Beginner

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Log in

Search on Site

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

CarlJohanSvamp

New member
Sep 18, 2019
2
1
I'm totally new at this.
I bought me a cheap new pipe and some vanilla tobacco some time ago. I looked up some YouTube videos on how to pack and smoke a pipe, still needs some practice...

The thing is that I think that both the taste of the tobacco and the smoke smells just like ordinary cigarettes... maybe even worse.
I've tried buying different flavoured tobacco and also bought a little more expensive tobacco. But it just doesn't smell nice and just tastes burnt.
Could it be my pipe? My packing? Or is it just that I'm not made to smoke a pipe...?
My uncle used to smoke a pipe when I was a kid and I loved the smell!
 
Reactions: bnichols23

lelik

Member
Aug 21, 2019
225
346
Hello and Welcome ! You in right place.On this forum you find everything you have to know about pipe smoking.
 

cshubhra

Preferred Member
May 11, 2017
1,246
1,224
I saw this question asked many times - I have a conjecture

First there are two distinct persona here. 1. The Smoker 2. The Bystander

There experiences would be slightly different - since one in ONLY smelling and the other is tasting. When you taste you use two senses - the smell and the taste. It has been scientifically proven that the sense of taste is closely intertwined with the sense of smell.

Whatever tobacco you are smoking, you will be tasting smoke. There is no way getting past that

Having said that, people who practice smoking tobacco would taste the other flavors over the smoke. This is partly due to smoking cadence - smoking cooler would improve the ratio of flavor to smoke. It is also partially psychological- pipe smokers consciously seek out the flavors and tune out the smokey taste from their brains.

With this expectation set, a slower / cooler smoking cadence would help out with the flavors.

Ask a bystander- how do they perceive the room note when you are smoking. They may be experiencing what you experienced as a child
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,188
572
Having switched from cigarettes to pipes, I know that you will have to develop a taste for tobaccos, different tobaccos. If you think it smells like cigarettes, well... that should be expected. The nice part about pipe tobacco is that you don't have that nasty paper smell.
But, if you expected to just taste vanilla with no tobacco taste, then you probably want a vape... or ice cream. puf

It takes a short while to develop a taste of tobaccos. Try an English and maybe a burley blend. Virginias are the main tobacco used in the cigarette industry, only the Virginias we use are usually a lot higher quality, bottom leaves, and processed better.

Explore, explore, explore, and have fun. And, welcome to the forums.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,300
531
Pipes are enough different from cigarettes that you might well take some time to make the change. Sip don't puff, is one suggestion. Don't inhale. Some sift the smoke through nasal passages, but I think most don't. Take your time.
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,188
572
puffer, puffins, repufication, depuf... sorry, the Mr. Puffy emoticon thingy in the beginning of words bugs me, and I wanted to experiment to see if it came up in the middle of words.
Carry on, nothing to see here puf
Maybe we should use the word "sip" more often puf
 

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
132
24
I agree with what has been posted above. Smoking to fast/hot is a possible issue. For me, I also get a much better smoking experience if the pipe is not over packed. If you are using the three layer method, I would suggest modifying it to a 2 layer, or even a 1.5 layer method. Maybe even try gravity fill with very light tamping, and then gradually increase from there until you find what works for you. It too me a long time to realize I was substantially over-packing my pipe with the 3 layer method.
 

frankrem

Member
Jul 1, 2019
140
38
Huntsville, Arkansas
Be patient - I had the same experience especially being a non smoker prior to picking up the pipe. It was just like burnt leaves for me - However through time and experimenting with different tobaccos I began to pick up hints of flavor. With you trying Vanilla you are more than likely dealing with an aromatic which is not recommended for new pip smokers. They burn way to hot and until you learn to sip and not draw like you would on a cigarette you will keep the tobacco way to hot and ruin any flavor profiles you might pick up. You also run the risk of burning the inside of your mouth.

I think the first tobacco I tried was Prince Albert Vanilla and I tasted absolutely nothing - It was a big disappointment as well. I didn't really understand and appreciate the various flavors and texture profiles until I did some experimenting with other types of tobacco.

I also found that starting with some of the over the counter brands of tobacco were not as strong flavor wise. Take some time to order some different tobaccos online and try them out.

Order some Seattle Pipe club plumb pudding from a website and try that - I always try and smoke 10-12 bowls of anything I order. That gives me time to experiment with smoking cadence and see if I truly like it or not - Then get a canning jar and seal up the remaining to try again in a year or so.

Give it some time and I think you will enjoy the experience. It's definitely not for everyone however if your patient and allow yourself time to learn and grow with it. I think you will be glad you did.
 

newdave61

New member
Aug 31, 2018
8
1
I too had a hard time when first switching to a pipe full time. My cigarette and cigars days worked against me. 30-year habits are hard to break and I'm still looking for that perfect smoke. :)

Some things that helped me:
  1. Smoke slowly, with small sips.
  2. No, slower than that.
  3. Dry your tobacco. You may be surprised how much moisture is in there. The dryer the baccy, the easier it is to keep lit and less temptation to puff. I also notice more flavors. Just above crumbly is perfect for me.
  4. Take your time, and don't be ashamed of relights.
  5. Don't over-tamp. Tamp seldom and lightly, just enough to collapse the ash.
  6. Don't blast your flame directly onto the bowl and use a soft flame lighter, not a torch. Let it barely kiss the leaf. Scorched leaf tastes scorched.
Hope this helps. After a while you will find your technique. Just take your time.
 
Reactions: jpmcwjr

nunnster

Member
Apr 17, 2019
128
28
Run through this list and you should find the issue. I smoked cigs for 10 years and not once have I ever thought a pipe tasted like one, but I have had bowls taste like what I imagine hot ash taste like so...

Tobacco: I know you said you tired a couple kinds, but your best best Is to look online and look for well known brands people enjoy. I'd start with bulks. If you want an aromatic go for a lighter aromtic and maybe a toss in couple non aromatics from Peter stokabe (sp?) Make sure you dry put the tobacco well more then you think you should (just barely on the verge of crispy)

Pipe: if you got a very cheap (not inexpensive there is a difference) pipe then that could be the issue. Try picking up a an inexpensive cob and see if that's the problem.

The likely problem along with tobacco choice : cadence and packing technique. This can make or break a tobacco. Pipe smoking is an art form, you have to get a feel for packing and your cadence (how quickly and how hard you smoke) it needs to be slow. The quickest way to make pipe tobacco taste like garbage is by smoking to fast and to hot. And if you arent packing properly, then that can really mess up your cadence and ruin a bowl. This is why some will tell new pipe smokers to stay away from the aromatics at first. They are MUCH harder to learn, since they tend to be wetter and less forgiving (flavor wise) on poor techniques and much harder to pack properly if you don't know what you are doing, and it's very easy to ruin a bowl and get frustrated.

Learning to smoke a pipe is a steep learning curve, but slowly once the piece come together it becomes worth it. Keep on experimenting and trying and the next thing you know you will be on the forum giving advice to the next new guy
 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,960
962
Monterey Peninsula
"The likely problem along with tobacco choice : cadence and packing technique."

While those are not unimportant, the real culprit in unpleasant smokes is too-moist tobacco. Packing "techniques" are not needed with properly dried tobacco, with the exception of flake, rope and plugs. So, frankly, dry your tobacco past what you think is dry enough, jam it into the chamber, light up and enjoy!
 

cshubhra

Preferred Member
May 11, 2017
1,246
1,224
"The likely problem along with tobacco choice : cadence and packing technique."

While those are not unimportant, the real culprit in unpleasant smokes is too-moist tobacco. Packing "techniques" are not needed with properly dried tobacco, with the exception of flake, rope and plugs. So, frankly, dry your tobacco past what you think is dry enough, jam it into the chamber, light up and enjoy!
The way I interpreted it ... one of OPs problems is it tastes like smoke. There are ways to reduce it, but expectation need to be set ... pipe smoke will taste like smoke
 

Dusk

Junior Member
Sep 8, 2019
89
194
Undah Da Sea
If you're using a lighter and find yourself panic puffing to avoid burning your thumb, it's possible that you're scorching the tobacco into ash before any flavor can be drawn out of it. Try using matches (or a hemp wick) and light it up with slow, controlled breaths. The idea is to get it lit with the least amount of heat possible - please don't tell me you're using a torch lighter...

So if you're coming from cigs, it may take some time before your palate is fully adjusted. However, if you control the heat along with your cadence the smoke should still be noticeably more pleaseant. When you've found a comfortable pace, try retrohaling and French inhaling to enhance the taste of the tobacco. I'm also a new convert from cheap factory cigs and these techniques help me draw out flavors as I adjust to pipe tobacco. Combine a French inhale with a retrohale to get a nice kick from basic blends, especially if they contain perique.
 
Reactions: bnichols23

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,337
205
It takes time, but one day you'll just all of a sudden be hit, almost furtively, by a rich flavour that was never there before. From that moment of revelation, other tastes will follow. Eventually, if you're persistent enough you'll even be able to taste what you smell when you open the tin: then you'll be glad you stuck with aromatics.

Try another pipe. By the way, when we say 'cheap/inexpensive cob' we mean 'a quality pipe made by either Missouri Meerschaum or Old Dominion from a corn cob' and not a made-in- China piece of junk that will further ruin the experience for you and might even expose you to dangerous chemicals. We say 'cheap cob' because they're a fraction of the cost of a decent briar pipe. ;)
 
Reactions: bnichols23

bnichols23

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
2,762
107
SC Piedmont
I'm totally new at this.
I bought me a cheap new pipe and some vanilla tobacco some time ago. I looked up some YouTube videos on how to pack and smoke a pipe, still needs some practice...

The thing is that I think that both the taste of the tobacco and the smoke smells just like ordinary cigarettes... maybe even worse.
I've tried buying different flavoured tobacco and also bought a little more expensive tobacco. But it just doesn't smell nice and just tastes burnt.
Could it be my pipe? My packing? Or is it just that I'm not made to smoke a pipe...?
My uncle used to smoke a pipe when I was a kid and I loved the smell!

Howdy & welcome, CarlJohan! Without going too much into redundancy mode, what cshub, frank, & newdave said is basically it for the most part.

Pipe? Packing? Yeah, probably, good chance of either or both, & the leaf too. Buy good quality tobacco, & don't be ashamed or feel 3rd-rate if it's Sir Walter Raleigh! SWR is a good solid tobacco.

3 basic core elements -- Most new smokers go for a cheap pipe, highly flavored toback, & don't pack/puff right.

  1. Don't pack too loose, but not too tight either; experiment & you'll see where the sweet spot is. (It varies with the type of tobacco too.) Smoke slowly, slower than you think you should, then even slower than that.
  2. You can get a good, & I do mean good, pipe without spending more than $40-50 American. A really good choice would one of Morgan's Bones series. They're not fancy & usually have a couple of very superficial flaws, but nothing to be ashamed of & you're guaranteed a quality smoke.
  3. For now stay away from heavily flavored aromatics. The natural tendency is to go for one that smells great in the package ("tin note"). It will NOT necessarily smell the same when burning, & is almost guaranteed to not smoke the same either.
The main reason to generally avoid great smellers early on is because the casing (flavoring) will tempt you to smoke too fast, & when that happens the moisture in the casing turns into steam & results in a burnt tongue. [I'm betting you've already experienced that! :)] It's THE absolute #1 thing that most often causes new pipers to quit, which is why you want to avoid it at all costs.