Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tobacco Culture by Guy N. Smith

My favorite line in Tobacco Culture occurs on page 3: “I grew my first tobacco in 1960, and smoked it out of sheer obstinacy.” This Do-It-Yourself guide to growing, preparing, harvesting and finally smoking the tobacco plant is the best practical guide I have encountered on this subject. As I expected, Guy doesn’t simply describe the process in detail, but he also offers a historical background summary on tobacco and pipe smoking. There are also included useful facts concerning rolling cigarettes or cigars, the proper equipment for same, and a bit about snuff.  Guy’s non-fiction titles are equally as respected as his fiction thrillers, and titles such as Tobacco Culture can be ordered from his website. I much prefer pipe smoking over cigarettes or cigars, and forever will pipe smoke offer a nostalgic memory of my uncle who maintained a well-worm pipe clenched between his teeth, the blue smoke curling into balloons above his head. There is a great deal of planning involved in tobacco growing, and Smith covers the topic based upon his first-hand experience. Complemented by illustrations and photographs, those smokers exploring the realm of digital information, and who happen upon this post, are encouraged to seek out this volume. Smith is obviously a lifelong pipe smoker and won the British Pipe Smoking Championship in 2003. The BBC reported that he beat 30 other smokers after keeping three grams lit for 1 hour, 30 minutes and 31 seconds. The popular event was organized by the John Holingsworth Pipe Club, and each contestant was provided one pipe and three grams of tobacco and two minutes to prepare. An umpire at each table checked the contestants for smoke and eliminated those contestants’ whose pipe eventually failed to produce. Smith was awarded an expensive handmade pipe for his victory.

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