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HBI's MyWeigh i2500 - The Ultimate Tobacco Blending Scale
"Functionality and Fun"

   Digital scales, especially ones large and accurate enough to weigh out suitable sizes of various blends of tobacco, are becoming a staple of the MYO/RYO enthusiast. We've looked at them several times already so, MYWeigh ibalance 2500though we start off with them again this time, we mostly want to share with you the information to get you started immediately. Using these scales really makes a big difference in your ability to create blends for yourself (using combinations of other blends) that suit your particular taster perfectly. While there are hundreds of good scales to choose from, we have found the MYWeigh brand from HBI to be the most well thought out for tobacco use. And in particular, the MyWeigh i2500 is without peer for accuracy, reliability, long battery life, and convenience. The large bowl makes it particularly useful for blends ranging from one ounce to 5 pounds and the 30 year warranty is factually unprecedented.

  Five pounds is way too much to blend at one time in my opinion, as I like to allow for my ever so slightly changing tastes from time to time. My recommendation is one half to one pound blends at most, and those only after you have nailed down the proper percentages of your various components. You will likely have several blends ultimately that you will switch back and forth between. This scale allows for .5 gram accuracy/measurements (there are 28 grams in an ounce), so even blending in one ounce quantities can be easy and highly accurate with results that are reliably reproducible. The point of the scale in the first place is to be able to quantify your component percentages. Since this scale is also accurate to and with measurements as small as .02 ounces, you can see that even very minute differences in component percentages are possible. Plus, the large bowl isHBI's MyWeigh i2500 - The Ultimate Tobacco Blending Tool more convenient than one could imagine. It is even great for weighing kitchen ingredients, if you cook according to weight and not volume. While most of us do not, I do use it for making juices in order to get repeatable combinations of apples, carrots, celery, etc and so that I know how much juice is going to result. Taking the bowl off, this scale becomes a very useful postage scale, and with the bowl in place you can weigh oversized envelopes and boxes (up to 5 pounds) quite easily. I use this thing nearly every day for one thing or another, mostly tobacco blending for testing and the 4 AAA batteries that came with it have lasted for more than a year already.

   At one time, AAA batteries used to be an expensive pain in the butt, but because they are more frequently used now in remotes, flashlights, and such, their price is only a little more than AA. All in all, this is THE scale I recommend for those that really want to reap all of the benefits that MYO has to offer. Go to the HBI text link below (at the bottom of the scale's article) to see this scale. On that site you will also find a list of approved online retailers. For all retailers, especially brick and mortar tobacco shops, remember HBI manufactures and distributes these - the MyWeigh brand  - as well as others. We used and sold them extensively in our experimental store. They are profitable and are truly becoming a part of the connoisseur experience that is MYO/RYO. A lot of our readers use them for creating customized blends and are amazed that they got along without them for so long.

   Now, importantl to note, there were requirements for sale in our experimental store, and we suggest that retailers observe some or all of the following. Because of the perceived illicit use everyone seemed concerned about back then, concerns that remain in some circles even today, we had a few rules as to who we would sell scales to. First no one under 18 was allowed in our store and we carded everyone who entered (unless they looked as old as myself - I'm over 50) or were repeat customers already checked. We also sold scales only to established tobacco customers who had purchased tobacco products from us in the past and demonstrated a fervent desire to create their own unique blends.

   Please keep in mind that there are other things than tobacco that people smoke that are perfectly legal. So in reality, though herbal blends at the time we had the store (2002-2003) were pretty harsh, we sold quite a few - mostly to actors from the Shakespear Festival whose roles required smoking but no tobacco was allowed and of course for the surprising number of folks who like to smoke but not tobaccco for ceremonial purposes. Thankfully, there are now NEW herbal blends that are quite smokeable. In fact, one company, International Oddities, contacted us a few months ago and after we understood that their rather edgy site was in fact legal herbs and not something one would expect out of "High Times", we asked them to send us some samples. I have to say, not being a fan of herbal smoking mixtures previously, that even though the names of their products are a bit out there, these herbal blends are sensational and amazingly smooth. They can be mixed together much like tobacco to get the "custom" taste and even more to the point, we found that some of the herbal blends mixed extremely well (in small amounts) with good tobacco, to give an atmospheric quality that no tobacco by itself can produce. This is an especially nice experience for those who like the outdoors, as many of the herbs blend quite well with the aroma of natural flora. We have always received a lot of mail about herbal blends and finally we are able to recommend a source of herbal products you won't have to choke to get down. They provide (mostly wholesale) accessories as well including tubes, papers, rollers, and even injectors. They should start selling scales as well, as I repeat, these herbal mixtures are going to be really interesting compliments to tobacco for some, and very small but accurately measured quantities of these herbs mixed with tobacco very likely may become quite popular. Click the banner below to visit their site. Again retailers would be wise to carry herbal blends as they are extremely sought after in many locations, especially now that they are so tastefully made. We'll cover International Oddities more in the future. The tobacco shop business is changing and these kinds of products really can increase the customer base, much like scales and blunts (tobacco wraps) have already.

   One of the other issues we covered in our previous Scales articles was their durability. Yes, they are precision instruments and deserve to be treated that way. The easiest way to damage one, making it useless, is to either drop it or put more than the recommended maximum of weight on it. Other than these two obvious considerations, these scales are amazingly tough. Also of note is the TARE function that is common with this level of scale. The Tare function on a scale is simply the ability to factor out the weight of the container you are weighing product in by either hitting the Tare function button or initially turning on the scale with the bowl/container already on the weighing platform. Either method is effective. It is also useful for factoring out that which is already present in your weighing container. We prefer not to use this when making most blends, but it is useful nonetheless.

   Currently the "street" price is about $47 for this scale. Its bigger brother, the i5000 is the same price and has twice the capacity (nearly 11 pounds), but its incremental capabilities are halved as well. Which means instead of the .5 grams accuracy of the i2500, the i5000 is bumped up to 1 gram, the ounce measurements are less sensitive as well with .05 ounces from the i2500's .02 ounce. The i2500 is really all you should need as far as total capacity, and being more accurate will allow you to weigh smaller amounts, especially during that critical stage when you are experimenting with small amounts. Remember, once blended together, obviously the various tobacco components cannot be separated, so always start small (again 1 ounce maximum quantities) until you have your blends nailed. We show this scale in great detail (making several blends) in the Tobacco Blending part of our MultiMedia section. Check it out. Below is the specific link all of their scales. Contact HBI for more info.

Win Butt Headz Buddies in the Upcoming Contest

   We also wanted to take one more look at another nearly indispensable tool for the MYO user. The Butt Headz & Butt Headz Buddies are the kind of innovations that once used, one is never again without. They are basically snuffers - devices that allow the smoker to put out a cigarette instantly with no residual smoke. The cigarette does not get mangled in the process and can be re-lit perfectly and easily. The original Butt Headz are smaller than the newerButt Headz cigarette snuffers from Adam's Apple Buddies which have an extra tall stand that the head sits on. Either design works perfectly in even pretty small ashtrays and look as great as they function. The relative size of each can be seen in the graphic at left. The fact is we find too few Smokeless Cigarette Snuffers - Butt Headz Pig Biker, Butt Headz Old Man Treetobacco stores that carry these guys. They may carry the cheaper more generic versions, but the Butt Headz from Republic Tobacco/Adam's Apple have a lot more panache. They add aesthetics to the experience and their larger holes are far more useful for MYO than the smaller holed (designed for packaged cigarettes) generics. We are so convinced that these will change the way you smoke (for instance taking only the few puffs you actually want rather than smoking each stick down to the end so you don't waste it) that we want to send out a few to our readers for their evaluations. We''ll do this in the form of a contest so listen up to what follows!!

   For some time (actually forever) we have been uncomfortable with the acronym MYO (Make Your Own). While RYO (Roll Your Own) has some fluidity and sense of identity to it, AND it rolls off the tongue pretty well, MYO sounds a bit stiff. This is why we are RYO Magazine although we own the URL to MYO Magazine as well. Now MYO does certainly not sound as downright ignorant and backwoods as SYO (Stuff Your Own) which we find offensive to the extreme, as it degrades the quality of the experience with its lowbrow baseness. But MYO leaves a lot to be desired as well. So here is the challenge. We need a new acronym for the practice of creating one's own custom connoisseur quality sticks. TheThe Whole Butt Headz Collection acronym must be three to four letters (for instance, heh, Tube Injected Tobacco or TIT). That one won't fly far, I suspect. However, there simply must be a better way to refer to this connoisseur experience than MYO. It is too non-specific and with a vowel sound (M being pronounced "em" in MYO) at the front, it is cumbersome. Give it your best, most creative shot. This contest will run until March 15th, 2006 and the very best submission (with a chance at being used) will receive a Osama, Usama bin Laden with a hole in his head just for your smokenew Premier Supermatic (after age verification, of course). The next 12 best entries will receive a Butt Headz or Butt Headz Buddies (top 6 will get the larger Buddies, next 6, will get regular Butt Headz - both are great and highly functional. Again age verification is necessary for all winners.

   Your acronym entries will be judged on pertinence to the experience as well as lingual efficiency, and must not be an acronym currently in use for some other well know entity or practice, or one that is trademarked. If you feel creative, click HERE to enter**. We wish you luck and thank you once again for visiting us and your frequent and robust participation in this publication. Take a look at the pictures of the Butt Headz products and with your entry, let us know which one of each of the Butt Headz product characters you like the best. For example Purple Dragon, or Biker Dude, or Clown. (Also please note the Osama/Usama shown at left is not available). My favorite (other than Osama) is the Biker Dude (not the PIG Biker) second from right - next to the clown in the photo above right. That's just me of course. Please use "Butt Headz" in the subject line of your email. (By the way, ALWAYS use a pertinent "subject: whenever contacting RYO Magazine as we get a lot of SPAM - as you probably do as well, and our staff will not keep or even download messages with no subject or with subjects that have nothing to do with RYO/MYO. And please don't use the word VIAGRA in this or any other message - to anyone - ever. Anyway, good luck with the contest. This is one of those contests that has a real purpose - please help us to find a more elegantly descriptive acronym for people who enjoy putting fine tobaccos into fine tubes. PFTIFT.

   **Update 4/15/06:  We have the 12 winners of Butt Headz and though none came up with the phrase we were looking for, we've decided that our future efforts will be directed to replacing the acronym MYO with CMC. Instead of Make Your Own - Custom Made Cigarettes. However the Supermatic prize is still available if someone trumps that name. We hope you will all keep trying. We received a lot of entries and a lot of creativity was shown, but coming up with acronyms that represent something as special as what truly ARE, in fact, custom made cigarettes (like the ones tobacco shops of old used to make for their upscale clients) is tough. Don't give up though. That Supermatic is waiting for one of you. Oh yeah, out of the over 1,000 entries we looked at, not one suggested SYO (Stuff Your Own) for which we are eternally grateful. That term, coined in 1992 by Mark Ryan of Daughters & Ryan (D&R), is so balloon headed, and Billy Joe Bob sounding that we still pick on Mark to this day for coming up with it. It WAS 1992 after all, when nobody had a clue what MYO was (RYO's been around for a very long time). Mark first mentioned it to me sometime after 1993 and I haven't stopped laughing yet. I did like the T-Shirts - that simply said Stuff It - but thankfully Mark has rejected its use for over a decade as well. Our T-Shirts with the phrase "Those Who Know . . . RYO" were still a bit vague but at least they generated questions not offense. All in fun you know, but CMC is at least a much more accurate and telling honor to the respectful use great tobacco deserves. Still, keep the ideas coming. You never know!!!!  PP was one Butt Headz winner (Personal Puffers) for its shear audacity, so there is still room for more. One other Butt Headz winner, taking a shot at the emerging (increasing) use of reconstituted tobacco in low grade rolling tobaccos, felt at least that category should be identified as RFS (Reconstituted Floor Sweepings). I detected some anger on the subject from the rest of his message and I must say I agree. More on that later. For now, here's a very well researched site regarding Reconstituted Tobacco (and a lot more) all should read. Its pretty long but you might be well advised to know what the stuff (recon) really is. The next time you smoke a packaged cigarette or buy some truly bottom feeding bag of cheap-ass tobacco, let this alarm bell remain active in your mental tool kit.

  About the above site. For some reason when the site opens, it opens a bit down the page. So scroll to the very top to begin so you get the whole story. It was begun in 1996, well before any seriously successful tobacco litigation had been achieved. Read the whole thing as, while it at times sounds like a "sue the bastards" article from, it in fact is an accurate and balanced document (when looked at in its entirety) regarding the difference between cigarettes and tobacco or cigarette companies and tobacco companies, past and present. After you've read it all (may take several visits - so bookmark it) then ask yourself (and let us know) how you feel about reconstituted tobacco and other debris showing up in certain low grade rolling tobaccos. I think I know what the response will be and I hope this industry avoids, for reasons of cost or any other, the temptation to let the presence of recon convert the MYO (CMC) experience to one no better than packaged cigarettes - only cheaper. It could happen, especially if the MYO public continues to obsess about cost over quality. Any industry WILL give you what you ask for so be careful for what you wish. You get what you pay for - simple as that. Use great tobacco and if your budget necessitates, smoke less. As we said, you'll be hearing a lot more about this here as more information is gleaned about the tobacco that is showing up at prices that are so low that with USDA (Farmers Buyout), MSA payments, and Federal Excise taxes, one finds it hard to see how any profit could be made. This is not about the future. It is happening now and we will not remain silent on it. We need more facts. When we get them, you'll get them. We aren't watchdogs - we simply insist on real tobacco - Doug

   And now a story about a cigarette company that seems to be on a path we can appreciate - a path of quality over cost that we see as having a future.

Our Sponsor: Herbal Bar Industries Serving the Tobacco Retailer with offices in Phoenix, Arizona and Vancouver BC

Marshall McGearty goes Uptown

   You'll like this story. Its a story of passion, commitment, knowledge. It's a story of innovation, of taking one's dreams and forging them into a reality. It's a story we've postulated many times in this magazine. AND . . .  this is a story that is now fully coming TRUE. When we closed our experimental RYO Store in late June 2002, (after about a year and a half of life), it was the end of a very popular The Original RYO Storeand very unusual experience for ourselves and our customers. The store was set up as much for a very comfortable social setting as it was for a business. Its den-like ambience was perfectly suited for extended visits by customers, customers we needed to observe and learn a whole lot from. Invitingly comfy wicker chairs, a full wall sized rock fountain, lots of great music. In general, the kind of place one could sit for hours and read, talk, and basically relax and think about what theyRYO Store Rolling Tables really wanted, not just at the moment, but wanted in general. A getaway in the midst of typical daily chaos. One could not smoke there and we offered no coffee or other drinks - no food or snacks - just good company and good tobacco. We had a substantial rolling/injecting table area where clients could experiment with various injectors, tubes, and tobacco. They had to take what they made outside to smoke it, but it gave us the chance to thoroughly demonstrate the process, as well as give the customer a chance to really try out MYO for themselves. It gave us in return a great deal of insight into what makes the potential MYO enthusiast tick. And tick they did, like big windup clocks.

   Tobacco Outlet Business Magazine wrote about it as being the first store of its kind. We gratefully accepted the compliment, but to be frank, it was modeled after many great tobacco shops I had seen in the 60s and 70s. You know, the ones where real tobacco people occupied the counters, ones with true tobacco knowledge and a passion for their products. Tobacco people who were more interested in passing on heritage and history than in simply their cash register. It wasn't fancy but it WAS effective. And even the register was surprisingly happy.

   We could not make packs of cigarettes for our customers. That was illegal and still is unless you have a cigarette manufacturing license including a permit to stamp. We could though make samples and help the customer make their own samples for demonstration purposes as well. One at a time, to be taken outside and tried. We stressed quality over everything else, other than perhaps moderation. The The RYO Store Injection was not designed to make a profit, though it did. It was there for us to learn about the retail environment possibilities and to observe people's reactions to the methodology, and more importantly, the human reaction to great tobacco when treated with great respect. Now even if we had been able to smoke there, we would not have. We lacked the expensive and highly aggressive air purifiers and air exchange units that would allow indoor smoking without contaminating each person's palette with other people's smoke.

   Several years ago we began a dialogue with RJ Reynolds regarding high grade tobacco products and more specifically the sorely missed days of old - of real tobacco shops. There are still a few like Cascade Cigar and Tobacco in Portland, Oregon, but they are few and far between. Nothing much came of our what was really a pretty informal conversation until we received an email a few months ago about a project RJR was working on. In fact, they had created an upscale smoking environment and with the help of one of their own executives and another from one ofMarshall McGearty's Tobacco  Injector System the ad agencies they contract to, came up with a concept, Marshall McGearty, which is named after these two executives.

   The concept took our experiment even further, perhaps further than even most the finest of old-time classic tobacco shops. They created this room, an environmental theme lounge really, in Chicago. Marshall McGearty is designed to be a comfortable place for smokers only. Sumptuous couches, fireplace, beautiful lighting, coffee and juices, and lots of great tobacco. They created their own exotic blends for this environment. Their strategy is to provide a comfortable place for people who love great tobacco to try it and, after finding a blend they relish, have a pack made for them by the staff tobacconist. Now RJR, being a cigarette manufacturer, could do this and now they have. They built a really custom robust injector system to fill their custom tubes. They sell the finished pack, freshly injected, for about $8. A premium price even in Chicago, but well worth it. Marshall McGearty uses state of the art air exchangers and filtration units such that the air inside, even with smoking permitted, is likely a lot cleaner than the car and bus infested Chicago city air outside. And the tobacco is spectacular.

   The point was and is, that this is to be a smoker's paradise. That was their intent and they seemed to have carried it off with amazing flair. Nice to have that kind of money for equipment, and of course, being a cigarette manufacturer already, the right to make cigarettes for customers. And that is practically what it takes nowadays to provide such an environment - the money and the license. Even with these obvious advantages however, we view this as a daring experiment to provide the public a smoking oriented venue of the future. They will probably wind up with a liquor license as well. A picture of the injector area is above. They make the smokes fresh to the customers specific wants. The customer does not make their own. The tobacconist does this using the fascinating looking injection machine shown above.. We've not been there yet but do have samples from the business, and in this article we will share with you the products you can expect to see at Elegant Tobacco Blendsthis wonderful place. It is likely that more of these lounges will crop up in cities that allow certain businesses to have smoking inside. It is even more likely that this experiment could result in allowing these kinds of facilities to exist even in cities with prohibitionist city wide bans already in place. Chicago, in fact has a city-wide indoor smoking ban that is proposed to take effect sometime in 2008. We think this establishment may strike the initial blow for the right of these kinds of businesses to exist and the ramifications, we hope will be widespread.

   There is NO reason a business that addresses all the issues of providing the use of a legal product within its confines should not exist. The current ban laws being passed as you read this will likely be found to be unconstitutional within certain parameters over time. Those parameters should include an environment that no non-smoker would ever want to go to. In other words the whole point of the place is tobacco consumption. The condiments (coffees, juices, andTobacco with Elegance even liquor) are simply pleasant additions to give the customer increased enjoyment. They are not the point - the tobacco is. And the tobacco is spectacular. Each pack of 20 smokes, that is made from any of at least seven blends already designed, is beautiful. This is high class product, and emphasizes, in our eyes, the importance of treating tobacco with reverence. And that includes the highest quality one can get and a sensible, moderate use of it. And there are some pretty exotic spices and herbs in some of the blends.

  This you've heard before, but it bears hammering on until the vast majority of smokers understand the concept as it applies to the future. The bottom line is that we are certain the future of tobacco does not lie in the world of CHEAP. Nor does it lie in individual mass consumption or abuse. Either ideologies will likely result ultimately in attempts at tobacco being completely banned, as is threatened in Canada and has been accomplished in at least one country in Asia (Bhutan). The Canadians, of course, already being on the short course to a fascist/socialist state, want to nationalize the tobacco industry for a couple of decades (so they can suck all of the revenue possible out of tobacco users) and then ban it completely - about the time these public officials, so hot to do this, are ready for their state sponsored, fat cat retirements. Total bans are unlikely in countries that rely so heavily on tobacco revenue. Canada extracts plenty from its citizens whether they smoke or not. It is interesting to note that prior to about 1980 the US Internal Revenue Service (interesting word "service") received nearly 1/3 of all tax revenues from tobacco alone.

   Now it seems impossible to have a discussion about a great tobacco venture without getting into the politics. We will do this more on the Cover and on the Editorial page. We don't wish to spoil the magnificence of the subject at hand. What is essential here is that Marshall McGearty is a great model for the future. As you can see above, the packaging is beautiful, which leads me to one other comment that is important here. Many jurisdictions have already passed laws such that tobacco products may not be displayed in public sight. Therefore we hear from some in the industry that packaging may be less important in the future. This is pure BS. People don't buy cigarettes or tobacco products just because of the packaging. Where the packaging is appreciated is when the consumer uses the product and displays it proudly later. More importantly like a fine meal, the appearance of those things we consume has a lot to do with our enjoyment. And the packages that customers will leave this environment with are really enticing. Below are the seven varieties currently available. There will be more - here are the ones we've seen so far:

The Earl Aegeans Custom Cigarettes
Blend Components
Oriental Leaf
Blend Components
Basma Leaf
Katerini Leaf
*Brown Hollow Tip
The Muse Cigarette Mint and Elegance in a Smoke, North Star Oriental Rose Custom Cigarettes
Blend Components
Prilep Leaf
*Brown Hollow Tip
Peppermint Blend Components
Carolina Leaf
Brazilian Leaf
Zimbabwean Leaf
Blend Components
Oriental Leaf
Vanilla Bean
Rose Hips
Marshall McGearty Artisan Standard The Virginian
Blend Components
Malawi Burley Leaf
Brazilian Leaf
Katerini Leaf
Blend Components
Brazilian Leaf
Zimbabwean Leaf
Carolina Leaf

   *Note the asterisks (*) in the Blend Component descriptions above for the Muse and Aegeans. They denote a rather unusual filter design much like Vantage cigarettes used to have (and may still). The textured brown filter tip is hollowed out about 50%, as seen at right. This causes the smoke to swirlThe Artisan's Filter Tips as it passes through the filter and is ostensibly designed to improve both flavor and filtration. Not sure of the efficacy of this design but it does make these two smokes, (the Aeageans and the Muse), even more unique. Marshall McGearty Artisans' Blending NotesThe remaining five smokes have a more standard white filter covered in a tipping paper with subtle lines that flow in the direction of the smoke. It is actually a bit of a creamy off-white and very attractive. Also each pack has the blend components that we listed above on its back (at left) as well as descriptions of what each component contributes to the overall flavor.

   Some of the components are pretty exotic and there is definitely an exotic taste to each of the blends. The Virginian is the most traditional with the Standard right behind it. The Oriental Rose is really good with a bit of the Rose Hip, Vanilla, and Oriental components combining to make a pleasantly different smoke without being too aromatic. The Peppermint version, North Star is minty not menthol and is quite good as well. While these are among the finest packaged cigarettes I have tasted, the samples we received were still that - packaged. One of the things that RJR in their press kit stresses, and is the hallmark of MYO, is freshness. Even a great MYO stick injected a couple of days in advance of smoking it, suffers from the time it sits in the tube. We hear still too many MYO practitioners talk about making up cartons at a time - a week's worth or in the most extreme cases a whole month's supply. Those folks, sadly are losing the greatest benefits from the MYO methodology. Nothing tastes like a completely fresh, newly injected smoke. Tobacco absorbs paper odor not to mentionRJ Reynolds, Marshall McGearty Artisan Tobacco Blends environmental odors that permeate our environments. Those who really care about the tobacco they smoke, inject them as they need them. It's as simple as that. As far as we know at this time, RJR/Marshall McGearty has no plans to market these brands outside of the lounge. We think that wise indeed. They will always be fresh.

   Which brings me to the point, that as good as these sample were, one can only imagine how good they would have tasted if they were just handed to me, freshly injected, by the Marshall McGearty tobacconist. And that's a big part of the future for tobacco users. Quality over price, moderation over blind, mass consumption, real tobacco, and the freshness that can only be experienced by injection into a tube on the spot. Regardless of how you view the risk of smoking, there is little doubt that dosage will one day be judged as an important factor in the enjoyment of tobacco. And the fresher the product, the more recently the stick was made, the more involved will be the smoker in what and how much they chose to enjoy. Price be damned. Its the sip of a good wine or tobacco, not the high of the drunk. We are incredibly impressed with RJR's Marshall McGearty adventure and can't wait to get to Chicago to bathe ourselves in this unique environment. Very few things would make me envy one living in the "windy" city. This is certainly one of them. We wish Marshall McGearty good fortune and the success they deserve. And RJR has taken a step that will ultimately place it ahead of the herd among cigarette makers. There is no reason to believe that companies like RJ Reynolds must, by definition, have no taste for good tobacco or have no realistic eye on the future. To the contrary, with their cooperation, MYO will continue to attract those that really appreciate the satisfaction a good tobacco, wisely consumed, can provide. And what a showcase establishment to grow the respect that good tobacco and caring tobacco people truly deserve. See you in Chicago. You can be sure of it.

   Finally we wanted to show you another innovation that has been long overdue. It comes from a small company in Southern California by the name of The SURU Board from Small-AxeSmall Axe. The product is called a SURU board. There are Bob Marley and Rastafarian roots to the name but the product itself is just plain sensible and incredibly beautiful. But what is it, you ask? Well it is, in fact, a rolling board. No, more than that, it is a padded platform that sits on your lap, that gives you an efficient space for rolling your tobacco. The luxurious padded bottom won't slip and yet its impact on the lap is quite gentle and soft. The stained wood rolling surface is gorgeous. Plenty of room to roll or even inject using a small injector. We look forward to an even larger surfaced one that will accommodate an Excel. This one almost will. If you've seen the "Injection on the Go" video in the MultiMedia Section on Injectors, you'll notice the ZigZag vinyl mat we used for injecting while traveling. While that mat has been a real convenience for us on many long trips, an even sturdier surface would be even better. The current model SURU is a bit too small for major crankstyleSURU Rolling Board, Rolling, Injecting Tray injecting but is perfect for rolling. The slots you see in the board allow one to sort tobacco and most importantly, the thing stays put, even when in the lap of a car passenger in motion.

  It is so refreshing to see a relatively simple device, carried out with seductively cosmetic appeal, that actually provides a functionality that has never been accomplished before. It always amazes us how many simple things in life are overlooked - simple solutions to problems both simple and complex. It boils down to creative people asking the question "Now what is lacking here - what is missing?" Small AXE asked the question and came up with a beautiful solution. Small AXE sells the SURU board directly and distributes them as well to smoke shops world-wide. If you find yourself asking "now what would make my rolling easier?" -  the solution is before you. We congratulate Kerry Siemester and the others of Small-Axe for the ingenuity, aesthetics, and practicality shown in giving us an extremely useful product.   

   With these useful and quality products above in mind, the possibilities are endless for finding that perfect smoking experience. It is a fact that as people enjoy the taste of great tobaccos packed fresh into a high quality tube, and cool accessories that further enhance the experience, their smoking becomes less of a habit and more of a controllable hobby where each stick is savored and overall consumption is reduced. We hope our constant reminders of the value of moderation is appreciated. We, and many of our readers, have found an exceptional way to enjoy tobacco as it was intended and we hope all of you that smoke will share the same experience. Until next time, enjoy and continue to share your thoughts with us.


EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we prescribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children.  We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18,  it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.

 1999 The Andromedan Design Company
A Publication of
The Andromedan Design Company