Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Or at least, I would imagine that is what it smells like. It depends on your imagination, as I cannot identify the aroma, and refuse to speculate.

This is in partial response to two readers and their meshune queries.


Spiros asked:
"Speaking as one who doesn't indulge in pipe tobacco, and isn't really that interested, a question presents itself: are there any tobaccos out there that smell like penguins?"


Whereupon Grant Patel asked:
"Smells like penguins? Freshly laundered penguins, penguins after a herring-gut orgy, or rancid drunken penguins? In the pouch, or after lighting?"

Grant Patel further opined:
"This is a question for a rabbi. Or it is a question for a rabbit. Your choice. Not mine. I don't listen from bird-burning rabbits either."


And a while later, someone who signs himself 'Eric the rabid tobacconist' chimed in with:
"The penguin is neither a bird nor an incendiaristic rabbit.

The penguin is a quadruped which lives in big rivers like the Amazon. It has two ears, a heart, a forehead, and a beak for eating honey. But it is provided with fins for swimming.

Penguins are larger than frogs.

Penguins are dangerous! If you see one where people are swimming, you should shout: 'Look out! There are penguins!'

Cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, los pingüinos! "

Within mere minutes, the mad tobacconist found another post under which to scribble:
"Speaking as one who doesn't indulge in pipe tobacco, and isn't really that interested, a question presents itself: are there any tobaccos out there that smell like schoolgirls?"

Therewith the comment slew came full circle. I mention all of this as an explanation of the title of this post, and will now propose ATBOTH's law:

As a comment string grows longer, the probability of a Monty Python reference cropping up approaches one.

It is a variation on Godwin's Law. If you are Bray in between frocking, you recognized that immediately.

The exception to Quirk's exception, as it applies to ATBOTH's law, is that the discussion will most likely continue until the audience's capacity for Monty Python references naturally exhausts itself.

For those who are interested, the Pythonesque bits above are the mention of penguins, the name Eric, the term tobacconist, and the odd monologue about penguins that finished with a warning in Spanish.

I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched.

All of this serves to introduce a mention of a pipe tobacco that I haven't smoked in well over thirty years. I was not particularly fond of it, by any stretch of the imagination, at that time. And I did not imagine I would actually enjoy smoking it now. But it is surprisingly good. A pleasant smoke, with an interesting friendly-ghost familiarity to the fragrance.

SAIL Natural
Smooth Dutch Cavendish
Manufactured by Royal Theodorus Niemeyer B.V.
Groningen - Holland.

From the package description:
Sail Natural is a sophisticated blend of easy burning rich Burley and mellow Virginia to which smooth tobaccos from Latakia, India and Indonesia are added.

I think it is lightly top-cased, but that could just be the reek of Kentucky. It smokes clean and evenly. If you treat it like a Virginia flake, despite the lack of a characteristic Virginia taste, and smoke it slowly, it will not bite. The room aroma is pleasant, and does indeed suggest the presence of Latakia - only just barely noticeable in the mouth. The pouch price says that this is a drug-store tobacco, but this pouch at least shows a quality that suggests it would be better branded in a flat tin, like many of the fancier mixtures. It is pleasant late at night, when Savage Kitten is asleep and cannot yowl furiously at my fuming, and it is also a good first pipe of the day - not too laden with nicotine and strong flavours. It reminds me of some of the Scandinavian oddments that were once so common.
I would buy it again.


The concern was founded back in 1848 by general merchant and tobacconist Theodorus Niemeyer, whose father Meindert Niemeyer had been selling tobacco and other tropical products since 1819. The company was allowed to append 'royal' (koninklijke) to its name in 1969, a century and a half after the founder's father started his business. It was sold in 1990 to Rothman's, which acquired it from Gallaghers - I have not been able to find out when Gallaghers purchased it from the heirs to Theodorus Niemeyer.

In addition to Sail, the company is/was also know for Samson Shag and Javaanse Jongens (both are cigarette rolling tobaccos), Clan (the most rancidly nasty fruit-toffee-sugar flavoured so-called pipe tobacco in existence, banned on several planets as human perversion at its most extreme - but permitted in the inferno, in case you were wondering), and several other tobaccos, including Vier Heeren Baai (Four Gentlemen Bay tobacco), which I remember as a very decent thin ribbon cut Maryland, pleasant, mild, and nutty. Vier Heeren Baai was probably the best of the Baai tobaccos (so called because they were exported from the Chesapeake), all of which were plain unsauced ribbon cuts.

It is questionable whether the brand will continue to exist. British American Tobacco (holders of the Rothmans portfolio of products and brands since 1999), sold all pipe blends (excepting only Dunhill and Captain Black - the high end and the biggest selling low end respectively) to Orlik in February 2007.
Orlik, subsidiary of Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni A/S, transferred Niemeyer pipe tobacco production from Groningen to Holstebro in Denmark in February 2007.

[In addition to several well-known pipe tobaccos, Rothmans portfolio also included cigarette brands such as Dunhill, Peter Stuyvesant, Caballero, Benson and Hedges, State Express, plus Schimmelpenninck cigarillos. And many more.]

You will note that the pouch I am currently smoking states that it is from Niemeyer in Groningen. It probably predates the transfer. If so, that would explain it's mellowness.


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


Anonymous said...

How odd no comment yet.

Anonymous said...

Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to imagine what a cross between a schoolgirl and a penguin would look like.

A bird in a cute little short-skirted uniform?

Wow. Sexy!!!

And short and huggable. Seduced by herring. Should be popular in Holland, eh what? But you would know.

---Grant Patel

The back of the hill said...

Thank you, Grant, for that very disturbing image.

I'll be sure to share that totally hypothetical fetish with Savage Kitten. She'll understand the herring part, but the feathers and short skirt will no doubt only remind her of Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall.

See here:

Or perhaps this is a better one:

Seeing as we are talking about something..... sexual.
Or at least you are.

Tzipporah said...

oh dear. Chicken lady.

I miss Kids in the Hall.

Anonymous said...

Kids in the hall?

My first exposure to the Dutch.


It is friggin' beuatifyul. You will laugh. You will cry. You will feeliyat at home.


Anonymous said...

Or, could be, that you will think it disturbing. That too is very possible.

It is disturbing. You are all disturbing.


Anonymous said...

No panties were harmed in that video, in case you were wonderin'.

Clogs, yes. But not panties.


Spiros said...

Right right right...I am shutting down this post, as the comment string has gotten TOO SILLY! You start off with a jolly edifying post about tobacco, and it degenerates into a lot of stuff about penguins, panties and clogs. And poofy Canadian pantomimists. That's it: on to the next post!
-The Colonel

Anonymous said...



Niener, niener, niener, ja doch.

Anonymous said...

Vos for a nomen iz Spiros? Yovnish?
Griyekish oder Arnavot?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that be Arnavos? Shkenazzic pronunciation, don't you know.

---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

Spiros-bhai, there is nothing silly about penguins or panties. Clogs yes, silly beyond reason - but panties? Damn fine things, panties. The wrapping on the bonbon, as it were. Soft silk, or smooth cotton - striped, monotone, or with a nice pattern. Even a penguin motif. I live in praise of the noble panty. And so, probably, do you.

---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

Big butch penguins in tight silk panties. I am surprised that sex-boutiques do not sell these, I think they would be more popular than almost anything else there. Surely they would be more desirable than the horse-sized penii, the strap-on devices, studded rings and harnesses, the blow-up love-ewes, and the spongy rubber pleasure piggies?

Not that I would know anything about that, of course. I haven't ever been outside of a yeshiva environment. Where these things are entirely unknown.

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