With half our staff off at the Chicago show, all is quiet here at the Smokingpipes offices. Well, mostly quiet. Or at least moderately quieter. Pam is constantly running one place or another, getting updates together while no one else is around to handle the half a dozen other things cropping up at any given time, while I'm using Adam's absence to play plenty of the sort of music that used to make Sykes hide behind his door back when I was by his office, and which a summer intern once went so audaciously far as to describe as "not music".
On the other hand, however, I've also began sampling from the numerous Virginias lining the wall of Low Country Pipe and Tobacco, our first-floor brick-and-mortar. This is unusual, given that Virginias have always been Adam's thing, not mine. Indeed I took a rather unusual route in my introduction to pipe tobaccos, beginning with powerful Latakia blends, often supplied by Tom Marsh... and much to the dismay of Alyson and Susan, with whom I shared an office at the time.
Some may interpret that unorthodox and rather brash path as a reflection of my own personality, but it's also certainly something which was sustained by the simple fact that I have a rather insensitive palate. Eventually, desiring something that I wouldn't, shall we say, leave a negative impression upon the interior of my old Lincoln, or my small apartment, I found a few lighter aromatics I could enjoy as well, and after moving my desk into the pipe library with Adam, I've tended to smoke these more than anything. Nonetheless, with little interest in anything with a fruit flavor, I never dabbled in such blends as I did with the powerfully smoky, spicy English concoctions.
So it is that now, more than two years on, and with a sense of flavor at least slightly more attuned than where it began, I find myself beginning to poke about the Virginias, be they red, bright, ribbon, or shag. It goes to show that even those of us who can smoke all day if we please, and who have hundreds of blends available at hand, can become rather fixed in our habits. But it also shows that even those of us of a stubborn nature (as an old mule, I have on good account), and not possessed of a professional wine-taster's palate, can still (at however more slowly and finicky a pace) find and gradually come to appreciate new blends to enjoy.
And speaking of the new, as well as of enjoyment, it's time for today's update, in which you will find everything from Nording briars to a Paolo Becker morta, in a selection featuring such names as Markle, Lindner, Parks, L'Anatra, Wiley, Winslow, Cavicchi, Stanwell, and, of course, the ever-present Savinelli - plus, naturally enough, plenty of estate pipes, too.
Eric Squires: Copywriter