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No 365 September 3 - 16, 2015

Spring is sprung

The temperatures are rising and the days grow longer – ideal to relax outside in the evening enjoying a pipeful before, or after, dinner.

But are your pipes ready, or do they need a little freshening up?
Resting, bowl down, on your pipe stand should have allowed the inside of the bowls to dry out nicely.
But the outside could probably do with a good rub of bowl polish; followed by the finishing touch of a silicone cloth to restore its beautiful lustre and smooth feel.

Likewise the mouthpiece may not be looking as fresh and tasty as it should; a little off-colour you may say.
A dollop of mouthpiece polish on a soft cloth, applied with some elbow grease, will bring it back to sparkling good health.

Is carbon build-up threatening the safety of the bowl?

Now what about the inside of the shank, the smoke tunnel that you can’t see – was it really clean before you inserted an absorbent pipe cleaner and laid it down for the winter?
Or was the pipe beginning to smoke unpleasantly hot?
A squirt of pipe spray and a scrubbing with a new bristle cleaner will reveal, and remove, any congealed sediment that may have clogged or partly clogged the smoke stream.

There’s some “Spring cleaning” to be done, is there?

Well there is lots of Rugby coming up, to provide the opportunity to do the job.
Scratch around for some cleaning tools, and put them in a box close to the TV set, at the ready.

Not sure what you need?
Here is a checklist:
A proper pipe tool – with a blunt-tipped spoon or blade, to prevent drilling a hole in the bottom of the bowl;

Pipe cleaners – besides the bristle cleaners,
extra thin (for the bent mouthpieces)
extra thick for the shank
extra long for that Gandalf pipe you bought as a gift for yourself;
Bowl and mouthpiece  polishes;
Reamer - to keep the carbon layer under control;                              
A silicone cloth for the final touch – adds a glow, and provides protection for the whole pipe.

And most important of all - Pipe Spray
to loosen up any congealed sediment in the smoke stream.

More detailed instructions?
Click here for the 6-step procedure.

Smoking Pipe Cleaning Spray

For the period 10-23 September 2015, the CGA Pipe Spray with its attached bundle of bristle cleaners, will be available from us at a reduced price.

From 10 – 23 September, 2015
25% off CGA Pipe Spray
Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

We encourage you to use it generously and so continue to take pleasure in your pipesmoking pastime.

Your smoking pleasure is our business!

Colin Wesley
No.365  September 3 - 16, 2015

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


Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"

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No 366 September 17-30, 2015

Ringsize - again

In a previous article (No.364) we covered the phenomenon of the short, thick “nub-type” cigar, and its impact on the premium cigar market.
But why this obsession with bigger and bigger ringsizes.
Is bigger, to such an extent, really better?

Under similar circumstances in April 2014 (article No.331) we looked at the relevance of “Ringsize” to your smoking experience.
First – what is “Ringsize”?
In countries using the Imperial system of measurement (feet and inches), such as England in the past and the United States today, the diameter of the cigar is expressed in “rings”, where a ring is 1/64 of an inch (precise old engineering measurements).

So the size of a cigar may be 42 x 5: 
Diameter 42/64 inch and length 5 inches.
In the metric system this would translate as 16.67 x 127mm:
Diameter 16.67mm, length 127mm:

Frequently the systems are mixed, and the size is described as 127mm x Ring 42 (or 42 x 127).
You can find out more about “Shape and Size” in the website Library (In a Nutshell: Cigars – Smoking for Pleasure); and, in the Cigars section, some pictures of common shapes and sizes.

More important – how does this affect your enjoyment of the cigar?
The Blend:
The filler of the cigar can be made up of two to five different leaves, each contributing to the taste, aroma and burning rate of the cigar. We once attended a seminar in which we tasted individual cigars each made of only one variety of leaf. And then a cigar rolled from a combination of the same leaves.
Definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its constituent parts – it’s the synergy!
And the larger the ringsize, the more variety of leaves, or more of the same, can be used giving rise to more full or complex flavours. That’s where the perception of flavours of nuts, coffee, etc. come in – developing gradually as the cigar burns.
But too much variety may cause confusion – some of the less thick cigars have the most tantalising flavours (think Montecristo No.4 or Cohiba Siglo II).
The Draw:
The larger the ringsize the easier the draw.
A larger ringsize suits some people, but not all - if you prefer to really “sip” your cigar you may not draw sufficient air to keep the burning end alight.
That’s when you may find a slimmer ringsize (Ring 32 to Ring 42) to be more suitable.

On the contrary, drawing too hard on a cigar with a smaller ringsize in order to get more smoke, may cause the cigar to burn too fast, giving a hot smoke and harsh, bitter taste.
In this case, try drawing in a little air with the smoke, or go for a thicker cigar.

By virtue of its size, the larger the ringsize the more flavour you experience with each puff.          
If this is too much for you, yet you enjoy the taste, try a smaller ringsize in the same brand.

If you prefer an easier draw (more smoke per draw) go for a larger ringsize
If you prefer to sip your cigar (less smoke per draw) go for a slimmer ringsize.
You will very likely prefer different ringsize cigars on different occasions – that’s the reason for keeping a variety of shapes and sizes in your humidor.

You can alter the draw by reducing / enlarging the cut of the cigar – but remember not to cut past the cap line.

It may be that you want to sample one of the new “big” cigars, but find the larger ringsizes (58+) too uncomfortable to put into your mouth. Just press the cigar firmly against your lips and draw comfortably.

In the final analysis, for practical purposes, the relevance of ringsize (and length) is that it will determine the rate of draw that is most comfortable for you and the amount of time you need to smoke the cigar.

And now:
Black Humidor set • 25 cigarsYou have started to enjoy good cigars, you are building a collection of shapes and sizes;
you need a Humidor, Ashtray, and Cutter.
Here is the opportunity to buy all three items at a great price:

73-J9152 R2495.00 – less 25%

You can choose to include a Nano Bead humidification system in the offer
– upgrade the system supplied.

73-J5521 R190.00 – less 25% (25-50 cigars 96x66mm, depth 19mm, including magnetic plate)

From 24 September to 7 October, 2015
25% off Humidor set 73-J9152
and / or
25% off Nano Bead system 73-J5521
Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

Maybe you have the Humidor, Ashtray and Cutter – but would like to upgrade the humidification system?
No problem – just choose the Nano Bead system on its own.

Your smoking pleasure is our business!

Colin Wesley
No.366  September 17-30, 2015

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


Across the Counter
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No 367  October 1 - 14, 2015

Eriksen Keystone Pipes from Denmark

Nording A filter pipe from

Erik Nording is a living legend in the world of pipe-makers.

A blacksmith and engineer, and son of an engineering blacksmith father, Erik was first drawn into the world of pipe making not for his love of pipes, but for his engineering skills.
He constructed some pipe-making machinery for a prospective pipe-maker. Then, when he couldn’t be paid, he kept ownership of the machinery, and after a brief partnership started to make pipes on his own.
This was in the late 1960s when the Danish pipe industry was taking off due to international demand for their unusual, distinctive, pipe styles and shapes.

Many years ago we visited Erik and were taken to the workshop below his home outside Copenhagen.
Thanks to his engineering skills, he was one of the first of the pipe-makers to construct a machine with a template to prepare several bowls at one time.

Turned bowl
We still have the bowl he turned in his workshop, from a briar plateau, in next to no time.
Ready to be finished “freehand” according to the grain.

Through thick and thin times Erik Nording has not only survived, his business has thrived.

Today more than 40 000 distinctive pipes a year leave his factory in Denmark, 90% to the USA.
Recently, together with his son Knud, he decided to reinvent the Eriksen filter pipe, which had been a success in the 1980s.
So, back to the engineering skills.

Their objectives were to construct a pipe:
Good for beginners;
Easy to fill, light up and smoke;
That is durable;
Requiring little maintenance;
That would leave no lump of wet tobacco in the bottom of the bowl at the end of a smoke;
That is eye-catching (available in the USA in addition to black, with a rich blue or dazzling white base);
That is affordable.
Good for pipe people who buy pipes for the smoking qualities of good briar, not necessarily (or only) for the aesthetics of fine grain, style, etc.
All these objectives are achieved in the new Eriksen Keystone filter pipe.

Almost a smoking machine – well-priced and offering a cool, dry smoke.

DisplayThe base (mouthpiece, shank, and bowl chamber) is constructed of black high impact polycarbonate: difficult to break, easy to clean
The quality briar bowl is fitted with a hard rubber gasket to ensure an airtight fit: no thread system which may wear out.

The bowl chamber is filled with highly absorbent Keystones (natural tasteless volcanic clay pellets), ensuring a cool, dry, smoke, right down to the last shred of tobacco.

Easy to clean:
After smoking let the pipe cool down, then empty any dry ash remnants, and the keystones (when necessary).
The briar bowl should be clean and dry – no further work normally needed.
Wash the base, using a pipe cleaner for the inside of shank and mouthpiece.
   I heard an aside: “I put it in the dishwasher when my wife’s not looking”.
   Hmmm – not so sure about that!

As with all pipes (especially new pipes) smoke slowly – relatively easy when the tobacco in the bowl stays dry.
If the pipe is too hot, you may notice a taste of plastic.

Base and Bowl

The pipe bowl is a really elegant shape, complementing the shape of the base.


There are four bowl finishes: 

Bowl Finishes54-NordKBlk Black high-polished
54-NordKR Dark Brown Rustic finish, with attractive highlights
54-NordKTT Two Tone smooth, the grain is highlighted with a deeper colour
54-NordKNat Lightly stained and polished, showing off the natural briar

The price of this quality pipe is exceptional in today’s market – R675.00.

All the components of the pipe will be available separately, and each pipe comes with a complimentary canister of keystone pellets.

Keyatone PelletsThe Keystone Pellets
These have been available for some time – volcanic clay pellets:
natural, tasteless, highly absorbent.
Since they are natural they are not all the same size.

Put a few into the bowl chamber of your Eriksen pipe, around and between the spiral. They recommend 10-15 pellets, but it obviously depends on the size of the pellets and the amount of moisture your tobacco generates.

Extra pellets are available in 100g packets at R225.00 per packet.
Very economical when compared with most other filters.
They can be used in the bowl of a normal briar pipe.

The pipes were ready late 2011 – so they have proved their worth over time.
We were introduced to them by Erik and Knud at the InterTabac fair in Germany in September 2014.
Their success has been extraordinary: we had to wait until this year to collect our first order of 24 pipes.

Durable, affordable, giving a cool dry smoke?
A perfect pipe for all occasions, and especially as a substitute for your normal pipe when fishing, hiking, etc.

Well here’s an offer to make them almost a giveaway:

25% off – that’s only R506.25
But only from October 8-21, 2015
Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

If we run out of these 24 pipes, be patient, a new order will arrive shortly.
The pipes are worth waiting for

Colin Wesley
No.367  October 1 - 14, 2015

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


Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"

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No 368 October 15 - 28, 2015

Guidelines - Your initial cigars

The cigar business is alive and well.
We are receiving more emails and visitors to our shops from people wanting to enter the fascinating world of cigars – still the world’s most affordable true luxury

But this world is wide and filled with many divergent footpaths:
Do you go Cuban, Dominican, Nicaraguan, or choose a path in between?

The pricelist of available cigars is very long and, really, to choose which you would like, you need to try single cigars of different sizes, from different countries, long / short filler cigars, and more.
There are Cuban cigars, cherry cigars, big cigars, little cigars.
What are the differences between flavoured and natural cigars; why don’t natural cigars carry nicotine ratings; why you have to cut certain cigars, how to light and then smoke them; the common misconception about the difference between size and strength.
What you really need if you are a newcomer, or even as a current cigar smoker looking to expand your horizons, is a map.

Drawing from our archives, we have listed some guidelines which we would like to share with you.
A bit of background knowledge makes the whole exercise much easier – so spend a little time reading.
Start with the Wesley leaflet “Cigars – Smoking for Pleasure” which covers (briefly) the important points.
Then visit the Wesley’s website “Library” and look at “Aspects of Cigar Smoking” – there are more than 300 articles, with an index (Frequently Asked Questions) to the different subjects.
The following 6 articles expand on some important points:
“Just looking for a few cigars” …      #356
A cigar is just a cigar, isn’t it?            #337
The Basics                                        #333
New Cigar Smoker                           #302
In the beginning…                             #147
Ringsize                                            #331
Ringsize update                                 #366

These articles are written and published on the website every 4 weeks, with articles for pipe smokers in between, and always a special offer.
We have added your email address to our database, and you will receive an email once a month to let you know about the article and current offer.
However, in the end, the only way to find what suits you best is to buy some single cigars of different types and smoke them slowly and quietly over a period of time.
Make notes for each:
Did you like the flavour; What time of day did you smoke them; Had you had food – savoury or bland; Did they last too long; Was the draw comfortable.
Check your cigar using a Tasting Score Sheet.
Anything else that strikes you.
Then you are on your way.

To assist we have put together several 3-pack Selections with full descriptive leaflets, to enable you to compare different cigars.
You can experience the difference in taste between a Dominican cigar, a Cuban and a Nicaraguan?
More important, do you know which you prefer?
Have you considered an easy-burning complex flavoured short filler cigar? You may find it is perfect for your in-between time smoke.
What do you smoke round the braai, on the golf course? Something at a reasonable price because you won’t be concentrating on the cigar.
And the size: what would you smoke when time is relatively short? What would you smoke when you have a long relaxed evening ahead of you? When it is too cold to stay outside for long to smoke your cigar?
Is there really a difference between different brands of Cuba cigars?
What actually makes a “good” cigar? Check your cigar using a Tasting Score Sheet.
Have a look at our range of Selections.
Each pack consists of three cigars carefully chosen for you to find out your answers to these questions.
Each pack has a leaflet describing the origin and character of the cigars.
Each pack will offer you an experience which will help increase your knowledge and pleasure.
The Selections are available from any Wesley’s.
3 new Selections available now.

By law you are not allowed to receive tobacco products through the post, and we may not ship to private individuals.
Ask us to quote on availability of the Selections you’d like to try, then visit your nearest Wesley’s, or send a friend or courier to collect on your behalf.

Fine leather telescopic cigar casesIn the past we didn’t promote a cigar case as being an initial purchase.
However, not being certain where or when you are going to be able to enjoy your cigar,
it might be useful to carry two or three cigars with you.
A simple case will carry your cigars in safety.
Watchpoint: They are not completely airtight.
If you are going to carry your cigars for more than a couple of days, keep the case,
cigars and all, in a zip-seal bag.

Our next offer is 25% off these handy telescopic cigar cases.
Fine leather, fully lined.
Will carry cigars, up to Ringsize 50 (Robusto thickness), up to 170mm (Churchill length).

Very versatile!

From 22 October to 4 November, 2015
25% off these cigar cases for 2 or 3 cigars
Normal Prices:
2 cigar case: 73-Ex208 R275.00
3 cigar case: 73-Ex211 R325.00

Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

You don’t have to be a novice to take advantage of this offer.
Very useful for all cigar smokers.

Your smoking pleasure is our business!

Colin Wesley
No.368  October 15 - 28, 2015

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
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Complete Archives Index

No 369 October 29 to November 11, 2015

The Pipe - a Dry Smoke

A “wet” smoke – a common problem – but why is it wet and how can it be made dry?

Just about every pipe tobacco carries a degree of moisture in it; otherwise it would be tasteless, burn hot like tinder, or crumble away to dust in the packet.

As we have said before, the pipe serves as a natural filter. As the smoke is drawn down the inside of the bowl it cools down causing any moisture to condense and collect in the bottom of the bowl, creating the inevitable soggy dottle.
A waste of good tobacco, and it only partially solves the problem because it usually becomes saturated before the bowlful is finished. As the result that wet smoke goes out through the shank and, if not trapped will end up on the lip of the mouthpiece – and into the mouth.
In addition there is always the possibility of saliva trickling down the mouthpiece into the bowl.

Natural tobaccos, especially the UK blends, didn’t contain artificial flavouring, and these helped to create a  dottle that was less wet – but still not dry.
The popularity of flavoured tobaccos in the 20th Century meant that bent pipes became more popular than straight pipes – less unpleasant juice likely to migrate to the lip of the pipe.
But this didn’t eradicate the “soggy dottle”.
The only solution appeared to be something in the base of the bowl which would absorb the moisture.

Aren’t you glad you weren’t a pipesmoker in those days?
You were? Then you know what I am talking about.

And now the modern trend of blending the traditional tobaccos, which offer natural taste and body, with flavoured tobacco has exacerbated the problem.

The Nording “Keystone” pipe has solved the problem by creating a central space in the pipe, under the bowl.
With the smoke hole in the centre of the base of the bowl, smoke is drawn straight down and out of the bowl on to a bed of absorbent lava pellets collected in the specially constructed cup.
Very clever!
Nording was not the first to design this type of system to collect the moisture – but the moderate price of his Keystone pipe certainly offers the best value.
The recent import of Keystone pipes has sold out – but more are expected at the end of November 2015 (we hope) together with separate bowls, spare O-ring gaskets, and more Keystones in smaller and economy packings.

But what about other pipes: how do they cope, or what do they offer?

Many modern pipes both bent and straight, thanks to their Teflon pegs, can be fitted with either 6 or 9 mm stem filters. These do a good job.

But there are some bent pipes that go even further to trap excessive moisture travelling through the shank.
By designing the pipe to have a sufficient angle of bend they create enough wood to be converted into a sump
which collects the excess moisture.
This can be “mopped up” using a stem filter.

Savinelli Dry Cross Section

Pioneered by Kapp and Peterson way back in the early 1900s,
these “system” pipes were refined by Savinelli
in the 1980s with their Dry System pipes.




Cross section of the Marca Dry pipe showing 'sump'

The concept has been simplified with the “Marca Dry”,
introduced by us
in February this year – 6 shapes, 2 finishes.
The Marca Dry offers the sump, and a 6mm filter option.
It is moderately priced at R850.00, offering very good value for such a pipe.


Even better value now, because …….   

From 5 – 18 November, 2015, we offer
25% off Marca Dry pipes
Normal price only R850.00
Only from Wesley’s Shops and Online Store.

Do you have a problem with wet smoking?
Consider these options.

Colin Wesley
No.369  October 29 to November 11, 2015

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