John Harden – Matches 860 – RIP

I am sorry to have to report that John Harden – Matches 860 – has died at the way-too-young age of 64. He was a pillar of the YouTube Pipe Community and will be missed. I had only a little correspondence with him, but I could tell he was a nice guy, always ready to help. The pipe world has lost a good one.

I know what I will be doing today: smoking Haunted Bookshop in my Savinelli Clark’s Favorite, a pipe that I bought after seeing him smoke one during one of his live streams a couple of years ago.

Dark-Fired Kentucky as a Condiment

Something about dark-fired Kentucky does me in nearly every time. This form of burley is beloved by many, but it doesn’t love me. Mac Baren Bold Kentucky overwhelms me with nicotine and sheer flavor. In technical terms, it applies its loafer to my derriere with great force. So does Peterson Irish Flake, which is a blend that only includes Kentucky. Even Amphora Kentucky Blend, which I expected to be milder, isn’t much milder. (On the other hand, Mac Baren Old Dark Fired is too bland.)

So what to do? When in doubt, blend!

I blended the Amphora 50-50 with Sutliff 515 RC, a wonderful red Virginia. (Lovers of the late great McClelland 5100 Redcake, check it out.) The Kentucky was more manageable but still too strong. So I increased the 515, maybe to 2-1. Now it is lovely!

Let that be a lesson. Before you trade or chuck, blend! What’s to lose?