Sometimes, try as you might, you still find yourself running short of tobacco before your next order comes in. So, when you live 40 miles (65 kilometres) from the tobacconist, you either drive or find another solution.
Now, I fully admit to being a bit of a tobacco snob. I like expensive cigars, and costly tobaccos for my pipe.
So, the solution of “drugstore brand” has never occurred to me before this. My snobbishness is so exclusive that I haven’t considered smoking a drugstore brand in years, and shied away from them in all the time before that, even then knowing that there were better Brands out there.
Now, to be honest, I’m not all that familiar with drugstore Brands. I know Amphora is enough to make most people gag, everyone says Sail is tasteless, and Borkum Riff bites like a Jack Russell terrier, but that’s all. I have, in the past, smoked Colt tobacco, Drum, Bison and Old Port, but that was about 30 years ago, when that’s all an underage pipe smoker could get.
Now, I’m so much older, and I like to kid myself that I am more “sophisticated” now, but the truth is, I am a snob!
I am spoiled, pampered, and catered to when it comes to my vice, and I have honestly become a little mollycoddled to it. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when I found myself considering a trip to the supermarket, rather than the 40 mile trip to the tobacconist, and an over the counter brand of tobacco that costs, literally, 66% of the tobacco at the tobacconist.
Well, when I got to the supermarket I probably looked like a bit of a fool. I hobbled up to the customer service desk, and boldly asked the nine-year old salesclerk, “what sort of pipe tobacco do you sell?”
“I’m sorry sir,” she whined, in her most patronizing “talk slowly to the senile old man” voice, “I don’t think we sell that here. You might want to try the Rock And Smoke Shop, or the hemp store?”
Sigh… Angrily, I grabbed her by the front of her uniform and shook her vigorously, until a manager walked up, and asked if he could help me? Well, at least that’s what I would have done if I honestly were as old and senile as the toddler thought I was, but rather I requested to speak to the manager.
A very lovely woman of late middle age comes over from the till immediately behind me some 10 feet away and says, “I’m the duty manager, how can I help you?”
I explained my quandary to her, repeating my question, to which she replies, “is there some reason that Sarah can’t help you with this?”
I was about to explain the ignorance of the subject, by the teller, when Sarah, who I assume is the nine-year old, pipes up with, “I’m not allowed in the tobacco, I’m not old enough.” Obviously…You’re nine!
Slowly, my head turned towards her, and I blinked once sharply, before turning back to the manager and asking, flabbergasted, “then, why in Hel is she working the tobacco counter?!”
Equally flabbergasted, the manager simply tells Sarah to go man the till, while she deals with this customer, and proceeds to open the pipe tobacco shelf.
I see Amphora, two different types of Borkum Riff, Old Port, and three different flavors of Captain Black.
Captain Black! I’ve heard that it’s not too bad. While knowing that I can’t stomach the other three, and Old Port could only be thought of as something you would buy if their choice was that or cigarettes, I grab two pouches of Captain Black, one white, and one gold. The third choice was blue, and I resolved that if I like these ones at all, I would give that one a try.
Retiring to my captain’s quarters (minivan), I take the booty (tobacco) in hand and resolve to keep half (smoke it) whilst burying the other half (putting aside for later). Now, to decide which half…
My decision is, establish a baseline first. Therefore I decide to try the white and save the gold. So, sitting in the parking lot I fish around in my pocket and come up with my Brigham Partially rusticated 354 Mountaineer. I consider that Val Shannahan sent me this pipe, and it’s a good candidate for a new adventure in tobacco. Subsequently, using the aluminum tamper sent to me by Rick Kopf at Rick Black Pipes, I pack a bowl with the good ol’ Captain Black white.
I was a little shocked at first by the absolutely wonderful bag note that emanated when I opened it, and soon found it delightful. The ribbon cut tobacco is neither too moist, nor too dry, and the exceptionally broad bowl of the Brigham takes a hefty pinch of tobacco to fill. Light the lighter, touch flame to the tobacco, and puff cheerily.
As I begin to drive, the mountaineer clinched in my teeth, I’m immediately struck by how smooth the tobacco is. So smooth in fact, that I have forgotten that I inhaled last draw, and inhale again. Coupled with the fact that drugstore tobaccos tend to have more nicotine in them, and I was soon buzzing without having finished the bowl.
When I arrived home, still puffing on my pipe and buzzing away on the nicotine high, I had concluded that this was a decent tobacco, and I couldn’t figure why I hadn’t tried it before.
My family was generally impressed with the room note of the tobacco, and said it reminded them of French vanilla coffee.
In the Brigham Mountaineer, the bowl took a very long time to smoke, almost an hour in fact, but interestingly, the tobacco did not get very gurgly at the bottom of the bowl, and the dottle was minimal.
Good job on both the pipe and the tobacco! A win for Scandinavian Tobacco Group Lane Ltd.
So, what’s in it you ask? Black Cavendish, Cavendish, Burley and a little Broadleaf Virginia, topped with a Vanilla casing. Did I mention that I am not a fan of either Cavendish, or cased tobaccos? Do you think I am a liar yet?
I had to do a little research as to where you could buy this tobacco online, but unsurprisingly it is readily available. Smokingpipes.com had this to say about it;
The Captain Black blends are a line of aromatic Cavendish concoctions that enjoy an immensely widespread popularity the world over. This, the original mixture, combines rich black Cavendish with mellow Burleys.
And they sell it, HERE, for $5.83 USD for a 1.5 ounce bag. Economically speaking, you can buy a 12 ounce can, HERE, for $38.06 USD, getting eight times the amount of tobacco, and saving $8.58 USD. The tobacco is actually good enough that it might be worth spending that kind of money on.
Don’t know what I was expecting, perhaps a gagging reflex, but what I got was a decent, all around good smoking, good smelling, cheap tobacco. Don’t know how much of this I will smoke in the future, after all I’m still a snob, but I just might invest in the 12 ounce can.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!