On Smoking Slowly and the Benefits...

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Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,831
16,865
France
Great thread. Sometimes I tend to smoke too fast if its really good....kind of like gobbling up your food. I do like the time machine aspect of a pipe and I think pipes are great for that purpose. Since I dont see other pipe smokers in action I dont know if Im fast, slow or moderate. A 2 gram bowl lasts me about 45 minutes on average. I try to keep the bowl just at the point of being warm, not hot. It seems like if I go slower I start to not have enough smoke to taste it fully but Im not filling the room with smoke either.
 

BronzeAgePiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 28, 2023
100
914
Boone>Wilmington
Great thread. Sometimes I tend to smoke too fast if it’s really good....kind of like gobbling up your food. I do like the time machine aspect of a pipe and I think pipes are great for that purpose. Since I dont see other pipe smokers in action I dont know if Im fast, slow or moderate. A 2 gram bowl lasts me about 45 minutes on average. I try to keep the bowl just at the point of being warm, not hot. It seems like if I go slower I start to not have enough smoke to taste it fully but Im not filling the room with smoke either.
Well you might be on the fast side because 1 gram will last me an hour easy and I always felt I hover a bit much, but like OP said I have yet to find a pipe small enough to take less than an hour to smoke. Doesn’t seem like a brag, I’m impressed by how fast people can get through their bowls. They have to be using their lungs to power out that much smoke, because if you only use the front of your cheeks to suck out smoke you’d never get that much. And you’d look like you were sucking on a pacifier if you could.

Funny thing, I let a friend smoke for the first time, a cig smoker, well he didn’t take deep inhales, producing big clouds. He barely produced any clouds, keeping that cherry just barely flickering but actually doing the pacifier thing, very rapidly, like Popeye the sailer man or Maggie from The Simpsons. I could not smoke from laughing!
 

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,831
16,865
France
Another benefit: Im a couple of minutes shy of an hour on this experimental bowl. It usually is done in 45 minutes. When I started I was wondering to myself if the lower portion of the bowl would taste different and it does. Its not as heavily stoved and it mainitains better flavor than when smoked faster/hotter. Its still not as good as the first 3/4 of the bowl but its not bad.

Its hard not to start puffing faster. I had to remind myself a few times to back off and just make whisps.
 

BronzeAgePiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 28, 2023
100
914
Boone>Wilmington
@Sigmund That is exactly what you’ll experience, in fact with certain blends and certain pipes, I’m thinking conical bowls, I have come to regard the finals bit of the bowl as the dessert portion, it’s just that tasty and sweetly condensed. So that now makes sense to me when realizing what OP was saying about the oils melding, coating and finally condensing to the bottom rather than an ashy wet dottle which is something you always wanna throw out. Even Five Brothers I have found to be so sugary sweet at the bottom of the bowl that I smoke it to dust.
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
280
722
United States
Pipe Smoking Hack:
I like to smoke to ash. Near the bottom of the bowl, when things tend to grow hot, I puff air along with the smoke to keep the draw cool.
If holding the pipe, turn the pipe so that the bit opening is out of mouth and draw air across the bit opening.
If clenching, open lips wider than the bit to draw air on either side of the bit along with smoke from the bit.
 
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gord

Starting to Get Obsessed
It has been 8 years since I have posted a thread about the benefits of slow smoking. I took a break to let other smokers step up and address this issue. But, I notice that a lot of new posts can easily be summed up with taking notice that smoking slow is the goal.

So, here is goes...

The Benefits of Slow Smoking

For guys who didn’t grow up around other pipe men, and watching the experienced smoker ssssllllloooooooowwwwllllyyyy sipping away at their pipes, it might take a lot of trial and error to figure out that almost every problem you might encounter from smoking a pipe would come from just smoking too fast. How fast is too fast? I’d say that you just can’t slow down enough. When you think you are going as slow as possible, slow down even more. I see guys making large billowing clouds of smoke, and if you are into smoking just for the visual effects of making clouds, then keep on, more power to you. However, here are some of the benefits to slowing down and keeping the clouds minimal.

Taste is affected by how slow you smoke. When you get a really flavorful tongue pleasing taste of tobacco, it is not coming directly from the smokes and combustion. This is cigarette mentality. What you taste is the surrounding tobacco to the combustion heating up and giving off its essential oils. This goes for aromatics, latakia blends, to Virginias. Slowing down and not allowing the full width of the bowl to cherry up, is giving the surrounding tobacco time to heat up and give off its flavor before combusting into smoke. Plus, if you are just allowing smoke to drizzle into your mouth, you are giving the flavor time on your tongue, enjoy that flavor, relish in it. Puffing harder faster doesn’t give you more flavor, just more smoke. In fact the harder and faster you draw the smoke in, the more your flavor receptors on your taste buds will get overloaded and overheated. Slow down and sense every nuance of flavor the experience provides.

Thusly, by heating surrounding tobacco to have them release their essential oils, you also speed up the cake process and breaking in of a pipe. The oils and tars are released and get pushed to the inside of the chamber. The faster you smoke, the more you increase the temperature of combustion, destroying those oils that are needed to cake the bowl. So, smoking faster does not help you break in a pipe nearly as much as just slowing down. I realized this when I started practicing for a slow smoking contest. As I limited my puffing and just allowed the smoke to drizzle into my mouth, I noticed that I had to scrape my pipes much more often than I did the years I had been smoking at a moderate (too fast) a rate.

You don’t get more nicotine from smoking faster. This is cigarette mentality also. You are only pulling in nicotine from the small blood vessels of the mouth and sinuses, unless you are inhaling. And, you may be inhaling because you are smoking too fast, not giving your blood vessels time to absorb. The pipe hobby delivers nicotine much slower than cigarettes. You have to go slow and allow the nicotine time to pass through the walls of your skin and blood vessels. Stretching a small bowl out to an hour gives you way more nicotine than a large bowl huffed in thirty minutes. No one celebrates smoking faster. This is why we have slow smoking contests. Smoking fast is just a neophyte behavior. If you want the full benefits of smoking a pipe, then stretch that experience out as long as you can. This is what makes the nicotine reaction in our bodies different and more relaxing than that of the cigarette smoker’s. We actually process way more nicotine, but only over a much longer period of time.

Your pipe will smoke better the slower you smoke. Whether a bent or straight pipe, it has the potential to gurgle if smoked too fast. Gurgle comes from condensation formed from temperature and pressure changes, like the condensation coils on your air conditioner or the copper coils on a moonshine still. I hear, so often, people suggest drying out aromatics to reduce condensation. It seems logical, but you are removing all of the flavor toppings by doing that. And, bone dry non-aromatics have just as much potential to gurgle a pipe, because the natural bi-product of combustion is H2O. Drying out a tobacco will not solve the problem. Air pressure is most affected by turbulence. This is why well-made straight pipes don’t tend to gurgle, and a well-made bent pipe can. Curving the flow, rough surfaces inside the stem, small diameter holes, and drawing too hard by puffing, increases turbulence. You can actually take a gurgler of a pipe and just slow way way way down and get way more enjoyment from that pipe in flavor, nicotine, and a gurgle-free experience.

Live slowly. The reason for the boom of the cigarettes over the pipe came, when we were persuaded that we needed to rush, rush, rush to make a living and get everything that needs to be done, done. All of our time-saving inventions were taking up all of our time. Cars go faster, microwave meals, drive thru, iPhones, computers going faster and faster to download less and less relevant crap. You get the feeling that you don’t have time to smoke a pipe. If that’s the case… then why did you want to smoke a pipe in the first place? Is it a decoration or accessory for you? For me, my pipe is a time machine. It takes me back to an age when men had time to live and enjoy living and being alive. I savor those flavors that men enjoyed back in the time of Isaac Newton, George Washington, etc… From the time I light my pipe till I have finished the bowl, time just melts away. I never feel rushed to finish a bowl. It’s not a contest to get to the bottom. I could care less if I finish a complete bowl. I smoke at my leisure. I try my best to make it stretch as long as possible. I don’t want the sensations to end. If I do have something hounding me to get finished, I just set the pipe aside. Feeling anxious or rushed does not mix well with the pipe.

I remember as a kid when I used to run up to my granddad with some daunting question, he’d tell me to hold on… he’d pull out his pipe and make me wait, wait, wait, till he packed the bowl, lit it, sat down, and eventually he’d get to my question… He taught me patience in a world wanting me to rush faster hurry up and come on. In fact, I can’t think of many things that are designed to make us slow down as much as this hobby. Sure, sure, sure, if billowing clouds of smoke are your thing, I won’t tell you that you’re wrong. If hot-boxing a pipe down in 45 minutes or less is your thing, by all means continue. But, not to brag, but I have yet to find a pipe small enough that I couldn’t make it last an hour or more. There are no rights and wrongs. I didn’t write this to make anyone feel bad about huffing huge clouds of noxious smoke. I just wanted to share some things that I noticed about the hobby. Smoke however you want; however, if you are a billowing cloud of smoke sort of guy, please don’t stand next to me. I don’t want someone to think I just bought a pipe and started smoking today. I grew up around pipe men, and they’d definitely crack a giggle at the clouds.

Slow down, give it a try…
There is a lot of food for thought in this post. In fact, I've been putting a lot of what you say into practice recently. Thanks. I will copy this post and make a pdf of it. and read it over and over,

S......L.....O.......W.....L......Y !

I especially appreciate your comments on over-drying tobacco as a matter of course. I'm meticulous about drying, using a space heater (infrared) and placing my 4 oz jars of tobacco about four or five feet away from the heat source, stirring occasionally until the individual tobacco, to my tastes, is dried properly. Yes, aromatics especially can be overdried. I go to very dry tobacco only for certain blends that I prefer in the morning, blends that have a bite to them, usually from perique, as closely as I can figure.

Thanks for a great post.
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
280
722
United States
I especially appreciate your comments on over-drying tobacco as a matter of course. I'm meticulous about drying,
I have been smoking pipes for decades, been on this site for six months only and have already learned so much useful stuff.
The best thing I've learned is to DRY MY TOBACCO.
Formerly, I was obsessed with keeping it humid!
Smokes so much better when dry, not bone dry (bending a ribbon should not break it), but pretty darn dry.
Makes sense when one considers that we buy by the ounce -- incentives matter.
 

Uguccione

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 22, 2024
165
345
Italy
I have been smoking pipes for decades,
Idem.


The best thing I've learned is to DRY MY TOBACCO.
Formerly, I was obsessed with keeping it humid!
Idem.

I too was a sucker for the hyper-humidity of tobacco, but I've found that a little more on the dry side is just as good, if not better.
Another dogma (at least, I considered it such) that I freed myself from was the packaging technique with the three pinches of increasing intensity.
I realized that you could experiment and I tried new packaging approaches until I found the right one, or rather, the right ones, because depending on the type of tobacco and pipe, the packaging method must change.

P. S.: with three grams of tobacco I can go for an hour and a half / two. I can't understand how you can smoke faster, I would risk burning the pipe.
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
280
722
United States
Another dogma (at least, I considered it such) that I freed myself from was the packaging technique with the three pinches of increasing intensity.
I realized that you could experiment and I tried new packaging approaches until I found the right one, or rather, the right ones, because depending on the type of tobacco and pipe, the packaging method must change.
Your karma ran over my dogma. 😂

I blame all the bad advice I read from old "How to Smoke a Pipe" books and pamphlets, which to be honest contain lots of cool retro illustrations and photos.
I also adhered to the "three pinches" packing dogma for too many years.

And I formerly broke-in new pipes using the 3 (or 4!) step method of gradual filling.
Nah. Just smoke the darn thing and stop fussing.
 

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,831
16,865
France
This thread should be required reading. Ive been smoking way too fast. The same pipes are lasting an easy 30-40 percent longer. On this average size pipe today Im in 40 minutes and its not half gone.

The next thing I want to explore is letting the pipe go out and restarting it in intervals since I suspect continual smoking (even slow) leads to a lessening of taste intensity. That only makes sense. Keep hammering away at any sense and you move towards normalization. Im not chasing a nicotine buzz, Im chasing good flavor and relaxation.
 
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