I began smoking a pipe when I was about 17, shortly after beginning cigars on occasion at 16. I started with my father's pipe, which he had given me years ago for keepsakes, after quitting all forms of the leaf. I wandered down to the local variety store, and bought some Amphora blend. Acrid stuff. The pipe itself is not a good smoker, although I love the look of it.
Over the next few years I began a small collection. Buying online, and hunting in antique stores. Found a really neat, extremely blocky oddity that I loved. Poor girl's hole was a good 4 mm up one side, but I loved her so that I spent hours researching this pipe mud, bought a couple cigars (Oh, the torture!) and doctored her up.
After some research, finally bit the bullet and bought my first brand new, good smoking pipe, a Brigham 3 Dot. Tried my (not handy) hand at restoring some estate pipes, even had a GBD that I found at an antique shop.
My fave blend is Brigham's Cambridge Blend. I have *very* little experience with different tobaccos, as I have no friends who smoke pipes. All cigars! Knew I hated aromatics, and wanted to try more quality tobaccos. (Yes, I know Cambridge is a 50% aro.) Tried a few loose blends from a shop. I do enjoy blends with a fair bit of Latakia. However, if I have a Latakia heavy blend, I need to have at least one other, zero Latakia on hand. It's not an all day, every day smoke for me.
Was talked into a tin of Samuel G.'s Perfection. Loathed the stuff. Nice front aromas, but the finish and aftertaste had a weird funk that was absolutely horrible to my palate. I tried to like it, for 3 or 5 bowls. Actually made me nearly wretch, and I threw out my small cardboard smoke box that I kept all my paraphernalia in because it reeked like the stuff.
At the ripe old age of 21 or so, I retired, for a number of reasons. Sold all the pipes, save for my dad's, and my Brigham 3 Dot. Man I wish I had kept my blocky oddity. Gentlemen, NEVER throw away or sell a pipe you love, even if you swear you'll never smoke again. Keep it, or gift it to someone!
But boy did I miss enjoying a pipe, trying new tobaccos, and checking out new pips. So with a Brigham 3 Dot in my hand, and near zero tobacco knowledge, I'm looking to get back into it.
I've joined the mailing list for a local pipe club that meets once a month. Not 100% sure where to start to get to familiarize myself with the different *good quality, non-aromatic* tobaccos.
What I'd love to do is to buy a handful of pipes that look like they will be excellent smokers, but have little value because they are unbranded, or poor man's brands, or blemished, from someone who just has way too many and wants to clear some space.
I'm trying to figure out the best way to try great tobaccos, without having to buy whole tins. I'm thinking about trying to get some Canadians (only to avoid customs problems) together to start a "tin sample group" of sorts. We would vote on the tins, one person would buy them and then divide and mail the samples out. Not sure what the best course is.
Any advice as to how to best acquire a handful of excellent smoking (but not necessarily "nice") pipes at a good price, and ways to try various quality tobaccos would be greatly appreciated! Also, recommendations on a reference in terms of categories, or classes of tobacco blends that I should try, would be awesome. Are there such things as 'families' of blends, where each one shares certain characteristics?
I want to stay away from pipes that have been smoked more than just a few times. Ideally not at all.
Look forward to chatting with you all