Pipe Smoking Around the World

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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,107
2,760
Outer Space
As I cruise around in various forum areas and read threads that I don't usually visit, I've noticed that we have members in Russia, Norway, India, China, etc... I mean, I've known that we have forum members from around the world, but I started having more questions... curiosities. Where does someone in Russia buy a pipe? What tobaccos are available, and from what kind of store? Do you order from the US or the EU? What does a mailbox in India or China look like? Where does someone in your country go to smoke? Does your country have its own tobaccos that maybe the rest of us have never heard of, like Semois in Belgium, etc...
There may be things that we miss in assuming that everyone just goes to a tobacconist that looks just like the one we all go to, buys a pipe, a tin of aescudo, and a Bic lighter and gets started. Please share with us what it's like to be a pipesmokers in your country. And, pics would be even better.
Do you all have access to Bic lighters, what does a box of matches look like from your country. Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,643
683
I can really only speak to the Russian Far East. I purchased my tobaccos from street vendors in Magadan, a tobacco shop in both Kharbarovsk and Vladivostok. My one Russian pipe was a gift. My last time working in Russia was in 2003, I'm guessing things have gotten worse not better.

 

pagan

Preferred Member
May 6, 2016
5,964
17
West Texas
I picked up pipe smoking from a friend when I was in Afghanistan and relied on the Army postal system, the following year in Iraq had the same situation, USPS to the Military APO and convoy hopefully make it to me, I did look around the shops that had Hooka's and such but never tried the local blends, I wasn't that courageous. Most of my world travels were courtesy of the US Army so I had support of AFFES and sometimes reliable mail system

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,107
2,760
Outer Space
I've done just a little touristing myself, and I always get home and wonder, why did I not pick up matchboxes or some other such memorabilia, besides the obligatory plastic Eiffel Tower snow globe or Ganesha Christmas Tree ornament. I wish now that I had of picked up a few matchbooks.
I imagine getting comforts of home was more important than exploring local tobacco blends when in war. Thank you for serving, Pagan.

 

andvary

Junior Member
Aug 29, 2016
69
0
Cosmic, you are opening a Pandora's box with this one... :D
I'll probably start by saying that there's a sizeable pipe community in Russia, online forums, meetings etc., but I'm not a part of it, so I can't say much.
Buying a pipe in any sizeable city is easy enough, although there are some peculiar limitations. First of all, there are no "drugstores" of the US type in Russia, our drugstores only sell pharmaceuticals. Second, selling tobacco requires a special license plus there's a recent law prohibiting the promotion of tobacco-related products. For example you won't find cigarettes at the counter of a grocery store, they are hidden in the closed display stand that the cashier opens at your demand. It looks weird. )

There are of course specialized tobacco stores, those are usually chain stores or retail outlets for online shops. Those are usually pretty standard, people can's smoke inside and the damned vaping equipment is steadily taking over everything. There's a couple of online stores in the former Soviet states (I recently received a package from the Ukraine). All the popular pipe brands are present (Savinelli, Peterson, Dunhill, Vauen etc.), you can find smaller brands like Nording and Briarworks, you can even buy Missouri Meerschaum (although Russians seem to dislike those). :) Same goes for tobaccos, all the household names are here.

The retail margin is on par with the shipment cost (i.e. you'll pay more if you order the same product and have it delivered from, say, the US). I am going to order something from the US eventually (smokingpipes.com, I guess). Sometimes you just want a particular product that local stores don't carry. For example I have never tried Carter Hall. :) Ordering from the US is pretty straightforward, a package arrives in about two weeks. Same goes for Ebay, although some sellers refuse to ship to Russia (guess we look unreliable). Shipment from the UK however sometimes takes months, I don't know why. I have never had any trouble with customs since the 90-s (receiving packages in the 90-s was a big hassle).

What else... Estate pipe market is smaller, I guess, although I know at least one man in Moscow who makes a living restoring and selling estate pipes.

There is no large-scale pipe manufacturing in Russia, as far as I know. The market is pretty much set, and owning a manufacturing business here usually doesn't pay off. Ukrainians have Golden Gate, they make both budget briars (I heard good things about those) and non-briar pipes a la Mr. Brog.

There is a number of independent pipe-makers here, but I never dealt with them, so I can't report anything.
All in all everything is not that different from the rest of the world. Pretty boring. :roll:

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,107
2,760
Outer Space
Very cool, I know that there are Russian cigarettes, are there pipe tobaccos? And if so pics and reviews would be much appreciated.

 

andvary

Junior Member
Aug 29, 2016
69
0
I believe we have a manufacturer who makes several brands of cigars and pipe tobacco. They trace their history back to 1915. I can't imagine, who buys this stuff... I'm afraid to try it. :oops:

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,549
3,403
Check out the recent post on pipe clubs in China. Several groups, one or two including both men and women, puffing contentedly. China has long been a consumer of tobacco, mostly cigarettes, but I think this is the first I've seen of tobacco pipes catching on.

 

derfatdutchman

Preferred Member
Jun 4, 2014
1,135
0
Andvary, thanks for sharing, your post was far from boring. I find interesting to hear from pipe smokers in other parts of the world.

 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
3,881
1,179
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
Only basic and monotone drugstore blends (Mc Barens,Amphoras and Borkum Riff+ Swedish Greve Gilbert Hamiltons ribbon Cut) remain only and available here in Finland-Scandinavia,even in neghborhood Russia I do find they've got better assortiment of pipe tobaccos than ours,beforedays we've had many descent pipetobaco blends available but no more,then only the online orders from abroad help us out from this misrable situation,leaving alone our high retail prices that are very similair to Canadian ones.

 

agnosticpipe

Preferred Member
Nov 3, 2013
2,674
275
I think this thread is a great idea! I love to see how people live their lives as opposed to the US. The China pipe club thread was very interesting to me. Reminds me of watching Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown on CNN. Always interesting to see how the average person in another country lives, what they eat and drink. Would like to see some pipe smoking covered too, but all I ever see is cigarette smoking, and well maybe some other things... :lol:

 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
3,881
1,179
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
as for Cigarettes,here in europe all cigarettes no matter what brand are gettin to beacome a real crap tastewise in comparition with those available in The States,which are way better in quality and taste,

 

beastinview

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2016
504
0
Very interesting thread! I feel for your gents in more pipe-oppressive parts of the world, though! While we yanks are moaning about FDA regs, you guys have it even worse!

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,107
2,760
Outer Space
I want to tour the world, going into tobacconist and pipe shops in every country. Setting with pipe smokers in their usual habitats and smoking spots, talking about local tobacco favorites. Traveling with a pipe. Customs, tobacco taxes, pipe friendly hotels, local smoking laws, rules, etc... Wouldn't it be neat to drop into a pipe shop in Turkey, Austria, New Zealand? Talk to the owners, check out their pipes, tobacco selections, find out their best sellers. Chess games in parks, wine at bistros, news papers and bathrooms you can smoke in.

 

andvary

Junior Member
Aug 29, 2016
69
0
The thing I find most depressing about tobacco stores in Russia, is that none of them are small businesses, so none of them are, for the lack of a better term, cosy. The owners only care about the sales, so instead of a "hobby place" it's just a regular store: nowhere to stand (let alone sit), there's a typical assistant behind a counter (i.e. a bored middle-aged lady who probably smoked crappy cigarettes her whole life and neither does nor wants to know anything about what they stock), you go in, you buy, you get out. The best advice you can get is "try this, it sells well".

No wonder people are switching to online shopping.
I may be wrong, I'll try to make a tour around the tobacco stores here in Moscow, maybe I'll get a pleasant surprise somewhere.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,107
2,760
Outer Space
Here in the US, most people don't even have a store of any kind for pipes and tobacco. I still would think it exciting to see such a place.

 

mortonbriar

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2013
989
156
In New Zealand you still see the occasional shop with a 'Tobacconist' sign, but they have all become convenience stores, possibly they have one dusty tin of erinmore ready rubbed or a pouch of borkum riff kicking around under the counter somewhere and they will probably tell you that the roll your own pouch of drum is fine in a pipe. I dont know how many years since they functioned as tobacconists, New Zealand stopped growing tobacco commercially in the 80s. When you do find a shop that sells pipes it will be in a shop with a lot of glass pipes and you might find 5 petersons and 5 falcons to choose from.

Basically the internet has been the only way to keep this hobby alive in NZ!

As far as smoking, there is nowhere you can smoke inside anymore...NZ is not a tobacco friendly country at all, you can only bring in 50grams duty free in person, and everything else is taxed about a dollar a gram...

Its a lovely country to sit and smoke in (just ask Bilbo) but it takes a lot of effort to make that happen!
Isaac

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,987
72
Baku, Azerbaijan
Since joining the forums, I have always wanted to open a similar thread, but was skeptical all the time. Andvary did a good job and described the situation in Russia, I have also heard similar things (hidden cigarette display stands). Azerbaijan is a post-Soviet country and in this context we have some similarities with Russia. Here we go:
Smoking is allowed almost everywhere in Azerbaijan (restaurants, cafes, parks, etc.), there are only few places that smoking is not allowed or partially allowed (shopping malls, cafes, etc.). Cigarettes are sold in every supermarket (even in the small ones) and cigarette stands are near the cashier. Until last year a license was required to sell tobacco products, at the moment no license is required to sell or manufacture tobacco products. There are not many places that sell smoking pipes, but only few with 6-7 available options (and all of the shops carry almost the same options), mostly cheap Chinese, no brand or Shahin (Turkish) pipes. So far, I have seen only Captain Black and Erinmore tobacco products here, no any other blends.
I order both my pipes and tobacco from the States. There is a forwarding company that receives the box in the States and forwards it to its local warehouse in Azerbaijan. Once the box is here, I go to their local office-warehouse and pick up the box. They ship the items twice a week, so whatever I order from the States is here in a week or so. Once I have been told by a company representative that they are not allowed to ship tobacco products but I have never had any problems with them. I have to inform the company in advance about the box (contents, quantity of items, invoice price, etc), once I forgot to inform them and they marked it as a tea product :) ). I always realize that customs officers open my boxes and then close it with a tape, however I have never had a problem with them either. The good thing is, a single citizen is allowed to import whatever he wants to the country with a value up to $1000 within a month for non-sale purposes. But I try to order not much tobacco at a single time, as it is going to be really hard to explain them the cellaring.
Regarding other questions; 1) As far as I know, no pipe tobacco is manufactured in my country, but I read once about an Oriental that is raised here, they are probably exporting it. 2) I have access to Bic lighters here :) 3) I mostly smoke inside the apartment or in our summerhouse (during the summer time, but not inside, only outside) and sometimes while meeting with friends I smoke in a tea house (chaikhana). There are only 2-3 smoking lounges in the city and it is allowed to smoke there if you buy a cigar or something else. 4) Here is a picture of available matches in Azerbaijan

The bottom left one is made in Belarus, other two are made in Russia.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,107
2,760
Outer Space
Little detail like how you recieve a package may seem like a small thing to you guys, but I find it facinating. Bic lighters worldwide, crap, my family used to own major stock in Bic, back when they were just ballpoint pens.

I am even enjoying hearing about small crappy tobacco shops. It sounds like many places in the US have a similar situation.
Thanks guys, these things that may seem common place to you, are facinating, even the stuff that sounds just like our situation in the US.

More pictures. I'm loving it.
Ohh, and I wonder if we could start a matchbox trade. I'd love to get hold of some of those boxes!

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
3,987
72
Baku, Azerbaijan
I've done just a little touristing myself, and I always get home and wonder, why did I not pick up matchboxes
I always do that.
Bought this one from Maldives during our honeymoon (not a matchbox but a lighter).


Whenever we visit Istanbul, Turkey we stay at this hotel, very nice boutique hotel with friendly personal.


When we were in Vienna, Austria with my wife, her brother (used to live there) took us to a nice place. It is called Hotel Sacher and is very famous for their torte (cake that I didn't like at all). They have a special room for smokers and that's how a smoker should be treated :)

I couldn't find a picture of the smoking room, but it was similar to its main lounge.


 
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