In my case it was a Grabow and an OTC aromatic (Captain Black Cherry I would guess)...which did nothing for me. I stepped away from pipe smoking at that point, but a few years later I was reintroduced with some MacBaren Dark Twist Roll Cake in a LOTR Strider replica. Again, I wasn't thrilled (the pipe smoked hot and that baccy was bitey), but I had greater tenacity at that point and as I did with beer when at first I didn't like it, I went on a research and tasting odyssey and discovered there was indeed great enjoyment in tobacco smoking once you had the right pipe, the right tobaccos, and the right technique.
When I first started the pipe (in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I smoked Borkum Riff Whisky exclusively. Then I stopped smoking for about twenty years. When I started again I found that I could not abide the taste of Borkum Riff. I started back with a burley from a B&M in Gatlinburg (oddly enough named Gatlinburly) and then went on to Squadron Leader. Now I don't have enough room to list them all.:face:
"Sailor's Delight" from Pipes and Pleasures in Columbus, Oh (just their house name for RLP-6 or a RLP-6/1Q combo...can't really remember, now).
I liked it then, enough to smoke it more often then everything else combined for the first three or four years that I smoked a pipe. I don't do many aromatics these days, but when I do its usually some similar cavendish concoction from Lane.
Back around 1999, 2000, when I was in college I worked as an EMT (contracted to Albany Fire Dept.) and one of my supervisors smoked a pipe. He smoked a house brand burley. One day my roommate and I decided to give it a try. We went to a B&M that sold cobs and cheap basket pipes and got a few one ounce samples of blends (based solely upon the name on the jar). The first we dug into was the burley that the Sup smoked.
Local B&M "rum raisin" aro. Just exactly what it sounds like. Looking back, using a bent pipe, this was not the best combo. But, it got me interested and I know what I like now. I still have the pipe (which I opened up), but I dry all my tobacco a lot and I skip out on the lighter aros.
I read somewhere, I forgot where, that starting a piper on aros is a disservice and they don't understand the ordeal it'll cause. I tend to agree and were I to go back and tell myself how to do it, I'd have said start with a lighter English blend that smokes cool and dry.
I bought a Dr Grabow meerschaum-lined chimney (billiard) and a pouch of Borkum Riff from Winn Dixie when I turned 18. Smoked some of it. Wasn't impressed but I loved my pipe. I still use it. Took the metal stinger(?) out though.
I don't remember my very first because it was random from a grocery store aisle. It was cherry or peach, and I didn't get much pleasure out of it. I smoked on hikes, and though I would bring the pipe with me, I didn't get excited about the ritual. I got tired of it not being satisfying, so I went to our tobacconist. My first real tobacco was Rattray's 7 Reserve, and I was hooked. From there, I had Nightcap, 759, and Escudo in my first batch of experiences. It was also when I picked up my first good pipe. Until then, I'd smoked Grabows off an aisle display rack. Glad I no longer have those pipes, but I wish I had the rack.
My first pipe was a tiny, crappy meerschaum Indian head. The tobacco was some sort of "roll your own" cigarette tobacco. It was the worst ever. I clearly had no clue what I was doing.
My first actual pipe tobacco experience was a Dr Gabrow meer lined, with some Capt Black. I smoked the hell out of that pipe. I think I gave it to a friend who I miss these days. I'm listening to Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac and remembering my own Beat period full of cheap booze, philosophy and tobacco.