Tips and Tricks

Everyone wants to get better at anything they do. This is especially true with smoking pipes. Sometimes you may have learned how to do something wrong and have just done it that way because you didn’t know any better.

Well this article on pipe smoking tips and smoking tricks you might just learn a thing or two. Check out the tips and see if they help out your pipe smoking experience. If you’ve got a tip feel free to post it in the comments section. I’ll add it to the list to help out the next pipe smoker that stops by.

Tips for Choosing your First Pipe

  • Don’t buy a brand new briar pipe as your first pipe. I recommended you purchase a corn cob pipe for your first cheap tobacco pipe, but if that doesn’t suite your fancy consider a meerschaum or an broken-in estate pipe.
  • Purchase a couple different styles of corn cob pipes to get a feel for what is comfortable to you. It will make your decision much easier when you want to upgrade to a briar or meerschaum pipe.

Tips for Choosing Pipe Tobacco

  • Captain Black pipe tobacco is the most popular tobacco ever sold. A must try.
  • Beginner pipe smokers are highly recommended to start out smoking an aromatic blend of pipe tobacco.
  • Try to smoke several bowls of the same tobacco to get a good feeling for the taste. Mixing several tobacco in the same pipe will change the taste, so be careful how much mixing and matching you do.
  • New tins of tobacco may need moisture adjustments. Generally a new tin is a tad wet, so let it sit out on a napkin for a few minutes before packing your pipe.
  • Never pinch your pipe tobacco when packing your pipe.
  • Reference TobaccoReviews for the best tobacco reviews on the net.

General Pipe Smoking Tips

  • Pack the tobacco very loose on the bottom. Remember your pipe is like a furnace which feeds the flame from the bottom. Packing your pipe to tightly on the bottom will make it difficult to draw air through the stem.
  • The draw on your pipe should have little to no resistance. Experiment. Find what works for you.
  • If your pipe goes out while smoking don’t be scared to relight.
  • If you have to relight consider dumping some of the ash from the bowl.

The Rest of the Pipe Smoking Guide


  1. Just finished reading all of your posts on pipe smoking.
    All very good and helpful.
    I do have two questions though.
    1. How long should it take to smoke one average size bowl?
    2. Do you inhale or is it like smoking a cigar?

    • Smoking Hole says

      To answer your questions Jim B:

      1. 20-30 minutes. Depends on your personal pace, and the volume of your pipe’s bowl. There all different of course.

      2. Do not inhale. I draw the smoke into my mouth as if drinking through a straw, and then slowly allow it to spill out of my mouth and up into my nose. As it flows up into my nostrils, I control the volume by exhaling slightly. Some people inhale because they are used to smoking cigarettes. This is bad for you obviously because the smoke is essentially unfiltered. It is nearly impossible to avoid getting some smoke into your lungs, but once you get the hang of it, it’s no worse than living in a smoggy city like L.A.! 😆 The combination of taste/smell is where it’s at for me. Pipe smoking is not about the nicotine buzz. It’s about the symphony of flavors on your palate.

      • “It’s about the symphony of flavors on your palate”….could not have said it any better! 😎

        • “Well this article on pipe smoking tips and smoking tricks you might just learn a thing or two. Check out the tips and see if they help out your pipe smoking experience. If you’ve got a tip feel free to post it in the comments section. I’ll add it to the list to help out the next pipe smoker that stops by.”

          My tip is simply… experiment! Try different things and enjoy what you do. Find out what works for you and don’t worry about what you’re “supposed to do” or what is “proper”. Do what you love and what makes you happy when you smoke a pipe. That’s the point!

          -jeff baggong

      • “Pipe smoking is not about the nicotine buzz. It’s about the symphony of flavors on your palate.”

        Wow, this is perfect!

        • Gilligan-Oswaldo says

          I agree completely. I feel just sitting in a relaxing chair and simply smoking, thinking and just living is far greater feeling than a nicotine buzz. 🙂

      • jazzmoose says

        Twenty to thirty minutes??? Man, you must be burning your tongue off! An hour or so for an average bowl seems closer to me.

        And recommending Captain Black for a starter? I dunno…maybe if they’re completely new to tobacco, but for people coming from cigarettes or cigars, I’d recommend something a little less junky. My recommendation for a newbie would be to order three tins on the internet: a straight Virginia, a Virginia/Perique mixture, and an English mixture. Taste what real tobacco tastes like; skip the smoking of candy bars! Of course, anyone who has access to a real pipe store can skip the internet and get good advice right from the retailer.

        • Jayanta Banerjee says

          Captain Black is good smoke. I found “Flying Dutchman” agood beginners tobacco. Aromatic yet somewhat akin to a shag.

        • I’ve actually spoken with a gentleman that works at a fine tobacco shop near me, who also happens to be an experienced pipe smoker. His recommendations were all in line with this guide, including beginners starting with an aromatic blend. I’ve been thinking about picking up a pipe and dropping cigar smoking; it seems more pleasurable. My next stop in there will be to purchase a pipe and give it a go. Great guide!

        • PipeStone says

          Borkum Riff is a nice brand but I generally enjoy a burly/cavendish mix

        • The Gatlinburlier in The Smokey Moutains is an excellent place to purchase pipe tobacco and pipes as well as accessories.

      • One thing I haven’t noticed in these posts is keeping up good oral hygene practices if you smoke a pipe. Like any hobby that ‘leaves a residue’, cleaning up afterward is part of it. If you build wooden boats for a hobby, you don’t walk around covered in sawdust and smelling of polyester resin, so if you smoke a pipe there’s no reason to have brown teeth, a yellow moustache and a tobacco “hum” that precedes you by twenty paces. A quick brush of the teeth or a piece of chlorophyll gum and a face wash after a pipeload gives a couple benefits: if there is any risk from the residues, it is greatly reduced by minimizing the contact-to-skin time; and if there’s any resistance from those close to you (emotionally AND physically) this will also reduce that as well.
        Happy guilt-free puffing!

        • Many thanks. I read that smoking pipes gives you stained teeth. I want to smoke a pipe so badly, but I hate stained teeth and lack of hygiene. If I start smoking pipes, I will follow you advice. I will always brush my teeth after.

        • Just don’t brush too soon after. If you brush too soon after smoking you’ll wear down the enamel protecting you teeth faster. That is also true for food and most things u drink. Wait 15 mins or so and your teeth will stand time better!

        • Just don’t brush too soon after. If you brush too soon after smoking you’ll wear down the enamel protecting you teeth faster. That is also true for food and most things u drink. Wait 15 mins or so and your teeth will stand time better!

          (My sister is a dentist :mrgreen: )

    • Michael schulz says

      It depends on a few variables. One being what type of tobacco- ribbon, flake, rubbed or unrubbed etc. .
      Two being the size of pipe. Three being what type of conditions the pipe is being smoked in, like if indoors or out. windy or calm.
      But if you want a general number I would venture to say between thirty minutes too about forty five (give or take). I hope that this helps 🙂

    • G’day lads,

      I quit the evil ciggies about 2 month ago and I miss it… A good Cigar is expensive so is reserved for a special occasion, So I thought I’d take up pipe smoking.
      I’m looking to get a churchwarden pipe, I’ve been told that they produce a more cool smoke and are good for blowing smoke rings, I will pobably get a corcob aswell I’m told thy are an easier place to start and they’re cheap, after I’m finished with it I can have it incase my mates wannaa try it.

      I’m looking for a tobacco that produces allot of smoke, very thick smoke and one that also smells good. Has anybody got any ideas?


      I appreciate the finer things in life like real coffee and fabric softener.

      • if you are looking for a good churchwarden pipe have i got a website for you. Go to they are based out of the Texas renassance festival but are willing to ship your product to you. I currently own two of there hand carved churchwardens and i couldnt be happier with my purchase. Just tell them Clay sent you. 😉

        • Fraser Soderstrom says

          Just to be warned do your searching first. Everything else they have is WAYYYYY overpriced considering i have turned identical things in woodshop for 10 bucks worth of wood in an hour at the same quality. So I wouldnt doubt it that their pipes aren’t worth as much as they seem to think they are. Always shop around before ya buy anything.

        • KnarlyKnot says

          Thank you Clay for the recommendation. I’m glad that you are enjoying your pipes. We stand behind our work and appreciate our customers.

          Fraser, I encourage you to go in to business for yourself, you seem to have talent.

    • Muhammad Ali Qammar says

      two thumbs up for all the tips, tricks and priceless information. Cheers.

    • D.I.A.- Dead in Action says

      my bowls usually take 45 minutes-1 hour but i pack mine a little tighter than most

      and i personally only inhale a couple times to get a feel for the tobacco

      but thats just me

      • David Biederbeck says

        I do the same. I puff my pipe for about 2 minutes, tamp, true-light, then give it about five gentle weak inhales, while it is coolest. I don’t know why, maybe old habits die hard. After that it is all puffing for me.

      • I use a Missouri Meerschaum 5th Avenue diplomat a loose packed bowl will usually last me about an hour maybe a little longer

    • No rules really to pipe smoking. Long before I started to smoke one I used to watch an old prof at college smoke a pipe. The ritual was always the same…he would fill the bowl up and smoke away for about 10 mins then using his pipe tool he would dump what was left in the ashtray, none of that save it to the bottom of the bowl stuff. The truth is, the sherlock holmes of the pipe world is only a fantasy, not one pipe smoker smokes in the smae way. Im a pipe nut, owning around 30 pipes I have growm to love around 6 on a regular basis, the rest I can leave or take. BUT…! I HAVE NEVER FOUND THE PERFECT PIPE AND NEVER WILL. You see pipe smoking is a ritual, one that becomes yours the more you indulge. To all newbies..stop worrying. By a pipe and a bag of shag (St Bruno is a good start) and just go for it. One day you will suddenly see that a few years have gone past and the pipe has become part of your life. Not rocket science really.

    • Ped van de gevel says

      You can take as long as you to smoke a bowl of tabbacco, depends firsty on what size you’re bowl is. I tend to use a Falon mostly and well in the evening with a glass of wine I can smoke it in atleast 30min same goes with my Porsh design pipe. I wouldn’t inhale it more for pleasure than for the buzz of nicotine. The nice thing is you can blend your own tabbacco to your taste.

    • does pipe tobacco smoke taste better or similar to cigar smoke? i’m 17 and i turn 18 in feb. and i look forward to purchasing and enjoying a good ol’ pipe! i just want to know what too expect haha :mrgreen:

    • AnnoyingChris says

      1. up to 5-10 mins.
      2. you should not inhale the smoke. just in your mouth.

  2. Jon Von Pipesmoker says

    Pipe-smoking is a lifestyle choice and one should not enter into this if one is worried about trifling details such as second-hand smoke, cowboy up and enjoy your life; something is going to kill us all anyway, mine as well be something we enjoy doing!!!

    • DannyBoy says

      To the guy saying something will kill us anyway, so lets just enjoy the pipe.. Yes something will kill us anyway and to let you know I’m a hooka/cigar/pipe smoker. But know that the theory of something will kill you anyway isn’t that simple because if you live healthy life and die of old age youll just die naturally but you smoke you pipe, get cancer, and die with tons and tons of pain. Sure in the end its all the same.

      • So, you think you will die peacefully when you are 90+ years old? You think you won’t get cancer if you don’t smoke (or do whatever else you like to do)? People get cancer all the time and they don’t smoke. Are you trying to change people’s mind ( to your ideas of course) to do something you want them to do? Why don’t you do what “they” do that way you won’t feel left out? It would be so much easier. These are adults here that don’t require anyone to lecture them about how to live their lives. There are plenty of other persons that think the way you do who yearn for your company and would like you to come join them instead of starting trouble where trouble shouldn’t be started. 💡

        • heh, a life with out some rich food, some good lovin, quality smoke, craft beer, and specialty coffee is not a life worth living.

        • yea dude i gotta say, threads are for on topic discussion. lets leave the drama at home. if people are antismoking why are they trying to read about how to smoke? RAWR CARCINOGENS RUNN!!

      • Well I really have to say i have given up worrying about the health issues. I was a 30 a day ciggy smoker for years then I started to smoke a pipe, these days the pipe is used maybe once a day (often less) and in between I use a little bit of snuff tobbaco to keep the addiction away. You see I really do enjoy tobacco, and sure I know it has a health risk, infact I know someone (a cigar smoker) who passed away not so long ago, his wife has his ashes in his favourite cigar box…FACT! So what do I think about health. Well I see it this way, I value my life and want to enjoy it to the max, I also knkow that one day I will pass away. What is the point of living your life in a glass green house, it only takes one stone to break you dream and in any case just as you dont know quite how you got here you wont know what your exit will be. I value my life highly, infacy so bhighly that I take pride in making my own desicions over what is right and wrong for me to do with my body. I do not kill people, I try to help all I meet and I live a life that compared to some is on the good side. The least I deserve is a little pipe every now and again as a way of reminding myself that life is not forever but is to be enjoyed. Dont forget, goverments do not wish for us to enjoy those things that we find pleasurable, and tobbaco is big buisness. They made a fortune selling us the stuff in the first place and now they are making a firtune trying to get us off the stuff. Become a pipe smoker, disregard the bull shit….

      • Anti Tobacco lobby act like Nazis .. they always try to dictate the lives of others.

  3. Totally with Jon Von! Enjoying my Peterson (one of the pretty green one’s lol) with a “lightly flavoured” coffee! It’s a beautiful thing.

  4. Thanks for the info. I need some help. I’ve burned through the bowls of two briar pipes, both bought new, within 5-6 weeks after purchase. What am I doing wrong? I smoke about 6 bowls a day.

  5. Steve, Sounds like your smoking your pipe to fast. I would suggest you slow down and ‘smell the roses’ 😉 Also are you smoking the same briar pipe 6 times per day? Briar pipes need a chance to dry out before your next smoke which can take several days. I would recommend a meerschaum pipe if you’re going to be smoking the same pipe multiple time throughout the day.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    • Azizan Khalili says

      Nathan, I’ve just burnt a hole through my Tsuge Bulldog Bent Triangle. I have 10 pipes in rotation & only smoke a bowl a day.
      I’ve had that pipe not more than 6 months ago. So, on the average I’ve smoke it not more than 20 times.
      What could I have done wrong?


      • Bob Smith says

        You did nothing wrong. Burnouts happen. They are more likely to happen with less expensive pipes, but even the finest high-grade straight grain can burn out. Briar often contains tiny air pockets. If one of these is buried within the bowl wall, the air will expand when the pipe gets hot, causing a rupture. Then the thinner wall will be susceptible to burning through. You can reduce the chances of a burnout by carefully breaking in a new pipe: slowly smoke only half a bowl at a time until you develop a nice cake on the bottom, then gradually increase the amount of tobacco you put in. But sometimes they just happen. And they are most likely to happen when the pipe is new, as in your case.

        • If it’s a good (expensive) pipe, try taking it back to the tobacconist where you bought it. He may replace it for free (or a discount).

  6. Pipesmoking is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I have been a pipesmoker for many years and for those of you new at it, be patient! It’s worth every ounce (of patience) to learn how. I smoke custom blend tobacco and spend a little more on pipes now, but that is where I’m at with it. Start with the basics and you will be enjoying pipesmoking soon. 😀

    • Excellent advice. I’ve been smoking for 38 years. I can still appreciate Captain Black Gold in a cob. My higher end pipes look pretty in the rack.

  7. 2007-09-25


    • jazzmoose says

      I can relate. When I went back to pipes, I had to quit ciggies for a couple of months to adapt. Smoking a pipe just won’t deliver the nicotine as fast as a sucked down cigarette! Or, you could just switch to a high-potency tobacco like Peterson’s Irish Flake.

  8. Hey,

    I just smoked my first ever pipe. I only smoked half a bowl and had a couple of problems.

    1 – I had to relight the thing about 12 times!
    2 – The smoke was very harsh. I got what I assume was “burning tongue” but on the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat.

    However, I also go some very subtle hints of delicious flavours and I’m sure that I’m going to love pipe-smoking! I’m putting the 2 problems down to it being my first time, and not being experienced with packing and burning it.

    Fingers crossed though!

    • it does take time to learn how to ride a bike right??
      so the pipe needs a bit of patient handling.
      hope u will get the hang of it, light up and best wishes.

    • Sounds to me like your not packing your bowl tight enough if your having to relight that much and its burning that hot. Also, do you have a filter in your pipe? If not you should get one to help with the heat. When you put in the tobacco pack it once lightly light it, pack it a second time, and light it, and pack it a third time lightly and light it. After the third light you should be ready to rock n roll.

    • If you’re getting tongue bite it’s probably because you’re drawing too quickly and causing the pipe to burn hot. You need to puff slowly, relax and enjoy the flavor. If it goes out . . . so what, relight.

    • kokodesu says

      I have been a pipe smoker now for over 35 years, it’s a pleasant hobby that seems to attract thoughtful, pleasant people. Here’s a couple of suggestions to help:

      1. If the pipe won’t stay lit, it’s likely that the tobacco isn’t packed quite right. It should give some resistance when you draw through the pipe but should not be difficult. Correctly packed, you should be able to keep any pipe lit after the true light by controlling draw and as necessary, lightly tamping down any “fluffed” ash in the bowl (do not pack). If a crust forms on the top and makes draw too hard, you can use the pointed end of a tamper to open a small path and restore a normal draw.

      2. Flavored tobaccos tend to be wet. Burning any tobacco produces additional water. If you run the pipe hot you will end up steaming your tongue and mouth, (the “bite” sensation). Learning to control draw and breathing (slower is better) will help keep the pipe cooler. The best taste seems to occur when the pipe is so cool it is almost ready to go out (this is not so easy to do, but can be learned with time). It is at this point that the natural oils and sugars in the tobacco tend to blend into the smoke uncharred and the moisture level is reduced (no hot steam).

      3. The tobacco blend can make quite a difference. Most new smokers start with something like Captain Black or a Cherry blend. Women, an important consideration for many of us (since we prefer to live with them 😉 ) seem to appreciate the fragrant aromas better. My sweetheart retains veto rights on any new blends brought into the house.

      As time goes by, many pipe smokers are attracted to the spicy, smoky, woodsy flavor of latakia based English blends. My current favorite is McClelland’s Bombay Court – but it may not find favor with the ladies as many may find the smoke a bit too pungent for their noses.

      Many experienced smokers like Virginias. Smoked cool they are quite sweet and flavorful and the smoke’s aroma is not so strong and offensive to your better halves as the English blends. They are challenging for a “newbie” to enjoy though, as they are quite likely to “bite” and char if run too hot.

      Relax and enjoy! 😀

      • Mernon Lollich says

        I’ve been smoking pipes for nearly sixty years and have accumulated about thirty or so (some I bought over fifty years ago, including a pair of Webers which are still going strong). During the past thirty years or so I’ve bought estate pipes – a wide choice is available and affordable, and are nicely broken in.

        I can suggest a couple of things to bear in mind about pipe smoking: 1) Relax and go slow while smoking; the smoke will last longer and the pipe won’t overheat – it should never get too hot to hold comfortably in the hand. 2) Smoking a pipe is restful – cigarette smoking leads to a kind of frenzy, trying to get that punch in the chest which addicts us and eventually kills us.

        At my time of life (approaching eighty at the speed of light) I find the first pipe in the morning, with a mug of coffee, starts the day off a treat. The last pipe in the evening, with a glass or two of good port, ends the day beautifully – the combination beats any sleeping pill!

        You young’uns who are just starting have a lot to look forward to; just be patient. Your mouth will adjust, just as a horse’s mouth gets used to the bit.

        • hey, I am sixteen years old and I’ve been smoking on my friends pipe for a couple weeks. I love it. It’s very relaxing and a delightful time to spend with a friend in the same state of mind. I’m thinking about buying an estate pipe the next time i am in London. I have been using my friends estate pipe that he inherited from his grandfather. It’s amazing, and I find it much easier to get started if you have a friend that already smokes pipe to guide you through it. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of pipe-smoking.

        • I am also 16 and recently my sister bought a pipe off the internet for fancy dress purposes. When she finished with it she gave it to me as she knows I already smoke and have always wanted to try pipes. I think it’s a briar which I know isn’t ideal for beginners but I can’t really afford to get a different one. I’ve smoked different drugs (such as weed and salvia) in pipes before but never pipe tobacco. I’m especially keen to try some of the aromatic tobaccos mentioned. Anybody have any basic rules which I have to obey to get this right?

      • Dave Labrum says

        Great advice. I appreciate the thoughtfulness toward others, especially wives. Time spent smoking my pipe is enhanced if my wife is next to me. Her opinion on the aroma is always a factor in blend choices. Inconsiderate smoking is part of the reason tobacco has been so effectively vilified. I even asked my neighbors if the smoke was offensive to them when I took up pipes and cigars (outside). The number of people who regard second-hand pipe smoke as enjoyable and nostalgic was a surprise. One neighbor refers to me as Gandalf the Grey.

        I am new to smoking so I have no sage advice. But hope that with some courtesy, we can revive the pleasures of pipe smoking in a health conscious world.

    • i am 19 and recently just like mentioned in this guide was at a park and smelt someone else smoking a pipe. i loved the smell and decided to give it a shot. not a huge fan of the corn cob stile so i talked with a girl at a local smoke shop and she showed me this little pipe that was only a buck and said it would be a great way to get started and not spend to much. i must say i do enjoy it very much. it wasn’t till after trying the little pipe that i found this guide and i must say already i found a few things i was doing wrong just wanted to say thanks.

      i do have one question though. i have two types of tobaccos i smoke vanilla and cherry. i found that they don’t really taste like vanilla or cherry and remind me more of a cigar. i am wondering if that is because i am not packing the bowl right or if i am smoking it to quickly?

  9. I would like to get a pipe for my boyfriend for Christmas. I checked out Missouri Meerschaum Company’s website- ( to see what type to buy, but I’m still lost! He would be a begginner pipe smoker. Any suggestions which pipe to buy from that site?

    Thank you!!!!

    • Hey, hey, sounds like a great gift. I suggest finding a local “smoke” or cigarette shop if you have one around, or even Main line drug store oddly enough will have a low cost, but good starters pipe. I use those for freinds joining me too, or the occasional “night out” with buddies. These are low priced, yet very effective at getting one started. The most important is the packing, and slow enjoyable “draws” of the pleasured smoke.

      Good Luck and enjoy from one low budget piper to a newbie…

  10. smokin' kYd says

    I rather enjoyed your articles on pipe smoking. I read them casually while breaking in my newest pipe. I started smoking a pipe about 10 years ago, and lost my favorite pipe whilst moving. I chose to go with a new pipe. And if you are a beginner pipe smoker and go this route, do not be discouraged with a slight bitter taste from your smoke, it’s part of the process. However, once the pipe gets burned in, you will be enjoying the full richness and aroma of your smoke. Again, as beginners go, a cob pipe and one of the various flavors of capt. black’s tobacco’s will get you going for fairly cheap.


    may your burn be slow and your flavor be full

  11. Just checked your site out for the first time. I’ve been smoking pipes for several years now and the experience just gets better with age. Lately I’ve been smoking Falcon pipes (for those who don’t know they have an aluminum shank and bowl base with wood screw on bowl). Just curious if you or anyone has tried these and what reactions might be.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Bill Halvorsen says

      I have smoked Prince Albert in the Falcon for many years. I find the Falcon to be a very cool smoking pipe, easy to clean and very durable. The Briar bowls can be rotated day to day (I keep four of them and change out daily). I know several pipe smokers who “look down their noses” at both my Falcon and my Prince Albert, but I enjoy both; in fact, I would not trade either for any of the “high brow” brands.

    • Hi have recently purchased a Falcon pipe,with 2 bowls 1 merchum lined I am having a great deal off trouble trying to smoke this pipe. I am smoking a Comoys Everman with ease, Any advise on what I am doing wrong
      Regards David

      • David, did you ever figure this problem out with smoking your Falcon pipe? I picked up a Falcon pipe used. When I draw through the pipe, hardly any air flows down through the bowl. I could barely light the tobacco and it wouldn’t stay lit. Do you have any suggestions based on your experience?

  12. Hey everyone,
    For beginners out there, a few pieces of advice. I strayed away from smoking for awhile and recently have come back. As far as tobacco goes, spend the little extra and go to a smoke shop. As popular as Capt. Black is… and having smoked before, I was dissapoined when I grabbed a pouch just because I was itching to get back in. I went to the smoke shop the next day and got myself a great aromatic blend… was well worth the wait and money.

    Take your time… enjoy. Rushing the experience is one of the worst things you can do.

  13. Randomly over the past couple of weeks i have been toying with the idea of trying the pleasure of pipe smoking. Today i got myself a pipe, aromatic tobacco & some tapered pipe-cleaners. I have to admit that the art of smoking a pipe is somewhat more of a challenge than i originally anticipated.

    Like in the comments above – my smokes up till now have been slightly bitter and have burnt quite hot. Although i have been taking shallow frequent puffs & tampering, the quantity of the smoke produced is quite small. I am unsure that the quality of the tobacco i have bought isn’t of a good quality (Aromatic loose un-branded blend).

    I have followed countless tutorials on how to pack my bowl properly – First layer been not too tight, second layer with a slight pressure with my tampering tool. When i light up, i scorch the surface tobacco to produce a slight layer of ash which i lightly tamper down. I then re-light whilst drawing shallow, long tokes and get a decent quality of smoke for a few moments. The burn then seems to die down.

    I’m sure that the quality of the tobacco is an important issue but i’ll put this down to my in-experience. I’m after the tobacco that got me curious in the pipe thing in the first place. The tobacco that gives off a great aroma. The tobacco that you can almost smell when watching The Lord Of The Rings whan Gandalf & the Hobbits are smoking their pipe-weed. Its a sweet warm smell. Do you have any recommendations?

    The smoke that this tobacco produces is undesirable compared to the smell you get when you’ve been in the presence of a pipe smoker who walk on by in the park.


    • Keep up your efforts, and practice practice…is all it takes. I am no pro, but have learned by re 😉 ading this exact information here and got it. A big tip to all is to have a couple of pipes or plenty of patience to let the pipe “dry” out between “excercises”. As for my first year of sampling various tobacco. I defy anyone to not find the superior pleasure of the “Cherry Almond” blend from Tinder Box. It is fabulous, all around.

      Enjoy, don’t give up. 😉

      • I have tried many of the Tinder Box blends and would suggest that your try the Anniversary Blend. The cherry almond is good, but a bit harsh and full. I am a cherry fan and found the more subtle mix of cherry contained in the Anniversary blend a lot more pleasing. But thats just me, and it greatly depends on your likes.

    • I’m a beginner too. Ironically, you should probably do the opposite of what the poster just above recommends for beginners. You should probably start with Captain Black. Captain Black is available in every drug store and has that stereotypical wonderful aroma that nonsmokers always compliment you on. It’s very mild, and that’s why experienced smokers, or former cigarette smokers, find it less than satisfying. But we’re beginners! For us it’s pleasant tasting, not hot or bitey, and everyone else loves the smell. Start with that and move up to more sophisticated blends when and if you feel the need to. There are lots of reviews on It’s a misconception that all pipe tobaccos smell good. A lot of highly rated ones don’t. But don’t buy something just because it’s highly rated. A lot of them produce heavy, powerful smoke, possibly with tangy, spicey, or other unusual flavor notes. Some of these are for hardcore smokers and not for the weak of heart. Out of the tobaccos that receive 4 star ratings, Trout Stream blend sounds intriguing to me. I’t supposed to smell and taste wonderful, but is obviously much more well thought of than Captain Black or any other “drugstore blend”.

      • Oh, and one other thing I forgot to mention. You didn’t says what kind of pipe you were using but I would really recommend you start with a corncob. Despite what you might perceive as the “hillbilly” look of it, corncob pipes smoke cool. The bitter and hot tastes you are getting may also be due in part to smoking an inferior or not broken in wooden pipe. A $5 corncob from the drugstore is going to smoke better than a brand new $35 wooden pipe from the same drugstore for sure. It might be a different story if you bought a $200 estate briar pipe that was already well broken in. I couldn’t tell you myself. I haven’t shelled out that kind of green.

        • Oops again. I think that the reviews are on, and the “Trout Stream blend” I mentioned is for sale on

        • Hi Jim and fellow-smokers. I thought I would post since I was reading Jim’s comments on Trout Stream. I have only been smoking pipes for about a month, since I was turned on to them by my close friend. He happened to purchase some Trout Stream along with various other highly-rated tobaccos (including Butternut Burley and Larry’s Blend). I have tried about five different tobaccos now and I must say that Trout Stream is simply outstanding. It is part-cavendish, and wonderfully, but not overly, sweet. I recommend this for the beginners who shy away from the all-too-common Captain Jack.

          As for corncob pipes – I don’t own one and have never smoked out of one. I do not doubt the advice about them that has been given here by various people – however, for me the aesthetic of the pipe is a huge motivation for pipe smoking. Perhaps image is not everything, but it is definitely something. You might purchase a corncob if you are just getting started, but I doubt you will use it for very long. Briar pipes are not as expensive as have been quoted here. My friend got me two excellent pipes for less than $15 dollars on ebay (and that price includes shipping); and just today I purchased a very nice Churchwarden for only $10, with free shipping. If you intend to smoke pipes, sooner or later you will turn to briars. It might as well be sooner.

          Happy smoking!

      • Jim: try some Trout Stream I smoke it all the time . it’s an outstanding blend of it’s type you won’t go wrong with this blend

    • The tobacco quality is the most important detail when smoking a pipe. Store brands are worthless e.g.( Capt. black, paladin,dunriff). Here is a website for some good tobacco. G.L. Please is a wonderful tobacco with many different flavors

    • I echo the responses to Sy’s comment. However, I would like to suggest a slightly different perspective. Many times, pipe smokers focus just on the smoke. Don’t get me wrong, the smoke is wonderful. But I derive a great deal of pleasure from the ritual of laying out the tobacco, packing the tobacco, lighting the first light, tamping, lighting the true light, and tamping while enjoying the smoke.

      Take the time to learn to pack your pipe right, but enjoy the lesson. Pipe smoking is relaxing. Be deliberate as you pack your pipe to set aside concerns and cares. For the next 35 minutes to an hour, your focus should be reflecting a life well lived and a pipe thoroughly enjoyed.

      • I have re-lighted my pipe after recently after giving up in 1984. I totally agree with you, Jeff.
        One must learn to enjoy the whole ritual.

      • You could not be more right Jeff! Do it for the whole process and ritual of it, not just for the end result.

      • Well said, sir!
        Relaxation is all about the ritual, and that’s a lot of the attraction to the pipe. I always look forward to my 45 minutes or so at the end of the day (I’m a 1 pipe a day man)when I can choose the pipe, lay out the tobacco (smelling the aroma the whole time -mmm)packing, lighting and finally enjoying the sweet cool beginning smoke, the nuttier middle of the bowl smoke, and finally the tangy final 1/3 to the end.
        You can’t beat it.

  14. I have to admit, I went to a pipe store today after visting a great English Pub in this United States of America, called the “Man of Kent”. Afterwords, my fiance and I went down to this pipe shop to buy a pipe and some pipe tobacco. Mind you, I’ve been saying that I wanted to smoke a pipe again, after all these years ( I smoked a pipe in college, and I smoked Dunhill pipe tobacco). Little did I know, what the price of pipes are these days (I’m still searching for my Briar pipe from my college days). I found this long pipe, that reminds me of “Mad Men” on AMC. The long pipe from the 60’s look. I loved it. Surprised that the pipe was more than I thought it would be. I then had to get all the other accessories, which the store owner was happy to oblige with and had the knowledge of. Smoking a pipe is incredible. I love the aromoa and the taste that lingers in your mouth. Its unfortunate that in this day and age, whereas, smoking is bad for you, I’ve decided to take up smoking a pipe again. It sure as hell beats cigarettes. And I don’t inhale like I did when I smoked a cigarette. Its a desirable taste thats left in the mouth and filters up through the nostrils. Top that off with a nice Scotch and I’m in heaven.

  15. Just about to go out and get myself a pipe for the first time. I’m 38yo and have been having dreams about walking into my ggrandfathers house where he had at least a collection of 10-12 pipes that he would have one of them in his hand/mouth every time I stepped through the doors. What a welcome smell and sight it was. Since he’s no longer around to ask and his pipes went with him to the grave, I was hoping for some help. Not bragging but….money isn’t an object so….what would you all suggest for a pipe or pipes and then, what starting tobac would you all recommend. I want that soft, warm, sweet smell that I remember. It was never spicy….always soft and sweet. Thanks in advance.

  16. I’m just starting out myself, so I don’t have any pipe recommendations. But, I checked out tobacco reviews at (I’m pretty sure that’s the right address) and I went with a couple of the most highly rated aromatics there. I’m loving them both and definitely recommend them. They are:
    Berry Cobbler – from Boswell’s
    Middle Earth blend – from The Pipe Room (It’s reviewed as Middle Earth Blend, but they now sell it as King Arthur Blend [trademark issues?])

  17. My friends Dad, used to smoke when we were young. I have always loved the smell and admired his collection. I had no idea there are so many kinds and I now can ID what he had on the rack. I dont know what kind of tobacco he smoked so Im going to have to try out some of them, but I remember a black and white can on the shelf, and I think it was Capt Black.

    Anyways My wife is getting me an estate pipe for christmas, so I figured I better damn well know how to smoke by then, so I picked up a corncob pipe, some mild aromatic tobacco, and a tamper tool kit.

    wish me luck

  18. Advice desired…I began pipe smoking a year ago and love it. I got my wonderful step son started too, he’s real cigar officiando, and enjoys the pipe now and then too. We don’t live close so it’s always a blast when we visit. Anyway, I have to learn how to acquire the ability to drink Scotch! for god sakes you all are talking about it here, it’s practically in the plumbing of the “lounges” he and I visit. He loves it, I just need to know how the heck I can get that liquid steel wool down my throat.

    Any advice would be great…puff…….puff……………….puff 🙄

    • Scotch is an aquired taste. I love scotch!! For beginners I suggest Clan McGregor, it’s cheap and has a nice smooth flavor like J&B and Dewar’s. Johnny Walker Red and Balentines are pretty mild as well. If you can get used to the taste of those then try the hotter stuff like Glenfidich and Glenlivit. Chivas Regal is not a good scotch for a beginner to drink first. I’ll drink just about anything and my favorite drink is a boilermaker but when I just wanna sit and relax and enjoy a good pipe smoke and a nice cool drink I prefer scotch. You don’t rush scotch, you should enjoy it slowly. Lots of ice helps too. I you don’t like it straight try water or tonic.

      • I can’t believe I said tonic 😳 ! I meant soda water. Sorry about that. My bad. Too many boilermakers lol!

      • i am having my first pipe right now with a bourbon flavoured tabacco and loving every minute of it.

        I learnt to drink scotch straight over a very very long time, i found the trick was to get into it slowly start by mixing it with coke (i know i will get flamed for that) then head on over to soda water then finally ice. I still can’t drink it neat but with ice its fantastic. And i agree J&B is a great place to start very very smooth

        • Vodka beig pretty popular around the parts were i live i got used to neat spirits from the start… it’s really something of an aquired taste. Just drink neat untuill you get used to it.

      • Try Talisker. Excellent.

    • Gently sip and taste, don’t just drink! With a really nice scotch, you want it served as neat as you can handle until you get used to the taste.
      With any kind of beer, wine or neat alcohol, be willing to splurge a little more for your first sip. When it comes to scotch, if you have a choice between different ages, say a 12 year or 17 year Lagavulin (or other recommended favorites), I choose the 17 year… they are typically aged in wooden casks that have a mellowing effect, and makes it more palateable. You can settle for something different after, but savour every sip of the first scotch. Let it sit on your tongue for a moment before you swallow the sip.
      If I bought a bottle of scotch to entertain at home, I would buy two… a 17 year is much less expensive than a 25 year, but much more pleasant than a 7 to 12 year. Buy a fine bottle and a drinking bottle (if you ever need more than one drink 😆 ). Honour your guests with a serving of the good stuff. Then continue with the regular stuff… it’s easier to handle then, and your guests don’t just kill your private stash!. Same holds true when you order in the pub. AND with this approach, I’ve learned that I can sip neat tequila or rum that has been distilled with similar levels of care and attention as the finer scotches. Tequila was simply just vile until I got to taste the stuff that wealthy Mexicans enjoy (rather than the stuff they send to us!)
      Don’t drown it (the good stuff) in ice (just one or two small cubes), water or soda, as you’ll diminish the subtle flavors in the scotch (the oakey flavor from the cask, maybe some mossy scents from the peat…) that’s a whole other topic… I haven’t tried it with a pipe yet, but I think I’ll enjoy it!

      • I must admit I find the advice on “learning” to drink scotch a bit interesting. The entire point of this activity is pleasure, this isn’t learning to enjoy broccoli because it is good for you. If you don’t like scotch, then you don’t like scotch. I love scotch, but unfortunately the cheaper the scotch the less palatable to those who don’t like whiskey. While I drink bourban and scotch with ice, never with a pipe. The liquid in my opinion should not be icy against the warm tobacco, but rather be warming as well. If you don’t like scotch, no worries, consider other mellow liqour such as cognac, calvados, or even a nice bourban. Try a couple until you find something you like.

        • Don’t think of the exercise as “learning to drink scotch”, think of it as breaking in your palette for scotch, in the same way that you break in your pipes (and also your palette) for tobacco.

          I learned from cigar smokers a while back that just like proper preparation can really improve your enjoyment of smoking, so can proper follow-up. In particular, what I learned from them is that well-aged cheddar cheese and good scotch work wonders for getting some of the stickier smoke residues out of your mouth before they can begin to go stale (and stale smoke residue tastes awful).

          My ideal smoke occurs on a pleasant summer evening, in the cockpit of my sailboat as follows:

          First I pull out a (small) block of old cheddar (I typically go for a 3 year old cheese made from unpasteurized milk, but you might have difficulty finding raw cheese in your area) and cut off about a dozen slices. I then set these slices on crackers, wipe any crumbled cheese from my cutting block, and place the crackers with cheese on the cutting block, on the galley counter. In front of the cutting block, I then lay out a handkerchief, and spread my tobacco on to it to clear out the lumps before packing the pipe. I pack the pipe and lean it against the cutting block so that it doesn’t spill. Then I shake any residual tobacco off of the handkerchief into the galley sink, and set the handkerchief aside to be laundered. I fill one of my water bottles, and set out into the cockpit with it and the pipe, where I light the pipe, and take 30-60min to smoke it, occasionally having a sip of water if I feel my mouth drying out, or if I draw too hard or too fast from the pipe (which I still do from time to time). I usually ash over the side of the boat (which has a wooden toe rail that’s gentle on the briar).

          After I’m finished with the tobacco (I usually bring my pipe with me to the tobacconist and let him choose a blend after smelling the bowl, so that I can get a smoke that best complements the centuries of seasoning already flavouring my pipe), I return to the galley to set my pipe down to rest, pour myself a glass of scotch (I favour a 10 year Talisker for this), and return to the cockpit with the cheese and the scotch. I then eat the cheese and sip on the scotch while continuing to take occasional swigs of water from my bottle. Once these are done, I undress, wash (which allows me to set my clothes aside to be laundered, wash my face, and brush my teeth; sparing me again from the curse of stale smoke) and retire to my berth for the night.

          All in all, it typically takes me about 2.5-3h to perform this entire ritual. The demands it places on my time are offset by the fact that all this time carries the relaxed and pleasing character of time spent smoking a pipe, and the fact that it keeps these rituals infrequent enough that I can afford to use better tobacco, scotch, and cheese when performing it.

      • I wouldn’t put emphasis on age. Of course 17 year old is different from 12 year old, yet for instance, I would certainly prefer 10 year Laphroaig or Talisker over 15 year Glenfiddich. Again, I would also say that it would make no difference and stronger whiskeys would be probably even more repelled by beginner

        • Being in my early thirties and living just about everywhere on both coasts of the US, I settled in Kentucky. As a former Scotch drinker I was reluctant to try Kentucky’s famous Burbons, but after I took the Burbon Tour and sampled the goods I was hooked! It has a mellower taste then Scotch and I find it to be most enjoyable neat with a nice bowl of an aromatic blend and a good book. Try Elijah Craig 18 or 21 year, pricey but so worth it, Woodford Reserve and Four Roses single barrel are less expensive and excellent as well. If you’re more of a Manhatten type then Maker’s Mark mixes well with both sweet and dry Vermouth. The caramel and oaky flavors complement my pipe quite nicely and even my very difficult in-laws remark on how good my little library smells.

    • When someone is trying straight alcohol, be it scotch or a nice brandy, the most important thing is to swallow twice on each sip. Sounds funny , sure, but I promise it works. Take a sip, and then swallow twice back to back. Don’t let your tongue leave the roof of your mouth (everyone swallow right now and pay attention, your tongue presses against the roof of your mouth.) It’s hard without actually drinking something, but it’s easy after taking a sip of your drink. This will kill the burning sensation and allow you to actually taste the flavor of the scotch. After a relatively short time, you will become aclimated to the strength of straight scotch and crave it. I’m going to pour a drink. Enjoy. mp

      • AllenLennon says

        wow, i normally drink scotch with coke and ice, but after reading your post(which i find funny seeing it is on a page about pipes) i tried it first with out swollowing twice, than after the effect went away i took a sip swallowing twice and no such kick that happened the first time, it is nice, wont have it all the time till i get use to it, but thanks.

    • The first time I ever truly enjoyed a scotch it was at a cigar bar in Montreal. I didn’t know much about scotch or cigars at the time, but taking 45 minutes to sip through a Johnny Walker Black with one ice cube and smoke a romeo y julietta completely sold me. Since then I’ve gotten into single-malts, and especially ones from Islay, but I think the Johnny Walker Black is a fantastic smooth scotch to break yourself in on.

      • In Scotland they almost always have their scotch with a splash of plain spring water (no fizzy soda, no ice please!), so that’s how I learned to enjoy it. They said that drinking it ‘neat’ numbs the palate.
        To start off with, try a nice blended scotch like Teachers. A good single malt to start with is Glenmorangie (rhymes with “Orange-y”). But whatever you drink and smoke, make sure you do what YOU like, never mind the rest of us!

  19. Wannabe piper says

    I’ve been a cigarette smoker for many years and no longer find it a pleasurable experience. Looking for something MORE from my smoking. I’m not into the whole quitting thing. So I’ve been considering taking up the pipe. Just wanted to say that I’ve found this site most helpful. Thankyou for being around. So I’m gonna get started and I’ll let you know how it all turns out. Cheers.

    • If you want something more from your smoking, smoke weed.

      • weed is the spice of life i love to first smoke a nice bowl of this not so legal aromatic and then switch to my ordinary briar for a nice slow enjoyable experience with my favorite vanilla-almond blend

      • Longshanks says

        Hahaha good to see 13 year olds reading this!

        • I’m 25 years old, a veteran and successful businessman, and I agree with the “13 year old”

        • My husband and I are in our Mid-thrities, both have successful buisnesses, two intelligent and beautiful children, and care for our aging and disabled parents and grandparents. We have “respectable” hobbies like golf, playing classical music, and showing horses, are college educated, have traveled, and are bilingual. We own our small Estate and have worked for every penny we have made. We also agree with the “13 year old”. Cannabis can be used medicinally when western medicine cannot be.

  20. I’ve just taken up pipe smoking and am enjoying it very much. I started with a tobac blend that was recommended by the owner of my local smoke shop, The Briar and Bean. It’s nice, but I’m looking for something a bit more aromatic and “sweet” smelling. Any recommendations?

  21. I just started smoking pipe, my uncle actually got me into it, being a long time cig and cigar smoker i wanted something more,
    went out bought a beautiful briar pipe, and some mango tango tobacco from Tinder Box and ive loved every puff.
    Still having a lil trouble packing, but its all about practice.
    Questiong though, is there a HUGE difference between briar and meerschaum pipes…i only ask because i rele like the look of the meerschaum, but i love the smoke of the briar having never tried the meerschaum.

  22. Is pipe smoking addicting? I want to take it up but just as a casual hobby.
    If I do it randomly, will I not be able to stop, and will I crave it like
    with cigarettes?

    • Its all up to you. Only you can say ‘when’. Tobacco is tobacco no matter how you smoke it. I have a humidor full of stogies but I rarely get to have one as I don’t smoke around the house. I do it when I go fishing or shooting out in the desert.

  23. Yes and No, are you going to crave it like that cig after lunch well maybe but not the same way certainly not as badly, plus as someone mentioned in perhaps this thread or another, smoking a pipe takes some skills, if you don’t pack it right you will be relighting the thing over and over, a good bowl should last 30-45 minutes if your good at it(packing, charring up the firstlayer and then repacking etc.) So in other words a cig can just be lit and smoked, no brain neccesary. But a pipe takes about five minutes of prep if your a intermediate, or like 45 seconds if your good at it, but the whole vibe with pipes is taking your time. Have something to do, a good book, cup of coffee, or a nice quiet place to enjoy a view.

    Occaisional, no you will not get addicted even one bow a day isn’t that much really, I smoke my pipe maybe 2-4 times a week, but sometimes I end up smoking it many times in a day, again it’s all about how you feel. I hope you live on your own, cause this is definately not something you could hide from your parents the smell is too strong.

    My recommendation is that you google up a pipe and cigar shop, and take a little drive out there and just go in and look and chat with someone. To be honest most people are so intimidated in those places, they walk in and all these old dudes are puffing fat cigars and pipes and one feels timid saying,”How do I do that ?” but you shouldn’t because that is what the employees are there for, and yes they are not some weird elite crowd that frowns on beginers. They will teach you help you pick out something good and get you started. I would suggest you skip all that corn cob rubbish and just get a descent pipe save up about a hundred bucks, and you will come home with a good pipe and a few types of tobbacco and some cleaning tools, with probably a good twenty or so left over, depending on how good a pipe you got.

    My first pipe was a 45 dollar churchwarden, recently I saw the same pipe selling for 125 dollars guess they do go up in value, my last pipe I wanted something nicer so I went with Tim West model that cost me about 200 something, but really when you go in there talk with the pros and see that most pipes they sell cost in the thousands, well then 45 bucks for something that doesn’t taste like A**, doesn’t seem so bad.

    Good Luck.

    • Longshanks says

      Just got my first pipe and it was a Peterson Churchwarden as well. very cool pipe. I like the fact that the smoke doesnt go into my face as much with a longstem.

      Bottom line when chosing your first pipe: try out everything that appeals to your eye. hold them and get a feel for it. A good store will be friendly and patient with you so hold as many as you like then get the one that calls out!

  24. Well i just smoked my first pipe like 2 days ago. My brother came home from college and was smoking a pipe and I had asked if i could join him. He said he had already smoked out of one but i could use it any way if I dried it with a pipe cleaner. I took my time on it he showed me a lot of things and whats everything is called and all the jazz, and I found it rather enjoyable. So I am going to try to get into pipe smoking but don’t know where to get a decent pipe. My brother told me not to get a corncob pipe, and i have enough patience to break in a new pipe. Theres no place good enough around where I live and was looking for a decent type or brand of pipe that I could buy I have about 50 dollars to spend on pipe. Any ideas?

    • richard says

      i just got my first one from an antigue store for five bucks, broken in but not used very much, call ahead though i had to go to 3 different stores to find one that had any at all, its a nice one hand carved, and the previous owner had an r engaved into it so it fit me perfectly.

  25. Reginold Fitsgerald Esquire says

    I 😳

  26. listen a really good pipe is great if you can afford it but i defiantly dont recomend a corn cob pipe i have a ceramic pipe thats called a yello-bole and the style of mine is nova but theres a hundre3d different style and they range from 13 to 20 dollars go with that it will last you as long as you want and has a good taste i also recomend not gettin the pipes with insertable paper filtes go with the tiny metal spoons all you have to do is wipe them off as opposed to buying a new filter as far as tobbacos go dont get get either middeltons cherry or half and half burley and bright if you want taste for smell go with borkun riff cherry cavendish or jamestowne traditon aromatic mixture

    enjoy slowly and burn long peace ❗ ❗

  27. Hi; I’m totally new to pipe smoking. There’s some people at my law school that are into the “hookah nights.” It seems to be all the rage and it got me to thinking of a pipe for the longest time but I want a so-called normal version.

    I went to a shop Saturday to purchase a pipe and I realized right away that some research into the selection of pipes would be necessary; I’m grateful for the information at this site!

    One thing I haven’t seen discussed is the effect of heating and cooling of the bowl. Are there any issues with the rapid heating and cooling of the walls of the bowl when the user lights the tobacco? Also, are there techniques that are better than others when doing this?

    Last, I hope someone might advise which would be better: a pipe with a metal insert or the used briar type of pipe that has been mentioned here? I just don’t care for the corncob type. Is the only disadvantage with the metal insert increased noise from condensation? If so, would cleaning the pipe each time make a difference?

    Well, any advice here would be appreciated.


  28. Hey, another newbie here.

    I’ve been smoking Backwoods cigars for several years (I love how they come in a foil pack to keep in some moisture, plus the Honey Berry ones can’t be beat, and they’re great for a relaxing smoke while wrenching on my car or whatever).

    Picked up a corn cob pipe last week on a whim, and after reading a few of these pages, picked up some Captain Black Royal tonight. Gave it a try, I can tell this will take some practice!

    Gonna get a pipe tool very soon.

    Are there any recommendations here for good flavored pipe tobacco? Something like cherry or honey would probably be great.

    • Robert Fox says

      Stokkebyes Luxury Twist Flake or Kind of a natural honey/vanilla taste.

    • I have been reading some of the posts here and want to comment.
      I have been smoking pipes for almost 50 years. I never cared for Captain Black. When I was young a neighbor smoked a pipe. He always smoked Half & Half. It always smelled very sweet. I smoked Half & half for a while and it was good, but I think they changed the blend and it is not as good as it used to be. If you want a good drug store tobacco, I recommend Velvet. It has a good rich tobacco flavor without any of the fruity additives. I have smoked some corncob pipes(even hollowing out the cobs myself), but I prefer a brier. I have burned out only one pipe. My main problen is biting dorw too hard on the stem. If you want a good aromatic tobacco go in the internet and look for the briar patch ( I recemmend thier apricot brandy) or Randy’s tobacco shop. They have several nice blends. I recommend you stay away from anything that has vanilla in the blend. I tried a couple of those and they taste like mud to me. Most pipe smokers say to pack the pipe loosely, but a tight pack works best for me.
      Happy Smoking!

  29. Even though I am a minor, I am basically hooked to smoking a pipe even though I never have had one. Just the sense of having one and being able to say, “Yes, I do own and smoke a pipe.”, is grand. There are only three things I want to do before I die, and one of those is defintly to smoke a pipe.

  30. Garret–Captain Black sells cherry as well, here:

  31. Anybody smoke all the way to the bottom of the bowl? If so, do you have issues with ash/tobacco getting in your mouth? Also, how exactly does one remove the ash while smoking? I have a Peterson system 303, and though it’s dry, I do get nasty particulates in my mouth if I smoke to the bottom of the bowl.

    • Mort, you may not be tamping your tobacco enough as you smoke down to the bottom. the more compact the last shreds of tobacco are, the less ash will creep up into the draught hole. You could also try a filter pipe.

      Ash is best removed by stirring it up with your pipe tool and tipping it out into the ashtray. Be careful not to dig too deep or you will be down into the embers. You can also tip ash out after tamping if necessary.

      Hope this helps.

  32. I have been smoking cigars for several years now and have realized that the cheaper the cigar, the cheaper the flavor. Just recently though, I was introduced to pipe smoking and purchased a meerchaum along with some tobaccos from OVTC. The Civil War series is fantastic. I have also tried English Cavendish and find it a great relaxing tobacco. The Civil War series smokes wonderfully with a good coffee.

    The one issue that I find the most problematic is packing the bowl. If I pack it according to the article as mentioned, it does not stay lit long and I have to tamp it frequently. If I pack the bowl tighter, it smokes better with fewer tamps involved.

    I have also found that when the bowl of the meerchaum is warm, it smokes much better than when it is cold. The second bowl always tastes better than the the first but there are times when I do not want to have a second bowl right away. How do I get the same results?

    Thanks and happy puffing!

  33. Hey, I quit cigs 4 years ago after smoking them for 15 years. Recently I picked up a corncob pipe, don’t know why, just had a strange affection to pipe smoking, so I want to try it out, but the question is – does it have the same effects as smoking cigarettes for the first time i.e. dizzziness, vertigo etc? Sounds stupid, I know 😳

    • I’ve recently taken up pipe smoking. I’m trying to fade out the cigarrettes. Anyway, there seem to be lots of questions here about pipes–how to find inexpensive ones, etc. Man, there is a place called “Attic Treasures” in Madison, GA, that has thousands of estate pipes and unsmoked pipes from the 50s for prices between 5 and 20 dollars. I’m talking imported briar pipes. I’ve got two already and am cursing myself for not getting a baker’s dozen. They are all beautiful–real works of art and they must have fallen off a truck because it is ridiculous how cheap they are. If you are looking for a first time pipe, don’t get a corncob; drive to Madison, GA, and get an imported antique briar for $15. They have a webiste. It might be possible to get him to ship you some.

  34. hey I got my first pipe a few days ago. I skipped the corn cob and went straight to the briar because my friend had one and i loved it. Ive smoked it twice a day for the past 2 days, but my mouth and tounge feel really burnt. Any reason why this is happening? I tried take slower puffs but I still get the burning sensation in my mouth.

    • Bobby,

      A lot of the tongue bite, or burning sensation that you experience isn’t just caused by heat. I’m not sure if it is the nicotine, another chemical in the smoke, or even from the ash itself (which is a very strong alkaline). This is totally normal from what I’ve heard (although I’m not very experienced) and the only thing I could recommend is a milder tobacco or to smoke less. I haven’t smoked long enough to tell you whether or not this fades as you smoke more but my best guess would say it will as you become more used to it.


    • If you’re drawing slowly and still getting tongue bite you might consider having more than one pipe available. You’re suppose to rotate your pipes. They need a chance to rest . . . they burn hot. Moderation is the key, I guess, so take it slow, relax and enjoy your pipe.

    • With a new pipe if the “cake” of tobacco resin from smoking quite a few bowls of pipe tobacco has not yet accumulated it will feel hot for a while. Once a little bit of “cake” has built up your pipe will eventually smoke cooler and be sweeter. A new pipe needs experience to get used to tobacco as well as a new pipe smoker does. I find each of my pipes smokes slightly differently depending on how many bowls of tobacco have been smoked in it. The one I have smoked the longest is like a good friend, it always gives me an enjoyable smoke.

  35. Just lit my first pipe (a briar) and it is alot harder than I thought, had to start over twice before it worked right 🙄 . I’m using a mild Danish blend of Black Cavendish, Virginia and Burleys from W.O.Larsen. I find it quite pleasing. This site was helpfull so thanks. (Damn it’s gone out again 😕 )

  36. Question. I’m thinking about smoking a pipe, but my worry is that I’ll get addicted to the nicotine. Would that happen just like a normal cigarette or since you’re just puffing the smoke in your mouth, there’s a lower risk of nicotine addiction. I know I sound new, that’s because I’m thinking about it, forgive me for sounding stupid.

    • Cedric,

      I was worried about the same thing when I started and I don’t feel I am addicted at all. I usually smoke on the weekends, at parties but it is not convenient for me to smoke during the week so I don’t and I don’t feel the need to.

      I am sure there is some risk to addiction, both mentally and physically. How easily you will be able to control it depends on you. However, I think that the chance of becoming addicted through smoking a pipe is pretty slim because you likely won’t be doing it as often, and won’t be getting as much nicotine as with cigarettes.


  37. I purchased my first Briar pipe last night and was warned both here and in the store that I would have trouble keeping the pipe lit.

    I didn’t. I think I must have done something wrong. The burn was hot, as expected, since the pipe is brand new. I didn’t get the aromatic flavor/scent that I know I’ll eventually get once the pipe is broken in.

    Maybe I smoked too quickly?

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Mikey,

      From what you said, if I had to guess I would say you are smoking it too quickly. I smoked very fast when I first started and only slowed back when I realized the damage I was causing to the inside of my pipe (luckily it was a briar so it wasn’t a big deal). Now that I have upgraded to a few briars, I pack more loosely (my other big mistake was packing too tight) and smoke slower. Hold your pipe by the bowl when you smoke and if it is uncomfortably warm, you may want to slow down.

      Especially on a new pipe, I would think you want to smoke slower and cooler to give it a chance to build a cake. The cake protects the wood from damage, as well as other numerous benefits. Smoking fast can cause too much heat which may damage the wood and reduce the life of your pipe. The hot burn can also cause a wetter smoke with a less pleasant flavor.


  38. Ok Guys here’s one for you all.

    I wouldnt call myself an experienced pipe smokers however I certainly am not a complete newbie. I own a nember of pipes and have gone through a process of enjoying loads of tobaccos. All in all I have been smoking seriously for over a year and can pack and keep the pipe well alight throughout the smoke. I understand how to cake a pipe etc. NOW TO THE POINT.

    I only smoke about a bowl throughout the day but I do find that I wake up with a very dry mounth and lips the day after smoking. Do any experienced smokers have this problem, is it the norm. If its not the norm how to I sort this one. I have tried all sorts of weak tobacoos and no joy.

    Any ideas please…!!!


    • KIT,

      I can’t comment on this much from a smoker’s perspective as I am quite new myself.

      However, to me it sounds like you are somewhat dehydrated (many people are in a constant state of being somewhat dehydrated – myself included)

      We grew up with wood heat, and the house was very dry all the time. I used to have this problem(or something very similar) for a while and I eventually realized I just wasn’t drinking enough water.

      So my advice is to:

      A) Try to stay more hydrated all the time. Carry a bottle of water with you when you can, and you will tend to drink a lot more water. It is healthy for you in many ways and will hopefully solve your problem


      B) Drink a glass of water before you go to bed. In addition to helping your problem, you will probably feel better overall. It will help your body rest, and to keep itself cool during the night which will also contribute to a better rest.


  39. When I smoke, I tend to have a problem with it getting too wet and then the foul tasting liquid gets into my mouth. Do you have any tips for me for a dryer smoke?


  40. Hi boys,

    Yes, I am a girl, and I have always been interested in smoking a pipe. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m automatically excluded from the fun because I’m a woman…I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I do smoke, on occasion some of the flavored cigars out there. I love the smell of pipe tobacco and was wondering if any of you had any opinions on which style of pipe is more feminine.


    • Go for a nicely carved meerschaum, there are a lot of cool ones out there

    • right on Caitlin!

      I’m a girl too and just bought my first pipe today.
      the shop i went to had some nice long thin ones that i really liked

    • kokodesu says

      There aren’t that many, but some of the ladies I’ve met that smoke pipes like the Churchwarden style briar pipes. They tend to be smallish, which fits a smaller hand well. They have long stems which makes for a cooler smoke and also gives them a somewhat elegant look. I have one – a Hans Christian Anderson by Stanwell that is an excellent smoking pipe. Girlfriend loves the way it looks. Google and eBay are good places to start looking.

      Glad to see the girls join us! Enjoy!

  41. A number of questions that people have here have been given strange responses.
    The heat or bite is caused by steam. Goopy aromatic blends along with smoking to fast are mostly to blame.
    Caitlin, so called girls pipes tend to be smaller. Thats all.
    If you want an excellent pipe for not alot of money get a Dr. Grabow – forget the paper filter and get some Savinelli balsa filters 6mm they will fit. Dollar for dollar the Grabow is the best deal in pipe smoking rivaling pipes that cost much much more. Cob pipes are good too. Owning several pipes works best, espescialy over time as you try different blends.
    Aromatic tobaccos are ok I suppose – but generally the best tobaccos are without added flavors. There are hundreds and hundreds to choose from. I started with aromatics now I can’t stand them. Basicly they are made from inferior grades of leaf with added flavors and chemicles to make up for the lack of quality.
    Slow down when smoking, a little time is all it will take to get it right. Your pipe needs to build up a little “cake” before it can really sing.
    Lite tamping is needed to both slow the burn and keep the pipe lit. I have no problem keeping the bowl lit with sometimes maybe 1 relight. If the tobacco is wet feeling it’s often a good idea to let it dry out for a little while before packing 15- minutes to 1 hour is usually enough.


    what do you people think of middletons black and mild pipe tobacco cigars?

  43. Great article with many good tips and recommendations. I’ve smoked pipes on and off for about 24 yrs starting with a corn cob then moving to Dr Grabows I’m still using The Dr. Grabows also have a corn cob a meerschuam and just got a 35.00 full bent (most i’ve ever paid). I feel that the tobacco is the key, I always enjoyed the ‘Cptn. black gold’ also ‘Borkem riff’, another favorite is ‘Drum’ rolling tobacco. I’ve been over the last several years eating more organic foods so I started looking into organic tobacco without fake flavors or added chemicals and have been pleasently suprised. I found two companies selling organic smoking tobacco; one is Natural American Spirit in the red pouch, it’s a finer cut (for rolling cigs) like Drum but it tastes great, another is called ‘Organic Pipe Dreams’ from Cornell & Diehl which is an excellent pure smoke.

  44. I just had my first smoke, it went ok but, I don’t think I was doing it right as I had to frequently relight. I think next time I will try matches as opposed to a lighter as it was quite difficult. I was smoking Mclelland Best of Show with a new, cheap Briarwood that I found online. I really like the flavor, it was sort of like coffee. Near the end I mixed in some Mclelland Honeydew, also pretty good.

  45. I’ve just purchased my first pipe. The stemm of the pipe does not seem to be of a conventional size and the pipe filters I’ve found at the stores(Dr Grabow) don’t fit. They are too long and seem a bit small in circumfrence. In order to make them work, I have to cut the filters in to smaller lengths. Are there different size filters and, if so, where can I find them? Any suggestions?

  46. I’ve heard of soaking pipe tobacco in Rum and am wondering what the benefit/taste is like and if it’s easily done?

    Thank you.

  47. Great comments here! I’ve been smoking lightly for a while now but have yet to get a pipe that really sings. I think my problem is that I haven’t mastered packing, also I tend to get side tracked and usually don’t smoke a complete bowl, so my “cake” is mostly built up in the lower 1/2 of the bowl. How can I fix this?

    Also, is there a difference between aromatic and “non-aromatic” tobaccos and can you switch back and form between the two in the same pipe? Thanks.

    • To build up a “cake” that is mostly built up in the lower half of the bowl try just smoking the top half of the pipe then tapping out the ash that accumulated on top of the unburnt tobacco. Refill the bowl with more tobacco up to the top again, relight and smoke again just down to half. Tap out the ash on top and continue doing this as many times as you like. Usually most people have only a cake built up on the top half because they may smoke only half a bowl at a time then set their pipe aside. It is really much less of a concern if you have a good “cake” on the bottom half, as long as you smoke the top half a few more times than the bottom.

  48. Paul;

    I have a couple filtered pipes. Filtered pipes are sometimes good for cigarette smokers to start with but most filtered pipes other then Petersons build up moisture too quickly or become clogged. Try your pipe without the filter, simply smoke more slowly or try a lighter blend. One of my best smoking pipe is a large ‘sitter’ with the filter removed. I’ve never had a moisture or tongue bite problem. Some older or out of date pipes do have odd shaped filters that were maker specific.

  49. Mike;

    Instead of soaking the tobacco in rum, try dipping a piece of paper towel or q-tip with the rum then put it in the container with the tobacco. You will probably be surprised as to how much of the odour and taste permiate the tobacco. Adding rum to your tobacco could ruin it or make it way too wet to smoke. I’ve had fun throwing orange and lemon peels into the bag of tobacco to add a nice flavour or aroma note to the tobacco. Also, you can try dipping your finger in some rum, then rub the inside of your pipe with the rum until it’s coated, let dry, they smoke. Make sure you don’t let it hit the outside finish though, it will cut through the wax finish.

  50. Hiya;

    Anyone here ever hear about, “The Frank Method” of filling a pipe, look into it, it revolutionized how I pack a couple of my less the forgiving pipes that just didn’t want to burn even and clean.

  51. Question. I am a very casual pipe smoker who recently got the itch to get back into it. I bought a pipe while in England and have smoked it a couple of times. It is a very small, pocket sized, pipe. The bowl gets extremely hot, to the point that I cannot hold it. If I take the pipe out of my mouth I have to hold it by the stem. Also, I am assuming this is a related problem, the bowl is turning black and bubbling as if the lamination on the bowl is melting. I had a pipe years ago that did the same thing but I figured the problem was just that it was a cheap pipe. I paid around $50 for this one at a proper tobacconist so I do not think it is of poor quality. What could the problem be? Am I just smoking it too quickly? I got this pipe as a remembrance piece and the beautiful woodgrain is being ruined. What should I do? If I am smoking it too hot, how do I cool it down while still getting quality, thick smoke? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hiya Kelly;

      Your pipe sounds like it has a varnish finish. Some good pipe makers still use this finish on their introductory pipes. You can use light sand paper to remove it then buff it with pure carnauba. Varnish finishes hold in the heat a lot, it will as you mentioned bubble and come away from the pipe. I had a higher end Brebia(made in Norway) that had a varnish finish, it smoked hot so I refinished it. After which it allowed the briar to breath and now it smokes smooth and cool. If you don’t feel like refinishing it try loading it more lightly and smoke it very slowly. Let it cool for a minute or two between puffs. Also small pipes will get hot no matter what you do sometimes. I have a small pipe that’s shaped like an Indian’s(from India)head and it gets hot. It smokes cool but the outside gets very hot. I hope you can salvage your intestment. BTW what brand is it?

      • Thanks for the reply Brandon. The pipe I got is a nose warmer (part of the Fairfield line) made especially for the tobacconist I bought it from, Frederick Tranter. It’s nothing fancy and I wanted something with a bit more local ties. I studied at Oxford University for the Spring term and that was the only tobacconist in town so I picked one up before I left as a fun momento. What says pipe smoking more than sitting in front of a book at a school like Oxford?
        I really like mine because it has an unusual yellowish color to the woodgrain. I know I can get on the website and order the same pipe but there is no way to tell if the woodgrain will be the same. It will lose a little of the mojo if I bought one and it looked like all the other briar pipes out there. As a result I am a little afraid to try and refinish it. Its an interesting point that you made about the varnish. I did not really consider that the varnish was perhaps the problem. I also bought a churchwarden pipe for a friend of mine that was only 10 or 15 pounds more than my nose warmer but he did not seem to have any problems with his (I was with him when he smoked it for the first time). I know I did not properly break mine in but it still seems pretty drastic for that to happen. I cant imagine that many people really break their pipes in properly unless they really know what they are doing; yet theirs don’t seem to have the same problems. Either way I should probably find a local pipe shop, take my pipe with me, and see if they can give me some advise.

  52. After reading Kelly’s post I to have the same problem. Just recently I bought a Boswell pipe nose-warmer. Love the design and the color of the pipe is pretty. While smoking my newly found pipe I notice the varnish was coming off on my hands and started to panic. But, reading Brandon’s post about the varnish I think its best if I take off the varnish so the pipe won’t heat as much and wont have to worry about having a brownish color stain on my hands.

    Thanks for the info.

  53. I just bought a briar pipe (Big Ben Holland Brand) for my first pipe. (About $75)
    I’m smoking a Stanford Aromatic vanilla blend.

    Smoking a briar as the first pipe works fine for me. After like three bowls it’s starting to taste pretty damn good.

    Anybody else use a Big Ben pipe?

    • G’day lads,

      I quit the evil ciggies about 2 month ago and I miss it… A good Cigar is expensive so is reserved for a special occasion, So I thought I’d take up pipe smoking.
      I’m looking to get a churchwarden pipe, I’ve been told that they produce a more cool smoke and are good for blowing smoke rings, I will pobably get a corcob aswell I’m told thy are an easier place to start and they’re cheap, after I’m finished with it I can have it incase my mates wannaa try it.

      I’m looking for a tobacco that produces allot of smoke, very thick smoke and one that also smells good. Has anybody got any ideas?


      I appreciate the finer things in life like real coffee and fabric softener

  54. hey i just started smoking pipe and have a crappy 2 dollar one but am going to get a better one but i figure it will be good to start with also i have been seeing these brass screens what are they for and will i need to get them? thanks and i am really enjoying this i smoke cigars as well but it too expensive and i always wanted to try pipes so these posts were helpful

  55. I am smoking my first pipe after purchasing it many years ago. Initally the taste and difficulty turned me off as I did not know what I was doing.

    However now I am properly educating myself and brought it out of the cob webs. I find that I am getting really light headed during and after a smoke and it gives me the rumblies afterward and I go into panic mode looking for a loo.

    Any advice and does this happen to anyone else ?

  56. Twist and Turn, Dance and Burn says

    Wow…this is awesome. i’ve been smoking for about two years (started on cigs…blech, the pipe’s where its at). im 18 now (haha i was a rebel…smoking under 18) and i’ve been smoking pipes for about a year. I love pipes…i look at it as more of an art than anything else. not only are there the beautiful aromas on a cool fall night and a stunning sunset and the many different styles of pipes to appreciate…but pipe smoking can be a visual joy as well…case in point: i love watching the smoke. i like to take multiple smaller puffs and watch the smoke slowly drift up when im not inhaling and then suddenly suck back in and disappear as i inhale…its like watching some weird, overly cautious sea creature like an anemone. tons of fun. just be sure not to puff too hard…as you’ll get that unpleasant burning sensation all in your mouth. its also interesting to breathe the smoke out slowly and watch it as it twists and turns…performing amazing acrobatics right in front of your face. and learning how to blow smoke rings: sure fire way to impress people haha. i wish i could…i’m working on it.

    also…this is the first time i’ve seen any kind of guide to smoking…i like it. i’ve found that i learned through experience most of the things suggested in the guide, so its good to know i’m doing it right…especially with packing, which i find to be the most crucial part.

    a suggestion i’d like to add if i may…i didn’t see it anywhere in the guide and i didn’t have time to read through all of the comments so someone might have already said this, but smoke with some friends! not a whole lot is more enjoyable than a relaxing smoking session with your best buds. i find it is entirely more fun around a bonfire by a lake or just in the woods. anywhere outdoors really…beautiful stuff. its a great way to have tons of fun and the conversations for some reason are always great. plus you can create some really amazing bonds with people. i’ve made some friends that i’d say i’ll keep for a long while.

    oh yeah…i’d also like to start carving pipes…i’m an avid artist and i would love to be able to add another medium to my abilities…does anyone know anything about it? because i have no clue where to start. i already can carve, i’m just not amazing at it so i’m not sure how to do the whole curving stem bit. i’m assuming you need some special tools?

    anyway here’s to bitin’ da pipe…may we all have a wondrous future in this art and make many friends and even bring others into this realm.

  57. Scott in Ohio City says

    Greetings fellow pipe-smokers!
    I’ve been casually puffing for 31 years and rarely do I see anything “new” – which is comforting. Until this past week. And it reminded me of another “thing” I experienced within the last 20 years that I’ve allowed to go unexplained.

    Now, perhaps, someone here can enlighten me.

    The first had to do with the following picture link:
    Sorry, you’ll probably have to copy/paste that as I’m not going to try and remember the html method here.

    I’d ask that fellow, who packed those bowls, but I don’t speak German. I think I’ve heard of this being done before, but in any case, what is the good reason for it? If you’re resting your bowls, why stuff them with something (in this case tobacco) to restrict airflow.
    And if you’re just pre-packing them for the next week, Why let your pipeweed get stale before you stoke it up??

    At least a few decades ago, someone struck up a conversation with me, as I was enjoying my pipe, and just HAD to tell me all about how he smoked his pipes…. I vaguely recall that he was somewhat annoying, in the process. Anyway, at some point he told me that he would pack his bowls with either sugar, or some sugar-concoction, so they smoked “sweeter”. The latter memory is not vague – he said “sweet”.
    The thought of it didn’t/doesn’t make me sick. But it does make me wonder if he was some kinda crackpot. I’ve never tried it, and never had a pipe I didn’t care to ruin by packing it with something other than my favorite blend.

    So, what say ye? Two mysteries that I’ve never attempted to google, until now. And that got me here! 🙂

    Looking forward to what you have to say on the subject!

  58. I just bought my fist pipe today.I bought a briar,made by Brigham.I have alot to learn how to make this thing stay lit.I,m trying a Mac baren,vanilla cream flavor tobacco.I,ll let you know when I get the hang of it.

  59. There are basically three different categories of pipe tobacco: aromatic, Virginia and English. When a different type of tobacco is smoked in the same pipe it will be influenced by the tobacco previously smoked. Dedicate at least one pipe to each type of tobacco (aromatic, Virginia or English).

  60. I quit smoking altogether back in 1985 and now as an old man I remembered how much I enjoyed my pipes. I had about 10 of all shapes and sizes, briars, meerschaums, and a corn cob just for the fun of it. I remembered, though, the old maxim about tobacco, “that which smells like angel’s breath, usually burns like devil’s fire”…meaning it burned the tongue, etc. 😈

    So I eased back into pipe smoking, just like a newbie, but a little smarter. I started smoking only a couple burlys that are old standbys…Prince Albert and Carter Hall. Excellent voluminous smoke, cool, dry and very mild 🙂 Then, as my new pipes were being broken in with these mixtures, I started using PA and CH to “cut” into some more aromatic blends, making a mixture of 2/3 PA/CH to 1/3 aromatic. Fabulous results. Great flavor/aroma and no burn.

    Since all my original pipes were long gone, I’m starting a new collection. I bought a new Peterson, P-lip, bent. (one of my originals was a Peterson and I was impressed with hole at the top of the stem that sent the smoke to the top of the mouth, not directly in front as the typical fish tail stem does that mostly hits the tongue). I later bought a straight Italian made pipe, light weight and cool to the draw. To keep a rotation going, as I only smoke 1 or 2 half bowls a day, I’m buying a couple of good old Missouri Meerschaums for Christmas. My wife said she might join me with the corn cob. That’s an offer I can’t pass up.

    That’s about all I can contribute for the moment. If anybody has any questions, just put it out there. I’ll help if I can. Happy smoking! 😆

  61. I’m 19 years old and have been tossing around the ideal of taking up pipe smoking for a while now. Today I am going to the local shop and buying a pipe. I’m a little apprehensive of the challenges involved with this hobby, but I believe the work will be well worth it. This site looks like it will be a great help to me in the near future.

  62. Next month I’ll be eighteen, and being able to smoke legally has got me very excited. “Legal” sex, too, but I’m more choosy about women than about tobacco.

    I do smoke cigarettes sometimes although I’m underaged. I mostly do it to complement idle, thinking time. It’s less easy to be distracted when I’m smoking, I find. And I’m a pretty thoughtful person, so I hate to be distracted.

    So, I really just want to ask one question about pipe-smoking. I’m considering buying a pipe with my birthday money, simply because pipes seem more personal than cigarettes, and I like the things I use often to be thoroughly mine. However, I’m not too willing to smoke from a pipe if I won’t get a nice buzz. I like for my smoking to be a sort of “spiritual” experience and the nicotine buzz is really what supplies that for me. As much as I like to be at peace and watch the sun rise or something, I don’t want my pipe-smoking to be a mere accessory or hobby. In a way, I want to be addicted to it. If not physically, then…

    I read above somewhere that pipe-smoking isn’t about the buzz, but about the pleasant flavor of the smoke and the calming practice of it, but that’s not necessarily what I want out of it.

    So, to get to the point, how intense are the effects of smoking a pipe? Should I, as a naive and superficial teenager, stick to cigarettes? Or, if I inhale smoke from a pipe (ignoring suggestions against doing so, and assuming I use a relatively mild tobacco), will I get effects closer to those of a cigarette than I will from puffing on a pipe in the real pipe-smoker’s way?

    • There is, in my experience, no buzz associated with pipe smoking. As stated by nearly everyone so far, it really is all about the flavor, the relaxation, and the reflection that pipe smoking allows. If you feel that you must have a nicotine buzz to be happy, a pipe probably isn’t for you, at least not right now.

    • If you want a nicotine buzz, buy Five Brothers brand tobacco. It will kick your ass. Available at pipes and

  63. Kaleb-
    There is little “buzz” associated with pipe smoking, however, if you’ve ever smoked a hookah, it’s a similar sensation. You achieve a feeling of peace, unity, and thoughtfulness not at all akin to the stimulating buzz from a cigarette.

  64. Greetings,

    I tried pipe smoking about 10 years ago and while I got a thorough training at the tobacco store I was a disobedient child about it and put the pipe away after being saddled with a bad sinus infection figuring I wasn’t mature enough to handle the process part of pipe smoking properly. Since then I’ve misplaced the pipe (a pretty briar I got for US$20), though it may turn up one day…

    My local watering hole now has “Cigar Bar” every third Saturday of the month where they offer a selection of cigars. Cigars are not my thing, but I remembered being told at the tobacco shop that a corncob pipe is as good a place to start as any, and cost-effective for the inexperienced.

    So I picked up a Missouri Meerschaum brand corncob in the style of stem I preferred the first time around for a mere US$6.00 plus tax along with a bag of “Admiral’s Choice” Black and Gold Cavendish from the local drugstore (Please don’t flame me for buying what must seem to be pretty “cheap” tobacco at the “wrong” outlet since this was entirely an experiment on my part). I did recall the packing and tamping instruction I received previously so had a pretty enjoyable time smoking the new pipe for a couple hours with my buddies, and it was nice to be part of the “group” (though most of these guys are into cigars, pipes are just as welcome). The relaxation factor is just what I was hoping for and I look forward to being more methodical with the process now that I’m a bit older (not necessarily all that much wiser).

    Question: the pipe stem contained what looked like a cylindrical bit of rolled card (which I found on inspection after leaving the store, and the clerk would not have been able to advise being just a cashier). I wasn’t sure whether this was/was not a kind of filter so I removed it thinking it might have been just for packaging purposes (to keep the pipe “dry” on the shelf much like silica packets are enclosed in the packaging other items). And I didn’t want to ruin the pipe by not taking it out if it wasn’t supposed to be in there during use. I also presumed “no filter” would not be categorically “bad” on a first outing, but after reading a bit on this site I now am wondering about opinions on filters. Would any kind experts care to advise whether I should have kept this article in the pipe while smoking? (I still have it.) And should I (in general) use a filter with this (or any) pipe? Are there exceptions depending on the type of pipe? And how does one tell when a filter needs replacing?

    The pipe’s packaging, by the way, did not stipulate whether the bit of rolled card was/was not a filter and no care instructions were enclosed (although a few paragraphs about the manufacturer were interesting — their website however is strictly for ordering and does not provide usage or care instruction as I’ve found here).

    I’m happy enough with the pipe itself (feel, weight, and style) and don’t find the “hillbilly” stigma of corncobs of any concern (although 10 years ago I was quite a snob and turned my nose up at them — I see now I had a lot to learn and probably still do!). For those who say to steer clear of corncobs, may I ask what is the reasoning? (Okay, that’s a second question.)

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

    • PS: I should also have mentioned, the rolled cardboard inside my pipe’s stem was wrapped in a kind of plastic and printed on the card were the words “MEDICO Trade Mark.” Thanks for any advice.

    • PPS: A bit of clicking around and some common sense, plus a visit to a higher end drugstore provided me with some answers, but I’m still interested in knowing how the experts feel about filters and why the bashing of corncobs, in general by some contributors…

      1. The insert was indeed a filter. Dr Grabow and Medico companies produce such filters and I picked up a bunch for a buck or two after trying out the filter in my pipe. The filter appears to have caught a lot of moisture and I tossed it after my session, cleaned the pipe thoroughly, and replaced the old with a fresh new filter (all ready to go for next time). For me the filter also provided a more pleasing smoke with the same tobacco I mentioned above. I understand from this site there are metal filters that can be cleaned and reused, but for now the paper ones will do until I see myself truly “hooked”.

      2. It’s pretty easy to see when a filter needs replacing; it gets “icky” and I personally wouldn’t use a soggy filter twice anyway. ‘Nuff said.

      3. I sought out video footage of the “Frank Method” of pipe filling and found I had a couple things to learn that surpassed what I had already been taught. The vids are easily found on YouTube. After practicing (and dumping out) several bowls of tobacco I lit up one and found I could smoke it to nearly the bottom with only one re-light (amazing) and I was not huffing and puffing on the pipe like a big, bad wolf either.

      4. For those of you who gagged at my initial choice of tobacco, I picked up a packet of “Captain Black’s White” to try out. I’m not a cherry fan, and didn’t know what to expect from Royal. One whiff of the tobacco and I could understand why some people keep this on the shelf in those huge containers.

      So, thanks if you care to weigh in on whatever I’ve said. A few ziplock bags within bags make a good enough “pouch” I can tuck in a larger knapsack, and I’m on the road…can’t wait to find a spot in the outdoors to sit, relax, and “smell the roses” more than I have been.

      Additionally, thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the string here because I’ve noticed a recurring theme (that being Tranquility) among the more seasoned respondents. That alone is encouragement enough.

  65. So how does one break in a pipe? that wasn’t explained

  66. dear Scott in Ohio City,
    I have been smoking for three or so years now, and in my curiosity I have talked with many veteran pipe smokers. many of whom say there are only a few things that should ever go into a pipe of caliber. a good whiskey (For cleaning purposes of course), the cake gouge and the tobacco… as for the sugar thing, that seems a bit off to me. I have a Savinelli and I’m looking to get a meerschaum pipe, any suggestions?


  67. Lots of good advice here. I’ve been puffing pipes for about 50 years and depended in the beginning for advice from magazines. The internet has opened a bright new world of information, and I’m still learning. One bit of info I’ve been unable to locate is how to get rid of the stains on the bits. I’ve tried soaking solutions, pipe stem cleaners and polishers and even scraping with a blunt instrument to no avail. Anybody know of a sure fire method?

    • Phil,
      what worked with mine is alcohol, the drinking kind, not the medical grade stuff, and a soft cloth, i used an old handkerchief but i suppose a similar rage will do. i used wild turkey to get the stains off the bit the white marks came off but the scratches and indentations stayed.

  68. Do estate pipes ever “go bad”?

    I’m just getting into pipe smoking and thought about picking through some of my grandfathers old pipes. They haven’t been touched in over a decade and a half, so I was worried they might not be good for smoking anymore.

    Hearing that some people are using the same pipes after 50 years gives me hope, but does anyone have any insight on the lifespan of a typical pipe? (I don’t know what kinds of pipes he had, but I’m sure he had a dozen or so… I’d have to imagine that the typical briars were there)


  70. Having a grand old time puffing away on my assortment of corn cob pipes. Here’s a tip for those of us who tend to gnaw on stems and flatten out the tips:

    Many of the plastic kinds (which you regularly clean with alcohol and pipe cleaners, right?) tend to “flatten out” with continued use if you, like me, tend to bite hard. The solution, of course, is not to bite hard, but that’s not the solution I have for you here.

    Take the stem of the pipe off and if you find you can no longer get a pipe cleaner all the way through the stem to clean it properly because the tip has flattened out do the following:

    1) Microwave or heat about an inch or two of water in a mug or cup. Get it hot; it does not need to be boiling, just hot.

    2) Place the tip end of the stem into the hot water for a few minutes. The plastic will soften (as it does in your mouth which is why, with the pressure of your bite, the tip of the stem might eventually collapse on itself with use).

    3) Remove the stem from the water and, using a flat-head style screwdriver, immediately insert the screwdriver into the softened plastic tip that has gone flat and gently push inward until you have restored the opening to its original, gaping grandeur. Do this quickly but carefully because the plastic hardens and becomes brittle as it cools. If you insert a screwdriver into the tip of a room-temperature stem and twist, for example, the stem will crack. You don’t want that to happen.

    Replacement stems for corn cob pipes are certainly cheap enough (25 cents each) when ordered from Missouri Meerschaum directly, however there’s no need to ditch an otherwise usable stem if all you have done is clamped down hard enough with your teeth to cause the tip of the stem to flatten on itself, hindering the passage of smoke and pipe cleaners. Now you have a fix, and it only takes a couple of minutes to heat the water and pry open the tip of the stem.

    This may work with other plastic stems on briar pipes, so I suggest you try it before rushing out and investing in a new stem if all that is wrong with the stem is that the tip has flattened out.

    Remember, every penny you save on stems you can devote toward tobacco or that new pipe you have your eye on.


  71. Patrick Davis says

    Hello everyone…Just took up pipe smoking from cigars…I remember as a boy my grandfather used to smoke what I have now found is Vanilla Cavandish and fell in love with it, so naturally that is what I have started with…First pipe is a cheap wooden one, but nice looking all the way around…It is possible to find them in the 12 to 15 range and I hope that it lasts awhile…Thanks for the information it has helped a lot…

  72. mortomitor quincethripp says

    Hello. I am traveling round India and, after a short spree of smoking local beedies, have bought myself a pipe. I managed to get a ‘major dash’ in a antique shop. I gave her a good clean and have been happily tooting on her for a month or so now. Is there anything i need to do to ensure the pipes longevity or to check, bearing in mind i bought it 2nd hand?? All i can get here is captain black tobacco, which i like, but is there any fruity blends out there you recommend for when i get more choice??

  73. I’m a lady of a certain age, who kept pipe-smoking friends company in my youth but never owned my own. Now I’m entertaining this whim, or new obsession, but haven’t done anything but web surf and go to a tobacco store.

    The tobacco store was lovely. The men were smoking and listening to Rush (I think) and didn’t seem to mind a bit that I dragged a cloud of estrogen behind me into “their” space. I had fun looking at all the pipes on the wall and smelling one or two samples.

    I have two questions:

    Will pipe smoking affect my ability to taste food? Both my parents smoked cigarettes, and I wasn’t aware that food had flavors or smells until I’d moved out and detoxified.

    Also, how do men tend to feel about wives smoking pipes? My husband is supportive of all of my whims and obsessions so far, but what if he feels about pipe smoke the way I feel about the fu manchu mustache he foregoes for my sake?

    • I’ve been smoking pipe for a fairly short period of time, and find similar question regarding tasting food…as I love cooking and experimenting with flavors.
      As of this time, I have not found any obvious loss of taste…I’ve not found that I need to add more spices or salt to get the flavors I desire. I wonder if there is a difference with pipe smoking as one’s tongue does not get as ‘burned’ as when one smokes cigars. I never could get into cigarettes…burn to fast and too hot and I never liked the smell.
      As for the thought of a wife smoking a pipe? I don’t know that I’d be unhappy for my wife to take it up. In fact, I have a very small pipe just right for her should she decide…I don’t know the manufacturer although the side of the stem has a diamond with letter P and the side of the bowl says “Tom Thumb”.
      I think it is as interesting a “vice” as wines…and I sure enjoy them.

    • Dear Cheryl, It has been seven years since you considered taking up pipe smoking. I am curious to know what route you have taken. Regards, Tony Mann

  74. Bob Smith says

    A brief primer on pipe tobaccos:

    Pipe tobacco blends generally fall into three categories: aromatics, Virginias and English blends.

    Millions of people enjoy aromatics, but pipe snobs wouldn’t touch them with a battle lance. They are to pipe connoisseurs what wine in a box is to lovers of fine wines. Aromatics are made from cheap, flavorless burley which has been heavily soaked with artificial flavors, fragrances and humidifying agents. They smell heavenly and taste like crap. They also goop up your pipe.

    Virginia blends are made, oddly enough, from Virginias, a type of tobacco leaf which is naturally sweet and fruity, and greatly improves with age. McClelland Tobacco Company makes some outstanding Virginia blends, including Deep Hollow and Virginia Woods. Some Virginia blends include perique, a tangy, spicy condiment tobacco. Esoterica’s Dunbar and Dorchester are excellent Virginia/perique mixtures. Personally, I would recommend beginning pipe smokers start with Virginias, rather than aromatics.

    English blends are usually made from three types of tobaccos: Virginias, orientals and latakia. Oriental tobaccos are usually not very sweet, but have a nutty, savory flavor and give body to the blend. Latakia is a strong, smoky condiment tobacco which gives a creamy smoothness to the mix. English blends are usually categorized as mild, medium or full, depending primarily on the amount of latakia in the mixture. Full English mixtures often also include perique. Blends described as Balkan, Oriental or Scottish are similar to English. Good English blends include McClelland’s Bombay Court and Esoterica’s Penzance. If you’re new to pipe smoking you should try an English blend, but know that they are something of an acquired taste, like coffee.

    By the way, Virginias usually don’t come from Virginia, Orientals don’t come from the Orient, and English blends may or may not come from England.

  75. Hello!

    I allso recently started to smoke pipe. I got myself some Borkum Riff Cherry, Original and Vanilla and have to say, i am a bit dissapointed. I`ve read all your posts and everybody prides how pipe smoking is a beautifull sensation, but to me it didn`t happen (yet):/ .. i think i considered all your advices, but still no go.
    I get a bitter taste all the time, i don`t actually smell the good scent that i smell when others are smoking .. any sugestions? How long does it take for my mouth to get adjusted? Please help ..

    Many thanks



  76. R.Smitheringale says

    I’ve just come back from the local cigar shop here in Holland.They refuse to sell me pipe tabacco untill they have seen my pipe.I’m a begginer.They said its like when you first start drinking.You dont put beer in a whiskey glass or whiskey in a beer glass.I have’nt got a clue what their on about but they have been running the cigar shop all their lives.I’ll take my pipe with me next time I’m passing

  77. tom bronson says

    ive recently started to smoke a pipe after 50 years of cigarettes. can anyone recommend a tobacco that would taste close to a hav-a-tampa cigar? any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance!!!

    • jazzmoose says

      Maybe it’s just me, but I think Sail Natural is somewhat similar. Keep in mind I haven’t smoked a Hav-a-Tampa in decades though!

  78. I’ve recently inherited an old “Real Briar” pipe, and am wondering if it’s easy to replace the teeth-marked, worn stem. The bowl’s in perfect, aged shape but the stem’s looking a little worse for wear. Thanks for any suggestions,

  79. I just started smoking a pipe. I started with 2 new, never-smoked pipes. I smoke almost everyday, alternating between each pipe, allowing them to rest for two full days between smokes. I’ve noticed the flavor improving over the past month, however, it’s nowhere near what I expected it to be. Could someone tell me about how long it will take before I experience the full sweet flavor of the tobacco at the rate I’m smoking? A few months? A year? Either way, I’m still enjoying the process and I just can’t wait to get that smooth, sweet smoke I’m looking for.

  80. I’m twenty years old and was given a pipe by a friend of mine today. I’m going to my local smoke store to get some pipe tobacco. I found the tips and tricks on this site as well as the posts by other users very interesting and helpful. I’m really looking forward to giving it a try tomorrow. Happy pipe smoking all! 😎

  81. Being a cigarette smoker, I inhaled my pipe smoke when I started smoking a pipe in college. Thirty years later, and I still deeply inhale my pipe smoke. Besides some wheezing and not being able to run a marathon, I’m in fine shape. Are there other men or women out there that believe that you are not really smoking anything unless you inhale? Pipe tobacco has no additives like cigarettes, so it may be better for you (or no more harmful). Since 1979, I can’t imagine smoking a pipe without deeply inhaling the smoke. Check this out from youtube, “hot hot sexy lady smoking pipe”. I would love to meet a woman who smokes a pipe like her. 😛

  82. Don’t use a butane lighter! Butane has a flavor (and not a very nice one) and will affect the quality of your smoke. It’s a bigger issue with a cigar than with a pipe (as the cigar tends to trap that gas flavor more) but why do anything to mess up the experience? Stick with simple and cheap wooden matches. They are better for the smoke, cheaper, and better for the environment.

  83. Simon Waters says

    A tip that was given to me many years ago about breaking in a new pipe (particularly briar)was this: before filling the pipe rub the bowl round the inside with a little honey taking care not to allow it to fall into the draw hole and then half-fill the pipe with tobacco as normal.
    Smoke it gently until it is not quite finished and then leave it to cool with the tobacco and ash untouched.
    Repeat the process two or three times and your pipe will not be good as new but better for being used.
    This is not ‘the done thing’ with a seasoned pipe but with a new one it help to build a coked coating which eventually leads to a cooler smoke and avoids cracking from overheating and from burning your hands.

  84. I have been smoking pipes for a year or so. I have enjoyed them very much but have never really gotten that aroma that is synonomous with pipe tobacco. Is the aroma of the tobacco a product of the way in which the pipe is smoked? Or do certain tobacco blends produce that classic aroma whereas others don’t?

  85. i believe pipe smoking is strictly for the modern implied a high-life style statement and shows influence and class.

  86. Hello there!…

    It has been about one month I started to smoking pipe. On my 30’s that’s interesting. I’m not a common smoker, but I always had this interest of good tobacco and watched my great grandfather and my grandfather smoke pipes and always got my attention. Now after i turned 30 years old I started this delicious and relaxing hobby, and, approximately one month of smoking pipe, I can say I’m enjoying this the way it should be.
    Happy Pipe Smoking to everyone!
    Greetings from Puerto Rico


  87. Im 27 yrs old and have just bought my first pipe and starting trying to smoke it yesterday lol….i really enjoy the taste/smell of my new pipe as well as the relaxation i get from it…..i have read the above tips and news feed but any personal tips for keeping this thing light would be helpful….also i do not inhale the smoke but have noticed after smoking my tounge stinging, is this normal or am i doing something wrong?

  88. After reading all the posts above I can see the value of corn cob pipes, they are cheap and you can use one per type of tobacco. I’m a brand new smoker and just ordered about 16 types of tobacco to test them out. Smoking all of them on the same pipe will probably not be a fair test, and buying a $30 pipe for each one isn’t realistic. I think corn cobs are the way to go to give each a fair test. Also corn cobs are great if you are smoking away and a friend decides he wants to try to smoke your blend, just let him have a $3.00 corn cob pipe! I did order two pipes, one briar and one walnut, but plan to use these on all of the tobaccos, for convienience. But I’m sure it will skew my interpretation of each type of tobacco, especially smoking a straight english after an aromatic.

    I’m getting my first tobacco and pipes tomorrow in the mail from P&, I’m really looking forward to my first ever pipe smoking experience!

  89. Hi all, it’s great to see a forum with such a fine common interest (without the odd wacko comments of course!)
    I have a plain bent stem Dr Grabow and a corncob “Missouri Meercham”, and love them both, cheap as they are. The tips on packing and lighting are really helpful here- it’s added about 10 minutes to my ‘bowl time’, and using smaller puffs to ‘just keep it going’ is a great way to keep the smoke cooler.
    My Dad smoked a pipe, and he would never use a metal scraper in it- he always sharpened the end of a soft stick or a Popcicle stick to scrape it when needed – and a twig with a burl end on it would be the tamper. Sais that if you scratched the Briar it could cause a hotspot and burn-thru.
    Keep sharing your comments and just ignore the idiots-don’t even reply to them!
    50 yrs old and going strong in Phoenix… 😎

  90. I’m new to pipe smoking and I just bought a Dr. Grabow Omega. I can’t get the stem off. It seems pretty tight. I’m sure I could get it off if I really exerted some pressure but I don’t want to break it. Should I just pull really hard or try to twist it out?

  91. Hi Folks,

    Many thanks for this article and to everyone who posted in this forum. The advice and depth of experience offered has been invaluable as I take the plung into Pipe Smoking.

    I’ve been a smoker for 30 years now, cigarettes first off then 5 years ago switched to cigars in an effort to cut down on my habit. Now in order to cut down further I’m moving to pipe smoking – I don’t want to quit, ever. I think life is to be enjoyed while you can and for me that means taking pleasure 3 or 4 times a day with a good book, a coffee and a smoke in peaceful surroundings.

    I opted for the Missouri Corn Cob, as recommended, and went for a Viginia and Burley blend (Gold Block by Ogden’s of Liverpool). It took me a couple of times to get the packing right (still have to relight 2 or 3 times but what the heck it extends the quiet time) and I do have difficulty not inhaling (but getting better) but I must say I much prefer the pipe now and am slowly weening myself off cigars. The smells and taste are truely a pleasure. But the biggest boon of this switch has been the approval received from my wife, she loves the smell too and has finally stopped encouraging the kids to hassle me to quite smoking.

    Thank you one and all.

  92. I am 20 and starting smoking a pipe when i was 16 and have smoked off and on over the past 3 years and have always been facinated by the pipe. I started with Captain Black and i really like the flavor and have recently found that Middleton’s Cherry blend is a good smoke but i have the hardest time keeping it lit. I just ran across your website and am thinking im packing it wrong. I usually end up with half a bowl unsmoked cause it goes out or gets too hot and starts biting. I use a Dr. Grabow Omega carved bowl bent stem and love the way it fits my face and sits in my mouth. I used to have a Dr. Grabow Grand Duke with a smooth bowl and found that carved bowls burn cooler. I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting a Peterson Hans Christenson Churchwarden set with a regular stem for smoking round town but thats alot of money to me for a pipe. I was wondering if anyone has used one…..I really like the pipe but my fiance hates me smoking so I do it while shes gone but I think I will really miss it…

  93. Thanks to all who shared.

    I’m interested in anyones combination of pipe tobbacco and drink of choice to enhance the flavor.

  94. I’ve been smoking a pipe for almost two years, since my sister bought me a pipe for my seventeenth b-day. I smoked cigarettes before then for about a year and a half. One piece of advice for real beginners: Don’t try to smoke every flake of tobacco in the pipe. If you packed it right, you should have a wonderfully pleasant smoke, and after about 45 mintutes to an hour (depending on amount of tobacco) you should start feeling yourself drawing much more air, the smoke will get thinner, and your mouth will feel just a little bit dry. STOP. Dump out the pipe. If you packed it right (loosely on the bottom) you should knock out some unburnt tobacco along with the ashes. That’s fine, anything more and you probably would have ended up burning you mouth, and you wouldn’t have tasted much for the rest of the day. Smoking a pipe is contemplative. Take it from one who smoked (and occaisionally still smokes) cigarettes, and likes the nicotine buzz: enjoying a pipe is different from enjoying a cigarette. Going too fast too soon will jst trun you off from what could have been a pleasure for (I hope, in my case) the rest of your life. I love smoking a pipe, and in fact, just finished a bowl while reading this.
    One more thing for the newbie: It only got a little side note on the guide, but should be seriously considered: stay away from varnished briars. The varnish bubbles if you smoke it too fast and it gets too hot (I ruined the finishes on two pipes this way), which it invariably will until you become a pro. Like I am now. 😉

  95. does pipe tobacco smoke taste better than or similar to cigar smoke? i’m 17 and i turn 18 in feb. and i look forward to purchasing and enjoying a good ol’ pipe! i just want to know what to expect haha

  96. I found this collection of articles to be really helpful. As a young woman living on her own, juggling work, school and a breakup all at once, life gets stressful. I was considering taking up smoking cigarettes because I’ve seen what that little thing can do to people when they’re stressed out, but smoking a pipe seems so much more elegant, and I can take as much time as I like with it.

    These articles have been so helpful. I’m going to pick out my first pipe tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  97. What website would you suggest to be better for ordering different pipe tobacco from? besides ebay.

    Great article by the way

  98. I’ve just bought two pipes. A corn Cob one, and a briar one. I’m waiting for the Briar one to be delivered, but I have the Corn Cob, and two tobaccos. Black Honey, and Black Cavalier.

    So far, I prefer the Black honey, yet they both seem to be slightly harsh. Perhaps another tobacco is in due. I’m looking for something smooth, yet perhaps sweet. Something pleasant to the nose. What do you recommend?

    Also, before I smoked it, I checked inside the Corn Cob pipe, and I lack a metal filter. Instead, it seemed to have a sort of cloth, wound into a conical shape, and wedged into the stem. Is this normal? Or do I need to acquire something else?

    My first smoke didn’t go too well. I was getting tiny amounts of smoke, and I had to relight many times. Yet, this is my second smoke now, and it’s vastly better than my first. It hasn’t required for another relight yet, and I’ve been puffing for around 10 minutes now. When I relight it however, I get that “bite” feeling people talk about. Is there a better way to do it without getting that feeling?

    Also, on an average, slow smoke, how much smoke should be coming out of your mouth each puff?

    Thanks for the guide!

  99. Tai,

    welcome to the wonderful world of pipe smoking!! For your questions I have some answers. For tobaccoo try captain black in the white package or try Carter Hill. I was a devoted Captain Black fan but tried Carter Hill on a whim and am not going back to the captain. it is in a creamy yellow box and is very easy to light, stays lit, and tastes wonderful. I have tried both briar and cob and am a devoted cob man. they are cheap and to me taste better, burn longer, and are lighter which keeps mouth fatigue down. and if your like me you have a tendency to drop them while working. the paper in the stem is a medico filter and is basically just like a filter on a cigarette but are replacable. Dr.Grabow pipes use them as well as Missouri Meerschaum. I simply discard them the second i get a new pipe. I find it easier to smoke and better tasting with out one but its simply up to you. As far as your smoking problems go you are packing to tightly or loosly and are drawing too often which is whats giving you your bite. google the three step method of packing a pipe, Baby, mom, and dad. I smoke nothing but cob and simply pack the bowl in a sensable manner with enough to fill it but not enuff to pack it to the brim and i do fine. different tobaccos pack different and smoke different depending on the pipe. my suggestion is to pick one pipe and play with packing it and dry different tobaccos. corn cob pipes are great starter pipes cuz they dont need breaking in and are cheap. smoke amount depends on the time spent smoking. as you get farther down the bowl, the puffs will slowly dwindle and start to taste different. the taste will get harsher and a lil wetter. I only smoke two or three times a week so what I usually do is smoke til im ready to quit or til ive got bout 1/5-1/6 of a bowl left then i dump it out. Another tip is to never leave a pipe with leftover tobacco in it then come back a day or two later and try smoking it. it wil be hard to light, taste like u licked a used ashtray and will be a waste of flame. simply dump your bowl when your done and pack fresh next time. Make sure to clean out your pipe every third or fourth smoke at the most for best taste. Hope this helps!


  100. Alright everyone,I need some help. I ordered a Classic Briar Churchwarden by MacQueen,and I`m anxiously awaiting it`s arrival.In the meantime,I am going to need to decide which tobacco to get. I read about the Middle-Earth blend,now called King Arthur blend,and I admit,I really want to get my hands on some. Is there anywhere I can get some of this? If not,what is there that is very similar to this? I`ll admit, I`ve always thought pipe-smoking was interesting,but I personally never liked the smaller pipes,the ones I called ‘Sherlock Holmes pipes’.Then I saw Lord of the Rings,and I thought to myself “They make pipes like THOSE!?” and ever since I had to have one. Well,that was nearly 10 years ago,and here I am.Finally ordered my “Gandalf pipe”! I`m very excited. Anyways,if anyone could help me with the King Arthur blend,or recommend something very similar,I would appreciate it. Also,I need a recommendation on a very lovely smelling blend that I can smoke around people that hate the smell of cigarette smoke. Any advice for a newbie pipe-smoker would be welcome,and I appreciate it!

    • Gandalf’s pipe is badass. Can you blow smoke-ships though? Haha

    • Hi.
      Been pipe smoking for years and am now experimenting with home grown tobacco. However my favourite off the shelf brand is “Clan Aromatic” produced in Denmark by the Orlik Tobacco Company. It has a medium body, an aromatic taste and drives the opposite sex crazy with the smell (or so they say). A good cool smoke Try
      Well woth a try if you can get it in your part of the world.
      Swinton, Scottish Borders

  101. So, I’m not yet smoking my pipe but I did just order it. I found this guide to be very helpful with alot of the major questions I needed to ask. One thing I’d like to interject is that on EBAY you can get some decent briar pipes for pretty cheap. A buddy of mine and I just bought a 13 pipe lot for 20 dollars. This might seem like overkill but, I’m positive out of those 13 I’ll find one that I like and learn to love.

  102. Hey, thanks for the guide. I’m a ciggy smoker,trying to cut down. I have a briar pipe a while,and just got some peterson delux. By reading the guide and comments I see I’ve been puffing too fast,letting the bowl get too hot etc, but one thing I find very unsatisfying is that every pull on the pipe seems to be more air than smoke,I can actually hear the air being pulled through. It’s kind of feels like I’m just sucking on a straw.Any suggestions,I’ve tried packing as described here but still the same I’d hate to think it’s supposed to be like this.

    • I use the Frank method. If you search Google, you should be able to find the videos with Herr Frank himself. I pack my pipes basically the way he shows, but I don’t use a torch lighter on my pipes. So ignore the lighter instructions. I use a Vertigo pipe lighter or box/book matches to light. If you end up packing it too tightly, the pick on a three-in-one pipe tool is handy for making an air hole or two in the wad of tobacco.

      Hope this helps.

  103. How much ounces of tobacco do you guys use per week?

  104. AllenLennon says

    last week I have purchesed a brier pipe and a corn cob one, and bought a packet of “burkum riff cavendushh cherry”. It is alright, after i finish with that packet i am going to get another two pipes so i can have one for each type of tabacco so i can, over time see what i like.

    At first i thought it would take me longer to load the tabacoo right so i dont have to relight 12 times in the first few mineuts, but besides the first two attempts i have been doing alright, only having to relight it 1-3 times. And it takes me about 20-30 mins to smoke the pipe. But i found that time passes by quick when i do smoke the pipe, what seemed like 10 mins was 20 mins, i was just so relaxed. I sometimes walk around my property while i smoke. Last night i was sitting on the varrendah watching the sunset behind the mountains and smoking the pipe. And i never smoked inside the house, i never did or will.
    And only got what you called :toung bite” once or twice.

    On a final note, i love smoking the pipe, better than ciggerets, which isnt as relaxing or enjoyfull.

    Thank you.

    • AllenLennon says

      PS, about my third time i inhaled out of habbit of ciggeretts and let me say, i felt light headed, and result was dog food all the way down my front shirt, i was feeding up at the time, and being a tall bloke i dodnt need to open there huge gates to feed em, i was reaching over the top to drop down into one of my youngest gaurd dogs dish is when i inhaled and cause me being light headed and a bit dizzy and caused me to miss the top of the fence and dropped on my shirt. LOL, lesson learned.

      • Yah, I hate that. I dropped some dog food onto my second shirt one night while looking after my 80 acre estate. Two dobie pinches, a big briar bowl and 40 year old port. I went to drop my woolies by the lake and my pup smeared his face on my knickers. I was laughing so hard I spilt their bolie of gnashing on my shirt – a bad day for silk undershirts! No trusting those canine coodies! Oh qua tan sin wan! (Chinese for don’t let your dog eat your shorts)! LOL keep smokin yanks!

  105. JHamilton says

    Ok, I’m a 57 year old woman who has been thinking about trying pipe smoking. I have a couple of questions, please.

    1. Does one get ‘addicted’ to the tobacco as much as with cigarettes? My 20 year old son smokes them and already has a nasty morning cough – I wouldn’t want that.
    2. I have asthma – will that get worse with pipe smoking?
    3. I would like a very small danty looking pipe – where can I find something like that? I am really drawn to meerchaums!

    Thanks so much for your time and attention!

    • Dear J.Hamilton: The first two questions, you would have to research them thoroughly on your own accord and determine what is best for you healthwise, and other. The last question, look at the Dr.Grabow Westbrook series. These have longer stems and shanks, and smaller bowls. Remember, there’s no law that says you must fill your bowl to the limit. Reduce the amount of pipe tobacco and enjoy a short smoke. By time it has any chance of turning foul on you, the smoke in all probability, be over. It’s sensible, it conserves expensive and over-taxed pipe tobacco, and it is called, moderation. Best of luck to you.

  106. I’ve read through many of the posts on this page, and I see a lot of experienced smokers saying “slow down, enjoy the experience – my pipes last 45-60 minutes”…

    …can you be more specific about how the bowl lasts 45-60 minutes? For example – the amount of time you take between puffs? Is it a puff ever 1-2 minutes? Is it a puff once every 10 minutes? And if it’s the latter – I am having trouble understanding how the bowl stays lit during that time.

    In any case – some specific time measurements would help. My tendency is to drag on the pipe like a cigarette – which I know is wrong – but what is the average amount of time that an experienced pipe smoker will wait between puffs? I mean – do you set the pipe down for 3 or 4 minutes before you pick it up and puff again??


    • Hi Travis,

      This Saturday I smoked Best Brown #2 in an Ashton Old Church for roughly 2 hours while at a coffee house in my neighborhood.

      I occasionally laid my pipe down to play cards or take a short break. Otherwise I was puffing away consistently.

      I think this is something you learn during the course of smoking your pipe – namely your own style of puffing. There are other factors that contribute such as bowl and chamber size, packing method, and type of blend.

      I am wispy puffer. I prefer the soft draw style while smoking my pipe. I get enough smoke in my mouth that is to my satisfaction. I also don’t smoke too hot, generally, so that I try and get the taste of the varying flavors in the blend.

      I have a friend, who I respect as a pipe smoker, that is the opposite – he prefers to take deep draws with big plumes of smoke. He gets a lot of pleasure from smoking pipes. It is just isn’t my style.

      In the end it’s all about individual style.

  107. So, they question: “How long will the smoke last?” Quite a few variables at work here. How relaxed are you? How moist is the tobacco? What types of tobacco comprise the pipe smoking mixture you are using? What is the bore size of the pipe’s bowl? What is the thickness of the pipe bowl wall? How clean is the pipe? Is the shank/bowl orifice obstructed or reduced in diameter due to fouling? Are you smoking indoors? What are the ambient air currents about the pipe like? Are you annoyed or distracted? What is the internal cubic capacity of the pipe bowl? Is the pipe air dried or in constant use, meaning having absorbed moisture content within the bowl? Are you whisping your smoke to savor, or attempting to put out a smoke screen to cover a battleship in three minutes? Many, many, variables. Bear in mind that the specific additives found in cigarette or even roll-yer-own’s are missing from pipe tobacco and you are being challenged to something new… You are actually tasting delicious pipe tobacco flavor, and learning new tastes. You must now develop a cadence or timing, similar to what the great composers wrote into classical music. Pipe smoking too, will come from your soul as you find what works for you. There basically is no “wrong” way, you are merely doing something “different”. The only way to expedite this learning process, is to ask questions and like a puppy, find an old dog, to learn how to “raise your leg”, rather than squat down, as did your previous teachers. Relax. Slow it down, nobody’s chasing you. Concentrate on being kind to yourself (and others). Read text material, no for speed, but in a spoken word cadence, and your pipe responds in kind. I’m riding motorcycles since 1969, where your eyes go, so does the motorcycle. Understand that your pipe reacts to your physical state, your emotional state, your mental state, and your inner core soul’s state of being. In all probability, your pipe smoking is what your family and friends will come to bear note of you, now and in the future years to come. Ther’s a website, Angel-something-or-other; search, “famous pipe smokers” and scroll to the Angel-whatever, site. Look at each and every one of the people photographed. There is a commonality in them all, beyond the pipe itself. Think. The very same thing, is inside of you. Master yourself, and enjoy life. Your pipe, is your faithful ally. Best of luck to you all.

  108. Phil Bateman says

    Does anyone know the best way to clean the bits? I can clean them and put olive oil on them and they look okay for awhile, but the awful stuff is still there waiting to show its ugly head as soon as the pipe sits for awhile. Help?

  109. hi all,

    i have been a smoker for well over 8 yrs now an decided to take up a pipe to see what its like an must say after my 2nd day im enjoying it more than i thought i would.

    although i am worried about my pipe i have a medical condition an my hands sweat a lot.

    i always have to use a holder for my rollies or they get drenched an are no good..

    will this have a bad effect on my bruyere pipe?


  110. christopher says

    Hello everyone, I’m a 23 year old who has been smoking a pipe for a few months now and I hav to say it is the most relaxing thing I have ever done. It is a nice way to relax after a hard day at university. Anyway I’m going on. I found the best way to pack a pipe so it doesn’t go out is to pack it the ‘normal’ 3 way technique then once that is completed place your thumb over the tobacco and turn the pipe about 6times in a clockwise direction. This twists all the tobacco together in the bowl giving maximum amout of tobacco touching other pieces of tobacco. Give it a try. I hav to light pipe once to false light then once to light after and that’s it.

    • I find that if I don’t pack my pipe all the way to the heel it helps to keep if from getting to tightly packed. I never twist the tobacco and never have trouble keeping it lit after the first char.

      As I smoke I use my tamper to gently push down the ashes. Normally I’ll tamp as I puff. I find that a few steady draws will keep the pipe well lit.

      It seems that as I smoke the pipe the tobacco and ash will settle to the heel by the end of the smoke.

      Just make sure to not tamp it to hard, your just trying to allow more air to the fire.

      Good luck!

  111. Victor Hughes says

    Thank you so much for your time and effort posting this. I am new to a pipe and found your post to be the most helpful. I was a pack a day smoker from 13 on, and I always said I smoked because I enjoyed the flavor of tobacco. I was in a horrible car wreck, of my own doing. And after being in and out of the hospital, without a nicotine substitute, my friend suggested a pipe. So after three years I gave it a try, so fell in love. I’m learning as I go and, tongue bite, sucks but thanks to your advice I have all but eliminated my bad habits. I still love a good cigar but from now till the rapture I’m a pipe smoker!

  112. ‘Pipe smoking is not about the nicotine buzz. It’s about the symphony of flavors on your palate.’
    Very well said sir! I just purchase my first pipe and it’s not very pleasant experience.. The shop keeper taught me very well how to do each steps telling me not to inhale too. But then I used to smoking cigarettes so I got so many of them in my lungs.. I almost vomit, my head was heavy for at least 3 hours.. Guess I need to be more careful..

    I couldn’t wait to enjoy my pipe just like you said sir! Thank you for the tips ~

  113. Jon DeCles says

    Since my house burned down, and all my pipes (and everything!) with it, I have been spending some time on the net doing research. I find your site to be the best written and most informative one that I have encountered. Thanks so much for the details and recommendations!

  114. Jon DeCles says

    PS: Where do I look for Greek briars?

  115. hello everyone I’m from South Africa I’m Bruce I started pipe smoking not so long ago and I’m loving it here in South Africa were I stay it’s hard to get English blends and Cavendish blends so I smoke aromatics IV tryd a few but I really like black magic from mac locklen it smells like chocolate but I have a guest more blends I smoke can’t quite make up my mind as witch one I like the most I guess I just go with what mood I’m in at the time and go with a blend I feel like

  116. I go to see every day a few web sites and information sites to read articles or
    reviews, except this website offers feature based writing.

  117. Great site, and I must say i love the dialogue your tips section has begun. Piping is a beautiful hobby, ive enjoyed it for about 4 years, and while i still learn a lot i really have tried most things in the pipe smoking world. I have 70 some briar and meerschaum pipes, not counting the multitude of corncobs that i smoke mostly. I think new pipers will find that done of the greatest satisfaction in the hobby comes from discovering how differently the same tobacco may taste in a pipe of different shape, style, or material. Truly, the possibilities are endless. Between the variety in pipes and tobacco, you will find new and delightful surprises nearly daily.
    I rely heavily on reviews from the site to research my new purchases. Its a great community, and an enormous resource. Now, the point of my post is to say that while i smoke and enjoy some expemsive pipes add tobaccos, many of my favorite smokes are simple otc blends like carter hall or half and half in corncob pipes. Missouri meerschaum brand only. The pipes cost between 6 and 15 dollars, and i literally still have and smoke the first one i ever purchased. I dont think captain black is a good suggestion for a new smoker, because i think one would be disappointed with the flavor of the smoke as compared to the smell of the tobacco. Start with a milder aromatic, like carter hall or half and half, to get truer tibacco flavors and the hints of the delicious aromas we all associate with piping. Just my 2 cents! Happy smoking!

  118. Paul: I began pipe smoking in the 1950’s and continued into the 80’s at which time I began dipping snuff. About ten years later I quit that and later needed an upper plate as my teeth and gums objected. This year I’ve dug out my pipes and old tins and stated with them again. Years back most available tobacco was on the shelves in pouches and easy-open tins. Now, however I get these 4″ tins that appear to be screwed on with an impact wrench. Is there some trick I’m missing to getting them open besides using a bench vise and a “460-Channel Locks”? I enjoy pipe smoking, but at my age I’m not really up for any hernia operations.

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