Phew. I think I’m still recovering from the insanity of last week. After back to back tastings, we also hit the dreaded deadline of May 20th. That meant that all the new laws officially came into place for retailers, so a large quantity of our stock had to be taken off the shelves. We’re still working our way through the fallout of this, with many disappointed customers finding out that they can no longer buy a small portion of tobacco (or any portion of flavoured rolling tobacco.) The new “Plain” tobacco packaging is going down exactly as well as expected too, but never mind!

Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives about. If you’re looking for small portions of tobacco, the rule doesn’t apply to coarse cut/pipe tobacco, so the you can still buy little portions of it. If you’re missing the massive Auld Kendal range of flavoured rolling tobacco, you’ll be pleased to know that the Kendal range offers the exact same range of flavours. While it is technically for pipes, I know many people use it as an alternative for cigarette tobacco, so at least there’s something to fill the void!

Alternatively, you can buy Flavouring Sprays or Cards that will alter the flavour of pretty much anything you put them with. So, all is not lost!

Anyway, I’m currently sitting out in my garden in beautiful sunshine, enjoying a pipe that I’d almost forgotten about: My Falcon. I brought this ages ago, but I ended up putting it away and it’s been years since I last picked it up, until I spotted it a few days ago.  After a quick clean up, I lit up a bowl of Rattray’s Marlin Flake (Treacle in a bowl!) and wondered why I ever stopped smoking it in the first place. If you haven’t seen one before; Falcon pipes have a stem that is entirely made of metal and has a very thin, central passageway for the smoke to pass through. This makes for an unbelievably smooth and cool smoke. Off of the top of my head, I can’t think of any other pipes that do something like this, so it certainly makes them unique. For me, that feature alone is impressive enough, but they have a few other tricks up their sleeves.

Falcons are also one of the only pipes I’ve ever seen that have interchangeable bowls! Rather than attaching at the shank like most pipes, the bowl is screwed directly on top of the stem and smoke is drawn through a hole at the bottom. This makes it easy to mix it up and experiment with different shapes. You can buy the bowls directly from our Chester Store. As a final unique twist, they also use a “Dry Ring”. This is a small ring made out of the same stuff as pipe cleaners, it sits under the bowl and soaks up some of the unpleasant goop (excuse the complicated jargon) to give an extra clean smoke.

Considering how much you get, I think they’re pretty good value at £31.99, so I’d definitely recommend trying one out if you’re looking for a new pipe to try, They’re really quite unlike anything else on the market!

Anyway, it looks like we’re in for a bit of a heatwave, doesn’t it? So just for tradition’s sake, here’s a quick mini-entry for my obligatory annual “My top smokes for enjoying on a hot day because we finally have nice weather for a change”-blog!

Samuel Gawith’s English Summer Flake – I tried this for the first time today and it came as a very refreshing surprise. A lot of “Summer” blends tend to lean towards traditionally summery things: Flowers, red fruit, tropical fruit, sun tan lotion, etc., etc.  This blend goes the other way and is a simple, uncased, Virginia flake with subtly sweet flavour with occasional natural hints of citrus and straw. Stays very easy and pleasant throughout and leaves a clean finish.

Romeo y Julieta – Wide Churchill – Obligatory cigar mention! I’m not always into Romeos, but I find these really hit the spot. The extra few millimetres in the gauge allows for a flavour that is more complex than the average Romeo, but still remains mellow. Satisfyingly huge clouds of smoke that never get too heavy for a hot day.

New Prince – This is a great example of a and aromatic blend that takes “aromatic” pretty literally. It has a very pronounced, crisp maple and vanilla aroma, but the flavour is actually extremely subtle. Light, golden tobacco adds to the overall mellow taste of it, so it will never be too heavy for when you don’t want to clog up your palate.

Of course, it also goes without saying that the aforementioned Falcon pipes are also a great choice for hot weather, due to how clean and cool they smoke!

Until next time, put that in your pipe and smoke it!


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