Wednesday, May 18, 2011


An acquaintance who lives out in the wilderness (Montana), amidst the savages, slope brows, and mythical monsters that populate the great American bush, is on his way to Europe.
He's never been abroad, this is his first time.
To prepare for the trip he sent me an e-mail.

"I'll also be in Holland for two weeks. Should I bring along my trusty brier? Do they allow smoking over there, or are they as crazy as the Californians? Do they have any blends that are worth smoking? I've been told that Clan is the very best pipe tobacco in Europe".

Clan? Clan by Theodorus Niemeyer?

Who told you that? And why do they hate you?


I sent a short and to the point answer to his query.

"Clan Pipe Tobacco (by Theodorus Niemeyer) tastes like tooti-frooti and gasoline combined. Why they decided that shredded sand-paper would benefit from such treatment is beyond me - smoke one bowl of this miserable overly aromatic crap, and you could chew barbed wire without flinching it will pull such a number on your mouth. Good lord man, it smells like an elderly harlot, and will leave your mouth raw and oozing puss like a case of oral clap. Do NOT buy it! If you do, you won't even finish the bowl, you'll toss both the freshly ruined pipe and the remainder of the pouch in the garbage pail in your room, and the hotel will then charge you for disinfecting the premises, as well as the exorcist they'll need to expel the demons.
And afterwards people will still wonder why you wash with urinal cake.

If you WANTED to inspire suicidal or murderous tendencies in little girls and sensitive strangers, reeking of Clan Pipe Tobacco (by Theodorus Niemeyer) is the surest way to do it, as well as inducing nightmares and weeping fits. Vile is far too weak a word to describe it; it is proof positive of depravity, a foul perversion, the Nazi jackboot of tobaccos, an exceedingly nasty and un-Christian smoke, and loathsome in the extreme.

Clan, by Theodorus Niemeyer, is cruelty and sadism combined in a pouch. It is the shredded pimp chest-hair of tobaccos. Feh!

If you smoke this putrid blend (Clan, by Theodorus Niemeyer), your eishes chayil will demand a divorce and custody of the dogs (you can keep the damned cat, she won't stay with you anyway), and I myself will personally testify on your spouse's behalf.
If absolutely necessary, we'll hire someone who has a baseball bat. You will regret this.

There are plenty of things to satisfy your oral fixation in Holland, but Clan pipe tobacco is NOT one of them.

Dutch cigars are quite delightful - De Oliphant, Hajenius, Oud Kampen are excellent brands - and as far as food is concerned, their deep-fried unidentifiable objects are sheerly wonderful. The coffee is good (even though most Dutch coffee brands are now owned by Sarah Lee), their gin (Genever) is more than drinkable in lieu of American liquor, and they do have some very decent beers (not Amstel or Heineken).
Put herring and Belgian ales into your face. Eat a frikandel. Have some oliebollen.
The bakery products are excellent. And there is superior Indonesian food to be had in most cities.
There is even candy, some of it quite bearable.

But for your own sanity stay the hell away from their pipe tobacco (especially Theodorus Niemeyer's blends - Niemeyer is the manufacturer of Clan).
Purchase some Samuel Gawith Best Brown instead - you will offend the average Dutchman because what you are burning smells and tastes like the real stuff, but seeing as you can't smoke in cafés anymore anyhow, scant difference. Screw them. The trauma ain't worth it.

Before he left, he sent a response to my advice.


Happy to oblige.

Hope you enjoy your trip.

On a related note, I purchased two new pipe tobaccos today - 'Haddo's Delight', by G.L. Pease, and 'Old Dog', by McClelland.

Haddo's Delight consists mostly of Virginias, with Perique, black Cavendish, and air-cured ribbon.
Old Dog is aged Virginia, black Cavendish, Oriental leaf, and Latakia.
Both blends are described as 'smelly', and have their eccentric aficionados.
I'll let you know if I become one of them.


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


Anonymous said...

But is Clan any good?

The back of the hill said...


Anonymous said...

Yet, Clan is famous. That accounts for something. At least it does for certain murderers, philanderers, and Congressmen. But I repeat myself.

Anonymous said...

Clan is actually not that bad. It's smokable, but not much more than that.

Anonymous said...

Clan is tobacco for weasels.
Savage weasels.

Anonymous said...

Shredded gorse with treacle.

The English, inexplicably, like it.

They have all become Sebastian Flyte.

Anonymous said...

Why is Clan the most popular pipe tobacco ever if it's that bad?!?

The back of the hill said...

Same reason Coors, Michelob, Miller, and Buweiser are the most popular beers in the United States; a marked lowness of standards, stubborn ignorance, and availability.

Besides, crap sells. McDonalds, Burger King, Roundtable Pizza, Starbucks, rap music, and Barbara Cartland.

Anonymous said...

So what is your favorite european tobacco?

The back of the hill said...

There are far too many to mention them all.

Even excluding the English (Germains and Gawith), there are stellar products coming out of Germany and Denmark.
Just looking at the opposite wall, I see Orlik's Golden Sliced, HH Old Dark Fired, Rattrays (Kohlhase & Kopp) Hal O' The Wynd, Old Gowrie, and Black Mallory.

Wessex Virginias, though slightly topped, are extremely enjoyable.

Astleys tobaccos (also produced by K&K), are very enjoyable, though somewhat old-fashioned. Presbetyrian Mixture, by Planta, is deliciously stinky and depraved.

Und so weiter.

Anonymous said...

Clan is best tobacco! Long live Clan :P

The back of the hill said...

Degustibus non disputandem est.

Clan also keeps away the moths if you put a pouch in your sock drawer.
And your socks will smell nice.

Engels roker said...

Clan pijptabak? Da's rotte spul.

Ik kan echt niet begrijpen waarom er nog mensen zijn die zulke gore troep in hun pijpen stoppen.

The back of the hill said...

Tsja, blijft mij ook een raadsel. Echt te roken is het natuurlijk niet, maar niet-rokers vinden het waarschijnlijk in eerste instantie een prettige geur.

Is het ook. Mits van enkele kilometers afstand.

Tijdens een storm met windvlagen.

Anonymous said...

Quit the tribe, join the clan. :)

The back of the hill said...

That's a great advertisement.

Admittedly, it's for pimp tobacco, and the man with a pipe looks like a practiced degenerate, and was probably co-responsible for theft, murder, casual soccer violence, and the banking scandal, but never the less a great, almost convincing, advertisement.

Anonymous said...

Clan Pipe Tobacco (Clan Pijptabak) is probably one of the best smoking mixtures ever developed. And you, sir, have no fucking taste whatsoever.

The back of the hill said...

To Anonymous at 3:25 PM,

You have fascinating opinions.
Your parents must be proud.

Anonymous said...

I finally tried Clan and I must say it's not that bad. It's not the best tobacco but it's certainly not the worst either. Clan is the most popular drug store tobacco in Europe, people in the past mostly smoked Clan so it's one of the most known tobacco ever.

The back of the hill said...

To Anonymous at 1:59 PM,

You have a greater appetite for bizarre adventurism than I do.


Anonymous said...

What do you think about Borkum riff?

The back of the hill said...

Which Borkum Riff?

Some of their products are amazingly good. In particular, BORKUM RIFF MIXTURE Special No. 8 surprised the heck out of me. A clean smoke, albeit aromatized, but no twigs, no greasy exudate deposit, and very enjoyable.

If that was the only thing available, it would not be a problem.

Their original blend is somewhat unpleasant, however.

And their honey and orange mixture is frightening.

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