Hope everyone has a healthy, happy and prosperous 2013.
Thanks to Neil and Steve for braving the miserable weather.
The raffle has been held...thanks again to our sponsors! The winners are:
Marcin, Peterson Limerick and Bagpiper's Dream.
Peter, Carey's Magic Inch and an EPC mouse mat.
Johnny, Samuel Gawith's Limited Edition 2013.
Steve, Carey's voucher and an EPC mug.
David, Samuel Gawith's Jubilee 2012 and an EPC polo shirt.
Neil, EPC mug and a pack of pipe cleaners.
Marcin, Johnny and David I will keep hold of your prizes until your next meeting.
Apologies for forgetting to take any photos at the last meeting.
Another very pleasant meeting at Henrick's with Neil, Steve, Ricardo and newest member Dragos. The friendly, relaxed service here is definitely making this venue a winner for me...please let me know in the comments if you have any objections to making this our regular meeting place. Although we will be giving The Beehive Inn another chance as they do have more space in their beer garden.
Sold quite a few raffle tickets but there will still be tickets available at the next meeting (25th November)...I will bring all the prizes and we will hold the draw then. If you have tickets but can't make the draw, don't worry, I will hold onto your prize(s) if you're a winner.
Many thanks to Bob Gregory of Samuel Gawith for the 100g tin of their "2013 Limited Edition" tobacco.
From the tin description it sounds very nice..."For this 2013 Limited Edition Tobacco we have chosen and blended a number of Virginias together with a Sweet Black Cavendish. We added some Burley tobacco and a Vanilla Creme flavour. To complement the already smooth characteristic of the blend we added a soupcon of Almond Essence. The result is a very smooth, medium strength tobacco with good volume of smoke and a delightful room-note."
There will be additional prizes as well so do come along to the November meetings to buy some tickets (only £2.00 each).
I know this is slightly unusual on the blog but thought it would be easier to post this here so you can add your own comments as you try it:
Thanks to Rob Young of Gawith Hoggarth for the sample tin he provided.
"Hyde Park is a traditional English blend of bright and dark fired Virginias, sun cured Indian and Burley tobaccos. This luxurious smoking experience is achieved by the addition of rum and maple sugars to pressed mahogany tobacco."
First surprise was the packaging: a plastic liner in the tin...it doesn't open out as much as the traditional pleated paper but it is quite deep so easy to load a bowl straight from the tin (as long as your hands aren't too big).
Inside was a very densely packed block of tobacco, I would describe it as "broken flake" as there's a definite mix of lengths and widths. Nice attractive mix of colours as well from almost golden to dark mahogany.
The block breaks up easily with your fingertips for ease of packing. The tobacco initially felt very moist but not sticky.
Tin note is full of rum and (to me) fruit cake. The underlying aroma is definitely Virginia in character...not the "smokiness" I would expect from an "English" blend.
Pack this quite lightly in your bowl, especially if you use some of the longer, thicker strands otherwise they will expand like a flake reducing the draw.
Despite the initial moistness, this baccy lights very easily, I also found it burnt very well and evenly throughout the bowl.
I did get the sweetness from the rum and maple but it wasn't overpowering or excessive, the predominant flavour was the citrus grassy note of nice Virginia tobacco. Personally, I would say it's medium strength...nicotine is noticeable but not enough to make you light headed! I did get an occasional hint of Orientals but nowhere near as much as a blend like Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe.
It was hard to detect a distinctive room note as we were smoking outside (I will try some at home later) but again I wouldn't call this an "English" blend...lovers of Latakia might be disappointed but as someone who prefers straight Virginias I will definitely be adding this to my rotation.
A huge thanks to Rob Young of Gawith Hoggarth TT Ltd for another very generous raffle prize.
100g tin of Rattray's Bagpiper's Dream and a beautiful B10 silver mounted Peterson's Limerick. He's also included a tin of Peterson's Hyde Park (one of their newest blends) to taste and review so I will be adding it to the "baccy bar".
Have had a suggestion for an alternative venue: Henrick's, 3 Barclay Terrace http://www.henricksbar.com/
A couple of us will be having a look on Saturday afternoon. If they have a nice beer garden it could be added as an alternative venue.
Mixed reactions to The Beehive Inn as a venue: central location is good and the extra overhead cover will be useful if it rains or snows. Heaters aren't as effective as the Cuddie Brae's. Unfortunately, most of the beer garden is going to be closed off for the winter (possibly for health and safety reasons).
Nice selection of beers and malts.
Thanks to Neil, Steve, Marcin and Ricardo for another pleasant afternoon/evening.
Just received the first sample of merchandise with the logo on, a mug and a polo shirt.
Very happy with the look and quality of the mug, although the shirts seem a bit expensive for what they are...I will investigate another supplier to see if there is an alternative.
I was amazed to realise that our second anniversary will be coming round in November. Time flies when you're having fun!
There will be a raffle to raise funds for the club (to cover website fees and to provide more tobacco for the "baccy bar").
I have already received a couple of very generous prizes, will update you as the list grows.
Thanks to everyone for helping the club grow and for keeping it going.
Thanks to Steve, Neil, Johnny, Marcin and our newest member Ricardo for another very pleasant meeting at The Cuddie Brae.
Weather stayed dry but it's getting noticeably colder once the sun has gone down. Fortunately, the heaters are still nice and efficient.
Between us, we got through a pretty wide range of tobacco, including; Balkan Supreme (Johnny), St Bruno (Peter [RR] and Steve [Flake]), Peterson's Nutty Cut (Marcin), Century Irish Cream (Neil), Dunhill's London Mixture (Peter) and G.L. Pease's Blackpoint (Ricardo).
Feels like it's been ages since the last meeting. Hopefully having two this month should make up for it.
Saturday 13th at The Cuddie Brae and Sunday 21st at The Beehive Inn, both from 2.30pm.
If The Beehive proves to be popular, I will be happy to make it a regular venue. The central location might be more convenient for some.
Yesterday's meeting at The Cuddie Brae was another warm dry day (we've definitely been lucky with the weather recently).
Marcin, David, Neil and I worked our way through a nice variety of blends.
I got some good feedback on some of the ideas for logos that I have been working on...I will post a few of them here.
The suggestion of trying a few meetings at The Beehive Inn met with unanimous approval. However, David did warn that they get very busy during the summer.
Had a very pleasant evening on Friday at The Beehive Inn with Steve and Kirby (a fellow brother of the briar visiting from Ohio, USA).
We started at the tables at the front, on the pedestrianised bit of The Grassmarket, before moving to the beer garden at the back.
There's a nice selection of seating areas on the multi-level decking. Most of the tables have large umbrellas and a couple of areas have decent looking heaters (might be handy in the winter).
Steve made the very good suggestion that having a more central location might be more attractive to potential members...with the added bonus that there would be no problems with trains if we had a Sunday session.
If there are no objections, I will schedule another meeting, at The Beehive Inn, on Sunday 21st October, from 2.30pm.
Forgot to mention pipes and baccy: Kirby was smoking a very handsome Eric Nording freehand, Steve was smoking his Peterson Donegal with St Bruno Flake and I was smoking Dunhill London Mixture in my restored Dunhill billiard.
For everyone who missed Newark, here's an edited video of the day. Thanks to Ad David for filming and editing it. Hopefully, the next one will be even more successful.
British Pipe Smoking Championship 2012
In case anyone hadn't found it already, here's the Facebook page for Sunday's event.
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves so hopefully this will become a regular event.
Would be great if we can have a team from EPC in for the shield next time as it looks very impressive! There were also extra prizes (booze and baccy) for the gents from John Hollingsworth's Pipe Club of Birmingham who won the team event.
Despite the weather (torrential rain this morning) we managed a very successful meeting!
Was great to see Johnny, Neil and Marcin again and we were joined by two new faces; Steve and David. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I arrived late so I didn't get a chance to take notes of what everyone was smoking...however, I did spot quite a variety of open tins and pouches on the table; Samuel Gawith's Squadron Leader, several tins of Ashton's blends including Consummate Gentleman, Peterson's Sherlock Holmes and Marcin's pouch of straight Latakia! There was a lovely aroma of the mixed tobacco in the air.
It stayed damp all afternoon but the worst of the rain eased off and the smoking shelter kept everyone dry.
I will report back from Newark next weekend, after the British Pipe Smoking Championships...I doubt I will win the competition but it will be great to meet some more pipers and share ideas with the other clubs.
I have been contacted by a producer from BBC Scotland regarding a documentary they are making about how commodities like sugar, whisky and tobacco helped the Scottish economy and British Empire grow.
For the episode about tobacco, they are looking for a couple of Scottish pipe smokers who would be willing to be interviewed on camera by Brian Cox (the actor). Preferably ones with a knowledge of the mid 19th century, when briar and Balkan tobacco both became popular.
If you can help, please get in touch and I will pass on contact details.
Was great to meet Marcin on Saturday. He's only been smoking a pipe for a few months but he looked very comfortable puffing on his bent Sandblast Dr Plumb.
I took advantage of being out of the house to smoke a couple of bowls of Squadron Leader again before switching over to University Flake in a Peterson 303...a very nice pairing for a very warm afternoon.
Marcin was smoking an Aromatic with a very pleasant fruity room note (think he said it had mango in it) he then tried some of the club's stock of Peterson's 2009 Special Reserve.
(The photo is from April's meeting).
Thanks to Rob for making the journey down from Perth last week. We enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon of warm sunshine (about time).
Rob started with some Gawith Hoggarth Kentucky Nougat, in a very handsome Peterson Cara Sandblast X105. I started the afternoon with some Peterson's University Flake, in my Aldo Morelli 722 before moving on to a blend I can't smoke at home; Sam Gawith's Squadron Leader, in a Vauen billiard.
Rob then provoked some serious pipe envy by bringing out a lovely, estate pipe...a Peterson Aran XL90, with some beautiful birds-eye grain and a silver collar! I switched back to University Flake, in a smooth Peterson's 302 Standard (a perfect combination in the sunshine), whilst Rob enjoyed some 7 Seas Royal Blend.
Neil made a flying visit to join us briefly but unfortunately he couldn't stay to enjoy a pipe.
I've been asked by a reader of the blog for some help identifying a pipe: age, company information, etc.
From the photos, I would say it's meerschaum...a type of pipe I don't know very much about.
One side of the stem is marked "Walter Scott", the collar on the army mount is marked "WHITES 'ALLSORBO' PATENT SCOTLAND".
Thanks to Mike from Tobacco Pipe Collectors, Neil was able to restock his supply of Captain Black Gold...this helps show what a great worldwide community of gents pipe smokers are! :-)
Neil started with some of his regular Troost and I started with Orlik Bull's Eye. Some peaceful contemplation ensued, together with a few gripes from both of us about the chairs. I might take a cushion next time lol.
Later, we both enjoyed a very pleasant bowl of Mac Baren Plumcake. This was the first time I had tried it and it will not be my last. It's a very tasty blend with flavours of both Rum and Latakia.
As ever for a Scottish spring the weather was a mixed bag: clear blue sky and warm sunshine, followed by drizzle and even some hail. Fortunately it brightened up again later and the smoking shelter protected us from the worst.
The John Hollingsworth Pipe Club of Birmingham will be acting as hosts of the Championships on July 15th, as they are the closest to Newark.
Clive Davies of John Hollingsworth Pipe Club has been in contact asking for help organising prizes for the Championships.
As a result, if any businesses or organisations would be interested in providing a prize (doesn't have to be pipe related or expensive) any such help would be gratefully received...and publicly acknowledged at the Championships.
If you are interested, please contact me directly for further information.
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Johnny and I were joined by Neil, for a very pleasant afternoon's smoking and conversation.
Neil was smoking a very handsome Aldo Morelli Loreto...I think might have a case of pipe envy, will have to investigate the range. Johnny started with a Nording Freehand, again another handsome piece of briar with it's plateau rim. My first pipe of the afternoon was a Peterson's Donegal Rocky.
We got through a very cosmopolitan selection of tobaccos; Dunbar from Esoterica, Troost and Rattray's Marlin Flake were all popular. The 7 Seas Cherry Blend had a lovely room note when Neil and I smoked it, although neither of us really got the cherry flavour from our own pipes.
The weather remained mild until the sun went down, fortunately the heaters in the smoking shelter put out a very impressive heat.
I tried a new beer, Belhaven Black Scottish Stout...it complemented the pipes nicely!
The first meeting of 2012 was a great success!
Myles and I were joined by Johnny, also known as Yorkshirepipensnuff on YouTube, who had braved the train journey down from Dundee.
At one point, the table looked like a well-stocked tobacconist's with a wide selection of pipes, tins and bags of tobacco spread around...all three of us got to try something new. I tried some Germain's Royal Jersey Perique, Johnny had a bowl of Dunhill Royal Yacht and Myles had his first taste of Peterson's Nutty Cut. On the strength of it's tin and room notes, I am very interested in trying some Gauntley's Nottingham Blend in the near future.
Myles definitely suits his new pipe (see last month's post for details), Johnny was justifiably proud of his Nording Freehands, a couple of very handsome pipes...the smooth finish one was particularly striking.
The weather remained kind to us, until about 5pm when it started getting very chilly. Fortunately, a cup of fresh ground coffee from the bar helped keep the cold at bay.
On a side note, the cask Belhaven IPA was a very smooth pint!
Thanks to the guys, the club's "tobacco bar" now has a very healthy selection for members to sample, including:
Dunhill Early Morning Pipe,
Mac Baren Scottish Blend (mixture),
Mac Baren Cherry Ambrosia,
Mac Baren Navy Flake,
Mac Baren Virginia Flake,
7 Seas Cherry Blend,
Sam Gawith Squadron Leader.
Additionally, we all seem to bring a few extra blends to share!