Lohmar pipe-show 2019, the last one…

© Lohmarer Pfeifenmesse

One of the highlights of the year for me is always a visit to the Lohmarer Pfeifenmesse (Lohmar pipe-show) the first Saturday in May. So you can imagine the shock when I first heard that this years pipe-show would be the last one. What?? No more Lohmars? Disbelieve.. You know, beyond all the exhibitors with their beautiful wares I mostly enjoyed the atmosphere created by all the pipe-smokers. I met so many lovely people there. Organizer Volker Bier explained it all in a YouTube video. For those of you who don’t speak German, in a nutshell it comes to this: Next year the location where the pipe-show is always held, Villa Friedlinde, is getting a big renovation. So no activities then. Also Volker had enough of organizing the show year in year out. All those years were great, but now it is enough. Luckily two friends of Volker, Kelvin and Toto, stepped in. I was immensely happy to hear that next year a brand new pipe-show is organized by them in Hamm on May 16th.


Back to this year. Normally I would have drove along with good friend Rob, except he could not make it, he had to work. Regarding pipe-meetings it is “the more the merrier” so I asked Mark (the organizer of the annual Dutch pipe smokers forum Zutphen meeting) if he wanted to tag along. He was happy to go together with me. Only, one day before the pipe-show he texted me and I had to silently laugh a bit. The week before Lohmar Mark started in the gym, his first time ever. Being enthusiastic in trying to shed some weight, gain some muscle and improve his condition he tirelessly outdid himself. Only to discover that the next morning he could not get out of bed because of all the muscle pain. “If this continues I won’t be able to go with you tomorrow.. I can’t even get in the car this way!” he said. “Just relax and let me know early in the morning.” I answered. I was happy that apparently the aches lessened because Mark felt good enough to visit Lohmar.

The Lohmar 2019 pipe-show blend © HU Tobacco

The drive there went smooth despite the whimsical weather. Which was really sad because with almost all the previous Lohmar editions it was good to excellent. We arrived pretty early which had a reason, I wanted to go to the table of HU Tobacco as fast as possible. A couple of days before Lohmar I read on the Facebook page of Hans Wiedemann (owner and master-blender of HU Tobacco) that he was releasing a special pipe-show blend. A mixture of sweet Virginias, Burley and Latakia, advertised as: Is it a Virginia blend with Latakia in the background or is it an English mixture with a pronounced Virginia sweetness? But the thing was, there were only 50 tins! I tried to reserve a tin on Facebook and crossed my fingers. When I had finally reached Hans through the vast crowd at his table I was disappointed. All pipe-show tins were gone.. In fact, lots of Hans’ blends were already sold out! Especially the newer ones that I wanted to try.. So besides some tins that friends had asked me to buy I ended up with Moroccan Bazaar (as a lover of the oriental spice markets I just have to try this blend) and RaiKo InBeTween (formerly known as RaiKo ChocoLat, due to German regulations).

Thomas Nietsche putting some final drops of aroma on my No. 7 blend

Beside the table of Hans there stood a guy with lots of jars filled with all kinds of mixing tobaccos in front of him. It was Thomas Nietsche, the master-blender of Kohlhase & Kopp. I also read on Facebook that he and Hans had put up a contest. You could create your own blend there and let it mix by Thomas. After Lohmar all the entries are smoked and the best will become the 2020 Hamm pipe-show blend plus you get a €50 HU Tobacco coupon. I know I have been not so positive about Kohlhase & Kopp in the past but I have to say this was a brilliant initiative and Thomas is a very nice bloke. While I was waiting for my turn I explained to Mark (in Dutch) the purpose of all of this. “I understood some of that!” Thomas said jokingly while blending some tobaccos. When it was my turn I had a faint idea in my head. I wanted a kind of Balkan blend with a touch of aromatics. Very tricky because Latakia does not do well with added flavours. I instructed Thomas to begin with 30% Cyprian Latakia, then 20% orientals. I asked if he had a good Red Virginia and he did have some aged one, he put in 30%. To round it off I let him add 10% Bright Virginia and 10% unsweetened Black Cavendish. I already saw that he had some small bottles with concentrated flavours so I instructed Thomas to add just a few drops of milk-chocolate and vanilla essence to the mixture. The result was a blend that at least smelled heavenly. Vanilla-like toffee with a smoky background. Thomas saved a sample for the contest (entry no. 7 on the list) and the rest was given free of charge to me.

The Lucifer’s Pipe duke and HU Tobacco’s Moroccan Bazaar

Because of the bad weather it was crazily busy in the tents where a lot of the exhibitors showed their wares. I opted to go to the villa itself, still crowded, but more space to manoeuvre. Almost immediately I bumped into Rudi, Fred and Paul. Especially the last one I had not seen in quite a while. After talking a little bit we discovered we were in the way so I went along. There are many skilled pipe-makers at Lohmar but often the prices they ask.. Woww.. So I was pleasant surprised when I saw a pipe I wanted for a fair sum made by Berlin based Lucifer’s Pipe. It was a nicely shaped duke made of morta. Since I always wanted a pipe made of the dark wood I did not have to think long of buying it. I even got a discount without asking for it! When I turned around a gentleman approached me. “Hello Arno do you remember me?” Although his face was vaguely familiar I could not remember him. “I am Hans-Walter, we met here some years ago, there is a picture of me on your blog. Which I love by the way! The history of for example De Graaff or Capstan blends is what interests me.” Some wheels turned in my head and suddenly I remembered him. If you read this, Hans-Walter, sorry I did not recognize you immediately! I meet so many people… And thanks for your kind words! Hope you will come to Hamm next year.

Me fitting a bracelet, on the left is Adrian

Back in one of the tents I decided to pay a visit to Adrian. Every year he is there with his hand-made leather wares and is he a very nice chap. I always have to think a bit of Blackbeard the pirate when I see him. Well, actually I see him sometimes that way because Adrian loves to celebrate the carnival dressed up as a pirate in his home city of Cologne and puts pictures of it on Facebook. After talking a bit to him I took a look at his leather stuff and spotted a cool bracelet I liked. I fitted it and yes, I wanted to buy it. The price was a tad high but with my inborn Dutch skills I haggled it down. Mark also succeeded in that while buying a pipe at another stand, not my kind of pipe but really something Mark would go for. It is good we don’t all have the same taste.

The Ashton Pebble Grain I bought at Peter Heinrichs

Mark and I almost wanted to go (the weather got worse and worse) when we bumped into some Belgian pipe-smokers forum members: Geoff, Paul and his wife. We told them we were heading to Peter Heinrichs in Bergheim for a smoke in their pipe-museum/smoking lounge and maybe something to buy. The more the merrier so the Belgians agreed to join us. On the way really everything that could fall from the sky (except aeroplanes) hit us. Snow, rain, hail.. Blah.. When we arrived we were greeted by the widow of Peter Heinrichs (who is in charge together with her lovely daughters). I must say the old lady has an iron memory. Once I had mentioned I liked estate pipes, especially vintage Dunhills. So she produced some cases with in them old Dunhills, Charatans, Ashtons and more. I face-palmed myself because I knew this was going to cost me money. Lucky for my wallet there was no Dunhill that really took my fancy. But I did like an Ashton Pebble Grain Zulu like shape, which I bought. I also purchased a tin of Château Henri No. 24; Latakia from Syria (although I beg to differ…) and Cyprus, Virginia, a bit of Burley, orientals and Java-tobacco. In the smoking lounge I could not resist smoking the Lohmar No. 7. It was way to freshly mixed but despite that, not bad, not bad at all!


At 4 o’clock Heinrichs closed. I wanted to do some shopping at the German Lidl in Bergheim and afterwards get some dinner. The rest agreed and went with me. I just love to go to the Lidl in Germany. They have many products that we in The Netherlands do not have, they are cheaper and of better quality! Almost every time I am in Bergheim, regardless of whom I am with, I go to Dönerburger for dinner. It is a Turkish style take-away restaurant where you can also just sit and eat. Nothing fancy but the quality of their food is excellent and cheap. I repeat, cheap! That always makes this greedy Dutchman happy. I had a big plate of Döner kebab (lamb meat, I also had the choice to go for chicken) with fries, tzatziki sauce and a cola and I had to pay exactly €10! In The Netherlands you can’t go out and eat like that for that price.

The Belgians at the Rauch Lounge

To round off the day I proposed a visit to the Rauch Lounge in the German town of Wassenberg. I had never been there and since it was more or less situated on the way home (also for the Belgians) we decided to go there. Inside we immediately bumped again into Rudi, Paul and Fred. They had gone there directly from Lohmar. Very nice because now I had the chance to talk to them a bit longer. Rauch Lounge has not been active for long, since November 2015. I must say, kudos to them, starting a tobacco shop in these anti-tobacco times. The store is loaded with all kinds of pipes, tobacco, spirits and cigars. And the best thing, they have a modern smoking lounge which is open late. It was bigger than I had imagined looking at the pictures on their site. Mark and I picked out some cigars in the humidor and together with the Belgians we sat down and smoked. The day had been perfect, a fitting goodbye to the Lohmar pipe-show.

I would like to thank Volker Bier for organising all those excellent editions of the Lohmarer Pfeifenmesse, I will remember them fondly and hope to create new memories next year in Hamm. Further thanks go out to the convivial Belgian delegation, always nice and educational to talk to them and of course Mark, who had to endure my music and farts in the car. Sorry man! All pictures (except the © ones) were made by Mark and myself.

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Christmas time in Cologne

cologne-christmas-market-1Around Christmas time a lot of cities and towns in Germany have the long time tradition of the Christmas market. Last year Ellen and myself wanted to go to the big city of Cologne, but the weather-forecast was so bad that we stayed home. However, now things looked fine enough so we decided to go. Every year, the city centre of Cologne is touched by the (commercial) magic of the festivities in the run-up to Christmas. When the Christmas markets in Cologne open their gates on the last Monday before Advent, millions (!) of visitors from around the world delight at the (often expensive) goods on sale at the quaintly designed huts (or “Buden”). I must say, Christmas music, arts and crafts, toys, Christmas decorations and the scent of the Christmas bakeries all create a wonderful atmosphere. Pewter pourers, wreath binders and glass-blowers demonstrate their art and the aroma of mulled wine, hot chestnuts and gingerbread fills the air.


Christmas market in front of Cathedral

And yes, Christmas MarketS, there are several scattered throughout the vast city centre. Like the one in front of the impressive backdrop of Cologne’s landmark, the Cathedral, with 150 attractively designed wooden pavilions and a stage where children’s choirs and so can perform. Or the oldest Christmas market, held on the Neumarkt with an angel theme. These are one of the highlights here. Dressed in white and sprinkling glitter powder they waft through the alleys spreading good ol’ jolly Christmas cheer (no not the tobacco…). Once a week, Santa Claus, together with an angel, makes his grand entry onto the Neumarkt on horseback. The lucky bastard! But probably the most attractive Christmas market is the one on the Alter Markt in front of Cologne’s city hall with a gnome theme. Legend has it that the Heinzelmännchen (house gnomes) performed all sorts of different jobs for the locals of Cologne: they prepared the sausages for the butcher, sewed the clothes for the tailor baked the bread for the baker etc. So the winding alleys of the “house gnomes Christmas market” are themed just like the guilds of days past. From treats, toys and items to waken that feeling of nostalgia to handicrafts and Christmas products.

ArghBut Ellen and myself did not come only for the Christmas markets, we wanted to visit some museums and the Cathedral. You know, sniff some culture in stead of tobacco. Talking about the latter, of course I also wanted to stop by a couple of tobacco shops. The journey to Cologne went smooth, we started off with some rain but as we neared our destination the weather improved and we even saw some rays of sunlight! In fact, it was pretty hot for December standards, 15°C! At first I wanted to park the car near one of the museums but since the store of Peter Heinrichs is located close to the edge of the centre we opted to look for a parking spot there. Driving in busy city centres is mostly nerve wrecking for me so I was glad I found a parking garage at the Neumarkt. But it was closed! Arrghh! After a few minutes of evading pedestrians and bicyclers in the small streets we found a smaller parking garage with only 3 places left. Luckily I was there just in time before some German motorists, sorry guys!


Inside Peter Heinrichs

Peter Heinrichs was our first stop, pretty easy to find beside the Hahnenstraße. It was nice to see this shop since I have been several times in his bigger store in Bergheim, pipe-smoking valhalla! From the front the Cologne-shop did not seem big, however, from the inside it seemed a lot larger. The wall-cabinets were fully stocked with all kinds of pipes and in the middle of the store stood a large table complete with all of the Peter Heinrichs house-tobaccos. First thing I noticed were the large number of of employees, almost more than there were customers! Second thing I noticed was the warm smile and silent welcome of Peter Heinrichs himself, he was busy on the phone. Almost immediately I was greeted by an employee with the question if he could be of assistance. No thank you, I just wanted to look around, which was fine. Then another employee asked if we would like a cup of coffee. Yes please! While sipping on the hot dark liquid I asked the first employee if he had a tin of Peter Heinrichs Nr. Nr…… 30? The one with curlies… “And a bit of latakia.” The man quickly answered. He fetched a tin from behind. I wanted to fill the corncob I brought with me with some aromatic. “Do you have something with vanilla?” I asked. Immediately the employee recommended one of the house blends. I smelled it and asked if he had a blend with even more vanilla. Also a direct answer here and I filled my pipe with a pleasant sweet mixture. The knowledge of the employee was pretty impressive, I mean, they have about 170 house blends! Peter Heinrichs himself must give them one hell of an education!


Inside Peter Heinrichs

I also was looking for a tasty plug. Once again the employee was helpful and produced a bag of the well-known Curly Block. “Ehmm.. That is a curly, not a plug.” I answered. “I mean (while making square movements with my hands) a square piece of pressed tobacco.” The employee rushed to the front of the store and fetched a plug of Peter Heinrichs Reserve Crue No.6. That was more like it! On the upper floor of the shop were cigars and I could not resist the temptation to ask if they had my favourite cigar: My Father Cigars La Antiguedad. Immediately I was guided into the (surprisingly large) climate-room and yessss… A box of the rolled tobacco leaves was produced. But I only took two. I smoke cigars in summertime and a whole box is just too much (and too expensive) for me. I thanked the employee for his help, paid for the goods and we were on our merry way again.


Painting inside the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum

It was time for some culture so we walked to one of the big museums in Cologne, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. It houses an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period to the early 20th century from painters like Vincent van Gogh, Peter Paul Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch. We started in the lower level of the building where there was an exhibition of Godfried Schalcken, mostly portraits with candlelight. Because of that the rooms were sparsely lighted and everything was really quiet. Until my mobile phone began to loudly rang. Arghh!! I dug it up from one of my pockets, immediately turned off the hellish noise and silently apologized myself.. One of the fun things about museums for me is to discover paintings with pipes or pipe-smokers in them. And I can say, I found several in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. I am not going to say where and which ones, find it out yourself.


Busy crowd before the cathedral

Next stop was the eternal landmark of Cologne, the cathedral. Although I saw it from the inside several times now (I’ve been in Cologne a couple of times before) it never fails to impress me. The enormous space inside, the stained glass windows etc. All really beautiful. What is also beautiful is the Cathedral treasury which one can reach from the side of the big building. Here all kinds of religious artefacts are displayed under which the famous wooden sarcophagus of the Three Kings (the gilded one is placed above and behind the main cathedral altar). Quite fitting was that I brought a tin of Cornell and Diehl’s We Three Kings with me, the Christmas blend from last year. I held it up to the sarcophagus and asked the holy remains of the three wise men to bless the tin. Afterwards it still tasted the same.. A good but not remarkable blend of red Virginia, bright Virginia and Katirini orientals with flavours of allspice, cinnamon and vanilla.


Salvador Dali’s La Gare de Perpignan

Behind the cathedral is the Museum Ludwig which houses a collection of modern art. It includes works from Pop Art, Abstract and Surrealism and has one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe. It also features many works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. To be honest, I am not a fan of modern art but Ellen loves it. However, there is one painting there which changed my life. Many years ago as a boy I visited the Museum Ludwig on a school-trip. Uninterested I strolled through the hallways of the museums from room to room until I saw a large painting which impressed the hell out of me: Salvador Dali’s La Gare de Perpignan (Perpignan Train Station). For some reason I still don’t know it spoke to me and I sat down in front of it. It wasn’t until then that I noticed the image of Christ on the cross, floating in the centre of the composition and I just was in awe about how that was integrated in the painting. This changed the way I looked towards art and to this day I am still a huge fan of the works of Salvador Dali.


Wolsdorff Tobacco

Well, Ellen had her fill so it was time to visit another tobacco-shop. A couple of streets from the Cathedral the Wolsdorff Tobacco GmbH Tabac-Collegium store is located. I now realize that Ellen has a fine nose regarding tobacco-shops. If she wants to wait outside, the store is mwahh, if she goes inside the shop is good. She went for a walk further down across the street so I should have been warned.. Well, warned.. The assortment of the store was fine, nothing to complain. Pipes and tobaccos from a lot of brands  galore. Like most German pipe tobacco shops they have their own brand which means the same blends as every other tobacconist, only with a different label. Also on a shelf were some Samuel Gawith tobaccos and my opinion is that a pipe-smoker never can have enough of that excellent English brand. I saw a tin of Perfection (the favourite blend of Samuel Gawith’s Bob Gregory) and asked the lady behind the counter if I could have one. “Perfection? Samuel Gawith?” “Yes, brand is Samuel Gawith, blend name is Perfection.” I answered. She looked at me questioning and asked another lady behind the counter: “Do we have a blend called Perfection?” The other lady shook her head. “No.” I had enough of it and pointed with a forced smile to the tin on the shelf about a meter from the lady. “Oooh sorry!” *sighs* I also bought a tin of the great Bothy Flake from the Kearvaig Pipe Club, good to see that one on sale in Germany.

Sadly I did not find these lovely figures..

Sadly I did not find these lovely figures..

Darkness was falling rapidly so we headed to the Christmas market on the Alter Markt in front of Cologne’s city hall. On a picture when I was looking up info about the Cologne Christmas Markets I saw a stand there that sold wooden Sherlock Holmes figures with a pipe in the mouth. Although the market looked absolutely wonderful we did not see everything of it and I did not find the stand. Problem was that it was very, very, very busy. I hardly could take a look at the wares sold and we had to shuffle and squeeze our way through the vast crowd.



So we went to look for a restaurant where we could sit down and eat something. And preferably smoke of course. The latter would not be problem since the wind had gone down and it was… Warm outside! A bit strange for the end of December but ok. Sitting down proved to be more difficult, every time we found a table folks sat down at it before we could reach it .. Grrrr… Suddenly Ellen saw an empty table at a restaurant opposite the Christmas Market. We rushed over there and yessss, we finally could sit down. It was an Austrian style restaurant called Servus with waiters walking in traditional “Lederhosen“. I filled up one of my corncobs with Dan Tobacco’s Sweet Vanilla Honeydew while we waited for the foods and drinks. I learned that German (and Dutch) people appreciate the smell of that one. What smelled (and tasted) even better was the 300 gram steak on my plate! Yummie!!! Ellen had some kind of sausage with mashed potatoes. All by all we ate wonderfully for little money, one of the things I love about Germany. Afterwards the way back home also went smooth. The day had been great with lots of culture, fine foods and drinks and good tobaccos!

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UPDATE 4-11-2016:
Today I sadly heard that Peter Heinrichs passed away. Also see this link. May he rest in peace.

Heavenly Heinrichs

“Chateau Henri”, the Heinrichs shop in Bergheim DE

A couple of weeks ago I went with Paul on a day-trip to what perhaps is Europe’s biggest tobacco store: Peter Heinrichs in Bergheim, Germany. It is best described as a castle, “Chateau Henri”, dedicated to the art of smoking. Also called “Haus der 10.000 Pfeifen” (House of 10.000 pipes) it consists of over 1000 square meters of sales area, a tobacco museum and smoking lounge! Hallelujah!!!

Peter Heinrichs himself

Peter Heinrichs himself

At 17 years old Peter Heinrichs, the owner, finished an apprenticeship at his parent’s cigarette-shop. He then founded his own tobacco wholesale with a starting capital of 3000 D-Mark in his home-town Cologne. At the young age of 30 he sold his quickly growing business to a conglomerate for such an amount that he easily could have retired. But he was not the kind of person to do nothing. All he now wanted was a small shop for pipes in the heart of Cologne. Instead of selling soulless mass-targeted cigarettes Peter now had the opportunity to specialize in high-class pipes and cigars to emphasize the pleasure in smoking. This proved to be Heinrichs’ second success. He further established other branches in San Francisco and Taipei. Also, he started (read: he gave tobacco factories orders) producing his own brand of cigars, tobacco and cigarettes containing pipe tobacco that today are sold all over the world.

Coffee, Brandy, Bourbon etc.

Coffee, Brandy, Bourbon etc.

Even before opening his online shop Peter already sent out worldwide orders on a daily basis. Both shops in Cologne and Bergheim (yes, two German shops!) provide a unique selection of finest goods. There are always a several thousand pipes in stock, especially exclusive models and collectibles. Inside the walk-in humidors every important cigar brand in every size and shape is to be found. This includes limited editions that have already sold out at other stores. In addition to that a wide range of products is offered such as tobacco, elegant smoking equipment and selected Rum, Whisky and Cognac. Personal commitment, a relaxed atmosphere and competent service make a difference. Still, Peter Heinrichs takes care of daily business himself at his Cologne store. His wife and daughter run the store in Bergheim. This really sounds like Dunhill but ok: No matter how much money a customer spends or if he carries a famous name, to Peter Heinrichs it is not important: “Everybody is entitled to get the best products and first-class service”. And it is not all about products and brands, but rather about communication and dialogue. Cosy smoking lounges in both stores invite the customers to stay, light a pipe or cigar and enjoy coffee, wine, whiskey, cognac or rum.

IMG_0040So at a rainy Saturday morning I was picked up by Paul and together we drove to Bergheim. Well, actually the city’s Niederaußem district where the store is located. Really a shame because that part of the city is dominated by the immense Niederaussem Power Station which gigantic cooling towers billow out huge plume clouds. Also the access road to the terrain of the store looked a bit shabby. Come on Germany, fix those roads! Around half past ten we arrived at “Chateau Henri” and hurried inside not wanting to get wet from the pouring rain.

Store entrance

Store entrance

Inside we were greeted by a kind of strange creepy hanging puppet of Peter Heinrichs himself. Ok… There was not much of a counter left because all kinds of stuff was placed on it. Besides the puppet we also were greeted by the friendly staff. Luckily they not came up to us asking if we need any assistance, I really do not like that. They just nodded and softly said “Guten Tag (hello)” and let us slowly go through the store. However, after 5 minutes one of the clerks came up to us and asked if we would like a cup of coffee. Jawohl!

Pipes, pipes, pipes

Pipes, pipes, pipes

While sipping my cup of coffee I took the time to properly look around and jeeez, the store really is enormous! Every time you look to a side you see pipes, and more pipes, and more pipes.. Pipe Valhalla! All, or nearly all the European pipe brands are available here. Unfortunately for me most of them are filter-pipes, the German standard. Paul was looking for some Jensen pipes (which are getting more rare) for a friend and found some! And of course got a discount, he’s also Dutch. New pipes are not really my thing so I asked if they had any estate pipes. They had, not in the shop but in the warehouse. The clerk came back with two boxes, one with…. I forgot.. And the other one full of Dunhills! Unfortunately all billiard shapes, my least favourite one.. But there were some oldies between them from the early 60’s.


Rattray’s cutty

Just as I thought there were no pipes for me I saw a nice black slender cutty-shape lying on the table. I picked it up, Rattray’s was the brand. But strange, the cabinet with the rest of Rattray’s pipes was on the far end of the room. I looked at the price, hmm… Cheaper than the other ones. I took a firm pipe-cleaner and pushed it through the mouthpiece. Without a hitch it passed through until I saw it in the bottom of the bowl. Good, that means it was straight drilled. I looked around if anyone saw me and I quickly and softly put the bit between my teeth. Ah, a good fit, very important! So I bought the pipe, my first cutty.


Sample-jars of the house-blends

But the main reason I was at Heinrichs was because of their vast assortment of tobaccos. As you can see in the picture there are a couple of big tables with a lot of sample-jars containing all of the Heinrichs house-blends. They have a small booklet containing (almost) all of these ±170(!)  blends which you really need in order to pick out what could be of your liking. And Heinrichs has it all, from the ultra-sweet to latakia-bombs. It is so much fun to open a sample-jar, sniff the tobacco, guess what it is and then look it up in the booklet. And if you really like the smell and description of a mixture you can take something out and smoke it at the spot. Is the sample-jar empty? No problem, just ask the friendly staff if they would like to refill it. And if the house-blends are not enough, at another part of the building you can find almost all of the in Germany available brand-blends.

Curly Block

Curly Block

One of the really special house-blends is the 250 gr. Curly Block, a classic roll cake. Normally you see such a tobacco all sliced up but here you have a massive roll which you have to cut yourself. It is made of high quality Virginia grades and a bit of perique. For at least 6 weeks the mixture rests in the round form in the press. There it ferments gently and reveals multi-layered taste nuances. After the ageing period the roll cake is divided into blocks of 250 grams each. When smoking you can expect wonderful, natural sweet notes. The perique enriches the mixture with spiciness, strength and fruity flavours. Some say this particular blend is similar to the old Escudo. I can’t say that because I never smoked the old Escudo. But what I do know is that this stuff is excellent!

Heinrichs Golden Sliced

500 gr. of Heinrichs Golden Sliced

Another of Heinrichs’ winners is their Golden Sliced. Golden Sliced huh? Orlik also has a Golden Sliced. Yes, true, this one is similar to the Orlik one. Smooth golden Virginias topped with a citrus-like bergamot aroma. A blend I keep on smoking. Talking about Orlik, Heinrichs revived an Orlik classic that is not made any more, the Dark Strong Kentucky. Heinrichs just calls it the Dark Strong. It is a tobacco that you won’t forget once you’ve seen it. A rectangular, almost square flake which is light in the middle with dark edges. If they had called it “Tiger Flake” that would have been an appropriate name. Remarkable is that Kohlhase & Kopp makes this flake for Heinrichs. And I know that Kohlhase & Kopp don’t make their own flakes, they get them from…. Orlik. So in fact Heinrichs Dark Strong is nothing more than the old Orlik version. All house-blends are available in different quantities and unlike The Netherlands, the more you buy from one blend, the cheaper it gets. So it pays to buy large bulk-sacks.


The “lounge”

Besides looking at pipes and sniffing at tobaccos Paul and I spent a lot of the day talking. The perfect place for that was the lounge part of the store. Well, lounge.. A couch with a table and a couple of chairs surrounded by pipe-cabinets. But it was sufficient, new coffee was provided and we could chat while enjoying samples of the house-blends. I knew Paul a bit before of course but it turned out that we had more in common than I thought. Always nice, an open conversation.

Chinese restaurant

Chinese restaurant “Paradijs” in Uden

We were still talking to each other when we noticed the staff tidy up the place. Ah, it was four o’clock, the store was closing. We gathered our belongings and walked to the counter where we had put the pipes and tobaccos we wanted to buy. To my surprise the clerk started writing everything down we wanted to buy and used a calculator to add up the prices. A bit old fashioned but ok, it worked. Paul got a discount on two pipes he bought and I got 3 packs of sturdy pipe cleaners for free. We thanked the clerk and remaining staff and drove back to Holland. Around dinnertime we arrived in Uden (my old home-town) where I had parked my car. We decided to grab something to eat at the local Chinese restaurant, Paradijs. After having enjoyed the food and more conversations we thanked each other for the wonderful day and went our own way.

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UPDATE 4-11-2016:
Today I sadly heard that Peter Heinrichs passed away. Also see this link. May he rest in peace.