Who’s Afraid of Ghosts? Or, Confessions of a Passionate, Yet Undedicated Pipe Smoker

oulette

I don’t dedicate my pipes to particular blend or even genres. I smoke the tobacco I want at the moment in the pipe I want at the moment. I refuse to be hamstrung by self-imposed rules and limitations.

I realize that many pipe smokers disagree, which is fine. Your own enjoyment is what counts here. But I want to put my approach on the record.

I am just not haunted by ghosts of tobaccos past. Maybe I that’s because I have an unrefined palate, which is as much a gift as a curse. Maybe it’s because I don’t mind the faint taste of latakia or perique or maple or even Lakeland in everything I smoke. I’m not sure. What I know is that I don’t mind. At any rate, they don’t call it “ghosting” for nothing. Ghosts are faint and barely visible (or tasteable). So I’m not going to worry about them.

Whatever you do, enjoy the puff!

Tobacco to Work by; Tobacco to Relax by

Dutch painting

It’s dawning on me that I have yet another way to divide tobacco blends: tobaccos to work by and tobacco to relax by. What do I mean?

I find that when I am working — I spend much of the day at my laptop writing or editing — I want to enjoy my pipe without being distracted by it. If I’m smoking a complex and highly flavorful blend — the kind that makes my mouth water — I have a harder time concentrating on my work. The same goes of course for a high-nicotine blend. No mystery there

But if I am smoking something that is simply tasty, perhaps even one-dimensional, it remains in the background. I can enjoy the pipe without its taking center stage. For me, that’s just right when I have to get work out. This applies to when I am doing serious reading also.

On the other hand, if I am simply relaxing or if the smoke is my main object of attention, then I want all the flavor I can get. In that case contemplation of what’s going on with my palate is a distraction from absolutely nothing. So bring it on!

I’m sure I haven’t said anything startling, but there it is.

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

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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.