|It's a blissful experience.|
Pipes may not be for everyone, but, in retrospect, they clearly were for me. First of all, I always rolled my own cigarettes. I liked carrying around the papers and the tobacco pouch, I liked taking the time to roll out each cigarette before smoking it and, early on, I liked using the quality tobacco. The somewhat raisiny, earthy smell of quality cigarette tobacco is a true pleasure. Frankly, I was always a little grossed out by the smell and taste of production cigarettes, and to be honest, no matter the quality of the tobacco, stale cigarette smoke always smells the same. If you're not in a noir novel, it loses its romance quickly. I smoked +gauloises caporal when they were available in the US. When they no longer were I moved to +Samson bhatti, and finally to Drum and Top in an attempt to quit (the addict's lie is that if you buy tobacco that tastes crappy, you'll be abel to avoid it, it didn't work ing the 90s with "Buck" cigarettes, but I kidded myself that the new millennium would bring new cigarette addiction rules).
After a few cigars, I felt as if I could comfortably take up a pipe and established some rules to keep the tobacco intake to a minimum. The first was what I called the "Grampa Joe" Rule: No more than one pipe a day. No smoking and writing, no midday smoking, one pipe to relax and enjoy with my evening whiskey. The second was that I would "invest" in good pipes and tobacco. It was following this rule that I spent a whopping $20(ish) on my first pipe and $7 on Borkum Riff Bourbon Whiskey tobacco, which was the priciest tobacco I could get my hands on out here in the country.
If you think you might be interested in smoking a pipe, this is the cheapest I would recommend you getting in the game for. There is nothing wrong with Borkum Riff and a $20 pipe in the same way there is nothing wrong with eating Wonder Bread, lots of good people do it their entire lives and still die happy. But within weeks of my picking up a pipe and experimenting with various Borkum Riffs and (completely acceptable) Captain Black, +Drew Estate Cigars, my favorite cigar company, announced it was getting into the pipe tobacco business. If the downside to living in a small rural community is that you have to make a real effort to find some high end products, the upside is you can walk right in and ask the owner to get you something. I told the guys at the Smoke Shop at Etch-Arts I was interested in getting the Drew Estates stuff when it came out and they didn't disappoint. Smoking the "Meat Pie" tobacco was illuminating. It is a fragrant, complex tobacco that naively smells of campfire. Imagine a campfire where you can smell the individual wood types but only as part of the package of the different woods being used and you can begin to get at how distinctive the Meat Pie tobacco is.
|A bargain at twice the price...|
I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the Drew Estates line and hopefully to having a new pipe to go with each of the new tobaccos. As I said in the opening, apparently I was addicted to the the ritual all along.