I must first apologize if the title of this post is a bit misleading. This is not a solution for cleaning heirloom pipes. The solution itself is an heirloom.
Somewhat not surprisingly, I am not the only connoisseur of fine tobacco in my family. Soon after I started writing down my experiences with cigars, my mother told me of one of her cousins who was a tobacconist of some fame and repute within the cigar and pipe community. Mr. Clint Given of Montgomery, Alabama passed away some years ago, and I never met the man, but before long I found myself to be in possession of some of his publications, correspondence, and other accoutrements of the tobacconist trade. He had apparently been well known for his blended tobaccos and pipes, with customers writing from all over the country, and a few places overseas, for his advice and knowledge.
Amongst these papers was a simple, handwritten recipe for a pipe cleaning solution. It is dated December 12, 1970 and reads:
PIPE CLEANER RX:
2 oz Alcohol
1 oz Water
2 tspn Wintergreen Extract
1 drop Green Food Coloring
The wintergreen extract is curious, and is no doubt a personal preference to kill any residual flavors of the rubbing alcohol. I don’t have an answer or a purpose for the addition of food coloring other than to give the solution a bit of distinction and to keep it readily visible.
There is nothing complicated or revolutionary about this pipe cleaning prescription, but it is a bit of connection to both my family history, and that of the tobacconist trade, and therefore something special in my eyes. I may well use this recipe, whenever I might find a need for something of the sort. Until then I will keep it with the other documentation, right next to the writer’s calling card. It states simply: C. Given, Tobacconist