Lack of Taste from Pipe?

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karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
576
1,946
Athens, Greece
Good morning,

There's something that's been bothering me for a while but now I've done a couple of experiments, but want to ask you more experienced folks about it.

I have a Vauen hobby block pipe, my first home-made pipe, it came pre-drilled and with the stem in place, so all I did was to shape the outside. I have in no way touched the bowl, stem or airways.

My problem is I've suspected it kills the taste of tobacco, I've suspected for a while but this time decided to actually test with blends I've smoked more than 100g of, and believe I know their taste fairly well. Can a pipe have a quality, a factor, something about it that simply kills taste!?

I've tested this pipe side by side with the pipes I used to smoke specific genres, two Savinelli beater pipes I have for tasting blends, as well as my first ever pipe (Savinelli Toscana straight billiard) which, although has a broken shank, I keep smoking regularly as I find it really makes most blends taste great. The results are clear:

  • Old Dark Fired: the Vauen gave me faint woody taste and nothing else
  • HU Zulu (fairly Lat heavy, complex): faint sweet and sour oriental taste, no Latakia taste in a blend containing 58% Lat
  • St Bernard flake: hot air.
All my other semi dedicated pipes (e.g., VaPer pipe for VaPers, English for English etc) gave me the blends as I know them when smoked 24 hours before or after the Vauen, I didn't smoke anything back to back. Also, I have been smoking this pipe at least once a week since early June, and been cleaning it - it's not a heavily used pipe but should consider it broken in by now. The test was done with clean pipes, but not water flushed, I don't really keep cake, I wipe the bowl well after each smoke, pass a few pipe cleaners, and let each pipe rest for a day. Also was done same time of the day (morning) so not to have a fatigued palate (though that's not a thing with me).

What gives?
 

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chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
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all I did was to shape the outside. I have in no way touched the bowl
But the outside of the pipe is the bowl.???

Anyway, how many times has it been smoked? Some pipes have an extensive break in period where some are good from the start. I don't consider one broken in until I have smoked the contents of a fifty gram tin in it.
 

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karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
576
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Athens, Greece
Anyway, how many times has it been smoked? Some pipes have an extensive break in period where some are good from the start. I don't consider one broken in until I have smoked the contents of a fifty gram tin in it.
I couldn't tell you how many time it's been smoked, but I'd put it to around 20-30 times. I'm not an expert in any way around breaking in pipes as all but 4 of my pipes are second hand.

My other experience with unsmoked pipes is with two other hobby blocks I carved, from a local (Greek) carver, the briar is clearly a lot darker that of the Vauen, and I can say they smoked great from the very beginning. A new Peterson I bought in the summer came with some black residue in the bowl and made most smokes taste pretty bad (plasticy) until I gave it a water wash, now it smokes perfectly fine.
 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
21,425
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Helena, Alabama
We can actually see the caking inside the chamber (or bowl as embers points out) but there are also little pores in the wood inside the drafts on the stummel side. I imagine that since you made this from a kit, that you didn't polish the inside of that draft. So, these pores are acting similar to those Savinalli balsawood filters by absorbing a lot of the flavorful oils from the smoke. Once those pores fill in with cake, you should start getting a lot more flavor from the smoke.

But, then again, I may just be talking out the side of my head, but Greg Pease wrote about this when he was talking about breaking in a pipe. And, it just plopped into my memory like a ball dropping on green on a roulette wheel.
 

rajangan

Senior Member
Feb 14, 2018
491
1,276
Edmonton, AB
We can actually see the caking inside the chamber (or bowl as embers points out) but there are also little pores in the wood inside the drafts on the stummel side. I imagine that since you made this from a kit, that you didn't polish the inside of that draft. So, these pores are acting similar to those Savinalli balsawood filters by absorbing a lot of the flavorful oils from the smoke. Once those pores fill in with cake, you should start getting a lot more flavor from the smoke.

But, then again, I may just be talking out the side of my head, but Greg Pease wrote about this when he was talking about breaking in a pipe. And, it just plopped into my memory like a ball dropping on green on a roulette wheel.
That would explain my experience, I think. That BC didn't come with a bowl coating.
 

Country Bladesmith

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May 2, 2020
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Louisiana
We can actually see the caking inside the chamber (or bowl as embers points out) but there are also little pores in the wood inside the drafts on the stummel side. I imagine that since you made this from a kit, that you didn't polish the inside of that draft. So, these pores are acting similar to those Savinalli balsawood filters by absorbing a lot of the flavorful oils from the smoke. Once those pores fill in with cake, you should start getting a lot more flavor from the smoke.

But, then again, I may just be talking out the side of my head, but Greg Pease wrote about this when he was talking about breaking in a pipe. And, it just plopped into my memory like a ball dropping on green on a roulette wheel.
That sounds like what I think is happening too. I couldn’t figure out how to articulate it very well.
 

hoosierpipeguy

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Jan 28, 2018
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As much as I respect Cosmic's opinion, not sure I'm buying that. I suspect if you want it to ever be even a mediocre smoker, build up a decent cake. Seems like there can be an occasional "black hole" pipe that just sucks in all the flavor. No idea what causes it but my own solution is to toss it in the trash can.
 

wayneteipen

Senior Member
May 7, 2012
420
118
Sounds possibly like poorly cured, green briar. One of the first pipes I ever bought was a Savinelli Duca Carlo that took forever and a day to season/break in but once it did it has been one of my best pipes as far as flavor. I think you just need to smoke the demons out of the briar if you have the patience for it.
 

snagstangl

Preferred Member
Jul 1, 2013
1,317
240
I had an old comoy guildhall pipe I refurbed , it was pretty nice looking, lightweight. It had cake when I got it so it had been smoked a fair amount. It totally muted all tobacco I smoked in it. I sold it for that reason.
 
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F4RM3R

Member
Nov 28, 2019
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As hoosierpipeguy suggested, maybe try to build a little cake or have a few smokes in it before you wipe the bowl.
 
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rajangan

Senior Member
Feb 14, 2018
491
1,276
Edmonton, AB
As much as I respect Cosmic's opinion, not sure I'm buying that. I suspect if you want it to ever be even a mediocre smoker, build up a decent cake. Seems like there can be an occasional "black hole" pipe that just sucks in all the flavor. No idea what causes it but my own solution is to toss it in the trash can.
With all due respect, as a casual observer, it looks like you disagree with @cosmicfolklore 's reasonable explanation simply because you didn't come up with it yourself.
 
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