Pipe Shape and Flavor

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jayski

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Jan 20, 2017
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I never really noticed how much a pipe shape can effect the flavor of tobacco. Maybe a little here and there. I must say that I have finally experienced a full flavor change. When I first cracked open a 2006 tin of Hal O the Wynd I packed a bowl in my Radice Horn. It was amazing! Sweet and simple. Probably the tastiest I have ever experienced. A few days later I packed another in my new Unique bend Tinsky Pot. I was immediately surprised in the taste or lack there of. I thought to myself, “Why the hell does this taste so different?” I figured that maybe I didn’t let it dry long enough or packed it to tight. A day later I packed another. This time in my Tsuge sitter 552. Same thing. Not sweet just blah. So as I sit here now smoking a fine bowl of the same in the Radice horn the flavor is sweet and simple. Just as before. I am only into my third year as a pipe smoker and it never ceases to amaze me the complexity that can occur while partaking in such a wonderful past time.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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I am not so sure it is the shape, but the briar; the region it was grown and how it was cured. I get the subtle aromas of warm briar intermingled with the tobacco, and it gives the blend that "pipey" smell.

 

jazz

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Feb 17, 2014
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I agree with Cosmic. It's more likely the pipe and its wood than the shape. I'm not saying that shape can't affect a change in flavour because I think it probably can but it's more likely the wood and pipe history. It's damned hard to be sure though. I've come to terms with the fact that there are some things about pipe smoking I shall never know for sure. Perhaps that's part of the pleasure.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Plus, some pipes are just magic. I have three Hilson stacked dublins, all exact models, all strawberry wood, but one in particular makes every smoke in it taste like pure heaven. It was my first Hilson, and I have continued to hunt down this model, but all of the rest of them fails in comparison. I mean, they are great pipes, but the first one was pure magic.

 

thesmokindragon

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Jul 12, 2011
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This is why I love this hobby so much - never ending journey and those nirvana smokes - when you can recreate it, oh man - it is magic...and when you can't, well it just makes you sit back and think about that nirvana smoke once again. Also agree with Cosmic about the briar as well as the shape and the blend.
Some of the blends like C&D's Dream of Kadath, GLP's Temple Bar all smoke like magic in briar pot shapes ( using Stanwell, Radice, etc) but GLP JackKnife Plug, nope - it smokes best in a nice Castello Billiard or even my MM Washington

 

menuhin

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Oct 21, 2014
642
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Cherry flavor aromatics is best consumed in cherry wood pipes, or pipes in cherry wood shape:


And caramel aromatics in corn cobs: hmm... popcorns...

 

cortezattic

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Nov 19, 2009
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I think the diameter of the chamber has a lot to do with variations in flavor, but no theory as to why. Likewise, chamber depth, and profile, may affect how things progress. Also, airway bends and draft geometries probably alter moisture content, which can influence taste. So, there are a lot of moving parts that can work together -- or against each other, with any given blend and tobacco cut. Throw atmospherics and personal mouth chemistry into the mix and you've got a lot of variables to sort out.

 

jaytex969

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Jun 6, 2017
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You mentioned "new" pipes. "Break in" could affect flavor, especially if there is a bowl coating.
My two latakia pipes are both Savinelli rusticated KS pipes. The straight billiard gives me the full lat flavor, while the bent one seems to tone down the lat flavor. This effect has been duplicated with at least half a dozen blends. I don't know the science behind it, just that it works.
So, if I want more from a mild lat blend, I load it in the straight pipe, and vice versa. The way I see it, it doubles my enjoyment options for each blend.
If you want me to verify your results, just send an ounce of that nice, aged Hal O' The Wynd to.... :nana:


 

olkofri

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Sep 9, 2017
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I'm convinced that shape does play a role. How big it's still open to debate or further study; but I'm still convinced that it plays a part.
Unfortunately, apassionforpipes.com no longer exists (please don't try to visit the site or type its URL on your browser, as it has been taken over by spammers), but the wayback machine thankfully preserved this article, although without the nice illustrations of the different pipe shapes and their respective thermodynamics: Shape and tobacco flavour. Save that article to your puter whilst it's still available.
There are of course many variables, but pipes simply cannot ignore the laws of physics. (Of course, fluid dynamics is one of the areas of physics where there is more inherent uncertainty due to the chaotic behaviour of fluids, but ah well.)

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
2,954
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To clear this up for all of my misguided brethren, there is absolutely no relationship between pipe shape, bowl geometry, maker, distributor, retailer, previous owner, wall thickness, shank/stem length, year of manufacture; and there is no one pipe that smokes a particular tobacco particularly well. There are no such marriages. All of this is fantasy.
There is such a thing as a well-made pipe, and such a pipe is capable of providing an accurate representation of tobaccos. But an accurate palate to which the smoker attends with sufficient concentration is far more important than the pipe itself, as most artisan and factory pipes are well-made. So it is not the pipe that so much meters but the palate and concentration, along with a controlled cadence.
When I was in the first several years I posited the relationships discussed in the this thread one after another. But this is what I think now.

 

cigrmaster

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May 26, 2012
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In my experience I have many pipes with different shapes and bowls sizes that smoke certain blends much better than another. One such example was when I first began smoking Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake, I tried it in a few different pipes and was not that impressed. Then I tried it in my group 4 Lane Era Charatan Dublin and then the magic happened. The conical shaped bowl, the size of the chamber, the thickness of the walls all came together to give me a magical smoke. I have since found other pipes similar to that to smoke my FVF. I would repeat that experience over and over again with the types of pipes I buy. I smoke flake tobacco 95 percent of the time. I have been buying pipes based on how well I think they will smoke my flakes, mainly with shapes like Dublins, Billiards, Apples and Rhodesians.
I have pipes that I dedicate to one specific blend as when the magic happens( and it does) I know I am going to be rewarded with a great smoke every time.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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there is absolutely no relationship between pipe shape, bowl geometry, maker, distributor, retailer, previous owner, wall thickness, shank/stem length, year of manufacture; and there is no one pipe that smokes a particular tobacco particularly well. There are no such marriages. All of this is fantasy.
It would have been more true, if you had said, "IMO" or In my opinion, or in my findings. In my years of pipe smoking 10 to 15 bowls a day, I do find that tobacco stoves in a tall pipe, caramelizing the sugars in the tobacco, and is accentuated in a tall funnel shaped bowl (inner bowl), and wider pipes allow for more surrounding tobacco to be heated, allowing more flavors to prevail, and narrow chambers allows me to focus in on more delicate nuances without a lot of surrounding heated tobacco flavors. I also find squattier bowls with a 1x1% to 1x1.5% ratio to give me a more pronounced flavorful latakia and oriental smoke. And, great big wide bowls allows me to smoke heavier nicotine blends without as much sickness feeling than if I smoke them in smaller chambers. Outside shape of the bowl, stem length, color, and style of the pipe have no bearing on flavor as far as I can find or detect. However, texture does make the pipe cooler to the touch, and pipe material does contribute to the flavor.
This is my own findings, and my own opinions, based on serious smoking over time with frequency. YMMV.
We are all allowed our own opinions, and they may differ. Conflicting findings by different individuals is also allowed. You are absolutely correct for your taste buds, and I my own. But, we would just look like an ass to tell someone that what they taste is fantasy and "misguided."
I just throw that out there for clarification, and forum member appeasement. Otherwise, we would all just buy a dogmatic pipesmoker's Bible and point to scripture... "Eltang 3:60 He who hath purchased any pipe of any material will only taste the tobacco as the blender has intended." The choir will carry us out with a hymn, 604 Savinelli, and please tithe as the plate comes around.

 

jaytex969

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Jun 6, 2017
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Cosmic, my brief piping experiences are mostly similar to yours, however, this one seems counter-intuitive to me. Can you offer any additional reflection on it?
And, great big wide bowls allows me to smoke heavier nicotine blends without as much sickness feeling than if I smoke them in smaller chambers.
Thanks.


 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Jaytex, I have no idea what science could be behind my discovery of this. I tried smoking GH twists in many different pipes, and I just found that I can smoke them in a huge bowl and not get a queezy sick feeling. My only explanation is possibly magic. I use a large 1" by 1.5" bulldog that Dan Chlebove made for me, a large Randy Wiley 1"x2" dublin, and an old .98 x 1.8" Hilson gooseneck; and I can smoke twists, bold burleys, and even Picayune in those pipes without getting sick. Maybe the large bowls slow me down, or do something to impede my absorption of the nicotine. I don't know. But, I get bold delicious full flavored smokes of these heavy hitters, and I enjoy them better. But, if I try to smoke them in a small clay, or .8" or below diameter pipe, I feel like I am going to lose my guts and die. I just chock it up to one of those unexplained phenomena of the pipe world. YMMV
But, if someone wants a full flavored smoke of a twist, it might be worth trying, but I cannot promise they'll get the same results. Hopefully they will, because I really enjoy it that way, and it would be cool for them if it worked like it does for me. Like I say, YMMV.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,735
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Maybe the stoving that occurs in narrower bowls somehow concentrates or activates the nicotine. This would explain Cosmic's magic. Besides, I totally agree with Cosmic's observations.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
17,310
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After nearly thirty years of pipe smoking, the only thing that I have found that can improve or ruin the flavor is how tightly the tobacco is packed. One tobacco tastes exactly the same to me from pipe to pipe.

 

halfy

Member
Mar 6, 2014
245
0
The shape, particularly the bowl shape and how it'st connected with the airway and the airway geometry, has much more important role in the taste of tobacco than you may ever imagine ... However, the way you pack and smoke a pipe is even more overwhelming.
Just try to light up a few pipes with the same tobacco at the same time and smoke them in turn ... the taste bud and nose is most sensitive to the change or difference, but not to the flavor itself.

 

chasingembers

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Nov 12, 2014
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Just try to light up a few pipes with the same tobacco at the same time and smoke them in turn ... the taste bud and nose is most sensitive to the change or difference, but not to the flavor itself.
Now that I have done. Still no change.

 

cigrmaster

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May 26, 2012
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United States
halfy,

The shape, particularly the bowl shape and how it'st connected with the airway and the airway geometry, has much more important role in the taste of tobacco than you may ever imagine ... However, the way you pack and smoke a pipe is even more overwhelming.
Totally agree with that statement. Some of my best smokes come from a conical shaped bowl with a 4.0-4.5 mm airway.

I always check the draw of my pipe as I am adding tobacco. I want a certain amount of resistance before I light up. Once I light up, a little tamping and ash dump is all I need for the remainder of the bowl.

 

thesmokindragon

Preferred Member
Jul 12, 2011
3,819
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+1 w/ chasingembers on how the tobacco is packed...when I stopped packing the tobacco so tightly a whole new world of flavor opened up to me. I have found the same methods in making my cigars, rolling entubado and using the right pressure during the roll gives you a wonderful/flavorful smoke.

 
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