Welcome to Briar Blues, where service is not a luxury.


I havenít had much time to write as of late, or maybe Iíve just had little worth while writing about, but as I woke very early and my little blonde brain is functioning, on those rare occasions that it does, I thought Iíd pen a bit.

 For those that missed the West Coast Pipe Show, Iím sorry for you.  It was another excellent show.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Lots of great people attended and this year I had time to catch up with some friends I had not seen in many years. 

 Itís a little funny how little we know about folks.   I spent a little time chatting with Jeff Gracik.  Jeff is an extremely talented young man.   I am sure we have all seen the incredible pipes he creates.  What I did learn at the show is that Jeff ( like myself ) is also a guitar player.  

 Another very talented pipe carver I had time to chat with was Ernie Merkle.  We had a great chat discussing the differences between the Canadian medical and tax system and that of the US.  For ALL you friends based in the US, let me say this loudly.  Medical coverage is NOT free in Canada.  Indeed it is less costly ( up front ) than in the US, but for extended coverage and the high income tax rates paid here, we are no better off.

 This year Greg Pease attended.  This was a special treat, for me, as I had not seen Greg in 8 years, which is how many years itís been since I have been able to attend the Chicago Show.   Time flies!

 Currently I am trying new ( to me ) tobaccos.  I think I have made this comment before, but maybe it needs repeating.  Donít let your nose fool you into not trying a blend.  The two blends are Astleyís No 44 Dark Virginia Flake and Peter Stokkebye Luxury Twist Flake.  I am looking to expand my cellar and the reviews on these two sounded interesting.

 To my nose, I was sure the Astleyís would be right up my alley.  Much deeper and fruitier.  Think figs and plums.  The Stokkebye is far sweeter and from the aroma I am sure it has a topping.  I almost did not try the Stokkebye, due to the topping. 

 The Astleyís is ok, but not what I expected from the aroma.  A tad sharp and very mundane.  I expected a fuller richer flavor with far less tongue bite.

 The Stokkebye on the other hand is more expansive / interesting.   There is a slight sharpness on the tongue, yet it offers some adventure in itís flavor profile.  It goes through fazes of sweetness with a hint of a citric undertone.  Both flakes were rubbed out to nearly the some ribbon cut consistency.  Both burn well.    From the get go I prefer the Stokkebye blend, but will finish a full 50 grams of each before I pass final judgment.