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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:48 pm

Gentlemen,

Just working through a tin of GLP Piccadilly, and am wondering where to place it in terms of a recognizable genre. It is not a VAPER, although it is VA dominant with noticeable Perqiue, and not an English because despite the Latakia (which is very much in the background) there are no Orientals. My understanding is that it was inspired by the old Bensen & Hedges Finest Smoking Mixture. What might we call this? Anything similar come to mind?
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:00 pm

How about "English Breakfast Mixture?" I think it fits perfectly. Wink

Seriously, there's nothing in the definition (as if there's really a codified definition) that says an "English Mixture" has to have orientals in it. There are several notable blends - Squadron Leader, thought by many to be the quintessence of the genre, comes to mind - without what we call oriental leaf. Indeed, in many historic references, Latakia was simply painted with the broad brush of "Oriental" in manufacturer's blend descriptions. Rattray often didn't refer to it directly, and neither did Dunhill, nor was it mentioned, as I recall, on early tins of Balkan Sobranie, though it's presence was clearly evidenced in these blends.

From John Loring's wonderful compilation, for instance, London Mixture, created in 1928, was billed by Dunhill as, "A delightfully harmonious blend of matured Virginia and Oriental tobaccos, soft and mellow, cool and fragrant." Only much later was Latakia mentioned.

Standard Mixtures, created in 1921, were listed in the literature as, "A blend of the choicest matured Virginia and selected Turkish tobaccos, each specially imported by Alfred Dunhill, the Virginia gives a rich flavour and touch of natural sweetness while the presence of the Turkish leaf imparts a grand aroma, this mixture possess a soft mellow flavour difficult to define bur recognized at once by every pipe-smoker: probably bet described as ‘nutty’."

From other references, I'm convinced that Latakia was in use even in the earliest examples of these blends, so I think it's a matter of nomenclature, not omission, that gives rise to the question.

Granted, the perique does give Piccadilly a little bit of a twist, but I'd still put it under the general "English Mixture" category. In fact, I'll stick with "English Breakfast Mixture." Wink
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:33 pm

glpease wrote:
... so I think it's a matter of nomenclature, not omission, that gives rise to the question.

Indeed, and if we are to start talking taxonomies then we immediately get into a host of problems - most of which relate to the fact that fashions and trends change. This is well exemplified in the examples you adduced above. In terms of nomenclature we are ultimately very much beholden to what a particular community of discourse (in this case, Anglophone pipe smokers of a certain type and the blenders and manufacturers whose products they love) accepts as common parlance. I am much enjoying my Piccadilly and will certainly cellar more, but whether or not "English Breakfast Mixture" will stick - and I would love to see it happen - only time will tell.

We should recall, of course, the genealogy of what we commonly call a 'Balkan Mixture' for that too, if I am not mistaken, came from a tin label as well (i.e., the Kleenex > kleenex; Xerox > xerox; or any other product name becoming a generic noun for the product itself - this as a well known phenomenon).
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:26 pm

I went through an entire tin of Picadilly before I realized it had no "Orientals" in it other than latakia. The play between the Virginias, perique and latakia give a sour "English"-like taste that had me convinced it was a Va/oriental blend. Masterfully done, and a superb blend.

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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:43 pm

I always go by what the blender calls it. If the blender doesn't specify I enter the danger zone called "in my mind..."

In my mind, its not the Oriental leaf that shoots something directly into the English category, its the Latakia.

When Oriental plays a significant role alongside Latakia, I'll call it a Balkan. I think of Skiff Mixture as a Balkan - most probably call it a English blend, but I like the Orientals in that blend.

Perique doesn't rule out the English nomenclature for a blend otherwise Nightcap, Artisan's Blend, Samarra, Blackpoint, and the like wouldn't be English blends.

Pretty much anything that doesn't throw a lot of non-tobacco flavoring at me is going to be considered an English blend - VA/Pers are a type of English blend. Again, this is just how I think about it and categorize it for myself. I'm no authority on the matter.

Great question. It comes up a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:30 am

Makes good sense and I quite agree in terms of how I too tend to imagine each. You are dead on with the 'Latakia makes it or breaks it' notion. Well said.

Food for thought ...

1968eric wrote:
I always go by what the blender calls it.

So, if I were to give you a tin of Piccadilly and tell you it is a "English Breakfast" mixture you would know exactly what to expect before putting it to flame? I cannot imagine it would be the same thing as if I were to give you something and say it was a Balkan, a VAPER, or a Burley blend - I am sure you would know what to expect in those cases well before even seeing said mixtures. The point here is that of common categories, touchstones as it were, that carry with them some referential currency - that's all. Actually, I love the designation Greg has given this one, but who would know what I am talking about in casual conversation without a baseline, genre-like, comparison of one sort or another?
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:45 am

Kapnismologist wrote:



So, if I were to give you a tin of Piccadilly and tell you it is a "English Breakfast" mixture you would know exactly what to expect before putting it to flame?

Absolutely not, but there are always surprises when I light up a bowl of something I haven't tried before. I guess when I see "English Breakfast Mixture" I'm thinking its going to be something on the lighter side. I'd say Piccadilly fits that bill. I'd never seen a tobacco called a "breakfast mixture" before, and I don't care for Perique first thing in the morning, but I still think that was a good way to communicate the character of a blend. Greg Pease is good at stuff like that.


Kapnismologist wrote:
I cannot imagine it would be the same thing as if I were to give you something and say it was a Balkan, a VAPER, or a Burley blend - I am sure you would know what to expect in those cases well before even seeing said mixtures. The point here is that of common categories, touchstones as it were, that carry with them some referential currency - that's all. Actually, I love the designation Greg has given this one, but who would know what I am talking about in casual conversation without a baseline, genre-like, comparison of one sort or another?

I don't think all VA/Pers, Balkans, and especially not Burley blends taste alike.

Fortunately (for me anyway) those categories have very blurry boundaries so that not all blends within one of them will taste the same. That would be boring.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:06 pm

1968eric wrote:


I don't think all VA/Pers, Balkans, and especially not Burley blends taste alike.

Fortunately (for me anyway) those categories have very blurry boundaries so that not all blends within one of them will taste the same. That would be boring.

Of course not, but they all possess certain similarities which allow us to use a conventional nomenclature to describe them. This is exactly what a genre is, whether we are talking about film, literature, wines, or what have you. So, either Piccadilly fits in a predefined, conventional (meaning an ideal, not a 'real' or personal) category somewhere or it does not. "English Breakfast Mixture" as a light English of course works well here as it communicates what seems very much to be the intent of the mixture, although all kinds of strange things can happen with such a designation (e.g., look at the series of reviews on TR where the mention of 'breakfast' = 'morning' gets Piccadilly compared to EMP from which it could not be further apart).
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:10 pm

I have always thought of the two being very similar. But different. I think it's more that both seem to be clean on the palate.

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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:57 pm

Carlos wrote:
I think it's more that both seem to be clean on the palate.

Quite, I agree with that. However, EMP is chock-full of Orientals whereas Piccadilly has none (save a bit of Latakia) and, of course, the Perique. I think the phenomenon here is what those in marketing call "product loyalty transference" (i.e., a consumer is made to associate a new unrelated product to an old one to which he is already loyal by abstracting a supposed quality from the former and positing it for the latter). In this case, the transfer is 'breakfast' > 'morning' - happens all the time, even though in this case it was certainly not intended. It is very clear what Greg had in mind here.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:38 pm

Kapnismologist wrote:


So, if I were to give you a tin of Piccadilly and tell you it is a "English Breakfast" mixture you would know exactly what to expect before putting it to flame?

Actually....I would have a fairly good idea. A Breakfast mixture would make me think light English- Which would lend me to expect an English with predominant Virginia, light Latakia. I might not expect the Perique, but I wouldn't be displeased.
English to me means at least an equal play of virginias and latakia. Cav, Perique etc would be seasonings, but not a player, more like the chorus.
A Balkan denotes Orientals for me. To the tune that they have duo roles with the other components. Balkan Sasieni or Sobranie, London Mix or Westminster....
American Englishes tend to have a decent Latakia presence, But I would expect Virginia and BURLEY. Epiphany, Barking dog, Revelation.....
Then there is a Va/Per- Where Virginias and Periques are dominant. These may have some cav, or even a bit of burley-But the stars call the catagory. Haddos, 2015, Bayou Flake etc

I have adopted these catagories from others, experience.....I think it's relatively mainstream thinking. "A Breakfast Mixture" is clear enough for me to know It won't be a sub for Pirate Kake, or Odyessey..... I don't think it will take off as a catagory on it's own, but I don't think that was GLP intention.....I think he was just trying to say it would go well with a spot of tea first thing in the morn.....Which it does...

Just my .02
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:41 pm

*removal of duplicate*

How'd that get in there?


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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:45 pm

Talonr1701 wrote:
"A Breakfast Mixture" is clear enough for me to know It won't be a sub for Pirate Kake, or Odyessey..... I don't think it will take off as a catagory on it's own, but I don't think that was GLP intention.....I think he was just trying to say it would go well with a spot of tea first thing in the morn.....Which it does...

Just my .02

Actually worth far more than twopence, Matt, and a very well considered synopsis. Wink I still have issues with the "Balkan" designation, as the archetype "Balkan" blend would have to be Balkan Sobranie, and it has far less oriental in its composition than blends like London Mixture, which could be argued to be the quintessential English mixture.

I'd be thrilled if people adopted it as a category, though there are only a few blends that would fit in, I think. Ashbury could arguably belong there, and Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe. In fact, I encourage the use of the term. Then, Piccadilly could become "The Original English Breakfast Mixture."

That would be pretty cool, since I planted my flag there first. Wink

Cheers,
Greg


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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:27 pm

Talonr1701 wrote:
Kapnismologist wrote:


So, if I were to give you a tin of Piccadilly and tell you it is a "English Breakfast" mixture you would know exactly what to expect before putting it to flame?

Actually....I would have a fairly good idea. A Breakfast mixture would make me think light English- Which would lend me to expect an English with predominant Virginia, light Latakia. I might not expect the Perique, but I wouldn't be displeased.
English to me means at least an equal play of virginias and latakia. Cav, Perique etc would be seasonings, but not a player, more like the chorus.
A Balkan denotes Orientals for me. To the tune that they have duo roles with the other components. Balkan Sasieni or Sobranie, London Mix or Westminster....
American Englishes tend to have a decent Latakia presence, But I would expect Virginia and BURLEY. Epiphany, Barking dog, Revelation.....
Then there is a Va/Per- Where Virginias and Periques are dominant. These may have some cav, or even a bit of burley-But the stars call the catagory. Haddos, 2015, Bayou Flake etc

I have adopted these catagories from others, experience.....I think it's relatively mainstream thinking. "A Breakfast Mixture" is clear enough for me to know It won't be a sub for Pirate Kake, or Odyessey..... I don't think it will take off as a catagory on it's own, but I don't think that was GLP intention.....I think he was just trying to say it would go well with a spot of tea first thing in the morn.....Which it does...

:pipe: Just my .02

Thanks for that - very interesting indeed.

As far as baseline genres go, here is my conceptual scheme (which differs a bit from the one you outline above):

English: Virginias, Orientals, and Latakia in some sort of balanced proportion (e.g., Dunhill Standard Mixture Medium, Dunhill London Mixture, GLP Westminster, etc.). Must have all three.

Balkan: Orientals and Latakia in the forefront (e.g., Balkan Sasieni, Butera Latakia No. 1, GLP Odyssey, etc.), Virginias can play a supporting role, although are not necessary.

Oriental: Mixture dominated by Orientals with a Virginia base (e.g., Presbyterian Mixture, Dunhill EMP), light condimental use of Latakia or none at all.

Virginia: Mostly or all unstoved Virginias (e.g., Rattray's HOW, OG, SG FVF, etc.). Minor condimental use of stoved VA or Cavendish allowed. No Latakia.

Virginia-Perique: Virginias paired or balanced with Perique (e.g., Escudo, PCCA Beacon, McClelland St. James Woods, etc.). Minor condimental use allowed, but uncommon. No Latakia.

Virginia-Oriental: Balanced pairing of unstoved Virginias with Orientals (e.g., GLP Embarcadero and such like). No condiments or very, very sparing.

Stoved Virginia: No elaboration needed (e.g., Rattray's Marlin Flake, McClelland Dark Star, etc.). Most common as a flake.

Burley: Straight Burley with little if anything in the way of condiments (i.e., non-Burley notes come through with casings and toppings). Most common as a ribbon or mixed cut.

To this basic scheme I then add sub-genres such as English-Perique (e.g., Dunhill Nightcap), Burley Blends (e.g., C&D Pegasus), and so forth and so on. Perhaps 'English Breakfast Mixture' (meaning I suppose Virginia + Latakia with no Orientals with possible condiments) will make it into the lexicon. I would then have to include McClelland's Anniversary Blend into this category as well then I suppose.

In all cases, the real key is the presence or absence of air/sun cured Orientals. Such leaf is, in my opinion, the master key to just about everything going on in the mixtures and blends we enjoy nowadays.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:36 pm

glpease wrote:
Ashbury could arguably belong there, and Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe

Greg, I just cannot get past the Oriental issue here. To my palate and way of thinking about such things (and this is more than liable to change!), the heavy Oriental component in EMP places it far away from a preparation such as Piccadilly. I cannot see where the two meet save in matters of body and the light, occasionally crisp finish, which I noticed in both. Other than that, the basic architecture of each seem so very different to me? By the way, I am currently smoking a tin of Ashbury in my Oriental-dedicated pipes (despite the bit of Latakia it has) - a wonderful blend however you call it! I have plans to review it soon.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:04 pm

This is a great discussion and I am learning a lot. I must admit that my general impression of "an early morning mixture" implied on the lighter side as well, thus good for the first pipe of the day. These kinds of in depth discussions, especially when with the participation of the blender, is an example of what makes BoB such a great place. Kudos! cheers
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:37 pm

Kapnismologist wrote:
glpease wrote:
Ashbury could arguably belong there, and Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe

Greg, I just cannot get past the Oriental issue here. To my palate and way of thinking about such things (and this is more than liable to change!), the heavy Oriental component in EMP places it far away from a preparation such as Piccadilly. I cannot see where the two meet save in matters of body and the light, occasionally crisp finish, which I noticed in both. Other than that, the basic architecture of each seem so very different to me? By the way, I am currently smoking a tin of Ashbury in my Oriental-dedicated pipes (despite the bit of Latakia it has) - a wonderful blend however you call it! I have plans to review it soon.

Most people judge a blend by Latakia content in this case. So EMP and Picadilly both fall into an Early am catagory. Since an English blend can have Orientals or not, they really don't count unless they dominate. In EMP I still notice the latakia just as much as the Orientals, the prev remains true.
An Oriental mixture has just the lightest touch of Latakia (See Laurel Heights for that kind of light hand)- Even Pres mix has enough to fall into Light Englsh for me.
A good Oriental blend would be the McClelland blends like Drama Reserve.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:50 pm

Talonr1701 wrote:
Since an English blend can have Orientals or not, they really don't count unless they dominate.

Here is where we differ. To my mind an English mixture MUST have Orientals, otherwise it is not an English. I guess the only thing I would ask here, then, is why all of the classic English mixtures seem to have them? Is an English mixture simply Virginia and Latakia? Historically, this does not seem to be the case.

A counterpoint here is Greg's description of Westminster:

The very essence of the traditional English mixture; rich, elegant, refined, and exquisitely balanced. New World red virginias are enhanced with a gentle caress of bright leaf, then lavishly seasoned with rich oriental tobaccos and generous measures of noble Cyprus mountain Latakia

Might you expand upon your definition of an 'English'? In the case of Westminster - which is surely as representative of an English as we can get - it would seem the 'very essence' of the style lays in the presence, even lavish, of Oriental leaf?
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:47 pm

Kapnismologist wrote:
Talonr1701 wrote:
Since an English blend can have Orientals or not, they really don't count unless they dominate.

Here is where we differ. To my mind an English mixture MUST have Orientals, otherwise it is not an English. I guess the only thing I would ask here, then, is why all of the classic English mixtures seem to have them? Is an English mixture simply Virginia and Latakia? Historically, this does not seem to be the case.

A counterpoint here is Greg's description of Westminster:

The very essence of the traditional English mixture; rich, elegant, refined, and exquisitely balanced. New World red virginias are enhanced with a gentle caress of bright leaf, then lavishly seasoned with rich oriental tobaccos and generous measures of noble Cyprus mountain Latakia

Might you expand upon your definition of an 'English'? In the case of Westminster - which is surely as representative of an English as we can get - it would seem the 'very essence' of the style lays in the presence, even lavish, of Oriental leaf?

Truely I think that the Term "English" has become more and more subjective. Originally latakia and turkish were lumped in with Orientals. Now neither seem to be. There are many traditional English blends that lack Orientals. Look at Dunhills "Baby's bottom", Nightcap- Craven Mix- C&D Yale Mix- SamGawith Squadron Leader, Commonwealth....The list goes on.
Richard Hacker in the Book "Pipesmoking in the 21st Century stated that there are two types of tobacco- "English-made up of mostly Virginia tobacco's including latakia, and perique, with mild flavorings added; and "Aromatics" which are the basic
burly, and cavendish tobaccos with Casings added during the curing process for flavoring purposes."
He was a Milestone in pipesmoking and he only has TWO catagories.....
To answer your question, An English to me is a blend or mixture of any of the following: Latakia, Virginia (of any color or treatment), Perique, Turkish, Orientals where Latakia has a dominent role. When the Orientals equal or take Dominence to the Latakia, it becomes a Balkan.
Add Burley and in my book it becomes an American English.
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:17 pm

Talonr1701 wrote:
Truely I think that the Term "English" has become more and more subjective.

Well put! And thanks for the expanded definition. Makes very good sense to me given the recent (at least last two decades) trends as I understand them. I would, however, protest that both Nightcap and Squadron Leader do indeed both contain Oriental leaf although I could most certainly be wrong (authority of my nose and tongue only).

Back to the presence/absence of Latakia matter - this is again quite important as a marker. Your definition of a Balkan is telling in this regard.

At the same time, however, C&D Yale Mixture or GLP Piccadilly or SG Commonwealth (the three I am familiar with in the above example) just do not possess the same characteristics - in tin nose and flavor profile and sidestream aroma and such like - that similar VA-Lat. mixtures with Orientals do (i.e., the 'traditional English' by the Westminster definition). Again, it is the Orientals balanced with the VA's and the Lat. which make, subjectively let's say, an English mixture truly 'English' to me.

As a practical example:

When it comes to dedicating pipes, and there is of course much in the way of diverse practice here, certainly it is Latakia which comes first in terms of ghosting and then, dare I say, Orientals. Therefore an 'English pipe' may best be one which takes only mixtures which contain the latter. So, that said I would not smoke C&D Yale Mixture, Piccadilly, or Commonwealth in my English pipes because when I smoke those blends I do not want to taste Orientals (for they are blended without them) - rather I would sit them in pipes which have experienced Latakia before, but not Turkish/Greek air-cured leaf. As such, they are not English mixtures but rather something else. I would, and do, however translate pipes between Balkan and English mixtures because of the staying power of Latakia first, and Orientals second - ghosting is rarely an issue in this case.

So, all said I have simply resigned myself for the moment to dedicate a new pipe or two to Virginia-Latakia blends solely and will refer to them as just that (although perhaps in the case of Piccadilly it should be a Virginia-Latakia-Perique dedication?).

Cheers!
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PostSubject: Cool!   Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:21 am

Great conversation! I enjoyed it...... Very Happy And I completly see dedicating a pipe to Oriental blends.
Interestingly, GLP and I have had a previous conversation about Orientals- As they are my prefered blends as well. In point of fact, they counter act something in the latakia that makes a blend either enjoyable (With Orientals) or a mouth drying affair.
I loved London Mix- My favorite of the Dunhills. Then Westminster....Wonderful! Ashbury, Picadilly...Love em.
Pirate Kake or 965? TOO much Latakia.....Makes my mouth dry.

I so wish There was a font of Basma somewhere....(Treasure of Sierra Madre?)

cheers
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:47 am

Talonr1701 wrote:
Great conversation! I enjoyed it......

Indeed, much learned! I am sure we will revisit these issues in another thread in the future. This forum is certainly a great sounding board. Puff on!
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:26 pm

thanks Kap* et al.,

this was a very interesting thread. I am a fan of Piccadilly and now need to get some. Not sure how to classify this blend. I certainly wouldn't call it an "English Breakfast" blend. Sorry Greg, but have you ever even tried Piccadilly??







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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:37 pm

Tom Clemons wrote:
tSorry Greg, but have you ever even tried Piccadilly??

I think I may have smoked a bowl or two. Wink

-glp
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PostSubject: Re: GLP Piccadilly   Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:25 pm

glpease wrote:
Tom Clemons wrote:
tSorry Greg, but have you ever even tried Piccadilly??

I think I may have smoked a bowl or two. Wink

-glp

Was it any good? lol!
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