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Any pipe smokers here? I'm going to pick up one and give it shot. If anyone has any advice I'm all ears.
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  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    madurofan:
    Any pipe smokers here? I'm going to pick up one and give it shot. If anyone has any advice I'm all ears.
    /Begin transmission of highly sexually charged jokes
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    I smoked 'em for a few years, maddy. Capt still does, but he's away. What would you like to know?
  • dutyjedutyje Posts: 2,263
    Bring your pipe to Kuzipalooza. I love the smell of pipe smoke. My grandfather was a big pipe smoker. I've never smoked one, but I've given it a thought. After you've given it a go, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
  • rusiriusrusirius Posts: 565 ✭✭
    Not a pipe smoker myself, so take it for what it's worth, but being a member of various forums I've picked up a few things along the way...

    First off, start with a corn cob pipe... I know that sounds stupid, but they don't have to be broken in like a traditional pipe, they're very cheap so you're not out much if it isn't to your liking, and they give a great smoke...

    Aromatics are where a lot of people start, but in some cases are similar to our "flavored sticks"... It's these aromatic blends that often draw people into pipe smoking, but generally after a while you'll tend to gravitate more towards the english or VA blends, etc... If you do try aromatics, it's best to keep a seperate pipe for them... Sorta like keeping flavored sticks out of your regular humis... ;)

    Also for aromatics, I almost hate to post this since it's kinda a competing site, but in this case I don't think anyone will mind since ccom doesn't sell pipe tobacco... www.pipesandcigars.com sells what are supposedly some of the better aromatics out there... Apparently the "Butternut Burley" is phenomenal... Egg Nog and Grandma's Kitchen are both apparently rather fantastic as well... Trout Stream and milk-n-honey are others that get high regards...

    There are also "cigar" blends that almost every blender makes which use cigar leaves in the blend... From what I've heard they aren't really the best thing out there, and many times "cigar converts" will stick with them and tend to lose out on discovering what "real" pipe smoking is all about...

    Last but not least, the folks at this site here, www.cornellanddiehl.com (Craig and Patty Tarler) are tabaconists that apparently are really great with helping recommend what you might like, getting started, etc... If nothing else, give 'em a call and see what they have to say...

    That's about the limit of my pipe knowledge... and again, keep in mind I've never smoked one myself, just all from things I've picked up... So it might all be wrong! LOL
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    urbino:
    I smoked 'em for a few years, maddy. Capt still does, but he's away. What would you like to know?
    Just anything you learned along the way would be great. You guys know how I am and know that I'll read everything I can get my hands on before I start.

    My father-in-law has a couple of pipes that he has offered to give that are well broken in but he hasn't smoked a pipe in quite some time and doesn't plan on getting back into it.

    Sirius thanks for that info. I'm not big on flavored tobacco products at all, so I'll probably never get into Aromatics.

    Duty I'll definetly bring one, may even try to bring a couple with me in case you want to give it a shot.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    maybe this will help.
    i used to have some interest in it but i just didnt have the time/patience for it.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    dutyje:
    Bring your pipe to Kuzipalooza.
    the shop its gunna take place has pipe tobacco as well. ... not to sure on the blends though.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    kuzi16:
    dutyje:
    Bring your pipe to Kuzipalooza.
    the shop its gunna take place has pipe tobacco as well. ... not to sure on the blends though.
    Sweet ...
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    kuzi16:
    maybe this will help.
    i used to have some interest in it but i just didnt have the time/patience for it.
    There is some pretty good info in there, thanks kuz.
  • LukoLuko Posts: 2,004
    Come on, Lassy, still waiting on that transmission to come through. Ripe for the plucking, this one is.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Okay. Some random thoughts. Regarding corncobs, I got the same advice Shirley mentioned. IME, though, they're a waste of time and money (cheap though they are). Basically, if you try a corncob and don't HATE it, you'll probably enjoy smoking a real pipe. But if you try a corncob and do hate it, you've pretty much learned nothing.

    My advice is to buy one of the cheaper Savinelli pipes. One with a sandblast finish. With those things, you get several advantages. With a Savinelli, you're getting a real, well-made pipe, made from a real piece of briar, that you can have some pride of ownership in, and you're also getting their filter system. The filter consists of a triangular length of balsa that drops in between the stem and the bowl. It's intended to absorb moisture, so you get a drier smoke. Some people find it helps, some don't. But enough do that it's a worthwhile experiment. (The balsa wood is easily taken out. Has to be. You have to take it out between smokes to let it dry.)

    The sandblast finish is nice for 2 reasons. One is they tend to be cheaper than the smooth pipes. (Although there are also some very expensive sandblasts.) The other is they don't get nearly as hot in your hand. I have some nice sandblast pipes from various makers, and I have some really fancy smooth pipes. The ones I reach[ed] for most often are the sandblasts.

    What you definitely do NOT want is a carved pipe or a lacquered pipe. Carved pipes are usually carved to hide a flaw in the briar. (Bear in mind, a carved pipe might not be carved to look like anything. It might look like it was just sandblasted in places. Don't go there. Get something that's either all smooth, or all sandblast.) The lacquered pipes don't breathe properly and get much too hot.

    To speed the break-in of your pipe, smear just a bit of honey around the bottom third of the bowl. It will build up a cake faster.

    Make sure you have LOTS of pipe cleaners on hand, and a pipe tool that includes a tamp and a pick.

    Umm, what else...

    Burley tobaccos tend to be the lightest/mildest of the tobaccos. Virginias are mild to medium. Both tend to have more "bite" than other tobaccos. Cavendish is interesting to try. Latakia is sort of the ligero of pipe tobaccos; if you get a blend with lots of it, make sure to smoke it on a full stomach. Dunhill makes a latakia-heavy blend called "And So To Bed," and it is aptly named. ;) Perique is a fun, different tobacco from Louisiana. Personally, I like it.

    There are lots of excellent pre-packaged blends out there -- from Cornell & Diehl (Shirley's link), Esoterica (their Dunbar blend is my favorite perique blend), MacClelland's, and others. But your best bet as a starter is to get a little of 2 or 3 of your favorite B&M's house blends. These are usually very good and the most economical. (I had a friend when I lived in Texas who had a tobacconist here in Memphis ship him a supply of one of his blends every month.) If you don't have a local B&M that blends, try Iwan Ries. It's a big Chicago B&M that sells a ton of house blends on the internets. Their 3-Star Blue is the most popular; personally, I liked the Green better.

    That's about all I can think of for now.
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    Luko:
    Come on, Lassy, still waiting on that transmission to come through. Ripe for the plucking, this one is.
    I don't know... stupid thread is going all "Informative" and junk.... phooey!
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Urbs,

    Thanks a ton. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about pipe smoking and your post was easily the most informative on why to pick a certain kind of pipe and especially the corn cob. Everyone has been telling me to start with a corn cob but then they say smoking a corn cob and smoking a real pipe are nothing alike. I've been thinking WTF?!?

    Anyways my father in law has a few nice pipes that he no longer smokes, that he's offered to give to me. The main one that he knows where it is and is going to give to me first is, if I understood him correctly, a sherlock holmes style with the meerschaum insert. He bought it in the early 70's for around $100 so I'm gathering its a fairly nice pipe.

    I've done a bit of research on the meerschaum pipes and can't seem to find anything thats says either way if the are comparable, better or worse than briar. If you have any thoughts on it they'd be wlcomed, either way.

    As far as tobacco I've read a few things and got a few suggestions that lead me to believe I'd like blends with Oriental and Latakia tobaccos. Just based on what I like in a cigar. Of course I've also been warned that what I enjoy in a cigar may be completely different than what I enjoy in a pipe.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Sirius,

    Thanks for the info as well, your links gave me some pretty good starting points. I'm slowly learning here.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    De nada, maddy.

    I've never smoked a meerschaum, so I can't speak from personal experience. My instinct, though, is that your best bet is to start with a normal, briar pipe. That's the baseline for pipe smoking -- the gold standard, so to speak. The other pipe materials -- corncob, meerschaum, calabash, clay, woods besides briar -- can be interesting to explore, but, personally, I think you'll be better off if you establish a baseline with briar, first. Among other things, it'll make it MUCH easier for you to compare your smoking experiences with others'. Plus, briar is what tobacco blenders assume you'll be smoking. I don't want you to hurt your FIL's feelings or anything, but...

    A decent Savinelli sandblast can be had for $40 or so. Or, actually, now that I think of it, I can send you a good starter pipe, if you'd like. If you decide you don't like pipes or whatever, you can always send it back.
  • I was just curious as to whether you inhale pipe smoke or not?
  • ScramblerScrambler Posts: 746 ✭✭
    Mady, I have a couple of pipes, but it's been at least 6 months since I smoked one. I like to explore the different blends, but I've been told more than once that a pipe should be dedicated to only one blend of tobacco. Since I don't know enough to have a favorite, and since I don't have a large number of pipes, I've never followed this advice though.

    The problem I always had was that the smoke got very wet, to the point that sometimes I would draw nasty tobacco juices up the stem when I puffed. A Savinelli with the balsa inserts, like Urbi recommended, should prevent this. The Peterson system is also supposed to provide a dry smoke. I bought a Peterson, but have only used it a couple times, and I can't recall how well it worked.

  • I have a couple of Savinelli's, an Il Ceppo, a Stanwell, a Nording and a few others. Urbino had some great advice such as coating the bowl with honey before smoking the first time. I would like to add that while rusticated pipes are attractive to some, I like the look of the briar. The best ones are the ones with the birdseye at the bottom of the bowl and the grain going straight up the sides very close together. They cost a bit more but they are really nice. I am sure they smoke just he same as most of the others but buying a new pipe is always a treat for me so I get one that I really like. Also, grip the thing before you buy. See how it feels in your hand. I like a bent stem pipe but some prefer a standard straight one. A lot of smokers tend to only smoke one type of tobacco in a particular pipe so the flavor is the same. Also, they usually rotate pipes and don't smoke the same one often in one day. This is to give the briar a chance to cool down and dry out. I bought a $12.95 pipe from my local shop back home and it turned out to be my favorite because I just smoked it whenever I felt like it and ignored all the rules and it has been just fine. It was a Savinelli 2nd and works great. Overall, just enjoy it and forget the rules once in a while.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Big Dean:
    I was just curious as to whether you inhale pipe smoke or not?
    Nope.

    Yeah, moisture and such can be a problem, Scrams. That's part of the craft of pipe smoking -- part I never quite got the hang of, which is why I don't smoke them anymore. You have to learn how to pack the bowl right in the first place (and it differs depending on the cut of the tobacco), and then you have to manage it properly while smoking -- tamping and such -- to keep it from getting too hot or too wet. There really is a craft to it.

    I never had much luck with the Peterson system pipes. Peterson makes some nice pipes -- I own a couple -- I just never found their moisture-management system very helpful. When it comes right down to it, I think I just salivate so much while smoking, there'd have to be a tampon in the stem to hold all the moisture.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Scrambler:
    Mady, I have a couple of pipes, but it's been at least 6 months since I smoked one. I like to explore the different blends, but I've been told more than once that a pipe should be dedicated to only one blend of tobacco.
    Yeah, I wouldn't pay too much attention to that, especially when you're just starting out. I mean, if you smoke both aromatics and non-aromatics, it'd probably be best not to smoke them in the same pipe for the same reasons you don't keep infused cigars in the same humi with normal ones. Or if you smoke a really light, mild non-aromatic in the mornings, and a darker, richer one in the evenings, you might not want to smoke them in the same pipe.

    But as a general matter, I wouldn't pay too much attention to that one. I smoked whatever I felt like smoking in whatever pipe I felt like smoking it in at that moment.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    With all this talk about pipes, I'm gettin' the itch to get mine back out and give them another go.
  • LukoLuko Posts: 2,004
    Scratch that itch...I've only smoked a pipe a few times (no idea even what end I was even supposed to be smoking) but I enjoyed it.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Sorry I disappeared for a little while, I've been 'out of pocket' as urbs would say. Thanks to urbi's generosity I now have a very nice briar pipe to start off with in my pipe smoking quest. (I also have a very nice calabash(sherlock holmes style) pipe from my Father in Law but I found out that it is actually quite rare and valuable so it will likely be a special occasions only pipe).

    To go along with Urbi's generous gift I bought a couple ounces of some house blends, a pipe tool, a pouch for storing tobacco, accessories and pipes, a pipe lighter and cleaning supplies. The adventure begins!
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    To go along with what urb has said, everything I've read has said to have one pipe for aromatics and one for non-aro's when you start out, for the same reasons urbi stated. The comments about a pipe for each blend is later down the road, when you have discovered exactly what it is you like and only smoke a couple of blends.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Sounds like you're all set up, maddy -- broom and midget and whatnot. Even a pouch. What kind of pipes and blends did you get?
  • rdnstnrdnstn Posts: 993 ✭✭
    Keep us informed on how your venture goes. I've never tried pipe smoking but my great grandpa used to smoke one so everytime I smell one now, it reminds me of him.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    urbino:
    Sounds like you're all set up, maddy -- broom and midget and whatnot. Even a pouch. What kind of pipes and blends did you get?
    Scratch the pipes part. I misread your post. Still curious about the blends, though.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Well urbi, I bought Captains Delight and Cape Charles. I'm not real sure of the exact blends but they are non-aros and are more or less virginia blends I believe.The Captains Delight is almost all black.

    I actually smoked my first bowl last night, Cape Charles. I couldn't keep it going and I'm sure I smoked it too fast but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very nice and relaxing. I made sure to keep the bowl cool enough where I could hold it and tried keeping it tamped down but I could never keep it going. I was constantly relighting but it was great. i'm actually going to hit up the B&M at lunch and smoke there, maybe get a little help.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    madurofan:
    I couldn't keep it going ...
    this is probably because the tobacco is a bit too wet. let it sit out for a bit before you smoke it when the package is fresh like that.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    I've heard this as well kuz, however, this is the same tobacco(same blend) the manager at the B&M smokes everyday. He lights his bowl with a single match and never relights unless he sets it down. He usually just fills his pipe straight from the canister.

    I think it might be a combo of me not properly packing it and his pipe being very well seasoned.
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