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Across the Counter
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No.425 March 29-April 11, 2018

Tips!

Sometimes “just browsing” pays off.

In my shop we like to greet anyone who comes in before he/she has time to greet us or ask to be served.
I’m just browsing is a very common response to our approach.
However, while browsing they may find an item of interest, or maybe they just enjoy the smell.

Preparing to write this article I found myself with a dilemma.
I had nothing new to write about; it was too soon to receive any news from the Habanos February Festival in Cuba, and most of the news from the Procigar programme in the Dominican Republic was not really relevant for us in South Africa.
“I’ll just browse through a few recent Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider articles and hope for the best” went through my mind.
One thing led to another and I soon I had three sets of 10 “things to do and not to do” - with cigars and our enjoyment of smoking them.
With a sigh of relief I read through them and filtered out 6 snippets that fell outside the most familiar “do and don’t” points.
I hope you find at least one or two of these of interest or help to you.

1. Don’t cut a cigar in half to share, or even prune it down to the size you want for the time you have to smoke it.
In the first instance the wrapper on the headless half will almost certainly unravel in an untidy unsatisfactory smoke.
In the second instance you will ruin the overall balance of the cigar. The blender places specific leaves in different positions in the cigar to allow for the taste to develop fully over the whole length of the cigar.
By cutting off the foot of the cigar you will be eliminating the cool, mild introductory puffs on the fresh cigar.
Rather make sure that the sizes in your cigar selection cover several smoking times. Top up any missing sizes with single cigars or packs of 3 or 5.

2. Don’t put a half-smoked cigar in your humidor.
Not even if you have trimmed it and blown through it to expel any smoke.
The cigars in the humidor will be tainted and, worse still, probably the whole inside of your humidor will take on a “smoky” aroma, difficult to remove.
Rather have available a few glass tubes with stoppers, or zip seal packets with a small humidipack.

3. Over-humidification - what to do.
If, for whatever reason, your cigars have become soggy through over-humidification there is a simple, practical remedy. Insert several strips, or sheets, of cedar into your humidor. Cover the bottom and then depending on how many cigars you have in the humidor and the severity of the problem, distribute more strips strategically among the cigars.
Keep an eye, and a finger, on the cigars as you may be surprised how quickly the cedar will absorb the excess humidity. Don’t overdo this exercise.
You may like to use a Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer to keep a check on the overall condition in your humidor, and/or install a two way Nano Technology bead humidification system.

4. Storing cigars in cellophane or branded tubes – yes nor no?
No! Both coverings will prevent any humidification reaching the cigar. This may be needed.
However, keep the odd tube handy to use if you want to carry a cigar in your pocket, or briefcase.
If you are storing cigars from different countries all in one humidor try not to have them touching – use separate trays, or dividers to keep them apart, preserving their identity.

5. Fermentation –how and why?
The “why” is easy – fermentation of tobacco is necessary because it makes tobacco taste better. It improves the taste and the aroma by reducing the sharpness and bitterness to leave a nutty, sweeter, mellow flavour.
The “how” is very exacting, needing constant regulation of temperature and moisture content over the whole fermentation time period.
Each pile of tobacco must be made up of leaves of a similar size or style, not a jumble of mixed leaves which won’t respond to the process all at the same rate.
The process cannot be slipshod or underdone. It is critical for the development of premium cigars.

6. The binder – The unsung leaf in the construction of a cigar. 
Sometimes described as the wrapper that just didn’t make it, possibly because it was a little too coarse and not eye catching.
However, besides being sturdy enough to hold the filler leaves in place, the binder is crucial to the combustion rate of the cigar, allowing for a smooth draw, especially if the filler includes flavourful, oily leaves that are not easy burning.
The binder can be summed up as the catalyst between the filler and the wrapper - it can make or break the smoking quality of the cigar.

In previous articles we’ve concentrated on the Nano Bead Technology, but in any case you might be happy to know exactly what is happening in your humidor.
Are the Temperature and Relative Humidity right for your cigars?
You can keep a check with the Slim black Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer ~ °C or °F

From 5-18 April, 2018, we offer
25% off73-J6501 Slim black Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer ~ °C or °F
Normal price R756.58 (incl.15% Vat)

Why leave it to chance when, for the cost of less than 3 cigars, you can be certain.

Colin Wesley

No.425 March 29-April 11, 2018

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

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Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"

Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No.426 April 12 - 25, 2018

The traditional straight pipe

Not every pipe smoker wants only bent pipes!

In the early days of pipe manufacturing, straight pipes were easier to make than bent models.
There was still much from which to choose: Apples, Billiards, Bulldogs, Canadians, Dublins, Liverpools, Lovats and Pokers – all in different sizes, but all straight. Just look at the Dunhill White Spot Shape Chart.
I have never seen a picture of Alfred Dunhill smoking a bent pipe.

As the pipe industry grew so did the competition.
In the 1950s and 1960s the Scandinavians took the pipe world by storm with their “outlandish” Danish shapes – mainly bent pipes. The modern Stanwell pipes are excellent examples – yet even they have traditional straight pipes in their range.

Further developments, especially with the introduction of artificial flavourings into pipe tobacco blends, called for more “filter” pipes. This was made possible by the introduction of the Teflon Tenon which today offers both 6mm and 9mm “filter” options.
These shank filters were ideally suited to bent pipes causing their popularity to overwhelm the demand for straight pipes.
During the course of all these changes and developments, the prices for entry level pipes had, along with all other briar pipes, risen considerably.

Erik Nording the innovative Danish pipemaker, saw a gap and decided to fill it.
In 2011 Erik and his son Knud would make a pipe with all the criteria for a perfect entry level priced pipe. In fact more than that, the pipe would be suitable for any pipe smoker who wanted a good smoke from a pipe at a price that would not be a disaster if the pipe became damaged or lost.

The Eriksen Keystone filter pipe ticked all the boxes with one possible negative – it was a straight pipe.
The pipe has been so successful that to date there are no plans for a bent model.

The Nording Eriksen Keystone Pipe was brought to mind again in my shop last Saturday by two very different customers:
The first customer wanted a straight pipe which didn’t cost too much and he’d heard about the Nording Keystone. We spent a very pleasant 45 minutes chatting about all the advantages of the Nording Keystone – easy to fill, light up and smoke; durable; leaving no lump of wet tobacco (the dottle) and needing little maintenance; affordable!
He was happy to choose a bowl finish he liked. The free can of Keystone pellets was an added bonus.

The second customer had bought a Keystone pipe previously, having read all about it on the website. He was so satisfied with it that he wanted another pipe in a different finish. In just a few minutes he had decided exactly which finish he preferred, paid and left – another happy customer.

We’d like you to be happy too:

From 19 April to 2 May, 2018
25% off the normal price of
Nording Keystone Pipe; Nording Keystone Pipe Bowls; Keystone Pellets

This good offer is not too good to be true.
The Keystone filter pipe smokes well above its price.

Don’t be shy, stocks are limited.

Colin Wesley

No.426 April 12 - 25, 2018

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

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