The Great American Dream Experiment

 As a “VaPer Lover”, I usually classify my purposeful excursions into Aromatic and English blends under “Market Research”. I do get an urge for Latakia now and then, especially when I’m digging in the dirt, or find myself walking along a trail, or otherwise in a Sherwood Forest sort of mood. After the typical youthful […]

The Growing Fascination with Dark-Fired Kentucky

When I introduced BlackHouse in 2011, it included a small amount of dark-fired Kentucky. It was only the second blend that I had made with it, and I always treated it (and still do) as a condimental tobacco. I knew of Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky and Peter Heinrich’s Dark Strong Flake as being fairly stout […]

Mysterious Tobaccos

Of all the strains of tobaccos, Orientals and Turkish are, to my tastes, the most exotic, and in a way, that makes them more fun to work with. Virginia, for example, will taste different depending upon the growing region, processing, etc., but it’s still fundamentally Virginia. But there are so many different strains of Orientals/Turkish, […]

Fine Pipes by Gubbels

Today I’d like to talk about pipes. I not only love to smoke and collect them, but love the romance and the history .  I appreciate the tradition of it all, from the cultivation of tobacco and the use of clay pipes , the development of corn cobs, the long usage of meerschaum , to the […]

Some Observations on Cigars

I enjoy cigars and have for almost 40 years. But being in the business, and especially since my focus turned to blending pipe tobaccos, I’ve become more analytical about them and have noticed some things that have changed my perspective. With the trend moving toward larger ring gauges, there’s seems to be a common conception […]

Packaging Quandaries

One of the toughest things in making new pipe tobacco blends is packaging, and I’m not just referring to artwork. Making decisions on how we’re going to present a product hinges on a number of factors. For Hearth & Home Marquee and my RO Series, we’ve gone with vacuum-sealed 50 gram tins. The reason is that […]

Thoughts About Pipe Cleaners

The most overlooked accessory for pipe smokers is the humble pipe cleaner. Some of us are so good at overlooking them that they rarely use one and then wonder why their pipe tastes nasty. Pipe cleaners are not only useful, but they’re surprisingly versatile as well. There are quite a few different types of pipe […]

Some Quick Fixes for Pipe Smokers

Pipes can be fickle. Stems will often be too loose or too tight. Burnouts are another big issue, and because people bite down on the stem, dents and holes can occur. Luckily, some of these things can be dealt with at home, so I’ll give you some ideas that you can try. Loose stems are […]

Pipe Engineering

On the surface, a pipe seems like it should be fairly simple to make properly if you have the right equipment, but it’s a lot more difficult than it seems. Just about every pipe enthusiast has had a real clunker of a pipe. Usually that means that the pipe smokes wet, smokes hot or just […]

Some Observations About Cigars

I have smoked a lot of cigars, and still do. Some of them I smoke for enjoyment, while others I smoke for evaluation purposes. As a tobacco blender, I think I’ve got a fairly keen palate, and a strong memory for flavors and aromas. A number of the cigars I’ve tried out to help us […]