Reflections in the Mists

14th January, 2010: Posted by glpease in Pipes, Enjoyment, Editorial

This morning, I took a somewhat extended walk after dropping my son at school. Our walk is only a few blocks, and I always seem to be in a rush to get back home to begin the daily routines that have become my work over the past few years. This morning, it just wasn’t long enough.

The air is fog-chilled, and the feeling on my face too inviting to ignore. I decided to take the long way home, wandering towards the shore, and stopping off at the water’s edge to watch some ducks and some coots (birds, not old men) fishing in the still tides. A Castello Collection stack, deeply colored with a rich mahogany patina from years of smoking, filled to its beveled top with some old Garfinkel’s Orient Express #11 was my sole companion. Read more…»

Review of the Day - Chelsea Morning

15th December, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

Okay, it’s time to fess up. Sure, it’s fun to post these reviews, the ones that I really like, and that are well considered and well presented. That’s not under any sort of scrutiny, here. No, what I am confessing to is something else. It’s my excuse for doing this, not writing something new of my own, but letting the Chronicles be carried on the shoulders of others. Mea maxima culpa. It’s true. I’ve been busy with a few projects, some of which I’ve talked about on the News page, some of which have been hitherto submerged in murky secrecy, where they will have to remain for at least a little while. What’s life without a little mystery? It gives it spice. But, all will be revealed in time. Until then, there are Reviews-O-T-D. Read more…»

Review of the Day - Westminster

2nd November, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

There is no poetic form more concise, more rigorous than the Japanese Haiku. The form consists of three metrical phrases of five, seven, and five mora, roughly equivalent to syllables, and traditionally, contains a seasonal reference, or kigo. English versions play a little looser with the structure, but where it’s become acceptable to veer from the more philosophical strictness of the genuine Haiku, the five-seven-five pattern is always retained.

I was delighted when scanning through one of the forums, discovering this gem, penned by Moe. I’ve corresponded with this gentleman a bit, and have always found his words engaging and thoughtful, but never suspected he might be driven to poetry by smoking one of my blends.

Pease outid himself
Orientals at their best
Who needs London Mix

Those who have followed the Chronicles for a while will know that Westminster was inspired by that venerable London Mixture, originally produced by Dunhill. The article, The Road to Westminster details the journey in perhaps too many words. Moe’s concise review may have served the purpose just as well.

That said, Moe was not quite the most concise. He indicates that his was inspired by Elpizo1’s five word review from another thread.

Westminster is a good smoke!

Thanks to Elpizo1 and to Moe for their kind words and compressed approach! I’ll try to be less wordy in the future.

Warmly smoldering
Delicately fragrant clouds
Dance in the fall air

Review of the Day - Union Square

9th October, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

Union Square has been on the shelves for a while, and the reviews, both public and directly sent to me, have been very positive, overall, and often quite wonderful to read. Today’s caught my attention in particular because I really appreciate the use of language here. Putting words to something that is entirely sensory is always challenging. Adjectives are too often overused and diluted to the point of meaninglessness, and it just ain’t easy to find fitting metaphors that really do the job well. But, it can be done. Here is an excerpt from a lovely review penned by Wosbald that proves the point. It also really made my morning.

The flavor is of purely cane-sugar-sweet VAs without silage or funky ferment. The gold VA’s are dominant at first light while the reds ascend as the bowl burns down. The flavor profile is generous, yet tightly focused and elegantly crisp.

A fantastic straight VA, Union Square is laser-clean and flavorsome. A nobly aesthetic creation, it is highly complex within a tightly focused range. Though it will undoubtedly age well, it is remarkably smooth with only a month or two in the can. This went best in narrow to medium gauge chambers.

After reading this, I wanted to set down the Chelsea Morning I was smoking to grab another, filled with Union Square. He managed to express the blend in a way that almost brought the taste to my tongue. Granted, I’m somewhat familiar with the blend, so triggering my own experiential memories isn’t difficult, but this did more than that. The phrase “highly complex within a tightly focused range” describes perfectly what I set out to do with this blend. I’m really happy to know that the tobaccos came together to accomplish this. If there was room in the budget, I’d consider hiring this guy to write my label copy. Bravo!

I hope he likes Chelsea Morning as well.

A Stout Collaboration

18th September, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipes

I can’t keep quiet about this anymore. It’s been driving me nuts not being able to talk about it, but we’re finally close enough to the release, and I’m thinking it’s safe to break the silence. After all, the first batch of pipes are done, and they’re stamped, and they’re coming to Richmond, so it’s pretty clear at this point that it’s really happening. It’s not so much that it’s been a Top-Secret, eyes only sort of thing. It’s just that up until this week, it might still have been just another dream. But, now it’s real. Now, it’s time to spill the fagioli.

Back in 2007, Luca diPiazza began discussing a new project to be done in cooperation with Radice. The idea was that Luca and I would create some fun designs that would be made by Radice in limited editions. The first design was to be a shorter, stouter rhodesian variant, almost a Brucianaso (nose warmer) in proportion.

Luca and I discussed the shape concept and the design parameters. I drew up the final sketch, and sent it off to Radice, from which three prototypes were made. Luca and I then selected the one that we felt right for the final model. I smoked that lovely ‘prototipo’ for a couple of weeks, just to make sure that the internal details were right. I’ve always really liked the way Radice’s pipes smoke, and fully expected this one to be great, but it seemed a good excuse to smoke a new pipe. It was fantastic, of course, and so the project was now officially well underway! Read more…»

Windswept Clouds

21st August, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipes

There is playfulness and joy in so many of the Le Nuvole pipes of Maurizio Tombari, and it simply has to be that way. He and his wife, Stefania, who designs many of the shapes, are such delightful and lovely people, that something of them simply must come through in the pipes. The piece shown, a sort of windswept pot/billiard, reminiscent in some ways of the Castello 55 shape, is a beautiful example of this. Its form is elegant yet dynamic, strong, yet delicate and graceful, all while exhibiting that little bit of joyful whimsy that characterizes so much of Maurizio’s work. It’s what a 55 would choose to be if it were allowed to take flight on its own wings and soar amongst the clouds. Read more…»

Review of the Day - Abingdon

12th August, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

Tim K. noticed this one, and called it to my attention. The author writes under the sobriquet of Sinister Topiary; that alone is enough to make me want to read everything he’s written on the TR site. Seriously. How can you not like someone who calls himself Sinister Topiary? I can’t be alone in this, can I? And, I’ll gladly forgive him his error about the tin size. [They’re 2oz tins, Sin; a full 13% more tobacco than the scrawny 50g tins other people sell.]

Enough rambling. The review is an absolute joy to read. His descriptions are evocative and he effectively uses his obvious gift for narrative to illuminate the development of his relationship with the tobacco, bringing us something that goes far deeper than the much more typical “tastes like chicken” pulp. In a word, it’s brilliant. I’ll shut up now, so you can read the review. Enjoy. Read more…»

Review of the Day - Robusto

31st July, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

This is fun. Robusto is one of those blends that people either get, or they don’t. It was never intended to be a “cigar in a pipe” experience, but a blend that uses the cigar leaf to add a new dimension to the pipe smoker’s palette of flavour experience. It’s always been something of a “sleeper,” not getting the same exposure as some of the more mainstream blends, but it has its following, and is one of my personal faves, especially with some age behind it. I have one of those foil bags that I used for the 8oz packaging a few years ago, and it’s a delight to dip into once in a while.

Slow Draw definitely gets it. Here’s what he has to say about Robusto: Read more…»

Review of the Day - Key Largo

24th July, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

The last ROTD might lead the reader to the impression that only bad reviews will capture my attention. Not so. Giving equal time to the other side of the coin, here is a delightful entry from CPT/VSG describing his experiences with Key Largo. Read more…»

Review of the Day - The First One

18th June, 2009: Posted by glpease in Review of the Day

I’ve moved these from the News page over to here, as it seemed like a better home for them. -glp

It’s no secret - I watch the reviews on tobaccoreviews.com. If you were in this business, wouldn’t you? They’re often entertaining, sometimes enlightening, and occasionally, even well thought out. There are guys out there who have that rare combination of an understanding of what they’re smoking, a gift for articulating their impressions, and the willingness to open their minds to what might be a new experience for them. Read more…»

The Pipe Whisperer - Part II

14th March, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipes

Several years ago, I bought a pair of beautiful Princes, one smooth, one sandblasted, from Trever Talbert. These were part of his Ligne Bretagne range; pipes of excellent value, made from old post-war factory-turned stummels, fitted with modern mouthpieces, and¬† and finished by Trever and his delightful wife Emily “with the same engineering concepts and meticulous finish that Talbert Briars are known for.” The pipes, roughly Dunhill Group 3 in size, arrived, sporting long, almost churchwarden-ish stems, their shanks adorned with lovely copper fittings. They were elegant and graceful, and the old, well aged briar and excellent internal construction delivered superb smoking characteristics, clearly up to the standards that Trever set years ago with his own artisanal Talbert Pipes range.

The only problem was that I rarely reached for them. The mouthpieces were too long for a normal pipe cleaner, and their length put the balance too forward for comfortable clenching. I think of a prince, especially a small one, not as being a hand-held “reading pipe,” but as an easy, comfortable pipe to smoke, especially when working or walking. So, as beautiful as they were, as wonderfully as they smoked, the pipes tended to sit, more often gazed upon than enjoyed for their intended purpose. It seemed a shame.

One day, it hit me. I know a guy… Read more…»

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…»


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