Rockford Tinder Box/Vino 100 Owner Designs Signature Ascorti Pipe

It isn’t very often that a tobacconist is asked to design a signature briar pipe, but that is exactly what happened to Dennis Lambert, owner of Rockford’s Tinder Box/Vino 100.

Dennis is a longtime friend of Roberto Ascorti, son of legendary pipe maker Pepino Ascorti. Several months ago, Roberto asked Dennis and a small number of other Tinder Box owners if they would be interested in designing a pipe to be made by Roberto. Dennis readily agreed. He sketched his ideas on drafting paper, starting with one of Pepino Ascorti’s early styles, added his own custom touches, and sent the design to Roberto in Italy.  The pipes arrived in late October.

“I was a little scared at first to even open the box when it arrived, “ said Dennis. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

However, when he saw his design brought to life through Roberto’s craftsmanship, Dennis was blown away, saying that he loved the shape and color. These signature pipes are rare. Only six were made and no two are exactly alike. While the design is the essentially the same, subtle coloring and carving make each pipe uniquely original. And, each pipe, hand carved using a rasp (to eliminate any weak spots in the briar), is inscribed with “Tinder Box 189” on the shank, which signifies it was made for the Rockford store only.

Dennis said the briarwood used in his signature pipes was buried in Mediterranean soil in burlap bags for more than 80 years before being carved. Wood for a briar pipe comes from the roots of the White Heath Tree, a shrub that grows near the Mediterranean Sea. Briar burl is tough, porous, and nearly impervious to heat. Burls for quality pipes can be aged 50-to-100 years old before being carved.

Dennis said that throughout the Tinder Box chain, only eight stores participated with Roberto in this special opportunity.

The pipes sell for $269 each. For purchase information, call the store at 815-683-8269.


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Tinder Box Cherry Almond Pipe Tobacco – Get Set to Enjoy

Cherry Almond Tobacco

Cherry Almond is one of four cherry-flavored aromatic pipe tobaccos at the Tinder Box. While all four cherry-flavored tobaccos are great and have their own distinct qualities, Cherry Almond’s aroma has been described by curious noses as “warm cherry pie.”

Its jar describes it as “light and sweet, freshly fragrant, and cool.” These traits are true, but, pipe smokers will also find that one of the nicest qualities of Cherry Almond is that, for an aromatic tobacco, it’s not too heavy or “wet” like some aromatics can sometimes be. Also, its finer cut, makes for easy packing and easy lighting. Is it a cool smoke? You bet.



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La Aurora C-1 a Good Smoke, Great Value

La Aurora C-1 – A Fine Smoke, Great Value

One of the best-kept secrets at the Tinder Box is the C-1 cigar from La Aurora. This Dominican 6 X 60, which is priced at $6, is a very good cigar as well as a very good bang for the buck.

I found the C-1 to fall in the medium-body range. A nice, solid, well-constructed cigar, the C-1 has a nice medium-brown oily wrapper. It lit well and had a very good draw. It has a slightly spicy beginning then settles down. I smoked a few of them. I enjoyed one with a couple glasses of wine. The wine mellowed helped the C-1 into an easy, mild smoke. I also smoked a C-1 with a good ale. There, the C-1 stayed medium as it did when I smoked a C-1 by itself. In all three, the C-1 kicked in with a bit of spice toward the last quarter of the stick.

So, now, the secret is out. If you enjoy mild cigars and want to move toward a bit more flavor, the C-1 does the job for not a lot of money.

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La Sirena

King Poseidon 6×60

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan Habano & Corojo

Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 & Corojo ’96

Strength: Medium/Full

The La Sirena is a medium to full bodied cigar that is full flavored and complex. The dark oily wrapper with the intricate double band and sporting a Cuban style triple cap and pre-light aroma is doing a wonderful job of foreplay with my senses. The construction is firm and the draw is perfect. Upon toasting the foot it starts out with a smooth, rich and slightly spicy profile and continues to grow in fullness. Midway through I’m finding that it’s growing in intensity with the fullness in flavor and richness in body. Continuing through the last third I discover that it has slightly more pepper in the aftertaste and I’m burning my fingers to enjoy every last puff. This is the part where I could tell you about the notes of espresso, bitter chocolate, leather and oak with a black pepper finish… But you need to discover the secrets that La Sirena hides for yourself. What it does do is deliver exactly what you would expect, a bold yet refined masterpiece.


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“Counterfeit” by Banknote Wine Company

Dennis told me some “story behind” this wine which, while somewhat entertaining, I didn’t find nearly as interesting as the wine itself. It’s extraordinarily smooth and balanced, with a finish that seems to never end. What really struck me, though, was the huge bouquet– this is a wine I could just sit and sniff all night! It’s slightly more subtle than some of the big, jammy cabs I’ve had, and would be an excellent pairing for steak and many other foods.

Sonoma County, CA.





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I Perazzi

Nice legs!

This wine was apparently named after the “pear-like fruit” that grows at this estate. It’s certainly fruity, especially on the nose. Light bodied and ruby colored, this wine is easy to drink and would pair well with tomato based pasta dishes. It’s not terribly complex, but very smooth and drinkable.

Varietal: Sangiovese, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah, Ciliegiolo, Colorino

Region Italy : Tuscany : Morellino di Scansano


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A vintage release of no more than 1,400 bottles. Most of these have been pre-allocated already. All but about 150 bottles will stay in Ireland.

The nose is a very pleasant rum-and-raisin fudge while the palate has a mouth-filling spiciness that lingers through a satisfying finish. A few drops of water really opens up the flavor.

It’s  expensive but you won’t be indulging in this robust spirit every day anyway. Save it for when you really want to notice what you are drinking.

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Turkey Fry History

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Half Moon Cigars

Our Half Moon Cigars are produced exclusively for our store by one of the world’s premier cigar companies. This all tobacco..long leaf filler cigar has a Connecticut leaf wrapper that gives you a soft mild smoke. This budget priced cigar is my “Go To” cigar when I want a mild smoke with a great draw at a great price. No wonder it’s one of our best selling cigars.

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