A Day in the Life of Smoking My Pipe

pipes and tobacco picThought I’d share what a day of pipe-smoking looks like for me, the kinds of blends and pipes I might partake of throughout an average 24 hours. Of course, no day is exactly the same, and what I describe is a kind of “perfect day” for me, but it gives a good idea of where I’m at in my own little pipe-tobacco-smoking world…

The Weekdays:

My day inevitably begins with a chai latte, either home made or of a store bought mix like  Oregon Chai or Teavana Masala Chai for my Verismo system. Admittedly, my morning seems to circle around my cup of chai, and what I’ve found goes great with it is a flake of Samuel Gawith Best Brown or Orlik Golden Sliced, or a pinch of something like Cornell & Diehl Bayou Morning, happily stuffed into a corn cob pipe. The light, sometimes sweet, sometimes savory flavors of both tea and tobacco  play upon my palate, each enhancing the other to bring about– yes, dare I say — a joyful greeting to a new morning. I like the carefree simplicity of a corn cob, which makes for a perfect match.

(If my smoking-day had to end right here at its beginning, I think I’d be quite content. But fortunately, it doesn’t…)

Late morning is when I prefer Dunhill Early Morning Pipe or Brigham Maritime Morning, or even something like McClelland Drama Reserve. It’s the time I usually have a hankering for a basic mixture with Oriental in it, with or without a little Latakia. Helps me keep a good mood. I’ll  have it in a medium to smallish tomato or pot style briar bowl.

Afternoon, I’ll go back to a Virgina. Something like Robert McConnell Scottish Cake (or Flake) or maybe Dunhill Flake. Again, I’ll choose a smallish bowl. I have a dublin and a meershaum lined billiard I like for this.

My after-work tobacco is McClelland Frog Morton Cellar. Just give me a bowl, any bowl, but the larger the better. A pipeful of this tells me day’s end is near so relax into it. This is also the time I’ll allot to trying a new-to-me tobacco.

The after-dinner/before-bed hours I like to spend with Dunhill Royal Yacht. Royal Yacht is one of my all-time favorite tobaccos. Though, I might try some more new-to-me tobacco, or spend some time with something like Peterson Old Dublin, Ashton Artisan’s Blend or Rattray’s Black Mallory. Pipe selection just depends entirely on my mood; however, these hours do provide the moments to appreciate the more expensive models.

The Weekend:

The weekend mornings are when I break out Sam Gawith’s Full Virgina Flake, again, to be savored through a corn cob, and yes, with my cup of chai. The rest of the day is open to absolutely anything… Squadron Leader, Erinmore, Glen Piper, Bob’s Chocolate Flake, Special Latakia Flake, 1792, something completely new…

You’ll notice I like quite a few aromatics, but not of the American-Danish type. I’m still looking for one that completely suits me, which I can call mine: they’ve been falling under the “something new” category.

So there’s an idea of what my tobacco rotation is like. The only thing that’s consistent is my habit of enjoying light to medium Virginias and VaPers at the start and stronger Virginias or Latakia forward blends later.

What’s your rotation like?

Have any particular pattern?

Please share it.

Till next time…

(I’ll leave some ‘baccy by the doorway for ya.)

SoCal Pipester’s 2014 Pipe Tobaccos to Start the Year

SoCal Pipester Tobacco Tins
A few tins lined up for 2014 smoking pleasure

SoCal Pipester’s 2014 Pipe Tobaccos to Start the Year…

If you’ve read what my favorite tobaccos of 2013 were, be assured I’ll continue to load up a bowl or two of those throughout 2014; however, this year I have a hankering to revisit some old favorites as well as sample some new, or new to me, blends – especially, some light aromatics.

Indeed, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, for a number of reasons I count myself among those who generally dislike aromatics. But because of extenuating circumstances, for 2014, I’ve set course for a new mission in pipe tobacco exploration: to find a couple of aromatic tobacco blends that meet my criteria for the spring and summer seasons, and then something for the fall.

Why the focus now on aromatics?

It’s political…

Firstly, although my wife grew up in a household where both parents were lifelong cigarette smokers, she cannot abide the smell of tobacco. And though I do my best to keep even the residual aroma of my piping pleasure at bay, you know how difficult that can be. So I’m thinking maybe I should re-double my efforts to find a smoke that might garner the response, “Hey, that’s almost like incense!” rather than, “At least that’s not as bad as the other stuff I’ve smelled,” which is about the best remark she’s given me regarding my pastime.

Secondly, the anti-anything-tobacco anywhere, anytime lobby is unrelenting in its campaign to eliminate it from our lives. The federal government has been considering classifying and regulating tobacco products in the same manner as they would a drug. The “Tobacco Free” movement in California doesn’t just want to help people to stop smoking but wants to criminalize those who do. In the Los Angeles suburb in which I live, one cannot walk the streets pipe alighted without running the risk of a hefty fine by happening to within 25 feet of a no-smoking zone – whether anybody else but the constable is around or not.

Now, I have always understood the need to be thoughtful about the exposure of others to my secondhand smoke. And I have always agreed with the notion that we should ban smoking from certain public and private spaces as long as exemptions were allowed for taverns and smoke shops and the like. Cigarette butts laying about?  Don’t get me started. But today’s anti-smoking propaganda is going beyond the pale.

So… in the event that I’m somewhere outside of a “safe-to-smoke zone” enjoying my latest pipe or tobacco acquisition, and the fragrance of my activity comes within olfactory range of another person, I’m hoping – as with my wife –  the reaction to an aromatic might be one of, “Wow, such a nice vanilla scent!” rather than, “Off with his head! Off with his head, now!!”

Among the criteria that this aromatic tobacco must meet is that it be of quality leaf, not overly cased or topped, taste pretty danged good, not cherry, be a complete joy for me to puff my way through an entire bowl, burn to a fine enough ash, leave little to no dottle, and present a great smelling smoke trail. Note that, of course, this is fairly subjective, as by nature the entire pipe smoking experience is.

To this end, in addition to settling back with a pipe of 1792, Special Latakia Flake, Brown Flake, Royal Yacht, Bob’s Chocolate Flake, and Drew Estate Meat Pie (oh, haven’t tried Gaslight, yet, guess I ought to pick up a tin of that, too). I’ve also already grabbed a couple of Drew Estate aromatics, Harvest on the Hudson and 7th Avenue Blonde. Additionally, I’ll be loading up bowls of Stanwell Melange and Vanilla, Brigham Ripely Avenue, Peterson Sunset Breeze and if I can still pickup a tin, maybe I should give their Summertime Blend 2013 a go, haven’t heard if they’ve got any 2014 summer blend coming out.

I’ve got a couple ounces of Comoy’s Cask No. 5 lined up, as well as Mac Baren’s version of Capstan Gold Flake.

So that’s what I’ll be up to this year, tobacco wise, so far as I can see for the moment. How about yourself?

If you’ve got an aromatic recommendation I should consider, let me know. In the meantime, I’ve certainly got some smoking to do.