Saturday, February 08, 2020


There are actually several "author's blend" pipe tobaccos out there. Most of them are aromatic shite you should not be caught dead smoking, as well as mere attempts to capitalize on the fact that Mark Twain and J. R. Tolkien were famous pipe smokers (as was Rudyard Kipling), some are stuff that Josef Stalin (yet another famous pipe smoker) might have liked, and a few blends not so pretentiously named might actually have been smoked by authors (such as Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, or William Cuthbert Faulkner), though purchased under pedestrian handles from their local tobacco merchant.

There was a time when people smoked pipes, rather than snorting coke and whining about their childhood.

Recalling that age, though badly: Mark Twain pipe tobacco is topped with caramel and vanilla: Burleys, along with some bright Virginia, and "a slightly nutty-sweet flavor that you can enjoy at any time of day." Described by one irate reviewer as "the worst effing Danish" that he's ever tried.

Famous author Joseph Stalin would have like it.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Fellow pipesmoker Nick T., who lives in the wilds of Colorado, and has an authoritative beard, describes a recent afternoon staying at home with a book when it was buggery cold outside: "I'm smoking a bowl of my own “Author’s Blend” -- two parts mild burley, two parts black cavendish, and one part latakia, all purchased from my area tobacconist. Perfect for reading and writing on a chilly day in the Black Hills." End quote.

If it's an unflavoured black Cavendish, that sounds really excellent. Not being a Burley Tobacco fan myself, I would naturally prefer Virginias, with a soupçon of black Virginia ribbon, and a smidge of Perique.

Nick T. is very much a Burley man; two tobaccos of which he speaks favourably are Stokkebye Toasted Burley and Amphora Burley Blend, which, and I quote, smells "scrumptiously of nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cocoa". These are elements often naturally present in fine Burley.

Mark Twain smoked shoe leather, J. R. Tolkien liked Capstan, Erinmore Flake, and Gold Block, and Joseph Stalin smoked Crimean Gavniyok. Almost exclusively. And it should be mentioned that neither Donald Trump nor Vladimir Putin are pipesmokers, which tells you a lot about them.

I am not an author or Joseph Stalin. Though I also have nice facial hair.

What I'm smoking these days is four parts aged plain Virginia flake, two parts eight year old medium brown flake, and one part matured dark Virginia flake. The second tobacco listed has a touch of Perique. One could make something similar by using Cornell & Diehl's Opening Night (or Samuel Gawith's Golden Glow & Best Brown, or Orlik Golden Sliced), McConnell's Folded Flake or Rattray's Marlin Flake (much the same thing), and Dunhill Dark Flake OR any decent dark flake, perhaps stoved to deepen the flavour.

Blonde, blonde, blonde, blonde; brownish, brownish; mahagony.

Like Nick T., I too like tea when I'm smoking. At work I end up high as a kite because of all the cups, on my days off, because the last smokes of the day must be outside, I ensure that I am caffeinated ere lighting up.

I pride myself on being a bad example for kids.

Especially when I'm outdoors.

I worked today.



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