Saturday, February 28, 2009

Squadron Leader

As I fill my Viking bulldog this Friday evening with a healthy bowl of Squadron Leader from Samuel Gawith I realize how much this blend has grown on me since the first bowl I smoked in late January. Over the past 2 months after picking pipe smoking back up, with few exceptions, the only blends I have smoked more frequently have been my mainstay of aromatics. In contrast, my non aromatics have been there, but nothing that I was craving to smoke regularly with the exception of a Luxury Twist Flake (that has a extremely light topping) and Frog Morton on the Bayou, of which I only smoked about an ounce of each. In half the time I have smoked the same amount of SL .
Upon the initial light a nice barnyard/hay flavor fills my mouth, and sings the notes of coca and mild pepper when expelled through my nose. I think of how this is better than any Cuban cigar I have ever had the pleasure of smoking.
As the bowl hits the halfway point the spice mellows out and develops a woody tone that carries till the end of the smoke. There is just enough of everything and not too much of anything.
The nicotine is there, but not so much it knocks me to the floor. It gives me a nice feeling of softness in this late hour as if a cloud that wants to float me off to sleep.
I realize how this tobacco is just one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever smoked, and how it is the perfect close to a long day and a longer week.

Happy Smoking

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Drugstore Challenge #1 – Dr. Garbow Vs. No Name Italian Briar

Just as a point of interest I thought I would match boutique pipes, those sold through tobacconists, and mass produced pipes head to head to see how they compare, and which would be the better smoker. In this initial “challenge,” a featherweight ranking if you will, between a no name Italian estate bulldog, most likely sold as a basket pipe before being acquired by myself through eBay, and a Dr. Garbow purchased new at a local Rite Aid.

In order to somewhat level the playing field a bit I have smoked the Garbow “challenger” regularly over the past couple weeks, building a slight cake on the bowl, always smoking a cherry blend, either Boswell’s Cherry Smash or their Pennsylvania Dutch Treat. The “defending” Italian Briar is also a pipe dedicated to cherry aromatics.

Each round represents the elapsing of 15 minutes for the Garbow, and about 20 for the Italian briar. The discrepancy is for the larger capacity of the defending pipe.

Round 1- Both pipes come out hot. The Garbow’s veneer seems to make it feel hotter, but his smoke stays cool, only displaying a slight bite. Meanwhile his larger opponent struggles to keep things dry. There is gurgling as a precursor to some tongue bite.

Round 2- After a hot finish both gladiators slow their pace and cooled off considerably, making each pipe easier to handle. The doctor though, is still clenched between the teeth, using his light weight to dodge and deflect handling, while Italian briar has to be pulled from clenching teeth that stress under his weight. Oh and what’s this!? The Defender has gone down and is need of a relight!

Round 3- This has been an upset not seen by this sportscaster ever before. Going into the match money was heavy on the defender. The perception on Garbow was marginal at best, but after three rounds of fisticuffs only one relight was needed to clean his chamber while remaining warm to the touch after a hot start! The defender, in contrast, struggled to keep lit in the closing round. He seemed bulky, heavy, and without the grace of his opponent.

In all seriousness I am really surprised that I preferred the Garbow in a head to head comparison. As I built cake on the Garbow it always felt really hot to touch, but I also generally smoked while driving, so I was likely smoking faster, and not realizing that I rarely had to pick up the pipe. In this match up the value is still in Garbow’s favor, being 10 dollars less than the average basket pipe if purchased new.

Going forward I will remove his veneer and refinish the pipe to see if that helps with the heat. Even if I kept the pipe as is, I am truly happy with the purchase.

Click here to see more pictures of the main event.

Happy smoking!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Boswell's Cherry Smash

Of the blend’s I picked up from Boswell pipes, this is perhaps my favorite, as evidence from the decimated remnants of the ounce of this tobacco that remains unsmoked after of only having for about two weeks.

The pouch note is that of maraschino cherries, and looks beautiful with blond reds contrasted with specks of black of ribbon tobacco. While the casing is obvious, it is only slightly sticky to the touch as the bowl is packed, as opposed to the goopiness of McClelland’s Take 6.

Upon lighting the fodder, it is very mild in flavor. Light whispers of hay and cherry can be tasted, the cherry being only slightly more predominant. At the mid-bowl a nice generic spice is tasted, and made more apparent when pulled through the nose. This profile stays consistent through the end of the bottom of the pipe.

On the nicotine front I would say it has a mild to medium content.

Overall it is a very nice cherry aromatic that is easy to smoke, even if it is for the most part lacking in dimension. A very good morning and social smoking experience.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day

Hello all,

Just got in from a long weekend in Savannah with a nice little surprise on my doorstep, a new pipe! Sitting back with a 1/3rd bowl of Luxury Twist Flake in a Boswell nosewarmer (the first pipe in the picture) as I write this.

The weekend also netted me a new basket pipe. I picked up the H.I.S. pipe (the second show in the picture) at a cruddy tourist cigar shop and some not so great bulk tobacco after leaving Decatur pipeless.

Just wanted to leave a quick post, more to come this week if I can find the time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another Reason....

why this person's music is also a background to my morning smoking enjoyment.....

I'm Smoking Boswell's Best this morning, very similar to 1-q by Lane.

Will be doing a review of Boswell's Cherry smash later this week

Happy Smoking

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Pipe, New Tobacco's.

My wife will probably kill me.
But, It was 30 bucks, and I love blonds.

Its from Brandt, a pipemaker I'm not familiar with, but it looks like it might smoke well, and it has some nice lines.

Maybe if i can snag a nice Boswell I'll be cured of my pipe desire for a while...

While I did not get a pipe I did call Boswell Pipes during my lunch and picked up a few tobaccos:

Christmas Cookie
Penn. Dutch Treat
Chocolate Cream
Cherry Smash
Boswell's Best
& Boswell's Premium Burley

Guess I'll have more fodder for Intoxico in the coming weeks.

Happy Smoking!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

McClelland Take 6

When I decided that I would reintroduce myself to pipe smoking I was interested in trying to find a cherry aromatic to add to the fray. After smoking about 4 or 5 bowls of Take 6 all I can say for this blend is that it smells nice to those in the room.

The tobacco is very sticky because of its casing, so much so that I often want to wash my hands after packing the bowl. Keeping this weed lit is also a chore. In the course of smoking my last bowl it took no less than six relights.

Finally, keeping this tobacco off of my “buy again” list is a lackluster flavor is what I imagine a bar of cherry soap would taste like, for it leaves a mild, waxy, fake cherry flavor in my mouth. The experience was somewhat like drinking lukewarm tap water when you want a glass of water; it wasn’t unpleasant, just not good.

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