Buying Pipe Tobacco

MacQueen Pipes

Do you remember your first cup of coffee? Did you drink it black? My guess is that you started out with cream and sugar or maybe even one of the flavored creamers. Then as time progressed you backed off the creams and sugars, so you could really appreciate the taste of the coffee. Well smoking pipe tobacco is really no different. Many beginners really are drawn to pipe smoking for the aromatic blends that are so commonly associated with pipe smoking. Then as time progresses the smoker begins to appreciate the different types of pipe tobacco that are available.

If you’re a pipe smoking beginner and looking for that first pipe tobacco selection let me make a recommendation. Visit your local pipe shop or any online shop and find a sampler of mild aromatics. These samplers are usually 5 – 7 tins of tobacco ranging in blends, aromas, and tastes which will give you a great start in developing your pipe smoking palette. When you’ve had your fill of the aromatic tobaccos you should purchase sampler packs from each of the major pipe tobacco types described below.
Tobacco Sampler

Virginia

60% of the United States tobacco crop is grown in Virginia. This pipe tobacco has a delicate fruit-like flavor which makes them subtlety sweet. They are rather tangy but are pleasant on the palate, reminiscent of a mild salsa. The best matured Virginia’s are naturally sweet and clean-smoking tobaccos that fill the mouth with flavor. You will notice a flavor curve that is zesty at light up and then turns richer as the tobacco is smoked. Virginia tobaccos are also important components of aromatic and flavored blends.

Burley

Burley tobacco is the next most popular tobacco for pipe tobacco blending. The technical term for Burley is “air cured”. This air curing is done in large open barns, by the natural air flow, for one or two months. The color is ranging from light brown to mahogany. Most burley, which has virtually no sugar of its own, is “cased” or flavored with sugars of one kind or another and this rich, full-flavored tobacco has traditionally been the base of the majority of American-style sweetened blends. When smoked, cased burley starts light, mellow, and mildly nutty, with no sharpness. If it is of good quality and has been handled properly, it will produce a rich, full flavor somewhat like sweet oatmeal or granola, with a caramel character coming from the burnt sugars.

Spice Tobacco

Spice tobacco is not a single type of pipe tobacco, but a mixture or blend of sever different types of pipe tobacco described below. Most of these types below are used primarily in English blends. Many people refer to ‘English Tobacco’ when describing the types they like best. English tobaccos are simply tobaccos that have had no flavors added during the curing process. Therefore English tobaccos are usually a mixture of different types of tobacco, but have no flavors added during curing.

  • Oriental: This naturally aromatic, heady tobacco comes from the Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and other Eastern Mediterranean countries. The finest Orientals, often called “Turkish” tobacco, has a flavor that is delicately spicy. Used in small quantities, it gives to “English” or “Oriental” mixtures a sweet, yet piquant character. Sun-cured Oriental leaf has a greenish-yellow to golden brown color. Second only to flue-cured Virginia in natural sugar content, the finest Orientals from Greece and Turkey are mildly sweet and have an herbal or spicy character with an incense-like aroma. The best known types are Izmir, Samsun, Yedidje, Cavella and Bursa.
  • Latakia: Latakia is the result of a curing process involving fire curing the leaves over controlled fires of aromatic woods and fragrant herbs. Probably the most well known spice tobacco. Mainly grown in Cyprus and northern Syria. After the leaves are harvested and dried, they are hung in tightly closed barns and smoke-cured. Small smoldering fires of oak and pine fill the barn with smoke, and covering the leaves with smoke particles. Latakia was “discovered” when a bumper crop resulted in surplus, and the excess tobacco was stored in the rafters. The peasant farmers traditionally used wood and when short of wood camel dung for cooking and heating in the winter. The smoke cured tobacco unique flavoring and taste was discovered the following spring. Latakia produces a very rich, heavy taste, with an aroma that has a “smoky” characteristic. Latakia is an indispensable ingredient of traditional English mixtures. The content can vary from a few percent to about 40-50%, or even more. A few smokers like it at 100%. This would tend to be harsh, not because Latakia is a strong tobacco, but because it burns and tends to dry out your mouth and throat.
  • Perique: Perique is a Red Burley type of tobacco, grown and processed in St. James, Louisiana near New Orleans. Perique is a rare, slow buring, strong-tasting tobacco. Production is small which makes it a bit more expensive. Perique is a deeply aromatic tobacco with a fragrance somewhere between cooked fruit (prunes) and sautéed mushrooms. Like latakia, perique is a naturally fermented condiment tobacco and is used rather sparingly. Its rich, black color and leathery texture compliment its delicate flavor. Before fermentation, perique appears most like Kentucky burley. During fermentation, the tobacco steeps in its own juices for 10 months before further aging. Perique is the truffle of tobaccos, rare and precious for its distinctive pungency.

Cavendish

Cavendish is a process of curing and a method of cutting tobacco leaf; the term does not refer to a tobacco, but a type of manufacturing process. The processing and the cut are used to bring out the natural sweet taste that is a characteristic of Virginia tobacco. This process will create a tobacco very light in taste, quite mild and easy to pack. English Cavendish uses a dark flue or fire cured Virginia which is steamed and then stored under pressure to permit it to cure and ferment for several weeks. Cavendish can be produced out of any tobacco type (mainly Virginia’s and Burley’s). The original English Cavendish is produced out of Virginia tobacco, which is slightly flavored and heated by high pressure. This will give you a very dark, black tobacco.

The modern version of Cavendish is generally much more flavored. The natural taste of tobacco is almost gone. The flavoring is also called “Casting”. This is the term used when you add a considerable amount of additives to the tobacco. This is usually done by producing a fluid mixture of sugar, liquorice or any kind of aromas in which the tobacco is soaked. The goal is to produce a sweet and smooth aroma. Modern Cavendish tobacco comes in numerous flavors, cherry, vanilla, rum, chocolate, strawberry, coconut, and many other flavors.

This by far doesn’t cover all of the different types of pipe tobacco, but knowing what each of the major types taste like will help you decide which is best suited for you. As you progress through this wonderful hobby your tastes will change and you’ll begin to appreciate a wide variety of pipe tobaccos.

The Rest of the Pipe Smoking Guide

MacQueen Pipes

Comments

  1. This is really a great post. When I’m around someone smoking a pipe, I’m often intrigued by the aroma. I’ve often wanted to try, but I also know that some of the tobaccos are harsh. I’m going to try out some of the mild aromatics and see how it goes.

    Thanks!

    • Glad you enjoyed the guide. Please stop back by and let me know how your pipe smoking experience turned out. Would love to know which type of tobacco you chose for your first ;)

      • Honkytonkman says:

        I love the ‘leather’ aroma of some pipe tobaccos. Can someone steer me to blends that have this. I tend to prefer the darker tobaccos as opposed to the Virginias

        Any ideas gratefully received.

        • If you’re looking for that leather, go with English blends with latakia and you’ll do fine!

        • 1789. Man, 1789.

          It is like smoking an old shoe. I love it. Granted, I can never quite finish a tin before it goes stale . . . but I love it while I have it!

      • I’m new to pipe smoking. I like a maduro cigar. Can you reccomend a pipe tobacco with similar taste?

      • I tried captain black gold that stuff rockes :wink:

      • Wilmington NC says:

        I’ve been smoking pipe tobacco for about 3 years now, from ciggarettes. Trying many different brands.. Eventually leaning to, Mac Baren – the Cadillac of Tabaccos. Mac Baren “Virginia 1″ has a great taste, “Plum Cake” is excellent for transitioning from ciggarettes, because it is very full bodied.. It’s so easy to buy in a tobacco shop, the temptation to find affordable quality tobacco is taxing.. Albeit very much rewarded by doing research. I love the Mac Baren website, very informative on te history and production of tobacco..

    • This is a great post. A good site online is http://www.sweetgreetingsshildon.co.uk which has a tobacco menu on the left and opens to an array of different pipes and sundries all available online and instore

  2. good as far as it went. I am looking for an more info on different styles of cut and what effect they have. I see the words Flake and Ribbon and at least one other that escapes my memory at the moment used to describe the cut used.

  3. I wouldn’t recommend just a large sampler of mild aromatics. I’ve gone down that road and it ain’t no fun. Sure there are those who might like them, but I think the new smoker should try some fuller, medium strength, blends as well. A lot of times you might be smoking one of these mild guys trying to pull out some flavor and end up smoking way to fast. I personally didn’t really start loving pipe smoking till I tried Samuel Gawith’s Full Virginia Flake. BTW, I recommend flakes only to the experienced or at least very dedicated pipe smoker.

    My advice, look around the net for the consistently top rated tobaccos in each type of tobacco blend (English, Aromatic, Virginia, etc.). Pick a couple from each and try them. That way you’ll get an idea of where you would like to go. I would also recommend a good “drug store” blend like Carter Hall.

    CMA

    (P.S. tobaccoreviews.com is a good place to start.)

    • I almost forgot to say, whatever you choose, don’t give up. It may take a while to find something you really like. Pipe smoking is much more complex than lighting up a cig. At the same time, there is much more to be enjoyed.

      CMA

    • Very good advice here. I have always wanted to start smoking a pipe. Im in my 2nd deployment to Iraq right now, and figured this would be the time to start. The hardest part was deciding on the tobacco. I could not find any Virginia samplers, and most of the shops online only sorted by brand names. I took Andy’s advice and went to tobaccoreviews and chose a couple to try out. I also went with the canuck’s advice and chose a brigham pipe.
      When I started my search on what to get and what not to get, I was a bit overwhelmed, but this site and the people that contributed really helped a ton. Thanks for all of the good contributions here. Now I just have to wait a few weeks for the mail to show up, and in the meantime hopefully ease of off the Iraqi sawdust they are selling in the form of cigarettes ;)

  4. Pipe smoking is pure quality time to me. I should have started it years ago, instead of those stinky cigarettes. It’s much much tastier than cigarettes and cigars. It took a little practice at first but it’s almost a second nature to me now. I smoke about 2 to 3 bowls a day and always in a very relaxed ambiance. I enjoy a bowl from beginning ’til end.

    After experimenting with different brands and flavours, I ended up being hooked on ‘Cube’, from MacBarren. It has such a subtle and delicious aroma I cannot describe. I also enjoy ‘Mild Chocolate’ by Golden Blend. And ther’s indeed so much more to choose from.
    As a woman, I sometimes get some weird looks from men and women who are not used to this. Most people love the scent, though. It is a shame that some women who would love to smoke a pipe but feel ashamed to do so! :roll:
    At the moment I have five pipes and my favorite ones are the two ‘Crosley’ type pipes by Big Ben. They are affordable filter pipes of good quality, and provide a delicious smoke. Perhaps more women pipe smokers will come out of that aromatic closet after reading this, who knows :grin:

    • deeppipeinhaler says:

      Hi Martine,
      As yourself, I previously smoked cigarettes…now only a pipe. However, I continue to inhale the smoke like I did with cigarettes. I truly enjoy the sensation of filling my lungs with delicious pipe smoke :twisted: Do you still inhale your pipe smoke? I mean, there are no additives in pipe tobacco as with cigarettes. I smoke only giant briar pipes…the bigger the pipe the cooler the smoke. My favorite pipe is a Boswell that holds 17 grams of tobacco :eek: I am searching for pipe smoking women to correspond with, but they are so rare. I understand your enjoyment of a pipe regardless of gender :roll:
      I try to convert as many cigarette smoking women into pipe smokers…my wife is an example (she smokes both). Please write back and share your smoking philosophy with me :wink:
      Walter

      • Hi,
        I am a 40 year old woman, who has been smoking pipes since my teens, as well as cigars.
        Would like to hear from you.
        Gilly

        • Hello to the Ladies and Gentleman,
          I am a lady who loves smoking a pipe. I started smoking cigarettes as a teen and finally quit them 8 years ago. I was nervous about picking up another tobacco addiction, but I find that smoking a pipe is different. The need for a pipe does not drive my every waking moment like cigarettes did. I do not inhale. I believe that it is not recommended to inhale pipe or cigar smoke since there is no filtration involved and can cause more damage to your lungs then cigarettes do. Not inhaling can be a tricky thing if you are transfering from cigs to a pipe or cigar. Try rolling the sweet smoke throughout your mouth instead of imediately sucking it into your lungs, and then slowly exale it. You may find that you like the taste even more by not bringing it into your lungs.
          I only have one pipe at the moment which is not a problem since I smoke so infrequently. It is a lovely Petterson St. Patricks day pipe, and it is beautiful.
          I might smoke more out in public if I felt more comfortable with it. I told a gentleman at work who smokes a pipe that I did too, and he kind of looked at me funny aftewards.
          I also like a cigar occationally which is more excepted by both genders, but nothing beats the smooth taste of pipe tobacco..yum.

        • Johnny Long says:

          Hi, Erika,
          If you are anywhere near London, you’ll have to come along to the Pipe Club of London. We have one lady member, and would welcome you!
          Our website is under construction at present (it’s a mess – I know, I’m trying to get it up and running).
          I’m creating a special page on the site for women pipe smokers.
          Write me, and when the site is up in a couple of weeks, you can log on.
          Johnny – johnwadelong@gmail.com

      • Did you say Boswell!!! that place is amazing, but you might want to try a small pipe too for a quick smoke. your choose. just glad to see that name, just came from there and bought my second pipe. :smile:

      • I am a 52 year old woman and smoking pipe for the past five years. I enjoy every moment of it!

    • garry r white says:

      Hello Glad you are able to enjoy yourself. Too bad there aren’t more ladies like you out there. Keep up the puffing, in the end all i can say is BRAVO

    • I’ve just been researching pipes; I’m considering buying my own sometime soon. My housemates have gotten in to smoking primarily cigars, but they smoke pipes occasionally as well. I have tried a few cigars, but the experience paled in comparison to my first smoke on a pipe. I am also a woman and a little curious about how many women smoke pipes. I don’t care if people think it’s weird, I’ll enjoy a pleasant smoke with my friends anyways!

  5. Robert C. Fox says:

    Hey, guys! New pipe smoker here-sort of. Didn’t do it exactly right before but I’m starting to learn a lot more. Tried a mostly Virginia and even that might be a little sweet for me. Sugar was never my favorite drug. My next try was an item called “Murdock’s Pipe,” sold by McCranie’s in Charlotte, NC. It has Latakia in it. Usually I’m a purist and don’t like a lot of spice either; but this is good. Not sure I want pure Latakia, however.
    I am a big J.R.R. Tolkien fan though not a big fan of the movies that Jackson guy made (King Kong included). I noticed that Latakia is fire-cured, and read in a Tolkien biography somewhere that he also enjoyed fire-cured, but the biographer at least called it “Kentucky Cured.” Anyone here know exactly what blend he liked or at least something close? I do sometimes like to imitate Tolkien in the simpler things as opposed to learning, oh I don’t know, twenty-five languages or so. He was secretly a hobbit, you know! (Although he was certainly taller than the usual specimins).
    Is there any way of finding this out without e-mailing his son? Hate to bother the guy-he seems to be pretty busy but at least he has given up on rehashing and publishing his father’s early drafts. The guy at McCranie’s said I wouldn’t like the blend I am smoking now and he was most definitely wrong about that. Someone shoot me an e-mail or several: that is one type of e-mail at least I wouldn’t mind having in my inbox.
    Auf Wiedersehen!

  6. Hi, I grow tobacco in my back yard and have had some success curing it for cigarette, cigar smoking as well as chewing. Can any one tell me what is involved in curing tobacco for pipe use.

    Thanks,

    • Brandon says:

      Hiya;

      I’ve only grown my own once. Here’s my story. My grandfather owned a gun shop, one day a man walked in and wanted to trade him some home grown tobacco( I mean like a bale’s worth) for some gunsmithing work down his rifle. My grandfather asked where he got the seeds and the man said that his father grew it and simply handed down the seeds. So my grandfather instead traded the work for seeds. He grew his own right in his garden. he said that at first it was VERY strong and bitter so then he started hanging it in a small shed on his property. After about three months it was smooth enough to puff. Then he tried laying it in the sun for a while and also smoking it with herbs or woodchips in the enclosed shed. A few years ago my grandfather passed away and I found a small bundle of the tobacco in his workshop along with maybe a dozen seeds. The tobacco had laid in there for some 3-5 years before I found it. It was a very natural tasting but not overpowering. I then thought, WOW I can take these seeds and grow my own as well. I did just that but the tobacco I ended up with was WAY too strong to puff. I didn’t try anything for smoothing it out. So I just hung it in his shop, it’s still there now. Once in a while I go over there to puff my pipes in his old shop but that tobacco has not yet mellowed out at all. So all I know is that raw tobacco is VERY strong in taste which is why there are so many ways of ‘curing’ it.

      • 3-5 years aging is exactly what they do to burley.

        There is a bunch of stuff on fermentation type curing around on the net if you need it sooner, search for coffinnails.com.

        Still, I’ve found that aging makes burley perfectly fine. If you liked your grandfather’s stuff, start growing it and storing it.

  7. I enjoy your article, I have been a pipe smoker now for about 15 years and I enjoy reading all I can on the subject every chance I get. I wish that there was this much good information out there when I got started. It might have made my experiences a little bit eaiser however, I think that has been part of the fun (all of the experimenting and trying different things!) Great work, thanks for the article!

  8. Hello there! Searching, and trying to learn a little about the different types of pipe tobacco available out there, and many people have expressed their love for different ones, I wondered if you know what composes the famous “Black Tie”, and if there’s a difference between this one and the “White HAll Black Tie”, really getting confused by now.

    Thanks,

  9. Robert Fox says:

    Anyone tried blending their own tobaccos? I have enjoyed doing this by trial and error ever since I became a pipe smoker. That is part of the fun of this thing we do that makes it a little more of an art than a habit! My latest (and most successful) blend is 50% Virginia (Stokkebye’s Navy Flake), 20% strait Syrian Latakia (McConnells), 20% Kentucky fire-cured (Gawith Kendal Kentucky), and 10% unflavored cavendish (I used the cavendish centers from Stokkebye’s Bullseye flake). This recipe could certainly be tweaked! Any other amateurs into this sort of experimentation? I still haven’t figured out Tolkien’s smoke if you read my earlier post; found another reference to his liking for Kentucky fire-cured (I’m not man enough to smoke it straight), and something that said he liked Erinmore flake, which surprises me because it has a strong “vanilla” casing, and I always thought of Tolkien as a purist. Happy puffing!

    • Brandon says:

      Yup!

      I blend vanilla cavendish and a chocolate flavoured burley I found. Apart they are fine but together they compliment eachother perfectly. I ussually go for a 50/50 mixture.

      I’ve also tried Vanilla Cavendish and Dunhill’s royal yaht together. I know it may be heresy to fiddle with anything Dunhill but after the first time I tried Royal Yaht I knew it would be too strong for me without some ‘meddling’.

      I would LOVE to find some pure Perique to experiment with in small quantities.

    • It is known that Tolkien smoked Dunhill’s 965. An English blend.

  10. Hi does anyone know where I can get a version of 100% natural tobacco like ‘american spirit’ tobacco for the pipe or can you use rolling tobacco in a pipe?

    • Robert Fox says:

      Rolling tobacco burns too fast for a pipe, but any quality pipe blend should be at least close to “all natural.” If you are a cigarette smoker going to pipe(I smoked American Spirit for five years) try Peter Stokkebyes Bullseye or Navy flake. cupojoes.com, pipesandcigars.com, or marscigars.com. Both tobaccos also roll great cigarettes if you dry them out.

    • brandon says:

      Hiya;

      Orlik Golden Sliced is a great light natural tobacco that smells similar to a cigarette when puffed. It comes in a tin in a navy cut so you have to break it up a little before you puff away. It is the tobacco I started puffin’ the pipe with, it’s forgiving and natural in taste.

      good luck…

  11. Brandon says:

    My opinion on Dunhill Nightcap;

    If you like well cured English blends then this is for you.
    I have tried Dunhill’s Royal Yaht and it was a little strong for me so after I worked through the can I never bought another. I was looking for an English blend that I liked but with little success. Then about three months ago I bought 50g of Nightcap.
    It smelled similar to the royal yaht and other blends I had bought so I didn’t try it at the time. It does NOT taste like it smells at all. It is a beuatiful blend of Virginian, Latakia, and Perique. The latakia is apparent immediately after lighting, the perique builds in flavour as you progress through the bowl. Initially it may seem to be burning hot, it is a very dry blend in my opinion. But as the moisture level builds so does the rich and very satisfying taste. It has a nuttiness to it that borders on sweet. The virginia tobacco is it’s base but is completely masked by the latakia and perique. It burns even and slowly and only requires one maybe two relights. You can smoke it slow or fast with surprisingly little to no tongue bite. It is the ONLY English blend that my palette has a liking for. I always go for cased falvoured tobaccos but this one stands out. Other Dunhill blends are very fine as well, such as the 3 Year Aged but not with the forgiveness of Night Cap. For me it is a 5 star blend that I am already stocking up on. Some people say that the blend is not consisitant from one tin to the next but so far for me it has been.
    It does have a bit of a nicotine kick but nothing more then a strong cup of coffee which this blend compliments very well also, or a strong cup of tea. Even though I say it is a strong blend don’t let that scare you, like I said it is very forgiving.
    It is good at night as the name implies but I don’t think it will help you sleep at all, it keeps me up all night!:)

    Give it a try, you will NOT regret it…

    It’s not a cheap blend so it is better to buy in bulk. This will keep it consistant for you as well.

  12. Dear Sir:
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    (king of pipes) middle east
    R.C (mount lebanon):634489
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    we have pipe company in lebanon, the brand name is libre Real Briar.we have a big collection of pipes ,all our pipes are made of flower wood with steel filters insidewe are interested in your country market and we are interestedin retail resellers or local distributor in your countryif you are interested please email us for further detailsbest regardsgeorge daoudfax:00961 1 244042 PO POX:90-531 jdeideh beirut lebanon
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    http://www.mpcmail.it/mpc/mpq/LibreRealBriar/index.html

  13. I got into pipe smoking when I started college. I go to school at Marquette and about a mile or so off campus is a great little place. Uhle’s Pipe Shop. It’s basically an old world tobacco store. I love alwking in there and feeling like i’m ack in the days of my grandfather growing up. A few buddies and I would always go for their Cigars but one day a friend and i decided to try pipe smoking and I have loved it ever since.

  14. yeah i just got started into pipe smoking , what is it about the tobacco that you are not allowed to inhale it ?? :?: , it just looks like regular tobacco except its cut more thick , or is this kind of tobacco compared to CIGAR tobacco or in the same family of CIGAR tobacco and therefor should never be inhaled . can someone give me a simple answer :?:

    • Pipe and cigar smoke is too hot to inhale. Simple answer, and true. I’ve been smoking pipes and cigars for 56 years and have no negative effects.

      Do Not Inhale!

  15. Mitchell Paul says:

    I am new to pipe smoking. I was wondering if tinned pipe tobacco has a shelf life. I have an un-opened can of Captain Black regular that is of unknown age. There is coupon on the label that is copyrighted 1992. That is the only clue I can find as to it’s age. Should I try smoking some, or should I just pitch it?
    Any information would be helpfull.
    Thanks in advance,
    Mitchell

    • Gosh no, Mitchell, don’t pitch it! I don’t know for how long it will stay smokable in a tin, but tobacco does get better as it ages, just like good wine. I bought a tin of Velvet on eBay and it was from before zip codes and UPC (barcodes) started appearing on products. It was quite good. If the tobacco is too dry, try wetting a paper towel. Squeeze out the excess water so that the towel is just damp and put it in the tin. Reclose the tin and within a day or two you will have properly moistened tobacco.

      Good luck!

    • well guy’s,i’m a pipe smoker,serching for a new piepe,landed me on this site,
      yes,once i was like,what you are now,looking for a nice smoke,
      with lot’s of smell a taste,
      but it didn’t last long,for a start,i alway’s loved pipe tobacco,
      even in my young day’s,i smoked a pipe tobac in roolup,then i turned to pipe,which i always wanted,but my be to young to stick pipe in my mouth,always kept me away,
      as soon in my 40s(but mind you i did smoke pipe time to time in my private time)i took full time pipe,
      only thing i can tell you,if you want to smoke part time for hack of it,be happy what ever makes you happy,
      but if you are serious smoker,then,flavor is the only thing,what you look for,explore with mixing tobac,self flavored,is the best,for many years of smoking,i think,dunhill and earnmore
      MIX IS BEST,may be for me,
      capt,black,was my first tobac,as a start,way to sweet for me now,but i don’t think,any problem with the age of the tobac,as long it is still moist,not dry,GOOD LUCK

  16. One thing I’d really like to see on this guide if possible is kinda what to expect more. What I mean, is, for example the aftertaste. I tried once more recently that i haven’t tried for ages, and I remember that aftertaste.

    I’d really also like to know more about the way to properly breath for smoking as well. For example, inhaling vs more puffing, that sorta stuff.

    Great guide as well.

    • The ideal way to enjoy a pipe and tobacco is to slowly intake the smoke and slowly allow the smoke to exit your body through your nose and mouth thereby providing you with the flavors of the tobacco. Although I inhale my pipe most of the time and have been doing so for 40 years, this is not recommended by most pipe smokers as well as the medical profession. However, I do not believe anyone has ever been medically harmed by tobacco itself but rather, the paper in cigarettes that causes carbon monoxide poisoning.

      • I am a cigarette smoker that has recently started rolling my own because of the chemicals added to papers now to make cigarettes ‘fire safe’. The papers manufactured for rolling your own don’t have these strips of chemicals (which were immediately noticed with our first pack of ‘fire safe cigarettes’) that are designed to extinguish the cigarette if you aren’t puffing on it enough.
        Yesterday, I mistakenly bought a package of pipe tobacco instead of cigarette tobacco and decided to research the differences between the two.
        I found that wikipedia has a List of Additives in Cigarettes which was submitted to the dept of health by 5 American tobacco companies.
        There are 599 additives on the list!!
        I am hoping that the pipe tobacco I bought doesn’t include these chemicals, but different sources make different claims.
        Does anybody know how to find out if pipe tobacco REALLY is produced without the added chemicals?
        I really like the taste of this tobacco, even rolled into a cigarette. I suspect I’ll be switching to a pipe soon since I have noticed the extremely harsh taste of lighting a cigarette with extra paper on the tip after packing it down.
        My husband didn’t have a problem with my cigar phase, so hopefully I won’t get funny looks with a pipe :)
        In Memoirs of a Geisha, there was a long, thin tobacco pipe smoked by one of the women. Do they make pipes like that now?

        • The pipe she smokes out of is called a kiseru. My sister brought one back for me when she went to Japan. I imagine you might be able to find one online. This style of pipe has been around for centuries, though the narrow bowl has made it useful as a modern day cigarette holder – something my sister observed in her travels. I think it’s used as such even in the movie.. Anyway, I love how mine smokes. Happy hunting!

  17. My friend just bought a humidor for his cigars. I was wondering how soon you should smoke pipe tobacco after buying it, and if putting it in the humidor to keep it for longer is a good idea. Is this generally done or is pipe tobacco smoked a few days after purchase?

    • Bob Smith says:

      If you buy your tobacco in bulk, it’s best to go ahead and smoke it. However, good tobaccos, especially Virginias, greatly improve with age. Many connoisseurs buy tins of Virginia and English blends with the intent of cellaring them for years before they smoke them. I just popped a tin of McClelland’s Bombay Extra that I’ve had on hand for 12 years, and it is fantastic.

      The best time to smoke an aromatic is never.

      • I would have to agree I tried a aromatic and it wasn’t very good mild and smooth but that’s about it do you know of any natural ones that are real good?

  18. I am a pipe smoker of a number of years and can confirm that it isd a fantastic hobby. The pipe got me away from cigs and I love the whole experience. I have lots of pipes and rotate them daily.

    Just a note on lady pipe smokers. In my opinion there is nothing more sexy and beautiful than a woman smoking a pipe. And thats that!

    KIT

    • ...steve... says:

      Hi Kit,

      I love women pipe smokers too.

      Sometime in your prayers (if you haven’t already), will you please ask our perfect heavenly father to love each pipe smoker by transfiguring all discord into peace.

      With faith, hope and love,
      …steve…

    • I know right you give beautiful classy lady a pipe and you got someone who is irresistible.

  19. HomeGrower says:

    Hey if anyone wants to know how to grow there own tobacco in there backyard just next to the tomatoes lol just visit this webstie i found it very helpful http://homegrowntobacco.blogspot.com/

    —HomeGrower

  20. John Long says:

    For most part of my adult life, I casually smoked mellow B&M bulk aromatics with some Prince Albert and Captain Black thrown in. I never took any of it seriously and there was two or three year absences to my pipe smoking.

    It wasn’t until this past year, I read up on pipe smoking via the internet (including this site). I started sampling the better quality tinned blends I read about or gazed at in etailer sites. VAPers, Virginians, Balkans, etc. They came off bitter and funny tasting at first but would leave sweet, seductive after tastes in my mouth for hours. This kept me coming back and after my palette thingy broke in, I began savoring fabulous flavors as I puffed.

    I’ve accumulated a handful of good briars and pretty much settled on a few favorite tin blends to put in rotation to dedicated pipes. Dan Tobacco Bill Bailey’s Balkan Blend and Old Ironsides, Esotercia Penzance, and Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding to name a few. Prince Albert is in my rotation. A pleasant tasting easy smoking tobacco with body. You can’t beat it and you can’t smoke too much. My absolute favorite is Cornell and Diehl Mississippi Mud. A mixture of black cavendish, Latakia, and Perique in heavy doses. It starts off with a strong nicotine buzz and goes into a world of sweet chocolaty flavor. Very seductive and goes very well with Millstone Chocolate Velvet coffee.

    Although way out of my price range, I can see why one would spend $1,200 or better on an exotic hand carved pipe. Pipe smoking is such a relaxing, mind cleansing, experience that the pipe is more like a temple. A place where nothing else matters.

  21. zhao alina says:

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  22. Honkytonkman says:

    Hi,

    I love the ‘leather’ aroma of some pipe tobaccos. Can someone steer me to blends that have this. I tend to prefer the darker tobaccos as opposed to the Virginias. I want something with a lovely leathery ‘room note’

    Any ideas gratefully received.

    Cheers :)

  23. I’ve been smoking a pipe and cigars occasionally for a few years now. Both are very pleasing experiences, although on balance I prefer a pipe. I now have five.
    It’s relaxing and different, and I don’t like following the crowd anyway! For me it’s a contemplative and peaceful experience usually conducted alone to fully appreciate the moment; the smell of an aromatic tobacco the feel of a favourite pipe bowl of smooth briar in the hand, and the thick clouds of smoke drifting up; a pipe cannot be rushed, there’s no such thing as a quick pipe smoke! Therefore savour the moment in quiet thought and consideration, and pity those poor health fascists running around trying to ban everything enjoyable in sight.
    May they all learn to calm down mind their own business!!

    • All to true smoking a pipe is an art that can not be rushed you have to set aside time from your day to sit back relax and smoke a bowl of fantastic tobacco

  24. Simon Waters says:

    I’ve smoked a pipe off and on for nearly 30 years and would consider myself fairly ‘in the know’ about the matter but, I have to say, some of the information yu provide is novel to me and will, I’m sure, prove invaluable to those who propose to take up the obsession. Very well done indeed.

  25. I just ordered a starter set with a Briar pipe and 2 types of tobacco. This guide has been a big help, and I can’t wait to get my pipe!

    I”m female, so didn’t feel comfortable finding a smoke shop that carries pipes.

  26. I have just recentl started rolling my own cigarettes. I am now using the Good Stuff pipe tobacco ($14.95/pound). While the cut is more “shaggy” than cigarette tobacco, so long as you are careful when loading your machine, and do not over pack it, it burns just fine, tastes just as good, and you can get well over 700 cigarettes (100mm) from a pund of tobacco.

  27. Has anyone tried vaporizing? It’s so good, I bought a vapor genie about a year ago and I love it, vaping has endless benefits.
    The taste, the smell, The amount of use, the health benefits, I use mine right inside non-smoking bars.

    I’m not talking about those e-cigs either, mine is just like a regular pipe(metal bowl), with a screw on lid that has a little piece of porous stone in it, this stone allows only hot air to run through.

    I swear I’m not affiliated with their company, I just love the thing so much now, I made the mistake of buying a cheap knockoff on ebay and payed for it, the porous stone in that one was actually a lava rock. Needless to say it didn’t work. Go with the genie.

    If you like the taste of flavored tobaccos, you’ll go insane when your try it out of a vaporizer.

  28. Anyone slightly interested in pipe smoking should go to the drugstore and buy a corncob pipe and a pouch of Captain Black some pipe cleaners and start this fine art. Experiment with different with different blends and before long you will be smoking. Also, Tobacco.com is a great site to guide you.

  29. Tobaccoreviews.com that is. You can use other smokers experience with different blends as a guide for yourself. Also, Lane 1Q is a great starter tobacco. People around you will love the smell. It taste like vanilla and chocolate. :grin:

  30. Hello everyone my name is Hugo, I’m relatively young, 19 for that matter, and recently quit smoking cigarettes successfully, well for the most part. Still of course the crave every so often which I suppress with constant bottles of water or hot tea when I can. Although still, I do enjoy smoking. I have a decent palette for cigars & am eager to learn more about pipe smoking. I was wondering what are some do’s & don’ts, things to look for & remember, & also about inhaling(I see mixed feelings on it). I think that a good draw from a pipe maybe once a day or just every so often would really put me at ease for the day, a nice break, & keep me from being so on the edge with being off the teet of a cigarette fix lol :lol: Please email me possibly with some insight, it’s greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    -Hugo//HugoBrooks@live.com

    • Welcome to the art of smoking a pipe Hugo I would start with a cheap pipe just to start with and a mild to medium blend don’t inhale the smoke it will damage your lungs worse then cigs. And the smoke is to hot anyway it is very relaxing and it is not addicting you can put away your pipe anytime you want and not crave it I wish you luck and welcome again.

  31. Steve Firth says:

    Great introduction, many thanks. My first interest into pipes came from a older gentleman who smoked in our local pub, this would be in the North West of Derbyshire in the mid 80′s. He used to smoke a tobacco which was deeply aromatic, great wisps of this sweet, heady scented smoke plumed from his corner. The scent was like no other tobacco i have smelt since. Does any one have any idea what this tobacco would have been? I can only describe it as being almost cherry, but not, almost woody, but not, and almost fruity, but not……… Sorry this is not much help, but any advice would be appreciated.

    I smoke a bent Peterson, and have tried many tobaccos, but have not been able to replicate this heady scent. I look forward to someone laying their hands on the tobacco name (I have tried many of the regular aromatics available locally, but have never attempted to engage the power of the web in my search!!

    Many thanks in advance!

  32. hopscotch says:

    Due to the recent ban of clove cigarettes, I’m choosing to take up pipe smoking…

    The question – where to start w/type of pipe tobacco. I like the bent pipes best & got one for christmas this year. I’m a 32 lady :) I also enjoy cigars, but would really like to enjoy a good pipe smoking…

    I’m thankful to have found this site – - gives some good information. I think I’ll start out with the flavorable aromatics first and see where to go after that!

  33. I love to smoke by pipe i think i can enjoy it more,

  34. thank you! Such a great read. I am in the uk, early 30′s and smoked rollups from 16 yrs old. My grandfather has smoked a pipe since I can remember and other than when I was very young and found it a little overpowering I’ve always thought the smell very comforting. After procrastinating for over a year about wanting to take up the pipe my sister bought me a lovely briar for christmas, I immediately bought a pouch of condor, loaded it and enjoyed the most pleasant smoke ever! I was concerned that having smoked light virginia tobacco in rollups for 15years that it would be to heavy but had to give it ago just for the smell, but my goodness, I have only smoked a handful of rollups since, even then only because I was away from my pipe! Have since tried mellow virginia and clan, neither of which are any way near as pleasing. Will continue to experiment and enjoy the process! my sister is now considering a small ladies pipe after insisting she try mine and loving it too, I think it will be a lovely, if slightly unhealthy pleasure to share (i couldn’t imagine either of us will ever be able to resist inhaling now and then – I know my grandad can’t) anyone know any info on ethically produced tobacco along the lines of fair trade or similar I would really like to know more, my only real concern about smoking is not about the smoking but the industries – would love to decipher the hype a little. happy puffing!

  35. Hey,

    Thanks very much for the advice! I went out today to buy my first pipe. I went with a briar and had my first few puffs this evening. It is good and I understand it is the sort of thing that takes a few tries.

    The nice man at the shop where I bought my pipe suggested I try “Clan” aromatic. Any idea if this is a good tobacco to start on or not?

    It doesn’t seem to have much of an “aromatic” flavor to me, but maybe I am wrong?

    Also– a few questions:
    How long before tobacco goes “stale”?
    How much would a tobacco jar help with this?
    How long should you wait for the pipe to cool off before you can take it apart to clean it?

    Thank you so much in advance for all your advice and helping make this an aproachable subject. I have been so curious to take up pipe smoking for ages now!

  36. Very informative. I also write something about pipe tobacco but I’m writing sometimes in English and Bahasa Melayu. Check it out at Facebook. Just type in the ‘search’– Malaysian Association Mainly Pipe Smokers ~ MAMPOS.I write based on my experience and finding. Let puff the pipe!

  37. Barry Perhamsky says:

    To whom it may concern:
    I’m a pipe smoker. Some people say I’m addicted,but I’m not. I don’t need to smoke. That is,I don’t have that craving. I just enjoy a smoke here and there,now and then.
    Why do I like to smoke pipes? Well first,I like the pipes themselves. I perfer curved over straight. I could spend hours in a pipe store. I like how they feel in my hand,the different shapes,everything about pipes. Then there’s the tabacco. Some people smoke one tabacco all the time,and that’s it. Me,I smoke all kinds. I perfer a nice mild flavorful tabacco.
    One tabacco I like is unique. Bought at Fadders in Baltimore, Md. Some people say it smells and tastes like vinalla,others say chochlet,and some say it smells like brewed coffee. Hence the name Unique.
    Some days I don’t smoke at all,while other days maybe four or five times.
    Right now I only have just one small pipe….that’s it. I never had more then four at one given time.

    BARRY from Baltimore,Maryland

    • Ya that’s the thing non piper smokers don’t get that we don’t smoke a pipe because its addicting we smoke a pipe because want to its relaxing and enjoyable I can and have put down my pipe for days or more without a craving but I pick it up again because its enjoyable.

  38. Hello my lovelies,

    This is a great article with lots of useful information, however, one definitive seems to be lacking.

    I smoked roll ups for 12 years, 20+ a day and 2 years ago i gave up. I was hoping to begin smoking a pipe to negate the, increasingly delicate, cravings. However, i now see that apparently when smoking a pipe it is wrong to inhale? This is news to me, is this true? Does a sufficient amount of nicotine still become absorbed into the blood when not inhaling? I miss the feeling of smoke hitting my lungs with a gentle nibble. Any informative reply would be greatly appreciated.

    Please feel free to answer either here or by email – tombeast@hotmail.com

  39. Tom,

    I have recently switched from cigarettes(Marlboro) 20+ a day to pipe smoking. I smoke three/four bowls a day and don’t inhale, although I thought I would. I hold the smoke in my mouth and exhale partly through my nose(dragon style!) and it seems to ease any nicotine cravings I may have. Apparently the nicotine is absorbed through your mucous membranes and then in to your blood stream.

    Enjoy.

  40. Barry Perhamsky says:

    Well here I am again. Isn’t it awful you can’t smoke a pipe indoors anymore? But there’s one place in Baltimore I can. It was at the One world Cafe’ on South Charles street in Federal Hill. But I must say only upstairs.

    The cafe’ has a bohenian atmosphere with old wooden tables and changing art work on the walls each month. Most people who do smoke,smoke cigaretts,but not too many. I’m the only one who smokes a pipe there. When I do smoke,I have concern for other people. If there’s alot upstairs,I may not smoke. However though, if there’s just a few or so, then I may smoke if the people don’t mind. I’ll ask. Sometimes I’ll sit near a windo which I’ll open.

    In warmer weather,I like to drink a juice. I get a glass with ice,and it’s like having two glasses from one bottle. In colder weather,I’ll have a flavored coffee.(free refill) I’ll properly pack my pipe and have a nice relaxing smoke.

    Well the owner of the cafe’ sold it and moved. Now it’s called the Metropolitain cafe’, and no you can’t smoke in there anymore…oh well.

    Barry
    Perhamsky :roll:

  41. mihkail polhemus says:

    hello to all. i am still a rookie at this i started with a corncob wich i still prefer now and since i was a kid i always remebered my granpa smokeing borkum riff so i tried it and love the aroma and tase of the cherry cavdish have tried captain black and its pretty good one question i have that i have not seen any comments on is a clay pipe i have talked to one person who smokes one and likes it but would like more opnions from anyone who has tried or smokes a clay pipe and lastly what are some good tips on cleaning pipe stems i ruined my first one because i let it build to much completly cloged it and ruined it trying to force it out any help would be appreciated thanks

  42. I’m a cigarette smoker who’s dabbled with the pipe for quite a while – now I’m ready to switch, and looking forward to developing my palate. This guide is exactly what I was looking for to improve my very limited knowledge at present. Thanks:)

  43. i’hv various kinds of pipe tobacco bt usually i prefer virgina.

  44. There are definitely quite a lot of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a great point to carry up. I supply the thoughts above as normal inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing can be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around issues like that, however I am positive that your job is clearly recognized as a good game. Each girls and boys really feel the impact of only a second’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  45. I’ve recently been looking into pipe smoking, but been very nervous about trying it. I currently enjoy the comfort of a good cigar, and have found that a cigar along with a good glass of rum while watching a movie or a good tv show make for a very pleasant and relaxing experience.

    However, I’ve been very intimidated about buying a pipe and tobacco. I don’t quite want something the exact same as the cigars I have, but I would like something similar? Perhaps you can help out with that as your knowledge seems quite vast!

    Tatiana Classics (I realize they are not the highest on the totem pole of what others would call a “good cigar”, but if it’s good to me that’s all that matters) have been a favorite of mine, in particular, the rum flavored. They have a wonderful flavor that’s very smooth in my mouth and a wonderfully pleasant aroma.

    I’m hoping for something similar in a pipe, but as I’ve said, been quite nervous about finding this, do you have any suggestions on what pipe tobacco I should be looking into? From your guide I think Virginia tobacco might be the best choice, but I’m sadly not sure, and the same goes for brand.

    Thank you very much in advance and thank you for the wonderful guide!

    • Tobacco does not go bad. Just add a little apple or oange to restor. I,m looking for Tobacco that is hard
      to find I;E hinies blend, flyingduchman. you might want to try mixture 79?

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  47. new pipe smoker says:

    Hi, it’s first time to me to smoke. i admired pipe smoking very much. i started with (Borkum Riff cavedish cherry)but i found tongue bite many times. I didn’t pleasant with it.I need advice to prevent it. Thanks

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  50. If you used it, please credit the original author for some of your information:

    http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze43wza/smoke/tobacco.html

  51. I have been smoking pipes since I was 17yo. I am now 81 and still have not found a tabacco that is MILD and aeromatic yet.

    Jim

  52. My grandfather left me his pipe collection and I have tried a couple of
    tobaccos in the past (cherry, walnut) and didn’t care for the taste of smoking the
    pipe. I do smoke cigars once in awhile and enjoy a Java Cigar (Mocha flavor)
    and the smoke is a lot smoother than a pipe for me? Can you recommended a
    good rich tasting and smooth and relaxing tobacco that is going to be
    similar to a cigar?   Is there a big difference between a Cigar and Pipe Tabacco?

  53. Just dumped the cig’s with no problem and the first thing I noticed was what a relaxing thing a nice bowl is with a great aromatic blend it really relaxes you. Cigarettes never gave me that satisfaction

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