Edisto Joins the Low Country Lineup

Edisto is a pure Red Virginia Flake, refined in nuance and flavor, now added to the exclusive blends of Low Country Pipe and Cigar, Smokingpipes' brick-and-mortar tobacconist in Little River, SC. It's a shop to experience when visiting the Myrtle Beach area. Spacious and comfortable, it's a relaxing environment for having a cigar or pipe while lounging on the extraordinarily comfortable leather furniture, or browsing the shop's unrivaled selection of smoking goods. While the South Carolina coast may have stunning beaches and waterways, Low Country Pipe and Cigar is a destination that surpasses nature for those who appreciate fine tobaccos.

The shop is named for the South Carolina Lowcountry, and its tinned-tobacco series is themed on the languorous waterways of the region. The Lowcountry is characterized by live oaks and Spanish moss, meandering blackwater rivers, palmetto trees, marshlands thick with cordgrass, and an atmosphere of history and timelessness. Canoeing in the Lowcountry is like venturing into the primordial past where the nine-foot head of a Kronosaurus might rise from the water to consider the paddler's level of deliciousness, but an occasional alligator lazily sunning on the bank is all that now remains of those reptilian forebears.

The Edisto River

Map of Edisto River

The Edisto River, at 250 miles, is among the longest blackwater rivers in North America and is entirely contained within the borders of South Carolina. Blackwater gets its name from its black tea-like color, attained from vegetation tannins that leach into the slow-moving current and easy, meandering waterflow. Europeans were introduced to the Edisto in 1718 when pirates anchored near Sullivan's Island were involved in capturing ships leaving Charleston, now the largest city in South Carolina. But things weren't as bustling in 1718 when pirate captains Charles Yeats and Charles Vane argued and fought until Yeats fled up the Edisto with Vane in pursuit. Vane stopped following after some time; Yeats was eventually pardoned for his piracy, and the Edisto became more frequently traveled but pirates were the first European explorers of the river. The Edisto Indians, members of the Cusabo family of tribes, already knew all about the river, of course.

In modern times, the mouth of the Edisto at Edisto Beach is famous for its stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean, its gorgeous sunsets, and abundant wildlife, all features that attract thousands of vacationers every year. Those features are reflected in the dazzling tin art for the tobacco, which evokes the calming character of nature at its most sublime.

... pirates were the first European explorers of the river

The waterways of South Carolina are a perfect theme for Low Country Pipe and Cigar's own series of tobacco blends, reflecting the natural attributes of South Carolina. It was in 2007 that Cornell & Diehl and Sykes Wilford made that happen, thanks to a close relationship, mutual affection, and similar understandings of the needs of pipe smokers.

History of Low Country Tobaccos

When Sykes was in the early stages of building Smokingpipes, long before Cornell & Diehl became part of Laudisi Enterprises, his relationship with the tobacco company was important on a personal basis. "In a lot of ways," says Sykes, "Craig and Patty were my closest friends in the pipe tobacco business early on. Their business was small when I started Smokingpipes. They were very supportive initially, and Craig and I talked frequently. I was also close to Greg Pease; C&D had started making the G. L. Pease brand in 1999, a collaboration between Greg and C&D that continues to this day. And, really, Craig and I just hit it off. Craig and Patty were like my beloved, slightly eccentric aunt and uncle."

Low Country Pipe & Cigar's Storefront

Sykes visited Morganton, North Carolina, the home of Cornell & Diehl at the time, for a few days in 2007. "Our express purpose," says Sykes, "was figuring out a little brand of pipe tobacco exclusively for Smokingpipes. The first three Low Country tobaccos — Waccamaw, Santee, and Cooper — resulted from that visit. The early years also saw a few very small-run Christmas releases in the line."

"Sykes and Craig and Patty Tarler obviously worked together a lot," says Jeremy Reeves, Head Blender at Cornell & Diehl." Sykes and they saw one another at the Chicago pipe show, and other shows, but they also just really quickly became friends. And being geographically close, they would visit South Carolina and Sykes would occasionally go up there and visit. When it came to the idea of Low Country Pipe and Cigar having their own house blends, Cornell & Diehl was an obvious choice to Sykes because it was a company that he really enjoyed, and people who he really enjoyed. He felt like there was a lot of shared ethos between the businesses, and they were close enough that it would be easy to collaborate, with relatively easy travel during the process of blend development."

Cornell & Diehl was an obvious choice

Sykes and co-founder of Smokingpipes Tony Santiague, who was Vice President for many of the early years, decided that a store named Low Country Pipe & Cigar should honor the Lowcountry region with its blends, both in name and in character. "I think the only one that really fulfilled that principle entirely," says Jeremy," is Black, which is named for the Black River. Natives used to call it the Wee Nee."

Many different native tribes used the Black River as a trade route, as well as for fishing and for transport. "It's a swampy river," says Jeremy, "with very dark, very brackish water, and lots of the smells of different kinds of animals and different kinds of fish and different kinds of plants and things that are either blooming or in some stage of degradation." Those natural scents combine for a unique experience, both evocative and enjoyable.

"It's a sweet and savory kind of aroma when you're traveling through those swamps. There are smells that are fantastic and smells that you may not be so sure are fantastic. But the way that it all comes together ultimately is beautiful. I think they wanted to capture some of that with an English blend that really focused on some of the toasted and roasted notes of stoved Virginias, and the kind of challenging aroma that Latakia can provide, just something that's a little more whoa, what's that, if you're not familiar with it, but then underlying it all is a touch of sweetness added through a little bit of Black Cavendish that sort of reminds you that yeah, it's all pleasant. It's all sweet, and there are some interesting and fun notes that come together.

Edisto

Jeremy developed two of the Low Country tobaccos: Edisto and Guendalose. "I definitely never tried to emulate a particular waterway's aroma or flavor in the development of those blends," he says. "Edisto is a straight Virginia blend. It is a pure Red Virginia flake. It has, I think, a classic Virginia flavor profile. And there are a lot of really great blends in the line, but somehow with Waccamaw, Cooper, Black, Guendalose, and Santee, the line was just missing a pure Virginia. Waccamaw was closest with Red and Bright Virginias, Oriental, and some Perique. And it's delightful. It's absolutely my favorite of the original blends, but I felt like a pure Virginia was needed — a pure Virginia that was unique, that had a bit of a smoky kind of nose to it, and something that would be savory and sweet. And so that's what Edisto is, a pure Red Virginia flake." The Virginias used in Edisto are from 2017, providing five years of age from its inception.

"I felt like a pure Virginia was needed — a pure Virginia that was unique"

"This Red Virginia is delicious enough to stand on its own. It has a very nice balance of roasty, slightly smoky tones to it, and a little bit of deep molasses kind of sweetness, with just a touch of tanginess, and kind of a brighter sort of sweetness. I think the tobacco is complex and has a lot to offer, especially with slow smoking."

When looking for a straight Virginia tobacco of exceptional quality, complexity, and straightforward Virginia flavor, be sure to check out Low Country Pipe and Cigar's Edisto — available only at Smokingpipes and Low Country Pipe & Cigar. It may fall under the radar of the majority of pipe smokers, but will undoubtedly become a favorite for those who discover its South Carolina character.

Comments

    • Fred Brown on January 23, 2022
    • Chuck:Wonderful history of Low Country Pipe and Cigar, one of my favorite places to visit when possible. Also, I knew and very much liked Craig and Patty Tarler. I visited their shop a couple of times in Morganton, N.C. I just put in a big order for Edisto, since I really do love the Low Country and the Myrtle Beach area. I never miss a chance to add to my Low Country tobacco blends. Thanks for another excellent read. Fred Brown

    • Zach Z on January 23, 2022
    • Really was surprised by this edisto release, didn't hear a peep, I got the email and signed in an hr later it was sold out?. Wanted to try this, hopefully there is more than a dozen tins to go around next time. Guendelos is a fav though.

    • Jim on January 23, 2022
    • Thought I'd gotten in on it early enough, too, but I was too late; it was already sold out.

    • Linwood Hines on January 23, 2022
    • I too was delighted to read the description - being predominately a Virginia flake fan, but was too late. Hopefully more soon!

    • Ted Swearingen on January 24, 2022
    • We kind of blew it, didn't we? Sorry about that everyone! We're pretty blown away with the level of interest Edisto generated—we didn't anticipate it at all—and we're working with Cornell & Diehl to figure out how quickly we can get this back in stock. Seriously, we thought we were kicking off with monthlong-inventory (or more). Won't make that mistake again!

    • Tim Papenbrock on January 24, 2022
    • Hey. who would have thought a Low Country blend would sell out so fast. Very cool of Ted to speak out and let us know they were surprised as well. This really is a testament to Jeremy Reeves. At this point he's knocked so many blends out of the park that the pipe smoking community has 100% faith in anything C&D is putting out. I, too, am a big fan of Guendalose, as well as Waccamaw, and Cooper, and when I get a hold of some of these tins, I'm fairly confident I will be saying the same for it. Thanks for keeping it fresh and exiting guys!!

    • SO on January 30, 2022
    • Thank you for your article. I enjoyed reading about the history and artistry that goes into making these wonderful pipe tobaccos.

    • Lloyd Seested on February 6, 2022
    • I don’t understand the conversations about it being sold out. It isn’t. I have ordered it twice. The first to try it and the second because it is so good. There is a 5 tin limit but it’s not sold out. At least as of today.👍👍👍👍

    • Tom Connelly on February 11, 2022
    • Selling something... It's a funny thing. You should have enough to somewhat satisfy your market or they become salty and look elsewhere from now on.

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