Prince Albert Update

The Prince is doing fine on our trip. It’s all I’ve been smoking unless I am partaking of a tobacconist’s hospitality, in which case I smoke either a pipe tobacco from that shop or a cigar.

What surprises me is that the only tobacco I am missing on the trip is C&D Autumn Evening. Darn, there’s something about that light maple flavor.

Habana House

Einstein
Albert Einstein

The next stop on my Greater Austin Tobacco Tour was Habana House in North Austin. (There’s a second store in South Austin.) This is a beautiful place with a humungous walk-in humidor and lots of comfortable seating. To the immediate right of the entrance are enticing shelves with many bulk and tinned tobacco, including some of the greats from McClelland, Dunhill, Cornell & Diehl, GL Pease, BriarWorks (blended by C&D), and more. After smoking a cigar and wandering around, I bought an ounce of C&D Epiphany, which is a match for what Albert Einstein is said to have smoked: Revelation. I didn’t stay long enough to smoke a bowl of it, but I will when I get home in a few days. Habana House also has a small, but high-quality pipe selection, featuring, among others, beautiful Savinellis and Petersons.

The tobacconist on duty, a nice guy, was not a pipe man, so my chat was brief. I’ll have to return to the shop on my next visit to the city.

The Cigar Vault

Cigar Vault

My next stop was The Cigar Vault in Buda, Texas, south of Austin. The year-old shop occupies an old bank building, and the cigar humidor is actually the bank’s vault. The bank was the scene of a legendary robbery many years ago.

We were greeted warmly by Brian Foley, who made us feel right at home. The shop has plenty of leather furniture, so it’s a comfy place for a smoke and conversation. While it has lots of cigars, it does not neglect us pipe smokers, and it’s only going to get better: Brian plans to stock more pipe tobacco in the near future. A small selection of pipes, including corncobs and the work of local pipe makers, was on display, along with some tobacco. One of the featured blends is Sutliff No. 5, which is said to be a match for the soon-to-be-extinct Dunhill My Mixture 965, a favorite of mind. I haven’t tried No. 5 yet, but will when I get home. Instead, I had a bowl of Prince Albert in my Missouri Meerschaum Charles Town Cobbler.

The Cigar Vault also has coffee, wine, and craft beers.

A couple of doors away is an antique shop, which had a few estate pipes. I picked up an unsmoked rustic hardwood pipe — maple wood, I would guess.

Hardwood

I will definitely visit The Cigar Vault again when I return to the Austin area.

A Visit to Pipe World

You gotta love a store with that name. It’s in Austin (and Round Rock), Texas, and the folks there are friendly and knowledgeable. It also has a very good selection of pipes and bulk and tinned tobacco.

After browsing the Petersons and Savinellis, I moved on to the tobacco. One of the helpful tobacconists and I got to talking about Peter Heinrichs Dark Strong Flake. I’d never tried it, but I mentioned that I found the similar Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky too sweet for my taste. “Do you have a pipe?” he asked. “Do I have a pipe?” I responded, pulling out a case from my jacket. “I have two — three if you count this,” producing my four-inch Elizabethan clay. “Have a bowl,” he said.

I loaded my Missouri Meerschaum Dagner Poker with the Heinrichs and began to puff. Yes, this was the second deviation from my Prince Albert-only rule. (I invoked the visiting-a pipe-shop exception.)

My reaction was favorable. The Heinrichd was much less sweeter than the Orlik and therefore much tastier. I was sorry that the smallest quantity available from Heinrichs, however, is 100 grams.

So instead of buying a tin then, I went for the Escudo I saw on display. I’ve been meaning to buy this blend for some time.

I told the tobacconist I was smoking Prince Albert on my trip, and he said he had not tried it. So I pulled out my pouch and offered him a bowl-full.

I’ll surely be back at Pipe World on my next visit to Austin.

The Prince and I

PA can

Four days into my road trip, the Prince and I are doing fine. I resolved to take only Prince Albert tobacco with me on this trip, and he’s holding up well. Only occasionally have I felt a desire for variety. But that feeling passed quickly, and I soon renewed my appreciation for the Prince’s textured flavor. It is a remarkable blend, whatever it is exactly.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will acknowledge that I had one small bowl of another tobacco. I thought the circumstances justified that slight deviation from my self-imposed rule. Cheryl and I visited En Fuego, a tobacco shop at the harbor in Rockwall, Texas. It’s mainly a cigar shop, but it had one panel of pipes and several bulk tobaccos (no tins at all). Being a newcomer and wishing to enjoy its lounge, I bought a cigar and an ounce of a tobacco labeled “Mark Twain,” which the tobacconist said was “pre-blended.” (It best-selling house blend, “Fuego,” was too rummy for me.) My research indicates it’s Sutliff’s No. 50 Mark Twain, which Tobaccoreviews.com says is

A new pipe tobacco from A&C Peterson designed with Mark Twain in mind. Made with selected choice tobaccos, this blend has a striking, rich aroma. A wonderful Danish style aromatic, with great taste and no bite.

Notes: Now made by the Sutliff Tobacco Company under their banner as per Smoking Pipes website: “Previously known as an A&C Peterson blend, No.150 Mark Twain now flies under the Sutliff banner. A Danish-style aromatic, this mix of black Cavendish, Burley, and Virginia is known for its creamy aromatic flavors and mild strength, making for an easy smoke and a pleasing room note.”

It is a pleasant smoke, which means it has few of the drawbacks of the mass-market aromatics. I’ll smoke more of it when I am home.

Mark Twain No 50

IMG_20180417_183508.jpg

Getting back to Prince Albert, he will be my constant companion for the rest of the trip, though I am starting to miss perique and latakia.

Albert

Incidentally, here’s what I’ve brought with me: 2 Chris Morgan Bones pipes (Bent Rhodesian and Short Pot), two HIS mini-churchwardens, three Missouri Meerschaum corncobs (Charles Town Cobbler, Dagner Poker, and Little Devil Acorn), and one small smooth bent meerschaum.