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 Meerschaum Smell

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swhipple

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Age : 49
Location : North Carolina
Registration date : 2013-05-02

PostSubject: Meerschaum Smell   Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:07 pm

I have a Meerschaum billiard style pipe that I've owned for a couple of months and I've been smoking it pretty regularly to get it started coloring. Well lately I've been noticing that it has a distinct, slightly unpleasant smell, especially when it gets warm while smoking. It's a strong enough smell that it's starting to interfere with my enjoyment of the smoke.

Is this normal? None of my briars smell like this and I actually keep the bowl of the meer cleaner than them, because I've read you aren't supposed to let them build up cake.

Any suggestions on how to deodorize a meer?
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Puff Daddy
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Age : 54
Location : South of heaven
Registration date : 2007-12-09

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:50 pm

I think it's something in the individual mineral block itself. I've owned a few and had one behave as your does (an IMP that smelled badly once it warmed up). After about a hundred smokes it went away Laughing It's a mined solid mineral substance, not too far fetched that there may be some weird stuff in there sometimes.

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Dutch

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Age : 53
Location : On the road.......
Registration date : 2010-11-06

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:45 am

Your problem could be that you are smoking a composite meerschaum, instead of the preferred block meer.

However, meer is like briar, in that it is porous. If it is an estate pipe, there is no telling what it has been subjected to, prior to your purchase.

If it is brand new, it is most likely pressed meerschaum. The filler material being heated, is what you are likely tasting on your palate.
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swhipple

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Age : 49
Location : North Carolina
Registration date : 2013-05-02

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:23 am

Thanks for the replies. I'll try to "smoke my way through it" Puff daddy. The pipe may well be composite given the price I paid for it? One day I'll have to buy a known block pipe from a reputable carver
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monbla256

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Age : 72
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:44 am

I have 4 figural meers all carved from solid block and have NEVER had any aroma eminate from them other than that of the 'bac I'm smoking in them. I'd have to agree that it is probably a pressed meer made from molded meer chips . It will probably smoke out after awhile, but if it was me, I'd starte saving my pennies for a solid block meer. They don't really cost all that much more than a good briar Twisted Evil
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pepesdad1

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Age : 74
Location : Tallahassee, Florida
Registration date : 2013-03-03

PostSubject: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:33 pm

Dutch wrote:
Your problem could be that you are smoking a composite meerschaum, instead of the preferred block meer.

However, meer is like briar, in that it is porous. If it is an estate pipe, there is no telling what it has been subjected to, prior to your purchase.

If it is brand new, it is most likely pressed meerschaum. The filler material being heated, is what you are likely tasting on your palate.




I've encountered a meer with that problem...was as stated above.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:57 pm

I've addressed the "meerschaum stank" issue frequently. Most think I'm nuts (fair game), but the truth of the matter is, I sense what many others don't. I envy them, honestly.

What I refer sometimes as "hot-baked clamshells," there's a distinct mineral taste, sort of salty, with an organic ocean-like quality. Since sepiolite is a composite clay material that is mined from depths containing groundwater, some of which was likely (previously) oceanic in nature, I'm not surprised at all.

I have three meerschaum pipes and one calabash with a meer insert, all block meerschaum, from either IMP or SMS, and they all exhibit varying degrees of this odd scent when smoked. It isn't unpleasant to me, but I surely don't smoke delicate Virginias in any of 'em, and prefer to save them for Latakia mixtures, which smoke with certain brands even better than in a briar.

I hold steadfast to the idea that meerschaum, being porous and quite wet when extracted, goes through more or less "washing" before it is carved into pipes, and the better the wash, the less of this smell/taste is detectable. Or, just be someone who pays no mind (or can't) to the phenomenon.

Again, I envy those people. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:39 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
I hold steadfast to the idea that meerschaum, being porous and quite wet when extracted, goes through more or less "washing" before it is carved into pipes, and the better the wash, the less of this smell/taste is detectable. Or, just be someone who pays no mind (or can't) to the phenomenon.

Your comment about washing could very well be the culprit. Or maybe simply the processing. Being that folks attuned to the smell note that their higher end pipes don't suffer from it would point to possible lack of processing and/or aging in the lower priced blocks.

"Meerschaum" is a tricky market to navigate...
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swhipple

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Age : 49
Location : North Carolina
Registration date : 2013-05-02

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:23 pm

Quote :
I hold steadfast to the idea that meerschaum, being porous and quite wet when extracted, goes through more or less "washing" before it is carved into pipes, and the better the wash, the less of this smell/taste is detectable. Or, just be someone who pays no mind (or can't) to the phenomenon.

I could believe that. Maybe the better quality folks take the time to properly wash it, where the more cost conscious carvers short cut this step to save a buck?

The weird thing is the scent is strangely familiar to me, but I haven't really thought about what it smells like. I'm going to have to smoke it today and see if I can identify the smell. Whatever it is, I don't think the smell is tobacco related.
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PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:40 pm

Doesn't smell like Labrador, does it? Very Happy
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SPUD 15

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Age : 71
Location : Winter Springs Florida
Registration date : 2011-09-07

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:49 pm

This reply doesn't have anything to do with the smell you are experiencing with your meer, but it is how we used to tell if the meer you are buying is block or composite. The way to differentiate between the two is to stick your tongue into the bowl of the new meer if your tongue sticks to the inside of the bowl your pipe is block, if not it is composite. You cannot do this on the outside of the pipe as most carvers use beeswax to seal the outside and of course it is non-absorbent. MIKE
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daveinlax

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Location : Wisconsin
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:36 pm

I've sometimes noticed a smell with mine. Not a revolting stink but a slight funky odor sometimes. I always assumed it was the beeswax. It's a high grade Austrian carvged Dunhill that I got unsmoked and have rewaxed several times over the years. Shocked
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pepesdad1

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Age : 74
Location : Tallahassee, Florida
Registration date : 2013-03-03

PostSubject: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:45 pm

Daveinlax said:
“…and have rewaxed several times over the years.”

Did you have it rewaxed or did you do it yourself and if you did do it yourself, how did you do it?
Thanks
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daveinlax

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Location : Wisconsin
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:13 pm

pepesdad1 wrote:
Daveinlax said:
“…and have rewaxed several times over the years.”

Did you have it rewaxed or did you do it yourself and if you did do it yourself, how did you do it?
Thanks
Yeah, I did it myself. I have some no color beeswax from a hobby shop. I use a wine cork to seal off the chamber. I melt it in a small tart tin on the stove I have a cheap paint brush and paint on the wax. I've left it sit from anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks. I use a hair dryer to melt the wax into a lined trash can. Be very careful not to over heat the stem. It doesn't take much to soften vulcanite. I've had very good results in coloring the pipe. Shocked
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DrumsAndBeer

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Age : 46
Location : Northern, CA
Registration date : 2012-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:34 pm

My Meerschaum also has a distinct odor. Honestly Kyle, "Hot Baked Clamshells" is not that far off from being spot-on descriptor. Definitely a briny smell tainted with warmed over liquid tar.

My meer could very well be pressed, who knows. I paid 35.00 for it so I am not losing sleep over it.. Needless to say, I no longer smoke it.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:57 pm

That one guy, "The Meerschaum King," as he's monikered over on YouTube, gave me the bright idea to put beeswax into an empty chapstick tube, and I simply put on a thin layer when the pipe is hot every so often. Too easy. My only problem was not having a good softener to thin out the beeswax so it didn't bind in the chapstick tube, but meh. A few seconds in the microwave solves that.

I went to the trouble to go to a hippie store and get the beeswax pellets the bees make naturally to get the best I could.

Beeswax shouldn't smell like anything except a tinge of honey and...well, wax. Laughing You should be able to eat the stuff straight-up.
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pepesdad1

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Age : 74
Location : Tallahassee, Florida
Registration date : 2013-03-03

PostSubject: Meerschaum Smell   Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:30 pm

Kyle said:
" I went to the trouble to go to a hippie store and get the beeswax pellets the bees make naturally to get the best I could"

Really, Kyle, a little respect for your elders.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:02 pm

Well, grabbing a handful from a bee hive, apiary or comb in a tree trunk sounded a little dodgy. Laughing
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
Registration date : 2011-04-09

PostSubject: Re: Meerschaum Smell   Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:24 am

The only taste I get from a meerschaum is that of the tobacco and a slight warm wax scent, which I rather like--sort of like the slight sweet "corny" taste of a corncob. However, I read* years ago that the mystery author Georges Simenon, though a Dunhill devotee, preferred meerschaum but didn't usually smoke them because they left what he called an "old man" odor in the room. I'm not sure what he meant or whether that's accurate, but perhaps that rings a bell? Dunno. Most of the old men I know are either dead or wear aftershave.

And no French jokes. 

* More than likely in "The Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris."
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