The Father Dempsey tobacco I ordered arrived on Christmas Eve day. I rarely do such things but I wanted to tell you that I have smoked a lot of different blends over the years (45+). I continue to be intrigued by the many new and creative "craft blends" that are available and I do order them and try them. However, nothing I have found compares to Father Dempsey. Nothing! Nothing at all! I cannot wax eloquent about the aromas, the "piquant" this, the "wisp" of a fireplace, a campfire, the "subtle note" of this or that—the finer points of it all. I only know that I keep coming back to it. I appreciate the quality and service you provide. Thank you for a very fine tobacco blend. Best wishes for a very prosperous and Happy New Year.
St Louis, MO December 27, 2010
My name is Chip and my friend Jeffrey and I visited your shop two weeks ago before we went on tour with our band Remy Zero. I just wanted to say I love the two pipes I got and the Father Dempsey house blend is great! I visited most of the fine tobacconists in Seattle , Portland, and San Fran while we were on tour and your shop is my favorite. Warm , welcoming, very helpful and most experienced! I am about to move out of the country an would love to get some Dempsey in the mail from you. Cheers!
October 15, 2010
I just recieved my shipment from you last Monday. I ordered the English, Fr. Dempsey and the Danny Kaye. Although I have yet to try the Kaye, the other 2 are simply fantastic! I was referred to you by Phil from City Tobacco in Kingston Pa. I am relatively new to smoking pipes and always went the typical aromatic route smoking a blend from a local tobacco shop very similar to Captain Black....... until now! I have been enjoying the Fr Dempsey and just tried the English today. I am now a complete convert to this type of tobacco and an absolute fan of your establishment. What a classy business!! Thank you so much for being there! Plus being such a nostalgic sentimentalist, the entire history of your place adds an extra touch! I look forward to a long history of ordering from you! Thanks again!!!
Swoyersville, PA, October 4, 2010
Was in the store last week on a visit to LA from Baltimore,accompanied by my son and grand son. Purchased some Father Dempsey, Engish blend and Danny Kaye Mix. and must say I enjoy all of them. Particularly the Father Dempsey which I'm smoking now in a Meer. Great conversation with Jim about the blends. Hope to return ...within the next two months,if not I will be ordering more of Father Dempsey's Blend. Thanx for he great conversation,tobaccos and service!
Baltimore, MD August 14, 2010
I'm the fellow from Toronto Canada who visited your store a couple of weeks ago. Just thought you might like to know that I'm enjoying the Danny Kaye tobacco and the Savenelli pipe I bought from you. They go well together. Every time I enjoy this combination I will think of you and my enjoyable trip to L.A.
Thanks for being so helpful.
Toronto, Canada, April 9, 2009
Thank you for a wonderful experience! A sunny afternoon and a smooth Fuente 8-5-8 . . .
a perfect combination. My wife, Regina, is a huge "24" fan, so her brief encounter with Kiefer Sutherland made things even sweeter. Take care and we look forward to seeing you the next time we're in town!
Oakdale, CA, April 8, 2009
Let's face it! Smokers these days are stigmatized. There is truth, of course, in the warnings about lung cancer for long-time smokers. But, some of the new laws in cities and towns that seem to make it impossible to light up anyway except in your closet are far too restrictive. But, my purpose is not to rail about medical reports of legislation. Rather, to continue to dream about the pleasures of pipe smoking.
I'm nearly Eighty (age, not I.Q.). And, I've been smoking a pipe since I was seventeen, including while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict. My first pipe, incidentally, was given to me by our family doctor, who smoked a pipe. Along with a tin of Briggs tobacco. He told me that if I was going to smoke, a pipe would be the most pleasant. All these years later, he was right.
Of course, there's more to smoking a pipe than just puffing away. There is getting the right pipe at a price you can afford and keeping it well maintained. But, more important, is finding the right tobacco. Unlike cigarettes, store-bought pre-packaged tobacco just will not do. I am lucky to have found a place that is not merely tempting with selections, but reasonable in price (aside from usurious taxes) and owned and operated by the nicest couple this side of the Garden of Eden - Kramer's in Beverly Hills, run with thoughtfulness and kindness by Marsha Kramer and her cigar-smoking husband, Jim Keller. Believe it or not, they'll create a tobacco just for you. They've served some of the luminaries of show business (Well, Beverly Hills IS just down the freeway from Hollywood!). Cecil B. DeMille and Danny Kaye were customers. And there are still famous names who prefer to be anonymous (unless accompanied by their press agents) who stop in regularly for their tobacco needs.
Best of all, of course, is that they have a website, which means you never have to leave the comfort of your living room (or wherever your wife will let you smoke) to order. As for me, I dote on their blend called Father Dempsey named after, of course, a pipe-smoking priest who would come in with the original "Kramer" and while away some time, before returning for vespers.
Despite the hue and cry, there are still some pleasant moments for puffing on a pipe, or selecting the right blend. I'll keep on pipe dreaming for some years yet - as long as Kramer's keeps my pipe filled.
Werner S. Haas
Super Bowl Sunday. While the nation was getting ready for several hours on the sofa with beer/sodas, popcorn/chips and a lot to say about the action on the TV screen, we were getting ready for a foray into the wonderful world of good tobacco. Which in Los Angeles means - Kramer's right here in Beverly Hills.
Kramer's is known among pipe smokers as something akin to paradise. In 2008 the shop can look back proudly at 59 years of dealing in everything a smoker might want, but especially for a small but superb selection of finely blended tobaccos.
Similar to the tobaccos the delightful atmosphere at Kramer's is unique. Considering that the store is usually closed on Sunday it was no problem to drop in, as the owners - when we called them beforehand - said: "We are in today anyway for some stocktaking - yes, by all means, do come by."
Thank you Kramer's for being there and being what you are - a small shop with a long tradition of making many, many pipe smokers very, very happy.
February, 3 2008
Yesterday I found myself early to an appointment in Beverly Hills and while driving around to kill some time, I noticed a free parking space in front of "Kramer's Pipe and Tobacco." It's a little, unassuming old storefront family run since 1949.
I purchased a Balkan-style blend called "Father Dempsey" which is a smooth, cool smoking, Latakia based blend. It is superb. They have a few other signature blends, another of which I purchased, "English" tastes a lot like Squadron Leader, but with a little extra zing of natural sweetness. They also carry four house aromatics.
Al Kramer's specialty (which Marsha has carried on) is to blend to individual taste. While most fine tobacconists provide this service, what I found most exciting is that Al left his daughter a Rolodex of individual recipes. I always appreciate that and lots of quality shops provide that service. What Kramer's has is a Rolodex with recipes of hundreds of well-known and famous people, I plan to return and sample the pipe blend smoked by Billy Wilder, or perhaps Cary Grant. Big A+.
January 31, 2009
To think it was only 1949 when Al insisted on my learning how to pack the tobacco, “false light” and slowly “draw”.
My very best to you all,
Concord, CA, 2009
1936, as a UCLA freshman, I was induced to start smoking a pipe. It was a concession to my Mother's diction “please no cigarettes”.
The war and the Infantry canceled the pipe. The second pipe, purchased 1949, along with the Father Dempsey Blend and careful instructions by Al , quickly led to my special blend. This memory and the special regard I have helps to face the next We Can years.
Concord, CA 2009
Dear Marsha & Jim
As always the "pipe" shop extends the memories of Al Kramer.
No "Kramer Pipe Shop" substitute in the East Bay - and no "Al Kramer" enthusiasm and fishing companion. Many thanks to continue a most pleasant association that began with Al and your mother 50 + years ago.
Best to you,
San Francisco, CA, 2002
I have been recalling a few famous pipemen from the past: there are few living. Our fine stolid pre-war Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, was rarely seen without his pipe. Harold Wilson, not a bad Premier for a Socialist, was - still is - an ardent pipe smoker. Edward VIII, as Prince of Wales enormously popular, loved his pipe. He was refused permission to smoke it in the restaurant of the Savoy Hotel, London, a favorite spot with him and his friends. He mentioned this to Alfred Dunhill who made him a briar pipe in the shape of a cigar: this, absurdly, was quite in being with the tone of the Savoy. Unfortunately, it was not an entirely satisfactory smoke! Many years ago, Alfred Dunhill II showed me one of these curious items, of which a few were made for those who liked to ape the habits of the Prince. That was in the beau-mode of London, New York and Paris: salesmen put on chamois-leather gloves before handling pipes for customers' inspection!
When Alfred Dunhill started his business, he did not make pipes: they were supplied by the oldest British briar-pipemakers, Charatan's (the brand-name was in modern times acquired by the modern Dunhill conglomerate). Nearly half a century ago I got to know Reuben Charatan then a very old but exceedingly active man. He took me through the entire process of turning wholly handmade pipes, from selection of the best block of briar to the ultimate polishing with swans' -down. I retain several beautiful straightgrains he personally turned for me. This art has virtually disappeared: machine-made and hand-finished is about all one can expect today - none the worse for that if one is only concerned with utility. I have one fine semi-straightgrain American-made pipe (Italian briar).The great American playwright Arthur Miller was - and I hope is - a sound pipeman. I never met him yet had an odd indirect contact. Some thirty-five years ago, while Miller was married to Marilyn Monroe, she came to England to star in a movie with Lawrence Olivier. Hearing that Miller was to pay a brief visit, I sketched a "Monroe briar", with a curvaceous straightgrain bowl: in fact, rather elegant. Charatan's agreed to make this and Miller, staying at the Savoy, was informed. He would probably have visited Charatan's discreet retail shop, as he was a regular customer, but we wanted to make sure. He duly turned up and bought this unique pipe. I sold the story to a gossip column and everyone was happy: Charatan's never advertised but were not adverse to publicity of the right kind.
I really must not rattle on further, and I trust my nicotine memoirs hold some interest for you. I have enjoyed writing them.
Very cordially yours,
Surrey, England, 1993
Dear Mrs. Kramer,
My daughter, Pamela, currently mainly resident in West Hollywood, brought me a large parcel of tobacco from your store. I would like you to know that this is by far the finest I have ever had from the United States. Normally, I have found tobacco blended to American taste much too scented, often to the extent of rendering it unsmokeable by me. Even in N. Carolina, the largest growing State, I could not discover a blend that truly pleased me. You, in California, produced, on hearing my daughter's comments on my preference, the Perfect Blend, unscented pure American "Virginia" leaf uncontaminated with pungent Latakia or other acrid or sweet growths.
I have smoked a pipe for sixty years. I now never use cigarettes, and have given up pungent "Cuban" cigars, though many years ago I enjoyed cigarettes made from Macedonian leaf (preferably blended in Egypt) which is quite unsuitable for pipe smoking. I deem it a pity more men do not smoke pipes and that women (although elegant briars have been made for them in the past) never, in polite society, adopted the habit. Pipe-smokers rarely inhale, a habit quite unnecessary for the enjoyment of the beneficially narcotic effects of nicotine, nor do pipe-smokers afflict their physique with the harmful combustion of chemical-impregnated paper. Historically, pipe-smokers have been calm, intelligent and healthy: the longest-living celebrity of my acquaintance was the late Lord Emanuel Shinwell, a famous British statesman, who smoked a pipe (and drank his Scotch) when over 100 year old.
With best wishes, conveyed in a fragrant cloud of Kramer tobacco,
Surrey, England, 1992
Dear Mrs. Kramer
This is just a short note to say thanks for your time.
We were the folks from Milwaukee who popped in one Saturday afternoon and we talked to you about Cecil B. DeMille, and Henry Wilcoxson, and all the others who at one time frequented your store.
We don't get many "movie stars" in Milwaukee anymore, and most of the "old timers" are gone. That's why we got a big kick out of reading your articles, and talking to you about Mr. DeMille and Mr. Wilcoxson and all the rest.
We had a truly enjoyable visit, and the next time we're in Beverly Hills, your store is going to be the first place we stop. Your store is the most interesting and "down to Earth" place in all of Beverly Hills.
Wayne & Rita H.
Milwaukee, WI, 1990
Dear Mr. Kramer,
Senator Tunney obtained some pipe tobacco in your shop some time last year, probably in late summer or early fall. He enjoys it tremendously and would like to order another can of it.
Mary L. S.
Personal Secretary (to Senator John Tunney) Washington, DC, 1971
Dear Mr. Kramer,
Thanks for sending the Father Dempsey so promptly. I was really looking forward to tasting it again and I was not disappointed. In absolute honesty I tell you that Father Dempsey tastes better than I remembered it. Over the past years I recall it to taste similar to Dunhill Standard Full, but now I'm pleased to discover it's far better, not only in flavor, but also in burning qualities. It's much easier to keep lit and cleaner smoking.
Your new old customer,
David I. F.
Cook, MN, 1968
Throughout the years, Kramer's Tobacco Shop has received many kind words from our customers.
We thought we should share a few on our site! Our customers are the key to our success and we appreciate your business..