Fine Art, Cartooning, and Pipe Smoking: Jim Amash

Pipe enthusiasts who read reviews of tobaccos are likely to recognize the handle JimInks. In the nine years he's been actively reviewing, JimInks has reviewed more than 2700 tobaccos, and he not only writes reviews, but revises them if the blend itself is modified or he has new insights, sharing these reviews on multiple pipe forums and on

His real name is Jim Amash; he has a Master's degree in fine arts and has been an artist his whole life, and a pipe smoker for almost as long. His concentration was in fine art, and he specialized in landscapes. He's also a human being who needs to eat, and there weren't a lot of jobs available for his skill set, so he needed other employment while he worked toward building an art reputation. "It's tough to sell art to people," he says. "You have to have a patron. You have to really get into the system. Well, I wasn't able to do that." He'd managed a restaurant in Graham, N.C. during school from the time he was 19, and four years later, in 1983, he started managing a comic book store (Acme Comics) while still working toward his MFA at UNC-Greensboro.

A Love for Comics Grows

Wonder Woman commission, 1998. (Character ™ & © DC Comics; art © Jim Amash)

Jim had always been attracted to comic books. He was still concentrating on fine art, but he loved comics. He'd devoured them throughout his life and created his own comic art. Now he was putting on conventions for the store and meeting some of his comic book heroes — not the superheroes portrayed in the comics, but the people who made those superheroes. "I managed to get in a lot of the all-time great comic book people," says Jim. "Like my personal hero, Jack Kirby." Jack Kirby was foundational in the world of comics. Few of us have met our heroes; Jim experienced that, and it solidified his affinity for comic art.

At the same time, he needed to be practical. "Heidi and I got married in 1989 and I realized, since fine art was evidently not going to pay, as much as I loved it, as much as I was trained for it, I had to start thinking in monetary terms and I went back to my original love of comics. I was selling them anyway, running the comic book shop."

Breaking into the highly competitive comic book industry is difficult. Many try, few prevail, but it starts with persistence. "I started doing portfolios," says Jim. "I got rejected, and rejected, and then I got rejected some more. I just did not give up. When I sent out one portfolio, I immediately went to work on another one. So when I got rejected, I had another one to send right out."

Breaking into the highly competitive comic book industry is difficult

Marvel Comics gave Jim his start in 1992. "I did the finished artwork on an Iron Man story. The penciller penciled a little loosely and basically I would slick it up for publication, which is generally what an inker does anyway. But if you're the finisher, there is a distinction. A finisher actually ends up doing some of the drawing because the penciller might be doing rough pencils and therefore they're not finished. You have to finish them and ink them."

He spent several years with Marvel, where he worked on most of the publications' characters. By the time Marvel filed for bankruptcy in 1996, Jim was working for Warner Brothers. "I did Looney Tunes, I did Bugs Bunny and Daffy and all those characters. I did three years of the Animaniacs comic book. I did two years of Pinky and the Brain."

Multiple Publishers

Marvel didn't go out of business because of Jim, by the way; they did that independently. "It was bad management and that's a very sad and sorry story. So I moved over to Warner Brothers and Archie comics. I've been freelancing for Archie comics since 1996, and I freelanced for Warner Brothers for six years. I also started doing a little Marvel work back in the late 1990s," Marvel having reformed in 1997. Jim is one of the few people ever to work for Marvel, Archie Comic, and DC Comics simultaneously. "I can think of only one other to do that."

Jim is one of the few people ever to work for Marvel, Archie Comic, and DC Comics simultaneously

He worked for Disney as well, on movie adaptations like Hercules, Pirates of the Caribbean, 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story, and Toy Story 2. "I forget the others but there were a bunch." These were comic books adapted from the films, and they kept Jim busy. He was a freelancer, so his work was seen everywhere, with multiple publishers.

"I did two issues of the mini-series Star Wars: Enemy Of The Empire, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer for Dark Horse Comics. I did some work for Valiant. I worked for Techno Comics. I worked for everybody."

A Wide-Ranging Career

"Point of View." © Jim Amash, 2021

That's the life of a freelancer: you work for everyone and anyone willing to hire you. Steady paychecks aren't part of the deal and it's challenging to maintain a consistent workflow. "You can go for long periods of time without work. Sometimes it's like they give you a job and when it's done they say, 'Okay, now don't eat for six months until we need you again.' They don't actually say that but that's what it amounts to. You have to hustle and you have to believe in yourself. You learn not to take no for an answer and not to take no personally; it doesn't matter how good you are. Heck, if you think about it, even Humphrey Bogart got turned down for roles."

"Okay, now don't eat for six months until we need you again"

One of his longest-running assignments was for Sonic the Hedgehog, which he contributed to for 21 years, until a new publisher reallocated the assignment. "I was not happy about it," says Jim. "I loved those characters. That's the only time that happened to me, and I guess I'm lucky because it happens to people in the comic business a lot. It's a very common occurrence, honestly, but the fact is almost nobody stays on a feature for as long as I stayed on that one in modern times. Most comic artists have short careers: shorter than they want. I've managed to last 30 years."

Jim attributes that longevity to his adaptability. "I can do a variety of styles: humor, detailed illustration, regular superhero. More importantly, I deliver the best I can and provide professional work. I have never missed a deadline in 30 years. You get your first job on your availability and more often than not, the rest of your jobs are based on dependability, and getting along with people. I'm a clock watcher and I've never been late. I meet my obligations."

"I have never missed a deadline in 30 years"

Reviewing Tobaccos

Jim approaches his tobacco reviews with the same integrity as his professional life. He became a pipe smoker in July of 1974, and started smoking Dunhill tobaccos in 1981, having gravitated to bulk blends before that because of his financial situation. "I didn't really get into tins until the end of the 1980s once I didn't have any college debt and could indulge myself." He loved Three Nuns and Elizabethan Mixture. "In those days, Elizabethan was a very hearty, floral, spicy blend, much different from what it is today. And Balkan Sobranie Original Smoking Mixture, which was my favorite English until the current version appeared. Though I liked the 759, too, I preferred the Original because I liked the Yenidje." Jim retains to this day his appreciation for Orientals.

"When I first started smoking a pipe, I lived in a small town so there was no pipe shop, but there were grocery stores and there was Eckerd's Drug Store. I remember counting one time in the summer of 1974: they had 52 blends on a rack that you could decide from. That's a big number for a drug store."

He started writing reviews in the fall of 2012, on "I can't remember how I tumbled onto that site. I think when I started joining pipe forums I saw mentions of tobaccoreviews, and I started reading them. I felt some of those reviews were just too subjective. I didn't see how they could help anybody. Some would say, 'I hate this blend. It's terrible.' Or one of the worst types; 'Well, I like English blends and I hate Aromatics so I'm giving this one star.' How was that helpful to anybody?" He had published numerous historical interviews and articles in publications for the comics industry — publications like Alter Ego, for which he's been an associate editor since 2001 — and felt he could do well with writing reviews of tobaccos.

"I wanted to write tobacco reviews because pipe smoking is one of my biggest passions and I think pipe smokers are really good people. I think the most generous people I've ever known in my life as an aggregate group have been the people in these pipe smoker forums. No question about it."

However, he knew that the subjective aspect of reviews was a weakness and determined to be as objective as possible. "I don't think my opinion matters. I think the only thing that matters is my experience with the blend, and I try to be as objective as my body chemistry allows, because everybody tastes things differently. I've spent many thousands and thousands of hours writing reviews. It's my way of giving back to the community. That has always been very important to me."

"I don't think my opinion matters. I think the only thing that matters is my experience with the blend"

The process may be more involved than many realize. "Think of all the times I have to smoke a blend to figure out all the details. Then I write review notes. Then I write a draft. Then I edit it. And often I do a little more work before posting. Some blends you can nail in two or three bowls and some you have to smoke more than that, especially when you have a complicated blend like, let's say, First Amendment that Drucquer's recently released. There's a lot going on in there and I had to smoke it several times, and in several different bowls, trying to get a feel for its performance in different circumstances. With something complicated like that, I prefer a pipe that has a wide bowl with a wider burn surface. I stand the best chance of catching nuances and subtleties with a wide bowl, like a Pot. Let's say you're smoking something that's got five varietals; with a narrow chamber you're not going to get it all at one time and you're going to think it's an inconsistent blend. But if you have a wide bowl, you have a better chance of capturing what the blend is supposed to be."

Edward G. Robinson Averts Cancellation

Jim's avatar, used for his posts on various pipe forums, is an image of Edward G Robinson, his second-favorite actor after Humphrey Bogart. Bogart was already represented on the forums by other users, so he went with Robinson. There have been instances where he was mistaken for the real Edward G. Robinson, and received compliments on his films, but that's a rarity. His user handle, JimInks, refers to his profession as an artist.

And the blend Edward G. Robinson means a great deal to him as well. He didn't discover it until after he started using his avatar and decided to try it. It was available only in large tubs for close to $40, so Jim contacted the manufacturer, Sutliff. "Is there any way to get a sample of this blend? Because it's a lot of money to invest in something you don't know if you like." Three days later there was a sample waiting for him in the mail. It wasn't an ounce of tobacco in a baggie, it was a full tub with the note, "Enjoy."

"I fell in love with it." He called Sutliff to say thank you and was told, "Well, enjoy it, because we made the decision to discontinue it." Jim was distraught, having just discovered the blend, but because it wasn't selling well, it was going out of production. Jim said, "I'll tell you why it doesn't sell. It doesn't sell because you don't have it on your website. It doesn't sell because you don't have it in your catalog and you don't promote it. And it hurts sales to offer the tobacco only in a large, expensive tub."

Jim decided to do something to save this tobacco. "I started an internet campaign and I went to every forum in existence, 13 forums at the time. I discussed the blend and posted my review, and talked about why it was important to save this blend, and then a lot of people were saying the same thing." Jim recommended that people contact Sutliff and let them know they wanted to try Edward G. Robinson in a pouch or a tin. He contacted all of the major pipe tobacco retailers and got many of them interested in carrying it, and they contacted Sutliff. He worked at getting the word out, and on a Monday morning sent Sutliff links to all of the online discussions.

His phone rang a few hours later and he picked it up to hear not a hello, but the words, "We surrender."

"I started an internet campaign and I went to every forum in existence"

Sutliff asked Jim to make the announcement that Edward G. Robinson would have wider availability and agreed to send free pouches to those interested. "Sutliff generously gave away several thousand free pouches in that promotion. It isn't a nirvana smoke, but it has a nice, mild, comfortable, tasty flavor. I like the Burley in it. It's got one percent Latakia, which is just enough of a smoky accent to add a little dimension. And what I think is a red wine and plum-like kind of topping. I just like the taste of it. It's mild. I can smoke it all day and it's comfortable. So it's a blend that we still have available to us. And, by the way, Edward G. Robinson's granddaughter gets a percentage of the sales."

All of his skills came together to keep Edward G. Robinson available

Jim also recommended that Sutliff update the photo of Edward G. Robinson on the packaging to something more detailed than the half-tone depiction they'd been using. Sutliff asked Jim to help choose the new photo, and also asked him to rewrite the tin description. Jim additionally helped with the overall design of the new packaging, employing his artistic expertise. All of his skills came together to keep Edward G. Robinson available.

The Importance of Pipes

Jim enjoys filling his time with pipes, and currently has a collection of about 525. There are some favorites, mainly because of their sentimental value. Some are from close friends, some from friends who have passed, some with connections to people he respects. He still has a pipe belonging to his father, for example, which may not smoke the best, but it means worlds to him.

"One of my favorite actors is William Conrad," says Jim. "He played Cannon." Cannon is a television series from the early- to mid-1970s. "Conrad was the original Matt Dillon on the radio show Gunsmoke, and essentially one of the co-creators of Gunsmoke because he named some of the characters and contributed to development. He was a Charatan collector, and when I saw a photo of him in the 1980s with part of his Charatan collection, I knew I had to own a William Conrad Charatan. But I was never able to find one. When he died, I wondered what happened to his collection. My friend, Jesse Silver, who I became very close friends with, we're like brothers, he had two of them and he gave them to me because he wasn't smoking them. Jesse said, 'If you are that big a William Conrad fan, then you're the one who should own them.'

"It took me 35 years of dreaming about a William Conrad pipe, and now I own two, thanks to one of my best friends."

Also of particular meaning is a favorite Barling. "It's a pre-transition 249 Fossil military mount Billiard. There's a story that goes along with it that makes it very special because when my friend Donald bought it, I told him, 'This is the only pipe you've bought that I have a little envy for.' That brought a big smile to his face and Donald said, 'Well, if anything ever happens to me, this pipe will be yours.' A few years later, he died from pancreatic cancer and I ended up with the pipe. And every time I smoke that Barling, I remember Donald and that conversation."

For Jim Amash, pipe smoking represents friendships and contentment. "I smoke about 16 bowls a day. It's comforting. It's relaxing. I can't seem to read without a pipe. I can't seem to draw without a pipe. I can't seem to think without a pipe. It's as much part of my existence as breathing is. If you have a nice pipe and a nice tobacco, and you are content, there's a great joy in that. Whether you're doing something, or doing nothing, there's just nothing like sitting back with a pipe and relaxing with the smoke."


    • J. S. on July 9, 2021
    • Terrific portrait and very much deserved!

    • Jack Koonce on July 9, 2021
    • Great article!

    • Steve Rock on July 9, 2021
    • Great article and a great guy!

    • Michael Smith on July 10, 2021
    • In the presence of human greatness.

    • Stamper Tamper on July 10, 2021
    • Definitely one of the best tobacco critics out there. Anytime I want to research a tobacco JimInks and Pipe Stud are the top two reviewers I trust for an honest review. Never knew this about him, such a talented person. Thanks for all the help Jim

    • Alexander Miller on July 11, 2021
    • This is a nice article and I'm glad we finally get to meet(so to speak) the mystery man. He sounds like a wonderful person.

    • Tony s on July 11, 2021
    • Interesting, but JimInks reviews are ALWAYS ones I scroll past. They are not helpful at all and do a disservice to new pipe smokers.

    • MarkinAZ on July 11, 2021
    • I've had the honor and pleasure of knowing JimInks on a couple of forum boards. Always friendly, can verbally bust your chops, is knowledgeable, and still owes me a sawbuck ;) I finally had the opportunity to briefly meet Jim at the 2019 West Coast Pipe Show (WCPS) in Las Vegas. More or less, the conversation between us was in progress as I was trailing behind Jim, who was in search for some Peterson prehistoric or pre-prohibition briar. Hope you found that pipe brother. Apparently, this will be our second time since 2019 without a WCPS. Fingers crossed for 2022. Great article about one hell of a piper and one of hell of a wonderful human being. Thanks for all that you do here Jim...

    • Mike Davis on July 11, 2021
    • Excellent piece about an exceptionally interesting man. Nice work. Thank you!

    • Merton on July 11, 2021
    • Jim is an interesting guy who has actually made a great contribution to pipe smokers both through his reviews and his encouraging advice on forums. This was a good read and well done. He really does seem like a good guy and i enjoyed the Edward G. Robinson story. Waiting, by the way, for his Sutliff Barrel aged no. 2 review!

    • BROBS on July 11, 2021
    • This guy is on one of the Pipe forums I belong to, he’s really full of himself.

    • Rick Newcombe on July 11, 2021
    • Jim Amash is a brilliant artist, and he is a master at reviewing pipe tobaccos. I love his passion for pipes. Great profile.

    • Anthony G. Gallegos on July 11, 2021
    • I hope to personally thank him some day; for the tobacco smoking guidance.

    • Pat McDermott on July 11, 2021
    • I have followed Jiminks reviews for several years, and always look for his thoughts before any others. Great to finally "meet" him, but I'll still always think of him looking like his avatar. Thanks for a fascinating interview with a great smoker!

    • Dan on July 11, 2021
    • Great article, I've been anticipating this one. I enjoy Jim's tobacco reviews, art, and he's only got me by 400 pipes or so. A comic artist that I really liked in highschool and tried to emulate his style was Arthur Adams, he did the best Wolverine cover art in my opinion. It sucks that such people with great talent had to struggle in the industry.

    • Marty Holder on July 11, 2021
    • I would love to meet Jim , I believe I live in the same state not that far away. I read his tobacco reviews before trying out new pipe tobaccos. I think my taste is similar to his. I grew up collecting comics and probably looked at his work. A kind and generous man to the art, comic and pipe tobacco worlds. Thank you very much Mr. Amash

    • David Zembo on July 11, 2021
    • What a great read! Thanks, Chuck.

    • Thomas on July 11, 2021
    • Great article! Glad he saved Edward G Robinson blend, it’s one I enjoy too.

    • Gerry P. on July 11, 2021
    • Great piece about an interesting guy. I always look for his review before I buy a new blend. The highly detailed flavor descriptions give me an idea of what to look for, even if I can't find them all. (I've been smoking Lakelands for a few years, and I still can't figure out what tonquin tastes like.) I'd love to hear some of his stories about the comics biz. I was really into comics as a kid, and still have my collection of about a thousand mostly Marvel comics ranging from the mid 60s to the early 80s. Lots of fond memories of my dad and grandfather taking me to the comics shop and conventions, which back then were held in places like the conference room at Howard Johnson's. I love Kirby's stuff too, but I think Steve Ditko's Dr. Strange is my favorite. Then there's Byrne's X-Men, Miller's Daredevil, John Buscema....a few of the talented and memorable artists that I remember. I'm ok with being labeled a nerd, btw.

    • Tad on July 11, 2021
    • Great article of a man who worked very hard at trying to not having to work for a living.

    • Bill Dziepak on July 11, 2021
    • Very well written article about such an interesting man with perserverance and adaptability. Didn't like EGR tobacco at first but his review made me try it again. I tried it with the breathe method as I do with all tobaccos now and enjoyed it. Thanks Jim

    • Gary Johansson on July 11, 2021
    • A wonderful article. I ALWAYS consult jiminks prior to purchasing a new blend. His reviews are the gold standard for me. I may not always agree with him but I respect his opinion. A real pleasure to learn that he is very interesting and talented Piper.

    • Artur Lopes on July 11, 2021
    • Well, well.., at last!! It is pretty much impossible to not stumble upon one of the incredibly detailed and precise pipe tobacco reviews penned by JimInks. They are more than just an opinion.., they strive to convey sensations and flavors. They are real master classes in tasting. I say that many a tobacco I came to love derived from reading his reviews and I'm mightly grateful to him. As a draftsman myself I found in him a kindred soul. Cheers!

    • G Menillo on July 11, 2021
    • Jim’s reviews are always ones I scroll right past. There’s no real insight; just a bunch of descriptors. Pipestud, Stevie B, and Gentleman Zombie give the best reviews by far. I met Jim once at the Chicago pipe show. Really eccentric fellow. Interesting article though

    • Bob Gallo on July 11, 2021
    • My favorite article by my favorite SmokingPipes writer. He brings Jim Amash to life on these pages, and what a variably interesting life he has had! I never pass his entry on Tobacco Reviews without a thought and a .what-if'. To tell the truth, with all those careful reviews I had the idea JimInks was a consortium of reviewers. Thanks Jim, for all your helpful reviewing.

    • Xavier Torricelli on July 11, 2021
    • Ah yes, JimInks, the man who makes tobaccoreviews unusable with his postmodernist word salad. I imagine he would find the air in LA “floral” or “earthy”.

    • Scott McCrate on July 11, 2021
    • Great article! Not only are Jim and I art school guys--I didn't stick out the rejection as well as he did; I'm in IT now (sigh)--but we are the same age and had the good sense to marry a Heidi! I landed mine in '86, but it's always good to meet another member of the Fraternal Order of Heidi Men!

    • Timothy G Lomprey on July 11, 2021
    • Two people have helped me more than anyone on my pipe smoking journey. Jim Amash and Jason Dagner. Jason’s videos helped me learn how to smoke a pipe. Jim’s reviews kept me chasing tobacco and greatly assisted in what to stack my cellar with. I’m also grateful for Jim’s dedication to getting a blend sampled and updated when necessary. I see comments about skipping reviews. I skip all reviews on TR except Jiminks and Pipestud. Keep up the great work and I really enjoyed the article.

    • REAL BROBS on July 11, 2021
    • People leaving fake BROBS comments. This is the real BROBS and Jim is a great dude and a good friend. Smd fakes!!!!!

    • DK Acolyte on July 11, 2021
    • This article was a nice surprise! I've literally studied so many of the JimInks reviews. To say his work plays heavy in my blend research is putting it lightly. Literally, i have several Excel files, exports from, sorted for his two-cents. His work led me to Orientals, now my favorite leaf. Respectfully Sir. I tip my hat to you. Nice to put a face to JimInks. Thank you so much for each and every review and all your time! It's exstreemly appreciated and a tremendous value to the community. Five stars for you!

    • J Johnston on July 11, 2021
    • I had no idea JimInks was a “person” so to speak, thought he was just a random reviewer with lots of time on his hands. I dont care for his reviews Myself as they are so similar to each other. You could read 5 different reviews and think they are all from same blend. Great what he helped do for EG Robinson blend though.

    • Tim Frey on July 11, 2021
    • No more searching the internet for info on the great JimInks. Now I know! Thanks for a great article and thank you Jim!

    • ravkesef on July 11, 2021
    • I have known Jim for nearly a decade, and over time he has become one of my closest friends. It started through the simple medium of reading his reviews, when I discovered that he described the tobaccos I was familiar with with skill and precision. This led to my examining other tobaccos that he was reviewing with a view toward sampling them. In each case, I found that his reviews were spot on, and I learned to trust his reviews implicitly. One thing led to another, and eventually our relationship graduated to the telephone, where we developed a close friendship. I have learned to regard him as a man of the highest sense of integrity. His skill with the English language is exemplary, one that he employs in writing his reviews, reviews which are based on a truly sensitive and refined palate. He never allows his personal feelings about a tobacco to interfere with his reviews; they are objective, well written, and reflect all the skills that his years as a pipe smoker have brought to the fore.On the personal side, I know him to be a man of consummate integrity, honest to the core.

    • Will T on July 12, 2021
    • “The Virginias were nutty, earthy, plummy, creamy, sweet, sour, velvety, grumpy, sleepy, bashful, sneezy, happy, dopey, tart, warm, bitter , cold, fermented ripe, sugary dark fruit and tart and tangy citrus, earth, wood, some bread, tart lemon, and grass/hay, and light floral, vegetation, herbal, sugary stewed fruit, spice, and vinegary. Average number of relights ... “

    • Onur Pelister on July 12, 2021
    • Very extensive article about JimInks which consists mainly pipesmoker personality and his personal and professional aspects as supporting player.It's great to learn about this prolific, distinctive, meticulous, insightful reviewer of tobacco universe. It's informative as enjoyable. Has no dull sections. And it certainly rereadable.PS. I can not stop thinking how J.Amash would be a fantastic guest for The Mystery Review Show. Not only for Inquisitor but also for special guest for reviewers.

    • Phil Wiggins on July 12, 2021
    • Beautiful Pipes Awesome A!!!

    • Geoff on July 12, 2021
    • Jim is one of the kindest and knowledgeable folks in the pipe forums. He has answered some of the most arcane questions about a history of blend I have asked. A true internet treasure for the pipe community!

    • Cadfael on July 12, 2021
    • Thanks for the article!

    • John Steppling on July 12, 2021
    • Terrific to learn who jimInks really is. And a great profile to go with it.

    • Scott Bower on July 12, 2021
    • JimInks is a trusted reviewer in my eyes. Never new much about him until now. Great article. Thanks

    • Peteguy on July 12, 2021
    • One of many "good people" in the hobby. It would be nice to see more of these types of articles.

    • Wolfgang Fischer on July 12, 2021
    • JimInks is a real person? I thought an AI or bot wrote those reviews.

    • Ron Ambrosino on July 13, 2021
    • Always a pleasure to read Jim's reviews or comments, he's very dedicated, and I'm sure it's all just natural to him. So many times that I've searched a tobacco that I was interested in that Jim reviewed smknron

    • Byron Smith on July 13, 2021
    • Great article on the guy who takes the guesswork out of all blends he has reviewed including his vast knowledge on vintage and discontinued blends.

    • Todd L. Platek on July 13, 2021
    • Wonderful article about a very talented man who has given much to our hobby. Although I don't always agree with his findings, he certainly has a more sensitive 'palette' (both flavor and painting) than I. Thanks, Jim.

    • Al Jones on July 13, 2021
    • Great article and person.I had the pleasure of meeting Jim at one of the last big Richmond VA shows, he was helping at the Sutliff table. A real gentleman, who represents pipe smokers quite well, thanks Jim!

    • White Spot on July 13, 2021
    • Jim’s reviews are always the very first one I look for when investigating a blend. I would love to see a book written with all of his reviews. I could spend hours reading through it! We are truly blessed to have this man in our hobby!

    • Martin k on July 13, 2021
    • Interesting comments here. I for one don’t find Jims reviews very helpful. A lot of new guys gravitate to them because they get pushed to the top more often. But once you really read a lot them, they all start to sound the same. You can read 5 different reviews that all have very similar descriptions, it just leaves you scratching your head. I think that’s why a lot of guys look beyond them to Pipestud or others. But to each his own. He’s a nice guy and has been in our great hobby for a long time.

    • DK Acolyte on July 13, 2021
    • @Martin K I was literally just thinking the exact opposite. It's all of the older guys, who've smoked a lot of varietals and blends from the various genres who recognize the genius of his 2000 reviews. Let's be real, there's a huge variety of blends but most are built to cater to the masses from the same varietals. Watch the mystery tobacco reviews. Those professionals have a hard time identifying their favorite blends. Is it his reviews or the blends that are so similar? That and all the smoking doesn't do the old tastebuds any favors.

    • Jim on July 13, 2021
    • One of your best articles yet, Chuck! Thanks so much!

    • Scott F on July 13, 2021
    • @Martin K - because you don't find them helpful, and consider yourself an 'old guy', you assume it's the 'new guys' who gravitate toward them. His reviews leave YOU 'scratching your head' but there are plenty of more advanced smokers who, as the the comments here indicate, find them very useful. Perhaps if you spend more time trying to understand what you're smoking, as opposed to just stuffing whatever in your bowl, you'll graduate to a point where you too can take advantage of reviews from more advanced smokers such as Jim.In any event, this was a well-written article about a highly-respected contributor to pipe-smoking, and it's a shame that the comments have devolved to people taking shots at Jim because they don't have the pipe-smoking intellect to understand his reviews.

    • Ramblin R on July 15, 2021
    • Jim, thanks for all of your time devoted to this centuries old ritual. All the work you did on the Match series was soo impressive. Matching new match to old cellar stock. You took into consideration the aging. Lots of work and lots of time. You have never guided me wrong. Granted everyone's taste buds are different and the pipes make a big difference in each experience. I have always trusted your reviews and a very few other old boys. It is cool to find out about someone you have trusted and knew nothing about the person. Awsome Dude, awsome article! Keep on keepin' on MR.INKS!

    • Jack+ on July 17, 2021
    • Thank you for another excellent article, Chuck. When I'm looking at trying a new blend (which isn't all that often), I *always* turn to Jim's reviews at If he doesn't have a review (yet), then I pass on the blend. I've found our tastes are very similar and his descriptions are spot on and extremely helpful. It's because of Jim's review of EGR that I purchased some and now keep a tin in my rotation. It was just what I was looking for and Jim helped with that so I'm always grateful for his time and input.

    • Walkman on July 17, 2021
    • Great article about a great guy.

    • D. on July 22, 2021
    • Just finished listening to the 2 part interview with Jim Amash on the Pipes Magazine Radio Show(#93 & #95). To hear him talk; what a humble, talented, intelligent, and selfless man. A real renaissance man. He touched on a very important fact about tobacco reviews, that taste is subjective. He doesn't hold his opinion to be the final say so, and is prepared to experience other peoples disagreement and to be understanding and accepting of it (very humble). How can anybody have something negative to say about him? Thank you, Chuck and Brian for shedding light on such a talent.

    • David M on July 25, 2021
    • Great guy but I can’t stand his reviews! Way too long. Just get to know the point. Should not take more than three sentences. Sir, you’ve not writing a novel! I would like to express my gratitude for saving Edward G. Robinson blend. Thank you Mr. Anash

    • Jack Torrance on July 26, 2021
    • Well, when I write my tobacco review of Sun Bear: Black Locust it will be my magnum opus (447 pages). I'll follow the basic outline of writing my review. It will include the exposition, rising action, the epic climax, falling action, and the final resolution (spoiler alert: 5 stars). If you don't want to read my novella, then just don't, nobody is twisting your arm. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

    • White Spot on July 27, 2021
    • Jim, please don’t ever stop writing your reviews. They are a tremendous help to me and many others. People that complain about tobacco reviews are like that guy at the party that complains about the brand of the free beer he’s drinking.

    • Jack Torrance on July 27, 2021
    • Spot on, White Spot. I couldn't have put it better.

    • ROB R. on July 29, 2021
    • Jim, Thanks for all of the great reviews. You've helped me with choosing countless blends. The vast majority, I have enjoyed quite a bit. Please keep the reviews coming! Best to you!

    • Tom OBrien on August 8, 2021
    • Reading the article about Jim and his fondness for his choice of pot-shaped pipes to critique new tobacco blends has gotten me off the sidelines, along with starting my own collection of pot shapes, and back into the hobby after decades of layoff...thanks, Jim!

    • JAMES on August 15, 2021
    • White Spot, I couldn't agree more. Situations like this is what the scroll wheel is for. Personally, my thinking isJim...keep it up buddy!

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