Key Largo - Final Approach

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.

Pipes for Charity

23rd June, 2008: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

My friend Luca, who operates the NeatPipes.com website, is doing something to help the people of China after the devastating earthquake of 12th May. He’s put a pair of very beautiful Castello canadians, one Sea Rock, and one Occhio de Pernice, up on Ebay, with all proceeds from the auction going to the Croce Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Cross), who are providing much needed aid to China.

This set was made by Castello to commemorate the fifth anniversary of NeatPipes. (Really, he’s just about to celebrate the sixth, so these sets are just a little late coming from the factory, but better late than never!) There were only five sets made, so this is a rare opportunity to get something truly special, and help others at the same time. My hat is off to Luca for doing this, and for all who have bid on the set, further demonstration of the pipester’s spirit of brotherhood and charity.

Photographs Available

6th June, 2008: Posted by glpease in Other Products

As readers of Pipes & Tobacco Magazine have already figured out, the photographs illustrating Erwin Van Hove’s article on Will Purdy in the Summer issue were taken by moi. It was quite a treat to open the post box, and see one of my own images gracing the cover of the mag. Even my five year old was so proud of his daddy - for about two minutes. I’ll take it.

A couple of folks have asked if they could get copies of the pictures. Why not? I’ve uploaded them, along with a few others, to my ImageKind gallery. They can be had in several sizes, and can even be put on greeting cards. Matting and framing are also available. The folks at ImageKind do an excellent job. Here’s your chance to decorate your office, and show those around you that pipes are beautiful things. Neill Archer Roan wrote something about the photographs, having some really nice things to say. Thanks, Neill!

I’ll be adding to the gallery, and periodically rotating images out for new ones. If one or more of them grab you, now you can put them on your wall!

Setting Sail for Key Largo

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.