Didn't think I'd be back so soon, did you? Good, like to keep you on your toes. I may be changing the description of my blog soon. As I said last time, I've been spending more and more time with other hobbies, plus, I haven't had the stretches of time necessary to enjoy a pipe as often as when I started this thing. To that end, I may be throwing in yammering about music, modern culture, science, or why at times I wish I could have been gay (Today's my 10th anniversary, by the way). Is that O.K. with everybody? I'll still try to focus on the pipe stuff, but this may get me to the keyboard more than twice a year.
Speaking of pipes, I'm currently smoking a Virginia/Perique concoction of my own.....concocting..... out of a Peterson Shamrock billiard. The blend is something I have started calling "Virginia Assembly" because it's several other blends (which weren't great on their own for one reason or another) thrown together, and then balanced out with a measure (or several) of Perique, and a breath of Oriental. Learning from my own mistakes (See "The Terror and Delight of Blending your own" an earlier post) I mix in a larger container now, before stuffing the blend into a jar. The English melting pot has mellowed out through the same practice. I call it "English commonwealth" now. Clever names seem to help distract me from the mediocrity of the tobacco. I smoke them because they don't upset me like their individual components, and they make me appreciate the actual GOOD tobaccos that I have. I am also too cheap to throw anything away.
Speaking of cheap, don't shy away from from the so-called "drug store" blends. They are often affordable alternatives to fancy tobacconist choices, and several are quite good in their own right. Captain Black is always popular, and easy to find. It comes in several varieties, all aromatic, but none are too sweet. If you are lucky enough to find Half and Half, Carter Hall, Granger, or Kentucky Club, give them a chance. These are all Burley or Burley/Virginia blends with a long history of quality and consistency. In the case of Kentucky club, it is a cube cut Burley. These can be tricky to smoke the first time out, but once you figure out how to keep it burning without plugging up your pipe, I find it mild, pleasant, and just downright fantastic for the price. Walnut is a rare blend, but one of the only off-the-shelf English blends around. I haven't tried any yet myself, but I've heard it compared to Frog Morton, a perennial favorite among English smokers. I'm not saying you'll love them all, our opinions are bound to differ, but those little pouches behind the counter hold a world of delight for the pipe smoker. If it comes in a two pound bag, it's probably not worth gambling on, though.