“News” Probably Going Away

7th September, 2010: Posted by glpease in Site News

I’ve been thinking that it just doesn’t really make a lot of sense to have a dedicated News (this) page in addition to the Briar & Leaf Chronicles, so I’m just going to fold content that would normally go in here into the Chronicles from now on, and mark it with a news tag. I don’t think this will impact anyone except me, who will now have one less thing to manage, which is good. For me. If it’s really not good for you, make a comment, and I may reconsider, but in the meanwhile, you’ll find newsy updates in the Chronicles. Hopefully, this will encourage me to keep everything more current.

So, when the News button disappears from the pages, those who read here will know why, and those who don’t, won’t care.

-glp

Just a Little Update

1st September, 2010: Posted by glpease in Product News

I’m working on a new blend. In fact, the production prototype is being done as I type this, and I should see samples of it early next week. It fits beautifully with Chelsea Morning and Quiet Nights as the next member of the series. It’s a little more of a straight-ahead Latakia blend - rich with orientals, and possessing a nice solid virginia backbone. It’s fuller than Chelsea Morning, but not as contemplative as Quiet Nights. I think of it as ideal before dinner, or as an all-day tobacco as autumn approaches. Lovely. I cannot wait to taste the samples!

Within the next couple days, I’m going to run a contest to name the blend, since it was so much fun last time. I’ll provide a little more information about it, and see what you creative guys come up with this time. It’ll be a real contest, with real rules, and prizes for the top five places.

Finally, you’ve probably seen that the production work is finished on the 2011 edition of the In Celebration of Briar calendar. I personally think this year’s is the best yet, and hope you like it too. I had to raise the price a little, this year, but it’s well worth it, especially considering the time, and costs that go into the production. I’d love to read your thoughts and comments, if you have any. (That’s what the “Comments” section is for, after all.)

And, watch this space for the contest announcement, along with all the rules. Dust off your thinking caps, and get ready for some fun!

Working on the 2011 Calendar

18th July, 2010: Posted by glpease in Product News

I’ve been working on the production for the 2011 edition of the In Celebration of Briar calendar, and am really happy with how it’s shaping up. So far, the cover has been done, and eight of the internal images. I’ve put a preview of the images up, and will update it as the work is finished.

This is the fifth year for the calendar. Each year’s has been a little different, and this one is no exception. For 2011, I’ve chosen both colour and B&W photos, and am working with both light and dark backgrounds. It’s going to be really striking, and I can’t wait to finish it up and see the proofs! As before, it will be published by Lulu Press, and printed on demand. The finished calendar is 13.5″ wide by 19″ high, spiral bound at the top. It’s printed on beautiful, heavy, smooth coated stock to preserve the rich details. They do a great job, and I’m happy to be working with them again.

I expect to have everything finished well before October, and will announce its availability when it’s been published. In the meanwhile, grab a pipe, light a bowl of Quiet Nights, enjoy the preview.

Quiet Nights Released

3rd May, 2010: Posted by glpease in Product News, New Blends

The Chicago show is over. I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard many wonderful things already, and know there’s more to come. I missed it being there, but that’s the way it goes. I’ll enjoy it vicariously through the stories others tell. Could be worse.

Of course, Quiet Nights was released there, and there have been a few words mentioned on some of the forums. I have received a couple of emails (is that really a word?) with exclamation points following words like, “Fantastic,” and “Wow.” So far, quite promising.

A couple of retailers did have the blend before the show, and started selling it last Thursday, so I’m guessing there are tins in a few post boxes today, waiting to be opened. I really can’t wait to know what people think about it.

I’m always a little nervous when a new release hits the shelves. Sure, I like the stuff, or I wouldn’t have released it. Sure, I’ve tested it on a few others, and they’ve liked it. But there’s a big difference between a small handful of test smokers, and something going live in prime time. You’d think after over a decade of doing this, I’d be used to it by now, but I’m not. It’s my version of stage-fright, which, ironically, I rarely experience on stage.

So, please, forgive my hand-wringing, pacing back and forth, checking the net dozens of times each day until I see the words that will let me breathe again. Even it the reviews are dreadful, at least I won’t have to wonder anymore. But, that’s silly. They won’t be. The stuff really is good!

If you’ve gotten yours, and have smoked a few bowls, I’d love to read your comments here.

Cheers,
-glp

And the Winner Is…

14th April, 2010: Posted by glpease in Product News

It’s been a couple weeks since the “Not Contest” was run. I was a bit surprised by the enthusiasm and participation, and there were lots of great suggestions, but in the end, there can be only one winner, and it’s time to announce it. But, not quite yet.

It’s taken a while to get through all the entries. I really liked a lot of the suggestions. Some really put some thought into this, and came up with some wonderful and creative ideas. Some, I admit, I was less enthusiastic over. The real trick here is that the name not only must fit the blend, but it also has to flow with the narrative description that I presented, and that will be printed on the back of the label. This is a bit more difficult than pulling a great name out of a hat, or looking at a map of London and choosing something that sounds romantic. Whitechapel, for instance, has a lovely ring, but let’s not forget what happened there, or what the district is historically know for! And, there are parts of London that even I wouldn’t choose to wander after dark!

But, after a lot of deliberation, a name had to be chosen, and that name is… Read more…»

In Memoriam, 1996-2010

6th April, 2010: Posted by glpease in General News

He came to me 14 years ago, a young dog; a furry, frenetic, non-stop, spinning ball of perpetual motion. At the shelter, they’d called him Rocky. It didn’t fit. Taz fit. He drove me nuts. He drove Pasha and Kismet, my other two dogs at the time, nuts. Anything that looked even vaguely alive was something to spring upon, a trait particularly annoying to the gophers that poked their unknowing heads from the security of their holes, only to find a bounding wolf, all four paws high in the air, descending upon them. Taz never got more than a snout full of dirt, but he never tired of the sport.

For the first few days that he lived with me, I was almost convinced that his energy was more than I, or the other dogs could live with. But, his boundless enthusiasm and constantly wagging tail won me over. And, his snuggles. And his intelligence. He was one of the special ones, and I knew he’d settle in, or I’d just get used to him, or both. He wasn’t always easy to live with, but neither am I; we both had things to learn. Read more…»

Not-Contest - Update

2nd April, 2010: Posted by glpease in General News

It’s been a few days since the not-contest closed, and I’ll have news soon. I apologize for the delay, but something has come up that has required my attention. For now, know that a decision has been made, and the results will be announced within the next few days.

Not Quiet Nights - Not Contest

22nd March, 2010: Posted by glpease in Product News, New Blends

For those who have seen the comments in the previous post, this won’t be a surprise. What might be is that I’ve also received a flurry of email over the past few months in which people have told me they weren’t excited about the name, Quiet Nights for the new blend in the Old London Series. Fine. Few have indicated why they don’t like it, but why is often hard to know in such things. Why? doesn’t really matter. (Stan Getz’s smoky sax playing and Astrud Gilberto’s sultry crooning come instantly to mind when I think of Quiet Nights, but that’s just me.)

More than one person suggested a naming contest. Not a bad idea, and if it was earlier in the process, I could do it, but it’s down to the 23rd hour, now. The new blend is going to be released very soon, and I’ve got to finish the label art so I can get it off to the printer, so that the stuff can start flying off the shelves once it’s ready. [Hopeful thoughts, mine.]

A real contest would require general announcements long in advance, so people had time to read about it, think about it, and submit their entry. There would be some sort of formal selection criteria, and a way to tabulate results, resolve conflicts in the case of multiple entries, and a ration of legal disclaimers to keep lawyers off my back in the event of someone feeling that their entry was dealt with unfairly. There would have to be formal entry requirements of some kind. And, there would have to be a guarantee of a winner. I don’t have time for all that, and, since I’ve already got an alternate name in mind, there may not be a winner. So, this can’t be a real contest.

Instead, I’ll do a Not Contest. If you have a suggestion for the name, submit it in a comment, and tell me, in 50 words or less, why you think it’s a good name - a better name than Quiet Nights. If I choose your name over my alternate, you’ll get a free tin, public acknowledgement of your creative genius, and the eternal adulation of your peers.

To help get the creative juices flowing, here’s the description of the blend.

X - rich, deep, contemplative. Ripe red virginias, fine orientals, smoky Cyprus latakia, and a pinch of Acadian perique are pressed and matured in cakes before being sliced. The sophisticated flavors and exotic aroma provide a wonderful backdrop for quiet moments of reflection, a good book, and if you are so inclined, perhaps a wee dram.

You’ve got until Sunday, 28th March, 2010, to submit your entry. How’s that?

Quiet Nights - Almost There!

10th March, 2010: Posted by glpease in New Blends

Finally, I’m done. I’ve been tasting a great many prototypes of this blend, the next to be released in the Old London Series, and have finally, finally, made the final selection. The differences were slight, but when it comes to balance, it’s the little things that count. Interestingly, the first version has come out on top as The One.

Now, I’m working on the label. I know what I’m after in terms of “feel,” and it’s starting to come through. What this all means is that within the next few weeks, I’ll be announcing the imminent release of the blend. Whoo hoo! At least for me.

But, remember. Until you read it here, it’s not there, if you know what I mean. It’s coming soon. Promise.

Proposal to Tax Pipe Tobacco at RYO Rates

22nd January, 2010: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

[This was originally published over at the excellent No More Tobacco Taxes blogsite, and is reproduced here with permission of the author. We are a small group, but we need to spread the word, and more importantly, we need to act. Write your representatives to protest this proposed bill. -glp]

HR 4439, the Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2010 was introduced on January 13, 2010 and would tax pipe tobacco at the same insane rate ($24.78 per pound) as roll-your-own tobacco from the current $2.8311 per pound. Introduced by Representatives Steve Cohen (Dem., TN) and Lloyd Doggett (Dem., TX), it has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee of which Mr. Doggett, a staunch anti-smoking advocate, is a member.

This bill is not really aimed at pipe smokers as that segment of the population (estimated at .01% of US adults) is so small that the additional revenue generated by PIPE SMOKERS wouldn’t cover the cost of pursuing this change. nothing more than an attempt to rope in taxes from roll-your-own cigarette enthusiasts who having been stung by this same price increase in their addiction last spring (thank you SCHIPs) have decided to start rolling pipe tobacco because it is suddenly cheaper real RYO tobacco (if you can call that stuff tobacco really).

Unfortunately, the RYO industry has brought this on to a certain extent because many brands/bags of RYO tobacco have been relabeled as pipe tobacco for taxation purposes. You can tell by looking at the type and the cut of the tobacco that no right-thinking brother of the briar would even consider sticking this trash in their pipe but the manufacturers have proudly changed their RYO packaging to crow that what they are selling is now pipe tobacco and should be taxed at a much lower rate.

Well now, those few of us that truly enjoy a pipe, whether meerschaum, briar or even the old American favorite corncob pipe are going to have to pay through the nose because of RYO smokers trying to inexpensively fuel their addictions AND the greed of corporate RYO tobacco producers.

However, all is not lost.

Contact your local representatives and put pressure on them to stop this bill. If we don’t stop this now, it could spell the end of a tradition here in the US: the considered pursuit of the perfect smoke by brothers (and sisters) of the pipe as well as the end of the traditional Tobacconist as we know it.

SPEAK UP NOW AND SPEAK UP LOUDLY!

[The original article can be found here.]


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