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No 325 - December 18, 2013

Relax in the Library

It has been a full two years since I wrote the article on how to escape from the hustle and bustle of the festive season:
“When no one is looking just pick up your pipe or cigar and slip quietly away to your computer and visit the Wesleys Library.”

Where do you start?
Well, how about some articles on the practical side of pipe and cigar smoking …….

Cigar Smokers - relax in the libraryCigar smokers – do you experience the following problems?
“Sometimes I feel dizzy or even nauseous”
“I cannot keep the cigar burning, it keeps going out, or burns unevenly”
“The smoke is hot, or bitter”   
#316 has some answers to “making it go right” from the beginning.

And onward
“The band - should I leave it on or take it off”
“My cigar is coming apart.” (This could be from the head or from the foot.)
“I’d like to try different kinds of cigars – you say that I won’t always want to smoke
the same thing”
“And when I have all these cigars – how am I supposed to store them?”

Finally (in this series)
“The draw is too hard – feels like I’ll get a hernia.”   
“Holes in my cigars!!”
 “My cigars look as if they are covered in white powder” –
“I’m really careful when I cut and light my cigars, but about halfway through they start to burn unevenly” “Cigars are so messy – ash everywhere”

Pipe Smokers - relax in the libraryFor Pipe smokers –
Starting right
How to “put the tobacco in your pipe and smoke it”
Avoiding the Potholes
#319    The mouthpiece, and the peg!
A bitter smoke?
What! More potholes??
Only a few that you may never come across if you have been careful in filling your pipe, lighting it up, cleaning it out, and generally looking after it.

Maybe go straight to the section headed “Subject Index” - explore and relax.

To finish with, here are a few suggestions from the articles written between Jan 2012 and November 2013, articles more on the reflective sides of both pipe and cigar smoking.

For Pipesmokers:
#276 The Lorenzo story brought up to date.
#284 Our elation over the arrival of the first the Dunhill “Whitespot” products.
“Dunhill is widely known around the world as a manufacturer of high quality pipes, accessories and leather goods. A Dunhill “The White Spot” product is useful; dependable; beautiful; long-lasting; the best of its kind.

The story behind the Churchwarden pipe.
#295 The Savinelli Dry System was no fluke.
#301 Our own “Oom Paul” story
The current Italian masters: Lorenzo and Savinelli – why we think so.

Then end off with a lovely anecdote from one of our really adventurous pipe smokers: “Harold and the fire on a cold mountain”.

Cigar smokers - a pageant of cigars – not just Cubans.

Caliqueños - the Spanish secret is out and was well appreciated at our last cigar dinner.
#300 Luis Lopez – The Master roller from the Dominican Republic. His Robusto - and the origin of the term “Robusto”.
#314 The mystique behind the Cuban Limited Edition cigars revealed.
The Puro - magic or madness? Can they be made, and if so, are they worth the trouble?

# 279 An anecdote to finish with – “The very finest cigar I never had
A perfect story for this Festive Season.
Don’t leave it out!

Colin Wesley   

PS If you are found missing and are tracked down before you have finished, maybe you will add “a monthly visit to the Wesley’s Library” to your list of New Year resolutions.
It may be the easiest resolution to keep.

No.325  December 18, 2013 to January 22, 2014

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


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No 326 -January 23, 2014

A New Year - 2014

We welcome the new year – but what else is new in the pipe world at Wesley’s?
This question often leaves us with no answer, especially when it is directed at the world of pipes.

Well with our latest delivery of  Dunhill “WHITE SPOT”  pipes we have two answers for the collectors and Dunhill aficionados.
First - stamping on the pipes heralds in the renewal of the “White Spot” logo – originally used in 1923
No longer just Dunhill. …….. - the new stamping is

New stamping on the Dunhill pipes heralds in the renewal of the “White Spot” logo


2012 saw the initial pipes with the renewed stamping date.
Be one of the first to own one of these era changing pipes.

Second – Dunhill’s WHITESPOT revived approach to the demand for “filter” pipes.
But this time the pipes are fitted with a 9mm tenon, not 6mm as in the first approach.
Being 9mm they will be restricted to a limited number of shapes with the thicker shank that can house the longer filter, without compromising the classic elegance of each Dunhill pipe.
Four pipes to start with: Classic Billiard in Chestnut and Bruyere; Bent and Rhodesian in Shell Briar
– more to follow on demand and availability.

New from Lorenzo:
Personally selected on our last visit – the New Era pipes 5 shapes, in very limited quantities naturally, at a very attractive price.

Mostly for ladies:
Nerina – the most eye-catching in our range of elegant 10 minute pipes – three stunning shapes in a glossy black finish, enhanced with a gold ring.

Lula – three enduring shapes in 10 minute pipes, this time in a rich two tone, autumn gold finish – matt or polished.

From Albania via Germany
Arte  pipes – a stunning new range of mid-price pipes in a glossy satin chestnut finish

From Savinelli:
Primo Fumo  (the first smoke”) – with mock ivory band
These pipes, in an autumn-gold colour, show lots of hardwood with odd fillings or patches of soft grain -
not disguised under a dark finish.
3 medium shapes, just the right size for a starter or for an anytime smoke.
Fitted with an acrylic mouthpiece with 6mm balsa option, these elegant pipes are presented in a soft green suede, rollup thong-tie pouch - very soft in the pocket.

Finally – another unsolicited written review of the (relatively) new Houseblend No.47 – Vanilla Gold
“On about the 21st of November, I bought a couple of excellent new pipes from your Rosebank store (the Passatore Pico particularly impressed me - it smokes better than some of my pipes that I paid considerably more for). I also bought 50 grams of your new No. 47 Vanilla Gold house blend. I certainly now regret this latter move - I should have bought at least 250 grams! Vanilla Gold is now my favourite Wesley's blend. The flavour is consistent throughout the bowl, with just the right amount of complexity to keep it interesting without being overwhelming. There is no tongue bite, which is the curse of many otherwise fine aromatic blends. The aroma is pleasant for all around; it has received compliments from pipe smokers and non smokers alike. It packs well and seems to be blended from higher quality tobaccos (is this because of a change in suppliers?). All in all, I would say this blend is now on my list of tobaccos for a daily bowlful.
Evan D”   

And here is something that isn’t really new – a special offer on the new pipes above:

Less 15% off Dunhill Pipes
Less 25% off the other new pipes:
Arte, Lorenzo New Era, Nerina, Lula two tone; Savinelli Primo Fumo
But only from 30 January to 12 February, 2014

I wish you all good health and happiness in 2014, and continued enjoyment of your Pipesmoking hobby.

Colin Wesley   

No.326   January 23 to February 6, 2014

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


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No 327 - February 6, 2014

“That’s exactly what happens to me!”

It started like this:

A new customer had bought a few single cigars (in their glass tubes) and wanted to know about cutters.
I explained the different ways of cutting cigars, and we agreed that the most commonly used were the cigar scissors and the twin blade guillotine.

I took out the Solingen “CUT” safety cutter – and he asked what was special about it.
I showed him the closed back and explained that this was to prevent the cigar being cut too deep, that is below the cap line - after which the cigar unravels from the head.

“That’s exactly what happens to me!”

The cap line: If you cut below the cap line, the cigar unravels.
So what is this “cap line”?

The almost final step in completing a hand-rolled cigar is to seal the head of the wrapper-enclosed bunch with a specially-shaped piece of leaf (usually of the same wrapper leaf) that is secured around the head by a tasteless gum, holding the cigar together.
(To see a slideshow of the whole process, click here)
If you cut below the cap line, the cigar unravels.

He was interested so I also showed him the quality of the CUT safety cutter from Solingen: 
“Look at the bevel on the blades - it is short, steep and razor-sharp. This blade will cut many cigars before it is blunt.” To save costs, the frame is the same material as the budget cutters, but it’s the blade that counts.

Another customer, over hearing, said “that should solve my problem!”

Do you have such a problem?
Maybe this cutter will solve it for you too.

Worth a try, especially from next week, because …

From 13 – 26 February, 2014
25% off the Solingen “CUT” safety cigar cutter
Normal Price R175.00

Peace of mind is having the right tool for the job!

Colin Wesley   

No.327  February 6 - 19, 2014

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


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No 328 - February 20, 2014

I always clean my pipes properly – or do I?

This was the mental response from a distant pipe customer when he saw that we had included a complimentary can of CG Pipe Spray with his order.

Then he tried the pipe spray on one of his “resting” pipes. He wrote to us:
“A squirt of cleaner into my ancient Peterson revealed decades of deposit.
Your cleaner definitely is a winner Mr Wesley.”

Regular cleaning is essential to the well-being of your pipe, and to your enjoyment when using it.

  • A clean mouthpiece will prevent the bitter taste which comes through natural oxidation
  • A clean peg will slide easily in and out of the shank, preventing a broken peg or cracked shank.
  • A clean bowl (in fact the whole inside of the stem too) will give you a true, clean smoke.

Full DIY instructions on the refurbished pipes sections.

And we will be offering a special price on cleaning products:

Less 15% off Dunhill Polishes, and the Silicone cloth
Less 25% off all other polishes, cleaning liquids and Pipe Spray
For the 2 weeks from 27 February to March 12, 2014

You don’t do DIY?
Take your old favourites to your nearest Wesley’s to be sent for a complete refurbishment – or if the nearest Wesley’s is too far, post them direct to  P O Box 52466, Saxonwold 2132.
You’ll be impressed by the way refurbished pipes have cleaned up - the pipe repair lady is doing stunning work!  

Talking about refurbished pipes, the much-awaited selection of Mature Estate Pipes is ready.
If you are familiar with these, you will know what to expect.
If not, these are pipes that have mostly completed their first tour of duty, and have now been carefully and thoroughly prepared for their next spell.
Some are still unsmoked, waiting to be baptised.      
The selection includes many of the great brands – Dunhill, Charatan, Bjarne, Savinelli, Kriswill, Peterson, some from our own, the late, Willie Mattner – and even one from SAMEK, Willie Mattner’s father-in-law and mentor, only the second one we’ve ever had.
Going public on 27 February 2014
Refurbishing makes them look and taste good as new – but doesn’t repair the knocks of life.
The rims of some of the pipes have been well worn – what did he use to knock them out on?
It certainly wasn’t a cork knocker.

Concerned about smoking a pre-smoked pipe?
I repeat the clever comment made by a sensible shopkeeper in the USA:
You don’t take your own knife and fork to a restaurant, do you?”

Remember, that when these pipes were produced, they were already 60 years or more in the making. There is no such thing as a good “young briar” pipe.
At that time too there was no such thing as a “Filter” pipe, at least amongst the higher quality pipes.  If you feel the need, just use a bowl filter.
All the pipes have been finished with a Dunhill Silicone cloth which protects the pipe with an invisible film of silicone wax.

You’re on our database?
You’ll be emailed a link to the preview site – watch for it!

Then take advantage of the 2 preview days: February 25 and 26 – to choose and buy via email or through the website

Colin Wesley

All the pipes shown on the website are in the Johannesburg office, Rosebank. If you’re interested in a particular pipe or pipes, they can be made available for you to see through your nearest Wesley’s

PS – You’re not on our database??
Complete the Sweepstake Entry online or in any Wesley’s shop.
You’re entered into the 2-monthly draw for a free pipe or cigar travel case.

Have a look at the first couple of emails you receive, then if you don’t want to receive one every fortnight, choose what you’d like: Pipes only, Cigars only, Cigar Dinners only, Refurbished Pipes only, no mail.

No.328  February 20 - March 5, 2014

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


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Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
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No 329 - March 6, 2014

Time is short - you require a shorter smoke?

Innovation is the lifeblood of most industries – sometimes the result of Research & Development, sometimes by natural progression, and sometimes by a flash of inspiration.

I’m not quite sure which of these paths was behind the introduction of the short, thick cigar some 10 years ago.
In my mind the need for this type of cigar was driven by the restrictions of where or when one could enjoy a large thick cigar, and the change in the pace of lifestyles.
It was becoming almost impossible to light up a Churchill in the morning and enjoy it over the course of the day while sitting in an office or any other workplace.
And most lifestyles don’t allow for a 90 – 120 minute smoke break.

Previously when you wanted a short smoke, the half corona or petit corona was the answer – Ringsize 40/42. (The petit corona Montecristo No.4, is the biggest-selling single Cuban cigar.)
The dilemma was that a large thick cigar was what the smokers wanted.
In 2008 we discussed the evolution of the “Robusto” size cigar (Ringsize 50) – this has been for many years the size of first choice. The attractions are the easy draw, the volume of smoke with each puff, and the slow development of the full flavour of the blend.
Over the years the cigars have been rolled thicker and thicker – consider the Cuban Cohiba Behike 56 (Ringsize 56) or the Dominican El Credito No.6 (Ringsize 60)
How to make shorter cigars with such ring gauges?
I had customers buying Churchills and Double Coronas and cutting them in half!
But this wasn’t the solution.

In 2004 the first shorter version of the classic Robusto was presented to the market by Hoyo de Monterrey – the Petit Robusto (102mm x Ring 50).
It was successful. The smoking time of 25-30 minutes was good, but it lacked something.
That “something” was the requirement of a modified blend to develop the flavour fully in the shorter time.
It couldn’t be just a cut down version of the Epicure No 2.

Then came the Montecristo Petit Edmundo (110mm x ring 52). Again a modified blend from its big brother the Edmundo – another success.
Since these two “Petit” cigars we have seen Partagas Serie D5 (110mm x Ring 50), some limited editions, the Dominican La Aurora 1945 Sumo Short Robusto (102mm x Ring 58), and the new Romeo y Julieta Petit Churchill (110mm x Ring 50).
Romeo y Julieta have developed a range of different “Churchills” – the Short Churchill (124mm x 50),
Wide Churchill (130 x Ring 55) and now the Petit Churchill.
The original “Churchill” named for Sir Winston was not a particularly thick cigar for its length - it has a ring gauge of only 47 (length 178mm) – the retention of the Churchill name may be because it is so associated with R & J.

In a relatively small size, H.Upmann have just introduced Half Corona (90mm x Ring 44) - an amended form of the classic half corona (102mmxRing40). Earlier J L Piedra introduced the Petit Cazadores in their bundle range (105mm x Ring 43). The proportions of both of these incorporate a thicker ringsize than normal.

What could we expect next?
It was announced in 2013 at the Havana festival in February and has just arrived in South Africa:   the Montecristo Petit No 2 (120mm x Ring 52), which is described as a “masterpiece” of Cuban rolling artistry and blending skills.
Just think of the technical skills involved in tapering the 52 ring at the foot
(same as the classic Montecristo 2)
down to the pointed head over 36mm shorter length – and the skill of the blender in achieving the ideal  development of flavour over this length.
The cigar is a perfect complement, not a competitor, to the larger iconic Montecristo No 2
(156mm x Ring 52).
Available in boxes of 25 (R4639.50) or our “made up” packs of 3 (R560.00).

Commonly used to light cigars is the Turbo Lighter: however, it is akin to a blow torch and should be treated with the same respect.  You don’t want to burn a hole in the middle of the foot of your cigar!
The three- jet model offers a broader flame, but you should test for the optimum distance by looking at the flame. It is bright blue at the hottest, and lighter a bit higher up. When it starts to disappear – that’s where you should hold your cigar. (Beware - you can still burn your hand at this height.)

Watchpoint: Turbo mechanisms require extra-purified gas. Dunhill gas is highly refined, pure, turbo-compatible butane gas. This ensures that valves are less likely to clog and malfunction, and the anti-corrosive properties protect all metal parts, thus considerably extending the life of all lighters. Dunhill Gas is the only gas in South Africa that is stamped “Turbo compatible”.

We offer the 3-jet, flip-top model Turbo lighter in two finishes, and with a built-in cigar punch, normally comfortably priced at R270.00.

But from March 13 - 26, 2014 you will pay just R230.00.
A good time to invest in a Turbo lighter, however remember – ABOVE NOT IN!!

Returning to the Petit cigars – what can be left to surprise us?
A Petit Behike with a 54 or 56 ringsize!
Who can tell?
Should we hope?

Colin Wesley

No.329  March 6 – 19, 2014

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