I’d heard – well, read, since I know virtually no one personally who smokes a pipe – a lot about Haunted Bookshop. This is a Cornell & Diehl tobacco blend that a lot of people seem to love. The local shop carries it in bulk, so when I bought my Savinelli pipe and he offered a couple of samples to try out, Haunted Bookshop was one of them.
I did like the taste. It’s not an aromatic, and the so-called “room note”, or how it smells to those being exposed to your demon second-hand smoke, is not as sweet but isn’t bad.
The tasting, however, did not end well. I tried a small amount, maybe half a bowl, of HB followed by a similar small amount of Bayou Morning, a Virginia Perique blend. Now, this is pretty serious stuff, for me at least. Lots of tobacco flavor, no sweeteners or flavors. It’s definitely no Captain Black. That’s fine, but I was unprepared for the massive nicotine hit. After years of not smoking at all, then slowly starting to smoke a little aromatic blend on a pipe occasionally, my nicotine tolerance was about zero. I enjoyed the smoke, but not the two hours of sweating, clammy nausea that followed and had my wife wondering if she should call an ambulance because I was having another cardiac event.
I put those two tobaccos in jars next to the Latakia blend that I like, but only occasionally. One thing I like about pipe tobacco is that it seems to be like wine… stored properly it only improves with age, for the most part.
This morning I decided to try a little experiment. I mixed up a batch of about 2/3 black cavendish (Lane Ltd. BCA) with about 1/3 Haunted Bookshop. I packed a full bowl in my Bing’s Favorite, deciding to let the new Peterson rest a few days. So far I’m quite pleased with it. The BCA tames the HB down quite a bit, while the HB gives some flavor and character that the pure cavendish lacks. It burns well, and my wife tells me it smells good. No tongue bite at all, it’s not the least bit harsh and the nicotine content is low enough to not bother me.
Now obviously I’m not the first person to figure this stuff out, but it’s interesting to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t work so well.