The History of R.L. Will - Rudiger L. Will grew up in Buende, Germany between Bales and Hogsheads of Tobacco. His father was the founder and co-owner of quite an important tobacco factory for fine-cut pipe tobacco and cigars which employed 300 people. As a youngster R. L. Will loved to play in the large tobacco warehouse and soon developed a sense for smelling the different types of tobacco. Upon finishing high school he began a 2 1/2 year apprenticeship at the Dresdner bank. He was soon overcome by his love and passion for tobacco and he embarked on three years of intensive training. He studied tobacco growing, handling, and manufacturing throughout the world. He spent a considerable amount of his study in the tobacco rich counties of North Carolina and Georgia.
In 1962 he entered the firm of his father and was responsible for the production and purchasing of the tobacco. In 1968 he developed the casing and flavors for the first four blends of Borkum Riff pipe tobacco, which were later produced under a licensed agreement with Svenska Tobak AB, Stockholm. In 1972 the firm was sold to Svenska Tobak AB, and R.L. Will worked for fifteen years in international marketing with the Oetker group of companies. During this time he remained very closely connected with numerous tobacco firms. During this time, he also started collecting and making handmade pipes.
In 1987, R.L. Will purchased the trademark "Reiner" from the well-known pipemaker Reiner Klein. He also purchased machinery, tools, and briar blocks and in 1988 he founded the R.L. Will Pipe Studio. During the following eight years, R.L. Will and Reiner Klein worked in the pipe studio designing fine handmade pipes from the best Corsican briar. The pipes are all totally unique in shape and design and are called "The Pipe Art Design" Pipes. In 1997 Reiner Klein decided to pursue other interests and R.L. Will was now designing and making the total production which is limited to about 200 pieces per year.
In 1990 R.L. Will started the development of the "Reiner" line of pipe tobaccos. His idea was to introduce fine pipe tobaccos that would be mild and have a good "room aroma". The tobaccos were very well received by pipe smokers all over the world. The Reiner Blends have become synonymous with outstanding quality, taste, and aroma.
In 1997 R. L. Will conceived the name "Solani" for a new line of top quality blends. The name Solani is derived from the Latin word "Solanum" which means "night shade plants". The scene on the Solani tins is that of Columbus arriving in the "New World" in 1493.
In 1998 he introduced the "Solani" line of pipe tobaccos. In developing the Solani tobaccos, his goal was to offer the pipe smoker very mature tobaccos with as little additives as possible. His ability to blend specially selected high grade tobaccos has made the Solani blends a huge success. R.L. Will has mastered the art of tobacco blending and the results are obvious in each tin.
In June of 2000, the "new" Solani Virginia Flake(blend 633) with Perique was introduced. R.L. Will developed this blend with much care and attention. His intention was to introduce the best Virginia flake available. In a very short period of time, the Solani Virginia Flake blend has become a favorite of many pipe smokers.
All Reiner tobaccos are blended in Denmark and bulk shipped to Germany for packing. The Solani tobaccos are blended and packed in Germany with the exception of the Virginia flake which is blended and packed in Denmark. Both the Reiner and Solani tobaccos are very carefully blended following the recipes developed by R.L. Will.
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