Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I was prepared to be less than quite impressed. After all, I consider myself fairly immune to the poofle written on labels nowadays.

Poofle, I know. I’m responsible for some of it myself.

“This luxurious tandoori specialty recalls a Caravan-serai along the exotic Silk-Road, redolent with the spice-fragrances of antiquity, tickling tastebuds long dormant as it induces exquisite dreams of paradise.”

Or something like that.
It wasn’t originally quite so purple, but between the owner of the restaurant and myself we selected my five best texts (in his mind), and sort of clobbered them together.
I had written over a hundred samples, tailoring my style to his personality.
The result was a text that for several years afterwards I wanted to forget.
Or leastways deny any responsibility for.


WILDERNESS McClelland Collector Series.
Blender: Fred Hanna

Tin poofle: “This remarkable blend formulated by Fred Hanna provides a multi-layered, rich, taste experience. The highest quality Syrian Latakia combines with a small amount of Cyprian to form the base for an exquisite array of rare and precious Orientals - sweet Drama, exotic Yenidje, and more. Red Virginias complement the blend, adding sweetness, richness, strength, and creaminess. Smoke this mixture and listen for the echoes of savored memories.”

[Wilderness Pipe Tobacco. From McClelland Tobacco Company in Kansas City, Missouri.]

I am nevertheless exceptionally pleased with this product. This is not a bold knock-you-over-the-head blend as that first-position mention of Syrian would suggest. Yes, it's a medium-full English, but withal an extremely civilized and enjoyable tobacco mixture.
Well-balanced, rounded, rich on the tongue and velvety in the nostrils.
The room-note, if you are a pipe-smoker, is utterly delightful.

Why they called it wilderness is beyond me.

I have no urge to go out into the wilds while smoking this, rather, I would prefer to find a nice comfortable fauteuille somewhere quiet, where I could happily sit a while, perhaps reading back-issues of North-American Shoe Collector or The Odd Man Digest.

Nothing in this blend is over the top. Everything comes together beautifully, especially in a somewhat smaller pipe.
I have been smoking it on a daily basis in one of my knock-arounders, a Charatan Zulu from the mid-fifties that never really performed for me.
That pipe has now been promoted, and I shall henceforth think of it fondly.

"Listen for the echoes of savored memories"

What the bucket does that mean? This isn't the stuff of memory, this is something for here and now. An extremely present tense blend.
Reverie inducing, day-dream prompting.

"...It is nearly tea time when I ring the doorbell. You come down the stairs to let me in - that pleated skirt suits you so nicely, by the way, and those are lovely pearls - with your own pipe in your mouth.
Together we go up to the living room, where in silence we sit at the big table, deep in study. You with your tome on the history of Flanders and Brabant during the high middle-ages, me with a thick volume on butterflies of the South-East Asian rainforest.
There is a tin of pipe tobacco between us, and a packet of pipe cleaners.

Occasionally my hand brushes against your small warm fingers when we both reach for the matches or the tamper. Life is very good indeed. We are isolated from the cold San Francisco weather and the chill winds that bring in the fog. Afternoon glides gracefully into evening.
After a last cup of tea (milk and sugar, please), I load up a third bowl-full, and head out into darkened streets. Thank you for a truly wonderful time!"

Wilderness is the type of fine mixture that mr. Badger should smoke.
I must order more of it.


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


Tzipporah said...

Mr. Badger was a committed bachelor. Just something to think about.

The back of the hill said...

This tobacco might well have changed that.
Maybe all he needed was a committed bachelorette.

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