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No 340 August 14 - 27, 2014

Two timely reminders of the benefits
of the Savinelli Dry System pipe

“I would like to start smoking a pipe.”
Some of the nicest words I like to hear in my shop.

This time they came from a burly young man in his mid-twenties. I’d say possibly a student.
“A good idea” – my standard response, and I mean it.
“Where shall we start?”

“Well I’ve read quite a few articles from your website library, and a Savinelli Dry System pipe looks good to me.”
More music to my ears, because we have long maintained that technically speaking, these pipes have all the necessary benefits for a pipe smoker, whether new to the hobby, or an old hand looking for another pipe.

“Would you mind going through the whole design with me?”
What a question.

I take out the drawer of Dry System pipes and pick up shape 2614 to explain and show the benefits of the balance, the positioning and size of the smokehole, the built-in moisture-trap, the balsa insert, the metal band and the secure-fitting mouthpiece.

Quite happy that all he had read about the pipe was logical, he chose a shape that appealed to him, and we moved on to all the other items he would need to complete a beginner’s package.
He chose the thicker matches rather than a pipe lighter.

The second reminder was a little different:
An older, experienced pipe smoker brought in a different brand of system pipe, still relatively new, which had a rather loose-fitting mouthpiece. Could we do anything about this?
We discussed a few options which he thought he would try, but the fault really lay in the fact that by design the mouthpieces of those system pipes are tapered, so that they don’t easily grip the inside of the shank (especially as the pipe wears), but are rather held by the thin edge of the metal band.

Feeling a little depressed and disappointed with the pipe situation, he asked whether I had any other suggestions. I introduced him to the Savinelli Dry System pipe.
Savinelli took several years to achieve the correct design for their Dry System pipes – how they could improve on other designs. One of the improvements was to have the mouthpiece fitting in a straight peg shape – not tapered.
I showed him some of the other improvements, including the larger rectangular smoke hole and the balsa insert, and he agreed that the improvements were not purely cosmetic, and that the Savinelli Dry System warranted consideration next time.

I like to think that “next time” might be sooner than he had planned, because:

From August 21 to September 3, 2014,
he can save 25% on the price of a Savinelli Dry System pipe, and so can you.
Normal prices from R1140.00

Maybe the time is right for you too!

You’ll find that the technical qualities are not all that these pipes have to offer……...
extra bonuses are the Savinelli quality, the feel, the finishes and the balance.

Colin Wesley
No.340 14 - 27 August, 2014

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


Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
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No 341 August 28 – September 10, 2014

Meaningful Measurements

Especially useful for novices

Over the last few months we have successfully been selling off some excess, or slightly shop-soiled, humidors at up to 50% discount. (Just a few left.)
As a result we have been doing a lot of explaining about setting up and maintaining the humidity in a new humidor. Refresh your memory if necessary by reading the full story – how to prepare and maintain your humidor.
Most humidors on the market have very simple humidifiers, coupled with a basic analogue hygrometer.
This makes it difficult to set up and maintain a humidor properly – especially difficult for new cigar smokers. It takes time to develop the experience, and to have the confidence, to be able to judge by the look and feel of the cigars whether they are resting in an appropriate climate or not.
Sometimes they may become over-humidified before you realise it.
Alternatively, the humidor may absorb moisture from the cigars, leaving them dry and hard.
Don’t despair – you may be able to restore the cigars.

But it may be better to prevent the too wet / too dry problem before it happens.

For humidification, the generally accepted 70:70 rule will provide the appropriate climate.
That is, a Relative Humidity reading of 70%, at a temperature of 70°Fahrenheit (21.1°Centigrade).
Click here for full explanation.
It is important to be able to gauge both humidity and temperature at the same time.

Actually you have a bit of latitude.
One could say: cigars should be stored at 65% to 70% relative humidity, at a temperature of around 70° Fahrenheit (about 21° Centigrade).
The temperature at which the cigars are stored is important.
At higher temperatures, the Relative Humidity reading should be a little lower; and conversely, at lower temperatures the Relative Humidity reading can be a little higher.

If you are serious about your cigars, and would like to know exactly what is happening in your humidor, then the Digital Hygrometers which show Temperature as well as Relative Humidity are a worthwhile investment.

To help you to keep your eye on the humidity and temperature in your humidor, we will offer:

25% off
Digital Hygrometers
Only from  September 4 – 17, 2014!
Only from Wesley’s shops and website!

Re-assure yourself that your cigars are resting in the appropriate climate. 

Colin Wesley

No.341 August 28 – September 10, 2014

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


Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
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No 342 September11 - 24, 2014


Your broken stem is being repaired, the hole in the bowl is being plugged, the pipe is being cleaned - you need a temporary (or longer) replacement.

Consider a Corncob pipe.


What if your favourite pipe is washed away with the tide?
What if a good “strike” causes you to open your mouth, “jump for joy,” and your pipe floats away?

Carry a Corncob pipe.


And your favourite pipe falls in the fire

Clearly a Corncob pipe would be preferred.

A Corncob pipe from Missouri Meerschaum
Way back in 1869 Dutch-American woodworker Henry Tibbe started making Corncob pipes in Washington, Missouri. It began as a favour for a friend, and became an instant hit in his shop.
He likened the smoking qualities to those of a true Meerschaum, ie. a cool, dry, smoke; and named this pipe “Missouri Meerschaum”.
The pipes were made from a dried cob, fitted with a pine wood shank. The bowl was fireproofed by dipping the bowl in a plaster-based mixture (patented in 1878), and then varnished or lacquered on the outside.

Today, 6 generations later, the Missouri Meerschaum Co is the remaining manufacturer of corncob pipes; approximately 5000 pipes per day leave the factory.
The process is much the same except that the bowls are a special hybrid cob, which is harder than a normal cob, dried for two years and fitted with plastic mouthpieces. Mouthpieces capable of holding a 6mm filter have been added to the range.
The pipes are not expensive and do not need to be “broken in”. Thus they appeal to both experienced and less experienced pipe smokers. Easy to smoke and offering a change of taste to that favourite tobacco normally smoked in a briar pipe.

Their simple, humble, appearance belies their value in any collection.

DIY?   Here is an interesting you-tube presentation – how to make your own corncob pipe.

However, the corncob is not the only option in our wide selection of pipes:
Two other relatively inexpensive pipes offering real value are:

The Lorenzo Pavia Spot Carved
This pocket sized pipe has a rugged finish, is thick wooded, and most important is fitted with a Teflon peg, which is virtually unsnappable and can carry a 9 mm filter (can be converted to 6mm).

The Lorenzo Mini
Smaller-pocket sized, and with a classic “spigot” fitting mouthpiece, virtually unbreakable. No filter option in this size.

All three options will be
 less 25% for the period
18 September to 1 October, 2014

Re-assure yourself that your cigars are resting in the appropriate climate. 

Colin Wesley
No.342 September11 - 24, 2014

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

Across the Counter
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No 343 September 25 – October 8, 2014

Cigar Smoking Questions

Over the years we have tried to make our fortnightly “articles” more informative than just “sales pitches”.
As a result we have covered many of the common “dos and don’ts” regarding cigar smoking. Most recently, three consecutive articles on “What can go wrong” (and how to make it right):
Part 1: Cigar keeps going out / burns hot / unevenly, tastes bitter, makes me dizzy; Lighting up.
Part 2: Variety, Storing, Cigar coming apart, the band – on or off?
Part 3: Cigar is too hard to draw, has holes, is covered in white powder, burns unevenly.
Part 4: My cigar unravels.

In May 2014, Cigar Aficionado opened a “Weekly Tip” page on its digital magazine. Many of the tips are responses to questions that have been sent in.
Scrolling down the latest edition I came across some questions that I found of interest.
Questions we hadn’t covered (or hadn’t covered in full),

Have you ever considered the aftertaste?
How important is the length of ash on your cigar?
We’ve talked about massaging a “plugged” cigar – but what about this?
When to stop aging – not you, your cigars!    (see also the Wesley’s article)
The cigar leaves are dry after curing, but moist when rolled. How is this achieved?
You may need to register to access these and other links – registering is free.

Do you have further questions for us?
Please email us and we will do our best to find the answers.
(With your permission we would like to post any new questions, with our answers, on our website.)

One question we haven’t covered is the “morning after” odour.
Although many of us can live comfortably with the “after smoke” aroma, maybe in a designated room, there is no need for it. Try a smoke neutraliser.

Just a few granules of “smoke neutraliser” in your cigar ashtray, while you’re smoking or afterwards – will neutralise the smoky aroma using one of the four aromas of “Smoke” Freshener.
Recycled material which, when placed in your ashtray (a few granules at a time), neutralises smoky smells and provides an agreeable aroma. Works extremely well in the car. Can also be placed in a container next to an ashtray.

For a smoky dinner party,  the Tabac-Go candles which fit into standard candlesticks, will unobtrusively neutralise the air, leaving the room fresh in the morning.
Specially formulated to neutralise the smell of tobacco smoke. One or two in your group of candles are all that is needed at dinner, in the lounge or on the patio – wherever you or your guests would enjoy a smoke. Same thickness as normal candles.  Satin white – looks good anywhere.

Would you be keen to try one of these?
You can, and at less 20% …..

From 2 October to 15 October, 2014
20% off  “Smoke” Freshener granules – normal price R27.00     
Tabac-Go” anti-smoke candles – normal price R33.50 pack of 4

It’s nearly party time – a good time to buy!

Colin Wesley

No.343 September 25 – October 8, 2014

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

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Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
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No 344 October 9 – 20, 2014

“Why shouldn’t I use my turbo cigar lighter to light my pipe?”

This question came from a customer, relatively new to cigar smoking, who had decided he would like to try a pipe as well. “I was reading and learning in your website, and it seems to be a different way of smoking, a different experience and I am very curious about it.”
We replied:
You may not have had time yet to read every article so here are a few that will help:
Read about the
path to enjoyable pipe smoking – and what you will need. And read Ben’s story.
Finish with a practical guide to filling and lighting –
Put it in your Pipe and Smoke it
Finally – when you are enjoying the quiet time with your pipe you could visit the Wesley’s
There you’ll find a “In a Nutshell” the article for “
The Complete Pipesmoker”, and more about pipes.
And even more important, - the articles on how to avoid things that can ruin your enjoyment – Pipesmoking Potholes (articles #
319 and #321)

He did his homework and asked for confirmation of the pipe, tobacco and accessories he had thought would suit him.
We steered him onto the Savinelli Dry System.
Then, in response to a question, explained the use of filters:
The pipe is a natural filter – you’ll see the collection of juices when you’re smoking it!
The purpose of the “filter” insert is to mop up these juices.
Whether or not to use an extra “filter” is discussed
here and here.

The only difficulty was his question whether he could use his really nice turbo cigar lighter to light his pipe.

This good question is often asked of me because there is much to compare between pipe- and cigar-smoking:
The decision to take time to enjoy the smoke;
The ritual of selecting the right size pipe or cigar to suit the time available;
The choice of blend of cigar leaf or of pipe tobacco;
The careful cutting of the cigar, the careful packing of the pipe, to ensure a comfortable draw;

But when it comes to lighting, there is no real similarity:
With a cigar you can hold the turbo in one hand, the cigar in the other hand, gradually bringing them closer together while slowly rotating the cigar slightly above the flame to gently ignite the whole foot, being careful not to put the foot into the flame, which could cause a bitter taste.
With a pipe you also ignite the whole surface, but there any similarity ends.
Lighting a pipe is a two-part process. Loosen the top of the tobacco slightly so that it will accept the igniting flame readily. Apply the flame (from a slow-burning match or a pipe lighter) to the surface of the tobacco, while drawing steadily to draw the flame down into the bowl, moving the flame from side to side over the whole surface so that all the tobacco at the top of the bowl is charred. Be careful not to burn the sides of the bowl. After a puff or two the tobacco usually goes out. Tamp down, tease the surface, and relight in the same way.  You will probably have to repeat this several times during the course of smoking a bowlful of tobacco.
Difficult to do this with a turbo:
You can’t bend the flame of a turbo down into the bowl – the jet is too strong;
One slip with the direction of the jet could cause irreparable damage to the inside of the bowl, taking
years off its expected lifespan.

Using the cooler, softer flame of a butane or fuel lighter, or of a slow-burning match, will prevent problems and provide a pleasurable smoke.

From October 16 - 29, 2014, we offer less 20% on:
Danish Pipe Matches – normal price R11.50
JA matches, Pack of 5 – normal price R15.00
Eurojet flint Pipe Lighter – normal price R137.50
 for these two weeks only.

These are much safer for your pipes than a turbo lighter, and much better for your pipesmoking!

Colin Wesley

No.344 October 9 – 20, 2014

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