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How did you all experiment?

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  • Started 1 month ago by ckarnes
  • Latest reply from kiltedpiper
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    ckarnes

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. ashdigger

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    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.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. haparnold

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    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.

    V/R,

    Hap
    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Well... that was in my late teens through early 20's and.... well, you know, I was a young male.... wait... Oh! You mean experimenting with tobaccos and such! How embarrassing!

    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.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
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    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    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.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    ckarnes

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    aldecaker

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    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.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    You ever seen a 3-legged cat trying to bury shit on a frozen pond?
    I have... wasn't sure if I should laugh, cry or, or help the little guy.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    aldecaker

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    As long as you didn't encourage him to buy more tobacco, he's probably fine!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    You ever seen a 3-legged cat trying to bury shit on a frozen pond?

    I have not have the pleasure, but I have witnessed one trying to bury a turd on a marble floor... That was intense.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. wyfbane

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. chasingembers

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. warren

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    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.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. bassbug

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    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.

    YMMV

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. artificialme

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    I just read JimInks review and explore some of his 3-4 stars

    Adhie was here
    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. saltedplug

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    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

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. newbroom

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. mikethompson

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    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!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. seldom

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    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 tobaccoreviews.com 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.

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. scloyd

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    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 anything...at least once.

    scott
    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. npod

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    Like others I had tons of mason jars filled with various blends at first. Luckily, I had been smoking and ageing cigars for a long while before switching to pipe tobacco, so I kinda knew how to taste tobacco and I had a strong feeling for what I would like. Interestingly, I wanted badly to be a latakia guy since I like stronger bolder cigars. But eventually VaPers and Virginia and especially flakes grabbed me. Since then, I prefer more Dominican and medium bodies cigars.

    Neal
    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. pipeanddrum

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    I started by trying many different tobaccos, buying single ounces of those blends that received favorable reviews when I was able to find them in bulk. I also purchased tins of tobacco that seemed to be the 'standards' like Orlik Golden Sliced, Solani Aged Burley Flake, and Dunhill EMP + Nightcap. I also found people to trade a few bowls worth of different blends with so that I didn't have to invest too much to get a good sampling of many varieties. I'd jump from one blend to the next and still never smoke the same tobacco twice in a row. Over three years into the hobby and after trying 50+ more blends at this point, I feel I have a good sense of my preferences. I seem to favor strong burley blends and dark flakes. That being said, I'm still on the pursuit of that next sublime tobacco. Take your time and happy hunting.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. cosmicfolklore

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    My first tobacco was a Turkish/Virginia pipe tobacco RYO. I was switching from cigarettes to the pipe. After I finished the bag, I picked up some Captain Black. That was when I started having problems with smoking too fast and too hot. I did much better once I switched back to a non-aromatic. I tried an oz of a few things, but when you are switching back and forth in the same pipe, you're never really going to be able to get a good idea of what a particular blend tastes like. I started really enjoying smoking a pipe when I got three pipes, an aro pipe, a Virginia, and a latakia pipe. But, it gets even better when you get over 100 pipes, then you can really sample a lot more blends.

    I don't think that we are meant to be one blend guys. It's kind of silly to narrow what you smoke, and it doesn't make someone seem smarter or cooler. I still enjoy bouncing around different blends. I even enjoy an occasional pouch of Captain Black. The more open-minded you are, the more things you will have to explore, and the happier you will be. Just have fun with it.

    Michael
    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. lawdawg

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    You simply can't go wrong smoking a pipe in the manner which pleases you.

    +1

    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.

    Excellent advice! I would recommend the same approach. It doesn't really matter much how good your tobacco is if you haven't learned how to smoke it yet, and as a result you end up with a hot tongue-burning, ashy hot air experience. The "CH" newbroom mentioned is Carter Hall, a classic American "over the counter" burley blend, and it's still one of my favorite smokes, and a great place to start. Carter Hall is a very forgiving tobacco that smokes well even if you pack it a bit too tight, a bit too loose, or smoke it too fast.

    As for smoking different blends, you can move around from bowl to bowl without any issue. Last night I smoked a bowl of Virginia when I got home from work, a latakia blend after dinner, and an aromatic later while watching a Halloween movie.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. pipeanddrum

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    Cosmic, I'm with you 100% and feel that variety is the spice of life but do want to mention that I met a fellow pipe smoker in my neighborhood whose go-to blend is Captain Black white. He's in his late 60's and told me that after years of trying different tobaccos, he settled on CB ('only in the white tub') and is perfectly content with it. It hits all the notes for him. I can't help but appreciate that he's found that perfect smoke and is happy to enjoy it every time. Makes me wonder if, when I reach my late 60's, I'll have settled on my 'hits all the notes' blend. At the moment the short list includes: Tabac Manil Semois, Pease Gaslight, Revor Plug, Irish Flake, OJK, McConnell's Latakia Flake - just to name a few

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. saltedplug

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    It does the heart good to read the different approaches you are taking to enjoy the pipe.

    In the beginning I played around with blending with burley, latakia and rope. If I'd stayed with it I more than probably could have made something I liked, but I gave up after perhaps six weeks, feeling like a failure. I made up my mind to let the blenders blend.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. cosmicfolklore

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    I have an elderly friend that I check in on daily that has only one pipe and Prince Albert. He is too mean to die, and for a decrepit little guy, he can spin up a thunderstorm of rage if you get him on his bad side.

    If you mention pipe rotations, trying new blends, or even want to talk pipesmoking or about the forum, he'll just shut you down with a few well placed insults of precision. To smoke anything else or have more than one pipe is ludicrous... and a few other well chosen insults.

    But, he enjoys it, and I never even mention pipes or tobacco any more. The pipe is always in his mouth, so it is like talking about his nose or his eyes. So, I just drop in and make sure he is alive, drop off his sundries, and get the Hell out of there. Ha ha.

    But, I prefer the variety.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. saltedplug

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    I admire both your helping out an elderly neighbor and knowing how to leave before serious injury:).

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. mso489

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    My dad was my role model, and he smoked Granger for fifty years. Instead, I stuck with an aromatic or two from Tinder Box, probably 1-Q renamed and another similar aro not bought for a year or two later. I wasn't a daily smoker, and the tobacco was pleasant, except for some aftertaste. I wasn't ambitious about sampling to say the least. I had a long hiatus from pipe smoking in solidarity with my late wife quitting cigarettes. Only in the past eight years or so have I gotten promiscuous with blends, and since I'm a moderate smoker, this is a slow process, but I've tried probably about sixty by now, but all somewhat randomly. I've focused on non-aromatics, but came back to aromatics a little, and on stronger blends, but also include mild blends now. I'm extra easygoing about it. It's not a quest. I browse; I graze; I invite my spirit. Cosmic, I do admire your feisty friend, and especially your part in looking after him. It requires real perspective and patience, not to mention insight and imagination, to see beyond his cranky veneer. I had an amazing very elderly friend, a retired orchardman from the Syracuse area who, as a child, had seen Teddy Roosevelt in person; it was a great experience knowing him, and I still tell his stories.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. techie

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    Like many others, I picked up a number of blends to try, mostly English. I watched videos, read online articles and threads on these forums. One very helpful thing I did was buy several straight tobaccos (often named "blending" tobaccos) which included a couple of virginias, a burley, a cavendish, latakia, and a Turkish (Izmir). I spent time smelling them and smoking them to pick out each of their unique aromas and tastes. This helped me to learn to pick out their scents and tastes while smoking blends.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  31. workman

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    I tried all I could get my hands on. Still do, only slower, cause now I also want to smoke something I know I like. I have started cellaring, but I always purchase a tin or two of something new when I order tobacco. For variety, for the excitement of unknown territory and to educate myself.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. blackadderlxx

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    Agree with the suggestion above about going slow and then trying things you hear about on the forums. One of the things I ended up trying (and still do) is this.

    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/search?Rating=Highly+Recommended&ReviewCount=100&Production=Currently+available

    I look through the highly recommended blends on TR that also have over a hundred reviews and are currently in production. I objectively think of this as what the favorites are, due to the search criteria. Whenever I have a desire to try something new and can't figure what, it's a good place to look for ideas.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Pretty much as has been said, try some samples from the different genres, aromatic, Virginia, OTC, English, etc. I started with a few different blends that had been recommended to me by my local tobacconist and branched out from there. If you have a tobacconist close to you, try some of their bulk offerings to start.

    It's also important to know how to smoke so that you can enjoy the flavors along the way. For me that means drying out my tobacco until it is almost bone dry. Too much moisture masks the flavors.

    For much of my smoking life I only smoked one or two blends. Playing the field didn't appeal, and I disliked about 90% of what I tried. Now I've stocked up several dozen blends that I enjoy. The search was fun. It's a bit like dating. At the beginning it's a lot of excitement, not much in the way of standards, and a lot of fumbling around. Later on you come to appreciate the fine points.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. bnichols23

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    The more open-minded you are, the more things you will have to explore, and the happier you will be. Just have fun with it.

    Amen, Michael. Your cranky acquaintance can be happy with his limited focus, & that's cool for him. Me, in *my* late 60s, I'm still capable of enjoying more than peanut butter sandwiches for every meal. It's how I choose more than a couple of favorite brands of pipe (say, Caminetto, Sav, Nording), it's how I came here, & it's how I found Black Frigate (which I'm still in Duane's debt for). One-trick-pony dosn't work for me & never has. Like my father used to say, "What's next?" The more different stuff I do, the more fun I have. And fun is good. (Bill's Mantra # 11A)

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, hull scraper, resident enabler, & boss powder monkey.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  35. stevecourtright

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    * went to a pipe show - everyone wanted to give me samples - which I accepted
    * whenever I buy tobacco at my local B&M, they give me a bit of whatever is open
    * I read JimInks reviews
    * buy a tin of something new about once a month
    * swap records (the vinyl stuff) and tobacco with a musician friend

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  36. lordofthepiperings

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    I'm a proponent of only smoking the blend you're sampling for the first time for all of the 50 gram or 2oz tin or 2oz bulk sample. It forces you to try it at different times of the day which can affect the flavor. I also am big on only drinking water with the blend when getting to know it. Maybe after 4 or 5 bowls then try and pair it with a beer or spirit or tea or coffee whatever. Early on water only helps you get more acquainted with the actual flavors of the blend.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  37. newbroom

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    I started off w/o any knowledge of the subject and a bag of inexpensive shag I had already.
    Once I found this forum, I was off to the races!
    I did find that I had to deal with all the usual problems of a newbie, and reading about them here was encouraging and informative,
    I made a deal with one of the members here to trade a sample each of what I had accumulated about a year or so in, and got to try out some classics in that deal.
    I think repetitive smoking of at least one blend within your selections, say, 50% of the time, at least until you feel you have a grasp of that primary blend, and then maybe change that one to another. I did that with a lot of the codgers, a couple of English/Latakia blends, and also with some of the flakes and coins...
    Repetition is practice, variety is contrast, and if you are still learning to taste, practice makes perfect.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
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    bullet08

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    dunhill. lol. yeah. i had to get some.

    Posted 2 weeks ago #
  39. kiltedpiper

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    Honestly, I got fairly lucky once I got serious in that one of the tobaccanists in town had a smoking room and they have a rack of tobacco tins that they let folks sample out of. The fact that you get to stick your snoz into the tins and get a feel for them helped a lot in deciding which tins to get first.

    since then, I've been starting to work my way through different manufacturers. Everything from interesting tin art and fun names from just rummaging shelf full of random Cornel and Diehl tins that the B&M has and just grabbing one at random to try is the run for now. The harder bit is to just figure out how I'm going to keep my notes on which I enjoyed and which curled my nose hairs.

    Posted 1 week ago #

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