Monday, September 26, 2011

God Save the Queen

Smeggin' hell, I love Englishes. No, not the people from England (don't get me wrong, there are some fine folks from there), but rather English tobaccos.

I embrace a certain theory about tobaccos, namely that, in most cases, certain styles of tobaccos go better with certain types of weather.

As of late, living in St. Louis and all, it has been slightly warm, slightly below room temperature in Hell. For this reason, I have been smoking almost exclusively Virginias and Virginia/Perique (VaPer) blends. There tend to go very well with warmer weather, for, much like cigars, they are pure, untampered, and not often terribly complex in flavors. I also enjoy aromatics while it's warm outside, mostly because other people tend to enjoy the smell of an aromatic, thus turning it into a social activity.

Recently, however, the weather has started started to cool, to the point of being able to see my breath recently at night. In order to celebrate, I dusted off my black Rind Rubens Rhodesian, a tightly sealed tin of McCranie's Hell's Gate (a Latakia and Oriental leaf blend), and headed outside.

I packed the tobacco lovingly, cherishing the different feel of an English tobacco (yes, it even feels different to the touch).. I packed the bowl using the Frank method, my personal favorite technique for a number of reasons, which I will address in a later discussion.

For a while, I just sat there with the pipe, without lighting it. I looked at the pipe, examined its shape, inspected the packed, and took a number of draws through the unlit pipe, tasting flavoring through the air that I had not tasting since the weather warmed up. It was sweet and spicy, with a little smokiness on the tail-end.

Finally, I pulled out my lighter and toasted the tobacco for the false-light. Goosebumps. I waited for the embers to die, gently flattened the tobacco back down, and lit it up once more.

I was overwhelmed by the flavors. Before I was even three puffs in, I literally exclaimed to no one, “My God, I love Englishes!” I took the pipe out of my mouth and looked at it, afraid I was imagining it. It truly was a great experience. Complex, yet perfect. Like a cup of hot chocolate, it warmed me from the inside, comforted me despite the cold weather.

Bringing out my cherished Englishes is one of the moments that I look most forward to: the changing of the leaves.

P.S. To make the bowl even better, it was a one light bowl, the whole way down. God save the Queen!

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