The history of Peretti is extensive and at times, confusing. In our last post, back in November, we talked specifically about the history of ‘Thanksgiving Day’ and the process that takes place to create it. This time, a broader look at the history of blending at the company will be examined. It’s important to start by understanding that when the L.J. Peretti Co. was established way back in 1870, it was a company that dealt in cigars, made by the company, for the company, here in Boston. It wasn’t until the mid-teens that ‘the Major’, Robert Peretti’s father, started blending the first mixtures at Peretti.
Pipe tobacco blending at the company was a direct response to the growing popularity of pipe smoking. We can only guess at what time blending began at the company as almost nothing is recorded about it aside from the various blend books. Bob Peretti was, and still is, a notoriously private man. Given the limited information at our disposal, we must infer. Here at the store we possess a total of 5 private blend books. The first of which starts with a private blend numbered ‘1’ and ends with a private blendnumbered in the thousands. We can no longer read most of the pages in the book, unfortunately. However we can see that the earliest legible date in the first book is April, 1915. So, as far as we can tell, it is around that time that blending for customers began. The second book created is referred to as the ‘A’ book. All blends contained within were labeled starting with the letter ‘A’ followed by numbers. As you might imagine, there is a ‘B’ book, a ‘C’ book and lastly, a ‘D’ book, from which we have the blends D-7485, and D-9575 among others that we still produce today according to the original formulas.
The earliest blends produced at Peretti we’re rudimentary. The practice of combining finished tobaccos from overseas manufacturers was commonplace at the company. A number of the still legible entries demonstrate this. It wasn’t until a short while later that actual blending components were worked into the practice at the company. D-7485, for example, was blended in 1933, almost 20 years later, and produced entirely from unfinished components, exactly like it is today. Clearly, a few of the blends from the ‘D’ book survived into 2017. When Bob made his way into the company, sometime after the second world war, he created many of the blends we offer today, all of which are distinct creations. Some men chased women, Bob chased hybrid Burleys.
Mr. Peretti was all business. He arrived at the store to blend, repair pipes, and do business. Customers worldwide thought highly of him and his creations from the blending bench, but Peretti thought nothing of it. To Bob, it was all in a days work. He is responsible for the Burley flavor that is unique to the company. In fact, there are a multitude of blends we can no longer produce, as the components are no longer made. One such example is Lexington, a burley mixture that had a distinct Concord grape flavor. Sound odd? It was a delightful smoke that many customers enjoyed. Only Robert Peretti could make the flavor of grape play nicely with Burley. Take ‘No Name’, for example. It’s doubtful that any pipe enthusiast has smoked anything quite like it. Give it a chance.
Today, the tradition of blending is kept alive and well by Stephen Willett, the blender and proprietor. He too has a list of mixtures that have become mainstays in the current roster of pipe tobaccos. While we may sell a great many different cigars, it is our pipe tobaccos that make the L.J. Peretti Co. distinct.
Tom Anello, Social Media/Web Guy