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No.455 June 20, 2019

Tick the boxes

A recent email from a young man, who by his own admission was new to pipesmoking, listed the items he wanted to buy.
He asked for more suggestions. Possibly he thought he might have left out something he wasn’t aware of, but needed.
I looked through his list and as I ticked off the items my thoughts were “well done you have certainly done your homework” - full marks.

But later my thoughts changed to “but why did he have to think about what he needed, we should have a list on our website of all the basic items needed to smoke a pipe, from the first pipe fill to a fully equipped pipesmoking station”.

So, with his consent, here is his list followed by my comments and suggestions on how to expand as his pipesmoking hobby evolves.
Have a look through all these items and suggestions and tick off your boxes.

57-JCobStd 6mm
48-HBSampler Pack (9)
58-Clean110 Bristle /Tapered

The pipes: Both Clays and Corncobs require no “breaking in” period, so they are ideal for tasting the various tobaccos in the Sampler pack. The Cobs will add a little sweetness to the smoke but won’t overpower the taste.
The Clay should be neutral and dry.
For future pipes: Choose pipes with 6mm or 9mm Teflon pegs, and if the filters are not going to be used, insert the adapter. The Teflon pegs won’t easily break, which is a common problem with other pipes.
Aim for a Marca Dry pipe (R655.70). It is the only pipe under R1000.00 which has the built in moisture trap next to the bowl, in the style of Savinelli or Peterson “System” pipes.
Be adventurous – try different pipes. You may need different pipes for different occasions: a short smoke, a pipe to smoke while reading, an outdoor pipe. You can find them all on the website.

The large Sampler pack has our full range of different styles and blends: English, American, Scandinavian and Dutch. It is best to try one group at a time. Don’t jump randomly from one group to another. Make notes regarding taste, aroma, strength and burning rates. Maybe score out of 10.

The Matches: Good for use in calm conditions – may need a butane flint lighter for outdoors; but no Turbo!

The pipe rest: (70-GCon) Very versatile, can sit on the floor or a table, a wall, a large rock; and it folds up flat to fit in a pocket or the zip compartment of a companion pouch.
May consider a companion pouch or carrycase in the future to transport the necessary paraphernalia.

The Humydrole: Plain and simple – soak in water for a few minutes then dry off excess moisture and drop it into the tobacco pouch, tobacco bottle or jar to maintain freshness.

6mm Filters: These are the correct size for the Corncobs.
In future maybe try options other than Charcoal such as  Balsa, Meerschaum or absorbent paper, or try with no filter but using the adapter. Note any differences. If the filters don’t make any significant difference, use the adapter fulltime. Saves money on filters!

The basic pipe tool: (74-Sav421) It does the job of tamping the tobacco after the first charring light up, and subsequent relighting. After smoking it cleans out the bowl to remove any damp dottle, this ensures good drying out between smokes.
The blunt spoon won’t damage the base of the bowl; no sharp pointed normal penknife blade please.
The long spike will clean out the shank at the end of the smoke.
Maybe progress to a blunt-tipped pipe knife. The sharp blade will enable light reaming.
Pipe cleaners: Both plain and Bristle. Use one Bristle to every ten plain cleaners to keep the smoke passage free of residue or small remnants of tobacco - from the bottom of the bowl to the tip of the mouthpiece. Add Pipe Spray and extra thin or extra thick cleaners where necessary to ensure proper routine cleaning.

If you are comfortably well ticked off, but feel like a change in taste from your usual tobacco try a Corncob or a Clay pipe.
You want to test a different tobacco? To avoid any ghosting tobacco taste from your usual pipes, consider a Clay or a Corncob.
We are offering:

From June 27
 25% off the normal prices of
Corncobs and Clay pipes
But only until July 10, 2019
(Normal prices: Corncob R255.00, Clay R139.70)

Make the most of your smoking pleasure!

Colin Wesley

No.455 June 20 to July 3, 2019

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No.456 July 4, 2019

Test the Acid Taste

The “ACID” cigar, the secret cigar in the trade is no longer a secret.
At last after many years of being sold through the underworld of cigar trading, Acid cigars from the Drew Estate are out in the open, for all and sundry cigar smokers to smoke and enjoy - or despise.

The ACID cigar is the brainchild of Jonathan Drew and his University Frat Brother, Marvin Samuel.
The evolution of these revolutionary cigars has not been an easy path to tread before they finally achieved their dream.
The pathway started in 1995 in a 16 square foot Kiosk in the World Trade Centre in NYC, and after many ups and downs ended in Nicaragua in 2007 with the opening of their 96 000 square foot factory.
This factory today produces 94000 cigars a day, including the Acid range - one of the biggest five cigar factories in the world.
The pivotal year was 1998 when Jonathan moved from the comfort of New York City to the rural fields in Nicaragua to personally supervise the manufacture of the cigar of their dreams.
The dream was to produce a high quality flavoured cigar.
A handmade cigar rolled in the traditional fashion, with even more than traditional care and attention to detail.
Their initial La Vieja Habana Chateau No. 1 was awarded 87 points (very good to excellent) in a 2004 Cigar Aficionado tasting. Such premium cigars still make up 60% of their output.
“This Acid Kuba Kuba is an incredibly well made cigar, that draws and burns perfectly”

Back to their dream of a high quality flavoured cigar.
At that time there were three ways to produce flavoured cigars:

  • Spray the leaves with cherry, wine, brandy or other extracts;
  • Place the finished cigars in a closed environment, exposing them to flavoured extracts which, being hygroscopic, they would absorb over time;
  • Inject the flavours, with a syringe, straight into the cigars.

None of these methods involved using premium quality cigar tobacco, resulting in cigars which lacked the natural “body” of a premium cigar. They were normally machine made cigars.

Jonathan rejected these methods, and pursued his dream to “infuse” cigar with flavours derived from oils, herbs, flowers and other new flavouring methods, revolutionising the current cigar world.
The first Acid cigars were named after Scott Acid Chester, artist and industrial designer from the DUMBO area of New York City. They were launched, without any fanfare, in 1999 and although today millions are sold each year, they are not recognised by Cigar Aficionado.
They are still an underground phenomenon hated by some, beloved by others” New Air.

The complete process of manufacture is a closely guarded secret, known only to 4 people.
What has been made public is that the cigars are handmade, using a combination of long-filler tobacco leaves, as with all premium cigars. The long-filler and binder core tobacco are from Nicaraguan (Cuban seed) plants.
The leaves have been cured in an aroma room, cuarto armatico, before being rolled. This room is lined with aromatic oils, plants and herbs, and the leaves are infused with natural flavours.
The finished cigars are wrapped in plastic and placed in a cool room for an extended period of time of up to eight months for the flavours to infuse evenly throughout the cigar.
However, these flavored cigars don’t benefit from further aging, they’re meant to be smoked soon after purchase.
Great care is given to each part of the production programme yet each Acid cigar is a unique smoke, full of body and bountiful flavours, to be enjoyed by many or demeaned by traditional cigar smokers.
It’s like smoking your favourite premium Nicaraguan cigar, sitting in a beautiful garden with all the plants in full bloom.

We have 5 different Acid cigars for you to put to the test of your taste: good, bad, or indifferent:
Kuba Kuba, Kuba Maduro, Kuba deluxe Sumatra, Blondie, Extra Ordinary Larry Maduro
Click here for descriptions and prices.
The description of each cigar is very basic. It does not prescribe fully what to expect from each cigar. That is where some of the fun comes in, deciding what flavours you taste from start to finish.
Make notes and compare them with fellow cigars smokers.
Organise a small group smoking session.
Have fun!

Because Acid cigars should be kept separate from your other cigar to avoid imparting their aromas to them we will offer our compact desktop humidor at a special price:

From 11-24 July, 2019
73-J0155 Slim Black leather-covered humidor Less 25%
Normal price R958.40 (incl.15% Vat)

By all accounts this revolutionary cigar is a “must try at least once”, but don’t risk negatively affecting your Cuban or other premium cigars – keep the Acid cigars in their cellophane until you smoke them.

Colin Wesley

No.456 July 4-17, 2019

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No.457 July 18, 2019

Music to my ears

Spending time in my shop is, as my wife says, spending time when I don’t want to work.
In a way she is right.
It has been a way of life for me for more than 50 years and I and still enjoy it - especially when someone comes in and says “I would like to start smoking a pipe, can you help?”
Music to my ears.

It usually takes a good ten to fifteen minutes to explain the different types of pipes available to a beginner (a Corncob, Clay or basic briar pipes with or without filter) and the differences between a R300.00 pipe and a R1500 pipe in the same sort of shape.
Then of course all the paraphernalia that is attached to this journey into the world of pipesmoking.
If all goes well, my new customer will leave the shop adequately set up to do a little homework on The Complete Pipesmoker and The Perfect Blend before settling down somewhere quiet, to take the first unsteady steps of filling, lighting up, tamping the tobacco down, relighting and puffing gently but firmly, for the first experience of burning tobacco.
With patience and persistence this whole routine will become second nature, completed with the confidence that the next twenty, thirty minutes or more will be really relaxing and enjoyable.
The whole experience to be repeated whenever appropriate over the many years ahead.

Fast forward the introduction of technology to our business and to our website, the extension of our shop.
Contact is via an email direct to me:
“I want to start smoking a pipe / I want to give my husband / my wife / my son / my father a pipe can you help me”. The Music starts ringing with each email.
My budget is R….. / I will only be smoking outdoors/indoors / I want a short/long smoke / a pipe with a built-in filter / an ideal pipe to smoke while I am reading / going on a hiking trail / elegant and ladylike pipe, etc.
Within reason the more information you give me the better to help me tailor our response.

In my last blog I wrote about a request for help from a starting pipesmoker.
Today I’d like to talk about another request:
“I’d like to give a pipe to my wife because she wants to start smoking pipe instead of cigarettes. I want to start with good quality. I like the Zulu shape and the Savinelli models”

Here is my reply:

We can break the choice of pipe into a few options. (The grids on our website are in 1cm squares.)

. The Savinelli Minuto – Discrete, elegant, small bent pipe in dark green or rich burgundy rusticated finish, or smooth natural finish.

1. The Savinelli Minuto – Discrete, elegant, small bent pipe in dark green
or rich burgundy rusticated finish, or smooth natural finish.
It offers a 6mm filter option, and is presented in a bright, cheerful pouch
with complimentary filters and pipe tool.
54-SavMinR      R1407.20 Rich Burgundy or Dark Green
54-SavMinSM    R1508.10 Smooth Natural
Ideally suited for a fine cut blend, or very well-rubbed flake.

Stanwell Black and White:  Sandblast bowl with 9mm filter and two mouthpieces

2. Something a little obvious, but not outlandish.
The Stanwell Black and White:  Sandblast bowl with 9mm filter
and two mouthpieces, one long (keeps the smoke away from the face)
and  one standard  54-StanBWSb R2113.40



Savinelli Siena – Shape 626. The smooth glowing colour will darken a little with smoking.

3.Savinelli SienaShape 626. The smooth glowing colour will darken a little with smoking. The balance in the mouth combined with the light feel in the hand makes this shape one of the most popular in the Savinelli ranges we offer.  54-SavSiena R1850.00

Marca Mignon – lightweight semi-churchwarden, just 18cm and 25g

4. Marca Mignon – lightweight semi-churchwarden, just 18cm and 25g,
in whichever shape and finish that appeals to the eye.
These are non-filter pipes but because of the small bowl capacity
and the extra-long mouthpiece, a filter is not a necessity.
Read more about the Marca pipe here.        Prices from R393.40


Dunhill County “Horn” shape.5. The classic “Zulu” shape is really only available in the Dunhill range of pipes.
At present we do not have one available.
But you could consider the Dunhill County “Horn” shape.                                  
At present we are fortunate to have 2 available @ R5442.30
Sizes and other details are pictured here

Once the pipe is sorted out your wife will need the following accessories:

Pipe Tool (74-Sav421 R29.50) or Pipe Knife (74-Roger R395.00) – not a penknife.
Standard pipe cleaners (58-ClStd20 R15.90); Later for deeper cleaning (58-ClBrstl R11.00)
Pipe lighter (55-CLPipe R165.00) or any Butane lighter she might be using for her cigarettes (not a Turbo).
A pipe rest (70-J3820 R49.90) or the pipe rest and ashtray combo (79-J0843 R277.40)

Pipe tobacco sampler pack: either the basic 5 flavours or the full range.
My suggestion would be the basic range because I think Blend No 1 or No 43 would best be suited for her.

Reading material:
The Complete Pipe Smoker
The Perfect Tobacco Blend!

After this, a little patience will go a long way to getting started on the path for Happy Pipe Smoking.
If we can be of any help along the way please just EMAIL or call me and I will offer the best advice I can.

From our response Mr X chose the Siena and the Marca Mignon plus the pipe tool, cleaners, pipe lighter, pipe rest and the tasting pack.

The positive response to my follow up call was “all is well, the parcel arrived safely, in perfect condition”.
More music to my ears.

One of the things I emphasized was the use of a “blunt-tipped” instrument for cleaning out the bowl.
We recently received a new shipment of Rodgers Pipe Knives from Sheffield, UK.
This included the last few of their knives with wood panels and of slender stainless steel – designs which have been discontinued for technical reasons. We’ll miss them.

Take advantage while you can – the discount will contribute to the courier cost.
Or visit your closest Wesley’s, and spend the discount on a nearby cup of coffee.

 From July 25 – August 7, 2019
 25% off the normal prices of all
Rodgers Pipe Knives
(Normal prices from R395.00)

Online business is not only here to stay it is growing and spreading to cover almost anything anyone wants to buy from anywhere.
If you would like to buy any item from our website it will be our pleasure to be of service to you, just EMAIL us your request.

Colin Wesley

No.457 July 18-31, 2019

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No.458 August 1, 2019

The Cigar Aficionado Big Smoke

In the mid-1990s, our American bulk tobaccos supplier was swallowed up by a Giant in the business. Being one of their smallest customers we thought it prudent to visit them and try to cement our relationship with the big fellows.
At that time we were also buying non-Cuban premium cigars through a company based in Florida We could visit them, doubling the value of our trip.
By coincidence there was to be a “Big Smoke” in New York during the period of our travel dates.

That sealed and closed our trip, we had never been to a “Big Smoke”.
Three events in ten days would really make the trip worthwhile.

A recent email brought back memories of our experience.
In booking our places for the Big Smoke we chose the first period 5:30 to 8:30 pm, figuring that the second might just progress to be a late night show long past the scheduled 10:00 pm closing down time.

When we walked into the hotel just before 5:00 pm the whole place was abuzz with people forming queues to take the “elevators” up to the top floor where the Big Smoke was to be hosted.
As often happens when people with the same purpose queue together we started chatting to the people in front and behind us, asking if this sort of queuing was normal or was this an exceptional Big Smoke.
No this is the usual story and just very soon the queue will extend out into the street.
The two dedicated elevators will only start loading people at about 5:20, sixteen people per trip so there would be no landing space in front of the door to check people through into the smoking area at 5:30.
“But don’t worry these are fast elevators, all 200 quests will be through the door by 5:45.”
With these words we relaxed and just enjoyed the buzz.

The next question was pointed at us. "Have you marked out on your programme the cigars you want to pick up?" Well no we hadn’t, but felt sure that we would find enough special cigars to take home with us, and at least one to enjoy during the evening.
At 5:30 as predicted we were through the doors into the arena.
Stunned by the vast assortment of cigars presented we strolled down the aisles.
Every twenty steps or so we stopped to eavesdrop on the various salesmen punting their cigars to eager visitors lapping it all up, us included.
Keeping mindful of advice we had been given regarding finding something to eat, drink and a seat to sit on, we didn’t waste too much time window shopping, we used up our vouchers and spent some cash filling our big smoke bag with cigars from Arturo Fuente, CAO, Perdomo and other famous names in the cigar world.
On the Punch cigar stand, as overseas visitors, we posed for a photograph and received a Dominican Punch Churchill each.
They lasted us the whole evening.
Finding a glass of wine and a plate of snacks was easy, but all the chairs and tables were full, so we perched ourselves three steps up on a staircase to a closed door.
We lit up and savoured one of the most memorable cigars we ever smoked.

We enjoyed just sitting on the stairs, watching and listening to the mass of people all puffing away and relaxing, bonding together with the common interest in the magic of the world of premium cigars.
It was truly an evening to remember, we still do.

We don’t have a “Big Smoke” evening as such, but on a smaller scale our Cigar Dinners create this same atmosphere - Cigar lovers from different backgrounds bonding together in their enjoyment of premium cigars.

Our next Cigar Dinner will be scheduled for a Monday in October / November, watch for the details.

In the meantime here are three of Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 cigars for 2019 which are available right now

Partagas Serie D No 4 ( 92 )
Montecristo Petit No 2 ( 91 )
Montecristo Open Master ( 91 )

Ramos Leather Cigar Cases from Spain
We have some cigar cases worthy to carry these high-scoring masterpieces, like those from

Take a look at this range.
It includes cases to hold the larger ringsize cigars so popular today.

But don’t just look, because …

From 8 August, 2019
 We offer 25% off the full range of Ramos Cigar Cases
Normal prices from R1079.00 (incl.15% Vat)
But only until Wednesday 21 August

At the back of your mind put Wesley’s “Little Smoke” Cigar Dinner – October / November 2019

Colin Wesley

No.458 August 1-14, 2019

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No.459 August 15, 2019

Savinelli – the perfectionist pipe maker in Italy - The Classic Innovator

The Savinelli name has been at the forefront of the Italian pipe trade since its inception before the start of the 20th Century, and it is still leading from the front today.
Such longevity in any industry is a remarkable achievement attained by very few companies, so one has to wonder how and why.
In the case of Savinelli much can be laid at the feet and hearts of the four generations of the family which has carried the Savinelli name through both thick and thin times.
Never wavering from the basic principles in both the design and production required to produce pipes that offer a good cool dry smoke time after time, but never afraid to be innovative within these set parameters.

We’ve spoken about

The influence of the curing and drying process on the final smoking quality of the pipe is significant.
But it is a time-consuming process and is really only cost-effective for top quality pipes. So it will only be carried out properly by a manufacturer who makes a range of pipes right up to the highest quality - flawless bowls with plenty of hard wood and fine grain. Pipes from R857.00 Natural Grezze) to R10000.00 (Autograph and other Prestige Pipes).

  • The tenacity and determination to develop the perfect “Dry System” pipe.
  • The genius in drawing inspiration for their pipes (finishes or shapes) many from Italian artists.
    The first was a series pipes devoted to Leonardo da Vinci – his art, sculpture, engineering and inventions. The series started with the Mona Lisa and is complete now. Certain models may still be available – special orders only.
    More recently Savinelli Fuoco (Fire) – inspired by the painting “Il Fuoco” by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
    Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
    The Savinelli Venere – representing Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. The colour and texture of the finish of the pipe is reminiscent of the hair of Venus.

Lately we have seen new colours on the bowls, the bands and even more in the acrylic mouthpieces mostly fitted with 6mm Teflon pegs to carry the appropriate “filters” – the marble mouthpiece on the “Dolomiti”, the Cumberland mouthpiece on the Venere, the red, green and silver rings on the “Joker”. Most recently the fresh blue and white acrylic stem on the “Oceano” is a tribute to the foaming ocean - in the words of Savinelli. Very appropriate, since for most of Italy the sea is not far away. A little white ring links the stem and shank colours. 2 beautiful finishes - smooth glossy Chestnut colour; rich Brown rusticated.

  • And now the finesse they bring to classic pipe shapes.

Their classic shapes are perfect: shape 128 is a classic billiard, 602 is a classic bent – any English pipe company would be proud of these shapes.

And then they add an Italian touch of elegance to the classic shapes:
* The original Poker is modified in shape 311, with a slightly shorter and more angled stem for real comfort.
* Shape 111 is a heavier bold billiard – with perfect proportions.
* Smooth the lines on a classic bulldog and you have the flowing shape 510.
* Take a classic Dublin, flare the bowl a bit more, round the rim of the bowl, add a quarter-bent stem and you have the elegant shape 316.
* Tailor the stem of the classic oval-shank Canadian by pinching the edges to straight creases down the full length creating an elliptical stem.
* Enlarge the classic prince shape, and shorten the shank for balance, and you have the two half-bents, 320 and the smaller 321 - their rounded shapes and the absence of edges makes it really comfortable in the hand.
* Or take the prince shape, elongate the bowl vertically, exaggerate the bend slightly – the result is the neat shape 626 - you can take it anywhere.
These shapes are all included in the new Oceano range.

You can enjoy them at a special price ….

From August 22 – September 4, 2019
 25% off the normal prices of
Savinelli Oceano Pipes
(Normal prices Rustic R1995.00, Smooth R2295.00)

Whichever you choose from Savinelli, you are getting a quality pipe, tailored for your smoking pleasure.
You are sure to enjoy it.

Colin Wesley

No.459 August 15-28, 2019

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