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  1. #1
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    Question To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    I still have cravings from my days of smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco, but will not ever do those two again; however I have been known to puff on a cigar which doesn't do much for me. So I have been wanting to learn how to smoke a pipe to get a little nicotine with the evening cocktail and it seems like a great way to relax when sitting outside by the BBQ or the campfire when out camping.

    I am sure we probably have a member or two who smoke a pipe so I thought I'd ask. Any suggestions on a type of pipe to buy, good first tobacco, etc?

    You Tube will probably tell me how to probably pack and light it I imagine.
    C

    "everybody defamates from miles away
    but face to face
    they haven't got a thing to say"

  2. #2
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    Christian,



    I occasionally smoke a pipe. I started when I was 19 or 20, a friend in the OU dorms smoked and I thought I'd give it a shot. Since then, I've purchased a couple of pipes.

    I'd recommend a relatively inexpensive savinelli for a first pipe. Savinelli's seem to smoke very well regardless of how expensive they are.

    I'd recommend getting a bent or curved stem on your first pipe. I say this because as you smoke, saliva will get into the stem and bowl, and there's nothing worse than accidentally sucking some tobacco juice into your mouth. I feel like figuring out how to smoke on something like a curved stem is easier when you don't have to worry about things like that (that being said, straights and bents are equal).

    Smoking is completely relative. There is no one best pipe, and expensive pipes do not necessarily smoke better than inexpensive ones. The only reason you would want to buy an expensive pipe is to have a unique look. The most important thing is going to be whether or not you like how the pipe smokes, and whether or not you like how it feels in your hand.

    Purchase a pipe nail and some fluffy and rought pipe cleaners to begin with. a pipe nail shouldn't cost you more than a dollar.

    Learn how to light your pipe properly, and how to break it in. as far as lighting a pipe, it can be a real struggle to keep it lit the first couple of times, but once you figure it out you're golden. the only advice I can offer is place the pipe tobacco in the bowl, and press it down gently with your finger. It should be somewhat springy, you don't want it to be tightly packed. Light the pipe, give it a couple of puffs (if you speed puff it will burn hot, burn your tongue, and taste bad. take it easy.), and then it will probably go out on you. that's fine, take your pipe nail (or your finger, if you're brave) and press down evenly and only slightly firmly on the tobacco, and relight. This second time it should be truly lit, and once you get it smoking properly it won't go out as much unless left unattended for quite some time.

    As far as breaking the pipe in properly- cake (carbon deposit) layering needs to be evenly spread on the bowl including the bottom. Unless you want to smoke a LOT of tobacco, start with 1/4 or 1/2 bowls, with the intent of smoking everything in the pipe in order to get an even cake layer. A layer of cake inside your pipe bowl will help the pipe breathe and make it "taste better." the first couple of smokes in a new pipe might be squirrely and not taste the best, and that's normal.

    DO NOT remove the stem from a hot pipe (there are only a couple of exceptions). The wood has expanded and has moisture in it. Typically when I'm done smoking, I run a fluffy pipe cleaner through the stem to remove excess moisture (and so it won't sour) and use a paper towel to dry-ream the bowl. Then I let it cool down a day before disassembling and cleaning (if it is necessary)

    and last thing I can think of right now, when you bang the ashes out, hold it by the bowl, not by the stem! this is common sense but believe it or not people will snap stems doing that.


    Here are some savinellis- I think there's a beginner sav set somewhere too, but couldn't remember a link.

    http://www.cupojoes.com/cgi-bin/dept...rch=DW&tier2=4

    youtube has some helpful videos, I'll try to hunt some down for you later. good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  3. #3
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    Wow...great notes, Erik! I've often thought it would be fun to start smoking a pipe, but never new where to begin. This will be a big help if I decide to pick it up!
    Jack
    GBS Member #3 (Sorry Dawn!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pieface
    I think i'm god but I'll get a confirmation and go from there

  4. #4
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    I have often thought about getting into pipe smoking but never got around to it. Here is a pretty good little intro, pretty similar to what ErichPryde already posted but there are also a lot of good suggestions in the comments as well.

    http://artofmanliness.com/2009/10/14...moking-primer/
    Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough. - Mark Twain.

  5. #5
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    I haven't smoked a pipe in about 15 years but always enjoyed it. The only thing I would add to Erich's great advice is that when you load the bowl, do it in several layers, not too tight, as he said. This gives it a more consistent pack and a more steady smoke.

  6. #6
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    Christian, I'll just touch lightly on pipe tobaccos. They sort of basically break into two camps: naturals and aromatics. Naturals are basically natural tobacco that is aged and dried and processed, but it's just tobacco, and it's made to TASTE delicious. Aromatics are usually (not always) cheaper quality tobaccos that are top-dressed with flavorings and are made to SMELL delicious.

    Thats an oversimplification, but it kind of lays the ground work. Most dedicated connoiseurs probably live in the Natural camp - these are the English tobacco smokers - the tweed jacket, pint of stout, Hobbits in training. I'm in this camp. Natural tobacco tastes fantastic and is really wonderful stuff, but it tends smell like nothing more than plain old tobacco - it doesn't perfume the room up. Aromatics are those cherry cordial-smelling tobaccos you occasionally get a whiff of when a pipe smoker walks by - they make the room smell wonderful but they (to me) taste like mush. They try to make them taste like cherries or whiskey or apples, but it often doesn't work.

    Pipe and Tobacco is a very good magazine to read. Superb tobacco can get gotten from Cornell and Diehl, Gawith and Hoggarth, and McClelland. C&D and McClelland are sort of the HH and BT of the tobacco world - most of the good stuff comes from one or the other.

    Hope that helps. People tend to focus on the pipe, but it's often the tobacco that either makes or breaks them as a pipe smoker.
    "Brown eyed women and red grenadine...
    the bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean." -Jerry Garcia

  7. #7
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    Ryan, some of my favorite English tobaccos are balkan, I particularly like McClelland Legends.
    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend_...PHA=C&TID=3946

    Legends is an interesting blend of Latakia, Virginia Leaf, and Orientals.

    As far as the cased and topped aromatic category goes I'll mostly agree with your assessment- Many aromatics you find at walgreens are very cheaply made, using mostly inexpensive tobacco and chemicals. However, I am a big fan of W.O. Larsen's signature blend- I feel that it's one of those uncommon aromatics that actually tastes good as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  8. #8
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    Quote Originally Posted by flintlock View Post
    Christian, I'll just touch lightly on pipe tobaccos. They sort of basically break into two camps: naturals and aromatics. Naturals are basically natural tobacco that is aged and dried and processed, but it's just tobacco, and it's made to TASTE delicious. Aromatics are usually (not always) cheaper quality tobaccos that are top-dressed with flavorings and are made to SMELL delicious.

    Thats an oversimplification, but it kind of lays the ground work. Most dedicated connoiseurs probably live in the Natural camp - these are the English tobacco smokers - the tweed jacket, pint of stout, Hobbits in training. I'm in this camp. Natural tobacco tastes fantastic and is really wonderful stuff, but it tends smell like nothing more than plain old tobacco - it doesn't perfume the room up. Aromatics are those cherry cordial-smelling tobaccos you occasionally get a whiff of when a pipe smoker walks by - they make the room smell wonderful but they (to me) taste like mush. They try to make them taste like cherries or whiskey or apples, but it often doesn't work.

    Pipe and Tobacco is a very good magazine to read. Superb tobacco can get gotten from Cornell and Diehl, Gawith and Hoggarth, and McClelland. C&D and McClelland are sort of the HH and BT of the tobacco world - most of the good stuff comes from one or the other.

    Hope that helps. People tend to focus on the pipe, but it's often the tobacco that either makes or breaks them as a pipe smoker.
    Interesting you should mention "the tweed jacket, pint of stout, Hobbits in training. I'm in this camp." I just read that JRR Tolkien smoked "Navy Cut"...not sure but I assume this refers to the "original" version...possibly
    by Imperial of Liverpool or Capstan or Players (?)...see these comments:

    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend_...PHA=M&TID=1200

    SmileyOrb 07/17/2011 "This tobacco (Players) has been going for donkeys years! A friend told me JRR Tolkein use to smoke this frequently"

    PipesterJim 03/28/2011 "PNC is a thoroughly delicious virgina flake with the tiniest smidgeon of sweet, fruity topping that blends very nicely with the base tobaccos. It isn't strong enough to be termed an 'aromatic', but it just adds that extra little something to the flavours on offer. Although the N-factor is only moderate, there is plenty of smoke, and satisfaction is easy to come by."

    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend_...PHA=M&TID=1090

    Pipemanuk 11/27/2009 "Fortune smiled on me recently and I was gifted with two round 2 ounce Capstan Full Navy Cut tins probably from the 1950's and a 2 ounce Medium Navy Cut tin from the 1930's. I've not opened the Full Navy Cut tins yet but I just couldn't resist opening the 1930's tin! The scent was very strong indeed...like a very old wine, almost a port. The tobacco was a broken flake, fairly dry and ready to smoke. To be honest it smelt so strong, you could almost just sit there breathing in the scent, but when I did light it I was greeted with wonderful clouds of smoke and the taste of alcoholic stewed dark fruits which lasted through the whole bowl. I imagine at something like 70 years old the tobacco has reached about as far as storage can take it....it's been such a privilage to have the chance to enjoy what must be a once in a lifetime opportunity. :-)"

    ThomK 09/30/2009 "In the good old days when it vas medium made by Inperial Tobacco Co in Liverpol in good ol England, it was a blessin. Today when made in Danmark itīs more tastless (soft) then before. I cant undersand why Inperial Tobacco accepts the change of this old and famos brand. My Regrets ThomK in Sweden."

    I read where one reporter said his main impression upon meeting Tolkein was his strong pipe smoke aroma.

    http://www.pipes2smoke.com/pipe_tobacco.htm

    "NAVY CUT: Originally the tobacco was favored by sailors. They would put it in a long thin canvas tube and twist it tight. When taken out it was a thick rope of tobacco that they could carry in their pocket. They could cut off a plug to chew or slice it to smoke in a pipe. Escudo, Three Nuns Slices and Bengal Slices are types of sliced plug. Normally it is a slow burning tobacco fitting with its sailing origins. Navy blends are often steeped in Rum as this what sailors used to to do."
    Last edited by Jono; 07-26-2011 at 20:17.

  9. #9
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    17

    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    Peter stokkebye luxury flakes are hard to beat for the price.

    35 bucks will net you a lb, and you can keep 2 ozs stored in half pint jars indefinitely. The tobacco ages and uses the oxygen in the container, eventually sealing it just like you would you do canning.

    If you find blends you like, buy in bulk. It's much cheaper. I'd anyone wants some to try, ill gladly send a few flakes your way plus some others to sample

  10. #10
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    Re: To Begin Smoking Pipe Tobacco

    I've smoked cigars in the past and wanted to get into pipes because: 1. you can control the amount of tobacco you smoke at each session and 2. the tobacco is much cheaper than cigars.

    I picked up a pipe a few weeks ago from an estate sale with the intention of not having to break one in. For 10 bucks or so I got a Dr. Grabow from the late 70s/ early 80s. I took it to a local tobacco shop where they told me it was unused - so a great price, but needed to be broken in. That said, I'd check local estate sales to try to find a pipe for a very reasonable price - especially since you very well might make some poor choices with your first pipe (or so I'm told).

    About aromatics vs. english blends: I picked up a few aromatics that the local tobacco shop (Straus tobacconist) recommended to try out. Flavors are fairly mild, but reasonably interesting. I like to release the smoke slowly out my mouth and inhale a bit to get the aroma. I haven't picked up any english blends; online it seemed like most pipe smokers recommended starting with aromatics first. It seems that the english style is a bit of an acquired taste (take that with a grain of salt since I haven't tried them myself). Any recommendations for english/ natural pipe tobaccos to start with?

    On another note where do you all smoke? My wife is lenient on most items (read: everything else), but she's always had some minor breathing issues and can't stand smoke. I'd like to smoke a pipe when the mood strikes during the winter, but can't stand the cold; it's just not pleasurable if I have to be cold. Do space heaters generate enough heat to make a detached garage doable for a session? Any other suggestions?

 

 

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