Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Spaniards are coming!

I was recently contacted by a fellow in Spain that runs this little outfit:

I almost deleted the email, since I never pay heed to unsolicited bulk email, but when I actually read the message, I was a little interested. And no, not the kind of "interested" that might be associated with email hawking products that are GUARANTEED TO INCREASE YOUR GIRTH. I emailed him back, one thing led to another, and I picked up a sample pack of blocks.

I got the blocks the other day and so far I'm impressed. My previous supplier used to do all sorts of nice things like trim the blocks to size and write the grade on each one. It appears that Emilio's folks also do this. In addition, the wood is a nice creamy tan color - the same color that I've grown used to when using Algerian briar. The blocks are heavier than Algerian, but that appears to be due to a much denser wood, and not moisture content.

One of the tests that I use on wood I'm getting in, especially wood that I've used before (as with new suppliers) is to actually taste the wood. In this case, it tastes very, very similar to the Algerian briar that I use nearly exclusively. I'm going to guess that both outfits process their briar in a very similar fashion. Now what, you may ask, does it taste like? Well, like wood! But it's not like licking a myrtle burl or anything, it really doesn't taste like anything. It has a mild hint of white oak, with absolutely no resinous qualities, and zero bitterness.

These briar blocks look very promising, and I'll be making a test pipe or two to really put the wood through it's paces with a variety of tobaccos. I'll post more updates as they happen.