Life is full of them, they are around every corner and lurk behind every major event in life. We spend our lives making tough decisions, and either becoming better for them, or regretting them down the road. Chicago was my tough decision this year. In the pipe smoking community, the CPCC show is the event of the year, and although just as beneficial, all other shows pale in comparison. I have seen pictures and read articles touting the glorious treasure trove of pipes and tobacco that litter the floor at the show, not to mention the bartering and dealings that go on in the rooms pre-show. Oh, the excitement that these stories and pictures create, I get palpitations just thinking about it.
I am not speaking of the majority of the American population, or myself for that matter. Although, in retrospect, I could afford to deflate the spare tire a bit. I’m referring to pipe shapes in general. In my opinion, one of the most challenging parts of being new to carving is grasping the classic shapes. I think most anyone can take a block of briar, make an attempt at carving a pipe, and simply call it a freehand. Although they may often be more appropriately referred to as “mangled hands” freehand is the all encompassing definition for anything that is not inherently classic in shape and style. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with freehand shapes, and there are many amazing examples of them on the marketplace, for example the Atelier Rolando pictured above (Photo courtesy of “Briar Blues“) Although these shapes do not appeal to me personally, they are great examples of artistic originality. Continue reading
Do you remember being a kid and asking the famous “What’s for dinner question” and getting the dreaded “Leftovers” response. Well, you may still hear that now, far past your youth, the only difference is that it may not be quite as dreaded. Leftovers are not at all abnormal in the pipe smoking world either. Most smokers I know keep a jar close by into which they place their crumbs and various droppings from their tobacco supply. They are often the remnants of a tin, or maybe the remains of a sample that is just not quite enough to fill a bowl. So they get dumped in the jar and remain until the jar is full and its time to take a dip into the science project. Even blending houses have capitalized on the idea and sell their “floor sweepings” for a deep discount as a leftover blend.
I figured the title would be enough to grab everyones attention. No need to elaborate any more on the name that evokes so much heated debate among fellow pipe smokers. I will forgo any attempt to delve further into the Dunhill Tobacco Odyssey, as my good friends at Pipe Lore have already covered that. You can read more about that here: Dunhill Tobacco Odyssey.
No, I decided to go another direction, one that I’m sure will still spark a bit of debate and disagreement. I have had the good fortune of enjoying a couple Dunhill blends, among them Early Morning Pipe and My Mixture 965. I have enjoyed both thoroughly with no complaints, then again, I have never had the pre-Orlik production of these blends. Actually, maybe that makes me lucky, because I find nothing wrong with the current production at all and cannot compare it to any previous production, but I digress.