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No.415 October 19 – November 1, 2017

Economical Pipe Smoking

Statistics show that pipe smoking is by far the most economical way to enjoy tobacco.
However, we all know that in the search for pleasure cost is not always the main concern.
Nevertheless, there is no diminishment in our pleasure when we spot, or take advantage of, a real bargain in our search.

For the searching Pipeman the immediate search could be over, we have much to offer.

Refurbished pipes
We have recently released a good selection of “refurbished” pipes.
The prices are at least 40% less than their current value, where this can be assessed.
For example –
A hardly smoked Dunhill Shell Briar, with its original mouthpiece, shape R (Pot) (Group 4) at R2525.00 – current value R5050.00;
A Savinelli Dry System 2614 smooth at R895.00 - current price R1575.00;
A Parker Straight Grain (read more) at R995.00 – current price would be at least R2700.00

More pipes just added, and more to follow.

But these are not the only “Bargain” pipes on offer.

Sale pipes – new pipes, remnants / excess stock.
After much soul searching we have decided that some remnants of Savinelli and Lorenzo pipes must go. These were originally carefully selected by us, but a few in different finishes remain.
Some examples:
Handcrafted Savinelli Autograph 54-SavAutoPan3 priced at R6695.00 – sale price R4015.00
Handcrafted Savinelli Briar Line 54-SavBLSM R9995.00 – sale price R6400.00
Savinelli Duo Churchwarden  R1795.00 (3 left) – sale price R995.00.
Savinelli Venere R1750.00 – sale price R995.00

Meerschaum – 6 single pieces only,
Example: 54-JMSBntXLSm R5750.00 Extra Large Smooth Bent – sale price R3450.00

Lorenzo Churchwarden 54-LLetNR R550.00 – sale price only R330.00
Lorenzo Oom Paul T4 size      Two Tone finish R595.00 – on sale at R395.00.
Walnut finish R550.00 - on sale at R350.00

The list is long, but the stocks are very limited.

More helpful hints to economise your pipe smoking.

If you have a non-filter pipe that leaves a soggy dottle in the bottom of the bowl, use bowl filters.
These will allow you to smoke the tobacco right to the bottom – the Nording Lava Pellets are the most efficient, and suit any bowl size.
Better still use a Marca Dry pipe, the trap stops moisture from running down into the bowl.
And at R650.00, a good pipe doesn’t get much more economical than that.
There will still be some condensation in the bowl – you can use bowl filters if your tobacco produces too much moisture.
You prefer a straight pipe? Have you looked at the Nording Keystone – only R675.00

Make sure you use the right size bowl for the time you have to smoke.
Don’t waste half a bowl of tobacco.
Do you have a few smaller bowls in your selection?
Have you thought of the Marca “Snug”?
Very few smaller-bowled pipes had filter options, so we commissioned the company that manufactures our Marca brand pipes to fill this gap. We are so impressed with their “Value for money” pipes (we have been selling pipes from this manufacturer for more than 10 years) that when we needed a smaller-bowled filter pipe we had no hesitation in approaching them. The Marca Snug is the result.

Because the bowl capacity of the Snug is relatively small, not much “excess” moisture develops – bowl filters may not be necessary. You may even be able to save by using the adapter in the peg instead of a filter.

So pleased are we with the “Snug” that we’d like to invite you to try one.
Or if you do have one maybe you would like to add a second?

Here is another economical suggestion:

From 26 October – 8 November, 2017,
25% off Marca Snug pipes – 4 shape options in 3 finishes
Special prices from R442.50

There are many ways to economical pipesmoking.
Choose those that suit your lifestyle.

Colin Wesley
No.415 October 19 – November 1, 2017

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


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No.416 November 2-15, 2017

Economise Cigar Smoking

A strange comment from a cigar selling Tobacconist you might say.
Well yes, but your cigar smoking is a major part of our business.
So what are we doing, or what can we do, to make it easy and attractive for you to buy your cigars from us.

Choosing your cigars
A good selection is essential, of both Cuban and non-Cuban cigars.
Various sizes to suit the short 15 minutes smoke, up to the real luxury of the one to two hour smoke.
All these we buy in standard packings of 25, 10, 5 and 3 where possible.
Where not possible we pack 3 in a zipseal packet, and slip in a Humidipak sachet to stabilise their condition.
All these smaller packs are often easier to manage, financially and for choice, than boxes of 25 all of the same size and flavour.
This is where the small packs of 3, 5 or 10 are there for the picking, and you pay the same price per cigar in each packing except for the zipseal pack of 3 where we levy a small charge for the humidipak.

Another economical offering - we make up our popular “Selection” packs of 3 different cigars, in glass tubes, with a printed leaflet describing each cigar and why we have put the selection together.
Two current well received selections are the Casa de Garcia Coronas (Dominican Republic) each with a different Wrapper; and a selection of 3 Cuban Petit Coronas
Taste the difference between cigars with the same filler and binder – but with different wrappers.
Do you have a preference?
Taste the difference between 3 different brands of Cuban cigars – all the same size.
Do you have a preference?

By watching for new Selections you will be able to experience different cigars at a moderate cost, and broaden your whole cigar smoking enjoyment, learning what suits you best at the same time.
All this means you can make economical decisions rather than just splashing out on a box of 25.

Storing your cigars safely
Many of you have a humidor at home, if not you should seriously think of investing in at least one.
With the serious improvement in humidification systems such as the Nano bead products, you can set up a 30/50 cigar humidor, for around R2000.00 including the option to buy Nano bead humidifier.
(Less than the cost of 10 good size cigars)
The big advantage of having your own humidor is that you can keep “topping up” on the size selection you like to have on hand.
A correctly-humidified humidor can give a stable atmosphere so your cigars won’t deteriorate and give unpleasant smokes (too dry or too moist).

Sale items for cigar smokers - these ongoing offerings on cigars are not all we have to offer right now.
Don’t take a chance on damaging your cigar by using an inadequate or blunt cigar cutter.
A budget model may be good for only 30-40 cuts. Perfect if you’re likely to lose it.
For a consistently good cut, a stainless steel, Solingen blade is the answer.
See the Donatus cutters on sale now – 3 styles at half the normal retail price.
Just look at the Donatus Sterling Silver cutter – sale price only R725.00;  and the
Dunhill White Spot St.Steel Guillotine – Surgical Steel blade up to Ring 54 – less 40%; Sale price R2100.00

After much soul searching we have decided that we have more than we need for this Christmas of certain cigar cases. We identified 4 cigar cases that need to be reduced in number.
All on sale at less 40% - sale prices from R359.00 See 73-Ex243s, 73-Ex1060 (and 73-Ex142, 73-Ex142c)

Thinking about a Humidor for you – at around R2000.00 including a Nano Bead device.

We are going one better - 3 models at special prices! That’s economy for you.

From November 9-22, 2017
25% off 3 selected humidors each including a Nano Bead humidifier
Normal prices from R1390.00
Offer only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

One other saving thought:
My blog describing the practice of conserving the stub of a cigar to smoke in a pipe has prompted some interesting responses. Some people have been doing this very successfully, others are trying it.

Waste not want not might work for you.

Colin Wesley
No.416 November 2-15, 2017

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


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No.417 November 16 – 29, 2017

Enjoying your pipes
We look especially at Non-Filter pipes

The refurbished pipes are selling well, and there are more to come quite soon.
Watch out for them, there are some really good buys.

The feedback we get from buyers of these pipes is invariably complimentary but here is one that while being complimentary raised a question we hadn’t predicted, nor had been raised before.

I bought the refurbished Stanwell de Luxe Sandblast Shape 85(4) from you a while back. It’s a very nice pipe and smokes well but lately I have had a problem with it tasting really bad the closer I get to the bottom. Now I’ve cleaned it with the CGA Pressurised Pipe Cleaner Spray but it doesn’t seem to make a differences. Any ideas or advice you can give me will be appreciated.

Now why would it become bitter as it reached the bottom of the bowl?

The pipe in question was a 1960/70 Stanwell de Luxe.
This is an old Stanwell pipe with no “filter” system, as was the case with most pipes produced back in the 1970s.
So the pipe probably smokes much like a cigar.
As the tobacco in the bowl burns the natural filtration process goes into action, trapping tars, and causing moisture to develop and settle in the bottom of the bowl.
As you smoke closer towards the bottom a damp “dottle” will form and the taste will turn bitter and unpleasant.
At this stage, with a cigar, you say “thank you” and put it down to self-extinguish.
In the case of a non-filter pipe you may have to do something similar.

In addition, in the 1960/70s most pipe tobacco blends were made from pure, natural, tobaccos with no flavourings being added; the last bit, the dottle, may have been less bitter. In the more flavoured tobaccos of today moisture runs down the stem, and the dottle develops sooner, is bigger and correspondingly more bitter.

Pipe smokers are in general thoughtful, frugal people.
To put down a pipe with a soggy dottle because it tastes unpleasant is an expensive waste of tobacco.
Hence the development of “Bowl Filters”, or absorbent sponges as many are.
The most common of these were Philtpads, Drikule plugs and “Smokers Circles”.
The first two still exist and are often used today.
“Smokers Circles” were round pieces of an absorbent paper into which a bowl full of tobacco was wrapped, and sealed with a twisted “Pigtail”. The wrapped tobacco was dropped into the bowl, pigtail first, to form an absorbent cushion in the bottom of the bowl.

Now we have Keystone Lava Pellets and Denicotea granules added to the options of “Bowl Filters”, plus (for filter pipes) all the stem filters which collect the excessive moisture in the shank and mouthpiece from the modern, flavoured blends.
Today, many non-filter pipes have relatively small bowls, so the build-up of dottle is smaller, and there is less time for a bad taste to develop. The larger-bowl non-filter pipes from yesterday are what we’re considering.

In any case, should you have a “non-filter” pipe, and whether or not you use bowl filters, you should remove any remnants of unsmoked tobacco in the bottom of the bowl soon after finishing, and allow the bowl to dry out (bowl down in a pipe stand or pipe rack) before the next smoke.
In fact this applies to any pipe: If you’d like to keep it sweet-smoking - keep it clean and dry!

“Keeping your pipe clean and dry”

1. Bowl filters minimise the size of the damp dottle in the base of the bowl.
The Nording Keystone Pellets are 100% natural Volcanic Clay – very light, highly absorbent and neutral in taste; and very economical compared with other filters.
By removing the moisture from the smoke, they will provide a drier, cooler experience. They may be discarded at the finish, leaving a clean, relatively dry, empty bowl with no wasteful tobacco dottle – saving you money.
Drop a few into the bowl before filling. You should be able to smoke right to the bottom without the bad taste, and without wasting any tobacco.
They can be used in any pipe, whether with a filter or with an adapter, or with a metal arrestor – worth a try.
Available in a handy refillable tin (approximately 10g), or economical 100g pack.

2. The shank of your pipe also helps cleanse the smoke by condensing much of the tars.  
Keep the shank clean with regular scrubbing, using a bristle cleaner and a burst of CG Pipe Spray.

To support these two decisions:

From 23 November to 6 December, 2017 we offer you less 25% on
CG Pressurised Pipe Cleaner Spray R36.38 (Normal Price R48.50)
Nording Lava Keystone Bowl Filters
100g pouch for R168.75 (Normal Price R225.00)
Small tin, about 10g, R30.00 (Normal Price R40.00)

The cleaner and drier you keep your pipe, the sweeter the smoke.

Don’t hesitate - with the rising costs of the cartridge type “stem filter” the Lava Keystones will be well worth trying. Take this opportunity to buy the Keystones and the CG Pipe Cleaner Spray now.

Colin Wesley

PS Savinelli Dry System and Marca Dry have a sump incorporated into the shank, which also helps to keep the pipe clean and dry!

No.417 November 16 – 29, 2017

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


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No.418 November 30, 2017 – January 2018

Cigars - on the move!

Nothing new here.
Cigars have been moving around the world for many years.

But this year, at InterTabac in Dortmund, one of the hot talking points was the migration of the traditional Dutch, Belgium and German manufacturers of small cigars to the Dominican Republic.
The problems of European labour and taxation were cited as the main reasons for this move.

However there was a train of thought that business economics were also playing a part.
The number of independent cigar manufacturers in Europe had dropped to single figures, most having been swallowed up by the tobacco giants of the world.
These giants also have a strong presence in the premium larger cigar industry and combining the two operations in one location makes sense, especially if it also resolves the shortage of labour problems.

This was virtually confirmed to us by our Belgium suppliers of the De Hertogh small cigars.
In line with the general trend, Ton has decided to move production of his cigars (machines and all) to the Dominican Republic.
Whether he has actually given up his independence, or has undertaken the move on his own, was not made clear to us in our very brief meeting.
We will have to wait and see how the story unfolds.

Until then what?

Balmoral short filler cigarsFortunately one of last independent European manufacturers of small cigars produces the Balmoral brand.
Agio (meaning added value) cigars were started as A Wintermans & Son in 1904 by Jacques Wintermans in the small Brabant town of Duizel. Four generations later, they are the last independent cigar company in the Netherlands, with Boris and Jonas Wintermans in control. Over the years they expanded their production, opening factories in Sri Lanka, Belgium and Dominican Republic (for handmade long-filler cigars).
In 1983 as part of the expansion they bought the “Balmoral” brand from Douwe Egberts – and this is their premium brand both in short filler produced in the Netherlands, and in the long filler Dominican cigars.

The blends, of 100% tobacco, are carefully conceived in line with their philosophy that a blend is only as good as its weakest component.
Balmoral short filler cigars
Cuba : Havana Remedios, from one of the protected Denomination of Origin regions. This region is also the source of leaf for José L Piedra Cuban cigars.
Java: Indonesian Bezuki leaf native to East Java,  for the distinctive aromatic flavour.
Brazil: Brazil leaf is dark brown to black in color after fermentation, with a mild to medium strength and rich flavor; it is very aromatic, and has a natural sweetness.

Binder is Java Bezuki

Wrapper is fine Sumatra Sandblatt (sand leaf).
Sandblatt are the leaves which grow just above the ground and are in contact with sand. Normally these leaves are used basically for filler, but the Sumatra Sandblatt leaves are very rich in flavour and offer a mild yet aromatic smoke. They are cultivated only in very small quantities and are sought after by aficionados worldwide.

The three Balmoral cigars we have chosen are all the same blend.
More flavour develops when you smoke the larger formats.

Diana Mini Cigarillos (85mm x 7.9mm)
A quick smoke – more flavour than you would expect for the size; a higher proportion of wrapper to filler.

Oxford Tuitknak format (91mm x 12.6mm)
The unusual Tuitknak shape means that your light up smoke almost is entirely flavourful wrapper.

Highlands Senoritas (111mm x 12.2mm)
A true senorita size – relatively slow-burning, and the flavour develops as you smoke - ideal for a pleasant 20minutes.

We offered the Oxford Tuitknak as the opening cigar at our October Cigar Dinner – and it was very well accepted. Subsequent shop sales have confirmed this.
A 100% tobacco, premium short-filler cigar plays an important part in your collection.

With any size cigar, from the tiny minis to the largest Double Corona, you need an appropriate cigar ashtray. Capable of holding the cigar horizontal;
Plenty of room for ash.

Amongst our range are 3 very elegant models:

Crystal Cigar Ashtray with one cigar rest
73-J3539 R995.00

Crystal    15x10/7x3cm

Crystal Cigar Ashtray with two cigar rests
73-J3431 R995.00
Crystal    18.5x9/6x3cm

Black Ceramic Cigar Ashtray, with sliding Bridge
73-J3292 R795.00
Black Ceramic Cigar Ashtray,
with sliding Bridge   

And they are our special offer until after Christmas:

From 7 December 2017 to 17 January 2018, we offer you less 25% on
Selected Cigar Ashtrays
Crystal with one cigar rest 73-J3539 R746.25 Normal price R995.00
Crystal with two cigar rests 73-J3431 R746.25 Normal price R995.00
Black Ceramic with adjustable sliding bridge 73-J3292 R596.25 Normal price R795.00

To really enjoy your cigar – choose the right size for the time available!
And no matter what the size, a proper cigar ashtray will finish your smoke neatly.

Colin Wesley

No.418 November 30, 2017 – January 2018

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.419 December 21, 2017 – January 17, 2018

Relax in the Library!

The year end with all its festivities, holidays and New Year resolutions, is fast approaching. We all will be busy shopping, organising, partying, packing up one day then unpacking the next day (miles away). Answering the SMSs and emails, never mind the phone calls and skype calls. Hardly a minute or two to relax, refresh and quietly enjoy ourselves.

I have a suggestion – why not at some stage, when nobody is looking, pick up your pipe or cigar and visit the Library – the Wesley’s Library.

Go straight to the section headed Archives; just under the heading NUMBERED BLOG ARTICLES IN DATE ORDER click on “Subject Index” and relax.  

Before you delve into the “Aspects” of pipe or cigar smoking, looking for answers to any questions, you might like to have a little insight into how we manage our blog.
Blog 399  will enlighten you.

Pipe Smokers
Here are a few questions, or topics, we have addressed over the last few years.
  • Why do the last few puffs in a non-filter pipe taste bitter, and what can one do to prevent this? Blog 417  These questions cropped up from customer experiences having bought older “estate” pipes.
  • What have we done to keep a “System” pipe within the budget for most aspiring Pipe Smokers?    
Read the story of the Marca Dry.
  • Unveiling some of the mystery of the price differences in “block meerschaums” from Turkey and Vienna. Blog 377 explains all.
  • In our Library is a complete article introducing pipe smoking,; and several more to help you deal with pipesmoking  potholes - 319,321,332

How can you economise on your Pipe Smoking, without compromising your standards?
Blog 415 suggests some options.

Cigar Smokers
In our Library is a complete article introducing cigar smoking, and guides to cutting and lighting, storing your cigars; and several to help you “Make it go right” - 194,268,316,318,320,343

We have also looked at:

  • Vintage cigars, prompted by a report in Cigar Insider on a box of 500 Pre-embargo Cuban cigars selling in London for GBP 40500.00.
  • Interesting facts on the current Cuban cigar production with regard to the USA market opening up.    The Wall Street Journal has some serious negative comments on the matter.
  • Work in Cuba on redefining the Cuban tobacco seed to preserve and protect its unique properties.
  • The contribution of the Wrapper Leaf to the flavour of the cigar. The thinner the cigar, the greater the influence of the wrapper.
  • The value of the short filler cigar in your collection. New – the Balmoral.
  • Comments on extra-large ringsize cigars, 60 plus.

Suggestions for economising your cigar smoking: Blog 416 has some practical suggestions for you.

Bargain Hunters take note.
If you haven’t noticed, we have a “Stock Reduction” sale of non-tobacco accessories for both pipes and cigars, going on until we achieve our target levels.
In many cases the number of units are small. Take a look, and if you see something attractive buy it now.

I am not sure how soon you will be found to be missing and tracked down to the Library, but I hope you will have found the visit (or escape) relaxing and informative.
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.

We wish you well over the festive season and for 2018, and thank you for your support.

Your smoking pleasure is our business.

Colin Wesley

No.419 December 21, 2017 – January 17, 2018

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