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No 305 March 7, 2013

Savinelli and Lorenzo

The Italian Masters!
But how different they are.

It is always a pleasure to visit our two longest standing pipe suppliers – both now over 30 years – and each visit provides something new, or different.

Savinelli continues to produce beautiful pipes in the middle and top end ranges – always with a twist.
This year, to limited markets, comes a range of 6 models presented in elegant, soft leather pouches in several colours – you pair the pipe and pouch.
We are looking at one or two other new ideas, and are glad to see that both the Spring and Siena ranges have been retained.

“Collection 2013”
The “Collection 2013” is, as usual, an “out of the box” shape for Savinelli, but quite exquisite and should smoke well – also as usual.

Leonardo da Vinci series: the “Clavi Viola”, based on one of his musical inventions
“Collection 2013”This year, we see the last of the Leonardo da Vinci series: the “Clavi Viola”, based on one of his musical inventions. The  pipe has a flared bowl with a half bent triangular shank and tapered mouthpiece, a combination that really comes together to produce, in my opinion, the most beautiful shape in the range.

Our selections from Savinelli will be available mid-2013 and "Clavio Viola" in early 2014.

Lorenzo, in addition to his Italian-made originals, is without doubt the best producer of “Value pipes” in Europe. We try to be well stocked all year round with these entry level pipes, mostly fitted with unsnappable 9mm Teflon pegs.

However, when we visit we ferret for something different in his paper covered trays of odds and ends.
Some very elegant, higher-graded Lula shapes in a satin black finish and fitted with an elegant silver ring caught our eye.
We ordered them, along with a few other irregular shapes and finishes, and some standard lines which we found in his stock room. Riccardo said he would send the order after the Ambiente show. It should be shipped in the course of March.
We shall now wait and see:  what arrives, and when.

In the meantime, for the first time, we will offer a discount off all Savinelli and Lorenzo pipes.

For the period March 14 – 27, 2013 we offer
20% off
ALL Savinelli and Lorenzo pipes

The choice is yours, and the selection to choose from covers all shapes and budgets.

Visit the Wesley’s website (www.wesleys.co.za), make a choice and have it sent to your nearest Wesley’s bricks and mortar, if they don’t have it in stock. You will save 20% and any shipping charges.

Don’t miss this opportunity to add Italian flair to your collection!

Colin Wesley

No.305  March 7 - 20, 2013

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No 306 - March 21, 2013


Almost as dangerous as too little humidification!

Keeping your cigars in good condition:

The objective of humidification is to create an environment similar to the humid climate of the islands and countries where most premium handmade cigars are made.

Before the days of air conditioning for small shops, homes and offices, we had all sort of problems with our humidification in the Durban summer – the problem was not to humidify, but how to keep the relative humidity below 70%.
Today with air conditioning in homes, and offices, this problem is not as prevalent - BUT there is still the danger that people worry so much about their cigars going dry that they over-humidify their humidors.

The first, obvious signs of this happening are: excessive sponginess, warping wrappers and even bursting at the foot.
Cigar DamageOnce they burst beyond the foot, they are finished! Otherwise – just cut the foot off.
If they haven’t burst, they become difficult to light and the draw is heavy.

Cigar DamageIf you notice this, remove the cigars from your humidor and place them in some open receptacle, lined with cedar wood, in a cool darkened place for a few days. (You can use the cedar sheets from your boxes of cigars.)

Make sure there are no signs of mould on them – this is usually a greenish blue colour with an odour. If there is, remove the contaminated cigars. Clean out the humidor thoroughly with a dry cloth and leave it open – check the humidity level regularly to make sure it is not higher than 70%.

A common contributor to over-humidification is the temperature in the humidor. Cigars should be stored at 65% to 70% relative humidity, at a temperature of around 70° Fahrenheit (about 21° Centigrade).
At higher temperatures, the Relative Humidity reading should be lower.
The analogue hygrometers fitted in many humidors are neither very accurate nor reliable, and a thermometer of any kind is seldom fitted.
More useful are the Digital Hygrometers which show Temperature as well as Relative Humidity.

If you are serious about your cigars, and would like to know exactly what is happening in your humidor, then these are a worthwhile investment.

To assist you to check your humidors for humidity and temperature we will offer:

25% off
Digital Hygrometers
Only from  March 28 to April 10, 2013!
Only from Wesley’s shops and website!

Before the Highveld winter sets in and the air dries up, take this opportunity to ensure your cigars are resting comfortably.
If you are not in the Highveld re-assure yourself that you are not running the risk of over-humidification.

Colin Wesley

No.306  March 21 – April 3, 2013

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No 307 - April 4, 2013

Refurbished and Refurbishing

Regular visitors to our website will be aware of the value and beauty of the refurbished pipes we periodically offer.
Those pipesmokers whose details are on our database will remember that they receive a link 2 days ahead of the general public to view the pipes and maybe make a selection.

Maybe you are reading this and don’t know anything about refurbished pipes – “mature pipes”:
They have one thing in common, they are nearly all quality pipes from the leading brands; they haven’t been too badly battered and most have their original mouthpieces.
These pipes come from many sources – an estate, a smoker who has had to give up, a pipe that just didn’t suit the smoker. We have the pipe sterilised, cleaned and polished to restore its mature, dignified appearance – like a nice piece of antique furniture. At this stage we assess each pipe individually – finish, grain, condition, flaws, weight, value of the brand.
Sometimes this requires some googling – we’re always learning.
Where does the Comoy “Castleton” fit into the Comoy range, and the “Tawny Saddle”?
We’ve met Eric Nording, but were unfamiliar with the Nording Quail pipe from his “Hunting Series”.
The Dunhills are always fun – there is such a history to the brand.
Although we’ve visited the Butz Choquin factory in St.Claude (in the French Jura Mountains) it was a long time ago and we’d not seen the stunning Mirage.
We learnt a little about Irish hallmarking from the silver-banded Petersons.
Of course we know the value of the Savinelli pipes – even the out-of-production “Sherwood” and certainly the beautiful “Siena”.
They’re all there in the current selection of mature refurbished pipes - on view from April 11.
UNLESS ……..  your details are on our database, in which case you’ll receive the preview link.
Complete the Sweepstake entry form – we will capture your details, and this will also put you in the draw for a free pipe (value R895.00)
• If you have any reservations about smoking a pipe that has been smoked by somebody else – consider the response given to this concern by a sensible shopkeeper: “You don’t take your own knife and fork to a restaurant, do you?”

Now what about your own collection?
The next time you sit down to enjoy your pipe, take a good look at it.
Does it look clean and healthy?
How does it compare with the “Before and After” picture on the refurbished screen?
Maybe it could do with a little TLC.
What’s needed:
1. Inside the mouthpiece, bowl and shank - clean out the accumulation of tars and juices;
2. Inside the bowl - keep the carbon layer under control;
3. Outside of the mouthpiece - remove any oxidation;
4. Outside of the bowl – restore the glow;
5. Long term protection for the whole pipe.
The Dunhill Silicone Pipe Care Cloth: 100% waxed cotton - Rub lightly over the surface of bowl and mouthpiece after cleaning and polishing. Protects the pipe with an invisible film of silicone wax.
6. Check the tenon (peg).
Does it slide easily in and out? If not, remove sticky residue with pipe cleaner spray or liquid, then lubricate it by wiping with a silicone cloth, or rubbing with a pencil.
Follow the step-by-step, detailed instructions for DIY refurbishment

We have all that you need, and …………………….

For the period April  11-24, 2013 we offer
25% off Cleaning materials: Pipe cleaners, Polishes, Spray, and Reamers
15% off Dunhill cleaning products (stock in Johannesburg, ask your local Wesley’s).

There’s no excuse!

But if you are not a DIY person, take the pipe to your nearest Wesley’s, or send it to us (P O Box 52466, Saxonwold 2132) for a professional refurbishment.

Colin Wesley

No.307  April 4 - 17, 2013

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No 308 - April 18, 2013

What’s the difference?
Which Cigar Cutter to choose.

With respect for all the passion and the skills involved in producing a premium cigar, take care as to how you will “open it up” before “lighting it up”.

The “Teeth” or “Thumbnail” methods belong on the old movie screen, and we shall leave them there.
The complete cigar experience – the cutting, the lighting and the smoking, should be elegant and enjoyable.

We’ve talked about the basic cuts used to open up a premium cigar: the Flat cut, the V-cut and the Punch.
Now let’s look at the options we offer.

The Punch:
We have 3 models – the budget model with rubberised casing, the GunMetal model, and the aluminium-cased Passatore model.
Each has a surgical steel “punch” and a manual ejection system with key-ring fitment.
The most recent addition is the high quality Passatore Dual Punch, made in Germany. With 7mm or 10mm option for different size cigars – the 10mm is ideal for your Robusto.
Note: Turn the punch, not the cigar.
Idea: If you moisten the head of the cigar you may get a smoother cut.
Remove the concern about cutting too much off the top of your cigarpunch it!

The V-Cut:
Since we no longer find many dome-topped cigars in the market today, these models are really only suitable for premium cigars in the 38-42 ring sizes – where the “V” will open up a bigger surface area than the flat cut, thus  easing the draw.
The Donatus Table Cutter has a good sized head, with quality Solingen Stainless steel cutting edges. Interestingly, I am often asked the purpose of the notch in the flat end of the cutter: this is to remove the nail, or alternatively to guide it back into its original hole.
In the budget range, the new model (73-J3465) has a uniquely designed inner bevel which gives a deep, clean v-cut, yet is flat in your pocket.
You favour the thinner cigars? Open your cigar with a V-cut.

The Flat Cut: this removes a portion of the cap to give the exact size aperture that suits you. It can be achieved by a single blade guillotine, a twin-blade cutter (plain, ergonomic, 3-finger), or cigar scissors.

Twin Blade cutters – they cut from both sides to the centre (almost 360°) – easy to control.  We have a nice range in different designs and sizes.
Top of the range are the ergonomically designed model (73-D300/00), and the Triple-line, multi-fingered system (73-D100/1) from Donatus. The multi-fingered and ergonomic models are also available in a standard range.
The better-quality twin-blade models are self-sharpening and have milled, comfortable finger-grips.
If you are likely to frequently lose your cutter, there are some good budget models. Look at model
73-J1020 – available in 3 colours. This is proving to be a trouble-free cutter with a lovely stable action.

Cigar Scissors: Solingen or budget; We have received part of our order of the Solingen cigar scissors – production of these fine, hardened-steel scissors is always limited.
The budget model has comfortable rubber cushioning inside the grips, but the steel is softer and won’t stay sharp as long as the Solingen models.

The single-blade guillotine model from Solingen (73-D135/05) has also arrived – thank goodness.

You prefer a tight draw? Or an easier draw? Control the exact size of the opening with a flat cut cutter.

Cigar cutters will be on special soon ………..

From April 25 – May 8, 2013: - 25% off Cigar Cutters
(Excluding Dunhill White Spot Cutters)
Only from Wesley’s shops and website!

Take advantage at this time to replace any old cutters that might be going blunt.
A good cigar deserves a good clean cut – and you’ll appreciate it too.
It’s the little things that make the difference!

Colin Wesley

PS The next Cigar Dinner, May 13 includes a whisky tasting.
If you are likely to be in Johannesburg, then diarise this date

No.308 April 18 – May 1, 2013

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No 309 -May 2, 2013

What’s the difference?
Which Pipe Knife to choose.

For many men a pen knife is part of their daily apparel.
The type of knife can range from a single blade variety to the Victorinox Swiss Champ with 32 applications!
But very few knives have the essential blunt-tipped blade required to clean out the bowl of a pipe – the Pipe Knife.
Admittedly, some knife-carrying pipesmokers may select a blade and grind down the tip to make it suitable for the purpose, and with careful handling this will do the job – but watch out for your fingers. (Carry a BandAid just in case.)

A proper, purpose-made pipe knife will have a tamper on one end, and a blunt-tipped blade with a flattened, or scooped out area at the hinge, to afford a comfortable, safe grip while cleaning out the bowl.
It will also have the third essential necessary to keep your pipe smoking well – a pick.

If all pipe knives have these three essentials (tamper, blunt-tipped blade and pick), then
How do they differ?
What do you look for?

The tamper:
Is it securely seated on the end of the knife? Preferably no movement.

The blunt-tipped blade: Does this open and close relatively easily?  (Good)
Does it “snap” back firmly into the handle?  (Good)
Is the flattened (or scooped out) section safe and comfortable on the finger (good),
or are the edges sharp?  (Bad)
Does the blade wobble on the hinge?  (Bad)
Is the sharpened section sharp enough to be useful?  (Good)

The pick:
Is it long enough to slide right through the shank into the bowl?
Does it fold back into place and stay flat? If it drops out this may get worse and it will keep catching.

Finally, appearance:
If there are decorative panels on the sides of the knife, are they properly secured, or will they chip or fall off at the first drop?

Our range of pipe knives has prices from R99.50 to R820.00.
And the prices will soon be even better  ………………

From May 9 - 22, 2013: - 25% off Pipe Knives
Normal prices from R99.50 to R820.00
Only from Wesley’s shops and website!

Suddenly, that elegant, slim stainless steel Rodgers knife looks even more attractive!
It’s the little things that make the diference.

Colin Wesley

No.309 May 2-15, 2013

You can read previous articles from "Across the Counter" in The Library.