Today, as I was lighting my pipe, I experienced something that I haven’t for some time: A full and wonderful realization of all that pipe smoking can be. This may be a bit difficult to explain, but please allow me to try.
As I lit the pipe, hovering a match just over the surface of the tobacco, gently drawing in and moving the match back and forth, I marveled at the sight of those individual ribbons of tobacco twisting and turning as they caught, then slowly settling and beginning to glow a beautiful orange. As I tamped the surface oh-so-lightly, I was struck by the interesting thought that all of these individual ribbons were now transforming into something else, something new. That surface, a smoldering thin cake of tobacco which allowed me to savor the taste and aroma of a favorite tobacco, inexplicably drew my thoughts back to those times as a young boy when I would watch my great-grandfather puff at his pipe, seemingly without a care in the world. It seemed like a magic trick, the puffing and tamping, the creation of slowly swirling gossamer blue-gray smoke, the indescribably comforting aroma.
I realized as I slowly drew breath, watching the tobacco of my first light gently rise and fall in the intensity of its glow, that I was performing magic, all on my own. It was a transformative moment, a collision and temporary merging of the here and now with lucid and beloved memories of days gone by. In a way, it was as if I were somehow impossibly both sharing a smoke with my great-grandfather, as well as sharing a moment with that bright-eyed young boy that was me, who was so amazed by it all. Oh, the things I wish I could share with that old man, and with that young boy!
But just as quickly as it began, time snapped back into place like quicksilver, and I was left with my pipe and my thoughts of just how much I miss both of those people, and how dearly I love them. If not for that old man, I may not even be smoking this pipe now. And without this pipe, I may not find the time to remember that boy at all. And I’m so thankful for all three--the old man, that young boy, and the pipe that gifted me with such a cherished little glimpse back through the years…
Keep ‘em lit,
Like many of you, I've still been processing and coming to terms with the loss of our friend, John Harden, also known as Matches860 in the YouTube Pipe Community. Thinking about John got me to thinking about creating this list, for those who aren’t ready just yet to start freight-training Haunted Bookshop all day! These are good, lighter alternatives to what I think were John's “Big 3”: HB, OJK, & BNB.
My order of personal favorites of the Big 3:
I wouldn’t call any of these blends that I recommend here personal favorites, since my favorites tend to have a stand-out flavor or profile, such as Old Dark Fired or Chenet’s Cake. I just love blends that make more use of Dark Fired Kentucky and Perique. BUT, I keep circling back to these! They’re intriguing without trying to be rock stars.
To me, an “everyday blend” means a light to medium, typically burley-based blend. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s what most of the old codger blends are, so perhaps there's something to that. I can see how these blends might be considered nondescript at first glance, but can become old friends over time. They leave you curious…you might find yourself wanting to coax out their secrets!
First, let's cover some Honorable Mentions I wanted to include that are just a bit too “mentionable” - They stand out a bit too much for the main recommendations list for an all-day type blend, in my opinion.
So without further ado, here's my main list of no-nonsense, "true tobacco" tasting, lighter alternatives to Haunted Bookshop, Old Joe Krantz or Big ’N’ Burley.
Well, there you have it! I hope you'll find a new favorite in this list, or perhaps you'll find that you're ready to tackle one of the Big 3 after all. Either way, I had fun coming up with this list of All-Day tobacco blends!
Keep 'em lit,
As many of you know, we lost one of the pipe community's greatest members last week: John Harden, better known as Matches860 on YouTube and other social media, passed away unexpectedly. He was just 64.
John was a gentleman, an ambassador for pipe smoking, and my treasured friend. I'm so glad I had the chance to write back and forth with him over these past 5 years or so, as well as mutually record Video Responses for one another on our respective YouTube channels, and even share a couple of livestreams together. But such are the times we live in, that I'll always regret I was never able to meet my dear friend in person.
If you didn't know John, you're in for quite the initiation! Just click the picture below to peruse his YouTube channel, and enjoy. The community loved his Friday Night Livestreams these past couple of years, but his tobacco reviews and story videos are a treasure trove that thankfully, we'll have for the foreseeable future.
Rest in peace, John...there is no replacing you!
Just a quick announcement to let you know about an exciting new documentary that is available for purchase or rental that's all about pipes! "Father the Flame" is a film project I've heard about for a few years now that has finally come to fruition, and I'm thrilled to report that it's a beautiful documentary which takes great care to present a highly artistic, yet approachable and honest snapshot of many aspects of modern-day pipe smoking and pipe collecting!
Directed by Chad Terpstra, "Father the Flame" takes us on a journey of discovery about pipes, pipe smoking, and pipe making. The film covers much during its runtime of 79 minutes, including snapshots into the past of pipe smoking, American artisan pipe makers, the Danish masters, Mimmo and briar harvesting, the Chicago Pipe Show, Native Americans and pipe smoking, and so much more. "Father the Flame" is a fantastic accomplishment that's not to be missed!
"Father the Flame" can now be rented or purchased on Amazon Video, here.
In addition, a DVD will be released on June 18, 2019, which can be preordered here.
Don't miss this wonderful and insightful look into the art, passion, and tradition that is inherently bound to this hobby we all love!
Keep 'em Lit,
Greetings from The Pipe Nook! I hope you've had time recently to smoke your pipe, and to reflect on the many blessings in life. Recently, I've been compiling a list of some of my favorite quotations in regards to pipe smoking, which I thought would be fun to share with you. The first of these has even found its way onto the back of my business cards. So without further ado, here's the current list!
“The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected.”
-William Makepeace Thackeray, from “The Social Pipe”
“Nowhere in the world will such a brotherly feeling of confidence be experienced as amongst those who sit together smoking their pipes.”
- The Results and Merits of Tobacco, 1844, Doctor Barnstein
“A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.”
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
“I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs.”
-Albert Einstein, 1950
“The fact is, squire, the moment a man takes to a pipe, he becomes a philosopher. It’s the poor man’s friend; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes a man patient under difficulties. It has made more good men, good husbands, kind masters, indulgent fathers, than any other blessed thing on this universal earth.”
-Sam Slick, the clockmaker
"If you can't send money, send tobacco."
-George Washington to the Continental Congress, 1776
"I toiled after it, sir, as some men toil after virtue."
-Charles Lamb, when asked how he became such a prodigious pipe smoker
"As the priest is characterized by his cassock, so the smoker by his pipe. The way in which he holds it, raises it to his lips, and knocks out the ashes, reveals his personality, habits, passions, and even his thoughts."
-E. Th. A. Hoffmann
"...pipe smoking is properly an intellectual exercise."
-Christopher Morley, 1916
“There is no composing draught like the draught through the tube of a pipe.”
-Captain Frederick Marryatt
“A pipe is to the troubled soul what caresses of a mother are for her suffering child.”
“I hated tobacco. I could have almost lent my support to any institution that had for its object the putting of tobacco smokers to death…I now feel that smoking in moderation is a comfortable and laudable practice, and is productive of good. There is no more harm in a pipe than in a cup of tea. You may poison yourself by drinking too much green tea, and kill yourself by eating too many beefsteaks. For my part, I consider that tobacco, in moderation, is a sweetener and equalizer of the temper.”
-Thomas Henry Huxley
“There is nothing like being left alone . . . to walk peacefully with oneself in the woods. To boil one's coffee and fill one's pipe, and to think idly and slowly as one does it.”
"On land, on sea, at home, abroad,
I smoke my pipe and worship God."
-Johann Sebastian Bach
I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I enjoyed compiling it!
Keep 'em lit,
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