Tuesday, 31 May 2011

May meeting (2).

Apologies received from Iain. John could only manage a short stay (escaping whilst his wife was shopping at Fort Kinnaird), Colin and myself lasted a bit longer and enjoyed some very pleasant afternoon sunshine. Fortunately, the wind (and occasional heavy showers) were coming from the West so we were sheltered by the building...although we both took the precaution of fitting a wind cap!

I had a bowl of MacBaren's Navy Flake in my newest pipe, a red Peterson 303 Standard System...thanks to my wife for my birthday present. Followed by some Best Brown #2 in a Pete 302 Standard.
Colin had a couple of bowls of Samuel Gawith's Commonwealth Mixture in a bent Falcon.
John stuck to his favourite blend, St Bruno Ready Rubbed, in a Butz Choquin Mirage.

On a side note. My wife and I had Sunday lunch at The Cuddie Brae before the meeting, the rump steak was one of the nicest I'd ever had...perfectly cooked and very tender!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Elizabeth Myerthall, RIP.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer the club's condolences to Alan at The Pipe Shop, following the recent loss of his wife Liz (who was co-owner and manager of the shop).

Our thoughts are with Alan, James and the rest of the family and to the staff at the shop.

The original obituary from the Edinburgh Evening News can be found here.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

May meeting (1).

Three of us managed to dodge the heavy showers (don't you just love the Scottish weather?) John, Colin and myself. We even had some pleasant, late evening sunshine.

Smoking in daylight is definitely an improvement on when we met during the dark winter months.

The raffle will be carried over to the next meeting (Sunday 29th May)...Colin isn't a fan of Aromatics and John pointed out that selling (at least) 5 tickets would be more sensible as it will cover the price of the next tin(s).

John was enjoying a 50/50 mix of Condor and St Bruno, in a very handsome, large rusticated pipe from Northern Briars. Colin had a couple of bowls of Dunhill's My Mixture 965, in a rusticated Parker billiard. I started with Peterson's University Flake in a 303 Standard System Pete before moving on to Gawith, Hoggarth & Co's. Best Brown #2 in a 302 Standard System.

The side door of The Cuddie Brae is back in action, so we had a few curious cigarette smokers coming over to chat with us...the universal sentiment was "oh, you don't see many pipe smokers around nowadays", closely followed by "mmm that smells nice (or familiar)".

The next meting will be another afternoon one; Sunday 29th May from 2.30pm. As ever, all pipe smokers (or even just the curious) are welcome to come and join us.

Monday, 9 May 2011

May's Raffle Prize

Further to my recent post @ Edinburgh Pipe Club: There's going to be a raffle!, I can now announce the prize!

Thanks to Alan at The Pipe Shop (and his suppliers), the prize for this Thursday's meeting will be a 100g tin of Peterson's Limited Edition, Special Reserve 2009 (RRP £21).
I've smoked quite a bit of this blend (my wife really likes the room note, she says it "smells like chocolate") and can confirm you'll be getting a very nice smoke if you win! It's an aromatic...like the majority of Peterson's blends...but it's certainly not a sickly sweet, gloopy blend. However, it WILL ghost any pipe you smoke it in (a good excuse to buy another pipe) but not unpleasantly. It's a mild blend so if you regularly smoke something like Condor, you might find it a bit bland. I've found that my tin was relatively dry so the baccy lit easily and burnt well. It's worth transferring the contents to a mason jar or tin once you've opened it, as the tobacco comes in a cellophane bag inside a tin that is far from air-tight.

Tickets will be £2 each, with all funds going in to a kitty to buy more tobacco for next month's meeting: either a single tin to be raffled again, or a selection of 25g pouches to be available to member's as a "tobacco bar" to sample from at meetings.

Please note: The pipe in the photo is not included in the prize...it's there to give an idea of the tin's size.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Farewell to finely cut blends?

During my recent camping holiday near Inverness (hard to beat the pleasure of sitting in the sun, enjoying several leisurely bowls with no distractions), I had to buy an extra pouch of St Bruno Ready Rubbed...never a hardship as St Bruno (Flake and RR) is a fixture in my "Top 5" list.

On opening the 50g packet, I found a very prominent notice stating: "From 1st January 2011, the cut width of pipe tobaccos will increase to a minimum of 1.5mm under EU legislation. The exceptional quality and taste of St Bruno remains uncompromised".

I'd agree that the taste remains the same...medium strength with that immediately recognisable "Lakeland" floral undertone...however, for me, the nature of the tobacco has changed. The RR now just looks like someone's taken some Flakes and roughly crumbled them. "What's the problem?" you might ask. The change makes the Ready Rubbed much more similar to the Flake, which (I find) gives me a blend that burns less easily...fine for an evening bowl that I can take my time over, less suitable for a quick smoke during a working day.

This is the first time I've come across the new packaging on St Bruno (probably a sad by-product of how little pipe tobacco gets sold, even by a major supermarket like Tesco), so I did some research and found out that the legislation was introduced to help clarify the distinction between pipe and rolling tobaccos (with pipe smokers benefiting from lower duty). There's more information on the "Tobacco Products (Descriptions of Products) (Amendment) Order 2010" here.

Update (7th June '11): After working my way through a couple of pouches of the wider-cut Ready Rubbed, I'm warming to it! However, there is a trick I use; I leave the tobacco out on a piece of kitchen paper for a while so that it dries slightly, then I rub it between my palms to get a much finer blend more similar to the old, thinner stuff.