25 - November
now there's a subject. for contemplation!
can you show me in .nice
wooden pipe racks?" .is
one of the more tricky questions asked in the shop.
is there to show?
Who would have thought that something apparently so simple could
be such a problem?
heady days when 75 South African cents bought 1 US Dollar, we
just imported ranges from the USA, Denmark, Italy, Germany and,
for real budget prices, from the Far East. We were spoilt for
choice, and so were our customers.
But times have changed, and our Rand now buys just a little more
than 10 US cents - which doesn't buy a pipe rack anywhere.
especially those who smoke pipes have tried to fill the gap. Some
of them for the fun of it, and some to make money. Nothing seems
to have really worked. It's not as simple as it seems - not just
3 or 4 pieces of wood with a few holes drilled and then stuck
together. Precision equipment for routing the bowl recess is expensive
and the exacting operations take time. Much handwork is involved
- so for some, 100 is too many; to set up machines though, 100
may not be enough.
The result is a patchy situation, often dependent on either an
individual hobbyist making for "his" store, or some benevolent
wholesaler subsidising the price of imported racks to satisfy
his special customers.
things are looking up - a few nice looking wooden pipe racks
have just arrived from the Far East.
Click here .for
has been to look at using materials other than wood - for example
pottery, ceramic, plastic or
The best example we have seen is the glass
stand for 5 pipes which we were able to buy at a very keen
price - 1.7kg of glowing crystal, retailing for a remarkable R69.95.
now for the extra-special news:
From November 8 to November 21 you can buy this crystal
pipe stand for only R48.95
Christmas at least - "pipe racks?" is a less tricky question.
1 to November 14, 2001
26 - November
The Cocktail Season
invitations are arriving and the Calendar is looking busy - 6
to 8 here, 5 to 7 there; drinks, snacks and small talk. A nice
way to round off the year. But what do you take, or offer, to
smoke? (Traditionally many of these venues will have access to
the outdoors. Take advantage - relax and enjoy.)
Cocktail and Black Russian cigarettes make a well-timed return.
Mix or match the bright and pastel colours of the Cocktail or
the elegant matt Black Russian - each one gold tipped. For the
pure natural tobacco taste choose from the light Dutch Willem
II Petitos or Panter Silhouettes; or the richer Cuban Mini Cigarillos
from Cohiba, Montecristo or H.Upmann. (For a light, sweet flavour
try Ritmeester Moods.)
something with little more ring size and an extra centimetre or
two in length? Something pleasantly satisfying but not so much
that it rules out the possibility of a more serious cigar later
in the evening?
At the pinnacle of Dutch cigars, PGC Hajenius offers several choices
and I would opt for either the classic Senorita or the unusual,
spicy Kleine Tuitknak
Alternative Dutch choices would be La Paz Wilde Havana or Wilde
Brazil, or Willem II Olinda.
Having a personal liking for the Brazil leaf, I would not overlook
the Handelsgold No.154.
choice at these functions would be a small handmade Cuban cigar.
At present the range and quality of Demitasse
size cigars is excellent - Bolivar Demitasse, Cohiba Panatelas,
Montecristo Joyitas, El Rey Del Mundo Demitasse, Hoyo de Monterrey
Le Hoyo du Maire will all give you 25/30 minutes of pure luxury
with just enough punch to remind you that you are smoking a cigar.
(Don't smoke too fast - make sure it lasts 25 to 30 minutes!)
At this time
of the year, and especially at functions such as Cocktail Parties,
the words of Zino Davidoff ring true: "Smoke less, but smoke
15 to November 28, 2001
next cigar feature (November 22 to December 5) gives you
the opportunity to try 4 quality Demitasse size "Cocktail"
cigars at a party price: Three Cuban and one Dutch for only
27 - November
Top quality ranges from top quality manufacturers - they'd be
in the Gold Medals in the Comrades.
Prestige Pipe is made from well-aged briar, confirmed
by the good hard grain displayed on the surface of the bowl. Degrees
of close, tight Straight or Bird's Eye grains are the norm. The
bowl is either flawless or only slightly specked.
As these bowls are identified in the process of manufacture, they
are ear-marked for special attention. Each manufacturer has his
closely-guarded, secret processes to enhance the beauty and smoking
qualities of these chosen pieces - fine sanding, repeated staining
and polishing, deep sandblasting, treatment with heat and special
oils. All these will do wonders, but they take time and great
skill, and are very costly.
A Prestige Pipe may undergo as many as 30 finishing operations
and can take over 2 months to complete.
we go up the price and quality scale in our Prestige
Pipe Collection (which is constantly changing), you
may notice that the manufacturer has added something to the pipe
to make it even more attractive. A better, more complicated finish
enhancing the grain, a better quality mouthpiece for both appearance
and comfort in the mouth, a little decoration or insignia in brass
or sterling silver in recognition of its quality.
The metamorphosis from the rough ebauchon to the finished
product is akin to that of a caterpillar to a butterfly.
It must be remembered though, that these decorations, or the pattern
of the grain, are purely cosmetic. They do not affect the smoking
quality of the pipe to any great degree. What is important to
the smoking quality is that the briar be properly cured and dried
(bowls with good graining will respond better to those processes)
and then that the pipe be properly made by skilled people
(See Manufacture of Briar
Pipes - Finishing; and "Pipes
- what's in a good brand name?")
they worth the extra price?
The demand for Prestige Pipes is testimony to the fact that they
are appreciated for their rarity, beauty of the grain and smoking
They are always in short supply - testing the integrity of the
manufacturer, but a top quality manufacturer will not lower his
November 29 to December 12, 2001
can treat yourself to a Prestige Pipe at 25% off the normal
retail price during the promotion from December 6 to December
Maybe drop a hint for Christmas?
28 - 13
for a big cigar
I am often
asked to suggest a cigar - either as a gift or for a personal
smoke. Normally I suggest a cigar the size
of a Petit Corona, a Corona or my favourite, a Robusto.
this time of the year is not normal, it is the season when one
most often has the time to appreciate the quality of a larger
cigar - the "Churchill".
also be described as the reflective season - a time to sit back
and relax, reflecting on the past year and planning optimistically
for the next year.
The ideal time to enjoy the company of a truly superb cigar -
Its sheer size is enough to impress and excite you.
As you cut
and light the Churchill, you begin to anticipate the pleasure
that is going to be yours for the next 90 to 120 minutes; the
pleasure of smoking it, savouring the development of the taste
from beautifully mild for the first quarter, to the full-bodied
flavour of the third quarter; then putting it to rest and watching
the last wisps of smoke rise and fade away into nothing save the
faint aroma of the world's most affordable luxury - a great
honour of this season we have prepared for you a selection of
three choice Cuban Churchills:
Cohiba Esplendidos ............
.. .R278.50 ......
Best of all Cuban Churchills
Romeo y Julieta Churchill ......R140.00
- originally only in France
The three cigars are presented in glass tubes in a sleeve - perfectly
humidified, just don't let them get warm.
13 December to 26 December, 2001
December 15, 2001 to January 2, 2002
this selection will be priced at only R395.00
Contact your nearest Wesley's
and ask them to reserve some packs for you and your friends.
29 - 27
for your cigars
We all like
a little sunshine and warmth, but too much is not good for us.
Neither is it good for your cigars.
dangers are the growth of mould on the wrapper or the hatching
of the dreaded tobacco beetle (both of which result from excessive
warmth and humidity) or the other extreme - dehydration.
And keep your cigars cool too.
The first watchpoint is to try to avoid situations where your
cigars may be exposed to temperatures above 22°C for any period
of time - don't forget them on the table after lunch.
Think about the temperature when you take your cigars to the beach
or leave them in the cubby-hole or boot. Can they fit in the cool
humidity - try to maintain the normal humidity they are used to
(read "What do I need to do to keep my cigars in good condition?"
When you're away from home, keep the cigars (boxed or loose) in
a sealed container or zip seal packet; moisten if necessary or
put in a packet of silica gel for excess humidity leading to extreme
cases of wetness.
are in the "Mould" season - high temperatures combined with excess
humidity can be a disaster. But don't confuse "Bloom" (or "Plume")
response to a question, Rick Hacker
has this to say:
"The more I travel, the more I write, and the more I learn, the
more I am amazed at some of the fanciful inaccuracies I keep encountering.
Often they challenge the imagination and leave me in awe. Perhaps,
years ago, someone was drinking too much rum under the hot Cuban
sun. That would certainly account for a belief that links bloom
or mold to the Cuban spring. The seasons, whether in Cuba or elsewhere,
have nothing to do with either (other than the fact that spring
rains cause humidity which, in turn, contributes to mold).
in the latest edition of my book, The
Ultimate Cigar Book, bloom (or plume) refers to the
small, powdery white spots they occasionally appear on cigar wrappers
as the cigars are aged. Easily brushed off with the finger, bloom
does not affect the taste and rather, is indicative of a well-cured
and especially oily wrapper that is aging gracefully.
Mold, on the other hand, is devastating to find on a cigar. This
blue-green fuzz is caused by too much moisture and heat, and/or
by impurities in the humidifying water or in the humidor itself.
Mold will taint a cigar's wrapper and more importantly, its taste,
giving it an unpleasant and sour mustiness. Moldy cigars should
be discarded (unless you like sucking up spores with each puff
of smoke), to prevent this contamination from spreading to the
rest of the sticks in the box."
the way I have an article on other Cigar Myths appearing in the
November 2001 issue of Robb Report (phone (1) 978 795 3000 in
Acton, Massachusetts, USA; www.robbreport.com),
a luxury lifestyle magazine for which I am the spirit and cigar
Carleton Hacker has written more than 11 books
on pipe and cigar smoking and is one of the world's best-known
authors and authorities on the subject.
December 27 to January 9, 2002
30 - January
First of all, my thanks to all of you for
your kind comments on our website and for your support during
2001. It wouldn't be the same without you.
be long into 2002 before the effect of our weakened Rand will
be reflected in higher prices for all the imported cigars, pipes
and accessories. We have already had substantially increased Zippo
prices and are expecting new pricelists from our three major suppliers
of cigars and tobaccos. Obviously stock already in the shops is
at current prices but new stock will be arriving from January
lobbyists are already howling for more stringent penalties for
individuals and establishments that transgress the law, and no
doubt the "sin tax" on tobacco products won't be overlooked in
the next budget.
But all is
not gloom and doom - none of this is really new to us, so with
some discretion and tolerance we should all be able to continue
to enjoy our smoking pleasure.
On our part
we'll be searching for quality products - pipes, cigars and accessories
- at the best possible prices. Some of the names may be new to
you, but try them; sentimental attachment to a particular brand
may have to become a thing of the past. We have great value
pipes in the offing.
In addition we'll continue to negotiate with our suppliers,
both local and overseas, for products to offer on our "Fortnightly
Features" which we trust will give you an opportunity to reduce
the overall cost of your smoking pleasure.
Feature is a return to the past - in cigars and price.
We offer the final few boxes of the classic Dutch machine-made
short filler dusted cigars -
Gouden Oogst - at a price it is difficult to believe.
Your nearest Wesley's has a partly-unravelled cigar to show you
the quality of the actual wrapper leaf under the golden painted
exterior. Those who have smoked these cigars have discovered this
quality for themselves.
cigars are not confined to mass market cigars - we'll be talking
next month about machine made cigars from Cuba, comparing them
with handmade, and with machine-bunched hand finished, Cuban cigars.
The machine-bunched in particular offer very pleasant smoking
on casual occasions, and really good value.
January 10 to January 23, 2002
31 - January
prices in 2002 will not be immune to the effect of the weak rand.
Prolong the life of your favourite briar with a little more care
Take a look
at those old discarded pipes (discoloured, sour, damaged) - some
of them may now easily justify the cost of a professional repair
The bowl will be reamed, cleaned and sweetened with "mead", and
the whole pipe polished to restore its dignified appearance -
only the dents will remain as a reminder of past pleasures.
As well as replacement mouthpieces, a hole in the bowl or a cracked
shank can be repaired.
You won't be able to buy a new branded pipe for the R100
to R150 the professional job may cost you. Bring in your pipe
A discoloured or sour pipe will respond to home treatment.
Ream the carbon layer to a thickness of about 1.5mm (2c piece)
- the T-shaped reamer from
Savinelli or the precise, high-tech Senior
reamer will do the job comfortably.
2. Use a bristle cleaner
dipped in a solvent (eg Savinelli
Pipe Clean, or some form of alcohol) to really scrub the inside
of the shank and mouthpiece - be careful not to start a hole in
the bowl through excessive twisting. (For very bent pipes go easy
round the bend in the mouthpiece.) You have finished when the
pipe cleaner comes through clean.
3. Remove the oxidation from the mouthpiece with a mild abrasive
(eg Savinelli Stem Polish
or Jeweller's rouge). This might require vigorous and lengthy
rubbing (a whole TV programme); a buffing wheel is a big help.
4. Finally polish the outside of the bowl with a wax polish (eg
Savinelli Bowl Polish).
week we offer the Savinelli
Con-Dit-Kit (Pipe Clean, Bowl & Stem polishes) at a very special
is better than Cure!
1. Don't oversmoke a pipe (especially your favourite) -
it will become saturated and
Do rotate your pipes to allow each to dry out properly.
2. Do polish
the mouthpiece regularly, don't let the oxidation get the
3. Do allow the carbon layer to build in your new pipe
- right to the bottom of the bowl - and then keep it reamed
to about 1.5mm thickness to prevent cracking.
4. If yours is a filter pipe
- do use the filter or use the adapter. Don't smoke
without one of them, even once, it can lead to an ill-fitting
mouthpiece through a swollen shank. This is almost impossible
5. To prevent breakage, do hold close to the join when
removing the mouthpiece from the bowl, and don't remove
the mouthpiece until the pipe is cool.
6. Don't use a sharp pointed instrument to clean
out the bowl - you may drill a hole in the bottom.
7. Do hold your pipe by the bowl (not the stem) when "tapping
out" the ash; and don't knock it against a hard surface
- you may break the shank or mouthpiece or crack the bowl.
Fit a "cork knocker" to
a handy ashtray.
8. If yours is a "Turbo" lighter
be very careful where you aim the flame - don't burn inside
of the bowl.
general principle to bear in mind is that the cleaner and drier
you keep your pipe, the more enjoyable it will be to smoke - and
the longer it will continue to give pleasure.
(See "The Complete Pipesmoker")
January 24 to February 7, 2002
PS For Valentine’s
Day we offer a Romeo y Julieta de luxe No.3 at a special price
– a delightful hand rolled Cuban Half Corona, with very romantic