Irwin Friedman and Greg Pease, two well-known names amongst pipe smokers and collectors, began thinking about producing a line of specialty tobacco blends in early 1998. Both long-time pipe smokers, they had been active in the pipe community for many years, and Greg had spent many years as a blender for the Berkeley tobacconist Drucquer and Sons.
After some discussions with master blender Craig Tarler of Cornell and Diehl Tobaccos, they started work on the recipes for their first blends. They mixed and sampled, using familiar blending tobaccos such as Latakia, Orientals, Perique, and Virginia. Their idea was to create the sort of limited-run, specialty tobaccos they themselves would want to smoke.
Finally, in late 1998, the Friedman and Pease blends were deemed ready for release. Greg announced them online, via the Usenet newsgroup alt.smokers.pipes, and through Pipes Digest, a semiregular e-mailing to pipe smokers. At first, the blends were only available from Friedman and Pease themselves, and a few retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area. The reaction from pipe smokers and tobacco reviewers was immediate, and almost completely positive. Mostly through word of mouth, the blends became extremely popular, and retailers couldn’t keep them in stock.
Friedman and Pease’s success continued throughout 1999. They introduced a second line of blends, all crafted with the same care as went into the first. Also, they produced a special one-off blend, Winter’s Tale, in editions for 1998 and 1999. Pipe smokers speculated on what might come from a third line of Friedman and Pease tobaccos.
Though business was good and reviews were excellent, all was not well with the partnership. There had been rumours of trouble, which were confirmed when Greg Pease announced in early 2000 that the Friedman and Pease line was no more. Details of the “breakup” have never been made public; Irwin and Greg preferred to go their separate ways, and leave it at that. Consequently, remaining unopened tins of Friedman and Pease tobaccos have attained 'collectible' status, when they can be found.
Irwin Friedman has retired from pipes and pipe smoking; Greg Pease has continued blending tobaccos and has established a new company, G. L. Pease Tobaccos.
conversations with Irwin Friedman and Greg Pease
G. L. Pease's web site: www.glpease.com