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No 59 - February 27, 2003
PreservingYour Pipe (contd)

.Reckless cleaning can. cause burn out.

In a previous article I raised the subject of possible bowl damage caused by careless lighting and handling of a pipe over a period of years. Careless lighting, especially with a Turbo type lighter can cause damage, but far more damage can be done to the inside of the bowl by reckless cleaning out after each smoke - and the effects are felt far sooner.

The old maxim "the cleaner and drier your pipe - the better it will smoke" really is true, but care must be exercised in cleaning.
Briar is tough. It is one of the densest, most close-grained woods in the world, which is why it is ideal for pipe making. But damage the inside of the bowl, and you have a burn out. This damage can come from 2 operations in the day-to-day cleaning routine.

1. Using the pipe cleaner: The wire in the middle of a pipe cleaner is hard and strong. If you are too enthusiastic when you clean out the shank with the pipe cleaner, you could drill a hole in the bowl. Be aware, especially with bent pipes, and don't dig and twist the pipe cleaner too hard into the base of the bowl.
2. Removing tobacco remnants (the dottle): The tool you use to clean out the bowl must have a blunt tip. A sharp point can drill a hole in the base of the bowl, with a resultant leak or even burn out.
If this warning is too late, and you already have a leak in the base of the bowl of what was your favourite pipe - take it to your nearest Wesley's to have a plug fitted, or post it to P O Box 52466 Saxonwold 2132.
Be careful also not to scrape away too vigorously against the inside wall. If you shave the wood it won't be able to withstand the heat and will burn through very easily. Be especially gentle with a new pipe - you need to allow the carbon layer to build up as quickly as possible.
And with your Meerschaum - use the back of the blade.

If you haven't got a good pipe tool yet, look at our next feature. From March 6 to March 19 we offer the Rodgers all Stainless Steel Pipe Knife at less 25%.

This could add years to the life of your pipe - or Rands to the resale value.

Talking of which - do you have any pipes in good condition that you no longer smoke? We may be able to buy them from you - see Refurbished Pipes.

Colin Wesley
February 27 to March 12, 2003

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

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No 60 - March 13, 2003
The Budget.Speech -.believe it .or not!

Despite Mr Manuel's. remark that he had left Mr Mboweni's cigars alone this year, the duty has gone up 39% to over R1000 per kilo!.

The main cigar importers have indicated that this increase will raise the price of cigars by an average of 15% to 25%. Because the duty is purely on weight, the increase affects the lower priced cigars by a greater percentage. Some new prices are effective immediately and others will be introduced through April and May.
This may be a good opportunity for you to re-assess your normal selection process to see whether you are getting the best value in both cost and enjoyment of your cigars. If the price of your favourite cigar has increased, there may be another of the same flavour and size that hasn't.

We have re-arranged our cigar page "Inside the Humidor" to make it more helpful. There is the full list of brands (click on "Brand"), but in choosing which cigar to buy, the decisions to make are also about: Size/shape (Smoking Time); Flavour (and how much of it); Price; Strength.

Size/Shape: This is probably the most important decision - it determines the time it will take to smoke the cigar. The enjoyment of a cigar is often ruined by having to smoke it too fast. We have pictured all the main shapes and sizes (about two-thirds actual size) - and at the end have indicated their approximate smoking times. Click on "Sort by Size" (or on any size) to see what is available in the size you have chosen.
Flavour: This is largely determined by the country of origin of the filler leaf - with Cuba and Honduras normally offering the most flavourful cigars.
Price: There are often personal budget restrictions - click on "Sort by Price" for the full list of cigars arranged by price to see what is available in your price range - either singles or in packs/boxes.
Strength: We have categorised each of the cigars on a scale of 1 to 5.
1. Gentle. Suitable in the morning or before a light or delicate meal.
2. A little more taste and body - yet easy-going enough for the novice. Excellent after lunch or any light meal. Good for the cocktail hour.
3. Pre-dinner or after a more substantial lunch - sufficiently satisfying even for an experienced smoker.
4. Full-bodied, hearty - the perfect ending to a rich or spicy meal.
5. Smoke with care - superb with a robust liqueur or strong coffee after a sumptuous meal, or when there is plenty of time. A demanding smoke.
Click on "Strength" for the full list of cigars sorted by strength category.

When you are assessing your selection you might like to consider why you have a preference for a certain brand. A (subjective) favourite brand of ours is Bolivar - with whom we once spent a memorable holiday way back in the 1970's.

  You can judge them for yourself next week
- we offer a pack of 3 great handmade Bolivar cigars for only R195.00.

Bolivar Royal Corona Robusto
Bolivar Bonitas Slim Corona
Bolivar Corona Extra Corona Extra

(Ringsize 50 x 124mm)
(Ringsize 40 x 126mm)
(Ringsize 44x 143mm)

Normal Price: R107.50
Normal Price: R67.50
Normal Price: R113.50
Rudman *****
Rudman ****
Rudman ****

This assortment will also give you an opportunity to experience the theory of size and shape - the Royal Corona is the shortest cigar but has the greatest weight of tobacco, and should last the longest.
But don't be tempted to smoke the slender Bonitas too quickly or it will burn hot.
And the longer Corona Extra is nearly the same ringsize as a Churchill size cigar - it would suit Churchill lovers when time is a little less.

Colin Wesley
March 13 to March 26, 2003

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

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No 61 - March 27, 2003
PreservingYour Pipe (contd) .
Reaming - ..why, how and ..with what.

To insulate the inside of the bowl, and prevent it from burning, it is necessary to allow a layer of carbon to build up. This will automatically happen - read "The New Pipe" - but you must be careful with the cleaning out of the bowl each time after smoking it.
The next step is to keep control of this build-up of carbon since it does not expand and contract at the same rate as the wood. If it is too thick, it may crack the bowl. If it is too thin it won't protect the wood, and the pipe may burn. Keep the carbon layer at the optimum thickness, approximately 1,5mm (the thickness of a 5c piece).

Since the carbon is rock-hard, it is unlikely that a simple pipe tool would be capable of this duty. Even when using a pipe knife it may be difficult to keep the carbon even.
You need a proper pipe reamer to do the job. This should be blunt ended, smooth sided, and adjustable in width. We offer three.

The British Buttner - perfect for lightweight reaming. Push the reamer down into the bowl and rotate in either direction. It adjusts itself so that the blades are parallel by the time it has reached the bottom of the bowl.
Watchpoint: If you exert too much pressure it becomes difficult to turn, and you may break the reamer or even crack the bowl.

The T-shaped Savinelli Reamer - you can adjust it to ream a wide range of bowl sizes. Remove the screw, adjust the blades to the desired width (there is even a mm measure) and replace the screw. It is held firm by little grooves on the cross bar. To trim the carbon, rotate the reamer in a clockwise direction.
Watchpoint: Don't dig down too hard with the reamer. This may ream more on one side than on the other. Rather rotate the reamer exerting a slight even pressure and allow the tool to do the work. Some smokers like to rotate the pipe around the reamer.

The Senior Reamer - makes decarbonising your pipe easy and precise. The unique expanding action exerts no pressure on the bowl, yet it is tough enough for really heavy duty cleaning. The shank cleaner fits most pipes. This is the most efficient reamer we have yet found.
To use the reamer, hold the bowl of the pipe in one hand, place a dish / paper under the bowl to catch the carbon, adjust the reamer to a suitable starting width, insert it into the bowl and start rotating clockwise, maintaining a slight even pressure. When you have reamed a full layer right to the bottom of the bowl, expand the blades by twisting the knob and repeat. Continue until the carbon layer is at the correct thickness and is nice and even.
Watchpoint: The handle of the reamer is rough for a better grip; you may like to wear an old glove.

Finally - reaming is most successful if done reasonably regularly and if you allow a bit of time. Don't overexert yourself - allow the tool to do the work. It is a job that is well suited to being done while listening to some good music or radio, or casually watching TV - NOT the Cup Final.

Not everybody can afford a Rolls, but next week we'll offer you the opportunity
to own the Rolls Royce of Reamers at 25% off the normal retail price.

Colin Wesley
March 27 to April 9, 2003

You can read previous articles from "Across the Counter" in The Library.
Other articles on Preserving your Pipe:
Preserving Your Pipe (January 30, 2003)
Preserving Your Pipe (contd) (February 27, 2003)

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No 62 - April 10, 2003
South African wins highest.Cigar Award

South Africa has justly. been identified as a "hot". tourist country, and now .there is recognition that we have areas of sophistication.

Eight years ago, Habanos S.A., the exclusive exporters of Cuban cigars in Havana, established the Habano Man Award to recognize those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cigar industry. Each year, the award is presented at a glittering gala dinner that crowns a week-long cigar festival. The award is made in four categories: Manufacturing, Retail sales, Business and Communications.
At this year's dinner, held at the Salón Habanos de Pabexpo, Havana, Cuba, to commemorate the 510th Anniversary of the arrival of the Habano (Havana cigar) to the old world, the South African author, Theo Rudman, was elected from 3 nominees as the Cigar Man of the Year for 2002 in the category of Communications. (Click for picture) This is, in effect, a life time award as it can only be awarded once to a particular person. The announcement made at the awards read:
"The award to Theo Rudman for his long dedication and personal effort in promoting cigars. He has written a number of books on cigars and contributed to many publications throughout the world. He is the most famous aficionado in South Africa and is respected and admired throughout the world. He has spread the art, quality and knowledge of cigars in his famous guides, which are sold in more than 16 countries. He pioneered cigar dinners and clubs in South Africa and has also created an exclusive range of smoking accessories."
The splendid trophy, in silver on a marble base, was hand-crafted by famous Cuban artist, Raul Valladares Valdes. After the award Rudman said, "I consider this to be recognition for the cigar industry in South Africa, as this is the first time this award has been made to anyone from Africa or the Southern Hemisphere."

One of the lesser known brands that Theo particularly enjoys is Saint Luis Rey. In his "Complete Pocket Guide to Cigars, 4th Edition" he describes the brand as "Difficult to find, but worth looking for".
Created more than 50 years ago for the British market and made in the Romeo y Julieta factory, this small range is full bodied, of excellent quality and is rated amongst the best Havanas. Frank Sinatra and James Coburn were both devotees of these cigars.

In recognition of Theo's award, we offer next week a 3-pack of Saint Luis Rey cigars (Churchill, Corona Extra and Robusto) for only R240.00 - amazing value (current price R444.00).

Theo, we salute you!

Colin Wesley
April 10 to April 23, 2003

Note: Sadly, Theo passed away late 2004, but his book is still an invaluable guide to the cigars available up to that date, and a source of help and information to both new and experienced cigar smokers.

The other 2 nominees were Mr Nicholas Foulkes, a journalist from the
United Kingdom; and Mr Oleg Chechilov, a journalist from Russia.

Previous recipients are:
1995: Marvin Shanken, Editor, Cigar Aficionado.
1996: Jose Ilario, Publisher, Epicure Magazine, Spain.
1997: Simon Chase, marketing director, Hunters & Frankau, UK.
1998: Jean-Paul Kauffmann, Editor, LÁmateur de Cigare, France.
1999: Helmut Rome, Publisher & editor, European Cigar Cult Journal, Austria.
2000: Compay Segundo, Celebrated Cuban musician.
2001: Don Alejandro Robaina, celebrated tobacco grower, Cuba.

In February 1995, Theo Rudman, published his first book exclusively on cigars: Rudman's Complete Pocket Guide to Cigars, now in its 4th edition and sold in 16 countries. Each edition has been extensively revised and up-dated. This is the only publication that has consistently attempted to list every Cuban cigar, including recently discontinued brands and vitolas. It provides a personal appraisal of 165 Cuban cigars and includes all Cuban box markings and box codes from 1985 to the present.
He is also the author of Rudman's Cigar Buying Guide, published by Triumph Books in 1997 and sold exclusively in the United States.
In addition, he was the founding editor of Cigarstyle, which was South Africa's leading quarterly lifestyle magazine, first published in March 2000.
Is author of Rudman's Cigar Training Manual and Brasant's Cigar Training Manual.
On 31 December 2001 he launched his popular on-line Cigar Magazine that enjoys world-wide readership.

He pioneered cigar dinners at the Grande Roche Hotel where they have been held regularly since 1994 and in 1997 he founded the famed Bosman's Cigar Club at the prestigious Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl. He has coordinated and advised many establishment around the country on how to run a cigar dinner and club. In October 1995 he assisted in the founding of the first formal, exclusive cigar club in Johannesburg - the Van Reenen 21 Club. He subsequently started four Good Living Cigar Clubs in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban

In 1998 he was, together with Gillian Wesley, the first recipient of the annual P.G.C. Hajenius Cigar Luminary of the Year award in South Africa. He is often invited to speak at cigar events and at the launch of new brands and has done so in South Africa, London, France, The Netherlands, the USA, Brazil and Thailand. His unique style has proved popular with audiences in many parts of the world.
In February 1999 Rudman was invited to speak at the Habanos 2000 International Symposium on Cigars, held in Havana. He was the only speaker from the Southern Hemisphere.

He regularly conducts cigar training for the retail and hospitality industry, including the staff of the QE2.

For the past 10 years he has written for and been interviewed by many newspapers, magazines, TV and radio in several parts of the world.

While his passion is for Habanos (Havanas), he believes in the importance of assisting consumers to enjoy all types of cigars.

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