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Blends you like better in a briar, cob, or meer.

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Brunello

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How many of you have ever tried the same tobacco in two or three pipes side by side in the same smoking session? In all these years I've never done that. It was a trick to keep them all going simultaneously, not to mention the accelerated vitamin N intake. I know, a tough assignment, but somebody's got to do it! :rabbit:

I found the results so instructive that I've done it twice now. When compared side by side you realize that different pipe materials do react differently and give and different overall impression of a blend. In my first two rounds I chose pipes of similar geometry (bowl depth and width) of briar, meer and cob.

Round One. The richly decadent and boozy Edward G. Robinson blend.

Round Two. Clean and focused Va-Tur-Per by G.L. Pease: Regent's Flake.

In both rounds the meerschaums revealed more subtleties in the blend, especially spicy overtones, which may not be the "best" depending on whether one likes that or not. The cobs imparted a sweet cream corn aftertaste (less so in the vintage Buescher cob), and somewhat neutralized the tobacco's overtones. In the case of the EGR which has a muted Cavendish component, I felt the cob took this blend in the wrong direction (EGR really sang in the meer). The briars tended to emphasize foundational flavors, and in the case of the EGR a charred chestnut note.

My verdict: Even though we be Brothers of Briar, in this smack down the meers took top honor.

Call to Action: Share with us what type of pipe works best with some of your favorite blends. Depending on any feedback this may make us all have to retry many blends. Another tough assignment indeed!

 

Corncobcon

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I've noticed subtle differences when smoking the same tobacco in different pipes also. Not just the three types mentioned, but also between different briar pipes. Just today, I smoked some Butternut burley in a GBD and then the same in a corn cob pipe. The cob smoked smoother and the GBD smoked with a bit of bite. That's part of the enjoyment of pipe smoking.
 

Brunello

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Corncobcon":1afdlxcz said:
I've noticed subtle differences when smoking the same tobacco in different pipes also.  Not just the three types mentioned, but also between different briar pipes.  Just today, I smoked some Butternut burley in a GBD and then the same in a corn cob pipe.  The cob smoked smoother and the GBD smoked with a bit of bite.  That's part of the enjoyment of pipe smoking.

With the nicer weather today I enjoyed some Butternut Burley myself in a MM Country Gentleman as I took a hike along the trail. I agree that for slightly sweeter Burley blends like BB and Boswell's Premium Burley, cobs are ideal. I don't mind the plastic stems that some disparage - they are plaint enough that I can get some good clinching action going on!
 

Preben

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i have had great smoking briars and middle of the road ones and some utterly yech!

I also have had many higher end meers and a few signed meers but bit easier in price and they too all smoked differently

Never tried clay. The top meer smokers were wondrous as well as the top briars. and i do not mean top priced as opposed to top smokers. I find the meers seem to offer a more true taste for the sake of tasting the tobacco and that is in the best scenario. other people just hate meers. the top briars also have a super nice warmth to the character of the tobacco. not heatwise; but in character. and even the few super nice briars did offer a clean representation of the tobacco. the meers are drier smoke as such and i also refer to that as drier in the mouth/throat too i find. I am a fan of both a good briar and a good meer.
 

Brunello

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Preben":gpyvm2a7 said:
i have had great smoking briars and middle of the road ones and some utterly yech!

I also have had many higher end meers and a few signed meers but bit easier in price and they too all smoked differently

Never tried clay.  The top meer smokers were wondrous as well as the top briars.  and i do not mean top priced as opposed to top smokers.  I find the meers seem to offer a more true taste for the sake of tasting the tobacco and that is in the best scenario.  other people just hate meers.  the top briars also have a super nice warmth to the character of the tobacco.  not heatwise; but in character.  and even the few super nice briars did offer a clean representation of the tobacco.  the meers are drier smoke as such and i also refer to that as drier in the mouth/throat too i find.  I am a fan of both a good briar and a good meer.
Well, since we're going down the rabbit hole...

You seem to have a much greater range of experience with pipes than I do, as I only have 7 meers and 1 clay, and none really high end, yet I'm puzzled that my experiences in meers don't gel with yours. Maybe I misread, because you said "they too all smoked differently" - and if by that you mean mechanics of the draw, then we are in agreement. For me, even considering different bowl geometry, all of my meers give an identical taste response to a blend. My two best are better because of weight and balance and ease of draw, but the flavors are all the same (clay is even drier, and I don't like the hot bowl). This holds true even between my Charatan (pre-CAO) made from Turkish meer and my Peterson made from Tanzanian meer (supposedly inferior, but I can't tell a difference in taste and the mechanics of the smoke are spot on).

Did you mean mechanics of the smoke, or actual flavor?

Now, on briars we are in complete agreement: all over the map, and not always related to price point. Besides bowl geometry you also have to factor in age of the briar and whether it was dry or oil cured. In general they do give a 'warmer' less high-toned rendition.
 

Preben

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i guess i meant that all of the meers smoked differently overall. and esp quality. some sucked and some smoked great and a couple of rare ones re: taste were magical!

does that answer your question????

maybe i need more coffee or tea.
 

Brunello

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Preben":7ol0pgi1 said:
i guess i meant that all of the meers smoked differently overall. and esp quality.  some sucked and some smoked great and a couple of rare ones re: taste were magical!

does that answer your question????

maybe i need more coffee or tea.
Well, not really! :scratch:

Maybe if we both have a shot of Woodford Reserve then it will all make sense! Double Oaked if you got it.
 

Preben

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wwell had my woodford. now what?

:) bought the biggest bottle they had 2x in a row. use a glencairn glass if you have it.
 

Brunello

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Preben":2fgzpsrw said:
wwell had my woodford.  now what?

:)  bought the biggest bottle they had 2x in a row.  use a glencairn glass if you have it.  
I'm late to the party! You've outdone me on the glencairn glass, I'm just using a German brandy snifter. But anymore and I'll be outdoing Jeremy Clarkson's pipe smoking antics and pouring it into the pipe bowl and using the stem as a straw! I know the signs. I think I better sign off for the night before I get into any trouble. Did I just hear a big sigh of relief from everybody? Was that shadow in the sky the almighty hand of Black Horse getting ready for a smack down?

To be continued... or not. :lol!:
 

Corncobcon

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...continued...
It tastes the same ifin outta a brandy glass or a coffee cup. Me, I'll just drink outta da boddle! :lol: Whoa, dis boddle is half empty! :drunken:
 

ftrplt

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Generally, as a rule, and most likely :p , I prefer Ginnyweed in my clays. Burleys and the two aros I'll smoke; I prefer in a cobb, cherrywood, applewood, olivewood, etc. I have a few briars that only "do" Burley! Ginnyweeds, Va/Pers, Va/Orientals, and my beloved Latweeds go in my briars. My meer collection is pretty much Latweed and Ginnyweed only. FWIW :cheers: FTRPLT
 

Brunello

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Corncobcon":c17iuw1c said:
...continued...
It tastes the same ifin outta a brandy glass or a coffee cup.  Me, I'll just drink outta da boddle! :lol:   Whoa, dis boddle is half empty! :drunken:
Oh, Lordie! How'd ya feel this morning!?
 

Brunello

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ftrplt":kxzlir1f said:
Generally, as a rule, and most likely :p , I prefer Ginnyweed in my clays. Burleys and the two aros I'll smoke; I prefer in a cobb, cherrywood, applewood, olivewood, etc. I have a few briars that only "do" Burley! Ginnyweeds, Va/Pers, Va/Orientals, and my beloved Latweeds go in my briars. My meer collection is pretty much Latweed and Ginnyweed only. FWIW :cheers: FTRPLT
Interesting. You know everybody says Burley and cobs go great together but my favorite Burley blends seem to work best in a few briars that I've dedicated to them. With cobs there are some blends heavy in Kentucky dark-fired that the cobs seems to smooth over, much like a 9mm does, but generally I like cobs or my hardwood maple for aromatics. But I was wondering if since clays smoke so dry they might actually be the best pick for really goopy blends. Never tried it, have you? Ginnys I generally like in a tall, narrow briar, but my one tall narrow Kellerman cob also works well. Guess we could go on all day about this.
 

Brunello

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Okay, one last summary to wrap this up ... unless somebody disagrees, and then we can start all over! :shock:

I think we can all agree that the construction of the pipe, its balance and ergonomics (how it feels in hand and mouth), the chamber dimensions, the draw, whether it gurgles or wheezes, these are the primary concerns of the smoker. But I have a feeling that for some this is 99% of the matter, and others (like myself) that it's maybe only 90% of the matter, with the rest being how the actual material of the pipe imparts or doesn't impart any of it's own 'flavor profile' to the tobacco.

So the 99-percenters are not going to be that interested in material (like Corncobcon who drinks straight from the bottle!).   :bball:

Beyond that I also have a feeling that all cobs react the same way to a given tobacco, so that whether it is my vintage 40's Buescher cobs, custom Kellermans, or all the varieties of Missouri Meerschaum, that regardless of their shapes and bowl geometry, and mechanics of the smoke, they all impart the exact same flavor profile to any blend I've tried in them. For me, that is a very slightly sweetening and also taking away certain higher tones (spice). For that reason I find any Turkish forward blends in them to be to dull. Otherwise, mostly positives.

Meerschaums and clays are the most neutral, preserving the full range of lower, middle and upper tastes, but, as a group they also react uniformly. Not talking mechanics, just how they actually impact the flavor. That means, like I said before, Turkish and Tanzanian respond the same to my palate, even though I understand Turkish is more desirable because of it's cellular density and how it colors better as it ages.

Briars are the wildcard. The quality of the root briar, how it was processed, how long it aged before carving, how much cake is present in the bowl, these all have a (for me) huge impact on the resulting flavor. Again, mechanics being of the same quality.

So that's my story, and I'm sticking to it...

Unless somebody points out that I'm full of it!   ;)
 
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