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.
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?
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.
11th September, 2009: Posted by glpease in Product News, New Blends
The CORPS Expo is coming up in October, and it seems like the perfect time to launch the Old London Series with its first member, Chelsea Morning.
I’ve been working on this series for a year. The idea has always been clear to me. I wanted to produce a series of blends in classic styles, using time honored methods, but with each designed specifically to compliment various parts of the smoker’s day. Yeah, I know. It’s not a new idea. Others have done it. We know their names. But, I haven’t done it, and I wanted to bring my own twist to the concept. The series will consist of four blends. I had actually planned on releasing three of them at once, but the other two aren’t cooperating. The prototypes have been good, but not right, so they’re still under development.
Chelsea Morning, however, is ready to go. Comprised of a variety of sweet red and yellow virginias, fragrant orientals, a measure of rich Cyprus Latakia, and a pinch of L.A. Poche’s brilliant Acadian perique. The leaf is blended in layers and briefly pressed to integrate the flavours before being sliced and tumbled into short ribbons. The final form is between a broken-flake and a ribbon-cut tobacco. It’s easy to pack, easy to smoke, and is a great blend with which to start the day with the morning cup. The flavours are lively and engaging, with a subtle fruitiness and gentle smokiness that wakes up the palate. For those expecting a Latakia powerhouse, this ain’t that. The Cyprus leaf provides depth and character; it’s certainly present, but it’s not the dominant voice. In that respect, Chelsea Morning is similar to Piccadilly, my previous ‘English Breakfast Mixture’ from the Classic Collection. But, it’s also very different. The orientals present in this one add another dimension to the smoke. It’s really a delightful blend.
Of course, it would be silly to say that it’s only enjoyable in the mornings, but to my tastes, that’s when it shines its brightest. Over the coming months, as I polish off the edges of the others in the series, it will be joined by Afternoon Tea, Cocktail Hour and Quiet Nights. I’m really excited about this new blend, and the entire series.
And, just because I know someone will ask, no, it is not a ‘clone’ of that other famous tobacco with ‘Morning’ in its name. But, if you liked that one, you should certainly give Chelsea Morning a try.
Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
12th August, 2009: Posted by glpease in New Blends
The 2009 NASPC show is almost here, and as has been traditional for the past nine years, I was asked to do their special, limited show blends again. This years, Gimli’s Stash and Treebeard, continue with the usual Hobbit theme, but I did something a little different, and I think, quite fun. Read more…»
13th June, 2009: Posted by glpease in New Blends
The response to Union Square has been unprecedented, and I couldn’t be happier. People have been asking for a straight virginia from G.L. Pease for years, but I had no idea it would be so well received. I’m truly grateful for all of you who have given it a try, and written such lovely things about the blend on various forums and in the wonderful tobaccoreviews.com database. I do feel it’s a special blend, as evidenced by the fact that it’s even turned me, a dedicated Latakiaphile, into a real virginia lover. Who knew?
It’s not that I didn’t like virginias before, but only that I rarely smoked them, and when I did, I often either nearly passed out from their strength, or found that I’d reach the end of a bowl, and was left wanting something else. Latakia. Always Latakia. Not so with this one. It’s satisfying, without being overpowering, and there’s enough depth of flavour and character to keep even my Latakia loving palate happy. I’m really thrilled with the way it’s turning out. (I’m puffing on a bowl as I type these words, in fact; a lovely accompaniment to a nice cup of tea.)
In response to those who have asked for the larger tins, we’re preparing to release the 8oz size as soon as we can get it out. The large tins should be finding their way to your favourite retailers within a couple weeks. Watch for it!
31st March, 2009: Posted by glpease in New Blends
The Chicagoland Pipe Extravaganza is just round the bend. Sadly, I will not be able to attend this year, but I’ll certainly be there in spirit and in smoke. If all goes apace, and I am sure it will, a new entry in the Fog City Selection will be available there.
Union Square is the first 100% virginia in the range. It’s a blended sliced cake of straight high-grade flue cured VA leaf, from beautiful, sweet brights to deep, earthy reds, and it’s really lovely stuff. The tobaccos are not sugared, sauced, flavoured or topped like many of the European flakes. This is a pure virginia experience. So, for those who have been after me to do a straight VA, without any condiment leaf, the time has finally come. I’ve been puffing on bowl after bowl of the final prototype for several days, and think it’s great. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.
For quite a few months, I’ve also been working on an interesting new series, which is beginning to come together, and will be released later in the year. I’m not quite ready to reveal any details, but I’m very excited about the prototypes thus far. The initial release will present three different blends, and R&D on a fourth is underway. Curiousity piqued? Wait for it…
In the meanwhile, if you’re in Chicago, check out Union Square at the C&D booth, and look for general availability a couple weeks after the show.
27th June, 2008: Posted by glpease in Product News, New Blends
We’re out of the holding pattern. I got the proofs of the label art a few days ago, and have tried to keep quiet, but I just couldn’t resist anymore, and had to share. Once again, design genius Daniel Bertolotto has worked his magic to produce this beautiful, atmospheric label for the new blend. Things are currently on track for release the week of 7 July, so, unless something goes terribly awry, it’ll only be a couple weeks before the new blend makes it to your favourite retailers. So, for all who have been asking, “When is it coming out? What’s taking so long?” at least the first question is now answered.
The description reads, “Deep, earthy and creamy. A distinguished broken flake of red Virginia tobaccos, small leaf orientals, and a measure of Cyprus Latakia, spiced with velvety cigar wrapper leaf. Key Largo develops throughout the bowl, offering a satisfying and sturdy smoking experience, with beautifully balanced, richly textured layers of cocoa, dark roasted coffee, leather, and a lively, lingering finish.” That pretty much sums it up.
I’m always excited about new blends, and this one is no exception, but, it’s also special to me because of its uniqueness. There’s a lot going on here. It’s both straight forward and complex. For me, it’s best enjoyed in smaller pipes; the flavors are intense, and a larger bowl could result in sensory overload. Of course, there are some rugged individualists out there for whom there’s no such thing as too much goodness, so if you love big bowls of big blends, go for it! But, be warned - this one is a little stronger than some of my blends, so wait until after dinner for that magnum full of Key Largo. I suggest a fine Cognac for accompaniment, and perhaps a classic Bogart film.
6th June, 2008: Posted by glpease in New Blends
Okay. The labels art is being put together by the brilliant guys at DOXA, and I’m getting excited. I’ll see the final art soon, and whenever I think about it, I find myself pirouetting about like a giddy school girl in a tutu. Wait. That’s someone else. Never mind.
I’ve hinted about this blend, but thought it might be good to say a few things about it. It’s a wonderful combination of red virginias, spiced with cigar leaf, a little Izmir oriental, and a bit of Cyprus Latakia. The mixture is pressed and aged in cakes, then sliced and gently broken up. The smoke has been described as “creamy,” and, for once, I don’t disagree with this application of an adjective that is far overused in the cigar world. (I’ve had a few “creamy” cigars, and have loved them, but they’ve been much fewer and farther between than the reviewers would have led me to believe - if I believed reviewers.) The cigar note is prominent, but not overwhelming. This isn’t like smoking a stogie in a pipe. The smoothness surrounds a richness and complexity that takes the smoker on a wonderful journey. It’s a little stout - not suited for big pipes, unless you’ve got the constitution for it, and like any blend with cigar leaf, it’s better smoked in one sitting.
If the amount of the prototype remaining in my jar is any indication (I’ve been smoking quite a bit of it), it’s going to be a popular blend. Whether it will compare with the Falcon’s rapid rise to fame is subject to speculation, but I am thrilled about this one, and hope it’ll at least grab at the Falcon’s tail feathers.
15th April, 2008: Posted by glpease in General News, New Blends
I know. It’s been ages since a news item appeared. I’ve received reams of email asking, “What’s new? What’s coming? Are you dead?”
I’m happy to report that I am not dead, though I did have some version of influenza that rendered me a walking, coughing zombie for a week or so. I seem to have recovered fully, or at least am in a very profound state of delusion that allows me to believe that I have. But, since more people were interested in any new tobacco coming down the wire than in my health, or lack of it, I’ll fuel the fires of gossip with a little tidbit. Read more…»
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