Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tobacco Poem IV

A Fool's Lament

Tobacco, delicacious, lovely, finest of all herbs
To smoke thee into peaceful bliss, to calm my weary nerves:
That is my wistful wish; but how new troubles worry me!
Bound to thee is an iron chain, twined round what once was free.

What folly, ask you, grips me so, envelopes me in pain?
My will's wing'd legs bereft of flight, my mind bewrecked and sprained?
A vow I made, like foolish Faust: I am most cruelly bound
Six poems for six months into this blog I must impound.

I dream of fonder scents, of Cavendish, that noble smoke
While whistling airs of spring doth sway the maple and the oak:
While whirs of bird-wings flit the skies amongst the apple trees
I write Tobacco Poetry, rather than be at ease.

For on the final day of every month, I fear 'tis Fate
To cause me thus, an Orpheus, to sing woeful and great.
To smoke, O peaceful excellence for which Toback' exists:
And yet instead I drudge at this mere dreaming of sweet bliss.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A. N. Wilson On Tobacco Bans & Literature

In a brilliant, off the cuff article from 2007, A.N. Wilson, writer for the Telegraph, asks the question of smoking bans: "Is this the end of English literature?"

"I have been racking my brains to find a single non-smoker among the great English poets or novelists of the 17th, 18th, 19th or 20th centuries. Possibly, Keats had to lay off the pipe tobacco a bit after he developed tuberculosis."

"Tennyson, who only stopped smoking in order to eat and sleep, describes in one of his letters sitting in a pub with a friend and doing very little except 'staring smokey babies' at one another."

"Sitting with my drink in such now-empty bars, my mind has turned to the great smokers of the past - to C S Lewis, who smoked 60 cigarettes a day between pipes with his friends Charles Williams (cigarette smoker) and Tolkien (pipe-smoker); to Thomas Carlyle, whose wife made him smoke in the kitchen of their house in Cheyne Row, but who is unimaginable without tobacco, to Robert Browning, who quickly adapted to the new cigarette craze, to the great John Cowper Powys, who continued to smoke cigarettes, and to produce fascinating novels, into his nineties."

Read the full article on the Telegraph website.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Most Expensive Pipe Tobacco

Well, most expensive on pipesandcigars.com.

So I was poking my way through the inner nets and looking around for a really expensive blend to try out. I was surprised to find that most blends were around $10 for a 50oz tin, about 1.75 or 1.76 ounces. They really ranged from $8 to $12. Well that got me wondering, as I lit up my first bowl of McConnell's Scottish Cake, what the most expensive pipe tobaccos in the world are. Couldn't find a list online so I compiled one myself:

1 Dunhill
Deluxe Navy Rolls
$14.33
Va/Per

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Hall of Fame
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Latham Circle
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Manor Heights
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Mohawk River
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Old Kinderhook
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Patroon Island
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Saratoga Summer
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Stockade
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Sycaway
$13.99
Aromatic

2 Heath & Home
Landmark Vischer Ferry
$13.99
Aromatic

12 Davidoff
Flake Medallions
$13.89
Va/Per

13 McConnell
Latakia Flake
$13.65
English

13 McConnell
Scottish Flake
$13.65
Virginia

15 McConnell
Pure Caribe
$13.10
Cigar Leaf

15 McConnell
Pure Latakia
$13.10
Latakia

15 McConnell
Pure Perique
$13.10
Perique

18 Vauen
160 Year Anniversary
$12.71
Va + Cinnamon

19 McConnell
Black & Gold
$12.38
Aromatic

19 McConnell
Glen Piper
$12.38
Oriental

19 McConnell
Maduro
$12.38
Virginia

19 McConnell
Oriental
$12.38
Scottish

19 McConnell
Red Virginia
$12.38
Aromatic

19 McConnell
Rich, Dark Virginia
$12.38
Aromatic

19 McConnell
Ripe Honeydew
$12.38
Aromatic

19 McConnell
Scottish Blend
$12.38
Va/Per

19 McConnell
Scottish Cake
$12.38
Virginia

19 McConnell
Special London Mature
$12.38
Virginia

19 McConnell
Special London Mild
$12.38
Virginia

30 Davidoff
Danish Mixture
$11.98
Danish

30 Davidoff
English Mixture
$11.98
English

30 Davidoff
Royalty Mixture
$11.98
English

30 Davidoff
Scottish Mixture
$11.98
Aromatic

34 Vauen
Exotic # 10
$11.90
Black Cav + Va

34 Planta
Original Danish
$11.90
Danish

And for those curious:
Aromatics 15
Black Cav 1
Cigar Leaf 1
Danish 2
English 3
Latakia 1
Oriental 1
Perique 1
Scottish 1
Virginia 6
Va/Per 3

Or by Dominant Note:
Aromatic 15
Black Cav 1
Danish 2
Latakia 6
Pure Leaf 4
Va/Per 3

+++

Here is my initial observation: The most expensive pipe tobacco in the world costs $14.33 for a 50g tin. A bowl is between 3 and 5 grams. Therefore, each tin will give between 10 and 17 bowls. Each of those bowls cost $.86 to $1.43. Therefore, to smoke the Pipe Equivalent of a Padron Anniversary 1926 80 Years or Opus X would be like smoking those for less than a buck a stick to a buck forty-three a stick. And my friends wonder why one of my New Year's Resolutions was "Smoke more pipe." They wonder this while I share my pipe tobacco with them and they jealously guard their cigars.