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Bad taste in Meerschaum, solution?

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Contributor
I bought a "restored" meer off the bay. When I smoke it, I get a bad taste, like old lady perfume or smelly soap about halfway through the bowl and it's not the tobacco. There is no cake in the bowl. I know the salt/alcohol treatment is not advised for meers. I did clean the acrylic stem with everclear soaked pipe cleaners to no avail. Any tips? I guess I could just keep smoking it, but it seems like a waste of tobacco.
 
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Not sure about yours but I had a new meer that had a taste when I first got it and it burned away after a couple of bowls. Apparently this is normal for meers.I would suggest smoking a couple of more bowls out of it to see if it goes away
 

Argonaut

Moderator Emeritus
Sounds like the Lakeland ghost. Only time, or a heavily cased aromatic, can kill it. Make sure the bowl is clean,as in no cake, the cake will hold the ghosting more so than the meerschaum.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
Sounds like Grousemoor or Erinmoor to name a few. It is difficult to rid a pipe of that IMO. Maybe some strong Latakia blends?
 

oc_in_fw

Fridays are Fishtastic!
Contributor
Sounds like the Lakeland ghost. Only time, or a heavily cased aromatic, can kill it. Make sure the bowl is clean,as in no cake, the cake will hold the ghosting more so than the meerschaum.
The first thing that popped in my head was Grousemoor. That is why I smoke it in a cob.
 
My meerschaum was new when I bought it (same with my Calabash with meer bowl). While I know that that salt/alcohol treatment is a definite no-go for the bowl, I thought I read that it was ok to run a pipe cleaner with alcohol through the shank of a meerschaum, being careful that the end of the cleaner does not ram too hard into the bowl. I've done this on my own meershaum from time to time. You may want to try this and see if that does not help the taste as well. I would not load up the cleaner with too much alcohol and use a really fluffy/absorbent one, just a quick pass or two to soak up any of the bad juices that may have accumulated, you'll probably notice a disgusting pipe cleaner come out. If you are nervous about doing this, you may want to search around some more on the web and see what others recommend.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
Might be Ennerdale too. My reason for posting is that I am enjoying a bowl of it now. Instead of trying to remove the ghost maybe you could try a bowl first? It really is quite nice.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Contributor
I'm doubtful that the "ghosting" is from tobacco, but I may well be wrong. The only one of the above mentioned tobaccos that I have is Grousemoor and I have yet to open it. I may try that in a cob to see if there is any similarity to the unpleasant after taste I'm getting from my Meer.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Contributor
I smoked a bowl of Grousemoor in a new cob and it was very pleasant, nothing like the offending odor from the Meer. I threw caution to the wind and wiped out the Meer bowl with some everclear on a paper towel. I also cleaned the shank with everclear on bristle pipe cleaners followed by regular soft ones. No more baccy tar than usual. So I suspect someone at one time tried to clean or deodorize with something perfumey.
 

Argonaut

Moderator Emeritus
Some fool may have burned incense in it to cover up a different aroma. I knew no one could be that offended by the Grouse!
 

jwhite

Moderator Emeritus
I clean my meers with alcohol all the time with no ill effect to performance or coloring. But I don't do the SA treatment in them. If the cleaning you did is still insufficient you might try filling the bowl with activated charcoal and warming in a 150 degree oven, without the stem attached, for about an hour. let it sit at room temp overnight and the charcoal should have taken much of the odor from the pipe. If that fails send it somewhere like Walker Briar Works that has an ozone deodorizing machine.
 
May want to grab a pouch of Prince Albert and run a few bowls of that through it just to see if it will "exorcize" whatever demon is in that thing. It's available all over the place and is just a good straight burley that doesn't leave any ghosting and often "resets" your pipes.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
Well at least it's not an aversion to Lakelands :). I wonder if it was kept in a drawer with old spilt bottles of perfume?
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Contributor
Well at least it's not an aversion to Lakelands :). I wonder if it was kept in a drawer with old spilt bottles of perfume?
That is a distinct possibility as the "restorer" allegedly purchased the bowl sans stem and had it in an odds and ends drawer before rebuilding it.

COHunter: I do have some Prince Albert and several other OTCs on hand, I think I'll try some Carter Hall next this weekend.
 
Was the bowl properly levelled to no cake and a smooth finish? I almost exclusively get non-restored estates and I'll just grab a 1000 or 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and do my business, making sure not to go too deep (i.e. all the way to the white meer). That usually gets rid of any residue. In one extreme case, I had a meer pipe which has been litered with the stench of latakia - in that case sanding to the white meer was necessary.

I've heard that alcohol damages the porosity of the meer itself, making its absorbent powers weakened over time. Alcohol would be a no-go for me. And yes, you could always go with an aromatic... I'd recommend Stanwell Melange, that thing's a scented poison.
 

oc_in_fw

Fridays are Fishtastic!
Contributor
Cut him some slack, Owen. Obviously the mod selection process left him with a scrambled brain! :laugh:
In truth, I could be thought a loony for my dislike of perique. I am a Latakia junkie, but can see how some may not like it. That being said, Argonaut is still a heretic :biggrin:
 
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