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Rating Pipe Tobaccos and Being Spotted in Lego Land

At the recently completed NASPC Pipe Show in Columbus, Ohio I spent a lot of time talking pipe tobaccos with many of the attendees and vendors. Since I’ve been putting tobacco in pipes and then smoking the contents for over 45-years, and because I run a website that features pipe tobacco,  and especially because I look old and harmless, people just seem to gravitate towards me when they want to share their pipe tobacco experiences. And I love that. Seeing how excited so many of our fellow hobbyists seem to be when discussing pipe weed gets me excited too! I was especially thrilled to discuss  pipes and tobaccos with so many younger people who attended the NASPC Show. Those young folks are the future of our hobby, and to be able to share in their youthful enthusiasm made even me feel more youthful. My only regret is that it didn’t help me look more youthful, too (insert heavy sigh here).


At the NASPC Show I had several very kind comments about my reviews over the years on and questions regarding what methods I used to rate tobaccos. That was actually a discussion I had several years ago with world renown blenders Greg Pease, Tad Gage, and Dr. Fred Hanna. Pease has created some of the world’s finest ever blends such as Bohemian Scandal. Hanna is the inventor of two very special blends that were top sellers for McClellands – Wilderness and Legends. And Gage gave us his famous and delicious 3 Oaks recipes. We visited at the year 2013 Kansas City Pipe Show and I love this picture of those three famous blenders sitting together at that show as I photo bombed them in the background! Pease is on the left, Hanna is in the middle with Gage on the right. Pease has such a scientific approach to judging blends that it would take someone who understood Einstein’s E = mc2 theory to figure out how he does it. Hanna, because he has a doctorate in Psychiatry and could already get into other people’s minds, found a way to get into their taste buds too, by coming up with a formula for normal people like you and me to chart our own tobacco ratings. It is a fabulous formula that I follow religiously and maybe you will, too. Here it is and it has been very helpful to me:


In my last blog post, I lamented the loss of one of our hobby’s great pipe makers, Bruce Weaver. And now I must lament the loss of another wonderful man. This time a gentleman who had been in the hobby for decades and appreciated the artistry and functionality of smoking pipes as much as anyone that I’ve had the pleasure to know. His name is Mitch Michelson and he resided in San Antonio, Texas until his untimely death (heart attack), at the age of 65 just recently on August 28th of this year. This is a photo taken at a Steak House in Chicago this past May, where I had the pleasure of dining with Mitch and several of his closest friends in the hobby while attending the Chicago Pipe Show. From left to right in the photo – Mitch, myself, pipe maker Jeff Gracik (J. Alan Pipes), and well known high grade pipe collectors David Wrubel and Dr. Fred Berger. Mitch, although a very highly successful businessman, was always very humble and gracious. He was always first in line to give generously of his time and enjoyed life to the fullest. While greatly saddened by Mitch’s death, it reminded me of just how wonderful the pipe and tobacco hobby is because it is loaded with good folks like Mitch Michelson. And I have been blessed to be around people like him every time I go to a pipe show. We’ll sure miss you, Mitch!

Finally, I opened my Facebook page the other day to see this photo staring me in the face. It was sent to me by Sally Gottliebson, know in our hobby’s circles as The Pipe Tart. She has a great website where she sells beautiful pipes: and she is another person this hobby is blessed to have around. Anyway, accompanying this photo was a note from Sally saying, “Hey Pipestud, is this you at Lego Land?

Happy puffing to all,