Tuesday, March 13, 2012


One evening last week I was in conversation with a British gentleman a few years my senior, who also smoked a pipe.
He assured me that pipe-smoking prompted a remarkable number of positive comments from the distaff side, who would wistfully remark that it reminded them of their grandfathers.
He didn’t particularly like being compared with someone getting on in years, possibly even senescent or deceased, but he certainly enjoyed having conversations with the granddaughters.

The tobacco which sparked their reveries qualifies as an abortion.
A lakeland Cherry – Vanilla abortion.

I may have remarked on this blog that quality does not stink like a Turkish cathouse.
If I haven’t, please accept that as a given.

I am still looking for a young lady who likens the fragrance of my pipe to the manly man of her dreams, the dashing Prince Charming who one day will sweep her off her pretty little feet.
She’ll look deep into my eyes, and both of us will lose ourselves in each other’s dark dark pupils.
Almost imperceptibly I feel her soft hand touching my fingers.

Then we’ll go have a nice cup of tea somewhere!

It’s the delicate masculine scent of real tobacco, you see.
Nothing says ‘vibrant youngish middle-aged codger who is completely ready for a relationship with an intelligent woman of taste and discernment’ than the upstanding fragrance of excellent leaves.

You can scarcely find products more English than the fine pressed flakes of Samuel Gawith, an estimable firm located in Kendal, Cumbria. These are the tins that you would find on your favourite cousin’s desk, or cluttering up the table next to the comfy easy chair in the study. Perhaps on the night stand for that last smoke of the day while reading in bed.
One of your uncles might keep some in a kitchen cabinet, to enjoy at night while the rest of the family is upstairs fast asleep.
That handsome fellow who lives in the next block also smokes Samuel Gawith, especially when he’s studying for exams – it quiets the mind while improving concentration.


I’ve had a fair amount of Sam Gawith’s products, so here are half a dozen short reviews.
Keep in mind that these flakes will require rubbing out, which is best done while they're still moist.
You may have to dry them considerably before packing them in a pipe - just spread the tobacco out on plate for a while.
Cats will be fascinated by this procedure - close the door and ignore the mewling.


Virginias and Perique combine to make this a race horse of a tobacco. Not particularly strong, but exceedingly enjoyable right out the gate. Just trots along. The Perique strikes just the right note. The aroma is a little sharp.
In the tin it smells figgy, sweet, and rich.
A magnet for a woman who likes to dance – not that arms and legs flailing crap that people do at raves, but waltzes, tangos, schottisches, and reels.
I might have to take dancing lessons.


Straight Virginia. A remarkably consistent product with a pleasing sweetness. The tobacco has a fragrance reminiscent of hay, but also veering towards plummy. Smokes on the creamy side.
I’ve used it as a blending tobacco with excellent results. It’s a lovely smoke, but requires carefulness in some bowls. Milder than the St. James.
This product would probably attract young ladies who go to the opera, and know all the words in Italian to something rousing.


Woody and spicy at times, it buzzes along without much effort. Nicotine-wise it punches a bit, but the slow and contemplative puffer should have no problems.
I’ve smoked many bowls in the television room while my housemate was asleep. I still live there.
It lacks a particularly strong smell
Think in terms of a neat librarian with glasses, rosy cheeks, and an utterly fabulous mind.


Kentucky and dark-fired tobaccos. Earthy, woody, and leathery. Some people might think that an odd flavouring has been added, but they’re probably tasting one of the characteristics of the darker leaf. This is a strong tobacco, and the young fellows should be advised not to gyrate on ladders while indulging. Leave the rain gutter cleanup for another time.
Unless, of course, you have a nice pile of soft garden waste to fall upon.
In which case you just might want to lie there staring at the sky with your best girl by your side.
She probably thinks you’re very manly. Mad, but very manly.


Lemon Virginias, mostly. Satisfying if you like such things. I seldom smoke the paler flakes – it takes just the right mood - but like all Samuel Gawith products it is very well-made. Let’s call it ‘subtle’. Something that an elderly librarian might indulge in, while listening to Italian opera late in the afternoon. The French doors are open, a zephyr caries in the fragrance of the fields beyond the wall.  Smooth and uncomplicated, but because of the brightness of the main leaf it must be smoked slow. Coddled, in fact. The room note is excellent.
About the only type of woman that I can imagine being attracted by this tobacco is someone’s granddaughter. She probably has wavy blonde hair and a rambunctious sense of humour, and might even like to have a cup of tea with the pipesman.  Beware of her cigarettes - she chainsmokes.

1792 FLAKE

Dark-fired African tobacco, made profoundly darker by its treatment in Kendal. A tarry eccentric, and actually a very attractive product. But some people look at it all cross-eyed, due to a remarkable strength.  It is also deceptive, because it smokes so well that you might not notice your head spinning until you hit the floor.
The tin note is of tonquin, sweet and spicy. With an underlying hint of sphagnum.
A lady who is attracted to this probably also likes sniffing your old leather jackets.
With you still in them.

All these tobaccos should appeal to thoughtful women, who don’t mind their man whiffing a bit old-fashioned. Men used to smell like tobacco, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
As long as they bathe on a daily basis, and don’t douse themselves with buckets of aftershave and designer fragrances - quality does NOT stink like a Turkish cathouse.
Or like a Cherry – Vanilla microwave strudel.
Remember that.


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Arno said...

Nice post and... Navy Flake? I love that one! Attracts bold young women in search of adventure. And booze. Just like my girlfriend.

The back of the hill said...

It’s been far too long since I smoked the Navy Flake.
Got a few tins on the shelf, will probably have to pop one open and update this post in due course.

And I'll take your experience as encouraging news. So I'll smoke it in public.

Anonymous said...

Navy Flake and a fondness for mr. Gawith?

Is this the tobacco version of "hello sailor"?

The back of the hill said...


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