The Time We Are Given

The Time We Are Given – A Pipefuls Project

Gandolf with Pipe

The ultimate question.  What do we do with the time we are given?  First and foremost, please excuse my absence.  Those of you who have followed my YouTube Channel and this blog know that it has been almost a full year since I have created any content.  I openly admit, that has been on purpose.  Believe me, the itch to write and/or create a video about the hobby I love, and support, has been nothing short of difficult, however, I felt I truly needed to step away for a stint.  Why you may ask?  This time a year ago, I was becoming ever increasingly upset with the self-loathing and disheartening greed I was witnessing in the online pipe community, specifically the YTPC (monetization whining).  Please don’t misunderstand, some of the greatest pipe smokers I’ve now come to call close friends started from the YouTube brother/sisterhood.  The stories, advice, and interaction with others who enjoy pipe smoking, via social media, is an exceptional experience as local options are not always easily available.  My time away from it all (minus Instagram where I remained active) allowed me to reflect on those experiences and thus help me come to an inner peace with such circumstances.  If a pipe smoker/presenter choses to use their channel or media outlet to complain about monetization and such, so be it.  It’s their channel.  If individuals enjoy watching and supporting such nonsense.  So be it.  It’s their time.  But the breaking point for me was the tragedy and unexpected passing of John Harden (Matches860).

Matches860 Picture

One year ago, my original analysis and presumptions of the pipe community (as detailed above) were the driving factor for my taking a sabbatical from it all.  Being able to stand back and observe everything and everyone with the passing of Matches860 has redirected my thinking.  The amount of love and passion for an individual, that 90% of the web-based community had never actually met in person, was and is extraordinary.  You may think your 100 subscribers isn’t a big deal, but it is.  You may think the 5-10 minute video of you talking about and smoking your pipes doesn’t matter.  It does.  Those pictures you post on Instagram of the snow, ice, and Captain Black you are smoking, they’re appreciated.  The pipe community isn’t about making money from viewers.  It’s not about showcasing how big our tobacco cellars or pipe collections are.  It’s about stories.  The stories of great people such as Matches860.  The stories of a time long forgotten.  The stories that make each of us different yet unite us under one common hobby…the hobby of pipe smoking.  For years, Matches860 was the lynchpin for the hobby.  He chose to use the time he had been given to share his love and passion for pipe smoking with each of us on a regular basis.  His ability to tell a captivating story and share his experiences was nothing short of inspiring.  John will certainly be missed, however, his impact and influence on each of us, that followed him via online community media, will never be forgotten.  Thank you, John, for helping open my eyes to the bigger picture of the online pipe community.  For giving me my first shout out within the YTPC, and for always being true to yourself and the hobby.  Rest well my friend.

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My time away from the online pipe community has also allowed for reflection of my own presentation. Although I have enjoyed making YouTube videos, I have always dabbled with others means to expand our hobby to the world.  It seems of late that the overreaching body we call government continues to burn down bridges for us lovers of fine tobaccos making it harder and harder to enjoy a simple pleasure such as, smoking a pipe.  My first consideration was some type of newsletter or quarterly written journal that would be published for those interested.  I even discussed this option in some of my YouTube videos and Pipe Professor blog posts.  In the end, this option proved to be both costly and content time laden. I enjoy writing and will continue to post unique articles and stories here on The Pipe Professor webpage but not everyone enjoys and/or has the time to read on a regular basis.  Therefore, my I went back to a medium I had tried in the past but hadn’t planned well for or know much about…podcasting.

Microphone Picture

Previously, I had recorded and published a few podcast episodes under The Pipe Professor Podcast show name.  Although those episodes had quite a few downloads and a good response, my lack of planning and preparation hindered the show’s success.  Further, I didn’t like the idea of the podcast being named after my handle and the heading of this webpage (remember, I was fighting with the self-loathing issue around this period – see above).  Well, let this post be the announcement that I will be attempting to make another run in the podcast pipe community paradigm.  As the time we are given is precious, I want to use my time to support the pipe community and others within the pipe community.  Matches860 gave us a perfect example of the wonderful stories each person has to share, and I want the podcast to be that avenue for sharing.  And, since the time we are given is limited, what better way to support the hobby while maximizing your time than with a podcast?  Cutting the grass and want to hear some pipe related conversation, tune in to the podcast.  Driving to work and tired of listening to bad music and political news reports?  Tune in to the podcast.  At work and looking for a way to pass the time while still appearing busy?  Tune in to the podcast.  My goal is for the podcast to focus on interviewing not only the high-profile people in the pipe community, but any and all pipe smokers.  That’s right, no matter who you are or what you do, I think you’re worth talking to.  Why?  Because you’re a pipe smoker.  Hipster?  Codger? Academic? Blue collar?  It doesn’t matter, in my eyes anyone who smokes a pipe has an interesting story worth hearing.  So, be on the lookout for Pipefuls – A podcast for pipe and tobacco enthusiasts (launching in March 2020).

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Thanks again for your patience and continued support while I have been away.  I am both eager and hopeful in this upcoming journey and will need everyone’s support to help get things off the ground.  Because the best thing we can do with the time we are given, is give back to others.  Until next time, cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2017

Happy New Year 2017

I must admit that 2017 was full of many great bowls of pipe tobacco and for the first time in my life, I smoked my pipe more than cigars.  In previous years, I have wholeheartedly been a cigar smoker who also smoked a pipe.  Well it is now official, I am a pipe smoker who still dabbles in cigars.  But let’s not be too quick to celebrate.  During 2017 we also experienced several major political shifts and finally received more insight into the deeming FDA regulations.  With this being said, I feel the tobacco industry has a strong foothold regarding deeming legislation, but there is still much more to come in 2018.  Fingers crossed for hopeful outcomes in the new year.

In this post, you will find my top 5 pipe tobaccos along with my top 2 disappointments for 2017.  Similar to years past, if you follow my YouTube channel, these two blends either didn’t hold up to the quality level I find appropriate or just didn’t mend well with my own palate.  I do however understand, that with any natural product, the future may hold different outcomes as my own taste desires shift and tobacco changes over time.  In all, I am excited to share with you the full scope of my enjoyments and disappointments for 2017.  I hope you enjoy the following list and stay tuned for my Top 5 Cigars of 2017.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Tobacco #5 for 2017

4 Noggins Bald Headed Teacher

Bald Headed Teacher Pic

Info & Overview

Brand: 4 Noggins

Category: Burley

Blend Components: Burley; Latakia; Virginia

Flavorings: Unknown

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: Bulk

Price: $4.10 USD per ounce

Tasting Notes: Although I have smoked this blend consistently over the past 3 years, it has never made an appearance on any of my Top 5 lists.  Today, that all changes.  Bald Headed Teacher by 4 Noggins is what I classify as a Burley based crossover blend.  Nutty and sweet with tasting notes of vanilla, wood, cinnamon, and earthy richness, this is an excellent blend for someone looking to make the switch from Aromatics to English or vice versa.

 

Tobacco #4 for 2017

W.O. Larsen 2017 Craftsman Edition

WO Larsen Craftsman Edition Pic

Info & Overview

Brand: W.O. Larsen

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Burley; Virginia

Flavorings: Almond

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 100g tin

Price: $16.85 USD

Tasting Notes: There are times when you can just taste the quality in the base tobaccos used within a blend.  W.O. Larsen 2017 Craftsman Edition is certainly one of those examples.  This blend has a soft, mild characteristic to its smoke and yields a very pleasant room note.  Tasting notes of graham cracker, nuts, and creamy milk are part of this tobacco’s profile.  I would certainly advise you to pick a tin up, if you can still find it.

 

Tobacco #3 for 2017

John Aylesbury Dragon Flake

Dragon Flake Pic

Info & Overview

Brand: John Aylesbury

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Burley; Virginia

Flavorings: Caramel; Maple; Vanilla

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $13.50 USD

Tasting Notes: Sometimes you encounter a tobacco that has a perfect presentation in the tin.  John Ayelsbury’s Dragon Flake is without a doubt one of those tobaccos (to see pictures of the tobacco fresh out of the tin visit my review of Dragon Flake from earlier this year).  This tobacco showed tastes of sweet fruits, vanilla, chocolate, and wood.  The room note is absolutely wonderful and the tobacco performed well after having a little dry time.  I highly recommend John Aylesbury Dragon Flake to those seeking a quality, satisfying, sweet smoke.

 

Tobacco #2 for 2017

Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding Pic

Info & Overview

Brand: Seattle Pipe Club

Category: Balkan

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Cavendish; Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Krumble Kake

Available Packaging: 2oz or 8oz tin

Price: $13.00 USD (2oz); $37.50 (8oz)

Tasting Notes:  Being a running contender for the #1 spot this year, Seattle Pipe Club’s Plum Pudding is a Balkan blend you don’t want to pass up.  Presented in large, thickly sliced flakes, this krumble kake is easily rubbed out and packaged at a ready to smoke moisture level.  The Latakia gives this blend a nice smoky characteristic while the Virginia and Black Cavendish tobaccos partner to provide a grassy, molasses sweetness.  Pipe smokers will note the creamy, spicy, fruity sweetness this blend offers while providing a wonderful room note that can be enjoyed by smoker and non-smoker alike.  Although, on the pricier side, this tobacco is well worth the extra coin.  Pick a tin up and enjoy everything this blend has to offer.

 

Tobacco #1 for 2017

John Cotton’s Number 1

John Cotton's Number 1 picture

Info & Overview

Brand: Standard Tobacco Company (Lane, Ltd.)

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 1.75oz tin

Price: $12.00 USD

Tasting Notes: I must thank the Pipes and Tobaccos magazine’s Trial by Fire column for peaking my interest in this blend.  Similar to Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe (in my own opinion), John Cotton’s Number 1 produces a thick, creamy smoke that gives way to a well-balanced tasting profile of cedar, grassy sweetness, vanilla, and a mild spice wrapped around a campfire smokiness.  This blend is ready to smoke out of the tin and will certainly provide a consistent smoke to be enjoyed year-round.

 

Top Two Tobacco Disappointments of 2017

Cornell & Diehl Father the Flame

Father the Flame Pic

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Burley; Latakia; Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Mixture

Available Packaging: 2oz tin

Price: $10.63 USD

Tasting Notes: This very well could be an example of what happens when someone (me) sets their expectations too high.  The producers of this blend, Cornell & Diehl (C&D), describe it as a “Straight Up English”, which sounded like something I may enjoy.  To this point I have purchased, cellared, and enjoyed several of C&D’s Small Batch series tobaccos.  Father the Flame is the change in this trend.  Let me be fair by saying there is nothing ‘wrong’ with this blend.  In fact, the presentation, moisture level, and performance of the tobacco were all good.  However, my overall experience with the tobacco was just, meh….  I smoked through ½ a tin and have no desire to finish the remaining half or purchase more.  At best, I can summarize my enjoyment with this tobacco as just mediocre.  I am certain there will be several of you who will enjoy this tobacco, and rightly so, but it’s just not for me.

 

W.O. Larsen 1864 Perfect Mixture

WO Larsen 1864 pic

Info & Overview

Brand: W. O. Larsen

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Burley; Virginia

Flavorings: Amaretto; Cocoa; Chocolate; Coffee; Fruit; Citrus; Orange; Whiskey

Cut Type: Coarse Cut

Available Packaging: 100g tin

Price: $16.25 USD

Tasting Notes: As I purchased several W. O. Larsen blends this year, some of them I enjoyed, others I did not.  The W. O. Larsen 1864 Perfect Mixture is one of the blends that earned its way to my short list.  Maybe due to the extreme number of flavorings added to the tobacco, yes, it’s a lengthy list – see above, or maybe the tobacco quality was poor?  Either way, this blend was a soggy, wet mess out of the tin.  When smoked, the tastes reminded me of a damp moss/floral flavor.  I attempted to smoke this blend in several different pipes, and no matter the size or material of the tool, the outcome remained the same.  For me, this tobacco is just plain gross and I will not be purchasing more in the future.  Not recommended to those seeking enjoyment in their pipe.

 

Again, thank you for visiting The Pipe Professor website.  I hope you have enjoyed my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2017 and please stay tuned for more reviews and exciting content in the upcoming year.  As always, I hope each of you have a blessed 2018 and until next time, cheers!

* All tobacco/tin pictures and blend information (excluding tasting notes) were taken from tobaccoreviews.com and smokingpipes.com.  The writer of this post is not the owner of the above photos/blend information related to each tobacco and does not take credit for their creation.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

What to Expect on The Pipe Professor Website

Greetings and thank you for taking the time to stop by my website.  As we get things started up here at The Pipe Professor I want to first make you aware of the different segments you may encounter on this site.  First, The Pipe Professor webpage content will not be limited to only pipe tobacco reviews.  Although this will be a large part of what is posted, it will not be the only thing you can expect as the reader.  Other topics include cigar reviews, short stories, literature analyses, libation reviews, and general discussion.  The intent of this blog is to expose and interact with others who may share some of the same interests as myself.  I cannot promise that everything posted will be of significance to all readers, however, I will do my best to always provide my audience with entertaining and informative material so that together we can reflect on the small, but subtle, beauties life has to offer.

Old Gentleman Smoking a Pipe

A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

The first type of content readers of this website will encounter are entitled A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry.  These segments will be composed of information, thoughts, rants, and reflections related to subjects that are currently on my mind.  You can probably bet that 99% of the topics discussed under A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry segment will be pipe or tobacco related, but no guarantees that I won’t sneak a curve ball in from time to time.

Pipe Tobacco & Cigar Reviews

Pipe tobacco reviews, along with cigar reviews, are self-explanatory.  I want to be upfront that reviews of any type are always subjective.  Even in your favorite YouTube presenters’ videos, magazines, and other media.  They are all just someone’s opinion (and sometimes those opinions are purchased for a ‘good review’ to be posted…you won’t find that here).  Therefore, if I like a tobacco you don’t or hate a product you fancy, that’s ok.  There will always be differences in opinion and philosophy.  How we (you the reader and me the writer) interact on those differences will be the way we learn from one another on this journey.  Below you will find a breakdown of the scoring for pipe tobacco and cigar reviews.

Pipes Rating Chart

Cigars Rating Chart

Mystery Tobacco Reviews

Along with regular un-blind cigar and pipe tobacco reviews you will also find a segment called Mystery Tobacco Reviews.  These postings will be blind reviews of pipe tobaccos from different individuals including myself.  I will be sending out unmarked pipe tobacco samples, that will be selected by my wife, to other pipe smokers so we can do an objective and unbiased review of the tobacco for the readers of this website.  Each reviewer will smoke the same blend and give their thoughts and rating of the tobacco.  I will compile each of the reviewers’ comments and post them for all to see with an overall culminating score for the tobacco.  After this is complete, together, we will find out what the mystery tobacco was on the day of the posting.  Should be interesting!

Short Stories

I must admit that sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have the occupation of fictional author.  The thought of writing down the fantasy world in my head for others to live and enjoy has an odd but appealing intrigue to it.  Not that anyone cares about the make-believe stories I have to tell, but I feel it will be something offbeat and interesting to share with all of you.  Let this be my disclaimer.  In no shape or form am I promising this material to be good, so if you are expecting the next Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, think again.

Literature Analysis

Unlike reviews, these Literature Analyses will provide you with a breakdown of books, movies, media, games, etc. that I am currently consuming.  You will find that I may give my opinion regarding specific characteristics and details, or tell you if I enjoyed the product, but do not plan to do full-scale reviews.  Thus, presented for your pleasure, the analysis.

Libation Reviews

Who doesn’t like a good drink now and again?  I know I sure do, and since I reside in a region of the country where bourbon flows like water, why not share some of these rare gems with the lot of ya?! When appropriate, readers of this blog may find themselves exposed to some of the greater adult beverages on the market.  From wine, beer, and whiskey, to bourbon, rum, and gin, keep your eyes peeled for a those off-hand Libation Reviews to come.

So, without further rambling, I hope you enjoy the content here at The Pipe Professor, and I look forward to exploring interesting subjects with you throughout this journey.  If you have questions or comments feel free to contact me through the contact tab or at: thepipeprofessor@gmail.com.

Till next time, cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature