Tongue Bite Question

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adforbes

New member
Apr 23, 2019
6
0
Hello All,
Having smoked cigars for some time, I thought I would give pipe smoking a try this year and bought a Peterson system pipe with a p-lip. I have tried a few tobaccos so far, including My Mixture 965, S&G Black Cherry and Connoisseurs Choice. I have loved smoking my pipe (albeit I am a weekend only smoker and have therefore smoked only a dozen bowls so far), but am finding the tongue bite off-putting. I find pipe smoking much harder on the palette than cigar smoking and find it takes a day or two to get rid of cotton mouth/sore tongue. I have tried to sip the pipe, use Biotene mouthwash, to pack the bowl correctly and to dry my tobacco a few hours before each bowl, but still find myself with a sore mouth afterwards, and frankly am thinking of abandoning the pipe and going back to cigars.
Can anyone out there offer any advice? Is it possible to overcome tongue bite quickly or does one need to smoke a pipe regularly for a long time before it goes away? I have some samples other tobaccos such as Early Morning Pipe and Quiet Nights which I haven't tried yet and may be gentler on the palette. Are there any other things I should be doing, or is it that pipe smoking can simply disagree with some people?
Thank you in advance for any wisdom members can impart.
ADF

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,151
7,596
Chicago, IL
It's so common a complaint among neophytes that it's jokingly considered a rite of passage; but be assured, your tongue will become inured to the abuse. You will no doubt get plenty of advice on this, so I'll offer just two suggestions observations.
First, the damage is probably caused by steam -- you're scorching your tongue -- most likely by lighting-up too aggressively. Having something to drink with your smoke may help. (I think the p-lip was invented to address this problem, but I dunno, really).
Second, believe it or not, you may have to step up to stronger, more bold tobaccos. Perhaps without realizing it, you're trying to extract more flavor than your current blends can deliver (compared to cigars, at any rate), so you're "over-smoking" the pipe. G.L. Pease blends would be a good thing to try since they are bold and satisfying.
Hang in there! This too shall pass. Eventually, you'll begin to experience Elysian delights that far surpass other forms of sensory enjoyment. (It's why we do it!) :puffy:

 

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adforbes

New member
Apr 23, 2019
6
0
Thank you both for your kind and reassuring replies. In terms of drying time, can you give any rule of thumb? I am sure each tobacco must differ, but is there any general average range of drying time you would expect in order to mitigate the dreaded bite? Thank you again!

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
21,042
14,286
Very welcome! Some will say dry to the touch but still pliant, I go for bone dry. It's really up to the individual.

 

jazz

Preferred Member
Feb 17, 2014
787
4
UK
I found it went away after a while but I'm uncertain if that's just because I got better at being a pipe smoker in general or I developed a tolerance. It was likely both but whatever it was it has not happened to me for years.
My advice would be to experiment. Experiment with different packing techniques and firmness. Experiment with moisture levels. Some blends irritate when too wet and some when too dry. Experiment with different blends with different types of leaf and experiment with different pipes. I have one P-Lip and I don't like it. I don't get tongue bite anymore but that pipe and the way it directs smoke to the roof of my mouth makes my palate feel manky and I don't really care for it.
Avoid aromatics (flavoured) like your cherry and Connoisseurs Choice for a while. For me, these tended to bite more.
Slow down, new pipe smokers ALWAYS seem to smoke too hot and fast in my experience and it's always by a large margin. Slow down and keep it cool and when you think you have done that slow down and keep it even cooler than that. I introduced my buddy to this last year and held his pipe during one of his smokes on Saturday gone and it was FAR too hot. So after nearly a year, he is still burning his leaf at way too high a temperature and so occasionally he gets bitten.
Also, sometimes there are tobaccos that just don't agree with us. For some reason, even after everything else stopped biting me, dark fired Kentucky still would and how badly depended on how much was in the blend. Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired was particularly bad for me. However, I loved it so much I persevered and now it gives me no problems at all. I can't explain why this was. But it was. There is a fella here who I know can't tolerate red Virginias for whatever reason.
The truth is, there is no definitive answer to the tongue bite question and it's only through trial and error that one gets to where one wants to be. You will find a blend, pipe and technique that works for you and that will be your foundation for future success. If you persevere I'm confident you will find enjoyment 100% of the time and the problem will pretty much vanish.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,870
598
All great advice above. I don’t have much to add except maybe a wood Virginia blends at very first. Also, the drying the tobacco suggestions are very important.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,905
654
I agree that your tongue bite is probably caused by steam. When you start smoking, your tobacco is dry and tasty. After smoking too fast and hot for a few minutes, your tobacco builds up moisture that boils your tongue as you draw it in.

You'll feel it when this happens. Toss the remains. What's left at this point is bad flavor and tongue bite. No need to stubbornly torture yourself.

You'll get the packing and cadence down eventually. In the meantime, throw the soggy mess away. Maybe pack half bowls for a while.

 

onestrangeone

Preferred Member
Sep 18, 2015
603
2
I believe Cortez nailed it, I dry my tobacco too ‘just shy of crunchy’. One thing I’ve seen cigar smokers struggle with is the difference in the amount of smoke, with a cigar you get a nice little cloud of smoke, with a pipe you want just a tiny wisp.

 

adforbes

New member
Apr 23, 2019
6
0
Thank you all again for your wise words. I shall keep on piping in light of your helpful suggestions. Much appreciated!

 

newbroom

Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
5,539
471
Yeah, not uncommon for new pipers to get tongue burn.

Assuring that your draw is smooth, and not requiring a hard pull to get air through your bowl will help.

Tongue burn is a "P" lip, that's pretty good.

You're looking for impact and flavor right away, and you will get that with a fairly strong Latakia blend.

I'd say smoke something like that, just to help get your cadence. I've heard that some say these blends smoke cooler than aromatic blends, too.

 

ofarrell

New member
Apr 2, 2019
13
4
I’ve been smoking a pipe for two years. I suffer from tongue bite as well. Aromatics are a no no for me. I smoke english blends, C&D’s Mountain Camp being my favorite. You’re on the right track by using a P Lip. May I suggest smoking Prince Albert. It’s mild. I don’t get burned with it. There’s a reason it’s been around for over 100 years. PLip & Prince Albert should solve your problem

 

bnichols23

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
3,371
3,153
SC Piedmont
Welcome, adf! Glad to have you here. :) I won't offer too much advice myself since what's been given is good, but I did want to say one thing in particular -- Cortez's observations are 115% dead-on, especially about having something to drink along with smoking. That's a more popular subject around here than you might think. A lot of people gravitate to what we occasionally call "Jim's Bergs." One of the stalwarts here (*&* an absolute EXPERT on tobacco reviews), JimInx prefers just plain ice water. Drinking it will automatically slow you down & help minimize over-stoking the furnace!
The only "advice" I'd offer is for right now, avoid tobaccos that advertise wonderful-sounding flavorings like cherry (Sorry, Embers! -laugh-), chocolate, vanilla, vanilla-cherry, cherry-vanilla, etc. They sound fabulous & inviting, but in too many cases the stuff that's used to flavor will be a big culprit in tongue burn. Go for more natural if you can. There are a lot of good tobaccos out there that have great flavor without all of that. If you're lucky enough to have a brick-&-mortar store near you, ask the tobacconist's guidance; they'll know what you mean. :)
Again, welcome! You'll find more advice here than you ever thought you'd need. We're full of it. [Take that however you want. :)]
Bill

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,150
6,595
Monterey Peninsula
Thank you both for your kind and reassuring replies. In terms of drying time, can you give any rule of thumb? I am sure each tobacco must differ, but is there any general average range of drying time you would expect in order to mitigate the dreaded bite? Thank you again!
I'll try, but need to know where you live and what you smoke. If in the South, do you have a/c on a lot? Or do you know the RH in your house?

 

adforbes

New member
Apr 23, 2019
6
0
Regarding drying time, I live in London, UK. The average RH is probably between 60% to 70%. I do not have a/c.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,150
6,595
Monterey Peninsula
Ah, you're lucky. It—the RH— is probably not that high in your house or flat, but relatively benign. For Dunhill blends, I'd start* with an hour sitting on a counter. For the GLPease, a half hour. I don't know about aromatics, except they seem to feel wet due to the topping.
Enjoy!
* You may want to adjust those times drastically according to your own druthers as to taste and smokability.....

 

donjgiles

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2018
1,308
1,467
If you get a bit of the tongue bite, try to have a bottle of this on hand...

https://www.biotene.com/

It will help you heal.
Don

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,875
1,717
Maryland
postimg.cc
You are using a lighter, correct? Put it down and try matches, it's a much softer light and once you master keeping the match lit, tongue bit should diminish (it eliminated tongue but in my case). You definitely also don't want to puff real hard, like a cigar requires. Think sipping. Keep us posted.

 

ron123

Senior Member
Jan 28, 2015
339
314
Park Ridge, IL
There's no cure, once you get it, except time. I tried Biotene and it didn't do much, if anything.
Virginia's seem to bite more that English blends, so you might want to avoid them for a while.
Other than that, dry the tobacco, and puff slow. If you start to feel like you're getting hotter smoke/steam through your pipe, put it down. Leave it for 1/2 hour...maybe more. Don't try to power through it.
Pipe smoking definitely takes way more time to get the knack of, than cigs or cigars. You just need to decide if you want to stick with it.

 

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