Right on cue, Fall is beginning to settle into the Grand Strand area. I know this not just because football is beginning to interrupt my TV schedule, but because the daytime temperature has been consistently maxing out in the lower 80s. Still a little hot, sure, but not the ridiculous sub-tropical jungle sweat-festival that is our Southern Summer.
What I love most about this time of year is what I call these first "long sleeve nights," where the weather is just cool enough to throw on a well-worn flannel shirt and do some righteous porch-sitting, a glowing pipe gently warming my smoking-hand. Or maybe some camping is in order. Just imagine sitting around a toasty fire in one those foldable nylon chairs with a few favorite folks, and your own personal little pocket-o-fire hanging from your jaw. Maybe there's a bag of large, puffy, white marshmallows somewhere in the mix, too. Mmm... Campfire marshmallows, wood-smoke, crunching leaves...
Whoah! Daydreaming at work again. Allow me to return to the task at hand: delivering to you fine folks news of fresh pipes going up on the site today. From Tsuge we've some beautiful pieces from the high-end Ikebana line. We also have a fine selection of Michal Novak's pipes, featuring his signature free-form style of carving, some great smokers from Kevin Arthur, Ardor, Mastro de Paja, Brebbia, Neerup, and of course, the old standbys Savinelli and Peterson. Last but far from least, there's a great selection of estates, professionally refurbished for your smoking pleasure. Might there be a fancy new Fall pipe for you somewhere in there? We certainly hope so!
John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer
Fate would seem to conspire against us all, sooner or later. And some more frequently sooner, rather than later. Earlier this month, I had to improvise an update intro on short-notice when Sykes suddenly found himself both sick and thoroughly writer’s blocked. Now, this morning, the very first thing I did after arriving at our office was watch my computer very, very slowly eat itself alive. Adam suggested I should find Dennis, our one-man IT department, and I in turn suggested it would be far simpler to just chuck the poor dear out the window and into traffic.
Sadly, all the windows in our office are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, and as such do not actually open. And as amazingly resilient as our windows may be, I nonetheless doubt Sykes would be entirely pleased to find his employees developing a habit of bouncing intransigent office hardware off of them.
As you may have noticed by now, today I'm taking a sure-fire and time-tested approach to overcoming writer’s block in the face of adversity: Complaining. We human beings have such an amazing knack for formulating complaints, no matter the situation, that I can only assume that our evolutionary ancestors developed this ability for a very important reason, and that today is as good a day as any to give my own a bit of exercise, lest it shriveled down to a mere vestigial shadow of its former glory. Another great thing our ancestors developed for situations like these: Pipes, and the smoking thereof. Pure, relaxing bliss, in the palm of your hand. Which is why I'm smoking mine right now – and I must say it certainly seems to be working. Even as I now listen to the printer over on Cyndy's desk wheezing and creaking out what sound like its last valiant efforts at making labels, I could hardly feel more carefree and limber.
And now, for your own edification and relaxation, let us get on with the update. Today for you we have loads of fresh briar, starting out with the artisanal pieces of Paolo Becker, Radice, Castello, and Rinaldo, backed up by great selections from Butz-Choquin, Savinelli, Peterson, and Vauen – and then there are of course the estates, a full thirty-six in all. Rounding things off, we have a new offering from Lampe Berger, and, finally, two more Low Country Sampler Packs for you cigar aficionados.
I've been in and out of the office a lot recently on account of some very special people visiting my wife and me: her parents, all the way from Russia. The last time we saw them was back in 2010, when we traveled to and through Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Izhevsk over the course of three weeks. We've wanted to be great hosts now that it's our turn and thus have gone to great lengths to pack as much in to their visit as possible. We rented a cabin at the Myrtle Beach state park for a week in a secluded section on the edge of the forest, where they could easily walk but a few hundred yards to the ocean. On Monday, we traveled to Charleston and stayed two nights in a home that was built 1783, were we spent both evenings sipping red wine in front of the fireplace. Right across the street from the old house is the Hewyard-Washington home, where revolutionaries once met in secrecy, and where George Washington himself would later visit after our independence was won. Before checking in to our place, we walked through the Charleston museum, which is the oldest in the country (founded 1773). On Tuesday, we took a boat to visit Fort Sumter, where the first action of the American Civil War occurred. And yesterday, aside from dining on several of Charleston's signature dishes (like raw oysters and she-crab soup), my father-in-law and I visited the Confederate Museum. We crammed a lot of regional history and local cuisine into a few days in that beautiful historic city, and had great discussions of mixed Russian and English, with my wife kindly acting as our translator.
During all of the museum tours, my in-laws frequently pointed out something all of us would recognize: pipes! We saw a lot of clay tavern pipes, and found an especially nice meerschaum Billiard with an amber stem that had belonged to a Confederate soldier. Because the museum didn't allow photography, I can't share with you this heavily-used artifact that was once a constant companion to the soldier who'd later donated it to the museum. This soldier's pipe was the one that seemed to sink in the most, for me, because it belonged to a man fighting in a cataclysmic war, with or without willingness; something he must have reached for daily during very trying times. Also in the collection were smaller clay pipes and a considerably lengthy rope of twisted tobacco that some bugs had attempted to gnaw on. There was even a solid silver pipe with a horn stem, which had belonged to a postmaster! The other pipes from the Heyward-Washington house didn't seem to be as heavily-used as others, but this might have been because the family who had owned them were able to enjoy new pipes more regularly. They too were puffed on during a time of nervousness, secrecy, and revolution. When I look at these pipes, I can't help but to think of what kind of discussions were being held while their owners were smoking them in a lamp-lit room or around a crackling campfire.
We all know that filling our pipes with cherished tobaccos and puffing away leads to relaxation, though. I believe that every pipe has a story to tell. We have seventy-two estates this evening that each have hidden stories of their own, no doubt, as well as many newly-minted offerings from individual makers and brands that are waiting to open a new chapter. When you examine a pipe from an artist or craftsman, you’re seeing something that they created, and I'm a believer that every artifact has a little bit of its creator that never goes away. Please feel free to take a gander at what we have to share tonight and you might just find a pipe that is quietly calling your name.
I've long been a fan of getting my hands on just about any kind of pipe tobacco that I could get my hands on. Sure, I'm discerning as any pipe smoker when it comes to favorites, but I prefer to try something before I form an opinion on it. And I'm a big fan of tobacco in general, as our regular readers already know. Premium pipe tobacco and not so premium pipe tobacco, wet stuff, dry stuff, flavored, cased, sauced, whether it be ribbon, flake, rough cut, cube cut, or shag, I'm likely to smoke it once or twice or thrice. And a result of this is that over the years I've smoked more blends and mixtures than I can properly recall (and no, I never kept a tobacco journal and am not about to start one now). Sometimes a friend or colleague will ask me if I've tried a particular label and I honestly for the life of me can't remember if I have.
But I'll tell you what I do remember smoking. I remember smoking my first bowl of pipe tobacco. It was from a pouch of Captain Black Royal that I picked up from a drug store many years ago. I remember that it tasted heavenly (or at least it smelled that way) ...and that I fried my tongue and that it seemed to extinguish itself frustratingly often. That is to say, I was doing everything wrong, and as is often the case with frustrated neophytes, blaming it on every factor other than my own flailing inexperience and unrefined technique. I don't think this is a unique experience for anyone's first bowl, with any first blend, by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I think I'm alone in starting with Captain Black. But once we've finally attained some proper experience, it's always good to go back and give our "firsts" another try now that we're capable of gauging their true potential.
Much of this comes to mind this afternoon as I consider our update and some of the new products we've available. As you might have guessed already, they include something new to offer from Captain Black. Here by popular demand, we're happy to introduce Captain Black Regular in a big 12 ounce can. And speaking of pipe tobacco blends so ubiquitous that they can be found at most drug stores, we're also adding Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic to the mix in a 1.5 ounce pouch. We've also got a handful of new blends in bulk available from Altadis found in this update, alongside new cigars from Brick House and CAO. And of course, I'll likely end up trying them all.
And Pipes? Of course there are pipes. Three lovely new works from Peter Matzhold, in addition to fresh pipes by Tsuge, Dunhill, Luciano, Savinelli, Peterson, Brigham, Johs, Chacom, and PS Studio. And we’ve got three dozen recently restored estate pipes worth perusing as well.
Tomorrow morning I fly home to the States. Right now, I am rather happily ensconced in a smoking room at the Holiday Inn walking distance from Terminal 2 of the Cologne-Bonn Airport, which is where I need to be at 5am tomorrow morning. But this little missive isn't about airports or hotel rooms in Germany. It's about pipe tobacco. Or, at least, my very disappointing quest to purchase some this afternoon. The irony of it all, of course, is that I was just at the Dortmund Inter Tabac Fair. Indeed, this very morning, I chatted with folks from both Mac Baren and Samuel Gawith. And at about 2pm, I didn't have any pipe tobacco left.
I had brought most of a tin of lovely, aged GL Pease Haddo's Delight with me on the weeklong trip. I had thought that I also had a tin of Mac Baren Navy Flake with me, completely forgetting that it wasn't in my laptop bag because Alex Florov and I smoked the last of it last weekend on the way home from Morganton, NC, where we were (along with Alex's wife, Vera, and Susan Salinas from Smokingpipes.com) for Craig Tarler's funeral. Suffice it to say, that if I had been at home, that much Haddo's would probably have seen me through the five days I have actually been on the ground in Germany (apparently even I don't fly enough with Delta for them to let me smoke my pipe on the plane). But this trip was all about pipes and pipe tobacco and I have had a pipe in my mouth pretty much permanently since Wednesday morning when I arrived. I spent my first two days here with a dear friend and fellow pipe smoker who lives in Cologne. While neither of us are particular intemperate pipe smokers individually, you put us together for a couple of days and we can consume some pipe tobacco.
Then came the Dortmund show, and the smoking continued apace. Friday night, I had dinner with folks from Brigham pipes from Canada at a place that was supposed to allow smoking, but didn't. They were irritated and disappointed we couldn't smoke. My tongue was actually a tiny bit relieved.
Last night and the previous night, I stayed a few kilometers from the Dortmund show because I'd procrastinated in booking my hotel room and all the nearby hotels were sold out. This really wasn't such a big deal, though. I was rather enjoying the twenty minute drive to and from the show. It gave me a chance to collect my thoughts and smoke my pipe (don't tell Avis). This morning, I realized that I was rapidly nearing the end of my supply of Haddo's. The situation was dire; I had maybe two bowls left. But, not to worry, I was going somewhere with pipe tobacco; I'd have a ready supply at the show.
My first stop at the show this morning was to have a quick word with the folks from Mac Baren. While I was there, I loaded half a bowl from their sample jars, and proceeded to chat with them. Now, if I'd had the inclination to ask Per Jensen for enough Navy Flake to make it through the day, he, I am quite sure, would have happily obliged. I just don't want to be that guy. I just didn't want to ask Per, again, to solve my tobacco emergency for me (I admit it, this isn't the first time I've planned poorly in the pipe tobacco department while traveling).
But, I wasn't terribly worried. This is Germany after all, isn't it? Doesn't Germany consume more pipe tobacco than any other country? Per capita, it has something like five times as many pipe smokers as the United States. Surely, I'd find pipe tobacco at a gas station on the way to the airport. Since it's Sunday, and since Germany has laws prohibiting most retail on Sunday, a side trip into Cologne to go by Peter Heinrich's wonderful shop to buy some pipe tobacco wasn't in the cards.
I figured there was a decent chance I'd find some Mac Baren Navy Flake even or maybe some of the Virginia Ready Rubbed we can't get in the States. At the very least, I thought, I would find some Mac Baren Mixture or Virginia No. 1. I know epically vast quantities of Mixture are smoked in Germany and figured it'd be the corner store standard. And while there are a couple of Mac Baren blends I'd reach for before Mixture, Mixture is really good. I'd have been perfectly happy.
Alas, such was not the case. I stopped twice, perused the tobacco offerings and didn't see any pipe tobacco in either case. I was a little surprised and a bit miffed with the first stop, but figuring it was an aberration, a little hole of pipe tobacco sadness amidst the riches of such that one would expect of Germany, I stopped a second time. Again, no luck.
I got to the hotel and checked in and was pleased that they could give me a smoking room, until, of course, I realized I had nothing to smoke. I took it anyway, hoping at least that I had a bowl's worth of in the pipe tobacco crumbs at the bottom of my briefcase.
A little later, I took my rental car back to the airport and walked on back to the hotel. Within easy walking distance of the route was another gas station. I figured I'd take one more shot at it. I peruse the tobacco selections and again see nothing. I begin to despair. I tentatively ask (I speak almost no German) "pfeifentabak?" The woman behind the counter looks at me funny; I'm not sure if it's because my accent is so bad that she couldn't make out what I was saying or that being asked for pipe tobacco is just not something that she is accustomed to. But, she suddenly gets it and turns around. I expected her to point towards the selection of pipe tobacco that I had just failed to see. A small ray of hope was beginning to break through the clouds. My personal sound track began playing something rather inspirational, like the chorale from Beethoven's 9th Symphony. She turned back around and slapped a pouch of Exclusiv Royal on the counter. The rather celebratory music suddenly screeched to a halt like someone knocked the needle across the record.
At this point, I just sputtered. All pretense of German ended and I blurted out, in English, "Is that it? Is that all the pipe tobacco you have?" I was so disappointed. And the woman, who is perhaps the only person in Germany who does not speak English, looked at me perplexed and slightly offended. She eventually figured it out from my tone and general exasperation and rather exasperatedly pointed at the pipe tobacco section. Which had exactly one facing. I bought the pouch of Exclusiv Royal. What else could I do?
I pondered, extremely briefly, not buying it. I could make it through thirty-six hours without tobacco; no problem. But I had this smoking room at the hotel that was desperately needing to be smoked in. And I pictured myself with a very sad face sitting in the Atlanta airport smoking lounge tomorrow with nothing to smoke. Seriously, I really enjoy being the only guy I ever see who smokes a pipe in the Atlanta airport smoking lounges. So, I relented and plopped my 6.25 Euros on the counter. At least it was pretty cheap. Any other European country and the taxes would have made it 10 Euros.
I mean, I expect that sort of selection in the US. A gas station, if they have any pipe tobacco at all, has maybe a pouch of Captain Black and a pouch of Half & Half for sale. But this is Germany, Dammit! I held Germany in a sort of pipe tobacco esteem. My vision of this country involves rolling hills, buxom blond girls in traditional German outfits carrying large beers, and a good pipe tobacco selection on every corner. I've spent a lot of time in Germany over the years and realized that the first two images weren't really all that true, but I'd never tried to purchase pipe tobacco outside of Peter Heinrich's shop ever before. The last piece in my slightly irrational vision of German greatness was dashed.
But, I'm smoking the Exclusiv Royal as I write. It really could be a whole lot worse. I vaguely remember carrying it eight or so years ago, but I don't think I ever tried it at the time. It's lightly flavored straight virginias with sort of an odd square cut (it says 'granulated' on the pouch). It's smokable. But definitely not Mac Baren Mixture. Tuesday morning, when I'm back in the office, I'm buying a small stack of tins of Mac Baren Navy Flake and sticking them in my briefcase, my rolling carry-on luggage and the garment bag I usually check. We will not have a repeat of this little adventure.
When I first arrive in the morning, I'll most often walk down the hall to get a cup of coffee, load my personal pipe with some tobacco (Orlik Golden Sliced recently) and check my emails and a few other sites to see what the news is of the day (with regard to pipes and tobaccos). I was reading a pipe forum this morning and came across a thread about Burley tobaccos, and so decided to read some posts as to have a better understanding of what smokers around the world are discussing. Interest in Burleys seems to have lately increased among smoking circles that have previously focused mainly on Virginias or English blends - just look at the extreme popularity of the newest MacBaren Dark Fired offering. In this thread about Burley tobaccos however, it was Prince Albert, McClelland bulks, and Cornell & Diehl's Old Joe Krantz that were the main focus.
In the past few years, it seems like I was hearing this name a lot. The way people have compared it to other Burley offerings, it seems like it's not only a convenient staple in many cellars and carry-with pouches, but as good as or better than famous blends from yesteryear. With a moniker that sounds like a man that could play a slow, yet soulful and growling acoustic guitar along the likes of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, the name certainly strikes a chord. I also knew a farmer growing up as a kid whose last name was Krintz. He looked like he could have been plucked right out of any year between 1860-1940 and we called the always-dusty Santa Clause doppelganger "Old Mr. Krintz". There certainly is something trustworthy in a name like that.
So...after reading yet another post about this tobacco that seemed to have so many fans, I finally decided to try a bowl. Admittedly, I rarely try new tobaccos. Perhaps only a few times a year do I drift away from my Orlik Golden Sliced or Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake, but I had the itch to see what Old Joe Krantz was all about. Picking up a Luciano pipe and heading down to the store, I located the jar next to all of the other Cornell & Diehl offerings. Burley, in general, is not the most exciting tobacco to look at. Eye-catching black and yellow ribbons that other blends have are traded for simple medium-brown leaf and nothing else. The tobacco is somewhat flaky and dry to the touch with irregular ribbons and chips of tobacco. But, noting a tantalizingly nutty and slightly sweet scent, I loaded up my pipe.
Don't let the rough look fool you: this is a tobacco that lights easily by the slightest touch of flame and tamps down with ease. The initial puffs lend something sweet and nutty. Not cloying by any means, but a flavor similar [to me] of a subtle chocolate-covered-peanut that wakes up the taste buds, accompanied by a smoke that wafts up to bring a bit of spice to the nostrils in a most pleasant way. There are also lingering, slightly sweet spice aftertastes (hot cinnamon and nutmeg) that make me realize why this is so popular. Old Joe Krantz is as easy burning and flavorful - yet contemplative and interesting - as any blues man worth his ribs would be. I'm glad I finally tried it.
As many of you likely know by now, Sykes and I were in Denmark a couple of weeks ago to visit pipe makers, look at pipes, buy pipes, and talk about the current state of pipedom. Because I fail at math, and because it was a pretty hectic trip, what with having missed another flight on top of the sheer number of people to see and things to do, when Sykes says we saw eleven pipe makers in five days, I believe him. It was a whirlwind. And it was awesome (in the not over-used, absolutely literal sense of the word).
Certainly one of the highlights of the trip was whisking away to tour the Mac Baren factory, as I've long been an ardent fan of many of their blends. Plus, factories are cool. Sykes and I sat down with CEO Simon Nielsen and Product Manager Per Georg Jensen and talked pipe tobacco (only a slight deviation from the normal conversation to be had on the trip), new pipe tobacco blends, and the current state of pipe tobaccodom. Then Per guided us through the warehouse and factory, paying attention especially to those things pertaining to Mac Baren's latest creation, HH Old Dark Fired. Thankfully, we had the presence of mind to bring a camera...
I can't point to any hard numbers, but I think it's safe to say that among pipe smokers the ratio of facial-haired men as compared to the clean-shaven is probably much higher than among the public in general, and I can count myself among you lot with an unabashedly hirsute kisser.
I have recently noticed that anytime I smoke pipe tobacco with a pleasant scent (and not just "aromatic" tobacco, mind you), and for a while after, I compulsively curl my furry upper-lip up to my nose and take a wiff. I'm actually doing this right now smoking a sweet Japanese-market tobacco, its maple-syrup-y undertones readily absorbed by my 'stache.
And so, I have invented a term for this which I would like to officially introduce into the lexicon of pipe tobacco evaluation, fitting neatly alongside the well established scent descriptors tin-note and room-note: mustache-note. Of course, evaluating mustache-note makes one look ridiculous (in fact, I'm trying to commission someone to covertly photograph me in the act for your amusement), but not any more than, say, a wine enthusiast gurgling a mouthful of Riesling, or a "cupper"s hundred-decibel slurping of a fine espresso, and ultimately offers just one more innocently eccentric way to enjoy the smoking experience.
Assessing mustache-note requires no investment in new hardware, of course (in fact, you can go ahead and throw out your razors - a rather liberating experience), but should you feel the need to make a fresh acquisition to mark the beginning of your new life, we've around 200 pipes we're adding to the site today, including the reintroduction of Mastro de Paja. Today's update also features exquisite briars from the likes of Michael Lindner, J&J, Kevin Arthur, Ardor, Ser Jacopo, Brebbia, Neerup, Savinelli, and Peterson, along with meerschaums from IMP and a full six-dozen estate pipes.
John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer
Good news! Due to sudden and unforeseen illness, and thus a sudden and unforeseen change in who's responsible for writing today's newsletter, you, our loyal customers, will be spared most of our usual rambling, pontificating, and narrating. In short, we'll for once make it short, and get on promptly with what you're all really waiting for: Fresh pipes and fresh tobacco offerings. See? Already I've managed keep what less-entertaining purveyors of tobacciana might have communicated in a single, drab, nondescript sentence down to a mere paragraph of impish indirectness. What can I say, but that our deadline is fast approaching here and that the last thing we want is to keep you waiting while I try to confabulate something even more unnecessarily verbose.
So here it is: For this Monday we have for you fresh beauties by esteemed artisans Kent Rasmussen and Gregor Lobnik, as well as a bevy of Radices and Castellos, plus plenty of fresh, quality briars by Sebastien Beo, Butz-Choquin, Savinelli, Peterson, Vauen, and Tsuge, not too mention we've added Missouri Meerschaum to our stable. Joining these you will find, as usual, a fine selection of English and Italian estate pipes, plus new sticks from both Punch and Padron. Our advice: Load up, smoke up, and enjoy.
Often when a friend or family member wants or gets a new car, we tend to see them everywhere. Case in point; I've wanted a Chevy HHR ever since I saw one in a magazine ad back in 2005. To my eye, they looked pretty cool, had a lot of room, and had a front that reminded me of classic trucks from the 1940s. I finally got a "victory red" one last year. When I talked to my friends and family about it, they started to notice them all over the roads. My mother even started pointing them out when she was with friends. The same is true for pipes. When I started making pipes in 2006, my family started to notice pipe smokers in a different way; pleasant. "My son makes pipes" is something my mother proudly tells people; even those at her church. To say I have renown with church-going women in their fifties and sixties is pretty cool. Then again, most of their husbands and fathers smoked pipes.
Our newest employee, Christopher Huff, has been writing about some pipes, as well as entering them in our database. Naturally, due to learning more about the brands, shapes, and finishes, he started noticing them more and more outside of work. Only yesterday he turned to me with a story about seeing a pipe in a movie and thinking he knew what it was. "It looked like a Peterson, I think. Kind of an Oom Paul shape". He was referring to a scene from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966). Lee Van Cleef also smokes a pipe in "For a Few Dollars More", as Eric has noted, complete with orange acrylic stem (which Chris realized was inappropriate for the time period), and gives off his famous, one-of-a-kind beady-eyed stare. Other movies and old television shows are full of pipes once we start to pick them out. Heck, in a Seinfeld episode I watched recently (the one where Kramer's life stories are purchased by J. Peterman), Kramer is sitting in his office smoking a pipe that looks a lot like an old Comoy's Billiard - complete with C-inlay on the left side of the stem.
When we become informed, interested, and especially passionate about something, the world around us seems to make them pop up like dandelions. Given that, tonight we have quite a spread of pipes for you to sate that interest of yours. Rad Davis, Tonni Nielsen, and Simeon Turner all have offerings. Ashton, L'Anatra, Randy Wiley, Winslow, Nording, Peterson, Stanwell, and Savinelli have pipes as well. (My guess is that Lee Von Cleef was smoking a Savinelli, considering the shape and stem color - and fact the movie was made in Italy). And, if you want to find something more unusual, one never knows what will pop up in the estate sections!
It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of my dear friend Craig Tarler, Founder of Cornell & Diehl, yesterday evening, September 4th, 2012, following a lengthy illness, at 82.
Cornell & Diehl released the following a few minutes ago:
For the past twenty three years Craig and his partner and love of his life Patty devoted themselves to their family and his great passion, pipe tobacco and pipe smokers. Craig found pipe smokers to be among the most interesting of the people he met during his rich and full life and years of traveling the world. His genuine love of people and friendly, outgoing and larger than life personality was evident to all who came in contact with him, whether by phone or in person. On many occasions visitors would come by to visit at Cornell & Diehl and all had the same reaction, that they felt they already knew Craig and Patty from getting to know them on the phone and felt they were visiting with an old friend on their first face to face meeting.
While Craig will certainly be missed by all whose lives he touched he wouldn’t want us to be saddened by his leaving. He viewed life as a wonderful adventure, meant to be savored and experienced to the fullest and shared with others. Selfishness was a foreign concept to Craig; he gave fully and freely of himself to all he came in contact with and would wish to be remembered with a smile and a heart full of good will for others. Though our world here on earth is a bit darker, we should all be heartened by the knowledge Heaven is a bit brighter, lit by Craig’s rogueish, joyful smile and his booming voice announcing his arrival with the words, “Oh, what fun!”
I first got to know Craig some twelve years ago and we have been close ever since. Whether discussing intricacies of Virginia flakes or a particular oriental varietal, or simply discussing life, I will always fondly remember the hours we whiled away together. Every year for the past seven years, I've made something of a tobacco pilgrimage up to Morganton to spend a day, or longer, with the Tarlers. I am thankful for those times together and Craig's warmth and friendship over the years; he left me with memories of him that I will always treasure.
If the measure of a man's life is in the people he touched and the lives he enriched by his presence, then Craig's was a life well lived. I know that my sentiments towards Craig are far from unique. The pipe world has indeed lost one of its greats.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Craig's wife of more than sixty years, Patty, and his children, Sally, Pam and Chris.
When I travel I like to play a game. It goes something like this: every time I stop in a gas station or convenience store or something of the like, I determine which (if any) pipe tobacco blends are retailed. It's a straightforward game that I play by myself, and I do so simply for my own amusement. Needless to say, I'm largely disappointed with what I find.
Now, there's no way to design a winner from this sport, but if there were, based on what I've seen thus far, I'd declare the entire country of Denmark as indisputable heavyweight champion supreme. At every gas station, quick stop, mini-mart, commerce center, and shopping plaza, there is to be found, at the very least, a 50 gram pouch of Mac Baren's Mixture. That's right, you guys; quality, first and foremost. In most cases one will also find Mac Baren's Dark Twist, Virginia No. 1, 7 Seas Regular and Royal, and Original Choice. There's all this in addition to a handful of other pouch blends not available or recognizable to the U.S. This was my first trip to Denmark, and the availability of such top-notch pipe tobacco was a pleasure to witness.
Still, it's hard to beat our selection, even if I do say so myself. This is especially true as we continue to add to our catalog of options. For instance, from Dan Tobacco we're pleased to offer the newly available Bill Bailey's Birthday Blend, The Mellow Mallard, Holmer Knudsen's, and Buddies. Also what's fresh and exciting this afternoon is Dunhill Aged cigars in four distinguished sizes: Altamiras, Cabreras, Romanas, Peravias.
Speaking of cigars, we've got an outstanding promotion to roll out today that's sure to cause our cigar guys to swoon. We've picked out Punch, one of our favorite cigar brands, and have decided that from now until end of the month we'll offer 20% off of the purchase of five cigars (which are already discounted, by the way) and 30% off of a box.
And of course we've got pipes; two new beauties from Peter Heding and plenty of new pieces from Tsuge,Dunhill, Johs, Brigham, Savinelli, and Peterson, as well as a new line from Chacom. And what kind of update would this be without three dozen recently restored estate pipes.
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