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Thread: Pipe Smoking

  1. #11
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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.

  2. #12
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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.

  3. #13
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  4. #14
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    I picked up a pipe in NYC last year. Perfect pairing of VA tobacco and Bourbon.
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  5. #15

    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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
    "Oh Bother!" said Pooh as he slapped another magazine in his AK-47...

    http://vinesnwines.blogspot.com

  6. #16

    Re: Pipe Smoking

    To buy smoking supplies:
    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/

  7. #17
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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 is one that stands out in my memory as well as fits the profile I'm suggesting. Yet another is Dark Fragrant. 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, 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.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  8. #18
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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.....
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  9. #19
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    Re: Pipe Smoking

    Greg,

    Perhaps hanging a couple of these babies on your porch would solve the temperature problem.

    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
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  10. #20

    Re: Pipe Smoking

    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
    "Oh Bother!" said Pooh as he slapped another magazine in his AK-47...

    http://vinesnwines.blogspot.com

 

 

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