Sipping Versus Puffing

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irishearl

Preferred Member
Aug 2, 2016
856
8
There are some things about pipe smoking where my experiences seem to run counter to the common view. This whole sipping vs puffing a pipe thing is 1 of them. While my puffing isn't significantly stronger than sipping a smoke, I do find that the extra volume of smoke puffing a bit creates makes my blends tastier as the smoke conveys more of their flavor to me than they do if sipped.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
3,950
68
I'm still working on my technique, but for me (that's the operative word here) sipping keeps the smoke cooler, and my unformed palette can have a better chance at discerning flavours.

 
Nov 27, 2018
271
0
This is where pipe smoking distinguishes itself from all other forms of tobacco enjoyment. It's different because it transcends the hobby, the past-time, the addiction. It's an art-form, and as such, it usually requires some technique to get somewhere good. Yet, as with any form of art, it also allows for individual style. Technique is an important, but not the most important, factor. The techniques are extremely useful. They're the fundamentals. Learning to breathe and pace yourself, learning cadence, is no different from learning brush strokes or the musical scales. Learning which tobaccos will work well in a blend, and complement one another, is a mirror image of learning the color spectrum.
In the end, it's all about whatever makes you enjoy your smoke.
I find that I like to move between techniques and styles. I just make sure not to lose control and end up with an over-heated pipe. After I char-light, I usually start off with a few good puffs to get 'er going, if i need to even the burn I'll just zone out with the breathing method and day-dream for a while. If I feel like seeing some smoke I'll puff happily away for a bit. I also like to sip very, very slowly (and let the smoke gather for a while, before letting it out), especially if I feel like really contemplating on the flavor, and to get a good dose of Nicotine. Most times I'll go back and forth with every bowl I smoke, until I find the niche. I'm searching for that perfect harmony, the pattern, unique to that blend, that pipe, the moment of time and place that I'm in; and when you find it, then everything just sings.

 

shanez

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
641
58
I find that I like to move between techniques and styles.
I do this quite a bit. It's fun and interesting to see what affect different techniques will have on flavor.
I do this weird thing a lot where I don't really sip or puff but instead breath in and out through my nose multiple times and somehow pull a certain amount of smoke into my mouth over a period of time. Sometimes my mouth isn't even fully closed when I do it. I don't think it's quite the breath smoking technique but maybe a variation of it?

 
Nov 27, 2018
271
0
Yeah, that's pretty much it. Some folks are sticklers for the rules; not me. I'm not 100% on the techniques as they are explained, or meant to be done. I tried to learn them all and sort of bastardized them to my taste until they became natural to me. Though I believe what I said in my previous post, I was speaking generally, as in most schools of life I skipped over to the parts that interest me the most, and snoozed through some classes. Since then I've forgotten most of the standard rules of method. Sometimes the smoke just shoots right through the stem, as soon as I put the pipe in my mouth. I have no clues as to the forces of physics at work when that happens.

 

cajomu

Member
Jul 15, 2018
124
0
For me, whether to sip or puff depends mostly on the tobacco I'm smoking. I like to sip Virginias, VaPers and the occasional aromatic. It seems to enhance the flavor and also avoids tongue bite. I always end up puffing English and Balkan blends. IME, Latakia tastes better when you puff on it and I like the luxurious mouth feel of the thick smoke.

 

frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
1,956
5
Chemically there is a sweet spot where you’re “steaming” the majority of the tobacco and not burning it. Go “too hot” and it’ll get ashy, but there’s no doubt that the slowest possible burn would also get less flavour, though to flip the equation again in terms of the total volume of flavour over time (theoretically counting the total number of atomized particles you can taste) the slowest burn is probably the most productive.

It’s a bit ironic that technically no one should ever “burn” tobacco, it is absolutely wasteful, but using the leaf as both fuel and flavor is just convenient enough, and appealing in its own right for us pyromaniacs, that here we are still talking about burning leaf.

 

blackadderlxx

Senior Member
Jun 17, 2018
364
0
This is where pipe smoking distinguishes itself from all other forms of tobacco enjoyment. It's different because it transcends the hobby, the past-time, the addiction. It's an art-form, and as such, it usually requires some technique to get somewhere good. Yet, as with any form of art, it also allows for individual style. Technique is an important, but not the most important, factor. The techniques are extremely useful. They're the fundamentals. Learning to breathe and pace yourself, learning cadence, is no different from learning brush strokes or the musical scales. Learning which tobaccos will work well in a blend, and complement one another, is a mirror image of learning the color spectrum.
In the end, it's all about whatever makes you enjoy your smoke.
I find that I like to move between techniques and styles. I just make sure not to lose control and end up with an over-heated pipe. After I char-light, I usually start off with a few good puffs to get 'er going, if i need to even the burn I'll just zone out with the breathing method and day-dream for a while. If I feel like seeing some smoke I'll puff happily away for a bit. I also like to sip very, very slowly (and let the smoke gather for a while, before letting it out), especially if I feel like really contemplating on the flavor, and to get a good dose of Nicotine. Most times I'll go back and forth with every bowl I smoke, until I find the niche. I'm searching for that perfect harmony, the pattern, unique to that blend, that pipe, the moment of time and place that I'm in; and when you find it, then everything just sings.
This is a great post. I'm the same way I'm that I alternate techniques. I will say though as someone who has spend literally days practicing musical scales that I prefer a pipe... :)

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,889
79
+1 Ash,

Usually folks will suggest things like slowing down, sipping, or a breath technique, or drying their tobacco, or whatever suggestion, when someone is having an issue. I don't think that means that whatever the technique suggested was is that smoker's only technique. It is usually suggested as a fix for whether problem a forum member may have been having.
Some tobaccos and pipes just seem to perform better with a stronger pull or puff, some seem to have the sweet spot on a more gentle technique. Whatever brings you the most pleasure. There are no rules here. We don't mean to tell another cowboy how to ride his horse... but if he asks, we can give him suggestions for not getting thrown.

 
Nov 27, 2018
271
0
You're right, Cosmic, I missed that part. Looking over my post I see that I should have added something exactly along the lines of what you just said. If it came across as a jab at the guidance and wisdom of folks on this forum, that was never my intention. I certainly got a whole boat-load of help from just reading these same forums when I was learning to smoke.
So forgive me for getting carried away on my ramblings and losing sight of the other side of the coin. When I wrote all that, I was thinking more about how new pipers can get caught up in trying to do things a certain way.
But, hey, that's what makes this place so great. No one person can learn all they need to know from only one point of view.

 

crashthegrey

Preferred Member
Dec 18, 2015
2,811
0
We don't mean to tell another cowboy how to ride his horse
Who is we? Leave us out of your extracurricular activities. :nana: All kidding aside, Ash and Cosmic hit the nail on the head here. I don't do everything the more senior (haha, in terms of experience) members here suggest, but I certainly learned a lot reading their suggestions.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,592
82
but there’s no doubt that the slowest possible burn would also get less flavour
In my 47 years of pipe smoking, I've never experienced that to be the least bit true.
Smoke anyway you want as long as you're enjoying the experience. For me it's about flavor, not nicotine, so I've learned how to maximize the flavors of the blends that I like, and smoke them accordingly. With each new blend I experiment with moisture levels, packing, cadence, pipes, etc to learn what brings out the most flavors in that blend for me. If someones asks me what I do, I'll happily tell them, but otherwise, it's to each his, or her, own.

 

pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
451
7
NYC
+1 yoda. I too have found that as a VA lover, I can combine a puff/sip technique to get excellent results.
As a general rule, however, I find that I tend to draw more when I want to stoke the ember. This is usually when I'm tamping as I push the ember lower into the bowl.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,899
76
I think the advice against puffing is good for new pipe smokers who can be over-achievers, puff wildly and continually, overheat the pipe, get tongue burn, and maybe overdose somewhat on nicotine. If you can get them to gear down into the sipping mode, then they'll develop a range of cadences and enjoy the whole experience more. Don't we all puff, starting out a bowl, or enjoy nice voluminous smoke, or just after a good swig of beverage? You sure need to learn to sip, but you can also puff at will.

 

ken56

Junior Member
Sep 30, 2018
86
0
I am a Puffer - never really got the sipping thing - But I puff slow and steady.