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28 February 2013

Visitors Visiting
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, February 28, 2013

       -Posted by ted-

We've got visitors visiting our offices today (it's what visitors do, you understand), which means that on top of the normal hustle and bustle that makes up our ordinary Wednesday (getting the Thursday's update put together, and what all), we had to make the place look presentable as well. Not that we live and work in a pig sty, mind you, but between those prints and posters we've been meaning to hang, those broken pipes we can't bring ourselves to donate to the pipe science box (which means they just 'hang' around until then), and all the little nooks and crannies that need attention, we were extra busy yesterday. But we don't mind, we love having visitors, be they peers of the industry or simply curious customers. If you're ever in the area, be sure to stop by.

Otherwise, it's still business as usual in these parts though. I'd like to mention to be sure to keep an eye out for the spring issue of Pipes & Tobacco Magazine. Like last year, we've got another two-sided poster to give away this season, and you'll also find a write-up on our staff writers, and a couple of especially cool ads that highlight different folks that work here. We're always very pleased to scope out the latest addition of our hobby's finest print periodical, but this quarter's edition is quite special to us. There's even a really awesome article on Nanna Ivarsson in this spread. Yes, we're excited!

As for the update, this evening we're adding a bunch of goodies to the site. We've got fresh work from Jeff Gracik of J. Alan Pipes, as well as new pipes from Ardor, Mastro de Paja, Brebbia, Savinelli, Nording, Neerup, and Peterson. A whopping seventy-two newly restored estate pipes are added to the mix as well. We've also got a handful of very tasty (and very popular) cigars from Camacho that are back in stock at last, the Triple Maduro, in four different combinations of ring gauge and length. Enjoy!


Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager








Posted by ted at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


27 February 2013

4th Annual Pipe Fiesta, Tokyo
 The pipe community unites in Japan

       -Posted by ted-

The day before Valentine’s Day I flew to Japan. Actually, I flew to Georgia, then to California, then to Japan, but you get the gist. The purpose of all this travel? To represent Smokingpipes.com at the Fourth Annual Pipe Fiesta in Tokyo, of course.

I was met at Haneda airport by our very own Ryota Shimizu. He whisked me away, and over the course of the next few days I met with friends, pipe makers, business folks, and customers alike. I'm pleased to report that the show, which was held Sunday, February 17, was a complete success. Just like last year, it was a blast. This year, however, the venue was bigger, the turnout of pipe smokers and collectors was better, and even more international travelers turned up to take part, like Luca Di Piazza of Neat Pipes and Sebastien Beaud of Genod (and the man behind our very own line of Sebastien Beo pipes).

Japan is awesome. The people are gracious, generous, and extraordinarily congenial. Tokyo is beautiful, wild, exotic, and captivating. It was especially cool to hang out with other pipe people who are super excited about the hobby, even if we couldn’t understand one another. That’s a magical thing right there.


Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager








Posted by ted at 3:14 PM | Link | 0 comments


25 February 2013

Our Secret Clock Just Struck "Update!"
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, February 25, 2013

       -Posted by eric-

Life at Smokingpipes proceeds at a steady pace. Our recent International Pipe Smoking Day special brought in a staggering day's worth of sales -- all thanks in no small part to our customers, both for choosing us to provide for their own needs, and for helping get the word out to their fellow pipe-men and pipe-women. Meanwhile, we've also succeeded in capturing our first wayward feline as part of the previously mentioned "Big Barn Cat Project", and are happy to report no loss of either life or limb on the part of any of the involved parties (i.e., the resident semi-feral horde, our own employees, Katie's car, or, at least as far as we know, the local veterinarian). Furthermore, our Secret Brainstorming Meetings continue to bear much creative fruit, while simultaneously thus far serving their role as a diversionary ploy quite effectively; that is to say, that we may happily report that the Super-Secret Brainstorming Meetings remain completely unnoticed, despite whatever mad cackling may be making its way out of our subterranean passages between the hours of 12:75 and 16:-15 each Friday afternoon. (All Super-Secret-level meetings at Smokingpipes are scheduled on Secret Clock time.)

At some point between all this, we've even managed to put together an update too -- this one, in fact. So here it is, just for you. What we have in store today includes the artisanal briars of Scott Klein, lovely Pesaro numbers by Rinaldo, and fine Italian classics from Castello. Joining them you'll also find plenty of handsome pipes from the likes of Chacom, Tsuge, Butz-Chouqin, Savinelli, and Vauen, not to mention a massive bunch of Petersons, including no lack whatsoever of the new 2013 St. Patrick's Day edition pieces. Add to all that thirty-six estates , the introduction of another blend by Borkum Riff , and H. Upmann 's much-anticipated new Legacy Cameroons, and there's bound to be something for everyone. Well, unless it's one of us, looking for spare time -- but that is what the Secret Clock is for, after all.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


21 February 2013

Recognizing Unofficial Holidays and Encouraging Insanity
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, February 21, 2013

       -Posted by adam-

Yesterday, February 20th, was International Pipe Smoking Day, which was started by Smokers Forum in 2008 as a day to celebrate pipe smoking. After all, if the world calendar is replete with unofficial holidays such as "Talk Like A Pirate Day" or "Wear Your Pants Backwards Day" (which I expect results in all manner of accidents and complications), why not have folks around the globe gather to celebrate something many of us enjoy. From what I've heard over the years, dozens of pipe clubs everywhere get together to celebrate with contests, raffles, and good old-fashioned camaraderie. It's great that the semi-official holiday has gained so much ground in recent years, as it's introduced a lot of new pipe smokers from all walks of life to the enjoyment of pipes. Pipe smoking is gaining ground outside of the usual, stereotyped pipe smoker demographic, and we can only hope this continues.

We here at Smokingpipes.com celebrate the business and enjoyment of pipe smoking every day, as I'm sure many of you do as well. During one of our marketing meetings recently, appropriately subjected as "Brainstorming Meeting: We All Go Insane!" a small collection of staff closed the doors to the conference room and smoked our pipes, spouted out-of-the-box marketing ideas for various current and future exciting things, and laughed at each other when some of us [coughs] wanted to find out exactly how far was too far. One idea was to do a comic strip (unsure of how many), and the ideas and weird pseudo-world of characters between my ears wouldn't stop. Case in point: our first strip introducing two characters; Brandy and Flake. You can be sure we're going to whet your whistle with a number of different ideas over the coming months.

In the meantime, we've quite a staggering update for you today consisting of 166 new pipes, including new pieces from Brad Pohlmann and more of Peterson's Saint Patrick's Day pipes, along with 72 lovely estates from all over. And just like any other holiday, hopefully you will find some excuses today to enjoy some leftovers from your recent celebratory adventure.

Cheers!

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector








Posted by adam at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


Brandy and Flake

       -Posted by adam-


Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector








Posted by adam at 2:12 PM | Link | 3 comments


20 February 2013

International Pipe Smoking Day!
 It's a good day to be a pipe smoker...

       -Posted by sykes-

Today, Wednesday, the 20th of February, in the year 2013, is International Pipe Smoking Day. So what does that mean? It means that everything you order from us is discounted at an extra 10% off. Everything. Pipe-cleaners? 10% off. Pipes? 10% off. Tobacco, be it bulk or tinned? 10% off? Yes, 10% off.

Now that I think we're clear on that, I'll not take up any more of your time -- you have pipes to smoke, after all. Perhaps, having heard this news, you've also got pipes to add to your collection, or tobaccos or accessories to stock up on while the stocking-up is good (and 10% off).








Posted by sykes at 8:45 AM | Link | 0 comments


18 February 2013

Addicted to Collecting
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, February 18, 2013

       -Posted by christopher-

My particular addiction is collecting. I am not sure when it started. It probably dates back to around 1978 and advent of Star Wars figures, although it didn't really take hold until the 90s at the height of the comic book craze when the comic industry was producing "gold-foil holographic 3D covers" and super hero toy lines became prominent collector's items. Throw in Star Trek paraphernalia and the renewal of Star Wars licensing, and it was a downward spiral for me.

I collected nearly everything: books, Zippo lighters, knives, Beany Babies, Hot Wheels, Pogs, Magic the Gathering cards, gem stones, Tarot cards, Native American artifacts, Happy Meal toys, GI Joes (Well, just about any action figure line) and who knows how much else that I have since forgotten and forsaken.

Relocating to Myrtle Beach proved to be a cure, or at least a way for me to cut back. Without the room or the free income I had left behind, I had to relegate much of my collections to storage in my parents' basement. And while I still collect a few things here and there, most of my urges to own every item of a set is long gone. But, since starting here at Smokingpipes.com, beginning a pipe collection seems to strike the right balance between providing a satisfying sense of acquisition and maintaining restraint.

Pipe collecting is a perfect collecting hobby for me. I was never one of those "sealed in mint condition" collectors. I read my comics, posed the GI Joes in running battles along shelves and in various otherwise unused nooks and crannies and generally preferred collections that I could use in some, at least theoretical, purpose.

And while I know that there are pipe collectors out there that don't smoke all their pipes (as our estate selections often show), smoking a pipe from a collection isn't looked upon with horror like in some other collecting fields. Experimenting with the different pipes, tobaccos, blends and accessories is part of the allure. And here at Smokingpipes, we are all about helping you enjoy that allure, and expanding your collection.

Speaking of collecting, this update introduces something I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting: Peterson's 2013 St. Patrick's Day pipes. We loaded up a large variety of shapes, some rarely seen from Peterson. Also, we have some excellent pipes from Italian pipemaker Gabriele Dal Fiume, a selection of Dunhills, as well as plenty pipes from Savinelli, Tsuge, Chacom, Stanwell, Luciano, and Johs -- plus plenty of estate pipes too.

Christopher Huff: Copywriter

 Christopher Huff: Copywriter








Posted by christopher at 4:00 PM | Link | 1 comment


14 February 2013

Sleepless in Smokingpipes.com
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, February 14, 2013

       -Posted by brandon-

So, in honor of Valentine's Day, romantic saps, and pipe smokers everywhere, I give you my love letter to my once favorite pipe. Enjoy... And note that you may find much of it familiar, as it's primarily comprised of quotes from the hopeless romantic's ultimate drug: romantic comedies.

A better companion I've never had. Before you, I was a ship wandering aimlessly in this traitorous sea of life. I was searching for land and hopelessly wondering if it would ever be found. Our paths crossing seemed, so serendipitous. I remember studying the curves of your body, wanting to hold you tightly. Your cheeks were as close to perfect as... well, as possible. You were the picture of excellence. I was smitten. 'It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together...' 'You had me at hello.' 'Love is too weak a word for what I felt -- I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent, of course I do...' 'There you have it, folks. Young love. Full of promise, full of hope, ignorant of reality.' We've made so many memories together...Remember that time we were driving in the car, and you burned a hole in my pants. Life was good wasn't it?

Over the past several months, we've simply grown apart. Don't get me wrong. There's still fire between us. However, it just hasn't been the same. We're less like companions and more like office mates. I wish things could be different, but they can't. It is what it is. Don't say a word... There's no need. I know you better than you know yourself... 'You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There's a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You're a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones...' I know what you're thinking before you do. As you read this, I can see the wheels turning. You're thinking, 'You're breaking up with me because I'm too... blonde?' That's simply not true. 'Life is messy. Love is messier.' 'The heart wants what it wants.' And mine wants someone else. 'There's no logic to these things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that's that.' 'Better to have lost and loved than never to have loved at all.' Right? I see you wishing me ill. Your silence isn't fooling anyone. You're planning my demise... I know it. You're thinking, 'I'm very discreet but... I will haunt your dreams.' 'Our love fern! You let it die!' Well I'm sorry, but it's over. 'So, we're not getting married but I have to get rid of my pants?'

Whether your heart's been broken or you're pipe's still treating you well, we've got a plethora of fresh pipes to choose from. By the way, we're introducing a "new to us" set of carvers who happen to be quite appropriate to this particular day -- the Swedish pipemaking couple Love & Sara. So, check out Geiger pipes. Enjoy. I know I will.

Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager

 Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager








Posted by brandon at 3:56 PM | Link | 0 comments


12 February 2013

Snickers - My First Tobacco Blend

       -Posted by christopher-

When I started pipe smoking, there was a lot I wasn't familiar with. I was just learning about pipes, and was admiring my brand new Savinelli Qandale Churchwarden when I realized that I had no idea what to put in it. Yeah, tobacco, I knew that much, but I didn't realize how many different kinds of pipeweed are out there. For a new pipesmoker, it was quite daunting. Between different aromatics, strengths, flakes, blends, and the use of terms like Burly, Latakia and Virginia, tobacco was a new world to explore.

Fortunately, sitting in the offices at Smokingpipes.com surrounds one with plenty of experts and aficionados. Next to me, Adam suggested McClelland Walnut Liqueur. Since this sounded like a good starting point, I headed up the store to get some. While there, I also bought some McClelland Creme Caramel.

I tried the Walnut first, followed by the Caramel a day or so later (I am by no means a heavy smoker, enjoying my pipe only once or twice a week). Both of these made for a fine introduction to pipe tobacco. Over time, I was offered bowls of this or that, and I can't say that I found any that I didn't enjoy. However, the real surprise came with the suggestion that I get some Gawith Hoggarth & Co. Bob's Chocolate Flake.

What really got me about it was how the smoke coated your tongue with a silky layer of chocolate. It was as if you had popped a piece of Hersey's into your mouth and just let it melt on your tongue. That was great, but even more surprising was how it reduced the lingering tobacco aftertaste, which I found very pleasant. So, I started to experiment, mixing in a little Bob's with my next Caramel bowl. Just as they go in the food world, Chocolate and Caramel seem to be made to go together in the tobacco world as well.

It was then that I threw in some of the Walnut Liquor, and I really began to enjoy the blend of the three tobaccos. It is currently my go-to bag when I desire a smoke, and have begun to call it my "Snickers" blend. Of course, it was all made with a bit of this and some of that, so I can't give you a recipe, but it is more Walnut Liquor and only a bit of Chocolate with a helping of Caramel in the middle. Bob's is very light but goes a long way in reducing the aftertaste. Adam has also suggested McClelland Just Plain Nut for a more accurate "Snickers" blend, should anyone be interested in experimenting further.

Of course, after a month or so of this mixture, I am starting to look around for new tobaccos to blend. So, off I go to the tobacco jars; the adventure continues.

Christopher Huff: Copywriter

 Christopher Huff: Copywriter








Posted by christopher at 12:53 PM | Link | 0 comments


11 February 2013

It's Raining Cats and... No, Just Cats
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, February 11, 2013

       -Posted by eric-

To quote the fine people behind the 24 Hours of LeMons (a specialty racing series for vehicles-of-questionable-provenance-or-mechanical-integrity) on organizing last year's Southern Discomfort event: "Weather: Clear and mild, or muggy and miserable, or freezing rain alternating with shine...who the hell knows? It's the Carolinas in February." Well, for this Monday what we've been dealt is a break from clear-and-cold in the form of muggy-with-alternating-rain-and-sunshine. I won't complain though, as it's still providing a rather fine atmosphere for a good English blend.

The on-again, off-again downpour has, however, delayed today's scheduled commencement of our office's long-awaited "Big Barn Cat Project", a team-building exercise being spearheaded by one young go-getter known as Katie Ranalli. Over the past few years, you see, the stray cat population that inhabits the Smokingpipes "campus" has been building steadily in numbers, litter, upon litter, upon litter, and is now threatening to reach a critical mass wherein feline outnumbers human. Each night as we walk to our cars, there of late seems to be more and more fiercely-shining little eyes watching us from the shadows. It's probably also getting rather more expensive for those of us who insist on feeding the blasted blessed furry darlings. (John, Lisa, I'm looking at you.) The stated goal is to capture them one-by-one, and have them fixed.

I myself have been drafted into this humanitarian (felinitarian?) endeavor on the basis that I grew up with cats. The the only one that was considered to actually be "mine" (only technically speaking, of course; he had some very different opinions) was a big, ill-tempered, unusually tenacious mongrel of questionable origins who once nearly cost me an eye is unimportant. Then again, perhaps the roughly eighteen years of experience in handling a semi-feral, domesticated-in-name-only predator which that particular fur-ball granted me is indeed why Sykes chose me to volunteer as a part of this little adventure. Still, with the good, sturdy raccoon trap we've generously been provided with, I'm confident we'll carry it all off at least mostly unharmed. Besides, what are a few emergency rabies shots when it's all for a good cause, after all? I'd alternatively suggested either creating a number of cardboard boxes rigged with one-way-only, bamboo-spiked entrances (we all know how cats cannot resist a good cardboard box), or the procurement of several South American bolas, but alas those were all vetoed by the rest of the project's (predominately female) volunteer pool.

I bring this subject to attention, of course, to show that we here at Smokingpipes really do care -- not just about you, our customers, but even for society's lesser, more potentially dangerous and/or flea-ridden creatures as well.

And on that note, while our local feline population may now be able to look forward towards a less Malthusian future, you, of course, can look forward to more fresh pipes -- today, right now. With this Monday's update we're happy to present to you new artisanal pieces by none other than Michael Parks, joined by quality offerings from Luigi Radice and sons, plus Castello as well. Following those up we have great selections from the likes of Mogens "Johs" Johansen, France's own Sebastien Beo, and the popular marques Tsuge, Savinelli, Petersonn, Butz-Chouqin, and Vauen. You'll also find plenty of estate-pipe offerings, some new smoking accessories, and cigars by both Perdomo and Arturo Fuente.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 4:18 PM | Link | 0 comments


07 February 2013

Ode to My Lovely Lady in Red
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, February 7, 2013

       -Posted by sutherland-

We pipe smokers tend to be a sentimental bunch when it comes to our favorite fire-pot. And why shouldn't we be? As a breed, we love pipes, but there is always that one pipe, call it our one true love, that we gush and dote over, whether it's a simple sandblasted classic that spends much of its life in our jacket pocket, or a rarefied freehand that we've enthroned as the centerpiece of a collection. Maybe some of us even carry around photos in our mobile phones, posed sensually in the most alluring light, only to be revealed to similarly smitten souls with a wink and a nod.

Given that Valentine's Day is precisely a week away, we've decided it would only be appropriate to shower the one you adore, that bent Apple of your eye, with affectations and appreciations... in the form of a love letter. And so it is here that I ask you to join us this week in this (admittedly, deliberately silly) exercise of adulation, be it in the form of prose or poetry, by posting to our SmokingPipes.com Facebook page. I'll get us started:

"When first we met, you were a jilted and battered lover. Still, I could see past the scars of your last affair and know that you once were, and still are, beautiful. You've graced this spinning blue marble of a world the better part of two decades longer than I, yet your elegance and countenance seem unbound by time. And your smooth draw... well that's just a slice of heaven."

"Recently I've been spending time with another, as you may know. Like you, she is partial to rich red dress (you know this is my weakness). But do not despair my dear, for though she is younger, sleeker, and more curvaceous, she can't compare to the way you spark and smolder; the pleasure I find in her company is but merely platonic, and no more. With your classic beauty and sultry British accent I am compelled to always keep you faithfully by my side."

Ah, enough from me, for now. It's only making me crave my next bowl. If you be a soul as yet without a mate, however, we do just happen to be the internet's premiere pipe dating service. Featuring 2500+ briar, meerschaum, clay, and cob pipes to choose from in all shapes, sizes, and nationalities, you're sure to find something to love. Why just today, we've at the ready two hundred more new applicants, each with profiles featuring honest, and often quite revealing photographs [snicker], sure to set your heart a-flutter, from the likes of J&J, Ashton, L'Anatra, Nording, Savinelli, Peterson and Brigham. And if you don't mind someone with maybe a little baggage, maybe a little more mature and worldly, we've plenty estate pipes from all around the globe as well.

John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer

 John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer








Posted by sutherland at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


04 February 2013

Breaking-in: Pipes, Houses, Etc.
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, February 4, 2013

       -Posted by adam-

What do you do when you get a new pipe? For some, it's an obvious answer: fill 'er up and smoke it! Sometimes we search around looking for just that perfect pipe to add to our growing collection and, even in cases of ordering or commissioning a custom-made piece, it still feels like the virgin pipe belongs to someone else for a period of time. Many collectors eagerly await the time their new pipe will arrive, constantly tracking the shipment or simply counting the days on their fingers for when it will arrive. Will it be as nice as it looks in pictures? How will it feel in the hand? Will it be comfortable in the jaw, securely gripped or teetered just behind the canines? If all hopes are met, the only thing to do is to make it your own. A pipe is meant to be enjoyed through smoking, so as the breaking-in process sets in the pipe starts to build character personal to the smoker. Favorite blends, aromas, and flavors develop over time -- ones that reflect who the smoker is.

The only other times we tend to hear the phrase "breaking it in" seems to be regarding a new pair of jeans (through repeated wearing and washing) or with a baseball glove (through folding, rolling, beating, oiling, etc.). What about a home or office? A new space seems stale at first, even if it is beautiful and spacious, or humble and inviting. My wife and I moved into a home this past Saturday. With the arrival of movers at 8:15 a.m. we began taking my shop of six years apart and loading it into a truck. Exciting as it is to move to a larger place, I couldn't help but feel just a touch sad/guilty for dismantling my long-established man cave. It was a place of comfort and fond memories where friends, customers, and pipe makers shared laughs, joy, creativity, quite a few beers and countless bowls of tobacco. When I would raise the metal door to begin the day, there was a pleasant aroma of tobacco, briar dust, and the lingering scent of ebonite all around. I love this, but unfortunately couldn't put it in a box along with my tools and briar blocks.

The home we moved into is lovely, but it still felt like the previous renter was occupying the place. Scents are powerful, so my wife sent me off to the store to get some candles scented of lemon, peach, and mint chocolate for various rooms. In the span of only one day, this made it feel more like our place. All I had to tackle now was my new workshop. Boxes, benches, and bins are still scattered all over, so I sat out there with one of my pipes loaded with Full Virgina Flake (a blend of which I smoked many pounds of in my previous shop) and allowed the fragrant clouds of smoke to "break-in" my new work area. Walking out there last night to retrieve something from a box, I was pleased to find the faint scent lingering in the air. It'll take a little while, but just like breaking-in a new pipe, breaking-in my new workshop is going to take a little while. I think I'll have a few of the Smokingpipes.com crew come down soon with their own pipes to help me out.

Tonight we're happy to add a new pipe maker from Germany to our roster: Werner Mummert, a technically gifted artisan who offers a wide variety of shapely pieces. Other pipes that await a chance to become your own include wares from Dunhill, Tsuge, Luciano, Chacom, Johs, Stanwell, Savinelli, and Peterson. We've increased the quantity of estates this update to thirty-six, which might take less time to break-in overall, but a few bowls of tobacco will help them fit you like a favorite pair of jeans.

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector








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