Posted by Exile on February 24, 2008
As I have mentioned before, my tobacconist is moving. I buy my tobacco from what I believe is probably the last of the great blenders. I have my own recipe for my pipe tobacco. It is a blend of 80% rough cut virginia, and equal amounts of burley and latakia. I am currently considering having a little perique added to the blend but conservatism holds me back as yet. My tobacconist is Poul Olsen’s My Own Blend. The parent company, Orlik Tobacco, has bought up the Danish department of Davidoff and has decided in its infinite wisdom to combine the two shops in the old Davidoff premises, which means that my comfortable little tobacco shop is closing as such. I suppose the idea is to create a sort of “Gentlemens equipper” with everything from pipes to aftershave and fine spirits.Today was the last day. I went off to visit. I needed to buy tobacco anyway, so the journey wasn´t entirely just for the chatter.
Thinking I could sort of sneak in and get out quickly, as I had other things to do, was hurredly thrown overboard as I ran in to some of my mates from my pipe club who were also bargain hunting and visiting the shop for the last time in its present form. We decided to break all the anti smoking laws for the day and promptly filled our pipes and lit up. The guys that staff the place were elated. Memories of how it used to be came drifting back as the smoke began to permeate through the old woodwork and display cabinets full of fine hand made Danish and foreign pipes. I have rarely seen so many customers in the shop at one time. Business was brisk on the last day. Congratulations, hopes of continued success, hand shaking and well wishing.
I couldn’t help feeling that the tobacconist is part of my extended family. People come there that I know. My friends are there. I hear news of others that I haven’t seen for some time from the staff. We can leave messages for each other there. “Say hello to… if he drops in”. “So and so was here last week, he said, did, bought..” and so on. “This guy is ill, this one’s on holiday in wherever, did you hear about?..” A mine of invaluable gentlemens gossip.
The place has been a part of my social network. It would be a shame if that went down the drain.
I realise that things change, that there are people that will make life changing decisions for me without my consent or consultation. Like this bloody ridiculous smoking ban, which is the most anti social piece of legislation ever thought of in human memory. I can’t help wondering if that hasn’t had something to do with Orlik’s decision to amalgamate my tobacconist with a bloody expensive perfume store. Still, I’ll have to give it a chance. No point passing judgement before the trial is over.
I just hope I get to be as content with the new premises as I was with the old.