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No 167 - May 24, 2007
Start-Up Costs

The start-up costs of any adult pastime, sport or form of enjoyment, are quite considerable these days.

Upgrading those old golf clubs, being lured into the tranquil life of fly-fishing, indulging in digital photography, or deciding that “old man’s marbles” is for you, can cost a few thousand rand.
And that’s just getting started.
There is no guarantee that you will achieve the success you want to really enjoy the activity to the full. You may even give it up through frustration or disappointment.

Well, the decision to become a cigar smoker, or to expand your present enjoyment of cigar smoking is not quite the same.

By selecting single cigars, or taking advantage of our regular selections, you can experiment with cigars of different sizes, shapes, methods of manufacture, and different countries of origin, at minimal cost – even including the most luxurious cigars.  
During this trial period, you can make do with a Tupperware container and some damp cotton wool for a humidor, your teeth or thumbnail for a cutter, and an old saucer for an ashtray.
As your appreciation of cigars develops, you will reflect on the fact that you are experiencing one of the world’s truly most affordable luxuries – a product that has been nurtured from seedling to cigar by people with incredible passion and love for their work.
You experience the satisfaction of knowing that when you are smoking a really good cigar nobody – whatever their status – can smoke better.

To expand your pleasure: decide on your favourite cigars - a range of shapes, sizes and tastes for different occasions.
Then treat your cigars better:
Invest in a proper humidor to preserve your cigars in prime condition;
Buy a proper quality cigar cutter – to give a crisp clean cut with no ragged edges, and to open up the pleasure that is concealed behind the cap on the head of the cigar;
Buy a proper cigar ashtray – to support the cigar when you lay it down, and to collect the ash as it falls voluntarily (or with a little nudge); no more cigars rolling around in the ash while being rested – no more mess!

If you are at the “converting from tupper and saucer” stage – we feature a complete matching set of humidor, ashtray and cutter in two different finishes.
If you already have your storage humidor, these are ideal sets for your desk or study.
The humidor is just the right size for a starter, or for a selection of cigars ready to hand (with the back-up stock stored elsewhere).

From 31 May to 13 June
25% off
Humidor sets 73-J9105 (Matt Black R995.00) and 73-J9106 (2-tone Cherry R1095.00)

And we’re adding with Father’s Day in mind
25% off Matt Stainless Steel Twinblade cigar cutter 73-J1101, normal price R99.50

Colin Wesley
No.167 May 24 to June 6, 2007

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No 168 - June 7, 2007
Profile of a Pipesmoker

Back in 1970, A B Hughes, a Durban journalist, gave us permission to use his delightful description of a Pipeman. Let’s see if you recognize him ..….

There is nothing like a. pipe for giving a man a. meretricious air of. profundity.
You ask a pipe-smoker, for instance, whether he thinks that mankind is justified in spending all this money on visiting the moon and he promptly goes into his routine. First he takes his pipe out of his mouth and examines the outside of the bowl. Then he peers inside and debates with himself whether he can save the little glow he sees there. He decides he can, so he puts the pipe back in his mouth and sucks hard five or six times. Nothing happens. So he takes the pipe out of his mouth and looks into the bowl again in a reproachful and injured manner.
He then pats his left pocket to see if there are any matches there. There aren't so he pats his right pocket with the same result. He looks utterly dismayed, as if the world had come to an end, but then he notices with relief that the matches were on the table all the time, alongside the ashtray.
Finally he gets his pipe going and sits back in a cloud of smoke, directing at you that long, level, honest look that is probably the most infuriating characteristic of pipe smokers.
At last he delivers his verdict. He says "It all depends on your attitude to these things. I think my answer would be yes - up to a point".

Maybe you know him?  Maybe he’s your father, or the father of your children?
He could be one of these:
The rugged outdoor man or farmer – carries all his pipe kit in his pockets.
The travelling man who likes to pick up and go – wants two or three pipes, tobacco, pipe tool and cleaners. He does not want tobacco dust on his papers or pyjamas.
The neat and tidy man who prefers to keep his pipes and paraphernalia all together, ready at all times.
The forgetful man – who can never find his pipe and all the bits and pieces when he wants a relaxing smoke in the garden.
Whichever – he could do with a properly-fitted pipebag.

Well, here comes Father’s Day on June 17, 2007.
And for the next three weeks we feature an ideal Pipebag with a neat-fitting tobacco pouch, plus extra pockets for tools and cleaners, lighter or matches, portable pipe rest, tissues/hankies, business cards.
Large enough for 2 to 3 pipes;
Compact enough to fit in a (biggish) pocket – shorts or trousers;
Presentable enough to be seen in a briefcase.
In two price categories – leather or soft synthetic.

25% off an ideal Pipebag
Normal prices:
Leather 71-R630L R395.00  •  Soft synthetic 71-P1630 R145.00

All-in-all, a pipebag can take the hassle out of pipe smoking, and let the pleasure begin.

Colin Wesley
No.168 June 7 to June 20, 2007

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No 169 - June 21, 2007
Taste, Taste, Taste

All three spelt the same way, but that is where the similarity ends.

I talk a lot about the differences in taste (or flavour) in different cigars depending on the soil of origin, the aging and fermentation processes, and some amazingly skilful blending by the manufacturers. But it isn’t easy to put together a pack of 3 cigars for smoking to illustrate some of these differences. For one thing many of the non-Cuban cigars that we get in South Africa are really high quality, and priced accordingly.
However right now there are a couple of lines and sizes around, that are at a nice, reduced price (to clear stock), so besides selling them singly (and rather rapidly) I thought it would be a good idea to talk again about “taste” and reserve some of these cigars for an illustrative 3-pack.

So here they are (and they’re all easy-drawing 48 Ringsize):

From the Dominican Republic - Macanudo Reserva Anual 2004 Encanto
A sort of Perfecto - 154mm x Ring 48 – parallel side, tapered at foot and head. A selective release of only 650 boxes of each of three sizes. (Ours are numbers 16, 26, 100)
I can’t improve on what they say for themselves:
“A rare limited edition experience for the international cigar connoisseur. During the past years Macanudo cigar master Daniel Nuñez set aside a small number of exceptional leaves from the very best of the past growing seasons. This superior reserve has now been meticulously blended for the sophisticated taste of the international connoisseur.”
(No false modesty here)
But they’re right – a perfect example of the lighter Dominican leaf blended to develop a rich, luscious taste without too much strength. And the quality – smooth, even burn, no bitterness.

Again from the Dominican Republic - Cigar Club South Africa (private label) Maduro
The Cigar Club no longer exists, but their loss is our gain.
Pretty well a Petit Robusto – 114mm x Ring 48
The wrapper is a very maduro Maduro – almost black. The taste is something else – rich with plenty of caramel. You don’t get a taste like this every day, but it’s worth waiting for.
Feed back is that these are also excellent for outdoor smoking – burn really slowly. That’s largely due to this Maduro wrapper, but also a tribute to disciplined rolling.
(We have a limited number of a short Double Corona, 150mm x Ring 52, which just wouldn’t fit into a glass tube. If you like the little one, try the big one – single price (cellophaned) R60.00. Ask if we’ve any left.)

And now taste the difference – a good classic, no extra frills, Cuban Robusto.
El Rey del Mundo (King of the World, no less) Choix Supreme – 127mm x Ring 48
Brand established in 1848. Subtle aroma, good draw, burns slow and even. Handmade in the same factory as Romeo y Julieta. You don’t get more classic than that!

Three memorable cigars for you to taste at R225.00 per pack
From 28 June, while stocks last
(And if you’re lucky there may be a few 3-packs remaining
from the Cigar Dinner – ask for them.)

Colin Wesley
No.169 June 21 to July 4, 2007

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No 170 - July 5, 2007
“Spring” into action

Spring, with all the attendant happenings of preparing the garden, visiting the nurseries, checking out the garden furniture, and the gutters before the first rains, may not leave much time to check out your pipes. Why not jump the gun and make use of these last weeks of winter to do so.
Have them in tip-top condition to enjoy that early evening smoke in the garden, in the bush or mountains as the sun goes down.
Here is a checklist of what might need doing, and how.

The mouthpiece;
On the outside: Has it started to oxidise – it’s dull and greeny-grey, especially on the lip?
If yes, then that is why the taste is bitter.
Fix it with Savinelli Mouthpiece Polish, a coarse cloth and a long dose of elbow grease (perfect for that next rugby game). Access to a good buffing wheel will be a relief to the elbow.
On the inside: When did you last give it the full treatment with a bristle cleaner and some Savinelli Pipe Clean? You’ll be amazed at what comes out, and how much the draw improves.

The bowl:
On the outside: Is it looking dull and lifeless?
Restore it to life with Savinelli Bowl Polish applied with a soft cloth and elbow grease (or buffing wheel).
Your senses of sight and touch will appreciate this exercise, and seeing the brand name or shape number may conjure up the memory of where and when you acquired this old pal.
On the inside: Hopefully, there is no old tobacco in there – if there is, remove it immediately, scraping out the dottle from the very bottom so that the pipe can dry out properly. (Promise yourself you’ll never leave any tobacco in the bowl again.)
Now check the thickness of the protective carbon lining. Thicker than a 5c piece? It needs a good ream or the bowl may crack – and you have 3 tool options: Buttner, Savinelli, Senior Ultimate Reamer.

There you are – that’s it!

Stretching the intervals between major clean-ups:
Use a proper round-tipped pipe knife to remove all the tobacco after each smoke. At the same time scrape the inside of the bowl gently with the blade of the knife – our new Stainless Steel model (J0324) with wood trim or the timeless Rogers knife. Read about “Reckless Cleaning”, “Daily Care”.

All you need now is to check your tools – what’s missing?

For the period 12 July to 25 July we’ll offer you 25% off any of these aids**
and throw in a free bundle of bristle cleaners.
** Cleaning - Savinelli Mouthpiece Polish, Pipe Clean, Bowl Polish;
** Reamers - Buttner, Savinelli, Senior Ultimate Reamer;
** Pipe knives - Rogers, J0324 (St.St/Wood)

If all this seems too much, or your time can be better spent, send the pipes to us and we will have them restored to their former glory.

Colin Wesley
No.170 July 5 to July 18, 2007

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No 171 - July 19, 2007
Half Corona “Varies”

In fact – when is a half corona not a half corona?

I’ve never been a “numbers” man, and am constantly surprised by what “numbers people” can do with figures.
We all know the old story of the businessman who asks his accountant how his balance sheet looks, and the reply is: “How would you like it to look?”
Or how’s this for the importance of the date 07.07.07? I read in The Star that this is the triple seven of Lady Luck; but if you add the 3 seven’s plus the 2 (from 2007) and then add the 2 digits (23) together you get 5 which is for passion. You see, you can do anything with numbers - amazing!

Now if you throw in the vagaries of the English language with the flexibility of numbers, you can come up with some more amazing situations.
Let’s take the term Half Corona.
A classic Corona (Montecristo No.3) is 142mm x Ring 42, so the English words “Half Corona” should be describing a cigar of 71mm x Ring 21 (or at least 71mm x Ring 42 or 142mm x Ring 21).
Wouldn’t you agree?
Well, the numbers don’t agree.
The classic Half Corona (Montecristo No.5) is actually102mm x Ring 40.
Now these are major differences in the image conjured up by the words, and the reality of the physical appearance of the actual cigar – again, amazing!
(I’m sure Gillian would start talking about volumes or smoking times – but you can’t fool me!)

But what about minor changes to the dimensions of the classic Half Corona?
If we tweak the length or the ringsize by just a little, or change the shape from parallel sided to curved, will it make any real difference to the smoking experience of this very popular size cigar?
Maybe we should give up and use the words “Half Corona” as a generic for a cigar of approximately the size 102mm x Ring 40.
Why don’t you judge for yourself?

Because the only way to judge a cigar is to smoke it, we have made up a cigar pack of 3 variations on the Half Corona theme:

Cuaba Divinos (Perfecto)                  101mm x Ring 43                   R86.00*
Le Hoyo du Député                           110mm x Ring 38                   R85.00*
Romeo y Julieta Tres Petit Corona 116mm x Ring 40                   R86.00*

(* Normal retail price of a single cigar in a glass tube)

From July 26, until all of the cigar packs are sold:
Selection Half Corona Varies – R175.00
Only from Wesley’s shops and website

Half the fun of smoking cigars is to experiment (print a score sheet) – so enjoy it!

Colin Wesley
No.171 July 19 to Aug.1, 2007

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No 172 -August 2, 2007
“Golden Oldies

The first piece of antique furniture I ever bought was as a present for my wife.
It was described as a “grandmother chair”.
The dealer assured me that the wretched frame I was looking at, unpolished, punctured with hundreds of tack holes and without any fabric at all, had all the makings of a chair of real beauty.
I had my doubts, but as he was a cricket team mate of mine I believed and trusted him.
We still have the chair as it was restored those more than 40 years ago, and it is indeed a chair of real beauty – we love it.

Well, if you’d seen the condition of the latest batch of pre-owned pipes when we sent them off to be refurbished, you might also have had your doubts.
But we knew the brands, and the quality the manufacturers demand before they put their stamp on the pipes, both now and in the past. Dunhill, BBB, GBD, Savinelli, Peterson, Lorenzo – these names have all been at the heart of the briar pipe business for nearly 100 years.
So when the pipes were returned to us we were delighted with them, but not surprised.

As we were cataloguing the Dunhills (the only pipes in this collection with traceable date stamping) Gillian, always quick with numbers, picked up that a collection of 4 or 5 pipes from one estate spanned some 30 years of manufacture. It made me wonder how and why they were gathered – a personal purchase, a gift of appreciation, a token of achievement. We’ll never know now, but they will go on to other pipe smokers who appreciate the finer things in life.
(Another unanswered question: Each pipe is still in very good condition except for a worn rim – what did he use to knock the pipe on? Certainly not a cork knocker.)

All the pipes in this new refurbished collection are very good value, with many years of life still in them.
Remember, that when the pipes were produced, they were already 60 years or more in the making.

The collection will be on the website from 13 August –
but if you are on our database we will email you a link
for a special preview before that date.
You may just pick up the best bargain pipe of your life.

Because you are one of those pipe smokers who appreciates fine pipes, don’t miss this opportunity!

Colin Wesley
No.172 August 2 to August 15, 2007

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To any of you reading this article who are unfamiliar with the concept of “Mature” pipes, let me explain: 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.
They have one thing in common, they are all quality pipes from the leading brands; they haven’t been badly battered and most have their original mouthpieces.
We have the pipe sterilised, cleaned and polished to restore its mature, dignified appearance – like a nice piece of antique furniture. The briar in some cases must be over a century old.
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?”

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No 173 -August 16, 2007
Test your Senses (again)

It has been written that a cigar can satisfy all our senses except hearing.
Here is an opportunity to put your senses of sight, smell, touch and taste to the test.

To facilitate this experience we have put together 3 Cuban Petit Coronas (129mm x Ring 42):

Juan Lopez Petit Corona
Rudman: ****; Cigar Aficionado: 91 (outstanding)
Fully handmade, quality Cuban brand enjoying a revival. Light enough to smoke any time, but allow yourself at least 40 minutes or it will burn fast and hot.
Rudman: “Most enjoyable Petit Corona – deserves to be better known.”

Romeo y Julieta Petit Corona
Rudman: not tasted; Cigar Aficionado: 88-89 (excellent)
Probably the best known Havana brand. The balanced and aromatic blend makes it the classic medium-bodied Cuban cigar. The Petit Corona is an ideal cigar for after lunch or before dinner.

Bolivar Petit Corona  
Rudman:****; Cigar Aficionado: 89-91 (excellent – outstanding)
The brand was founded in 1901 and named after Simon Bolivar who fought to free Venezuela from Spanish rule. Totally handmade and of consistently high quality, the cigars are full flavoured - ideal after a richer meal. Surprisingly spicy for its size (Rudman).

For the Blind Tasting we have covered the original bands and labelled them A, B, C.
(Last year we removed the bands – but simply covering them prevents possible damage.)
A score sheet is provided for you to rate each sense on a scale of 1 to 10.
When you have smoked and rated all three, try to name them.

This of course is not compulsory.
You can remove the plain bands and experience three great smokes.
Or you can try to guess which is which without rating them.

However if you’d like to enjoy a “blind tasting” then:
Appreciate the appearance, the construction, the aroma;
Savour the anticipation while you light the cigar;
Close your eyes and concentrate on the quality and mellow smoothness of the smoke;
Use the score sheet to evaluate each aspect of the cigar;

Try to smoke the cigars under similar conditions and, to really appreciate the full flavour, smoke them after having had something to eat and drink - be it biscuits and tea, or a meal with wine and coffee – maybe a little cigarillo.

Total value of this pack is R302.00 (Normal retail price of 3 single cigars in glass tubes).

This “Blind” Petit Corona selection will run from August 23, until the packs are finished
Diarise August 23 to order – only R195.00.

Have fun, and we would love to know how you got on – send us an email.

Colin Wesley
August 16 to August 29, 2007

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