Filters and Their Effect on Aromatic Tobacco Flavour

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beerandbaccy

Member
Apr 22, 2015
232
0
I know there are many aromatic haters out there but....

As a semi-novice I have filtered pipes in an effort to lighten the impact of the smoke on my mouth when I smoke.

I was wondering if any of you experienced smokers have opinions on whether the filter changes the perception of the flavouring used in the tobacco.
Also - is there a marked difference between charcoal filters, balsa wood, fibre (like falcon filters) and metal condenser 'stinger' types on flavour?

Opinions also welcome on metal bowl meshes and Chalk pipe bowl filters too!
It's a complicated world out there!

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,412
3
I can only weigh in on the two types I have used. The first are the 6mm paper-tube filters branded Medico or Dr. Grabow. I do not recommend them. They restrict the draw to a degree that I do not like, and for me, they do mute the flavor of any tobacco to a significant degree. The first smoke tastes papery from the new filter, and by about the third smoke they taste disgusting from all the soured crud trapped in them. They do absorb much moisture from the smoke.
The second are the Savinelli balsa absorbers or homemade ones I cut from balsa stock. They do not impede the draw to a perceptible degree, and I don't notice any muting of flavors. You will get more mileage out of one before it gets sour and nasty. They also absorb much moisture from the smoke, and I strongly recommend them.
That being said, I prefer to avoid filters altogether by smoking tobaccos that produce less moisture in briars, and smoking tobaccos that are known to produce more moisture in cobs, which are naturally more absorbent than briars. I don't use filters or absorbers in cobs at all.

 

jabo

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2016
322
0
I have used all the filters and a lot of unfiltered. In my honest opinion, I cannot detect any significance in my smokes. I tend away from aromatics. However, today's seem to be much better than those of the past (60s & 70s). I still enjoy an aromatic ocassionally. But filters don't seem to me to really affect the taste.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
0
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Hi Beer, it is unfortunate that many folks regard stingers as filters, they are two entirely different pieces of apparatus.
A filter does just that, it filters the smoke coming through the stem. A stinger is designed to lessen moisture entering the stem by condensing it on its very tip.
A filter will also absorb moisture preventing it reaching the stem but a stinger does that and nothing else, certainly not filtering the smoke as a filter does.
At least that is my undestanding.
Regards,
Jay.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,412
3
Yeah, stingers are a whole 'nother beast entirely. More part of the pipe engineering itself. I prefer to avoid stingers as well.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,243
447
I keep a filtered pipe or two with a filter, but I find I rarely use it. I don't want to mess with the extra purchases and don't enjoy the flavor as much, and find it only leads me to smoke an extra bowl to get the flavor, waste motion. It dampens a full-strength blend, but in that case, I just go to a milder blend. I tend toward full-strength non-aromatics, although I have aromatics in my rotation for a change of pace. Milder blends and aromatics set up the enjoyment of full-strength non-aromatics for me. If you do nothing but full-strength, you become inured to them. The stinger on my Kaywoodie Drinkless actually provides a pleasing smoke, doesn't impede the flavor much, and isn't that hard to clean after smoking, so that's my favored exception. I use the no-filter adaptors on my Savenelli's and on Dr. Grabows. Don't apologize for smoking aromatics; they are the underpinning of the pipe tobacco market and subsidize the rest of our fancy non-aro blends. Likewise, if you enjoy smoking with filters, find the ones you like and enjoy them. In my opinion, there is no hierarchy of smoking preferences. You're the king with your pipes. What you like is topmost.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,893
5
I use 9mm charcoals filters, most of the time Big Ben brand. The advantages for me are that they filter out whatever makes Virginia tobacco taste like ash, so I detect the sweetness and flavor of Virginia tobacco. I also find that they reduce the tongue bite from heavily cased aromatics, allowing me to enjoy the flavors better. However, I don't use them with Latakia or Virginia Perique blends, as there is some flavor loss on those type blends. IMHO the 6mm paper and Balsa filters trap moisture well, but don't seem to alter the flavor much. I have a Rossi and a Savinelli that I bring offshore to smoke my VaPers, and they help with the high humidity out here. Those use balsa filters.

Lastly, there is some mild restriction when using the paper and 9mm filters, since they interfere with the smooth flow of air. Doesn't bother me too much, but if you pack the bowl too tightly you could collapse a lung trying to suck out some smoke.

You might try getting a filter adapter for a dollar, that fits in the stem instead of the filter, and experiment with it.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
0
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"but if you pack the bowl too tightly you could collapse a lung trying to suck out some smoke."
Brilliant Rigmedic :puffy:
I wouldn't dare use a filter myself lest I miss out on any subtle flavours that lurk around so many blends.
Regards,
Jay.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,302
10
I've tried using a filter a few times, and each time I've been unhappy with the smoke. I don't like the draw or the flavor with a filter. Personally, I think any blend, aromatic or not, will be better without the filter. For my pipes that came with a filter and adapter, I just don't use the adapter at all. I find those pipes have a wonderfully open draw, and once you get the packing just right, it's a magnificent smoke nearly every time.
As far as mesh screens... save those for the pot smokers. They're not needed in a briar pipe. And I have no experience with the chalk bowl filters, so I can't give an opinion on those. I have looked into the Nording Keystone filters though, and I'm intrigued enough to give those a try. I've just not broken down and put any in my purchase from anywhere yet.

 

weezell

Preferred Member
Oct 12, 2011
9,632
883
I always use filters in my MM Cobs,but cut them in half. Does the same job with less air flow restriction. (And at half the price)...

 

beerandbaccy

Member
Apr 22, 2015
232
0
Thanks all!
I do find the charcoal 6 mm a bit of tight draw for my pipes and prefer the balsa or similar looking fibre ones. I just thought i was getting a little less flavour with the charcoal over balsa and wondered if it was my imagination!
cheers! :puffy:

 

hextor

Preferred Member
Sep 20, 2015
638
0
i smoked bobs chocolate flake, with a stanwell filter, it did diminish the taste quite a bit, so now i dont use the filter.

 

eduardonogueira

New member
Apr 29, 2017
14
0
I think it is important to highlight that here in Europe, the blends are made to be smoked with filters. I live in Germany, and most brands are European. I dont't get anything from unfiltered smoke in them, it actually tastes way worse without filter, way to harsh. I believe that you can get some flavors from Virginia and perhaps some latakia blends, but aromatics made in the EU are prone to be smoked with a filter. I tried many times to smoke aromatics without filter, all of them were such a fail, whether tasteless or too strong. A good filter will block just enough and delivery a good smoke. As I said in the beginning, in Europe, most pipes come with 9mm filter stems, and the industry of course adapt itself to this purpose. I've many people on the comments here and I realize they are mainly from the US and I guess that there is a substantial difference between EU and US blenders.

 

armonts

Member
Jan 3, 2018
161
2
France
Here in France it is quite recent the use of filters, people do not like it too much in general, but the new pipes

are like that.

It is said that it is because of Germany and northern Europe where smokers are more "ecological" ...

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,243
447
It may be splitting hairs to some, but it has been pointed out, correctly, that stingers, balsa inserts, and rock maple inserts aren't really filters. The smoke doesn't go through them; they presumably attract and retail some moisture instead. But for the purpose of generalization, I think it is okay to discuss them with filters. They "live" in the stem and/or shank and in some way process the smoke, or are intended to.
Most aromatics are quite mild, so once they are filtered as well, the flavors, tobacco and flavorings, are pretty muted. As mentioned in my post a year ago, the filter prompts me to smoke a second bowl just to be sure I actually had a smoke.
Filters can be useful if you are a moderate smoker and want to go to a pipe club or pipe show and smoke more than usual. A filter will let you smoke more with less effect.

 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
3,396
197
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
Armonts:Have you noticed traditionally 80% des pipes de St Claude' are equipped with 3-4mm metal stringers and the airflow of these pipes is a little bit more restricted (good for me because so far I tend to smoke more vigorously that might be preferred)But today I'm noticing that two main French companies (Cahcom and Butz C are getting producing them pipes with 9mm filters even for domestic market and not only for export, nonetheless French made pipes that are sold in England are still mostly unfiltered

 

menuhin

Preferred Member
Oct 21, 2014
642
0
...the blends are made to be smoked with filters... I dont't get anything from unfiltered smoke in them, it actually tastes way worse without filter, way to harsh. ... but aromatics made in the EU are prone to be smoked with a filter. I tried many times to smoke aromatics without filter, all of them were such a fail, whether tasteless or too strong. A good filter will block just enough and delivery a good smoke.

...

...

Here in France it is quite recent the use of filters, people do not like it too much in general, but the new pipes

are like that.

It is said that it is because of Germany and northern Europe where smokers are more "ecological" ...
I think most of the smokers in Germany and northern Europe are more health conscious, not that they are more "ecological" - they still burn candles at home, and they still burn scrap wood in a camp fire and enjoy a BBQ party.
I have seen smokers who built their own pipe stems to fit not one, but 3-5 filters. Yes, smoking a bowl with multiple active-carbon filters. Otherwise, it is unhealthy - I believe that is what they think. Then why smoke? Why not trying to spend the money on some organic vegetables in Wholefoods? Cut down on sugar also and be moderate in alcohol, get some supplements and do regular cardios.
I also want to know the science of "...tasteless or too strong. A good filter will block just enough and delivery a good smoke...". Theoretically, an already tasteless tobacco will become more tasteful with a filter only when the filter adds some taste to it, i.e. a flavored filter - maybe a good business idea to sell tasteless tobacco paired with filters dipped in syrup and casings. Some taste being too strong to be appreciated when not diluted is easier to understand, e.g. the case of whiskey and scotch, and the case of tea. This can be solved by blending with milder tobaccos and smoking in a much slower pace also. I like tobaccos with strong taste, but not those heavily flavored or heavily cased.