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A Bakker's Dozen

Following in @RookieGuy 's footsteps I plan to keep a chronology of my wanderings through the world of pipes and pipe tobacco. I have never been a "smoker" but, a little over a year ago, I became interested in cigars. I currently have a small fridge humidor holding around 100 cigars, and all the googahs that come with it. My wife (SWMBO) has regularly mentioned fond memories of her Grandfather and his pipe habit. This has been more frequent and encouraging of a switch since I took up cigars. Not that she disapproves of them, but I think she figures that, if I am going to indulge, I may as well do so in a manner she enjoys maximally.

Thus, I am now the owner of a thrice smoked Missouri Meerschaum Hardwood pipe, and a small mason jar filled with Amphora Supreme (aka Mellow Blend). I also own a Morgan Bones Zulu Dog (which will remain in storage until the wife's pipe purchases are suitably fawned over). There are at least two more pipes in bound which will be held hostage until my birthday next month (but not really, she can never hold out that long), as well as two sample packs from a Canadian based site (Mr. B's Aromatic Sampler and Mr B's English Sampler). These will be added to the 9 pouches I ordered already (Amphora Sampler, H&H, Borkum Riff Bourbon, SWR, and the last escapes me).

As expected, my first three bowls have been a mixed bag of success . . . no tongue bite on the first go, but at least a dozen or so relights (I think I overpacked the bowl). Second bowl was better in terms of keeping it lit, but I ended up too hot and experiencing some tongue bite. Today's bowl was trying in that I was learning to light with my reconverted zippo, and was drawing too much/often in the breeze. So, while I enjoyed the time spent puffing, there was simply not enough of it to honestly say I enjoyed myself.

But here we stand . . . my pipe cooling on the window-sill prior to cleaning, various inbound packages of goodies to be anticipated and, if my reading of this sub is any indication, a myriad of flavours to be discovered.

My "GOAL"? Keeping the bowl lit, the tongue unbitten, and the mind centred. I have found shaving to be meditative, discovered the same calmness with cigars, and hope to have the same experience with pipe tobacco. Also, like cigars, I imagine I will go through a flurry of buying before settling into a few particular Blends that strike my palate (and SWMBO's), while allowing for the occasional "lets see what this is like" purchase from time to time.

Finally, when can I put my name in for the 2021 LE Pipe? Because this year's looks amazing.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
Ambassador
Keep with it and you'll find your way. Ask questions when and where roadblocks appear. There is a lot to learn and the pipe isn't as intuitive as a seasoned smoker makes it look. It is sometimes striking the epiphanies you'll have along the path. I have dove into the hobby head first with zero regrets so far. Take your time and be patient with yourself, the rewards are great!
 
I hope to be that "old hand" one day . . . already working on the "old" part (mid-50's), so I am at least part way. Slowly building my "kit" of cleaning supplies, as well. Bought a fancy schmanzy Czech tool and realized, while it was in transit, that my cigar punch (or finger tip) works just fine. Cleaned my pipe for the first time today. just a moonshine laced pipecleaner through the bit and shank (disasssembled to remove the filter), and a bit of a poke into the bowl for any loose bits. Man the gunk does build up, doesn't it?

Questions? Oh, you can count on those.
 
There is definitely a learning curve to enjoyable pipe smoking. For me, discovering proper packing was the key. And that depends on tobacco type and moisture level, and to some extent, the particular pipe. Time and experience gets you there. Finding your favorite tobaccos, that’s another story entirely. And I’m not the one to ask.
 
I look forward to following you on your journey, Bakker.

You'll get to "old hand" status soon enough. Just keep at it. Relights happen, that's why matches come in boxes (or lighters have fluid reservoirs). You'll learn cadence eventually. At least that's what they tell me 😆. And before you know it, you'll be a quarter into the bowl before your first conscious thought about the mechanics of what you're doing even enter!

The mechanics will come. It'll just click one day, a blinding epiphany. THAT'S what sipping is! THAT'S perfectly packed! Just keep monkeying around with it until you stumble on what's working. Or ask. And and as a much smarter man than me (Thomas Edison) said [paraphrased] I haven't failed. I succeeded in finding a way that didn't work.

Out of curiosity, what kind of cigars do you like to smoke? Since I've started smoking a pipe, I've had way less cigars. Which was the point, cigars can be expensive. My go tos were Rocky Patel and Nub. And, from my Army days, I'll always have a place in my heart and humidor for Macenudo Porto Fino and Minis.

Notice, gentlemen, right away he asks about the next BB LE. Methinks @Bakker1964 has been lurking a bit before posting 🤣!
 
I've been trying the Breathe Method off the Muttnchop Piper videos. Need to buckle down though, as I get distracted from a rhythm.

With respect to cigars . . . I like the My Father Flor de Las Antillas (truly anything from the My Father line). Also love Cubans when they have some age on them. Preference for Partagas and H Upmann. One of the advantages of being a Canuck is fairly easy access to the source material.

Wife made a comment tonight about the possibility of Cuban pipe tobacco. I doubt they allow any of the commodity to be used for anything but cigars and cigarillos.
 

Alacrity59

Wanting for wisdom
Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
I think folk in the US get whatever Cuban stuff they want. I thought we had an edge in Canada but maybe not.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
Ambassador
I've been trying the Breathe Method off the Muttnchop Piper videos. Need to buckle down though, as I get distracted from a rhythm.

With respect to cigars . . . I like the My Father Flor de Las Antillas (truly anything from the My Father line). Also love Cubans when they have some age on them. Preference for Partagas and H Upmann. One of the advantages of being a Canuck is fairly easy access to the source material.

Wife made a comment tonight about the possibility of Cuban pipe tobacco. I doubt they allow any of the commodity to be used for anything but cigars and cigarillos.
Ehh, the hype with Cuban cigars is not a superior leaf from my understanding. I would say if you like cigars and would like to try pipe tobacco with similar flavor profiles, try some blends with cigar leaf in them. Some of the Warped offerings contain cigar leaf, C&D Habana Daydream, Billy Budd, Purple Cow, Seersucker, and others.
 
Ehh, the hype with Cuban cigars is not a superior leaf from my understanding. I would say if you like cigars and would like to try pipe tobacco with similar flavor profiles, try some blends with cigar leaf in them. Some of the Warped offerings contain cigar leaf, C&D Habana Daydream, Billy Budd, Purple Cow, Seersucker, and others.
Understand that my interest only applies to cigars, when it comes to Cuba. For my tastes, I think aged Cuban cigars are top quality. This is not to say that non-Cubans suck, as my top cigar is a Nicaraguan blend.
 
For me, the key to success with the pipe was simplicity. I was overthinking it at first, and when I switched to thinking of it as an "everlasting rizla", and "just a wood thing I smoke tobacco in", things got a lot easier. No "breathe method" for me. If I have to adopt systems like that, I won't enjoy it. It's supposed to be relaxing, not a task that requires concentration and effort. My perfect pipe tool is a 3" woodscrew. The Czech pipe tool hardly ever gets used.

I adopt a similar simplicity with the pipe. One briar per blend type (English, Burley, Virginia/Virginia Perique, Aromatic, and Lakeland) and a few I'll smoke anything in. The desire for fancy looking pipes hasn't hit yet, and might never do, and the "cellar" is a very humble stash which might only last other pipers a couple of months.

Ask questions, listen, and learn, but ultimately go your own way. It's very easy to be swept along on the enthusiasm and online posting of others, and purchase to feed their desires instead of your own. You're doing this for yourself, what others like is largely irrelevant. :)
 
I take your point . . . but as someone with no clue starting out, beyond what I read and a few videos, I think that trying to follow a "formula" (if you will) can be helpful as a starting point. As Rookie points out when he mentions "cadence", I think we are all discussing the same goal, if not necessarily the same process. Which is, to get to a point where it IS an unconscious process, like so many of the other mundane tasks we follow.

I mean, do any of us "think" about putting on our seatbelts? Of course not, we just do it naturally after years of repetitive process. I think that, in the short term, adopting a "method" can help a neophyte get where they want to go faster. But who knows? Perhaps my struggles with consistency point to a flaw in my thinking that you seem to be talking about.

I agree with you about the pipes/blends notion. It is my intent to follow suit in that regard, both as a practical matter, but also as a means of limiting needless expenditures. Whether I can sustain that commitment is another matter. Time will tell.
 
I take your point . . . but as someone with no clue starting out, beyond what I read and a few videos, I think that trying to follow a "formula" (if you will) can be helpful as a starting point. As Rookie points out when he mentions "cadence", I think we are all discussing the same goal, if not necessarily the same process. Which is, to get to a point where it IS an unconscious process, like so many of the other mundane tasks we follow.

I mean, do any of us "think" about putting on our seatbelts? Of course not, we just do it naturally after years of repetitive process. I think that, in the short term, adopting a "method" can help a neophyte get where they want to go faster. But who knows? Perhaps my struggles with consistency point to a flaw in my thinking that you seem to be talking about.

I agree with you about the pipes/blends notion. It is my intent to follow suit in that regard, both as a practical matter, but also as a means of limiting needless expenditures. Whether I can sustain that commitment is another matter. Time will tell.
Yes, I too had to lean on the wisdom of others to get started, but there comes a point, in my case fairly soon, where certain things suggested by others didn't reflect what I wanted from the activity. I'll not say more than that, as I don't want to colour your judgement on anything.

If I can throw any pointers in to help you get over the initial hurdles, I certainly will. Just bear in mind, I'm not you, and you may well find a better (for you) way of negotiating every bump in the road :biggrin1:
 
Oh boy . . . I have it on good authority that my daughter, who knows I like Tolkien, has ordered me a Churchwarden for my birthday. So now, the question becomes, what type of blend to smoke in it? Or do I dedicate it to a particular individual blend?
 
Yes, I too had to lean on the wisdom of others to get started, but there comes a point, in my case fairly soon, where certain things suggested by others didn't reflect what I wanted from the activity. I'll not say more than that, as I don't want to colour your judgement on anything.

If I can throw any pointers in to help you get over the initial hurdles, I certainly will. Just bear in mind, I'm not you, and you may well find a better (for you) way of negotiating every bump in the road :biggrin1:
Absolutely, and thank you.

Again, I think we are pretty much in accord . . . you take in all the information you think useful, discard what does not fit for "you", and adapt what does.

I think my biggest hurdle right now is "packing my bowl". I have a sneaking suspicion that I am cramming too much in. The strange thing is that, regardless of the packing, I can still draw what I consider to be fairly easy. I think tonight I am going to walk around with an empty bowl, drawing and exhaling. Then, after supper, pack a bowl for a smoke and compare.
 
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