Is anyone a Pipe smoker?

Discussion in 'The Floating Log' started by CirdanLinweilin, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    OK, back from pizza (and Pinot Noir-- but I'll try to stay coherent).

    Alcuin has already mentioned some things I was going to add. You might consider getting a corn cob pipe or two; they're cheap, you don't have to break them in, and, though they eventually burn out, you can just toss them when that happens, or when they get fouled with goo.

    Which is probably going to happen. Alcuin talked about tobacco, which I was going to bring up. You mention a vanilla-flavored blend; would I be right in guessing it's black, or mostly so? It's called a Toasted Cavendish -- Captain Black is probably the most popular commercial brand. I don't much care for it myself, partly because it uses cheap burley tobacco which can absorb huge amounts of flavoring syrup, but mostly because I don't really like flavored tobacco, called "aromatics". But I have to admit I started off with them, at age 17. In fact, almost everyone I knew back then who smoked a pipe seemed, like me, to have started with a Dr. Grabow pipe and Cherry Blend tobacco.

    I eventually switched to a plain Cavendish, particularly a Dutch blend called Troost (wonder if I still have those coupons? ). They quit some years ago, though I believe an American company now has the rights. Sail Natural is a similarly light, smooth blend. Anyway, when you get tired of digging soggy tar out of the bottom of the bowl, you might try one of those.

    For the past couple of decades, I've smoked an English blend, something you may not want to try for a while -- it's not for the faint-hearted! It usually contains a mixture of matured Virginias, Latakia, and may some Perrique; some heavy duty stuff, as Alcuin says. This, BTW, is probably what Tolkien smoked, in one blend or another. UK regulations limit (or used to) non-tobacco ingredients in a domestically produced blend to a minimum: no more than 3%. By contrast, some blends are as high as 30% flavorings. I'd rather taste the tobacco than chocolate or whiskey. I buy Rattray's Black Mallory, when I can afford it, a heavy Scottish blend, though now made in Germany. My all-time favorite was the original Bengal Slices, no longer made, sadly, at least in the original blend.

    Enough nostalgia. Yes, you definitely need a pipe tool-- many people give up because they "couldn't keep it lit". As the tobacco burns down, it needs to be tamped -- gently -- but this comes with practice. I'd suggest starting with a cheap 3-way tool from the pipe shop--under a dollar, and has what you need to begin with: tamper, pick, and spoon. Oddly, I've never had a big problem with excessive caking -- maybe because the mixture I use is fairly dry, due to the lack of flavorings, or maybe I just don't smoke any one pipe often enough.

    Which brings me to the admission that I haven't bought a pipe at retail in years; the last twenty or so have been picked up at junk stores, yard sales, and flea markets. Do not laugh! I believe the last pipe I bought was a King Size Italian Caminetto, for five bucks. So there. Or something.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  2. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Ah-a, Bengal Slices. SeS, you’re a bad influence!

    Try Mac Baren’s. Roll Cake and Club are similar to the old Bengal Slices, as is Mixture.

    I’m outta this thread. I quit twelve years ago, and it’s making me miss it.
     

  3. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    Hey, don't blame me -- if you click a thread about pipe smoking, you know what you're going to get! :)

    Golly, I haven't tried Mac Barren in decades; hard to believe a Danish blend could be anything like English -- they're usually heavy on the flavorings. But thanks, I'll keep those blends in mind.

    The original tin (sigh):

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  4. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Apparently Bengal Slices is back:
    Pipes and Cigars
    1911 Spillman Dr.
    Bethlehem, PA 1801

    A long discussion of the history of the blend here. I very briefly smoked the Sobranie version, then the Gallaher version, which was a little different from the Sobranie, which was smoother. It was the Gallaher version that was ended for a while, and that’s a Gallaher tin in the photo.
     

  5. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    Yes, I did read about that, thanks. Reviewers differ on how closely it matches the original, complicated by the fact that I'm not sure which "original" they're talking about. At one point, it (or the name at least) was sold to a Danish company, which came up with something that was not remotely like the English blend I smoked back in the 70's. I bought a tin of that, sometime in the 90's, I believe, and was sorely dissapointed.

    All this trading back and forth gets confusing!

    A couple more tips for CL: if you do shop for pipes, you'll be looking for one that appeals to you, of course, but try to pick one that's somewhat light, for the reasons Alcuin states, and also with a fairly thick bowl-- it tends not to get as hot,as well as drawing out moisture better.

    Which reminds me: if your pipe is too hot to hold, it's too hot! Set it down until it cools, even if you have to relight it. If it's getting that hot, your drawing too fast, and are liable to burn a hole in the bowl, ruining the pipe.

    Which means, don't smoke in a strong wind, or while driving with the windows down, either -- although I suppose there's little danger of that with a churchwarden!
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  6. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Yes, that was my experience, too: although I also liked the Gallaher (second) blend, I preferred the original original, the Sobrani.

    Tobacco blends come and go. The tobacco shop I used in Boston is no more, according to Google this evening.

    ───◊───

    Non-sequitur: Monty Python’s Tobacconist’s Shop
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  7. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    Yup. Used to be two Tinder Box's in the city I lived in for many years; now there's not one in the entire state.

    And the independent store there seems to have turned into a vape place.

    Looks like you got out just in time!
     
  8. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    Good to know, along with everything else you told me. Thanks, Man!


    CL
     
  9. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    I was thinking of this today at work no idea why. In his letters he something along the lines of that he could not even concentrate later in life on his material unless he had a pipe going. So really it seems we would have less had he not smoked the pipe.
     
  10. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    I recently read a quote from him: "Every morning I wake up and think, ah, another 24 hours of pipe-smoking!"
     

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