Cornell & Diehl - Christmas Blend 2013 'Won't Go Til We Get Some' 2oz
Done Run Over By The Christmas Train
Napoleon lost Waterloo, Custer lost his command, and the reason the American Indian called it a "peace pipe" was thanks to smoking the contents of Cornell & Diehl Christmas Blend 2013; nobody can fight anybody after one bowl. By the way, neither the artist nor the copy boy who wrote the tin blurb smoke a pipe, much less Cornell & Diehl Christmas Blend 2013. This is the kind of thing one smokes the last night on death row. Don't plan on driving, having coitus, thinking about coitus, getting out of the chair, whatever; you're going to be there for a while...in the chair...or on the floor. This is the Christmas Train done run over you. Virginia, Burley, Perique? Who the hell knows. Smoke this only in a very small bowl, sllllllllllooooooooooollllllllllyyyyyyyy! As soon as you feel at all woozy, quit, for god's sake...quit! Two big bowls and you're finished for two days wondering just what the hell hit you. This is serious stuff...tobacco...in the tin with some Amaretto kind of con that has no raison d'être as once the pack is lit it's all over and a burn right down to the bottom of the bowl leaving a silver-amber-ash, a slightly astringent palate, from billowing real, smooth tobacco smoke that seduces you and then...WHAMO, CHRISTMAS TRAIN DONE RUN OVER YOU TIME SUCKER! Consider yourself warned; Santa Anna didn't and for that we are thankful. Merry Christmas all you hard-cores.

Solani - X - Sweet Mystery 100g
A Siren Singing
Maple syrup, vanilla, fruit in the tin all flying on a blue haze. Solani’s “Sweet Mystery” plays spice and slightly bitter notes as counter-point to the warm, cake-likeness. The relight is a dry and slightly bitter Bordeaux transitioning again into the complex, compelling perfume. Sweet Mystery burns to a blue-grey-silver ash wafting hints of orange and cherry. This strong blend requires smoking slowly to avoid “bite”. The afterglow is sweet, salt, slightly bitter, woody-tobacco that is pleasant and most relaxing. Smoke gently in a large pipe, packing a single bowl for the sitting. An intoxicating bowl aroma following the final draw reminds of a singular experience, and the promise of another yet to come.

G. L. Pease - Meridian 2oz
When You Can't Find Dunhill Medium
Cyprus Latakia, Virginia, small leaf orientals-GLP Meridian is my stand-in for Dunhill Medium! The absolute best pipe ever: smooth, even burning, absolutely no harshness/bite! A complex mix of taste and olfactory sensations: salty sea breeze, some sweetness, woody and hickory smoky with the salty-dry star anise Latakia weaving in and out of the diminishing bowl. The tin is even superior to Dunhill Medium (which is one of my all-time favorites) exuding leather notes with a 10-year-old Talisker Scotch smokiness tinged with sweet flora that is absolutely perfect, quite stunning, particularly on a crisp, fall day. Where's a singular pipe? The search is over: GLP Meridian.

Germain - Royal Jersey: Perique Mixture 50g
Another Royal Moment
This tin of GRJ Perique Mixture has been savored slowly over a considerable amount of time, in short: it’s aged. One is greeted, upon opening for a “dialogue”, light fruit and florals wafting from the dominating woody Virginia. The draw is salt with only a hint of sweet, slightly astringent, with leather notes all of which points clearly to the really fine Virginia. The smoke is dry as a Sapphire martini with bitters and three olives on the rocks, smooth, only a hint of pepper early on that subsides, (thankfully as I loathe so-called spice in my pipe) quickly leaving a light and elusive product of the draw. GRJ Perique is a gentle, soft, but at the same time fulfilling, pipe that leaves the bowl sweet and pleasantly fragrant. If you love Virginia as Virginia full bodied, GRJ Perique Mixture should be in your collection.

Germain - Royal Jersey: Original Latakia Mixture 50g
A Mountain of Dung, Syria and Cyprus
By: Tusker In the 40's through the 50's, 28th and Main in Fort Worth, Texas was the off-loading point for a sea of cattle and sheep that swept through chutes going south to Swift & Armour. The net of the off-loading was a mountain of south end cattle and sheep product that combusted spontaneously. Driving through the smoke was a singular experience. Latakia, presumed to be produced in Cyprus and Syria (busily wiping themselves out currently both as a country and fiscally), has been tagged by wags as being smoked not with cattle and sheep southern product, but camel dung. Well, this has been relegated to myth, the truth being said tobacco smoke processing listed in learned quarters as: oak, pine and juniper. Right. Having said all this, Latakia is an infectious tobacco blending element, camel dung not withstanding, and Germain's Royal Jersey "Original Latakia Mixture" is the absolute best of the blends. The lingering taste is something of a dry Star Anise, Caradmon and Rosemary. It burns beautifully and should be smoked in a large bowl pipe, slowly, to enjoy the sweet/dry addictive aroma. Royal Jersey OLM is bolder, more assertive, than all other Latakia blends. Blue Mountain is marvelous, but slightly less intense but at the same time edgy and sweet, while all of the incredible G.L. Pease blends create more subtle smoking events. The Dunhill Standard Mixture, where I found Latakia originally sniffing an empty can at an estate sale where I bought a magnificent Ben Wade bent "free style", is a favorite for a smooth, lighter Latakia experience. The mark of a truly great tobacco is how it leaves the bowl. Royal Jersey OLM's perfume is sweet, delicate and mysterious. RJ OLM is the 20-year-old Talisker single malt scotch of Latakia tobacco blends; my absolute favorite, particularly on a Texas blue bird day with the temperature around 50, sitting in the garden's rocker considering who will take over production of Latakia if Syria and Cyprus drop off our civil/fiscal maps. I wonder how much it costs to import a camel or two to Virginia?

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