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Teetering on the brink of a pipe rabbit hole.

Hello brown leaf lovers. Just poking my head in to say hello. While looking through the forum I often have a look in the brown leaf. I smoke cigars occasionally (Hamlet or Signature, nothing fancy)and was a heavy cigarette smoker until I gave up cigarettes last year.

But I’m considering swapping the cigars for a pipe. 30ish mins to relax and have a coffee or whisky with a pipe sounds great. Ive had a look at the different types of baccy and, going by my current cigars, I’d probably be a mild to medium Virginia smoker, but as with everything I’d probably need to try as much as possible.

I already broke the news to my better half and received the biggest eye roll ever. Then I mentioned it for the second time and I got “mhm” which is internationally recognised as permission to do what you want.

I think a bent pipe would suit me and I like the idea of P-lip. There is a couple of pre-owned ones for £40ish each, a Peterson 317 and a Peterson p-lip square stem Rhodesian bulldog (iirc)which I really like. I’m not quite ready to take the plunge so may miss those but that’s the way I’m leaning at the moment.

Happy smokes!
 
Hello brown leaf lovers. Just poking my head in to say hello. While looking through the forum I often have a look in the brown leaf. I smoke cigars occasionally (Hamlet or Signature, nothing fancy)and was a heavy cigarette smoker until I gave up cigarettes last year.

But I’m considering swapping the cigars for a pipe. 30ish mins to relax and have a coffee or whisky with a pipe sounds great. Ive had a look at the different types of baccy and, going by my current cigars, I’d probably be a mild to medium Virginia smoker, but as with everything I’d probably need to try as much as possible.

I already broke the news to my better half and received the biggest eye roll ever. Then I mentioned it for the second time and I got “mhm” which is internationally recognised as permission to do what you want.

I think a bent pipe would suit me and I like the idea of P-lip. There is a couple of pre-owned ones for £40ish each, a Peterson 317 and a Peterson p-lip square stem Rhodesian bulldog (iirc)which I really like. I’m not quite ready to take the plunge so may miss those but that’s the way I’m leaning at the moment.

Happy smokes!
Welcome, Wilkinsmooth,

I've been back to the pipe (after a long layoff; I smoked in the '80s and '90s) since Jan. 2021, and have learned much here about how to load your pipe, how to puff it slowly without scorching your tongue, and many other topics. Fortunately when I took the habit/hobby up again, I still had all my pipes from back then. Some I've traded, but a lot remain. At present I have 2 Petersons, a 307 from way back in '84 or so, and a new Arklow 606 model I bought from Smokingpipes.com for Christmas last year. Both have been great smokers. I'm a 3-4 time a week smoker and never did the white sticks or cigars at all.

Aside from the classic "codger" blends -- Sir Walter Raleigh, Half & Half, Prince Albert, Granger, etc. -- which are burley blends, I too have found an appreciation for mild Virginias. Newminster No. 400 Superior Flake and Peter Stokkebye Luxury Twist Flake have both been good tobaccos for me.

Let us know what you're up to!
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
Hello and welcome! Pipe smoking is a wonderful hobby and you'll find no shortage of enablers here.

A word of caution though. The p-lip is a point of contention among many. Some love it while others hate it. For a first pipe, it may not be the best choice in my opinion. You may be one of those people who hates it and by default you might conclude that you hate pipe smoking. I would recommend dipping your toes in with a modestly priced pipe with a standard bit. I'm sure others will have their own insights here as well...

Also, Virginia's are great tobaccos but tend to have a nasty bite when just starting out. Generally an OTC blend such as Sir Walter Raleigh, Carter Hall, Prince Albert or Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic is recommended as a good starting point. These tobaccos are generally more forgiving of a learner's technique and thus a good starting point...plus they are good tobaccos to boot!

Just my two cents, as I said some others may have different opinions. The important thing is to take it slow and enjoy your smokes! Don't expect to be puffing away absent mindedly like Sherlock Holmes on day one, pipe smoking is a journey and you certainly don't arrive at the destination on day one. Ask questions as they arise and we'll do our best to help where we can. Take a look back at some of our other newbie posts. There is a lot of good info there. Enjoy, and happy smokes my friend!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I'd echo Brandon's thoughts on the Peterson P-lip. I have one, and it's a weird smoke until you acclimatise to it. I like the one I have, but probably wouldn't buy another.

I noticed you're a fellow Brit from the pound sign, so maybe I can point you towards a few relevant starters. For budget pipes to start with, take a look at the Parker of London pipes at thepipeshop.co.uk which are essentially Dunhill seconds. They're £25 each, and I've not had a bad smoker yet. Also, grab a cob or two as a "sacrificial" pipe for trying new blends. Some can ghost a pipe (impregnate it with the flavour), and it's safer to try out aromatics and Lakelands in those, until you know if you like them.

As to blends, Gawith Hoggarth Best Brown No.2 Unscented might be better than a Virginia flake, which as Brandon pointed out, can bite those unfamiliar with it. For non flake, Peterson Sherlock Holmes is quite a "safe" Virginia blend. Rattray's Macbeth is similar with a bit of Burley and Oriental, for a slightly more complex flavour.

Smoke-king.co.uk has some good sample assortments (Virginia, Burley, Flake, Aromatic, 8x 5g samples per bag), and GQTobaccos.com does some samples too. Cgarsltd.co.uk also occasionally does samples of stuff that are otherwise only available tinned.

With samples and cobs, you can dip your toe in the water, without coughing up too much cash for something you don't like.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
I'd echo Brandon's thoughts on the Peterson P-lip. I have one, and it's a weird smoke until you acclimatise to it. I like the one I have, but probably wouldn't buy another.

I noticed you're a fellow Brit from the pound sign, so maybe I can point you towards a few relevant starters. For budget pipes to start with, take a look at the Parker of London pipes at thepipeshop.co.uk which are essentially Dunhill seconds. They're £25 each, and I've not had a bad smoker yet. Also, grab a cob or two as a "sacrificial" pipe for trying new blends. Some can ghost a pipe (impregnate it with the flavour), and it's safer to try out aromatics and Lakelands in those, until you know if you like them.

As to blends, Gawith Hoggarth Best Brown No.2 Unscented might be better than a Virginia flake, which as Brandon pointed out, can bite those unfamiliar with it. For non flake, Peterson Sherlock Holmes is quite a "safe" Virginia blend. Rattray's Macbeth is similar with a bit of Burley and Oriental, for a slightly more complex flavour.

Smoke-king.co.uk has some good sample assortments (Virginia, Burley, Flake, Aromatic, 8x 5g samples per bag), and GQTobaccos.com does some samples too. Cgarsltd.co.uk also occasionally does samples of stuff that are otherwise only available tinned.

With samples and cobs, you can dip your toe in the water, without coughing up too much cash for something you don't like.
Good catch on the £ sign and good advice all around! American OTC blends are probably downright out of the question over there...sorry about that :facep:
 
True, the Peterson P-lip is controversial. My 307 System pipe has one, and I've never had any trouble with it. But the standard "fishtail" lip on the Peterson Arklow works just as well.

I always forget Carter Hall in the list of famous codger blends.

Yes, a modestly priced new pipe, or an estate pipe, from a respected vendor like Smokingpipes would be a good choice. There's a wide range of shapes and finishes to choose from, whatever you like. And 1-2 ounces of a codger blend like Sir Walter Raleigh is not expensive and can get you started right.

ETA: American codger blends like SWR are not available in the UK? Well, don't they have something similar like St. Bruno? That comes in a small pouch, I think.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
American codger blends like SWR are not available in the UK? Well, don't they have something similar like St. Bruno? That comes in a small pouch, I think.
St Bruno and Condor in the supermarkets, and Gawith Hoggarth blends in certain newsagents. However, you're unlikely to get 10g samples that way, plus you still need to find a tobacconist to get your mitts on a pipe.
 
St Bruno and Condor in the supermarkets, and Gawith Hoggarth blends in certain newsagents. However, you're unlikely to get 10g samples that way, plus you still need to find a tobacconist to get your mitts on a pipe.
There’s a couple of those Parker pipes I like. That’s the likely route I’ll go and I’ll get some samples to go with it. I had read a couple of things about St Bruno, I’m keen to give it a try too.

What else should I get in my first order? Pipe cleaners and scraper etc? Filters or gauze?
 
There’s a couple of those Parker pipes I like. That’s the likely route I’ll go and I’ll get some samples to go with it. I had read a couple of things about St Bruno, I’m keen to give it a try too.

What else should I get in my first order? Pipe cleaners and scraper etc? Filters or gauze?
Pipe cleaners, yes, and a tamper that can also be used to scrape out the pipe. Neither of those are expensive, at least not in my experience. I use the longish wooden kitchen matches to light and relight my pipe, though I've bought a nice Zippo lighter with pipe insert for use outdoors. To start with, though, I'd stick with the matches.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
What else should I get in my first order? Pipe cleaners and scraper etc? Filters or gauze?

Pipe cleaners, yes.

Scraper, get a simple cheap 3in1 pipe tool

Gauze, no

Filters... probably not needed, and certainly not for the Parkers you're looking at. That said, Denicool crystals are quite useful to have in the arsenal. They're little crystals, and you drop one or two in the bowl before packing. They can take away some of the excess moisture without impairing the taste. You'll hardly ever need 'em once you're into the swing of things, but may be more useful to you while you find your tempo.

Any lighters you use should be soft flame, not jet.
 
I kind of swim upstream on some of this beginner stuff. I started out with a pair of Peterson Arans with P-Lips. Outside of an unnatural love of Grousemoore and an uncontrollable eye twitch, I don't think it hurt me. If I'm being honest, I think the Grousemoore has more to do with the eye twitch than the P-Lips. Other than the way that they pass a pipe cleaner, I don't think there's much difference between a P-Lip and a standard stem. A P-lip can give you a bit of bite on the roof of your mouth if you're not careful though. The same can be said of a standard stem if you let it sag too much and puff too hard.

I've never smoked any of the OTC blends. Nothing against them, I just haven't smoked them. I don't doubt what the others have said about them, but I know you'll be just fine starting with other tobaccos too. Well, maybe you'll get an eye twitch, but you get used to it fairly quickly. Me? I went right to the non-OTC blends when I started. Back then I knew there were badgers, and I knew there were blades. I didn't know that if you put the two things together you got an internet forum where people would give you advice and help you. I learned the hard way back in those dark days. Truthfully, it wasn't that hard and the days weren't that dark. The nerd behind the counter at Tinder Box got me started. Some internet guides helped. I made real gains in my technique years later when I stopped worrying about the nerd and the guides and just did what worked for me. A guy's got to start somewhere though and that nerd, and those guides built my foundation.

As a former cigar smoker myself, I think you have the right idea of what you might like tobacco wise. If you have access to them, some of Gawith Hoggarth's unscented blends might be just the thing. There's something very cigaresque about some of them. Just know that a pipe takes more finesse than a cigar, but it's more rewarding too. In my experience, if you want to smoke a pipe, you'll make it work. If you don't, you'll give it up. It's not rocket science, it just takes some time and development.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
I'm going to buck the trend and suggest you pick up 50 or 60 pipes immediately, 30 or 40 different tobacco blends, a top of the line propane lighter, a couple of fancy tampers and tobacco knives, some tobacco trays, jars for storage, pipe racks, ashtrays with cork knockers, and a smoking jacket.
None of this will make your journey any better than a cob pipe, some SWR, a nail and some matches, but...
If your significant other complains about what you do buy, show her the list I just posted and tell her you didn't get all the stuff we recommended.
 
I'm going to buck the trend and suggest you pick up 50 or 60 pipes immediately, 30 or 40 different tobacco blends, a top of the line propane lighter, a couple of fancy tampers and tobacco knives, some tobacco trays, jars for storage, pipe racks, ashtrays with cork knockers, and a smoking jacket.
None of this will make your journey any better than a cob pipe, some SWR, a nail and some matches, but...
If your significant other complains about what you do buy, show her the list I just posted and tell her you didn't get all the stuff we recommended.
This is the advice I’ve came to know and love on B&B! Hence being 4 straight razors deep, 8 weeks since a Google search for cartridge razor blade alternatives.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
This is the advice I’ve came to know and love on B&B! Hence being 4 straight razors deep, 8 weeks since a Google search for cartridge razor blade alternatives.
In all seriousness, if you take on pipe smoking as Al does (@AimlessWanderer) you ought to save money over factory cigarettes. He tends to be much more frugal then the rest of us here who want to cellar and pipe collect, etc.. Additionally, although I'm no doctor and I'm not giving medical advice - moderate pipe smoking without inhaling has much less of a negative impact on your system (if not even a positive one as a stress reliever). I hope you enjoy the hobby and I think Al in particular has set you on a good path for your geographic location.
 
I’m putting together my first order. I decided on a Falcon bent stem with rustic bulldog bowl to start with. I like the bulldog shape and I think I’ll like a bent stem and read that the rustic bowl can help keep it cool too. I opted for the multipurpose bit because I thought it’d be a safe, middle of the road bet.

I’ll buy a cob too for testing tobaccos and I’ll probably buy a pouch of St Bruno locally, but I’d be interested what your opinions are on the pipe and tobacco choices to get me under way.

I’m not sure if I need to get those ring filters for under the falcon bowl, as I read somebody say just to use a bent pipe cleaner in there.

Thank you in advance.


(Hopefully the copy/paste works ok)

 
I’m putting together my first order. I decided on a Falcon bent stem with rustic bulldog bowl to start with. I like the bulldog shape and I think I’ll like a bent stem and read that the rustic bowl can help keep it cool too. I opted for the multipurpose bit because I thought it’d be a safe, middle of the road bet.

I’ll buy a cob too for testing tobaccos and I’ll probably buy a pouch of St Bruno locally, but I’d be interested what your opinions are on the pipe and tobacco choices to get me under way.

I’m not sure if I need to get those ring filters for under the falcon bowl, as I read somebody say just to use a bent pipe cleaner in there.

Thank you in advance.


(Hopefully the copy/paste works ok)

That’s a fine first purchase, sir!

And skip the Falcon ring absorbers as you suggested. Spend the money on that pouch of St. Bruno instead! Good stuff.
 
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