|I am both honored and surprised to be the first to review this venerable old blend. I am happy to be smoking this in a vintage GBD "Conquest" special shape for Smokers' Haven. To separate these two would be a sacrilege.
For those who knew the late, beloved Joe Zieve, founder of Smokers' Haven (June 8, 1940), they will know whereof I speak; for the rest of you, please permit me a little history.
Joe was a merchandiser unparalleled. Columbus, Ohio, has always had more quality pipe shops and quality pipe and tobacco smokers, per capita, than any other town in America, thanks to Joe creating a market that still thrives.
I'm told Joe's father ran the cigar stand in the Walgreen's drug store near the corner of Broad and High Streets in Columbus. Joe wanted to carry more pipes and pipe tobacco than his father would allow, so Joe struck-out on his own. Thus was Smokers' Haven formed. Joe told me once that he was a devotee of Brush Creek Blend from Christian Peper in St. Louis. He asked the company if they would "private label" this wonderful mixture for him, and they refused. Their refusal led to an alliance with Red Lion Tobacco, AKA House of Windsor, who developed a near facsimile of Brush Creek, which Joe labeled "Pedigree Mixture." Red Lion also supplied a private label version of Barking Dog; so Smokers' Haven's "Mild and Mellow" was born.
During WWII, Joe discovered GBD and Barling pipes while stationed in England. He also formed a friendship with Sobranie House, which for decades supplied the first of Smokers' Haven's English tobaccos, "Our Best Blend," along with others through the years.
"Pure Pleasure" was the fourth private label blend for Smokers' Haven, again from Red Lion. It resulted from customer comments that their wives objected to the smell of Latakia, then an unfamiliar scent in America. Some things never change...at least not at my house.
As the advertisement read, the name was suggested by the wife of a customer as "Pure personal for YOU, the pipe smoker, and pure personal pleasure for YOU, around the pipe smoker."
If not exactly precise, the legend is true-enough in spirit. Pure Pleasure is a light "American-English," with accents tilted toward the bright Virginias and White Burley. There is just enough Latakia to satisfy, just enough nicotine, too. This blend might be a compromise in aroma, though not in taste. This IS tobacco, au naturale and delicious.
There is no bite here, despite the high percentage of bringt Virginia. The Burley is sweet, nutty, with none of the ashy nastiness too many associate with all Burleys when, in truth, it is fitting only for the lugs, suited for chewing but not smoking.
If one seeks sophistication and nuance, then one will be disappointed. If one wants a damn good smoke, unbiting and unchanging throught the bowl, bowl after bowl; year after year--this is a must-try.