Do I smell smoke?

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

My father smoked a pipe.  Very "Father knows best", I know.  Most of my childhood, I can't picture my father without a pipe.

He had a fair collection of pipes, all over the house.  There were pipe stands everywhere, and everything was soaked in that dense smell of stale pipe tobacco.

He used to smoke a tobacco called Borkum Riff (pipe tobacco soaked in bourbon), which you could buy off the shelf at any corner store... or ocassionally he'd make his way to downtown Chicago to a renowned tobacco store in the loop called Iwan Riess, and buy a can of custom blend.

I loved the smell of fresh pipe tobacco... and used to go into Iwan Riess with him into the humidor absorbing the aromas.

Dad was one of those people, back in the day, who wore a three-piece suit.  Jacket, slacks and vest.  He used to buy suits that came with two-pair of slacks... which allowed him to get a little additional wear.

Dad also used to carry his pipe in his suit coat pocket... he'd buy that three-piece suit (with two-pair of slacks) and immediately burn a hole in the jacket pocket from warm embers.  We didn't have a chair/seat in the house that didn't have a burn mark on it. In fact up until a year ago.. mom still owned a chair whose cushion had a serious burn mark on one side... we'd flipped it over to hide it... and dad's been gone for almost twenty-odd-years.  (Twenty very odd years).

I sometimes think that he drank bourbon because of the Borkum Riff ads.  I've found myself thinking about dad a lot, lately.  I may have to dig out one of my old pipes and go to QVC and see if they still carry any.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Alan- those are beautiful memories. When I was in college some of the guys tried smoking pipes but for some reason, they never could pull it off. Maybe you have to be of a certain age to be able to do that. I remember cherry blend and liked how it smelled. 

Oct 29, 2019 05:29 PM #1
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

What a wonderful post, full of memories and maybe some wishes.  I think it would be fun to find some Borkum Riff and buy some bourbon. What the heck. 

Oct 29, 2019 06:30 PM #2
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

What a delightful post and warm memory. I love the smell of a pipe and used to smoke a little one back in my radical college days. Thanks for this poignant post. Smell is such a fascinating trigger. 

Oct 30, 2019 12:33 AM #3
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Alan May what a nice memory to share.... I always loved the smell of a pipe with cherry tobacco, if I remember correctly.....I always wondered if the taste was a pleasant as the smell...

Oct 30, 2019 03:59 AM #4
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Alan. Remember well the days when Iwan Riess was a big deal. These days, a small shop ont the second floor focusing on cigars. You brought back the memories. Thanks!  Enjoy your day!

Oct 30, 2019 04:39 AM #5
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Alan. I was really touched by this post. It is funny what triggers our memories. I still have my Dads old chair.

Oct 30, 2019 07:06 AM #6
Suzanne Strickler
Realty Mark Associates - Havertown, PA
School is never out for the Successful.

Alan May - It's true about aromatherapy. A smell can bring back a memory as clear as Kodak! My grandfather was a pipe smoker and cherry tobacco was his favorite. He's been gone several years.

I love it when the cherry aroma comes wafting from a crowd, it takes my breath away on so many levels. Good ones.

Nov 01, 2019 07:03 PM #7
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Alan May

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