What’s that one thought/word that pops in your head the moment you think of someone smoking a pipe? Sophisticated? Rich? Someone with a taste for finer things? A bearded man wearing an expensive suit with legs crossed nonchalantly? Surely you get the picture. We can all agree that a pipe is pretty much symbolic of class and a level of distinction/finesse. There’s a certain flair and almost an artistic value to pipe smoking.
Therefore, it’s easy to feel intimidated as someone who might be trying it for the very first time. Don’t worry. We got you covered. This short but helpful post will serve as your guide so you don’t come off as an amateur the next time you hold a pipe in your hands anticipating the next puff.
First off, pick the right pipe!
The kind of pipe you pick will largely govern the whole smoking experience. And, while it may sound like a relatively straightforward step, it’s not. With the sheer variety of forms, shapes, and styles of pipes available both online and offline; don’t be surprised if you’re thrown in for a loop. On top of that, varied pricing can make things even more difficult. However, as a thumb rule, beginners are supposed to stick with corn or corn cob pipes.
They happen to be cheaper than the more sophisticated kind. Another benefit of a corncob pipe is that you don’t get to deal with the break-in period. Pipes can lock the flavor of tobacco so a bad batch or a poorly packed batch tobacco can taint future experiences. With extra corn pipes in stock, you can try different batches and play around a little with multiple samples until you can perfect the art of filling the tobacco. While there are many online destinations, Big Daddy Smoke is a good smoke shop to look around for that perfect pipe.
Learn to Fill The Bowl The Right Way
Let’s just say if you can get this step down the hatch, everything will go downhill from there. This is the trickiest part to get the hang of it. You need to be careful with this step because it will define the whole smoking experience. Start with filling the bowl loosely with tobacco and lightly press it down using a tamper tool. At this point, you can expect the bowl to be filled almost half. Once again, add more tobacco and compress it a little firmly just a bit. This should fill the bowl almost by three quarters. Add one more layer of tobacco and press it down. Leave a light space between packed tobacco and top of the bowl.
Time For a Test Draw
At this point, you will need to hold the pipe between in your mouth and be ready for a test draw. The idea is to check the airflow. If you sense an impeded airflow, that means you packed the tobacco a little too tight. If that turns out to be the case, you will need to remove the tobacco and start all over again. Once the test draw is a success, you are not ready to light up the pipe.
Light Your Pipe
A pipe connoisseur, so to speak, will never use a match to light a pipe. That’s because sulfur present in a match can change the way tobacco tastes. It’s best to have a dedicated pipe lighter. Hold it towards the bowl and gently take a draw from the pipe. To make sure the tobacco is lit evenly, try moving the lighter in circulation motions.
Once you see the tobacco light up you will need to let go of the lighter. Now try relighting it once again. The light you get the second time around is known as ‘true light’ while the former is called a ‘false light’. There’s a huge difference between smoking a cigarette and smoking a pipe. With a pipe, you would not want to fill your lungs with smoke because it’s a lot stronger than cigarette smoke. Plus, pipe smoking is meant more for enjoying the flavor of tobacco rather than pure smoke inhalation.
Sit back, Relax and Enjoy
Pipe smoking is a leisurely activity. You are doing a lot more than just smoking. You are participating in a form of artwork. Therefore, it’s essential that you set some time aside for this activity. Being in a rush will defeat the whole purpose of pipe smoking. Always remember to take steady and slow puffs. Not only will it ensure a more flavorful draw, but going slow is also essential to avoid that burning sensation which is pretty common with pipe smoking. It’s called a ‘tongue bite’. Don’t worry in case you run out of light any time during the course. Just grab your lighter, relight it, and continue.
Some Added/Bonus Tips
- You should invest a couple of dollars in a pipe tamper. Although it’s not necessary to buy, it could help you in the packing of tobacco. And, while you are at it, grab a pipe cleaner too. This combo should cost you around $3.
- A gurgling sound while drawing in a smoke is suggestive of excess moisture locked in the pipe stem. To fix that, grab your pipe cleaner, put it on the end of the pipe, and try to lock the moisture. It’s important you keep your mouth dry to avoid this from happening again.
- If the pipe starts to feel too hot to handle, let the tobacco out and relight it. Excessive burning of tobacco can alter the taste.