Dunhill’s Ye Olde Signe

27th January, 2009: Posted by glpease in Tobacco Commentary

Thanks to the generosity of one of our pipe smoking brethren, I have been given the rare opportunity to taste this long out of production blend. I’ve found myself quite awestruck by it.

Ye Olde Signe was one of Dunhill’s earliest mixtures, first produced in 1915[1]. It is listed in early catalogues as, “Pure Virginia  leaf, rich to natural sweetness, unusually mild with soft delicate flavour.”[2]. The sample I was given is ca. 20-years old, tinned by hand in the London store back when Dunhill still cared about tobaccos. It is a lovely dark, rich, shag-cut straight virginia blend, well matured, and rendered even more so by a couple decades in the tin. The bouquet is intoxicating, like any good, dark, well-aged virginia; softly fermented and inviting, with impressions of figs and sour Morello cherries (that’s actually a good thing), and minus the overly cased scent found in too many modern virginias. But what grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go was the flavour. Read more…»

Us vs. Them

20th January, 2009: Posted by glpease in Tobacco, Pipes, Enjoyment, Cigars

From what I’ve read on various pipe smokers’ fora, there is some crossover between cigarettes and pipes or cigars and pipes, however, “We,” as pipe smokers, seem to be more than a bit jingoistic about the way we choose to enjoy tobacco. Pipe smoking is seen as superior by many, both smokers and non-smokers alike. I suspect this has much to do with the historical image of the pipeman as thoughtful, educated, considerate. We’re not all Albert Einstein or Fred MacMurray, but there is a strong iconographic link, forged over decades, that still persists to some extent today, even despite the popular influence of the rabid anti-tobacco movement.

The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish: it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected.

—Wm. Makepeace Thackeray

Personally, though I thoroughly enjoy both pipes and cigars, I have never really been a cigarette smoker. Sure, I’ve had more than a few of the little things over the years in moments of weakness or curiosity, and some have been exquisite. I fondly recall the Balkan Sobranies in their little tin boxes, and the French Boyards, with their black tobacco and yellow corn-paper, sweet and powerful in flavour and in effect, not to mention the Old Holborn RYO tobacco that was splendid. I’m sorry to say these have gone the way of all flesh, even though I would only rarely indulge in their guilty pleasures. Read more…»