Wesley's Logo and link to Homepage
Click to go to the Homepage
. 
 
Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 272 - November 3, 2011
Pipes with a Difference

How do you make pipes different without compromising the smoking qualities or the aesthetics of the conventional pipe?

This year, three of our pipe suppliers answered this question – each in his own way.

Savinelli This company was founded over 135 years ago and is renowned for its classic pipes shapes designed with an Italian flair.
They have launched three distinctive ranges –

Caramello – a combination of soft and rich colours, creating an aura of softness around the smoke.
Noce – intricate carving by skilled craftsmen have created a finish resembling the shell of a walnut.
Miele – a range of honey coloured bowls; lined with a paste of honey-scented nectar.
Different?.... Yes
Imaginative, and close to radical, but the shapes are from their standard range which have proved their smoking qualities over many years.

Lorenzo A master at creating eye-catching shapes that need to be held in the hand to be appreciated fully.

Grand Canadian – he must have commissioned a special supply of double-length briar ebauchonsto sculpt out these giant pipes (we can’t see any signs of a join in the shank)and yet they are extremely light in weight.
SILVIA– stunning black lacquer pipes with silver rings certainly caught our eye, and the shapes felt at home in the hand – optional 9mm filter.
Different?.... Yes
The Canadians are the largest I’ve ever seen; and the Silvia are the first glossy black pipes I have seen from Lorenzo.


Marca Pipes The quality of the pipes we are getting from this company is fantastic.

Sport – looking for a “pocket pipe” that slots in between a “Baby” and a Savinelli “Short”, we found their “Sport” – medium-small bowl yet perfectly proportioned. The shape is available in three finishes.
Different?.... Yes
It’s the size – and the finishes and prices are exceptional.

Make a difference to your pipe collection – add a pipe or pipes from these 6 ranges*.
But do it soon – any time after 10 November, because …………..

From November 10 – 23 we offer a 25% discount off the ranges*:
Savinelli Caramello, Noce, Miele; Lorenzo Grand Canadian, Silvia;  Marca Sport.

Colin Wesley                                               
November 3 -16, 2011                        

*Many of these pipes have limited quantities, so all the pipes will not be available at all Wesley’s Franchises.
If your nearest Wesley’s doesn’t have the pipe you’d like to see, they will get it for you.

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

 
Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 273 - November 16, 2011
Limited Editions

For some years Habanos (the marketing arm of Cuba Tobacco) have presented annually Limited Edition cigars , normally from three brands.

The EdicionesLimitadas- Limited Editions- of Habanos* (D.O.P) are highly appreciated and awaited by the aficionados worldwide every year. They are characterized by vitolas that do not appear in the usual range of the brand portfolio, and which are distinguished by a careful selection of their leaves - wrapper, filler and binder- which have been aged for a period of at least 2 years. The dark wrapper dressing these Habanos coming from the top leaves of the Tapado – shade grown black Cuban tobacco plant- is another characteristic that identifies them.
The EdicionesLimitadas are made with the finest tobacco leaves coming from Vuelta Abajo* (D.O.P), Cuba.
* (D.O.P)Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas.
Protected Denominations of Origin (www.habanos.com)

In 2011, the three EdiciónLimitadas are from Cohiba, Ramon Allones and Hoyo de Monterrey.
They arrived a bit late – but just in time for the festive season. The descriptions are from the Habanos website, with comments and ratings from Cigar Aficionado.

Cohiba 1966 (52 ring x 166 mm)
Cohiba 1966 This cigar commemorates the 45th anniversary of Cohiba, the flagship brand of Habanos, with an unique format specially selected for this occasion. These 10 Habanos have been made totally by hand using a selection of tobacco leaves from the plantations of San Juan y Martínez and San Luisin the Vuelta Abajozone, Cuba, aged for a minimum of two years. Presented in a Boite Nature box of 10 cigars (R3769.50)

Cigar Aficionado: 94 points
Dark and gleaming with a pigtail cap, this large cigar starts with a core of earth, spice and coffee bean flavors that take on a profound cocoa and toffee character.
Body: Medium

Allones Extra (44 ring x 143 mm)
This is the first time that Ramón Allones has an EdiciónLimitada. It is a brand characterized by its flavour that makes of this brand one of the preferredby smokers who seek intense flavours Allones Extra and exquisite aromas.Allones Extra existed until the end of the 70´s of the 20th century in the normalrange of the brand and is now produced in this 2011 Limited Edition.ThisEdiciónLimitada is characterized as well by the incorporation of a historic ring that existed in the past centuries in Ramón Allones, one of the oldest Habanosbrands,which was created in1837, and makes of this limited Edition an exclusive and limited collectible item.  Box of 25 (R3688.50)

Cigar Aficionado: 91 points
Dark and attractive with a slightly firm draw, this corona is a balance of sweet and savory with woody, leathery flavors complemented by caramel and cocoa bean.
Body: Medium 

From Hoyo de Monterrey - Short HoyoPirámides (46 ring x 135mm)
This EdiciónLimitada is designed for the best connoisseurs and enthusiasts of the Short HoyoPirámidesHoyo de Monterrey brand. Short HoyoPirámides, a Habano of ideal dimensions that makes this EdiciónLimitada an invaluable gift, not only for those who prefer Habanos of lighter flavors, but also for those newcomerswho initiate in the extraordinary world of the Habanos. All the smooth and complex flavour of its blend and the delicate aroma of the brand can be enjoyed now in this new Figurado format.  Presented in a slide lidbox of 10 cigars (R1598.95)

Cigar Aficionado: 91 points
A mini torpedo with an oily wrapper and uneven burn that corrects itself. The draw is even, imparting spice, earth and mineral flavors that lead to a tannic finish.
Body: Medium to Full

All the habanos of this EdiciónLimitada 2011 were made ¨Totalmente a Mano¨ TripaLarga - Long Filler Totally by Hand - by expert rollers, using tobacco leaves carefully cultivated and selected.

Ask your nearest Wesley’s about these cigars – available singly.

Now what will you use to light up?

Way back in 2001 I wrote the first article on “Lighting Up” and brought it up-to-date in 2008. You’ll see that I was never a big fan of the Turbo lighter, although it does have its place. I find that the narrow, intense flame too often causes a hole in the foot or chars it badly when you try to light the whole surface, resulting in a burnt taste – ugh!
The most successful addition to the Silver Match Turbo range that we carry has 3 turbo jets (and a convenient built-in cigar punch).  I am much happier with this turbo system. The three jets obviously offer a much broader flame – easier to control and to spread over the whole foot of the cigar, lighting it without charring.
You still need to be careful – hold the foot of the cigar well away from the jets. Rotate the cigar with the foot at an angle until it ignites spontaneously and starts to glow. Occasionally blow gently on the foot to see if it is evenly lit, or where some attention is needed.

I also consider this Turbo lighter to be “the most successful” because, even at the altitude in Johannesburg, it gives less trouble than any other non-flint gas lighter.

The Silver Match Triple Jet Turbo is the lighter we will have on special this fortnight.

The Silver Match Triple Jet Turbo lighter with built-in Cigar Punch
R295.00only from 24 November to 7 December, 2011
Normal price R347.95

Correct lighting really adds to your enjoyment of a cigar.

Colin Wesley
November 16 – 29,  2011

PS 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.

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

 
Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 274 - December 1, 2011
Pipe Tools – every time you smoke

Every now and then – across the counter, via an email, over the phone - I am faced with the basic question “I would like to smoke a pipe, what can you show me?”

In the shop - we go through all the options of shape, style, filter or non-filter, advantages (and downside) of the Teflon peg, etc. and finally the pipe is settled on.
“Now I just need some tobacco and I’m away – right?”
Not quite – a couple more extras are needed to make sure your pipe gives you real pleasure…….
a tool -  you need one every time you smoke:
before, during and after – the Pipe Gadget or Pipe Knife.

I show the basic Pipe Gadget which combines three tools:

• A tamper for pressing the tobacco in the bowl before, and during, the lighting up process;
• A blunt-tipped spoon for cleaning out, after smoking, the remnants of tobacco which form a soggy“dottle” in the bowl. Remember – to enjoy your pipe to the full you need to keep it clean and dry.
• A “pick” – thin enough to remove any small pieces of tobacco which may have been drawn into the shank while smoking. You don’t want it to get blocked.  A quick demonstration on his pipe makes the point.

The Pipe Knife this has the same three tools, with the spoon replaced by a blunt-tipped knife. The defining difference between this and a penknife is the rounded blunt tip to the blade.
(I demonstrate the blunt-tipped blade by twisting it against my fore-finger. I explain “If this had a sharp tip it would soon drill a hole in the bottom of the bowl, and I would have blood all over the counter”.)
Some points to check in a pipe knife:
• Open the pick, wobble it gently – is it firmly attached?
• Look at the tamper – is it rounded / oval so it will fit the bowl and spread the downward pressure over the whole surface of the tobacco?
• To relieve the twist on the hinge of the knife you will probably wrap your finger around the hinge end of the blade. Is there a straight or scooped blunt area for this?
• If the knife has decorative panels – are they well secured?
You don’t want them to fall off at the drop of a knife.

What’s special about a Dunhill Pipe Gadget?
• The combined pick/spoon screws into its vulcanite sheath after use – no dirty pocket;
• The tamper too is tucked neatly awayin the Classic;
• The Senior clips into your pocket like a pen.

Pipe Knives and Gadgets come in a variety of shapes and finishes.
Just check out the basics, then choose a model that appeals to your eye, feel and budget.

Finally, I repeat – to enjoy your pipe to the full you need to keep it clean and dry.
Every time you finish smoking, let the pipe cool down, then remove the mouthpiece, remove the filter (if any),and run a pipe cleaner through both parts.
At regular intervals use the bristle cleaner (and CG Pipe Spray) to remove stubborn residues.
The Clean110 pack is the most economical and will do both jobs.

Since pipe tools are so useful, and are always getting lost, (there must be a pipe-tool graveyard somewhere in the universe) we are going to offer 25% off all pipe tools as our next special – 15% off Dunhill tools.

From 1 - 31 December, 2011
25% off the normal price of any Pipe Tool; 15% off Dunhill Pipe Tools
Normal prices range from R18.95 to R820.00

Something in this selection could make a useful Christmas gift or “stocking filler”
Or just buy one for yourself!

Colin Wesley                                               
December 1 - 14, 2011

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

 
Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 275 - December 17, 2011
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.

Previous Articles from Across the Counter 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 ARTICLES IN DATE ORDER click on “Subject Index” and relax.

Cigars smokers can read about the complexities of blending in-the-box (Cuban cigars) and out-of-the-box (non-Cuban cigars); Cuba’s unique Limited and Regional Editions; the secrets of the Maduro; goodbye to the devastating Beetle; the distinction between bloom and mould; aging your cigars.
For the newcomer to cigars we explain the ritual of cutting; lighting up and smoking cigars; what to look for when choosing a cigar; what about a short filler cigar; maintaining the condition of your cigars; Wesley’s Selections give you the opportunity to compare different sizes, different blends.
For all cigar smokers the Habanos site is compelling viewing. (English link at foot of Home page)

As a Pipe smoker you can read about: How to choose your next pipe; what tools do you need; the benefits of a Filter pipe especially the Dry System, and the watchpoints;  “Tongue Bite” and finding your perfect tobacco blend; the fascination of Refurbished pipes;the joy of smoking a Calabash
For the novice The Complete Pipesmoker plus six articles on “Starting Pipe smoking” which will guide you through the minefield; and articles on how to maintain your pipe to maximise the enjoyment.
Why choose a Brand Name; the aura of Dunhill.

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.

Cigars smokers - one of the vital steps necessary to enjoy your cigar smoking is the initial cut.
So, to show our commitment to your enjoyment, we offer ……..

From 17 December 2011 to 11 January 2012
15% discount off Dunhill Cigar Cutters • 25% discount off all other Cigar Cutters
Normal prices from R32.95

We wish you well over the festive season and thank you for your support
Your smoking pleasure is our business.

Colin Wesley and all at Wesley’s

No.275 December 17, 2011 to January 11, 2012

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

 
Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 276 - January 12, 2012
Succession to Lorenzo – the Italian Master

For those of us who have been involved in the world of pipes for a long time, the name. "Lorenzo" conjures up vivid memories of unusual names and exotic shapes.


Click the pictures for enlargements

Names such as Summa Cum Laude, Valgardena, Rome, Nouvelle Vague, Uncle Paul, Bent Galore; shapes that compel you to reach for them to test the feel and the balance.
Could that pipe really be comfortable in the hand and mouth? Would it smoke well?
The pipes almost invariably passed all the tests and were great value for your money, and the weight for size ratio was incredible.
Times have changed and the man with the golden touch has passed on, but his vision and care for detail have been continued by his right hand man in the factory - the current owner of the "Lorenzo" name.
It was with great foresight that some years ago he saw the benefits of investing in Albania with its supply of briar and its emerging economy. Hands cost money and so does buying property to build a factory and also transporting the raw material from source to the factory.
These are reasons why we acknowledge that the successors to Lorenzo made a very astute decision when they moved the bulk of their production from Italy to Albania.
The combination of their expertise and direct access to Albanian briar and lower priced labour has enabled them to produce the best "value" pipes in the world.
The quality of the workmanship has improved steadily and today their range of pipes covers standard and optional filter pipes in many shapes and sizes and in several qualities – from the basic black or brown rusticated finishes, the ingenious spot-carved finish, to the polished “Two Tone”.
Many years ago we saw this type of finish being created in the GBD factory – a darker stain is applied which is readily absorbed by the softer briar. The stain is then wiped or lightly sanded off and a lighter, toning stain is applied, creating the two-toned effect. Obviously this is a slightly more expensive finish, and only works on better quality briars with variation in the grain and very few obvious fillings.
The Two Tone finish seems to have been prepared this way.

To-day the production of pipes from the House of Lorenzo is divided in two: the limited production of original Lorenzo shapes made in Italy, and the mass produced, almost classic shapes made in Albania.
We still buy the Italian Lorenzos whenever possible, but the bulk of our business now lies with the Albanian ranges.

Albanian Lorenzo “Manola” Bent 600 Two Tone finishFor a “Two Tone” offer we have chosen the Manola 600 shape with Teflon peg and optional 9mm filter. An almost classic bent – but if you feel the heel of the bowl you will find that it is slightly flattened for more comfort in the hand – the tradition of Lorenzo continues.

For you – a special on the Albanian Lorenzo “Manola” Bent 600 Two Tone finish
will run from January 19 – February 2, 2012 (while stocks last)
R475.00 less 25%

Stock is limited – so only one pipe per person for the first week!

Colin Wesley

No.276 January 12 – 25, 2012

PS  Don’t forget to look at our other Lorenzo “finds” in Italy –
some “
Personally Selected” pipes with really beautiful finishes, great grains and hand-friendly Lorenzo shapes.

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

 
Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 277 - January 26, 2012
Caliqueños - a Spanish secret no longer

The “Caliqueños” style of cigars has a long tradition in the south of Spain.
The cigars are completely handmade from natural Burley tobacco cultivated in the area of Valencia.

Burley is the only tobacco used for all three components of the Caliqueños:
Tripa (filler) cut up for burning qualities;
Capote (binder) a single strong leaf to hold the filler together;
Capa (wrapper) a single shade-grown leaf which contributes about 2% of the flavour. The shade cloth creates a greenhouse effect ensuring increased leaf growth
According to the late Theo Rudman, the 3-part cigar process originated in Spain and was exported to Cuba, where, in 1740, a Spanish Royal Decree created a tobacco monopoly. Spain and Cuba still maintain strong cigar links.
The Caliqueños is normally about 10cm long, with no addition or colorants at all – just pure Burley.
But this is a Burley plant which has adapted itself to growing under dry climatic conditions.

The leaves are large, thick and threaded with prominent veinsNow Burley, especially this varietal, is not a glamorous leaf.
The leaves are large, thick and threaded with prominent veins so the feel and look of the cigar is rough and irregular, the exact opposite of a glossy, silky, smooth Cohiba.
However in pipe tobacco, Burley is known and appreciated for contributing smoothness to a blend, and this is also the case in the Caliqueños.
So don’t be put off by the appearance, once the cigar is lit up the draw is effortless, the burn is even, the ash holds well and the taste is just amazing – spicy but mellow, with no “bitterness” at the end of the smoke.

My experience with the several that I have smoked and enjoyed:
• The draw was comfortably easy.
• The burn was even and held the ash beautifully.
• The flavour was full and rich, yet smooth and mellow (soft/muted is what Gillian says).
• The smoking time was approximately 35 minutes (amazing for a half corona size cigar) and I was able to smoke it right down to as far as I could just hold it.
• The after taste was clean and pleasant.

The whole production of the cigar takes place in humid conditions. It is only after the finished cigars are packed in their boxes that the controlled drying out of the cigars takes place. The dryness of the cigar is the main feature of the Caliqueños cigar which gives it the advantage of not needing to be humidified, and of keeping all the properties, flavour and quality, for a longer time than other types of cigars.

The history behind this amazing handmade cigar could easily fall into the category of “n’ Boer maak a plan”.
The tobacco was supplied to the housewives and daughters in the area which they then rolled into the Caliqueños cigarsThe origin of the Caliqueños cigar is in Spain, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
For over 100 years farmers in the Valencia area allocated a small portion of their land to the growing of Burley tobacco. The tobacco was supplied to the housewives and daughters in the area which they then rolled into the Caliqueños cigars, passed on from generation to generation – in secret.
All very illegal -distribution and direct sales were forerunners of the bootleg liquor trade in the USA – you had to know somebody to find them – under the counter, in bars, newspaper stands…….
Legend has it that the Police would warn a location of a pending raid and then, when they arrived, confiscate the few cigars they found, probably proudly displayed on a table. All very cosy, and it helped the peasant folk put a little more food on the tables.

Made by hand, following the traditional methodsRecently the company, Puros Torres de Quart S.I., applied to the manufacturing monopoly in Spain to produce Caliqueños cigars legally. So the secret is out, and smokers worldwide can now enjoy this unique cigar, still made by hand, following the traditional methods.
Yet with contemporary concerns, in that the packaging is recyclable and all waste goes to a Bio-gas plant.
Torres de Quart Caliqueños No.2 cigars
Torres de Quart Caliqueños No.2 cigars
are available in all the Wesley’s shops, at R100 per packet of two, and we are offering a special price on a single jet, turbo lighter to light up your first Caliqueños

From 2 – 15 February 2012,
the “Pocket Torch” Turbo lighter: R72.50 (Normal price R88.50)

 It won’t be your last Caliqueños - I assure you!

Colin Wesley

No.277 January 26 – February 8, 2012

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

 
Wesley's Logo and link to Homepage
Click to go to the Homepage
  . . . . .