A few years ago, I became tired of the problems that come with living in a big city. Realizing that I could run my business from anywhere, I decided to embrace the inevitable, abandon Los Angeles, and move to Florida.
I knew there would be some sacrifices to come with this decision. The biggest would be the lack of brick & mortar businesses that cater to my eclectic wants. This didn’t seem like that big of an issue, because these days, everything is just a mouse click away.
So I thought it was with pipe tobacco. Unless I felt like settling for Captain Black, or Prince Albert in a can… I understood that the internet would be my tobacco shopping place. This really isn’t that big of a sacrifice as tobacco online is usually far cheaper then buying it in a store. However, I still wanted to find a brick $ morton store for emergencies.
Browsing online, it didn’t take long for me to find The Pipe Den in Vero Beach. However, their website didn’t impress, and it took me a while to actually head over to their storefront.
That changed today, and I am actually quite sad that I didn’t take the time to visit them sooner. The store is run by Bob and Sue Marshbanks, and Bob is a certified tobacconist. Bob also hand carves pipes, and really knows his stuff when it comes to tobacco. It is this type of personal service that you just don’t get from a website.
Tobacco at The Pipe Den in Vero beach
The Pipe Den in Vero Beach has the standard tins of tobacco for the people that need to have their name brand smoke. (And believe me, it was nice to see some Dunhill Nightcap in a store), but they also have a good selection of “house blends” that Bob blend up himself. I personally like both aromatics, and English blends… but I have been favoring the English blends more recently. As a result, I had run out of English, and still had plenty of aromatics at home. I asked Bob what he had in the house blends that was more Latakia, and he directed me to “Proper English”, and “Balkan”. I bought a couple ounces of both.
I tired the “Proper English” on the drive home, and it was a very good smoke. (check my review when I do it).
The Real Star of the Show: The Pipes
I have grown to accept buying pipes online. As long as you are buying from a good pipe manufacturer, the pipes all tend to be good. (good manufacturer is key here, I have gotten free Chinese corn cob pipes with a bulk order that were not worth the tobacco I packed into them, but a Genuine Missouri Meerschaum, that is always a good, inexpensive pipe. The same holds true on more expensive pipes. I have never seen a bad Comoy.)
However, it is always nice to hold a pipe, feel its weight, see how it sits in your hand, before buying it. This is where The Pipe Den in Vero Beach is worth the trip. The pipe selection here is unbelievable. From $5.00 Missouri Meerschaums to $3,500.00 hand carved master pieces, this place has them all. I have never seen so many pipes in one place. Whatever you are looking for, in whatever budget you are looking to spend, they have something for you.
If you are a pipe smoker, or a cigar smoker, and are planning on spending any time this summer in South Florida, East Florida, or Central Florida… do yourself a favor, and head over to The Pipe Den in Vero beach. Bob is not paying me to say this, and I am not making any commission. This is truly one of the last great bastions for tobacco enthusiasts, and I will be making my monthly visits to this wonderful place from here on out.