Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TimmyBoston

Pipe Smoking

This topic has been inactive for at least 365 days, and is now closed. Please feel free to start a new thread on the subject! 

Recommended Posts

TimmyBoston

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DrinkyBanjo

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TimmyBoston

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DrinkyBanjo

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TimmyBoston

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DrinkyBanjo

What tobaccos/whiskies have you tried? I'd like to see how they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TimmyBoston

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DrinkyBanjo

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TimmyBoston
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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snakster

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TBoner

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TBoner

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bluesbassdad

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ggilbertva

I picked up a pipe in NYC last year. Perfect pairing of VA tobacco and Bourbon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mythrenegade

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bluesbassdad

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ggilbertva

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.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bluesbassdad

Greg,

Perhaps hanging a couple of these babies 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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mythrenegade

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bluesbassdad

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EvanB

A great starter pipe tobacco is Regular Captain Black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TBoner

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DrinkyBanjo

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MrAtomic

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.