slane by Sutliff Tobacco on occasion. It's a soft mildly sweet coarse ribbon cut with what is alleged to be Irish Cream Essence. After pulsing it briefly several times in the microwave it's dry enough to smoke, does not bite, and smokes thoughtfully down to the bottom. Removing the excess moisture by microwaving it is far faster than spreading it to dry, and it neither ghosts the pipe or leaves it soggy.
It is not for purists. So I do recommend it, with caution.

An argument could be made that occasional degeneracy keeps society on an even keel.


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