8 June, 2007

Right. Well, then, this page is about to become obsolete, as I move from the current HTML format, and rocket forward into the 21st Century. Powered by WordPress, the new News Page will be easier and more efficient for me to maintain, and can be subscribed to via RSS feed, so those who care won't have to check here every day to see if there's anything new. Brilliant! I love it when technology actually makes our lives easier.

This page will remain for a time, just to give anyone who has bookmarks or links to it a chance to chenge them, and will then be replaced with a forwarder to direct the browser to the new page. Then, finally, before the end of the year, it will simply go away.

29 May, 2007

We're still in track for late-June availability of Embarcadero, and it's a good thing, since I'm quickly reaching the end of my last prototype tin. I've been assembling some notes on the blend, and will be putting them together into something more or less cohesive within the next few days.

On an artistic note, I've been posting a few of my pipe photos on my flickr page. Some of these are in my 2007 and 2008 calendars, “In Celebration of Briar,” while others have been shot for various purposes, or just as part of the ongoing portfolio of work. There will be more to come - I feel like I'm still just scratching the surface of this rich and varied subject. Photographing pipes in this way has given me an opportunity to see them in a new light. It's been a rich and rewarding journey so far, and I plan on staying the course as long as it holds new and interesting things round every bend. It's a pleasure to share the images with those who care to look.

15 May, 2007

Well, the Chicago show has come and gone. In the week since, I've been putting the finishing touches on the new blend, now officially known as “Embarcadero,” and scheduled to be released as part of the Fog City Selection in mid- to late-June. (That's next month, right? Where does the time go?)

The prototype samples I had in Chicago were very well received, despite the fact that the tobacco wasn't in its final, broken-flake form, and it was more than a little too moist, but that's the nature of prototypes. The blend's recipe will be identical when it's released, but the presentation will be correct. The stuff has got great character from the oriental leaf (Izmir) that is wonderfully balanced with ripe red virginias. Pressing really brings everything together, resulting in a smoke that's already quite well integrated, even in its youth. It's great now, and will deliver greater complexity and depth over the years to come. I'm loving it, and it seems like a perfect smoke for the warm months ahead. And, I promise, this time, there's no “sneaky” little Latakia trick going on behind the scenes. Virginias and orientals, and that's it. Good stuff. Watch for its announcement in a few weeks.

17 April, 2007

Chicago is coming quickly upon us, and I'm ready. It's always one of those great pipe events that I look forward to for months, then scramble about preparing for at the last minute. This year is different. I've got one small thing to finish before the show, and I'll be ready. I'll be bringing copies of next year's “In Celebration of Briar” calendar for people to see. I think it's even nicer than the 2007 edition, and I'm excited to share these photographs with my fellow enthusiast of the briar.

On the tobacco front, I'll have some tins of the prototype for my next release. Those who are not coming to the show will have to wait until I return for the “reveal” of this one, but I don't want to ruin the surprise. I'm excited about it. I'll also have two different sample packages available, “A Day in London,” and “The Fog City Sampler.” These are sets of four tobaccos, packed in 1-oz tins, and will be available at the show for a special price. If the response is good, we may make these available on an ongoing basis, as well. Stay tuned.

In the pipe world, there's a new website that lovers of the Italian pipe should know about. It's ItalianPipeMakers.com, a site dedicated to the preservation of the history and lore of pipe making in Italy. It's brand new, launched just today, but I believe it will become a wonderful resource for many years to come. Congratulations to my friend Luca di Piazza for having the vision to create this potentially important site, and for his dedication in bringing it to fruition.

15 February, 2007

It's been suggested, by more than a few, that I release my blends in larger tins. “Larger than 8-oz? That's a lot of tobacco!” Yeah. When I finally put the 8-oz tins out, I have to admit, I was a little surprised by their success. Sure, I like the little ones. They age nicely, they store easily, and when I open one, it won't get dry before I finish it, and I just can't stand transferring something to a more suitable Long-Term Storage Device (LTSD). Too, it's partly out of habit. I started smoking small tins of stuff, and just never figured there was much reason to change. But, enough people like the 8-oz tins that I'm glad I got bullied into it.

But, that wasn't enough. It seems some of my blends have some pretty ardent fans who smoke through an 8-oz tin too quickly, and want more. So, we're going to give it a shot. Starting Tuesday, 20th February, several blends will be available in One Pound tins. (That's a unit of weight, here, not English currency. The dollar hasn't deflated that much...) Barbary Coast, Haddo's Delight, Fillmore, Westminster, Montgomery and Odyssey will all be available. One main retailer has already expressed interest, and I'm sure they'll announce it to their customer list as soon as they get it. We'll be making the calls to see who else wants it, but you'll also be able to get them from C&D. If they go over well, we'll add more blends to the list. If they don't, they'll disappear without ceremony.

So, if you've been nagging at me for pounds, now's your chance to vote with your wallet and get some. The suggested retail price is $59.00, which reflects a significant savings over the 8-oz tins at $36.75, or the 2-ozers at $11.25. I see the postal trucks lining up at the door already...

5 February, 2007

Wow. Westminster continues to receive rave reviews, and I'm more than thrilled with the overall response this blend has received. In addition to what's been written on its page in tobaccoreviews.com, a dedicated Latakia Lover (that's even his “handle”) has written a lovely piece on the knoxcigar.net forum. I mention this one specifically, as it addresses not only Westminster, itself, but the reviewer has really gotten into the whole philosophy, if I may call it that, of the blend, and the idea of why we enjoy some of the older, no longer available blends, lament their passing, and are willing to pay astronomical prices for those old tins. It's well worth the read, and I'd say that even if it didn't give such glowing praise to one of my own creations.

Development of some exciting new blends continues, and I expect to be making an announcement of things to come within a couple months. As I've said before, I don't, and will never, rush new products to market. It takes time to go from an idea, through the many iterations of experiments, to the last stages of fine-tuning, to final product. It's pretty easy to throw something decent together, pack it in tins and get it on the shelves, but, as they say, the devil is in the details, and I am dedicated to working on each blend until it satisfies my own idea of what it's meant to be, however long that may take. So, if you're waiting for something that I've said is coming down the pipe, please, be patient.

Speaking of which, I spoke at the annual dinner of the wonderful Seattle Pipe Club last week. One of the questions that came up, addressed whether or not I'd ever made a blend that I didn't, personally, like. The answer was, “Yes. Hundreds. But, no one else has ever seen one of THOSE.” While the answer was meant to be slightly humorous, it's also the truth. No tobacco blend will ever wear the GLPease livery if I can not stand behind it. Of course, I smoke some of my blends more often than others, but there is not one that I don't truly enjoy. As we enter the sixth full year of business, I send my thanks on the winds to all who have stood behind me in support of my passion for the leaf, and to all the faithful customers who have helped me to realize a dream.

8 January, 2007

I think this is some sort of record. Westminster was released less than a week ago - some retailers haven't even received their shipment yet - and there's already a wonderful review on-line! And, I've been getting some wonderful comments via email. Thanks, guys, for all the kind words!

5 January, 2007

Westminster is shipping, and I've already received some early reports. It's always nice to hear from people who are enjoying a new release, as it quiets the stage-fright that always seems to accompany my new projects. I've just posted an article in the Chronicles, The Road to Westminster giving some of the history of the blend, and a little behind the scenes glimpse into its development. Enjoy! Other projects are in the works, so watch this space for future announcements. Now, I'm off to have a bowl of...what else? Westminster!

2 January, 2007

Happy New Year! I'm thrilled to announce that one of my blends, well known to many of you, Haddo's Delight, has inpsired not just praise, poetry, the occasional haiku, but also genuine music. Chris Carlisle, Dulcimer stylist extraordinaire, has composed and recorded this tune as the second track on his upcoming CD release, Appalachian Autumn. You can see all of Chris's CD's here, or have a listen to Haddo's Delight. It's quite an honor to me to have one of my blends celebrated in this way by a man of Chris's talent. Thank you, Chris!

On other fronts, Westminster will begin shipping this week. Of course, it'll take a little while for the supply lines to fill, but you should see it on your favorite tobacconist's shelves soon! (About time, eh?)

News from 2006