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TimmyBoston
10-19-2006, 04:34
In the next day or so, I'll be off the tobacco shop to get started with pipe smoking. I can't think of anything better on a fall evening than kicking back with a great bourbon, pipe and a book.

Anyone have any suggestions or things I should discuss with the tobaccoist? I have no experience whatsoever with pipes, but I'm looking forward to learning.

DrinkyBanjo
10-19-2006, 06:25
I've smoked a pipe for a few years now. If I was you I would start on a $20 pipe to see if you like it. In a month or two if you are still into it go for a $50 one. Don't smoke too fast or you'll get tounge bite! It's almost unavoidable at first so don't be discouraged. I've been at it for a couple of years and I still learn something everytime I have one!

TimmyBoston
10-21-2006, 02:51
Okay I went out and got some stuff. The cheapest pipe they had was like $37 dollars, So I got it and some tobacco and a tool, etc. And last night I sat outside on a cold fall night with my pipe, a copy of Richard Russo's Empire Falls and a pour of Pappy Van Winkle 15, it was wonderful.

DrinkyBanjo
10-21-2006, 06:23
Seems like you got it all figured out already. I like the pipe for Winter time because I do not smoke cigars inside the house. The pipe usually gets the nod then.

TimmyBoston
11-09-2006, 03:55
I've gotten a Boswell and a Bjarne pipe and several tobaccos. I'm really enjoying it and I find the pairing with bourbon to be far superior than cigars.

DrinkyBanjo
11-09-2006, 05:59
What tobaccos/whiskies have you tried? I'd like to see how they do.

TimmyBoston
11-09-2006, 15:45
I'm no expert by any means so please take my elementary recommendations with a grain of salt.
Rattray Marlin Flake - a great very traditional Virginia tobacco that goes very well with pretty much any bourbon. In my experience boubon with a little more age holds up better to smokes of any kind.
I've paired up Dunhill Nightcap - a very smoky intense blend goes exceedingly well with Islay Scotch.

DrinkyBanjo
11-10-2006, 05:54
I already have the Nightcap and agree it goes well with Islay. Rattray Marlin Flake goes highly recommended so I might have to try it. I do have Old Gowrie which is also by Rattray and supposed to be very similar. That, for some reason, goes great with a cup of coffee.

TimmyBoston
11-13-2006, 17:02
I already have the Nightcap and agree it goes well with Islay. Rattray Marlin Flake goes highly recommended so I might have to try it. I do have Old Gowrie which is also by Rattray and supposed to be very similar. That, for some reason, goes great with a cup of coffee.

I'll have to try that out. :grin:

snakster
01-31-2007, 13:42
If you have a boswell pipe already, go all the way and contact JM himself at his Chambersburg tobacco shop (or more likely, Mrs. Boswell). He hand blends his own pipe tobacco and I'm sure they would be more than happy to discuss a blend that would go well with your drink. You will not find nicer people.

TBoner
01-31-2007, 18:34
I picked up my first pipe this month, and I have to say pipe tobacco seems to have more versatility than cigars at both ends of the spectrum: it even pairs up well strongly-flavored teas.

At any rate, I'm not particularly adept at keeping the bowl lit all the way through yet (I've only smoked a few bowls), but I know I'll develop better rhythm as time goes on.

Based on my limited exposure so far, I'd have to say the straight Virginias or Virginia/Burley blends I've had seem suited to bourbon; English (i.e., including Latakia) less so. Interesting idea on pairing Latakia w/an Islay malt. Looks like I need some more Bowmore.

I'd like to keep discussion going on successful pairings, especially particular bourbons that do or don't work well.

TBoner
02-09-2007, 05:38
Well, I'm no expert, but I'll try to give some tasting notes here on a match I tried out. Night before last I read a bit of Faulkner while I smoked some Virginia ribbon cut with two different bourbons: Knob Creek and Old Grand-Dad BIB. The Knob Creek worked well, the richness of the whiskey underscored by the slightly sweet Virginia. There was a nice interplay of leather and wood char between the two as well.
The current OGD BIB, on the other hand, is not as aged as Knob Creek, and its lighter body and spicy (and for some reason nutty on that particular night) flavor weren't really as perfect a match. I think perhaps some Burley in the mix would help.

bluesbassdad
02-09-2007, 23:19
I haven't smoked a pipe since Monday, February 28, 1983 at 9:25 PM.

Nevertheless, when I read your post a thought popped into my head, unbidden. "Add a dash of perique to complement the rye spice in OGD."

I wasn't drinking bourbon in those days, so I've never actually tried that pairing.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

ggilbertva
02-14-2007, 20:17
I picked up a pipe in NYC last year. Perfect pairing of VA tobacco and Bourbon.

mythrenegade
02-15-2007, 21:25
Ok,

I'm intrigued. I live in California, where it is pretty much illegal to smoke anywhere. I think we are supposed to take a boat out to international waters if we want to smoke or something ;-)

But, for all of it's "we know better than you" attitude about such things, it is pretty open to ship stuff etc. Is there a place online I could go to buy a good "starter kit" of pipe smoking? I have no idea what I need or how to do it, but I think I want to try it out before I refill the humidor. I like cigars, but I have loved the smell of a pipe since I was a little kid. I'm an adult now, have been for far to long, and I want to try a pipe...

Joel

RoyalWater
02-15-2007, 22:14
To buy smoking supplies:
www.pipesandcigars.com (http://www.pipesandcigars.com) outstanding selection
or a Stoker's catalog if you can get one; outstanding prices

Here's a whole list of online retailers:
http://syo.dalrun.com/Retailers/

bluesbassdad
02-15-2007, 23:23
As a former pipe smoker (1958-1983) I can all but guarantee you that the tobaccos that have smelled so good to you for all those years will not be the ones that taste best. (Note that I left myself just a skosh of wiggle room.)

The ones that tend to smell good to other people at a distance (Middleton Cherry, Mixture 79, Sail Aromatic, Rum & Maple, Cookie Jar -- if they are still around) are usually referred to, or even labeled as, aromatic. For the most part that aroma comes from a substance that is added to the tobacco; it is not the result of curing. Those substances often have sugar in them. If you've ever seen sugar react to heat (as in H.S. chem class where a little bit is heated in a test tube over a Bunsen burner), you know that it burns hot and fast --just the opposite of what would be comfortable on the tongue.

Even so, aromatic tobacco often gets very soggy in the bottom of the pipe bowl, even to the point where it is simply non-combustible. Aside from the waste, if the non-use of such a dreadful product can be called that, the moisture can have a deleterious effect on the pipe -- both the wood at the bottom of the bowl and the so-called "cake" or "char layer" which forms during the breaking-in process. At a minumum, extra drying time is needed between smokes.

To be fair about it, I have smoked custom aromatic blends (available only through a tobacconist, not at Walgreen's) that burned rather well. I was told that secret is to add only volatile oils, not substances that contain sugar and excessive water.

However, in the long run most pipe smokers I have known, at least those who set out to explore the options and choose based on personal experience, have eventually all but given up on aromatics. Okay, maybe one tin of Flying Dutchman every few months, just to keep one's S.O. happy.

I can't say that I'm familiar with today's products, even those with names that I remember from 24 years ago. However, I'll go out on a limb and suggest that you look for, or inquire about, a blend that is mainly matured Virginia tobacco (any color from reddish to medium-dark brown), possibly with some lighter, less cured Virginia leaf to aid combustion.

One brand that I notice is still around is Rattray's. I was fond of several of their blends, but Red Rapparee (http://www.justforhim.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=21_35_51&products_id=228)is one that stands out in my memory as well as fits the profile I'm suggesting. Yet another is Dark Fragrant (http://www.justforhim.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=21_35_51&products_id=231). Others in the Rattray line might also do.

One note of caution if you choose do go down this road: any mention of "oriental" tobacco (such as yenidje, mahallah, or dubec) means that it will smell like shit to bystanders, even if you love the flavor (which I did). The same also applies to latakia, which traditionally was cured over fires of goat dung. (I believe other fuels are used today.)

If you wish to throw caution to the winds, try Accountants' Mixture (http://www.justforhim.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=21_35_51&products_id=230), which includes both of the above.

You will see many blends that contain burley. I don't recall ever smoking one that I liked, but you may.

One final bit of advice. Don't smoke more than one bowl a day for several weeks. Beginners tend to puff too hard and too often. The resulting assault on the tissue inside your mouth can be much more vicious than it should be. Certainly if the pipe gets more than slightly warm to the touch, it's time to let it cool before continuing.

Following the link in RoyalWater's post led me to a page with fine descriptions of what may be the entire Rattray line (http://store.pipesandcigars.com/ratnotreadye.html).

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

ggilbertva
02-16-2007, 09:14
Dave offers some very good advise. I would second the notion that one should avoid the aromatic blends. I started my pipe smoking using blends of VA tobacco with varying infusions of Latakia. I have one tobacco that is heavily Latakia and smells like a camp fire (not cherry or bubble gum); it's a good smoke though.

One other bit of advise I would offer is make sure you clean the pipe after each smoke BUT, avoid removing any of the cake build up in the bowl. Additionally, do not remove the stem from the bowl until it has cooled down. When packing the bowl, pack it until the tobacco feels "springy" under the touch, then pack in more and repeat. You want the tobacco to burn evenly through the whole smoking process. Packing the tobacco to dense makes it difficult keeping the tobacco burning and you'll have to re-light numerous times.

I really enjoy my pipe with a nice dram of bourbon or scotch. I tend to switch between my Pipe and Cigars just to keep it interesting. The only downside is that I don't smoke in the house and right now....it's about 11 degress outside.

Enjoy.....

bluesbassdad
02-16-2007, 18:11
Greg,

Perhaps hanging a couple of these babies (http://www.shop.com/op/~Hanging_Gas_Patio_Heater_Sunglo_A244_Propane_Gas_ Outdoor_Patio_Heater-prod-38719557-51355141?sourceid=3)on your porch would solve the temperature problem. :grin:

I was surprised by the intensity of my response. I guess even after all these years I long for the company of Madame Nicotine.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
02-19-2007, 13:17
Hmmm,

I don't think I'll have to worry about smoking too often in the first few weeks. I tend to be a "once a month" smoker, if that, not a daily smoker. I have gone a full year and burned maybe four cigars or less. I'm really looking for something else to try on the cold nights around the coffee roaster.

Joel

bluesbassdad
02-19-2007, 13:38
Joel,

As a recovering chain-smoker I find such restraint unfathomable. My habit was such that I smoked cigs, cigars and pipes from sunup to sundown. If it weren't for sleep, showering, sex and sustanence, I would have smoked 60/24/7.

At a rate of four bowls a year you may not finish breaking in your first pipe while I'm still alive to hear about it.

Such intervals remind me of a monk joke.

The monks took a vow of silence, but with one exception. Each year before the start of lent one monk was allowed to stand at dinner and utter one sentence. Needless to say, their conversational skills became rusty.

One year a monk stands and says, "The soup is too salty."

The next year another monk stands and says, "I think it's just right."

The third year a monk stands and says, "If you two don't stop the constant bickering, I'm going someplace else for some peace and quiet."

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

EvanB
03-06-2007, 15:17
A great starter pipe tobacco is Regular Captain Black.

TBoner
03-08-2007, 18:32
I'm doing some work online at a local Irish pub. It's a warm night, I'm outside, and it seemed like the right time for the pipe.

I brought two tobaccos with me: straight Virginia and an English blend. I'm not too familiar w/Irish whiskey, so I wasn't sure what the best pairing would be. After tasting some Red Breast, I decided on the Virginia. Not enough smokiness in the whiskey to justify any Latakia character.

Well, I think it was the right choice. The nut and sandalwood notes in the Virginia really play off of the fruitiness of the whiskey perfectly, and there's a melding of the two on the palate that morphs the slight waxiness of the pot still into a creamy, full richness.

Really a great pairing.

DrinkyBanjo
03-09-2007, 09:24
A lot of people seem to recommend Virginias with whiskey. What Virginia's do you prefer? What is a good brand I could try out?

MrAtomic
03-11-2007, 17:59
DrinkyBanjo,

It's been a long time since I smoked a pipe, but thinking back, I remember liking McClelland's no. 2015 Virginia Flake with Perique. Because Virginias sometimes "burn hot," I didn't always enjoy them (due, no doubt to my poor smoking technique) but the no. 2015 seemed a bit easier to handle than others. A few words of caution: McClelland sells bulk tobacco so you can't buy it in a tidy, attractive tin. Your tobacconist will simply stuff the desired amount into a ziploc and hand it over, so there's less aesthetic pleasure to be derived from the act of opening and handling the tobacco. Because it's sold in bulk, it might be over-or under-humidified at the time of purchase, so let it dry out a bit or hydrate as the situation warrants. Also -- and I'm working from memory here so I might be wrong -- the tobacco isn't uniformly cut so you might need to do a bit of work before packing the pipe. Hmm . . . . that's a lot to think about and I'm starting to remember why I stopped smoking a pipe.

I also enjoyed some of the Rattrays Virginia blends, but I think the McClelland might give you a good baseline. Plus, as a bulk tobacco I believe it was substantially cheaper than tinned alternatives.

Hope this helps.

DrinkyBanjo
03-12-2007, 07:18
I have Rattray Old Gowrie at home, would that be Virginia? That one goes great with a nice cup of coffee.

MrAtomic
03-12-2007, 13:27
Tim,

Rattray's Old Gowrie is a Virginia. If you're enjoying it without any tongue bite, I'd say you've got your technique down pat. Rattray's makes a couple other Virginias that you may like, as well -- I remember them as very nice, non-syrupy tobaccos. I never really enjoyed the cavendish-style, sweet stuff, though. You might also try the Full Virginia Flake from Samuel Gawith. It's an experience, either way -- the tobacco arrives in big, leathery flakes that you have to cut up, fold or roll into the pipe.

Hope that helps.

DrinkyBanjo
03-13-2007, 07:15
Every bit of information helps! Thanks!

bluesbassdad
03-13-2007, 15:46
Random comments follow:

Here's (http://store.pipesandcigars.com/outoty.html)some information regarding tobacco varieties (species?). I think it is generally accurate. One curious omission: no mention of cavendish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavendish_Tobacco) -- the result of one of any number of processes, not a species. It's a word often seen on some of the slightly pricier, drug-store blends. Also on some premium-priced blends.

I've mentioned before that my pipe smoking, which spanned 25 years, started with cheap aromatics, then progressed through better aromatics, Virgina/oriental blends, matured Virginias and blends of same, and finally a bulk tobacco sold as "Carolina Red".

During the transition to matured Virginias, I liked a bulk blend called "Mohave Malawi", which I found only in a shop in Beverly Hills, whose name I've long forgotten. The base tobacco was allegedly from Malawi (http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4997e/y4997e0i.htm); the tobaccanist added Latakia -- which as far as I know has no connection with anything named "Mohave". He also let me try the base tobacco, which I found less flavorful, but quite satisfying. I've seen no other mention of Malawi tobacco in connection with a manufactured blend.

Carolina Red was and remains something of a mystery. The shop owner, who hardly qualified as a tobacconist, said it was a single species, not a blend, which she bought in bulk. It was ribbon-cut, slightly clumpy, and as much brown as red -- although the reddish cast set it apart from other blending tobaccos. As I recall, its aroma was both sweet and spicy. On the palatte it tasted so right that I had a hard time describing it.

Now when I search for ' "carolina red" tobacco ', nothing useful turns up. Online information about Carolina tobacco suggest that it is quite bland, on the order of Maryland, whose blandness is its main characteristic. Perhaps the Carolina that I smoked was cured to produce the aroma and flavor I found so satisfying. Some tobaccos attain their unique character by being pressed tightly and subjected to heat. Perhaps this was one such, although it was hardly dark enough to have been heated very much.

I remember which pipe I was smoking the night I decided to quit "just until my sore throat got better"; it was (is?) a bulldog shape from the bargain bin at Leavitt & Pierce in Cambridge, MA. I bought it within days of going away to college. I was convinced it made me look cool. That's doubtful, considering I was from a hick town in the midwest and had just turned 17, but the pipe turned out to be a gem. It was the equal of many pipes I bought later at ten times the price. (Curious as to whether that shop still exists, I Googled it and came up with many hits, including this one (http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=237641).)

It's at least an even bet that the last tobacco I smoked was Carolina Red (even though I always kept several different blends on hand for variety's sake). If I were to dig through the still-packed storage boxes in the garage until I found the dozen or so pipes I didn't eventually throw away, I wonder whether that pipe would still have some of the aroma of Carolina Red imbedded in the cake -- after 24 years.

If I knew the world was coming to an end during the next six months, I'd make an effort to pick up where I left off. There were times, before my addiction turned me into a non-stop smoker, when the pleasure of smoking was almost overwhelming.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

TBoner
04-07-2007, 18:53
Just a note to say that I had my first Wathens today. It's a bottle from '98.

I have never had a better pairing with my pipe tobacco (currently a 95/5 Virginia/Burley blend). In fact, I have never had a better whiskey-and-smoke pairing, period.

Also, Dave, if you ever need someone to take those pipes off your hands, let me know.

bluesbassdad
04-08-2007, 01:57
I'm hanging on to them just in case I contract a terminal, non-smoking-related disease -- in which case I'll give smoking another try.

I know; that's pretty pathetic. However, I'm too decrepit and too poor to have a mistress, and I've already owned a motorcycle. I can't think of any other way to give death the finger.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

TBoner
04-12-2007, 19:00
Yeah, I'd probably hold on to the pipes, too.

As for giving death the fniger, I've already planned my course of action should I make it to 80: start pouring Stagg, Booker's, WTRB, and Talisker all day long, always with a Romeo y Julieta Anniversario Churchill or my pipe, and always followed by a slab of chocolate cake. Should make short work of my remaining months (or weeks).

Bob O.
04-13-2007, 11:28
Yeah, I'd probably hold on to the pipes, too.

As for giving death the fniger, I've already planned my course of action should I make it to 80: start pouring Stagg, Booker's, WTRB, and Talisker all day long, always with a Romeo y Julieta Anniversario Churchill or my pipe, and always followed by a slab of chocolate cake. Should make short work of my remaining months (or weeks).

At least you would go with a big grin. :grin:

MrAtomic
04-13-2007, 17:09
Wow,

I went through this line of reasoning with my girlfriend very recently. She wanted to know when I was going to get rid of the coolerdor full of cigars and the box full of pipes that are currently clogging up our reading room, since I haven't smoked in years. I told her "sure, I don't smoke now, but I'm seasoning those cigars for the future -- when I'm old and ready to take up the habit again they'll taste fantastic." She wasn't amused, particularly in light of the fact that my bourbon collection is starting to encroach on other areas of our living space, and in all fairness, she's got a point. I'll probably get rid of the pipes, at least. Do people buy used pipes in this day and age? I have a couple of Dunhills that deserve to be used instead of sitting idle in their boxes.

DrinkyBanjo
04-13-2007, 17:27
1. Yes, people by used 'estate' pipes.
2. I'm sure some of your bourbon drinking friends could put a nice Dunhill to good use!

bluesbassdad
04-14-2007, 16:04
If you decide to sell your pipes, I hope you are able to do so without feeling like you've been shafted.

Back in the early 1970's I bought a flamboyantly styled Nording, about 80% straight grain and with the natural surface of the burl across the top, reasonable perpendicular to the centerline of the bowl. It was a beautiful pipe, but it was too heavy for me to hold in my teeth alone for more than a few seconds. It had cost $35 in 1969 dollars (almost $200 in today's inflated greenbacks). I took it to the store where I bought it (and most of my other tobacco supplies, as well), and the owner offered me $10 for it. I thought he was joking -- or at least doing some hard-ball negotiating. I never got him to budge. To my shame, I took the $10. I'll never forget how quickly he whisked the pipe off the counter, the instant I agreed.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-04-2007, 00:18
Ok,

The link you guys suggested (pipesandcigars.com) has a lot of stuff, and it's overwhelming. Forgive the newbie questions, but I'm clueless here.

I am planning to order the "three pipes for $45" because I have two other friends that I smoke with and one of them asked me to land him a pipe. It seems to be a good price, and since i have no idea what's good and what's not, a closeout pipe should be fine.

Based on what I've read here, I should probably avoid aromatics, and look for virginia tobacco correct?

But then what? Do I need to buy pipe cleaners? What is a tamper? It seems like there is a collection of tools that are a mystery to me. I take a cigar, cut the end off and smoke it. What do I need to purchase to have a good first experience smoking a pipe?

Thanks for the help...

Joel

DrinkyBanjo
05-04-2007, 06:28
Do not avoid anything, if you like a nice room note a good Aromatic will be fine. It is true that the more complex smokes are usually non-aromatic but do not avoid them if that is what you are looking for.

1/2 of pipe smoking is not offending others in the immediate vicinity. If a nice note makes your significant other more tolerable of the pipe then it could work to your advantage.

bluesbassdad
05-04-2007, 18:31
Yes, you need pipecleaners. You also need a multipurpose pipe tool. It should include both a tamper and a long, pointy thing for loosening the tobacco (sometimes even while you are still smoking it).

Someone who smokes a lot also needs a tool for carefully shaping and eventually removing some of the cake inside the bowl. Someone who smokes only four times a year (did you say that?) may never need such a tool.

An inexhaustible supply of flame is essential. I used matches by the pound. A butane lighter, carefully adjusted and handled, is probably a better idea.

Everyone tries aromatics sooner or later. I promise not to say I told you so. Heck, you may even like them as a change of pace. However, they present difficulties that make them most unsuitable for the smoker most likely to try them -- the novice.

Adjusting for inflation from my day until now, I suspect the quality of a $15 pipe will be wanting. Back in the 1980's I expected to pay at least $20 for a quality pipe. I'd guess $50 today.

You want a pipe with close grain, no hidden pits or fissures and good alignment of the bore with the bottom of the bowl. Describing one is far easier than identifying one.

Good luck and please keep us informed. I love smoking vicariously.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-08-2007, 19:38
Dave,

What is a cork knocker?

Joel

DrinkyBanjo
05-09-2007, 05:47
I believe a cork knocker is a cork that you stick to an ashtray to tap the pipe against to loosen up tobacco.

bluesbassdad
05-09-2007, 15:43
Correct! For example, see here (http://www.smokershaven.com/browseproducts/Cork-Pipe-Knocker.HTML).

Among experienced pipe smokers they are also known as "stem breakers".

They are often included on ash trays (http://www.marscigars.com/browseproducts/Pipe-Ashtray-rest--7682.html)designed for pipe smoking.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-10-2007, 23:09
Well, I took the plunge. I ordered a bunch of stuff from pipesandcigars.com. I got three pipes because I roast coffee with two other guys and that's when we typically smoke (which also increases the frequency of when I smoke from about 4 times a year to about twice a month), so I got a pipe for each of us. Here's what I got:

---
Pipe Closeout Special (Bent)

These 3 packs will consist of discretionary hand picked closeouts we have received. They will come in assorted shapes and finishes. Picture may not represent actual pipes in pack.

PLUS FREE POUCH OF TOBACCO WITH ORDER!!
---

This was $45.99 and ostensibly is a $75 value...

Then I got a few things that Dave suggested:

Dill's Premium Pipe Cleaners (32 cleaners)

Pipe Tool - 3 in 1 Czech Tool (3 pack)

Then I got two bulk tobaccos and one sampler pack:

Eric's Bulk - Old Lodge (4 ounces)

A blend of the finest grade Latakia's combined with Stoved Virginias, and a hint of Balkan. This is a heavy blend perfect for cool nights with a shifter of fine Port.

McClelland Calypso Black (4 ounces)

A mysteriously provocative tobacco having a distinctive character with a universally appealing aroma both in the pouch and in the room. Soft, sweet, refined black cavendish.

Tin Sampler - Aromatic "Paper and Metal"

Individually these tins and pouches would sell for three times as much in a tobacco store. But due to an overstock you are the real winner. All of these tobaccos are imported from Europe and are made with the finest quality tobacco. This package is sure to bring a huge smile to any pipe smokers face! What a price! 6 items in all including Thomas Radford Sundays Fantasy 50g tin, Exclusiv Sherry & Cherry 50g tin, Brookfield Aromatic Pouch 50g, Golden Blends Mild Chocolate Pouch 50g, Exclusiv Wild Mango Pouch 50g

So, once it all arrives I'll begin to try these things. Thanks for all of your help! I'll keep you posted as to what I like and what I don't.

I have no idea what I ordered. I picked them based on the descriptions and what I imagined my tastes would be. I ordered the aromatic sampler to try as well.

Joel

bluesbassdad
05-12-2007, 01:19
Joel,

I envy you the adventure you are about to undertake.

From the description I gather that the Old Lodge may be a tasty blend. However, including it in your starter assortment may be a bit like using OGD 114 to introduce bourbon to a teetotler. :shocked:

May you always enjoy your vices in moderation. :grin:

BTW, has anyone advised you regarding the break-in process?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-13-2007, 14:33
Everything I know about pipe smoking I learned from this thread. So, not only has no one advised me, I have no idea what you are talking about :-)

The stuff is due to arrive Wednesday. All advice is appreciated. What should I start with, what is the break in process, etc.

Joel

bluesbassdad
05-14-2007, 02:31
Joel,

There's a traditional way to break in a pipe; the tradition is at least partly grounded in experience.

First gently remove the stem. Twist in one direction while gently pulling. If there's a metal gadget sticking out of the stem, remove it. Clean the inside of the bowl to remove any dirt, sawdust, stray finish material, etc. Start with a damp washcloth that you don't mind throwing away. (Some smokers swear that rubbing the inside of the bowl with your favorite liquor both cleans and adds flavor. I can't swear to that.)

Use a dampened pipe cleaner to remove debris from the inside of the stem and the shank of the pipe. Bend the cleaner double to clean the mating surface of the shank. Clean the stem in hot water and dishwashing detergent; you don't know where it's been. Rinse well, and dry thoroughly. Reinsert the stem in the shank.

The first time you smoke the pipe, fill the bowl 1/3 full at the most. Do your best to turn it all into ash before you give up and dig out the leftover tobacco. (There will always be some.) Try to avoid scorching the inside of the bowl with your match or lighter. The goal is to coat the inside of the bowl with residue from the burning tobbaco, not to char the wood itself. Some charring of the wood will occur naturally from the heat of the burning tobacco; just don't try to hurry the process along with a flame.

After you remove the unbrunt tobacco residue run a pipecleaner through the stem, all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat with fresh cleaners untill one comes out clean. Bend a pipe cleaner double and gently brush the inside of the bowl to remove loose ash.

Allow the pipe to dry at least a day before smoking it again.

After every dozen smokes or so, after the pipe is completely cold, remove the stem and clean inside the shank with a doubled pipe cleaner. Unless the stem is fitted perfectly, there will be a small gap where debris can collect.

After repeated smoking, when the inside of the bowl is almost completely covered with tobacco residue, start filling the bowl a little higher each time you smoke it.

Common pitfalls include allowing residual liquid to evaporate in the stem (leaving behind unpleasant flavors), allowing liquid to be aborbed into the shank and bowl (ditto), filling the bowl too full too soon -- resulting in uneven conditioning (aka, "caking") of the bowl, and failing to allow complete drying -- resulting in a soggy cake that is more likely to fall apart prematurely.

The most common pitfall is to puff too hard and too often, causing the pipe to overheat. The outside of the bowl should be pleasantly warm to the touch, not uncomfortably hot. Overheating can permanently damage the bowl. (Don't even think about breaking in a pipe by lighting it and holding it out the window of a moving car. Also, don't ask me how I know that's a bad idea.)

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-14-2007, 23:46
Joel,

There's a traditional way to break in a pipe; the tradition is at least partly grounded in experience.


Man, I was REALLY hoping you were about to go into a comment about some sort of marital activity :-)

Well, I suppose that can come afterwards...

Thanks for the advice! I knew this was complex, but I can tell I'm going to need more pipe cleaners. One last thing before I try all of this: Which tobacco should I try first? Should I just go with the free stuff that came with the pipes? I assume from your earlier comments that I should avoid the aromatics at first.

Joel

bluesbassdad
05-15-2007, 14:37
As Tim (DrinkyBanjo) noted, other people's response to the aromas you release cannot be totally ignored -- even though that's what I usually did. :blush:

With no description of the free pouch you mentioned, I'd suggest you start with either the Old Lodge or the Calypso Black. I'd guess the latter may be more pleasant for bystanders. (What was that term Tim used? Was it "room note"? Very classy.)

I think I'll give the nod to the Old Lodge by a slight margin. It sounds as though it might be a little strong for a new pipe smoker; however, you're already a bourbon drinker, and that should count for something.

I predict you will find the OL a little easier to pack to just the right density for easy puffing and even burning. You should feel a bit more than a slight resistance when you try to draw air through the pipe. Check occasionally while you're loading it. If it feels too firm, empty it, and start over.

Cavendish, which is a rather broad category in regard to flavor and aroma, is usually a little clumpier, although you can rub it between your palms to separate it further, and it's more susceptible to uneven packing. It also may be a little sludgier and harder to keep lit.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-15-2007, 20:07
I think I'll give the nod to the Old Lodge by a slight margin. It sounds as though it might be a little strong for a new pipe smoker; however, you're already a bourbon drinker, and that should count for something.


I was concerned about this, and then i realized that I smoke big heavy cigars. I can't imagine this will be stronger than something like a Cuban Montecristo #2... If it is, well, all the better!

The package should arrive tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks again for all your help.

Joel

mythrenegade
05-16-2007, 20:48
With no description of the free pouch you mentioned, I'd suggest you start with either the Old Lodge or the Calypso Black. I'd guess the latter may be more pleasant for bystanders. (What was that term Tim used? Was it "room note"? Very classy.)

Ok,

The stuff arrived today. w00t!

The Calypso Black smells like everything I've ever imagined a pipe smelling like. The room note should be fantastic, and I'm hoping it's good to smoke.

The "English" has a bit of a cigar smell to it. Something in the aromatic sampler is giving off a very bad smell. I had to put all five of them in a second ziplock to keep it from overwhelming everything. I hope I don't end up tossing all of that.

The Old Lodge smells awesome. It has a rich tobacco smell coupled with the smell of a campfire. This stuff immediately brought back memories of the old lodge we used to own in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. I think it would have done that even without the name.

I'll probably smoke the english tonight, simply because it looks really dry and relatively easy to ignite. I don't know if I'll like it, so I might bring some of the old lodge along as well.

The pipes are an interesting collection. I have attached a photo. I like the look and feel of the larger pipes, probably the red one, not the black one. The black one has a very rough, almost natural wood finish.

Sorry about the picture being lousy, I didn't have good lighting so I had to use a flash. Never a good idea.

Joel

SlowEddy
05-17-2007, 07:25
In the next day or so, I'll be off the tobacco shop to get started with pipe smoking. I can't think of anything better on a fall evening than kicking back with a great bourbon, pipe and a book.

Anyone have any suggestions or things I should discuss with the tobaccoist? I have no experience whatsoever with pipes, but I'm looking forward to learning.

I've been smoking pipes for over 30 years. The best tobacco that I've smoked is Dunhill Light Flake. It comes in a small tin and is about $8.50 for that little can. It goes well with everything--Wild Turkey and strong coffee. Don't forget to roll it before packing your pipe or else it will bite a little. Extremely flavorful and satisfying.
On the cheaper end, a good drug store brand is good old Captain Black. Very flavorful and won't bite even the inexperienced pipe smoker.

bluesbassdad
05-17-2007, 16:45
Joel,

I didn't recall that you had ordered an English-style blend. To tell the truth, I never really grasped what that appellation means. Sometimes blends that were described as "oriental" or "balkan" seemed pretty much the same as the English.

Your mention of a cigar-like smell reminds me of a tobacco I smoked as a change of pace, Balkan Sobranie Old Virginia No. 10. IIRC, it was said to consist of cured Virginia with a touch of cigar leaf. (It may no longer be available. A search just now revealed no useful hits. However I did find this source (http://www.pipes2smoke.com/blends.htm), which I would probably try if I ever take up smoking again. Their desriptions all but made my mouth water.)

The campfire smell probably comes from the latakia. I'd never thought of it that way, but the description fits.

I believe you are wise to choose one of the larger pipes. Excess heat is the persistent enemy of the new smoker (and the pipe). More thermal mass gives the smoker a slightly greater margin for error.

An even tinier margin is associated with rough finish pipes, IMO, due to the greater surface area to radiate heat. However, I never cared for the black-finished ones; I always wondered what they were hiding. However, I had a few quality pipes that were rough but with the grain still visible through a light stain. I found them rather attractive, especially after the tops became darkened after considerable smoking.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

mythrenegade
05-31-2007, 09:47
Well,

I did it. I scorched my tongue last night. I'm pretty sure it's the fault of this:

McClelland Calypso Black -- A mysteriously provocative tobacco having a distinctive character with a universally appealing aroma both in the pouch and in the room. Soft, sweet, refined black cavendish.

I enjoyed the free "english" tobacco they gave me the first time I tried the pipe. Last night was the second, and I decided to try the Calypso Black. Wow. This stuff was exactly what I had always hoped for in a smoke. After a bowl of that I tried the Old Lodge, which was _really_ strong. It was a mistake to try it on the same night as the Calypso Black. I'll wait until a cold fall night to try that stuff again, and be sure to have something stronger than ORVW10 to drink with it...

But back to the CB. I then filled the pipe again and smoked another round. This is probably the one that did me in. This stuff burns well, it was _far_ easier to keep lit than the free pack-in stuff. It has a very nice flavor and an awesome room note. I'm planning to order at least a pound of this stuff to keep around, as well as some more pipe cleaners.

By the way, a champagne cork makes a great cork knocker, and doesn't cost $3.50 all by itself...

Joel

Nigel
07-21-2007, 08:35
OK I'm new here but I thought you may be interested in a good little forum dedicated to pipesmoking if you're looking for more information. Pop over to www.smokersforums.org (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/www.smokersforums.org) there a good bunch over there. BTW I added a reciprocal link over there. Sorry if I broke unwritten rules regarding posting of links.

mythrenegade
07-21-2007, 13:18
Nigel,

Thanks for the link. The URL is malformed though, you should correct it.

I discovered last night that I don't enjoy a pipe as much when it is hot. I think I will keep the cigars around for summer use :-)

Joel

bluesbassdad
07-21-2007, 16:13
Nigel,

[snip]

I discovered last night that I don't enjoy a pipe as much when it is hot. I think I will keep the cigars around for summer use :-)

Joel

Your preference may not be unusual. I was more likely to smoke the latakia-heavy blends in the cold months and lighter, more subtle blends in the summer.

Summer was also the time when I was more likely to dabble in the crowd-pleasing aromatics. Fying Dutchman was usually a crowd favorite, assuming I could get it packed right and keep it burning -- often a chore with fine-cut tobacco. It always seemed to be too dry to separate into loose clumps for packing or too moist to draw through, once packed.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Nigel
07-22-2007, 03:18
Nigel,

Thanks for the link. The URL is malformed though, you should correct it. Joel

Thanks Joel, the correct link is http://www.smokersforums.org/? sorry for my mistake.

snakster
08-15-2007, 20:03
Upon delivery, this (http://www.boswellpipes.com/Pipesforsale/Pipe3.html) is my new pipe.

mgilbertva
08-18-2007, 19:51
Nice looking churchwarden! I've never smoked one before. How do you think they compare to other styles for quality of smoke?

bluesbassdad
08-18-2007, 20:11
I once had a GBD bent billiard custom-fitted with an extra-long stem, and I could switch stems at will to determine the effect of the longer stem.

Not surprisingly the longer stem delivered a cooler smoke. However, it also diminished the flavor (read "tar") delivered to my mouth.

Consequently I tended to draw more often, sometimes to the point of overheating the bowl if I wasn't paying attention.

Another noticeable effect, especially with a bent style, is more aroma delivered from the bowl to the smoker's nose.

Altogether I found the churchwarden styles to be much preferable to a calabash, which is based on somewhat the same idea.

The main thing is to be as sure as you can that the body of the pipe is high quality. I saw many inferior pipes fitted with churchwarden stems. Adding a long stem to a body made of poor briar or badly made will not turn it into a good pipe.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

snakster
08-19-2007, 20:37
The main thing is to be as sure as you can that the body of the pipe is high quality. I saw many inferior pipes fitted with churchwarden stems. Adding a long stem to a body made of poor briar or badly made will not turn it into a good pipe.
No worries there. J.M. (Boswell) does not make bad pipes. And his briar wood is top shelf.

Dr. François
06-03-2008, 14:31
Anyone have a favorite lighter?

I gave up on matches because I wasn't coordinated enough to use them. Juggling pipe, matches, and match box proved daunting. I used a bic lighter, but it wasn't very pleasing to use. Then I switched to a Ronson butane lighter, but it burned too fast and hot. I scorched the top of the bowl pretty bad. Plus my thumb.

I just picked up a Zippo pipe lighter for around 15 bucks at the outlet mall. I love the thing.

What's your favorite lighter for pipes?

mythrenegade
06-12-2008, 09:33
It was a blast to read this thread again!

I use an orange thing from harbor freight :-) It can be adjusted and does a great job without scorching the bowl.

It's funny to see my "four times a year" in an earlier post. That was about how often I smoked a cigar. With a pipe that can now be adjusted to "four times a month" which is a considerable increase.

A year plus in I really like pipe smoking. The flavors are fantastic, I like tinkering with it, and it's considerably cheaper than (good) cigars. The smell is also MUCH more agreeable to those around me.

My favorite is still Calypso Black. I also like McClelland MC2005. The Old Lodge is very good, but only for cold weather, and it does NOT work well with bourbon. The strong flavors fight too much. I found that it overpowered ODG 114, and then when I switched to a beer (strong beer, Stone Old Guardian if I remember correctly) I discovered that the two paired nicely.

Someone suggested that I try the Old Lodge with laophraig, and I think that's a great suggestion but I haven't gotten around to springing for a bottle of it.

Joel