Exploring New Blends
Admittedly, the first time I smoked Quiet Nights by G. L. Pease I was not very impressed. I can't say why, exactly, it just didn't do anything for me. It seemed bland, like it lacked dimension or character. But I don't judge a blend based on my first impression. Usually, the tin will get tucked away in the big plastic box that serves as my cellar until I'm feeling adventurous or tired of the usual or maybe until I'm ready to give the blend a second chance. My tin of 'Quiet Nights' got tossed into the box.
Then I was to embark on a week-long Alaskan cruise. While most people will spend some time considering what clothes to bring in regard to the climate and duration of the trip, I tend to start thinking, (well in advance and rather anxiously) about the select few pipes and small amounts of tobacco that will be joining me. This is a really tough decision to make.
One of the two blends that made the final cut to join me abroad was ‘Quiet Nights’. I figured that this was my chance to really get to know the stuff. Boy, am I glad I did.
There was a cigar room on the ship. Set to the soft sound of French jazz and decorated in plush leather, attractive end tables, and beautiful ferns, the room was dimly lit and easily maintained the most serene atmosphere on the boat. This is where I became fast friends with one of the tastiest and most sublime dark English blends I can recall ever having smoked.
Given some time to dry out and if packed with care, this broken flake will smoke real slow, surprisingly cool and for a great long while. It’s heavy and musky, and while the Latakia is rather pronounced here, so too are the savory Orientals and spicy Perique richly accented. Really, all the flavors come together in a delicious harmony. By the end of the trip, ‘Quiet Nights' had become for me a top-notch choice.
I guess my ‘take away’ from this episode is that a lot of my attitude about pipe tobacco is biased by context. At home, with a whole bunch of tobacco choices at my disposal and in the midst of my rut, the magic of a certain blend might be lost on me. On the other hand, when stuck on a ship with 3,000 gluttons, a buffet court, an arcade parlor, and a casino, I’m quick to appreciate the wonderful quality of an unacquainted blend. We get to share a handful of meaningful occasions together and my opinion of the blend is altered, usually for the better.
I’m not going to get into the ‘other’ blend that made it along the cruise. We’ll just say it jumped ship and leave it at that.