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Manawydan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 24, 2024
212
1,334
Southern California, US
Greetings Pipers! I am in a particularly contemplative mood, having had a nice meal and then a fine bowl of Nightcap in my Savinelli 606 bent apple alligator pipe while sitting under my orange tree, and thought I'd share what I've noted so far in this early stage of my pipe-smoking journey...

Please note that I am definitely new to all of this, I am learning like the rest of you, and I don't expect my ramblings to be specifically helpful. But on the off-chance they are (or at least are moderately entertaining), here goes:

So for starters, I *love* pipe smoking. I love the ritual, the equipment, the meditative quality of smoking a pipe, the beauty and scuptural quality of pipes, the incredible variety of blends to explore, the warm and calm feeling I get, the camaraderie of other Pipers, collecting, and even the fussing over storage, cleaning, and general maintenance. I've enjoyed learning from various YouTube channels (especially Muttnchop Piper's channel), reading the threads in this forum, and exploring the rich and fulfilling world of pipe smoking in all of its many facets. Here are a few specific thoughts...

Preparation. A highly-anticipatory act to decide "I am about to smoke a pipe!" Followed by selecting a specific blend I am in the mood for and spreading a few pinches out on my leather mat. Feeling the loamy, earthy quality of the tobacco. The moisture content, the rich aroma. Selecting a specific pipe to enjoy it with -- I only have two (a third is on the way!). Setting it out along with a lighter and tamper.

Filling the Bowl. Sprinkling tobacco into the bowl of the pipe and gently nudging it into place. Not too tight. Not too loose. Feeling the springyness of the tobacco push back. Not forcing -- guiding. Slow. Methodical. Testing the draw -- as many say "like sipping a soda through a straw".

Char Light. Whether it is helpful or not, I like the process of the char-light. Gently singeing the very top of the packed tobacco allows me to get a sense of what I am about to enjoy. Brief glimpses of the burning leaf and wisps of smoke. It's like foreplay.

True Light. A couple slow deep draws under flame to create the heart of the smoke -- the ember. Watching it glow into life and create the rich billow of smoke that follows. Ahhh... genuine delight! This marks the real settling in to smoking the pipe for me. I settle back, take in my surroundings, and sigh with contentment.

Tamping. I think I still tamp more often than is required, but I enjoy fussing over my bowl. When I tamp I only do so very gently -- a light tap going around the inner rim of the bowl with the tamper, angled outward so the center of the ash is a bit higher than the edges. I don't try to push the ash/ember down into the tobacco below, I try to just even the top of it out.

Cadence. I have learned that cadence is a lot more than just how often I draw on the pipe stem. Of equal importance seems to be how slowly I actually draw. Without actually counting, I draw slowly enough that the full inhale into my mouth takes 3-4 seconds. I find that the bowl heats up much more slowly, the tobacco burns more evenly, and I don't have to puff as often to keep things going. As with all things related to pipe-smoking, slow and steady wins the race.

Re-Lighting. It isn't a mark of failure to have to re-light ones pipe. There are so many factors -- the dampness of the tobacco, the tightness of the pack, the shape and seasoning of the bowl, etc... I use these opportunities (on average for me, maybe 1/2 - 2/3 down the bowl) to pause, reflect, and then methodically re-light.

Finishing the Bowl. I started off worrying about 'finishing the bowl'. But the fact is that there are times when a half bowl or other fraction is just what I'm feeling in the moment. Maybe I've gotten all the nicotine hit I want in the moment, or maybe I am done sitting and want to move on to other things. I have learned not to judge myself in these moments. A small bit of unburned tobacco 'wasted' is not the end of the world. Letting it go is part of my acceptance and enjoyment of the process.

Here are some other random thoughts...

Clinching (or not). I am not a clincher -- at least not as of yet. I enjoy holding the pipe in my hand and drawing from it as I wish. Part of this is that I don't try to engage in other activities (so far) while smoking. So I don't need my hands free for anything else. I think this does help with less moisture while smoking, but don't have experience to back that up.

Filters. I currently own a Savinelli 606 bent apple 6mm filtered and a Peterson 999 bent Rhodesian unfiltered pipe. They are very different from each other, and I wouldn't use these two datapoints to extrapolate whether filtered or unfiltered is better for me. What I have learned so far is that the Savinelli *balsa* filters (as opposed to charcoal) seem to be very effective at absorbing and blocking moisture from the dottle in the bowl from the stem and my mouth. Without noticeably affecting the flavor of the blend I am enjoying. As a beginning Piper this has resulted in a much more enjoyable learning process for me. I have a third pipe on the way -- a Stanwell Hans Christian Andersen bent egg 9mm filtered with standard and churchwarden stems on the way, and have already ordered the Savinelli 9mm balsa filters to go with. I'll try it both ways and continue my journey of discovery.

Tobacco Blends. Wow. There is a plethora of blends out there! Having smoked cigars off and on for decades, the sheer variety of pipe tobacco blends has blown me away. I am having so much fun exploring the different types, learning to cellar, figuring out what I like, and stumbling onto new blends. What a world of wonder to explore!

If you've made it this far, I applaud your resolve. I also welcome your camaraderie and fellowship, look forward to reading your thoughts as you continue your own journey, and wish you happiness and peace.

Bonus Share: So far in my journey I've explored these tobaccos (in order of my preference within each type):
English: Petersons Nightcap, Tinderbox Sherlock's Choice, GL Pease Maltese Falcon
Balkan: Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding Special Reserve, Balkan Sasieni
Virginia/Perique: GL Pease Haddo's Delight
Aromatic: Cult Blood Red Moon, CAO Eileen's Dream

I have Boswell's Northwoods and Best, Peterson Early Morning Pipe and Elizabethan Mixture, Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding Bourbon Barrel Aged, and STG Escudo Navy de Luxe on order or awaiting opening.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
Re-Lighting. It isn't a mark of failure to have to re-light ones pipe. There are so many factors -- the dampness of the tobacco, the tightness of the pack, the shape and seasoning of the bowl, etc... I use these opportunities (on average for me, maybe 1/2 - 2/3 down the bowl) to pause, reflect, and then methodically re-light.
No, it isn't a mark of failure. Not all blends jump to the flame. Some burn like they are impregnated with fire retardant.
You're doing fine. Experience will refine your technique.
 

PiperCalvinist

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 9, 2024
132
371
South Texas
Wow, a piper and a writer! Nice!

“even the fussing over storage” lol
I’m the same way. Funny stuff. I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with the 17 blends I have already purchased in less than a month of smoking - PERIOD, let alone a pipe?!?! If I could’ve seen into the future a month ago surely I would have thought I’ve lost my mind in the future! lol. But here I am loving all the many nuances of smoking a pipe.

For what it’s worth, I’ve got two briars - one w/ filter and one without, and the only difference I notice is a gurgling with my non-filter and none with my filtered pipe (using balsa). THANKFULLY I have yet to experience tongue bite. However, I have purposely smoked aromatics in the filtered pipes (I have 3 cobs).

I’m still having a difficulty trying to make clear distinctions between the different blends I’ve smoked? I really like them all! I’ve tried everything from light aromatics to Virginia’s, a VaPer, orientals, burley’s, dark Kentucky's, and I find myself saying the same thing every time “hey, I really like this!” lol. I guess I haven’t had anything with a good amount of Latakia in it. That’s next on the list.

Anyway, excited because I just bought my first pipe over $100 - a Peterson 221 (almost got the 999) that I purchased from the UK. I couldn’t find what I wanted (filtered) in the US. I might get it as early as late next week! I feel like a little kid at Christmas in May!

Is the Nightcap good? I almost bought that.

Greetings Pipers! I am in a particularly contemplative mood, having had a nice meal and then a fine bowl of Nightcap in my Savinelli 606 bent apple alligator pipe while sitting under my orange tree, and thought I'd share what I've noted so far in this early stage of my pipe-smoking journey...

Please note that I am definitely new to all of this, I am learning like the rest of you, and I don't expect my ramblings to be specifically helpful. But on the off-chance they are (or at least are moderately entertaining), here goes:

So for starters, I *love* pipe smoking. I love the ritual, the equipment, the meditative quality of smoking a pipe, the beauty and scuptural quality of pipes, the incredible variety of blends to explore, the warm and calm feeling I get, the camaraderie of other Pipers, collecting, and even the fussing over storage, cleaning, and general maintenance. I've enjoyed learning from various YouTube channels (especially Muttnchop Piper's channel), reading the threads in this forum, and exploring the rich and fulfilling world of pipe smoking in all of its many facets. Here are a few specific thoughts...

Preparation. A highly-anticipatory act to decide "I am about to smoke a pipe!" Followed by selecting a specific blend I am in the mood for and spreading a few pinches out on my leather mat. Feeling the loamy, earthy quality of the tobacco. The moisture content, the rich aroma. Selecting a specific pipe to enjoy it with -- I only have two (a third is on the way!). Setting it out along with a lighter and tamper.

Filling the Bowl. Sprinkling tobacco into the bowl of the pipe and gently nudging it into place. Not too tight. Not too loose. Feeling the springyness of the tobacco push back. Not forcing -- guiding. Slow. Methodical. Testing the draw -- as many say "like sipping a soda through a straw".

Char Light. Whether it is helpful or not, I like the process of the char-light. Gently singeing the very top of the packed tobacco allows me to get a sense of what I am about to enjoy. Brief glimpses of the burning leaf and wisps of smoke. It's like foreplay.

True Light. A couple slow deep draws under flame to create the heart of the smoke -- the ember. Watching it glow into life and create the rich billow of smoke that follows. Ahhh... genuine delight! This marks the real settling in to smoking the pipe for me. I settle back, take in my surroundings, and sigh with contentment.

Tamping. I think I still tamp more often than is required, but I enjoy fussing over my bowl. When I tamp I only do so very gently -- a light tap going around the inner rim of the bowl with the tamper, angled outward so the center of the ash is a bit higher than the edges. I don't try to push the ash/ember down into the tobacco below, I try to just even the top of it out.

Cadence. I have learned that cadence is a lot more than just how often I draw on the pipe stem. Of equal importance seems to be how slowly I actually draw. Without actually counting, I draw slowly enough that the full inhale into my mouth takes 3-4 seconds. I find that the bowl heats up much more slowly, the tobacco burns more evenly, and I don't have to puff as often to keep things going. As with all things related to pipe-smoking, slow and steady wins the race.

Re-Lighting. It isn't a mark of failure to have to re-light ones pipe. There are so many factors -- the dampness of the tobacco, the tightness of the pack, the shape and seasoning of the bowl, etc... I use these opportunities (on average for me, maybe 1/2 - 2/3 down the bowl) to pause, reflect, and then methodically re-light.

Finishing the Bowl. I started off worrying about 'finishing the bowl'. But the fact is that there are times when a half bowl or other fraction is just what I'm feeling in the moment. Maybe I've gotten all the nicotine hit I want in the moment, or maybe I am done sitting and want to move on to other things. I have learned not to judge myself in these moments. A small bit of unburned tobacco 'wasted' is not the end of the world. Letting it go is part of my acceptance and enjoyment of the process.

Here are some other random thoughts...

Clinching (or not). I am not a clincher -- at least not as of yet. I enjoy holding the pipe in my hand and drawing from it as I wish. Part of this is that I don't try to engage in other activities (so far) while smoking. So I don't need my hands free for anything else. I think this does help with less moisture while smoking, but don't have experience to back that up.

Filters. I currently own a Savinelli 606 bent apple 6mm filtered and a Peterson 999 bent Rhodesian unfiltered pipe. They are very different from each other, and I wouldn't use these two datapoints to extrapolate whether filtered or unfiltered is better for me. What I have learned so far is that the Savinelli *balsa* filters (as opposed to charcoal) seem to be very effective at absorbing and blocking moisture from the dottle in the bowl from the stem and my mouth. Without noticeably affecting the flavor of the blend I am enjoying. As a beginning Piper this has resulted in a much more enjoyable learning process for me. I have a third pipe on the way -- a Stanwell Hans Christian Andersen bent egg 9mm filtered with standard and churchwarden stems on the way, and have already ordered the Savinelli 9mm balsa filters to go with. I'll try it both ways and continue my journey of discovery.

Tobacco Blends. Wow. There is a plethora of blends out there! Having smoked cigars off and on for decades, the sheer variety of pipe tobacco blends has blown me away. I am having so much fun exploring the different types, learning to cellar, figuring out what I like, and stumbling onto new blends. What a world of wonder to explore!

If you've made it this far, I applaud your resolve. I also welcome your camaraderie and fellowship, look forward to reading your thoughts as you continue your own journey, and wish you happiness and peace.

Bonus Share: So far in my journey I've explored these tobaccos (in order of my preference within each type):
English: Petersons Nightcap, Tinderbox Sherlock's Choice, GL Pease Maltese Falcon
Balkan: Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding Special Reserve, Balkan Sasieni
Virginia/Perique: GL Pease Haddo's Delight
Aromatic: Cult Blood Red Moon, CAO Eileen's Dream

I have Boswell's Northwoods and Best, Peterson Early Morning Pipe and Elizabethan Mixture, Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding Bourbon Barrel Aged, and STG Escudo Navy de Luxe on order or awaiting opening.
 

Manawydan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 24, 2024
212
1,334
Southern California, US
Wow, a piper and a writer! Nice!

“even the fussing over storage” lol
I’m the same way. Funny stuff. I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with the 17 blends I have already purchased in less than a month of smoking - PERIOD, let alone a pipe?!?! If I could’ve seen into the future a month ago surely I would have thought I’ve lost my mind in the future! lol. But here I am loving all the many nuances of smoking a pipe.

For what it’s worth, I’ve got two briars - one w/ filter and one without, and the only difference I notice is a gurgling with my non-filter and none with my filtered pipe (using balsa). THANKFULLY I have yet to experience tongue bite. However, I have purposely smoked aromatics in the filtered pipes (I have 3 cobs).

I’m still having a difficulty trying to make clear distinctions between the different blends I’ve smoked? I really like them all! I’ve tried everything from light aromatics to Virginia’s, a VaPer, orientals, burley’s, dark Kentucky's, and I find myself saying the same thing every time “hey, I really like this!” lol. I guess I haven’t had anything with a good amount of Latakia in it. That’s next on the list.

Anyway, excited because I just bought my first pipe over $100 - a Peterson 221 (almost got the 999) that I purchased from the UK. I couldn’t find what I wanted (filtered) in the US. I might get it as early as late next week! I feel like a little kid at Christmas in May!

Is the Nightcap good? I almost bought that.
Thank you so much for sharing! I haven't experienced significant tongue bite either yet, but think I am prepared to make adjustments if I do. Time and experience will tell.

I am definitely not tasting/smelling all the nuance that is described by tobaccoreviews.com or YT channels for most of the blends. I am hoping and expecting that my discernment will come with experience and time. I look at this journey as a long one and am trying not to rush or have unreasonable expectations in the moment. And I am seriously enjoying the journey!

Congrats on the Pete 221! I didn't set out to be a pipe collector, but can easily see that transpiring on its own. As soon as I receive and enjoy a pipe I find myself looking for the next briar to consider. I can't wait to get my Stanwell.

Taste is entirely subjective. Many have extolled the virtues of Maltese Falcon for instance, and I just don't get it. I really wanted to enjoy that blend but just haven't so far. So take this with a giant grain of salt: I personally find Nightcap to be the best English I've had so far (feel free to look back on my smoked list for context on this recommendation). I like spicy, semi-smoky, deep, balanced, rich blends by default and Nightcap epitomizes that for me. I have Boswell's Northwoods on order and hope to expand my subjectivity in kind.
 

AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
5,501
28,082
Florida - Space Coast
Very nice for me it's about exploring the flavors and notes of tobacco.

Exploring flavors in pipe tobacco can be a fascinating journey, akin to exploring the world of fine wines or gourmet foods. Here are some aspects of this exploration:

Natural vs. Flavored Tobaccos: Pipe tobacco comes in two main categories: natural and flavored. Natural tobaccos rely on the inherent flavors of the tobacco leaves themselves, which can range from earthy and woody to sweet and spicy. Flavored tobaccos, on the other hand, are infused with additional flavors such as fruit, chocolate, vanilla, or rum. I have really fallen in love with the experience of straight Virginia and Virginia w/Periques!

Aromatics: Aromatic tobaccos are among the most popular flavored varieties. They are typically made by adding various flavorings and casings to the tobacco leaves during processing. These tobaccos often have enticing aromas that fill the room when smoked, making them particularly appealing to beginners and those who enjoy a sweeter smoking experience.

English Blends: While aromatic tobaccos dominate the flavored category, there are also flavored versions of traditional English blends. English blends typically consist of a mixture of different types of tobacco, including Virginia, Oriental, and Latakia. Flavored English blends may incorporate additional flavorings while still maintaining the characteristic smokiness and complexity of the original blend.

Experimentation: One of the joys of exploring flavors in pipe tobacco is the opportunity for experimentation. With countless flavor combinations available, there's always something new to try. Whether you're drawn to fruity aromas, rich desserts, or exotic spices, there's likely a tobacco blend out there to suit your preferences.

Pairing with Beverages: Just like with wine or whiskey, pipe tobacco can be paired with various beverages to enhance the flavors of both. Some common pairings include coffee, tea, bourbon, and port. The interplay between the flavors of the tobacco and the beverage can create a harmonious and enjoyable experience for the palate.

Personal Preference: Ultimately, the journey of exploring flavors in pipe tobacco is highly subjective and personal. What one person finds delightful, another may find overpowering. It's all about discovering what appeals to your individual tastes and preferences. Be sure to ask lots of questions and search the threads here for valuable and insightful information!

Community Recommendations: Many pipe smokers enjoy sharing their favorite tobacco blends and recommendations with others in online forums, social media groups, or local pipe clubs. These communities can be valuable resources for discovering new flavors and learning from the experiences of fellow enthusiasts, so happy that I have found this amazing group in these forms and many of the members I have met in person!

Overall, exploring flavors in pipe tobacco is a delightful and rewarding pursuit that adds an extra dimension of enjoyment to the smoking experience. Whether you're drawn to classic aromatics, complex English blends, or something entirely unique, there's a world of flavor waiting to be discovered.
 

Manawydan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 24, 2024
212
1,334
Southern California, US
Very nice for me it's about exploring the flavors and notes of tobacco.

Exploring flavors in pipe tobacco can be a fascinating journey, akin to exploring the world of fine wines or gourmet foods.
Thanks for the thoughtful response. This is the part I am enjoying the most -- the exploration. As you mention, there are so many different tobacco strains, blends, flavorings, etc... nearly endless. And it is definitely also a personal/subjective thing. It is nice to get specific recommendations from others -- very helpful as starting points -- and ultimately I am slowly getting to know what I personally gravitate to.

I am also finding that developing my ability to taste the differences (which can be subtle at times) is also part of the process. The more I smoke and learn, the more those subtleties are starting to stand out to me. At this early stage, I am setting aside blends that I don't 'get' right now rather than getting rid of them. I want to revisit in six months or a year and see how my taste has evolved.

I have been journalling all of my experimentation as well. I find it helpful to even have a few sentences collected in the moment of each blend to refer to and compare against later.