Sunday, February 21, 2010
Yesterday was International Pipe Smoker's Day, a day when pipe smokers are supposed to make the rest of the public aware that they still exist.
Dorchester doesn't have any tobacconists that cater to pipe smokers. There aren't any dedicated tobacconists at all that I know of. If you are in the market for a cigarette, there are plenty of convenience stores and gas stations. If you are looking for a mass marketed cigar, you can find them in the same locations. If you are looking for a bit of a higher quality cigar, some liquor stores have cabinets, if not actual humidors. If you are looking for a briar or a corn cob bowl or a tin of pipe tobacco, you won't find them in Dorchester.
The nearest pipe shop you'll get to anywhere in Dorchester is L.J. Peretti, still going strong since 1870 at 2 and 1/2 Park Square on the corner of the Common. Peretti has a selection of tinned tobacco prepared elsewhere, but the appeal of this Boston institution is that it still mixes it own blends. This is a rarity in the pipe tobacco world and Boston is very lucky to have L.J. Peretti's established expertise around. The irony is that Boston is officially a tobacco-hating city despite the Nobel laureates and cultural icons who have lived in Boston and cooked up their best ideas while puffing on a long stem.
There is another pipe shop in Brookline and there is another tobacconist that doesn't specialize in cigars in Harvard Square. Piretti is the only one that still mixes their own tobacco and can speak knowledgably about it. If you want a Dutch Masters cigar to go along with your lottery ticket, Sunny's Cigar in Mattapan Square is recommended. I have yet to find a tin of Price Albert or Captain Black in Boston. This is probably because L.J. Piretti is selling their own superior blends at reasonable prices. That and the fact that pipe smoking isn't much in favor in Boston anymore. Next year on Feb. 20 Boston's pipe smokers should celebrate International Pipe Smokers' day en masse on the Common the way the marijuana smokers do. I walked through Boston Common this weekend and I didn't see a single pipe smoker. Myself included.