How did you all experiment?

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New member
Oct 22, 2018
So, I'm a new pipe smoker, and I've got a small collection of tobaccos, a mix of aromatics and non-aromatics. How did you sample tobaccos when you first started to find out what you liked? Did you stick with a single blend until you finished before moving on? Or did you jump around from one tobacco to another? I'm cautious of trying different tobaccos back to back because I don't want the taste of one to affect the next.



Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
I jumped around. Changed pipes and drank water between. But I also never really thought about it. I just smoked my pipes. The only real advice is don't go crazy buying until you know what you actually do like.



Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
Lexington, KY
I tried not to get too bogged down in what was the 'best' tobacco, or the best of a particular genre. The easiest thing for me was just to buy tobacco based off what I'd heard anecdotally, and start refining my palate from there. Once I knew what I liked, it became easier to dig deep in a small family of tobaccos.



Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
Well... that was in my late teens through early 20's and.... well, you know, I was a young male.... wait... Oh! 8O You mean experimenting with tobaccos and such! 8O How embarrassing! :oops:
er.... I jumped around quite a bit, a tin or pouch of this opened, a tin or pouch of that, 2 oz of one bulk blend or another. I learned fairly early that I like an assortment of different blend types. Aros, Balkan or English, Virginias etc., etc. Virginia Perique blends came a little bit later. I don't think there's much worry about one blend affecting another's taste all that much. At least there wasn't that I remember with myself. Your palette could get tired though, I suppose, where you won't taste much of anything. But that never has happened with me.



Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
Raleigh, NC
I was and still am kind of like watching a monkey hump a football. I'm all over the place. Mostly, I knew what I remembered pipe tobacco being like from the first time I started, but then all I smoked was Captain Black Gold. Not a bad tobacco, but I had absolutely no clue what was out there.
This time around, I started checking out this site and that site. I'd search by the most popular tobaccos and go from there. I also discovered that some things were disappearing and I wanted to at least try some things that were going away, so I bought some things McClelland's produced, then it was the Dunhill blends, in addition to other things that aren't going away, just scarce, so I'd then buy that when it hit.
So yeah, just kind of all over the place, trying to find out what I liked, what I didn't, and what I would sell my kidney for. It can be rough with so many choices out there, but that's also a good thing. When one drops off, another steps up to the plate.



New member
Oct 22, 2018
I think I've fallen into the classic internet research trap.
"Oh, Dunhill is on the way out... should I order a tin of EMP?"
"Dang, I completely missed out on McClelland and their Frog Morton line."
"Hmmm.... a forum post for top 10 tobaccos to try. Four people have posted and now I've got 35 options!"
"What the heck is the deal with Esoterica anyway?"
Being flooded with options is both a blessing and a curse.



Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
I'm like CCW was, I guess. You ever seen a 3-legged cat trying to bury shit on a frozen pond? It was like that. I wanted to try everything.



Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
I was fortunate in that the Tacoma Tinderbox had a great selection and a girl named Elizabeth who was around to guide a newcomer like me. It didn't hurt that I loved every blend I tried until I got some 1792. I still have a list of like 3 tobaccos that I don't like. So for me, it was try everything, and try it several times.



Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
Wow, that was nearly thirty years ago. I guess I stuck with three or four blends for the first decade then started branching out. Now 70+ blends in my cellar.



Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
I smoke for two reasons, nicotine and pleasure. I never tried too hard nor made my smoking too complicated. Smoked what I wanted, when I wanted. Might try a new blend or stick with something interesting at the moment. I was definitely not interested in what others were doing, the pipe was strictly for my enjoyment. You simply can't go wrong smoking a pipe in the manner which pleases you.



Preferred Member
Dec 29, 2016
When I first started, I went to a B&M and bought 1 ounce bags of 8 different blends that ran the gamut. I smoked at least a few bowls of each on a rotating basis, but never two different blends one right after the other.
I quickly found out I cannot stomach latakia, perique and anything cherry flavoured. That left 5 types. Of the 5 types, after a few more rounds, I could not not narrow it down further, so I started experimenting with variations and found myself with 4 blends that are my mainstays i.e what I smoke 95 percent of the time.
Mac Baren Golden Extra because I like burley

Mac Baren Vanilla Cream because its still the best (to my taste) vanilla aromatic

4noggins Trout Stream which, if I had to, I could smoke exclusively

4noggins Butternut Burley which to me tastes like dessert, so I cut down on sugar intake :)
I'll try a new blend from time to time, but so far, nothing else has managed to earn a regular spot in my rotation.



Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
I was overwhelmed on entering the pipe world. So many pipes and tobaccos and so many opinions about them. This got better in the second year but still prevailed



Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
Get a tub or a bag of a decent grade burley blend like SWR, or CH and smoke it until you sense that you have discovered how to taste its flavors.

Learn to smoke the pipe.



Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
My first tin of tobacco was $50, so I had to do my research. I bought Dunhill Nightcap because; it was one of the only blends the B&M had, and I liked the tin art. Haha!



Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2018
Here in Germany it seems common for free samples to be included with orders. After a few bowls I know if it is something I would like to try again. Also the website is useful with the understanding that people have different tastes and varying levels of experience. Also worth noting that some European blends I've enjoyed don't appear there. Occasionally I've seen blenders offer sample packs like this.

It can take me several bowls to learn how I enjoy to smoke a particular blend. When trying something new I don't decide if I like it or not until I've given it a chance a few times. Starting out I tried the same blend several times before moving onto another to try several times and so on. If I really liked one I would keep going back to it regardless (HU Director's Cut is my go-to). Another way may work better for you.

My advice it to relax. You have plenty of time to try different blends and you don't need to smoke them all right now.



Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
How did you sample tobaccos when you first started to find out what you liked? Did you stick with a single blend until you finished before moving on? Or did you jump around from one tobacco to another?
I was all over the place. I started by going to the local Tinder Box and buying 1 ounce samples of some of their blends...Honey Maple, Sunset, Sherlock's Choice, Pina Colada and Philosopher. Then I found this forum and started seeking out better blends. I have my favorites now, John Cotton's Smyrna, Presbyterian, Molto Dolce, Exotic passion and some others.
I'm still all over the place when it comes to trying different blends. I'll try least once.