J B.
About Me:
Flâneur and psychogeographer.

Stands & Pouches - Claudio Albieri Leather Cleaners Holder Olive
the perfect accessory you didn't think you needed
this is a really great little item... back side is thick fairly stiff leather, and the front is rather supple almost glove leather... nice stitching, does what it says on the tin... it holds pipe cleaners... you have your well chosen lighter and tamper as well as your beautiful pipe... why not have this leather instead of that plastic Ziploc baggie the pipe cleaners come in? and at 11 bucks it's a steal.

Stands & Pouches - Claudio Albieri Leather Cleaners Holder Olive
the perfect accessory you didn't think you needed
this is a really great little item... back side is thick fairly stiff leather, and the front is rather supple almost glove leather... nice stitching, does what it says on the tin... it holds pipe cleaners... you have your well chosen lighter and tamper as well as your beautiful pipe... why not have this leather instead of that plastic Ziploc baggie the pipe cleaners come in? and at 11 bucks it's a steal.

St. Bruno - Ready Rubbed 1.75oz
The UK version of a "codger blend"
Like a classic MG or Jaguar, this ready rubbed tobacco is an idiosyncratic combination of pleasure and frustration. The pouch note is barbecue sauce, or malt vinegar and campfire Latakia if you will... pretty sure there's no Latakia in it, but to the nose I would swear there is, always get a hint of campfire opening a pouch. Seems to benefit from a little drying time and a little further rubbing out before putting in the pipe. However, no matter how I pack it, the first quarter of the bowl is hot and bites a bit, no matter the cadence no matter the pipe...once it settles down it's a very pleasant smoke. After that first quarter of the bowl, St Bruno is very consistent to the end, It has a moderate clean soapy flavor, not so much a perfumed soap as just a good clean refreshing note. There's a moderate amount of nicotine as well. The analogy to the British cars above comes from the fact that it's kind of hard to start, LOL, can randomly get wet over the course of a smoke, like a leaky convertible top, and stalls frequently, i.e. requires a few relights. St Bruno is at least consistent from pouch to pouch with all of these seeming negatives, I find myself picking up a pouch a few times a year and rather enjoying it... once you get it started it's a consistently mild aromatic smoke, with a little more body and nicotine than a full black Cavendish aromatic, and in terms of aroma, I really can't describe it as anything much more than "clean soap", that bears basically no resemblance to the quirky ketchup and campfire pouch note. I don't recall ever smoking it when it was made by Ogden's of Liverpool, but it has stayed very consistent pouch to pouch over the past few years. I apologize if this is not exactly a ringing endorsement or particularly interesting review ; + )... it's a quirky and sometimes frustrating tobacco, but I pick up a few pouches every year. The bottom three quarters of the bowl is worth the initial harshness, relights, and seemingly random excess moisture! The tobacco doesn't leave wet dottle, but it's one of the few tobaccos I have to run a pipe cleaner through over the course of smoking. Since we can't get Condor over here, this is a way to experience a UK OTC. Plus the old '70s TV ads for St Bruno are pretty funny...

War Horse - Bar 1.75oz
New additiion to the rotation
The tin note is clove and a bit of vanilla, but I certainly would not classify this as an aromatic. Moderately strong in flavor, pleasing level of nicotine, and very consistent pipe to pipe and from top to bottom of bowl. This is not the most complex of smokes, but I am finding it's a good tobacco for when you want something deal more potent than a full Cavendish aromatic without having to go to a strong English or Semois or Five Brothers type of tobacco. I am a fan of Royal Yacht, but sometimes I feel Royal Yacht can wear out it's welcome over the course of a pipe. This War Horse red bar is very repeatable, and has now assumed a permanent place in the rotation. The bar is easy to prepare just by hand, packs well and smokes well without any particular issues, and needs at minimum number of relights, if at all. A moderate cadence prevents any bite or gurgle, and there is very little dottle and no moisture at the end of the smoke. I see it rated as a strong tobacco but I would say it's a little bit closer to a strong medium than a full out heavy smoke. The only thing that keeps it from being absolutely five stars it's not a particularly complex smoke. Not every pipe needs to be a complex smoke, however! I'm very happy that I've come across this because I have been having trouble finding something that fits this particular spot in the rotation. Despite the tin note, and while it does retain a pleasing sweetness throughout the smoke, the clove and the vanilla don't really come into play while smoking. The room note is not nearly as crowd-pleasing as say some of the Lane Limited aromatics, but it is certainly inoffensive, especially for a smoke that leans closer to the strong side of the spectrum. Did I mention I'm pretty pleased to add this to the rotation? I'm hoping it's popular enough to remain available in the long term.

Tabac De La Semois - La Volute 3.5oz
Complete the trifecta
I've gone through my first block of this tobacco. I was going to write another long and excessively detailed review, but I see a few already informative reviews here. One observation: I'm surprised what difference the cut of the same tobacco makes in terms of flavor. For sake of analogy, think of the fine-cut "Reserve du Patron" as being like an milder Islay malt like Bowmore or Call Ila, La Brumeuse being similar to Ardbeg or Lagavulin, and the new coarse cut here being the 10-year old Laphroaig of the line. Hard packed into my Semois dedicated Nording or my new Peterson spigot, this thick cut is mighty potent right down to the bottom of the bowl. Unlike the two lighter cuts, La Volute never trails off into a green vegetal finish, all three tobaccos smoke beautifully are perfect for breaking in or de ghosting a pipe and you can smoke them straight down to medium gray Ash right at the bottom of the bowl, no dottle. will not gurgle e or bite no matter how hard or fast your cadence. I wouldn't claim this would replace either of the two finer cuts in my rotation however if you like the other two you owe it to yourself to try this one. for the first time due to this heavier cut I've been actually thinking about using it in a blend of some kind, maybe with some well-aged ribbon cut St James Perique that's been sitting Jarred up in a purple glass wire bailed Atlas jar in the back of the cabinet for a little while now...

Rattray's - Marlin Flake 100g
Not getting much out of this
I realize all our tastes are subjective, but this tobacco is my first real disappointment. Have tried it cubed, rubbed out, folded and stuffed, right from the tin, dried for an hour, dried overnight...nothing... I get nothing from this. Tin note is sublime, its obviously a fine flake tobacco, and the reviews are stellar...but I find I get no flavor, and not much nicotine. I hesitate to give "bad" reviews unless the item in question is egregiously bad, but...after all the reviews...I still get NOTHING from this. Def a Perique freak here, too...but maybe English/Va Pers might not be my cup of meat. May try another tin down the road to see if this was a "one off" experience. I will try Black Mallory next....

Cornell & Diehl - Long Cut Perique
The real deal?
Back in the early 80s we had a family friend in the shipping industry, who used travel the Gulf Coast from Port Arthur to Tampa, and he would bring plug-like chunks of Saint James Perique (along with packs of Picayune cigarettes!) back from his travels. That tobacco used to come in a big, pressed cake-like brick, with stems included, and we would cut it using a kitchen knife on a cutting board. Smoked it straight, or mixed with Granger Burley blend. This C&D long cut is as close to that as I have found. Plenty moist, and has the fermented scent, which always makes me think of old wood pilings in salt water. This smokes a lot smoother than I remember the raw Perique did, and seems to have less of a nicotine kick...and you dont have to pick out the stems! Bought an oz to try, and will likely get a lb next order to cellar and smoke. Been smoking this straight in a new Meer, and am thinking of trying some blending. Short of going to the source, this is the best pure Perique option available right now. Also available in a granulated cut, which may be more suited for blending...might need to get a can of Granger too!

Stands & Pouches - Abe Herbaugh Aqua Magnetic Single Pipe Stand
Smaller than expected but works fine!
Great little stand, have a favorite Nording with a diamond-shaped shank, and the pipe sits at a nicely rakish angle. Will likely get another one in a different color for the mantlepiece in the living room. I dont know why, but I thought it was going to be larger than it was...but it does the job, with style.

Tampers & Tools - 8deco Club Tamper Vibrant Orange
Perfect tamper!
The small size, vented foot, and the look of these 8DECO tampers make the perfect accessory. Every time I make an order I have picked up one or two. I have one in the car, one in the desk, one by the couch, and one in the pipe bag! Over the years I have accumulated a number of tampers, from WW1 trench art up to newer, deluxe types, and these are now my go-to tamper, due to the size and vented, fluted foot. I will end up with one of each color I think.......

Lighters - IM Corona Old Boy Chrome Pinstripe
Excellent and elegant pipe lighter.
I happened to get one of these before I started shopping here on this site, but I wanted to chime in here as this is my go-to, indoor pipe lighter. My previous lighter was from another prominent Japanese manufacturer, and over the course of a years use, that lighter slowly worked itself apart: small screws became loose and would not return to tightness, the flame quality degraded,and eventually it began to leak butane...now having had this exact make and model for about the same amount of time, I have had NO issues with fit or finish or daily use. The price was about twice as much as the other brand, but in this case, you do seem to get what you pay for! Great looks, and quality build. Would love to add a sterling Sillems version down the road.

Tabac De La Semois - Reserve du Patron 3.5oz
Unique and essential smoke.
Back in the mid 1990's when I was working as a DJ here in the USA, a fellow DJ from Amsterdam sent me a block of Joseph Martin No 3 Coupe Moyenne as his family lived in the Ardennes, and that was a local favorite tobacco. I do not think this tobacco was ever imported to the US, but it was something I kept an eye for, as it was such a unique and potent smoke. Fast forward a few years, and while trying to find the Martin tobacco online, I cam across a few importers of this Manil semois, and I was thrilled to be able to get the La Brume-use and the Reserve du Patron here in America. My memory of the Martin semois was bit more rustic than the Manil: however, I now have access to Manil semois on a regular basis, and I keep a nice Nording spigot reserved for semois. There is literally no other tobacco I have come across (and I would LOVE to hear of anything comparable) to these semois tobaccos. Burns perfectly, cool, and even attempting to "freight train" it, cannot get it to bite. Starts out with a rich, complex cigar-like taste, and the last half of the bowl ends up sweet and vegetal, pipe after pipe. At this time, I think I prefer the finer cut of the Reserve du Patron, but La Brumeuse is an equally fine smoke. The Nording I use for semois retains wonderful, fresh walnut aroma between smokes. If I was condemned to one tobacco for the rest of my life, I would be satisfied with either of Manil semois cuts. PLEASE keep these available!

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