Richard Carleton Hacker Signature Edition Tobaccos Fire up the Holidays

Have you ever wondered what the leading pipe book author smokes? Working closely with Mary and Mike McNiel of McClelland Tobacco, Richard Carleton Hacker, author of Pipesmoking - A 21st Century Guide and Rare Smoke - The Ultimate Guide to Pipe Collecting, has introduced three new tobaccos as part of his Signature Edition series.

The first is Hacker's Sporting Blend, a re-creation of one of the author's favorite English tobaccos, as originally conceived by him in the 1980s. It is a semi-rich, nutty Latakia-based blend of Oriental and Virginian leaf, with just a touch of Burley. A traditional, medium-strength tobacco, it is reminiscent of smokey campfires, freshly-brewed coffee, and mist covered pine boughs, "...the perfect bowlful for a crisp afternoon or a frosty night," said the author.

Next is Hacker's Fireside Blend, a light Black Cavendish enhanced with Virginia and a touch of Burley. Unlike many Cavendish tobaccos, this one is delicate and sweetly aromatic, hinting of smoked almonds and candied fruit, bridging the gap between English and aromatic.

"My wife took notice of its delicious aroma the minute I lit it up," said Hacker. "That's when I knew I had the right blend."

The third tobacco in the Richard Carleton Hacker Signature Edition series is Hacker's Literary Blend, a lightly aromatic, European-style rubbed-out Virginia, Maryland, and Burley narrow-cut leaf. There is a sweet hint of cedar with a touch of spice, "...perfect for concentration and creativity," noted the author.

All three blends are attractively packaged in 50 gram tins. James B. Russell, Upper Saddle River, N.J., Tel: (800) 221-7738, Web: www.james brussell.com.

Second Edition Richard Carleton Hacker Pipe Debuts

Following the quick sell-out of his first Richard Carleton Hacker Signature Edition pipe last year, the internationally-known pipe book author has designed a second pipe in the series. Only 150 pipes have been made for this extremely limited edition.

In creating the second Richard Carleton Hacker Signature Edition pipe, the author took inspiration from a 1930s British "own label" estate pipe in his collection.

"Like my original pre-war briar," said Hacker, "the new RCH Signature Edition is a quarter-bent, diamond shanked bulldog, a very difficult shape to make. But what really sets this pipe apart is its military mount with vulcanite fittings; it's a very graceful shape that no one's made for years."

The original pipe is stamped 'St. James,' after the fabled London district once home to gentlemen's smoking clubs and numerous pipe shops. The pipe was a private label once made by Comoy's, the oldest briar pipemaking company in the world. According to Comoy's official historian, John Adler, the pipe was probably made by the company's factory on Rosebury Avenue. "So naturally, it was only fitting to have this [new] pipe made by that same company," said Hacker.

The best 150 bowls in the factory were hand selected for this pipe, which is stamped with the author's name on one side of the diamond shank, and "Signature Edition 2002" on the other. In addition, the RCH pipe-signature logo the author uses to sign his books has been individually hand engraved and gold-filled on the ferrule of each pipe. A gently curved "button" on the tip of the handcut vulcanite mouthpiece helps keep smoke away from the tongue. The Richard Carleton Hacker Signature Edition comes with a handsome presentation box bearing his signature; inside is a specially-marked glove to protect the briar. James B. Russell, Upper Saddle River, N.J., Tel: (800) 221-7738, Web: www.james brussell.com.

SMOKESHOP - Oct/Nov 2002