What's new

What I've learned, 6 mos. after returning to the pipe

In the 3rd week in January of this year -- after more than 15 years -- I brought out my pipe collection and its gear, found that I had some smokable tobacco as well, packed one of the pipes and lit up. And I found that there was still pleasure to be had in smoking the pipes as well as the enjoyment of looking at the beautiful briar carvings, like miniature bits of furniture. I've since bought or traded for 5 pipes, purchased some codger blends (of which more in a moment), spent $ on two tins of more esoteric leaf, and been PIF'd some Granger and some English blends to sample.

What have I learned?

I like the codger blends and look forward to smoking them: Half & Half, Sir Walter and his cousin R.O. Matic, Granger, and matches Field & Stream and Edgeworth. Carter Hall not so much, but it works as a mixer. Someday I may get to try Prince Albert. My point? In the '80s-'90s I liked the Tinder Box aromatics, including black Cavendish -- but the bit of Cavendish I have left is uninteresting to me now. EGR I may not buy again, and I'm still uncertain about Gentleman Caller.

I seem to prefer straight pipes now. In the '80s and '90s I bought a lot of bent pipes. Straights, especially billiards, were dull and awkward to smoke in bars and restaurants then. Thanks to the nicotine Nazis I can't do those now, and the straight pipes have come to appeal to me. Of the 5 I've bought or traded for, 4 have been straights and 1, though bent, is a very mild version. The ones I traded away were mostly bent pipes.

Esthetically, too, I've come to prefer a smaller though not tiny bowl; smooth finishes generally (4 of the 5 new pipes are smooth); horn or acrylic stems (I hate refurbishing vulcanite); and some decoration between stem and shank like a trim ring or a military mount. No doubt I'll make exceptions to all these "rules" in the future; I'm eyeing some black sandblast billiards right now.

Though I did it very rarely back then, smoking while driving is off my radar completely, and it's difficult for me to do anything that takes manual dexterity while I puff, like typing. The pipe must get most of my attention. I can watch TV and read, but that's about it.

Though I'll do an evening pipe now and then, I like smoking in the morning when things are quiet. I am not happy with the savage heat here anyway, and now the idea of standing out in it to smoke, even in what is laughably called "shade," is daunting. Better to hold a warm bowl in my hand when it's cooler, or rainy, or cold. I'm glad I restarted this hobby/habit in the winter. I've found too that I like coffee with my morning pipe, since I smoke cooler now.

I've realized I don't care for smoking every day. Part of the pleasure in it is the anticipation, and if it becomes a daily activity it will become ordinary and less enjoyable for me.

Visiting and learning here has been an enormous help. For instance, I'd never have thought of drying my tobacco before smoking it; in the '80s everything was about humidors and moist tobaccos. No wonder I found some of Tinder Box's offerings to smoke hot. Sipping on the leaf rather than puffing as if I were in a competition is another idea I've picked up from you expert pipers. In the '80s I had no one but pipe shop clerks and Mr. Jansen of Ye Olde Pipe Shoppe in the Quarter to ask questions of!

Such is what I've learned in this 6 months. It's been a good start to what I hope is a fun journey!
 
I'm currently (5 years?) on a pipe hiatus with nearly everything packed away and about 17lbs tobacco stored.
I definitely want to come back sometime but see currently not space in my lifestyle to do so…
So for the time being it’s cigars during summertime and nicotine free for the rest of the year.
 
I smoked pipes back in the ‘70’s and early’80’s without much guidance or finesse, and enjoyed it. Changes in circumstance took me the cigar route for the next 30+ years. I enjoyed that as well. I was enticed back to the pipes in mid-year 2018 after wandering into this sub-forum and being convinced I needed the 2018 B&B LE. Like with you @Benzadmiral, it’s been a voyage of rediscovery and breaking new ground. I would say the pipes are here to stay absent extenuating circumstance.
 
Interesting how preference changes over time. Started with mostly straight pipes but find I prefer a 3/4 bent these days. Smooth finish unless a rare day spent in the field in search of birds for the table or a nature walk in which case a a sandblast is in the pocket.

I've gone to smaller popes as well, group 3 size but not too short. Interesting hobby we have.
 
As I navigate the years, I don't like to reload my pipes as often. So the bigger the chamber, the happier I am now. A 45 minute smoke is my sweet spot for a daily. If I can get that with a cup of morning coffee, I'm happy. Although I can coax about an hour and a half out of a bowl of Scottish Mixture if Mrs. Columbo leaves me peaceably in my recliner.

I've always favored mainly straight billiards and smooth finished briars. They are practical and efficient smoking devices. But as my eyes have faded, I increasingly enjoy a big pot more. Because sometimes my reading glasses are not handy when lighting up, and a pot gives me a larger target. I have a couple bents, but don't enjoy them as much ... probably for the same reason.
 
All my remaining pipes pass a cleaner, are drilled near bottom, most dead center and possess a smooth wide open draw.

Tastes change. You may not prefer tobacco cellared today five years down the road.

YMMV.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
As I navigate the years, I don't like to reload my pipes as often. So the bigger the chamber, the happier I am now. A 45 minute smoke is my sweet spot for a daily. If I can get that with a cup of morning coffee, I'm happy. Although I can coax about an hour and a half out of a bowl of Scottish Mixture if Mrs. Columbo leaves me peaceably in my recliner.

I've always favored mainly straight billiards and smooth finished briars. They are practical and efficient smoking devices. But as my eyes have faded, I increasingly enjoy a big pot more. Because sometimes my reading glasses are not handy when lighting up, and a pot gives me a larger target. I have a couple bents, but don't enjoy them as much ... probably for the same reason.
From the looks of my pipe racks, it seems I favor billiards and other straight pipes save a full bent GBD billiard and my trusty old Pete 301. I do prefer the 3/4” x 1 1/2 inch chamber over the pot. Just have to put up with the reloading throughout the day. No matter; I’m a patient man. Small pipes and slow fly rods for me.
 
Wow, what a cellar! @Multum in parvo if you ever want to trade some of that Strang or Condor away for some of my good stuff, look me up! That’s a great lineup you have there!
Being in Europe shipping tobacco to the States will not work I guess.
As I’m a bit out of the picture…
Mr. Motzek retired, did someone took over the production of Strang?
Also production of Condor stopped in Ireland but was brought to Czechia? Is that correct?
 
Being in Europe shipping tobacco to the States will not work I guess.
As I’m a bit out of the picture…
Mr. Motzek retired, did someone took over the production of Strang?
Also production of Condor stopped in Ireland but was brought to Czechia? Is that correct?

As for Strang, yes, someone did take over production after Mr. Motzek retired, but the “new” version is nowhere near as good as the original that he created and produced. It’s decent, but it’s not the legendary Strang that used to be.

Same with Condor. The original Irish version is long gone, and the current Polish version pales in comparison to the “real” Condor. The signature taste is lacking in the new stuff. I’m down to my last few plugs and ready rubbed jars of the good old Gallaher version and am always on the hunt for more. It’s a unicorn in the USA these days.
 
Last edited:
@benzi notice your smokes usually last you right around that half hour mark. That's about what I can manage at a time. Are you smoking smaller bowls or putting it out when you've had enough or some third thing I'm missing? It seems like many other people here are getting like 45+ minutes.
 
@benzi notice your smokes usually last you right around that half hour mark. That's about what I can manage at a time. Are you smoking smaller bowls or putting it out when you've had enough or some third thing I'm missing? It seems like many other people here are getting like 45+ minutes.
RG, yes, those 2 conditions -- or sometimes just 1/2 or 3/4 bowl. I also usually knock the pipe out if, after the 25-30 minutes, a relight yields only a minute's more smoke, suggesting the dottle is pretty wet and it's time to quit.

In the cooler weather back in Feb. and March, standing outside for a few minutes in a cool breeze made the leaf burn a little faster too. Not so much now -- I don't want to stand out in that soupy hot air, and there's no breeze anyway.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I do prefer the 3/4” x 1 1/2 inch chamber over the pot. Just have to put up with the reloading throughout the day. No matter; I’m a patient man. Small pipes and slow fly rods for me.

That's a large bowl for me (which I consider "full" bowls), and it's rare that I'll smoke a full one in one sitting. The pipes I might typically smoke in one go are (quick mental arithmetic to convert) maybe 5/8" x 1.1/4" maximum (which I consider half bowls).
 
Ok thank you. That makes sense. I generally get about a half hour per smoke too, but for 2 different reasons, only one controllable.
 
A half hour is plenty for me. I can read and watch TV while smoking, but that's about all -- no serious writing or housekeeping or cleaning/detailing my car, for example. If I tried to push a smoke for much longer, I'd get bored with the entire thing -- and I don't want to do that.
 
That's fair. After a half hour, Mrs. Rookie decides I've been out there dodging our three year old long enough. And I'm still making that mental hurdle of barely any smoke is what I want. As a cigarette smoker for so long, it feels counterintuitive.
 

FarmerTan

FarmerStan the Man
A half hour is plenty for me. I can read and watch TV while smoking, but that's about all -- no serious writing or housekeeping or cleaning/detailing my car, for example. If I tried to push a smoke for much longer, I'd get bored with the entire thing -- and I don't want to do that.
There is nothing like that first bowl of a Whiskey flavored tobacco and a cup of black coffee in the morning!

One of the things I miss most in life, is when Dad and I would sit and watch TV or listen to a radio station out of Detroit in the morning, the sun streaming through the tobacco haze...
 
Top Bottom